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/tg/ - Traditional Games

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This may be a minithread, but I hope not!

For old threads, look here! http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Dead%20Gods%20Quest
For updates, check twitter! @Someone_else___
Elsa's Character Sheet! http://pastebin.com/ezsJzAWG (fresh and updated!)
Resident artist: Eversor_ (with random pieces by other artists)
Welcome to Dead Gods Quest! In this quest, you play Elsa Ledren, a young Skirmish Sergeant in the Cenderian Royal Auxiliaries. Your homeland, Cender, is rent by bandits and secessionists, but now it has a far larger problem: a cabal of criminals has activated some ancient superweapons, and secreted them into two cities, including your home city of Clen, the capital of Cender.

In the origins of the world, there were fourteen gods, and each created a race in their image. Yours, the elves, were created by Mai’te, who then created two demigods, a man and a woman, to liaise with the people, and also created the Heralds. These were normal mortals endowed with some of the powers of the demigods, and able to telepathically communicate with Maite, her children, and each other.

A cataclysmic war, referred to hereafter as the Collapse, erupted about one thousand years into creation, and all but three demigods, all but two races, and all the gods died off. The tattered remnants of the world held together through the power of the three surviving demigods, including yours; the female demigod of the elves, named Asa. Three huge alchemic weather machines keep the world habitable, while the demigods have dispensed with the use of Heralds in favor of Avatars: physical projections of themselves that can walk and talk like people.
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The afterlife was dismantled in the wake of the Collapse, and now, all souls are simply ‘inverted’ in the seas of Chaos outside reality after death, and absorbed by their corresponding demigod.

You were assigned by your King to track down a gang of bandits that had sided with the secessionists in the southlands, but were ambushed and nearly murdered by the conspiracy and their ancient weapon, the Orb of the Feathered Demon. Because the weapon can kill demigods, the Pantheon survivors made you a Herald in secret, and have charged you with killing the ten conspirators who survived the battle in the woods.

Previously, you learned that your patroness, Asa, accidentally caused her own mother, the goddess Mai’te, to die, when Asa anointed a Herald and charged him with using a superweapon capable of species-scale genocide, but said Herald had no idea how to use it properly. When it activated, Mai’te was killed, and the afterlife imploded. Asa has finally accepted that you should just be calling her Sister, and not Lady, since she doesn’t feel she deserves the full title any more.

You crouch in the flap of your tent, watching as Asa stands sentinel over you and the others. Her Avatar’s shoulders aren’t hunched, but her fists are rammed in her pockets, which you’ve never seen. She’s pulled up her hood, and the lack of starlight means her skin looks almost normal, compared to the glittering rainbow it usually produces at night.

You’re torn. She’s obviously angry that you saw what she did to Mai’te and to Cardiff, but you already talked it over. You spent an hour at her side, prising secrets from her about the time before the Collapse, and even before the world began, and she said she felt much better afterwards. Is there a point to talking more?

>Yes (what do you want to say?)

That map is still horrible geographically. Gerardus Mercator is rolling in his grave.
What were relations between races like before the collapse?

A bit like the current relationship between the US and Russia, or Israel and the Palestinians.
You rise from the tent floor and go stand beside her again. After another few seconds watching the road, she half-turns. “Can’t sleep?”

“Already did.” That divine power of hers, hard at work inside you. “Can I ask something?”


“What were race relations like before the Collapse?”

She tilts her head. “Well… huh. Humans and elves have always gotten along fairly well, with exceptions, like what you saw through poor little Willow. The rest of the old races had their own ways. All elves mourned the Gnomes, they were very close to us. The Spirelings were never very close, by contrast, they were just so cruel by nature. Everybody hated the Goblins, but they didn’t mind,” she snorts. “They hated themselves.”

“And the Harpies?”

“Oh, they were all right, at first, but they turned on the other races very quickly when the food got scarce,” she says dolefully. “The Dragon-men especially. The dwarves, they were different. They traded with everybody, but they mostly lived alone. The only ones they trusted were the Pukels, and that dissolved pretty fast when the war started.” She shifts her shoulders and looks up at the sky. “The Dragon-men demigods were nothing like their people. I remember thinking that was so odd. Their race was so cold, territorial, callous. Their demigods were the life of the party! I’ll never get it.”
“Hmm.” You hop up on a convenient boulder and hunch your back, staring down the road towards the distant capital. “Mind company?”

“No. No, I’d like it, Sister.” She pauses, then shakes her head with a rueful chuckle. “That feels so strange. Technically, I’m more like a Sister than a mother, but I’ve been ‘My Lady’ for so long… even after the tornado, when you learned the truth, we kept up the pretense.”

“Do you resent my knowing everything now?” you ask.

“Probably not, but we’ll cross that bridge when we come to it,” she says cryptically.

>Just while away time until the others wake
>Discuss something specific
>>Just while away time until the others wake

Can't think of anything else to do.
>Just while away time until the others wake
Look at stars. LOOK AT THEM.
You two sisters just watch the sky and road together, barely talking, until the black night starts to lighten up a bit. You can feel, through your shared powers of empathy, the raw pain in her fade a bit, and she turns to thank you right as you get up to wake the others.

“Can you feel that?” she asks.

“Feel what?”

“You’re using the power I gave you, the ability to influence others. Passively. You want me to feel better, so I do. Of course, I could resist it if I wanted, but why would I?” she asks drily.

You grin. “I hadn’t even noticed.”

“Good. You’re taking to it well.” You dust off your clothes and move towards Dervichs’ tent when she stops you. “May I confess something before we continue, in this spirit of disclosure we seem to have embraced?” she asks.


Before you can answer, she just blurts it out.

“I told you that we were created when the Gods merged Chaos and the elements of this world to sculpt us, right?” she asks. “Well… there was another ingredient.”


She sighs. “For the same reason I always look like a light elf, Ghalad always looked like a sea elf. We were made from them. Two sacrifices were asked for, drawn from random villages and carried over the water by divine power.” You turn to face her fully, feeling surreal as you listen. Nobody has ever told you this, not even in your advanced classes in school. “The sacrifices offered their souls and bodies to the Gods, and they created us from those templates. Their souls went on into their creator Gods directly, with no afterlife.”

“That’s it?”

Asa grimaces. “I know that sounds trivial now, but the chance to miss heaven was huge. The sacrifices were honored with statues in the shrines outside the geode in which we were interred in our true bodies, the Chaos-infused elements.” She holds up one bare hand, and it glimmers faintly in the light of the rising sun. “I don’t know her name, but she gave me her body.”

You hesitate. “Why tell me?”

She smiles. “Like we said. Sisters don’t keep secrets.”

The others wake up quickly, soldiers that they are, and in no time, Asa is gone, and three horses trot out onto the road.

Dervich turns to you once he’s done dressing. “All right, boss, do we make for the straight road for Margent, or stop over in Kepple on the way for backup?”

>Go straight (no chance for backup or supplies, trip is six days)
>Go to Kepple for backup and supplies (trip is ten days)

>Go straight (no chance for backup or supplies, trip is six days)

As long as we can make it with our current supplies.
Rolled 56

you forgot the dice roll

>>Go straight (no chance for backup or supplies, trip is six days)

Random encounters? I didn't know this was an old jrpg.
Rolled 53

>Go straight (no chance for backup or supplies, trip is six days)
Rolled 86

I've had random encounters in several threads so far...

Somebody doesn't know how to roll, so I'm rolling.
“We can’t let her get on a barge and disappear,” you sigh, though the idea of a warm bed and meal makes you pine for the luxuries of Kepple’s many inns and taverns. “We ride as fast as we can with only three horses for the ocean.”

“Yes, Sergeant,” Dervich says, and neatly vaults onto his mount.

You climb up onto yours and are busily securing your weapons when the Gem warms. [Sister, before you set off, I want to make sure you understand. If you can take her alive, do so under Maas’ authority, not mine. All right? Maas is angry enough about the bloody tornado, I don’t need more jurisdictional problems by throwing Dar into the mix.]

{Done. We’re heading right there. Can you speed us along in any way?}

[I can, in fact. I can use my abilities to heal the horses when you stop for the night. I can watch over you when you sleep, too.]

Oh, wow. That’s huge. Without having to worry about wearing out the animals, you can eat up road towards the city. {That’s wonderful! Thank you, Sister,} you think gratefully.

[Least I can do, Elsa. Good luck.]

You tap your shield and catch the others’ eyes. “Move out! Don’t spare the horses, Asa assures me she can heal them overnight!”

“Convenient,” Wind-thief says darkly, rubbing her eyes.

The three of you take off, riding hard for the coast. The ancient highway is worn almost mirror-smooth, it’s so old, and its ancient dwarven design mens it’s as stable as fresh-ground marble.


You make amazingly good time, at first. The weather is perfect, and the horses’ nightly assistance from Asa helps immensely. You estimate that by the end of the third day, you’ve easily picked up twenty more miles than you would have otherwise.


It’s on the fourth morning that trouble starts.

“You did WHAT?” Dervich snaps.

Wind-thief glowers at him over her food. You’ve stopped at another little stone circle to catch a quick snack, and Wind-thief just revealed something unnerving.

“I sent a letter to my father, explaining everything,” she repeats coldly. “Is that a problem?”

“Are you fucking stupid?” Dervich roars. “What if Soutri intercepted it? He could have killed your father, or sent somebody to back up Caliso!”

>How mad are you? And at whom?

Reminder: a writein option is ALWAYS available, it just only earns bonuses when I mention it specifically
>At Wind Thief

This thing isn't something to be blabbed about, though at this point I don't think Elsa would be angry mainly because of how used she is to things
"You could wait until after we capture your sister."
“Dervich, calm down,” you say without turning around. You put enough steel in it to make it an order. “And you, Everi, that was foolish.”

“It’s my family!” she snaps.

“Oh, I know,” you growl, turning to face her. “That’s the problem.”

She starts to say something when you cut her off. “Look, Everi, I get that you want your family to be up-to-date,” you say curtly, “but you have now jeopardized us in a way that hasn’t seemed to occur to you. Your sister works for Soutri. Soutri works for Kotrick. If that message was intercepted, or in any way compromised, then I now have to worry about an ambush en route to Margent, and worse, I now have to think that your brother and sister are going to be used as pawns, like my parents were.”

Wind-thief recoils, but she clamps her mouth shut. Apparently, it really hadn’t occurred to her. “Now, shut your faces and get on your saddles,” you instruct. “We’re moving out.”


The next day is fairly smooth, though the small talk is gone. The wind is definitely bearing the nip and bite of winter, and though Wind-thief has some magic to keep her warm, you and Dervich have to huddle under your cloaks on the road.

The sixth day brings trouble.

“Move!” you bellow, leaning low over the horse. The other two are tucked in behind you, riding their beats as fast as they can.

Six – SIX! – men in the colors of the Red Skies bandit tribe are in hot pursuit. They came riding down a forested hillside, and they’re slowly closing the gap. Your horses may be in perfect health, but theirs haven’t been riding all day, and they’ll catch you before long.

An arrow zips past your ear as you ride, and you bite back a growl of frustration. Damn it, you were so close to safety! You can see a bridge ahead, with a few men in uniforms lounging around both ends, but it’s still a couple minutes out.

>Burn a Soul-finder to see if they have Gifted men among them
>Try to stand and fight
>Tactics! (which ones)
Toss a grenade back at them as you ride. We got any smoke grenades?
Your full arsenal is on your character sheet. You have the grenades listed there, and twenty lead and stone bullets.
I guess that sheet really is fresh and updated! Let's use the glue grenade.
“Heads up, I’m chucking a Glue grenade!” you call out over your shoulders. The others spread their mounts out a bit, and you prime the little glass phial in your hand. “Grenade out!”

You drop the glass beside your horse, and it bounces once before cracking open on the stone.

The horses behind you don’t spot it, but the riders do. There’s instant panic, as the front riders steer their animals in front of the others, and two tumble down in a mess of horse and bandit. Another runs through the glue, and his horse’s hooves stick. Its legs snap, and it tumbles to the ground, crushing itself and the bandit in an instant. The other three slow to circle the mess, and you breathe a sigh of relief as the men on the bridge raise the little gate on your side.

“Hail! What’s going on back there?” the closes one calls.

“Bandits! Red Sky!” you holler. The three of you slow your horses as you approach the gate, panting heavily. “Quick, shoot them! They’re chasing us!”

The man blinks, but raises a bow.

Rolled 15 + 12

haha those bandits got rekt
hope this guard doesn't shoot us
Rolled 61 + 12

Here goes
>Burn a Soul-finder to see if they have Gifted men among them
Rolled 58 + 12

Three rolls, all right. Writing now.
You draw a long sigh of relief as your horse starts onto the bridge, through the little gate.

Then you notice that the gate at the far side is closed. You then notice that the bowman hasn’t fired yet.

You then notice that the last few riders aren’t slowing down. Finally, you notice that they have a headband identical to the ones that the ‘guards’ beside you are wearing.

You have four seconds – at most – before they realize you’re on to them.

Ten of them. Three of you.

>Call for IMMEDIATE divine backup
>Use Heraldic powers
Grenades haven't failed us so far, let's spam frags at the people ahead of us.

Have Wind thief and Dervich deal with the three riders behind you.
>>Call for IMMEDIATE divine backup
Our friends are larger.
Use a flare grenade to get gather up your allies on one side then use some grenades to help soften things up. And try to take out the bowman first.
>[x] Turn around and flee out the gate you just came through if possible. Otherwise...
>[x] Call for immediate divine backup.
You twist the horse around and hurl a flare grenade as hard as you can at the riders. “AMBUSH!” you scream, and it all goes straight to fucking hell.

The bowman to your side twists around to fire, and the arrow shoots right into your leg. He realizes his mistake as you swing your spear and take his head off, but your horse panics and bucks, and you tumble onto the ground with a *crack* shin-bone.

Ice-cold terror and red-hot rage mix in your belly, driving you into that battle phase that only soldiers and their kind ever seem to have. Dervich lets fly with a Current grenade and shocks the bowmen at the far side of the bridge back, both of them, but the riders are on him in a second, and he kicks his horse into a headlong gallop across the bridge, with all three riders behind him, all whooping for vengeance.

A horrible scream rips through the air, so loud it makes your ears ring, and you look up to see Wind-thief standing astride her horse, lightning crackling in her hands. A chilling wind ships up from nowhere, stirring capes and cloaks up and pitching rubble into the sky. She’s screaming, it’s her voice, but she doesn’t even look like an elf any more.

Distantly, you wonder how much Culler was understating her power. The tie across her armor rips, and her black cloak soars off on the wind. Her whole upper body is covered in chunks of armor, spotted with scars on her bare, night-black skin. She clenches her hands, and one of the bandits simply explodes.

Another leaps full at you, and you wind back for a shield bash, but he thrusts his legs down and ends the jump early, making you stagger from your own momentum. You lurch backwards, but he’s on you, a young human with a knife in each hand, and he’s not hurt or saddle-sore.

You slap your hand against your forehead and scream into the void. {SISTER, HELP!}

Then he’s on you.

The arrow stuck in your left calf is numb, which is very good, since numbness is easier to ignore than pain, but it’s slowing you down. The knife-man swings high and opens a tiny cut on your cheek, but you thrust low with your spear and force him back several steps.

>Roll 1d99 for Evade
Rolled 84

well this is gonna be a horrible mess
Rolled 32

Dark Souls has taught me to roll in situations like this.
Rolled 62

“ELSA!” Dervich screams. You spare a glance, and your heart leaps into your chest.

Dervich is pinned under his horse, swinging his spear widly. The horse is dead, just feet behind you. Dervich must have tried to get past you and turn, so he could pin the riders on the bridge, but there’s an arrow in the horse’s head. One of the riders must be a skythion.

Before you can do anything else, Dagger-man is on you, stabbing in shallow, fast thrusts. You limp sideways and feint on your numb leg, catching one hit on the chest lamellar and another on the shield.

He stabs again, and whatever divine luck Asa’s given you holds fast, because it actually skips off of the custom patterns you paid to be embossed into the shield, and cuts straight into the side of the shield. He lets go at once, but his balance is way off, and you drive him back with a crushing bash.

“Didn’t dodge that one, did you, fucker?” you scream.

Staggering and smoking, the two men at the far side rise to their feet, already trying to scramble for blades. Wind-thief is off her horse now, beating one of the other bandits to death with her bare hands, and shooting huge arcs of electricity into another one who keeps trying to rise. One of the bandits who went down in the glue mess has cut himself free, and is limping towards you on a broken leg, screaming obscenities.

Thirteen became ten, became eight, became six, became seven. Dervich is down. Wind-thief is busy, and still screaming her lungs out, in some tribal dialect you don’t know.

You thought the screams Wind-thief was making were scary. Then Asa starts shouting.


The limping bandit’s body erupts into a flock of blood-wet birds, which fly off in all directions. The two smoking men in the far gate shack scream as their bodies simply melt.

You stagger and fall to your bleeding knees as blood drains out of you. You’re in no real danger now, the guy you were fighting just burst into flames.

Dervich’s tormentors look up and see Asa, or rather, a huge cloud of pulsing, animate sound waves, easily twenty feet high and vaguely woman-shaped, simply reach down and liquefy the bandit Wind-thief keeps electrocuting. The elf mage finishes off the one she’s beating with a vicious stomp and spins to face the sound-golem, but immediately falls to her knees, too, agape. The windstorm dies off in a heartbeat.

Speaking of hearts, yours is hammering so hard that it’s actually audible, even in your state. You’re watching a demigod take to the field. There isn’t a single person except maybe Sun who’s seen it, you realize, thanks to the Pact that the Pantheon members put in place to regulate themselves after the Collapse.

Watching the unholy power of the Orb kill people was terrifying on a level you couldn’t comprehend. Watching the holy power of a demigod strike down the wicked and unrighteous to protect the faithful children is terrifying on a level you comprehend completely, and you find Mai’te’s name on your lips as you watch her daughter obliterate the criminals.

The three horsemen wisely decide to cut their losses, and lash their horses into facing the far end of the bridge, but it’s not worth their while: all three see that the men Dervich shocked didn’t actually open the gate before dying. One tries to leap over the side of the stone bridge, but Asa’s sound-form turns to face him, and he detonates in a cloud of ichor. Another actually tries to fight, firing an arrow at her, but it shatters as it passes through her incorporeal sonic body, and with a flick of her wrist, the bandit’s body shoots back off his horse to slide through the quarter-inch decorative grating across the slats of the solid stone gate. The slurry that emerges is in no shape to hurt anybody.

The last rider desperately stabs a dagger into his neck, taking his own life before Asa can. Your patroness turns to face the last bandit, but he’s a speck on the horizon, sprinting as fast as his legs can take him. Wise.

With a rush of air, the sonic form becomes the pretty young woman Asa’s Avatars usually become. “Elsa! What happened?” she shouts, running up to you, her cloak streaking out behind her.

You ignore her, struggling to your feet and wobbling over to where Dervich is staring into the sky, glassy fear in his shocked eyes. “Al, hold on,” you murmur. You place your hands on his cheeks and focus all your might, just as you did in the hospital closet, trying not to let him die from the horrible injuries his falling horse did to his body.

Roll 1d100+2
Rolled 53 + 2

Asa is hardcore
Rolled 19 + 2

Rolled 27 + 2

Hopefully this works
Rolled 70 + 2

Praun magic sucks to use, but Al’s dying. Asa realizes what you’re doing and punts the horse off the side of the bridge, crouching over you and watching intently.

You close your eyes and let your life flow into Al’s shattered body. His eyes twitch as you meld his soul back into his body… that was close. That was entirely too close. Another few seconds and shock would have killed him.

Wind-thief walks up on unstead legs and kneels beside you, hands at her waist. “Lady Asa,” she whispers. Her eyes are bleeding slightly. “What… you’re here?”

“Yes, yes, I am, now be silent, my daughter,” she says distractedly, resting a hand on the back of your neck.

The same feeling of warmth and calm that you feel when you unlock Asa’s powers in your Gem fills your upper body, and the unsettling feeling of going cold that you always feel when you use that praun ability fades. Asa’s bond to your soul, or maybe just her raw power, replenish you even as you drain your life into your friend’s.

Al gasps and lurches feebly as the bones in his legs mend. “E-Elsa?” he whispers, looking around blindly. His eyes slowly focus on you and the other two women, and he starts to rise until you tighten your grip on his cheeks.

“Hush, Alan, be still,” Asa urges him. “We’re healing you. Be still.”

He stares at her, agape, before rocking back on the stone and closing his eyes. “Yes, my Lady…” he murmurs.

Then he goes still.

You feel adrenaline jolt you at the sight. “Al? No!”

“Quiet, Elsa, I just put him to sleep,” Asa urges you. “He’ll be fine. Everi, my skillful daughter, please get these three horses into the gatehouse and tie them off. Elsa, when you’re done, go lie down so I can heal you in turn,” she instructs, rising to her feet. She looks down at where Everi is still gaping at her and gently wipes the blood from her face. “Move, Everi. Please.”

“…Yes, my Lady,” Wind-thief whispers, and the spell is broken.

As soon as you cut off the Heraldic energies that you needed to help Al Dervich, you slump back against the ground and groan. The numbness is fading, which is actually sort of problematic, because now the pain in your leg is so intense you can’t really move. “Sister…”

“Huh?” Wind-thief asks, looking back at you as she gently guides the animals around the carnage.

“She meant me,” Asa says wearily. “I’m here, go to sleep. I’ll heal you as best I can once you’re out.”

You lay your head back and close your eyes, and soon enough you feel Asa kneel beside you and rest a hand on your Gem.

Sleep embraces you.

You dream.

Roll 1d100 for the Dream Table.
Rolled 80

Got it.

Finally, a fun one, with no nightmares or horrible murder.
Rolled 5

Rolled 52

Oh boy, I love dice rolls.
Sorry, with Dream Table rolls, only the first one counts.
Waves crash on the shore as you face out over the water. Your breast swells with pride as you watch the flag rise high over the ship moored to the dock. It’s not just a ship, it’s YOUR ship, and by the high thrones of the Geode, it feels bloody good to see!

Your name is Carsiah the Mariner Prince, and you’re the newly anointed Herald of Ghalad. Your ship, the Endless Stars, is the only ship – the ONLY ship ever authorized to sail the waters between the Shrines and the mainland.

You could have had high station otherwise, of course, your father is the Emperor of the World… but he’s not a Herald!

“Captain!” your Navigator calls out from the moorings. “The passengers!”

You turn to see a small collection of pilgrims – dwarves, a praun, a Cepro, a air of humans, and an elf – all clad in the simple white garments of the supplicant. They’re all riding up in a carriage, pulled by two of your father’s horsemen. “Ah, pilgrims! Welcome to the Endless Stars!” you say, throwing your arms wide. “Are you all prepared to set sail?”

The Cepro, who has a copper armlet on her arm nearest her odd torso, nods politely. “I am Corl, the leader of this party. We are indeed ready, Captain.”

“Splendid!” You bow as they pass, more out of courtesy than anything, and arrest the last one in line – one of the humans, a woman – with a gesture. “Lady Dedra, welcome back,” you say more quietly. “It’s so good to see you.”

She grins. “Carsiah, my friend. I’m so glad we caught you.”

“I’d never leave without my honored guests!” you remind her. “Please, make your way to the ship, and we’ll be off!”

File: SO FAR.png (17 KB, 404x352)
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You blink back a dream. At least it was a good one this time.

You’re in the shack that holds the controls to the far bridge gate, lying on your back with your armor mended. Asa’s sitting next to you, leaning back against the wall straight-legged and smiling down at you. “Feel better?” she asks.

“Yeah… thank you,”you mutter. You sit up and take stock.

The horses are munching something in the corner, including Wind-thief’s. There’s four now. Everi herself is kneeling beside Asa and looking very nervous about something, even frightned. Dervich is pacing, rubbing his arms, clearly shaking off the last of his trauma.

>Wat say

>”How much time passed?”
>”You okay, Al?”
>”What’s wrong, Everi?”


That's...impressive. Shame it's for a quest and not a full novel though.

Do you have a vote to cast?
>”You okay, Al?”
>>”You okay, Al?”
>>Then check on Everi
>>Maye while trying to find out how much time passed.
You grip the window ledge and pull yourself up. “Al, you all right?”

“No,” he says quietly. “I died.”

“If you had, you would have seen Haret looking down on you, not me,” Asa reassures him.

“That horse crushed me,” he mumbles.

Asa clambers up and gently squeezes his shoulder. “Alan, you didn’t die.” She turns him to face her. “Listen, I’ve seen the souls of soldiers, I know what you’re going through-“


You all look over as Haret’s Avatar suddenly appears at the door. He’s looking grave. “My friend, may I have a moment?”

Asa hesitates, but nods. “I can hear you in the Geode, my friend,” she says.

“I know, but I want the others to hear this as well,” Haret says. He looks over the bunch of you, though his gaze lingers on Dervich. “I’m sure you know what you did was wrong.”

Dervich gasps, but Haret holds up a hand. “Not you, Alan. Your soul is clean.” He redirects his stare to Asa. “A War Form? For some bandits?”

“If Elsa had died here, it would have rendered it all meaningless!” Asa says irritably.

Haret nods. “I agree.” He turns back to you and raises one hand. “Herald, despite what you may think of us, Vier and I are actually trying to ensure your success. Obviously, summoning one of us to fight for you was the right thing to do.”

“Where are you going with this, sir?” you ask.

He sighs slightly. “Herald Ledren, I just want you to know that Asa cannot render this aid every time. As satisfying and successful as it was, we have a rule. Our true forms must never leave the Geode.”

You all stare at Asa, who looks out the window with a frown. “…That was your true body?” Everi asks in a very small voice.

“It was,” Asa says. “And Haret, you’re right. I know. I panicked. Elsa’s voice… that scream, I thought it was all over.”

Haret actually grasps her hand. “I know.” He releases her and favors you with a slight smile. “Herald, I daresay you’ve formed quite a little group of crimefighters, here. I suspect the sole survivor of the battle will have a queer story to tell if he ever stops running.”

“Deific disapproval is a powerful motivator,” you say wryly.

He chuckles and turns to Dervich. He grips the man by the shoulders and stares into his eyes. “Keep our Herald safe, Alan. On her shoulders lies Clen’s survival.”

The glint of suppressed panic in Dervich’s eyes fades as Haret’s divine voice pierces his traumatized mind. “I shall, my Father,” he says quietly.

Haret nods and vanishes.

Asa lets out a loud sigh and walks over to the window. “That went as well as it could have,” she murmurs. “If you hadn’t talked him down during that tornado, I daresay he would have been a good bit more angry now.”

>”What? What does that have to do with anything?”
>Make sure Alan’s okay now
>Gather your kit and head out
>>Make sure Alan’s okay now
>>Checkon Everi
You look over at where Everi is staring at the floor. “Everi, are you hurt?”

“Asa healed me,” she says softly. She looks up at her demigoddess with strain written all across her beautiful face. “My Lady, my sister’s sins… are you going to kill her?”

Asa’s shoulders slump. “Probably. I won’t guarantee it. It’s up to Maas.”

“But the King will kill her for sure!” Everi wails, nearly breaking down. “My Lady, please! She’s my sister!”

“So?” Asa turns to face her, looking resigned. “All the people she’s murdered had mothers and fathers, don’t they get a say?”

“But she didn’t know what was going to happen!” Everi protests.

Asa crosses her arms. “Nonsense. Maybe not the eight hundred soldiers, but the five merchant convoys before them? The dozens of mercenary targets before that?”

Everi recoils too. “Well, I mean, she was a mercenary, that was what she was supposed to be doing!”

The demigoddess curls her lip. “My children should never be killing for money,” she says darkly. “Certainly not each other, or unarmed people weeping for mercy.”

“Can we all just agree that our jobs suck sometimes?” you say irritably. You don’t need this right now. “Everi, I’ll take her alive if I can. I can’t promise more than that, just like Asa, but isn’t that why you’re here? You insisted on coming back at no charge because you think you can talk her down.”

“I did, before I realized what’s going on,” she says worriedly. She rubs her eyes. “Ugh. Now... I don’t know.”

“Think it over on the way to the city.” You turn to Alan. “Corporal Dervich, how do you feel now?”

He smiles tightly. “Alive.”

“Good man. Grab your shit and bridle the horses. We’re moving.”

Asa clears her throat. “It’s almost midnight, sister. Maybe wait until sunrise?”

“Oh.” You glance out the door to see that it is, in fact, pitch black out now. “Uh, yeah. Break a camp. Pitch a fire, Dervich, we want people to know this bridge is open for business again.”

“Yes, Sergeant!” he says, and he makes for the door, with the ten-ton weights on his shoulders apparently removed.

>Pull (somebody) aside for a private talk
>sleep until sunrise
"If any of you need to speak with me, go for it... otherwise-"
>sleep until sunrise
>Pull (somebody) aside for a private talk
Make sure Wind-Thief knowing her sister will die isn't gonna be a problem.
Actually, yeah, this, and hell lets talk to Dervich too. We just went through some shit, and we should try to smooth things over
You wait for Asa to follow Dervich outside before catching Wind-thief’s eyes. “Hey, Everi, listen,” you say quietly. “I’m sorry about that. It can’t be easy.”

“Fuck it,” she mutters. “I know what’s at stake now.” She turns on her heel and walks out, torch in hand, to look for her cloak.

You give her a ten-count then head out as well. Dervich is pitching the fire, while Asa leans back against the stone walls of the bridge and looks up at the stars. You walk up beside your Corporal. “Alan, hey. How’s your head?”

He doesn’t look up. “I feel incredible, Sergeant. I don’t know what His Lordship did, but…” he looks up at you with a great big smile. “It worked. I can think about the battle without flinching. It’s… this is great.”

You half-smile and crouch beside him. “Good to know, man.”

“Yeah.” He strikes up the fire and sits back on his heels. “There we go!” The little flame casts shadows across the remnants of men and horses as it rises, and you look away.

“Alright. I’m going to nap. Keep an eye on Wind-thief.”

“I will.” He nods a salute and lights a torch, sliding it into a sconce on the wall as you walk away.

Inside, you curl up under your field tent and close your eyes, hoping you won’t have to endure another nightmare.

A few hours pass in the camp, and to your relief, your sleep was peaceful and uninterrupted. As you emerge, yawning and smelling like horse, you startle to wakefulness as the firelight illuminates a group of nearly a hundred horses standing stock-still on the bridge. Adrenaline burns the dark of sleep from your mind, but cold reason asserts itself. They all have Cenderian Stars on the riders’ armor. They’re your guys.

In fact, the flickering light illuminates Legion armor patterns. Shit.

Dervich is out there, gesticulating, while Wind-thief stands behind him, nodding occasionally. Asa is nowhere to be seen. You walk up behind Dervich and tap his shoulder. He jumps a handspan. “Gah! Sergeant, good, you’re here,” he says quickly. “Uh, this is Lord Vorel, the leader of His Royal Majesty’s Fourth Legion,” he adds, gesturing to the armored Legionnaire.

You glance up, and sure enough, it’s Vorel himself, the man who nominally commanded your Auxilia battalion back home. You’ve never actually seen him, since he tends to command from the field and your battalion stays at home most of the time, but it’s him; the extensive wrought-iron brace patterns on his armor are distinct, and embossed with his family colors.

“Sergeant,” he rumbles. “Your Corporal is telling me tall tales about demigoddesses and bandit hordes.”

>”Not tall tales, Lord.”
>Page Asa to ask where she is before answering
>"I'm afraid his tales are heavily exaggerated but correct."
>>"I'm afraid his tales are heavily exaggerated but correct."
You look around you, trying your best not to appear insouciant. “Lord Vorel, I assure you that my Corporal is not prone to telling tall tales. Exaggerations, perhaps, but not tall tales.”

“There’s a distinction, soldier?” he snaps. “Gear up. Fall in with my column.”

“No, sir,” Wind-thief suddenly says. “We’re under specific orders to advance to Margent in the morning., and we will not break them.”

He turns to glare down at her. “And you, Sister? Did you cause this carnage?”

“That was Lady Asa, sir, not me,” Wind-thief says patiently.

He looks around the bridge, taking in the sights and smells of battle. “Perhaps it was, then,” he says at length, surprising you. Unanimity was clearly not what he expected. “Who gave you these orders, Sergeant?”

“It was-” Everi starts to ask, but Vorel cuts her off.

“My question was addressed to the Sergeant in Shadow armor,” Vorel says darkly.

> “Divine mandate.”
> “Royal Mandate.”
> “Gubernatorial mandate.”
> “Brotherhood mandate.”
> writein
> “Royal Mandate.”
Supersede that, nerd.
“By order of His Majesty, King Maas, Lord,” you reply evenly. “I’ve been dispatched to Margent with my team to expedite the safe capture of a member of Don Kotrick’s criminal organization who may be in league with the Secessionists.”

“The King dispatched you?” Vorels voice asks coldly. “Do not invoke that name without permission, Sergeant.”

“I have it, Lord Vorel,” you reply calmly. Asa can’t be far, right? “I assume our success in annihilating the bandits you see here strewn about in disarray speaks for itself.”

Vorel snorts. “Ah, it does, at that.” He looks you up and down, clearly trying to decide whether or not that Shadow armor is actually yours, before finally nodding. “Very well. If you are here on Royal dispatch, surely you can produce his Seal of instruction? Produce it, and I’ll be on my way.”

Uh. You don’t have one. Maas was hoping you’d make it to Margent without being detected.

>wat do

[spoilers] last post of the night. I'll be back tomorrow morning, same thread.
yay sleep
boo no seal
well I wonder if someone will actually have a bright idea tomorrow morning or not.
Do Shadows even require a Seal of Instructions? I imagine they are intended to be a fairly autonomous force, and wouldn't paperwork like that potentially be a liability in the even the Shadow is killed by enemies of the state?
This makes me wonder about why he wants to see a seal.
File: Baby-Seal-Cute-Animal.jpg (175 KB, 2560x1600)
175 KB
175 KB JPG

Because Seals can be cute!
Would throwing logic in his face work?
"I have really fancy armor, there is a bunch of bandit goop spread around and we are rather clearly not normal soldiers going AWOL."
You'll need some better logic than that.
Like, infinitely better logic.
I'll be back and working, starting around 1100 Eastern. Thanks for keeping this alive!

And yes, you are wearing Shadow armor, and if you want to work that into your excuse, you certainly can.
“Shadows are dispatched without them, Lord Vorel,” you remind him. “This armor should be enough.” You glance sideways at Dervich, wincing as you see him sweating bullets. Why? You’ve done nothing wrong.

Vorel shakes his head. “We shall see.” Without another word, he snaps the reins, and the column takes off, thundering over the bridge.

Aas’s Avatar finally reappears as the last one departs. “Ah, Elsa,” she says breezily. “Are you well?”

“Yes, Sister, but why didn’t you step in?” you ask as the last Legionnaire disappears into the thick trees beyond the bridge.

“Was I needed? I would have emerged if I had to,” she says, waving at the empty gate shack behind her. Seems she had been keeping watch from the far gatehouse. “Alan had things handled.”

“Thanks for the vote of confidence,” he mutters.

She grins. “Besides, as I’ve said before, appearing too many times in the company of one nation’s military would be interpreted as lening undue support.”

“True.” You stretch and crick your neck. “All right. You two, get some sleep. I’ll keep watch from this gatehouse.”

>Wait until morning
>Talk to somebody
>Wait until morning
Not everyone has our no sleep powers.
You leave the others to rest while you stand guard. The silent hours drift past, and you practice your meditations to pass the time.

That odd tingling feeling in the Gem doesn’t spread farther than your eyebrows, but it’s still awfully disconcerting. Vier described it as ‘disconnection’ when you asked her. How a Gem specifically created for you could be disconnected, you don’t know, but maybe all Gems are the same instead? It’s probably not worth asking.

As the sun crawls up from the horizon, the rest of your group awakens and prepares the horses. Dervich digs some dried food from your pouches and bags while you and Everi get the saddles on. “So do you think we should take the spare horse?” you ask Everi.

She nods with a frown on her sleepy features. “Of course. The horse I lent you is dead. The least we should do is get an extra to compensate for it.”

“Oh, shit, right. Sorry,” you say sheepishly.

She sighs. “Forget it. Two makes up for it.”

Asa crouches beside Dervich and murmurs something in his ear, then vanishes. He straightens up as soon as he has some food laid out and calls you over. “Hey, breakfast is served.”

The two of you leave the horses be and walk over, grabbing wooden plates of dried food and scarfing it down. “What did Asa say?” you ask.

He smiles to himself. “Just that she’s glad I’m helping you.”

You hide a smile of your own in your food. “Me too.”

The road doesn’t hold any more shocks or surprises on the path to Margent, and after only one more quick rest stop that night, the walls of the town rise from the trees that surround you. The Great Forest doesn’t encroach much here, and the farms outside the city don’t look anywhere near large enough to support it all. Then, the fisheries of Margent are probably more than productive enough to compensate.

The three of you come to a halt outside the city walls. Dervich raises his spear high and bellows up to the gate guards ahead. “Hail, Margent Guard! Clen Second Home Battallion, Royal Auxilia, reporting!”

The Guards open the gate and beckon you in. The furtive and anxious looks in their eyes make your heart sink in your chest. Apparently, Dar’s lockdown stems as much from paranoia as it does pragmatism, and it’s affecting the troops. Fantastic.

>Ask to meet with the Admiral straightaway
>Try to find Wind-thief on your own
>Meet up with local Brothers/Firesouls/Auxilia
>ask Asa for advice
>Ask to meet with the Admiral straightaway
You raise a hand to catch the nearest soldier’s eye. “Trooper, where is Admiral Dar right now?”

“The Admiral? He’s in the Royal Drydocks, in the main port,” the soldier says. “What do you want with him?”

“I need to pass along a message, from Clen,” you say, with that slightly lowered tone of voice that every single enlisted person knows to use when officers are not allowed to overhear.

The Guard, convinced of the sincerity of your mission, nods solemnly. “Of course. Off you go, Sergeant.”

You knee the horse slightly and take off at a trot. The port is hard to miss, splitting the town down the middle as it does. Everi rides up alongside you as you do, lost in thought, while Dervich takes the rear, just admiring the view of the city.

It is a beautiful town, even with its martial nature. The port and the river are kept clean by careful use of magic and good practice by the marina, scouring away pollutants that wash down the River. If you weren’t at war, the place would probably be packed with nobles and the like, having an autumn holiday.

The chilly salt winds blow your bandana tie about, but you snug it on and keep your head down, continuing west through the streets until you arrive at the port, nearly an hour later. The traffic in the streets is sparse and hasty – the lockdown is still in effect. Here and there, you see a group of adventurers selling things to the few merchants still buying. Maybe they were hired to cleanse local pockets of banditry to ensure the safety of the convoys? If so, they did a terrible job; the gang that attacked you had thirteen men!

Regardless. The drydocks loom into view as you round the corner of a weary-looking tavern building. The huge wooden and metal cauldron sits like a giant inverse bubble in the water of the broad rivermouth. The dish is split with wooden frames and rope bridges, over which whole teams of construction workers scramble, carrying nails and boards. The skeletons of several ships nestle in the wooden frames, while others look finished but damaged. The campaign against the pirates that infested the northern coast ended a year ago; clearly these vessels are being geared up to fight the merchant princes in the south.

“Amazing,” Dervich mutters.

“Never been to the Drydock before, huh?” Everi asks.

“Nope. It’s incredible.” He looks down into the huge bowl and whistles. “Look at that! The metal parts are segmented. Do they move?”

You nod. “Yes. Each individual wooden cradle can be sealed off with magic and gates, and the rest flooded. When a ship is coming or going, they can just get moved around by men on the catwalks with guidewires.”

“That’s awesome.” Dervich squints and shields his eyes against the lunch-time glare off the water. “Is that the flagship?”

You look out over the waves and spot a leviathan of a warship floating on the water past the shoal that partially obstructs the port. The little building on the shoal that serves as a combination lighthouse and shore artillery spotter looks like a doghouse compared to the huge, grey-painted battleship beyond. “That’s the Unyielding, yeah,” you realize. “I saw here in NCO training. That’s Fleet Admiral Dar’s command ship.”

“Impressive,” Everi murmurs. “But irrelevant. He won’t be on board while he has that many vessels in the drydock. His ego wouldn’t allow it.”

“No,” you concur. “That’s him there.”

The others look over to see an elderly but very tall elf man with a broad, shimmering cape across his shoulders. He’s standing on one of the rope bridges, hands clasped at his back, staring down into the forming guts of a cutter in the cauldron, surrounded by streams of workers. They part around him like water around a rock.

A small cadre of advisors surround him, pointing to things in the cavernous drydock, and he occasionally nods.

“Okay… what do we do?” Dervich asks quietly.

>Leave the horses at the entrance and go ask for a moment of privacy
>Barge in and demand his urgent attention
>Invoke the Pantheon to earn his assistance
>Leave the horses at the entrance and go ask for a moment of privacy
“Dismount here. We’ll ask him for a moment.” You all climb down and walk your mounts to the passenger gate of the gargantuan drydock. The metal and wood under your feet shimmers as you walk on it – the whole thing is enchanted for waterproofing. Perfectly sensible.

A Guard moves to stop you as you enter, though he immediately clams up when he sees the Shadow armor. “Uh… greetings, Shadow,” he says nervously. “Can I help you?”

“I need Admiral Dar’s receipt of notice for a message,” you say quietly.

“Absolutely, ma’am. Stay put, I’ll go get him,” the Guard says, eager to be helpful. That seems to be a common trait for the troops here.

He jogs over the bridge to the Admiral, and after a few minutes, they return, surrounded by the old man’s personal guards and advisors.

“What is it?” he asks. His dry rasp of a voice doesn’t carry as much strength as you’d expected, but the number of campaign stars on his uniform is pretty damned intimidating.

You clear your throat. “Sir, on behalf of His Royal Majesty, I have a message to be delivered to you in privacy.”

He sighs heavily, but nods towards a small dockyard office. The four of you troop in, and he closes the door against the crowd outside. “All right, Shadow, what the hell do you want?” he says. “I’m in the middle of an inspection!”

>wat say
>"You should have received word that a criminal named Wind-Thief sought to escape the kingdom through the ports here. Have there been any sightings of her?"
“Admiral Dar, sir, I understand you were dispatched notice that a criminal by the name of Caliso Arla Wind-thief is in the city somewhere,” you say. His eyebrows rise. “Have there been sightings?”

He nods, suddenly more alert-looking. “There have, in fact. She’s been seen around the city, looking to get in touch with somebody. I don’t know whom. Perhaps she’s trying to strike a bargain and sail away.”

“Where was she last seen?” Everi asks.

He squints at her. “And who might you be? What stake does the Brotherhood have here?”

“Wind-thief is my name too,” she says coldly. “I’m here to talk my sister down.”

Dar grimaces. “Good luck. She’s desperate.” He turns back to you. “If you’re the King’s specialists, you should know that she’s armed, and she’s hiding in a warehouse on the northernmost docks, alone. It’s the Margent Trade Marshals’ warehouse, they abandoned it when they went out of business last year.”

“Thank you, sir.”

>Head straight there
>Acquire items first
>Acquire backup first

I’m leaving for a party. I will seek to return in several hours. If the thread dies, oh well. If not, I’mm keep on running.
>Acquire items first
>Acquire backup first

Replenish the grenades and borrow several men from the admiral.
1. Acquire backup first
If we can, get a squad or two ready to seal the area off to prevent civvies from getting mixed into things.

2. Head straight there
Going along with this just in case, though we should send in her sister first so she can try to talk her down.
SE come back plz
I live, but I am at a family function and will be running later tonight through Sunday night.
“Sir, with your permission, we need to re-equip. May we acquire some ammunition from your armory?” you ask. “We were forced to expend some ammo on a gang of bandits en route.”

He deliberates that for a moment, then accedes. “Certainly. Will you also require some of my men?”

“I’d say a squad to seal off the streets would be very handy,” you say, feeling a mote of relief at his offer. You were afraid he would deny you on principle, but it seems he takes security seriously.

Dar gestures to the door. “Then I shall arrange it, if there’s nothing else that need be said?”

“No, sir, and thank you very much,” you say, saluting crisply.

Once the three of you are alone, you and Dervich both turn to Wind-thief. She glares at the floor for a long moment before acknowledging you both with a curt “What?”

You start out slowly. “Just making sure you’re ready –“

“To kill my sister? Oh, sure,” Wind-thief snarls. She brushes past the both of you and slams the door open, stomping out into the road and turning north.

You and Dervich exchange a worried look before hurrying after her. “Everi, come on,” you say exasperatedly, trailing along in her wake. “We’ll try to bring her in alive!”

“So she can be humiliated in trial and executed!” the Sister snaps. “To hell with it. I’ll try once to bring her in, but I know what Asa meant last night! If she doesn’t come along on the first try, I’d rather kill her myself than let her rot in a cell!”

“You don’t mean that!” Dervich says. “Look, let Elsa talk to her too!”

“Fine. Then I’m solving this problem!”

The walk is a tense and frightening one. Every has re-affixed her cloak, and it billows out behind her armored, scarred body like a shadow over wavetops, the way it jolts with every stomping step. The tempestuous Sister leads you through the twisting roads along the shoreline, until the warehouse is looming overhead.

You breeze past two checkpoints on your way there, where men with crossbows leer at civilians trying to get by. The last one, however, halts you.

“Not a step further, Sister,” the soldier says. The little blue metal cross on his collar identifies him as a Margent Defender, which is the name of the permanent Guard garrison in the city. “This area’s lock… oh. Are you Everi Wind-thief?”

“Yes,” she says. Suddenly, her tone shifts a bit, as if uncertainty has replaced her anger and frustration. “Who’s in there?”

“The suspect, and that’s all,” the Guard says, surprising you all. Wasn’t she trying to find contacts? “She’s on the top floor, tucked in behind a support beam.”

“NO!” someone suddenly shouts. You all look up to see a haggard elf women stagger back from a window on the top floor. The window slams shut.

You grab Wind-thief by the shoulder. “Was that her?” you demand.

She stares at the window in shock. “Uh… yeah, that… was her… she looks half-dead already, though.”

“She’s been in there for nearly a week,” the Guard says grimly.

Give Wind Thief her chance to talk her sister down. Go in there with her though, so she can't be taken hostage or anything.
“All right, Everi, you’re up,” you say. “Good luck in there.”

“Thanks,” she mutters. She pulls her hood back and draws a deep breath before pushing the door open and vanishing inside. The Guard passes you a burlap bag as you move to follow.

“Your requisitioned grenade satchel, ma’am,” he says helpfully.

“Good job. Thanks.” You pass the bag to Dervich, who starts digging through for Current grenades to replace his spent ammo.

You push the swinging door and walk into the warehouse. It’s dank, it smells like dead fish, and you can hear… sobbing. You wince. That’s not good. You quickly climb up the stairs, halting at the top of the flight and staring.

Everi has her sister’s head buried in her chest, gently stroking her hair. Caliso is sobbing like a baby, inconsolable and wailing. She’s a mess. Her armor is stained, and she’s not even wearing half of it. She has a pile of crossbow bolts on the floor beside her, but her crossbow is damaged and probably couldn’t fire. She’s rail-thin, and you don’t see any food or water up here.

The younger Wind-thief is bawling, not talking, but Everi is murmuring something in a language that isn’t Cenderian. It’s the primordial elf language, the same one that some of the Heralds used in the dreams you’ve been having. Some of the tribes still use it. \Hush, little Arlie,\ Everi whispers. \Hush. I’m here.\

\I KILLED THEM!\ Caliso – apparently she goes by her middle name? – wails. \Oh, Mai’te forgive me, I killed them! And now she’s here to kill me, and I deserve it!\

\Nobody here will kill you,\ Everi soothes.

\SHE’S A HERALD!\ Arla sobs. \Asa sent her to kill me! Soutri showed me a picture!\

You wince. Damn. She had shouted before because she figured out who the Guard were waiting for. \Look! There she is!\ Arla wails, pointing at you with an oil-stained finger. \She’s here to take my soul!\

Everi stares at you, tears pouring from her eyes. “Get lost, Ledren,” she hisses. “I can get her to calm down, but go away!”

>Hell no.
>I’ll wait one floor down.
>page Asa and have her help
>I'll be one floor down.
You’re not needed here. Suddenly, you feel very old. “I’ll be one floor down, Everi,” you say dully, and troop right back to the second floor. You sit down on the last steps, holding your head in your hands. What a waste of time. You were afraid she was the missing piece of the puzzle. You were certain of it! And now? She’s barely sane. Soutri is spying on you and your family right now, and this is what you’re doing?

You tap the Gem in your forehead. {Sister, is my family well?]

[They are. Or, they were last night. How are you faring?]

{Caliso Wind-thief is not a threat any longer,} you sigh in your mind. {She’s completely insane with fear. She thought I’ve been following her, trying to steal her soul.}

[I see. Guilt is a powerful thing. Do I need to step in?]

{No. Everi has things handled.}

[Oh! I… oh dear.]


[I just received her soul.]





>{…Did she know anything useful?}
>{Should I go see Everi or let her stew for a bit?}
Good girl, Everi.

>{…Did she know anything useful?}
>I'll give Everi some time alone.
seconding >>34022784
{I think she needs some alone time,} you say sadly. {Did Caliso even know anything useful?}

[Indeed. The home address of Captain Everett Soutri.]

Shock jolts you upright. {What?!}

[She was his girlfriend. It’s how he recruited her. She didn’t withstand the mental burdens of mass murder as well as he’d hoped.]

Oh, fuck. Like he didn’t have enough reasons to kill you.

{Is my family safe?} you demand. {If he finds out what we did…}

[Garren’s wards are all but impenetrable, and I’ve added divine shielding wards over hers. Your family is safer now in their houses than they were in the castle.]

{Thank you.}

[I said I would, Sister. Caliso had no artifacts, by the way, just some money, which she left to her father.]

{Understood. Anything to do here before we come home?}

[No. Please return to Clen. I’ll brief the Governor.]

{Not the King?}

[His wife Maraven is giving birth to their son, Alric. This very moment, actually. He is understandably indisposed.]

{Oh, good for them! Pass along my congratulations. Actually, no, I’ll do it in person.}

[Very well. Be safe, Sister.]

>Go get Dervich and head out.
>Go get Dervich and wait for Everi.
>Go get Dervich and wait for Everi.
She already killed her own sister today, let's not just ditch her.
>>Go get Dervich and wait for Everi.

We owe her that much
You walk out of the warehouse and beckon Dervich over. “Forget it, Al,” you tell him. “Caliso’s dead.”

“She is?” he asks. “Wouldn’t Asa have told… oh.” He catches the look on your face and pales. “Yes, Sergeant.” He turns to face the Guards and raises his voice. “Pack it in, boys. The fugitive is dead. Thank Admiral Dar for his assistance.”

The Guards acknowledge the instruction and start trotting their horses away as the door behind you swings open on sagging hinges. Everi totters out, her face soaked with tears, and a few drops of blood on her hands. “She didn’t even refuse,” she whimpers. “I murdered my own sister, Elsa, and she asked me to do it.”

Aw, hell.

You gingerly reach out a hand to her, and she envelops you in a crushing hug. “Triad damn it all, Ledren,” she sobs.

You have to say something. “Look, Everi, I can’t say this was avoidable, but I promise, if you want to talk…” you say awkwardly.

“If I ever see you again, I’ll kill you,” she says brokenly. “This is all because of you.” With that, she releases you, and wobbles off to where your horses are tied up still, at the drydocks.

Dervich stares, open-mouthed, but you just swallow past the nugget of sympathy and anger in your throat and force your voice to a level calm. “Well. That was sub-optimal.”

“She’s insane,” Dervich breathes.

“No, she just thinks this is my fault,” you sigh. “All right. Give her a few minutes, then we’ll go get our horses.”

“Which? The ones she’s taking with her?” Dervich points out. “Mine was from the stable, but yours died, and you gave her the captured two to pay for the one you borrowed from her, which died on the bridge.”

Oh, right.

>Wat do?

>Go rent a carriage
>Try to reason with Everi Wind-thief
>Go search Caliso Wind-thief
>Ask Dar for a horse

>Ask Dar for a horse
no point in searching her, Asa would have told us if she was carrying anything important.
“Back to Dar, then. Go get your horse, I’ll go get one from the Admiral,” you say. “Meet you at the gate at noon. Grab us something to eat when you do, huh?”

“Sure.” He salutes you and jogs off. You follow at a slower pace, feeling the weight of the last week press down.

[Sister, I have the new list, and I’ve given it to the Governor. Aside from Soutri’s address, there’s nothing new here.]

{Good.} You walk another few paces before ducking into an alley and pressing the Gem again. {Did we do the right thing here?}

[You mean, was it right to ensure the quiet death of a mass murderer, who felt remorse only when she realized that punishment was inexcapable? Yes.]

{Harsh, but I guess that’s accurate.}

[Anything else?]

You shift your shoulders a bit as you think your reply. {She said she’d kill me if she ever saw me again.}

[…Unfortunate. If she tries, I’ll kill her on the spot. In fairness, though, I doubt that will happen.]

{What if I need to go talk to Culler, and I see her there?}

[I’ll talk to Culler. Good catch. Are you returning?]

{I need to borrow a mount from Dar.}

[Then go and be safe, my dear Sister. Your husband passes along his love, and says he can’t wait to show you his, and I quote: ‘cool new uniform.’]

That image makes you smile, despite everything. {Excellent. Thanks for watching over them.}

[It’s my pleasure, Elsa. Safe journeys.]

The drydock is still a beehive of workers. All the horses are gone, but that’s expected. Dar is standing in the same spot, but he breaks away from his people and walks over when he sees you approach. “Ah, Shadow,” he says, sounding much more enthused than he did before. “I’m told by your man that all went well?”

“The criminal is dead, sir,” you report. “However, one of my partners appears to have decided to collect on my debt to her. She took the horse I borrowed from her to get here, and she’s long gone. May I use a Guard horse to get home to Clen?”

He huffs, but Shadow authority is a powerful thing. “Oh, very well. It will be at the east gate. Anything else?”

“No, sir. May you have the best of luck in your efforts in the war,” you say, saluting him. “And my personal gratitude, as well. You have allowed us to end a major threat to the Kingdom.”

“Certainly, Shadow.” He nods regally. “Pass along my regards to his Majesty when you return.”

>Collect final items (which?)
>Go visit local Brotherhood/Circle chapters
>Go home!
I think we already restocked on everything, so
>Go home!

You know, I tried mailing something to Dead Gods Quest 20, but nothing happened. Is it not a real e-mail address?
it worked for me
maybe you should be better at email
I can't think of anything better.
Oh, I god damn wish we still had the Subject field, but Nooooooo. They HAD to take it away for absolutely no goddamned reason.
yes, I missed it too, especially since it showed a green exclamation when OP updated threads
“I shall, Admiral. Farewell.” You hold the salute until he he closes the office door again, then let out a long sigh. “All right. Time to go home.”

At the gate, Dervich is lounging against the big stone gatehouse, chewing on some food, while a Guard with the Margent cross holds the reins of a horse, just as you were told. Dervich tosses you a paper roll as you approach. “Hey, Sergeant. Garlic bread suit you?”

“Perfect, thanks,” you reply gratefully. You peel the paper back and bite down on the piping-hot loaf. “Mm. Good call. Private, this is my mount?”

“Yes, Sergeant, by the Admiral’s orders,” the soldier says. “Are you heading to the capital?”

“Yep.” You wolf down some more bread as Dervich mounts up. “Any problems on the roads?”

“Apparently, a pack of bandits were killed by a two-story woman made of air,” the soldier says with a chuckle. “Somebody’s been drinking.”

“Yeah, that’s madness,” you say flatly. “Thanks for the ride, kid.”

Rolled 30

Sun encounter get
Rolled 25

Rolled 96

Your ride across the forest starts as soon as you’re both fed and mounted. Your horses take off on the highway, with the noontime sun beaming down.


The first day doesn’t bring any problems. The weather is perfect, Asa heals the horses while you sleep, and Wind-thief doesn’t appear. After the sun rises on the second day of the trip, Asa’s voice appears in your mind. [Sister, have you felt any of your abilities manifest of late?] she asks.

You shift the reins to reply. {No, I haven’t. Is that bad?}

[It is puzzling. Your mind was unpacking the knowledge I gave you at breathtaking speeds before. Unprecedented speeds, even. Have you had more nightmares?]

{No. That, I don’t mind.}

[Hmm. When you rest for the night, we should try something.]

As the sun falls, you guide your horses off of the road, and while Asa heals them and Dervich starts a fire, you lean back against a tree and ask the obvious question. “So. ‘Try something?’”

She finishes tending to the animals before replying. “That memory you had of The Scar. The Herald I appointed to activate the weapon. You saw his soul enter Chaos, yes?” she asks.

“Yeah. Well, no, I felt you… propel him, or whatever,” you admit. “I didn’t see into Chaos itself.”

She eyes you. “I suspect you did, but your mind couldn’t control what you were seeing. Or, for that matter, process it. May I examine your own recall of the event, to see if it harmed you in some way?”

>Please don’t.

Dervich glances up at you both, but looks away immediately. Whether he’s intrigued or worried, you can’t tell.

Still, last time she did this, it was fine. “Uh, sure,” you say, straightening up.

Asa reaches up and shifts your bandana aside, then presses one finger against the Gem.

You see the memory return, accelerated far faster than life-speed, but unlike the previous time she watched your memories, this time there’s no abrupt end. Instead, a spike of raw pain behind your eyes sends you reeling backward.

“GAH! Asa, what did you do?” you gasp, shaking your head to clear it.

“I knew it,” Asa said darkly as Dervich scrambles up. “That memory bore a parasite.”

“A what?” you demand, cradling your head. “Oh, ow…”

“Sorry it hurt, Sister, but it should clear up in a moment,” she assures you, and even as she says it, the pain ends, leaving swirling white spots over your vision.

“What just happened?” you groan, tapping the side of your head to clear the ringing.

“You did see Chaos, after all. I had to erase that part of the memory, lest it damage you in another recollection,” Asa says apologetically. “But the word ‘parasite’ was misleading. A tiny scrap of actual Chaos slipped past me, and into the memory.”

“There was a bloody shard of Chaos in my head this whole time?” you demand, glaring at her. The white spots aren’t going away. “And why is my vision blurry?”

“The shard itself would only be harmful if left intact, Elsa,” Asa says, “but the vision problem is unexpected. Unless… hmm. When you look at me, do you see them?”

You focus on Asa, and though the spots whirl around the edges of your vision, there aren’t any over her body. “Uh, kind of, around the edges,” you say.

“And when you look at Alan?”

You turn to look at your Corporal and gasp. There’s a large white spot hovering over his body, around his chest and head. “Yeah, there’s a big white spot over him!”

Asa takes a step forward and raises her hand. The spots vanish. “Do you see them now?”

Anger curls your stomach. “No… what’s happening? Did the shard hurt me?”

“No, my Sister,” Asa says in satisfaction. You both look over at her to see her grin tightly. “Oh, no. It’s given you a powerful gift.”

“A Gift? A literal Gift?” you ask.

“No, not like that. The shard you saw was a part of me, not a part of the Unformed Chaos beyond death,” she says. “Close your eyes and focus. Focus on the idea of Chaos itself, then open them and look at Alan.”

You do so, and the spot returns. “What is this?” you whisper.

“Souls, my Sister. You stared into the roiling Chaos, and when it stared back, it blinked first,” Asa says confidently. “You can see all souls, not just Well-enriched ones. And what’s more… yes. Look down, and activate your Soul-finder ability.”

You look down at yourself and recoil. Your own soul shimmers with rich, golden light, like sunlight off the surface of water. “You’ve tapped the Well, my Sister. The horrors through which you’ve lived have tempered you enough that life itself bows to you,” Asa says proudly. “I knew you could do it.”

Through the Eyes of Ghosts: Asa can, at will, see the souls of people around her, at a range of up to fifteen feet. This works through all known substances, all magical and Gift shields, all alchemic guard potions, and flesh. Infinite uses, no cost of consumption, Activation required, passive state thereafter until deactivation.

New Ability unlocked!

The Deepest Wells: Elsa has tapped the Well of Life. Her aging slows. Her lifespan is now guaranteed to be at least one hundred years of excellent health.

>wat say
Speechless then "....wow"
Dervich looks at you in silence, clearly waiting for a reaction. So does Asa.

You don’t know what they were waiting for, but what you actually do is slowly raise your hands in front of your face, stare into the depths of your own soul, and whisper “…wow…”

“So… you tapped the Well of Life?” Dervich finally asks. “How does it feel?”

“Uh… the same,” you say, still distracted by the way golden light is literally radiating from your entire consciousness. “I mean, it’s the soul-vision thing that’s blowing my mind.”

“You don’t feel different even though you probably just added thirty years to your life?” Dervich says incredulously.

“Well… I guess not,” you admit, as the fact that that is really odd pierces your bedazzlement. You glance up at Asa, who’s hiding a grin. “Is that bad?”

“It would be bad if you DID feel different,” she says cheerfully. “Trust me. When you’re a hundred and ten, and you’re in better shape than your grandchildren, it will be hard to notice.”

That line of thought isn’t actually encouraging. “But doesn’t this mean there’s no way I can age normally, with my husband?” you ask.

She nods. “Correct, but recall that you also have healing powers that a nap and a snack can refill. Jerome will be your companion for many, many decades of life, believe me.”

You focus, and the light fades. “I believe you.” You pat your hands over your chest and arms. “What is that light I saw?”

“The energies of the Well,” she replies. “Don’t be afraid. All Brothers and Firesouls look like that.”

[Temporary End of thread]
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So yeah! A ton of shit happened in the last day or so.

Let me see if I can break it all down.

Normal abilities are mundane: they don't have a divine or magical component. You unlock them by performing specific, physical tasks.

Divine abilities are abilities that you specifically can not perform without godly intervention. You unlock them for beating bosses and story missions, or by having specific dreams on the Dream Table.

Secret Powers are abilities you can ONLY get by getting unique entries on the Dream and Random Encounter tables, OR by doing a >writein so well that it completely changes the plot of the quest. You've actually had the chance to earn them every time you do a >writein. Every time you do one, and I like it, it accelerates the rate at which you get all types of abilities by a tiny degree, but truly outstanding ones unlock a Secret Power automatically (though there haven't been any truly outstanding ones yet).

You may have noticed that you didn't get a Divine ability after Caliso died, like you have every single other conspiracy member. It's not because you didn't kill her yourself (in fact, you didn't get the killing blow on a single conspirator yet, it was all party members or Forest, or a suicide for Feathers). You didn't get the ability because this was a conspirator in which there was no conflict in her defeat: you didn't exercise your powers, so you don't get new ones.

Still, you did get two more abilities for other reasons, and the character sheet is updated.

Nicely done. I'll finish off the Chapter tomorrow.

butt bump
The fire crackles in the little clearing as you tend to the horses. Dervich Finishes drying the gear you both wanted cleaned as Asa keeps a watch.

After a few minutes, though, you note Dervich looking up at you. When you glance over at him, he’s looking at the equipment again. Three minutes later, it happens again, and again when you start pitching your tent.

You decide to lance the boil. “Something I can do for you, Corporal?”

He looks away again. “I guess not, Sergeant, sorry.”

“Are simply enjoying my amazing physique?” you ask mildly.

He chokes back a laugh. “No, Sergeant, Triad forbid.” He sets down his cloak on a stone by the fire to dry. “I guess I’m just jealous.”

>Deflect with humor
>Acknowledge and try to talk it out
>Acknowledge and try to talk it out
We've gotten some incredible powers, but we're also constantly afraid for your own lives and the lives of our family. Plus we've learned things that we never wanted to know.
“I see.” You feel your stomach tighten as you hear it, but you suppose it was probably more or less inevitable. “Think there’s anything I can say to help?” you ask.

He sighs again. “I dunno. I know you’ve had some rough times along the good, too, and I try to remember that, but now you’ve tapped the Well, too. That’s hard to ignore.”

You go and sit down beside him. “It’s not a competition, man,” you say awkwardly. “Doesn’t the fact that I routinely have to drop what I’m doing and kill people sort of outweigh the superpowers?”

He shakes his head. “I know, I know, I just have some trouble keeping it in perspective.”

“Well… I guess we could talk to Asa about it,” you say awkwardly.

He looks away. “I shouldn’t have said anything. I’ll just drop by the Courtesan’s Guildhall and blow off some steam when I get back, feel right as rain.”

That earns him a chuckle. “That’s the spirit.”


By the third day of your trip, the days are short enough that it’s started eating into your travel capabilities at night. The rising cold is a comfort to your human partner, but it’s not doing you any favors. On the fourth day, you’re diverted even more by the need to help a Merchants’ Guild convoy going the other way repair a broken axle on their wagon, all the while nervously watching the trees for any sign of bandits.


The fifth day passes without any notable incidents, as does the sixth, but by noon of the seventh, with the walls of the city looming up in your vision, the sky is more than a little frightening.

{Sister, is this just bad timing on our part?} you ask nervously. The huge black clouds looming up behind you flicker with lightning every few seconds. {That storm looks pretty intense.}

[Sorry, it’s just scheduled weather,] Asa replies. [Is it going to hit you before you arrive in the city?]

You look up at the front as it towers up into the heights of the atmosphere. {Possibly,} you admit.

Asa’s voice is a bit sheepish. [Sorry. I can’t divert the entire storm because my friends may get rained on. Crops need watering, you know.]

“We’re on our own,” you report.

Dervich groans. “Fantastic.”

>Once you get in the city walls, what do you do first?
>Report to the king.
Sure enough, you’re not even all the way to the gatehouse when the sky opens up. Torrential sheets of water rush off the rooftops and overflowing gutters, drenching you even more as you close the gap. Your horses clop through the stone arch, past a crowd of travelers waiting for it to pass, and out the other side, towards the gatehouse. The clouds over the city don’t let up, even as you make your way through the streets for the castle.

“What I wouldn’t give for a few beams of sun,” Dervich says over the rain.

“Yeah, this is crazy,” you grumble. The storm intensifies as the first of the thunderheads drift through the sky, and the street lights up with a flash of light.

Finally, the blessed safety of the stables comes into view through the mess. You ride your horses in and dismount as a stable boy takes the reins away.

“Hey, this isn’t the one I sent you out with,” he says, looking over your mount.

“Borrowed it from the Margent garrison,” you say, panting from the humidity and the overwhelming smell of wet animal.

The stable boy shakes his head. “Fine, I’ll mark it in the ledger. Go dry up.”

“No such luck,” you mutter as soon as he’s out of earshot.

“Need to report to the King?” Dervich asks quietly.

“Yeah,” you nod. “Go get dry, I’ll see you later.”

“Thanks.” He taps his forehead and vanishes into the garrison.

Upstairs, you’ve dried as best you can, but you still look like a dog that came out of the river, especially surrounded as you are by the King’s courtiers. They all look at you askance as you wait, dripping, in the corner of the Royal offices’ waiting room.

Roll 1d1100+12 for Perception.
Rolled 9 + 12

Oh god his son was just born like 2 weeks ago
Rolled 80

Yoooooo king whaddup
Rolled 100

Woops, forgot the +12, sorry!
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After nearly an hour of increasingly uncomfortable stares, the door finally swings open. The Shadow at the door catches your eye. “Sergeant, you have five minutes of His Majesty’s time.”

You nod thanks and brush past him into the office, where Maas is staring into the fire, slowly rubbing his hands together. “Thank you, Shadow Carter.”

“Sire.” The Shadow bows out as Maas turns to face you.

“What is it, Herald?” he asks wearily.

First you favor him with a bow and polite smile. “May I be what I assume to be nowhere near the first to offer my congratulations on the birth of your son?”

He nods, the lines around his eyes easing a bit. “Thank you, Herald. Alric and Maraven are well.” He looks out the window with a wistful expression on his face. “You know I love my daughter very much. But until that moment, I never understood the desire all men trule carry to have a son, a young man to make their heir, and teach in their own way.”

“I’m afraid I don’t know, Sire, I am childless,” you say.

“Mmm.” Maas beckons you over. “What do you have to report?”

“The death of Caliso Arla Wind-thief, Sire, and the locating of Captain Everett Soutri,” you inform him.

The King’s shoulders sag a bit. “You found the bastard?”

“Wind-thief was his squeeze, Sire, if you’ll pardon the phrase, and she knows where he lives,” you inform him. “Asa is compiling the new list. In fact, I bet it’s done.” You tap the Gem and think. {My Lady, do you have the new list of conspirators?”

“I do,” Asa says. Her Avatar emerges from the air behind you and makes you both start. “Sorry about that. Here,” she says, passing a copy to the both of you.

1. Explorer: ‘Old Master Novai’
2. Noble 1: Don Kotrick, local crime lord, location unknown – suspected to be in noble quarter
3. Noble 2: Elger Moor, Gifted Mage, and second-in-command of Kotrick, location unknown, but definitely in the merchants’ quarter
4. Mercenary 1: Everett Soutri, former Army officer, lives in a converted jewelry store in the noble district, male human, Well-tapped and incredibly smart
5. Mercenary 2: Caliso Wind-thief, female dark elf, running for her life on the Margent Highways, Gifted battle scout. Deceased
6. Mercenary 3: Gardener ‘Hooks’ Dunwaith, Gifted, Male human. Deceased
7. Mercenary 4: Kerry Ding, War Mage, Orondian expatriate, lives in a small farmstead in the woods near ambush site, male human. Deceased
8. Mercenary 5: Derek ‘Jester’ Bowler, former member of the Governor’s bodyguard, hiding in a warehouse on the river to the north, outside the city, awaiting passage to another country, male wilderness elf. Deceased.
9. Mercenary 6: Faye Whitehand, referred to as ‘Feathers’, female human. Captured alive, since deceased
10. Bodyguard 1: Richi Donnai. Deceased
11. Bodyguard 2: Heldo Donnai. Deceased
12. Invisible bodyguard: William Laurenz. Deceased
13. Kotrik’s hitman, name unknown, handle ‘Forest’, living in noble district

“And King Maas, congratulations,” she says, taking his hand.

Maas smiles broadly. “Thank you, Lady Asa.” He turns back to you as she releases his hand. “So what do you intend to do to find Soutri?”

>Just break in and kill him in his sleep
>Lay a trap
>Assault the place with a large force
>Research countermeasures for his teleporter
Research countermeasures for his teleporter

I swear to god that the captcha is spongebob or something
“I need to research this teleporter some more, see if ti can be jammed somehow,” you decide. “I can’t fight him if he can run away.”

Maas reaches over to the desk in the middle of the room and lifts a book. “Here, this should help.” He copies down a line from the book – which is apparently a list of names – and hands the paper to you. “This is one of the teachers in the Royal War Mages’ College. He’s our expert on translocational magic. If anyone outside the Firesouls can help, it will be him.”

“Thank you, your Highness,” you say, accepting the paper and tucking it into a dry pocket. “And with that, I expect my five minutes are up.”

“Indeed. Go get some well-deserved rest, then send some my way,” Maas tiredly jokes.

Asa giggles. “The little one not quite set to sleeping at night?”

“He sleeps when he damn well chooses,” Maas grumbles.


Progress: C
Combat: D
Improv: C+

Nothing much to speak of for progress, in terms of killing conspirators, but you unlocked a secret power, which is big.

In terms of combat, the battle at the bridge was a comedy of errors. ‘There’s a man next to you with a drawn bow.’ ‘Don’t target him first!’ Seriously?

There were several places where improvised answers were better than what I gave you, so not bad at all there.

I’ll be back next Friday!
thanks for running!
Thanks for running, Someone

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