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/tg/ - Traditional Games

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It's time for Dead Gods!

Setting: Cender
Season: Early winter
Year: Post-creation 3975, post-Collapse 3008
City: Clen
Crime rate: Unsustainable

For old threads, look here! http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Dead%20Gods%20Quest
NOTE THAT QUEST 22 WAS NOT ARCHIVED, IT CAN BE DOWNLOADED HERE: http://www.mediafire.com/download/7g6zn4rhzwnaw5e/22.zip
For updates, check twitter! @Someone_else___

Elsa's Character Sheet! http://pastebin.com/ezsJzAWG

Resident artist: Eversor_
This is Tarsh, the world of Dead Gods. On Tarsh, the Pantheon is stretched to the breaking point by the deaths of all but three of its dozens of members, with the remaining members largely serving advisory roles when they appear to mortals at all.

In this quest, you assume the life of Elsa Ledren, a young Sergeant in the Skirmishers of the Auxiliaries, the support forces of the Royal Army of Cender. You were on a long-term assignment’s first leg when you were attacked and killed in the forest. Your divine Pantheon member, Asa, brought you back to life with a mission: track down and kill the people responsible for trafficking the ancient magic weapon that killed you and your men. You discovered a large conspiracy to traffic and use these ancient weapons, and have been stealthily – or not – killing them off. In previous threads, you knocked off twelve of the conspirators, and now there’s only their leader left alive.

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 Mai'te, her children, the demons, and each other.
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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.

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 rescued Kerin, an elf demon, and restored him to power. Now, you’re planning the final attack on the conspiracy leader, Don Kotrick. You’re on the road now, off to attack Kotrick in the mine he’s occupied.
All mechanics are based on a 1d100+modifier roll.
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You awake. No nightmares, this time.

You rise from the bed and quietly move about the room, cleaning and preparing all your uniform and armor pieces. Jerome’s out cold in the bed, and as much as you’d like to slip back down beside him and fall asleep with your head on his shoulder, you can’t. You have to go kill a man.

Once all your gear is prepared and all your armor is ready, the only thing left to do is pick what you’re bringing.

>Shadow armor – stealth above all
>Heraldic armor – those shields will be useful
>Auxilia armor – wear what you used to be

>mix – and – match
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>Heraldic armor – those shields will be useful
The Heraldic armor is the most potent set of gear, and those shield resevoirs will come in really handy. You strap it on in silence and heft your weapons, too, wrapping your sling around your midsection and hanging your grenades beside it. You slip your dagger in the sheathe you tape on the back of your new shield, and clip your spear into its carry-strap. You sheathe your swords, then notice what you’ve done. You’re wearing or carrying almost a hundred pounds of gear and armor, but you barely notice. Maybe the Well is infusing your muscles with new power. That’s why Brothers are so tough, right?

You slide the mask onto your shoulder for safekeeping and stuff your bags with clean clothes, some paper, traveling gear, some money. You fill some waterskins, though with all this snow, you don’t need much.

Finally, when you’re ready to go, you lean over your sleeping husband and give him a feather-light kiss of goodbye. “So long, handsome,” you murmur. “I’ll be home soon.”

Downstairs, you get the horses hitched into the wagon and take off for the stable at the north gate. You pass the man a few Acerts to hold the wagon there while you’re gone and select the strongest-looking animal to carry you to the mine. The stablemaster looks at you a bit oddly, clearly not recognizing you, but shrugs and takes the money.

In the parade ground, you don’t see much activity. There’s a few Guards on night patrol, but the only other person there is Donali. The composed young elf is covered in light ties of fabric with a coat over them; she’s clearly anticipating a tough journey. She spots you and walks her own horse over. “Herald, greetings,” she says, in the same quiet voice as before. Her bright gold eyes remind you comfortingly of Kerin’s, though of course Donali’s are just golden irises instead of blocks of literal metal. “Are you ready to depart? It’s barely two in the morning.”

“I am,” you confirm. “All set yourself?”

She nods once. “I am prepared,” she says, and she rubs her mount’s neck affectionately. “This old boy and I have traveled many roads together.”

“Good.” You dismount and snug your cloak tighter around your back. “The others will be joining us?”

“No,” Donali says. “At least, Cassandra won’t be. She took off almost as soon as she could, before nightfall yesterday. She wants to get there soon to recce.”

“That’s fine.” You crick your neck and look around the parade ground. “Place is deserted.”

“Everybody’s in the south,” she says with a shrug. A moment later, Dervich trots his own horse in, looking a bit glum. He keeps looking over his shoulder, up at the towers, everywhere but at you.

>”Hey, Alan, you ready to go?”
>”Morning. Something wrong?”
>”Any idea when Ainsley will be joining us, Donali?”
> "Hey, Alan, you ready to go?"
You beckon him over. “Hey, Alan, you ready to go?” you ask.

He sighs. “Yeah. Just nervous.”

“Who wouldn’t be?” you ask, shrugging. “I am.”

“Hmm.” He rides his horse up and looks around. “We waiting for somebody?”

“Ainsley will be here in a few minutes,” Donali says. She rubs her hands up and down her arms with a shiver. “It was pure luck that you met us here. We both decided to ride as far as we can today.”

“With ‘day’ being subjective,” Alan grunts. “Ah, well.”

A few minutes later, Ainsley rides up as well. The bubbly young human greets you all happily and moves her horse up alongside yours. “Your Eminence! We’re ready!” she says cheerfully.

>Any last ideas?
>If not, roll 3d100 for encounter/weather table
Rolled 15, 66, 36 = 117 (3d100)

Very well! Writing!
“So we are,” you observe. “Time to go.

The darkness surrounds you all as you make your way out of the city. A few Guards salute as you pass at the Gate, then duck back into their hut to warm their hands. It’s too cold to snow, as your mother would have said, and the sky is a breathtaking wash of stars. You find yourself looking up at them constantly as the four of you briskly walk the horses towards the woods to the south. In your mind, you know that the stars are just jewels that the Gods embedded in the sky to delight their children, but you can’t help but stare regardless. The Gods were master sculptors.

“Sister?” Ainsley asks after a while, looking over at Donali. You look over too, and see that she’s nodding a bit.

“Mmm, sorry,” Donali yawns. “I’m just not used to riding at these hours.”

“It happens,” Alan says. “I’m not used to it, either.”

Ainsley cooks curiously at the Paladin. “Really? I thought you military types had to march at all hours.”

“Oh, we do, but not in the winter,” Alan concedes. “It’s not particularly safe.”

“Or comfortable,” Donali shivers. You just clip your mask into your helmet and look back up at the road. It’s a long, long way to Hafdal.


When the sun rises, it warms you all up. The temperature hovers just below freezing, so it’s just cold enough to keep the ice from turning to slush, and just warm enough that you don’t go numb in your armor and cloak. The horses need rest after several hours of walking in the dark, so you halt at mid-day and get a fire going.

You and Alan meditate while the Sisters warm the animals and feed them water. Ainsley is positively chipper about it all, apparently unharmed by her travails in the warehouse, while Donlai keeps to herself. You trade off when it’s time to care for your own mounts, and the Sisters just eat some hardtack while you tend to the horses you got off of Saren.

After a break, you all mount up and take off, slower now. You made good time in the dark, but you’re approaching the woods now – it wouldn’t do to attract too much attention.

On an impulse, you tap the Gem. {Sister, we’re nearly in the woods on the first leg of our journey.}

[Good. Do you want me to heal the horses for you like before, or do you think haste isn’t needed here?]

>{Please do.}
>{No, I shouldn’t grow used to that sort of privilege.}
>{No, I don't think haste is as necessary now as it was then.}
>My horses are strong!
{You know, I don’t really think it’s needed,} you remark. {The horses are fine, and I shouldn’t grow used to having that sort of power available to me. I’ll never know if you’re in some crisis fighting ghosts or something when the horses get tired.}

[That’s fine. The road isn’t particularly bad. Let me know when you stop for the night.]

{Absolutely. Kerin, you ready for your public in two and a half weeks?}

~I am!~ he says cheerfully. ~It’s quite lonely out here. I should ask you, Asa, to let people know to only come to see me over truly essential questions, because otherwise people will trek from the far side of creation to have me answer their questions.~

[I suppose I should.]

You all mount back up and ride off, taking advantage of what daylight you have. Alan thought ahead and brought some torches, as did you, so you even manage to keep going after the light ends, but you’re all tired, cold, hungry, and saddlesore, which means it’s time to rest before long.

The woods are a dark smudge on the horizon, blotting out the stars and clouds, but all around you are farms, farms as far as the eye can see, feeding the populace of Clen and its villages. These are the storied grain-fields of Cender, which keep the world’s largest city in chips. Potato, grain, corn, maize, tomato, grape, a hundred spices and edible roots and flowers, and more all grow around you. Now, save the animal ranches, it’s all cut down and shipped, and the farmers are hunkering down for the winter to end.

“I like coming out here,” Donali says off-handedly as you start pitching the tents. “It’s so quiet, peaceful. Even in the fall, when the harvest is going on.”

“It is nice,” Alan agrees. “My family lived out here when I was a kid. We had a little maize farm for a while, before we moved into the city.”

“I never come out here except when I’m passing through,” Ainsley admits. She pokes a fire up into light and starts heating some food. “I so prefer the city.”

“Cities are nice, I suppose, but this is where we belong,” Donali says, taking you in with a gesture to include herself.

>”Speak for yourself. Cities are great.”
>”Yeah, I like it out here too.”
>”I guess it depends where you were born.”
>”I guess it depends where you were born.”
There’s a conflict of which you want no part. “It’s probably just dependent on where you were born,” you say noncommittally, removing the mask to drink. At once, cold wind catches your face, making you wince. The mask may be hideous, but it sure works.

“What’s with the fright mask, by the way, your Eminence?” Donali asks, catching a glimpse of it as she unpacks her bedroll.

“It’s part of the old Heraldic war panoply, that’s all,” you tell her. “It’s just comfortable in the wind.”

“Hmph. Things must have been bad for the Heralds to feel the need to wear those,” she remarks.

“They were.” You don’t know much about the Collapse’s many wars, even now, but what you do know from Asa says that Heralds were as much warlords as counselors.

As night falls fully, you page Asa to let her know you stopped, and as soon as she’s acknowledged it, you all huddle the bedrolls around the fire for warmth. You wrap your blanket around yourself and prop yourself up against a tree for the first watch. Once Alan has the horses tied to a tree where they can shelter from the wind, the camp goes still.

You look out at the road, but there’s nobody for miles save the occasional merchant. No bandits, no patrols, nothing. You amuse yourself by making up constellations in the sky while the hours slip away. Alan relieves you after a few hours – no need to wake the Sisters, since you need only sleep three hours at most anyway.


When the sun rises the next day, you all struggle into your cold clothes, warm up the horses with food and fire-melted water, and head out.

As soon as you enter the woods, trouble starts. First, the horse Donali’s using starts coughing, constantly, and she has to use her healing magic to dislodge an acorn cap you didn’t see get stuck in its throat. An hour later, just before the noon rest, you stumble across something chilling. On the ground-up snow over the old dwarf highway, there’s clear signs of a fight.

“Think Cassandra was here?” you ask, staring at the mess of broken arrows and bloodied footprints on the road.

“Absolutely,” Donali says darkly, pawing the blood. “This is a day old, maybe a bit more. Those are her arrows, she fletches them herself,” she adds, pointing at one shaft stuck halfway into a tree.

“What happened here?” Ainsley asks nervously.

“I’d bet anything she ran into some bandits who didn’t know she was a Sister until she started shooting them,” Donali asserts.

>”Should we take the time to divert and find their camp?”
>”Can you tell where they went?”
>”How many were there?”
>”Where are the bodies?”
>”Where are the bodies?”
One thing seems missing for the circumstances. “Where are the bodies?” you wonder aloud. “Cassandra’s no slouch.”

“No, and this looks like the battle took place on foot,” Donali says slowly. “Perhaps… she crept up on the bandits while they were unaware?”

“Could be,” Ainsley says pensively. “And then they grabbed the bodies when she got past them. Either way, there’s not much to do here.”

>Try to find the camp
>Just press on
>Ask Asa what happened here if she knows
>Ask Asa what happened
>Press on
You tap the Gem and fill Asa in on what you’ve found. {Sister, do you know what happened here?} you ask. {Did you find any souls?}

[No,] she says, puzzled. [I don’t have any fresh souls from the place you describe… and neither do the others. How odd. Are you in any danger?]

{Not that we can see.}

[Curious. If I were you, I’d grab any useful items you see lying around and just press on,] she advises. [Leave it for the Guards.]

{Got it.} You look up at the others. “Asa says nobody died here, so let’s just grab what we can and move on.”

“Your call,” Donali says. She snatches up the arrows she can see and hops back on her horse. Ainsley casts a look at the blood on the snow and does the same.

The four of you set off again, and you go a bit farther than you had planned to before finding the fight spot. When you pause to rest the horses and use the bushes, Donali keeps watch. As you move back to mount up again, though, you catch her looking at you oddly. “Something you need, Sister?” you ask.

She considers. “Well… it’s just odd,” she admits. “Knowing that a demigoddess specifically asked for us to help.” She looks up at the road again. “Mine, specifically. I feel like it’s a lot of pressure.”

>”It is. Own it.”
>”She wanted a healer and I trust your partner.”
>”Don’t think of it that way.”
>”Too much pressure?”
>”Don’t think of it that way. She wanted a healer and I trust your partner.”
I'll go with this.
You know from your own time in the non-commissioned corps of the Auxilia that that sort of pressure can break a fighter. “Don’t think of it that way,” you tell her. “We need healers and I trust Ainsley. Asa named you two specifically because we think you can hold up under pressure.”

“Thanks,” she sighs, about the most emotional thing you’ve ever seen her do.

Behind you, you can hear Alan and Ainsley chatting casually, which is a relief – the sense of unease you feel at the sight of the battle clearly hasn’t gripped them. Ainsley seems to have that effect on people in general, really.

“It was scary, but I felt better when Culler talked to us afterward,” Ainsley says. Apparently they’re talking about the warehouse battle. “How about you? I saw you get hit…”

“I’m fine,” he says, tapping himself where Kelsick healed him. Then he grins. “Show you the scars later.”

She bites her lip and nods. You roll your eyes. Apparently her attraction to Hart only lasts as long as he’s in sight. Then, at that age, you were certainly of the ‘sieze life by the horns’ mindset too. You got married when you were barely out of your teens.

The night falls without further incident, and you pitch camp in a deep copse of trees. Once again, you stay up late, but this time, you’re not alone. You see the starlight glitter on the form of Vier’s Avatar as it appears in the woods beside you. “Elsa, have you a moment?” she asks softly. “It’s not urgent, but I wanted to talk.”

Her appearance is even more striking at night. She’s in her martial garb now, with the vest of armor chainlinks and cloak. Her bare arms practically shine with divine light from the stars.

“About what?” you ask, patting the log beside you.

She sits. “I want to ask what you plan to do if Kotrick kills a hostage,” she asks. “If he sees you coming, if he wants to prove his seriousness, whatever.”

>”Wait it out. See what he’s planning first.”
>”Charge. If he kills one, he’ll be willing to kill more.”
>”I don’t know.”
>”Launch whatever plan I had been making, carefully.”
>”Launch whatever plan I had been making, carefully.”
“I’ll be planning to attack him by that point,” you reason. You tug the blanket a bit higher as the wind picks up a little. “If I see him kill a hostage, I’ll just initiate whatever plan I had been forming then. As carefully as I can, of course.”

Vier nods. “Good. You’re learning. You’d have charged right in, before.”

“I would, eh?”

“Against Feathers and Hooks, you did, and Soutri,” she points out. “I’m glad you learned from those incidents.”

You don’t like being reminded of that. “Thanks, I guess.”

“Don’t take it the wrong way.” Vier looks over at where Alan is leaned back against a tree mere feet from the fire, fast asleep, and where Ainsley and Donali are bundled up in their bedrolls. “You mortals never look more innocent than you do when you’re asleep,” she says fondly. “It’s a bit disingenuous to think of you as our children, I know. We only do it because now we have to, as I’m sure Asa told you.” She crosses her arms behind her head and leans back, staring up into the stars. “I never forgot I used to be a human woman. I never forgot the fears and joys of true, mortal life, like certain others did.” She looks over at you, and the light scatters off of her cloud-colored hair. “I trust you to make the call you need to make, Elsa. I just wanted to know so that we could help as we could.”

“Well… then all right. Thanks, Lady Vier.”

“Just Vier. You’ve earned it. Not in front of Alan, though,” she chuckles. “It’s kind of cute, the shine on his heart. Lad’s so young, so clever. His ascension to Shieldbearer – Paladin, I suppose, for him – opened his eyes to the world in a very encouraging way.”

You knew him as a Corporal, of course, and a Private before that, but you never pried into his family life much. “How do you mean?”

Vier looks over at him and tilts her hand, and a blanket that had fallen free from his shoulder slips back into place. “I mean, before then, he was content with his lot in life. Now he’s curious. He wants to see more. But… it’s manifested as a desire to travel with you, serve you, not for himself. I think he has an adventurous side to him you never saw, and it’s connected itself to your own status.”

>”I don’t want that responsibility.”
>”Was he more simple-minded before?”
>”But he said he would be bored being a guard at the Temple if we moved there.”
>"No pressure. I hope I don't disappoint him with my hopefully peaceful life after this."
You can’t really refute that. “Well, there’s no pressure there,” you grunt. “I hope he’s not too disappointed if I choose a peaceful life.”

She smiles to herself. “I doubt it. Haret told me how burdened his soul was after the attack with the Orb in the woods. You indirectly helped his shed that fear and hate. I suspect he’ll do whatever you ask, and he’s smart enough to find contentment in it.” She stays quiet for a moment longer before rising. She walks silently over beside where Alan is sitting against the tree and leans down to kiss his cheek before disappearing.

You rest another hour in silence before you go poke Alan awake, and he’s none the wiser for his visitation. He takes your place, and you fall asleep.


The next several days pass without any sort of complexity, thankfully enough. The road clears up as the snow melts over time, and the horses stay well enough that you make good time. It’s on the morning of the sixth day of the journey to Hafdal that the weather turns foul.

You look glumly over your shoulder at the huge, dark cloud that’s rolling up behind your four mounts. It’s moving quickly enough that you can’t outrun it, and all you can do it hope to bunker down well enough to escape the worst of it. You’re riding as fast as the horses will let you, but they’re road-weary as it is.

“What should we do?” Ainsley asks nervously.

“We have to hope there’s an inn or something where we can rest, because that storm is a blizzard, I promise,” Donali says darkly.

“We can hope,” you mutter, and urge the horses on.

To your shared relief, the sight of an inn arises from the evening dark. You ride up front and rush in, perhaps minutes in front of the snow.

A roar of drunken greeting meets your ears as a chorus of singing lumbermen and miners, Guards and farmers rings the bar, holding tankards aloft. It’s a good mix of men and women, elves and humans.

You shoulder your way to the bar and catch the barman’s eye, but hesitate. These people may not have noticed who you are…

>Is total stealth more important than beds for you and shelter for the horses?
>Or do you sleep in the stables so nobody here figures out who you are?
>Stable sleeping
we can't mess this up now
“Do you mind if we stay in your stables with our horses during this blizzard?” you ask.

He stares. “What’s with the mask?”

“It’s cold outside.”

“You look like you’re trying to scare somebody,” he says slowly.

“And if I encounter bandits on the roads, I need to spook them,” you say patiently.

Finally, he shrugs. “Sure. Just don’t take anything.”

“Thanks, sir. Can we get four mugs of ale in the meantime?”

“Yeah, hang on.” He pours four mugs, and you carry them outside.

Alan’s face falls when he sees you. “Really? Really, Elsa?”

“What, you don’t drink?” you ask.

“No! I mean we’re not staying in nice, warm beds?” he asks unhappily. “Are you afraid of people recognizing us?”

“Me, yes,” you tell him.

“Fine. I’m staying a bed, though,” Donali says.

Ainsley nods eagerly. “Me too.”

Alan just looks sad and annoyed.

>”Fine, go sleep in a bed. I’ll stay out here so that nobody recognizes me.”
>”Alright, if the group says stay inside, I will too.”
>“No, we stay out here.”
>”Fine, go sleep in a bed. I’ll stay out here so that nobody recognizes me.”
Well, you can hardly deny your followers comfort even if you’re denying it of yourself. “Fine, go sleep in a bed,” you sigh. “I’ll stay out here so nobody recognizes me.”

The others look at each other and shrug, one by one acknowledging the storm that’s starting to stir cloaks and hair. “All right, be safe,” Donali says awkwardly. Ainsley gives you a pained look and follows her in.

Alan just looks over at you with a strange expression on his face. “Boss, are you alright?” he asks. “We’re in the middle of friendly territory, and we’ve almost won. Why do you want to be stealthy?”

“Because we’ve almost won,” you say flatly. “I just can’t risk something bad happening before we kill the son of a bitch.”

He clearly wants to point out that the safest place is with the three of them, but he doesn’t. He just nods and accepts your empty mug, once you’ve drained it in one long swig. “All right. Get comfy,” he says, dropping his bedroll at your feet. “And stay warm.”

“Yeah. Try not to knock up Ainsley,” you deadpan.

He snorts. “Yeah, I’m not dumb,” he says, though he colors a bit.

You pull your own bedroll over yourself and lie down on top of his in the stable, and you get comfy as the horses rest in the stalls. You had laid out some hay and straw for them, and made sure the stable gates were closed tight against the storm, so you’re as ready as you can be. Through the little window, you see it hit like a tidal wave, with a crashing wall of snow that shakes the supports of the wooden stable and makes you shiver, even in two bedrolls.

[Elsa, did you get in cover in time?]

{Yeah, I’m in a stable at an inn on the road.}

[…But not the inn?]

{Can’t be too careful.}

[I guess… are you all right?]

{Yes, I’m fine.}

[Okay. Stay safe, sister. By the way, I’ve spoken with Baron Mavos,] Asa tells you. [He’s the noble who owns the barony of the mine.]

{Good. What did he say?}

[He has a muster of perhaps a hundred and fifteen Guards and ten Army troops ready to help, and the firt Mages’ Guildsman arrived yesterday,] she says. [When will you arrive?]

{Give it another day,} you think to her, considering the snow on the road when this blows past.

[Alright. They’ll be ready to go, but I understand you want to wait for the supplies from the capital?]

{I sure do. Sleeping gas and some mercenaries.}

[Good. Oh, and I’ve been dropping in on Jerome, as promised, and he’s fine. He’s working hard, and he’s meeting with his brother’s children while they’re in town, but he says he misses you.]

{Heh. Thank him for me.}

[I will. However, I’m guessing you don’t want to spend your birthday night alone on the floor of a stable. Want some company for a while?]

>{Nah, I’m just going to go to sleep. The sooner we get this over with, the better.}
>{Sure, thank you.}
>{Sure, thank you.}
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{Sure, thanks.}

Asa steps out of thin air beside you. “I won’t stay long, I know you need to rest,” she assures you. “How are you feeling?”

“As ready as I’ll ever be,” you tell her. “Kotrick’s going down.”

“He is,” Asa assures you. “The city is already healing from the fear he caused. The message we’ve given the people has spread across the world, too.” She sits beside you and waves a hand, and suddenly the air is nice and warm. “There. More comfortable, eh?”

“Much, thanks,” you sigh, shucking your outer bedroll. “That’s a new one.”

“I’ve always had that power, you’ve just never needed it,” she giggles. “By the way, did I show you the abilities I gained from absorbing those other people imprisoned in the glass chips?”

You look at her curiously. “No, you didn’t.”

“Ah.” She reaches over and touches your Gem. “Here, let me share one.” That familiar sensation of relaxing swells in you again.

New Divine Ability unlocked!

Guide the Blind: Elsa can now receive limited visions from Asa, allowing her to see through the eyes of one of her Avatars in real time. These visions constantly shift as possible actions are weighed and discarded or implemented by Asa, but they are accurate, and have no auditory component. ACTIVE X2.

“Wow!” you exclaim, rubbing your eyes. “How does that one work?”

Asa looks outside the window, and you see another Avatar appear out there. “Watch.”

You recoil as a second image appears, floating over the world before you. You see the doors to the stable appear in your mind, then you see yourself climb to your feet, even as you do. “It should last for about fifteen seconds, and I can do it around twice per day at your level of Gem attunement,” she says.

>”Which race had this power?”
>”Does this impair my other abilities?”
>”Why can’t I hear, too?”
Character sheet updated with both her new age, her new power, and what's left of her budget now that she bought the new gear.
>”Which race had this power?”
>Won't this be hard to keep track of?
>>”Does this impair my other abilities?”
>>"Does this put your avatars at risk?"
“This is astonishing!” you manage. “I’ve never imagined power like this!”

“It’s pretty incredible,” she concurs.

“What gave you this?” you ask, watching your own hand wave and your own lips move.

“I think this was the Spireling one, the Watcher.” Asa’s Avatar outside disappears, and you wince as the image vanishes from your mind.

“Ooh. That feels odd,” you admit. “Does this impair my other abilities?”

Asa considers. “I don’t see why it would,” she says.

“And won’t it be hard to keep track of the images I’m seeing from my own eyes?” you ask, blinking the odd sensation away. “Well, I guess not,” you realize as they vanish. “Still, does this put your Avatars at risk?”

She shakes her head. “No, no. I notice nothing different on my end, nothing distracting.” She drums her hands on her knees. “I must say, actually, these new powers and abilities have alleviated the strain on me and on the others considerably. I think we can allow the birth cap to rise a bit this year.”

“You increased in power to that extent?” you ask, surprised. The birth cap has been rising so slowly people have barely noticed it, for many decades now.

“Yes, it’s quite a thing,” she says. “The Felis demon especially empowered us.” Your patroness grins. “Knowledge, too, of the world and of history. Things we can use. Not so much for your campaign,” she admits, “but bloody well sure in the battle against the ghosts.”

>Any questions you want to ask?
>If not, just vote >proceed
“That’s always good news.” You sit back down and look at your hands. They’re turning pink again from the warmth coming back into the stable. “Thanks for this, Asa.”

“The comfort, or the new power?” she asks.

“The willingness to sit with me in a stable in a blizzard on my birthday,” you tell her. “Though telepathy is a good birthday present,” you chuckle ruefully.

She laughs. It’s as refreshing and cheering as it’s ever been. The empathic link between your soul and her fathomless power has its benefits, to be sure. “Of course, sister, of course,” she says. “And fear not. Hafdal will be ready for your arrival.”

“In one day?” you ask.

She shakes her head. “Sometime tomorrow, I think.” She waves a hand, and the snow that’s building up on the road vanishes into the ditches on either side, though new flakes keep coming down. “If you want to maintain stealth, I’ll not do that again.”

“Please,” you say, regretting it fully, but still sure of the importance of concealment.

“So be it.” She gives you a quick hug and vanishes. [Sleep. Meditate. Simply rest. Tomorrow, you reach your goal.]

{Thanks. Good night.} You slip back under the bedroll and put your clothes back on, even though the warmth didn’t vanish with her. You know full well it won’t last in this wind.

The next morning, the group reassembles, and after a quick breakfast, you all hit the road. Asa’s help at least makes it clear to see where the ditches are, though she didn’t move the snow beyond half a mile or so. Before long, the horses are knee-deep in the white stuff, and you slow to a crawl.

“This is insane,” Alan grouses. “The horses can barely move. Do either of you have magic that can melt snow?” he asks the Sisters.

Donali nods. “Yeah, hang on.” She raises her hands and points them both at the road. After a moment, you see the snow level start to drop. The horses whinny, nervous at the unnatural display, but you manage to keep them in line. “Here… this should help,” she grunts, focusing her power even more. The snow drops a bit more, then stops moving. Water flows out from under the surface and into the ditches, where it sits, steaming and re-freezing.

“Nicely done,” Alan says, patting his horse’s neck. “That will make things smoother going.”

“Maybe we’ll get there before nightfall,” Ainsley says hopefully.

“We’d better,” you say aloud. “The more time we have to plan before things kick off, the better.”

After several more hours’ ride and a brief stop for lunch, Alan suddenly speaks up. “There!” he says, pointing through the trees. You all look in that direction, and your hearts leap. It’s a road sign, worn and covered with snow, but it’s clear. It reads ‘Hafdal.’

“We made it,” Ainsley breathes. “We’re here!”

>Stop to ask for directions straight for the mine
>Try to find Baron Mavos first
>Find a stable for the horses, they’re no good underground
>Let Asa know you arrived
>Find a place to make camp
>Let Asa know
>Try to find Baron Mavos first
>Find a place for the horses.
>Let Asa know you arrived
>Try to find Baron Mavos first
{Sister, we made it!}

[I knew you would. What do you plan to do?]

{We need to find Mavos,} you tell her. {We need to co-ordinate.}

[Yes, good. And then?]

{Well, we’ll need stables, and a place to plan.}

[The Baron can provide both.]

{Right, you spoke with him.}

[He awaits you in his manor house, two miles south of you. He has a muster station there.]

{Outstanding. Thanks for the heads-up.} You look back over your shoulder and make eye contact with everybody in the group. “We’re heading for Baron Mavos’ home, folks. We need to rondezvous with the rest of our forces.”

“Sounds okay to me,” Alan says feelingly. A night of comfort made the day of cold riding all the less bearable, it seems.

[Temporary End of Thread]

Be back tomorrow morning! Please keep the thread alive!
File: 1398482405827.png (27 KB, 792x612)
27 KB
The woods thin out and vanish into farmland and roads as you approach the little town of Hafdal. Its population is large enough to merit Army facilities as well as Guard ones, in theory. In practice, it’s just another few buildings in the tiny Guard depot that usually stay locked. The highway you’re following runs straight through the area, since the dwarves that built it, so long ago, didn’t know that you humans and elves would be inconsiderate enough to need the land for mining, so the town is nothing more than a scattering of buildings on either side, save where the place grew large enough to merit parallel roads.

You find the Baron’s manor easily enough, since it’s the tallest building in the town. The manor is just that: a literal manor, with all the essentials of a self-contained town around it. There’s a small lumber yard for cutting and processing wood, a furniture store, a few tiny Guard posts, a fabric shop, an archery range for the troops, and a small restaurant with a general store attached, a little village inside a town. The Baron himself is waiting for you on his front steps, bare-headed despite the bitter cold. Winter moved in fast.

Mavos spreads his arms in welcome as you approach. “Hail, her Eminence Ledren!” he says gratefully. Good cheer and pure exhaustion war for supremacy on his lined face. You’re a blessing from the Pantheon, but you’re also a sign that he failed to resolve this criminal invasion on his own. “Do come in! And your friends, as well,” he adds, looking at the Paladin and Sisters. “Feel free to stable your horses in my own yards and barn,” he adds, pointing at a tiny cotton farm beside the manor estate.

“Thank you, Baron,” you tell him, shaking his hand and bowing over his signet ring. “It’s been a long ride. A friendly face at the end is a welcome thing.”

“Of course, of course, it’s a week from Clen,” he says graciously. “Do come in and have a drink.”

>Let Dervich handle the initial meeting while you check out the town
>Go in and start taking stock of your assets while Dervich handles the horses
Bumping for the IRC crowd.
>>Go in and start taking stock of your assets while Dervich handles the horses
“Al, if you’d be so kind?” you ask.

“You got it,” he says, dismounting. The Sisters follow suit while you walk up to the door of the manor.

“Do come in, Lady Ledren, and welcome to your Brotherhood allies as well,” Mavos says. “Another Sister arrived yesterday. She’s over at the inn on the main road, the Golden Horse.”

“Good to know, thank you.” You walk into the greatroom of the manbor and look around. There are a few military-looking sorts here and there, a mage in winter robes, and a member of the local miners’ guild. The miners’ guild was fragmentary and largely ineffective, denying it a place in the global Guilds’ ranks. All they really accomplished was negotiating with the Artisans’ Guild for collective bargaining rights for their workers. They are still the people to talk to with regards to the conditions of the mine in question.

The mage immediately walks up to you and bows. “Lady Ledren, welcome,” she says, her raspy voice contrasting with the Baron’s more practiced speech. “I’m Journeyman Toller, the representative of the few of us who were able to make it out here in time to help you. I’m a healer, by training.”

“Good to meet you,” you say. The rest of the people in the room wander over as Mavos bustles into the back, with his servantry in tow. “I’m sure you all heard, but I’m Herald Elsa Ledren, and I’m in command of this expedition. Who’s the officer in charge of the local military?”

“I am,” a hard-looking old light elf man says from the back of the pack. He shoulders his way up and salutes. “Major Godwyne, at your disposal. I have a map of the mine drawn up, in case you need it.”


>”Surely we aren’t strategizing in the Baron’s greatroom.”
>”Where is this mine?”
>”What’s your force composition?”
>>”Where is this mine?”
>>”What’s your force composition?”
“What’s your force composition, Major?” you ask.

“One hundred seventeen Guards, thirteen Army troopers, two Army medics,” he lists, “and whatever you brought.”

You consider that. “So… three Sisters, me, my Paladin, a few mages, and whatever Mercenary Guildsmen have arrived.”

“There are thirteen Mercenaries in my force, but I don’t know their skills,” the Major admits.

“So… a hundred and fifty troops and mages, plus whomever the Alchemists have coming tomorrow,” you muse. “Quite a force to kill forty men, but with hostages in play, a numerical advantage is crucial.”

“My thinking exactly,” the Major agrees.

As he speaks, the Baron walks back in with two men in Legionary colors behind him. “Ah, Herald. May I present Sir Aalston and Lord Curtis? They are the highest-ranked Legionnaires drawn from my own household,” he says, referring to the means of the Legion of recruitment: the King pulls them directly from the local knightly classes.

That brings your force to a tidy one hundred fifty five. Not bad at all.

“Welcome, my friends,” you say, bowing to them, and they return it.

“Of course,” Curtis says to you for the both of them. “We are at your disposal.” Legionary armors and weapons are the best in the country outside the Firesouls, so that’s quite a thing.

“Where is this mine, gentlemen?” you ask the two Legionnaires.

“About half an hour south of the split in the highway,” Curtis replies. “Kotrick rode through the town in the dead of night to get there.”

“Through the town? Really? Interesting,” you say. “How many entrances are there?”

“Seven, though two are just air ducts no more than four feet wide and covered in iron bars to keep out birds,” one of the miners pipes up

>”Where are we all meeting tomorrow?”
>”Where is everybody staying?”
>”Are there (what sort of place) in town? (eg. Post office, armory, enchanter, etc)”
>>”Where is everybody staying?”
You look around the room and take in the number of people assembled. “So where are people staying?” you ask.

“My Legionnaires and household Guards stay here, of course,” Baron Mavos says, “while you, of course, may stay in the guest house. The soldiers are in the barracks, while the rest of the force… well, wherever they can,” he says awkwardly. “The inns, the taverns, the brothels… there’s a few Guildhalls in town where members can stay.”

“No hope for a Brotherhood Chapter House,” Donali says drily.

“No, sadly,” Mavos admits.

“Then I’d be quite pleased to stay here, by your grace, sir,” you say, inclining your head. If nothing else, it will be secure.

“You honor me.” The clock chimes on the wall beside you, making you all jump. “Ah, sundown will be soon,” Mavos says. “Do you wish to see the mine tonight, or simply rest and strategize today and see the mine tomorrow?”

“I’m attacking in two days…” you muse.

>”…So yes, let’s see it now.”
>”…So we should let everybody rest and train today, and we’ll plan things tomorrow.”
>”…Or I was. Actually, I’m going to attack (when?)”
>>”…So we should let everybody rest and train today, and we’ll plan things tomorrow.”
“…So we should let everybody rest and train today, and we’ll plan tomorrow,” you finish. “Nobody’s their best after a hard ride in a blizzard.”

“I’ll say,” one of the soldiers mutters. The group disperses, leaving you with Toller, Curtis, and the Major, along with Mavos, who sort of hovers near the edge of the group. Dervich leads the Sisters out to unpack your gear.

“Baron, thank you so very much for all your help, and I am sorry for your inconvenience,” you tell him outright. No harm in getting the local nobles on your side, and the poor man certainly never asked for this horrible event.

He nods gravely. “If there’s any way in which I can help, you need merely ask, your Eminence.”

“It may come to that.” You turn to Curtis. “Sir, from my own time with the Auxilia, I know that this sort of fighting is somewhat outside typical Legionary training and expertise. Do you have any insights into this affair that can be of help to us?”

“Some,” he says modestly. “I don’t know Kotrick, but I do know this mine. It’s cut into shale, with a bit of sandstone at the top, and its main shaft is deep enough that it’s difficult to light. As for the actual fighting, in close quarters like these, swords and shields will be the biggest weapons you will want to bring to bear. What help have you requested from those Alchemists, your Eminence? You mentioned something about that.”

“Ah, I had them make some sleeping gas,” you explain.

“That could work…” he says slowly. “Yes… if placed in the ventilation. What role do you imagine myself and the other heavy infantry playing here?”

>”Security. Keep the shafts and entrances secure.”
>”Point. They can’t bring their heavy weapons to bear underground either, so you can help clear tunnels.”
>”Mobile reserves. It’ll be hard to move freely down there, so you can hold back until you’re needed most.”
>>”Mobile reserves. It’ll be hard to move freely down there, so you can hold back until you’re needed most.”

doesn't feel good being the only one to make such decisions.
“Mobile reserves, I think, but sir… with all due respect, we should save such things for the war council,” you tell him. “I’m not the only one with input to weigh.”

“Of course, you’re right,” Curtis concedes. “Then by all means. We shall assemble at the mining office tomorrow.”

He bows out with the Major, leaving you with Toller and the Baron. “Well… I must say, I’m very nervous,” Toller admits now that she doesn’t have an audience. “Battle isn’t my specialty.”

“It doesn’t have to be. I told Deputy Esdottir that any help we could receive would be worthwhile,” you tell her.

“Of course.” She takes a long breath. “Then… I’ll see you in the morning. Good night, your Eminence.”

And with that, you’re alone with the Baron. He seems to be more relaxed, now that his home isn’t being used as an impromptu war council chamber. “I would like to extend an invitation to you, Herald Ledren, to dine with my own family tonight,” he says graciously. “And of course your Paladin is also invited.”

>”I humbly accept, your Lordship.”
>”Forgive me, but I (want to do what else instead?)”
>>”I humbly accept, your Lordship.”

Since today is relaxing this would go well.
“Then I humbly accept, your Lordship,” you say, bowing again. “When shall we dine?”

“In one hour, I think, the cooks are already at work,” he says. “Your guest quarters are in the rear of the estate, if you wish to change.”

Outside, Dervich jogs on up as you walk out to the little guest home. “Okay, horses are secure and the gear is packed,” he pants. “Where to next?”

“Dinner,” you tell him. “Let’s get our traveling stuff off, we’re dining with the Baron.”

“Oh, thank goodness,” he says, with overdramatic relief. “I thought you’d say we have to sleep outside again.”

You roll your eyes. “Oh, shut up, it worked out well for you.”

He waggles his eyebrows suggestively. “I’ll say. Never had a threesome before.”

“You did not score with both Sisters.”

He puffs up his chest. “Why spend for two rooms?”

“You’re full of shit.”

“Am not.”

“Should I ask Ainsley?” you tease.

“Hey now, a lady never tells,” he sniffs.


The guest house is tiny, but it has two bedrooms, so the two of you quickly duck in and change. Once you’re in your uniform and you’ve brushed the worst of the horse hair and snow off, you head back to the manor.

The Baron and his wife, along with one of their adult children, are amiable company, and the five of you dine on the autumn’s harvest, enjoying some pheasant and carrot dish you’ve never had. You entertain the Baron’s family with tales of the ancient Heralds, watered down from your own memories, and Alan chips in with outrageously exaggerated stories of military life to fill the gaps and let you eat.

After, you both retire, and once you send off a message to Asa to pass along to Jerome, you close your eyes and try to sleep.

It’s slow going. You lie there, faking rest, trying not to think about the mines, and what’s waiting for you inside. Eventually, you fall asleep, and the wind outside troubles you no longer.

See you all Friday or Saturday, depending on my schedule.
thanks for running!

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