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Aboard the bridge of the Palanquin Valresko and Ruscuv stood with the armored form of Zekrul's nameless Envoy. The viewscreen before them shows indicators of the vessel rapidly approaching a red star system on a mock-up of a stellar map.

Ruscuv's large form was hunkered down in the large "throne" of muscle and bone that dominated the chamber, wicked claws picking among her mandible array, "We are nearly there. Finally you will meet Lord Jadyk and witness his Armada," her voice rasps out.

"Excellent. I am eager to do so, Lich Lord Ruscuv," the burning skeleton remarks politely.

The screens change then, flickering to show the tumultuous spray of color of the exterior of the ship, distorting light and matter as the combi-drive engines catapult the ship faster than light. The screen flickers once more, colors locking into place as the ship drops out of relativistic speeds with a burst of light and radiation.

Ruscuv's mandibles curl into a grin as she sees the Envoy stiffen subtly as it lays it's sockets upon Horizon's Drop for the first time.

The battleship of the Lich had appeared within view of the Armada's throneworld, revealing the green and blue world surrounded by the ring of the Wormstars Fist and the fleets of starships swarming to and from the planet. Accelerating toward it the vessel contacts the Deep Rot, announcing its arrival and sending an alert to You specifically.

As the ship approaches its dock at one of the Fingers the Envoy is joined by Valresko at his side. A crack appears in the smooth bone of their featureless mask, a voice issuing with the flames, "Welcome to Horizon's Drop, home of the New Necrotic Armada and hope for the future of the Galaxy. Lord Jadyk will be awaiting us."

The Envoy turns their head slightly to look to Valresko in silence for several moments then turns back to the viewscreen to drink in the sight of the fleets. It was obvious that they easily dwarfed their own back in the Teuthis system where Zekrul was likely watching through them.
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It begins

(Its good to see the quest is back)
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>>2826609
Had to double check I caught last thread. H Y P E
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>>2826609
Welcome back to Death Among the Stars Quest! Sorry it took a while for it to come back

Pastebins: http://pastebin.com/u/ceronull
Make sure to follow my twitter where I announce the threads: https://twitter.com/CeroTheNull
Archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?searchall=death+among+the+stars
Ask.fm: http://ask.fm/DeathAmongTheStarsQuest

Far off from where the Palanquin made its arrival in Horizon's Drop, another battleship emerges with a burst of light and radiation in orbit over the world of Hearth in the Refuge system.

Illuminator Tlacex stood in the bridge, looking through a viewscreen that showed their approach to the planet. A highlighted overlay shows their path to unite with a cluster of Armada vessels as the ship lurches with acceleration as its sublight engines flare.

Deeper in the warship Tlacex could sense his juggernaut pet shifting restlessly. He knew it disliked waiting too long in the cramped confines of starships that were often much too small for it to comfortable move. His thoughts are pulled away from it as a small holoscreen flickers on before him, his eyeless gaze locking on it.

The screen showed a human Legionnaire that Tlacex immediately recognized as she saluted with a Reconstructed fist against her armored chest, "Officer Rosa reporting, Illuminator. Welcome to Refuge once again. I hope your trip has been uneventful."

"Yes, thank you, Officer. With the Ahkam invasion finished I have returned. Lord Jadyk has sent me to speak on his behalf to the people of Hearth and Refuge," his large beak briefly exposing the large, blunt teeth as he spoke.

"Of course, Illuminator. I have been assigned to assist you as an intermediary between the governing body and the Legion," she replies, "I have prepped them and they are awaiting your arrival. There is a landing pad nearby that I will meet you at."

Tlacex nods his large head, the crystals growing from tears in his bone and chitin armor glinting with an inner light, "Very well. I will see you shortly, Officer."

The Legionnaire Officer salutes once more before the screen flickers out, leaving Tlacex to wait as his ship approaches the planet. He thinks back briefly, to his time leading the charge to save this system and cull the Blighted hordes. His beak pulls back from his teeth in a broad grin as he recalls the glory and the sight of the locals faces, when they turned from fear and disbelief to awestruck wonder.

It pleased him, to know he had helped bring the Light of Jadyk's truth to this system, and that he would continue to do so. He even dared to dream of someday soon illuminating a path of Conquest through the Ahkam territories. But such thoughts of glory would have to wait.

The people of Refuge had to bask in that light first.
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It's been a long time.
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>>2826609
Its back!
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>>2826609
Graves is back from the dead! AGAIN
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>>2826609
It must be frustrating for an embodiment of flame to be for ever standing in someone else's shadow
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>>2826646
Seated on your throne as it perched precariously on the side of a random tower you take a moment to appreciate the sight of the sun sinking into the horizon as shadows stretch across your city. You had heard an older human talking to others, saying that sunsets were always worth taking a moment to appreciate. The man had been drunk but as you looked out across the darkening city but still glimmering with the last rays of light hitting the crystal formations scattered throughout and the beginning of holographic projectors flickering on, you believe you understand his point of view.

The moment of relaxation passes as a short list of alerts are funneled into your mind from the ever-helpful Deep Rot.

You glance up toward the darkening sky when you are told of the Palanquin's with Zekrul's Envoy wishing to speak with you soon. Along with the notice is one from Ruscuv wishing to speak with you before you meet with the Envoy.

In the Yrre system the Friendly Fossil Harbinger sits aboard its Coffin as the Battleship it is loaded upon makes final preparations for departure for their meeting with the Eldergrove on the Worldtree. The Harbinger's decorative collection of plants growing from it's robes curl up in the darkness of the Coffin's hold and its idu pet curls up to rest within its robes. The Harbingers mind flickers suddenly as matter warps around it, the Deep Rot Relay in the Coffin detecting the sudden acceleration of the vessel as it disappears into the cosmic distance toward its destination.

A status update concerning Barqalan is seen and forwarded to Valresko. You were not certain of his reaction but you were pleased with Sur-Quro and the Arbiter's progress. However this intel about cybernetic ghouls being capable of controlling feral undead sabotaging the space-city bode ill and you can't help but humor a few accusatory suspicions.

Nekris reports his Disciple and Arcdancers were preparing to descend toward the Arc-shrouded planet at the behest of the Think Tanks and Mindvines. You send a brief blessing to the team, your image appearing in the hold of the specially prepared Coffin they were riding and they salute you in turn, their symbiots feeling their bolstered confidence and pride.

There is a notice from Vle'Karak, the Ahkam having been busy in the wake of the Invasion, but he personally requests to speak with you concerning the Dynasty once more.

>cont
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>>2826714
You glance through your Reconstructed on a whim and spot Jor walking toward the Colosseum with a flow of the populace to catch the start of the nights hardlight races. He walks alongside Red-Leaf-Strains, the pair of Necromancers guiding a group of children of various races, more than one riding on the osogo's large back. You could feel their happiness, both Necromancers enjoying the opportunity to just mingle with the population of Iti'a'Ropku without a threat immediately looming over them.

There was much to do and tend to, but first:
>Speak with Ruscuv before meeting the Envoy
>Meet with Zekrul's Envoy as soon as they arrive in the city
>Speak with Vle'Karak
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>>2826715
>Speak with Ruscuv before meeting the Envoy
Want to talk to Vle'Karak, but it's hopefully not terribly urgent.
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>>2826715
>Speak with Ruscuv before meeting the Envoy
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>>2826715
>Speak with Ruscuv before meeting the Envoy
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>>2826715
Knowing that your sister Lich was requesting to speak with you first you set your Throne adrift toward a meeting place while replying to her, granting her audience.

By the time Ruscuv's heavy footfalls mark her arrival your throne was seated near the top of one of the towers overlooking the city. The floor was open to the air, pillars of curving bone propping up the rooftop peak, a Drake Reconstructed coiled lazily around it in its vigil.

Ruscuv approaches where you were standing at the edge as you looked down toward the beacon of light and noise that was the Colosseum. She is silent for a moment before her raspy voice says, "The Envoy is waiting below with the Dominator. He is eager to meet with you, Brother."

You nod and turn to face her, your feet not touching the ground as you hover closer to eyelevel with her eyeless form, "Thank you for fetching them, Sister. I know you do not relish being a messenger."

The ancient undead scoffs, the pincers of her tail clacking, "I understood the necessity. Being a messenger is not too bad, especially with what message I brought," she says with a hint of amusement as she spoke in the Wormtongue, a habit she reserved for her meetings with you.

"And what message was that?" you inquire.

Her mandible array twists into a wicked grin full of knives and fangs, "Why the threat of obliteration if Zekrul doesn't obey us. Why else would your First Necromancer send not only me, but the Solar Dominator?" she laughs, the sound resembling the shattering of bone.

You rub at your chin in thought, wondering if Zekrul saw their visit in such a way as well. Drifting over to your throne you seat yourself, "So what was it you wished to speak to me about, dear Sister?"

Ruscuv shifts to face you, the tendrils trailing from beneath her armored scalp twisting conversationally, "I wished to see you now that you have achieved what even our Sire could not," she reaches out a clawed finger gesturing in your direction and lets out a slow hiss, "Yess, I can feel it... the delicious twang of the Arc," she laughs again, "You have become Abomination just as the Wormstar tried and failed, bravo, Brother!" she claps her humanoid hands together as her scythes grind their edges together.

"But another matter I wished to bring up," she changes subject suddenly, before you could reply, her rasping voice taking on an edge of seriousness, "This Envoy. I do not trust it or Zekrul. He is a petty being who desires strength that has always been out of his reach. Caution, Brother, he is not strong as either of us, but he could indeed be a mighty ally, or a tenacious foe.

"I wish to know your intent with him, Jadyk. Will you make him a General in time, or will Valresko return to his system, this time living up to his title?" she inquires, the tendrils twisting and coiling slowly.

What shall you say to your Sister-Lich before meeting with the Envoy?
>Write-in
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>>2826822
I would prefer for him to work with(for) us, as there are likely other Old Armada generals out there who will not be very eager to join our party, or at least are way of thinking. Because of this, getting Zekrul to join us would work out in the long run. Plus, I wouldn't want to stamp out out our old views in the Old Armada generals without trying to convince them. How else can I be fully sure that what im doing is not some beneficial madness that millennia in solitude have made me susceptible to.
If he becomes too great a nuisance, he WILL be dealt with. But I would not want all of the old voices to go silent, only so that I may ramble to an accepting void.
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>>2826822
Like all of my encounter a so far I am offering him a choice. I would hope that he sees beyond what we where and joins us of his own accord

How ever should he prove problematic then we shall deal with him accordingly.

I doubt he has changed much since the days of old Armada going by his whole sale slaughter of the living colonists. But given time who can say.
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>>2826822
Zekrul will toe the line or I will personally see him extinguish from existence. We lost the last war because we wouldn't control our rampageous appetites those of our allies, I will not allow the same weakness to fester in our new armada or allow Zekrul to build his own and taint my works and efforts with his.
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>>2826822
You are silent in contemplation for a few moments, your talons tapping as you steeple your fingers. Finally, with a wave of your hand you speak, "Like all of my encounters, I am offering him a choice. Zekrul will toe the line or I will personally give the order to extinguish his flames, perhaps even snuff them out myself."

Ruscuvs amusement was plain with how her tendrils coiled as you continue, "I would prefer for him to work for us and join of his own accord, as there are likely other Old Armada generals and warlords out there who will not be eager to join our ranks, or at least align with our way of thinking. Although, with his wholesale slaughter of the colonists, I doubt he will embrace that soon.

"Getting Zekrul to join us would work out in the long run, I am hoping, in recruiting others, to show they have a place in my new Armada."

She gives a slow nod and taps her chin with a claw, "I can see the benefit. It would be a treat to see other members of the old Armada."

"Indeed, dear Sister. While, if he becomes a nuisance, he will be dealt with, however, I do not wish for all the old voices to go silent. It will help me judge and be certain that what I am doing is not some beneficial madness that millennia in solitude has made me susceptible to," you say with a short laugh and sweeping gesture to the city of the living and undead below your feet.

Ruscuv clicks her mandibles as she glances toward the city as well before replying, "I still doubt your path, dear Brother," she looks to you, "Peace? It is a foreign thought to me, I will admit. One that still has a bitter taste," she says with a shake of her armored form, "However, before you begin conspiring against me, Brother, I must say I am... intrigued with this path you have taken us," she bows her head and spreads her humanoid arms, "For now, I continue to follow you, Jadyk. The cost of your Peace will require War and it is a cost I will gladly help you with," she lifts her head, her mandibles spreading into her wicked grin, "For now, dear Brother, I am your Herald of War."

>Ruscuv has delivered her message and reaffirmed her loyalty for the foreseeable future

What do you wish to say to the Envoy when he arrives?
>Write-in
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>>2826924
Did you get enough peanuts on the flight?
Ask for first impressions and if he has any questions. He will be at his most susceptible now, in between seeing our massive fleets and planetary development, and learning our limits, so we can more easily feed him information and sway his opinion.
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>>2826956
*before learning our limits
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>>2826924
We should throw them a bone if they comment on how further along we are compared to them by pointing out that it would be the same for Zekrul had our positions been reversed as we have simply had more time to build than themselves

Ask if they would care for a tour of the city as the colosseum is often a place to get a feel for the population
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>>2826609
wait this is real? uhhh
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>>2826924
"I hope your trip was pleasant," you voice calls out as Valresko and the Envoy step out of a lift and onto the floor where you and Ruscuv awaited them. The pillar that contained the lift lowers into the floor, leaving them on the empty level with the cold night wind blowing past. You were seated in your throne with Kyn'tk in its spear form grasped in hand, Ruscuv seated at your side.

Valresko steps forward, pausing long enough to give a bow in your direction, before taking position standing at your other side. His tail sways lazily, the bladed thagomizer curling as he clasps his hands behind his back, his featureless face silently staring at the foreign undead.

You motion for the Envoy to approach, "Welcome to Iti'a'Ropku, the Home of All Souls, and the seat of the New Necrotic Armada and my Throne city. I welcome you, Envoy of the Charred Knight."

Looking around for a few moments they seem to be absorbing the sight of the other tower tops, unable to see much more without approaching the edge. The Envoy turns to meet your eyeless gaze with his own empty, yet burning sockets. The skeleton wreathed in green flames steps forward to give a deep bow as he says, "I am honored to be here, Lord Jadyk," he straightens and gives a nod toward Ruscuv, "Your allies made the trip an entertaining one," he says dryly.

Your chuckle seems to take him offguard as you say, "I am sure they did. So tell me, Envoy, what are your first impressions of my Armada? Do you have any questions Zekrul wished you to ask?"

The Envoy turns on his heel and walks toward the edge of the tower where the pillars held the rooftop. He gazed down at the city, now illuminating with the crystal lighting and holographic projections and naturally drawn to the beacon of the Colosseum. They contemplate it for several long moments before turning back to you, "Your city and planet are indeed impressive, Lord Jadyk. I am... honestly surprised at the extent to which you have built."

He gives a short laugh and shake of the head, "I thought that Lord Zekrul had made such progress but this," he motions vaguely to the city, "And your fleets above are far more than I expected."

Ruscuv grins at that but says nothing.

You nod, "This is true but consider this. I have been freed from my imprisonment longer than Zekrul. I had the benefit of time on my hands and I don't doubt Zekrul would have made great things by this point were the positions swapped," you say to him and see him nod in agreement. You could tell Ruscuv did not like the appeasing of the Envoy's feelings but you knew you had to be diplomatic.

"If you would like, I can offer you a tour of the city after out meeting. Perhaps even have you visit the Colosseum, one of the main attractions of Iti'a'Ropku, where peoples of all kinds can compete for their chance at glory in a multitude of ways," you say with some satisfaction as the Envoy looks to the Colosseum once more where you knew the hoverraces were starting.

>cont
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>>2827143
"Perhaps I shall take you up on that offer, Lord Jadyk," the Envoy replies then returning to stand before you once more, "But Lord Zekrul did not dispatch me to play tourist. I am here so you may plainly state your intentions for Lord Zekrul's Necrotic Armada," they say as they place their hands on their hips, looking at you as flames lick across their skull, leaking from under the corroded but still hardy looking armor.

"There is but one Necrotic Armada, and it is Lich-Lord Jadyk's," Valresko replies, the first words he had spoken since arriving to the tower. Empty sockets that burn with motes of light glare at Valresko but you motion with your freehand toward the Solar undead.

"Thank you, Dominator Valresko, but the Necrotic Armada has always been made of many who would call it their own," you say with a mild admonishment then look to the Envoy, motes of Necrotic light burning in your own empty sockets, "I believe I told Zekrul my intentions, more than once, when I visited him through a Harbinger."

The Envoy bows their head, "Forgive me Lord Jadyk, but it is what I am required to ask. Should you wish, you may speak with Zekrul directly, through me."

Ruscuv glances your way for a brief moment then back to the Envoy who kept their head bowed.

What should you say to this? The Envoy wishes to know your true intentions with Zekrul and his forces while also offering to let you speak with his far-away master by some unknown means.
>Write-in

(sorry for delay there)

>>2827079
Uh, yes it's real? I mean, I think it's real cause I'm writing it, unless I'm not real?

Am I real?
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>>2826924
Open with small talk, ask about the growing pains of being a small empire. Try to relate with how we had the suffer through premature invasions, and stubborn pirates alongside the Osjic. Try to wind out of that with questions as to the fate of his patron, let him know we intend to kill and devour the star eating bitch.

Then we get into the hard stuff.

Let him know we dont have reservations destroying him, but are not entirely opposed to autonomous service either. Explain the relationship we have with the Lava father and propose that he serve as a vassal rather than a direct subordinate. He has to offer ships when we need to organise a warfleet, organize an offensive, etc. In return he has our protection in the immediate future.

Also we should offer to buy any living subjects he conquers at more than their market price. Offer like twice their value by weight in biomass and cover the transport expenses too. We cant expect him to give up being a murderboner, but we can give him a hard to refuse good offer on the side, and make it clear we are dictating the terms at the same time.
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>>2827149
I support this with the only constraint that his territorial expansions will be curtail our standing treaties we have with the Armatocere and the Confederation. But assure him that there will be plenty of targets for expansion. In exchange he will have technological, material and military support from our part but he is also bound to reciprocate in kind.
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>>2827146
Well, It might be real. Let just keep going and see if it goes away or keeps happening. Thats ussually a good sign.

>>2827149
Restating, we should let him know directly and to the point. Doesnt matter if we say it to the envoy or to Zekrul himself.

There can be only one New Necrotic Armada. Bend the knee or die.

Now thats not to say bending the knee has to be especially humiliating, or entirely bereft of self direction. We have recently begun to assemble vassal members to the armada. The first of which was on Bastion, the second of which stands aside me as Ruskov, and the newest is currently being negotiated at this very moment (Slight fib about the refuge system.)

Things could be comfortable for you under my banner, and more secure. And the rules are very clear and easy to understand, so you dont have to play the petty court games of the old armada. You stay away from The Pirate Clans, the Armatocere, and the Union. Everyone else is open season, eat as you please. Enjoy.

I am however in the midst of building an empire, and so utterly wanton slaughter casts a poor light on my court. Yours is a young faction, and I understand your needs, and in my favor I see fit to buy out any chattel who do not bear arms against you as you continue to grow.

In addition I am given free reign to your systems. You can have your secrets, but your skies are mine. The ability to rapidly respond and reinforce has been a staple of the history of my new Armada, and leapfrogging from your systems farther out will serve me well.

I will also require a tithe of ships, to be rendered upon demand, and returned when the cause of their summon is dealt with.

In return I would allow you to begin the process of understanding the new ruinous powers I am quickly accumulating. The same way that The Father, and Ruskov have free reign to coordinate and learn from my think tanks, you will be considered a research parter, and be given the fruits of any future developments. Of special note, I believe the knowledge of Glutton Spheres would do you well, and I would give it freely should you accept my most generous offer.

And of course the other offer is that I smite you here, and have your mind shackled in the pits so that the think tanks can dissect you at leisure, and have a small fleet dispatched to pacify your master and his world. But you would die uncompromising, and stoic, so that is a benefit.
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>>2827146
Work together for mutual benefit, try to work on good publicity, i.e don't zimbify or enslave civilians, we could try to speed your development and give them contact with our allies.
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>>2827207
I would suggest doing all this except glutton spheres
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>>2827146
>>2827207
For all intents and purposes I support this vote, We need to be clear cut with Zekrul, he cannot remain completely free but should he be willing we can show him that our New Necrotic Armada is something that is very much worth being a part of.
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>>2827146
Ideally we would make gim submit without damaging his pride but any sort of submission will do that. His choices should choose to obey and be integrated into the Armarda or be snuffed out, the power gap is clear now, we can't let him think we're soft.
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>>2827237
I agree with this overall but we need to be ready to crush his pride. Jadyk is superior we need him to fear as well as be grateful otherwise he will be a dog with fragile collar.
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>>2827146
"It does not matter to me whether I say this to you or to Zekrul himself. Let me speak with him if he wishes, or listen well and deliver my words when I am done," you say with sudden intensity, straightening your position on your throne with Kyn'tk in hand as you look at the armored skeleton.

You watch as the armor of the Envoy quakes slightly and the flames coiling around their skull ripples. The energies issuing from the Envoy during the trip showed it had significant strength, perhaps on the level of the stronger Void Disciples. But as the flames engulfing its skull flare with sudden potency you could feel their strength exponentially grow.

Ruscuv and Valresko both tense, the large lich rising to her feet and flexing her claws at the sudden display of power.

As the Envoy raises its head it also lifts a hand in a cautioning motion and when it speaks it speaks not with its voice, but of the Charred Knight himself, "Do not strike. I am merely taking control of my minion. I wish to speak with you directly, Lich-Lord."

Had you eyelids they would've narrowed in suspicion and mild annoyance, "Zekrul," you state more than question and the skull nods, the flames emitting from its armor more in line with the distant Charred Knight.

You nod to Ruscuv then Valresko, the lich hunkering back down but her tendrils coil with suspicion. Valresko relaxes, if only barely, as the cracks in his armored face regenerate rapidly.

Folding his arms across his chest the Envoy speaks with Zekrul's voice, "Tell me, Lich-Lord. What do you intend to do with me and my Armada?"

You knew that diplomacy had to be blunt and direct with the ancient warlord so you drop some of the pretenses you kept around the Living, "See, that is a problem for me, Zekrul. There can only be one New Necrotic Armada, and that is My] Armada. Bend the knee or die."

Ruscuv looks at you in surprise of your bold words but the way she twists her head to look toward the Zekrul possessed undead you knew she was thrilled. Valresko merely stood at your side, but his tail lashes from side to side more animatedly.

Zekrul, for his part, stares back at you. The jawbone falls open to speak but you hold your hand up to silence him as you speak before he could, "Now that is not to say bending the knee has to be humiliating, or entirely bereft of self direction. I have been building my Armada by selected vassal members to join me. Ruscuv and another, distant, ally are among the first to join me with others already being negotiated with this very moment," you say, not mentioning that Refuge would hardly be considered a Vassal.

>cont
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>>2827298

"Things could be comfortable for you under my banner, and more secure. These rules are very clear and easy to comprehend, so you do not have to worry about the petty court games of the old Armada and the Court.

"Stay away from the Pirate Clans, the Armatocere Collective, and the Confederation. They have earned my friendship or brokered for peace and treaties. Any others are free for you to slake your hunger. The Osjiic Empire, the Ahkam Dynasties, the United Outer Nations, the Sunscale, eat as you please, enjoy them with my blessing," you say with a wave of a hand.

You watch as the energies roiling off the undead kept at a steady level but through it all you swore you could detect Zekrul's mounting anger but he manages to keep it contained.

"I am however in the midst of building an empire, and so utterly wanton slaughter casts a poor light on my court. Yours is a young faction, and I understand your needs, I too resorted to cruel means to grow my force. However, in my favor I see fit to buy out any chattel who do not bear arms against you as you continue to grow.

"In addition I am to be given free reign to your systems. You can have your secrets, but your skies are mine. The ability to rapidly respond and reinforce has been a staple of the military tactics of my new Armada, and staging conflicts from your systems farther out will serve me well," you say, laying out your demands before the undead but you continue, knowing you had to be firm with him, "I will also require a tithe of ships, to be rendered upon demand, and returned when the cause of their summon is dealt with. My Armada has made many enemies, and with your acceptance into it, they will become yours as well. You will need to assist me and my allies in defeating them when they arise or I decide to beat them down before they can become a proper threat."

,"And what, oh great Lich-Lord, would I get from this arrangement?" he asks, his voice barely hiding his resentment at these demands but you figure it was a good sign that he wasn't raging at them already.

>cont
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>>2827300
"In return I would allow you to begin the process of understanding the new ruinous powers I am quickly accumulating. I can offer you technology and powers that would let you expand your realm far faster than you would on your own. You have witnessed a fraction of the strength of my Armada and were you an ally and friend, I would gladly share the secrets to that strength, Charred Knight," you say to him as you summon a small sphere of Solar fire above your palm, the radiant energy shedding an intense light in the darkened floor but it is quickly snuffed out as you clench your fist.

"Of course the other offer is that I smite your Envoy here, and have his mind shackled in the pits so that the Think Tanks can dissect them at their leisure, and have a small fleet dispatched to pacify you and your world," you say with a voice cold and stern

"I'm sure you understand, Zekrul. For where our positions reversed I am sure you would be far more ruthless with me than I am being with you."

Roll me 1d100 best of first 3 please
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Rolled 57 (1d100)

>>2827303
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Rolled 9 (1d100)

>>2827303
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Rolled 28 (1d100)

>>2827303
Better smarten up big boy. Its do or die.
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>>2827306
>>2827307
>>2827311
Looks like we might have a small fire to snuff out.
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>>2827298
No matter how he responds. We won. Little sister is proud and happy AND Valresko knows about our badass leader side.

Mission accomplished.

If Zekrul knows or can learn to sit like a good boy would really only be a cherry on top. We are making history guys.
>>
>>2827307
>9
I for one would like to welcome our newest and most loyal vassal for who we shall entrust the title or warmaster to continue the Armadas reunification of the galaxy while we retreat into our mountain citadel to begin research on our next great work

I mean what could possibly go wrong
>>
Well this is about what i expected. Can you imagine a crit at this point? How would that go?
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>>2827303
The arms of the Envoy unfold as their fists clench tight at their sides with barely constrained sickly green flames leak in bursts from gaps in their gauntlets. The anger radiating from the undead was as easy to feel as the heat they exuded but despite their fury, they kept their it under control.

Admittedly it took several long and rather tense moments before they clack their teeth sharply before speaking, "I understand now why you dispatched Lich Ruscuv and your Dominator pet."

"Oh?" Ruscuv inquires quizzically, her tendrils twisting with excited amusement as the muscles hidden beneath her dense armor tenses.

"Yes, please enlighten us, Charred Knight," Valresko says through a crack in his visage, this voice thick with his own resentment for the ancient undead.

"They were delivered as a warning. Just as this trip serves as one. You wish to intimidate me into cooperating and playing Alliance with you," he scoffs and shakes his head, fists still clenched, "I too learned in the time since my past defeat so long ago. I know I cannot stand against you and to do so would be suicide," he speaks through clenched teeth, the admission likely painful for the prideful undead.

"Take it how you will, but I will have your answer Zekrul. Will you serve me in your undeath or will I have to finish what the Alliance started and crush you beneath my heel?" you demand, the time for second talk passed.

Zekrul is silent for several moments as he glares at you through his Envoy before he finally bows his head slightly, "I submit, Lich-Lord. I will join my Armada to yours and fly your banner. If I am to survive I must adapt to this new era and your way has proven its merit," he raises his head to meet your gaze once more, "For now, Lich-Lord, my loyalty is yours. Protect me when I need it and lend your strength and secrets so I may grow...

"I will fight for you."


"Perfect. Knight Zekrul, that was the wisest decision you have made in eons," you say and give a small bow of your head, "But do know, I have meant every single word I have uttered here, Zekrul. I will tolerate no mutiny or betrayal. In the eons of my imprisonment, I long pondered the best ways to inflict that fleeting thing called Pain we left behind with our Lives."

You wondered if perhaps you went a little too far but the Envoy's fist rises up to thump against his chest, the flaming skull bowing their head in the salute they had seen Valresko perform before you, "Keep me safe and help me become stronger, and you will not fear that from me, Lich-Lord. This I swear by the bones of the Charred God."

>cont
>>
>>2827373
With that you watch as the inferno weakens to its previous intensity and the Envoy lifts its head, its energies reflective of its previous state. He looks at you then the other two undead with what might've been nervousness, "Uh..." he starts, uncertain of how to act in the aftermath of his Masters intense discussion with you, "Lord Zekrul is sending me a list of...demands for what he requires... but they can probably wait for a bit if you are busy, Lich-Lord Jadyk. I do not wish to intrude."

It was almost amusing seeing the Envoy's sudden anxiousness but you did not fault them for it. It must not be easy serving as the vessel and mouthpiece for an entity as volatile as Zekrul. You give a dismissive wave of a hand, "Fear not. There will be quarters prepared for you, perhaps in this very tower if it pleases you, and in time you can discuss these... demands with one of my Think Tanks. Until then, if you can behave yourself, the offer to see my city still stands. I can assign a guide for you."

The Envoy looked as if they were uncertain of how to proceed, but they eventually nod, "That is acceptable. Beyond Zekrul's commands, I am intrigued by this city, Lich-Lord."

As you dismiss the undead who reenters the lift that emerges from the floor, occupied with an elaborately designed Think Tank waiting to serve as their guide and liaison.

When the lift descends into the floor once again Ruscuv lets out a cackle and pops her knuckles by rapidly flexing her fingers, "That was quite the negotiations, Brother. I was curious to see if they were stupid enough to attack you with both Valresko and I standing here."

"Not to mention our fleet of warships looming over their world," Valresko chimes in, once more regaining his calm composure.

"Hm, yes. They were nearly as lively as when we "negotiated" your inclusion into my Armada, Sister," you say, recalling the fierce battle in the deserts of Clour.

Ruscuv cackles again and nods, "It was a fair deal you gave him though. You were right though, it is far more generous than what he or I would have given were the positions switched."

"I would think you'd give me as good a deal as I've given you, dear Sister," you say, amusement returning to your voice.

"And a generous deal it has been, dear Brother," she replies in Wormtongue with amusement thick on her voice as well.

>cont
>>
>>2827374
Valresko coughs, which sends a small jet of flame bursting from a chip in his mask, "I still do not trust Zekrul. I suspect he will be conspiring against us."

"Do you fear him, Valresko?" Ruscuv questions, looking across you to him.

"Lord Jadyk did not create me to experience fear. I am merely stating, he could be a threat in the future, particularly if he decides to work with one of our enemies," he says, not letting her barb affect him.

"The only threat he could be is if he finds his dead God or turns coat to join someone like the Osjiic Empire. Highly unlikely anyone would ever take him in, particularly with the banner of your Armada flying over him now," Ruscuv says while scratching under her mandibles.

>Charred Knight Zekrul says he will swear fealty to you if you protect his system and reward his service with technology and power
>>
>>2827375
Well he actually submitted, though it does make sense why he would, we hold all the cards. Now the next step is to slowly subvert his expectations and actually be allied with us willingly instead of by force as we have done so far, regardless until such time we should keep a close eye on him and his activities for the foreseeable future.
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>>2827375
And I will have to call it at that for the night but I definitely plan to continue on throughout the week, hopefully starting tomorrow afternoon around the same time. Tlacex and Rosa have a meeting with the good people of Refuge to attend while the Arc Disciple explores a deadly world made deadlier.

Until then, it's good to be back, folks. Feel free to make plans on how you're going to handle Zekrul and what you want to build up in the Teuthis system.

by the way, I am not giving up on the Meldric Adventurer's Quest if there are any who are still interested in that little side project

Hope folks had fun, I know I did writing again
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>>2827384
It's good to have you back, Grave. See you tomorrow, hopefully.
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>>2827384
Thanks for the run Grave.
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>>2827384
had fun. Also Fists. Fists over every planet. And moon. And gas giant. Turn his system into a shipyard, so he has to sleep under the bulk of our warships every night.
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>>2826609
is there no pastebin for the main cast any more?
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>>2827429
There is a pastebin I moved them into that would include them and other important characters in the Quest. I need to either finish it or polish it up enough and make it public

There are a lot of characters in this quest...so many...
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>>2827384
Missed the run but great to see you back Grave, hopefully I'll catch tomorrow's run
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>>2827384
Fuck yes, it returns! That which is dead no not lie, even though I'm quite late. Nine dead suns are observing the next installment!
>>
In regards to Zekrul, I would not put it past him to plan to take advantage of us, though I do believe that the direct approach was beneficial: a prideful guy like this is probably used to people being subtle in their dealings with him, making him feel like they are trying to trick him. Let us try to keep an eye on him, but take opportunities to demonstrate what happens to loyal vassals in need, as well as those who wrong us.
>>
>>2827649
I think as long as we stay straight with him, don't try to diplomance in our dealings and give him worthwhile rewards for his service we'll be fine. He'll be fine.

>>2827384
I've missed this, great to see you back. I can't play due to timezones, unless I can sneak in a vote on my morning break, but I'm always lurking. Really appreciate that you take your time to write for us.

>>2827384
>Tlacex in an uncomfortable suit and tie to look presentable on national television
>>
Glad we're not ded yet.
Thanks for running
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>>2826609
Holy shit your back!? Fuck my early ass start hours of 5 am, I hope I have not missed much. Good to see you again graves!
>>
>>2827375
Coffins descend in formation as their hulls glow with reentry toward a new world. The glowing orange hull of a Bloat Carrier looms behind them, the slower craft carrying the raw supplies and prefabricated portions ready to spring up the beginning of a base. Holographic displays are illuminated before the cyclopean Pilots as they follow the highlighted path laid out by the Armatocere already planetside.

They have to make a deviation though as the burning glow lessened, curving around a flock several miles long of the large sinuous creatures that glide through the atmosphere. The light gravity of the planet allowed them to remain in the air indefinitely as they rode the aircurrents according to the Armatocere reports.

Breaking through a bank of rainclouds the first Coffins could see nothing but dark verdant green until their displays flicker and cast an overlay over the massive forest terrain surprisingly close below. Coasting several dozen meters over the canopy the sensors could detect motion below them, local wildlife disturbed by their passing, but the sensors could not penetrate the dense foliage very far.

Following the path laid out for them they finally see the canopy gradually lowering until it suddenly cuts off as if it were a cliff. Quite literally the massive foliage of miles high trees drops off rapidly, exposing something of an overgrown cross-section that reveals deeper layers of the densely woven tree and branch growth. The Think Tanks in charge of this expedition note the similarity to how it resembled the layers seen in sediment and rock cliffs.

The "cliff" of foliage ends, descending into a strip of beach against the planets largest unconsumed oceans. The beach only extended for several dozen kilometers and three at the widest, the ground rocky and filled with massive broken driftwood but there were portions of it that were level and clear.

At the widest point of the beach were several Treeships, rooted and growing with energy collecting leaves deployed to catch the sunlight peaking through the cloudcover. Smaller buildings were growing around their trunks, the Armatocere colony small but growing.

A nearby area was highlighted as their landing zone and the Coffins make their landing approaches. It looked as it it had been cleared of the largest rubble and driftwood to make room for the Coffins and the Bloat Carrier slowly descending behind them.

A hologram flickers on before the Think Tank commanding the Carrier showing a Mindvine who makes a greeting gesture with their leaves before it spoke in its synthetic voice, "Welcome, New Necrotic Armada. Welcome to Nest. We have been eagerly awaiting your arrival and look forward to exploring this remarkable world with the Armada."

>The Armada accepted the Collective's invitation to explore a strange planet overgrown with colossal plantlife that nearly covers the entire planet and to study the local megafauna

Please roll me 1d100 best of first 3 to begin the expedition
>>
Rolled 49 (1d100)

>>2832789
Am I actually going to be awake for a session
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Rolled 28 (1d100)

>>2832789
>>
Rolled 84 (1d100)

>>2832789
Catch my numbers
>>
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>>2832851
good job
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>>2832789
The Coffins land in a rough perimeter and from within Reconstructed pour out carrying or pushing supplies and equipment from the cargo holds, the light gravity allowing the Reconstructed to handle more than they could normally. Settling down with a gust of wind that tosses the dirt and pebbles underneath it the Bloat Carrier opens its own holds and several glittering Requiem and Dirge teams emerge carrying the prefrabricated lab portions.

From ports in the shuttles and carrier issue a teeming swarm of Gargoyles both standard and flatbody as they catapult themselves into the air with ease due to the lesser gravity. They swarm upwards and out, their simple minds eagerly sending them toward the planet-gripping jungle to begin scouting.

Emerging from the Carrier were a squadron of Chariots and Hearses modified for the planet that would let them travel higher and further than they could on a planet with a stronger gravitywell. Seated in them were teams of Talons, Cyclops, Shadows, and Looms, the nimble undead judged to be the best selections for exploring the dense tangle. At a command from the Demi-Think Tanks accompanying them they lift off into the air, rising up to follow the first wave of Gargoyles already scouting out paths for them.

A pair of Entropic Excavators rumble out of their respective Coffins and angle themselves down, their powerful drills cutting into the stone to begin the start of underground fortifications.

Deep in the bowels of the Bloat Carrier a Cauldron array begins churning, pumping the slurry of liquid biomass and metal into the glass and bone chambers to begin making the Reconstructed that would populate and defend the base. In the largest of the chambers the slurry starts to compose the metal and bone skeletal frames of Drakes, the high-flying undead predicted to be a great boon on this world.

>The exploration of Nest has begun in earnest
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>>2832890
With Zekrul's Envoy sent with the Think Tank on a "tour" of the city, the undead construct knowing to keep him away from any place with strategic value. You sense their first stop was the Colosseum, the Envoy maintaining a stoic curiosity to everything around it.

Ruscuv excused herself and departed for the Necromancer's Spire stating she had business to discuss with some of the Necromancers there. Valresko departs for the moon to reunite with the Solar Disciple that had helped Jor and Vle'Karak with the defense of Horizon's Drop during the Empires assault.

This left you alone in your throne as you look over your city once more. Your mind drifts out of your body and across the web of Reconstructed minds linked to your own and finally slot yourself into the frame of a Harbinger also upon your moon.

Vle'Karak looks up from the collection of holoscreens displayed before him as the Harbinger drifts into the biodome he had taken as a personal area of meditation and rest. He gives a slight bow of his head then looks back to the screens, "Lord Jadyk, thank you for coming to speak with me."

"Of course, Vle'Karak," you reply through the undead as it approaches to take a look at the holoscreens even though your mind touched that of the demi-Think Tank projecting them, "Looking over our intel of the Dynasty worlds?"

The great serpent hisses as his singular eye flits from the screens of data to your puppet, "That is why I wished to speak with you Lord Jadyk."

"The inevitable conflicts we will face over them, yes, you have mentioned it. Have you new information?" you ask curiously while the Harbinger folds its legs underneath it as it sits in the air.

"With your permission, Lord Jadyk, I would like to call a council of war with your Generals," he bows his head to you, "Forgive me if I seem like an excitable hatchling but this cannot be postponed any longer. The longer we delay after the death of Quantac'Vrix, the shorter time we have until her sisters come looking to carve up her territory for themselves," he motions to a screen with a flick of his tailblades that expands to show the Tura system already under invasion by Empire fleets, "Not to mention the Osjiic already attempted to do so."

He looks to the Harbinger expectantly, empathic sensors within the advanced undead detecting his sincerity, "With my aid along with Cve'jok and Dne'tec, we can direct the Armada to just where it needs to go to secure the power in this sector."

>Vle'Karak wishes to hold a Council of War with you and the Reconstructed Generals to plan the immediate invasion of the Ahkam Dynasty now that the Matriarch Quantac'Vrix has fallen and her territory is falling to chaos as her children bicker and fight.

How should you proceed?
>Write-in
>>
>>2832983
I don't see any reason not to hold a council as he desires, at the very least we'll get a consensus of what the generals want to do vs what he and his kin wish to do, who all would be unavaliable for this council? I know the illuminator is on his way to refuge at the moment.
>>
>>2832983
We should also get Lava Father and Zekrul in on this:Lava Dady has been wanting this for a while, and getting Zekrul involved in some capacity will help our relationship.
Also, we should see if any of the worlds would willingly submit. It would save resources and strenghten our message that the Akham worlds are welcome into the fold.
>>2833047
We can just holo-com.
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>>2832983
"You do have a point in what you say, Vle'Karak," the Harbinger rubs at their chin with a thin finger, "Very well, I will call a council of my Generals."

Vle'Karak gives a bow of his head, touching the tips of his tail blades to the horns on his brow, "Thank you."

A call is sent out through the Deep Rot network, alerting your Generals of your intent to speak with them all.

Back on Iti'a'Ropku you return to your own body on that empty floor of a tower. Flickering to being next to you is the hologram of Vle'Karak but scaled down so his coiled form did not take up the entire floor.

Moments later several holograms flicker into being as well, your Generals tuning in wherever they may be to form a circle of flickering light before you.

On the surface of Bastion Agona stands on the shores of a lava lake, the forms of Obsidianborn harvesters wading through the liquid rock in the distance. She stood with her hands on the pommel of an obsidian sword.

Next to her image Muic appears, the other Punisher standing in her personal Pyroclastic Destroyer. She indicates that the Lavafather is observing and would communicate with her aid.

Nekris stands in the same chamber on the prison protoplanet that he had met his Disciple in mere hours before, the holoscreens replaced with his family.

Eiton appears, standing in the Arc Temple upon the moon not far from where Vle'Karak was.

Lorgul and Jareths images flicker into being. Jareth also upon the moon overseeing the repairs of the Void Temple while Lorgul stands vigil over the B'Nan system from the nearly completed Void Temple on Kanda.

Valresko was seated in midair within in his mirror polished temple, the Dominator stoically awaiting your word.

A few miles from you Ruscuv stood in a chamber of the Spire, her image also scaled down to fit easier with the gathering.

Illuminator Tlacex appears as well, the General standing aboard his battleship over Hearth. The alert had gotten to him just as his Coffin was preparing for take-off but he seems eager to discuss.

An image appears of Commander Rethak who stood in a chamber on Legion's Home, after speaking with Officer Dretst over their impending operation alongside the Blackscale Cabals.

Last to appear was Jor in his armor. He wasn't actually wearing it when he had excused himself from the side of Red-Leaf-Strains and the company of the group that had followed them to the Colosseum. He stood in a vacant room wearing civilian clothing with his control worm feeding him the image rather than relying on an actual holographic display.

They each bow and salute to you and look to you and Vle'Karak expectantly.

Arrayed before you are your Generals and your strongest vassal, many of them created by your own hand.

What would you say to them concerning this council and your questions for their advice?
>Write-in
>>
>>2833258
>My friends, allies and generals. Events like my time attuning to the Arc and the surprise attack by the empire have conspire to delay what we should have begun immediately after the fall of Matriarch Quantac'Vrix. Worlds of the dynasty are open to us and further delay will only allow the carrion eaters going after Quantac'Vrix's territory to cement their positions. Now is the time to extend our hands on the dynasty's worlds and close them into a fist against all opposition.
>>
>>2833258
> "My family, Vle'Karak has proposed that the New Necrotic Armada begin seeking out targets of strategic importance in the domain of the former Matriarch Quantac'Vrix, with the goal of seizing as much territory from the Ahkam as possible before her sister's forces arrive. The Osjiic have already made the first overtures leading into a larger assault in the Tura system."
> "Of course, I agree that we should take steps to usurp control of the sector, but I would like to hear your opinions and ideas before any hard plans are put into effect."
> "Obviously, this will be the first time that our new ally and cousin Zekrul will witness the might of the New Necrotic Armada. I am hoping that this will be a chance for him to learn and grow to fit into our beloved Armada, but it will also serve as a powerful reminder of his place in the pecking order. Should he prove troublesome in any matter, please feel free to seek me out."
>>
>>2833258

>>2833306
>>2833327
These are fine.
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>>2833258
"My friends, allies and generals. Events like my time attuning to the Arc and the surprise attack by the empire have conspired to delay what we should have begun immediately after the fall of Matriarch Quantac'Vrix," you begin, feeling their attention upon you, "Worlds of the dynasty are open to us and further delay will only allow the carrion eaters going after Quantac'Vrix's territory to cement their positions. Now is the time to extend our hands on the dynasty's worlds and close them into a fist against all opposition.

"Vle'Karak has proposed that the New Necrotic Armada begin seeking out targets of strategic importance in the domain of the former Matriarch Quantac'Vrix, with the goal of seizing as much territory from the Ahkam as possible before her sister's forces arrive. The Osjiic Empire have already made the first overtures leading into a larger assault in the Tura system while no doubt preparing other offensives," as you spoke holograms displaying the sector map as well as highlighting the various worlds of the Ahkam Dynasty and those of the Empire.

"Of course, I agree that we should take steps to usurp control of the sector, but I would like to hear your opinions and ideas before any hard plans are put into effect," you motion to the council gathered before you, "Please, share what advice you may have."

Ruscuv was the first to speak up with a cackle, "Aha! I knew I liked that serpent," she gives a small bow to Vle'Karak who uncertainly returns the gesture with a nod of his head as she continues, "I have already made my intentions to War known, Brother. I would gladly lead the vanguard to assault the Ahkam or Empire, wherever I am most needed."

"Speaking for the Lavafather who is listening in, the Obsidianborn fleets have been preparing for this invasion. Obsidianborn warships have proven remarkably effective against the Dynasty's Arc powered technology but susceptible to the Empires Void weaponry. They will assist with invading the Dynasty and fighting the Ahkam," Muic says, her image folding her arms across her chest, the hologram flickering with the heat distortion her Reforged form naturally produced, "The Lavafathers fleets are ready to launch at any moment, Lord Jadyk."

Rethak lifts a hand, drawing you attention before he spoke, "My Legion will provide what aid we can but these systems will be heavily populated and guarded. Our numbers are minuscule compared to the Reconstructed hordes."

"The Legion provides an invaluable service, Commander," Tlacex comments, "I witnessed as much during the Refuge campaign. I suspect your Legion will be immensely valuable with the aftermath of the first stages of the invasion, when we must deal with the civilian populations."

>cont
>>
>>2833649
"The Illuminator brings up a good point," Jor says and motions with his hand to bring up the Esat system where the daughters of Quantac'Vrix were solidifying their power, "Take this system for example. It is the homeworlds of the Esat people and populated by potentially trillions of living sentients. This won't be like invading a factory slave world like Kanda where it was built from the beginning of its occupation to deal with war. We must take care not to inflict too much damage against the civilians if we are planning to annex the Esat system and its peoples into the Necrotic Armada."

Vle'Karak nods his head and speaks up, "I personally would advise against harming the Esat too much. Part of my urgency for this invasion is because of the Esat themselves," his tongue flicks out as he spoke, glancing among the holograms standing in the grass field before him, "It is something of an open secret among the Dynasty that there is a growing dissident group, revolutionaries, among them. With the chaos of Quantac'Vrix's death, they will be preparing their own plans to liberate themselves. My advice would be to reach out to them before launching a full invasion of the system, they would be able to provide immense aid to our efforts. If we play this correctly, they may inspire the esat population to rise up in open revolt against the Ahkam still remaining. Whether or not they join the Armada would have to be assessed afterwards."

Lorgul was picking at his teeth with a claw before he spoke, "My advice is thus, Lord Jadyk. Send me and Jareth to ensure the Empire does not come to challenge the invasion. We would be a liability against the Ahkam so we will focus on making sure your invasion goes uninterrupted by them. We can also focus on driving them out of places like Tura or make their attempt at occupation much more difficult."

"I have no doubt the Empire will try to assault us again once they see us invading the Ahkam. They are loathe to let even the smallest advantage slip past," Jareth says, "We will be prepared for them."

"You know our role, Lord Jadyk," Eiton says, his large red eye swiveling in its socket toward you, "Predators hunt serpents so that is what we will do. Aim us and we will maim and bleed them, sow chaos and fear among them for the invasion."

"I myself am... excited to face combat once more, Lord Jadyk. The Ravager is waiting for it's chance to taste battle for the first time," Nekris says, an image of the Reconstructed Zaeen Behemoth that had slain him appearing in the hologram displays.

You look across them toward Valresko, "You have been silent, my Dominator. Conquest is the domain I crafted you for. What have you to say?"

>cont
>>
>>2833652
Valresko taps the chin of his smooth bone face as the others turn their gaze to him. He is silent for a minute of so as he processes the information before he speaks, "Our assault must be swift and terrible. Vle'Karak is correct. The longer we wait, the less time we have to secure our hold.

"First we must deploy more Eyegores to scout and observe every Ahkam territory we know of. I am sure with our prisoners and our allied Ahkam our intel can be fleshed out even further. Secondly, we must get in contact with these esat revolutionaries.

"I would suggest launching attacks against Tura, Rolan, and Orichalc by the next solar cycle. Send the Voidknight fleets to engage and disrupt the Empire's operations while the Predators and the Obsidianborn fleets lead the attacks against the Ahkam forces themselves," he starts talking faster and faster, the maps updating with his plans as fleet and troop movements are indicated.

"Once these attacks are underway and we gather enough actionable intel we send Lich Ruscuv and Illuminator Tlacex to launch the invasion of Esat itself alongside the Punishers/. With Lich Ruscuv piloting the Fury of the Wormstar, as she proved herself capable in the Arc Surge, to attack the fleets and orbital defenses. Illuminator Tlacex and Punishers Agona and Muic will be responsible for the ground invasion to secure strategic points such as military command or starports," Valresko turns to look at you across the way, "This is my assessment, Lord Jadyk."

Vle'Karak hisses in thought, his head swaying slightly as he mulls it over before speaking, "I would have to agree with the Dominator's plan, Lord Jadyk. It is a sound initial step, but the war is yours," he says with a bow of his head toward you.

"The lizard has a decent plan. I could support it," Ruscuv says with a nod to Valresko who merely glances her way silently.

Steepling your fingers before you as two clawtips tap against each other as you mull over this advice.

>Valresko and the rest of your Generals propose launching a wide scale assault with the goal of destabilizing the remaining Ahkam
>Voidknights will focus on distracting and driving off the Osjiic Empire during the campaign
>Vle'Karak says that securing the Esat system is vital to breaking the Ahkam Dynasty's hold upon the sector
>The Obsidianborn fleets are prepared and ready to launch from both Drakon and Bastion at your command

What shall the first step of the invasion be? Your Generals and allies have provided their advice but the Armada is yours to command and this decision could affect trillions of lives while shifting the power structure in the Curou sector
>Write-in
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>>2833656
The illuminator's plan is sound. Do it.
>>
>>2833656
>>2833690
I think you mean Valresko's plan but in any case everything here sounds pretty good.
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>>2833656
>Voidknights will focus on distracting and driving off the Osjiic Empire during the campaign
Doing this will force the Osjic to act, whether to clearly buff up specific defenses, or to retaliate in a cautious manner. Either way, we force them to move to a beat set by us. If they give us an opening, the Voidknights should strike, but not to get bogged down. If they retaliate in full force, which is unlikely, we will at least see it coming and will have yet to send the second wave of our Akham-invasion-fleet.
After that we should get in touch with the rebels cells, so that we can immediately give them a feed to the first wave of our assault, thereby emboldening them and the overall populace.
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>>2833656
Valresko's plan is a solid one, the only addition is that the Voidknights should focus on making multiple strikes along the border without getting bogged down like >>2833695 suggested
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>>2833656
"I crafted you well, my son," you say with a nod to Valresko, "Your strategy is sound and I give my blessings to set it in motion," you say, slamming your fist down on the armrest of your throne, a ripple of voidlight bursting at the impact.

As they salute you turn your gaze to Lorgul and Jareth, "Doing this will force the Empire to act, whether to fortify their worlds or to retaliate in a cautious manner. Either way, we force them to move to a beat set by us.

"I want you to focus on making multiple strikes along their border systems. If they give us an opening you shall strike but do not become bogged down in a protracted conflict. It is folly while the majority of our fleets will be occupied with the Dynasty systems," you say as Lorgul nods in agreement while you continue by looking to the rest of the assembled council.

"We should get into contact immediately with these rebel cells, search among the esat prisoners and citizens that have already joined us. They must know how to get in contact with them," you say, nodding to Nekris and Vle'Karak.

Commander Rethak gives a short cough even though as an Immortal he no longer had to breath, "I believe some among my Legion may be able to help infiltrate the populations in stealth Coffins. I will search for those viable for this, however some of them are either preparing for another operation or already deployed at Barqalan with the Arbiters."

"I trust your judgement, Commander. You know the Legion better than any other," you motion toward the osjiic Immortal who gives a salute in reply.

The plan so far
>First wave of invasion fleets composed of Reconstructed and Obsidianborn ships led by the Predators and Valresko launch simultaneous attacks on Tura, Rolan, and Orichalc systems
>At the same time deploy infiltration teams of the Necrolyte Legion to the Esat system to establish contact with the rebel cells to gain local intel and potential allies
>Fleets led by the Voidknights are sent to harass and raid the Osjiic Empires operations to disrupt them and prevent them from interrupting the invasion
>Second wave of invasion fleets composed of Reconstructed and Obsidianborn ships would commence against the Esat system once actionable intel is gained through the esat revolutionaries
>Ruscuv aboard the Fury of the Wormstar and Valresko will attempt to disrupt the Ahkam fleets while the Illuminator and Punishers will lead the ground invasion

Does this seem like an acceptable invasion plan?
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>>2833806
Everything sounds good across the board,
I vote yes.
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>>2833806
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>>2833806
Yes, but i would also think that we need some way to convince the revolutionaries the value of joining with us.....Maybe in our meetings with them, we can bring mindtap worms for their wounded? advertise it as a way to assist the injured as well as uncrackable communications.
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>>2833806
Sounds good
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>>2833806
Time for us to...expand our borders
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>>2833806
Sounds good. Do we intend to capture those initial 3 systems (Tura, Rolan, Orichalc)? Or do we harass them just to draw the Dynasty's eye thatwards, and then when the Esat invasion happens we recall all three to Esat as reinforcements?

I propose a flexible addition. Have either of the three initial attack fleets be the reinforcement to Esat, and the other two either:
-continue harassing/invading their respective systems
-provide reinforcements to Esat if neither systems are strategic enough
-retreat from their system into reinforcing another from the three, if something strategic/interesting were to happen in either of those initial three systems

Sounds good?
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>>2833806

All sounds good, but I would advise sending some of our Arc troops to support our Void troops. I'd rather have the...elemental advantage on the Osjic, rather than going for a match
>>
The masked never revealed the traitor did they.
We won, wheres the prize
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>>2833806
"Very well, I will leave the minute details to you, my Generals. I trust in your judgements and plots," you lift a hand and sickly green energy crackles across the chitin, "Go with my blessing, for you shall bring the light of my Truth to the people of the Dynasty and free them of the Serpents. Make me proud."

"To Death and Through it to Eternity," they intone together before their images began to flicker out.

With their parts in the battles to come arrayed before them they quickly set to motion. Across your controlled systems fleets begin mobilizing, many of the ships freshly repaired from the Arc Surge invasion. Cauldrons consuming resources and churning out the massive amounts of Reconstructed this invasion of your own would require.

Remaining behind however were the founding members of the Punisher, Predator, and Voidknight orders as well as Ruscuv. You look to them expectantly, "Was there other matters you wished to discuss?"

Lorgul and Nekris exchange glances and look to Agona but it was Lorgul that spoke first, "Lord Jadyk, we discussed this not long ago but is it not time we lifted our respective Disciples to become siblings in power?"

"You speak of the Void and Arc Disciples that regained their memories," you state more than question.

Nekris is the one who speaks next, one of his lesser hands resting on the hilt of his sword by habit, "Indeed we do, Lord Jadyk. I believe my Disciple has proven her worth despite her memories. She fought against a Deathshead, and prevailed, when she could have easily turned against us."

Agona was the one to speak next, drawing surprised looks from her brothers, "To put it bluntly, Lord Jadyk, to ensure our victory in this invasion it would be best to expand our three Orders."

You look toward her curiously, "Do you have a candidate for a third Punisher?"

She gives a short nod and with a motion of her hand a hologram appears before her image. It showed the scene aboard an Ahkam battleship, once the throne of an Ahkam which was shown with its decapitated head held aloft by the larger than normal stonestar hero that you recall from the invasion of Bastion.

"One of the Lavafathers greatest stonestar champions. They are ancient by their standards and a gifted warrior who has only survived this long due to their ability to swap bodyparts and organs with the Bastion wildlife. However, even with Cauldron tech supporting them and an affinity for our powered armors, they are reaching the end of their life.

"Muic and myself have both met with them and we can feel their strength. The Lavafather wishes that we Reconstruct and Reforge them into a third Punisher rather than making them an Immortal. The Lavafather says he hopes that this gesture will further serve to unite the people of Bastion with the Armada, by having a living legend like them become one of us," she says, surprising you further considering she was typically quite reserved with her words.

>cont
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>>2841647
"Sister Agona is correct. With these new Generals joining our ranks, this invasion will favor us even more. Eiton and the Disciple are upon the moon. I trust him to help you make her into a proper Predator," Nekris says, folding all four arms across his front.

Lorgul nods, "Just as well, Jareth and the Disciple are there as well, repairing the damage the Empire did to my Temple. I believe Jareth can make them into something befitting the legacy of Ghul, Lord Jadyk." You realize you were beginning to become impressed with Lorgul's growth. Once he was a bloodthirsty warrior only good for directing at your enemies when you needed them destroyed. Now you were starting to see the cold and calculating nature of your old ally in your first General.

Ruscuv, who had been silently observing this exchange, lets out her raspy chuckle and looks to you with an amused motion to her tendrils, "Your family wishes to grow, Brother. Will you let them?" she asks curiously while folding her hands together.

You feel her voice again, but this time it is silent, buzzing within your skull from where she stood in the Necromancer's spire <Can you trust these Disciples who regained their memories though? Can you trust something that you did not create?>

<I trust you, do I not?> you think back at her, unable to keep the curious suspicion from your thoughts <Do you have something to say to sway me from their Reconstruction? Some evidence of your suspicions? Do not think I missed your conversations concerning Valresko's origins.>

<Eavesdropping are we? Hah! Just tell yourself this, Brother. If they have regained their memories, but no other has? What does that mean? What makes these two, who asked for their Disciplehoods upon their deathbeds, rather than forcibly Reconstructed like the three children before us?> Her rasping chuckle buzzes in your skull.

Your three Generals, the first of your children created from the early days of your conquest, stand before you now, beseeching your blessing and aid to grow their ranks.

How should you proceed?
>Write-in

Now a reminder that Jor could feasibly help with all three should you decide to Reconstruct them. He's on Horizon's Drop and planning to travel to the Bastion system the next day(thread)
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>>2841652
>Why did they regain their memories
Masked bullshit, obviously
>Write in
We will personally assist the generals in their reconstructions. They are right that we will need the strength in the coming battles, and we cannot shy away from this potential danger forever. It is not inconceivable that they could desire reconstruction through their own free will with no ulterior motives - in fact, that's probably a good sign of the growing culture in our armada. If something goes horrifically wrong during the reconstruction or in the near future, we'll know for next time.
The fact that they kept their memories could even be a sign of some kind of benefit - it isn't necessarily evidence of some drawback.
>Jor
Can assist if he wants but buddy's on vacation, let's not force him too
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>>2841765
this works
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>>2841652
>Why did they regain their memories
<You might find some of the research being done by the think tanks equally intriguing, some reconstructed are developing signs of independent personalities. Perhaps the two are related somehow.>

Also supporting the this >>2841765 Write in with Jor supporting us.
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>>2841652
Turning away from Ruscuv, the entire telepathic exchange lasting only a fraction of a moment, you look back to your Generals. Tapping your claws together in thought you mull it over for a few seconds before giving a determined nod, "Very well. Before the sun rises on Iti'a'Ropku again there will be two more Generals among us and by the next night a third."

The three of them salute, thumping fist to chest and bowing their heads.

"Thank you, Father. Make them ferocious," Lorgul says before his image flickers out as he departs to prepare his fleets.

Nekris and Agona a well disperse so that only you and Ruscuv's image remained.

"Did we not ask, nay, beg the Wormstar to grant us the gift of undeath?" Ruscuv asks, "You may suspect me of attempting to undermine you, but know it is because I wish to keep you sharp and deadly, Brother Worm."

"I appreciate your affection, Sister Ape. As the Wormstar told us, we are as a Blade, cutting life from death," you reply, musing on the ancient lesson and Ruscuvs human origin.

Her mandibles twist wide in her grin as she gives a bow, "Now before I depart, Jadyk, I have a request."

"Oh?" You look to her curiously.

"Lend me some of your Necromancers. I shall teach them during these upcoming battles how to truly embrace War. There are several in your Legion I would take under my tutelage," she chuckles, her mandibles rasping, "You teach them how to Create. I shall teach them how to Unmake."

>Lich Ruscuv wishes to take Necromancer apprentices to instruct them during the upcoming Invasion
>She has a short list of Necromancers both from the Legion and Spire, the stonestar Klikli among them

Do you humor this wish?
>Y/N
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>>2841838
>Y
Our elementalists are combat personnel first and foremost
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>>2841838
>Y
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>>2841838
>Y
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>>2841838
"You have proclaimed yourself my Herald of War. I see no reason to deny you this plea. Take them and make them worthy of being your students. Teach them what made us so fear so long ago, Sister," you say, realizing you perhaps should have done this before. Under her tutelage you had no doubt they would become fearsome.

With another bow Ruscuv's tendrils twist excitedly, "I will try not to break them, I know you are attached to your toys, Brother," she cackles again before her image flickers out and you are left alone once more on top of the tower except for the lazy Drake coiled above on the spire.

>Necromancer Klikli and six other Necromancers have been selected by Ruscuv to learn from her during the invasion
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>>2841889
Floating above the storm wreathed planet the Coffin adjusts it's angle and begins to descend at an increasing speed. It's hull starts to glow with the reentry, it's paired Pilots guiding them down toward a patch in the storms that looked relatively calm. The shuttle jolts and rocks as it breaks into the atmosphere, shaking the passengers roughly but they held on tight, each secured firmly in their seats.

Within the cockpit and holding onto railings the Arc Disciple watches the viewscreens although with the intense sensations of the Arc-infused storms rapidly approaching they could have likely guided the ship blind. It was through these sensations that the winged Disciple guides the Pilots toward the least active areas.

They silently hoped this new prototype Coffin designed by both Think Tank and Mindvine would survive their trip down and back. It's dark chitin hull was iridescent, rippling with dark indigos and blues. Lightning rods bristled across it's form, making it resemble a stout, spined insectoid. The Disciple could feel the thrumming of the oversized Arc Condenser that served as it's engine and powersource, the designers having the belief that it would let striking bolts pass harmlessly through them.

As they rapidly approached the clouds, they offer a short prayer to Jadyk and the Wormstar that they were correct in their predictions.

Punching into the cloudcover the shuttle bucks at the fierce winds that started to buffet it, but unlike mundane storms there was very little moisture within. Already the Disciple could feel the fierce currents of the Arc racing around them, no doubt the Arcdancers in the cargo area could feel it as well as they whispered and offered their own prayers for protection.

Roll me 1d100 best of first 3 to attempt a safe landing
>>
Rolled 59 (1d100)

>>2841943
>>
Rolled 16 (1d100)

>>2841943
>>
Rolled 49 (1d100)

>>2841943
>>
Rolled 99 (1d100)

>>2841948
>>2841952
>>2841982
MEDIOCRE

>>2841943
WHAT COULD HAVE

BEEN
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>>2841943
There was a blinding light then, the Disciple feeling as if every molecule of their being was energized beyond anything they could have imagined, their eyesight registering a blank white. Then suddenly as it occurred it faded as the Arc bolt strikes one of the rods before arcing and leaping out another and back into the clouds.

The Coffin started to list and drift then as the Disciple shakes their head, their wings buzzing with the lingering energy as they recover. Clearing their mind they look to the Pilots and see them stunned, their bodies twitching lightly as small bolts of Arc energy crackle off them like overexcited static.

Reaching out their hand they touch one then the other on the shoulder, siphoning the crippling energy away as the Coffin starts to spin slowly as it falls.

The Pilots, to the credit of their design, shake themselves free of the paralysis and chirp out in alarm as they both struggle to regain control of the Coffin. Holoscreens flicker back on and systems are cycled before the engines flare with indigo light. It jolts and shakes violently once more but with the grav-thrusters and bursts of maneuvering jets the shuttle swerves then rights itself.

Dropping ever lower the clouds part suddenly and reveal the darkened landscape below. Unfortunately however it included the jagged peaks of a mountain range reaching up toward them.

The Pilots chatter in their wordless manner as they hurriedly plan for the sudden course changes as their hands fly across the hardlight and bone controls of the consoles they were fused into. Swerving and pulling up the Coffin avoid colliding with a cliff-side with only a minor scraping of stone against armored hull, the brief contact at their speed sending them spinning once more. However, an alert notifies them that one of the lightning rods had been snapped off.

Buzzing in a frightened anger the Disciple clings to it's railings as the Pilots struggle at the controls. They could hear both the living Arcdancer and Reconstructed passengers behind them shouting and yowling at the sudden turbulence.

Once more however the Pilots manage to wrest control back of the Coffin from gravity and momentum but not without skidding against another rocky surface that knocks an engine loose in its mounting. The Coffin starts to fly at an angle, the Pilots chirping in annoyance but the lights inside the shuttle flash a bright color, warning them of an approaching crashlanding.

Wishing they had chosen to secure themselves the Disciple braces as the viewscreens show the ground racing toward them while the Pilots work furiously at the controls.

>cont
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>>2842037
The shuttle vibrates violently as it hits the ground and bounces, skipping off the top of a dune of yellow sand. They travel at least a dozen meters in the air before they strike the sand once more but this time digging a furrow into the ground. They travel until they finally strike the base of another dune and come to a stop. The toxic sands slide down, covering the front half of the Coffin with the back end and damaged engine stuck out at an angle.

A few Gargoyles are the first to evacuate from the shuttle, shakily emerging and dizzy before they recover and launch themselves into the air.

Inside there is groaning from the living as they either reawaken or assess themselves for injury. The Disciple disentangles themself with the Pilots who were already beginning diagnostics and looking over alerts for damage reports.

Pushing themself into the cargo area they find the Arcdancers helping each other out of their constraints and picking themselves up. They were pleased to see they weren't injured beyond some bruising and cracked exoskeletons. The Arcdancers had been selected from the more promising members of their order and the Disciple hoped not to disappoint Nekris by getting any of them killed.

Likewise the Reconstructed they had brought along were mostly intact thanks to the Pilots skilled emergency landing.

The cargo doors creak then open, letting a swirl of the yellow sands to blow in on the cold, dry air. Stretching out their wings the Disciple lifts up and lands on top of the Coffin, their eyes scanning the landscape as the Arcdancers begin to emerge.

The landscape was similar to the last time an Arc wielder had walked the surface when Nekris had landed and discovered an ancient Confederate frigate filled with cyborg undead. Dunes of yellow sand stretched as far as they could see, broken by the jagged mountain range they had nearly crashed into and carved by rivers and lakes of toxic liquids.

However, now the skies were covered in clouds, casting the landscape into darkness broken only by the flashing light of bolts and distant glows on the horizon. The gargoyles ascend higher and higher, their keen vision allowing them to see far off in the distance while hoping their small frames would allow them to avoid the temperamental bolts of the storms.

Roll me 2d100 best of first 3 to scout the local area and to begin assessing and repairing the damage done to the Coffin
>>
Rolled 82, 15 = 97 (2d100)

>>2842039
Watch how a REAL MAN rolls.
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>>2842045
Ehh, alright.
>>
Rolled 79, 86 = 165 (2d100)

>>2842039
>>
Rolled 97, 21 = 118 (2d100)

>>2842039
>>
>>2842039
As the Reconstructed passengers offload themselves and various supplies a pair of Dirges float forth and begin pushing away the sand to uncover the Coffin. A demi-Think Tank begins scanning across the shuttle as more is uncovered, checking for damages. Already it could tell that most of the lightning rods had been snapped off in their crash. However a pair of them were soon found, warped and twisted, in the furrow they had dug with their crash, the demi-Think Tank judging them worthy of reattaching for when they needed to escape the planet and break through the storm cover once again.

Trolls push and pull large crates and supplies from the cargo bay and quickly set to assembling a pair of vehicles from the parts separated for ease of transport. Other Reconstructed were checking weaponry or helping with unearthing the Coffin. Others were already tending to repairs inside or assessing the state of one of the twin engines that had gotten knocked loose.

The Gargoyles overhead circle higher and higher as they scan the horizons. Their sight was naturally drawn to the brightest glow further along partway up the mountain range they had nearly crashed into. Arc bolts race up from the ground or back down from the heavens in a flashing cycle. As they focused they could see in those flashes of light the shapes of unnatural formations that radiated the indigo light of the Arc.

They had flown up to the top of the dune, their clawed feet sinking into the soft sand up to midshin but they hardly noticed. Waves of Arc energy dance through the air, the elementally infused undead feeling it's call like the plucking of the strings of their very being. This place was powerfully saturated with the energies, this they could tell just from being here.

A voice breaks their reverie, one of the Arcdancers, "Disciple, the Gargoyles have something."

Closing their eyes they let their mind fill with the Gargoyles composite sight, allowing them to see miles away to the rocky foothills of the mountain range. There, almost as if embedded in the stone, were the remains of what were unmistakably the wrecked ruins of both Ahkam and Obsidianborn warships.

"There's something else," the same voice says, a netu, "The Think Tank is receiving a signal, faint as it is. It's an Obsidianborn frequency that the storms blocked. It's a distress signal."

The Disciple clacks their mandibles as their wings start to thrum and lift them up. They hadn't expected this to become a rescue mission.

Status report
>The Coffin is damaged but not terribly so. The onboard Think Tank believe it will take half a day to enact repairs to make it flightworthy
>Gargoyles have spotted the crash site of both Ahkam and Obsidianborn warships
>Barely detected through the interference of the Arc storms the Think Tanks discovered an Obsidianborn distress signal coming from the wreckage

>cont
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>>2842175
Returning to the ground the esat derived Disciple sees the Reconstructed and finished assembling their vehicles. Two Chariots sat with empty seats waiting for their Arcdancer pilots, both hitched to trailers that were little more than modified hover-carts to transport the Reconstructed they were bringing with them as well as transport anything salvageable back to the Coffin.

Six Arcdancers took their seats as Arc-infused Reconstructed ranging from Vipers and Savages to Trolls and one of the Dirge statues no longer digging. Sand bursts away from the vehicles as their engines flare to life and they lift up on cushions of disturbed air, the Disciple standing on the side of one while holding onto the bars of the cockpit before giving a nod to the kesh driver. The Chariots lurch forward then begin picking up speed as they glide over the sands toward the wrecks.

The Disciple soon takes to the air, flying several meters above them and is soon joined by a handful of the Savages they superficially resembled. Silently they offer up another prayer, wishing for protection from the deadly Arc bolts they could see strike the surface in the distance with thunder constantly rumbling through the air.
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>>2842176
Sorry bout this folks, wanted to get more done today but gonna have to call it here for the moment.

Hoping to pick this up some more tomorrow afternoon when my insides feel less like a bunch of eels squirming around like that one scene in Annihilation. You know the one

Hope folks had fun at least, got big things planned
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>>2842212
Thanks for running, Graves. Glad it's back.
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>>2842212
Thanks for the run Graves. Nice to see DATS going again
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>>2842212
Thanks again.
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>>2842212
Thanks for the run Graves, Hope you feel better soon.
>>
A good run so far, we're showing our mean face. But we need to get Old Zekky in on this, he needs to feel what it's like to be part of the New Armarda.
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>>2845118
I mean, sure, but with our rolls I'm pretty certain he's counting the seconds until he gets a chance to betray us.




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