Your name is Shu…or it would be, if this particular tale was hers to tell.The world as anyone knew it is long gone, consumed from without by a ravenous being from beyond the stars. Humanity’s been reshaped into a vicious, feral thing by the Crucible, their bodies twisted into raging beasts of muscle and bone, voices and minds warped into tools of war. The Daughters—combatants elected by the Crucible to fight and devour their fellows to reach even the apex of hideous strength—are perhaps the lucky ones, granted the freedom of choice in a world where most humans, flora, and fauna have been melted down into a carpet of raw biomass that’s pulled taut across our world. Like every other wretched soul in existence, you feel the pull—gnawing at your bones, pulling every fiber of your being towards the tether between a mutilated earth and an alien sky. You call it the Cord, and it’s said that reaching its summit will grant the Crucible’s victor the power to reshape all that is into all that will be. A siren’s song, beckoning you to the end of all things… …but you’ll fight it, in your own way.In your own story, yet to be heard.(This brief interlude will serve to act as a stop-gap between Veins 49 and 50, and will allow you to explore the perspectives of characters both in and out of your party. In addition, this may also serve to ease both author and audience back into the swing of things after a long break, and for everyone to catch back up.)**** Previous Vein: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/5045064/ Archive: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Body%20Horror%20Quest Character Abilities: https://docs.google.com/spreadsheets/d/1p_asyKKcyCbQieAAXo1oogBucLtzSypx8-M9vqA96zE/edit#gid=1685687578 Trypophilic Hive, Ver. 3: https://pastebin.com/bUWG6TNF Relics, Ver. 7: https://pastebin.com/kHzW2hbd Dual Techs: https://pastebin.com/2jZ5Zhyx Character Profiles: https://pastebin.com/eL2zTZ4f Quest Fan Works: https://docs.google.com/document/u/0/d/1comL20X2jUrPO0p7QMdFinwAwdXHre2F9A5bdXif7_k/mobilebasic Twitter: https://twitter.com/bodyhorrorquest?lang=en
This is a tale braided with the narratives of thousands, but we’ll see fit to pluck and a few errant strands.There is power, in names. Titles. Epithets.Call yours out, and pluck the cord of past and future both.Your name is…>>…Paloma, when the news of Madame Yurei’s death and her intriguing killer meets your ears.>>…Yamato, a human warship adrift on a sea of churning acids and abyssal threats, set to encounter a surprisingly friendly face.>>…Ziz, soaring the skies of the Crucible after your meeting with Shu and reflecting on your siblings, your Creator, and the Daughters far below.>>…the Honorable Sir FuzzBuzz, grappling with the burdens of a growing mind and deepening heart.>>Write-In (Any playable Daughter, NPC, or fan-character is valid for this vote.)YOU ARE IN CONTROL
(Hello Dear Readers, and welcome back to the Quest. It’s very good to be back, and I look forward to hearing how your holidays went, one and all.)(Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume in four.)
>>5125916Good to have you back OP. I hope you are well and managed to recover from your illness>>5125918>>…the Honorable Sir FuzzBuzz, grappling with the burdens of a growing mind and deepening heart.lets meet the Bee and its perspective. He is so quiet and still so strong for our little Amara.>>5125920Holidays went well managed to finish up my Thousand Sons Army for the time being and went on to repaint my old Tyranids. My old flying Hive Tyrant is finally able to live up to his potential and no longer needs to languish with a bad paintjob. But now i am stuck at home. A colleague in the new department i started in on monday got sick with the Virus on friday and on monday evening someone else tested positiive so now i am in Quarantine.
>>5125918vote;>…the Honorable Sir FuzzBuzz, grappling with the burdens of a growing mind and deepening heart.good timing on this BHOP, was only up cause i had to feed the animals.>>5125920Vacation wasn't anything special overall, but i did get a puppy, which is always nice.otherwise i did discover a surprisingly spectacular "audiobook" fan series on youtube called 'Star Wars Vs Warhammer 40k' that has blown me away, especially if nothing else for how much better it is than such a boring title would make you think.
>>5125929is that the Series created by AFanWithTooMuchTime?His series is quite good though it can drag on quite a bit at some points..... The Librarian vs like half the jedi Masters comes to mind.
>>5125928(I'm glad your holidays went well, and it always boggles my mind how intricate the paint jobs can be.)(The Virus is no joke, so please stay safe and I hope you get the all-clear soon!)>>5125929(Congratulations on your new puppy, and I'll have to check that out on YouTube soon. I've been listening to podcasts and game retrospectives while cooking and doing housework, so I'll be sure to give it a try.)
>>5125931yeah him.amusingly, i agree that part dragged on a bit long, but he JUST ended it in yesterdays episode.>>5125936yeah they're a good listen if you can find the time. quick heads up if you do give it a go, the 'specials' inbetween some episodes, while still maybe skippable, are still actually sometimes important to the story so are worth listening to as he has them in the playlist order.
>>5125918>>…Ziz, soaring the skies of the Crucible after your meeting with Shu and reflecting on your siblings, your Creator, and the Daughters far below.Hey, BHOP. Glad we're back, I was missing this over the holidays. Nothing major to report from them, really. It's been pretty quiet. How about you, anything interesting happen in your life?>>5125928Oh, wow, I'm sorry to hear you're quarantining. Stay safe, anon.>>5125929What type of puppy did you get? Any specific breed, or just a mutt?
>>5125957seems to be mostly black lab, but probably a mutt.poor girl and her sister were found abandoned out in the countryside by a family friend (and oddly found on Christmas day of all things), so theres no real way to be sure what she fully is. mines also got a scar on her lip and a break in her tail where it was broken in the past, so the running theory is they were abandoned by a puppy mill after they didnt sell over the holidays, but thats just what we suspect over real proof.
>>5125961Well, that's sad, but I'm glad you're there to give her a home now. Poor puppy.,
>>5125961No animal deserves such a fate as being abandoned. Glad you are willing to give her a home. Take food care of her.>>5125957I got all my shots so i should be fine i hope. But it really blows for all the plans i had. Just started by players into a new Dungeon and now i need to transfer that into a webbased format.
>>5125983Yeah, that sucks. But at least you're vaccinated and safe. I'm glad to hear that. And hey, online roleplaying tools are versatile these days, so it's a hassle but should work fine.
>>5125918>>…Ziz, soaring the skies of the Crucible after your meeting with Shu and reflecting on your siblings, your Creator, and the Daughters far below.Happy new year, OP!
>>5125918There was a time, not too long ago, when your mind was little more than a constant hum. An endless buzzing, a sea of white noise that drowned out all thoughts save for the commands of your Creator.But then, there was a pulse. A steady rhythm, alien and frightening. With every beat of the heart your Creator placed in your shell, the droning din subsided, until a stark silence took its place.And you saw the world through eyes alight with thought.Your name is Sir FuzzBuzz, and while your fellows are led through a forest of jet-black trees towards some sort of fortress, you sit perched atop the Metall Geschoss’ warm barrel. Even its slow, ambling pace is enough to prompt a breeze to ruffle the bountiful mane your Creator’s blessed you with, and it’s from this vantage point that you keep a keen, multifaceted eye out for any possible threats to your Ward. True, your Creator (or Mother, in reality, but you imagine she’d likely take offense to that title) commands a legion of eyes and ears that buzz in the skies above, but your time among their number’s taught you the importance of keeping close watch on your allies, as well.And watch, you do—for ever since Creator Shu gifted you an ascended mind, you’ve seen her family grow and change almost as swiftly as you have. Rath’s boiling rage has been turned down to a simmer through sheer force of will, while Francine’s fear of her own personality evolves into an exploration of her own burgeoning self…an effort you can sympathize with, if not expressly communicate.But of all the members of your Creator’s brood, none have impressed you more than Amara. Her maturity has grown in leaps and bounds, to say nothing of her combat prowess. Of all the times she’s confided to you her fears of her own lack of strength, you can see as plain as day that she’s perhaps the strongest member of this brood, by far……though you admit that you might be *slightly* biased.Regardless of your own opinions, though, you know she has a ways to go in believing in herself. It’s what’s led her to sit next to your Creator at the back of the Geschoss, confiding her fears to her mother figure instead of you, this time. You’re no stranger to confessions—indeed, it seems as though your very existence is enough to prompt a stream of admissions, hopes, and dreams, unbidden. Perhaps it is by your very nature that you inspire such transparency. You are, after all, a being cut off from your Creator—a free agent, unbound from a human’s judgment and predispositions. Or maybe it’s something in the calm, self-assured air you project, a certain quiet dignity that prompts your fellows to hold you close and whisper their secrets to the one that lacks both the voice and will to spread them. Maybe it’s the fuzz.…Probably the fuzz, now that you think about it.(Continued)
>>5126162Re-adjusting your position on the turret, you wonder if serving as the outpouring of everyone’s thoughts served to deepen the complexity of your own ever-evolving mind. It’s a strange thing, really—to be separated from your Creator, when you and she now have so very much in common. Two beings, the span of your existences measured as but drops in the sea of history. Daily, new thoughts occur to you, and between their myriad musings come far more confusing motes of consciousness. Feeling like recollections, they are yet alien to you—sometimes it’s the echoes of faces you don’t quite recognize flitting over the faces of your brood, and other times it’s a sudden surge of emotions at the strangest of times. Not quite memories…not wholly alien, either. It’s a buzz of a different kind, a legion of voices that mutter back and forth, lacking rhyme’s reason.You wonder if your Creator’s mind buzzes in the same way.The Geschoss rumbles on as you pluck your train of through from the musings that would be endless, if you let them have their way. Six taloned legs click and clatter along the barrel’s length as the plates of your shell creak against one another, a much-needed stretch completed when your gossamer wings tentatively flap out against the idle breeze.For too many restless nights you’ve allowed your mind to wander aimlessly, the winding trails only serving to open further questions and anxieties. You’ve no room for those, if you’re to be what your brood requires…what *she* needs you to be.While your brethren keep watch in the skies above, you turn your focus to those that surround you. Your creator and Amara’s conversation appears to be dying down, and when your Ward’s delighted giggle reaches you, you’re certain it’s as much a relief for her as it is for you to know that her heart’s at ease, if just for a while. Nerada’s giggle joins Amara’s in time, though for a different reason; a newer swarmling dances and flips around the young girl, the thing’s calculated efforts to impress hitting their mark.You are, very pointedly, not jealous of his prodigious skills.Even still, intrusive thoughts pry and poke at the corners of your mind, and this simply won’t do. It’s been a while since you tried to tap into the hive-mind that you once belonged to, but perhaps that assuring hum might do your mind some good…though Marco’s always up for a talk, too. November’s last swarmling isn’t the biggest conversationalist, but brevity is the soul of wit, and he’s made you chuckle on more than one occasion.You just need something to quiet the hum of thoughts that don't belong to you.>>Soar high above, and try to tap back into the collective thoughts of your brother and sisters.>>Dive into the Geschoss and say hello to Marco.>>Flit on over to another member of your brood, and see if they have anything to share to get your mind off your own thoughts.>>Write-InSHE IS IN CONTROL
(Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume in approximately four. I do hope your Tuesday is going well, one and all.)>>5125957(I missed it too, and I'm glad to be back!)>>5126019(Happy New Year, and I hope it's a good one for you thus far!)>>5125961(I'm glad you found her, and that she's found a good home with people to love and care for her. That's awesome, friend.)
>>5126162Ah yes a slightly biased bee. Dont worry Sir Fuzzbuzz i for one forgive you that you can not appreciate the sheer awesome that is Rath.>>5126164>>Dive into the Geschoss and say hello to Marco.i am very interesting in Marcos sense of humorAlso can Sir Fuzzbuzz hear us? Is his fur such a good antenna array that he can tap into our conversation? or can he hear the Sea of Souls just beyond the Veil of the Dreamscape.>>5126167I found two Carnifexes that are in need of building and painting for over two years now.... All in all it was uneventful other than being quarantined. I tried out a new recipe for smashed potatoes with fish and dips
>>5126162>Maybe it’s the fuzz.>…Probably the fuzz, now that you think about it.It is absolutely the fuzz, man. It's what we named you for. Though it sounds like we need to take you more seriously as a conversationalist. If you're able to articulate these existential issues, we should talk with you more instead of leaving you just to Amara. A creator shouldn't neglect their creation.>>5126164>>Dive into the Geschoss and say hello to Marco.The rest of the swarm is working, best not to disturb them. Besides, they're not as smart and probably won't understand FuzzBuzz's quandary. Now, give them a week or two to mature with Thousand's Matron, and we'll see what sort of thoughts they can share. For now, let's hang out with a fellow Heart-enhanced swarmling. >>5126174I think it's probably him touching on the Nullscape, yeah. He must have inherited some of that from us.
>>5126164vote;>Dive into the Geschoss and say hello to Marco.>>5125968>>5125983>>5126167yeah, shame but people will be people. shes gonna be treated well, i can assure that.>>5126174if it is us, let us hope he never catches wind about certain things when we first 'met' Amara.
>>5126233>if it is us, let us hope he never catches wind about certain things when we first 'met' Amara.Come to think about it, does Amara know that her mom's girlfriend who she also loves in her own right and is loved in kind, once proposed eating her in her sleep? I'm not sure if Amara knows that. Whoo boy, that's an awkward secret to have.
>>5126255I... have no rightly idea. im sure the family could get through that, and im sure (at this point at lest) it wouldn't be a deliberate secret, but unless the two of them hammered that out on their own off screen we certainly i dont think ever had the time to talk to her ourself about that.though to be fair its probably something to leave to Gina to do regardless.
>>5126267Yeah, I don't think that Shu should force it or anything, but Gina probably should have that talk at some point. Let's trust her to find an appropriate time to bring it up, or to at least ask us for help if she can't.
>>5126164With a quick burst of your wings you pop right over to the Geschoss’ open hatch, a quick scramble bringing you into the belly of the rumbling beast and between the tank’s owner and her co-pilot.“Hey there, ‘lil buddy!” November chuckles upon your arrival. “Afraid there’s not much room up front, but you’re welcome to squeeze in.”You oblige, with Marco shifting slightly in his seat to allow you enough space to accomodate your considerable (yet fuzzy) bulk. Marco give you a slight, almost imperceptible nod, eight-fold eyes shining their trademark glint.“Sup, my most majestic of dudes?” He says, the sub-sonic greeting prompting you to respond in kind.“I am well, friend. And yourself?” You ask, and the human-sized construct gives a small shrug.“Won’t complain. Could, but I won’t.” He replies, reaching out to tap at one of the instruments with a single long talon. “Just gotta take all my cares and worries and solifuggadbout’it.”You laugh—a higher-pitched series of buzzes than your normal fare—despite the fact he’s made the same genus-based pun on more than one occasion.“For real, though…something’s up.”Marco’s statement goes beyond mere questioning, his beady eyes directed intently at your downy expression before he continues. “Those thoughts, again?”“...Indeed.” You admit with some reluctance. “They’ve been getting more intrusive. Are you quite sure you’ve never experienced something like this, friend?”“Nope.” He admits after a moment’s consideration, shifting his gaze to the road as he speaks. “You ‘an me, though? We’re pretty similar, in most respects. When November got rid of most of her, something snapped between us. I started thinking my own thoughts, but I can still hear hers. Not sure what’s about all that, but I think it’s kind of like when Shu slapped that heart in you to keep an eye on the little one. Cut us off from our source, lettin’ us grow into something different.”“True, but…aren’t you worried?”“About?”“...I…” You start, finding yourself in the rare predicament of being at a loss for words. “...About anything, really?”Another shrug, thenl “Biggest concerns I got are making sure I’m not catching any of our people when I’m shellin’ and figuring out where I need to be to spook whoever comes to visits November. Nothin’ like what you’ve been wrestlin’ with…and it looks like we’re comin’ up on our destination.”He nods, and you buzz up to the window to see a massive structure cresting over the hill, its bright blue and yellow exterior in stark contrast to the onyx woods and scarlet skies that frame it.“Ah, well…take it easy, friend.” You say, taking your leave for now.“I’ll take it sleazy, brother.” Marco fires back, a click of his mandibles paired with two of his limbs jabbing your way, an imitation of his creator’s finger-guns.(Continued)
>>5126500Your brood’s arrival at the Ikean Fortress' doorstep is a welcome one, though everything that comes after…that’s quite another story. The swarm’s thrown into a wild panic when Shu suddenly disappears, and you’re at Amara’s side the instant your Creator’s torn from this world, only for her to reemerge a short while later with terrible news. Only minutes later you’re with Amara and Nerada in the Fortress’ library, having not left your ward’s side for a moment since your Creator’s experience. Anxiety is writ large on Amara every move, her every expression—you’re proud that she found the courage to speak to your Creator about her fears, but doubts still plague her young mind. You snuggle up to her as well and as often as you can, but your frustrations grow at not being able to dispel her worries in their entirety. Your Creator did her best, but……you wonder if she notices how her swarm betrays her emotions, the rhythm of their wingbeats or the clicking of their shells a clear sign of her trains of thought…though perhaps it's only obvious to you, since you were once counted among their number. A few errant members of her swarm flit idly about the library as you and your ward wander its labyrinthine halls, but they all show the same signs of worry, the same tension that burdens their mistress’ shoulders. Too many tasks for a taskmaster pulled in too many directions.You wish there was something you could do to help.It’s in the company of Amara's peer that your ward begins to slowly relax, Nerada’s calm line of questioning keeping her mind off recent events…something you’re helpless to do, despite your gifts.An inordinate frustration begins to grow within your shell, the very chitin of your body almost feeling too tight, the air too heavy to flap your wings with any level of comfort. For a fleeting moment you wonder if your Creator’s worries are echoing in you, but you dispel the notion…no, these feelings are very much your own. A nervous, irritable energy that demands an outlet, and considering that a mission is likely on the horizon you need to get rid of this feeling, and fast.>>Maye some alone time would help clear your head—explore the curiosities of the merchant’s floor.>>Find Rath, and prompt her to chase you—it’s a favorite pastime of hers, at least when she thinks no-one’s watching.>>Meditate a while beside your ward and her new friend—they seem immersed in the sharing of memes, after all.>>Write-InSHE IS IN CONTROL
(Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume at 10AM Eastern time tomorrow. Thank you all for your patience with this longer-than-expected break, and I wish you a good and restful evening.)
>>5126500>“Sup, my most majestic of dudes?” im not sure why i laughed so hard at this, but well played you eight legged guy-dude.>>5126506vote;>Meditate a while beside your ward and her new friend—they seem immersed in the sharing of memes, after all.though im tempted to pick the Rath one, and cant help but laugh at that image aswell. i have a feeling some things would need to be repaired due to melt damage if anyone ever caught her in that.>>5126507hey, the holidays are busy and then things sometimes just suck. glad you were able to make it back in relative short order though. have a good afternoon yourself.
>>5126500Man, these are far more cogent thoughts and ideas they're communicating than I was expecting. We got to treat Sir FuzzBuzz and Marco with more respect, they've clearly reached the level of "person" and not "smart mascot". Though I will never abandon cooing over how adorable they are. Sorry, guys, you're just going to have to take that hit to your dignity. >figuring out where I need to be to spook whoever comes to visits NovemberMarco, you scamp! And here I thought you just liked to stick close to people and spooked them by accident. Let's hope he never learns to use the Skinternet, he would absolutely post "scary camel spider" memes.>>5126506>>Maye some alone time would help clear your head—explore the curiosities of the merchant’s floor.What does Sir FuzzBuzz think of the various shops? I think he could enjoy himself doing that. And Sir FuzzBuzz browsing wares and expressing opinions on them could help him feel a bit more grounded in himself.
>>5126529that brings up a good question. how use are people to just seeing swarmlings just wandering around without an owner, or them paying for goods (presumably on their owners behalf as part of an errand)? i'd imagine its not an unknown occurrence but i could also see it as something not necessarily regulated by rules but by social convention. here and there sure, but all the time? that starts to feel informal and depending on the number and level of complex commands the specific swarmlings can commit to, highly annoying. plus imagine having to wait in line behind a small slug, or worse, getting into an argument cause you didn't see it in the line.that said, the image of sir Fuzzbuzz slamming down a glob of honey to pay for something while just silently staring at the shop owner hoping she can understand what he wants is an amusing mental image.
>>5126563I figure it's something semi-common, but socially constrained to the "cute" constructs. The sort of thing that people don't worry is going to be a danger, even if in practice there's no real connection between appearance and potential threat. It's neat to see someone's adorable little bee friend wandering around examining the shops, novel enough that any annoyance it might cause is overwhelmed, but you wouldn't give that sort of leeway to a giant floating eyeball. There's probably also a different level of acceptance for constructs that are acting on their own volition and constructs that are following orders. People would get exasperated with Shu sending swarmlings around to do tasks for her, but Sir FuzzBuzz wandering around looking at the sites is clearly his own agent. No more worth getting upset about than any other weirdly-shaped person in the Fleshscape. Also, yes, FuzzBuzz paying with honey sounds adorable. Or wax, he's got plenty of wax. He could barter with his own home-made candles.
>>5126640>Amara stops tracking Sir Fuzzbuzz for all of 5 seconds.>suddenly finds him running a candle business in the shopping district.
>>5126668Slowly the quest will pivot to a quirky slice of life story about a sapient bee running a small business.
>>5126668>>5126687(The BHQ sequel Quest is just FuzzBuzz Candle Tycoon.)
(Also, unless any other votes are posted in the next ten minutes, the choice of next update's path will come down to a coin toss.)
>>5126500Taking a page out of your creator’s book, with one last look towards your ward as she excitedly shares her bounty of memes (even as Nerada’s eyes start to glaze over), you take flight to the open air of the Fortress’ heart. The vastness of the space takes you aback as you try and get your bearings in the center of the complex, having been content to hover close to your brood up to this point.Ultimately, with no appetite to appease on the second floor nor any sense of schadenfreude drawing you to witness the fights on the fifth, you find yourself drifting in lazy circles down to the merchants on the ground floor. Sight, sound, and color form a cacophony that serves as a bright echo of the white noise you once enjoyed in your time among your siblings……enjoy.A bitter sort of irony, that. It was a simpler time. No doubts to cloud your mind, or lack thereof. No fears, no doubt, no longing—just the cold, clear, infallible command of the Creator. It was only when your eyes were opened that you realized just how fragile she really is, a fact that only made her resolve all the more admirable, once you understood what she grappled with daily.‘Ignorance is bliss’...a phrase that rings with the same odd familiarity as the laugh of people you’ve only just met, or the sudden, inexplicable sadness and sense of loss you’ve felt when looking at Amara, or even—more bafflingly—Nerada. It’s at the latter feeling, strange and unbidden, that you’ve grappled with the overwhelming temptation to open a line of communication to your Creator. You’ve felt its pulls, before…you feel that it can be opened again, if you were to try and pry that path open once more.It’s something you’ve considered before, of course. Marco has, too…something he first confided to you during one of November and Francine’s long, winding conversations. You and he arrived at the same conclusion, after much independent deliberation—for him, the revelation of his expanded consciousness would just complicate things for November, make her think twice about leaving him in the tank in the middle of combat. She hesitates more than anyone realizes, Marco told you not too long ago. Heather Neeson’s a soldier of the highest caliber, but she’s found something she thought she lost long ago…and the thought of losing it has rendered her a paradox of trepidation and decisiveness.“Me staying quiet means I'm one less thing she’s gotta worry about.” He said, a sad smirk in the way his words took shape in your mind. You’re inclined to agree, for slightly different reasons.(Continued)
>>5127690Your Creator…Shu…is a woman who’s taken utmost care in loving those around her. Family, friends, her foes—a sentient gun, even—to her, it matters not. To all that and more she’s extended courtesy, kindness, and a patient ear. She’s a woman so many revere as a messiah, but who’s simply a human trying her best to be a decent person in a world that demands the death of reason and kindness. There’s no end of Daughters and Amalgams who are vying for her focus and time. If she knew the extent to which your mind has grown, the complexities of your emotions, you know for a fact that Shu would take the time to know you. To understand, empathize, and care. To take her precious time, and spend it on you.And that is why she must never know.Ever.…and certainly not Amara, either. You adore your ward to the moon and back, but the moment she caught even the slightest hint of your intellect is the moment it would echo from the walls of the Dragon’s Roost. She is a brave, incredible little girl…and only a fool would trust her with a secret.You know this, and you love her for it.“See anything you like, cutie?”The question’s brought to life by a high, lilting voice, the pleasant sound pulling you out of your reverie. It’s only now, brought to your senses and with the comforting chaos of the area washing over you once more, that you realize you’d been wandering the vendors’ stalls only to pause in front of one. Staring at you is a woman with strawberry blonde hair, the strands of which make up nearly half of her body, her left arm and most of her torso a tightly-braided and intricately-patterned quilt of fiber. She blinks at you with a smile, the eye that’s surrounded by flaxen thread closing and opening a half-second behind the one set in genuine flesh. While she’s significantly older than your Creator—nearly double, if you were to give it your best guess—she’s possessed of that sort of timeless charm that reminds you of-A hundred memories flood your periphery, your wings faltering under the weight of the intrusion before you get a grip. You fight to focus on the here and now as the shopkeep bemusedly cocks one eyebrow, her good-natured smile held in place as you try to figure out what had entranced you, so.Your compound vision is filled with dozens of shawls, scarves, and other obviously hand-made accessories, with the one that caught your eye a dazzlingly dapper ascot, its alternating stripes of black, white and gold bringing to mind the elegance of-Oh, it looks like you.…well, this is slightly embarrassing.(Continued)
>>5127691“Heh, you like it? Made this little beauty the same as all the others, here; by myself, from myself!” She snickers, running the fingers of her flesh-and-bone hand along the scarf’s length before a strange bleat from somewhere deep within the stall turns her chuckle into a laugh. “Okay, it’s not ALL from me. Rupert here helps, too…when he’s not being a stubborn ‘lil git.”The accomplice in question scuttle-stomps forwards at the mention of his name, the stall’s shadows casting the half-mammal, half-insect creature in an unnerving light. A too-long deer stands before you, front end held up by six multi-jointed legs, while the dozens of others are misshapen shadows of those three pairs, each one struggling to hold the fuzzy, yet chitinous segments they belong to aloft. Eyes like yours stare out of the sockets of a chimeric head—sheep and deer are the first animals to come to mind, yet with its antlers of gnarled chitin and jagged thorns neither descriptor wholly fits the thing before you, content as it is to remain a typically inscrutable-“Amalgam, s'what Rupert is. An old friend and good company!” The woman declares, scratching along a shock of floofy hair that runs the length of the creature’s insectile body. “Won’t hurt you none, so long as you don’t try’an take his fur without asking.”It’s one thing for a construct to wander about, here…indeed, your Creator’s only allowing her swarm to venture out after noticing other Hive Mistresses doing the same. But this—’Rupert’—is something else entirely.“You seem an enterprising sort! Camilla would’ve taken a shine to you, I'm sure.” The woman says with a smile as she pats Rupert’s misshapen head, taking care not to snag her cloth hand on the sharper bits of chitin that make up his trio of twisted antlers. “So, if you see anything you like, it’ll be half off.”Rupert issues an odd little series of clicks, and the woman cocks an eyebrow in surprise, this time.“Free? Okay, one's on the house, then! Rupert’s feelin’ generous!” She laughs as her companion just stares at you, the same inexpressive gaze trained on you as you likely have trained on him, in turn.Well, you couldn’t very well fly up to your ward or your Creator with an obvious gift, but you might be able to sneak it to……who, exactly?And why is this woman even extending the offer in the first place? Is it not utterly obvious that you’re a Construct?In any case, she’s looking at you expectantly…>>Well, if the offer’s open…(Describe a scarf that you’ll bring to a recipient of your choice some time during the next Vein).>>You don’t want to take advantage of this woman’s…or Rupert’s…generosity, so politely take your leave and explore the stalls a bit more.>>Sidle up to the woman and see if she can understand you…or if she just assumes you’re some sort of corrupted Daughter.>>Write-InSHE IS IN CONTROL
(Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume in approximately four. I do hope your day is going well, and that your week is progressing smoothly.)
>>5127691You are a great and proud be Sir Fuzzbuzz! No need to be emberassed because people want to replicate your likeness to come closer to perfection.>>5127692Wow.... an Amalgam being part of a shop. Every day is full of surprises. >>Sidle up to the woman and see if she can understand you…or if she just assumes you’re some sort of corrupted Daughter.>>If she can not understand you get a nice scarf of a checkered green and yellow coloration to Marco so he can give November a little present.>>5127694just finised work not to long ago and started painting a couple monsters and some heavier infantry.Also a Stonecrusher Carnifex. Pretty overpriced to play with but a nice model. His painting is a bit less intricate than the hive Tyrant because i wanted to get him painted and not spend like four extra hours in addition to the one i already spent on him
>>5127692>Sidle up to the woman and see if she can understand you…or if she just assumes you’re some sort of corrupted Daughter.>Well, if the offer’s open, try getting Rath something with cool colors, but stark lines. something that nicely contrasts with her natural hot colors. you can use a later chase as an excuse to have 'stumbled upon it' or something.
>>5127692>>Sidle up to the woman and see if she can understand you…or if she just assumes you’re some sort of corrupted Daughter.If she can't or of the conversation isn't too long then...>>Well, if the offer’s open… Creator deserves gifts as much as anyone else, if not more so. After all, has she not given Sir Fuzzbuzz the greatest gift of all? (somebody have any idea on colouring of a scarf for Shu? My fashion sense is terrible, I don't trust myself to pick something that loogs good.)
>>5127746I would say something that contrasts with her mutations. So maybe something in orange. or something to remind her of Gina with violett.
>>5127690>>5127691Oh, FuzzBuzz, you're making me sad. You don't have to stay quiet to keep from taking up our time. Especially if you eased us into it. Like, if you went "hi, I've been a fully-developed sapient mind for a while, let's hang out" we'd want to take time to get to know you. But if you just subtly show signs of intelligence over time we'd take it in stride and not let it get in our way as we rolled "treat Sir FuzzBuzz like a person" as part of our normal.>>5127692Wow, this woman has befriended an Amalgam? I mean, we have too, but it's still impressive to see one just hanging around. Rupert, you seem like an interesting chap, and I'd like to get to know you.Supporting >>5127722I'd like to get Shu a red scarf, so that with her black and green carapace she winds up looking like a Kamen Rider. But she's also commissioned that necklace from Aimee, and it would just be too much visual clutter around her neck taken together. So let's get Rath something nice.
>>5127692Sidling up to the shopkeeper, you brush by her hand as you make a show of inspecting her wares, weighing whether you should take her up on her—or rather, Rupert’s—offer. You assume she’s a Fibromancer/Artisan hybrid, though from your own experience Skintalking and neuromancy rarely show their hands so flagrantly. Perhaps she’s just quirky, or maybe she assumes you to be a Daughter with a particularly potent brand of corruption.In either case, you find your focus drifting to who exactly you’d gift your free accessory to. Amara’s the obvious choice, but your Creator would undoubtedly appreciate the surprise. But she might put two and two together, so maybe Marco or Rath would be a better-“Hello.”You instinctively turn to the shopkeep at the greeting before you realize who’s speaking. Turning to the amalgam, his eyes glitter at you from the shadows, the shadow of a goat’s pupil shining in the waning light.“Did…are you talking? To me?” You ask, feeling the absurdity of the question the moment it’s uttered.“Yes. You understand. This is good.” The amalgam utters, satisfaction evident in his tone. “You are like me. I thought this. And it is true.”“Are you a Skintalker?” You ask, bewildered. “Or did you consume a-““No. I am simply old. An Amalgam. ” He clarifies, six main legs folding beneath him as he nods to a well-worn pillow beside him. You are young. Once construct, now something new. Both of us. Similar.”“I…how are we doing this? How are you talking to me in this way?” You politely, yet firmly demand. “We’re talking in thoughtform, like with Mar-…with other swarmlings.”“I said. We are similar. Please. Relax.” Rupert repeats, patting the seat next to him with a single distended hoof, reminding you of his standing (or sitting) offer. You reluctantly oblige, partly out of courtesy but mostly to understand what this being is getting at.“I am a construct, and you are an amalgam. When you say we are similar, what do you mean?”“Crucible reduced all to dust. Made things from it. Made Daughters. Made Amalgams. Both make constructs.” He explains in a quiet, meandering tone. “All are one. Barriers break. Definitions waver. We are the same.”“How do you know this?”“No ‘knowing’. Only theory…and not mine.” He replies softly, staring up at the scarves on display. “Camila was a friend. Skintalker. I attacked her and her ally. She asked what I wanted. I understood. As you understand me. I followed. We talked more. Shared ideas. Experiences.”He looks down at you once you finally settle in to the surprisingly comfortable pillow, misshapen eyes fixed upon you with a curious glint.“Tell me…”“…what is your experience, friend?”>>…Tell him about your intrusive thoughts.>>Confide your fears about showing you Creator your true self.>>Ask him more about his experiences, first.>>Write-InSHE IS IN CONTROL
(Voting shall remain open for the next two hours, with posting to resume in three.)
>>5127931>>"An experience for an experience? I think that would sound fair">>…Tell him about your intrusive thoughts and ask him to share his own experiences whenever you told him something.Storytime
>>5127931this whole things feels like peering behind some veil i didnt even really expect to be there in the first place.as for the vote, hrm. all three are good, though i do think it would be polite to offer him something first for being willing to hear us out and such.vote;>…Tell him about your intrusive thoughts.Feel like the second one is best saved for once we get to know someone a bit more.
>>5127931>>…Tell him about your intrusive thoughts.Weird idea that just popped into my head: What if the intrusive thoughts that Sir FuzzBuzz is experiencing are coming from the other FuzzBuzzes? Like Rupert just said, definitions aren't solid in the Crucible. Maybe the fact that we treat "FuzzBuzz" as a single shared identity among all the constructs is causing bleedover between them, and it's just Sir FuzzBuzz who's smart and individual enough to feel existential worry over it.
>>5125916Good to have you back Bhop.The holidays felt empty to me. The existential dread's back. And yet, I can't help but feel a certain connection. Cradleton's saga has sputtered out in the absence of new stimuli but it seems that the muse resurrects herself in your presence. Perhaps you are the muse itself?Mili's released the full version of "In Hell we Live, Lament!" And by god the lyrics fits so so much.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=XfTWgMgknpYHave a monster santa!>>5127931>An experience for an experience? I think that would sound fair."Man, I would never expect to see an interlude with FuzzBuzz giving me some insight into construct and amalgam perspectives in the world of the crucible. This will help me with grappling with some of the issues that Cradleton tackles.
>>5128026(I'm glad to be back and have you here as well, and I do hope you're able to work on Cradleton to your satisfaction. The holidays always end up hitting me with seasonal depression something fierce, so I understand the emptiness that comes with it. )(I've been listening to that song a lot! It's a superb fit, and I have it on loop a lot when I'm concepting for the quest.)(I'm glad you're back, and I wish you luck with your writing!)
>>5127931“An experience for an experience? I think that would sound fair.” You declare, prompting a solemn nod from your compatriot.“Fair. Yes.” Rupert agrees, settling a little closer to you as the shop keeper regards the two of you with an amused smirk before a potential customer draws her attentions away. “May I start?”“Of course.” You concede, in no great rush to confess your fears to a largely unknown entity.“I existed since the Crucible’s start. But my eyes were closed. It was not long after I woke. I was found by two Daughters. Good friends. Camila and Marchesa.” The amalgam begins, a subtle nod towards the shopkeep revealing the older woman’s name. “As I said—I fought. They spoke. I listened. Then, we traveled.”“…For how long, until you came here?” It takes a gentle bit of prompting from you to make Rupert continue his tale, as his mind seemed to drift a bit.“Half a year. But it was two months ago.” He says, and before you can ask for clarification, he adds; “When Camila died.”“I’m…you have my condolences.” You say, at a loss for what else that could to say to comfort someone you barely know.“She ran to help a settlement. It was being attacked by the Waystation’s Guardian. She commanded me to take Marchesa. The two of us were to help the fleeing survivors. We could not recover her remains.” He explains softly, his voice wistful, but not sorrowful. Accepting, if you had to put a word to how he sounds, in this moment. “Marchesa and I came here. Have been here, for two months. She does not understand me. But she is kind. That is all that matters, I think.”A pause, and then, as he look to you once more; “What of you, friend?”…’Friend?’ A bit of a bold assumption, but you appreciate the amalgam’s manners, all the same. As you begin to recount your travels up to this point, you find yourself stumbling over your own narrative. Not for any lack of memory, but for the simple fact that you’ve never retold it, before…and the more you recount, the more another factor begins to rear its head once more.“Is something wrong?” Rupert asks, head tilting to one side as his antlers twitch of their own accord.“Yes, it’s just…” You hesitate a moment, before steeling your resolve to address the topic at the forefront of your worries. “…for a while since I ‘woke up’, as you say, I keep having these thoughts. These intrusive things that feel like they don’t belong to me. I don’t know what to call them except-““Memories.”Startled, you meet the amalgam’s eyes to find them wide, their odd pupils dilated a shining bright.“…yes. Memories.” You relent, shifting on the pillow to face your host completely. “Have you had the same issues?”(Continued)
>>5128176“Issues?” Rupert echoes, mulling over your question for a moment before continuing. “I would not call them that. But they come to you at odd times. Emotions you can’t quite place. But they feel like things you’ve felt before. Before you could have had any context to them. I this how these ‘memories’ feel?”“…It is.”“Then we have felt the same things. I still feel them. Often. Though they do not trouble me as they once did.” He murmurs, intrigued in the face of your frustrations.“How did you manage them?” You demand, your tone more desperate than you’d intended.“It is more that I sought to understand them.” Rupert calmly counters. “I spoke to Camila about it. She always had theories. When I told her, she came up with another one. As I said before. We are all made from that which once was. Flora. Fauna. Humans. They we melted down, and turned into Daughters. Amalgams. Constructs. She said, ‘it only makes sense that if you let things sit around for long enough, the stronger bits would start to sift out.’”You shift in your seat on the troubling implications of Rupert’s words…all the more disconcerting with how much sense they make. Your heart’s accelerated the evolution of a distinct mind, but you’ve been active for far longer than a typical construct has any right to. While saying that these intrusions are uncomfortable is an understatement, Rupert’s hypothesis puts their nature in a new light…though you certainly have no end of agile minds at the ready to help you solve this issue, if you were so inclined. Francine could certainly be trusted to keep a secret, though the prospect of igniting her curiosity isn’t one you relish, particularly where your consciousness is concerned.You stare past him and up at Marchesa’s wares as you ponder what to do about all this. Maybe you’re being optimistic, but it feels like a solution is just within reach…>>If running from these thoughts are leading you in circles, maybe confronting them in solitude could help.>>Continue speaking with Rupert about the issue, and see if you can’t drag some more helpful information out of him regarding how he’s dealt with these thoughts.>>Try to find Francine in the Ikean Fortress, and speak to her for the first time…it’s a risk, but she might be able to help you like she helped Shu be rid of Sam.>>Thank Rupert for his time before taking him up on his offer of a free accessory before you take your leave…with this new perspective, you need to mull all this over a bit more as you explore the Fortress.>>Write-InSHE IS IN CONTROL
(Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume tomorrow morning at 10AM, Eastern time. Thank you all for your time and participation, and I wish you a good and restful evening.)
>>5128179vote;>Thank Rupert for his time before taking him up on his offer of a free accessory before you take your leave…with this new perspective, you need to mull all this over a bit more as you explore the Fortress.interesting. i actually was mulling over if it was something akin to that, though in a less chaotic way. honestly though, it certainly brings about alot of questions about... well, many things. if we just go by the ol 'memory is a pattern of neurons firing off' it brings up ALOT of questions about just what the Crucibles biomass actually is and is capable of, even compared to before. if we go off a more 'soul' idea (which now isnt all that impossible for sure), it still brings up alot of questions about the connection between ones flesh and soul, among other things. also, the second one makes the crucible situation like, a billion times more horrifying with its implications.>>5128180take care.
>>5128179I think I will sit this vote out, because I am not sure what to vote for and really have to go to sleep since I will be getting up to go to work in about five hours.Nonetheless, I wanted to tell you that I am very happy that this story is back up again and I can participate.Also, if I understand the implications of what was just revealed about biomass, then it just got even creepier. I have no idea how you keep doing this, but every time I think it can't get any worse, you find a way to make the Crucible situation more horrifying. I love it. Good job.
>>5128176>She ran to help a settlement. It was being attacked by the Waystation’s Guardian. She commanded me to take Marchesa. The two of us were to help the fleeing survivors. We could not recover her remains.Yeah, the town we saw Charon attack had them bury the remains. Not sure if that was the same town or not, but I guess it was Charon's orders when they were still geased.>>5128179That was the explanation for why the Pyre Ants started evolving counter to the normal rules of the Crucible, wasn't it? That some remnant patterns from humanity wound up in their structure and let them develop sapience. I guess it's a more common occurrence than we thought. Also, and this is just occurring to me now, that's what we are, isn't it? The audience, I mean. I remember way back when, Sam made a comment about a bunch of voices buzzing around Shu's thoughts with the implication that it was us. We're that same sort of remnant pattern that the Pyre Ants and Rupert and Sir FuzzBuzz (and I think Dryad, too, but I'm less certain there) have, only in Shu instead of an Amalgam or Construct. >>Thank Rupert for his time before taking him up on his offer of a free accessory before you take your leave…with this new perspective, you need to mull all this over a bit more as you explore the Fortress.>>Write-In>Also ask Rupert if he'd like to talk again sometime, since he seems like an interesting chap.I'm not sure cutting us off from them would work, these imprints are already inside Sir FuzzBuzz. And it seems like Rupert doesn't want to dwell on this too much. So let's thank Rupert for his counsel and keep wandering until we come to a solution. Though I do want Sir FuzzBuzz to become friends with him, so let's also do that. Maybe we can bring Marco to talk to him, too. Just a bee, a camel spider, and a literal stag beetle hanging out in the post-apocalyptic shell of an Ikea that's been turned into a biomechanical community center. You know, like you do.>>5128180Thanks for running, BHOP.
>>5128239>Also, and this is just occurring to me now, that's what we are, isn't it? The audience, I mean.it would make sense yeah. she was basically an 'empty vessel' so the echo of those remnants would probably have a place there. would explain hers and similar situations unique personalities. its just a mix of environment and remnants mushing together.
>>5128210(always a pleasure to disturb.)
>>5128210(Also, I hope you rest well, and I'm glad you're able to participate!)
>>5128180>Scoville's Cosmic Vengeance (consumable, 1 use): A simple vial full of glowing red powder. The powder menaces with stellar culinary heat. Humoral eyes water uncontrollably, gluttonous tongues retract in primal terror. Even the bioformed terrain shivers in cold-sweat in the presence of this pungent substance. Those exposed to the powder via eye direct contact or inhalation with the powder, suffer a blindness debuff and a stack of Neuromancy damage which increases in severity over the course of three turns. If ingested, all gluttonous abilities are immediately nullified over the course of 3 turns unless cleansed by other means. All terrain that come into contact with the powder become uncontrollable and hazardous for 3 turns. This relic may be used as a throw-able bomb that creates an AoE cloud of powder, or applied safely to calcite or non-organic materials as an enchantment that deals stacks of SPICINESS for the duration of combat. When used for Consumption, the abilities of those with post-mortem abilities will find themselves hampered by the spice in exchange for the consumer gaining less potent benefits and abilities. For safety of all Crucibles, all iterations of Scoville's Cosmic Vengeance produced and naturally found are heavily diluted. This is a play off the trope "Too spicy for Yog Sothoth". Of course there will definitely be some spice enthusiasts who will apply this on their meals.
>>5128539Sounds delicious. I like the post-morten ability nullifcation, it makes me think of how spicy food was originally adopted by humans to deal with food-borne parasites. Burn out all the things that would try to eat you from within.
>>5128561When I mean by "hampering" post-mortem abilities, I don't mean "nullify", but instead increase the difficulty for their activation and such. >>5128180I've got another one. >Porccubus Prankster (T-1/2 Relic): An ordinary pocket-sized Cactus plant. It sports a red desert flower that frames a pair of beady eyes, and giggles with mischief, its prickly spines menaces with painful retribution to would-be thieves and pickpockets. The cactus spines refuse to give the owner of this this prickly potted plant discomfort. Unless given consent by the owner, everyone else is fair game. Any attempt to grab or steal any item or possession from this relic's owner would instead grab the Porccubus, suffering immediate minor piercing damage on top of SEVERE Neuromancy damage. Attempts to steal items from this relic's owner via stealth or misdirection must clear a difficult constitution check where upon failure, automatically reveal themselves and lose initiative with a painful Yelp.
>>5128575>When I mean by "hampering" post-mortem abilities, I don't mean "nullify", but instead increase the difficulty for their activation and such.No, I got it, I just had poor word choice.And the Porccubus Prankster is fun. We could probably do with some of those, in case someone like Nerada tries to pull some Pilferer's Palm shit again.
>>5128539>>5128575just reading these while half awake after a night of barely restful sleep has given me an idea or two for my own relics. But i do need help putting them into a category.>Universal Food Delivery App(consumable); A block made from calcite with weird writing on it that sparks weirdly and just looks and smells like it was made from cheap plastic. While it appears to be non edible a daughter can consume it and unless she is a Skintalker needs a period of one day to adjust to it. Skintalkers can automatically do it without adjustment time. This gives the daughter a permanent visualiser for the order Menu. By spending one Act in or out of combat and paying the appropriate cost(like when normally forging the relic) a daughter can order any specific Consumable relic she has already seen and will receive it on her person at the beginning of her next Act. By paying triple she can get two copies of such an item instead. Or she may pay a specified amount of BIO and HEALTH as well as regen to get a random Consumable that has costs similar to that. Any left over pay will be refunded at the beginning of the next round to the ordering daughter. Using this Relic more than once per combat has a stacking risk that the items may not be available. The Cost is still spent innitialy but will be refunded at the beginning of the next turn.>The delivery man was nice. I just wish he would not dump my order into my pockets all the time.This one i think could be Tier 4>Spicyinator (Tier ???); A small intricately crafted machine that fits in someone's hand and has a big, red button and a small gray switch. Flicking the switch into the on position will lead to the tip that has the form of a platypus beak to open and a crimson orb to hover freely within. The User needs to charge the device by paying the same amount of resources as the combined cost of all relics they are trying to combine. Pointing this relic towards multiple instances of the same consumable Relics and pressing the red Button will combine the relics into a single dose and drastically increase the effectiveness of the resulting relic. For each Relic combined into the result beyond the first one increases the magnitude of the Effects and Saves required to resist the relic by 1 Level.>excerpt from the user Manual: “…. Murdering your enemies is good and all but can it make better booze?” Please accept that Spice Incorporated will not accept any liability for losing products by enhancing them beyond the Maximum set by your local crucible or any weapons of mass Destruction created from combining pranks into World Destroyers.And this one could be also Tier 4 but i am not so sure about that.
>>5128179…but that solution’s going to take some pondering, and you’d like some time to mull things over.“Rupert—thank you for your hospitality. This has been most enlightening.” You say, politely laying the groundwork for your impending departure.“Glad to help.” He replies, rising to tower over you as his antlers once more shift with a nauseating series of snaps and pops. “Not often I get to talk like this. It’s nice.”“It was...and I’d like to do it again sometime.” You declare, the earnestness of your offer striking Rupert almost as much as you. “If you’re up for it, that is.”A moment of consideration, and then…“I’d like that.” The amalgam says, softly. “Marco, too. If he is willing.”“Oh, I think he will be.” You laugh, and Rupert returns the sound with a quiet chuckle of his own before inclining his head towards Marchesa’s wares—a gentle reminder of his offer. In the end, you settle on a fiery scarf, with strands of scarlet, gold, and burnt orange woven into a wearable inferno of color. Rath’s gift is safely tucked in your back talons as you explore a bit more of the complex…though you find it rather simple to navigate. It’s a good thing, too—the space lets your body and mind wander freely, processing your conversation with the oddly philosophical amalgam you just met.While his hypotheses on the nature of your intrusive thoughts proved almost more disturbing than the thoughts themselves, you’re finding yourself at an impasse of just what to do with that information. Could you possibly commune with the legion inside you, if…if that’s even a thing? Maybe over time your mind will be acknowledged as the alpha, and…no, that doesn’t make sense. Rupert’s still dealing with the ‘memories’ as he called them, and he’s been awake for far longer than you. Then again, you’re dealing with issues it took him many months to work up to, so maybe it’s the Relic that’s forcing you to speedrun your own growth (and subsequent crisis) of consciousness?It’s questions like this and more that plague you as you flit to the Ikean Fortress’ very apex, hovering near the top of the complex’s arched ceiling as you watch Jackie and Emily spar in the ring below. Even a few seconds of observation tells you that both are evenly matched in their handicap; Jackie without her blade and forced into an unfamiliar fighting style, while Emily’s clearly holding back her own prodigious ability. If you were capable of scowling, you would—even in casual observations like these you find yourself influenced by ideas and concepts beyond any reasonable breadth of your knowledge. Instincts you had no right to feel, paired with dimly-recalled experiences that color what should be novel and new. Your frustrations subside a bit as a pair of your claws run through your own downy fur.…you absolutely understand why so many indulge in its therapeutic abilities.(Continued)
>>5129139When your Creator finally joins the growing crowd of onlookers below, you opt to use this opportunity to dart back to your room to hide your spoils until the time comes for Rath to ‘accidentally’ discover her present. You’re rifling around the team’s lesser-used Relics in search of a place to stash your prize, trying not to get overwhelmed by everything they’ve brought. There’s so much stuff here it’s a wonder they’re able to keep it all straight……someone should really organize this.You’re able to get it stashed just before the sound of approaching footsteps precede the door quickly swinging open under Dorian’s hand. He startles, then smiles when he realizes that you’re here as well.“Ha, and a very good afternoon to you, Sir.” He greets you with a bow, and despite yourself, you tilt your poofy frame just a little to return the much-appreciated gesture. If you were capable of vocalizing a compliment, you’d make him aware that he’s looking particularly striking today—the scarlet hues of his jacket and pants are a level of vibrancy he rarely dons, a perk of one’s clothes being an extension of form and feeling.“Just had a lovely conversation with Rath, actually. Didn’t realize how much common ground we had with her church experiences and my family growing up. And how’ve you been faring, my friend?” Dorian grins, striding up and patting your head affectionately. He chuckles when you respond with a small, high-pitched buzz, calculated for comedic effect—you’ve perfected it, in your time with the family.“You know? I was starting to think that I was alone. I could tell she’d come so far even in the short time I’ve known her, and I felt like anger was something that Rath had already surpassed…channeled into something productive, while mine just kept needling me at the most inopportune times.” He muses, running his slender fingers through your fuzz “Turns out? She’s been having those kinds of intrusive thoughts, too. We’re going to talk more often…it was her idea, actually. She said, ‘We both have people we want to be better for, and that can’t happen in a vacuum’.”He grins wider, a twinkle in his eye. “I told her she sounded like Miss Shu. You should’ve seen her blush.”…Heh.Actually, is that why this is bothering you so much? Because you have people you want to be better for? You’re not quite sure, but it’s a nice thought, at least. Dorian rolls his neck, working the tension out of his dexterous hands as he walks over to the nearby couches, about to take a seat before he glances your way.“There’s room for two if you’re so inclined, my good man.”>>Rest here with Dorian a while, until you receive marching (or flying) orders.>>Leave the young man to his devices while you continue to explore the complex.>>See if your downy presence can help him work through more of what’s on his mind.>>Write-InSHE IS IN CONTROL
(Good Morning, Everyone. Voting shall remain open for the next two hours, with posting to resume in three. Also, Mrs. BHOP sends her regards and well-wishes, too...I'd be remiss if I forgot to send her good tidings to the Vein again.)
>>5129145Thank you very much and please tell her my best wishes as well.>>5129143>>See if your downy presence can help him work through more of what’s on his mind.
>>5129143vote;>See if your downy presence can help him work through more of what’s on his mind.>>5129145and good tidings to her in return. not to you though, totally, work harder til your keyboards stained red BHOP!i am, of course, joking. dont do that, that just sounds like you'd never get the thing clean again.
>>5129143>>See if your downy presence can help him work through more of what’s on his mind.We need to hang out with Dorian more, as Shu. Feels like we've been neglecting him, a bit. But yeah, let's definitely let Dorian snuggle with the fluff-bee. It's cool, Mr. Gardner, you can just say you want to touch the fluff. No need to be so dignified.>>5129145Oh, that's nice of her. Please say hello to her for us.
>>5129143>>See if your downy presence can help him work through more of what's on his mindAre there any other antagonists besides West and Mother anymore?
>>5129217No main ones, but I'm sure we'll meet some soon. We're at the point where we should be encountering the various other Daughters aiming for the Cord, challenging them and their various visions of humanity's future.
>>5129217(Oh, after Markabah you'll be meeting a rogues gallery that you'll have to deal with on your way to the Cord.)>>5129166(Haha, considering how much my fingers just passively bleed, a bloody keyboard is something I deal with more often than not.)
>>5129239I hope so. I need some tension in BHQ again, yknow?
>>5129239>A rogues gallery who stands to oppose the Defiant one way or anotherOh boy. And here I was wondering what to do with this character idea that I had.Peng Ching, the Scarlet Sage Core abilities: Scarlet Sage (Phantasmal Conduit/Fibromancy/Flesh Artisan) - a threefold mix of abilities that lets Peng emulate a fighting style akin to eastern martial arts, her fibromancy allowing her to manipulate threads and muscle fiber like an expert weaver. In addition her phantasmal conduit abilities allowing her to read the emotional flow of the chaotic battlefield like how a weatherman reads the weather forecast. Appearance: Chronologically a woman in her late 70s, but physically appears to be in her late 20s after discovering the wonderful utility of Flesh Artisan abilities. Flesh Artisan abilities have kept her corruption suppressed to a bare minimum, the signs visible being the sheets of muscle fibers that drape about her body like an elegant set of robes and scarfs. That changes in combat however as she takes up a drastically alien form. Doesn't mind being nicknamed "Peggy" instead of her native name. Has a "Resting bitch face".Behavior: A shrewd woman who isn't afraid to shamelessly make a fool of herself in order to survive and win the minds on the debating floor. Ironically, while a believer in strong institutions, Ching would rather advocate for humanity to remain in its current sparsely populous and anarchistic state, her optimism for rebuilding human civilization to its former glory greatly soured into a cynical stance by decades of experience seeing the dark side of statesmanship as well as the Crucible's advent.Pre-Crucible life: Born in a rural province of China and having passed the government entrance exams, Peng Ching became a member of the Chinese communist government who rose through the ranks with her beauty and wit. But as her years of youth fade away and her government falls into turmoil under the new Secretary General's leadership, Peng Ching found her world crumbling into chaos before her eyes until the Crucible brought everything down to zero.Crucible life: A daughter that has awoken early in the Crucible's lifespan and a former aspirant who dreamed of climbing the cord to receive "Heaven's Mandate" for her foolish dream of Imperial rule, her pride and ambition was toppled two-fold, one directly in a fight with Mara that left her in shameful retreat, the second by both West and Mara's decision to gatekeep the Cord's peak save for the rising star of the Defiant. Humbled and humiliated, she now spends her days awaiting the Defiant's inevitable Pilgrimage towards the Cord, in preparation to impress through oratory debate to convince the Defiant to ascend to godhood leave humanity to its ignoble fate. All the while debating and bickering with Emily Barton on political matters of rebuilding civilization as Emily's political opposition.
(Posting shortly, Everyone. Works been busy, so thank you for your patience.)
>>5129323I like her a lot. Interesting power set, her personality sounds like it would make for some great debating with the party, and she's got a clear goal for the Cord. Nice stuff.
>>5129143Settling next to your fellow gentleman, you watch as the normally composed youth unwinds as he takes a seat beside you, quickly propping his feet up on the table and loosening the collar of his crimson shirt.“What’ve you thought of this place?” He asks, and while you both know a reply’s not forthcoming, you appreciate how he always asks you how you’ve been. Dorian’s been rather transparent with you about how deliberate his affectations are. ‘A gentleman’, he once told you, ‘is one who seeks to ensure everyone around them is at ease through good manners and an attentive mind.’ He sounded like he was quoting, or maybe paraphrasing something, but you could tell that regardless of where he’d gotten the pithy phrase, it was a mantra he strove to live by.“Me? Well, it’s a far cry from the Monastery. In nothing but good ways, I assure you.” He says, playing his part in your ‘conversation’. “The world could use less Monasteries and more…whatever this is.”Dorian gestures at the four walls that surround you, soaking in the décor before continuing. “Just people being themselves, without the Cord looming over everything. I mean, it still is, but…you know what I mean, my good man.”You make an affirmative buzz-purr as you relax against the artisan’s side, and after a few moments of silence Dorian begins to absent-mindedly pet you as he speaks to no one in particular.“I miss her.” He breathes, no doubt in your mind as to who his longing refers to. “I’m so proud of her, but it hurts all the same. Part of me worries that she’ll grow into someone that doesn’t need me, but I don’t think I could blame her if she does. It’s…harder than I thought it would be. There’s still too much of Father’s anger in me, and too much of Mother’s people-pleasing nature. I’ve still got a ways to go, but I like to think I’m getting there. Slow and steady, eh friend?”You purr again, and Dorian chuckles.“We’ll win this race yet, Sir FuzzBuzz.” He assures you, and you can’t help but drift off a bit…until your Creator’s plan reaches your ears.Light. Flame. Chaos.When Merkabah falls, it’s at the hands of your family acting as one. Your fuzz is slightly singed from one too many close calls with the radioactive threat, but any wounds you’ve sustained are worth it to have kept Amara from suffering them. Your young ward sheathes her blade in the battle’s aftermath, the ivory weapon broken down and reabsorbed into its owner’s bare arm. Amara’s winded, but her boundless energy proves to be infectious as she scoops you up in her arms, and your prodigious fluff once again saves your shell from cracking under her alarming strength. As your Creator begins to check in with her brood and confident that Amara’s in good condition, you hover over to where Marco leans against the Metall Geschoss’ imposing turret.(Continued)
>>5129361“You kicked some serious ass out there, man.” Your friend commends as you come to rest atop the tank’s barrel. “Tearing through those zombies like a hot knife through butter—awesome. Horrifying, but awesome.”“Oh, don’t be modest. I wasn’t able to take out nearly as many as you were.” You fire back, and Marco just taps the barrel.“Apple and oranges, my friend. Tank’s a handicap—your claws are where it’s at” He chuckles, staring out at the blasted ruins of the town. “So, how’re you feeling?”“…Better, actually.” You say, surprised by the honesty of your own statement.“Not surprised.” Marcos muses, watching your brood start digging a hole in one corner of the field. “Heather said there’s a sort of clarity that can come in combat. Where everything just melts away, and it’s just you and the fight. Never felt it myself, but…”“…no. No, I don’t think that’s it, actually.” You murmur, pondering your own clarity of mind.“Something happen at the Ikea?” The other Construct asks, prompting a recap of recent events. Marco nods solemnly at your conclusion. “First off, I’d absolutely be down to hang with Rupert. Dude sounds like my kind of chill. Second, it sounds like you’re more focu-“A pulse. A tremor.A shudder through your heart, through your very being. You lock eyes with Marco, and you can tell he’s felt it, too. It happens again, and the two of you turn as one to its source—something held within the pit that your Creator’s dug, a thing that feels ancient yet brims with possibility.It’s in that moment that you realize why the intrusions ceased, once you arrived here.Voices, hushed in awe.Marco stays put, rooting in place by the feeling as you take flight, hovering over to perch on Amara’s shoulders as she peers down at a fragment of something that defies description. You wonder if your creator feels it, too…that hushed reverence that hangs in the air. You turn to her, seeing the massive gemstone reflected in her wary gaze. That determination, that defiance that flares in the face of the unknown.Maybe Marco was right—you feel more focused, more driven than before. Let doubt and fear come, but you know your place in this family. You'll fight, you'll comfort, and you'll keep Amara safe, no matter what.And whatever this thing does, you’ll help your brood weather what's to come.Your name is Sir FuzzBuzz, and you know who you are.>>FUZZBUZZ INTERMISSION: CONCLUDED
(Thank you all for your patience, and voting shall remain open for the next six hours, with posting to resume tomorrow morning at 10AM, Eastern time. Work is picking up in intensity, but I may be able to post this weekend, depending on how my schedule shakes out. Would a few posts on Saturday suit everyone's schedules? Let me know, and I hope your day is going well.)PLEASE SELECT YOUR NEXT CHARACTER>>…Paloma, when the news of Madame Yurei’s death and her intriguing killer meets your ears.>>…Yamato, adrift on a sea of churning acids and abyssal threats, set to encounter a surprisingly friendly face.>>…Ziz, soaring the skies of the Crucible after your meeting with Shu and reflecting on your siblings, your Creator, and the Daughters far below.>>…Mara, sitting atop the throne of the world that is, dreaming of the world that’s to come.>>...Quincy Delapore, an Unnatural Predator on the run from an implacable clockwork soldier.>>Write-In (Any playable Daughter, NPC, or fan-character is valid for this vote.)YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>5129323(Oh, she is so blasted cool. love her entire concept, and she's perfectly indicative of the foes you'll be facing soon!)
>>5129367>>…Yamato, adrift on a sea of churning acids and abyssal threats, set to encounter a surprisingly friendly face.lets go meet a battleship. I feel like heading for the high seas.
>>5129370Any comments on the Relics here?>>5128539>>5128575>>5128778Püersonally i really like the cactus. It reminds me of a Final Fantasy Cactuar or a Togemon from Digimon
>>5129378(I'm writing up my thoughts in between assignments, and I'll be posting them shortly.)
>>5129361>“What’ve you thought of this place?” He asks, and while you both know a reply’s not forthcoming, you appreciate how he always asks you how you’ve been. Dorian’s been rather transparent with you about how deliberate his affectations are. ‘A gentleman’, he once told you, ‘is one who seeks to ensure everyone around them is at ease through good manners and an attentive mind.’ He sounded like he was quoting, or maybe paraphrasing something, but you could tell that regardless of where he’d gotten the pithy phrase, it was a mantra he strove to live by.Yeah, I always got the sense that Dorian's behavior was a very intentional performance. It makes sense. He came from wealth, with all those cultural expectations of gentility and class. But his father, at least in regards to his family, did not live up to that. So Dorian is consciously working to be everything his father wasn't, fulfill the expectation. There's also probably some influence from him being trans. He wasn't taught the cultural script for manhood growing up, so he's constructing his own one, and the source material he's chosen is Victorian novels. I just love it, that he's making an active decision about what sort of person he wants to be. It makes sense that he and Sir FuzzBuzz would get along.>>5129363>“You kicked some serious ass out there, man.” Your friend commends as you come to rest atop the tank’s barrel. “Tearing through those zombies like a hot knife through butter—awesome. Horrifying, but awesome.”>“Oh, don’t be modest. I wasn’t able to take out nearly as many as you were.” You fire back, and Marco just taps the barrel.>“Apple and oranges, my friend. Tank’s a handicap—your claws are where it’s at” He chuckles, staring out at the blasted ruins of the town. “So, how’re you feeling?”I'm really liking Sir FuzzBuzz and Marco's interactions, too. It's a cute little friendship our party mascots have made. I want to check back in on this in a while and see how they've adapted to the Coolest Bee joining the group. Or what about that weird hollow-eyed homunculus we got Amara, what do they think about that thing?>>5129367Hmm. On the one hand, seeing the perspectives of people we know would be a good opportunity. On the other, Yamato and Quincy sound like they'd be really interesting. And also like they'd be a bit less heavy and more adventure-y, which could be a good middle step. We usually go for three perspectives in these interlude Veins, so I think I can afford voting for one of them. Quincy's sounds really interesting, but let's be honest: Monster Battleship Yamato 2189 just is going to be more fun. I'm only a man, I can't be expected to resist the siren song of crab battle.>>…Yamato, adrift on a sea of churning acids and abyssal threats, set to encounter a surprisingly friendly face.
>>5129367>>…Ziz, soaring the skies of the Crucible after your meeting with Shu and reflecting on your siblings, your Creator, and the Daughters far below.
>>5129367vote;>…Ziz, soaring the skies of the Crucible after your meeting with Shu and reflecting on your siblings, your Creator, and the Daughters far below.and Saturday should work well enough for me.
>>5129367Somehow I totally missed the question you asked. Saturday works fine for me, BHOP.
>>5129367Mara please. That sounds neat. Either that or Ziz.Saturday suits me OP.
>>5129378>>Scoville's Cosmic Vengeance(Oh, this is a good relic. I appreciate the sheer diversity of both effect and application, and the level of tactical possibilities really sets the mind going…it also reminds me of the Youtube interview show ‘Hot Ones’, which is another treat.) >>Porccubus Prankster(An excellent counter to various Pilferer’s Palm-type abilities, as well as what some other relics are capable of. Very clever design, and simple enough to be easily forged but with a game-changing impact if it can counter it intended targets.) >>Universal Food Delivery App(An absolutely unique relic, truly inspired. I chuckled at the flavor text, so well played on that. I feel like Tier 4 would be appropriate, given the versatility to the design.)>>Spicyinator(Oh, this is an intriguing one. Definitely a Tier 4, but I’m having difficulty wrapping my head around the applications, though that’s likely due to the day’s work.) (Also, I know a Phineas and Ferb reference when I see one—well played.)
(Also, the coin flip settled on Ziz, this time—that said, I'm looking at making each intermission segment a bit shorter this time, so we should have time to touch on everyone's favorites.)
>>5130005Speaking of Ziz, I told my friends the brief overarching synopsis and world setting of this quest.They're calling you out on the Worm reference to the Ziz plot, which their reactions caught me by surprise as they were both amazed and horrified at the setting. I also have never read Worm Quest at all so the reference is mostly lost to me.
>>5130005you don't have to sacrifice post length quality in favor of your time tables, the intermission thread is here for a reason.
>>5130035(Ziz actually wasn't a Worm reference, despite my enjoyment of Worm, Pact, Twig, and the others. Pact and Twig are particularly near and dear to me heart, though it's been so long since I've read Worm that the possibility of a Worm reference escapes me, at least for now. I'm intrigued to see what your friend meant, though, and I'm glad they were interested by the Quest!)(It's nice to know it reaches out even past this board, and more than that, I'm glad you're enjoying it.)
>>5130035The name actually comes from Hebrew mythology. There are three great beasts created by God. Leviathan of the seas and Behemoth of the land have made it into the English lexicon as generic words for "big thing", but for some reason Ziz of the skies never did.The creature in Worm called Ziz has a little bit of resemblance to our Titan buddy, but it's mostly superficial. That Ziz is an actively malevolent being that mind controls people to cause disasters, while our Ziz passively emits a Hunger aura as a defensive mechanism. Other than that, the only similarity is that they both have wings. Worm's Ziz isn't even that big, she's only like fifteen feet tall.
>>5130041>>5130057pic attached is a screenshot of the conversation when the dots connected in their heads. It was mildly amusing to see them panic. names are censored for formality's sake.
>>5130060(Oh, the Simurgh! I remember now, I just forgot that 'Ziz' was used to refer to her. Loved her power set. There were so many bizarre and interesting abilities in that setting.)
>>5130063I never really got the name "Simurgh", really. It's supposed to be what they first named her before she revealed herself to be an Endbringer and was renamed to fit the scheme, but her first appearance was in Switzerland. The Simurgh is from Persian myth. Also, it's a magic dog with wings. Who in Switzerland, a majority Catholic country, saw the many-winged humanoid singing a song of peace (well, what they thought was peace) and said "Let's not call her an angel, let's name her after a magic dog from Persia"?
>>5130001>>SpicyinatorI was envisioning you used it on something like the Foulgas Grenade that forces Savingthrows then it would make the Saving Throws harder by one Level if two Foulgas Grenades have been combined and 1 level for each additional Grenade ooriginally provided. And the resulting effects would be boosted from affecting only 1 Movement Zone to bigger blast radius and longer duration. or you could use it on the regeneration Mites and prolong their effect by one or two rounds depending on the balancing that is wanted.
You’re very still.Waiting, ever so patiently.The picture of stoicism.The perfect…The……you………oh, dang it!You can barely sit still, and even as you try to stay calm you find yourself shuffling about on the mountain range that stretches the length of this domain. How can you sit still after the amazing day you’ve had?! It’s impossible! Only Leviathan could hope to keep their cool, and even then you’re pretty sure they were always just acting all calm and collected just to mess with Behemoth.It didn’t help that it always worked.Gah, but thinking about them just makes you want to get out and explore even more! Even when you were looking for why you all had been freed, you couldn’t get enough of all the new things to see and hear! You couldn’t truly take the time to appreciate it since you were all confused and stuff, but now? You’re free and the world’s just….just *out there*, waiting to be experienced!But you need to stay here! You need to be vigilant. You need to be patient. You need to-“Hey Ziz! You good?”Calliope’s enhanced voice echoes between the peaks to reach you, and you turn to peer down at the diminutive figure. Leaning down to be closer to your friend, she winces as you thrust your beak closer to where she stands.“Oh, fuck me.” She mutters, some of her followers scattering at your approach—no doubt they have important matters to attend to elsewhere. “Yo, uh…just wanted to check in. Saw you were agitated. Felt it, really.”“Felt?...Oh! Oh no, was I making too much noise?!”“No no, we’re…you’re good.” She assures you, nearly getting blown down when you heave a sigh of relief. That won’t do; she’s still recovering, after all. You make a point of breathing out of the heads furthest away from Calliope as she continues; “When you started shuffling around I thought something was up, so…is there?”You explain that you want to stay here in case Shu needs you, and the small Daughter raises one eyebrow with an expression you don’t quite understand.“Uh…pretty sure she meant for you to just curb the hunger field, not to twiddle your drumsticks in one place until she hits you up.” Calliope posits. “I’m sure she wouldn’t mind if you fly off and do your own thing.”Oh……oh, this is so exciting!You promised Shu you’d be good, and not hurt anyone, and you won’t! You can totally keep an ear out for Shu’s call from the air! Doing your own thing is just so new, you’re still getting used to it…Where do you even start, when there’s so much to see?!>>You saw the peaks of even taller mountains further north, and they were covered in white stuff that you really wanna taste!>>Searching for Shu kept you fairly close to the center of this land, so you want to see what’s to the east!>>The Cord—it’s always been on your periphery, but you’ve never seen it up-close! It’s so big!>>Write-InFLY, AND BE FREE
(Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume in four.)>>5130140(Oh, that's really nasty. I like it!)
>>5130450hah, Ziz does seem like the type to not fully understand things the first talk around. kinda endearing but also could cause some, er, 'hiccups' when we're talking about a giant massive bird monster.vote;>The Cord—it’s always been on your periphery, but you’ve never seen it up-close! It’s so big!honestly im pretty indifferent to what to vote for here, so it came down to just not wanting the poor sap to eat dandruff, and the idea of giving all the combatants at the Cord a good scare seemed amusing.
>>5130450>>The Cord—it’s always been on your periphery, but you’ve never seen it up-close! It’s so big!Lets venture forth and find out what can be experienced near the cord. Maybe scare some people there and make sure they know that they are still nothing before the might of Ziz and its siblings.And maybe we will meet someone we can talk to among the Amalgams around there. If any are still left.
>>5130450>>You saw the peaks of even taller mountains further north, and they were covered in white stuff that you really wanna taste!I really wanna see the Cord, but this feels more like something Ziz would pick to me.
>>5130450>>You saw the peaks of even taller mountains further north, and they were covered in white stuff that you really wanna taste!Huh. So Ziz didn't exit from the Cord? Did the Crucible extrude them from the fleshscape somewhere, then?
>>5130492it would make sense. If other things prey on the crucible they would probably go for that place first. Having your first responders be caught in the initial blast would be a bit counter productive i would think. If they were not assembled from scratch i would assume they had hidden Caches where they slept probably beneath the madness of the Cruciblebarrier that prevents people from going to deep into the caves.
(Hello Everyone - I'll have to push the update to around 5:00PM due to a bevy of work issues that've been dumped on my plate, so thank you for bearing with me, and I hope your day is going well!)
>>5130675I'm sorry to hear your day is hectic, BHOP. I hope it calms down for you.
>>5130675its fine, gotta do what you gotta do.
>>5130450After a few agonizing minutes of indecision it’s your taste buds that finally win out, luring you to the northern peaks and their tantalizing treats. After Calliope scurries for cover you stretch your seven wings skyward, pushing off from the cliffs as you begin to follow the jagged range to its promised spoils.You realize you’d almost forgotten this sensation; the rush of wind, the air of a planet holding you aloft as you soar high above its surface…how long has it been since you last felt this free?It’s then that a thought tickles at the corners of memory, a teased recollection that takes greater shape with every pump of your wings and twitch of your pin feathers. Across countless iterations it comes to you once more—a race with your siblings, on a planet now long dead. A threat to the Crucible had manifested from beyond the stars—a thing whose appearance made no sense to the senses granted you. But still, when you, Behemoth, and Leviathan were loosed you were all within sight of one another…and so, you rushed to address the threat head-on. You’re not sure when it occurred to you that you were racing one another. Maybe it was when Behemoth’s bulky form tore through a mountain that he could have simply ordered aside, or how Leviathan kept bursting in and out of the ground, their tunneling marked with an urgency that felt more personal than business. Your form, back then…the air was a thick, so the body you were granted was far more technical than the one you’re piloting now. Jets of flame and fury carried you to the battle’s edge, but the spirit of competition carried you faster than duty’s call. It felt in that moment like an echo of a happiness you could just barely recall.You won.You wish you hadn’t.Behemoth was angry. Leviathan was quiet. You’re not sure which was worse, after you three emerged victorious against your common foe.You shake off the bad taste the recollection leaves in your mouth, intent to replace it with a pale treat as the white-capped mountains come into view. You land a little ways away from the peaks, careful not to disturb the substance with your fervent wingbeats as you tuck them close and stalk towards your target. The gnarled cliffs would make for difficult passage for any Daughter, but the sheer size of your vessel lets you take ginger steps, each one drawing you ever-nearer to this culinary mystery. Peering at it up close, it appears as you suspected—a fine collection of flakes that’ve gathered both on and around the peaks, with the spaces between collecting great heaps of the stuff. Hmm…no smell, and a tentative flick of your tongues at the surrounding air doesn’t give you enough to really get a sense for what it tastes like, so you scoop up a great mouthful of it and let the taste flood over your senses.Nothing ventured, nothing gained!(Continued)
>>5130863…This……this is AMAZING.It’s so salty, but crunchy, too! Like flakes of bone, but with none of the blandness! And it’s still falling! Just raining down from the skies above like a delectable bounty!This is truly the best day!You practically start wallowing in the stuff, scooping more into each mouth when one swallows, keeping the delicious taste ever-present on your tongues as you play in one of the largest piles of the stuff…but as you’re staring up, watching it rain down in great big sheets from high overhead, you’re suddenly struck by a thought…Where’s it all coming from?Intrigued, you slither out of the pile and scamper a safe distance from it before taking flight once more, soaring up to find the source of the cascade. The air thins the higher you go, but you’re finally able to pierce through the scarlet haze and glimpse the thin barrier that’s encased Shu’s world. It’s a red sheet that stretches further than even your vision allows, pulsing with red miles of winding veins that stretch out from the Cord. The crimson shroud’s a uniform thing, save for what you quickly determine to be the source of the delectable bounty below.A legion of silver spiders scuttle over a singularly massive patch of the Crucible’s shroud, the skin there flaking off in great sheets that crumble to dust as they fall back to the planet’s surface. You fly closer, the shiny things paying you no mind as they busy themselves with poking the shroud at regular intervals, following the orders of some unseen Hive Mistress, you’d assume…though they look more metallic than you’d expect, so maybe they’re relic-based?You’re wondering if you should tell Shu about it (although you think she probably already knows, since she’s super-smart and nice) when you feel the feathers on the back of your necks stand at attention, the inimitable feeling of being watched washing over you. Flying in place, you survey the area for any sign on who could possibly reach you this high up—opening your mouth, a thousand beaks issue a thousand calls, the fine-tuned echolocation illustrating your observer.A bit larger than your average Daughter, your admirer hides in the clouds below, their body obscured by the blood-tinged mist. You don’t want to spook them…they may be the person who these spidery-things belong to, or maybe they just followed you up here ‘cause they think you’re cool?>>Regardless of the heights whoever’s watching you is capable of, you know you’ve got them beat in speed. Find them, rush, them down, and maybe make a new friend!>>Let the figure be, and instead follow the veins to their source—the Cord. You’ve been curious, so there’s no time like the present to check it out!>>Maybe the observer will follow you! Go ahead and explore to the east of here and see if they tail you on your exploratory venture.>>Write-InFLY, AND BE FREE
(Voting shall remain open for the next six hours, with posting to resume tomorrow afternoon at 12PM, Eastern time. I’ll likely keep it to two or three updates tomorrow at most, but it should be enough to make up for the day’s interruptions. I hope you have a restful evening, and take care.)
>>5130866Sounds like the Disassociated are making some weak points for them to bust through. Perforate the membrane without drawing the full immune system response that making the actual hole would, lower the energy requirements for penetrating it on their way out. And, as a side effect, they make delicious dandruff flakes for our bird pal. Mmm, dandruff.>>Maybe the observer will follow you! Go ahead and explore to the east of here and see if they tail you on your exploratory venture.>>Write-In>If we notice them following, add in a bunch of loops and rolls to our flight, see if that gets them more interested in us.I think Ziz is smart enough to recognize "wait, Shu told me that I was scaring people with how big I was, rushing the new friend will just make them think I'm an enemy". Let's lead them on a chase, see if they want to play.>>5130873Thanks for running, BHOP. See you tomorrow, and I hope you have a good evening.
>>5130866>>Regardless of the heights whoever’s watching you is capable of, you know you’ve got them beat in speed. Find them, rush, them down, and maybe make a new friend!Yay, a new friend! Maybe if we wave at her, she will know we mean no harm, right?
>>5130866vote;>Give a friendly wave to the daughter, then Go ahead and explore to the east of here and see if they tail you on your exploratory venture.also the idea leviathan can go through the ground makes sense, but is still terrifying.
>>5130990I'm imagining them as basically Shai Hulud. Big benthic worm monster swimming through the ground. Which, if so, would make Gina even more appropriate as a potential resonator with Leviathan. As a DJ, she can walk with rhythm and thereby attract the worm.Okay, fine, that joke was dumb. But in seriousness, Leviathan doing ground-swimming is a point of similarity to Gina. So there's a connection there.
(Updating shortly, Everyone. Weekend started a little rocky, but I'm getting back on track.)
>>5130866Maybe the observer will follow you! Hoping that this is the making of a friend, you opt to go ahead and explore to the east of here and see if they follow you on your exploratory venture.Leaving the weird spidery things to whatever it is that they’re doing (not just because you like the tasty treats their work produces, not at all), you open your wings and sail eastward. A few minutes into your journey a handful of cursory clicks and chirps inform you that you’re still being followed. Your pursuer’s a shy one, keeping to the mists below you, and just out of sight…so you decide to put on a show. Sprinkling a few extravagant loops and rolls into your routine just to spice things up, you’re delighted when another ping of your echolocation reveals that your tagalong is following suit, tentatively trying to mirror your flourishes. You’d probably be able to delight a bit more in your potential friend’s mirroring of you if what your eastward advance revealed didn’t cause your stomachs to drop.As the misty scarlet shroud below you thins out, it rolls back to reveal great gouges scoured into the fleshscape, bleeding trenches in the skin of the earth juxtaposed with shattered bones and gaping wounds everywhere you can see. You haven’t seen him since the three of you woke up, but there’s no doubt in your mind—this is Behemoth's handiwork, and he’s angry.No matter the Crucible, his powers allow him mastery over terrain. At a thought, mountains move aside for him. At a whim, the path before him is clear…so for him to have ravaged miles of terrain like this in pursuit of what you yourself were searching for? Something’s bothering him, and you can’t help but wonder if Leviathan’s scouring the seas in a similar funk.Another ping tells you that your follower’s still hanging back, careful not to let themself be seen…you have to admit you’re a little frustrated, but you can understand to some extent. They’re barely larger than the tip of your smallest talon…but you made a promise that you wouldn’t hurt anybody, and it’s one you’ll keep no matter what. You’re *sorely* tempted to just swoop up and say hello, but you want to respect the person’s privacy…you keep telling yourself.(Continued)
>>5132370Trying to put the thought of a bold introduction out of your mind, you continue past the aftermath of Behemoth’s tantrum, past another range of mountains and over the ruins of some kind of town, or maybe it’s a city? A berg? You could never get the distinction between those two quite right, something Leviathan always made fun of you for…among other things. You could never quite tell what they were thinking, and on the rare occasions when you and they were active at the same time, they’d talk at length about the scenery, the weather, and everything else that piqued their curiosity. You wonder if Levy’s gotten the chance to come this far inland, or if they’re making laps around the continent looking for…huh?There’s a long line of figures far below, making their way across the difficult terrain well past the city and the alabaster forest just beyond it. It’s a procession of Daughters, from the looks of it…hundred of them, at that. Scanning the line you make note of their destination—the ruins of a small town, with hundreds more filling its decimated streets.You’re high up enough to where no-one seems to have spotted you, and a quick scope of the land shows a distant…town…no, no you’re pretty sure that’s a city. It’s got towers and stuff, so that’s definitely a city, going off of what Levy told you.…or is it a berg?Gah, whatever it is, it’s giving you a weird vibe. Not bad necessarily, but…there’s something about it that feels like it’s pulling you in.>>Swoop a little closer to the Daughters far below and introduce yourself! Maybe if you make a good first impression, the one that’s following you will stop being so shy…>>Approach the city, and try to get to the bottom of what’s drawing you in…you’ve only felt like this way around…>>Write-InFLY, AND BE FREE
(Voting shall remain open for the next two hours, with posting to resume in three. I do hope your weekend is going well, one and all!)
>>5132372>>Swoop a little closer to the Daughters far below and introduce yourself! Maybe if you make a good first impression, the one that’s following you will stop being so shy…lets see if there is someone nice around here or if we have to teach them a lesson.
>>5132370Oh dear. We need to find Behemoth and get him to chill out. >>5132372That's ominous. Yeah, let's ask what the hundreds of Daughters coming to this town are doing. And after that, investigate the city, which if I'm reading the landmarks right should be Kosi's old city where Orwell has set up. Is the Panopticon doing something funky?>>Swoop a little closer to the Daughters far below and introduce yourself! Maybe if you make a good first impression, the one that’s following you will stop being so shy…>>Write-In>Signal to the people below, first, though. Just shout a little warning that you're coming in closer, and to please not be frightened by how big you are. You're not attacking, just saying hello, you promise.>Stay as far back as we can while still being able to hear their replies. You remember how Calliope thought you were too loud.
>>5132372>>5132450ill support this sure.
>>5132372Eh, the creepy town-city-berg can wait, ‘cause there’s no way it’ll be more interesting than all those Daughters down there! Though…you should probably give them some kind of signal before you go dive-bombing them, just to let them know you mean well.“He-Hello everyone!” You say, announcing your presence from almost half a mile up, hoping that you’ve given the people below enough distance to not be too terribly spooked. A handful scatter, but the majority of Daughters hold their ground as you begin your slow, tentative descent. “I mean you no harm, I just wanted to…say hello! Wh-which I already did, so…hello!”There’s no reply for a long moment, and you’re afraid that they’re too scared to move before you realize a flock of birds are making their way to you, their Mistress addressing you through birdsong that harmonizes into a her reply.“Salutations to one of the Three Endbringers!” A declares a shrill voice, though you’re not sure if it’s by default or the alarming number of seagulls that make up the majority of her swarm. “What brings your visitation upon our humble procession?”“Oh, um…I just want to say ‘hey’!” You reply, at a loss for what exactly to say…though judging by the chorus of ‘hello!’s and ‘hey!’s you receive from the line below, you’re not doing too bad!“It is our honor to receive a messenger blessed with contact with our Savior so recently!” The hive Mistress addressing you continues. “Tell us, how fares She?”“She…you mean Shu!” You realize, another chorus of cheers sounding at the mention of your friend’s name. “She’s great! She’s so amazing and nice! Are you friends of hers, too?”“If only our sisterhood was so blessed!” The flock replies in song. “We have been on a pilgrimage to the site of her birth, where we now await our turn to visit where her chrysalis once harbored our Savior’s sleeping form!”“...uh…neat!” You say, not sure how to reply to that, but happy that they seem pleased, nonetheless.“Have you and the Wayward Proxy come to meditate upon her origin, as well?” The Hive Mistress prompts.“Proxy?” You echo, and the swarm of avian figures loop, gesturing behind you. You turn skyward, where the air’s thinned enough to reveal the figure of the one who’s been following you—a sharply-angled shape hovering near the clouds, its metallic exterior reflecting the raw scarlet of the fleshscape far below.“Would you like to join us in meditation, Endbringer?” The flock asks.>>Sure! You’d love to check it out, and these people seem really nice, too!>>Um…you’re not really feeling whatever all this is, so maybe now would be a good time to check out that city further north?>>You’ll politely decline, and head back west to take a look at the Cord…you don’t want to stray too far from where you last saw Shu, after all. What if she needs you?>>Write-InFLY, AND BE FREE
(Voting shall remain open for the next six hours, with posting to resume on Tuesday, January 25th at 10AM Eastern time. Thank you for your time, patience, and participation, and know that I wish you a very restful weekend. Take care, Everyone.)
>>5132876vote;>Sure! You’d love to check it out, and these people seem really nice, too!>invite this 'proxy' to join too!on this episode of 'oh my god the earths now a pimple', we indoctrinate a mountain sized child into a cult!
>>5132876Oh, no. I was really hoping it wasn't a pilgrimage for us. Guys, come on, we already had this conversation. Wait, does that mean we've caused a religious schism? One group that believes in our divinity, another that just thinks we're an inspiration? Shit.>“Proxy?” You echo, and the swarm of avian figures loop, gesturing behind you. You turn skyward, where the air’s thinned enough to reveal the figure of the one who’s been following you—a sharply-angled shape hovering near the clouds, its metallic exterior reflecting the raw scarlet of the fleshscape far below.Oh, it's Snowbird. I thought it was an overseer of the Dissociated's work, but it was her. That was why she was so eager to do loop de loops with us. Aww. I want her and Ziz to be friends. She doesn't do well with crowds, though, I doubt she'd want to join in with the pilgrimage. >>Write-In>"Maybe? I'm not sure what you're actually asking me to do. Could you explain, please?"
>>5132876......this religion is getting out of hand.
>>5133416Yeah, it's tricky. I don't want Ziz to accidentally encourage them. It sounds like they've already constructed a theology around the Titans and their relationship to Shu, so we've got to be careful here. I think Ziz shouldn't agree to anything until given more information.
>>5133431>inb4 we find a Lorgar-expy preaching to the crowd.
>>5133431>>5133178the problem here is you're thinking too much like us and Shu, not Ziz. Ziz really isnt, ah, well the type to cautious here too much, least not at all in the way you're saying to be.
>>5132876>Um…you’re not really feeling whatever all this is, so maybe now would be a good time to check out that city further north?>at least ask for an explanation as to what exactly they're doing.
>>5133451True, there's some OOC reasoning there. But I do think Ziz would want to know what the thing they're being asked to do is before agreeing. That does seem in character to at least want to make sure they're not going to do something bad or just boring. Let me rephrase it. How does this look?>>5132876Rephrasing my vote >>5133178 ti>>Write-In>"Um, I'm not really sure what you're asking? Does it involve sitting still? I'm not really good at that."
>>5133460yeah that's at least much more in line with how he would put it.
>>5132876amending my vote >>5133452to support >>5133460
>>5133460Also, just to be clear, I'm not super into the idea of sitting down to meditate on how awesome Shu is. That sounds less interesting to me than going to investigate the weird city. But I do think we should be polite and at least here these people out on what they're doing, before we decline. Ziz is a polite doom-bird.
>>5133602eh, i disagree, as Ziz getting to make a ton of new friends sounds extremely fun for him.plus, as awkward as it was i wouldn't call the cult boring when Shu visited... though, admittedly probably not for the right reasons.wait, is this the same cult? im actually questioning if it is. if it was, then two very prominent non human members you think would've been the first to approach us.
>>5134122I'm pretty sure it's not. The other cult was way west of here, they might have wandered back this way but they're approaching from the east so I think it's a different one. Plus, as you said, you'd think Charon or the Tindalos Hounds would react to Ziz showing up. They're a different group.That's why I'm wary of these people. Between one cult that should be seeing us a secular inspiration, and one cult that apparently thinks of us as a potential divinity, we've got the makings of a religious schism on our hands. This could go really bad.
>>5134275Shus work is never done.3 post games and a post game movie might still not be enough to clean up her plate.
>>5132876“Um, I’m not really sure what you’re asking?” You admit, glancing along the long line of pilgrims below. “Does it involve sitting still? I’m not really good at that.”“It…it kind of does, yes.” The Hive Mistress admits with no small measure of reluctance. “B-but we won’t be quiet! We’ll be reflecting on our Savior’s greatness, and some of us will be singing songs of praise!”“Oh…okay.” You hesitate, before adding. “Did…did Shu ask you to do that?”“…No, but our Savior deserves praise of the highest caliber!” The flocks’ leader hastily replies. “Do you not think our efforts to honor Shu’s journey would please her greatly?”“I ‘dunno about that…” You muse, adding excitedly “…but you could ask her yourself!”“…huh?”“You could just ask Shu if she’s happy with that.” You clarify, the Hive Mistress’s confusion clear in the stuttering of her flock of constructs. “I’m sure she’d be happy to talk, and then you could hear what she thinks about your songs and stuff!”“We…we couldn’t possibly impose upon our Savior’s journey.” She replies, the line below pausing to listen to your booming conversation. “Our task at hand is offering up our words and thoughts to her, not distracting the Savior from her mission!”“Okay, well…if you’re sure that’s what she wants, then…have fun!” You say, a few quick pumps of your wings carrying you skyward once more. You feel kind of bad about not taking them up on their offer…but you have to admit that it sounded really, *really* bor-“Are you looking for something?”You’re a bit startled at the cold voice that pierces down from overhead, but when you turn to face the speaker you’re delighted by what you find—your up-til-now silent observer, finally announcing their presence.“OH! Hello there! I was just exploring a bit, stretching my wings!” You reply, excited by your observer finally warming up to you. “Are you? Looking for something, I mean?”“…Yes.” The Daughter replies after a few moments of hesitation. ‘An…associate had a laboratory close by. I was searching for it”“It’s neat how we ended up in the same place, huh?” You say, offering them the chance to address the fact they were following you.“You and I simply traveled in similar directions.” They respond dispassionately. “That is all.”“Oh, cool! Um…I’m Ziz, by the way.” You continue, a little embarrassed at how you sound with how calm and collected the other party is. “Wh-what’s your name?A beat, and then…“Snowbird.” The figure replies, as though they were going to say something else, then thought better of it. “You said you’re exploring. What is your next destination?”>>Start heading east, towards your perch.>>Explore the city to the north, and the weird vibe you got from it.>>Offer to help Snowbird find the lab.>>Write-InFLY, AND BE FREE
(Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume in four. I do hope you had a pleasant weekend, One and All.)
>>5137681>>Offer to help Snowbird find the lab.>>"Well I am already exploring. If you need help why not? It could be exciting."
>>5137681>>Write-In>"I was going to check out that berg to the north. It feels weird. Maybe the lab you're looking for is there?">"Or we could look somewhere else if you want, I'm open for anything so long as I'm moving."
>>5137681>>5137764ill support this sure.
>>5137681“I was going to check out that berg to the north, since it feels really weird.” You begin, and you suddenly feel the Daughter’s posture sharpen.“In what way?” Snowbird demands, their voice cold, yet not cruel.“Oh, uh…” You stammer, taken aback by their abruptness. “…just that I felt really drawn to it, I guess? Like something about it was pulling me in.”“Have you felt that before?” Snowbird presses.You search for an answer, finding only the echo of a sensation that’s been scratching at the corners of your memory ever since you came to this area.“Not really…but we could look somewhere else, if you want! I’m already exploring, and I’m open for anything as long as I’m moving!”The metallic Daughter is silent for a moment, and then-“Lab first. Then city.”You oblige Snowbird’s decision as their angular form darts overhead towards their target, and you follow in pursuit. It’s not long before their angular form pauses mid-air and begins a rapid descent, with you making your own landing just in time to marvel as Snowbird’s from changes completely, shifting from their aerial form into something more akin to a human, though still retaining their sharp asymmetry. You glance around, wondering what distinguished this particular field of angry red flesh from the miles of identically rolling plains that surround it, and you lean in close to whisper to your new friend.“What’re we looking for, exactly?” You ask, and to your surprise it’s Snowbird who jolts, this time.“…do I not scare you?” They ask after a moment of just staring at you, eyes hidden beneath their darkened helm.“Um…no?” You admit, then add; “*Should* I be scared?”“…No. No, you shouldn’t.” Snowbird replies, an odd lilt in their tone.“Okay, good! ‘Cause from the first moment I saw you, I thought you were friend-shaped!”A beat.“Friend…shaped?”“Yep! Friend-shaped!” You repeat, just in case they didn’t hear you the first time for some reason.“…I see. Good.” The metallic figure replies with a solemn nod. “I was beginning to fear that I was shaped more like a threat. Few dare approach me.”“Oh? Why’s that?”“My creator…Prime…used my abilities to destroy things. Places. People. ” Snowbird explains, hands morphing into blades as they begin tearing into the ground at their feet. “I was not always like this. I was re-forged into a body built to destroy. I was made to forget things. I want to know why.”“Okay, so…what can I do to help?”“Can you dig?”You look down at your talons, each longer than Snowbird’s entire frame. You’re no Behemoth, but…“If it’ll help you, then I certainly can.”(Continued)
>>5137897It only takes a handful of tentative rakes with your claws to unearth the remains of some sort of short, squat tower, and the more you scrape away the more you uncover a fairly large complex. Snowbird’s smaller stature lets them tear away at the flesh that’s reclaimed the interior of the little watchtower, and you almost have to lie flat to watch your new friend carve a path into what you assume to be the laboratory they’ve been searching for.Hinging open their chest, you watch as a deep orange light spills forth, with some sort of relic materializing in Snowbird’s waiting hands. Resembling a wishbone, the Daughter holds it outstretched for a moment before it appears to tug its owners arm sharply to the left and towards a wall of bleeding skin, stretched taut over some kind of boxy shape. The bone dissolves as Snowbird tears into the flesh with both hands, working to pry open the shape and retrieve what’s inside. You can feel the crackling of Neuromancy, the emotional flares of Phantasmal protections that glance off the Daughter’s determined form…and when their gauntlet’s withdrawn it’s with a leather-bound notebook clutched in Snowbird’s steely grasp.“What’s that?” You ask as Snowbird crushes the latch, bone shards erupting and cracking against it’s destroyer’s unfeeling hands, trying to protect whatever’s inside.“Research notes. Every Proxy catalogues their specific assignments for Prime in the event of their destruction.” Snowbird replies brusquely, losing you immediately with half the proper nouns of their sentence as they quickly shuffle through the notes, helm quickly tilting to scan each page. “But now that Prime’s begun her ascent up the Cord, she had no more use for these simple assignments. It seems this Proxy was investigating something in the nearby city, but the notes are…sporadic. The Proxy may have been corrupted or damaged in some way. The cause is unclear.”“Okay, so…are you looking for this ‘Prime’ person?” You clarify. “And she’s at the Cord?”“Yes.”“…I could take you to the Cord, y’know.” You offer, pausing when Snowbird stiffens before you add. “I dunno if you could get inside, but it’s worth a shot!”Your friend’s quiet for a long moment, and putting your worries aside that you’ve upset them somehow, you quietly ask; “Um…I don’t mean to intrude, but I just want to help.”“I…” The metallic Daughter hesitates. “…Thank you. I have not felt…right…as of late. It is difficult to understand what is happening. There are many things I want, but they’ve all come together into a single focal point. I need to stay on task.”“So…what is your task, exactly?”“I want answers.” Snowbird replies, coldly. “I do not care how I get them.”>>Go to the city to the north…maybe Snowbird will find answers there.>>Take Snowbird to the Cord, or as close as you can get.>>Write-InFLY, AND BE FREE
>>5137898vote;>Go to the city to the north…maybe Snowbird will find answers there.I dont think Ziz would know its potentially a bad idea to take her to the Cord, but the city is like, right next door so its easy to justify regardless visiting it first if nothing else. not like the Cords going anywhere anyways.
>>5137897>“…do I not scare you?” They ask after a moment of just staring at you, eyes hidden beneath their darkened helm.>“Um…no?” You admit, then add; “*Should* I be scared?”>“…No. No, you shouldn’t.” Snowbird replies, an odd lilt in their tone.Wow, that's actually kind of sad, that Snowbird is so used to being feared that she doesn't understand why a giant doom-monster that fights interstellar predators wouldn't be scared of her. In other characters that could come off as arrogance, but here it just makes me want to give her a hug. She's just so confused by it. Even Shu and Francine were afraid of her, despite wanting to help her. This is the first time someone has just been completely open and relaxed in her presence. >>5137898>>Go to the city to the north…maybe Snowbird will find answers there.Let's visit the nearby stuff first, and then if it holds no answers we can try the Cord.
>>5137898“…What if we check out the city?” You offer, sensing the indecision that runs through their resolve. “Maybe you’ll find out more stuff about that Prime person. Or the Proxy.”“Proxies…” Your friend corrects you, though it comes across more as an afterthought. “…and yes. This seems like the most direct course of action.”Snowbird turns to you, continuing to explain as you lie down on the surprisingly comfortable fleshscape. “Each Proxy had a line of study, distinct to them. The one who ran this lab helped Prime with system and hardware updates to my frame some time ago. The more I understand my creation, the more I understand my creator.”“…It sounds like you were special to her. To Prime, I mean.” You say, hoping to find some common ground with this curious Daughter.“I thought I was…but she left for the Cord without me.” Snowbird says, snapping the book shut before sharply rounding on you…though their words carry a gentleness quite at odd with the posture of their owner. “What of your creator? Can Mother still speak to you in her weakened state?”“Oh, Mother didn’t create us. She’s just an Administrator.” You reply, your turn to offer a gentle correction. “My siblings and I were made by the Crucible’s creator, and…”“…yes?” Snowbird prompts when you trail off.“…I’m…not sure how special we were, actually.” You finally admit, your heart sinking. “I mean…he said he loved us, so why aren’t we still with him? I’m not even the original, actually…there’s a bunch of copies of me, one for every strain of Crucible out there. So is the ‘me’ he said he loved even…me, anymore? Does that make any sense?”“Proxies are numerous. I am but one of many. All of us, easily replaced…so Prime said.” Snowbird says, staring down at the notebook, still clutched in one hand. “So…yes. It makes sense.”You rise slowly, casting a glance out towards the city as you try and shake the cloying doubts that’re creeping into your mind.“C’mon, friend, let’s go! Can’t sit thinking if the best thing is moving!” You declare, pointing all seven of your beaks towards the ruined spires in the distance. Snowbird’s about to follow before hesitating, turning to cast a glance back towards the laboratory’s shadowed door. “What’s up?”“…You know Shu.” Snowbird announces. “There are Relics the Proxy stored here. Useless to me, but of use to her. Could you take them to her, when you see her next?”(Continued)
>>5138116You’re so pleasantly surprised that you can barely nod your assent, watching as Snowbird ducks back in to the lab to retrieve the vault’s remaining contents. Upon Snowbird’s return you offer up a seat on your back, and you’re even more surprised when (after a momentary hesitation) it’s an offer you’re taken up on. Three pumps of your wings lifts you and Snowbird skyward…and as tempted as you are to gush about Shu something about those pilgrims put you off from talking about her too much, and you instead content yourself on just saying how nice it is that you have a friend in common.“…Shu is friend-shaped.”“Huh!?” You say at the third surprise in as many minutes.“Something about her puts me at ease.” Snowbird says, almost defensively. “I thought that is what ‘friend-shaped’ meant?”“Oh, it is! It totally is!” You nod In agreement, your vehemence forcing your rider to double-down on their grip. “And I agree!”“Be-…Francine is, too.” Your guest adds, reluctantly. “She is not like other Proxies. She has become something different, I think.”“Something good?” You ask.“…yes.” Snowbird nods, echoing your words. “Something good.”You’re about to reply when a pulse of raw emotion lances through your heart, nearly knocking the breath out of you. You’re soaring, excitement and brightness and pure, undiluted *hope* surging through you all at once, right next to your heart and thousands of miles away. It doesn’t make any sense, but when a second wave comes, as if in answer—a sudden fear, the twisting knife of doubt needling into the joy that leaves just as quickly as it came. But this new, second wave…it’s not far away, at all.Because it’s coming from the city.The first tremor and its aftershock…you’ve felt them before. Hope in one hand, the one that held you tight. The one that cradled your primordial form as He told you how proud He was of you, how important it was for you to do what needed to be done. How you’d be there, when hope sprung true.In the other hand—it was trembling, holding on to the fear that all this, everything...was for naught.That you and the others would die.That untold numbers of innocent lives would be lost, forever.That hope would die on the Crucible’s vine.You land roughly just outside the city’s edge, and Snowbird’s fretfully demanding your status as all seven of your mouths struggle for the breath that was robbed from them.“Snowbird?” You breathe, staring into the labyrinth of crooked red spires and darkened streets. “I think I know what that Proxy found.”>>ZIZ INTERMISSION: CONCLUDED
(Voting shall remain open for the next six hours, with posting to resume tomorrow at roughly 12PM, Eastern time. I’ve got to run some errands for work along with one or two personal items to deal with, so if it ends up being delayed then I’ll let you know as soon as I do. Thank you all for your patience and participation, and I wish you a restful evening.)PLEASE SELECT YOUR NEXT CHARACTER>>…Paloma, when the news of Madame Yurei’s death and her intriguing killer meets your ears.>>…Yamato, adrift on a sea of churning acids and abyssal threats, set to encounter a surprisingly friendly face.>>…Mara, sitting atop the throne of the world that is, dreaming of the world that’s to come.>>...Quincy Delapore, an Unnatural Predator on the run from an implacable clockwork soldier.>>Write-In (Any playable Daughter, NPC, or fan-character is valid for this vote.)YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>5138119>…Yamato, adrift on a sea of churning acids and abyssal threats, set to encounter a surprisingly friendly face.I'm so close to finishing an Omake featuring the Scarlet Sage. I'll post it soon when I can get the dialogue strings linked together.And this is lovely, seeing Snowbird have a common ground with Ziz. And uh-oh. The City's vibes are giving me that same sort of vibes as Shu discovering the monolith-sized fragment in the village ruins Merkabah was guarding.
>>5138116>“…I’m…not sure how special we were, actually.” You finally admit, your heart sinking. “I mean…he said he loved us, so why aren’t we still with him? I’m not even the original, actually…there’s a bunch of copies of me, one for every strain of Crucible out there. So is the ‘me’ he said he loved even…me, anymore? Does that make any sense?”Aww, Ziz, don't get existential worries. Your dad probably still loves you, even with you being multiply-instantiated. He's multiply-distributed, I'm sure he's looking over this version of you with pride. And even if he isn't, we'll love you, you adorable giant bird-monster.>“…You know Shu.” Snowbird announces. “There are Relics the Proxy stored here. Useless to me, but of use to her. Could you take them to her, when you see her next?”Thanks, Snowbird. I appreciate it.>>5138118>“Snowbird?” You breathe, staring into the labyrinth of crooked red spires and darkened streets. “I think I know what that Proxy found.”Oh, cool, one of the Proxies found the end of all things. Well, that's going to be...fun to find out what it is.>>5138119>>…Yamato, adrift on a sea of churning acids and abyssal threats, set to encounter a surprisingly friendly face.I just can't resist. She's a giant battleship-crab. And it would be fun to see what's going on far away from our part of the Crucible.
>>5138118well, that all doesn't sound very good.>>5138119vote;>…Paloma, when the news of Madame Yurei’s death and her intriguing killer meets your ears.
This took quite longer than I had anticipated. But as a change of pace I'm posting this omake on the vein itself instead of relegating it onto another website. So with that preamble out of the way, I present to you: FAITH AND PHILOSOPHY>As there are those who seek to reach Heaven>There are those who have been cast down.>A sage is one who has walked both paths>And teaches the wisdom found in each tribulation.>Through violence, death, or discussion>the Sage's wisdom will be imparted to all students regardless. - A soliloquy by Peng Ching, the Scarlet SagePeng sipped her tea. The beverage was hot and enjoyable. "How's the tea?"Peng looked up to gaze at her host with a smile. Sathriel was always a sparkling conversationalist, much like Peng herself, albeit with her own eccentricities. Due to an unfortunate side-effect of her Vitrvian-core, Sathriel had a rather warped sense of Justice, and thus tended to mete out 'justice' at the slightest involvement of violence if it included her involvement. Coupled with her entourage of formally dressed constructs, and the Obsidian Arbiter gives out an intimidating presence. Peng was fortunate that she knew Sathriel beforehand, a sharp young woman who had a promising career as a law attorney in the prosecution department. But Peng knew Sathriel had her soft side and the fact that she managed to retain it was comfort enough for the Sage."Lovely as always Sathriel." replied Peng. "It's not often that I hear a direct message from you. Asking me to come over for tea at a location like this."The two women sat in a valley between hilly mountains of muscle and bone. A remote location to the inexperienced traveler, but for Sathriel and Peng, they knew it is a path well traveled by many wanderers of the Crucible, Amalgam and Daughter alike. "So, what are you planning?" asked Sathriel "You wound me. I call you up for tea and a civil discussion and this is the courtesy you give me? How shameless!" Peng replied, feigning shock at her acquaintance's accusation."Says the 'shameless' Scarlet Sage." Sathriel shot back. "I know you're up to something interesting." "We do live in interesting times don't we?" laughed Peng. "That we do." agreed Sathriel "One moment the world is in chaos, the next moment a form of order begins to impose itself on the world." "And this order you speak of?" asked Peng."What other form of order would arise in the dark ages to keep the minds and hearts of humans intact and focused? It's religion." answered Sathriel."Ah religion." sighed Peng, staring wistfully into the distance "If my nephew were here, he would spend hours debating theology, no matter how obscure the cult." "Speaking of cults..." mused the Obsidian Arbiter "I think I know what you're up to." Sathriel made a small lilt of her head, nodding towards the herd of daughters rounding the bend of the mountain's musculature and wandering into distant view. (cont).
>>5138722Peng made no reaction to the implicit jab save for a slight uptilt of the corner of her mouth. "I have no idea what you're talking about."The two women continued sipping their tea in silence as the convoy of pilgrims continued traveling, their path growing inevitably closer to the two women before slowing down with reasonable caution and stopping to a standstill, wary of the implicit roadblock Peng and Sathriel might impose upon their pilgrimage. In Peng's eye, a fog of black and violet started to accumulate about the group's feet. Fear and apprehension. Moments pass in silence as the group of pilgrims dared not to take a step forwards as Peng and Sathriel watch on in expectation, until a lone Canary fluttered forwards before landing on the tabletop. "Hello there little sisters, are you coming or going?" Peng greeted with a smile."Going." replied the Canary's Hive Mistress "The question that I would like to ask of you though is: Are you truly friendly or is your friendliness merely a facade for banditry?""Oh rest assured little sister, the two of us have already hunted a nearby amalgam, the path ahead is safe to travel. Besides, my friend here would be quite cross if we did stoop to such lows as banditry." assured Peng with a smile before pausing at the thought "Although it is odd to see the upsurge in reports of attacks on fellow daughters...""Must be that irritating pack of 'musicians'." muttered Sathriel."You mean the ones from Bremmen?" asked Peng, Sathriel nodded downing her cup."Oh where are our manners? I am Peng Ching, the Scarlet Sage. You may call me 'Peggy' if it suits you. And my friend here is Sathriel, the Obsidian Arbiter."The pilgrims' mood visibly shifted turqoise upon hearing Peng and Sathriel's epithets, relief and calm breaking down black apprehension. Peng smiled. "Oh praise be the Savior's grace." sighed the Hive Mistress. "She would be delighted to hear this. My name is Quill, the leader of this humble flock of pilgrims.""And here I thought Jesus was exempt from the Crucible." mused Peng."Maybe it's Jesus's mother that came back instead of the messiah himself." Sathriel replied wittily."Well that certainly would be something!" laughed Peng. Fortunately, Peng cut her laughter short upon sensing the mood of the crowd during a dark sour green."I'm sorry for the interruption, that was rude of us. May I ask who the purpose of your travels?""We're on a pilgrimage to the site of our Savior's origin." replied Quill. "We would be honored if the Sage and the Arbiter were to join us in pilgrimage an provide security."Peng and Sathriel looked at each other. "Another cult." muttered Sathriel with a frown.(cont).
>>5138732"Well this certainly isn't like the others youe've encountered, they're heading eastward instead of west." Peng cheerily replied before her expression brightened as if an idea spawned into her head."Oh dear, here we go again..." sighed Sathriel, having caught the true meaning of Peng's expression. "Say little sister, why don't you tell me more about your pilgrimage and your religion? If it's interesting enough, I might be inclined to provide security.""Oh praise be her-" Quill's praise was soon cut off by the Sage."But, you will have to answer my questions. If I find your answers lacking or the tenets of your religion uninteresting, I will not give you the security you desire to complete your pilgrimage."There was a pause as the Hive Mistress considered the catch."And if we refuse?""Then you'll just have to make do without additional security." replied Peng "The two of us will not impede your progress. You are free to travel through this path regardless." "Don't worry, if my scarlet friend here is up to something shameless, I will keep her in line and keep this debate civil." said Sathriel in assurance reaching over and patting Peng on the shoulder, the gesture making the Sage jump. "You have my word. Isn't that right Peggy?" The pointed look the Arbiter gave the Sage is one Peng knew all too well. She'll have to be careful with her words."That's right, Sathriel." Peng stiffly replied. "We would like to have time to discuss your offer." said Quill before turning silent. Peng looked at the Canary construct before turning to gaze at the distant crowd of pilgrims. There was no doubt about the apprehension and suspicion the group of pilgrims held amongst themselves. Violet apprehension snaking in and out of the atmosphere as Peng could clearly see the kalediscope of colors and emotions above the crowd before solidifying into an overall gray hue of stable consensus and their answer sent through the messenger bird. "We'll play your game." said Quill. And thus the began Peng's favorite past time: Verbal knife fighting (also known as a debate).
>>5138745"You said you journey to see the origin of the Savior. How exactly do you define the Savior's Origin?""Where her chrysalis once harbored our Savior’s sleeping form.”"I see." nodded Peng "so to what purpose does journeying to the Crysalis fulfill?""The Pilgrimage to her Crysalis would give us guidance." replied Quill."And how would this give you guidance? Does the Crysalis speak? Is there a skintalker present to interpret?""Well...no." said Quill, the color of discomfort tinting her answers. "When we reach her birthplace, we would meditate upon our Savior's origin there for a time before leaving for our next course of action.""And you believe by meditating upon the crysalis you believe you will be given guidance to your next course of action?""Yes.""Then lets say you do believe journeying to her birthplace will give you guidance. And you have reached the sacred site and meditate before that cocoon. How do you know you will receive your next step? What exactly is the next course of action?"The canary's silence was telling as Peng suspected Quill was struggling to form a coherent answer. "Who might your savior be?" asked Peng, despite already knowing the answer.The softball question was instantly picked up by the Hive Mistress, relief colouring her voice "Oh, our savior is Shu the Defiant!""Who is this Shu the Defiant?" asked Peng. In the distance the reaction was instantaneous judging from the distant wave of murmurs colored by a mix of white and yellow that Peng interpreted as a state of emotional shock."Have you not heard of her?" asked the Hive mistress, aghast."Forgive me, this Sage is somewhat of a hermit." Peng apologized. It was a technical truth. "And what deeds did this Defiant do to qualify as your savior?""She has cast Mother low, she has begun taming the Endbringers. Wherever she goes, other daughters see her as their guardian, their savior. In the light of this, we see her as the light at the end of the tunnel. One destined to save the world and become a Goddess of Humanity!""That sound like high praise." said Peng, "but to what evidence do you have to back up those claims?""If I may..." said Sathriel, gently interrupting the conversation. "I do have skintalker abilities in my repitore. Would you like to see a record of her speeches? I heard the Defiant has a way with oration." The Arbiter offered a hand that pulsed with gold a mix of neuromancy and indistinct whispers of skintalking traits."Why yes please." replied Peng, and despite having already done her research beforehand, the Sage took the Arbiter's hand, and allowed the information to flow into her mind. A gesture in good faith for the group of pilgrims that lasted several seconds in real-time before Peng parted hands with Sathriel."I see...very interesting." said Peng, sagely nodding her head for emphasis."So?" asked Quill looking on expectantly "What do you think?"(cont)
>>5138750"Oh she is wonderful indeed." answered Peng "I have no doubt that she is worthy of the praise that you and yours would like to lavish with."No sooner when Peng finished the first half of her statement, there were cheers and squees from the pilgrims in the distance, no doubt being elated at the prospect of the Scarlet Sage being in agreement."And yet, I cannot come to the same conclusion as you have."If there was music playing in the background, it would have paused with a record scratch at this moment. Peng mused, as the emotional colours of the pilgrims went white with shock. Their thoughts would have also likely come to a screeching halt as well."But surely you should have been moved by her words!" the pilgrim leader stammered out."Yes, I have seen her speeches and the interview with Orwell. And her speeches were wonderful indeed." Peng looked to the crowd and saw the color of desperate hope. It's a shame she'll have to break down that shred of hope in order to get her point across."But I have heard and listened to many speeches in my life and career. In my line of work, being a great orator is a necessary skill. That and assigning competent minions to do the tasks needed to keep a province running.""But while the contents of her speech had an excellent if basic core thesis, her talking points were haphazardly brought together, like a student cramming for a final exam. Her speech overall was...mediocre.""Even more telling were the statements in her speeches that felt contradictory. 'What sort of world do you think you'll build in your image? I don't know.', 'while I do not condone, I cannot give you my blessings', so on and so forth. Her overall tone belies an emotion of anxiety and the need to distance herself away from the hard questions a governor tackles on a daily basis.""And while I cannot divine her intent from looking directly into her eyes, I suspect that she has some relic that prevents others from seeing her true thoughts.""But I did not need to know that to figure out her true feelings. There is a stiffness in her legs that I cannot help but notice when she paces about, as if she wanted to flee from the scene despite the brave face she puts up for all to see. Her body language was plain as day. She is uncomfortable- no, terrified of bearing the burden of leadership. Ironic, if you consider her core theme.""In the light of all of these evidences that I have observed, I can only conclude that Shu does not take well to the idea of being put on a pedestal...No, rather it is in my opinion that Shu is not fit to bear the burden of ending this Crucible, much less rebuilding the world."The silence was deafening despite the lack of explosive violence. Peng needn't use her ability to read the emotions of others to see that her observations and statements have shaken the group's faith to the core. Nevertheless, Peng continued pressing questions on the pilgrims to cultivate their critical thinking.(cont.)
>>5138758"Have you considered what would happen if she were to fail?"Silence."Then let us consider this: what will you do if Shu perishes before she can reach the top?"Silence."Then lets say, Shu is truly worthy of saving the world, and she ascends to the throne of heavens and takes her rightful place. And all is well. Then how will the world reconcile with her ascension? Her choices that have condemned others like Sam and Isabelle? Her sins that arise in the wake of her actions?"Silence."Do we have evidence to show she is ready for the ascension?""Why are you asking these questions?" the Hive mistress finally replied. The colour of gloom and frayed emotions stained her voice, an emotion shared by many of the flock."Why indeed? I ask because the answer is simple. I wish to know what you think. And I wish for you to learn and consider these questions.""How is this even-" The Hive Mistress gestures about "Learning experience!?"Peng opened her mouth to speak but refrained as the leader of the pilgrimage group burst into a Kalidescope of vibrant colors in Peng's eye. Peng didn't dare interrupt the beautiful speech colored by those emotions."We're simply a group of daughters who want to visit Shu's birthplace so we can connect with the person we look up to. She is our inspiration, she is our hope." "Who stopped the Spiraling Fear? Shu. Who negotiated with West Alpha and convinced her into a non-aggression pact? Shu did it. Who stripped Mother of her power and stopped her favored daughter from gatekeeping the Cord? It was all SHU!""We don't care if Shu is or isn't worthy! We don't care if Shu succeeds or fails! We see the deeds that she has done, and want to help make her wish come true! It doesn't get any simpler than that! Is that reason enough?"It was Peng's turn to be silent in the wake of the Pilgrim's zealous speech. But the silence of the Sage was not out of shock, but out of respect. 'A pity' Peng thought 'such beautiful passion empowered by her youth. And yet she has yet to gain wisdom.'And so Peng spoke once more."Are you sure your actions are in good faith with the Defiant's wishes?" asked the Sage."Yes!""Then why are you so keen on deifying the Defiant in spite of her earnest wishes to not be placed on such a high pedestal?""ENOUGH!" roared the Hive Mistress, disgust and anger clouded the pilgrim's mind.Peng frowned at this development. "And here I thought this discussion was about to get more interesting-""No more questions!" The Hive Mistress's temper was steaming red."If you ask one more question-""Is that VIOLENCE I hear?" Sathriel softly interrupted, the words tumbling out her lips with the weight of a lead coffin.(cont.)
>>5138774Despite the distance, the Obsidian Arbiter's presence seemed to loom over both Peng and the Pilgrims as Sathriel slowly got up from her seat with a disturbing grin as her sharp dressed constructs drew out their claws. The Arbiter took a small step forward. The pilgrims collectively took two steps back."Are you implying you wish to commit VIOLENCE?" asked Sathriel. The Arbiter took another small step forward. The pilgrims collectively took two steps back."If you are, then prepare yourself for JUDGMENT-"The Arbiter's third step was halted by the Sage. The two met each other's gazes in a silent confrontation of wills before the Arbiter reluctantly backed down and slowly shuffled back to her seat with a frown as her entourage of constructs went back into a relaxed state. Peng gave a small sigh of relief. The shift in the crowd's relief was palpable in the silence that followed."Well that would have turned messy." said Peng before turning to the crowd of pilgrims. "If Shu has an issue with my stance, then I am sure she would send a personal message to me to cease and desist. There is no reason for you to be upset with this. If you wish to end this and be on your way, all you simply need is to ask. The two of us will not bar your way.""You're right...As infuriating as you are, you do have a point. There is no reason for us to be upset." said the Hive mistress before turning to the flock behind her. Turqoise calm began to settle back amongst the crowd."Sisters, let us leave this place. Clearly this Sage doesn't believe in our Savior and the three Endbringers."Peng sighed. It was clear that these pilgrims would not be open to any further arguments."Sathriel?" asked Peng, quietly getting up from her seat before turning towards the mob."Yes Peggy?" replied the Arbiter, her frown turned into an expression of sadistic anticipation. "Can you do me a favor?" "Don't worry Auntie..." replied Sathriel, her smile growing ever slightly wider. "I'll behave."Then she spoke to the crowd in a volume loud enough for them to hear, she felt these pilgrims needed one final lesson to mull over. As such, an appropriate summation of her closing remarks was needed. "One more thing," said Peng. "a summation for all of you to meditate upon during your pilgrimage."(cont.)
>>5138784"You have eyes but you do not see, you have ears but you do not hear, you have a mind but you do not think, you have belief, but not faith, in the girl you so preach, for she does not want worship. Either Shu is your goddess or she is not. Worship in both cases is either obscenity or heresy, for if she is a human you should emulate her, and if she is your Goddess, should you not obey her?"Time in Peng's perspective seemed to slow down as she read the mood of the group. Judging from their stiffened expressions, her words had pierced the crowd. But the oncoming wave of emotion warned Peng of the violence ahead. Peng's foreboding was right. The tension broke into a seemingly dark curtain of violence lay just ahead of her, deep and thick as the wave of bodies charging towards her as the mob surged as one, intent on teaching the Scarlet Sage a lesson of violence for her verbal sacrilege. Already Peng's human form shifted in waves and ripples until it settled into an alien shape and unearthly combat stance, enacting the moves required for her to come out decisively victorious. ............"So..." said Sathriel "Did you have fun, Peggy?"Peng sighed at Sathriel's question, the Obsidian Arbiter was radiating a gold aura of smug amusement. "Good Heavens, no!" lamented Peng, gazing back at the carnage."I would have had fun, were it not for the fact that there were those who still refused to learn the wisdom I sought to impart to them." sighed the Scarlet Sage. "Such is life. The perils of blind faith and religion and all that jazz."The crowd of pilgrims had backed off, licking their wounds and tending to those on death's door while giving Peng and Sathriel a wide berth out of fear. A few of them stared at the corpses of those unfortunate enough to truly perish in the fighting, torn between wanting to retrieve the bodies of the fallen or staying put and risk further retaliation. Others gave Peng a black look of hatred and disgust but reluctantly refrained from further violence."With the powers you displayed, you could have aided Shu as an invaluable asset in ending the Crucible. And yet, you do not believe in her ability to save the world." Quill stated plainly. "Why?"Peng looked westwards into the distance.(cont.)
>>5138808"I once sought the Cord's throne myself, confident in in my wisdom, my cultivation practices and my ability to surpass each tribulation." the Sage began, sounding nostalgic. "But despite my might, Mara was stronger. I failed before the might of that Silver dragon, my age and wisdom the sole reason I still live to this day, having surrendered in shame before the final blow was struck.""I have no doubt to believe that Shu is capable of ending the Crucible, and indeed she would succeed where I cannot. However, I do not have the faith in her ability to rebuild the world that comes in the wake of her ascension, much less govern it.""A religious institution that venerates and serves the whims of a living being whilst alive is simply a government serving the head of the state. Both are institutions that can be easily swayed and corrupted from within, and with the passage of time, even the most noble of states will turn into a corrupt totalitarian dictatorship drunk on delusional privilege of authority. A gradual and terrible change that I have personally witnessed in the decades of life I have lived prior to the Crucible."Peng turned towards the Hive Mistress, looking directly into the eyes of the Canary construct's host. "Just as much as the Defiant is capable of influencing you through inspiration, you yourself are also capable of influencing the Defiant. Whether or not she turns benevolent or tyrannical depends heavily upon your actions, how Shu sees those actions through her eyes, and whether or not you are aware of your influence upon her."And with that, Peng turned back to look westward."Go. Gather your dead, you will need their 'Qi' for your pilgrimage."................Peng sat down and sipped her tea. The beverage was cold."So when do you think Shu will grant you an audience?"Peng downed the rest of her tea and stared at her porcelain cup. A smile crept up onto her face as she saw Sathriel had already caught on to her hidden meaning."No doubt those pilgrims will spin the tale of what happened here and paint me in a harsh light as some mass-murdering-heretic who seeks to bring their vaunted Savior down, this will not sit well with Shu once word of this reaches incident reaches her ears.""Says the woman who asked me to record the entire discussion and encounter as evidence." Sathriel replied, leaning forward. "Aren't you a shrewd woman." remarked Peng."Isn't that the point?" replied Sathriel her smugness growing wider as she leaned forward. "For you to get her attention?"Peng leaned back and closed her eyes in thought. "The line is cast, and there are fish biting the bait, but the bigger fish have yet to nibble.">>FAITH AND PHILOSOPHY - END
>>5138827(Oh, I am incredibly excited to dive into this tomorrow. Thank you so much for sharing, and even just the few snippets I glanced at while scrolling down to post this is quality.)
Harsh were the seas of the world that was.Humanity’s history with the oceans runs deep, and countless have been the lives claimed by error’s folly or fortune’s turn. But slowly, surely, as with all things, humanity adapted. They grew to understand the water’s whims, to anticipate her moods and chart courses across her raging surfaces and endless depths. We knew the sea.Then, the world ended……and the oceans became something new and mysterious, yet again.Acid strong enough to strip flesh from bone with a single drop laps at your polished calcite hull, under which runs sharkskin waterproofing and latticed chitin strong enough to weather the sea’s savagery. The Crucible’s scarlet skies are clear, for now, but ship-mate Calypso’s Phantasmal-Skintalking warned you of a storm before you set out from Felixstowe, and you can see it coalescing on the horizon. The eyes you’ve got dotted along the observation deck swivel, zooming in on the clouds as you adjust your course ever-so-slightly to adapt to the evolving threat—beneath you, yet more water-and-acid-proof orbs stare unblinking into the Atlantic’s merciless depths. Past schools of howler fish and nigh-impenetrable clouds of sea lice, you see the outlines of things best left alone…the great, undulating shapes of things that roil and rage where light dares not pierce.You’ve checked, but you check again; your torpedo tubes are loaded, their living payloads gnashing their teeth, yearning to draw fresh blood. Your cannons are primed, the armor-piercing swordfish-class artillery aimed skyward while your own massive claws are relaxed at the side of your hull, ready to snap open and shut, ending what’s caught between.Your name is Yamato, and you are one-hundred and ten meters of peerless calcite, impenetrable chitin, and unsinkable determination—a living ship that dares to connect what once was broken.You’re several days out from what was once Britain’s largest port and on a journey you’re no stranger to. Ferrying passengers and crew across the Crucible’s vicious oceans has become your self-appointed task, and effort to bridge the continents once more…though you’re certainly not alone in your penance.“Captain!” A small, resolute voice announces herself on your bridge. The eyes there open, and you’re met with the fierce, dark stare of a young woman saluting the legion of glassy orbs that adorn the consoles therein. Yomi, one of the twelve souls that’ve taken it upon themselves to accompany you and the most serious of their number, by far.“Status report?” Comes your request, your voice emanating loudly from the speakers set into every corner of the room. The teen’s frame stiffens, her hands snapping to her side as her mox-jet eyes leak thick, black ichor that crawls down her round cheeks.(Continued)
>>5139647“Armaments are fully-loaded and ready, torpedo tubes are primed, and we’ve got more than enough rations on board to last us to Charleston and back again.” She briefs you, informing you of precisely nothing you didn’t already know. It’s a song and dance that’s become old hat, by now—Yomi’s the only one who still calls you ‘Captain’ instead of everyone else’s casual ‘Yams’, but you have to admit a certain fondness for the girl’s consummate professionalism.“And our passengers?” You ask coolly, playing along.“Vector and her team are comfortably in their quarters. No requests. No movement. Keeping to themselves.”Your guest quarters are currently occupied by a contemplative Daughter with four others at her side, the quintet your reason for this latest foray into the Crucible’s unforgiving seas. Cord-Seekers, and proud of it…though they strike you as a cut above the usual mad-women and half-Hungermad wretches that book passage to the country that hosts the modern Tower of Babel.“Thank you, Yomi.” You say, your appreciative bow manifesting as a forward pitch of your massive form. The slight girl just nods, her glassy ebony eyes locked on the looming threat outside your windows.“Captain, the storm-”“Yes, I’m well aware.” You calmly interrupt, casting your multitudinous gaze at the roiling clouds in the distance. “It’s moving faster than we anticipated…and moving straight for us.”It’s not terribly surprising—Calypso warned that the storm’s movements were at odds with the ebb and flow of the local weather patterns, and even some of her most respected peers had come up empty when trying to pierce through its murky depths. Hive Mistress powers with a sprinkling of Neuromancy, if you were to place a bet……you’ve weathered worse, but checking in on those within your frame would be wise, regardless of the threat at hand.>>Check on your active crew members, and ensure they’re ready to weather what’s coming.>>It’s the ones at rest that need to be checked in on, before you brave the coming storm.>>Warn Vector and her allies about the storm—you told them before,r but a reminder wouldn’t hurt.>>Write-InCHART YOUR COURSE
(Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume in four. I do hope your day is going well, and that you had a restful evening.)
>>5138827>>>FAITH AND PHILOSOPHY - ENDThat was really good. I liked it a lot, Peng cutting through our weird cult's insistence on deifying us by pointing out that we're clearly a fallible human. Made me cringe a bit, but that was the point. We're just a human, capable of being cringe-worthy, don't deify us. It's a good argument.I also liked how her character analysis of us made for a character study of her. This very Socratic woman, who likes to make her point with leading questions that bring people around to her line of thinking naturally. A bit of a troll, too, as much as she said she was doing this for the sake of didactism it's clear she was enjoying poking holes in people's lines of reasoning. And someone who has grown to despise institutions from her time as part of one, that comes through very clear.Peng does have a point. We're no one to govern the world. We could indeed be swayed and influenced by others, potentially quite easily. Or we could become corrupt, especially if people are deifying us and not treating us like we're something fallible to second-guess the decisions of. I think where she misunderstands is that we totally agree and don't want to rule the world. We want to save it, but governance should be derived from the will of the masses, not some farcical orbital ceremony. I think she may find herself pleasantly surprised to see how receptive we are to other people's ideas about how the world should be fun.Or not! She does, after all, want some weird anarcho-primitivist state. We may wind up disagreeing with her. But we'd at least be willing to hear her out. And her thinking our cult is crazy, too, is actually a super good debating tactic. Have something to agree on with your opponent. It's a good move.
>>5139656vote;>It’s the ones at rest that need to be checked in on, before you brave the coming storm.
>>5139656>>Check on your active crew members, and ensure they’re ready to weather what’s coming.Yo ho. A nautical adventure time. I like the idea of the Cord-Seekers being weird, to those outside of the little section of America we're in. To us it's just normal, but to the rest of the world, with the journey being more arduous, it would be less common and more notable. Cool stuff.I'm also liking the little mention of schools of fish and sea lice. That suggests that the aquatic ecosystem is more developed than just a monster spawning ground, things like the Pyre Ants' forest might be decently common there. That's really interesting to me.
>>5139660Peng has her own reasons to believe that the logical end result of Shu's ascension will still lead to the establishment of an institution government in the form of a global theocracy regardless. This is backed up by her old age, her career as a civil servant in China's history, both tumultuous and prosperous times, the corruption scandals and "promised reforms" she's witnessed in the government, the collectivist chinese society that she grew up in, and her own personal knowledge of using China's history as a reference point to her worldview. Much of this is alluded to in the initial overview post of her character sheet. She's seen enough signs to recognize the big-picture from her perspective and has had more than enough time to live and reflect and develop a very solid personal opinion on the direction she believes the world is heading towards. >She does, after all, want some weird anarcho-primitivist state.Peng likes the current state of the world. To her it reminds her of her rural hometown where it was simply a world where distant villages subsisted on the resources the environment around them. No grand realpolitik, no overbearing corrupt institutions, just humans living in harmony with the world. Whether or not Shu can get past Peng's exterior and opinions and convince her that her ascension won't result in what Peng believes will happen? That is the real challenge. If Shu impresses Peng with well thought-out policies and a well reasoned argument, She'll will gain a powerful and experienced advisor who can help out with bureaucratic and administrative matters like nobody's business. Fail, and you get a very persistent old woman who will inflict growing pains in the process rebuilding of civilization by relentlessly 'testing' would be civil servants and turning even the most basic council congress sessions into intense verbal knife fighting sessions by her sticking her nose in and poking holes in every proposal. Her involvement will still help out in the long run, but Peng will ensure that it will be a long and painful process until she either gets a shiv in her back or somehow dies of old age.By the way, any thoughts on Peng's associate Sathriel? She originally supposed to be a narrative mediator in the original draft of the story but Sathriel grew a character of her own and turned into what I personally believe is something of an interesting foil that plays off of Peng's character very well. >>5139656>Post a general announcement throughout the ship of the incoming storm, with an advisory of a possible all-hands-on-deck scenario should the call be made. >It’s the ones at rest that need to be checked in on, before you brave the coming storm.
>>5139734>She's seen enough signs to recognize the big-picture from her perspective and has had more than enough time to live and reflect and develop a very solid personal opinion on the direction she believes the world is heading towards. Yeah, it makes sense. We are talking about a world where it may now be possible for a person to directly seize literally unlimited power. The old wisdom is that since no king rules alone, governance has to be shaped by the need to keep ones subordinates in control. That's not necessarily the case anymore. It opens the door for both great virtue and great corruption. Great virtue, as a ruler can just do what is right instead of appeasing their base. Great corruption, as a ruler can disregard the will of the masses without any consequences. It's a scary situation, and I do not blame Peng for wanting to get in on the ground floor before someone becomes too entrenched and powerful to be swayed.>By the way, any thoughts on Peng's associate Sathriel? She originally supposed to be a narrative mediator in the original draft of the story but Sathriel grew a character of her own and turned into what I personally believe is something of an interesting foil that plays off of Peng's character very well.She seemed interesting, though the focus wasn't on her much. A legalist judge makes a good companion to a philosopher. That sort of tricksy character needs someone more blunt to cut through their prevarications, I think it worked well. Making her smug in her own way gives her something to be as more than just the Watson to Peng's Holmes, too. She's in on the joke. I like it. And her interest in JUSTICE was certainly fun.
(Just a quick update - I'll need to post the update closer to 5PM as I'm covering for my associate who had to leave due to a medical emergency, so thank you all for your patience.)
>>5139656“Attention, passengers and crew.” You declare, voice echoing through your winding halls and into every room aboard. “Please be advised that the storm ahead of us is moving to intercept us, and will likely do so within the hour. This may demand an all-hands-on-deck scenario, depending on the level of opposition we encounter. Thank you.”Yomi salutes you, and with a sniff to recall her onyx tears back into her sockets, she departs. You suppose it would be wise to check in with those of your crew on break to ensure they’ve gotten enough rest to address the threat at hand…though given everything you’ve dealt with up to this point, you’re not terribly concerned that you’ll have to call on their aid.When your eyes open to the rec room, you find half your crew variously enjoying themselves in the space closest to your heart, its regular pulse a steady rhythm that can be felt through the calcite walls.“Lookin’ to spook our guests with that little announcement, Yams?” Grins Musashi, sitting on the floor with her back to the wall nearest your core. She’s ready as always, right arm tapered at the elbow into a blade of nigh-unbreakable wood that she’s chipping away at with a rough-hewn calcite dagger. “Brig, could you hand me ano-““Make your own fuckin’ dagger, Mu!” Counters the redheaded girl lying on the salvaged couch against the opposite wall, her shirt riding up to reveal her skinless torso, bare ribs forming a set of formidable under-armor. “It’s not my fault your wood so freakin’ har-NO! No, stop laughing!”“Gotta say, you…gah…kind of walked into that one yourself, Brig.” Grunts the bald, powerfully-built girl sitting on the table tucked into corner of the room furthest from the door. Hilde’s elbow digs into the table, the muscles of her right arm bulging as she arm-wrestles her own fibrous doppelganger.“Guys, keep it down. Yams’ announcements are noise enough without you all keeping me up.” Calypso groans from the bean bag adjacent Brig’s couch, the girl’s dark features obscured under a mess of ethereal hair that shudders and twitches at every errant noise.“Good to see everyone in fine spirits.” You sigh, Calypso’s hair frizzing at the sound of your voice, her hair day certainly not helped when Musashi loudly curses the broken dagger in her hand, its blade snapped and stuck mid-shave of her sword-arm. “Where are Gem and Emma?”Musashi jerks a thumb skyward before catching the fresh dagger Brig throws her way with the same hand. Glancing up, you find a pair of oozes snuggled up next to each other on the ceiling, the gelatinous pair snoozing away without a care in the world.Lovely…it seems you’re the only one taking this threat seriously, as usual. Your resounding sigh manifests as the blowing of a baritone foghorn, prompting a low growl from Calypso.(Continued)
>>5139973“Oh yeah…Cal, didn’t you say there was something weird about that storm?” Musashi reminds your resident Skintalker, their sword suddenly stretching clear across the room to prod at the other girl’s shoulder.“Just that it’s acting weird. Probably a Hive Mistress of Hive Mistress-adjacent power set, like Yams said.” She yawns, and your two-dozen eyes snap to her.“And you neglected to tell me this…why?”“Eh, you figured it out.” Calypso mutters with a dismissive wave, covering her eyes with her forearm. “Plus, nobody on the ‘net can figure out what’s driving it, so how’s that any different from a regular shit-storm?”“Because storms cannot be reasoned with…Daughters can.”“Fair point…no guarantee it’s a Daughter, though.” The Skintalker lazily replies. “Given how far out we are, odds are it’s not.”“We’ve been surprised before, though.” Brig interjects, sitting up and fixing you with her remaining green eye. “I can take one of the boats and check it out, if you wanna.”“One of my custom torpedoes should suffice—but I appreciate your courtesy, Brigandine.” You reply, though you have to wonder if drawing the thing’s attention is your best course of action.>>Send a probe to search for the storm’s source, and possibly make contact with whatever’s driving it your way.>>Wait to address the storm’s source until its closer—check in with your guests, until then.>>Let the storm draw closer, and make sure your active crew isn’t spread too thin.>>Write-InCHART YOUR COURSE
(Voting shall remain open for the next five hours, with posting to resume tomorrow at 10AM, Eastern time. Thank you all for your patience and participation, and I wish you a restful evening.)
>>5139973>She’s ready as always, right arm tapered at the elbow into a blade of nigh-unbreakable wood that she’s chipping away at with a rough-hewn calcite daggerI take it that its natural form is an oar?>>5139977>>Send a probe to search for the storm’s source, and possibly make contact with whatever’s driving it your way.
>>5139977vote;>Wait to address the storm’s source until its closer—check in with your guests, until then.>>5139981and same to you.
>>5139977>>Send a probe to search for the storm’s source, and possibly make contact with whatever’s driving it your way.
>>5139977You didn’t get this far by just waiting on what the sea had to throw at you, so you settle on a far more proactive solution. Selecting a shark that’s nestled into one of your torpedo tubes, you optimize it for reconnaissance, its eyes widening, its senses sharpening in the seconds before it’s speared into the open seas. It hurtles towards the roiling storm on the blood-red horizon, and you wait with your heart beating in time with the waves slamming against your hull.You can see through its glossy black eyes, staring straight ahead as it closes the gap with startling speed, the biomechanical rotors in place of its tail blessing it with speeds beyond nature’s crafting. As your envoy draws closer, the true from of the hurricane manifests—what you took for billowing storm clouds are in truth a cyclone of innumerable car-sized flies, buzzing around the bloated form of a colossal tortoise-like Amalgam. Its black shell is pitted with innumerable holes from which pour forth its fetid swarm, while its head resembles a frog’s distended features but with a chipped calcite beak. It's picking up speed, and with it bearing down on you full force there’s little time to get out of its way……you like when things are simple.You claws snap shut, raking forwards in time with your cannons’ swiveling to aim on your onrushing foe. Your carnivorous constructs writhe in their torpedo tubes, sensing the hope of carnage in the air as you call out to all on board.“Attention, passengers and crew—the storm ahead of us has been identified as an Amalgam.” You calmly inform them, waves of brutal acid crashing over your bow as the winds intensify. “Active crew, please stay on duty to address any damages. Should the need arise, I will-““May I be of assistance?”The woman that’s stepped onto your bridge has to duck under the doorframe, her seven-foot frame a vibrating in place even as she takes a knee before your consoles.“Vector…I feel as though it would be rude of me to request help from our guests before we’ve even engaged the enemy.” You reply, meeting the glowing viridian spheres that are her eyes with your own manifold stare.“It’s the least we can do to repay your kindness.”“You’ve already paid your fare in full.” You counter, keeping an eye on the creature in the distance.“Dealing with constructs is my specialty.” Vector informs you, tilting her head towards your common enemy.You don’t have time to play politeness-judo with your passenger, so the only question that remains is how best to approach the storm’s nexus.>>Open with torpedoes—if your guess is right, then this thing’s underbelly could be a point of weakness.>>Start off with an artillery barrage to thin out the swarm and draw out any possible countermeasures.>>Unleash you entire arsenal, in full—holding back is a fine way to get yourself killed on the open seas.>>Write-InCHART YOUR COURSE
(Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume in four. Last night and this afternoon have been/will be taken up with some personal matters, so I haven't been able to take the time to read what's been posted yet. Thank you for your patience, and I hope next week clears up a bit to allow for more consistent posting.)(I do hope your week is going well, and that you have some fun plans to look forward to this weekend.)
>>5141029>>Start off with an artillery barrage to thin out the swarm and draw out any possible countermeasures.
>>5141029vote;>Start off with an artillery barrage to thin out the swarm and draw out any possible countermeasures.
>>5141029>>Start off with an artillery barrage to thin out the swarm and draw out any possible countermeasures.I doubt its underbelly is especially vulnerable. If it was, something would have killed it from below already. Torpedoes are part of a balanced attack plan, but not the end-all.
>>5141033>>5141029A BATTLE ON THE HIGH SEAS HO!>COMMENCE ARTILLERY BOMBARDMENT, ARMOR PIERCING SWORDFISH FROM MAIN BATTERIES>READY THE SECONDARIES AND AA CANNONS, LOAD UP THE URCHIN FLAK>Vector...can do as she pleases, but at least warn her to be careful if she plans to head out onto the main deck.>buzzing around the bloated form of a colossal tortoise-like Amalgam. Its black shell is pitted with innumerable holes from which pour forth its fetid swarm, while its head resembles a frog’s distended features but with a chipped calcite beak.Hang on....that looks like a Kappa..but Kaiju-sized, and without the other trademark features. Yamato would probably view the amalgam as a Kappa-like amalgam, drawing inspiration from her nation's cultural mythos.
>>5141146( I was literally about to use that image in the next update, since it was the only kappa image that fit what I had in my head.)(Very nicely done!)
>>5141029“Your help would be much appreciated. Now…” You declare, taking aim. “…if your would kindly cover your ears.”Somewhere in the distance, winds howl in a symphony with the beasts that call the hurricane home. Between it and the ocean’s constant roar, the sea threatens to drown out any sound that would hope to be heard over its eternal depths...but then you open up with a roar of your own that shakes the heavens. Your cannons howl, casting their shells into the eye of the storm—and when your urchin rounds detonate, chaos roils in a wave through the Amalgam’s swarm. The spines tears indiscriminately through the massive flies, and each casualty explodes in kind to form a cascade of needles. Their source reacts before the effect snowballs into the complete annihilation of its forces, with the Amalgam’s hideous tongue lashing out to snatch the affected members from the air. It’s a length of black tar like a multi-headed flail, and once it’s withdrawn the Amalgam looses a pained, warbling cry. It’s a call to action, as the cyclic storm slows, then surges forwards to meet its aggressor.“A wonderful opening. Please keep firing.” Vector compliments you, suddenly darting out to the rim of your bow. “You won’t hit me.”And at that, she leaps.Streaks of neon light trail in the Daughter’s wake as she moves faster than thought to meet the legion head-on. Vector dances across the sea’s violent waves with greater haste than you thought possible, and once she reaches the edge of the swarm, she ascends their number as though they were stairs to the skies. Another roar, another volley of urchin-shells hurled against your foe and past the violet explosions that envelop the flies caught in Vector’s bright, surgical slaughter. Your shells detonate against the Amalgam’s shell, only to be consumed by the jagged thorns that spontaneously erupt to consume the rounds whole, forming a thicket of black spines to augment the thing’s defenses.A common tactic…and one that demands your favored solution.Urchins are violently reshaped into swordfish, and the next volley that blankets your foe pierces through its shell like nails through so much dry rot. The beast howls, and it’s in that moment your sonar pings multiple shapes approaching from underwater. Tadpoles the size of buses surge up from the depths, and if your foe assumed your forte was ranged combat, then it has judged you poorly. Your claws dart out, seizing one wriggling construct in your left and two in your right, and it barely takes any pressure at all to shred them to bloody tatters. While adapted for use on land, your crab-like legs uncurl from around the bottom of your hull to spear through the Amalgam’s spawn while you keep up your volley above the water’s surface, and when one tadpole slips by to clamber aboard, it’s met with the last thing it’ll ever see.(Continued)
>>5141206“Book of Earth; Second Form.” Musashi mutters to herself, barely audible above the din of combat as her blunt strike whips across the construct’s blobby, misshapen face. A second passes, the stunned creature about to resume its attack when the splinters left behind by the stroke explode into full-blown trees. They’re red with the blood of their target, thick scarlet trunks carrying their desiccated host over your edge and back from whence they came. Here, she’s all business as any construct that manages to breach the water’s surface is met with Musashi’s lethal blows, their deliverywoman a cold professional on the field of battle. When one slips by her, you bank to one side, sending it hurtling into Hilde’s waiting, crushing grasp. Another pitch, and the combined form of both gem and Emma envelop another construct before it can react, melting down to nothing under the strength of an acid that puts the seas to shame.Every pitch and yaw you make is not dictated by the lapping waves, but rather your own instinctual support of your crew and your own unerring aim. There was a time when you fought alone, and when the women that at first asked you to carry them to some far-off destination abandoned their aims to stay aboard, you first thought them a curiosity at best. But over time, you learned to fight alongside them, to feel them as you do every barrel, rivet, and instrument that makes up your current form.You did not ask for them to join you in your atonement…but you’re glad they’re here, all the same.You almost miss when a hole opens in the Amalgam’s head, widening into a gaping wound that bubbles over with a bright blue ichor, an azure mist billowing forth from the bowl. You recognize a kappa when you see one, as well as a Phantasmal field…luckily for you, your own Conduit has no intention of bowing to this thing’s whims. Calypso’s pulse of Lexicon-imbued witchery from your bridge cuts so cleanly through the thing’s own emotional field that you think she’d make Musashi proud.“I thought you all were resting?” You say between volleys, each blanketing tearing through more of your desperate target’s hide.“We were, but then I felt something weird!” Calypso yells over your cannon-fire. “This thing’s freaking out!”“I should hope so, with how-““No! I think It’s running from something, Yams!”…oh dear.Another sonar ping, and you see it…and there’s no reasonable explanation for how you could have missed it before. Seconds ago, there was empty ocean behind and beneath your foe…where now lurks a thing whose sheer length dwarfs the island-sized behemoth you’re dueling.>>Take evasive maneuvers to get a bearing on whatever’s driving the kappa your way.>>Continue forwards—you have not yet begun to fight. End this Amalgam as a show of strength to whatever’s pursuing it.>>Write-InCHART YOUR COURSE
(Voting shall remain open for the next four hours, with posting to resume tomorrow morning at 12PM, Eastern time. I’m running some work errands tomorrow morning before it snows here, so I’m giving myself a little leeway since I’ll likely not have time to write this evening. In any case, I do hope your day is going well, and I hope you have a good evening, too!)
>>5141210Hmm. Yamato and her crew (and Vector) are pretty badass, but I don't like her odds against this super-monster. If it's not Leviathan, it's some other incredibly powerful Amalgam. Let's not try to intimidate it.>>Take evasive maneuvers to get a bearing on whatever’s driving the kappa your way.>>5141212I hope your day and tomorrow morning go well, BHOP. Thanks for running.
>>5141210>The Kappa Kaiju isn't engaging...>it is fleeing from something biggerOH BOY. It's probably Leviathan!On one hand, I want to see Yams end the Amalgam as befitting of a battleship crab. But on the other hand...there's the "bigger" fish.Also I am loving the various crew personalities you have accompanying Yamato.
>>5141210vote;>Take evasive maneuvers to get a bearing on whatever’s driving the kappa your way.
>>5141210>>Take evasive maneuvers to get a bearing on whatever’s driving the kappa your way.
(Got back home a little while ago, and I'm finishing the update momentarily.)
>>5141210“Hold on, everyone! Vector, with me!” You bellow, voice cutting through the haze of battle like a foghorn. A line of neon lances from the obliterated swarm back to the bridge, where Vector joins your allies in holding on to whatever they can as you bank hard to the right. The kaiju-sized kappa surges past you, it's swarm left decimated and forgotten in what you now realize is clear desperation. Your abandoned foe's wake slaps violently at your hull...and then, something happens that chills you to your rivets.The sea goes absolutely, unnaturally still, it's chaos and life and vibrancy smoothed out like a sheet of glass. All movement's stopped, all inertia's canceled. You're rooted in place on the plains of a frozen, reset ocean, with the Amalgam suffering the same fate several hundred meters away.“OH, YOU’RE AN INTERESTING ONE.”The voice that fills the air and ripples across the ocean’s glassy surface goes beyond sheer volume - it’s all the rage and ruin of a natural disaster refined into a smooth, focused line of syllables. It doesn’t disturb the water’s surface, even as it rises from the depths—a thing whose size defies any adequate descriptor, easily capable of swallowing you and the Amalgam whole with room to spare. Its head is conical, the upper halves of various reptilian and aquatic predators all arranged around a focal point, a darting tongue that languidly flicks in your direction.A Daughter? No…no, everything you’ve seen up to this point has indicated that there’s a size limit on corruption growth, but an Amalgam couldn’t possibly tal-“I AM SOMETHING ELSE, DEAR.” The thing purrs, slicing cleanly through your train of thought. “NOTHING AS SPECIAL OR INTERESTING AS YOU, THOUGH.”“…You can hear me?” You hesitate, keeping your voice as even-keeled as possible in the face of your (understandably) tense crew. “My thoughts, I mean?”“I CAN. DAUGHTERS. CONSTRUCTS. AMALGAMS…ALL OF THEM HAVE BEEN CUT FROM THE SAME CLOTH, WOVEN INTO NEW FORMS BY MY CREATOR’S NAÏVE HANDS. I WAS BLESSED WITH AN UNDERSTANDING OF THE THREADS. TELL ME…WHAT IS YOUR NAME?”“…Yamato.”“YAMATO…AH! HA, HAHAHA!” The creature throws its head back, its laughter finally the thing to disturb the water’s pristine surface. “A MOST EXCELLENT REFERENCE!”“May I ask yours?”“LEVIATHAN. APPROPRIATE, NO?” The thing chuckles, and as it leans closer the water around your frame finally loosens in a radius wide enough for you to have some semblance of freedom. “I AM SO VERY CURIOUS AS TO HOW ONE LIKE YOU CAME TO BE. I’VE NOT SEEN SOMETHING QUITE LIKE YOU IN MANY CRUCIBLES. CAN-…*MAY* I INSPECT YOUR FORM FOR BUT A MOMENT? I JUST HAVE TO KNOW WHAT PROMPTED SUCH A UNIQUELY STUNNING FORM.”Your crew moves to defend you, but you pull them back with a subtle shift of your top deck before addressing the titan looming over you all.(Continued)
>>5142273“How do you intend to do that, exactly?” You ask, slowly bringing your artillery millimeter by millimeter to bear. “I mean no disrespect Leviatha-““OH PLEASE, CALL ME ‘LEVY’.” The thing interrupts with a chuckle that you can feel reverberating through your halls. “WE’RE WELL PAST FORMALITIES.”“…I mean you no disrespect ‘Levy’, but I hope you can understand that my crew’s current circumstances are rather compromised.” You explain, and the way Leviathan shudders makes you shift your guns a little closer to their firing lines.“OF COURSE! HOW PRESUMTUOUS OF ME!” The titan laughs again, and the sea suddenly resumes its motions, save for the amalgam behind you, still caught in whatever stasis the thing’s capable of inflicting. “BETTER?”“By far. You have my thanks.” You say, choosing your words with care. “That amalgam, is it one of yours?”“HA, NO…I WAS STUDYING IT IN ITS NATURAL HABITAT WHEN I FORGOT TO FOCUS ON SUPPRESSING MY PRESENCE.’ ‘Levy’ explains conversationally, as though ti were the most obvious thing in the world. “THERE’S A TREND OF REFERENTIAL EVOLUTION THAT’S MANIFESTED IN THE FORMS OF YOUR SPECIES’ CRUCIBLE, A LEVEL OF TOTEMISM THAT’S MORE PRONOUNCED IN YOU AND YOUR PEOPLE THAN I’VE HAD THE PLEASURE OF EXPERIENCING BEFORE.”“I…I see. Are you a researcher, of some sort?”Leviathan laughs again. “OF A SORT, YES. I’D LIKE TO EXPLORE YOUR DREAMSCAPE A BIT TO GARNER CONTEXT FOR YOUR UNIQUE MANIFESTATION. IT’S QUITE PAINLESS I ASSURE YOU, AND IT WON’T TAKE MORE THAN A SECOND OR TWO.”…An odd request, but not exactly one that you can reasonably refu-“YOU’RE UNDER NO OBLIGATION.” Leviathan worryingly assures you. “I AM SIMPLY CURIOUS, IS ALL. WE COULD MAKE THINGS EVEN, IF YOU HAVE ANYTHING YOU DESIRE. NAME IT, AND IF IT IS WITHIN MY CONSIDERABLE POWER, I WILL SEE IT DONE.”Hrm…you know what? You’ve done stranger things in your time in the Crucible.…not by much, but still.>>Assent, with the caveat that Leviathan not poke around in your pre-Crucible life.>>Allow it, and ask Leviathan for something in return—it’s only fair, after all (Write-In).>>Politely decline, and be on your way.>>Write-InCHART YOUR COURSE
(Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume in four.)
>>5142276I am cackling at this scene.Life seems to imitate life itself. Leviathan is quite the interesting snek, which makes me wonder what sort of personality that Behemoth will take.
>>5142275Well, Levy sounds like an alright personification of all the rage of the sea.I definitely think it would be a missed opportunity to not make a trade hear, I am however unsure what to ask for. I mean, we do not have an exact idea of what Levy is capable of/willing to give... and Yamato probably has even less of an idea.What do you guys think we should ask for?
>>5142275>>Assent, with the caveat that Leviathan not poke around in your pre-Crucible life.Oh, I like Leviathan. They're fun. Curious and analytical, but still able to appreciate that the things they're studying are just plain cool, and understands seeking consent before experimentation. They seem like a nice wyrm. I can't wait for our party to meet you, Levy.Also>THERE’S A TREND OF REFERENTIAL EVOLUTION THAT’S MANIFESTED IN THE FORMS OF YOUR SPECIES’ CRUCIBLE, A LEVEL OF TOTEMISM THAT’S MORE PRONOUNCED IN YOU AND YOUR PEOPLE THAN I’VE HAD THE PLEASURE OF EXPERIENCING BEFORESo this isn't the norm? Most species don't have the Amalgams and Corruption draw so much on their media and myths? Huh. Maybe this is just me, but I'd think that would make the body horror so much worse. Like with a lot of horror types, body horror is about lack of control and understanding. The flesh rebelling against your wishes and turning into something strange and other. The totemism means that there's at least some pattern to be imposed on the mutations. That touchstone robs the mutations of a bit of their horror. Not all, since turning into a giant battleship-crab (just for example) is going to be weird and dehumanizing regardless. But it's better than if there was no context for it. I wonder if a past Mother made that her rules change or if it's just something weird about humans? Well, I guess that's what Levy is asking to help them find out, so maybe we'll learn.>>5142286Yeah, I'm in sort of the same boat. The only thing I can think of is navigational aid, but Yamato is probably good at that already. Maybe just a "favor for later" deal, then? If Yamato ever needs a giant sea monster's aid, she can call on Levy and if they're not busy doing something else, they'll come calling.
>>5142293A future favor sounds like a good idea, yeah. That being said, maybe Yamato could first ask about Levy's capabilities first, or ask for something really big, like 'can you bring back those lost to the Crucible?' or something big like that, to test their limits.
>>5142312Yeah, let's ask Levy what they can do. Seems sensible. We can make our request after we know what they can do. Other than freeze things in time, of course.>>5142275>>Write-In>"I...suppose I'm open to that. I don't really know what I'd ask of you in return, though. What is 'within your considerable power'?"
>>5142275>>Allow it, and ask Leviathan for something in return—it’s only fair, after all>>5142293>>5142286a safe voyage across the sea perhaps? Levy's one of the big boi monsters. calling on his aid against small fry (in levy's perspective) sounds like short term gain vs Levy's long term gain in terms of curiosity.Hang on.. if Levy gets his scales on Yamato's pre-crucible life, he's gonna encounter Sweet Potato's massive nerd-obsession with Kantcolle, Azur Lane, Naval history, and much of Japan's general weeb/otaku culture. oh god. He might get the perverse idea of wanting to see human fashion and nippon culture. This is hilarious yet darkly scary.
>>5142275I'll back this vote up >>5142321 in favor of dropping mine >>5142322>>5142293>So this isn't the norm? Most species don't have the Amalgams and Corruption draw so much on their media and myths? Huh. Maybe this is just me, but I'd think that would make the body horror so much worse. Like with a lot of horror types, body horror is about lack of control and understanding. I think the increased totemism in humanity's crucible is due to the sheer prevalence and long-standing power of our media and myths. We were taken by the crucible when all the world's wisdom and knowledge can be readily consumed and created from a diverse selection of sources, whereas the Hexane plant-people and the Tindalos Hounds had more of a monocultural heritage. The latter having their distinct culture based on pre-determinism and the former having their civilization already united into a singular dominant if stagnant monoculture. humans on the other hand are in that weird stage where we're generally united when a common cause presents itself but when the threat isn't there we easily divide back into our own separate and unique tribes.
>>5142334Maybe. But even if we've got more developed memetic heritage than the Tindalos or Hexane, there are still another 774 species that this iteration of the Crucible has eaten. You'd think some would have a ton of mythology and fiction to draw from. But maybe it's an angels and apes sort of thing, where the timespan where a species has diverse and interconnected cultural ideas is really short on the cosmic scale. You're right, that could be possible. I'm sure Leviathan will comment on their findings to us.,
>>5142347>But maybe it's an angels and apes sort of thing, where the timespan where a species has diverse and interconnected cultural ideas is really short on the cosmic scale.Reminds me of a youtube video I watched where someone made the analogy of the Universe's entire lifespan from big bang to inevitable cosmic death in 24 hours time. Humanity's emergence (from apes) and extinction would only amount to up to 1 minute.
>>5142357Yeah, I've seen that, too. Not whichever video you're thinking of, necessarily, but the concept. The idea was first proposed by the great astronomer and science educator, Carl Sagan. The "cosmic calendar", all of existence condensed into a single year. And even on that larger timescale, humanity doesn't show up until the last minute of the last day of the year. We are a very young species.https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=jZ24d6GWZPA
>>5142275vote;>Allow it, and ask Leviathan for something in return—it’s only fair, after all.im not sure what Yamato might ask for, but i still find it the most appropriate choice.
>>5142275“I…suppose I’m open to that.” You concede after some deliberation, though judging by the air hissed through half your crews’ teeth it’s not one they agree with. “I don’t really know what I’d ask of you in return, though. What is within your ‘considerable power’, exactly?”“I HAVE BEEN GRANTED DOMINION OVER ANYTHING WITHIN YOUR SEA’S LIMITS. TRAVEL, CHANGE…AND THOSE THAT TRAVERSE IT.” Leviathan replies with a flick of their tongue towards the captive Amalgam, pride curling around every booming syllable. “FEW CRUCIBLES HAD SUCH A PLEASANT AMOUNT OF LIQUID AS YOURS, SO MY POWERS COULD RARELY REACH THEIR FULL POTENTIAL.”“If I may…” Begins Calypso, the Skintalker having found her voice again. “…I'm assuming you’re one of the three Apocalypse Amalgams the ‘Net’s been talking about?”“OH HO, IS THAT WHAT THEY’RE CALLING MY SIBLINGS AND I?” Levy chortles, sending choppy waves emanating out from their massive form. “THEN YES, I AM. WE WERE TO BE LOOSED WHEN THE CRUCIBLE NEEDED PROTECTION FROM THAT WHICH WOULD THREATEN IT…THOUGH SINCE ONE HAS YET TO MANIFEST, IT APPEARS WE HAVE BEEN LEFT TO OUR OWN DEVICES.”You’re about to ask what could possibly pose a threat to a world-devouring abomination, but something tells you ignorance is, in this case, bliss. Instead, you figure a compliment or two wouldn’t hurt, saying; “You have quite a vast domain, Levy. It’s quite impressive…so have you devoted your ‘devices’ to researching our particular Crucible?”“OH YES, I HAVE! THE ORIGINAL POINT OF THE CORRUPTION WAS TO DRIVE A WEDGE BETWEEN DAUGHTERS—TO SINGLE OUT THE DOMINANT, SENTIENT SPECIES, UNIFIED IN THEIR BIOSIMILARITY, AND THEN THROW THEIR UNIFICATION INTO CHAOS.” Levy explains, unable to contain their excitement as the waves grow ever-more chaotic. “BUT—AND I ASSUME THIS TO BE A RESULT OF THIS STRAIN’S APPARENT DECAY—THERE APPEARS TO BE A SUBCONSCIOUS DIRECTION THAT’S BEEN MANIFESTING IN THE LAST DOZEN OR SO CRUCIBLES! TYPICALLY YOU’D NEED AN ARTISAN’S TOUCH OR ADMINISTRATOR OVERRIDE TO CHANGE ONE’S PHYSICAL FEATURES, BUT YOUR SPECIES APPEAR TO INFLUENCE THE DIRECTION OF YOUR ALTERATIONS TO A DEGREE I’VE NEVER ENCOUNTERED BEFORE. I CAN’T WAIT TO SEE HOW THIS MANFESTS IN THE NEXT ONE!”“The…next Crucible, you mean?” You clarify, a pit forming in your boiler as Leviathan nods.“I’m afraid you’re mistaken—this will be the last Crucible. It ends with us.” Vector declares, stepping forward as her body vibrates with violent neon.“OH, YOU’RE ADORABLE!” The thing chuckles dismissively before flicking its tongue your way once again. “SO, DO YOU KNOW WHAT YOU’D LIKE TO ASK OF ME? IT’S THE LEAST I CAN DO, REALLY.”>>You’ll ask for (Write-In)—let’s see if ‘Levy’s’ as powerful and generous as they say.>>…on second thought, you’ll continue on your way.>>Write-InCHART YOUR COURSE
(Voting shall remain open for the next six hours, with posting to resume on Tuesday, February 1st at 10AM, Eastern time. I wish you a very relaxed and restful weekend, and if you do have fun plans ahead then I hope they go well. Thank you for your patience and participation, and take care.)
>>5142506Yeah, I am still not sure about what exactly to ask for. Safe passage seems like something Yamato does not exactly need, she has been able to manage so far without it. I also need to go to sleep now, so, unless somebody comes up with something clever, my vote is for:>>You’ll ask for (Write-In - a future favor or, if this is too vague for Levy's tastes, a promise that it will come help us in a fight or with an unsurmountable task when we call upon them once in the future)—let’s see if ‘Levy’s’ as powerful and generous as they say.
>>5142506>>5142528same, so ill just back you up here. part of the problem is while i appreciate giving us the reigns still, its still both not 'our' character in the same way Shu is, aswell as a side story, so its just a very different sorta ask to ask for.that, and im not sure what a living battleship crab really needs. i guess she might enjoy a good hull... shell(?) polish? a good waxy, acid resistant shine, or something, i dunno.
>>5142506>“I HAVE BEEN GRANTED DOMINION OVER ANYTHING WITHIN YOUR SEA’S LIMITS. TRAVEL, CHANGE…AND THOSE THAT TRAVERSE IT.” Leviathan replies with a flick of their tongue towards the captive Amalgam, pride curling around every booming syllable. “FEW CRUCIBLES HAD SUCH A PLEASANT AMOUNT OF LIQUID AS YOURS, SO MY POWERS COULD RARELY REACH THEIR FULL POTENTIAL.”Wow, that's powerful. Sounds like they've got some almost metaphysical power, too. Impressive. Though most Crucibles don't spawn an acid sea to replace the natural ones? Interesting. >“The…next Crucible, you mean?” You clarify, a pit forming in your boiler as Leviathan nods.>“I’m afraid you’re mistaken—this will be the last Crucible. It ends with us.” Vector declares, stepping forward as her body vibrates with violent neon.>“OH, YOU’RE ADORABLE!” The thing chuckles dismissively before flicking its tongue your way once again.I look forward to Ziz finding you and filling you in on the two Crucible-ending things they've found.Supporting >>5142528
>>5142508Any thoughts on the Faith and Philosophy short story? I'd love to hear your thoughts on it as well as how the characters are portrayed.
>>5143028(The last half of this week has just demolished me, so I've set aside some time tomorrow to read through it all with a clear head and give it the time it's due! I'll post my thoughts in the early evening, if all goes well.)
Now that I thought about it more, maybe Yamato could ask for a relic? But I do not really have good idea for one and my grasp of the rules is... not great. Does anyone have good idea for a suitable powerful relic that would be useful fo Yamato?
>>5143028(Now that I've finally had some time to sit down and read Faith and Philosophy, I have to say that it was an absolute delight. Peng is brutal and hilarious in equal measure, and a joy to have as a perspective character. She's got an excellent counter-point to Shu, with her own reasonable perspective and fair reasoning to dictate why Shu might not be the best candidate for saving the world. The bit about her run-in with Mara was an excellent touch but I'd be remiss if I didn't mention just how much I loved Sathriel. She plays off Peng's own perspective so well, and I adore her personality in fiction—the one that, under literally any circumstance, will choose violence as their first resort. Absolutely hilarious, and I laughed out loud several times when her bloodlust plainly showed. Finally, Peng's 'knife-fighting' section was a fantastic repartee to read.)(Thank you so much for sharing your writing, because it was so much blasted fun to read. Very nicely done!)(Oh, and as I'm writing this I do have a quick question; what are her thoughts on Mara, and how would she react to the knowledge that Mara's apparently 'endorsed' Shu as humanity's best hope? I found myself wondering how Peng would react as I reflected on it, and wanted to hear your thoughts.)
>>5145134> I do have a quick question; what are her thoughts on Mara, and how would she react to the knowledge that Mara's apparently 'endorsed' Shu as humanity's best hope?To quote Peng in her own native language (translated): "Aiya! Good Heavens! What is that woman even thinking? Endorsing a newborn girl into her schemes...And one so apparently naive! That shameless dragon is bound to get her killed under the weight of such a heavy burden!"The premise of Faith and Philosophy is basically Peng's reaction to hearing Mara having flown for the Cord to gate-keep the Cord's throne once news of it reached her ears. It's her best opportunity to both get Shu's attention as well as provide an outsider's perspective/council to Shu on the matters of humanity without having to deal with Mara's pesky interference.When I created Peng's character, I initially wanted to make her a foil to Mara. A powerful daughter waiting to fight Shu at the edge of No-man's land but subjected to be the butt of comedic shenanigans at the no-man's land by Luna bonny with Mara providing witty commentary from above when observing. But as I fleshed it out, she instead gradually developed into something less of before and more into a foil to Shu as I wrote Faith and Philosophy. The wise old woman with decades of leadership and civil service to Shu's learn-on-the-fly and relatively little leadership skills in comparison to Peng's track record. My own explanations on >>5139734 goes a bit more in-depth to what/how an encounter between Peng and Shu might theoretically play out. Sathriel was originally conceived as a conversation partner to Peng to help set up the knife-fighting session between Peng and the Pilgrims. But when I went to look for a character image for Sathriel, my mind instantly went to Binah from Lobotomy Corp. But given that Peng's taken up part of the philosopher, I had to let Peng take control of the narrative direction while relegating Sathriel sadomasochistic bloodlust to comedic relief as part of a "good cop/bad cop" routine to showcase Peng's effective role as a Socratic gadfly. As a result Sathriel I'll admit is more or less cobbled together and not as developed as I liked. I would like to explore Sathriel a bit more and make her less one-note, although >>5139777's thoughts on Sathriel has given me some good ideas in expanding her character should I choose to write a short story that focuses on Sathriel as the main character, her nuances and how she got the title 'Obsidian Arbiter'. My muse already has an inkling of an idea.
>>5145116maybe some specialized ammunition. Here an Example. >Bloodruin Shells (Tier 3 i would guess since it scales well but is not exactly gamebreaking): Crafted from the Fluids of an oddly well humored, energetic and powerful Amalgam are these Shells designed to Upgrade any pre Existing Ammunition a daughter may have access to. When a daughter spends BIO to fire a Ranged weapon she may expend one of these relics to double the penetration of the Round or grant it One Level of Penetration that it did not already have. Or she may spend this shell plus the Firing Cost of the Attack she uses to in addition to the normal cost to increase the Damage Dealt by One Level and double the Level of Penetrations already present in the attack
(Writing now, everyone. This weekend proved to be a bit of a doozy, so thank you for bearing with me.)
>>5142506…Let’s see if ‘Levy’s’ as powerful and generous as they say.“A favor, to be turned in at a future date.” You declare, and for once in this bizarre discussion you’re the one who’s put Leviathan on the back foot. “A promise that you’ll help us with an insurmountable task, should one arise.”“OH HO?” Chortles the titan, leaning in close to you and your crew. “OF ALL THE THINGS THE OCEAN CAN PROVIDE, YOU CHOOSE LITTLE OLD ME?”“Is this too much to ask?” You say, wondering if Leviathan will take the obvious ‘out’ you’re offering on a silver platter.“NO NO, NOT AT ALL IT’S SUCH AN INTRIGUING REQUEST, AND ONE I DIDN’T SEE COMING! OPEN-ENDED, BUT POTENT AS WELL! SPLENDID, ABSOLUTELY SPLENDID!” The thing laughs, throwing their head back and loosing a delighted laugh. “CONSIDER IT A FAVOR OWED, LITTLE YAMATO. NOW…MAY I?”Countless slender tentacles emerged from the innumerable pores that dot the colossi’s waxy skin, flicking your way. Calypso mutters something uncouth under her breath at their approach, but you relent as they branch into even smaller feelers that alight upon your bow. You can feel the pull of neuromancy at work in the back of your mind, but Leviathan’s nothing if not surprisingly gentle. Most neuromancy you’ve experienced first-hand has been either a foe’s brute-force or an ally’s post-combat ministrations, but this? Leviathan’s technique is like the inquisitive probing of a skilled, patient hand, efficiently sifting through your past and present for but a few seconds before they tentacles withdraw.“MUCH APPRECIATED, LITTLE YAMATO. YOU ARE AN INTERESTING ONE, INDEED.” Leviathan says, apparently satisfied. Their mouth works, then opens wide to reveal a writhing sea of snapping mouths, thousands of smaller aquatic forms serving as the titan’s teeth and villi. Your artillery twitches, your crew stiffening as you watch something emerge from the yawning abyss at the back of its throat. A small, Daughter-sized object is carried forward on the tips of snouts and the edges of gills, until Leviathan’s tongue curls around it and presents it to you—a thing like a steel ribcage, clenched shut and thrumming with terrible power.“A GIFT.” Leviathan says, simply…but as you stare at the Relic’s form, its intent becomes clear.“An augmentation for my main gun.” You murmur, and the strange Amalgam chuckles once more.“I THOUGHT IT UNBECOMING THAT SUCH A MAGNIFICENT WEAPON SHOULD BE RESTRICTED BY SOMETHING AS ARBITRARY AS A DAMAGE CAP. NOW, THE LONGER YOU GO WITHOUT FIRING IT, THE STRONGER YOUR NEXT SHOT WILL BE.” Leviathan explains, clearly pleased with itself. “IS THERE ANYTHING ELSE YOU WISH TO KNOW, LITTLE YAMATO? I’VE LEARNED SO MUCH ABOUT YOU, IT’S ONLY RIGHT FOR DIALOGUE TO GO BOTH WAYS.”>>Actually, you were curious about (Write-In).>>Part ways with ‘Levy’, and continue on your journey.>>Write-InCHART YOUR COURSE
(Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume in four. I do hope you had a relaxing weekend, and that your week’s off to a good start.)
>>5147493Slow start today, huh?Well, I'm not sure what I'd ask Leviathan. Not from Yamato's perspective, at least, I know what Shu would want to ask them about. I guess maybe asking them about their plans?>>Actually, you were curious about (Write-In).>What they intend to do now, if that's alright to ask. Going to return to studying the Amalgam?
>>5147493>>Actually, you were curious about (Write-In).I would say ask him about what he found out about our current form, and whether it has to do with us loving ships before the crucible, or maybe it has to do with the Yamato's cultural influence? If it the case of the latter bring up Godzilla's symbolism of the destructive potential of nukes, and then later the benefits that nuclear energy provided.If Levi will humor us even more than he already has, Ask where he plans on going next?I would also put forward that we give him an open invitation to drop by if he is ever in the neighborhood and wants to talk, maybe we could even contribute to some of his current research if he feels like our input would be helpful.
>>5147545(Very much so - work has been unrelenting, so I appreciate everyone bearing with me.)
>>5147493Yeah, >>5147549 is good. Oh, I just thought of a more personal question that could be interesting, but I'm not sure if Yamato would have the context to ask it in the first place. Namely, does Leviathan know the cultural and memetic factors that have shaped their own manifestation? We know as the audience, and I know that Shu knows, that the Titans don't have a set shape and take forms appropriate to the species the Crucible is currently processing. But would Yamato know to ask that? I'm not sure. It would make for a neat question, if she did. >>5147566Oh, I meant on our side, nobody had posted yet. Though I'm sorry to hear that your day is going rough. I hope it gets better.
>>5147567It is unlikely that Yams currently has the knowledge to ask that question, but maybe Levy will be nice enough to bring her up to speed.>>5147566Hopefully things will calm down for you BHOP.
>>5147493Wait what? Did...Did Levy give Yams a relic to augment her Star Wave cannon? dear god. Also the muse is screaming about a short story featuring Sathriel and one of her adventures.
>>5147584Yep. And given that Yamato likely doesn't use her main gun much anyway, this thing is going to get scary overcharged. Like "warn everything out to the horizon about the path of the beam, because this thing isn't stopping until it hits space" levels of overcharged.
>>5147591That is what makes it fun... with enough time the cannon might be able to pierce the upper membrane of the crucible.
(Writing now, Everyone.)
>>5147493“What did you find out when you examined me?” You ask, curiosity overwhelming you. “Does my current form have anything to do with my affection for ships before the Crucible, or perhapa some kind of cultural influence?”“BOTH, AND MORE!” Exclaims the titan, more than happy to disclose the results of their findings. “NOT ONLY DOES A DAUGHTER’S PAST EXPERIENCES, BOTH SOCIAL AND PERSONAL, INFLUENCE THEIR CRUCIBLE-FORM BUT SO DOES THE CULTURE THEY’VE BEEN STEEPED IN. WHILE THEIR OWN PERSONAL DESIRES OR FEARS TEND TO FORM THE STRONGEST FOCI, OTHER DRIVES OR EMOTIONS CAN INFLUENCE HOW THEIR EXTERNAL APPEARANCE CONTINUES TO EVOLVE DURING THEIR CRUCIBLE. IT’S REALLY QUITE FASCINATING! FOR EXAMPLE, YOUR OWN CRIPPLING SENSE OF GUILT OVER YOUR PERCIEVED CRIMES HAS RESULTED IN YOU DOUBLING-DOWN ON YOUR OWN UNIQUE FORM OF ATONEMENT—A MASSIVE VESSEL THAT CAN CARRY THE BURDENS OF OTHERS.”At that your present crew startle, and you quickly shift the conversation’s topic before they can say anything in reply; “If you would humor us more than you already have, where do you plan on going next? And will you be taking that Amalgam with you?”“OH, I’VE RECENTLY HEARD TELL OF A MIND AND CURIOSITY TO MATCH MY OWN!” Leviathan declares as your crew share a few pointed glances. “I’M SERACHING FOR MORE OF WHAT SHE INTENDS TO ACCOMPLISH, BUT I’M ENJOYING WHAT I’VE SEEN SO FAR!”“AS FOR THAT AMALGAM, I’LL PICK AWAY AT IT AS I STUDY THIS PLANET’S OCEAN A BIT MORE.” The titan happily continues. “IT’S JUST SO WONDERFULLY EXPANSIVE, THERE’S SO MUCH TO LEARN!”“Well, you have an open invitation to drop by and say ‘hello’ if you’re ever close by and want to talk.” You offer as Calypso shoots you one of her trademark ‘are-you-shitting-me?’ glares. “Maybe we could even contribute to some of your research if you feel like it would be helpful.”“HAHA, YOU’RE ADORABLE! I’LL CERTAINLY KEEP IN TOUCH, LITTLE YAMATO…” Leviathan laughs once more, a single great tentacle curling around the Amalgam and dragging its still-paralyzed form into the burning depths.“…HOW COULD I NOT? YOU’RE SUCH A DARLING~!”Levy leaves and suddenly as they appeared—slipping beneath the stilled surface of the ocean, allowing its tempestuous waves to resume once more as the sea reassuringly springs back to life.“Okay—anyone else thing that whole thing felt like goddamn fever dream, or just me? Show of hands.” Calypso breathes, thrusting her arm skyward. Musashi smirks as she raises her hand, partly in agreement and partly to draw attention away from her trembling sword hand. Gem and Emma are draped over Hilde’s broad shoulders without a care in the world, and Vector sprints back below deck to check in with her allies.“Good job keeping your cool, everyone.” You commend, checking your systems. “We’ve got a ways to go, so get back on-““Yamato?”(Continued)
>>5147746Calypso’s never one to use your name, and certainly not with the sort of motherly tone she’s just used.“You don’t have to tell us what that thing was talking about…and while I can’t speak for the others, I’m happy to talk at any time.”“Its a good offer; Calypso’s damn good at talking, Yams.” Musashi adds with a smirk, then, a little softer; “And I’m a good listener. You got anything to say, and you’ve got my ear.” “Mine too, Yamato.” Brig swiftly adds, cutting off your ready admonishment to your crew for getting off-track. “Dunno what that eel was talking about, but if anything’s bothering you, I can talk and listen, for sure! Happy to, like Caly and Mu said!”“Thank you, but that won’t be necc-““We wouldn’t be here if it wasn’t for you.” Gem gurgles sleepily from atop Hilde’s collar, with her twin Emma continuing the thought. “I’d have never found my other Shard if you hadn’t brought us together.”“Had it in my head I was gonna make a go at the Cord. Make people proud ‘a me that ain’t around to give a damn anymore. Prolly wouldn’t have been proud if they been around, either.” Hilde chimes in, your boisterous brawler’s gravelly voice unusually somber. “You set me straight, Yams. Think I’d run outta air in my lungs for all the thankin’ I owe you, if I set my mind to it.”“R-really, I-“ You stammer, trying to get the situation and your own flustered emotions under control before Calypso cuts you off once again.“Yamato, you’ve been better to us than anyone else in this damn Crucible...and for some of us, even better than some of us knew before it, too. You’ve listened to us bitch and moan, and you’ve talked all of us off one proverbial cliff or another in the time you’ve known us. So, please…” She implores you, looking squarely at a cluster of your nearby eyes. “…we’re here for you, to return the favor. Just say the word.”You…your heart feels so strangely tight, at this moment. Your halls constrict, your hull wavering as your crew stands unified. A rare sight, outside of a battle…and one that would make you choke up if your throat weren’t a fog horn.“...I…I will take your offer under advisement.” Is all you trust yourself to say, cautious not to let your emotions creep too far into your voice. “Now, if you all would kindly cease being so unprofessional, please resume your posts…”“…and keep being the best crew a captain could ask for.”“So long as you keep being the best boat-captain, Yams?” Musashi fires back with a wink and a grin. “I’m thinking that’ll be pretty easy.”>>YAMATO INTERMISSION: CONCLUDED
(My apologies for the considerable delay, Everyone - voting shall remain open for the next six hours, with posting to resume tomorrow at roughly 12PM, Eastern time. I’m headed to the office in the morning, but I should be back with more than enough time to post the next update in a timely fashion. Thank you all for your patience with my tumultuous workload and your continued participation, and I wish you a restful evening.)PLEASE SELECT YOUR NEXT CHARACTER>>…Paloma, when the news of Madame Yurei’s death and her intriguing killer meets your ears.>>…Mara, sitting atop the throne of the world that is, dreaming of the world that’s to come.>>...Quincy Delapore, an Unnatural Predator on the run from an implacable clockwork soldier.>>Write-In (Any playable Daughter, NPC, or fan-character is valid for this vote.)YOU ARE IN CONTROL
>>5147746>“OH, I’VE RECENTLY HEARD TELL OF A MIND AND CURIOSITY TO MATCH MY OWN!” Leviathan declares as your crew share a few pointed glances. “I’M SERACHING FOR MORE OF WHAT SHE INTENDS TO ACCOMPLISH, BUT I’M ENJOYING WHAT I’VE SEEN SO FAR!”This is ominous in a way because of how broad the criteria is in a sense. We know West Prime is a capable candidate but she's already climbing Mt. Cord. Which leaves us with the Proxies. And there are a LOT. of Proxies. it could be any one of them that Levy's looking to prod neurons with.>>5147747There's only one way to cap off Yamato's intermission: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=LYakUQx5Slw>>5147750Hmm....I'm sort of stuck for choice then. Sathriel's short story is already in the works. I hope to finish it by the end of this Intermezzo vein.
>>5147759(Ah, I'm looking forward to reading it!)
>>5147750vote;>Write-In; Mother Bubblesim wholly biased in this choice of course, but really its a throw-away temp vote as none of the given options really clicked so may aswell unless something else comes up.plus some wholesome orphanage motherliness doesn't sound too bad right about now.
>>5147750I do have a question, Did we ever see how Jackie got the rift blade in one of the other interludes Veins?
>>5147767(I haven't touched on that yet, no.)>>5147584(Also, yes - it's a direct augment for Yamato's wave motion gun.)
>>5147750>>…Paloma, when the news of Madame Yurei’s death and her intriguing killer meets your ears.
>>5147747Friendship is the greatest power in the Crucible, Yamato. Leviathan more or less just confirmed that. Let your friends be there for you.>>5147759Yeah, it's a bit nebulous. Leviathan is either going to wind up bonding with one of the former Proxies or with Gina, and it's not clear which yet. Let's hope whoever it is, it's someone we can be friends with.
>>5147767sounds like an interesting story to see in an intermission, but it's a story that Jackie won't personally share with Shu tho.
>>5147750>>…Paloma, when the news of Madame Yurei’s death and her intriguing killer meets your ears.I don't know why I'm having trouble deciding. I'm overthinking this. I'll just vote for some Paloma, get to see her when she's not trying to sell us on an idea. That would be good character-establishment.
(Just got back after a busy morning, and am writing now. Thank you for your patience, and I do hope you're having a pleasant week thus far.)
Drawing in a breath of warm air, you close your eyes, tuning out the growls of the four Amalgams that prowl around you. They’re angry at your sudden intrusion to their lair, a short ways outside your domain…a tucked-away corner of the Fleshscape crafted to serve as a trap for the tired traveler or the unaware hatchling. The sounds of their infuriated snarls drops away, replaced with the Crucible’s familiar hum; it’s beating hearts, its pulsing flow, the creak and groan of sinew ready to snap into action.You take the stance that you settled into over a year ago—feet spaced evenly apart, one taloned palm tucked close at your side with the other aimed towards your closest foe. Your fingers never could make a proper fist, said a friend from the world that was. A martial artist, he showed you that not all blows had to come at the end of a knuckle…so you leaned in to the brutal edge that hides in soft things. A whispered word, and your Lexicon bolsters your body—your fingers tingling with potential as the ground at your feet starts to tremble, anticipating the inevitable.And when it happens, you’re ready.One of the Amalgams lunges for your throat, but you’re surging forward to meet it head-on, carried by the flesh underfoot as you drive your palm into the thing’s own throat mid-leap. It tumbles over your head with a hissing yelp and you spin in place, the edges of your hands catching the next two lunging Amalgams in their jaws and guiding them violently to the ground. Your final target hesitates upon seeing its fellows swatted aside, but before it can think twice you’re in its face, both palms clapping against the sides of its head as you feel its entire body shudder, just as vulnerable as a human is to the rupture of eardrums.The other three rise shakily to their feet, but you’re done here. All four have been tagged, and all it takes is a single word to finish it.“Heel!” You declare, and you open your eyes to see the Amalgams suddenly, violently dragged beneath the ground before they can so much as utter a sound of alarm. Drawing in a shaky breath, you’d hoped this little scrap would been enough to work out the anger you’ve been forcing down ever since your last meeting.You came here to hit something……because to your incredible disappointment, Yurei’s a fucking nutjob.And you had such high hopes for her, too! C’mon, the idea of giving people the choice to live in a moderated version of the Dreamscape using the Cord as a battery-slash-backup is an inspired idea, if nothing else. It’s half the reason you accepted her offer to meet, since you wanted to pick her brain and see what ideas she had for those that wanted to live outside the Cord.(Continued)
>>5149329…aaaaand she didn’t. You smiled and nodded as she laid out yet another ‘all-or-nothing’ approach that offered no room for choice, no chance for negotiation, no space for ideas other than her own. The woman was the worst parts of a pitbull and bulldozer, just barreling through any attempts to probe her plans and taking offense at any doubt. You’re no stranger to an aggressive sales pitch, but at least have the dignity to come up with some sort of flim-flam to back it up instead of just having your idea be a straight-up Matrix-style dictatorship.And another thing! You can excuse a little crazy—‘we’re all mad here’, and all that—but condescension is something you cannot abide. That all-too-common tinge of madness that seeped into every syllable she uttered? That sneering look she gave when you didn’t drink her Kool-Aid? It was all you could do to politely excuse yourself and your entourage before-“You good?”Turning on your heel, Em’s standing at the cave’s entrance, eyebrow cocked and arms folded. You told her you just needed to go blow off some steam, but you can’t fault her for an overabundance of caution—your build being more attuned for battlefield control and allied support than wading into melee, after all.“No, but I will be.” You reply with a sigh and a forced smile as you make your way out of the cavern. She falls into step beside you, the Crucible’s eternal, bloody dusk washing over you both as you stride back towards the Waystation.“They can’t all be winners.” She offers, sliding her hands into her pockets with a shrug.“NONE of them have been ‘winners’.” You fire back. “It’s the end of the world and people can’t get along? Can’t get their heads out of their asses and forward a winning condition that isn’t a thinly-veiled power grab? It’s bullshit!”“Agreed.” She relents with a slight nod. “We could always go for my idea. We’ve got enough people to where we could-“She trails off when you start shaking your head. It’s a discussion you and she have had before, and more times than you care to admit—ascending the Cord yourself, and carving out your own path to victory. Brute force could win this, sure…but you don’t want to end this without a plan, without a blueprint in place for what comes after.So many ideas for how the world should be reborn, and so little in the way of putting choice back in humanity’s hands.There’s so much distrust, and so little faith.>>Chat with Em on the way back—see what her thoughts were on Yurei.>>Check the Skinternet, and see if Yurei’s getting any more backing and from whom.>>You’ve still got some stress to work out, so find another Amalgam or two…and maybe invite Em to join you, this time.>>Write-InCOME WHAT MAY, CARVE OUT JOY
(Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume in four. Thank you for your patience with my schedule and the delay, as this update was almost done and then my computer crashed, so good times.)
>>5149330>>Chat with Em on the way back—see what her thoughts were on Yurei.We haven't seen a ton of Em, I'd like to hear her thoughts on things.
>>5149330>>Check the Skinternet, and see if Yurei’s getting any more backing and from whom.
>>5149330>>Chat with Em on the way back—see what her thoughts were on Yurei.
>>5149330“What’re your thoughts on everything that happened?” You ask in a huff, the tangled veins carpeting the landscape scurrying out of the way at your silent command.“I think you were right to leave, for starters.” Em replies, a lazy flick of her wrist manifesting a surge of bone that sharpens into her blade of choice—a segmented bastard sword that she absent-mindedly whips around as the two of you walk. It’s an old habit of hers, to have a weapon on hand...a small comfort, at the end of the world. “I think her attitude was shit. I think her plan was dumb. I think her hair was jank. I think-““I think you’re trying to make me feel better.”She makes a small noise, at that; something between a sniff and a chuckle. Another snap of her wrist, and Em’s whip-sword carves a long, bleeding line into a hill several hundred yards off as she meets your eyes.“…I think maybe you’re waiting on something that doesn’t exist.” She says, holding your gaze. “I think we’re running out of time.”“So…what? We throw in with the first charismatic sociopath with a plan to make the world a marginally better place?” You counter. “No. There’s someone out there who can bring everyone back. Someone who’s willing to give people a chance, again.”“Not sure if you’ve noticed, but it’s no coincidence that the Crucible brought back people with chips on their shoulders.” Em reminds you, rolling the sword at her side. “I can count on one hand the number of people who’re willing to give humanity another go-round.”She raises her index finger, then jabs it your way. “Oh, hey, check that out. It’s you.”You roll your eyes. “You really believe that? That people don’t deserve a second chance?”“He did.”Your heart tightens, and you know by the look in Em’s eyes that she’s gone too far, and she knows it. For a few moments you walk in silence, until-“Look, I want Mom back. I want Gran back. It’s as simple for me as that. As for you, well…” She trails off, soberly. “Maybe I’m a bitch, but I’m not really picky about how that gets done. The rest of the world can go-““Fuck itself. Yeah, I know.” You sigh, the Waystation’s coming into view on the horizon—an old railway platform, with gnarled tracks careening underground into a cavernous abyss. “I’m not going to say that people are good. They can be awful. They can be petty, and cruel, and…monstrous.”“…but?” Em prompts, slinging her blade over one shoulder.“But they still deserve a chance to be something better.” You conclude, sliding down into the Waystation’s depths with the other girl at your side. “He believed that, too—that as bad as people could be, they still deserved the chance to be decent.”“That sounds dangerously close to optimism.” Em snarks as you place a hand on the tunnel’s obsidian wall.“It’s faith.” You reply.“…Gross.”(Continued)
>>5149552Faith.Destiny.Providence.Or maybe it was just blind luck that led you to discover the place you now call home. Regardless, after a few moments of stomach-churning speed you’re met with blinding scarlet light, even filtered as it is through the obsidian forest that rings the Ikea. A true anomaly in this land of flesh and blood, it stands as a paradoxical beacon of normalcy in a world gone mad. It’s meant a lot to you, this strange little haven with its concrete walls and its garish paint-job. It took you longer than you’d like to admit to adjust to the Crucible’s…décor, shall we say. But for others it’s been a blessing, and not one you’d ever turn your nose up at. It’s a world where you can become anything. Where the limitations of the body have been cast away, and humanity’s been granted forms beyond imagining. You think, not for the first or last time……that he’d have liked this place.The thought curls its fingers around your heart and refuses to let go, even as the ground carries you through the field of flaxen hair to the Fortress’ entrance and the double-doors slide open to reveal its bustling, cavernous interior. You close your eyes, breathe in, and you hear it all, plain as day.The Voice of your particular brand of Skintalking never really manifested as most others do. Where many come in the form of male or female voices, or perhaps even a chorus, there’s a set whose voice takes on a wholly unique form. Furtive instruments, arrhythmic beats, half-remembered music, but yours?From out of the throng of merchants and customers comes a birdsong—a whistling of wind through leaves interwoven with the impossible sound of light dancing through branches. It’s a song of peace and motion, saying nothing and everything, all at once. Though it, you can tell Steak-Hands Jenny’s working furiously at her stand on the second floor, while on the fifth Valerie’s refining her fencing technique, and trying to lean in to the stance Em just taught her. All that and more floods your mind as you make your way through the crowd, returning greetings and parroting ‘hello’s to the many who recognize you…and all the while, at the back of your mind there’s the familiar chirping to let you know the Skinternet channels you’re keeping tabs on have updated while you’ve been away on business.…Jesus, that’s a lot of notifications.Anyway, you try and focus on the here and now, shifting back into business mode after you let go of the frustration garnered from your visit with Yurei.*Most* of the frustration, anyway.>>Check in with your usual vendors and merchants to keep tabs on the first floor’s goings-on.>>Check in to the Skinternet—you can’t stand to leave those notifications open, after all.>>Maybe Em would be up for helping you work out some frustrations in the fifth-floor ring?>>Write-InCOME WHAT MAY, CARVE OUT JOY
(Voting shall remain open for the next five hours, with posting to resume tomorrow morning at 10AM, Eastern time. I wish you a very restful evening, and pleasant dreams as well.)
>>5149553>>Check in with your usual vendors and merchants to keep tabs on the first floor’s goings-on.
>>5149553>A true anomaly in this land of flesh and blood, it stands as a paradoxical beacon of normalcy in a world gone mad. It’s meant a lot to you, this strange little haven with its concrete walls and its garish paint-job. It took you longer than you’d like to admit to adjust to the Crucible’s…décor, shall we say. But for others it’s been a blessing, and not one you’d ever turn your nose up at. It’s a world where you can become anything. Where the limitations of the body have been cast away, and humanity’s been granted forms beyond imagining.It is interesting to think of how people have adapted to the biopunk stuff. Like, our party is full of artists who look to the beauty in their new surroundings, and Shu herself never knew any world other than this. Going "oh, yeah, hill that's a giant skull, totally normal" makes sense for us. But there must be plenty of people who never quite adapt to the fact that everything is blood and bones. Who can't manage to see it as a strange new wonder, or a liberating experience of transformation, but just want things to go back to normal. The Ikean Fortress really is a godsend, in that way. Makes Paloma's thoughts about providence interesting. She has been blessed, in this regard.
>>5149553>>Check in to the Skinternet—you can’t stand to leave those notifications open, after all.
>>5149553Firmly telling yourself the Skinternet can wait, you stride towards the bustling crowd and into your element after bidding Emily adieu. You knew how to put on an infectious smile well before Skintalking granted you its boons, and the grin spreads through the crowd of customers as you meet their eyes. There’s a lot of new faces today, but you’re sifting through the crowd looking for one in particular, tucked away in an unassuming accessories stall.“Marchesa!” You declare upon spying your target hanging up a selection of her finest scarves.“Paloma!” The blonde Fibromancer shouts back as you cross the gap in a few short bounds. “What brings you ‘round?”“Oh, I just wanted to say ‘hello’! How’s business?”“Picking up!” She announces with a grin, her smile taking a moment to reach the half of her face that’s composed of golden twine. She reaches out with a fibrous hand, sifting through the wares she just set on display. “Dunno if you noticed, but we’ve got a lot of fresh faces ‘round today.”“It has been on an uptick recently, hasn’t it?” You sigh, glancing back at the churning crowd. Whereas the majority of the Daughters you’ve taken under your roof are under-leveled enough to only show the barest traces of their powers, the throngs that’ve fill the Ikean Fortress’ halls as of late are quite the opposite. Skill sets on full display and strapped down with Relics, the increase in Cord-seekers has been a trend you can’t help but notice.“So! How’s Rupert?” You say, rounding on Marchesa and trying to put Emily’s comments about time out of your mind, for now. As if on cue, the Amalgam proudly strides out from behind the shopkeep. Its misshapen eyes roll in their sockets to focus on you as it clops forward, head tilting in a bow that’s made awkward only by the stall’s tight quarters.“Prideful ‘lil git as always.” Marchesa grins, running a hand through the stripe of white fur that runs down the centipede-like deer’s lengthy back. “Can’t help but come running if he hears his name.”“Well for such a handsome boy, I don’t blame him if he wants to show off!” You reply with mock offence before reaching out to scratch the amalgam behind one ear. “What’s the scoop, Rupert? Hear anything interesting?”Marchesa laughs.Rupert answers.“Many come for the Cord.” He intones in a voice only a Skintalker or another of his kind could hope to understand. “All are headstrong. Some are nervous. Others are tense. Most have good intent.”You’ve known about Rupert’s unique level of intelligence ever since he and Marchesa shadowed the Ikea’s doors. It didn’t take Skintalking to notice the light of intent behind his eyes, but it did take a little bit of time before you were able to convince him that you could be trusted.…back scratches.It mostly took a lot of back scratches.(Continued)
>>5150270“That’s nice to hear.” You say aloud as he rests his chin on the counter, and you oblige your informant by targeting his favorite one spot between his upper shoulders with your talons. “Anybody I need to keep an eye on?”“Most have good intent. Some do not. A group of three. They had a look about them. Predatory.” Rupert informs you, leaning into the rubs. “Went to second floor. The bar. Your favorite one. May still be there.”“Duly noted.” You murmur, ignoring the three back-to-back chirps from the Skinternet; notifications that can most assuredly wait. “Anything else, friend?”“…You are upset.” He observes, concern creeping into his usually monotone voice. “You speak to me. I speak to you. I can listen to what is wrong.”Two more insistent chirps ring in your ear as you weigh how to respond.“You’re…really sweet, Rupert. But I’ll be okay. Promise.” You smile, hoping to put the kindly Amalgam at ease. He fixes you with a look that tells you he knows you’re just being kind, but he doesn’t push the matter furth-Chirp.Chirp.Chirp chirp chirp chirp chirp chir-“It was good to talk to you both!” You say, waving goodbye to Marchesa and Rupert and turning on your heel with a scowl. Good GOD, what is so important that the Skinternet can’t shut up for two->>Absolutely DEMOLISHED!!1!>>motherfukcing CASTLEVANIA shit!>>*OUR GIRL* just keeps winning!A deluge of commentary and stunned reactions washes over you the moment you open your mind to the sea of information that is the ‘Net, and it takes a few seconds to orient yourself, sifting through wave after wave of chaff before you can find the heart of the matter. Chants of ‘spooky scary skeletons’ buffet your ears while the indelible images of countless ‘poggers’ faces assault your eyeballs, and you can’t imagine what would prompt such a reac-……Oh.Holy shit.Yurei’s dead.The Skinternet falls away at your command, and you’re trying so hard to get a grip on the sudden shift in circumstance that the sounds of a scuffle overhead almost go unnoticed. Glancing up, the tell-tale cacophony of a brawl’s broken out on the second floor, and you’re closer to the trouble than Em…>>The circumstances of Yurei’s death can wait—this is your home, and you’re not going to let a threat to your people go unanswered.>>Have Em and Val deal with the trio Rupert mentioned—you need to figure out what the hell happened to Yurei.>>Write-InCOME WHAT MAY, CARVE OUT JOY
(Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume in four. I do hope your day is going well, everyone.)
>>5150272>>The circumstances of Yurei’s death can wait—this is your home, and you’re not going to let a threat to your people go unanswered.
>>5150272Oh god. We got poggers. I feel a little dirty. Just knowing that exists in the biopunk post-apocalypse, some things can stay left in the old world.Also, yay, more Rupert. He's the breakout star of this interlude. Definitely going to be a major character in Sir FuzzBuzz's shop management simulator spin-off.>>The circumstances of Yurei’s death can wait—this is your home, and you’re not going to let a threat to your people go unanswered.We'll see Shu fighting and then talking Yurei to death in a moment, for now let's be the good sheriff.
>>5150272Your taloned hand reaches out on instinct, the limb racing up to the second floor and seizing the guardrail to haul you straight to the scene—and what a scene it is. For a moment you think that the pools of blood splatter around the food court are the aftermath of some terrible melee, but the jelly-like Humoral constructs quickly retreat to their source upon your arrival. Their creator’s a girl in her late teens that you’ve not seen here before; an emaciated brunette whose body fills out as her creations slither back into the open sores along her limbs. Her glare shifts to you with a flicker of recognition, having previously been staring down your favorite bartender. Zee is, for her part, standing between the upstart Paladin and two of her bar’s regulars, the kindly Flesh Artisan’s right arm a coil of intensities that’ve been balled into a single tank-wrecking fist.“OMAGRASUTH.” You declare, your Lexicon rippling through the crowd and tampering flared tempers. Zee relaxes a fraction, her arm loosening as she takes a step back from the Paladin. The ragged girl’s still glaring at you, but her eyes have softened since first rounding on you.“What’s going on here?” You demand, glancing between the two before steeling on the Humoral Paladin. “You’re new here, so let’s hear it from you, first.”“My companion’s not one for words, so I’ll take the liberty of explaining.”The voice behind you drips with a honeyed, saccharine tone, the subtle influence of a Conduit’s emotional field welling up in your heart. Turning on your heel to keep both the speaker and Paladin in line of sight, you catch the eye of a girl several years your junior; her short-cropped purple hair emits wisps of azure vapor, and as she spreads her arms with a grin and a chuckle, you realize the same Phantasmal mist is seeping from her very pores. A mild disorientation works its way into your temples before a thought banishes the effect…you’ve dealt with enough Phantasmal bullshit to dispel them without a second thought.“Please do so.” You say, meeting the girl’s eyes with a clarity that makes her falter, for just a moment.“Ah…my associate and I have come for the Cord, you see.” She begins, resuming the bravado that she held before realizing you shrugged off her field with ease. “We’ve had quite the journey to reach your…might I say ‘cozy’ domicile, and she’s simply on edge.”“Took a swipe at me when I told her the price of what she ordered.” Zee cuts in, the sound of three different voices speaking in unison. “Crystal claws. She wasn’t fucking around. Broke my damn glass, too.”(Continued)
>>5150437You sense Em and two guardswomen descending the steps behind you, and you quietly reach out a hand to hold them at the foot of the stair as you deal with this squabble personally. Exhaling, the next breath you draw in fills your head with a Skintalker’s intuition—the Humoral girl’s clearly irritated despite your Lexicon’s calming effects, but as for the Conduit? There’s something far too calculated about her stance and manner of speaking. You’ve covered for your friends enough times to know the sting of second-hand embarrassment and the tension of a soured first impression, and this girl feels neither.“Is this true? Did your friend use blood weaponry in my home?” You ask, voice level as you hold the other girl’s gaze, unblinking.“…She did, yes.” The Conduit relents, and the sound of wind chimes only you can hear dances between those three syllables. This girl’s telling the truth…according to her, at least. “But I’ll be more than happy to pay her bill! Once we have some food and drink in us, that’ll take the edge off. We’ve just had a difficult journey here, is all.”“Understandable.” You admit. “I’m willing to let this slide the once, but any other outbursts and you will no longer be welcome here. Understood?”“Of course.” Nods the Conduit, and the perplexing undercurrent of accomplishment that’s wafting from her gives you an idea.“Also, Zee reserves the right to refuse service to you and your allies. Is it just the two of you?” You ask, playing a hunch.“Indeed!” The Conduit replies with an earnest smile.A dull, hollow *thunk*.The flat note of a blatant lie.You nod, turning to Zee. “Well? What’s the verdict?”The Artisan’s fist untangles completely, seizing a nearby table and setting it back upright before addressing the Conduit. “As long as you pay for the glass your friend broke, then we’ll start with a fresh slate. Fair?”“More than.” The Conduit replies, gesturing to herself and her ally, in turn. “I go by Esper, and she’s Carn. Zee, correct?”“That’s what they call me.” The bartender nods, making a slight motion with her hand towards you that she’ll take things from here. “Carn, is it?”The haggard-looking young woman nods, straightening her back as she regards Zee with no small measure of suspicion.“Not the first time I been swiped at, kid. Probably not the last…but I get it.” The bartender shrugs as you take a step back. “Shit’s rough. Go without a stiff drink and a decent meal for long enough and the bad stuff starts lookin’ a whole lot worse…even the good stuff does, too. So how ‘bout I get you both set up with that stiff drink, and one of my friends ‘round here can take care of the ‘meal’ bit. Sound like a plan?"(Continued)
>>5150440The surprise and guilt that suddenly pulses from Carn is more genuine than anything Esper’s uttered since the moment she arrived, and when the Paladin’s hands work into a series of gestures her friend’s all too happy to translate.“Carn says that your generosity’s greatly appreciated.” Esper grins, placing her hands on the other girl’s shoulders and guiding her to the bar. “Do you take biomass, or relics?”As the pair trail Zee back to the bar, Em approaches you and places a hand on your shoulder. A tingle of static runs up your spine as her Neuromancy flares to life, and the next words she utters are transmitted directly into your mind.“The hell was that all about?”“Ostensibly? A girl with pre-Cord nerves.” You reply, having seen that Paladin’s ilk pass through your halls more times than you could possibly count.“And in reality?” Em prompts.“A distraction.” You say, watching as the darkness of the tucked-away bar engulfs the pair of suspect Daughters. “Though to what end, I’m not sure yet. The Conduit lied straight to my face, for one. I think there’s a third person involved, but I don’t know what they’re up to.”The fingers of Em’s calcite greave grind against each other as she speaks; “I can get you answers. Just say the word.”“No, not yet. I let them go so they wouldn’t be spooked. Plus, I’m reasonably sure that I was the main target of their efforts.”“How’s that?”“In that whole exchange of names, they never once asked for mine.” Comes your silent answer. “It was the first time we’d met, but the Conduit knew exactly who I was. Carn recognized me too, but there aren’t any pictures of me on the Net…I’ve made damn sure of that.”“…a regular Miss Marple, aren’t you?” Em smirks.“You know I prefer Hercule Poirot.” You fire back with a wink.“So what now? I can follow them personally, if you’d like.”“If we do that, I’d rather you get Simone on the case…but we may have another issue.” You say, saying the next part of your sentence aloud. “I just got news that Yurei’s been killed.”“Holy shit!” Em exclaims with a laugh, dark eyebrows shooting even further up into her bangs. “Who iced her?”“I’m not sure.” You admit, having been ignoring the insistent chirp of the Skinternet for the entirety of that little performance. “But first thing’s first…”>>Let Em and her forces take care of things from here; you want to know who killed Yurei, and why. Delve into the Skinternet and catch up on the reports of her demise.>>Continue checking with some of your other informants to see if you can get to the bottom of Carn and Esper’s third ally.>>You’ve seen Carn and Esper’s faces…you’ve uncovered more with less. Dive into the Skinternet and see what you can dig up on those two.>>Write-InCOME WHAT MAY, CARVE OUT JOY
>>5150446>>You’ve seen Carn and Esper’s faces…you’ve uncovered more with less. Dive into the Skinternet and see what you can dig up on those two.>>Write-In>Have Em stay on watch for someone trying something. Let's see if this group has been as strict as Paloma in keeping their details off the net. We live in a pervasive surveillance state of postcognition, girls, it's hard to keep secrets from a Skintalker.
>>5150446>>You’ve seen Carn and Esper’s faces…you’ve uncovered more with less. Dive into the Skinternet and see what you can dig up on those two.>>5150460>We live in a pervasive surveillance state of post-cognition, girls, it's hard to keep secrets from a Skintalker.Oh geez. Imagine the chaos in a court of law. Coincidentally that's what Sathriel's short story is focusing on, her arbitrating a dispute in a small village. Skintalking is involved.And those who aren't skintalkers, neuromancers, or even conduits will be heavily disadvantaged.
>>5150470>>Sathriel arbitrating a dispute(Oh, I'm looking forward to that.)
>>5150470Oh, yeah. It all works right now because we're a lawless wasteland where survival trumps individual rights to privacy. But if the Fleshscape remains in any way post-quest then there's going to be some worrying potential for abuse.Also, that story sounds neat. A wandering demigod-judge, coming into town to administer the law, cool idea. I look forward to it.
>>5150446“Tighten security.” You instruct, voice low. “You and I may be watched, so-““I’ll have Val take point on guard duty. Simone can tail those two, like you said.” Em replies silently, a jolt running back down your spine as she removes her hand from your shoulder. “Tell me what you find out about Yurei. Lemme know if she had it coming.”Slipping away to the boardroom, you will the double-doors shut behind you as you take your seat at the head of the long table within. You prefer to do research here, instead of in your room—a distinction between spaces of work and rest is key.At least, in the real.Closing your eyes to the drab boardroom, you utter a few syllables before opening them to a sunlit parlor, light streaming in from the bay windows to your right. Its plush, rose-colored cushions shine in the day light of the world that was, their chintz patterns on full display. It’s warm, here—a heat that’s not the humid blanket that is the Crucible’s atmosphere but rather the gentle caress of sunlight dappled on one’s skin. You’re seated not at the head of a lengthy strip of plastic and metal but rather before a simple wooden table, topped with a pot of tea with a matching cup and saucer. This cabin serves as your ‘home page’, as it were, and as you reach out to the greater Skinternet you pause as a voice that’s neither masculine nor feminine makes a familiar demand.“Your name is?“ It asks.“Paloma.” You answer, and you can feel the vastness of the net unfurl beyond your sight. Reaching out, you hold Carn and Esper’s faces in your mind’s eye as you proceed to pour yourself a cup, the liquid steaming like tea and flickering like static. You sip, and your mind is steeped with information, pictures and audio filtered through your rapid-fire queries.What you learn is this; Carn and Esper reached you through no ability of their own. Indeed, neither of them are powerful enough to have made it over the Spine unassisted. Even with Calliope and her opportunistic hangers-on lending them a hand, the pair you encountered in the food court could have only reached the Spine on their own through some combination of supreme luck and divine providence. They’ve been awake for eight months between them, with only a handful of conquests to their names. No, they were led here by someone possessed of a much greater combat ability, but to what end?To your acute frustration, it takes three more refills to come up with a void—visual records show the two being led by some sort of blot, evidence of some type of masking relic or ability hiding them from a Skintalker’s perception, something Carn and Esper were either unaware or unable to do themselves. Tracking the mysterious figure back as far as records allow, it’s with a last, tremulous drop of liquid that you link the masked being’s origin point to Arcadia before both their trail—and your tea—run dry.(Continued)
>>5150571Despite your status as a Skintalker, you’ve come to realize that every Daughter that lays claim to that title experiences Skintalking in wildly different ways. You’ve never had to fight your Voice, for one…and unfortunately common occurrence for Skintalkers whose own fears and doubts manifest in the way the Crucible speaks to them, personally. Here, you’ve taken the opportunity to craft a little home-away-from-home.A reminder of the future that you’re fighting for, and who you hope to share it with.Leaning back in your chair, you cast a pensive gaze out the window, reviewing what you’ve learned in this little research session. You were in talks with the Arcadian Council once you’d gotten wind of how they’d modified their own settlement, but something went down and now they’ve buttoned themselves up so tight that you’ve only heard snippets of whatever drama’s going down in there. A handful of Daughters have slipped out to tell their own fractured versions of Arcadia’s goings-on, but whoever your mystery woman is, she’s told no tales and has been moving towards the Ikean Fortress with some goal in mind.Blue skies and white clouds aren’t offering you any answers, and you tap twice on the pot, hearing it fill with whispers and exclamations as your long-ignored notifications swirl within. Taking a tentative sip, a barrage of graphic retellings and tasteless memes roll across your palate, granting you only a distended view of what befell Yurei……but across it all is a single name, repeated over and over.Shu.It’s one you’ve heard before, when news of the Monastery’s fall and resurrection as a twisted amalgam reached your ears, followed swiftly by its destruction at the hands of Mara’s chosen. Truth be told, this isn’t the first time that you’ve heard of Mara’s pet projects—it was one of the things Yurei had going for her, in fact. But as for Mara herself, well…You met her, once. She came to the Ikea, and you sat with her. You can barely recall what you and she talked about, because the whole time you couldn’t shake the feeling that you were dealing with a computational machine of a woman. A thing built to run numbers, weigh odds, and tilt the game in her favor. This whole distraction affair almost reminds you of how she felt, now that you think about it—too many questions, and too little in the way of concrete answers.Just the sneaking suspicion that somehow, some way, you’re getting played.Trying to get that bad taste out of your mouth, you stare at the bottom of your empty cup, carefully weighing your next move.>>Call in one of your many owed favors. You need more info on this Arcadian refugee.>>Reach out to the Skinternet rumor mill and try grabbing onto any loose threads you can about the third Daughter involved.>>Research this ‘Shu’ a bit more…your curiosity’s been piqued.>>Write-InCOME WHAT MAY, CARVE OUT JOY
(Voting shall remain open for the next four hours, with posting to resume tomorrow morning at 10AM, Eastern time. Thank you all for your continued patience and participation, and I wish you a restful evening.)
>>5150571>>5150572I'm enjoying this insight into how other Skintalker Cores work. I find it one of the hardest classes to imagine variant powers for, so I'm glad to see from another Skintalker's perspective of how it works.And a refugee from Arcadia? Very interesting. I wonder if some of her being blotted out is just propwash from...well, this is ironic, I can't remember the name of the Deprived girl at Arcadia. But her. Maybe that's why it's hard to trace her back before Arcadia.>>Call in one of your many owed favors. You need more info on this Arcadian refugee.I want to have Paloma learn more about Shu, but this does seem like a more immediately pressing issue to deal with.
>>5150572>>Call in one of your many owed favors. You need more info on this Arcadian refugee.
>>5150572>It’s one you’ve heard before, when news of the Monastery’s fall and resurrection as a twisted amalgam reached your ears, followed swiftly by its destruction at the hands of Mara’s chosen. Truth be told, this isn’t the first time that you’ve heard of Mara’s pet projects—it was one of the things Yurei had going for her, in fact. But as for Mara herself, well…>You met her, once. She came to the Ikea, and you sat with her. You can barely recall what you and she talked about, because the whole time you couldn’t shake the feeling that you were dealing with a computational machine of a woman. A thing built to run numbers, weigh odds, and tilt the game in her favor. This whole distraction affair almost reminds you of how she felt, now that you think about it—too many questions, and too little in the way of concrete answers.Just a weird thought: I'm oddly enthused to know that the Ikea isn't one of Mara's projects. Not because I'm worried about any potential dangers that come from Mara's Deprived ability influencing it, but just from the knowledge that Paloma managed to get this set up on her own. It seems like everyone in this part of the Crucible is one of Mara's projects, ourselves included. It's nice to see someone who's managed to carve out a settlement without needing help from a dragon. Makes me a bit more impressed with Paloma. I guess we'll be seeing more of that now that we're getting closer to the Cord and meeting other aspiring climbers, but it's still cool.Also, the comment about her feeling Mara to be all questions, no concrete answers is kind of funny given that in her future we're going to just outright ask Mara questions after getting fed up with being anxious over what the concrete answers might be. Like, Paloma is totally right that that's the case with Mara, but it's kind of funny that Mara trusted us enough to break her silence. Maybe there's some downsides to not being one of Mara's projects, Paloma, it means she doesn't see speaking plainly to you as worth the investment.
>>5150642(I'm really glad this interlude has helped give a glimpse into how Skintalker Cores can manifest, since I was inspired to expand their potential considerably by one of the earliest Daughter concepts on here that delved into just how a Skintalker's perception of the world could tinge their own powerset. It was one of the things I was really looking forward to exploring in Paloma's interlude, given that I usually try to explore different power sets, perspectives, or foreshadow upcoming enemies/allies through these things, as well.)>>5150700>> Maybe there's some downsides to not being one of Mara's projects, Paloma, it means she doesn't see speaking plainly to you as worth the investment.(This is absolutely perfect. That's precisely how Mara views things, and you hit the nail right on the head.)
>>5150722Come to think of it, Paloma herself is a foreshadow from a previous interlude, isn't she? We saw her meet Sam, and then 'A' and Aimee went to the Ikean Fortress. It's layered.But yeah, it's good to see Paloma's take on her Core and how she interacts differently with it than Amara. I guess the trick to conceptualizing Skintalker abilities is to think of different ways people perceive the Fleshscape. Amara sees it as something to befriend, Paloma sees it like an interface to interact with, she mentions other Daughters seeing the voices as reflections of themselves. Interesting ideas. Gives me a better understanding of it.
>>5150722>>5150728Well this is gonna influence how I write Sathriel and how she uses and perceives skintalking, she's got a whole different theme going given what's already established about her character. update: I'm fleshing out the details dispute and somehow the literal court case segment of the short story some of the featured cast running away with the story and expanding the scope to both my excitement and dismay from sheer dialogue interactions. halp.
>>5150780(*Phoenix Wright theme intensifies*)(But seriously, I know the feeling of a story wildly expanding past the scope of what you expected it to be. That's...pretty much everything I've ever written, now that I think about it. In any case, I wish you the best of luck in writing, as I'm just about to get the first update draft to a good place before heading to bed, myself.)(Rest well, Everyone.)
>>5150575any prediction on when the main story will be picking back up? sorry, no offense meant, but i Kinda lost interest in these side stories with Yamato and certainly interest in continuing reading them by the end of hers, so kinda no point in me keeping the thread open except to tentatively see when the main veins will return. Its just i had no interest in Yamatos and hers told me nothing knew, as Leviathan was basically exactly how i expected him to be, and i had even less than that for seeing more of Paloma so its just not something i feel like forcing myself through if it doesn't interest me and its not really important otherwise. theres already too many characters to keep track of honestly anyways for me to want more of characters im not interested in all that much or we might not even really hear much of again.
>>5150788(No worries! After Paloma's intermission wraps up tomorrow or early next week, I'll time the 50th vein to go live on either February 15th or 22nd, depending on work. I've been working from home for some time, but it looks like we may be going back to the office soon, so I'll be timing it around that and updating her accordingly.)(Also, I've been meaning to ask; how is your puppy?)
>>5150793sound good. hope moving back to the office isnt too much a hassle.puppy is doing great. putting on some (good) weight, so she needs to learn to settle down a bit, but for a puppy its an understandable problem to have.
>>5150780Well, I hope you manage to get it to a point where you're comfortable with it, anon. It sounds neat.>>5150795Hooray, the puppy is doing well! Always good to hear.
>>5150572In your time with the Crucible, you’ve fought Amalgams, Daughters, and even one or two beings that defy either classification…but you’ve fought harder to make friends, forge bonds, and establish the relationships that have brought you to where you are today. In this world, as in the one before, there’s power in having a network of helping hands.It’s with this in mind that you rise from your chair, striding with purpose over to a nearby cabinet and throwing it open to reveal a collection of wine bottles. Plucking up a pair of elegant goblets hanging from the wooden hooks above the assorted vintages, you hesitate a moment before selecting a Pinot Noir, taking both glasses and bottle back to your seat. The table’s intimate enough to where it’s a simple task to set one glass before you and the other near the opposite seat before swiftly uncorking the bottle with one dextrous talon. You pour the far glass, then yours, relishing the sound and color of the liquid garnet that fills both goblets before sitting the bottle squarely in the center of the table. You take your glass, swirling it for but a moment as you relish the sensation…and with the ritual concluded, you call out in a hushed whisper the name of the one who can help you.You breathe in. Then out.Then everything begins to break down.Your cabin falls away. *You* fall away, your fingers dissolving to the bone. Muscle and veins reduced to black and white, ones and zeroes until there’s nothing of you but the knowledge that you are *you*, stuck without sensation in a lightless abyss. You speak, and there’s no sound, your words instead materializing before your eyes in the stygian dark. White text on a background of nothingness, existence distilled to little more than an MS-DOS overlay.>>EverythingUnderTheSunshine: I said I wouldn’t reach out unless I had a challenge.You try to take a breath, forgetting where and what you are in this realm forged by another’s mind.>>EverythingUnderTheSunshine: Well, I’ve got a good one for you, this time.A few seconds pass, your own static text burning holes into the back of your non-existent eyeballs until->>Baller_Oebalus69: does this have something to do with West?The other Skintalker’s text lances across the screen with all the urgency of an arrow.>>EverythingUnderTheSunshine: I’m not sure. All I know is that someone escaped Arcadia while shit was going down, but all Skinternet records show is a void. >>Baller_Oebalus69: Prime Epsilon was looking into obfuscation tech before Alpha eliminated her and confiscated her research. Show me what you’ve got so far.(Continued)
>>5151204It takes a little bit of effort on your part, translating your fluid style to Oebalus’ rigid processes—one of the hazards inherent in having two wildly different viewpoints trying to communicate across something as subjective as the Skinternet. Even more so considering that Oeballus prefers to stay on the move, interacting with the general boards only long enough to provide links to her research and Proxy-centric warnings. It was only after you agreed to share anything you learned about West and her network of doppelgangers that Oeballus relented to speak with you, and it took several months of cajoling before she agreed to let you into her own home page—a place where she controls the horizontal and the vertical.>>Baller_Oebalus69: Looks like baseline Flesh Artisan fuckery jacked up with relix.>>Baller_Oebalus69: *Relics>>Baller_Oebalus69: Arcadia’s wise to West’s shit.>>Baller_Oebalus69: They don’t let Proxies in.>>Baller_Oebalus69: Meaning whoever’s up in your fort is prlly a reg. Daughter there for smth else.>>EverythingUnderTheSunshine: And the two girls she brought with her?>>Baller_Oebalus69: garden-variety chucklefucks. Probably just used them to sneak in and see what you were made of.>>Baller_Oebalus69: The real concern is the head clown.>>Baller_Oebalus69: Lemme look a lil more.Without changing lights, without the steady ebb and flow of breath, it’s easy for seconds sto slip into minutes. Time seems to crawl as you wait, staring unblinkingly at the bare text until the fresh, blindingly white string of letters darts across your vision.>>Baller_Oebalus69: turns out ya boi Magnus wasn’t working alone on a mecha-fanboy’s wet dream.>>Baller_Oebalus69: There was this girl who he was collaborating with, and just as bonkers about robots as he was.>>Baller_Oebalus69: Flesh Artisan with a background in mobility Relics and constructs.>>Baller_Oebalus69: One ‘Georgia Devol’.>>Baller_Oebalus69: Took her pre-shitshow name into the crucible.>>Baller_Oebalus69: …lame.>>EverythingUnderTheSunshine: ‘Devol’?>>EverythingUnderTheSunshine: A little on the nose, isn’t it?>>Baller_Oebalus69: Hey, blame the parents who didn’t think twice about making their kid a ‘Devil Went Down to Georgia’ reference.>>Baller_Oebalus69: Anyway, rumor is that she and Magnum Dong had some kind of dispute before AC went dark.>>Baller_Oebalus69: My money’s on her being your mystery woman.>>EverythingUnderTheSunshine: Yeah, but why would sheYou pause, realization dawning on you.>>EverythingUnderTheSunshine: I’d just started laying the groundwork for Magnus’ plans. We’ve already gotten everything ready for when he was supposed to come here and start making the Ikea mobile like we’d planned.(Continued)
>>5151206>>Baller_Oebalus69: could be that.>>Baller_Oebalus69: maybe she got pissed at him and decided to fuck up his work elsewhere?>>Baller_Oebalus69: I mean, I can relate.>>EverythingUnderTheSunshine: Is there any way we can cross reference her location?>>Baller_Oebalus69: Last anyone saw of her, she was in Arcadia. Their lockdown’s tighter than my asshole when I feel Alpha breathing down my neck.>>Baller_Oebalus69: My advice?>>Baller_Oebalus69: Don’t touch that arcade fire with a ten-ft. pole.>>Baller_Oebalus69: Dunno what’s going on in there, but I got a sneaking suspicion that shit’s fucked in a decidely HP Lovecraft kind of way.>>Baller_Oebalus69: Only less racist.If you could make a face, you would. What could possibly be more eldritch than your planet getting eaten whole?>>EverythingUnderTheSunshine: Fine. Any advice on how to draw out our mystery Flesh Artisan?>>Baller_Oebalus69: Way I see it? You’ve got two options.>>Baller_Oebalus69: Hot or cold.>>Baller_Oebalus69: You keep the pressure on 24/7 to where she can’t do whatever it is she’s there to do. Stressful. Taxing. Hella effective.>>Baller_Oebalus69: *OR*>>Baller_Oebalus69: Act cool. If she’s there for something nefarious, she’ll make her play when *she* thinks you least suspect it. And that’s when you>>Baller_Oebalus69: fuck.>>Baller_Oebalus69: Alpha’s getting close.>>Baller_Oebalus69: good luck, Sunshine.>>EverythingUnderTheSunshine: Be Safe, Oebal-You’re suddenly gasping for breath, nearly knocking over your wine glass as you flail with freshly-reconstituted limbs. The disconnection was a violent one, but you can’t help but feel relief when you place your hands upon the table and feel the reassuring grain underneath. A bare-bones mental construct like Oebalus’ makes it easy to set up and tear down in a pinch, and without so much extraneous noise it’s easier to detect foul play like the creeping static of neuromancy or the subtle emotional flux of a Conduit’s field……but goddamn, if it isn’t unnerving as all hell.At least she gave you a better idea of what you’re dealing with, even if you’re no closer to figuring out what georgia actually *wants*. Leaning back with a sigh, you weigh whether to take the ‘hot’ or ‘cold’ approach as a certain name continues to echo in your mind…>>Opt for a calm, methodical approach, and investigate this ‘Shu’ person as you formulate a plan.>>You’ll do some background research on Shu the same way you’ll deal with this Artisan—with overwhelming focus.>>You don’t want to commit to an approach quite yet, so you’ll check out what’s being said about Shu in the meantime.>>Slip out of the Net for now, and meet with Em to discuss what you’ve learned.>>Write-InCOME WHAT MAY, CARVE OUT JOY
(Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume in four. I do hope your morning is going well, and that you had a good night’s rest.)
>>5151208Question does Paloma have the ability to contact Em discreetly?
>>5151250(She does, yes.)
>>5151204Oh, it's Oebalus. Hey there. This is before we get some vengeance for you, isn't it? Well, we'll sort things out eventually.>>5151206>>>Baller_Oebalus69: One ‘Georgia Devol’.>>>Baller_Oebalus69: Took her pre-shitshow name into the crucible.>>>Baller_Oebalus69: …lame.Hey, not everyone has to get some crazy new name. Self-definition doesn't have to involve a rename. Julia's doing just fine at that, and she's still Julia. Don't be judgey, Oebalus.Though yeah, "Georgia Devol" is a name that her parents deserve to get shot for.>>5151207>>Opt for a calm, methodical approach, and investigate this ‘Shu’ person as you formulate a plan.
>>5151255Alright.>>5151207>>Slip out of the Net for now, and meet with Em to discuss what you’ve learned.With the added caveat of being as discreet as possible. Even though I suspect Em will advocate for the overwhelming force approach, it would likely be prudent to bring up how it seems to have the security tighten heavily with big new floating around and a minor incident occurring. Might be best to avoid drumming up some concern amongst the residents.
>>5151207>>Slip out of the Net for now, and meet with Em to discuss what you’ve learned.
>>5151208>I do hope your morning is going well, and that you had a good night’s rest.About that...I spent almost all night watching Ace Attorney cases. The mystery and drama is too entertaining and provides so much help in structuring how to get the logic points to move from point A to my desired Verdict.
>>5151207Relishing the feeling of being back in your own ‘home’ as it were, the parlor’s window opens with a thought as you discreetly reach out to keep your right-hand woman in the loop.“Em, how’re things?” You ask, waiting a moment or two before her voice is carried to you on the winds.“All quiet on the western front.” She replies, the message interwoven with the sounds of nature just ‘outside’—a quirk of communicating through the Skinternet and into the small dust-mote of a Relic nested in Em’s ear. “What’s up?”You’d like to say that you give her a swift, efficient summary of your findings…but you know better. After a solid ten minutes of elaborate recap, she heaves a breathy sigh.“I think you know what I’m gonna vouch for.” She begins, much as you anticipated. “I can get down there and start cracking heads. We’ll have this done in less than a day, and that’s a promise.”“I know…but I’d like to handle this discreetly.” You gently counter, and you can practically feel Em roll her eyes before you offer an explanation. “Settlements hang by threads. We may not know this Georgia girl’s aims, but if we start an inquisition then, yes, we could solve the issue in short order…but how long would it take to regain the faith of the people here?”“…Fair point.” Your friend concedes. “’Keep an ear to the ground and a hand on my sword’, is what I’m hearing?”“At least until whatever’s going on with Arcadia settles down and I can speak to Magnus personally about it.”Em laughs.“How long you figure that’s going to take? You know how artists are. Assholes, the lot of ‘em.”“…Em, *you* were an artist.”“I know what I’m about, son.” She replies, then shifts gears. “Hey, any word on how Yurei got clapped, yet?”“No, sorry.” You wince as you massage your temples with one hand. “I’ve been so focused on the aftermath of the other thing, so-““No worries, girl.” Em interrupts dismissively. “Been some rumors going around she got beat by somebody named Shoe.”“You mean Shu.”“Shoe?”“Shu.”“That’s what I said.” Em says, irritably. “Wait, are you doing that Skinternet thing again where you can see how I’m spelling shit?”“She’s not a boot. It’s S-H-U.” You inform your friend, she just laughs.“*Anyway*, I’m going to go check in on the troops and then get some shuteye. Tap me if anything comes up, okay?”The window gently shuts as the private connection goes still and you’re left, once again, with the lingering scent of tea and your own busied thoughts. Now that you’ve settled on a tentative course of action, you suppose there’s nothing stopping you from…>>Finally doing some research on Shu.>>Checking in with Zee, and how she fared with those two.>>Looking up something else on the Skinternet you’re curious about (Write-In)>>Write-InCOME WHAT MAY, CARVE OUT JOY
(Voting shall remain open for the next three hours, with posting to resume in four.)>>5151351(Oh God, that's great. I hope you can get some rest tonight then, though I'm glad you had such a good time watching the cases unfold. Those games are just so damn entertaining, I don't blame you.)
>>5151353>“That’s what I said.” Em says, irritably. “Wait, are you doing that Skinternet thing again where you can see how I’m spelling shit?”Oh god. Truly the most terrifying power. I'm only barely joking, that's actually pretty creepy. I'm glad Paloma only uses her powers for good.>>Finally doing some research on Shu.
>>5151353>>Finally doing some research on Shu.
>>5151356>>Finally doing some research on Shu.
>>5151353Leaning back in your chair, you give two more languid taps to the side of your teapot, watching the steam snake out of the spout before pouring yourself a cup of distilled information. Bringing it to your lips, you’re given pause by the depth of its scent and coloration—the sheer density and variety of data here speaks to a greater deal of discourse than you’ve encountered before.This ‘Shu’ girl had your curiosity before, but now she has your attention.Taking your first, tentative sip, the facts of Yurei’s death become clear. Her pride and narrow-mindedness came to a head in the most expected of ways……though you have to admit the whole ‘skeleton’ thing caught you by surprise.At first, you’re impressed with Shu’s capabilities as a commander and strategist, but after running events back to the moments leading up to the fight, you realize something else. This woman burns with an almost palpable sense of conviction, devoid of the desperation and edge held by so many Daughters you’ve seen before…and then she reunites with some sort of Phantasmal Construct plucked from her own Dreamscape, and the plot thickens a bit more for Shu.Seeking some context on just what’s going on, you end up pouring yourself several more cups just to get caught up on her exploits, from the events leading up to the Spiraling Fear and beyond. You’re sucked in as you watch her actions speak volumes, with speeches that ring with an earnest truth you never thought you’d hear again, in this world of carnage and cruelty. You’re two full pots of raw backstory in before it dawns on you that you’re late to what so many have already realized…Shu embodies humanity’s hope for a future where they have agency, again. You don’t agree with the pseudo-religious stance that seems to be materializing around her growing legend, but you can’t deny her appeal to a world weary from two years of constant, bloody, chaos. Without even realizing it, Shu’s become a beacon of hope that somehow, someday, this cycle will end.It’s not just her people are latching onto, either. Gina, the Neuromancer’s search for the truth behind her own feelings. Rath, and the religious and familial struggles you resonate with so deeply. Kind, yet resolute Julia, and her romance with Dorian, who’s learning what it means to be a true gentleman in his own, tender way. November reuniting with her niece, and Francine’s acceptance into the growing family…and little Amara. You knew who she was, but seeing just how far she’s come and continues to grow?You lean back, stunned. The narrative of this family…these heroes…*this*.THIS……is exactly what you’ve been waiting for.It’s a voyage into a stranger’s life that culminates in you practically kicking in the door to your best friend’s room.“EM! Holy FUCK!”(Continued)
>>5151536“WHAT?! What, what is it?!” Em demands, immediately sitting up and drawing a calcite dagger from underneath her pillow…and, just beside her, Em’s bastard sword is tucked neatly underneath the covers, its hand resting on a pillow just as fluffed as its wielder’s.As much as you’d like to, you don’t have time to unpack all that as you practically leap to the foot of her bed with the good news.“I’ve done it! I’ve found her!”“The spy?!” Em asks with bleary confusion writ large on her face. “It’s been like, an hour at mos-!““No! The one we’ve been waiting for!”Em blinks once, then twice, before finally asking; “Paloma, what the fuck are you talking about?”“It’s Shu. The one who killed Yurei!” You quickly explain, and what follows next is a rapidly-regurgitated torrent of information and tangents, the fruits of your deep-dive into the life of Yurei’s killer. By the time you finish you’re damn near out of breath, with Em rubbing the bridge of her nose between thumb and forefinger as you draw in a shaky, excited breath as you wait for your friend’s verdict…but it doesn’t come.Instead, she’s fixed you with an inscrutable expression, as if she’s waiting for you to continue.“Look, the whole reason I’ve brought all these people together is for when I finally found someone who’d give humanity not only a fighting chance, but the chance to be something better.” You explain in the face of your friend’s stony silence. “Someone who’s not interested in enforcing their will on people, but who’d give them the chance to forge their own future.”“You sure it’s not a new spin on old bullshit?” Em asks, softly.”You and I worked for enough creative directors to know what bullshit looks like. And this girl? She’s the real deal. She is IT!” You say excitedly, leaning forwards with your palms flat on the bed sheets. “She has the *momentum* we’ve been looking for! The drive! SHE’S the one who can ride what we have to offer to the top of the Cord and to the end of all this!”Em’s quiet for a moment, and when she speaks again her voice is barely above a whisper.“…Why not us?”“…huh?” You say, confused.“Why not us?” Your friend repeats, bringing one knee up to her chest as she regards the dagger in her hands. “You’ve spent so much time on all this, to just…what? Spend it on some proxy savior? Bide our time, sifting through whatever fucked up messiahs start crawling out of the woodwork until we find one who isn’t *obviously* a wackjob?”“Em, I-“ You start, swallowing your words when Em points the dagger at you.“Paloma, with everything you’ve accumulated up to this point, you and I both know damn well we’ve got a fighting chance against whatever’s up there.” She says, nodding westward. “So why spend all this time looking for someone to do something that you and I could finish? Together?”(Continued)
>>5151538Your throat works for an explanation, and she simply stares at you until you can find the proper words to explain the potential you see so clearly.“Look, Em…you’re the strongest person I know, on and off the battlefield.” You begin slowly as you tuck your legs underneath you. “But you and I both know that tackling the Cord takes more than raw power. You and me? We’re not enough. I’ve got favors, and friends, and you! You have this incredible drive and the strength to do anything you set your mind to, but the Cord? That’s beyond us. ANY of us, here. We do not have an army. We do not have the faith and hopes of thousands pinned on us. But Shu does.”“Is she strong?” Em asks, her voice hard.“Yeah, she’s strong, but she’s got more than that. She has a solid family, a solid foundation…not to mention the support of literally EVERYONE she’s interacted with throughout her journey. Shu doesn’t have to be strong enough alone, because she has THEM. They are strong enough TOGETHER to beat the Cord.”Em makes a small, noncommittal sound.“Shu has the ideals. She has the drive.” You continue, raising a finger for each point. “She has a network that’s never letting her down. People listen to her. And you know what you and I have? Resources. People. Man-power. We could spend that on ourselves, sure...or we could spend it on someone that will follow through on a Cord victory with what’s needed to get the world on the right track. Not a leader, not a dictator, not a messiah…just a woman whose got enough people around her to keep her head on straight while she gives humanity the chance to decide its own future.”The other girl doesn’t react as she gingerly sets the shiv of bone next to her, and you can tell by the look in her eyes that she’s mulling over your argument in earnest.“You are absolutely right, in what you said earlier.” You say, and her dark eyes snap to meet your brown ones.…a sure-fire way to get her attention, even before this all began.“We’re running out of time, like you said. The bodies are mounting at the Cord by the day, and the longer this continues the closer a winner gets to the top that doesn’t have humanity’s best interests at heart. We have one shot at this, and we don’t have the luxury of backing the wrong horse. Shu’s the best damn candidate I’ve ever seen, and I will do ANYTHING to ensure she succeeds. And if she wins? You get your family back. I get him back. And the rest of the world...?”“Can go fuck itself.” Em finishes with a small smile, despite herself. For a moment, there’s silence. And then…“You’re sure about this?” Em asks.“I am.” You affirm, heart feeling ready to burst. “I can’t explain it, but with everything I’ve seen and heard…Shu feels like the right choice.”Em reaches out, placing her hand on your shoulder once more.“…Okay. Then let’s back this fucking horse.”(Continued)
>>5151543It doesn’t feel like any time at all until Shu’s cresting over the Spine, and in the space between you learning about her and her family arriving on your doorstep, she’s accomplished more than you ever thought possible. When the moment comes, and you’re sitting across the table from the Defiant herself, the Hunter of Gods…you find, to your great relief, a person sitting opposite you. She has no grand designs for the future of humankind, no blueprint for how the world should work. She’s just a person.A simple, humble human.An odd duck, a tired mom. A kind girlfriend, and a dutiful companion. A normal woman who just wants this cycle to end, and for the rest of her life—and the lives of those she loves—to well and truly begin.The Fleshscape’s warm breeze wafts over the top of the Ikean Fortress as you watch Shu and her family leave for two separate missions, with Shu sitting alongside Francine atop the jagged war machine they call the Metall Geschoss. She’s come so far…and as you feel along the indentation on your left ring finger, you realize she only has a little further to go before you’ll finally regain what the Crucible stole from you.“Penny for your thoughts?” You ask aloud as Em swings open the hatch a few meters behind you, promptly striding over to watch the Defiants on their way out.“I like Rath. She’s pretty cool.” Your friend says, shooting you a grin. “But yeah, I see it, now. She’s got her shit together, and I respect anyone that’s smart enough to challenge your sales pitch.”You grin, then ask; “Do you feel like I’ve backed the right horse?”“Hey, if the Shu fits.” Em fires back with a shrug, getting a knuckle in the rib for her trouble. “Anyway, Magnus sent word that he wants to talk before he comes over.”“Regarding the third woman?” You ask, privately.“Feels weird to call her that considering how well Carn and Esper have fit in, but yeah.” She admits, before speaking the next part aloud. “He’s ready when you are.”She leaves your side, at that, and you spend another few moments watching Shu’s family until they’re led beyond your sight and into the obsidian treeline.Just a little longer.It’s so, so close.You breathe in, close your eyes, and see it, clear as day.Blue skies.His smile.A future for all.Come what may, you’ll help her carve a path to a brighter tomorrow.>>PALOMA INTERMISSION: CONCLUDED
(Thank you all for your continued patience, participation, and contributions everyone. The 50thVein is tentatively set to open on February 22ndat 10AM, Eastern time. I’ll likely be moving back to the office the week prior, and given that there’s always some tech issue or another to deal with, I figure it’s best to not try and deal with that alongside getting the main plot rolling again.)(I’ll continue to monitor this Vein for any of your own concepts, ideas, and writings, which I always welcome and enjoy thoroughly. I wish you a restful weekend one and all, and thank you for being the best group of players I could ask for.)(Be safe, take care, and we'll continue on this journey soon.)
>>5151536>>5151538>>5151543>>5151544Yeah, that makes sense. We appeal to Paloma because we don't have a grand ambition. She's kind of the avatar of mundanity, here in the Crucible. She lives in an old-world building, her Skintalker powers are like a computer interface, and she just wants to see her loved ones again. Someone who's only interest is returning humanity and thinks that grand ambitions for our future are something to sort out after we've got the species secure again would appeal to her. Though the "the rest of the world can go fuck itself" part is a bit too cynical for my tastes. Come on, Paloma, Em. I know you don't mean that.>Blue skies.I think that's something Shu would like to see, too. Sometimes I think about how weird it is that there are so many things that Shu has context for but has never actually experienced. She's never seen a plant, for example. The closest is Daughters with plant-like Unnatural Predator features. I think if Shu was directly asked what she wants from a post-Crucible world, things like "plants" and "blue skies" would be among the list.>>5151545Thanks for running, BHOP. This was a fun little interlude, we got to see from the perspective of characters we usually wouldn't. The revelations about Sir FuzzBuzz are particularly notable to me. Our poor bee, we need to treat him better.Anyways, thanks again, and I'll see you on the 22nd.
>>5151598>Sometimes I think about how weird it is that there are so many things that Shu has context for but has never actually experienced.The culture shock will be intense for certain. Can you imagine how Shu would feel if she, a girl who is chronologically a literal newborn toddler and grew up in an eldritch Darwinian bio-punk world, is essentially isekai'd into pre-crucible Earth and deprived of her usual body-horror powers?
>>5151942It would be pretty severe, yeah. It could descend into farce (can you imagine Shu going grocery shopping?), but I think it could also make for some nice emotional scenes. Like, imagine Shu in a forest. A real one, not made of bone. She spots a deer, and it's just a shy but beautiful animal instead of a ravenous monster that wants to kill and eat her family. It would be so peaceful, compared to the Crucible. That would definitely impact her pretty hard.
>>5151545Thanks for running BHOP! Looking forward to the next vein!
>>5151545I have a question in regards to skintalking. Are the spells cast with skintalking always purely verbal? or is there an option for somatic style skintalking? for example, a mute daughter who communicates and cast spells via sign-language? And is it akin to cheating or "OP" if there was a relic or some ability that allows a skintalker to put the spells cast from speech to text and activates the spell by simply referring the spell cast to an engraved text? This is very much related to Sathriel's character sheet.
>>5151545Oh fuck. I forgot to archive this vein. I'll get on it right away first thing in the morning. Also, I had completely forgotten about Ash and Bridgette (the two gluttonous NPCs that paired together because their First fight went from Fighting each other to Frenching each other). A side story about their first encounter would be hilarious to read in the next intermission vein.
>>5157904(There are absolutely Relics that can do that, and there are Skintalkers who utilize braille and sign language as their Lexicon, so it's absolutely within reason.)>>5157945(Thank you so much! I was thinking about that today, but I wanted to wait since I always enjoy the Vein summaries you write.)
>>5151545>An interlude thread featuring: An honorable Bumblebee, A titanic thunderbird, a Socratic sage, a living battleship, and a simple woman.>Intermission Intermezzo: Archived>Are you done with story time?>Yes.>Aww...But I wanted to hear more of these side stories...>And leave the main character in the dust?>hmm....you have a point.>Alright sweetie, time for bed.
>>5158049https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/2022/5125916/Proof of archival.And also, thank you for giving clarification on the skintalking question. This will help clear things up and make Sathriel a rather SPICY skintalker in combat.
>>5158423>>5158429(Thank you for archiving, and I'm glad I could help!)
>>5158471Well, in the midst of writing the short story (not yet finished), I've gathered enough detail to give a brief but comprehensive character sheet of what Sathriel looks like in my mind. There are more subtle details to Sathriel's character but that would be shown in the short story.Sathriel, the Obsidian ArbiterVitruvian/Skintalker/Calcite Armorer: Obsidian Library of the VoidAppearance: Face-claim of Binah from Lobotomy Corporation. Often accompanied by two sharply dressed humanoid constructs named "Solomon" and "Yan Wong". Bears little to zero corruption. Appears as a very intimidating woman whose overwhelming presence is softened by her show of restraint, her sharp wit, a fair sense of judgement, and her ability to handle disputes that leaves jurors satisfied with her verdict and the guilty punished justly. Behavior: There are two sides to Sathriel. One side is the Judge. Polite, and professional, level-headed, and mature, showing incredible feats of restraint. The other is the Executioner. A foul-mouthed, bloodthirsty, short tempered, childish, and emotional side who cares not for restraint. Chained together by Vitruvian Corruption, the two sides create a twisted Judicial scale where Sathriel must constantly balances which side of 'Justice" she allows herself to express. Intimidating and off-putting, her bi-polar behavior is balanced out by her two 'more human' constructs whom act as her minders as well as her enforcers.Combat abilities/style: Obsidian Library of the Void - A wicked combination of Vitruvian Modularity and Ironclad defense inherent in Calcite Armorers. Her equipment and constructs are enchanted with the most expansive and Exotic skintalking effects that have been engraved onto the Monolithic Pillars Sathriel creates as well as on the Arbiter's body herself. Beware, she is also rumored to hold powerful relics with unknown properties. One such rumor is a relic that allows her to cast 'complete sentences' within a single action.Pre-crucible life: A sharp woman who had a young but strong career as an attorney in pre-crucible times. Sathriel has borne a very strong sense of justice and morals but often found herself frustrated at the lack of immediate Karmic justice within the court of law. Even moreso when the courts she worked in have been corrupted by bribery and the verdict bought out by influential figures within society.Crucible life: The downfall of humanity by the Crucible's arrival has done wonders to unfettering Sathriel to the notions of civility and giving her "Cathartic Justice" in dealing with her frustrations. But old habits and professions die hard even in a post-apocalypse world, so now Sathriel finds herself playing the fair Judge, the impartial Jury, and the merciless Executioner as a way to entertain herself. Wandering the wastes, taking on legal cases, biding her time and dutifully playing Judge and Jury, until the moment she is allowed the Cathartic role of Executioner.
>>5162068I like her. The almost split personality driving her to both immediate retribution and long-term justice makes for a cool dynamic. I like the idea that it almost becomes a game of sorts, her justifying her violent side by racking up good karma as a fair judge. That makes for a character that could be really cool but also really scary to interact with. I also think the abilities you've given her are neat, I like the idea of carving the Skintalking Lexicon instead of speaking it, gives a sort of mystical rune-lore aesthetic to her. I had an idea sort of like that, myself, a mute Daughter who expresses Skintalking through painted sigils.
>>5147746Do you think Leviathan would be a fan of Nature Documentaries? Personally I think he's be very much a fan of David Attenborough's Nature documentary videos along with his narrative style of commentary, but on the Crucible ecosystem long-term wise.
>>5164241i could imagine that he would like them at first and then actually want to go out and film his own or at least be support for the filming to learn first hand. Since he is pretty curious about everything i figure he would probably want to be at the forefront of discovery
>>5162068(Oh, this is delightful! I'm really looking forward to her story.)>>5164241(They'd whet Levy's appetite for knowledge, but as >>5165430 said Leviathan would absolutely want to immediately go out and discover more.)
(The 50th Vein is now open, Everyone.)>>5175718