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In this world, is the destiny of mankind controlled by some transcendental entity or law? Is it like the hand of God hovering above? At least, it is true that man has no control, even over his own will.

Alas, they are certainly welcome to try and struggle to deviate from the laws of causality. Such is the case for a human mortal by the name of Vlad Santana. A young man who would find himself at the crux of a story that would eclipse his mere mortal soul.

Character Profile and abilities:
https://pastebin.com/QZJkmpvG

Previous Thread:
https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive/2022/5413369/

Thread Archives:
https://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/qstarchive.html?tags=Vlad%20Santana

Rules:
Rolls will usually be a best of 3 1d100 DCs are context sensitive but transparent when choosing your options.
Only 1 and 100 count as crits and good crits override bad ones. Critfails will only count if you don't pass the DC
Voting period closes when enough players unanimously choose the same options. The minimum vote requirement and time limit will depend on how fast I can update, which is 3 to 5 times a day at least.
You can always ask for additional context for your choices and voting can be extended should anyone make an argument that could change previous votes.
Write-ins are always welcomed so long as they don't break character.
Have fun and do your best.

Recap:
After leaving Midland and getting engaged to Farnese, Vlad's party depart to finally meet his mother Sivir on The captain of Ys' ship, The Seahorse. Hoping to discover more about his mother's whereabouts and the source of their power while they look for a way to free Casca from the Mandragoran disease.
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>>5694520
After hearing that the island of Nostos is only up to this day with living humans thanks to your mother Sivir, you are invigorated with hope to finally seeing her with your own eyes, however the threat of the Sea God lurking beneath her, threading carefully is better than celebrating too early.

After a quick meal with the locals as well as lodging in a large house to settle your inventory, you wonder about their mention of a merrow girl shunned from living on the island, but since the people here are not to keen on those who are kind to other sea creatures, perhaps you should not be public about meeting said stranger.

Which is considerably cumbersome, since you'll be walking in unknown territory, and a dangerous creature that can swallow an entire island might need a lot more than a single man to be defeated.

>Ask for permission to visit the Sea God
>Go search for him without telling anyone.
>Warn your party and bring some of them with you.
>>
>>5694548
>>Warn your party and bring some of them with you.
>>
>>5694548
>>Warn your party and bring some of them with you
Welcome back !
Is good to see you Becchi
>>
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>>5694569
Thanks! Didn't mean to stay away for so long, but a few things got in the way and I wanted to come back fresh and ready so we've had to go on hold for a bit. Hope the struggle wasn't that bad on your end
>>
>>5694548
>>Warn your party and bring some of them with you.
>>5694606
Perhaps its too early to celebrate you coming back Becchi but i had really given hope on the quest. Nice to see i was proven wrong!
>>
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>>5694556
>>5694569
>>5694627
Checking to see how the sailors from the Seahorse were doing, you were greeted by a beaming Roderick, happily doing business along with the local townsman Ishmael and his trusty partner in crime, Magnifico, getting supplies for his men and getting ready to repair whatever the ship needed fixing after the pirate attack for the following few days.

"You guys sure work fast." Serpico attempts some small-talk with his half brother, which goes as well as you expected.

"Shut up and carry this barrel back to the ship along with the others!"

"Aye Aye!" Serpico reluctantly obeys.
"The servant in you needs to go away someday, y'know Serpico?" Hyde is there to give him a supporting hand.
"Baby steps, I guess. At least he's not trying to hit me anymore..."

Relaying your plan with Guts as he cleans his equipment, The Black Swordsman is quick to make some observations.

"Guess it's best to count me out of your field research then. A guy like me would draw too much attention. They see two armed guys with large weapons and they'll know we're after blood."

"Are you sure you're not coming? I could use the help."
"Stealth isn't exactly my forte, few times I did sneaking missions back in the day, I always came out with the feeling that busting the door down would be more effective for me."
"That's fair, but with the others being so busy with the ship, I'm not sure there are many people I can ask for help."

"How about us?!" Puck and Isidro overhear the conversation and walk in uninvited.
"Yeah! I've been itching for a real adventure ever since I set foot on this place! Let's see what that merrow's all about!"

You grimace, hoping to find a way to tell Isidro that you were counting on someone more reliable physically to help you.
"You know, Isidro... I was looking for someone--"
"Stronger?"
"That's not it--"
"Taller?"
"Nothing to do with it--"
"Funnier!"
"That too, but--" Puck takes turns in interrupting you until Isidro catches the hint.

"Better. I know you're looking for someone better. But come on! How am I supposed to get better at all the monster huntin if I never get any chance to shine!?" Just give me a shot, and I'll fry whatever fish we get!" Isidro brandishes his fiery salamander knife, though you're not sure what that'll do against a Kraken 100 times his size.

>Isidro, saving my mother and the island is something important to me, and I can't have you goofing off during this.
>Alright, but do as I say, I'm not quite sure what we're dealing with, so we have to be careful
>You know what? Fair point, let's see how much you've improved.
>...Are you sure no one else is free right now?
>Write-in.
>>
>>5694627
>Not thinking I went in hiatus to emulate the boat hiatus in the manga for max ludonarrative points.
All according to plan!
Main reason was that I had a health scare and thought the eye floaters I was having were due to excess of eye strain so I got a job that didn't involve sitting my ass in front of a screen for the entire day. Thankfully I'm not going blind but I just wanted to play it safe and not risk anything
>>
>>5694650
>Alright, but do as I say, I'm not quite sure what we're dealing with, so we have to be careful
>>
>>5694650
>Alright, but do as I say, I'm not quite sure what we're dealing with, so we have to be careful
I'll have to catch up with the quest.
>>
>>5694650
>Alright, but do as I say, I'm not quite sure what we're dealing with, so we have to be careful
Don't fuck up, monkey. Also welcome back!
>>
>>5694606
I had faith in your return, but all good.

>>5694650
>Alright, but do as I say, I'm not quite sure what we're dealing with, so we have to be careful
>Write-in
"Stay close and keep an eye for anything strange, we ll need to not attract any attention. And if we do attract it, is better to not be far away from eachother."
>>
>>5694713
Ah do check Isidro for see what he has on him, if he lacks some useful equipment or food he should go and grab it from the ship.
Training him is a long process
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>>5694671
>>5694672
>>5694678
>>5694713
"Alright, but do as I say, I'm not quire sure what we're dealing with, so we have to be careful."

"Come on! Since when have we let any of you guys down?!" Isidro scoffs, though Puck is quick to rebuke him.
"You know that only applies to you, right? I've already helped Vlad plenty of times! He knows I'm hardcore!"
"I can't say you've had many big accomplishments on our journey, but that's because we've made sure to let you play safe. One little slip, and we'll be lucky to live long enough to regret it."Stay close and keep an eye for anything strange--"

"Oh, like I haven't heard that one before..." Isidro still considers you to be underestimating his skills, but any sign of overconfidence on his part can prove to be too much for him to handle. "I'll be waiting outside for when you're ready, don't keep me waiting."

"You talk like you haven't been in the 'In dire need of development' bench all this time!" Puck makes fun of him one last time as he snuggles into Isidro's collar.

You can only hope you've done the right thing...
>>
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>>5694720
"So you're going out?" Farnese replies after you warn her and Schierke of your plans.
"We'll be taking a stroll around the town while you're at it. I did feel plenty of bad Od lying around ever since they've mentioned that they sacrifice people in human rituals to appease the Sea God. Don't think this is related to Behelits, but I'll let you know if we find a lead!" Schierke points to her forehead, knowing that despite your interference in talking to Ilos, your telepathy should work just fine between the two of you.

Waving her goodbye, you get your trident ready before feeling a potent tug on your shoulder a few steps away from the front door of the settling.
"Hey." Casca calmly holsters her axe on her waist. "Heard you needed a hand scouting the area?"

"Casca. are you sure you're good to fight? I know we've just given you more Mandragoran Essence, but any more stress and your skin will turn green..."

"Well, much like Isidro, I can't help but feel like I've fallen too much behind, so what's the harm in getting used to the action? If him and Puck are giving you too much trouble in a pinch, I can have your back so they stay relatively safe. Isn't that why Isidro and I have sparred with you back on the shore?"

"That's hard to believe when this sickness you have can take your humanity away. I'd advise you to take your health more seriously--"

"Vlad. I am taking my health as seriously as you are." Though Casca's pride as a soldier is still present, she takes note of how injured you've been in the past few ordeals. "There's a child I need to see and a jester I need to mourn after we are through with this journey. I don't plan to rush into danger, but a little risk to myself is the least I can do when we're this close to getting rid of this damn mandragora curse. We are not arguing over this."

Casca doesn't even give you a chance to respond, already making up her mind. You can see why she went along so well with Guts with how pushy she can be...
You're glad both of your least active fighters are eager and in high morale to improve before they need to be on the front lines, but fighting The Sea God alongside them will be like playing tug of war with 2 kids. They might help a little, but at the end of the day, it's still all on you if they fail.

Oh, to be the responsible leader...

>Make sure you're carrying as much mandragoran essence with you as possible.
>Your priority is keeping an eye on Isidro, don't let him get too far away.
>Get ready to use the axe at a moment's notice, we'll need an escape plan if anything goes wrong.
>I still think you'll be better off resting here with the others.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5694733
>Your priority is keeping an eye on Isidro, don't let him get too far away.
>>
>>5694733
>Get ready to use the axe at a moment's notice, we'll need an escape plan if anything goes wrong.
>>
>>5694733
>>Make sure you're carrying as much mandragoran essence with you as possible.
>>
>>5694520
HE LIVES, STOMP STOMP
>>
>>5694733
>Your priority is keeping an eye on Isidro, don't let him get too far away.
>>
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>>5694736
>>5694746
>>5694760
>>5694836
Well, she did make some pretty convincing arguments. Who knows, maybe she can compare to the likes of Serpico and Farnese once she is healed.

"Your priority is keeping an eye on Isidro, don't let him get too far away. The axe of the giants will be useful in case the Sea God tries to crush us with rubble, and we'll need an escape plan if anything goes wrong. Also, don't forget the mandragoran essence, carry it as much as possible."

Casca was taken aback from the lack of pushback. Usually, she would have to bargain a lot more to get what she wanted, but a smirk and a nod was all it took for the old commander to fulfill her end of the mission.

As you both walk outside, you give one last check on Isidro's inventory before departing.

"Salamander knife?"
"Here!"
"An extra short knife in case you lose this one?"
"Also here!"
"Bombs?"
"All yours, my friend!" Puck shows his pouch full of the miniature bombs guts carries with him."Good to go?"
"Good to go!"
"Hell yeah!"

Isidro excitedly runs ahead while Casca sighs behind him. As you take in the scenery of the island, you notice the luscious green of the grass along the homely stone houses. It's hard to believe this is an island, with how close it resembles a warm mountain top. It's a feeling of relaxation by the positive Od around you not unlike when you were back on Flora's tree mansion. Only this time, there is a visible thin layer of pure energy containing the corrupt astral being below the salty ocean.

As you carefully climb over some rock formations, you finally catch up to Casca and Isidro, who found a seemingly man-made stairs between the landslide where a young blue haired girl wearing a white camisole was fishing.

"So that must be the merrow they were talking about." Puck spots her from far away.
"I don't know what they were shunning her for, she seems pretty harmless." You affirm after checking her warm, bubbly energy readings from a distance.

Noticing that she was being observed, the girl waved her hands in the air and quickly approached you with her fishing spear.
"Big Bro Vlad! It's so nice to finally meet you! Auntie Sivir has told me all about your--" The cheerful girl was cut short as Isidro and Casca readied their weapons against hers, not taking any chances against an unknown assailant.

"Easy there, missy! No touchy-feely without at least knowing who you are!" Puck warns her as she is startled by her unwelcoming first impressions.

Who's taking care of who again here?

>Easy there, folks. She's not trying to kill me.
>'Big Bro Vlad'? Do I know you?
>I am pretty sure I am an only child, kid.
>'Auntie Sivir'? Do you know my mother?
>Write-in.
>>
>>5694870
>'Big Bro Vlad'? Do I know you?
>>
>>5694870
>'Big Bro Vlad'? Do I know you?
>>
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>>5694904
>>5694965
"Big Bro Vlad'? Do I know you?" You scratch your head to the girl's weirdly affectionate reaction to you.
"Nope! I've met Auntie Sivir! And she told me I could treat her as family until I found my mom! Calling her my real mom would be weird, but since I want you to feel at home, I wanted to call you Big Bro Vlad!"

"I'm not sure that's how brotherhood works, I'm afraid..." You question her internal logic. Even if she's trying to be nice, she just ended up coming off as dense.

Well, between Isidro thinking like he's an adult, Benny being depressed like an adult and Schierke pretending to be one, it's nice to see another kid acting her age for once.
"So what's this about you knowing Sivir, did you really talk to her?" Puck inquired for more information.

"Yeah, she used to appear right down that cove! She would tell me all sorts of stories about the world outside the island! She also told me I'm a merrow, which is kinda like a human, but not really! So we're basically the same, right?"

"Not... really?" You tilt your head, wondering what the hell your mother explained to this air-headed child for her to think that merrows and halflings were the same thing, of if she misheard or misunderstood every step of the way.

"... Is that not right? My dad never let me talk to her since she was an important figure of the island, so I had to sneak up at night to hear her stories. I was usually pretty sleepy, so maybe I only remember bits and pieces." She is quick to admit her faults, being pretty easy-going for an outcast.

"What's your name, little girl?" Casca lowers her weapon and signals Isidro to do the same.
"Isma! At least that's what my dad used to call me. No need to tell me your names, though! I remember you three from the last time Auntie Sivir talked to me. Your names are.... hm..." Isma takes a long pause before getting 2 out of 3 names wrong.

"Puck, Cocoa and Sissydro!"
Seeing an unamused Casca and an Isidro about to call her all sorts of names, she giggled uncontrollably before giving Isidro a hug to catch Puck by surprise.

"Just kidding! Hope you didn't take that to heart, I'm just messing with you. At least I got the cutest one out of you right, ain't that right, Puck!?" She caught him with her fingers, patting the elf's head with her thumb.

"See? She has good taste! I'd say she's pretty trustworthy!" Puck melts away on her palm as the head massage convinces him that Isma is indeed kind hearted.

"Guess we readied up our weapons for nothing..." Casca shrugs, disappointed that the call for action was a false alarm.
You'd think Isidro would protest a stranger's hug, but he's too busy feeling her breasts with his face to complain. At least they seem to be around the same age, so it's not as creepy as his perverted antics usually are.
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>>5695070
As she inches close to you and your trio of companions, you feel a palpitation in your heart as you grow accustomed to your first close sight of merrow Od.

Isma's blue silhouette swarms your view as well as the tides of the sea, with a shoal of fish manifesting along with your visions. Everything down from her energy, to the way she seems playful but weirdly charming coupled with her alluring way of enchanting people with her presence... She might not be a fully matured merrow, but the signs are all pretty much there.

Still, you feel as if something is missing here, there is something about Isma that doesn't quite strike her as a merrow who has reached her full potential. Maybe because she's still a kid, maybe because she's not transformed, but you might have to get that answer out of her, along with who knows how many others you have.

>So you know you are a creature of the sea. Mind showing me some of your abilities?
>What happened with Sivir? Do you know where she is?
>Where are your parents? Is your mother missing as well?
>Where does that cove lead into? Is that where the Sea God is?
>Write-in.
>>
>>5695076
>>So you know you are a creature of the sea. Mind showing me some of your abilities?
>>
>>5695076
>So you know you are a creature of the sea. Mind showing me some of your abilities?
Fish-sister, show us your magic fish powers.
>>
>>5695076
>So you know you are a creature of the sea. Mind showing me some of your abilities?
>>
>>5695076
>So you know you are a creature of the sea. Mind showing me some of your abilities?
>What happened with Sivir? Do you know where she is?
>>
>>5694520
WE ARE SO BACK
>>
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>>5695081
>>5695090
>>5695223
>>5695267
"So you know you are a creature of the sea. Mind showing me some of your abilities?" You invite her to do a little presentation of her magical attributes, but Isma quickly shakes her head.

"That's the weird part, I don't have a tail, or swim that fast, since my dad was a regular guy, Auntie Sivir told me that Isma might not be my real name, and my spirit name might help me in figuring out my fish powers, whatever that is" She comically stands on one feet to show her lack of a tail.

"What would your name have to do with awakening your merrow abilities?" Casca asks.
"Well, every spirit like to be called by their real name. If I went down to the Sea God's cove and called him Bob, he wouldn't even give me the time of day! Every creature of the astral is stronger when they are aware of the name their mom gave them. But since I've named mine, that's impossible for me."

That does make you wonder if that same rule applies to you. You've been known as Vlad your whole entire life, but that name was only given by your adoptive parents. If what Isma is saying is true, perhaps there is even more power to be discovered on your end even without clutching Sivir's magical pearl.

"Do you know where my mother is, though?"
"Nope. Ever since winter she stopped showing up to the place she used to visit. I've even tried searching for her, but I haven't found her yet. I'm starting to get worried..."

That aligns with when her orb cracked due to saving your life in Albion.
"Don't worry. I can sense her energy somewhere around here. It's just hard to be precise when The Sea God's stench is so strong."

"Really? That's great news!" Isma widens her smile. "Are you guys hungry? I can give you a little treat on my house as a thank you gift."

"We are flattered, but we came here to look for the Sea God right now, so we'd like to stay focused on our journey." Casca intervenes and remains focused.

"Aw... I know I live by myself, but my food tastes real good!" Isma frowns.

"Come on guys, I'm sure that wouldn't do any harm in visiting! Since she's half merrow and all, maybe we can find something else about the island!" Isidro argues, trying to hide how enamored he was by Isma.

>We didn't come here for sightseeing, let's go inside that cove already.
>Sure, why not? Isma seems trustworthy enough.
>You can stay there if you'd like, but Casca and I are going in.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5695293
>Didn't you know, Isma? Food tastes better after a day of hard work and heroics. We'll look forward to your hospitality after we finish what we came here for - I'm sure we'll be famished by then!
Best to stay focused, but also not to offend.
>>
>Didn't you know, Isma? Food tastes better after a day of hard work and heroics. We'll look forward to your hospitality after we finish what we came here for - I'm sure we'll be famished by then!
>>
>>5694520
HOLY SHIT!
VLAD BROS, WE ARE SO BACK.
Nice to see you up and active again beechi!

>>5695293
>Sure, why not? Isma seems trustworthy enough.
Best to carboload while we can before we do any strenuous activity.
>>
>>5695293
>Didn't you know, Isma? Food tastes better after a day of hard work and heroics. We'll look forward to your hospitality after we finish what we came here for - I'm sure we'll be famished by then!
>>
>>5695330
>>5695388
>>5695392
>>5695398
"Didn't you know, Isma? Food tastes better after a day of hard work and heroics. We'll look forward to your hospitality after we finish what we came here for - I'm sure we'll be famished by then!" You thank her offer, but postpone it in good fashion. It's hard to stay in a bad mood with such a cheery girl around.

"That's alright. More time for me to prepare the food! I'll be right back before--" Isma begins to walk away from your group, until she stops in place and turns around to face the cove.

"Wait... You're not thinking of going in there, are you? It's where the sea god lives! He'll eat us alive if he wakes up."
"Well, it's kind of what we came here to do. I had a feeling that my mother had to stay close to this monster to keep him in place, so we can only conclude that she's at the bottom of the sea along with him."

"Oh! Can I come with you? I want to see if she's alright."
"Sorry Isma, this mission is for the brave boys only! And Casca." Puck tries to put her safety first, but she merely takes a blushing Isidro's hand to assure her safety.

"Don't you worry! I'll be extra careful! You won't even know I'm here."
"Oh, I'm noticing it alright..." Isidro mutters under his breath. For someone who's always quick to boast, it's nice to finally see him meeting someone that matches his energy.

Were it not for the fiery salamander dagger that Isidro carries. you would not be able to see a palm in front of you inside the cove. The once green moss gave way to a dark, purple-ish rock formation that gave you a taste of the deep sea life only a few steps down the surface. The wet and slippery rocks were a challenge to everyone but the rock climbing specialists such as Isma and yourself. Everyone else had to compensate by using the axe of the gnomes to align the terrain, or in Isidro's case, just falling flat on his face.

As the red haired boy places his hand on a wall, he is startled after seeing it moving, realizing that he was actually touching part of the large, sleeping creature that was the sea god, being at least as large as the entire coast, given how you couldn't even see a shape resembling a limb from where you were.

His presence is oppressive. Were it not for Sivir placing him in some sort of spell to put him under, you would already be dead. Trying your best to ignore his giant Od, you grasp for some sort of different reading, only to realize that this monster actually has several corpses of fish, sharks, whales and whatever else that was unfortunate enough to cross it's path added to it's own ecosystem. A live aquarium where it's limitations had the gift of sentience.
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>>5695599
The stench of salt and carcass seems to be unbearable for Casca and Isidro, so you stop just short of a muddy pit as you wonder on how to proceed.

"No one's ever been this far." Isma whispers. "Everyone's usually so afraid of meeting what's under the sea, that they end up doing whatever it takes to stay away from it."

"I'm surprised you haven't gotten yourself killed living down here." Casca replies.

"My house has some decorations made by my mom. Dad said they were charms to keep evil away, so that must have something to do with it. I mostly got that from Sivir, though. Dad was so sad about mom leaving that he usually avoided talking about it..."

As Isidro slips and falls over into the mud pit, he almost is swept away as you find that he actually fell onto a hole that lead into the ocean.

Preparing to place your head underwater, you make some effort to open your eyes to see if that hole led to somewhere, and your instincts did not disappoint.

It was very far away, a very light beacon of white amidst all the purple, black and red, but as the purple gave away to the blue, a multitude of colors bloomed in what appeared to be an underwater garden. Right between the jaws of a monster encrusted with shark teeth, laid a plant woman with her roots encrusted in the sand. Cradling a white orb in a fetal position, her only protection from the enemy was a half closed Oyster about as large as she was. And with the light leaking away into the sea, her hands were unconsciously hard glued into the pearl, trying her best to keep your the energy keeping the both of you alive from spilling.

A mix of emotions swirls upon you. Your mother is finally here, you want to celebrate that you are united with her at last, and can find out more about yourself, your powers, and attain a monochrome of chance to defeat the forces of the God Hand, but given the sensitive spot she is at and all the hundreds of tentacles and monsters laying there before reaching her...

"Didn't think it would be this easy..." You muttered to yourself, trying to brainstorm a plan.

"I'm not sure if diving down there is a good idea." Isma says. "I can hold my breath for 10 minutes underwater, but I've never went that far in. Not good to rush either when you're so deep down there, the pressure can make you sick, and it's bad for your organs."

"And that's if we can safely unroot her without damaging her...." You calmly gauge your options, provided you can actually do anything at the moment...

>Attempt to telepathically talk to Sivir.
>Ask Casca to form an underground tunnel to Sivir (60)
>Cleanse the spirits around The Sea God's carcass and see how far you can get (40)
>Dive underwater and see if you can reach her (80)
>Ask Schierke for a second opinion.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5695624
>Ask Casca to form an underground tunnel to Sivir (60)
>Use a small portion of seeds to grow a support network of roots in the tunnel, to prevent it from collapsing and perhaps connect to Sivir given how close she is.
>>
>>5695624
>Ask Schierke for a second opinion.

>>5695628
I think we should save all of our seeds for when we need to kill the sea god. I wonder what the mandragoras screams can do to it.
>>
>>5695624
>Ask Schierke for a second opinion.
>>
>Ask Schierke for a second opinion.
>>
>>5695624
>Ask Schierke for a second opinion.
>>
>>5695624
>>Ask Schierke for a second opinion.
>>
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>>5695628
>>5695653
>>5695655
>>5695656
>>5695659
>>5695662
Being hasty goes strictly against your character, and Schierke told you that you should call for her in case anything happens, so you relay the information and how you've found Sivir as she is now.

"So The Sea God really is that large? How much energy is inside that pearl for Sivir to hold him down like that?"

"Not sure, but the way I see the Od spilling out of it's container is quite concerning. It seems I wasn't the only one getting weaker thanks to the orb cracking. From all we know this could also have an effect on her sleeping agent on the Sea God, too."

"I'm not even sure there is a spell or a spirit I could do for this situation... I mean, the 4 kings could definitely kill the sea god if we coordinate our attacks, but without bringing the entire island under or harming Sivir? Being delicate with this amount of power is no easy task..."

"Can you do it?"
"I can try, but I'll need your help along with Farnese. We can try placing some runes around him, but it might take a while, and we might not have that much time to do it."
"If you're worried about being caught, we could just do it at night time."
"That's not a good idea... It's going to be a full moon, and The Sea God might act different given how ethereal spirits act during that time period... Come back here so we can--"


Your conversation is interrupted by the distant firings of cannons. The familiar ringing in your ears could only come from Roderick's ship.

"What's going on out there?"
"I don't know! I think the pirates we fought a while ago came back!"
"But their only ship was in shambles! How could they still have cannons working!?"


The ground under you started to rumble as the Sea God readjusted his sleeping position, awakening some of the monsters on the process.

"We gotta get outta here!" Puck briefly stuns the creatures in place with the sparks of light emanating from himself, leaving room for Isidro and Casca to cut and slash at any tendrils or fish creatures that came your way.

>Run back to the Seahorse. We can't let them fire those cannons.
>At this rate the Sea God is going to wake up anyway, might as well stay and fight him.
>Try to freeze the water around him to make sure he's at least partially restrained.
>Something else.
>>
>>5695689
>Try to freeze the water around him to make sure he's at least partially restrained.
>Run back to the Seahorse. We can't let them fire those cannons.
>>
>>5695689
>Run back to the Seahorse. We can't let them fire those cannons.
I'd say freeze the waters to if it weren't for the fact that last time we almost drowned under ice that was attempted. I'm sure it wouldn't be that catastrophic now if we fail the rolls on freezing the waters but still I'm too scared to vote for it.
But can you imagine?
>Legendary quest comes back after months of hiatus
>It ends immediately in less than hundred posts as main character dies to bad rolls
>>
>>5695689
>Try to freeze the water around him to make sure he's at least partially restrained.
Fuck it.
>>
>>5695705
Not gonna lie, it would be pretty funny.
>>
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>>5695692
>>5695705
>>5695720
Alright, let's give it up for the first roll in a while!
A 1d100 to see how much we can coat Not-Cthulhu in ice as a preemptive measure. The giant octopus is still sleeping so there's not much pressure on rolling high here since nothing's really at stake yet. Unless you critfail this

Roll away!
>>
Rolled 60 (1d100)

>>5695759
>>
Rolled 2 (1d100)

>>
Holy shit that was close, lmao.
>>
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>>5695765
>>5695729
Sometimes it really feels like we burned through our luck stats when we double crit Guts on the first thread.
>>
Rolled 54 (1d100)

>>5695759
>>
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>>5695759
>>5695765
>>
>>5695762
Thankfully
>>
Anyway, i think we can expand on Schierke plan. Vlad and Schierke can do the runes, while Farnese creates a connection between all of them.
Perhaps we could plant some seeds for defend the runes or create plants that can both defend and attack the incoming tentacles.
The rest of the seeds can be used for many other means.

Also this is the old list of ideas from the previous thread, some stuff is probably outdated.
List of potential stuff to do :

- Make a plan for produce more of that serum.
- Swim
- Make a special spell for create a sort of algae/coral suit around our armor and maybe Gunpowder too, for fight underwater.
- Become friends with the undines
- Upgrade all our gang gear to runic
- Become more skilled : better control of our plant powers, purging od, weapons mastery and so on...
- Spend money for get more stuff for Ilos
- Create a new type of golem, instead of stone one of wood. Agility, speed and regrowing blades. Infused with some of our Od, for make each of their strikes poison to apostles.
- See about forcing the mutt out of Guts, place it in his sword or something else. Or attempt to make a deal (not ideal)
- improving Farnese ring
>>
>>5695937
>Make a plan for produce more of that serum.
>Swim
>Become friends with the undines
>Upgrade all our gang gear to runic
These are done, or at least partially so I guess you can cross those out

>Become more skilled : better control of our plant powers, purging od, weapons mastery and so on...

That's in progress but that'll probably depend on Sivir's bouncing ball, the rest can come later down the line but you'll have to remember to bring that up.
>>
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>>5695762
>>5695765
>>5695806
You've had plenty of time to get accustomed to your Trident of the undines, but have you progressed enough to freeze a giant enemy like this?

Motioning your weapon upwards, you create a water wall tens of meters tall that crashes on top of what you can see of the Sea God as you walk outside. While the base of your reverse waterfall was flowing well, it started to become thinner at it's peak, the ice coat turns less reliable the further it is from sea level. Perhaps with a few more layers, you could make a perfect ice cocoon around him, but that would require more time, and a more delicate movement that you can't do while you're in a rush.

The Crowd Control Casca's Axe has is incredibly useful. She can effortlessly walk on walls due to the gravity defying powers of her weapon making it so every surface is sticky for her. And while that does not apply to you and the others, she is considerate enough to solidify the mud pit you were standing under to elevate you through the rock formation and open it towards sunlight, making sure to close it back just in case it freed the Sea God in any way.

It seems that while the monsters are horrifying by nature, she seems more at ease when fighting non-apostle enemies, which proves her quick mastery of the elementals despite an axe not being the weapon she's used to equip.

"This feels pretty weightless in my hands, so doing any acrobatics while fighting will be easier than usual."

Making back to the docks in record time, you arrive to see the approaching Pirate ship a few knots away from the island, firing it's cannons as Roderick and the sailors gets ready to shoot his own load back onto them.

"Cease fire! There's a monster under the island and he'll wake up with the sound of the shots!"
The sailors would have kept doing their business as usual if not for Roderick giving you the benefit of the doubt and signaling them to stop.

"Those are concerning matters indeed, Vlad. But it's either this, or getting our ship wrecked. We can stop our cannons from firing, but I'm not sure they'll stop theirs."

"There's a chance their cannonballs hit the island or somewhere around where that monster is, so even missing their targets is a net loss to us." Serpico adds as he drops the supplies he was carrying to get ready to fight.

"We can't let the ship go down! What would Gunpowder think of dying on the sea?!" Puck worries about the stallion of the team, likely oblivious to the sound outside.

>Set sail and approach their ship, it's safer to fight them off the island. (35)
>Is Hyde here? Violet can drop us onto the pirate ship so we can deal with them there. (40)
>I can make a few ice walls to protect the ship, Casca can help me out with her axe too. (50)
>Do you think we can negotiate with them? I have enough money to bribe them.
>Maybe I can tip their ship over with my trident. (70)
>>
>>5695985
>Set sail and approach their ship, it's safer to fight them off the island. (35)
BOARD THE ENEMT SHIP.
>>
>>5695985
>Set sail and approach their ship, it's safer to fight them off the island. (35)
>>
>>5695985
>Set sail and approach their ship, it's safer to fight them off the island. (35)
>>
>>5695985
>Set sail and approach their ship, it's safer to fight them off the island. (35)
>>
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>>5696024
>>5696027
>>5696072
>>5696082
Going for the safest one? Nothing wrong with that, no point in betting on high stakes this early on.
Roll me a 1d100!
>>
>>5696141
AHOY YE SCURVEY DOGS YARRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRRR
>>
Rolled 14 (1d100)

>>5696141
>>
Rolled 86 (1d100)

>>5696141
>>
Rolled 51 (1d100)

>>5696141
>>
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>>5696169
>>5696179
>>5696181
"Did ye lads think ye could escape from Ol' Cap'n Bonebeard!?" You hear the captain of the pirates screaming his lungs out after you've approached their remaining ship.

"Funny, last time we fought, you were the one running away..." Roderick removes his binoculars, ordering his men to go full speed ahead in a frontal assault.

Thanks to Serpico's swiftly guiding the sail with his sword like a maestro, the sylphs were in charge of redirecting whatever damage their guns could do to the land by letting their cannonballs sink into the ocean.

"How the hell are we supposed to fight against a PIRATE SHIP without any of our artillery, genius?" Magnifico doubts your chances of effectively retaliating against Bonebeard without using regular means, but Puck is quick to defend you.

"See, this is where Vlad's genius really shines! It's like he has the brain of a tactician with a frontline soldier mixet together in the same skull! Dude has a plan for just about everything, and not just one, he's got Plans A through Z fully independent from each other so he can coordinate his attacks ordering people around, so even if his attack doesn't fully work — Which is usually the case — Everything else is still in his favor!"

"Aren't you overselling him a bit?" Even Isidro doubts your adaptability with the way Puck is describing you.

"Don't believe me? Look at his pose. Back straight, furrowed brow, hand on his chin, mouth slightly open in case he needs to chew on his nails: This is Vlad at his Vladdest, folks! It's like he's going in an alternate dimension just to think!"
Your thought process is ruined by your self-consciousness coming from Puck describing your pose. Have you really done it that often for it to be your signature thinking pose?

"I bet he's going to say something real smart right now!" Isma hypes you up, wanting to see you at your 'Vladdest'.

The vote of confidence is appreciated, but fighting the pirates isn't the hard part, it's doing it without causing much noise...

>Throw some seeds at the ship and have them grow to break it's foundation.
>Serpico and Casca can plug the cannons if they get close enough to them. Approach the side of the ship and have them explode themselves.
>Freeze the water in front of them and break their ship with a crash.
>Tip their ship over with a giant wave.
>Bring Gunpowder out and combine your ability to turn water to ice and his Sonic speed to go through their ship.
>Tell Hyde to drop you off on the pirate ship with Violet. You've been missing a little brawl.
>Something else.
>>
>Bring Gunpowder out and combine your ability to turn water to ice and his Sonic speed to go through their ship.

This just seems incredibly funny. Can’t fire their cannons if they’re sinking because of a stallion sized hole in their hull, can they?
>>
>>5696235
>Bring Gunpowder out and combine your ability to turn water to ice and his Sonic speed to go through their ship.
Gunpowder needs blood and glory or he'll be pissed. Man, he's going to fucking hate Elfhell.
>>
>>5696235
>Bring Gunpowder out and combine your ability to turn water to ice and his Sonic speed to go through their ship.
>>
>>5696235
>Bring Gunpowder out and combine your ability to turn water to ice and his Sonic speed to go through their ship.
Lets go
>>
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>>5696239
>>5696247
>>5696250
>>5696258
Let's roll for damage then! Another 1d100 should do the trick!
>>
Rolled 48 (1d100)

>>5696288
Watch as we roll another 1 and drown again.
>>
Rolled 41 (1d100)

>>5696288

Dice-gods hear my prayer!
>>
Rolled 8 (1d100)

>>5696288
lol, lmao even
>>
Rolled 71, 83, 42, 80, 65 = 341 (5d100)

test roll
>>
Rolled 84 (1d100)

>>5696288
>>
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>>5696301
>>5696316
>all the good rolls are now used up
>>
>>5696294
>>5696298
>>5696299
"It's your lucky day, Gunpowder!" You wake him up from his slumber as he had already given up any chance of an interesting fight while inside this boat.

"Did Vlad arrive on island already?"
"Not Elfhelm, but I'm gonna need your help." You show him the sonic armor and that automatically makes him stand on his back hooves from sheer excitement! It's been a while since you've seen him like this.

"Finally! Vlad remembered Gunpowder exist!"
"My mind never drifts away from you, pal!" You pat him on the back as you finally mount him with your own armor, entering in sync as both your energies are shared.

Extending your trident to the point of it looking more like a giant fork with how wide it's spikes were, you explain the simplicity of your plan to Gunpowder, and he wastes no time following through.
"Think you can ram through that ship for me, GP?"
"SMASH!"

The sheer acceleration from zero to breaking the sound barrier almost pushes you off from your old Stallion, but keeping your back straight and fully strapped onto GP, you extend the spikes of the tridents as they solidify into pure Ice, as he falls onto water, you are surprised to see that you didn't even need to freeze the surface of the water, as Gunpowder runs so fast that he can walk on water without sinking, and by the time the undines freeze the water, you've already way over where they were.

"Easy, Gunpowder! You're going too fast!"
"Not fast enough!"
Gunpowder throws caution to the wind, being on too much of a high to care about the strain on his body and ears, achieving an even greater speed than his peak. Which unfortunately hinders your plans.

By the time you tilt your head forward, you have a split second to avoid faceplanting onto wooden hull of Bonebeard's ship.

Gunpowder crashes through the ship with the force of a catapult, obliterating a large crater beyond repair as their rudder is destroyed. Looking back at the gunport's containers falling on the remainder of the ship, you see the enemy's vehicle being nearly snapped in half as it goes further and further away from your sight.

You're still in one piece, so is Gunpowder, the trident in your hands, and the giant hulk of the hull that's still stuck on the spikes, nearly obscuring your view from the crazy ass horse sending you as far away from the island as you can go.

You doubt you'll get to Elfhelm before Gunpowder's body gives out, so you have to find a way for him to turn a 180 real fast.

>Tell him to slow down
>Try to swerve him manually
>Use the trident as a makeshift sail to slowly turn him back to Nostos.
>Taunt him into ramming the ship a second time.
>Something else.
>>
>Taunt him into ramming the ship a second time.

We got to make sure, you know? ;)
>>
>>5696411
>Try to swerve him manually
>>
>>5696411
>Taunt him into ramming the ship a second time.
I love this murder horse
>>
>>5696411
>>Taunt him into ramming the ship a second time.
>>
>>5696411
>>Taunt him into ramming the ship a second time.
>>
>>5696411
>>Use the trident as a makeshift sail to slowly turn him back to Nostos.
>>
lol Vladdest
>>
>>5696411
>Taunt him into ramming the ship a second time.
This is a certifiable Vlad moment.
>>
>>5696412
>>5696440
>>5696463
>>5696468
>>5696551
Brace for impact then! Let's see how well that goes with your rolls!
>>
Rolled 15 (1d100)

>>5696610
Watch this easy 80+ roll anons!
>>
Rolled 99 (1d100)

>>5696610
>>
>>5696629
KABOOM
>>
Rolled 1 (1d100)

>>5696629
YOU MADLAD, you fucking did it.
>>
Oh my god. What the fuck is up with my rolls? Holy shit. I
>>
>>5696629
>>5696641
The clutch is unreal
>>
>>5696646
This is my third fucking roll on this quest. Truly, the godhand are a stain upon this world.
>>
>>5696629
What the fuck is happening??
>>5696650
İnşallah we will clean stain upon the world.
>>
>>5696629
REEEEEEEEEEEEEE
>>5696641
GOD IS GREAT!
>>
>>5696611
>>5696629
>>5696641
Appealing to Gunpowder's common sense won't get you anywhere and you should know him enough by now to not even consider that a possibility. This mad bull reincarnated into a horse only responds when his pride is on the line.

"Hey GP. You missed a spot, their ship is still up and running!" You lie, ignoring the fact that Bonebeard's ship was halfway sunk already when you last checked it. But Gunpowder doesn't need to know that.

Making a sharp U-Turn while swerving in the deep sea, your mount maintains it's speed while you try your best to hold off on him without flying off.

"O Cap'n! My Cap'n!" One of the pirates hugs Bonebeard as they both stand on top of their fallen battleship, turning upwards with each passing second as their men jump and flail onto the water. "Is this really the end of our sails?"

"Get yer stinkin hands off' a me! Die with some pride, why don'tcha! Me swimming is worse than any of the lads I've worked with, and ye don't see me crying me eyes out!"

"Are you sure this was all intentional? He's going pretty far away..." Magnifico observes you with his binoculars, wondering if you would ever come back to Nostos.
"See? He's so good at deception he even has us doubting him sometimes!" Puck shrugs.
"Don't worry Big Bro Vlad! I believe in you!" Isma cheers you on just as you start to recover your momentum.

"How did they find a harpoon this damn big to fire at us? I don't even see the damn set!"
"Well, at least we know they ain't firin a second time. A spear that size is too heavy for a ship to-- WHAT IN THE BLOODY HELL IS THAT!?" Bonebeard is scared beyond belief as he sees what he mistook as a projectile coming back to destroy his ship a second time.

Bonebeard and his mateys flying away into the air along with the nails and boards of his freighter, with their captain faceplanting a few inches away from Isidro, who proudly stops on his head, as if taking the credit for beating the sea thieves.

"Into Davy Jone's locker with you, ye old barnacle!" Puck makes fun of him as the sailors of the Seahorse approach him with a pair of ropes.

As for yourself, you somehow manage to stick the landing by summoning a geyser to slowly decelerate the ravaging Gunpowder before both your innards could splatter at the nearest rock formation on Nostos, sending him upwards to lose his horizontal speed, you slowly diminish the potency of the water pressure keeping you steady as you descend back ono the ship.

"Sorry for doubting you back then, Vlad. Seems like you really had it all covered from the start."
"You'll get used to it eventually, Roderick." You bluff, pretending that you also took into account Gunpowder severely overshooting his ramming speed.

"Now, what to do with this recently retired captain?" Roderick stares at the angry Bonebeard glaring back at him.
"Ye might have took me mateys, but me pride won't die with me!"
>>
>>5696641
loooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooooool
>>
>>5696676
>Scavenge their weapons and their gold. It won't be hard to do thanks to the Undines.
>I feel bad about letting them drown, let's throw a buoy out for the ones who are still alive.
>Let's arrest them at the island, I'm sure the sea god will appreciate the offering.
>No point in adopting more pirates and there's nowhere to drop them, have them walk the plank.
>Something else.
>>
>>5696678
>Scavenge their weapons and their gold. It won't be hard to do thanks to the Undines.
>I feel bad about letting them drown, let's throw a buoy out for the ones who are still alive.
>Let's arrest them at the island, I'm sure the sea god will appreciate the offering.
A combination of these three seems the most prudent no?
>>
>>5696678
>>5696680 +1
>>
>>5696680
+1
>>
>>5696680
That works for me.
>>
>>5696680
Supporting.
>>
>>5696680
Support
Let s grab this pirates, best they don't become free food for our foe.
I guess we could ask them some questions about their activities, they probably raided around and seen many places. Could amount to nothing or give us some interesting pieces of news between their insults.
We have avoided making too much sounds so the plan for create those runes around the demon can still be done i think.
>>
>>5695961
Nice
>>
>>5696852
I chuckled a bit when I thought about asking them this but hear me out:

We ask them, if they have any buried treasure they would like to exchange for their lives.

Because, you know; pirates.
>>
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>>5696680
Using your trusty weapon to control the water, you raise Captain Bonebeard's inventory up to the Seahorse while Roderick and the others help the pirates out.

A wide range of cutlasses, harpoons, and fishing nets were found. For a boat that crashed into pieces with only a few pounds of Gunpowder, they sure had some high quality equipment. It seemed that their ship was even properly decorated, judging by the marks and sculptures you managed to scavenge from underwater.

Magnifico, having some knowledge in treasury, assures that the weapons are all legit and in good quality to boot, likely from several of their past victims.
"So long, Captain Sharkrider, ye were the best boat that ever sailed this side of the sea..." Bonebeard mourns his fallen ship, but Roderick and his men are quick to push him into the island as they sailed back to Nostos.

"Weird thing you say when you're still on the Seahorse, dumbass."
"We'll find a good place to put you in, pretty sure you won't be able to pillage the place you're stranded at."

A quick negotiation with Roderick and Magnifico ends with on a 50/50 split, and though they didn't have that much money, it's good to make some profit every now and then considering your expenses.

Current Earnings: 85 Gold Coins

Schierke and Ivalera show up at the docks with a sigh of relief, aware that everything was settled with as little noisemaking as possible.

"Big Bro Vlad's attack was so cool! And what about when you stomped on the pirate's head, like 'take that, you meaniehead!'?"
"Yeah, and I'll have you know this isn't even 10% of my power, I'll have you know I once defeated 10 trolls all by myself when we were fighting a horde of them to protect a village!"
"I don't know what a troll looks like, but that sounds awesome! Tell me all about it!"
Isidro was boasting to the oblivious Isma about the greatly exaggerated feats of strength he has displayed in your journey, which ponders Schierke as to who the mysterious girl was, especially after reading her energy.

"Oh, and who might you be?"
"I'm Schierke, and you are?"
"Isma! Auntie Sivir never spoke about you, but you look pretty cute, can we be friends?"
"Don't get close to Schierke, Isma! Her nerd germs will get all over you!" Isidro pulls Isma away before she can get too close to the little witch.
"Ew! Really?"
"Please, don't let there be two of those brats..." Ivalera sighs along with Schierke under her witch hat.

>What did you find investigating the island Schierke?
>Do you have any plans on how to get rid of the Sea God?
>Isma, try to get along with Schierke, please. She's a great asset to the team.
>Tone it down Isidro, keep boasting like that and you'll only disappoint her when showing off.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5696999
>Do you have any plans on how to get rid of the Sea God?

>Tone it down Isidro, keep boasting like that and you'll only disappoint her when showing off.
Be quiet money
>>
>What did you find investigating the island Schierke?
>Isma, try to get along with Schierke, please. She's a great asset to the team.
>>
>>5696999
>Isma, try to get along with Schierke, please. She's a great asset to the team.
>What did you find investigating the island Schierke?
Don't listen to that dumb monkey
>>
>>5696999
>What did you find investigating the island Schierke?
>Do you have any plans on how to get rid of the Sea God?
>>
>>5697006
>>Do you have any plans on how to get rid of the Sea God?
+1
>>
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>>5697006
>>5697051
>>5697053
>>5697099
"Tone it down, Isidro! The more you boast to Isma, the more you'll let her down when she asks you to do something."
"You weren't even there on the village when I did that!"
"I was, and ya definitely didn't take any trolls down without my help, kid!" Hyde chimes in just to burst Isidro's bubble.

"No need to lie to impress me! I'm sure you all have great stories to tell me anyway!" Isma really didn't seem to mind being taken for a fool, so long as she learns more of the outside world.

"Also, try to get along with Schierke, if you can. She's a great asset to the team, and I feel like you two could also have a few common interests."
"Really!?" Both of them speak in unison with wildly different degrees of enthusiasm.

"Yes, for starters, I'm sure Schierke was smart enough to investigate the island while we were off, and has likely found a way to get rid of the Sea God, ain't that right?"

"Well, not exactly..." Schierke is flattered, but otherwise pretty uncertain of what to do in regards to said problem... "First of all, we should decide on whether or not we should warn the townsfolk of our mission. while it does seem like they do their offerings and sacrifices out of fear rather than any sort of respect towards that monster, they still consider it the most effective way of keeping themselves alive, and if they feel like we're interfering, they have the authority to expel us from their territory."

"We could do it behind their backs and avoid the confrontation, but then they'll just react with more intensity to whatever their initial thoughts already led them to say." your thought process aligns with Schierke.

"Given how they treated Dad and I, they will hate anyone who is even aligned with the merrows! Seeing you with me is already reason to be made fun of..." Isma frowns, remembering past instances of interacting with other kids her age.

"I know a short distance teleportation spell we can do, but it would require one incantation circle around the Sea God and wherever we'll send him to so he doesn't destroy the island when waking up. Not sure if we can do that in a single day, but it beats forcibly waking him up and have him destroy the island in the process."

>The townsfolk have a right to know. Their life is on the line, after all.
>We're in a rush here, we can deal with their complaints after we've saved them.
>Teleporting him away to fight him seems like the best idea.
>Maybe purifying him while he sleeps seems more efficient.
>What if we just wake him up and fight him before he can do anything?
>What if we try waking up Sivir? She's the one holding him off, we just need to find a way to reach her.
>>
>>5697184
>What if we try waking up Sivir? She's the one holding him off, we just need to find a way to reach her.
Honestly with the right amount of luck and a good amount of pluck I think we might be able to avoid a Sea God Awakening. Singing is what sealed it/put it to sleep to begin with, our plant affinity can help make backup singers in the form of mandragoras, and plantlife in general is WELL known for producing a wide range of soporifics...many of which may well be what Sivir could already be using. If we amplify our efforts with Sivir's, we might be able to tamper the sea god's rising consciousness throughout the full moon.
And, of course, once the moon is waning we stand a much better chance of purifying something so fucking big over time. Purified Sea God would be an absolute MENACE to have on our side, I won't lie.
>>
>>5697184
>>We're in a rush here, we can deal with their complaints after we've saved them.
>>
>>5697184
>What if we try waking up Sivir? She's the one holding him off, we just need to find a way to reach her.
>>
>>5697184
>>Maybe purifying him while he sleeps seems more efficient.
Or kill it, i don't mind really. This thing is a behemoth, so we must strike at it hard. Sivir is "connected" with it in a sense, its very dangerous waking her
>>
>>5697184
>>5697206
I'll change my vote to support this >>5697237
>>
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>>5697202
>>5697206
>>5697236
>>5697237
>>5697239
"We're in a rush until nighttime, so it's best to deal with the townsfolk's complaints after we save them. I'm sure I'll get a pass to some of them since I am the son of their savior. For now, let's just try purifying it with Od. In case we clear a path to Sivir, we'll think about the safest procedure."

Schierke goes back to their settlement to call for Farnese, while you, Casca, Isma and Isidro go their way back to drawing all the possible purifying runes on top of whatever exposed parts of the Sea God you can find.

While Isidro's drawing skills are very poor, you counted on him along with Casca to get better at cleaning up the perimeter from whatever smaller monsters that found their way up to the surface. One could better train their skills and have fun showing off to Isma, while the other could get accustomed to fighting apostle-like monsters on a safer environment with lower risks

Fast and cautious don't go well together, but you had to make sure that all would go well.

Isma made sure to keep you all well fed inside her house. Due to her small kitchen, she wasn't used to feeding so many mouths at once, but it's the thought that counts.
"Don't worry about the food, Isma! The small portions don't matter as long as the food is good."
"Yeah, Vlad's eaten worse." Isidro glares at Farnese, who looks the other way, pretending she doesn't know what he's talking about.

"I've noticed the strong Od readings from a few starfishes and seashells around your house." Farnese ignores the monkey-boy and makes the most out of her unintentional diversion.

"Yeah, my mom told me these would protect dad and I from any danger! It's how we've managed to live down here without the Sea God eating us!"

"And what happened to your father?"
"He passed away four years ago... Last thing he said to me was that my mom would come search for me. Auntie Sivir says she's saved a few merrows in the deep sea when running from the Sea God, but she never had the time to see if any of them were my mom..."

Isma sniffles, trying not to think about the implications of her mother already being devoured, prompting a rare moment of empathy from Isidro.

"Hey, don't cry... Vlad never gave up about finding his mom and he's gotten this far. I'm sure we can find her when this is all over. Ain't that right, Vlad?"

You stand up and smile, not wanting to make any promises when you've barely started working.

>Roll a 2d200. First one is to see how much you can find of The Sea God to purify him, second is to do it without being caught.
>>
Rolled 56, 4 = 60 (2d100)

>>5697384
DOUBLE CRIT INCOMING.
>>
Rolled 22, 38 = 60 (2d100)

>>5697384
>>
Rolled 47, 37 = 84 (2d100)

>>
>>5697396
A reminder that kiais are bullshit and that you shouldn't call out your attacks against the God Hand
>>
>>5697396
>>5697426
>>5697454
And boy, weren't you glad that you did not make any promises...

For starters, standing on top of the Sea God was a lot harder than it seemed. Not only is the surface of his skin slippery and prone to summoning monsters, his wet flesh made it hard to mark him with any strong enough paint or carvings that didn't risk waking him up.

Even worse, not only have you discovered that half the monster in underwater, but the parts that you do reach inside the cove give way to several rock formations where other undead marine life were hiding. Sunlight did not kill them, and they could attack any who found them with ease.

By the time the sun was setting, you already came to terms that most of the body part's that weren't underwater were holding the foundation of the island steady. In the best case scenario where you instantly killed the Sea God, the slightest movement of his carcass dropping down to the deep sea would crumble several lodgings of the island.

You would be lucky to have covered a tenth of his size with all 5 people present constantly working on it. And just to twist the knife while it's in, some bastard managed to spot Isidro while he was climbing the rocks, and they were sure to call the rest of their buddies to ask what you were doing.

"How dare you taint the Sea God's nest?!"
"I've told you not to get close to the daughter of a merrow!"
"I bet they're hypnotizing them to kill him with her singing spells!"

Some of them try to approach Isma, but Isidro is quick to flare them with his weapon.
"Only way you folks will be touching Isma is over my dead body, ya hear me!? You're all so scared of anyone stronger than you, that whoever shows up that threats to kill you is all it takes for you to pray under their name!"

"You're not really helping our cause, Isidro..." Farnese warns him that a bunch of strangers showing up and doing two of their forbidden rules in the span of a single day shouldn't be so fast to retaliate and expect any good faith of the Nostians.

>Apologize to them.
>Explain that you can solve this, they don't have to live in fear anymore.
>Appeal to authority. What are they going to do about the son of their savior trying to get rid of the threat of the island?
>Bribe them into evacuating the island, it will soon be nighttime, and you can't vouch for their safety.
>Write-in
>>
>>5697483
Hm, a tight situation indeed.
I think maybe the best thing to do here is to probably apologize to them and try to explain that we were merely curious of the islands inner cave formations.
These people don't seem to be the types to leave a place even when we tell them danger is near, and if you factor in that this is their ancestral home, I think the odds of that working are near null. Reminds me of the kinds of old people who refuse to leave their homes when a natural disaster is occurring next to their home.

Here's what I propose guys: We apologize about our intrusion, give an excuse that we were curious about the island and were looking for our mother in here, then we give an apology gift by making a few trees that have plentiful delicious fruit.
Whatchu think?
>>
>>5695937
I would also like to add to this an idea I had in a previous thread:
- Experiment using our plant powers to create/breed powerful poisons in plants to be applied to weapons.
>>
>>5697501
Is an interesting idea, something to keep in mind. We already use our pure od for coat our weapons and armors and get extra deadlier. More the merrier

>>5697500
I am not sure they can buy that.
The apology perhaps.
While we were looking for Sivir, we also want to save her if possible and defeat the Sea God too because such thing cannot be left here to poisons the seas.
We were also clearly doing something here if they can see some of the runes we applied, and I do imagine there is some amount of monsters corpses around or their blood. And not to mention we are very much armored and armed too, with companions, sailors and soldiers.

>>5697483
>Apologize to them.
>Explain that you can solve this, they don't have to live in fear anymore.
>Write-in
"Nostians i ask you, do you dream of day were no sacrifices need to be made ? Do you dream of a day were you do not fear your own home ? You know the answer for that already, you want this monster to be gone. It cannot continue like this and if not for you then for the sake of your children and families. I want to aid you because no men should suffer such fear every single day of their lives, and no one should have such a grim future ahead of them."
"I will end this for you and for save my mother, the one that aided you."
>>
>>5697552

This works for me.
>>
>>5697552
+1
>>
>>5697500
>>5697552
>>5697552
>>5697642
>>5697670
Taking a deep breath to plead to their emotional side, you accidentally feel the Od of the entire island, or rather, what it was before The Sea God invaded generations ago.

Nostos was actually quite bigger than what it used to be, with an uneven population that mostly came from ship stowaways that had to give way to erosion, and the monster of the sea. Most of their rituals and sacrifices were made without any good knowledge of the magical arts, rushed in an attempt to appease the monster that eat the alive and controlled the undead. An enforced culture instead of natural change, much like you have seen the Holy See doing around Midland.

Feeling a wave of compassion coupled with your sensitive way of seeing their perspective, you've found a way to convince them without anyone bringing forward any pitchforks.

"Nostians, may I ask you, do you dream of the day where no sacrifices need to be made? Where none of your children, wives or other dear family members are killed to empower a monster you do not stand for? Do you dream of a day were you do not fear your own home?" You take one step forward to shield Isidro and Isma, waiting for a reply that does not come from the townsfolk.

"You know the answer for that already in your heart, this monster needs to go away. I understand that we are total strangers to you, much like you have been strangers to the outside world, yet think of your future, if not for yourself, then the one of your childrens and families! Do you truly wish to see them feel the pain you feel right now? Will you live well, knowing you could have broken the cycle? No men should suffer fear every single day of their lives, and no one deserves hold these thoughts in their mind with the ones they love."

"Real charming talk, outsider! But what proof do you have that you will end this?" One of the men at your side doubt your claims, to which you turn your back and walk backwards towards the tall cliffside, a few inches close to a free fall.

"How about this: I will end this for you and save my mother, the one that aided you. Should my words and the proof of my bloodline not be enough, I will compensate all of you and lead you to a safer land not far away from here. Should you have any complaints and the need to defend The Sea God, feel free to push me off this cliff, for I am his sworn enemy."

Your conviction in your plans are enough to make them gasp, Farnese and Isma included due to their concern for your health. Thankfully, after a moment of staring you down, none decide to step forward, only silence, an accord being done without the use of words.

"You better keep your end of the bargain, Vlad. I hope you know the lives you are putting at stake here." The oldest of the group scoffs as he walks away, leaving you and your group to proceed with your plans.
At least now you know where their true intent lies.
>>
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>>5697677
"Don't scare me like that, Big Bro Vlad! I thought you were going to get yourself killed when you offered them to push you off!" Isma is the first to voice her concerns after the nostian group left.

"It's just how I tend to operate with these social situations. This one was the easiest by far, but only because they are so isolated from other beliefs, plus the preconceived trust they have thanks to my mother. People who are lost tend to flock to those who promise salvation. Should their leader be a true or a fake is something they won't know until they are already at a point of no return..."

Despite being somewhat mad at you for the sudden suicidal scare, Farnese holds your hand after hearing the latter end of your speech, knowing that self deprecating comment stems from your self doubts, and the knowledge of what other corrupt leaders are capable of.

"I'm just glad to see someone taking my side for once! I've always knew that's how they really felt like on the inside. But I never knew how to use the right words to use! Not like they would hear me, with how stuck up they were. But it's hard to be mad at them... They're just doing what their mom and dad told them, same with me, their dads, and their dad's dads."

Isma comes over to give you a hug, though she stops midway after looking behind you, seeing the full moon already rising above the horizon.
Every hair in your body stands up as the once peaceful Od readings of the island were completely overshadowed by the Sea God below. Farnese has to hold you in place so you don't fall from the sheer oppressive force of the kraken. It's almost like you are seeing the future, with his tentacles moving as they drag you down into the unknown, joining him as one more of his undead pawns.

The monsters spawning from it's holes seem a lot more threatening now. Crabs the size of horses, sea slugs larger than Isidro, and tentacles that could destroy a ship with a single swipe. Though the Sea God is still sleeping, he is prone to involuntary movement at night, seeing as the bright shining from Sivir's orb had also shown his more alert activity.

Astral beings are always blessed by the full moon, a blessing that applies not only to it, but to you, Sivir, and perhaps Isma, as well.

>Let's continue as usual. Now that we were permitted access to the cove, we can call the rest of our team to help out.
>Let's not look for more spots at night. There's a chance we might get blind sighted by a strong creature. There's still plenty of time, so focus on containing these fish.
>Maybe we can try out Schierke's idea to teleport him away, Casca can make sure the island stays in place thanks to the axe.
>Sivir's readings have gotten stronger, perhaps I can talk to her now.
>Maybe we can try tapping into Isma's merrow abilities. Be on the lookout for any that pass by the island.
>Something else.
>>
>>5697702
>Maybe we can try tapping into Isma's merrow abilities. Be on the lookout for any that pass by the island.
>>
>>5697739
+1
>>
>>5697739
+1
Anons is it just me or do you also believe when we fight The Sea God at least somebody in the party will die if not Vlad himself? I just can't see it going anyway else.
>>
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>>5697833
>Vlad
>Sivir
>Isma
>Someone else at the party
>The entire island
>Total party wipe
We are at close to Mid-End so I guess you could start placing your bets on who dies first. Would feel pretty fitting given Vlad and his hatred for Krakens since day one but it'll only be more badass if he actually pulls through with his crazy no casualty plan.
Someone's definitely dying at Elfhelm, and I ain't saying who.
>>
Rolled 19 (1d100)

>>5697854
Magical dice choose who might die
>>
Rolled 4 (1d6)

>>5697856
Shot was going to roll a 1d6
>>
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>>5697739
>>5697756
>>5697833
Fishing shouldn't be so hard for a guy that can make his own tides with his weapon now, should it?

Vlad's Od reading is pretty much a sonar at this point so roll me anything higher than 40 and we'll be good. Now where's that pesky 1d100?
>>
Rolled 95 (1d100)

>>5697859
damn
>>
Rolled 2 (1d100)

>>5697859
>>
>>5697833
>>5697854
such grim fait must be avoided


>>5697888
fishing master vlad
>>
>>5697915
meant fate
>>
Rolled 74 (1d100)

>>5697859
"I always say morning instead of good morning, because if it was a good morning i'd be fishing" - Vlad
>>
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>>5697888
>>5697891
>>5697986
Of course! You just remembered that when searching for your mother with astral projection, you had found a group of merrows singing in the general direction of where Sivir was. Now that the barrier between the astral and physical world were broken, there is a chance that they will come to aid their ally with their healing and empowering magic. Should Isma manage to turn into one of them, it would already help greatly in your plans.

Meditating a few meters away from The Sea God, you focus on trying to find any sort of sapient life away from that monster, you ask for Isma to hop in the water for a reference on how the blue energy readings of her species are. As she takes her clothes off and complains about the cold, you wonder how she can still be this carefree. Forget being ashamed of being naked, jumping on a whim on this water is just straight up unsafe.

Still, coating Isma with your Od as you imbue her with your power, her energy seems to generate from it's own source as she shines a turquoise blue aura, turning herself into a beacon that attracts anyone of similar constitution.

"Heheh, I feel all sorts of tingly!" Isma feels funny after having her spiritual self empowered, however she slowly grows more serious as she hears something inside her head. A beautiful song, layered by several voices, a flock of merrows, slowly hypnotizing you and her with the same enchantment you have blessed others with before.

Their choir is soon shown in the distance, as the gorgeous women of the ocean show themselves, guiding their kin to the same direction. Having a human torso and a fishtail, they wiggle and jump over the water to signal their location.

"Whoa... So they're really here." Isidro is surprised to see another benevolent race approach you, let alone in the hundreds.

"Speak. Chant. Say it. Say the name. The name given you that you know not. Your one and only true name, Doris." A familiar voice speaks inside Isma's mind, one which reveals her true name.

"D-Doris? What a lame name..." As Isma comments to herself, she can feel her body transforming. Her hips stiffen as her legs glue together and get covered by scales. She increases in size and length to accommodate her new body. Her ears double in width as they are turned into gills. Isma is now fully aware of her true self.

"Whoa... Big Bro Vlad! Look at me! I'm a real merrow now!" Isma swims around in circles at three times your top swimming speed, managing to breathe underwater and talk while having her head under.

"Not only has the legendary son of Sivir shown himself to us in his prime. He has also gifted me with the chance of falling The Sea god that haunts us all, and to finally reunite with my daughter...From the bottom of my heart, I thank you, Vlad Santana." One of the merrows takes Isma's hand, and as she familiarizes herself with her kin, she is quick to tear up.

"...MOM!?"
>>
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>>5698062
"Welcome home, Doris... Or should I say... Isma?" The unknown merrow hugs her daughter as the little one bawls uncontrollably, finally making up for over a decade of estrangement.

"Man... Can't say I ain't a fan of happy endings now..." Even Isidro seems slightly emotional at the scene.
"Oh, this is far from over." Casca replies as Isma approaches the two.

"Isidro! Casca! I got a true name! Mom told me all about it! I'm called-- Mhmhm!" Isma is impeded from speaking thanks to a fishtail covering her mouth.

"I would advise you not to tell your true name to all but the ones you truly trust. Merrows and other kindred spirits are easily influenced, and should only be named as such to those who can empower them without corruption."

The remaining merrows all circle towards you, bowing with their heads. If they could kneel, they would, and seeing hundreds of such gorgeous looking creatures show you nothing but absolute devotion despite never meeting you is enough to make you blush.

"We have done our part in keeping her safe as much as she has saved us in the past. Though we could never convince the locals to evacuate the island or fight the sea god by themselves, we know that it was only a matter of time until you arrived here to increase our chances with your ever-gracing hope, Vlad. My name is Ino, and I, as well as all the merrows here present, are glad to finally be at your service."

"Please, no need to be so humble." You are flattered at their subservience, but you wish to have a more normal conversation with them, instead of being merely worshipped without actually doing what you came here to do.

>What do you know about Sivir?
>What can you tell me about the Sea God?
>What can you and the merrows do to help me fight the Sea God?
>Can you take Sivir out of the bottom?
>Can you bring me to Sivir?
>Can you focus on saving the people who fall from the island? Whatever I do to the Sea God, I know it will have pretty big casualties.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5698079
>>What do you know about Sivir?
>What can you tell me about the Sea God?
>Can you focus on saving the people who fall from the island? Whatever I do to the Sea God, I know it will have pretty big casualties.
>>
>>What do you know about Sivir?
>What can you tell me about the Sea God?
>Can you focus on saving the people who fall from the island? Whatever I do to the Sea God, I know it will have pretty big casualties.
>>
>>5698079
>What do you know about Sivir?
>What can you tell me about the Sea God?
>Can you focus on saving the people who fall from the island? Whatever I do to the Sea God, I know it will have pretty big casualties.
>>
>>5698079
>>What do you know about Sivir?
>What can you tell me about the Sea God?
>Can you focus on saving the people who fall from the island? Whatever I do to the Sea God, I know it will have pretty big casualties.
Do mention that currently we were applying runes across the surface of the creature, when we are done above we will likely need to do the part under for truly finish. What’s the best way for them in their opinion ? Counting the undead sea life under the monster and that we have companions with us.
>>
>>5698118
>>5698198
>>5698273
>>5698344
"What can you tell me about Sivir and the Sea God?"
"The magic orb Sivir holds is otherworldly! From the little we've gathered in her demonstrations, it's power is to transform thoughts into actions. She was the one who aided us in our fight against The Sea god 20 odd years ago. See, our power comes from singing, controlling nearby animals and enchanting powerful humans to fight on our side, however despite our numbers and speed, we are not capable of dealing significant physical damage. Sivir came here in the name of Flower Storm Monarch Danann herself, after being forbidden from entering Elfhelm. Miraculously, she managed to use her power to send the Sea God into a deep slumber and severely limit his movements while we sealed him at Nostos, all with no casualties from our side. She even offered to take care of Isma in my stead, given how she was a half merrow, I could not bring her with me."

"Auntie Sivir is the best!" Isma smiles, not resenting her mother in the slightest.
"Were there any other plans to defeat the Sea God? Seems like imprisoning him onto the island was merely a temporary measure." Schierke asks.

"Some of us tried to encourage Sivir into using the pearl for herself, but given how it was tied to your life, and how she was not a master of magic, she was afraid of misusing it's power and destroying the island along with him. Since we couldn't rely on her, we were preparing our own secondary weapon"

"Is she really that strong?" Isidro doubts the power to take down entire islands that could potential be passed down to you.

"Yes. However, ever since she tried using the orb a few months ago, her energy has been weakening, to the point of where she needs to receive the power from the orb to stay alive. We have sung to her periodically to keep her rejuvenated, but unless she absorbs the energy for herself – Which she's refused to do in the past – we are not sure on how to proceed either...

These are troubling news, indeed... You have finally understood what powerful gift Sivir was saving for you when you eventually managed to find her, one that can bring forth thoughts into reality! Enough power to take down an island! Perhaps more! You would have been made into be the ultimate weapon against Femto and the God Hand! But not only has it waned over time, to obtain said destructive capabilities, it seems that you will have to choose between taking away her life, or let the opportunity pass you by to save her life.

Were she awake to talk to you, you are sure that she would gladly give her life to you, but to make the decision for her would be the same as to kill Sivir without her knowing... You feel a thirst for power... A need to clutch this one in a lifetime chance, that you will never find again to defeat your enemies, but is it really worth sacrificing the life of the dear mother that made this all possible, when she wouldn't be in this state if it weren't for your mistakes...?
>>
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>>5698517
"...So what was the alternative?" You push your mind out of the moral dilemma to focus on the rest of the information.

"We were very afraid of what could happen if The Sea God managed to eat her or the orb. We haven't found a way to use it's power, so maybe it is an item exclusive to you and her. Yet given it's power to give life to the dead and repurpose others into his commands, we did not want to entertain the possibility of it happening. It's why we have been developing a song that could stop his heart. Should the worst come to happen, we were ready to sing for as long as possible to see if we could outlast him."

"Wait, how would he not die from having it's heart stopped? Is the song short or what?" Isidro asks an important question to Ino.

"Every part of The Sea God is alive. Every teeth, every shell, every extension of himself, it is all detachable and transmuted as an independent creature. He has eaten so many ships that he likely has a graveyard laying on his stomach. His heart beats so strongly that you cannot reach it's chest without it's beat hurting your ears. He has devoured so much that it's a miracle for Sivir to even have him staying still. It is truly an army controlled by a single mind."

"Well, I am glad that you are all here, then... This suddenly got a lot easier. Can you focus on saving the people who fall from the island? Whatever I do to the Sea God, I know it will have pretty big casualties." Taking into consideration how likely is for Nostos to be destroyed, and that the Seahorse will likely not stay afloat if all of them tried to evacuate aboard, having an army of merrows ready to help the fallen was a blessing you weren't hoping to receive tonight.

Yet that still leaves you wondering on what else to do with their help. Is it too late to change into a better plan? Should you combine them together, or keep doing the purification runes?

>Proceed as usual. Now that the merrows are here, you can have them mark places you couldn't reach before.
>See if the merrows' song to stop his heart can work against the Sea God.
>What if we try cleansing him from the inside? Slowly threading our way into his heart?
>Find a way to go down, you need to decide on what to do with Sivir's orb.
>>
>>5698539
>>
>>5698539
so much power

>Now that the merrows are here, you can have them mark places you couldn't reach before.
>What if we try cleansing him from the inside? Slowly threading our way into his heart?


the song would need us to defend them, i believe the sea god would probably awaken.
We need to decide who to take with us and who remains outside. And probably have a way for breath under water like the idea of making a spell using algae and corals for cover ourselves in a breathing suit
>>
>>5698539
>>Find a way to go down, you need to decide on what to do with Sivir's orb.
I'll play the part of the powerlust stricken corner of Vlads mind. We NEED the orbs power to last even a nano second against a godhand with the intent to kill us. Think of all the death and suffering in the silver eyed clan! It will all be meaningless if in the end we still lack a way to resist the godhand! And I'm sure our mother will support us taking the Orb completely.
>>
>>5698792
For team i am considering us, gunpowder, serpico, hyde, guts. All coated in pure od. Putting runes on their bodies too with paint.
We could put guts outside if it s not enough for keep that evil in check from getting out of his body.
The rest outside, Farnese and Schierke can feed the runes outside od while preparing other precautions against the sea god and spells for us. The others can protect the girls.

For plan B, gunpowder train of death aided in speed and agility by serpico winds and the water of the undines. And guts/hyde making holes with cannonballs/bombs. We can prepare to impale the heart while running towards it, with a giant spear made from our seeds in one hand and the trident in the other.

I don't trust taking the orb now, this kind of power needs to be learned. And the sea god will likely awaken if we take it
>>
>>5698539
>What if we try cleansing him from the inside? Slowly threading our way into his heart?
What does purifying him actually do anyways?
>>
>>5698841
Given how it's worked before in the past, it would disintegrate the evil around him, which is 100% so it would just make him disappear.
>>
>>5698841
>>5698792
>>5698793
Give it up for a 2d100 then. First one will see how much ground the merrows will cover around the Sea God, and the second will check out how well entering him will go.
>>
Rolled 58, 13 = 71 (2d100)

>>5698915
>>
Rolled 83, 46 = 129 (2d100)

>>5698915
>>
Rolled 54, 18 = 72 (2d100)

>>5698915
Check this crit out anons
>>
>>5698937
That is a strange looking crit anon.
>>
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>>5698931
>>5698933
>>5698937
The help from the merrows was crucial in how much they could help in the span of a few hours. Not only did they find several spots to draw the runes exactly as you've shown them, but with absolutely zero casualties. Charing your Od around those runes and their connective lines spanning hundreds of meters at this point should do considerable damage to The Sea God, yet you are still not sure if this leviathan would be brought down after charring around 30% of his body. Even while you are empowered by the full moon, you would be lucky if the remainder of his body was affected aside from the most outward layer of his skin.

With how much you have done after a full day's work, you come to terms with the fact that at this point, The Sea God is not affecting the island, The Sea God is the island, and you will need somebody to stay behind and keep Nostos from falling.

Casca swears to try her best in keeping earthquakes from happening, using the anti gravitational pull from the gnomes to help out occasionally by chucking boulders at the undead monsters from afar. Schierke and Farnese likewise stay at the island in case they need to cast additional spells and activate the purifying runes.

Hyde and Isidro stay at the safest, yet at the least opportunistic position when it comes to attacking. Mostly dropping their artillery from above with Violet while slowly swerving around to check for anyone Roderick and the merrows did not find.

That left you, Guts, Serpico and Gunpowder to enter the monster's jaws at midnight. While it is likely not a good idea to leave a horse deep underwater, you're pretty sure his sonic armor can work better as an escape route than swimming to the surface, the mobility will also help you in case you need to plow through his circulatory system.

Serpico will stay on it's throat as a middle ground, in case the interference from the Sea God's graveyard becomes too much to contact any outside help while Guts will help you clear your way into his innards.

Not one step landing onto his tongue, it already recognizes you as something different from his ecosystem, and treating you like the virus you are to him, his gigantic mouth the size of a royal entrance hall starts drooling uncontrollably, the remains of skeletons shapeshifting into several slimy monsters made out of his fluids.

"What a welcoming host..." Guts pulls out his dragonslayer as Serpico deflects the shards from his teeth, who spread around your direction like thousands of pin needles.

>Freeze the slime monsters. Saliva is all water. (30)
>Pyke at his tongue. (40)
>Fire a soul arrow at his uvula (35)
>Plant your trees around it's mouth and keep him from clenching it's jaws (50)
>Grow the mandragoras to stun all life here present (60)
>Blast your way inside him with Gunpowder's speed (70)
>Something else.
>>
>>5698954
>Plant your trees around it's mouth and keep him from clenching it's jaws (50)
To prevent a what could be a tk, seems like a good idea to me and
>Freeze the slime monsters. Saliva is all water.
As a good(and safe) combat opener (although can our party members traverse and fight on ice? I'm not sure but it has a low roll so)
>>
>>5698987
+1
>>
>>5698987
+1
>>
>>5698987
>>5698990
>>5699064
A 2d100 to seal the deal then! Let's hope Sivir's magic is some sleeping beauty-tier spell.
>>
Rolled 79, 82 = 161 (2d100)

>>5699085
>>
Rolled 40, 64 = 104 (2d100)

>>5699085
Check 'em...dubs
>>
Rolled 58, 62 = 120 (2d100)

>>5699085
>>
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>>5699153
>>5699157
>>5699171
The Sea god's lifeforms derive all their power from water no matter what part of his body you are at, and just your luck, you're carrying a weapon that's perfectly adjusted for your these conditions!

"No need to rush, I'm not going anywhere!" Unstrapping one of your legs from Gunpowder and sliding off to the side, you hit the one of the slimes expanding their mass towards you as they start to freeze all his teeth at a rapid pace.

As he attempts to move his tongue to remove the ice plaques, the salt from the seawater accompanied with the one inside his own body and from the blasts of water you can produce from how humid the air is here swirl into a chemical reaction that turn the ice freeze to even colder temperatures, effectively spreading it's effect at a much faster rate than you anticipated.

Whatever attempts at regenerating new layers of life from under the ice was frozen along on top of it.
And just to test the durability of your freezing abilities. Guts strikes down one of the petrified slimes with his greatsword, shattering it to pieces. Incapable of regenerating as it had long since lost any signs of life.

"Good call, Vlad! Nothing lives past a certain temperature, be it hot or cold!"
"Yeah, but the same applies to us. Try not to snare us into your iceberg." Guts says as he carefully skates forward with his iron boots, trying his best not to fall.

"Why risk falling when we can just slide down his throat?" You take out some of your trusty magical seeds from your pouch as they grow together into tree trunks as thick as a tower. Planting 5 of them in different spots of his esophagus, you reinforce the already difficult task of making the Sea God close his maw, as well as marking some landing spots for your allies to hold stay at in case it gets to slippery. Serpico's sylph coat should redirect him and Guts is big enough to force a break if he needs to with his Dragonslayer, but it is a good safety measure nonetheless.

With the four of you sliding down it's throat, several tendrils start expanding and turning into different creatures, this time, into a flock of deformed manta rays with stingers at their extremities.

Twisting his hips and gyrating into a full swing, Guts makes quick work of them as his sword slashes through several of them in half, but The Sea God's immune system is far from defeated.

Serpico isn't too far behind. Having fantastic mid range as his sylph sword extends his slashes several meters from where he truly is, making his enemies fall before they even figure out what hit them.

"Don't know about you folks, but I can keep at this for a few hours." Guts grins, having had a full day's rest and in high spirits, his stamina is far from being drained, and he is not in an angry enough state for the beast of darkness to entice him. Let's hope it stays that way, as you are not experienced at controlling the Berserker armor as Schierke is.
>>
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>>5699194
"I'm more intrigued as to how it's not responded to anything we've done so far. I sure would get up if someone stuffed my mouth with a block of ice." Serpico adds. "Either Sivir's magic is that strong..."

"Or we haven't done significant damage for him to awake..." You complete his sentence. For all that you know, he could have several mouths that can form at any of his extremities. His anatomy is a maze, unlike any live creature you have opened and impaled before. If not for the faint beating of his heart, you wouldn't be sure to even look for his vital spots.

The manta rays grow thicker in mass, making Guts put more strength into his swings as he presses forward. Spiking the base arm that sticks them to it's innards, you find enough strength in you to rip them out individually as the spikes on your trident expand and contort into different directions, their mollusk-like arms being impeded from growing as you run a second layer of ice from the other end of your weapon, with Gunpowder's galloping aiding you in covering as much ground as possible.

You still don't feel like you're being considered as a real threat to it, perhaps that is a blessing in disguise...

"Well, this is where I'll be leaving you, gentlemen." Serpico turns around after hearing the Sea God's heartbeat growing louder. "Someone needs to guard the front door. And I've had enough misadventures on the deep blue. Don't keep me waiting" He exclaims out of breath, though still holding you a thumbs up.

Wondering when a true challenge would come to face the three of you, Guts notices that there are actually three tunnels connecting to his mouth, two downwards, which you imagine it to be his respiratory and circulatory system, but one upwards, as well.

"So which way are we going again?"

>Up, that must be where his brain is, and I doubt he can stay alive without it.
>Down, that's where I'm hearing his heartbeat.
>Want to split up and see who gets there first?
>I'll freeze a large artery of his and see to which tunnel it leads to.
>>
>>5699210
>Down, that's where I'm hearing his heartbeat.
>>
>>5699210
>Down, that's where I'm hearing his heartbeat.
Unless it's for the stomach. uhmm do we feel which direction has a stronger presence ? i am considering splitting but being together allows to aid each other and much more like combined attacks.
Are we leaving runes behind us while walking inside ? If we are doing it, put some ice above them so the undead marine monsters can't just scratch them or the sea god just engulf them in demonic meat. Freezing the ground works to our advantage
Beyond that whats the status on the amount of our seeds ?
>>
>>5699210
>Down, that's where I'm hearing his heartbeat.
I'm in such a fear of a beloved character getting keked unceremoniously that i can't vote for anything but the safest looking option (which of course can also get someone killed due to not taking initiative)
>>
>>5699459
You still have plenty of seeds to do the same trick you did on it's mouth a few more times. A few days of not fighting helped you stack them more than usual.
You've not carved any runes on the monster yet since it's all frozen on it's tongue, not sure you would have the time given all the monsters here.
>>5699468
Me? Oneshotting a character for a bad roll? Never! At least not until the Sea God wakes up
>>
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>>5699425
>>5699459
>>5699468
With one octopus arm spawning behind you, your premonition skills prove to still be useful here despite the oppressive aura of the sea god being a bother to you before. Perhaps the roar of the astral world has increased your tolerance of ill-intended creatures.

Nevertheless, Gunpowder gallops in place until the mollusk is successfully yanked out from it's base. Despite it's increase in weight, the both of you can still take down these enemies individually with not much trouble.

"Only one way to find out which is the stomach and which are the lungs..." You drop the chopped off undead monster onto one of it's holes, and hearing a slight sizzling sound after a wet sloshing sound, you were sure not to accidentally drop on it's stomach.

Being a more sensitive organ, you do not expect a lot of difficulty entering the inside of his lungs, yet the amount of sea slugs do not recede. What appear to be his follicles are encrusted with sea sponges, finding a way to reside inside as the air was pushed in and out with enough force to knock you over.

"Try not to do too much damage around this area, if the smoke from your cannon sends him into a coughing fit, we'll be bouncing on these walls until we're mashed together." You warn Guts, as he already jumps on your shoulders to slash at the deformed torsos attempting to clutch you from it's ceiling.

"I'll play nice for now." Guts spin kicks onto the ground as he cracks some of the coral reef under him, having to put more force into each of his swings as even here, their numbers and size are only increasing.

Playing stop and go to the Sea God's breathing is annoying, especially when it's heartbeat is getting deafeningly loud, to the point where it hurts your own heart to synch itself to it's rhythm. Relying on the imbuing of Od on your weapon and armor, you poke and scratch at your enemies so they can disappear into the air without leaving any large remains, something Guts seems to have trouble doing. Stealth and clean kills really aren't his forte...

"Watch out!" Guts shots as you feel a giant corpse approaching you from behind, forcing you to splash it with water and sticking it to the walls of the monster's lungs. After ravaging a large shark, it's carcass flew as the lung pressed the air in, being a floating obstacle that could obstruct your journey. At least he was nice enough to warn you he screwed up...

Sliding vertically as each beat of his heart tensed every muscle of your body, you've realized that the monster's main circulatory organ was actually a way for it to tire out any adjacent life form from entering, as the forceful spasms were exhausting the three of you while you were barely hurt with it's mere existence. No light was to be found this far in, and you were only being guided by your instincts, growing tired with each step below.
>>
>>5699562
You place your hand on a nearby wall as you feel an electric pulse that burns at your armor. Either part of it's walls are made out of jellyfish stingers, or this is the pulse of his heart. It's hard to tell if you're exactly there given how loud it is wherever you are, but it's a safe bet that you can push through here to enter it's weak spot.

>Break through the reef manually. (60)
>Fire a soul arrow through it. (50)
>Use Gunpowder's sonic armor. (55)
>Look for another entrance.
>>
>>5694520
Test
>>
>>5699564
>Use Gunpowder's sonic armor. (55)
Gunpowder may actually be perfect for this, he’s already deaf so the heart of the sea god shouldn’t hurt him much if at all.
>>
>>5699564
>>Use Gunpowder's sonic armor. (55)
>>
>>5699564
>>Use Gunpowder's sonic armor. (55)
Prepare to counter the electricity. The heart needs to be damaged, we could impale with the trident and our halberd, while Guts slash at it with his sword.
We don't want those beats to last too much
>>
>>5699757
Of course any wound to the heart will be likely painful, and there will be much bloodloss. Freezing it will be good, but it will last only for a while.
Has a bonus it should kill even faster the sea good by blocking and accumulating blood
>>
>>5699564
>Use Gunpowder's sonic armor. (55)
>>
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>>5699683
>>5699717
>>5699757
>MFW It's a Gunpowder thread
And here I thought Casca and Isidro would get some time in the limelight

Alright then! Give it up for a 1d100!
>>
Rolled 35 (1d100)

>>5699771
>>
Rolled 94 (1d100)

>>5699771
Gunpowder is too fookin based to let us down
>>
>>5699788
DAMN I MIGHT BE ON TO SOMETHING
>>
>>5699788
Causality has answered our calls.

>Verification not required.
>>
Rolled 16 (1d100)

>>5699771
This is Gunpowders world, Vlad just lives in it.
>>
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>>5699775
>>5699788
>>5699818
"Gunpowder! Think you can do that trick a second time?" You tap at his back, hoping his hearing won't be completely destroyed after enduring
massively hypersonic speeds so often.

"Had too much time resting. This is nothing." Gunpowder tries to play though, but just to make sure, you share some of your energy with him as you expel your healing powers to him.

Telling Guts to sit behind you, you hold the middle of your trident as you repurpose the undines into a double ended hose, widening the passageway from the lung to the Sea God's heart by cutting at his flesh with highly pressurized water. A wide slash that let the pressurized gusts of wind escape into his heart.

As Gunpowder gallops at full throttle, your vision becomes pure darkness as your stallion blasts through the darkness, creating your own tidal wave as the three of you turn into a living bullet, piercing through meters and meters of the kraken's innards despite it's resistance. Every bone in your bottle rattles as it ignored all your constitution, three living legends pummeling the living hell of this colossal creature from where it's eyes won't see.

The three of you finally reach to where it's heart resided, a large cave, where the pulsating organ the 10 times your size is seen a few steps away. Gunpowder stumbles as he tries to break the fall, as Guts tries his best not to behead you and him as the dragonslayer flies above your necks.

There it lies. A heart, with several veins pulsing with electricity, keeping you away like an invisible forcefield. Several eyelids appear to stay closed around it's aorta. Somehow, for some sort of miracle, the sea god has still not awakened.

However, as if knowing it's imminent danger, the hemorrhage from your entrance at his chest begins to flood your surroundings. His blood, acid to the touch as if it was his stomach juices, made Gunpowder jump to higher spots, afraid of being melted away. Guts tries to speak to you, but his voice is unintelligible in-between the beating of it's heart.

God, that noise, that maddening noise! A second of silence followed by an eardrum shattering thump, the mere fact of blood being in it's veins poses a threat to you and to all around the sea. You are all stunned and shell shocked by half a second as your movements become delayed. Guts tries to reach for his dragonslayer, but becomes increasingly slower as he exhausts himself from just standing still, resisting the hypnosis from the demonic heartbeat of the leviathan.

"What a beautiful melody... Telling you to rest easy... While inviting me out to hunt..." You think the one speaking to you is Guts, but on closer inspection, you find the beast of darkness gambling on the opportunity, hoping to see Guts fail to complete this voyage without tapping into the Berserker Armor's power.
>>
>>5700001
>Contact Serpico for him to activate the spell.
>Tell Serpico to make the merrows sing.
>Attempt to reach the Sea God's heart.
>Use your soul double to dispel the hound away from Guts.
>Fire a soul arrow onto the heart.
>Use your mandragorans to scream at the heart.
>Something else.
>>
>>5700003
>Something else
>Use some of our remaining seeds and try to impale the heart with trees
You guys think this would work?
>>
>>5700003
>Tell Serpico to make the merrows sing.
Then
>Fire a soul arrow onto the heart.

The spell is a little bit of insurance, for now. Besides, I'm certain that Farnese and Schierke would know to activate the spell themselves if they see it as the right opportunity.
>>
>>5700220
+1
>>
>>5700003
>>Tell Serpico to make the merrows sing.
>Fire a soul arrow onto the heart.
Soul arrows are a bit difficult, but we can freeze the place and use the seeds for impale the thing if needed
>>
>>5700220
AAHHHH I'm gonna fucking lose it anons. We're gonna get obliterated by this thing! What are we doing in it's fucking heart?Even If it just got excited the accelerated hear beat would be enough dismantle us! It's so over yet it hasn't even begun.
On an another note hopelessness posting is more fun than I thought.
>>
>>5700220
Oh I meant to 1+ this btw forgot in the previous post
>>
>>5700220
>>5700500
>>5700509
No need to doompost just yet, all's gone well so far! Save it for the poor rolls which you might get if you fail this 2d100 dice check right now!

ROLL AWAY
>>
Rolled 26, 80 = 106 (2d100)

>>5700546
so sad
>>
Rolled 12, 61 = 73 (2d100)

>>5700546
>>
Rolled 52, 10 = 62 (2d100)

>>5700546
>>
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>>5700553
>>5700570
>>5700586
Even contacting Serpico seems to be an issue, as any time your spiritual self tries to form a line of connection between your two minds, the insufferable thumps of it's heartbeat makes it feel that your head will explode if you try to focus any further. Feeling the bleeding of your ears, you grow tired of it's insistent attempts at rendering the two of you insane, you fire a soul arrow that pierces right through hit's main artery, going far up as it seemingly phases through the sea and into the sky.

"SERPICO! TELL THE MERROWS TO SING! NOW!" Is all you can muster to say as you hope to stun the Sea God on it's place, much like he was doing to you before. Though you are not even certain that it reached him, thanks to what was about to happen...

All the remaining eyes of it's heart, bloodshot and wide open, stare back at you and Guts, firing up it's frequency as it of shoots more blood around the place. It's chest cavity morphing as it finally unleashes a shred of it's potential. The acid blood spewing from itself morphs into an army of indescribable monsters, trying to patch up it's hole as Guts is swarmed by the undead creatures squirming his body.

"Well, no point in keeping it silent now..." Guts fires off the powder on his cannon, waiting for them to constrict him again to better attract them to his area of effect.
The sea worms attempt to gnaw at you, but your Od bursts from your body are enough to make them kill themselves by approaching you.

The Sea God is still not aware of it's own death, so you'll have to fire a few more shots at it to make sure it's heart fails to work properly.
As it's heart flutters with each passing shot, it's frequencies go weaker, with the sea worms losing their strength as Guts grows increasingly exhausted of holding them off. As they all seem to crush him under their weight, you hear the singing of the merrows from far away.

Unbelievable... Serpico was successfully contacted, and their chants make all ill intended life around you be completely stunned. You feel yourself floating upwards as part of the Sea God sinks into the sea, and though you worry about Gut's safety, he manages to lift the mass of corpses above him, smiling with confidence as you have both defeated the monster without even using the Berserker Armor.

"Very well, you have stopped me for now... But how long will you last, without needing my help again?" The Hound inside Guts makes his empty threats, before being put to rest once more in the back of his mind.

Though the main enemy is dead, the monsters around him are still not letting up, only growing more alert as it wants to sink you down with it's full body. Counting that with the increasing hemorrhages, you will have to race back to the exit if you don't plan on drowning on it's blood.

>Use Gunpowder's sonic armor one more time.
>Save the energy, you can exit manually.
>Ride the blood waves, it will do some damage, but you can push yourself out.
>>
>>5700624
>Use Gunpowder's sonic armor one more time.
Use the trident for freezing blood waves or incoming waves of enemies, Guts is on official duty for blast even more openings with his cannon hand and his sword.
Time to use our seeds more too be for kill enemies or open our path further. We will race out of here with the tools at our disposal

Don't use the spell for now.
>>
>>5700624
>Use Gunpowder's sonic armor one more time.
It ain't over for doom posting yet! The streaks of 80's and 90's will surely end! Now we have to somehow avoid drowning in it's blood (although I'm sure we can survive at least one bad roll on Gunpowder(unless it's a 1roll))
>>
>>5700624
>Use Gunpowder's sonic armor one more time.
>>
>>5700645
>>5700668
>>5700777
Gunpowder's hard carrying this part of the island arc, isn't he?
He's getting pretty tired after all the strain of the armor, but if you pass this roll, we can call it quits on the sea god colonoscopy,

Roll the 1d100 already!
>>
Rolled 93 (1d100)

>>5700858
>>
Rolled 37 (1d100)

>>5700858
>>5700921 ...I think it might be over for doom posting,in my defense how could I know Gunpowder would be super MVP?
>>
>>5700925
It's reverse psychology doing it's job, see how every time we call for good rolls we get shit ones?
>>
Rolled 22 (1d100)

>>5700858
>>
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>>5700921
>>5700925
>>5700939
"Gunpowder, my boy. I know I've abused you a lot today, but I'm gonna need you to boost for me one more time!" You take Guts' hand as he mounts once more on the ever growing tired horse of the old Falcons, pleading for him to still be able to listen to you after all the disorienting trials you've put him through.

"Vlad...Not dying... Today..." Between huffs and neighs, GP tries to remain steady as he focuses on the crater he made in the Sea God's flash not too long ago. Knowing that even as you've charging him with all the energy the three of you could muster, it still might not be enough to escape.

"Running out of time here..." Guts chucks his bombs at the enclosing tentacles, but Gunpowder still chews at the metal of his armor, staring down at the hole as if he had something to prove. And after realizing what he wants, he had good reason to be evaluating his odds. He's just as smart as his owner...

Galloping at a regular speed, Gunpowder walks over to the hole, looping from wall to wall as if trying to pick up speed. As you moved the undines to control the monster's blood flow, you've managed to propel Gunpowder faster and faster as you reduced the strain on his hooves, and after a perfect synch of your efforts, you shout the signal he was waiting for.

"GO!"
The horse manages to walk up a 90º degree angle as you splatter a vertical tunnel on top of the one you've left on him before, creating a path to the surface that not even The Sea God could have predicted.

As you torpedo your way out the water, the merrows around catch each of you and help you get back onto the surface. Farnese and Schierke activate the runes you've left in order to redirect where the monster was falling. Casca carefully manages the shaking of the island as she impedes any large boulders from causing any disasters on Nostos. And with Serpico coming out of the monster's jaws unscathed, you almost refuse to believe how well this went, a sudden boost of confidence overwhelms you like you have never felt before.

Bask in your glory for the time being, count your victory! you've more than deserved the cheers that are heard from your team and the sailors at the Seahorse. You have conquered your fears of the deep blue sea, saved an entire island from the clutches off a giant monster that would put fear on even Ganishka and Griffith's apostle band, all the while not wasting a single innocent life.

The pegasus is finally freed, as the last tentacle coiled around it's clipped wings are cut down. You have broken the Santana curse. And you have yet to claim your prize at the bottom...
>>
>>5701000
Another W for the charging cavalier!
>nice trip
>>
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>>5701000
"Ay! Great job, Vlad! Ten outta ten! Five stars! A+ Rank and whatever other scores are out there!" Puck exclaims as he flies around you while Ivalera sticks a golden starfish on your forehead, wherever she found it.

It also seems like you weren't the only one being showered with praise, as when Guts reaches the mainland, a familiar moonlight child appears behind a rock to hug at his leg.
"Lucio?! What are you doing here?" You remove your helmet to stare at the boy, who flicks your forehead after recognizing you in your disguise. You forgot the kid hasn't taken a liking to you for some reason...

"He's shown up around after the time you've got inside the monster." Casca smiled, finally being able to approach Guts without having her memories easily triggering her into a panic attack, though from how active she's been today, it seems she is finally learning how to get over her fear of apostles and demonic entities on her own terms. "Would you mind if I borrowed him for a bit, we don't get to talk very often."

You give them a nod, letting them get their own leisure time as you wrap up your tasks for the night.

"The sea dragons at this region will catch the scent of it's disgorged blood and descend upon the sea god to consume it's flesh. This monster will be forgotten in due time, and we from the merrow tribe... No, of all that live in this region from the sea, will be forever in your debt, Lord Vlad!" Ino and her merrow friends once again take a bow to you, with Isma soon following after them.

"I told them that we were going to Elfhelm, and the merrows just happened to know which direction that is, so they can lead us there when we sail in the next few days! How cool is that?!" Isidro proudly rubs his nose, taking the credit for the bargain, though if his energy reading is correct, he is still frustrated over not doing any big monster killings like he wanted to.

>Don't be so proud of yourself, you haven't done much.
>Good idea Isidro, up top!
>You've done your best for today, and that's good enough for me.
>More time with Isma for you, huh? Let me know if you need any tips to get along with the girls.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5701013
>You've done your best for today, and that's good enough for me.
>>
>>5701013
>You've done your best for today, and that's good enough for me.
>More time with Isma for you, huh? Let me know if you need any tips to get along with the girls.
>>
>>5701013
>Good idea Isidro, up top!
>More time with Isma for you, huh? Let me know if you need any tips to get along with the girls.
>>
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>>5701023
>>5701046
>>5701101
You're too happy to act like a nag to Isidro. Unlike you, Guts, Farnese, or even Hyde, he's managed to live so far in this wretch of a world without ever losing hope that he'll live to see a brighter day. And despite his stubborn, rebellious nature, in a way, you've been fighting for him for as long as you've been fighting alongside him. You won't say it to his face, but you're happy that he's keeping his head up.

"You've done your best for today, and that's good enough for me. Make sure to step up to the plate when I ask you though, I don't wanna see you getting comfortable until you do half the stuff Guts and I can do, ok?" You tough love him with a speech that reaches to his heart, as well as a ruffle on his hair for good measure.

"Hey! Watch the haircut!" He pushes your hand away as he pouts, wanting to look good in front of Isma. No point in stating the obvious, so you will not embarrass him in front of his crush any more than he already does it on his own. You will, however, be an ass about it since you're in a good mood.

"I know the real reason you wanted to go with the merrows was to have more time with Isma, so let me know if you need any tips to get along with the girls!" You chuckle to him as you spill the beans just to get a reaction out of him.

"Wh-Wh-- No! That's not why I- Isma, you--" Isidro tries to save face, yet seeing how he was blushing just as much as her, Isma can't help but give the goofball a big, warm hug in response.

Given how Hyde is distant from his wife, Guts and Casca are reconciling with their breakup after figuring out they have a child, and the ever bumpy road that was getting engaged to Farnese, you are happy to see at least one romance bloom as naturally as the flowers of the plains.

"Well, there's only one more thing left to do then..." You talk to yourself, staring at the bottom of the sea where Sivir was, still pondering on what to do to get there, and what you would do with her orb...

"Vlad, If I may, I believe I've found a way for you to reach your mother safely..." Serpico offers some assistance, a shock, given how the last time the two of you diving under went.

After mastering the power of the undines and conquering your fear of the sea, you've found yourself with a perfect condition to synergize with Serpico's sylphs, managing to form an air bubble that could be moved around and resist the popping from touching other surfaces, even letting something else enter it's thin surface if you wished to.

"You know, if you weren't my brother-in-law, I would have a feeling you were trying to kill me as payback to what happened at the beach."
"Who, me? Nah, we both have thought of better places to die on our head during our missions than right now. Besides, when have I ever put you in any danger?"
"You're lucky I need to focus on this bubble staying round." Serpico quips along with you, really wanting to bonk you on the head.
>>
>>5701119
You slowly thread downwards with the makeshift submarine bubble you've made, carefully guiding sylphs and undines together as the merrows push you in the right directions. The anticipation is mesmerizing, to finally meet your birthmother is something that you have been relishing, hoping that you would get to her safely, and after finally doing so, the cold uncertainty of the moral predicament she is in scares you beyond belief.

What are you going to do with her? What opinion do you even have of Sivir? Despite her abandoning her responsibilities as your mother, in an odd sense, all this whole search culminated in the journey of your life, one that made you into the man you've became. The self discovery, the strengthening of body and bonds. Yes, you have been battered and bruised beyond repair along the way, but you would never choose another man's life than your own.

Truly, there is nothing more that you wish to do other than have an open heart to heart with her: Get to know who she really was, make up for the time you've lost as a survivor of the Silver Eyed Clan massacre... But does your mission really call for her to be alive?

Despite your successful tests of strength and tactics, you start doubting on the fact that your victory just now wasn't a fluke, a part of The God Hand's plan to give you fake confidence... Would you really manage to do this flawlessly a second time? Against stronger opponents, no less?

You need the orb's power... You wish it didn't have to kill Sivir in the process, but the fact that she is in this state is also entirely your fault...

"Serpico..." Growing desperate, you seek support from the only person that can hear you right now. "...What would you do if you were in my place?"
Despite being quick to joke around, Serpico is experienced as he is sensitive, if guiding Farnese around during her dark years were anything to go by.

"That depends. As your friend? I trust you to make the right decision, and I won't judge for whichever one it is..." You hear his voice dropping in octaves, as he remembers what he's only now facing the consequences of killing his mother, his relationship with the half-sister he's been raised with having a significant fissure.

"...As someone who was forced to kill his mother in the past... Don't do it, Vlad. It's a memory you will not live down. Part of your self respect, your sense of self will die along with you, and given what you've been dealing with so far and the lengths you've gone to protect who you see as your family... I don't want to sit by and let you do the same mistake I did when I know I could have stopped you."

Serpico absolutely sees himself in your place, and wants to make sure you don't lose yourself, changing who you are in your essence as you take your mother out of this world for the sake of more spiritual power...
>>
>>5701136
The bubble finally reaches Sivir, the tall, green-ish plant woman who has mixed herself with the algae and the watery flowers beneath her. As the orb finally reaches your hands, you notice that they have stopped leaking thanks to her spell not being active. You make an attempt to telepathically communicate with her, a hollow hope at waking her up, but it only proves her that she is still unaware of her surroundings.

"H-Hedwyn!? Go away! Don't touch him!" She clutches the pearl away from your direction, mistaking you for your own father... Was his treatment of her really as awful as she makes it out to be? Or is your face just too similar to his now for her to recognize you?

You are terrified of staying in this bubble, the torture of having to choose one of the outcomes and live with it are ones that rival the sacrifice rituals of the Behelit itself... However here, there will be no marks, no demons. Only bitter regretfulness awaits...

>Push the orb onto Sivir and let her absorb it's power. She deserves to live.
>Close your eyes and take the pearl to yourself. Farewell, dear mother.
>Leave her as is. You don't need this power for now, and she is out of danger, fate can remain as it is now.
>>
>>5701142
>See if you can find some way to bring her to the surface. Perhaps those seeds of yours can find some use in this task, as the corpse of the sea god should provide plenty of nutrients for them...
I don't want to lose the orb forever by having her absorb it, nor do I want to kill her by taking it while she's asleep. If we're to get the orb, I want it to be while she's awake and cognizant enough to make the choice to give it to us.
I also don't want to leave her down here when things around bound to feast upon the sea god's corpse soon. I want to bring her with us, even if she's comatose.
Perhaps if we let her feel our od and work with her telepathically over a period of time, she'll realize who we are and start to awaken. But the first step to that is to get her out of here.
>>
>>5701142
>Close your eyes and take the pearl to yourself. Farewell, dear mother.
YES just as Hedwyn intended! With this power aquried the wholesale sacrifice of the silver eyed clan has meaning! Their suffering wouldn't be for nothing! There is a chance against the godhand! This is surely what fates intent for us considering Vlad's origin anons.
>What about our comrade in arms heartfelt warning about killing one's mother?
Sshhh don't think about that anon, think about the power to defeat the godhand!
>>
>>5701142
>>Push the orb onto Sivir and let her absorb it's power. She deserves to live.
>>
>>5701142
>Push the orb onto Sivir and let her absorb it's power. She deserves to live.
Vlad's a good boy

>>5701151
I honestly doubt we'll ever have much of a chance of actually defeating the god hand even with the orb's power. Gaining more power didn't help Ganishka, did it?
>>
>>5701201
>I honestly doubt we'll ever have much of a chance of actually defeating the god hand
Anon how can you say something so cruel! To say this is to say the silver eyed clan was slaughtered and tortured over nothing! And as for Ganishka... As a human all the power went over his got him acting unwise. Clearly a halfling will do better!

Joking aside how does this story not end with The Falcon Of Darkness and his little army murdering Vlad and everybody he loves? What's "winning" for Vlad? Making a sustainable alternative to Femto's little kingdom? Defeating Femto?
>>
>>5701202
An absolute victory would involve the creation of an uncertain future. The shattering of the chains causality, surely.
The inability for all to see that which lies ahead is preferable to having one's path be determined by parties in bad faith.
>>
>>5701142
>Push the orb onto Sivir and let her absorb it's power. She deserves to live.
Power alone won't kill the God Hand. We need love too.
The love of friends.
The love of a wife.
The love of comrades.
Love is the most powerful weapon against the hand of god.

We have all the others, now all we need is the love of the true mother; Sivir.
>>
>>5701142
>Push the orb onto Sivir and let her absorb it's power. She deserves to live.
>>
>>5701204
If such a thing can be done it would truly be a victory but that seems even harder to do than defeating the god hand.

What do other anons think in this? What would you call a "victorious" end to the quest anons?
>>
>>5701235
Honestly with the way things are going, the only way I see the story ending with no casualties if with Vlad staying at Elfhelm and not giving a shit to what Griffith does, and that's being very optimistic considering how snakey Griffith is, he says he did not consider Vlad his enemy until he went out of his way to make one, so perhaps he'll spare Vlad an his team?

A very good faith and unrealistic scenario, but so is fighting a war against apostles without anyone on your brigade dying.
>>
>>5701201
>>5701160
>>5701210
>>5701217
Taking a deep breath as you remain steady in your judgement, you come to terms that one choice might be as selfish as the other, and you will have to live with the consequences either way, so you need to make sure that said choice remains true to yourself.

And Serpico has said it best: You have not walked away from a kingdom and back just to betray your own judgement. You have spared worse people than the ones you love. Perhaps by doing this, you are crushing your chances of fighting Conrad and Femto, but still... You have something that neither apostle nor higher being in the strings of causality can say you have...

A heart that strives for benevolence.
Slowly pushing the orb onto Sivir, you see her absorbing the entire thing as her skin and the pearl become one. Shining with the light of a thousand suns, all are blinded as a similar feeling you've had when the astral world and the physical became one, only this time, the energy overwhelms you with a feeling of certainty.

Serpico looks over you behind his shoulder with a smile on his face, feeling like he prevented an emotional breakdown. As Sivir's roots turn into a pair of feet, she calmly yawns and squints her eyes, getting accustomed to reality as she realizes that she is still alive.

"...The Sea God!" Are her first words when she jolts awake, afraid of having let the monster eat the merrows given her spell not being active. Upon seeing his dead carcass and the merrows bowing her head to her, the plant woman is confused as to what just happened, yet all becomes clear, when she sets her eyes upon her dearest halfling.

"VLAD?! But-- That means... No, you didn't have to save me... What about..." Sivir instantly puts her worth below the world's, yet you are quick to embrace her.

"There are times when a man has to make difficult decisions. This was not one of those times, for I wanted to thank you for placing me in this world, ever since I've come to know you all those years ago..."

There are no further exchange of words as you both ascend back to the docks. Two man-made weapons, raised and treated as artillery and cattle, finally meeting and having a chance to each other that they indeed, had a right to feel.

"...But why? I have been away from you for so long... I have ran away from my duties as a mother, and yet you still wish to thank me for it?"

>Michelle was the one who raised me as a Santana, but I see nothing wrong with having two mothers.
>I don't consider you a present figure in my life, but perhaps we can make up for the time we've lost.
>I have killed enough people in my journey, I should be allowed to be selfish every once in a while.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5701347
>>Michelle was the one who raised me as a Santana, but I see nothing wrong with having two mothers.
>>
>>5701347
>>I don't consider you a present figure in my life, but perhaps we can make up for the time we've lost.
>>I have killed enough people in my journey, I should be allowed to be selfish every once in a while.
>>
>>5701347
>Write-in.
>Whatever events that have transpired in the past, I have already absolved you any guilt you may have been fostering. It is only because of you I was able to climb this high after being cast so low by others. I am truly, truly grateful to have you as my mother.
>>
>>5701365
>>5701371
>>5701396
"Whatever events that have transpired in the past, I have already absolved you any guilt you may have been fostering. It is only because of you I was able to climb this high after being cast so low by others. I am truly, truly grateful to have you as my mother." You answer Sivir with the respect she deserves, to which she is still making sure that she is not trapped in an illusion of her own making. While still not as present in raising you as your adoptive parents, she did make sure to put you in a good household with more than supportive parents considering the world you live in.

Her silver eyes widen, holding back her tears as she gazes upon all of your companions.

"Danann once said that if we've ever met, I would grace you with my present, but given how much you have grown since the last time I've seen you, as well as what you have done just to see me in good health... I am the one who am blessed to see you with my own eyes..." Sivir exclaims, though you have felt like you would've come to regret this decision, at least for now... All feels right and well within the world.

"Michelle was the one who raised me as a Santana, but I see nothing wrong with having two mothers. Perhaps we can make up for the time we've lost." You smile and take her hand, helping her walk her fist steps into Nostos.

The locals throw you all a welcoming party, both for getting rid of the Sea God, but for apparently reviving their guardian from under the sand. Even Isma and the merrows were treated as their equals, their rivalry finally being squashed and turned moot. As the moral of your team reaches an all time high, you are even compensated with some of the money they have. You try to be humble and argue that they might need it, but Magnifico is too damn greedy to let you deny their pledge, and accepts it for you.

>Current Earnings: 88 Gold Coins, 27 Silver coins, 5 bronze coins.

"Pleased to meet you, Lady Sivir." Farnese is quick to greet her second mother-in-law. "Perhaps you might not recognize me, but my name is--"
"Farnese, correct?" Sivir replies, letting Isma happily sit on her lap to comb her hair. "The little girl who had a crush on Vlad and hid it by trying to torture him?" She says, letting the venom in her words be clear.
"N-No! We have made amends! Wait... Was it that obvious that I've liked him back then?"

"Yes." You, Sivir, Serpico, Puck, and even Guts say in unison at different parts of the establishment, making Farnese hide her head under her collar like a turtle going to sleep.

Seeing as you and Sivir had much to discuss, you fill her in on what has happened since Mozgus' demise, while also hoping to know a few other things about yourself.

>Do you feel any different ever since you've absorbed the orb?
>Why did you run away without me?
>My friend Casca has been cursed by the Mandragoras, can you heal her back to normal?
>Would you like to visit Elfhelm with us?
>Write-in.
>>
>>5701424
>>My friend Casca has been cursed by the Mandragoras, can you heal her back to normal?
>>
>>5701424
>Do you feel any different ever since you've absorbed the orb?
>My friend Casca has been cursed by the Mandragoras, can you heal her back to normal?
>>
>>5701428
+1
>>
>>5701428
+1
>>
>>5701428
Supp
Good good
>>
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>>5701428
"Do you feel any different now that you have absorbed the pearl? You should know what it does better than I do, given how important it was for you to keep it."

"Yes... The entirety of Hedwyn's experiments were based on how closely he was able to replicate the World Spiral Tree and it's ability to connect all three dimensions of the world together as one. Much like the trees the Silver Eyed and other magicians of the astral used before humans forgot their true origins. Supposedly, I am now able to manipulate life itself, for I have unleashed the most out of all my astral potential. However... whatever that means is only relative to those who have any potential left to unlock."

"What do you mean by that?"
"Well, I do not have a violent bone in my body, my thoughts, when conformed into action, are very limited by what I wish to do. For example... I have been grown as someone who only loves and protects by nature, the most I can do in offensive situations is what I have done to the Sea God, merely stun him in place."

"Are you sure you can't do anything else? Try experimenting for a little while."
Sivir ponders on what he wishes to do, thinking of herself as but a little specter in the world, being given orders and disassociating herself from being a living creature. Adapting the wishes of her escapism, she suddenly turns from human into a plant, as the elementals around her burst her into a pile of mist, making her lose her form as she becomes pure Od.

Suddenly, she shapeshifts into an adult wolf, then, into a serpent, then, into a dragon that could barely fit the inside of the house you were staying at. Much like the abyssal entity and the sea god itself, she is able to turn herself into anything she desires to, while also retaining it's original properties, such as flying, breathing through her skin, and crushing what's under her weight (provided she can even hurt a fly) as a reflection of her failed identity as a real woman, and as a mother.

Additionally, when seeing the branches of the astral tree reflecting on the moon, she motioned over to see if she had any control over the primordial life of this planet, and to her surprise, she could effortlessly make it's branches go from the moon to just outside the windowsills, managing to form her own path through the sky.

Curiously, Lucio ceases to embrace Casca, and runs over to the branch.
"Hey, come back! It's dangerous to--" Assuming that her son was merely making a playful mistake, Lucio takes everyone by surprise as he motions over the branches, making them fly high up into the sky, far away as the the moon began to disappear into the horizon.

"WAIT! WHERE ARE YOU GOING!?"
"I'm not the one doing that!" Sivir attempts to pull him back, but it seems that his commands take priority over hers, sending Lucio into the unknown paths of the sky.
>>
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>>5701640
"So that's how he disappeared the last time..." Guts stares at the moon with his mouth wide open, trying to wrap his head around the hell his son managed to walk around the spiral tree.

"Well, he is a spirit of sorts, after all. I imagine that he only has enough power to show himself as he is during full moon nights. Whenever the sun shines once more, he shall turn back to his original form. There must be a reason for why he doesn't want his parents to see him that way..."

"Yeah... I'm sure he has his reasons..." Guts remembers on how not too long ago, the form his child took was the one of a demonic, aborted fetus, one that protected his mother with all his power and claimed for the approval of his father, yet received none of it. Feeling hurt as the feelings of fatherhood started to grow within him, Guts asked an earned question to Sivir.

"Is there any way you could turn him back to normal? I know you're still figuring out how your new abilities work, but the next time he shows up... I wish for him to have a normal life, the one a child like him deserves..."

"Guts..." Casca approaches her past lover, with mixed feelings on how she feels towards his words, yet another migraine makes her crouch still, as the stress from the mandragoran curse still reminds her that she doesn't feel entirely safe around Guts without some sort of magic to ease her anxiety from triggering.

You can understand why Lucio has to go away at sunlight, but how he can control the spiral tree's branches better than Sivir is another story altogether... Does Casca and Guts have some latent astral power you are not aware of? It seems to be the case, given the Behelit Guts carries around, but it's hard to really evaluate the situation without any hard evidence...

"Right, Sivir. Given your specialty in plants, I was wondering if you could maybe remove the curse from her body."
"Sivir ponders if she should be able to experiment on a curse that harms both body and soul, but nonetheless, after turning herself into a giant mandragora, she sings a lullaby that gently sends Casca to sleep before she returns to her regular form.

"I can make some antidote that can slowly remove her symptoms into full health, but the withdrawal might be too much for her to take while staying awake. I'll take a few days and you will likely find a better alternative once you reach Danaan, but--"

"Thank you." Guts cuts her off with his sincere gratefulness." Perhaps now, we can finally achieve a sense of normalcy between us as a..."

"Family?" Isma tilts her head to Guts.
"Yeah... That. Still getting used to it, I guess." He chuckles to the girl.
"Don't worry, take it from Auntie Sivir! She's the best mom to have!" Isma laughs along with Guts.

>So what will you do now, Isma?
>That reminds me, do I have a true name like Isma does?
>Guess we're both full of good news to tell our families, right Guts?
>Write-in.
>>
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>>5701654
>That reminds me, do I have a true name like Isma does?
About to give Farnese that hardwood
>>
>>5701654
>That reminds me, do I have a true name like Isma does?
>So what will you do now, Isma?
>>
>>5701654
>>That reminds me, do I have a true name like Isma does?
>>
>>5701654
>That reminds me, do I have a true name like Isma does?
>So what will you do now, Isma?
>>
>>5701667
>>5701670
>>5701685
>>5701690
"That reminds me, do I have a true name like Isma does?" You've been pondering over what the merrow has told you over how some creatures of the astral have a way to become empowered and connected with their true selves as they become aware of the name given by their spawners.

"Well... I am not sure if this will have any effect on you, but I did give you a name before you departed into The Santana Estate. I have only briefly thought of calling you by said name... but let's see how this works, come here..."
Sivir places her lips on your hair and rests her chin on your forehead, whispering your true name several times as she knows the importance of not letting those with ill intent empower you.

"Rise forth... Reveal your true self... Halfling of the Silver-Eyed... Yarilo."
The name Yarilo brings chills to your spine, you feel a subtle calmness as it resonates within you, reverberating all the long term damage you have earned along the way. Your bad arm, your weakening legs, the clots in your brain, all the damage is reverberated before slowly becoming numb, disappearing like it was never there.

You have felt in the peak of your stamina, revitalized like you have never before, you have to spit the magical seeds of your mouth in chunks as you produced a month's worth of them in a minute, and blooming petals flowing from the woodwork of the house prove a glimpse of what you could have become. It likely doesn't hold a candle to the orb's, but it is a significant improvement for you to feel in an instant, likely being able to grow trees and mandragoras on any terrain without so much as needing your seeds to manipulate the energy of the local flora.

"Vlad! Your eyes!" Farnese turns over to look at you, and sees that your eyes have become clear. After inspecting yourself in a mirror, you notice that in actuality, your eyes are now silver, revealing your nature as another survivor of your clan. A subtle transformation, that though not too extravagant, is a noticeable change to all those around you.

It seems you'll have plenty of fun discovering what your new abilities might be able to do...
>>
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>>5701701
"So what will you do now, Isma? I thought you would be happy to talk to your mom and the other merrows right about now." You question the half marine girl, who seems to be pretty cool with taking time off from meeting Ino just to stick around with you and the gang.

"I dunno, I just feel more comfortable with you guys over here right now! I don't know how they can keep showing their boobs like that with no issue! not to mention the cold! Brrr!" She shivers in place, weighing her options. "I like being a merrow, but I also like being a human two! So I want to live in the best of both worlds. Maybe that'll inspire people like us not to be ashamed! I'm sure there are other people like us who are half human and half something else, and they shouldn't feel bad about where they came from, as long as they're good people!"

You nod to Isma, agreeing with her and her hopeful future that goes along with your plans of reuniting the rule under the law of peace. Despite her rough life by herself at Nostos, she has dealt a lot better with her situation that you had at your age, and that's enough to believe on the bright unfolding of the next generation ahead of you...

"Hey Vlad, I don't know if this is too much to ask for ya, but you wouldn't mind if Isma tagged along with us until Elfhelm at least, would you?" Isidro asks, giving his best puppy dog eyes.
"None at all. I would ask for Roderick for permission, but given how she knows how to hunt and swim, she won't even take space on the Seahorse!"
"You selfish bastard! What do you have against her!? Just because-- huh?" Isidro was already waiting to fight tooth and nail for Isma to be accepted at the group, but he forgot how charitable you are to anyone but him.

"Oh... I guess we're cool then."
>The Best Of Both Worlds: Chapter End
>>
>>5701733
Well, hardly the worst outcome! I’m sure that in time we might be able to create our orb again. After all, our birth created it to begin with IIRC, so we might not be locked out of that avenue of power forever. Not that Vlad would know this, of course.
I wonder what lind of binding sorcery we could use on the god hand if we learned their true names…
>>
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We'll be taking a short 3 day break for me to do some stuff along the way, but we'll be going back in action around Wednesday.

I'm glad to see that so many people were tuning in to see the quest despite the hiatus. Thanks a lot, and I swear I wont take half a year off for the next one, we're like 2 to 3 threads away from the end anyway, so it won't be too taxing now that I'm getting used to the more slower updates.

Plenty of stuff has happened this time around so I imagine we'll have a few things to talk about while nothing's going on. Next time we'll be back might be a little boring since it'll mostly be training and downtime until shit really hits the fan, but we'll get plenty of mileage given what's on the elf island

>>5701742
Yeah, this is the first time everything went well with Vlad since... Actually, this might be the first time it's ever happened! He really made killing the Sea God seem like a cakewalk with the rolls we've had! Though only time will tell if that was a ploy for us to get overconfident, or if rooting for Vlad is the way to go for now
>>
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>>5701701
>Yarilo is Vlads true name
Searched it up and that is the name of a Slavic god of vegetation, fertility, and springtime in Slavic mythology. It makes sense to have that as the true name with us having a Slavic name and being the son of a plant also there is a deception of Yarilo that I can't stop seeing Vlad as now when they reach Elfhelm.
>>
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LEAKED VLAD AND GUNPOWDER REDESIGN
>>
>>5701733
Nice, with this new level of magic stronger spells will be available. Beside creating wood golems, something more tanky like ents and huorns or large mandrogora monsters (sort of like the one we made for aid us in slaughtering the apostles) are more possible to accomplish.
Even simpler things like creating carnivore or poisonous plants for attack our foes, wood walls or straight up just impaling them with multiple branches and roots.
>>5701765

Most things did go well, and that's good.
Always believed in him, a victory like this is deserved.
>>
>>5701898
Oh shit, just realized.
Now that we have both our true name and a suped-up mom with us, now may be the best time to work on that Inverted Behelit idea. A gateway to the Sefirot, through self-sacrifice and noble intent...
>>
>>5701768
>Always seen with a horse
>God of vegetation
>Fertility too since Vlad's the third sexiest man alive
>Adopted parents
>Killed a girl associated with death
Fits like a glove doesn't it? Glad people are doing their homework.
>>
>>5701950
+1 this plan
>>
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Will post the first update in 2 hours or so from now, just giving it a heads up first
>>
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Basking in the high that was your victory, your newfound allies and abilities, you've felt no guilt in resting for the remainder of your stay in Nostos. Helping Roderick and his sailors with repairs was the most you've done aside from checking on the pirates which now were incarcerated in the island. Can't say you care too much about them now that they're without their weapons, and given the few merrows that now serve as the island's army, either they reform or spend their lives in chains.

It will still take a few days to get to Elfhelm, but ever since the Ino and her tribe started guiding you towards the elf island, it feels like you've been sailing at twice the speed.

Nevertheless, you still have plenty of time to check on your crew, and perhaps help any of them in their trainings.

>Train your magic with Schierke and Farnese.
>Find out more about your astral powers with Sivir, Isma and Ino.
>Check on Gunpowder with Hyde and Violet, you remember putting a lot of strain on him last fight.
>Train your physical abilities and the elementals with Serpico and Isidro
>Have a talk with Guts, he must be happy to see Casca finally being healed for good.
>Something else
>>
>Check on Gunpowder with Hyde and Violet, you remember putting a lot of strain on him last fight.
>Find out more about your astral powers with Sivir, Isma and Ino.
>Have a talk with Guts, he must be happy to see Casca finally being healed for good.
>>
>>5704013
>Train your physical abilities and the elementals with Serpico and Isidro
>Find out more about your astral powers with Sivir, Isma and Ino.
>Train your magic with Schierke and Farnese.
>>
>>5704013
Before I forget:
>See if any of the Merrows would be willing to join your army at Ilos. You are rather lacking in the sea!
Im fine with anything else too, I just want to do this while we have the perfect opportunity.
>>
>>5704035
>>5704042
>>5704242
Isma is always happy to see you, and though you don't have too much to discuss with her, Ino does seem like a respected member of her community, and hoping to discover more of her tribe, you ask her how capable merrows are of traversing through rivers and lakes onto the mainland.

"We are creatures of saltwater, We have free reign over every sea we inhabit, however, the closer we are to human territory, the more of a disadvantage we are
at."

It is a similar problem that you've had with Roderick. He has pledged loyalty to your cause as long as you fulfill onto your end of your promise of making him marry Charlotte and uniting the kingdoms when Griffith is defeated, him and the merrows synergize into an undefeatable naval army... Only they are not that useful considering the most they can cover is the small coast of a kingdom literally named Mid-Land.

The best way you can optimize their strength is to either bait the fight onto the coast, or to hope the undines are strong enough to flood Wyndham.

Finding your mother along with them, you notice how just being around her exfoliates the core of your soul. It's like you are passively absorbing her energy without even feeling it. You have never once felt tired in the boat when talking to her, and the fact that you have been sleeping for less hours and still feeling like you got a full night's rest is great for someone who's always complaining about being sleep deprived. Perhaps you there are some regenerative factors that were meant to be given to you by the orb? You just feel a lot tougher now, and though Sivir still doesn't seem to be inclined in partaking in any side of the war offensively despite her power to transform into other life forms, you're pretty sure that her toughness is nothing short of superhuman. Since her regenerative capabilities are likely tenfold compared to yours, a regular strike from a hoodlum should barely phase her, but given the enemies you are fighting...

You try not to think about it for now. She just got up from a month long coma, so it might be too much to push her into a fight, this is enough for the time being.

What you are finding weird, is that despite said increase in power, you have still failed to contact anyone from Ilos. You have tried Kalki, Michelle, Barnham, and even Benny, yet no message seems to pass ever since that damn tree became visible in the skylines.
On the premise of helping Farnese and Schierke out on their magic training, you attempt to master more complex astral projection spells while also asking for some support in contacting your base.

>Roll a 2d100, first one goes for improving their magical abilities, second is for contacting Ilos.
>>
Rolled 39, 82 = 121 (2d100)

>>5704267
>>
Rolled 24, 67 = 91 (2d100)

>>5704267
>>
Rolled 92, 20 = 112 (2d100)

>>5704267
>>
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>>5704269
>>5704281
>>5704486
Your high energy seems to pass off to Farnese and Schierke, who are encouraged by your optimism to keep working harder at their training.

You seem to be able to fire off soul arrows with a lot less strain and difficulty, though should you increase the output of your firing or charge said arrow into a thicker projectile, you still feel like fainting. For an attack that can phase through solid matter, you figured that it would not be that easy to use without affecting your well being.

After a few days of astral projection, Schierke and Farnese confirm that indeed, they have enough energy to contact the four kings of the spirit world, as well as any other smaller spirit with relative ease. Of course, they cannot summon such strong astral entities for no particular reason, so it's best to take their world for it.

"So you're not afraid of battling, anymore?"
"Why would I be afraid?" Farnese smiles back to you. "The amount of effort you have put into building my confidence hasn't gone unnoticed. I owe it to you to see through the end of this journey, and I am not going anywhere. You want to go through the depths of hell just to destroy the Falcon Of Darkness? No matter, I'll be with you. It's the least I can do after giving me a reason to live again. It wouldn't be fair to fight against your sense of duty after all this time."
Farnese's speech is very inspiring, though all it takes is a peck on her lips to take her back into her regular girly mode.

"W-wait! O-Oh, I practiced so hard for this speech too..." Farnese gets flustered from your teasing, and feeling a bit bad for her, you try to give her an answer she deserves.
"Following me to the end of the world is not a task many people would do, so for you, my love, I'll try giving you the wedding you deserve. Do you think there is a record for how many flowers there can be in a single spot? With my current abilities, we can decorate the place for free."

This time, it's Farnese who giggles and steals you a kiss on the cheek.
Though before your teasing could devolve into a tickle fight (or something else), you notice Schierke patiently waiting for you two to stay silent while she tries to concentrate, all the while Ivalera sobs over her hat.

"Love is such a beautiful thing, why can't I find myself a man like Vlad?"
You resist the urge to comment on her size, wanting to propose the idea of combining your powers to attempt to contact Ilos. You still don't understand why you have failed in doing so after all the power you've got, so whatever happened there must be worrying indeed...
>>
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>>5704705
Surprisingly, absorbing the Od both Schierke and Farnese manage to emanate from their luminous bodies proves to be enough, as the three of you concentrate to see the image of Ilos in it's entirety, though what appears to be the image of the spiral tree forms into your mind first.

"Kalki?"
"L-Lord Vlad?! You're alive! Thank Vishnu! We were starting to lose hope after so many weeks of silence."
"Why? Did something happen while I was away?"
The kushan counselor audibly stammers, trying to regain his composure to tell you the awful news he is forced to relay.

"Emperor Ganishka turned into a monster. A titan apostle, one that couldn't be stopped by any normal means... Lord Barnham proudly stood over his foot that was big enough to crush the entirety of our coliseum... And died protecting our people, ending the Kushan war by himself."

"WHAT!?" You are in shock to hear that the once undefeatable Barnham was squashed flat under Ganishka's feet. So was that the powerful Od you were sensing back when that merging of the planes occurred? How did Ganishka gain that much power when he was at death's door the last time you've seen him?

"We were as devastated from finding out about this as you are, Lord Vlad... Since we weren't able to contact you after all this time, we've just assumed the worst... There has been some internal conflict between the magicians and the gladiators, who were nearly in anarchy after Barnham's law of the strongest requested for a new rules, but me and the Bakiraka Clan I managed to recruit in our group were able to hold them off."

"I assume Cindy has passed away too...?"
"...Affirmative, Milord. The mandragoran curse made her transform into a tree, and after Griffith appeared to defeat Ganishka, he turned into a giant tree that pierces the heavens. It has seemingly empowered all the magic users that reside here, as well as the barriers we've built before, but we are still studying what we are capable of doing with said generator of life energy."

"Griffith..." You scowl, knowing that he likely had some part in Barnham's death. Though accidentally placing the tree of life right onto the base of Ilos seems like something that only you would benefit from.

Even here, after your biggest achievement, that bastard still finds a way to insert himself onto your life, and given how there are no distractions from the Kushan Empire to interfere with the war you've declared against him, chances are he'll go for you next...

>Be ready for any attacks to Ilos, be sure to increase the artillery.
>Try to get in contact with the defeated Kushan. With a clan of their race, we might be able to recruit them into our army.
>If you see any apostle bearing the falcon emblem, kill him on sight. Griffith has made his intentions clear.
>Telling them I'm alive should be enough to calm the people there.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5704740
>Be ready for any attacks to Ilos, be sure to increase the artillery.
A good idea to be ready, we don’t want leave any bases not covered.

>Try to get in contact with the defeated Kushan. With a clan of their race, we might be able to recruit them into our army.
Perhaps we might even be able to recruit a certain Kushan magician, *Cough* Daiba *Cough*.

>Telling them I'm alive should be enough to calm the people there.
>>
>>5704751
+1
>>
>>5704751
+1
>>
>>5704751
+1
>>
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>>5704751
>>5704767
>>5704807
>>5704906
Damn... Damn it!
You're still trying to wrap your head around Barnham's passing... Despite him being an apostle, you still felt some sort of comradery of the one who managed to rebel against his creators. Given how power hungry he was, you were expecting him to die off someday. Hell, you were afraid of having to do the deed yourself if the war didn't do him in considering he could suck Ganishka inside his mouth, but right now? A crucial ally was lost, and you did not even have the time to mourn his passing...

Regardless, you need to plan ahead. After getting to Elfhelm and seeing what you can do to upgrade your arsenal, and perhaps finding a new army of magicians and paladins to aid you in the apostle war, there will only be one lord remaining in Ilos to command it until the end of this fight, so in actuality, Barnham's demise seems awfully conveniente for Griffith's plan.

After instructing Kalki on what to do, he agrees to establish better relations with the Bakiraka Clan. Compared to Griffith's army, you haven't killed that many Kushans, so being with a leader of an emerging noble for their empire without crowns could elevate your status into a possible truce. Reinforcing your army seems hard given how hard you've been funding the artillery, but there is no such thing as underpreparing for an enemy who does not underestimate.

"Understood, Milord. We have heard news that Rickert of the Old Falcons has went to the new capital of Wyndham, now named Falconia, so perhaps his genius in weapon developing could also prove to be useful."

"What's that about Falconia?"
"Ah, right. I forgot you are not aware of what happened. You see, Wyndham was struck by a large storm when Ganishka transformed, and from under the rubble, somehow. Apparently it seems very similar to the old capital that came under during Gaiseric's reign."

What a Griffith thing to do, take other people's works and taking the credit for it...

Apparently, he has managed to combine his army of apostles with a heavy culture that encourages the joining of guilds to help the refugees who have survived the Kushan Invasion, even ripping off Barnham's idea of the coliseum given how he segregates the apostle from the men as they live in a separate part of town. But since they have the pontiff at their side, their religion is still very established, and he can brainwash them into thinking he is the messiah until well after Charlotte's marriage.

Who knew sending Luka and her friends to be moles on his government would have worked so well?
>>
>>5704978
After giving Kalki all the proper instructions he needed and keeping all your main players informed, you sit down at the ship's bow to relax, surely you would like to have a day without some part of your plans going south, but there is nothing too out of control just yet for you to consider your tactics going off the rails.

"FIRE BLOW! AAAAARGH!" Isidro jump kicks the wall to get a boost in speed, hoping to stab you with his salamander knife, only for your precognition to kick, swerving under your head as you lie down and the monkey-boy flies and hits his head on a wooden mast.

"Almost nothing." You mutter under your breath as Serpico approaches to check on Isidro's already bruised up face.

"You've waited all this time to get to him, and when he finally relaxes, you start shouting at him from a distance?"
"Of course! I need to intimidate my opponents! Guts does that just fine!"
"Yeah, but your intimidation tactics to his is like comparing a lion's roar to a cat's purring..."

"Training with flammable weapons on the deck, as usual..." You roll your eyes, pretending to be surprised with Isidro's misuse of the salamanders.
"He was pestering me about how cool it would be if we combined our elementals together to do a 'fiery tornado', but since I have the common sense to not let him boil the merrows alive, he's been trying to force me to use my sylph sword. I've been managing him with a few backhands just fine, though.

"This is why we're always two steps behind Guts and Vlad! You never take your sparring partner seriously!" Isidro chastises him.
"Believe me, you do not want to know the state you would be if I took you seriously."

>You know what? I could use a sparring session, bring in on, you two.
>Let's take him seriously for once, Serpico. I owe it to Isidro after not giving him any challenges back in Nostos.
>Let's gang up on Serpico, Isidro. He's been way too stiff for someone using the wind spirits.
>>
>>5705004
>You know what? I could use a sparring session, bring in on, you two.
We are going to make so many golems when we are back
>>
>>5705004
>You know what? I could use a sparring session, bring in on, you two.
>>
>>5705004
>You know what? I could use a sparring session, bring in on, you two.
>>
>>5705004
>You know what? I could use a sparring session, bring in on, you two.
>>
>>5705021
>>5705031
>>5705098
>>5705120
Let's give a 1d100 to see how well they do! It'll mostly be a gains roll since whether or not you win this little brawl isn't all that important.
>>
Rolled 87 (1d100)

>>5705156
>>
Rolled 44 (1d100)

>>5705156
>>
>>5705162
>>5705179
Did we hit the jackpot or something? Vlad's just not allowed to roll bad now
>>
Rolled 49 (1d100)

>>5705156
Gaming.
>>
>>5705162
>>5705179
>>5705454
Finally punching up instead of punching down, Serpico gets into the swing of things, managing to hover and glide around his air strikes to the point where he's pretty much flying with his gravity defying swerves. Despite his stamina taking a dip compared to yours, he isn't too far behind in terms of swordplay and fencing skills.

Coupled with Isidro's erratic movements, you are actually pleased to see them having great synergy, even managing to get a couple hits on you. Though Isidro attacks way too rashly, after a few hits, he makes the most out of his small size by tumbling and leaping off of terrain, until Serpico picks up on his fighting style and starts redirecting him midair with his Sylph Sword.

Once they attempt to strike you at the same time, an upwards slash from Isidro's Salamander knife combined with a spiral manipulation from the wind managed to create a fire current, flaring an eruptive blaze that ascended to the sky, even managing to brighten the cloud filled horizon as it rained below you.

If you didn't crouch in due time, you would probably be scorched from head to toe. And though you did not do much other than physical upkeep, Serpico and Isidro seemed to bond over their progress, promising to keep training until they can summon a fire tornado to burn an entire apostle army (though Isidro seems more interested in doing that feat than Serpico)

As you keep sparring with them for the following days, you remember to check on your beloved horse Gunpowder, who seemed to be having a problem walking around with Hyde.

"Checked 'is ear earlier today, partner. Seems like he can't hear a thing from both ends. Poor guy's gone completely deaf after that ordeal with The Sea God." Hyde takes off his hat in mourning from his hearing.

"What's the matter, is it his eardrums? Perhaps I can fix them if I--"
"No." Gunpowder protests after seeing your luminous hands. "Gunpowder old horse, would just get hurt again if Vlad heals him."

Huh? What's wrong with GP? He's usually complaining about you ignoring him for so long, so you thought he'd be happy to get some healing.
"How much until Vlad reaches Island?"
"A few days, at most. Shouldn't take longer than a week."
"Good, Maybe Vlad can find better horse for war there... Gunpowder...Tired..."

The black stallion feels ultimately satisfied from defeating his strongest foe yet, uncharacteristically feeling like he has peaked. And though after promising to die in a battlefield, he seems to know that he won't be of much use if he's limping around.

What, did he lose his motivation after finding out he can't kill Barnham anymore?

"Remember, partner. I know we hold GP in high regards, but a horse is still a horse, nuthin supernatural about him, and for someone with barely any help from magic, he's already gone through what most horses wouldn't be capable of."
>>
>>5705537
"Thinkin' about puttin' 'im down?" Hyde asks a question you that did not even pass through your head.
"What? No! At most I was thinking of leaving him in peace at Elfhelm."
"Ya know how much of a crazy-ass this horse is, I'm not sure peace fits 'im that much. What's even there for 'im to be happy with?"

"I don't know... Centaurs? Unicorns? Pegasus? Seems like a good retirement home for him."

"I dunno, Ya gotta remember that even after pledgin' for loyalty and being one of the strongest horses out there, Gunpowder's just a regular horse after all. He's done way more than the average little colt can say he did, lived several lives in the span of a single one, and all without any magic, but that's gotta have a toll on his health."

"Haha, Gunpowder Old! Violet better now!" Though Gunpowder cannot hear anymore, Violet's body language still communicates their sibling rivalry, to which he responds accordingly.
"Gunpowder getting weaker, but not slower! Could still beat bird in race even if blind! Would rather die than lose to you!"

Your horse still has some life left in him if his pride is anything to go about, but you're not sure if you want to drag him across hell and back if he's dragging his hooves already.

>Gunpowder's had a good run, but maybe it's best for me to retire him.
>I'm not putting him down! He's been with me since the start!
>It's up to him, I can't make any decisions when he has a mind of his own.
>How about a race at Elfhelm to test his capabilities? You and Violet versus me and him? The outcome should tell us of his current condition.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5705575
>>It's up to him, I can't make any decisions when he has a mind of his own.
>>
>>5705575
>It's up to him, I can't make any decisions when he has a mind of his own.
Ultimately its his decision. He's getting up in years, his hearings gone, his greatest foe is dead, maybe its not such a bad thing if he gets to "die in his bed" as it were.
And heck, if he gets to live the rest of his life in Elfhelm, literally one of the best places on the planet that is known, all the better for him.
>>
>>5705575
>It's up to him, I can't make any decisions when he has a mind of his own.
>>
>>5705577
>>5705684
>>5705687
"It's not for me to say "put him down" or "let him live." Like all of us, Gunpowder has his own free will, and I would not put my wishes over his. If he wishes to rest, I'll let him leave the rest of his days in nature. And should he change his mind before our march against the unholy deities, it shall be made. His grave will be made wherever he wishes to rest."

"Heh, you really know how to take care of your pets, eh? Ol' Gunpowder is the closest I've seen to a guy being a father to his horse."
"Oh yeah? Then what does that say about your little bird daughters?" You poke fun at him for complaining about weird interspecies parenthood given the situation he's found himself.

"Nah, Violet and the girls are family through and through. I had a few dogs I had to put down before, ya know how hard it was to travel around the mountain me and Jodi lived. Never wanted to do it, but I did it. Had to take them out of the house just to put them under or else Jodi would bawl her eyes out for days on end."

"I imagine you wouldn't be able to do the same with Violet."
"Never. Ya way of viewing life changes a lot when you become a parent. Just about as much as becoming an adult. It's the second wake-up call ya get if you missed the first one in adolescence. It's why Guts and Casca have been able to get it together despite all the shit goin' down in their lives. Even if a couple's love dies down, a real parent won't let their love for their child die with it. Killing a good pet is sad, but feasible. Killing a child? You might as well kill yourself with 'im."

"There really is something mesmerizing about the younger generation, always struggling to the expectations of parents, while also having no idea what they want for themselves." You comment, not being that far away from that age to not use your personal experience as an example.

"Hey, if ye and Farnese ever think too hard about these things, ya'll miss out on having good times with ya kids. Let them figure themselves out, then you can nudge 'em into the right directions."

"I'll let you know if we ever need a babysitter. Your motivational storytelling skills would bring sparkle to the eyes of the most unmotivated of brats." You laugh along with him, wondering if you would need to test Gunpowder on one last race against Violet like he wished to.

Speaking of old horses wanting to prove their merit before retiring, you've been curious to check on Guts, who said he would likely stop at Elfhelm if he didn't feel the need to fight anymore. And though you just wanted to see the guy being jolly for once, that answer also kept creeping into the back of your head as you approached his cabin.
>>
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>>5705774
"Have you ever been so overcome with your emotions, that you were incapable of coming to terms with your own foolishness?" Guts welcomes you onto his room, letting you swing on the hammock while he cleans off his metallic arm.

"Maybe, though not to the extend most have."
"Aren't you a lucky one..." Guts sighs, with a smile on his face. "You see, I've been asking myself a lot of questions now that I found the time and willingness to answer them. Back in the hill of swords, I asked Griffith if he felt a single thing when he sacrificed the Falcons, and all he replied with was 'I did not betray my dream.' The desire to squash his pretty face in with my fists trampled over the question that I really wished to ask myself: If he didn't care about us anymore, why was I bothering with all of my journey, looming over the shadow of someone who did not consider me worthy of his presence? I didn't go on a murder spree of apostles with a plan, or even for a heroic vow to save Casca and live in peace for her sake. I was just blowing off steam, all the while pouring alcohol over the bonfire."

"So you're through with imagining yourself punching a hole through his face?"
"Sometimes the thought does come over me, but as of now... I've become hardened enough to do the same as he does. Feel nothing about him, let Griffith be a mere thought out of my sight."

"You've learned how to use that sword of yours not as a weapon, but as a shield, and I commend you for that." Seeing the words come out of Guts' mouth after all these years is nothing short of satisfying, however...
"I assume you're also thinking of putting a stop to your sword fighting altogether?"

"Not forever... A falcon will keep soaring through the sky, in search of higher and higher views. A lone wolf will eventually form a pack for himself, or else he'll risk dying alone. I still plan on fighting if it means protecting Puck's little spirit buddies, or Casca and Lucio for that matter, but nothing of the scale of what we've just dealt. Sure, there is higher power to gain from tapping into my hatred, but if the blow I got from the silver eyed entity left me limping to this day, I'm not sure I want to rely on it as a crutch. It's best to quit while I'm ahead."

"Not trying to guilt trip you, but your strength would be greatly appreciated against him, if part of you still feels up to it."
No need to guilt trip the brooding swordsman, after finally making amends with the other survivor of the group and getting everything he wanted from life, it's hard to convince him to throw it all away a second time, especially given how his mind is pondering on the victims of the eclipse, and how most likely, joining them prematurely would be the last thing they wished to their captain.

"Fair enough. Knowing the God Hand, I'll still go to hell even if I live by my own just because of this stupid mark on my neck."
>>
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>>5705800
"Don't pull any punches with me, Vlad: How confident are you of defeating The Reborn Falcons without me?" Guts asks bluntly, evaluating the odds of your victory, and whether or not he should give away his newfound solace over his most reliable friend.

>100%. You should rest easy, I'll write you a letter when this is all over so we can celebrate it over some drinks.
>50-50%. It could go either way, but I've had better cards drawn on worse bets.
>Frankly, I'm not feeling too confident after Barnham's death. But I don't plan on marching to a meaningless demise.
>Grim. Under a thousand to one. Yet here I stand, unwavering to fate.
>>
>>5705809
>Frankly, I'm not feeling too confident after Barnham's death. But I don't plan on marching to a meaningless demise.
>>
>>5705809
>Frankly, I'm not feeling too confident after Barnham's death. But I don't plan on marching to a meaningless demise.
>>
>>5705809
>>Frankly, I'm not feeling too confident after Barnham's death. But I don't plan on marching to a meaningless demise.
"I have plans and ideas for even the odds, neither his army, his monsters or captains are unbeatable.... but the members of the god hand will be the real problem. I will make sure Ilos is ready for war even with their inevitable interruptions and new gifts to their slaves They no doubt think their final victory is near, i can imagine how Griffith will have it write down by his historians. 'And here Griffith I of his name defeated the last traitorous rebel lord, Lord Vlad the half man-plant of Ilos'. Simply ridicolous."

"And..... if Ilos doesn't find success, perhaps i ll try to wound them permanetly at least. Should give the new generation a chance of victory even if they would need to rise and survive in a dark age."
>>
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>>5705898
>>5705904
>>5705944
"Frankly, I'm not feeling too confident after Barnham's death. But I don't plan on marching to a meaningless demise. I have some plans and ideas to at least force Griffith into a stalemate. We've already proved that neither his army, his monsters or his captains are unbeatable, but the members of the god hand will be the real problem."

"Be sure not to underestimate Griffith, he will sure not give you the same treatment after you've killed both the entity and Grunbeld in a single day. If anything, you're already infamous on their side." Guts tells you to be wise in how you choose your captains, as well as giving some additional tactical insight. "Also, it would be good to count the number of fleets and separate them by a fixed number. Though counting the friends you've made in Cromwell, Enoch, Randel, Nostos, Ys, and Maybe Elfhelm... I don't see you having more than 4000 units with you, and that's counting the Bakiraka clan giving you a good chunk of their remaining army."

"I think I've led a good example on how to command other troops, if everyone else here plays a major part in different armies, I'm sure they will equal in strength to Grififth's captains. I will make sure Ilos is ready for war, even with their inevitable interruptions and new gifts to their slaves."

"I would help you out with any more advice on war plans, but I never paid much attention to the meetings the imperial knights did aside from the occasional eavesdropping. You're a master of figuring things out on the spot, though, so I think you can handle it. You have a better tolerance for things not going your way than he ever did, that's for sure."

"It's not like I can't see myself losing..." You sulk back to him. "But if Ilos doesn't find success, perhaps I'll try to set their plans back at least. Should give the new generation a chance of victory even if they would need to rise and survive in a dark age."

Your worries don't go unnoticed, to which Guts glares at you for a few minutes before revealing his intentions.
"Well, how about we make a little deal. If this side of the war ever comes to Elfhelm, be warned that aside from all the magical bullshit the Elfs will throw at them, Griffith will have an old acquaintance of his ready to greet him."

You smile at him, knowing that he could never say never when it came to a good old apostle beating.
"THERE IT IS! SKELLIG ISLAND!" The timing of Isidro's shouts couldn't be any better, as he plays captain and tells the sailors to drop their anchors and prepare to disembark.

"Well, what do you know? We've arrived safe and sound." You come out of Guts' cabin to hear Magnifico and Roderick talking amidst their team.

"I wouldn't call a pirate attack and a sea monster safe, Rod!"
"Well, at least it wasn't boring."
>>
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>>5706048
After sending some rafts with the main players off to explore the shore, Ino warns Isma to remain cautious.

"We and the others will stay here for a while. Isma, take this." She hands her daughter a small shell.

"If you whisper into it, I will hear your voice, and you can hear mine if you put it to your ear. Don't be afraid to use it in case anything happens. Having grown up human, you'll find many things to be mysterious in the elf island, so please be careful."

"No worries! Auntie Sivir is coming with me, as well as the other big fighting guys!"
"Perhaps with my company, Danaan will be more keen on putting our differences aside." Says the hopeful Sivir, carrying an unconscious Casca along with Serpico.

"So you know a thing or two about this place, huh? Anything worth mentioning?" Serpico asks.
"Yes, the flow of time hire is quite erratic, unlike anything you're accustomed to on the past continent. Depending on the will of the spirits who lay there, it can flow as fast or as slow as it wishes to, with no known pattern to it. Continuing to stay here means cutting off your ties to the outside world."

"Will it affect the ones on the seahorse?" Roderick asks
"No, it's why the merrows are staying with them."

>Will it have any effect on me?
>How fast can time flow here?
>Which way to Danaan's house?
>How do you feel about Danaan? Do you two have any history?
>>
>>5706079
>How do you feel about Danaan? Do you two have any history?
>Which way to Danaan's house?
I'm debating if I want the relationship explanation between Danaan and Sivir to go before or during the walk to Danaan.
>>
>>5706079
>Which way to Danaan's house?
>How do you feel about Danaan? Do you two have any history?
>>
>>5706079
>How do you feel about Danaan? Do you two have any history?
>Which way to Danaan's house?
>>
>>5706124
>>5706397
>>5706403
"How do you feel about Danaan? Do you two have any history together?"

"My history with the Flower Storm Monarch is one that even I have trouble deciphering... She first contacted me when I was still in Midland Sea, trying to isolate myself in a different world. I was then warned on how I should not try to contact her due to being a product of dark magic. Even if I was not responsible for the circumstances of my birth, Danaan said that it is tradition to forbid any who participated in the dark arts to enter Skellig, or else it would affect the energy and spirits who lived there, perhaps even altering the flow of time here."

"So the only reason she didn't bring you here was because of inconvenience and tradition? She doesn't seem like that benevolent of a ruler to me." Guts affirms that she should have fought for her rights, but Sivir is quick to sound weak.

"I'm sure she must have had her reasons. There isn't really anything quite like Vlad and I on their world. An artificial clone of a monarch who draws her own source of power like an imitation of the world spiral tree on a smaller scale... Surely I raised her several red flags."

"If you don't mind me asking, Sivir. Was there anyone else who broke the laws of dark magic and also got blacklisted from the island?" Schierke asks, with Puck adding the following:
"Yeah, what exactly happens when you do dark magic that's so bad that it bans you from being a magical creature?"
"A rain of behelits spawn from the sky, manifesting themselves and rolling their way to whoever The God Hand chooses as worthy of their service. It is why astral magic can only be taught to the pure of heart, or else they risk spreading the curse of causality."

Now you understand why instances of apostle sightings were rare during Midland's Holy See crusades, given how they were discouraged in participating on anything that required magic.

"I believe the last person exiled from Elfhelm was a magician named... Flora. She artificially prolonged her life span while also reviving a friend of hers, placing him in a suit of armor so he could also live for as long as he wished to. Though her intentions were noble, she still had a hand in indirectly creating several powerful apostles that roam the world today--"

"You must be mistaken!" Knowing only one witch named Flora, Schierke was quick to defend her master. "There was no way Flora had a hand in creating those fiends! Why would she submit herself to that humiliation?!"

Though Schierke wants to deny it in her heart, in her mind, it all adds up as to why Flora never left her abode.
>>
>>5706508
>Seems like a valid reason to shun the outsiders, then.
>It's still very unreasonable for her to tell you to control the sea god without any training, though. It seems like she was leaving you for dead.
>We have met Flora before, she did not seem like a bad person.
>She did have an air of guilty around her, like she had done something unforgivable.
>Good people sometimes have to do actions they are not proud of, Schierke. Don't resent your master for it.
>I believe I'm familiar with who she brought back to life...
>Write-in.
>>
>>5706510
>>She did have an air of guilty around her, like she had done something unforgivable.
>>Good people sometimes have to do actions they are not proud of, Schierke. Don't resent your master for it.
>>I believe I'm familiar with who she brought back to life...
>>
>>5706540
+1
>>
>>5706540
+1
>>
>>5706540
+1
>>
>>5706540
>>5706608
>>5706707
>>5706791
"She did have an air of guilt around her, like she had done something she shouldn't have, and given how I managed to talk to her right before she passed away, I believe I am familiar with who she brought back to life..."
"Don't say that, Vlad!" Schierke mistakenly calls you out for being insensitive a she starts to sob. Feeling sorry for the poor witch apprentice missing her mother figure, you make sure that offending them was not your intent.

"Don't think I am badmouthing Flora just for the sake of it, Schierke." You put your a hand on the girl's head. "Good people sometimes have to do actions they are not proud of, and compared to what my father or even my master did for me, I cannot judge or resent her for it when her faults were a lot less egregious than theirs. None of us resent her for it Schierke, her pride as a witch is still intact."

"Do you mean that?"
"Absolutely." You smile at her and crouch down to her level, making sure she was not crying.
"I believe I am not familiar with this knight guy you have mentioned, would you mind filling me in?" Roderick asks.

"Well, if you've done your homework on Midland history, you might have learned something about one named King Gaiseric."
"Gaiseric? The first king of Midland? But he's been dead and missing for over a thousand years!" Magnifico, oblivious as always, wonders how it was possible for him to stay alive.

"Wait a minute. THAT guy is Gaiseric?" Puck connects the dots with his pea-sized brain. "You mean Midland has been putting up with these crappy governors while #1 is strolling around the world eating demon jujubes? What a lazy bum, no wonder the Wyndhams are all incompetent!"

"While he united all the land into a kingdom, his complacency made him hated during his victory, resulting in the God Hand member now named Void to learn of dark magic after being wrongly imprisoned. After making a pact with the old God Hand, he restarted the cycle as he took revenge by invading Elfhelm, killing a friend both Gaiseric and Flora had in common." Sivir explains all she knows about Skelling after asking Danaan. "That's when rage took over Gaiseric, arriving just in time to see his beloved dying in his arms. Though Flora could not save him, his soul was transfered to the body he has now, and with nothing left to live for, he will only be freed of his duty once the dark magic fueled by the God Hand disappears.

"Well, he's had a thousand years of planning, right? He's surely figured out something by now."
"Imagine the chance of having a king on our side of the fight. And not just any king, the King of Galloping Death himself!" Magnifico and Roderick banter between each other.

"The Brand of Sacrifices only affects those who the dealer is attached to" Guts scratches his, pointing out how you don't have all the information yet.
"Indeed, perhaps we'll need to ask him about it whenever he shows up again." You respond before asking another important question.
>>
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>>5706910
"Since Danaan is also as old as the God Hand members are, I assume she is somewhere around their power level?"
"Yes. While I have never seen her fighting, she has told me that she should be able to hold her own against one of their fingers with her magic."

Not that it would matter, considering your lineup. At your most optimistic scenario, you would have one general with equal amount of strength to fight each God Hand Finger. So Skull Knight would fight Void, you would fight Conrad, Guts would fight Femto, Danaan would fight Slan,...

That still leaves Void free to bring havoc above everyone who cannot oppose him while you fight them off, and even if all of you miraculously evolve to the point where you can defeat them, it might already be too late.

Farnese instinctively notices you thinking too hard and squeezes your hand, reminding you to not obsess over what's too far ahead as you march along to Skellig.

Reaching a rock formation with several runes carved onto them, you feel a large pressure pushing you back as you try to go forward, with the same happening to Sivir.

"Barriers?"
"That's weird, I can go in just fine." Isidro attempts to run forward, not noticing he was turning around and going in circles until he came back dizzy.
"No doubt a safety measure brought by the breaking of the astral barrier. The inhabitants don't want any random stranger to trespass their territory." Schierke explains to the others, while you wonder how to pass through this maze.

>Manually disable their magic. (60)
>I can wait here, no rush. You folks can find someone in Skellin to help me and Sivir in.
>Puck, you've lived here for years. Can't you give me a hand on how this works?
>Write-in.
>>
>>5706937
>Puck, you've lived here for years. Can't you give me a hand on how this works?
Let the elf lead the way
>>
>>5707150
+1
It either works in which case we will be on our merry way or it doesn't in which case we get to read Puck's antics. It's a win win situation.
>>
>>5706937
>Puck, you've lived here for years. Can't you give me a hand on how this works?
Puckbros, it’s our time to shine!
>>
>>5706937
>>Puck, you've lived here for years. Can't you give me a hand on how this works?
Best be a good guest and not disable their barrier
>>
>>5706937
>>Puck, you've lived here for years. Can't you give me a hand on how this works?
>>
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>>5707150
>>5707233
>>5707360
>>5707366
>>5707432
"Puck, haven't you lived here for years? Surely you can tell me how this works."
"Ey, don't look at me. This wasn't here when I was around."
"Still, you're the only one who can fly over here without trespassing. I don't feel like disabling their security measures. It would be like kicking down the door of a friend's house because no one answered it."

"I think I can call the old lady here, no way she doesn't recognize me." Puck effortlessly flies over the barrier, who doesn't push him back thanks to his affinity to the island's energy.

And so you wait for Puck to come back. A few minutes pass, as you wonder if he actually knew what he was doing, until a troop of mages in similar attire of Schierke's march forward to greet you, as well as a smaller dwarf mage mounted on an old goat.

"So you've been fighting demons while you were out all this time?" A few of the children accompanying the head mage ask Puck.

"Yeah, It's a chore. A fact of life, but some would call doing good a labor of love! Personally, I get mad love, but I detest the labor..."
"Speaking of labor, we have yet to water the pumpkin crops this week." The more mature of the magicians scratches her forehead.
"Oh, that's easy." With one simple motion of his staff, the guru made the clouds turn into rain, moistening the outside of the island like he was one with the raindrops.

"Such advanced magic! Not even Vlad can do that!" Schierke is shocked at his expertise.
"It usually takes a lot of planning and ritual summoning to influence nature like this, and he just manipulates the local climate like this..." Farnese thought she was already mastering the elementals, until she witnessed true mastery.

"Greetings, travelers. My name is Gedfriend, the one who governs all the mages in this land. Thankfully Puck came along to warn the girls here to hold their fire, things would have gotten pretty ugly otherwise."

"No need to thank me, guys!" The little elf gives you a thumbs up, to which you stealthily return.

"'A small whirlwind out from this island would draw in many fates, and return as a tempest...' Or so did the oracle say." Gedfriend disables the stone labyrinth and approaches Sivir.

"I apologize for coming to the island, Sage Chief. I know that even after the Sea God being defeated, I am still not allowed here, but this is an emergency to treat the Mandragoran Curse, and I believe it would not do much harm in letting my son and his friends visit for a short amount of time." Sivir motions over to Casca, who was asleep to withstand the aftereffects of her withdrawal.

"That is for Queen Danaan to evaluate, but either way. I am already informed of this ordeal. In fact, an old resident of the island came to me in a dream and said 'look after my dear little student when she visits.'"

Schierke's eyes brighten up when finding out that Flora is indeed well known here.
>>
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>>5707538
"Ain't that convenient? The guy knows everything about us already! Saves us a paragraph or two of exposition!" Puck chuckles to Schierke.
"That's just how it is with great mages..."

As the mages started chatting amongst themselves, you followed them through a vast crop fields, with dancing scarecrows that took care of their crops, and jumped around in place, as well as the passing unicorns and the talking tree trunks with faces carved onto them. It really seemed like every part of the forest was alive and sentient.

"And don't you even think of taking this land from Lady Danaan, you faker!" One of the mages waves her staff at the flinching Sivir.
"Auntie Sivir is harmless! She wouldn't hurt a fly!"
"It's alright, dear Isma. I am used to being an outcast..." Sivir's self deprecation made her grow a thick skin from being shunned around mages, and thinking Farnese could get some points with defending her mother-in-law, she stepped in:

"Please don't badmouth Sivir, her resemblance to your master might be weird at first, but once you've--"
"I don't need pity you, dirty mage killer." Sivir quickly shuts your fiancée down, pointing out her hypocrisy for defending her when she has persecuted both of your families.

"How can Vlad have two mothers, and I have to make double the effort to get along with both of them..." She sighs.
"Take a wild guess as to why."

"Morda! How many times have I told you not to cut your dress?!" The old sage complains about a particularly rebellious witch, who ripped her mage clothes for the sake of a cleavage and a better view of her legs.

"You think I'm going to stay with these many clothes on THIS weather? Yeah, good luck convincing me, old Ged." The sultry witch says as she uses an old broomstick to effortlessly float above you all. "I'm already the best mage around here anyway, why bother with the dress code when I barely need to hear the lessons?"

"Sweet, Ye can fly too?" Hyde gets up to Morda's eye level with Violet, shocking her to see a tamed harpy.
"No way! You folks have a Harpy?"
"Several of them, they're all daughters of mine."
"O-Oh..." Morda blushes, making Hyde wonder what the issue was.
"Hope ye ain't blushin' over me, missy. I'm a married man."

"That's not it, I mean. Don't you know how harpies reproduce?"
"Nah, found a nest of them laying around on the mountain, why? Ain't it just like regular birds?"
"Actually, there are only female harpies. They are encouraged to reproduce with other species, usually they rape the male and use their corpse to hide their eggs, they usually die when their cloaca clenches the male's-"
"Actually, I don't think I wanna hear this story of yours. Do ye know any way to castrate harpies, by the way?" Hyde desperately looks for a way to prevent their daughters from turning into killers.
>>
>>5707575
Despite them being weary of Sivir, the people of Skellig seemed pretty ecstatic to see new blood walking the place, with each of your friends having someone to bounce off from, be Schierke and Farnese with the kids, Hyde with Morda, Serpico with Nature, Puck and Ivalera with the woodland critters and others of their race, and Roderick and his team getting used to the mystical nature of the place.

With every step here, you grow more comfortable inside Skellig. It's a hypnotizing feeling, the houses all modeled like Flora's tree mansions, the gigantic cherry blossom slowly blooming as it's petals danced in the air on their way to the soil... This is how life should be all around the world. You could get used to seeing people living like this. After all this talk about peace amidst the torn world of Midland, you've finally found a place where all you ideals of government and ideal living conditions were perfectly developed and established. A golden standard for you to base yourself on, if you should try to do something similar on the outside world.

"Hey there, good looking!" Morda flies up to your face as you pass across Danaan's house. "Ever flied on a broomstick before? It might take a bit for The flower girl to get ready, I can show you around."
"I do not take kindly to your cat-calling!" Farnese stands between you and the more experienced witch with her ring showing.
"Oh, you have one of those too? I can show you how to use them. Hop on, cutie!"
"Yeah, so you better-- huh?" Farnese lost her composure, unsure if she was also being hit on.

>Sure, seems like there's plenty for all of us to learn on our short stay here.
>No thanks, I would rather stay here and leave the distractions for later.
>>
>>5707613
>No thanks, I would rather stay here and leave the distractions for later.
>But encourage Farnese to hop on
To be honest I'd rather to skip this one for... Any of the other stuff we are supposed to do here
>>
>>5707613
>>5707660
I'll support this.
>>
>>5707613
>Sure, seems like there's plenty for all of us to learn on our short stay here.
>>
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>>5707660
>>5707671
>>5707696
"Actually Farny, I think you should make the most out of the opportunity. Why don't you learn a few things about their magic and make some new friends?"

"A-Are you sure? I'm not certain of my safety flying along with this girl I just met..." Farnese stammers, looking over to Morda standing upside down on her broom to play up the dangers of getting a ride with her.

"You can take Schierke with you if you feel too lonely there. What's the harm in letting loose? There's no batter place for it, and you finally get to know some people who have your new interests in common."

"Can you teach us how to fly with a broom?" Schierke asks Morda.
"We have a few spares, but I can teach you the basics."
The needy Farnese really wants to do nothing more than huddle behind you and stomp her feet saying 'But I wanna stay with yoooou!', yet knowing how childish that would make her look, she sighed a deep breath and agreed that there would not be a better chance than in Elfhelm than to widen her social circle.

"Make it quick..." She lets go of your collar after you give her a 'good luck' smooch.
"Take your time, it'll only be boring adult talk over here anyway." You wave goodbye as Schierke shrieks from the speed on Morda's broomstick.

"Sorry for the wait, everyone. It's been a while since I've had to make any big announcements." A pink haired woman with the same robes as the mages appears, giving everyone present a share of her freshly baked pumpkin pies. How fancy...

As several animals flock to her, the lady takes out her robes and shows herself in all her pink, majestic glory.

The resemblance is indeed quite uncanny. Were it not for her antenna and the flesh pink color of her dress to match with her eyes and hair compared to Sivir's lime green, you would not be able to tell them apart.

"Welcome to my Elfhelm, travelers. Though I believe one of you is already quite familiar with this land already..."
"That would be me!" Puck says, before Danaan's eyes go directly to Sivir. "Oh, nevermind..."
"Danaan, I am sorry to bother you, I know you did not even wish to see me, yet I need you to help out with one of my son's friends!" Sivir places the unconscious Casca on a nearby set of leaves, seemingly having recovered from her rash.

"..." After evaluating Casca, Danaan swiftly responds.
"The raven haired woman seems to be healing well without my aid. Your antidote has worked quite nicely, she should be waking up in just a few hours. Almost as if you wanted to come here on your own..."

>Confront Danaan on why she left Sivir in the sea.
>Let them talk it out first.
>>
>>5707814
>Let them talk it out first.
Waiting
>>
>>5707814
>Let them talk it out first.
CATFIGHT, RAWR!
>>
>>5707814
>Let them talk it out first.
We aren't privy to all the details about Sivirs banishment from this place anyways, there is a good chance we'd make situation worse if we barge straight into a confrontation.
>>
>>5707853
>>5707916
>>5708255
Let's not get too hasty and listen to the context of their conversation. Perhaps you will get to a better understanding of why these two have a severed relationship.

"...You're right. I have come here to ask you why I was never allowed here in the first place."
"I'm afraid you already know the reason. You are of similar nature as the trees around here, meant as a barrier from the astral world and the physical. Seeing how there were too many of these here already, I wished to leave one safe spot of the astral plane for humans to live with, which was were Nostos was. Given how you were able to live deep within the sea floor, it would be difficulty for any apostle of the demonic army to reach you."

"So you've left me to take care of the Sea God by myself? You know I cannot fight! I was unable to properly use the magic of the orb! I was merely borrowing power from Vlad! Power that I never asked, which I was afraid that could compromise his life!"

"Given how you are of comparable power to me, I assumed you would be able to effortlessly care of him."
"Then why couldn't you do it? What is so important that forbids you to leave the island to help the rest of the world?"

"The last time a Monarch of Skellig left their home, it caused a catastrophe which proceeds to this day. We have been preparing our mages for over a millennia just to have a chance at fighting them."

"Then why are you so leisure in your activities? There is much more magical power here than anywhere else in Midland, yet you have made no conscious effort to expand or help any of the humans who don't pass your ridiculous standards! Vlad has made more of an effort at combating the dark lords' forces than any of you! Just admit it that you have a prejudice against us! Entering the astral plane was not the issue, since I managed to get onto Nostos just fine after you taught me how to do it!"

"I assure you there will be a time and a place to join him in his endeavors, but the children here are still incapable of waging a full scale war against The Falcon's army without heavy casualties--"
"So you've seen them as a more appropriate alternative?"

Danaan is undoubtedly in a tight situation. She seems to be in a similar predicament as yours, having an army of great, powerful fighters, yet they do not wish to send them to war due to know all of them are family and have great chances of dying. Perhaps she has a plan she hasn't revealed just yet which is the reason she is stalling for time, yet you can't deny the cruelty of rejecting Sivir from entering Skellig for the reasons she just gave.
>>
>>5708393
>We can unite forces and mitigate the damages. We might be little in numbers, but it is better to fight together than separately.
>Then let us learn some of your magic so I can spread it around our group. If there are any magical weapons, we can also mass produce them to adquire more strength in numbers.
>I sense you are not telling us the full picture here, what exactly is your plan?
>You have left Sivir and the people of my land to die, and there is no good reasoning for your cowardice, not matter how you try to word it.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5708393
>Then let us learn some of your magic so I can spread it around our group. If there are any magical weapons, we can also mass produce them to adquire more strength in numbers.
>>
>>5708396
>Then let us learn some of your magic so I can spread it around our group. If there are any magical weapons, we can also mass produce them to adquire more strength in numbers.
>I sense you are not telling us the full picture here, what exactly is your plan?
>>
>>5708396
>Then let us learn some of your magic so I can spread it around our group. If there are any magical weapons, we can also mass produce them to adquire more strength in numbers.
>I sense you are not telling us the full picture here, what exactly is your plan?
>>
Time to think of Midland situation.
Barnham rip.
Unstucks the current situation, we lose a strong ally.

This means that Griffith can clean up any neutral lords and minor ones that didn't align with him, or ask them to join. The Kushan Empire armies are either retreating while fighting the new falcons, surrendering and joining Griffith, and some might join Ilos. The Kushan Empire it self is probably in dissaray.
Tudor Empire is watching, they probably are not in the best shape, after the war and astral world. Better than others though, they are quite strong and martial inclined. They should be fuming at Griffith, but they hate Midlanders. They also hate silver eyes.
Other kingdoms are either being neutral, approving of Griffith or just don't say a word about their thoughts. We haven't seen much of what they think of Ilos, we can imagine.
Ys and Randel should help us in theory, with some concessions likely.
The notpope is basically in Griffith hands. Might not be the same for the rest of the church.
Mercenaries companies just want money for serve.
The God hand is having fun in creating small hells around.

We don't know how long Griffith will continue doing this secondary campaign of his, because Ilos looks very good to take and we aren't on the continent. So the time we spend here needs to be considered heavily. One step close and he is king even in name.
I am considering only one week, max two.
After that we need to get to Ilos, and Griffith might put someone for intercept us on the coast. Even if it would not be smart at all for his forces to attack.

And we will need to deal with religion when at Ilos. Nothing to be too afraid (giant tree reaching clouds np pal), since Vlad rep despite Griffith has increase, but it needs to be answered. Maybe a new reformed church or installing an antipope with a new holy book. Or even just throw the biggest insult and reignite the spiritual pagan traditions of the silver eyes.
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>>5708396
>We can unite forces and mitigate the damages. We might be little in numbers, but it is better to fight together than separately.
>I sense you are not telling us the full picture here, what exactly is your plan?
>>
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>>5708586
>>5708617
>>5708667
"Then let us learn some of your magic so I can spread it around our group. If there are any magical weapons, we can also mass produce them to adquire more strength in numbers." You interject, wanting to propose some sort of mitigation between the two. And with some brief contemplation, Danaan obliged.

"That much I can do. Gedfriend and the other sage chiefs can teach you plenty of their powerful spells for each of your mages."

"How long should that take? We do not have much time to idle around."
"Currently, our time is dilating to around 5 times slower than the speed of the physical world, so I believe you should have no trouble with time, as it has only been a few minutes since you've entered, according to the ones on the shore."

"Really? So if I spend 5 years here, it will only be like... a year back there?" Isidro counts the numbers on his fingers.
"That's how math works, monkey boy!" Isidro chastises him.
"Seems like our peaceful time will be more than enough to train a few of the guys who are behind in terms of skill." Guts chuckles, already planning his rest while still having plenty of time to train the likes of Isidro into being a fighter of respectable presence.
"Don't be fooled. The instability of Skellig's time flow makes it so the fluctuation can be reversed into the opposite direction depending on the amount of energy placed into it."
"Can't you control it? Some of us could use the time skip..." Serpico asks Danaan.

"Yes, but it would require extinguishing the fauna of the land, I can maintain it's flow for a short amount of time, but time here is like a pendulum, the stronger it is held in place, the farther it will move when released."
"Still, we don't plan on bein' 'ere for long. Even a week here is like, over a month, ain't it? That's more than enough for us to get out with heavy artillery!" Hyde adds, hoping to make the most out of his stay. "Sounds like a good idea to me. I'll go see if the girls are having fun with their flight. Maybe they might even have somethin' for me!"

With the group dispersing into whatever areas they seemed the most interested in, Guts stayed along as Danaan stared at you two, leaving you wondering of The Flower Storm Monarch's true intentions.

"I sense you are not telling us the full picture here, what exactly is your plan?"
"I agree, I've been enough too many mysterious magical creatures to know when they're omitting something. Spill it out, and maybe we won't think you're that much of a coward..."

"The Blood Moon." A short sentence, but enough to make you and Guts jump back in shock. Just what is she planning to do?

"You are aware of the solar eclipse, correct? It is when the God Hand's Red Behelit finally finds a suitable lord of darkness. However, a lunar eclipse is the full moon's powers empowered by the sun. Weakening the creatures of the dark while empowering the benevolent spirits. We are waiting for the next full lunar eclipse to fight them."
>>
>>5708745
"I have seen a few blood moons in my life. They're not that common, yes, but they're not that rare. Surely you haven't been waiting a thousand years just to see a single lunar eclipse."

"Correct, but a single night is not enough to defeat them, which is why we at the astral have taken the proper measures to ensure that combination of light and darkness happening at Midland's Capital can disable the God Hand's powers. Between strengthening the magic of my island, Gaiseric's sword that can use the power of the abyss, and the raised awareness of humanity's origins, we needed to buy time with the magicians still around Midland territory until we had perfected our spells."

"Wow, lady. You seem more vile with each passing minute." Guts cuts in. "So all the witches who lived in astral trees back where we live got persecuted for a thousand years while you ordered your underlings to cook you some pumpkins? Where are the real fruits of your labor?"

"I have been practicing a spell that can keep the bloody moon in the sky for as long as possible."
"What?!" You gasp. You've seen magic that affects the weather before, but the movements of the earth, moon and sun? Preposterous!

"It is a very difficult spell that draws force from the life of the earth itself, but I believe that it is feasible to use it for a short amount of time without bringing harm to others. The dilation of time is common within astral dimensions, which is why I have been learning how to apply it on the physical world and use it to our advantage. Keep it in mind that I cannot alter moon cycles or speed up time at will until we reach a Blood Moon, only to keep it's effects active for as long as possible."

"That will do then, how long until the next one on Midland?"
"It should happen around the middle of summer. Though be warned that The God Hand are aware of all events involved in causality and it's manipulations, so there might be a chance of them having a counter-measure for our plan in spire of it all. And given how their cycle seems to restart once every thousand years... They might be expecting us to do their work on their stead."

"So not even you know what happens when they start anew?"
"Records of those events are rate to find, given how much they try to control the collective conscious, they would rather not leave traces on how to defeat them right at their birthplace. But we know that the Astral Tree is directly tied to the Idea Of Evil itself, and if Femto takes control of it, he can absorb all of life into itself, until it is nothing but a wasteland of hiveminds."

Seems like for every time your friends said you were overpreparing for your fights, you now have a reason to tell them how you were actually underprepared...
>>
>>5708781

>>5708781
>I now understand that your situation is far from enviable, Danaan. I apologize for casting doubt on you, as well as apologizing on my mother's behalf for.
>I still believe that your lenience to Sivir and the silver eyed genocide is morally reprehensible, but I am afraid I am in no position to choose my allies. May we not meet again after this is all over.
>Is there anything else we can do to prepare for the fight against the God Hand?
>Are you sure there's nothing else you're not omitting?
>Can you teach me the moon holding spell? Just in case something might happen to you.
>I will start learning about your sages' most powerful spells right away then.
>How strong are your horses here? I'm afraid I might have to retire my old one.
>Is there any way to improve Guts' efficiency with the Berserker armor? It's too dangerous to risk him turning into the dark side every time he uses it.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5708781
>I now understand that your situation is far from enviable, Danaan. I apologize for casting doubt on you, as well as apologizing on my mother's behalf for.
>Is there any way to improve Guts' efficiency with the Berserker armor? It's too dangerous to risk him turning into the dark side every time he uses it.
>Can you teach me the moon holding spell? Just in case something might happen to you.
>>
>>5708787
>I have been considering something that I need your expert opinion on. Do you believe it would be possible to create the polar opposite of the god hand's Behelits? An artifact that could take the righteous and self-sacrificing to the heavenly astral planes so they may be imbued with the power to drive back the forces of the Abyss...
>>
>>5708787
>How strong are your horses here? I'm afraid I might have to retire my old one.
>Is there any way to improve Guts' efficiency with the Berserker armor? It's too dangerous to risk him turning into the dark side every time he uses it.
>>5708819
also supp
>>
>>5708787
>How strong are your horses here? I'm afraid I might have to retire my old one.
>Is there any way to improve Guts' efficiency with the Berserker armor? It's too dangerous to risk him turning into the dark side every time he uses it.
>Can you teach me the moon holding spell? Just in case something might happen to you.
>I will start learning about your sages' most powerful spells right away then.
Since we're finally here, maybe we should ask if there are any poisonous plants we can use to oil our weapons with?
>>
>>5708815
>>5708819
>>5709061
>>5709141
"I apologize for casting doubt on you Danaan, as well as apologizing on my mother's behalf. I see your situation is far from enviable. Is there any way to improve Guts' efficiency with the Berserker armor? It's too dangerous to risk him turning into the dark side every time he uses it."

"Yes, actually. Look for the dwarf Hanarr in the stone forest. He is the blacksmith who created the armor, as well as several other magical weapons you might be familiar with. The Berserker Armor can be controlled if one keeps their emotions in check, but I believe he's better at explaining it's inner workings than I am."

"Guess I'm off then. The sooner I get rid of this dog barking in my head, the better" Guts signs off, in search for anything that looks like a stone forest.

"So, how strong are your horses here? I'm afraid I might have to retire my old one."
"Much faster and more resistant than what you should be used to, especially since the pegasi are able to fly and the unicorns can combine their magical abilities with yours. Hanarr also made a few horsearmors in the past, so feel free to visit him as well."

You feel bad about retiring Gunpowder, but his mood really changed after finding out about Barnham's death, as well as losing his hearing... Given the flow of time here, you won't even be around to see him passing away. You're sure he'll leave his last years in peace, but you wish he wasn't so gloomy in his retirement...

"Very well, I will start learning about the spells from your chief sages in just a minute, I just need to sort a few things out first."
"And what would that be?"
"Could you teach me the moon freezing spell? Just in case something might happen to you. Since Sivir is pretty much your doppelganger, I believe I should have some proficiency in using that spell."

"You can certainly try, but with all due respect, I do not believe I have been honing my abilities for centuries just for an outsider to one up me in my duties. It would be best to leave this to me, as you already have way too much to worry about."

>Wouldn't it hurt to try it out once, would it? (85)
>You're right, best to put that effort somewhere else.
>>
>>5709207
>You're right, best to put that effort somewhere else.
Well, she has a point. We do already have an enormous amount of other preparations on our plate.
>>
>>5709207
>Wouldn't it hurt to try it out once, would it? (85)
Come on anons, just one little try. Whats the worst that can happen? I'm sure it will be fun even if we fail!
>>
>>5709207
>>You're right, best to put that effort somewhere else.
nah
>>
>>5709207
>>You're right, best to put that effort somewhere else.
>>
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>>5709535
>>5710170
>>5710177
>>5710330
"Fair enough. I'll leave that to the experts. I was just making sure we had a plan B in case something happened to you. I don't think Sivir is keen on fighting the war, so..."
"Please, Vlad. Worry not about my well being. I can assurer you that it would take more than the average apostle to take me down."

"Good to know... One last thing. I have been considering something that I need your expert opinion on. Do you believe it would be possible to create the polar opposite of the god hand's Behelits? An artifact that could take the righteous and self-sacrificing to the heavenly astral planes so they may be imbued with the power to drive back the forces of the Abyss..."

"Hm... It would certainly not be as effective a the summoning ritual of the Dark Lords. However, since Gaiseric has managed to forge his Behelit sword, I believe that some of it's power can be manipulated. While the amulet is nothing but a stone with facial features, it will only be activated when their masters use their power on it."

"My deceased master did something like that with her cloak. Unfortunately, I wasn't able to activate it, but it was strong enough to engulf the entire tower of Albion. Could the astral spirits perhaps help me in opening and closing that abyssal dimension?"

"You would have to use a different amulet for it, but yes. Try consulting one of the sages about it. Perhaps this anti-behelit bomb would do well in the Four Kings' hands."

As you exited the Flower Monarch's tree mansion, you pondered on what would be your first course of action. Any of them would likely take a few days to do, but thanks to the time shift, it'll be over before any on the Seahorse miss you.

>Begin development on the Anti-Behelit.
>Help Farnese and Schierke in learning how to fly.
>Look for Gunpowder's substitute.
>Help Guts in sparring with the suppressed Berserker armor.
>>
>>5710363
>>Begin development on the Anti-Behelit.
>>
>>5710363
>Begin development on the Anti-Behelit.
quite useful
>>
>>5710363
>Begin development on the Anti-Behelit.
We might have wasted the first one with Mozgus, but surely that ain't happening a second time!
>>
>>5710363
>Begin development on the Anti-Behelit.
>>
>>5710378
>>5710425
>>5710498
>>5710499
Give it a 1d100 just to see how effective it is. You are doing a spell from scratch but hopefully the elders give you a bit of a lead
>>
Rolled 50 (1d100)

>>5710681
I believe in Yarilo
>>
Nobody else gonna roll? Come on, lads!
>>
Rolled 47 (1d100)

>>5710681
>>
Rolled 21 (1d100)

>>5710681
>>
>The luck has run out
Is it over despite the fact that it hasn't even begun?
>>
>>5711078
Hey, you could have screwed up at other more worrying DCs
>>
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>>5710811
>>5710995
>>5710713
Merlina made the whole "open a portal to the abyss and let it close by itself" thing look a lot easier than it really is. The fact that she managed to carve a rune like that on her final moments is nothing short of astounding, considering that despite the sages knowing what rune she used to conjure up that teleportation spell, the fact that she established contact with the deepest dimension of life proves to be so dangerous that even the four elder sages working together with you are scared to do correctly.

You find a piece of rock and make modeled somewhat after a Behelit. You didn't quite capture the shape of it's face, but it's mostly a design choice than any requirement.
Studying the theoretical, the anti-behelit is feasible. You can use it like a timebomb. Light the fuse with your Od, count to two, throw it, and then see the vortex sucking everything onto it's path. The problems came from trying to test it's power, which Danaan forbid you due to the following factors.

You had no idea how strong it's blast radius was. If it was anything like Merlina's cape, it would be enough to destroy the island. Aside from that, none of you have any idea on how to close that damn portal. It could increase to the point where it would engulf the world if you had no way to stop it. Your only hope in closing the vortex would be to have the Skull Knight around to perhaps use his behelit sword to do the work for you, but given how rarely he appears and the fights he is readying up to, you cannot count on him for that.

You did understand that the Behelit has some power related to teleportation, or at least with illusions, for no matter how far it is activated, the God Hand can reach it, but aside from that, you pretty much wasted 3 weeks on a weapon that for all intents and purposes, is too dangerous to use it in a practical fight for how rough it is to control it.
>>
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>>5711170
Frustrated and with only 2 weeks left for it to be a full week on the outside (the inner workings of the time flow are still leaving you pretty confused). Seeing how down on your luck you were, the ever-loving finds a way to bring you out of your slump by flying with you on her magical broomstick, showing that both her and Schierke were also not slacking off on their training, taking you up to the sky and floating along the shore to gaze into the sunset.

"Seems like you've finally turned into a witch now, clothes and all."
"You make it seem like I've made a transformation... It's just a change to lighter clothes."
"Your metamorphosis is the one constant change that I'm always happy to keep up with."
"You should have seen how scared Schierke was of flying at first. Morda had to hold her the entire time and tell her to keep her eyes closed. Weird that she's afraid of heights when we've flown with our luminous bodies before."
"Souls can't really take fall damage, right? I'd say that's more than understandable." You chuckle after seeing the little witch catch up with other magicians her age, finally making the friends she wasn't able to have on her tree mansion.

As she leans on you to take a rest, you offer her a piece of bread, which falls down and lands on a familiar horse's mouth.
Gunpowder watches you and the witches above him, seeing Hyde and Violet even getting in on the action and teaching them how to do the air tricks he used when dodging arrows.

Despite wishing to retire, part of him still feels like he has something to prove, even where he should be resting. Much like the kids and the elves, they are better off living a life in peace, and though they might wish to stay fighting on your side, it's better for them to live away from you, than vouch for a bloodbath they cannot return alive from.

>How about one last race, old pal? You and me vs these witches!
>Farnese, mind if I try using this broomstick? I wanna see if GP can keep up with me.
>Sorry old pal, but I think you're better off staying retired.
>>
>>5711178
>How about one last race, old pal? You and me vs these witches!
>>
>>5711178
>How about one last race, old pal? You and me vs these witches!
>>
>>5710425
I ll retire what i said
>3 weeks
that s a lot
>>
>>5711178
>>How about one last race, old pal? You and me vs these witches!
>>
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>>5711195
>>5711342
>>5711661
>>5711822
"How about one last race, old pal? You and me vs these witches!"
"With armor?" His body already perks straight, hearing an invitation for a challenge like he is still up to change the world.
"No need to go that far, GP. This is just for fun. Believe it or not, I'm gonna miss you, whatever magical 6 headed centipede pegasus I get here wouldn't be a replacement for the killer horse you still are."

If horses could cry, you would pretend to see a tear in Gunpowder's eye as you hold your own, not wishing to say goodbye to your first companion in the fight against causality. Though since is GP we're talking about, he just snorts and neighs with the same deadpan stare he always has.

"Good. Gunpowder might not kill Barnham, might not even kill Griffith or vermin demon, but old Gunpowder will always be better than young Violet."

"This is why you're irreplaceable, boy. Wouldn't have you any other way."
"Vlad boy. Gunpowder older than you." What once were attempts at diminishing you are now interpreted as what they are: Pretending to hold onto pride as if he doesn't respect you and trust you with his life.

As you gather up the witches and tell them of the race, they all seem to agree on this being both a good exercise and something to take the edge off.

Being the relaxing setting the elf island is accompanied with your warm invitations, no one thought that Gunpowder would start of trailblazing the competition at the first "GO!" yelled out by Puck.

It's like you've never left the battlefield at Doldrey. No matter where GP is, this horse will always give it his all to win. Zig zagging through tree trunks, jumping over boulders and obstacles, the slowest horses are already pretty far behind, as most of the witches give up on overtaking you and remains on their placement, Schierke and Farnese included.

Morda, however, is pretty skilled on her air steering, as well as the flock of pegasi behind her. Gunpowder huffs, angrily making the most out of the force he has on downhill incline while running around hills instead of losing time going up, yet he's just behind enough to feel like he's failing.

Part of him wishes for their wings, angry as he sees all the soldiers who rode him dying at the coliseum and at the Falcon Army without understanding that he was above the regular horses. Perhaps with a pair of those, they could identify his greatness, yet it seems fate had forced him to live the life of the average, the everyday of a mediocre horse.

And just to rub salt on the wound, behind him came Violet and Hyde, finally catching up to him as the were already halfway through Skellig, and though they did have quite a fair amount of speed, you imagined it would fall off if they began sprinting early.

Joke's on them, your Od Transfer makes for a great energy flask.
>>
>>5711954
>Give him all your energy and tell him to go all out! Prove to all that no creature in the air can best him in a race!
>Be conservative, you don't want to him to get too excited and risk his life on a friendly race. Let him do his best by himself.
>>
>>5711955
>Give him all your energy and tell him to go all out! Prove to all that no creature in the air can best him in a race!
>>
>>5711955
>Give him all your energy and tell him to go all out! Prove to all that no creature in the air can best him in a race!
Go Horse Go
>>
>>5711955
>Give him all your energy and tell him to go all out! Prove to all that no creature in the air can best him in a race!
>>
>>5711978
>>5712035
>>5712096
Give it up for a 1d100! Wonder how well he'll do without the armor after so long.
The higher he rolls the better his placement will be, go!
>>
Rolled 87 (1d100)

>>5712213
So long, Gunpowder...may you die as you lived, giving it your all. I'm sure that in the next life, you'll be reborn as Sleipnir, so that we may ride you into hell itself.
>>
Rolled 46 (1d100)

>>5712213
>>5712252
Nice
>>
Rolled 48 (1d100)

>>5712213
>>
>>5712252
>>5712294
>>5712474
Giving Gunpowder all the energy your now healed body has, you've found a way to shift him into overdrive, boosting him with energy as if he was still wearing the Sonic Armor. Only this time, his reflects were as boosted as yours.

His confidence suddenly gets the better of him, as he decides to take the same shortcut the flying pegasi and the harpy above him take to the starting line: A cliff with both ends being well over 30 meters wide. Not like Gunpowder would ever be afraid, but if he fell here, you're pretty sure he would die.

Still, when has Gunpowder ever disappointed you! Instead of being afraid, it is time to encourage him to do his best, and so you become the voce only he is able to hear!

"DO IIIT!" You shout into his mind as he jumps over, his adrenaline matching yours as he goes into what might as well be a suicide maneuver. He manages to jump around halfway before seeing him lose vertical speed, and just when you thought you were around to fall, you received a boost from below, propelling you back up and reaching the distance you lacked for that miraculous jump to work.

It might have been the angle you were staring at Gunpowder, but for a brief moment, you saw him having a black pair of wings, much like a pegasus soaring through the sky. Was it the flying horses above you that gave you that optical illusion? Were the elementals of the forest or Danaan herself observing you and opting to spare you from an embarrassing death, or did your powers of bringing thoughts into actions somehow activated into giving Gunpowder a pair of wings for a few seconds? Either way, it did not matter for Gunpowder, for his first place victory earned him a spotlight, finally being recognized by his angelic peers.

"Well I'll be damned! Gunpowder still got it!" Hyde cheers you after seeing your crazy maneuver. "Ya really don't fuck around, do ya?"

"Gunpowder plays to win." You're surprised to hear him responding to the hunter's words, not realizing you have healed his eardrums by accident. Though they are still sensitive and not getting any better in quality from the abuse they went through before, it's the least you could do for a retired horse.

"I'm glad I got to give him the goodbye he deserves." You pat him on the head, feeling tired yourself as the unicorns and pegasi approach to congratulate him.

"Good job!"
"What a great horse!"
"No wings? Amazing!"

"From the looks of it, ya really don't want to retire him."
"Course I don't, Hyde. But it's either that, or letting the first mistake I do kill him on the spot, and I'm sure that even GP would be pissed off at me if he died to any weakling."
"Damn straight. He's already walked through all of Midland, Tudor, and now Elfhelm too. Plus it seems he now respects you as much as Violet does with me. That's a curtain call if I've ever seen one."
>>
>>5712590
"I mean, your kid is fighting on your side too, doesn't that make you even more worried about what might happen to them in combat."

"Harpies have a ferocious side that they need to keep in check, but that don't mean they wish to be fightin all the time. I picked Violet out of the bunch cuz I knew she could fight for all her sisters... Also cuz I didn't want to see the others hurtin."

"You sound like you're the most homesick out of all of us."
"Of course, could be pumpin Jodi full of babies right now, but we haven't earned our rest just yet. For all the times ye put me and Violet in harm's way, I reckon it's better be me to do it than some other third rate mercenary. But yeah, when I do get home and I finally feel like it's safe to relax, I'm gonna hug the hell out of those bird girls!"

"...What's that in the distance?" You dismount from Gunpowder as he starts walking around and conversating with the other equine creatures, drawing your attention to the sky to several silhouettes who don't appear to be birds or pegasi."

"No fuckin way..." Hyde gasps, already recognizing them from very far away. As the creatures descend and tower above you in height, you realize that they are harpies in similar size to Violet, and all with colored handkerchiefs to be properly identified.

"DAISY! LILY! ROSE! IVY! WHAT THE HELL ARE YOU DOING HERE!? WHOAA!" Hyde is about to hug all the harpies who came all the way from Ilos to meet their dad, as a quick pat on their head tells them of their long journey. Tackling him down with head rubs, they all chirp and squeal at the sight of their dad, flying around him and the other creatures, feeling right at home with the local fauna.

Violet is the happiest out of all of the, you've never seen her this excited, and as she plays around with one of her sister's feathers, the one named Lily drops a letter from one of her straps, to which Hyde quickly picks up and reads.

If you don't come home, then home will come to you first. For it misses you tenfold more than you miss me. Come back safe.
- Jodi.

"Damn it, Jodi..." Hyde tries his best not to cry, overwhelmed by the love of a family that missed him dearly. Now that his daughters were all together and he had mastered the art of air rides with all his beloved monster daughters, he received a power up much better than whatever magical artifact he could get from the elder sages.

On the following days, you pondered on what you still had time to do. Given how your little vacation was still halfway over, you still had to check on a few things after Gunpowder's farewell party and the harpy family's welcoming celebrations.

You still have yet to spar with someone here, and given the options you have, they would greatly improve your physical and your magical strength, though you were not sure if you would have time to do both and have significant results...
>>
>>5712613
>Spar with Farnese and Schierke. Surely they have learned some good spells while you were off.
>Spar with Guts. He must be struggling with the Berserker armor's true power, and at this point you're the only one who can match him in strength.
>>
>>5712613
>>Spar with Guts. He must be struggling with the Berserker armor's true power, and at this point you're the only one who can match him in strength.
>>
>>5712616
>Spar with Guts. He must be struggling with the Berserker armor's true power, and at this point you're the only one who can match him in strength.
>>
>>5712616
>>Spar with Guts. He must be struggling with the Berserker armor's true power, and at this point you're the only one who can match him in strength.
>>
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>>5712635
>>5712688
>>5712900
After asking Morda as to where the weapon smith Hanarr lived, she was happy to take you to the forest stone. A gray landscape below the sea level.

"That place really fits with your buddy, doesn't it?" Mordas says, slowly guiding you over a ravine with her broom.
"It's a lot darker than what I thought the island would be. It's strange to feel this energy, after all the jolly folks that appeared to be right out of a child's drawing book."

"Some people just don't vibe with us. Maybe they like poorly lit areas instead of sunshine and rainbows, so that's where they go."
"And who exactly lives here?"
"Oh, the usual. Necromancers, angry spirits, people who tend to hate humans, but mostly the dwarves." She says hovering along the gray trees made out of pure concrete. "They've manipulated gravity and stone to make it easier for them to leave around in the darkness. It also helps them carry out things several times their size."

"Hiring him to mass produce some weapons for me might be the right call after all. I'm sure Guts has spoken with him already about the subject."

"That he has, he's a lot more grumpy than usual. Last time I visited Granny Vol to learn a bit more about gargoyle summoning, and all I heard was wolf cries along with him groaning."

"Gargoyles?!" Her statement was very loaded, but what drew the most attention to Morda was that she learned something about Tudorian magic, which was pretty much eradicated from both it's original land as well as Midland, but found a safe heaven at Elfhelm. "You're familiar with the silver eyed school?"

"A little bit, just the basic transmutation stuff that makes giants from rocks. I take it some of their knowledge found it's way here, but we tend not to use it due to it being a double edged sword." She replies, making her best impression of The Flower Monarch.
'The use of blood curses your soul! Mortals shouldn't have that control over fate! It's not our magic spells, we don't know about the implications of it's downsides' Blah blah blah! No wonder these lessons have gotten so boring. The conventional magic is so easy that all that's left is the spicy stuff."

Incredible... So perhaps there is some wiggle room for you to teach Farnese how to use some of the Silver Eyed Clan's magic. Or even yourself.

After finally meeting the man half your size responsible for creating the Berserker Armor, you find it convenient to see Guts already at his side, meditating and remaining calm in order to tap into the Armor's full power without losing himself into darkness.

"Only fitting for the dark swordwsman to have a think for blacksmiths, huh?" Morda interrupts him with a slight joke, to which he stands up and almost swings his sword at her, if not for him stopping short a few inches from her neck.

"Don't startle him again, Morda. Unless you're actually wishing for death." Hanarr strikes his hammer onto the armor, making a distinct sound that disables Guts' helm.
>>
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>>5713095
"That easy, huh?" You wondered why Schierke had to ride him in spirit and take the helm off when she could just bang a couple of pans together.

"It looks easy now, but only now I've felt it was safe to let him meditate without chaining him. And after that little stunt, I'm starting to regret this decision." The dwarf showed several meters of chains moving around like serpents around the place. "So you're Vlad, right? I thank you for the workload, this troglodyte over here was exactly what I needed as a background noise."

"Sorry about that..." You say at the same time Guts apologizes for almost decapitating Morda, to which you quickly check on his erratic breathing before resuming the conversation.

"Your friend there has used the armor alright, but that ain't the same as mastering it. In fact, that thing's liable to possess it's owner for the sake of consuming 'im, but there is a way to just ignore the pain by wearing it while keeping your willpower over it, so long as no strong emotions come over you."

"This is getting pretty easy, honestly. I'm not used to this level of focus, but I pretty much have nothing to worry about as of now. Casca is already healed, we've settled on our plans, and I've been sleeping like a baby ever since I've set foot here. The barks from that bastard hound are sounding weaker by the day." Guts says, finally seeming like he ain't got a care in the world, which is weird, given all he's been through, but you're happy for him either way.

"Seems like you need somebody to push your buttons, and I've brought this guy right to you!" Morda gets behind you to point at your head, already inviting you two for a fight.
"Good idea, who better to show me how to get calm than the guy who's always steady on the action?"
"I've been curious as to who would win a rematch at the peak of our strength, and though you still haven't mastered your armor, I think it's time for us to have another "friendly" sparring session without holding back." You grin at Guts, bringing him outside of Hanarr's home to test things out.

"It'll try not to split you in half this time promise." He grits his teeth, getting into an offensive stance as he raises the Dragonslayer at you.
"Let's not promise things we can't fulfill. I want you to be serious this time." You take your halberd out, deciding to fight him without the use of elementals until he decides to use his.

>Clash your halberd at the Dragonslayer until you find an opening.
>Aim for his armor, best to hit him where he's covered.
>Blind him with your illusionry magic.
>Let him make the first move, you're better at dodging slashes when it comes to duels.
>Something else.
>>
>>5713137
>Let him make the first move, you're better at dodging slashes when it comes to duels.
This then this
>Clash your halberd at the Dragonslayer until you find an opening.
>>
>>5713137
>Blind him with your illusionry magic.
Stack debuffs.
>>
>>5713137
>>Blind him with your illusionry magic.
Uhm
>>
>>5713762
>>5714144
>>5713215
Going for a flashbang then, roll me a 1d100!
>>
Rolled 23 (1d100)

>>5714146
>>
Rolled 51 (1d100)

>>5714146
>>
Rolled 36 (1d100)

>>5714146
>>
Rolled 33 (1d100)

>>5714146
>>
>>5714204
>>5714223
>>5714253
>>5714278
Oof, guess we won't be replicating the double crit anytime soon
>>
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>>5714204
>>5714223
>>5714253
>>5714278
Flaring a bright light with your halberd, your attempt to blind and confuse Guts into making the first move, yet all he does is turn his head to the left and let his helm obscure most of the light.

...Sometimes you forget he's blind of one eye...
Guts' movements are very clunky, likely due to him not wanting to extend that much force when he doesn't feel pain or the natural limitations of his body, but even in this state, you're pretty sure he's swinging his sword with enough force to split you in two.

Try as you might, be it by manifesting fake soul doubles that exit out of your body or just trying to get in his head, his concentration is steady, showing the fruits of his training and of his peace of mind, have been developed with time.

Guts has only gotten faster, not limping anymore and seeing how you are accustomed to his rhythm, your precognition warns that he'll only up his pace, and though you can effortlessly dance around his sword and cut the distance, he's learned not to let you get too comfortable close to him as he quickly shows you the mouth of his arm cannon.

"Boom." He says, before pretending to fire it right on your head as you approached for a slash. "Over before it could start."

"Heh, guess I did not consider you having a cannon for an arm all those years ago."
"I feel like our duel wouldn't have been as exciting if I just pulled a win card on you like that, it would be like a retired soldier beating up a child." Guts chuckles, feeling like he got the upper hand on your 1v1. He still has an edge over you and he's no slouch on his instincts. The most you can do when fighting him is keep up with his speed and pray for an opening, which comes very few and far between thanks to the armor.

"So what's the score now, 1 to 1?"
"Well, 2 to 1 for me if I were to be an ass and count the time at Cromwell."
"I'm not sure I would count that, I wasn't thinking straight when I attacked you back there."

"Thankfully, the both of you have not fought with killing intent at the same time." A familiar ethereal voice is heard approaching you two, as the undead Skull Knight gallops with his horse from his portal to who know where. "If you do value your friendship and each other's lives, I would advise you to stay that way."

"Greetings. Or should I say 'Welcome home, O your majesty?" Guts greets The Skull Knight with very high spirits.
"Such attitude is unexpected of those led by causality. I would wish for you not to refer me in that manner."
"Skull Knight it is then. What brings you here?"
"As the original wearer of the armor, I considered myself being the most suitable of instructing you, yet seeing the state of which I find myself now, perhaps it is best for you to forge your own path." The mysterious knight declares, seemingly satisfied that he won't have to busy himself with more than what he already has to deal with.
>>
>>5714420
"You seem to be quite comfortable with the end of your journey, Halfling."
"I was already made aware of what I had to worry about, and with the measures I've taken, my problems will only start once I set foot outside this Island, might as well be in a good mood, right?"
"I would advise you to raise your guard, for we have much to discuss, should you decide to head straight to your final battle."
"Of course." You lay down your Halberd, wondering what the Skull Knight had to add to your cause.

>I'm having trouble making a Behelit-like weapon, would you mind if I check your sword for a bit?
>Would you mind helping us spar for a bit? Always nice to have another strong one with us.
>Gaiseric, what exactly is your plan for a direct confrontation against The God Hand?
>Can we count on you to fight alongside Ilos?
>Were you there when Barnham died? I want to know exactly what happened.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5714469
>>I'm having trouble making a Behelit-like weapon, would you mind if I check your sword for a bit?
>>
>>5714469
>Gaiseric, what exactly is your plan for a direct confrontation against The God Hand?
Then
>I'm having trouble making a Behelit-like weapon, would you mind if I check your sword for a bit?
Although we probably shouldn't describe it as behelit-like. Antibehelit is likely a less alarming term.
>>
>>5714469
>Gaiseric, what exactly is your plan for a direct confrontation against The God Hand?
>I'm having trouble making a Behelit-like weapon, would you mind if I check your sword for a bit?
>Write-in.
>During your travels in both life and unlife, did you learn the locations of some of the old magical ruins that dot certain places of the continent ?
>>
>>5714472
>>5714502
>>5714590
"Gaiseric, what exactly is your plan for a direct confrontation against The God Hand?" You ask him, after finally having a chance at fighting alongside the Skull Knight.
"I plan on siding with the Ilos team on the frontlines. There is less to worry about if I take care of the apostle captains. It is likely that at least one behelit will be activated during this battle, and whenever it does, I will there to send the dark angels back into the formless abyss."

"I appreciate the help, but is that something you can feasibly do?"

"I have tried to attack Femto when he was fighting the Shiva, yet his distortion of space and redirecting of damage made me slay the Kushan king instead, causing the appearance of what you see in above the clouds."

"Y-You were the one who--" Guts hesitates in saying, finally understanding how strong Gaiseric can be. If even the Skull Knight can't land a scratch onto Griffith, you wonder what his odds are against the other 4 members of the God Hand, let alone yours against them.

"The timing of the blood moon should be essential in fighting them when their power is at their weakest. Time is of essence in our fight."
"So you do not have any other information? Anything such as the locations of some old magical ruins?"
"None that could effectively increase your chances of survival without empowering them, at least. It seems your arsenal is the most you shall be capable of doing at this stage of their game, halfling."

"Well... could you at least let me borrow your sword? I'm having trouble making a portal to the abyss, so I think inspecting it could prove to be useful."
Gaiseric briefly lends you his sword. Though heavy and rustic in design, it did carry some heavy aura to it. A seal without runes, inhibited only by the power of it's wearer.

You try doing a couple swings with them, but your slashes in the air do not make any portals until Gaiseric commands it to open a portal with his mind, showing that to establish complete control and safety of his weapon, only he can control it's spatial awareness.

"Impressive, did you forge this by yourself?"
"It was but a regular sword when I was alive, the same one I used back when Gaiseric was a name worth fearing. Hanarr aided me in connecting the armor to the magical properties of the sword, and now, it stays as is now."

Seems like you didn't get any closer to creating the perfect Anti-Behelit, but maybe with this blacksmith by your side, you might have time to try creating this bomb again, unless he is too busy making several replicas of the weapons you know along with the armor sets he is doing.

"These? Cushion sets. The barytes are the glue that keep the elementals together, so when you make an armor with several of them, they will manipulate forces and impacts so that any regular man can match the tackle of an apostle. Should be useful, if you have any untrained men at your faction."
>>
>>5714667
"It's still too early to quit the sparring, and I feel like I'll need to get a bit more used to this armor if I wish to use it seriously, so do you think you can help me with it? You're the one who used it before me and all..." Guts asks the Skull Knight to aid him after you leave, knowing you will keep yourself busy.

"The most I can do is guide you away from the mistakes I have done. However, a fighter more capable than you who is willing to let your learn from him is an opportunity you should not pass."

"Hope you're not bragging, old bones!" Guts grins, raising his sword and getting some distance from Hanarr's lair.

>Keep training with Guts and the Skull Knight.
>Try the anti-behelit bomb one more time.
>See if Farnese has learned any useful spells.
>>
>>5714676
>>See if Farnese has learned any useful spells.
We kinda neglected her lately
>>
>>5714676
>Try the anti-behelit bomb one more time.
Perhaps forging it with a dwarf is just what we need
>>
>>5714676
>>See if Farnese has learned any useful spells.
Uhm
>>
>>5714697
>>5714725
>>5714813
Seeing Farnese always puts you in a good mood, remembering how the race came from just having a stroll around her broom, you wonder if any epiphany might happen when you actually see if her training paid off.

"No, no! You need to put the salt WITH the sugar on the cake batter."
"Why? I thought cakes were meant to be sugary."
"Yeah, but you need to put a pinch of salt on it to balance it out, there is a thing such as too sweet."

When coming at dusk to Danaan's mansion where you resided until you were ready to leave, you hear the storm monarch instructing Farnese on how to cook a decent cake, almost not noticing you until she bumped onto you, almost spilling the contents of her bowl if you didn't held her and it in place.

"Making a picnic without me, Farnese! How dare you?! What a betrayal of what we stood for!" You play up, dramatically faking your sadness and shock over her little surprise gathering, to which she playfully shoves a fingerful of cake batter in your mouth. "Hey, not bad, at least."

"I assumed you were too busy, so I just gave my best while you were gone, and I assure that you'll be very impressive with what I have learned along with Schierke. Miss Danaan, I'll be gone for a bit! See you soon!"

"Phew..." Is all the storm monarch replies, afraid of seeing Farnese screwing something about her trademark recipe.

"So, did you learn anything about how to use that ring of yours?" You ask Farnese as she changes clothes from her camisole to her mage gown...which also just looks like a hat with a camisole. Try not to focus on her outfit so much, damn it! She's your wife-to-be, and here you are still acting like kids in love!

"Yes! They seem to work very well with highly forested areas, and even when I'm indoors, I can still do things like this." She points the finger to you body, where several thorny vines grow around your body, along with shifting the wooden house to the point where it was going grass on the floor.

"Would you mind testing this ability with me for a little bit?"
"O-Oh! I'm not sure if we should... I mean, it's still pretty early, what if somebody walks in--" Farnese begins to fluster, yet while she was thinking of playing bondage with her new powerful constriction tools, you took your pouch of magical seeds to see if they could react to Farnese's ring.

"What were you thinking of doing again?" You smirk at her, already knowing the answer.
"N-Nothing! I suppose I can try growing these little seeds of yours..." She takes a few of them and throw them out the window. The innuendos just get better with each passing phrase...

After making a few gestures upwards with her fingers, she gently guides the sprouts out of their seeds, turning them into little small saplings.
"I'm not sure which one of them are mandragoras, but I think I'll get the hang of it like you!"
"I would complain about you ripping me off, but I'm glad you can do this without going through the same hoops."
>>
>>5714885
"Vlad... If you don't mind me asking, I also have a question for you."
"Ask away."
"I know the time dilation on Skellig helps for some people to extend their training schedule, so I imagine you plan on leaving without the likes of Guts, Gunpowder and Casca here, since they wished to stay here and all..."

"Yes. I was wondering if it would be safer for Isidro and Isma to stay here too. He can hold his own on low scale battles by himself. Around warfare though? Not so much. Half a year would do him wonders around this area, so I imagine it's best for him to stay with his idol, too."

"...Do you think I should stay here, too? Am I ready to fight by your side?"
"Well, you have mastered flight and astral summoning, surely you're more fitting as a teacher for the child mages than pretending to be their equal."
"It's not about being an equal to them, is it now? I am asking if I am your equal, if I am worthy of being recognized as a tactical unit in the war on Ilos. Please, don't evaluate me as your lover, or as a woman, but as a mage, a warrior like you."

"Although I haven't seen you being pushed to your limit in a fight scenario, if Schierke is anything to go by, yeah, I think you can take care of a few dozen apostles by yourself, but in terms of physical strength..." You hold your breath, not wishing to say you're afraid of seeing her as one more limp body on the battlefield.

"Vlad, I wish you understood, that a march through hell with you would be better than a lifetime of peace without you. We are in this journey together, and I won't resent you if you want me to stay here and train more, but please, don't be afraid of placing me in harm's way."

It seems like she read your mind and your sentiment on not wanting her to die, yet then again... that's exactly what she's been saying to you ever since you've called her your lover, yet she has no choice over letting you live or die aside from growing stronger to heal and protect you when she can. It's a feeling she's known for longer than you.

So how should you respond her, as her master, her man?

>I can't evaluate your skills objectively and treat you like a disposable captain, Farnese. I don't want to take any risks with you.
>I want you to stay here and train, Morda told me about a certain gargoyle spell, and it's only fitting to let you learn one of my master's strongest spells.
>Now that we're getting married, you are as much of a lord on Ilos as I am. You are free to make the choice for yourself.
>I'll let you come back to Ilos with me, but please... take care of yourself.
>I have taught you all I know, and then some. You are more than ready to fight by my side.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5714951
>I have taught you all I know, and then some. You are more than ready to fight by my side.
>I would prefer to be wed before battle, and have a couple children running around though.*kiss*
>>
>>5714951
>>Now that we're getting married, you are as much of a lord on Ilos as I am. You are free to make the choice for yourself.
>>
>>5714951
>Now that we're getting married, you are as much of a lord on Ilos as I am. You are free to make the choice for yourself.
>>
>>5714991
>>5715389
Why not both? I also just finished reading the entire story thus far, good stuff QM.
>>
>>5715435
I don't want kids until the hell horde is purged away from Midland
>>
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>>5714991
>>5715389
>>5715421
"Now that we're getting married, you are as much of a lord on Ilos as I am. You are free to make the choice for yourself."

Farnese grimaces, upset that she didn't get to hear a second opinion. Unfortunately, you don't feel like it's your choice to make on this. You are both beyond the point of putting your safety above others, and that unfortunately includes the feelings you have for each other.

"...Then I will do the most to learn the spells they have around here. Danaan has surely seen my potential so far, so if there is something I can do to boost my strength, then I will try to bring that skill to the mainland."

"Very well, one last question though."
"What is it?"
"When will the cake be ready?"

Farnese merely giggled in response, returning to the kitchen while you waited for everything to be ready for the group meal.

An unexpected guest came along with Guts during the evening, when Lucio showed up wearing the berserker armor in his stead.

"What is this? Dressing your kid up for the party?" Roderick laughed at the boy struggling to walk with the armor away from his father.

"Found him trying to play with the armor back where I was training, don't know how he got here, but it's only fair to bring him some food." Guts sits him on the table, as Casca tries to feed him some sweets while he plays with the fork.

"What a strange child... Are you sure that he's able to control the spirit tree branches?"
"Yeah, we've seen him do it before." Isidro tell Danaan.
"I cannot sense even an ounce of malice from him, so that explains the island not rejecting him from entering..." As she watches Lucio play around with Puck, the elves and all other sorts of life, she wonders why the others aren't wary of him.

You wish you had an opinion on the matter, but you were to happy to finally eat some good food made from Farnese, that you let this day of rest pass by you. Never before have you felt like you were in vacation and on duty. Is this how life was always meant to be for the average man? Days of rest, followed by leisure busywork? Honestly, that might not be so bad... Perhaps you should remind yourself of this, for it will be the victory prize better than any money or recognition the defeat of the God Hand might give you...
>>
>>5715435
Thanks! Hard to believe I'm getting new players this late into the game, but I'm glad you're enjoying it.
>>5715457
That's fair, I feel like Guts and Hyde already serve as two cautionary tales about fatherhood on their own different terms, so there's no point on rushing things. Especially with all that's to come.
>>
>>5715465
After eating like a king and crashing down at Farnese's until waking up in the early hours of the morning, you find Guts and Casca already out the tree hut and talking to themselves, sharing their child on their laps.

"And here I thought I had bad sleeping hours." You greet them as you take your armor and weapons out for cleaning.
"Ah, you know how kids are. If they want to play, they'll bother you to stay with them no matter the hour." Casca says, combing her son's hair as he finally spent enough energy to feel tired.
"Soon I'll start wearing that stupid armor just to keep up with him." Guts holds his head, making a few faces for him to keep Lucio entertained.

"So. You've heard him talk yet? Surprised he hasn't said anything, given his age. What is he, 2 years old?" You sit in front of them, hoping to observe them and stall for time since in actuality, inspecting your weapons was going to be some tedious work to do right after waking up.

"He reacts to sound just fine, if being deaf is what you're worried about." Guts says, hitting his metallic armor to get a reaction from Lucio.
"He's called me mama a few times in private. I think he's just shy, is all. Not like we have all the time in the world to get to know him, unfortunately, so we're making the most out of his visit until he leaves before sunrise."
"I can never tell if the sun appears to be moving faster or slower here. Shouldn't we be having longer nights?"
"Don't ask me, you're the magician here." Guts scratches his head, being as clueless as you are on how the time dilation works in Skellig.

"Have you asked Danaan about it? Perhaps her or Sivir can do something about him turning into his physical form when the full moon is gone."
"She said we can't exactly do exorcism on him. We'd be taking his soul from his body. And aside from making him look like The Skull Knight, there's no way to purifying without compromising his health..." Casca says, regretting the circumstances of Lucio's birth. "If only I'd."

"Hey, don't give me that..." Guts places a hand on Casca's shoulder. "If you're going to blame anyone about what happened, blame me, alright?"

>It's not exactly your fault either, Guts.
>Let's not get into that ordeal, at least not now.
>Are you two really not staying together? Given how you act, I'm sure everyone still sees you as great parents.
>What if we've make him stay here, instead of letting him leave? Surely he must be embarrassed about his true appearance, but I'm sure you two will love him either way.
>Write-in.
>>
>>5715530
>It's not exactly your fault either, Guts.
>Let's not get into that ordeal, at least not now.
>>
>>5715530
>>It's not exactly your fault either, Guts.
>Let's not get into that ordeal, at least not now.
>>5715480
yeah having children and then dying at the battle of Ilos wouldnt be fair to our children.
>>
>>5715530
>It's not exactly your fault either, Guts.
>Let's not get into that ordeal, at least not now.

>>5715480
Yeah.
The Santana line will continue.
Need to crush evil first. Maybe do a cleaning of the continent too.
Apply Ilosian law and justice in Tudor.
That kind of stuff.
We will pat the heads of our kids, and tell them they will have to find and purge anything else left in the world.
If we are too tired to do it (i am not)

Ofc once they are done with their training and have obtain sufficient experience and skills.
>>
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>>5715578
>>5715600
>>5715770
"It's not exactly your fault either, Guts. But let's not get into that ordeal, at least not now. I'm sure you've had enough time to ruminate about this subject." You remain respectfully abstained from commenting about their relationship. It does feel strange to see two good parents remaining estranged, but the soured memories surely make them have their reasons not to stay together, it's best not to pry into such sensitive subjects.

"I guess so. Either way, I'm glad to see our motivations changing. I would hardly see myself vouching to take care of a few kids, and later my own, a few years back."

"You and me both..." Casca smiles. "Though I do feel bad for him... I remember him staying with me when he still didn't have a human form... What could have changed for him to want to stay away?"

"It's not safe for a kid to walk around the world as is, but since he's the only one that can use those trees to his advantage, maybe he knows how to hide on it's branches. Who else would go after him above the clouds?"

Casca and Guts debate the reasoning and the mystery of the child's changing forms and wishing to go away, not getting any closer to the answer as you stand up and decide to clean your gear as the first sunrays bless you with their presence.

"I mean, he can talk, right? Why not just ask him? Lucio! Can you please stay with us for today? We want to see how you look like in the morning."

After being asked by his mom to stay, the moonlight child vehemently shakes his head, though when turning around and seeing the light of the sun, he realized it was already too late, and his transformation was about to start.

What came after was an event as horrid as the transformation of the once innocent child, who after losing his nighttime appearance, slowly started changing the pure shape of his Od into one of dark presence above any apostle you've felt before.

Guts' mark of the beast suddenly spewed blood despite being sealed, as well as Casca's chest bursting in a pool of blood through her clothes, and as Lucio's dark hair whitened with each passing minute, you could only feel your heart beating faster and your movements slowing as a familiar voice was heard coming from the morphing child, growing in size as if reaching adulthood.

"I keep having this dream, during nights of the full moon... That I become a small child, finding myself being embraced by nostalgic warmth. But when I wake up from this dream... All that remains is a faint sense of loneliness. And that too, takes a moment to fade away with a single tear. Much like morning dew."

Lucio's clothes are torn, as a nude, tearful Griffith, greets the speechless trio of survivors hired from his old mercenary group. The unexplainable sight makes the whys and the hows incomprehensible. One unfortunate truth prevails as the island's protection is destroyed by a single infiltrator.

Griffith is here.
>>
>>5715886
>GRIFFITH?!
>How the hell did you get in here, you bastard!?
>Get away from this island if you value your life, YOU DEMON!
>Dreams of the full moon...? It can't be... That means...
>Attack him! (??)
>Write-in.
>>
>>5715892
>Reach out to Sivir mentally, see if she can reinforce the magic protecting this place! You'll do the same, you're powerful enough to make a difference now that you know your true name.
Such monstrous dark Od must not be allowed to infest the creatures here. I sincerely doubt she could ever match the hawk of darkness in strength, but perhaps by combining our powers with the enchantments already laid upon this place by Danaan, we can drive Griffith away? Or at least prevent...well...
>>
>>5715936
+1
Didnt expect to be involved in anything important since we are at the 400 mark.
>>
>>5715936
support
act now we can't wait or talk for even a moment
>>
>>5715936
+1
Do it now, before its too late!
>>
>>5715936
>>5716036
>>5716075
>>5716078
Ignoring whatever element of surprise there is on Griffith's ambush, you mentally locate Sivir along with the others inside the tree house and tell them to get out as soon as possible, your mother should be able to help in pushing him away if she really is a match in strength to Danaan.

However, as Griffith is quick to read your mind and intentions, he warns you not to bring in the artillery.

"You can relax, Vlad Santana. Much like the last time we've met, I do not come here with the intent to harm you. Though whether or not that will happen will depend your response to the following remarks."

"...G-Griffith...?" Casca still tries to remain composed, holding her chest to prevent her from hemorrhaging, as well as taking a few steps back to reduce the shock from seeing her rapist again.

"What are you doing here... Where did Lucio go?" Guts is surprisingly not angry at the sight of his old commander, more so shocked, still trying to process how his son transformed into his worst nightmare.

"Like I've said... only at full moons, I am capable of re-experiencing human emotions. This child is the only link I have with the physical world, for my reincarnation required an avatar for my presence to be known outside of the realm I was inprisioned in."

"What the hell are you talking about, you piece of shit! GIVE ME BACK MY SON!" Guts stays in denial, not wanting to understand that the reason Lucio stopped turning into a demon child, was because Griffith used his body to possess him in the reincarnation ceremony.

"I'm afraid this just isn't possible. The older this child becomes, the harder it is to keep him in check. But know the reason I am here is due to the infantile feelings of the child you have raised. The contract for becoming a demon lord comes with the caveat of the loss of all humanity. After being convinced to become a higher entity, I have felt nothing. When I gained a new body, I have felt nothing. When I towered over you, to show proof that I towered in strength compared to all present here... I've felt nothing. Yet still, out of a sense of obligation to my dream, I've become king, I have enough power to remain as the ruler of Falconia for decades to come... Yet I still feel nothing. The only semblance of humanity that remains, is due to sharing this child's body, seeing his happiness through his eyes, merely spectating from afar."

"You bastard... So you finally admit it? All you've done... All the friends you've killed on that day... What you've done to me and Casca... It was just for the sake of seeking a cheap thrill!? TO SEE IF YOU'VE FELT ANYTHING AT ALL?!" Guts already looks for his Dragonslayer a few steps away from him, resisting the urge to activate the armor and chop Griffith to pieces.

"YOU'VE BROUGHT THIS ON YOURSELF! DON'T EXPECT US TO HAVE PITY WHEN YOU HAVE RUINED OUR LIVES!" Casca stands up for herself, showing nothing but contempt for her old leader.
>>
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>>5716293
>5716293
As your team members exit the house with their weapons already drawn, they merely observe Griffith drying up the tears from his host's eyes, still missing his dear parents and feeling the venom in their words towards him.

"Of course... I do not expect to garner sympathy from any of you. Yet it's only fair you are made aware of the next crucial step in my journey. Though I already have my kingdom, the only feelings I have as myself are greed and unfulfillment. I have all that my past self should have needed for a prosperous life, yet I still feel that it is not enough. There is a way for me to finally be satisfied, and that is, to overthrow the order of the God Hand themselves. To transcend godhood and take over the Idea of Evil's power for myself. But for that to happen, I need to use the astral tree to connect with the true God of this earth." Griffith then turns to you, his eyes fierce and without a semblance of emotion.

"Barnham holding Ganishka in place was not in our plans, yet given your origins and your power to alter causality, I shouldn't be surprised of your capability to change fate, given how the circumstances of your birth left you as a strong candidate for being a God Hand member yourself."

"...Me?! What are you talking about?" Given his all knowing abilities, you're not sure if he is merely bluffing, or if there is truth in any of his statements."

"Let me enter Ilos, Vlad. I will contact the creator of all life and overtake his rulership over mankind! There will be no sadness, no struggles, a new world will be created--"

"Not in a million years! You plan on killing us all! Like you've done before with the old falcons!"
"I have refrained from fighting you all this time, Vlad. Though I haven't earned trust from you and there is not much I can argue forth other than 'take my word for it'. You should know it in your heart that I could have killed the three of you at any point in time I wished."

"AND WHY DIDN'T YOU, THEN!?" Guts screams, gritting his teeth and almost foaming at the mouth.
"Because that is not necessary. So long as you are all alive, a new world can be created with you in it. Though the world will be consumed by darkness, a bright future with the eradication of evil shall be born from it. There will be no gods, no higher being to command you, just a distant observer, as a benevolent god should be."

"And what part of you is benevolent!? What do you have to gain from telling me all of this."

"Because self sabotaging is all this child can do to my plans, drifting me away to this island when I should be planning on eradicating all the inhibitors that drain the power from the astral tree." Griffith overlooks you and Sivir, knowing that you are living safety measures for the Spiral Tree to not be used by Femto.

"Now, Vlad. What is your choice? Will you seek salvation, or shall I take it from you by force?"
>>
>>5716348
"Griffith! Stop ignoring me! I am not done with you!" Guts pleads for Griffith to look at you, yet he only has eyes for the one who he considers his equal.

There is indeed some weird restraint shown in asking permission to use the astral tree in Ilos instead of just invading, yet you are unsure if he is performing due to some unknown astral rules, or if he is being genuine in his words.

"Who is this!?"
"Get behind me, Isma!" Isidro shields the unknowing merrow from seeing Griffith, as Danaan takes Sivir's hand and attempts to run away to save her.

>Over my dead body.
>If you are all knowing, you should know there is no point in asking me what I think.
>Do you think I would ever trust you, given all that you've done with to me and my comrades?
>Power will not bring you peace, Griffith. Be it now or in your victory, you are as empty now as you ever were.
>How do I know you are not lying, that you will not use this power for evil and actually fight the God Hand's wishes? Even if I were to trust you, you are only one against four of them, and they have hundreds of years of experience above you.
>Attack him (??)
>Write-in.
>>
>>5716348
If he truly believes in this plan, then he should know there's only one way for us to follow it.
If he surrenders his power to us, so that we're the one to pull the trigger on the Idea of Evil instead. There is no other acceptable alternative, as a being whose very flesh is formed from sin cannot be permitted to become god.
>>
>>5716359
In fact I'll modify my post >>5716361 as a write-in.
>Your plan is a good one, and there's nothing more that I yearn for but to put Fate back in the hands of man, but your choice of a new god is poor. Surrender your power to me or allow me to purify your od, and you will see the Creator overthrown. Otherwise, I must reject the offer of one such as you.
>>
>>5716371
>>5716361
Holy fuck man I am torn.
>>
>>5716359
can you leave this open for an extended amount of time? Like a full 2 days?
>>
>>5716391
By all means. This is a major decision and people tend to input their responses at different times throughout the day so I don't mind waiting for a bit while you think through this.
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>>5716359
>How do I know you are not lying, that you will not use this power for evil and actually fight the God Hand's wishes? Even if I were to trust you, you are only one against four of them, and they have hundreds of years of experience above you.
>Write in
>How fitting that once again you betray or use someone, "a sacrifice must be done" .... but not by you. The final step, needs the corpses of your fellow archdemons, the apostles, monsters that follow you and no doubt the new falcons too. Because you cant accept to share power, no you want a crown from the heavens themselves. And no competitors for it.
>Drop the charade Griffith. Look at you and what you have done, there is nothing benevolent, there is no messiah behind your white shining armor. Apostles bring ruin and corruption all over the world. You are poison to this world, your actions have brought untold suffering and death across the continent, and your emotions even if they would return, they are filled by sins. Sins you gladly did again and again. You will never be a benevolent god, Griffith. You will manipulate, use, betray and kill for hold all power. The only world born by your vision will be one were everything is under your control and no one can defy you. Dolls for you to play with.
>Remember when i showed you the two statues back in my family estate ? There you failed to learn my lesson. You walk as evil incarnate, your boots heavy with blood and gore of innocents and guilty alike. To me you are a kraken.
>There is only two ways, not your third, for this to end. Abandon demonhood and be purified by my Od, or war. Then fate can return in the hands of men, without evil puppeteers deciding for them.
>>
Semper fi Gallahad and Jacopo.
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>>5716447
+1
>>
>>5716371
+1
If you want something done right do it yourself.
>>
>>5716371
>>5716447
Well, unless we have anything more to discuss,I'll be going with a mix of these two for the update
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>>5716371
>>5716447
+1
>>
>>5716447
>+1
to this but get ready to stabilize the island
>>
>>5716371
>>5716447
"As much as I want to deny it, Griffith. Your plan is sound. There's nothing more that I yearn for but to put Fate back in the hands of man and get rid of the creator of destiny. However. How do I know you are not lying, that you will not use this power for evil and actually fight the God Hand's wishes? Even if I were to trust you, you are only one against four of them, and they have hundreds of years of experience above you.

"Once again, I have nothing to show you than my words. It's in my best intentions to resolve this as peacefully as possible and prevent a needless genocide."

"Peacefully? Genocide!?" You are incapable of holding in the hatred you have towards him from seeping out your lips, you tremble from head to toe in pure disgust just from hearing the hypocrisy coming from this man's words. "The time to solve this peacefully has ended long ago! Remember how I was imprisoned due to your accusations of me being a wizard? How my father and my knight were shunned and KILLED thanks to your petty desire to drag me along to your cell?"

"I believe we have gone through this before. I have gone through horrible torture sessions for a year due to killing Queen Wyndham, yet I do not resent you for it. Your knight was merely reporting the truth, as was I. Are you going to blame me for you having to kill Merlina, too?"

"YES! YOU WERE THE ONE WHO MANIPULATED HER INTO HUNTING ME AT FLORA'S MANSION!" This time, you're the one holding your halberd at Griffith, growing furious with each second hearing his insolence. "Drop the charade, Griffith. The only reason you do not resent me for this is because you are incapable of feeling. Were you still a human, you would hunt me down and have me dead where I stand!"

"The feud the silver eyed had with The God Hand preceded our births, even. It was something I had no part in."
"QUIT LYING! Even if you had no part in, you willingly joined their side! Even if I ignored your demonic origins, you are still a rapist, a conspirator and a warmonger. Look at you and what you have done, there is nothing benevolent, there is no messiah behind your white shining armor. Apostles bring ruin and corruption all over the world. You are poison to this world, your actions have brought untold suffering and death across the continent, and your emotions even if they would return, they are filled by sins. Sins you gladly did again and again. You will never be a benevolent god, Griffith. You will manipulate, use, betray and kill for hold all power. The only world born by your vision will be one were everything is under your control and no one can defy you. Dolls for you to play with."

Be it from the words being directed at Lucio's conscious body, or due to Griffith actually having his feelings hurt, you noticed that his face kept a neutral expression of discomfort, letting the tears fall down his cheeks as he listened to your scorn in contained anger.
>>
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>>5717026
"I bet that's the real reason why you are planning on overthrowing the creator, isn't it? You just can't accept to share power! No, you want a crown from the heavens themselves. And no competitors for it. How fitting that once again you betray or use someone, instead of doing it yourself. There is only two ways, not your third, for this to end. Abandon demonhood and be purified by my Od, or war. Then fate can return in the hands of men, without evil puppeteers deciding for them."

This time, Griffith's hand is the one trembling, perhaps lamenting that his pride did not let himself be defeated right there and then, making things much easier for both you and him.

"...I take it all of you here present agree to his words?" Griffith passes a hand through his face, instantly drying up his tears and remaining in control of Lucio's mind. Hearing similar disdain from all your partners.

"Get the hell out of here, Griffith. While I can still hold the urge to kill you."
"If I had my axe with me I'd behead you myself, you sick bastard!" Guts and Casca are the first to shun him, soon followed by Farnese, Serpico and Hyde.

"To think I was once burning people at stakes over your name, manipulating myself and others into your cause... You demon!"
"Even the smallest amount of hope and solace is obliterated by your presence, Hawk Of Darkness..."
"Yer no friend of mine, ya piece of shit! I have gone this far in my journey still believing in the same God, and I would rather live the rest of my days in hell than live one day as someone as evil as you!"

"After all that hunting of Krakens, it seems Vlad has left one alive. How foolish of him, to offer his head to us on a silver platter."
"Do it, Rod! Get the princess from this guy! Dude's a total wuss anyway, his victory on the hundred year war was probably a fluke anyway" Roderick and Magnifico get their words in before Schierke, Puck and Ivalera.

"You and your kind have brought much harm to all over this world, Dark Falcon. From here, to Tudor, to even outside the continent, do not think the world is still not opposing you!"
"Why are you even here!?"
"Buzz off!"

Griffith stays in silence after hearing his unanimous rejection, closing his eyes and casually cursing himself for believing in a peaceful solution.
"I see... So no matter how much I try to alter fate, not even we can prevent the events our creator wish to happen. It's a shame, Vlad. But if you see me as a villain, I have no choice but to make myself one. It's time for me to play my part, then. To make you hate me beyond mere disgust, and sever the last restriction between the two worlds."

Griffith stares at Sivir, declaring his intentions in murdering the one who drains the astral tree as a living parasite.

"I WON'T LET THAT HAPPEN!" You aim your Od filled halberd onto Griffith's neck, who stops short at just a few inches, with him assuming complete control of your body with three simple words:

"Lie down, Yarilo."
>>
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>>5717041
In less than a second, gravity became amplified by over a thousand times, you've felt the air on your back become so heavy that you collapsed on nothing and could barely afford to stand on your knees. His knowledge of your true name is enough to leave you stunned and vulnerable to his gravity defying powers, as he's done before in the past. And though you have gotten considerably stronger since the that winter, you are still barely able to raise a finger in his direction.

All are blasted away and knocked over as the shining light from his aura manifests itself. Farnese and Schierke try to use their luminous body to attack him still, yet they are burned by seeing the power of his Od with their naked eyes, and are forced to retreat before even making a spell.

As your physical fighters attempt to recover from the blow and attempt to overwhelm Griffith with his attacks, Danaan attempts to contact the rest of the island, reinforcing their barriers and protecting the life of Skellig while Sivir desperately runs away from the strolling falcon, pursuing her with the speed of a casual stroll.

"Do not run. I will make this quick and painless either way."

He is still in your range! All your fighters are ready! And yet you still won't be able to stop him? No! It can't be! You need to do something!

>Attempt to stand up and overpower your will over his. (??)
>Use your soul double to reach Griffith and tackle him. (???)
>Throw your weapon at him. (??)
>Fire a soul arrow at him. (???)
>Obstruct his path with your trees and mandragoras. (??)
>Pray that Guts and your comrades can kill him without you.
>Something else.
>>
>>5717054
>"Isidro! Climb onto my back and command me to fight!"
>Attempt to stand up and overpower your will over his. (??)
Time for isibro to shine, I know he'll be perfect for the job. Despite everything about him, kid's got good instincts and good reflexes. He can even be quite cunning when his back is against the wall.
>>
>>5717061
+1
Stupid griffith didnt say not to talk.
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>>5717054
>Attempt to stand up and overpower your will over his. (??)
>Something else.
Spits a mixed group of our seeds on the ground directly under us and order them to make us stand. Fuse them together in a golem of wood, brought to life and great strength with our poisonous pure od.

Order Farnese and Schierke to aid us in making the golem. The others need to equip themselves if they haven t already.
Once we are up, we start fighting coordinated.
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>>5717061
+1
>>
>>5717061
>Chucking a teenager at the satan expy
Is Vlad really that desperate?
Oh well, it was the winning option, let's hope he at least serves as a good distraction while you try to stand.
Roll!
>>
Rolled 83 (1d100)

>>5717133
No no, it's letting a teenager pilot the Vlad mecha. Now get in the eva, shinji.
>>
Rolled 14 (1d100)

>>5717133
>>
Rolled 54 (1d100)

>>5717133
>>
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>>5717154
>>5717170
>>5717234
"Isidro." You call out to him before he can chuck his salamander knife straight at Griffith. "You know my true name, don't you?"

"Um, yeah? It's Yarilo or something, right? Why the hell you're asking me that right now?"

You take a second to feel if you have any different reactions to Isidro yelling out your true name, yet it seems it had no effect. You seem to have misinterpreted what exactly the falcon of darkness had done to you, as it is not his command or his words that froze you, but the knowledge over your true name made it so his position as a God Hand finger bypassed any free will your body has. Isidro or any regular human cheering for you on a smaller scale will not help you on your cause.

"Never mind, can you help me up? That bastard put a spell on me."
"On it! HRGGGHN!" Isidro pulls his sleeves and makes a gargantuan effort to keep your back straight, yet you manage to balance yourself on your own two feet just fine. Unlike last time, you can finally stand against the Falcon, letting you finally see what exactly he did to make the weight above you so ridiculously heavy.

A tower, piercing through the clouds and into the stars, grey limbs and faces of people you've known throughout your journey. From your dead fathers, to Guts, Farnese and yourself, all holding themselves together and performing a balancing act on top of you to prevent themselves from falling to their deaths. A manifestation of your survivor's guilt which only gets heavier with time.

"Vlaad... please... Don't move!"
"He's going to drop us!"
"I don't want to die!"

Being aware of their presence has only worsened your situation, for even if you know it in your heart that these are mere illusions, you cannot shake the truth in their allegory. Closure is dawning much like the sun in the horizon, yet any movement is guaranteed to doom all you love.

"GRIFFIIIIIITH!" Guts lets his anger overtake him, throwing caution to the wind and slashing the Dragonslayer at his son's body to take the Falcon out of his sight.

...Nothing happened. The sword phased through him, as if he was swinging at the air. As Guts merely thought he missed, he tried it a second swing, and a third, a fourth, and a fifth. All still leaving him completely unscathed as he marched towards Sivir.

Serpico is the next one to try and attack him, using his sylph sword to thrust a spiral cut onto Griffith's chest, which was only blurred his intangible image from a distance, and though he managed to coordinate a few attacks along with Guts, he was equally ineffective.

"OUTTA MY WAY!" Resorting to desperate measures, Hyde used the cannon he got from Rickert to fire and explosive round straight on where Griffith stood, and though the smoke left you anticipating the outcome, it wasn't long before you saw his shining white locks flowing through the wind.
>>
>>5717289
>>5717289
"Nothing is stopping him!" Isma cowers as Griffith passes straight through her, ignoring her comment as Casca tries to entrap him into the earth. And though the mud rises and the rock formations appear to crush him, he merely teleports and blinks closer and closer to the two plant queens.

You can feel the presence of the mages and the nearby creatures, all coordinated in taking the weaker to safer grounds while enforcing their barrier to prevent any evil spirits from overtaking the island. Skull Knight, Morda and the other sages have been alerted, and are quickly approaching with the most powerful astral incantations they know to fight Griffith, but will they arrive in time to save them?

You don't understand... If he is intangible to physical attacks, what's the point in stunning you? Is it because your exorcising powers could actually pose a threat to him? Is that why he first made sure that Schierke and Farnese gave up on attacking him with their luminous bodies?

As Danaan manipulates the elementals of the forest to weaken his Od, he is forced to stop ignoring her light arrows and becomes more cautious around light spells. That's exactly it... This fiend is using his powers with absolute finesse, in order to reach the cherry blossom tree, and the living tree hybrid.

>Attempt to walk towards him while he's still near (??)
>Throw your weapon at him. (??)
>Fire a soul arrow at him. (???)
>Use your soul double and coordinate an attack with the mages (??)
>Summon forth the four kings with Farnese and Schierke (??)
>Something else.
>>
>>5717293
>Use your soul double and coordinate an attack with the mages (??)
>Tell Casca to use her Axe to spirit Sivir away!
It’s a game of keepaway until the heaviest hitters come, it seems. We’ll occupy Griffith while the gnomes help speed up mom.
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>>5717310
+1

Have Serpico, use his sylphs to assist in playing keep away aswell.
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>>5717293
>Use your soul double and coordinate an attack with the mages (??)
>Write in
>With our real body instead create a spear from our seeds and charge it with our pure od before throwing it at him, have serpico further speed it up with the slyph sword
>Tell Casca to use her Axe to spirit Sivir away!

We have learned to fight with both of our bodies at the same time, time to see how deadly this ability can truly be. We have avoided to use it in the past like the soul arrows, let's hope it works out.
A weapon infused with our od is poison, and our seeds are attuned to us. It should be able to hit it.
>>
>>5717310
>>5717470
>>5717480
Let's see a 2d100 then, This is the best shot you'll get at striking Griffith thanks to Danaan, so make it count!
>>
Rolled 28, 4 = 32 (2d100)

>>5717517
>>
>>5717573
i hate this.
>>
Rolled 96, 95 = 191 (2d100)

>>5717517
>>
Rolled 89, 93 = 182 (2d100)

>>5717517
>>
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>>5717607
>>5717616
Oh wow...
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>>5717607
THE MOMENT WHEN IT COUNTS THE MOST, MY FUCKING BOY!
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>>5717616
>>5717607
very good, excellent even.
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>>5717573
>>5717607
>>5717616
Breathe. Calm down. Fighting with your emotions has never worked with you, and it will not work now. As you tell Casca to use her Axe at Sivir instead of Grififth, which would help her hide and obscure herself from sight as she transforms into a dove, being too small of a target to get in the way of Danaan and Griffith's fight.

Danaan is no pushover, firing an array of Od arrows and drawing her energy from her cherry blossom, it's petals flowing into a whirlwind that pushed him back and prevented him to reach any closer.

Doomsday is dawning upon you, and all the protector of the island can do to direct attacks is lightly push him back? There has to be a way to fight him aside from hoping he tumbles onto her projectiles!

"That's it!" You think about the meaning of your ultimate ability, the power to bring thoughts into actions that Sivir is incapable of fully tapping into. To break the laws of magic is to materialize your projection of your inner world onto reality. Break the realm of possibility by using your own astral energy, much like Griffith can do with the manipulation of fate powered by the belief in their cause. This is the best possible place for you to test out a fraction of what Sivir would do if she had killing intent, but for that, you'll need some help.

"Schierke! Farnese!" You almost lose balance as you shout for them to approach you, instructing them to materialize the same thing you have on your mind: An ultimate attack to bring down the God Hand once and for all!

No matter how small of a chance that attack has to land, that sliver of hope, that uncertainty of defeat, is all that humanity needs to strive forward, no matter what awaits them at the end! What was once a small, unconfident speck of light soon becomes an elongated spear, and with the blind hope empowered by your mage allies, soon become two, four, eight, and sixteen! The materialization of your army has come in the form of a rain of lances, all assembled to pass through Griffith and skewer him into nothingness!

"This myriad of evil shall be met with the clash of never-ending light! Match me in strength, or perish! GRIFFITH!"
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>>5717873
The rain of impalement flies from behind you like rainfall at a typhoon, making Schierke and Farnese be barely conscious by the time you are finished with the overwhelming number of weapons thrown at him. But as you fall to the ground, Farnese's ring reacts to your fall and materializes a cane to keep you kneeling. Griffith hears your shout from below, and while his manipulation of fate manages to deflect the first onslaught of spears, he didn't expect them to flow straight back at him from the same directions, letting them increase in speed with each deflection as they grew in frequency and numbers.

With a precise shot of Danaan's staff, she managed to hit him her own spirit shot, leaving him to lose his focus and finally be impaled with several of your spears going through his body until each and every nerve of him was immobilized, leaving him to limply go into freefall. The falcon of darkness being wide-eyed at the sudden reveal in your power, though still being as emotionless as he always was.

While you still have the power to tap into the conscious materialization from reality, you grow a venomous plant imbued with your Od and turn the piece of wood into a holy stake, being ready to throw at him for a coup' de grace as Serpico uses his sylphs to direct it into his forehead.

With Danaan and Sivir safe for the time being, The two cautiously approach what would soon be Grififth's tombstone, ensuring he would be tied down without much trouble while taking care of each other's safety.

"DIE!" You chuck the stake at Griffith, briefly losing sight of him as you let Serpico guide it to it's destination.

You tried to keep your head up, to see him falling, yet as your head hangs low for a small amount of time, Griffith's voice echoes in your head as you hear him proclaim his response to your call of clashing powers.

"You are not the only one capable of bringing throughts into reality. Do you know how long I've had to master these abilities? When you lose your soul, all perception of time feels like eternity."

Losing his human skin and donning his armor as the falcon of darkness, Femto emerges Danaan once was, shifting positions as she is now the one being impaled through your spears.

Serpico is swift enough to break the speed of the projectile into half it's speed to her right, piercing her shoulder as she lost consciousness, forcing you to disable your spears.

All smiles are gone from your group as you see him pulling Sivir into his grasp. Her display at using her powers to keep him away was nothing short of miserable to watch, she first turned herself into a leopard, pouncing at the opposite distance as she ran at full speed in the same place, she then turned into a butterfly, only to be caught by a materialized web in Femto's hand. Finally resorting to violence, she then turned into a dragon and roared at Griffith, only for him to swipe at her chest, phasing through it with his arm as she quickly turned to normal.
>>
>>5717896
I dearly hope that we stalled long enough for the Skull Knight save...
>>
>>5717896
Sivir's eyes widen and lose color, as she stares at what exactly Griffith did to swipe at her chest. Femto had effortlessly removed her heart out of the plant woman with no cavity on her body to show of, and before she could reach her arm out to retrieve her organ, the falcon's palm closed it into a fist, crushing it as blood splattered on half of his face.

"AUNTIE SIVIR!" Isma cries in despair as she sees the mother figure of her childhood be killed right beneath her with no fanfare, and no time to say goodbye.

As his wounds rapidly began healing, one stare at the cherry blossoming tree to die and start bringing the island to fall apart, seeping it into darkness as it crumbled and sank onto the ocean. Your active comrades barely being fast enough to hold onto higher ground.

Lucio's eyes won't stop crying onto Griffith, as the bat demon's macabre appearance only serves in obliterating more of your hope.

"Shush, child. Your mother will remain safe with you, that much, I can guarantee." Planning on leaving after finishing his mission, he simply walked forth to Casca, wasting no time in letting her chest explode into a blood fountain by simply being in his presence, easily knocking her unconscious as he planned on appeasing Lucio by having his mother inprisoned somewhere in Falconia.

"RGAAAARGH!" Still incomprehensibly angry, Guts slashes and cuts at the intangible Griffith until the point of exhaustion, only stopping once he's seen how close he was to decapitating Casca, who was shielded by Griffith's skeletal back.

"Though you have forced my hand into attacking, know that you can still be spared from damnation. Your life and the orb's are separate to the astral tree, and though you no doubt see me as vile, let me assure you that no harm will be done to your maidens. It is merely a precaution for what you have to lose, if you choose to fight me again."

Saying this, Griffith takes hold of the unconscious Farnese, and places her in his arms along with Casca after she spent her energy along with your ultimate spell.

As you see Farnese being taken away in his arms as he prepares to fly off into the distance, something inside you breaks, the tower of corpses above you falls, each corpse screaming their lungs out as they fall and drown into the deep blue, yet you still fail to stand up.

All hope has left your soul. You did not think that defeating Griffith would be as easy as striking him once, yet even after all your attacks, the discovery of the inner workings of the creator, and a manipulation of the a spell that could obliterate the Sea God and Ganishka at the same time within the blink of an eye, you still have failed to do anything to defy a god.

Your life struggles have amounted to nothing.
>>
>>5717970
There's still hope, bros, even if Vlad thinks otherwise...
The astral wounds we inflicted upon Griffith, though bare, may yet afford more power to Lucio over him. An incredibly small amount of Femto's od is likely pure now, a seed which may one day sprout. And although Danan is poisoned, pure od has been similarly introduced into her through that spear we through.
And, macabre as it is...Femto left the Orb fully intact. I suspect his pride won't allow him to destroy it, and that he wants to face us at our full power for the sake of making his tale that much grander.
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>>5717970
"GRIFFIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIIITH!" This time, you're the one shouting for his name with all your might, in a feeble attempt to still feel in power, and as your voice grows weaker into a low growl, you realize your spirit is crushed beyond a level you could even process before, a black star of negativity is formed inside your mind as you have deep down in your mind, accepted defeat.

Yet even if your confidence in fighting is now non-existent, your body is unfortunately intact, and you manage to find something within you that forces you to stand. There is no tranquility or focus on your movements like previously, your mind is fogged by the only emotion you could fathom to cope with the death of the once hopeful Vlad that entered Skellig.

>Depression. Once again, you have failed to protect your family, a cyclical, familiar failure that happens to old and new alike.
>Vengeance. You will eviscerate Griffith himself, even if it means bringing down the word with it!
>Despair. This is only the beginning, and the doom of all you love is certain. Your only hope of salvation is a peaceful death, to which you will not receive.
>Numbness. You feel like crying, screaming, and tearing your entrails out, yet you have no will to do any of those things. It's the same as feeling absolutely nothing.
>>
>>5718029
>Depression. Once again, you have failed to protect your family, a cyclical, familiar failure that happens to old and new alike.
>>
>>5718029
This fickifn rolls.
I can t even.
I hate so much soul double ability and soul arrows. Constant shit rolls with them.

We aren't continuing that anti behelit. We don't have the time for it.
We just lost more people that could help us in the war and are close to us.
Honestly the only thing that i can consider a weapon at this point, is broadcast the memory of Griffith wanting to be god with the other hell lords corpses. Might be honestly the best weapon we have at the moment their infighting.
>>
>>5718029
>Depression. Once again, you have failed to protect your family, a cyclical, familiar failure that happens to old and new alike.
>>
>>5718029
>>Despair. This is only the beginning, and the doom of all you love is certain. Your only hope of salvation is a peaceful death, to which you will not receive.

I truly dont think depression does this moment justice. Depression is ultimately the lack of something, in our younger days we lacked purpose. Now, that has all but been annihilated, a bleeding wound on the soul itself.

If you would allow me to add an option, i'd say.
>Desperation. Nothing you do is good enough to save those you love. You must fight harder, you must risk more, you have to scrap it all together no matter the cost.
>>
>5717982
No, he is an archdemon and strategist. He would heal himself and cut away any parts that were poisoned for then regenerate them in a blink of a eye.
Lucio is a child, so his control is painfully low and emotional, lets not count on him.
Danaan i am not sure she can survive. Griffith has a powerful demonic od, she might die here now or in a few days. I am considering between help her healing or kill her for avoid worse, like being infested by griffith od if she is already compromized. Another powerful enemy is not needed with what Griffith already has.
The orb instead, Griffith is close to what he wants. He could just do what his pride wants or throw it in hellfire just for make sure he can win. Farnese and Sivir, I don't need to say it what happens. He is a liar.

>>5718029
>>Depression. Once again, you have failed to protect your family, a cyclical, familiar failure that happens to old and new alike.
We need to get to Ilos immediatly. We can't stay here anymore, both emotionally and for our army. We have to teach and train them, time is growing painfully short.

- Spend all our remaining money for get more men, weapons and armors for Ilos. Recruiting and training anyone that wants to fight.
- Create a new type of golem, instead of stone one of wood. Agility, speed and regrowing blades. Infused with some of our Od, for make each of their strikes are poison to apostles (or just have it grow poisonous plants on it self). If we can make it an accessible spell to learn for our mages in Ilos it would be great, would allow our army to enlarge both in offense and defense (wood and stone. Schierke can teach how to use the spell for stone golems).
- See about forcing the mutt out of Guts, place it in his sword or something else. Or attempt to make a deal/pact, like giving the heart/blood of a powerful apostle/being in exchange for get in the dragon slayer.
- Try remaking the Mandragora Monster we used against the new falcons (see if it can be done with a spell, same reasons of the wood golem so our mages can learn the spell)
- Experiment using our plant powers to create/breed new powerful poisons in plants to be applied to weapons.
- Order construction of new canals and artificial lakes in Ilos and around his region ? The power of the undines would grow stronger with more water for us to use.
- Prepare a curse on apostlekind in case we die, we could probably create it through self sacrifice, anathema to demonhood.
- Put the god hand against eachother by using the memories of this talk with Griffith. Living millenia only for be used by the youngest of them in the moments of their final victory ? No way they will accept this. They still want to see us death. Even if we create a small doubt its a victory.


And if we really want
- Try again in creating the anti behelit stone.
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>>5718112
In all fairness, you rolled extremely well with that ability, it's just... yeah, it's like throwing a nuke at a cosmic god with a redo button, it just doesn't cut it
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>>5718212
I imagined it
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>>5718156
>>5718152
>>5718049
>>5718131
Giselle. Gallahad. Jacopo. Merlina. And now... Sivir and Farnese. How many times will you fail to uphold your ridiculous standards of overthrowing reality? Every time you have tried it, you have failed and someone else had to pay the price of your poor decisions. The blood is in your hands and yours alone.

At least Griffith succeeds in his plans with his sacrifices, you've actively sent everybody you know to their early death for the sake of absolutely nothing. They only died because they believed in you, and you don't believe in yourself.

"It's hopeless, I can't beat them..."

You stand up, absolutely defeated. Your body is just fine, your soul is exhausted, but not to the point of worrying... Your mind however... Is disheveled beyond repair. As you watch the darkness akin to the tidal wave of darkness engulfing your surroundings, you don't feel the need to run, fight or even live. You actively walk forward, wanting to meet your end. The pain of your body is nothing, not a single thing will ever compare to the absolute pain you feel inside of yourself, for being the failure you are.

"DANAAN!"
"Flower Monarch!" Skull Knight and the sages arrive but a moment too late, as you hear their muffled screams of terror as they attempt to summon the four kings of the astral to repel the monsters destroying Elfhelm, with Skull Knight doing his best to chase after Griffith in the sky, using his portal sword to send him back to the enraged Guts, who donned the power of the Berserker armor to exert all the forces in his body to kill Griffith.

...Honestly, do you even care about this? Why bother? You know they will not strike him anyway. Barnham couldn't end him, Ganishka couldn't end him, what makes you think Guts and Gaiseric will? He'll simply fly back to Falconia, victorious and well received by his knights and princess alike as he does lord knows what with Farnese and Casca, while you wallow in self-pity once more with your only way of redemption for your sins is to kill yourself.

Though your mind shuts down in order to prevent the processing of thoughts any more complex than "you should die", a bright light of hope appears to you, as you see Sivir's half dead body crawling and rolling to Danaan as the ground colapses below her. Reading her thoughts is the last conscious effort to make before seeing her pass away.

"Thoughts into action... So this is what it means... To use this power to myself... Means using this orb created by the abyssal dimension to create my own reality onto this plane... Then let me undo the harm I brought onto this world... To save the life of the one I was merely impersonating..."
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>>5718246
"Danaan, we may not have seen each other eye to eye, but you are the more capable fighter than I could ever be. Like you've predicted, I've only brought harm and destruction to my surroundings, no matter where I went... And to make matters worse, I have infected my son with the same defeatist attitude that I wished he would escape from." Despite forming a heart in her chest time and time again, her deteriorating body works as fire to a forest, with Femto ensuring that she would not regenerate from her wounds like he has.

"Vlad... I know how you feel right now, but please, don't give up! Remember... Your fight has not been in vain! The world claims for a savior from darkness, and you know it's not Griffith! Remember all you've met in your journey, all the bonds you've formed, and all the ones still believing in your cause! Life does not end, nor does it begin, it merely transforms... I will always be with you, deep down in your heart, as well as all who have passed away... I love you, dear halfling of mine."

With the light of a thousand suns, Skellig disappears into a white void, the tidal wave of darkness and the infestation of demonic energy disappears from the entirety of the island as it's seals are reformed. The crumbling roots of the Cherry Tree regrow into a larger form. Danaan's bleeding body is healed from the wounds you've gave her, and Femto is blown away into the stratosphere thanks to the powerful expulsion of dark Od, forming an impenetrable barrier around the elf island as it began to rise back to it's previous position, undoing all the damage Femto had made, and reinforcing a barrier so strong that not even he could break into a second time.

Using Lucio's power to control the astral tree, Griffith makes his leave, with Guts shouting at the sky while you lay half awake at the newly formed Cherry Blossom Tree with a live Danaan still at your side. In your hand is the Orb Sivir had absorbed, once as big as her torso, now small enough to fit in the palm of your hand.

With the remaining of her life force, Sivir managed to bring the one that seemingly despised her from the brink of death, and left her corpse as a substitute of the astral tree root she was meant to be since her inception.

"COME BACK, DAMN IT! COME BAACK! THIS ISN'T OVER!" Guts shouts to the point of his voice cracking, still donning the armor and letting it take over as Hyde and Serpico fail to hold him in place as he bashes and bruises them, until your soft-spoken defeated words snaps him back to the truth of the events.

"Guts... Stop. It is over."
The beast of Darkness mischievously pounces away from him, letting the defeat and the pain from only being able to defeat Griffith and save Casca by murdering his newfound beloved son to sink in.
As your head hangs low, so does the branded swordsman's, both robbed of your power to believe and to prosper for a good life.

>Void of Misery, Chapter End.
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Well... Hopefully this was as painful to read as it was for me to write. A thread consisting of both Vlad's strongest and most triumphant feats followed by... This.

I'll be showing up tomorrow to give you the options for the epilogues, but let me know what you think of it so far. We're only like one to two threads away from ending this quest, so I guess I'll have to get used to siphoning off characters we like. It's going to be hard making up an ending to a story older than me who not even the author managed to finish, but I feel like I've made enough differences to the main plot for it to be it's own thing without much difficulty.

Thanks for playing!
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>>5718246
I feel vlad and guts.
Didn't expect for Sivir to decide to heal Danaan. Not with the story between them. Well we don't have to decide between seeing if we can save her or not.

Or for the orb to be left here.

>>5718280
Thanks for thread.
Its good we had a triumph prior and this is a tremendous defeat, for our war and the mental health of our group. Already losing Barnham was another tremendous defeat.

We have no more time to lose.
Vlad might kill himself too over this and it needs to be resolved rapidly by the others present. Guts too might be overwhelmed.
I expect Hyde to be one of the fews capable of resolving this, he has someone he truly loves and fights for. With a similar doom on top of her head if Ilos falls.

For other things to say ..... the vengeful option i think can be evolved in the righteous option.
Vlad has fight for others, mankind, Midland, Ilos. And he shared his vision to his companions. This has solidified in to him and them, during the quest and i think it can triumph over even this massive negativity.

For the ending i expect to finish business here on the fae island, then set immediatly for Ilos. Were Vlad and his companions will work for make sure they can share and multiply their gains.
Some of the ideas me and others had written will be likely done here, for strengthen our army, Ilos it self, our companions and Vlad.

After that short time of peace and us refusing to surrender, war starts, probably with both sides giving a speech to their armies, Ilos is then sieged. If we win at the siege of Ilos, i expect the war to move in the wider Midland, until we fully revert the situation with our victories and the siege of Falconia starts.
Or the siege of Ilos is the deciding battle of all, and Griffith sends everything. I expect the final threads to be an all out war and full of combat, with probably many characters death from our side. Apostles characters are very difficult to kill unfortunately so we will have to see how many die.
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>>5718280
Oh man this is pain.
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And the epilogue options are:

>Barnham's demise
>Aftermath of Vlad's encounter
>Kalki controlling the Ilos rebellion

Only got these 3 actually, not that much to elaborate plot wise given how we're mostly ending character arcs without introducing new ones, so really vote for the one who sounds more interesting!
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>>5719450
>Aftermath of Vlad's encounter
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>>5719450
>Aftermath of Vlad's encounter
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>>5719450
>>Aftermath of Vlad's encounter
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>>5719450
>>Barnham's demise
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>>5719450
>Aftermath of Vlad's encounter
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>>5719461
>>5719484
>>5719508
>>5719671
>>5719938
That many votes, huh? Guess I can't blame you on that given how eventful that was.
Alrighty then, I'll be posting the epilogue this weekend
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>>5720161
Looking forward to it, boss!
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"So you'll be staying at the island?" Serpico asks Isidro, his body language being a lot more serious than usual.

"Yeah... I don't think I'm ready to face... those sorts of foes yet, so I could use the time dilation's extra months to get some training done. If I can fight against one apostle by myself, then that's the least I can do to assure you I won't be weighing any of you down."

Serpico thought of doing one of his usual quips, 'oddly humble of you, Guts wannabe' would have been a good one, but he lacked the energy and the mood to make a joke after the situation earlier that day, so he kept things straight and to the point.

"Don't worry about us, I think we're skilled enough to at least live until we reunite again."

"I hope I can say the same thing eventually... Whenever I remember what that asshole did to Sivir... poor Isma only stopped crying because she went to sleep. Just the thought of that happening to her, not gonna lie... It's scary."

"Having somebody to protect you really does wonders for maturing, doesn't it?" Serpico smiles, though pondering what losing his half sister meant to him. He really never got to properly talk through their problems after their falling out. Either because there was too much in their heads, or because they were avoiding each other, not wanting to untangle the complex emotions that came with killing one's mother, resentment of unrequited love, and whatever else they lived through in these long years...

The possibility of dying before ever giving a final word to Farnese left Serpico feeling impotent, lacking the freedom of guilt that a sylph required to be one with the wind.

"I assume Isma will be staying with you then?"
"Yeah, Roderick already made a deal with Ino to aid them and the navy, anyway, so she just wants her to stay safe for now. If Griffith tries to get anywhere near the main rivers and the coast, he's toast."

"I don't think he will go out of his way to fight in fields he has a clear disadvantage in, but it's good to have a few safe points to establish our bases, might as well circle him from the outskirts and work our way in."
"Yeah. Sounds like a plan. Having the old skully finally on our side feels like we've unlocked a secret weapon of sorts, right?"
"I'd say it almost compensates for not having you and Isma around, I'm gonna miss Schierke and Ivalera too."
"You don't have to miss anything, Morda will be coming with you. She knows a lot of undead magic that might just help you more than us." Isidro is humble enough to admit that he doesn't know much of the world anymore.

"Not everything is about power, is it Isidro?"
"It is now." Isidro stares back at Serpico with authority. No matter how much Serpico's attachment to his group left him wanting to express his worries, the warrior in his heart prevents him to voice them.
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>>5724655
"And what about you? What will you do after getting back to Midland?"

"I'll be speaking with the Lord Vandimion himself. I'll try using the little noble blood I have to convince them of Ilos' cause and help them instead of Falconia. Hopefully Magnifico will be on my side with this."

"Farnese is his sister too. Even if begrudgingly, he's gonna be on your side. Just make sure you don't die when the fights really get going, alright? Me and the witch people will be giving you as much backup as we can once we're done."

"...I can't make promises I can't keep. I am yet to find out if the unfolding of this grand story we are seeing will become a part of me, or if I am merely a part of it." Serpico confesses his worries about his own mortality, but regardless of his small chances, the lack of Farnese, and the state Vlad and Guts were forced him to finally stand up to the plate the were in. He always knew he was more competent than Farnese at leading armies and doing the paperwork on her stead, but to finally see the day that he would overpower her... If only it were in better circumstances.

"That Skull Knight guy is kind of an asshole when you think about it, isn't he? Couldn't he just use his portal sword to send the ship back to Vritannis?"
"With how Vlad is, I can only hope the weeks we stay sailing is enough for him to snap out of the trance he is in. Gaiseric leaving ahead of us might have been a blessing in disguise. You saw how him and Guts behaved after what happened. One just stood up, locked himself up in his room and hasn't said a word since--"

"You know it's rough when not even Puck managed to get a reaction out of him."
"-- And Vlad..." Serpico hesitated to even think about Vlad's state, preferring to shift the subject to something else.

...
All of Vlad's coping mechanisms were completely obliterated. The isolation he once sought refuge now only left him more suffocated by his own disdain for himself. The scene kept repeating inside his head for well over a thousand times, consuming all his thoughts and actions. It was all he could think of as the seahorse sailed back to Vritannis, and though people came and went to check on him, no response was given. The light in his eyes was gone, the few words uttered from him were repeating quotes from that day, incapable of moving a second forward since Griffith's brutal murder of his mother.

Sadness didn't even begin to describe what he felt. It was as if he returned to the cowardly child back in the Santana Estate, afraid to even see if his parents were truly dead, only this time, in incomprehensibly larger scales. What it did matter if he had a power that could alter reality, when Griffith had already mastered that just by the virtue of existing? A plan older than himself, trampled like an ant under his feet.

This is what he chose. Turning back would do nothing to the death march behind him.
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>>5724692
"Vlad." Guts' voice is heard as he makes himself present in the room, appearing to have finally snapped out of his own maddening rumination of the events.

"..."
No response from Vlad, his head still buried under his arms as he sat in a dark corner of the ship in an attempt to become one with the woodwork.

"Didn't you hear me? I said stand up!"
"..."
"Stand the hell up, damn you! You can't shut down at a moment like this!" Guts grabbed the young lord by his shoulders and slammed him against the wall, getting a good look as his lifeless eyes as they rolled down to where he stood. As he let his old friend go, Vlad fell down on his knees and slumped onto Guts' chest. The only sign of him still being alive was the shallow breathing of his lungs.

"..."
"SAY SOMETHING! Where is the man who came here to this damn island in the first place? The one who didn't give up no matter how many times he got beaten half to death? The one who showed us all that there was still hope to have in this wretch of a world? Now is not the time to play deaf! So do something! Use those new powers of yours to control the tree and put us on land! Summon something to end this war early! Absorb that pearl you're clutching! Find a way for Lucio to live! THERE HAS TO BE ANOTHER WAY, AND YOU ALWAYS FIND ONE!" Guts shouted at the top of his lungs, unsure if he was trying to bring his friend back up from sinking in the quicksand, or himself.

For a second, Guts pondered on whether or not to join Vlad in his misery, to get on his knees and stay in the corner like he was doing before, finding in his head a way to not kill his own flesh and blood and leave him in an even worse state that he was after the eclipse.

Unknown if his words have gotten through to Vlad, Guts noticed the grimace in Vlad's face, his expression resembling a painful smile. Acknowledging the uselessness of denying reality while still letting it happen. All the force he gathered to attempt to motivate the one who brought him hope was all for nothing, much like all they've both been doing.

Silence once again echoed through the room, as Vlad imagined all the blood that was still about to spill in his hands, almost regretting the path he took as he wondered if Griffith would really hold onto his world if he let him fight the creator himself. Though he knew better than anyone than whatever path he took, death would follow him until it took him onto it's embrace. The true potential he had was inherently unachievable by nature, much like all of those who perish before knowing what tomorrow would bring them. Even by breaking and reforming himself time and time again throughout his journey, training, planning and reinventing is worthless against those who manipulate fate well above what he can do.
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