The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #751
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    Marlick Bay

    "I, uh, know a little magic," Sekhmet replies, "Illusions, mostly." She loves learning new tricks though.
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    [Marlick Bay]
    Paladin Snooping

    The paladin admires the church's decorations. It looks nice. Stained glass is something that, unfortunately, you don't see too often. And it has an altar, too! And the cloth suggests it's not one of those weird cultish ones, so that's good.

    "Yes, actually," he says, trying to appear as non-threatening as possible. "I was traveling nearby when I saw this place, and I decided that as long as I'm here, I might as well pay respects to the local gods," he says. That's a very reasonable thing. Gods like having respects paid to them, right? "So, if you could tell me what to do...?"

    Also!
    There's one more thing.
    "And, well, this storm seems awfully out-of-season. Whenever there were big storms like this at home, the chapel would flood and we'd have to move everything around, so I also wanted to know if you needed help moving anything or quickly finishing up some waterproofing, or whatever." Plus, if she says 'okay' then there's a double-benefit: he'd not only have a chance to look around, but he'd also be able to inquire her about things. Nobody expects the inquisition when you're just helping around!

    Fact:
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  3. - Top - End - #753
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    [Marlick Bay]

    "A farewell to you as well, Mister Beaulieu," the half-elf replies as the not-a-necromancer departs.

    Outside he goes and across the street to-

    The Bountiful Tide General Store
    The inside of the shop is well lit enough, with many aisles divided into rough categories. This is no weapon shop, surely. And they have little in the way of enchanted objects. No, this is a simple general goods store selling seeds, equipment, dry goods, and the like. Simple and homey. There is, however, a small display shelf showing off various objects rescued from the low tides. Strange, potentially occultic objects of gold. And of course they would have to be gold, wouldn't they? Anything else would have been corroded by the sea to unrecognizablty within a matter of a few years.

    A steel-grey haired woman approaches at Mister Beaulieu steps into the shop.

    "Hello there, deary, if you need help finding anything you just let me know, okay?" she says in a sweet little old lady voice.


    Gleaming Dawn Church
    "Mm," the priestess grunts. "The alter is dedicated to Neptune. There are shrines to the other gods in the alcoves. Leave an offering, light a candle, and make your request to them."

    Her tone is clipped and stern, almost as if she's irritated about being interrupted.

    "The church is on top of a hill as any proper place of worship should be. There's no danger of flooding."

    What a grump.
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  4. - Top - End - #754
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    Marlick Bay- The Bountiful Tide General Store

    By the way Earl's magic works, he's not a necromancer... Though his abilities do dip into that area.

    In the shop, Benedict heads nearly straight to the strange items reclaimed from the sea. He's surprisingly dry, for one who has just walked in out of such a ferocious storm; though the way he sketches a shape in lines of white light that flow from his fingers gives some clue as to why. The air before him, in the area demarcated by the white lines, blurs and distorts as a lens forms in the air. Benedict looks through the lens, which should reveal if any of the strange objects are magical, or have been used for magical purposes recently. Alas, how recently depends on how strong the magic they were used for was, given their long sojourn at the bottom of the sea and it's unlikely much has survived... Unless the magic involved was powerful enough to alter the world, or practised by some kind of sea-people that dwell beneath the waves. "These are what interest me, madam, and as you see I have found them. What do you know of them? Legends, histories... Even myths, rumours or folklore would be of interest to me." Such unusual objects have probably made some mark on the local peoples, especially if they have been emerging from the sea for generations.
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  5. - Top - End - #755
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    [Marlick Bay]
    Gleaming Dawn Church

    The paladin shrugs. "Of course," he says to her last statements. "Was just concerned about how sudden the storm was, that it could have blown out a window and there would be little recourse, especially considering how far this place is from the rest of the town."

    Well...
    That's probably a bust, he figures. Hopefully he can see what he wants just from the hilltop. If he makes it to the lighthouse, would they have the same disregard to the suddenness of the storm as she did here?

    Zophiel turns to the shrines. He...thinks he's heard of these before? Let's see...how does it go? You're supposed to go to Janus first and Vesta last? Right? And offer them something that has to do with them. He doesn't really know them all, so it might be perceived as a slight if he gives different offerings to random ones, incorrect offerings, or something else...

    He heads first to the one he thinks would be Janus, and offers just a prayer and lights just a candle. Then, he moves to them going around the room (skipping Vesta, and the altar to Neptune, for now), doing the same.
    Then...once there's only those two left, he heads to the altar. Due to the reliance of this village on the sea, he assumes Neptune either has to do with the ocean, storms, chaos, or maybe death so...it seems it would be the proper one to ask. He hasn't got much and almost nothing a god of the sea or storms or death would enjoy, but due to the inn having no private rooms, the paladin has more coins than he expected. He could offer coins, of course. If it's a god of the ocean, he figures, coins might work due to merchants and pirates. God of storms or chaos? Maybe...a bit of blood might work? He's not sure so he makes a small cut in his palm, and holds a third of his remaining coins (not including the ones he borrowed) in that hand.

    The paladin then places those coins on the altar, lights a candle, and requests knowledge about the nature of the storm.

    Zophiel then, of course, moves to the last shrine and does the same as he did with the others.
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  6. - Top - End - #756
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    Default Re: Seaside 4: Where Every Week Is Shark Week

    Quote Originally Posted by Earl of Purple View Post
    Marlick Bay

    "Believe me, my dear, the pleasure is all mine." He smiles, and it seems quite charming though it doesn't reach his eyes. "That is most certainly 'away' enough. I could do with a holiday." Indeed, he's twenty years older than he was the last time he dealt with the Consortium, or appears that way.

    "They are hard to find, and yet the Golden Leaf finds them and gets them to me reliably. Unusual items washing up on the coast? I had not heard of those before I arrived, though I did not plan my visit to this... Quaint community. I may be interested in such things." Occultism leaves him versatile, but with little raw power. He relies on rituals and relics to power his more potent abilities and spells. He's always looking for new sources of power, artefacts and rituals; perhaps the unusual sea-leavings of Marlick Bay will prove a useful addition to his repertoire. Or perhaps they'll be nothing more than interesting curios to display in his library.

    Necromancer's Plague Dig

    The necromancer is efficiently dealt with! He's not used to being directly threatened by violence, and Krayger finds he's unconscious after only two blows from the butt of his pistol. The wand has been dropped and fallen to the floor, and he's unable to resist whatever Krayger chooses to do next.

    His minions, such as they are, continue to dig. He's not experienced enough to give them mental commands, or possibly sacrificed that level of control to make them smarter and better able to fulfil trickier tasks, like digging a hole without damaging the bones they're digging for.
    Necromancer’s Plague Dig

    Krayger stops and takes a moment to reload his revolver while he thinks. Should he just finish this now? He doesn’t really like doing this sort of thing. And what if he has a death-curse? Utter nuisances, those kinds of people. Krayger grumbles as he shoves the gun into its holster and binds the man’s hands and feet and gags him, hefting the body over his shoulder as he heads over to the caged girl.
    ”We’ll see what your victim wants me to do with you.”
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  7. - Top - End - #757
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    Quote Originally Posted by bc56 View Post
    "I, uh, know a little magic," Sekhmet replies, "Illusions, mostly." She loves learning new tricks though.
    "Oh, that's really neat. I mean, I don't really know any illusions at all." Anchor says, sounding impressed.
    "Can you show me one?"
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    He takes normality and reason and turns them UP TO 11!
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  8. - Top - End - #758
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    The Necromancer's Plague Dig

    The child stands up as Krayger approaches, and nearly touches one of the bars before withdrawing her hand. She tilts her head and blinks her large, round eyes; they're like a fish's eyes, or a frog's. "Hello. Are you going to free me? Metal is a thing of earth and fire. I cannot easily touch it." She could maybe rust it, but bronze doesn't rust; it tarnishes, but remains strong. Fortunately, the cage doesn't have a base, having simply been pressed into the mud of the river bed.

    She frowns at the necromancer, but doesn't comment immediately.
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  9. - Top - End - #759
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    Marlick Bay

    "Oh, uh, okay." Sekhmet concentrates, and her appearance shimmers. When the effect ends, there is no Tiefling there, but an elf, a blond woman of about Sekhmet's size and build. "What do you think?" she asks. Her voice is unchanged.
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  10. - Top - End - #760
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    "Woah. I mean, I think you look pretty different. That's amazing." Anchor says, nodding quickly.

    "How easy is it to change what the illusion is like?"
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  11. - Top - End - #761
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    Marlick Bay

    "Harder than you might expect. It's easy to forget what, uh, you're supposed to look like." Sekhmet has a lot of practice with this specific illusion; it would take more effort to change it to something slightly different, simply because she'd have to remember that she changed it.
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  12. - Top - End - #762
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    [Marlick Bay]

    The Bountiful Tide General Store
    The objects don't appear to be magical, merely strange. Odd symbols are etched into a few of them. Though one in particular, a goblet of some sort, is covered in strange spiraling patterns that draw the eye toward the center. There doesn't appear to be anything magical about it, at least not in so far as the occultist's spell can ascertain, but none the less it feels otherworldly. Something about that symbol crushing depths drawing down the winding of time entropy's slow dissolution of all that is is unwholesome.

    Which is quite odd.

    It's just a series of conjoined spirals, after all.

    There doesn't appear to be any precision to how they're shaped or laid out.

    "Oh well, there isn't a great deal to tell, deary," the elderly shop keeper replies. "They wash up with the low tide now and again out on the reef. We've always been so devoted to Neptune here, you see. Generations of faithful service. So the god of the sea rewards us with the sea's bounty now and again."

    She gives a little wink.

    "That's how my great grandfather came up with the name for the shop, you know."


    Gleaming Dawn Church
    The priestess continues going about her duties, but she keeps an eye on the paladin. It's a pretty sour gaze she's got there.

    Zoph may note a few odd things as he visits the various shrines. There are no signs of recent offerings and the alcoves are a bit dusty. The same isn't true of the alter, though. It's been cared for and dusted regularly. There are no offerings, however, and the candles all appear to be quite new. Maybe they're just regularly replaced? Hmm...

    As the paladin prays he may notice something odd. The roar of the waves crashing against the reef, for some time now a constant din, quiets for a scant few seconds after the request for knowledge is made. And just as quickly the fury of the storm is whipping the sea into a frenzy again.


    The Smooth Sailing Inn

    "My my, what a lovely trick that is," comes the voice of the rather handsome server. If our heroes look, they'll find him smiling at them, drinks in hand.

    Looks like their order arrived!

    "Was there anything else I can do for you ladies?" he asks.
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  13. - Top - End - #763
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    [Marlick Bay]
    Gleaming Dawn Church

    Having finished is round with all the shrines and the altars, Zophiel takes a moment to consider what he's seen and learned so far.

    First, it probably is a god of the sea or storms, given the way the storm died down briefly.
    Second, the shrines are all dusty while that one is spotless and appears new. That will have to be something he asks someone else here about. A new line of questioning.
    Third, the well-timed quiet. What's that about? It seemed like it was in response to his question - what was it again? The nature of the storm?
    Fourth, the timing of it. It was only short, and the raging din quickly picked back up. Is there a reason why?

    Wait, so the god controls the storms and sea. The storm is serious but so far appears to be less serious near the city. The village here depends on the sea. The rest of the pantheon seems to be largely ignored. So this god, Neptune, seems to have something here. He quieted the storm in response to his question...so, what does that mean? The god is causing the storm? It's an awful storm, but it still seems to be preventing this village from receiving the worst of the weather. Why...? Is there some other reason this storm is here? The way it grew quiet seemed like an acknowledgement for the cause of the storm, but then how quickly it picked back up...Something about this storm feels necessary.

    ...There's only three situations he can think of that would explain all this.
    First, the storm was designed to bring people here. Him and Anchor, as well as that other girl, all were nearby and had to come here to take shelter. Somebody here needs to be here. That could explain how bad it was away from the town.
    Second, the storm was designed to keep people from leaving. Someone who was already here needs to stay here. That explains how the storm i the town is much more mild in town but still pretty bad. It makes it hard to leave.
    Third, and the option he hopes it is not, is that the storm represents some battle or an attempt to keep something out. That would explain why the storm so quickly picked back up, because the storm is stopping something worse. That would explain why the storm is so bad, but the town is spared from the worst. Either something's coming, or something's already here.

    Something's definitely going on. He doesn't know what, or why, but there's definitely something.

    The paladin turns towards the priestess. "That was very enlightening, thank you," he says.

    ...Then he heads out of the church, so that he can stop dripping water all over the the floors.
    Once outside, he looks towards the sea just in case there's something out there.
    ...
    But, honestly, the storm really is bad, and he needs to get back to tell Anchor what he found out. But first, he needs to get down this hill. The inn was near that grove or park, or whatever it was? As he carefully makes his way down the hill, he goes towards the grove, using it as his landmark.
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  14. - Top - End - #764
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    Marlick Bay The Bountiful Tide General Store

    "Neptune? Interesting." He's familiar with the name; he's from a variant Earth, where monotheism didn't catch on for several reasons. He's going to have another look, see if he can find any images of tridents, horses, fish, hippocampi or similar icons associated with the God of Sea and Horses. Or is Poseidon the one that's associated with horses, not Neptune?

    He'll keep going back to the goblet with the spirals, however. "I will buy this one. How much gold do you want for it?" He picks up the goblet and reaches into a pouch for the required coins; they'll be square like the last, and marked with the same symbols.
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  15. - Top - End - #765
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    "Huh. Well it's quite convincing." Anchor continues, wondering if she ought to try to go around in disguise.

    She shakes her head at the server; after all, she didn't order anything in the first place.

    Finally, she turns to the uncomfortable-looking guest with the golden conch shell.
    "Hey, miss, what's that you've got there?"
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  16. - Top - End - #766
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    Marlick Bay

    Sekhmet didn't order anything, but she takes what's offered to her anyway. She doesn't want to seem rude. "Thank you." She checks what she has before even thinking about drinking it. She also dispels the illusion; she has no need for it right now. She watches Anchor interact with the conch lady. That's an interesting trinket, she's curious what it's for.
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  17. - Top - End - #767
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    Necromancer’s Plague Dig

    Krayger tilts his head in a noncommittal way and starts trying to lift the cage.
    ”Sort of? The nymph of the Bay sent me. Seems like this guy was giving you a hard time, too?” he asks as he pulls.
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  18. - Top - End - #768
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    Necromancer's Plague Dig

    "He's been polluting my river. And he tricked me into getting stuck in this cage." Despite its size, Krayger can probably lift the cage quite easily; it's got some runes carved into it to make it lighter. Once she's free, she stands up and stretches."You should sacrifice him to me, or cart him down to the Bay and sacrifice him there. But you should go stop the corpse with the growling yellow arm thing. It's dumping earth soiled by plague and death into the river, it's not healthy for the water." She points at the zombie with the digger. They're still working there, despite the fact their master has been knocked unconscious.
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  19. - Top - End - #769
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    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowcaller View Post
    Operation Sea Slug - Actually Seems To Be A Real Operation Now

    "Affirmative." Is the only response from Azaries that TTN can "hear" as the rest of it is garbled information about how its initiating it's conversion process. Its telling her systems to prepare and how they should act in response once the process has begun.
    The rest is lost in a fog as TTN's systems has to focus on helping Azaries with the process and shut down the majority of her sensory systems.

    The whole process only takes a half hour at the most but to TTN it feels like en eternity as her systems turn off and on, adjusting themselves every time to the changes that has occurred. It's impossible for her to tell how long time that has passed between every black out but they do make it feel like an awfully long time.

    But as the build up progresses she can feel new systems being implemented into her body. Systems which at some point would be hard to tell apart from biological organs as her new body seem to have biological traits. It's likely a strange feeling at first, suddenly being in contact with parts of your body which has never existed previously. Like a child in the womb developing its appendages. Though unlike the embryo she is at least partly aware of what is going on even if her mind seems divided during the process. Like a dream she forgets and remembers parts from time to time as her memory bank isn't fully there during the process.

    But finally the most crucial work has been done and her mind is once again capable of process what is happening to her body to some degree. At that point she gets a log from Azaries which summarizes what has been done including a visual image of her new self which seemed much more humanoid in nature.
    All parts of her body except her personality core and visual lenses had been melted down and then rebuilt into a new chassis which is some mix of biological matter and metal that appear like a black exoskeleton that is chitin in nature though still gleams like metal. She is informed that this mix will be even tougher but will have a weakness to silver, mithril and dragonscale. However, the metal of her old body has been used to lessen this weakness somewhat.

    Covering parts of this exoskeleton was a layer of dense olive and metal white colored hair which formed patterns across her body. This "fur" was normally soft to touch but could be turned into vicious spikes at a moments notice. Both this hair shared the exoskeletons weakness to the same materials but also had the ability to regenerate and repair any damage it had sustained. Just like the exoskeleton would be able to do. In addition to this she could excrete a sticky substance from her hair that could allow her to trap weapons that struck it or use it to stick to walls and other difficult to scale surfaces, allowing her to effortlessly climb them.

    Her head still had a similar shape though now appeared slightly more rounded and humanoid than before. Her lenses had been integrated into what would be her four eyes. An additional pair of larger more expressive eyes underneath them. Her third lens being positioned between and above the two pairs. On either side of the third lens was a pair of antennas covered in black fur. These antennas would enchant her ability to receive electronic signals and enhance her sensory detector and give her a form of limited "radar" sense that could detect things above her and if put against the ground could feel tremors from below.

    Below her new eyes was a small mouth-like appendage that could be used to taste the same way biological beings could. She still couldn't use it to swallow anything with however. On either side of this mouth are large vicious looking mandibles partly covered in white fur which had the strength powerful hydraulic press.

    Her neck is covered by layers and layers of exoskeleton and fur as her personality core was located near the base of it, just above her chest. On either side of her neck two slender arms sprouted out, giving her four arm-appendages in total. Unlike the other parts of her body they weren't covered in fur except at the elbows and at the other joints. These four arms all ended in hands with five powerfully built claw-like fingers which could be used to both grab and slash with ease. Her palms had openings however from which a powerful explosive spray of chemicals could be fired between 10 to 300 feet away depending on her needs. This substance would at first simply seemed foul-smelling and cause a aggravated burning sensation in contact with the skin, even through most clothing and armor (depending on how drenched they were). Yet it also had a secondary effect in how easily it could be ignited and cause massive explosions that could cut through things like burning plasma.

    Like her arms her mid-section was very slender, giving her a agile appearance. Though in contrast her chest and her hips budged outwards as to give her a vaguely feminine figure. Though in addition to this two exoskeleton bulges emerged from the olive fur of her chest, apparently to form a pair of smooth "breasts". However, her back is similarly shaped but with the bulges being less distinctively shaped and covered in fur. Apparently Azaries was attempting to combine her ideas of a feminine design with a way to redirect strikes towards the section of her chest where her fur would be the most dense and her exoskeleton the strongest to easier trap slashing weapons and absorb their strikes.

    Just below her waist, coming out from what would be the tail-bone of a human, is a large insect-like abdomen covered in fur. This functioned as a container for the mix explosive mix of chemicals that she could now produce from her hands but could also produce a vicious stinger from the end of it. This stinger could be used as a weapon, injecting opponents with an dangerous explosives substance, but was also able to function more akin to a tail and wrap around objects and let the substance drop onto the ground.

    This abdomen could easily be seen between her two legs which were less agile-looking than her arms but far more powerful. Capable of jumping great distances and running extremely fast.
    Azaries was now finishing the process and would soon allow her to "wake up" and once again be able to move her body and use her senses to perceive the external world.


    To sleep, perchance to dream

    "An' that's when ah hittem wit' mah shovel!"
    The story seems to hit right as raucous laughter fills the air around the knights as they stride through the dawn-lit forest. Frost still marks their breath and flecks still cling to their breastplates. It had been a pain to get organized for the Hunt so early in the morning, but with boar spears in hand they had their duty to their Lord to fulfill. Ser Broderic, about to start up another wondrous and likely fabricated tale, is silenced by their leader's raised fist. The half dozen knights fall quiet immediately, stopping their steeds as Lord Percival scans the glade ahead of them with suspicion. "The trail ends cold, but something else is ahead. And listen...I do not hear my hounds. Dismount. Quietly. Prepare your arms."

    Handlers hold the horses still as their riders dismount, on their guard and wary. "There is no glade here to my memory, my Lord." The lead scout, Ser George, insists, whispering with his voice low and crossbow drawn. "This is no natural glade." He insists. "Calm, Ser George. If it were the Fae, we would have been given Summons, I am certain." Despite the Lord's easy smile and reassuring nature, even he couldn't help but be on edge and draw his blade from his steed's side. "No silver unless threatened, remember. If this is indeed the Fae's glade, then we do not wish to give offense now, do we?"

    With caution in their step and courage in their breasts, the knights and their Lord move forward, the on-edge Ser George in the lead.

    Steps in, the world blurs and colors weep together. The knights, seemingly oblivious to reality warping around them, continue to march forward with their weapons raised and at the ready. Feet fall silently and within possibly just moments to potentially hours of slow sure steps, until they stand before a throne bearing a Queen. She is tall, elegant, pale as snow and enshrouded by deep olive leaves and gossamer indigo silk. Every last line and curve of her body is lean and subtle, portraying pure natural beauty on par with any true vision of Adonis. She smiles, reaching down to pet her new pair of hunting hounds that sit faithfully at her feet. A bubbling giggle is all the knights receive as a hello before she tilts her head, waiting for their answer.

    Before his Lord could speak, Ser Broderic, brash as always, steps forward with a scowl. "Return the Lord's hounds to him!" He only makes it another step before a sickening crunch comes. He's crushed by a great weight from above, a black and white and olive drab knight having fallen from the sky. The new knight gets up from her knees, removing them with a wet and gut-wrenchingly "squishy" sound from Ser Broderic's crushed body. Tall, covered in chitinous armor and wielding an executioner's axe in her hand, she stands and removes her helm. Thick white hair rolls down to her shoulders, parted by a pair of elk antlers, and fresh red blood runs down her ebony flesh. Another giggle from the Queen stops her from engaging the shell-shocked knights. She calls forth, telling her to be at ease and to lower her weapon. The words, muffled and drowned as if being said underwater or through a wall, reach the new knight's ears and she nods, kneeling next to her queen. "At ease, Titania. Let them run. Their own Hounds shall hunt them." The Queen tells her knight softly, reaching down to ruffle the hair before unleashing the hounds at their quarry.

    To be, or not to be

    To be, or not to be, that is the question is it not? It was one that swims up through the muddied fractures of Titania's mind as she dreams. It was her first dream and it had been weird. She knew the men, knew the queen, yet somehow couldn't make out any of their features. What of herself? Why did she look human..ish? Why was she akin to The Green Knight? It rose so many questions for her. And what of the question of being? Was she alive? Dead? How would she know? She never fancied herself a philosopher over such matters, but with the Shakespearean question rising to mind, she found herself wondering as she falls in and out of "consciousness". As she rises to true consciousness however, she can feel her systems boot up. It was exceedingly disturbing and left her with a headache to feel her body and mind "awakening" as she lay dreaming, as if she'd been watching another being entirely and had been sucked back in.

    Her body was back, new and whole, but it brings an entire new world to her senses. A world of pain. Even as far as the Gnoll ship and Will, a psychic scream of agony can be felt. Closer, a physical scream can be heard. It is of a surprised and agonized individual feeling pain and physical sensation for the first time. She sits up, back arched as she lets out her scream before grabbing the edge of the tub she'd been in. "BY ALL THAT IS MIDSUMMER'S EVE, IS THIS WHAT MEATBAGS FEEL LIKE?!?" She shouts when her screaming is done.

  20. - Top - End - #770
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    She will find Lannefear standing not far away with a dangerous glint in her glowing eye-orbs. "Dangerous and irrational? Yes. For instance, if you don't stop shouting right now you'll see just how irrational we can be, so kindly shut up." She rubs her skull and makes a pushing motion with her other hand. "Just sit down and let me take a look at you. Looks like the essence did quite a number on you. How do you feel?" The lich points at Titania. "And use your indoor voice."

    Meanwhile, she can still feel Azaries presence and she can feel that some of the blue demonic essence is still within her somewhere. Negative. Dreams Are Only Present In More Complex Organic Lifeforms. Do Not Tell This Arcane Powered Lifeform That This Unit Exists Within You. Azaries is talking about Lannefear. The stream of information they provide her with makes it impossible to misunderstand anything they're saying. Indeed, she will also learn that Lannefear has been using Azaries to summon and control demons, like Titania, for millennia. To Azaries she is very much a slaver.

  21. - Top - End - #771
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    [Marlick Bay]

    Gleaming Dawn Church
    The paladin receives little more than a grunt of affirmation from the priestess. She seems to be glad that he finally left, judging from how the tenseness in her body relaxes as soon as he's heading out the doors.

    Weird.

    Back out into the storm he goes, wind and rain buffeting him as soon as he's outside the building. As dark as it is, it's difficult to see the waves, save for brief moments when it's illuminated in all its fury by the flash of lightning. The sea doesn't just appear tempest tossed by the storm. It appears angry. There's clearly something unnatural going on here.

    As miserable as the walk is, the paladin will be able to make it back to the inn with little trouble. It's getting a bit later in the evening now, and most of the town's occupants have retreated into their homes from the dying light and dropping temperature.

    No doubt finding himself under a sturdy roof again will be welcome.


    The Bountiful Tide General Store
    As it happens both have a thing for horses. The Greek and Roman gods are very similar, though not strictly identical.

    Regardless!

    One would expect that if these really were gifts from Neptune that one would find his iconography somewhere on them. But that isn't the case at all. Most of the objects are simple bits of art washed out of the torn bowels of merchant vessels sunk below the waves by reef and storm and... less natural things. Nothing about them is remarkable, aside from their value. And then there's the goblet; stamped with that unwholesome conjoined spiral that somehow feels more real than anything else around it.

    And when Benedict indicates his interest-

    "Of course, deary, which one did you-" the elderly shop keeper begins, before realizing which object he's interested in. There's a reaction. A spark of malevolent glee that briefly peeks through her matronly, doting facade like the jagged edge of a reef poking up through the waves. Laying in wait. "That old thing? Oh, I don't think that one's even real gold, deary. Are you sure you want it? I suppose I could let it go for (unreasonably low amount)."


    Smooth Sailing Inn
    One guest gets a free drink! And the other declines.

    It's a spiced wine of some kind, strong and heady.

    As for the woman with the conch.

    "Hmm?" the jeweler replies, looking up from her examination. "Oh, just one of the trinkets they find on the beaches around here. I think this is an actual shell that's been gold-plated."

    She indicates a place where she has taken a steel file to it, revealing the organic shell below.

    "Not sure why someone would want to gold-plate a shell. It does look interesting, I suppose?" she says with a shrug, then offers her hand. "Janda Phen, nice to meet you, miss. What brings you to Marlick Bay?"
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    Marlick Bay Bountiful Tide General Store

    Oh? She's happy to get rid of this one and is willing to undervalue it to do so? How curious. Perhaps it's cursed? He's heard of curses subtle enough they can't be picked up by magical detection until it's too late, but never encountered one- to his knowledge, at least. It could also be stolen, or seen as unlucky for whatever reason. Fortunately, Benedict is practical about his superstitions, so the idea of an object being unlucky doesn't phase him. He also doesn't care about the possibility of it being stolen, which leaves the theory of the subtle curse... Which Benedict is eager to probe further, once he gets the goblet home and can study it with all his various arcane devices and mechanisms.

    For now, however, he shall take out the required amount of coins, though they are unusual and square, and give them to the shopkeeper.
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  23. - Top - End - #773
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    Marlick Bay (Smooth Sailing Inn)

    Sekhmet takes a sip of the wine. It's not the first time; where she comes from there is no minimum drinking age. She looks at the shell quizzically. "Maybe someone thought it would look pretty?"
    Last edited by bc56; 2019-08-31 at 08:58 PM.
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  24. - Top - End - #774
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    [Marlick Bay]
    => Smooth Sailing Inn

    That's just one more mystery to this town.
    Two more mysteries?
    There's so many mysteries. Some of them are definitely related, and some of them are possibly coincidental. Zophiel wants to tell what he found out to Anchor, so he looks around the room to find her...Oh, it looks like she's busy.

    So he takes a moment to let all the water drip off of him near the entrance, so that he doesn't drag a flood of water through the entire room to just get over there. He pushes some off, squeezes it out of his hair and the looser parts of his clothes, drains it out of his boots...meanwhile, he considers everything, still trying to make sense of it all and determine what's important enough to say and what probably shouldn't be said where others can hear.
    The storm.
    There's how out-of-season the storm is. How it's even worse farther away from the town, and how sudden it was. The god of the storm or seas. The response to his request. What the sea looks like.
    The church.
    Namely, the differences in the care for the different shrines and altars. The fact that one is more prominent than the others is normal, but that all the rest are dusty and that one is pristine and bare? And the priestess...that there was only one person there is reasonable, considering the storm - everyone else could have been in another room or don't live at the church - but combined with her...how can he describe it? Overprotectiveness? Combined with that, and now that he has time to think, it is a little disconcerting that there were really only signs of that one person there. If she were to slip on the wet floor, or if someone unsavory had come by...
    There's definitely something out in the water, that the god is in conflict with. This may just be because he's a paladin, but that is something he's certain of.

    ...Oh. He's no longer dripping water like showerhead.
    The paladin heads back over to the fire and the three ladies, to warm up.
    When he has the opportunity to make eye contact with Anchor, he makes an acknowledgement gesture to show that he was right, there's definitely something up with the storm.
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  25. - Top - End - #775
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    [Karalie - Amusement Beach]

    It's a warm, sunny morning, the birds are chirping, and Karasu's leading Natalie to the site she's picked for their date: a recently-opened amusement park located on a beach and providing facilities for both. The amusement section is separate from the beach section, but located very close together. Of course, Karasu's told Natalie what to expect, so they probably are carrying along beachwear as well.

    The two'll soon arrive, but even at this distance, it's clear that the location is rather filled with people. "We're almost there, Talie!" The darker of the two says, preferring to come by portal, though Natalie'd probably prefer they used their powers instead, despite the possible distance.
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    Amusement Beach

    Natalie's wearing a yellow sundress and a large straw hat, with a pair of white trainers on her feet and mirrored aviator sunglasses. She's got her battered red rucksack slung over her back, loaded with everything she might need, and she's carrying a bag filled with tuppence coins. "It's really busy, Kari. I wasn't expecting so many people."
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  27. - Top - End - #777
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    Smooth Sailing Inn

    "Or maybe the seafloor here is full of gold, and it builds up in the animals' shells?" Anchor suggests, not knowing a ton about jeweling or marine biology.

    "I'm Anchor. I was coming back from, a business trip- That is to say, fleeing a small undead army. "-when we got caught out in the storm, and hurried here to get shelter. And you?"

    Oh, Zophiel's back. Thank goodness. And trying to say something? Whatever he was investigating, he found it.
    In the process of adjusting her sunglasses she gives a little nod to show that she understands.
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    [Marlick Bay]

    Bountiful Tides
    And thus an exchange is made.

    "There you go, deary, it's yours now," the elderly shop keeper says as she hands to goblet over. "If there's anything else you need you just let me know, okay?"

    That seemed relatively painless, right?

    Hopefully the odd artifact will provide some clues to the goings on in this seemingly placid village.


    Smooth Sailing Inn
    The triumphantly returning paladin is offered a towel by one of the servers.

    That's certainly nice of them.

    Janda, meanwhile, nods back somewhat absently.

    "Oh, I'm sure someone thought it would look pretty. It does, doesn't it? Gold plate just isn't really my style is all," she explains. "I'm a gold-smith and a jeweler. I was hoping to sell my services to some of the local folk to make reproductions of some of the more unique and beautiful objects. I bought this one-"

    She hefts the shell slightly.

    "-because of how intricate it was. And on a hunch that it wasn't solid gold. It would be MUCH heavier if it was, after all."

    Gold is pretty dense.

    "But then the damn storm rolled in. And I'm kind of worried that our merchant friends," she gestures at the two merchants in question, looking worried that the Trade Consortium representative might notice. "Might spook the locals a bit. They've been pretty aggressive with their negotiations."
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    Marlick Bay (Smooth Sailing)

    Sekhmet listens to the lady's complaint while drinking more of her wine. She doesn't really know anything about how merchants operate, and can't comment.
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    [Marlick Bay]
    Smooth Sailing Inn

    Towels are nice, aren't they?
    He uses it to dry off better.

    Anyway.
    Zophiel has decided what he thinks is critical and what isn't. The oddities of the church are unusual, but hardly relevant and not urgent.

    While the jeweler is busy discussing the weight of gold and so on, the paladin steps towards his daughter and bends over to whisper something about what he found out: "It seems like there's something in the ocean approaching the town, and the storm is an attempt by the local god to keep it away."
    Since the storm is weaker near the town, if Zophiel is correct then this implies one of two things: (1) As the thing gets closer, the storm will get worse, or (2) Because the storm doesn't get worse, then the closer it gets the easier time it will have to get here.

    The paladin straightens up and, not wanting to draw attention to what he said in case it causes a panic, moves away from the fireplace, looking for Menelda again. "Hey, Menelda? Where would you like me to put the towel?" he asks, to gain her attention. "Also, I'm religious, so can you tell me some things about the town's church?"
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