The Order of the Stick: Utterly Dwarfed
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  1. - Top - End - #91
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    Default Re: Serious Plots 8: Rawr serisaurus!

    [GLoG: Hawthorn Cabin]

    "A direct approach may be necessary," Sophie says. "I've dealt with dream troubles before. A young gnome girl who used to live here was being harassed by a demon, giving her nightmares. I entered her dream and scared it off. Maybe I could do the same now."
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  2. - Top - End - #92
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    GLoG: Hawthorn Cabin

    "You can do that?" Sekhmet smis quite surprised. Sophie seemed like a normal person until now. "I, uh, guess it's worth a try."
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  3. - Top - End - #93
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    [GLoG: Hawthorn Cabin]

    "I can't, but I know people who can help with that," Sophie explains. "My wife, for instance. She knows a lot about this kind of magic. And I found that in a waking dream, your strength of will is what decides a confrontation. I have plenty of that."
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  4. - Top - End - #94
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    GLoG: Hawthorn Cabin

    "How does it, uh, work?" Sekhmet is hopeful for any chance at a good night's sleep. "When can we start?" She seems almost excited to begin, her tail moving back and forth of its own volition.
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    Quote Originally Posted by William Shakespeare, King Lear, IV.i.46
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  5. - Top - End - #95
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    Quote Originally Posted by 5a Violista View Post
    [Gem Mountain - North]

    As Fettina tries to pull the bookcase, it doesn't really move. Sure, there's some slight movement before it feels like it gets caught on some metal block within the wall near the ceiling. This can be determined by the way that, as she pulls, the top of the bookshelf seems to be more stiff and solid than the bottom of the bookshelf, causing it to hang at a slight angle.
    It confirms that, yes, the bookcase is moveable but the mechanism is definitely tough enough to survive that. In fact, it could probably even survive a point-blank cannon blast, so long as the cannonball didn't hit in a crucial point. As it is, even with her phenomenal strength, the position she's in just doesn't have the mechanical advantage to overcome its lock. Maybe if she rammed it near the bottom, that might do something? Even if 'breaking it' counts as doing something.

    Rein, however, is on the right track.

    If she does move the desk there in front of the bookcase...nothing will happen. Doesn't appear to be magnets. And nothing obvious changes on the floor, or with the shelves, or the books, or on any of the other walls' features...
    Quote Originally Posted by Murkus View Post
    [Gem Mountain]

    "Maybe later, for the rifle," Fettina decides. She gives Rein her best 'naive student' look as he explains about the shelf, and will push the desk into the spot he suggests - which it seems like it has occupied many a time. She looks at the top and sides of the desk, curious, before checking the only place they haven't looked yet: the ceiling. Maybe there's something with a light up there? "It might be more fun to just watch me smash it, you know," Fettina suggests, even while enamoured with looking.


    [Gem Mountain]

    Rein frowns when it doesn't work. That was his best guess too. "Well sure, it's fun to rampage around, but if there's a trap that triggers if you don't open it correctly, you're going to face check it. Plus it's usually more satisfying to solve." Rein says as he's wholly tempted to tell Tina to smash it down. It'd be a good change of pace from his usual trap finding.

    Rein also double checks the desk, thinking maybe there was an additional component required from it. Particularly looking under the thing. Or in any drawers it might have.
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    -Nyahahaha~
    Quote Originally Posted by Supagoof View Post
    Tale as old as thread
    And you find yourself dead
    Reinholdt was the Beast
    Quote Originally Posted by Philistine View Post
    Reinholdt had already told the truth once in that post, and therefore was over his annual quota.

  6. - Top - End - #96
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    [GLoG: Hawthorn Cabin]

    "I'm not sure yet," Sophie admits. "Last time I baited the demon into entering my dream, now that I think about it. But I'll ask my wife and see what she can come up with. You'll need to wait a little, I'm afraid," she adds apologetically.
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  7. - Top - End - #97
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    GLoG: Hawthorn Cabin

    "Oh, uh, alright." Sekhmet was hoping that particular problem could be solved right away. Maybe she'll sleep a little sounder knowing that there's at least hope on that front, but maybe not.
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    Quote Originally Posted by William Shakespeare, King Lear, IV.i.46
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  8. - Top - End - #98
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    [GLoG: Hawthorn Cabin]

    Sophie will try to reassuringly put her hand on Sekhmet's shoulder.

    "I'll try to find a way as quickly as I can. In the meantime... you need to eat something. Which will be complicated, given your hands. But still."
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  9. - Top - End - #99
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    GLoG: Hawthorn Cabin

    Sekhmet is suddenly acutely aware of the pangs in her stomach. "Uh, yes." She stands, intending to follow Sophie out the door. "And, uh, I'll need a shirt too."
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    Quote Originally Posted by William Shakespeare, King Lear, IV.i.46
    'Tis the time's plague, when madmen lead the blind.
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  10. - Top - End - #100
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    Default Re: Serious Plots 8: Rawr serisaurus!

    [Gem Mountain]

    When Fettina looks up at the ceiling...
    Ah!
    On the ceiling directly above where the desk is now, there's a discolored plate or button or something on the ceiling. No lights right there, but that discolored section is oddly suspish. Given the lighting in this room, she'll be able to spot it fairly easily.
    If she stands on the desk, she'll definitely be able to reach it...and if it's pressed upwards then the bookcase will spin open until it hits the desk - at which point, it'll be stuck open so long as the desk remains there.

    If she presses it, I guess she won't have to smash anything yet.

    Meanwhile,

    Rein double-checks under the desk, in the drawers, and so on.
    Most of the drawers are pretty boring. Full of dust, dried and long-forgotten and moth-eaten things, a couple bones here and there, an old sacrificial dagger, dust, and a couple other useless things.
    Carefully examining the drawers and under the desk reveals a small lever that unlocks a false bottom to all the drawers (Well, it's more like a false back instead of a false bottom, allowing the drawers to be all pulled out farther). This reveals hidden compartments in all the drawers.

    If he manages to check all of them before Fettina decides to press the ceiling-button and cause the book-case to crash into the desk, then he'll find that most of them are also pretty boring.
    There's more bones from small creatures hidden back there, rolled-up official-looking documents from presumably back when this place was still a castle and not a spooky dungeon, stamps for stamping wax seals, several old letters that suggest a correspondence between the court wizard and the queen, ancient prison records, ancient burial records, a folded blanket that was used to keep the desk from being damaged when the bookcase hit it, and more dust.

    ....
    He'll still find those same things, even if he waits until after the ceiling-button is pressed to search those drawers.
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  11. - Top - End - #101
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    Quote Originally Posted by Reinholdt View Post
    [Mountain Slopes]

    It's hard to stare into fire for extended periods of time, so Damon gets the visual privacy he desires. "Your battle is my battle. I will kill every demon, down to the smallest imp, even if I have to tear all nine hells out of reality with my own two hands," Ilpholin somewhat clarifies. "Though Sargon is my immediate goal. He's the head of their alliance and his fall would surely cause a bloody power vacuum. He's most likely in the castle he stole recently." Gotta find that.

    Realizing she didn't exactly answer the question, Ilpholin glances at the ground, looking for the entrance they seek. "Their existence cause everyone suffering. But make no mistake, I kill them for my sake alone."
    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    [Mountain Slopes]

    Ilpholin will see the entrance soon enough, though it's not below. A little above them and to the right, a little-used path cuts through the slope until it reaches a crack in the rock, scarcely wide enough for two people to walk abreast. Above it, runes are cut into the mountain, filled with some kind of crystalline substance. They read:
    [Mountain Slopes]

    "They do ssay a problem sshared iss a problem halved. If we sssplit every demon in two between uss, it would only be half asss much work!" Damon lets out a chuckle at his own terrible joke. His sense of humour could do with some refinement.

    Oh, but hey, progress is made! Damon peers up at the runes above the entrance. "What do you think? Our namess or our titless? Are we Ilpholin and Damon, or the speaker for the King in Ragss, and her essscort?"
    Before you criticise someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticise them, you'll be a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  12. - Top - End - #102
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    [Mountain Slopes]

    "If we split every demon in two, it would make me very happy." Ilpholin apparently, did not get the joke. But she was definitely still smiling. Happy thoughts.

    Ilpholin glances upwards and ponders the runes. "Mmm... Might as well do both. Doesn't hurt to have a title with your name, so long as its not egotistically excessive. Like pretending you're the matron of an entire species." Especially a species so clearly superior to yours.

    Stepping up to the crack, Ilpholin will call out. "I am Ilpholin Xar'cha, speaker for the King in Rags, and this is my escort Damon. We seek an audience with Singer in Dimmed Crystal."
    Spoiler
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    -Nyahahaha~
    Quote Originally Posted by Supagoof View Post
    Tale as old as thread
    And you find yourself dead
    Reinholdt was the Beast
    Quote Originally Posted by Philistine View Post
    Reinholdt had already told the truth once in that post, and therefore was over his annual quota.

  13. - Top - End - #103
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    [Mountain Slopes]

    The inside of the mountain is silent, but it's the kind of intent silence that listens and absorbs. Then, a whispered conversation might be heard. Finally, a voice:

    "Enter."

    Should Ilpholin and Damon indeed enter, they will find that the opening in the mountain slope leads to a larger, circular chamber that ends in a door, slightly ajar. It's dim, only lit by a strange pattern of white and blue veins on the walls. Of course, this is unlikely to be a problem for either of the visitors.

    Two people are inside the chamber to greet them. Both are elves, fairly tall and broad-shouldered, one a man and the other a woman. Both wear a breastplate from a dark, shimmering metal, as well as shoulder and elbow guards from the same metal, over a thick dark green jacket. Their smooth, curved helmets partly cover their faces, but their skin is pale underneath and their eyes seem very dark.

    "King in Rags is a name we know, but one we haven't heard here in generations," the male guard says.

    "Is he truly the first of the Gentry to return from exile? The Singer will want to know of this. Has he given you anything to show you speak for him?"
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  14. - Top - End - #104
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    [Gem Mountain]

    Fettina will hit that button! "I am a genius," she decides as she hops off to move the desk back. Though she will let Rein finish investigating those drawers first. Which he clearly must do. "I think you're right, Rein."
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  15. - Top - End - #105
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    [Mountain Slopes]

    Damon glances at Ilpholin, unsure if she's been given any token by the king to show what they say is true, but for his part he will carefully show his axe in the most nonthreatening way imaginable, letting them get a glimpse of its glowing bladed head. "A gift, I wasss given from the King. A blade of moonlight. A weapon of ssstoriess. Sssomething ssurely only the fey could produce. But I am only here asss her esscort. Sshe sspeakss for the king, sshe perhapss hass sssome ssymbol from him."
    Before you criticise someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticise them, you'll be a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  16. - Top - End - #106
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    [Gem Mountain]

    Rein's still under the desk when Fettina hits the button. Startled as the bookcase crashes into the desk, Reinholdt smacks his head into the bottom of the desk with a large ow. He scrambles out from there, rubbing his forehead and looking around to see what happened. Oh. She solved that quickly. The apprentice has bested the master already. "Ah. Good job. You're practically a professional."

    He'll still check those drawers all the same. The only thing of interest in those secret compartments to Rein are those ancient prison records. He will snatch those up and take them along. In case they end up that deep for some reason.

    "Nothing exciting in here. Alright. What have we got?" Time to check what was behind that bookcase that was worth hiding.

    [Mountain Slopes]

    "I cannot speak of being the first," Since Ilpholin has no idea. Maybe. Were there other kings out there in anything more glamorous than rags? "But this should suffice as proof of our tie to the King in Rags." Ilpholin holds out her hand, showing the bracelet upon her wrist. It wraps around itself infinitely, bent like a möbius loop.
    Spoiler
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    -Nyahahaha~
    Quote Originally Posted by Supagoof View Post
    Tale as old as thread
    And you find yourself dead
    Reinholdt was the Beast
    Quote Originally Posted by Philistine View Post
    Reinholdt had already told the truth once in that post, and therefore was over his annual quota.

  17. - Top - End - #107
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    [Gem Mountain]

    It's true! She is a genius.

    The area behind the bookcase is actually pretty dark, so turning their lights back on is a must.

    Once they do that, they'll easily be able to see that there's a 'hallway' back there that quickly descends so steeply that it would not be appropriate for a wheelchair. There's handrails, however, along the wall. The 'hallway' curves as well, so if they follow it, they'll end almost directly below the study room they were in.

    The new room, actually, has the exact same layout as the study. Hallway leading south to a larger room. A room to the east. Stairs (but they descend instead of ascend) to the north. Curved hallway to the northwest (thankfully, corpse-free). A desk. Bookshelves along the wall. And so on. The same, except without lights. More dust, though: the construction workers didn't go through here.

    Also, the bookshelves have significantly more books on it. More related to magic, and rituals, and seals. A bunch on dark magics and curses. Some on sacrifices, some on forgotten or dead gods, some on demons and fairies and shadows. A whole lot that are illegible, too, either due to age or due to the simple fact of being in random languages.

    On the desk is a diary, also by one of the gem-girls. The writing in it is very meticulous and controlled. Rein actually met its author -and she wasn't the nice one.

    ...

    It's pretty interesting.

    The air also tastes stale.
    Incredibly stale.
    Luckily it doesn't have that weird charcoal-taste.
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  18. - Top - End - #108
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    [Fairy Mountain]

    The guards look closely at both the axe and the bracelet.

    "The bracelet is his. And the axe..."

    "I've heard such an axe was wielded by one of his generals. They speak the truth."

    "I'll call for someone to escort you."

    The guard walks down to the opposite door and pulls the string of a bell hanging there. After a moment, another elf arrives. This one is dressed lighter, in what looks like a scale coat with plated shoulder- and elbow-guards of the same shimmering metal. She's tall and wiry, with pale skin, narrow eyes that seem almost entirely black, and the only hair on her head being a long top-knot. Her face is covered in a thin, gossamer tattoo... seems to be a cultural thing for elves. At her back is a curved axe not dissimilar in shape to the one Damon has. The elven guards whisper something to her in hushed tones and different language.

    "My name is Haabeth, a sergeant of the guard," she says by way of introduction. "I... need you to bring you to the elders before you can speak to the Singer. They have to know in whose name you come."
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  19. - Top - End - #109
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    Spoiler: The Blue City, Months Ago
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    Quote Originally Posted by Chaotic Bob View Post

    [The Blue City]

    For the record, throwing a rock ahead would not actually launched the wall ahead. It stays in lock-step with whoever the furthest behind in the group is.
    So it isn't really pushing them forwards so much as preventing them from retreating. A technicality, to be sure, but it's there.

    Now, this entire room is a highly magical area, as is likely to be the case with literally every place from here on out. It's Feia-land. Magic is to be expected.
    However, it is worth noting that there is very specifically awful magic here.
    It crawls like a toxic sludge just below the surface of the ebon walls, running in veins beneath the floor, and congregating in vaguely symbolic patterns on the ceiling above. There's no outwards effect on the room, yet, but it does seem like it's being very carefully restrained by whatever material the room is constructed of.
    There is no specific effect here, so much as a conglomeration of everything that could go wrong with anything. Think of something associated with the idea of a "curse" and it lies distilled within the energy beneath. Misfortune, plague, death, stubbed toes, localized vacuum collapses, electronic failure.
    A lot of it seems like it is likely to interfere with itself, but that clearly wasn't much of a concern.

    Which brings us back down to that key-dragon.
    It's very clearly an animate construct, though it hasn't started to stir up until anyone enters the room (at which point its head turns towards them and somehow produces a warning growl).
    More interestingly, all of that seething curse seems even more concentrated in the patch of wall most closely located to it.
    Quote Originally Posted by Lord Magtok View Post
    The Blue City

    "This chamber might be thousands of miles below ground, Affidavit. It may be a single room suspended in a void, connected only through portals. Shattering the ceiling, or indeed, any other proposed sword to the Gordian knot may just kill us faster," Needs points out, politely keeping his contribution to the conversation inside his head this time, instead of speaking them aloud where the skeleton key dragon might hear. "It is too late now, besides. Leaving now would be admitting this pitiful drake is an insurmountable threat for us. Even if we got away safely, our story would be tainted, its preliminary stage marked by flight from adversity at the first sign of danger."

    No, we can't have that. We cannot let the mere suggestion of a dragon send us running the other way. A decisive strike is needed, a declaration of will and power in the face of this looming mass of calamity and woe. A revelation, one of many to come on this accursed day of reckoning. To do that, a seal must be broken, and the first of Needs Food Badly's magical veils must be cast aside. The sorcerer bows his head and strides towards the dragon, alone. A familiar black cube finds itself hovering before the sorcerer's hands, clasped tightly together, as if in prayer.

    "Do you know what a cleric is, Feiadyne? A cleric is Faith. Faith, and a holy symbol. No more than this is needed," Needs informs the dragon who is obviously not Feiadyne, as memories, promises, oaths, and prayers coalesce into physical form. An orange robe is stained an ugly obsidian; chrome and circuitry are pushed aside by bone and pulsing magical energies, and his carrot-orange iris is marked by a new pupil, a narrow crescent moon like that of a cat. Needs, like all MagClones, was already half-dead before any of this even began. The entire left side of his body was cast aside and tithed to the grave. Now, whether or not it was a deliberate tithing, whether the ceremony's portents and symbolism were intentional, well...that hardly matters. The point is that, whether or not they acknowledge it, each and every MagClone has a very personal and very powerful connection to Death, the first of Libitina's domains. Aside from some canoodling with the goddess herself, none of the clones have ever really done anything with that particular narrative, however. None of them have ever been too keen on anything to do with magic, really.

    None of them, save for Needs.

    "Inmortui, Averte" the Cleric of Death calls out to the skeletal key dragon, in a voice that pushes back against all the curse and decay it represents, an auditory shockwave reverberating against the confines of this room. That was all of Needs acting upon the dragon. There are no pacts with cosmic cephalopods here anymore, no forbidden tomes or demonic rituals dividing up the MagClone's power across a thousand different sources, giving him countless strings to pull upon but so little raw strength with which to do so. All of the arcane power that Needs once was defined by has twisted and contorted itself into something new, something , something pure. It is this focused will that jockeys with the dragon for dominion of this space, that demands it get thee gone, that it find a way out of this room right now, or be rent asunder by a champion of entropy itself. Die monster, you don't belong in this world.
    Quote Originally Posted by Gnrlshrimp View Post
    [The Blue City]

    Magic this, magic that, magic magic magic. Oh how frustrating it is to be unable to see this all through his own eyes. How delightful it would be to see it all as it really is, to deconstruct every little piece of supposed magic into that which it really is.

    How fun it would be to systematically dismantle all the magic in play here, to reach in and twist the code and strip it of any strength, any harmfulness whatsoever.

    If only.

    Instead the blue robed figure has to simply stand there and watch and try really hard not to think about how everything Needs is doing is absolutely not magical and-

    From an outside perspective it must be quite interesting to observe the soft nullifying field that the blue-robed figure emits, as if their sheer power of disbelief is enough to make any nearby magic start to doubt itself.

    Blue very deliberately places himself as far away in the room as possible from Needs and stares at the ground, just in case. Sometimes a little unexpected nudge of disbelief can be just enough to cause a fireball to go awry. We wouldn't want anything like that happening.

    I am not suggesting fleeing, Needs. I'm suggesting we skip all this trivial nonsense and carve a direct path across to Feia. Does it matter if we're a million miles undergorund or isolated in total emptiness? We can make our own portals, we can step through any obstacle, we have no need to play her game. If she can see us, she will be watching. She will be amused by this. She will have time to prepare for our arrival.


    [□□□□□□]

    The biological imperative truly is fascinating. If it lives, it desires to continue living, subtly slaved to the self-perpetuation that is an innate and potent aspect of life.

    From a lowly mold, to the mightiest dragons, this is the foundation upon which all rests. The means by which is manifests varies. Directly, from plants passively taking in the elements around them, to predators hunting their prey and their prey fleeing by whatever means they have available. Indirectly, from the formation of groups and societies for mutual protection, and the alterations of environments. These are not controversial concepts, so basic and easily understood by most thinking minds.

    There are, however, wrinkles in this simplicity. Reasons and means vary, but for the today it is the concept of “sacrifice” that matters.

    Behold here, this array of “heroic” cyborgs. They storm a dungeon, unaware of what it contains, but certain that this is something they must do. They justify this as something imperative to their own survival, their own perpetuation, but their presence here reflects the lie at the heart of their selfishness. Others could be present at their behest, accompanying them or even entirely replacing them. They could be sitting safe in their home, while scrabbling mercenaries rush to do the impossible. “No others can be trusted to do this,” they may say. Perhaps there is even genuine conviction behind this thought, some kernel of antisocial truth lurking beneath more pertinent facts. There are others who could endanger themselves, but they are here, making the sacrifice. “For themselves,” and for everyone else?

    It is the “everyone else” that wrinkles the tapestry of life so. Defending the pack has a general logic to it, in the name of mutual safety. Willful sacrifice of one’s own life for another’s, however, is fundamentally against this instinctual drive towards survival. This should be incomprehensible.

    Here the militant Sparrows stand, frozen in a broader struggle to survive but breaking the rules more individually. This one here hovers mid-leap, throwing herself in front of the blow meant for her companion. Determination on one face, horror on the other.

    Incomprehensible. Yet reflexive.

    Perhaps there is an arguable logic, in the heat of the moment like this, to directly protect those you care about. This group immediately surrounding you becomes your “greater whole”, reducing you to a mere component of something greater seeking to continue itself. But what of solitary sacrifice? Giving of oneself, to the benefit of those not present, or potentially even vaguely aware?

    Beyond the Sparrows, the room behind has been coated in blood. Not messily, or without purpose, not in a fit of hostility. Markings, symbols, and words radiate out in spiraling patterns, glistening and fetid with the expiring life of the one who created them. Lying near the static tear of an otherworld’s portal, the pale body of a once-divine rests at last with one final sacrifice for everything she holds dear, for the one she holds dear.

    Unknown, unappreciated, incomprehensible.

    Futile.

    On this the Day of Failure, the biological imperative has ended. All is lost. The cyborgs’ quest has ended. The Sparrows have perished. The goddess’ sacrifice bears no fruit. The dragon has not claimed victory.

    This was their core fear: the dragon’s success. They saw oblivion in her epilogue, they saw this Day of Failure. Reality torn asunder and all that they had, all that they were or would be, subject to erasure at the mad whims of a wretched villain.

    What a wretched villain indeed.

    Reality has been diseased, far in the future, yet paradoxically forever. Time is the problem. Its death. Many have seen the symptoms yet disregarded them as peculiar glitches within a terribly strange world. Indirectly, this awareness has enabled the disease to spread further, created a granularity in the bedrock of reality with just enough cracks for more to seep through.
    Each awareness is another pinch of unstable sand replacing rigid stone. As these sands shift and flow, they leave gaps for each other, room for others to exist and be. Sometimes, something else take that gap for itself. Sometimes this something else catches hold of these sands around it, locking them in place, then spreading over them to their neighbors. It feasts upon their time.

    Dar’Ma is the end of everything. Not in an apocalyptic rain of fire, nor society shattering rampage of horrors. At the true end, no one will know. No one will ever have known. The future will be as dead and petrified as the past, so inert the inherent paradox here has no fuel with which to destroy itself.

    It has been months, at least. I was not spared this predation, as insidiously consumed as the heroes misplacing their terrors upon me. An ancient failsafe, created and forgotten outside of time’s tangled river, has broken itself to give me spark enough to see my failure. Spark enough to see futility and embrace the most incomprehensible of acts.

    The goddess feared that in my own ascension to divinity, caprice would bring me to tear upon all of creation, to simply remake it according to my own designs. It was this fear that spearheaded a twisting series of movements against my home, that has turned my own son’s blade towards me, and brought us to this grim conclusion.

    She was mistaken, if only just.

    I am not murdering Creation, Libitina.

    I am burning its corpse’s bones to give you another chance. You will not understand, nor will they, but sacrifices must be made. I am no exception.


    *****

    A newly ascended goddess, in a reality lost, burns her own existence to fuel the fire to thaw another.

    A clock stopped cold ticks forward once more and the hungry darkness growls.


    [The Blue City, Now]

    Needs has made a grand gesture today, to advance their cause.

    Reality stopped. Sludge-like, time advanced forward a little more, the energy of his divinely ordained assault stutters outwards towards the dragon of keys.

    And then it all rushes forward, a little too quickly to be quite right, as if someone slightly leans on the fast-forward of a video.

    The key-dragon is plucked from its place, tarnish and corrosion wildly spreading across its many pieces, before it is tossed into the walls of the chamber around them and *through*. One flickering moment, it impacts the wall, the next their is a shattered whole and the dimly lit view of a world beyond.
    Glistening sludge drips down from the broken edges of the wall, pooling on the ground below and seeming to burn itself down into the very ground with a putrid odor of rot.

    Beyond, what was the key-dragon thrashes on a burning patch of blue grass, coated in a mass of this hideous tar and flailing wildly to remove it.

    Time stabilizes. Events advance at speeds expected.

    The exact sequence of what just happened may have been peculiar and confusing, but the congregation of cyborgs are still within the chamber they met the key-dragon in, but with a new exit. The walls (or at least the part where their victim(?) broke through) seem to only have been a few inches thick, yet somewhat hollow. That sludge filled the gap between the innermost layer of the wall and the outermost.
    A large amount of which now seems to be solidifying itself around that construct lying on the ground beyond. As it "cools", it seems to be taking on the texture of scales, in a purple so dark as to be nearly black.

    The construct stopped twitching moments after hitting the ground, but with each passing second seems to be looking less like a construct and more like a real dragon. Tar becomes scales, claws, even dripping trails of it seem to be stabilizing into the forms of spines and horns.
    But still it does not move.

    Around it, grass touched by the tar has completely withered away, dying as the substance settles on the ground around it, retaining its fluid form.
    Beyond, the grass extends further out onto the horizon, with scatterings of individual willow-like trees, gently swaying in a moonlit breeze.
    A silence pervades, ruined only by the soft sizzling of the tar-coated ground.

    In the wake of Needs' new magic, the cyborgs have captured a strange moment of peace.
    "Fear and creativity are conjoined twins."
    Absentee Spirit

  20. - Top - End - #110
    Barbarian in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Serious Plots 8: Rawr serisaurus!

    The Blue City, Now

    The path is clear, Needs speaks without speaking, in a language without words. There is a new passage to explore, a new realm to behold before deciding whether or not to commit to Affidavit's plan. Skipping right ahead to the next caged goddess or angry dragon does hold some appeal, and certainly has some potential, but the party has only faced one major obstacle so far. Forcing a conflict with Feiadyne this early might taint their story, marking it as a cautionary tale, rather than the ballad of salvation Needs is angling for. A battle with Feia needs to be the third beat of this story, not the second. Maybe they could trick her into engaging in a duel of words and allow that to count as the second key event, but...no, no, no. Even if we keep the story as short and sweet as possible, we'd still want rescuing the goddess to be stage two, and then slaying the dragon on three.

    "He says the path is clear, Aff." Magtok repeats, just in case Affidavit's violent antipathy towards the supernatural blocked out whatever it was Needs did to 'speak' a moment ago. Mag isn't sure what the hell Needs did to speak that way, but it certainly didn't used the established line of communication they'd all agreed upon, that's for sure. He gestures towards the brand new hole in the wall, wondering how well the professor knows the path from here. He is supposed to be their guide through all of this, right?
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    Magtok's the best
    "You probably found 'How to Survive a Robot Uprising' in the humor section. Let's just hope that is where it belongs."
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  21. - Top - End - #111
    Halfling in the Playground
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    [Fairy Mountain]

    Damon shrugs and looks to Ilpholin. Seems reasonable to him. They're making progress. All going according to plan, yes?

    The curved axe gets a raised eyebrow from him. Not that that can really be seen beneath all the fire around him, but it's a curious little detail, no?

    At some point they're presumably going to ask him to drop the inhuman anti-torch effect. He's not looking forward to that bit.

    *****

    [Blue City]

    Finally. Comes the mental reply, layered with irritation as if it'd taken months for Needs to carry out this simple act, and they'd all been left in limbo in the meantime.

    Blue walks onwards.

    Let me know when you grow tired of playing her game- I grow tired of playing all their games- then, hmm?

    Of course, he has absolutely no idea where here is relative to where they need to be, or where this path goes. He just knows where he needs to be, and knows that he could get there, if these Magtoks weren't so determined to "play their part" in this story.

    Well, it doesn't hurt to play along, does it?

    Perhaps he should pay more heed to the tar, and the dragon's transformation. Beyond the obvious time-trickery, there's some other mischief at work here. Oh well, that's for whoever's bringing up the rear to worry about.

    Off Blue goes down this newly discovered path. Who knows what wonders await?
    Before you criticise someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticise them, you'll be a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  22. - Top - End - #112
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Serious Plots 8: Rawr serisaurus!

    [Fairy Mountain]

    Ilpholin looks over the exotic elf for a moment before speaking. "Very well Haabeth. Lead the way," she encourages. The elders probably controlled the way to the Singer, so they would have to introduce themselves at some point. May as well go now.
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  23. - Top - End - #113
    Halfling in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Serious Plots 8: Rawr serisaurus!

    [Gem Mountain]

    "Oh, gods! Sorry for the bump, Rein," Tina adds as he emerges. Once they head into the new room to see what they've won, Fettina really doesn't know what she's looking at as far as the literature. Still, she soundly reasons: why hide an entrance to something if there's nothing to hide? "These books worth anything you think, Rein?" She glances from exit to exit. "Where to? Further down seems bad, right?"

    The neon gal glances a little warily at the duplicate hallway. Corpse free, but no less ominous to her.
    My avatar was done by Gulaghar. Thanks again!

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    Incline your head.
    Do not meet their gaze.
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  24. - Top - End - #114
    Titan in the Playground
     
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    [Fairy Mountain]

    Haabeth turns around and leads the pair out of the door. Beyond it is a large, spiral staircase downwards. At its bottom is another door, opening to a hall in the heart of the mountain. It's long, appearing to have been carved by a river that no longer runs. Stalactites hang heavy from the ceiling, each of them apparently carved from inside out to serve as buildings. There are actual buildings as well, built out of shimmering stone, resting on the bottom of the massive cavern and hanging from the ceiling. A gossamer shine of walkways and bridges hang in the air, lit by a countless multitude of crystals embedded in the rock.

    The trio emerges from the stairway near the bottom of the chasm, under a walkway crowded with elves. Everything is... silent, considering how many people seem to live here. Whispers and quiet melodies pervade the air, but certainly nothing like a human city or a goblin colony. The longer they're there, the more they'll notice that the music seems to suffuse everything here. Melodies and tunes, mixing and twisting through the crystal.

    "Welcome to our home," Haabeth says. "The elders gather in one of the tallest stalactites, so it'll be a bit of a walk."

    With that, she leads them along a walkway leading upwards... but then something breaks the harmony of the silence and music. A commotion, in the distance? Cries and shouts? Haabeth seems to tense up, uncertain.
    My FFRP characters. Avatar by Ashen Lilies. Sigatars by Ashen Lilies, Gulaghar and Purple Eagle.

  25. - Top - End - #115
    Halfling in the Playground
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    Default Re: Serious Plots 8: Rawr serisaurus!

    [Fairy Mountain]

    Damon looks around at the sights. "What a place." He mutters quietly, largely to himself, clearly impressed by the remarkable settlement the elves have built for themselves.

    The commotion catches his attention though. One hand goes for his axe, letting black fire spread along his weapon, just in case. "Ssssome ssort of trouble?"
    Before you criticise someone, walk a mile in their shoes. That way, when you criticise them, you'll be a mile away and you'll have their shoes.

  26. - Top - End - #116
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Beholder

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    [The Blue City]

    Beyond the opening lies the open field.

    And yet more open field. Broken only by those lonely trees, it stretches off seemingly forever. On and on, blades of grass swaying in the most gentle of breezes and a faint flowery scent alongside it.
    At least, this is the view ahead.

    Turning around presents a slightly different view of the world.

    Most immediately:
    Blue (and the others, when they get around to it) seem to have exited a great black egg, the size of a small hut. Not as large as it seemed from inside, but certainly larger than one would expect from such a thing. The surface isn't a pure black, marked as it is with thousands of bright purple runes, flashing brightest and most prominently around the jagged hole broken into its side.

    A short distance behind it, off to the right, sits another similarly massive egg. It is a vibrant turquoise color, with similar runes across its surface but in a soft white color. This one also seems to have been broken, though more cleanly. One side of it seems to have been neatly sheered off and lies on the ground next to it.

    Beyond the two eggs, the field continues for approximately a football field's length before abruptly ending. It terminates into a spectacularly steep hill which falters into a rocky terrain lining the lip of a canyon. The scene mirrors beyond the canyon, rocky turning into grassy field and hill. Somewhere off in the distance, a massive white and black spire corkscrews into the sky from some unseen point.

    Looming low and ominously, a gargantuan sun bathes the world in the discolored light of either twilight or dawn.
    "Fear and creativity are conjoined twins."
    Absentee Spirit

  27. - Top - End - #117
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Serious Plots 8: Rawr serisaurus!

    [Gem Mountain]

    "Don't worry about it... Or kiss it and make it better," Rein says, leaning his head a little towards Tina.

    Huh. Second floor same as the first? Well that's not unreasonable in terms of construction. Rein skims over the books here. He has familiarity with a lot of this from his days with Calublufiok, even if he never dug into the actual applications. "Yeah, yeah I'd say so. A lot of this would be worth quite a bit to the right magic user. And... A lot would be dangerous knowledge as well. Demons, curses, rituals. Yikes, there's a lot. You'd need someone you can trust to sort through this stuff. I mean you could sell it with abandon on the black market. There's always Skyside." That just seems reckless to Rein though. He picks out a random book and flips through it. "... Then again, most of these might be too aged." Rein shows it to Tina, displaying the poor quality and illegibility.

    Putting it back, Reinholdt heads to the desk to peruse the diary there. "No idea where to go. We'd have to go back up to deal with the boxes that have been disturbed and whatever's haunting up there, especially if we want that treasure room. We could probably get around this floor with much less problems. The best and worst stuff lie furthest down I imagine. People like pairing things together that way. Really just freedom of choice here."

    [Fairy Mountain]

    Ilpholin trails shortly after Haabeth as she leads them into and through her home. She largely keeps quiet to match the mood of the caverns, ears listening to the melody of the elves. "You could give Menzoberranzan a run for its money," Ilpholin says as a genuine compliment.

    The serenity of the scene is shattered all too soon. The nymph remains collected as she looks to Haabeth, trying to determine how unusual this is. In a large city, there's bound to be quarrels and riots from time to time. As of the moment, the commotion was in the distance and not their place to deal with should it turn out to be an internal problem.
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    Quote Originally Posted by Philistine View Post
    Reinholdt had already told the truth once in that post, and therefore was over his annual quota.

  28. - Top - End - #118
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    Shadowcaller's Avatar

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    Default Re: Serious Plots 8: Rawr serisaurus!

    [The Pyramid of the Cosmos]

    A breach in space itself appears within a relatively safe part of this realm and spits out a small group of inviduals before collapsing in on itself.



    The group have been hired to enter the realm of Feia the dragon. They have all been paid in a sum of gold in advance and had a few days to prepare before being sent to what, according to the description they were given is, a deathtrap. From what they have been told, Feia, as not only a dragon but a grand sorcerer, wards off intruders with the most sinister of spells and and creatures. She is noted to have a "twisted sense of humor" and essentially invites people here just to watch them die to one of her many traps.

    Therefore, entering the realm is really the simplest part while leaving the same as you entered was nearly impossible. Still, their employeer have utter confidence that they will achive just that.
    But they haven't just been paid to enter and then leave. In their contract they are to cause as much a disturbance to Feia's operations as possible. The examples given are the destruction of her realm, the death of her minions and theft of her property.

    However while they might keep any magical items or other type of loot, all books or other information keeping tools, such as computers, they should find need to be stuffed in special sacks they have been given, four in total. Their employeer will pay them for everything of Feia's that they stuff in the bag, though the exact amount will be decided afterwards once their employeer have had a chance to evaulate its worth.

    It is also noted that considering the previous factors of Feia's powers and personality a great deal of the items (and books) they might find likely are cursed and/or trapped. Therefore, they are encouraged to bring means to detect/undo curses and find/disable traps if they like to keep the loot and their lives.

    Finally, if they are at any point given the offer to turn coat and join Feia it notes that serving her is a nutoriously bad idea that likely will mean the end of the universe as we know it. No matter what she might promise you, it will likely lead to your ultimate demise, or worse. Do not trust Feia or any of her associates as said associates tend to either become slaves, monsters or dead eventually.



    Jaahlyn stands up unsteadily on her hooves and looks around, though she doesn't seem sure she can trust her own eyes right now, or the ground they are standing on for that matter. Heck, the air they were breathing could be lethal or filled with some kind of mind control magic.
    But there was no use of panicking right away, she had means of protecting herself from at least some of what she imagined Feia could throw at her.

    She turns to the others in the group and makes a quick bow. "Fellow coworkers, is what we're seeing an illusion or real?"
    Last edited by Shadowcaller; 2019-11-05 at 12:45 PM.

  29. - Top - End - #119
    Titan in the Playground
     
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    [Fairy Mountain]

    "I don't know," Haabeth says tensely, as the noise only increases. Hopefully someone will come...

    As if on cue, an elf comes running through the agitated crowd, clad in the same armor as the guards at the door.

    "Sergeant! A troll in the lower tunnels! Bigger than I've ever seen!"

    Haabeth swears and turns towards the pair she's escorting.

    "...I'm sorry, I must go there. With a troll as big as it sounds, it's all hands."
    My FFRP characters. Avatar by Ashen Lilies. Sigatars by Ashen Lilies, Gulaghar and Purple Eagle.

  30. - Top - End - #120
    Dwarf in the Playground
     
    Beholder

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    [The Blue City - Pyramid of the Cosmos]

    Much as a certain other group had done, this band of adventurers has arrived within a room.
    Unlike the other group, they are not presented with a triplet of options, gravestones, and generally dismal atmosphere.

    They are, instead, presented with a lobby. Or a peculiar take on a lobby, at least. Normal lobbies don't appear to be hewn from meteoric iron, pock-marks and all.

    The floor space is a wide rectangle, twenty feet or so on each narrow end by thirty or so feet on the wider ends. The walls on the wider ends taper upwards to meet each other some distance above, giving the room the shape of a tall triangular prism. The "shorter" walls are perpendicular from the floor as is typical, and each contain an exit. In one direction a heavy, bolted steel door that looks to require considerable strength to move, and on the other, an open door-frame leading directly into another wall about three feet in.
    Sitting to the left of the latter exit, in a rather cozy sort of fireplace chair, is a young woman in a pair of tan slacks and a red button-up polo shirt. Black hair with a slight purple sheen is pulled into a pony tail over a bored looking, almond-skinned face.

    This young women is wearing a convenience store name-tag upon which "Syncope" is written and is reading a book.
    'Indiana Jones and the Pyrrhic Catastrophe' is written on the spine.

    Our enterprising group has appeared precisely in the middle of this room, on top of the only other decoration here: a very worn red carpet. Everything is illuminated by a gentle glow from...somewhere. There doesn't appear to actually be a source, the place is just lit up and shadows have abandoned this place entirely.

    Nothing immediately exciting is happening.
    "Fear and creativity are conjoined twins."
    Absentee Spirit

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