>>Previous threads can be found at: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Vale%20Quest>>The synopsis, character descriptions, inventory, and maps can be found at: http://pastebin.com/WAF7dq90Kelaris calmed the horses and got them bridled and tied into the wagon, as Andalus spoke to Thor and Cass."No need to worry. Mine authority will clear you for abandoning your post. Moreso if we inform those at Skiitaris about our plans." He said to him."Okay, good. Because I don't want to end up fired or something for it.""Oh, no, abandoning one's post is technically a crime, if you're part of skiitaran military.""... Oh. You sure it won't be a problem?""Certain." He said.You continue looking to see Lyra sitting next to Ariana, talking to her."There's really nothing we could have done, Ari." Your sister was saying. "Hannah had already turned, and if we set her loose she would have just come back."Looking this way and that, you still can't find Tannis.
>>23182964Does anything need to be loaded into the wagon for the trip back? Tannis said she'd catch up with us eventually.
When we have spare time, rewrite the letter to the following:>G̶o̶o̶d̶ ̶n̶e̶w̶s̶ ̶a̶l̶l̶ ̶a̶r̶o̶u̶n̶d̶ ̶t̶h̶i̶s̶ ̶t̶i̶m̶e̶. Cass found Thor working as a guard at the Vigil, and the two have been making out almost nonstop since then.>Found the Spear at the bottom of a lake, and found the Seer as the Prince of Skiitara. Gave it to him, it disappeared. Now my sword can just turn into the spear at my will. It's weird.>Killed Sky again, might've killed Dirae permanently. Not sure yet.>Found a spell that I was able to learn via a boon owed to my bloodline through my mother to the spirit of wind. Allows me to remove changelings (except trolls) from the moon cycle.>Tannis asked me to use it on her, she no longer has weird urges, but her healing slows a bit.>She offered me her b̶o̶d̶y̶ heart last night. That's the second time - the first was at the beach when she was in heat. >I turned her down saying that I didn't think you would like that. Still, I feel bad for the girl. It's not quite the same for her I think, like it's a casual thing that close friends do?>She's done it with both of my sisters now, no attachments. I can't help but wonder if it's because they smell like me.>Got your package, not really sure what you want me to do with it. It doesn't really fit. I'll hold onto it and think of you fondly.>Miss you greatly, love Abel.>P.S.>I went to talk with Tannis later in the morning because she seemed pretty down.>She said that it wasn't like when she was doing it with pridemates, and she confessed that she was in love with me.>Said that she has been for a long time and didn't always realize it.>I told her that I made a promise to you and that I meant to keep it. I tried to comfort her as much as possible. I really do care about her.>She told me that I should forget about her when this is all over.>I don't think that I could do that even if I wanted to.>What do I do, Tori?
>>23183026I second this.
>>23182964Comfort Ari, write letter, worry about Tannis.
Taking some parchment, you painstakingly scribble out a letter of what's happened lately, her package to you, and mostly, about Tannis and what you should do about her, before folding it up and making your way to Ariana."Another letter?" She asked. "Oh, fair enough, it's not as if I'm using my Gift for anything else."She extended a wing, and you dropped it into her shadow. Lyra just sat on the gryphon with a damp rag in hand, cleaning her fingers and stumps- just in case, of course."Does anything need to be loaded into the wagon for the trip back?""No. They have Cass and Thor to do the heavy lifting." Lyra said. "I'd help, but, only one hand. We should be ready in a bit, once Kelaris is ready. Where's Tannis?""I haven't seen her." Ariana said, while Lyra gave you a searching look, seeing something on your face.
>>23183112"*sigh*...She said she'd catch up with us."
>>23183112"She said that she'd catch up."
>>23183112"She… needs some time alone, she said. She said she'll catch up."
>>23183112"She said she'd catch up, but I'm worried about her.How is my personal life more complicated than our plans to save the world?"
You sigh. "She... needs some time alone, she said. She said that she'd catch up with us." You say. "How is my personal life more complicated than our plans to save the world?""Because we're guided by strange spirits that leave notes in books, while your personal life we can decide what we want to do ourselves." Ariana responded, head on her talons.Lyra suddenly grabbed your shoulder, and squeezed it reassuringly."Abel, don't worry. She'll be fine, I'm sure of it."
>>23183186"I hope so. I've never seen her like this, not even when she was fighting off her nature during new moon."
>>23183186I hope so, but I'm afraid she'll disappear after all this is over and I'll never see her again.
>>23183186i hope so, i just feel so... helpless. how are you holding up Ari?
>>23183186"I wish I was so sure, Lyra."
"I hope so." You say. "I've never seen her like this. Not even when she was fighting off her nature during new moon. But I'm afraid she'll disappear after all this is over and I'll never see her again.""... What happened?" Ariana asked. "Did she say something while you were all drinking?"Due to the look on your face, Lyra stepped behind you, and, Forged fingers on her hand, started to give you a shoulder massage, her go-to way of trying to comfort you. She did the same thing when your father died, and the time after you'd come back from a snowstorm badly scratched by a bear and half-frozen.
>>23183255That's between me and her for now, ask her when she's back, if she's willing to talk about it.
>>23183255"No, but...I don't think she'd want me talking about it either."
>>23183255"Afterwards. I don't think it's right for me to say much about it, it was private and personal for the both of us.It was my fault, but I couldn't see a way to help with it."
"No, but... I don't think she'd want me talking about it either.""Okay." Ariana said. "Though... Astora is telling me to tell you that Tannis is her friend too, and to reassure her however you need to. Invite her to the mansion, if you need to, she's saying."As you talk, you see Tannis crawling up to the front of the wagon, making her way out of the marsh with a dead otter in her mouth, as she tore into it, before sitting up at the front."Well." Andalus said, making his way to you as Thor and Cass climb into the wagon. "It seems we are all prepared. Are we forgetting anything?"
>>23183412Invite her to the mansion? like now? or when this is all over?
>>23183412are those forged still there, can we try to disassemble one or more at a safe distance away from the wagon and extract material to upgrade Gearworks with?
>>23183432We'll ask in the next letter. If we ask now, Tannis might get upset.
>>23183412"I'd like to retrieve a few of the cores from the Forged if you wouldn't mind giving me a minute."Double-core railgun gearworks let's do this.
>>23183453oh yes, even if we don't gather materials, we should at least grab the power cores.
>>23183453Be careful. Tampering with the mind section set of a trap last time, right? Let's stay away from that bit.
>>23183506Actually it was the power core section I believe.But yes, now that we know it's trapped we can be on the lookout for such things and nip them in the bud.What might be prudent is to drag the forged away to a safe distance, so that one core melt down won't set off all the others.
"I'd like to retrive a few of the cores from the Forged if you wouldn't mind giving me a minute." You say."We'll give you time." Ariana said, and got to her talons, making her way to the wagon.Carefully, carefully, you slide underneath one of the Forged, and pry it open. Instantly, you see great copper cables woven throughout the entire structure of the thing, connected to the power core in a way you don't *quite* understand, as well as connected to the programming, the optical sensors... everything someone could conceivably be used. Sky *really* didn't intend for you to be able to loot anything from your forged. But if you just figured out how to disable the trap, you could take the cores from them, as well as anything else you wanted...> Loot the forged! Roll for disarm!>Or, since a failure would kill you, > don't try to loot the Forged
>>23183563Hidden Option #3:Loot the Forged, but have a rope tied around our waist with someone at the other end to pull us to safety in case we fail.
>>23183563Depends, is it best of three?
>>23183563Welp, I guess we're not getting any forged parts.Unless I get outvoted.
>>23183563Let's not, and put the word out that the forged we see from now on are likely booby-trapped
>>23183589>You know enough about the structure of 'standard' forged enough to be 'skilled' at disarming them. So yes, best of three.
>>23183563Given that we had time to run away when we failed last time, I'd like to say that we could simply signal for Ariana to shadow us away.
Rolled 88>>23183563uhm before that, can we ask Ariana to use your gift of the Void to unexist the booby trap explosive thing, rolling either way
Rolled 30>>23183563Loot dose suckas
Rolled 1>>23183607That's cool.
Rolled 76>>23183607Could be worth the risk and >>23183608 suggested a pretty good get-away plan. Inform everyone to get away, we are going to do SCIENCE.
Rolled 38>>23183614Totally for looting, go with this suggestion if possible.>>23183614
>>23183621fucwhat have i done
Rolled 5>>23183614>>23183617>>23183621Thank GOD that was best of three otherwise Abel would be completely dead.
Rolled 91>>23183634>>23183621all good brobest of three>>23183607
>>23183614>>23183617>>23183621please tell me we got this. with the 88
Guys... I'm pretty sure 1s and 100s override best of three.GG
>>23183648Why would they do that? We've rolled a 1 before and it hasn't.
>>23183675If it's the 4th, 5th, 6th, ect roll it doesn't count no matter what.But that's the 3rd roll. It's within the first 3, whereas the other 1s (and a 100 once) weren't
>>23183693If that's true, then it's kind of bullshit, considering this is something that's never been mentioned before.
Carefully following along the copper cable of the forged, you try to find what exactly triggered the explosion- and accidentally zapping yourself when you touch it, you find out what. Sky's actually modified the power cores, it looked, so that if the cable is broken or snapped in any way, the power core itself overheats and explodes. Carefully, oh so carefully, you reach up toward it, and start to pry it loose, careful to disconnect the copper cables from both ends of the core at the *same time*, else it would detonate.With trembling hands, you pull it loose, and then carefully, you calm, as it doesn't seem to be triggering.Then the modified core starts heating up, quickly, and you scald your hand as you throw it as quickly as possible into the sky, where the resulting blastwave slams you into the ground, the heat radiating across your face and giving you a sunburn.The horses spook, and they start galloping without you, running and pulling the wagon, as Kelaris starts trying- and failing- to control them.Ariana eventually springs out of it to land near you."Abel!" She cried. "Are you okay?"You look down to your burned hand. It didn't look *too* bad, it just hurt. A lot.
>>23183734A critical failure superseding a non-critical success? That's a pretty goddamn safe assumption.
>>23183748"I... Think so? Goddamn but it hurts."
>>23183748"I'm fine, I'm fine. A little singed, but nothing I wouldn't have gotten from laying out all day in the sun.Scared the crap out of me though."
>>23183748"I'm fine, no permanent damage, just pain. Ow. Could have been worse."
>>23183748"And that's why you should never put cold iron near orichalcum. Are all of my limbs still here?""
Rolled 94>>23183748There are more forged, try again.
>>23183748need water to cool this off *motion to hand* if i'm not missing any limbs then i should be fine.
Wait, I just had an idea like >>23183587Why doesn't Ariana just pull us into a shadow if we give a shout?
>>23183828That's fucking brilliant, do it.
the horses are running, i don't think we'll have a lot of time to dig through another one.
"I'm fine, I'm fine." You say, laying there. "No permanent damage. Just pain. Ow. I need water to cool this off."She pressed her (thankfully cold) beak against your forehead, and sighed, before flying over to the lake, scooping up as much water as possible, before drenching your hand in it."I'm taking you back to the wagon." She said. "You scared the horses, and everybody's in there.""There are more forged. I can try it again." You say. "And you can pull me into a shadow if I give a shout.""No I can't." She said. "I can't move things through shadows except my own, through my familiar. And even if I could, with all the things you and Astora have me moving every day, the Gift is too tiring. Not to mention that we don't have enough time- the horses are moving."
>>23183852We've got Ariana, who can fly, not to mention Kelaris will try to calm the horses.
>>23183852Ariana can fly, we don't really need to hurry.However given the difficulty of this and the risk versus the relatively low payoff, I really don't think we should keep on this track.
>>23183868"Agh, fine fine."
>>23183868"I guess you're right."
>>23183868if quick enough, grab something from the forged we disarmed, we can keep them as spare parts, for Gearworks.
"Agh, fine, fine." You say. "I guess you're right."Some time later, your hand bandaged, Lyra smoothing salve over it, she gave you a disapproving look, before smearing your face with the same salve."You should've been more careful." Lyra said. "Just suddenly boom. You scared the horses, and Tannis's fur went straight up."You look over to Tannis, who was sitting on the front of the wagon next to Kelaris, curled up, eyes closed. Normally in the wagon, she spent at least some time in someone's lap, purring, but for now she hissed every time someone tried to touch her."This all sounds like a right good problem." Thor said, in his full skiitaran armor, scratching at the edge of his scar. Apparently while you and Ariana were catching up, they'd caught *him* up on what was happening. "Forged, spirits, and these... Angels."
>>23183969"I was careful, I'm *always* careful. It's just that Sky anticipated me being careful and screwed me up anyway."
>>23183969"i promise I'll it do with the proper tools next time."we'll be heading for Bastion next, we could use all the help we can get, but that's up to you.
"I was careful. I'm always careful. It's just that Sky anticipated me being careful and screwed me up anyway.""Then you weren't careful *enough*." Lyra said, and sighed.You nod, and sit back."So." Thor said, his voice mildly threatening as he looked at you, his eyes green. He wrapped his arm around your shoulder and leaned in, murmuring in a low, stern voice. "I heard that you kissed Sandy."
>>23184147"Yeah, I did. Nothing came of it though."
>>23184147and you want one too. plant a big wet one on his cheek
>>23184147Yup, learned that acid doesn't taste so good on a human tongue, I really like her, but it's more a family thing now than romantic.The things she does with her tail are adorable as hell though.
>>23184147Shrug, "Nothing really came of it. Except for a burnt mouth once."
>>23184147A lot has happened since then.
>>23184147"Yeah, that hurt."
>>23184147Aren't his eyes always green though?
"Nothing really came of it." You respond. "Except a burned mouth once."He snickered evilly. "She told me about that. She was mortified. She can't control her shifting very well.""You're not threatening him, aren't you?" Cass asked."Yes. I'm threatening to make him kiss you again." Thor said, and the troll went bright red before throwing a bag at him.
>>23184147yes, yes i did.
>>23184298Quite voice."Nothing came of it on the chance that you were still alive. You should feel lucky to have someone like Cass."
>>23184298You ass.You're a lucky man, Thor.
>>23184298Not much of a threat, though what Tori might do afterwards would be.Waggle your eyebrows at her.
>>23184298"Making me kiss a pretty girl, you monstrous fiend, have you no common decency. You are a villain of the highest ill repute."Then quieter "Take care of her please, I won't always be able to, and she deserves the best."
>>23184298it was just one time, she's been thinking a lot about you and i have been helping her find out if you got away safely.she's one hell of a woman, she even slayed a dragon.
>>23184366this i like
this discussion is probably making Tannis even more sad. I vote we end it quickly.
"Making me kiss a pretty girl." You say. "You monstrous fiend. Have you no common decency? You are a villain of the highest ill repute."He snickered again."Nothing came out of it on the chance you were still alive. You should feel lucky to have someone like Cass.""Don't worry, man." He responded. "I do.""Take care of her please, I won't always be able to, and she deserves the best."He gave you a resolute nod, and then another slight grin."That's my line." He said.
>>23184431offer him a brofist.Do we have somewhere private to talk to the sword?
>>23184431Initiate Brofist maneuvers. "Please, I'm so far from the 'best' that I can't see it with a telescope. I'm just crazy and overly protective."
>>23184431>woah woah, hold up. "his line"?is he implying that he won't or can't?or am i reading this all wrong?
>>23184497Maybe he's not going to follow us into the depths of hell.Which is completely reasonable.
"Please." You say, as you knock your fist against his. "I'm so far from the 'best' that I can't see it with a telescope.""A what?""Spyglass. I'm just crazy and overly protective.""Oh well, that's good enough." He said. "Because while my regeneration is powerful even for a fullblooded troll, if I keep doing things like I have been, I won't come back one of these days."
>>23184562"Yes, well, we're in the same boat then. Eventually I'm going to run out of luck."
>>23184562See if we can optimise Gearworks while we're travelling, now that we have more forged knowledge and experience, and know what power cores actually are.
>>23184562"Same here, but without the regeneration. The things we do for the ones we love."
>>23184649Don't say that last part.Tannis is touchy right now.
>>23184649Replace "love" with "care about"
>>23184562i don't even have regeneration, just a good sense for finding trouble and some luck.if it wasn't for my companions i wouldn't have made it past the swamp.
>>23184708Still likely to get under Tannis' fur.
"Same here, but without the regeneration. We're in the same boat. Eventually I'm going to run out of luck. The things we do for the ones we care about.""No, you'll both make it out of this alive." Lyra said. "All of us will. I'm sure of it, and I won't accept anything less.""So, which is the plan?" Kelaris asked. "We can go by sea, or by land. By land means we'd be crossing a mountain, and have to leave the wagon eventually, so it would take longer. The ship might be a risk, though, but we can take Skiitaran soldiers with us. Is that about accurate, Andalus?""'Tis. For my part, I vote for travel by sea.""I dislike water, especially with my armor." Lyra said. "We can go over land.""The ship might be best." Cass said, and Thor nodded to her in agreement."I believe the ship would be a better idea." Kelaris said. "And Tannis abstains.""I'll abstain, too." Ariana said.
>>23184790"Let's go with the ship then."
>>23184790We have horrible luck with boats.I vote mountains.
>>23184790Third times the charm eh?
>>23184790ship lets just find a fast one
>>23184790Storms are just as dangerous on mountains, sometimes more so. Let's take the ship.
"Let's go with the ship, then. Though I have horrible luck with boats." You grumble."Are you scared of the sea?" Thor asked."... Thor, the first time we went to sea, there was a kraken. Abel killed it. Himself." Cass said. "The next time we went to sea, there was a storm and we ended up crashed on an island. We've had nothing but bad luck with ships.""Let's just find a fast one." You say."Actually, it might be better to get a warship." Andalus said. "If we can talk the ice queen herself, Captain Brina, into letting go of one and a compliment of soldiers, then we can handle everything the Forged can throw at us. Tis the best option. I believe, at least.""But if we go fast enough, then we can get there before the Forged know where we are." Cass said. "Or before something goes wrong. The soldiers, armor, and ballista would only slow us down.""Tis better to have it and not need it, than to need it and not have it. A small army is a useful tool."
>>23184943Laugh, "I've never heard her called ice queen before. She's our newly discovered Aunt."
>>23184943"I'm sure that Auntie Brina will let us have a ship. I say an army could be very useful, and a warship is not that much slower than a fast ship."
>>23184943"Well, she might, for family."
>>23184943Let's see if we can get her to release it, but if she doesn't then it's no lost effort, and we should just press on.
"Well, she might, for family." You say. "Family?" Andalus asked. "All I know is that she had a brother.""... She's our aunt." Lyra said. "We're not natives to skiitara, but he was. He never told us much about his past, so we just found out.""I'm sure that Auntie Brina will let us have a ship. I say an army could be very useful, and a warship is not that much slower than a fast ship. Let's see if we can get her to release it, but if she doesn't, then it's no lost effort, and we should just press on.""Hm. Changes things." Andalus said, with a nod and a grin. "I've never heard her called ice queen before." You say."She is. She's also mine rival, in many ways. She thinks me a doddering fool, incapacitated by mine own lineage."
>>23185143"You don't seem doddering to me. Or foolish for that matter. I can see someone not seeing you as a good ruler, your focus seem to be on other more interesting fields than politics, things like knowledge, learning, and engineering.I'm sure we'll be able to sort it out."
>>23185143you are very helpful in your own way, no problem there.
"You don't seem doddering to me. Or foolish for that matter. Your focus seems to be on other more interesting fields than politics. Things like knowledge, learning, and engineering.""Oh well." He said, and relaxed. "That's still what she seems to believe. But it won't become an issue."Time passed, and the wagon went slowly southwards, and you crossed the mound that became Hannah's grave. You notice Kelaris very abruptly look away from it, almost pretending it wasn't there, as you rolled on by.Eventually, you reached Skiitara, and customs required that Cass- and only Cass- binds her weapon, as the guards take care of Gearworks."So, I will need Lyra to speak to the captain, Kelaris to speak to the grand knights, and Thor, to choose good men to bring with us." Andalus said. "The rest of you, I suppose you can go about and do as you will. Please return by... sundown, perhaps. High tide should be lowering at the time, and I know a sailor who does not mind setting sail at night."Cass, of course, went with Thor, while everybody but Tannis, Ariana, and you left, taking care of the wagon.
>>23185443Let's gently shoo Ariana away and talk to Tannis.
>>23185443We need more ammo, I think. Let's find a forge.
>>23185443Ariana, you should take Tannis for a quick fly around town, so she can observe her new domain.You have to be familiar with what you are lording over, after all.
>>23185443"Hey Ari, tell Tannis what you told me Tori said earlier."
>>23185443i really want to cheer them both up but i can't figure out what to do.>>23185500Tannis didn't like the idea of lording over things, let's not do that.
>>23185590I just want to give Tannis some alone time with Ariana.
>>23185590We could go get ice cream!A bowl for Tannis, and an entire gallon for Ariana.>>23185599Why?
>>23185614>>23185574I like these ideas.
"Hey Ari, tell tannis what you told me Tori said earlier.""Oh, right!" Ariana said. "Astora wanted to invite you to the Estate, after all this is over. Sansa would love to meet you."Tannis was quiet, then got to her paws, sitting on her haunches."Sure. I'd love to come." She said, and stretched. She didn't sound it. "Sanctuary sounds interesting."Ariana thought about something for a second, then tilted her head, and reached up with a talon, picking Tannis up and looking at her closely."... Tannis. Stop sulking.""But-""Stoppit." She said, firmly. "I don't know what happened between you and Abel, but Abel keeps beating himself up about it."The gryphon dropped Tannis in your lap, and then climbed out of the wagon."I'm going flying for a bit. You two talk." Ariana said, her eyes gleaming golden as she launched into the sky.Tannis just curled up in your lap, quietly.
>>23185692Let's just enjoy the peace, for now.
>>23185692Skritch kitty's ears, without permission, but just lightly.
>>23185692sit there for a bit with her in your lap. and lets not go overboard with the petting, or at least ask before doing so.not really sure what to do in these situations.
>>23185692I'm not going to let you go, Tannis. Not like this.Please someone veto this with something better.
>>23185839let's just not say anything.
>>23185692Good ol' Ariana, solving problems.Ask Tannis if she wants us to pet her a bit. "You should come to Sanctuary, it's a lovely place. You'll like it there. Maybe you'll have a chance to talk to Astora about all of this, I don't want you to dislike her because this happened, blame me for everything, she didn't do anything wrong.Tannis, I will never forget you, and none of the rest of our little band of misfits will either."
>>23185692As we try and fail miserably not to cry: "I could never forget you, Tannis. Not even if I wanted to."
>>23185692Think really really hard at the sword: "Rogue, you're something of a friend, and I know you don't want to meddle, but can I ask something of no real import? What do I do? Tannis is the truest friend I've ever had, and I couldn't bear to lose her."
>>23185888She's sitting on our lap and will hear that. That's incredibly rude.
>>23185887>>23185883Combine these two.
>>23185883>>23185887Combine these two.
Quietly, you start scratching her ears, and surprisingly, she simply lays down in your lap, allowing you to pet her. Neither of you say anything as you continue to pet her for some time, simply sitting there."You should come to Sanctuary." You say. "It's a lovely place. You'll like it there. Maybe you'll have a chance to talk to astora about all this. I don't want you to dislike her because this happened. Blame me for everything, she didn't do anything wrong."She was quiet for awhile as you pulled her into another hug. "I could never forget you, Tannis. Not even if I wanted to.""I know." She said, and finally sighed, before climbing out of your lap and shapeshifting human, leaning against the other wall of the wagon, scratching and ruffling her own hair. "I said that because I was... rather bothered about things."She closed her eyes for a minute, and she looked... tired. Very tired."I just need to... figure out what I'm doing, after this. Figure out where I'm going. If I want to go back to Atlask and the Sandborn, or stay here, or... I don't know. Leez and Kale might take me in if I wanted her to. With Eldin dead I don't have a pride to go back to, but I don't *need* to anymore because my Moon is gone, but..."She shook her head. "I just don't know what to do after this is over, Abel."
>>23186003"Let me make you a promise then. When it's over, I'll help you figure it out."
>>23186003Do you feel different, after the spell?I think you shouldn't stress over the choice. We still have work to do here, and then after this is over, we can go to sanctuary, and since we can't all take a shortcut through Ariana's gift that journey will take time. And by then there will have been plenty of time to think.
>>23186003"You could stay with us in Sanctuary, at least until you figure out what you're going to do."
>>23186003"You can do whatever you want. Any one of us would take you in, help you with whatever you needed.Maybe you could travel the world, see all the sights. But I'd like you to start at Sanctuary, it's a beautiful place, and you ought to see it at least once. Now get some sleep, you look tired, you can rest in my lap if you'd like."
>>23186003when this is all over, I'll help you find whatever it is you're looking for, if you'll let me.
"Do you feel different, after the spell?""I feel like it's going to be New Moon any time now, but New Moon never comes." She said. "It's kind of strange.""You could stay with us in Sanctuary, at least until you figure out what you're going to do.""I don't... I don't think that would end well." She said, and rubbed at her eyes."Maybe you could travel the world, see all the sights. But I'd like you to start at Sanctuary. It's a beautiful place, and you ought to see it at least once.""Well... I might." she said, and frowned."Now get some sleep." You say. "You look tired. You can rest in my lap if you'd like.""Okay." She said- and then she gave you a mischevious smile, and crawled into your lap.While still human, curling up in your lap, rubbing her body against yours. She knew *exactly* what she was doing, but soon enough, she was asleep.
>>23186201Sit back and enjoy the few moments of peace before we get back on the road.
>>23186201stay like that for her comfort, we'll be her pillow for the time being.
>>23186201Hold her, and try not to wake her.Hope someone comes to rescue us, or she defaults into kitty soon.
>>23186201Hold still, let her rest. Pet her occasionally. If we can reach a book read it, otherwise just lay back, enjoy it, take a nap.
>Minor edit! You relax, and close your eyes, leaning back as she falls deeper into sleep.And then something occurs to you. You look down to your sword."Rogue." You murmur, as quietly as possible. "You're something of a friend, and I know you don't want to meddle, but can I ask something of no real import? What do I do? Tannis is the truest friend I've ever had, and I couldn't bear to lose her."The sword was silent for a long, long time.<... We don't know everything.> Rogue said. <Least of all, the heart of someone. But... A young girl I know would want me to help with all the strength available to me. Make certain Anakata does not fight her, or Tannis will die. Treat her as a friend, always. This is my advice to you.>>Fate points: (1)(0)
>>23186508>Fate points: (1)(0)not sure how to interpret that, did we gain one?
>>23186508Wait, fate point, not Tenacity?"Thank you."
>>23186508"Thank you. I'll take that to heart.Can you tell me of this young girl?"
>>23186508Well, I guess we know another priority target when the time comes.
>>23186555>>23186561>Hehehehe."... Thank you." You say, and relax, closing your eyes. "I'll take that to heart. Can you tell me of this young girl?"<... Perhaps later.> He responded, his voice thick. You got the distant impression that you were asking about something... very important about him.Then you wake up to Lyra shaking you awake. You sit up, and Tannis in cat form was lying in your lap. She was purring loudly, eyes open, and you were currently petting her tummy."It's sundown." Lyra said. "We got the warship, the soldiers, everything. We almost forgot about you two."She laughed. "Sorry about that. C'mon."
>>23186662We're petting her tummy. FUCK.Pick up the kitty gently, put her on our shoulder, and head out."You almost forgot your most beloved brother, that hurts Lyra. After all I've done for you."
>>23186662"Tannis..."Put Kitty on our shoulder, and let's head off. Make sure Gearworks is on the boat. Can't afford to forget it again.Are we leaving now or in the morning?
>>23186662>i am now confused... you sum bitch.gingerly remove hand from belly "sorry i uh. it sort of happened while i was sleeping."we're on our way.>with that i'm off to bed.>goodnight gentlemen>and Exabyte
"Tannis..."She gave you a mischevious grin- you're not sure how she did, in that form, but you put her on your shoulder and climb out of the wagon."You almost forgot your beloved brother. That hurts, Lyra." You say. "After all I've done for you.""You forgot my birthday." She responded, petulantly."Let's make sure gearworks is on the boat." You say, and she nodded.Together, you two made your way to the city guards."Hello." Lyra said, politely. "I am Grand Paladin, and this is the Grand Huntsman. We're requesting that you bring the spider-shaped Forged to Jormungandr."The guardsman looked up to you two, and the cat on your shoulder. "Oh, and this is one of the princeps." Lyra said. "Abel, show them your paperwork."You do, and then he nods, and the guards start carrying the Forged to the ship."Are we leaving now, or in the morning?""Now." She said. "The way the tide is going, at least. The captain's a madman, and he'll leave without us if we don't hurry."You, Lyra, and Tannis make your way to the ship- and your eyebrows raised when you saw it.It was shaped almost like a giant rhomboid slab of iron, with ballistae both on the deck and under, with what looked like an ancient steam engine on the back.The captain, for his part, was wearing a blindfold and rags, cackling every time he said something or other."Welcome to the Jormungandr!" The captain said, whirling about to you and Lyra. "You were almost late. It'd be a pity to swim the entire way wouldn't it?"
>>23186884"This isn't a ship, it's a floating fortress."
>>23186884"It wouldn't be fun, that's for sure.Not to be rude, but how do you captain while wearing a blindfold?"After a talk let's go take a look at the steam engine, we might be able to soup it up.
>>23186884"It would indeed! A pleasure to meet you, Captain! I am Abel, might I ask your name?"
>>23186884Should I start praying to Magenta now, or should I have been doing this for a while already?
"This isn't a ship, it's a floating fortress.""Fucking exactly!" The captain called, and leaned into you, wrapping his arm around your shoulder. "See, you understand me. They said it'd never float. I proved them *wrong*."Andalus just sighed. "This is captain Brina's revenge." He said, and sighed."A pleasure to meet you, Captain. I am Abel. Might I ask your name?""Sarda, captain Sarda!" He called. "Or Sardriel, or even 'hey you' if you want. Though if you say that last one then you're going overboard."He suddenly pointed at Thor. "You, go start up the engine.""... Should I start praying to Magenta now, or should I have been doing this for a while already?" You ask."All the praying in the world won't do a thing." Cass said, and put her hand on her face. "We're all going to drown, I know we will."Thor walked over to the steam engine, and started giving it a strange look, as if trying to figure out how it worked."... Light the fire and pull the chain! Of course! Are you a fool?!" The captain snapped at him.When Thor did so, you hear a loud backblast, and the ship slowly started puttering along, shuddering, and the captain cackled.For a moment, you see two wisps of light floating above his head. Almost like fairy wings, it looked.Tannis just sat on your shoulder, quietly, while Ariana took a seat. Kelaris, meanwhile, was speaking to the soldiers about the risks they were likely to face- Forged, most likely, or kraken, and even possibly a storm.
>>23187079Once he's out of earshot: "Well, he's a madman. But I think he's the good kind of madman that straddles the line between insane and genius."
>>23187079To Tannis: "The captain seems nice." (Lie: speechcraft 50%)We should also get Kelaris to add teleportin, regenerating, impossibly strong madwomen to that list.
>>23187079Approach Sardy, "So. Might you tell me more about this fascinating vessel?"
"Well, he's a madman." You say, appraising him as he started pacing across the deck of the Jormungandr. "But I think he's the good kind of madman that straddles the line between insane and genius.""Yes, yes he does." Tannis said.For the next few hours, you slowly float southward as the tide went low, as it carried you out into the sea below Skiitaris."So, might you tell me more about this fascinating vessel?""Yes, yes I will." He said, and whirled about again. "It's called the Jormungandr. It's very large, very dense, and wouldn't even be floating if it wasn't for... that." He said, pointing at the steam engine. "That is my pride and joy. Passed down the family for generations, and only we know how to work it."Then he grinned. "And even better... I'm aligned with flame and water."He clenched his fist, and you felt a pulse of power from him, as those two... antennae, you suppose- flared into life. There was another backblast, and the ship shot forward, water and steam shooting out of the back of the ship, propelling you forward."We need no currents. We don't need to avoid storms. We can shove this thing into the gullet of a kraken and we'll come out the other fucking end." He said, and gave you a grin. "Thus is the power of a steam engine, allied with faerie blood."
>>23187254"Captain, you are the best."
>>23187254I'm more then impressed. What fuels the beast?>divine MiniDHI hope not, captcha
>>23187254"'Steam engine'? Sounds familiar."
"I'm more than impressed, captain. You are the best." You say. "What fuels the beast?"He grinned, and leaned close to whisper in your ear. "Magic, mostly. But we also carry... A part of Onyx itself, The Fury of Flame."
>>23187318Can... Can I see it?
>>23187318"And this is all in the engine?"
>>23187318"Oh? I've dealt with him before. He's a bit grouchy."
"And this is all in the engine?""Most of what's below deck is all in the engine." He said. "You all get to sleep in tents on top!"He cackled."Can... can I see it?""No." He responded, still with a grin.
>>23187405"It'd probably tell me to go away like last time anyway.""Is there anything you need done around the ship?"
>>23187405"I understand how the engine works. Might even be able to improve it."
>>23187505But we don't know ships (yet).
"It'd probably tell me to go a way like last time anyway." You say. "Is there anything you need done around the ship?""I just need you and everyone else to listen to my orders." He said, and sniffled, running his hand along his nose. "But for now, we need nothing. Only time."With that, he walked across the ship, and pulled himself into some kind of hatch, slamming it shut behind him.You, your companions, and the soldiers just simply stood there for a moment."... He's a madman." One of the soldiers said.Andalus sighed again.Time passed, as did the scenery. You always stayed in sight of the coast, and so you saw the village of 'Steve', which Kelaris started chuckling about, then passed the city of Ista in the night, and when you woke up the next morning, you saw nothing but a marsh, emptying out into the ocean. You rolled over in your small tent-To find Astora lying there next to you, wearing her breastplate."Morning." She said, and gave you a kiss.
>>23187648Um... Hello.Pull out rowan wood, see if she reacts.
>>23187648"Oh. Good morning Astora. Why are you here?"
>>23187405"How about a friendly wager? If I tell you how I think the engine works, and I'm right, you let me take a look at the Fury."
>>23187648"Am I being tricked? Dreaming?"
>>23187648"Well hello there. This IS a surprise. Feeling better already?" check her soul mirror, I guess?
>>23187648Blink.Poke her cheek.Blink again.Poke her eye.
>>23187648"Hrng. Can't tell if I'm dreaming again or not. Better put my tongue in your mouth to check."
>>23187699Hehe, do this.
>>23187648"I must be dreaming, beautiful women don't just show up in strange men's tents.What are you doing here? I thought you were in Sanctuary."
>>23187648"Is this real life."
>>23187700this o god
You blink.Then you poke her in the cheek. Then blink again."Oh. Good morning, Astora. This *is* a surprise. Why are you here? Am I being tricked? Dreaming again? Better put my tongue in your mouth to check.""Well, if you insist." She said, and then pulled you close, and kissed you for a long, long time.Just in case, you take two arrows- a rowan and a cold iron one, pressing them against her arm, and nothing out of the ordinary happened. She grinned."I'm glad that you'd dream of me." She said. "But no, I came through the Shadow. For reasons that the crones didn't deign to tell me."She sighed, and pulled you into a hug. "It was only a few days, but I missed you." She said, hugging you tightly. "They came by Haven last night, and had orders for all of us- and Ariana, apparently. My own was to go through the shadow and stick around here. To help you with your plan. No clue why. Something about Eldin's death."
>>23187768"That's pretty mysterious, but I've gotten used to that by now and I don't really care."
>>23187768I'm surprised they can give you orders. Wasn't that what Nobilis was all about?So do I need to know anything about the other's orders?
>>23187801also: "I'm glad you're back."
>>23187768Raise an eyebrow"Did you stop paying attention as soon as they said you could visit me?"
"I'm surprised they can give you orders. Wasn't that what nobilis was all about?" You ask."Well, they weren't 'orders', they were suggestions."You raise an eyebrow."Did you stop paying attention as soon as they said you could visit me?""Maybe." She said."So, do I need to know anything about the others' orders?""Well, Cedric needed to fly Kee, Kev, and Sansa to two different places. Kev still doesn't have Leftie back, so it must not be anything about his gifts... And they also asked Sansa to come along, too, which was strange. Kee's stork was going... to The Vale, or somewhere around that. Isn't that where you're from?"
>>23187895"That's exactly where I'm from."
>>23187895"Yes indeed. That seems a bit odd. I wonder what exactly they might be looking for."
>>23187895"Yeah. Still have the house there and everything."
>>23187895Yeah, I'm from the Vale. Maybe they're looking for the ruins I found the Sword in.Was anyone heading into the mountains near Celesthern? Sky's base of operations is near there.
"Yes indeed." You say. "I'm from the Vale. Still have the house there and everything. Was anyone heading into the mountains near Celesthem? Sky's base of operations is near there.""I don't.. think so." She said, and frowned. "Kee's orders were to go... somewhere around the Vale. Then Kev, Sansa, and Ced's familiar are going to Sardin, and I think Kee herself and Ced himself are going to Angvard. My orders were to stick around here and help how I can. So I'm interpreting those orders as orders to kiss you." She said, and did so.
>>23188111Kiss her back."Did you make a friend with a manticore?"
>>23188111"You don't think that Gareth is controlling the crones do you?"
>>23188111"Why stop at kiss?"Pinch her butt.
>>23188111"I like your interpretation. I like it very much." Kiss her back."So you actually do have a third gift, you just never ran into Manticores before. Ain't that something."
>>23188170Because we're in a tent surronded by other people who are probably awake.
You kiss her back, and she wrapped her arms around you, claw in your hair."Did you make a friend with a manticore?""I did!" She said. "His name is Banana, and I got him to stop trying to eat people.""So you actually do have a third gift, you just never ran into Manticores before. Ain't that something.""They really need more monsters for the menagerie." Astora said."... You don't think that Gareth is controlling the crones, do you?"Astora gave you an even look- and then broke out into giggles."Pfff, Abel." She said. "No, no. The crones? All thirteen hells couldn't control the crones if they tried. At the same time.""Why stop at kiss?" You ask, and give her another kiss, reaching around to her butt. "Because we're in a tent on the top of the ugliest warship that exists." She said. "They'd hear us- and we might melt a hole in through the deck."Then you feel claws suddenly pinch you, and she gave you a grin.
>>23188244"He's probably be mad if we melted his ship.Want to get some breakfast?"
>>23188244The captain would be mad if that happened. You should meet him, he does fire stuff as well.Maybe after all this is over we can travel around and bring back more animals for the menagerie.
>>23188244"Oh yeah! The Captain told me that there's another piece of Onyx in this ship - like the one in your star room."
>>23188244"It's nice to have you back for a bit, you know."
>>23188244maybe we should talk about Tannis
>>23188360later, when we know we have privacy.
"Oh yeah!" You say. "The captain told me that there's another piece of Onyx in this ship. Like the one in your star room.""Is there?" She asked. "Maybe we should go meet it. The one in the constellation room stopped talking to me after you left."She started to get up- but you just grabbed her, and pulled her back down into your lap."It's nice to have you back for a bit, you know." You say, and kiss her again.You didn't have long until Ariana tapped on the floor next to the tent, making it clink- a knocking noise, before pulling open the tent."We're passing south of Amberway." She said. "This ship... is really, really fast. But... I flew over it, and it doesn't look good."You and Astora climb out of the tent, and you see most of the soldiers standing on the edge of the ship, looking to the coast. You can see the city from here... and you can see fire, and smoke, and in the distance, you can see glittering lights of the sun reflecting off of countless Forged, patrolling the city.
>>23188398"Shit. That's not good. I sure as hell hope they don't see us."
>>23188398"That doesn't look good at all."
>>23188398"Hold Astora's hand. Could you see anyone alive?"If we do talk to Onyx again, we have to remember to ask it about the necklace of DOOM. How is that even meant to be a weapon?
>>23188452Like a garrote, or as a trojan horse. OF DOOM.
>>23188398"Unfortunately there's not much we can do at the moment."
>>23188398"I hope people got out alright."
You hold Astora's hand. "Could you see anyone alive?""No. I saw a cat that dove away when I saw it. But... all the passages that went underground, last time we were there, were all gone. Buried." She said."Shit. That doesn't look good at all.""It doesn't." Ariana said, and sighed. "I feel so useless, sitting here at home.""Unfortunately, there's not much we can do at the moment." You say, and sigh.There was another loud blast, and suddenly, the captain tore his way out of the hatch. He wiped his brow, and then tilted his head toward Astora, as if he sensed something strange."Um, Captain Sarda?" Ariana asked. "How long until we reach Angvard?""... Another day." He said. "We will reach it in the morning.""Two days? This boat's rather fast, isn't it?" Astora asked."'Tis." Andalus said.Andalus and Astora met eyes for a moment.Then pointed at one another."You!" They both said, simultaneously.>End of thread!
>>23188594Thanks for running, Exa!
>>23188594>that cliffhangercurse you, one would thing one would be used to all your cliffhangers after reading all of your Quests, but no it still gets me.
>>23188794Haha, well, if you think *that* was a cliffhanger... wait until a few days from now. We're officially heading toward the end of the quest.
>>23188912it just that somewhere between half and all of your threads end in cliffhangers of varying levels of potency, so it wasn't so much about this cliffhanger particular.
>>23188912Oh no, Exabyte has Plans. Run for the hills.