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Back Alive or Maybe Dead [Quest]

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    I post Artifacts in this thread. How I make them is in this thread.
    I have made many tools and other things for 3rd Edition. I now host all of my creations on my Google site: The Vault of the Unsung Hero

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    • ...pulled a fistful of dust from the pouch at her belt and flung it at Bone. The grains ignited with a flash in midair, set alight by the Ranger's aura.

      He didn't cover his eyes, or duck, or scream in agony after the splash of sparks hit him dead in the face. He only flinched and grunted, then blinked to try to clear the flash from his eyes. He wasn't burned at all.

      The Ranger took advantage of the slight delay she'd bought herself and re-fixed her bayonet. She pointed her matchlock at Bone like a spear, breathing heavily through her mask.

      Bighorn Bone eyed the tip of her bayonet warily. He leaned forward and raised his hands, settling into a wrestling stance.

      Curses and cries of pain came from the alley. Two of the the Lost Souls had joined Lerdch in kicking Jehn while she was down. Hark was helping up the staff-wielding man the Ranger had knocked down before. The Ranger figured she'd have no time at all before any of the fellows on the street turned their attention to her, or the snipers on the roof decided that it was worth the risk of shooting into the melee. She couldn't afford to stay on the defensive.

      Her vision tunneled as she lunged at Bone, thrusting with her bayonet. But the brute was ready, and seized the barrel of her matchlock. They struggled for control of the firewand. Then she felt a sudden sharp shock from her left shoulder-blade - an arrow had struck her! Bone tore the weapon from her suddenly-weak fingers and swung the butt of it at her head. The stock grazed the Ranger's skull; she stumbled and fell back.

      Bone made to move in when something exploded behind her. Bone stopped in his tracks.

      Before he or the Ranger could react, a gray-skinned figure in a dirty coat bolted in from the side and tackled Bone. The figure shouted something in Riverspeak, and the Ranger recognized Serge's voice. The big outlaw kicked and traded punches with the stone mercenary, but nothing could shake Serge's grip or even bruise his hide.

      Further up the street, a girl running with uncanny speed whooped and leaped into the fray with Jehn. A one-armed man with a saber followed behind her, and turned to menace Hark and his crony.

      The Ranger turned to look for the source of the explosion. She saw one archer running away from burning remains of the shed. He was shouting "BRUJA! BRUJA!" A robed figure stood silhouetted by the flames, watching him go. His partner was nowhere to be seen.

      The fight became a rout. To their credit, some of the Lost Souls gave as good as they got. Bone managed to kick Serge off and then throw him through a wooden deck. Hark held Lans at bay with torchpipe after torchpipe. The one they called Lerdch brained Seres with a hammer. But the outcome was never in doubt with the whole posse there. After a few intense minutes, every one of the Lost Souls had been backed up against the wall of the two-story office opposite the carriage-house.

      Beaten, bruised, and bleeding, eight stood against five. Hark was in the back, muttering and swearing. He'd pulled a jar of some kind of unguent out and was hastily dabbing around the frame of the office door. The other seven brandished weapons - Bone had armed himself with a large, broken board - and used their slight advantage in numbers to cover each other. The Ranger held back from using her firewand, partly for fear of setting the building on fire. She could see a woman watching through the window by the door, staring at them all with fascination and horror.

      Seres, bleeding from the side of her head, snarled and threw a punch. A lightning bolt flashed from her fist to Lerdch's gut, and the Lost Soul went down.

      A second later, Hark put one last dot on the frame just above the door, and the door vanished entirely. In its place was a black emptiness that the dim light from the street could not pierce. Then he turned, gave a triumphant shout, and threw down one last smoke bomb.

      In the smoke and confusion, the gang of outlaws fled through the portal. Bone went last, dragging Lerdch behind him.

      Seres swore and ran for the doorway.
      • The Ranger roughly grabbed her by the shoulder, forcing her to a stop. The girl turned to look at the Ranger in disbelief, only to be met with an unwavering glare.
      • But the Ranger was faster, pushing through the smoke almost on Lerdch's dragged heels.
      • The Ranger followed after.
      • Something else?



      On the frontier of the Wild South, there's only one woman with the grit to take on its most dangerous outlaws and bring them Back Alive, or Maybe Dead.

      Avatar by K.S. Brenowitz

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      • The Ranger roughly grabbed her and pulled her back.

        (I really want to bring this fight though the portal, but I don't think Ash would do that)


        I write things.

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        • If the ranger thinks the portal is two ways:

          Victory is at hand. After them!

          If the ranger thinks that portal is a one way trip:

          Stop her.


          Enjoy the adventures of a socially awkward Godblooded that tries to make her way through the world.

          Halfway

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          • Originally posted by wonderandawe View Post
            The Ranger roughly grabbed her and pulled her back.

            (I really want to bring this fight though the portal, but I don't think Ash would do that)
            I think it is a one-way portal. I second caution.

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            • Grab the girl and shake our head disapprovingly. It is a trap. You don't retreat with pursuers at your heels unless you have back up waiting. Not through a portal at any rate.


              Thoughts ripple out, birthing others

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              • The Ranger roughly grabbed her by the shoulder, forcing her to a stop. The girl turned to look at the Ranger in disbelief, only to be met with an unwavering glare.

                A moment later, the portal evaporated into a cloud of dark smoke. The street took on a quiet that felt eerie after all the noise of conflict.

                Seres looked back at where the portal had stood, then returned her attention to the Ranger. "What in the hell was that? Now they've gotten away! Why'd you stop me, Ash?"

                The Ranger just shook her head. She released her grip on Seres' shoulder and turned away.

                "Ash? Ash! Answer me!"

                The Ranger trudged over to the other side of the street, where Jehn lay on her back. Her face was a mess of cuts and contusions, and the Ranger suspected there were more beneath her clothes. She started to sling her matchlock behind her back when a sharp pain reminded her of the arrow stuck against her shoulder-blade. She hissed, then carefully reached behind her with her right hand. Her fingers found the shaft, and she gave it a hard, fast tug.

                The shaft didn't break, and the head pulled free. The Ranger's eyes swum. She became aware that the back of her shirt was very wet. Also, the fire that had surrounded her had died away, replaced by a light smoldering. But she ignored those things and tossed the arrow away.

                "Gods, Ash! What in the hell!?"

                The Ranger bent down and lifted Jehn onto her shoulders. Slowly but surely, the masked vigilante began to carry the bounty hunter away.

                Then Seres was in front of her, face full of indignation. "ASH! LISTEN TO ME!"

                The Ranger arrested Seres with a look. A fire burned in those eyes - burned, with all the furious anguish of someone who had all their patience abraded away by pain. Whatever Seres was about to say died on her lips.

                Damon Lans came up behind Seres and coughed. "I do believe we should scatter," he said, quiet but firm. As he spoke, he was wiping down his sword with a handkerchief. "As soon as someone hauls the sheriff out of bed, he'll be coming here. And I doubt any of us wants to explain this." He sheathed his saber, then waved his arm expansively, indicating the burning wreckage of the shed, the bodies in the road, and the partly-dismantled jail coach. "We can talk about what happened tonight at our leisure back at the Hole in the Wall. Ah... White Plains Ranger, can you carry that woman on your own?"

                The Ranger nodded.

                "Good. Seres and I will go on ahead. Ah, Marshal Serge?"

                Serge had come up join them. "I think I'll stay," he declared. "I want to see who turns up. Don't worry, I'll make myself scarce when it gets busy."

                "Alright. Then all that remains is - never mind. There she goes." As if she had anticipated Lans' question, Gaze-of-the-sun was already transforming. She flew away, squawking as she went.

                Nothing more was said. The posse parted ways. The Ranger walked back a different way than she had before, slowly and deliberately avoiding any contact with other people.




                When she got back to the Hole in the Wall, she found Bo waiting outside, sitting on the steps. "Mistress Ash!" she exclaimed as soon as she'd seen her. "I was worried... come. Bring the woman to my room. I may work on her there."

                The Ranger patiently hauled Jehn inside and carried her to Bo's room and laid her down on the bed there. She did not communicate her own injuries to Bo. Instead, she walked back to her own room and began to strip her gear off.

                Her poncho had a new hole in it, along with a lot of dirt, firedust residue, and a little blood. Her shirt underneath it was soaked through with sweat and a lot more blood - mostly hers. She took off these, her boots, her hat, and her mask, and let out a breath she didn't know she'd been holding. Ash felt very tired. She fell onto the bed, lying down on her stomach, and wrapped the sheets around her.

                As she lay there on the edge of sleep, she could hear voices coming through the wall. The cheap wooden dividers in this place didn't offer much in the way of soundproofing.

                "...I weren't surprised none, but... Gods, Lans. It was like she was a whole 'nother person." It was Seres voice, confused in the way that only someone processing a shock could be.

                "She might well have been," answered another voice - Lans', serious and calm. "The blood can have that effect on some."

                Seres let out a nervous chuckle. "What? C'mon. I've been around Chosen all my life. I ain't never seen one act like that."

                "With all due respect, miss Seres, that was because you were raised on the Isle." Lans said, gently. "All your life, you were brought up knowing just what your heritage meant, and what it could mean for you. Whatever you may think about how you were treated, the fact is that you were trained, from the day you were born, to be ready if your blood awakened."

                Seres didn't answer - at least, not in a fashion Ash could hear.

                Then Lans spoke again. "People outside the Realm are different. They do not have any training, and often they have no idea they could be Chosen. When the change comes, it comes as shock. They react in all sorts of ways. Taking on a new persona is far from the strangest I have seen..."

                If she were more awake, Ash probably would have had something to say about that. But now her consciousness was fading away. The noise of speech became meaningless as her minded slumbered.




                When Ash woke up, one of the first things she became aware of was that her sheet was stuck to her back. Pulling herself free of it revealed a large, dried bloodstain. She grimaced at the sight and felt over her back with her right hand. The arrow-wound had completely scabbed over, but it still smarted at her touch.

                Ash sighed and put on some clean, suitable-for-going-out-in-public clothes. When she opened the door to her room and stepped out into the hall, ...

                • ...Serge was leaning against the wall just across from her door, with his hands stuck into the pockets of his coat. "G'morning," he said, with a slight smile. "Have you got a moment?"
                • ...Seres was pacing the floor right in front of her. She turned when she saw Ash, and said "Hey." Her face indicated she had more to say, but couldn't quite find the words.
                • ...she found Damon Lans standing guard beside her door. He nodded to her as she came out. "Miss Ash," he greeted her with a nod. "Might I have a word?"
                • ...she was surprised to see Gaze sitting cross-legged on the floor, just inches outside the reach of the door. "[Child, we must speak]" she said, "[Now, before the others awaken.]" Gaze seemed nervous. Ash couldn't remember her seeming nervous before.
                • ...the hotel was quiet. It seemed she was the first one up.
                • Something else?



                On the frontier of the Wild South, there's only one woman with the grit to take on its most dangerous outlaws and bring them Back Alive, or Maybe Dead.

                Avatar by K.S. Brenowitz

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                • I'm really pleased with how that all went down. As for the next step, the breadcrumbs definitely are pulling decisions towards Gaze, but I think it's time to hear from someone we haven't spoken to in a while. I'd say Seres or Serge. I'll default to the popular opinion.


                  I post Artifacts in this thread. How I make them is in this thread.
                  I have made many tools and other things for 3rd Edition. I now host all of my creations on my Google site: The Vault of the Unsung Hero

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                  • I vote for Damon or Gaze.


                    I write things.

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                    • Gaze. Her being nervous is a bad sign. Seres probably just wants to talk about Ash about stopping her.


                      Enjoy the adventures of a socially awkward Godblooded that tries to make her way through the world.

                      Halfway

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                      • (We have a narrow majority for Gaze. Any other takers?)


                        On the frontier of the Wild South, there's only one woman with the grit to take on its most dangerous outlaws and bring them Back Alive, or Maybe Dead.

                        Avatar by K.S. Brenowitz

                        Comment


                        • *sigh* I knew that hook would point everyone to Gaze. I feel like we're not putting enough effort into the rest of the crew, but for consensus, I can change to Gaze.


                          I post Artifacts in this thread. How I make them is in this thread.
                          I have made many tools and other things for 3rd Edition. I now host all of my creations on my Google site: The Vault of the Unsung Hero

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                          • Yes, let's see what Gaze has to share.....

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                            • ...she was surprised to see Gaze sitting cross-legged on the floor, just inches outside the reach of the door. "[Child, we must speak]" she said, "[Now, before the others awaken.]" Gaze seemed nervous. Ash couldn't remember her seeming nervous before.

                              She took a few steps back, inviting the old woman into her room. Gaze shuffled in and pulled the door shut behind her. She looked over Ash inquisitively. "[Child, are you well enough to fight or run?]"

                              "[Yes?]," answered Ash.

                              "[That is well... and I see you still practice the separation of the mind.]"

                              "[I remember your teachings. What worries you?]" Gaze wasn't the type ask after your health to be polite. Usually, the unspoken question was along the lines of, "Is your weakness gonna get us all killed?"

                              Gaze bent her head down and held her robes to herself. "[I have had a vision,]" she said, muttering to the floor. "[A fire, rage, and covetous malice. A great danger is coming, and it will strike us today.]"

                              "Lost Souls?"

                              "[...No. They are of this world, and it is not.]"

                              Ash walked over to the bed and sat on it, mulling things over. "[What did you see?]"

                              Gaze shook her head. "[I have seen nothing, child.]"

                              Ash groaned. It was one of those visions. "[You do not know what this danger will look like?]"

                              "[I do not.]"

                              "[You do not know where it will be?]"

                              "[I do not.]"

                              "[You only know that something otherworldly will come today.]"

                              "[I do.]"

                              "[Of what use is that!?]" Ash snapped. This was the wrong conversation to have before breakfast. "[How should I know what I must do?]"

                              Gaze lifted her head and looked Ash in the eye. "[You should flee. Or scour this place with cleansing flame. To live is to know danger, child. Know it, and fear it.]"

                              "[Sometimes we must face danger,]" said Ash. She felt a pang of déjà vu.

                              "[Sometimes, yes. But always remember that to do so is to court death.]" Gaze-of-the-Sun frowned. "[Survival - ]"

                              "[- is all,]" Ash finished with her, anticipating the declaration. "[I remember. Although even you have to know that sometimes survival is not enough.]"

                              "[Then what is?]" Gaze asked, rhetorically.

                              Ash chose to answer with "[I will not have this discussion again. Only know that I will not leave this place while the weapons I seek are still here, and 'cleansing flame' would be madness.]"

                              "[So be it,]" said Gaze, unperturbed. "[You were warned - any ruination is on your shoulders alone, now.]"

                              Ash shrugged and got up off the bed. "[Will you be joining us for a morning meal?]" She left the "for once" part of her question unspoken.

                              Gaze shook her head. "[No. Such would violate my oaths.]"

                              Ash, already halfway to the door, paused. "[Oaths? You mean your oaths of forgetting?]"

                              The old mystic nodded. "[The same. One among your company is a living memory. I did not know them from the beginning, but now I know them I will not speak to them, or linger in their presence.]" Her voice was quiet and monotonous.

                              "[Who?]"

                              Gaze closed her eyes. When she spoke again, her tone never wavered. "[I will speak no more of this.]" She walked to the window, still open after last night, and poked her head out. "[Go on your way. And be wary - if you fall, we all may fall with you.]" She made as if to jump, and then a flock or ravens swarmed out of the room.

                              Ash watched the last of the feathers drift to the floor, then sighed and went downstairs.



                              Bo was the first to join Ash at breakfast. She sank heavily into the chair across the table from Ash while Ash chewed on beans and bread. Ash noted the bags beneath Bo's eyes.

                              "You alright, Miss Bo?"

                              "I am..." Bo yawned. "Just tired, Mistress Ash."

                              "How's our patient?"

                              "Recovering. Broken bones, bruises, cuts. She should stay in bed for two, three days. But she has no lasting injuries. No scars, unless she reopens her wounds."

                              "Has she woken up yet?"

                              "No. Not yet."

                              "Hmm." Ash picked at her food. "...You'll be stayin' with her today, I'd guess?"

                              Bo nodded sleepily. "I should not leave her during this time."

                              "I agree," said Ash. "And you should get some rest too." That this would keep Bo out of harm's way was a welcome stroke of luck.

                              The rest of the group gradually made their way down. Seres, Lans, and finally Serge sat at the table. A mutual agreement was quickly reached not to discuss the activities of the previous evening - not in public, at least. And so the posse had a quiet breakfast, then set out on the town.



                              At Ash's behest, they'd all armed themselves - those who used arms, at least. Ash kept her firewand bound up in cloth. Land brought along an ornamental scabbard for his saber. They didn't look exactly proper, but Ash figured it would at least be enough for them to avoid notice for a while.

                              The town hall was a steepled building of the sort that doubled as a church on worship-days. A large painted sign outside the door indicated the auction happening that day. Inside were rows of benches where laypeople would sit, arranged before a podium. Some of those benches near the doors had been stacked up to form tables, and those tables were laid out with the late Silike's Dilatro's possessions - mostly cloths, simple tools, and other general-store bric-a-brac. They were fine things, in their way, but Ash didn't see anything among them of interest. Instead, she figured, the real goods were in the back, in the stacks of carefully-arranged boxes behind the podium.

                              A fair number of people were loitering at the tables or sitting on the benches, including the dust magnate Ash had seen the other day. The posse merged smoothly into the crowd. Lans went immediately to the front of the hall and sat down to wait. Seres browsed through the common wares. Serge opted to wait outside, seeming a little agitated at the thought of coming in. Ash...
                              • ...decided to join Seres.
                              • ...followed Lans and sat down beside him.
                              • ...looked around, then wandered back outside to find Serge.
                              • ...walked behind the podium and began studying the boxes.
                              • ...something else?
                              Last edited by semicasual; 04-17-2017, 02:50 PM.


                              On the frontier of the Wild South, there's only one woman with the grit to take on its most dangerous outlaws and bring them Back Alive, or Maybe Dead.

                              Avatar by K.S. Brenowitz

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                              • decided to join Seres. If danger is coming, let's stick close to the Youngblood.


                                I write things.

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