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Back Alive or Maybe Dead [Quest]

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  • "...Judgment and Absolution."

    The audience murmured some more. The lady at the podium cleared her throat and rapped on the podium until they stopped.

    "The opening bid is one thousand dinars."

    The murmuring resumed. Ash winced. That was much, much more than she'd expected. Certainly more money than the posse had between them. If she somehow had the bounty on Stitch-Eyes and every member of his gang right then, it would barely be enough.

    Some of the more affluently-dressed people in the room raised their paddles. After a couple rounds, the dust magnate took the prize.

    "Thank you, Master Tei Leng. Sold, for one thousand, two hundred!"

    The large man lowered his paddle, looking very pleased with himself. The auctioneer moved on to lot thirty-eight - a pair of hide gloves that had beast horns over the knuckles.

    Ash thought and fumed. Without thinking she got up from her seat, carefully maneuvered past the other auction-goers on the bench, and walked to the front of the hall. She stepped through the open doors of the part-time church. Outside, the sun was getting higher, brighter, and hotter. She found Serge lounging in the shade of the doorway.
    "You get what we came for?" he said, stifling a yawn.

    Ash shook her head. "Nope. We need another plan." She sucked air through her teeth and looked away from Serge, staring at nothing.

    Seres came out, hopping down the front steps. She looked confused, concerned. "Ash, are we quittin'?" she asked.

    "I believe it's time to re-evaluate our situation," Lans answered for Ash. He came out the doors on Seres' heels, joining the other three outside.

    Ash looked at each of them, then stepped into the shade beside Serge. She gestured for the others to come closer. They huddled together close enough that the brims of their hats nearly touched. "I could've guessed this would happen," she said, quietly. "Nobody was gonna sell real, workin' relics at a price we could afford. Unless you've got a fortune you haven't told me about, Damon." She nodded at Lans, only half-joking. Lans gave a sad chuckle and shook his head.

    Ash nodded and went on. "Well, then, that's that. We ain't gonna buy 'em, so where does that leave us?"

    "Could just grab 'em," said Seres, impatiently. All eyes went to her. "What? Don't act like you weren't thinkin' it. I could run in there right now and snatch 'em up, nobody's fast enough to stop me."

    "Let us not act too rashly, young lady." Somehow Lans managed to say the words without sounding condescending. "As it happens, Tei Leng is an old acquaintance of mine. We had business interests in common, back in the day. He might be willing to loan us Judgement and Absolution, and other equipment besides." He tilted his head. "It doesn't hurt to ask."

    "Or we could do without." Serge also sounded impatient, but it was impatience from boredom rather than irritation. "We fought the Lost Souls once. Beat them without any magic... besides what we've already got. Why waste time on this when we could be chasing them?"

    Ash wondered what Gaze would add to the conversation. She wondered where Gaze was. Probably she'd say something about how if Tei Leng or anyone else couldn't protect their material possessions, they didn't deserve to keep them. Or that material possessions were fleeting and worthless, like the idea of a permanent home.
    • "I don't much like the idea of stealin', but I don't see we have much choice."
    • "We should try talkin' to Leng. Maybe he needs a favor."
    • "You know what, Serge? You're right. We got better things to do."
    • Something else?
    Last edited by semicasual; 04-26-2017, 12:37 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.

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    • Let's talk to Leng. Maybe he enjoys real life Judgement and Absolution as much as the artifact.



      I write things.

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      • Originally posted by wonderandawe View Post
        Let's talk to Leng. Maybe he enjoys real life Judgement and Absolution as much as the artifact.
        Agreed. Talky talk time.

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        • Talky talk, lengy leng.


          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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          • Steal it. We will use that weapon for good, so it all balances out.

            We didn't name that artifact so some other guy could have it...


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

            Halfway

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            • "We should try talkin' to Leng. Maybe he needs a favor."

              Ash's words hung in the air for a moment. Lans nodded, giving a subtle smile of satisfaction. Serge and Seres both looked displeased.

              Ash opened her mouth to say something else. Whatever she would have said was drowned out by a deafening boom. The ground shook. A wave of hot air washed over them all, so hot it would have been searing if it had lasted more than an instant. Ash spun around to see a great pillar of fire rising into the sky over the rooftops of Santa Mela. Red-orange flames, reaching high enough to scorch the clouds.

              Sounds of alarm were coming from all directions. People were coming out of their homes and businesses to see what was the matter. The shock and confusion that tended to follow a disaster were starting to set in. She heard Lans gasp behind her. "The refinery!" The others had more explosive, less helpful exclamations.

              Ash's first thought was to run directly towards the distant blaze. Then she thought she might save time by going to the stables near Hole in the Wall and getting King, first. Then it occurred to her to muster up help by running up to the roof of the town hall and ringing the town bell. She turned to look up at the hall's steeple, just in time to see the hall's doors slam shut.

              The noise triggered something in Ash's mind. She snapped into focus. Without really knowing why, she unslung the firewand from her shoulder and pulled away the wrapping cloth. As quick as anything, she grabbed a measure of dust from the pouch on her belt and poured it down the barrel. And she snapped at the others,
              • "Get those doors open!"
              • "Grab your horses, we've got to get out there!"
              • "Weapons out! Something is coming!"
              • Something else?
              Good news - I figured out what was wrong with the image links I was using, so all of the character art and other pictures are back up. I hope to have more art soon. But first, more headcanon:

              Anyone who has a healthy respect for firedust weapons has a justifiable concern for safety in dust refineries. If a refinery and all the dust stored therein in catches fire, it is invariably catastrophic. The dust itself burns up very rapidly, incinerating most things within the blast radius. Dust isn't as explosive as gunpowder, but the sheer heat it generates can spread flash-fires in all directions. For this reason, it's generally preferred that refineries are built at a respectful distance from any other buildings, on land that has been cleared of all flammables, preferably adjacent to a river.

              Buildings that process or store dust, whether it is raw or refined, are usually made from stone or brick. Their roofs are made from lightweight tiles that are designed to blow off if there is an explosion. This channels the force of a dust-blast upwards, hopefully limiting the spread of dust and preventing the building from turning into a large shrapnel bomb.
              Last edited by semicasual; 04-26-2017, 04:12 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

              Comment


              • "Weapons out! Something is coming!"



                I write things.

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                • "Get those doors open!"


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

                  Halfway

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                  • [x] "Grab your horses, we've got to get out there!"


                    I'm making a fangame: Xeno: The Beyond. A space alien game about identity, conformity, isolation, and colonialism. Please help!

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                    • Get those doors open pronto!

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                      • midnightcyclist
                        The Unsung Hero
                        FallenEco

                        (Anyone 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

                        Comment


                        • Ten Characters


                          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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                          • "Get those doors open!"

                            Serge was already doing it. He quickly stepped up to the left-side door and gave the handle a tug. It didn't move. He braced himself against the steps and pulled again, harder. Nothing. Then Seres came up next to him and pulled on the right-side door. That didn't work either.

                            Ash growled impatiently and readied her firewand. She really, really wanted to find a private place to change clothes, but there wasn't time.

                            Seres pushed Serge aside, grabbed both handles and pulled mightily. They didn't budge. She gritted her teeth, and the wind began to pick up. Seres let out a strangled yell and heaved, pulling away with her entire body. The wood of the door cracked and crunched, and then the handles came away in Seres hands. Surprised, she barely managed to catch herself before she fell over backwards. Then she cursed, spat, and threw the useless handles on the ground. The doors were still unmoved.

                            "There's magic at work here. Allow me," said Lans. He drew his sword and casually walked up the steps. He turned his body so his armless side was turned away from the doors and raised his saber. For a few moments, he didn't move. Then he slashed at the door once, twice, three times. It looked as though his weapon passed through the wood without resistance. With every stroke, steam flowed away from his blade.

                            The door was unmarked, but Lans didn't seem disappointed. He lowered his sword, stepped forward, then awkwardly pushed into the door with his good shoulder. The wood groaned and creaked. "Ugh," Lans grunted. "Would one of you youngsters give me a hand?"

                            Seres moved first, and Serge followed soon after. Lans stepped out of the way so they could shove on the door together. Ash kept a lookout. By now, the great plume of flame was gone, but there was an awful of smoke rising from where it had been. The people who hadn't opted to hide in their homes were flocking in that general direction.

                            "One, two, three!" called Serge, and he flung himself at the door alongside Seres. A not-quite-rectangular section of wood, just big enough for two adults to squeeze through, fell inwards. Black wisps of mist came out of the gap and dissipated quickly in the hot, midday air.

                            Lans stepped through the hole. Ash hustled inside just after.

                            Inside was a much different scene than the one they'd left behind. All the townfolk and visitors were packed on one side of the room, huddling together in fear. Three men, two of whom Ash vaguely recognized as Lost Souls, were covering them with firewands. Another man and a woman Ash didn't know were going along the displayed items, grabbing things and stuffing them into sacks. Bighorn Bone was in the back of the room, opening boxes and then tossing them aside. Hark, Tei Leng, and the boy Ash remembered coming out of the saloon yesterday were in a far corner. Hark was watching the room, and the boy was brandishing a knife at the dust magnate.

                            It was a lot to take in all at once, which is why the first hint Ash had of another Lost Soul was when she heard the click of a hammer being cocked. She spun and pointed her firewand at a woman largely tied up in bandages, except for her left arm holding a flamepiece. Ash reckoned it could be Lerdch, but it wasn't easy to say with all the bruises and swelling on her face.

                            Lerdch seemed surprised at her speed, but before anyone could start a blastout, Hark's voice echoed over the room. "Now, now, let's keep this party polite," he half-shouted, not sounding at all polite. He sneered at them all. "You are... Swifthand Ash, I remember you. And with the Ranger's cohort. I do not know how you got in, but we have room for more guests. All of you, drop your weapons and get over there with the others." A torchpipe appeared in his hand and he waved it towards the huddled crowd. "And do not attempt any heroics. If you think you can defeat us... you may be right. But I very much doubt you will do it before we kill everyone else here. So how swift are you really, 'Swifthand'?"
                            • Ash ignored Hark's warning completely. Her first shot knocked Lerdch right over, and then all hell broke loose.
                            • Ash grimaced, dropped her firewand, and joined the other hostages. Her posse reluctantly followed suit.
                            • Ash didn't move, but she spoke. "What do you want here? Did you just blow up a refinery so you could loot old Dynast leavings?" She was stalling, and she knew it. But she couldn't help but hope an opportunity might present itself.
                            • Something else?
                            Last edited by semicasual; 05-04-2017, 12:02 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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                            • Ash didn't move, but she spoke.


                              I write things.

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                              • Stall, stall,stall. Something will present itself as an option.

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