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Back Alive or Maybe Dead [Quest]

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  • "Pull back!" and get the townsfolk to safety!


    I write things.

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    • (I'm bored, but I don't feel comfortable writing the next post with only two votes. Headcanon time!)
      In some ways, Creation could be said to be "polluted" by ancient magic. Relics from the First Age or even before are still kicking around. Ancient enchantments on lands or structures change the way the modern landscape is shaped. And that's before we get to the active influence of beings who really are older than the hills. Let's be clear - these are not "natural" forces (even with latitude given to what passes for "natural" in a setting where the gods literally control the weather). They are intrusions on the natural order, created by spirits or mortals with high ambitions and low foresight.

      Sometimes, when the effects are small, slow, or subtle, the world adapts. Enough time goes by that people get used to the Trihorned Moon cursing the chickens to only lay black eggs (the mayonnaise made of those eggs makes you hallucinate, but there's a market for that). The perpetual high winds on the Plain of Kites make it a challenge for anything to live there, but that just leads to a new ecosystem forming underground. A guild emerges decided to maintaining the Water-Clock Fountain of Tyrth, and they basically act like any other engineers or civil servants. Plants and wildlife find a way to adapt, and sentient creatures adjust their routines. Life goes on.

      But sometimes the effects are sudden, violent, and work on a large scale. More often than not, those ancient magics are terribly disruptive. The closest analogy in the real world would be WWII-era unexploded bombs that you still can find in places that were warzones several generations ago. Every so often, for reasons that would seem more like random change to someone without omniscient eyes, some old relic will be triggered, or a domain will awaken, or a beast locked beneath the earth for 10000 years will be accidentally freed. And then the kind of crazy chaos that breeds heroes and probably kills an indefinite number of other people will ensue.

      You might think that Creation's people, being self-aware of their existence in a magical setting, would have some idea of how to handle these things. If so, you would be wrong. Most people either know nothing of magic or only understand local, familiar magic. Accidentally spilling blood on the sacred stones and causing all the dead to rise is definitely an outside context problem for the majority of Creation's population. And they react in much the same way Earth-people would: with fear, confusion, and self-destructive desperation.

      This is one of the things that makes Anathema so feared. They are poorly understood, even by experts, and some have the ability to be destructive on a scale that makes the Lost Souls' current "mess up Santa Mela as much as possible while commiting theft" operation look trivial.

      What I'm saying is, weird things are happening now - weird even by the standards of Creation - and you can expect worse later on.


      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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      • Pull back!


        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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        • Pull back. Get the innocents clear before regrouping to tackle the necro-paper-beast.

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          • "Pull back! Lans, widen our exit! Serge, follow me!" Ash barked. She started pushing back towards the front, towards the fire, now figuring that getting the townsfolk out was most important.

            That wasn't going to to be easy. The fleeing rabble mostly had crushed themselves - and I do mean "crushed" - into the corner beside the hole Lans had cut in the door earlier. They were squeezing out through that hole in ones and twos, and not making progress nearly as fast as you might think because they were also pulling and shoving each other out of the way in their efforts to escape. The spreading fire on the opposite side of the hall was making them antsy.

            "GET OUT OF THE WAY!" Ash hollered. And, despite everything, people listened. At least, getting back to the front of the hall was a lot easier than the way forward had been.

            From the scattered wreckage on the floor, Ash started grabbing blankets, dresses, anything that could be thrown on top of a fire to smother it. Serge followed suit. While those two did what they could to keep the fires growing out of control, Lans made for the door. The mob made way for him, moved to let him pass by the force of Ash's word, or Lans' own stoic presence, or maybe just fear of his sword.

            With barely enough room to move, Lans sliced at the door again. This time, the effects were much more dramatic. Two wide cuts that sprayed mist all around him split the door into four pieces. The crowded roared and charged out, bursting through the door like water through a dam. Lans was left behind, kneeling on the floor, holding himself up on his saber, panting.

            "Oh..." he groaned. "I haven't done that in years."

            Throughout all of that, the thing that had been a book grew, and grew. Tei Leng's body was shredded as more paper tendrils erupted from it. These tendrils stretched out to find other bodies scattered around the hall, pulled them close. They were drawn in and swallowed into the core of the thing, sinking into the oozing paper. Every corpse it ate caused it to swell up briefly, and then abruptly shoot up another five feet. As it rose it grew thicker around the base and spouted yet more tendrils, until it looked like nothing so much as a nightmarish tree made of meat and vellum.

            The surviving Lost Souls made their exit, both literally and figuratively. Once the melted hole had grown large enough that even Bone could fit through, they all crawled out. Under different circumstances, this would have bothered Ash. But, by the time the last of the living townsfolk had gotten out and she had helped Lans to his feet, she had other problems.

            "SERES! GET DOWN FROM THERE!" Ash screamed to the rooftops at the girl who, despite everything, still hadn't moved. She was staring, seeming mesmerized, at the tree coming up from below.
            • Ash willed herself to be louder, more emphatic. "YOU'VE GOT TO JUMP!"
            • Ash swore and ran for the back of the hall. As she moved, she split her attention between the growing tree and the ground, trying to be simultaneously alert for attacks and anything she could use to attack the trunk - hopefully an axe.
            • Throwing caution to the wind, Ash sprinted to the tree trunk and jumped on, rising with it as it grew.
            • 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

            Comment


            • Caution is for the Ranger. Ash is a Throw-it-to-the-wind-er.


              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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              • Throw Caution to the wind but rather than ride the tree we run up that son of a bitch because Ash is an exalt is just cool enough to do so

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                • Originally posted by joshopotamus View Post
                  Throw Caution to the wind but rather than ride the tree we run up that son of a bitch because Ash is an exalt is just cool enough to do so
                  Seconded, though we should probably still yell at Seres to move. We ain't letting the kid die on our watch and the Chosen can save themselves more often than not.


                  Thoughts ripple out, birthing others

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                  • Originally posted by joshopotamus View Post
                    Throw Caution to the wind but rather than ride the tree we run up that son of a bitch because Ash is an exalt is just cool enough to do so
                    Yes, this. So much this.

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                    • Originally posted by joshopotamus View Post
                      Throw Caution to the wind but rather than ride the tree we run up that son of a bitch because Ash is an exalt is just cool enough to do so

                      Yes! All this!


                      I write things.

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                      • Throwing caution to the wind, Ash sprinted to the tree trunk and jumped on, rising with it as it grew.

                        Her arms sank into the papery exterior up to the elbow. It wasn't so much that the tree was pulling her in - it was more like it unfolded to let her through. Ash pulled back, fighting her own momentum. After a few seconds of intense struggle, she tore one arm free, covered in blood-ink. Then she plunged it back in, but only to her wrist. Quick experimentation taught her that she could climb up by leaning away from the tree, only touching it with her hands and feet. It was easy, once she got the hang of it. She scaled the tree fast, half-crawling, half-running.

                        All the while, the tree continued to grow. The top branches, twenty-something feet above ash, were pushing up against the roof. Seres' perch was about to be surrounded by grasping, flailing limbs.

                        "SERES!" Ash yelled again. "YOU'VE GOT TO JUMP!"

                        An instant after the words left her mouth, one of the tree-limbs slammed into the underside of the beam Seres stood on. It creaked, then bent slightly, then snapped like a twig as the limb pushed on through. The beam, unable to support its own wait, sagged, then broke at the other end. And Ash could see Seres was about to fall.

                        "JUUUMP!"

                        And Seres did jump. She kicked off the broken beam as it started to plummet. She tumbled through the air sideways, arms and legs spinning around.

                        Ash did some quick mental math, then shoved her left knee and elbow into the tree. She cast the rest of her body out, hanging by two limbs, and just managed to grab Seres' forearm as she fell by. The girl's weight almost pulled Ash's shoulder out and tore her loose from the tree. But Ash held on and forced her self to twist around, turning some of Seres' downward momentum into a swing towards the tree. Seres roughly crashed belly-first into the trunk, sunk in to her shoulders, then stuck. Ash kept a tight grip on her arm. "Push out!" she called. "You've got to push out!"

                        And Seres did push out, though whether it was on Ash's orders or her own instincts I can't say. Her shoulders pulled free with a sucking, tearing noise and she gasped for air.

                        The tree's rise then came to a sudden stop, and it began to shake. Ash, still arm-deep in the think, felt like her limbs were being crushed. Then there was a loud series of crack from up above. Ash looked up to see daylight, and falling wooden debris - the tree had punched through the roof.

                        And it reached up, and up, and up. And as Ash rose out of the wreckage of the town hall she could see something above. The day had been cloudless that morning, but now a cloud-bank hung low over the town. It was oddly bright, almost reflective. The longer Ash looked at it, the more she became convinced it was reflective. She could almost see a mirror of the tree she was on through the cloud, another pale, growing thing stretching down from above.

                        Ash squinted and focused herself, and then her stomach dropped. It was no illusion - beyond the layer of clouds there really was another tree. It was not made of flesh and paper, but from some glossy, silvery substance that showed mirror-like even at this distance. It really was growing, growing down, to meet the other tree growing up. And there were things in that faraway tree - strange, horrible, misshapen creatures the likes of which Ash had never seen, who climbed and slithered and flew about the silvery branches. And some of these creatures were looking back, looking down at the world below them, with curiosity, wonder, or hunger.
                        • "We have to get down!" Ash called. "Seres! Are you with me?"
                        • Ash grimaced looked down at the town below. Her eyes scanned the streets for signs of the fleeing Lost Souls.
                        • Ash started to blink, then she laughed. Long, loud peals of hysterical hilarity were swept away on the wind as Ash was carried onwards and upwards.
                        • Something else?
                        OOC Commentary
                        What do you suppose would happen if somebody took a cutting of Tzoreny? This is my answer to that question.
                        Last edited by semicasual; 06-13-2017, 01:31 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


                        • Ash started to blink and then she laughed. "Oh, this will make a great story!"

                          Then she drew her flamepiece.


                          I write things.

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                          • Originally posted by wonderandawe View Post
                            Then she drew her flamepiece.
                            (Ol 'Smokey blew up back in chapter 1. And the cheap matchlock Ash bought to replace it was literally thrown away - it's still down in the town hall.)


                            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


                            • Originally posted by semicasual View Post
                              (Ol 'Smokey blew up back in chapter 1. And the cheap matchlock Ash bought to replace it was literally thrown away - it's still down in the town hall.)

                              Well... I guess she won't be drawing her flamepiece then.

                              Still laughing about the situation though. Cause it's either laugh or cry and there's no crying in the Wyld South.


                              I write things.

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                              • I guess there's only one thing to do.



                                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

                                Comment

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