Announcement

Collapse
No announcement yet.

Back Alive or Maybe Dead [Quest]

Collapse
X
  • Filter
  • Time
  • Show
Clear All
new posts

  • 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. "Look up, Seres! It's the stuff of legends!" she managed to say.

    Seres, wild-eyed and breathing fast, looked up. "Gods above, what is that!?" she yelled to the sky.

    "Hell if I know!" Ash yelled back, then laughed again.

    There was a loud whistle, and then a louder booming noise below them - explosive, with lingering sounds of crackling flame. The tree jerked and halted its upward movement. Ash looked down to see a part of the trunk below them, smoldering and blackened. Then a bird made of fire launched itself from the church tower, still standing despite the abuse to the building. It made the same whistling noise as it soared through the air, winging its way directly at the tree. When it impacted, there was another boom and a bright, blazing burst of red-orange light. The tree shuddered again.

    Ash looked back towards tower. From this angle, she could plainly see Gaze-of-the-Sun was standing there, looking back. The mystic raised her staff - Ash couldn't tell if the gesture was an acknowledgment, a warning, or something else. Her giddiness began to subside, and she started working to free herself from the tree's grasp.

    "We've got to get down!" Ash yelled to Seres. "Can you climb?"

    Seres looked at the drop below them, and set her jaw. "I've got an idea! Come closer! To me!"

    Ash was still holding Seres' arm with one hand. In a few moments, they'd used that grip to come together. Seres braced herself against the tree, clinging as hard as she could with her legs and her other, still-embedded hand. "Alright!, now, climb on my back! Arms over my shoulders!"

    Ash thought she knew what was coming, but she did what Seres said without argument. Seres buckled a little as Ash pulled away from the tree and wrapped herself over the smaller girl.

    "You holding on tight?" asked Seres, without turning her head.

    "Yes!"

    "Alright! Don't let go!" said Seres, immediately before letting go of the tree herself.

    The two of them tilted over backwards and then began to fall, headfirst, to the town hall below. Seres exhaled abruptly, and the air around them picked up speed - not just vertically, but laterally. The two of them started to spin, faster and faster, turning over and around until Ash couldn't tell which way was up anymore.

    The fall was just long enough for Ash to really start to wonder when they'd hit bottom. She was vaguely aware that they'd fallen through the hole in the town hall roof. Then there was a loud "thump!" and Seres' shoulderblades slammed into her chest.

    After the long drop, Seres had landed on her feet. Then she let herself tumble forward to roll, but the unaccustomed weight on her back threw off her balance. She nearly flipped Ash over onto the floor, but Ash wouldn't loosen her grip. Instead, what happened was that Seres straightened her back at the last second to stop herself from hitting the floor face-first. She threw out her hands and caught the boards below her in time to slow her fall, only to came to a hard stop when she belly-flopped against the wood. Ash was still on top of her.

    "Owww..." Seres groaned.

    Ash groaned too. Her arms were pinned beneath Seres' body.

    "Seres! Ash! Are you alright?" called Lans. The old hand had rushed to their side as soon as they'd landed.

    "Come on, get up!" barked Serge, following close behind. "Fight, or run, but you can't lie there!"

    With a little help, Ash and Seres got off the floor and disentangled from each other. Seres was sporting some nasty bruises, and Ash felt like her arms were numbed. While they both took a second to breathe, Serge looked over the tree.

    "What're we going to do about this?" he asked of no one in particular.

    With appropriately dramatic timing, a flock of black birds flew in through the hole in the roof. They glided in an increasingly dense pattern down to Ash's side, until they finally merged and became Gaze. "[The bridge cannot be finished!]" she rasped at Ash. "[It must not reach the other side.]"

    "[Can we chop it down?]" Ash asked, without hesitating.

    "[First we must stop it growing. Cut and burn the flesh, and it will slow. I see the winds that carry seeds between this side and the one beyond - I can quell them, but you must give me time.]"

    "What's she saying?" demanded Seres, rubbing her shoulders.

    Ash answered with a command. "Attack the trunk! Blades! Fire! Whatever you can find!"

    Then, an idea struck her. She ran around the base of the tree to the back of the hall, swiftly scanning the scattered boxes and debris. "Where are they..." she said quietly to herself. "Where are they?"

    "Ash!" called a voice from behind her. She turned and saw Serge, holding a polished wooden carrying case in one hand and a pair of metal claws in the other. "Here! Take them!" He held out the case to her. Ash nodded, took the case in both hands, dropped to one knee, and set the case on the floor to open it. She unlatched the latches and threw the lid wide.

    Judgement, and Absolution.
    • Ash picked them up one at a time, admiring the workmanship. They felt oddly heavy. She thought she felt a tingle when she touched them, but the feeling soon passed.
    • Ash swiftly seized them both and weighed them in her hands. She squeezed their grips, relaxed, then twirled them around her fingers. They felt right in a way that no weapon had before.
    • Ash scooped them up, unceremoniously shoved Judgment through her belt, and started fiddling with the cylinder. It occurred to Ash then that she only had a vague idea of how to even load these.
    • Ash stood up and stamped on the edge of the case. The two flamepieces popped free and up into Ash's waiting hands. She didn't waste a single second before wheeling around, pointing both barrels at the tree, and pulling the triggers.
    • Something else?
    OOC commentary:
    I meant to attach some music to the last post. Whoops!

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Liiln-Dd7Dw

    And, just for kicks, here's a proposed Dragonblooded Athletics charm.

    Leaf on the Wind Imitation
    Cost: Special; Mins: Athletics 3, Essence 1 Type: Supplemental Keywords: Reflexive Duration: Instant Prerequisite Charms: None


    By harnessing the power of their breath and their essence, the Chosen of Air manipulates the air around herself to control and slow her fall. This charm allows the Dragonblooded to make an Athletics check to negate the effects of falling damage. Every success on the check negates one level and two dice of falling damage. In addition, the Dragonblooded may choose to move laterally one range-band in any direction from where her landing point would have been, and will not land prone.


    The cost of the charm is equal one mote per range band fallen; 2m for Short Range, 3m for Medium range, 4m for Long range, and 5m for Extreme range.
    Last edited by semicasual; 06-13-2017, 01:39 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 swiftly seized them both and weighed them in her hands. She squeezed their grips, relaxed, then twirled them around her fingers. They felt right in a way that no weapon had before.



      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


      • Ash stood up and stamped on the edge of the case. The two flamepieces popped free and up into Ash's waiting hands. She didn't waste a single second before wheeling around, pointing both barrels at the tree, and pulling the triggers.

        Comment


          • Ash stood up and stamped on the edge of the case. The two flamepieces popped free and up into Ash's waiting hands. She didn't waste a single second before wheeling around, pointing both barrels at the tree, and pulling the triggers.
          Leaf on the Wind Imitation
          Cost: Special; Mins: Athletics 3, Essence 1 Type: Supplemental Keywords: Reflexive Duration: Instant Prerequisite Charms: None
          Still too soon for that one.

          Comment


            • Ash stood up and stamped on the edge of the case. The two flamepieces popped free and up into Ash's waiting hands. She didn't waste a single second before wheeling around, pointing both barrels at the tree, and pulling the triggers.

            Comment


            • I think the combination of gun-twirling and case-stomping makes for a pretty badass introduction to these new guns. Why not both?

              Comment


              • I like the "seized them both" option. These guns were destined to be ours.


                I write things.

                Comment


                • Ash stood up and stamped on the edge of the case. The two flamepieces popped free and up into Ash's waiting hands. She squeezed their grips, relaxed, then twirled them around her fingers. They felt right in a way that no weapon had before. Ash turned, thumbed the hammers, pointed both barrels at the tree, and pulled the triggers.

                  Two waves of fire - one gold, and one cobalt - washed over the tree. At once began to smolder, but it did not quite catch alight. The tree shook. A confusing smell that mixed cooking meat with burning paper filled air. Ash found herself distracted by the sight and sound of the flamepieces' chambers turning over. Click, click.

                  "Hold up!" barked Serge, now hustling passed her. He rushed at the smoking trunk and thrust into it with his newfound claws. Then he forcefully jerked them free, tearing loose a bunch of bloodied paper in the process. He raised his other arm for another strike, but then paused. "Hey, there's-"

                  Whatever he was about to say was interrupted by a fresh limb bursting out of the trunk, pushing through the burnt exterior. The limb swung and smacked Serge in the side, sending him stumbling away. Ash took aim with Judgement and sent another wave of golden flame towards the tree. The new limb was completely engulfed - it caught fire, and started to thrash wildly.

                  "HAH!"

                  A bolt of lightning lanced over their Ash's head. She instinctively blinked against what could otherwise have been a blinding flash. Thunder echoed through the room. When Ash opened her eyes, she saw the limb lying on the floor, limp, bleeding, and burning. She turned to glance behind her and saw Seres fiddling with a blue bangle on her wrist. The girl didn't say anything, seeming too focused on her hand.

                  "[Do not stop!] " shouted Gaze from the other side of the room. Ash turned back and tilted her head to look around the tree. Gaze was sitting cross-legged on the floor in the middle of a circle drawn in chalk. She was clutching her staff upright in both hands. Her eyes were closed, her brows furrowed, and her body otherwise motionless.

                  "We'll keep at it!" answered Lans as he jogged around the trunk. "Ash! Keep burning it! Serge, with me! Seres, watch for roots!"

                  As if to accentuate their commands, the tree was healing itself even as Ash watched. The burned 'bark' flaked away, replaced by fresh paper. The torn parts of its body filled in. The limb on the floor was the only sign of lasting damage. Ash grimaced, raised Absolution, and fired another shot.

                  For a few tense minutes, they took it in turns to attack the trunk. Ash scorched it. Lans and Serge cut away the burned tree-pulp. Every so often Seres would yell out a warning and throw another bolt. Sometimes Ash would catch a glimpse of something in the core of the tree - something red, wet, and pulsing. Whatever it was would be covered over almost instantly when the trunk regenerated. The tree shook more and more violently with each passing moment, even as it healed the hurt they were giving it. The town-hall itself began to rattle.

                  Then Gaze lifted her staff and struck it against the floor. Abruptly, the shaking stopped. "[It is done! Now, attack the heart!]"

                  Serge had torn another hunk of flesh out of the trunk a moment before those words hit Ash's ears. And as she heard them, she finally recognized what she was seeing inside the tree - hearts. Real, beating human hearts - more than one. After Lans chopped another chunk of the tree free, she thought there might be about a dozen of them all lumped together in one mass.

                  Time seemed to slow. Ash's vision narrowed, and she envisioned a series of rings in hanging in the air between her and the heart. - a series of glowing concentric circles, narrowing down to the point of the perfect shot. She closed one eye, lined up Absolution with the furthest ring, and fired.

                  An uncharacteristically narrow stream of dust shot out of the barrel. A blue burning jet of fire passed cleanly through every ring until it struck the lump of hearts. The whole mass quickly became blackened and shriveled.

                  The tree sagged, then started to tilt towards Ash. And with progressively louder sounds of creaking and sloshing, the tree began to fall. The posse scattered as the trunk smashed through more of the roof above them and then through the back wall. Wood and paper debris fell all around them.

                  When the destruction stopped, Ash and company were left standing in what was barely one-half of a town hall. The tree, now lying on its side, had torn down the rest and partially flattened a building at the edge of the town square. Some people were milling around the wreckage, or coming out of hiding to look. When Ash glanced up, she could no longer see the mirror in the sky. The clouds were blowing away, uncovering the burning sun.

                  "We've won?" asked Seres, seeming surprised. "What did we-"

                  "Hold that thought," Ash interjected. "We can talk it over later, but right now..."
                  • "We should go find the sheriff. The Lost Souls are still loose, and we've got to get the word out."
                  • "We should make ourselves scarce. Heroes or not, we're carrying a few thousand dinars of stolen goods on us, if I'm appraising right."
                  • "We're not done. We're not leaving until this whole tree is ash."
                  • Something else?
                  OOC Commentary
                  Why are Judgement and Absolution left loaded in their case in blatant violation of firearm safety principles? Don't ask me - you voted for this!
                  ‚Äč
                  The obvious advantage of "revolver"-type flamepieces is that you can fire them multiple times before you need to reload. Clockwork revolver technology is available to the more advanced societies in Creation in the Age of Sorrows, but it hasn't been widely adopted because firedust isn't used the same way as powder and shot. Besides being both propellant and projectile, firedust has a lower kindling point than gunpowder and burns much hotter when it ignites. And with a higher rate of fire, you need to be more mindful of overheating.

                  The inside of a firewand's barrel right after it has been fired once will not be hot enough to immediately ignite more firedust. But if you fire several shots in under a minute? Especially in hot, dry environments? The dust can cook off as you are pouring it down the barrel. Or the components may expand because of the heat and cause the firewand to malfunction. The firewand can even catch fire, although this is not easy to achieve even on purpose.

                  Modern firearms in the real world use cased ammunition partly for this reason - metal cartridges act as a heat sink that helps prevent the propellant from going off prematurely. But Creation is largely pre-industrial, which means that mass-producing throwaway metal cartridges is a logistical impossibility. Even if the metal was available, Creation has no equivalent to the percussion cap that makes cased ammunition usable.

                  Firewands made of unconventional materials - like Red Jade - may disperse heat more efficiently, partially mitigating the problem. But to date, no one has discovered a way to produce weapons like the ancient Plasma Tongue Repeaters without the use of magic. Some very clever wandsmiths have produced firewands with multiple rotating barrels, each of which can be lit with a match, but these pepperbox-type firewands are even rarer today than artifact Repeaters.

                  Judgement and Absolution are made of unconventional materials, and they run partially on magic. They are made to resist changes in temperature, stay clean and clear of obstructions, and produce sparks within the barrel whenever the hammer strikes - despite the absence of flint. They have more power in the hands of someone who has mastered Righteous Devil style, but that will come in time.

                  Oh, and one more thing - Judgement shoots gold, Absolution shoots blue. Ash's own anima-fire is usually red. I don't know if that will ever be important, but there it is.
                  Last edited by semicasual; 06-19-2017, 01:19 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


                  • "We should make ourselves scarce. Heroes or not, we're carrying a few thousand dinars of stolen goods on us, if I'm appraising right."


                    Share your wonders in The Artifact and Evocation Workshop

                    Comment


                    • We are not done. Not until this whole tree is Ash.

                      By fire be purged! Let's put truth to our name.


                      I write things.

                      Comment


                      • "We should go find the sheriff. The Lost Souls are still loose, and we've got to get the word out."

                        Comment


                        • (Three votes, each for a differnt option. Go team? )


                          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


                          • It's because all 3 options are important. Decisions are hard. I'd say Burn the tree and then, if possible, try to get out of town discretely. We can always send a note/message about the Lost Souls.


                            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


                            • "We're not done. We're not leaving until this whole tree is ash"

                              Hey, it'd be a calling card! Ash? Ash! Get it?

                              (Also, sorry I'm so behind on art! Got more cards in the pipeline)


                              The artist behind the quests From Out of a Dream (complete) and Back Alive, or Maybe Dead (running!). Go give a read and make your choice!

                              Comment


                              • "We're not done. We're not leavin' until this whole tree is ash." She fiddled with the revolving cylinder on Judgement. It took a second, but she figured out how to pop open the catch and see the chambers inside. There were five; one had still had some dust in it, and the rest were empty. She flicked her wrist to snap the cylinder back into place, then checked the Absolution. Same story - one shot left. Ash tried to reckon how much dust she had on her and how much would load into each chamber.

                                "How are we going to do that?" asked Serge, interrupting her thoughts. Ash looked up to see Serge facing away from her, looking at the fallen tree. Specifically, he seemed to be looking at the part of the trunk they'd all been attacking a moment before. It was oozing blood onto the broken floor.

                                "We've got some dust, and a lot of scrap wood." Ash answered, nonchalantly. She flipped Absolution's cylinder shut and pointed it towards the smoldering wreckage in the half of the hall that had not collapsed. "Look, some of it's even lit already."
                                "This isn't like wood, Ash. It's full of.... wet... flesh?" Serge crinkled his nose. "Even if we've got the fuel, the tree is all wet. It won't burn."

                                "Hey, Gaze-of-the-Sun," Ash called to the mystic. "[Is there an Art that can dry the corpse of the demon-tree?]"

                                Gaze nodded. "[There is. The sun scorches the water from all living things, whatever they are made from.]"

                                "[Then let the tree be scorched. We shall burn it to nothing.]"

                                Gaze did not answer. Instead, she stared intently at the fallen, bleeding trunk. Then she thrust out her staff towards it with one hand, raising the other to the sky like she meant to grab hold of the sun. She closed her eyes and began to shake and shudder.

                                "Wait, why are we burnin' the tree?" Seres injected. "It's dead! We killed it! Ain't we got better things to do?"

                                "I ain't takin' the chance of any part of it growin' back," said Ash, turning to face Seres. "You can help by runnin' back to Hole in the Wall and gettin' my bags. There's more dust in there."

                                "I'll go along," added Lans, stepping closer to them both. "I'll see if I can't wrangle our steeds here, while we're at it."

                                Seres looked unsatisfied, but she went off with Lans anyway.

                                Ash hopped up onto the trunk. Almost immediately, she felt a rise in temperature - whatever Gaze was doing, it made standing on the tree feel like putting her feet near a fire. But she ignored the heat and walked out further into the town square, shouting and waving her hat to get the townsfolk's attention. She told them all who she was - a fair number were survivors of the melee in the hall, so she needed little introduction. And they didn't take much convincing that the tree had to be destroyed, one way or another.

                                Soon enough, a volunteer work crew was put together. Some ran off to the lumber yards for tools, others go right to work hauling fuel to the body of the tree. Serge took it upon himself to keep everyone away from the fitfully seizing Gaze, while Ash supervised and sprinkled dust strategically over the top of the tree.

                                By the time Lans and Seres had returned, things were coming together nicely. More people had come to help as the work went along. Some builders with large saws had cut through the tree where it had fallen on the house at the edge of the square. Now they were slowly pulling it away. Gaze had finished her enchanting and gone to rest in the shade of a nearby veranda. The tree had shrunk slightly - it was no longer oozing blood, and the paper of the trunk had more of a wrinkled, cracked appearance. Most of the trunk's length was lined with wood, cloth, charcoal, or whatever else the crew had managed to rustle up.

                                Ash figured they would start the burn soon, but now she went to greet her returning posse-members. She was a little surprised to see that Lans had somehow managed to get King to follow him, along with all their other mounts. And she was even more surprised to find that they had brought along Bo and Jehn, all bandaged. Bo was leading her mule while Jehn rode, seeming to put more effort into sitting upright.

                                "Howdy, folks. Welcome back," said Ash, once they were within casual speaking range.

                                "Hi, Ash," said Jehn, not too loud. She winced, but tried to cover it with a smile. "Heard you got into some trouble at the auction."

                                Ash looked back at the destroyed town hall and the busy people bustling around the fallen tree. "I reckon so."
                                "Any good hats left?"

                                Ash returned her face to Jehn and raised an eyebrow. Then she chuckled. "Perhaps? You might have to go diggin' a little. How are you feelin'?"

                                "I ain't dead, that's a start," answered Jehn.

                                "She will heal if she rests," said Bo. "She should not lift any heavy thing, or fight, or sleep on her stomach. And she must watch what she eats - I think her liver is bruised." Jehn sighed and nodded.

                                Seres hopped off her pony and thrust a satchel at Ash. "Here. We got your stuff."

                                "Well, thank you kindly," said Ash with a smile. "We're nearly done here. Just need to finish setting down fuel, and we can let 'er go."

                                Seres grimaced, then looked at Ash. "Shouldn't you be done already? If you just used your-"

                                "We're goin' as fast as we can," Ash interrupted. She gave Jehn a meaningful look and shook her head. "Kids these days. They want everything on the double."

                                Ash left them to wait or find things to do around the tree, while she went through her pack and dug out all the little pouches of firedust she had. She walked down the length of the tree, scattering grains of dust along the line of fuel. When all was ready, she hollered for everyone to stand back. Somewhere along the way, she'd found her matchlock, still loaded and ready, lying about. And she used this to dramatically get the fire started, beginning at the far end of the town square.

                                A wave of sparks set off a greater wave of leaping flame racing down the trunk. Within a few moments, a crackling wall of fire separated one side of the square from the other. Ash stood quietly and watched it burn.

                                Just when the sight had really started to sink in, Ash heard approaching hoofbeats. She turned to look and saw eight men in matching dusters horseback. They all trotted towards the fire, scattering townspeople as they came. They slowed as they approached and began peering over the crowd. Ash sucked on her teeth, then started walking towards them.

                                One of them saw her and pointed. The crowd made space in both directions for Ash and the horsemen to pass.

                                "Are you the ringleader here?" said the man in front. It didn't sound like a question. He was a bulky, swarthy man with a thick beard, a broad hat, and a medal with the emblem of Tylos-Yvana pinned to his chest.

                                Ash stepped forward and set the butt of her matchlock on the ground. "My name's Swifthand Ash. I ain't so much a leader as I am an organizer."

                                The swarthy man was not amused. "I'm Sheriff Tawney. Swifthand Ash, you've got one minute to explain why the town hall's in pieces and the square is on fire."

                                Just at that moment, there was a mighty groaning noise from the remainder of the hall. The sound signaled a slight tilt and then a sudden collapse of what was left of the town hall's roof. Beams and tiles crashed to the ground, throwing dust and wooden debris over the fire and the assembled crowd. A great commotion started from the people gathered in that part of the square, and Ash automatically turned towards them.

                                "Nope, nope, nope!" came a call over her shoulder. Ash turned back and saw the sheriff pointing a firewand at her. "Explanations, miss. No running away."
                                • Ash smiled in the face of danger. "Nothin' to be up in arms about, sheriff. While you were busy at the refinery, there was another fracas here. But that's all settled, now."
                                • Ash put on her poker face. "There was a hostage situation, a free for all, and a magical accident. My friends and I handled it as best we could."
                                • Ash's manner grew cold. "You've got some nerve, comin' back here to wave a piece around after everythin's over and and done with."
                                • Something else?
                                OOC commentary
                                I realize that I always meant for Judgement and Absolution to be revolvers, but I never actually described them as such anywhere before. Some text has been added to previous posts fix that.
                                "... Inside, lodged firmly in a shaped cushion, were the two most beautiful flamepieces Ash had ever seen. Each was a work of art. The barrels and grips were made of polished metal and crystal. Where the flintlock mechanism would be, there was instead a bronze cylinder with a hammer positioned above it. Ash had heard of firewands with rotating chambers before, but had never seen one in person. She felt an itch in her trigger finger. "
                                "... Ash found herself distracted by the sight and sound of the flamepieces' chambers turning over. Click, click."






                                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

                                Working...
                                X