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Back Alive or Maybe Dead [Quest]

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  • Let's be calm and gracious.

    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."

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    • 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."

      -The show must go on!


      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!

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      • I really want to do the Cold response, but I think keeping in character goes with the majority here. Smile in the face of danger.


        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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        • (OK, fixed that image issue. That took more effort than it should have. Anyway, have another!)


          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 say calmly and graciously explain the situation. The one that ends with... but its all done now

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            • 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."

              As if to highlight the point, part of the north wall of the town hall fell inwards. The sound of collapsing woodwork resonated through the square. Tawney's eye flicked to the in the direction of the town hall, then back. His flamepiece did not waver. "You've got a mite generous definition of 'settled.' Time's still counting down, miss."

              Ash spread her hands, letting the matchlock rest against her body. "The infamous Lost Souls gang attacked the town hall, tried to take everyone hostage. But my friends and I were armed - we fought back. They ran off, but not before they did something with magic book from the auction. It turned into a demon-tree, started eatin' folks. So we cut it down. Now we're just cleanin' up."

              The sheriff glared down at Ash throughout her explanation. When she was finished, he pulled his arm back and pointed his flamepiece at the sky. "Sounds like a tall tale,'Swifthand'", he growled.

              Ash did not let her smile slip. "It's the truth. Ask anyone here."


              And the sheriff did ask. He and a few of his men grabbed Ash, along with a few folks from the crowd, and took them aside for further questioning. The rest stood around at the edges of the town square, watching crowd and the burning tree.

              Over the course of a few hours, certain details came to light. The sheriff had rounded up some of the hostages who escaped mostly intact, and their stories matched in a few important respects. One was that the Lost Souls had somehow come into the town hall without using the doors. Ash and her posse had come in after. They'd fought, although there was disagreement about who shot first. There had been fire, and something terrifying and hard to describe in the middle of the hall. And a swordsman with unnatural powers had cleared a way out.

              Once that last bit of the story became known, it was inevitable that Damon Lans would get pulled in. The former marshal was a household name, and once he'd proven his identity, the sheriff couldn't justify locking Ash up. Ash promised to be gone the same day, which helped speed things along.

              Tawney released Ash in the early evening. By then the demon tree was mostly ash and dust. During and after questioning, the posse finished their business in Santa Mela - restocking supplies, paying bills, attending to injuries. To avoid aggravating the sheriff, they left while the sun was still up, but not before taking a little time for themselves.

              Ash gave Jehn a hand repairing her coach, and they talked over the events of the last night and day. Jehn described being ambushed by the Lost Souls the night before, unaware that she was giving a blow-by-blow account to someone who'd dealt half the blows. Ash traded her a sanitized account of how a simple auction had nearly become a massacre. They both agreed that the whole affair was a wash, but Jehn was taking her losses in stride - being narrowly rescued from death had made her unusually tranquil. They parted ways amicably.

              Lans went to the town cemetery to pay his respects to the late great Marshal Silikes Dolh. There, among dozens of unremarkable stone and wood slabs, was a single large monument carved into the shape of Silikes' mon. Lans poured out a bottle of corn whiskey around the monument, and spent some time meditating on the past.

              Seres took to wandering, until she found another young girl who was also wandering. The other girl's name was Isha, and she was looking for her brother, Iosef. Out of concern and for lack of anything better to do, Seres helped her look for an hour or two. But they found nothing, and Isha went home discouraged. It wouldn't be until later that Seres would realize Isha's brother was the farmboy who she had seen with the Lost Souls earlier that day.

              Serge and Bo left during the burning. They shared a quiet midafternoon meal, then parted ways as Bo went back to tend to the injured and Serge went off with some celebratory townsfolk. He turned up later drunk, disheveled, and delirious, carrying a bag of fried caterpillars that he ate from continuously. To his credit, he did offer to share, particularly with Bo. Bo did not try to hide her disgust.

              Gaze, once she had rested, transformed and resumed surveying the land from above. She was aware of what all of the others were doing, but paid them little mind. She was watching the way the sun played over the earth, how its energy flowed in waves over rocks, trees, and hills. She was looking for unfamiliar patterns, things unknown to her. There would be signs, she hoped, of the touch of unearthly power in places where it was strong. But she found nothing unusual today, even where the tree had grown.


              By dusk, they were all riding together, clear of Santa Mela. Even Gaze was riding along with them, perching sidesaddle on King behind Ash.
              "I'd say that was a success," Ash declared. "Got what we needed, despite some setbacks."

              Serge was riding on Ash's right, swaying a little in his saddle. He chuckled. "Came, saw, conquered! And looted. Can't ask for more."

              A conspicuous silence followed. Lans was riding on Ash's left, and Seres was riding on Lans' left. The girl was watching the ground go by. The old man was looking up, frowning.

              Lans grunted. "I used to think any fight you could walk away from was a good fight. But my standards have changed in my old age." He looked at Ash with disapproval in his face. "I believe we could have done better. And I believe you know why."

              "What are you implyin', Lans?" Ash asked, carefully controlling her tone and expression.

              "We got engaged in two battles, Ash. You started both of them, without warning us. That we're all still standing is more luck than skill."

              Ash winced, but said nothing.

              Lans went on. "Furthermore, our engagement in the town hall leaves me with questions. I'd seen you fight twice before, Ash, and normally you're... faster. More skilled. But you seemed to be holding back then, and at a time when speed and skill mattered."

              "I don't wanna talk about this," Seres snapped. She glared at Lans briefly, then grimaced and went back to looking at the ground.

              Lans looked towards at Seres while she was looking away. He continued speaking, but more softly. "And you, Seres... you don't need to be ashamed. Sometimes battles can be overwhelming. You still-"

              "I said, I don't wanna talk about it!" Seres repeated, without looking up. She raised a hand and wiped at her eyes.

              There was another conspicuous silence. Finally, Ash sighed and said...
              • "I'll own, we weren't workin' as a team. That'll take time. But for now, be happy that we made it, Lans. Don't sour a win by throwin' blame around."
              • "I've... never had to work around other people quite like this. We're gonna have to work out a way to give me space to cut loose."
              • "Lans, I didn't choose our battles. They were forced on me, on us. Things like coordinatin' are hard to improvise."
              • 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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              • (One last card for you all - Damon Lans, ex-marshal. And with that, the posse's hand is complete!)

                Last edited by semicasual; 06-30-2017, 09:11 AM.


                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


                • "I've... never had to work around other people quite like this. We're gonna have to work out a way to give me space to cut loose."

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                    • "I'll own, we weren't workin' as a team. That'll take time. But for now, be happy that we made it, Lans. Don't sour a win by throwin' blame around."

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                    • "I'll own, we weren't workin' as a team. That'll take time. But for now, be happy that we made it, Lans. Don't sour a win by throwin' blame around."

                      Lans tugged on his reigns, steering himself closer to Ash and King. "Ash, teams aren't built on lone champions. We've got to be responsible to and for each other." His voice was quiet, but stern. "We made it this time, but it was close, and there was too much collateral damage. How many people died in that hall, Ash?"

                      Ash's expression darkened. "Can't say I had the time to count bodies, before the demon tree snapped 'em up."

                      "I saw at least ten. Maybe more. Starting a firefight with bystanders around was reckless."

                      "What would you have done? Let them herd us into a corner, then shoot us?" Ash snapped.

                      "No. I'm not saying you made the wrong choice, Ash. When there's danger, you don't hesitate - you throw yourself into the fight every time, and that takes courage. But we all could have done more to prevent losses if we had done even a little planning or coordination."

                      Ash started to answer, paused, then took a deep breath to steady herself. "...then maybe we could stand to practice some maneuvers as a group."

                      "That's a fine idea," replied Lans. "But there's more. I didn't think of it at the time, but now I wonder why your anima didn't ignite. And I can only think you were holding back, Ash. Either you weren't evoking your qi, or you were suppressing it. I have to know - why?"

                      Ash turned her head as much as she could to look at Gaze from the corner of her eye. The old woman sat impassively, not responding to the conversation.

                      "I... couldn't." Ash said. And then, because she knew Lans would never be satisfied with that, she told a half-truth. "I don't know what you mean by 'qi', but I was trained not to show my power and my face at the same time. I can manage the odd quick-draw, but the flames... I have to be masked for that."

                      She expected Lans to be incredulous - "You're telling me you held back because you weren't in costume?!" - but instead the old hand nodded, like he'd been expecting that answer. So, Ash went on. "I've... never had to work around other people quite like this. We're gonna have to work out a way to give me space to cut loose."

                      "I agree," Lans answered immediately. Then, a little louder, he asked a question for the whole group. "So now we've got the arms we need - where are we headed?"

                      Ash looked down the road. They were approaching a crossroads.
                      • "We've got to find out what the Lost Souls are plannin'," she said. "I don't know why Hark and Bone were looking for Marshal Dolh's letters, but if it's important to Stitch-Eyes, maybe we can use it to bait him."
                      • "We've got weapons, but now we need dust," she said. "I reckon a large firebomb will make a fine equalizer, once we come face-to-face with Stitch-Eyes."
                      • 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


                      • We need more time to plan and prep and train. So I say now we need dust.


                        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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                        • We need Dust and to know why Stich-Eyes wants those letters. Any chance Marshal Dolh has an old friend who lives near a dust refinery? Can't be too many people who get mail on the regular out here.
                          Last edited by FallenEco; 07-08-2017, 01:11 AM.


                          Thoughts ripple out, birthing others

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                          • Originally posted by FallenEco View Post
                            We need Dust and to know why Stich-Eyes wants those letters. Any chance Marshal Dolh has an old friend who lives near a dust refinery? Can't be too many people who get mail on the regular out here.
                            This sounds good. Agreed!

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                            • Originally posted by FallenEco View Post
                              We need Dust and to know why Stich-Eyes wants those letters. Any chance Marshal Dolh has an old friend who lives near a dust refinery? Can't be too many people who get mail on the regular out here.
                              Originally posted by KFinigan View Post
                              This sounds good. Agreed!
                              (Nice try, but we're just about to start a new chapter. The way I'd envisioned things, all the way back from the prologue, was that "finding the bait" and "getting the dust" would each be their own chapters. Getting enough dust for a real bomb will be a job and a half - you're not going to double that up with the quest to find what Stitch-Eyes badly wants.

                              Which is not to say that you can't gather information as you go, but right now I'm asking you to set a course for the next 15+ posts. Things will be easier if you narrow your priorities.

                              As for old friends of Dolh... Lans is right there.)


                              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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