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  • Originally posted by FallenEco View Post
    Before she could answer, Lans pushed in front of her. "Cerny!" he exclaimed. "What is the meaning of this!?"
    Id like some more info andit'd be nice to see another character take the spotlight for a bit.
    Barring that option, let's stomp out this cult.
    This here, agree.


    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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    • Before she could answer, Lans pushed in front of her. "Cerny!" he exclaimed. "What is the meaning of this!?"

      Comment


      • Before she could answer, Lans pushed in front of her. "Cerny!" he exclaimed. "What is the meaning of this!?"

        The fat man gave a start, then leaned forward slightly. He squinted at the old hand. "...Damon Lans?" he said, finally.

        Lans nodded. "Yes, Cerny. Now, please, tell me what this is."

        Cerny shook his head. "Now isn't a good time, Marshal. We're about to..." he trailed off when he saw Lans glowering at him. Then he started glowering back. "You've no call to meddle in my business, Lans. You're in my town, trespassing on our private ceremony."

        "And what ceremony is that?" asked Lans, eyeing the miners around him. They were starting to murmur, and Ash began to wonder what it would take to make them riot.

        "The Offering - the price of progress and prosperity in this desert."

        "An offering of what? To what? FOR what!?" Lans hand clenched around his saber.

        "Things that won't be missed, for things we need to grow, Marshal," the fat man snapped. "You remember what this town was like when we were small, struggling to deal with Dunefolk, scraping by on whatever we could scrape out of the earth. There was nothing here before we came. But with this, we've come away from those hard times. We're building a city in a place where no city could live. And I swear, nothing and no one will make me go back to how things were before."

        There were cheers and shouts of agreement from all around the room. Every member of the posse tensed up.

        Lans waited a moment for them to quiet before speaking again. "I did not come for on of your speeches, Cerny. I want to know - where are you getting the bodies from? And what do you do with the flesh, the skin, the bones, once you've given the hearts up?"

        The fat man shook his head, and when he next spoke it was as if he was explaining something obvious to a child. "We take them wherever we can find them, Marshal. We've got quotas to meet, after all. As for the leftovers, well... waste not, want not. But I've answered enough questions - I think you'll understand better if you see for yourself."

        Cerny reached into his jacket. Ash instinctively turned Judgment on him, but the object he pulled out was no weapon - it was a small, silver bell. He raised it above his head and rang it three times.

        Goose quickly shuffled forward, holding his bowl of hearts ahead of him. Cerny reached out and caught the blind man, then scooped the bowl from Goose's loose, shaking hands. As if he'd practiced the motion hundreds of times, Cerny effortlessly spun around and flung the hearts, bowl and all, into the crack.

        The droning suddenly became silent. Ash waited for a noise, any noise, to indicate that the offerings had hit against something. But it was dead quiet.

        Then there came a voice from beneath the ground. It did not come only from the crack, but seemed to resonate through the rock all around him. Ash felt as if there was a buzzing in her ears.

        The voice did not sound human, but it spoke in flametongue, and to Ash the words seemed very clear. It spoke of what had once been a lakebed, many eons ago, when the world was different and not fixed in place. There, beneath the wood of petrified trees, flowed veins of fire waiting to be tapped. And in a place where vultures circled over pillars of stone, there were silver and gems left behind by people long dead. And there was a desert of white sand, which had once been holy place, where the graves of ancient warriors were only now being exposed by the wind. And...

        "RINALDO! KEEP WRITING! AND SOMEONE SHUT HER UP!" roared Cerny, barely coming through over the voice in Ash's ears.

        She felt like she'd been dozing and just woke up. She blinked and looked around. The fat man was standing before the crack, looking down into it, pacing back and forth. The little clerk was now wearing a portable desk, consisting of a tray hanging from a harness around his neck and shoulders. He was frantically scribbling on a sheet of paper with a stick of charcoal. The miners were milling around with rapturous looks on their faces. Most seemed oblivious to Cerny's command, but a few were shaking themselves and looking in her direction.

        Ash realized she could hear screaming from Gaze, behind her. She was crying out as if in pain, something that Ash had never heard from her before, and clutching at her head. Lans and Seres both looked like Ash had felt a moment before - staring blanking into space, dazed.

        Some of the miners were closing in. Ash reckoned she didn't have much time to think.
        • She reached out and shook Lans and Seres in turn, trying to rouse them.
        • She turned Judgment on the nearest miner and pulled the trigger.
        • She grabbed Gaze and began pulling the old woman towards the exit.
        • 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.

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        • Time to rally the troops. Let's give Lans and Seres a nudge before setting that clerk on fire.

          If they want him to keep writing, we want him to stop.


          Thoughts ripple out, birthing others

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          • She reached out and shook Lans and Seres in turn, trying to rouse them.


            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 incinerate Rinaldo and whatever he's writing. I don't much like the idea of whatever that Voice is getting out there in written form.


              So I'm making God-Kicking Boot, an Exalted webcomic, now. Updates on Sundays. Full-color, mediocre but slowly improving art. It's a thing.

              The absence of a monument can, in its own way, be something of a monument also.
              -Roger Zelazny

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              • Ash decided it was time for drastic action.

                She raised Judgement, aimed and fired at Reinaldo and his desk looking to destroy the foul record being scribed.

                With Absolution she aimed at the space above the heads of Seres and Lans and fired a blast intended to rouse them from their reverie.

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                • "She reached out and shook Lans and Seres in turn, trying to rouse them."

                  RISE UP MY PALS WE HAVE A TRAIN TO CATCH XD


                  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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                  • She raised Judgement, aimed, and fired at Rinaldo, looking to destroy the foul record being scribed.

                    The unaware clerk took the full blast, instantly setting his hair, clothes, and desk-contraption alight. He screamed, flung the desk off his shoulders, and fell to the ground, desperately trying to snuff out the flames.

                    Ash barely paid attention after it became obvious that she'd aimed true. She was shaking Lans and Seres, shouting at them to come to their senses. Lans came to first, straightening himself up and looking around. Seres grabbed Ash's hand and made as if to punch her before the girl realized what she was doing.

                    The sound of the blast and the wash of flame had broken the spell for many of the miners. Some flinched and fell back. Others stared at Ash as if they had only just realized she was there. But then they regathered themselves, and attacked en masse.

                    Someone yelled, "Grab 'er 'afore she reloads!" but they were thinking of a different kind of flamepiece. Between Judgement and Absolution, Ash still had eleven more shots.

                    One instant, it seemed like the posse would be overwhelmed. But in the next, they showed just how one-sided this fight truly was. Ash burned, scattered and terrified the mob with one blast after another. And once they were broken, Lans and Seres took steaming steel and lightning fists in to mop them up.

                    In the melee, Seres found herself face to face with Goose. The blind man pulled a paring knife from his apron and slashed at her with surprising accuracy. But the youngblood was quicker. She ducked under his arm, then followed up with a roundhouse punch that sent him flying. He crashed down close to the lip of the abyss, rolled, and tumbled in with a wordless scream.

                    Fil Cerny tried to rush Ash after the first shot, but Lans was in his way. The old hand slashed at Cerny automatically, without thought. That instinctive cut opened up Cerny's neck and he dropped, futilely trying to stop the flow of blood coming out of him.

                    Moments later, the three of them stood alone in the cave, surrounded by the bodies of dead or wounded men. The voice they had all heard was silent.

                    Ash let out a breath she hadn't realized she was holding and looked to Gaze. The old woman lay on the floor, holding her staff to herself with a white-knuckled grip. In the confusion, Ash wasn't sure if she'd been knocked down or simply collapsed. At least she wasn't screaming any more.

                    "[Elder, can you stand?]" Ash asked. When Gaze didn't answer she reached down and tried to lift the old woman up. Gaze did not resist, and when she was on her feet she allowed Ash to pull her arm over one shoulder.

                    "We should go," said Lans, surveying the room. "I... don't believe there's anything more to be done here."

                    Seres nodded. Now that the adrenaline had worn off, she seemed shocked by her surroundings. She was starting to shake.

                    Ash looked at the both of them.
                    • "Yeah," she said. "We've got a train to catch."
                    • "There's one more thing," she said. "...I need to see what's down there." She jerked her head at the great hole before them.
                    • "Not quite," she replied. "We've got to make sure no one else can get in here. Not for a while, anyway."
                    • Something else?
                    Last edited by semicasual; 05-18-2018, 03:32 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


                    • "Not quite," she replied. "We've got to make sure no one else can get in here. Not for a while, anyway."


                      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


                      • Originally posted by The Unsung Hero View Post
                        "Not quite," she replied. "We've got to make sure no one else can get in here. Not for a while, anyway."
                        Yes, this.

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                        • Whatever's down there... I say we go down there and put it to rest. For good, this time.


                          So I'm making God-Kicking Boot, an Exalted webcomic, now. Updates on Sundays. Full-color, mediocre but slowly improving art. It's a thing.

                          The absence of a monument can, in its own way, be something of a monument also.
                          -Roger Zelazny

                          Comment


                          • Originally posted by Wise Old Guru View Post
                            Whatever's down there... I say we go down there and put it to rest. For good, this time.
                            Seconded. Block it off afterwards to be sure.


                            Thoughts ripple out, birthing others

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                            • "Not quite," she replied. "We've got to make sure no one else can get in here. Not for a while, anyway."

                              The train waits for no Supernatural claptrap! Let's blow this Popsicle stand and get the heck out of here! XD (also, I want Gaze away from here; staying here might not be healthy for her in the long run)


                              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


                              • "Not quite," she replied. "We've got to make sure no one else can get in here. Not for a while, anyway."

                                Ash looked back at the entrance to the cavern - crude, narrow, and round. "Seres, can you carry the old lady for a minute? I've got an idea."

                                The four of them walked back through the aperture they had come through. Ash had found a pickaxe that one of the fallen miners had thoughtfully brought along. She took this tool, and, reaching upward, carved out a tiny shelf in the stone ceiling just above where the tunnel met the cavern. Then she took her bag of firedust - all that she had left, at this point - and pushed it into the gap.

                                She walked back down the tunnel to where Lans and Seres were waiting. "Thank you kindly, Seres. I'll take her back now... And now, I need you to throw one of your lightning bolts right there."

                                The girl complied, and Ash shut her eyes against the impending flash.

                                There were two flashes - one blue-white, the other red. A sudden downpour of orange-glowing rocks fell from the ceiling, followed by a lot more heavy, gray stone. The tunnel rumbled as that part of the roof gave in, and every one in the posse started backing away.

                                When the shaking stopped, Ash relaxed. "Alright," she said. "Now we're done."



                                But they still weren't done, yet. They still had to walk back through the tunnels, relying on memory to guide them in Goose's absence.

                                "What we did... was it right?" asked Seres, at some point.

                                Ash looked back at her, wrapping her arms around herself in the dark. She was about to give an answer, but then Seres spoke again.

                                "That was... they were unarmed, most of 'em. An' we just tore 'em up, then buried 'em. Some were still alive, when...." she trailed off, then shuddered.

                                "They killed people, Seres," said Lans, pulling up the rear. His face was twisted in anger, and had been for some time. "And they would have killed more, if we didn't stop them."

                                "I know but..." she shook her head. "Somethin' feels wrong. We shouldn't've come here. Should've grabbed our train and left well enough alone."

                                Ash figured that any response she made would mean a fight, so she fought the urge to argue. So did Lans. Their sullen journey back to the surface felt like it took forever.

                                Eventually they came up the stairs into the collapsed house. It was near noon.

                                Gaze seemed to perk up once she was in sunlight again. Soon, she was able to walk on her own, but she refused to talk about what had happened.

                                In time, they returned to their camp. And they began plotting their upcoming robbery in earnest.

                                The first step in the plan was...
                                • ...stopping the train.
                                • ...intercepting the train.
                                • ...derailing the train.
                                • Something else?
                                OOC Commentary
                                This heist has a lot of variables to it, so I'm going to make a series of small, decision-focused posts working out a plan over the next week. Be sure to check in regularly for updates.
                                Last edited by semicasual; 05-25-2018, 02:29 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

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