Last time, on PirateQuest…846 posts omitted. Click reply to view.
Another dream haunted our crew the night before, wherein they and many kingdoms and races of the world stood side by side, trapped within a vortex of overlapping folds of reality, witnessing the opening of a great and towering Vault. From within, an army of giants, metal men like the one that the crew recovered last night, stepped forth, their hands outstretched to take away all that lay before them. But before the giants could snatch the people away, the obsidian machinations of Cuauhtemoc rose with a bloodcurdling frenzy of war-cries, attacking the giants in a guerrilla ambush, and made a mad dash for the Vault itself. But they were defeated and routed, and the giants continued their eternal march toward the world.
That morning, the party rose, groggy and disoriented from the strange dream. After they'd gotten their bearings and breakfast, they set out with a task from Bee Holder. The night before, Paraiba, Prisma and the five remaining mooks had been found by Kukulcan's crew, and had been taken back to his camp for medical attention. Bee Holder, however, distrusted Kukulcan, and wanted our crew to recover the wounded group during their exploration of the island today. With that in mind, they set out for the jungles of Cuauhtemoc. Although Kukulcan was not expecting to see them today, he had made arrangements yesterday, so perhaps the party could use those.
After heading west for a time (minus Cloud, who stayed behind because of his lame forearm), they reached a high plateau overlooking a canopy of a tree-village, and to the distance they saw the gnomon of a magnificent sundial many miles off. Before they could try to scope out more, they were approached from behind by pack of obsidian jaguars, unknown in number, who apparently had a strange taste for the island's fruit.
"That's probably our best bet, if only you know the truth of his powers," Chiu says. "…Although… what if the ones spying on us either know Obstinance, or work for the Virtues themselves? They'd have reason to doubt this information, or perhaps conceal it. No, maybe I'm overthinking it. If Obstinance is representative of how they work, I don't think they'd be overly concerned with keeping everything secret. After all, he made no bones about his own presence, and he seemed to have quite a bit of notoriety, if he's known for burning down entire blocks to exorcise one house.">>741749>>741747
"While we have the downtime, Cloud and I are discussing how the newspapers got information on us that they shouldn't have been able to get so easily – things like pictures of Thessaly and her black book, or Cloud's moniker as 'the Azure Eye…' you know, Cloud, you really should start going by that. It sounds pretty cool.">>741748>>741745
Tabasco laughs into the conch a little bit, before leaving Cerulean to it. With the fight between her and the dogs put on hold, Tabasco goes and sniffs at them. A few of their number approach, sniffing at Tabasco and your hoof for food.
"Very busy, yes. I will have to catch you up on quite a bit, Mister Cloud, but we can take care of that later."
"Hrm… are you suggesting there might be a traitor within our midst? Or, at least, a spy? T-That is very troubling… a-any idea who it is?"
Cerulean keeps an eye on Tabasco, but leaves him be. Seeing some of them come up, Cerulean grabs some rations and holds them out to the dogs. She knew they were mechanical, but if they're acting like dogs, might as well play along to prevent trouble.
"I don't think they'd work for the Virtues, otherwise Obstinance would've attacked us first thing when we saw him."
"Alright, and let's not tell our crew that I have his memories. So that way if that information spreads, the traitor is on Cutlass's crew. Otherwise if it spreads that Obstinance can reflect damage, then it's our crew.">>741752
"Yea, it's a nice name. Wish I had my wings when whoever it was thought it up, could've had something cooler.">>741753
"Do you know when you guys will be back?"
"They probably joined us around the time of Kaco Island, given that the pictures of us on our bounties came from Kaco, not from Semetyer or even Windy Island. That doesn't really narrow it down, because so many people joined us at that time… Cutlass met back up with us soon after we landed there, and we picked up some of the dissidents and refugees who had been displaced by the Bee Queens' Reconquista of the island," Chiu explains. "What I think is the crucial evidence is the fact that the paper gave Cloud the moniker of 'Azure Eye.' His replacement eye was kept under heavy bandages soon after the surgery, and he wasn't in the habit of flipping up his eyepatch to talk to Hmm very frequently. That's why I think it's an informant among us, and not a spy watching from afar."
"Oh, and… Gullveig was attacked. We don't know where she is or if she's still alive. You may want to let Thessaly know.">>741756
"Ooh, they could call you the Blue-Eyed Bat!" Chiu says. "What do you think?">>741755
Much like the jungle cats you encountered earlier, who ate eagerly of the hard-shelled fruit from the trees, you find that the dogs dig heartily into the rations that you provide. At the sheer number of them, each dog only gets a few bites of the rations, but that alone seems to have been enough to at least get the more attentive ones to relax. Tabasco zips around among them, losing all semblance of danger as he romps with the more playful ones. Others quickly come back to you for seconds.>>741756>>741755>>741754
Cerulean can hear Cloud and Chiu talking with Alder as well. It's a bit complicated trying to keep up with all the voices and the matters they discuss.
"I am not fully sure, no, but I can keep you nice and updated!" he chirps, before frowning a little bit. "So… a-an informant. I do not like the idea that one of our crew would do such a thing, but…" he sighs a little. "Any idea who it might be, then? Likely someone from the Bee Holder."
"Aww, I'm sorry, but me and my friends need to hang on to these," she says, sadly denying them seconds, but she wanted to make sure there was at least a bit left in case they need to take another break.
"Buuut, if you're good, I might be able to bring you guys out of here where there is plenty more to eat. How does that sound?">>741756>>741758
"Ahh, sorry guys, bit busy on my end. You guys say something about an eel among us or something? I think Cutlass mentioned something about that."
"Yea see, that sounds a lot better. You should be the one making our posters."
"No idea yet, we got a plan to try to narrow down which crew they're from though. Just will be a matter of time, since I don't think any info will spread around when we're at the bottom of the ocean."
Cloud answers to Alder.
"Not an eel, a traitor."
He says to Cerulean.
"V-Very well. I trust you, Mister Cloud. What should I do?">>741759
"Traitor, not eel. I do not think one of our companions is secretly an Eel… or, hrm." he says, considering the idea for a second
Some of the dogs snap and growl with disappointment when you deny them seconds, but still maintain their overall peaceful disposition. A few more yap and bark once you promise to take them outside. At last, they all sit.
Nothing seems to be better for winning a dog's obedience than the promise of a walk, it seems.>>741760>>741758>>741759
"It's more likely someone from the Hidden Dagger,
considering how Cutlass met back up with us with a whole new crew, and recruited her own share of the rebels from Kaco," Chiu says. "And let's not forget the fact that her Gates of Justice crewmates so openly advertise themselves as assassins and pirate hunters.">>741760>>741759>>741758
"How's everything going on your end, Cerulean?" Chiu chimes in.
"For right now, nothing. It'll be easier to tell you guys all at one together."
"No, I know not a literal eel. Maybe I should've said dolphin. Eels may be slimey sometimes, but can never trust a dolphin….">>741762
"Good boys and girls," she says happily and gives as many as she can headpets.
"Now I got some things to do here first, and then I'll come back and get you guys, okay? So gonna have to stay here unless you want to tag along." With the offer given, she starts heading towards the north door to proceed on through the temple.>>741762
"Going pretty good, I think. No clue where exactly I am, but I think this place has trials or something. We beat up a giant snake with a lot of heads, and then I had to move a giant pig that I couldn't break. Its actually been kinda fun!"
"Oh! Apologies, I do not know such sayings very well." the griffon says, bowing his head to… no one in particular.>>741763>>741762
"Understood- I will keep you updated on when we return, and we can discuss things when we do.">>741764
"Ah! Are the trials dangerous? I hope you are alright."
"The snake one was cause it was a fight. The one with the pig was just figuring out how to get him to move away from the door. Turns out: it was a lot lighter than it looked," she says with a confident chuckle at the end.
"Sounds like we're all making pretty good progress," Chiu says. "Cloud's got his wings and arm back if you didn't already hear, so that just leaves his eye, and we'll have one whole batpony on our hooves… well, more like mine.">>741764
The dogs don't listen to you at all, and in fact each of them follows you, all twenty. This may make combat somewhat hectic, but given that these dogs are all Watchkeepers, it's doubtful that you'll need to worry about their safety.
As you head through the north door, you pass through a brief corridor, until you come to another door, this one with an image of a pack of hounds upon it. Beyond that door is another arena, about the same size and shape as the one with the serpent's mark. The key difference is that this arena has four holes, two on the north side and one each on the east and west side, that are about the size of the largest dog in the pack. This must have been where the dogs were meant to enter from.
There's another door, this one challenger-sized, to the north. But it looks like you could get through any of these holes, as well, if you desired.>>741763>>741765
"Oh, before you go," Chiu interjects. "How's everyone else doing? I didn't hear anyone on your end of things, even before we told you to find somewhere secluded."
"Really? I thought dolphins were pretty good with how ponies talk about them.">>741767>>741765>>741764
"Oh yea, how's Cutlass and Thessaly doing? They must be busy if they're left off the call."
"That's what they want you to think. But they're mean know-it-alls in the end." She gives an audible pout over the conch.>>741767>>741768
"Oh, I'm at the next trial room.
I'll talk to you…oh…huh…uhh, I guess three trials down now?" She says as she observes the room and notes the features. Cerulean and Roger defuse as the time limit is reached.
"Alright then, off to the next, and I think final, one guys," she happily proclaims and proceeds on through the north door.
"Take care! Good luck.">>741768>>741767
"A-Ah! I was just stepping out of the ship." the griffon says, wiggling his talons a little. "Cutlass and I collapsed from Heatstroke, but Make Believe and Splendid were able to take us to safety." he says, letting out a nervous giggle "I-I have never really encountered such a thing as Heat Stroke. I am doing better now, but Cutlass collapsed again. She will be fine, but she needs rest."
"I'll be sure to watch myself if I ever run across a dolphin then."
Cloud says with a chuckle.>>741770
"Oh jeez, heat stroke is no joke. Make sure you guys keep cool."
You head through the Northern door out of the arena of the dogs. Beyond it is a long corridor, but not a straight one; no, it bends downward, curling in a spiral shape, first East, then South, and at last, to the West once more. The corridor is steep in its descent, until at last it starts to widen in the Western bend. There is no door at the end, only a great opening, leading to a theater-sized room. You must be on B4F at this point… and indeed, as you enter the vast room, you see that you are. The room is split right down the center, into East and West halves. It must have been right on the faultline when the Temple was broken into two halves. Several long panels of rubble connect the two halves of the broken theatre.
However, you cannot see the one in charge of this room's trial anywhere.>>741770>>741771
"Where are you guys?" Chiu asks. "You need any help?"
"Good luck to you guys, too!" She then hangs up as she comes to the next room.>>741772
Cerulean steps into the room, looking around a bit confused.
"Jeez, this really isn't pretty at all," she comments out loud.
"Hello! Is anyone, or anything, in here?! Did I go the wrong way?!" She calls out into the room, wondering if she'd get a response.
"We are at the lake, where the Thunder Serpent is docked. We might need the help, but I do not want you to push yourself too hard if you do not feel up to it."
"His ship is docked in a lake? How did he— oh, right, those flying engines. If you guys got heat stroke, I don't know if I should head out myself to try and meet up. I'm feeling better, but still, I don't even know where to go."
It seems that whoever or whatever served as the original trial for this room has now vanished, perhaps having fallen or wandered off as a result of the room breaking when the Temple was split. Given the lack of door, you have no idea of what was supposed to guard the room originally, or if there even was supposed to be a guardian here…
…But, as it turns out, there may just be a new one. As you peer over the edge into the chasm below, you catch sight of the vast and complex mechanisms that comprise the wing of a mighty Watchkeeper wyvern. It looks to be no less then fifteen feet in height, and perhaps as many as fifty in breadth. Power surges in its wings and legs as it flies about in the airspace just below the arena. A thick mist wells up from further below, and the mechanical dragon often flies in and out of it, vanishing despite its great size.>>741774>>741775
"Yeah, we're kind of beat still from everything with Obstinance, Stone Cold Classic, and now Gullveig and this informant business," Chiu says. "The majority of the Beesting
crew is still out and about. Do you think you could call them over?"
She looks to Cloud. "Or do you want to get someone back here and escort you over to them? If they're having heatstroke, I think they'd benefit from having some weather control over there to keep things from getting worse."
"If there's somepony who can fly, that'd make for an easier escort. Not really all that confident on going through that jungle again."
"Woah! That thing is huge!" She exclaims, looking down at it.
"Though we can't really go down there, so…." She looks around and opts for chucking some big rocks laying around into the chasm, seeing if that might get the wyvern's attention to get up out of the chasm.
>>741776>I forgot to respond to the stuff about Gullevig aaaaAAaaA!
"How bad was Ms. Gullevig left? You said she was attacked, yes?" he asks, somewhat concerned. "And, yes, I could try and gather them all up, if you would like me to."
After you huck a few rocks into the mists, they part with a great gust as the wyvern suddenly ascends. It flies above the gap between the two halves of the sundered Temple, and looks down at you with serene, yet highly judging blue gemstone eyes. The dogs quickly back away from you in a semi-circle, leaving only Roger and Tabasco at your side as you're subjected to the wyvern's piercing gaze.>>741777
"Well, there's always Bent Scales," Chiu says. "I think I heard she was going with the Captain and the rest of the first mates, but I didn't overhear what they were up to.">>741779>>741777
"Well, we really don't know," Chiu says. "When Cloud went through her shop to go fetch Obstinance, it was a complete wreck. Everything was all smashed up, and there were plenty of bloodstains on the floor. Though, and I'm not an expert, it didn't look like enough blood for someone to have bled out anywhere. The mess of potions and alchemy reagents didn't make it easy to investigate, but Mallea and I checked it out. It was definitely an assault, not an attempted robbery, because it didn't seem like anything had been stolen, not even the money; the cash register was untouched."
"A-Ah! Oh dear- do you have any idea what became of her?" the griffon says, squirming around nervously and hopping up and down in place.
"We could check in and see what they were planning then."
"Unfortunately not. Not even Hmm could figure out what happened. I can only assume Gullevig escape and went into hiding, or she was kidnapped."
"She didn't respond to any of our calls, so she's most likely incapacitated in some way," Chiu says. "I find it hard to believe she'd be taken out so effortlessly, so… until proven otherwise, I want to believe she's still alive. Ask around and see if anyone knows what she was doing before she was attacked."
Cerulean looks around, then up at the wyvern again. She steps forward a bit and looks right back up at the wyvern.
"Uhh…hi there! Are you the next thing to test me," she asks as it doesn't seem immediately hostile.
"I will ask around and see what there is to be heard. I promise." the griffon says, coiling his tail around one of his hindlegs.
"Thessaly would probably be the best bet. She had the key to Gullevig's until today, so maybe she kept in touch with her."
"Mmm. I will ask her, then. Thank you for the heads-up."
The wyvern makes no response to you; at least, none you can understand. From within its complex crystalline and brass machinery within its chest comes a most wondrous and beautiful sound, almost musical in nature, though in the end, it sounds mostly like mechanical whirring and chiming. Whatever it was seemed to have been meaningful. The wyvern spreads out its mighty wings, and though you didn't understand the whirring, you can understand this immediately. It's not just showing off, it's trying to specifically show off against you, a strange show of dominance and vital power. Could this be what the test's about?>>741785>>741786
"Well, while you're working on that, I'm gonna get in touch with Bent Scales, see if we can get Cloud over there to help with your heatstroke issues," Chiu says. "See you later, Alder! Tell everyone I send my best wishes."
She trots away deeper into the shade, conch in hoof.
Cerulean sees this and grins.
"Oh, its that kind of test, huh?" She knows her song may not be the best choice here and opts to toss a few decently-sized rocks in the air, only to catch and crush it with her jaws.
>Assert dominance with a cleave on three rocks, critfail 3-
[1d10+1]Roll #1 2 + 1 = 3
"No prob Alder. I'll see all you guys later.">>741788
When Chiu trots off into the shade, Cloud hops up, following after her.
"Whoa, careful now. There's some dangerous stuff out here."
"I've got something even more dangerous," Chiu says cryptically as she gets out her conch.>>741789
Turns out that was a poor opening act… you lose your entire set of teeth as they, and not the rocks, break upon impact. You're left with nothing but gums… but you'll get new teeth back soon enough.
The wyvern folds its wings in, but does nothing to hide its brazen contempt for your failed opener. Still, it does nothing, instead waiting to see how you will salvage this… if you can.
"I-I think I will be fine now- I just need to be very careful. The sun is not something I am used to." the griffon says, before nodding. "Yes. I will send your best wishes.">>741790
"Take care, please."
As the call nears its end, you see Splendid back up on deck, waving to you from below.
Cerulean clenches her mouth shut in a bit of pain, but eyes the look from the wyvern.
"Hold on tight. Time to make things wet."
She grabs Tabasco and holds him tightly as she gives herself a running start to jump off the wall and slam the ceiling with her tail, looking to knock a big chunk out of the ceiling, but also make her red aura flow down from the impact zone like a sort of waterfall, and likely cause a bigger one as the aura flood makes its way over the ravine.
>Slam, crit 8+, DC-1, take better, Tide Pool
[1d10+1]Roll #1 9 + 1 = 10
/ Roll #2 5 + 1 = 6
"Don't worry, I will."
Cloud says before hanging up as he chases after Chiu.>>741791
"Well yea, the Wetnurse will have you covered. But still, don't want to risk it."
The wyvern leaps back to avoid the shower of dirt and stone from above, and the waterfall of Aura that accompanies it. Many of the dogs in the audience howl and bark in a form of applause. The wyvern, not giving up just yet, looks up at one of the pillars that serves as a bridge between the two halves of the Temple, takes aim, and belches a javelin-like stream of flame straight for it.
>Wait for result>>741795
"Not her: You," Chiu says, tickling your wing with her tail. "I'd better steer clear of you, though, considering the Wetnurse makes me avoid danger."
She eventually gets on the conch with Bent Scales, and their conversation continues a few minutes, before ending. "As it turns out, they've had their own share of peril and danger. They split their group into two. One half is trying to make a map of the island, while the other half is spying on Kukulcan's group from a distance. When they didn't hear anything from us about Prisma and Paraiba and the rest of the group that Kukulcan had taken in, they decided to take matters into their own hooves and stake out the place."
"Anyway, Bent Scales is on her way back. She's coming up the coast, 'cause she was on the mapmaker team. Shouldn't be too long."Roll #1 9 + 2 = 11
The javelin of flame neatly bisects the pillar, and the two halves tumble into the ravine, where they vanish into the sea of mists below. Satisfied, the wyvern lands back down, looking to see if you can top a feat like that.
"Hmm? Oh!" the griffon chirps, hopping out of the crow's nest and fluttering down next to Splendid. "Hello! Sorry, I needed a bit of time alone for something."
Cloud says with a laugh as she tickles his wing, having not felt that in a while.
"I'm the good kind of danger though. The kind that makes you feel alive and gets your blood pumping."
"So should we head out to the coast to catch her, or just chill here in the shade?"
Cerulean watches the pillar fall, but it gives her an idea. A crazy idea, but crazy just might work.
"Stick close with me Roger, just in case, okay?" She steps back a bit, then starts running towards the ravine. With her own natural running speed, and with the watery terrain helping her, getting up to a fast speed is no problem. And she hopes that speed will be enough as she attempts to leap across the ravine, hopefully something the wyvern looks at as an impressive feat considering her lack of wings.
>Earthly Affinity-Traversing terrain automatic, not sure how'd you want to translate that into a bonus for this, if any>Sprinter: Using for more speed, maybe could apply the DC-1
[1d10+1]Roll #1 3 + 1 = 4
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Chiu shakes her head. "I'm going back to the ship to get some water and work on my knitting. I'm not taking any chances with the heat, even with your cloud covering."
She starts to make her way back to the Beesting,
fanning herself with shadows all along the way.>>741798
"Right, right," Splendid says. "Thought I'd give ya an update, mate. Sparkler started feelin' well enough to help with the healin', so Magoja wandered off. Thessaly came back to take over for me with Cutlass, so I thought I'd get back out and have a bit of a breather from all the maintenance on the crew. I think they'll be right as rain by sundown, but we may just want to spend the night at that rate," Splendid says. "Though, guess it depends if Bee Holder and Cutlass are okay with stayin' among…"
She clears her throat meaningfully. "Well, anyway. Gonna hop back in there and see how Cutlass is doin'. Care to join?">>741800
You fling yourself across the cavern at near-blinding speed, and just as you cross the halfway point, you hear a deep wind-blast from behind, the beating of massive wings– just as you're about to touch down, thick claws enclose about you.
With a barely-caught smug grin, the wyvern spins about once and tosses you high into the air, floating below you as you reach your zenith – and start to come back down, and fast… whether you land somewhere on or in the Temple, or miss it entirely and end up landing somewhere in the ravine… this is going to be bad.
The wyvern looks up, watching your fall from below.