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File: 1607486417477.png (4.97 MB, 2710x2125, The Choristers -- Tartarus….png)

 No.750229[View All]

>Last time, on HolyQuest…

>Amy, Cloak, Pryce


Salt maintains her steady and judgmental glare, even as you respond. "Finally… it seems that you get it. In the end, one Will shall prevail above the others; it is those who do not conquer, who shall be subsumed. Know that all those who enter Tartarus must understand this. And if they do not, then rest assured that they will."

Ignoring Amy's other question, Salt nods. "See to it that you pass along my question to those other members of your small army. Not for my satisfaction, but for their hope of survival."

Like Sulfur before her, Salt is engulfed in a small and dense cloud of gaseous salt, and then vanishes.

>Shei

Gadds slowly turns his head your way as you make more suggestions. "…How about we take the 'expected' way down."
"Yeah," Busta says. "The Sons of God would have probably taken extra care to put up obstacles against demons that could just phase through walls and bypass all their more conventional traps and impediments. Whatever those things were, they won't be the last ones we face if we try that again."

>Flaming

Volkama jots down the entry onto his map, but then taps your head with his pen. As Spark gnaws on his hoof, he speaks. "Erm, young miss goddess, can't you simply bypass this lock with your dominion over physicality?"
"Or, failing that, bash it open, as your usual modus operandi," Deriva adds.
200 posts omitted. Click reply to view.

 No.751451

>>751447
Unsure of whether the knights will take kindly to being moved or not, Leather crouches low and sets up near where light meets shadow, attempting to blend in for a future kill.

>Assassinate: Recharge 4; On success, blends into a nearby crowd or suitable hiding spot. Once hidden, can take an Instant action to instantly kill one target. On a failure, your cover is blown. On a critical blending roll, the assassination autocrits. A critical assassination roll does the job so neatly nobody even realizes the target died.

[1d10+2] Blending

Roll #1 6 + 2 = 8

 No.751452

>>751448
The stonecat shakes his head. "As you can probably see, I tend to travel light, save for this," the stonecat replies, gesturing to the key at his neck. He gets up, stretches, then walks at your side. "Very well. This Patience Stone shall accompany you until I tire of answering your questions.

It seems that the door you entered through is the only door in and out of this room.

>>751449
Is that a challenge? Zjetya retorts.

>>751449
>>751450
>>751451
The knights do not respond to Amy, simply looking forward. When Pryce goes to move the diamond mirror of the friendly one, he realizes that the mirror is embedded in the pillar, and thus does not move. He instead pushes at the pillar itself, and finds that it slides as easily as a key in its proper slot. As it faces north, a watery film appears over the South path, leaving all four paths inaccessible.

 No.751453

>>751452
Shei swings his his axe to cause the qliphoth the bleed. Magasutchi swirls out from the crowd of little demon critters. Placing busta's inert body among the teeming bed of energy.

His guitar lands in place and he begins playing
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=iAOhxJj0nIQ

>Qliphoth: automatic, recharge 3; Sacrifice one or all of the minions under your control to heal yourself 5/5 H/W per minion

sacrificed. The minion must have over 20% of it's HP to be a proper sacrifice. Can heal beyond character's Natural H/W up
to a maximum of double their Wounds+2W. For Shei 13/14 H/W. This ability may require a Control roll at the DM's discretion.
Can be used to heal allies and H/W gained may be distributed to up to Five allies at a time. I.e 1/1 for each of Five allies,
2/3 and 3/2 for each of Two allies, etc. This skill can heal someone from 0/0HW but requires a roll and both their soul and
body are still present.
[Revive Busta from Death]

At the end of the beginning phrase, one by one the Malekhim step out of Shei-Sher's cape adding their part to the song.

"little dead bird,"
"son of day"
"you- where there is no winter"
"..no spring…"
"but here there is blood"
"here there is bread.. I command yee."
li-v-vve.."

"Here is the blood"
"HERE IS THE BREAD!"

"I will eat the sins"
"I will swallow your hearts"
"And you will be the soul.."

"Litttle, little biird…"

He shutters deeply, from the gut to throat
"Li-iii-i-i-iivveee…."

 No.751454

>>751452
>>751451
>>751449

"Oooh! It looks like the weird barriers are being made by the mirrors!"

 No.751455

>>751452
Using her divine powers, Shorthorns returns her form to that of a mouse and makes for the door, opening it up to return to Volkama and Deriva waiting on the other side. As she does so, she turns towards Patience Stone, pointing to the key around his neck.

"This DID count as passing your challenge, correct? Did I earn the key you're keeping around your neck?"

 No.751456

>>751452
>>751454
"I will remain near the shadows should something happen. Facing the mirror away from a path seemingly makes it inaccessible, what happens if all face the same path?"

 No.751457

>>751452
A challenge should have a prize, shouldn't it? Pryce counters with confidence.

>>751452
>>751454
>>751456
"If they all work the same, that is," Pryce follows after Leather. "Now, if facing the shortest one away from the open barrier closed it, does it flip the path's status then?"
Pryce says as he grabs the mirror again, turning it around so it faces the South path.

 No.751458

>>751453
Busta doesn't respond to either of Gadriel's attempts to revive him, distressing him further and further, until at last you take Busta's form and make for it a garment of qliphoth.

At the song's conclusion, he gasps and rises, while all around him, a black and red storm wells, coursing through and around him along his body's leylines. He swings his head about, and upon seeing Gadriel, sighs and leans back – though his body twitches and spasms with bouts of minor pain.

"You…" Gadriel mutters, aghast. "You were dead?"

"I… I guess so. Apparently, these things hit harder against our subtle bodies than our physical ones," Busta says. "Armor would help littl–"

"Thank you," Gadriel says, bowing his head. "I'm… I'm sorry you had to endure that for my sake."

"Why be sorry?" Busta asks.

Gadriel stammers, evidently not expecting such a response.

"You guys are my friends," Busta says simply. "That's all there is to it."

>>751455
When you come out, you see Deriva drawing a picture of you as a mouse on a roll of papyrus. One of Volkama's mice poses atop his shoulder to serve as a reference. They both look unsurprised that you're back and healthy, though they do note that you have a new companion.

"You haven't earned the key until you've taken it from me," Patience Stone says.

"How much larger will our party grow before the end?" Volkama asks.

>>751457
What do I get if I win? Zjetya asks.

>>751457
>>751456
>>751454
Once that pillar faces South again, all four pillars do, and thus, the watery barrier covering the Southern path disappears once more.

"Perhaps the differences in size are an aesthetic choice," River says. "I see no connection between their height and their connection to the barriers."

 No.751459

>>751458
That depends. River, do you want to join in on this? He asks River.

>>751458
>>751456
>>751454
"You were right Leather. All we need to do then is to decide which path we want open."

 No.751460

>>751458
>>751457

"It's when they all face the same direction that the barrier goes away…" Amy muses.

"What happens if you point them all in different directions from each other?"

 No.751461

>>751459
>>751458
"I was right about one single pillar, as you said, we cannot make assumptions about all of them just from the one."

 No.751462

>>751460
>>751461
"That is true, we've only tested one for certain."
Pryce responds to Leather. He looks to Amy as she suggests separating them all.
"It would let us see if they have individual effects. I say we give it a try."

 No.751463

>>751458
Shei-Sher grimaces, constipated in his need to apologize.

"Busta.. Thank you."

Shei holds up his chain "Grab on. We need to go before I run out of length." The chain still tied to the whale

Shei waits for them to grab hold. He commands the chain to retract, pulling them toward the Whale.

 No.751464

>>751462

"Do it! Do it!" Amy chants excitedly. Apparently, she sees Pryce as the laborer in this, now.

 No.751465

>>751458
As she comes out to see Deriva drawing a picture of her as a mouse, she puffs out her cheeks, using her magic to restore herself to a full sized buffalo. "Devira, you better not show that pic to anyone!"

She turns to Volkama, "This was the guardian waiting for me inside. He's been around since the Sons of God were here before us, thousands of years ago, and even trained them! I asked him to come along and offer us whatever advice he may as we move on our way to Tartarus. I think we could really use his help."

As Patience mentions having not earned the key yet, Shorthorns turns her head, then puts out her hoof. "Give me the key. Please."

 No.751466

>>751464
>>751458
Pryce gives Amy a flat stare for a moment, then turns to the statues to move them. He moves the tallest so it faces East, the second tallest to face North, the third tallest to face West, and leaves the shortest one to face South.

 No.751467

>>751466

Amy returns the flat stare with a gentle smile and an expectant wag of her tail.

 No.751468

>>751459
I shall abstain until I am more confident in my capacity to control my telepathy, River thinks.
Sounds like she doesn't wanna distract you with any 'intrusive thoughts,' Zjetya thinks.
Correct. We've puzzles to solve.

>>751465
"Nonsense," Deriva says. "This etching will only bolster the legend of the White-Hot Flaming Buffalo, the Shorthorned Dragon, who overcame the largest and smallest of trials for her people's sake."

Volkama and Deriva slightly bow their heads to Patience Stone, who flicks his tail. "Greetings to you, mortals."

Volkama raises an eyebrow as his mouse scurries back into his enchanted pocket. "I… assume you've some method by which you understood him? All I heard was a meow."

Patience Stone tilts his head, then places his paw atop your hoof.

You'll probably have to just take it.

>>751464
>>751460
>>751461
>>751466
Together, your group moves all the pillars to face different directions. You notice something peculiar happen this time.

To the North, and to the West, bushes grow from the surrounding groves, crossing over one another to totally block off those paths. Then, to the East, an unusual symbol manifests, a floating sigil of dark blue light, in the water barrier. It seems to resemble a wand, coated partly with moss. You note that the knights in the diamond mirrors had wands such as that.

"So, it seems they do have different properties," River notes. "If the second and third tallest pillars blocked off the barriers with grove, wouldn't that suggest that the barriers are permeable?"
"Probably not by us," Zjetya says.

>>751463
"And thank you for reviving me," Busta says.

The two hold tight, silent as you reel them all in to the back of the colossal, drifting entity. You feel it moving upwards, and far away from where you were, though, it seems, without any particular destination. No husks come to assail you, leaving you peaceful travelers in the endless depths beneath the Earth.

 No.751469

>>751468

Amy cocks her head in confusion. "If those two block off their paths with plants, then why wasn't the path blocked when they were both pointing south?" she asks as if someone can answer for her.

 No.751470

>>751468
"I am no mage, so I wouldn't plan on heading that way. A shame none of large rifles." Leather notes,
>>751469
"Perhaps one route is dedicated as the entrance?"

 No.751471

>>751470

"Maybe they're like opposite-bushes!" Amy says excitedly as if that suggestion meant anything.

 No.751472

>>751468
Alright then. Pryce thinks with a nod to River.
Well, if it's just me then, I could give you a conjuring of your choice? Or would you like to decide your prize yourself? He proposes to Zjetya. And what would my prize be if you can't annoy me?

>>751468
>>751469
>>751470
Pryce notes the new effects from the individual statues.
"If the middle statues grow the bushes, then the tallest and shortest ones must interact with those in some way."
Pryce turns the tallest statue to face West, and turns the shortest statue to face North.

 No.751473

>>751468
Shei undoes his cape and with a flourish fashions it into a luxury class felt saddle fit for a creature a giant as the one they're riding.

DARK.III
[1d10] making a whale saddle

"When I came back for you both, I expected to find you trapped in the earth, suffocating, with the black threads shorn. But it seem's we've come deep enough to finally reach the Sheol's penumbra. So while we ride leisure, Gadriel? Could see into your crystal ball for a path leading us to our interview with the captain? Or the closest entry from the dungeon proper."

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.751474

>>751468
Shorthorns blows out of her nostrils, "I don't know if people will remember it the same way you're imagining, Devira!"

As the two of them share a confused look, Shorthorns looks confused at first, before looking down at her brooch. "OOOOH! Right, sorry, sorry, almost forgot he was a cat… my brooch I got from the Temple of Slipper lets me talk to animals, but he says he taught the Sons of God himself! I can translate for now."

As he puts his paw on hers, she looks disappointed, but nonetheless gives the stonecat a good shake with her hoof and, gently, attempts to reach for the key with her hoof and gently tug the necklace off of the cat
[1d10] If opposition is met

Roll #1 7 = 7

 No.751475

>>751470
>>751469
>>751472
"Perhaps different combinations produce different results," River hazards.

With the third tallest and the tallest both facing West… nothing happens. The bushes remain where they are. The same applies when the shortest and the second tallest face North.

"Okay, so," Zjetya says. "The grove statues override the water barrier, and the sigil statue. But, when all four statues face the same way, that path opens, and the rest become water barriers."

>>751472
Yup. If I win, I get to wear the trousers for a day," Zjetya says.

>>751474
"Do not underestimate the mass appeal of cuteness," Deriva says.

>>751474
You successfully take the key, to the stonecat's apparent satisfaction, as he hops onto your back to enjoy the ride.

"Inform him of our gratitude then," Volkama says. "Now, let's be off."

>>751473
Busta and Gadriel firmly put their feet into the saddle's stirrups, and lean back against the luxurious leather and velvet cushioning. They glance with curiosity at the cupholders, having not seen such strange technology in their days.

Gadriel nods, withdrawing his crystal ball…

[1d10+2] divination

Roll #1 2 + 2 = 4

 No.751476

>>751473
>>751475
"I'm not seeing much nearby," Gadriel says. "We must be too far off to see without a sympathetic connection. Can you retrace our steps? We might get more that way."

 No.751477

>>751476
"Brace yourselves."

Shei-Sher tugs the chain, steering the Whale to dive toward where they were going before.

 No.751478

>>751475
Shorthorn does as Volkama requests, bowing her head graciously to Patience Stone as he hops up on her back. "Just a warning, I have a little baby dragon with me named Spark too. My head is his perch, so don't try and take it from him or he may get upset."

She looks at the key in her hoof, curious to what door it may unlock as she looks at the other, animal-symboled doors around her. "I was thinking of trying out all of these doors first, but I think I've had enough 'cute' transformations for one day, don't want to give Zevira more inspiration. Let's go back upstairs and see if this key works on the lock we found in the hallway above us, then if not we'll see if it fits anywhere on that dead-end hallway."

 No.751479

>>751475

Amy touches one of the walls of bush to see what happens.

[1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10

 No.751480

>>751475
That all? Alright then. And if I win, hmm… then you will lead the next game of Witches and Wargs so I can try out the player's side.

>>751475
"Hmm, maybe I was right the first time, they need to face proper paths…"
Pryce thinks aloud. He turns the tallest statue back to facing East to bring the symbol back. Then, he turns the second tallest to face West, and the third tallest to face North. Then, after that rearranging, he steps to the East barrier with the symbol and tries to put his hoof through the barrier.

 No.751481

>>751480
>>751475
"We also certainly could figure out what the wand symbol meant, and or the figures in the mirrors proper." Leather suggests.

 No.751482

>>751481
"If my guess is right, then the symbol means we have the statue facing the correct path. The south was already open to let us in here, so it closing could be from us being in the middle of the puzzle and not related to their positioning, aside from the way we found them."

 No.751483

>>751478
Upon hearing his name, Spark pokes his head out of the coinpurse you allotted for him to check out the scene. As he sees Patience Stone, his eyes widen, and he slinks out of the bag, clawing upward over your fur to get a closer look. Patience Stone waits there, until Spark approaches, and bats at his tail, which the cat obliges.

Deriva and Volkama nod at your direction, and follow you back as you proceed up the stairs, and find the locked trapdoor that you encountered earlier. "Take care for traps," Volkama cautions as you approach it.

>>751480
>>751481
>>751479
The walls of grove do not give way at Amy's touch. They seem pretty sturdy, for plantlife. Then, with the second tallest facing West, and the shortest and third tallest facing North, the North and West are sealed by a wall of grove. To the East, that symbol of a wand reappears once more. The South, which has no pillars facing it, defaults back to the water barrier.

When Pryce puts his hoof through the barrier with the symbol of a wand, he finds that he can easily pass through it, as if it were just thin smoke.

>>751480
>>751479
>>751481
Pryce… we're gonna have to expand that imagination. Clearly, River's the one to talk to!
"Hush!" River commands, pointing at Zjetya, accidentally speaking out loud in her annoyance. Amy and Cloak hear this plainly.
Zjetya grins.

>>751477
After some time of drifting through the depths, Gadriel speaks. "Wait, wait, level us out, don't go any higher. Straight ahead… it's faint, but I think I've got him. Careful, there's more of those things between us and him."

 No.751484

>>751483
Shei strains himself as he pulls the Whale to level out it's direction.

"If it gets too dangerous, go inside the saddle with the Malkhim. I'll take us where we need to go."

 No.751485

>>751483
I can't think of much you wouldn't already agree to help with. Pryce responds. He looks over to River as she speaks aloud for Zjetya to be quiet.
Did you have any ideas?

>>751483
>>751481
>>751479
As Pryce's hoof passes through the barrier, he nods with his idea confirmed.
"I was right, so we just need to match them to their right path," He says as he steps through the barrier entirely, just to confirm. "Though, those other two statues didn't work on the West or North path… so the short statue would apply to one of them then, leaving the last as a decoy?"
>"Maybe we gotta do each path in order!"
KP says, trotting over to follow behind his older self.

 No.751486

>>751483
As she makes her way back up to the previous level, Shorthorns looks at Spark as he crawls out to investigate their newest hitchhiker. She smiles as he plays with Patience's tail, snickering as he plays with the aptly named patient stonecat. "He plays nice… most of the time."

As they head towards the locked trapdoor, Shorthorn takes the key she got from Patience, and moves to try and unlock the hidden compartment. "Always…" she says in response to Volkama

[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 6 = 6

 No.751487

>>751483
>>751485

"Are we going through the mysterious portal?" Amy asks excitedly. She follows Pryce if he does so.

 No.751488

>>751487
"It's an open path, technically. It doesn't hurt to check it."

 No.751489

>>751485
>>751483
"Are you requiring any assistance, or shall I remain on overwatch?" Leather asks Pryce, continuing to watch passively.

 No.751490

>>751489
"I passed through the barrier just fine, so I should be good."

 No.751491

>>751488

"I wanna go too!" Amy says dutifully.

 No.751492

>>751491
"Come along then. We shouldn't be splitting up here anyways."

 No.751493

>>751485
River regains her stoic composure, leers at Zjetya, then back at you. "We will discuss this later."

>>751486
As you turn the heavy key, rewarded with a heavy ker-CHUNK, you sense something amiss… and dart back on instinct. You see the key dissolve, turning into a smoldering mist, before vanishing altogether, destroyed by an unseen force that makes the air around you prickle like needles. Still, it dissipates after a few seconds, and the trapdoor opens slightly, signaling it's unlocked.

>>751484
Busta and Gadriel nod, making preparations for a potential attack.

Gadriel buffs himself and you.
[1d10+3] Vision of Grandeur

Busta conjures small swarms of flies about himself.
[1d10+3] Homing Magic, Wind Element

>roll Navigation


>>751485
>>751487
>>751489
As you step through the barrier, you see a path, just as you took to get to the last circular area. It is significantly longer than the one you took before, however, but still, nothing attacks or deters you along the way.

At last you reach the end of the path, entering another circular clearing in the garden. This one is far larger than the one you just left, however, and there are five exits this time: West, Northwest, North, Northeast, and East. The North path is significantly wider than the others, and in fact, has stairs leading upward.

So too, there are five pillars in the middle of the room, and all face toward you, toward the West. Because of this, you notice that one of the diamond mirrors in the pillars is missing a Knight. But that missing Knight does not seem to be lost. No, that Knight actually stands atop that empty pillar. They are a ram, and moss hangs from their horns, which, though wide, narrow toward the tips, until they resemble the moss-covered wands that the knights held at their belts. You note that this knight doesn't have a wand at his belt, but still has a curved, horn-like sword.

Roll #1 3 + 3 = 6 / Roll #2 9 + 3 = 12

 No.751494

>>751493
Shorthorns takes a steady breath, looking up to make sure Patience and Sparks weren't too rattled by the sudden movement, but lets out a sigh of relief. "THAT was close. Wonder what that spell would have done if it hit…" she shakes her head, "I'll use my unweaving magic next time, just to be sure. Come on," she says to Volkama and Deriva, heading through the trap-door to wherever it may lead below…

[1d10] Perception

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.751495

>>751493
Pryce looks between River and Zjetya a moment.
"Alright then."
So, how about until we reach the gate to Tartarus for the challenge?

>>751493
>>751491
>>751489
>"Whoa cool, there's more now!"
KP says as they reach the new circle. Pryce looks around the new set of pillars, and up to the ram free from it's own mirror.
"This is a good sign we've picked the right path then. I wonder then, if the tallest opens any path."
To test his theory, he turns pillar A to the wide North path, B to the East, C to the West, D to the Northeast, and E to the Northwest, if the others don't have their own suggestions.

 No.751496

>>751493
"Hmm… is there a way to get the Ram's reflection into the empty mirror. I feel like that is closer to the solution than picking him up and tossing him in." Leather rubs his chin.

 No.751497

>>751493
Shei plays a leisurely riff on his guitar
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=R8EI6XDbVCY

>Background Music: instant, stackable; the entire party gains +1 to all rolls for 2 turns, this effect is stackable for a maximum of +2; upon critical failure cancels all stacks of the effect, this skill cannot critically succeed. Effect duration of each stack refreshes after a successful use.

[1d10]

Roll #1 9 = 9

 No.751498

>>751497
>>751493
>Navigation roll

[1d10]

Roll #1 4 = 4

 No.751499

>>751495
>>751493

"I wonder what would happen if one of us stayed behind?" Amy contemplates.

 No.751500

>>751494
You drop into the dark tunnel. It's devoid of light, but you can at least tell, through the bounce light from above, that it has two paths, leading west and east.

>>751495
Sure, Zjetya agrees. Filly and gentlecolt, begin when ready.

>>751497
As you ride onward, you sense great disruptions in the aether surrounding you, akin to being waist-deep in the sea, with waves rolling up upon you from both sides. Even without extending your aura, you can sense more of the colossal entities drawing dangerously near…

>>751495
>>751496
>>751499
The ram gazes down at you as you discuss the best course of action, perfectly still in his calm.

>Paused


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