[ art / co / ot / q / qt / v ] [ 3dpd / unf ] [ g / sic ] [ countdown / hyperindex / linkboard / quest archive / stream ] [ Hamburger Time Calendar / MLPG Beacon / Donate / Game & Mumble Servers ] [ Rules & FAQs / Credits ] [ Mod ] [ home ]

/q/ - Quest


Password (For file deletion.)

  [Go to bottom]   [Catalog]   [Return]   [Archive]

File: 1659658239173.jpg (Spoiler Image, 175.26 KB, 1024x1024, Moon.jpg)

 No.761609[View All]

>Iron King Ischyros, the Far Seeker, sets down the fourth and final Report of the Agatecastle Investigation, and sips the coffee Sister Root had set before him. They are the only ones to occupy the conference room on this Cycle.

>Mabin, High Director of the Lux Deorum, is uncharacteristically absent.

>"Sister," Ischyros says, keen to take his mind off anything other than his confidant's absence. "Make a note about this Concord program. It desperately needs some security updates. I mean, have you read this Report? Seems just about everyone's exploiting it one way or another."

>"Yes, sire," the Sister says. She casts another glance at the conference room's sealed and enchanted door. "…Th-this Report was late in coming, I note. Do you think Mabin's absence may be–"

>Before she can finish that sentence, the door flies open. With quick and long strides, a lanky white Diamond Dog, his clothing ruffled and stained by dried blood, enters the room. Sister Root gasps, fishing for the medical supplies she always carries in her saddlebag.

>"You must forgive my tardiness, your Majesty," High Director Mabin says as he takes a seat, taking care to not let the dried blood flake off as he fishes his cigarettes from his coat pocket. "I had an unexpected rendezvous with a certain Noble and spent the past hours in a most gripping discussion."

>Iron King Ischyros scoffs. "Surely we have known each other long enough that you do not need to hide your personal affairs behind euphemisms!" he says. "Truly, it seems the missus was–"

>"No, no," Mabin interrupts. "I speak plainly, but allow me to be even clearer. The Noble who accosted me was none other than Lady Offbeaten Path, of House Titanite."
567 posts and 4 image replies omitted. Click reply to view.


I stay motionless during this



>"It is true that a certain number of mortals entered my domain," the Necromancer continues. "They crossed into a certain section of my laboratory, evading many of my outermost defenses by means I have not yet puzzled out. I applauded them for their cunning and agility, when I at last found them."

Mogao keeps a poker face.

>"They shall make fine additions to my army," the Necromancer concludes. "As I am sure many of you will, as well, if you should wish."

"Well, there you have it," Mogao says to Mountain. "He's gone and killed them, just as I told you. Now let's get the lead out already. Not much to negotiate over now, is there?"

>"Hold," the Necromancer commands. "Do not make a decision on behalf of another, spymaster. The Knight-Brother has yet to speak for himself."

["Spymaster?" Cautaa types. "I thought we ruled Mogao out of being one of Ironcastle's spies."]

>"Forgive me," Mountain says. "I'm a little unaccustomed to public speaking. But he's right, agent Mogao. We're just here to ask about our mission. So, Necromancer. We've come a long way to ask this: Did you play a role in Agatecastle's destruction?"

Mogao's chat icon freezes up on the AR displays. However, you can see him snarl. The cameras fail to transmit this lapse of calm, instead displaying his earlier confident smirk.

>"I did not," the Necromancer answers.

>"Do you know who did?" Mountain asks.

"YOU," Mogao growls, his eyes now full of murder. A white aura shimmers around him, and the Angels guarding him spread back to not be caught in it. As before, the cameras conceal this episode of unmasked fury.

>"That too is something I cannot yet answer," the Necromancer says. "But at some point, with enough of the willing dead under my tutelage, we may yet discover. I shall repeat: The door remains open to your joining of my endeavor."


>DO you think perhaps Mountain had something to do with the fall of Agatecastle? Or perhaps Ironcastle itself was?


>I think maybe Mogao is a survivor of Agatcastle. Also this might be some kind of weird paradox time loop where we retroactively destroy Agatcastle. It wouldn't be the weirdest thing we've seen here.


>Not Knight-Brother Mountain," Deadweight messages.


>"No, I think Mogao's just lying again."


>His anger seems genuine. It might be Ironcastle did something that led to this loop? I'm not entirely sure. The Time Loop sounds good, or maybe he's a monster that melded with a survivor and that's why he's got power over these things?


I wait to hear more.


Deadweight reads the message and just narrows her eyes.


>Somehow someone's bent space and probably time inside Agatecastle. My gut's telling me it's not the Necromancer. Either Mogao's the shot caller and controlling the robots or else whatever power is controlling the robots is controlling Mogao.


["Mogao certainly seems to believe at least one of those," Huitlapan types. "Though I have not known the Knight-Brother long, and so cannot exhaustively exonerate his character, I know that his is not a very high rank. He would have needed to be part of a network of powerful conspirators to sabotage a Castle."]

["Which would be tantamount to Ironcastle doing it," Xu types.]

["We've seen no shortage of inconsistent timeframes on Agatecastle's destruction," Cautaa types. "Our initial intel, Green's testimony, and Ruby's account have all told us different points when Agatecastle was destroyed. But I've yet to see anything suggesting time loops… as of yet."]

["Let's not solidify a theory too early," Xu responds. "We also have to fit those crazy dreams we all shared… and the fact that everything looks perfectly normal in the 'other dimension' that we've crossed through a couple times now."]

Mountain pauses to consider the Necromancer's answer… he looks across the field of battle, to where the Seneschal Colonnade Reprise lays behind cover, with some injuries. She nods to him, and he looks back at the Necromancer.

Mountain mouths certain sentences, but they come across as nothing but static, when transmitted via the speakers. The waveform in Deadweight's and Firmgold's audio recordings suggests the cadence of words, but they were completely unintelligible.

>"Don't suppose that means anything to you?" Mountain asks.

>"The words are unfamiliar to me," the Necromancer answers.

Mogao just looks as confused as he is angry.

>"Shame. In that case," Mountain says. "Our business here is concluded. We'll take our people and look elsewhere, then."

>"Hardly," the Necromancer says. "As I have said, I cannot release that which is not captive. The mortals who entered my domain did so as combatants, and as combatants I greeted them. However, they serve me now. The body may die, but the soul lives on. I take only those with the will to persevere even past death into my army. These mortals strove to continue, and so they joined me. I shall continue to recruit those who see likewise, until I have exhausted this egg you call a Castle."

>Mountain's stance shifts, and his hoof inches towards his weapon. "So, you've spilled the blood of Iron."

"Like I've been saying this whole time," Mogao says. "Shall we eradicate this abomination, comrade?"

Mountain prepares to make his verdict…


>Time we step in, I think. Lost Hope, can you sneak up so they get a look at you over his shoulder? At the very least we ought to let the others know where we are and I don't think Mogao will let us in on the call.


I will send a message to Mountain suggesting he tell the Necromancer that him and is cohort choose to leave as non-combatants.


[1d10] Persuasion

Roll #1 9 = 9


Lost paused, and sent a quick message

>Xu can you hack his displays so they stay on the whole time? So they always see what he's doing?

She said before sending her own messages to the Mountain that Mogao was more than likely trying to kill him and the rest of the ironcastle expedition, And that he was nudging the two to fight.


Mountain glances at his comp, then his eyes dart about, apparently looking for you.

Xu and Sapphire salute you with o7, and get to work…



Roll #1 8 + 3 = 11


>Knight-Brother Mountain keeps his posture even, and mulls over his words. "…The combatants of Iron surely fought well, to earn your praise, Necromancer."

>"Indeed, they did," the Necromancer replies, his gaze not leaving the Knight-Brother.

>"That said… our interests in Agatecastle are not in showing off martial prowess," Mountain continues. "I'm afraid those guys you fought were outliers."

Mogao's eyes widen, and they're caught straight on camera.

>"In fact, you can see from our brief cross-fire that most of our staff are of a non-combat, investigative role," Mountain says.

>"You are too humble," the Necromancer says. "Even your healers and technicians held their own against my vanguard."

>"When backed into a corner, anyone can fight," Mountain says. "But, being flesh and blood, we aren't a suitable opposing force for undead, especially not in prolonged battles. If you send a whole army at us, you'd be wasting time, followers and power for little gain, either in entertainment, or in recruitment."

Mogao's hands start to shake.

>The Necromancer tilts his head. "Perhaps… still, such a disappointing way to end things…"

"You coward!" Mogao hisses under his breath. But even when under your breath, voices can be caught on microphone.

>"You've something to add, spymaster?" the Necromancer asks.

Mogao blinks. "…Hmm?"

The Ironcastle Expeditionary force start to direct their attention to the AR displays…



Deadweight continues to listen to the conversation.


I don't want to risk exploding and giving us away but I do mentally prepare myself to try and roast Mogao or at least his computers if he does the villainous thing I completely expect he's about to do.


I will send Mountain a message that Mogao called him and everyone down there cowards, through Concord


Lost takes that moment to very subtly peek peek over, wiggling her ears a bit as she sent another message to Mountain to see she and her team were there before ducking back into stealth.


Mountain checks his comp again, then locks eyes with Mogao.

>"You know, Agent, I would have thought that the Lux Deorum would see the merit in a more tactful approach. Or perhaps you hold that we must seek justice for our fellow Iron Soul–"

Mogao sneers with gritted teeth when he is called an Iron Soul, and the stark-white Aura flares about him. Mountain's eyes betray just a hint of surprise, but he otherwise keeps his stoic demeanor.

"Justice…?" Mogao begins, a waver at the corners of his voice. "Nine years ago… your precious Iron Souls arrived on our doorstep, under the pretense of a royal delegation… and nine Cycles later, Agatecastle was brought to ruin. You can spit the word 'justice' right out of your mouth."

["Nine years, now?" Cautaa types. "This makes the fourth alternate account of the collapse."]

["Ten thousand years, per our intel," Xu responds. "But, from the Agatecastle survivors: One year, per Green. Five years, per Ruby. Nine years, per Mogao… those numbers…"]

["Follow patterns of the Abbey's sacred numerology systems," Huitlapan answers.]


Deadweight widens her eyes at the revelation.


>What should we do with this info? Is it the key to fixing this discrepancy?


>Your guess is as good as mine


I will wait here, still recording until something changes.


["Perhaps this discrepancy could distract him from his anger," Cautaa types. "Get him thinking about anything other than Ironcastle."]

Xu and Huitlapan look doubtful, but before they can intervene, the negotiations continue.

>"So you've finally decided to contribute to our investigation," Mountain says. "But that's an alarming accusation to hear leveled against us. Do you have any facts to back that up?"

Mogao raises his comp. "The prosecution presents its evidence."

The AR monitors on Mountain's side change their displays. It's a bit hard to see from your position, but you can make out the events on the screen anyway. They begin to play recorded footage, timestamped from nine years ago.

The footage begins just outside of what you presume is Agatecastle. A small retinue of skiffs and their AI gunship guards passes through the Palisade Eternal – the protective, auroral barrier of light which surrounds every Castle, Agatecastle included. The ships enter the outer docks under the watchful gaze of hardlight gun turrets.

In the next scene, a great group of souls passes through the shipyard entry system, a long tunnel of scanners and purification chambers. The cameras are too far away for you to see clearly the number and kind of the personnel passing through.

In the third scene, the group finally enters Agatecastle, emerging into the Eighth Layer, the home of the Warrior Stratum.


Almost all of the members wear plain grey suits. They are of myriad races, and yet all of them are equally unremarkable. Were it not for their matching uniforms, they would be completely indistinguishable from any other random passerby whom you might see, and then immediately forget. These "grey men" are the Lux Deorum of Ironcastle, her principal intelligence agency, and rumored secret police.

The Lux Deorum surround a group of three figures, as they walk. Two of the figures appear to be quadrupeds, but as for the third, the one in the very center, you cannot tell. The reason being – in every frame of every shot, a veil of static has folded over the figure in the very center, rendering them completely unreadable and unrecognizable. Though the static is centered around this mysterious figure, the static flows outward from them, like ink dispersed underwater, and surrounds their two quadrupedal companions, obscuring them as well, though not to the degree as with the figure in the very center.

The footage continues. A retinue of Agatecastle delegates, representatives from every Stratum except the Commoners, greets the group, going up to shake hands and hooves. The cameras follow them as they walk to the nearest elevator.

From there, the footage becomes almost unwatchable. The source changes constantly. Storefront security cameras, magicomp recordings from passerby, even photographic stills. All of them, focused on the three obscured figures, who supposedly came from Ironcastle. And yet, in every single shot, the figures remain hidden from the cameras.



"I am an eyewitness to the procession captured in this footage," Mogao declares. "I saw the ringleader in the center myself. A dragon who bore the emblem of Ironcastle upon his uniform."

The white aura intensifies about him.

"You will surrender this agent to me, if he is among your number," Mogao continues, his voice growing in volume. "And if he is not, you will surrender yourselves to me and my authority in his stead, until such time as this dragon can be captured and extradited to Agatecastle for questioning and sentencing. You will not be free until the last of his co-conspirators are found out and dragged before the Agate throne."

Silence weighs upon your allies.


Lost was silent for a moment before going to her magicomp

>If somebody can start blasting some music to distract him that would be great right now!


>Good idea, Cautaa, but who volunteers to step out and say that?


>Er… maybe I could? If somebody links my headset to the speakers in here.


>"I think we should stay low," Deadweight messages.


>Or wait….

She quickly shoots a message to Mountain pointing out that those could be any castles agents, and given all the discrepancies maybe he saw a mistake?


I will message Mountain and remind him that every Castle would be built to the same standard, as setting up in this one was no more byzantine than our own.


I'll message Mountain pointing out the details of the number of years since the collapse from different survivors we've encountered lining up with the Abbey's sacred numbers.



Mountain steals another glance at his comp, earning a scowl from Mogao.

"Something distracting you, Knight-Brother?" Mogao asks.

>"…Just organizing my thoughts," Mountain says. "You could stand to do the same."

Mogao's eyes widen at the insult, but Mountain presses the advantage.

>"Nothing in any of that footage showed Ironcastle materiel or regalia," Mountain says. "You have the word of only a single witness – yourself – to attest to its existence. Even the skiffs and gunships were unmarked. This evidence would not indict Ironcastle in any reputable court of law."

"I know what I saw," Mogao protests. "The dragon is under the effect of some spell or Mutation which prevents remote viewing and recording. Other survivors would attest the same."

>"Other survivors, you say?" Mountain asks. "Lucky for you, we have one in our custody. And their account differs from yours – down to the very time frame of the attack."

Mogao pauses. "…Bring them here."

>"Your demands are not our highest priority," Mountain says. "Our investigation is. And currently we find ourselves stuck between a rock and a hard place. Until both you and the Necromancer guarantee our safe return from here–"

"I don't remember giving you a say in the matter, saboteur," Mogao sneers. "Don't worry about the Necromancer. I have the both of you in check."

The Necromancer sighs and shrugs.

>"I do not suppose that *I* will be afforded a chance to cut in anytime?" the Necromancer asks.


>I wonder what number his skeletons will have.


I read Campfire's message and then bring it up with Mountain, instructing him to ask the Necromancer what the 'Knights of the Gravepyre' would remember in their own timeline. Then any other skeletons who rose from Agatecastle's fallen.


Deadweight continues to maintain a low profile.


Lost waits until nobody is looking in her direction to gently prep for if she has to pounce on Mogao for a quick kill.


When Mogao sees Mountain glance at his comp again, his eyes narrow. Several more AR displays open up around Mogao, displaying the very meeting-chamber in which he stands, only from different angles. Cautaa winces and motions for you to get back from the door, but Huitlapan shakes his head, and jerks his chin in Lost's direction.

[1d10+2] Mogao search roll, has to beat DC 10 to reveal Lost from stealth

>Mountain turns to the Necromancer. "Here's your shot: I have a question for you."

>"Go on?" the Necromancer says.

>"Ask your undead – the ones you've gathered from Agatecastle – what year they believe the destruction of Agatecastle took place."

>The Necromancer pauses. Then, in the next moment, a cold, clattering sound clicks from him, like bones rolling down across icy stones. Your companions and many of the Ironcastle forces shudder and brace themselves as it rolls over them. After some delay, the sound echoes in reverse, as the army of skeletons clatter their answers, the clamors building up in a great avalanche that crashes upon your ears.

>"Hmm hmm hmm…" the Necromancer says. "Ask a thousand people a question, come away with a thousand and one answers."

>"Come again?" Mountain asks.

>"Not all of them can remember," the Necromancer says. "The agony and ecstasy of the death-throes often obliterate the memories surrounding the moment of death. But those who do have given me countless contradictory responses. Some say four years ago, others five, others nine. Ten, sixteen, fifteen, thirteen, eighteen, thirty-six, forty-five, nine thousand, nine hundred and ninety-nine…"

Roll #1 4 + 2 = 6


I, too, mentally prepare myself to set someone or something on fire.


Deadweight narrows her eyes.


Lost readied herself but waited.

>Let us see if this galvanizes him, or makes him reconsider.


I will wait now, tense.


The angels fan out from around Mogao, continuing their search of the room.

[1d10+2] Mogao search roll
[1d10+1] angel search roll

>"The defense calls its witnesses," Mountain says. "You can hear it straight from the source, your very countrymen. Something isn't quite right about any of our accounts. Almost nobody can agree as to when Agatecastle fell, even if you have certain theories about how it fell – theories you cannot substantiate. This goes beyond any of us, and you won't find the answer by picking a fight here."

"THIS CHANGES NOTHING," Mogao declares. "I saw the ringleader myself, an agent of Ironcastle. His arrival directly precedes Agatecastle's collapse, regardless of anything else."

>"You saw him, presumably, in an Ironcastle dress uniform," Mountain says. "But anyone can steal Ironcastle garb and put it on… you'd know that very well, wouldn't you?"

"Tch…" Mogao sneers. As you can recall, the first meeting you had with him saw him clothed in Ironcastle armor, which he used to pass himself off as being on the expedition.

>"I am afraid I must agree with ser Mogao," the Necromancer says. "Just as his demands are not your priority, your mission is not mine. I am here to liberate this Castle, myself. As someone from the sky, I have no stake in who truly is guilty in this murder mystery. I am bound for Ragnarok, and have need to gather my aesir."

"Hhhhhheheheh," Mogao laughs, regaining himself. "I said this changes nothing, Knight-Brother, including your position here. The Necromancer has no intentions of letting either of us go."

Roll #1 5 + 2 = 7 / Roll #2 6 + 1 = 7


>Well what now? See if the Necromancer will abide by attacking Mogao with us? Ask him about the diases with staffs?


>Bringing up the daises sounds like a good idea. Did anyone get pictures?


>I did.
I will message Mountain and suggest he ask about the Sun and Moon staffs, accompanied by a couple selected pictures I took while inside each of the small shrinerooms


Deadweight keeps out of sight and makes sure her allies aren't in immediate danger.

[View All] (567 posts and 4 image replies omitted)
[Go to top] [Catalog] [Return][Post a Reply]
Delete Post [ ]
[ art / co / ot / q / qt / v ] [ 3dpd / unf ] [ g / sic ] [ countdown / hyperindex / linkboard / quest archive / stream ] [ Hamburger Time Calendar / MLPG Beacon / Donate / Game & Mumble Servers ] [ Rules & FAQs / Credits ] [ Mod ] [ home ]