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After parting ways with their comrades descending into Tartarus, the remaining group of the Saviors met with Ecclesia to join into the Vermillion Corps, a mercenary faction that would give extra aid while they prepare for the oncoming forces of the Treibheanna. Their first mission is heading north to Ornifex to uphold the promise made to Zjetya to help her homeland with the Draconic Lords. Their official task for Ecclesia is to end the civil war, not mattering which side wins, leaving leverage of their aid to stick with the victor.

After a long journey, they reached their first destination of Vortigern's home village, where they met her husband, Grantz, and were filled in over time on the history of the land and the takeover enacted by the Dragon Lords. With unanimous agreement to aid the rebels against the dragons, their first step in fighting the war was to recruit Alloy, a descendant of Buiwong and sister of Mocha, to strip the draconic power given to knights that collected tributes from the lower villages.

With a grand success, they then joined a meeting of the villages, learning they were divided between the sides of the war as well, leading to a sneak attack against them in their sleep. Stopping the attacked, they discovered the dragons also had the aid of angels on their side, with the attacked under a heavy and inescapable mental alteration.

Now, they work to decide their next step. Lying low while they wait for the villages to decide who they stand with, and working on a defense against the angelic mind control to avoid losing themselves in the conflict.
107 posts omitted. Click reply to view.


"I don't plan on letting anypony die," Pryce says, feeling the gravity of the voice. With scrolls in telekinesis, he takes leave of the office, heading back to the others.


You return to where the others have gathered outside the medicine yurt. Vortigern, River and Zjetya help take some of the big stack of scrolls, while Alloy avoids your gaze.

"These must be the counterspells…" Zjetya says as she unfurls one, reading the words.
River nods as she looks over hers. "Oh, that's handy– he even wrote pronunciation guides."
"Did he actually make you say it?" Vortigern asks in genuine curiosity.


Pryce steps out, unfurling a scroll to look it over as the others help with the stack.
"That was one of the more pleasant meetings I'd say," Pryce says, seeing Alloy avoiding looking over to him, trying to lighten the vibe with him.

"Looks like we'll be plenty covered with all of these if we spread them through our force," Pryce comments as they examine the scrolls. "Where's the villager, let's see if this can snap him out of it."

"He didn't expect me to say it, said it was a bluff," Pryce answers Vortigern. "…I did say it before hearing that, though."


The scroll is divided halfway, vertically. Peculiarly, the left side has the original words. Accorsian script runs from right to the left; you then recall that the northwestern regions seem to write their languages from left to right. Taking this adjustment in mind, you see that the right side has a pronunciation guide for each line. Even if you don't know the translation, this should suffice, with some practice, to be able to sing the counterspell.

Vortigern chuckles. "The old boss never changes, it seems… well, he'll be this way."

Vortigern leads you to the far end of the prison camp. The hypnotized villager is in his own area of the prison, away from the formal POWs, but still in a cage much like theirs. Zjetya reads over the scroll as you go, and when you're gathered around the villager's cage, she stops you. "Okay, so… it looks like it's meant to go like…"

Zjetya then takes some time to teach you all the content of the counterspell scrolls. "Alloy, get that flute out, play this part for me."

"I-in front of everyone…?" Alloy asks.

"We're gonna be fighting for our lives up there," Zjetya says. "Better get that stage fright dealt with now."

Alloy nods, and produces his flute to accompany the singing.


Pryce follows along to learn the spell, the difference in script direction giving him some trip-ups at the start.
"Ok, think I have it down now…"

"From my experience, everypony enjoys the show. There's nothing to be nervous about," Pryce adds to help shake the stage fright. He then looks to the villager, wondering what will come from this counterspell.
"Alright, on three. One, two…" He counts down, before beginning to sing the scroll to counter this pony's hypnosis.


The first attempt at the song is… a work in progress. Your allies frequently sing over one another, whether rushing or dragging. Some mispronounce words or shoot wide of the mark when trying to hit a note. Alloy quickly forgets his stage fright, as he increases the volume of his fluting to serve as a central guide for the singers to follow. Maybe it's a good thing that the villager is off in his own section. Over time, though, this mismatched choir manages to pull it together, and reach the conclusion of the song (mostly) as one.

At the end of it, the villager, still blank-faced, sits in silence… then blinks… once, twice, again. He shudders, and slumps over slightly, his eyes glazing over.


Messy rehearsals is something Pryce is used to, so the starting cacophony is not much of a surprise. What is though is the villager showing signs of response. Pryce steps to the cage, looking with concern at him.
"Hello? Can you hear us? Are you okay?" He asks, trying to get any response despite the language barrier.


The villager mumbles something back in his own language, and Zjetya steps in to translate. Their exchange is brief, for the villager is quick to lay down, and drop off to sleep.

"It worked…" Zjetya whispers. "It really worked! He was pretty out of it, but he seemed to remember his name, and what month it was. Still, removing the spell took a lot out of him. That'll probably happen to the others when we cure them. Could be a big hazard in the middle of battle."


Pryce breathes a sigh of elated relief at hearing the song worked.
"We'll let him get his rest then, he probably needs it to get his head around where he is even aside the mind control."
Pryce rolls up his scroll, tucking it away in his cloak.
"We'll have to be perfect on our countering then to keep it from catching any of us, though it would be a great boon if they're using their songs to control any of the knights. This could take out a number of their forces if so."


"Now that raises a question," Onion says. "Of whether we're going cure the enemy soldiers too."

He turns to Vortigern, who maintains a tight-lipped composure as she reads over the scroll again. She rolls it up, and looks over your group– there is some quiet, cold distance in her gaze.

"Only at my direction," she says. "I will select one to test it on. Do not try the songs on any of the other prisoners without my word."

You sense a troubled stirring within your allies, to hear one of your companions direct her cold authority over you…


Pryce is silent as Vortigern makes her decision. He isn't fond of leaving the soldiers under any possible control, but this is Vortigern's home and her war, so she has the authority.
"…We can cure the soldiers after the dragons are dealt with. Even if they are hypnotized, they can still be aligned with the dragons on their own accord or from simply living under their rule for some time."


"I concur," Vortigern says. "And we will need to maintain strict records of who was and was not under the priests' hypnosis, for the trials that shall follow our victory. Now, wait here, please."

Vortigern steps away, leaving you with the sleeping visitor in his cage. The awkward silence continues for a few minutes, until she returns. Behind her trail a pair of guards, who carry a bound and gagged soldier with a distant expression with them. Vortigern points to an empty cage, and the guards deposit the soldier there.

"Now, let's begin," Vortigern orders. Your allies shake off their reservations and warm up their voices to sing again…


"Right, I hadn't thought of that. We'd have to do it slow or one by one, and we don't have the time for that now."

As they wait, Pryce starts to think about the after affects of this war. They still have to deal with the Treibheanna, and then the wider range of demons once their friends are finished in Tartarus, and that's not going into any greater tasks such as rebuilding. But here the villages will need to restructure and rebuild the whole society after the heirarchy of the dragons is gone, so much will need to be dealt with on so many levels. Pryce is pulled from his thoughts as Vortigern returns, slightly glad for the distraction.
Pryce nods, unfurling his scroll to read the song.
"Alright. A one, two…" He starts to lead in the group to sing and cure this soldier.


The song goes more smoothly than the last time, now that you've all had a chance to hear it and try it once. It will be some time before you're all truly battle-ready, however.

When the song is over, the soldier's head flops down… then raises back up. He looks about, blinking half-asleep. He says a few words in his native language, to which Vortigern gives a quiet reply. The soldier looks up, beholds her face for but a second, then yelps in terror, and scoots back in the cage, muttering rapidly in continued fear. Vortigern continues to hold him in her icy stare for a moment… then looks back to you.

"I will remain here to question him. For now, you may go."

Zjetya, who no doubt understood the exchange, is wide-eyed. She nods, and quickly heads out. Your allies start to follow her, clearly sharing a little in the soldier's alarm.


Pryce is shocked and surprised at how quickly the soldier seems to have recovered compared to the villager, despite the fear shown towards Vortigern. He wonders if it's them being better at the song, or perhaps this soldier wasn't under as much control. In either thought, Pryce nods towards Vortigern.
"Go a little light on him. You need some time to adjust when waking up suddenly," Pryce says, hoping Vortigern keeps the question easy.

He follows Zjetya out, waiting until they're a distance from the hut before asking.
"What did he say?"


"Sounds like Vortigern has quite the share of terrifying epithets," Zjetya says. "They're hard to translate, but I'd guess part of the reason they want to take her alive is they're not even sure she's a mortal like them."

You exit the prison. As your allies ponder what to do next, you realize that, in a rare change, you have some free time again.


"Good we've never been on her bad side if they're that terrified of her," Pryce says in awe.

Pryce's mind wanders to his earlier thoughts on what's going on. It's then he realizes they have a moment with nothing to do since it's all stuck on waiting for other plans to finish.
"Hmm…" He hums in thought at the revelation. "I think we've earned an afternoon of R&R." He says aloud to the group.


"Ah yes," Estuary says. "Running and repetitions. Excellent suggestion, my liege. There is never a bad time to train."

"Actually," River says. "He meant reclining at the riverside. Not mine, but by the waterfall on the southeast end of town."

Estuary's ears perk up at that mention of a waterfall. "Hmm… there is the practice of meditating in water, I suppose. Which way is it?"

"No chance we're going to hike in this heat," River says, conjuring a dark corridor. "This way."


Meditating in the water, I guess you mean a method other than a spa?" Pryce questions as Sir Estuary is sold on the relaxation.

"Wonder if we should pack a picnic," Pryce ponders as River opens a corridor for their trip.


Your allies agree eagerly to the suggestion. Onion raises a hand. "I can throw together a mean pic-a-nic basket."

"You all go on ahead," River says. "I'll help Onion and catch up."


"I'll get the spot set up, see you soon," Pryce says, heading through the corridor with the others to the waterfall.

Once they're through, Pryce gets to conjuring up some picnic blankets to sit on and some parasols for any who want more shade in the heat.


You spend an afternoon at the waterfall, which feels especially cool and relaxing after that hunt. The picnic is a nice note to end on, and even Estuary isn't enough of a stickler to ruin the mood after sampling some of the food.

Still there's always business to get to. Zjetya takes the time to update Einmal regarding the progress of this mission, and puts in the request to gather special Caller Conches to store the healing songs. While Einmal can't promise the fastest delivery, he does pledge to put it on the docket. They have many other quests which they are overseeing right now, it seems…

When the sun starts to go down, you pack things up and return to your lodgings. Estuary and Onion keep watch over the ship, while you and the others settle down in the treehouses.


The picnic is great to help unwind and give some respite from the heavier news they found today.

As they settle in to the treehouses, Pryce thinks back to earlier.
"I hope Vortigern isn't going too hard that soldier," He thinks aloud, wondering how that will unfold.


"I hope she cooks him," Zjetya retorts.

"Far be it from me to deny mercy to a wrongdoer…" River mutters. "But I still had to contribute to the cause of the good. If he willingly advanced the cause of the Draconic Lords, that's one thing. But if he was coerced…"

"Yeah… I guess," Zjetya grumbles.


"There is a lot to consider, though that should wait until after this is done. We shouldn't jump the gun incase we find out more when we face the Draconic Lords," Pryce adds.


Zjetya sighs and nods. "So damn much that we still don't know…"

"Complicated matters are something worth sleeping on," River jokes.

"Pfft, okay," Zjetya says. "By your orders, your majesty."

>timeskip to tomorrow available


"We're making progress at least, that's always good," Pryce says, looking on the brighter side. "And tomorrow we can talk to that villager to learn some more."

"Night you two," He says as they turn in for the night, leaving the matters for another time.
>Good to timeskip


You wake up the next morning, get cleaned up, gather for breakfast, and meet your allies. You don't see Vortigern or Grantz there.

"They're already hard at work," Onion says. "Caught 'em this morning while I was sneakin' in for an early snack. Wanted to get to the prisoners first thing today. We're welcome to meet 'em when we're ready."


Pryce gets up, getting ready and feeling nice and refreshed. KP spends the breakfast looking over her bestiary after the hunt yesterday.

"We should see them early, might be a relief for them in a way," He says, finishing his breakfast up quick so he can speak to the prisoners.


After breakfast, you gather up everyone, and make your way back to the prison. The guard double-takes, seeing you approach, but apparently word has gotten to them from the previous evening's shift, for they let you in. At the far end of the camp, you see Vortigern and Grantz talking amongst themselves. They wave as you approach.

"Good morning," Vortigern says. "I trust you all ate well enough."
"Plenty," Onion says. "I reckon I may just learn the local language so I can get these recipes."
Vortigern smiles with a little pride.
"Let's get to business," Grantz says. "We ended up having to cure another soldier last night. First one didn't have the information we needed. Nor did the second one. Seems they keep the lower-ranking ones all but totally in the dark about battle plans. They're also subject to stronger hypnosis than the higher-ranked ones. We were debating curing one of their leaders next."


Pryce nods. "We're doing well," He greets.

"Stronger hypnosis? So, it sounds like the rank soldiers might not have been willing to go along with the dragons," Pryce surmises.
"That makes sense, standard soldiers and knights wouldn't be let in on anything too deep beside the current mission. What about the villager, have you spoken to him yet?" Pryce asks.
"Curing one of the leaders… If they have a lesser hypnosis it sounds like they were more in line with the dragons, so they might not be willing to talk. It is worth a try, if we can get anything out of them. Do any of the commanders look easier to talk to than the others?"


"The villager seems to be a late riser," Vortigern says. "Combined with the exhaustion of being released from hypnosis, we've let him sleep in, as a kindness."
"One of the commanders looked a bit scrawnier than the other two," Grantz says. "He was my pick. The bigger one looked a bit dull, and the middle guy… hmm, kinda boring-looking."
Vortigern shrugs. "It doesn't matter much to me which one you choose, so long as you can get results."


"Ah, we'll give him more time then."
Pryce thinks over the three options. "Hmm, let's go with the big guy. My magic could have shaken him from the fight, so he might be a bit more easier to convince."


"Wait here, then," Vortigern instructs you, and leaves for the other part of the prison camp.

Some time later, Grantz returns to your area, and signals for you to follow him. He leads you to a secluded section of the camp, separated from the rest by a high wall, covered with a roof. This section is comprised of a barren yard, filled only by a single stons hut. Inside the hut is but a single room, divided in half by prison bars. On the close side is Vortigern. On the far side is a handcuffed figure covered by a blanket. You surmise him to be the commander you took down in battle week before last. He doesn't stir, or make a sound. Vortigern nods as you enter, but also stays quiet, and simply gestures to the figure. Looks like she's setting you up to make a grand entrance, performer that you are.


Pryce enters the hut, the barren room looking very dull, likely a solitary confinement area. Pryce looks across to the figure covered by the blanket, silent and unmoving. He nods in return to Vortigern, surmising this will be left for him to run the questioning.
He thinks a moment, wondering how best to start conversing with this commander.
"Good morning!" Pryce gives an enthusiastic greeting, pulling the blanket off with his telekinesis to give it some flourish and a sudden change in sight for the prisoner. "I see you've pulled yourself together after we last met," Pryce adds, referencing the defeat and how the commander was captured.


The second you say "good morning," you see the commander's eyes – open in anticipation of an attack – fall shut. He's pretending to sleep now, ignoring your greeting. At the very least this gives you a chance to size him up. He's a griffon, something you remember only getting a vague glimpse of in the chaos of battle. His head is that of a mallard, while his body is that of a mountain lion. He has his share of scars, but also, despite his captivity, he retains a certain posh dignity, something that comes with years of living a luxurious life. Even as he pretends to be asleep, there's a contemptuous angle to his eyebrows, and his bill even sneers as he snores.

Fortunately your allies are staying outside, so they can't see you getting stone-walled.


"Hmm, perhaps I was mistaken," Pryce says as the gryphon continues to 'sleep'. "Suppose I'll just wait until your morning comes."
Pryce takes a seat by the bars, taking off his bracelet to conjure up two cups of tea through it, to add an aroma that might spur the gryphon to be more active.
>Hat Magic [1d10] [Fresh Tea]

Roll #1 9 = 9


The aroma of the gourmet tea provokes a twitching of the griffon's eyebrows. So far from the capital of the Draconic Lords, delicacies such as these are all too tempting. Still, he keeps up the barest pretense of his facade, tilting his beak away to smell the stone wall instead, lest he give in…


Pryce slides one of the cups up to the bars, leaving it as an offer.
"Hope morning comes soon, it'd be a shame to let this get cold."
Pryce takes a sip of his tea, and then conjures a couple scones to pair for a nice start of the day.
>Hat Magic [Scones] [1d10]

Roll #1 10 = 10


In a flash of feathers, the griffon commander darts to the bars, reaching for both tea and crumpet despite his being bound. You hear a quack of alarm – and see that Vortigern has moved up to the bars without so much as a sound. Though the commander is, at full height, taller than Vortigern, something about her seems to tower over him and you in this moment. The griffon scrabbles back to his cot with both tea and scone in hand, leering back at Vortigern as one would a monster that has them cornered.


Even Pryce is startled at how quickly Vortigern has moved, the standoff being much more imposing with his sitting position.
"It's alright, I had to get him up somehow," Pryce says to Vortigern to try and ease things with the leer the gryphon shoots Vortigern. Pryce then looks to the commander.
"So, are you open for a little chat?" He asks now that he's taken the food.


"Non. How do you say… take a hike," the griffon commander says. Despite this, he holds the tea and scone, half-consumed, clearly intent on savoring them as long as he can.

Vortigern says nothing, but instead looks at the door of the barred section. The griffon tenses a little at the threat…


Pryce stands, holding up a hoof to Vortigern, not wanting to jump to threats.
"Alright, I'll talk then. You enjoy breakfast," He starts. "First, though, I have to commend your craftsmen on that warhorn you had. It has a lovely sound too when we tried it," Pryce begins, seeing if them having those horns gets anything out of the commander.


"Honhonhon," the griffon honks. "I am glad you like them. I recommend you keep on sounding them for all your smelly comrades to hear the hymns of the Draconic Lords. Soon you will, how do you say, see eye to eye with us, non?"


"Funny you say that. You see, we've got some singers of our own, and we happen to have our own song that can, how you say, make you see eye to eye with us," Pryce says, taking out the rolled scroll of their song from his robe. "Though it sounds like we really only need it for your soldiers, I'm sure you know."


The griffon's smirk fades as he looks at the scroll. For a second his hand tenses, as if he would throw the tea onto the scroll so as to ruin the ink. But, Vortigern's hoof grinds into the dirt of the hut, signaling just one reason that would be a poor course of action.

"Hmph. And why even tell me these lies of yours? You want someone to listen to your noisy bragging?"


"Simple, you said you didn't want to talk," Pryce answers simply, seeing the smirk fade from the gryphon. "Though, I wouldn't call this bragging, simply a statement of fact. If you want, we could play it right here if you think it truly doesn't match up to yours. Unless you'd like to change the conversation?"


The griffon looks between you and Vortigern. You recall the wicked titles by which the soldiers regard her – a fear they did not even show to Grantz himself…

"Wack. Do not grate my ears with your tone-deaf ramblings, but do not waste my time either. What did you really bring me here to discuss?"


"Alright, let's get direct then," Pryce begins, tucking the scroll away.
"What plans did you have for the tribes down here? Any involvement with demons or summoning monsters to attack the locals?"


"Wack. You need to learn to take life a little slower, stickhead. Rush through too many questions and you forget to, how do you say, smell the flowers."

The griffon looks down– at his empty hand. Vortigern has snatched the tea and scone out of his grasp with nary a sound. The griffon blinks with surprise, and clears his throat.

"As I was just explaining… eh, it is not so complicated. The orderly conquest and governance of these tribals under our rule. No demons, but uh, oui, the monsters were our doing."

He looks at the snacks longingly…

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