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Dec 10th, 2010
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  1. Chapter 3 Golem Quest
  3. * Major Events
  4. -Aid of Trekel
  5. -House with fragment of Caged One/Core Being encountered.
  6. -Lord Barcho forces encountered, Assassin in Republic (LUO OF THE WINDING PATH).
  7. -Meet Keddic, training of republic’s soldiers, Meet Moss.
  8. -Kill Lord Barcho, takeover of Arcanoworks, more ominous fighting and lightning In distance.
  9. -Encounter Moss and need for World magic. A LOT OF INFO FROM MOSS.
  10. -Ulzrick shift, battle of militia vs Morde. Ulzrick learns some Will magic.
  11. -Berluut slaughter. Encounter Dulu and Balboa the Butcher, Create Inferno Golem. ‘Kill’ Dulu.
  16. *Interesting/Useful Facts/Unexplored ends
  17. -We built a wall around Trekel, and offered any of the fallen resources. It was considered also good for AA charge. Justified as mobility tests.
  18. --For some several hours after that everyone labors toward their own pursuits, all aware the others worked towards a similar goal, if along a different path, and I surmise that the fleshlings feel at least some form of empathy over this act. A useless sentiment, but one I should be aware of if I am to be a competent leader.
  19. *Encounter at House in North Tyekel
  20. -Encountered the House in the northern field of Tyekel, shot at by arrows, close encounter causes words of ‘run away’. Attempted to fool us into opening door with claims of being unable to be let out in human-like tones, but not fooled due to unlocked status of door. Color ebbs and flows in the landscape as investigated. ‘Heart’ found via magnetomancy. that before each boarded up window, I saw a charred outline of a body emblazoned on the ground. Door secured with Earthworks via Morde, Arkus, Jojo.
  22. I can see the minor shuffle of movement of the bow within floating near to a boarded window beside me, and I act decisively, smashing my hand through the wall to grasp at the floating bow. I wrap my fingers about the aged and worn wood before it can slip away, and find the bow vibrating in my grasp, constantly seeking some method of release. It's frantic struggling eventually ignites the wood through sheer dint of friction against my implacable grip, whispery wails exuding from the wood as it shrivels and chars. Ash stains my hand heavily by the time I finally feel the wood struggle no longer in my grasp, and a black powder flows away from my hand as I tentatively open it, dispersing in the air under the command of the idle winds flitting about. I stand motionless for a time, awaiting further action from the house I have now broken two holes into, through window and door both, waiting for some form of response.
  24. ....After enough time has passed some half dozen arrows would have struck me had I not dealt with the bow with no further action from the house, I deduce that whatever magic or spirits may have animated the bow dispersed when it was destroyed. The sudden rattling and groaning of the cellar door once more draws my attention, and as my mind turns to it, a bit of color fades out of the land. I peer into the house before me through both openings again, looking for anything noteworthy that I may have missed, and see nothing that piques my interest.
  25. The door bleeds through, it's wood staining black as the knots and swirls in the wood twist and turn. A face pulls into focus, a stark collection of outlines in the colorless realm I see.
  27. "Please, let me out, I don't want to be down here anymore, I am so hungry...."
  29. Again, the voice of a child pull through the wood, echoing from lungs that do not exist. Does this entity know no other method of deception than to sound like a child? But still.... what is it?
  30. "...If the colors of life fled the land, and it cannot leave on it's own, little else this could be but World Nightmare. Bad thoughts, things of planet, seeking entry to surface, to destroy, to rend asunder. Door must NOT be opened, World Nightmares like avalanche, cannot be fought, might too great. All die if door open. ....But wood door? What to do about when wood rots......"
  32. Arkus finally speaks, his voice abruptly cracking with as much fear as I heard when I first disobeyed his attempts to control me when I first awoke.
  34. "...Hah...haha... that, uh, well.... that sounds exactly like you are describing a Core Being, which, uh, is really bad. Because, if that IS a Core Being, then one of the.... things.... that live way, way down, beneath mountains and miles of stone, closer to the planet's core? Uh, well, some of them have destroyed entire cities when released. And, once one has gotten this close to the surface, it.... ah, it will just wait until the door that blocks it wears away. They do not grow impatient, or leave.... at least, not that I have ever heard. And once they get loose, they.... they rampage about for a week or so, before they... run out of steam, I guess. Usually someone cuts them down once they start getting too weak, but the weird thing is, the ones that die on their own fade away, and the ones that get killed leave nearly static remains, practically untouched by time I am babbling again I am sorry but I would really like to get away from where a Core Being may be.... ah, if, that is, we are actually dealing with a Core Being. It could.... be something else, maybe...."
  36. Notes from Sout Fieldh House: We were able to make off with some of master Weinsho’s papers, the ones he does not let any who follow him see, not even the apprentices he gives authority to. Still don’t know what they all are about, but Jot went to the houses to the north of here, should hear back soon about whether her hypothesis about what these spells and rituals are for pans out.
  38. …Getting a bit worried. Haven’t heard from Jot and the others in a week. Dielva went to check on them, said someone shot arrows at him and no one spoke at the house. So bandits managed to oust them, I imagine. Hopefully we can salvage something from this debacle.
  40. After writing off Jot’s crew and the papers they had as a lost cause, I have been having trouble convincing the others to perform the ritual we have yet been able to decode. Dielva keeps filling everyone elses head with nonsense, saying Jot and the others release some ‘terrible evil.’ So some arrows flying out of an old house are a ‘terrible evil’ now? Still, it will take me some time to shore up their courage.
  42. Finally able to convince the others to go ahead with the spell, after I told them we could gain power through it’s function. Hopefully, my claim will not turn out to be a falsehood. We begin the ceremony at midnight.
  45. No more words are to be found on the piece of paper, and as I peer about, I see Ugrokk and two of the Premen with him return to this main room, telling me no survivors could be found. I glance about the many papers still in this room, and wonder what they could have been about, prior to the destruction of the knowledge they contain.
  46. -Learned Leyline tapping via World through souls in this South Field house.
  47. -Finally Arkus responds with a tale of slitting a yeti's throat with a shard of rock, and beating another Yetis skull in with a larger piece or rock in the process of escaping their clutches. In his flight, he drinks yeti blood and tries to perform some of their magic, to keep the biting cold of the mountains from claiming his life after he escapes. Alas, the spell misfires, and he becomes one with the mountain.
  49. "Well, those were some of Lord Barcho's army, least that's what they call themselves. The bandits to the north? Leader calls himself Lord Barcho. They make us grow food for them, or we end up like the village over yonder, burned to the ground. ....So, what is a mage, one with a Soul Grave no less doing out here?
  50. -There's Barcho 'Ironjaw' out in the Golden League, Barcho The Breaker, bodyguard for one of the disciples of Domintus, last I heard, and...."
  51. -The sense of building density I detect through magnetomancy rises to a resounding crescendo, the piece of metal now shining as brilliantly to my senses as several tons of iron, it's magnetic field swelling to radical immensity as it's potency grows. The stranger's blood vibrates in time with the metal of his keen blade, and I feel a flood of activity, as the stranger leaps the remaining distance betwixt them. With my attention already so closely focused on this exchange, and with the now immense magnetic field of the stranger's weapon, I make a snap judgment, now looking to wrest control of the traveler's sword from him through magnetomancy. For a brief instant the weapon resists, it's bond to it's bearer giving me some difficulty, before I halt the previously terminally accelerating blade before it comes in contact with the citizen of Trepany. As both parties react to how events have played out thanks to my intervention, I finally reach the gates of Trepany. Derkin has managed to keep pace with my full speed without suffering for it, and shouts at the guardhouses above the gate.
  53. "Hey, someone jumped over your wall where those torches dimmed!"
  55. As I hear cries being raised even before Derkin finishes speaking, I feel the traveler and likely assassin leap into motion, flying into close contact with the guard near him.... I believe they are fighting unarmed? In short order, the guard's blood is slowing and cooling as the traveler does.... something and reaches for his sword again. It is at this moment Derkin finishes warning the guards. Even as I try to forcibly attract the sword to me, away from the traveler, he manages to grasp his blade and I lose command of it's field, some form of warding now about it. I regret I could not prevent him regaining his weapon, but now that I have observed how fast he can leap twice while paying attention to the iron in his blood, I feel I have a better sense of how swiftly he can move.
  56. -I feel the weight building in the assassin's sword reach it's peak again, and recollecting what had happened before, I act assertively, taking hold of every bit of magnetic field I can sense about the guards, and yanking them back, out of the swords path before it is swung, tugging them with arms and armor both. The sword slashes through empty air, meeting none of the opposition it's owner was anticipating, the guards spared. Yet the path the blade flashed through now is adorned with a plethora of twisters and cyclones, all growing taller and spinning more violently as the contract, kicking up a large amount of thatching from the roof's surface. In this moment of confusion, when combat is disengaged for the moment, I see the assassin once more perform one of his astounding leaps, sailing through the air to another roof top, something about his travel through the air odd, though I still could not say how. I can hear mutters and shouts from the roof above, and know the guards present their to have suffered no ill effect from my rough handling. I address the guards still on ground level about me, trying to dispel the confusion that still slows them as I track the killer, still working his way towards the large building in the center of town.
  57. -The soul (Luo) comes to rest inside Sable Executioner.... no, not just the claw, but the arm as well, it anchors itself widely.... strange that I can sense it so much more clearly now then the last time I gained a heroic soul. I try to grasp some thoughts from the soul as it settles in, and find some vague thoughts of a place called the Land of Dragons from far to the south, and some sort of contract on Keddic's life this one accepted. Beyond that, I can glean nothing at the moment. The soul of Luo of the Winding Path brings to my claw.... a sense of being hinged, like a new method of flexing. The connection between my claw and the rest of my arm, made of the same black steel as the blades of Sable Executioner, now has a decided spiral pattern to it, that runs the whole way up to the claws. I can feel the soul striving to apply it further up the arm, but it cannot seem to breach the border between Black Steel and the poor man's equivalent to steel, a mass of iron with a very low carbon concentration.
  59. I attempt to manipulate this newfound degree of.... sensation in Sable Executioner, and find the spiraled connection between arm and claw unwinding, three Black Steel ribbons sprouting from my arm, each adorned with a blade of Sable Executioner. I find the entire length of metal ribbon to be finely saw toothed and lightly scalpelized the same as the Sable Executioner, and realize the blades have grown some several feet. While my original reach with my blades has grown by some seven, possibly eight feet, pushing the total reach I have with my right arm (with Sable Executioner 'unfurled') somewhere in excess of twenty feet. And with each length of blade malleable, flexible, I could likely engage more simultaneous targets. I wonder if I found enough Black Steel that I could convert my entire right arm into it, if the soul's..... roots, I suppose, would allow this effect it's had to spread even further..... a thought to consider. I see Keddic glancing appreciatively at Sable Executioner's new form, and.. re-furl, I suppose, the blades into its passive, compact state, the three blades once more parallel upon the end of my arm. Though as I tense the tips of the Sable Executioner, I see them bend this way and that, and know I could likely fold them into some limited measure of other arrangements.... though with each ribbon-blade of Sable Executioner coming out of my arm at points of an equiangular triangle, I am confined in my choices.
  60. -In relatively short order, I have a fairly solid grasp of what this new arm is capable of, after having used it quite liberally, shredding several trees and shattered several stones in the process of gaining this familiarity. The blade-ribbons can roll up easily enough, and are incredibly flexible, but I note that bending them side to side and attempting to twist the blades are significantly more challenging endeavors. Still, the end result is that I now have three independently targeted, magic dispelling, saw-toothed blades, each with greater reach and maneuverability than their prior form, though I note that while unfurled, I cannot put as much weight behind a blow from any individual length of blade.
  61. -I spend some time thereafter trying to get more used to applying Magnetomancy to myself, as a means of improving combat performance. I rather swiftly realize that if I devote one of my two sources of magic to manipulating my own magnetic fields, I can move with significantly increased speed. Further, if I devote both of my sources of magic, self and Soul Nexus each, to controlling my own magnetic fields, I can move with greatly increased alacrity, and in general make my body handle far more responsively than it's bulk and weight would normally imply. This would mean I could not use the Soul Nexus in my left hand while so empowered, but my shoulder implements, Sable Executioner and Immortal Genocide would all still be readily available, as would the Amaranthine Annihilator and Soulfire.
  62. -Oggoth fought Keddic and lost. Twice.
  63. -[Mordre's vision is of superior capability to normal sight, and what he currently sees is what would be visible with a high-quality telescope focused to the appropriate point. Though improvements to his sight beyond that could be made.]
  64. -Something like a face on the tree turns my way, and it impression of a mouth moves. But no sound escapes, only a sighing wind that echoes down to us from the branches above, and the crude mockery of lips are too imprecise for any attempt to lipread. I appraise Jojo and Keddic each, who both seem similarly bemused. I decide to step closer, to inspect the plant it tends more closely. I note that it seems like an entwined spiral of upwardly thrust roots, a natural fractal terminating as the roots taper to nothingness.... yet there seems to be some sort of haze about the tip, that starts just as I lose sight of the ends of the roots. The roots shiver slightly as I gain proximity, before the arm-like protrusions from the attending tree encircle protectively about the growth, and I get the sense the nearby tree is trying to shelter it's ward. I still can make nothing of the sighing sounds coming from the tree branches, which I must assume is some attempt at communication. (First meeting of Moss)
  65. - The surviving bandits are now either throwing their arms to the ground in their own surrender, or attempting to flee. I see the gunman taking command of the swiftest to flee, and leading them in their retreat even as the militia barricades the broken gates, trapping the slower bandits within. With their escape now impossible, the last resisting bandits begin throwing down their weapons and surrendering as well, unwilling to continue. Keddic casts a surly, reproachful eye at the distant fleeing figure of the gunman and other bandits, before taking command of the militia, and leading them in accepting the bandit's surrender
  66. -[Not enough fluid for Mordre's body, too bad]
  67. [Replacement OH YEAH use: Make dozens of full metal javelins, give treatment, store in primary mode on Mordre's body, eject, trigger their secondary mode, and fire them the same way Verther fired javelins earlier. With source a full-sized javelin, expanded version will be dozens of feet long, and have significant mass.]
  69. [So yeah, no SUPERSIZED MORDRE, but how about MEDIEVAL MISSILES?]
  72. [Feel free to come up with other ideas, as there are many applications for this limited resource.]
  73. -I feel no flood of knowledge from the soul, only an infinitesimally small increase to my magical strength accompanies the meal, and a dim sense the fool knew nothing of his own supply logistics, just that others would bring him what he needed. (Barcho was an underling, probably to Weshindo)
  74. And the morphic weapons seem based on none other than: The principles governing Soul Grave function!
  75. -But I do sense it's contents, a dull, silvery mass of what looks to be steel that flows like water, but to my Magnetomancy-inclined senses, it feels like a well of possibility, a multitude of possible futures lending it a supernatural weight all it's own (Morphic Steel I believe)
  76. -When I look at the fleshlings like this, the spark of life gone, I cannot help but see them as imperfect containers, lesser versions of my own form. Despite this complete confidence that they are inferior, I cannot help but feel them some sort of distant cousin, the same as I would think of a golem of stone or wood. I suppose to me, all fauna seem like golems forged of flesh. (Morde thoughts on corpses)
  77. -three flares of blinding light surge forth from the southeast, but they fade before I can turn to see their source. I am left wanting for only a short while, as two new bolts of lightning flash down from the sky in the distance, starkly defined jagged lines that vanish the moment they appear. Considering the direction, I must assume this to be the work of the rebel-controlled outpost east of Trekel, though I know not who they might be fighting. The rest of the day is disrupted with intermittent flashes, the mark of a prolonged exchange, though with us this distant it has little immediate impact other than distraction. The rest of the day passes without much incident as goods are relocated to all be within the walls and neatly packed away. (After taking Arcanoworks)
  78. -The day ends with Arkus telling me that he has learned that the fifth floor also contains books on the location of local leylines. (Don’t think we ever used that)
  79. -I begin to grow tired of eating the scraps of arms and armor deemed un-salvageable, Oggroth still gone with the bronze disk I usually eat from, and this thought continues to hound me till the sun rises (Morde has some sense of taste maybe?)
  80. -In particular, one on using World magic as a method to invert other magics intrigues him greatly (Book in the Arcanoworks library)
  81. - Some real burly guy came by asking about the mage Mordre (Confirmed as Dulu, post Arcanoworks fight).
  82. - "...Yes, I would be happy to offer a name: Would 'Hashbranch' suffice for the future town?" (We named a town Hashbranch! Go us)
  83. - I elect to allow the creature crafted of bark and roots to ponderously creep toward the glowing outcropping unimpeded, and once more it reaches out with questing feelers softly glowing in the dead of night, as World Motes begin to pour out of the outcropping. Whether their response is defensive or based on curiosity, I do not know, but as motes draw close enough, the writhing tendrils latch on to them, pulling them into the creature's maw. As the creature feasts, more tendrils sprout from it's form, capturing and consuming ever more of the World Motes. I note that as it feasts, it's form visibly begins to swell and grow. Finally the outcropping is bereft of light or movement, and a notably larger creature finally turns to regard the spiral of roots, then stare at me. It plods down the side of the dead tree's base, trekking across the cold earth to draw closer to the spiral of roots. It turns to look at me once more, before setting into the root with it's wooden beak, worrying at it without any observable impact, the glowing tendrils it releases unable to gain purchase on the spiraled tangle. It stops again to stare at me pointedly, before once more ineffectually assaulting the roots.
  85. While the creature is thus occupied, I raise my hand, placing Arkus within the tree's canopy, and order him to search the treetop for seeds, whilst I search the ground for the same. I keep an eye on the bark and root creature as I do, but it continues to attack the root with periodic pauses to stare at me, and this trend continues as Arkus and I forage for seeds. Ultimately, we harvest some two dozen seeds, before I am left with only the creature to occupy my attention. Thoughts of taking it with me, possibly finding use in it's nature, flit across my mind, but I am by no means certain. In any event, it seems I have harvested what I can here, as I pluck Arkus from the treetops, and consider my options. (We take seed pods from tree that made Motes, Moss attacking root for some reason.)
  86. - I lean down to the creature in it's struggle with the unyielding root, Arkus backing off to a respectable distance, and pinch the top of the skyward striving roots, pulping through their tough exterior with ease. As I withdraw my hand, I see a puzzlingly lurid, glowing swirl of colors ooze out of the damaged roots, a feast the bark and root creature willfully sets to, greedily slurping it down. It's body further swells as it climbs up the roots, questing towards the damaged tip. Glowing tendrils sprout from it's body, embedding themselves in the pulped innards of the broken roots, and the creature begins to.... merge with the tangle of vegetation it has climbed. The roots writhe, pulling themselves free from the earth... and with them comes some sort of mass, possibly some sort of giant seed from which the roots sprang, is pulled free, fusing with the creature. The fusion is a chaotic swirl of oscillating roots and flaking bark, but soon enough the creature, once the size of Arkus' head, is notably larger, now comparable to his torso in size.
  88. The creature looks at me again, this time turning it's whole body to face me. I stare at it without response for a moment, and find it's interest in me to be more than passing, it's focus still locked on me. With thoughts of finding a use for the creature running through my mind, I reach out my hand once more, to scoop up the creature in my grasp, but it dodges aside with more surety than it displayed in it's earlier form, but otherwise does not respond. I note Arkus drawing closer, his curiosity overriding his obsession with preserving personal safety in the face of the unknown. I decide to speak to the creature again, as it seemed to respond previously. (effects of breaking root, Moss defined as an unknown, speculated as mini core being in the thread. What Moss can do)
  89. - I gouge out a hole in the earth with one of my fingers, and drop one of the salvaged seeds into the hole before covering it back up, planting it where the spiral roots once grew. The bark and wood creature considers my actions soberly, before stretching it's jaws wide in a facsimile of a yawn, and cocking it's head inquisitively at me form. Based on it earlier responses, I must assume it to understand speech to some degree, and address it once more.
  90. "What is your desire small one?"
  92. The creature cranes it's neck about, as if chasing down an errant thought zooming about it's head, before I hear.... the gurgle of a stomach, muted and distorted, emanating from the creature. It peers at me expectantly while it's stomach growls, and I assume it is trying to communicate something to me.
  93. I extend my left hand, but make no move to touch the creature. It regards my hand cautiously as I begin speaking again.
  94. "It's reactions earlier seem to indicate not only sentience, But also comprehension of what we're saying... Do you have an aversion to this hand of mine?"
  96. The creature nods it's head, but does not retreat from my hand, at least so long as it remains stationary. It hesitantly pokes it's head closer to my hand, tendrils of light extending from it's form to alight upon my fist, but the moment a tendril makes contact with the runes of Immortal Genocide, a brilliant spark jumps to the creature's form, and it convulses violently for a moment before it can withdraw. The creature does not seem harmed, but it does seem that it experienced something unpleasant in that exchange. Arkus makes little comment, having busied himself with taking exhaustive notes on the creature we encountered as I interact with it.
  97. Another question occurs to me, and I put it to the perceptive creature before me.
  98. "Is this entity here, the one you prowled on your progenitor?"
  100. The creature coughs while shaking it's head, content to scratch at the dying tree with it's extremities, seeming focus on cosmetic damages as part of it's answer. I move on to the final question that has occurred to me as of yet.
  101. "And this being here, it is bereft of life now, yes?"
  103. The creature sits on it's haunches as it nods, several of the tendrils creeping forth from it's form and running over it's own body, picking free detritus. The creature considers my still extended hand another time, and while it does not approach my hand any further, it does not retreat either.
  104. (Moss fears the IG, (Black Hole, or Order part?), constant desire to eat)
  105. "Your origins are predominately magical, yes?"
  107. The creature nods reproachfully, seeming offended I needed to ask, but I continue on my train of thought unimpeded.
  108. "Perhaps your aversion is to the enchantments in my hand? Amongst them is the ability to dispel, to destroy magic."
  110. The creature takes a cautionary step back from my hand, holding it's weight low in preparation for movement.
  111. "Do not be alarmed, I do not intend you harm, In fact, I find you quite intriguing."
  113. The creature relaxes, amiably sitting on it's haunches again, regarding me with it's profile, the way it moves it's head reminding me more and more of the few birds I have seen, appraising objects with a single curious orb.
  117. -Considering the possible connections between the World Motes and Core Beings, and what this creature could mean for both types of entities, I ask a markedly different question.
  118. "There are entities referred to by many names, Core Beings, World Nightmares, the titles vary, But they seem to describe the same thing, An errant fragment of the power of the Leylines, Possibly the world of Zakrath itself. Do you know of what type of creature I speak?"
  120. The creature whimpers, drawing it's bark and root from tighter about itself, but it nods to my query nonetheless.
  121. "Would you be capable of eating such a thing? They strike me as similar to World Motes, That which you feasted on earlier."
  123. The creature seems torn between a plethora of desired responses. It uncoils itself, spreading itself as wide as it can, and cocks it's head questioningly at me. Then it relaxes into it's normal posture, taking up less space, and mournfully shakes it's head. The creature also finds time to return to the prior location of the root spiral it merged with, and nods it's head, making a content purring noise. It manages to do all this nearly at the same time, and I am forced to wonder, what kind of message was it trying to convey?
  125. - [NOTE: Leyline Geysers are where intersecting leylines create a vent reaching to the surface, with copious amounts of undirected World Magic will spew forth unceasingly. Highly valued by mages as being able to power numerous sustained spells that would otherwise be impossible.
  126. - While it seems reasonable to me to interpret the creature's earlier antics as meaning it considers itself too small to tackle a Core Being, a viewpoint I find myself agreeing with. But even beyond the possibility of caring for and feeding the creature till such time it could handle a Core Being directly, I consider other possibilities. When I tried to feast directly on the soul of the Core Being near Trekel, it had some form of reaction, and I wonder if this creature could feed on the trapped Core Being without it being freed. If such a thing were discovered to be possible, whoever pioneered it could gain fame and power both for their discovery, and I admit both appeal to me.
  127. - The wood and bark creature, however, has thus far shown no signs that fatigue is even something it has to deal with, partly explaining my growing affinity with the creature. ...And I must admit, it's clumsy, ugly frame seems to endearing for some perplexing reason... strange indeed. It continues to whine while it's belly rumbles, eying my hand and the stone it holds with a paradoxical conglomeration of patience and urgency.
  129. ...Hm. The Curse disrupted souls and their connection to the bodies they were bound to, with both myself and this creature being present to suffer from it. I came out of it with souls still in my possession.... as my only possessions. If the creature pursues me, it must be about souls, making me wonder if the creature now bears some of my old souls or vice versa. Still, I feel confident that I have identified it's origins, and considering it's bond with me is of this format, I expect it will continue to hound me, until such time only one of us remains, or I find some manner to enslave it.
  130. - I hear a creaking groan, like old trees swaying in the wind, issue forth from my new follower, the being of bark and root, and see a faint glimmer of light shine through it's torso from the stone it devoured, as it digs it's legs into the ground, ready to take off, nodding at me eagerly. .....It would seem the creature is confident in it's mobility.
  132. Then we shall test it.
  134. I set off back to the north, heading back towards the Kyogrock Arcanoworks at my inexhaustible pace of some tens mile per hour... and find the creature keeping pace with me without issue. In fact, it periodically runs ahead of me to await my arrival, or circles about me as I pace, the glow from it's chest still barely visible. (Speedy thing)
  135. - I've found more than a dozen rambling journals already, and I imagine more are around somewhere (OH HEY LOOK INFO)
  136. -ULZRICK shift! Ulzrick gains Great Strength and Flexibility, but poor Stamina and Reflexes.
  137. -They seem inclined to act suspicious when they assume it is a trap, but when I transition from offering it as a gift to offering to trade it for future favors, none object and four more people become beholden to Ulzrick, each armed with one of the poleaxes
  138. -Our voices show in Green, his other hivemind voices are unheard by us when in this context.
  139. - ....Although even if it is a crazy thought, I do have to admit that some thoughts recently have felt even odder than normal, and I could almost swear they... well, weren't my thoughts.
  142. I know many of you can be habitual liars, I falsify a good bit myself, but what do you think, are these new voices even stranger? ...New voices, I'll take your input on this with a grain of salt.
  144. -Too much inter-quest conversation disorients Ulzrick mid combat.
  145. - ...Okay, it looks like it's focusing on everyone else for the moment since they are all in front of it and conveniently in reach of the golem.... what the hell were you all going on about before? Stuff about the golem being aware, thoughts being mad (which I resent, that means we're all mad voices, not cool), magic rifts, wandering souls... I would just call you crazy, loathe as I am to use the term, but.... you new voices DO feel different.
  146. - >Yep, Mordre's actually a sentient golem. He can also shed his 12th layer of metal exoskeleton to become 20 feet taller and develop the ability to bring eternal happiness to all in existence, so long as he manages to reach the galactic standard age of maturity for the peoples of Ramus Prime. No other Raman has managed this before! WoooOOOoooOOooo
  147. ........Got it, you all are some of the, ah.... fun voices. Fine. If you wouldn't mind keeping that down for now, it's hard enough to fight without parts of my own mind trying to convince me of some alternate reality, okay?
  148. -through the haze of what I resolutely tell myself are just my own delusions, I feel a foot land on the handle, and reality snaps back into place. I throw as much of my strength as I can behind my second leap, hurling myself skyward.... with the strength behind my jump more than sufficient for me to reach my target. I shove the spike in between the golem's right arm and it's body, triggering it before my momentum carries me past. (Internal voices warn of danger often).
  149. -At end of fight, Morde was forced to pull Magnetomancy tricks to not be potencially defeated.
  150. - What, you know the militia is drawn from the whole of the adult population of the Republic of Trepany, thus meaning the term 'militiamen' is technically inaccurate, right? ...I think that's Ellorika, she's go- (huh? She was mentioned all the way back here, and she lasted quite long against Morde)
  151. -Ulzrick is last one standing, as Durkin ffalls unconscious from cannon shot recoil (enough to knock them both down). Ulzrick also takes blame for weapon stealing, and gets off the hook.
  152. - We come upon a collection of perhaps a dozen buildings, and the dozen or so people that become visible as we approach quickly. I hail them as they begin to scatter, likely terrified of an approaching golem resembling a great and terrible knight with a skull helm and blazing eyes, saw-toothed claws and shadowed pits adorn my limbs
  153. - I duck my head back out, to find the Premen who had the nearer houses designated for them to search bearing wary looks on their faces, and I glimpse dried blood within some of the other houses with their doors open: So the town was massacred, then. A second Magnetomancy sweep of the buildings, now that I know what I seek, reveals what I feared: Every one of these buildings built into the trees has deformed hand-cannon rounds scattered about, an equal number to the number of corpses in the room.
  155. What bothers me is the lack of tracks when we arrived: If a group large enough to kill everyone before they could even flee their homes would have disturbed far more of the local foliage, so wha-
  157. "Chieftain Mordre, this looks to be a message here."
  159. I snap my attention to the Premen who spoke, and peer inside the building he motions towards. As I do so, I hear the wood creature that has followed me so doggedly now growling, glaring at the building I approach. Within, a lone adult and dozens of children lay dead, their blood spattered over the few books and drawings they had. Written on the wall, with splatters running from the corpses to show where the 'ink' came from, is a message that reads the following.
  161. Barcho was an excellent pawn, a figurehead I had a preference to.
  162. You have destroyed my life of ease, and destroyed the empire I was building.
  163. I am fully aware that you possess more power than I, with you Soul Grave,
  164. So I make you this promise:
  165. I WILL return to lay waste to everything you value,
  166. And I leave this newly made ghost town as proof of my solidarity.
  167. You will know my return when all you possess turns to ruin about you.
  169. At the bottom of the message, a rough outline of a hand-cannon is the only hint of a signature.
  170. -I recollect the gunman that clashed with Keddic during the taking of Kyogrock Arcanoworks, and considering the type of weapon employed here, it seems clear that he is the culprit, rather than Dulu. ….Still, this scene is in and of itself odd, and full of questions: If only the gunman came, then how were they all slain in their homes? How did it come to be that not a single person was able to exit their house before the whole village was slaughtered? Something about this event is puzzling, and I elect to take some time to more thoroughly appraise the situation.
  171. -Confirmation has been made that a single set of tracks came into this town prior to the attack.
  172. -A single set of tracks (confirmed to not be the gunman’s tracks, unless his feet grew larger) has been noted to have arrived at the village after the slaughter.
  173. -Little in the way of tracks to indicate the deceased occupants traveled much from their homes, even about the village.
  174. -The houses do not seal well, and noise is quite audible through the windows and doors. A weapon as loud as a hand-cannon would have roused the whole town.
  175. -Each house has a staircase leading to the tree canopies, with a large concentration of bird nests to be found in the tree’s canopies.
  176. -74 corpses, 28 of them children, have been located, all within buildings, all with a single wound.
  177. -Most buildings with several occupants show evidence that at least some of the victims attempted to defend themselves or flee, so it seems unlikely the attack was made under the cover of a magically induced slumber or similar magic.
  178. -Many of the shells are embedded in walls at human chest height, suggesting many were standing when shot.
  179. -Every house has an equal number of hand-cannon shells as the number of bodies. This would seem to imply that not a single shot missed, as there are no marks to suggest shells were removed prior to our arrival.
  180. -One of the Premen confirms that the total number of hand-cannons we possess at Kyogrock Arcanoworks is six shy of the amount Barcho told us he possessed prior to his death, leaving exactly six hand-cannons unaccounted for.
  181. -The gunman’s tracks head to the South-East.
  182. -The additional set of tracks likewise goes South-East, at some time after the gunman ventured in the same direction.
  184. As I consider all the new information we have gained, I find myself distracted by something I have noticed with my Magnetomancy. As I was meticulously assessing the corpses, I idly recalled Ugrokk’s earlier encounter with a mage in the Duran forests that pulled the very iron out of a person’s blood. I attempted to replicate this act myself in combat in several instances, but it seems I lack sufficient master of Magnetomancy for such a feat, and I had left the matter at that…. But something about the blood of the dead before us feels… different. Perhaps it is the death of the owners of the blood, but I feel the presence of the iron in the dried blood about me far more clearly than I can feel that of the living. I experimentally reach out to a bloodstain near my foot…. And I am surprised to feel the iron responding. I feel the metal breaking free of the dried and cracking blood as I continue to incur attraction between it and my own form, and after a few more seconds of focus, a fine grey mist begins to break free of the bloodstain, wafting towards my form. The wooden creature perks up at this, inspecting the gray mist with a critical eye, absorbed in my actions.
  185. -
  186. I see torches outside the camp, each with a dozen or more men clustered about them, moving to defensible positions about the outpost, lying in wait for their foe, whoever it may be.
  188. I sweep my gaze across the plains again as a trio of lightning bolts provide a prolonged bout of illumination, and I see....
  189. >>
  190. Two figures, marching alone across the field, seemingly unconcerned with the conflict right before them. The smaller of the two individuals take a moment to turn about, a large pack becoming visible as his profile is exposed, and glances behind him, his eyes seeming to seek me out, despite the two miles or so of space separating us, and I could swear I feel hate and glee both in that gaze.
  192. This must be the Gunman.
  194. The other traveler beside the gunman reaches out a hand, and urges the Gunman on. I sweep my gaze over to the other traveler-
  196. It's Dulu.
  198. The two stare at me for a brief moment more, before they turn back to their journey, some five hundred feet from the Outpost. As they continue to approach, I see no attacks directed at them.
  200. -A being made of fire, emerald lines coursing through and on it's body while radiating intense light and heat bursts into existence, and the Premen on my far shoulder shies from it's existence some twenty feet distant with the wind racing by. Assuming this creature must handle like a normal Soul Soldier in terms of how I control it, I direct my focus towards my desire to crush, flay and rend Dulu and this Gunman, to prevent their escape. The being, which I now recognize to have a sort of furnace encircled with the brilliant ivory lines tracing across it's from, embedded deep in it's chest.... as I feel that furnace heat up, the creature... no... this Inferno Golem is wreathed in clouds of flame, and blasts off, soaring after my two targets with a speed far exceeding my own, Soulfire personified and directed by my will. Shouts fly up from the outpost at the blinding star, the tiny sun soaring through the air, and I see cannons being wheeled about to face our direction.
  201. -I feel crystalline pupils develop within the crystal structures, their surface smoothing into unblemished spheres, while their internal structure grows more complex with internal facets to redirect light. My vision grows in clarity, as the world begins to grow red about me. (Second AA Pristine used)
  202. -Only as the ground where he stood cracks apart and a wall of fire begins to billow outward, I note with shock the the beam of the Amaranthine Annihilator is still present, still emanating from my eyes, rather than instantly winking out.
  204. As the Inferno Golem grows somewhat unsteady under my control, it's assault on the Gunman slowing as I rapidly follow through on the revelation of how my Soulfire fueled gaze ability now works... and how to exploit it. Dulu's a bare meter away from the beam, still in the air as he starts to swing his shield around to block my attack. But in the space between instants my gaze shifts to the midair Dulu, targeting his shoulder, and the beam follows my gaze obediently. I see flesh freeze and explode, and Dulu spins about behind his shield.... and a leg gets exposed a fifth of a second later, which I neatly target and likewise freeze and shatter. Another leg gets exposed a bare instant later and is similarly dealt with, precisely excised from my foes concealed form. ...If only it weren't for his apparently indestructible weapon-turned-shield, I could target something more critical than a limb, but judging from his previous angle of descent, I doubt I shall get another direct point of line of sight to further maim him.
  206. I instead elect to track my gaze rapidly towards the Gunman (Carefully avoiding hitting the Inferno Golem, as if I targeted it, I fear the flames produced might burn souls like any other form of Soulfire would. The beam sweeps through several plumes of smoke, creating tiny puffs of fire as icy splinters explode outward upon contact. In the process of averting my cold-laser-guided gaze from my minion, the pillar of ruby light overshoots, tracing a racing, meandering line through a collection of insurgents near my two targets, across the side of the insurgents outpost, and over another blister of four cannons, still targeted at the other forces engaging the insurgents. The beam winks out of existence moments later, about two thirds of a second after it started. As it does I see frozen earth, bodies, stone and cannons all exploding, throwing frozen shards about as shrapnel as fire leaps after everything nearby. The afterimage of the sustained beam of the Amaranthine Annihilator wanes, fading out of the air, while Dulu's shield falls to cover his form, only a sheen of frost showing evidence my attack even touched the shield. (AA lasting longer effect, w/ 2 Pristine use.)
  207. >[NOTE: The Amaranthine Annihilator is now permanantly augmented so that as it builds charge, the beam will last longer as well as have greater power. And it does lose potency over distance, with these being some hundred fold more distant targets than the last use. Fun times.]
  208. -That would make the Gunman a mage then, and with this evidenced effect, I would assume an Aeromancer of some sort. ....And I do recall considering the chance the gunman could void the sound of his guns, I believe that is within the purview of an Aeromancer of any competence.
  209. -following the bald man reading from a book, are bombarded again by the eight cannon still targeting them. The bald man snaps the book shut as he slams his hammer against his shield and shouts a strangely multi-tonal Word, and the earth rises, a thick slab of earth rising to cover the forward troops. Three cannon rounds are absorbed in the earth, the lightning and molten metal doing nothing to the dirt, but three other shots land among their number, while the remaining two go wide. I now can see the full size of the other army now, and estimate it to be somewhere in the range of five hundred strong, with evidence of having suffered significant casualties. (State mage)
  210. -With my form coming closer to resuming contact with the ground, and the time when my Magnetomancy must once more be focused inward if I wish to avoid falling drawing every nearer, I waste no time in sowing chaos into the remaining ranks of those opposing the State. I push metal-clad feet about to upset balance, I tug shields out of the way, I push swords into fellow rebels instead of into the intended state target, I create chaos in dozens of personal manners as alacritously as I can.... and must snap my attention back to myself as my foot finally hits the ground, and I keep running, having lost no speed.
  212. ...Strange, I feel somewhat... out of sorts from having done that, though I could not point to why.
  214. The State forces finally route those few before them, and begin charging to meet the rebel in the blood-drenched toga over his armor that leads the only other force of rebels on the field, the bald mage now leading some four hundred fifty, four hundred forty soldiers now. I also note him motioning to the side with his hammer, and a contingent of his force peels off to charge towards the Gunman and my Inferno Golem.
  215. -Blood Toga does not burn away even from being near an Inferno Golem.
  216. -"I walked my own path in life,
  217. And I won't regret it now.
  218. If this is where it ends, so be it." –Balboa’s last words
  219. -With the power come other memories, flitting thoughts going through my head.... Thoughts I raptly focus on when I realize Balboa had not just recently met Dulu, the two had worked together on several occasions. ....Yes, yes, it seems the Balboa, and his puppet Barcho had served someone, murky thoughts of a terrifying and powerful mage passing through my mind as I try to discern their identity. The last thought I am left with before the soul and its memories finish fusing with me and escape my perusal, is that Balboa knows the man in the blood-soaked coat, an individual named Daobo leading the insurgents here.... and a fellow student of the mage Balboa served.
  221. Most interesting.
  224. -As the instant in which I consume Balboa's soul passes, I hear a scream of rage from the direction of the outpost, and track it to Daobo himself, his face fill of hate as he stares at the corpse in my hand.
  226. As I feast, Daobo's soul sinks deep into my core, permeating my existence with new understanding of magic.... Blood magic, to be precise. With his soul I feel precious knowledge, ability fusing with my existence, a new type of magic starting to open before me. ....Sadly, the knowledge I gain is incomplete, a superior version of my basic World knowledge. And yet, despite the fragmentary structure of the new magical principles and ability I absorbed, I feel the Blood Iron I am manipulating abruptly surge in responsiveness, far easier to command than just a scant moment ago... yet the rest of the metals I sense feel no different. ...Hm, perhaps the lessons I have gained from Daobo are of some use after all, if one cares to look. Where Magnetomancy and Blood magic intercept, I now will perform more ably than previously, even if I do not yet have a direct command of Blood magic.
  228. Daobo, like Balboa, was a student of the shadowed mage I saw in the gunman's dying thoughts, and their image begins to grow more clear. An older, wizened individual that is both respected and feared alike, one who instructed them in the ways of magic, betwixt using them in his machinations. Faces of assorted ages and styles war within my psyche to match with this mage, dozens of memories struggling, before I get a name: Weinsho.......ah, Archmage Weinsho. Strangely enough, no memory of Dulu is to be found within the soul, and as it finishes merging with me I lose access to the flood of memories, retaining only what I have already perceived.
  230. Carefully using Sable Executioner to expedite the process, I begin claiming and tightly folding the togas and cloak alike, packing them away into Balboa's bag. While I do this, I likewise claim their runed weapons, paying special attention to Daobo's weapon, a heavy, single-edged cleaver covered in runes and symbols of lightning
  234. *Unknown Causes/Effects
  235. -Before us, even with the sun shimmering in the moist air, visibility is fine, and little fog is present... but the lightning strikes for a fifth time, thunder rolling past once more. (In early events, Lightning has now struck the same place 5 times. Extremely likely someone is causing this, possible lightning mage in area)
  236. -Second encounter of Patchwork Beast (South of Tyekel):
  237. We have finally reached the south Field, some few hours after having finished entombing the northern farm's cellar, and I once more halt my troops some distance away from the structures, as this time I see some lights dimly glowing in some windows.... and I can hear screams. I march forward, intent on finding out what is going on, when a massive shape simply bursts through the roof, leaping free to land upon the earth again some fair distance away.... and I recognize it. The creature that stalked me upon the Premen mountains a month ago, covered in blood and viscera, turns to regard me for a critical second, before it bounds off into the woods at impressive speeds.
  239. In the creature's absence, I neither see nor hear further movement from within the house, but some light still spills forth. I am halfway across the fields to the buildings, with my followers still on the outside edge of the field.
  240. I cannot be sure, but the fact the creature was already present at the southern field when I arrived seems to suggest it has indeed been tracking me.
  241. -I cast my memories and senses both to seeking the answer: how many souls did I gain in feasting on the freshly dead here? And the only answer I come to, no matter how I approach it, is simply that I gained not a single soul. Clearly this is impossible, as I recall feasting on separate souls, but I still have the four hundred and seventy one souls worth of fuel, I do not understand… ah. Perhaps, if all the souls I fed on were oriented about magic, that the souls of mages are treated in some similar manner to the souls of heroes, removed from my fuel and somehow grafted to me. A thought to consider.
  242. -Gained blood stained notes of Weshindo apprentices in South Fields, did not learn full contents.
  243. "...Yeah.... yeah, that sounds like it is based around the principles seen in Soul Grave mortars.... weird that they have that, since the Azelhaedran State have never possessed a Soul Grave themselves, but there it is. (Morphic Cannon gun)
  244. -much more in line with what I recall of Mosmordren military discipline.... though my memories are vague and imprecise, glimmers through a fogged mind of my time before sapience, so I wonder how accurate they are. I spend the rest of the night pondering the totality of my memories from pre-sapience, questioning their validity as the night wears on and I continue pacing. (A lot of recall of such things during this chapter)
  245. - "..Ah, let's see, they kept going on about it being some great, hulking brute of a beast, and that it had 'funny parts' all over, whatever that means.... oh, and that something was falling from it's body, the kids say like it was undressing, but I imagine that if this thing is real, it might be shedding... (Probably Patchwork beast, or at least impression Morde gets. But the shedding I believe is new.)
  246. - The Unicode stare he fixes me with is all the answer I need. (Wait… what? Morde knows what a Unicode stare is?)
  247. - That's how those bodies were put in crystal, someone just used World magic in a repository as a focus to invert Soulfire's chaos and destruction based powers into orderly preservation(Arkus knows some level of Inversion as a result, and one of the effects of Inverted Chaos Soulfire known)
  248. -...I also see some sort of creature formed of bark and roots examining the glowing outcropping, it's movements as slow and muted as the tree that cared for the roots earlier. I look to Arkus who I roused soon after nearing this location, who blearily tells me he won't be able to read the book relevant to this until he gets some better light.
  250. The creature of bark and root takes a speculative step towards the glowing outcropping, and one of the lights flies forth, buzzing about before the creature as if in challenge. In response, tendrils of light start snaking out from the creature, which the shining light hastily retreats from. (MOSS!)
  251. - >Remember back when Mage Morde used magnetomancy on Derkin's armor, hurling him away? About how you 'Felt something' as this happened? Make a mental note to talk to Mage Mordre or his apprentice, it might be significant in some way.
  252. " ....Ah, and before I forget, and I'm sorry if this sounds weird, but... I swear I felt something change about your golem and Derkin both, when you hurled him away. Same thing when you sped up, I was struck by the feeling something about you had been altered, or augmented. ....I don't suppose that means anything to you?"
  253. -Still thinking about the change in size since the last time I saw Moss, I turn once more to my companion.
  254. "You seem larger. Did you find food?"
  256. Moss looks somewhat confused, and makes an aborted attempt at nodding before amending it, and instead shaking it's head as it whines. It looks off to the east, to a patch of forest north of the outpost I warred against earlier today, but seems to have trouble picking a specific direction, it's head bobbing back and forth. In any even, I make a mental note that something is to be found out here, even if I do not yet know what.
  261. *Factoids (Things we know about people/places, events on the world stage)
  262. -"Alright, about two hundred feet farther, up at that pile of stones there, is the official border between Duras and The Azelhaedran State... but this part of the state is still a lawless shambles, so... be aware it will take some time if you want to find a legitimate town to trade in.... Although with the amount of arms you bear, I imagine a skillful diplomat could arrange meetings with Bandit Kings or Mercenary Lord in command of some of the stolen research outposts. But in either case, as you are still heading that direction, we'll just wait here. I'd rather not go to the Azelhaedran territory myself. If memory serves, two days down this rode is a village, and I believe thereafter another village, before a river, where a research outpost claimed by some insurgents, as I was told, can be found. To the north and south both you should find more villages and occasional research outposts, but you would have to follow this rode for four days to reach Corthkota, which is the nearest State loyal city, military outpost and research center. But that does take you past the aforementioned insurgent occupied research outpost... which happens to be in the direction you face. The lightning... it all struck the same place, didn't it? And you're staring at it? Well I hate to break it to you, but that is straight to the insurgents... so I'll say my goodbyes hear. I have no wish to meddle with inexpertly wielded super-weapons, no thank you."
  264. (Involving Village on outskirts of State)
  265. -My persistent courtesy seems to be weighing heavily in my favor, as the established high esteem for mages I was told would be found here now surfaces, as villagers intent on ingratiating themselves to a mage now hound their elder, who finally relents.
  266. -This village is called Trekel.
  267. -Trekel has been mostly safe from harm, too far from any outpost to be targeted.
  268. -Trekel views The Azelhaedran State positively.
  269. -To the south a Mercenary group has gained claim to some three or four research facilities.
  270. -To the north, a group of bandits has gained command of at least one facility
  271. -Neither group has bothered Trekel, the Bandits are busy fighting someone north of them, the mercenaries busy building new fortifications with nearby villagers to provide labor.
  272. -The Insurgents are/were citizens upset at the condition of the State.
  273. -The Insurgents have claimed three research outposts in total, the nearest directly down the road that cuts through the village.
  274. -Trekel has mixed sentiments towards the insurgents, as they have fought the bandits and those who hold research outposts, but they also forcibly conscript citizens, and seize goods from villagers.
  275. -There are some five other villages nearby, but travel is rare considering the lawless state of the land, so their status is unknown.
  277. -I reenter the town with the Premen, to find a feast to have been laid out while we completed our labor on giving the village a general fortification, and at the sight of how much Oggroth slavers as he unhinges his helmet to drool at the food, I cannot help but send the Premen on with orders to eat as if at a formal gathering, to prevent any clash of culture (I hope), after the elder assures me that with the food they gained while I built the walls, they could feed us a dozen times over to bursting and still have plenty for themselves. They seem to have nearly filled their warehouse with honey, fruits, some fungus, eggs, birds and a few snakes, their rations bountiful, and while they will do what they can to render some able to be stored for a long time, much of this will waste if not eaten. So I can reward the Premen without damaging my image as a considerate mage, excellent.
  279. -The elder shows me a roughly sketched map, with Trekel in the center.
  281. -to the north, the woods stay intermittent, with some three villages interspersed throughout, before a general area is circled as having the bandit controlled research outpost they heard about somewhere within.
  282. -farther north, a question mark has been drawn after some few more villages.
  283. -to the east, the main road continues past another village before the research outpost marked as being along a river, labeled as belonging to the insurgents.
  284. -farther east, some area is shown as belonging to the state, an outpost called Corthkota and several villages encircled and noted as safe. An arrow points farther east and simply says State.
  285. -to the south, two villages are nearby, before some goodly distance below several more villages are drawn, clustered about several research outposts, all marked as under the control of the mercenaries mentioned earlier.
  286. -“There is an author of several books on magical theory by the name of Weinsho, so if you are talking about the mage Albert Weinsho, then yes, I am at least familiar with his existence. I haven’t been able to actually read any of his books, as the Mortal Coil keeps prices pretty high and copies hard to find, but as far as I can tell he is pretty well-versed in most forms of magic, and has a bunch of books spanning a wide range of magical subsets. That is about all I can say, until I have actually read any of his books. But that is the only Weinsho I have ever heard of.”
  288. Derkin glances sidelong at Arkus before he cobbles together his own commentary.
  290. “Well, I’ve known a few people to offer some rather large sums for books by Albert Weinsho, some research specialist mage, and if you say the name weinsho is mentioned for this, I’d have to lay money that we are thinking of the same guy. So now the question is, what are some busybody thieves, apprentices, whatever they were all the way out here with some of his writings? This is deep in the lawless territory for the State, and last I heard that guy Albert is way far away, out in Castiliathen. And he never releases anything but books in his name, so if there are loose documents I have to bet these came from him….. so why are they out here?”
  292. As Derkin mulls over this line of thought, I ask Arkus and Jojo both if they know some method of removing blood from parchment, or otherwise restoring the text upon the paper. Sadly, neither have anything to offer me, noting that blood in particular is known for having extra metaphysical weight when trying to magically interact with it, and the same applies when trying to remove bloodstains, as they tell me.
  293. -The refugees seem to find it second nature to trust a wandering mage, and I am bombarded with a tumult of voices. But all bear largely the same message: The north, that is where they came from, where their homes are, where their aggressors still lay. This whole community seems to be composed of villagers that fled the bandits controlling the State research outpost to the North of here. Some few mention having tried to flee to Droba, the village to the east of here, the rightmost village as we approached from the south, but that in addition to the formidable fortifications the town seems to have gained, someone who calls himself 'Sir Keddic Harksburton the 4th" now heads up their militia, and has since stopped anyone from entering. Something about 'the riff-raff needing to use their own boot-straps, rather than mewling at someone else for help.' Several comment on this Keddic individual, noting his large size and golden beard to be most distinctive, and that no one happens to know where he came from. They also note that after he arrived and started fortifying the Droba, the village started to go by the moniker 'The Republic of Trepany.' Most express confusion as to what could be going on with the village formerly known as Droba.
  294. -name of assumed maid: Leana, Morde probably loves Pancakes/Waffles, due to mention of syrup.
  295. -Keddic attitude: "Feh, I have my pipe and my fists, what more do I need?"
  296. -A glance to my side shows Keddic similarly enthralled, happily puffing away on his pipe, which he has reminded me on four occasions throughout our trip is named Old Bessie after a favored horse
  297. -"Well, this is rich! I have the patrol outline for 'Lord Barcho's Army', as well as their numbers, all thanks to this little piece of paper! Hm, four hundred men and one hundred of these special cannons, minus what was lost here..... ah, and two Lieutenants, it seems.
  299. (Attack vs Outpost in States, future Arcanoworks)
  300. -Allied forces number three total:
  301. --MAIN (Keddic, Mordre, Arkus, 200 Militiamen)
  302. --DISGUISED (Derkin, 33 Disguised Militiamen) [CANNONS]
  303. --PREMEN (Oggroth, Jojo, 10 Premen H. Warriors, 10 Premen H. Scouts)
  305. -All forces march north
  306. -PREMEN forces continue straight north, attempting to attract attention, orders to harass and evade
  307. -MAIN and DISGUISED forces circle about to northern side of enemy outpost.
  308. -MAIN force attacks
  309. -After MAIN force is engaged with Barcho's forces, DISGUISED force moves in.
  310. -DISGUISED force will try to either infiltrate the outpost during the confusion, or assist our assault, whichever action is deemed most viable on the field.
  311. -After southern bandit forces become aware of other pursuits, PREMEN forces are to switch to defensive fighting in an effort to ground southern forces.
  312. -MAIN and DISGUISED forces are to breach the outpost's walls before southern forces are unable to be further delayed.
  314. -A squat but surprisingly wide tower of some seven or eight floors juts forth from the earth, surrounded by a five sided wall with a smaller tower at each corner and a lone, massive gate visible, with some hint of other buildings housed within the outpost's walls. Further, outside the outpost there are a a scant few permanent structures, likely stables from the look, with a plethora of crudely constructed shacks erected-and about some of those buildings,
  316. -I turn about to see Keddic racing towards a rooftop figure, hand-cannons slung all about his form, and as my senses reach him I note that I cannot feel any of the metal he carries, their existence obscured from my perceptions save sight. Another glance shows me at least one cannon present in each guard-tower's protective confines, and irregular booming shots now echo from all about, not just Keddic's growing fight with the gunman.
  318. --Morphic weapon research was one of the two research pursuits of this facility, the other being magical applications in artillery.
  319. -Weapons are treated with a form of liquid metal infused with World and Will magic to bestow a secondary form.
  320. -The treatment process requires the use of Word magic, and Barcho has deciphered the original Words and their intended tonality, with carefully transcribed instructions on proper pronunciation.
  321. -Weapons can either be given a second form that is simply a larger version of their normal shape, or given a completely different shape, and the changes in the Words used during treatment have been worked out for several weapons, all manners of spears and poleaxes, as well as a selection of assorted heavy, two handed weapons.
  322. -A weapon's secondary form cannot have a total mass more than one hundred times as great as the normal state of the weapon, and only all metal weapons can be used.
  323. -To treat a weapon, the amount of liquid metal used for treatment must have at least as much mass as the weapon being treated.
  324. -The Research outpost has an enormous runed crucible within it, filled with already prepared liquid metal infused with magic for treatment. It currently holds approximately fifteen hundred gallons of prepared material.
  325. -Thus far, Barcho has not been able to determine how the magically infused liquid metal is created.
  327. Barcho continues his ramblings after admitting to not knowing much about the 'morphic fluids' as he terms them, beyond how to use them, and also makes note of what he has learned about the other field of research here, the fusion of magic and artillery.
  329. -The 'Hand-Cannon' design was a large focus for the artillery research division, as some 108 functional hand-cannons were found within the facility. Some sixty others in assorted states of construction were also found, none currently operable.
  330. -The cannons can grow their own ammo, at the rate of one per minute, given sufficient resources.
  331. -To craft new ammo, any available metal is to be pressed against the indent observed on all hand-cannons, where the metal will adhere and be absorbed.
  332. -The type of metal used as supplies has no impact on the composition of the shells, they always match the cannon itself.
  333. -Any breach to a hand-cannon's structural integrity will destroy it's functionality, with the weapons being made durable to compensate for this.
  334. I elect to accept their request for leave, or at least, that is the term that comes to mind for what they request.... though I imagine this is due to my militaristic past and purpose both influencing my thoughts...
  336. --The first floor is the Mutable Metals Division, where all the morphic fluid is stored, and all schematics/designs pertaining to it's use are stored.
  337. --The second floor is the Arcane Artillery Division, where the hand-cannons were constructed,and several other combinations of magic and artillery were demoed, though only the hand-cannons reached production.
  338. --The third floor is the Mutable Metals Division's subdivision, the Regenerating Reagents Subdivision. Thus far, no actual completed designs have been identified, only disproven or untested designs and theories.
  339. --The fourth floor is the Recovered Runes Division, with most of it's research apparently geared towards developing the runes used on the hand-cannons.
  340. --The fifth floor is a library and work-lab combined, divided into two sections: the Wordy Wiseman Division, focused around reinventing Word magic to retain usefulness at higher levels of magical skill, and the World Wizardry Division, which seems to be based around World magic and it's uses.
  341. --The sixth floor is inaccessible, a glowing keyhole sparkling every time the door is tested.
  343. I accept his initial findings and send him on his way to gaining a more complete sense of what texts are available here while I go back outside. I assist Derkin and the 40-odd militia members with him, and some time past noon Derkin comments he estimates our survey complete, and tells me what goods are stored in this outpost:
  345. --Enough food to feed five thousand men for one day or one person for five thousand days of good eating.... two thirds of which will go bad in some three weeks, incapable of being stored for particularly long.
  346. -Patches of land within the walls clearly used to grow food, but currently fallow, unattended to by the prior occupants.
  347. --A functioning well that seems unlikely to dry anytime soon.
  348. --collectively, a total of 1,700 marks from assorted nations (not including previously gained 140 Duran marks), much of it comprised of small coinage that add up to a mark's worth. Stockpiles were found inside several of the stone structures, likely the gains of months of robbery and pillaging.
  349. --10 stone houses within the walls, each with two floors, two fireplaces, and room to fit at least fifty people comfortably.
  350. --78 shacks and huts outside the walls, with a variable amounts of space. Estimated total space: enough for some five hundred people.
  351. --162 hand-cannons (60 in incomplete states, 102 usable)
  352. --90 salvageable suits of armor, metal
  353. --35 salvageable sets of armor, leather
  354. --Morphic Weapons:
  355. ---80 spike-javelins
  356. ---30 dagger-poleaxes (15 bardiche, 15 Halberd)
  357. ---15 hatchet-great axes
  358. ---5 hammer-war mauls
  359. --12 wagons, no horses
  360. --8 carts
  361. --29 rolls of cloth, hemp canvas
  362. --23 rolls of cloth, cotton
  363. -We put them to work rebuilding the burned out town between us, and after that we plan to have them work on restoring more fields. Soon we'll have crazy amounts of food. Let's see, what else, oh yeah, the first scout to Trekel from a while back returned just before I left, said the earthworks there were fine, and that Trekel is willing to trade, they mentioned having a bit of trouble with some refugees, Keddic said if you need them you can hold on to the militia members you have for a bit longer if necessary, and that if you want some permanent residents, several returning militia members expressed an interest in living at this outpost after seeing it.... what else... some kids claim to have seen some weird creature in the woods.... right, that one isn't news.... RIGHT, final thing:
  364. We, the citizens of Trepany that is, decided that as the main reason this battle was a success, we want you to come up with a name for the town we're rebuilding.... that is, if you're willing?"
  365. - "...Alright, so these dancing lights, the little mound they occupy, and the fact their on the roots of a dead tree makes them... here it is, they're World Motes. Ah, that is, any flora sufficiently infused with World magic that dies while still rooted will become a.... bridge, I suppose, for the leylines. ...Basically, the tiny, harmless cousins of Core Beings, far as I can tell. ...Yeah, not noted as being harmful unless you have a whole crap-ton of them, and not really capable of much thought in small numbers... Oh, I guess some sort of shared intellect thing, then... yeah, only comment is that if they DO get numbers, they can be capricious, if not outright malicious. Forest spirits, in essence, if given enough time and population density. Ah, unless they do reach such a density, communication has never been successful. (Moss and World Motes.)
  366. - Ulzrick's physical stats, in order: Strength, Stamina, Reflexes, Flexibility (1 is bad, 3 is great)- 3, 1, 1, 3
  367. - If my joints are my weakest point, then I simply need to enshroud them in further protective layers of metal. Once I have consumed around a ton of metal, I set part of my mind to ironing out the specifics of how these extra armor panels will work
  368. It is past midday when I finish my modifications, aiding myself with magic from the Soul Nexus while I devote my own towards the lessons.... and I must say the alterations give an interesting aesthetic. I now appear something like a giant knight, clad in impenetrable plate armor. I do note I have gained some weight, now measuring in at a grand total of some 31,000 pounds, and that I likely will move slightly more slowly now, but my joints are just as strong as the rest of me, and I feel the trade worthwhile. ....Still, I will need to improve the general quality of metal of my body, if I want to truly make gains in my defensive capabilities.
  369. -Premen call humans ‘the little ones’
  371. -CAT IS NAMED Mauser
  372. -I take the initiative and get our forces turned about again, and we resume our march back to Kyogrock Arcanoworks,. my form laden with the spoils of war. Among them:
  374. -Balboa's corpse, possibly viable as a mage skin for Kyorto
  375. -A warped Skyfall cannon with intact runes
  376. -Dulu's morphic staff
  377. -15 Blood-Togas (I claimed the one left behind by the first one seen bearing such garb)
  378. -1 Blood-Cloak
  379. -14 runed swords
  380. -1 heavily runed cleaver with lightning engravings
  381. -~70 pounds of Blood Iron
  382. -Balboa's backpack (unsearched)
  383. -Six handcannons
  384. -As I stand there pondering how I shall find the missing creature of bark and root, I hear a rustle in a nearby bush. As I turn to face it, a blur leaps forth, plastering itself over my face, obscuring my vision. I recoil, reflexively moving to assault that which blinds me so, before I hear a familiar, creaking purr emanate from my assailant. I lightly pluck the creature from my face, to find the missing wooden entity happily staring at me, it's beak ajar and a tongue-like root lolling out. Before I can take further action, the creature leans forward, and runs it's root/tongue over my face, managing to get dirt and grit on my previously pristine form.
  385. Wonderful.
  386. I name you Moss..... Moss Withermane."
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