Previous threads: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Devil%20Summoner%20London%20Quest
Character sheet: http://pastebin.com/4keHKgX4
It's funny – although perhaps “strange” would be a better word – but there are certain things about life that you've never really thought about. Particularly, why it is that you're alive. What, exactly, is your reason for living?
And what would you do if that was suddenly taken away from you?
It's a question that has become especially relevant, now that you're looking at the broken, bed-bound girl in front of you. With one eye gone and her right hand taken from her, it's hard to imagine her ever being able to fight again. By her own admission, fighting was the only thing that Petra was ever good at – although, a cruel voice whispers in the back of your mind, she wasn't good enough. What, then, is left for her when she can't fight any more?
You don't know. You CAN'T know. Having already turned down one offer of help – the details of which still elude you – it's hard to guess what dark thoughts are running through her mind. It could be that she needs time to recover, to move past her traumas, but you know that time is not an unlimited resource.
But you'll make time. Petra deserves that much.
You sit by her bedside in silence for some time longer, unable to fill the void with any comforting words. Earlier, Petra had seemed younger – her unbound hair and blank eye giving her the appearance of a traumatised child – but now you realise that you were wrong. She looks old, so terribly old and infirm. It's almost enough to suggest some withering curse or poison, but nothing that sinister could have escaped the healing she has already received – could it?
Before you can stumble too far down that dark alley of paranoia, you see Petra's lips move softly, forming words that cannot break the silence. Rubbing the tightly bandaged stump of her right arm, she swallows hard and repeats herself. “Blind spot,” she rasps, the fingers of her left hand brushing against her eyepatch, “I couldn't see it coming. So...” she falters for a moment, “I should not have been fighting.”
After that proclamation – understated, and yet undeniably painful – Petra lapses into a cautious silence. Waiting, perhaps, for some kind of response? She may have to wait for some time, in that case, as the words refuse to come to you. What does she need to hear, at a time like this? Brutal honesty – if she can't accept her injuries, she'll only make them worse – or a more comforting approach? Considering how defeated, how broken, she looks, you wish you could offer her a glint of hope – even false hope would do, for the time being.
>You're right. Your fighting days are over – I'm sorry
>It's too early to give up hope. We'll fix this
>There's more to life than fighting
>There's more to life than fighting
"You are worth more than that. You just being here when I woke up in this terrible place is worth way more than how strongly you could swing a sword. If I were alone, without you or the others, I don't know where I'd be right now. Definitely not anywhere good. So please don't write yourself off like that. There is more to Petra than the warrior."
"It may be a small comfort, but after we finish this fight I'm positive the dumb, leather jacket wearing, teenage God of ours can fix all the damage done in this world."
Reaching out to her, you tentatively place a hand on Petra's shoulder. There's more to life, you tell her softly, than fighting. Whatever she might think, she's always been worth more than just that. When you first woke up here, in this terrible place that had replaced your own world, she was there for you. That alone is worth far more than how well she can swing a sword. If you'd been alone in this world, without her or any of the others, you can't imagine where you'd be right now.
Perhaps that's not true – you CAN imagine, but nothing you can think of is anywhere close to good.
So whatever happens, you tell her, she shouldn't write herself off so quickly. There's more to her than just being a warrior.
“I...” Petra murmurs, looking at you with a kind of disbelieving gratitude, “I don't...”
Besides, you add in what you hope is a cheerful voice, it might be a small comfort but you're sure that Amelia will be able to fix things once all this is over. She might be kind of dumb, and little more than a teenager, but you have that much faith in her. It's far too early to give up hope – you'll fix everything together, if you have to.
“You are... right, yes,” Petra nods slowly, “This will not last. It will be over soon, yes?”
You wouldn't put it quite like that, but yes. In any case, she shouldn't think of this as an end. Think of it more as a... promotion. After all, a general rarely takes to the field but they're far more important than a regular soldier. She just needs to focus more on commanding her demons – let THEM do the heavy lifting.
“Hah!” Petra laughs, the sound only slightly forced, “And they can put themselves back together! Ah, but I wonder... I must rest. Would you leave me, for a while?”
>I'll let you rest
>Can I ask about Scathach, first? I heard she offered to help...
>I wanted to ask something first... (Write in)
That's fine, you tell her, you'll let her rest for now. You're not surprised that she's tired, considering what she's been through. Now she has mentioned it, you notice the fatigue that had been creeping up on you, and the sudden overwhelming force of it almost causes you to faint. Blinking a few times, just enough to clear the surging dizziness from your head as you stand up, you lean forwards and hug Petra again. You're not going to abandon her, that's a promise.
You're also, you add silently to yourself, not going to pry. Whatever help Scathach offered, Petra has the right to keep it to herself. You might ask later, of course, but she's free to tell you whatever she likes. Although, if Scathach happens to mention it to you...
Well, that's different, isn't it?
Either way, it's about time you got some rest as well. Normally, you'd just take one of the other bunks in the large room, but tonight is different. Taking some of your things – not that you have a lot of stuff, considering – you shift to the next room over. Petra needs space, and you'll be happy to give it to her. In your new quarters – they seem lonely, far too large for a single person – you busy yourself with struggling out of your new armour and curling up in bed.
Tomorrow, you think as you count off the “days” in your head, should be about two days away from the full moon – assuming, of course, that your calculations are correct. You've hardly been keeping regular hours lately, and keeping time is difficult even under perfectly convenient circumstances. So, depending on...
Halfway through your calculations, you fall asleep.
You couldn't say exactly what it is that wakes you, but you nevertheless find yourself sitting bolt upright. For a moment, the silent room is disorientating – there should be the soft sound of someone else breathing in the background, shouldn't there? - but then you remember the shift. Rubbing your eyes, you look around the darkened room and strain to listen. There must have been something, some noise or disturbance, that woke you – but what?
Following some nameless instinct, you rise from the bed and creep out into the corridor. Immediately, you notice something amiss – the door to your old room, standing slightly ajar. Your knuckles brush against the wood as you enter, that alone enough to cause the door to swing open. It's not hard to guess what you'd find, and your suspicions are immediately confirmed – the bed where Petra had been lying is empty, the sheets thrown back in disarray. Chewing your bottom lip as you think, you begin to search the room, although you couldn't be sure of what you were searching for. A note, perhaps, scrawled in an awkward left-handed script.
Your blood turns cold when you find something – or rather, when you fail to find something. Petra's gun, that plastic brick that was once a double for your own, is missing. Swallowing hard – and forcing down the terrible ideas that rise up in your mind – you try to think. The shooting range. That's where she'll be. You just need to find your way back there, no problem.
Setting off at a run, you hurry from the castle corridors and into the forest, the first of several distant gunshots striking your ears. Grimacing, you let the noise guide you through the moonlit trees.
You reach the shooting range quickly, dispelling any fears you had about losing your way in the darkness. When you arrive, you press your body up against a stout tree and peer out into the clearing, your eyes immediately drawn to the lonesome figure standing there. Some nervous instinct holds you there, hidden from view, as you watch Petra fumbling with her gun. She holds it left-handed, and her hand is trembling like someone in the grip of a seizure.
A few seconds of aiming – if such a lofty word can be considered appropriate – and she fires, the bullet kicking up a spray of dirt as she misses her target. She wasn't even close. The process repeats itself, with exactly the same results, over and over again. The few hits that she does score are more the product of random chance than anything else. By your estimation, she missed her target on all but three occasions.
When her gun is empty, Petra's shoulders slump and she begins the awkward process of trying to fumble a new magazine into her gun. It's... painful to watch, almost too painful. You want to intervene, to stop her, but...
Would she really want you to see this? It's a guilty feeling, as though you were trespassing on an incredibly private moment. It might be best to slink away, and pretend you never saw anything.
>Return to the castle. Ask her about this in the morning
>Return to the castle. Never speak of this again
If we do end up confronting her (which I'm not necessarily voting for) say something to the effect of the following:
>"I don't know who you're trying to prove yourself to, but you don't need to; you matter and are important whether or not you can shoot demons. You should be resting now."
What did YOU say about resting!?
Besides, she should be practicing how to quicksummon demons on her phone, not trying to shoot.
....assuming she declines any sort of magical prosthetic due to the way it would fuck her up like the eye did, she could technically get a metal stump for her right arm. Just fuse the gun to it so rigidly it doesn't move, and reload with the left hand. A bit awkward for precise aiming, but her main concern is recoil at this point, and she could conceivably still fire center mass and definitely still do covering fire.
I mentioned this last thread, but there's also getting some hellforged prosthetics. Still quite demonic, but
>it's designed for the task, instead of repurposed
>at least it's not demon flesh/magatama
Putting all our eggs on Scatach might be a bit much. Particularly when this is a ripe opportunity for her to try to divinify Petra or experiment with the minotaur woodcut.
And I don't know anywhere else that might conceivably be equipped to handle nerves or the magical equivalent.
At the very least, I don't want something magical but improvised for Petra
even though I suggested the giant worm arm. So we either try Hell, Scatach, a mundane and very simple attachment, or we find some mystical raw materials on our own.
>Confronting Petra seems to have come out on top. I apologise for the delay!
Screwing up your courage, you step out from around the tree and call out, softly, to Petra. She turns with a gasp, the gun dropping from her clumsy hand to bounce, uselessly, on the loamy earth. She looks... guilty, like a child caught raiding the cookie jar. It's such an absurd image – with her head bowed like that, Petra seems to be waiting for a scolding – that you can't help but wonder if you were still dreaming.
What happened, you ask softly, to resting?
“I thought...” Petra mutters, reaching down and picking up the fallen gun with the same disdain as someone collecting garbage, “I thought maybe I could still shoot, yes? I didn't realise how... bad... it would be.”
She should be focusing on summoning her demons as quickly as possible, you tell her with a note of weary exasperation, and not straining herself like this. Listen, you suggest, she should try summoning Vivian. See what her demons can do.
Although the corner of Petra's mouth twists down into a faint grimace at that, she manages to nod nonetheless. Taking her phone out, she fumbles for a moment before the watery demon – borne aloft on her floating lake – appears before her. Throwing her hand out in an imperious gesture, Vivian sends a deathly chill running through the air. You both shiver, and a moment later the ground beneath Petra's target is torn up by an eruption of jagged ice.
Throwing a hand across your face in case of any flying splinters – the target was obliterated, shattered into a thousand ruined shards – you wait for the dust to settle. As Petra leans down to peer at the crater left behind, you can't help but notice the smile she tries to fight back. “Not bad,” she admits grudgingly, “I would prefer to do such a thing myself, but... not bad.”
it's just where to look. The slum place probably won't have anything. The only things with the Intoxicated are gold, wine, and puppets, and I don't think we want to use the puppets.
We just destroyed that forest place.
I'm just spitballing here at this point.
>take some lotus leaves/stem/fiber/mash
>use the wine if it produces a special fire
>get something from that last place that we haven't visited, was it south?
One of Alice's black thorns?
Good work, you tell her with a smile before adding: General. It's time to let the grunts do the hard work. You pick a target of your own, here, and call up Parvati. Your phone is in your hand so quickly that it seems more like an extension of your own body, and the beautiful scent of some exotic perfume fills the air as your new demon appears. Pointing out the dangling target, Parvati hurls a ball of fire at it, the blazing light consuming the wood in an instant.
This time Petra laughs aloud, guiding Vivian's aim to the next target in line. Soon, you're both grinning widely as your demons hurl fire and ice across the clearing, scorching trees and tearing up the earth. When the last of the targets has been annihilated, the redhead sits down heavily, still chuckling to herself.
Honestly, you tell her as you sit next to her, you don't know who she was trying to prove herself to, but it was totally unneccesary. It doesn't matter whether or not she can shoot demons – it NEVER mattered – she's still important to you.
“Yes, yes,” Petra tries to wave away your concern, but the gesture is half-hearted, “Maybe this is fun, yes? Like playing with hand grenades!”
...For someone so concerned with gun safety, you never thought she'd use “playing” and “hand grenades” in the same sentence. In either case, you tell her, she should be resting now. You've both had your fun – it's time to get some sleep.
“Sleep,” Petra says the word like a curse, like a child being sent to bed, “I suppose you're right. Ah, but you must sleep as well, yes?”
That was kind of the plan. In the morning, though, you'll need to decide on your next move.
>See how Scathach's research is getting on
>Visit the Hellfire Club about that request you made
>Gather everyone to discuss your next move
You sleep well that night, your spirits lifted by the sight of Petra laughing – genuinely laughing – at your destructive games. You shudder to imagine what the clearing looks like in the light of day, like a number of bombs hit it perhaps, but it's something you can comfortably file away as “someone else's problem”. Considering how vital it had been to restoring your friend's morale, you reckon the fairies can let it slide this time – and they probably have some kind of gardening magic, anyway.
In the morning, it doesn't take long for you to decide on your next move. You'd like to see how Scathach is doing – or, perhaps more appropriately, how her research is doing. While you're there, as well, you might see about forging some of your demons into new equipment – you had a few ideas while you were dozing off, and some of them were just crazy enough to work. So, after getting a quick breakfast in the banquet hall, you make your way down into the dusty archives and find the usual desk. Scathach is there, as you expect, but her attentions are currently devoted to lecturing a small group of giggling Pixies on the looser definition of “books”.
When that is finished – the old witch gives special emphasis to woodcuts as well as texts – she sends away her “assistants”, and the group immediately scatters to the four winds. Sighing, Scathach leans back in mid air, as if sitting on an invisible recliner. “So,” she asks in a tired voice, “Here you are.”
>Looks like things aren't going well
>Can you forge a demon for me?
>I hear you offered to help with Petra's arm
>Hey can Scathach transfer demons between phones or is that Amelia only?
>It's not an Amelia only thing, but it would require an appropriate computer. Carnby could have done it in his time, for example. Marco could potentially do it as well, later.
It looks, you offer in a sympathetic voice, as though things aren't going so well. Are the woodcuts not offering any insight, you ask, or is it something else?
“They're offering a lot of new information,” Scathach tells you, “Perhaps too much, if anything. I think they might be the key – I really do – but these don't seem to be the complete collections. There must be more somewhere, either scatted throughout the archives themselves or further afield. I hope I got the message across to my assistants, but...” She holds her hands out, here, in a vaguely helpless gesture.
You'll keep your eyes open, you promise her, for anything that looks similar to the ones you already found. It won't be the first book someone asked you find, after all. But, in either case, you were wondering if she could forge a demon for you. You were thinking, earlier, and you wondered if she could transform Moh Shuvuu into something that would make you... fast.
“You want to be... fast?” Scathach repeats curiously, “That... might be possible, yes. In fact... yes, I can do that. Ah, this will be an experiment!”
You're not sure you like the enthusiasm that has seeped back into her voice, but at least she sounds more awake. Maybe even Scathach can suffer from late nights and early mornings.
“Come,” the witch declares, gesturing for you to follow her, “Step into my office.” She leads the way to her forge and lights the mystical fires with a click of her fingers. “Now, you know how this works, correct?”
You certainly do. Place your phone on the flat surface at the bottom of the forge – you can't really avoid the word “altar” - and wait for Scathach to do her magic. Fast, you think to yourself as you close your eyes. Think fast thoughts.
“There!” Scathach announces a few moments later, her voice coming from right behind you. Jumping a little, you open your eyes and look at the ring lying on the altar before you. It looks like red velvet - although it feels more like some kind of cheap imitation – and fits quite neatly onto your pinkie finger. You... don't feel any different.
“Try dodging, then,” Scathach instructs you, “Go on, imagine your life is in danger. Think of someone trying to kill you and simply do what comes naturally.” She pauses for a moment, “Well, maybe not. I don't want to have to summon a cleaner. Just try to jump out of the way.”
Shrugging, you step out into an emptier section of the vastly archives and hurl yourself to the side. It's a sensation not unlike using Midnight's supernatural power, the impression of passing instantaneously through space, only your vision doesn't blink into darkness as you do so. The world seems to move slowly – so slowly! - as you leap through the air, returning to normal speed as you land on the hard tiles. It certainly works, but you wonder if you'll ever get used to it.
“Oh my,” Scathach sounds vaguely impressed, “It actually worked!”
...Was that in any doubt?
“I deal in experiments,” she tells you with a shrug, “There was always doubt.”
You make a mental note, as you're picking yourself up from the ground, to be very careful about what else you ask her to do. You'd rather not trust your life to an experimental portal between worlds – not again.
“So, now that my brilliance has been proven once again,” Scathach sounds smug, “Was there anything else?”
>There was something... (Write in)
>Nothing else. Gather everyone to discuss your next move
>Nothing else. Visit the Hellfire Club
Taking your phone, you begin to tap out messages to everyone – asking them to gather in the banquet hall so you can discuss your next move. You've got two days before meeting Amelia, and you want to make good use of them. Remembering that Leon's phone is currently being held in the Intoxicating One's golden fortress, you add a note onto Elliot's message to stop by the hospital wing on the way.
Then, saying goodbye to Scathach, you make your way there yourself and take a seat at one of the larger tables. Petra is the first one there – not surprising, considering she was still eating breakfast when you left for the archives – and Joseph arrives a few moments later. Leon and Elliot are last, muttering to each other as they enter.
“Good lord, Mia,” Elliot says quickly, “I don't know why you assumed I would be the one closest to the hospital.”
Well, he was, wasn't he?
“Lucky guess, dear,” he shoots back, “A mere twist of fate, that's all.”
“Did anyone hear explosions last night?” Joseph asks, stepping in to change the subject, “I swear I heard explosions. They woke me up in the middle of the night.”
Swapping a guilty look with Petra, you clear your throat and call the meeting to order. You summoned everyone here, you declare, so you can discuss what to do next. You're not committing to anything yet, but you just want to share ideas. So, you clap your hands briskly together, who has an idea of where to start?
“I'll admit, I have something of a curiosity about these Southern lands,” Elliot admits, “We've been North, East and West – might I just say, West sounded bloody awful – but I want to see what else is out there.”
So that's one vote for the South.
“Aye, well, that's fine for you to say,” Leon complains, “I'm fuckin' useless until I can get my bloody monsters back. North – we're goin' fuckin' North.”
“Demons,” Joseph corrects the Scotsman softly, “Don't call them “monsters”, they're called “demons”. There's no need to be rude.”
“Pfft,” Leon snorts, rolling his eyes, “Just cause you're stickin' your dick in-”
“Gentlemen, please,” Elliot says hastily, “I don't think we should throw any accusations about quite so easily. We don't want to say anything we can't take back, do we?”
“Of course not,” Joseph says calmly, although he regards Leon with narrowed eyes, “And, for the record, I've not... ahem...” he clears his throat, “This entire topic is both demeaning and hypocritical. Despite that, I would have to vote for the North as well. The Intoxicating One has troubled this land for long enough.”
Two votes for the golden fortress. You turn to glance at Petra, but she merely shrugs.
“Anything,” she says cautiously, “Not my decision to make, yes? What do you say?”
>What about Cassandra? She's close to finding one of the fragments, apparently
>Then we'll go North as soon as possible
>I'm curious about the South as well
>Then we'll go North as soon as possible
"Lets take down the enemy we sort of know while gathering information on the one don't."
To that effect summon Kin-ki and have Elliot summon Kagu. Pick their brains about everything they know about the Intoxicating One and the City. Once that's concluded summon Succubus and see if she can use the information networks to find out anything she can about the Southern Town. Everything can be useful.
This. As for Cass we'll just have to keep checking in, seeing if she is alright. If she does find it hopefully she stays true to her word and at least talks to Amelia before doing anything with it.
In that case, you decide, you'll all go North as soon as possible. It's the majority decision, after all. Even without the vote, you'd much rather focus your efforts towards the enemy you already know about – at least, know a little about – rather than going chasing an unknown enemy in the South. That said, it's about time you started doing some serious information gathering about that mysterious town – something about it doesn't sit quite right with you.
To that end, you announce, you'd like to summon some demons, in order to pick their brains. Kin-Ki is first for you, being an ex-member of The Shackle. Elliot can call up Kagutsuchi for the same reason, and then you'll consult your... other information gatherer. You assume she's recovered her senses, after the long nap.
“Master,” Kin-Ki rumbles once you summon him, rolling his powerful shoulders in an unconscious attempt at posing, “The Intoxicating One, you say? I HAVE been hearing things, rumours, from some old friends still working under him. Us Oni like to stick together, so they were happy to talk!”
“They say the Intoxicating One has a new pet,” Kin-Ki tells you, in the exaggerated whisper of a seasoned gossip, “One he's very proud of. It used to sit at Lucifer's throne, once, before things started to go wrong for ol' Lucy. One of those archdukes, if you believe the stories.”
So in order to get to the Intoxicating One, you'll need to fight your way past an archduke of Hell. Is that, you ask patiently, an accurate summary of the situation?
“Uh, right,” Kin-Ki confirms, “When you put it like that, it doesn't sound very good, does it?”
No. No it does not. Sighing, you return Kin-Ki to storage once it becomes painfully clear that he has run out of useful things to say. Kagutsuchi next.
When the blazing demon appears, howling with barely suppressed rage, you can't help but notice that everyone in the hall backs off a little, even Cernunnos in his usual corner. To be fair, you'd keep your distance as well, if you wore as little as the horned god did.
“What do you want?” Kagutsuchi shouts, “Information? Bah, have you taken me for a gossiping fishwife?”
“Not at all, old chap,” Elliot soothes, “But a figure of your former status must have all kinds of useful information for us, is that not so?”
“Well...” Kagutsuchi sounds mollified by the undeserved praise, puffing out his barrel chest, “The Intoxicating One controls the hottest fire and the purest darkness, and turns aside all mortal blades. He fears the ice, or so the whispers claim. That's what I told you before, wasn't it?” He growls softly to himself here, as if repeating himself was a trial. “Ah, but there is one new morsel I learned. He has built a tower, higher than all others, to call his own. He looks down upon this wasteland, as he looks down upon all others. That is where you will find him – I have no doubt about that.”
Finally, some decent directions. The last time you visited his golden city, the place was a hellish maze. Now, at the behest of his monstrous ego, the Intoxicating One has given you a path right to him – the arrogant fool.
Or, you consider a moment later, he's laid out the most impressive trap he could design, and baited it with rumours of his own presence. Maybe even both. You thank Kagutsuchi for the information and give Elliot the nod, the foppish young man returning his demon to storage. Everyone, you notice, breathes a little easier once he's gone.
Assuming the item we get from Hellfire is Debilitate, I'm hoping the combination of Sukunda and our dodge ring will give us an edge on that front.
We can also bait him to use his Mudo on us with taunts. He seems pretty prideful.
And now for some information of your own, about a rather different matter. You've learned just about all you can learn about the Intoxicating One – it's time to turn your gaze South. Preparing yourself for the worst, you summon up Succubus. As the shapely demon takes form, yawning and stretching luxuriously, Leon almost spits out a mouthful of whatever he was drinking.
“My,” Elliot says, after shooting the Scotsman a dirty look, “Quite the company you keep these days, Mia dear. I do hope you're not falling in with the wrong crowd.”
“Jealous?” Succubus taunts, giving Elliot a mocking look, “Maybe if you didn't wear such frumpy things, you could-”
“Mia dear,” the foppish young man interrupts, “Either ask your harlot whatever it is you wish to ask, or please remove her from my sight. I find her distasteful, somehow.”
Why, you ask yourself, do things always get so WEIRD when Succubus appears? Shaking your head in bemusement, you ask if your information gatherer knows anything about this new town to the South, anything at all would help.
“It's spooky,” she says, turning so that her backside is pointed directly at a rather flustered looking Leon, “Nobody knows anything, and we've been asking! It's not a devil or an angel, it's nothing to do with the fairies, and, well, I don't know who else it could be! The strangest thing is, it looks deserted. There's no life there at all, not a single thing.”
That's... unusual. And that's really all there is to know about it?
“Sorry I couldn't be more helpful,” Succubus leans down towards you and offers a generous shrug, setting her entire bosom into motion. This time, it's Petra that almost chokes. “Maybe I could... help you some other way?”
Just as long as she keeps the lightning magic flowing, you tell her politely, she'll be doing just fine.
Returning the grumbling Succubus to storage, you lean back in your chair and sigh, looking right up at the ceiling. Dealing with a group of people like this – acting as the leader, even though nobody ever voted you in – is hard work, harder than you ever expected. Every decision you make, and the consequences that come with them, threaten to weigh you down and force you into paralysed indecision. If you give the order to attack the Intoxicating One's fortress, you might not all come back.
You need to be prepared for that.
Sitting upright again, you notice the others looking at you, waiting for you make some kind of announcement.
>Give the word. You're heading North
>Dismiss everyone. You can gather them together when the time comes
>Ask the group some more questions (Write in)
Summon Parvati, ask if there is way to temporary elementally enhance firearms (we don't know this IC).
When she gives her answer.
>Dismiss everyone. You can gather them together when the time comes
"I need to go make a pick up over at Hellfire. Can some of you go scavenge firearms for yourselves? We might need as much firepower as we can get."
>>Dismiss everyone. You can gather them together when the time comes
But summon Parvati like >>44646231 said and then talk to Cern. See if we need to bring him any dead animals or anything before he'll come along. Hellfire Club last of all.
You've got far too much to do, you decide, before you can think about attacking the Intoxicating One's fortress. For one thing, you want to see if Mister Black has “acquired” that item you asked him for – although you really don't want to know what kind of things go into finding something like that. You're not even sure what he'll come up with – a magic wand, maybe? It'd be pretty cool, you admit privately, especially since you've already got an outlandish costume to wear. You just need an elaborate transformation sequence, and then...
Well, you're getting off track. Shaking your head free of wild delusions, a thought strikes you. Something else you'd like to get answers for. Summoning Parvati again – she's probably wise enough to answer you – you put your question to her. Is there a way, you ask, of enchanting weapons with magic, but temporarily? You've seen what Scathach can do, binding demons into equipment, but can it be done without sacrificing someone?
“I believe it can,” Parvati tells you, “I could bind an element into any mundane weapons you possess. It would only last a short while, but it would be more than enough to a single battle. It's something that most demons can do, but the exact power varies.”
Perfect, you declare with a grin, that's exactly what you wanted to hear. As you return her to storage, you turn to consult everyone else. You've got something to do, you tell them, and something you'd like them to do. All you're asking is for them to scavenge up some kind of guns, one for each of them.
“You've got a plan,” Petra says, smiling slightly as she grasps what it is you're thinking.
That's right, you nod, you've got a plan.
You're getting up to leave – it's time to see what Mister Black has come up with – when another thought strikes you. Cernunnos, you wonder, looks pretty bored. He might like the chance to get out and stretch his legs, getting whatever bloody violence he considers to be exercise. After all, you've got quite the knack of getting yourself in trouble.
The kind of trouble, you suspect, that he would particularly enjoy.
Bracing yourself for the mingling scents of ale, sweat and blood, you approach the barbarian's table and sit opposite him, fastidiously moving a stack of flagons aside so you can face him directly. He stares back, his eyes alive with the kind of amusement you've got to expect from him.
“Little worm,” he says, by way of greetings, “I find you here, at my table once more.”
That's right, you tell him, he just can't get rid of you – just like you can't get rid of that silly nickname.
“Then let's hear it,” the horned god grunts, “You're here for a reason, are you not?”
>How's your injured soldier doing?
>You look pretty bored. Do you want to go and find some trouble?
>Can we drop the nickname already?
>How's your injured soldier doing?
"We both took casualties in that battle that we shouldn't have. I want your help to make sure that doesn't happen again."
>You look pretty bored. Do you want to go and find some trouble?
"I figure you heard our little strategy meeting. I plan on tearing down the Intoxicating One's Golden City along with him. You in?"
Start with the pleasantries, that's always the best way to open negotiations. It should put your target in a good mood – or, at least, the best mood possible. Silently thanking Marco for the advice he gave you once, you ask after Cernunnos' injured soldier. How is he doing?
“Improving,” Cernunnos says simply, “When I saw him last.”
That's good, you say graciously, you both took casualties in that battle that you shouldn't have. Casualties that shouldn't happen again, that's why-
“When I saw him last,” Cernunnos repeats sullenly, “Some time ago. He has been taken – for “treatment” - by the witch. I do not like it.”
That's... less good. Scathach took him, for some kind of medical treatment?
“Or so she claims,” the horned god curses softly, “Many disappear from the kingdom. The dying, from their hospital beds, and prisoners from their cells. There is no evidence, no trail leading to her door, but it reeks of her meddling.”
And to think, you started this conversation with high hopes and lofty expectations.
“You did not come here to listen to an old man whine like a whelp,” Cernunnos grunts, “Did you? Then speak – why did you come here, really?”
Well, you say after clearing your throat, you thought he looked pretty bored, just sitting there. You were going to ask if he wanted to find some trouble. Not to imply, you add hastily, that he doesn't have enough trouble here of course. Closing your eyes for a moment to regain your train of thought, you get back on track. He probably heard your little strategy meeting. You're planning on tearing down the Intoxicating One's golden fortress, and him with it. Is he in?
Cernunnos stares at you – although with that spooky bone mask covering his face, it's hard to be sure that he's staring at you. He might, for example, be rolling his eyes. Still, he stares at you for a moment longer, silent save for the sounds of chewing as he shovels a fistful of salted meat into his mouth, without ever seeming to lift his helmet. How DOES he do that, anyway?
“The Intoxicating One has made himself an enemy of this court,” Cernunnos muses eventually, “And killing him would greatly help queen Titania. Despite that, I would also like to see him dead. I've heard stories of his golden city...” Tilting his head to the side, Cernunnos spits – where does it come from? - onto the stone floor, “An eyesore. Disgusting. He surrounds himself with a parody of civilisation, a revolting mockery of cities and structures. This offends me. I will help you, little worm, but...”
There's always a but, isn't there?
“But let me finish my breakfast, first,” the barbarian growls, “An hour or two, by your human measures of time.”
Well... a hearty breakfast IS said to be the start of a busy day. Plenty of time, then, to visit the Hellfire Club and return here.
>You've got yourself a deal
>I'll get back to you on that one
>Hang on, tell me more about Scathach...
>>You've got yourself a deal
So now Scathach is going full Mengele. Nothing to worry about.
Swallowing down any questions you might have about Scathach – and Cernunnos' vaguely worded complaints certainly gave you plenty of questions – you nod and agree to his deal. Even in these dark days, you wouldn't dream of getting between a man and his breakfast. Once you're out of here and travelling together – travelling far, far away from the kingdom – you'll ask your questions. Until then, you're going to treat the walls here as though they have ears.
...Which means they might have heard you talking to Cernunnos about this strange matter already.
Putting that fresh worry out of your mind, as best you can at least, you turn and stride from the banquet hall. The others have already filtered out, gone on their way as they search for suitable guns, and so you'll be going to the Hellfire Club alone. That's fine with you – you're not expecting trouble.
And, just as you were expecting, there isn't any real trouble. The ground trembles once or twice as you stride out into the world at large, but that's become so routine now that you barely notice. Until something changes, that worm thing has merely become another item on your to-do list, something to be dealt with as the situation develops. Rubbing the chill out of your hands as you arrive at the Hellfire Club, you make your way inside and glance about at the patronage.
In fact, you're so busy looking around that you walk right into something soft and furry, yet utterly unyielding beneath the layer of fluff.
“Hey!” a voice snarls, the edge rounded off by a broad slur, “Look where you're goin' will you?”
Stepping back, you look up at the devil looming over you. Hold on a moment, isn't that Cassandra's demon? Oh, what did she call him?
“Down, Ose,” Cassandra says, her voice only slightly muffled by the leopard devil's bulk. Growling to himself, the demon moves aside so you can pass. She's sitting at the bar, with what looks like a glass of wine sitting in front of her. You can't help but sneak a glance at her hands, just to see if she's wearing the ring you gave her. It's impossible to say – she's wearing thick leather gloves, even inside the warmth of the club.
Fine. Let her keep her secrets.
“Isn't it a little early for you to be visiting a bar?” she asks, a slight smile playing around her lips.
She's one to talk, you shoot back with a nod at her wine, isn't it a little early for that?
“Nope,” Cassandra takes a drink, her smile never wavering, “It's late. Very late. Do you have business here? I had something of a proposition for you, if you'd like to hear it.”
>I DID have some business, actually
>I'll hear you out – for old time's sake
>Can it wait a minute? I've got a small matter to take care of first
Well, you DID have some business, actually – you say this cautiously, keeping your own cards close to your chest – but you're willing to hear her out. For old time's sake, you could say. First off, you ask her what she's been up to lately. It's good to see she's okay.
“Both eyes, both hands,” Cassandra tells you, wiggling her gloved fingers, “So I'll count myself as lucky.”
...She heard about that, then.
“I still have some friends in the kingdom,” the girl offers a mischievous grin, and you've got to wonder just how much she's had to drink, “But never mind that. You're willing to hear me out?”
Sure, but you're going to make a guess first – she's found one of the divine fragments, hasn't she?
“I wish,” Cassandra stretches, yawning, “I was up searching for it all night, but I'm not onto it quite yet. Something else, though, has popped up on my radar – some smaller divinity, but something I'd quite like to get my hands on. Not for me, of course, but for my... friend, here.”
“Found the son of a bitch that bought my wings,” Ose rumbles, baring his teeth as he curses, “Sold it to a fuckin' witch, didn't I? Then she sold it – for a fuckin' profit! - to this bastard I used to call a friend. Point is, I wanna go eat him and get my wings back.”
So, you say cautiously, just to be absolutely clear. Cassandra wants your help in tracking down some demon – one with a scrap of stolen divinity – so her drunken leopard companion can engage in acts of cannibalism?
“That about sums it up,” she gives you a helpless shrug, here, “In return, I'll owe you one – to be repaid when you need it.”
>Alright, I'm in. Let me sort one thing first...
>Can it wait a little?
>This is disgusting. I refuse
Even though you can't help but see Ose as a bad influence on Cassandra, you find yourself agreeing to this astounding request. The reward on offer is just too good to pass up – although you have to wonder if Cassandra would really honour her agreement if you asked for the divine fragment. In either case, you'll just need to sort one thing first and then you're free to help her.
“Take your time,” Cassandra tells you, raising her glass, “I've got this to finish before we leave. No point in letting it go to waste, is there?”
Definitely a bad influence. Shaking your head in mild despair, you seek out Mister Black – not difficult, considering his height. As you approach him, he turns away and picks up a long, slender box from one of the tables behind him.
“This was easier to acquire than I had expected,” he tells you once the introductions have been made, “Strangely so, in fact. I believe it should fulfil all your demands.”
Taking the box, you weigh it in your hands. Lighter than you had expected. Unable to hold back your curiosity, you pop the lid off and look inside. It's... a scarf. A long, black scarf. As you stare in puzzled amazement, Mister Black takes it from the box and drapes it over your shoulders, winding it around your neck until one long end dangles by your side.
“Simply run this end through your fingers, like you're throwing it out into the wind, and it should activate the magic within,” Mister Black tells you softly, “But please, not inside this establishment. It would disturb the patrons.”
Agreeing to his terms, and thanking him for his gift, you turn back and glance at Cassandra. She is sitting by the bar, her empty glass turned upside down. Looks like she's ready to go.
“Very fetching,” Cassandra remarks as you're leaving the club together, feeling the scarf's silky cloth between her fingers, “Very chic.”
Yes yes, you sigh as you speed up your pace a little, tugging the fabric from her hands before she can accidentally activate it. To be fair, the scarf does look like an item of the highest quality – you just wish you'd get the chance to wear something that wasn't stolen from some trashy gothic wardrobe. So, you ask in in attempt at changing the subject, how's that ring treating her?
“What ring?” Cassandra asks, with unconvincing innocence, “I don't know anything about any ring. Maybe the fairies stole it?”
Ah, but you never said anything about fairies, you counter, so how would she guess the fairies could have taken it?
She laughs aloud at that. “Oh yes, very clever,” she chuckles, “Yes, I have your ring. Here's the thing – I don't want to talk about it.” And then, as she falls silent, her eyes flick upwards, up towards Heaven. Then, casually, she rubs her ears. You're no fool, you can put two and two together.
There might be angels listening in, possibly the same angel that you are trying to protect her against.
“But never mind that,” Cassandra says brightly, “We've both got our masters, and talking about things won't get either of us anywhere. Today, Mia, we're hunters!”
“Hunters!” Ose leers, reaching up to caress the handles of his swords, “Ah, I got it. I got his fuckin' scent!”
You're travelling with a pair of drunken lunatics – and the worst thing is, this doesn't even surprise you.
Following Ose's mad – and dubious – navigation abilities, you soon find yourself standing outside a dilapidated apartment building, the kind of slum that Petra called home once. It might even be the same building – it's been so long that you can't tell. Ose stops, sniffs at a stack of garbage cans for a moment, and then straightens up.
“Here,” he growls, drawing a blade and pointing inside, “He's-”
“Here, brother?” a divine voice calls out, echoing through the street. Looking up, you see the speaker, standing atop the roof like a preening angel. “I wonder what brought you here. Buyer's remorse, perhaps?”
“Bastard!” Ose growls, plucking his second blade out, “I'm gonna fuckin' eat you!”
Rather than dignifying that slurred threat with a response, the glowing figure leaps from the roof, floating lightly to the ground. “I am Flauros,” he says when he lands, “And I shall not take these threats from a base devil such as yourself. Prepare yourself!”
Well, he said it – time to prepare yourself.
>Summon a demon
>Summon a demon and fight personally
>Let Cassandra handle the fighting
>Summon a demon and fight personally
Judging by those knuckledusters he is going have some good Phys so Kin-ki for that resistance.
As a side note, Amelia should have totally item'd this guy.
Rolled 47, 44 = 91 (2d100)
Running your hand down the length of your scarf, you feel a slight snap at your fingers – not, in fact, unlike a jolt of static electricity. It stings you a little, but the effect it has on Flauros is much more intense. He stumbles forwards, clutching his head – which is, grotesquely, located in the middle of his torso – and groaning in a mix of pain and confusion. Well, it might look like an edgy fashion statement, but the scarf certainly works.
Then, as Ose chuckles and scrapes his swords together, you call up Kin-Ki. You don't much like the look of those golden knuckledusters that Flauros is carrying, but Kin-Ki can take one hell of a punch.
Honestly though, knuckledusters? As weapons go, those are HARDLY divine. What kind of hero uses knuckledusters?
>Please roll 2D100 for Kin-Ki and Ose. I'll take the highest of the first three!
>No modifiers here, the sides are more or less equal.
Rolled 45, 99 = 144 (2d120)
For a moment, Flauros and Kin-Ki seem to be sizing each other up, clenching their fists and glaring at each other. If someone doesn't make a move soon, you fret, they're about to start posing at each other. Anything, you silently plead, anything but that.
Thankfully, they begin to stride towards each other, clenching their hands into tight fists. In one single, beautifully choreographed move, they swing matching punches at each other, their right hands meeting in the air with a massive, strangely hollow crack. The ground seems to tremble with the force of it, and a ghastly silence falls over the scene like a blanket. Even Ose is shocked into silence, as he waits to see which one of the muscular warriors breaks.
A wide grin blossoms on your face as Flauros lets out a sudden scream, trembling legs folding under him as he drops to his knees and clutches at his bloodied hand.
“As expected!” Kin-Ki booms, as Ose charges past at his fallen brother. Swords flash in a terrible dance and, when Ose's charge comes to an end, several wide wounds have opened up on Flauros' body. None fatal, but they will be damaging. Struggling to stand, Flauros pounds his fists together in rage, a swirling field of magic surrounding him and sinking into his muscles. They bulge a little more as he pumps himself up, a little more strength entering his limbs.
“Bah!” the divine creature spits, “Round two, you mongrels!”
>Please roll 2D100, for Kin-Ki and Ose. I'll take the highest of the first three again.
>Flauros casts Tarukaja, increasing his power!
*We* are about to get fucked if I don't roll well here.
Praying to the Oni gods here.
So he's just taken the magical equivalent of a whole bunch of steroids – so what? It's not going to give him the advantage he needs to-
Before you can even finish that thought, you have to duck as Ose flies past, hurled by a single mighty punch. You didn't even see Flauros throwing the punch, just a slight twitch that might have been him winding up. Ose charged, there was a sudden flash of white and then... whoosh. At least you duck in time, time slowing to a crawl as you dive to the ground. In slow motion, the sound of Ose crashing through the fragile wall behind you is immense, like a mountain collapsing.
This is fine. Ose isn't dead yet, and you've still got Kin-Ki. His strength is formidable, even for the divine creature you call an enemy. Flexing his golden muscles, your Oni marches forwards and begins to swing punches at Flauros. The two of them trade blows wildly, punching and even kicking at each other until Flauros lands a single, solid blow into Kin-Ki's chest, throwing the ogre away. He crashes into the wall behind you, landing right beside Ose.
So... that didn't work. Maybe you should try something else...
>Keep up the attack
>Change your demon
Rolled 20, 10 = 30 (2d120)
You've just seen two powerful demons bodily hurled through the air by the hulking brute before you, both of them launched by a single punch each.
You're going to shoot him in the face.
To be fair, that's not all you're going to do. You send Kin-Ki back into storage and pull out Parvati instead, tasking her with healing up Ose before she does anything else. Once Cassandra's demon is on his feet again – hopefully healing magic also sobers people up – you can have Sati's new form throw out some ice. You'll see how smug Flauros can be when he's up to his freakishly positioned jaw.
That's the plan, at least. You're pretty sure it'll work.
Spotting your gun, Flauros begins to snarl, kicking his heels against the ground like a bull preparing to charge. Which is a fairly appropriate comparison, considering that he IS about to charge.
>Please roll 2D100, for Parvati and Mia. I'll take the highest of the first three
>If Parvati's roll is a success, Mia's result will be at +20
Rolled 5, 68 = 73 (2d100)
We got pretty lucky there.
As she passes a gentle hand across Ose's wounds, a soft white light shrouding her entire limb, Parvati casts an indifferent gesture at the charging demon. At first, you think nothing happened and then, thankfully, there is a result. Spires of twisting ice shatter the ground beneath Flauros' feet, first blasting apart the concrete and then slamming down around his legs, binding him fast.
Frankly, seeing the awful damage that the magic caused, the binding is the least of Flauros' problems. His entire lower half is patterned with slashes, ice crystals spreading into the wounds and digging them even deeper. Writhing in place, howling and roaring with pain, you almost feel sorry for Flauros.
Then again, he almost hit you with a flying leopard devil, so that's shot his chance for any sympathy. You're not a merciless warrior, but you have your limits. Holding your pistol in a two-handed grip, you point it as his twisted, snarling face and pull the trigger. A surprisingly flat bang later, and a dark, bloodied hole appears in the centre of his face. As the rending ice finally melts, the body slumps to the ground. It'll start to degrade soon, you know that, and that means-
“Dinner time,” Ose growls, lifting himself to his feet and prowling closer to sniff at the carcass, “Been waitin' for this...”
“Mia,” Cassandra says softly, taking you by the arm, “You don't need to see this. Trust me – you really don't want to see this.”
You're about to argue – you're not some kid who needs to be shielded from the tough stuff – and then you hear the first of the crunching sounds. Then, growing pale, you let Cassandra lead you away.
“So,” Cassandra says, speaking loud enough that her voice almost – but not quite – covers up the sounds of Ose's noisy feast, “I believe I owe you a favour now.”
That's certainly true. Not bad for a little bit of work. You're about to ask her exactly what she's prepared to trade for that vaguely defined “favour” when the gruesome background noise stops. A few moment later, and Ose approaches, his now white muzzle stained red with blood. Blood and... actually, you don't want to think about it. If Flauros has his head AND his torso in one place, were his guts and brains all mixed together?
Ugh. You did NOT want to think about that.
“I feel much better,” Ose – now speaking with a quiet dignity at odds with his blooded appearance – tells you, “Once again, I have reclaimed my divinity.”
“That's great,” Cassandra say, offering you a furtive smile, “Are you going to keep it this time?”
“Of course!” Ose exclaims, with a note of wounded pride, “...For a while.”
That's probably as good as she's going to get.
>I think I'll end things here for tonight. Next thread on Sunday, and I'll stick around for a while in case of any questions!
Thanks to the therapeutic properties of blowing shit up, Petra is feeling considerably better. Not quite 100% but she's not about to do anything stupid like
snacking down on a Magatama
And yes, the others have found guns. Plenty of guns!
He'd probably end up drinking all his wages and getting drunk on the job!
That was the worst case scenario, yes, but it wouldn't have come down to a single choice. We would have had to try pretty hard to screw up that badly!
Elliot does actually have a fancy hunting rifle - "borrowed" from some old money mansion
Keeping a lady like Lilith as a pet would be degrading and sexist. Come on, it's 2016!
It's this cute girl instead!
Succubus could probably tell us though, yes.
Abaddon was very awkward to write a fight scene for. He won't be showing up again!
So I was thinking of what to do with Hua Po when we have to make more room for stronger demon.
Could she be made fire casting item?
Say a glove that goes on a friend of our's left hand?
I like the sound of that!
>Ah, I see. Mada just seemed the type.
Only politically correct villains allowed in this quest!
I'm kidding, obviously. In Nocturne, Mada could summon Pazuzu, so this is just kind of an in-joke. He's not as tough as he was in his archduke days
>I like the sound of that!
Yeah I thought it might be a decent way to keep her in the fight if she chooses too. Limited a bit though, she can't really use it against Mada.
I figure we'd trade it for her Oni necklace.
His poison is definitely much weaker. It's something that humans could probably dip into for some time without really suffering any lasting damage. It's not totally harmless, and you wouldn't want to be breathing it for hours, but it's not the obstacle it once was!
Unfortunately not! She doesn't have much to pass the time, but she does get messages from Undine to keep her informed of what's going on.
She's also in contact with Nyarly, but boredom might be preferable! They mostly argue over the "game" and who they expect will win, along with exchanging threats about what they'll do to the other once they've seized power back
Amelia is still putting her money on Mia, but recent events with Cass have been kind of a kicking for her. If it comes down to it, she doesn't think Mia is capable of taking Cassandra's fragment by force.
Nyarly, on the other hand, changes his vote to whichever one would irritate Amelia the most at the time. Currently, his money is on Mastema!
>If it comes down to it, she doesn't think Mia is capable of taking Cassandra's fragment by force.
Then we'll use the power of diplomacy and friendship!
No seriously, other than really getting a workout with Maya's mask's properties its probably the only way.
It's almost enough to make you wonder why Scathach gave the mask that particular ability!
In either case, that'll have to be the end of things - I'm about to drop. We'll pick things up again on Sunday.