Previous threads: http://suptg.thisisnotatrueending.com/archive.html?tags=Devil%20Summoner%20London%20Quest
Character sheet: http://pastebin.com/4keHKgX4
You're very careful, as you follow Cassandra out from the alleyway you were taking shelter in, not to look at the scattered remains of Ose's recent meal. It's surprisingly difficult, considering how much of a messy eater the devil seems to be. Even with your gaze locked on the ground, you still find yourself stepping over patches of stained red snow. Looking up manages – somehow – to be worse, as you catch a glimpse of some ropey entrails dangling from a street light.
He didn't even eat the whole thing. What a waste.
Really though, you're just happy to have this little task done with. You were only too happy to help Cassandra with this little “errand”, and the potential reward was more than enough to compensate for any trouble. A favour – left vague and nameless – to be reclaimed at a later date. Would she really hand over a divine fragment, an item of immeasurable value, because of this small deed?
She hasn't found it yet, you remind yourself, so it's too early to make any assumptions. Either way, though, you'll hold a potent advantage over her because of this – it's up to you to make the most of it.
“So,” Cassandra mentions, in a disarmingly off-hand tone, “I hear you're looking for a certain book.”
Well, you were asked to keep your eyes open, but...
“Sit at a bar long enough, and you start to hear all kinds of things,” she explains, noticing your expression, “Don't worry about it, I'm not going to steal your prize. I might know where to find it, though. A particular temple, out in the slums surrounding Elysium, had a pretty impressive collection of books the last time I checked. Let me see...” Letting her words trail off, Cassandra unzips her jacket and takes a sealed envelope from some hidden pouch within. “It's a little rough,” she apologises as she hands it over, “But this is a map of the slums. I've marked the building in question. Look for a tower with a snake painted on the side, the temple you want is beneath that snake.”
Taking the envelope with your gracious but cautions thanks, you fold it and put it into your pocket. Is there a catch?
“It's dangerous,” Cassandra tells you with a shrug, “There are guards – cultists, I guess – and there is said to be a demon sleeping beneath. Not malevolent, or so I hear, but sometimes it's better to let sleeping dogs lie. The real danger, though, is that any fighting – any disruption at all, really, will bring one of THEM down on you. One of the fallen angels. You get into trouble out there, and one of them will come running. Consider this a warning – and one from personal experience.”
Huh. Good to know, you murmur as you touch your pocket lightly. You hadn't been planning on venturing in right away, but perhaps...
“Anyway,” the taller girl says lightly, “Time to go our separate ways, I think.”
>Could you tell me about those angels?
>Any other advice to offer?
>Right. I'll see you soon.
>Could you tell me about those angels?
Are they....changed...in any way?
>About that knife of yours...
heck, she's got divine Ose back, she'll be fine.
>Petra's in a bad way, but she'll be back in no time!
>do you want to borrow this armor?
so I may have asked something on ask.fm, forgetting that you were just about to run.
Yeah, yes. We can distract Mada's fire away from the party mitigating casualties.
And Cass is a goddamn Last Cycle vet. She should have a Null Fire item already if she is up against Michael. Either item a fire Demon or get one from Hellfire with a favor.
>And Cass is a goddamn Last Cycle vet
so is Petra?
>She should have a Null Fire item already if she is up against Michael.
then she's free to decline the offer. The gesture alone would speak volumes.
Wait, you ask quickly, she mentioned the fallen angels. Could she... tell you a little more about them? Like, have they changed in any way?
“Changed?” Cassandra's laugh is flat, and without much humour at all, “They've certainly changed. They weren't exactly good looking before hand – well, I guess that depends on your tastes – but now they're just... awful. Just looking at them was enough to give me a headache. Something about their shapes, or... or something. I don't know, not exactly, but you'll see for yourself. They're stronger now, as well – I thought I had their measure, but their magic doesn't... it doesn't work like you'd expect. At least they don't seem to have their same mastery over holy light.”
Well, that's a good thing, right?
“Sure,” Cassandra offers a lopsided smile, “But not when their fires burn clean through something that should, by all rights, NOT burn. Or when their winds can pierce right through concrete blocks to get you. But hey, at least they can't kill devils in a click of their fingers now.”
Suddenly, you feel a whole lot less optimistic about the possibility of fighting them. Do they, at least, still have their injuries slowing them down?
“Hard to say,” she muses, “Uriel didn't seem to be blind, but I have no idea what's going on inside Raphael. It all looks like... clockwork in there.”
You grimace at the thought, and decide to move on before the discussion gets any more pessimistic. That dagger she found, you mention tentatively, the obsidian one...
“This?” Cassandra draws it, pulling it from her hip, “You're not about to ask to borrow it, are you?”
She should be careful with it, you warn her as you give the weapon a worried glance, you've heard that it might be something called a “Deathstone” - whatever that is.
“Huh,” Cassandra remarks, her voice growing quiet, “Good thing I never got any blood on it. Uh, human blood I mean. That could have been...” falling silent as she considers the possibilities, Cassandra shudders slightly, “Man, that could have been bad. Although, it does give me an idea...”
You really don't like the sly look that passes across Cassandra's face, as she murmurs that last part to herself.
“Anyway!” she declares brightly, “No point thinking about that just now – a girl has to keep some secrets, right? Well, Mia, is was good to work with you again. I know we're working on opposite sides of this little conflict, but we're still both human – we've got to stick together, at times like this.”
Right, you tell her weakly, humans have to look out for each other. That's why you gave her that-
“I should really be getting going!” Cassandra says, drowning you out, “Anyway, you've got that map – you'll be fine!” And then, before you can bother her with any other questions, she hurries off. Ose, in his new divine form, follows in her footsteps like a devoted hound. So much for getting any other information.
Looking up at the sky – as always, the churning storm clouds offer little hint as to the time of day – and heaving a heavy sigh, you wonder if Cernunnos has finished his marathon breakfast yet. The others might be back as well, loaded down with their various looted firearms. You should probably join them and see how things are getting on, but...
>Return to the fairy kingdom
>See where Cassandra's map leads you
>Go somewhere else first (Write in)
>Return to the fairy kingdom
Shut up about the ring Mia. Cass is deliberately trying to keep that a secret so Mastema will attempt to use his powers not knowing they are getting blocked. Then she can confront or play along when she wants.
so if we've already got Null Fire, what say you all to turning Hua Po into an offensive item?
Say, one that causes a burst of fire every time we teleport with Midnight, whether from the source or the destination.
Although a healing badge might be nice, too.
Yes to an offensive item, but I was thinking a left glove for Petra. Give her some way to attack or defend herself when needed.
But nothing, you decide. You'll see how everyone is doing before you decide to make your next move. Although that might be complicated by the fact that you're not quite sure what your next move is going to be – you were planning on heading into the Intoxicating One's fortress, but you're fully aware that once you're there, escape might not be an easy option. You'll need to be prepared before venturing forth.
And that's what you're doing now – returning to the fairy kingdom to prepare. It's a quick journey back to the gates, and one that you could practically do with your eyes shut by this point. Slipping through the gates, you enter the kingdom and are immediately assailed by something that sounds not unlike a small war. Gunshots, rattling away in an overlapping cacophony, fill the air.
You're going to assume that everyone managed to find some kind of gun. A fairly safe assumption, you decide.
Following the noise to the archery range – the ground, you notice, is still blasted and churned up from the explosive bout of therapy you shared with Petra – you cover your ears and emerge into the clearing. Their faces cast in a variety of expressions – Leon grins with savage glee, while Joseph's mouth is tight with uncertainty – your group of friends are blasting away at the few targets that survived the previous night.
Elliot carries a finely crafted rifle – the sort of thing that looks more like a work of art than a weapon – while Joseph has the most generic pistol imaginable. Leon, finally, has the kind of rifle you've only ever seen in action movies, a sleek black thing that seeps menace. As they fire away, Petra watches wistfully, turning to give you something that approaches a grin.
>Hang around here for a while
>See if Cernunnos is finished eating
>Check in with Scathach again
Slapping Petra lightly on the shoulder, you suggest that she summons Vivian to enchant the various weapons. It would be best, you explain, if everyone knows what to expect. What you don't say, for obvious reasons, is that you hated seeing the redhead lurking on the sidelines. She's still a part of this team, after all.
“Right!” Petra shouts, raising her voice over the rattle and crack of gunfire. Pawing at her phone for a moment – she doesn't quite have the same dexterity in the fingers of her left hand, yet – Petra summons her icy demon. Rising up on her cushion of water, Vivian casts her hand out to enchant the various weapons. For a brief moment, a current of cold air coils around everyone and causes them to shudder, but the effect is quickly over. When the next shots ring out, they fire gleaming crystallised slivers of ice that shatter and burst upon contact with the targets.
Well, you remark cheerfully, that seems to work! Now then, you decide a few moments later, you're off to see the local barbarian. Even allowing for a frankly absurd degree of luxury, there's no way that he could still be eating by now, right?
Not quite, as it happens, but you were close. You arrive just as Cernunnos is wiping up the last of the mingled blood and grease with a hearty chunk of dark bread, stuffing the whole mass beneath his bone mask. Chewing noisily, he meets your gaze as you linger nearby. It's very rude to hover like this, you know that, but you can't imagine the savage warrior will scold you for the breach in etiquette. A few more moments pass before he swallows, standing wearily and taking his great, stone-tipped spear.
“So!” he booms, “We travel together once more!”
That's right – and first, you're going...
>To gather the troops. It's time to head North
>To see Scathach
>Into the slums
>To see Scathach
Though lets talk to Hua Po one last time before we item her. Tell her what her role will be and give her a good send off. We didn't really do that with Moh but I suppose we are a lot closer with Hua Po than we were with her.
You'd like to see Scathach about a few things, you say to yourself. As the words leave your mouth, the savage lights glowing within Cernunnos' mask narrow to accusatory points.
“I'll have no part of it,” he growls, “I'll fight by your side – I never go back on a deal – but I'll not associate with that butcher. Speak to her yourself, and keep me out of it.”
That's... fine with you. Things certainly seem awkward between the pair of them, but if the rumours Cernunnos alluded to earlier were true, you can very much understand why. The suggestion that Scathach might be taking prisoners – and even injured soldiers from their hospital beds – as raw materials for her experiments is certainly a disturbing one. A discussion for another time, though, when you can be more certain of your privacy. You let Cernunnos vanish into your phone's storage, and sit down at his now vacant table to think.
Hua Po has been a valuable ally, in the time you've known her. Even so, she's starting to fall behind as more and more dangerous threats arise. It might be about time to trade her in for a more powerful demon – and, if you take her to Scathach, a new piece of equipment. Still, it seems like she's getting kind of a raw deal out of things. Making up your mind to stop by the archives next, you summon the little fairy to speak with her one last time.
“Hey boss,” Hua Po says tentatively, “You look a little down. Thinking deep thoughts?”
You certainly are, you tell her, before launching into an awkward, truncated version of what you'd like her to do for you. In essence, you want to make a weapon out of her – a weapon that you might not even keep for yourself. Putting it in such blunt terms, you find yourself cringing and expecting an immediate rejection. You don't expect the thoughtful silence that follows.
“You know...” Hua Po says slowly, “When I was first captured by The Shackle, I expected to be sold off as a slave. A thing, barely granted the right to exist. When I escaped, though, I had a new lease on life – and that was spent in your service.”
A different kind of slavery, you think to yourself.
“Don't think that!” Hua Po protests, reading your earnest features like an open book, “I was happy to serve you – to do the kind of things that I was never able to do on my own! It's because of you, boss, that I was really able to DO something with my life. That business with Sati? I was prepared to burn myself out, just to do the right thing. So now, if this is what you want me to do, I'm happy to put my life in your hands one last time.”
You're speechless. Really – you can't think of any way to respond to that. Simply nodding, with the most honest smile you've given in a long time, you extend a single finger towards Hua Po's equally extended hand. You shake on it – the strangest handshake you've ever experienced – before Hua Po retreats, with misty eyes, back into the privacy of your phone's storage.
Rubbing your eyes slightly – just dust, you say to nobody in particular – you clamber to your feet and begin to make your way, slowly, towards the archives. You've said your goodbyes, and now it's time to be practical. Sentimentality is a luxury you can barely afford to indulge in.
“We meet again,” Scathach purrs, once you find yourself before her. Before you can stop yourself, you find yourself scanning her dark clothes for any stains that might be blood. Nothing, but what were you expecting, for her to emerge as bloodied and besmirched as a butcher?
“So, what can I do for you?” the witch asks, dragging you back to reality.
>I'd like to forge a demon
>I wanted to ask about Petra's arm
>I heard some rather disturbing rumours...
You're not going to blunder ahead and start asking dubious questions without knowing what you're talking about – you're not that much of a fool – so you force down whatever misgivings you might have about Scathach and give her a weak smile. You're just her to ask for her services, that's all. You'd just like to forge one of your demons.
“Is that it?” Scathach sounds amused, and you can't help but wonder if she's aware of your growing discomfort, “My, I should start charging for this. I'd make a fortune in no time at all.”
This isn't going to be one of those “favour for a favour” things, is it?
“Just thinking aloud,” Scathach shakes her head briefly, “If the queen found out I was profiteering so blatantly, she'd force me to stop.” A pause, here, as Scathach tilts her head in thought. “Or she'd ask for a cut of whatever profits I might make. Well, no matter. What were you thinking about?”
Well, you begin, a glove might be nice. Something that retains Hua Po's ability to fling fire about with both power and skill.
“A glove...” Scathach muses, “It should be possible. Hold out your hand, then, so I can get a measurement.”
Actually, you add hastily, it's not for your hand. You were sort of hoping she could make something that would fit Petra's hand – considerably larger than your own.
“Is that so?” the witch asks, with an uncanny degree of interest, “I didn't think you were the type. Well, I suppose I can't read everyone right. I'll get right on that – and don't worry, I'll be very discreet. I've got a way to take a measurement of her hand, without ever needing to ask her!”
Wait, does she mean...
“A joke,” Scathach chuckles, “No measurements needed. Now come, let's get on with it.”
>I've got a way to take a measurement of her hand, without ever needing to ask her!”
Not amused Scathach.
As you're following the witch to her forge, you scrape together your courage and ask just what she meant, earlier. That thing about reading people, and your “type” - whatever that means.
“Ah, it's nothing really,” Scathach says, her voice light with amusement, “It probably means nothing to a human like you, but in our kingdom presenting someone with a gift of a specially made glove has certain... significance. It implies that you know them well enough to have their measurements memorised. It also implies that you might wish to, ah, get closer to them. So to speak.”
Wait a minute...
“As I said,” Scathach adds, “The symbolism will mean nothing to a human. Probably.”
Saying nothing more to that, you hastily place your phone of the usual altar and step back, closing your eyes and focussing on the mental image you desire. A glove, fitted for Petra's left hand, that can call up fire and flames. That's all you want – nothing more. When you open your eyes, the glove itself is lying upon the altar. Picking it up gingerly, you feel the material. It feels like... leather. Is this...?
“I wouldn't worry about it!” the witch declares cheerfully, “It should do everything you wanted it to do. Now then... is there anything else I can do for you?”
>There was something... (Write in)
>Nothing else. You should bring this to Petra
>Nothing else. You've got somewhere to be (Write in)
No, there's nothing else you need. In fact, you should really get going – as soon as possible, preferably. Hastily wishing Scathach luck with her ongoing research, you scuttle from the archives and up into the cleaner air of the corridors above. Free from the musty scent of dust and old books, you can once again breath easily – although you have to wonder how much of that stress was down to Scathach either teasing you, or making sinister implications.
As you pass the banquet hall, you hear raised voices. Sticking your head around the door, you see the group of assembled humans sitting around one of the tables, arguing about who is the best shot. Elliot is claiming that particular honour, while Leon contests. The issue at hand, or so it seems, is that Elliot was shooting far less often that Leon was. At least, that's what you think they're talking about – Joseph and Petra are looking away, desperately pretending the argument isn't happening. They brighten up when you sit down, your presence causing Leon and Elliot to fall silent as well – they probably don't want to argue about something so petty in front of you.
“Mia!” Petra announces, twisting around to look at the glove you were still holding out before you, “Ah, something new? But gloves are supposed to come in pairs, yes? I think maybe you should get your money back.”
“Eh,” Joseph taps her on the shoulder, “I don't think it was meant for her. It looks a little... large, don't you think?”
“Maybe so,” Petra decides, looking down at the glove. Her eye lights up a moment later, as the penny drops. “Is that...”
>It's for you. Call it a gift
>I thought you could use it. Want to swap it for that necklace?
You thought she could use it, you say carefully, so how about she swaps it for that necklace of hers?
“This?” Petra touches the necklace of teeth dangling around her neck, “But... ah, but it is useless to me, yes? Sentimental value, perhaps, but warm feelings won't offer much in a fight.” As she thinks, Petra's face goes through a series of contortions, frowning, grimacing and finally breaking out into a weary smile. “Very well. A trade, yes? But take good care of it – I don't want to see it in a pawnshop window!”
Not a chance, you promise the redhead as she turns the other way, brushing her long hair aside to reveal the tightly knotted cord. It takes a minute for the gesture to click home – with one hand, there would be no way of her untying the necklace. It's probably the same reason she's still wearing her hair loose, and not in her usual braid. Delicately, you untie the necklace and slip it out from around her neck, holding it in your hands for a moment. It still holds a trace of her body heat lingering within it, but you know that it won't last.
With that done you offer her the glove, uncomfortably aware that the table of Pixies next to you are watching with sparkling eyes. What, exactly, do they think is going on? Putting them out of your mind, you watch as Petra fumbles the glove on, finally resorting to tugging it down with her teeth. Take it outside, you warn her, before playing with it. You've seen how much she likes her explosions, and you don't want her to trash the entire banquet hall.
“I can't wait,” Petra says, with a particularly eager grin, “So, now what?”
>Time to head North
>Want to take a look around the slums?
>There's something I wanted to do (Write in)
>There's something I wanted to do (Write in)
One last thing before we head north. Ask Succubus if she knows which Archduke the Intoxicating One has and it's weaknesses and strengths are.
You just want to gather a little bit more information, you tell Petra, and then you'll be ready to head North. It's something you should have asked earlier, but the thought only recently occurred. Of course, you'll have to endure the usual arduous process of gathering information, but that's a risk you're just going to have to take. Sighing, you take out your phone and call up Succubus.
“Well well,” the devil purrs, materialising with her body draped across the table, “You just keep crawling back, don't you?”
She gathers information, you reply simply, of course you'll come back to her. Is there a reason you shouldn't? But never mind that, you say quickly, you wanted to know about this “pet” the Intoxicating One is said to have. You can imagine that it has strengths, but does it have any weaknesses?
“We'll start with the weaknesses,” Succubus agrees, “The cold should do it – I guess pets really do look like their owners! Well anyway, just give him a cold shower. Strengths, though, umm...” Her tail lashes back and forth as she thinks, occasionally slapping Leon lightly on the face – accidentally, you're sure. “Dark magic, the real spooky kind, and poison. He's not as noxious as he used to be, I guess he got bathed or something, but I wouldn't hang around for too long.”
That's good, you muse. Convenient, in fact, now that you've got Petra and Vivian enchanting the numerous guns you've brought along. Just hold back and shoot him a bunch, with Parvati backing you up. Easy – and his master should fall in much the same way. One last thing – what's this pet called?
“Pazuzu,” Succubus says, with a faint shudder.
That's all you wanted to know – and now, it's time to make a move.
It's been a while, you think to yourself as you trudge through deep drifts of snow, since you came this far North. You'd like to say you missed it, but that would be a complete lie. You would be quite happy to never come this way again – and, indeed, once this task is over, you won't need to come here. Once the Intoxicating One is dead, and his fortress in ruins, you'll be free to abandon this bleak corner of the world.
Similar curses and complaints rise up above your little group as they march, filling the air with a low undercurrent of discontent. A sudden change in the mood takes you by surprise, and it takes you a moment to realise that Elliot has stopped whining – for once.
“So,” he says, his voice coming from close by your side, “Got a bit of a question, if you don't mind.”
You'll answer it as best you can, you promise the foppishly dressed young man.
“Well, I just wondered if we were going to be knocking on the front bloody door,” he asks, with a shrug almost entire unnoticed beneath his thick, heavy coat, “As I understand it, the tunnels didn't work so well last time. Still, at least we could slip in right under his nose.”
It's a good question, actually. Taking the tunnels would be the stealthy approach, but you'd be at the mercy of wherever the portal would dump you. On the other hand, marching right up to the gate would basically announce your arrival to everyone within the fortress.
>Take the front gate
>Slip in through the portal
>Take the front gate
"We need to interrogate a demon about the where your phone is anyways. And we practically walked out the front door last time we were here, it wasn't terribly guarded."
You're going to take the direct approach this time, you decide, and march right in through the front gates. You left that way, last time you were here, and they were completely unguarded. Unless something has drastically changed since then, you don't imagine you'll have much trouble getting in. Certainly less trouble than trusting yourselves to the mercurial whims of an unreliable portal, in either case.
Once you're inside, you tell Elliot, you'll need to find your way to Leon's phone. That might require a bit of... local knowledge, say, but you're fairly sure you can find a demon willing to cooperate.
“Pardon me if this makes me sound squeamish,” Elliot jokes mirthlessly, “But when you say things like “willing” and “cooperate”, are you being sarcastic by any chance?”
That depends, you shrug, you'd prefer thing to go smoothly but what are the odds of that happening?
“I thought as much,” the fop sighs as you pass the crumbling remains of the auction house, pressing further ahead without diversion, “Say, has it occurred to you that this might be a trap? This phone would make a spectacular piece of bait, and we're all so willing to stroll up and take it. We won't be able to do much fighting when we're wriggling like fishes on a hook, will we?”
Sure, you reply, there's a risk. But there's a risk in not doing anything – you don't know what the Intoxicating One would do if he could bind and summon demons like a human, but it certainly wouldn't be anything good. Besides, you told Leon you'd get his phone back. You're not going to throw that away on a whim.
“Fair enough,” Elliot sighs, “I've said my piece. Just as long as you're aware of the situation.”
If you didn't know any better, you think to yourself, you'd think Elliot didn't want Leon to get his phone back. You decide against inquiring further, however, as the golden gates loom large ahead of you.
Still ajar, it's easy to slip through the gates and into the gaudy – you forgot just how bright it was here – expanse of the Intoxicating One's city. The smell hits you a moment later, the rich and powerful odour of wine striking you like a hammer. Cassandra might like it here, you think with a mischievous smile. Your smile drops from your face a moment later as a pair of demons approach, the curiously helmeted soldiers that make up the bulk of the Intoxicating One's forces. Behind you, your allies drop into more guarded postures.
And then the pair of demons... kneel. They drop low before you, and let their weapons droop harmlessly. Not exactly what you were expecting, but you can work with this. You think.
“Honoured guests,” the first rattles, his thin voice muffled.
“Welcome guests,” the second adds.
“We have been sent to guide you,” they both say, then, in unison, “The Intoxicating One wishes for an audience with you. He has summoned you to his majestic palace, so that you might be blessed by his presence.”
A silence then follows as they straighten up, looking right at you. At least, you think they're looking at you – it's hard to tell, what with those helmets and all.
“So...” the first says lamely, the formality slipping from his voice, “Follow us, will you?”
“Oh come on!” Elliot mutters angrily, “At least try and hide it! Bloody amateurs have never run a con in their lives!”
It DOES sound like a trap, you must admit.
>Led the demons guide you
>Try and make your own way to the palace
Sure, you COULD trust this pair of fairly inept looking demons – some of which have, in the past, tried to kill you before – or you could play dirty and see what they really have planned. Of all the available options, you prefer the second one.
Enter Succubus, for a little bit of direct information gathering. When they see you summoning, the pair of demons take hasty steps backwards but then they stop, growing still when they see just what you called up. Succubus yawns and stretches – you're pretty sure that she isn't tired, even though she keeps doing that – before turning and giving you a quick wink.
“Well, what do we have here?” she purrs, strutting around the pair of soldiers in a perfect figure eight, “What a fine pair of gentlemen! And what a fine pair of...” her hand brushes against one of them, trailing softly down his midriff, “...helmets,” she finishes.
There are no words to describe what you are thinking or feeling right now.
“So, which of you strapping young men wants to spill your... secrets?” the devil asks, licking her lips, “Go on... give me everything you've got!”
“Urk,” one of them – you've lost track of which one was which by this point – grunts, “Trap. There was a trap in the palace!”
“Called it,” Elliot offers, his voice falling on deaf ears.
“We were supposed to take you to the bait,” the other demon stammers, “Uh, whatever that was. They don't tell me anything! But, uh, it's definitely a trap. A false floor, I think. So you'll all fall into a big pit or... something.”
“So, uh, do we get to see you later, or...” the first demon asks slyly, eyeing up Succubus.
“Oh, I don't know,” Succubus giggles, “I'll have to ask my boss.”
>Let them lead you to the palace. You know what to expect now
>Send the demons on their way. You'll make your own way to the palace
>You've got another plan (Write in)
"What about the human prisoner you had here's equipment? Do you know where that is held?"
"Can you point out exactly where the false floor is when you see it?"
>Let them lead you to the palace. You know what to expect now
>Let them lead you to the palace. You know what to expect now
How much do you want to bet Leon's phone in the middle of a room, with a sign pointing to do it saying 'Plz Take, No Trap'
There was a human prisoner, you mention casually, you don't suppose they know what happened to the things he had on him when he was caught, do they?
“Uh...” one of the demons begins, “You mean like... stuff?”
“Hey!” the second blurts out, in a sudden burst of inspiration, “Stuff! That might be the bait!”
It makes sense, you think to yourself. If the Intoxicating One was hoping to recapture Leon – and this trap, dropping him into a pit, sounds like an attempt at capturing him – it would make a lot of sense to bait the trap with the young man's possessions. So, if they knew where this false floor was, would they tell you where to find it?
“It's... well, the bait would be in the middle of the trap, wouldn't it?” the first demon offers with a shrug, “So if you see this stuff, that's where the trap is. Just gotta not take the bait – is it that hard?”
“It's pretty hard,” Succubus leers, draping herself over the demon's shoulders.
That's enough, you snap as you try to still the nervous fluttering in your stomach, you've got everything you need to know. They can lead on, now – it's about time to take the Intoxicating One up on that “audience” he offered you.
Moving like zombies rather than demons, the pair of soldiers turn and shuffle away down the gilded streets, Succubus offering them one last pat on the backside each to speed them on their way. As they wander ahead of you, the devil herself drifts down next to you.
“Poor dears,” she murmurs.
Were they that vulnerable to charm magic?
“I didn't even need to use magic,” she tells you, shaking her head sadly, “They were just that easy.”
The pair of lovestruck soldiers lead you along a winding path, down though row upon row of lofty golden spires. Each one seems taller than the last, but finally you come to the grandest tower in all the land. It's a mighty construction, and clearly nothing that could have been created through mundane means. Even made with normal stone, the sheer size and majesty of it would take generations of slaves to build.
“Stairs,” one of the soldiers croaks, “Up. That'll take you to the audience chamber. And, uh, that thing we mentioned.”
The trap, in other words.
“Uh, yeah,” he nods, “So...”
“Walk away, boys,” Succubus tells them, “Things are going to get messy soon enough, and you don't want to get any blood on you, do you? Why, you'd be too dirty for our date!”
“Walking away now!” they cry in unison, turning and awkwardly walking off, as if something about their midsection was paining them. Can demons even get stomach aches?
Ignoring their departure, you march inside the tower and up the spiralling stairs until you reach the next floor, and a doorway leading further in. Pushing the door slowly open, you take a moment to examine the circular room. A door at the far end – leading further up, you imagine – behind a statue of a golden human. In the centre of the room lies Leon's phone, sitting on an innocuous looking tile.
“Welcome humans!” a rich voice calls out, coming from the statue, “Come, bow down before me, and we may begin negotiations!”
Hey, you whisper to Succubus, are those wings for show or could she fly over there?
“I can fly,” she whispers back, nodding eagerly.
“Approach!” the statue booms, more aggressively this time.
>Take the bait
>Send Succubus to grab the phone
>They aren't very good at this are they?
Considering how arrogant Mada is said to be, he might not imagine a human capable of outwitting him.
On the other hand, this might be a double trap. It does seem too easy. Even if hadn't got the info from those guys it would be obvious.
This is probably the weakest trap you've ever seen. Even if you didn't know it was there, they did everything except hang up a sign with “NOT A TRAP” printed on it. You're almost insulted at how bad this is – how dumb, really, does he think you are?
Succubus, you order, just fly over there and grab the stupid thing. This whole ridiculous encounter has left you with a bad taste in your mouth. Between incompetent guards and obvious traps, it's clear that the Intoxicating One is not even taking you seriously. His mistake, but it's still insulting.
“Boss,” Succubus murmurs, with unusual reluctance, “I'm having second thoughts here.”
Just do it, you repeat. Get the phone, and then you can figure out a way of getting around this dumb false floor.
“You're the boss,” the devil says with an indifferent shrug. Taking to the air with a few languid beats of her wings, she flaps over to the centre of the room and reaches down. The moment her fingers brush against the phone, however, the world explodes around you. The floor – a thin facsimile that wouldn't support the weight of a small dog – bursts upwards in a shower of shrapnel. It's not the only thing that erupts – howling with rage, a giant monsters lunges into the air and swipes at Succubus, catching her in one mammoth paw and slapping her from the air. Her limp body crashes down into the pit that now yawns before you – dazed but not yet dead.
As the winged monster hovers before you – Pazuzu, you assume – you throw a hasty glance around the room. Most of the floor has fallen away, leaving you with a thin path clinging to the walls. Navigating won't be easy, to say nothing of evasion.
>Swap Succubus for another demon?
>Swap Succubus for another demon?
Have her enchant everyone's guns with Ice.
Petra summon Berserker, have him Tarukaja this round.
Leon shoot a lion
Rolled 93, 14, 41, 78, 57 = 283 (5d100)
Now, you tell yourself firmly, is not the time for fear. Through taut lips, you begin to rattle off orders. Petra – call up Berserker and have him lift everyone's spirits. You're going to need fighting strength for this one. Elliot – have Fortuna do her “thing” and hope it works this time. Joseph should summon Gabriel and focus on throwing ice around, and Leon...
“Aye?” he asks, exasperated, “What am I supposed to fuckin' do?”
Shoot the bloody thing, you shout back as you return Succubus to storage and call up Parvati, the mystical maiden already enchanting everyone's weapons with ice.
“My pleasure!” Leon snaps back, grinning with obvious glee, “I've been waitin' for this!”
As your gathered allies brandish their guns and demons, you reach down and run a hand through your scarf, throwing it out into the wind Pazuzu's wings create and activating the magic held within. The roar of disconcerted anger Pazuzu lets out is most satisfying.
It's just a shame that you feel like a complete idiot, messing around with your scarf like a poser.
>So, please roll 5D120, for Mia, Elliot, Joseph, Leon and Gabriel. Best of three, again.
>All 5 are at +10 due to Fortuna's power, while Pazuzu is at -10 for the same reason
You're impressed to see Leon aiming appropriately – you were half expecting him to blast away like a fool with an itchy trigger finger – before he fires a tight burst from his sleek looking rifle. In this tight space, the noise punches at your ears and leaves them ringing, but even through that confusion you can see a cluster of blackened holes appearing on Pazuzu's torso, stitching their way up his chest and leaving glistening patches of already frozen blood. Howling, the monster twists in mid air and swoops lower, rising suddenly at the last minute.
You press yourself, flat, against the wall as Elliot takes a step back into the hallway, dropping to one knee and sighting along the length of his long, slender rifle. He takes his damn time at it, leisurely tracking Pazuzu's movements as the beast flies around within the cage of his room. Just as you're about to shout at him, to yell for him to take the damn shot, he fires. The sound is enormous, thundering compared with the chatter of Leon's weapon. The result is even more impressive, blasting a hole clean through the swooping demon.
Compared with the enthusiasm that Leon and Elliot set out with, Joseph seems almost reluctant to fire, contenting himself with plinking away at Pazuzu's wings. Guns, it seems, don't agree with him. Even so, he does damage and the impact of his bullet irritate the monster. Gabriel only adds to the frankly one-sided fight, shrouding Pazuzu's wings in a sheet of clinging ice that turns his flight into a spiralling dive.
A dive that is aimed, unfortunately, directly at you.
You could run. You could even dive to safety, resting safe in the knowledge that your newest magic ring would speed your movements. You don't, though – you leap forwards, instead. Filled with the same lunatic exhilaration that filled you when you were fighting Mother Maya so very long ago, you dive headlong into battle. Time slows to a crawl – this, apparently, counts as “diving for safety” - as you lunge towards Pazuzu, the demon only now breaking out of his tumbling plummet.
Thick fur meets your grip as you grab a great handful of the stuff, holding on tight as the former archduke takes to the air. Your other hand fumbles for Midnight's grip, soon finding that supple black leather that binds the grip. With the magic dagger in hand, you wriggle your way up the demon's body, the strength granted by Petra's old necklace giving you an iron grip. Even when he twists in the air, you hold on tightly, nothing standing in your way as you crawl higher still.
With one last thrashing motion, Pazuzu attempts to throw you loose, but you endure. His energy sapped by the frost clinging to his thick fur, there is little the devil can do to stop you plunging Midnight's blade into his throat, tearing it free and stabbing again and again. Blood soaks his fur, spilling down and, finally, threatening your grip. With that hazard, Pazuzu twists one final time and angles his failing flight into a charge, aimed straight into the ground.
He's trying to take you with him.
>Please name an action
If you weren't so revoltingly over-prepared, this might be a threat.
Tightening your grip on Midnight's blood-slick grip, you throw a wild glance back towards the relative safety of the entranceway. With the destination locked in your mind, you trigger the dagger's magic and blink, gently violating the laws of space and time as you shift through the open space. Landing with a slight grunt, you drop to one knee behind Elliot, who has barely had the chance to track your movements, let alone reload his rifle.
There is a muffled crash as Pazuzu's self-destructive dive ends in disaster, his stupid demon face ended up crumbled against the clumpy sand covering the pit below. He's not dead – not quite yet – but he can barely move, let alone fight. Leaning over the edge, you look down and give the dying beast a sardonic salute. Good flying there captain, you mutter.
The sound of Pazuzu thrashing in the ground begins to fade, subsiding as the beast slowly dies. You start to feel a little bad actually, watching it buck and kick as it vainly attempts to stop the blood pulsing from its throat. It's just a mindless beast, really. Kept as a pet, and used as the teeth in a particularly inept trap.
One more thing to take up the Intoxicating One, if you ever get a chance to see him personally.
“What the fuck,” Leon says slowly as he lowers his rifle, “Was that?”
“Ah!” Petra cries, grabbing you from behind in a rough, one-armed hug, “I'm so proud of you, Mia!”
“Hell of a risk to take,” Joseph offers, wiping sweat from his brow.
Hell of a reward, you shoot back, now you've just got to grab that phone.
Now that the battle is over, you've got time to scan the room properly. You still have a path to the opposite door – an awkward one, though, that demands particular care and attention to traverse – and the pit isn't that far below. Even if you fell, you wouldn't have suffered more than a few bruises and scrapes. Pazuzu was the real danger – or rather, he was supposed to. Somehow, you don't think the Intoxicating One expected his pet to face a line of enchanted guns.
A quick blink takes you down into the pit itself, and an awful reek meets you. The sand – the air itself, down here – has been suffused with the poison Pazuzu was said to possess, now faded to little more than a ghastly scent. The soft sand also provided a cushion, protecting Leon's phone from any damage behind a few scratches on the screen. Slipping it into your pocket, you blink back up to the group and hand it over.
“Damn good job,” Leon murmurs, offering a moment of rare humility, “Guess I owe you some thanks, aye? Couldn't have done it without you.”
Maybe, you say modestly, but now it's time to get higher up. Time to settle up with the Intoxicating One himself.
>I'll leave that there for tonight, I think. Next thread on Tuesday, and I'll stick around for a while in case of any questions!
Makes you wonder if Mia ever played Dragon's Dogma back in the normal world.
Thanks for running Moloch.
How quick was her mount N stab? Seemed like the others barely had time to react.
It was a very quick maneuver, and the others were a little dazed by her audacity. Elliot and Leon, after all, never saw her fight against Maya. I don't imagine any of them expected her to pounce on Pazuzu though, not even Petra!
So I got bored yesterday and did a thing.
Or a few things.
My interpretation based on the little we have on her physical description.
Wanted to do the others, but you can't really do the guys justice in that creator.
I'm very impressed! You managed to get very close to how I imagined them all. I was messing around with the same program earlier today, actually, but I didn't save any of my experiments. These, though, are very good!
"Stunned disbelief" would probably cover the immediate reactions. Leon approved, once he got over the fact that a 14 year old girl nearly decapitated a giant monster. Petra, obviously, loved it. Elliot was a little more reserved, while Joseph probably saw it as a senseless risk - far safer to hang back and shoot!
Ah, or were you wondering about what Mia's demons thought?
She was a little injured, but it was mostly just a stun. If we'd kept her out, she wouldn't have been able to act on the first turn because of it. So, reactions:
Nadja thought it was awesome, with the kind of enthusiasm that only a child can summon
Succubus thought Pazuzu got what he deserved - hitting a lady like that!
Kin-Ki was also pretty pleased. He respects strength, and that was a good display of it.
Parvati was closer to Joseph's point of view - a big risk, just for a chance to show off
Cernunnos, finally, loved it. It's just the kind of ludicrous stunt that he came along to witness!
>Cernunnos, finally, loved it. It's just the kind of ludicrous stunt that he came along to witness!
I'm glad he did, cause he won't get any action against Mada unfortunately. Other than a possible Mudo meatshield.
Ah, missed this. Gabriel took the role of a sighing mother, not quite able to bring herself to disapprove. Humans are a lot of fun to be around, even if she'd never bring herself to admit it!
And Berserker could be Cernunnos' double. The thrill of battle!
Unfortunate, but true. He'll get his moment to shine, I'm sure!
For combat, she's become his default demon. Out of combat, he will usually have her summoned unless he's working with other humans. It causes a little friction, having her around during, say, target practice.
Probably a bit more jaded when all of this is over, I imagine!
The scar was a happy accident, really. Overall, I never expected Mia to be so fun to write. Being naive is fun sometimes!
So far? I'd have to say that fighting Mother Maya was a highlight, taking the illusion stuff into account. The idea of an illusion trap was one of the earliest ideas I'd had for a "set piece" event, so I have a certain fondness for it.
I'm interested in what other people would call their favourite moments as well.
I really enjoyed taking Mastema down a peg (and hand) even if we kind lost that fight. Pretending we were mollified by his argument then slashing his face was great.
Then afterwards when we basically sabotaged any influence he had on Cass.
I'm going to say yes to that, since Midnight doesn't have any existing elemental alignment. Likewise, Mia's pistol could be enchanted once she turned off the wind component of it.
You can't overwrite or stack elements though.
But why would you do that, when Mastema has only ever tried to help us?
Signed, a normal and trustworthy human being.
>He takes his damn time at it, leisurely tracking Pazuzu's movements as the beast flies around within the cage of his room. Just as you're about to shout at him, to yell for him to take the damn shot, he fires. The sound is enormous, thundering compared with the chatter of Leon's weapon. The result is even more impressive, blasting a hole clean through the swooping demon.
Is he firing a nugget? Please, says he's firing a nugget.
Summoning a Fiend is currently Cassandra's "nuclear" option, for when something too dangerous for her shows up. She'd splash the dagger with some ofher blood, and hope the Fiend distracts the enemy long enough for her to run
But Elliot's rifle was described as a work of art!
I didn't have any concrete idea of which particular rifle he had. I kinda like the idea of using a nugget though. It's now canon!
To be fair, though, I've seen some really good looking nuggets.
In either case, I had quite a lot of fun thinking up different guns for everyone. Leon has a scary black assault rifle - complete with high capacity assault clips, AND a shoulder thing that goes up!
It would be her blood, yes. It's for a time when a small injury like that would be an acceptable sacrifice to make. Desperate times!
Her fire glove? Unfortunately not, and the future isn't looking so great either. It might be a while before something that is weak to fire shows up. When it does, though, she is going to be front and center.
I just hope she rolls well for once, when the time comes.
Not really. I'll freely admit that mechanics aren't really my strong suit, but I can't really think of a way to represent it on the enemy side of things.
So far, the only real idea I have is a bonus for dodge events, like when Raphael charged everyone. Those come up quite rarely though.
Rolled 2 (1d10)
I see. And maybe for Sukunda/Sukukaja it can be a -3/+3 or something to that, with something like Mia's ring giving a little extra.
Why only one roll instead of Bo3? Makes it too easy?
I think I might try it in this order:
>I would roll for the enemy. 3D100, say
>There would be one chance to beat a DC, based on the enemy agility. 3D10, for example, trying to beat a DC of 4
>Players roll for the attacks. 3D100
>Anyone that passes their dodge roll would take no damage, but if their attack roll doesn't beat the enemy, they wouldn't do damage.
I think it could be done, and a one roll chance would keep it balanced.
that works. although dodge dc's would need to be modified based on attack, like a Megidolaon covering and entire tower with us in the center would be night impossible to dodge for example.
Rolled 50, 108, 58 = 216 (3d120)
Oh true. I might need some time to get used to setting DCs
Okay. We'll say that the enemy is swinging very heavy, slow punches.
>Roll 3D100 to attack. Mia, Petra and Cass, for example
>Dodge DC is set at 3. Roll above and take no damage.
So it would be one person rolling 3D10, and then the first three rolls of 3D100
>Well, I can't guarantee something like that just falling into our hands
Might be able to another Hellfire favor. Maybe in return for that book.
We got a map. We might be able to do a solo sneaking mission in the East.
>Remember though, there's nothing wrong with running away if things get tough!
Exactly is why I would prefer to do that alone. If we get in trouble we can only save our own skin with teleportation and evasion.
I figure we diplomacy/charm our way through the cultists, grab the book, then get out without waking up anything,
Won't go as planned of course but its an idea.