wordcount: 1,000 (+2) Bowser: Level 5 EXP: /////////////////////////////////////////////////// (43/50) Bowser Jr: Level 4 EXP: //////////////////////////////////////// (15/40) Kamek: Level 4 EXP: //////////////////////////////////////// (21/40) Location: Lumbridge, the Land of Adventure
”Ahhhh, that hit the spot” Bowser sighed contentedly after polishing off his last hunk of Barbun meat.
”mmm. It was good! We should eat out more.”
”Compliments to the chef are definitely in order” Kamek agreed loudly enough to ensure Mina could hear him.
”Could we. could we hire her?” Jr asked after a moment of thought
Bowser took a look in his pocket and began sorting through the various rupees within, still unsure still as to their actual worth ”HMMM”
”I would suspect that Miss Mina can earn a lot more money from operating her restaurant that we can generate trapeing across this muddled up world” Kamek pointed out
”oh. Well then. Maybe we could. You know” jr said before jabbing a fist forward a few times and then touching a hand to his chest and mimicking the toss of a friend heart.
Bowser shook his head saying ”Remember what we talked about earlier.” before jerking his head in the direction of Tora, unaware that the ball of fluff was in the midst of discussing the very same idea that jr had had with some of the other members of the team, only regarding Geralt instead of Mina.
”Aw. Lame” Jr complained, though his heart wasn't really in it.
”Perhaps our luck will hold and we’ll get to keep this string of lovely meals going. For now however I suggest we get ready to go on this hunt. Best to go before twilight leaves us and night settles in for good” Kamek suggested
Bowser grunted before heaving himself to his feet and dusting off his hands ”Alright! Let’s get this place over and done with.”
”Sure, let’s go show that boss who’s boss!” Jr said as he hopped down. Mimikyu followed suit, leaping off of the table and then gently floating down to land on their trainer’s shoulder. After taking a look around Jr noticed the new items produced by the fish hunter’s sprite crushing. ”Oh hey look. New stuff on the pile.”
As the young koopa hurried over to take a look Kamek decided now was as good a time as any to make use of the sprites he had gathered from the dead zone. He moved with jr to the loot pile and then proceeded to tip out and crush the various root minion sprites he had gathered before leaving, producing:
1x Frenzy Dust: Used to find this stuff in the tallest of the old towers and the darkest alleys between. Don't know what it is, but it sure as hell makes killing Root easier. Increases the rate at which electrochemical signals fire muscles, boosting melee attack speed, movement speed, and reload speed temporarily
2x Oilskin Tonic: Healers cooked up this stuff during the Old War. Might be the only thing what kept the race from keeling over. Cures infection and increases resistance against them temporarily."
1x Hollow Cloak: "The garb of a diminutive Root. Scarcely big enough to be worn as a hood or mantle, it is resistant to water and poison but quite flammable"
2x Hatchet: A small axe meant for combat rather than utility, but serviceable for either
2x Fire Axe:Meant for use in an emergency, the axe can fell almost any single zombie in one hit, but breaks afterward
”That is a lot of axes.” Jr noted as the wizard finished, adding the items to the community pool.
”Somewhat ironic considering their tree related source.”
”Really wants us to cut some down huh?” Jr said as he picked one of the hand axes up and examined it.
”Perhaps. It will be handy incase we need to make a campfire later.” Kamek said, before turning his attention to the other items.
After eyeing them for a few moments he collected the Oilskin Tonics and the singular Antidote and store them inside his robes along with the Bloodwort potions and green herbs. Kamek was rather glad they’d he’d acquired them now that they’d watched the Dancer succumb to Galeem’s influence once more. The event concerned the mage more than he’d like to admit both because it removed their team’s main source of healing right before a critical battle and because it showed that the friend heart magic wasn't a permanent defence against their enemy's power. The first issue was forestalled as long as they had healing items, the latter was likely to trouble Kamek’s mind for some time to come even as his masters where indifferent or begrudgingly accepting of the situation respectively.
The mage had re-collected the now rather important healing items after his reunion with the royal family, quietly noting that one of the green herbs was missing at the time. Jr meanwhile, who had sneakily used the missing herb when no one was watching to fix the light wounds he’d received from being gored by the Barburn, picked up the fishing spear, testing its weight. More a Pike than a spear in the hands of the boy he still thought he could make use of it as a hunting tool if he dropped it down or stab out from his flying clown car. ”Fish are good too right?”
”Yeah that’d be good.” Bowser said as he picked up and examining the various weapons on offer in turn ”Bah, toothpicks all of these.” he muttered as he dangled the cutlass, more a large knife than a sword in his hands even at his smallest, between two fingers before setting it back down.
”Perhaps you’ll have more luck with items you crush yourself? That glove you’ve had since we met again has worked out well for you has it not?”
”hmf. Guess so.” Bowser said, before looking out the window at the setting sun ”So we ready to go yet?”
”Yeah I got what I need” jr said
”Then lets go hunt a Saurian!”
”Uh sire?” Kamek said before tilting his head back at their team.
”Oh. Right.” Bowser said before asking everyone ”YOU LOT COMING OR WHAT?”
wordcount: 1,524 (+3) Bowser: Level 5 EXP: /////////////////////////////////////////////////// (41/50) Bowser Jr: Level 4 EXP: //////////////////////////////////////// (13/40) Kamek: Level 4 EXP: //////////////////////////////////////// (19/40) Location: Lumbridge, the Land of Adventure
”Well it’s better than nothing I suppose. Lets us know what to look for. Vaguely.” Kamek replied with only a little sympathy for the Guildmarm’s apologetically vague response to being asked about the target of their F rank quest. The wizard had little energy for feeling annoyed however and so instead headed to dinner to recharge, passing by where jr was watching the loot boxes being opened in the process.
”Wow. Well now I’m glad it didn’t take my actual money” Jr said, sharing Torra’s disappointment as he initially took in the assortment of cosmetics that the boxes had divulged. ”Because if I'd spent some I would be super mad”
As it was he was only mildly annoyed, as the boy’s nose was quite sure that the veritable buffet of delights Mina would be more than making up for the poor state of her other quest reward. The second box wasn’t much better, though at least the armor in it was usable by the party rather than being for an animal they didn't even own.
The final one had the most interesting stuff, namely a little badge (a common source of power back in their world) a pair of arms with a sprite like glow and a true one size fits all stealth suit.
”Oh hay. I know that cloud guy. From that adventure with Geno where a giant sword stole my castle. What's his name again. Marshmallow? Something like that.” Bowser said as he arrived to look at the items and spotted the sticker among them. The king reached down with a claw, carefully picked up the sticker of Mallow and then applied it to his hat ”Paper me mentioned something about stickers having power.” he explained.
He then proceeded to dump the Cave Crawler Skin (A sturdy, water-resistant hide that can be prepared with salt and tanned it make high-quality material), Breakfast (That smell...that consistency...there's no mistaking that this milk's well past its expiration date. If you don't die drinking (eating?) it, you'll surely come out of the ordeal with a hardier constitution), Homeward Bone (Bonfires, resting places for lost souls, are fueled by bones of the Undead. In rare cases, the strong urge of their previous owner's to seek respite enchants their bones with a homeward instinct. Returns someone who breaks it to their last established resting place) and two wooden boards (A sturdy length of oak. The sort that might be used to blockade windows during an undead invasion) on the table with the loot box items that he apparently decided was the squads current item grab bag.
”Now. Where’s that dinner? I could eat a herd of horses.” he said as the last of the items were deposited. ”Come on Jr, you can play dress up afterwards” he told his son who had put on the steal suit to become a cyberpunk ninja turtle and was about to investigate the pair of sprite like long arms.
”Awww.” jr said before obediently popping of the suit and following after, though not before grabbing the mario spray can, quite sure he’d be able to cause a bit of mischief with it at some point.
The trio gathered together at the table after collecting their hard earned dinners. Kamek had a small helping of Tropius fruit salad and a bowl of candle gourd soup, while Bowser had a large helping of baurun spare ribs, having already acquired a taste for them in the field and jr had some taka berry jelly and a few spare ribs from his father's portion. As they were digging in Kamek decided now would be a great time for a status update on how the rest of the people on their quest where doing who were not attending the dinner.
”So I have spent a little time over with our other squad in the Dead zone, and I imagine some of you might be interested in how they are doing?” Kamek asked, mostly rhetorically, before beginning a bit of storytelling.
”First off, you’ll be pleased to hear that they are all alive, though it’s not like that area hasn’t been trying its hardest to change that. There are no lovely restaurants over there I can tell you that for sure.” Kamek said before taking a bite out of a Tropius banana and savoring the flavor. While the adventure had so far been rather draining the old Koopa was definitely enjoying the masterfully prepared food he was getting to eat during it. The catering in Bowser’s castle wasn’t exactly what he’d describe as top notch.
”When I first arrived they were being in the mist of being assailed from every side by hordes of the undead, led by these two great for armed monsters big as Master Bowser!” Kamek told the team ”Bullets and spells where flying this way and that while some of our allies went toe to to with the brutes. In the end, Donnie and Nero took one down with an impressive team attack and they ran the other over with a van. Now using the sprites of those corpse controlling monsters they turned the table on the whole area, because Blazermate gained the ability to command the hordes of undead herself.”
”That lady never stops being useful huh.” Bowser noted
”Indeed. With the dead at our robotic medic’s command we traveled in search of a man named V, a friend of Nero’s, and ended up fighting this hulking walking tree that stood taller than any of the buildings in this town.” Kamek continued
”This tree giant, or Ent as they can be known as, well it could create great shockwaves like master Bowser, span waves of little nut beasts armed to the fangs with knives, send out exploding warts on legs filled with paralyzing gas and shoot out volleys of gas bombs from its back. Quite the threat I assure you. It was a bit touch and go, the team's hammering away at this weak spot of its while it retaliated with more and more new powers till V, the very man we were looking for, arrived. He summoned a giant demon of shadow that could match the strength of the Ent and so let us turn the tables on it and break its kneecaps. In the end the tree was felled and then Blazermates minions tore it to splinter.”
”now according to that V fellow there are two more monsters that are the roots of this giant tree dungeon that's growing over the whole city, at the center of which resides the guardian they seek. They’ve got a long way to go, but from what I saw I think they’ll do just fine.” The wizard concluded his story.
”Yeah big tees are cool and all. But what we were up to was way cooler.” Jr said right as the wizard finished his ego bruised my the mere suggestion that others were having more epic adventures than he had had on their grocery collection expedition.
”So we went west to do the mining quest there were these green four legged things with nor arms that exploded right? Tora was using them to blow little mining holes but I found out that they exploded more when you hit em with electricity! So I zapped one and then got Kamek to make one super huge and used a Goomba to bait into exploding, Kaboom!” jr said as he enthusiastically told the tale via a stream of consciousness ”It blew this massive hole in the canyon and exposed tons of gems and stuff which we got and traded for bucket loads of rupees.”
”And and and we went hunting! I mean we got someone to do a lot of it for us but I also picked up a thing or two while we were at it and shot one real good with a crossbow!”
“Kyu!” interjected Mimikyu, who was sitting on the table next to jr. The small Pokemon was scooping up bits of taka berry jelly from a small plate it had been given using shadowy tendrils and taking them in under its costume, presumably to whatever it had that counted as a mouth under there.
”Oh. Yeah. and Mimikyu helped.” jr added, the small spook nodding enthusiastically in response its inclusion in Jr’s brief tale.
”One of you probably eating it right new even and I bet it’s the best tasting bit!” Jr boasted before adding ”I’m probably going to buy a bow with the mining money. Or a crossbow. Or some kind of hunty shooty thing anyway. I can probably make it better too… cool trick arrows or an autowinder or something. Then I’ll be able to hunt all the time and we won't have to worry about hiring people to get us food”
”Mmm, that’d be good!” Bowser said in between great mouthfuls of spare ribs, bringing a smile from his son’s face. ”We’d need a way to cook it too though.” he added
”Oh. yeah... well we’ll think of something!” Jr insisted.
”So, that’s been what we’ve been up too. That and plant gathering. How about yourselves.” Kamek asked after the boy was done, while also filling a gap in Jr’s retelling of their afternoon activities.
wordcount: 933 (+2) Bowser: Level 5 EXP: ////////////////////////////////////////////////// (38/50) Bowser Jr: Level 4 EXP: //////////////////////////////////////// (10/40) Kamek: Level 4 EXP: //////////////////////////////////////// (16/40) Location: Lumbridge, the Land of Adventure
”Your minion has quite the lip on it. Or beak.” Kamek complained to V. He ignored his own desire to blast the feathered pest and paid more attention to what he was saying in-between the insults.
”Demons you say, bound to the life of a master hmm. Fascinating. Quite the effective leash that. That certainly solves one of the problems you always get with recruiting external help.” he said, mostly to himself as he mulled the possibilities over and was left grinning.
”Thank you, you de-evolved dinosaur, you’ve given me quite a few ideas and things to look into.” he told the rude bird.
After handing over the position of his minigun to ratchet ”You can keep it. It was doing a number on my spine anyway” and his summoned Dry Bones to Blazermate ”You’ll find them far sturdier than these meat puppets I assure you” and collecting some minion sprites, including the one he had got into melee combat, in the empty exp vile he was ready to head out.
”While I’m sure you'd love for me to stay” Kamek addressed the assembly generally ”Now that V has been found this is as far as I go here. I have a Master and free dinner to get back in the Land of adventure after all. So unless there's anything anyone needs I’ll be off”
”Is it Grass?”
”Yeah. Good guess. Your turn.”
”Ok! Hmmmm. I spy with my little eye something beginning… With… oh! oh! K! Definitely K”
”Chicken?” Bowser tried, referring to the Chocobos running around the fields close to town
”Car?” he asked as they got closer to their parked vehicles.
”hmmm” Bowser hummed thoughtful while peering off into the distance, claws idly scratching his jaw as he tried to find the elusive K word.
”Greetings sire. I see the hunt was most successful.” said the Magikoopa who the king had overlooked while playing I spy with his son.
”Gah” Bowser startled before looking down and finding his blue cloaked advisor had wandered out of the town where had been waiting for them to return. ”Oh. It’s you Kamek”
”Yup. It’s him” Jr confirmed Bowser’s guess.
”Oh. Right! Uhh anyway yeah we got plenty of meat. It's goo d stuff to. You handled everything over in the dead zone?”
”I have. They’ve got a ways to go it seems. They need to face two more minibosses before the guardian aparently, but I got them safely to V and so I took my leave in-order to return to your side. I also learned about the existence of powerful evil creatures called Demons that can be bound to the life of a person. Something to look into once I have the time and resources. I asked around before you arrived but didn't learn much other than that the adventurers who have heard of them consider them very dangerous” Kamek explained, the supposed danger of the monsters seeming of little concern to him.
”Got a scheme brewing?” Jr asked
”The start of one certainly. I’ll let you know when I have more, but for now tell me about how things have been since we split ways”
”Oh oh, I we hired this hunter lady with a bird and I hunted things with her crossbow!” Jr began to explain.
The trio continued catching up with each other’s adventures as they got on with turning in their quests, emerging from the blacksmith with pocket fulls of rupees (though not nearly as many as Tora and Poppie) and the 3 loot boxes and promises of dinner from Mina’s restaurant. Afterwards they got together with the rest of the squad at the guild hall to register their successes. Everyone looked to have gotten back in one piece and the Cowboy had even managed to acquire new un-Galeemed party member from somewhere. The King was pleased that they hadn’t gotten captured or killed when left to their own devices, which was an unfortunate habit his regular army had.
Once inside the cubes where deposited on a table in the care of jr.
”uuuuurgh.” Jr groaned after several failed attempts at bonking one of the crystalline rupees against the box and receiving no response. The cubes were spared from more violent methods of opening by the arrival of Michael who generously popped open the loot boxes for them with a few dollars from his wallet.
”Oh nice! But why does only this fake paper money work anyway?” Jr asked as he waited for the boxes to open.
Bowser and Kamek meanwhile handled the Guild business. The wizard had had time to sign himself onto the completion of their two quests but it seemed as though the original two quests per member had been put aside. Bowser was sure this was because their handling of every quest in just an afternoon had done more than enough to prove that his army was the best in the business. Then they got the lowdown on the F class quest from the Guild Master.
”GAH, BUT WE JUST CAME FROM OVER THERE.” Bowser grumbled when finding out where the beast was before adding ”BUT I GUESS WE COULD LOOK INTO THE PIG’S GREEN RAIDER PROBLEM ON THE WAY FOR MORE CASH?”
”What’s this sire?”
”Pig people. Stuck up snobs with tiny houses. Getting attacked by small green people. We could go blow up their problem as a warmup, then head for the town, get some supplies and finally go out into these steppes where they said something big was. Probably talking about the dino we’re after. Whatever its name was.”
”Doesn’t really matter right now anyway because the new guy’s got the right idea. Foods ready and I am starving.” Bowser said, despite being one of the few people in the building who had had lunch.
”Also it being a dinosaur is only a guess.” Kamek added, before turning to the Guild Master and asking ”Now that we’re properly certified for taking on this quest, what can you tell us about this ’Mr. F’ as you called him?”
wordcount: 1696 (+3 jr) (+1 B) Bowser: Level 5 EXP: ////////////////////////////////////////////////// (36/50) Bowser Jr: Level 4 EXP: //////////////////////////////////////// (8/40) Location: A forest, the Land of Adventure
”DESTROY THE WORLD HUH. I’VE MET BAD GUYS WHO WERE GOING FOR THAT. YOUR ONE’S REASON IS PROBABLY SOMETHING STUPID, I KNOW THEIRS ALWAYS WERE.”
”Bit less stupid if there’s other worlds tho. Blow up one go live in another one?”
”MAKES SENSE BUT NAH. THEN THEY’D JUST TRY AND BLOW THE ALL THOSE ONES UP TOO. LIKE THAT COUNT BLEACK GUY. GIRLFRIEND GOT TURNED INTO A BUTTERFLY OR SOMETHING AND SO HE TRIED TO DESTROY ALL THE WORLDS.” Bowser said while butchering a touching tale of love lost and found. ”GOT STABBED IN THE BACK BY A CLOWN IN THE END. THAT GUY LEAST WANTED TO REMAKE ALL THE WORLDS IN HIS OWN IMAGE AFTER HE DESTROYED EM. BIT LIKE GALEEM’S DONE NOW THAT I THINK ABOUT IT.” He would have gone on, but the lack of a response from the now rather dower party gave him little incentive to do so. The royal family where left to quietly talked among themselves for the rest of the trip until they arrived back in the forest and had to shut up to avoid a repeat of their earlier run-ins with the Baurun herd.
The cart was once again left in the temporary care of Bowser’s strikers while the party went to sneak into the woods. They ended up hiding in the bushes again until they got close enough for Poppi to safely point out the big beefy boar-rino-bull beasts to the huntress. Instead of getting to work right away however it seemed their hired help was in an educational mood and attempted to instruct Poppi on how to hunt. Bowser grumble about her not getting to work quietly enough to not spook the beast, and thus more than quietly enough to be ignored, while Jr watched with interest.
Sadly the robot’s attempt ended with Poppie failing her first try, her shot with Quinn’s crossbow thudding right into the Baurun’s protective fur rather than the indicated weak point, but neither of the women seemed particularly displeased or distraught by this outcome. Poppi handed the weapon back to the master so she could show them how it was done. With lightning fast steps, cat like reflexes, spectacular accuracy and synergistic cooperation with her avian partner the Damacian huntress made quick work of the beast while simultaneously leaving it intact after it was struck down.
”GAH HA HA. LADY YOU’RE WORTH EVERY GOLD COIN!” the king decreed as Quinn finished dispatching her first quarry. Grinning he exited their started hiding spot and bore his claws, Mecha Mit blades flaring to life and then being sunk into the dying flesh of the beast. The thermal energy blades made short work of the task, hungrily biting off only the most the most delectable raw steaks off of the beast that the carnivorous king could carve. Inevitably a few particularly tempting appetizers went chomped out during the butchery. After the beast’s life was ended and its body burst Bowser also made sure to collect its sprite, storing it neatly in the ever useful glass bottles he had “acquired” all the way back in world 1-1 for later use.
”GOOD STUFF.” Bowser declared as he gathered together their harvest for transport. ”NOW LET’S BAG US ANOTHER.”
While Quinn made Valor do most of the hunting work Bowser Jr crouched in another bush with the huntress’s crossbow in hand that he had received after showing interest in learning to hunt. He’d already practiced with the weapon, shooting off a few darts into a tree a little way away from his current hiding spot. Now, after having retrieve those bolts he stalked one of the Bauruns that had wandered away from the heard.
”Come on come on hurry up and turn around already.” the boy muttered to himself, crossbow leveled at the beast as it rooted around in the undergrowth with its back to him.
“Kyu?” intoned Jr’s Mimikyu from where it sat upon his shoulder, a little bored and not entirely sure what they were doing.
”I need to shoot it in the face not the butt.” Jr explained, fidgeting impatiently with the archaic weapon. Though it had only been minutes since he had found his target but to the boy it felt like it had been hours. ”Shoot it like how she did so we never get shown up by a buncha animals again.”
Mimikyu bobbed its false head to the side, the ball of cotton lurching unnaturally as it took this in.
”and make papa pr” he began to add, but then the beast shifted ever so slightly as it sniffed around, revealing an eye.
”Finally!” Jr yelled far to loudly as he quickly aimed and pulled the trigger. The bolt from the weapon darted forth towards the beast, but his haste and startling of the monster meant it sliced through the creatures ear instead of hitting something vital. The long black ear thumped to the ground as the beast turned to face him. Angry. vengeful.
”uh oh.” Jr said as the hunter and prey faced each other for a silent moment.
A second bolt flew forth, launched from an undersized shadowy crossbow Mimiku had created with its mimic move, that tore through the Baurun‘s other ear, the wound near perfectly mirroring the one jr had unintentionally inflicted on the first.
The brief moment of calm was broken by the Pokemon's follow up attack, and the Baurun charged, several tons of muscle fur and fury pounding through the woods on hooves like iron. The earth shook as the beast bore down on the boy.
”Minions wall formation!” Jr yelled, his army summoned forth to guard him. Koopas and Goombas (both blue and brown) came into existence only to be bowled over moments later. More a quagmire than a wall, the minions were crushed under hooves and battered aside or skewered by its tusks and horn, all dissipating almost as soon as they had emerged. They bought their prince time as he quickly raised the bow once more. Six bolts flew, one burst after the other, and both volleys thudded harmlessly into the fur protecting the beast’s face.
”Drat!” Jr cursed and then legged it, Mimikyu riding along as the pounding of hooves drew closer.
Right before it struck jr retracted his vulnerable parts into his spiked shell. His spines bit into the Baurun’s nose as it smashed him with its horn. Mimikyu was tossed off of its master as he was launched into the forest, shell pinging off of trees like a pinball till the flight slowed enough and Jr’s claws lashed out and struck the earth, slowing him to a halt.
The boy gripped his chest and coughed. Something inside him was damaged but not broken. Recklessly he pushed himself to his feet, unwilling to back down in the face of what would normally be such an inconsequential foe. Jr ran for his brush, left leaning against a tree, as Mimikyu wailed on the Baurun it had landed upon, long black tendrils of darkness extending from beneath its disguise, scratching ineffectual at the thick fur of the beast.
”Stop. We need it intact!” jr cried out as he ran closer, paintbrush in one hand, crossbow in the other. With a swipe the brush splatter the ground beneath the beast with colorful toxic sludge. The Baurun roared, turning its attention away from the initiating rodent on its back that had slowed it’s assault and back to the lizard, hooves and muscles moved to force it forwards but the ink made it slow to accelerate. More inks was splashed down between jr and the beast and brightly mono-colored creature formed from it, translucent bearers of more ink that looked like a cross between dumbo octopuses and jellyfish. They threw themselves at the Baurun, splashing it with ink. Even when it stomped these the beast found its legs coated by an explosion of ink that burned its stamina away despite inflicting no visible wounds.
”Mimikyu! Shoot with me again!” Jr called out as he stabbed the handle of the brush into the dirt and brought up the bow. At his command the specter leaped off of the beast to land on his shoulder. The quagmire he had trapped the beast in gave him time, and being foiled twice by haste made sure that he took it. The shots flew, striking fur coated eyebrows.
”Again!” jr command as the Baurun struggled towards them, picking up speed at last. The fourth attempt flew forth and finally the boy found his mark, cold steel penetrating into the beast’s eyes.
”Yes!” cried the boy, yet the beast kept coming, blind but born forwards by a dying fury.
He fired again with haste, hitting nothing important, then again with patience, and then the bow clicked empty as the last shot flew, the cartage of bolts expended. The final pair of shots soared forth as jr brandished his brush, standing instead of fleeing.
Iron found its home in the beast’s pig like snout, hammering up though the soft flesh and into the brain. The Baurun crashed to the ground inches from jr, dead but intact.
After a few moments jr raised his arms and cheered ”I did it!”
A bit of crude claw based hacking later and the prince returned to the party as Browser was cutting up the last of Quinn’s kills.
”Jr! There you are!” Bowser called over.
”Hay pappa!” Jr called back while hiding the mild amount of pain he was still in.
”Look what I got” Jr said as he came closer, presenting off the goo marred meat harvested from his first hunt to his father.
”Oh. Nice. Good job.” Bowser said with enthusiasm that sounded just a touch forced to the others as he accepted the meant and then shook it a bit to try and get the goo off.
Jr beamed with pride and then approached Quinn, handing her back her weapon and crossbow bolts ”Here. Got it on my first shot!” he lied. Behind him Bowser flicked a translucent octo-jelly that had formed on the slimed meat off into the bushes.
”So. We done here?”
wordcount: 660 (+1) Kamek: Level 4 EXP: ////////////////// ////////////////////// (1/40) Location: Charnal Lane, Dead Zone
Dry Bone Swarm: Kamek raises several dozen Dry Bones from the earth to fight for him. Dry bones are undead Koopas with limited intelligence that have the ability to toss bones at enemies and pull themselves back together if they are broken apart, making them functionally unkillable in many circumstances. They aren't able to retract into their shells, nor use equipment or power ups.
While it was difficult to really pay attention while blasting away with the minigun Kamek did his best to keep track of the team in between bouts of mowing down Ent spawn. Though battered and bruised they kept up the assault, hammering away at its wounded leg and heartwood like there was no tomorrow. They were joined by a slightly sickly looking man born by a cane that the Ent foolishly decided was a prime target for destruction. Rather than be flattened by the attempted to stomp the man instead summoned a mighty golem made from dark particles in an impressive magical display that raised the eyebrows of the old Magikoopa.
Suddenly faced with a foe of near equal size the Ent was Knocked off balanced and subjected to a barrage of attacks from the rest of the team until at long last it fell, its legs ruined beyond repair. Even in this sorry state however their foe refused meet its fate. Rather than poof into a sprite more of the paralyzing gas spilled form what remained of its body. Perhaps, Kamek thought, a final attempt to ward off its foes by making its body too dangerous to approach so that that they might now leave it alone in its helpless state rather than finish it off.
It was not to be. Blazermate’s enthralled undead, hersofar an insignificant threat to their foe that had been helpless in the face of the Ent’s shock wave generating stomps finally got their chance to shine. The swarm of undead flooded the arena, tearing through remaining root minions as they went and dog-piled the body. They rallied to the banner of the lone Jockey that had survived the devastation of all that had come with it and began to smash apart their foe despite the cloud of gas surrounding it.
Watching this Kamek was struck with inspiration and remembered a certain spell of his. The wizard tossed aside the Minigun, its purpose served, breaking the illusion magic he had been using as he revealed which of the 5 Kamek’s he actually was. As the heavy bone rattling weapon clunked down next to the dispenser Kamek brandishing his wand and let forth another spell.
”Lizard scales and Goomba snot Wake up lazy bones, lets see what you’ve got!”
He chanted. At the end of the incarnation dozens of gloved hands burst from the earth around him. They grasped the earth and heaved their skeletal bodies up onto the surface. The army of Dry Bones shook themselves free of the dirt and began to lurch their way into the fight. As the undead Koopas joined the swarm of humanoid undead in taring the tree apart, their resilient physiology and immunity to the gases making up for heir ankle biter height, Kamek left the remains of the engineering nest and went to join the rest of the team. Still a touch shaky from using the minigun so much he made use of his broom as a walking stick as he carefully navigated around the lingering clouds of rot root left by the exploding minions.
”It is indeed quite the prize you acquired there Blazermate.” he agreed with the robot as she spoke of how useful her new arm was ”I imagine you’ll be making the going quite a bit easier from now on, in this region at least.”
The power that could be gained from sprites sure was something, Kamek thought, but so too was the magic that the newcomer had used to turn the fight firmly in their favor.
”V I take it?” Kamek addressed the heavily tattooed man who had just arrived, guessing that was the one who Nero had offhandedly mention meaning to meet here at the cathedral, ”That was quite the entrance you made. Tell me, what were those creatures you commanded?”
He asked, the wizard always interested in gaining extra knowledge that he could turn into an advantage somewhere down the line.
Nothing but our part of the shopping list: Wild Wheat, Basil, bay leaves, turnips, Chochobo Meat, and we need to either catch or kill a Tropius for its sweet sweet bananas. I figure we can write in stopping a few time on the way back through the plains to gather stuff.
we got plenty of Wheat from the farm so wee good there. There's also the cave section of the list left to cover. idk if the wiggler party wants to handle that or if some of us should get together for some spelunking after the surface parts of the quest have been handled. If we regrouped first we could mix up the party compositions and send some people down into the depths and the rest to look at the pig villager's green menace?
wordcount: 636 (+1) Bowser: Level 5 EXP: ////////////////////////////////////////////////// (35/50) Bowser Jr: Level 4 EXP: //////////////////////////////////////// (5/40) Location: Hamlet, the Land of Adventure
Bowser grinned toothily as the woman, who introduced herself as Quinn, accepted the deal after a few moments of contemplation with zero extra incentive and a great deal of dramatic flare. In Bowser’s entirely uninformed opinion, as they were yet to check out any stores to gauge how much rupees were actually worth, a quarter of their gems would be more than worth it if she could back up her hyper competent image with actual skill.
Once she was onboard the bot and hamster introduced themselves enthusiastically to their temporary party member and the Koopa troop followed suit
”I’M KING BOWSER.”
”Bowser jr. Your birds cool!”
“Mimikyu!” added Jr’s pokemon with a tinge of jealousy, a ghostly hand lightly smacking Jr in the side of the head
With names exchanged the lady wasted no time in getting a move on, stalking her way out of the inn and heading of northwards. The Koopas followed suit, Bowser pleased that she was going to make every second of the hour or two he’d bought count. After they exited the establishment the king reabsorbed his dark power to grow back up to full cart towing size, before grasping their haul of good and heading out. Jr meanwhile remounted his car and set it to drive along the ground with the rest of the team as they headed to the woods once more.
Initially the team walked in comfortable silence. Tora seemed to disagree with that state of affairs however and so tired to engage Quinn in conversation but without much success.
After her creator having failed to start a conversation with their no nonsense mercenary hunter Poppi attempted to do so with Bowser instead. By insulting him repeatedly. The sudden assault on his credibility and status as a Villain took Bowser by surprise, jaw hanging open and eyes popping out ”GAH. WHAT. HAY!” he sputtered in shock at the sudden and unprovoked attack on the core of his very being.
”You can’t talk to my papa like that!” Jr growled, looking ready to pick a fight as he stood up in his car one claw gripping its rim while he balled the other up in a fist.
His father shook his head, both to get some sense into himself and to disapprove of Jrs actions before letting out a sigh.
”YOU KNOW WHAT MAKES ME NOT A “KIDS STORY” VILLAIN?” Bowser said, physically while air quoting ”IT’S BECAUSE WHILE I’M NOT THE SMARTEST TURTLE IN THE WORLD I’M STILL NOT THAT STUPID. I KNOW WHAT I NEED TO SUCCEED AND THAT'S AN ARMY.”
”BUT THE ONLY ARMY I CAN GET HERE IS MADE UP OF YOU RAGTAG BUNCH OF GOODY GOODY TWO SHOES... AND THAT COURIER GUY. SO IF I WANT TO GET ANYTHING DONE I NEED TO KEEP YOU AROUND. WHICH MEANS DEALING WITH ALL OF THIS ” Bowser vaguely indicated to Tora’s everything. ”’BIG HERO’ BALONEY”
”SERIOUSLY. IT’S LIKE. LIKE... HERDING A BUNCH OF CATS WHILE TRYING NOT TO STEP ON ANY OF THE SUPER LONG TAILS THEY KEEP WAVING AROUND.” the king complained
”So thaaaat's why we haven’t kidnapped peach yet.” Jr said ”To avoid getting dog... Uh… cat-piled by the heroes!”
”YEAH. BASICALLY. THIS AIN'T MY FIRST TIME ROUND DOING THIS KIND OF THING. WE’LL DEAL WITH THIS WANNA BE ONE OFF BIG-SHOT AND THEN IT’S BACK TO BUSINESS AS USUAL, DON’T YOU WORRY.” the king assured his young son.
”I don’t mind. We’re going to win in the end Mario always does right? That’ll be fun.” Jr said, having backed down from his fighting stance to listen to his father's words of wisdom/rant
”SURE. I GUESS.” Bowser replied, rather disinterested in the prospect of a clean win. Having concluded his defence of character he asked Poppi ”WHY ARE YOU EVEN ASKING? AND WHAT ARE YOUR ‘BADDYPONS’ LIKE ANYWAY HUH. BET THEY NEVER DID ANYTHING THAT LIVES UP TO THE STUFF I’VE PULLED OVER THE YEARS!”
wordcount: 1371 (+3) Exp potion consumed: +3 exp Kamek: Level 3 EXP: ////////////////// //////////// (30/30) Location: Charnal Lane, Dead Zone
Kamek’s found that his air-support, while effectively keeping the bombs from blowing themselves up on anyone else, didn't manage to curtail the spread of gas. The sheer volume of it released by the seemingly endless horde of Rot Warts was rapidly making the situation on the ground untenable, one false step or errant breath could lead to a lungful of instantly incapacitating gas. The unceasing steam of minions was particularly a problem because his broom mounted minigun ran out of ammo, massively curtailing his ability to simply mow down the hordes of enemies the Ent was producing. This could have spelled the end of his gun toting days, however fortunately while swooping back and forth the wizard had been paying attention to his surroundings and had noted the open drawer on the bottom of one of Blazermates machines was positively overflowing with munitions. Possibly, Kamek thought, some that could fill up his royalty granted minigun.
Kamek descended to Balzermate’s spot after she had vacated it to go help Nero. He felt relatively safe with its sentry blasting away at anything that tried to get close and so dismounted his broom. He then proceeded to unmount the minigun from the broom and let it to return to its full size so he could load it with the correctly sized ammo.
”Now lets see what kinds of goodies for me. he said to the dispenser as he approached, dragging the mingun along the ground after him. As he crouched to inspect the ammo filled drawer a beam of energy reached out to him from the machine and attached itself to him like a tether.
”oh! hmm.? Fascinating” he said as he felt the few incredibly minor scratches he had received from branches while flying through the forest fade away. Along with the healing came an infrequent clicking, emanating from the minigun. This was curious, but far more concerning was the rapid higher pitched clicking that replaced the sounds of twin minigun fire a few moments later.
He glanced at the sentry. It seemed to have also run out of ammunition like his own gun had. The horde of minions quickly took notice of this and quickly began to swarm towards it’s (and by extension his) location with what the wizard interpreted as vengeful glee. By the time Kamek had figured taken all of this into account the first Hollow was already upon him. The small round cloak covered ball of wood, teeth, spikes and knives might have only been a nuisance sized threat to many of the others but unfortunately for the Magi-Koopa he was only a head taller than the vicious wee thing.
Kamek stumbled back as it came at him, narrowly avoiding having his arm slashed right off by a hooked blade and receiving instead only a grisly looking cut which caused him to drop his broom. His method of escape lost and drifting off Kamek hurriedly backed off while the hand of his uninjured arm entered his robe and pulled out the spiked tentacle, with which he narrowly blocking the second swing of the minion.
”Ak no! Wand!” he cried out. He was quite sure he was going to die, and in a rather embarrassing manner too, when he realized that in the few moments since he had been injured the dispenser’s umbilical cord of blue energy had patched his arm right back up!
His other hand immediately went searching for his signature weapon, the mage cursing himself for not putting it back in its usual spot when he had picked up the minigun. He crudely blocked a second blow with the spike with more luck than skill, planting it's fleshy length in the way of the crude blade rather than doing anything fancy like parrying, before he found his wand.
”HeHeHe, now you’ll get it you putrid nut” Kamek cackled as he whipped out his wand, twirling it around in his hand in with a combination of showmanship like flare and necessary conjuration preparation before thrusting it towards the Hollow. Magical power flared, but instead of being blasted to smithereens the seedling gave Kamek a taste of his own medicine. Using a sickle like weapon it caught the wand and forced it upwards, causing the shot, a swirling mass of red, blue and yellow shapes, to fly harmlessly over its head. Or where its head should have been if it weren't squat as a Goomba, the wizard thought as he and the Hollow both attempted to use their other weapon to strike each other. Sword and tentacle spike clashed and left them in a stalemate.
The two strained against one another, weapon pressed against weapon, as each refused to free the others arms lest they get a swing off. This stalemate remained until the Hollow lunged forwards, teeth gnashing. The mage stumbled back once more, a fireball blasting straight up as their locked arms reached new positions as a result of the lunge, before delivered a kick to the wooden beast's temple. The beast was forced back, and the deadlock broken as weapons become unmeshed, but it resulted in Kamek falling on his back with an ”Oof”
The Hollow, still on its feet, let out a guttural wet roar, convinced its victory was assured, right before it got hit on the head by the vertically fired fireball completed its arch.
”See, you got it!” Kamek taunted the minion as it remains burned. Then he took a moment to take in the rest of his present situation. There were still an unending swarm of things emerging from the Ent after all, and some were still coming straight at him.
”Ah. Thats bad.”
It got worse. In the few moments where Kamek had wrestled with a single minion (moments which had felt far longer to him at the time) the rest of the team had been busy. They’d weathered the Ent’s barrage and where not letting up their assault, punching and shooting the heartwood with all their might while simultaneously avoiding, or ignoring in Gene’s case, its gaseous retaliation. This assault came to an end when the Ent’s weak spot suddenly snapped shut, denying them the chance to deliver additional harm. Kamek wondered why it had not done so earlier as the walking tree stumbled backwards into the front of the cathedral, damaging what had likely been a rather nice piece of architecture before the region was struck by a localized apocalypse. Despite suffering what looked to have been a deathblow the Ent suddenly surged back to life, smashing up the cathedrals front even more as it lunged forth to strike at the flying Donnie with surprising speed while also stomping the ground even harder than it had before, sending a cascade of earth in all directions.
In the mere moments he had to spare Kamek jumped behind the dispense while striking it with his wand. With a three note sound the dispenser increased in size to provide cover for the Koopa while a wave of dirt totaled the ammo-less sentry. The enlarged dispenser shrunk back down again almost immediately from taking damage, but the brief power-up had kept both it and Kamek intact.
Once the danger was passed wizard glanced round the dispenser just in time to see Ratchet launching explosives at the tree. Ge grinned. They weren't done yet!
”That all you’ve got you piece of driftwood!” he yelled before scrambling out from cover. Wand and tentacle went back into his robe while the mage went for his, fortunately intact, broom. He grasped it and then returned to the dispenser which had been filling up the minigun since he first approached it. The broom was pushed through the handle once more, but instead of shrinking it he instead used the broom to help him lift it with one hand while with the other he chugged the exp potion.
Grimacing the mage returned the awful tasting potion’s vial to a pocket before snapping his fingers. With a poof of smoke 4 other Kameks joined him, all welding their own broom assisted miniguns.
”Alright boys, make em pay!” the mage yelled before thumbing down the button on the minigun. Bullets roared out of the rotary cannon, shredding the Hollows and Rot Warts while the recoil of the full sized weapon shook Kamek to his core.
”AHahAHaHahAH!” the mage and his doubles yelled as they fired, his voice reverberating until he released the trigger.
”Ack. My bones! They’re still vibrating.” He complained before firing again, though now in short controlled bursts that where less bad for his health, and taking up double duty on the minion murdering now that the sentry was down.
wordcount: 278 (+1) Bowser: Level 5 EXP: ////////////////////////////////////////////////// (35/50) Bowser Jr: Level 4 EXP: //////////////////////////////////////// (5/40) Location: Morgensloft Field (Hamlet), the Land of Adventure
The king paused before the door after being helpful informed that he was too large to fit inside by the establishment’s bearded piggy inkeep.
YEAH I KNOW Bowser responded mere moments before he got himself embarrassingly stuck in the doorframe. With a snap of his clawed fingers the king began to shrink down to a much more reasonable size, leaking rapidly dissipating purple mist as he did before stepping inside after the others.
Inside they found the woman the mayor had described. Armed with a crossbow and a great bird of prey she was everything they needed. Fate had smiled on them in a way it never seemed to when they where the baddies, jr noted.
The king didn't pick this up and instead got down to business.
From his jacket pockets he plucked the quest card for the “food for the hungry” and the hunter gathering checklist they'd gotten for it and set them down together on the able together. He also took out the “ore or nothing” card and then he placed a handful of gems, half the ones he himself had collected, on the table next to them. The other half remained in his pocket for further bargaining purposes.
”MEAT. WE’RE GOING BACK TO TOWN PAST THE WOODS, YOU HUNT, WE HAUL. YOU GET PAID. WE ALL GET REWARDS AND PRESTIGE AND MOVE ON TO BIGGER THINGS.” he explained bluntly.
”We're so good at fighting that stuff dies too fast to let us get the juicy bits afterwards. Instead it gets blown to bits!.” Jr added helpful while his shoulder mounted fake rodent eyed the massive avian predator with unease.
”INTERESTED? Bowser asked in conclusion.
wordcount: 534 (+1) Kamek: Level 3 EXP: ////////////////////////////// (24/30) Location: Charnal Lane, Dead Zone
Thing where going well. The Team got in close and personal with the tree, scoring heavy blows on its weak point, while the wizard and sentry made mincemeat of the tree’s minions. It was looking like this might be a wash, the Ent’s attacks slow, it’s seedlings ineffective, until Donnie tried to set it on fire with a burning bottle. The attack, which seemed like it would be highly effective, was instead smothered by gas, which made it an apt metaphor for the way the fight turned as the Ent unleashed its second phase. It might be a big dumb looking hunk of wood, Kamek thought, but the tree certainly knew its stuff when it came to being a big bad boss.
In response to being stabbed a lot the Ent unleashed a barrage of artillery fire from its body. One of these shots struck Nero point blank, blasting him off of where he was viciously stabbing at their foe, harming and, more concerningly, paralyzing him. The boss also began to spawn more dangerous minions in the form of rot warts. The fact that the wooden Bob-ombs were a greater threat than their knife wielding allies was aptly demonstrated by ratchet being too close to a detonation and found himself smothered in the same paralyzing gas that had taken Nero out of the fight in one hit.
Fortunately both avoided death. Ratchet shrugging off his paralysis at just the last second while Nero was first cured of the paralysis by Donni and, a few moments later, of his possession by Galeem by Gene. A good call/catch by Gene, Kamek thought, as it solved the issue of the team’s local expert being under the influence of their ultimate foe. Still, the poison gas was no joke and from his elevated elevated perch on his broom, mostly safe from harm as long as he stayed out of arm's reach of the Ent, Kamek concluded that should more of their team go down at the same time it could be devastating.
Others where dealing with the rot warts when they could but where mainly focusing on targeting the ent’s weak spot. Rather than get in the way of the more aggressive team mates as they lined up to take a swing at the tree’s weak spot Kamek stuck to a more supporting role. The wizard began to swoop to and fro above the battlefield while using his wand to launch fireballs and magical blasts at the rot warts (edit) while mixing in the odd minigun burst(edit), picking them off from above not having to worry about the smaller minions getting in the way of his shots as he did it. This would have the combined advantage, in Kamek’s opinion, of preventing his allies from having to watch their backs too hard as they dealt with the great threat and stopped the spread of the paralyzing gas across the battlefield as he aimed to detonate the bombs as soon after they emerged as possible.
While Kamek blasted away the hunchbacked jockey that the wizard had inadvertently saved, and which had miraculously avoided being squished or mobbed by minions, began its accent of the Ent, leaping and clambering up one of its legs with ape like agility.
The small monkey sized Armonia launched itself onto the Curator, scrambling over the passive construct as it hovered through the checkpoint built at the base of the stairway entering the Vault of Souls. The little Armonia did little to hinter the floating custodian but its melodic screeching did draw the attention of Auk-Ra-Shatara. The reborn Aroiox had been leaning against the banister that safeguarded vault travelers from the great pit at the vault’s center, which had grown ever deeper as the years passed. Though light now flooded the dungeon the depths of the central shaft where still mostly lost to the black other than a barely noticeable red glow far far below.
“Ah, little watcher-sniffer.” the bird like mortal cawed upon hearing the construct’s racket. “Have you found-discovered another lost soul?”
On stone talons Auk-Ra briskly caught up with the Curator and inspected its haul of crystals that had alarmed their watchdog. Among many pristine specimens one stood out. A wretched purple bile flowed through it like oil, cracking and rotting the crystal wherever it went. Auk-Ra tutted a few times at the sight and then grasped the stone, whistling softly as he did to both call of the soul decay detecting Armonia and to authorize the removal of the crystal form the Curator’s possession.
“Let’s get you heal-fixed my friend” he told the crystal before walking up the stairs leading to a large structure that had been built into the ceiling of the vault. Hanging suspended as it was the inverted bunker was out of the way of regular traffic and safe from the endless flow of heat that billowed up from the depths. Yet it still had great sighlines for almost the entire of the vault and allowed for easy access to all its levels via a spiral staircase penetrating down into the depths.
Inside dozens of undead busied themselves with the last of a construction had been ongoing for nearly all of the past decade. The new lighting had been an early introduction, as had the addition of garrison posts and checkpoints to help facilitate the eradication of Orvus’s soul decaying bugs. For the past seven years a great works of metal, the same that lined the wings of the soul collecting Alma and vaults of the mighty whale armor Bruna, had been added to the bare stone of the vault. A spider web of the unnatural metal spiderweb out into the halls of the vault before all coalescing back in the central vault. It spiraled down to the lowest shelves and also up, higher and higher through a tunnel that had been bored skywards through the roof of the shaft. At the center of the chamber a central core, a blue whale sized cylinder of luft stone covered in hundreds of Soul Gems and veins of metal, now hung motionless in the open air seemingly unaffected by the aircurents racing through the vast cavity.
Auk-Ra paid none of this any mind, as he was by now used to it all, and exchanged only simple pleasantries with his comrades as they fiddled with various alters or called out instructions to Armonia automatons.
He had a soul to save.
The crystal was set upon an altar, the first of many that had been built all across the vault. It was a simple thing, a flat raised bowl of stone with songs of verse carved into it and then painted with pigment made from one of Azura's feathers, causing the Verses to glow softly. A small depressions the center sat above a large jar stored beneath the raised stone. With practiced ease Auk-Ra popped the soul crystal into position, adjusted it a few times to get it just right, and then softly sang a few notes to activate the altar.
The soul was surrounded by gently flowing verse of a myriad of colors which caused it to rise in the air as the magic took its hold. The hungering corruption that had been merely slowed by its pray’s untimely death was drawn out and gathered in a glass jar set into the alter. Drop by drop the soul decay incarnate drained into the almost full jar while the crystal gained its rightful luster for the first time. The damage that had been done already began to slowly repair itself cracks sealing shut. What was lost would never be returned. Memories striped away by the vile blight, cornerstones of personality forever shifted or warped. But the crystal was whole once more and, should it awaken one day, it would be able to try and make sense of the gaps and making new memories safe from the decay.
With a clink the crystal dropped back down onto the altar. Auk-Ra collected the crystal, turned it over a few times to ensure the process had worked correctly, and then tallied down the date on a tablet set near the altar. Dozens of such tablets had already been filled and stored up above in floating archives. Fortunately, the rate of corrupted gems arriving had slowed dramatically after an initial burst of right after the day the moon had shed its destructive payloads.
The corrupted and decaying still came in in dribs and drabs, but with their project so close to completion the goddesses had been loath to step away for even a second to investigate the source of the decay.
As Auk-Ra descended part way down the stairs to return the crystal to the hands of the curators he spotted a small group of Armonia clad dead entering the vault and heading straight for the bunker. Among them where Ossian Bem, who like Auk-Ra had been one of the first to rise. She had been teaching the dead her otherworldly knowledge and ideas and had risen to prominence among them as a result while Auk-Ra had remained simply one among the many risen dead. He didn't really mind. The voidsoul was presently enwrapped in quiet decision with the avatar Cerule. The memory of Azura’s former self had The Watcher, a strange Void soul that none of the dead really understood or interacted with much, draped itself across her shoulders.
They began to ascend just as a curator came to retrieve the crystal, leaving Auk free to greet them after his charge was sent on its way.
“They’re not restrictions, but rather agreements of procedure to ensure that...” Ossian was saying as they approached the Aroiox.
“Hello-hay there. Are we almost ready-prepared for the big event?” he asked, interrupting the present line of conversation as he joined the party's ascent.
“Ah. Shatara. Good to see you again.” Ossian replied, a touch of irritation in her words that she quickly erased as she informed him that “That we are. Seven years of work are moments away from coming to fruition.”
“Infact I’m quite sure that when we step in they’ll tell us that...“ Cerule began, before cutting herself short as they entered the bunker propper. Their entrance garnered a far greater response than Auk’s own had, bringing the work going on inside to a momentary halt.
“Ah! Cerule. Ossian. And company! welcome!” said a former Servant as he stepped away from an alter displaying knot of glowing verse that looked like the trunk and roots of a tree “We’re just moments away from being ready, we’re simply awaiting Alfarn’s return. He should be here any”
The Servant was interrupted by another arrival, this one coming in from a doorway that opened out onto the central shaft. As the Armonia, a Nebulite known as Alfarn, stepped through the doorway a two pairs of fin like glossier wings folded down behind their back. These were attached to a limpet like creature which adhered itself to their stone back. Behind them in the central chamber numerous curators and other Armonia bourn by the same type of wings as the new arrival or crawling along the ceiling where in the process of vacating the open space between the vaults corridors, carrying various stone tools and freshly mined rubble with them as they left.
“Ah, there they are” the former Servant concluded.
“We’ve finished the last installation” the Nebulite informed them as the rest of his motel construction team entered the bunker behind him. “I hope we didn't keep you waiting, there were a few issues linking up the two spiral structures perfectly. We uh, had to get Azura to rotate the upper section by about a thumb.”
“Don’t worry, we’re both right on time.“ Cerule informed them with more than a hint of smugness at her own near perfect timing. Auk-Ra was impressed, as where most of the other except for the feline watcher who muttered something in the Avatar’s ear and eliciting a wordless tone of annoyance from the Avatar.
“And don’t worry about the minor error.“ she continued “I’m sure my dear Azura though nothing of making the correction“
Alfarn nodded in appreciation and joined his colleagues.
“Now, I’m not one for speeches, I’m sure Azura has me covered up topside, so how about instead we let actions speak louder than words and activate this marval we’ve built together.“
There was enthusiastic agreement among the crowd, to which Auk-Ra added “yes-yes. Let’s get moving-going!”
“Then my dear Ossian, if you’d care to do the honours“ Cerule said. The Void soul nodded and, as Auk-Ra and the others watched, the avatar tore open her own stone chest, into which Ossian plunged her hand and tore out the goddesses soul. The body she had worn slumped to the ground as the general carried Cerule’s soul crystal to a great altar set on a raised dais at the front of the bunker, overlooking the central chamber. The Watcher discarded its perch on the abandoned body and followed after its charge to watch the proceedings. The altar was shaped like a ship’s wheel, though none but Ossian would recognise this shape. Crystal was placed into a crevice at the center of the wheel filled with strange metals. For a few moments nothing happened as Ossian stepped back. Then the Alter flared to life, verse streaming up out of the crystal in and into its spokes. As it did so too did the Vault of Souls.
A steam of Verse burst forth from every corridor in the vault, following along the surface of the metal veins that had been installed by Arrmonia automatons. The streams power, glowing with every color of the rainbow, flowed out into the open air between the catwalks, pooling and swirling into a pure white mass around the central core of the vault before the very eyes of the amazed onlookers. They had known this would happen, but to see it in action was something else entirely.
The white energy pulsed and thrummed as if it was the heartbeat of a great beast before it suddenly burst upwards, flowing into the tunnel in the ceiling, guided by the spiral of metal lining its surface as it accented.
High above in the Blue Azura was indeed in the mists of making a speech to the vast majority of the revived mortals that inhabited her domain. They were gathered in the stands of the Lightning Dome while azrua stood before them with her back to the sky bastion.
”Each and everyone of you has contributed to this project in ways great and small. Over three long years together we charted our course and drew up our plans. For seven long years we have worked to plan and perfect the construction. The vault of souls fully realised as more than just a resting place, but as as beating heart of the knowledge and power of the people of Galbar. Now, today, our toils come to fruition as we take the next step in our journey to surpass death itself!”
With exquisite and dramatic timing the energy from the depths of the vault arrived just as she finished her proclamation, leaping skywards up out of the tunnel bored all the way through the north pole mountain, through the center of the sky bastion and up into the blue.
The great beam of power lanced up until it reached the warped space found at the top of the sky, up where distances shrunk. From below it seemed to spread across the sky as it accented until it reached the point where all horizontal direction was one and the same and it engulfed the entirety of the vault of heaven. Across Galbar the daytime sky suddenly went white for the briefest of moments before the test was completed and the energy beam sputtered out, returning the sky to its usual hue.
Sitting together watching this where Garna’Tenth and Kabarna. The former, who had only arrived a few days ago and was as a result not caught up with the plan asked with awe “What on Galbar was that supposed to be”
“Power.” Kabarna replied “Power accessible from everywhere in the Blue that we will used to rewrite the laws of death itself.”
Down below Cerule’s soul was extracted from the alter via which she had sparked the ignition of the vault and was placed back in her body. As she awoke and was helped to rise once more by Ossian the assembled undead where staring in quiet awe both at her and at the energy still coalesced around the central chamber.
“Did it work-function?” Auk-Ra finally asked
Cerule glanced up at a seemingly specific point in the ceiling for a few moments before nodding. “Yeah. The power went up and out. The warped space interacted with the energy just as you said it would Watcher. Zero point energy. Amazing really.”
“A few simple tweaks and it could do so much more.” informed her
“We’re trying to solve problems, not cause more. Breaching the Void will do exactly that. Plus, ‘a few simple tweaks’ is a massive understatement.”
The cat that contained a tiny fragment of an eldritch horror simply shrugged before it leapt atop her shoulders once more and went back to silently observing the proceedings.
“And the other purpose of the vault?” asked one of the other undead whom Auk-Ra recognised as an archivist.
”Right right.” Cerule responded before stepping up to the wheel shaped alter, that remained active even after her soul had been removed from it, and gripped two of its spokes with her hands.
After a moment of silence the ball of power surrounding the core pulsed and rippled as it spoke back ”Listening. What is your query?”
The avatar was silent for a few moments before stepping away from the wheel and glancing at the small assembly ”Well, what do we want to know? The wisdom of a whole world is at our fingertips.”
There was muttering and discussion at this. While the archivist went searching for their notes on what to ask Auk-Ra glanced at the tablet he had added too, and the jar of corruption below the decay curing alter. Both where almost full and yet represented but a fraction of the harm the decay had inflicted upon the dead.
The Aroiox stepped up to the wheel, grasped it, and asked the Vault of Souls to “Tell-speak about soul blight-decay.”
There was a pause during which Auk-Ra felt the vault gently prodding at his soul till he offered up a more complete understanding of soul deacy before querying the untold number of lifetimes it had at its disposal for souls who could and would provide answers to the questions.
Images began to form, displayed in thin flat projections hovering in thin air in the same way the Alma did. It showed the wave of decay that had spread out from the gateway to Veradax before suddenly stopping, only to begin again for but a short time while the moon wept. It showed the reapers advancing towards the Pigmy’s city thought he eyes of a Jotunder who was killed moments later by a meteorite fall. Through the eyes of a Selke it saw the fate of those beset by reapers. They aslo saw the cruel slavery and butchery wrought by the Ihokhurs and through the eyes of an Ihokhetlani their creation.
And finally through the eyes of Nebulite they saw the source of all this destruction. A god who had made himself into simple farmer and a family man who showed not a hint of having committed these atrocities to those who called him creator.
“I don't understand-comprehend. Why do all of this-that.”
“My parents told me he abandoned us and that was why they went to live in that wretched city.” Alfarn noted “After seeing what he was doing, maybe that was for the best. Better to suffer there than have my soul tore apart when he got bored of us.”
“The next phase of the plan doesn't need us to be here” Ossian said carfuly, glancing breinfly at Cerule for confirmation before continuing “We need to go out there. Build ‘Monuments’ to facilitate the rebirth of all those stored here. And we need those monuments to be safe, which they won't be with all of those monsters of Orvus roaming around out there.”
Cerule nodded in approval while Auk-Ra wondered where she was going with this.
“We’ve built, we’ve trained, learned and strategized. It's time we set out to put all that work to use.” The the otherworldly General said with firm conviction. There were nods from many around the chamber, just as there would be up above when she made the pitch again. Many had wanted this for years, and now it finally felt like the right time. The dead would march forth and as they had pledged to Azura inorder to be awakened they would make the world a better place, no matter who or what stood in their way.
Auk-Ra-Shatara, a different kind of undead Aroiox who was one of the original 7 to be awoken by Azura, discovers a corrupted soulcrystal being brought into the vault of souls after it is detected by a specialized type of Armonia. He then takes it up into a new building in the vault to be purified. The vault has also had a number of new additions, including a load of metal like the stuff used to hold soul crystals on Alma wings and a new floating core at its center made of soul gems, Luft stone and more metal.
After the crystal is cured of its decay he goes down to give it back to a curator only to run into Cerul and Ossian who have arrived to activate the vault of souls. They talk for a bit and then get on with the task. Cerule trusts Ossian to rip out her soul and shove it temporarily into the vault’s new control alter. Then she kick starts the vault with 10 mp. Power flows into the core from the soul crystals and then shoots up into the sky where it will be used to ‘power’ Azura’s new afterlife/death system that it starts getting built.
Cerule is unplugged and then activates the second function of the vault, which pools the wisdom and knowledge of the dead into an easily queryable interface. Auk-Ra asks this database about soul decay and it tells them all about Orvas’s words and deeds as seen through the eyes of dead people. This does not paint him in a good light. Ossian more or less declares a jihad against all the awful shit Orvas has put into the world. Cerule approves.
Start: 12 Prestige 1 for post, 1 for starring role, 1 for following a quest (abraxas end times) End: 15 Prestige
Start: 13 FP 12 MP
0 mp (discounted by soul crystal) monuments that cure soul decay in crystals placed upon them. 0 mp (discounted by soul crystals) to mutate some Armonia and create a variant able to identify soul decay in soul crystals 0 mp (discounted by Tonnikala) lift limpets. A type of flying snail that adheres itself to an object and can extend wings to move that object. Normally a chunk of Luftstone, but can also move an Armonias body through/into the sky. 0 fp (discounted by Tonnikala) taught the undead using lift limpets as a method of slow flight.
10 MP. Holy site for soul crystal port: the Vault of Souls. Able to retrieve the memoirs of the (willing) dead and display/convey them to users of the vault. This makes it a useful information gathering tool, though one with a bit of delay and plenty of bias and gaps. Also it will narratively act as a power-source for the future rebirth system Azura wants to implement but that power doesn't actually do anything on its own. Other than change the color of the sky I guess.
wordcount: 1,298 (+3) Bowser: Level 5 EXP: ////////////////////////////////////////////////// (34/50) Bowser Jr: Level 4 EXP: //////////////////////////////////////// (4/40) Kamek: Level 3 EXP: ////////////////////////////// (23/30) Location: Morgensloft Field (Hamlet), the Land of Adventure & Charnal Lane, Dead Zone
”I’ll be right back.”
Kamek announced while pre flight preparations where ongoing before vanishing a burst of smoke and appearing above a well reaped field. He glanced around a few times before spotting the tracks of a cart drawn by reptilian footsteps that must have belonged to his king leading towards a strange village full of narrow houses. The wizard sighed to himself as he noted the royal family had ignored him once again and wandered off before turning his broom towards the village and heading after them.
”Yeah, uh hu. Cool. Got it” jr said, nodding along as he struggled to grasp the particulars of the mayor's fancy talking. While most of it was useful, it was the last part about a terrifying beast caught his attention however.
”Think that's it papa?” he asked, referring to the theory of each area having one boss each.
The king didn't know and was frustrated by that fact as he replied ”It’s different from the plains one. So that makes two it might be already. Gah. How many big monsters are there out here? how are we supposed to know which is the right one!”
Jr shrugged. The pair then continued to listen to the pig and hamster’s conversation and learned about another quest, though this one would likely not earn them any prestige with the guild, and of a huntress who might be able to aid them.
Most of the group seemed eager to move on, stating that they had better get a move on with their task of hunting down Galeem’s lieutenants. Not that they knew where any more where, but hunting down green things for pig money wasn’t likely to help in solving that issue.
”HARD PASS. LUGGING THIS THING AROUND IS GOING TO BE A PAIN.” Bowser complained after they had bade the mayor goodbye, while jr pointed that ”There might be good stuff in town though?”
”If they do maybe we’ll come back. First though we're gonna check out this hunter lady. Maybe we can get her to do the rest of the work for us.” he said before glancing at the centurion ”YOU SAID YOU COULD HUNT RIGHT? IF THIS LADY DOESN'T HELP WE’LL JUST GO BACK AND BUY YOU SOMETHING TO HUNT WITH IF NOTHING ELSE WORKS. FASTER WE TURN ALL OF THIS INTO CASH THE BETTER ANYWAY.” the king concluded as he jostled the cart laden with gems and ores.
As they headed towards the inn there came a call of ”There you are sire!” from the sky as Kamek reappeared. ”my deepest apologies for taking so long, your army in the Dead Zone is meeting stiff resistance. They have little to spare and I’ve already offered to assist them for a little while longer as I do believe they are heading in the right direction when it comes to finding one of our targets.”
”Yeah that place is a mess. Its the tree right? Pretty obvious over there where to go.” Jr noted before grumbling ”So I guess it's good they're making progress while we still have no idea where to go… wait your heading back?”
Kamek nodded before asking ”If that's alright with you sire?”
Bowser nodded in turn before informing his advisor that ”We’re heading back to town soon. Getting rid of all this stuff. Meet us there.”
”As you say. Here. take these with you for the chef” Kamek replied, adding the small number of slime balls they'd gotten out of the nuclear creeper incident to the cart’s load. ”And also all of this. You might find a use for them in town.” he added, before depositing most of his other non essential items into the cart such as medical herbs and the foul smelling breakfast, which was carefully isolated from anything remotely edible in its own sack.
”Right. Oh and take this to help or trade or something.” Bowser said, before retrieving the half empty minigun that he didn't have any use for anyway. With a thanks the drifted closer and grabbed the weapons handle. He then hoisted the gun with surprising strength for a few moments before it shrunk down to a more carry-able size and was left hanging off of his broomstick.
”Also these.” Jr added, following his father's example by tossing the cartoonish black wick lit bomb and the strange crystal grenade he’d gotten from the dead zone to Kamek. The Magikoopa fumbled briefly with the two explosives before they too were shrunk down and placed in pockets.
”Thank you both. Be safe. I’ll see you both for dinner at the latest.” Kamek thanked and then promised his royal masters before disappearing once more back to the Dead Zone.
A few moments after he vanished Bowser facepalmed. ”GAH. Should have got him to shrink the cart.” he admonished himself before sighing and shaking the thought free of his mind. While they'd been talking with their wise underling the pair had fallen behind and so arrived at the inn last. Bowser set down the cart and, after thinking for a few moments, first grabbed a few gems of varying qualities form it and then summoned his minions. Mallet, Sledge and Heel all appeared before him and where ordered to ”GUARD THE CART”
Jr also dismounted his clown car and entered the bar. He first sent out and then attempted to get Mimikyu to guard his cart alongside his father’s minions, but instead the fake mouse snuck its way onto his shoulder the moment he turned to enter the Inn.
”Sigh. Fine you can come.” he told it, before he entered after his father.
Kamek reappeared just as everyone was finally finishing with their preparations. The demonic tree, perhaps a lesser kin of the vast eldritch location devouring the city Kamek though, had politely waited for them all to get ready. Kamek took the opportunity to summon his illusory copies and then he too was then ready to go.
When the teams self proclaimed not leader decided it was time to go and taunted the tree. In response the tree moaned dreadful, as if displeased at being stirred to life. But stir to life it did, as did a number of squat rag covered minions, that might have been its seeds, armed with crude weapons and far to many teeth.
Kamek, not wanting to be anywhere near the swarming little buggers, ascended upwards and then leaned forwards to grab the minigun. The weapon hugged the front of his broom, the shaft of which was slipped between its horizontal handle. The gun had then been shrunk, causing its handle to grip the broom and preventing it from putting the broom into a nosedive. This essentially turned the broom into a miniature A-10 warthog.
He tumbed the trigger, causing him and his four duplicates to let out a burst of miniature minigun rounds which peppered the minions charging their position. The weakened rounds did minimal damage individually, but the sheer quantity being hosed down at the minions still stung, gradually shredding some and giving others pause.
Then the Ent made its third move, stomping the ground hard to produce a massive omni-directional shock-wave, similar to the ones Bowser could produce after jumping. Some of the others flew over it as Kamek well could, but instead he bobbed down closer to the team.
”I can give a boost!” he called out, doppelgangers vanishing as he offered the real broom as a handhold to grant some upwards momentum. He hung there for a few moments and then, whether or not he had a passenger, rose up and over the shockwave.
(edit) all the other members of the team showed themselves to be entirely capable of jumping the shockwave on their own and so Kamek instead inadvertently saved one of Blazermate infected. the hunchbacked thing grappled onto the broom and road it to safety either by accident or design before hurling itself onward towards the ent like a deranged monkey that wanted to clime the most dangerous of trees. (edit)
As he ascended Blazermate called out that the roots had some strange things in them which was both helpful and unhelpful in equal measures.
”Strange things in the roots?” he asked, hoping for clarity.
Deep. dark. Impenetrable. The carrion woods are a massive forest that smother the north. It is a dark oppressive place where the dead find no rest, but are instead animated by the forest as vengeful spirits, monsters of flesh and vine, root and bone, who drown those who disturb the forest in a tide of undeath. Legends say that the forest is home to a nature goddess, ancient as the trees themselves. Once both she and the forest where beauties to behold, emerald jewels of the continent, admired and respected by all. Yet the elves could not stand by and leave such a beauty unclaimed and so aimed to take it for themselves. With axes they tore down her trees to decorate their homes with its splendorous wood. With bow and arrow they hunted its beasts for their furs and scales.
Worse still, they built a great tower in her depths, to steal away her power. Enraged at this final, personal slight the goddess unleashed her fury upon the elves, killing most and binding the rest to her will, transforming them into the ashen skinned Drow. The forest came alive and using plant puppeted corpses tor asunder who subsequently attempted to enter, be they Muhakim or Muha. Tides of dead things began to emerge to asail the living sweeping north into elvish lands or south into the tribe lands until the day Muha fell.
When the last great civilisation fell the woods grew quiet. Elven kind had brought itself low and so nature could rest once more. For a thousand years the woods have slumbered, but even now only a fool would take an axe to its trees, for to do so would be to rouse the woods ire once more.
Nordheim meanwhile is a former dwarven colony found on a small peninsula jutting out into a bay. It is controlled by a democratically elected high council itself lead by two similarly elected Jarls. The region was settled by the dwarves raiders in the wake of the elven empire’s fall Nordheim became a fortified port city out of which further raids and conquests where wagged. As of present day the dwarves now control swathes of coast that are now dotted with smaller dwarven communities. The dwarves practice a form of ancestor worship/magic, where the spirits of the dead are bound to artifacts and can be summoned to aid the living in times of need.
The thing that links these two regions are its natives. Centaur, satyr and harpy tribes called the region home before the dwarves arrival but where unable to oust the stunty sailors upon their arrival. The initial bouts of dwarven conquest are now far in the past, and though bad blood still lingers the natives and colonists have formed a peaceful working relationship as their two cultures have mingled over the decades and their economies co dependent. The generally the dwarves dominate the coast, while the beastfolk dwell further inland.
They suffered mightily at the hands off the carrion woods in days gone past, but their own history says that the carrion woods where not quieted by the fall of the elves, but by a druidic hero who braved the depths of the woods, using strength, cunning and wit to win over its drow protectors and brought peace to the goddess’s blackened heart.
Since that day many of the beastfolk now worship the forest god rather than fear it, and some even live with the drow within its twisted depths. The worship is a harsh one, occasionally requiring sacrifice, yet it has kept the woods at peace for centuries. Only now do the woods stir once more, slowly wakening, angry and hungry, though none can say for sure why this is the case.