/mlpol/ - My Little Politics

If you want to see the latest posts from all boards in a convenient way please check out /overboard/
Note: JS is reccomended to be able to post effortlessly, but I am working on a system where that won't be needed.

By clicking New Reply, I acknowledge the existence of the Israeli nuclear arsenal.
Select File / Oekaki
Password (For file and/or post deletion.)

OiE: Razorback Expedition Group
>OiE: REG is an offshoot game of Operators in Equestria.

>Currently recruiting is closed, as the story is ongoing, but you can apply for the main game here:

>If you're going to lurk, read over the main pastebin to get familiar with the story and characters:

>And look over the main game, as well:
144 replies and 56 files omitted.
Offworlder Jim
307688 308121
i'm goin in.gif
>'Osphranter rufus'?
>So, Big Toe, Red?
>Well, it had to be kingdom Animalia, possibly Mammalia.
>Most arthropods lacked a toe, so that ruled them out but didn't excise enough of the doubt.
>Eh, not enough information, but then again, it wasn't important in the first place.
>Either way, it was time to hit the trail.

>The offworlder tilted his head slightly, then shrugged.
"Ye, makes sense. I'd rather like to keep an eye on the li'l bloke 'ere, 'e seems like the type to find himself in all sorts of messes...but ye, the comms'll help. Wish I didn't have these ol' pieces of scraptech an' had a proper set o' SuperFreqs at hand, but eh. Least I got to keep me goggles!"
>These people didn't know laughably far they were behind him in terms of tech, and he had to suppose this is how the rest of them felt when they were first transported to this low-tech of a world.
>Nevil was the only one who came close, but his sort of tech seemed to be bruteforcing its way into working, whereas Jim's universe had literally hundreds of civilizations worth of tech research to call on.
>Still, no use lamenting lost tech...

>Jim took a moment from staring at the multitudes of shops nearby, smile tugging at the corners of his lips.
"Hey there, li'l guy. I'm gonna go and look fer this 'samurai' near the food stalls. Ye keep in contact by comms if'n ye find yerself diggin' a hole two sizes too wide fer ye'."
>The offworlder calmly broke from the company of the bard to trace a path towards the food stalls.
>Of course, keeping his head on a swivel to find the 'samurai'.
[1d6 = 2]<B. Perception
[1d6 = 6]
[1d6+1 = 6]<Goggle zoom
>The word itself tugged at the memory, though he couldn't place it.
>'Was it the blokes that wore bathrobes into battle? Or those synthheads? Bah, doesn't matter."
>Though Jim had to wish that he had been given more information than 'bloke with two swords on his back.'
>Ah, well.
>His goggles highlighted various signs as he moved past them, to which Jim frowned.
>'Ah, blast it all. I got thousands of different languages and dialects programmed inta this thing, and not one of 'em can translate any o' this crap.'
>He really needed to get a firmware update....if that was even still possible at this point.
>The man brought himself into a loping jog to distract himself from 'what-ifs', and to try to find the missing man quicker.
OIE: REG, Approx. One Month Before Present Time
308121 308336 308686
just red sapphires.jpg
>Ignoring sculptors, weavers, and other quality artisans down the alley you zero in on two gem related stalls right next to each other.
>The closest stall was handling already cut and polished stones and gems, a variety of gold and silver pieces adorned the front kiosk in advertisement with price tags. Most of them weren't even fitted with gems yet as fully finished products were further inside the stall and out of hoof's reach.
>In the back, an elderly pale red Saddle Arabian stallion was nose-deep in cutting a purple colored gem on a hoof-assisted gem cutting table; adorned in a simple brown merchants robe and grey mane tied back and out of his work. His rear leg, slowly pumped up and down on a pedal on the floor which spun a horizontal grind wheel at chest height. An angled boom arm above him held the precious stone in place to the stone with a complicated set of adjustment dials for his mouth and hooves to operate.
>He lifts it from the stone for a moment, analyzing his work with a pair of magnified jewelers spectacles, then sets it back down to the still-spinning stone.

>The second stall bore a younger earth pony mare of a dark purple hue and violet mane. Her front kiosk counter hung a clearly legible sign in big bold Common: "Uncut Gems and Stones: Cut to Order, All Types!".
>This simple marketing strategy seemed to work, as she was already dealing with a dark veiled customer. A unicorn, you guess, going by the frontal jut from inside the hood.
"So you don't have Ewerup onyx either?!"
>A picky and disgruntled customer, at that.
>The stall owner clopped a hoof down against her kiosk, shaking her head almost disgustedly.
"I'm sorry sir, but I don't have any imports from Ewerup or Rushya. And don't even ask about Stalliongrad either. I do have plenty of Dragonspine onyx that should suit your needs."
>Even you know better that no pony wanted to deal with either countries.
>Despite trying to alleviate the situation the cloaked customer only seemed to become more aggravated, stomping a revealing green hoof impatiently against the steppe stone.

>Their conversation trails off on you as your attention is brought back to the stall you were previously eyeing.
>The old saddle arabian had put his work down to approach you, glasses still affixed to his face, and bowing to you in greeting.
"Greetings there, Crystal pony. Care to browse my fine little gems? Haha, and the jewelry as well!"
>Easily amused at his own joke, his head dips below his counter for a brief moment before producing a quartz-carved tumblr already sweating with ice water.
"Something to quench your throat. You may call me Old Ruby; everypony else does. Number one ranking jeweler in Neighmara. I work in finishing rough-cut gems into final pieces and set them into whatever adornment you'd like."
>Old Ruby looks you over for a hot second, eyes googely peering through his glasses, appraising your hat more than anything else and smirks knowingly.
"Might I recommend some embellishments for your hat? I have a batch of blood sapphires from the Moors that would go around its band quite splendidly..."

>You both take on the hunt to find some stylish and practical head wraps for the already hot and dry journey in Neighmara.
>And the fact that Citrine had drawn the majority of you into the pricey section of the market, the quality was nothing to scoff at.
>There were stalls both in the cliff and in the free-standing adjacent ones offering a wide variety of textile specialties: carpeting, area rugs, robes, cloaks, hoof shoes, saddle bags.
>Luckily there was a stall that dealt in scarfs, shawls and the other sorts across from and a couple stalls down from where Citrine had stopped at a jeweler's stall.
>Whatever conversation he was having with the owner was effectively droned out from a heated argument in the neighboring stall. A cloaked customer shamelessly complains about game dice to the stall owner, who has all but began ignoring the belligerent patron.

>Refocusing your collective attentions on the clothing stall, you approach its open entrance as the owner pops her own-wrapped head out to greet you: a young golden yellow saddle arabian mare adorning what you could guess one of her own products looks over you both with wonderment.
"Oooooh humans! Greetings! Welcome to Shay's Shawls! I provide head wraps of all kinds made from the finest threads Snootzim can provide!"
>Assuming to be Shay she happily trots through hanging racks of silken garbs to a large steamer chest and flips the lid open with a hoof, revealing a set of tightly-packed and neatly-folded patterned fabrics of every color you could imagine.
"I heard you humans enjoy keffiyehs, from the one that called me a... she-lah? I'm currently having a four-for-three sale, on them! Prices vary, based on material and whether or not they're interwoven with special or enchanted threadings."
>She bows to both of you and gives you space to peruse, but not before directing a hoof to a tucked corner of her kiosk which stood a side table full of trayed ice water on a bed of enchanted perma-ice.
"If you get thirsty, please help yourselves to some refreshments. And feel free to ask me if there's anything you're looking for, in particular."
OIE: REG, Approx. One Month Before Present Time
>As you voluntarily emerge from your stealth and break off onto your own to go bookshopping, you glance back behind you to notice two Neighmaran Bronze Guard looking at you incredulously from inside their helmets. They take a look at each other, exchanging a few words in Saddle Arabian, shrug their shoulders, and laugh before turning and walking off on some sort of regimented patrol of the area.
>You feel like they might have been laughing at your expense...
>Either way, you walk past a fancy jewelry stall Citrine had stopped at, and a clothing vendor for Nevil and Noah to continue down to the cliff-carved kiosk with books on display.
>As you near, signage comes into view which momentarily falters your efforts: "Tome & Journal Restoration".
>But upon closer inspection, all the books on display had price tags on them so at least you knew you can buy something. Most of them had titles in languages you couldn't understand, and those that were legible had dry scholarly titles to them.
"Greetings stranger!"
>From the alley a vibrant orange unicorn stallion with a jet-black slicked mane quickly trotted up to and passed you to slip into the book kiosk. He quickly ducked under his front counter and reappeared with a short-cut burnt yellow cloak.
"My apologies, sir. I was away on an early lunch, forgot to put up my away sign."
>He bows apologetically, but you can tell he wasn't a Neighmaran native. From your travels you would deduce he was from Canterlot, giving his accent and mannerisms.
"Right, where are my manners. Name's Hoof Note. I specialize in tome and text restoration, as well as custom journal making. I also sell most of what I fix up, so if there's anything you're looking for just ask."
>Expecting more from himself, he takes focus off of you to cross his eyes for a moment before shaking his head and dipping back down behind his counter. Only to emerge again with a pair of fitted and square cut reading glasses now sitting up on the bridge of his muzzle, adjusting them slightly with a dabble of magic before feeling satisfied.
"Ah, there we are..."
OIE: REG, Approx. One Month Before Present Time
307935 308740
>Deciding that looking for the samurai Kenny would be a team effort, you tag along with Jim and stick to the forward stalls where the scents of alluring concessions and delicacies loomed heavier.
>As you both trail down the alley, you notice the stalls starting on the stair-end with lighter peckish snacks like iced coffees and mixed drinks topped with chocolates and snack cakes to more filling fair like platters of grilled vegetable kebabs and pock-marked kiosks with actual marinated meats skewered over open embers. The stall owners purposely fanning the delicious aromas into the alleyways to draw in potential customers.
>The further down you went, the more congested it got to the point where ponies were rubbing up against your leg armor and the end of the stalls opened up to an end-cap of sorts on the rock shelf for this level. A packed crowd of ponies, all with their backs to you and Jim as if all observing a singular entity out of eyeshot.
>Luckily for you both you were at least over a foot taller above the tallest pony, giving you full access to the spectacle of a colorfully armored man of Asian decent balancing a pineapple at the end of an outstretched katana.

>Leading the way through stalls, both your naked vision and through your goggles scan clear through the crowded food stalls.
>Although you couldn't translate most of the signs through your tech, it wasn't hard to decipher that the kiosks were putting out refreshing drinks, snacks, and full-blown meals; even trying to coax you over to sample.
>Of course, your main focus is to find the samurai.
>Luckily you don't have to wait long or look far as the end of the alley comes to a crowded mess of onlooking ponies and other sentient being mixed in.
>In the center of the fixed commotion: a man clad in marbled purple and black armor with white decals, black hair tied up in a top knot and a black headband bearing metallic purple symbolism, held out a mirror polished sword straight out in front of him. On the very tip was a steadily balanced pineapple hanging over a wicker basket, with little effort from the man keeping it there. If anything he was more preoccupied by the trio of assorted grilled meat skewers in his free fist, taking a bite from one as the crowd starts to grow restless.
>Chewing and swallowing, he eyeballs the fruit at the end of his sword intensely and he cocks a smirk; and the crowd quiets save for the sounds of sizzling grills, backround music, and ongoers moving on uninterested.
>Still tracking him through your goggles, you catch a glimpse of his sword shoulder raise slightly in anticipation, but his eyes catch your attention the most. For a split second the color of his iris glow a bright golden yellow before he moves his arm faster than your goggle's movement tracker can pick up.
[1d6+10 = 12] <M.Melee:???
[1d6+10 = 11]
[1d6+10 = 14]
[1d6+10 = 15]
[1d6+12 = 14] <M.Reaction Speed:???
[1d6+12 = 13]
[1d6+12 = 17]
[1d6+12 = 18]
>His body barely moved as his sword instantly went from holding the pineapple up to appearing to the right of it, as if it had been cut in half horizontally.
>And as the fruit hung in the air for a brief moment, almost cartoonishly, you witness it break into two at the middle as expected.
>... but also in half vertically, leaves and all, falling into the basket as four perfect quadrants.
>Your brain can't comprehend him making a vertical cut, or when he even had time to make it.
>Bewilderment aside is cut short as the onlooking crowd explodes into a fanfare of cheering and hoof stomps at the performance; the man brandishing his sword upward and gives it a full-bodied flick downward to rid the blade of any residue from the fruit, spins it around into the crook of his left elbow and runs the blade through the fabric on his arm to thoroughly clean it, and smoothly sheaths it into its empty scabbard with an audible click.
>All one-handed while still holding the grilled meats in his left hand.
>Almost expecting a closing encore he smiles at the cheering crowd, he gives everyone in attendance a curt polite bow before breaking out into a wide grin and randomly waving at no ponies in particular as everypony begins to disperse.
>Several merchants come up to him, bowing respectfully as one of them takes the basket with the pineapple away from the middle of the walking path.
>The man bows back to them, shaking his head with a smile on his face and pointing to the concession in his hand.
"No no! Arigatou gozaimasu! Much appreciated!"
>You get it now. He was performing for food. Free, most likely.

Offworlder Jim
308740 309142
get in loser, we're going ivan removing.jpg
>The offworlder slows his pace down as he comes upon the mass of spectators, coming to a stop.
>'Well, I'll be. Subtlety clearly ain't this bloke's business... though it sure is payin' off for 'em."
>Jim zoomed in on the details of the man, particularly his sword.
>'Ah! So it is the bathrobe wearers, then! 'Cept this bloke ain't wearin' one. Fancy gear, though.'
>Jim's finger twitched despite himself as the telltale twitch of a muscle signaled a strike...
>And oh, what a strike it was.
>For a moment, it appeared to ignore the laws of physics before it fell apart in half...two different ways.
>Jim raised a hand to his goggles, resetting the device, though he knew damn sure that they worked perfectly fine.
>Jim leans towards his compatriot who followed him, Joel.
"Fuck me, couldn't even see when he'd have time for that second cut. Mate's got a few tricks up his sleeves, ya reckon?"
>Either it was extensive bio-modification, a cyber implant, or perhaps magic.
>In any case, he certainly wasn't one to mess with.
>But Jim wasn't there to scout talent, and began making his way to the strange swordsman.
>Though, moving through a tide of half-pint horses was a bit of a challenge, considering the amount that was there.
"'Scuse me, sheila- Love the mane!"
>Jim apologized to the Saddle Arabian mare he nearly bumped into, only to almost run into another.
"Sorry mate. Noice shemagh!"
>And eventually, Jim made his way to the expert bladesman, looking him up and down once more before shifting his goggles above his eyes.
>A friendly smile surged to life on Jim's face as he thrust a hand towards Kenny.
"Afternoon, Kenny! Full business name's Offworlder Jim, but ye can just call me Jim fer short. Me n' me associate here'r from Razorback out in the Everfree."
>The offworlder chuckles a bit as he shakes the other man's hand.
"I'd say you were a hard bloke t'find, but ye stick out like a chemplant inna harvest world."
>Taking back his hand, Jim rests it on his rig.
"Now, if I were yer boss mate, I'd chew ya out for leavin' yer comms behind...but from what I can see, ye can sort out any drongo that staggers yer way."
>Polite bullshit out of the way, Jim made to continue on but the proximity to the other man's kabobs had the scent wafting over to his nose.
>After having a light lunch because they were going to translocate, walking through the food market was absolute torture.
>He'd have to stop by on the way back and grab some for himself.
"Anyway, I was told to find ye and bring ye back. Boss mate's gettin' all of us ready n' mustered fer the expedition out into wherever the money's blowin'. Though, I am curious. How in the hell'd ye move so fast? Me goggles didn't have a chance'a trackin' ye."
>Jim's stomach tugged at him, forcing him to smile sheepishly.
"And, uh, where'd ye find those kabobs? I'm gonna have t'get some of them to 'fress on. Though I've not got those fancy skills to, ah, pay with entertainment."
>A man was only as strong as what grub he had, and that looked like some powerfully good chow.
Citrine Blaze
308686 309143
"Right then! Take it out of my saddlebags whenever you need it, BUT tell me before you do it or else I'd buck you. Got a lot of bad experiences on my travels."
>Citrine told Nevil, some hints of past memories flashing behind his eyes.

"Eh? Sure sure I will call if I need more money than I have on me, not like I will, I will be all fiiiiiiine~"
>Said Blaze, with perhaps too much confidence in himself.

>Initially drawn in by his keen eye for quality gems which led him to the two stalls, the Crystal Stallion was now more interested in watching the wizened Saddle Arabian work his craft.
>Though he did glaze down to the products on the kiosk before him.
>He could -possibly- swipe something as a Full Hoof Discount however he did not want to cause any trouble nor did he believe the train would be ready for him. In fact the train might not even leave if he does do anything foalish.

>Citrine side eyed the other stall, its kiosk and sign, the pretty mare and the hooded Unicorn she was dealing with.
>Something in the back of his mind was trying to click at the sight of that green hoof, but surely he would recognise the voice of the whiny Unicorn first?
>"Mmmm, could be my imagination..."
>Could be.

>Snapped back to where he was and what he wanted at the sound of scuffling hoof steps, Blaze met the eyes of the old stallion and gave him a bow in return.
>And chuckled at his joke.
"Ha, I get it."
>He's funny.
"Thank you Ol' Ruby I think I will."
>Thanked Citrine as he sipped at the tumbler as Ruby talked on, and finished when he offered to bling out his hat.
"My hat? Oh how kind! I think they will look splendid, you can do that before we can get down to why I came here."
>With that deal seemingly sealed Blaze took off his hat and placed it onto the kiosk.
"If it this costs less than four thousand Bits than start right away, I will be back to you in a second!"
>The Crystal pony said as he gave an apologetic and sincere bow of his head as he turned fully to the neighbouring Stall.

>Citrine Blaze was a stallion of action, he played hard and worked harder, he knew what he wanted and he took it.
>A real wild card.
>A real stallion, a Stallions' Stallion.
>Some would say he was a slave to his curiosity or had small attention span but only his worst enemies would say such slanderous lies of him!
>So when he approached the disgruntled draped Unicorn from behind, it was not because he had the mind of a colt, it was because he had to know if this was a friend or foe!
>Breaching somepony' else's personal space and privacy be damned!

>He crept as close as he could to them like a cat, low to the ground, then-
[1d6 = 2] >U.Stealth

>POUNCED! Aiming for their cloak with teeth and hooves he wanted to throw it off of them to see who this potential enemy was to him!
[1d6 = 6] >E.Assault (ripping the cloak off the Unicorn)
[1d6 = 1]
[1d6 = 3]
[1d6 = 4] >E.Perception
[1d6 = 1]
[1d6 = 3]
308686 309143
>Noah was surprised at the touch of his shoulder but looking back it was only Lucius
>Like Nevil, he too waved off the apology
>"Man, he really is good at sneaking around."
"Of course. Hopefully nothing goes wrong though."
>Returning his nod, he looks over to see which library he is headed to and then takes a mental note of it before continuing to follow Citrine

>Looking ahead, he sees that Citrine stopped a couple stalls ahead
>"He found his jewelry stall. Wonder if he'll get anything good."
>Pushing the notion of jewelry appraisal out, he returned to
>He looks ahead and pays attention to the mare speaking to them, assuming to be Shay
>Seeing her walk to the trunk and open to see many more head wraps, Noah perks at the thought of the sale and the enchanted threading
>Reaching out, he touches a dark blue keffiyeh, making up his mind on which one to get
"You said something about enchanted threading? Which ones are those?"
>Still rubbing the material between his fingers, he intermittently glanced over to where Citrine was and tried to spot him, see how he was doing

[1d6 = 3] <E. Perception
[1d6 = 6]
[1d6 = 6]
Lucius the Weary
>Lucius' eyes drift over the market stalls as he moves through the space, eyes lingering for a few moments over the jewels and fine fabrics, before arriving at the interesting little stall
"Ah! Not to worry, not to worry, 'tis I who ought to apologize for interrupting your meal."
>The ranger reaches up with both hands, pulling back the fur-lined hood of his cloak, revealing his lined facial features and short-cut mousey hair, flecked here and there with gray and white
>The crows feet around his eyes scrunch somewhat as he gives the bookseller a warm smile
"Good to meet you, Hoof Note. I am Lucius, though some may call me Weary."
>As Hoof finishes his little spiel, Lucius bends over slightly and begins scanning the volumes on display, searching for titles he could read
>Once the stallion finishes, the ranger straightens back up, addressing Note again
"Yes, well you see, I am a part of a larger group. We're traveling south of here, you see - strange goings on, and we've been called in to help."
>Lucius continues speaking as he bends back over to examine the books again, one hand plucking at his short beard all the while
"I'm looking for some material to pass the time as we travel on. Specifically, if you have anything on any kind of animals or plants native to the southern regions here, I'd be delighted to see it. A friend of mine also requested that I look for something on, 'Eldritch,' matters. I'll be transparent, Sir Note, and admit that I know little of such things, but my friend seems quite interested, and I am keen to do him a favor."
>Once more Lucius straightens up, looking back at Note again
"Have you any volumes like that? Bear in mind, too, I am somewhat language-locked. Though, if you have anything that could help me learn a new language, I would be interested in that as well..."
LCDR. Nevil Wayne
>Nevil made sure to nod deeply in earnest agreement to that condition. His face softening in understanding, but says nothing more. Merely following the stallion with his glance as they went for a moment longer.

>The Marine couldn't help but let his eyes idly wander over the stylish and obviously quality garments and clothes all around them. He was silent while walking next to Noah, giving off a token presence In the form of the clacking of his rifle at his side.
>And though their eyes were starting to refocus on a particular clothing stall which seemed to fit his bill, he briefly stopped for a brief second to look at things from a short distance, his eyes shifting in thought. He looked a little paler for some reason. Then he moved forth, lip partly pursed into his cheek with a hint of mild annoyance that had just suddenly appeared. This faded away very quickly once he had crossed the threshold of the stall into a prompt, small, but genuine smile.

>Then nodded his head deeply in muted gratitude at the typical greeting, but remained very quiet as the stall owner spoke on. Shifting his eyes to the refreshments when they're pointed out, and taking a couple steps towards it while his hand wiped some sweat from his brow.
>Though he lifts his brow questioningly at the notion of particularly liking keffiyehs.
>He thought about it...
>Then gave a slight nod to Noah's questions and follows up with his own.

"We need something we can wear under or over armour. Helmets and masks specifically. A cloak as well if you have any of those--but a keffiyeh would probably work really well I'll say."
>Then he sideglanced Noah once, taking note of his eyes directed in Citrine's direction, then back to the mare.
"Elemental silk, enchanted threading. Robust. Comfortable. Need something long term that can withstand the heat of the desert for long expeditions."

>In the meantime, Nevil approached the refreshment to grab himself a glass of water to drink slowly, and stave off the heat just a bit longer...
Joel !!7000000

>Joel's jaw drops a bit on seeing the samurai do his trick.
"Hot damn! The feller's like magic."
>He rubs his eyes, knowing he must not have seen what he did see.

>The old timer pushes throught the crowd right behind Jim, echoing his apologies, his hand hardly leaving his hat the whole way to Kenny.
"Sorry miss. Beg pardon, mister."

>After a bit they both arrived at the front of the dissipating crowd.
"God awlmahty that was sure somethin'! You musta' been swingin' that thing a long time to pull that off.
>Soon, Jim brings him back on topic by mentioning Royce.
"Oh that raht, Royce wanted us to getcha from wherever ya ran off to.

>The mention of food (and especially the smell) sets Joel's stomach to growling as well, and he begins looking around at the nearby stalls for something hearty and meaty to bring back. Prancing around the desert toting guns is hungry work after all.

<E. Perception
[1d6 = 2]
[1d6 = 2]
[1d6 = 6]
OIE: REG, Approx. One Month Before Present Time
309191 310113 310114
book satchel.jpg
travel journal.jpg
>After pleasantries were exchanged you begin explaining yourself to Hoof Note who hangs on your every word.
>Note's muzzle scrunches up detestably at your destination point, be it vague, but he adjusts his spectacles and clears his throat.
"South? You're traveling South? Lucius, hrrhmm. You'll have to forgive me, but nopony goes any further South than Saddle Arabia's border. I've heard talkings of multiple humans congregating around the freighter, so I'm assuming that's your group. It veers South for a time, before running the border Eastward for the majority of its travel."
>Lifting himself on his haunches and both forehooves clack onto his service counter, the originally amiable stallion takes on a rather somber expression.
"As you may or may not know, Neighmara is a rather isolated city from the rest of Saddle Arabia; we skim the southern Border by only a dozen-ish miles. The region directly South is named Horsepen: it's been long extinct by its original inhabitants, but its riddled with active leylines that spew all kinds of otherworldy beings we must fend off occasionally. Just to the East of Horsepen... is Maren-"
>Note looks to the side in hard thought, eyebrows shifting, and eyes almost closed as if trying to block out the world around him. Recomposing himself, he looks back to you sternly.
"What I have read up on Maren is that in ancient times, a large temple was built in the middle of the region by unknown inhabitants; some say it was Horspens, but it doesn't fit their cultural history to do as such. There it's said that forces we still can't comprehend forced the ends of four ley lines together to form the infamous Marem Ley Junction: quite possibly one of the most powerfully chaotic areas of otherworldy Eldritch activity on all of Tallus! That area is so corrupted nopony's been able to reliably study it for centuries!"
>Catching his hysterics rising, Note takes himself back and lets out a relaxing sigh before continuing.
"I will be honest, Mister Lucius, I don't envy you and your group. The fact that you're searching for anything on the Eldritch natures tells me everything about where and what you're headed into."
>With a dutiful look to him, he turns and heads into his kiosk. He hovers a sturdy leather satchel into his magical grasp and grabs a softcover from a stack of identical ones near the front, but heads further in to begin scouring much older-looking hardcovers. Murmuring to himself, he pulls out two leatherbacks and adds them to the satchel and hovers the whole bag to you and places it on the service desk.
"One Southern Arabian Guide to Flora and Fauna, not like there's much living down here. The other two are Horsepen texts, translated into Common. One is a transcript of past Eldritch events in Maren that have occurred from ancient times, recorded by the Horsepens. The other is Horspen history and a full breakdown of their language. They historically have the most involvement in Maren, so if you find anything there they'd be your best bet for referencing. I'll only charge you for the Guide: two thousand bits. The other two are more than even I can afford, and they're not technically restored to the point of reselling anyway. To keep them from you out of monetary obligation could mean the doom of you and your friends. I'm only asking two things of you in return: One, that you return them in one piece... if you return at all. And two-"
>Note produces a new but worn-looking leather travel journal with snapping clasp and sets it on top of the book satchel. He reassesses you hopefully, mostly reassuring himself.
"-is that you record anything you bear witness there. I have heard of some incredible feats you humans have accomplished in the few years of existing here. Maybe you will all make it back in one piece."

>You both push through the crowds in order to close in on Kenny, his show now over. The onlookers and those complimented give you all appreciative looks and pleasant 'thank-yous' in either a native tongue or in Common.
>Making your way up to the samurai, Kenny notices you both and cheers through a mouth full of food and swallows quickly to greet you with a wave with his free hand.
"Ah! Konnichiwa, hello! You with Jeff-san, yes?"
>Noticing the hand greeting, Kenny straightens his stance and politely bows first before outstretching his free hand for a handshake.
"I am Kenichiro Kajiya. But everyone just calls me Kenny. It is easier."
>His heavy accent lays on his words thick and a bit broken, but he's understandable enough.
>Both of your concerns over his whereabouts are quickly waved off by him with a hearty chuckle, clearly not much of a worry for him as he take a talkative bite from one of his kebabs.
"Then it is good you found me! I shall accompany you both back to the train!"
>As Jim gets to questioning Kenny's abilities, the man lightens his friendly expression a bit to clear his mouth of food.
"Not where ponies can hear. Later on train. But ah! You are both hungry too, yes? One. Moment."
>Kenny directs his attention toward the stalls the faced the alley end-caps, all of them steaming and smoking with hot grilled food. Coincidentally he goes up to the stall owner that took the pineapple away earlier and mimics to the kebabs he was still working on, holds up two fingers, then points toward both of you.
>Almost instantly the stall owner produces four char-grilled meat kebabs mixed with equally marked pineapple chunks, hands them to Kenny which he bows in thanks and saunters back to you both with a pars of kebabs for each of you in his right hand.
"He does not speak Common, but he has plenty of business. So here! Free! Haha!"
>Kenny hands the kebabs out towards both of you in offering.
"Also. I believe it is chicken?"
OIE: REG, Approx. One Month Before Present Time
309147 309345 309875
>Nodding at you leaving your hat with Old Ruby to mull over your offer, the old Saddle Arabian laughs out loud to himself as you sneak your way to the neighboring stall.
"Hoho! Not even close kid..."

>As you focus your efforts on the hood figure harassing the stall mare, you sneak you way over to ambush him.
>'Ambush' is a loose term. Your hasty approach in broad daylight was hardly sneaky, and you could even hear Old Ruby behind you cheering you on with a 'Go get him, kid!'
>Luckily your target's attention was still on belligering the mare, until the very last second. It was too little too late, at that point.
"Further more-hey what. Who are-"
>Your chompers bite into the thick heavy cloak, and with a hard yank you wrench it right off of the unicorn.
>The effort pays off. The tie around his neck resists for a moment before even it yields and the cloak flies off.
>Out from the commotion the stall mare begins cackling manically at your assault, and her obscenities start flying out at the offended unicorn.
"Beat his ass, crystal pony!"
>Sure enough your suspicions were right. Out from under the cloak was a young full green unicorn stallion with round-rimmed glasses, even garbed out in that ridiculous yellow scalemail armor.
>Quill's rage was in full flair from your attack, and his horn lights up full force about to hit with you with something until his face drops through the packed dirt walkway. Ears dropping flat out of confusion.
"What is your fucking prob- WAIT! I know you! You're from the outpost! With the humans! What did you-did you follow me?!"
>He starts back up, in panic, looking in every direction but your's.
[1d6+4 = 7] <E.Perception
[1d6+4 = 8]
[1d6+4 = 6]

>Shay smiles at both of you for having the same thought process, and rushes into an inconspicuous corner out of sight for a moment before returning with one folded article each for you to sample. It was all white with black patterns running all across it like the others.
"Please. Examine them for yourselves!"
>You both already heard her pitch, which meant you were going to be paying out for more. Which business pony wouldn't be happy about that?
>Taking the samples, the clothe was soft and breathable like all the others. But at a closer inspection, you see shiny metallic silvery and blue threads running through the keffiyeh in patterned intervals.
"So. Those ones are dual weaved with two different types of enchanted spider silks. The first is an ice enchantment, which will keep your head cool in this kind of climate. Naturally they are a big seller, I recommend them to everypony. The second silk is from a rare species of runic spiders from the southern region of the Crystal Empire. When worn over the head properly, they will create a runic barrier around you strong enough to keep the wind, and especially sand, out of your face."
>While one of you enjoys a free refreshment and the other keeps an eye on your crystal pony companion, Shay continues her business pitch.
"They go for five thousand bits each, and are part of the sale. So fifteen thousand for four, if you are interested. I also have them weaved with one or the other thread for three thousand each, and in every color and pattern."

>As you both check out the fabrics, you also keep a look out over at Citrine from several stalls down.
>Turns out he had falling out with the jeweler, and before either of you knew what was happening he had assaulted the cloak of a pony the stall next door.
>A quick struggle between the two and the crystal pony rips the cloak off, revealing a green unicorn with glasses and light yellow mail armor.
>He was familiar, and it clicked to both of you that it was one of Golden Gadget's friends: the whiny unicorn Quill.
>As he began throwing a fit from Citrine's attack, he immediately backs off out of sight of him. He was clearly scared and confused from the entire incident, and his shouting can be heard from Shay's kiosk.
LCDR. Nevil Wayne
309345 310846 311684
>Nevil himself seemed almost excited. His smile was a little more genuine and his eyes a little more "awake" than they usually are as the mare slinks off to grab the sample, then comes back.
>The Marine smiled in earnest at the sight, drinking through the rest of the water before carefully setting the glass back down and stepping over again to examine the fabric. Being from an age of corporate monopoly, he doesn't often see things of this quality. He seemed to nod slowly in appreciation.
"These certainly look more than good, Ms. Shay. And the price seems fair. Do you mind if I take a moment to deliberate though? We will need more than four, there's quite a few of us and I've gotta ask them if they want one or whatever."
"... Would the deal apply if we buy more than four, or if we buy a mixture of dual weaved and some of a singular type of thread, ma'am?"

>Then Nevil pauses, crossing his arms and tapping on his elbow as his eye lingers on the fabric a moment longer to think and do some math. That's when he absent-mindedly let his eyes trail off to the side, and out of the corner of his eye and his hearing he could witness the slight commotion that was going on in Citrine's direction.
>Nevil double-takes. Then his smile instantly falls flat, as does the rest of his expression.
>Then his left brow rises as he noticed who Citrine had stripped.
>He, with a distinct slowness, taps into his earpiece to transmit a mildly annoyed message over comms. Which most of the others could hear.

"*Citrine..... Try to calm Mr. Quill down, please. I'll come over in a second to have a word. Please don't have him panic and run off, if you can manage that much.*"

>Then he turned towards Shay with an apologetic smirk.
"I'll be right back, sorry. Have to talk to a friend causing a small fuss further down."
"If you could answer my questions to Noah here, I'd appreciate it miss."
"Sorry again,"
>As Nevil apologises multiple times with a small frown to him, he steps back towards the exit of the stall, walking backwards at first as he gave Noah a glance.
"I'll go see what's going on."

>Then he turned around, walked out, and starts to stride out onto the road and starts to calmly approach the scene. Gently holding up a hand in the general direction of Quill in a disarming gesture, if the unicorn would even stay there that long for him to get within speaking distance before they run off.
Lucius the Weary
>The Ranger cocks an eyebrow, accepting the satchel with a grin
"My my, I daresay that I am beginning to like you, Note. You are indeed a shrewd one, or perhaps I am simply lacking in subtlety."
>He scratches his beard for a moment
"Perhaps a bit of both? Either way, your information is much appreciated - four ley lines, you said? By the nine Hells... I'll bet some foul sorcerers are to blame. From the tales I'd heard by firelight back home, those who meddle in dark forces do tend to wind up the worse for wear."
>He casts Note a somber look
"Typically those old tales ended... poorly, to say the very least."
>Taking the journal from Note and giving him a wide grin and a small, deferential nod of his head, he begins to count out his money
"I thank you for your generosity, and your concern doesn't go amiss, I admit. Frankly I too am worried about this journey - It is no exaggeration to say that we are as well-equipped and outfitted as one might be for something like this, but, well..."
>Still holding the journal in one hand, the ranger hands over a pouch containing 5,000 bits
"Here, thats five thousand. Two for the book, and three... well, think of it as a promise. A promise backed by something more than just empty words and sentiment."
>Now he pockets the journal and slings the satchel over one shoulder, adjusting its to fit comfortably with the rest of his gear.
"I hereby swear an oath to you, on my good coin and my name, that both I and your books will return in one piece. I'm a naturalist and survivalist after all. At one time I too kept a journal, though that one became lost during my... transition to this place."
>Again he nods deferentially, wearing a solemn expression and making purposeful, direct eye contact
"I do not swear an oath lightly. Where I am from, breaking an oath often means death. Your generosity may well save many lives, and that sort of kindness commands my respect in a way that nothing else can."
>He grins again, breaking the eye contact and laughing quietly to himself
"Hell, maybe when I come back we can arrange some kind of payment plan for these two unfinished volumes. I know of more than a few ponies back home who would love to lay hooves on tomes like these."
>Then the ranger pats the flap of the satchel
"Well, I must be off, still more shopping to attend to I'm afraid. Oh, that reminds me - could you point me in the direction of a fletcher, by chance?"
>He mimes the action of pulling and firing an invisible bow and arrow
"I use a bow, you see, and I was interested in maybe finding some good ammunition. Could serve well, hah!"
Citrine Blaze
310761 310846
fuck you bread.png

>'"Not even close kid" Resounded in his mind as he snuck closer to the hooded figure, not registering if he was about to be out of 4 thousand Bits or not, as he grew closer to his prey the thought process was gone.
>Only the shrouded pony before him is all that mattered.

>Being a master sleuth and basically the bestest wannabe spy in all of Tallus Blaze grinned as he pounced with mouth wide open and nom'd the buck out of the fabric that hid his vile enemy. And with a powerful tug he revealed the identity of this pony that was probably, possibly, maybe, sorta, kinda a danger to him.

"AHA! I knew it! It was you all along...!"
>Shouted Citrine at first in triumph, before his confidence faded slowly as he tried to remember this Unicorns' name.
"What's your name again?"
>Asked the Crystal Pony in earnest, now also noticing the Unicorn was panicking.

>Then suddenly, the voice of Nevil spat into his ear, making Blaze tilt his head to one side, than the other with a pan face expression.
>He sounded annoyed.
>He did not appreciate that tone from his human team mate.
>He will have to find a rolled up News Paper later, but first! Stop this "Quill" from running off in a panic.
"Easy enough."
>Citrine whispered to himself as he once again pounced at the Unicorn, this time attempting to tackle him to the ground.
>Screamed Blaze as his plan was to shout the panic out of the Unicorns' system.
[1d6+2 = 3] >E.Assault (Tackling)
[1d6+2 = 6]
[1d6+2 = 6]

[1d6 = 2] >E.Negotiation
[1d6 = 3]
[1d6 = 4]
>Noah raises an eyebrow at the blue and silver strands and sure enough he can see them
>He shared Nevil's smile as he listens to Shay's pitch
>And these are certainly the best quality shawls he's seen
>Looking toward Nevil to see how he will hash out this deal, he notices his change of demeanor
>As he was about to speak, he hears a familiar voice
>What a surprise that Quill would be here
>Seeing Nevil take the initiative, he returns Nevil's glance before turning back to Shay
"A little bit of trouble but nothing major. But, we would need around six and whatever my friend wanted weave-wise."
>Joel gives an internal sigh of relief at Kenny's first couple of sentences.
>"Was really worried this guy would be off his rocker some way.
>Watching him score some free lunch, Joel began to think that their own smooth-talker could stand to pick up a few things from the samurai.
"Thank ya kindly, Kenny, now let's get movin'. Ah got a feelin' the less time we've got the other's outta our sight, the better."
>As they walk, Joel begins tucking in to the kebab. While it certainly looked like chicken, Kenny's lack of confidence made Joel a tiny bit more suspicious of it than he might have been.
Offworlder Jim
more scopes.jpg.jpg
>Ah, of course.
>How could Jim forget, everyone had their trade secrets!
>It was one of the most important rules in the offworlder code.
>He supposed that some things were universal constants, at least, that was what was comfortable to think of it as.
>That's why he had the Nanoweave armor, made him durable, stealthy, and it was breathable!
>Of course, that was because the clothing was basically billions of nanomachines working in perfect harmony, so of course heat would dissipate a lot easier on account of all the microscopic holes between them.
>But trade secrets were neither here nor there, as there was food to be had!
>Jim watches on as Kenny exaggeratedly gestures to the vendor, retrieving two sets of kabobs.
"Ah, 'tis a shame. Least the bloke understands the language of hands!"
>Jim eagerly takes his set of skewers from Kenny, copying the bow the man had performed earlier.
>When in Space Rome, right?
>Now that he thought about it, why was it named that?
>If it was based off of an old Earth location, just name it New Rome.
>Perhaps it was funny to some people?
>All that mattered was that Jim now had food.
>The mercenary tore off a good quarter of the kebab, gorging his needy stomach.
"S'pretty good, mate. Not sure how I feel 'bout the pineapple, though. Still, thanks, mate."
>That was, however, mainly because of the fact that most yellow colored fruit that was traded on the galactic market was usually a class three bio-weapon to humans.
>Ingesting was easy enough, preventing it from turning your stomach into a roiling hurricane of agitated acid was another.
>And it wasn't indigestion that was the worst.
>Some could actually turn your stomach acid into something that would eat straight through the lining and kill you from the inside out.
>But, once again, that was neither here nor there.
"Alright then, mate, time to put boot t'path. Let's get back to our boss mates for they start layin' eggs, ye?"
>But this was a market, after all.
>Perhaps he should see if there's anything that catches his eye on the way back?
>Surely, they're used to Kenny disappearing for larger chunks of time than it took to locate him?
>Smiling to himself, Jim brought his goggles down off of his head again, letting the neural interface zoom and focus as he needed.
[1d6 = 3]<B.Perception
[1d6 = 4]
[1d6+1 = 6]< Goggle zoom
[1d6+3 = 4] <E. Evasion: Quill
[1d6+3 = 5]
[1d6+3 = 6]
OIE: REG, Approx. One Month Before Present Time
310896 311684 312280
>Note nods his head solemnly at your assumption, adjusting his spectacles thoughtfully.
"Hence why we don't have much modern research on the Marem Ley Junction. In fact, Anypony that can gather information from within it is quite valuable. I would even go as far to say your efforts would be rewarded, if you return with enough useful material."
>As you pass over your end of the bargain, the unicorn takes the bits from you and listens intently at your own oath, taking in your words with an understanding smile.
"When you return Lucius, you may be able to earn those tomes at no cost to you. And if you don't... well, they're insured. That aside, I do wish you the utmost luck."
>You final request cause the stallion to look behind you at your bow and quiver, a hoof coming to his chin before nodding to you.
"You are in luck, Lucius. There is one in the upper markets. Minotaurs from Goska: some of the best fletcher and bow crafters on Tallus, considering they're the few species that can HAND-dle bows. Snrrrt."
>Chortling at his own joke Note settles down and continues.
"They're more than capable of making arrows a size to accommodate you, and not something suited for a ballista. Just head back to the stairs, and up to the glass walls. The guards will let you through."
>Having felt business was concluding, he looks back into his kiosk quick before back to you.
"Unless you needs anything else, Lucius, I wish you and your friends luck on your expedition. These old books won't restore themselves. Heh."

>Kenny smiles and gives you both a curt nod as you takes the kebabs from his grasp, going back to finishing up his own.
"You never have pineapple? Sweet! Juicy! Delicious grilled! But what isn't?! Haha!"
>The samurai follows you both out of the cap on the market stalls, tossing his empty wooden kebab sticks into one of many trash receptacles meant to keep the place tidy. Kenny dusts off his hands and wipes his mouth with a finger before polishing any lingering flavor off in the only way appropriate, then casually rests his left hand on top of his sword's handle as he saunters.
"Hai. Royce can be impatient. When it comes to deadlines. I respect promptness, when necessary. Have you located Jan-san? She is escorting our client. Top markets, I believe. Client... very interested in human technology."
>As you trio make your way back tot the train depot, you keep a watchful eye out for anything out for the ordinary throughout the stalls.
>The crowd that had previously been cheering on Kenny's performance had long dispersed, and everyone had gone back to normal business.
>You do notice several pairs armored guards from the edges of the stalls were keeping watchful eyes on you three. They were probably there the entire time, allowing the performance to go on seeing as it drew business. And that was always a good thing, right?
>Security aside you didn't pick up anything else useful throughout the stalls that weren't either food, clothing, or knick-knacks.
>The top markets guarded by the glass barrier were still a prospect.
OIE: REG, Approx. One Month Before Present Time
311359 311368 312112
>The panic'd unicorn looks at you incredulously as he continues taking short shuffles away from you.
"You what?! Y-you attacked me and you don't even know my name?!"

>Already in flight-mode, the unicorn sizes you up and is already anticipating a move from you.
"NO! Fuck you!"
>He sees your second attack coming, but is too slow to fully get out of the way. You manage to get your hooves around him just enough to throw him off balance and sloppily push him to the ground. The both of you now a flailing mess of hooves, cloak, and armor in the dusty alleyway.
>Passerbys look on in distress, the ore salesmare continues to jeer Quill as wella s cheer you on, and you spot Nevil approaching from down the lane to assist.
"Stop panicking! You're-UGH-wrestling me AND yelling at me to CALM DOWN?! GETOFF ME!"
>He starts fighting back, awkwardly trying to fend you off still on his side.
[1d6+3 = 8] <E. Melee: Panic'd Hoof Kicks
[1d6+3 = 9]
[1d6+3 = 5]

>Throughout the commotion, you catch a commanding presence quickly approaching from the deeper end of the alleyway. A pair of Saddle Arabian Bronze guards actively strut toward your scuffle, lances straight up at ready, loudly scolding the pair of you!
"Hey! You two! What is with commotion! Stop at once! No fighting in the market!"

>Shay takes in your specifics of your offer, her face lighting up at the amount your wanted to purchase.
"Why yes! You can mix however you'd like, and if you're going to buy in bulk- eh?"
>Your distraction stops the mare mid-sentence, but nods in understanding once you explain your interruption.
"O-of course! I will await your return- hopefullybuylotsofstuff!"

>Putting your shopping on hold, your open comm channel is caught and responded to by Jeff.
*"Did you say Quill, Nevil, as in one of Golden Gadget's game buddies? Question him, but be subtle. Pretty coincidental he's here the same time we are..."*

>Exiting Shay's Shawls, you powerwalk over to where Citrine was currently openly assaulting one of Golden Gadget's friends.
>And unfortunately it was causing a bit of a scene- so much that a pair of Bronze Guards were approaching from the far end of the alleyway, already barking at Citrine in heavy yet understandable accents.

>Hearing Nevil over the radio, he dips out of Shay's store to deal with Citrine outside. Leaving you with Shay to conduct business with.
>Having no one else in her little store, the Saddle Arabian mare turns her full attention to you to continue her pitch she had started with Nevil.
"As I was explaining to your friend, we could work out a bulk discount and adjust the final price if you'd like to mix weaves. You'll still have to buy intervals of fours for the sale, so eight... twelve... sixteen?"
>She smiles at you expectedly at her offer, a business pony she definitely was.
Offworlder Jim
312280 312313
"Nah, mate, I've had pineapple, jus'...not a fan. S'alright, though, so don't feel bad 'bout gettin' yer mate to toss one t'me fer squat."
>Let no food go uneaten, the Offworlder code extolled.
>You never knew when you'd have your last meal, so why not live for the excitement of trying new things!
>A new name was brought up, one that may have been told at the meeting, but was either forgotten or straight up unheard by Jim.
>Hey, there was a lot of information dumped, it was only normal, right?
"Jan, eh? Ye, thought I heard yer boss mate jabbin' about her. Somethin' bout aliens. Now that I think about it, he said the same 'bout that Nevil bloke..."
>Just how many people had dealt with aliens like Jim had?
>Questions for later, possibly on the convoy.
"Regardless, nah, mate, we 'aven't. Me an Joel can track the sheila down, if'n ye want to head out to smother yer boss's smokin' noggin. Or, if ye want t'join us, I won't have nothin' to whine about. More blokes, more jokes, less croaks, so says I."
>Jim never was one to say no to extra help, especially from lighting hands Kenichiro.
>Not that there was much danger in the markets, but prudence always paid.
"What'cha think, Joel?"
Citrine Blaze
>This nerd was a feisty one, but he had wrangled and tangled with mares feistier.
"Sorry I am not good with names!"
>Shouted Blaze, meeting and matching the Unicorn in volume.
>He was so pre-occupied with holding him in place with his forelegs he did not account for Quills' hindlegs, and how they were in perfect bucking position to kick the Crystal Ponies' Family Crystals.

>Time stopped, colour ceased to exist, and anything remotely positive in life became a foreign concept to Blaze. Mind blank, body numb save for a deep burning sensation between his hindlegs.
>One that grew in intensity and gradually overtook the all consuming numbness, leaving his body in an inferno of staggering pain.
>His mind finally registered his mouth was wide open and his lungs were hurting. Why? Was he screaming? Couldn't be, for if he was he'd hear himself scream but he heard nothing escape his throat.
>Oh, he realized. He had exhaled all the air from his lungs in a prolonged whimper that was still going.
>Two sources of pain, wonderful.
>And he was becoming lightheaded, also wonderful.
>In fact it felt great because the pain was fading now, it could not hurt him now in the tranquil bliss of oblivion...

>Citrine slumped to the ground next to Quill, onto the flat of his back with all four legs straight in the air.
>Nap time.
LCDR. Nevil Wayne
>Nevil's stride broke into a jog as he sees Citrine quite literally ASSAULT Quill in public and scream in their face.
"Citrine! Stop it!!"
>Called out Nevil in the hopes of getting the pony's attention qucikly enough before this escalated further.
>Alas, he is already too late.

>The marine FLINCHES and hisses through his teeth as he gets front-row seat to Citrine getting their nuts pushed inwards by a nerd, his hand faltering down as he slows down to a slower walk.
>The only thing he can say in that moment, as the guards begin getting involved, is:


>As Citrine slumps with their legs up in the air like a dead spider.
>For about a second he casts a worried glance down at the now seemingly unconscious Citrine, then over at Quill, then over at the guardsponies who were responding to the issue.
>This was... Awkward. Very.
>'Goddammit Citrine' echoing in his head, Nevil resumes walking forward and sidesteps whoever might've been in the way at that point, trying to excuse himself onto the scene.

>He gives the guards an apologetic, albeit lopsided frown. He holds up one hand while the other gestures to the crystal pony.
"Sorry about this, guards. The crystal pony's with me. It's my bad for not being able to keep him from getting into trouble."
>Nevil's tone was mild. Disappointed. He gives Citrine another look. To see if he was even moving at this point; if he needed actual, genuine help.

>He doesn't approach however, staying a few paces away in case the guards had other ideas on the matter.

"I can handle him. He's--done, anyway. I hope nothing broke down there..."
>He looked over towards Quill once, pursing his lip briefly as he speaks up towards him once. He had to at least try to salvage this.

"... Sorry about this. If you stay here a moment I'll try to make it up to you, mister Quill. I need to talk with you."

<E. Negotiation
[1d6+1 = 6]
[1d6+1 = 7]
[1d6+1 = 2]
Lucius the Weary
312280 312313
"Ah but you are quite possibly the most helpful pony I've met lately. Good books and good directions! Imagine!"
>He grins and bows himself out of the stall, calling behind him as he returns to the main market
"Take care, Sir Note!"
>As he leaves the stall, he registers Nevil's message over comms
"Now how does this contraption work again..."
>Fumbling with his comlink, Lucius manages to find the correct button, broadcasting his own return message
"Ah! I think it's working. Hello all! How strange this is... Anywho, looks as though I ought to have kept watch over Citrine after all! Shame on you, Nevil. In any event, I am heading up to a fletcher in the upper market - if you have need, seek me out there. I also managed to procure some books pertaining to the area we're headed: the Marem Ley Junction, apparently! I'll fill you all in on the train!"
>Once again adjusting his gear, Lucius leaves the others to handle the situation with Quill, heading up to find the Minotaur stall in the upper market
>Trying to set the disturbance down the street aside, he focuses on the polite businesspony
>Adjusting his belt, Noah ponders her proposition and doesn't seem to bothered by it
>The base's pay was really good anyway
"Well, I think we would at least take the cold weave. The amount of wraps would be up to my friend..."
>Noah then cranes his neck to look a couple stalls down to see what is happening
>The only thing he would be able to see it a couple of guards and Nevil speaking to them
>Looking at Nevil's body language, he seems bashful at the situation
>Noah looks back to Shay
"Hmm, to make it even amongst us all and for CYA, I'm looking at twelve and weaved with both. But we gotta wait for my friend."
>Noah then keys in to his radio
*"Noah to Nevil, everything good down there?"*

>Joel turns to his buddies and thinks for a moment before beginning to respond.
"Well, ah s'pose it'd save us some steps if we went to check on miss Jan before headin'--

>At that moment the comms come alive. Notably with Lucius' message about Blaze making trouble.
>On hearing this news, Joel hits his transmit button and relay an update.
"Jim and Joel to all: We've got a hold of Kenny without much trouble. Says miss Jan is ahead in the upper market. Ah figure we ought to get after her as well before the guards politely ask us all to leave on account of whatever Blaze got up to."
>The last bit he says as much to Jim and Kenny as to the others.

"Lookin' to me lahk the choice got made for us, fellers. Let's get movin'. We don't know how long we have 'fore we might get kicked out.
>With that, the old timer turns the direction of the upper market and leads on, keeping an eye out for anything interesting enough to stop for on the way.

[1d6 = 6] <E. Perception
[1d6 = 1]
[1d6 = 3]
OIE: REG, Approx. One Month Before Present Time
312712 314075
>Realizing there was a potential sale to be made, Shay keeps her attention on you as your own is obviously split between her and the commotion outside.
"Of course! I can have a dozen dual-weaves ready for you to pick for color in a few minutes, sir."
>As your attention is on outside of the stall, you notice Shay also joins in on you in the peeping.
>Her ears perk up, as if trying to listen in on their conversation as you await a reply from Nevil, then flatten followed by a shake of her head.
"It sounds like there was a scuffle between two ponies. One of your friends? The guards are really strict about physical confrontations in the markets. A little heated arguing during haggling is fine, sometimes encouraged, but there's zero-tolerance for hoof-fighting. I will get your products ready for you, in the meantime..."
>The kiosk mare turns from you and disappears into the back of her stall, you hearing intermittent rummaging going on.

>It wasn't your proudest moment, rolling around with Quill in the sand-swept markets of Neighmara. In retrospect it probably wasn't your worst moment, either.
>Both of you entangled in eachother's hooves and robes sent passerby's into a tizzy, the ore stall mare still cheering you on in the backround! You even think you gave Quill a good hoofle to his face by accident, not like it quelled his frantic flailing.
>You managed to keep the unicorn down long enough for Nevil to appear out of a nearby stall to come over and help take over the situation.
>But that's the last coherent thing you remember before a sharp exploding pain erupts from you lower hanging boys.
>Several gasps and 'Ohhhhh!''s can be heard in your quickly fading hearing as you collapse onto your back in a numbing blackout.

[1d6 = 3] <Turns Unconscious For
OIE: REG, Approx. One Month Before Present Time
>Your attempts to break up the scuffle between Citrine and Quill before anyone got seriously injured turned out to be futile.
>You, the ore stall mare, passerby's, even the pair of guards all froze in a moment of shock as Quill inadvertently plants a hoof-kick square onto your teammate's dirty bags.
>The fight breaks up almost instantly as Citrine rolls onto his back out cold, and the other pony fights out of his own cloak for a second to right his person. Quill manages to situate himself onto his haunches to shake the stars from his eyes, now glasses-less and sporting a shiner on his left eye.
"OW! You hit me, you jerk!"
>Rubbing the left side of his face with a hoof, he grits his teeth to keep on fighting but immediately looses steam as he looks over at his unconscious assailant. He takes a moment to put one and one together to come to the realization he had clocked Citrine out cold... somehow.
"Oooooooh did I do that? It was an accident, I swear! He attacked me first!"
>His ears flatten to his head, as he bashfully scoots away from you only to bump into the armored legs of the Bronze Guards behind him. Quill peers up at both helmeted Saddle Arabians, and shrinks down at their gazes as they eyeball him from above.
"He attacked me first, guards! I was... defending myself!"
>The left guard frowned deeply at Quill while the other stayed silent and shook his head as both shrugged their shoulders to clank the pommels of their side-mounted lances authoritatively into the ground.
"Ohhhhh no! We saw you harassing Miss Quartz a ways back, before coming over to break you two up!"
"That's right! He was being unreasonable, wanted product I told him multiple times I didn't have! Then the crystal pony jumped him! It was awesome!"
>The ore mare, now Miss Quartz as far as you were concerned, had both forehooves on her kiosk literally screaming at the guards who only acknowledged her with a confirming nod.
>Quill stopped his quivering, the rush of the fight most likely dying out from him, and dropped his head down to accept his fate of being taken in by the guards.

>Before the pair can make a move to apprehend Quill or Citrine, the one that spoke up draws his attention to you with apparent interest to your apologetic approach.
>The guard looks over at Citine, frowning sympathetically, then at you, then down at Quill. He then growls to himself in deliberation, looking over at his partner, who mulls over a silent response before nodding in agreement.
"It is apparent that justice was brought to all affected parties in some form or another. Miss Quartz, do you wish to file charge with this belligerent?"
>The mare, who looked excited for a moment, shook her head and rolled her eyes as she calmed down behind her kiosk before blowing a raspberry at Quill.
"Eh, I guess not. That black eye's justice enough for me!"
>The left guard rolls his eyes at the Mare's response before nudging Quill with a hoof boot.
"You. You were technically assaulted by the crystal pony, which is not tolerated in the markets. Despite his... current state, you are entitled to file charges against him if you wish."
>It was more of a statement than a suggestion as the entire situation felt tricky and gray to everyone at this point.
>Quill looked like he was considering to do so, until you step in to try and talk him down.
>The green unicorn looks at you rubbing his injured face with a hoof again, your sincere words clearly cutting into him, before looking over at Citrine apologetically.
"I suppose I was... being unreasonable, also I hit your friend in his junk. No... I won't press charges."
>The left guard 'hmmms' to himself, before clanking his lance against the ground again.
"Very well. We will take our leave, now. Enjoy the rest of your day at the markets. Out condolences to your friend."
>The other guard, silent up to this point finally speaks up with a much deeper voice and broken common.
"Least ice is free to chill balls with! Hehehe!"
>Both guard snicker to eachother before the left one eyes Quill once more before both turning to take their leave.
"We catch you making a scene again, we'll drag you through a matrice ourselves. Understand?"
"Y-yes sir."
>Now that the whole thing was over Quill let out a huge sigh and took the time to find his glasses, which had somehow made it in one piece. He hovers them back onto his face, his left eye squinting in pain and as they touched the bridge of his nose.
"Just wanted some fucking rocks... Amethyst could I trouble you for a glass of ice water for my eye?"
"Yeah no. Suffer, four-eyes."
"That's fair... ow."
OIE: REG, Approx. One Month Before Present Time
313514 313553 313931
>Hoof Note waves you goodbye for a final time as you take off, he himself disappearing into his stall to continue working.
>Retracking back down the same alley you had entered, you pass by the same pair of guards you were sure were tailing you earlier.
>The were somehow both amused and aggravated at the same time, going off their faces and mumblings to eachother.
>You continue on down the alleyway - casually and awkwardly passing by quite the scene between Nevil, a unicorn you think you remember from that junction outpost, and a passed-out Citrine in the sand.
>Nevil seemed to be handling it so you decide to keep pressing on toward the steps up to the upper-level.
>Making your way out of the market stalls, you merge onto the main steps and start making your way up to a visible high glass wall painted in glowing ruins. Closing in onto it, you approach two heavier armored Bronze Guards from what you saw down in the lower market. They had no visible weapons, but they certainly weren't put there for show.
>As you close in on them, a noticible archway was envgraved into the wall as both gaurds closely flanked it. They both take a protective step in front of it, barring you from entering. Which was fine, seeing as you really didn't see and obvious opening access point in the wall.
"Halt there... a human? State your business in the upper markets."
>The spoken guard, telling by the pitch of voice was mare under the heavily clad armor, was a mare. The way she addressed you sounded more of intrigued curiosity than authority. The other guard, going by similar frame, you guessed was also a mare who instinctively peered over to you as well.

>Kenny nods to you about Jan, scratching the stubble on his chin.
"Hai. Jan is from twenty... second century? Always talking about EE-zoh and mass-something that powers her armor and weapons. Apparently she's worked with and killed aliens. So strange, to me... My armor, bow, and swords are enough for me."
>He pulls his katana out of its sheath a quarter way before accentuating it back in with an audible 'CLACK'.
"I will accompany you. There are few sitting places to eat in upper market. Full meals. Could use a bite before we depart."
>Despite putting away several kebabs just minutes ago, Kenny still seemed to have room for more, apparently.

>Taking the lead of you trio, you cut a path through the rest of the market alleyway until reaching the opening for the steps going up to the encased market.
>The radio channel opens up. Royce chimes in before being tailed by Jeff.
*"Sure you found him stuffing his gullet, ye? At leas Jan's got a comm on her. Guess I haven't radio'd her to adjust her channel yet. W'ever, she knows when to return."*
*"If Nevil has everything covered, better to keep the situation to a minimal."*
>Radios cutting out. The three of you merge onto the steppe-steps ascending to the upper markets. Kenny adds onto his earlier conversation about Jan.
"I heard the client can be a handful. Glued to Jan's side. Loves her armor. Her weapons. Her... om-nee tool. Jan don't take her shit, tho. Is why Royce put client with her."
>As you lead up toward the upper markets, you peer down into the level you were just on and spot Nevil and Citrine next to some of the stalls carved into the steppe wall.
>Citrine appeared to be laying on his back, unmoving, while Nevil was looking over a green unicorn. He looked familiar. You remember hearing over comms the name Quill mentioned. Wasn't he one of Golden Gadget's dice game friends from the other day?
>Mulling over the coincidence, you approach the high glass walls of the open air market. There, the three of you spot Lucius having already beat you up here along with two heavy armored Bronze Guards protecting the entrance.
>One of the guards was unoccupied, the other currently vetting your comrade for entry. The saddle arabian's eyes behind its full helmet widen excitedly, doing a little hoof tap as you all stop a couple steps down.
"Ooooooh, look! All the humans are coming up now! Ahem! Welcome to the Upper Market, humans. Do you have business with the quarry, shopping, or looking to dine away from the blowing sands?"
>Going off of the guard's high-pitched bubbly tone, you took it there was a very extroverted mare inside the Elite Bronze Guard Armor. Her flanking guard took notice and leaned over to her not-so subtly.
"Don't break your posture. We're supposed to be professional."
>The mare addressing you waves an armored hoof at her nosey partner to shoo her away.
"I asked them the criteria, already, Dancer. Lea'me alone."
Citrine Blaze


>The darkness was did not hurt Blaze.
>It comforted and shielded him from the insufferable pain.
>The all consuming void was his friend.
Lucius the Weary
313553 313931 315072
>The ranger cocks an eyebrow at the question, but answers:
"Yes, my business is with a minotaur here, whom I've heard is an arrow-maker of some renown."
>as the others arrive, Lucius turns to greet them all with a wave of the hand and a jovial 'Ho there!'
"Oh! I may also sit down to a meal as well, depending on the weight of my purse following my other business."
>as he waits for the guards to reply, Lucius takes a casual glance over the archway and some of the runes surrounding this new area with a banal sort of interest, the way one does when waiting in the lobby of a building waiting to meet someone
Offworlder Jim
313931 315072
yehe boi.png
>Jim raises an eyebrow slightly, but smiles regardless.
"Twenty-second century? Blow me down, did the sheila's earth not have a dark age or summats?"
>To have mingled with aliens bespoke of a certain level of technology, and though Kenny didn't understand it (and neither did Jim, because divergent realities were a bitch) from what he'd gathered she was pretty far ahead.
>He'd have to check, but it was reassuring knowing that there were some others who had worked with aliens.
>Well, besides Nevil, but that poor bloke was a frayed bundle of nerves, though he hid it well.
>Jim thought, at least.
>His smile widened at the last though, patting his own AKM on his sling.
"Same with me AKM. Old pattern of rifle, back to when Earth was still a singular piece and not plural pieces. Got some different manufacturin' shite in it, but somethings are timeless. As ye no doubt found out with yer stickers there."
>Jim listened to the radio, absorbing the information but remaining silent, as he had nothing to add.
>Still, he followed Kenny up to the upper levels, trusting the man's knowledge of the local markets more than his intuition.
>Jim responds to the bubbly voice by giving off a wave and shifting his goggles up to rest atop his head.
>'Finally, some bloke or sheila that ain't got craftworld grade superstructure jammed up their rear end!'
"Unfortunately here on business, sheila. Got a client to meet up with in the markets, 'n she's currently being escorted by one of Kenny 'ere's mates. Jus' gotta link up with 'em real quick."
>Jim paused, turning to Lucius.
"I may just join ye on that, mate, but a bit o' advice: Listen to Kenny here, this bloke's got 'is 'ead on straight when it comes to eats."
>Jim turned back to the guardsmares.
"Though, I'd like to get yer opinion, little sheila. Ye prolly know the best eats this place's got t'offer."
>An easy smile grew on Jim's face as the other guard tried to get her sister in arms in line.
"Aw, settle down, mate. I think it's kinda endearin' t'show a bit o' personality. People, er, sorry, ponies are prolly a lot more happy if'n they got someone friendly t'chat with. Let's 'em know there's more than just a bronze-clad statue in front of 'em."
"Twenty-second, huh? What a difference a couple hundred years makes. Still, though, nothin' beats the classics."

>Once he hears the voice of the friendly guard lady, he gives the appropriate greeting for a lady in the local custom before regarding Lucius as well.

"Ah've gotta agree with Jim there. Friendly usually beats- professional, 'specially if ya got this sort of job. Say, miss, you wouldn't happen to know which way the human lady went off to, would ya?
314091 315072
>Hearing no comms yet from Nevil, Noah notices the shop pony sharing his curiosity and looking down the alley
"Yeah, one of my friends down there. I should go check on them. I'll be back for the wraps.
>"Hopefully with Nevil and Citrine in tow this time."
>Noah walks out of the stall and heads over to where he last saw Nevil
>On approach however, Noah sees the surrounding gawkers react in an familiar
>In the faces of the ponies watching and the "Ohhhh!"s, he knew someone just got beat
>Walking a bit more briskly, he notices a couple guard ponies already at the stall
>Assuming they were performing an investigation, Noah returns to a normal walk hoping Nevil has it covered
>Sure enough, Noah sees the guard ponies leave with no one in custody
>As Noah reaches the stall, Nevil looking befuddled, a familiar looking pony with a black eye and glasses, and Citrine on the ground like a dead spider
>He does notice Citrine breathing so at there's something
>Noah turns to Nevil but keeps an eye on the cloaked pony
"What happened here?"
LCDR. Nevil C. Wayne
315072 318090

>Nevil smiled faintly to the guards and to Quill as the situation resolves in the best way it could. He then puts his hands akimbo and looks straight down to the unconscious crystal pony, pursing his lip with some concern.
>He didn't exactly have an ice pack at the ready...
>Before the Marine can think of his next move however, Noah approache sfrom behind him, and the Officer quarter-turns his head--lifting his eyes to meet their gaze.

"... Citrine got kicked between the hind legs. He's taking a nap over it."
>Nevil's voice was deadpan, but the look in his eyes was filled with disappointment.
"I don't really have an ice pack for the guy, Noah, can you give them a hand? We're either gonna have to drag him back or have him walk back to the train."

>Nevil clears his throat with a brief "Ahem" as he turned his attention back towards Quill. He smiles lopsidedly as he takes note of the hurt eye. He steps around Citrine to approach them, sideglancing Citrine again with a bit of a pursed lip.

"We've got ice packs back at our vehicles if you feel like coming over there for it, Mr Quill."
>He looks to the pony more intently now, crouching down to be at eye level with the pony.
"...Bit of a coincidence to see you here though. What are you up to around these parts?"
OIE: REG, Approx. One Month Before Present Time
318090 318472 318895 318917 319394
>As you leave Shay's kiosk, you hear her from the back room call out back to you.
"I'll have a selection ready for you to browse, when you return, mister human!"
>As you regroup with with Nevil, the situation looked like it was already cleared up: Citrine was incapacitated, the guards have already left empty-hooved, and one one of Golden Gadget's game buddies was nursing a black eye while Nevil looked over him.
"Mmmgh, great, another one..."

>Getting Quill's attention he looks up at you through one good eye, his left slowly squinting more and more from the swelling.
>He stiffens at your offer of actual first aid, and breaks eye contact with you to nowhere in particular while talking through his teeth.
"No thanks. I'll... get checked out at the clinic a level down."
>Quill leans back a bit as you get to eye-level with him, his ears pull back in a pout. He's being cooperative at least, but he's not happy about it.
"I guess it IS a coincidence, then. On my days off I go rare ore hunting at markets... I hit here, Gozka, even Dragonspine Mountain occasionally."
>He throws his head back, hissing outwardly.
"-sshhh- I make custom Mazes and Monsters dice sets, and rare hard-to-get ores go for a a premium along with adding enchants to them."
"Mister human! I'll back him up on that, at least."
>The ore kiosk mare Amethyst gets your attention with a hoof wave. Quill's ears perk up at her chiming in.
"Quill comes by every Monday looking for stuff from Stalliongrad, Ewerup, even banned and embargoed countries then storms off when he comes up empty-hoofed!"
>Hearing his methods so bluntly explained, Quill grumbles to himself amusingly.
"What can I say, I have an expensive hobby. And an archivist's salary doesn't exactly pay for it."
>Looking a bit more sympathetic, Amethyst dips behind her kiosk and walks out from behind it with a large chunk of perma-ice. A dip of her head offers it to Quill. He magics the ice from her and hovers it over to press on the left side of his face, letting out an exasperated sigh of relief on contact, then looks back at you.
"If this has something to do with Gadget the other day, I swear I haven't seen him since. Neither have the others, far as I know."

>The more stern guard mare you were currently being appraised by looks you over once, nodding and blinking slowly passed the openings in your helmet.
"HmmHmm. There is a Gozkan smith and fletcher from the Hegemony here today, so you're in luck human. It's no problem anyway, you may pass through."
>Shifting from business to food, she does perk up a bit nodding more enthusiastically.
"Then you'll have to check out the Sand Dune Cafe, up at the north end. Plenty of space for sitting, and they cater to a range of diets."
>As the rest of your adventure group ascends the steps behind you, the guard mare to your right greets them. You notice a new human has joined with Jim and Joel: A man in his, you would guess, early 30's donned in battle robes, greaves, gauntlets, torso and thigh and skirting sheet layered armored adorned in a royal purple with predominantly white and lesser black patterns.
>What got you attention most were the pair of swords attached to the left of his hip: one full length, with a slight curve going by its sheath, and a smaller one between the length of a dagger and short sword. Both matching the color scheme of his armor.
>At the first mention of food he speaks up passed any oncoming conversation. His voice is heavy with an accent foreign to you.

>Kenny's voice booms over the group, hearing him be addressed by you to Lucius.
"Hai! A good full meal before we set off sounds perfect!"
>The Bronze Elite Guard mare nods her head in agreement with Kenny's sentiment.
"Mmmmmm Hmmm! The Sand Dune sounds great for lunch! And a Maregarita, after we're done for the day. Can't wait."
>Hearing you both stick up for the latter guard mare, the one attending to Lucius waves a hoof at both you and Jim reassuringly.
"While I wholeheartedly agree with both of you... as two out of three Elites of the Bronze Guard in Neighmara, it is our duty to set an example for the Veterans and Masters. While this one has been letting in too many solicitors with no good reason up in the upper markets lately. Only one of us is supposed to guard the main entrance at all times, but she needs a chaperon or else she's in for a demotion."
>'Dancer' nudges a shoulder at her partner, who dips her helmeted head, pauses, before snapping it back up with a bubbly aura.
"Hehe! I know I'm easily charmed! I even let in a known pickpocket up here the other day. No need to defend me!"
>Embarrassing the mare's shortcomings aside, her senior 'Dancer' looks to you and nods into the markets.
"You mean the donkey and the armored human? They haven't left yet, so they're probably still walking around inside. I doesn't matter anyway. Miss Espresso informed us all humans and any companions of yours' are permitted in."
>Dancer turns to the gateless wall of runed glass and presses an armored hoof against it. Almost instantly, a ripple erupts form the point of contact and a thick glowing line draws up from the bottom of the wall up to twelve feet high. It then splits left to right, arching downwards to line out a silhouette of a huge arching doorway.
>A crystalline crackle breaks the seal on the wall, and it swings open inward to open up to a bustling market centered in an open courtyard.
"Enjoy your stay in Neighmara humans."
>Noah walks over to Citrine
"Well, hope he can walk afterwards then..."
>Noah looks over Citrine before he kneels down to him
>"Well, he's breathing."
>Noah checks his small medical pouch on the off chance there is an ice pack but is disappointed when it doesn't
>Snapping the pouch back on his backpack, he first moves Citrine around to rouse him awake
"Hey Citrine, time to wake up."
>Noah's eyes perk at the mention of Quill though, remembering that he was a part of Golden Gadget's group
>Keeping an eye on Citrine for responsiveness, he also listens to Nevil's and Quil's conversation
Offworlder Jim
319394 321895
>Jim smiles widely.
"Oi, I knew. Jus' pokin' fun at the sheila 'neath the shell, ye know?"
>But right, the mission.
>Feels like it's been taking ages to get the ball rolling, even though it's been something like ten minutes or so.
>Better to enjoy the city, though.
>'The donkey'?
>Was their client an actual ass?
>Jim suppresses a chuckle, tipping his goggles to the guardsmares as he passes.
>Right, time to play 'Where's Walthrax III', except with a jackass and a female operator.
>Jim fully lowers his goggles once more, scanning for the friendlies there were supposed to link up with.
[1d6 = 3]<B. Perception
[1d6 = 1]
[1d6+1 = (3+1) = 4]<Goggle zoom
>As he scans, he voices a question to his current companions.
"So, if'n we do find the Sheila In Charge, do we go and have a bite t'eat first, or do we invite em along as well?"
>There was a better time to be had with more mates, but the kebabs from earlier had re-activated his hunger he'd forgotten about.
>Peckish was he, and having to eat MREs on the trail again wasn't exactly getting his mouth watering.
>Still, though, the mission was the mission.
Citrine Blaze
321526 321897
>An eye flick.
>A snoot wiggle.
>And hooves twitch.
>With a sharp intake of breath Blaze gasped awake, lucid and alert before the effects of being bucked in the balls settled heavily over him like a tarp.
>He blinked multiple times as he felt dizzy, head aloof as he attempted to stand up. When he found that difficult he defaulted to complaining out loud.
"By Cadences Fat Flanks...I need to find...a seller of codpieces in this place..."
>He glared at his surroundings.
"Where is that marebucker that resisted my restraints...!"
Lucius the Weary
>His eyes widen with delight at the guard mare's confirmation
"Excellent! I think this Gozkan ought to be easy enough to spot, yes?"
>The ranger mimics horns with his two index fingers
"I'll just look for the two legged bull, shall I?"
>He gives the guardmare a polite bow, muttering his thanks, and is moments from sweeping past and into the market beyond when he spots Kenny
>'What a strange sword... I've not seen the like, not in the Westwood anyway,' He thinks to himself
>He waves a hand in greeting from his place nearest the gate
"Ho there! Well met!"
>Lucius takes a few long strides towards Kenny, extending a hand in greeting
"My name is Lucius. An interesting pair of blades you have!"
>He gives the scabbard of his family sword a light pat as he speaks
"I'm glad to see it. And I would love to stay and discuss swords, but I'm afraid I have business with a Gozkan in the market -"
>Once again, in lieu of his bow which is back on the train, Lucius mimes drawing and firing a bow
"I've need of ammunition for my true weapon of choice. Perhaps you'd like to visit this smith as well? Perhaps he carries blades as exotic as yours. Possibly even more exotic!"
>With a grin, the ranger then turns and heads through the gate to find the smith
>'Minotaur, Minotaur, Minotaur... where would I be if I were a Gozkan smith...'

[1d6 = 5] > E. Perception
[1d6 = 3]
[1d6 = 4]
>Joel suppresses the urge to cringe at the livelier mare admitting to such a thing so lightly.
"Well miss, y'obviously got a good heart, just think about what it would mean for everyone else the next tahm somebody tries ta butter ya up... Ah, I don't hafta tell ya that, you got this far fer a reason. Let's get gone, fellers."

"Ah think it'd be best ta grab them two first. Good chance to get to really meet 'em if we take 'em along. 'Nuff ramblin' though, y'see anythin'?"

>Joel follows Jim's lead and starts scoping the place out for their pair.

[1d6 = 4] > E. Perception
[1d6 = 4]
[1d6 = 5]
321897 322243
>While looking over Citrine, he notices him stir and attempt to get up
>Seeing as this was not anything severe, Noah steps back a bit
"You ok Citrine? Back to the waking world?"
>Putting his hands inside his vest, he breathes deeply before turning to Quill and Nevil
"Well, that sounds innocuous."
>Noah glances over to Nevil
"Well, if you have anymore questions, I think this was really just a coincidence. I'll leave you to him if you have anymore questions for him. Oh, and if you still thinking about those scarves, Shay has a deal set up for us."
>He turns back to Citrine
"Alright, I think we had enough excitement. Want to meet back with the others? At least you gave your marebucker a black eye."
OIE: REG, Approx. One Month Before Present Time
>As the two guards wave your group into the main market, you pass through the crystaline gate to get a full overview of the upper market; which stretched easily one hundred meters both left and right. The density of the stalls going back for a bit.
>Directly forward a mere thirty meters started a similarly set up market stall as the ones on the steppes down below. Only up here, the stalls looked more specialized to one particular item albeit with a wider range of sellers: earth ponies, pegasi, even a bat pony can be seen operating stalls from initial inspection.
>Down the left was what looked to be a quarry operation, uniformed ponies resembling Dragonspine Railway attire making up the majority of coming and goings. On the corner of the left side was one very large tent standing twice as high and four times as wide as the others with a brick chimney sticking out the top; thick black smoke billowed out, reeking of metal-forging.
>Down the right and adjacent to the stalls was a large strip of adobo-style buildings with outdoor seating and several chimney stacks pumping out plumes of smoke. You were all up-wind of it, but the sight of open-air cafes' were hard to miss.
>Also down near the cafes, through the crowds you could spot one being in particular: standing at human height, and clad in black form-fitting armor.

>Scanning down the right side of the market with your goggles, you lock them onto the black clad figure.
>Form-fitting matte black carbon fiber plates covered virtually every inch of the person, including a fully covered helmet. A long thin rectangular block of ashen gray and black was seamlessly attached to the left side of their back, and a smaller white and black block on their right hip.
>Something kept their attention, turning toward you but head tilted downward. Going off of the pair of mounds sculpted into the front breastplate, you could easily tell it was a woman. And after scaling her with surrounding objects, she was tall; easily six and a half foot.
>Tall women aside, you do spot some eateries right by her so at least it'll be a two birds with one stone.

>You follow Jim's gaze down to the right side of the stalls as well, the black armored human popping out of the equine crowd quite clearly and hard to ignore.
>Their attention was directed downward to a pony-sized individual, but you could pick out some stark differences from where you were: shale-brown coat, long almost bunny-like ears.
>A donkey, the first one you've recall seeing on Tallus so far.
>You couldn't pick out any other details, but they seemed to have their human bodyguard tailing them almost unwillingly through the crowds and across the various stalls. Coincidentally they were slowly meandering toward the line of cafes across from the vendors.

>Guard mare wiggles her head in confirming your imitation of said minotaur.
"You are correct. Horns, nose rings, twice your height, can't miss them."
>Stepping into the market grounds, you keep your interest on Kenny who eyes your extended hands in greeting. He gives you a curt bow, before reaching out to shake your hand as well.
"Konnicha wa, Lucius! I am Kenichiro, or Kenny. So good to see a fellow swordsman. You favor the longsword? I have seen others with something similar."
>He mimics your sword pat with his own, the pair clanking together as he does.
"I prefer my katana and tanto. Ah, the taur smiths? I shall accompany you! I also partake in the bow, but it appears we favor one over the other."
>He begins to follow your lead, pointing toward the left where the large tent was.
"No doubt our smith and fletcher are there. The stench of smelted ores is reminds me of home. Rarely do the taurs make weapons not fitted for them. I have already tried, several times!"
>Peering down the market, you can spot one taur with small horns just poking out of the stall, clearly hunched over hunched over. The sound of metal against metal can be heard ringing all the way down to where you and Kenny were, yet the taur wasn't swinging a hammer. At the very least there were two from the Hegemony selling wares.
"Truth be told, it was Hodch that forged my current swords and armor for me. He is skilled in many crafts."
OIE: REG, Approx. One Month Before Present Time
322243 322406
>Shaking off the brunt of your earlier testicular trauma, you vision clears up to spot Quill defeated and on his haunches. A good-sized chunk of perma-ice was pressed against the left side of his face. Nevil and Noah arrived to settle things down, but it looks like you missed the most of the excitement while you were out.
>Even the ore mare he was arguing with was now sitting next to him with a sympathetic look on her face as he tended to his wound.
>Quill notices you stirring awake. His ears pin to his head anxiously, looking away from you before bowing his head toward you apologetically.
"Hey. Sorry about earlier. You alright? You konked me real good in the eye, if that makes things better."

>As Citrine awakens from his ball-busted coma, you get enough word in edgewise before the world around you slows down to a grinding halt. Even sound and smells cease existence to your senses.
>Quill, the mare tending to him, even Citrine come to a standstill mid-whatever they were doing. Only you and Nevil seem to be unaffected, the latter too stunned by what's occurring to respond yet.
>The world around fades to a slight sepia, and a larger-than-normal white outline of a doorway appears next to Nevil. The unlatching of an unseen door lock rings louder than normal, an invisible door swings open and out of thin air Anonymous steps out into the frozen world in front of you and Nevil; looking urgent and worse for ware.
"Noah! Nevil! My sincerest apologies! Buuuuuut-"
>Before either of you can interject, the tall green-faced man grabs Nevil by his shoulder armor and in one move yanks him to and fro and through the door of blinding white light he left open. He claps his hands together, inhaling sharply, and looks to you apologetically.
"I gotta take Nevil for something... specific. He has a certain line of... let's call it 'expertise'."
>Pantomiming his own fist punching through his sternum, he waves his own antics off and begins to step back through the doorway he created.
"I already told Jeff, and if he could kill me he would. But you're all resourceful, I'll try not to interfere from here on out. Good luck."
>Anon gives you a short, two-fingered salute, dips through the doorway which closes on itself.
>The instant it does and the outline disappears: time, sounds, and other senses come back to you.
>You get you bearing back, now short one operator, and re-access the situation.
>Quill and the stall mare immediately realized someone was missing from the conversation, the injured stallion looking around at you with his one good eye.
"Uhhhhh wasn't there another human here, a second ago, or do I have a concussion?"
>In your ear, your radio crackles to life. A heavy frustrated sighs comes over your comm, you can practically hear Jeff seething over the channel.
*"Noah. If you're done with Quill, cut him loose and regroup with the others or come back to the station."*
Citrine Blaze
"The waking world is filled with so much pain and stiffness, I hate this place..."
>Replied the crystal pony, who stifled a groan as he tried to walk from the spot he collapsed at.
"Uh...Sure, lets get back to the train. I can sleep the pain off there and my family jewels won't be hurt from the comfy seating there."

>Blaze' ears folded against his head in a sign of aggression for a moment before he sighed and let the anger go.
"Yeah it does, now we're even I guess. Don't go acting so suspicious next time though!"
>He warned Quill.
>'If we do another assignment in some random corner of Tallus and -he- is there too again, I'm going to give him more than a black eye!'
>Blaze thought to himself with deep gratification.

"Huh, where did Nevil go?!"
>He snapped his head back and forth looking for him.
>The ponies lower lip quivered with welling up emotions and worry.
>Noah looks around surprised at the world slowing and stopping
>He looks down to his hands and then to the other ponies around him, all stock still
>Even squinting, he sees even the dust kicked up in the sunlight has stopped
>Noah looks over to Nevil, who seems motionless but is clear that is due to surprise
>Noah looks over to the sound of locks and sees that green person pop out
>In a quick motion, he yanked Nevil and threw him through that blinding door
>Brow furrowed, Noah was going to ask why but that got answered quickly
>He even got it wrapped up with Jeff, as foreboding as it sounded
>After he saluted and left, the world comes back into motion, startling Noah a bit
>Sure enough, Nevil is gone, leaving just him and Citrine
>Noah looks over to Quill
"Yeah, he was but he had to go quickly to attend something else."
>Seeing Citrine being concerned slightly surprised Noah
>He decided to make sure he and Citrine were on the way to the others before telling him
"Come on Citrine. I'll tell ya on the way to the others."
Lucius the Weary
>Lucius walks alongside Ken at a casual pace, seemingly very interested in a foreign swordsman
"Yes! Quite, I do favor the longsword but, truth be told any blade is just as well, so long as it has a proper guard. Never did fancy the idea of losing fingers!"
>He chuckles, putting a hand over his eyes to shield them from the sun
"I notice that your blades bear little in the way of hand protection. I take it then that defense is not your forte?"
>Seeming to catch himself, he coughs
"Ahem, er, no offense of course..."
>He trails off for a time, allowing Ken to respond as his ears twitch in response to the sound of hammer on metal slowly getting closer
"Ah, it is the sound which does it for me more than the smell. It was a reassuring thing growing up. Much like the bells of Aher through the streets of Caledon..."
>He shakes himself out of this apparent reverie before continuing
"Yes, yes! Hodch is indeed a skilled pony. He has worked on my blade once or twice already, and this sword was handed down to me by my late father. I'd trust none other to handle it. Well, perhaps one of these Gozkans, so long as I get a good impression of them."
Offworlder Jim
>Jim smiles to himself, flicking his goggles up.
"Alright, we've got blokes t'my twelve! Recommend closin' th'distance, then partakin' o' some o' that lovely fress nearby!"
>He laughed slightly to himself, though his stomach growled a little in assent.
>But holy smokes, was she a woman and a half!
>He'd met smaller minotaurs in his time than this woman.
>Still, it was only proper manners to come up and introduce himself.
>He plodded his way over to the woman, who was revealed to be conversing with a donkey as the moved down the row of stalls.
>'Looks like th'client an' her bodyguard. Glad it didn't take too long t'find her.'
>Ambling up, he hooks his thumbs onto his rig, smiling widely as he does so.
"Oi, Jan! Jeff an yer Boss mate sent us out t'track ye down, an' get ye ready t'muster fer deployment."
>He smiled, eyes flicking over to the stalls for a moment, before returning to Jan.
"Name's Jim, title of Offworlder. Part o' Razorback's expeditionary force."
>He jerks his head to the nearby stalls, where the food's smell was wafting over.
"Don't suppose either o' ye two sheilas would fancy a bite with Kenny and I? I feel myself wastin' away, an' could do with some grub."