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I am honestly sorry about this, but this week has been kicking my butt.
No update for Sarcantasy today. :cry:
Hopefully I'll be back in action tomorrow.
Sarcantasy 055
Previously, on…

= = = = = = = = = = = =

Team A:

You let Mermi do her thing, letting the bickering of your teammates just wash past you. It's mildly amusing, as background noises go, if you're perfectly honest. The happy baby-noises made by Mermi's little sister make a humorous counter-sound...

And then you wonder. Just how old is Mermi's little sister?

"She is nearly one year old, yes," Mermi happily tells you. "Seabis, we grow up quick in body. The mind, it needs a little time to catch up? Is necessary. Our world under wave is good, but we need to be strong and fast quickly. The big fish, they live more near the bottom of the water than the surface, and so do Seabis. Other things, also. Crayfish.

We migrate from the Great Big Salt to freshwater generations ago. The Great Big Salt, it was our ancestral home, but it becomes too dangerous too fast; bigger fish, the squids, the octopi, other things, always pushing, always pushing, and we Seabis grow no bigger. 

Moving to the freshwater, it is hard for our people, but in time we grow happy here. We live in the underground rivers, mostly. The big fish don't like it. We weave our homes out of seaweed and mud, very cozy, nests of Seabis all together in the dark, and we also weave big nets across the tunnels. Catch many little fish and crabs! Verrrry tasty, yes. Good eating!"

Mermi chuckles merrily while she rinses out your hair.

"Our world under wave, it is a good place to be hairdresser. Seabis like having long hair, but long hair gets caught on things. Seaweed, rocks, all sorts. Every day, a Seabi comes to a hairdresser and says "Give me a new cut", or "Fix this damage". Earn pearls hand over fin! But of course, that means a hairdresser must be good. Years of training, high standards, yes.

I am very grateful to you for letting me work on you! Good training, and I can say 'I have done the hair of surface-folk' on my sign, when I have my own shop. It will be great! Alright, all clean!"

You can practically hear your hair go 'floof'. Your hair is, indeed, very, extremely clean. Also, it has become very fluffy and frizzy.

"Now!" Mermi says as she brandishes a comb and scissors. "What would customer like for the weekend? Something short? Something stylish? Braids, curls? Just tell Mermi. Good practice! Lady with orange hair, gentleman with black hair, you like?"

"Hard pass!" Emma snaps.

It occurs to you as you watch your Malborn friend struggle with Mermi's little sister... that Emma is not actually struggling as hard as she might. You've seen her nearly kick the head off of George's animated corpse; her fighting against the one year old Seabi is rather lacklustre in comparison.

"Um, no, thank you," Delar mumbles, still without looking at all of you.

= = = = = = = = = = = =

Team B:

"You got a job for us? Great. That's great," Droz says.

To Nova's clear horror, the Low Elf Mercenary walks right up to the deity and looks him in the eye.

"What kind of job?" he asks.

"Droz, you can't just --" Nova squeaks.

"Yes, he can," Hufflas interrupts her. "Of course he can. That's the way this goes; a patron comes with a job, the working man - or woman, as the case may be - finds out what the job is, and then says yay or nay. Isn't that right, Droz Igrimsson?"

Droz blinks once, then narrows his eyes.
"Cute," he says. "But our Mum's name is hardly a secret. Still 'n all, if you're threatening her..."

"Hufflas the Weak does not threaten," the deity says, his voice soft, almost gentle. "I'll put my hand up to being just as fond of drama and grandstanding as any other deity, but I don't smite, I don't do threats to people's loved ones through veiled innuendo, and I don't try to influence the minds of mortals with tricks."

"That's alright, then," Droz says, visibly relaxing. "So. What's the job, Mr. Johnson?"

Hufflas -- grins. It is a fleeting expression, but a genuine one.

"I like you, Low Elf," he says. "I hope you'll like the offer on the table: it's what I call a chance job. As you move on your way, there's a chance you'll meet someone. Should you meet her, I want you to pass on a message for me."

"Right," Droz says. "Who's this lady, then? And why ain't you telling her yourself?"

"Not allowed to tell you who she is," Hufflas answers honestly. "Not allowed to contact her directly. There's a big game going down, and there's rules I can't break. But one of the players put your lot into play as random factors, so I can give your tokens a little nudge from the shadows, as it were."

"If your play gets up the noses of the big boys at the game table, what happens to us?" Droz asks, cynically.

"No fear," Hufflas says. "The rules do provide you some protection. It's winner take all, but even the winner isn't allowed to flip the table or slap the tokens off."

Droz considers, tapping his sword. Finally, he says: "What's the payoff? Are you going to offer us a blissful afterlife?"

"That's not my department," Hufflas says. "I play psychopomp for mine, if they need me, but I only take souls up to the edge of the Beyond. What happens after Judgement is not my business; my work is here.
No, what I offer is the answer to a single question from each of you to the best of my ability, or I can guide you to forgotten caches of treasure here in the Lumberjackfree Forest that I'm confident you'll find to be very useful on your way."

"And what's the message for your mystery friend?" Droz asks. "And what if we never meet her, or meet her too late to win your game for you?"

"I'm not looking to win for me," Hufflas corrects the Low Elf. "I'm aiming not to lose it for her, for you, and for the rest of Ird. Bad times coming, if I lose your lot the game. So it'd be good if you find her. But if you don't… Like I said, it's a chance job. I can blow on the dice, I can't roll them by hand until I come up double sixes. If you don't manage it, no harm, no foul, I won't hold it against you. And you can keep your answers and/or your swag as you please."

"Alright. So, the message?" Droz asks again.

"Where you set out from is important, and it shapes part of your journey," Hufflas says, "but it is not the whole of the journey, nor need it shape the destination. Free will matters."

"That's it? Sounds like one of the fortunes they read you after a meal at the posh restaurants in the Underground," Droz scoffs.

"That it does. But I think she'll need to hear it at some point," Hufflas says, unperturbed. "So. Out or in? Not to rush you, but I do have other work to do in the world."

Droz turns to the rest of the party and raises a questioning eyebrow.

= = = = = = = = = = = =


(New pencils, and new pens, by the way. ^_^ How d'you all like it?)

= = = = = = = = = = = =

Please proceed to:…
Sarcantasy 056
Previously, on…

= = = = = = = = = = = =

Team A:

You agree to get some braids, and encourage Delar and Emma to let Mermi work on them as well.

"I said, 'hard pass'!" Emma snaps as she finally pulls her foot free and retreats from the waterside. "Ugh, I've been slimed! Bloody Seabis and their mucus..."

"Thank you for the offer," Delar says as he likewise retreats from the waterside, "but I think I'll wait until I find a male barber. Or at least one who is wearing more clothes than a bathing suit."

You laugh a bit at them, and encourage Mermi to do her best.
When Isabeau comes swimming up, she shows some interest in the work the Seabi is doing, and is actually open to the idea of a trim.

"It does get a bit muggy," she says, scratching behind one ear. "But I don't want it smoothed out! No smoothing. Leave me my kinks and waves."

Mermi is delighted to have a chance to style the hair of not just yourself, but a High Elf as well.
And in your opinion, she does a wonderful job! Afterward, when you have all dried off and dressed again, you do a twirl, showing off your new do.

"I think she cut mine too short," Isabeau grumbles.

"My foot still feels slimy," Emma complains.

"Thank you, Antu-Hakh, for making these horrible women put their clothes back on," Delar prays out loud -- then winks, to let you know he is joking. Mostly.

You say goodbye to Mermi, who clearly appreciates your words of appreciation.
"You come by here again, I give you another cut," she promises, then takes the hand of her little sister and dives under.
The Seabis do not come up again.

"Well, if we're done here, let's get moving," Isabeau says. "We still need to find us some dinner."

"Pick some of these big leaves," Emma orders. "The ones by the waterside. We can use them as wraps for herbs and things."

= = = = = = = = = = = =

Team B:

"You got a deal, Mr. Johnson," Droz says after the other party-members have nodded, each in turn - even the Beachbunny, who isn't actually one. "But I'm going to ask you one question first; after that, you bring us to this treasure and if we meet your lady, we pass on the message."

"Cool beans," Hufflas says. "So. What's your question?"

"What was that black gunk that forced us out of the Underground?" Droz asks.

The deity's face, already wrapped in shadow, turns truly dark. 
Hufflas raises his left hand, and an image appears above it; strands of darkness, spinning and flailing. A small chunk of the hideous, shrieking substance that chased the party through the Underground.
Although the party-members realize that it is just an image of the thing, it still radiates an aura that makes them feel sick and afraid.

"That," Hufflas says, "was the Unalive. It is a thing from outside the world, from beyond the canopy of Yggdrasil, from beyond the Grace. It is a thing that defies any definition of life and death that would not cause you to puke up your own guts and scratch out your own brain. The safest way to describe it, is to say what it is not. It is not alive. It is not dead. It is not undead. It is not born. It does not die. It does not naturally arise in this world, nor any other illuminated by the Grace and shaded by Yggdrasil."

"If it doesn't 'arise naturally in this world', what the Hell was it doing in the Underground?" Droz asks, baffled.

"It was summoned," Hufflas replies. "The only way for the Unalive to manifest in any world is if it is called. There is a High Magic ritual that opens the way for it, and someone, a foolish, mad man, performed the rite and unleashed the Unalive into the Underground... all to ensure that no one could approach or depart his lair by way of the tunnels. It's still there, waiting, filling the tunnels and caves for mile all around the lair in every direction."

"It's still there?!" Nova asks, appalled.

"And there it will remain until it is banished, or its summoner slain," Hufflas confirms. "And while it remains, so does every poor creature it enveloped."

"Wait, what?" Number Twelve sputters. "Remains? If there's a cubic mile of that crap, how could anything buried in it still be alive?"

"I did not say they were alive," Hufflas says. "They linger, on the threshold. Suffering. Constantly. They are become the Unalive's food, every gasp of breath and stab of agony feeding its mass. They are become its anchors, its substance threaded through their bodies. Unless the Unalive is banished correctly, they will go back with it. And then their suffering would become eternal."

The party stands stunned. Volamite Number Twelve looks frankly appalled. The Halokai… suddenly doubles over and vomits, high-pitched noises of revulsion rising from its heaving throat. Droz claps his hands over his mouth to avoid adding his own stomach contents to those of the predator, and the Beachbunny buries her face in his shoulder, shivering. Nova openly weeps.

"The Unalive has been summoned into this world," Hufflas says in a soft tone, "and it is a foul blasphemy. It is a blasphemy even unto those who believe in nothing but the evidence of their senses. And the man who called it here wields it like a cudgel. He has lost his mind, and filled the hole with power. Power bought from gods. Power bought from the Olgarghu demons, who are reviled even by the other demon tribes. He has sold his name; he has made of himself a living sacrifice to three gods; he has stained and shattered his own soul.
The only name he now has is... Mr. Squiggly."

= = = = = = = = = = = =




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  • Listening to: "Salva nos"
  • Reading: Spellbreaker
  • Watching: Father Brown
  • Playing: Dragonfable
  • Eating: Peanut butter sandwiches
  • Drinking: Peach juice


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I prefer some anonimity. ^_^
Artist | Hobbyist | Varied
Born several decades ago, but still not dead....!
(Some people just don't learn. ;))

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ThreeDeeArt Featured By Owner 3 days ago  Hobbyist Digital Artist
Thanks for the Fave on: Ginger's Beach
Grendelkin Featured By Owner 2 days ago  Hobbyist General Artist
It's well-crafted.
bear48 Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2018  Professional

Thank you for adding “Ah door ah ble” to your favorites. We work hard at the station but we also try to take care of each other and we try to have fun.  

bear48 Featured By Owner Jul 22, 2018  Professional

Thank you for adding “Mug Shot” to your favorites. The name comes from one of my anchors think it was funny that we were making a Mug Shot

Foxhatart Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
Happy Birthday birthday cake 
Grendelkin Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Thanks, Foxie. ^_^
Foxhatart Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2018  Professional Digital Artist
You're welcome Lovely Shoujo Emoji (Huggy Hug) [V2] 
LadyxChrii Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2018  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
happy birthday!
Grendelkin Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2018  Hobbyist General Artist
Thank you very much! ^_^
LadyxChrii Featured By Owner Jul 19, 2018  Hobbyist Traditional Artist
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