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Dec 01, 2021 1:45 PM
a Cameron is the demon lord
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Whew.

That was... about as difficult as Ame expected it to be, so yay for good calibration?

She rushes over to heal Bys, Theo is fine, "Liz? You need a heal?"

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"I'm good. We'd better harvest these and keep moving. I bet more of them will show up looking for a free meal."

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"That was stupid. Picking fights you don't have to fight is stupid. Can I have my spellcube back."

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Ame tosses him the spellcube.

"Knowing we can take these things, experiencing their tactics on our terms while we're fresh and ready for a fight, it isn't nothing," she points out, "especially if they're common around here."

Ame holds up the crumpled hilt of her former sword, giving him and also Bys and Liz a wry look. "You're not entirely wrong, though. I'm guessing this is that weapon-magic-can-break-weak-weapons thing? I definitely did... something new just now..."

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"Could have looked them up. In books."

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"Or asked a local," Bys mutters, grimacing. "Different approaches, I guess. I don't know what parts of these are saleable. Probably not much on the first one."

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Ame gives Theo a look of amused skepticism.

"And if we'd had such a book, I'd be reading over your shoulder. But we don't. Of the options we did have, ignoring them and hoping they didn't bother us seemed riskier."

Ame squats down to prod one of the limp tentaclaws.

"But speaking of things we don't have books about, unless we want to haul the entire carcass with us there probably isn't much point in guessing what to take. You wanna, like, take a small sample of each part of it and ask a local about those?" Ame asks Bys.

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"Hmph. Very well. Let's see... Chitin and claws obviously, if we can even crack them, some meat, one of the eyes, a leg, maybe some organs..."

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Ame gives the hilt of her sword a sour look, tosses it away, and fishes her iron knives out of her pack. Probably even easier to break than her late gladius but better than nothing.

She straps them to her thighs, draws one, and uses it to help Bys take samples.

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It's a little bit gross but Abyssia, at least, is mostly unaffected.

They can resume walking soon after. Highlights of the trip include finding a strange rock formation that was probably some kind of shrine at some point? Maybe? And seeing a car-sized orange lizard lazing around in a field from a long way off. It doesn't notice them.

Then they see a village! It sits at the top of a hill, surrounded by terraced grain and olive farms, with a short wall cleverly worked into the pale stone of the hill itself almost carving away some hillside rather than building upwards.

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It looks like the kind of idyllic villa that ought to be on the cover of a brochure. Ame takes a moment to appreciate the sight, muttering the incantation to summon a healing slime. 

She has her slime perch on her shoulder and leads the way up the hill.

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"I like this place," Liz comments as they walk up to the village.

A farmer waves lazily at them where they sit playing pipes against a tree, two baskets of olives next to them. The gate doesn't appear to have any guards, though sharp-eyed party members will notice the lines of wooden slats tied to cords just above head height in a wide ring around the village. If most of the monsters are bigger than people around here, those might be an early warning system.

"...Yeah, this is a good place. Full of light. Can you feel the hysh, Ame?"

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Ame opens her Windsight. She's still getting used to how much more vivid the Winds are now, but she nods.

Ame returns the farmer's wave.

"Bys? Are the whispers giving you anything more yet about what we're supposed to do here?"

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"Further. The city. It's... I can't tell when they're saying it's going to happen, but they're very clear that something bad is, was, or will happen, and I need to be in that city. I'll know it when I see it."

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"Alright, let's keep moving then."

On their way through the village, though, they can see if anyone wants the monster samples, or less likely, anyone has a gladius going spare.

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"Are we not gonna rest for the night? It's getting kind of late. I guess we can ask how far away the city is. Bet there's only one 'the city', place like this."

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They ask around. Many of the locals are what is apparently politely called 'demihuman'. About half, men and women alike, have cat or rabbit ears, bull horns, strange eyes, feathers in their hair, clawed feet, hints of scales, but overall retaining a very human shape - not even so much as a muzzle or claws in most cases. 'The City' is two or three days to the north, the locals say. Some of the locals are happy to take a look at the monster parts. The stonecrab's chitin is alright for decorative stuff but gets too brittle to use as armor. The meat is perfectly edible but tastes... Odd. The blood and one of the organs is apparently any good for alchemy; They are offered a large glass bottle of olive oil for it by a man smelling of some sort of chemicals.

There's a woman whose pupils are a horizonal slit with tiny nubs of horns on her forehead people watching by the well. "Break your weapon, adventurer?" She asks Ame, head tilting.

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If the city is less than a hundred miles away they can get there before dark if they actually want to. Not that Ame doesn't see the appeal of savoring the journey, sometimes, but.

"Thoroughly," Ame replies. "I'd out-grown it, it turns out."

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"The empty scabbard hungers for a blade to fill it. I happen to have one." (Slight eyebrow-quirk, she's definitely aware of the innuendo.) "Though I'm not sure what you have to offer in return aside from the obviously visible."

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"I offer what's visible for free, 'cause I've got a lot of hidden... depths," Ame says wryly. "But why don't you tell me what you need, that's worth a sword."

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She unsheaths the blade and twirls it skillfully through the air. It's a slightly different shape, a bit longer, a bit thinner, but the metal gleams brightly with a subtle blue weave waving through it like Damascus patterning.

"Deepsteel is a beautiful metal, no? So stiff. So hard. Why, there are a lot of very particular needs I might happen to have. At times it feels like I am positively bound up in them. But I'm just a humble builder who dreams of climbing. I doubt you have a journey to Delrose in that backpack of yours. Rare materials of some sort would work quite nicely. A craftsman just can't be taken seriously without such things. Adventurers live a magical life, so depending on your spells and Skills... I'm not sure what's interesting and useful enough to match a deepsteel blade in that sphere." Shrug and a slightly displeased look. "If you're finishing quick here, though, gold soothes all ills."

(Liz and Theo are distracted, talking quietly about the Winds. Bys chuckles and leans against the well to look at clouds while Ame and the local flirt.)

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Ame has an immediate thought, now that they know what tentaclaw crab blood is worth.

"What's Delrose?" Ame asks instead.

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"The city in a cliff! The corsair's forest! The garden of spires! And not too far from the Skycomb either, mountain peaks just as dramatic and vast! There are as many explanations for the bizarre geology as there are branches on a tree! Oh, how I wish to spend a year or five there to take in the views and try the harshest climbs. Something in climbing just calls to me, you see. The power. The vistas. The - being-in-high-places."

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"Sounds like an extraordinary place," and Ame has a teleport network now, "worth visiting. But if you imagine I could take you there, I think you'd also imagine that a mere sword would be far from a fair trade for the trouble."

Ame glances around, then raises an eyebrow. "You got a bucket?" Ame further considers her idea. "With a lid?"

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"A mere sword! Mere! Hardly. Have you not heard of deepsteel? This weapon, my brother's blade may he rest in peace, bears metal that was formed at the sea floor under immense pressure. Enchanted for durability, for utter sharpness, as the metal cooled by a smith and anointed in hundreds of battles since! 'Tis true that Delrose is quite a ways away and expecting you to fetch me there for it would be churlish, but do not make light of this blade. As for buckets, whatever you're plotting, the carpenter is over there."

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