The Sunless Realms (Pony Souls IC Thread)

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The Sunless Realms (Pony Souls IC Thread)

Post  Espresso on Sun Apr 02, 2017 8:35 am

Old Everfree seems particularly gloomy this morning. The skies are grey, sunlight filtering down in weak rays that peter out quickly. A thick fog enshrouds the dense forest, making travel hazardous at best, and deadly at worst. Strange cries echo through the forest, beasts and monstrosities that have surfaced since the fall of greater civilization.

At the end of the road leading into the Old Everfree are the Bonfire Ruins, a rare safe haven in this world, where the warmth of a Bonfire - an ember from the sun itself - protects travelers from the hazards of the forest, both bestial and hollow. A band of highwaymen, the Gaunt Brothers, preside over the Ruins, and in exchange for goods or services, they permit travelers to use the Ruins as a rest stop. They also offer their services as guides through the forest, as apparently those not native to the forest are guaranteed to become lost in the dense growth, and destined never to be seen again.

The mornings are usually quiet in the Ruins. Rarely is there cause for celebration or panic, and most prefer to quietly go through their business. This day, however, there seems to be a commotion occurring by the bonfire. There is a great deal of shouting and some of it sounds quite angry, most of it directed at the leader of the bandit clan, Gaunt Quiver. It's becoming a concern as guards appear to be moving from their posts to sort out the matter with force.
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Re: The Sunless Realms (Pony Souls IC Thread)

Post  AleneShazam on Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:23 am

"Tis the way of the world to breed conflict, it seems..."

A pale young mare, enshrouded in dark wreathes but startlingly beautiful underneath, looks up from where she is resting. Her guardian, an imposing figure covered in scorched black armor, lifts his head as well. Allowing the Hollow to lift her up and place her upon his back, Umber approaches the crowd, listening in to the commotion with detached curiosity.
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Re: The Sunless Realms (Pony Souls IC Thread)

Post  Senshuken on Sun Apr 02, 2017 12:29 pm

Kabra'za grumbled darkly as he squinted his eyes open. One of the benefits of his lifestyle was that one didn't have to be up at the crack of dawn; His trade required that others be relatively awake and thus he could afford to sleep in a few extra hours more often then not. The commotion coming from the bonfire had woken him up and he was well versed enough with the world not to ignore it... such arguments normally resulted in a change of management and it was important not to be caught of guard when such things happened. Glancing to the side long enough to ensure that his shadow had already moved itself into position he calmly walked over to get into a better position to view the bonfire, the argument happening near it and most importantly of all find out what it was about.
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Re: The Sunless Realms (Pony Souls IC Thread)

Post  A1C Bronymous on Sun Apr 02, 2017 4:59 pm

Haskur had thought he was lost, the forest around him thick and unforgiving. He had come so far already- crossed into pony lands a few days ago- but could not seem to find Canterlot. Once he entered the forest, he wasn't sure he would even get out again, until he found the road. Ahead of him were ruins, and even in the distance he could hear the commotion. It sounded like trouble- but not like monsters, or hollows locked in combat. It was civilized voices, arguing...

The Centaur reshoulders his shields and picks up the pace. He might find a fire there, maybe friendly ponies. He had met only a few since arriving in pony lands, but he knew there were more, knew there were some living in this forest, and he hoped he had found them. A short jog later, he arrives at the ruins- no guards at the gate, apparently, but plenty of noise within, and he could feel the heat of the bonfire from here. Slowly, cautiously, he enters, looking to see what the fuss is about.
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Re: The Sunless Realms (Pony Souls IC Thread)

Post  Faege on Sun Apr 02, 2017 10:31 pm

High above, perched on the last vestiges of the towers that the ruins once were, Ghreham peers down at the proceedings. He has no need to sleep, and business is slow, so he's taken to watching over the ruins silently, or occasionally dropping by one of his new-found acquaintances. The commotion attracts his attention, and after noticing the guards approaching, he decides to break up the argument. Literally.

He leaps off his perch and divebombs the crowd, slamming into the ground with a crunch.

"Alright! Break it up, before the grumpy bandits start gutting you like fish."

He growls while straightening up, twisting his head and limbs back into place with sickening pops.

Being undead has its upsides.

Acrobatics:
Divebombing the crowd: 1d20 (18) + 13 - 5 = 26.

Also banking on Airborne to keep Ghreham from actually hurting himself.

Airborne – Resistance
You take no damage from falls.

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Re: The Sunless Realms (Pony Souls IC Thread)

Post  Dusk Raven on Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:25 am

"...And that was when the Tatzlpony pack proclaimed us their chief, yes, despite the doubts we had regarding the usefulness of such a title..." Hope Nexus said to the sentries, wrapping up that particular story, just in time for a commotion. The changeling-like being and the two guards interrogating her - or perhaps them - turned their heads towards the growing disturbance, accentuated by a distant thud as though from an object dropped at a respectable altitude.

The formerly even, patient tone of the changeling monstrosity shifted to a more irritated, husky voice. "...And it now it sounds like a more concise method of proving my trustworthiness is developing. Coming through." And with a dismissive wave of their scythelike talons and the upper limbs attached to them, the four more powerful limbs growing from the creature's abdomen began to move, propelling her massive lower body past the guards and towards the camp. Compared to the tanklike lower body, the torso extending up from the front the beetle-like lower half was more lithe and regal, like a proper changeling queen - although the changeling abomination called Hope Nexus wasn't really a queen, or even a princess - a duchess, perhaps? All the same, their eyes looked ahead to find their way through the crowds to the commotion ahead, even as their antennae swiveled to and fro, almost as if they too could see...
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Re: The Sunless Realms (Pony Souls IC Thread)

Post  Espresso on Tue Apr 04, 2017 3:19 am

As Haskur approaches the ruins, he notices two guards leveling their spears at a massive changeling-like creature who appears to be amiably chattering away at the two of them. Then suddenly, with a hearty thud from the inside of the ruins the changeling switches demeanor abruptly and pushes past the guards.

A circle opens up in the crowd as Ghreham smashes into the cobble ground, momentarily cutting the argument short. Gaunt Quiver wrinkles his muzzle as Ghreham goes through the paces of popping his dislocated limbs back into place, and a similar reaction of mild revulsion is echoed through the crowd.

When Ghreham tells the crowd to scatter, however, a burly earth pony stallion - a trader by the looks of him - steps forward angrily, saying, "Not until he gives an explanation for why the deeper forest is off-limits!"

"I've told you already, our scouting parties have discovered abnormal tracks within the forest, and I will not send my people out without knowing exactly what we're up against." Gaunt Quiver says, mildly annoyed.

"Then why can't we go without your people? You're keeping us captive here!" The trader says, pointing a hoof accusingly at Gaunt.

"All that will accomplish is increase the number of hollows in the forest, and it's dangerous enough as it is. If all you're going to do is complain, you know where the road is. This world is forsaken enough without suicidal ponies throwing themselves into danger because they want to find a magical fairy castle ruled by a god-princess." Gaunt remarks scathingly, before he stops suddenly, noticing the bizarre changeling abomination skittering their way.

"And what in Tartarus are you supposed to be?"
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Re: The Sunless Realms (Pony Souls IC Thread)

Post  Dusk Raven on Tue Apr 04, 2017 4:11 am

Hope Nexus seemed neither surprised nor offended by the accusation. "We're unique," they said, their voice cool and a bit irreverent, smirking almost imperceptibly. "We're what's left of a hive of changelings... as in, that same hive in a compact package. Of course, we haven't seen any other changelings in a while, for obvious reasons - Hollowing and conflict aren't good for changelings. Particularly the sort of conflicts that seem to spring up when ponies cooped up in a small sanctuary start arguing with each other..."
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Re: The Sunless Realms (Pony Souls IC Thread)

Post  Faege on Tue Apr 04, 2017 4:49 am

"You're hard to look at, is what you are," Ghreham says, seemingly completely blasé about the appearance of Hope Nexus. Turning to the crowd, he makes a shooing motion with his claws. "You heard the freaky bug lady, it's time to scram. Gaunt Quiver has a point, you'll all be walking to your deaths if you go out there, from what I've heard about the damn forest. The place is cursed."

"Besides, I'm sure the boys in charge are taking steps to sort this mess out already." Ghreham glances over to Gaunt Quiver. "Just sit tight for a while. I'm sure things will resolve themselves swiftly. Now shoo!"

Crossing his arms, Ghreham shapes a ring of swords that float around him threateningly for extra emphasis. It's way too early in the morning to be dealing with angry tourists.


Last edited by Faege on Tue Apr 04, 2017 5:14 am; edited 1 time in total

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Re: The Sunless Realms (Pony Souls IC Thread)

Post  A1C Bronymous on Tue Apr 04, 2017 5:05 am

Haskur enters the ruins silently, staying back to watch the conversation play out. Ponies he had seen. Undead, and magic, he had seen. That bug- that he had never seen. It spoke so calmly, genially- he would have expected a roar and a massacre from something like that. Still, he says nothing, hoping to avoid drawing attention, as he was sure he too was something these ponies had never seen.
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Re: The Sunless Realms (Pony Souls IC Thread)

Post  Senshuken on Tue Apr 04, 2017 6:47 am

Kabra'za had seen many things on his travels from the Ash Plain to the Old Everfree... and none of those sights were quite like the creature called itself a 'compact changling hive'. Granted it wasn't the most disturbing sight he had ever seen by half and the fact that it could talk and wasn't actively trying to murder everyone present was a point in its favor, but it was still an interesting creature none the less.

However, as he listened to the argument he saw an opportunity to get in the good graces of the powers that be as he stepped forward. Finding it too early in the morning to bother with the effort of rhyming, he skipped it as he easily said "Considering that our hosts are familiar enough with this old forest to know their way around and the various dangers that the forest presents, the fact that they have found something new is cause for caution. After all, if you were take your goods through the forest and be ambushed by this strange new creature, even if you were undead and could come back from it there would be no guarantee that your cargo would be recovered. So how about I try and throw together a large pot of soup or something to brighten everyone's mood while scouts are dispatched, alright?"
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Re: The Sunless Realms (Pony Souls IC Thread)

Post  AleneShazam on Tue Apr 04, 2017 7:17 am

"He did not rhyme," Umber notes, addressing her stoic hollow companion. "I feel slightly betrayed."

The Hollow does not respond, only adjusting so Umber's more comfortably seated, then moving closer to the greater group.

Out of the corner of her eye Umber notices the centaur warrior standing to one side, but doesn't make further comment on it.
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Re: The Sunless Realms (Pony Souls IC Thread)

Post  Espresso on Tue Apr 04, 2017 2:52 pm

The double whammy of Ghreham's sword-ring and the giant changeling creature appearing seems to deter the crowd, and after a while it's clear their initial outrage has simmered down considerably, and rational thinking wins out, many tempted by Kabra'za's offer.

"I suppose you have a point," the trader stallion sniffs. "We'll let the experts handle things, then. I hope the way opens up soon, before we all end up hollowing."

"When we make headway into the sightings, I'll be sure to make it known." Gaunt Quiver says evenly. The crowd, with much dissatisfied muttering, finally dissolves, and Gaunt gives a sigh of relief.

"My sincerest thanks, travelers." He looks at the assembled characters. "Tensions have been high. I worry these people won't be placated for long, but they'll settle down for now. Hopefully, our scouts will find what is causing the disturbances, and have the way opened again."

Those who have arrived in camp in previous days rather than just now will notice that Gaunt Quiver looks considerably more haggard than before.

He takes a long look around the camp, eventually finally noticing the centaur standing to one side. "...Another one? We'll have more weird creatures in this camp than the whole forest... and who in Tartarus are you? You're not with the changeling, are you?"
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Re: The Sunless Realms (Pony Souls IC Thread)

Post  Senshuken on Tue Apr 04, 2017 4:20 pm

Glancing over at the Centaur as the head of the bandits that they were currently under the hospitality of finished talking with them for their help, Kabra'za shrugged a little before clearing his throat. "If you'll excuse me I've got to see what I can gather together to make enough soup to help keep the mob happy. You would be surprised at how much a good meal can help improve moods and cool tempers down." Unless the bandit leader had anything more to say to him, Kabra'za politely turned to head over to his things. It was time to start cooking!

Fishing out his cooking pot/potion cauldron (because having separate pots for both just wasn't doable on the open road) and taking advantage of the nearby source of water that the ruins took advantage of, Kabra'za made a show of putting hid cauldron on the bonfire to boil and help purify it... while putting in only a small bar of cast iron that he had removed from his bags and watching it intently as it sank to the bottle of the pot. He had chosen to do this where everyone could see... all he had to do was wait for someone to take the bait.
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Re: The Sunless Realms (Pony Souls IC Thread)

Post  A1C Bronymous on Wed Apr 05, 2017 1:43 am

Having finally been noticed and addressed, and seeing the bickering die out, Haskur decides to slowly stride towards the bonfire. "I am Knight Haskur, of Far Iron. And if the quarrel has subsided..." He unloads his two massive shields, enormous slabs of metal and stone, setting them to the ground with only a mild tremor. "I heard there was a fire here, I was hoping to rest." His voice is deep and booming, though sounding both muffled and distorted through the mask of his helmet.

He doesn't appear to look at anyone in particular, but after a moment of silence, he speaks again, loudly. "If these people fear not the forest or its monsters, then let them take arms and hunt. Then they may be assuaged, through victory, or permanent silence. And if they fear for their own safety, then let them speak no more against their protectors- or they should be shown the wolves." He turns his head, to speak more directly to Gaunt. "For this hospitality, civilized and freely given, I am thankful."


Linguistics:
'Shown the wolves' is an idiomatic expression used to mean exiled, or less commonly, executed. The general idea is that the victim is cast out on his own, likely to be eaten by the ferocious Mountain Wolves native to Centaur lands- left for dead, in either case.


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Re: The Sunless Realms (Pony Souls IC Thread)

Post  AleneShazam on Wed Apr 05, 2017 3:17 am

"A knight from a foreign and distant land, with worn armor yet sharp mind," a ghost of a smile can be seen from under Umber's hood as she and the Burnt Hollow approach the fire at last, coming within speaking distance to the group. "And the remnants of a race in hiding. Such rare sights we are blessed with this day."

Turning to Gaunt, she speaks up again, her head bowed respectfully. "And if you'll permit my curiosity, might I ask about these strange tracks in the forest, which has everyone up in arms? I'm but a traveler, but perhaps I can be of assistance."

She pauses. "Well, my companion knight, anyhow. I am but a traveler of little note..."

The tall (but compared to the centaur and changeling perhaps not so much) Hollow makes no additional comment, red eyes visible under his helm, staring stoically ahead.
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Re: The Sunless Realms (Pony Souls IC Thread)

Post  Faege on Wed Apr 05, 2017 5:15 am

After the crowd disperses, Ghreham lets his body relax and dispels the blades surrounding him. It requires a certain amount of focus to maintain his control of the blades, especially so many at once.

His attention is then immediately grabbed by the knight who refers to himself as Haskur of Far Iron. He barely suppresses a giddy laugh, and approaches with an intense expression on his face. "Is that... my word, it is! Centaurian- Centauren? Centaurish? Centaur-made armor, as I live and breathe! Well, not live, per se, but- irrelevant! Did you smith that yourself? No, I suppose not, you don't have the look of a smith about you... What could be the purpose of a shield of stone, though, is it perhaps greater stability by weight? Ah, indeed this is good metal, iron of the highest caliber. I have heard of Centaur ore, but I never thought I would see a sample with my own eyes any time soon!"

He then realizes he's been talking nonstop for perhaps a minute, and habitually takes a breath - even if he doesn't need to anymore. Backing off to a respectful distance, he gives Haskur a low bow. "Hm. Apologies, I got a little... carried away, let's say. My name is Ghreham, of the Northern Blackforge clan. My life is dedicated to the forge, you see, so when I recognized the make of your equipment I was immediately enthralled. You absolutely must allow me to take a closer look at your equipment. I'll pay however much is necessary."

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Re: The Sunless Realms (Pony Souls IC Thread)

Post  A1C Bronymous on Wed Apr 05, 2017 3:02 pm

Haskur looks over the giddy bird stoically, expression hidden beneath his helmet. "Griffon... undead as well. You may look, but this armor is my life. I do not die." He pauses, then tries to elaborate. "What do you have to offer? Money is not needed here." He turns, and raises his voice, calling out to the impromptu cook. "And I do not eat metal, either."


Lingustics:
'I do not die' is both a common phrase and Haskur's personal motto (he says it a lot). It is actually a slight mistranslation from an older language,
and is meant to mean something like, "I won't be harmed', or 'I am protected'.


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Re: The Sunless Realms (Pony Souls IC Thread)

Post  Senshuken on Wed Apr 05, 2017 3:56 pm

Glancing up a little from the pot, Kabra'za gazed at the centaur named Haskur as he drew attention to the fact that he was boiling a bar of cast iron; While it wasn't the exact opening that he had been hoping for, an opening was an opening and he would be a fool to pass it up. "Then clearly you've never passed by the Ash Plains my well armored friend. While it might seem humble to someone who has seen as much of the world as you have, I can assure you that Iron Soup is a hearty meal quite unlike anything you've ever tasted before!" He answered loud and clear; That was important, he needed to be easy to be overheard by those who lingered nearby. Curiosity and disbelieve would be his greatest friends here. After all, surely no one could make soup from a bar of iron...

Deciding to give things a little stir in order to help things along, Kabra'za actually turned to look at those ponies who had taken shelter in the ruins, be the bandit or otherwise as he called out "Has anyone here traveled to the Ash Plains before and tried Iron Soup?!" He highly doubted that any single one of the ponies or creatures here had ever made the trip of the Ash Planes, let along had even heard of the idea of iron soup before. After all  he had created the 'ancient zebra recipe' himself; Granted its stone counterpart was just as good but sometimes you needed to change it up a little. "Well for those of you who haven't, you're going to be in for a treat. It's not an overly big bar so it might take about forty five minutes to an hour to cook properly." The trick was to have that look of proud excitement that only came to those who found that one thing in life that they adored doing above all else. It helped sell the idea that he knew what he was talking about and doing.

Dice Rolls:
Persuasion Iron Soup: 2+12(+1 for Umber)=15


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Re: The Sunless Realms (Pony Souls IC Thread)

Post  Dusk Raven on Wed Apr 05, 2017 8:42 pm

Hope Nexus makes no further comment at the various words of surprise and unfamiliarity at their appearance - they were used to this, though it never ceased to make them somewhat uneasy. At least this time they didn't seem to be reaching for torches and pitchforks.

They did, however, scuttle over to where the "iron soup" was being prepared. For a moment they stood, staring into the soup as the iron bar sat in it, unmelting, then a grin came across their face as they spoke in a giddy tone, "Iron soup! Intriuging. I've never met a chef of iron before..." They turned towards the "iron chef" responsible. "Is it like soup made of gems?"
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Re: The Sunless Realms (Pony Souls IC Thread)

Post  A1C Bronymous on Thu Apr 06, 2017 1:03 am

"I come from a kingdom of Iron- still we did not eat it." Haskur repeats, then adds. "But thank you for offering." Then he looks at the changeling, and tilts his head. "You take a centaur's shape. Curious."


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Re: The Sunless Realms (Pony Souls IC Thread)

Post  Faege on Thu Apr 06, 2017 4:25 am

"I can offer many things. Reparations, equipment maintenance. I'm studying enchanting at the moment. Weaponry of all kinds. I know also of many ancient tales and myths if that's your inclination," Ghreham explains to the centaur, before looking slightly disappointed when Haskur's attention shifts elsewhere, though he quickly shakes it off. No matter - they'll be in the camp for a while yet, no reason to rush.

He instead turns his attention to the maiden Umber speaking to Gaunt Quiver, and he goes closer to join in the conversation. "Indeed, I know a few old tales of my own, and I can hold my own in a fight. This old birdbrain just might be of assistance."

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Re: The Sunless Realms (Pony Souls IC Thread)

Post  Espresso on Fri Apr 07, 2017 9:30 am

The travelers in the ruins seem unimpressed by the iron soup. Perhaps because undead don't really require sustenance, and the few living ones are too on guard to be readily accepting something sounding as ridiculous as 'iron soup'. The big scary changeling standing next to the pot doesn't help much either.

However, as Kabra'za is about to call it quits, a knight in what looks like golden or brassy armor waltzes up to the pot and peers inside. "Hmm! Iron soup, you say! Well, I thought I was well traveled, but I have not heard of this before!"

Her face is obscured by the faceplate of her helmet, but her voice is loud and jovial, almost infectiously so, and soon enough a pony comes over to check out the soup as well. "What's this nonsense, then? 'Iron soup'. Looks bland to me."

Meanwhile, Gaunt Quiver sighs, and looks around surreptitiously. "Not here. Come with me, we can talk somewhere more private."

Glancing at the shenanigans by the fireplace, he hesitates for a moment before shaking his head. "Actually, come by my tent later, and bring the shiny knight over there, alongside anyone willing to help and able to hold themselves in a fight. They look like they're busy at the moment."
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Re: The Sunless Realms (Pony Souls IC Thread)

Post  Faege on Sat Apr 08, 2017 6:49 am

"Aye, I'll swing by later. I'll be around if you need me in the meantime." Ghreham waves a claw vaguely, before turning in the direction where Gaunt Quiver gestured when he talked about the 'shiny knight'.

And promptly blows up when he spots the exotic looking golden armor - literally, his feathers fluff up in his excitement as he rushes over to the fireplace, circling the knight like a wolf eyeing up its prey. "Oooh, now there's an interesting design for armor... where'd you come across it, miss? You don't look the forging type to me either, I don't suppose you forged it on your own..."

Identify Armor!:
History: 18 + 6 (skill) + 5 (Smith's Appraisal) + 5 (FK: Smithing) = 34

Smith’s Appraisal – At Will
Whenever you would make a check to appraise, identify, or otherwise investigate smithed equipment (including weapons, armor, as well as lesser items such as decorations and cutlery) you gain a +5 bonus to achieving your intended effect, for example identifying its place of origin, appraising its market value, or determining its durability.

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Re: The Sunless Realms (Pony Souls IC Thread)

Post  AleneShazam on Sat Apr 08, 2017 12:12 pm

"Until we meet again then," Umber bows her head slightly, before the Hollow lumbers off after Ghreham.

She smirks a little at Ghreham's antics - she knows the griffon is easygoing and spontaneous, but to see him act so childishly whenever he encountered armor... he truly is dedicated to the forge. But it isn't a conversation that interests her that much - armor and weapons are a world away for her.

Turning instead to the cooking pot, the Hollow carries her over and she peers into the pot, curious. "Indeed, this is a curious sight to behold. Iron soup. I must say, you are full of surprises, Kabra'za."
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Re: The Sunless Realms (Pony Souls IC Thread)

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