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Old 07-27-2012, 10:37 PM   #35
Talon87
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The Labyrinth of Koros
Meetan: While Torchic pecks away, it dawns on you that perhaps these tiles can be destroyed. If that were to happen, then these dry channels should fill with the water from the circular channel surrounding you. And if they were to fill with water -- your eyes trace back along one of the linear channels towards the statue, into whose base the channel seems to disappear -- then maybe ...

"The waters of Hygros shall guide you ..."

"Torchic, do you think you could use an attack like Strength or Night Slash to break this tile?" you ask your Pokemon. "I think it's what's stopping the water from getting through here!" As Torchic pulls back from the tile and prepares to unleash an attack, you hop over to one of the other three channels and kneel down in front of the ceramic tile sealing it off from the surrounding stream of water. You wonder to yourself, maybe even I can punch through one of these? "If I survive this, Bagon," you say, turning back over your shoulder to address the tired baby dragon, "I'm getting my nails redone." Bagon snorts, and you think you can see him roll his eyes as if to say, "Our survival depends on this?" But as you turn back around to face the ceramic tile in front of you, Bagon behind you actually trots over to another of the tiles, kicking the dust in the dried-up channel behind him as if preparing to charge.

The first to act is Torchic. He too is scratching at the ground with his chicken-like talons. You don't see it but they start to glow mysteriously, a shadowy black aura enveloping a bright white center. Suddenly Torchic charges towards his target, "TOOOOOOOOOORCHIC!", and jumpkicks into the air. Right before impact, he makes a vicious slash with his claws, coated by an energy as dark as night. The slashing movement slices into the ceramic tile, cracking it; and as Torchic lands on the tile, he pushes off with all of his might, rebounding back towards the statue. It's a good thing he did this, too, because that blow crumbled the tile before him into six or seven shards and allowed a gentle stream of water to start pouring forth immediately. It crawls over and around the broken clay and flows in a straight line towards the statue. Torchic hops out of the way and lands safely in one of the four dry quadrants between each of the channels.

Right as Torchic is in mid-flight, you and Bagon make your moves as well. You clench your hand into a fist and punch at your tile, breaking it in much the same manner as Torchic has just broken his, the water flowing through in front of you, wetting your hand and soaking your right foot and pant leg. Not wanting to get completely soaked by the water as it continues to pour in, you quickly rise and hop to the side. You watch as the water eagerly quenches the thousand-year thirst of the stones before it and makes its way steadily towards the statue. Bagon, who had been scraping at the ground with his two hind legs as if preparing to charge, does in fact charge, his head lowered, his eyes on the prize. His great bony skull crashes into the tile in front of him, breaking it on impact, and as he instinctively hops away, the water begins to trickle through the cracks in the demolished tile before it gives way to the eager water on the other side. The whole process takes less than a second, and Bagon is soon watching water trip over itself as it makes its way down his channel and towards the statue.

The three of you know what to do next. You all make your way towards the fourth and final tile. You arrive at roughly the same time, Bagon on the left, Torchic in the center, and you on the right. "1 ... 2 ..." you say. You pull back your arm for another punch. Torchic pulls back for another kick. Bagon scrapes at the ground for another charge. Your teamwork is flawless, if a bit overkill, and the three you pulverize the final clay tile. You think you see the bottom half of it turn to dust but you can't be sure since whatever dust might have formed is soon carried off by the water that's rushing in. It splashes over Bagon's bony scalp and he hops backward onto dry land. Some of the spray hits Torchic who chirps in light protest. He jumps atop the base of the statue for safety, clutching tightly with his talons. And as for you, well, your other pant leg gets wet this time, but you too hop over to one of the dry quadrants. And then ...

All three of you watch as the water rushes towards a hole at the base of the statue. Instinctively you afford a quick glance at the other channels. You notice that they appear to be full of water and are slowly rising but seem to have otherwise already hit an equilibrium. This fourth channel is only just getting started on that leg of the adventure but it won't take long for it too to fill. And as it does, you hear something.

*CLICK*

"Torchic?" Your feathery friend cocks his head to the side, inquisitively. "Bagon?" Your baby dragon is standing behind and to the right of the statue. He too is looking at the statue, trying to find the source of the noise you all just heard. And then ...

*CLICK* *CLICK*

There it is again. It almost sounds ... mechanical in nature. But it's a strange sort of mechanical. It's not entirely metallic. In fact, while there are hints of metallic squeakings and springings, you think you hear the noise of stone grinding on stone. Your guess was right, you realize: you don't know what you've just activated, but whatever it is you're sure it was activated by the water you just allowed into the channels. You glance down at them again. All four have equilibrated from the look of things. The water in the room now forms a circle with four radial paths each leading to the statue at 90° angles from one another. And the statue ...

"Guys, the statue!"

*GRIND GRIND GRIND GRIND*
*CLINK CLINK CLINK CLINK


You call out to your Pokemon. The statue ... it's moving! Torchic, startled by the sudden movement, hops down from his perch and flutters over to your side. Bagon hops over the streams of water and joins you at your side as well. The three of you look up at the statue in wonder and amazement as the left arm of the statue elevates and rotates around, in a graceful sweeping motion, to bring the statue's left hand to join its right. As the left arm sweeps up and around like this, at the same time the right arm begins to fan out at a 90° angle in the coronal plane. At the time the two hands meet, the statue is cupping the blue orb with both its hands beneath it. The sound reminds you of a combination of the high-pitched noise of huge blocks of granite grinding against one another and the metallic clinking sound of a drawbridge lowering.

*GRIND GRIND GRIND GRIND*
*CLINK CLINK CLINK CLINK


The two arms extend out from the body of the statue towards you, Torchic, and Bagon. The upper half of the statue bends forward in what looks to be a slight bow. And then, just as soon as it started, the mechanical noises come to a stop and the statue finds its new resting position. The only sound in the room is that of the water rushing over the walls of the chamber and coursing through the channels.

What do you do?

Pokémon in the area:
none

FFA Inventory:
x1 parchment


The Tale of the Wishmakers:
lilbluecorsola:
You look down at your clothes. Your baggy jacket and jeans stand out like a sore thumb compared with the Arabesque clothing worn by the locals. You consider that perhaps the women are staring only because of your conspicuous dress. If only you could change into something a little more local, then perhaps you might blend in with the crowd and lose the guards. But how? Without any money, purchasing new clothes is out of the question.

That's when you notice the snakecharmer. Men, women, and children are gathered around his basket, watching as his Ekans slowly rises, dancing left and right to the tune of the flute. There's our ticket out of this mess, you realize. You whisper some instructions in Kief's ear, then set him down on the ground; and clearing your throat you try to catch the marketgoers' attention.

“Greetings! We are traveling entertainers! We, uh, have come from a faraway land in search of food and a place to rest. We have heard of your city’s hospitality, and hope you would be so kind as to help us. Please, er, enjoy the show, and any offerings you can hand to my… Um… Friend here.”

That was terrible, you worriedly think to yourself. A few people walking down the street obviously stop to look at the crazed woman in the strange clothes who is shouting something about entertainment and hospitality, but nothing that can rightly be called a crowd has yet to form.

*BARK!*

Lovable Kief comes to your rescue with a bark which draws attention away from you to him. A few people at the vendor across the street turn around to see what all the commotion is about. Two boys running down the street spot Kief and come to a halt in front of you two, their eyes fixed on the adorable raccoon-dog. This is the catalyst you needed. Now to send sparks flying ...

"“All right, Kief. Let's start with Charm to win the audience!" Kief barks in affirmation. He waggles his body looking like a cat ready to pounce, shaking his adorable tail left and right. He barks a few times with a happy grin on his face, his eyes twinkling in the sun. That grin, that waggling, ... you know where this is going. And for his grand finale, Kief rolls over onto his back and waggles on the ground, cocking his head up to look at the children. "*bark*?" The children lose it. Kief is so charming that they can't help but to coo and stare fixedly at his lovable antics. And it's not just the boys: several of the people watching from across the street put down the items they were contemplating purchasing and head towards your performance, the protestations and pleas of scorned vendors falling on deaf ears. A few more people who had been walking down the street towards destinations unknown are drawn in by the commotion. Gradually, a crowd is starting to form.

"Now, Kief! Use Double Team!" Kief rolls off his back and yips a confirmatory yip. And then ...! "Ahhh!" cries the crowd in surprise and delight. Suddenly there are not one but three Kiefs! No wait, four! No wait, five! The shadow copies of Kief begin to frolic around the performance area, running in between the legs of those closest to the front, play-wrestling with each other, and doing other cute things. The real Kief intermingles amongst them, sparing a quick look back at his trainer to see the look on her face. You're definitely pleased with how things are going. "Mommy, look!" you hear a small child say. "Look at all the doggies!" Some of the women from before are now gathered here too, their young children tugging at their gowns. Good, you say. Now to kick things up a notch.

"Kief, try and trick the audience into thinking you’re juggling your Devil Horns between the doubles!" you shout. "Huh?" the audience says in confused consternation. "Try and trick us?" "What's that supposed to mean?" "What's she trying to pull?" In your excitement you don't realize that by shouting this command out loud to Kief you've spoiled the trick itself. Kief looks back at you and barks disapprovingly. Oops, you blush. Quick, Jess, think! Think! What else can we try? you worriedly ask yourself, a trickle of sweat starting to form on your brow. Then it comes to you.

"Alright, never mind that one, Kief! See if you can borrow some fruit from the vendor back there!" You point out one of the vendors across the way, the one selling the exotic fruits. Kief barks an understanding "Got it!" and scampers off towards the man's stall. Kief looks up at the vendor with puppydog eyes. But the vendor merely returns his gaze with a look of solemn contempt of his own. "No money, no fruit," he seems to be saying with his stern stare. You shout over the tops of the crowd gathered round you, still watching the shadow clones frolic and play, "Kief! Show him you really covet just a few, and you promise to return them afterwards." Kief wags his tail and his butt just as before. But what worked on the children seems to have no effect on the fruit vendor. "Git! Git!" He leans over and waves an arm over the tops of his fruits towards Kief, trying to shoo the raccoon-dog away. As he tries to right himself back up, the force topples a few aspear berries. Kief lunges forward and picks one of the pieces of fruit up in his mouth and scampers back over to you. "HEY!" the shop keeper shouts angrily. "Sorry!" you yell back to him. Kief tunnels and dives through the narrow openings in between the legs of the crowd, a crowd whose size has now grown larger than you could've originally hoped for. "Good boy, Kief!" You congratulate him with a warm smile and a tickle of his chin as he drops the fruit at your feet. The shop keeper probably wouldn't want this back anyway now that Kief's toothmarks are indented in the skin of the aspear. In that case ...

"Use your tail to whip the fruit into the air, Kief!" "*bark*!" he yips happily. He picks up the fruit with his mouth, tosses it with a backwards jerk of the head towards his tail, and with a precise and powerful brushing movement he launches it into the sky! "Great! Now aim for the center using Pin Missile!" Kief focuses on the aerial aspear, his jagged fur startling to bristle even more than usual. Suddenly Kief looks more like a porcupine-dog than a raccoon-dog as his body is covered in erect needle-like quills. The aspear reaches the zenith of its trajectory, the sun glints off its yellow body, it silhouettes in the sunlight, and then ...! A barrage of needles fire from Kief's body, hurtling through space towards the berry in the sky! *TCH!TCH!TCH!TCH!* Several needles embed themselves in the fruit before one needle deals the finishing blow and cleaves the aspear in half. The two halves fall back down to the ground with a thud. The audience is impressed, "Ooh!"ing and cheering and clapping. A few coins start to be thrown your way. Things are going great.

"Okay, Kief! Rollout the clones while circling around and then make a U-turn flip back to the center!" Kief tucks his head in between his forepaws and brings both towards his hindlegs, rolling into a ball. The ball digs into the dirt and kicks up a small dustcloud before it veers off. Like a motorized bowling ball on a search-and-destroy mission, Kief takes out one bowling pin shadow clone after another. *POOF! POOF! POOF! POOF!* they go as one after another they turn to white smoke. After Kief has taken out the last of them, with his back turned to you, he leaps up into the sky, performing a backflip as he returns to the center of the performance area. The crowd cheers and claps. A few exuberant men loudly whistle. Some more coins are thrown your way. Good, good! And now, you confidently declare to yourself, for the big finish!

"Kief, it looks like the crowd's enjoying this. But now let’s really impress 'em by showing off your special move: Can't Catch Me! I’m sure that’ll get ‘em going!"

You were doing so well. If this were back home, Kief's special move would've probably gotten a standing ovation out of a crowd this enthused. But you're not back home, and what takes place next will be one of the first of many reminders of this fact. Kief doesn't sense the problem with the command either as he happily barks and scrunches his body together and closes his eyes. Suddenly there is a poof of smoke. The audience holds their breath and you clench your fist, victoriously grinning. This is it. As the smoke clears, what stands before the audience is not a normal-sized raccoon-dog like before. In its place appears to be a gingerbread cookie in the shape of a raccoon-dog about one-fourth the original's size. It looks as though Kief has been replaced by a gingerbread Zigzagoon! The audience gasps. Even had the trick gone no further than this it still might've been enough. But the trick does go further. For the Gingerbread Kief happily barks and starts to run about in circles. A few of the children are speechless. Maybe one or two are smiling, it's impossible to tell. Because any innocent wide-eyed wonder is soon masked by horror as the audience shrieks at what they've just seen take place. "AAAAAAAAAAAAH!" one of the people in the crowd cries. "WITCHCRAFT!" "A WITCH! SHE'S A WITCH!" The crowd forms into a dangerous stampede as men and women hurry away, the women clutching the hands of the children and dragging them off, and leaves you and Kief completely speechless. What ... what just happened?

"There! Over there!" You turn your head to see one of the fleeing crowd members talking to a man in a white turban and holding a large, glinting blade of steel. Ohhhhhhh shoot!, you think. The guards! She points over in your direction, turns back to the guard, then turns back in your direction and points again, pumping her arm so hard it looks like it's about to fall off. Show's over, you realize, as you scoop the Gingerbread Kief up into your arms and prepare to make a run for it. There's no time to grab any of the coins on the ground. You've gotta get out of here and fast. But how? Where?

"Pssssssssst! Over here!"

You see a long arm with spiderlike fingers sticking out from one of the narrow alleyways between two of the shops behind you.

"This way! Hurry!"

There's no time to think. With Gingerbread Kief in your arms, you make a run for the break in the wall. "After her!" "This way!" "She can't have gotten too far!" You hear voices behind you. You turn your head back to look and you see several of the guardsmen running down the street. It looks like somehow none of them managed to see you head for this narrow alley. You turn your head back around to face the owner of that mysterious arm. But there's no one to be seen. You look further down the alley and spot it once more: the long, slender arm beckoning to you from around a corner. "This way!" a voice rasps. "Quickly, now, quickly!" You run down the alley towards the arm. As you do, it slinks out of sight around the corner. You reach the corner, round it, and ...

"Hello."
"AAAH!"

The old woman startles you. Her dark bronze skin has been weathered by many years of abuse under the harsh desert sun; it is covered with numerous liver spots and tinier black freckles. She has two large warts, one on her long nose, the other on her right cheek. Her grin is toothless save for a few rogue incisors and other teeth here or there. And her eyes ... one is jet black, as dark as coal, so black you can hardly make out where the iris ends and the pupil begins ... the other is the tell-tale milky blue of one who's gone blind in that eye. You know you shouldn't judge a book by its cover but still!

"Iiiiii'm sorry to have startled you, dearie" she smiles, her cheeks crinkling. "That was some trick," she says, pointing her walking stick at Kief. "Veeeeery impressive." After how the crowd reacted just now, you're not sure what to make of this old woman's compliments. She continues. "I've seen many trainers in my day, but none that can turn their friends into little cookies!" The Gingerbread Kief crawls up onto your shoulder with a start and peeks out from behind your neck at the toothless old woman, shivering. Her dark eye sizes you up while her milky blue one seems to point straight at Kief. "You're ... not from around here, are you?" You gulp. Who is this old woman? And how does she know you and Kief aren't from around here? Something tells you it's more than just the clothes. You jump with a start as the old woman leans forward and traces a long, slender finger down your spine. "Mmhmm," she says, her eyes dancing all over you. "Yeeees. Yeeeeees, you'll do quite nicely," she starts to nod approvingly, a serious but content look on her face. "Dearie," she asks you, "... how would you like to go home?"

How do you answer the old woman? What do you do?

Pokémon in the area:
a Rattata rummaging through trash in the distance

FFA Inventory:
none
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