Tom D01s13

TheTale: Day One - Evening. All meals and camaraderie aside, it's time to hit the road.
TheTale: The wind and the wasteland are calling. Even the sun-scoured - though the sun is fading - highway heading north is soon swallowed up by shifting, orange sand.
TheTale: The horizon is bright with the fading day, painted in brilliant colors, and thick with the haze of the Denmarche.
Lucnephwyr prepares to invade the human lands. This, this will turn him into an adult.
Lucnephwyr puffs out his chest, also puffs a little smoke from his snout. Stretches his little wings.
Shiba: "Good chance to check up on my home, as well. Mind if we make a stop along the way?"
Dog‘ stands at Lucnephwyr’s side, ears pricked forward. They wag their tail a little.
Dog: "It'll be a good rest stop, right? Right?"
Shinzou is heroically resisting the urge to scritch Luc behind the eye-ridges. It's… it's really difficult, okay?
Shiba: "Something of the sort."
Lucnephwyr: "A stop is okay too! Maybe Nerswal reincarnated already!"
[OOC] Lucnephwyr: pretend I spelled that correctly
TheTale: To the west, one of the great edifices of the old world looms above the horizon. The glass has been stripped from its sides. There are red banners flying from a camp at its base - Yhe Holmat, hard at work.
Lucnephwyr adresses Shinzou. "So do humans grind up dead human bones for medicine?"
Lucnephwyr: "Does it cure anything different?"
TheTale: As you forge onwards, the sound of drumming, in the distance, gets louder.
Lucnephwyr: "!"
Shinzou: "…I don't think I've ever heard of that practise. At the very least, I doubt it'd be effective."
Lucnephwyr: "Does the soul stick -with- the body? (Isn't that boring…?)"
Lucnephwyr: "Anyway uhh… act more monstery!"
Dog‘ bounds over to Shinzou, dances around him. Yip yip! "Just follow our lead!"
Lucnephwyr rearranges the feathers on Shinzou’s garb, though it's more like 'he mashed his claws across them.'
Shinzou has, actually, adjusted the position of his various accoutrements, and - it's funny, maybe he just wasn't trying very hard before? He does keep his hands hidden.
Which, maybe, was why he didn't scritch Luc behind the eye-ridges.
Shinzou: "(It -is- kind of boring, to be honest.)"
Dog‘ falls in line just behind Shinzou, small legs trotting to make up for difference in height. Their ears catch the whispering, and those ears pin back against their head, for a moment.
Shiba pauses to peer up at the Yhe Holmat and contemplate something.
Lucnephwyr looks about as they move, trying to not get surprised by a sudden platoon. The drumming resonates!
Dog: "Oh… soldiers…" Dog’s tail tucks between Dog's legs.
Lucnephwyr: "Let's not get conscripted!"
TheTale: Steering clear, then?
TheTale: The drumming gets louder and louder as you march past.
Shinzou certainly tries to steer clear. No sense asking for trouble.
Lucnephwyr considers discretion better at this point.
Dog‘ doesn’t call any attention to their group!
Shiba agrees with that decision and follows without a word.
TheTale: Then!
TheTale: A billowing cloud of smoke! A deafening strike of drums!
TheTale: And then, smoothly, down onto its foundation…
TheTale: That remnant of the old world is gone.
Shinzou: "(I wonder if they think that means someone will get to start fresh.)"
Dog‘ ’s ears pin down! That's a very loud sound for sensitive dog ears!
Lucnephwyr is delighted, really. Can't help but watch from afar!
TheTale: Rumble, rumble. Can you feel it in your bones, now? Glory to Yhe Holmat…!
TheTale: …Or something like that.
Shinzou is a bit thrilled, really. "(The grand finale to that percussive symphony! If we've got to blow up -something-, you know.)" Tromp, tromp.
TheTale: Eventually, the highway path, too, is swallowed up.
Shiba: "Music is a … touchy subject."
Shiba: "Blame D2 and its motifs."
Shiba: "Or leitmotifs."
TheTale: Trackless sand. The carcass of an airplane, on a dune up ahead - worn down to its frame, rust-wracked - is the only landmark in sight.
TheTale: It's growing dark.
Lucnephwyr: "We beat up some cymbals. And symbols."
Lucnephwyr: "You understand this joke!"
Shinzou: "I get it!"
That's weird, though.
Dog: "I'm just a dog, but I still think that's funny!"
Lucnephwyr pulls his student robes tighter around himself.
Lucnephwyr: "Hmm… do you think we'll be camping out in Prospero??"
Lucnephwyr: "That would be…" And the following, in a quiet squeak: "(Amazing!)"
Dog‘ is, at least, a white dog. Easy to locate in the darkness.
Shinzou: "It’s entirely possible."
Shiba: "Was planning on it."
TheTale: Hey, did anyone bring any water?
Dog: "Wooow!"
Shiba jerks her head to Shinzou. "Our friend isn't the only traveller."
Shinzou always brings water on journeys. And medicine!
Dog‘ is just a dog, and doesn’t have any pockets!
Lucnephwyr 's wings flutter and claws clatter on each other! Also of course he did, what do you think he keeps in that schoolbag of his? Books? Okay well yes there's books in there too. He's also still carrying his share of the equipment requisitioned from Ark Mien.
Shiba just brought along the bottle of liquor from the Spark-Kickers. Whoops!
Lucnephwyr: "Oh! Before we go much farther-"
Lucnephwyr: "Who is injured?"
TheTale: Food and water. If you forget them…
TheTale: …You'll die in the desert.
[OOC] Lucnephwyr: HP: 350/600, MP: 465/600, LP: 3/6, SoS: 150
Dog‘ whines, wagging tail.
Dog: "I’m a little hurt…"
Shinzou: "I'm fine for the moment."
Lucnephwyr casts a Double Cure on himself and Dog!
Lucnephwyr rolled 1d10+150 and got 8 ( Total: 158 )
[OOC] Dog: HP: 398/550, [TMP: 50] MP: 524/600, LP: /, SoS: 137
Shiba: "Could use a touch-up myself." (( 183/600, 330/600 ))
[OOC] Lucnephwyr: is that before or after cuppa
[OOC] Dog: after! i was at 240
Lucnephwyr casts a Double Cure on Dog and Shiba!
Lucnephwyr rolled 1d10+150 and got 9 ( Total: 159 )
[OOC] Dog: HP: 550/550, [TMP: 80] MP: 524/600, LP: 9/10, SoS: 137
TheTale: Suddenly, you can hear the ocean.
TheTale: Shooooooooooooooo-sh.
TheTale: Sh-wooooooooooosh.
Shinzou: "…that's a strange sound for a desert."
Lucnephwyr casts a Double Cure on Shiba and himself! And then drinks two ether vials.
Lucnephwyr rolled 1d10+150 and got 1 ( Total: 151 )
Dog‘ tilts Dog’s head. Aroo?
Lucnephwyr: "Mm-!"
Dog: "I'm okay now, Luc! But that sound… that's weird!"
Shiba: "Good work, kid."
Lucnephwyr: "Maybe it's a quicksand ocean!"
Shinzou: "That would be awful!"
Dog‘ also goes over and props Dog’s front legs up on Luc's legs so they can lick Luc's hand. Thanks for the healing buddy Dog likes you!!!!
Lucnephwyr nods in agreeance, and then kneels and pets Dog and gives him a little hug! Affection!
TheTale: The sand in the dune beside you - rises, subsides, swept away by something emerging from within it. A great, grey eye. A long, scarred fin.
Shiba: "Something to do with Undine? She's a water spirit usually associated with healing."
TheTale: A fountain of sand geysers up into the air.
TheTale: "Hey," it says, in a cavernous baritone.
Shiba turns to face their newfound acquaintance. "Well. We have water. Guess we found food."
Shiba: "… Joking."
Dog‘ is hugged! And then Dog steps out in front of Luc, just in case they need to puff up and bark threateningly! But… instead it just says hi, so Dog’s tail wags instead.
Lucnephwyr: "Hi!"
Dog: "Hi!"
TheTale: The tremendous pupil visibly dilates as it sweeps from Luc to Dog to Shiba, and then -
TheTale: "…Oh, the sage that lives out by the manalands, aren't you…?"
TheTale: "Sh… Sh…. Sheba, was it?"
Shiba: "Close enough."
Shinzou raises an eyebrow, curiously, a polite smile on his face.
TheTale: It rises out from within the sand dune, eyeing you. It's a perfectly ordinary whale.
Lucnephwyr: "How's it going? I'm Lucnephwyr!"
Lucnephwyr waves.
Dog: "I'm a Dog!"
Shiba: "Afraid I can't recall if I've met you, though. Need anything?"
Shinzou is a perfectly ordinary country doctor, and thus perfectly inclined to trust the perfectly ordinary whale. "My name's Shinzou. It's a pleasure."
TheTale: "Call me Harnus," the whale says.
TheTale: "And no. When you're my size, you don't need much. If you're headed north…"
TheTale: "Need a lift?"
Dog‘ ’s tail wagwagwags. "That would be great!"
[OOC] Lucnephwyr: are we headed north
[OOC] Dog: we… we are, right
[OOC] TheTale: Yup!
Lucnephwyr looks to Shiba, tugs on a robe-sleeve. His shining eyes ask the really obvious question of 'can we, CAN WE? 8D'
Shiba: "Still faster than walking. No toll or anything? No favors we can do you?"
Shiba: "Rhetorical questions, sure let's go."
Dog‘ hops up and jumps around the others. This is exciting!
TheTale: "Climb up. Mind the turrets."
Lucnephwyr excitedly pitter-patters a groove into the sand!
Lucnephwyr also takes off like a shot, eager to climb and sit. Wait, turrets?
Dog` jumps up! Hop, hop, hop! They take Harnus having turrets in stride. Harnus smells like the sort of guy who would have turrets.
TheTale: Yeah, there’s four of them that you can see, about 16 " in caliber, silent for now. A little bit of sebaceous whale oil leaks from their seating.
TheTale: If you were a marine biologist, you could probably get the exact species of whale from the firing angles afforded - it says a little bit about how they hunt - but I mean, you're pretty much going "Yup, that's a whale."
Lucnephwyr will look it up when he gets the chance! For now, he settles in, making himself comfy.
Shinzou: "Oh, I don't have any problem with the turrets." Clamber, clamber - at one point he more or less unnecessarily asks Luc for a hand clambering on up.
Lucnephwyr assists!! Stares a little at Shinzou's hand as he's being helped up. Then realizes he's being PICKED ON, narrows his eyes at the HUMAN. But the feeling passes really quickly.
Shiba: "When's the last time they've been used?"
TheTale: "Few days ago. Life got a little lively back at the fort."
TheTale: The whale swims off, surging up and down, up and down, forging through the sands ahead.
Shinzou can't help or hide a delighted grin.
Dog‘ sits in Luc’s lap, if they're sitting down. Dog paws are not very good at holding onto whales!
Lucnephwyr is in fact sitting down, and he's protectively hugging Dog! He's not scared, though, and giggles here and there, excited at the trip.
Dog‘ ’s tail goes wagwagwag thumpathumpathump against Luc, ears pricked up as they look over the sands.
TheTale: There's a brief flash of green, in the sand - a glimpse of something.
TheTale: The whale swims on.
Lucnephwyr: "?" "!" "."
Shiba: "Do you know what that was? Did you see that?"
TheTale: "Around here…?" A thoughtful inhalation, followed by a burst of sand from the blowhole.
TheTale: "The Haloon Forest. I do my best to avoid it."
Shiba: "Sounds like a great place."
Dog: "What's in the forest?"
Shiba: "But I'd imagine it's harder to swim in trees."
Lucnephwyr: "Interesting…!"
Shinzou: "It's… buried under the sands, then?"
TheTale: "It keeps itself clear."
TheTale: "…And prefers me to stay out of the way, too."
Dog: "It's good that you have an understanding with each other!"
Lucnephwyr gives the whale a comforting pat. He doesn't even know if it can feel his tiny scaled hand, but it's the thought that counts.
Shinzou nods. That's a good arrangement!
TheTale: The whale swims underneath the remnants of an over-pass - the concrete supports of the highway scoured so deep that they look more like rock formations than something that was ever built.
Lucnephwyr breathlessly exhales a 'wow' as they cruise under the overpass, giving it a second look as they glide past.
TheTale: It pushes through colorless, skeletal automobiles, lifting the fragments out of the sand and smashing them with its bulk, leaving scraps of rust swirling in its wake as it continues.
Dog‘ stares, ears forward, and drums their paws against Luc every so often to whisper, "(Did you see that!)"
Shinzou is staring openly at this point- watching, glorying, the wind in his hair. He’s been near the region but never quite… like this, you know?
TheTale: Drums in the distance. Campsmoke. And faint glow, on the very edge of the horizon - the bramble-canopies of the Manalands.
TheTale: But before that, squatting like a petulant toad, is Fortress Naxel.
TheTale: Human make, built around two tremendous hollow ruin-towers - sculpted like vases, or parodies of mesas, bigger still than anything you've passed. Its heights are scalloped with walkways - ropeways, wood-work, shorn up and in constant need of repair.
Lucnephwyr gives hugs, whispers back to Dog, and goes "Ooooooooooooooh-~" at the view of the fortress.
Shiba: "What an eyesore."
TheTale: Harnus swims up to it, passing a skull-helmeted patrol on a bluff above - they salute, roaring, breathing fire in celebration.
Shinzou: "Mmm. You really think so?"
Lucnephwyr salutes in response!
TheTale: "I'll let you off here. Not too long of a hike past here, anyway."
TheTale: You can, in fact, see the shelter of the treeline in the distance. It could be cleared in a single charge… if you're thinking military.
Dog‘ wags Dog’s tail, and hops out of Luc's lap.
Dog: "Thank you very much!"
Lucnephwyr: "Thank you for the ride! It was very enjoyable!"
TheTale: It lowers itself in the sand, coming to a stop outside a loose camp that's formed up along the backside of the fortress -
Shinzou: "Thank you kindly, Harnus!"
Shiba: "Thanks. See you around."
TheTale: "Likewise."
TheTale: The smell of cooking meat, flying red banners.
Dog‘ hops off the whale. It’s just a little too much of a jump for them, and they kind of doggy-faceplant in the sand. But their tail wags - they're okay!
Lucnephwyr plucks Dog from the sand!
TheTale: Soldiers - and, well, camp followers - washers, peddlers, that sort - lazing about.
Lucnephwyr then has a sudden chill up his spine and looks to Shinzou, slightly worried!
Dog‘ yips and licks Luc. While they’re that up close, they whisper: "(Don't worry! Act natural!)"
Shinzou glances back at Lucnephwyr- a quick thing, 'that's all right'. He's rearranged the feathers again, or the wind did the job for him.
Lucnephwyr: "(Um, yes! Right!)"
Lucnephwyr smoothes down his robes, puffs out his chest, wings flutter a bit.
Shiba slithers off and glances sidelong at Shinzou. "I might just be tetchy because it's close to my home. With neighbors as rowdy as these…"
TheTale: Tents ripple with the suddenly chilly desert wind.
Shinzou: "Mmm. That's fair."
TheTale: From one of them, a screeching dial-up din.
Shiba: "Someone's read their pamphlets, though."
Lucnephwyr: "Oh, hey, they can get connected all the way out here?"
Lucnephwyr: "That's amazing!"
Shinzou re-adjusts the feathers carefully. "I'm amazed the sand-rats don't chew through the wires."
TheTale: "Oh, yeah." Says a lady inside.
TheTale: "Feels like we had to dig down a mile for it but - c'mon! Come take a look!"
Lucnephwyr can't help but peer around the flap.
Dog‘ stays behind Lucnephwyr, but peers in while their boy is checking it out, because, you know, dog loyalty. Gotta back him up on this.
TheTale: An off-duty Holmat soldier, her horned helmet askewed, lazing over an eight-eyed civilian technician who’s tapping madly at the console.
TheTale: The one who called out - mostly fangs - pours the three of them tea, before joining them. They all sit cross-legged around the terminal as it connects…
TheTale: Across the scan-line ridden screen, an ascii art banner appears:
TheTale: A social network for monsters "
Lucnephwyr: "Ooh."
Shiba: "Very web 3.0. I'm impressed!"
Dog‘ wags tail. "You did it."
Shinzou: "We’ve come a long way from dusty spiderwebs, yes." Deadpan, at Shiba.
Shiba: "I, uh, haven't bothered to register yet."
TheTale: "Oh," the 8-eyed one says.
Lucnephwyr: "Wow! How are things back in the waterways? Anyone posted anything about festivals?"
Shiba: "… Guess it could be a way to help sell statues, though."
TheTale: "Yeah, let's see."
Dog: "You should! I'll give you my username when you do."
TheTale: Tap tap tap. Tap tap tap.
TheTale: She… stops. She stands up straight.
TheTale: The soldier on her squeezes her arm.
Dog‘ doesn’t explain how Dog types with boxing gloves on- I mean, uh, with paws.
TheTale: "You better look."
Shiba peers over.
Lucnephwyr looks!
Dog‘ trots up, puts Dog’s front legs on the side of the chair to be able to see the screen, and looks.
TheTale: Sycorax Newswire:
TheTale: "…An artillery stike has struck 8th street on the Waterways…."
TheTale: "…Clouds of thick, poisonous smoke…"
TheTale: "…Yhe Holmat has cordoned off the area…"
TheTale: "…Many unnaccounted for, forty assumed dead…"
TheTale: Another one of those.
Dog‘ whines, tail tucking, ears pinning back.
TheTale: It’s pretty bad this time.
TheTale: It looks like they got…
TheTale: …Nah, I'm not gonna read the rest.
TheTale: …I'll be back in a few minutes.
Lucnephwyr is!! And then kinda wishes he hadn't.
Shiba: "Every day. With that stupid face of his…"
Shinzou closes his eyes, takes a step back. Looks like he's fighting the urge to run outside and- maybe just breathe in gasps of fresh air. Forces himself to read the whole thing, instead.
Lucnephwyr lets out a strange, keening wail, drawn from deeper than his vocal chords and abdomen, resonating from something primal in nature.
Dog‘ reads it. (Because, you know, dogs can read.) Backs off from the chair, goes over to Luc, sits beside him, puts one paw on Luc’s foot. Whimper.
Shinzou sits down heavily, far away from Lucnephwyr and Dog. Looks old and haggard, bloodless. Silent.
Lucnephwyr hugs Dog tight. Murmurs, "(They'll come back, they'll be back,)" trying to reassure… whomever.
Shiba: "Still. It hurts, doesn't it? You'll recover, but to know someone holds that much malice towards you…"
Dog‘ rests their head against Luc’s shoulder. "(They'll all come back, don't worry…)"
Dog‘ still can’t help but whine as they say it, though.
Shinzou stares at Shiba for a few seconds- opens his mouth to speak, but nothing comes out; his tongue knows better than that.
Shiba coughs. "Did I, um, speak out of turn?"
Dog: "No, it's okay," Dog says, in the middle of the sadhugs.
Shinzou narrows his eyes briefly and then closes them, turning inward. Lips quivering- but not the way they'd quiver if he were holding back tears.
[OOC] TheTale: Prologue ~ Things That Humans Made - Complete.
Shiba: "Seriously, you can tell me in private."
Lucnephwyr sniffs. "(…do we… stay for the night? Or keep going?)"
Shiba: "(You feel like walking after that?)"
Lucnephwyr: "(I feel like I gotta do -something-…)"
Shinzou looks up. He's seen worse, or he wouldn't have this thousand yard stare. "(…if you're willing, then.)"
Dog: "(We should keep moving, if we can,)" Dog whines.
Shinzou: "(I agree.)"
Lucnephwyr: "(… I get the feeling we shouldn't linger.)"
Lucnephwyr gives a hug to one of the nearest soldiers.
Lucnephwyr: "Everyone take care, be safe."
TheTale: News spreads fast. Rumblings of revenge. Death-oaths.
TheTale: He cries into your shoulder, Luc.
Dog‘ licks Lucnephwyr, concerned, and backs off to let him give his hugs. (They do not hug the shoulders.)
Dog: (Or the soldiers.)
Dog: (Look, it’s hard to type with paws.)
Lucnephwyr gives comforting hugs and pats. Steeled with the resolve that he can at least do this.
TheTale: Better get going.
Lucnephwyr also gets the presence of mind to get some rations and refill waterskins before they leave.
Dog‘ seems eager to get out of the camp. Maybe it’s the news..?
Shiba stays stone-faced. It's not really hard to hide the emotion - it's difficult to reach the few shreds of empathy she has left. Bringing them up is easier than hiding them.
TheTale: I've had enough of that place, too.
TheTale: To the north, there's a brief field where brushland grows out towards the desert - short, thick-trunked trees, rolling grasses, a few patches of jawflowers. Then, the treeline of the Manalands -
TheTale: Dark and mysterious. There's a small fountain by the road - just a little plate, where water flows from deep within the earth, really. Three bells, the kind that mark the path, hanging from the blossoming branch over it.
TheTale: Bronze talents are left in the dish, for luck.
Lucnephwyr follows ceremony, leaving one of his own.
TheTale: Plink.
Shiba uncorks the bottle of spirits she brought and pours it out on the roadside.
Shinzou follows along, silently. Leaves an odd little coin in the dish after Luc.
TheTale: What's it made of, Shinzou? Iron? Brass? Blue crystal?
Shinzou: Brass, with a little glass bead in the middle. He's only got the one.
TheTale: The ground squishes underfoot. Faint lights glimmer underneath red-streaked leaves.
Dog‘ doesn’t have a coin, but they tug on their bandana with their teeth, and a little bronze trinket falls out, which they nudge over to one of the dishes.
TheTale: Some are flowers. Others are fragrant beetles, pausing to hum their wings and call to one another, before flitting off.
TheTale: There's a little ampitheatre, in the jungle - the road splits into two, spreading around a stone basin, before continuing on.
TheTale: Three fierce figures watch over it.
TheTale: Your work's impeccable as always, Shiba.
TheTale: The intricacies of the wing! The snarling festival-mask!
Shinzou: "…are those yours?"
Shiba: "Most of them."
Dog‘ tilts Dog’s head. "They look good."
TheTale: You can tell the older ones if you're careful.
Lucnephwyr: "All of hers are amazing," he says, his admiration shining past earlier events.
[OOC] Lucnephwyr: *theirs
TheTale: I think… the difference is that the very old ones tend to be more ferocious, more beasts-of-tangled-chaos…
TheTale: Whereas Shiba's more reserved.
TheTale: That's her style, yes?
Shiba: "I've had about a thousand years of practice, so."
Shiba: Yeah. Small figures that aspire to become something. Not necessarily stronger, not in the same sense as these ferocious beasts. Just … like they're missing something, and they're inviting the viewer to give it to them.
Shinzou bows his head, respectfully. "I see your hand in them. Your style." A faint smile, the first actual emotion since- well.
TheTale: Not all of them placed so brazenly to awe the passer-by, as they travel the holy road.
TheTale: Sheltering from the rain in nooks, waiting on little foot bridges.
TheTale: One, even, offers an umbrella to a traveler…
Shiba: A few of them -are- around to scare off would-be interlopers, though. Like they could come to life at any time.
TheTale: We can't get soft, after all.
TheTale: …Well, that's your place there.
Shiba: … But she didn't take Ars Orichalca this game!
Dog‘ boops noses with a doglike sculpture, when they come across it. It just feels like the right thing to do!
Shiba: "Alright. Feel free to rest here, still got a ways to go."
TheTale: A garden of unfinished sculptures, some in stone, others in cheaper concrete - blocks hauled from Holmat wrecks. (Maybe those are rough drafts?)
Shiba: "And careful about going further deeper into the Mana Lands. Else we’ll have a problem."
TheTale: A little shack. The cookpot's undisturbed, but it's been a while since there's been a fire in the pit, there.
Lucnephwyr nods. "Thanks for having us over, Shiba!"
Shinzou: "Wouldn't dream of it." He's only even been here - /been/ been, not passed through - a few times.
Shiba: "If you see any mirrors, leave 'em alone. Part of my, uh, anti-intruder measures."
Dog: "Thanks," Dog says, wagging their tail a little. "And don't worry! I'll leave the other dogs in those mirrors right where they are!"
Lucnephwyr rolls out a bedroll in a corner.
Shiba: "I try to keep watch here and keep people out. In other histories, gaining control of the Mana Sword - and by extension, the Tree - is a symbolic victory. Whatever conflict is going on, the party that's taken it could already effectively win without it."
Shiba: "Theoretically, I could end it all now if I went to one side and went 'hey, here's how to get here.' Probably."
Dog: "Theoretically…" Dog sounds sad.
Dog: "But, theories aren't reality, are they?"
Shiba: "It'd be a hollow victory. Another piece in the arms race. First, our forms of immortality, then another thing's power equal to that of the Tree's …"
Shiba: "I hear that after they hollowed out the Mana Tree, sorcerors started using Jumi cores as their Gemstones."
Dog: "That won't stop the war," Dog says, ears tilted back. "It will only make it even more destructive."
Shinzou: "Mmm."
Shiba: "Yeah. If either side takes the Mana Lands, it's the point of no return."
Shinzou: "For one side, or the other, to 'win'… I'm not sure you could call that a victory." He looks distant.
Shiba: "So, like I said. The fort's an eyesore. So's the one on the human's side."
Shinzou: "Mmm." It's a noise of agreement, this time.
Lucnephwyr is already curled up in his bedroll, but it's obvious to everyone he's pretending to sleep.
Dog: "If we could convince the soldiers to stop… but, we'd have to do that for both sides, or else… things like that would just happen again."
Shiba: "People are afraid of stopping, too. Without any conflict, there's no story to tell."
Shiba: "It'd be like starting a book with the part where they go 'And they lived happily ever after.' And that's just backwards."
Shiba: "At least to people that view this world like a story."
Dog: "This world isn't just 'a story'," says the Dog, "it's our home."
Shinzou: "'s part of what I meant, when I said it wouldn't really count as a victory. I do know -that- much, at least. Why do you think things keep escalating?
Shiba: "In other histories, I can usually point out why."
Dog: "They never would have done this -" Dog stops, shakes Dog's head.
Shiba: "Here? My best lead is just going off of Alice's book. D2's the cause of it, and it's as simple as that."
Shiba: "A convenient villain to act as a punching bag in a combat minigame."
Shiba shrugs.
Shinzou raises an eyebrow.
Dog‘ ’s ears pin back. Dog can't really emote like humanoid monsters can, but it's perhaps the same as a frown in this instance.
Dog: "Is it really that simple?"
Shiba: "Didn't say it was, just said it's our best lead."
Shinzou: "…it might be. It might not."
Shinzou stretches out, looking up.
Dog: "Tugging at these threads… it's enough to make a dog nervous. I wish we knew more about the situation."
Shiba: "The simple approach to this war is 'the humans are bad' or 'the monsters are bad,' depending on which side of the line you're on. But it's bad for all of us."
Shiba chuckles nervously at the mention of tugging on threads.
Dog: "War is hell," says the Dog, like the Dog knows anything about it. "If we got rid of the conflict, everyone would benefit. Maybe the 'stories' would get more domestic, but what's so bad about that?"
Shinzou reaches over- luckily, he's in arm's reach of Dog- motions to pet Dog between the ears, then stops, not sure if it's okay.
Dog‘ wags Dog’s tail. It's okay!
Shiba: "Something about the Mana Goddess getting bored and just letting the world succumb to eternal winter, which is a thinly veiled metaphor for narrative stagnation and irrelevance."
Shinzou pets Dog between Dog's ears.
Dog‘ tailwag. Dog is still a dog, even when talking about serious things, huh?
Shiba: "Which, I mean, I’m okay with."
Shiba: "D2's like the complete opposite of that, is what I'm saying. Anything to avoid winter."
Shinzou: "I suppose what Dog's asking is, what would that look like from the inside? From whose perspective is a conclusion a bad thing? You could probably write a whole story just about -that-." He rolls back onto his back.
Shinzou: "What… what do they care more about than that people suffer."
Dog: "'Winter'… I don't really know what that is, because I'm just a dog, but everyone is suffering right now. You saw Lucnephwyr." Dog whines.
Shiba: "Yeah. We've been pretty loud. Might have overheard us."
Lucnephwyr: "…"
[OOC] Lucnephwyr: you technically heard that
Shinzou goes quiet, and a little desperate.
Dog‘ falls quiet, looking down at Dog’s paws.
Shiba: "Personally, I figure spring follows winter. Just how seasons work. You let stories end when it's their time, and you make new ones after."
Shiba: " - hell, what is it here? Olbohn follows Gaeust?"
Shiba throws her hands in the air. If she had a Dryad shine, she'd have just broken it.
Dog: "But we're not talking about stories, not really," Dog says. "We're talking about our home."
Shiba: "Heh. So we are."
Shinzou: "…it's not everyone's home."
Dog‘ tilts their head at Shinzou. Aroo?
Shiba: "What do you want to see happen, Dog? We make peace, flip the bird to storytelling convention, and just start out with ’And they lived happily ever after?'"
Shiba also glances at Shinzou in that do-you-know-what-I-know way.
Shinzou is just an ordinary country doctor.
Dog: "… I do want to see peace," Dog adds, to Shiba. "Getting the soldiers to back down and find peaceful lives is my number-one dream."
Shiba: "You and me both."
Dog: "… but I'm just a dog, so I'm not very good at making my dreams reality."
Shinzou lets out a tiny, muffled, but still audible snort-puff of breath. Maybe it was Luc instead???

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