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Masa con Papas: - A Punch Clock Animal Story
[Image: r8lwrDl.png]

Your Train has Arrived in town.

Charon: Yeah, get me something magical. Something that'd get me out of a tight spot or come in handy a lot.
Erica: You sure? You some kind of witch or something back home because that sort of thing don't handle easy.
Charon: I'm sure. Hook me up if you can uh.... please?
Erica: If gramps is alright with it.
Arabis: It should be fine if you're certain you can handle it. 
Charon: Yeah. Pocket sized maybe? Or something I can carry on my back easy...
Erica: We'll look into it.
Charon: Great!  Are we ready to go?
Arabis: Before you all do, we'd like to walk out of the train with you to gauge the town. I'd rather not have you both get ambushed as soon as you step out. 
Fenton: I don't mind. Hick? 
Hickory: Yeah, if you're gonna do us all a favor like this I guess we'll go with you.
The masked bird stood up. Everyone else followed suit and lined up down the makeshift isles of the train car.  The lot of you approached the passenger car exits. You feel a nice breeze from outside. 

[Image: SZKaC3u.png]
Charon: This it?
Arabis: Mmm. I know this is your first time out here so... enjoy that moment. I've been to this place before myself. For being in a cursed sub-world it's quite wonderful.
It really is. The city ahead is vivid and colorful despite the makeshift buildings all over. You can't help but smile.
Erica: It's gotcha excited don't it? I've done some recon here before but uh... not under these circumstances.
Charon: Yeah? Is it nice?
Erica: In the best of places yeah... not always but it can be. A heck of a heaven and hell.
Arabis: We'll meet Geezer soon. Possibly with some fresh clothes, you shouldn't be in your pajamas the entire time.
Hickory: He's fine,  hurry up yeah? I don't wanna have the shop close before I get there.. 
Erica: Mm, go on ahead. Don't break him.
You poke your tongue out in response.
Charon: I'll be fine, they won't break me. 
Fenton: Just keep your wits up. If we travel in a group we're less likely to be jumped.
Jumped? You're not a fan of hearing that. 
Hickory: You got a weapon on ya?
Charon: Uh... kinda?
Hickory: Good, whatever it is you gotta keep hidden.
Charon: Gotcha. I'll be back soon!
Arabis: We know you will kid, don't take too long though. Remember where this train station is, keep track of notable landmarks. If you don't we'll find you.
You wave as you wander off with your new allies. They stay pretty quiet for most of the walk, very hesitant about attracting attention. You zone out a little on the way and have to be nudged in the right direction from time to time. Hickory speaks up after some time.

[Image: wcoHMLl.png]
Hickory: Place is up ahead. Divinator's name is Mode, she's pretty laid back about new people so don't worry about bringing her tribute. She likes being offered fruit but we gotcha covered for now.
Charon: Why fruit?
Hickory: Why not? Watch this.. 
They knock on the door. With little wait you can hear the heaviest steps approaching. 
The door opens just a crack and you make out a face made of marble.
Fenton pulls an orange out of his cloak.
Fenton: Mode! We gotta initiate a newcomer, he's joining us on our quest.
Mode: Ah.... a new friend? Interesting. You're all incredibly cursed. Come on in.
She pockets the orange and holds the door open wide. She kept her faceless gaze on you.

[Image: GConzxY.png].
Mode: Name, dog?
Charon: Judgment, Charon Judgment.
Mode: That's quite grand for someone so small. From one look I can tell you don't know the difference between pain and suffering yet. You may learn soon.... I also see......
She reaches behind your ear and pulls out a card.
Mode: ….You don't understand your full abilities yet. 
She unfolds the card into your bird friend from earlier.
Charon: How are you doing that?
Mode: You're carrying a courier. Anyone you know by name can be tracked down with this to deliver messages or help. Your proxy is split by a fortune, something that may serve you well. Tell me Charon, what do you fear the most?

Charon: Can I be honest and say I don't like that I keep being asked these kind of questions today?

Mode: I don't blame you, they do seem to be influencing your fate quite a bit lately. Almost as if people are watching you and manipulating the variables...

Charon: I'm sure I'm in good hands.

Mode gives you a look.

Charon: I wanna give people the benefit of the doubt!

Mode: That thinking is a little too honest for this town. I both envy and fear for you. Now answer, I'm going to pull out a little more potential from you based on what you say. What scares you the most?
You think for a moment, there's a lot that really scares you.

Charon: I guess..... I'm scared of what happens when you die.

Mode: Oh?

Charon: Like, what if there's nothing there after? What if you just float around in a void and you're done? Nothing left to enjoy...

Mode: That's some heavy stuff to be scared of at your age. Most kids would say something like Spiders, or the Dark. That's.... something rather difficult to manifest or conquer easy. 

Charon: I mean... you asked for honest answers right? That's what scares me.... though I guess at a close second is being sick all my life.

Mode: Are you sick?

Charon: Used to be pretty sickly, I never liked it too much. 

Mode: Are you worried it might come back?

Charon: I'm worried one day I'll be too sick to recover and then who knows what happens to you past that. 

Mode: Mm. In that case I advise you to keep clean and wash your hands every chance you get. This place has a lot of dirty toxic things lurking in the alleys. Also plenty of people who happen to be handy with a knife. 

Charon: All noted, I don't want to mess with any of those things. 

Hickory: Hey uh, so when do we get our fortunes?

Mode: You really want those?

Fenton: We just want a little good luck and maybe a warning going forward. We aren't too sure where to go next when it comes to getting out of here.

Hickory: Yeah

Mode: If you give me a moment to set up I can give you something to work with, though if I'm honest I think you might be on your way to where you need to be. Since it's Charon's first time here let me read you first. Give me your hand.

You hold it out.

Charon: It might not be so good uh... it's a prosthetic.

Mode: That's more than enough to gauge your soul. 

The runes on her face twist and coil.

Mode: You coming here is a event that's happened before and will happen again..... you'll see the best and worst of people on your journey. Both are equally valuable to becoming a more whole person....

You chose the path of most suffering, the sword in your heart will break and reforge many times and come back stronger until it fits the mold you make for it.

Your lucky tool of trade is the lance. 

You will face a dark reflection of yourself. When you face it, do not fear it. 

Your origins are unknown to you but of rather grand nature. Treasure the gifts it grants you, but don't ever let that define you. You are your own person.... even if you feel like you have to compare yourself to many titans in the process of realizing that. 

You started your journey at night, and it only goes downhill from there but.... should you make it through this you can only go back up.

Your eyes can see the souls of others, but cannot see their intent. Do not let this cloud you. 

Despite the deceivers around you, trust those who show you genuine warmth. They will be your guide out of this...

To tie things all up, I want to ask you one more question. Think it in your head only. If you had to choose the end between fire and ice, what would you pick?
[Image: XQ3BRQO.png]

Without hesitation you answer.

Charon: Fire. Fire would be worse.

Mode: Why?

Charon: Because Ice tricks you into thinking things can get better. Fire doesn't lie to you like that. Fire doesn't make you say goodbye to everyone one by one.

Mode: That's a sad answer.

Charon: I think about things like this a little more than I'd like...

Mode: It's more common than you'd think. I am going to define your power just a little more then, your potential will grow in a healthy way should you keep up with it.

You feel something echo in your soul.

Your Proxy allows you to generate a large needle regardless of situation. You may have one needle active at a time. The needle allows you to control the materials within liquids on contact to separate or merge them. You can freeze liquids instantly. 

Your head feels a little hot as your new power changes your body internally. Mode looks at you with concern.

Mode: You really are first time to getting your fortune done proper around here?

Charon: I thought you were going to tell me how things are gonna go.

Hickory: Around here it's a little different. Everyone's super in tune with their inner sense of self. Getting your fortune is like braces on your teeth, making sure that part of you grows toward a path you need. 

Mode: Well said. It's true. 

Charon: Do I uh... compare well?

Mode: You're better off than most newcomers but some of the life long residents will absolutely destroy you with little issue. Don't be picking fights you can't handle.

Charon: I guess I can't expect to be strong off the bat huh?

Mode: No, but you're starting young enough that one day you could be up there if you kept in practice. Well.... not that there's any real starting age. Your potential is promising so do take care of yourself.

Hickory: Yo, can we get ours done next?

Fenton: Yes it'd be nice if we could get our turn in soon, we have to take our new friend back before it gets too dark.

Mode: Of course....

You watch them both go through the same process but can't particularly make out a lot of information. Whatever changes they've undergone are too subtle to catch. They've possible done this enough that it's only a micro adjustment from your perspective, like correcting braces. 

You try your best not to listen in too hard with what Mode is telling them as you figure it's decently personal info. You really do want to be on the good side of these two. 

Fenton is the first to finish and rejoins you. Hickory's fortune goes by much faster than either of yours. 

Mode gestures at you specifically. 

Mode: You're a first timer so I need to make sure you're on the right track. I'm going to equip you with a journal to keep track of things in. Knowing yourself is important if you want to grow up to be a strong person in this world, lest you become like those who worship the angel.

Charon: Worshippers? 

Fenton: They're a bit of an issue we've been dealing with. They don't really like us.

Hickory: We're in a bit of trouble with some of them but like, not enough they'd recognize us instantly on the street. 

Mode: Are you two fighting them?

Fenton: Usually not out of choice.

Hickory: They deserve it, making a miserable situation even more miserable. Their leader is especially awful, she goes around preaching safety but then constantly pressures what little folks got out of them to keep her church afloat. Awful snake of a person.

Fenton: You might see her face around, she owns the press after all... 

Mode: I have stances on the situation... ones I rather not voice if I wish to maintain a business. For now you had to be somewhere yes? You should scurry off.

Charon: Yeah.

Hickory turns toward you.

Hickory: You wanna take the short way or the long route? I got something I gotta show you, you might like it. Up to you.

Fenton: We don't want to be out too late...

Hickory: It'd be nice to check out. 

Fenton: You can check on it in the morning.... 

Make your choice to advance.
Charon: I think we got enough time to go by fast.

 Fenton: You sure?

 Charon: Yeah, we can run the rest of the way there if we gotta.

 Hickory: If he's good with it he's good with it, why you so worried Fent?

 Fenton: Just don't wanna worry his folks but if he says we're good I don't see why not.

 Hickory: See? There we go. 

 Hickory starts walking off ahead. 

 Hickory: Both of you keep up, Fenton knows but I'm gonna keep it a surprise.

 Charon: Why? 

 Hickory: Cause I know you're the type who'd appreciate something like this. 

 Fenton: Don't go too fast, got a bad leg.

 Hickory: I'll try not too. 

 You struggle to keep up with both of them just a little bit more than you'd like to admit. You tough it out if only to maintain looks.

 Fenton: You doing okay back there?

 Charon: Yeah... we're almost there right?

 Hickory: Course'. Just past this last alley. 

 Charon: This place is uh... legal right? We're not breaking a entering?

 Hickory: Nah, nothing like that. Right there. See that?

[Image: ElA5qhD.png]

 There's a bodega ahead.

 Charon: We gonna stop by and pick up something?

 Hickory: Something like that. No trouble, I promise. 

 You all enter, the entrance jingles as people step onto the front mat. Must be a relatively recent addition if there's full electricity running. You take a moment to soak up the cushy air conditioning. 

 Charon: So uh.... for real what are we doing in here?

 Fenton: Hick's got a special friend here who they try to visit whenever they're nearby. 

 Charon: Someone important?

 Hickory: Very. Check this out.

[Image: PLyg4fl.png]

 You follow right behind. Around the corner is the store's counter with a cozy looking critter sitting in on top. 

 Hickory: You ever seen a scruffle before?

 Charon: Nope.

 Hickory: This one's real good, just look at him.

 Fenton: One very good creature. 

 Hickory: I wanna have one someday. Whenever I'm free from all this nonsense I'm gonna adopt one, give it a tiny little bed next to mine.

 You can't help but smile a little.

 Fenton: If you get a scruffle I wanna get a ferret.

 Hickory: They'll fight!

 Fenton: Nope, if you get them both when they're young they won't be likely to fight each other because they get to know each other.

 Charon: You both plan to live together?

 Fenton: I mean... I got nowhere better to go.

 Hickory: Same. Honestly I wanna start fresh in a new world, back home sucks.

 Charon: I mean... I'm sure my grandma would help you both if you came back.

 Fenton: Really? I'd like that.

 Hickory: I'll consider it. Your family seems alright. You wanna pet the scruffle?

 Charon: I don't know if I should.... 

 Fenton: The owner doesn't mind! Long as we behave we're good.

 Hickory: Yep. Do it, pet the scruffle.

 You read your hand out to pet the scruffle. It seems a little confused by you, but makes no effort to try and get away from you. 

[Image: 1eOA77y.png]

 Charon: It's so cute....

 Fenton: Soft right?

 Hickory: These things are so cool, I wanna get a big one....

 You all spend a little time interacting with the creature. The folks passing by seem endeared. 

 Fenton watches the clock.

 Fenton: Hey uh, I know you're both having fun but it's getting pretty dark, we should make it back soon. 

 Hickory: Yeah... 

 Hickory backs away from the counter.

 Hickory: You ready to go?

 You're also hesitant to stop petting the scruffle but you need to make sure Geezer is okay. 

 Charon: Yeah. Let's not mess around anymore.

 Fenton: We'll stay in high traffic area right now, it'll take longer but we'll get there fast. 

 Hickory: We don't wanna keep them waiting though. We can hop a few fences.

 Fenton: Hick...

 Hickory: It'd be rude.

 Fenton: Charon... Help me out here.

Charon: I think we should....

Vote to Progress:
Charon: Let's take the safe route, I don't wanna be there too late but I don't want any trouble either. 

Fenton: See? He gets it.

Hickory: If we're taking the long way we're gonna have to pick up the pace. I don't wanna be out after dark, I'm tired.

Fenton: Same. 

Hickory: We're gonna book it.

Charon: What?

Hickory: We barely got any daylight and this town's a little much at night to be wandering about. 

[Image: e8HyIcN.png]

Charon: Wait no I can't run!

Hickory: You got two legs, you can try!

Charon: Hickory please! I'm bad at it!

Hickory: You're gonna have to learn then! 

Hickory starts dashing down the street. Fenton follows suit and you pursue to the best of your ability.

Charon: For real, I can't run! Please slow down! 

Hickory: Nah! If you wanna hang with us on the street you gotta be able to keep up the pace. 

Fenton: You got this Charon! We're not that far from the Inn, just keep your knees high!

Your prosthetic limbs rattle incredibly hard, it hurts quite a bit trying to stay close. Inevitably you lose them after they stop keeping track of you and find yourself struggling where to go next. People pass you by, not really acknowledging you. 

It's a little overwhelming. You feel anxious from the situation. You're not used to this sort of city crowd, even less being alone in another world.... 

You sniffle a little. You want to ask someone for help but you're a little too overwhelmed to approach anyone. 

[Image: Ovc7DMF.png]
There's a hand on your shoulder suddenly.

???: You're slowing down traffic standing in the middle of a active area. You need to get moving. 

Charon: Who's there?! 

???: Relax. I can tell from the way you're dressed that you are a newcomer to the area. Pajamas in public.

Charon: I-

???: Are you alone? It's dangerous for a child to be here without supervision or allies. I suggest finding shelter before dark.

Charon: No... I'm just lost. I'm on my way to the Inn....

???: There's only one Inn around this district. it's not a popular tourist location by any means and mostly just a filler until you find a more consistent, stable shelter.

Charon: Do you know where it is?

???: Mm. Turn around though, I don't like talking to the back of people's heads.

[Image: 7JPHMK7.png]

You turn around. A reptilian woman with horns and glowing red eyes.

???: That's good. You have a name? 

Charon: Charon.

???: Any nickname you prefer? Maybe Ron or Charlie or-

Charon: It's what I got.

??? Then It'll do. 

Charon: And you?

???: Hydra. Tell me Charon, what are you exactly? You need a title.

Charon: I uh.... don't got one I think. I wanna be a knight one day though.

Hydra: Well that's not today. Until you earn a title I'll dub you Squire Charon however, it's a rather good look to the people of this city. Makes you seem promising if you want to be a knight one day. 

Charon: Squire Charon doesn't sound too bad.. do you have a title?

Hydra: Perhaps. Where I came from I was to be a heir, fun fact... on paper anyway.

Charon: Heir to what?

Hydra: To a entire kingdom... assuming its ruler fell of course. 

Charon: You're a god's kid?

Hydra: Mm. Does not matter much now however, but I managed a rather comfortable position in this world of similar value I do feel. 

You're not sure if you can trust her much.

You make direct eye contact and get a scan going.

[Image: kUCOVHz.png]

Proxy Name: Type 0(20), "The Final Planet". 

The abilities are rather difficult for you to make out right now. The synchronization between Hydra and her Proxy are incredibly high however. stronger than Hickory. 

Hydra: Hmm, you're looking at me with a fiend's eye are you? I can do that too... you certainly have a interesting form you're keeping hidden yourself.

Charon: Don't do that.

Hydra: You peeked first, only fair game but... I'll be polite and stop. Anyway you're in need of help getting to the Inn if I'm correct, yes?

Charon: I do, sorry for uh...

Hydra: Invading my privacy? I'm not mad at you if you're worried.

Charon: Yeah. Sorry.

Hydra: I'll walk you the rest of the way, I apologize too. We're not that far so it's not taking too much of my time up.

Charon: That'd be nice.... you sure?

Hydra: Mm. Talk to me while we walk however, I'm curious.

Charon: Well... my cousin and I got sucked in. We're gonna meet up again with some family that's been here at the Inn but uh.... I went on a errand with two friends. Got lost on the way back.

Hydra: Terrible. Well I assure you that your troubles for now will be handled.. at least until I get you to your destination. 

Charon: Mm.... 

Hydra: After that, all is up to the will of the angels. I advise you to gain their favor if you want to make it big in this world. 

Charon: I just wanna go home honestly....

Hydra: Mm. We'll see, that's easier said than done. 

Charon: I mean it's possible, right?

Hydra: Sometimes. I've personally settled around here too comfortably to want to go back. If you can't make it back I can offer you some assistance. 

Charon: Noted.

Hydra: I'm sure someone misses you where you came from however. How old are you, 12?

Charon: 14. 

Hydra: That's around the time I came here.... 

The thought of being stuck all the way into your adult life fills you with a bit of fear. 

Hydra: Tell me, if you had to pick a job around here what would you prefer?

Answer to Progress
Charon: I really don't want to be stuck here that long but uh.... I guess I'd like to get into crafting. 

Hydra: Really? You the creative type?

Charon: I like working with my hands and making things, pretty good at it too sometimes. That's kind of how I got here to begin with I guess..

Hydra: Well then, if you manage to find yourself having a difficult time breaking out of this place I can look into getting you a apprenticeship in a craft you'd prefer. Between you and me, I'm willing to offer you a head start right now.

Charon: I mean, I'm gonna get out of here. Nothing against anyone here but I got family who'd be worried about me. 

Hydra: Unfortunate. Also I must inform you we are near your destination and at the very least I will offer you a parting gift to help you on your journey, regardless of its outcome.

Charon: You don't need to do that-

Hydra: I insist.

Hydra pulls out a book from her pocket and places it in your hands.

Charon: What's this?

You look through, there's diagrams of all sorts of circles and machines that are very unfamiliar to you. 

Hydra: Forbidden knowledge, a gateway to a lot of things but hopefully in your hands a means to figuring things out. You come off as the type who's good at research so hopefully by the next time we meet you'll be able to weld flesh and metal with just the tips of your fingers. You should hurry ahead though, your destination waits.

She points out a inn lurking in the corner. "The Last Stop."

Charon: I appreciate everything you've done... why are you being so nice though? We barely met?

Hydra: You're young, to the point that your inexperience is more than just a minor detriment to your adventure. I'd prefer to see your odds improved before you take the plunge into the abyss that a journey such as this may imply. Besides, you're new to the city and I make it a point to make guests feel welcome as possible.

Charon: Well... hopefully next time we meet I'll have the whole book memorized twice over huh? Thank you for everything.

Hydra: Mm. Now go, hurry before it gets too dark. I am quite sure your party is there waiting for you right now.

You nod and wave at her before approaching the entrance. You peek through the front window and can make out a few familiar shoulders and cloaks. From what you can hear, someone is being scolded. You knock on the window to catch their attention. Erica turns toward you. You can see her mouthing to Arabis inside. You waste no time entering the building.

Arabis: You managed on your own child! I was about to send out a search party. 

Erica: You has us mighty worried you know! Can't believe you got left behind!

Hickory: I didn't think he'd fall behind like that! 

Erica: You seriously gonna tell me you had no idea you lost him until you got here!

Hickory: I've never had to work with a homebody before!

Fenton: Hick! 

Hickory: I'm saying it as it is! He's got full PJs! 

Fenton: Hick no.... I'm sorry about my friend here, we really didn't notice Charon wasn't with us until it was too late.. 

Erica: I can't believe you two... you're not making the best impression you know? Can't be partying up with folks who I can't trust.

Charon: It's okay. I got back fine. We stayed safe, nobody did anything bad. Don't be mad at them.

Erica: ......

Charon: Please? I'm fine, I promise. 

Erica: You're too easy to forgive you know.

Fenton: If you don't want us around we understand. We got other places we can go to rest up.

Hickory has gone completely quiet.

Charon: I don't want you two sleeping in the streets. It was a little mistake. 

Erica: Grandpa?

Arabis: I'll at least cover them for the night. No promises they'll stick around if this becomes an issue but I don't like the idea of kids taking shelter in alleys. 

Erica: Yeah.. Guess that's fair. Don't do something like that ever again though.

Fenton: Of course! I'm sorry, I really am! We won't leave anyone behind anymore.

Hickory: Yeah, what he said. Sorry about that.

Erica shrugs.

Erica: Just... ya'll make good on your word alright no more of that.

Fenton: We will. Thank you.

Arabis: Mm. Now that that's settled, we'll need to figure out the rooming situation.

Charon: Hey uh, before we do that where's Geezer? 

Arabis: He's in the restroom, he'll be back-

Geezer pops in just as he's mentioned, shaking water from the faucet off of his hands. 

Geezer: You called?

Charon: Geezer!

Geezer: Yo! It's been a bit... like, a few days. I need to talk to you about the shit I've seen around here.

Charon: Days? I just got here hours ago....

Arabis: Time displacement is a little rough. You both may have been sucked in here at similar points in your world but landed days apart. Geezer's been on a few adventures of his own.

Charon: Shoot really?

Geezer: Heck yeah, I think I'm making real progress on how we can get out too. We need to catch up, was worried as heck about you. 

Charon: Same! 

Arabis: Before you do, let's talk about bunking. We need to figure out who's sharing with who. It's cheaper if we bunk in rooms of two.

Hickory: I'm already planning to room with Fenton if that's alright. Gotta stick to who you know.

Fenton: Actually... I'm not against getting to know some folks a bit better. You should too, Hick.

Hickory: You're really going to do me dirty like that?

Fenton: I'm just suggesting...

Erica: I'm fine with bunking with anyone.

Geezer: Same. 

Arabis: I'll leave it to the bunch of you to figure out who your buddy is going to be. Don't pick someone you know you're just going to fight with though.

You got an idea immediately on who you want to ask.

Vote to Progress.
Charon: Geezer, you wanna share a room? Feel like we got a lot to catch up on.

Geezer: Yeah actually, was thinking the same thing. You okay with that.. gramps I guess?

Arabis: Gramps is good enough I suppose, though admittedly I wasn't ready to discover two new grandchildren on this adventure. 

Erica: It's not like you don't already have plenty, what's two more gonna do?

Arabis: ...Fair enough. It ages me though.

Erica: Really? Think it just puts a little emphasis on the immortal thing more than anything.

Arabis: That doesn't make me happier. Regardless I can get you two set up...

Arabis hands you a room key. Number 23.

Charon: Appreciated a ton! 

Geezer: Yeah, thanks. 

Arabis: Of course. I'll order us supper soon but for now why don't you both get settled into your rooms. Erica and I will share a bunk, and I assume our new two friends here are sticking together?

Fenton: Only if you insist.

Arabis: I do.

Hickory: I got no issue then, better than finding a warm spot in an alley. Thanks spider grampa. 

Arabis lets out a smile and a sigh. 

Arabis: Of course.

Erica: If it's worth anything you're still the coolest grandpa. 

Geezer signals to you. 

Geezer: You wanna head to our room now?

You nod.

Charon: Yeah, want to lay down a bit before we get whisked away for dinner and storytime.

You both head down the hall, trying not to catch the glares of various folks who don't look like anything you've ever seen before. Your room was there, Number 23. For a seemingly small building it sure has a rather high count. 

Geezer: Hurry up, I wanna drop my bag off. 

You unlock the door.

Inside is a cozy little setup with a single bunk bed, a desk, a lamp, and a monitor. It's a little anachronistic admittedly. 

Charon: You can take whatever bed you want, I just wanna rest a little.

Geezer: You okay?

Charon: Just a lot to take in and more walking around than I was ready for this late at night. 

Geezer: Feel you there, it's like its been weeks but we've only been here a day.

Charon: Exact thoughts really. 

You flop onto the bed. Geezer puts his bag down and sits in a spot close to you. 

Charon: Whatcha bring?

Geezer: Just some text on how local stuff works and my pocket bat. 

Charon: Aren't pocket bat's banned in a lot of places?

Geezer: Yep, don't tell. 

Charon: I won't, we might need that right now. 

Geezer: What about you? Manage to get your hands on anything?

Charon: I got a uh... proxy I think it's called?

Geezer: Yeah same. I'd show you mine but this room is kind of cramped.

Charon: Fair enough, probably a bad idea right now then. 

Geezer: That all though?

Charon: Also got a weird book from someone who helped me find my way back, hold on...

Geezer: Lemme take a look.

You pull out the book from your pockets and hand it over.

Geezer: Ah, I recognize that seal on the front. It's Lord Crusade. Read up about him, his folks run the land and keep people in line. He made a pact with the angel that spits stuff here. He's no longer around but like, a lot of folks still worship him. The local churches enforce a lot of his policies, keep people from stirring anything that'd piss the angels off. 

Charon: You read all about that while we were apart?

Geezer: Yeah, bit of a bookworm.

Charon: Always figured you were more of a jock.

Geezer: I can be both. Anyway I'm guessing this is some sort of recruitment manual. These folks can be a bit... culty you know? We have to stay under the radar while we're here. 

Charon: Yeah... honestly got that sort of vibe but didn't question too much since uh... her name was Hydra I think? Since she was helping me. 

Geezer: It's probably a lot of crank.

Charon: That makes me want to read it more honestly...

Geezer: I mean you can. I'm curious now too....

He hands over the book. You crack it open and find an index. There's the following sections, you have time to go through one.

- Introductions Featuring Lord Stego
- Picking your Card
- Being in Good Standing with Angels
- Witchcraft for the People
- Promotions

Geezer: I hate the vibes of this entire thing honestly.

Charon: Yeah, let's get this over with...

Please Vote Below
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Charon: "Being in Good Standing with the Angels" sounds promising enough. 

 Geezer: Sounds creepy to me but alright.
You watch your cousin flick through the pages quickly until he reaches the chapter. 

 Geezer: Ah shoot there's an introduction to this. 
> Every good citizen of the land wants to be in good standing with the angels. 
They're a power above us mere mortals and being on their good side is beneficial to all!
If one wishes to earn their blessings and goodwill, you must be willing to commit to certain rules and guidelines as well as contribute to the church's structure when possible.

 The church takes the step directly to interact with angels and keep the people's graces good with them, an intensive job that requires many resources. Donations are greatly appreciated.

 For those with less means to make donations, here are several ways you can maintain good standings with those above as well as the church itself. 
 - When given the opportunity, make an effort to persuade those who are skeptical into becoming a part of our community.

 - Bring newcomers to the church when they show up on city grounds for initiation.

 - Become a recruiter.

 - Sign up to participate in our village expansion projects. Find personal fulfillment by volunteering toward living in and expanding one of our village locations.

 - Report any plans to potentially cause disruption of the order. Potential threats to the peace and church structure will *not* be tolerated*

 - Turn in any devices designed to potentially meddle with the affairs of angels as well as those in the church.

 - If you are fortunate to sight the angels themselves, give them your full respect. 
- Report any business who's practices conflict with the interest of the church. These will be blacklisted in the future.

 - Avoid blacklisted establishments at all costs! Any contribution to them is a potential harm to society as a whole.

 Charon: There's a lot of these..

 Geezer skims the pages ahead.
Geezer: Honestly seems like a lot about appeasing the church and expansion into details on what falls into each of these categories as well. They're really also insistent on the village project for some reason?

 Charon: Hate that. Sounds like a cult honestly.
Geezer: Probably is. Don't trust like that. Who gave this to you again?
Charon: Someone who seemed nice at the time but... seems like they were trying to get on my good side and recruit me.

 Geezer: Surprised they didn't take you straight to the church to try and initiate you like the book said they should.

 Charon: Same.... maybe they forgot?
Geezer: Maybe. Either way I dunno about this. Feels creepy as all hell. 

 Charon: Absolutely... 
There's a knock on the door. 

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Erica: Hey! We're gonna go to the main part of the inn to have supper in a sec. You both wanna come out here?

 Charon: Yeah sorry! We were just in the middle of something, we'll fill you in on it!

 Geezer scoots off the bed to answer the door properly. You follow behind him.

 Erica: So what've you two been up to?

 Geezer flashes her the book. 
Geezer: Reading up on the local cult. 
Erica: They've got one of those around here? Dang.

 Geezer: Dang?
Erica: Dang. Like, it is what it is. Just gotta avoid getting on their bad side if they got any power here. Though if gramps is correct
we were all targeted...

 Charon: Think that makes us sinners or saints in this world?

 Geezer: Think they'd want us to stay forever if we were saints, would rather be a sinner.

 Erica: On a side note, Grandpa got you both some stuff. Figured you need to be dressed a little more fittingly for the area you know? Look less like tourists. 
She pulls a pair of outfits out from under her cloak and tosses you a jacket.

 Erica: He guessed a little so sorry if it doesn't fit your style.
The two of you shuffle your outfits on quickly. You can't help but grin.

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 Charon: Feel like a pro witch.

 Erica: You seemed the type.
Geezer: Like this hat going on personally... do knights wear berets like this ever?

 Erica: I mean... maybe? Hard to say where it came from but it looks good. 

 Geezer: You really think so?
Erica: Yeah, makes you look like a fighter. 

 Geezer: You got me a sword too?

 Erica: Your baseball bat broke when we got here so figured you needed a replacement. Got something for you too Charon but Grandpa wanted to explain it in person before handing it over if that's alright.

 Charon: Why's that?
Erica: Said it was something real unique that maybe you could figure out. 

 Charon: That's pretty exciting actually. When are we heading over?

 Erica: Whenever you're ready, hopefully soon? You seemed like you were both pretty engaged in reading about uh....

 Geezer: Cults? Yeah no I'm ready now, we can get to that later.

 Charon: Same. Take us whenever you can. 

 Erica: Gotcha. Follow me then. 

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 Erica gestures for you two to follow. You trail behind her as she takes you through the inn toward the lobby/dinner area. Arabis is there with a table set up with several bowls of soup, just enough to feed the three of you. 

 Oddly enough, Hickory and Fenton are nowhere around. 
You all give Arabis a good wave and settle at the table. 

 Arabis: You all took awhile, got a bit chatty?

 Erica: Just a little, sorry about that.
Arabis: Doesn't matter too much, I'm sure your food is still warm enough. 

 Charon: Where's Hickory and Fenton? They’re not joining us?

 Erica: They went out on their own, they said they'll be back. No idea what's up with them.
Arabis: Mm. I tried inviting them but they insisted they'd be fine. They must have somewhere else to go....

 Geezer: Sounds suspicious. 

 Arabis: I don't like to assume badly of anyone so I figure they're just busy. Now that we're here I suppose it's a good time to fill you in proper on the situation. Might have mentioned some of this by now but.... well... 

 Erica: You gonna tell the story?
Arabis: Mm. Feel free to eat while I do, I imagine you're all quite hungry.
Geezer doesn't hesitate to chow down. You on the other hand give your full attention. 

 Arabis: So....
Arabis: A long time ago I was a simple hermit in the woods. Pretty typical for a fiend where I had come from. We weren't particularly well liked...

 Arabis: One day a traveler comes across my territory, a knight of deceptively small build. Their name was Zinnia.

 Arabis: Canine, powerful, I assumed them to be an assassin. Knights don't accidentally fumble around the land where a fiend resides after all.

 Erica: Needless to say, it turned out they were just lost on the path. 

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 Arabis: Mm. Spared me after our battle but I refused to let them give me a free pass so I offered to help them get to their destination. Needless to say I think I bit off more than I was ready to chew there, but I don't regret it.

 Arabis: We gathered up with his band of mercenaries, a former knight's guild known as the "Order of Judgment". They were very close knit and some of the best people I ever met....

 Erica: Wasn't as easy as that though.
Arabis: No. Most of their guild had been struck down in a rigged job. A lord claiming his town was in peril set up most of the guild for what was effectively a suicide mission. Only Zinnia survived. 

 Arabis: Zinnia was not taking this lying down of course. When they were angry at someone they became the most wicked engine of vengeance I'd ever seen... but any other time they were soft and warm in a way that I wish I saw more. 

 Arabis: I miss them....

 Arabis: Zinnia gathered up the remaining members of the guild on a quest to take down the lord but.. it was complicated. 

 Erica: The angel.

 Arabis: The lord had taken a pact with an angel, became a shell for it to interact with our mortal plane. There was no longer much of a person left at that point. 

 Arabis: An angel messing around with elements to see what happens is some of the coldest cruelty one can fathom. Had a guild wiped out to see what would happen with the angry spirits after. Created a fiend, Zinnia themselves. 

 Arabis: And well...
Arabis: Zinnia was unnaturally dedicated to avenging their fallen comrades. 
Arabis: That quest was hard.... We fought, we starved, we killed, and we watched many of our friends not make it through that final battle. The lord was just a puppet for an angel after all and well....

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 Arabis: The odds going up against an angel are nightmarish. 
Arabis: My time living with the Judgments was quite wonderful. I loved them.

Arabis: Losing so many of them... it was hard. First family I'd ever had so...

Arabis: It really did hurt. Worst part is that when a angel wipes someone, people's memories of them become... fuzzy. 

Arabis: Their faces are barely in my mind if at all.

Arabis: It makes me feel terrible.

Arabis: The name you all bare today is in their honor. You are their living legacy 

Arabis: You carry that weight with you.

 Arabis: They accepted me despite my fiendish nature. Never saw me as anything but family.
Arabis: Needless to say Zinnia and I survived that encounter along with half of the rest of our party. 

 Arabis: Of course there were a few caveats. The angel wasn't actually dead... and it certainly came back for us more than once. 
Arabis: We also weren't in our original world after that initial encounter. Sucked away to the place you probably all grew up in now. It was such a shock.... big historical events were different, the gods of the region were completely different from the ones we'd been adjusted to, and in general there was a massive case of culture shock. 

 Arabis: We settled down of course, Zinnia and I. For a very good while actually.....
Charon: Whatever happened to them? I've never heard anything about a Zinnia in my time. 

 Arabis: ......I don't know.
Geezer: What do you mean you don't know? You two were together yeah? What happened?
Arabis: It's.... a little complicated for now I think. I'm not entirely sure... If you have any other questions however, feel free to ask.

You think you have a few in mind. 
 (Audience prompt: Ask Questions)
What was your world like? Do you ever miss it? if that angel is still out there, will it come for us someday?
how did you nearly take out the angel? if it comes for us again, will we be able to repeat it?
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Is there any particular warning signs that would give away said angel's presence?
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Charon: What was it like where you came from? You're from another world right?

Arabis: Mmm.. It was something. Far less kind to folks like me unfortunately. Myth and folklore tended be taken a lot more seriously and there was quite a bit of stigma around fiend kind. I don't miss it too much for the most part... but I think about my old place in the woods from time to time. The angel dragging me away from there though was far from the worst.

Charon: Speaking of... how did you manage to deal with the angel? You have to know something right?

Arabis: Zinnia had some sort of unique power that to this day I'm not entirely sure about. Some kind of.. proxy as it's called, much like all of you managed to stumble into on entering this world. Born of a pact, created from The Star. Final Starman.

Charon: Final Starman? Kind of a grand name.

Geezer: What's the deal with that?

Arabis: To be honest I don't know entirely how it worked but... it could bring down a angel down to mere mortal terms. Unfortunately Zinnia is not here with us so.....

Charon: So there's no way to repeat it.

Arabis: Not that I know of, no. 

Charon: So is the angel still out there? What would be a sign that it's near.

Arabis: Unfortunately it is and I'm suspecting that all of us being here means it might be a repeat of things which... is rather unusual? Angels do not hold these types of grudges normally so it's rather confusing if it is. It lines up too well though.

Erica: If it had a grudge wouldn't it have done something worse than just trapped us here?

Arabis: Possibly. I've never heard of angels behaving anything like the one we're dealing with before. Hopefully we can escape without having to directly encounter it.

Charon: Could we fight it off again?

Arabis: I don't know. Going up against a angel is incredibly difficult and risks your entire existence.

Geezer: Even worse with the cult around here.

Arabis: Cult?

You pull a book out of your bag and hand it to the old spider.

Charon: Geezer and I were reading through this a bit. Seems like there's some kind of weird religious order around the angel. 

Arabis: That's quite the worry. Something like that implies people have ended up trapped here for quite some time, enough for such influence to build...

Geezer: Why'd it take so long for it to track us down?

Arabis: Angels aren't all knowing, especially since we're scattered across time and space in the literal sense. For now I think we'll just have to lay low and build the resources to not only escape but ideally avoid having to directly confront the angel itself...

Charon: Won't it come back for us again?

Arabis: Only if it has a particular grudge... enough talk for now though, we should be eating. We need our strength up for tomorrow where there's plenty of work to do.

You nod and focus on your soup. After a little while everyone has finished up, Erica being the first one done, followed by Geezer, then you, and Arabis himself at the very end. For a large spider he sure takes his time...

Arabis puts his plate in the center.

Arabis: Pile them on so I can take them back to the kitchen in one go yes?

You all follow along.

Erica: So time for bed grampa?

Arabis: Mmm.... I just have one thing for Charon quickly. Would you like it now or after some rest?

Charon: Now if that's alright, though depending on what it is I might not be able to sleep much. 

Arabis: That excited?

Charon: If it's something I'll want to toy with, probably....

Arabis: Mm... 

He slides his hand into his sleeve and pulls out some kind of toy.

Charon: What's this? 

Arabis: Normally? A Toy. But with a little fine tuning it's a powerful weapon against other proxies. People in this world almost all have access to proxies in some form or another and are quite skilled in such after a point. This puts you all in a bit of a disadvantage and well... you I can tell don't have training in a traditional weapon. 

Charon: So.... how does it work?

Arabis: Well, it's normally just nothing but... when the ball segment is launched into a supernatural entity and returns to its base successfully, something amazing happens. We can practice in the morning if you'd like...

Charon: I'd kind of like to now so I can get a head start.....

Erica: Trust me, you don't wanna be doing this when you're tired. 

Charon: I mean.. I guess..

Erica: First thing in the morning, I'll help you train.

Arabis: Mm. I'd like to monitor for safety reasons of course. For now though you are all dismissed. It seems like you're done for now. I'll handle clean up.

Erica: Thanks for dinner Grandpa! Don't take too long to get to bed!

Charon: Thank you! Good night!

Geezer: Yeah for real, thanks!

The three of you shuffle off into your room. Geezer flops onto the bottom bed immediately. 

Charon: You don't want top bunk?

Geezer: Go ahead and have it, been a long day. Not sure if I CAN sleep though right now, got a bit of insomnia. 

Charon: Mmm..

You climb onto the top bunk.

Geezer: Night dude, I'm gonna try to catch some sleep. Days last way too frickin long in this world. 

Charon: Night.

You lay your head down.

Your dreams start to settle in, cocktailing all your many thoughts.

What are you dreaming about?
your life back home with grandma, i think
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when you were a kid and things felt simple
Something you did at least once a week, at the same time of day, maybe checking a store?
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Your eyes grow heavy.
You find yourself crashing really quickly. 
You're in front of a window, the outside surrounded by warm clouds and a cold woods. 
You recognize this place immediately. It's the entrance hall to the old Judgment house.
You would wake up early each morning to meet your grandmother whenever she had to go out for late night work.
You were always worried considering the type of job she had. Though it was normally just watching out for the neighborhood, you couldn't help but worry if one day a actual creature just walked into town.
Not that you didn't think she could handle herself but...
It's a creeping thought you don't like much...
You can see her pass by the window in her full cloaked outfit. It's intimidating but you always thought it looked cool. 
She unlocks the door. You hear it creek open as she steps in. You rush toward the entrance quickly to greet her. 

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Charon: Grandma!
Grandma Judgment: Morning kiddo, brought you something from work. Let me get settled in and we can talk a bit. Can you take this for me?
She hands you her hat. You shuffle over and put it on the little rack she always keeps it on when she isn't wearing it. Your eye catches a detail you never really thought about before, the tarot cards attached to the band around the hat. One is identical to yours.. Death. The other two are unfamiliar.
Charon: Hey Grandma, what's with the cards around your hat?
Grandma Judgment: Eh, it's not a super exciting thing. Just a little piece of decor from a long long time ago... I'll tell you that story when you're older I think. 
Charon: You can't tell me now?
Grandma Judgment: It'd be a little much to tell you now....
She looks at your face, a little fixated on your left eye. You blink.
Charon: Is something wrong?
Grandma Judgment: Nah. Just thinking a little. Anyway nothing too exciting happened, just a case of troublesome wild life wandering around town. We were able to shove it back into the woods fine. 
Charon: What was it exactly?
Grandma Judgment: Just a little bitty dino. They're pretty harmless.. well, to an adult anyway. You're still small enough that the thing could topple you over.
Charon: I could take it on if I tried.
Grandma Judgment: I'm sure you could take on a lot of things, doesn't mean I want you risking yourself to prove it. 
Charon: Wouldn't be that much of a risk.
Grandma Judgment: Mm... well still, I rather you be able to enjoy your time as a kid than spend the day healing in bed if something goes wrong. You only get that once you know?
Charon: Guess so....
She walked toward the kitchen and put down a box in there. She reached for the knife in the shelf
Grandma Judgment: Hey, you mind doing me a favor later?
Charon: Yeah?
Grandma Judgment: I know you like going to the witch's shop often. I'll give you money to pick me up a couple of demon horns.
Charon: Like... De'monares?
Grandma Judgment: Yeah. Need them for a job. 
Charon: I can do that. What are they for?
Grandma Judgment: Gonna spend a week overseas next month. Plaza, big event for knights going on there. Got invited for a panel, gonna have Uncle Virgil watch over you while all that's going on. You remember him right? The cat?
Charon: Yeah, he's cool I guess..
Grandma Judgment: You guess?
Charon: I mean... I'll miss you the whole time.
Grandma Judgment: You'll be fine. I'll remember to call every night if you’re really worried about me that much.
Charon: You promise?
Grandma Judgment: Yeah. I'll give you updates on stuff. It'll be 6 days, hope that's alright.
Charon: Mm... 
She cuts off the bindings on the box and slides the tag along. It's labeled "ORDER: Erichtho D. Judgment. Qt: 1  TOTAL: 6.99"
She opens up the packaging. It's a cheesecake. 
Charon: Is that the surprise?
Grandma Judgment: Sure is. Figure I'd bring you a treat since you wake up early all the time to keep me company. 
She cuts you a slice and places it on a little plate for you. She hands it to you with a fork. 
You wait for her to serve herself before taking a bite. It's wonderful, very rich and sweet and with a little bit of  strawberry syrup running through inside. 
Grandma Judgment: You like that?
Charon: Mmhmm! Thank you.
Grandma Judgment: Why don't you talk to me?
You ponder your words a little carefully... 
Charon: What do you do if you're somewhere far away, and you don't know how to get back home?
Grandma Judgment: Weird question but... I guess you just think about home the whole trip back, so you don't lose your way you know? Think about all the people who miss you... think about how happy everyone will be to end up back together again. Whenever I go on my trips I think about you, the town, and the old Judgment house so even when it gets hard, I got a sense that I got somewhere to return to. 
Charon: Even when your life's in danger?
Grandma Judgment: Especially. I wanna spend my final days quietly and surrounded by family. Getting done in by some punk is the last thing I'd want. Course I have to retire sooner or later I guess... practically am from the super big stuff but experienced knights get called in for all sorts of events so I'm milking that while I can.
She pulls out some cash from her pocket and slides it across the table toward Charon. 
Grandma Judgment: On a side note, can you go in early? After you're done with your slice of course. I wanna make sure I got that cleared up before I take the day off. 
You can't help but smile.
Charon: You're staying home? Like, you're not just gonna nap and go back out there?
Grandma Judgment: Unless there's an emergency, nope. Last night was a whole lot of nothing so I need a bit of rest you know? Don't take too long, we can watch some TV together and talk when you get back.
Charon: Mm! Of course!
You hurry to finish up your cheesecake. You don't get too many chances like this so you plan to make the fullest of this opportunity. You pocket the cash.
Charon: Anything else you want me to grab while I'm out there? 
Grandma Judgment: Cola. I could use a little dose of caffeine. 
Charon: Gotcha.
You start heading toward the door. 
Grandma Judgment: Stay safe out there alright? Love you kiddo.
Charon: Love you too grandma, I'll be back quick!
You step out and feel the nice breeze. You feel like you've been away from these woods for a good while....
You make a sprint for town, sticking to the cleared path the entire way. You make it to a tiny little building just on the edge of everything, the entrance labeled "Witching Accessories." The area you're in is pretty big on magic stuff and tourists passing by especially love it. 
Though it's usually open early, you give them the courtesy of knocking just to be sure since you can't see anyone inside through the window. 
The door creaks open. 
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Rather than the usual bird however there's a vague mammal-like man handling the store, possibly a new employee?
Charon: Good morning! 
???: Good morning, here to pick up some uh... horns?
Charon: Mmhmm! How'd you know?
???: Just intuition I suppose... I can get you them in a minute.
Charon: Thank you! Are you new?
???: You can say that. The name is Styx. 
Charon: My name's Ch-
Styx: Charon, I'm familiar with you. You did make a pact after all. 
Charon: A pact?
Styx: The night before you got spirited away? The ghost that you summoned to inhabit that nasty little potato homunculi you made? You accepted the gift of the nameless card didn't you?
Charon: I... I think I did.
You'd been so immersed in this dream you forgot you weren't actually back home.
Styx: Right so... let's cut to the chase here. You and I are linked. We share access to all sorts of things. What we see, what we feel, what we know... of course my memory is a bit of a jumble right now so I gotta borrow from you a little, hope you don’t mind too much.
Charon: Borrowing what exactly?
Styx: Well for now I’ve settled on a form that’s just a little familiar and something you’ll be comfortable with all things considered. 
Charon: What's that supposed to mean?
Styx: I'm saying if you saw my true form you'd absolutely wake up in a panic and then I wouldn't be able to talk to you.

Charon: I’m not sure I get the best feeling from this.

Styx: I hooked you up with a proxy right? I can’t be too bad if I gave you the essential tools to survive this world, damn good one too. Most people don’t develop a capable proxy as fast as you did.

Charon: How do I know I can trust you.

Styx: Honest answer is you don’t.

Charon: You’re getting something out of this right?

Styx: I mean of course I am. I’m not gonna lie to you about that.

Charon: And what is that?

Styx: If we make it out of here, a free ride out of this world. My spirit’s been stuck in this hellhole for so long I just wanna get back you know?

Charon: So uh… are you…

Styx: Dead? Absolutely. The cult did me in years ago, still feels bad. If my body still exists it’s probably in a condition where I don’t know if I’d want it back.Thankfully I’m a little beyond the mortal coil like that you know?  That said, guess I’m responsible for dragging you in here too sorta. Got intercepted by something nasty…

Charon: Did you drag in the others?

Styx: I have no idea how your grandma or great great whatever got here. Like I said, intercepted. Thing that hijacked our dealings went and dragged in a bunch of people and spat them into this world and weird intervals. I don’t know where to start on how confusing this mess is… Ask away though, I’ll do my best.

Charon: I guess I just need to figure out where to begin, you just dumped a lot on me.
Styx: Anything, we got some time to go over things. Just keep in mind I can only answer so much. We’re on the timer of this dream after all.
You ponder your next questions carefully.
What do you want to ask this mystery creature?
are you evil? if you are you have to tell me, it's the law.

also what exactly are you? you said you couldn't show me, but could you tell me?
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 Charon: So uh...

 Styx: Yes? You can be blunt, I got a good feeling about what you're gonna ask.

 Charon: Are you some kind of evil spirit? 

 Styx: I wouldn't say so, though the concept of winner's history absolutely has vilified me in time I suppose. I'm just... someone in a pickle who sees an opportunity to get out of it.

 Charon: Why should I trust you?

 Styx: I gave you the power you need to survive with pretty few consequences didn't I? My only condition is you get me out of this world, doesn't matter how or where as long as I'm back in the realm of the physical again.

 Charon: I don't know how to really do that...
Styx: You'll find a way, you got that killer vibe.

 Charon: What do you mean?
Styx: I've met kids like you before. Got a big old heart but hands of murder you know? 

 Charon: I really don't.

 Styx: My point is you'll do great, maybe too great. Gotta keep yourself in check before you start busting entire worlds.

 Charon: I'm 14, you're asking a lot.
Styx: Maybe, but you give me a really good gut feeling.

 Charon: What's your brain say?

 Styx: You got a good 50/50 to get us both out of here alive and well, but that's way better than nothing so I'll take it. 

 Charon: What are you anyway? You can't show me your true form?
Styx: I can, just trust me when I say you'd probably be more comfortable with the rabbit. Most people are.

 Charon: I'm sure it's not that bad. 
Styx: It's pretty grotesque, the mouth just unhinges and I come crawling out.

 Charon: That sounds cool.
Styx: I am literally wearing someone's corpse like a suit, you don't want this.

 Charon: You killed a bunny?

 Styx: Not this one.
Charon: But you did kill a bunny.
Styx: Many actually but that's not the point-

 Charon: Are you going to kill Geezer?
Styx: No. You sure ask quite a few questions and I hate most of them.

 Charon: If you want to build up trust, I need to know who you are, right? And right now you're just giving me bad energies. The kind that screams "I'm about to sell my soul." 

 Styx: You think so lowly of me? How I've fallen.... I guess if we're doing this though, your point's fair. Where would you like me to begin?

 Charon: Anywhere's good.
Styx: Hmmm... well to start off, I'm not all that different from you and your family. 

 Charon: You're a fiend?
Styx: Mm... and a powerful one at that. A true avenging spirit really. Back home I was a hero of the people, one who overthrew a tyrant god and took his place.
Obviously though that didn't last which is why I'm here in front of you now.

 Charon: What happened?

 Styx: A lot of complications, there is no one defining point to where it went wrong but rather many that piled up. Truth be told I didn't want to be the one on the throne....

 Charon: Then why'd you do it?

 Styx: To fulfill a wish for someone quite dear to me.... one who took good care of me and set me on the right path. I could not allow their dreams to die so I continue to live on for them. I hesitate to show you my true form because theirs is the face I want people to remember.

 Charon: I'm sorry for bugging you so much about that...

 Styx: You couldn't have known. I don't take any of it personally. I just hope that you'll never have to carry the burden of living on for someone else. Anyway do you have anything else to ask?

 You feel yourself starting to wake up a little. This might be your last chance to ask about anything for a bit.
what was the wish he wanted to fulfill? if he didn't kill that corpse, why does he wear it?
[Image: TCP%20customs.png]
If he had a choice, would he go back into that kind of instituition, even as a ruler?
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 Charon: Still don't think I really get it. If that's someone important and you didn't kill them, why are you wearing them like that? Doesn't make a lick of sense honestly...

 Styx: It's a longer story than I'd like to explain at the moment but I promise you there is... or at least was a pragmatic reason. I'll tell you this much however, you and I really aren't that different when it comes to it. A serpent hiding behind a rabbit and a monster in the shape of a cute, harmless little dog. 

 Charon: Don't call me harmless.

 Styx: Mostly harmless. 

 Charon: That doesn't make me feel better. 

 Styx: No, but embrace that while you can. A destroyer like you? Bound to eventually run into the type of power to become king one day. Can't say how much you'd like that really though, it's a miserable occupation. 

 Charon: Wouldn't be for me really.

 Styx: I figured as much, not here or now at least. I think if things reach the point where it needs to happen you'll grow into the role.

 Charon: Feels awfully foreshadowing and cryptic... 

 Styx: Big words, I can tell you paid attention in class. The type who likes to read.

 Charon: I do my studies, I guess... you were some sort of king yourself I think?

 Styx: Somewhat.

 Charon: Would you do it again? Like, would you go back to where you came, do it all over?

 Styx: I think so, a much kinder rule if I could but I doubt I'll get the chance. Don't think it would help me.
 Charon: Why not?

 Styx: In the eyes of the people I was incredibly guilty... and I think, in the end, no punishment could make up for my mistakes.

Styx: Hopefully I have more value now than I had before, I think a loser like me certainly has merit as a blueprint on how to dethrone a tyrant. Useful information coming up really, though it makes me wish I had died in the initial revolt so I’d be remembered at least a little fondly.

 Charon: You were really that bad?

 Styx: A story for next time fate puts us in the same room. Must admit I'm counting on you quite a bit to overcome a lot right now, but I wouldn't hedge my bets on someone I didn't think could make good on their end of the bargain. You will know your potential and you'll pay me back when the time comes.
 Charon: We'll see I guess.

 Styx: I'm counting on you, and so is everyone else. Don't underperform. Now hurry and wake up, you've got both friend and foe approaching your room quickly. I hope you're prepared.

 Charon: Prepared for what?

 Styx gives you a light shrug as he starts to fade into the distance, melting into the darkness of the shop the two of you were just in.
 You find yourself pulled toward the light, making out a knocking on the door.

 You jolt up, your heart racing from moving so suddenly while your brain tries to piece together things through a groggy haze. 
 You lumber toward the door. You can't quite make out the conversation on the other end quite well.

You look through the peephole on the door and see your two new friends from yesterday.

 Geezer's voice chimes through.

 Geezer: Who's banging like that?

 Charon: Think it's Hickory and Fenton...

 Geezer: Who?

 Charon: Don't think you got much of an introduction to them, the two other kids?

 Geezer: Ah, those two. Yeah, you kinda just hung out with them yesterday.
 The knocks get increasingly loud and insistent. You pull the door a crack, enough to peek outside. 
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 Fenton: Stop doing that! You're gonna get us kicked out!

 Hickory: It worked right? Someone answered. 

 Fenton: You didn't even know if that was the right room....

 Hickory: It's fine. Hey kid, we’re in a bit of an urgent situation. 
 Geezer slides down the bunk bed ladder. 

 Geezer: Urgent? 

 Fenton: Yeah. We got a bit of word and you and your family need to bail quick. Like, now. 

 Hickory: Seriously, where's the others?

 Charon: Uh.... I don't remember the room. Geezer?

 Geezer: I wasn't paying attention like that... Probably one of the bigger one, gramps wouldn't fit in anything else.

 Fenton: Okay well... we'll figure it out. 

 Hickory: I'm on it.
 Hickory stormed down the hall toward the larger spaces and started knocking on each of the doors one by one. 

 Fenton: Jesus....

 Geezer: Who?

 Charon: Don't worry about it, so tell us what's going on?
 Fenton: Right so uh.... I guess we got a tip about the church around here planning to investigate a group of "glowing eyed newcomers." who just showed up in town yesterday and that sounds a lot like you folks. I guess someone bumped into an official.

 Charon: Ah... I think that was me.

 Fenton:.... you uh, do anything that might've got their eye on you?

 Charon: Not really, one of their officials just helped me find my way over here and handed me a book.
 Fenton takes a good look at you.

 Fenton: You're a fiend... at least a little bit anyway. 

 Charon: I guess, yeah.

 Fenton: Okay cool, same here. How much you know about it?

 Charon: Not all that much, bits and bobs over the years but hard finding anything consistent and I'm kinda just barely learning how this whole thing really works...

 Fenton: Alright so a lot to fill you in but basic gist is the church has a bit of a fascination with folks like me and your family. That's not a good thing, trust me. 

 Geezer: So like....

 Fenton: Like in a weaponizing way-
 You both can hear Hickory in the background arguing with a poor guest who's been awakened rudely by their door slamming. 

 Charon: Should... should we help him there?

 Geezer: Looks like a bit of trouble there....

 Fenton: They... got this I think. 

 Geezer: Yeah, uh... I dunno about that.

 Fenton: They've bailed themself out of worse. Anyway no, they use fiends for all sorts of messed up stuff.

 Charon: Like?

 Fenton: Supersoldiers, hosts for aging officials, brainwashing, pretty bad stuff? 

 Charon: Yeah, no kidding...

 Fenton: People who enter that church never come out the same. They either end up being left husks, being transformed beyond recognition, or spending the rest of their days powdering their noses so they can look pretty in public when "recruiting" newcomers.

 Charon: And nobody's done anything?

 Fenton: Plenty have, most folks don't want to be confrontational though and they like to make public displays enough that people tend to keep it to themselves anyway.

 Charon: That doesn't stick right with me.

 Fenton: Trust me, it doesn't with anyone. Now on paper you'd think people would be willing to throw hands more right? Moment you step into this world, you get all sort of untapped supernatural potential but uh...

 Charon: But...? 

 Fenton: But folks who already have it only get stronger, and the church made a point of gathering them up either through promising comfort or dragging them kicking and screaming until there's only enough of a person left for their proxy to exist. 

 Fenton: When those folks die, they use some sort of wicked device to store their proxies for later use. The good ones are given to officials to buff them up as a "Reward" for their dedication. Sometimes they experiment by making all sorts of chimera out of them...

 Charon: You must've had an awful streak of bad luck if you found all that out in only a couple weeks of living here.
 Fenton: You're gonna find out quickly that a week in here isn't a week in your or my world. A day in here is a lot longer and there's not really a natural shift of day and night, just perpetual sundown. 

 Charon: Ah....

 Fenton: Yeah.... anyway, we should uh.....
 The two of you look over as Hickory is being scolded over yet another bad guess.

 Fenton: We should probably help, figure out a plan, maybe answer some questions while we got time.
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ask what you can even Do against the church, where you can hide, and probably help check the larger doors that hickory hasn't gotten to yet- pissing people off sucks but this is kind of a dangerous situation
[Image: TCP%20customs.png]
Yeah, go help Hickory with maybe some rooms with seperate beds, Fenton can walk with you and discuss.
Main things I can think of talking about is if there's any giveaways for cult members, one you encountered had a fancy outfit by the looks of things. Otherwise, we need to find Arabis, both for talking about what to do and training.
Would trying to use Geezer's Radio to contact Erica take too long? we could ask the room number and it would help stop bringing a whole lot of unwanted attention to ourselves
(let's just hope that neither of them are super heavy sleepers)
There's a 95% chance I'm thinking of either a Pun or Mega Man at any given time

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