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  1. - Top - End - #451
    Ogre in the Playground
     
    Halae's Avatar

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    Default Re: Riverside 20: Another day, another disaster

    [Track Rats - The Ruins of Light's Hearth]

    "Call me Halae," the warrior says, "And yeah, I don't see why we wouldn't - Getting the native rat population away from where we're going is just a good idea in general. You know the city better than we do; is there any particular place you think we should check first?"
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  2. - Top - End - #452
    Titan in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Riverside 20: Another day, another disaster

    [Track Rats - The Ruins of Light's Hearth]

    Amalungak nods.

    "If you point out the best place to do so, I can perform the ritual there."
    My FFRP characters. Avatar by Ashen Lilies. Sigatars by Ashen Lilies, Gulaghar and Purple Eagle.

  3. - Top - End - #453
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
    5a Violista's Avatar

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    Default Re: Riverside 20: Another day, another disaster

    [Tracking Rats - Holly]

    Staying low profile makes sense.
    Holly does it all the time, so she can understand why someone who looks kind-of demonic and hangs out with rats would do it when there's all sorts of false demon accusations going around and a rat infestation.

    If Holly can find her by chance, then she'd be worth investigating. But there's no point in chasing after something with no leads, so Holly considers her options.

    She could wait and hope the interns dig up something else.
    Maybe she could contact that group of Magtoks and have them help? But they're probably still busy with the city repairs and recovery; asking them to help track down rats would just prevent the poorest in the city from receiving the help they need.
    Maybe if she captures live rats, she could put trackers in them and follow them?
    Or...she could take over their nervous system and try to find out if there's anything unusual about their biology.
    Or! She could track down the people in KABAL and take advantage of them. They're trying to hunt down lots of rats, right? Maybe she could entice them by saying the rats will lead them to their nests. And, benefit to this is that Holly could try to direct them away from collateral damage.

    Yes, she figures. That's a good idea. Decreasing collateral damage and potentially directing KABAL in a more useful direction.
    Of course, before she does that, she'll have to stop looking like her MERC licensee half-elf form, and wash off all the make-up.

    While she prepares, she both contacts MERC headquarters and other government police reports to see if she can find out if KABAL members have been seen causing destruction around the city, and where they are.
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  4. - Top - End - #454
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    Default Re: Riverside 20: Another day, another disaster

    [Track Rats - The Ruins of Light's Hearth]

    Tarim seem to consider for a moment before turning to the crowd. "Anyone has an idea where you'd be likely to find rats?"

    There are multiple responses but eventually Tarim brings it down to the one he likes.
    "There is a dump nearby that now have positioned guards around it to keep people, most importantly rat catchers, out. That's where you're likely to find your rats." He gestures for them. "Come, I'll take you there."
    And most of the crowd just tag along as they go.

    Eventually, they will see the dump site. "Will this be close enough? Otherwise we'll have to deal with the guards somehow."

    [Tracking Rats - Holly]

    As she calls MERC, Dena answers. "Hey, Holly. How's it going? I actually have some information about the rats now if that's what you're calling about."

  5. - Top - End - #455
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Riverside 20: Another day, another disaster

    [Tracking Rats - Holly]

    As she's making the phone call, Holly is, of course, washing off make-up so there's background sound of water to clean the cloth that she's using.

    "Hi! I've run into a dead-end; I found that there's a woman who looks stereotypically demonic and entered the city in the company of rats exactly two weeks ago, and I was hoping to find her to see what she knows, but she has understandably been laying low. So, I was considering shifting my focus to KABAL and hoping a new lead came up."

    Now that she's explained what she had found out so far, she decides to ask about what Dena brought up: "Speaking of which, what did you learn about them?"
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  6. - Top - End - #456
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    Default Re: Riverside 20: Another day, another disaster

    Quote Originally Posted by Ironsmith View Post
    Talman's Toys

    The music box clicks to a stop as Mr C approaches, its spring having finally run out. It seems to be a fairly basic design, lacking any of Talman's signature ornamentation, and instead consisting of an oak box roughly the size of a grown man's forearm, with a large brass key in the side and a square-ish inlay along the top.
    Talman's Toys

    (Sorry for not posting. I was asking something in OOC)

    Mr. C starts exeamingin the box futher. He will look for some way to look inside of it. With the lack of Talman's design it might be a clue where the shopkeeper is. Or maybe what even happened to him.
    Spoiler: Rat Plot Quote
    Show
    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowcaller View Post
    The Grand Hall - Inside

    The rats are frozen by Shiva which earns her angry stares by the catchers. "Hey! These are all my bounty! I caught them!" A human woman clad in KABAL colors shout as she tries to take the frozen rats and put them in a back she has tied to her belt.
    The other catchers are trying to do the same though. The fact that the rats are frozen just make them much easier targets.
    No one seem all that interested in answering Karl's question. They're all just focused on the rats.

    [Tracking Rats - Fade]

    From what he can tell, something is binding the rats to themselves. He can detect some kind of metaphysical link between these rats and something else. Furthermore, observing other swarms he can detect that the same link is present within them as well. Furthermore, this link is more than just a mental one. It empowers them, making them able to ignore otherwise life-threatening conditions. Yet despite that the rats are seemingly just as easy to kill as ordinary rats. Or so he can see when a rat-catcher comes by and manages to kill two of the rats with a shot gun before the others escape.

    Even if the rats could have ignored the injures from the pellets and escaped they just choose not to for whatever reason.

    If he observes the rats behavior he will notice something quite peculiar. While the rats do the same kind of things like ordinary rats do, eat, poop, etc. They do so in a manner that almost would suggest they're intentionally trying to make already filthy locations even filthier. All of them choosing to poop at exactly the same location, some of them even throwing up there for little to no reason.

    Indeed, as he is observing them he can suddenly see the swarm turning upon one of their own, tearing them apart like a pack of vicious lions with their teeth. Then they spread the dead rats remains all over the place which is quite unusual.


    The Grand Hall - Inside

    Karl shivers. Not because of the freezing cold that they got here, more because of the attitude those mechenaries show. Have they lost their minds over their coins?
    When Shiva is addressed by the KABAL huntressshe gets a little closer and bows down to her (shiva is tall and also stepping a bit in the air). "I'm sorry," she says with a charming smile. "Maybe I should let you join the rats? I would be really happy to do that for you." The woman might feel the cold aura coming from Shiva. It's not a direct threat, but you know the drill. Shiva is not someone who likes get yelled at.

    Karl in that time takes a closer look around. The mechenaries are greedy as hell, but what about the hall people. Or are there even some? He tries to use the chaos and looks futher into the churches affairs. Maybe he can see what those people do with all the rats. It feels ike they don't just burn them if hunter can come in with living ones. Maybe he missed the living get more money thing?

    [Tracking Rats - Fade]

    Fade observes the rats with causion. Standing enougth away so the rathunter shouldn't see him. Thought with his shadow and dark clothing it should be easy to avoid any person. The behaviour of the rats is quiet disturbing. They act ordered and appear to aim for a target. Especially this link might be something like a string controlling the rats. But even so what is the reason of this? Those rats just seem to make a mess which surly scares people away, but is that all? After watching this for a while he suddendly got an idea. He heared of a pluage in another world. Rats did have ther spot back then. But it was an old time with many issues and a bad health system.

    Fade draws back into a corner as he calls MERC base.
    "Dena? I have noticed something on the rats. There is a link over them which I found on several occasions. It appears to controll them as we imagined, but something else has crossed my attention. Did anyone examined the rats for any kind of illness they might carry around?"
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  7. - Top - End - #457
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    Default Re: Riverside 20: Another day, another disaster

    [Tracking Rats - Fade]

    "Hey Fade, what's up?" Dena greets him and then remains quiet as he explains what information he has gathered.
    "Right so some kind of magical hive-mind, eh? That never showed up on any of Malechenar's reports on the dead rats they caught, which honestly isn't surprising. But I'd think they would have found out of they were infected with some kind of disease though. Other than the standard crap those pests usually carry around I mean. Could be some spooky magical disease that doesn't show up on normal scans, maybe? Maybe you could try to look into that." Fade didn't see any traces of magical disease on the rats, but it doesn't rule out other supernatural stuff that detect magic won't see. They were definitely magical, he could say that much.
    "But listen, I got some information for you. I would have told you this earlier but it didn't seem relevant until just recently. There are these tunnels going underneath the city that got monsters in them. Malechenar has them covered up both literary and metaphorically but there is a chance that the rats still got down there and are now mind controlled by some monster."

    The Grand Hall - Inside

    The KABAL member blinks at Shiva's threat. "Uh, look, I'm just here for the cash, alright? The rats weren't alive when I caught them, I swear. Didn't mean to cause any trouble." She raises her hands and show her palms.
    The other rat catchers distance themselves from Shiva as they instead try to catch the last remaining rats that scurry about the grand hall.

    Besides the floating suits of armor there aren't actually any people handling the grand hall. Indeed, he hasn't seen anyone that wasn't the disembodied voice he spoke to inside the booth.
    There are doors which lead deeper inside the temple but they're also guarded by the same floating suits of armor. These one's aren't even moving to keep the rat catchers from fighting among themselves for the rats. They seem completely focused on guarding the inner doors.

    [Tracking Rats - Holly]

    "Demon-woman in the company of rats, huh? That does sound like Jaahlyn, though it could also one of her family members so that's some good spotting, Holly.
    But yeah, before you decide to get into KABAL I wanted to share with you some intelligence that been pretty need-to-know, so congratulations for graduating. I'd would have told you sooner but Malechenar wants it all hush-hush and I wasn't sure if it was related yet. But all these rats seem to be coming from the sewers yet no one seem to be able to find their nests, right? Well, there are these tunnels going under the city which apparently already were there when they dug out the sewer system. One of them even end up underneath the MERC office and I've talked to one of the denizens from under there, a little goblin-woman. Apparently, she and her people plus a bunch of monsters have a whole little ecosystem down there. Malechenar has assured me they have filled in every entrance to the tunnels but rats tend to get in anywhere am I right? So maybe they got down there and got in contact with something weird considering how they're behaving."
    There is a beat. "And yeah, I've made sure to block the entrance to the office. Nothing is getting out here, I've made sure of that."
    Last edited by Shadowcaller; 2019-09-03 at 04:49 AM.

  8. - Top - End - #458
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Riverside 20: Another day, another disaster

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowcaller View Post
    [KABAL Rat Hunting]

    People start to panic as the large rat horde enters the establishments. The rats, being rats, don't really attack anyone but their sheer numbers and smell is enough for people to start getting out of the restaurants.
    The troll ring leader curses loudly. "You must find'a Tanu and Iwi." He snarls at the other troll who still appear to be recovering. "I call the rest. Emergency!" He takes up what seems to be a communicator and puts it to his long ear. Then he gives the retreating villains the finger.

    And for the record, these trolls are blue.

    As for Archera she finds that the alley goes out to the river Syde. It isn't immediately obvious where the rats came from but then she notices an archway facing the river which might lead to the realization that its in fact a sewer entrance. The rats must have somehow climbed out of it, a process which would have taken quite some time for such a large group. So the rats must have waited for the entire swarm to be here before continuing towards the restaurants. Quite peculiar behavior.

    The entrance is fairly large but barred with steel bars which are sadly too far apart to have been able to stop the rats.
    Quote Originally Posted by Earl of Purple View Post
    KABAL Rat Hunting

    Once they hear the trolls on their communicators calling for reinforcements (likely against the rats, not them; but better safe than sorry), Flicker and Spewer also decide to speed up, and duck down an alleyway. Not the same alley as Archera; that'd be a little poorly planned, but one that likely also leads to the same embankment area as the one where they can see the local vigilante. Spewer will hang back, but Flicker will zip forward to try and see what Archera's up to. Flicker's teleportation isn't quite soundless, though it's less noisy than walking or running, so the superhero may hear the villain's approach.
    [KABAL Rat Hunting]

    The sewer. Of course it would be sewers. Even if that might have been obvious, the rats' behaviour is still strange. All those came from this small space? And just to boldly run out in the open? It doesn't add up. This is the first time she's seem them come from somewhere this specific, so best not let the opportunity pass...

    Archera takes a small paper packet from under the edge of her armour and tosses it past the grate. It bursts with a very small flash of flame, and in the same instant she vanishes and reappears crouching over the spot the flame was. There, but she shouldn't go too far when she can't even stand up straight. As a precaution she draws in the water she'd used earlier to break up the fight to hover behind her, and pulls a little extra in from the nearby river as she starts to shuffle further in.

  9. - Top - End - #459
    Firbolg in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Riverside 20: Another day, another disaster

    [Tracking Rats - Ruby]

    With a metallic scrape, a hatch is removed.
    A creature that's a lot like a giant spider with the face of a bobcat scrambles down a ladder into the old Wildside tunnels near the south edge of the city. It's followed by a pair of misshapen shale-skinned gnomes, and finally a dragon-person, who slides the hatch back into place with the claws on her vestigial wings.
    She coughs for a moment at the foul air. Has this place always been so filthy?
    "Scout around the tunnels, up to five intersections distant, and report back to me on any rats or signs of rats."

    The little nightmare creatures split up and head off into the mazelike underground, soon vanishing beyond how far their commander can see in the cave-darkness.

    At first, they figured the rats were just normal pests, complained to the sanitation department (who did not take it seriously, come on, there's still so much rebuilding to do! Do you understand how much of the sewage system got wrecked by that colossus, and you're worried about a few rats?), and figured it would be fixed soon with a few traps.
    Then there were more rats.
    A district-wide surge in traps and rat poison delivered more dead rats.
    But then there were more rats.
    Just this morning the police brought in another guy running a rat farm, but once again it wasn't the source, just another person hoping to make a quick buck off the Golden Dawn's bounty program.
    The latest scheme has been to fill the riverfront headquarters with dozens of cats. And it's helping, though they have their paws full. But that can hardly be extended to the whole city. There are already concerns about a plague of cats if things go too well, and one of the lieutenants suggested stocking up on wild dogs, just in case.


    Thus, the General has sent her top miscellaneous-problem-solver to track down the source of the infestation.
    A few inquiries had suggested that no one seemed to know anything, at least not that they were willing to tell, so today Ruby has resorted to looking for the vermin in person. With a few minions, of course.
    Last edited by Recaiden; 2019-09-03 at 01:54 PM.
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  10. - Top - End - #460
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Riverside 20: Another day, another disaster

    [Tracking Rats - Holly]

    Holly decides it would have been better if she had kept the make-up on.
    ...
    But shape-shifting too drastically would have messed up the make-up anyway. It would have seriously limited her options; the only reason she could have gotten away with it earlier today was because of the mask.
    So she finishes up with the washing.

    "Oh. That's pretty interesting," she says, listening to the talk about the tunnels. Injecting trackers into the rats is sounding like a better and better idea. "If I can catch some live rats, I think I could give them a tracker and use that to track where they're going and coming from."

    Anyway, that's jumping the gun a little. "Do you know if there's any other known entrances to this underground area?" If there are, that could make this a bit easier. "If not, I just will need to catch enough rats. There were a bunch of rats on my street, so it would be easy to start there." - especially because her street is in the poorer section of Eastside. More opportunity for rats there.
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  11. - Top - End - #461
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    Default Re: Riverside 20: Another day, another disaster

    [Tracking Rats - Fade]

    "Hmm" Fade replies as he listens to Dena.
    "This Information might be quiet usefull. It might even explain what they are doing. See the rats appear to make places filthier. Pooping, vormiting and even killing themself to do so. My first impression was they want to spread an illness inside of them. I couldn''T say if there is any, magical or not magical, but those rats have been empowered to fullfill their duty. If it is related to the sewer this might also mean someone prepares the area for their arrival."

    Fade is silent for a momnet and Dena might here stone scrathing on stone. Fade will put some of the poop, vormit and killed rats into boxes, still avoiding touching them directly. He will use what he can find, stones, a piece of wood or anything that might be at least usefull.

    "I have taken some samples and can send send them to you. Maybe you know someone who can investigate if there is a magical illness. The magical ability of mine just tell me the rats are magicaly improved, but not exactly in what ways.
    I will go futher investiage what you mentioned. If there is a path wide enougth for rats, I can lip through as well."

    With that Fade will go on. First of he observes the rats and, if the detect Magic allows it, follow the magical link he saw befor. Now with the new informations he especially cares about the ground, taking closer looks when there is a spot where a hole leads down or where rats seem to spread out.
    During that his shadow slides to the Merc base handing over three tupper boxes for futher examination. fade appears prepared for taking evidence it seems.

    [The Grand Hall - Inside]

    "Oh," Shiva says a bit sad putting one finger at her ice blue lips. "That is sad. Maybe your comrads are more willing? They seem very eager to collect what you claim for yourself. Maybe they want to join the rats?" Shiva is very attractive, but those Kabal people might cath the trap.

    Karl can't hide the worried Face he got. Especially since two things seem to mix up now. There hasn't been any living person in this room belonging to the religion guys. And if what the hunter said is true thats even more disturbing. He worries as he looks down where he guesses the hole with the corpse is. He heads over to the KABAL person.

    "You said they weren't alive when you picked them up. So what did you do to them? Why did you think they were dead in the first place?"

    While talking Karl tries to make out a way to get deeper inside. Something is not right and it has to do with the church, maybe those huntress can be of use.
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  12. - Top - End - #462
    Bugbear in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Riverside 20: Another day, another disaster

    [Tracking Rats - Fade]

    "I could but I'm not sure how much we'd find. Malechenar already had their warlocks analyze the dead rats and the filth they spread without any supernatural diseases turning up. But considering what you're describing maybe we need to analyze a rat that's alive? So far no one has managed to catch that though. Always turn up dead, even in non-lethal traps apparently." A beat. "So was there anything else you need? Otherwise I suggest that you keep tracking the rats. Maybe they'll lead you to their nest or controller."

    However, once Fade attempts to follow the link all the rats suddenly freeze up and turn their heads from side to side as if trying to spot something. If he continues to follow the link, each rat suddenly shriek out in pain and then melt down into a puddle of gore, bones and viscera. The link dying along with them.

    [The Grand Hall - Inside]

    "Uh... they're not 'my people', lady. I'm here by myself." She turns to look at Karl, looking somewhat relived that someone friendlier sounding than Shiva was here. At least this guy didn't look like he'd kill here in front of all these people. "Right, hey... well, I feed them poison, got a few caught in traps, even managed to shot a few." She eyes the frozen rats and gestures at one of them. "See? You can still see the bullet hole on this one!" Sure enough, there is a big mark on the rat that looks roughly the size of a bullet. Yet its completely healed and would likely have been perfectly healthy if it didn't freeze to death a few moments ago.

    [Tracking Rats - Holly]

    "Not any that are open. Malechenar has told me they filled all of them in with cement. We could open the one here at MERC though, but I'd need some pretty good reasoning for that. What about you catch a few rats then and get back to me once you know for sure they go down there?" Dena suggests.

    [Tracking Rats - Ruby]

    The southside section of the sewers are by far the most modern one. The tunnels are wide and easy to move through which does make it easier for the exterminators to move around down here.
    However, the rat tracks are actually leading out of the southside area and towards eastside. Crossing that border will likely result in a diplomatic incident of some sort but its clear that the rats are coming from that direction. They would know that Malechenar have agents patrolling large sections of the sewer system and even if they might get undetected by the officials of eastside it would make it more likely to run into one of them.

    [KABAL Rat Hunting ==> Sewers - Archera]

    The two villains can see the hero blink out of existence after looking into the sewer tunnel. Well, that was certainly weird.

    However, they can hear cars speeding towards their location. It sounds like those reinforcements the troll mentioned are on their way.

    They could just flee the scene, follow the hero down there, or try to deal with those "reinforcements". They have been told that the sewers likely has the most rats but that Malechenarhas forbidden anyone from going down there. At the risk of getting thrown out of the city, most KABAL goons have agreed to leave the sewers alone as there supposedly is Malechenar agents patrolling down there.



    Archera will likely almost be overwhelmed by the foul stench down there. She can see traces of the massive rat swarm that came through here. They must have squeezed themselves together to be able to get through this stone tube so quickly. The sewer air is damp but at least refreshingly cold compared to the city above. It still doesn't help with the stench however, hopefully Archera hasn't eaten anything lately.

    But if she manages to get into the sewer proper without vomiting she will find that it's not that big. She can walk upright in here but the sewers tunnels are otherwise narrow and claustrophobic. She could stand with her arms stretched out and touch both the tunnels opposing walls easily and it isn't that far up to the tunnels ceiling either. Considering the small size at least this section of the sewers must be quite old. In contrast to the sewer itself she can see modern tubes coming out of the walls which likely are connected to the restaurants above ground. These tubes are making the already narrow space in the tunnel even more constrained. She will likely have to duck and squeeze herself through some of the sections of this sewer tunnel if she likes to be able to continue forward.

    It does look like the rats came from the north at least. Though following the trail will become increasingly harder the deeper she goes. Eventually she reaches section of the tunnel where it intersects with a larger more modern one. It's now impossible to tell in which direction the rats went but she can hear what sounds like footsteps coming from the modern tunnel as well as a small source of light.

    Archera will know that Malechenar has agents patrolling the tunnels ever since the outbreak started. Both to stop rat catchers from coming down here and to stop rats from coming out. They haven't done a good job so far though.

  13. - Top - End - #463
    Ogre in the Playground
     
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    Default Re: Riverside 20: Another day, another disaster

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowcaller View Post
    [Track Rats - The Ruins of Light's Hearth]

    Tarim seem to consider for a moment before turning to the crowd. "Anyone has an idea where you'd be likely to find rats?"

    There are multiple responses but eventually Tarim brings it down to the one he likes.
    "There is a dump nearby that now have positioned guards around it to keep people, most importantly rat catchers, out. That's where you're likely to find your rats." He gestures for them. "Come, I'll take you there."
    And most of the crowd just tag along as they go.

    Eventually, they will see the dump site. "Will this be close enough? Otherwise we'll have to deal with the guards somehow."
    [Tracking Rats - The Ruins of Light's Hearth]

    Halae will move behind Tarim, keeping an eye out for any rats that may see them along the way, so that they might be captured or otherwise used against the whatever power is behind them. As they move, the exalt eyes Amalungak and Tarim each in turn, wondering what they're thinking. Tarim seems like a straightforward 'champion' type, focused first and foremost on what he can do for his people. Perhaps that could end up being useful, but his zealotry could prove a problem if he rushes in without a plan. Best to keep an eye out for that.

    Amalungak is more of a mystery. Some kind of mystic, he doesn't seem attached to Light's Hearth, and Halae doesn't know where his allegiances lay. Still, he's not on the opposing side, else that rat wouldn't have collapsed in front of him. But is he a good enough fighter to take contribute should there be a throwdown? Well, they'd just have to see.
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  14. - Top - End - #464
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    Default Re: Riverside 20: Another day, another disaster

    KABAL Rat Hunting

    That was odd, the hero disappearing in front of the sewer grate, but they'll go over anyway. Neither of them has enhanced strength, so getting through that way would be hard, and it's likely the bars are too thick for Flicker to teleport through- she can't move very far at all, though it's very fast. Neither of them are much affected by the smell; Spewer's got an enhanced gag reflex, as a result of how his power manifests, and Flicker has a nose plug.

    Flicker's going to yell down it, first of all. "Hey! Water lady, we wanna help! Can you get us in, or if not get away from this grate? We don't want to hurt you!" She's trying to keep her voice down, but still be heard. She doesn't want the MERC goons to figure out where she is, because whilst she can escape, Spewer can't. And she doesn't want to leave her boyfriend in danger.
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  15. - Top - End - #465
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    Default Re: Riverside 20: Another day, another disaster

    [Tracking Rats - The Ruins of Light's Hearth]

    Amalungak surveys their surroundings carefully, then nods.

    "This should be enough, yes. I will specify rats when performing my ritual, so we don't have to deal with however many other carrion-eaters."

    He produces a small flint knife from his satchel, rolls up his sleeve and makes a small cut on the upper side of his forearm. He turns his arm around and lets the blood drip to the ground. However, before it can hit, it turns white and seemingly very dense, like oil. It splashes onto the ground in an unnaturally large splatter. Amalungak is gutturally chanting all the while, and nearby rats, particularly from the direction of the dump, will feel an overpowering compulsion to head in his direction.
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  16. - Top - End - #466
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    Default Re: Riverside 20: Another day, another disaster

    [Tracking Rats - Holly]

    Holly nods.

    ...
    The nod obviously can't be heard over the phone.

    So, instead she just speaks out loud. "Yeah, I wasn't expecting any known ones open. There's probably some other ones around that I could find."

    "I'll go catch a bunch,"
    Holly says, "and start tracking them." She even has a plan!

    "Okay, bye." Holly hangs up and puts away her phone. Okay, need to catch some rats.

    She goes back to the alley where her house is and starts looking for some live rats to capture. Obviously, it'll be hard (rats aren't easy to catch) but if all else fails, she could always do a Magical Girl transformation to significantly up her speed.
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    Default Re: Riverside 20: Another day, another disaster

    [Tracking Rats - Outside the Eastside Dump]

    Sure enough, the ritual is starting to attract rats. They are quite few in number and are all coming in the direction of the dump, suggesting that they are indeed unaffected by whatever is controlling the other rats.
    They appear confused, not sure what has drawn them here as there isn't any food.

    However, shortly afterwards a far larger swarm of rats appear that acts much different from the initial ones. They keep their distance and appear satisfied with staring at them and the first rats they lured in. The mob seem slightly uneasy and start drawing their weapons as there are suddenly rats everywhere that are watching them from every direction. "Seem like you got more than you asked for." Tarim remarks as he watches the rats appear. "Now how do we tell all these rats apart?"

    [Tracking Rats - Holly]

    Catching the rats is relatively easy if she knows what she is doing and have the proper tools.

    Keeping them alive is for some reason considerably harder as she will only find dead rats even in the most non-lethal of traps she might use. If she is catching them herself she will see that the rats actually kill one another or try to commit suicide if caught by, in some extreme cases, bite themselves to death.

    Indeed, if nothing else work, the rats actually painfully melt if there are no other ways out. Turning into a pile of bones, viscera and gore.

    She can eventually easily confirm that these rats are decidedly not normal after a while at least. Something odd is at work here.
    Last edited by Shadowcaller; 2019-09-06 at 06:47 AM.

  18. - Top - End - #468
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    Default Re: Riverside 20: Another day, another disaster

    [Tracking Rats - Holly]

    Well, that is incredibly bizarre.

    She already knew the rats were abnormal, but now she knows that the rats are willing to kill themselves rather than being caught. Definitely something weird. Maybe some kind of hive-mind, she thinks? She'll have to find some way to get trackers in them without them noticing.

    Harley sits down to consider her new options, and how the rats could evade them.
    Maybe she doesn't actually have to catch them? Since any attempt at capture will lead to their death. Harley creates a pile of trackers in her hand - basically a bacteria-like cell that will inject and cause the replication of organelles that, all together, will produce a certain pattern of low radio waves from excess metabolic processes. If she has this right, it ought to only infect rat cells and other creatures biologically similar to rats - maybe in the future it'll mutate to infect people, but...these things won't change that quickly. She tests them out by pouring them on the self-destructed rats that she has caught, to make sure they can infect the rats.
    Harley comes up with two different methods she could try.

    First.
    One of the easiest ways to kill rats is by leaving out poisoned food, right? What if instead she leaves out infected food? She runs into her house to grab various things - melons, vegetables, cereals, nuts (she's not entirely sure what rats eat) (and what if these rats also don't eat the same things as normal rats?). She places the pseudo-bacteria in them, with a couple of dead rat cells to ensure they'll survive however long they need, and begins placing the food all along the alley, street, and even drops some into the sewer.
    "Okay." Even magic rats can't ignore their stomach for too long, right?

    Second, the shape-shifter doesn't have to just sit around and wait.
    What if, instead of trying to capture then, she just straight-up injects the pseudo-bacteria into them (along with endorphins, of course; gotta make them like it) and lets them escape? From what she remembers, rats tend to have fuzzy eyesight so camouflage ought to work - but they have a killer sense of smell...luckily Harley can alter her scent.
    She grabs a couple dead rats in her left hand and cycles through several different receptors to determine what kind of pheromones the rats were giving off just before they died, and then starts mimicking them.
    ...Desperate times call for desperate measures. There's no way they'll be able to stop these rats if they're unwilling to do disgusting things.
    She waits around near a sewer entrance for some rats to come by for her catch-infect-and-release program.
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  19. - Top - End - #469
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    Default Re: Riverside 20: Another day, another disaster

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowcaller View Post
    [KABAL Rat Hunting ==> Sewers - Archera]

    The two villains can see the hero blink out of existence after looking into the sewer tunnel. Well, that was certainly weird.

    However, they can hear cars speeding towards their location. It sounds like those reinforcements the troll mentioned are on their way.

    They could just flee the scene, follow the hero down there, or try to deal with those "reinforcements". They have been told that the sewers likely has the most rats but that Malechenarhas forbidden anyone from going down there. At the risk of getting thrown out of the city, most KABAL goons have agreed to leave the sewers alone as there supposedly is Malechenar agents patrolling down there.



    Archera will likely almost be overwhelmed by the foul stench down there. She can see traces of the massive rat swarm that came through here. They must have squeezed themselves together to be able to get through this stone tube so quickly. The sewer air is damp but at least refreshingly cold compared to the city above. It still doesn't help with the stench however, hopefully Archera hasn't eaten anything lately.

    But if she manages to get into the sewer proper without vomiting she will find that it's not that big. She can walk upright in here but the sewers tunnels are otherwise narrow and claustrophobic. She could stand with her arms stretched out and touch both the tunnels opposing walls easily and it isn't that far up to the tunnels ceiling either. Considering the small size at least this section of the sewers must be quite old. In contrast to the sewer itself she can see modern tubes coming out of the walls which likely are connected to the restaurants above ground. These tubes are making the already narrow space in the tunnel even more constrained. She will likely have to duck and squeeze herself through some of the sections of this sewer tunnel if she likes to be able to continue forward.

    It does look like the rats came from the north at least. Though following the trail will become increasingly harder the deeper she goes. Eventually she reaches section of the tunnel where it intersects with a larger more modern one. It's now impossible to tell in which direction the rats went but she can hear what sounds like footsteps coming from the modern tunnel as well as a small source of light.

    Archera will know that Malechenar has agents patrolling the tunnels ever since the outbreak started. Both to stop rat catchers from coming down here and to stop rats from coming out. They haven't done a good job so far though.
    Quote Originally Posted by Earl of Purple View Post
    KABAL Rat Hunting

    That was odd, the hero disappearing in front of the sewer grate, but they'll go over anyway. Neither of them has enhanced strength, so getting through that way would be hard, and it's likely the bars are too thick for Flicker to teleport through- she can't move very far at all, though it's very fast. Neither of them are much affected by the smell; Spewer's got an enhanced gag reflex, as a result of how his power manifests, and Flicker has a nose plug.

    Flicker's going to yell down it, first of all. "Hey! Water lady, we wanna help! Can you get us in, or if not get away from this grate? We don't want to hurt you!" She's trying to keep her voice down, but still be heard. She doesn't want the MERC goons to figure out where she is, because whilst she can escape, Spewer can't. And she doesn't want to leave her boyfriend in danger.
    [KABAL Rat Sewers]

    Archera gets a ways into the tunnel, just far enough to get a sense of what the environment is like in there. Short answer, awful. But she does hear the voice echoing down from behind her. She pauses and considers, and then turns and heads back up. The two will see her eyes, two points of purple light, moment before she comes forward enough that she can just be seen. "If you want to help, find a manhole to the south down the street we were on. Hurry, I won't wait."

  20. - Top - End - #470
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    Default Re: Riverside 20: Another day, another disaster

    KABAL Rat Hunting- Sewers

    "I've got a faster idea." He reaches into his big coat, pulls out a small tin, like the one breath-mints sometimes come in, and opens it. He withdraws a large red lozenge and puts it in his mouth, grimacing as he swallows; it doesn't taste very nice. Then he gags, motioning for Archera to get away. He'll hold up until she gets away, before he spits a thick red liquid onto the bars, where it sizzles and fizzes as the acid he just generated eats through them.

    If Archera gets any on her, she'll find it eats flesh as readily as metal, though it doesn't last long; ten seconds at most. When the acid has dried, Flicker kicks the weakened bars to break them and get in. Because the vigilante's likely going to glare at them, she'll shrug. "What? They already weren't stopping the rats, just getting in our way. I'm Flicker, by the way. My associate's named Spewer. I'm a speeder, he's... Usually an empath." Technically true; Spewer's power does affect the emotions, but he can't read them or otherwise influence them except through fight-or-flight terror.
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  21. - Top - End - #471
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    Default Re: Riverside 20: Another day, another disaster

    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowcaller View Post
    [Tracking Rats - Fade]

    "I could but I'm not sure how much we'd find. Malechenar already had their warlocks analyze the dead rats and the filth they spread without any supernatural diseases turning up. But considering what you're describing maybe we need to analyze a rat that's alive? So far no one has managed to catch that though. Always turn up dead, even in non-lethal traps apparently." A beat. "So was there anything else you need? Otherwise I suggest that you keep tracking the rats. Maybe they'll lead you to their nest or controller."

    However, once Fade attempts to follow the link all the rats suddenly freeze up and turn their heads from side to side as if trying to spot something. If he continues to follow the link, each rat suddenly shriek out in pain and then melt down into a puddle of gore, bones and viscera. The link dying along with them.

    [The Grand Hall - Inside]

    "Uh... they're not 'my people', lady. I'm here by myself." She turns to look at Karl, looking somewhat relived that someone friendlier sounding than Shiva was here. At least this guy didn't look like he'd kill here in front of all these people. "Right, hey... well, I feed them poison, got a few caught in traps, even managed to shot a few." She eyes the frozen rats and gestures at one of them. "See? You can still see the bullet hole on this one!" Sure enough, there is a big mark on the rat that looks roughly the size of a bullet. Yet its completely healed and would likely have been perfectly healthy if it didn't freeze to death a few moments ago.
    [Tracking Rats - Fade]

    "Affirmativ" Fade just answers befor he heads on to follow the link. Observing the rats while going on Fade soon notice their strange behavior that they freez in motion. He also stops for a moment waiting if the rats find their destinated target. Assuming they don't try to focus on anything he goes on. Just then he encounters their self destruction. Fade stops as he watches those rats go to waste. he even takes a step on a near box to avoid the mess the dead rats leave. Well maybe this is what he saw. Maybe this is their magical power. Fade thinks. Whoever controlls them has quiet the concentration. He gathered that Fade got a way to track them down and decided to hide the clues for safty.That thought in mind he continues walking for now following the direction he had last seen for the link. He needs to think up a way to hide himself. Otherwise he might encounter the same result again and again.

    Should he fail to follow normaly Fade will go a bit away from the rats so they shouldn't see him. Then he steps into his shadow. sliding across the walls he uses the shadow to watch the link and follow up.

    [The Grand Hall - Inside]

    Karl knees down to observe the shot rat closer. Something defnitly killed this one before or at least did a lot of damage to it. He can't really imagine what the hunter meant. He hasn't encountert guns or over fire weapons so he rather thinks about a crossbow of some sort. Still it is very bad that those rats seem to survive and heal such damage. Or maybe even rise again. In a sudden realize he turns to the bouth he was in and storms right in, looking down the hole he has poured the rats befor. He was sure most of them are dead, but if the once this hunter had then his, too might be alive again.

    Shiva in that time is watching the armored statues trying to find out how they react to the cold.
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  22. - Top - End - #472
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    Default Re: Riverside 20: Another day, another disaster

    [Tracking Rats - Fade]

    Fade would at least have noticed that the link seemed to have been going downwards, straight into the streets upon which the rats thread. Meaning of course it would have been difficult for him to actually follow them physically. Even if he does shadow shift into the dark underbelly that is the sewers to track the rats down there he will see that the link actually continues downwards. Meaning that whatever is controlling the rats is actually underneath even the sewers somewhere in a space that shouldn't exist. The only possibility would be these tunnels that Dena mentioned over the phone.

    He can't find any rats going further down than the sewers however.

    [The Grand Hall - Inside]

    He can't see anything down the hole but total darkness. Though then he hears that voice once more from the other side of the booth. "Is there anything else I can help you with, devotee?"

    As for Shiva, the floating suits of armor do not seem effected by simply being close to her. Though they might still get damaged by her attacks. It all depends on what she is doing besides simply looking at them.

    [Sewers - KABAL and Archera]

    The grate is melted down by the acid, allowing the two to enter. They will still have to crawl inside though as the tuble isn't large enough to walk through. Inside, they will be greeted by the same aged tunnel system as Archera.

    Archera might recall that Malechenar relatively recently made a big show out of upgrading the old sewer systems though obviously this section wasn't a part of that. Mainly north- and westside were worked on in a huge arcitectual effort by Malechenar's part. They likely did a lot of it for the publicity not to mention that the old sewers had become incapable of supporting the city's growing population.

    [Tracking Rats - Holly]

    Rats will eventually come by and she will manage to infect them. As it turns out, despite all their weird qualities these rats still do need to eat and whatever is controlling them does not seem to pick up on that what the food is doing to them.

    This mutation will spread relatively quickly among the rat population and she will get a sense of quite a few of them in just a few hours.

    From what she can tell, the rats do seem like they're directed by something though it's difficult to tell what exactly that something is having them do. Like ordinary rats they're more often than not in the filthiest parts of the city such as the sewers and the run-down areas. In fact, its curious that these rats are drawn to these areas despite the fact the rat catchers are patrolling them so heavily. Safe to say, it doesn't appear that whatever is directing them seem to care all that much about the rats themselves.

    In fact, as she feels the number of infected rats grow a though might occur to her. Where are all these rats coming from? The city spent weeks fighting the rats and with all the rat catchers involved the number of dead rats skyrocketed. Yet despite all this they just seem to keep on coming. While rats are known to reproduce quickly, this is beyond that.
    It's at this point likely they're coming from the sewers as their numbers are concentrated there but these rats always seem to be on the move. None of them seem to be staying around long enough in an area to do anything but eating.

  23. - Top - End - #473
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    [Tracking Rats - Ruby]
    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowcaller View Post
    The southside section of the sewers are by far the most modern one. The tunnels are wide and easy to move through which does make it easier for the exterminators to move around down here.
    However, the rat tracks are actually leading out of the southside area and towards eastside. Crossing that border will likely result in a diplomatic incident of some sort but its clear that the rats are coming from that direction. They would know that Malechenar have agents patrolling large sections of the sewer system and even if they might get undetected by the officials of eastside it would make it more likely to run into one of them.
    It's true. Less than a decade old, these sewers.

    Well that's quite interesting.
    She makes report that back to the department of pest control before venturing any further.
    Maybe, knowing that the rats are coming from eastside, they can at least have someone to blame.
    And it is the most suspicious and demon-infested district, isn't it?

    Ruby gathers up her little monsters and heads east, stopping at each intersection to send her scouts out a short way.
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  24. - Top - End - #474
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    Default Re: Riverside 20: Another day, another disaster

    [Tracking Rats - Holly]

    Yes!
    Success!
    ...Eastside is now going to be filled with radio-wave-emitting rats for a long time, isn't it?

    Once she confirms that it's working and has some time to try to understand what's going on, she calls back to the MERC office and asks for Dena, to report back.
    It's been several hours now (due to all the failed attempts to catching the rats), so Holly will understand if Dena isn't available and is okay with leaving a message.

    "Hi, so I did it. Well, sort-of: I had somebody make a radio-frequency tracker and get it to duplicate itself and infect more and more rats." - she, of course, neglects to mention that this 'someone' was herself: making something like that is not supposed to be in the scope of this identity's abilities. - "Here's what I found out:" Holly then begins to explain what happened whenever she tried to catch them - how they'd kill themselves. She talks about where they hang out, how there's way too many of them, and their movement patterns. She confirms that they do seem to be coming from the sewers, at least as far as she can tell based on where she is. And so on - any details that seem relevant enough.

    Then, she adds: "If you want to know the radio wave pattern they give off, for any other members to use, I could get you that info."
    Why's Holly so invested in finding this out?
    She just wants rats to stop overrunning her neighborhood. They're very annoying. She already has to share her house with a 4-person family who lost their home after the demon invasion; she doesn't want to also share it with a hundred rats who keep on chewing through and eating everything!
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  25. - Top - End - #475
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    Default Re: Riverside 20: Another day, another disaster

    [Tracking Rats - Fade]

    Fade follows the trail ending up in the sewers. Those nasty places allways seem to draw the attention of filthy creatures. Also it seems to attract those who live in the shadow. Fade himself got no clue why. Several buldings in all citys are abonded or just empty. You can sneak in one and use it. But whatever. He needs to work on the current task. He looks around for some way futher down but with Malchanar shutting every way up it wonn't happen. So he will need to return to the surface.

    "Hey Dena, Fade again." he says.
    "You are right. Those tunnels under the city who are even under the sewers, seem to host the person who controlls the rats. Is there any entrance to this area?" He asks.
    "On another notice. The link kills the rats like some kind of self destruct. To catch some alive we might need a way to interrupt the link or create a fake one. Sadly those options are out of my capabilities so I can't even guarantee they work."

    [The Grand Hall - Inside]

    Shiva is very.. eh polite? Maybe. She just doesn't like bad attitude and those guards are just doing their jobs. They are more like statues either way. So she won't do much other then looking around until dismissed.

    "Well," Karl starts. " Those rats seem to reanimate or just regenerate. Since I dumped a lot down there I was wondering if it happens to them, too. Maybe you could send some of your opeople out to calm down the people here?"
    Last edited by Zefir; 2019-09-11 at 07:20 AM.
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  26. - Top - End - #476
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    Default Re: Riverside 20: Another day, another disaster

    Quote Originally Posted by Morty View Post
    [Tracking Rats - The Ruins of Light's Hearth]

    Amalungak surveys their surroundings carefully, then nods.

    "This should be enough, yes. I will specify rats when performing my ritual, so we don't have to deal with however many other carrion-eaters."

    He produces a small flint knife from his satchel, rolls up his sleeve and makes a small cut on the upper side of his forearm. He turns his arm around and lets the blood drip to the ground. However, before it can hit, it turns white and seemingly very dense, like oil. It splashes onto the ground in an unnaturally large splatter. Amalungak is gutturally chanting all the while, and nearby rats, particularly from the direction of the dump, will feel an overpowering compulsion to head in his direction.
    Quote Originally Posted by Shadowcaller View Post
    [Tracking Rats - Outside the Eastside Dump]

    Sure enough, the ritual is starting to attract rats. They are quite few in number and are all coming in the direction of the dump, suggesting that they are indeed unaffected by whatever is controlling the other rats.
    They appear confused, not sure what has drawn them here as there isn't any food.

    However, shortly afterwards a far larger swarm of rats appear that acts much different from the initial ones. They keep their distance and appear satisfied with staring at them and the first rats they lured in. The mob seem slightly uneasy and start drawing their weapons as there are suddenly rats everywhere that are watching them from every direction. "Seem like you got more than you asked for." Tarim remarks as he watches the rats appear. "Now how do we tell all these rats apart?"
    [Tracking Rats - Outside the Eastside Dump]

    Halae focuses her power into one of her hands, a collection of fire floating over her outstretched palm. After a moment of focus, she casts her hand forward towards the collection of surrounding rats, intenging for the fiery conflagration to burn an entire portion of the ones that came after the first wave. They're acting differently, and any fool can see the first ones are confused, as is normal for them to be right now. The explosion will rock the dump, and will likely smell absolutely terrible as parts of the dump catch fire. Not enough to cause serious damage to the city, but absolutely enough to flash-cook something as small and weak as a rat, "By action, no doubt."

    It won't be enough to get rid of all of them, of course, but it's a start.
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  27. - Top - End - #477
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    Default Re: Riverside 20: Another day, another disaster

    [Tracking Rats - The Ruins of Light's Hearth]

    "I didn't expect my ritual to affect the possessed ones as well," Amalungak remarks as he puts on his blindfold again. "Let us see what happens now. There's still some power left in this."
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  28. - Top - End - #478
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    Default Re: Riverside 20: Another day, another disaster

    [The Grand Hall - Inside]

    "My people are already doing their best, I assure you." The voice replies, refering to the suits of armors who are currently working to break up the fighting rat catchers. "This unusual qualities and behavior from the rats is disturbing and give credenance to the theory that they have been created and sent here by the demons who invaded the city not long ago. I must admit that the idea of them showing up again is the main reason we're here. They spread chaos among the order we wish to build up and other rumors suggests that they oppose money making them extremely dangerous. Devotee, you that have managed to catch so many rats, could you seek out if there is some truth to these claims?"

    They won't stop her from looking around, but the doors to the inner sanctuary is locked so there is no way Shiva is getting in there.

    [Tracking Rats - Fade]

    "Yeah, I heard about those exploding rats from Holly. It's super-weird. But cloning rats is not something any MERC-member currently in Riverside is capable off. As for entrances, there is one here at the office. We're keeping it sealed though for obvious reasons. In fact, before we go through the trouble of unsealing it why don't you check out something Holly did? I don't quite get it myself but it you tune in to this frequence she has, you should be able to detect all the rats that she's infected with machine-virus or something. Again, don't ask me but it seems to work." Dena replies.

    ((5a Violista could probably say something about it.))

    [Tracking Rats - Ruby]

    The scouts spot two smaller rat swarms which are heading from eastside towards southside, attempting to use passages that are too small for humanoids to use. Quite a suicidal move considering southside's pest control efforts. Yet they are only dumb animals, right?

    Either way, the sewers of eastside are relatively empty. Only a few rat catchers are permitted to operate down here and there are also a few officials that make sure it stays that way. The scouts will no doubt be able to spot where these people are as well. It doesn't look like they have figured out just where the rats are coming from either however. They seem just as clueless as southside is.

    But the rats do seem to be pouring in from where, somewhere. Either that or they're coming from West- or Northside. Hard to tell with just the initial scouting.

    [Tracking Rats - Holly]

    "Some of that we already suspected, but it's great to finally get it confirmed instead of having it compete with other theories. This radio frequency tracking sounds pretty crazy though and I love it. If it works as you say it will, it suddenly grants MERC a huge advantage. So great job, Holly. Just tell me the frequency and I will have some key members tracking all the rats and report back to you if needed."

    [Tracking Rats - The Ruins of Light's Hearth]

    Tarim has nothing against burning rats to death and even sends off his own fireball of holy light at the watching swarm.
    Not many of the ratty newcomers survive and yes, the smell is pretty terrible. So terrible that some of the mob cover their mouths and noses. Some even throwing up.

    Tarim seems to think that's good enough of an answer. He does seem to agree on the philosophy that actions speak a lot louder than words.

    But he does have some words for Amalungak. "What do you mean? What are you expecting from these?" The surving confused rats now look terrified and if not for the ritual they would probably be running for safety.
    Last edited by Shadowcaller; 2019-09-11 at 06:00 PM.

  29. - Top - End - #479
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    Default Re: Riverside 20: Another day, another disaster

    [Tracking Rats - Outside the Eastside Dump]

    Halae is curious what Amalungak is doing, but doesn't regard him for the moment. Instead, she simply lifts one of her hands up to her nose to hold her nostrils closed as the other hand casts about, lighting sections of the rat horde on fire as if she was wielding a flamethrower.
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  30. - Top - End - #480
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    Default [Eastside Sewers]

    [Tracking Rats - Ruby]

    That's curious. Are they avoiding her on purpose? Or do rats just prefer to move through ratty tunnels?
    Ruby indicates the disappearing tails of one of the little swarms. "Follow them." she instructs her tiny third scout. The monstrosity is bigger than a rat, but smaller than a cat. Maybe it can explore their tiny passages.

    As for the rest, it's looking like a long trek all under Eastside, while trying to keep out of the way of the sanctioned Eastside ratcatchers.
    Ruby heads into the older sections of the sewer, trying to see which direction the rats seem to be crossing the borders. Are they flowing from Eastside out into the rest of the city, or did they come from Northside via Eastside?
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