CoT Part 23: The Grateful Dead

The Fated Hour (3)

Once the group is back at the End of Time, a conversation with Frog reveals that he is also concerned about something Gespar mentioned. What caught Frog’s attention is the mention of a spirit of a “proud knight” haunting some ruins outside of the town of Choros. Frog decides that he wants to look into this supposed haunting and, along with Lucca and Magus, board the Epoch and travel to Choros in 600 A.D. The group then heads to the ruins to the north of the town. The group does indeed find a number of ghosts, but the ruins are in such disrepair that they can’t get very far before they have to turn back.

With their progress stymied, the group decides to head to the town’s tavern in search of some information on the ruins or a way to repair them. At the bar of the tavern the group runs into a familiar face. Toma is in town and tells Frog that he has found a significant clue as to the whereabouts of the Rainbow Shell, the item that he was hired by the elder of Dorino to find. He thinks that it might be on an isolated island but fears that something may go wrong during his attempt to retrieve it. Toma then gives Frog some spirits for safekeeping and asks the group to pour the spirits on his headstone if he’s right and something does happen to him. With that morbid quest accepted, the team goes back to the task at hand and starts asking around about the ruins. One patron at the tavern tells the group that the hauntings started nearly ten years ago after a beast was seen dragging something into the ruins. He suspects that the ghosts may be guarding some kind of treasure there. The group also runs into a carpenter who lives nearby that would be willing to help do some repairs on the ruins but someone has apparently stolen all of his tools so at the moment, he can’t do anything.

Now that the group has a promising lead on repairing the Northern Ruins, Frog and the gang decide to try to find the carpenter some tools that he can use to restore the ruins. The first place the group tries to look is in Choros circa 1000 A.D. Perhaps someone in the present is continuing the carpenter’s legacy. While searching the town, the group finds that attitudes about the Northern Ruins have changed little in the intervening 400 years. The current residents of Choros view the ruins with the same amount of fear and suspicion as their medieval counterparts. At the local inn the group finds another carpenter enjoying some drinks. After speaking with the group he allows them to borrow his carpenter tools but they have to go to his house and retrieve them from his wife. With his endorsement, the group heads to the carpenter’s residence to talk to the man’s wife and collect his tools. The carpenter’s wife grumbles about her husband’s drinking habits but is otherwise cooperative with the group and hands over the tools.

Once the group has the tools, they head back to 600 A.D. and return to the tavern to let the carpenter know that he can get started renovating the Northern Ruins. The carpenter eagerly accepts the tools and the assignment and heads to the ruins after collecting his apprentices. After allowing some time to let the carpenter team do their thing, Frog and the gang return to the ruins to check on their progress. The carpenter and his team meets the group at the entrance and tells Frog that they’ve done what they can so far, but need the group to clear out some more of the monsters in order for the to safely continue. Once the carpenter and his apprentices depart, the group goes about their task of reducing the number of monsters inhabiting the ruins.

After the group explores deeper into the ruins and eliminates more of the undead inhabitants, they return to the carpenter’s residence to inform him and his apprentices that the coast is now clear and they can continue their repairs. The carpenter is eager to continue their work but asks for an extra 2,000g to cover costs. Frog decides to hand over the money and the group of carpenters head back to the ruins to continue restoring the dilapidated building. By the time Frog and the gang make it back to the ruins themselves the carpenter and his team have finished their work. The head carpenter tells the group that there is still more to do, but until the last of the monsters are dealt with they have pack it in for now. Once again, Frog, Lucca, and Magus go about their work making the Northern Ruins save for civilians.

During the group’s extermination efforts, they come across a headstone in the basement of the ruins. Frog reads the inscription on the headstone and confirms that this is the final resting place of Cyrus. Frog then draws the Masamune to show his departed friend what he has accomplished so far and to his surprise, Cyrus’s spirit appears above the headstone. Cyrus thanks Frog for making the journey to pay his respects and commends his friend for becoming such a fine warrior and succeeding where he failed. Cyrus tells Frog that he can rest easy now knowing that things are in his capable hands and reminds him to look after Queen Leene before finally moving on. Once Cyrus has disappeared, the Masamune begins to shine and Masa and Mune emerge from the sword to address Frog. The duo tells Frog that his self-doubt has been holding him back up until this point and now that he is free from this doubt, his, and by extension the Masamune’s, true power can be realized. Masa and Mune do their fusion dance again and return to Frog now stronger than before. Frog declares that he will continue to honor Cyrus with his actions. The group then leaves the ruins to return to the carpenter’s house to let him know that he can now put the finishing touches on the ruins.

Now that the Northern Ruins have been totally cleared of any undead influence, the group pays the carpenter team to make one last trip to restore the ruins. By the time the group makes it back to the ruins the carpenters are done and the ruins are now open for exploration. As the group surveys the ruins, they come across a few more of the sealed chests and activate them with Marle’s pendant so that when they return to the ruins in 1000 A.D. they’ll upgraded versions of the treasure. Once the group is done, they travel to Choros in present era and find that now the ruins are held in much higher regard than they were previously. It seems that the work that the carpenters did in restoring the building, now called the “Hero’s Grave,” and the group’s clearing of all the beasties has significant rehabilitated the ruin’s image.

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