A Bounty of Hunters

«One Step Closer
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Now that Taynor and I are capable of performing the necessary magicks, I should like to make an attempt at investigating conditions on the Thirteenth. Might I trouble you to contact Beq Lugg?
Forename? Are you there? I hope you've not lost focus on the void problem. I have an exciting breakthrough to share─a work of porxie-related genius, if I do say so myself.
Beq Lugg! Excellent timing. We've made considerable progress as well, and are ready to open a portal when you are.
Well, then... What say you meet me at Laxan Loft forthwith? It's far enough from any major aetherytes as to avoid the sort of aetherial interference that would be a hindrance to our observation of the void.
Very well. We will see you at this “Laxan Loft” anon...or as soon as I can locate it.
I'll lead the way. I too am eager to be one step nearer to our goal.
You don't mind if I think of it as “our” goal, do you?
I would be honored. Thank you, Taynor.
Like talking to an old friend... Yes, that's what it's like.
It appears Beq Lugg has yet to arrive. Patience, Unukalhai...
I hope you weren't waiting too long.
What, you didn't think I'd want to see this for myself? The Thirteenth was my home too, if you recall.
Quite. Though as I explained, we won't be the ones doing the seeing, strictly speaking─this familiar will gather all the information we need. Assuming you two can create a hollow for it to pass through?

That will do nicely. Now fly, my porxie! Fly!

Well...it's made it in.
And something is coming out!
My, that is an ugly one, isn't it?
I can still scarce believe how quickly we've progressed. It's almost as if we've been friends all along.
Thank you for clearing that up. The porxie ought to be back any moment now... Though I can't sense it. Odd.
Perhaps it's lost? If Forename created an aetheric beacon as he did for me, it might find its way back more easily.
Hm... That may work. Give it a go.
We've already come further than I dared hope. I am truly fortunate to have found Taynor.
Those two have really taken to each other, haven't they? I suppose they are of a similar age...in some ways, at any rate.
As I expected, these creatures hardly pose a challenge to you. Maybe don't tell Cerigg about how large and horrible that one was, though?
Keep at it...
Aha! A distinctly porxie-like presence!
I see the snout!
There we are. Now close that hollow before anything follows!

I believe it has performed its task thoroughly, as instructed. Good porxie. With luck, its observations may indeed lead us to a means of driving the Darkness from the Thirteenth.

However, I will need to review its findings in detail before I can tell you more─and it could take years to deduce a suitable solution.
I admit that I am impatient to find a way forward─but I have endured millennia with half as much hope as I have now. If I must wait, then that is what I shall do.
Like Forename, and your Warriors of Light, I will persevere until my world is safe once more. That is what a hero does.
I think you'll make a good one.
You as well.
If that's the end of the excitement for the time being, we should head back to the Wandering Stairs. Clear out that pall of anxiety Cerigg is spreading all over the place.
The “stare at it for a prolonged period” method has proven ineffective, so you may as well try channeling aether as the boy suggested.
Ah, you've returned hale and whole! ...Not that I had any doubt you would, of course.
And...how did your search of the hollow go?
We may have the information we need to save the Thirteenth.
It may be some time─years, maybe─until we can be certain. But I will be here for as long as it takes.
On that subject, I've been thinking...

Would you be interested in joining us? As a bounty hunter, I mean. Cerigg and I hunt down sin eaters and other threats.

The First was saved, but it remains far from safe. You could help us protect the people here.
I... I think I would quite like that. Protecting people.
If I can do that, then perhaps I will find the strength I need when the time comes.
Strength, you say? Sounds like you could use a dwarf with a massive hammer!
I may have shared the tale of the Thirteenth with a few other noted hunters.
Aye. I know what it feels like to fight for something you've already lost. To need to find a way to make it right.
And I know that it's not easy to fight on your own─inconvenient as that little truth may be.
...Thus a new team is born! This calls for a toast!
I don't object─so long as this lot carries their weight. I'm a bounty hunter, not a phooka herder.
Thank you so much...all of you. I would be honored to fight at your side.
I shall do my best to justify the faith you have shown in me─and to save my home. Someday, I hope we can visit it together.
I did tell Cerigg that everyone is fine, but you may need to assure him personally that Taynor hasn't been devoured by a voidsent or what have you.