Bet Of The Day | Horse Racing | Coral Odds

Emily of the Red - Part 63

Amy decided on the Tavern; a part of me knew she generally preferred letting herself go at the Diner, but after the day she’d had a night of drinks with friends sounded perfect. I texted the beach girls to meet us there if they could, and they responded they were already there. It was, after all, one of the few nights during the week the place had a live performance.
Music sounded wonderful to us all, and I filled my bag with a dozen sleeping potions that I’d promised Grizz but hadn’t yet delivered. Coral changed into something a bit more revealing to the heavy sigh from Steelfin. Amy opted for a sweater of mine I hadn’t worn in a while. It hung loose from her in a somewhat pretty way that only certain thin people can pull off. As for me, I stuck with a sweatshirt and jeans. I wasn’t about to try and impress anyone anytime soon. Still recovering from my last date, I suppose.
We were about to head out when I counted imps and found one missing. “Butternut!” I shouted out in the apartment. “You coming or what?”
“Just a second!” A tiny voice came from the loft. Some sounds of rummaging and murmuring later the imp flew down. “Butternut the Wondrous is ready!”
Amy’s little imp has fashioned herself an eyepatch.
“Did something happen?” The teen asked, with a hint of worry.
“Butternut the One-eyed is fine!” The familiar confirmed. Her voice lowered and she whispered, “I wanted to fit in.”
My apprentice smiled and scooped the thing into her arms, allowing Crabapple to roll his eyes practically to the other side of his head without being seen. All set, we headed out.
I told Chinless we probably wouldn’t be back till late and might want a bite to eat, which he nodded at or something else, I didn’t pay much attention as we walked out. The air had begun to cool, the welcome change in temperature a bit of a talking point for the naiads. We arrived at the Happy Cauldron before I knew it, the pleasant conversation helping to pass the time.
A burly man I didn’t recognize stood by the door. “Sorry, no hounds allowed tonight,” he stated in a gruff manner, taking a drag on a cigarette.
“Why not?” I asked. Grizz didn’t seem to have a problem earlier.
“Performer’s request.”
Fair enough, though I wasn’t terribly thrilled about leaving both Dante and Wotan in Crabapple’s care. I didn’t see any other choice, though, and turned to my greater imp to request his assistance.
He’d fallen to the ground, barely catching himself. His skin turned pale as his eyes widened. “No,” he mouthed, the vocal cords unable to produce a sound.
“You okay?” I started to wonder if something bad had happened with the Red, that all the imps were going nuts.
He turned to the bouncer. “It’s her, isn’t it? Oh my Satan. Oh my… It’s actually her. She’s actually here, isn’t she?”
The man breathed out a wisp of smoke. “Sure is.”
Crabapple rendered catatonic, I picked him up and instructed Thyme to take care of the dogs. I did my best to send thoughts through the Red to Dante to have him keep an eye on Wotan. Make sure he didn’t get into any trouble.
The three of them headed off, Thyme struggling to keep up. I wished I could teleport my imps anywhere I desired, thinking Rosemary would have been far more helpful. I’d have to get back to my apartment one of these days, resume my life. Whatever it had become.
But for the time being, we had a chance to relax. I bothered to ask the bouncer who was performing, since Crabapple simply kept repeating things like “oh my Satan” and “I can’t believe it.”
The man chuckled. “If you don’t know, you’re in for a real treat. Hasn’t started yet, so I suggest you head on in and grab a seat while they’re available.”
I left the unhelpful response and walked in, scanning the room for Sally. She would always be more visible than Becca, though less likely to save seats. As I suspected the pair greeted us towards the end of the bar, the yellow witch shooing a handful of suitors away to make room. We appeared to be rather close to the stage, and I was willing to bet Sally had stolen the seats from some unfortunate hopeful men.
“Sally, Becca, this is Coral and Steelfin,” I introduced everyone. “I’ll be entertaining them for a time.” I nodded off to Grizz and he began working on a few drinks, helped by a satyr and a stout woman who roamed throughout the growing crowd.
“A pleasure!” Sally smiled, though it seemed to come late. “You simply must tell me where you get your hair done,” she added, not too happy that the male attention had rapidly switched away from her.
I decided not to reveal the fact that her competition was a naiad princess.
“Oh, it just grows this way,” Coral replied, with all the naivety in the world.
Becca snorted, then offered a wave at the pair. “You look like a scotch man if I’ve ever seen one,” she nodded to the general. “Islay or Highlands?”
Steelfin regarded her calmly, measuring his words before speaking. “I’m more of a water man.”
“Nonsense!” The blue witch challenged. She’d clearly had a couple already as her friendliness showed. “Grizz! A shot of Lochlan’s for the big guy. 12 year. And another one for me, ‘course.”
The bartender dropped off drinks for me and Amy, then walked back to the display case to pour a glass full of amber liquid, bringing the bottle over to refill Becca’s. He looked to Coral with a grin and nodded for her order.
“Oh, um,” the princess began. “Whatever Emily’s having.”
The general looked down at the shot. “Oh good, more drinks.” He glanced at me for instruction. “Is this to be blown upon as well and sipped, or can it be consumed freely chilled?”
I thought for a moment, trying to explain alcohol. “It’s room temperature but will taste a bit like fire. You can sip it or down it in one go, though considering it sounds expensive I’d recommend-”
I didn’t get a chance to tell him to try to enjoy it. Steelfin sighed, muttered, “best to get it over with,” grabbed the glass, and poured the liquor into his gullet. He blinked once, then twice harder, and finally shut his eyes completely and shook his head.
Reminded me of my first shot, too.
Grizz, the excellent bartender that he was, dropped off what looked to be a cola for the general to drink as a chaser.
“I dare not,” Steelfin choked out. “I’d thought the bit about liquid fire was metaphorical, but…”
I offered him the cola. “This’ll be more like the iced tea. Bubbly though, but cold and sweet.”
It took him a moment, but he eventually washed the shot down. The cola seemed to do the trick, and Becca apologized, though not sincerely.
“You’d think it was his first drink,” she whispered to me.
“I think it was,” I replied.
Coral tasted her own beverage, pursing her mouth at the bitterness. I’d considered the drink rather sweet compared to most ciders and ales I’d tried, but tried to recall how my first beer had tasted without my current tolerance.
As we all settled in, I managed to tell Grizz to change any future drink orders for my guests to something unbearably sweet. I dropped off the potions as well, unable to catch whatever he murmured in response.
I finally got the chance to ask who was performing, just around the time Crabapple got himself back together. “It’s her,” he interjected before anyone else could answer me. “It’s-”
The lights dimmed and he immediately stopped. Stage lights began to come up and the satyr that had been walking around adjusted the microphone.
“Evenin’ folks, all havin’ a good time?”
The crowd yelled back cheers of tipsy glee.
“Great, great,” he went on. “Well, I know you’re not here for my poetry, so let’s get on with it, yeah?”
More cheering.
“Without further ado,” he turned to the side, beckoning a figure from the back towards himself. “I present to you, Ruby!”
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The Meld (43): Strains.

The Meld (43): Strains.

The fog did somewhat clear along with the rain waning for a time. Sadly, the vision straining fractured quality of the light unsurprisingly persisted. Yet some increased visibility - far less slime - ignoring the lake or sea they were traversing made for improved morale. The demonstration that the conditions could vary a boon in itself.
Despite the rather repulsive quality of the local water, at first they opted to swim then jetpack on rotation towards their high mountain destination. The basic plan being to stay off shore, for as long as feasible, to eschew potential hostile encounters. Notably they desired to escape contact with more alarm devices and any accompanying enraged land animals.
Off shore, the Triumvirate discovered little substantive wildlife. With just a few hardy repeated exceptions, they recorded few significant aquatic plant species as well. Mostly the glutinous waters only retained mineral formations and coral like growths ignoring an abundance of clearly stout giant clams that proved the local exception to the sparse aquatic life rule. Tor surprised at the clams doing so well, as he guessed them filter feeders much as the coral, but somehow they had adapted to the local water conditions. The Interloper wondering what the water might reveal under a microscope made sure to secure a sealed sample for future analysis.
Eventually however, due to the lay of the coastline and their destination's location they were forced to leap back to the shore. Not going very far, over a once more uneven undulating - almost folded broken landscape - before they came upon what seemed some different but equally significant artificial finds. The discoveries made despite a slow return of thickening fog and yes heavy slimy rain. The rain making ground travel occasionally slippery going having almost a lubricating quality underfoot.
It was Tor on point that first spotted something interesting, embedded in the ground. His find turning out to be the husked out skull like shell of a broken - possibly ancient - Sentinel Drone. When he disturbed the macabre discovery, attempting to free it from its half buried state in the gooey local mud, to wipe it clean and fetch it up for closer examination, it crumpled into broken fragments and for a moment puffing powdery metallic dust.
The inside of what remained of the shell when - far more gently examined - revealed interesting stains, strange crisscrossing dark smears. Tor taking a small sample of the shell to Gryll‘s obvious scientific approval. Not long after Tor had spotted that first Sentinel's remains, another one was located by Efor in a similar semi buried condition which they left undisturbed. Mere scores of paces later they all came upon a much bigger contraption of wreckage that seemed to spring into being out of the concealing fog as they approached.
The Triumvirate soon gathering around the problematic device. Yet keeping a little safe distant from the pooling effluent, the gross webby fungal growths and clusters of bloated spore boil type seed pods as well. Many of the swelled pods looking ready to burst to spread forth their contagion. It did not help morale that the infection made horrid sucking slurping noises and twitched occasionally in a diabolical trapped broken limbs animal way.
Torrance automatically growing worried searched around the immediate vicinity for whispering Horror Eggs or other signs of nasty burrowing hostiles that might strike from below. Thankfully he found no spoor of those here. So much on the planet, seemed similar yet marginally different, even the machine corruption itself: Here it sparkled slightly in patchy places with spots of a triangular mesh showing through which was entirely new to the well travelled Interloper’s experience of the Goop as he previously understood it.
Efor meanwhile, resting firmly behind an activated personal shield, held the hunched gait of someone under a straining load of attack. Torrance hardly blaming the Gek for being repulsed by the encounter: The corruption smelt truly vile to his olfactory sensors alone. The greater mechanism itself however looked more than just powered down and tainted, it looked decrepit and corroded as well. In addition, not just broken by age and infection it appeared to have been vandalised and / or possibly looted for salvage at some historic point.
Evidence of the tampering being panels seemingly purposely unscrewed and stripped away, now revealing once empty interior voids suggesting parts removed. Yet too often the once voids now housing either anomalous growths or in some spots more natural seeded plant colonisation. Everything growing out of the device from hardy lichens to various fans of wild grasses.
“Well Gryll what do you think? Is it the same as the other one?” Torrance asked.
‘I would calculate it is. Look at these structures.’ Gryll said, indicating specific parts without getting too close. ‘I would argue from their physical makeup the remains of complex scanners - if of a somewhat unusual design. These other bits retain the aspect of potent emitters. That stumpy tube thing over there might well be the barrel of a self-guided flare launcher. Remember the flare type device that came down upon us? Several working parts obviously seem missing, but look here is what appears to be at least one remaining light now dysfunctional. Very suggestive indeed that it is the same sort of device that we encountered earlier or, at the very least, one greatly similar in both design and purpose.’
‘If only our scans worked here. I might have been able to roughly determine its age and much more about the subtler nature of its inner workings and thus deeper functionality.’ Gryll added. ‘If it were not so tainted: I might have still learned much by taking what remains of it apart, yet not in this contagious condition. I don’t have the right resources with me now to safely dismantle this mechanism.’
Earlier Gryll - though he said little at the time - had clearly not taken well to the discovery of the fragile Sentinel corpses, yet the find of the contraption seemed to restore the Rogues love of scientific discovery as a far greater force than any mere transitory trepidation.
‘It looks a long time abandoned. Even ignoring the contamination, look at the more wholesome weeds growing out of it as well. Not to mention the general material decay. It could have been here for decades or even ages.’ Efor suggested dismissively.
‘Indeed.’ Gryll agreed. ‘It seems well weathered in, slowly becoming a part of the landscape. Usually modern tech is highly resilient - self cleaning - even within operational limits a little self repairing - due to the inclusion of nanotech systems.’ Gryll perhaps stating such primarily for the Interloper's benefit.
“Sadly, this one is not just becoming a part of its surroundings Gryll. Now it seems equally destined to corrupt these environs. The fate of abandoned technology within this broader Great Machine domain - in general - seems an antipathy to nature which makes me wonder sometimes if we Torrance have gotten it all just a little bit wrong.” Tor stated trailing off.
When deemed hostile Goop Strains were witnessed acting as a vile - corrupting force - it always disturbed the Interloper somewhat, taking his mind back to uncovering so-called ‘abandoned building lore’. Weird, possibly time anomalous, doomsaying messages that often seemed too personal to a dire fate for Interlopers. A fate to be avoided if at all possible.
‘Yes. The nanite foam corrupts and so on.’ Gryll noted sounding belatedly almost dismissive of that part of it. ‘Maybe over time machines fare even less well on this world than normal. Perhaps that could explain the Sentinel losses as well. A sort of slow acting but deadly machine contagion.’ He speculated.
‘I don’t like the sound of that.’ Efor stated taking a few steps back from the wounded mechanism. ‘What if our own technology gets infected and begins to rapidly degrade?’
“Everything seems to be working fine with our gear apart from our scanning systems and some Atlas database interface functions.” Torrance replied. “Perhaps those issues just a product of the broader conditions or even some of that due to the lack of Sentinels in some esoteric manner.” He added musing deeper.
‘So far our gear is working.’ Efor challenged his voice sounding strained. ‘Maybe we should return home before any of that changes irrevocably.’
‘I would say much of this decay is likely the slow acting product of many years exposure, not a more troublesome rapid process of infection. Trust me, if a rapid corruption of machine systems was an immediate danger I would be worried as well - with more reason than you two.’ Gryll replied.
‘I hope you are right but is it worth the risk.’ The Gek warned. ‘After all if our Terminus fails we could be stranded in this dismal place?’ He strongly reminded.
“I have enough spare resources in my pack to generate another fresh one.” Torrance stated.
‘All well and good only as long as your Backpacks nanite construction systems keep functioning.’ Efor gloomily reminded.
“Those systems are giving no adverse diagnostic readings whatsoever Efor. Relax, my friend. I see no need for panic. It seems you two can be a little skittish on occasion when encountering the challenges of the unknown.”
‘I would seriously hate to be marooned here.’ Efor stated. ‘Some things about this place do not agree with me.’ He added.
“This stuff - that will always just be the Goop to me - does tend to mostly infect long abandoned tech from my interloping experience.” Torrance reminded. “Tell me Gryll, do you believe this happens eventually to all abandoned machinery in this creation - sooner or later - or only to specific machine components? I once thought this infection had to be carried and spread rather than almost occurring naturally akin to simple processes of oxidisation. Although I now know it can spread as if an infection without doubt.”
‘Truly, it seems these effects may arise as a bit of both. I would say depending on the specific tech, its history and location. So yes via neglect almost as natural decay also by direct contamination as well. I fear most of our more sophisticated local tech can suffer this fate although large buildings that incorporate life support systems seem the most prone to this ill fate of all. Only items deemed ‘true Elder Technology’ seem utterly immune such as those: Portals, Plaques and Monoliths. So yes either neglect and / or direct contamination may start, I would calculate, the overall process of degeneration and corruption witnessed here.’ Gryll offered.
Torrance glared at the webbing and spore pods, some corrupting Goop Strains felt as much his nemesis as the Overmind, indeed some theories even suggested the Overmind a product of Goop mutation that just pretended to be something more outre. Yet overall the Monopods perhaps corrupted nanite infused biology - a slowly shape shifting biomechanical menace.
‘I certainly wouldn’t want to get too close to that old mechanism.’ Efor interjected. ‘Yet now I have been here a while, there is something else - something deeper - buried within the primary rankness. Can you smell it? An odd scent entwined like an enticingly delicious aftertaste.’ Efor finished sounding a trifle strangled at the last as if describing his discovery pained him.
Tor laughed. “Truly you Gek will eat almost anything. Maybe you should step back a bit more friend. To think I once thought my Vy’keen Interns had Iron Stomachs and odd dietary tastes.”
‘No joke. I don‘t like it but it calls to me.’ Efor grumbled nervously and he did take a couple more steps back shaking his head in annoyance or as if to clear it of a clinging miasma. To Tor his Gek friend almost had the look of flight about him.
Gryll however did not seem to be listening or to have noticed any of that exchange his whole focus now on the device.
‘I wonder who stripped away those parts.’ He mused aloud. ‘It hardly seems a product of wild animal action or simple machine decay or the swelling of the nanite foam infection from within.’ The Rogue noted.
‘WHAT THE SPAWN DOES IT MATTER?’ Efor yelled startling Gryll slightly. ‘This thing is all old news. There is nothing to see here. We should get away from that taint not hover over it.’ He insisted.
‘Not so fast. I have barely begun a study. I must at least walk around it to take some image shots maybe even record some moving footage.’
‘Well I am done with that thing. There is nothing here we can safely salvage or dare even touch.’ Efor reminded.
Gryll meanwhile got busy capturing his image records despite Efor‘s growing agitation.
Efor shook his head once again in annoyance and spat.
‘Tor talk some sense into him. Whoever messed with that thing, I am certain, are long gone. By Atlas there are very mature looking grasses growing out of some orifices. Whatever happened here, is over. We really should move on. That secondary scent is truly beginning to bother me.’
“Patience. His recording shouldn’t take long and if it keeps him happy...”
The Geks stomach noticeably grumbled loudly. ‘Spawn his good humour. If most of these old machines have broken down, I imagine that would make our journey much easier. Yet we should still keep our distance from them - if you ask me - poking around this thing whilst it is in this dangerous condition is asking for trouble.’
Gryll having finished one recording circuit turned to the Gek. ‘Perhaps most of them are broken. However what if someone was scavenging from some of them to fix others?’ Gryll countered.
Tor considered that might be a reasonable assumption, but Efor did not seem to want to go there.
‘Why would anyone do such a thing? Why would anyone want to reawaken this tech?’ The Gek asked.
‘Might as well ask why anyone built them in the first place?’ Gryll countered.
‘I am guessing someone didn’t much like or want uninvited visitors given the effects.’ Efor stated.
‘Not assuredly. It could be something else entirely, Imagine it simply an experiment in animal control gone a bit awry for example.’ Gryll suggested.
“Why would you think that?” Tor questioned.
‘Remember how that other machine sounded and smelt? As if it was sparking. Maybe it was malfunctioning? Maybe the animals were not meant to be so drastically enraged just perhaps to be summoned and herded to a location? Imagine if say these are devices to call wildlife out so you could for example make a local census of the biodiversity up close. Everything need not be designed only to have a grim - hostile - purpose.’
“In our dreams these things were designed to be so harmlessly benevolent Gryll. The whole process before felt like a smooth operating trap to me.”
‘At first it did to me as well, yet I am willing to also consider broader possibilities. You as a Torrance Interloper, can have an overly suspicious mind. You see conflict and factions everywhere, the evidence of that in your archived logs alone.’ Gryll stated.
“Please Gryll too sadly there are conflicts and factions everywhere out there - worst luck. This is still the ‘Age of Petty Tyrants’ as far as I am concerned, even though some don‘t like to see that fact or to talk about it. Pretending all is well when it is not changes nothing."
"The Age of the Overmind is upon us. It reaches out to divide and conquer us all. Never forget we dwell under the shadow of the End Times of dark and dismal myth. That bane of corruption all around us. Even the Cabal are now fighting among themselves, you think that is an accident of chance? I see it as all part of a broader reality.”
‘Is that not a product of Reefee and the KVC even in a way of you Tor?’ Gryll asked.
“It is on some level but ironically all factionalism serves the Overmind. I am positive it plays the righteous and the well intentioned no less than the greedy and wicked in subtle and disturbing ways. That is what makes it such an insidious force to contest. Even trying to resist the Overmind forces you into other forms of contention encourages the spreading of strife by the back hatch. It acts physically passive yet encourages others to clash.”
‘Sometimes I do not know how you stay sane - living in your dark reality - Torrance.’ Gryll stated.
“Thus speaks the Rogue who contends against the consuming Unity of Convergence and sometimes shows yearnings to be more akin to us illogical biological folk. It is all the same thing - it is all linked together. There is no separation between any of us in here - not really - we are all mired in the system. Consider the Great Reality Shifts the way they cascade over everything we are all meshed together within this vast interlinking creation. All being pushed and pulled by association with everything else: Every change, every action - every emission - touches us all. It all ripples out.”
‘Can we debate this elsewhere? This thing is really bothering me.’ Efor stated again, glaring at the infected machine. ‘If you two don‘t move soon I am going ahead on my own.’ He threatened.
“As I said, patience Efor, remember studying finds such as this one are exactly why we are here. Remember we are hunting after the spoor of the Blood Cults, well this stuff looks like Blood Cult spoor to me.”
‘I am not so convinced this is traditional Blood Cult - as we think of it today - despite how we found this site.’ Gryll seemed to flip slightly. ‘This mechanism has none of the usual ritualistic fetishism in its overall design: No runes, no glyphs, no masking sorcery of drama in its form. To me it looks entirely scientific in its purity of shape to function, in its general purposeful aesthetic. If, I would argue, possibly a little seeming alien unknown in its parts. Look at these brackets and fixtures these are standard things, yet they look standardised here to an unknown scheme of preferences.’
“Those screw heads are a bit unusual looking without doubt.” Tor admitted.
‘Also the material itself seems to incorporate some odd combinations of alloys from visual analysis alone.’
“So you think it is alien exotic? Maybe from some other reality?”
‘Perhaps, but more likely the product of someone - with an especially original and creative mind - who worked only on the fringes of the Cults and liked to do things in his own unique enigmatic style. Geskan, from what I know, was no slave to typical Blood Cult doctrines. He was an independent sort. A research scientist and engineer of exemplary skill not just an archivist. He just - unfortunately - happened to be born a First Spawn Gek.’
“You believe the Dark Archivist operated that far on the edge of the usual Blood Cult practices?”
‘Geskan was a savant said to be an inventor - an experimenter - a truly phenomenal scientist so much more than a standard Blood Cult Elder Tech arcane dabbler. He was said to operate on the edges of the Empire far from the beating heart of that authority. Not an average Blood Cultist at all. Geskan supposed to be a creative genius. Respected so much for his rare mind and talents - even by the Cults - it was said that occasionally all the servants of the Dark happily consulted with him - at need - and left him in peace otherwise to do what he did. In their many divided conflicts: Geskan never included instead granted a rare neutrality as a sort of treasured universal resource not to be squandered.’
“You clearly uncovered far more lore about Geskan that I ever did.” Tor admitted. “I knew little about this - neutrality - you speak of. So you now think this really could be Geskan’s Font?”
‘Very possibly, I am convinced this machine means he lived and worked here at least for a time. To me it incorporates his signature in its very structure.’
“Perhaps or might it be the product of some able apprentice.”
‘Negative. I am positive any other lesser soul would be bent towards more traditional Blood Cult dressings. No Apprentice left free to work as unchained to the cause as the famous Master.’
‘Who the spawn cares! I am going. Geskan’s home or not, something bad happened here. That is nothing new with Cult meddlers whatever their legendary standing.’ Efor stated angrily. ‘This place can’t always have been this broken. My guess is Geskan was not that smart after all. Your hero did this Gryll. He made this mess with his silly machines. I would bet your gifted scientist did something truly foolish that despoiled this entire planet. This is not just some End Times symptom, this is a product of reckless science run amok.’
‘There is no proof of that.’ Gryll bristled sharply.
‘This whole blighted planet is the proof - you are just too close to it.’ Efor argued.
It had started to rain heavier again as if the wounded environment was opting to emphasise Efor’s point the wind picking up a little as well blowing the fog around and spreading the nasty scent from the contagion.
‘I tell you this is all Blood Cult doings. They meddle with things they don’t understand and often can’t control.’ Efor ranted. ‘Some sciences are best left alone. Some places best left undisturbed and forgotten by the ages. Consider your Overmind Tor: What good has knowing that entity done you or your predecessors? Come on, enough is enough! Let’s get to that lonely peak - if we truly must. Look around from that elevated vantage - find nothing further to chase - then go home to the far more kindly system of the Triple V Frigate Fleet.’
“Efor I know too well how disturbing encounters with the Goop can be. Yet you would have us give up far too easily. We have barely arrived here. Exploration takes: Patience, determination and yes sometimes a stubborn level of almost foolhardy resilience. What we have found - alone so far - is actually abundantly rich pickings compared to many studies. It is very encouraging material. To me things are just getting more and more interesting. To leave this rare planet now would be to leave too much left undone.” Tor stated.
‘We must go on.’ Gryll stated firmly. ‘The Library could actually truly be here. Imagine what we could learn so much more than the truth of Reefee’s - silly - cipher.’
It seemed the thought of the Library was enough for Gryll to entirely stop worrying about the fate of the Sentinels. To Efor he already sounded somewhat driven. Not that Gryll was normally a fan of the metal police - far from it - but at first the possible consequences of what had happened to them here had disturbed him far more.
‘The Mountain now. Then we can discuss once more what to do next.’ Efor suggested as a compromise. ‘We have almost lost the benefit of daylight just standing here discussing these matters seems doubly folly.’
“I suppose we could camp near here until dawn.” Tor suggested instead. “Since we know this machine is assuredly broken in a way that means this general area ought to be relatively safe apart from any wandering - more natural acting - wildlife hazards.”
‘Spawn me Tor, have you been listening at all. Thanks but no thanks. I would rather walk by torchlight alone in the dark than camp near that too tempting corrupted and corrupting thing.’ Efor stated. ‘You don’t get it do you? There is a part of me wants to get closer - much closer - it wants to embrace it, to lick and taste it, to let it crawl inside of me. Perhaps if I had not been through so many ordeals - gone beyond - harsh Blood Cult conditioning and so on I would not be able to resist that scent's impulse as well as I am currently doing. Damn it, some aromas - to us Gek - are much more tempting than even a rich strain of Gek Nip, super seductive. Please we need to move on now. I need to get away from this cursed temptation before I give in.’
“Forgive me I did not… We shall go now. Follow me. Gryll kindly take the rear guard position this time.”
Thus arranged they finally moved away from the machine. Efor despite himself licking at the lips of his beak whilst walking woodenly away. Glad and yet disappointed to be going. Happy yet sad that he was firmly in the middle of his friends. His mouth continuing to salivate for a time beyond his control. His mind locked on an inner struggle of desire and resistance.
‘Atlas cursed Blood Cultist First Spawn devils.’ Efor mumbled. ‘Why did I ever get involved in this one. I was out. I got away from their plots, schemes and vile tainting mechanisms or so I thought. Stupid Prophet and his added 10%, good food and blasted free accommodation. Everyone swearing he had to be a fraud just pretending to be a First Spawn for the sake of notoriety an able ConGek - a rogue with an abundance of personality - and I bought into that mundane story.’ He moaned. The truth was he had been feeling a bit alone and the idea of being part of a group - a squad - of bounty hunters had appealed to him most of all.
Out, freelancing on his own, before his recruitment he had begun in his older age to miss having close friends and colleagues. Often after a fight he found he had no one to share his victories with only strangers. No companions to have a Nip and a Beer alongside. Hell even in the Blood Cults there had been occasional agreeable company - at times even community of a sort. Especially at first when they were all fresh acolytes together there had been bonds.
Before he had felt so very alone and isolated too, prior to his Blood Cult recruitment. Back then he had not felt he belonged with the other Spawn of his Pool. He had always felt more adventurous than most, more rebellious. The simple thrills of crafting and commerce had bored him he wanted a different existence to a WorkGek life. Efor had wanted the stars, yet the stars had come at a cost.
After they had gone a good distance Efor went quiet and a degree of tension, Gryll noted, finally seemed to slip away from the Gek’s stiff shoulders a little. One way or another this place, the Rogue mused, is having a strong effect upon all of us and this is just the first day. For example, despite his disquiet at the Sentinel issue here the idea of finding the Library, Gryll knew too well, filled him with his own almost irrational insatiable lust - yet how could it be otherwise? Truly, they had to go on - just as he had said - the quest could not be frivolously abandoned whilst it held such promise. They could not return early just because the Gek in the party was feeling too emotional and under the weather.
He was beginning to think it was a bad mistake bringing Efor along on this most important venture. Maybe they should simply send him back and carry on alone. Tor still seemed eager enough whilst Efor clearly did not have the head or stamina for deep scientific research. The Library: What secrets it might hold? What lessons? Not only about forbidden technologies lost but all that history as well. Maybe here might even be archived the true story of all the Blood Cults how that would thrill the Interloper. If anyone might have recorded - facts - in plain scientific speech rather than jumbled up faiths full of deluded and obscuring propaganda it would be the Dark Archivist of Euclid Legend. Gryll mused.
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My Picks For Opening Saturday At Ky Downs Five Day Meet.

I will focus on Ky Downs this Saturday as they have grass racing only and the fields are stacked with solid runners. They only have a five day meet again this year, including the next two Saturdays and I always try to play their races.
1st Race: Maiden Special Weight--- 3 YOs & Up--- 1 1/2 Mile Turf--- Purse $120,000.
My bet to WP will be 2)Somebody's Beau(8-1). Julie Burke has the mount and she won 2 races last year at this meet and is much better on grass, even at other tracks. Somebody's Beau' broodmare sire, Bernstein, is a son of Storm Cat but his dam La Affirmed is a daughter of TC winner Affirmed. Affirmed foals, especially his daughters, were major runners and producers of grass runners. Somebody's Beau just missed in a 1 1/8 mile grass race two starts back but he has been trying to run down horses while tracking slow paces but running out of room. But Saturday, he will get a distance that will only help with his late run.
1) Dixieland Rags(30-1) will be my choice to complete my exacta box. His only start on grass was a race marred by inexperienced young horses, so he like most others in that race, have little chance to show his true ability. His sire, Union Rags, was a 2 YO Champion and won the Belmont S in his final start while banking $1.8M in winnings. And while he never raced on grass, his dam family was bred to excel on grass. His broodmare sire, Smart Strike, is sire of Curlin and Looking At Lucky but his 2nd dam, No Class, is the best producing daughter of Nodouble, a top grass sire.
6)High Beam(12-1) will be my choice to complete my tri box. In his last, Borel rushed him to keep up with the early speed and he had nothing left when it was time to go. If his jockey allows him to settle early and then kick for home, he will be the one most likely to win this race. His sire, Temple City, dam is a 1/2 sister to Malibu Moon but he will get his distance abilities from his broodmare sire, Parade Ground, winner of the G3 Lawrence Realization at 1 1/2 miles on grass and 2nd in the G2 Bowling Green H at 1 3/8 miles on grass where he was charging hard but ran out of room chasing a horse that got a big jump on him.
Race 2: Starter Allowance $10000---- 3 YOs & Up Fillies & Mares---- Which Have Started For A Claiming Price Of $10,000 Or Less Since Sept 1, 2016--- 1 Mile 70 Yards Turf--- Purse $42,000.
My choice to WP will be 10)Blame The Dream(12-1). At first glance it looks like he may not care for grass as he has finished 2nd once in 9 tries on grass. But they were all races when he was still a maiden and some were actually decent efforts but he was left with too much ground to make up except his one effort at KD where he was sent 1 5/16 mile and ran even throughout. C.J. McMahon is a son of top QH rider Charles McMahon and after struggling his first year has became known as a jockey who will give his mount ever chance to win.
8)Appealing Way(6-1) will be my choice to complete my exacta box. She won her last start and should find this spot slightly easier. Her jockey, Joseph Rocco Jr is a son of another jockey, Joseph Rocco Sr, who was a top rider in Maryland for years. Jr has also won on this grass course in a $600,000 race, so he should be familiar with the timing it takes to win here.
12)Racey Reecey(6-1) will be my choice to complete my tri box. She will be among the pace setters and should win the pace battle if she breaks more alertly than her last start, when she got a sluggish start. When her trainer wins, he usually does it with front running types and she fits that angle. May have to fit her in my exacta box in place of the 8)Appealing Way.
I will not use the expected favorite 11)Awesome Gal(3-1) in this spot. She has too many starts and stop in her recent form without any works since her last. A red flag for me, personally and it is usually a trainer's hint she may not be feeling well.
Race 3: Allowance O/C $62,500--- 3 YOs & Up--- Which Have Not Won 2 Races Other Than Maiden, Claiming, Starter Or State Bred Or Which Have Never Won 3 Races Or Claiming Price $62,500--- 6 1/2 Furlongs Turf--- Purse $145,000.
6)Spikes Shirl(15-1) will be my choice to WP. His sire, Speightstown, won the G1 BC Sprint in his last start, but I like her dam family more for their grass abilities. His dam, Shirl's Soul, is a daughter of G1 Turf Miler Winner Perfect Soul, but her dam, Lady Shirl, is dam of G1 Winning Turfers Shakespeare(Woodbine Mile) and Perfect Shirl(BC Ladies Turf)and G2 grass winner Lady Shakespeare. Lady Shirl's sire line is Noholme II, the sire of Nodouble. This will be Spikes Shirl's first lifetime start on grass and well, she might actually like it, you think? A 15-1 shot I will take.
My choice for 2nd will be 10)One Mean Man(8-1). While he has not won since he was 3 YO, he has faced by far the best competition in here. He ran 4th in the G1 Secretariat S to Beach Patrol while he was in shape. While 6 1/2 furlongs looks a little short for him, the fact that the course has a slight upgrade(Hill) will only compliment his running style.
4)Sharm El Shiek(20-1) will be my choice to complete my tri box. He, like my top choice, was bred to run on grass. His trainer, Murat Sancal, has spent the last several years shipping all over the country and cherry picking grass races with long odds horses that are bred for grass.
I will throw in the 11) Field Of Courage(8-1)and box a small super because the potential is there for a huge payday.
Race 4: Allowance--- 3 YOs & Up Fillies And Mares--- Which Have Not Won A race Other Than Maiden, Claiming, Or Starter Or Which Have Never Won 2 Races--- 1 Mile 70 Yards Turf--- Purse $140,000.
My choice to WP is 5)Vanilla Cat(15-1). She is making her fourth start of the year(here I go again harping on the 4th start). She had a little mini break of 3 months before her last start but that was because the owner decided to take back training duties from Asmussen and used that time getting her fit. And she ran a much improved race since he deemed her ready. With a good work and a maintenance breeze since that race to keep her fit, she should be ready to fire her best shot. Her sire, Tale Of The Cat is sire of multiple G1 SW Gio Ponti and while her dam did not win in three starts, her 2nd dam, Golden Treat, won 3 races in her career; a maiden eace, the G1 Santa Anita Oaks, and the then listed(now G2)San Clemente H on grass. She also was G1 placed on dirt.
11)Cash Out(7-2) will be my choice to complete my exacta box. She has ran against the best of the 3 YOs fillies this year. I will throw her last effort out because it is obvious she did not handled Saratoga's yielding turf but has since recorded 2 decent works on their dirt training track.
I was going to go bombs away but after reconsidering, I will make 1)Blame Henny(4-1) as my choice to complete the tri box. Her sire, Blame, has the same dam family as Sadler's Wells, Nureyev, and a host of other very good grass runners. However, her broodmare sire, Hennessy, is grand sire of Scat Daddy through his son Johannesburg and of Beholder, through his son Henny Hughes. With her bloodlines, you have Danzig crossing with Storm Cat and this is the top combo in breeding today.
I will toss in the 11)Sarabi(30-1) and box a small super, again because I think the potential to score big is present. While I do not know much about her trainer, I do know Luis Saez will ride her well and she has enough upside to crash the super at least. The sire of her 2nd dam is Palace Music, who is best known as sire of Cigar.
5th Race: Allowance--- 3 YOs & Up-- Which Have Not Won A Race Other Than Maiden, Claiming Or Starter Or Which Have Never Won 2 Races--- 1 Mile Turf--- Purse $140,000.
9)Belfast Cowboy(15-1) will be my choice to WP. He is a close relative of G1 winner Sistercharlie in that they have the same sire(Myboycharlie) and broodmare sire(Galileo). In his last start, he was restrained by his jockey much to his displeasure and he became ranked and did not produce his best run. Probably the main reason the trainer decided to use another jockey in Channing Hill. Myboycharlie won the biggest G1 sprint in France restricted to 3 YOs but his broodmare sire Galileo was a champion 3 YO in England and is the best siring son of Sadler's Wells. Belfast Cowboy also crosses 4x4 with Danzig and 5x5 with Marshua's Dancer, a close relative of Mr Prospector. Not a matter of if but when he will mature into a top class runner and this weekend could well be his coming out party.
1)Mr Darcy(12-1) will be my choice to complete my exacta box. He has opened up big leads while refusing to settle in his last two starts. But it is an educated guess that Albarado came back and told the trainer the hood(blinkers) needs to come off and he will more than likely settle down and conserve his energy until the stretch run. This weekend he will race with the blinkers off, so he can see the other horses around him and hopefully calm down a little. He has 2 very nice works since he ran that suggests he is still feeling good. He too has bloodlines that will come to the forefront eventually. He has Storm Cat on top with Danzig on the dam family.
7)John Tippmann(12-1) will be my choice to complete my tri box. He crosses on each side of his pedigree with Storm Cat through his sons Hennessy and Tale Of The Cat. He has made three starts on grass and this is supposed to be the easiest field on grass he has ran against. But it has came up extremely tough for a conditioned allowance race. While he would not be a total shock, I like my top 2 picks better.
5)Passport To Chaos(4-1) has an outside shot to crash my tri box but he will have to beat a class of horses he has not shown he could yet. Therefore while I am aware of him, I will have to take a stance against.
6th Race: Maiden Special Weight--- 2 YO Fillies--- 6 1/2 Furlongs Turf---- Purse $130,000.
2)Arch Avenue(15-1) will be my choice to WP. There is not a thing wrong with his first effort except he broke a little sluggish after recording some nice works. Since then, he has added two more nice works and a maintenance breeze to show he is fit. He has Danzig on both sides of his pedigree but adds Hail To Reason on both sides also, giving him an extra dose of speed abilities and with the slight stretch out, I expect him to use it much more effective this start.
12)Julia's Ready(15-1) will be my choice to complete my exacta box. She has slow works but that is when her trainer is at his best. He has trained for more than 50 years and still maintains a 17% winning percentage. He rarely tips anyone when he has a runner but there are clues in her bloodlines that suggests she will be live. Her sire, More Than Ready, produces foals that are at their best sprinting, especially on grass. Her broodmare sire is Giant's Causeway, a top speed sire. However her dam, Julia Tuttle, won one minor stakes at Monmouth but that was at 1 1/8 mile on grass in wire to wire fashion setting a fast pace and picking up the pace even more when asked. Julia's Ready's 2nd dam, Candy Cane, is a winning full sister to Candy Ride. If this horse does not have speed bred into her, then there is no one in this race that does.
4)Ginny B(12-1) will be my choice to complete my tri box. her trainer has decided to add blinkers to get her to focus more on leaving the gate. Even though she is bred for front running speed, she has been a little tardy in both of her starts. Her sire is also More Than Ready but her broodmare sire, Yonaguska, beat City Zip as they traded wins in their first few starts before City Zip matured into a top class runner. However, Ginny B has enough early speed potential bred into her that she could harm the other speed enough to set up my top pick even more.
And since I have enough good odds on the horses I like, I will add 7)Super Patriotic and box a small super. Then I will key the 2)Arch Avenue on top and run the other three underneath on a larger super bet. I always try to do this at least once every week I bet and that will always give me an opportunity to make a memory I will never forget. And it has worked on several occasions but not on most.
7th Race: The One Dreamer S--- 3 YOs & Up Fillies & Mares---- Which Have Not Won A Sweepstakes In 2018--- 1 Mile 70 Yards Turf--- Purse $250,000.
7)Con Te Partiro(12-1) will be my choice to WP. She is shortening up to a distance her bloodlines will appreciate more than any other in here. She showed some ability in her early starts but her last five races has been further than she wants to run, even though she gave a valiant effort in most of them. While her sire, Scat Daddy, won a G1 at 1 1/8 miles, her broodmare sire, Street Cry, spent his career struggling at any distance past a mile. Sure, Street Cry won the Dubai World Cup at 1 1/4 miles, but it was against a field of G2 turf horses. Even his sire was a champion miler in Europe that never won past that distance. Her trainer, Wesley Ward, has given her what looks like 2 slow breezes since she ran, but they were more a maintenance breeze to keep her fit. She has already proven she is ready, only needs the right distance.
And where would I be if I didn't like 4)I Remember Mama(12-1). She will be my choice to complete my exacta box. her sire, Ghostzapper, is a 1/2 brother to City Zip. Her dam, Joyful Chaos only stakes win came on grass but she beat the top grass filly in training at the time. Her broodmare sire, Rahy, is known mostly through what his daughters have produced but he is also a 1/2 brother to multiple G1 SW and sire Singspiel.
9)Prado's Sweet Ride(4-1) will be my choice to complete my tri box. She should be able to stay close early and will appreciate having several front runners to run at. She is working a little faster than I like to see and these types ate either extremely sharp or about to throw a dull race. But since her trainer knows how to prepare them for a top effort, I am going to assume he is on top of the situation.
I will throw the 12)Last Promise Kept and box a small super, simply because I have been burned to many times for leaving a horse that crosses with Danzig on both sides out of my bets. She is also working on her third race back after a winning effort, another angle I use a lot that pays dividends.
8th Race: The Tourist Mile S----- 3 YOs & Up---- One Mile Turf---- Purse $750,000.
I definitely do not see an upset brewing in this race. I like The 8)Bound For Nowhere(3-1) to Win and will put him with the M/L favorite Mr Misunderstood(2-1) in an exacta box only. I like 5)Bandar(20-1) for third but that is less than likely due to a low percentage trainer and a jockey that is still eligible for apprentice weight but is not allow it for any stakes race rides.
9th Race: Ky Downs Juvenile S---- 2 YOs ---- 1 Mile Turf---- Purse $400,000.
I like the 6)Tracksmith(12-1) to WP. His trainer Joe Sharp and jockey Adam Beschizza has won quite a few stakes while teaming up this year. His sire, Street Sense, won the 2007 Ky Derby and he has bloodlines that suggest he would be as good or better on grass though he was never tried on that surface. Tracksmith's dam, Hot Water, is an unraced daughter of Medaglia D'Oro. However, her granddam, Xtra Heat, was a G1 winning Sprinter who ran 2nd against the colts in the G1 BC Sprint.
5)Coral Legacy(8-1) will be my choice to complete my exacta box. His sire, Bodemeister, ran 2nd in the Ky Derby & Preakness S but his bloodlines indicated he would be even better on grass. His broodmare sire, Smart Strike, was a G1 winner at 1 1/16 miles but produced two sons who each won the Preakness S, Curlin & Looking At Lucky. Coral Legacy's 3rd dam, South Sea Dancer, is a full sister to Storm Bird. Todd Pletcher trains and he has given first call to Corey Lanerie.
10)Mr Zydeco(30-1) will be my choice to complete my tri box. His sire, Risque Remarque, is a sire not many have ever heard of because he was used as a show sire for a few years. He was unraced and you have to go back to his great great grandsire to find Halo, a multiple G1 SW on grass. His dam, Alligator Style was an unraced daughter on A.P. Indy. Her dam, Sensibly Chic was a G2 winning sprinter on dirt but was definitely better bred for grass. If Mr Zydeco runs back to his only grass start, he will be a late factor against these and he has the breeding to pull off a major upset. The jockey can ride a little bit but would be much more known if he got better mounts.
10th Race: Ky Downs Juvenile Fillies S--- 2 YO Fillies---- 1 Mile Turf----- Purse $400,000.
10)Noble Love(15-1)will be my choice to WP. Her sire, Noble Mission, is a multiple G1 winning full brother to Frankel who won most of the distance races that Frankel has not tried in. Her dam, Pyramid Love ran 2nd in the G3 Doubledogdare S on Keeneland's AWT. Her broodmare sire, Fusaichi Pegasus, won the 2000 Ky Derby and ran 2nd in the Preakness S. However, as a sire, his foals are much better equipped for grass. Noble Love has the special cross of Danzig on each side of her pedigree and that alone gets her a ticket to win. Her trainer, William Calhoun, is known for winning when his horses can get the lead. And it looks like there is no one else in here that can match her early. She should be long gone before the others realizes what happen.
1)War Ballad(15-1)rated just off the pace in her last two but is the only one that looks like she may give my top pick any problem at all. But she also does not look fast enough so I will use her in my exacta box. Her sire, Declaration Of War, is a G1 SW miler son of War Front and this sire line, also from Danzig sire line, are poise to take over turf sprinting sire duties from Scat Daddy. While her broodmare sire is A.P. Indy, the rest of her dam family should excel at one mile on grass.
7)Miss Technically(7-2) will be my choice to complete my tri box. She should be able to stalk the pace and put in a good run in the stretch. Her sire, Gio Ponti, os a multiple G1 winning son of Tale Of The Cat. She also has major distance grass influences Nijinsky II and the champion filly Heavenly Prize.
I will add the 5)My Jilly(15-1) and box a small super. She was my original choice to win until I notice everyone at least a full second slower than my now top pick. One or two fifths can easily be explained away but a full second is much harder, especially when all the others looks pretty even.
These are my picks for opening day at Ky Downs this weekend. I type this post out to help others get an idea of what it takes to give each and every one a realistic chance of making money. But I set all my bets up to where I only need a couple of races to run the way I envision to make serious money. Sometimes it works, others times it does not. Being prepare and using your mind is always the key. Good Luck!!!
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Hollow Knight Silksong Trailer Explained

Uh… so lemme explain...
Ever since Godmaster released as the final content pack for Hollow Knight in August, we've been waiting for Team Cherry to give us more info on the mysterious Hornet DLC. And the info they gave was that the Hornet DLC won't be happening… we're getting a whole Hornet SEQUEL instead! This is Silksong, Hornet’s stand-alone Adventure in a new kingdom. The trailer dropped just this Valentines Day and I'm here to pick apart and analyze these mere 2 minutes of footage to discuss possible game mechanics, lore, and of course some speculation. Alright, enough of that! Let's get into this!
The trailer opens with Hornet being transported in a cage to the setting of the game. We know it’s a cage because the cinematic ends with Hornet breaking free using her thread. Also the bugs escorting the Hornet are seen later in the trailer as enemies. Not to mention the website flat out states that Hornet was imprisoned. So Hornet was captured and is being brought… somewhere. We’ve yet to know why. I speculate that it's to meet the queen of this land. It may also have something to do with Hornet being the princess of Hallownest, as the daughter of the now deceased Pale King. In the cinematic, we can make out the howling cliffs given the wind, thus confirming that we’re not in Hallownest anymore.
Next we see gameplay, in the top left we see masks and soul, just like there was in the previous game. In the various clips it shows as little as 5 masks and as many as 7. This first mossy area shows 7 masks, meaning that this is a later game area. You also may have noticed this magic bar, which seems to be the alternative to the soul mechanic in Hollow Knight, only the design is different. Above the bar appears to be a reserve tank, just like in hollow Knight. We never see the tank refill the bar, but whenever the bar isn't full, the tank is empty and when the bar is full, the tank is full, too. And later we see Hornet pull off an attack that empties the reserve tank and also takes a bit of the bar. I think they changed the design because Hornets soul usage is going to be much more fluid and diverse, with some spells taking a lot of soul and others taking little, as opposed to hollow Knight where every spell used the same amount of soul. Now I kept calling it soul just now, however it's unlikely that this is even soul at all, if you look closely at the bar, you'll notice it has a very thread-like design, meaning this is more likely to be silk, not the white liquidy goop we’re all familiar with. But just like soul, the meter gets filled up when you attack enemies, but soul is the stuff that animates life, which is why you get soul for killing bugs, so if killing bugs gives us silk, then does that mean that the silk that Hornet uses is actually made of soul? That would explain why The Weavers were able to make spells with the stuff. But even though Hornet’s silk may be made of soul, she doesn't appear to be simply using magic spells like the Knight did. Also, throughout the trailer, we see Hornet with a varying amount of masks, but not additional silk reserve tanks, which means this may be all the silk we get to work with until we learn more.
Once the gameplay begins we see a mossy area, a graveyard, a coral area, with tiny fish bugs swimming through the air, and a gilded city, where we see our first enemy, which appears to be a flying warrior with a face similar to the bugs that were carrying Hornet in the cinematic. I suspect this place is Silksong’s version of the city of tears and these are its flying sentries. The next area appears to be, to my surprise, The Forest of Bones, which is an area intended for hollow Knight 1 but was cut for time. We see a bell that's likely just a piece of destructible architecture to fill the area with, and we also see our second enemy, which appears to be a black beatle that wears another bug’s shell on its back as armor. When Hornet approaches this enemy she seems to be running, which could hint at a potential run button. When she attacks during this run, she appears to do a dash attack and then a down attack, which makes her lunge downward instead of a simple slash like the Knight could do. These two moves appears to be based on attacks Hornet pulled off in her bossfights. After pulling off the down jab, she appears to do a kind of air dash next, but this dash is short so it likely isn't used for mobility and is just another combat option. Then she lands and does a spinny jump, which I think is just her jumping animation while running.
In the next scene we see a steel bug. This bug is actually not a normal enemy because around Christmas, Team Cherry posted a blog post where they revealed Steel Assassin Sharpe. Or Sharpé, I dunno. And alongside Sharpe, they showed silhouettes for his two buddies, one of which matches this steel bug perfectly. So I think it's safe to assume that this is a boss and not an enemy, the fight will probably take place after Hornet gets the wall jump and the fight will teach us how to use it properly by having us scale walls to reach the steel bug meanwhile it shoots laser at us. Next, we see Hornet use her needle to hit bugs from a distance and also get grappled toward them before being knocked back, kind of like The Legend of Zelda’s hookshot. Then she uses the nail to grapple to a point that isn't an enemy, so it'll be used for platforming as well as combat. The next scene shows us an enemy that clings to the ceiling and tries to spit its juices at us, as we try to hide for cover or outrun it. It seems that this enemy alternates between spitting and covering its mouth so that must be when you're supposed to make a run for it. The next enemy has some really large scissors. Also, above him we see some bugs that appear to be enemies as well. One appears to be holding a lantern and the other is holding a... pin? What… what even is that. By the way, when Hornet hits enemies, they seem to glow white, which means that the Radiance is completely absent from the game because infected bugs would spew infection with each hit. This could probably be because the game takes place beyond Hallownest, but more likely is that this game takes place after The Radiance was defeated and was either swallowed by the void or mauled.
Speaking of the ending of Hollow Knight, the ending that you get for defeating the Radiance in Godhome where Hornet is confronted, likely by the Hollow Knight, isn't given any closure in this trailer. With this game taking place in a new kingdom, it seems unlikely that we'll be facing the void, and the most I've got for the Hollow Knight is that the battle with it made us weak enough to get captured. Back to the trailer.
Next we see a very brief scene that shows a couple of enemies wearing bells on their heads in a building that could either be in the gilded city or the forest of bones. I'm leaning toward the former. The flying one tosses a projectile Hornet’s way and Hornet appears be attempting to backstep, or run backwards. This is interesting because backstepping was a mechanic that was cut from the original game, so they must be bringing it back seeing how Hornet’s gameplay features her acrobatics substantially. Also, the animation hornet has when backstepping looks a lot like Grimm's backstepping animation, where he crawls backwards on all fours. We're back at the mossy area again with a bunch of rather harmless looking enemies. This mossy one in the middle reminds me of shuckle, and these other two remind me of burmy, so these might be bagworms. We also see a flying bug and a crawling bug. Then Hornet kills the bugs with the flying nail attack she uses in her bossfights. This attack also uses a lot of silk. The bugs drop these red balls which Hornet picks up and are apparently called Rosaries. This might be a currency, it could be used for crafting, it's unknown what they'll be used for because unlike hollow Knight, there is no Geo counter, so Silksong may not use a conventional money system. There is a large enemy with a triple bladed bone scythe and a flying enemy that lunges down in an attempt at a surprise attack. If you'll notice, the platforms in the background and foreground are made of bones as well. The forest of bones is likely one of the earliest areas in the game because Hornet is shown to have only 5 masks while in the area and because William Pellen and Ari Gibson said that while Hollow Knight was about descending into the depths, silksong is about ascending to the peak. And since the forest of bones has lava in it, it would be a safe bet that it's not going to be at the top of the world. The next enemy we see has the same face as the prison guards and the gilded sentry and is seen rapidly chasing Hornet. It's also attacking us with scissors and not a nail. I believe the repeated use of scissors seems to be related to the significance of silk in the game. I wonder if we'll see more sewing references like this.
The first boss we see looks like a worm, but not a wyrm, just a worm. Though it looks big, it is clearly a worm and not a wyrm because it's too small to be a wyrm. This appears to me to be the first boss in the game as indicated by the amount of masks Hornet has. And the arena to the fight appears to be walled off using silk. Perhaps this is where the weavers fled to after abandoning deepnest? The next boss looks like a cross between the collector, Grimm, and the Radiance. The fluff around him and the antennae indicate that he may be a moth, but his color scheme and red smoke might mean he was once part of grimm’s troupe. The statue in the background also bears a striking resemblance to the nightmare lantern. Also his antennae are shaped into a heart, which is cute. The next boss is a mossy fly boss which Hornet uses her nail flurry attack on, which is, again, an attack she had in her bossfights, the move also uses less silk than the previous one, confirming that different spells use different amounts of silk. And as the boss is damaged, it looks to be shooting goop out from under it, which means that this fight will be all about hitting the boss in ways other than from directly below. The next boss looks to be the boss of the coral area. He has four eyes, a scar, and appears to be a warrior with armor. He then does an attack that summons coral spikes.
This next boss is very interesting. First of all, the battlefield is made of of flowers, there are silk threads in the background, and there is an elevator in the background as well, which means we’ll have to beat this boss to activate it. These flowers could be related to the delicate flowers, but these look closer to roses while the delicate flower seems closer to a daisy. Now the boss itself. She appears to be Hornet’s rival in this game, because later in the trailer, we see her fighting Hornet again in the forest of bones. Also, on the official silksong website, we see her alongside Hornet, which can only mean that she’s going to be a really major player in the story.
The next boss looks like an ant, and takes place in a colosseum in the forest of bones with several other ants watching the fight. This is interesting since the devs said that ants were planned for the area before it was cut. Next is a giant four armed boss, which I think may be the required boss for the area. And it seems it'll use its arms to break apart the platform. God, this is so frickin awesome.
Now we're on to the new NPCs. This character looks like she's either greeting or challenging us. This guy appears to be opening a door for us in the forest of bones, not sure how's he doing it, though. Maybe there’s someone near a lever that he's giving a signal to. Next we meet a hermit and Hornet appears to be doing something with her nail. I had thought she was just showing it off, but if you look closely, it seems that there are actually strings on the nail, and that Hornet might be playing a song for the hermit. Quite literally a silk song. Next we see Hornet riding the first boss from earlier, which leads me to believe that after we defeat it, we befriend it and it becomes this game’s version of the stagways. Then we see something really interesting, Hornet hops off an enemy, and then spends all of her silk to instantly heal 3 masks mid-air. Imagine pulling this off during a fight, this can only mean that the bossfights will be really fast paced if you can heal this quick.
We see a new town that has a bench with particle effects implying we can sit there, so the bench mechanic is returning, which could also mean the return of equipping only at benches, and charting maps on benches. We meet an NPC who has a shell made of dung in a rather small town. He has a cane so I'll bet he's the village elder who would tell us about this place. This place may be to the gilded city what the royal waterways were to the city of tears given the water and the dung. This next town appears to take place in the gilded city and could be the main town in the game. There’s a guy outside, likely advertising his shop. There’s what looks like a guard on duty who flies off after a bit, and to the left of him looks to me like some sort of banker. I'm also seeing a recurring theme of bells. The shop guy where's a bell, there are bells on the floor and in the background. A bell is rung near the end of the trailer. And this symbol, likely representing the bell, keeps appearing. It’s clear to me that this kingdom is still alive and thriving, a stark contrast to Hallownest, which had already fallen by the time the game started. Next we see a village in the mossy area, which gets attacked by a large enemy. There may be a sidequest where we slay this bug and gain a reward from the village. Next we see a mossy bug brewing some kind of potion in a cauldron. This clip appears along with the text “New Quests”, so we may be either delivering potions for this guy, bringing him ingredients, or he’ll have some sort of character arc like the nailsmith.
The next scene is really interesting. It appears to be detailing the requests of nearby bugs. There are 3 categories, it seems: Gather, Hunt and Wayfarer. Gathering will likely have you tracking down and collecting items to give to bugs for a reward. Hunt will likely have you kill enemies for some bug. I'm lost on what wayfarer means, though. Maybe a bug got lost and needs us to guide them home. The item looks like a harp and the quest is called “Haunted Gallery” which could hint at an area we haven't seen. This seems to me to be how Silksong will handle sidequests. The next scene shows an old bug riding another bug charging into several enemies with his nail. I think this character is likely an example of a partner NPC who will help you fight enemies, but probably only during his respective sidequest. The next character we meet is in the forest of bones and is likely this game’s version of the nailsmith, allowing us to upgrade our nail. He also seems to have an apprentice to the right. Both of them are wearing bells on their heads like some of the enemies we've seen before. The small one appears to be shoveling and will probably give us dialogue about who his master is. Next, we see a new enemy that spits poison that lingers on the floor. It's very clearly poison from the look of it, it could be interesting if getting hit by this attack gave you some kind of poison effect that whittled away at some of your masks. We also see Hornet very clearly wall jump here.
Now we're getting into Hornet’s new abilities. First we see the spike trap from her second boss fight, which she can lay to to either damage enemies or bounce of off it for extra height. Then we see the equip menu, which is just filled with info. If you'll notice, Hornet is sitting on a bench to equip a new item, just like the first game. Above the weapons should be a red icon which is offscreen, but is definitely there so we know which section of items is which. In the top row are what appear to be nails. The dagger travels straight forward. The tri nail is likely the same, but with three long nails, and the Dish nail is likely a projectile fired directly upwards. These three seem like the earliest, most basic weapons you’ll get. There’s Hornet's spike trap which we already saw. There are some summonable minions which hover around Hornet and will likely attack enemies. The next item bears a striking resemblance to the mantis claw. My best guess for how it could operate is as a sort of double boomerang, otherwise I'm not sure. The next weapon is the pimpillo which is an explosive projectile. Pretty simple. The description for it also states that it hurts friends and foes alike which means that you may have multiple different companions throughout the game and you'll have to use this item with caution. The next weapon is a buzz saw which cuts forward and travels along the ground. The last “weapon” looks like a pin with lifeblood on it that bestows Hornet with lifeblood masks, and interestingly, Hornet’s masks are a different shape than the Knight's masks, but the lifeblood masks are identical to the Knight's masks, which might mean something. Then under the blue icon, there are three items, a mossy idol of some kind, a weaver symbol, and little bug doll. These likely aren't weapons, but instead grant some kind of passive or defensive effect. There's more under the yellow icon, but they're off screen and are more mysterious than the blue icon items. The crest to the left seems to shows three slots. One is for weapons, but the other two are a mystery. It prominently shows the red, blue and yellow slots that each item is under, which means that you can only have one type of item in a slot at a time. And in the bottom left corner, it says “change crest”, which could hint at how you might be able to set three different weapon loadouts that you can easily swap between during gameplay. And lastly, this isn't even the whole menu. There is a tab that indicates that we’re on the tools section and there's another section called “inventory”, which could hold things like powerups and such.
Now onto the demonstration of each weapon. They show us with Hornet summoning 4 minions and just to the top right is that same kind of bug with the weird face that held us imprisoned. The dagger is showcased next and we see a smaller version of the shellbug we saw earlier. When showing off the lifeblood pin, we get to see some unique ant enemies. One with a helmet and spear, the other with dual knives. These dual knives also looks an awful lot like the mantis claw item that we saw before, which leads me to believe that it'll have something to do with the forest of bones. When the saw is showcased we see more of those weird bugs and now it seems to me like they're normal bugs wearing tarps. One of them is holding a bell, which I'm now certain is a holy object. So could this mean we’re fighting a cult?
Next we see Hornet facing a new boss where she uses her counter to evade the boss’s attack. This could possible be the primary strategy for beating the boss. And the accompanying text “New legends” could mean that this was once a proud warrior. The next scene shows Hornet swimming in water, it could be acid but I doesn't look like it's boiling so I'd say it's harmless water. Also the path Hornet is going toward looks like it's made of bones, so this may be a secret path from the mossy area to the forest of bones. The next scene shows Hornet focusing her nail in front of a weaver shrine, which I think confirms that the weavers are in the kingdom, cuz I mean, like who else would have built it? Then we see Hornet ringing a giant bell, which is probably at the peak of the kingdom. And when the scene begins, the bell glows purple, which could mean that there is some sort of seal on it. We see Hornet fight the white flower bug one more time and that's the end of the trailer. Okay, that's the end. Byyyyeeeeee.
Video: https://youtu.be/xTVW7fM3lJQ
submitted by Demented-Duskull to HollowKnight [link] [comments]

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