View Full Version : Indosira: A Bold Beginning
2007-07-06, 02:07 AM
The city was a patchwork of darkness and light, spotty fires still burning along the poor quarter. From your collective perch near the throne room window you could still hear the occasional shout of alarm from the populace below. Some of the guardsmen argued over whether the fires were the result of the sudden attack or just a diversion to keep the people distracted. The room held nearly fifty people, all fortunate survivors of the initial assault, and they huddled together as murmered conversation and frightened weeping swept across the crowd. The doors were barred from your side, a dozen men in the green and gray of the Vigilants standing watch as the heavy pounding on the other side grew stronger.
Magister Renault stood at the throne as Tobin, the castle physician, did his best to tend to the king's injured leg. The queen stood stoic over her husband's left shoulder, any fear guarded by her emotionless mask. Two Vigilants, Remar and Polias, stood on either side of the group with a wary eye on the room. The conversation was hushed, the din of the crowd only making it more difficult to hear, and each of you felt the last half an hour coming back to you.
Each of you had been roused from your sleep all too early. For some it was by the fearful cries of fellow servants or the painful rap of a magister's staff, but for others it was more complex. Rushed as you were, you'd barely managed to pull on proper clothing and grab your nearest possessions before castle guards arrived to escort you through the halls. An attack, they told you. Invaders already within the castle walls. The path to the throne room was marked by the signs of battle, blood smears on the walls and discarded bodies pushed to the the side to make room.
It was along that path that you and your father met with a small group of armored assailants, dwarves and men both. The guards on your floor did their best to force them back but the fighting was fierce and the battlefield too cramped to prevent casualties. You father, trained with the gladius and spear, was a match for the dwarf he caught slipping through the guard's ranks, but the one he didn't see was too much for him. The blade bit deep, the blood too dark for the wound not to be mortal. He shoved the hide-wrapped bundle into your hands, demanding that you swear to see that that papers found their way to the hands of a Legion commander. The words were still on his tounge when the guards ushered you away, his arm falling limp at his side.
Now, as you sat near the window of the throne room and listened to the enemy hammer at the only barrier keeping the people in this room safe, you held the bundle as close as your halberd.
The sword was light in your hand, half the size of what you were used to and still marked with the name of its owner. The thought of objecting when it was shoved into your hand in lieu of your own blade was followed by the realization that your own weapon was already gone, taken up by another as the doors to the barracks gave way and dwarves stormed the dining area. Training had been all that kept you alive, training and the men who stood by you as the group withdrew towards the castle proper. Linking up with the group who was escorting Magister Renault, you totalled only 8 when you arrived at the safety of the the throne room. Now you stood watch over the injured and the teriffied, hoping Captain Polias would come back with good news. And still, you held that unfamiliar weapon that bore the name Kelvan along its grip.
Darien & Shalana
You were among the first to be roused and rushed through the hallways towards the throne room. Being that both of your quarters were located in the king's hallway, you found yourselves marched alongside the king and queen, as well as Darien's older brother Theron.
The fighting came as a suprise to everyone, and as quickly as it had begun it was over. Seven dead dwarves, five dead guards from among both the Auldarian and Yunisian groups, and one badly injured king later you were secured in the castle's center. The wound to Phillipe's leg was deep and had greatly hindered his progress along the way. As you stood to the side of the throne, unable to approach despite your station, you could see the suffering the attack had caused. The castle housed over 1500 people earlier that night, and so few had made it to safety before the doors were barred. Some might still be hiding, hoping to avoid notice until it was all over.
Members of the Vigiliants and Shah Risarad stood in close proximity as Theron studied the group around the throne, clearly trying to piece together what was being said.
The conversation came to a sudden end as a deep, resounding crack rose from the doorway, splinters of the great oak doors spraying inwards. The men around the entry tensed and readied their weapons. Each of you was drawn away from the sight as your name was called and motions were made for you to draw near the throne. Your approach entered you into a conversation mid-phrase.
"...there would be less chance of a smaller group being noticed." The magister spoke softly, without passion. It was his way to be level-headed during a conflict, and this was no exception. King Phillipe looked over the lot of you, pain obvious in his eyes as he spoke.
"The doors will not hold and we fear there will be no mercy. The throne of Auldaria is in peril but it's heirs must not be. We have a way to get you to safety." He focused on Darien, Theron, and Shalana for a time. "You three must not be here when these men break through. You will only strengthen their position. There are tunnels from before the old wars. They lead to the coast and you can follow the shore south to Dumphrie. There will surely be ships to take you to Yunis there. I will send six of my best men to see you safe and you will have the Shah Risarad."
At that Eliyni, the Shah Risarad's senior swordswomen, made gestures to four of her own. Those four took positions near the five guardsmen that had been selected for the task. The remaining dozen fell back to form up near the door. She laid a hand on Shalana's shoulder, her voice heavily accented. "My four best to go with them. The rest, we stay. Yunis protects her allies."
The gathered gave no objection. The king continued, grimacing as Tobin pulled tight on the wrappings around his leg. "Magister Renault insists that his young apprentice will be of help to you." He offers a difficult smile to the girl, then sets his eyes on Dacin. "I am sending this page, as well. He's swift and capable." He leaned in and motioned Dacin closer. "I've heard such things about you so I must entrust you with a task. While my sons travel to safety, I want you to take the Market Road north and visit the three forts along that route. Bring word of this to the commander of each, tell them what has occured. They will know what must be done." He shifted his attention back to Theron. "See that he recieves written messages with your seal before you part ways." He leaned over and took up two small pouches from beside the throne, handing one each to Darien and Theron. "This is all we could obtain from the treasury before the fighting became too thick. It should be more than enough for passage and food along the way."
Captain Polias stepped away to converse with one of the men by the door, returning with a greatsword in his hands, the leather of its sheath a faded gray. He held it out to Raite, taking the longsword in exchange. "I'm sure Hadley can make due with this. You'll need a blade you're comfortable with but I don't envy you the weight. Dumphrie is a lengthy walk. Form up with the others, take your orders from Cross and remember what you've been taught. Once they are out to sea, I want you to go straight to your uncle's estate and see that he sends aid. Remind him that he owes me."
Magister Renault took Worm by the shoulder and slapped a book into her hands. It was thin and light, bound by string with a cover that was worn by age. Small strips of vellum poked out of the pages in places, different from the material of the book. They appeared to be spell-strips, incantations bonded into written words that Renault often spent days creating. "You take this book. It will help you continue your training while we are seperated. Do not grow lax, I am counting on you. Few can do the things that you can do. You have a great responsibility."
Renault moved to the wall, sliding a hand along the statue of Auldaria's first king. A few moments later it responded with a slow, rough grinding sound. The statue slid backwards, taking a small section of wall with it. Beyond, a stairwell descended into darkness.
King Phillipe eased back in the chair as the room's doors shook from another heavy blow. "There is little time. You must be off."
2007-07-06, 08:31 AM
Angry, frustrated, tired, confused, and particularly distraught, Shalana stood with the best posture she could muster, and accepted the kings words quietly. The events of the night had settled on her like a dark fog, and her normally boisterous mouth was completely lost for words.
She shifted uncomfortably on her feet and the awkwardness of turmoil overwhelmed her. She felt like crying, but she also felt like fighting, and the difference between the two states was causing her already high level of anxiety to reach a feverish peak.
Blood rushed into her head and she opened her mouth, "Is there an extra sword I could take? I would feel better if I could meet our enemies with steel inbetween us." The tension in her seemed to release as she said it, and the dark fog around her lifted as a steely exterior took hold.
2007-07-06, 10:06 AM
Raite looked on nervously. The presence of so many of the kingdom's powerful doing as much, if not more, to put him off, as the pounding at the door and the death already witnessed. his eyes wandered about the room as his mind attempted to make sense of what was happening.
The familiar sound of command in Captain Polias' voice snapped Raite back to attention and military discipline took over as he listened intently to his orders. The comforting weight of the greatsword further calmed his nerves and he saluted Captain Polias. "My honor, Captain." With one last look towards the battered door, Raite took his place with the other Vigilants and awaited the order to move.
2007-07-06, 12:48 PM
"Capital idea. I'd feel better if I could meet our enemies with her steel in between us, too."
It's exactly the sort of thing one might have expected the sardonic, less-than-respectful youngest son of King Philippe to say, although now his cultured voice was bitter-bright, pulled taut like a harpstring with the awareness of danger.
Darien leaned against a column near the throne, ankles crossed, arms folded over his chest and fingers drumming nervously; his green eyes were puffy with lack of sleep and long lashes drooped low. The prodigal prince was fair-haired, with high cheekbones and an aquiline nose--a striking, aristocratic face, pretty in a way that could not quite be called boyish anymore. His build was lean, tall for his age, wiry rather than strong: whipcord over bone. He took in the room, his mouth a thin line, and received the pouch given to him with the flick of a hand, slim and long-fingered--a harper's hand, or a thief's. He started for the secret passage; stopped and turned, unable to leave with a certain thing unsaid, though he knew the response.
"I'm not eager to become High Advisor, Father. Come with us--two soldiers could carry you. Mother, you're not hurt, you could walk."
His free hand clenched into a trembling, white-knuckled fist, the coldness of his voice a dam for unshed tears.
2007-07-06, 06:12 PM
His light gray eyes were red and bloodshot as he struggled to hold his tears back. His soft hands trembled visibly. He was just as brave as any soul remaining in the throne room but he was still so young, and the death of his father replayed over and over in his mind. He felt like screaming! He braced himself on his halberd as he buckled over and threw up his dinner instead.
It all seamed so surreal to him, the invasion came so swift, so effective, it was executed exactly how it was written in his Battlefield Strategy Textbooks. Except this was real life, and he had no Legion at his back. He felt helpless, he didn't know any of these people. Why were they running? Didn't they have an army? We should be fighting! He thought to himself. That thought quickly vanished as a guard ushered him over by the Kings side.
He was hardly listening to the words as the King spoke, he was angry with them, all of them! This would have never happened on Valexian soil! He gripped his halberd tightly in his left hand and grinded his teeth. The sound of the old statue grinding on the ground pulled him away from his thoughts for a moment. Without waiting for an order to do so he quickly stepped through the portal, cutting off the shaken Yuni girl. He didn't need to be told, he understood what was happening...they were running away.
He gripped the rolled parchment in his right hand and held it to his heart. Quietly he whispered to himself as he began down the hallway.
"I will not fail you father..."
2007-07-06, 09:13 PM
The scrawny apprentice stood off to the side, her round ochre eyes darting nervously back and forth. The crack and splinter of the door causes her to flinch, and out of the corner of her eye she sees the Velaxian expel the night's feast, causing her freckled skin to go pallid with a wave of her own nausea. She takes a partial step toward the boy to make sure he is alright, then decides against it and steps back, managing to cross over her own foot and turn in a circle.
The sound of her name being called grabs her attention, and she approaches the throne, eyes locked on the wound to the king's leg. She lowers herself into a stiff, deep bow, and something wriggles visibly within her pale-green robes. Nose crinkling, she straightens and peeks down the front of her outfit, making a hushing nose between the gap in her front teeth.
When King Phillipe indicated that she was to leave, her mouth widened into a little O, and as Renault pressed the book and spell-slips into her hand, she blinks rapidly, trying to assure herself she isn't asleep.
"But, Magister, I have not even learned how to, you know, well, a lot of things and I don't think that I would be of much help, even with - wait, I haven't seen this book before." She flips open the corner and attempts to peer at the writing before regarding the magister again. "What I mean is sir, shouldn't I stay with you. Er." A furitive glance to the door and the beads of sweat on her brow prove this to be an empty sentiment, and she grins broadly at the wizard, her toothy smile not quite matching the mood of the room.
"Because what if we're seperated and, you know, never exactly unseperated? I mean, I don't have exact numbers, but there are certainly many more of them, and what if you should suddenly find yourself, um, um...dead?"
2007-07-08, 11:25 PM
The slender young page was a bit of a mess. His dark blond hair was a far cry from the neat cut expected of a representative of the throne, and for once revealed the slightly pointed ears that betrayed his half-elven birth. He took in the scene with an attempt at stoicism that didn't really succeed, not really. It was true that his young life so far had been full of surprises, not the least of which being his appointment as a castle page in the first place, though he'd since come to understand the politics behind it.
But this...this was totally unexpected. Dismissal from castle service had seemed like the worst possible outcome on any given day, and now he faced the prospect of a painful death if he failed his task and at best an uncertain future even if he succeeded. It wasn't a very pleasant prospect in the slightest, but he knew he'd never be able to live with himself if his nerve broke now...
Dacin bowed low before the king, "It shall be done, on my life." He hesitated a moment, and his voice cracked only a little as he went on, "It has been an honor to be in your service, your majesty. May the gods go with you."
Moving off he bowed to Prince Theron, "Milord, perhaps it'd be best if we were off...the sooner we go, the more chance we have to succeed, and with you travel the hopes of the kingdom."
As he waited to follow the prince out, Dacin's gaze caught on the terrified faces of the other pages who had made it into the hall. They were dead, they just didn't know it yet.
There but for the grace of the king go I, he thought.
He shuddered and looked away, forcing himself to look instead at the others who might yet live. The brother princes he knew, having served them both at one time or another. The Yunisian princess had been served mostly by her own people, but he'd heard a rumor or two. Hearing her ask for a sword seemed in character...but of course she was from Yunis, and they were a warrior folk.
His gaze caught on the girl scribe. The book she clutched so tightly must be important if she carried it instead of a weapon. Important...or valuable. He contemplated this for a moment longer, then shook his head to clear it. Now was neither the time nor place. But perhaps those both would not be long in coming...
The other guards and soldiers he passed over with just a glance. They would fight if called on, but if it came to a fight they were probably already doomed. Speed was their only ally now, and Dacin could feel the time slipping away.
He looked up at Theron again and added with greater urgency, "Milord..."
2007-07-09, 01:04 AM
King Phillipe shakes his head in response to Darien's questions. "You must move quickly. Carrying me will just slow everyone down. You will not stop to fight." This was clearly directed at Shalana. "If battle finds you, let those who have pledged their lives in your defense deal with it. You run, fast and far, if you are in danger. I will not have a royal daughter of Yunis dead on my soil."
The queen sets her hand over Phillipe's, her mask unwavering. "I will stay by your father's side. Your presence here will only give these men something to threaten us with. Your father would never betray his country, even to save his children, so you must not be here when they get through that door."
Magister Renault shakes his head in response to Worm's questions. "Swords and axes are no match for the power of magic, girl. I can do things that these Spine-born can't even imagine. As could you, if you'd dedicate more time to following orders and less to asking pointless questions." He rapped his staff against the wall, the sound reverberating through the throne room with suprising force. His voice seemed to rise with it, as well. "Now, everyone through the passage. It won't close easily so we have no time to spare."
Theron nods and steps forward, motioning for Dacin to follow at his back. Cross hands out three lanterns among his men, setting two more aside for others to take. The glow from them seems muted in the well-lit room, but they'll no doubt serve well in the tunnels below. The Vigilants are so busy with their preparations that they do not move to stop Octavius as he slips through the passage behind them. Four of the soldiers move to take up the rear of the group as their Yunisan counterparts form up near the front. As they step towards the passage the sound of crumbling stone rises up to meet them...
The stairs decend and the light from the throne room fails to illuminate any further than the fourth step. It is that same step that shifts when you put your weight on it, the stone cracking beneath your feet. You spill forward, hands lashing out for something to stop your imminent descent into the darkness below.
( Our first in-game dice roll. Reflex save vs DC 12. )
2007-07-09, 06:45 AM
Shalana did her best to not smart off to Darien at his comment, and burned a little inside when he had said it. The king's order to run was distasteful and frustrating, but she had come here to find peace with the Auldarians, and if running away was key to preserving that, she would do it. She bowed before the king and said, "You are an honor to your people and your family, thank you for all you have done." Shalana quickly fell into ranks and walked with them as they left.
2007-07-09, 03:08 PM
The darkness does nothing to waiver his descent. It's that damn 4th step that trips him up. As soon as he sets his foot down he realizes what a fool he'd been for starting off by himself.
The step starts to give under him, unfortunately for Octavius he's too many things on his mind to feel the slight give in the step until he's already shifted his entire weight over. Too late to catch himself he falls forward. Desperately trying to save himself from the fall, he swings his halberd out in front of him attempting to hook it on a step, or handrail, anything!
Unfortunately, (Reflex Roll: 9) he finds nothing and he tumbles down the stone staircase, skinning his knees and elbows on every step. He drops his halberd frantically trying to stop his fall, but to no avail. Finally his plunge down the staircase comes to a brief halt when his head slams into the stone wall.
He lays there for a minute trying to find his bearings...
Slowly, he begins to sit up. He reaches to the side of his face where his head connected with the wall. Wet.. He brings his hand to his mouth to taste his fingers, its blood.
He sits there, his head pounding, his body aching all-over...Without the energy to pick himself up, he justs waits for the others.
2007-07-09, 04:15 PM
Cross holds up a hand from his place at the front of the group, a signal for everyone to stop. "Two by two, watch your step. These tunnels look to be in bad shape." At that he turns to Raite and inclines his head down into the tunnel. "Take a lantern and get down there. Fast but careful. See if the Velaxian is alright." At that he pauses to check that everyone is in line and allow for any last minute conversation. Another impact sends cracks spidering out across the doors, eliciting a gasped cry from several in the room.
( That's two painfully discarded hit points for Octavius. )
2007-07-09, 05:34 PM
The half-elf winced as he watched the Velaxian soldier tumble down the stairs. His night vision gave him an excellent view of the lad's graceless roll down the steps, and what he saw wasn't pretty. "That had to hurt," he muttered to himself. Looking at the bruised soldier, he saw him sit up and touch his head. Still alive, then. Maybe he'd learn something. As for himself, Dacin made a note to watch which steps bore the weight of the armored soldiers and to only step where they had. Any stone that could bear a man in mail would hardly be upset by his own slight frame.
Putting the clumsy soldier out of his mind, Dacin followed Prince Theron into the passageway. He quickly seized one of the two lanterns that had been left by Cross. Not only would it do his keen eyes twice as much good as it would any of the rest of the party, but he figured it would have to be worth something to someone down the line, and you had to take your opportunities when they appeared.
Speaking of which...
Dacin leaned forward and spoke quietly to Theron, "Milord, perhaps it'd be best if you wrote those messages now. If the dwarves have found the tunnels, we may soon be too busy fighting and running to have another chance. If you'd like, I'll hold the lantern for you, and you can write them on the move." He paused, then perked up as if he'd just thought of something, "If you could append an order to have the fort commanders provide me with a fresh horse on my arrival, I'd be most grateful. I'll be able to get the word out much faster that way." He frowned as if in thought, then added, "And if you have it to spare, some coin to buy a horse for the first leg of the journey would be helpful as well or...perhaps an order allowing me to requisition one. Time is of the essence now."
2007-07-09, 06:15 PM
Worm's face falls at the magister's reprimand, and she seems to take the criticism to heart, hugging the book tightly under one arm as she snatches up the remaining lantern. To Renault, she says lamely, "Then, um, I guess I will see you later, Magister."
Even as she walks toward the opening in the wall, her pace seems to pick up, and she turns to add, "And I will study even harder while we are apart! You won't be disappointed!" Flashing her bright smile, she whirls around to enter the tunnel, stopping short to hold the lantern out to the Njortevian boy when the Vigilant orders him down. She shuffles along after the others, taking extreme care on the staircase. The steps in the tower had claimed their share of skin from her knees and palms, and these seemed far nastier.
More movement in her robe, accompanied by a gentle chittering, and she freezes, stuffing her nose down the collar of her robe and hissing, "Be still!" Whatever it is seems to settle, and she resumes her slow descent.
2007-07-09, 06:49 PM
Shalana just barely contained herself from running down when she saw Octavius fall. Not wanting to fall as well, she waited impatiently to hear about his condition.
2007-07-09, 07:11 PM
The younger prince, after a long, tense moment, bows his head in acknowledgement; his eyes are bright, light sparkling off of them, and he blinks to clear them of wetness.
"As we must, then. Come, brother. I'm sure it will be fun and ponies."
He gestures to allow the others down the stair before him, wincing as Octavius falls; then he himself makes his way down carefully but nimbly, glancing back at the others.
"There'll be plenty of time to lose hands and feet later," he says with sardonic cheer, coming up beside Octavius and helping him reach his feet.
"Here, have a swig of this," Darien adds, and reaches down to his belt. His graceful hand comes up produces a silver flask; he twists its stopper off, and holds it out to the Velaxian. The scent of strong alcohol hits the air.
2007-07-10, 02:28 PM
Raite takes a lantern from the nearest Vigilant and quickly moves down the stairs. Watching every step carefully and moving with a grace obtained from long hours of sword practice, the large youth reaches the side of the young velaxian and checks his condition asking, "Are you alright, sir?" Raite attempts to administer any battlefield aid that he deems appropriate while reporting Octavius's condition to Cross.
Heal check to aid Octavius (if possible): 9
2007-07-10, 02:46 PM
Octavius' injuries seem largely superficial, with the gash above his temple being of the most concern. While it is quite bloody, common for head injuries, the actual cut is rather small and holding pressure to it should stop the bleeding.
Theron looks over to Dacin as the group begins to move forward. His hand rests on the hilt of his shortsword but that does nothing to hide the fact that it is shaking. "We don't have the materials and we should be moving quickly. Once we're out of harm's way I will have the letters drawn up and a horse provided."
Cross motions for the group to move forward and the column descends the stairs. The lantern light provides enough warning about unsteady surfaces that everyone is able to descend with little trouble. Raite calls up, noting that the Velaxian does not appear to be badly injured. The group arrives at the bottom of the stairs shortly thereafter. The sound of grinding stone echoes from above as the light of the throne room fades away. The sound of startled shouts muted by the closing of the passage.
As Shalana offers a shoulder to help Octavius to his feet, the Vigilants and Shah Risarad evenly distribute the lanterns to give as much light across the column as possible. Cross gives Darien a stern look as the boy presents his flask but the soldier says nothing against it. Instead he looks the Velaxian over and sets a hand on his shoulder. "Can you walk without support?"
2007-07-10, 06:00 PM
The young page bowed to Theron as he replied, "As you say, milord." He held the position to allow the prince to move ahead of him, then swore under his breath and followed.
Dacin had serious doubts that dwarves of all people would neglect the possibility of an underground escape and suspected that the hoped for 'out of harm's way' would be a long time in coming. He also wasn't sure where Theron thought they were going to acquire a horse in the tunnel or on the seashore. It seemed to him that Theron was still thinking like royalty rather than how he should be thinking...like a fugitive.
But of course, if royalty weren't capable of making bad decisions, then they wouldn't be in this terrible position in the first place...though, to be fair to the soon to be late King Phillipe, it was hard to see what he could have done differently besides not sign the alliance with Yunis in the first place.
That, Dacin thought to himself, assumed that Nasjtor had attacked purely to break the Auldaria-Yunis alliance before it could bear fruit.
The interminable lessons in etiquette and nobility he'd attended did seem to have borne some fruit. He could almost hear his instructor's droning voice as he thought on the political situation of the various realms.
Besides, it was better than thinking about the stark terror he should be feeling and the likelihood of his imminent painful death. Politics, while boring, was also something distracting to think about and he desperately needed some distraction right about now.
He glanced at the young betrothed couple, taking a long look at first Shalana then Darien...then finally his gaze fell on Octavious as he contemplated. It was true,Dacin thought, that a fully-fledged unification of Auldaria and Yunis would threaten Nasjtor...but it would also weaken Velaxia's position as the pre-eminent nation in the world. Could these dwarves be mercenaries in the hire of Velaxia? Maybe. But perhaps there is something else they want. Something hidden beneath the castle, perhaps? Hmmm...
Dacin slowed his pace a tad until the girl scribe was walking beside him. He leaned slightly toward her and smiled at her, "I'm Dacin, by the way. Nice to meet you, though I'd have wished for better circumstances. I've got to admit, I never expected to be down here. I didn't even know there was a down here to be! I don't suppose Magister Renault ever mentioned these tunnels, or what dangers or treasures might be down here, did he?"
2007-07-10, 07:17 PM
Slowly climbs to his feet with the Dariens support. Not impressed with Dariens comment in the least he replies with contempt "You'd think with all your peoples running that they'd at least build a proper escape route" he holds a stern glare with the younger prince...but then his expression fades to one of pity, "Alas, building tunnels and fighting dwarves do seem a bit over your heads." With that he gives Darien a cold shoulder and begins to walk away with only a small limp. "I don't drink" he finally calls out.
After moving several feet a rush of blood flows to his head, he stables himself agaisnt the wall before turning to acknoledge Raite and Cross. With all the determination he can muster, he nods grimly, "I'll be fine."
He walks along next to Raite using the light from the lantern Raite is holding.
Again his thoughts fall inward, While they may be fools, I'll probably need there help getting out of here alive. He takes a deep breath to regroup.
He stops suddenly and holds Raite's shoulder, while his other hand grabs at his pocket quickly. "I've dropped my things!" he exclaims while searching his body for the scroll his father gave him. "Will you help me find them?" he begs, almost apologetically. Already scanning the floor where he had fallen.
2007-07-10, 07:36 PM
"No, but I bet you'll start," the younger prince says with a shrug, and downs a swig of whiskey himself; his face screws up for a moment as he swallows.
He's already noticed and begun scooping up the dropped documents when Octavius bends down for them.
"I'm going to forgive those remarks. Just this once, because of the situation." his voice is whisper-quiet, barely more than a breath in the Velaxian's ear, and remarkably serious for a dandy. "Because we need to work together, not fight. But just because of that."
He rises to his feet, documents in his hand, glances down at them, then hands them over.
"Well, a fine start. Do let's hurry on."
2007-07-10, 08:17 PM
Raite forms up with his comrades once again to await further orders, but not without a quick glance in Prince Darien's direction. Such behavior would never be tolerated among the ranks of the Royal Vigilants, but what does a simple boy of Nasjtor know about the stresses of Noble life. The Three know his own throat was filling just a bit parched at the moment, and he didn't stand to lose his father, his mother, and his kingdom in the same day. Raite has never understood those who envied the Noble class. Much better to know your job and perform it to the best of your abilities than to be faced with the uncertainty that must come with being the one to make the decisions that so many lives would hinge upon. Raite turns to look at Cross, who's comforting presence confirms that those who know how to handle the current situation are nearby and will lead the small party to safety.
2007-07-10, 08:23 PM
The prince catches the glance and holds it for a moment, and then holds the flask out towards Raite, prepared to toss it to the young soldier.
2007-07-10, 08:47 PM
Shalana cursed in her own mind as Octavius didn't even bother a thank you for the help up. These people do not understand the situation at all, fighting each other, rushing ahead. They are so blasted SELF ABSORBED! She dusted herself off in a nervous twitch, pulling on her unwieldy dress that had been assigned to her, she never would have worn such a thing at home by choice. And that blasted king refused to give me a weapon worthy of any fight we might get in. Trust the soldiers, bah, we are running for our lives, and our lives could be decided by knowing when to stand and fight.
Shalana let out a sigh, and seeing the prince's outstretched hand, she grabbed the bottle from it as gently as she could and took a slow drink from it. Handing it back to him she said, "Thank you. It could be the last time I ever taste anything." With that she made ready to move again.
Looking over her shoulder she counted how many were together. She hoped it would be enough to survive.
(OOC: Could I get a count of how many people total including bodyguards please :-) )
2007-07-10, 10:30 PM
Craning her neck to see the extent of the Velaxian injuries, the redhead turns to Dacin, returning his smile a little shyly. "My name's Worm." She considers his question for a moment, then shakes her head. "Nope, he never mentioned 'em. Never read anything about 'em either, but I suppose they'd be pretty poor escape tunnels if a lotta people knew they were there."
"Doesn't seem like a very good place to keep treasure either. I mean, maybe no one'd find it, but if they did you wouldn't have anyone to guard it." She twirls her fingers absently in her fluffy, tangled hair.
"Dangers? Other than collapsing pieces of infrastructure, maybe some rats and spiders, maybe even snakes if the conditions're right. Which would mean the dangers are pretty much debris, poisoning and disease," she says matter-of-factly in the way one might discuss the weather. "And, I dunno, maybe some deadly traps, but probably not. Magister Renault would have mentioned that. Maybe."
She tenses up a little at the confrontation between the Velaxian and Prince Darien, but quickly relaxes when the boys ease up. Her focus then goes to Prince Theron for his reaction, the tips of her ears reddening a bit as she looks at the older boy.
2007-07-11, 12:41 AM
Dacin nodded at Worm, "That makes sense, I guess. Too bad, it'd have been useful if we could find more supplies on our way out." He shrugged sadly, then looked ahead to witness the little 'discussion' between Octavius and the not-so-happy couple.
He sighed. A Velaxian being arrogant, a Yunisian being socially awkward, and Prince Darien being an irresponsible smart-ass. Check, check, and check. He glanced at Worm and caught the look in her eyes as she stared at Prince Theron, and snorted to himself, and the servant girls are all in love with the princes. Check. It'd be just another day in the castle if there weren't all those dwarves trying to kill us....
Dacin fully turned his attention to Worm, and as was his wont when not dealing with the upper class, just said what he was thinking, "That's an interesting name you've got there. Is this one of those apprentice things where you get an unhappy name until you make journeywoman and then get a slightly better one until you get to pick a name for yourself when you make master? I've heard there are some guilds that work that way. I even met a guy who's been called 'Stinky' for thirty something years now, 'cause he's a lousy thie...err...guildmember."
He smiled at her, "If its not like that, I'd change it if I were you." He casually flicked a lock of her red hair out of her face, "'cause you really look more like the Robin than the Worm from where I'm standing."
2007-07-11, 01:55 AM
Worm crosses her eyes and bats at the page's hand, looking a little confused. She shakes her head at the boy, grinning.
"Nah, I ain't in any guilds, it's just my name. Has been ever since I was tiny, you know? Lots of worse things folks can call you, after all."
2007-07-11, 12:09 PM
Dacin laughed, the sound echoing a bit down the tunnel before he covered his mouth to suppress his mirth. Once he was finished, he added in a quieter voice, "You're an odd one, Worm, I'll give you that. Try to stay safe...I think the world's a more interesting place with you in it." His cap was gone, he'd lost it in the run to the throne room, but he made the same tipping motion he would have had he still had it before increasing his pace and returning to Theron's side.
Now, he thought to himself, if only Prince Theron can muster half the wit of the little Worm, maybe we'll be able to get out of this alive. He winced slightly as he recalled Theron's hand shaking on the hilt of his sword. Gods help us, we might be better off with Darien or Shalana in charge!!
The thought was frightening. So frightening, in fact, that it took an effort of will not to run off on his own into the darkness, and only the knowledge that if there were any dwarves down there, being on his own was guaranteed to be fatal, whereas he might be able to slip away if it came to a fight with the rest of the group on hand.
But it was a near thing.
He took a deep breath to try and steady himself, and hoped he wasn't showing how scared he really was.
2007-07-11, 12:29 PM
Raite smiles in embarrassment at the offered flask in the hand of the young prince. He declines with a barely perceptible shake of his head and a quick look towards Cross. Duty first...
2007-07-11, 03:02 PM
The prince shrugs, giving Raite a crooked half-smile for a moment, and then surrenders his flask to his fiancée. The contents are a startlingly strong whiskey, lightly spiced, and burn enough to water the eyes of someone inexperienced with liquor.
When she's finished, he accepts the flask back and stoppers it; his hand reaches cross-body to return it to his belt, and when it comes back up, he's holding a dagger, the hilt extended towards Shalana. The long, straight sheath lies flat along the inside of his arm as he offers it to her unobtrusively: it's obviously not meant for hunting or for use as a tool--its balance and narrow shape make it out to be a knife-fighter's blade, or an assassin's. He draws no attention to it as he passes it over, instead reaching out to straighten some bit of Shalana's clothing.
"Come, now, my lady," he murmurs. "I'm sure you'll live long enough to taste at least two more things."
Then he keeps moving; occasionally, his head half-turns in Dacin and Worm's direction: he may be listening in, or just making sure everyone's hurrying along.
(Taking 10 on Sleight of Hand for 13, if someone is really bound and determined to spot him.)
2007-07-11, 04:44 PM
Darien recieves a cuff to the back of the head as his brother passes by, an all too common occurance for the younger prince. It was Theron's way of showing he disapproved of something Darien had done, though the list was long enough to make determining what it was pretty difficult. Cross motioned the group forward and the Vigilants began a steady march.
"Let's keep conversation to a minimum. I don't want any suprises." The passage is carved stone, wide enough in some places for three people to walk side by side but narrow often enough to keep the group in a two by two formation. The air grows colder as you progress and the lantern light kicks shadows across the slate gray walls, savage beasts rising and vanishing at the the corners of your vision. The tunnel bisects after several minutes and Cross leads the group along the right fork, keeping is lantern high to cut through the oppressive gloom.
The trek feels like it is taking forever, each step revealing only more of the same. More rock, more darkness. The occasional spider or vermin. When the sound of approaching footfalls and clanking metal arise from behind you, it's almost a welcome change. Cross turns back his eyes narrowed as he takes in the sound. "Double time, move!" At the command, the Vigilants in the rear push forward, urging the group to a steady jog. Your lungs begin to ache as you suck in chilled air, keeping pace if only to avoid being trampled. The sounds of your pursuers begin to fade and the possibility of losing them shines bright ahead of you.
Then you follow a soft curve in the tunnel and come face-to-face with broken stone and packed dirt. A wall of collapsed tunnel stands in your way, thick and heavy and immobile. Cross allows a curse as he wheels around, pushing through the group to join up with the Vigilants who now stand between you and the approaching sounds. "A cave-in." He motioned to the soldiers, who formed a wall of shield and steel. The Shah Risarad filled in the space between the Vigilants and the nobles, dropping into practiced stances. "No time to double back. Vigiliants at the ready. Form a wedge. We need to break through them to get back to the fork. Raite, back with the others. Don't let them get through."
Theron's blade is in his hand and he steps forward to stand between the Yunisian rear guard and the non-combatants. He glances back over his shoulder to Darien. "If they get through. ONLY then."
As you work to catch your breath, your eyes catch a small network of cracks in the wall to the right of the group. The cracks are thick enough to reveal an open space beyond the crumbling wall.
( Everyone who grew up in, or has lived in the castle for several years, has likely heard stories of an earthquake over a decade ago that collapsed an eastern section of the castle walls. This could easily be linked to this cave-in, as earthquakes are uncommon in western Auldaria. )
2007-07-11, 05:26 PM
The speed with which the Dwarves had made it into the tunnel behind them was an unpleasant surprise. Someone talked, he realized. Everyone behind them was dead, then, and some of them had probably died badly. He shuddered at the thought.
It is said that fear of death can be a wonderful mind sharpener. That was the case for Dacin, who for the first time in his life experienced the elescren, that Elvish intuitive flash that allowed him to spot a potential secret door with just a glance. Afterwards, he'd never be able to tell you exactly what he'd seen that had been the key. Perhaps a glint of the light of his lantern passing through the wall to hit something on the other side, maybe a glance at the spider-web of cracks had suggested an emptiness beyond, it could have been the feel of air blowing from that direction or the echo of their bootsteps in the space beyond. Or maybe it was a little of all of these that came together to tell Dacin what he needed to know.
There was space beyond the wall to the right. And if there was space, maybe there was a door.
He turned and looked at the rest of the group and noticed that Theron was busy with the troops. Darien, then.
He tapped Prince Darien on the shoulder and gestured to the wall. Keeping his voice down so it wouldn't carry down the hall to the approaching dwarves he said "Milord, there's a space beyond this wall." He shined the lantern's light onto the wall and pointed at the largest crack, "Look! You can see right through there. Its possible we can smash through it, but we should look for a door first. If there's a way to open the door with out destroying it we can then close it behind us and make it that much harder for the dwarves to find us! Also, if its a room and not a corridor back there, we may not be able to flee into it, but only hide until the Dwarves are gone, so smashing it open would doom us."
He hesitated, then added, "If it is a room back there, then someone's going to have to stay behind or else they'll know to look for us, probably find us, and that'll be the end..."
Glad that he didn't have to be the one to make that kind of decision, Dacin set his lantern down on the ground and started searching carefully, leaving it to Darien to decide how he wanted to use the information he'd been given.
2007-07-12, 11:01 AM
Shalana had recieved the dagger gracefully from Darien and she found herself feeling a moment of deep gratitude. She kept close to him during the trek, and when they reached the dead end, she whispered in his ear, "Thank you."
Gratitude had always been awkward for her, Yunis was a land of discipline and position set by birthright. Battle and honor were a part of her blood, but this Auldaria, she felt completely out of place. The sounds of the enemy drawing near frightened her, but not for fear of battle, but from fear of being stuck in an unwinnable position. Regardless the prince was right, before the end she would at least taste the blood of her enemies and probably her own.
She stood upright, and that place of discipline surged into her, they may yet survive, luck was a fickle mistress. That's when Dacin spoke. Shalana waited for the prince to make his decision.
2007-07-12, 11:18 AM
Raite waited silently in formation with the other Vigilants, his grip on the hilt of his greatsword tightening as the dwarven party came closer. The weapon was ill suited for use in these close quarters, but Raite silently vowed he would find a way to make the enemy pay dearly for trying to reach those he was sworn to defend. A look of grim determination, mirroring that of the other guards, fixed itself upon Raites face and he marveled briefly at the sense of calm settling over him as the sound heralding what would most likely be his death approached.
2007-07-12, 12:23 PM
Standing nearby, Worm looks over as Dacin points out the cracks in the wall. It was a good find, but looking for a door hardly made sense. They were in an escape tunnel, not the castle, and this looked like a problem that could only be solved by brute strength - something that neither she nor the two boys looked to possess.
"Vigilant Cross!" Worm whispers loudly, several times if needed to get the man's attention.
"Look at what Dacin found!" The girl gestures broadly at the cracked wall, nearly smacking Shalana in the nose as she does. "If a couple of big guys hit it there - " she indicates one of the larger cracks that intersects with several smaller ones, " - really hard, I bet you could knock it in. It could be another branch that'd got collapsed in, right?"
2007-07-12, 02:20 PM
So this is it? Octavius thought to himself as he regained his breath. With the sounds of marching becoming more clear Octavius's mind sobers a bit. Standing there, waiting for your body to be torn to bits by a large dwarven force has a way of kicking you off your high horse.
He slid the papers into a pocket in his trousers carefully. With both hands now free to wield his halberd. He looked at it then, such a marvolous weapon. His grandfather wielded this very weapon in battle, and his father before him. On one side of the blade it bore the Velexian Legion's insignia, on the other his family crest, hand carved, it must have taken hours even days to etch the intricate design of their familys crest. He looked at it now, a mighty phoenix perched upon a beautiful cross with its wings spread wide, it looked as if it had just conquered the world!
He wondered if it would save him now...
His father told him he'd once seen a phoenix. Father...he thought, oh how he wished his father was here now, here to protect him. He gripped his halberd tightly and clenched his teeth, his father had been stolen from him, he'd been robbed of the love he'd known his whole life! By those damned dwarves! He was visibly shaking now, waiting, just waiting for the dwarves to draw near.
He probably couldn't defeat even the softest of the battle-hardened dwarves coming his way, they were just so much older, better armored, and more experienced. Octavius had never even been in a real battle before, but that wasn't going to stop him. A grim look of determination found a way to his face. Beads of sweat dripped from his forhead. He just stood there and stared down the empty tunnel, soon to be filled with broken bodies, one of which, would probably be his own.
2007-07-12, 10:33 PM
Cross' irritation at the interruption quickly fades as he studies the wall behind him. He seems to start to move back towards it when metal strikes metal in a clang that echoes through the tunnel. Throwing axes arc through the air and connect with the Vigilant's shields and armor. Cross turns towards the attack and calls out over his shoulder. "Raite, put your shoulder to that wall. If there's a way through I want it open now."
Figures charge out of the gloom, dwarves and men in armor that catches the lantern light in distracting flashes. The Vigilants surge forward and the attackers crash against their shields, shouts in Dwarven calling for the back ranks to advance. The lanterns flicker from their place on the ground or in the hands of those not involved in the fight. The shadows dance in an angry swarm and the green of the Vigilant's uniforms turns gray as they clash at the edge of the light's radius.
The noise immediately rises to painful levels as steel rings off steel. The swirl of activity at the edge of the lantern light is punctuated by a pained shout and a spattering of blood. A dwarven body falls, or is thrown, backwards into the light only to writhe for a moment and lay still, fresh blood pooling beneath him. The Shah Risarad step forward, swarming over two Nasjtorans who force their way past the Vilgilant's shield wall. They move with a speed unhindered by armor, pummeling the attackers with fist and foot, knee and elbow. The cracking of bone preceeds the impact of two more bodies on the floor. One of the Vigilants staggers back, blood seeping through the shoulder of his scale armor but he pushes back into position in time to cut into the dwarf that rushed him.
The metallic stink of blood quickly fills the corridor as time seems to drag on, only half a minute having passed since the first axe was thrown. Somewhere in the fighting a Nasjtoran voice calls out for his mother, a liquid gurgle filled with pain and fear.
Your cursory examination of the area around the wall reveals no doorway. The walls feel solid beyond the three foot area where the cracks spread.
2007-07-12, 11:41 PM
The military discipline aquired through countless hours of hard training take over as his commander shouts out orders. "Yes Sir!"bellows Raite as he swiftly sheaths his weapon and moves towards the section of wall Dacin is examining. Hurridly shoving anyone blocking the wall to the side, the young Vigilant moves back a few paces while wiping his sweat soaked black hair from his eyes.
With a bestial roar full of anger and frustration, Raite thunders into the center of the weakend section of wall, using his shoulder as an armored battering ram of muscle and bone.
Strength check if needed: [roll0]
2007-07-13, 12:34 AM
Dacin snatched his lantern out of the way and moved to the left side of the cracks so he can watch the battle and Daite's progress both. As the armored soldier charged the wall, he shrugged, "I guess this isn't the time for subtlety after all. Score one for the Worm."
As Daite hit the wall, Dacin tensed himself to get ready to move. As soon as there was a large enough hole, the half-elf planned to be through it and on his way to safety...or as close to safety as he could find in these terrible days. The fact that his lantern would both light the way and provide a direction for the others to follow was a happy accident, but an accident nevertheless. Dacin wasn't about to try his puny dagger against dwarven armor, so running was the only chance he had now.
Fortunately, for him at least, Dacin ran for a living and was quite good at it by now...
2007-07-13, 05:40 AM
(Dangit, wasn't able chance to post before the update.)
The prince's gaze had snapped immediately to the wall when Dacin pointed out; he took in the information with careful attention, but seemed to lend only half an ear to the half-elf's suggestions of what to do with the find.
In a few moments, Darien had taken another small swig of liquor--clearly, he at least had the sense not to get himself actually drunk--and passed Dacin a gold coin: either he'd heard the rumors, or it was simply a sardonic gesture.
"Velaxian; Raite--forget fighting them. This wall's cracked, get us through it--everyone else strong enough is going to be very busy shortly."
As for himself, Darien pulls his rapier free from its sheath; its design harkens back to the smallsword, a slightly wider blade than the type common at courts, and with an edge as well as a point. He held the blade up and out--apparently quite inexpertly, based on the sloppiness of his guard--but made no move towards the front lines, instead planting himself by Theron's side, expression pinched, fingers twitching at his side, unable to do much beyond wait for the battle to end or the wall to be breached.
2007-07-13, 04:49 PM
Gapped teeth clamped firmly over her lower lip, Worm peers through the darkness at the encroaching figures. Her eyes dart to the side as Prince Darien orders the Velaxian to take down the wall, and she almost says something, but decides she'd better not. Now was hardly the time to school the Prince in diplomatic protocol, and it wasn't really her place.
The first few clangs cause her to flinch, but when the Nasjtorans collide with the line of Vigilants, the noise and chaos becomes overpowering, and she hangs a lantern on her wrist and pulls back as far as the tunnel will allow, covering her ears to block out the frightening ring of steel on steel and hoping that Raite's battering will find them a way out of this mess.
2007-07-13, 06:15 PM
Shalana stood firm in the darkness, the flickering of the light and the sounds of battle sounded in her ears. For shortest of moments she was reminded of home, but the sounds of death quickly pulled her back to reality. She took a step back, and the totally of everything that was happening sunk down on her like a clamp.
And for the first time in her life, she felt truly afraid. Not those childish fears, or the fear of discipline, but terror, the cringing feeling you get, your skin crawls and feels like its trying to jump off your body. And just as quickly as the fear came, she could feel the beating of her instructor, she was lost in the past for a second, she could feel her instructors sword contact her shield over and over, the pounding blows wearing on her, breaking her down, crushing her into the dust again and again until she did it right.
It was a cold feeling, to suddenly come to the realization how short life can be. It passed though, fear stole life from you, or at least that was what she had been taught, and she trusted those words. She came back to the reality before her, and she was no longer afraid.
Seeing the mage's apprentice fall back in fear, Shalana followed her and did something she had never done before, she hugged her, and whispered in her ear, "Everything will be alright, stay by me, we will survive this."
2007-07-13, 08:28 PM
The girl seems a little put-off by the hug, and, hands still firmly over her ears, contorts her face into an expression of puzzlement and practically shouts in Shalana's ear: "What'd you say? I didn't quite catch it!"
2007-07-13, 10:12 PM
The wall responds to Raite's assualt by crumbling inwards and kicking up a cloud of dust. A section, three feet wide and as tall as the boy who'd created it, opened up with a clatter of stone. The lantern light shined through the dust to reveal the outline of a door at the end of a short hallway. The door appeared to be carved from stone without any notable adornments, a hollow cut into the left side that one could possibly use as a knob.
The fighting drew nearer as the second wave of invaders pushed against the Vigilant's defensive line. One of the soldiers stumbled, a dark stain spreading across the chest of his uniform, and a dwarven face appeared in the breach. Dark skinned with a gaping hole where his right eye should be, the man's grin was as much a statement of pleasure as his coarse laughter. He brought a heavy steel hammer down on the chest of the fallen Auldarian, the impact drown out by the unintelligible shout of another man deeper in the fight. A moment later Cross drove himself into position to close the gap. The Vigilant commander's form covered the grim visage of the cycloptic dwarf but the sound of his laughter still echoed in your ears.
Bodies scattered across the floor around the battle, another seeming to appear each time you blinked. One of the Shah Risarad, a girl with a single braid of hair across her temple, was slumped against the wall. The blank stare in her unblinking eyes and the odd angle of her neck gave testament to her willingness to give all for her sovereign.
( Yeah, I'm posting more quickly because the situation is tense and there is little time for anyone to think. Hard to represent in a PbP game but I'm doing what I can. If you miss posting between updates, don't sweat it. )
2007-07-13, 11:06 PM
Stood there frozen in terror as the battle raged on. So many emotions running through his head rendered him all but useless. The fear, the anger, the sadness, all just eating away at him. The sound of battle was almost hipnotic...
Until Raite slammed through the wall! The noise startled him at first, a feeling of dread slipped through his spine, thinking another dwarf company had just broken through from an adjacent tunnel. He wondered what terrible painful death awaited them. But then, out of the corner of his eye he saw that it was Raite, standing there, dusting debris off of his shoulder!
A little out of character Octavius managed to cry out "Vigilant! A door! his voice cracked, going through puberty does that to you when you get excited. Again louder he yelled "Vigilant Cross! We've found an opening!" And he couldn't even beleive it himself as the words left his mouth, but he managed to ask "Your Orders...Sir?"
Were it out of fear, or out of respect that he'd just asked an Auldarian to tell him what to do, he couldn't be sure. All he knew was that if he'd any chance to get out of there alive, it would no doubt be with the help of this man. He was calm in the face of so mighty a storm, he didn't accept the fact they were helplessly outnumbered, trapped, or even protecting a bunch of kids. He just did his duty, no matter the cost. While that simple way of thinking didn't exactly match that of a Velexian noble, he still respected it.
He stood there halberd at the ready, awaiting either a dwarf to break through the lines, or Cross's next command, whichever came first. And at the current rate, who could say for sure which would happen first?
2007-07-13, 11:26 PM
The momentum of Raite's assualt on the hapless section of wall carries him into the newly revealed chamber. Shaking his head to clear it from the recent impact, the boy quickly surveys his surroundings a glimmer of hope returning as he notices the door. Saved...?
Raite rushes back to the battle, desperate to inform his commander of the possible escape. Seeing Cross engaged in battle and not wanting to distract him at such a critical moment, Raite turns and grabs the arm of Prince Theron, excitedly blurting, "Your highness! There's a door and we should..." Remembering whom he addresses, the military discipline lost in the excitement of the moment reasserts itself as Raite's cheeks flush crimson. "Your pardon highness, I await your orders."
As he stands to attention, the boy's eyes are drawn to the battle and his hand reaches for the hilt of his greatsword, wanting to help his fellow Vigilants but unsure of what he should do. Someone must lead the princes through the door. They should not be the first to face the danger that may lie in wait beyond the hallway. It was Raite's duty to protect those of royal blood in the party, but how was he to choose which action would best fulfill that purpose. Join those in the fight, or lead the group into the unknown?
2007-07-13, 11:58 PM
The awkwardness of the moment with Worm was bothersome, a splinter of frustration in her mind. But any though of that was cut short by the sound of crumbling stone. Seeing the fighting become more dangerous by the second left her sobered. The frustration and helplessness was overwhelming, but seeing a need for action, she grabbed the lantern from Worm, and proceeded to the door, there was no sense in proceeding if another cave in, was lying in wait behind the door, so she opened it.
2007-07-14, 01:30 AM
As everyone not engaged in keeping the dwarves back moves in different directions due to the chaos, seeking their orders in a different place, Darien nudges his brother. "Give the order already," he hisses, his heart hammering; "--he's busy," he snaps at Raite when the young soldier turns to Vigilant Cross, and starts to reach for the dor hiself.
Shalana beats him to it, and instead he whirls back, biting his lip, to check on everyone else.
2007-07-14, 01:58 AM
Dacin gaped at the further door, then whirled and pointed at Worm "HA! I TOLD you there'd be a door...I TOLD you!!" His moment of triumph lets Shalana get past him into the opening, and after a second longer he remembers the situation...and the fact that his life is in danger.
"Preneur take THIS!" With that, he's through the hole and running for the door. He wished he knew something about locks and traps and made a note to correct that hole in his learning at the first opportunity...assuming he survived, of course.
There was nothing for it but to risk it, and as soon as Shalana had the door open, Dacin ran through and into the space beyond, his lantern swinging back and forth with an eye for the next way forward...
2007-07-14, 07:27 AM
The look on Worm's face turns from one of confusion to one of bewilderment as the lantern is snatched from her hand and, over the din, Dacin points at her and yells about a door.
"You were looking for a door on the outside," the girl points out as she moves toward the newly-created opening.
As bodies hit the floor and walls around her, Worm's eyes fall upon the Shah Risard. Tilting her own head a bit, it takes a moment for what's wrong with the woman to sink in.
"Is she - ?" Worm asks the air. She had never seen a dead body before, not really, and to be quite honest, it was pretty creepy. People were dying, a scary and permanent proposition, and the Velaxian and the Vigilant were standing there waiting to be told what to do.
Wait, what was she still doing standing there? With one last look at the corpses behind her, Worm runs into the hall after the others, moving through the door beyond.
2007-07-14, 09:35 AM
The door resists, and only when Shalana puts some effort to it does the stone slide away from her. It pivots like any other door, opening into the room which is illuminated by Dacin's lantern as he dashes through the opening. The chamber beyond is not large, but has ample room to hold a couple dozen people if they were cozy. The walls are worn, covered with faded etchings and mold. The air is coldest here, breath materializing in small puffs of steam. The center of the room holds it's oddest feature, an oval shaped ring of metal set in a large stone base. It stands near eight feet high and three feet wide at the center. The metal is covered in inscriptions as well, and the surface is tarnished with rust. What the room doesn't offer, however, is a way out.
Theron is still, whispers escaping his lips, and only Darien is close enough to realize he is praying. The prayer is a common one, a request to The Three for guidance in times of trouble. The prayer ends as quickly as it had begun and Theron was backing towards the hallway. "All of you inside. The Vigilants will cover us. Cross, get your men back!" The prince paused to usher those still remaining in the corridor past him towards the door before starting down the smaller passage himself.
Cross kicks the body of a dwarf off his sword and shouted his order over the din. "Vigilants, withdraw!" Only three Vigilants remained, their commander included, and they began a careful retreat toward the hallway. The dwarves, still four or five times as many as their opponents, pushed forward. The Vigilants resist, aided by the two remaining Shah Risarad, but three of the defenders fell beneath the onslaught and vanished in the tide of advancing.
Theron holds his place in the doorway, ushering you through as the Vigilants backed down the passage, the smaller area there giving them an advantage. A Nasjtoran lunges past the two Vigiliants only to be caught by the hair and slammed fully into the wall by Cross. The commander takes a slash to his leg for the effort, blood welling up through the links there. The other Vigilant fares worse as the one-eyed dwarf reappears in the fray and catches the man across the shoulder with his hammer. The sound that accompanies it is unmistakably bone breaking and the man staggers. Cross drives his shield into the advancing horde and grabs the other soldier, dragging him backwards through the door. He then throws the door shut, bracing it with his back as he faces the rest of you. "Trapped. Not that I'm not thankful to have stone between me and those bastards."
Of the sixteen that entered the tunnels, only eight remain. Pounding on the other side of the door accentuates the dire situation.
2007-07-14, 12:27 PM
Dacin swore loudly, a filthy, guttersnipe expression that betrayed his lowborn roots...and his anger. His free hand clenched into a fist, then unclenched as he visibly mastered his fear, for the moment at least.
He noted the runes on the ring and had an idea, of a sorts. "Worm? Can you examine what it says there? Maybe something on the ring means something in your book that can get us out of here." He knew it wouldn't, of course. It was pure make busy work. But if she had something to think about, maybe she wouldn't be so afraid. It was about all he could do for her now.
It was all he could do for anyone, anymore.
With despair closing around his heart, he trotted to the wall directly opposite the entrance and started to search for a hidden door. He had as little hope that he'd find one as he did in Worm being able to discover something about the ring, but it was better than just waiting for death, and maybe they'd get lucky again...
2007-07-15, 12:10 AM
Staring at the two remaining soldiers, Worm shuddered, partly because of how the odds had tilted significantly against them, and partly because it was pretty cold. Rubbing her hands together, she takes a couple steps toward the ring, peering at the worn letters.
"Dun need the book - that's Infernal. Can't make out all the words, though." She motions for someone with a lantern to bring it closer, and she paces slowly around the ring, breathing into cupped hands as she reads.
"Barrier...something...lock...can't read that...energy. Hmm." Suddenly oblivious to the cold and the horde in the hallway, Worm plucks the spell strips from the book's pages, scanning each one carefully in the dim light. Finally, she tucks two away, keeping the third one in hand.
"This one oughta work. Still, um, you might want to back up, just in case it doesn't." Pinching the spell strip between two fingers, Worm begins to recite something in a strange language, her tongue twisting and her throat tightening to create a weird, disconcerting noise. Raising a hand in the air, she wriggles her fingers before making a fist and resting her knuckles against the ring as she finishes her incantation.
2007-07-15, 10:52 AM
As the only member of the Vigilants left unwounded, Raite takes a position next to Cross and adds his weight to the door. His sword held steady despite the faint quavering in his voice, he asks Cross, "Do you think the sorceress can do something to help us escape, Sir?" After the brief hope the door gave was dashed by the apparently dead end of the room they now found themselves in, Raite was finding it hard not to lose himself to despair.
2007-07-15, 09:39 PM
The Prince makes it in after several of the others, but before his brother; he swears, and in much the same language Dacin uses, too.
"At least the door'll be a choke-point; it won't hold them for long..." he begins, and trails off, watching Worm intently with a furrowed brow, and mouthing some of the words she utters to himself.
2007-07-15, 11:21 PM
The Velexian joins the vigilants holding the door shut. He faces away from the door and digs his feet in holding it with his back. His eyes wander around the room. He notices Dacin searching frantically for another door and Worm studying the strange ruin.
With every second that passes, another droplet of fear seaps through his mental defenses, the look on his face tells it all. His normally fair complection full or youth and vigor is now pale white, his eyes are still red from crying, and his lower lip quivers. He closes his eyes and silently issues a prayer to Minerva, the Valexian goddess of wisdom. He normally isn't a very spiritual person, but desperate times call for desperate measures.
And there situation far exceeded desperate.
Strength Check if needed:
2007-07-16, 07:31 AM
All that forcefullness and now they were stuck in a dead end. She cursed her luck. Sent halfway around the world just so she could die to some dwarves. It mattered very little really when she thought about it, she would have amounted to nothing in her homeland, the daughter of a figurehead didn't have much to look forward to, regardless of where she was sent.
Still she wished her life wouldn't get cut short. Especially not by dwarves.
2007-07-16, 10:30 AM
As Raite and Octavius stepped up to hold the door, Cross knelt by the wounded Vigilant to examine his injuries. The door bucked slightly as something impacted it on the other side but the two boys had little trouble keeping it in place. The weight of the stone door was a great benefit. Cross shook his head as the other Vigilant fell unconscious and stood to face Raite.
"I don't know. Magister Renault was capable of a great many things that I will never understand. Frankly I try to stay as distant from his magic as possible. The whole things sets me on edge." Worm's knock against the metal was met with a resounding *thump* and then a flash of brilliant light. A ripple of force sweeps through the room, rustling hair and clothing, and in the next moment the rust fell from the surface of the ring. The light expands like liquid, spreading from the center of the ring to the perimeter. In less than ten seconds the central emptiness of the ring has become a pool of rippling color. Red, then yellow, then blue. The colors roll over the surface like oils, blending and bleeding away. A faint reflection catches along the surface of the light, as if it were metal.
The portal is oddly silent, no electric hum or liquid splash. The strip of paper in Worm's hand turns brittle and then falls apart, dissolving into dust. Another pulse of force sweeps out from the ring, visible as a translucent rippling in the air, and passes through you as it spreads to the walls and, presumably, beyond. The sensation is like a gust of wind that leaves your skin tingling for seconds after it passes. It was Theron who spoke first, stepping towards the ring.
"Was that what you wanted it to do?"
2007-07-16, 10:41 AM
Shalana stops and just stares. She had never in her life witnessed a magical display like that. She had seen tricks of light, and people stopped in there tracks, but nothing like that before. Her curiosity mixed in with her anxiety, and she barely stammered out, "What is it?"
2007-07-16, 11:14 AM
Raite stands mouth agape, his fear momentarily forgotten as he leans against the door. "That... was wonderful," he whispers. Despite his life being grounded in more material concerns, Raite has always harbored the hope that he would one day witness magic, tales of which evoked a deep excitement in him. Now he had his wish, and what's more, he rediscovered hope. Surely something as wonderful as what had just occured would offer them deliverance from their current predicament. Thoughts of the dwarves attempting to break through and the feel of something slamming against the door quickly returned the young Vigilant to reality, and he redirected his concentration towards making sure Worm would have however much time she needed to complete the miracle.
2007-07-16, 03:03 PM
Worm's eyes pop wide open and, in a barely audible release of breath, she says, "Ooo." Squinting, she attempts to make out the letters no longer obscured by rust, but the light emanating from the structure makes it impossible.
When Prince Theron speaks, the girl straightens up and turns to him, determined to make a good impression, but finds her mouth going dry and palms sweating.
"Well, um, your highness, it's...I mean, I've never seen anything like it, but yeah, I guess. Not, you know, exactly what I was expecting, but with these things you never know what you'll get, right?" she rambles, drying her hands on her forearms.
Glancing over at the ring, she attempts to explain: "It's a door, you see? At least in as much as it goes from here to someplace else. I dunno where it leads, but it'll be better than staying here. At least, in all probability. No way of controlling that, seeing as I didn't really do anything 'cept unlock it, and right now the unknown seems like a pretty okay option, highness."
2007-07-16, 07:13 PM
Dacin shakes his head in shock, "Worm, you never cease to amaze me..."
The page moved around to the "front" of the gate as best he could determine, then looked at it a little closer. He considered the pounding on the door and his own failures at finding another way out, then shrugs, "It's gotta be better than here. Gods be with me!!"
With that, Dacin hurls himself through the portal before he, or anyone else, can think of reasons to talk him out of it.
2007-07-17, 09:37 AM
Still holding his weight against the door tenses up as the dwarves slam into the stone once more. "As much as we'd all like to stare at the pretty lights, I think it's best if we get a move on. We can't hold this door all day you know." Just then the dwarves slam home again, while the stone wall helps Octavius feels his endurance is staggering. Still no one else has moved to the mysterious doorway. "Well what are you all waiting for? Follow that half-elf!"
2007-07-17, 09:47 AM
"Wish me luck!"
Shalana says it with a smile as she jumps through the portal.
2007-07-17, 11:37 AM
As Dacin contacts the rippling pool of color he seems to freeze, suspended in time for a moment. Then the colors vibrate around him violently, seemingly drawn towards him, and a sound like boiling grease fills the chamber. The half-elf seems to grow thinner as his clothing and skin vanish, coils of muscle and the network of vessels exposed for a moment before they too fade away. A thin stream of gray smoke begins to flow from the top of the portal. Organs follow, leaving only bones, and then that too disappears. The smoke seeps upwards, crawling over the ceiling in search of an escape.
Shalana's contact with the portal has the same result, layers of her body stripped away until nothing is left. The smoke covers the ceiling like a layer of oil, bringing with it a smell like burning leather.
In the five or so seconds it takes for each body to be peeled away the light concentrates enough on the center that the ring becomes visible again. Worm manages to catch a few more words of the inscription each time. The phrasing is written in a variation of Infernal that leaves some of the words indescipherable.
By the closing of this barrier...shall remain securely locked away...energy that endangers our world...by decree of the Six Who Remain, this is so.
Dacin and Shalana
Upon entering the portal the feeling can best be described as agony. Cold, like diving into a river of ice, followed by a heat like the hottest flame. You feel as though your body is being pulled in a dozen different directions at once. Then your senses are overwhelmed by a thousand knives cutting away at you, piece by piece. It is so sudden and so intense that you welcome the nothingness that follows as you lose touch with your body and your thoughts fade away.
2007-07-17, 11:52 AM
Raite views the transformation of Dacin and Shalana as a growing expression of shock and horror transforms his face.
Magic is supposed to be good and wonderful. This isn't right. Did Something go wrong?
Seeking out a source of comfort amidst events that have gone far beyond his simple understanding, the boy looks to Cross. A trembling "Sir?" the only utterance he is capable of after witnessing the ghastly display.
2007-07-17, 11:59 AM
The girl seems simultaneously disgusted and floored by the rending of those who enter the portal, and she goes a bit green, forcing her eyes away from the grotesque sight to read the now-visible inscription around the ring.
"Oh no," she murmurs, sticking her thumb in the corner of her mouth and gnawing on her nail. "No, no, no - this is bad, this is real bad."
2007-07-17, 02:21 PM
Cross gives a shake of his head. "I have no idea what that means." He steps up to the door and puts his shoulder to it, urging Octavius aside. "We'll switch off on holding the door. Let one rest while two do the work." The door takes another blow, opening an inch before slamming closed again.
Theron puts a hand on Worm's shoulder and looks down at her. "Do you know for sure what's happened to them?" As he speaks a rat crawls out of the apprentice's robe and perches itself on her shoulder, squeaking excitedly. The prince takes a step back, his eyes narrowing at the curious occurance.
2007-07-17, 02:27 PM
Panic runs through his bones as he watches the scene unfold, he can't help but feel somewhat responsible for what just happened, not for Dacin, that fool jumped in on his own accord, but Shalana, she seemed innocent enough. "What is it Worm? What's happened!?" He yells from across the room, as he steps away from the door.
2007-07-17, 03:10 PM
"Okay, well, um -" Worm glances over at the prince's hand, stomach knotting at the touch, and when he backs away she looks at the rat, giving him a little bop on the nose with the tip of her finger.
"Hush up, Darien!" she snaps, oblivious to the potential confusion of such a remark, before returning to her earlier train of thought.
"Uh, ok. See, what happened to them looked pretty terrible, but that's not what's bad. You see, there's all kinds of different magic - making stuff appear, changing stuff into other stuff and so on - and the magic that's here doesn't feel destructive."
"Which means that there's a chance this is, in fact, some kind of sending magic, and they've been taken someplace else - piece by piece - and reassembled, and even though that's sort of vile, it is technically possible, assuming that this is a doorway in the sense that what is an exit here is an entrance someplace else."
And not just some kind of prison I opened that held something that 'endangers the world' which I may have inadvertantly unleashed.
2007-07-17, 03:38 PM
Moves next to Worm, peering into the portal. After listening he asks "So your saying it's safe?" He pauses, waiting for an answer. "Should the rest of us follow then? Or are we safer here with the rampaging dwarves?"
2007-07-17, 08:01 PM
The rat. She named her rat after me.
In the middle of the situation, Darien barely restrains himself from bursting out into laughter.
Instead he scoops a pebble up, and lobs it at the portal.
"Seems to me that's exactly what she's saying. I wonder how long it takes to learn to do that?"
And with that, the younger prince takes a step--two--braces himself, and leaps through the portal.
2007-07-17, 09:02 PM
"I'm saying it's likely - " Worm begins, but is cut off by the prince, who then dives toward the portal. Turning her head away to avoid watching the still-stomach churning display, she finishes, "-that it won't kill you."
The girl runs both her hands through her mop of hair, looking rather nervous. "There's only one way to be sure, though, and I guess I oughta put my coin where my mouth is, so to speak." The girl takes a couple steps toward the portal, lifting the rat from her shoulder and clutching it to her chest.
"Don't be scared. I'm right here, yeah?" she says quietly to the creature, though the words seem more for her own benefit. With one last glance at the remaining members of the group, she steps toward the ring, but she misjudges the distance and trips over the edge, tumbling ungracefully into the portal.
2007-07-17, 10:36 PM
Raite turns to Cross with a look of horror on his face. "Sir! The Prince! No Vigilants have entered the portal. He may be in danger on the other side. Shouldn't one of us go after him?"
Torn between his fear of what he witnessed when the others entered the portal and his duty to the royal family, Raite waits for Cross to give the order to follow the young prince. All the time wondering if his legs will obey when he attempts to enter the portal.
2007-07-18, 01:06 AM
The bodies decay, or more aptly disintegrate, one after another and by the time the apprentice makes her exit the smoke is thick enough to make those still present cough and adds a hoarseness to their words. Theron chuckles despite the discomfort, shooting a glance to Cross.
"Darien the rat. How poetic?" At that he turns to the Velaxian and makes a sweeping motion towards the portal. With his other hand he returns his weapon to its sheath and draws in a deep breath, preparing himself for the trip. The door bucks visibly and cracks begin to appear in the center. Whatever the dwarves are doing, it's working remarkably well. Cross digs his heels down against the floor and braces his back against the weakening door.
"That boy will be the death of me, Raite. Get moving, I'll follow Theron through." He gasps breaths between the words, each movement bringing a grimace of pain to his lips. His straw colored hair is slick with sweat, his face pale, and in the stress of this moment he seems a hundred years old.
2007-07-18, 09:36 AM
"Yes sir," Raite responds. He closes his eyes briefly, steadying his shaken nerves. Then joins the others in whatever fate they have met with a running dive into the center of the portal.
2007-07-18, 12:42 PM
Defeated, he sighs and moves towards the portal. He finds the papers in his pocket to make sure he still has them. Satisfied he closes his eyes and jumps into the portal.
2007-07-18, 01:26 PM
Agony, then nothing. The pain was so intense that time lost all meaning, and the emptiness that followed gave no indication of its passage. Your memories fall away as you drift into the void. Friends fade away, then family, and finally your own identity vanishes from your mind. You are, for one terrifying moment, nothing.
Cold. That is the first thing you feel when your senses return. It is a struggle to open your eyes but you manage. It is dark, the lanterns seeming to not have made it through the trip intact, with only a soft colored light spilling out from behind you as your eyes adjust. You feel stone beneath you and can hear the sounds of breathing. As each of you struggles to regain control of your own body you feel waves of disorientation flow through you. It feels like minutes pass before you are able to even gather the strength to speak, and it is longer still before you can move.
The room is a natural cavern, quite different from the carved stone you last saw. Somewhere in the distance water is dripping, a rythmic sound that helps you focus. Behind you is a portal much like the one you entered. It is not free-standing but is set into the rock itself, as though it were carved into the cave wall. It's borders are stone, not metal, and the colors are deeper and more jarring to your senses. You can make out the shapes of the others around you but only Dacin can pick out detail enough to know exactly who he is looking at each time. Cross' voice, hoarse and strained, cuts through the near silence.
"Everyone sound off."
(I need DC 15 Fort saves from the lot of you. Success leaves you sickened, failure leaves you nauseated until I note otherwise.)
2007-07-18, 01:44 PM
"Ohhh, I'm alive, but I don't feel well. That was.... that was just horrible."
Shalana coughed, she did her best to slowly stand up and try and see anything. She checked to see what she still had on herself, making sure everything was intact.
2007-07-18, 02:08 PM
The agony, cold, and sickness swept aside Dacin's usual (public) respect for authority, and he groaned as he replied to Cross, "You bastards aren't done with me yet! It'll take...urrrrghh.....m-more than THAT to kill Dacin, it will!!"
He stumbled to his feet and looked carefully at the piles of people around him, counting off his surviving allies as he saw them to see if anyone was missing and taking care to look for any dwarves on the ground who may have been brave or foolish enough to follow them through.
2007-07-18, 02:19 PM
"I'm here," comes Worm's voice from the shadows, shaking and a little scared. Arms trembling, she pushes herself up into a crouch, holding out a hand with the palm facing up.
"Bailuminatas," she murmurs, and a quartet of lights - pink, green, blue and yellow - appear in front of her, circling and crossing each other. With a flick of her wrists, she sends them whipping around the cavern, illuminating those who came through the portal in turn and scouring the walls and ceiling of the area, seeking a way out - after all, there was still a chance the dwarves were on their tail.
2007-07-18, 02:25 PM
"Here sir," Raite replies in a weak voice as nausea threatens to overwhelm him. Struggling to his feet, Raite draws his sword and attempts to locate the Princes in the gloom, fighting through the waves of dizziness in an effort to make sure they are safe from any threats in this unknown place.
2007-07-18, 07:06 PM
Fort save: 1d20+3=15 (http://invisiblecastle.com/find.py?id=1157314). Made it! Drinking alkymahol from a young age makes you TOUGH.
Breathing raggedly and clutching his stomach, Prince Darien slowly picks himself up off the floor, blinking in an attempt to bring some stability to his vision.
"I'm here," he groans when Cross speaks up. "Preneur's balls, that was not my idea of a good time. Are we safe or can they come through? Is there any way to close it?"
The younger prince undoes some of the numerous cords lacing up his doublet, and pulls a thin knife from his boot; he ties the leather cord around the dagger's hilt and crosspiece, and tosses the dagger back through the portal--then attempts to pull it back through.
2007-07-19, 12:07 AM
The voices echo slightly in the chamber, each of you speaking softer than you'd expect. Perhaps it was due to the illness, or the uncertainty of the situation. Cross rises as the lights appear, following them with his eyes before turning to Dacin. "Relax, boy. No sense wasting energy we might need later."
The glowing spheres of light flit about the room, trailing one another and illuminating the area much like small torches. Theron ducks beneath them as they pass, his discomfort evident as he presses his back to a wall and crosses his arms over his stomach. "I'm here." His eyes narrow on Darien as the boy speaks but that remains the extent of his movements.
The blue sphere passes through Raite as it continues its circuit around the room. The room is no larger than the one you just left, and a hole about four feet in diameter sits in the wall furthest from you. It seems to lead upwards at a slight angle. Two broken lanterns sit in pools of oil near the portal. A pile of sticks and small branches occupies one corner of the room as well.
Two eyes glow in the passing light and The Rat darts across the room to burrow under the hem of Worm's robe. Darien's attempt at testing the portal has underwhelming results. The dagger passes into the light and hits the stone behind it, sliding down and back out onto the floor at the portal's base.
2007-07-19, 02:55 AM
Darien meets his pious brother's gaze with a roll of his eyes, then turns back to the portal.
"Sod. Might mean that it doesn't work anymore, might mean it was one way and they can still come after us, might mean only people can get through... no tellin' what."
As he speaks, the prince tucks his knife back into his boot and does up his shirt-lace again. Then he circles the room, eyeing the lights curiously, and comes up behind Worm; his hand comes up to rest on her shoulder.
"So--what're the odds that they can come after us? We need to move on if they're likely to."
2007-07-19, 09:52 AM
Worm smiles a bit woozily at the rat, and when the Prince puts a hand on her shoulder, she shrugs it off and scratches at the back of her neck. There were an awful lot of people touching her today, probably more than in her entire life if you didn't count scrapping, and it was becoming rather disconcerting.
"If I had to wager, I'd say you can't send stuff that's not people - or at least alive," she glances down at the squirming rodent hiding under her robe.
"Depends on how superstitious they are. Not everyday you see something like that, right? Figure they'll send at least one once they realize there's no way out - if they're serious 'bout getting their hands on your highnesses, at least - but you saw what it looks like when you go through. They might think twice about following, might even think you're dead." She pauses, deep in thought for a moment, before shrugging.
"Course, if you were dead, pretty foolish of all of us to follow suit, I guess."
An anxious glance at Theron, and then around at the other distraught youths, and Worm moves to the corner of the cavern, scooping up a couple of the branches and moving to where the oil has spilled. Crouching, she takes the hem of her voluminous robe and yanks, tearing a long strip and wrapping it around one of the branches, which she then rolls in the oil.
"These won't last long," she says of the swirling balls of color. "so's we'll probably need a more natural method to light our way, yeah? I dun got anything to light 'em with, though." She holds out the branch, waiting for someone to take it.
2007-07-19, 10:41 AM
"I don't have anything to help you with." Shalana said it before kneeling down again, as a wave of sickness cam back up to her again.
She was tired now, the sick feeling, the running, the danger, it was beginning to overwhelm her. It wasn't quite over yet though.
"The sooner we get out of here and can get away, the sooner we can rest. So lets go as soon as possible."
2007-07-19, 07:03 PM
Sits still with his back against the wall. When Worm asks for help lighting the torches all he can offer is a quick shrug. He uses this downtime to reflect on everything that had happened over the last couple days. He thought back to the battle outside his room, just after the invasion had started. He watched in his mind as his father had fiercy fought off the dwarves that had slipped through the Auldarian line. He remembered the big toothy grin of the dwarf that had been coming for himself, but his father had sacrificed his own defense to cut the dwarf down, leaving himself wide open to attack. His father had never been a soldier, but he fought marverlously! Unfortunately there were just too many of them. He knew what he was doing when he attacked that dwarf. He laid down his own life to keep his son alive. Not a common trait among Valexians, especially Valexian senators.
My father was a good man. he thought
and before he even realized it, a tear rolled down his cheek. Normally he'd try and hide it, he'd wipe it away before anyone else noticed. But this time he just let it fall. He tilted his head to the side and let it slide all the way down to his chin, and from there he just watched as it splashed into the dirt. And just how it had barely made a mark in the dirt so did he feel. So insignificant. A very small piece of a very large world. So easily his father had been taken away from him. And no seemed to even notice or care.
With a deep sigh he stood to his feet and finally wiped his eyes. Nothing left now but to keep moving. He looked at Cross "Shall we be going then?"
2007-07-19, 11:29 PM
Cross takes one of the torches and draws his sword with the other hand, kneeling to wedge it between the ground and his chest and letting the flat of the blade rest on his knee. He retrieves the flint he'd used to light the lanterns and strikes it against the blade several times, finally sparking enough to catch the oil-soaked end of the torch alight. He then sets it to two more of the sticks, giving the group three lit torches as the Dancing Lights blink out. There are materials enough for three more torches left nearby. As he hands off the torches, one to Raite and one to Worm, he sheathes his weapon and shakes his head.
"Everyone just rest a moment, none of us seem to be feeling our best and we don't know what this cave will hold. I don't see why any of the Nasjtorans passing through there would arrive in better shape than us, and an unconscious dwarf is easily dealt with." He pulls a waterskin from his belt and takes several swallows from it before holding it out to Theron. He leaves it capped and offers it to the half-elf on his right.
The Vigilant held the torch out and studied the room, peering up into the hole that provided the only exit. The torches provide enough light to reveal a few additional things in the area. The floor is spotted with broken pottery, shards scattered across the floor in a spread concentrated near the hole in the wall.
Secondly, and perhaps more importantly, is that each of you has changed. The changes are minor, a shift in eye or hair color or a thickening of the jawline. Theron's skin is darker by a shade while Cross' eyes are closer set and framed by shallower cheekbones. Subtle enough that only people who are familiar with you would be able to notice the difference, but pronounced enough to be a concern.
2007-07-20, 12:06 AM
Taking the torch from Cross, Worm looks first around the room with mild interest, but her jaw drops when she comes back around to examine her companions, completely unaware of the change in her own appearance.
The girl's formerly ale-brown eyes had taken on the startling color and facet of padparadscha, the edges of the iris fading out to an orange-gold border. Her hair, still chopped and messy, has been overtaken by blonde cutting through it, the remaining auburn disappearing into the mass of gold, one lock stubbornly poking in front of her ear and hanging down her cheek. The gap in her teeth is as present as ever, and she doesn't seem any less scrawny, but her mouth seems larger and more exaggerated.
"It musta had trouble puttin' us all back together," she marvels, seeming surprised but not displeased. "I ain't grown a beak or nothing, right?"
Ducking down, she casts about for Darien - the rat, of course, not the prince - to see if he has changed as well.
2007-07-20, 06:48 AM
It was when Shalana noticed the slight changes in her companions that she noticed her own, she was taller. By an inch at least. No wonder she felt sick, the blasted magic of the portal had stretched her out! Her hair color had also taken on a strange hue, before it had simply been a fiery red, it was still red, but there was purple in it, the color of her hair had become subdued by it, neither of the changes particularly bothered her, after all, she was still breathing.
She sighed. Kneeling down she attempted to meditate and calm her body with breathing techniques.
2007-07-20, 08:37 PM
Darien's gaze, now deepend to an emerald green, sweeps the room, and his blond eyebrows rise. He runs a hand along his face, tracing already-sharp cheekbones which have become even more pronounced, finding his feathered hair unaltered, and trailing down across the broadened shoulders his still-lean build now sports.
"Well, isn't that interesting," he says--no, almost purrs, and pauses in startlement. He'd meant to speak in a deeper tone than usual, but his voice has altered more drastically than his build; it has become a rich, cultured baritone, still rife with his usual sardonic tone, that would likely verge on bass if he were to deepen it intentionally.
"Oh. Oh, well, then. At least something good has come of all this."
And the younger Prince--who now looks at least as old as his brother, if not slightly older--proceeds to test his new voice's range. It seems that it has expanded rather than shifted, because he quietly produces notes all the way up to a high tenor, and then back down, a faint little smile settling onto his lips.
Prince Darien will now be voiced by Jeremy Irons (http://imgs.xkcd.com/comics/jeremy_irons.jpg), at least most of the time. :biggrin:
2007-07-22, 12:33 AM
Towards the end of his crooning attempt Darien's voice breaks and he finds that his throat is scratchy and coarse, as if he'd been yelling for hours. That, along with the ache in his shoulders, might lead one to believe he'd come down with an illness of some sort.
Shalana is equally pained, her body seeming to ache everywhere it was able. It was an ache like that which followed her stretching exercises back home, deep and constant.
Worm found her discomfort mostly in the area of her cheeks and jaw. It felt like she'd walked into something, an all too familiar feeling to be sure. Theron looked at her from his place against the wall and shook his head. "No more of a beak than ever, though I wouldn't rule out feathers this early."
The Rat seemed a bit larger than before, though that could be a trick of the light. What wasn't an illusion, however, was that his hair was now a deep chocolate brown color and smoother than before. His tail twitches uneasily as he submits to the examination. A voice called out, Theron again. "I trust the Dariens didn't exchange parts. I've always held to the assertion that my brother had a tail hidden away somewhere."
Cross speaks up from his place near the exit after checking to see if the waterskin has made its rounds. "This passage goes up about thirty feet or so. The incline is slight, it shouldn't be difficult to ascend it. I can lead us up and through this cave now or we can stay here and rest. Several of you look pretty shaky so I'd recommend the break but if you feel up to pressing on I won't argue the point."
2007-07-22, 02:57 AM
Dacin studied the others and spotted the changes in them easily, despite dim light. "Huh."
He produced a small silver hand mirror and examined himself in it, noting the way his face had become more angular, his ears a little more pointed, and his eyes an unnaturally bright emerald green. Each individual change was relatively minor, but the cumulative effect was to shift his appearance from that of a slender human boy with pointed ears that suggested elven blood to a somewhat more robust than usual elven boy with enough color and rounded features to suggest a human heritage.
"Huh," he said again.
Putting away the mirror, he moved over to the entrance to the tunnel ahead and stared down it, taking advantage of his elven sight to keep an eye out...and giving him the best chance to get away if dwarves or other horrors started pouring out of the portal.
Without looking back at the group, he responded to Cross' question, "I for one, think we should rest a bit longer. There's a time for speed, and a time for caution. Now would be the latter, since it could be fatal to blunder ahead unprepared into who-know's-what...."
2007-07-22, 08:54 AM
Worm laughs, a kind of unusual nervous laugh, at Theron's first comment, but at the dig at Darien she is visibly embarassed, looking at Darien and opening her mouth as if to say something, but she seems tongue-tied.
"You oughta know what's best outta everyone, Vigilant Cross," Worm says sincerely, turning away from the princes to respond to the soldier.
With that, she picks her way across the cavern to where Dacin's standing near the exit, offering the half-elf a lopsided smile.
"Can I have a look at that mirror?" she asks, gingerly rubbing her aching jawline with her free hand. "I, um, like your pointy ears," she adds, tugging at her oversized robes.
2007-07-22, 10:15 AM
"Vigilant Cross, I would recommend that we keep going now, and get better rest later. I have a feeling the only way I'm going to feel any better is after a full sleep."
With that Shalana struggled to her feet and made her way to the way out. She waited to see if everyone agreed.
2007-07-22, 10:15 AM
Darien rubs one of his shoulders, a half-smile indicating no ill will towards his voice; the smile expands into a grin, which he turns on Theron.
"Aye, but no rat's tail: I'm a cat--more than prince of cats, I can tell you! O, I'm the courageous captain of compliments... a gentleman of the very first house." His tone indicates that he is quoting, until he pauses.
"I know you're envious, since you haven't had any tail--but now isn't the time for that sort of thing, wouldn't you think?"
The jibe hangs in the air a moment, then the younger prince turns away.
"Cross, we're none of us in perfect condition, but we can move. At the very least, let's get away from this portal."
2007-07-23, 12:04 AM
Theron shook his head and the look that takes rest on his features is one of disappointment above all else. "Crass as always, Darien. It shows such tact to flaunt your intimate indiscretions in front of your future bride." He had to put effort into rising from his place on the floor, his discomfort evident in the slow and deliberate motions he used. Gradually he moves with measured steps towards the exit. "I'm ill but I can walk. This place just adds to the discomfort so I'll be happy to be out of it."
Cross nods then and motions to the group as a whole. "On your feet, then. We'll find a less intimidating place to get our wind back. I recommend we keep talking to a minimum until we've seen more of the cave." The Vigilant begins to crawl up the hole, stopping at the top to scan the area before he motions down for the next person to follow. The incline is not difficult to ascend even in your ragged states and there is little to see once you've done so. The cavern extends forward to the end of the torchlight, a tunnel that you can walk three abreast with comfort. Dacin can make out what looks to be openings to side tunnels at the edge of his enhanced vision, one on either side of the path.
2007-07-23, 12:38 AM
"One should always, my dear brother, know what one is getting into..." a glance for Shalana follows, an intentional beat, and then the flippant addition of "...or, more to the point, vice versa. Wouldn't it be worse to keep secrets from one's future bride? And shouldn't you have greater worries than my breaches of manners?"
Then Darien loses the sardonic expression and tone he maintains while matching wits with his brother, and he crosses the ground between himself and Shalana with a long, smooth step; his long-fingered hand reaches out to take hers in a formal gesture.
"My lady, I can't say I'm sorry for what some," a glance at Theron, "might term indiscretions, but if anyone has the right to know of them, it's you. I see nothing ill in such, and hope that you don't either--but at the very least, forgive if you can not accept."
Then the younger prince, rather than waiting for an answer, releases her hand, sketches a quick bow, and moves off after Vigilant Cross.
2007-07-23, 12:52 AM
Shalana fitfully played with her hair while Theron and her "husband to be" exchanged words. She burned a little inside at the comments. Theron angered her for treating her as someone to be coddled, but Darien angered her at flaunting his obvious indiscretion. It was not her way, to ignore the orders and request of those appointed above her, she didn't always follow them, but she certainly didn't flaunt such resistance, no, it was a shame upon your soul to flaunt rebellion. If you have a disagreement with a tradition or an order, you should say so, not hide behind bravado, the courage of fools.
It was a small thing though, and she could understand the tension. Life was tenuous at best and now they were running for their lives, everyone had to find a way to overcome their fears, hers was discipline, Darien's was jokes, and Theron's was duty. Of course the others were still mysteries to her, especially Worm.
She let out an audible sigh at the Theron's comment and spoke, "Theron, you do not need to hide your brother's faults from me, marriage would reveal them anyway, and I would rather find them out now, rather than later."
She smiled a broad smile, and fire lit up in her eyes before she finished with, "And even if he has had indiscretions, it would make me a poor wife if I could not keep his attention on his "duties.""
The words dripped with innuendo, and Shalana got that rush she often did when she said something she knew she would later regret, but she just couldn't help herself, she was just as much a fool as Darien.
When he came over and extended his hand she took his. And when he attempted to turn and bow she held onto it and pulled him close and whispered in his ear, "I'm not sure what you know of Yunis, but we are not a timid people and we are also fiercely loyal. When I say that you will not have a cause for want with me, I mean every word. I have been cast into Auldaria and I will probably never return to my homeland, and you are the only thing I have received in return. I am not a fool, I know that sharing yourself with barmaids and servants is the least of your secrets, but it simply does not matter to me, if you share your secrets with me, they will be kept, and I will not shame you for them."
A fire burned in her eyes, a terrible one, passion and fury and thunder. And as the fury passed, a twinkle came into them. She let go of Darien and smiled at him and spoke for the room to hear, "And who knows Darien, you may like this particular "duty" more than your dalliances.
2007-07-23, 01:53 AM
Dacin sighed faintly, looked at Worm, then tossed his head towards Cross and shrugged apologetically. He produced his mirror and handed it to her, then leaned close to whisper, "Thanks. The golden hair looks nice on you as well. And those eyes are something special!" He smiled at her, then slipped into the tunnel ahead of the main group.
It is, he thought to himself, quite a shame that we're all going to die in these gods-forsaken tunnels. Because I can't help but suspect that Worm would have developed into someone really special.
Almost as special as me.
He paused at each side passage as he spotted it, waiting so that the darkness impaired people following him could see him and the passage both, and looking carefully down each as the light improved to see if there was anything noteworthy before trotting to the front of the column as they advanced.
Dacin hoped to benefit from giving the impression of being both brave and useful, but in truth he feared the dwarves and anything else that might emerge from the portal and preferred to keep the rest of the group between himself and the real danger.
Besides, darkness had always been his friend in the past...more a shelter than a threat, especially compared to the night-blind humans he lived and worked with, and he was quite comfortable skulking through the dark.
It made him feel a little better, in fact.
He kind of wished that Darien and Shalana would heed Cross' words and just shut up, but the noise of the armored Vigilants was just as loud, so it probably mattered very little.
Of course, a little could still kill you in the end...
2007-07-23, 09:44 AM
Raite remained silent throughout the exchanges between his companions. Battling to overcome the extreme nausea that had him doubled up against the wall of the chamber. I won't be of much use in a fight in this state. Hopefully Cross is in better shape or we could all be in trouble if we run into anything hostile.
Raite takes the torch that is handed him, brushes his long black hair from his face, and stops. Long? How...? Raite begins to explore his features using his free hand. His hair now hangs just past his shoulders and, what's more, fades to silver at it's tips. Raite's jaw has also undergone a metamorphosis to something a champion bare knuckle boxer would be proud of. The stronger and more prominent feature gives Raite a more intimidating and mature appearance.
Looking around at the others, Raite begins to take note of the minor changes in them. His silent contemplation of the situation comes to an abrupt end as Cross gives the order to move. Taking a position at the back of the group and falling back into the comforting feel of duty, Raite pushes thoughts of things he cannot explain from his mind and concetrates on remaining as alert as possible for threats to the small party and fighting back the renewed waves of nausea brought on by his sudden movement.
2007-07-23, 12:21 PM
Worm smiles at the compliment, peering into the mirror in the torchlight. It was strange, how she didn't look like herself - but there wasn't much time to worry about it now. She presses the mirror back into Dacin's hand with a whispered word of thanks, hovering near the exit as she watches Shalana and Darien with a confused expression.
Teenagers, she decided, were wierd. She wasn't sure what exactly they were talking about, or why it was so important that they do it now, or if they were arguing or not. Her face scrunches up a little in thought as she bends down to scoop up her own Darien, laying him over the shoulder opposite her torch arm. When everyone seemed in order to go, she slips in toward the middle of the group, fingers hovering near the spellbook tucked in her belt.
2007-07-23, 12:44 PM
"Your 'breaches of manners' have been this family's greatest worry for years. Why should that change now?" At that Theron disappeared into the hole, leaving Darien and Shalana to play out their conversation. As the group trickled upwards to the passage and fell silent, Dacin stalked ahead of the others to take advantage of his sight. The main passage continued beyond and seemed to curve down and to the right. The passages to the left and right of him continued on, the first stopping at a dead end but seeming to be littered with some kind of detrius and the second narrowing a bit as it continued straight.
As the group draws up to where Dacin was standing, Cross paused to look down the paths as well. The sound of dripping water was closer now, but the direction was disguised by the echoes. Worm, Raite, and Shalana each pick out a sound like screeching or coughing between the drips of water, seeming to come from the passage to the right. It fades in and out like a conversation might, all the time quite difficult to hear. Cross appears to looking in that direction as well, intent enough that he must have heard the sound.
2007-07-23, 01:07 PM
"I'm taking it you also heard it? I'm not sure what it is, but avoiding contact would be preferable at this point. We have no idea where we are or what dwells here."
2007-07-23, 04:47 PM
"Doesn't sound very nice," says Worm in an undertone as she picks her way toward the left-hand tunnel, heading toward the dead end and picking through the objects left on the ground, trying to discern their origin.
2007-07-25, 12:11 AM
Walks quietly behind the others, lost in his own thoughts. Unaware of any sounds he looks up "What is it?" He asks cross.
2007-07-25, 10:09 AM
"Trouble, Sir?" Raite asks, eyes trying desperatly to penetrate the dark of the tunnel, as his hand moves involuntarily towards the hilt of his greatsword.
2007-07-25, 07:11 PM
Darien's voice stops, and he puts care into his footsteps, not moving unnecessarily loudly.
"There's a better worry for you," he mouths in Theron's direction, and then jerks his thumb towards the tunnel without all the noises.
2007-07-25, 07:47 PM
As everyone else clustered around the passage from which the sound was coming, Dacin slipped into the one with the dead end. The scattered rubble on the ground had caught his eye, and he looked through it hoping to find either a clue to their current whereabouts or (even better) something valuable in among the mess.
It was a long shot, but every little bit helped...
2007-07-27, 04:27 PM
As you both approach the pile at the end of the short passage you are quickly met with an unpleasent odor. It burns your eyes and the back of your throat slightly, irritating but not dangerous. There is urine, definately, and possibly blood as well. If that is not enough to derail your efforts, you find a pile of discarded clothing in various stages of mildew and decay. Bones litter it, one skull distinctly human in appearance, as well as a few discarded personal items such as small wooden boxes with busted clasps and shredded leather packs. The smell, and the moldy look of the pile, gives you pause and makes you think hard about actually touching any of it.
After several moments of concentration, Cross motions for Raite to continue down the main tunnel. "Report back what you can see beyond that bend. I will check this way to see if we can use it without contacting whatever is making that noise. The rest of you wait here until we return." He then hands his torch to Octavius and moves carefully down the passage towards the noise, his back pressed to the wall as he navigates the darkened tunnel.
2007-07-28, 10:29 AM
Raite moves carefully towards the bend in the passage. His eyes dart from shadow to shadow, straining to notice any movement, as his mind begins to conjour visions of the horrors that might be lurking in the dark. Raite adjusts his grip on the torch, holding it higher in the hopes its light will penetrate the gloom. Swallowing his fear, the young Vigilant presses resolutly forward until he reaches the bend in the tunnel. Taking one look back at the group, he turns the corner and is lost from sight.
2007-07-29, 12:09 AM
Blanching at the smell, Worm picks up the collar of her robe, pressing it over her nose and raising her eyebrows at Dacin. She gestures at the moldering pile and says to the half-elf in a muffled voice:
"Dare you to reach in the pile."
2007-07-29, 01:04 PM
Emotions still burned Shalana like a fire. She had said quite a bit, some of which she didn't even know about herself until she had said it. She watched events unfold around her and waited rather impatiently for her fate to become clear.
2007-07-31, 11:35 AM
Moves towards Dacin and Worm, anxious to see what they had discovered. He brings the torchlight with him to get a better view of the area. As he approaches the smell nearly overwhelms him. He covers his mouth and nose to keep from gagging further and slowly steps beside Dacin. The site does not make Octavius feel any better than the smell did, and after reaching the room, he decides it's not worth the trouble.
"Have fun" he says with a smile before leaving Dacin and Worm with the horrid smell.
2007-08-01, 11:09 AM
Dacin squinted at Worm thoughtfully, then looked at Octavius. He turned back to Worm, shrugged, and replied in a voice kept quiet so that only the scribe and the Velaxian could hear him, "As you wish. But remember...you asked for it."
His hand flipped to his belt and drew his dagger in one swift motion that he'd obviously practiced....but not enough, as the dagger slipped out of his hand and arced toward the ground. The half-elf caught it quickly, and was glad that only he had the vision to tell that he was blushing in embarrassment. To cover his annoyance, he quickly went to one knee and grabbed the hem of Worm's robe, then smirked up at her with a half-grin, "Hold still now."
Dacin cut into the skirt of the robe a couple of inches above the hem, then circled the scribe, shortening her robe by two inches all around. When he was done he took the length of cloth he'd cut and sliced it into three roughly equal sized lengths. He hung one bit of cloth around his neck, then wrapped the other two around his hands in improvised gloves. Thus somewhat protected from the scum, he dug carefully through the junk, looking for anything valuable or significant.
His examination completed, Dacin stood back up and shook his hands to allow the fouled scraps of cloth to drop into the junk, then pulled the third piece from around his neck and wiped his hands clean with it before letting it join the rest in the pile.
He bowed to Worm, "I thank you for your assistance, madam. You will also find it easier to run for your life, should we need to flee again in the near future."
2007-08-01, 11:29 AM
Worm squirmed a little, her hand-me-down robes already ragged at the hem from where she'd torn them to make torches, but she otherwise doesn't move out of fear of accidentally getting cut. As he reaches into the pile, she watches closely, rubbing the back of one scrawny ankle with a scuffed clog.
2007-08-04, 02:20 PM
The tunnel continues for another twenty or so yards before the source of the dripping sounds becomes clear. A pool of water blocks off the passage, which descends here and has been flooded out. Water drips from small cracks in the ceiling, falling like a light rain into the pool below. The water is fairly clear but your light only descends about ten feet into it, where you see the tunnel narrows and seems to begin to level out.
The smell threatens to overwhelm the half-elf as he plunges his covered hands into the pile. Objects shift around at his touch and a few small spiders scatter out of the debris while he digs. Just when you've both given up on him finding anything of note his fingers close on a leather pouch and he draws it up from the rest of the junk. It is stained slightly at the seams and bears an unfamiliar symbol embroidered to the front. Within the confines of the pouch you find a small tin, about the size of three gold pieces stacked atop each other, that is half-filled with some kind of rose-colored oil. The tin seems to have survived it's stay rather well considering the quality of the rest of the stuff in the pile.
As Dacin wipes his hands clean he can't seem to get the stink of the pile off him, however. Even after moving back to the middle of the tunnel, he still retain a slight hint of the odor about him.
Shalana, Octavius, Darien
The shadows cast about by the sputtering torches seem to take shapes of their own desire, twisting and dancing around you in a haunting rythmn. The noise from down the right passage continues while Dacin's rummaging produces the occasional muted tap or crunch. The chill is still thick in the air, producing puffs of steam when you exhale, and Theron rubs his hands together several times to warm them as you wait.
2007-08-04, 10:03 PM
Disheartend, Raite moves back to the group to report his findings. We may be able to swim through the tunnel if it rises before traveling too far, but what of the toches? Would we be able to dry them enough to get them started again? How would we be able to swim the tunnel with no light? Hopefully the noise coming from the other tunnel is easily dealt with and we can continue that way...
2007-08-07, 12:37 AM
Dacin examines the oil and the tin carefully. "Hmmmm...." He shrugged and stashed the tin in with his other possessions in his belt pouch. Surely it'll either be useful or valuable later, he decided.
Moving back towards the main group, he catches Raite's report, nods, then moves down the passage toward the water. "Hey Worm," he says softly, "Bring a torch...I could use the light."
Moving to the edge of the water, he peers into it with his superior vision, trying to gauge how far the water runs, and whether it'd be possible to make it to the other side, especially for those in armor.
As he contemplated, he knelt at the water's edge to clean his hands off and to wash the pouch he'd dug free of the pile. The smell needed to go, not so much because he cared how he smelled per say, so much as not wanting to give himself away if he had to hide somewhere soon.
And it'd be pretty embarrassing to die because my hands smell of piss. I don't think I'd ever live THAT down....
The pouch he wanted to salvage as well, if possible. He didn't trust it as a pouch any more, but the symbol on it might be important, either to someone who lived down in these caves, or as an indicator of where they were. It might even be valuable to someone.
And Dacin wasn't in the habit of giving up potential valuables if he could possibly help it...
2007-08-07, 07:22 AM
The younger prince shifts back and forth, then begins to pace, brisk strides taking him forward and back, forward and back, no consistency to his turns.
He peers into the passage Cross disappeared into, then turns back to the others, tilting his head in Dacin's direction.
"Find any long-lost relics?"
2007-08-09, 12:56 AM
Worm shakes her head, dropping the robe from her nose and glancing at the tunnel Cross had disappeared down.
"Just an old pouch with a tin and some oil, and what I think must be the worst smell in the entire world. If I ever got to smell anything like that again, I must've died and would up in Niflheimr," she says, invoking the Nasjtor religion's underworld.
2007-08-09, 04:44 PM
The smell persists despite your best efforts. You can barely pick it up when you try, a taunting hint of the fragrance still lingering about you. The tin and pouch clean up fairly well. The pouch still shows its age but seems servicable and could probably be restored by someone with some talent in that profession.
The minutes stretch on. One becomes five and five becomes fifteen without Cross' return. The noises continue, unaltered since you first began to hear them, and Theron has become visibly uncomfortable with the wait. "Something's wrong. Cross wouldn't keep us waiting this long. I'm going to look for him." He checks the edge on his shortsword before starting down the tunnel, taking care to soften his steps.
2007-08-09, 05:00 PM
Swallowing the fears conjured by the unknown noises, Raite draws his weapon and falls into step next to the prince. His resolve fails him for a moment at the images conjured by his young mind. What could possibly delay a man as solid as Cross and how could he, a mere boy, overcome it? Duty. Focus on your duty and you'll find the strength. In a voice expressing more confidence than he feels, Raite says, "I cannot let you go alone, Your Highness. It is the Vigilant's duty to ensure your safety."
2007-08-09, 08:21 PM
"It would be unfortunate if we continue to dwindle our numbers by splitting up, there is nowhere to go and without pressing forward we are doomed to die slowly. It would be better if we all proceeded and hope strength in numbers will solve any problems we face."
With that she flourished her dagger from inside her dress and moved along behind Prince Theron.
2007-08-11, 10:31 AM
"Well come along then" Motioning for the others to follow as he steps beside Worm. He readys his halberd unsure following the noise is the best route, but the thought of being alone in this tunnel didn't exactly set him at ease either. "Stay together" he whispers sharply loud enough for those near him to hear.
2007-08-11, 11:03 AM
Worm looks after Theron anxiously, shifting from one foot to the other, but she does not move yet, waiting to see what Darien chooses to do. After all, they couldn't follow once prince and leave the other alone. If Darien chooses to follow, then so does she.
2007-08-11, 07:07 PM
"If something's wrong, then maybe you'd best stay here instead of endangering yourself..." Darien's voice lowers, and his eyes grow hot, but he continues "Your Majesty."
The words, and what they imply, hang in the air; he pauses, and turns away for a moment, hiding his face; then he turns back, more composed. "Going together is well and good, but that might just mean that something happens to all of us. Dacin's quick, quiet, observant, and not... next in line."
Already king, just uncrowned, more like. Oh, father--mother...
The prince glances at the page, and shrugs. "Sod, I'll go with him--just in case. Wouldn't want you to think I'm trying to get you killed, eh?" He flashes Dacin a smile, out of habit, but it's a poor attempt at one--more of a grimace.
"But you," he points out to Theron, "Have a responsibility. And besides that, you've told me I'm sneakier often enough. --Raite!"
His voice changes, lightens, as he turns to the young Vigilant.
"The page and I are going to find out what's happened to Cross. Do make sure my oh-so-valiant brother doesn't do anything foolish, will you? Oh, and if we're not back in, say, half an hour... take the other passage."
2007-08-12, 01:53 AM
Worm's shoulders sag a bit in relief, the thought of Prince Theron avoiding potential danger setting her momentarily at ease. However, Darien's suggestion that he go in his brothers stead agitates her once more.
"I don't reckon either of you ought to run off without the rest of us, your highnesses. After all, our job - least far as me and Dacin and the Vigilant are concerned - is to see that you get out of here safe, and no one should go being reckless."
"I weren't born in Auldaria, but it's still my home, and take my duty serious, yeah? I was ordered to assist you, and the couple of tricks I've got left won't be any good if you go someplace I can't use 'em. And not to be disrespectful, but I'm not gonna assume that Renault and King Phillipe and them have all been lost, and so long as they're breathing those orders stand."
"Sides, if we all stick together, we should find it easier to face anything bad that might happen."
2007-08-12, 10:43 AM
"And besides, if you don't return, where exactly do we go anyway?"
2007-08-14, 05:54 AM
"As it stands we are both next in line to be frozen to death." Theron looked down the passage before conceeding. "Fine, together then. Just keep quiet and nobody wander off." And with that he continued forward into the gloom. The torches fought off the darkness to some extent but the passage began a slow but perceptible narrowing. Nearly a hundred yards down the tunnel the glint of steel catches your attention and Theron lifts Cross' abandoned longsword from the ground. The tunnel seems to end nearby except for a three foot diameter hole in the wall near the floor. The noise, louder now, seems to originate from somewhere beyond it. Dacin is the first to notice a hole near the apex of the passage, though Shenaria and Octavius spot it soon after. It's about twenty feet above your heads, set at a slight angle to the floor and ominously dark.
( You may make move silently checks if you'd like. )
2007-08-14, 11:13 AM
Raite falls into step beside the prince. He moves as silently as he is able, weapon held at the ready. His eyes constantly scan the flickering shadows cast by the torches, straining to catch any movement that may indicate a threat.
Upon reaching the sword left by Cross, Raite doubles his vigilance, trying to watch both princes, the princess, and the hole near the floor at the same time. Cross would not abandon his sword while alive... would he?
Move Silently: [roll0]
2007-08-14, 12:15 PM
As they continue down the tunnel he fights the urge to gasp when he sees Cross's sword. After regaining his composure he searches the immediate area, it didn't make sense, Raite wouldn't leave his sword behind if he didn't have to...and if it was taken from him, he didnt see any sign of struggle. That's when he notices the hole in the ceiling. He stops next to Raite and nudges him. As soon as he has Raite's attention he points to the ceiling and puts his other finger to his lips in a SHHH fashion. Then his own attention turns back to the hole in the ceiling. Images of a huge snake or something worse leaping from the hole and swallowing Cross fill his mind. He tries to shake them away but continues to stare into the hole...looking for any sort of movement or clue as to what might be waiting inside.
Move Silently [roll0]
2007-08-14, 08:40 PM
Worm tiptoes along behind the others, holding her torch high in her hand. As the others examine Cross's abandoned sword, she ***** her head to the side, trying to see if she can make out anything aside from the noise. Dropping to her knees beside the hold, she peers inside as far as the light from her torch will allow.
2007-08-15, 12:12 PM
No signs of a struggle, there wasn't even a sound that had echoed back to them in the chamber. Just a lonely sword. Shalana immeadietly began to move as quietly as she could, waiting for orders.
Move Silently (http://invisiblecastle.com/find.py?id=1209891)
2007-08-15, 01:35 PM
After pointing out the hole, Dacin falls back to the group and whispers, "We should get out of here. Whatever took Cross probably came from that hole, which we can't reach, and probably couldn't do anything but die in even if we could. We should swim, and use the oil I found to re-light the torches on the other side."
He glances at the hole nervously, "And I think we should hurry."
2007-08-15, 02:05 PM
"Damn it. Yes." Darien whispers, the sound kept muted enough to be fairly audible. Cross was gone--this left them alone, with no one except each other to rely on. "Frying pan, fire, and so on... let's go."
Hide: [roll0]; Move Silently: [roll1]
2007-08-15, 04:08 PM
With the apparent loss of Cross, Raite finds himself the de facto leader of a bodyguard of one. The realization dawns on him there is not another member of the Royal Vigilants to issue instructions and battle orders... or to advise the Prince. There will be time for grieving lost comrades later. For now, it is his duty to do all he can to protect the small group. Marveling at the calmness in his own voice, he quitely addresses Prince Theron. "Your highness. We can't stay here and risk having whatever took Cross come for us. He would have my ears if I were to allow you to face danger in an effort to save him. We should take his sword and move. Whether forward or back is your decision, but to stay in this place invites disaster. If we must discuss our path, let us do so back at the fork in the cave where we may not face whatever lurks here."
2007-08-15, 05:12 PM
The hole in the ceiling stares back at Octavius, taunting him with the secrets it could hold. Perhaps he stares too long into that abyss because his gaze is met with a drop on his cheek. Then a second. Touching the liquid reveals the deep red that one might expect in such a forboding situation, and that metallic smell that rose so strongly during the brief conflict with the dwarves was rich in the Velaxian's nostrils again. The flow of blood is slow but steady, a drop every few seconds that hits the floor with a nearly inaudible *plop* if Octavius steps out of the way.
The hole in the wall, however, is a bit more accomodating. The noise is louder now, loud enough to be less than fifty yards away. It echoes, screeching and barking, through the tunnels and Worm can make out two distinctly different sets of sounds. One, higher in pitch and abrupt like a yapping and the other slightly lower and gutteral like a growl. The sounds battle one another like an argument, each stepping on the tail of the other, and the young apprentice can estimate between two and four sources of the noise.
Theron frowns but does not make dissent with Raite's observation. He grips the sword tight in his left hand, holding it low across his body, and turns towards the hole in the wall. "We continue on. If we are forced to retreat we can swim the tunnel as a last resort. Raite and Octavius, can you be the front..." The prince's voice trailed off as he turned to the Velaxian, his eyes widening slightly. "...what happened to your face?"
2007-08-15, 05:49 PM
"Sounds like there's at least two...somethings, maybe a couple more. Different kinds, though, and it don't sound like they're all exactly friendly with each other," Worm reports quietly, edging away from the hole to allow entrance to those Prince Theron had ordered ahead.
When she catches sight of the blood on Octavius' cheek, her face falls. That was it, then - Cross was dead, or at least beyond their help. She felt like she ought to say something, but Nasjtorian prayers were not very solemn. Lifting her torch in something between a salute and a toast, she murmurs in Spine-Speak, "May the doors of Valhalla open for you."
2007-08-15, 06:50 PM
"What are we waiting for, someone pick a direction and lets move!"
2007-08-16, 05:03 PM
Dacin turned away from the prince to hide his scowl of disapproval. This is folly, he thought to himself. By moving forward we trap ourselves between whatever killed Cross in the ceiling and whatever's making the noise up ahead. And now we're down to a couple of untried kids, the boy princes, the princess, me and Worm....not a great fighting force.
He swore under his breath and whispered to himself, "Gods damned Theron is going to kill us all..."
Dacin hung at the back of the group and tried to decide what to do. The temptation to slip away and take the watery path anyway was nearly overwhelming, but for now he stayed with the forlorn band. First, he rationalized, the lack of light would be a problem. Maybe he could improvise something, maybe grab a torch or make one of his own, but he was all that confident he knew how. More, he wasn't thrilled about being out on his own. Even if he got out of the current danger, being by himself sounded like a recipe for disaster later on.
Besides, he thought, Theron's got that bag of gold on him, and it'd be a tragedy if all that money were left for whatever it is that finally kills him...
He slipped over to Darien and leaned close, and whispered in an obscure tongue to the young prince...
Thieves' Cant "You know your brother's leading us between the watchman and the guard dog, right? If what's ahead doesn't like us we'll have to run right underneath Cross' grave to make it to the water. Best make sure you can swim in a hurry if you have to."
2007-08-18, 07:37 AM
As Dacin and Darien whispered in the corner, the occasional word rising enough to catch the ears of those nearest them. It seemed to be a conversation regarding the weather in Auldaria last month and the chance of one Lord Samaris winning the season's jousting competition.
The rat peeked out from Worm's collar, studying the cave anxiously, and when he caught sight of the hole above them he ducked back into the robe's safety with a series of uneasy chitters.
Theron stood looking from Octavius to the hole in the ceiling, then down the small puddle on the ground. As the pieces fell into place he started toward the hole but drew to a stop and shook his head, his grip on the sword tightening. Without a word he stepped towards the more accessible hole in the wall and ducked through it.
2007-08-18, 08:07 AM
As Dacin launches into the rapid-fire mixture of clipped words with altered meanings and slang that constitutes the underworld's dialect, Darien blinks, and his brow furrows; his head tilts to one side. "I'm sorry," he murmurs, with the tone and expression indicating that he doesn't understand, "ah, what?"
He follows the half-elf's gaze to his brother, and winces; holding up a hand to ward Dacin off or indicate "later", he hurries ahead. One of his hands is on his weapon's hilt, although he keeps his grip light.
"Dammit, Theron, the only thing we know about what's up there is that it's bad. Cross is dead, whatever got him is still around, why the hells do we want to spend any more time in here than we have to?"
The younger prince keeps his newly-baritone voice soft and steady, but his heart is pounding. Dammit, I can't bloody think straight. This isn't good, I'm no good if I can't think... damn, but this is more adventure than I ever asked for. Taker--get us out of this and I'll make you a whole bloody mess of sarcifices.
2007-08-18, 09:24 AM
With a final look to the resting place of Cross, Raite ducks through the hole directly behind Theron.
2007-08-18, 09:27 AM
Shalana ducks through the hole following Theron as well.
2007-08-18, 12:05 PM
The girl placed a comforting hand over the quivering ball of fur buried beneath her collar, her lower lip tucking worriedly under an incisor, but as the others begin to move so does she, ducking ahead of Shalana and Raite and squeezing between Theron and Darien. Turning to the princes, she places a finger to her lips and hands the torch off to Darien, digging the book from her robes and producing one of the two remaining spell strips.
Stopping within listening distance of the two voices, she mumbles in that same archaic language, focusing on the devilish letters as she presses her right hand gently against her temple, right next to her ear.
2007-08-18, 01:59 PM
Dacin looked rather nonplussed at Darien's seeming incomprehension, and even more so to be summarily shushed like that. Perhaps I've overestimated the young prince, he thought to himself. I should have known he was just a poser, playing at thievery while the rest of us have to scrape and claw for every last copper.
Moving past Darien, Dacin put his back to one wall and slid forward down the tunnel after Theron, Raite, and Shalana. This let him keep an eye on the evil hole as he went, but reduced the chances of him tripping on something by walking backwards all the time.
He moved like that for as long as he could keep the hole in view, then finally turned to put his back to it only once it was out of sight.
Dacin's gaze fell on Theron's back, then looked him over from head to toe as he tried to guage where exactly the prince was keeping the pouch full of gold. He wouldn't have much time to grab it when the time came, and he wanted to be damn sure he didn't blow his chance.
2007-08-18, 07:43 PM
Shalana's head was full of furious energy still. Stress had pretty much overtaken her thoughts completely. Her emotional outburst after passing through the portal made her cheeks burn. She had spoken quickly and thoughtlessly. Cross was probably dead, and that left this ratty bunch of incompetents and children to deal with adults problems. Theron was in charge now, whether he wanted to be or not.
She wanted to say something but all she could do was keep breathing, she didn't know what to say, or what to do, this was outside anything she had ever expected to experience in her life. Shalana was tired and hungry and that soft side of herself was brutally depressed, while her hardened side was focused only on putting one foot in front of the next. In the whole world all she really wanted was some sleep.
2007-08-18, 08:33 PM
The younger prince takes the torch willingly enough, and watches with acute interest as Worm works her way through the process of magical invocation. "What...?" he murmurs, sotto voce.
2007-08-18, 09:51 PM
Theron hisses in a half-hushed whisper. "If you can walk through stone, feel free to find your way out of here. Those of us who are bound by solid objects will follow this tunnel until we're out. I will not swim through a submerged passage that may not even have an outlet. I've heard no better proposition put..." He falls silent at the apprentice's urging and keeps his eyes on the tunnel ahead.
Worm's mystic mumbling is met with an anti-climatic silence. No flash of light or puff of smoke to denote the spells success. To the observers, it is as if nothing has even occurred. The screeching and growling continues from further up the passage.
The sounds meld, becoming an indecipherable mish-mash of noise and then separating again like tearing cloth. The original noises are still audible a half second before your mind decrypts the meaning behind them.
"...harder than that! You hit like my baby sister." This was a deeper voice, though only slightly. More a growl or grumble than a bark.
"I ain't gonna waste my strength beating on a dog in a cage. Pokin' it with this stick is bothersome enough." This was a second voice, spoken in the same tongue as the one previous.
"Brutes! Leave me to my misery. You disgrace your ancestors!" This was the third, higher pitched and abrupt like a yapping dog.
"Don't talk about my ancestors! My father is a great warrior and I will be greater. Maybe he will let me fight you in the Blood Chamber when Igraz has tortured you long enough." The first voice again, and the statement is followed by an anguished half-moan/half-shriek from the third. The voices die down then, leaving the occasional pained growl or curse as they continue their fun.
2007-08-19, 01:45 AM
Once the voices fade, Worm once again faces the princes and the rest of the group. Motioning them close, she says in a whisper, "There are two - people or things - torturing someone or something that's caged up. They don't sound like they'd be very friendly, some talk of 'blood pits' and general nastiness." She drew in a deep breath, unsure of the reception of the plan she was about to set forth.
"I think that maybe if we got the drop on them we could be in an ok position, since there's six of us, and if someone can get through and let out whoever's locked up, I bet he'd be more than glad to help us get rid of them. We gotta figure that whatever's up ahead got into this cave somehow, so if there's a way out it's probably through 'em."
2007-08-19, 11:31 AM
"We can't guarentee that the prisoner will know the way out, do we want to try and take the other ones prisoner?"
Shalana asked the question but the thought of battle was harrowing at best, she still felt deathly sick from the portal. Suprise would probably win them the day though, so she had no real complaints.
2007-08-22, 03:03 PM
Dacin shrugged. Fighting hadn't gotten them very far against the dwarves...running had. But if the rest of the group was certain of the plan, he might as well go along with it.
He drew his dagger and waited for the warrior types to go in first. After all, they had armor and better weapons. If he saw a chance to strike, he'd take it, but mostly he planned to stay back and out of the way where it was safe.
Or at least safer.
He bowed to Raite and Octavious, "After you, gentlemen."
2007-08-23, 03:12 PM
Theron frowned as he adjusted his grip on the longsword. His voice was just a hair above a whisper. "We are in their home, I don't feel right about attacking them. Still, if they're torturing someone they can't be good people so we can't assume they'd treat us any differently." He studied the portion of the corridor ahead where the right wall opened into another chamber, the source of the sound evidently just beyond.
"Darien, do you think you can get a better look and tell us what we're dealing with? Room size, obstacles, what weapons they have?" The older prince turned to look over his brother. "I don't want to charge in there and find out there are actually two talkers and a bunch of mutes."
While he waited for Darien's response, he slid the shortsword from his belt and held it out to Shalana. "A bit more reach than a dagger if you know how to swing it. Perhaps that knife could be useful to Worm." He set his eyes on the apprentice as he said it. "It's better to have steel in your hand...just in case."
The time spent waiting for Cross' return had done you all some good. The bubbling in your stomachs and aching muscles had calmed significantly, allowing easier movement.
( Those who were nauseated are now sickened. Those who were sickened are now free of penalties. )
2007-08-23, 05:04 PM
Shalana's eyes gleamed at the sight of a real weapon handed to her. She bowed traditionally before taking the sword, "Thank you". Turning on her heel she flipped the dagger from hilt to blade in her hand and held it out open handed to Worm.
"If you don't know how to use this, just wait till they show their back to you and drive it into the first open flesh you see. I'm sorry it isn't a very pretty request, but I have faith in you."
With that she held her shortsword backwards across her arm and changed her stance slightly, but did not fall completely into it, waiting for information from Darien.
2007-08-24, 04:20 PM
Worm ducks her head, suddenly very interested in the scuffing and fraying of her worn slippers, when Theron turns his eyes to her, and she slumps forward a bit to take the dagger, holding it between her fingers as thought it were a living snake. Tucking in her belt, she mumbles, "Thanks, I s'ppose."
2007-08-25, 11:39 PM
Darien nodded, then stretched, flexed, and shook his limbs loose. He shifted one knee up and pulls a smaller knife from his boot, gripping the hilt so the flat of the blade pressed against the underside of his arm, hidden from view save from behind him, and--breathing shallow and steady--made his way forward. Dacin would likely recognize the way he moves as at the very least a pseudo-professional attempt at stealth, rather than a rank amateur's exaggerated tiptoeing.
(Incidentally, can we pick a tense? It's a little odd seeing past and present both. I prefer present, which most of us seem to be using, but DNF's using past, so we should probably do that.)
2007-08-26, 11:22 AM
As the group readies itself, Darien sets off towards the sounds. Careful steps carry him away from the group and those who follow his movements with their eyes can see him crouch beside the opening and peer around it.
The voices rise up again.
"Agi-sk will see you punished in the Mouring Hall!" The third voice cried out. The other two laugh in response, if you could call the sounds laughing. Their response is without mirth, however. Slightly edgy and hesitant even.
"Don't threaten us with your dead god. We'll send you to join him soon enough."
Inside is room furnished with three wooden cages, merely strips of wood set into the stone of the wall to form bars. The only light in the room comes from a low fire in a small pit in the corner, complete with small metal irons that are surely meant for torture. A table with a few unpleasent looking instruments with hooks and blades sits against the opposing wall. A few boxes sit against the walls as well, crude wood and thatch constructs. But your eyes are drawn most to the occupants, and what you see sets your skin to crawl.
They're not men, but neither are they animals. At first you think they may be monkeys, strange beasts you've seen brought in from K'a Evis, but they're movements and appearance differ too greatly. They stand no taller than a gnome, a tangle of wiry limbs and bony joints. In the dim illumination you can make out clothing, though it's ragged, draped across their tiny frames. Their heads seem a fraction too large, their their eyes bulbous and mouths wide. Their skin, whatever color it may actually be, seems mottled and thick. The two creatures stand on your side of the cage bars, one jabbing into the cage with a sharp stick at a third figure, this one smaller than the others and altogether different. It's face looks to be canine with beady eyes and leathery skin. It's clothing is in tatters, burned in some places, and it swats at the stick angrily while yipping at the aggressors. There is another opening on the wall to your left, the one on which the table is set, but there appears to be no other occupants.
( Actually, you'll find that I'm switching between tenses throughout the game. An unfortunate habit of mine, I'm afraid. I am attempting to post in present but there will be times when I have neither the time nor the inclination to go back and convert where I swapped over. )
2007-08-26, 05:07 PM
Slowly, Darien pulls back from the corner, and makes his way no less carefully back to the rest of the group.
"Two, and one in the cage," he confirms. "I have no idea what they are--human-like, short, strange-looking. The thing in the cage is like a dog crossed with a scaly monkey, frankly. There's an exit from the chamber, though, so more could well come... maybe we ought to lure one out and jump it."
2007-08-26, 08:36 PM
Dacin bowed towards the brother princes, his voice quiet "If I may make a suggestion, milords? We have but two ways forward, through the water or through the...creatures. Whatever they are, they've shown themselves to be cruel to the thing in the cage, and we cannot expect them to do differently to us. More, they may have friends...friends who may come if we give them time to call. If we are determined not to swim, then we should strike swiftly and with surprise while we still have it. Kill the tormentors and free the thing in the cage, and we will have the information we need."
"But milords, we must move swiftly or risk discovery and having to face the wretched prospect of exchanging one pursuit for another."
2007-08-26, 10:57 PM
"I agree with Dacin. We must move in quietly and end them just as quietly. Though I am particularly loathe to kill people we do not know, by their behavior I don't think they would be inviting. But we must move quickly. I doubt they expect us."
2007-08-26, 11:18 PM
"I suppose they're just as likely to raise the alarm as be lured out. All right--quick and clean, let's do this."
His expression is inscrutable, his mouth a thin line. Darien inhales, and his side-sword whispers free of its leather sheath; he holds it with the point down and towards the floor, knuckles white.
2007-08-27, 08:22 PM
Worm seems distinctly ill at ease with this plan, and she rubs her forearms anxiously. She was glad they seemed ready to go, but she didn't mean that they should rush in and start racking up a body count.
"Alright, but maybe we don't have to try to kill them. I kinda meant just, you know, knocking 'em in the head so they fall asleep." Pulling a dart from her sleeve, she prepares to follow the others.
2007-08-28, 08:10 AM
Raite adjusts his grip on the hilt of his sword and moves towards the front of the group in order to be the first into the chamber. Once in position he looks back towards Prince Theron, his face set in a grim expression, though the perceptive may have noticed a brief flicker of what could only be called fear before he was able to mask his emotions.
2007-08-28, 11:41 AM
Shalana moved up towards Raite, her demeanor suddenly all business. Turning back towards Worm she said, "If you don't want to fight no one will make you, but as a whole we are all inexperienced in combat, we cannot afford to play nice, because they may be much better trained than us, we must press our advantage now and hope suprise wins us the fight."
Shalana grew frustrated, today was certainly turning into a fine cup of tea.
2007-08-28, 02:13 PM
"A blow to the head is likely to result in death." Theron states, his voice even as he looked over the group. "Do what you have to do, but don't kill them if they don't pose a threat." He gives a nod to Raite, and steps towards the opening. The room comes into view for the group as a whole, the two creatures still standing beside the makeshift cages. One of them catches sight of Raite and it's eyes widen, reflecting yellow in the light of the torches, clearly suprised by their sudden appearance. The caged creature doesn't appear to be quite as taken aback and he lowers into a crouch in the corner.
( Initiatives and actions, please. Your opponents are suprised. Everyone can take a standard action during the suprise round. )
2007-08-28, 02:45 PM
Some of Raite's military training asserts itself and the young Vigilant issues a quick command to the group, "Block the other passage so they can't run," and then advances on the nearest creature, attempting to look as intimidating as his large size allows. Upon reaching the creature, Raite holds his sword to it's chest and motions that it should get down on the ground.
If the creature tries to escape or makes any remotely threatening moves, Raite will attack to kill.
To hit: [roll2]
2007-08-28, 03:15 PM
Shalana heard the order from Raite and responded without thinking, she sprinted to the other opening doing her best to keep herself from becoming vulnerable. She turned her back to the opening and readied her sword dropping completely into a fighting stance.
Her mind had become completley quiet and she was ready for all comers.
((If either of the creatures approaches, she attacks.))
To hit and damage on same page. (http://invisiblecastle.com/find.py?id=1230278)
2007-08-28, 10:52 PM
Dacin skulked. In truth, there wasn't much else he was either willing or able to do. Between his small size, lack of armor, and tiny dagger, he was at total disadvantage in any kind of battle with the creatures and he knew it. Instead, he moved as quietly as he could around the periphery of the chamber, hoping to escape notice until the opportunity to do something decisive presented itself.
2007-08-29, 06:46 PM
The scholarly girl's initial instinct is to gaze in wonder at these new and fascinating creatures - imagine, not one, but two humanoid, sentient races unknown to the population at large! However, the urgency of the situaiton is too great to ignore, and she hopes that they are able to make it through this without fatalities with so much to be learned here.
Instead, she takes off running along the cave wall and toward the cages, ducking down and crouching near the structures.
2007-08-29, 06:57 PM
Blade in one hand, knife in the other, Darien rushes in; he levels his slender sword with a visibly trembling hand, and moves carefully around, looking for all the world like he's not sure whether he wants to be involved, and has little idea of what to do with his weapon, to boot. However, his nervous path takes him past and behind one of the creatures, and he indicates with a quick jerk of his head that someone should take up the flanking position.
2007-09-04, 05:15 PM
Octavius takes position by the door you entered, watching down the tunnel. Darien ends up behind the creature that Raite bears down on, pinning it between them. Raite's gesture with the oversized blade seems to be enough to freeze the creature in place, only the slight shaking of limbs there to evidence it's being alive. Shalana reaches the opposing door and drops into a stance there, catching the sound of growling from somewhere beyond it. Theron approached the second creature as it turned the sharpened stick on him defensively.
The caged beast then lunged forward, wrapping its arms around the face of its tormentor, clamping one over the mouth to muffle its cries. It struggled against the grip, losing its hold on the stick and sending it rolling across the room. The caged creature narrowed red eyes on the group around it and the words it spoke were a broken and unevenly pitched type of Spine-Speak.
"You...Talls...kill them...they will bring more"
( You have effectively concluded the initiative phase. You may now act in any order. Sorry for the delay. I've had a crazy week. My attempts to contact WillH have met with no response. I'll write him out if he doesn't respond by next week. )
2007-09-05, 11:12 AM
Shalana jumps and spins around to the sound of the growling. She attempts to peer down the way to see if she can see anything. Leaning over her shoulder she speaks loudly without shouting, "There is something or someone over here."
She slightly adjusts the way she is standing to see both down the hall and toward the direction of the battle.
Spot - [roll0]
2007-09-05, 08:14 PM
The younger prince steps in, and makes what appears to be a wild thrust with a shaking hand, missing wildly--but then his side-sword pulls back and flicks around in a circular motion; the facade drops, his hand firm, and the weapon's point pierces skin and flesh as Darien performs a smooth, short lunge; he swivels and one leg snaps out and forward, though not far enough to endanger him, and then pushes back, restoring him to his stance, blade-tip crimson.
Attack, with flanking: 1d20+6=23 (http://invisiblecastle.com/find.py?id=1244737) for 1d6-1=4 (http://invisiblecastle.com/find.py?id=1244745) points of damage.
2007-09-05, 09:39 PM
Dacin took in the scene and weighed his options. Theron was hanging out there on his own against one of the creatures, and if something unfortunate happened to him then Dacin'd be that much closer to a big payday.
On the other hand...
He thought a bit more. If these creatures lived long enough to summon help, the whole bag of gold probably wouldn't help him any, and if they didn't kill them quickly then that help was likely going to come. There was only so much noise they could make before someone realized it was more than just the usual torture screams coming from here, torture chamber or no, so they HAD to be quick.
He glanced at Shalana and Octavius and Worm and sighed. Two of them were busy guarding exits and the third was of even less use in combat than he was. There really was no better choice right now.
Well, he thought, at least the thing's back is turned....
Dacin slipped up behind the one that Theron was facing and stabbed hard with his dagger, aiming for the creature's kidneys....or at least where the kidneys ought to be in a person.
2007-09-06, 09:33 AM
Seeing the younger prince attack, Raite realizes the group is commited to a fight. The young warrior wastes no time engaging the creature he is facing, hoping the fight is over quickly and quietly.
To hit: [roll0]
2007-09-06, 05:27 PM
"Stoppit! Worm shouts as the melee erupts, clutching her hands to the side of her head with a look of panic. "They wasn't even threatening! What happened to not killing unless we have to?!"
Her words are too late, and she covers her mouth to muffle a soft scream, looking wide-eyed at the creature in the cage.
2007-09-08, 01:22 PM
It's a blur of motion, the sounds battling one another for supremecy in the cramped chamber. Darien's thrust bites deep into the creature's back, causing it to go rigid and then limp. Before it can fall, however, the Vigilant's greatsword cleaves through muscle and bone. An arm falls loose from the body which follows the force of the weapon and sails through the air to impact against he wall with a sickening crunch. Blood splatters the young prince's chest, droplets streaking his forehead and cheeks, but the creature lies still as the pool of gore around it spreads.
The second creature, held against the cage bars, makes for an easy target for Dacin. The page struggles through his own weariness to drive his dagger into the creatures side, unable to reach the back. The knife comes away bloody and the pain causes the beast to crumple forward, tearing free of the grapple and sprawling out on the floor of the cave. It drags itself forward, wounded but alive, its yellow eyes wide with panic and brimming with tears. The grating noise that comes out of its mouth is a cry of anguish, followed by words that sound like grunts to all but Worm.
"Tak...Tak, get up!"
Worm's shouts hang in the air as the creature struggles towards it's fallen companion. Theron's eyes are wide as well, his face tightening in disgust. He reaches down and pulls the creature up by its thread-bare shirt, clasping an arm around it and sweeping the sword around the room. The creature hangs limp, gasping in ragged breaths.
"Donateur, hide your eyes." His words are whispered, rising then to address the group. "What have you done?" His eyes narrow. "A hand over the mouth never came to mind?"
The caged beast speaks up then, still in that high-pitched broken Spine-Speak. "Kill it...kill the other...do not be fooled..." Red eyes stare unwavering at the creature in Theron's grasp, scaled fingers gripping tight to the bars.
The tunnel continues for several yards but fades into blackness without the aid of closer light. The growling continues, soft and muted, and the shuffling sounds of movement accompany it.
2007-09-08, 02:49 PM
"No, no," the apprentice mumbles, her face going pasty and white as the goblin ceases movement and blood begins to spread across the cave floor. She grabs her stomach as the metallic scent tinges her nostrils, and makes a dry, retching noise, but finds she has nothing to expel and wipes her mouth with the sleeve of her robe.
"Shut up!" she practically yells in Spine-Speak, frustration toward the caged creature obvious as he urges her companions to continue their attack. "You be quiet, ok? No more!"
Rounding back on the rest of the group, her voice thick and face covered in tears, she whimpers, "Why'd you do that? Sometimes people 'n animals are in cages for a reason." She eyes the prisoner cautiously, backing into the wall and attempting to keep herself as far from both the corpse and the red-eyed beast as possible. Pressing her palms to the cool stone, she tilts her head to the side a little.
"'Sname was Tak. They got names, just like us. Don't feel right..."
2007-09-08, 03:26 PM
With his victim subdued for the moment, Dacin stalked across the room towards Worm, the bloody dagger trembling in his hand from either rage or terror....or maybe both together. Seizing the collar of the page's robe with his free hand he dragged her back away from the scene, then whispered in a trembling voice, "Shut. Up." He leaned in closer, "Haven't you noticed what's gone on? How can you be so smart and so stupid all at once?! We've been DYING out here. Cross and almost all the Vigilants and all the Princess' guards...they're DEAD!"
He glared, his emerald bright eyes staring into Worm's unnatural purplish ones, "There were sixteen of us only a couple of hours ago, and there are only seven of us now! I know you want to be merciful, I know you think we might be able to talk to them, and maybe you even think that we're murderers for not trying harder....but we're doing what we must to stay alive!! We don't have time for mercy, and we can't take chances and hope that anyone else will be merciful either!! "
Dacin looked down at the bloody dagger in his hand as if seeing it for the very first time, trembled slightly, then his newly more elven features hardened into an angry mask, "What you need to do is stop screaming and drawing attention to us, and go over there and talk to that...that thing and find out what we need to know."
With that he released Worm's robe and stepped away from her with a look on his face that might have been anger, might have been disgust, and might...just might...have been pity and a little guilt.
2007-09-08, 09:07 PM
Shalana trembles a little to the sound of the growling she knows is in front of her. She grips her sword more tightly and breathes, trying to center herself. "Like I said before, there is something down this hallway, and it isn't friendly. Would someone kindly back me up please? And get that damn caged whatever-it-is to spill the beans on how to get out of this hole."
She wanted desperately to close her eyes to forget she was here, she wanted to wake up at home, she never thought she would think this, but she even missed her father and brother. She sighed audibly, she had a tired feeling in her bones, it creeped around her, she was exhausted, how long had she been up now? What time was it even? She couldn't even think of a good curse word to say.
2007-09-09, 04:47 PM
Raite looks towards Theron, an expression of what can only be described as shame etched on his face. For a moment he looks as though he is about to say something, but then turns and silently moves to stand along side Shalana. The young man turns to duty to drown the horror and guilt that wells up within him at the thought that a terrible mistake may have been made.
2007-09-10, 07:42 PM
Worm squirms in the page's grasp as he yanks her by the collar, and as he hisses in her face her chin begins to wobble and her round eyes well up with tears. She moves her eyes to the side, hoping to keep the water at bay, and she squeezes her hands into tight fists.
"The prince said not t' kill no one that didn't pose a threat, and you still tried," she replies in a loud, trembling whisper. "An' you did that cause you're scared. We're all scared - that don't mean doing something wrong isn't wrong anymore."
"Besides," the girl says, folding her arms across her chest and drawing herself up to her full, rather miniscule height, "You can't order me around, an' I can't talk to him anymore than you can." she indicates the goblin.
"He can, though." Turning to the caged creature - while surreptitiously wiping her eyes with her oversized sleeves - she speaks in Nasjtor: "We need to ask him questions, ok? Will you translate for me? Once we know what we need to, we'll see about getting you out."
2007-09-10, 09:47 PM
"These...creatures...aren't dwarves and they didn't attack us. I don't want this kind of thing to happen again." Theron sets his eyes on Dacin, a cold glare that was more of a reprimand than words would have been. He turns that same look on Darien before approaching the cage, stopping a few yards away and kneeling to keep his hands on the creature's shoulders while still letting it stand on its own. It cowers as the caged creature shakes the bars and bares yellow teeth at it.
The creature in the cage calms after a moment and turns its eyes up to Worm. Seeming to sense a shift in the winds, it offers what may have been a grin and pulls its hands away from the bars. "Talls seek answers...the other will tell lies, but this one will speak your words." It straightens out the vest it is wearing, a patchwork of gray and red, and looks between the apprentice and the creature in Theron's grasp.
Raite and Valairn
The growling continues, then scratching. The darkness remains thick until Octavius steps up behind the duo with a torch in hand. The flickering of the torch reveals a length of passage and a small opening on the left wall about twenty feet down. The sounds seem to originate from that area.
2007-09-11, 08:43 PM
Dacin grits his teeth and bows to Theron, his anger muted but detectable, "As you say, milord."
Once Theron's attention is drawn to Worm and the two captive creatures, the page steps past Darien and mutters softly, "The price of halibut at the westside docks is falling. Might be time to look into salmon."
"Your brother's going to get us all killed. I hope you've got a plan, or we're dead."
Moving away from the cage, he slipped in behind Raite and Shalana to let his keener eyes help keep an eye on the corridor ahead. He whispered, "What do you think's down there, anyway?"
2007-09-12, 07:07 AM
"I have no idea what's down there, but it growls, and I learned early to never turn your back on anything that growls."
She sort of smiled at Dacin, trying to catch a glimpse of what he was thinking. While she agreed with Worm's point of view, we did have a choice on how we acted, she couldn't fault Dacin either. After all, who was really right in these circumstances?
Thinking back on the circumstances they probably could have negotiated with the two of them, but something about the idea struck her wrong, she just couldn't have seen that ending any different then what happened now, but how could she even know? She mentally shrugged and turned her attention completely towards wherever the sound was coming from.
"I'd say we should go look to see what's up there, but that hasn't turned out well for anyone yet, we can wait until we know more of where it is we are."
2007-09-12, 11:06 PM
"Kay," Worm says in Spine-Speak, taking a deep breath and not seeming to know what to say to the creature. "Well, um, where are we? Somewhere in the Spine, I'd wager, seein' as you can talk to me, but you know any specifics? Are there more of them? If there are, how many? How do we get out of here? How far is it?" She waits for him to translate and get her response, looking over her shoulder to see if anyone else has questions they need answered.
2007-09-13, 01:52 AM
Raite's tries to focus on watching the shadows of the passage in front of him but his eyes are constantly drawn back to the slowly congealing blood on the edge of his sword. Frustrated with the groups lack of patience in dealing with the creatures and his own failure to carry out the prince's orders, he half growls, "We wait. The prince and the apprentice will learn what they can about our location from the... thing in the cage. Then we'll act."
2007-09-13, 11:54 AM
The caged creature translates Worm's words to the other, adding in a few choice insults and threats for good measure. The other beast speaks between sobs and gasps, favoring his left leg and holding a hand to the wound on his right side.
"I don't know this Spine. You are in the home of the White Eye tribe in the mountains near the Valley of Bleached Bones. We are a fierce tribe...80 strong. Our warriors cannot be defeated. You can leave through the tunnel behind you. Follow it through the breeding pens and the dining hall. But our warriors will not let you pass. You have Tak's blood on your swords. The blood of a White Eye youngling. You will pay with your lives." The creature straightens up towards the end and puts on a fierce mask to hide his pain and fear.
The caged creature relays the same information. He pauses before adding more, your growing familiarity with his broken Spine-Speak making him easier to understand. "What that one says is true. The White Eye are dangerous. They have the backing of greater monsters and have raided our warrens for many moons. 80 is too many, this winter has been harsh and the White Eye have suffered like the rest, but they have 50 atleast. If you are caught here you will not survive. But there is another way. This one is a scout for the Broken Spears clan. This one has found ways into the caves of the White Eye. If you Talls will free this one, this one will show you the way."
As you focus on the noises you notice subtle differences in the growling. Overlapping changes in pitch that bring your mind back to the castle's kennel. The sound is similar to the caged dogs at play there, scratching and rolling and growling to prove their dominance.
2007-09-14, 05:55 AM
Once more, Darien gives Dacin a puzzled look and mouths what? as the page whispers something to him.
I just wounded the damned thing, and it's not as though they were about to welcome us with open arms! Still, his grip on his bloodied blade tightens until his knuckles pale. As he listens to the translation provided by the short being in the cage, however, he loosens his clenched fist. A war-tribe, that raids others--they hadn't done a good thing, for certain, but, Preneur! These were no innocents!
"Free the--free him, unless you feel like fighting through fifty warriors out for blood," Darien says, gesturing at the caged creature, then turning to it.
"What's your name?" he asks, in barely-accented Nasjtor. "Where's the nearest human settlement from here?"
2007-09-15, 11:15 PM
Shalana listened intently to the creature talk and after it had finished she looked back, "I vote for letting him out, danger is all well and good in tale's but I've had my fill of it for the day."
She smiled, it was funny to her, at least from her singularly Yunisian point of view. Its what her combat instructor used to tell her when she had thoroughly tired him out for the day. She inclined her head toward's the two people standing by her side, "Give me a second to do something if you don't mind."
Stooping to the floor she cut her dress off just below the knee, cutting strips off. She fashioned a make-shift belt and then tied another smaller strip to the belt making a "scabbard" for her sword, she carefully put her sword in it and let it catch at the hilt. It wasn't comfortable but it was better than holding it.
She fidgeted slightly at the new air movement. She looked and felt like a ragamuffin and it pleased her sense of humor. For the first time in a while she laughed out loud, she did her best to subdue her laughter and managed to keep it mostly to herself.
"If only my father and brother could see me now!"
2007-09-16, 12:14 AM
"Youngling..." Worm rolls the word around in her mouth, brow furrowing deeply. "Means they're little, yeah?" The question is soft and rhetorical, and she forces her eyes away from the body on the floor as she approaches the cage to study it, on the prince's order. Giving the creature a wary look, she looks for a way to free him from his prison.
2007-09-16, 12:22 AM
Theron raises his sword hand, seemingly oblivious to the fact that the blade is still in it. His words are clipped Auldarian, spoken between gritted teeth. "I think rash action has already caused us enough trouble today. Just because this thing knows a way out doesn't mean we can trust it. We have dungeons in the castle to hold criminals. Why would this cage be any different?"
The creature responds despite the conversation. It doesn't seem to even register the language. "This one is called Zesh." This mouth splits into that unnerving grin again. "Talls do not live in these mountains. Too much raiding and killing. This one has seen a village not but a day from here, though. Talls are there training longbeard slaves."
As Worm begins examining the cage the beast in Theron's graps becomes aggitated, struggling and gasping out words in its gutteral tongue. "No! It must stay! Too dangerous!" The struggling seems to worsen the injury it sustained and it doubles over with a groan. Moments later it is silent, unconscious or dead, as Theron eases it to the floor with a muttered curse.
2007-09-16, 11:44 AM
"Theron, I think a prisoner of war is a bit different from a criminal. If what the creature says is true, there is nothing he has done wrong except for be born on one side of a war. And anyway, we are all armed and he is not. I think it would be foolish to not release him, he has offered us a way out, I don't think a creature in his position would need to lie about something like that."
"Of course he could be lying, but I don't think this creatures lies will be worse than us stumbling around in the middle of an encampment of strange creatures. Overall I would wager taking him with us is less of a risk than leaving him here. Think about it from his position, if we leave him here, it is in his best interest to tell his captors of what we did, he might save his own life if he does, I would rather drag him with us and take on the risk of him lying, than leave him here and take on the risk of 50 armed whatever they are chasing after us in this place."
After that she started to bow, but changed it into a curtsy, "But the decision is yours and I trust your judgment."
2007-09-16, 03:53 PM
Darien listens to his fiancee with pursed lips, nods, and then moves his eyes to his brother.
"A moment," he says, that brittle false-brightness in his voice. "A trifling matter. Whereever we are, it's far away from home. 'Talls' training 'longbeard' slaves, brother."
2007-09-16, 08:09 PM
Worm freezes at the door, watching as the Theron raises his sword and the little creature shrieks and keels over. This was all becoming a lot to take in, and she fidgets with her sleeves, cheeks glowing pink as she mumbles in Theron's direction, "I just thought - cause his highness said..."
The girl trails off as Shalana begins to speak, and she shakes her head. "With all due respect your majesty, he never said he was a prisoner of war, an' just cause he don't look armed doesn't mean he ain't." And then she shrugs, biting her lip and looking at Darien, who had latched onto the same comment she had.
"Humans taking dwarves as slaves is what it sounds like, but that don't make sense. Dwarves'd die before they let something like that happen."
2007-09-16, 08:17 PM
"Die," Darien agrees, pausing for dramatic effect, "or, perhaps, kill."
2007-09-16, 09:04 PM
"I agree he never said he was a prisoner of war, but from what he said, it sounds like he is. And all we have to go on is what it sounds like. I respect your concern, truly I do, but we cannot wait around to make a decision that has no risk to it. And if I were a prisoner, I would prefer companions during my escape. He has nothing to lose from helping us, and he certainly has nothing to gain from lying to us that would put us in a situation that is worse than it currently is."
"Unlike the rest of you, I am from Yunis, but we cannot die here, Theron's whole kingdom depends on us living, and my sacred charge to defend my people and their interests also depends on that, I am not trying to be rash or misstep here, but from my eyes, I see a path that may yield escape for us. Theron as always, it is your decision to make."
She curtsied again. It was an awkward movement at best. Duty and chaos danced around in her mind, she had never felt so keenly driven before, her whole life was on the edge of a blade, she wouldn't die here, there was too much to live for.
2007-09-17, 08:32 PM
Theron turns his back to the cage, lowering the tip of the sword to the floor. "I like to think I know my history and this just doesn't fit. Dwarves have ruled over Nasjtor for as long as any record I've seen has existed. They could be freed slaves hiding out and giving the dwarves a taste of their own but it doesn't feel right." He sets his eyes on Shalana after a moment of silent consideration.
"I'm not disputing that it might get us out of here, I'm just concerned about the cost. If we set it free I want eyes on it every second. At no time do we let it get behind us and we do not give it a weapon." He spun around then, bringing the sword up and resting the flat on his shoulder. His Spine-Speak is precise and clipped, the words of one who studied the language but never used it.
"You...what do your call your kind?" The creature seems confused for a moment, then hesitant. It responds with a strange lilting to its voice, different from its previous speech. The word was strange, likely due to the translation. Theron repeats it and recieves an affirmative from the beast. "Kobold. Very well. We will free you and you will show us the way out. You will remain with us and make no attempt to flee. If you act against us we will kill you. Is this understood?" The creature steps back from the bars and dips into a bow, an oddly human motion.
"This one agrees." Theron nods to Worm then, confirming Darien's request to open the cage. He stands near with the sword in hand, watching the creature intently. The cage is simply several wooden rod set into the rock of the cave. Two of them are loose and could likely be removed with enough effort, making the cage accessible but difficult for a single captive to open.
2007-09-18, 12:47 PM
"You know," Dacin said in a contemplative tone, "we should consider that the portal may have moved us in time as well as in space. It was a magic portal, after all, who knows what it's capable of? We could be under the Spine right now, in the distant past before magic was sealed away...didn't Worm say something about that was written on the gate? We could be in a time so far gone that no human can recall it or has it written record of it, but one that the Dwarves with their longer memories have not forgotten. A time when they were slaves to humans, not the other way around. Perhaps that is why Nasjtor is so brutal in our day...they recall what humans did when they were the masters and they fight hard to prevent it from happening again."
"Or," he went on, "perhaps we have been moved to the future. Perhaps the Dwarven overlords of Nasjtor have been overthrown at last. Maybe their move against Auldaria was the last straw and brought the wrath of Velaxia and Yunis upon them and the 'longbeards' fell, and were served the same 'justice' they inflicted on others."
He paused, then shrugged and added, "Or maybe we're in a different world entirely. Someplace truly new and unique, that's never heard of Nasjtor, Velaxia...or Auldaria. We should keep in mind the possibility that we may only have our own resources to draw upon ever again, that we may never be able to return home to the people and places we knew."
Dacin didn't seem too terribly upset at that idea, but perhaps he had the least to lose from that scenario. He smiled grimly as he kept his eyes peeled down the corridor, "Just something to think about."
2007-09-18, 05:20 PM
The young vigilant watches the release of the prisoner with his peripheral vision, ready to move at a moments notice should the creature threaten either prince.
2007-09-19, 04:45 PM
Shalana looks at Dacin watching his eyes as he speaks. It was indeed something to think about.
Turning to look at Darien before she speaks, "It is indeed something to consider, but we should get out of here first." She stood up a little straighter and drew her sword again.
2007-09-20, 12:25 AM
Worm begins to manipulate the bars, glancing over her shoulder at Dacin as she does. "Well, seein' as he knows Spine-Speak, it seems unlikely we'd've traveled way back in time, since the language wouldn't've even existed then. And magic's never been sealed away, otherwise you wouldn't be able to use it. The portal said something about locking away energy that endangered the world, which could be any sort of thing."
"Course, I suppose it could be the future. I've never heard of no magic that can send you through time, an' if we traveled to the future shouldn't we all be grown up? I mean, cause when great mages manage to teleport, which is to say, go from one place to another - " she grunts a little as she pries one of the bars free, " - they still travel the distance, right, just not in the normal way, which means they went however many miles. So, it stands to reason that if you teleport through time, you still went through the passage - years, months, days - but just not in the conventional manner, an' so the effects should still be the same. Course that's all speculation, cause like I said, I never heard of it."
Bracing one grimy slipper against the cage, she yanks on the remaining bar. "'Sfar as other worlds go, if they exist I'd like to think they'd show a little more imagination, rather'n just copying the languages and rocks and all from ours. Maybe with a sky made of water you can breath or everything bein' on the inside instead of the outside, you know?" With one last mighty tug the apprentice opens the cage, and moves quickly away to allow the creature his exit.
2007-09-20, 08:22 PM
Zesh steps out through the opening and darts across the room, skidding to a stop at the hole through which you'd entered the room. He peers in both directions before it turns back and points a clawed finger at the unconsious creature. "Put that one in the cage. It could be trouble if it does not die." Theron hauls the creature up and tucks him away in the cage, setting the sword down long enough to reset the bars.
While he waits, the kobold fishes through his tattered clothing and tears away at the hem of the shirt. A small wire, crudely bent at the end, drops out into his palm and he twists it between his fingers. That lipless grin cuts across his face again. "Always good to have a key." With the creature safely locked away, Zesh slips out into the tunnel and motions for the group to follow.
2007-09-21, 04:22 AM
"Getting out, first," Prince Darien suggests, both brows raised. "Speculation about things stranger than the wildest stories, after. I find myself longing for the sky."
His blade's tip pointed downwards so it doesn't come too close to anyone, the younger royal brother follows the released "kobold" closely; glancing behind him, he raises a finger briefly to his lips in order to forestall further conversation.
2007-09-21, 09:32 AM
Raite herds the others in the small group after Zesh and takes up a position at the back. As the party moves forward, he constantly checks over his shoulder, wary of any signs of pursuit.
2007-09-21, 01:01 PM
The young page muttered quietly such that only Shalana and Worm could hear him as they moved down the passage, "As if we haven't already gone through things wilder than any story..."
Keeping his dagger ready and his eyes peeled down the corridor ahead, Dacin followed the group forward.
2007-09-21, 03:38 PM
Keeping lockstep with the group Shalana whispers back to Dacin, "Don't let the prince fool you we are following a short lizard on the other side of a magic portal and our comrades were sucked into dark corners to die without making a sound. I think wild idea doesn't even begin to cover it. "
As tired as she was, she was in her element, rushing ahead without having to look back and apologize.
2007-09-21, 05:05 PM
Worm gives Dacin a nod, but offers no other response, craning her neck to give Vesh a narrow-eyed look, then drops down into her usual slump, picking up Darien the rat and cradling him to her chest. Turning, she looks at the silent Vigilant behind her and offers him a little smile.
2007-09-21, 07:13 PM
The kobold leads the group along a tunnel which seems to incline upwards as you progress. In time you arrive at a intersection, with the tunnel continuing forward and others branching to the left and right. The intersection is warmer than the previous tunnels. Zesh holds up a claw and seems to sniff the air for a moment before looking back over his shoulder. "Talls stay here. This one must look." And at that he skulks off down the left tunnel. The right tunnel curves slightly as it fades into darkness and distinct sounds rise from it. Sounds like the tearing of something soft and the breaking of something solid.
2007-09-23, 10:30 AM
The girl's gaze follows the kobold warily as he disappears into the left tunnel. After a moment, she snakes out of the group, handing the torch off to Octavius and dropping into a kind of crouch and, with one hand on the wall, begins to move down the tunnel on the right, following the curve and trying to find the source of the noise.
2007-09-23, 11:33 AM
Shalana looks about and simply decides that staying put is the best bet for now.
2007-09-24, 10:04 AM
Raite motions for Theron's attention and, with a quick look in the direction that Worm has gone, quietly asks, "Should we let her go off on her own your highness? She's the only one of us with experience using magic."
2007-09-26, 02:19 AM
Theron, who's eyes had previously been fixed on the back of the retreating kobold, turns to watch Worm stride off in the opposite direction. Without a word he turns his attention back to Raite and motions for the Vigilant to follow her. He leans in between Darien and Dacin after that, lowering his voice to a whisper. "Would one of you mind keeping an eye on that thing..." extending a finger in the direction of the kobold's slinking form as he speaks "...while we try to keep the absent-minded apprentice out of trouble?"
The short tunnel winds to the right and as you arrive at that bend you can make out light. It flickers and casts shadows along the cave wall. Long, twisted shadows that move of their own volition. Your eyes follow them, forming in your mind a figure with gangly limbs as it brings something up to its face and begins to chew. Those sounds accompany the motion, tearing and rending. Then choked laughter and the clattering of metal as several of those same inhuman voices rise up in a cheer.
2007-09-26, 02:48 AM
Dacin nods silently and stalks off into the darkness after the kobold. It wasn't much of a favor he was doing Theron...he'd been thinking about going after the thing on his own anyhow...but this way he got to score a few more points as a a team player, so it was all to the good.
More, he had a better chance keeping an eye on the thing than the nightblind Prince Darien would have, so there were practical concerns as well.
And of course, once he was out of sight of the rest of the group, his chances to acquire some loot on the side went way up...
With a hidden smile on his face Dacin did his level best to keep out of the kobold's sight as he followed it down the corridor.
2007-09-26, 10:04 AM
Raite follows the apprentice down the curving tunnel. Moving as quickly and silently as possible in his bulky armor, he tries to keep Worm in sight while scanning every shadow for hidden threats.
2007-09-26, 04:29 PM
Shalana looks about the group as they split up and grows frustrated. Had they forgotten the lessons of the recent past so quickly? Who knew what could be lurking around the corner.
She glanced over to Theron and with her arms crossed said, "Someone needs to teach these people some discipline, they are going to get themselves killed...."
2007-09-26, 10:46 PM
Swallowing hard, Worm resumes her motion, walking cautiously toward the light source and trying to get a better look at the creatures in the room. Her spell had worn off, and she could no longer understand any of the strange words being bandied about the cave.
2007-09-27, 05:29 PM
Shalana & Darien
Theron shakes his head, unable to conceal his growing frustration. "You can't save people from themselves." The words are muttered through gritted teeth as he stalks off in after Raite and Worm. The light from Octavius' torch flickers suddenly, as if caught in some draft. The Velaxian looks up from the careful examination of his feet and his eyes narrow on the main passage that you've been following. He grabs for Darien's arm and steadies the halberd on his shoulder. "There's something down there. I saw it moving."
Worm & Raite
The scene beyond the tunnel's end is too much to take in at once. An open chamber, larger than the tunnel's opening will allow you to see, is lit by several cooking fires. Those same creatures from before, though notably larger and more fearsome, sit about the room as they feast on some carcass. The smell of roasted meat is pungent here an the scraps of bone and flesh do nothing to give you a clue as to what they're eating. They laugh again, yelling across the room at one another. If it weren't for their appearance you might not see a great difference from a banquet among your own kind. Two of the creatures seem to be growling at one another, yelling back and forth, and they immediately break from their food to charge one another. They come together with knives bared, falling to the ground in a struggle as the others try to save their food from the chaos.
Zesh moves along the narrow passage for near a minute, coming out into a small room and immediatly planting himself against the wall near the door. A wheezing breath alerts you to a presence in the room beyond your vision. The flickering light in the room is enough for you to visualize the kobold's odd hand gesture and your ears pick up a sound like stomping feet fading into the distance, followed by a second pair. Moment's later the kobold is moving into the room, his attention fully devoted to a large wooden chest against the back wall. As he stoops over it you can make out his deliberate attempts to pop the lock using the wire he'd hidden away. This was theft, plain as day, and whatever he was after had to be valuable to make it worth the risk.
2007-09-27, 09:19 PM
Theron's response was completely true, but it still irked her. What were they doing? Don't they value their lives at all? She sighed, being the foreigner of the group had its price.
She turned her mind toward her bodyguards that had fallen to the dwarves. They had given their lives for her, and she had been attempting to keep it from her mind, Yunis would probably never hear of their deaths, but when she had time she would honor them.
Treaties and trade agreements, the forged path set by the matriarchs, she could not deny their wisdom, but what would they do? When they heard of her disappearance and the sacking of the capitol how would they respond. She thought back to when she stood in front of the council and heard the course they had selected for her life. The tears of leaving her homeland still burned her soul. And now here she was in the cold dark earth searching for a way back to the light.
She knelt down in the dust, and closed her eyes, the rocks bit into her skin, but she thought nothing of it as she recited the litany against despair,
"I will not despair,
Despair bends the will against itself,
Turning joy into shame, and hope into fear,
I will step into the light of life,
And let it shine through me,
I will cast my despair behind me,
And let peace reign."
She stayed in that position for a bit holding her mind still and thought of the cliff next to her home, where she used to dance to the wind in the trees.
2007-09-27, 09:55 PM
Dacin smiled. Pure avarice. This was a motivation he could understand. Probably the strange little thing was just like him...desperate for any kind of wealth just to make sure it survived. Too bad for it that Dacin felt the exact same thing...
Keeping an ear out for the creatures who had just left, Dacin snuck up behind the working kobold, trying to time it so he arrived just as it finished unlocking the chest for him.
Holding his dagger at the ready in case the thing decided to try and get violent about matters, Dacin whispered from behind Zesh, "Nice job. Split what's in there with me and I won't tell the others about it. Don't and I'll spill to Theron, and you'll have to split eight ways instead of just two."
2007-09-28, 05:27 AM
The prince starts after the kobold, but allows Dacin to move ahead; he purses his lips, weighing the advantages and disadvantages of following, and decides to remain. His expression grows even less pleased when Theron stalks off after Raite, and he glances down at Shalana, pressing a finger to his lips, when she does what he interprets as something along the lines of prayer.
Octavius' hand on his arm and sudden words do nothing to smooth his expression. He nods, and moves a little ways out, keeping close to the tunnel wall and squinting ahead into the darkness. His grip on his blade's hilt tightens; he keeps the flat of the blade pressed against his leg and the tip low but not to the floor, in order to avoid scraping it noisily against the rock.
Move Silently: [roll1]
2007-09-30, 01:52 AM
The young apprentice staggers back as a fight erupts in the room, mouth hanging slightly open as she tries to take in what she just saw. So enthralled is she by these creatures and their strange mixture of civility and animal instinct that she fails to notice the Vigilant approaching behind her, and she smacks fully into him, stumbling over her own feet and falling over the Nasjtorian.
2007-09-30, 05:13 AM
Worm & Raite
As Worm make a mighty fool of herself by failing to control her own feet, Theron reaches Raite's side and lays a hand on the Vigilant's shoulder. He watches the opening to the room for several seconds before exhaling a breath, seemingly convinced that the creatures are none the wiser. He reaches down to help the apprentice back to her feet and urges you both backwards towards the others. "This place is not for us. Let's keep moving."
Zesh doesn't react violently to your arrival. In truth he doesn't seem particularly suprised. Those crimson eyes size you up and, though his alien features are hard to read, it almost seems like he's amused. He curls his fingers under the lid and lifts it up to reveal a curled up skeleton. Clearly on the creatures that inhabit these caves, it appears to have been dead for many years. Zesh reaches in and pulls out the skull, cradling it under one arm, and then retrieves a cloth wrapped bundle as well. Beyond the bones, the chest now appears to hold nothing.
"Follow, then." Once he rounds the first curve back towards the group, he lays out the bundle and begins to unfold it. "Tia'ka was mighty with magics. Her skull holds great power for my people." The cloth parts to reveal a small metal bottle and a narrow strip of bone with metal wire around the edges. "This water keeps the pain away. Tia'ka made many when she lived. They say she made this..." he picks up the bone as he speaks "...from her own rib. She used it to keep her warriors strong in battle." Folding the cloth back into a small bundle, he slides it over to you. "You take. Keep safe from White Eyes."
The darkness works to impede your attempts at making out any movement before you. By the time you see the crossbow it is already too late. The *twang* of the string cuts through the silence and half a second later Octavius staggers backwards into Shalana. Two creatures move forward from the tunnel's curve, each bearing crossbows sized to fit their tiny hands. They're not the locals, though, instead bearing a resemblance to Zesh. One stops to reload his weapon while the other lines up a shot on Shalana. You hear stirring from around the bend and can be certain that more are moving beyond your vision.
( You can throw down an initiative roll. )
Your reflection is interrupted by the Velaxian's impact against you. You are able to twist with it, retaining your balance as you rise to standing. Octavius, however, continues backwards and lands solidly on his back. His torch slides out of his hand and rolls along the floor, casting angry shadows about as he gasps in a ragged breath and clutches at the short shaft of wood protruding from his chest. The growing stain is barely visible against the dark green of his doublet. Your straining eyes can barely make out movement in the direction that Darien went but you can't be certain what you're seeing.
( You can also roll initiative. )
2007-09-30, 10:17 AM
Thankful that, in the darkness, Theron can't see the bright red that overtakes her face, Worm nods sheepishly in response and, one hand on the tunnel to steady herself, begins to retreat, occasionally looking over her shoulder back toward the creature's dining area.
2007-09-30, 05:04 PM
Not entirely sure about what just happened, Shalana gathers herself, drawing her sword while she moves toward the torch(if it is still lit), she raises it above her head and follows after Darien as fast as she can.
If she sees anything hostile she moves to attack it. I'm not sure if I have enough time left to attack though but I'll roll anyway.
Initiative: http://invisiblecastle.com/find.py?id=1292926 (Truly epic roll of 1! At least I have an init bonus.)
If I have time left: Attack and Damage: http://invisiblecastle.com/find.py?id=1292930
2007-10-02, 10:48 AM
Dacin nodded and stashed the bundle in his tunic. He'd want to examine his "prizes" later, but the other creatures could be back at any moment, so it was time they got moving.
"Agreed. Let's be on our way, then."
Letting Zesh lead the way back to the group, Dacin felt a bitter disappointment well up inside. A piece of bone and a bottle of what could be anything? Not much reward for risking his life to follow the little creature.
At least he wasn't getting ripped off...the skull didn't seem much better, "magic" or not, so he was quite happy to let the little thing keep it.
What a waste of time, he thought.
2007-10-02, 02:31 PM
The vigilant fights back a slight smile as he offers an arm to steady Worm. Without a word, he guides the young apprentice after Theron and falls into line behind her while keeping watch for any signs of pursuit.
2007-10-03, 01:01 AM
The twang of a crossbow makes the younger prince bite off a curse and spring into action. He rushes forward, side-sword coming up, and skitters close before dropping into a crouch and swatting with the flat of his blade at the loaded crossbow, hoping to knock it away.
"Stop it! We're not with the goblins, we're with Zesh," he snaps in Najstor, hoping that these creatures will recognize the name.
Disarm attempt: [roll]1d20+7, with a +4 bonus for being larger than the kobold included. The kobold gets a -4 on its check because the crossbow isn't a ranged weapon.
ETA: can't edit rolls in; that'll be 1d20+7=23 (http://invisiblecastle.com/find.py?id=1297085). 24, actually; MW weapon.
2007-10-03, 01:15 AM
Worm & Raite
As you round the corner you immediately realize that the others are not waiting in the intersection. Theron's torch lights up the area around you but you cannot make out anything beyond it's radius. As he holds it up and forward you can make out the outline of a prone figure in the center of the intersection, but the details are unclear. Somewhere ahead of you the sounds of a struggle can be heard. While it is currently muted it certainly runs the risk of alerting the feasting creatures behind you if it grows louder.
( Initiative and actions. )
As you round the corner you immediately take note of the fact that the torches are gone from the intersection. Light appears at the far end of the opposite tunnel as Theron, Worm, and Raite come round towards the center, giving you enough illumination to make out the a prone body in the center of the intersection. From the clothing you believe it to Octavius. Zesh grabs you and pulls you back against the wall, hissing in what you can only assume to be a whisper. "Listen." The sounds of combat reach your ears soon after, from somewhere out of your vision.
( Initiative and actions. )
Darien & Shalana
Shalana scoops up the torch and pulls the sword free of it's bindings. A second bolt cuts through the darkness, planting itself firmly in her left shoulder. Pain shoots down her arm, followed by the warmth of blood, as she starts forward, her steps carrying her towards the source of the attack. Darien steps out from hiding and lunges down, catching the crossbow with his rapier and sending it skipping across the floor. She soon finds herself face to face with two creatures, one bearing a small crossbow and the other facing off with Darien. They look much like Zesh, though the light shows their coloring to be a pale yellow bordering on white. The unarmed creature draws a small blade, readying it against Darien as the prince speaks. The creature bears yellowed teeth and seems no less inclined to spill blood. The other brings it's crossbow up, a fresh bolt loaded and ready.
( Actions for round 2 please. Both of you get to include an attack of opportunity in your rolls for round 2. )
( Shalana - Your movement and drawing claimed your actions so you don't get that attack. The attack did 3 damage to you. )
The trip through the portal had left you disoriented. Nothing from your homeland had prepared you for something so completely alien. The darkness was a problem but you found cloth soaked in oil from a broken lantern and a pile of sticks near the portal. This provided you light and told you that the others probably came this way. The makeshift torch flickered in the cold of the cavern as you made your way through the narrow passage. Letting instinct guide you, you chose to go right at the intersection and found yourself facing yet another narrow hole in the wall. It was as you were standing there, considering the value of continuing forward versus going back, that a loud smack against the stones behind you sent you spinning about, spear in hand.
A man was laying on the ground behind you, apparantly having fallen from the hole in the ceiling nearly twenty feet above you. He looked familiar, one of the Vigilants sent with the heirs during their escape, except now his armor was dark with blood. He struggled to rise to his feet, gasping in breaths like a man starved for air. His hands slipped along the stones, the blood and gore that covered them making his task of standing difficult. He looked up from the ground, his eyes focusing on you for several seconds before he spoke. "Must find the princes." His voice was strangled and raspy, and as he craned his neck up you were able to see the dark brusies around his skin there. He seemed to focus, holding his breath and pushing against the floor until he was on his feet again. His light-colored hair was streaked with red, falling into his face without resistance.
"I remember you." He had to pause between phrases, the effort to speak clearly a labor for him. "I don't know how you got here but I don't have time to question it. Have you seen the princes?"
Current Intiatives (I'll update this as people make their rolls, so they're in one place)
Theron 15, Kolbolds 14, Darien 12, Zesh 6, Dacin 4, Raite 4, Shalana 3
Ok, so I don't confuse everyone I have made you a little map of the area. It shows where everyone, with the exception of Ahua, is as of the start of Round 2.
Everyone is 30ish feet from the intersection and can make it there with a move action. The picture isn't to scale, it's just a representation so you can get an idea of where everyone is standing.
2007-10-03, 01:29 AM
As Darien--fighting left-handed, as always--recovers from his lunging disarm, he shuffles closer and shifts into a side-stance to make himself a smaller target and give Shalana more room, simultaneously; his side-sword traces half of a tiny, wrist-controlled moulinet to bring the point back in control, and then his blade's tip flicks out to catch the guard of one kobold's dagger and twist it out of its grasp in another, more traditional disarm. If need be--if it should try to fire--he's prepared to swat the crossbow out of the other's grasp on the backswing.
"We're not your enemies, damn it!" Darien hisses, prepared to give up talking and fight. His teeth are clenched, but his body is in a fencer's relaxed stance despite the pounding of his heart; the imitated ineptitude and shaking hands of earlier aren't present.
[roll0] to disarm the dagger, provoking--unfortunately--an AoO; [roll1] to disarm the crossbow as an AoO if the other kobold shoots (thereby negating the shot, if successful). Both kobolds get -4, one for the bow and one for a small dagger.
2007-10-03, 01:57 AM
Ahua of Chamahez
The rainbows dancing before him, the sundering of mind and body; surely this wasn't real, but a vision given by the Paiasi? Ahua's tough, calloused hand reaches down to his side to check his pouch. No, all the paiasi powder is there. This Large-World is strange, indeed. His thoughts were disturbed by the sound of the man clammering up behind him. Seeing that he was one of the Large-One warriors and not of the Hairface tribe, he hung onto his spear and listened to the man's question.
"No, warrior. Ahua has sees none of the seed of Chieftain Large-Auldaria!" He stops for a second. "Has seen. Ahua can hunt - Hairface tribe has not followed I!"
In his excitement he very nearly takes off into the unknown darkness before he stops for a moment. This place smells of earth and death - this is no longer the capitol of Large-Auldaria. He turns back ready to ask the man as to his whereabouts, but he finally notices his injuries. "Warrior bleeds! Ahua has strong herb - can stop the dying heat...er, 'fever'. Stop blood! Sons of Chieftain Large-Auldaria must be strong - not needing Ahua as you!"
Despite his linguistic difficulties, Ahua genuinely appears to be wishing for consent to aid the man.
2007-10-03, 09:21 AM
Shalana gripped the sword tighter trying to ignore the pain. She heard Darien call out and realized suddenly that these kobolds were in fact similar to Zesh. It did nothing to dull the burning haft in her shoulder though. She shut it from her mind and flashed her sword forward attempting to disarm the kobold.
2007-10-03, 10:37 AM
Dacin swore under his breath. "Damn!"
He and Zesh had managed to get in and out with a pile of loot, no matter how paltry, and it was the rest of the group that had gotten in trouble!
It was typical, really.
Scooting up to the end of the corridor he was in, Dacin carefully peeked his head out just long enough to get a good idea what was going on, taking care to keep himself hidden as much as possible...
2007-10-03, 12:27 PM
Raite motions for Worm and Theron to follow and rushes towards the intersection. Upon reaching the end of the tunnel, he raises a hand to those following him in a signal to stop. The young man readies his sword as he peers around the corner.
Your highness, Prince Darien and the princess are engaged with two of the creatures who live in these tunnels and Shalana appears to be injured. Someone needs to watch for enemies coming from behind and Octavius needs help."
2007-10-03, 05:55 PM
Worm follows on Raite's heels, peeking around the Vigilant's sturdy frame and attempting to evaluate the situation outside the corridor. Her face contorts in worry at the sight of Octavius' body, and she gets on tiptoe and stares down the corridor behind them with trepidation.
"Prince Theron, if they hear, it won't be safe here," she whispers urgently. "We gotta help the Velaxian and get everyone out before we're caught on both sides."
2007-10-03, 07:06 PM
Theron is staring at Octavius as Worm and Raite give their assessments. He lowers himself into a crouch and squares his shoulders. "Raite, get my brother and the princess back here. I'm going to move Octavius to cover on the other side. Worm, follow me and stay low. When you get there, watch this tunnel and tell me if something is coming." With a quick inhale he darts forward, dropping his torch to free up a hand and grabbing the Velaxian by the shirt.
The blade wielding kobold slashes out, catching Darien high on the thigh and drawing a line of blood across his clothing. Sharp, firey pain courses downwards and the prince's leg goes numb for a second, sensations quickly returning in full force. The little beast then gives a screeching cry, one that echoes through the cave loud and clear. Four more of the creatures round the corner, likely the ones Darien heard previous, and the sounds of others behind them rise up as they seem to give up on remaining quiet. Two open up with crossbows, unwilling to fire on the closest humans and risk hitting their own, towards the intersection while the others draw their swords and start towards Shalana and Darien.
One bolt hits the stone near Raite and Worm's position, skittering off into the darkness. The other catches Theron in the leg, drawing a grunt of pain from him as he struggles to pull Octavius to safety.
The kobold with the crossbow lifts it to fire, not at Shalana but past her. Darien's blade is faster, however, and he smacks the bottom of the weapon. The creature loses it's grip on the weapon as it flies up, arcing off into the darkness. It draws its sword in response, only to have Shalana land a stinging blow with the side of he blade against its hand, sending the weapon spinning to the floor. As Darien returns his attention to the kobold swordsman, he sweeps the tip of his blade out and attempts a similar action against the weapon. The creature slashes up, hoping to take advantage of the opening, but his blade finds only air and then Darien's weapon knocks it aside. The kobold hisses angrily at the loss of its weapon and backs away closing ranks with the reinforcements.
Zesh takes one look at the battle and draws back into the tunnel. Theron's torch, having been discarded close by, gives you light enough to see the whole situation clearly. The kobold scrambles along the wall and begins to push against a sizable stone set against it. "Bad...Blood Snakes...eat their own kind. Worse than White Eyes. Hurry, we must go. Push here!" The creature's efforts shift the rock enough to reveal the edge of a gap behind it.
Pain is etched across the man's face, but resolve quickly masks it. After a moment of puzzling out the meaning he seems willing to let you try, but a shrill screech and the clang of metal from up ahead steals his attention away. "No time to bleed." And he is moving, crawling through the small gap and into the hallway beyond. Light flickers down the tunnel, and the shapes of figures dance in it. One man pulling another along the ground while two more fight creatures that are shorter even than you. There appears to be a pitched battle in the distance. The creatures involved almost remind you of the bipedial lizards from your homeland, except these are smaller and bearing metal weapons.
( That'd be initiative from the little man. )
Round 2 Mechanics
Wow. Hope I got everyone's intended actions. If I miss stuff, let me know.
Darien - 2 Damage
Theron 15, Kolbolds 14, Darien 12, Worm 12, Zesh 6, Dacin 4, Ahua 4, Raite 4, Shalana 3
I made all NPCs squares (cause they are!) and all PCs circles. I don't like the color for Theron, it's too close to the gray for enemies, so I'll give him a new one if he survives this encounter.
Points of Clarity
The Kobolds are all within range to advance and engage in melee for everyone except Ahua. The two nearest to you are unarmed. The two in the back row on the ends have crossbows. The two in the back row in the center have short swords.
2007-10-03, 07:28 PM
After the briefest moments of consideration, Dacin decided to try and save his group rather than just slipping off with Zesh alone. After all, if he could manage it then it'd be safer to stay with other human types rather than hope that Zesh and his people don't like the taste of Half-Elf.
Besides, Theron still had all that gold he was carrying and it be a shame to let the Blood Snakes or White Eyes get it.
Yelling at the top of his lungs and banging his dagger against the side of the tunnel to boot, Dacin called out in Auldarian, "Children of Auldaria!! Head THIS way!! Its our only chance!! Those aren't Zesh's people, and they'll eat you if you let them!! THIS WAY!!!"
His message delivered, Dacin scurried back to Zesh and started pushing, all the while praying that he could get all of his people into the tunnel beyond, leaving the Snakes and Eyes to fight amongst themselves...for surely the White Eyes must have heard the racket he was making.
It's all a matter of timing now. Hope I didn't screw it up....
Crap, error. should be +1, not +3. Got used to typing +3 for all my rolls. That's a 10 result, not a 12.
2007-10-03, 07:48 PM
Hearing Dacin's cry Shalana quickly grabs Darien by the cuff, "We have to escape there is too many", and starts running towards the voice yelling in jest through her pain, "Yunis's children will also gladly oblige!"
Turning her head slightly to gauge where the kobolds might attack next she runs as fast as she can hopefully dragging Darien along with her.
2007-10-03, 08:00 PM
"Taker's balls!" Darien hisses, gritting his teeth against the pain in his leg.
I've been cut before, I can deal with it--been doing better than I figured--she's not half bad either, weird style but at least as good as I am, no problem, no need to protect the maiden--but we need to get out.
He casts the briefest of glances over his shoulder, protecting himself with a moulinet performed from the elbow. He returns to a guard position, and then his blade rises--flicks up--then comes down, as he simultaneously salutes Shalana and covers a backstep.
"Let's go--together, now," he tells her as she urges him to do the same, and thrusts a point out before beginning a series of lightning-fast fencing backsteps once he's sure Shalana is with him.
Sod, the Velaxian's down. She's stronger.
"Help them, I'll cover you--" he snaps in Shalana's general direction, taking up a position at the tunnel corner; his blade extends visibly into the tunnel to dissuade pursuit, and he can hop behind cover should one of the kobolds fire at him. His right hand holds a dagger, which he prepares to fling at any kobolds who try to approach.
Delaying to Shalana's initiative. Then moving back to the intersection, to the tunnel corner, then readying an action to throw the dagger at any kobold who gets within 20'.
[roll0] to hit, [roll1] damage if it manages to do so.
Edit: whee! To confirm the critical, if it comes up (confirmation roll/extra daamge): 1d20+3=13, 1d4=2 (http://invisiblecastle.com/find.py?id=1298170)
2007-10-03, 09:57 PM
Hearing Darien's plea for her to help the Velaxian, Shalana moves to action, helping to drag poor Octavius out of the line of fire.
2007-10-04, 03:02 AM
Ahua of Chamahez
Ahua's eyes grow large (relatively speaking) as he spots the number of Lizards fighting the Large-Worlders. He is somewhat confused by their appearance, however. In K'a Evis, Lizards are Large-folk. In this Large-World they are the same size as Evisans, however. Stranger still that they hunt in packs like dogs. These must be something else entirely.
Ahua had very nearly steeled himself to dash forward and fling his spear, but only a split-second before he was ready to charge he was halted by the voice of one of the Large-Worlders. Head this way? He must have found an escape route. Ahua squats down and wraps his left arm under the right shoulder of the wounded Large-World warrior, trying to lift him a bit higher. "Stand, warrior! Your bulks are great, but Ahua is strong! Cannot carry all of you, but can carry most! We must make for tree...escape! Pains now for life later! Quick!"
Whether or not the Large-Worlder tries to help carry himself, Ahua will start to try and move him forwards in the direction he heard the earlier shout from.
Initiative from our dice-roller thread was...4! Hurray!
Given my Strength (but unfortunately my size penalty), even if the guy can't help Ahua can most likely lift him off the ground and plod slowly with him.
2007-10-04, 10:22 AM
Raite hurls himself down the corridor with a roar, hoping the sight of his large armored frame coming toward them will distract the creatures long enough for the Prince and Princess to reach the safety of whatever sanctuary Dacin has discovered.
The young vigilant takes a mighty swing at the nearest enemy wielding a crossbow, attempting to keep the creature from being able to fire at the fleeing Prince. The momentum of his swing leaves Raite slightly off balance but he quickly sqaures himself to face the horde of foes.
Rolls from dice thread
To hit: 11
I know I have a minus to my AC for charging, but I'm not sure what it is.:smalleek: Base AC is 16 Modified AC is 14
2007-10-04, 08:14 PM
The apprentice's mouth flies open when the bolt catches Theron in the leg, and she gasps in surprise, yanking her remaining spell slip from the book and dropping down. Keeping to the plan, she runs toward the center of the room, then sticks with Theron as he finishes his movement, ducking into the tunnel and peering across the center of the cavern toward the tunnel she'd just exited.
2007-10-05, 01:26 AM
The unarmed kobolds withdraw from the battle while the others step up to defend them. Those with crossbows slap bolts into them and bring them up again, holding their aim for a second. The blade wielders step up and take swings at Darien and Shalana, but the two deftly deflect the attacks.
Worm darts out the the center of the intersection, fumbling the slip of paper out of the book. Theron works his arm under one of Ocavius' shoulders, favoring his uninjured leg. Another bolt cuts through the air, grazing the apprentice's cheek as she tucks the book back into safety. Warmth flows slowly down her cheek. As she reaches the safety of the other tunnel she finds the page and the lizard-man hard at work moving a rock on the opposing wall.
Dacin and Zesh manage to move the rock enough to expose a 3 by 3 hole in the wall. The darkness within it doesn't seem welcoming. Zesh wastes no time scrambling into it, having little difficulty given his size. He pokes his head back out, that unsettling grin pulling at his features. "This is the way. Zesh will distract now." At that he turns towards the intersection, pressing himself against the side of the hole to allow others to pass.
As Raite rounds the corner he is met by the second crossbowman's bolt, a shot that skims along the armor and sails harmlessly into the black. The momentum of the charge helps carry the heavy weapon forward and down, catching the creature before it can load another bolt and pulzerizing it into the floor.
Ahua supports Cross as best he can until the two reach the intersection, at which point the Vigilant pulls away and uses the wall for support. He shouts towards Raite, reaching to his belt and drawing a dagger into his left hand. "Cadet, withdraw!"
Darien and Shalana dart away from the battle, the swipes of kobold weapons barely missing their exposed backs. They arrive at the intersection and the prince ducks behind the curve while pulling a dagger from his boot. Theron hoists Octavius up with Shalana's help and they move him into the tunnel, laying him back against the cold stone. The tunnel on which she is focused remains barren. Theron tears away the cloth around the Velaxian's wound and begins to examine it, blood coating his hands.
Three kobolds pursue the fleeing duo as others appear from around the bend. One bears a crossbow as it draws near the intersection but Darien's deft throw plants the dagger firmly in the creature's eye. It gives a agonized screech and staggers backwards, the crossbow flailing and discharging a bolt into the kobold next to it. Both topple to the ground and lay still as the third skids to a stop behind them.
One of the creatures steps up next to Raite as he pulls his sword out of the twitching remains of the kobold. It lashes out, driving it's blade into the cadet's side where it slips beneath the armor and comes out bloody. The pain is sharp and sudden, stealing Raite's breath with it's intensity.
Four other kobolds remain visible but they do not advance, holding their place at the bend as a series of howls and grunts rise up from the dining hall. The kobolds meet those sounds with shrill shouts of their own, echoed by atleast twice as many from beyond the bend. You all sense it despite having no experience with the beasts. Warcries. This battle, it seems, is just heating up.
Round 3/4 Mechanics
It occured to me that I was being an idiot in that I wasn't posting the actions of the kobolds before I let you post, what with their higher initiative. So that is what everything after the ~ is.
Worm - 1 Damage
Raite - 3 Damage
Darien 14 (Move Action remaining), Kolbolds 14, Worm 12, Zesh 6, Goblins 5, Cross 4, Dacin 4, Ahua 4, Raite 4, Shalana 3, Theron 3
Points of Clarity
The goblins noted on the map are not present in that position until their initiative this round.
Raite - Your charge was a full-round action, meaning you could have run up to them (move action) and intimidated (standard action) or charged and attacked (full-round action). I opted to go with the idea that you charged and attacked so the Intimidate didn't occur.
2007-10-05, 02:10 AM
His good deed for the day accomplished, Dacin bolted into the tunnel. The darkness didn't bother him as much as it would the others, especially with the torches coming to him, so it made sense for him to lead the way.
But even if it hadn't, he would have gone anyway. Brutal combat against impossible odds was for suckers...the fall of Auldaria had taught him that. If the other guy doesn't see you coming, he can't fight back. If he does see you..and especially if he's got more friends than you do...then disappear and come back later when he's alone.
From where Dacin stood, it looked like a knife in the back was worth ten swords to the front. And if he got out of this alive, he swore that's how he'd be fighting his battles from now on.
That was looking more and more like a pretty big if, though.
Preneur take it, he thought, how much more running for our lives are we going to have to do, anyway?
2007-10-05, 02:42 AM
"Dammit, Raite, run! This way," he calls to the young soldier, at about the same time that Cross gives a similar instruction. Although he's tempted to pause and support the cadet, Raite's too far away; Darien thrusts his blade out and turns in the same motion, spotting Cross even as he runs towards Zesh and Dacin's hiding-place.
Cross! He's alive! Who's that with him?
2007-10-05, 06:04 AM
Ahua of Chamahez
Ahua is surprised by the Large-Worlder's sudden rising. When the man braces himself against the wall and begins to shout for someone to withdraw, he turns to see another Large-Worlder swinging...the tooth of a giant?! Ahua is momentarily awed by the size of the weapon, but is aware enough to realize one thing. That one will be surrounded soon! He must flee!
Gripping his spear tight in both hands, Ahua lets out a shrill battlecry and begins pumping his legs as quickly as they can carry him towards the Small-Lizard cutting off the other Large-Worlder, "K'a Det", from escape. Calling on the ferocity of the jaguar, he makes one wild thrust. Those seeing his attack espy an incredibly small, muscular humanoid in little more than a loincloth with a deep tan, flaming red hair, and a... disproportionally large nose and strange, multi-colored feather-tatoos running across his back, shoulders, and arms. He zooms across their field of vision gripping an ornate-looking spear.
Cheearge! The kobold to Raite's southwest. Attack roll - 23 Damage - 4
2007-10-05, 10:08 AM
Shalana gritted her teeth under the pain of the crossbow bolt in her shoulder. Her blood burned fiercely which kept her moving, but she was quickly approaching her limit. After Octavius was set down, she slumped against the wall, letting it hold her up. As soon as she had caught some her breath, she said, "I'm at my limit, I'm going to move on ahead."
With that she stooped into the tunnel and moved forward.
2007-10-05, 10:57 AM
Raite gasps at the pain as the cold blade slips under his armor and into his side. Recovering from the blow, the young vigilant che to make sure the Prince and Princess have withdrawn safely and almost drops his guard completely at the sight of Cross, bloody but alive. The terse order issued by his captain snaps Raite back to awareness and, with his weapon held at the ready, he with withdraws from the melee towards the rest of the group.
Withdraw as a full round action to avoid an AoO. Raite will move up to twice his movement (40') towards the escape tunnel but will try to stay between the royal party members and the enemies.
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