Seluumiel rested her hand against a tree trunk as she watched the strange house wax and wane. It stood ominously silent before them. The moon elf narrowed her eyes, a dangerous curiosity lay before them. From the corner of her eye she noticed Lacey stir.
"Come," the half elf began, "Let us see what the far side holds."
Seluumiel nodded, the suggestion made sound sense. She looked back to the two men silently before turning to follow the other woman.
"Hmm... what a pretty house. I like the colours. But it kind of disappearing is a minor inconvenience. If it weren't for that, I might move here... don't you think?"
Xavier looks around and notices that only Chiron is next to him, the women having already set off to observe the house. "Isn't that just typical. Women leaving not even listening to our words... Well, I guess we better follow them, don't you agree buddy ol' pal?"
Xavier slowly slinks forward, hiding behind the trees. However, he doesn't walk between the trees. He instead chooses to somersault between them, making it very dramatic, and having his head always on a swivel. He hums softly to himself as he does this.* Even though he hums though, he still manages to keep a high level of stealth in place.
*The current day equivalent of the "Mission Impossible" theme.
Chiron sighs as everyone takes off to circle around the house. "This is going be... interesting. Circling the house is a bad idea, Chiron. You'll put it between yourself and what's known to be a safe escape route." he said to himself, since everyone else had already began their circuit of the clearing.
The behavior of the house had changed since it was last encountered and none of the others seemed to take note of the difference. Whatever was moving into this place was strengthening it's hold, able to maintain its material form longer and with more precise control than before. And it even seemed to react to the new presence here by summoning this unnatural fog to shroud the area.
The paladin knew they were at a serious disadvantage and he would need more than his own abilities to survive what was coming. This house would probably be expecting more unwelcome guests, having already been visited twice before, and if it had called ogres to the area to deal with the last group to venture out here, what else might be lurking in the fog? Thoughts of the ogres were sobering. The guards had come limping back, but had they dispatched all the ogres before returning to the city?
Ilmater had granted Chiron the ability to sense when evil lurked in a man's heart, no matter how careful a facade he presented to the world, and the paladin hoped that talent would come in handy picking things out of the fog that may intend to do them harm. Closing his eyes for the briefest moment, Chiron called out to The One Who Endures, asking for the power to seek out the evil that plagued the nearby town and that had rent a mother's heart by taking her child.
He felt better about the situation as he opened his eyes knowing that his god was with him. He checked the straps of his shield, ensuring it was securely attached to his arm, and set out after the others moving as quietly as he could. Chiron made sure he kept an eye both on the house, for any change of behavior, and on the surrounding woods, for any potential ambush. As he neared what was the "far side," as Lacey had called it, Chiron slowly drew his sword, feeling sure that if an attack was going to happen this would be the place for it.
((Detect Evil, continuing to concentrate as we move around the house.))
((Spot checks every other round))
Lacey thinks to herself. "Circling the house is a good idea.. since there was no visible door on the other side. I'm certainly not of a mind to retreat before we have at least found a way to enter this mysterious house."
She continues on her way with Seluumiel and Xavier, keeping under cover when possible, stopping every dozen yards or so to take another look at the house.
She pauses and looks back at Xavier. "Despite thy skill at stealth, the excessive motion of thy flipping about might draw unwanted attention, the the very way the motion of a mouse in a field draws the hawk's keen sight."
It was hard for the band to see the material of which the house was made of, for the thick fog obscured any accurate sight of details. The house glowed with a magical aura which also caused a bright diffusion effect, which made making out details that much more difficult. It appeared to be a small house, one that a commoner might consider cozy.
As the four of them made their way slowly around the house, they begin to take notice of an awning with ornate support pillars and what appears to be a set of granite steps, framing and sheltering a regular door complete with a perfunctory door knob.
Everyone being alert and on their guard takes notice that Prajna is making her way, slowly but surely, in a larger circle to follow the group. She does however stay the same distance away from the house and her rider as when she was told to stay. She just didn't like the idea of losing sight of Chiron. Prajna makes no more noise than Xavier with his humming and somersaults.
As soon as all the team have converged on basically the same area in front of the house they notice that there is a path that continues north from the house. Or is it south, for the strange thing about the path is that it looks almost exactly like the one they followed before to get here!
Lacey waits for the others to gather if they are not already close by. She looks back and forth between the path and the house, then shakes her head and writes the confusion off to the bizarre effects of the house.
She turns to the others, “Yon pillars and portico seem strangely out of place on so common a dwelling... or rather, so common looking a dwelling. We must needs approach if we are to get a better look. Curse this fog!”
She'll wait for the others to respond. If all are in agreement, then as they approach the house, at a range of about 40', Lacey will stop and cast Detect Snare and Traps on herself (2 pts, 20 rounds duration, 40' range).
Seluumiel stepped up to stand next to Lacey. Standing in silence next to the half elf she studies the mist shrouded house. The glow of magic filtered through the thick fog greatly obscuring any sights that lay before them. Seeing the path leading from the house Seluumiel hissed in vexation and muttered quietly to herself in her native tongue. The more she saw of the phantom house the more certain she became of an intelligent origin. Narrowing her eyes the moon elf concentrated on the house for another moment before turning to face Lacey and the others.
"Lacey speaks truth," Seluumiel began ,"But before we approach let us see if we can pierce the fog and find what may be obfuscated within. I do not relish the thought of stumbling unaware into adversary. Give me a moment to see what I can divine."
Not waiting for a response she returns her gaze to the house and fog. She opened herself to the power of Sehanine Moonbow and the goddess filled her. With divine power rushing through her she reached out to touch the weave of magic that encircled Toril. It met her touch, as much apart of her as the blood in her veins it moved to meet her every gesture.
"Arwen en kaimelar amin yela lle. Sila no' manni na' il elea."
Her intoned words blended prayer and spell as her body blended the divine and the arcane. Seluumiel breathed deeply staring into the fog and waited for her divination to take hold.
(OOC: Casts Detect Thoughts 2 MP (targets the fog and house) - If no thoughts are detected Seluumiel will stop concentrating after the first round. If thoughts are detected she will continue to concentrate for the full three rounds to detect the number of thinking minds, their intelligence scores, and their surface thoughts)
Chiron arrives at a path leading away from the house, seemingly the same path they had followed to get here. But they hadn't walked a complete circuit yet, so this shouldn't be back to the starting point. Something was amiss here. The fog was getting the paladin all turned around and he didn't like the way the building seemed to be mocking them in their attempts to explore the clearing.
"There is something bewitching about this fog. I'm not sure we're actually on the other side of the house. I'm all for getting a closer look, but I think we should spread out and surround the structure. As long as each one of us has line of sight to two of the others, we might be able to foil whatever enchantment is keeping us from circling the house." Chiron offered. "If this same kind of confusion happened when the children were out here, I'm surprised that only one was lost."
"I do not relish the thought of stumbling unaware into an adversary. Give me a moment to see what I can divine." Seluumiel replied, and she began to incant the beginnings of a spell.
As she finished the intonation, Chiron moved a few paces away from the rest of the group. He was curious to see if the bewitching effects of the fog would still jumble his sense of direction if he kept the others in sight as a point of reference.
Posted on 2009-04-05 at 23:08:43.
Edited on 2009-04-07 at 11:40:17 by Deucalion
Hmm... it's still quite a nice house. I would like to live here later... but they don't need to know that. Well, we better get inside. I hope there's someone in there... I'm feeling a bit faint. This lack of blood isn't doing me too well. I need to eat soon.
"Well, I say we just walk up. I mean, nothing's showed up yet. Why not just walk inside, and when the threat shows up, we deal with it then? Go ahead, do your magic... but I say we just walk up."
Xavier casually starts walking up to Lacey, who was closest to the house at the time. When she seems satisfied, Xavier will continue his casual march up to the house. When he gets there, he will inspect the door, to search for any locks or other thing which might stop them from entering.
The team all feel a little closer to stumbling on to any one of the number of secrets this house holds, but the house isn't playing fair. No in fact, though not evil in nature the house seems to delight, if there is such a thing in a house, in playing tricks on the minds of any passers by.
As Chiron moves away from the group and takes a wide turn around the corner, in order to keep the group in sight, the group seem to vanish. Or did they? A few noises from behind startle him. Somehow the group went from being in front of him to being in back of him instead.
Lacey watches Xavier advance towards the house, and cautions him "I detect neither snare nor trap, but assume not that thou art safe. There may be something malevolent that we have not yet seen."
She turns to Seluumiel, seemingly about to ask a question, when she spots Chiron moving away from the group. Before she can speak she sees him flicker and vanish, only to reappear in the other direction. She calls out to him "I suspect we will need all of our talents once beyond the door. Twould'st be tragic indeed to lose a member of this group ere meeting a single foe."
She then turns again to Seluumiel, "What dost thy divinations portend?"
As she awaits a reply Lacey slings her bow across her shoulder, restoring the lone arrow she had out to her quiver, and draws her sword, all the while attempting to keep a close eye on both Chiron and Xavier.
Seluumiel stared into the fog, her sapphire eyes studying it intently. With the divine power of the Daughter of the Night Sky flowing through her she reached out into the strange fog and the phantom house. Her mind probed the area seeking thoughts, the presence of another mind. She found none. The moon elf released the spell letting the magic return to its source. Seluumiel narrowed her eyes and continued to study the enigma.
"What dost thy divinations portend?" Lacey inquired.
Seluumiel looked over to the other woman and shook her head. No thinking minds had revealed themselves to her, but she did not trust that there were not other snares hidden beyond.
"Neither thoughts nor minds have been revealed to me," Seluumiel answered. "Though neither hide within the fog nor house other dangers may yet lurk there. We should move together and take great care with each step."
She leaned lightly against her staff waiting for the others to respond.
"Twould'st be tragic indeed." Chiron, imitating Lacey's accent, replied as he rejoined the others at the front door. Seluumiel was explaining what her spells had detected.
"Neither thoughts nor minds have been revealed to me. Though neither hide within the fog nor house, other dangers may yet lurk there. We should move together and take great care with each step."
"And no evil lurks in the mist," added Chiron. "Neither is this house inherently evil, though there is some sentience to the powers manifesting here. We're still on the same side of this building; it ensures we can't circle it. At first I thought the fog was just playing with my sense of direction, but it's more than that."
"I looked away for only a moment as I walked off that way," Chiron said, waving his shield arm at the corner of the house he'd tried to look around, "and, in that moment, I found myself walking back from over here." The paladin finishes by pointing his sword in the opposite direction to emphasize his point.
"We should all stay close together while inside the house, at least until one of us figures out exactly what triggers the displacement effect."
With that, Chiron walks up to the front door. "You say there are no traps here?" he asks, more to reassure himself than anything else. He reaches out with his off-hand, pausing just before touching doorknob to throw a quick glance to the others to make sure they all are ready.
((Assuming a confirming nod or the like from the rest))
"Ilmater be with me." Chiron whispers to himself as he tries to fling the door open, bringing his shield up in front as soon as his hand leaves the door.
((If anyone has anything else they want to go over before the door is opened, it can happen in the space of my first OoC comment.))
Xavier searched the door, looking up and down for common defensive devices, though, the house, pretty as it was, was deceitful. He couldn't locate anything at first, but he gave it a very thorough check.
A check he was still in the process of doing when Chiron came up to attempt to go inside. Turning on him, Xavier's emotions felt heightened, especially due to the lack of blood he'd ingested. This augmented his minor irritation to what some would call anger. Turning his head to look at him barely, but enough to contain a bite in his eye, he said,
"Look, I don't know if you do this often, but it's generally considered rude to barge in on someone when they're doing they're job. I'm working here, so leave me to it. Unless you want to be horribly killed in some manner involving spinning blade, spikes, burning fire, pits, or all of that, then back off."
Pausing after he finishes, Xavier's eyes grow wide, losing their narrow, angry edge. Letting out a sigh, he says. "You know, I'm sorry. I... I do that sometimes. Blood level's running low an all. I... I don't mean it. But seriously, I need space. I haven't found out whether there are, or aren't traps here. That was Lacey. However, if it's the same as what my sister told me about her magic, then it only works for natural occurring traps. Not man made. That's my job. And I'm working on it. Just give me a bit of time."
Xavier found nothing in his meticulous search that might have triggered something horrible. Giving the go ahead, Chiron opens the door which swung inward forcefully on its own, almost pulling his arm out of socket. At first glance into the room they see the strangest of the room's features, that there are four identical glowing doors on the opposite side of the room.
As the door swung open, a rush of many points of evil flooded over Chiron all at once. The strange thing is that these beacons of evil, the site of which is granted by his god through the ability to sense it, didn't seem to stay put. The strongest of the evil auras seemed to be playing musical doors, for it jumped from one door to the other from behind the closed entrances and not always to an adjacent door, either. Chiron staggers ever so slightly as the movement of the auras make it hard to concentrate on any given one.
Inside was a Large wooden table, the kind one might use to sign a treaty or plan a war with a map and miniatures. On its emmence surface were two objects: a considerably big sheet of parchment rolled partially on two sides, exposing some of the markings on it, and a black leather bound book.
As the team examines the room from a seemingly safe distance, they take notice of some movement on the other side of the table from underneath the table and suddenly from above as strangely attired, exoticly beautiful woman pokes her head up over the table top in surprise and quickly in a startled voice asks, "Who are you and what business do you have here?"
Posted on 2009-04-07 at 05:23:42.
Edited on 2010-05-30 at 21:35:23 by Tiamat5774