The monk spun again as pain flared, clouding his mind to nearly the point of indecision. His leg felt warm as blood soaked through the cloth and ran freely from the stab wound on his hip. Blood pooled in the back of his shirt as the cut across his back shifted, causing a new wave of nauseating pain to flow through his body. Only the intense training that occupied many years of his lifetime kept the half-elf from falling to the ground and lying still, awaiting the cool dark of death to slip over his consciousness.
His right leg was all but useless, dragging painfully along as he hopped about bashing away another slash from a mindless attacker. More came at him and hope began to diminish until it was all but a fleeting dream. Simple men lived simple lives, far away from the death and destruction that had followed him in his way of life. Adventuring was dangerous, but it had to be done. The runes had been traced and told the story of his life in the fates. If this was to be the end, then that was shall it will be.
He fell, stumbling into two of his attackers even as a new blade sliced into his chest, cutting into bone and bringing about only an instinctual reaction to roll away from the blade, to prevent himself from impaling further upon it. With a crash he fell to the floor, two of his attackers falling as well. He cried out as he twisted, moving his only defense, a pair of glowing nunchaku, up to try and block the halberd blade that joined its brethren in a shower of death.
Then the light shone, glowing fiercely from beyond his hazy vision. Vilyamar did not close his eyes, for he would die with honor; without fear. Perhaps this final flash was the gateway to the other ends of time. The place his soul would find rest upon leaving this world. Time seemed to stand still, as unmoving as the statuesque figures about him, their armor and blades shining in the dark. Then, he realized that he was still breathing.
The monk could hear the others as well, some laboring for breath like him, others panting simply from exhaustion as the adrenaline running through their veins dwindled and their hearts tried to return to a normal pace. Vilyamar lay there on the dusty stone, feeling his lifeblood spill away about him. There was not much he could do but wait for assistance. They still had a long, long way to go.
He heard some things, naught but footsteps in the dark to him as his mind poured through his body, listening and feeling as his heart tried to pump blood to his extremities. It was not too terribly long ago that he had gained the ability to heal his wounds, to purge poison from his veins through a concentrated effort. He closed his eyes and felt down the long cut across his back and the deep wounds in both his hip and chest. His heart slowed instinctively, reducing the flow of blood to these areas as well as the blood lost. With his mind he reached out to the area about his hip, using the muscles to drive what cartilage was left intact into its rightful position. A wince crossed his face and he felt warmth overcome him. He opened his eyes to see Scourge touching his shoulder, murmuring softly. Vilyamar bowed his head slightly from his position, thanking the half-orc softly, and went back to the task at hand…
((Healing himself 14/16 Wholeness of Body and all that. Will return mobility to his leg first then his ribs wound, then back in that order, unless something in his leg or chest is healed by the spell. Mainly tries to take care of the internal, lasting injuries.))
September 6th/Saturday Central Ralnaria
In the sea of holy light that had flooded the room, encasing the animated soldiers in what seemed to be a return to unlife, an eternity seemed to pass for the group. Damien and Vilyamar had both fallen, and, prepared or not, had fully expected to be slain. Now they lay in their own blood, surrounded by a forest of glimmering, lifeless statues. It would take a few minutes for them, and even the rest of the party to recollect what had just happened.
Damien was the first to be visited by the cowled half orc. There was no room to squeeze by the circle that stood over him, and thus he became aware of the half orc when the curved, crystalline blade of a scythe burst through the chestpiece of a soldier, which had positioned itself over him in midthrust. The armor now collapsed to his side. Scourge pried his scythe free, before kneeling wordlessly and placing his large, gloved hand upon Damien. A cool, numbing sensation flowed through him, and he could feel the tears in his flesh begin to knit themselves together. Though he was laying on his back, he could feel the puncture he suffered begin to close. He could feel his muscle sewing itself together in an altogether tingling sensation. The burning pain in his thigh began to extinguish as well, and when the half orc stood and walked silently away, he felt that though his clothes and armor still bore bloodwet slits, his back was entirely healed, and only a small cut remained on his leg.
Vilyamar was his next visit. The half elf was in deep concentration when he appeared at his side. The monk had already, it seemed, through the power of his mind, forced his body to heal much of it’s extensive wounds. The energy of Erenall that Scourge channeled through him, however, was enough to leave his wounds entirely healed. Both Vilyamar and Scourge knew how close the half elf had been to death. Yet now, less than a minute later, his body had been restored as if nothing had ever happened. His robe, however, still bore massive, bloodstained tares.
Rinrin had sat up on Conjori, and, though forced to shield her large, grey blue eyes from the sun-like shield in the doorway, she could see that the giant, hooded figure who went by the name of Scourge, was already tending to the wounded. Very well, she was a cleric of Inenhalla. The Mother of Life held her in a strong emrace, even now. The spell that protected her was beginning to fade, but Rinrin knew that she had more than enough energy to channel whatever life giving blessings her Goddess would grant. The group may very well need it.
This was her first real encounter with this group, and already she couldn’t help but question if she was doing the right thing. Never in her life had she seen anything like what this group had exposed her to in the past…well….maybe one hour. First a Sphinx, then a city, touched by the wrath of a God! Then, under a statue of Vunalis himself, they were attacked by any army of….living…armor! The Revelation was as frightening as it was wonderful. But more frightening was how close they had come to death. Had it not been for the man in the doorway, they could very well all be dead right now. But if the gnomes doubts had any merit, her conviction that this was, beyond anything else, the will of her Goddess was even stronger.
Whoever that stranger in the doorway was, he seemed to know the group! Whoever he was, he had saved him, and she would thank him for it. However, a shout from above called her to more pressing matters.
Getting up had been no problem, but Elandor now found himself in a bit of a pickle. As great as the view had been up here, now the battle was over, and the shield he was staring at was beginning to hurt his eyes. But how to get down? There was no ladder that he could see. Well, Scourge was a bit busy, with the others. All the kender could give was a shrill
Rinrin stared up at him for a moment, trying not to giggle. From the back of the room, the stranger yelled
“Hurry up and leave the room. Who knows what will happen when I let the shield down!”
Urgency grasped at her. Eyeing the statue, she saw one way down.
“Slide down his beard! I’ll catch you on Conjori’s back when you reach the bottom!”
Excitedly, the kender had agreed, and though he came close to falling while reaching for the stone braid, he was able to slide down the long beard of the God with ease. Dropping the last 6 feet, he landed behind Rinrin, who immediately coaxed the dog into hurrying towards the exit.
As the group struggled to their feet and hustled by him, Teros muttered a short prayer to his Goddess, and lowered the shield. The room was flooded in darkness, and his eyes would take a moment to adjust. The warrior could hear nothing, however. Deciding not to stick around and find out, he turned and rushed out the doorway. Vilyamar and Scourge pushed the massive, metal doors shut behind him.
The group had the shield, and they had survived! As close as a call as that was, it was behind them now. They stood now at the base of the stairwell, lined with the strange, heatless fires.
Scourge-42/47 (sore, bruised left ribs)
Damien 36/40 (Light cut to the right thigh. No bleeding)
Scourge- Used 1 Cure Moderate Wounds, 2 Cure Light Wounds.
“Wheeeeeee!” the kender shrieked while sliding down the beard of the god of war. Well, his statue of course. Landing on top of Conjori was a fun experience too. But none of this equaled the flying hug Teros received from the small rogue. With all his power Elandor flung himself on the upper leg of the warrior, forgetting the tight balance between light and dark that Teros held in his hands.
“Teros!” he muffled from under his arms, “I thought you were gone for good! I thought you gave up on yourself, the world and true love! I thought you gave up on us hippies, but you’re back! I’m so happy to see you!”
One more squeeze later Elandor stood next to the warrior and grinned up.
“Hey, did you know I can do a rabbit?”
The kender held up his hand in the ray of light coming from the shield and put three fingers together in a semi-fist. The index and middle finger formed two ears and his shadow portraying on a statue looked indeed like a rabbit’s head. None of the statues reacted though, and Elandor walked away, mumbling tough crowd.
(sorry, in a really non-creative mood )
He joined the others on the stairs and got ready to return to the statue that needed the shield.
With the ceasing of the frantic chaos of battle, the party was able to fully inspect this shield, that Teros held.
It was not overly large, concidering it had been the centerpiece of a shield the size of a small tavern. Though now that it could be inspected, it was obvious that the shield had been intended for more than simple decoration. It was, infact, the most beautifully crafted shield any of them had seen. Despite centuries buried beneath the sands of the Ralnarian Desert, no tarnish graced the sleek, silvery surface, which the group now recognized as not silver, but pure mithril! The shield was a perfect, sloping circle of mithril, lined with a scrawling, runic script that Scourge, Rinrin, and Vilyamar all recognized as Greater Celestial.
Throughout Noldaria, monestaries and temples held, carefully copied scripts, written in this sacred language, yet none in this age were known to be able to read it. Theologists held to the belief that the language was the common form of Celestial during the Twilight Age, the age in which the gods spoke with mortals. That would make this shield over over 10,000 years old.
And yet, it was perfectly preserved. It's glossy surfaced glistened and glimmered like starlight, and it's underside was of pale, worked leather. The straps were comfortable and strong, held with powerful, mithril buckles.
A strange indentaion marred the very center of the silver face of the shield. It was the shape of an 8 armed star. The two, horizontal arms reached out, farther than the others, like two wings.
(I apologize for the blunt, crappy post. I'm very tired.)
Teros felt like a fool, his arms up in the air as he watched the group rush past him. The Kender was a friendly fellow though and of course he flung himself at the much larger man. Not really surprising, in fact he had braced himself for the little ball with a ton of energy and a short attention span. For a few seconds he said something about being glad to see Teros again, and then said something about being able to make a rabbit. At first he gave a little surprised look and then watched as the small man played with the light to make something that kinda looked like a little shadow rabbit. Teros gave a slight chuckle and shook his head slightly "You'll have to show me how to do that sometime. Mya would love it."
The little Kender brushed past and the rest of the group followed. Giving a quick glance over at the group who was outside the doors, he lowered the shield from the light and rushed out of the room. Aside from his own footsteps, he didn't hear anything, but he didn't want to take any chances. As soon as he was out the doors shut and he felt like he could finally breathe and relax.
With a slight, friendly, smile he glanced around at the others in the group. He had no words that would come on their own, so he simply smiled and then glanced down at the shield.
The shield was a silver color, but upon closer inspect it was made of something far more valuable and useful: Mithril! Indeed it was an incredible shield, and the mithril made it light enough that it would be useful for his fighting style. Slowly, and somewhat awkwardly, he slid it onto his left arm and gripped the end strap. It felt awkward since he had only held a few shields, however he wasn't concerned about figthing with it for now. Instead he turned it upwards so he could look at it again, and this time noticed a 8 arm star with two arms that seemed to look like wings. He also noticed some strange writing on it, but he could neither read it or understand what language it was.
Glancing up, he noticed a few others in the group had been inspecting the shield as well. In that second of pause he noticed just how silent it was and decided it might be best if he broke it. "What does this...writing mean?" he looked back down and drew his fingers lightly over the words as he spoke. Perhaps it was simply because the shield could be found as a holy artifact for his people, but Teros found the shield very interesting.
The monk smiled quickly, nodding his head at Scourge, thanking him for the spell of healing as the warm touch of Erenall closed the remainder of his wounds. He pulled himself up into a sitting position and looked down at the bloody cloth he now wore. The damp cloth sagged and stuck to his skin, the blood quickly drying as he picked it off.
The shirt was garbage; useless now that it had been torn all down the back and soaked in his blood. He removed it and rolled it up around a strap on his small pack, tying it off to keep the cotton (or wool w/e it is). Despite it being bloody, it could come to use later. His pale skin stood out from the remaining brown cloth pants he worn. It was tempting to put back on his forest robes, but he chose not to. It would simply waste time.
He walked calmly over to where the others still stood, moving away from the now still statues and up onto the platform.
They were examining the shield, noting the writing that graced its face.
"What...What does it say?" asked Teros.
Vilyamar looked to Scourge and Damien, thinking perhaps if anyone, those two would know. Perhaps Rinrin might also, though it was unknown to him other than the fact that the language was one that had not been used by any mortal for over 10,000 years.
"I do not know, Teros, though it is good that you have seen your path coinciding with ours once again," the monk said, bowing to the dark skinned knight. "I can only tell you that the script is one unused in this age, for it is the writing of the gods, last used to speak to mortal minds 10,000 years ago. This shield must be at least as ancient as the end of that age."
((When we are done discussing the shield))
"We have a long night ahead..." said the monk. "We should move on and return to the fork in the path."
September 6th/Saturday Central Ralnaria
Though the timely reunion with Teros Razorsun was relieving to say the least, the welcome he received was reserved at the least. Elandor had hugged the warrior before he had even had the chance to leave the room; but now, in the safety of the passage, Teros found himself shyly embraced by Marie as well. Scourge and the half elf, now shirtless and exposing his pale, shapely upper body, had simply bowed in reverence. The dark garbed bard had avoided his glance. He had only known Rinrin since they had met during his week with the others at the Temple Of The Sea, in the city of Siris. Yet she greeted him cheerfully, as an old friend would.
The group began making their way up the steps and down the stone passage. Jutting from the walls, every forty steps, were stone braziers. Pale fire danced in their arms, and lit the hall with the rich, yellow of faded papris. The place had not only survived the devastation that had consumed the city above. It looked and felt as if time itself hadn’t grazed it’s still dust free walls. The silence however, was like a crypt. And the party couldn’t help but feel as if the clinking of their armor, and the thudding of their boots was somehow invading the forbidden slumber of stone and air.
They had investigated the shield, and as they walked, Teros still held it before him, admiring it’s pale face.
"What does this...writing mean?"
"I do not know, Teros, though it is good that you have seen your path coinciding with ours once again,”
Vilyamar glanced at him and continued. Though he was half human, his voice had a reserved air of smooth serenity in it that few men could aquire.
"I can only tell you that the script is one unused in this age, for it is the writing of the gods, last used to speak to mortal minds 10,000 years ago. This shield must be at least as ancient as the end of that age."
He glanced from face to face, as if searching for acknowledgment that he was correct. It came from Rinrin.
“I think your right. I’ve never seen an object that had that writing on it before, but I’ve seen it recorded in scripts before. I believe it’s an ancient form of Celestial. During the war with Gilgoth and it’s dark hordes, the Gods graced the equipment of their warriors with these runes. They are supposed to be more pure than the runes we have today.”
The gnome shrugged and batted the sloppy kiss from Conjori away, stroking his thick, white neck.
“I don’t know how powerful the shield is, but I searched it for magic while you were studying it, and it has a strong aura. It must be a holy relic!”
As she said this, the party reached the fork in the path. The stone warrior in the exotic armor still stood, poised to attack the bestial face that made up the opposite wall. At his feet, the golden, celestial riddle still sat. A reminder that they still had a mission ahead of them.
(Vilyamar, Scourge, RInrin can read…others will have memory, but you others try to role play a memory)
Ages are swept in sands of Time
Yet still I remain,
Eternal combat, do I wage with Hate
Vunalis! God of War!
Your protection I pray
Let the light of your wife
Come into your gift
And together you may drive my enemy away!
(I need a decision. Will you place the shield, or will you simply go down the second tunnel?)
"We have the shield." Orion said inbetween his raven caws. As the reunited Teros stood amongst them the raven flew over and landed on the desert man's shoulder. "It bode's well that the desert should send a fine soldier to our aid when we would surely have been buried beneath it. It is good to have you with us again once more."
Looking down at the shield, Scourge noted the ancient language, but could not decipher it, perhaps a spell would aid in revealing its inscription, but he currently did not have the one needed for the task.
"I suppose the question now is do we insert the shield, and deal with whatever may come from it? Or... do we descend down the other path of mystery, that we may find yet more wonders or danger?"
Ruffling his feathers, Scourge moved to the entranceway of the currently unexplored hallway, his Daylight effect being focused down the hallway. Though he didn't speak, he would stand the vigil of watch until a decision had been made.
The second passage is simply a continuation of the path they had just come from. It extended from the statues left hand side. The hand that was poised to grip the shield. As Scourge (And anyone else who may approach it) peered down the passage, he noted that it was nearly identical to the passage they had just come from. The walls were perhaps 10 feet apart, and the smooth cieling was slightly curved, 10 feet off the ground. Every 40 feet, pale fires burned from the walls. He could hear nothing, and saw nothing unusual.
They came to rest upon the fork in the path, revisiting the site of the warrior in armor divine. The decision now facing the party was to continue on down the other side of the path or give up the shield to the stone warrior to see whether or not its power changes the state of the stone.
"I suppose the question now is do we insert the shield, and deal with whatever may come from it? Or... do we descend down the other path of mystery, that we may find yet more wonders or danger?" said Orion as Scourge moved to shine the light down the unexplored pathway.
Vilyamar moved back to the statue, kneeling and tracing a finger gently along the cryptic poem that had driven them in search of answers in the first place.
Ages are swept in sands of Time
Yet still I remain,
Eternal combat, do I wage with Hate
Vunalis! God of War!
Your protection I pray
Let the light of your wife
Come into your gift
And together you may drive my enemy away!
He repeated the poem softly to himself as the others talked and discussed.
...light of your wife...
Vilyamar stood and looked at the face of the stone warrior, then turned to look at the monstrous visage that adorned the other wall. His eyes glanced at the shield in Teros' grip and down the tunnel now partially illuminated by the Scourge's scythe.
"The tunnel. We must go down the tunnel," the monk said. "Only part of the riddle has been solved. We have found the protection of Vunalis: his shield. Unless we may summon the light of his wife without some relic, I fear that giving up the shield may perhaps start an event we are unprepared for."
"It seems that to drive away the enemy," said the monk, motioning at the bestial face across from the warrior. "We must combine the Light of Lavuria with the Shield of Vunalis..."
Marie was so relieved that they were out of the room which held the horrible black soldiers that had nearly killed Damien and Vilyamar, and was overjoyed to see that they were all still alive. She hugged Teros warmly, if a bit hesitantly, and promptly released him. She smiled brilliantly up at him, and thanked him from the depths of her soul for his timely entrance. Once that was done, she was unable to keep her questions at bay.
“I thought you were leaving us for good! What happened? What brought you back to us? Did you find your lady-love? Where is she? Is she the one of whom you spoke in there? Myra was it?”
With barely a sliver of a breath in between, her questions took an entirely different route:
“And did you see that light?! Where did it come from? What brought it on? And what in the name of Noldaria took it so long?!”
She stood looking at him with her hands on her hips now, eagerly awaiting his response.
Once they had reached the fork in the path where the statue stood, everyone seemed to be trying to decide what action to take next. Scourge went to look down the darkened pathway they had yet to venture into. She walked up behind him and peered around him momentarily. Seeing nothing out of the ordinary, she went back to the statue and looked it over.
Vilyamar showed his wisdom when he said that they must enter the tunnel and find the light. His words brought an excited smile to her lips.
“Oh! So the light must be some sort of stone or crystal, or some such thing, in the same shape as the star on the shield!”
Marie was so excited that Vilyamar seemed to have figured out part of the riddle, that she nearly bounced in place as she smiled at him enthusiastically, her hands clasped together, and tucked slightly under her chin. “And to think I was going to suggest we place the shield on the statue, thinking there must be a reason for the possibility of it being placed there!" She rolls her eyes at herself then looks back at him, a slightly more serious look on her face, though still smiling, "I think it may be wisest to leave the wisdom part of things up to you, Vilyamar. If that’s ok with you.”
With that she smiled brightly at him, with much approval shining in her eyes. She then went back over to Scourge, patted him lightly on the arm and readied herself to enter the mysterious pathway.
Posted on 2006-09-13 at 22:38:28.
Edited on 2006-09-14 at 06:23:05 by DarkAutumn
Keeping in mind the other group that was also heading towards Hajin Ra, Elandor knew what to do with the shield.
"We should indeed take it. Not so much because we might need it, but because if we leave it, there is a chance that the other group will come here and steal it. You know, those villains that we saw, that wanted to travel with us so they could rob us? You guys remember that? We did a good thing by telling them we weren't interested. But now they will come after us and take the shield if we leave it, you know!"
Then another thought struck his head. In what seemed to be the same sentence to the others he continued:
"What if they are already in here! What if they picked the other tunnel first! Then we will walk right into them. Perhaps it's a good idea if I go ahead and sneak and spy a little before we rush in. To see what lies ahead, and if the bad guys are hiding there?"
Elandor will wait for a reaction, but his attention span being so short, if no answer is given fast he will just go and try to disappear in the shadows.
"I think it may be wisest to leave the wisdom part of things up to you, Vilyamar. If that’s ok with you...”
The monk watched and said nothing while the young ranger smiled giddily at the fact that he had deduced something from the riddle at the base of the statue. She did not have to be so happy about the fact that this decision could leave them all dead.
"I make no decisions for others, young one," said Vilyamar. "We must all take our own paths in the end, and this is just a suggestion. To place the shield in the arms of the stone one may very well destroy us all, yet, to not place it there may concur the same effect. The riddle seems to point that there indeed be something else, another piece of the puzzle, just as the light shone from the cieling onto the shield to stop cold the machinations that nearly destroyed us."
Vilyamar walked calmly over to where Scourge stood, facing down the hallway, away from the others. "We all have wisdom in us, Marie Tanner. It should never be for one to decide the fate of many," he said looking back over his shoulder.
"The burden would be too great to bear..." he whispered...
As Rinrin and Vilymar responded to his question Teros's eyes grew bright. A Holy Relic. The history Rinrin presented seemed to demand this shield be used to fight the forces that threatened this world again.
As the group proceeded back up the stairs Teros was bombarded by questions by Marie. As she went on with the seemingly never ending stream of questions, Teros gave a slightly nervous smile and eyed the woman with a bit of caution.
When she finished he let a small pause and then a slight chuckle and a small shake of the head. "Mya" he paused and gave a childish grin, making it clear he was correcting her, "is fine. She agreed to marriage and is with her Father on a small Horse Farm we bought." He paused and let that sink in for a second or two before he continued. "Yes. If you mean when The Kender there showed me his little trick." Teros motioned to The Kender as he spoke.
"As to my return..." he paused again and took on a more serious look. "I...realized it would be in Mya's best interests if I returned. It did not seem right to leave you all anyways. Perhaps it was a blessing that I left." The serious look faded on the last sentance and a bright smile returned to his face.
"You have too many questions! The Light was the Goddess and Mother of my People..Lavuria. A test. Now be calm." he gave her a friendly nudge on her shoulder, "We'll have much more time to talk on such things. I'll enjoy a conversation sometime."
The group continued to the text he had not been able to read. As the group stood at the crossroads Teros remained silent and watched. Everyone else seemed to know what the stone said except him, but he wasn't eager to step up and say anything. Indeed he decided it would be better to sit and watch first. Scourge went to the other tunnel and illuminated it, but there was nothing of interest to be seen.
What interested him far more was options given to the group. Apparently they could either go down the hallway or place the shield in the statue's hand. For a split second a slight frown appeared on his face, but he caught himself and hid his dissapointment. No one needed to be say that.
It only took a few seconds for the voice of Vilymar to bring him out of his thoughts. He proclaimed that the group must go down the tunnel, that the poem itself was a puzzle and that we were missing an element to the puzzle. While the thought of another puzzle or more enemies did not please Teros, he was grateful to have the shield for a little longer. As greedy as that sounded.
Once again a voice cut into his thoughts. This time it was Marie. Once he figured out that what she was talking about something that didn't really affect him he only half-payed attention. The same went to Vilymar's response, and only The Kender caught his attention.
"There's another group?" Teros chimed in. He wanted them to fill him in, seeing as how he hadn't been around for two days. "And normally I would agree little one, but I would just as soon expect you to do something foolish and get yourself killed. I take it -you- were he one to trip the trap with the shield hmm?" He grinned at The Kender. "Though I suppose it would be better if you tripped some trap without the whole group there." He winked at The Kender. "I suppose its up to the others."
Posted on 2006-09-16 at 20:08:51.
Edited on 2006-09-16 at 20:17:24 by Jalem
"What trap are you talking about Teros? There was no trap in that shield. The dark men were just angry because they didn't like the darkness. Strange, because they were dark themselves. Do you think they're afraid of themselves? Is that why they needed the light? That would really suck! Imagine every time you see yourself..."
Elandor looked at his arm and jumped up, shrieking like it was the scariest thing he ever saw.
"... yeah, that would definately be bad."
He looked up at Teros.
"Oh, and Yes, there was another group, in the town where you left us the first time. Like I said: they wanted to travel with us because they thought that would be safer. But we knew they were after our money. They were also going to Hajin Ra, but they wanted the treasures that this place has. So we take the shield and move down that tunnel. I don't see why you think I should run into traps. I'm prefectly capable of important tasks. I kept the diamond to pay for the air-ship. So I'll see you guys at the other end of the tunnel?"
Elandor took another few steps towards the shadows of the second tunnel.