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You are here: Home --> Forum Home --> Rules-based RPGs --> Dungeons and Dragons --> The Corruption Hidden Beneath the Surface...
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GM for this game: t_catt11
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Bromern Sal
A Shadow
RDI Staff
Karma: 145/11
4043 Posts




Travel through the gloomy woods does nothing for the warrior priest's mood. He has never considered his imagination a strong one but images of Kith beneath the disgusting undead thing keep popping into his head. He had sent her to her fate with this poor council. Back at the cabin, he had felt like a true hero guided by Therassor to save that family. In this case, he felt more like a fool pretending at strategy. Often, over the course of the morning's journey, the bearded cleric mentally scolds himself for sticking so strictly to military strategy when they are obviously not in a military situation. He should have known better. He should have exhibited more caution. 

Even now, with the three scouts separated from the rest of the party, Moreno's narrowed eyes hungrily sought signs of them as his anxiety threatened to burst through the hastily erected damn he'd built overnight. Usually, the weight of his armor, the solid brace of his shield, and the weapons he carries--bolstered by the strength of his faith--stave off the anxiety. Not today. His ID has been wounded by the undead as assuredly as his body had. 

Unaware of how much time has passed, Gib is relieved when they are fetched to join the scouts. Getting his companions in one place eases his stress but not his mood. Eyeing the path that Ch'dau has discovered and where it leads with a critical eye, the priest is almost comforted by the fact that there are no military maneuvers for this scenario. 

We'll need light, that's certain, he hesitantly allows his thoughts to turn towards planning their entry into the dark cavern. Running a mental inventory, Gib grimly realizes that he is woefully under-equipped for a subterranean crawl.

"Are we truly ready for this?" he quietly asks as he steps up next to Aranwen. "We'll need light... I'm not even sure what precautions we should take."



Posted on 2019-10-03 at 14:54:49.

breebles
#1 Kibibi
Karma: 36/1
1089 Posts


I think I'm Paranoooid

"I have heard tales of human sacrifices before,” Davena spoke, “I am surprised, though, that these cultists would be so bold as to send wandering packs of the dead to terrorize the countryside. I do not see the benefit." She grins, "But then, I do not pretend to know the mind of such a cultist."

The low growl coming off of the kazari beside her mirrored Kith’s own distrust. Torture and slaughter of so many and yet had learned only of a cave entrance? Not what exactly might wait within? No questions around the wandering packs of dead? Not even a theory as to why they might send the dead out? Faith and fear, perhaps? To find people for those . . . things to mate with?

Kithran is pulled from her heated reverie by Davena’s sudden pivot to the Bladesinger. Aranwen’s retelling of her training, though brief, is fascinating. Kithran had grown up with very quick, and very sticky fingers. Life after she had fled had fine-tuned those skills into something much more precise and much more deadly, though entirely necessary. She could never imagine herself training in a field somewhere with others, slogging away at drill after drill, someone barking commands at her, but she had seen the results of such training time and time again in the grace and ferocity of Aranwen’s movements in battle. She would have to ask Aranwen about it if they ever made it out of this hellscape.

-------------------------------------------

The trek through the mist is hauntingly familiar. She knew Ch’dau and Garn were near, but even their light movements were muffled in the thickness of this mist. She felt as though she were forcing her ears to hear in this place, urging them to pick-up anything. Instead the piercing sound of total silence blared on.

As her eyes flicked back and forth through the pale-stricken forest, she caught a glimpse of the whiteness of the knuckles that grasped her bow. A brief pang of fear swept through her as it seemed at first as though she could not unfurl her fingers. After a moment they came away with little effort, though sore for how tightly she had been grasping at the wood.

Twice now she had succumbed to that paralysis. There was little in the world she had experienced more horrifying than that. The theft of her agency. There had been a time when a nobleman had tried to take that from her. She had made sure he would never have the chance to try it again. But this? How could one fight this? The pure helplessness while her body was ravaged, while her allies fell protecting her. Disgust rose in her throat like bile at the memories, and the wound on her stomach from her last gouge of the ghoul paralysis tugged at her once more.

Their small scouting party came finally to a series of cliff faces, and it isn’t long before Kithran hears the deep timbre of her friend beckoning them over.

She finds Ch’dau crouched beside a horde of tracks leading into the cave, “It looks well and recently used,” he sniffs the ground and turns toward the opening, “by several folk, at least. I cannot determine exact numbers but, I believe that this is the path we seek.”

Kith crouches near the karzari to examine the tracks herself.

((OOC: she’s looking for any differentiating footprints. “Ghoulish” footprints vs say booted footprints, prints that don’t look like they would belong to either, etc))

As the rest of the party rejoins them and the talk of strategy begins, Kith notices an uncommon weariness in their battle priest before he speaks, "Are we truly ready for this?" Gib asks quietly as he steps up next to Aranwen. "We'll need light... I'm not even sure what precautions we should take."

Kithran leans away for a moment, searching the inside of the cave. Of course by the grace of her mother’s bastard blood she is able to see fine, but those without it would likely face some difficulty. There is also the matter of the loss of any sort of stealthiness should they create a light source. Perhaps the stealthier of them who could see would continue to scout ahead. At the thought she looked away from the darkness and wrapped her hands tightly around the hilts of her daggers, awaiting their decision.



Posted on 2019-10-03 at 17:11:09.
Edited on 2019-10-03 at 23:05:03 by breebles

Reralae
Dreamer of Bladesong
Karma: 135/12
2276 Posts


And the forward

As she travelled in the vanguard, Aranwen made certain to stay a few paces behind the rest of the others. As they walked, she continually looked from side to side, silent and listening. She trusted in Ch'dau and Kithran to fall back and provide warning if an enemy were found ahead. That left her to be the front line for the others, so to speak. She did not doubt the martial skill of either cleric with her, but if they were suddenly attacked, she opted to be the one to weather the attack rather than the others.

Thankfully, no such attack happened.

As report of the cave reached her ears, and the group approached the trail, she heard Gib beside her.

"Are we truly ready for this?" Gib asks quietly as he steps up next to Aranwen. "We'll need light... I'm not even sure what precautions we should take."

"There is a lot that is not known," Aranwen admitted, "Light in the darkness is a double sided blade, as one of my... rivals liked to say. She imagined herself something of a poet as well as a Bladesigner. But there is truth to it, light reveals the carrier, just as it reveals what is around them."

Aranwen's eyes seemed distant as she tried to remember. What year was it when that happened? So long ago. Nearly forgotten.

With a shrug of her shoulders, she looked back to the cleric of Therassor, "Before we gather everyone to discuss our options I wanted to ask, is anything weighing on your mind, Gib?" She asked, her voice gentle, "You seemed withdrawn during breakfast."

As she thought about it, she realized that Cedric, too, seemed withdrawn at the time. Had Cedric even spoken that morning? Aranwen resolved to see the cleric of Solanis as well.

* * *

(( later on ))

With everyone gathered, Aranwen considered the facts, "We must be cautious," Aranwen resolved, "This is familiar ground to our adversaries, not to us. The more light we use, the bigger a target we may become; the less light we use, the more we hinder ourselves. A problematic paradox. Also of concern is the ground. Damp stone is trecherous, as many a child can attest to trying to run on such after a rain."

After a moment, Aranwen nodded to herself, "I think we should continue much as we have been so far. Kithran and I will be the forward eyes, Ch'dau to watch behind and above, in case they try to circle around us through some unseen passageway. As for the light sources," She paused, "Is there any way we may be able to cover the light we bring?" She mused, "I've still a torch or two, but the open flame would be sure to dance on the walls around us, and only announce our presence. What other options do we have?" She asked of the others



Posted on 2019-10-03 at 23:12:59.
Edited on 2019-10-04 at 00:06:06 by Reralae

t_catt11
Fun is Mandatory
RDI Staff
Karma: 359/54
6714 Posts


moving forward...

Davena nods.  "I, too, have the ability to see some in the darkness, so I may be of some assistance there.  That said, when we encounter trouble, I would be better use behind the stout blades, not in front of them.  I am accustomed to Garn filling that role for me."

The big warrior grunts.

Midge pipes up.  "I'm blind as a proverbial bat, so I'm fine keeping muscle between me and any enemies.  That said, I say we check the entrance carefully before we proceed - I know that any halfwit stout would have a bell or somesuch to alert him to unsuspecting visitors.  I can't imagine a cult looking for secrecy wouldn't have as much sense."  Looking very pleased with himself, the cidal continues.  "I should probably cast a magic detection spell too, just to be sure, don't you think?"

Garn uncharacteristically speaks.  "Caves are treacherous.  A misstep can put you down a deep drop, where you'd never be heard from again.  Stay close.  Wandering off can mean death."



Posted on 2019-10-04 at 08:15:29.

Bromern Sal
A Shadow
RDI Staff
Karma: 145/11
4043 Posts




With a shrug of her shoulders, Aranwen looks back to the cleric of Therassor, "Before we gather everyone to discuss our options I wanted to ask, is anything weighing on your mind, Gib?" She asks, her voice gentle, "You seemed withdrawn during breakfast."

Gib continues to watch his path as he ponders how to answer her question. Not a particularly sensitive sort adept at sharing his feelings, the priest finds the query into his well-being challenging. Considering his options and weighing the impact of his newly imposed doubt, he finally responds. 

"By Therassor's Blessing, I've managed to survive military service and a few adventures using what I learned of strategy in the corps." Adjusting the position of his armor to a more comfortable sitting, he continues. "My experience did not serve Kith well last night and I fear that I will be even less effective in our future endeavors. But I will do my best to deliver what further blessings the Battle Lord deems us worthy to receive."

Crinkling his nose against a particularly foul odor that drifts past, he glances at the Bladesinger. "I'll strive not to fail you in my counsel again, Aranwen."

------------------------------

(( later on ))

"We must be cautious," Aranwen resolves, "This is familiar ground to our adversaries, not to us. The more light we use, the bigger a target we may become; the less light we use, the more we hinder ourselves. A problematic paradox. Also of concern is the ground. Damp stone is treacherous, as many a child can attest to trying to run on such after a rain."

Gib refrains from expressing his distaste for their future environment in his facial expression, taking a little solace in the feel of his holy symbol on the crossbar of his sword beneath his gloved fingers. The patted earth where Ch'dau indicated there is a path doesn't turn into anything more promising under his hard scrutiny.

After a moment, Aranwen nods to herself, "I think we should continue much as we have been so far. Kithran and I will be the forward eyes, Ch'dau to watch behind and above, in case they try to circle around us through some unseen passageway. As for the light sources," She paused, "Is there any way we may be able to cover the light we bring?" She mused, "I've still a torch or two, but the open flame would be sure to dance on the walls around us, and only announce our presence. What other options do we have?" She asked of the others.

Davena nods. "I, too, have the ability to see some in the darkness, so I may be of some assistance there. That said, when we encounter trouble, I would be of better use behind the stout blades, not in front of them. I am accustomed to Garn filling that role for me."

The big warrior grunts drawing a sideways, furtive glance from the warrior-priest who then looks away before being noticed.

Midge pipes up. "I'm blind as a proverbial bat, so I'm fine keeping muscle between me and any enemies. That said, I say we check the entrance carefully before we proceed - I know that any halfwit stout would have a bell or somesuch to alert him to unsuspecting visitors. I can't imagine a cult looking for secrecy wouldn't have as much sense." Looking very pleased with himself, the Cidal continues. "I should probably cast a magic detection spell too, just to be sure, don't you think?"

Garn uncharacteristically speaks, "Caves are treacherous. A misstep can put you down a deep drop, where you'd never be heard from again. Stay close. Wandering off can mean death."

Drawing in some of the foul air through his nose, Gib closes his eyes for a brief second while attempting to visualize the marching order Aranwen has outlined. Seeing no other options if the group is to persist, Moreno opens his eyes and says, "If I may suggest that Cedric take up a position just before Ch'dau, placing himself between Midge and the Lady Davena. I shall do the same at the front. This should place us both in a position to provide what support we can to the vanguard and the rear while keeping us in whatever light we can summon up. I have neither a torch nor a lantern..." he trails off.



Posted on 2019-10-04 at 13:41:56.

Reralae
Dreamer of Bladesong
Karma: 135/12
2276 Posts


Pre-meeting

"By Therassor's Blessing, I've managed to survive military service and a few adventures using what I learned of strategy in the corps." Adjusting the position of his armor to a more comfortable sitting, he continues. "My experience did not serve Kith well last night and I fear that I will be even less effective in our future endeavors. But I will do my best to deliver what further blessings the Battle Lord deems us worthy to receive."

Aranwen nodded, and her eyes grew distant as she recalled the previous night. The start of that horrific battle, where everything seemed against them. Her training was as much on reflection as it was on the act of battle itself. Only by reviewing the past could mistakes be prevented in the future. Of course, that sentiment was intended to be limited to the scope of her posture, her blade, her movements. It took great effort to extrapolate to the wider world, and time as a whole, effort that she wished she were better at.

Crinkling his nose against a particularly foul odor that drifts past, he glances at the Bladesinger. "I'll strive not to fail you in my counsel again, Aranwen."

Aranwen shook her head, "Your counsel was sound, based on what you knew, and your past experiences," She told Gib, "It is not your fault that the situation was not as you had foreseen. My own dealings with these kinds of creatures are sparse, even with the number of years I've seen. Those with dull, empty eyes - I cannot lead them with my blade; I cannot truly predict their movements as I might with a creature with sound mind," She spat with annoyance in recollection, "We can do naught but adapt and learn, concepts that I pray are beyond these creatures."

She offered Gib a gentle smile, "Don't wield the sword of your spirit against yourself," She spoke softly, recalling the same words spoken to her before, a long time ago.

If only I could truly share that knowledge, she thought solemnly, so many don't know the blade that they carry beside them.



Posted on 2019-10-04 at 21:23:38.
Edited on 2019-10-04 at 21:29:59 by Reralae

Raven
Resident Finn
RDI Staff
Karma: 71/3
1068 Posts


Carry on my wayward son

Ever since the newly formed group made off from their makeshift camp towards what everyone assumed was the source of the undead plague roaming the lands nearby, Cedric had felt very, very uneasy. One moment he blamed the events from the last few days, especially yesterday or the nightmare he had been through again and again during the night. The next moment the cleric considered his nervousness a result of his lack of faith. Although he knew the Radiant Father would be waiting for him arms wide open when his time would come, Cedric doubted himself on every step that took him closer to their goal. What if he wasn’t strong enough to stand unshaken in the face of death? What if he would fail in his prayers to Solanis? What if he would be paralysed and the voice from his dreams would beckon him to join the dark side? Would he be able to resist or would he be too weak in his faith?

I am not worthy of your love, my Lord. Please forgive my doubting thoughts. I put my life in your hand Holy Father, for I am nothing but a vessel of your will and your power. Make me strong in the face of the evil and let me find the power to overcome my fears. Watch over my companions and bless them with your love.

Cedric carried on praying in silence all the way through the forest to the cliffs. When the advance came to a halt and everyone started pondering on how they should proceed, the young priest finally feltl slightly better. His chanting had helped him sense the strength in the connection between his mortal soul and his eternal lord and Cedric knew Solanis would answer should he need to pray for his powers to give them aid. The discussion around the group helped too. Considering marching orders and light sources allowed him to push away the thoughts of grinning rotten faces and shambling walking corpses. And yet… the thought of entering a dark cave filled with undead monsters and crazy cultists made Cedric shiver.

While the others talked, the cleric went through his weapons; the sling was in its place under his belt, the pouch of bullets well secured and not too tightly shut to enable pulling out one bullet or three at a time. His backpack was loose enough for him to swung it off his back if needed and yet tight enough not to move around too much to hamper the wielding of his staff. Not that it would actually matter as the young man’s fighting skills were rudimentary at best. But the checks again helped ease Cedric’s mind. Light… Why didn’t I get myself a lantern or even a few torches back in the town? Stupid…

The shirt of chainmail felt uncomfortable and awkward. Cedric would have preferred to carry the armour inside the backpack instead of wearing it, but he knew it might actually save his life today. And by keeping him safe, it could potentially help him save the life of someone else with Solanis’ powers. So the chainmail stayed on even if the young man felt like he needed to adjust it all the time. Cedric gripped his staff tightly and gave it a few practice swings… He now wished he would’ve been more attentive during the martial training lessions, but he had always been more of a bookworm than a warrior. Today he might pay the price for his choices…

When there was a moment of silence, Cedric approached the leader of the motley crew and spoke quietly. ”Aranwen, perhaps I could remind you that Solanis willing, I can summon magical light that can be hidden partly or completely if need be. The problem with the magical light is, that it does drain me like all the forms in which the Radiant Father's power can be shaped through prayer.

The cleric casts a glance at Davena. ”I was wondering… To my understanding sorcerers have similar spells at their disposal. Since it would seem that Davena is a wielder of magic of considerable power or so her spell of lightning would imply, I wonder if she has similar spells in her repertoire? Perhaps more powerful or useful ones than mine? I would hesitate to expend my strength to lighting our way, if not absolutely necessary, for doing so, I will be able to summon less divine healing powers… Just thought I would share my thoughts with you, that’s all.”

The lad feel into deep thought for a few breaths before continuing: ”Oh and another thing… I would, if you wouldn’t mind, like to swap places with Gib in our order of marching. He is far more capable in combat than I am and in case of a rear ambush, I feel I can buy Ch’dau some time or give him some assistance warding off the attack… But… but I am happy either way of course.” Cedric’s “happy” didn’t exactly come out as if he really was happy. His solid voice belied the anxiousness building up inside of him. Though he put up a valiant effort to appear calm, Aranwen’s sharp eyes and ears could doubtlessly see through the charade.



Posted on 2019-10-06 at 07:03:53.

Reralae
Dreamer of Bladesong
Karma: 135/12
2276 Posts


The plan comes together

"I, too, have the ability to see some in the darkness, so I may be of some assistance there."

Aranwen gave a knowing smile to Davena

"That said, when we encounter trouble, I would be better use behind the stout blades, not in front of them. I am accustomed to Garn filling that role for me."

The big warrior grunts.

Midge pipes up. "I'm blind as a proverbial bat, so I'm fine keeping muscle between me and any enemies. That said, I say we check the entrance carefully before we proceed - I know that any halfwit stout would have a bell or somesuch to alert him to unsuspecting visitors. I can't imagine a cult looking for secrecy wouldn't have as much sense." Looking very pleased with himself, the cidal continues. "I should probably cast a magic detection spell too, just to be sure, don't you think?"

"Good call, Midge," Aranwen nodded, "We've been on the open road and forest for long enough, I hadn't thought of this cavern system properly, as a potentially fortified location," she paused, "That being the case, Kithran, we will definitely need your support in front," she observed, "I may not be as light on my feet as you or Ch'dau, but I will be with you. Then, if another of those damned giggling creatures attacks, get behind me quick as you can."

I will protect you this time, Aranwen thought, feeling the grip strengthen on her spirit's blade. Looking back to Ch'dau, she gave an apologetic look, "I'd entrust the rear lookout to you, dear friend. Please see that we do not become the ones that are hunted."

"If I may suggest that Cedric take up a position just before Ch'dau, placing himself between Midge and the Lady Davena. I shall do the same at the front. This should place us both in a position to provide what support we can to the vanguard and the rear while keeping us in whatever light we can summon up."

Aranwen nodded at Gib's suggestion, "This sounds like a solid design. Midge, then will be at the mid point of our group. If he were to carry the torch we need, our own bodies may help serve to dilute the light before it reaches beyond our footsteps," She mused, "Davena will be with him, and both will be able to provide aid to the front or back as needed. Then one cleric on each side, and Garn forward, to be able to step in should Kithran need to fall back."

* * *

When there was a moment of silence, Cedric approached the leader of the motley crew and spoke quietly. ”Aranwen, perhaps I could remind you that Solanis willing, I can summon magical light that can be hidden partly or completely if need be. The problem with the magical light is, that it does drain me like all the forms in which the Radiant Father's power can be shaped through prayer.”

The cleric casts a glance at Davena. ”I was wondering… To my understanding sorcerers have similar spells at their disposal. Since it would seem that Davena is a wielder of magic of considerable power or so her spell of lightning would imply, I wonder if she has similar spells in her repertoire? Perhaps more powerful or useful ones than mine? I would hesitate to expend my strength to lighting our way, if not absolutely necessary, for doing so, I will be able to summon less divine healing powers… Just thought I would share my thoughts with you, that’s all.”

Aranwen paused in thought. She couldn't claim to fully understand magic in any of its forms, but she had been with Cedric, Gib, and Midge long enough to get a rudimentary understanding of its strengths, and limitations. Finally, she shook her head, "I would reserve what strength we have and can call on for when we know it is needed. To try to hide a light or flame in the darkness is not easy," She gave a brief glimpse at Davena, "and we cannot be certain we would be successful, magical or not," She reasoned

”Oh and another thing… I would, if you wouldn’t mind, like to swap places with Gib in our order of marching. He is far more capable in combat than I am and in case of a rear ambush, I feel I can buy Ch’dau some time or give him some assistance warding off the attack… But… but I am happy either way of course.”

"It is sound reasoning," Aranwen agreed, "Gib has greater experience in direct combat, and although we can pray we do not find ourselves attacked from the rear, we'd be better to be prepared for it than not. I'll let him know," She gave a warm smile, "But don't sell yourself short," She offered, "That we haven't succumbed to injury or wounds is in large part due to the aid you and Gib have both lent."

"Just the other year, when I was travelling alone, what would I have given to have your aid then," Aranwen chuckled softly in recollection.



Posted on 2019-10-06 at 08:54:28.

breebles
#1 Kibibi
Karma: 36/1
1089 Posts


The Jitters

Kithran didn’t pretend to know much about strategizing, at least when it came to hunting ghouls. In the past when she’d take jobs, either an elaborate plan was already in place and she was but a piece in it, or she was just swiping some useless trinket from an old woman’s boudoir. She worked alone and didn’t have to measure the talents of multiple teammates against each other. It was only perhaps a year ago when the idea of a battle strategy had ever even entered her mind, as she and Ch’dau began working together. It was even less time than that when they allied themselves with Aranwen, and everything became a strategy--which was welcomed, as the better a plan was executed, the less money she had to spend on sewing supplies. While many plans changed and varied from situation to situation, Kith was always the tip of the spear, and so it was of no surprise to her when the bladesinger assigned her her duty.

“Kithran, we will definitely need your support in front, I may not be as light on my feet as you or Ch’dau, but I will be with you. Then, if another of those damned giggling creatures attacks, get behind me quick as you can.”

She nods her acceptance and Aranwen turns to Ch’dau next to her, “I’d entrust the rear lookout to you, dear friend. Please see that we do not become the ones that are hunted.”

Ch’dau agrees as well, and forcing her hands to loosen again on the bow, Kith looks up at him and whispers, “Think you can handle our rears?”

((OOC: well?))

Kith laughs softly so as not to disturb the conversation, but trails off as her eyes wander again to the trail of footprints presumably leading them to this cave of ghouls and who knew what other kind of horrors. She would have liked to have had an army for this. Even if these things weren’t mindless, psychosis-inducing monsters, there were still an innumerable amount of them, and only eight in this group--two of which were not even to be trusted.

She takes a deep breath and pulls her eyes and thoughts away from that end for now.

As the conversation comes to a close and the group begins to get into position, Kith stops at the Cidal, “Midge, I’m sure you can’t keep your spells up indefinitely, but as I will be touching a lot of things looking for non-arcane traps in there, please make sure I don’t blow myself up on any unseen magical trap while you have it up.” She holds out her left hand so he can see the old burn scar starting on the pad of her thumb, and flaring out just past her wrist and creeping halfway up her forearm, “Picking a mage's lockbox, I wouldn’t recommend it.”

((OOC: Midge’s response/assuming a positive)

“Thank you, friend. I will do my best to keep you all in mostly one piece as well.” She turns and before leaving Ch'dau's side and heading to the front of their party, she reiterated to him once more the Bladesinger’s words, “Like Aranwen said, Kh’ur Cat Beast, lookout for our rears, especially this ‘thieving rear.”

((OOC: Response if any))

She grins, forcing down the ever-growing feeling of ice cold dread in the pit of her stomach. Rrowl would never let her into the Eternal Hunt if she let that dread overtake her, and so she focused on serving her comrades instead.

Kithran took her post at the front of the procession, pulling the shortbow off her shoulder and testing the string a few times as the rest of their group fell into order. When Aranwen took her place behind her, a familiar formation they had taken several times over the course of the last few months, Kithran raised the hood of her black cloak and nodded to the Bladesinger, “On your word, Aranwen.”

Aranwen gave it, and with that, Kith slinks silently along the path, following the ghoulish footprints forward.

((OOC: and keeping an eye out for any possible traps, dangerous areas, Roguey Things™ ))



Posted on 2019-10-08 at 02:50:22.
Edited on 2019-10-08 at 10:55:15 by breebles

t_catt11
Fun is Mandatory
RDI Staff
Karma: 359/54
6714 Posts


down into the darkness...

The party collects themselves, forms into two columns, and moves to follow the trampled grass towards the cliff faces.

The grass gives way to hard packed earth, thus ending the trail.  However, a bit of searching does find a larger cave opening.  With no better prospect, the party pushes forward into the darkness.

It is noticeably cooler underground - and is deathly silent; every step that you take seems to roar in the silence.  The ceiling is low in places, higher in others - though by and large, two people can walk relatively comfortaby abreast.  The cave smells of earth, but little else.

After twenty yards or so, you come to what is surely your destination - a stone wall stands here, closing off what was once a natural cavern.  In the middle of the wall sits a set of double doors of a dark gray material, with iron handles on each. 

The doors feature a large grinning skull embossed on them, with the crack between them dividing the skull in half.  Strange runes are carved beneath the skull. 

Kithran can find nothing untoward about the doors; if it bears any sort of trap, she cannot find it. 

Midge chants an incantation, gazes at the door and the surrounding area.  "The doors are somehow enspelled," the cidal mage states.  "I cannot tell what the spell does, and it does not appear to be a strong aura - but there is something here.  Something dark."






Posted on 2019-10-08 at 14:25:36.

Reralae
Dreamer of Bladesong
Karma: 135/12
2276 Posts


The function of a door

As the group made their way forward through the underground tunnel, Aranwen could feel herself inwardly wince at every footstep. Every echo. She shook her head and forced herself to breathe. Calm. If echoes were so easy for them to make, the reverse would also be true. 

Then they reached the door. For a brief moment, the skull was obscured by their shadows, and Aranwen thought she saw it as black. Her breath caught in her throat, but as they moved and brought the light closer she relaxed. She watched and waited patiently as Kithran and Midge gave the door their full attention.

She nodded slowly, listening to both of their findings, "Were I in charge of some hidden keep," she reasoned, "It'd be in my interest to devise a way to keep others out, while letting my people access..."

Aranwen paused as she gave it some thought, "How might they have made certain this door would respond to them?" she asked in an open question to the rest of the group



Posted on 2019-10-08 at 16:43:53.

t_catt11
Fun is Mandatory
RDI Staff
Karma: 359/54
6714 Posts


open sesame?

Midge frowns at the Bladesinger's query.   "A wizard locked door might open to a password or such, " he speaks.  "No telling what that might be, naturally."

The diminutive spellcaster strains to make out the door in the darkness.  "Of course, the simplest thing would be a key to open a lock.   Perhaps some easily portable item might function the same with regards to a spell?  Just musing out loud."



Posted on 2019-10-08 at 16:58:46.
Edited on 2019-10-08 at 16:59:23 by t_catt11

breebles
#1 Kibibi
Karma: 36/1
1089 Posts


A-door-able

Kithran stalks forward into the mist once more, alone again. And while she was comforted that Aranwen was not too far behind, she couldn’t help but feel as though the mist were engulfing her, swallowing her whole, strangling her in its emptiness. The very faint clanking of Gib’s armor was reassuring.

Soon she found herself in front of a cave, presumably the one they had been searching for. It was certainly ominous, but blessedly without the mist obscuring her senses. The dark was nothing. Kith pulled her hood back and waited until her black eyes met their leader’s, gesturing to the cave entrance.

((OOC: Assuming Aranwen gives her the go ahead to stealth on in))

At Aranwen’s approval, the hood came up again and she padded in silently, taking note of every sound, every smell, any discolored portion of the path. Despite being out of the fog, the eerie silence still feels palpable. Even she felt she sounded gratingly loud, and she was virtually silent.

It is only another moment or two before Kith comes to face a large stone wall, fitted in the middle with a set of dark grey doors, iron handles adorning each. She can hear Aranwen approaching her from behind, but before the rest of their group can gather, she begins to check the door for traps. She examines the sides and creases, but the moment she begins to lightly run her fingers across the embossed set of skulls on either door, a painful rush of cold leaps into her. She snatches her hand back but it is too late, and the panic she had been forcing down comes bursting forth as that familiar icy pang of paralyzation creeps into her stomach.

"No," she whispers to herself as she grasps her stomach and tries to shake it off, "no . . . ." Despite her dread, her quiet, fervent pleas seem to stave it off this once, and she gasps at the freedom from it just as she is yanked backward by the collar of her cloak.

Kith spins around, drawing both blades and ready to strike at the ghoul on her back before recognizing instead that it is Aranwen, wrenching her away from the door. She visibly relaxes as much as she can and slips the daggers back into their sheaths, "Apologies Aranwen, and thank you. Apart from the pain of the cold that door inflicts, it can also cause that paralasis. I had just fought it off before you pulled me back."

She turns back to the door and pulls the skull trinket she had taken from the dead priest out of her pocket. The designs are very similar, as most skulls are.

She turns to listen to their group decide how to proceed.

"Were I in charge of some hidden keep," Aranwen reasons, "It'd be in my interest to devise a way to keep others out, while letting my people access." Kith nods in agreement. Though not well-versed in magicks, she knew mages. They were tricky-folk.

Aranwen continued, "How might they have made certain this door would respond to them?"

Midge frowns, "A wizard-locked door might open to a password or such. No telling what that might be, naturally." He squints at the door, "Of course, the simplest thing would be a key to open a lock. Perhaps some easily portable item might function the same with regards to a spell? Just musing out loud."

Kithran looks again to the pendant in her hand, then pockets it and turns to Smallclothes and her guard, “Davena, Garn, in your torturings of those D’hurgen priests, when they mentioned this cave, did you happen to ask them of any obstacles we might face once we entered? Did any of them offer up a password or mention some sort of key?”

((OOC: If the two offer anything useful that actually works to open the door, great. If not, Kith will just ignore them and take the pendant back out, show it to Midge and Aranwen, and then take it to the door to see if there’s any place she can put it, or if something happens))



Posted on 2019-10-08 at 23:30:07.
Edited on 2019-10-09 at 12:14:54 by breebles

t_catt11
Fun is Mandatory
RDI Staff
Karma: 359/54
6714 Posts


what's behind door number one?

Kithran examines the door carefully, looking for mechanical traps or other devices.  She runs her fingers lightly over the embossed skull.

The moment that her bare skin comes into contact with the surface of the skull, the rogue feels a rush of incredible cold flow into her.  She jerks her fingers away quickly, but even so, she can feel a terrible - and familiar - feeling seep into her bones.

The grip of the grave pulls deep inside, threatening to grab at her heart, trying to fix her to the spot... but somehow, Kith is able to resist. 

She gasps aloud, having experienced the identical sensation before when injured by the giggling ghouls.

After recovering, she speaks aloud.

“Davena, Garn, in your torturings of those D’hurgen priests, when they mentioned this cave, did you happen to ask them of any obstacles we might face once we entered? Did any of them offer up a password or mention some sort of key?”

Davena's reply is as as calm and measured as if discussing the weather.  If she cares - or even notices - the reference to torture, her tone does not belie it.

"The priests led us to believe that the undead would be present here, along with others of their order," she replies.  "They gave no details of defenses, nor did they mention passwords or keys."  The blonde woman's tone shifts ever so slightly towards ice.  "Had they done so, we certainly would not have failed to mention it."



Posted on 2019-10-09 at 09:16:17.

Reralae
Dreamer of Bladesong
Karma: 135/12
2276 Posts


Sparks in chilly weather

Aranwen watched, her breath slow as she looked over Kithran and Midge's examination of the door, listening intently. Then she heard it. Kithran's breath caught in her throat. Moving quickly as she could, Aranwen reached forward, grasping the neckline of Kithran's garb to pull her back from the door. Kithran reacted swiftly, drawing her blades, and for that fleeting moment Aranwen was unconcerned with being attacked, only relieved to see that, despite the terror she saw in Kithran's face, she was still alert and with them. She breathed a sigh of relief, and smiled, "No harm done," She replied to Kithran's apology.

* * *

"Davena, Garn, in your torturings of those D’hurgen priests, when they mentioned this cave, did you happen to ask them of any obstacles we might face once we entered? Did any of them offer up a password or mention some sort of key?”

Davena's reply is as as calm and measured as if discussing the weather. If she cares - or even notices - the reference to torture, her tone does not belie it.

"The priests led us to believe that the undead would be present here, along with others of their order," she replies. "They gave no details of defenses, nor did they mention passwords or keys." The blonde woman's tone shifts ever so slightly towards ice. "Had they done so, we certainly would not have failed to mention it."

Aranwen frowned inwardly. By rights, her companions were not wrong in having their suspicions. She held some of her own as well. But it didn't do any of them good to let things grow more hostile at this point. Not here.

"I've no doubt of that," Aranwen spoke, adding her warm voice to Davena's cold one, and looking towards her with a gentle smile, "Sometimes context is necessary for piecing together things we learn before, putting things in new light."

I may not know your motives, Davena, nor your goal. But for what I saw you've endured, you need not keep yourself distant from us, Aranwen thought.

"In any case, if this door gives the same touch as those creatures, that means we do have one visible solution right now," Aranwen observed, "That being if I were to open it," She offered.



Posted on 2019-10-09 at 12:37:17.
Edited on 2019-10-09 at 12:41:41 by Reralae

   


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