“I am Talcanaiion Aldavathar; you may call me Talca, if you find it easier. And, if it is forward you must go, despite my warnings, then, it is my duty to the Queen of Heavens that I accompany you. My bow and blades are yours, arwenamin.”
At mention of the Queen of Heaven, Siréne stepped forward struck with a painful yearning. It had taken a journey through time to find another that remembered Faerie, and the ancient home called to her through him. After walking among mortals for nearly two centuries, she was finally not alone. Siréne let the single tear fall down her cheek before wrapping herself again in the serenity of a fey priestess. Serenity was more than her birthright, it was her duty.
Talcanaiion offered a respectful bow and the witch took another step forward. She placed two fingers upon her lips and then gracefully moved her hand to place those same to fingers on the ranger's lips. It was an ancient ceremonial gesture made between oracle and supplicant, but Siréne let longing beneath be felt.
We will speak more of this soon.
A few breaths and he let her gaze go to take in the others and the frozen tomb. He began his tale. The thread he spun was long and twisted, knotted with a cold horror. As he spoke, Siréne bowed her head to offer a prayer for the fallen. May the will of the Goddess protect them from a similar fate. In time she would know if her prayers had been heard.
Rayne listened along with the others to the elf's, who had now given his name as Talca, story. It had seemed that both his group's advance and the passage time had reduced the towers danger so far. Rayne fully supported letting Talca into the group, as watched as Lothor returned his weapons to him. Another member would be good.
Turning her gaze to Talca once more, she said, "I welcome you to the party, Talca. We appreciate your willingness to contribute to our goal, even though we have barely met each other. As the dungeon is deadly cold up ahead, would it be all right if I cast a spell on you to allow you to be able to resist it?"
The concluding lines of Talca's story weighed on Rayne's mind as they began to prepare to continue deeper into the frigid dungeon. …My party was all but decimated by the time we got this far,” Whatever lay ahead would be by far more dangerous than what was behind. After fighting their way through the flying castle, this had been relatively easy. They had already been in here for days in, theoretically, the easier party of the dungeon! What was worse was with this cold, it would be much more dangerous to rest and regain spells
The party continued their preparations to move out. With Talca's story on their mind, they made up the decision to cast endure heat/cold on everyone, for what unplanned events could occur ahead. Rayne and Cor made sure everyone was properly protected, then they made ready to depart.
As the party quietly listened to the Elf’s story they could see some type of bond happening between Sirene and this new Elf. Though twelve hundred years lay between them it was clear to see that with the press of Sirenes fingers upon Talca’s lips that some type of faith had been reawakened in both. During this Ulthok, being the ever present forager, realizing that the chest in the room had not been open picked it from the floor and placed it upon the rooms battered table.
As he began to check for traps the Halfling Thief/Mage saw there was no point, the wood first frozen and now melted, was nothing but a soggy mess. Clearing the wood from it’s side he was able to dump its contents out . A quick glance through it revealed nothing of real value but two pieces of one sword, a short one by length of blade, and various tools to fix such. Then it was time to move on and knowing the possible horror that lay ahead continuing to stay so close together was dangerous. So with Cor and Rayne each casting Endure Cold on all the party moved out of the room using hammer and axe to clear the ice bared way. In only seconds the extreme low temperature once more took over and the room began to freeze over in ice once more.
With Ulthok once more in the lead the party moved down the continuing passage checking and quickly searching two other rooms. The first much like the one where Talca was found was a 20x30 guard room of sorts with nothing of value in it to claim within its walls. The second larger 40x40 room appeared as if some type of break room with a small wall fireplace and a long frozen bucket laying frozen with in its space. A stout table and frozen shattered chairs where all the remained.
However the third room was different being a 40x50 room containing in it’s interior a small pedestal on which rested a large wheel of stone. Upon a closer look the stone could be seen under its thick ice coating to be crafted of limestone with various symbols engraved around an etched carving of the sun. Being three feet across and equally round the pedestal and wheel were raised to a height of five feet. Also within the room, much like the rooms before, a small oak table lies toppled upon its side, a number of ice crushed chairs around it, a chest in the corner, and a frozen body laying upon the floor.................
Posted on 2017-06-18 at 23:08:57.
Edited on 2017-06-18 at 23:15:40 by TannTalas
Even before any magic was brought into play to stave off the cold, the Fey priestess’ ritualistic touch on his lips brought Talca a warmth he’d not felt in what seemed forever… it had been so long since he’d been honored with the Goddess’ kiss that, experiencing it, now, came close to taking his breath…
We will speak more of this, soon.
…at the witch’s touch and her unspoken words that he felt in his heart more than heard in his mind, he smiled softly and bowed his head in gratitude for Siréne’s gift and in acknowledgement of her words. Both had served in giving him the strength to relate his tale.
((OOC: Fast-Forwarding through the story…))
“…I think, perhaps,” Talca finished softly, “That I might have preferred the death the cyclops might have given me as opposed to the terror that was that thing.”
Talca sucked in a long breath, then, and released it in a slow sigh that did little to wash the haunted expression from his features. “As I have said, though,” he offered on the wake of that sigh, “if my warnings won’t deter you from going ahead, then the least and most I can do by way of thanks and duty, is to go forward with you. Return my bow and my blades and, I swear, they will sing for all of you.”
“Just great! More super powerful beings to slay,” the one called Roan chuffed, stalking away to relieve the other human man at the door, “Seems there is no end to this mad place.”
That other human - Lothor, he might have heard him called – approached him, then, bearing his weapons. "Welcome Talca,” he said in elvish as he offered over the elf’s bow and blades, “let us hope that your second trip through this tower ends better than your first. If you are a friend, then it would be better if you were armed again.”
“Diola lle,” Talca said, eagerly accepting his gear back and relegating it all to it’s proper place, “Thank you.”
“The bow is quite exquisite - no great surprise for you,” Lothor commented as Talca reclaimed that particular weapon and tested its string, “But these smaller blades are not what I am used to the fair folk using. It is an interesting choice. May they serve you well.”
“I have perhaps walked quite the different path than many of the fair folk you may have met til now, friend Lothor,” Talca offered with a faint smile. His fingertips played on the hilts of the machetes as his eyes flitted in Siréne’s direction for an instant, then, back again. “Curious as the blades are, they have served me well in the past and, the Great Mother willing, will serve us just as well, now.”
“I welcome you to the party, Talca,” the fair-haired elven woman, Rayne, smiled, then.
“Diola lle, cousin,” the ranger smiled back.
“We appreciate your willingness to contribute to our goal, even though we have barely met each other,” Rayne continued, “As the dungeon is deadly cold up ahead, would it be alright if I cast a spell on you to allow you to be able to resist it?”
“We may have only just met,” Talca returned, his gaze dancing off to find Siréne, again, “but I know one of you well enough that I could not see myself being anywhere else.” His eyes came back to Rayne and he offered a nod; “And, yes, Rayne Fireheart, I shall gladly accept your spell…”
So it was that introductions and preparations were made and, under the apparent leadership of the Halfling Ulthok, the party took their leave of the room in which Talca had spent the past many years. He watched the group as each of them took up a position following behind the spry little Halfling and, as they formed up, he found himself a place in their ranks fairly easily… a place from which he could provide fire-support at range when need be and, more importantly, one from which he could quickly defend the Fey Priestess… “Amin naa tualle, arwen en amin,” he told her, as he slipped past in taking up his position.
Ulthok led them stealthily and efficiently through a pair of rooms that bore a vague familiarity to the ranger. He recognized them as some of the last rooms he had seen in his past life but, with the ice and with time, so much had changed that it scarcely registered. As they entered the third room, though, Talca tensed and almost faltered a step… “It was here,” he muttered, his honey-colored eyes narrowing and scrutinizing the rooms every frozen detail. Time and ice had changed many things in this tower, for sure, but this room was the room in which he and Scandrick had confronted the Cyclops… where Scandrick had fallen… and the last room Talca truly had any memory of before he died, himself… “This is where it ended.”
Posted on 2017-06-19 at 16:28:18.
Edited on 2017-06-19 at 16:29:18 by Eol Fefalas
"This is where it ended" the new one named Talca spoke quietly.
At this Lothor's ears perked up. This was where the ranger's final fight had taken place. He spared a glance at the figure frozen to the floor - almost certainly the long lost mage Scandrik, or whatever his name was. But if this was where that fight had occurred, that meant this was also the event that saw the arrival of the beholder. Had something happened here that had somehow summoned that beast?
He spoke up. "There is plenty here to investigate - the mage's body, the chest and that stone. Talca, could something have happened here to summon that beast? Could the mage have been part of it? I leave the answers to those who know magic, but this room saw the arrival of the beholder once already, so we must be doubly cautious. I shall watch by the door."
And so the big warrior moved again to his usual position - standing watch at the doorway. He took out the mirror he had with him and placed it in the hallway so that it gave a view further along the passage. "Anybody have a second mirror I can borrow?" he asked. He wanted to be able to see the other way as well, preferably without standing out as a target in the hall. If he had two mirrors he could remain entirely within the room. He listened very carefully as well, lest the mirrors not pick something up. This place made him nervous. If that damn salamander didn't jump out at them again, something else certainly would. At least the salamander only had one head.
(OOC: The above is based on the assumption that we have been moving down a corridor and this room is off to the side of that corridor. I'm assuming the corridor continues onward as well as gong back in the direction from which we came. If I'm visualizing it incorrectly, please let me know. He'd use the mirrors in whatever way allows him to see without being seen.)
Posted on 2017-06-19 at 21:04:39.
Edited on 2017-06-19 at 21:14:44 by Nomad D2
An expression of almost morbid fascination had etched itself onto Talca’s features as he scanned the room… How long has it been? he couldn’t help but wonder again as he took in the ice-caked room and tried to remember it the way it had been. As he did, and, possibly without realizing it, at first, the Pathfinder had nocked an arrow to the string of his bow and taken a few wary steps toward the frozen body on the floor… Will it be Scandrick?… The elf’s progress toward the icy corpse was halted when Lothor’s voice called out.
“Talca, could something have happened here to summon that beast? Could the mage have been part of it?”
Talca contemplated the questions and, after a moment, offered an uncertain shrug. “Both things are possible,” the elf answered, “but I cannot say for sure. Scandrick was powerful… and arrogant… arrogant enough, I suppose, to have thought his power might have been enough to summon and control such a beast. I don’t recall him being much the summoner, though. Pyromancy was more his vein.
As to something happening here that might have conjured the thing,” he sighed, his gaze going back to scanning the room, trying to remember it as it had been when last he saw it, “There was a lot of magic being slung between Scandrick and the Cyclops… the first of it blasted me into the room where you found me, I didn’t see much…” His eyes came to rest on the ice-encrusted pedestal, then… “I do recall sigils and symbols etched into that stone… it could hold some sort of magic of it’s own… activated, perhaps, by the exchange between the cyclops and Scandrick…”
"Amin naa tualle, arwen en amin," Talca whispered to her as he slipped into the position before her.
Beneath her serenity, the witch smiled. For a moment it seemed like they were high priestess and champion on some great starlit quest, and not two among a bedraggled horde stalking through a frozen hell. And yet, Siréne had come to know that this shadow path was the true work. The Great Mother lay even in the darkness, for there she taught her greatest lessons, the lessons most painful to learn.
Together they all followed a great quest and for that the Goddess demanded a terrible price. Some had paid with their lives, those that still walked among them had paid with their souls. Her world had once be naught but beauty and starlight, but their battle required more than that. To win, to survive Siréne had opened herself to the Dark Goddess. There are some doors that once opened can never again be closed, a most painful lesson indeed.
As they walked deeper still, Siréne began to wonder if the honorable elven warrior would be so ready to defend her if he knew she danced with the dark as much as the light. In time, he would know and unlike all the others he would understand what it meant.
In time, Ulthok led them to yet another frozen room where they found an ice encrusted pedestal and a frozen corpse lain among the debris. Might they have found another ally, or something else?
Not trusting the fates to be kind twice, Siréne reached out to the Dark Mother and spoke a single word of power. If the unclean hid in the shadows, she would know it.
The group moved out, awaiting the horrors that remained further in the dungeon. Along with Cor, Rayne gave out endure cold spells to the rest of the party including herself. If something occurred that dispelled Sirene's power, or displaced a member, they'd want to be able to not be killed instantly by the supernatural cold. Ulthok, resuming his regular position, took the front while the others remained. Rayne kept her bow ready, hoping to intercept any ambushers that may attack Ulthok with a well placed shot or two. However, nothing of the sort occurred. Yet.
The first two rooms had nothing of use, and nothing that hampered them. A couple frozen pieces of furniture were all that remained.
In the next room, there was something different. The first thing that caught Rayne's eye was the pedestal. It had various symbols, but they were etched around the sun. The Sun was not a symbol that was normally associated with evil, which made the pedestal all the weirder.
The other notable items in the room were a chest and a frozen body. The chest was definitely more up Ulthok or Valene's alley, with both of them being far more capable than Rayne at handling such matters. Or anyone else, for that matter. But the body was of major concern.
"This is where it ended."
Talca's words hung in the frigid air. This had been the final confrontation between the cyclops and Scandrick? Talca seemed to think so, which meant it most likely was. Unless the dungeon rooms shifted around like they did before they entered the almost literally bone shattering cold. Additionally, Talca recognized the sun with the engravings. There was the possibility that it actually was powered in its own right. Cor was discussing with Talca about reviving the body, and Sirene began to channel her own magic into the room.
Not being overly useful in this situation, Rayne moved over to Lothor. She handed him her mirror, then moved with her back to the wall so she could cover the room with her arrows if something happened. Like a summoned monster, as Lothor feared.
Posted on 2017-06-25 at 20:52:42.
Edited on 2017-06-25 at 20:53:00 by SirSadaar
Before leaving the first iced room Ulthok had placed the broken sword pieces in his bag of holding. It seemed to him that if the pieces were important enough to save in the chest then they may be of some value to them later. As it had been with gems from the skull the true value of items found may be in what they can do and not what they may be worth.
Leading the party once again through the frozen hall Ulthok found three more room but only the last seemed of any consequence. The room was different containing in its interior a small pedestal on which rested a large wheel of stone. The stone could be seen under its thick ice coating to be crafted of limestone with various symbols engraved around an etched carving of the sun. Being three feet across and equally round the pedestal and wheel were raised to a height of five feet. Also within the room, much like the rooms before, a small oak table lies toppled upon its side, a number of ice crushed chairs around it, a chest in the corner, and a frozen body laying upon the floor. Talca entered the room behind Ulthok, “It was here,” he muttered, “This is where it ended.”
The Halfling felt there were things here too that may be value. “I see Sirene is casting some sort of detection so she will warn us if there is emanate danger, but this room must be thawed also. We need to see what is in the chest and the writings on that pedestal. This man here on the floor cannot be saved but I will search him for items that may aid us though they failed him. We cannot waste time as we did before so please stand back.”
With that Ulthok stepped toward the back of the room and cast Burning Hands. The spread of flames lept from his finger tips as he fanned them over ice covered chest. He then proceeded to the pedestal melting away the frozen layers to reveal the writings. Lastly he carefully moved the flames over the fallen Scandrick. Ulthok took great care suspecting there may be items of magic, Scandrick’s spell book alone could be of great use. When ice had flowed away he ended the spell and quickly cast the cantrip Dry to preserve the item on the body. With the corpse finally exposed Ulthok carefully searched.
Posted on 2017-06-25 at 21:05:30.
Edited on 2017-06-25 at 21:11:45 by Odyson
With the discovery of the frozen body upon the floor and though Talca was reasonably sure it was the wizard Scandrick, Sirene still cast Detect Evil as a precaution. Her spell covering the room came back quickly having discovered no evil within the room or within the range of her spell. Hearing this the party watched as Ulthok motioned the rest back and cast his spell of Burning Hands. Starting at the chest, as most thieves would do, he ran a flame incased hand across it. However as he cleared the melted ice away the wood crumbled under his touch to reveal its contents. As with all the rest so far inside where nothing more then odds and ends. Some, now, water ruined books, a pair of socks, 3 pencils and a small pile of plain round shaped rocks.
Next to the pedestal he slowly moved his hands over it to reveal a sort of clock or some sort of time keeping device frozen over slowly as the rest of these caverns so far. The writing strange and of a language none of the party could read the Halfling moved on. With the spell’s duration slowly coming closer the Halfling mage moved finally to the far side of the room reaching once again the frozen body laying upon the floor. As the party watched Ulthok as he had before quickly defrosted the body using the last of his burning hands spell.
As Talca had said before the body was indeed that of the wizard Scandrick his face as the ice receded looking almost peaceful in death. However unlike Talca the wizards body was almost torn in two clearly the work of the Orge and left here to die as the creature was called away and the body froze. Suspecting there could be items of magic, Scandrick’s spell book alone could be of great use, Ulthok took great care and moved slowly and at the end though trying to quickly cast Dry he was too late. The time being careful having given the spell book a watery death. However as the Thief/Mage searched the now dry body his carefulness was rewarded
Along with seeing the cause of death Ulthok and the rest of the party could see that the body had not been searched or looted, indicating that the party of now nine were the first to have entered the tower since the mages death. For clutched in his hands the dead wizard held a staff in his right, and a wand with his left. A ring rested upon on the index finger of the left hand, a brooch pinned to his shirt and a pair of brand new boots upon his feet. Two daggers and a whip sheathed at his waist, a third dagger strapped to his arm and some type of heavy metal gloves upon his hands had unlike his clothing all survived. It was clear, to have survived to this day, that each of the items had some form of magic protecting them and with Sirene’s spell yet active none, were detected to be of evil.
Aliya unobtrusively watched the many scenes unfolding before her, keeping to the fringes of the party, trying not to be intrusive to the elves and thier new kin, one called Talca. He seemed decent enough of a fellow, and from his tales and reactions to the areas they went, and the bonding that seemed to be happening between him and Sirene, was telling the truth.
The fighter-mage remained cautious, not wanting to subject herself to the possibility of receiving scathing looks or remarks regarding her heritage, as had happened to her often enough in her past. Not that any of her companions had ever done so, being of good, decent humor all. She would like to make friends with this new companion, as he would have many tales beyond those already told, and his experiences would only enrich their situation.
As they moved through the next rooms, the third one gave all pause, having there another frozen body within. Unfortunately, this one was quite beyond this plane permanently. Still protectedby the warming spell, Aliya moved slowly about the room searching for any other signs of what had happened here.
Cor looked upon the body of the second member of a previous party. There quest, whatever it was, had come to an end. "I could try t bring him back but I nae have any idea how the difference in times might effect the spell. He has been dead here for not long but to our world he is long dead. I'll leave the choice to our newest member." While waiting for a response, Cor looked at the etchings.
Talca’s eyes skipped from Scandrick’s rent corpse to the dwarven cleric. “Aye, aiatar (little father),” he sighed, his gaze returning to the dead mage, “This was Scandrick; our employer…”
He watched as the skittery little Halfling, Ulthok, meticulously thawed and dried the body; then, perhaps, winced a bit when it was suggested that the Scandrick’s corpse be looted for anything of use or value. It made perfect sense, of course – the mage did carry some useful items and, by The Mother, he certainly had no use for them any longer – but, in Talca’s mind, it was only yesterday that they had both died in this now frozen hell… It felt too soon… Nevertheless… “The wand,” the elf offered, gesturing to the thing with one limb of his bow, “it becomes a Sword of Light when a command is spoken.” He pointed the bow at Scandrick’s staff, then; “When he wished his offensive spells to carry more power, Scandrick would employ that… and, his boots made him lighter, it seemed. He moved and travelled with an odd weightlessness, almost, when he had them on…”
"I could try t bring him back,” Cor suggested, “but I nae have any idea how the difference in times might affect the spell. He has been dead here for not long but to our world he is long dead. I'll leave the choice to our newest member."
Talca shook his head slowly and, for an instant, it seemed as if a shadow had fallen across his face. “No,” he said, “He taunted this death and earned its embrace for having done so… earned it for us all.”
The elf shrugged, then, and began to move away from the sapped and sundered body. “Leave him to it lest he bring it on all of you,” he sighed, again, as he resumed his position near the witch, “Take whatever of his gear might serve you. I’ll carry none of it.”
"So be it lad, death shall continue to hold him in her embrace." Looking to the others, he added "Take what is of use but with respect." When all items had been claimed, Cor said a short prayer over the body.