Mountain of Shadows RP: the sequel

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AuthorTopic: Mountain of Shadows RP: the sequel
La Canaliste
Member # 5563
Profile #0
*bows*
Dear readers, it appears that the original topic has grown too mighty, and has been smitten by the hubristic god of Spiderweb. Well is this deity known to me, as the older of you will testify.
Therefore it is in a spirit of humble sympathy that I offer this fresh roll of parchment, knowing that only your participation will cause it to live.
*bows again, and exits backwards*

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I am a mater of time and how .

Deep down, you know you should have voted for Alcritas!
Posts: 387 | Registered: Tuesday, March 1 2005 08:00
Law Bringer
Member # 2984
Profile Homepage #1
A few minutes of silence, if you would, for the first roleplay that ever died through UBB's intervention, and the longest that was never locked. :(

I suppose we'll move on.

I am currently rebuilding the lost pages (two; I was able to get 23 and 24, and I had it saved up to 20) from a secondary backup, in this way. I'm almost done though.

http://pied-piper.ermarian.net/topic/1/2705 will have the complete thread by tomorrow. How fortunate that I made the new site yesterday...

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I suppose I should thank the god of UBB (Cthulhu?) that my account didn't get eaten in the process. :rolleyes:

I'll put the last 2 posts into the next post, so it'll be easier to get it running again.

[ Wednesday, June 28, 2006 03:33: Message edited by: Drow ]

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Encyclopaedia ErmarianaForum ArchivesForum StatisticsRSS [Topic / Forum]
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Posts: 8752 | Registered: Wednesday, May 14 2003 07:00
Shaper
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I don't understand. I can access the original topic perfectly.

EDIT: Apparently by perfectly I meant only the first and last two pages. Perhaps it should be allowed to die peacefully anyhow.

[ Wednesday, June 28, 2006 03:43: Message edited by: Lt. Sullust ]

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Lt. Sullust
Cogito Ergo Sum
Polaris
Posts: 2462 | Registered: Wednesday, October 3 2001 07:00
Infiltrator
Member # 4248
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What a weird event. When I started the RP, I never could have imagined that it would grow so big that something like this could happen.

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I have nothing more to do in this world, so I can go & pester the inhabitants of the next one with a pure concscience.
Posts: 617 | Registered: Tuesday, April 13 2004 07:00
Law Bringer
Member # 4153
Profile Homepage #4
A pox upon the deep, deep grave of UBB...

EDIT: Just think, where would we be without Aran's archiving addiction?

[ Wednesday, June 28, 2006 04:51: Message edited by: Ephesos ]

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Gamble with Gaea, and she eats your dice.

I hate undead. I really, really, really, really hate undead. With a passion.
Posts: 4130 | Registered: Friday, March 26 2004 08:00
Law Bringer
Member # 2984
Profile Homepage #5
Sometimes I wonder if I should try to overcome said addiction; that is usually a few days before it becomes essential again. :rolleyes:

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Anyway, in the name of the conspiracy, I declare the RP reopened!

Original topic is here.

The last three ICs, to get back on track.

quote:

Arancaytar:

What is the matter?

...

What are the runes?

...

The mental questions were becoming more frantic and urgent. Where had it gone? From one moment to the next, the alien presence had evaporated from her mind like so much water on the brain.

"Come back!" she finally exclaimed out loud, not caring who else heard, but it was senseless. Gnosis had left, and something told her he... it wouldn't make contact through the book now, either. She was on her own again.

The yawning tunnel faced her like a gaping maw. The darkness was impenetrable even to her dark elven, heat seeking eyes, but she did not need to guess where Orloki was leading her. Nothing pleasant, in any case.

To battle it is. Or certain death. What was the difference?

She mentally went over her arsenal.

A lot of the daggers were wasted in the previous battles, but half a dozen remained. She had been careful to retrieve the single mithril dagger. It gave off a mild shine in the darkness, and she suspected it was somehow blessed - how else could it slay a demon? But against Orloki, it would be a blessed toothpick. The bow was also still there. It was her only remaining weapon of elven manufacture, and although she had spared her few arrows so far, it was easily her best. But they were for physical enemies, not foes that could move mountains and raise storms.

Magic would be her only chance. But her skill was mediocre at best: She was neither a necromancer nor a demonologist; her only specialty lay in stealth and disguise.

"I'm not made for this," she suddenly surprised herself by speaking out loud again. Was she not? And the wraiths of Shanaar? The guardians that stalk the Golden Temple? The cries of shantak among the Iron Pillars? Compared to the nightmare realms she had explored, this should have been a pleasant walk. Instead she was here, waiting to be killed.

The shantak never came close. The guardians fled before me. I bid the wraiths move aside and they obeyed, she remembered. With fear in their pale eyes...

---

The realization came with a pang. Of course it was not she that commanded such power. It was the... thing... she had brought with her. In those years, it had been with her always. It was not silent then, nor controlled. Without finding rest, she wandered the world, from the bottomless roots to the highest peaks, and those she came upon knew her as their own.

"Are we made to be vessels?" Her voice was low, but echoed in the enclosed darkness. "Filled with the power of the gods, but none of our own?"

The face of the druid swam into memory. Several faces - the serene wisdom in the forest, the fear in the caverns, the injuries and the exhaustion, and the anger as he became a living outlet for nature's wrath. Was he content? He was, she answered herself immediately.

Lisha wasn't, Melora reflected. An agent of the Grand Lord she might be, her whole life devoted to serving, but she was not a vessel. She had merely suppressed her independence, and now, far from the Grand Lord and close to her own demise, it boiled forward. She had seen it, briefly - flickering as Melora spoke of her quest, dancing in her eyes when she had aided Sequoia. If she survived, she would return to Tass-Shanti a loyal servant, but a changed one.

And Melora?

She tried to remember what it was like to be touched by shadow - harf'er'melóra. To move as a vessel to the elder ones, to know fear only in the eyes of others.

Like a dream, but much more clear. More clear than waking. The doubts fall away. My will is not my own, but that of the universe. The hesitation ceases.

---

Not a pleasant feeling, but that was irrelevant. Anything to get her out of this mess.

If only she knew how to wake it...

quote:

Ephesos:

OoC: For the record, let's try to get everyone headed in the same direction again... I've got an intro post for the fight with Orloki that I'm itching to use. But until then, I've got a short IC.

IC:

Clearing the top of the staircase, Sequoia found himself facing another torch-lit tunnel. It looked just like every other tunnel they'd walked through so far... but he could feel Orloki's presence strengthening. The taint that Sequoia had absorbed when tapping the mountain's power was clamoring to be heard, and Sequoia was having a bit of difficulty holding it back. He kept walking anyway.

He could feel his thoughts shifting under the pressure of the taint. But there was something else there... the mountain's energy was clearly affecting the druid's mind, but he couldn't tell how. There was a faint light growing at the edge of his vision, and it wasn't the torches. It was a bright white light, and Sequoia fervently hoped that he wasn't about to black out.

Something in the back of his mind began to bend. The tunnel grew lighter, and it had nothing to do with the torches. The druid looked around him, and saw that more pure ice was forming behind him, in unbroken strands that marked his path.

The air here felt cleaner, less oppressive. Sequoia wondered how much he had to do with this.

Sequoia was beginning to wonder why he'd come. A vague sense of unease was all that had kept him on this path, a sense that something needed to be done. Once he'd been attacked, there was that nagging need for revenge, or to at least find out who or what was after him and try to engage it in some sort of reasonable discussion. But there had to be some reason why he'd gone along with this from the start...

He felt something in the rock of the mountain. It was moving again, and he didn't care. He could feel the passage close behind him, and he could hear the rest of the mountain shifting around again. But what the druid was focused on was the low, deep rumble that echoed up from the base of the mountain. And it sounded like a voice.

The druid listened, and then he knew.

I am here to free the mountain...

quote:

Sherlock Holmes:

OOC: By the way, Tuulentekija does NOT have his mask. It was left behind pages ago when he lost it after the Giant Cavern collapsed.

The first part of my post is going to be a reflection of the past several posts as seen by Edith. The rest will be in the present tense to reflect current happenings. Pardon the length, I have a lot of catching up to do. I lost almost two pages in my absence.

IC: Edith was finally proven right to her utter horror. They HAD been rats in his twisted maze of death all along, being led to the spider in the center of its web. What’s more, now he had the audacity to send an underling to escort them to him like pigs being led to the slaughter. Had he tried to do the same thing to her father as well? It all made her furious when she thought about it and it must have been clearly displayed on her face for everyone to see. But before she could react to what was happening, the memories from Tuulentekija's past became too great to him to handle any longer and he accosted the Curator with them. The Curator in retaliation put a massive curse on him and fled back up the steps. The ultimate plan from then on had become to find Orloki and destroy him before Cain was killed in the shrinking gallery, but it wasn't as simple as that to Edith.

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

After all the others leave the gallery using the stairs, Edith looks down at the runes on the floor, and contemplates following them. Out of curiosity, she walks up to them and as she approaches them, they pulse a steady, blood red. That's odd. They didn't do that when the others approached. Reaching out her hand, she extends it over the runes. In an instant, a strong burst of electricity shocks her and forces her to recoil several paces. Turning to Cain, she looks at him questioningly.

"Cain, what's going on? Nothing happened when the others went near the runes or crossed them. Yet, they tried to electrocute me when I probed my hand over them. I don't understand."

Cain thinks for several moments about it and then seems to come to a possible explanation. "Are you by any chance carrying anything with you that might have come from this mountain originally? I'm carrying a part of Orloki in me, so I dare not cross them.” Edith thinks about it for a second and then replies. "Why, yes. I am. An acid dagger and a piece of linen that might have come from some sort of tapestry. My father recovered them both from the mountain before his death. Do you think..."

Cain's eyes widen at the revelation. "Let me see them... quickly!" Edith complies, and removing the piece of linen from her knapsack and unsheathing her dagger, she hands them to Cain. He in return snatches them up and examines them intently. He hands her back her dagger after a few moments, but examines the piece of linen with extreme interest. In a sudden impulse of experimentation, he approaches the runes, linen clutched in his hand. As he expects, the runes immediately start to pulse a blood red and the piece of parchment glows with an aurora of white light. Returning to Edith, he hands it back to her and she promptly puts it back in her knapsack.

"I believe THAT is why you cannot pass. This piece of linen seems to be something special that is not permitted to pass those runes for a particular reason. Perhaps it holds the key to something that we have not yet encountered. Or perhaps it is some sort of magical artifact that just reacts badly with the runes. In whatever case, if you plan to follow them, my dear Miss Edith, then you cannot take this with you. Those runes will reduce you to ashes if you try."

Edith turns to look at the runes again, sheathing her dagger in the process. Then she looks up the stairs. "Well, as much as I would like to chase after them, I feel I should not. There is you to consider and then there is something else. (Turning to face the tunnel that the Curator had seemingly opened up) Why would the Curator have purposely redirected our attentions to the stairs when the side tunnel opened up? It's certainly not an illusion." Edith walks over to it and disappears briefly into the darkness within. A moment later, she reappears and walks over to where the original entrance had been from which they had all entered the gallery.

"The entrance is still here, despite the fact that the Curator tried to convince us that the room had moved. See?" Edith puts her hand on the patch of still slowly expanding bluish-white ice that Sequoia left in his wake. Cain walks over to examine it and notices the darkness behind it. "You're right Miss Edith. The entrance to the gallery is still here. It was just frozen over by that black material. But where does that leave us?"

Edith walks back over to the side tunnel and stares into the darkness. "It leaves us with the possibility that you are not trapped after all, Cain. As you can clearly see, this tunnel's entrance is already starting to be consumed by the black tainted mass that Sequoia was trying to hold back. In a few minutes, this tunnel’s entrance will cease to exist. I think it would be in both our interests to see where it leads and learn why the Curator was so apt to draw our attention away from it after it opened. If my suppositions are correct, a pattern is emerging in this mountain."

Cain walks over beside her and examines the ever-shrinking tunnel. "What pattern is that? To me, everything about this mountain seems to be in random control of Orloki." Edith turns to him and points to the floor. "Well, to tell you the truth, I didn't see the pattern either until just a few moments ago. See here on the floor? There are NO runes here. And I don't know if you examined it at the time, but when the room had supposedly shifted and this tunnel suddenly opened up, I could have sworn that I saw a twinge of surprise and fear surface in the Curator's lifeless eyes for a moment."

Cain gets wide-eyed again. "I think I am beginning to see a glimmer of what you are referring to. It has to do with the shifting of the tunnels and the controlling of the black material in this mountain." Edith nods in agreement. "There appears to be a connection between them. If I'm correct, every time a passage is shifted or closed with the black material, another tunnel must be adjusted somewhere else in the mountain to compensate for the moving of material."

Cain gets a look of hope on his face. "I understand now! You think that when the entrance to the gallery was sealed up by the black material, then this side tunnel's entrance was opened to compensate automatically. That would make sense then. The Curator knew it would happen, but he hadn't counted on this particular tunnel being revealed. But that would mean..."

Edith approaches the edge of the tunnel entrance. "Yes. Orloki doesn't have full control over the mountain and I don't think he opened this tunnel. Someone or something else in this mountain took advantage of the mountain's basic nature to try to show you a different way of getting to Orloki without having to cross the runes. This means that you no longer have to remain here in the gallery awaiting certain death. The Curator would have realized that the moment he saw this tunnel open. That's why he tried so desperately to get us to follow him across the runes and up the stairs. Orloki knew that as long as you believed you were trapped, you wouldn't even consider the side passage. In the end, you would be forced to cross the runes to save your own life. But if you realized the significance of the side tunnel before Orloki could seal it up again..."

Cain gives a malicious grin. "Then I could escape through a loophole that he had not foreseen." Edith gives a triumphant start. "YES!! But enough chatter. It's time for us to make our move, Cain, before it's too late." With that, she casts the light spell on her ring, and taking hold of Cain's hand, leads him into the dwindling passage.
David, it's your turn. :)

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Posts: 8752 | Registered: Wednesday, May 14 2003 07:00
Fire! Fire! Fire! Fire!
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Dibs. Thanks for getting things up and running again, Aran and saunders.

EDIT: Tpoys.

IC: Lisha stood utterly motionless at the entrance of the passage in the ice. The sound of the Curator's footsteps had ceased.

He has stopped.

Her eyes closed, she sent her mind back to the Tomb of Hasput. She had been hiding, waiting just around a corner, when the necromancer's spy had come flying from the chamber and discovered her own spying. Remembering the chaos that had resulted then, she began inching away from the entrance and from the wall, eyes trained on the corner.

With a startling clarity the footsteps resumed. Trusting to instinct, Lisha gripped her knife and spun herself into the entrance.

The room had a rigidity about it not normally found in nature, a stiffness that suggested an imposition of a greater will, something incredible, something far more powerful than simple stonecarving. The ice, oddly enough, was thinner here than anywhere else - she could see the stone through it. It was glowing as if lit from within but, unlike the ice until this point, seemed to be reflecting within itself. Thus it was without obstruction that she saw the retreating back of the Curator.

Lisha padded forward, sure the Curator had not yet noticed her presence. The mountain groaned, a deep, grumbling growl and she paused, but the Curator walked on, oblivious. A stalagmite cracked and fell from the ceiling.

Stalagmites...

The far end of the anteroom, she saw, was obscured by row upon row of stalactites and stalagmites, all poised treacherously, ready to drop onto the unfortunate intruder with a simple shift in the ice.

A portcullis. Guarding what?

A shape - no, two, were making their way through the stone, and Lisha swept toward the wall, her cloak concealing all but the glint in her eyes. She watched as the Curator went to the end of the anteroom and stopped before the shapes.

The lich spoke. In a forgotten tongue it whispered, in tones of unquestionable command, to the two shapes. One came forward, out of the stalagmites.

A wolf. Even here...

The wolf's companion, a snarling, grizzled mass of grey fur and taught muscle, came forward to join it. Suddenly it froze and sniffed the air.

So I am revealed.

The wolf's eyes locked with hers and she threw the cloak back; it billowed behind her as she raised the knife, sprinting to the Curator and his guard. The Curator barked a word and the beasts sprung forward. With her left hand she flung a dagger - its hilt bounced off the first wolf and the blade caught in the second. They bounded at her soundlessly, unperturbed by the missle, the Curator chanting behind them. The first came near and lunged for her throat; she spun out of the way, snapping her cloak in the wolf's face, and drew her knife across its throat. It landed, stumbling, and turned back just as the second came near. Lisha threw herself at the smaller wolf, disrupting its balance. The first leapt again, desperate, but the Curator barked another command and it fell short, confused.

They aren't meant to kill me?

She took advantage of the moment to plunge her blade into its heaving side. The beast threw its head back, catching her arm in its teeth, and her knee struck its chest with enough force to dislodge it. The Curator, she noticed, was backing away, avoiding stalagmites and focusing its chanting on the second wolf.

The beast jumped at her with far more strength than its body would naturally have contained, fed by the power of the lich, and knocked the knife from her hand. She grappled with it, wrestling it to the floor, and struck its throat with her elbow. Enraged, the wolf latched on to her cloak and tore a strip from the material. She held the end of the strip and twisted it; the wolf, suddenly unable to let go, tried to back up and stumbled into its companion's body. Lisha found the knife and threw it deep into the wolf's throat; without a sound, it collapsed onto the other and its movement ceased.

Before the body had settled, Lisha was on her feet, running for the Curator like all the hounds of hell followed at her feet. His chanting never ceased and took on a tone of greater urgency and terrible power, but it was too late - in an instant she was on him, his spindly body writhing like so many snakes beneath her overwhelming strength. His gossamer, bony hands pinned to the ice, Lisha reached for a knife.

Then the passage shook. It wasn't the deep-seated rumbling she'd grown accustomed to, the slow, painful, uncompromising grind of stone against solemn stone; it was a sudden shift, a desperate jolt, a screaming, screeching, skull-piercing crunch of stone and the thin black ice that covered every visible surface. She pressed her hands into her ears and began yelling at the top of her lungs, anything to drown out the terrible screech; the Curator writhed on the floor, unable to block out the noise but entirely willing to do so. Then, in a second or two, it had stopped.

Her ears still ringing, Lisha looked up. The Curator lay panting, otherwise still, beneath her. The portcullis was gone, swallowed by the icy stony maw of the mountain - the gate that kept Orloki's chamber to the demon alone.

The Curator tilted his head back and froze. Lisha, shivering, watched as his gaze slowly went from the blocked off entrace to her steely eyes. The unnerving arrogance and conviction was utterly gone from the face of the lich, replaced entirely by fear and touches, she noted, of doubt. Realizing what had happened, she rocked back off of him and began to laugh. He lay still.

"So," she chuckled. "Abandonned by your master in your hour of need? In his, too? You're not so important after all. Message boy."

The lich began to push himself up. "You know not of what-"

"Silence." The lich obeyed immediately. "I know exactly what has happened. The mountain has grown weary of the demon's intrusion, and it has chosen an avatar. Your master cannot deal with both the avatar and myself, and has deemed you, shall we say, expendable."

The Curator shook. "You speak foolishness. I am not... expendable."

"Then what are you? A shrivelled old man, kept alive by another's powers. Possibly just for convenience. For amusement." She spat. "You are nothing. You are closed off, abandonned by your master. You are nothing." A glance over her shoulder confirmed what she's already suspected, that the anteroom was closed on both sides and she was trapped. She retrieved her cloak and sat down with a little shurg. "You cannot kill me, I've seen that. You can hurt me, maybe disable me, but you no longer have cause to." The lich stared at her lifelessly, its form devoid of strength. "You are on your own. We," she corrected, "are on our own."

[ Wednesday, June 28, 2006 10:08: Message edited by: Sir David ]

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And though the musicians would die, the music would live on in the imaginations of all who heard it.
-The Last Pendragon

Polaris = joy.

In case of emergency, break glass.
Posts: 3351 | Registered: Saturday, April 6 2002 08:00
Shake Before Using
Member # 75
Profile #7
OOC: New Silvar Inn actually had problems much like this one when it grew over 500 posts, although I suppose that in the end its 3rd or 4th topic was locked.
Posts: 3234 | Registered: Thursday, October 4 2001 07:00
Law Bringer
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OOC: Funnily enough, the music thread and TM's topic are much beyond that number. Then again, RP topics tend to have very long posts.

And as I feel obliged to add, this wouldn't have happened if we were using a database!

IC pending...

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Posts: 8752 | Registered: Wednesday, May 14 2003 07:00
Guardian
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OOC: I'll hold off with posting an IC for a while until I get a solid idea for my next post. Everyone else seems to be doing a much better job that me, and Gnosis is only supposed to be a secondary character anyway.

EDIT: Whoops, foot in mouth.

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OOOOC: IF I EVER BECOME AN EVIL OVERLORD:
If my surveillance reports any un-manned or seemingly innocent ships found where they are not supposed to be, they will be immediately vaporized instead of brought in for salvage.

[ Sunday, July 02, 2006 17:45: Message edited by: Dintiradan ]
Posts: 1509 | Registered: Tuesday, January 10 2006 08:00
Master
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OOC: Now that david posted, i'll post too. I mertely wanted to know what Lisha was up too.

EDIT: I just discovered that this and FF's post don't really fit onto one another. i hope that's not a problem? otherwise I'll change it.

IC:

The rumbling of the mountain had stopped, and Filbert and Tuulentekija stared at eachother in disbelief. Together they slowly moved their heads, as to look behind them, where they came from. In the darkness, they thought to see dust, but not normal dust. A dust of glittening, very small parts, dust of ice. Filbert quickly ran back, leaving Tuulentekija alone in his misery. No!

The passage seemed to be sealed. Filbert slowly stumbled back, and met with Tuulentekija.

"The passage has been sealed. We have only one way to go, and that is up this tunnel."

Tuulentekija gasped, followed by a quick nod. He had seated himself already, but stood up now, with some help of Filbert. Together they walked up the tunnel, which wasn't very easy. The tunnel was slippery, and since it was directing the two upwards, it got harder and harder to clamp oneself to any piece of rock which wasn't covered with ice. Finally, Filbert took out a sword, and so did Tuulentekija, and with the little strength he had, pierced the ice with the sword, applying all his strength to move himself up the tunnel. The same did Filbert, though a bit more energetically.

For how long they were climbing they didn't know. It seemed to take ages. Finally, however, the sloping stopped, and the tunnel floor was flat again. They could walk safely now, and so they did. The tunnel was stiull made of that black ice, which was, still, quite slippery. Onward they walked, passing several stalagmites and stalactites, hanging down from the cealing or standing on the tunnel's floor. They walked for some time, until they came to a splitting of the tunnel.

"Left or right?" Tuulentekija asked.

"You ask that to me? I thought you were the one with the inner powers," Filbert responded.

They stared at eachother. Finally Tuulentekija said:

"We'll go right. As the tunnel we just climbed took a left turn somewhere, i presume we turned away from the center of the mountain. Going right will bring us back."

Filbert nodded and right they went. He only hoped that the center of the mountain won't bring immediate death...

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EDIT OOC: I added some small descriptions of the tunnel, hope its better now.

[ Friday, June 30, 2006 02:00: Message edited by: Mc 'mini' Thralni ]

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Play and rate my scenarios:

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Posts: 3029 | Registered: Saturday, June 18 2005 07:00
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OoC: I think you have to explain how Filbert and Tuulentekija ended up to the slope you described. Otherwise your post is good, but if you don't add something to the beginning, you'll leave a weird gap in the story and it won't make any sense. I'm nonetheless going to continue from where you left.

BTW, I'd prefer Nazgul post as soon as possible.

IC: To speak the truth, Tuulentekija had no idea where they were, for his headache had totally messed his sense of direction. The air was fresh, but there was no breeze to tell wich way the exit was. So he and Filbert stumbled along the tunnel, only to find themselves in a dead end moments later.

"No voi helvetin perkele! Back we go!" Tuulentekija cursed and turned around so fast he almost bumbed on to Filbert. After stumbling a few dozen feet back, Filbert seized him. "What now?" Tuulentekija growled and turned to his young companion.

"Dindn't you notice it?" Filbert said with a bewildered voice. "Notice what?" Tuulentekija snarled, when his tired mind realised what Filbert was meaning.

Both of them took few, cautious steps more to the tunnel they had come from. Nothing happened. They began walking faster. Still nothing. They walked back and forth in the tunnel, then back to the cross-ways, a few meters to the left tunnel and back again. The mountain stayed still.

"The demon could just be playing with us", Tuulentekija suggested when they were already a long way in the left tunnel. He had dug the black pearl out of his pocket and was pressing it against his forehead to ease his pains. "It has just gone to pester someone else for a while, or it simply doesn't bother with us anymore." Filbert nodded a few times, but still neither of them could shake the feeling that the caves around them were somehow void of Órloki's presence.

After several long whiles of more walking, the tunnel again split. Just for spite, Filbert and Tuulentekija took different paths, just to find out that the passages reunited in a large cavern which reminded both of the library they had seen before. Difference was that all the shelves were covered in black ice, making the scrolls and books in them inaccessible. Tuulentekija sat near the wall and leaned backwards, while Filbert went and took a look to the numerous other passages leading out of the room. "Where the hell are we?!" Filbert shouted and waved his arms in sheer frustration. Tuulentekija shrugged and closed his eyes. He wanted to take a short nap, but the sound of Filbert's echoing footsteps made it impossible.

"What was that!?" Filbert suddenly yelped. Tuulentekija opened his eyes and stumbled back up. He had lost his track of time and had no idea how long had he just been lying there, but the rest had done some good for him. His head felt heavy as lead as he rose up, but when he got back on his feet, he realised that the pain was no longer as intolerable as it had been before.

"Yes?" Tuulentekija groaned and glanced around the room. There was nothing special to be seen, but what was that voice coming from the passage ahead...?

"Footsteps" said Filbert before Tuulentekija managed to open his mouth. Someone, or something, was coming up the tunnel...

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Extra OoC: Wasn't New Inn of Blades the RP where someones character entered the scene wearing nothing more than his chainmail? Someone commented that with something like "good grief, put some pants on!"

Not that it relates to subject in anyway, mention about the New Silvar Inn just brought that back to my mind...

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I have nothing more to do in this world, so I can go & pester the inhabitants of the next one with a pure concscience.
Posts: 617 | Registered: Tuesday, April 13 2004 07:00
Law Bringer
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OoC: Right. Somebody has to keep this thing moving... pardon my use of the shifting tunnels described by Frozen and Thralni.

IC:

Sequoia walked on down the tunnel, keenly aware of the tons of ice and rock that surrounded him. He was coming to realize that, as an interesting effect of the mountain's power, he was dimly aware of everything that walked the tunnels of the mountain. Not all at once, but he could focus on stronger vibrations in the rock. His awareness shifted...

...and settled on a set of vibrations coming from far to his left. The two sets of footsteps he could hear were familiar... Lisha was one. And the other...

The Curator? Sequoia thought, puzzled. Lisha must've caught up to him.

But there were no sounds of battle, no loud, abrupt thuds. Just even footsteps, and close enough together that they couldn't not see each other.

Perhaps Orloki's pawn has been persuaded... the druid mused as his mind began to track another set of footsteps off to his right. Pacing, light steps. That would be Melora... he thought.

Another shift, this time focusing on tunnels far below the druid. The echoes felt fractured, as if the stone around the source were crumbled. Perhaps in a cave that had collapsed... Sequoia thought. The footsteps were irregular, and had a somewhat pained-sounding rhythm to them. And they were heavy.

Caecus?! the druid thought with great alarm, shuddering as he recalled his last sight of the corrupted wretch. And now he was roaming the mountain again...

But Sequoia's focus was already on the move again, this time to the very edges of what he could feel, down to the foot of the mountain. Two figures were walking up an empty tunnel, one with a regular, human-sounding stride, and the other with a hollow, heavy sounding gait. Andros and Cyrus? Sequoia thought, a little confused. So they finally left Verwey...

Before Sequoia could think more on this, his mind picked up more shifting tunnels. And they were all around him... he felt scores of tunnels realign themselves, eventually including his own. With his mind still partially lost in the rock of the mountain, the new shifts were a little disorienting.

But there was one disturbance left, back the way Sequoia had come. Two more figures, one's stride light yet confident, and the other's... it was familiar, but strange. It was the gait of a creature not entirely of this plane... Edith and Cain! But that means... the runes!

Before Sequoia could try to check their position against where he thought the runes to be, the tunnels shifted again, and he lost his place. He almost tripped over a stalagmite, and he quickly realized that his tunnel was sloping upward.

He withdrew his mind from the rock, and focused on his immediate surroundings. Sequoia could feel Orloki's presence growing stronger still, so at least he knew he was headed in the right direction. But there was still some of the group unaccounted for... Wait, where are Filbert and Tuulentekija?

As this thought crossed his mind, Sequoia found that the tunnel was widening. A few more paces brought him into a large, open chamber, one that resembled the library they'd fought in earlier, except that this one still had all of its books. They were just iced over.

And, perhaps more importantly, Filbert and Tuulentekija were in this chamber.

"How in the mountain's name did you get here?" the druid asked of the surprised-looking pair.

OoC: I hope that I didn't take too many liberties.

[ Wednesday, July 05, 2006 08:51: Message edited by: Ephesos ]

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Gamble with Gaea, and she eats your dice.

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EDIT: Dear Readers,
Nazgul is no longer with us (by which I mean that he is unable to type, not that he is dead) and as such I will be in control of Cain from this point on, unless he returns before the end of the RP (which he doesn't expect to do). Therefore, if you'd like to discuss plans involving Cain, discuss them with me and not Nazgul (who you probably won't be able to contact about it anyway). I'll post an IC for Cain soon, but first things first.

IC: Lisha was growing impatient, and it showed. Though there was clearly no way out of the passage she was now trapped in, she'd only sat a minute or two before getting up and pacing the room, searching for cracks in the ice or the stone, anything that she could possibly manipulate to get closer to her nemesis. The Curator sat where he was, spidery arms wrapped around his stick legs. Catching sight of him, she stopped.

"Lich."

The Curator made no response.

"Lich. Do not ignore me. We are in the same predicament, and you know that."

The shrivelled old man stared straight ahead. Lisha moved around in front of him and knelt to meet his gaze. He looked away as if shown a particularly revolting piece of meat. She smiled.

"You cannot hide from me, you're right in front of me. Curator, back before the stairway you closed us in and created a hole in the stone where a sheer rock wall had been a moment before. You know that your master didn't waste his time closing us in well. Why don't you just move the stone aside?"

The Curator stirred as if coming awake after a restless night. He looked into her eyes and she shuddered; where she could see the shadow within Melora's eyes, the power in Sequoia's, even the demon with Edith's before she'd been freed, in the eyes of the Curator there was nothing. Only the irregular rise and fall of his thin cloak set him apart from the automatons of a Tass Shanti crypt.

"Why should I work against my... master's plan?" he asked, his tone suggesting a child's bored curiosity rather than a guard's demand. "What may I accomplish by freeing us from this prison? If Orloki wants us here, then here shall we stay. I..." He stopped.

"You have such power, do you not? Move the stone. You could crush me. Try, move the wall behind me down upon my head. Why do you not try?" She stood back and waited expectantly, arms outstretched, completely at the mercy of the mountain.

The Curator rose a hand toward the wall, then dropped it into his lap. "I already have."

She stared. The Curator loweered his gaze to the floor. She lowered her arms, then sat on the stone, cross-legged.

"Your power is not yours, then. It was never yours."

"No." The lich looked up, eyes suddenly flashing with the light of embers rekindled. "My power is - my power was my own. I do not need the demon, or - I need no aid. I needed no aid."

"You do now."

The Curator started, then stopped. A sigh swept the fire from his eyes. "I do. Yes, yes, I do now. I placed my strength in the claws of the Guardian, and now..." He sighed again. When he finally spoke, Lisha had to lean forward to catch his words. "Now there is none left within me."

Lisha supressed a smirk. "Orloki is not the greatest power in this mountain. The mountain itself has long lay dormant, but no longer. It has grown weary of the demon's intrusion, and will tolerate it no longer." She moved closer. "Who are you?"

"I am the Curator," he said simply. "There is nothing more. I was the Curator, and now I am nothing. Nothing. Nothing at all. I gave myself away and received protection, mainly from the taker, and now that he is finished with me I am nothing. A husk."

"The Guardian. Curator... what is he?"

He glared at her. "I will tell you nothing."

"On the contrary." She drew a knife. "You have nothing to gain from withholding your knowledge. But the mountain will crush your master, like it or not. Aid it, and you will be rewarded."

The Curator closed his eyes. "It is not the mountain that will reward me."

"Oh?"

But the lich heard nothing; something bigger had stolen his attention.

[ Sunday, July 09, 2006 21:19: Message edited by: Sir David ]

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And though the musicians would die, the music would live on in the imaginations of all who heard it.
-The Last Pendragon

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Tuulentekija and Filbert stared blankly at the figure in front of them. "We might ask you the same thing" they finally managed to say after a long while of confusion. "We thought you were far ahead of us."

"So did I" Sequoia replied. Tuulentekija rubbed his forehead, trying to come up with something to say, but Filbert was quicker than him. "What's troubling you?" he asked from Sequoia. The druid turned to the kid with a worried look.

"I couldn't sense you" Sequoia replied after a pause. "Everyone else I could hear like they were walking beside me, but you... you were hidden from me."

"Do you think that means something special?" Tuulentekija groaned and searched the floor for the black pearl. It had gone rolling somewhere.

"I hope not" the druid muttered. "However, be it of any importance, I must continue my journey. I have to confront the demon soon, for I don't know how much longer I can bear the power of this mountain." And with those words, Sequoia started walking towards the passage behind his startled companions. Tuulentekija shrugged and was already turning to follow him, when Filbert's voice caught his attention.

"Hey, wait!"

Tuulentekija glanced back at him, and noticed he was holding the black pearl. "Oh, that" he growled, when he noticed that the pearl wasn't the only thing Filbert was bewildered about.

Whatever power was radiating from Sequoia's body, had again cleansed a portion of the black ice that was covering the walls. However, this time it had revealed something extremely curious...

"DRUID!" Tuulentekija shouted at Sequoia, who had already wandered further up the passageway. "What is it?" they heard his puzzled voice answer.

"I think you should come and take a look at this!" Filbert yelled, still staring at the bookshelf that had been revealed from under the dark material.

One of the books had the same rune engraved in it's cover than the pearl Filbert was holding.

OoC: Row, row, row the boat, up & down the strea... err, mountain.

AND SOME EDITING: If you see a typo-dile, don't forget to scream!

[ Monday, July 10, 2006 11:01: Message edited by: Frozen Feet ]

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On the behalf of Nazgul:

IC: A spark leapt from the black stone wall as Cain swept past it, jerking his hand from Edith's. The woman's smart, I'll give her that, but touching me... that's one liberty too many.

Edith following closely behind, Cain pushed into the darkness, half expecting the rumble of stone signifying the termination of his unexpected luck. He blinked and looked around the unlit passage, his hand brushing lightly against the stone in lieu of any sort of lighting. They'd gone about fifty feet in silence before Cain decided, with mild surprise, that the stone wasn't going to close before him. Or on him.

"See?" chirped Edith, spirits audibly raised by their good fortune. "Now that the Curator's gone, there's nobody to close the passage off. Orloki must be distracted. Perhaps he doesn't control this passage."

Distracted.

"Edith." Cain stopped suddenly, and Edith walked full force into his back. He reached out to steady her. "He must know I'm here. I'm holding part of him in me. I say he's drawing us in."

"But do you truly believe the Curator is that good of an actor? He looked distressed by the opening of this passage. Maybe Orloki is busy."

"With Brother Sequoia. Maybe the elf, or.. Lisha."

"And that's why the passage is open! Brother Sequoia has some control over the mountain."

"Maybe." Cain resumed his pace, and Edith jumped to catch up. They moved in silence for a while, largely because Cain was in no mood to converse and managed to keep Edith at a pace that made conversation difficult. The darkness drew them deeper and deeper into its stifling embrace so that when Cain noticed growing lights in the distance, he attributed it to the oppression of tons and tons of stone pressing in around him.

Edith gathered her breath and spoke. "Is that a torch I see?"

Cain blinked his eyes. Not just a mirage then. "It's some sort of flame." He clenched his fists. If the passage were full of the uruk-hai, they'd have to press on; by this time, surely, its entrance was sealed shut. But the flame grew steadily and stayed where it was, and as they got closer, he decided that it lacked the vile glow of the uruk-hai flame. The passage began to curve, and what had been one flame became two, then four as they came within sight of the opposite wall. Looking behind, Cain realized that the passage they'd come through was rough, unhewn, as raw and natural as the snow-capped peaks outside. The lighted walls were carved, polished, smooth as and oaken floor.

And they were covered in sleek black shimmering ice.

Cain reached for the first torch he came to but found it as irretrievably ensconced in the ice as had been the treasure in the chamber far behind him. He tapped the ice and saw no mark. Edith continued forward, then came running back to him.

"Cain, there's a gateway made comepletely of ice. It's wide open."

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And though the musicians would die, the music would live on in the imaginations of all who heard it.
-The Last Pendragon

Polaris = joy.

In case of emergency, break glass.
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****IC UNDER CONSTRUCTION****

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"Keep your wits about you, the game is afoot!!" - Sherlock Holmes

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Gnosis… revels. Thanks to the unknowing efforts of the strange firstborn who had carried one of the tomes across the runed line, the smaller fragment of Gnosis has finally rejoined with a larger portion. Or is it that the larger fragment has received a smaller portion? No matter, the two fragments of Gnosis’ awareness have merged, and it is content with the greater amount of information available to it.

Not completely content, however. Merging with the fragment on the Guardian’s side of the runed line comes with knowledge of dealings with the creature since Gnosis was first fragmented and the Tainted ice and runed lines were put in place. Gnosis is pleased with the achievement of reclaiming more of its tomes to itself, but such efforts would be nothing compared to finally regaining contact with the vast library that the Curator hinted at in their last conversation.

A library that lies completely beyond this fragment of Gnosis’ reach, until now. Now that this Melora holds one of the tomes, there is a good probability that contact with the rest of the books could finally happen. Gnosis had brooded over the best way to entice the physical to aid it in bringing the books together, and now it has a plan. Gnosis is about to send its awareness to the tome of spells that the firstborn hold in its possession when it notices something. Another physical is holding a book. Considering for a moment, Gnosis decides to contact the newcomer first. Before, with the knowledge available to the sole book now held by this Melora, trying to attract the attention of physical holding a closed book would have been impossible. Now, being in contact with more books, Gnosis knows a different way.

Gnosis causes the held book to heat up slightly. Unless this physical is a simpleton, it will realize that it held a magical tome and would begin reading it. Sure enough, Gnosis senses that the physical has begun reading the words on the book’s pages, and opens contact.

I am Gnosis. Who are you?

A moment’s pause, then the physical responds back. “The book… the book is speaking in my mind? Hello? Who… what are you?” Confusion is strongly present in this thought, and Gnosis is frustrated. Using the combined memories of contacting physicals contained in the tome held by this Melora and the books on this side of the line, it had hoped that it had found a way to introduce itself to physicals without the initial confusion.

I am Gnosis. I serve as a means to collect information for these books, and as a means to offer information to those who read them. Gnosis still does not know why it was created for this purpose; none of the books it is in contact with had any information on the matter, and the Curator certainly had not been forthcoming. All the more reason to regain contact with the rest of the books.

“You can tell me what is contained in all the books in the Mountain? What about this one? By the cover, it seems to deal with this black ice. Does it talk about the relationship between Orloki and the Death Hawks?”

Gnosis brushes aside the periphery thoughts that accompany this, some memory with this physical lying on a floor of ice in mortal pain. This book does not mention the Death Hawks, although another might. Gnosis cannot know for certain, but the possibility exists. I am no longer in contact with all the books. The Guardian… Orloki… has blocked me from contacting all of the books I once could with this ice and runed lines. Gnosis begins to form a plan. I have reason to believe that a vast number of books lie beyond my reach, guarded by Orloki. If you can get past him, and bring this book into that library, I will be able to tell you all I know of these Death Hawks.Which might be no more than Gnosis already knows. Bringing this book into the library is not strictly necessary either, but otherwise Gnosis wouldn’t be able to get in contact with the fragment of itself residing in the library.

Gnosis feels more questions forming in the physical’s mind, and quickly sends another thought before one forms and it would be compelled to answer. Undoubtedly much information can be gained in conversing with this physical, but the possibility of being in contact with every single book in the Mountain is the greater goal by far. Let me see what you see. Allow me to examine your surroundings through your senses, and I will do what I can to direct you to Orloki.

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Hooray for writing your IC in Word so accidently hitting the Back button on your mouse isn't the end of the world!

FF, if this isn't what you had in mind, let me know and I can edit it out.
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OoC: Actually, I was half waiting for that kind of a reply.

As a little side note: Thralni, uncle Sam needs you!

IC:
After Sequoia had cleansed the ice, it had turned out to be surprisingly easy to break. Both Filbert, who didn't know whether he should be thrilled or scared, and Sequoia, who was clearly afraid of wasting any more time, were waiting beside Tuulentekija when he lifted the book from the shelf. "Just for your knowledge, I'm not sure I can read the runes in this", he said. "I know the basics of death hawk language, but I doubt this is written in it. Anyways, if we all fail, we should seek out Melora. She's the most likely to understand it."

"I doubt I can wait for long enough", Sequoia replied, and Tuulentekija shrugged. "Open it already", Filbert muttered. Just then, the book heated up a little, telling Tuulentekija there was something special about it. For a moment he hesitated, but opened the book nonetheless. He almost dropped the book when a foreign entity entered his mind...

---

So no more info of the hawks, Tuulentekija pondered after the short conversation with Gnosis. It would have been so easy if the book had contained details of their battle against Orloki. "Oh well, it was a long shot anyway", Tuulentekija muttered and rubbed his forehead. He still had to answer Gnosis's last question.

"I don't recommend you borrow my senses right now", he said. "I'm in quite bad condition. I think you should just stay in the book for now."

"Are you sure?" Gnosis replied, but Tuulentekija's attention had been turned elsewhere... by Filbert. "Hey, we've been waiting for, like, five minutes and you're still on the front page. If it's so intresting I want to see too!" Tuulentekija cursed him for distracting him, but soon an idea sparked in his aching brain. "Filbert, come here for a sec", he said. Then he turned his attention back to the book.

"It might be unwise to borrow my eyes", he told to Gnosis, "but I think my companion can help you." Tuulentekija could feel some uncertainty in the thoughts Gnosis sent to him next, but Tuulentekija decided to ignore them. "However, I have one question before I give this book to him: my companion holds a special pearl. I need to know how such pearl is turned into a weapon or armor." Tuulentekija listened to Gnosis's response, becoming more and more troubled every thought. Then he shut the book and handed it towards Filbert.

"Go ahead, if you still want to take a look", Tuulentekija said with a weary voice...

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OOC: Up and ready, FF.

IC:

Filbert looked at Tuulentekija with a slightly startled, maybe even surprised smile, when Tuulentekije handed him the book. He then shrugged the feelings off, and concentrated on the book. it wasn't anything really special, judging by the leather bounded around it. He turned to Tuulentekija, who was looking at him with a certain sparkle in his eyes. Reassured by that, Filbert looked at the book and opened it.

Nothing.

He kept staring at the page, and started reading. However, before who was finsished reading the name of the chapter, his mind was touched.

You are the teammate?

"Yeah, yes..."

Do not speak aloud, speak with your mind. Think what you want to say.

What, you... you mean like this?

Yes, that's perfect. now tell me about a pearl, a black object...

In the meantime Tuulentekija en Sequoia were witnessing him. Whispering, Tuulentekija commented: "I think its working!" Sequoia answered with a doubtfull look. They focused on Filbert again.

...so you say that the pearl is made of the ice? In his mind, Filbert frowned and stared at the book with a douvtfull, not understanding look.

Yes, that pearl, how unbelievable it may seem, is made of the ice. The black ice which swallowed this mountain centuries ago.

[ But how did it get into my fathers posession then? He didn't go to this damn mountain. Of course, he met people who did go there.

The voice suddenly stopped, and was silent for some time. When it returned it seemed a bit rushed, agitated maybe.

That ios a very worrying thing you just told me. it may prove that the ice isn't something related to orloki. I'm afarid that i then won't know where it does come from, which makes me feel threatened, as there is little I don't know.

Slightly disturbed, Filbert answered:

What? You mean you don't know what the ice is?

No, of course I know what it is, just not where it comes from. the pearl you have there posesses one of the better aspects of the ice. As its very powerfull, the original makers, whoever they are, made specific magical artifacts from it. Several were cursed, but some had beneficial effects, like this pearl. it heals people. It should heal a wounded body within five minutes.

Filbert frowned. That fast? With me it takes at least an hour.

The artifact is old. Its powers decay as it grows older.

Ah.

With that the conversation had ended. Filbert's attention was sudenly torn away from the book by a rumbling. Tuulentekija and Sequoia, who were looking at Filbert, now were standing in defensive positions. The rumbling stopped, however.

Filbert stood up and handed the book too Tuulentekija.

"well?"

"The ice... it may not be from here..."

OOC: Sorry for any typos, but I didn't have any time left anymore to check it. if I remember, I will do so tomorrow.

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OOC: In light of the recent posts, my previous one can be ignored since I never got to make it in time.

IC: This revelation of Edith's is somewhat of a shock to Cain. A gateway this far up in the mountain? It must lead to something substantial or else it wouldn't have been built. While going around the curve in the tunnel, Cain notices that the passage begins to get wider. Then he sees it. The gateway she referred to is a pair of huge doors anchored to the walls. As she said, they are made completely of the black ice. The craftsmanship appears to be of a superior quality. And the doors certainly are open, but something about the way they are open troubles Cain.

Edith picks up on it too as she takes the time to study the doors more closely. Instead of opening in as they should, they are pointing out at the both of them. "That's odd, Cain, shouldn't these doors be open in the opposite direction? From the way they are configured, it looks almost like..." And then it hits her. He finishes her sentence for her. "…like they were meant to keep something in." She shudders at the thought and looks into the darkness, trying to guess what horrors may lie within. Unlike the lit passage behind them, what lay beyond the gateway is unlit and unknown.

After staring into it for a minute or two, Cain's movements catch her attention. "Am I seeing things or is there something on the insides of the doors here? The light from the torches isn't bright enough for me to see with." He hears the single word "Lucis" spoken from behind and then an abundance of light startles him. Edith brings her lighted ring up to the door to inspect what Cain is trying to look at. Sure enough, their scrutiny pays off. "Either I'm an idiot, Edith, or these are scrapes and scratches I see on these doors. Someone or something once tried to open these doors from the inside and may have been successful."

Edith shudders again and then, with a sudden impulse of fear, she tries to examine the backs of the doors. To her utter astonishment, she finds that the hinges on the doors work like they are still new. Taken aback by this for a moment or two, she just moves the door back and forth in a sort of daze of disbelief. Remembering her original thought, she goes back to her search. After examining one door and apparently not finding what she is looking for, she tries the other. It only takes a quick glance at its back to furnish something that makes her stagger backwards in surprise.

"Cain!!! Look at this!!!" He hurries to her side and looks at the back of the door. In the middle of the door is a quite large and still discernable representation of the symbols they had seen several times before on the piece of tapestry, the fish, the sealed tunnel doors, and so forth. Then following Edith's motioning to look down further, Cain is shocked to see a huge lock with an enormous key in it. The key appears to be made of precious jewels and metals, but upon trying to pull it out, they find it to be concreted into the door by the black ice.

It's then at that moment, that they hear distant noises coming from the inky abyss beyond the doors. They stop to listen, but can't make out anything from the garbled echo. "Should we try to follow it, Miss Edith? Perhaps it’s some of the rest of the group? Then again, it could be a trick by Orloki." She shuffles her feet slightly in indecision and then responds. "I don't think we have a choice. We can't go back to the gallery now. And while the scratches on the doors worry me, anything is better than just standing here waiting to die. I say we move on."

With that, Edith steps past the doors and goes around another sharp curve in the tunnel. Cain stays behind to think for a few minutes, but before one minute is up, his thoughts are interrupted by a horrendous scream. Tearing around the curve at breakneck speed, he hears the unsheathing of a weapon and the clashing of metal against metal. He soon finds that the tunnel opens into a large chamber. But it’s no ordinary chamber. This one looks like a twisted sort of demonic trophy room with lots of human remains as the trophies. A few of them have reanimated themselves and are attacking Edith, who has removed her dagger to defend herself.

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"Keep your wits about you, the game is afoot!!" - Sherlock Holmes

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Not from this mountain? Tuulentekija thought as he took the book back from Filbert. But if the hawks had not come for the material itself, then what had they been looking for?

For the technique to shape it, Tuulentekija pondered, and his mouth twisted with a grim smile. While Filbert had been discussing with Gnosis, he had revised the knowledge the spirit had told him about the contents of the book. It had almost nothing about the ice itself, but they had still hit a jackpot: the book Tuulentekija was holding was a catalogue of magical spells, ment to shape flesh, bone, metal, ice... basically any material known to man, given that the wizard who would cast the spells had sufficient power. He was just about to reopen the book, when Filbert interrupted him.

"Uh, there's something else I want to tell. The pearl has great healing powers...", Filbert begun.

"I know" Tuulentekija responded, quickly flapping trough the pages of the ancient tome. "Give it to Sequioa."

"But you're badly wounded, and..." Filbert tried, but Tuulentekija stopped him.

"Think for a moment; which one of us is going to fight the demon", he said. "Sequoia is", Filbert said with a defeated tone. "That's right. And he will need all help he can get" Tuulentekija replied. Besides, I have plans of my own...

"Oh, did Gnosis ask you to borrow your senses to him?" Tuulentekija asked before beginning to read a passage Gnosis had told him about. "What? No!" Filbert said and gave a nervous glance to the scarred swordsman. "Should he...?"

"Ah, nevermind" Tuulentekija replied, and then resumed his conversation with Gnosis.

"So you don't think the kid's up to it?" he mentally asked Gnosis. Putting it like that might not give the correct impression of my thinking, the spirit answered. In truth, I caught your thoughts before you gave this book to him. You gave an impression you still had something to say to me.

Tuulentekija shrugged and started inspecting the page he had searched from the book. The runes made no sense to him. "I'll agree then. I'll be your vessel. But before that, I have to ask you to contact a very special book..."

You want to tell your whereabouts to a physical you call Melora, Gnosis answered. That should not be a problem. I have already established contact with the tome in her possession. Tuulentekija's sore brains were baffled by the sudden overflow of information, but somehow he managed to push his again-growing headache aside and reply to the ghost. "That's clear then. I'll be waiting here", he said, and then lifted his gaze from the book and turned to Filbert and Sequoia. "You two should get going", he said with a much louder voice he had ment to.

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A wisp of memory flitted across Lisha's eyes, floated into her mind, tickling her ear on its way in. She let her eyelids droop, half-closed, as the Curator went rigid with concentration and she allowed herself a moment of remembrance.

A red summer sun beats down on her golden features, her mouth and nose wrapped in tanned cloth, stifling but bearably familiar. A strand of hair breaks free from her headscarf and blows into her squinted eye, and is torn from her head by a blind reflex of her hand. The sorcerer had demanded a king, and the king, unimaginable riches; she'd brought them together and given them each exactly what they wanted, although neither had expected to be locked in the tomb forever in each other's grasp, the tribal king's now undead flesh drying, shrivelling around his automated bones, the sorcerer tortured more by the pain of knowing that it was the fault of his own magic that his own creation could never fully kill him than by the bony fingers digging into his throat. She tests the stone once more, then makes her way down the dune, satisfied; by the time they are found, both will be as lifeless as the sand at her feet.

The enemy of an enemy is not necessarily a friend, but when the cards are played right, enemies can prove invaluable weapons against each other. What is no longer man can never be a true friend to man, but a powerful demon is a powerful demon; might as well make us of it.

Sitting in a lightless room at three years old, she'd been told over and over by the sonorous speaker, never seen but always heard, that her allegiance was to the Grand Master first and to the Grand Master last, and to the Grand Master in between. He was no god, of course; the gods sat in the sky or wallowed in the river, maybe dwelt in the palmwood, but they were content to give and maintain life, to facilitate the chaos that is nature, and to accept death in its time. It was the Grand Master who had introduced order into the world, who asserted man's right to rule over what the gods had given them, and thus it was the Grand Master that she served above all, not a god but something better, something ordered and something real.

The Grand Master had sent her into this abyss devoid even of the omnipresent, ever-watching sun, and as much as she resented it, she was here, a wall away from a great evil and the treasure and knowledge it hoarded. He'd ordered her as she lay prone on the stone floor before him to go and learn what she could; she'd learned, and what she'd learned was that if she didn't act now, she would have betrayed the Grand Master and order itself.

The sonorous voice had also impressed upon her her right to use anything and anyone possible in the fulfillment of her duties. The greedy tribal king, among others, had proven the voice's instruction beyond a doubt.

Brother Sequoia had been digusted by her suggestion of using one demon against another.

Fine. What did the priest of nature know about order? She'd do what she must.

Lisha rose to her full height, shivering in the cold and dark but with a glint in her eyes that betrayed the fire behind them. The lich's gaze followed her, but his mind remained elsewhere.

"Curator." His focus snapped and he shook his head as if woken from a reverie. "There is a member of my party who has been tainted by the power of your master. You know this, of course," she continued as he narrowed his eyes, "but you've not thought it through. Know, lich, that Orloki has enslaved you, drained you, and now abandonned you. We can use his own taint against him. Curator, if you can break us from our prison, I can free you - put your reins back in your own hands - and that if you cannot, Orloki may acheive power beyond what he has ever known, and have free range of the mountain." The fear was coming back into the Curator's features. She'd moved closer and was now standing right above him. "Free us and you are free forever. Sit still and do nothing, and your existance will lose whatever meaning it ever had. It's your choice."

The Curator backed up and lowered his gaze, shaking. "I... I have connected with Gnosis... it may be able to give me a percentage of the stone-shifting power given me by... by the Guardian..." He pushed himself onto his feet, eyeing her knife warily, and moved to the wall through which the wolves had entered. "I must wait for him..."

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And though the musicians would die, the music would live on in the imaginations of all who heard it.
-The Last Pendragon

Polaris = joy.

In case of emergency, break glass.
Posts: 3351 | Registered: Saturday, April 6 2002 08:00
Law Bringer
Member # 4153
Profile Homepage #23
IC:

"Let's move," Sequoia said to Filbert as they turned away from Tuulentekija.

"But which way are we going?" Filbert asked, gesturing to the numerous passages that split off from the library.

It was a good question, without a doubt. But Sequoia could feel the demon's presence like a beacon, and he pointed at the passage right in front of them. There was no doubt in his mind as to the demon's whereabouts...

So they walked. The druid could still feel a few passages shifting around him, and he knew that the tunnel they were following was slowly being extended toward the peak. And the presence of Orloki was growing stronger by the minute. Sequoia felt the demon's taint at the edges of the mountain's power, and he knew that the taint was in his mind as well.

When I thought it had been banished... he thought with a trace of regret. When will I shed this curse?

They continued down the tunnel, the druid still trailing strands of pure ice in the air and on the ground. And I am left to fight Orloki, with no other help than this fool... one who is not strong enough to resist even the most paltry of Orloki's influences. He becomes a willing lord of the uruk-hai at the wave of a hand, and I am left to struggle against the demon's taint, all because I tried to save my own life from—

Sequoia stopped walking, and Filbert took a moment to notice. When he did, he nervously raised his sword. "Is something about to attack us?" he asked, looking around the dark tunnel.

He felt the taint course up into his thoughts again, turning the cave walls to a faint blur. All he could see was Filbert.

"You! You are the one who has done this to me!" Sequoia bellowed, picking up Filbert by his torso and pinnning him against a wall. Filbert dropped his sword out of surprise.

"-Whagh?" Filbert choked out from under the druid's icy grip.

"It is because of you that I have to carry this burden! Because you nearly killed me, I was forced to draw from the mountain's power, thus absorbing Orloki's taint!"

He felt the anger rise, and his thoughts dissolve into a red mist. He wanted nothing more than to slay the fool, to rage against the idiocy that had left him cursed. He wanted to rip, tear, maim, pummel the life from... something. And Filbert was close. Filbert was convenient. Why not him? a voice in Sequoia's mind said, but clearly not his own. But it didn't matter, because he knew he had the power of the mountain behind him.

"Bu-" Filbert sputtered, seeing the strands of pure ice starting to wrap around his limbs.

Sequoia screamed, "Give me one good reason not to slay you right here, right now!"

OoC: Thralni, no tricks. Talk your way out of this one, because it's a valid character conflict that was never completed. That, and it fits the whole 'Orloki trying to wedge us apart' theme.

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Gamble with Gaea, and she eats your dice.

I hate undead. I really, really, really, really hate undead. With a passion.
Posts: 4130 | Registered: Friday, March 26 2004 08:00
Guardian
Member # 6670
Profile Homepage #24
OOC: It's unlikely I'll have time for the Net on Monday, and I'm leaving for vacation on Tuesday. Feel free to keep on using Gnosis in your posts; just don't expect me to respond to anything until next week Monday.

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Hmmm... right. BUMP!
Posts: 1509 | Registered: Tuesday, January 10 2006 08:00

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