Nov. 8, 2019, 9 p.m.
Outside Arx - The Twainfort - Mother's Marsh
Comments and Log
100 inflicted and Ian is harmed for moderate damage.
100 inflicted and Thesarin is harmed for serious damage.
60 inflicted and Mihaly is harmed for minor damage.
The corpses of three massive crocodiles and their foul black ichor stain the grass of the village. Heavily drawn breaths puff silver steam into the air as the weak light of a winter's afternoon offers little in the way of actual warmth. There are two shavs, an elder and a tween, both with their hands up, weapons on the ground standing awkwardly in front of the house the others all fled into. Speaking of that house, there is the grinding rasp of a massive stone being shifted -- and the doorway is now very much blocked.
When last we left our hero (that is, Ian) (stop laughing), he was shoving a dead crocodile off of himself so he could crawl out from under it. He's COVERED in a mix of mud and blood and most of that probably belongs to the crocodile because he WAS directly under it when he stabbed it in the neck, but some if it is probably his. Blessedly, the horrible, clashing colors of the scarf covering the lower half of his face are pretty well invisible under the mud. Less blessedly, he reeks of swamp mud and rancid cabbage. He sits there in the mud and, since nothing is currently trying to kill him, takes a moment to get his bearings.
Mirella checked perception + investigation at difficulty 35, rolling 23 higher.
In the aftermath of the battle, Tyrus does not let himself become idle. Nor, for that matter, does he let the others, even as one of their own is kidnapped, trapped further in. "Lora, Mirella." First names, yet he does not speak them with familiarity in his voice. It is necessity that moves him, the need to be understood with no titles to get in the way. "There are more holy water flasks on the boat. Before we proceed, we need to get them." It seems the Prince will himself do just that, while trusting the others to see to their own necessities and... "And for the Gods' sake, don't try running off after the Marquessa without the rest of the group." he says, loudly, to be heard by everyone.
"Answers." Amund doesn't speak Shav, but he does speak violence. And when Shav'arvani kidnap a member of the peerage, the former sellsword might be thus inclined to leverage all his negative bias to his advantage. The swordpoint is turned to the younger, rather than the older of the pair. Lowered, so that it hints to a painful death through asphyxiation should it trespass the man's midriff. "Why did they bring her there?"
Mihaly gasps, getting up to his feet, seeing the last images of his niece vanish into the building. "You alive, Thesarin?" he calls out before moving forward toward the shavs that have dropped their weapons. "You. All of you have one opportunity in this moment." The tip of his sword points at the blocked door. "Tell me how it's opened. Now." There is some kind of threat there, that doens't have to translated into any shav dialect. The knight is about a few steps away from untold violence.
Whereas Lora has gone back onto the boat and dumped out someone's bag of belongings (hers? right? no? oh well) so that she can stock up on vials of water and flasks of oil. That this appears to be someone else's plan hardly concerns her, she answers only, "I doubt there's enough to soak the whole island, but I imagine we will make due." Much more quietly she adds, "I do not suppose your list of hirelings included anything like a physician."
"There's probably no crocodiles in there, for one," Ian suggests to Amund. He starts to struggle to his feet, and finds himself unexpectedly going down in a heap, further covering himself in mud. "Shit." He has just noticed the way one of his boots has been chewed on. From the marks in the strong leather, it's probable that if the diamondplate braces hadn't been reinforcing them, he would be missing a foot. That kind of damage to his boot suggests an injury to his leg that ought to hurt, and hurt a lot. But he's not only showing no signs of pain, he didn't even seem to notice the injury until his leg gave out.
Thesarin is bleeding. Rather profusely--to be expected, maybe, given that he'd had a crocodile fastened to his leg a few moments ago. He favors the other leg, and rights himself slowly, with a pained wince as the maimed limb is forced to take some of his weight. With Amund and Mihaly making their threats, Thesarin isn't saying a word. It might be that he really doesn't need to. There's a fury in his green eyes that almost surpasses the knotted, trembling muscles that seem to be refraining from violence (for the moment) with a degree of concerted effort. Effort that seems entirely liable to slip.
See, Mirella is not the kind of valiant soul who would throw herself to the sweet bitey affections of a bunch of effed-up crocs. And so instead, she's been sneaking around the periphery of the whole bloody mess, somewhere around the houses, presumably, using her keen eyes to seek out any alternative exits and entrances; oddities that might prove useful the party. She's totally not a dirty coward, okay? She's just cautious. She does, however, hear Tyrus' order, and discreetly appears around the edge of the house she was exploring, signaling with a toss of her head and a pointing finger to anything who can see her (not the shavs, mind) that there's something worth exploring here. Unlss she's called over, she'll go back to where she was searching.
Reigna GM Roll checked charm(3) + manipulation(2) at difficulty 30, rolling 5 higher.
When the sword is leveled at the tween, the elder looks more frightened. "You cannot! She is to be the next First Guardian! Don't you see the mark?" Probably not, given the mud and muck and such obscuring much of the young girl's face. She holds very, very still, eyes on the sword pointed at her.
The elder swallows as if searching for his courage, his eyes darting back and forth in obvious thought. When he starts to speak there is a slow enunciation, "Becaaaause --
And then Ian speaks and the man points to Ian, "Yes. That reason."
"No. We'll keep the rest for the Mother as a priority. The others, if they prove difficult for the rest of the fighters." Tyrus replies to Lora while he takes up his share of flasks. Some of the holy oil too is taken, just in case. "No. " he says, just as quietly. "Not anyone that would be able to deal with the wounds they've suffered. We either find the Mother soon, or we'll have to leave lest we lose them to blood loss." With the supplies taken, he steps off the boat again to rejoin the group, just in time to see Mirella's gesture. He frowns, but nods, indicating for her to continue. Lora and he can handle carrying water. "And when will that stone roll out of the way?" he asks the Elder, not looking particularly amused or patient, his eyes cold as he considers the shavs. "It is rather impolite host who seperates guests from their loved ones. Impolite... and imprudent."
"I'm beginning to lose my patience." Mihaly snarls, punctuated by the audible groan as his hands tighten their grip on the leather of his sword's handle. "If that door is not opened, the hell I will rain down on this village will make those crocodiles seem like a passing dream. I will sit on a chair made out of your fucking bones if that door is not opened. Do. You. Understand. Me." The old Sword's eyes have gone dead and cold. Like he's looking a corpse who doesn't know it's already dead given the elder Riven's decision. "Everyone in this village is going to die unless that door is opened. You have a choice. Before I decide to make one for you. And our patience is dangerously near it's limit."
Ian scoots away from the water (more mud!) without trying to stand up again. Absent anyone indicating that something needs to be done right now, he seems inclined to work on reinforcing the damaged leg. "Are any more of those things coming?" He asks while he loosens the laces on his boot.
Tyrus checked command + intimidation at difficulty 10, rolling 13 higher.
Mihaly checked command + intimidation at difficulty 10, rolling 3 higher.
Thesarin checked command + intimidation at difficulty 10, rolling 35 higher.
Mirella checked perception + investigation at difficulty 25, rolling 13 higher.
As she trails along behind Tyrus, Lora pulls out only one of the flasks of water. Conspicuously. She comes to join the little knot of people gathered around the shavs and studies them both, one and then the other, with neither the anger of the Riven nor the dead-eyed cold that Tyrus bears. Instead, she holds up the flask, shakes it a little. "Did you see what happened to that crocodile over there? If you do not tell us, now, I will pour this on your next First Guardian and we will see if it does not do the same."
Lora checked charm + intimidation at difficulty 10, rolling 41 higher.
Amund checked command + intimidation at difficulty 10, rolling 2 lower.
"It-it-it can't be opened! Don't hurt her! Please!" There is a wail from the elder, tears welling in his eyes. The little girl looks stoic, though as Lora gets that flask, her pale eyes flick to the partially melted croc, and her throat bobbles, her weight shifting foot to foot. "She will be served up to Sargarath, a finer feast than she's had in a generation." This is the bravado of the very, very frightened.
Thesarin continues not to speak. He just reaches out to grab the girl, with the intent of dragging her--kicking and screaming if need be--to the closed stone gate.
Ian looks up from whatever he's doing to reinforce his injured leg and takes in the scene with a sigh. "For fuck's sake. Am I the only one who can see she's a blasted child? None of this is her fault, and we can't kill ourselves out of this problem, even of it was. Someone help me up. There's a way into that building."
Tyrus? Tyrus sighs. "There are few things the Dream despises more than those who abuse guest rights. We, your very guests, have been abused despite the very foundamental laws of our very existence. You have broken something even the Abyss holds sacred, Abandonned. Thankfully for you, retribution won't have to wait the rousing of the Kindly Voices." He steps away from the Elder then, the prince walking over to Ian to help the Lord back up. "Or perhaps we are to serve as their instruments in this." he adds in the Elder's direction, even as he offers a hand to Ian. And possibly murmured words.
Having gone back around to the site of her investigations with quiet, soft steps, Mirella vanishes from view. She must have heard what Ian said, however, and she turns back to the group. Quietly, she returns to the side of the group, whispering into the ear of anyone who wants to hear what she said, requesting attention with a small clearing of her throat.
Lora is infinitely patient. Like the ocean. Like she could wait forever for them to come up with an answer. Of course she is the only one who is, and so she takes a breath and cracks open the seal on the vial of water, making quite the show of breaking the wax. There's a glance at Tyrus as he makes his little speech, and at Amund, and Thesarin, and the building, brewing violence, and thus she arrives at, "Anything that can be closed can be opened again. Tell us and choose how you die, or..." Look she's not going to be responsible for what happens in a few more seconds.
There is a blanching from both the shavs at the continued onslaught of frightening fury from those assembled. The girl looks on the verge of mouthing off some more, perhaps confused by Ian's support, when Thesarin's hand grabs her and starts dragging her along with him towards the blocked doorway. "Don't you! You're not allowed to touch me! Zekial, he's grabbing me -- help! Hey! Grandpa HELP!"
Mihaly gives a bit of a soft sound at the explanation. Like he had just heard some kind of depressing news. "I'll say a prayer for you when this place is burned to the ground." As Thesarin moves forward to grab the girl, he doesn't intervene, though he will hold the point of Duty outward incase any of the shavs get any ideas. "I don't think they should be given that choice, considering what they've already done. What laws of the world they have betrayed. These are not people no longer, these are abominations. Aion's laws are not to be trampled upon."
Mirella heads over to where Tyrus and Ian stand, one of the nobles notably more bloodied than the other. She only casts the latter a brief gaze, seemingly not too shocked by his wounded state. Should either of them be willing to hear what she says, she murmurs too quietly for the shavs to hear what she's saying (with luck). Others in the area might overhear her words, however. "Door around the back, I think. Not sure if leads in. I can try to open it?"
Whatever it is that Ian might have said, Mirella's words seem to come just at the right time. "It seems you've your way in, My Lord." While everyone is being distracted by the girl's cries, the prince motions for Amund and then points to Ian and Mirella. "Go. We'll continue our little distraction here." he says, voice still low, easily covered by the commotion.
Ian nods to Mirella. "Let's go have a look. If not, I might be able to find a way in through the roof." His support, it would seem, doesn't extend to physically trying to stop Thesarin.
"We should put the whole village down. These freaks deserve nothing better than that." Amund murmurs while he watches as Thesarin starts to drag the successor along, though Tyrus's words have him nod, and move along towards the house. He'll save the Countess and kill a possible demon, not a problem.
So long as Thesarin isn't struck down by lightning, he doesn't seem to much care that he's prohibited from touching her sacred person. He moves unevenly, limping along on his maimed leg, but he's remarkably steady in his purpose. When he reaches the doorway, he starts to pound on it, shouting... something in the strange patois of the Gray Forest tribes.
Thesarin says in Crownlands shav, "I HAVE YOUR NEXT GUARDIAN. IF THIS DOOR DOESN'T OPEN, I'LL BATTER HER SKULL AGAINST IT UNTIL IT DOES."
The building, once examined under its mantle of ivy and kudzu is made of stone, rather than wood. Likely why it still stands. The windows are more arrow slits, not large enough for even the girl to fit through. The doorway is blocked by what looks like a massive slab of stone. Despite the pounding there is not any give to it. That thing is big and heavy.
The young girl, thrashes, and when they reach the slab she's shouting, "Kysis, help me! They're gonna kill me!"
And so with a simple nod, Mirella turns on her heel to lead Ian and Amund to this door she found. She doesn't bother supporting Ian. She's too short to be a leaning post, so Amund'll have to take care of that, possibly. When they arrive there, having traveled past buildings of eroded, ivy-strewn stone, she nods to a room where there are shelves on the wall. There are, however, dirt patterns on the floor, marking it as a door. She turns to her croc-slaying companions with an impassive expression and asks, "What now? try to get inside?" Then a frown crosses her features as she surveys the room for any traps that might be luring around. "I didn't actually check to see if it's locked, come to think of it..."
Tyrus, while the others move to their positions or pound away at the large heavy stone, goes to stand near Lora. The prince crosses his shadowmeld-clad arms, watching it unfold, though not without glancing around them every now and then, keeping an eye on the boat at all times lest they lose their way. He murmurs something to the newly titled Marquessa, but otherwise does little more.
Ian gives the building a passing look as Mirella leads him to the door. "See if you can get in," he says to Mirella. His thickly accented voice is clipped and confident, the mark of someone used to taking command. "Sir Amund, can you guard her? I want to climb up and have a look through the window, see how much time we have to solve this. I think I might see a way inside, if we're desperate."
"Get in there if you can, don't attract attention if you can help it. Don't want you to get outnumbered. Focus on trying to get this door open." Mihaly states to Mirella while Thesarin makes his demands in his native tongue. He stares daggers at the group already outside, keeping his back to the blocked door. Until it hopefully opens at some point. "Thes and I will busy ourselves here. They may even open it to get their precious Guardian back."
"Not a problem." Amund nods to Mirella, ready to take the lead in breaking through that door and likely causing a lot of Shav cultists some great alarm. With his sword in hand, though, odds are good that Sargarath will eat her own before everything's said and done.
While half the group disappears behind the building and Thesarian remains occupied with the girl, Lora keeps the majority of her attention on the village elder. She's finally picked out an expression: disappointment. Such disappointment, as if through her gaze alone she can impart upon him the terrible burden of having condemned his entire village to death. There's a murmur back to Tyrus though, and the very barest bit of a shrug.
Still keeping an eye out for any makeshift traps or contrivances of alarm, Mirella then nods to Ian and Amund in a clipped, no-nonsense fashion. With that done, she walks over to where the door must be, tilting her head closer the shelves; if there's any sound in th next room, she intends to determine such. Regardless of what she hears, she'll run a finger down the wall, feeling out seams that might indicate the edge of a door, a handle, anything of the like. Anything that might be used to open it. If she finds something like that, she'll try to crack the door open as quietly as possible. Unless Amund wants to break through. That works too!
Ian checked strength + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 19 higher.
Mirella checked perception + investigation at difficulty 20, rolling 48 higher.
Ian looks up at the ivy and then, after giving it a tug to make sure it's good and attached, he starts to climb. With one leg weak just naturally and the other one rendered unreliable by crocodile mouth, he's relying almost exclusively on upper body strength for this. He takes a look in the window, and whatever he sees seems to have lit a fire under him, because he doesn't waste any time hauling himself onto the roof. He might have done some very quiet swearing, too.
Finding the latch, Mirella swings the shelving unit inwards as carefully as she can. A gust of hot, humid air with a dry stench comes out. Almost immediately, she backs away from the door, deftly pulling herself out of the way of any sudden attacks. If there's something in there, Amund can deal with it. She does, however, nod to the northerner with a silent look of warning, eyes widening. Her voice is hushed as she ever-so-quietly advises him: "Don't make a big noise if you can help it. Only rush in if you really have to."
"How many, or rather, what is it?" Amund stands by, since he's advised to be cautious. Storming in is definitely still in the repertoire of options that he can take, but not one he's going for at present.
Nothing but that fetid, muggy air escapes through the door. There are shadows the cling to a narrow hallway, though towards the end of the passage, there are flickers of firelight.
Ian climbs up to the roof and scrambles gracelessly along it, over to inspect the chimney.
The girl in Thesarin's grip is crying, clearly scared past the point of her resolve and she makes keening pleas to Kysis, which appear to be unanswered. The elder is crying as well, singing a children's lullabye as if to sooth himself with it. He's on his knees, rocking as he does.
Mirella's standing guard at the door while Amund and Ian do their thing inside the building!
The girl's cries, the elder's complete breakdown, they seem to do nothing to the Thraxian prince. He had told Ian earlier that they were not monsters, and yet, the more this goes on... the less he has to act the part, the more something darker sets in, a cold anger as to what these people have done, what they've become, in the heart of corruption. "Some of the oil I brought isn't actually oil." he mentions to his current companion, Lora. "I brought Thraxian fire." Who cares if the blazes go out of control? Who cares they're even in a swamp, with such a tool at their disposal? "Should I be unable to do so, should something happen to me, I want you to do what I meant to do. Burn it all down. Cleanse this place in Lagoma's flame."
Thesarin stands at the door, still manhandling the next First Guardian. His lip curls, and he turns slowly to face her, turning to face the old man--at least he's capable of speech. "Door. Ain't. Open." He's speaking in a rumbling growl, that same sort of barely-constrained fury that's just letting him speak. "If she ain't so important... to open this door... she ain't. A fucking. Use.
Whatever Ian sees scanning the area leaves him hesitating. There's a moment of indecision, but only a moment, and then he climbs down the chimney.
There're maybe some advantages to being Thraxian. Lora still is, enough - maybe - that these tears on the part of the guardians of Sargarath have no effect upon her. As Tyrus mentions the extra special things he's brought along there's finally a flicker in her expression. AN arch of an eyebrow. "And here I thought you were vehemently opposed to the scorched earth policy of victory." Her tone is the driest thing in the swam. "I believe I know that song," she says, carefully. Then Thesarian's growling and she takes a breath. "You could kill her. It might attract more swamp-spawn."
"This is Riven land." Mihaly remarks to Tyrus. "That is the choice to the Marquis or Marquessa. However," and the older man looks at those there. The girl, the other shavs. "They mingle with the Abyss. The break laws that should not be broken. I have little issue leaving this place a charred cinder." But to Thes, he regards the girl once more. "I don't usually resort to methods like that." he states evenly to Lora. "But there is something wrong about this place. Better to cut out the infection than to let it fester."
"When the very earth is so corrupt, can there be any other solution but to burn it clean and start anew?" replies Tyrus to Lora. To Mihaly, he nods. "Indeed it is. Though I rather doubt either would be particularly opposed to the measure..." he remarks, as he eyes Thesarin in his current state. Not that Mihaly offers much opposition himself. A charred cinder indeed. "We know the infection spreads. We've seen it reach so far south as Arx itself. It must end, today, by our hand. But first... the Marquessa. And the Mother. Then? We can discuss the pros and cons of wiping this place clear from the map, and see Riven build something better upon its ruins." Cheerful stuff.
"Hunger, hungry, never done; she comes to eat all but the sun," Lora's response is sing-songy. A soft, clear alto, the cadence clearly one from some children's clapping game. She sloshes the vial of water she's got in hand as if trying to decide who to dump it over, then tilts her head at Tyrus. Her attention, however, is for the Riven. "Far be it from me to suggest how you run your land, my lord, but these people worship something long-tainted by the abyss. Kill them quickly, or leave them with the crew. The door is not opening and we're now missing half our party. Perhaps they've found a way inside."
Amund checked perception + survival at difficulty 15, rolling 6 lower.
"I'm tired of waiting," Amund declares to Mirella, getting through that aforementioned door and quickly making his way in. He's not stealthy, but hopefully they are all wrapped up in their sweet attempt at human sacrifice rituals to notice him. With essentially no reconnoitering of the inside of the house.
Amund checked dexterity at difficulty 20, rolling 2 higher.
Amund checked luck at difficulty 15, rolling 13 lower.
40 inflicted and Amund is unharmed.
"No loose ends." The Thraxian's tone is final, unyielding. "My Lords of Riven, for three hundred years corruption has spread from this place. The dagger we found lodged in the shark's maw was made by mortal hands. Their hands." He motions to the cowering elder, the screaming girl, the rest of the Abandoned. "Whatever we do tonight? We must ensure that this accursed place dies. Never to spread its filth again. Never to sacrifice another innocent to the jaws of their Mother. Never to be known as anything more but Riven land. The Marquessa and you, Marquis, are its rulers. Do not allow the abyssal to flee."
Ian checked strength + brawl at difficulty 45, rolling 4 lower.
As he runs down the hall, Amund doesn't realize someone did set up a trap; this is where Mirella would come in, of course.
So when he trips, it's face-first -- and he's not quick enough to avoid the arrow on his shoulder, though he does have the cat-like reflexes to avoid that ugly fall, in the end. Straightening as he breaks the arrow off at the head, he discards the shaft and readies himself to move deeper into the house.
Moonlight is held by his left hand as he carefully moves in the direction of some voices. In for an inch, in for a mile.
And there's at least one person inside the house that rigged a trap on him. He can't let that stand.
"I am not the one who makes decisions here." Mihaly says, glancing back to Thesarin. "But I am inclined to agree. From the moment my niece was taken, these people have done nothing to prove that they are not the very things we suspected them of being." The blade of his sword drops a bit, the point of it hanging, hovering near the girl. "I say, we leave none alive for their crimes on our land."
Both elder and young girl are more composed as talk turns to their killing. The elder stops his singing, chin lifting, accepting death. The girl spits on the ground or Thesarin. It's kind of both, really. "Kill me or not, you will never defeat Sargarath! So many have tried. None of them ever make it out alive."
Ian continues to add to his layers of grime in the chimney.
Ian checked strength + brawl at difficulty 40, rolling 14 higher.
Thesarin hasn't calmed. Not as such. He looks at the old man's accepting expression, and gives another low grunt at the back of his throat. "...he lives." The prodigal Marquis doesn't release his hold on the girl, just curls his lip to bare his teeth. "And he takes us inside. Now. If she's right, they'll have us dealt with. So he can lead us to our deaths... walking first... or he can watch me kill her. His choice. She's got more warnings than I oft give."
The more he explores, the more he thinks this place has to be a kind of sick maze. Amund barely makes headway towards the voices when the path forks. After a brief once-over between the two paths, he opts to go right, pausing considerably when he starts to hear something like clattering stone in the distance. Taking a deep breath, he starts to walk in that direction, until there's voices raised, and that one clear word: 'Run!'
From what, though? That, one supposes, is what the sellsword will have to discover, now.
"If we needed any further proof, there we have it. To the Queen, then, and may She offer a redemption that will never be earnt in this life." The prince didn't seem to have any weapons on him, save for that jeweled hairpin tied to his belt. It seemed more like something borrowed, a gift even, but now it's in his hand and it suddenly takes on a more sinister aspect as he steps closer to the girl and the elder. But Thesarin makes his decision, and so the prince stops, frowning. "We've wasted enough time on them. The others have already entered the building. We can join them, or stand around before this door that has not budged and will hardly budge now that those inside must deal with the rest of our group. Waiting around serves no purpose, you've given them far too many chances already, Marquis. They're no longer scared. The moment has gone." The hairpin would look downright ridiculous wielded by the man, were it not for the fact that he seems quite ready to shove it through their eye socket.
"He lives." Mihaly nods at Thesarin's decree. "I don't think he's useful in that respect. Doubt any of them are, at this point. We're wasting our time." he states, glancing back toward Tyrus and Lora. "Where are the others? Did they find another way in? I'll assume so from the fact that they aren't back yet." A beat, frowning. "We should move. Quickly."
A shout comes from around the back of the building, Mirella's voice. "Open!" Then with quick but near-silent steps, she runs in after Amund. If there's anything she can grab lying around, something that might ward off the point of an arrow, she grabs that before she runs in.
Ian checked strength + brawl at difficulty 20, rolling 7 higher.
Mirella checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 16 higher.
There's the little drama before the stone... and then there is the yelling audible from somewhere behind the building, and it's that latter which draws Lora's attention. She looks in the direction the others went not so very long ag, as though half expecting one of them to emerge. When they do not she lifts her chin in Tyrus' direction and then begins to walk that way as well. Maybe not in a particular hurry, but the fate of the croco-shavs has already been more or less decided.
No longer interested in the fates of the two cultists, Tyrus leaves Thesarin and Mihaly to leave with that final dilemma. There's the group to join, and so he moves along with Lora to the place where Mirella's shout was heard, to hopefully join with the others and proceed in their expedition within that accursed place. He goes, while making sure that the canister of Thraxian fire he took from the ship remains secure, along with the flasks of holy water.
"We can deal with them later. But bring the girl if you want." Mihaly remarks to Thearin before moving forward to join up with the rest of the group, eager to put this whole issue to bed as quickly as possible. Screwed around enough out here as it is.
Inside the house, Ian and Amund have reunited near the hearth. There's an unconscious shav boy knocked out and sprawled on the floor of the hearth. Smoke curls around him, the torch he was carrying smothered against his stomach and the floor.
Mirella makes her way down the hallway, down a flight of stairs and spies the trip wire trap well before she gets there. A smooth motion is made to snip the trap, leaving the path safe for others to follow. She reaches the end of the hallway and turns right, towards the sound of familiar voices, climbing up a set of stairs and arriving in the room with Ian and Amund.
Ian isn't so much Ian as a sooty, muddy figure shaped like Ian. He's picked up even more dirt on his trip down the chimney, and by now he's just... black. He's intent on not lingering where he is, having chosen a direction and started that way. Amund and Mirella hopefully will follow, but he doesn't seem interested spending time trying to convince them, if they don't.
Ian nods to everyone once they arrive, but he doesn't seem interested in stopping to chat. Fortunately, him 'going forward' isn't exactly at a blistering pace. A quick walk will be enough to keep pace with him. "I think I heard the Marquessa stabbing someone, this way." As with Amund, he doesn't seem interested in stopping to try to convince anyone to follow him, should they not be inclined to do so. It would also, of course, be quite easy to get ahead of him. He's in no condition to run, if he ever was.
He gave the chance. One hard chop of his sword, a wet sucking sound, and a limp weight hitting the dirt, and the Marquis has murdered a helpless child. Thesarin turns in the direction Amund and Mirella had headed off to, dragging along his mangled leg, with a growled "kill him." directed over his shoulder.
The child, the future First Guardian dies with a curse on her lips, her blood staining the mud.
Each person who enters is enveloped in warm, humid air, redolent with a strange dry funk of smell. The stone passages are narrow, only one person at a time, and the stairs are steep. Despite the path heading downward, the air only grows warmer, not cooler. It is, given the givens, easy to catch up to Ian, Amund and Mirella, they are leaving the large chamber in the front -- the stone disk that is leaned against the door is sufficiently massive to justify not budging.
Some things just don't need to be seen to be believed. Lora keeps her open vial of water ready, this being her sole weapon-like thing; the wren on her shoulder fluffs up a little bit in what might be dismay at the snarl from behind them, but there's no looking back. She maybe waits a few moments for some of the others to catch up, but soon enough she's submerged in that damp, awful-smelling air and gone down to find the rest of the group. There's another tiny flicker of disappointment - maybe now actual dismay - when it's clear that they haven't found the rest of the Guardians or the Marquessa. "Where did they go?"
"Stabbing," Amund echoes that word for a moment as he continues on, following after Ian. The fact the other man hobbles a little does mean he has to mind his face, but that is all right; enough danger in this place that it's not wise to face it alone.
"You think this is a shardhaven?" Ian is asking Amund, picking up the tail end of their previous conversation as they make their way out, following what he seems to have decided is the direction Mia is stabbing people in. By hanging onto the wall with his free hand he's managing a decent pace, but it's a decent walking pace. It would be easy to run ahead of him.
Lora checked perception + investigation at difficulty 10, rolling 27 higher.
Ian checked perception + investigation at difficulty 10, rolling 10 higher.
Tyrus checked perception + investigation at difficulty 10, rolling 69 higher.
Amund checked perception + investigation at difficulty 10, rolling 8 higher.
Mihaly checked perception + investigation at difficulty 10, rolling 16 higher.
Mirella checked perception + investigation at difficulty 10, rolling 56 higher.
Thesarin checked perception + investigation at difficulty 10, rolling 4 lower.
As the party passes through the main room, they can hear familiar voices, the path to Ian, Amund and Mirella is clear -- and as they approach the end of that hallway, there is an obvious tell as to which direction the Guardians went -- Mia's diamondplate sword has fallen at the top of a set of stairs heading down. The air is hotter, getting on towards Arxian summer heat, a hot breeze blowing from further down the stairs. Tyrus, Mirella and Lora all spy a series of well hidden traps that appear to be varying degrees of deadly.
The prince joins the others soon after Lora, his features grim as the Thraxian joins the rest. With the two cultists left behind outside dealt with, there's nothing to do but to move forward. Enough time's been wasted. Thus does he also join Ian, Amund and Mirella, and... "Marquis, hold!" The warning comes suddenly, as soon as the prince spies a trap Thesarin seems to be heading directly for. "The place is filled with traps, be on your guard." Time to light a torch, and for the flames to further reveal whatever surprise the Guardians might have left for them.
Thesarin checked perception + survival at difficulty 25, rolling 21 higher.
Ian checked perception + survival at difficulty 25, rolling 11 higher.
"I have a pretty strong feeling that it is." Amund answers Ian, stopping as the others catch up with them. "Let's not separate again. I trust you handled the issue back there. Now we have to make sure we get to the Marquessa before these cultists do something drastic." Tyrus' warning brings him pause, and his gaze follows the torch projected forward. "I really dislike these fucking Shavs, already."
Mihaly checked perception + survival at difficulty 25, rolling 19 higher.
With one hand, Mirella holds her cowl up to her mouth, as though expecting some horrible miasma come creeping from the beyond. She at least does the courtesy of pointing out any traps to the others with both gestures and voice, her words soft and muffled but perfectly audible.
The sound of the girl dying registers to Mihaly, aware of what passed, but the man doesn't seem to feel too much one way or another by it. That's a mercy, more than anything else. He keeps walking, down the stairs, pointedly behind those who are better at tracking than he. "The issue will be handled once we get Mia back and end things here. And then we burn this place to the ground."
"Need to move. Fast." Thesarin isn't really in a place to move fast, with what's happened to his leg. But he's moving, that's certain. "Get us past the traps." It might be noted that he isn't offering suggestions on how.
"Look, we might have to eat the traps," Ian says, a little bit impatiently. "She's out of time. This is her sword." He's a man with too much respect for swords to leave this one just sitting there, so he scoops it up and tucks it into his belt. "We need to move."
Their path continues to wind downward, the slope alternating between steep enough to have stairs carved into the rock floor, or barely a slope. Around the fourth turn, a body is visible up ahead, laying on the ground. A shav by the armor.
Lora takes a moment to re-tie the fabric over her mouth and nose, securing it to keep out some of whatever fouls up the air. "I'm not certain we can move quickly," she points out. "Only carefully. Just step over that, there..." Eating the traps isn't necessary as long as they can be avoided
With his free hand, Tyrus puts away the bloody hairpin. The blood on it may have come from older veins, but it was shed just as easily as the girl's. "We move, then, but carefully." And time to put up the cloth mask again, lest whatever fumes prove too much. "We'll reach the Marquessa in a far better state to help her if we do not all die rushing headlong into obvious traps." And so the prince does like much of the others, even guiding them when his eyes spy more traps, upon a safe path.
"We'll make it in good pace. No good for anybody if someone gets hurt now, because everyone will get hurt as a result." Amund stops as he spots the fallen individual and the armor, looking over to Thesarin, "Same people as our cowardly foes?" He wonders, with another quick stare at the corpse. Taking point to make his way down, as carefully as he can, with all the associated pointers from Mirella and Lora and Tyrus.
As they approach the body, the identity is revealed to by Kysis. He is only very recently dead, bloody froth around his lips, dribbles of blood from the corners of his mouth. The cause of death is clearly a fatal stab wound in the chest.
Ian gives the corpse a passing look, but whatever combination of things that he saw through the window, heard on tumbling out of the fireplace, and saw in the dust here has clearly convinced him that he's in a life or death situation. "Saw the Marquessa run him through," he says in passing. His injured leg starts to give out and he catches himself on the wall again, swearing under his breath.
"She ain't one to fuck about." Thesarin curls his lip just slightly at the sight of the corpse, and says nothing else, carrying on as fast as his injured leg can take him around the traps.
As Mirella clearly seems to be the sort that's picking out the traps as she sees them, Mihaly does his best to mirror her steps, stepping where she steps so as not to disturb whatever it is that's set to spring on them. Coming across Kysis' body, he gives a bit of grin. "Good lass. Don't give an inch." Glancing back at Ian, he nods. "Good. I'd expect nothing less. Let's keep going."
Mirella checked perception + investigation at difficulty 30, rolling 48 higher.
"And there..." Most of the traps are noticed by those up ahead; Mirella and Tyrus have that well in hand, Lora but points out what they've maybe already indicated, and might in fact slow down but for the fact that the passage is too narrow for her to let anyone else past. All the same, she tries to go around the dead man, rather than over him.
"Be prepared to fight if what we're facing has already awoken. And those that won't be fighting, well, have plenty of holy water in hand." Around Kysis, rather than over Kysis, does seem to be the better approach, so it's no surprise Amund's taking that route, also.
As they continue past the body, Mirella pauses, crouching down to look the corpse over. Her hands move along the torso and she swiftly divests the corpse of a dagger, a ring and a pendant, before rejoining the others. As they round the next turn, a familiar voice in the distance can be heard: "I said PUT. ME. DOWN," There is no chance that is not Mia. There is an angry shout that follows, and the sound of swift running, and there, framed in the hallway, is Mia Riven. Her mouth is crusted in blood, she's sweating, but she's there.
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