Whispers on the Wind: Hidden Hells pt 2
They found a corrupted plateau and a blighted field. But after the field's horror was defeated, a cavern was discovered. What could be inside?
Dec. 8, 2019, noon
Outside Arx - Crownlands near Arx - The Field
Comments and Log
15 inflicted and Dianna is harmed for moderate damage.
15 inflicted and Alessia is harmed for moderate damage.
10 inflicted and Rysen is harmed for minor damage.
The adventure thus far has been... challenging. They rode out to a desolate plateau overlooking the ocean, where the air was still and all was dry. A tree had fallen, hanging precariously over the raised lip of the plateau, old and dried out, while a disguised path led down the cliff face. Sigils of the Butcher and a perverted Mangata were scored into the trunk of the fallen tree. Through Sorrel's song and Sina's prayers, a storm gathered and a bolt of lightning hit the tree, scorching off the offending sigil of Mangata (and unfortunately hitting Dianna and Rysen at the same time.) The wind returned and satisfied, the group took off for the next point on the map.
They arrived at the Badgered Badger Inn, a quaint spot on the Great Road, a short ride from the next landmark. While enjoying a hearty and whiskey-fortified (for the Mazetti Twins) breakfast, a young boy ran into them, being chased by a grieving father, the Innkeeper. He spoke of his wife, Leafa, missing these last three weeks. Daughter of local farmers, she was apparently quite gifted with plants.
Which takes us to The Field. A farming plot stretches out for acres, even rows of freshly plowed soil, interrupted by a massive tree in the center of it, the plow rows giving it a very, very wide berth. The tree is inverted at a forty-five degree angle, roots reaching out to the sky. It was surrounded by soil, soaked and muddied by a rancid honey, while while the tree itself appeared to be a massive hive to a strange beetle-bee hybrid. The swarm rose up, forming a vaguely humanoid face and roared threats at them while once more, Sina and Sorrel prayed and sang. Rysen and Zoey teamed up with liquor and fire to take out a majority of the swarm, though Alessia and Dianna bore the brunt of the retaliation. While Sina and Sorrel sang, forest creatures arrived, destroying the tree trunk, revealing a hidden chasm beneath it, a path that can be walked, obviously leading downward, like a tunnel.
In the distance at the edge of the field is a familiar figure, approaching.
Moving to check on the glaivedancers, Rysen says, "You all right?" He slides his swords into his sword belt, and gazes into the chasm, with a glance towards Sorrel and Sina, before turning as the newcomer approaches.
Gingerly brushing her gloved hand across her swollen face, Dianna frowns and peers up to Rysen. "Oh, gods... how bad do I look?" She notes the newcomer approaching from a distance and frowns, pulling the brim of her hat down over her face - rather uselessly.
"Yes, thank you." Alessia manages a strained smile when Rysen checks up on her and her twin, a hand faintly brushing against her neck. She hisses when the pain becomes too much before shifting her gaze to the new comer. "Who's that?" She asks with furrowed brows.
Rysen checked charm + manipulation at difficulty 15, rolling 13 higher.
Zoey puts her bow on her back before going to investigate the entrance of the tunnel revealed by the leaning of the inverted tree.
After the defiled tree is dealt with, the bees and insects destroyed, the land sanctified and the animals who helped them gone with offered prayers of gratitude, Sina turns to look at the wounded Mazetti twins. She gives a little grimace at Dianna's question. "I won't lie, it looks pretty bad," she says. "Does anyone have any knowledge of healing? It isn't really my area of expertise, but I think maybe some sort of salve should help with the stings?" She has no idea what kind of salve, though, apparently. She is no Mercy of Lagoma, and indeed, it seems the young Archscholar has next to no knowledge of healing whatsoever, but she does what she can to help. When she notices Rysen looking toward a newcomer, Sina glances in that direction, and straightens a little, silvery eyes gazing at the new arrival.
To his credit, Evaristo isn't lazily sauntering here, he's walking fast. Not running, that'd be a stretch even for him. He only runs when he HAS to and for fun. He lifts up his new weapon - a warpick of all things - and it gleams in the air as he waves it in greeting to let them see who he is and that he's a friend, in case they can't make him out until he's closer. Nothing to ruin the day but to be shot by friendly fire, even Evaristo knows that much. He squints when gets closer, staring at the chasm, and the others. He double-takes on the bee-stung people. "Wooah! I seem to have escaped something truly AWFUL. NOT THE FACE!" he exclaims, horrified. "Glad to find you all here, what a perfect coincidence! See, I've been out scouting a bit... found this village near Bastion across the river, everyone told me not to go, but haha, how bad could it be, right? Found a burned husk of an old tree, and a tunnel in one of the ruins, but the stair well was blocked by a collapse. And then I went on the Arx side of the MOther river, to something that likely was a lighthouse once. Another tunnel there, made it quite far but it was collapsed and I really didn't feel like digging. Too much work." That's all blurted out without him breathing, almost. Or before even waiting for a 'hi'.
Hearing Sina's response, Rysen's grey eyes shift to Dianna. "Not too bad," he lies softly. "Beautiful as ever." He frowns slightly to see Alessia in pain, but it transforms into a smile at listen to Evaristo's tale. "Does sound like a lot of work; whereas we have been aided by all the life of the natural world," he says, gesturing to chasm into which Zoey is peering.
Standing where she can keep an eye on the entrance to the hole leading down, Sorrel frowns deeply. "We're going to need light. And maybe supports to keep this thing from collapsing on us."
The animals begin to disperse, leaving much as they arrived, though a few of them appear to be confused. Particularly an especially plump rabbit standing next to a bewildered looking hawk. The hawk's wings flutter a bit as a cold amber eye is leveled on the bunny. For a moment... just a moment... but then a skunk trundles between the two and the raptor takes to the sky and the bunny unfreezes. The skunk goes where it wants, no one wants to deal with THAT.
Hearing Evaristo tell of his adventure in getting here, Zoey turns to Sorrel and asks, "Does that match up with the other two locations on the map?"
Noting that the ever-charming Harlequin, Evaristo, has joined them, Dianna actually /whines/... and pulls her hat entirely off her head and shields all but her eyes with it. "Evaristo, you're a healer, aren't you? /Fix it/," her voice comes, muffled - before lifting her amber gaze to Rysen's eyes, her gaze softening. "You're too sweet, my lord," Dianna murmurs. She stands, giving up on her vanity - and owning the swollen face like she was /truly/ beautiful. (Because, of course, she is... and will be. Once the swelling goes down.).
Dianna does, however, note the bunny frozen on the ground - and similarly, freezes, her gaze laid upon it until it, at last, hops away and the godsworn turns her gaze back to her group.
Rysen nods to Sorrel, and pulls from his holster a beautiful silver lantern, etched with the a prayer to Lagoma and blessed by Sister Sophie, the Mother of Mercies. He sets about lighting it with flint and steel, and hands it to Sorrel. "I've got your back, Your Highness," he says quietly, letting his left hand fall to his rubicund sword. Glancing to Zoey, he says, "You've got mine, right?"
Rysen gets Lagoma's Holy Flame from Holster of Knightly Necessity.
"Alcohol should suffice for now." Alessia says to Sina before turning to Evaristo. "It's a delight to see you here. Nothing ominous about the Harlequin of /Death/ coming upon us." She says with a chuckle, though her amusement is undercut by her state. She watches the hawk curiously as it makes off with the skunk before turning to Rysen as he pulls out the lantern.
"Of course," Zoey answers Rysen. "We're a team now, are we not?"
"Yes, those locations match up. I think Evaristo has done the scouting for us," Sorrel agrees with a nod.
The confused animals get a brief glance at Sina, then she gives a soft chuckle as the skunk trundles between the bunny and the hawk. She keeps her distance from the skunk too, for that matter. After a moment, she turns her eyes back to the one approaching, and as Evaristo turns out to be the person approaching, Sina offers him a smile of recognition. "Evaristo, what a surprise." She listens curiously as he describes the places he has been, and nods thoughtfully. "We found a tunnel here, but we had to deal with this tree first."
Remembering rather suddenly the entire /point/ of her attendance, Dianna quickly skims Zoey, a touch anxious. "Did you get stung, my lady?"
"What?! No, I don't know the first thing about medicine, why would you think I- oh right, I'm a Harlequin, haha. Yes, you see, I wasn't allowed to join because of that - it's more that I just... wanted to join, really." He makes a vague gesture. "You will be FINE, and you're looking absolutely DIVINE in that outfit! I feel like I want to swing in chandeliers just looking at you," he flirts shamelessly, though to be fair - he's looking around trying to make sense of what just happened. He steps a few steps further away from teh animals, just in case - he peers at the chasm. "Another tunnel there, I take it? I am SURE this one won't be caved in! I can feel it."
Rysen smiles and nods to Zoey. "We are," he replies, breathing out, perhaps in the small relief that she and her unborn child might be safest there. The exchange Alessia and Evaristo causes him to chuckle. "Gods and spirits, he's smooth," mutters Rysen to Zoey.
Alessia checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 75 higher. Alessia rolled a critical!
Rysen checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 19 higher.
Zoey checked intellect + agriculture at difficulty 15, rolling 24 higher.
Dianna checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 12 lower.
Evaristo checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 4 lower.
Sorrel checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 29 higher.
"I'm fine. No stings," Zoey assures Dianna, and then grins at Rysen. "That he is."
Sina checked perception + survival at difficulty 20, rolling 58 higher. Sina rolled a critical!
"You /lie/, Harlequin - and are quite possibly the /worst/ liar in this group. Tell only truths; they suit you better," Dianna chides Evaristo openly - but harmlessly, pouting... uselessly, since who can tell if that lower lip is swollen from bee stings? Dianna steps closer to Zoey and peers down the hole. "He is /not/ smooth, my lord; he is... ...Oh, aren't we going down already?" Dianna already moves to step down, but maybe her perception is skewed from tears? Or that hat is pulled too far over her eyes? Whatever, she knows nothing at all about the stability of the tree and is ready to make a go of it.
In the light of Sorrel's lantern, Rysen inspects the tunnel which the destruction of the cursed tree has revealed. "Seems safe, so far as I can tell," says Rysen to the group. "I vote we investigate."
Heading toward the tree, keen to decipher the safety of the path, Alessia cranes her neck /painfully/ to scope out what lies within. She turns to the other with widened eyes. "I remember seeing something like this when I was young. A tunnel where a tree had been dug out. The walls looked a lot like this, and were exceptionally stable because of the roots. So in essence, I think we'll be fine." She confirms Rysen's words, leading the way.
Zoey takes a long look at the tunnel and says, "This is actually pretty stable already. The root system seems to be holding the earth in place." She takes a cautious step inside.
"Can someone hand me a torch? Or... Lord Rysen, can you come a bit closer? ...Oh. Oh, gods... wait. It's. So many /bugs/.... Be careful of the ceiling!" Dianna calls over her shoulder, having already moved into the tunnel, pausing to peer with what light comes through. "This doesn't look safe, not at all...."
"And there's stone below. There's a structure. And his sigil. We're in the right place," Sorrel says, lifting her light and starting to head down
Evaristo wields Valiant, Warpick of the Carnifex.
Sorrel wields Resonant Edge, a lightly curved diamondplate saber.
Alessia wields Requiem - an ancient glaive with an iridescite handle.
Evaristo doesn't usually go first - he might be armoured up, but he's not a real warrior. He takes up a spot somewhere in the middle, excitement gleaming in his eyes in the light of the lantern, warpick brandished and used to move away hanging roots as he ducks in with the others. "It'll be fine! Nothing to worry about, I'm sure we'll walk straight there, find whatever it is we're looking for - what are we looking for now again? - and then find lots of treasure and be on our way home in less than an hour," he says cheerfully. Though, a bit quietly. Something about dank musty under-ground tunnels doesn't make you want to talk loudly.
Dianna wields a diamondplate glaive set with mirrorsilver and sapphires.
Zoey wields Intricately forged ancient steel recurve bow.
Rysen glances back to Sina, and says, "Please stay close to the Glaivedancers, Archscholar." His eyes meet those of Alessia and Dianna, with an absolute trust in their ability to protect the keeper of the Compact's wisdom. He follows behind Sorrel, drawing both of his blades, and keeping his senses alert.
Rysen wields Moria - a rune-etched bastard sword.
Sina wields Brixeur'Ame.
Brandishing her glaive - which she uses to reflect the light onto the walls, Dianna glares at the bugs she sees. "Gods, don't /bite/ me again. I'm not typically cruel to bugs, but I've had quite the run-in..." she warns a particularly large beetle.
Evaristo warns; "Don't kill any spiders." He smiles helpfully. The skull pendant hanging from his neck seem to glitter for a moment.
Sina looks closely at the tunnel and gives a little frown as she studies the situation. "Clearly, this is more than meets the eye. Did anyone else notice how the animals did not go anywhere near the tunnel? And the tree itself... does anyone else find it odd, the way it was placed, roots up? But now can that possibly be? I don't see how it could have fit in there in the first place. It doesn't make sense. Be very careful." She glances to Rysen, and gives a nod, but she does draw Brixeur'Ame again, the slim alaricite blade gleaming in the light. Her Templars are still here too, just in case.
As they decend into the chasm beneath the tree's former resting place, a few things become fairly clear: The gound underfoot is stone covered in a thin layer of dirt, mingled with the paper-flakes of tree detritus from the animal's handiwork above. There is more than enough room for all of them to stand in this depression, but the path leads downward, deeper underground. The mouth of the tunnel narrows to a mere ten-feet across, and eventually gives up the pretense of being dirt instead of stone. The transition is slow, but about twenty feet along the tunnel, the walls are bare stone. There is a cracked stone door, half fallen inward, bearing a ruined sigil of the Butcher. This is clearly the right way.
Alessia checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 21 higher.
Alessia checked strength + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 8 higher.
Rysen checked strength + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 27 higher.
Zoey checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 23 higher.
Evaristo checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 53 higher.
Sina checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 42 higher.
Sorrel checked strength + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 41 higher.
Dianna checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 10 higher.
Rysen checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 53 higher.
Dianna checked strength + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 18 lower.
Evaristo checked strength + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 8 higher.
Flicking her gaze back at Evaristo, Dianna smirks through the swollen mess of her face. "The spiders are fine and will likely help me to be rid of these other nasties, Harlequin. I am Godsworn, you do recall?" she winks before shifting her glaive again to reflect the lantern's light off of her mirrorsilver blade. "Oh, look. A door... with that symbol, Princess." She eyes the doorway as Sorrel, Alessia and Rysen move rocks from it, knowing she simply has no strength for it presently.
Walking close to the archscholar with the glaive extended before her, Alessia sheathes it when they come upon the blocked path. She helps Sorrel and Rysen clear the rocks.
Evaristo starts by squeezing through - I mean, why WORK if you don't have to, but as others start to remove the blocks of stone, he gets back and helps out as well. "See?" he says. "This isn't nearly as bad as the OTHER places, I couldn't have possibly done that myself. This is just a small snag, but smart to clear it. Just in CASE we have to RUN back, haha. I mean..." He pauses. "Probably won't need to." He grunts and shifts a stone with the help of the others, before he moves on with the rest.
Sheathing his swords for a moment, Rysen works beside Alessia and Sorrel to clear away the stone door. "Seems to be the right place," he says, as he and Alessia swing a large slab of stone bearing the sigil of the Butcher out of the way. With the pathway clear, Rysen takes his place beside Sorrel, and redraws his swords.
Once the rocks have been hauled away, the path ahead is clear. There are sconced torches, looking old and covered in cobwebs every fifty yards or so. The light from Lagoma's lantern shines down the dusty tunnel for as far as the eye can see. Apparently they are in for some walking.
Dianna checked perception at difficulty 20, rolling 9 lower.
Rysen checked perception at difficulty 20, rolling 2 higher.
Evaristo checked perception at difficulty 20, rolling 6 lower.
Zoey checked perception at difficulty 20, rolling 3 lower.
"Better keep this clear for a hasty escape," Sorrel says as they haul rocks.
Alessia checked perception at difficulty 20, rolling 10 higher.
Sina checked perception at difficulty 20, rolling 7 higher.
Amund checked perception at difficulty 20, rolling 6 lower.
Sorrel checked perception at difficulty 20, rolling 11 lower.
Straggling in the back, Amund has his sword drawn even as people illuminate the path ahead. It helps that he has a burning sword in hand, but it is also the main reason why he's so further in the back of the group. Nobody wants to go down in history as that person who accidentally incinerated someone else.
Stumbling as the rocks shift underfoot, Rysen bumps Sorrel, and the light of Lagoma casts its illumination wildly, brining a glint of light from a very thin strand of metal stretched across the tunnel at ankle height just ahead. "Hold," says Rysen to those nearby. "Do you see that?" he asks, gesturing with this rubicund sword to the wire just head.
"It's not endless." Alessia breathes, standing beside Rysen, her eyes squinting. "It has mirrored walls that angle off before another bend. That's why it appears to never end."
"See what?" Zoey had already squeezed through the rocks somehow when others had stopped to clear them, but has sense enough to stop and wait for the rest of the group.
Light reflects oddly and even with her swollen eyes, Dianna notices what her sister says. "Oh. Gods, that's something...." she murmurs, staying close to Zoey.
Evaristo stops with one foot in the air and sets it down a bit behind himself instead. He hasn't seen a thing and is peeking around Rysen - seeing that wire. "Trap?" he guesses and sounds excited. "Lemme take a peek," he suggests and moves cautiously forward to take a closer look at this wire. "Huh," he responds to Alessia. "Clever trick, mirrors. Also, urgh, mirrors. No offense," he notes randomly. SOME people here like mirrors more than others.
Sina staying close to the glaivedancing twins, Sina keeps her blade in hand as she squeeze her slim body through the opening with relative ease, following the others. As they begin to make their way through the creepy passage, the Archscholar's eyes keep a close eye on their surroundings. As they pass through, and as Rysen points out the wire overhead, she pauses a moment, and glances at it, then around the corridor. Finally she points toward a torch on the wall about forty five or so feet ahead. "That torch... it seems to be angled differently than the others. See how it's just a little bit askew?"
Sina checked perception + riddles at difficulty 15, rolling 12 higher.
Zoey checked intellect + riddles at difficulty 15, rolling 7 higher.
Rysen nods to Alessia. "Sharp eyes, My Lady," he says with a grin. He nods to Evaristo as well, and to Sorrel, Rysen says, "We should move very carefully from here, and use extra caution to avoid traps." He laughs softly when Evaristo takes a look at the wire. "Seems like something that falls with your purview, Evaristo."
Dianna checked intellect + riddles at difficulty 15, rolling 3 higher.
"Nothing wrong with mirrors. What's wrong is what's usually behind them." Amund calls out, making sure the rear ranks are kept mostly safe. "But if trouble is ahead, may I suggest clearing the way in case you need muscle?" Just an offer as a precaution.
Amund checked intellect + riddles at difficulty 15, rolling 5 lower.
Evaristo checked perception + riddles at difficulty 15, rolling 10 higher.
Amber eyes shift from the wire as it's pointed out to the torches and the way they're angled. "Trap doors, you think?" She asks, Sina. She watches the others as they work on wire trap.
"Someone more perceptive than I should lead," Sorrel remarks. "But I'm happy to go second, and get your back. "
Zoey gingerly steps over the wire and examines the walls. "Different sort of trap," she says. "Or it would be, were it not eaten away by worms and rust."
Using her own mirrorsilver blade to shine light better onto the wire, Dianna follows it to its source at either wall. "Curious..." she murmurs, walking to one wall and narrowing her eyes as she peers inside. She actually reaches up to the wire after some time of squinting and softly tugs the wire.
There is a twang and thwip and then nothing at all happens.
"What a shame," Evaristo says, once they've found out what the wire is about - connected to the wall and behind panels, mechanisms would've sent spikes out. "It's not working any longer." He sounds a bit disappointed. Like finding a broken trap is a sad, sad thing. "Well!" he says and is cheerful again. "Less work for us! What was that about a torch?" he asks and steps over the wire - he jumps a bit at that twang and shoots Dianna an admiring look. "Hehe," he just says.
Sina examines the wire along with the others, and then she gives a soft little chuckle. "Step over the wire, and we should be fine," she adds to Zoey's assessment. "It is a crude sort of trap, and as Lady Zoey says, poorly designed. Still, we should remain vigilant, and careful." She glances up to Sorrel as she requests someone else to lead, and glances around. "Someone both perceptive, and able to engage potential enemies," she adds quietly. That leaves her out. Her Templars won't allow it. She points at the torch down the way then. She must be very perceptive, to notice it at that distance. "That one... it's slightly different."
"Well, we're free," Dianna announces nonchalantly - and smirks at Evaristo, then peers down the hallway.
Alessia checked intellect + riddles at difficulty 25, rolling 7 lower.
Zoey checked intellect + riddles at difficulty 25, rolling 1 higher.
Dianna checked intellect + riddles at difficulty 25, rolling 7 lower.
Sina checked intellect + riddles at difficulty 25, rolling 1 lower.
Approaching the torches curiously, when Sina speaks of the differences, Alessia isn't able to discern what it could mean. She turns to the others, in case they'd have some idea.
Evaristo checked intellect + riddles at difficulty 25, rolling 5 lower.
Evaristo stares at the torch from the front. Then he leans to the side and looks at it with just one eye. Then the other. He bends backwards and peers at it from beneath. "Oh yeah!" he says and straightens up. "No idea."
"This torch is different from the others," Zoey says as she stops to examine one in particular. "I think if someone pulls it forward..." She trails off and takes a step back. "Any volunteers?"
Of course, Little Sister Bold steps up immediately, because she's already hurt. "Stand back, Zo," Dianna warns.
Dianna checked strength at difficulty 10, rolling 14 higher.
Rysen laughs wryly at Evaristo's conclusion. "Gods, don't let me die by a trap in a tunnel," he mutters, before looking curiously towards Zoey and Dianna.
Raising a brow at the torch, Alessia's stopped from making any such attempt by her sister. She watches warily, concern tinging her voice. "Good luck."
"We can always hope my armor can mitigate whatever his me," Sorrel offers helpfully, but Dianna had already stepped up.
Stepping up to pull it - cause he would - Evaristo gets out of the way for Dianna instead, giving her a wink.
When Dianna grips the shaft of the torch and pulls there is some resistance at first. Time has a way of making change difficult. But after a moment's resistance, there is a metallic screech and the torch becomes aligned as the metal plank is extended through the wall. A previously invisible seam in the rock becomes obvious, as a hidden stone door swings slightly ajar with a puff of horrible, old, foul air is released.
Apparently, Dianna has a lot to prove - to someone or something; and she must trust in the Pantheon rather fiercely, because she has already tied her glaive to her back and, glancing around to make sure no one is around, she pulls the torch towards her with both hands, grunting.
Rysen checked stamina at difficulty 6, rolling 18 higher.
Alessia checked stamina at difficulty 6, rolling 10 higher.
Dianna checked stamina at difficulty 6, rolling 15 higher.
Amund checked stamina at difficulty 6, rolling 4 higher.
Evaristo checked stamina at difficulty 6, rolling 7 higher.
Zoey checked stamina at difficulty 6, rolling 26 higher.
Sina checked stamina at difficulty 6, rolling 10 higher.
Sorrel checked stamina at difficulty 6, rolling 23 higher.
As the foul air wafts through the tunnel, Rysen pulls the mask of his leather hood over his face, and narrows his eyes. He glances towards Sorrel, and then turns to follow whoever decides to step into the chamber carrying a light.
Evaristo makes some wretching noises and covers his mouth and nose. "Augh... yuck, blargh," is what he says. He ties a bandana around his lower face, it'll help a little, making ready to follow.
Evaristo gets a thin linen bandana from a hybrid between a bandolier and a satchel in the colors of a mockingbird's wings.
Coughing softly and fanning her face immediately with that wide-brimmed hat, Dianna grimaces. "Gods, disgusting..."
"Ugh gods, what is that?" Alessia pulls a hand to cover her nose, irritating her previous stings in all likelihood. She ventures forward, following the light-carrier.
Sina stays back while Dianna pulls the torch, and then lifts her arm and covers her nose and mouth as the foul stench comes out of that opening, but she manages to keep the contents of her stomach inside. "Ugh." She still has Brixeur'Ame gripped in her other fist, her pack over her shoulder. She seems content to have others doing the strong-people's work, not built for such activities. "What do you reckon might be the cause of that stench?" she inquires. "More rotten honey? Or... worse?" She squints down the length of the corridor, occasionally keeping an eye out for any other things that might be drawn to their activities.
Zoey tugs at the top of her blouse and pulls it over her mouth and nose. "I'm not certain I want to know what that is."
Amund pulls his scarf over his face in response to the foul smell, seeming rather miserable for it for a moment. "We already know the bastard's prone to lay traps, on the bright side."
"We may have to find out. Stay with the Archscholar, Zo," Dianna murmurs over her shoulder at Zoey. "Between the rest of us, because if you get hurt, gods know your husband will blame me."
When the door is pulled further open, it reveals less of a room and more of a horrible, horrid closet. The kind with literal skeletons in it. There are a pair of small skeletons on the floor, clearly humans of a very small variety. Children not yet in their teens. The room is no bigger than a large closet, lined with shelves. On those shelves are jars. Countless jars filled with dark, shriveled things. Dead colonies of mold, dried out bits of what might have once been meat. Long-dried substances which are uniformly black-brown. There is nothing, nothing happy in here.
Zoey gasps when she sees what was hidden behind the door and turns away.
Alessia checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 2 lower.
Dianna checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 12 higher.
When Rysen's grey eyes fall on the morbid scene, especially on the child skeletons, he glances to Zoey with a sorrowful look on his face. "Stay close," he says to her softly through the covering of his mask.
"Oh gods. Oh, Good Mother... gods..." Dianna frowns deeply, peering into the closet. The newly-godsworn turns to Sina with a disturbed look on her swollen face. "We must pray over them. ...There are so many.... Do you think any of these are the twins?" Dianna covers her lips with her fingertips, and suddenly, her sense of vanity utterly vanishes. She wanders through the closet pausing at each of the human remains and murmuring softly, her eyes closed in quiet prayer for each that she can get to.
Echoing the Kennex's horror, Alessia averts her gaze, unwilling to stay on the child skeletons for long. She exhales. "Gods..." She takes a moment to gather her composure before brandishing her weapon yet again, sticking by the Archscholar.
Evaristo's excitement disappears from his eyes, exchanged instead with silent fury. There's no joke to be said here, that is certain - so he says nothing. He just stares at the room unblinkingly for a lingering moment, then he nods at Dianna and clasps his skull pendant to murmur a few words; "Queen of Endings, tend to their souls, give them happy new lives." A simple enough prayer, no less heartfelt.
Alessia checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 10 higher.
Amund checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 0 higher.
Dianna checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 47 higher. Dianna rolled a critical!
Evaristo checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 29 higher.
As they peer into the 'closet', Sina takes one look, gives a shudder, and then steps back again to take a moment to compose herself. Her features take on a grave sorrow, and her grip tightens on the hilt of Brixeur'Ame as anger slowly boils up inside her. She shakes her head at Dianna's question. "No," she says. "The Twins were not children. Their bodies are in Arx currently, I believe, under the care of the Iron Guard. This... is far worse than I could have imagined."
Sina checked perception + investigation at difficulty 15, rolling 34 higher.
After taking a moment to gather herself, Sina draws a deep breath, then enters the closet again to search it.
"I suppose there is a reason why he was dubbed the Butcher. I think I have an idea of how to catch him, if he's not watching us." Amund glances around, the grisly sights surprisingly not making him lose his nerves or his lunch as he studies each of them. "Is anyone better versed at investigating things and who knows a thing or two about this particular shard know if he was some sort of researcher?"
Practically shadowing Sina as she approaches the closets, Alessia keeps a firm grip of her glaive, though finds herself momentarily distracted by something. A gloved hand reaches in to lift a parchment which she takes a moment to study. "It looks like a family tree.... Alasqua?" She says with furrowed brows.
As they search the closet, Sina is careful not to disturb the skeletons, or any spiders that might be lurking about. Otherwise, she takes a careful stock of everything that she can. After a time, she crouches down and picks up a rolled up scrap of parchment as well, and studies it carefully. A little frown touches her lips as she hears Alessia's words. "Another geneaology chart. Manatu."
"Let us pray for their souls to the Queen," Sorrel suggests. "Perhaps we can figure out who they are."
Sina gets The Butcher of Arx by M. Rubino (4/19/1012 AR) from a structured cincher of scaled leather that pulls in the stomach and waist.
"Is it likely he is hunting certain families?" asks Rysen, glancing back over his shoulder at Sina. Shifting his eyes towards Sorrel. "Perhaps families that, if sacrificed, might grant more than the typical amount of power?"
"Is he hunting people with some particular lines of descent?" Amund wonders, before reaching to grab an aged parchment in a dusty shelf. He smacks the dust away before reading. "Ah, here's the answer. Alasqua has to do with Tehom, according to his raving. Manatu has to do with Jayus. Berberi related to Sentinel... Horth and Gloria, Junea and Lagoma, Yeris and Vellichor, Petra and Gild. I can't read the rest." He offers the page to Sina.
Evaristo steels himself, the grasping of his skull pendant helps - he moves in to also look around. The more eyes the better. "We ran into one of those up in the Oathlands - he was using the blood of a Valardin knight's descendants for his abyssal crap," he notes grimly, crouching down to look at the bones for a moment, and to see things from another angle.
Sina glances to Sorrel as she suggests prayer, and gives a nod. "Certainly... Evaristo? As the resident Harlequin, would you like to say a few words?" she asks softly. To Amund, she pauses, then says, "There is some information that Lady Miranda Rubino sent me." She digs the info out of her belt pouch, and then lets the others peruse it if they will. She glances over to the page that Amund hands her, and examines it curiously. "Blood magic requires bloodlines of those who are in some way tied to whatever goal you are trying to accomplish. It is nasty business," she murmurs. "But why are they each related to one of the gods?" she muses. She sheaths Brixeur'Ame for the moment, while she studies the papers, trying to find some pattern.
Sina drops The Butcher of Arx by M. Rubino (4/19/1012 AR).
While moving around inside the closet, praying for each of the murdered people, Dianna squints, reaching very carefully behind the body of one child. "I'm sorry," the godsworn murmurs, withdrawing a thin journal that is hidden away. She moves back to where there is better light, scouring the book page-by-page. "Oh. My gods. Oh, gods..." Dianna's pose becomes alert suddenly, she lifts her gaze first to Sina, then scans the others. "Listen to this." She reads aloud:
"The gods in their cruel vanity created a world inherently unfair. Their favor falls on a few, leaving the rest to suffer in painful obscurity, unable to rise above their so-called "Peers". Peers. As if there were any that could claim to be my equal! Still, the gods chose their favorites, imbuing these families with special privileges, and for what reason? Random chance? Because they are sheep willing to bend to a culture that favors useless traits above true virtues like intellect and daring? Bah!
I must locate each of these families, each one the favored to a god or goddess of our Pantheon, including Tehom, the only god worth a damn in our Pantheon of Useless Virtue. I do not know why Tehom did not choose my bloodline. Disappointing, to say the least. He must be as blind as the others to choose the unworthy to grace. The gods have blessed these families with their own divine grace, ergo, if I see the termination of those lines, if I consume the flesh of the last born of that bloodline, then through that consumption, their counterfeit primacy shall be mine."
Having finished recounting the words, Dianna stares at the journal, dumbfounded. "Gods, not Tehom..." she almost whispers.
Zoey gets 12 books from a monogrammed black calfskin satchel with silk lining.
"Just said a few - I'll leave the praying to the Godsworn. As much as Death might listen to me, I feel like Sister Dianna sort of covers them all," Evaristo responds with a kind smile at Sina. "But thanks for asking." It does make him proud that he WAS considered. He quiets, standing up to listen to Dianna and his eyes widen the more she reads. "What a complete nutter," he breathes.
"The woman at the inn... favored by Petrichor." Alessia's eyes narrow as her sister reads the text, though she says little else.
"That would stand to reason," Zoey replies to Alessia, still standing away from the closet with her eyes cast downward.
On the heels of Alessia's words, a scream, long, loud, terrified can be heard, echoing through the stone passageway.
Sina turns toward Dianna as she begins to read through a book she found. The Archscholar's features are very solemn at first, when she hears the first words. Then a glitter of anger enters her silvery eyes. By the time Dianna is finished reading, there's a quiet resolve in her features. "This blasphemy cannot go unanswered," she says softly. "This desecration must surely be an affront to all of the gods." There is a little tremor through her. "As much as I struggle with it, even though these writings are vile as vile can be, I must still archive them when we return to Arx." She glances to Evaristo then, and nods, giving him a smile. "Very well. She glances to Dianna, and asks, "Do you feel up to a prayer?" Technically, she could do it, but she's already called upon the gods twice in recent days, and seems unwilling to do so a third time just now. She glances at Alessia, then ponders, "Do you suppose the woman from the inn may still be alive? I hope that she is... that we might find her, before... this happens to her," she says, glancing around again with a grim expression.
"...Yes," Dianna quietly confirms her twin's words. She closes the journal and tucks it into her pouch for safekeeping. "I think I've prayed over everyone, Harlequin, Archscholar--..." Dianna flicks her gaze up, and there is hope yet in her eyes. "Or not! Hurry!! Where did it come from??!"
Rysen frowns when Dianna reads, and nods to Alessia when she finishes. The scream grabs Rysen's attention, and he stars making his way in its direction with blades in hand, careful for any traps that may still line the passage.
Following Rysen to the tunnels, a look of determination on her face, Alessia follows him toward the passageway.
Evaristo is already taking his warpick from its hook again, for emphasis and agreement with Sina's words. "Let's get him," he says and smiles a wide and entirely not pleasant smile. He startles at the scream, eyes turning a bit wild - and then he's following the rest, moving as hurriedly as the tunnel allows.
Zoey, finally shaken out of the mood brought on by seeing the children, continues down the hall behind Alessia and Rysen.
Sorrel runs off after the others, sword at the ready. She is not subtle, running in her red plate armor, crying out in her lovely voice, "We come!"
Rushing to Zoey's side, Dianna peers at her seriously as they move down the hallway. "You stay behind me, Zo - and at a safe distance from that monster." Dianna's tone is serious, grave - and watchful. She runs a few steps in front of Zoey, but remains at a close-enough distance to the pregnant woman that she can pause if she needs to.
Sina draws Brixeur'Ame again, and she runs off after the others, her Templars close on her heels. She stays near Dianna and Alessa, because Rysen gives good advice!
The scream came from further down the tunnel, and as they race along the hallway, the trick with the mirror reveals itself. They reach the bend, seeing themselves approaching, and are able to turn the corner. The tunnel opens up into a large circular chamber. In the center of the circle there is a stone table, atop which is a woman, her arms pinned down with ropes of crawling insects. The woman is in her mid twenties, her skin is sunkissed, her hair a rich loamy brown, her eyes a greenish hazel. On her face, there is a peculiar birthmark that looks a little bit like a tree, taking up a good portion of her left cheek. Looming above her, a creature build of bones, vague in its humanoid shape, though instead of hands, there are broken bones, sharp, blackened with some foul substance that in no way diminishes the sense that they would be effective weapons. The room is lined with animals, a variety of forest creatures all twisted in some horrible way, their fur and skins soiled with that black tar-like substance, their eyes dulled and gray. Each is obviously dead, and yet... and yet they breath, standing idle, as if awaiting instruction.
Rysen checked dexterity at difficulty 10, rolling 12 higher.
Evaristo checked dexterity at difficulty 10, rolling 11 higher.
Amund does not move with much noise. Instead, he keeps himself at a brisk pace, sword in hand. The shard is given a stare, and he warns the others, "I will draw it to me." Then, he starts to approach the table with a contemptuous laugh, looking att the creature that looms above her. "Only an unchosen weakling would harm the innocent."
Dianna checked dexterity at difficulty 10, rolling 16 higher.
Sorrel checked dexterity at difficulty 10, rolling 9 higher.
Alessia checked dexterity at difficulty 10, rolling 14 higher.
Sina checked dexterity at difficulty 10, rolling 26 higher.
Amund checked dexterity at difficulty 10, rolling 9 higher.
Zoey checked dexterity at difficulty 10, rolling 4 higher.
Reigna GM Roll checked dexterity(5) at difficulty 10, rolling 29 higher.
Reigna GM Roll checked dexterity(3) at difficulty 10, rolling 1 higher.
Sina checked mana + theology at difficulty 25, rolling 23 higher.
The scene sets off Dianna's rage, but she focuses it all, as she rushes in front of the group, into spinning her diamondplate-and-mirrorsilver glaive. The deer is close and a good target - and will cause some trouble to the rest, should someone not take care of it. Her whole body quickly spins and Dianna's right arm reaches out with the blinding glaive, slicing at the deer-like animal's neck in an attempt to decapitate it in one strike.
Dianna checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 41 higher.
Reigna GM Roll checked dexterity(5) + brawl(3) at difficulty 15, rolling 35 higher.
When she reaches the entrance to the chamber where this gruesome scene is going on, Sina pauses just outside of it, and there she takes a knee. She takes a moment to set herself in a particular frame of mind, and then she begins to quietly pray, while setting out a small brazier from her pack, and then putting the remainder of that vial of sand in the brazier. She then pulls out a skin of water, and begins a brief ritual where she touches the tip of the blade to the brazer where the offering is being burned. She takes a small amount of the water, pours it on the blade of the weapon, then puts two fingertips in the water and touches them to forehead and heart. This will allow others to go ahead of her, while her three Templars stand around her. They seem to know what she's about to do, because they each take a knee around her, and draw their swords, placing them point down on the ground. They perform the ritual as well. While the others deal with the enemy, Sina prays to Gloria.
Alessia checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 44 higher.
Alessia runs onto the scene, though only spares a few moments to glance about the room, before grimacing and echoing her sister's movements at whichever animal she finds in her way first.
Sunlight shines down from a seam in the ceiling that must be a crack of some sort in the ground above. The light diffuses, but there is enough intensity to shine down on the woman, giving her the ability to see the horror looming above her, forcing more of those screams as the creature laughs above her, 'sharpening' it's broken bone claws. When people arrive at the entrance of the chamber, the bone golem angles its skull of skulls and teeth and sharp bits and roars at them in obvious fury. But the party is already in motion.
Sina's Templars form a triangle formation around her as the priestess begins to chant, one beam of light seems to shift to illuminate the Archscholar as she chants.
Dianna comes in like a fury, wielding her glaive with the famed grace and sensual elegance of the glaive dancers. Her blade catches the light, throwing it back onto the dead animals, sending glittering bolts of light into their eyes as she moves towards the deer and slices in a smooth, powerful motion, taking the head from the shoulders. There is no spray of blood, more a sluggish seep. But despite its lack of head, the legs flail out, striking with force at Dianna, as the headless body rears back, hooves lashing out at the Mazetti.
70 inflicted and Dianna is harmed for moderate damage.
Rysen checked dexterity + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 39 higher.
Rysen checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 42 higher.
The animal closest to Alessia, one of the foxes, is struck by the iridescent blade. She deftly manages to severe the creatures spine and it's back breaks, the black tar that oozes out is absorbed by the diamondplate. Hard to tell if the blow is fatal since the creature isn't technically alive.
Dianna checked stamina + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 10 higher.
As Sina kneels and begins a prayer to Gloria, her voice like a fire in the Crovane knight's heart, and as Alessia and Dianna bring their bright glaives to bear on the corrupted animals sorrounding the chamber amid flashes of light - Rysen blasts through the opening they've created, his red mantle flowing in the air behind him like wings of blood.
Sprinting with his swords in hand, his breath controlled, and grey eyes focused like a predator on the boney monstrosity, Rysen bounds onto the stone table, placing himself between the monster and its intended victim. As his boots touch the table on either side of the woman, he sweeps his black alaricite blade in a sable arc, cleaving free from the bone golem several moldering femurs which latter to floor of the chamber.
Dead deer should stay dead - especially when decapitated. But this one is /not/ acting like a dead deer should, and the bucking hooves catch Dianna squarely in the gut, pushing her breath from her lips in a deep gasping sound as the glaivedancer doubles-over. She backs away and stands up, inhaling deeply to catch her breath as she scans the scene for what comes next.
Sorrel checked mana + performance at difficulty 15, rolling 32 higher.
Sorrel checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 20, rolling 31 higher.
Sorrel doesn't do anything without an inspiring song. She checks on the less defended and breaks into a hymn to Gloria. Then she attacks the badger with a vengeance!
The badger charges, its grey and black body further brindled by those tendrils of tarry goo. It bares its teeth and gives a mighty squeak, spine bowing, back legs springing, and Sorrel's blade takes out its front right leg, the paw spinning through the air (it's okay, it was already DEAD) and landing on poor Leafa's chest. It does mean that some of those insect ropes begin to divert to inspect new meal possibilities.
Evaristo checked mana + theology at difficulty 15, rolling 5 lower.
Amund checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 70 higher.
Amund is not known for being flashy, or particularly heroic. But he is known for his quiet, brutal efficiency, and this has carried the day in a number of situations. Moonlight is brought out in a low, wide arc at the golem, the blade catching the femur of the creature and shattering it completely, despite the massive thickness of the bone.
He looks over his shoulder to Evaristo, then flashes a brief sidelong glance to the woman on the table, and snarls at the golem. "Have at me, Butcher. I am your worst mistake!"
Evaristo checked strength + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 36 higher.
Soon as Amund is off, Evaristo is going after him - he flips over some of the zanimals, taking a more roundabout way to the stone table; he seems to have a good communication with Amund, the deft rogue sliding in near the table and crouching half behind it, beginning to sweep away the bugs and dropping a piece of rotten animal meat near them in the hopes they will just move there on their own; not a huge fan of tiny bugs. Spiders? Love those. These bugs? Not so much. "Death - I pray to you, give us strength, lend us your power," he murmurs - though if Death hears him, nothing suggests so. Either or, he manages to get the insects off the woman in a few hurried sweeps of his gauntlets and then simply grabs her, lifting her up. So far so good. One glance at Amund and after that? Well, he can't stand around there with a woman in his arms, so likely he'll be running out to where Sina is.
Zoey checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 15, rolling 38 higher.
Zoey takes aim at the creature of bone, whispers something to herself, then lets her arrow fly. As one might expect of a creature with no flesh, the arrow ricochets off the its shoulder plates and embeds itself in the shadows off to the side.
The shadow Mrrwls. It's an irritated reply from the creature that jumps down from its hidden perch; a lynx, Zoey's arrow protruding from its shoulder.
Reigna GM Roll checked mana(6) + occult(6) at difficulty 15, rolling 55 higher.
Reigna GM Roll checked willpower(3) at difficulty 8, rolling 7 higher.
Reigna GM Roll checked willpower(3) at difficulty 10, rolling 7 higher.
With Amund's blow, the bonegolem's right leg shatters, given the damage Rysen did to the left, the creature topples, crashing to the floor. As Evaristo springs into action, picking up the woman from teh table, there is a cry of such relief, a sense of hope from Leafa as she clutches her rescuer.
"YOU HAVE GONE TOO FAR! YOU WILL NOT HALT MY ASCENSION!" The voice crashes down, a chill wind filling the space, a flare of dim blue energy pooling like eyes in the empty sockets of the golem's skull.
There is a dying of the light above, as the creature seems to expand, drawing those tendrils of black substance from the zombified animals around, a martin and the swallow hitting the ground, dead, unmoving, as those ribbons of goo pull the bone golem up higher. There is an oppressive, ominous bleakness, a horrible dread, a FEAR suffuses the area as the golem rises, its legs still broken, but suspended on more of that black tar. The wolverine falls over, dead. The headless dear crumples. The owl, the falcon... all sacrificed back to raise him higher. "BOW BEFORE ME HUMANS!"
Amund checked willpower at difficulty 10, rolling 14 higher.
Alessia checked willpower at difficulty 10, rolling 2 higher.
Dianna checked willpower at difficulty 10, rolling 11 higher.
Evaristo checked willpower at difficulty 10, rolling 10 higher.
Rysen checked willpower at difficulty 10, rolling 30 higher.
Zoey checked willpower at difficulty 10, rolling 15 higher.
Eyes widening at the sight of the monstrosity, Alessia's grip on her glaive tightens, though her feet seem to turn into lead for just a moment. She studies the creature's form, though his command seems to bring her from her shock. "The fuck did you do to yourself?" She says with disdain.
Taking a breath was more than a breath for Sister Dianna Godsworn - for, though she has rarely asked for guidance of her blade or protection of her person whilst in battle, she is now godsworn. She has moved back closer to the Templars, as Sina's prayer and Evaristo's as well, have inspired her to drop on one knee, holding the mirrorsilver-and-diamondplate glaive upright; she solemnly bows her head to pray: "Gods grant me strength and direction of my glaive; Tehom, beloved: show me the way through these dark reflections and grant me wisdom to guide them back to Death's arms; and Gloria, great goddess: guide my glaive to honor all found in that dark room - for their lives mattered; and my companions', and this woman's, too; and those left as the gods' favored ones - not mine - must be spared to honor you. Grant to me, with this end alone, whatever I must, to fulfill your will."
Dianna checked mana + theology at difficulty 15, rolling 27 higher.
With Dianna's prayer, there is a subtle glimmer added to the edge of her glaive. The color has no name, it is barely perceptible, and yet it glimmers, teasing the eye.
Sina checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 22 higher.
Reigna GM Roll checked dexterity(5) + brawl(4) at difficulty 20, rolling 42 higher.
Sina continues with her prayers, and when that beam of light shines down upon her, her face seems to light up with a beatific serenity. Calm infuses her, and a sense of resolve. Her templars linger near her, praying as well. Beseeching takes longer than most other forms of magic, after all, and yet, the Archscholar seems filled with a quiet patience, even as dead-eyed animals are targeted first by other members of the group, as Evaristo attempts to save the girl, and as Rysen and Amund attack the BoneGuy. Only when her ritual is complete does she rise to her feet, alaricite blade gleaming silver-blue in her hand. The three Templars finish their prayers as well, and two of them turn to watch the party's back down the tunnel from which they came, while Sina and the remaining Templar step forward into the room, even as that horrible voice begins yelling. Taking a quick assessment of the situation, Sina seems unaffected by that dread, her silvery gaze focusing on the golem. "You don't get to 'ascend'. The Gods forbid it. This sacrilege will end, now, Butcher." That's all she says, before, with a cry of rage, she she runs forward with Brixeur'Ame in hand, to join the fray alongside Rysen and Amund, with Gloria's hand on her shoulder, keeping that fear at bay.
As her sister begins to pray, Alessia catches the glimmer at the end of the mirrorsilver blade, notable relief on her mien. Her grip goes from firm to tight after a moment, her brows furrowing subtly, before her attention shifts to the lynx suddenly.
Alessia checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 40, rolling 4 higher.
Dianna checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 40, rolling 10 higher.
There is no doubt in Dianna's mind of her target - nor whom she must protect. Dianna rises, spinning her blessed glaive at the lynx just as her sister's gaze moves towards it.
Reigna GM Roll checked dexterity(5) + brawl(3) at difficulty 15, rolling 31 higher.
Alessia sprints toward her cat, aiding her sister's effort in keeping it from reaching Zoey, before slashing at the creature.
That lynx is prowling towards the archer that shot it, body low, skulking forward. Despite its stealth, both of the Mazetti twins seem to sense its intent and just as the beast launches into a pounce, aimed for Zoey, its claws extended, murder in its heart, Alessia's glaive strikes first, catching the chin and altering the trajectory, even as Dianna's with that indescribable limning of light, strikes the chest, just behind the forelegs. The creature is juggled, sent careening into a wall with far more force than just one blow should be capable of. When it lands, its back legs spasm and then it lays still. Zoey Kennex is untouched.
Sina charges forward, always kept in a beam of pure light, glinting on the tip of her blade. She strikes true, impaling a knot of that black tar-substance gathered at the solar plexus. There is a shriek at the stab, the golem bowing back as if shot through with electricity, Sina's hand begins to smoke, the light intensifying on that spot, a scent of burning flesh makes itself known, as heat pours down through that skylight, bathing Sina and the creature in light.
Rysen checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 10, rolling 46 higher.
The Archscholar of Vellichor proves that she is no one to trifle with. The sharp point of her alaricite blade, Brixeur'Ame, Freer of Souls, drives straight into the creature's solar plexus, into that mass of hideous goo. She gives a wrenching cry of pain as she does so, and her arm trembles as she drives the slim and deadly blade into the creature's 'heart' and holds it there, her teeth bared and her eyes like silver flame as she stares into hideous thing's black heart. She growls low in her throat, but she doesn't draw the blade out, instead forcing her hand to twist it deeper in spite of whatever pain is hurting her, her features a rictus of pain.
20 inflicted and Sina is harmed for moderate damage.
With Liefa (relatively) safe in the arms of Evaristo, and Sina joining the battle as the creature summons all of its dark power, Rysen leaps from the stone table at an angle across from Amund, and at the apex of his trajectory, Rysen slashes both of his swords at the silvery-lit skull of the bone golem, the knight forcing his breath outwards, and tensing all of the muscles of his body in an explosion of force. The skulls is cloven in half, filling the chamber with a blood-curdling scream of pain, as Rysen lands thumps to the ground, with the skull fragments clattering on the floor around him.
Sorrel checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 15, rolling 30 higher.
Sorrel checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 21 higher.
Amund checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 10, rolling 36 higher.
Realizing what a problem the remaining animated dead animals are going to be for her allies, Sorrel makes an effort to get their attention. She's already taken a limb from the badger, and now she does a jumping spin to tag the raven before landing with a loud clanging boom and swiping at the fox. She won't be taking them out, but she taunts them in her red armor, singing religious hymns beautifully as she goes, intent to be the focus of badger, raven, and fox. Let them attack her and leave her allies be.
Evaristo checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 10, rolling 53 higher. Evaristo rolled a critical!
When Rysen jumps across from him, Amund pivots so that he's behind the creature; his hand-and-a-half sword smacks through and cuts through the back of the monster, only to hit and be stopped by something.
He grits his teeth when his arms seem to shake from the exertion, watching as a large amount of the golem crumbles. He reaches for a severed rib, studying it for a moment, before a glimpse of something has him prepare for another attack -- or the enemy's inevitable counter.
As Leafa is conscious and can move on her own, Evaristo simple tells her, "Get to the door, wait there!" and then hops up on the table with the warpick in one hand and leaps, swinging it down hard. Maybe it's some of the Valardin knightly values that empowers that blow, the symbol of Gloria and some golden flames glittering on the metal of the vicious pick - it's a pretty damn solid blow that one. "You don't cheat Death!" he calls out. Bone turns to dust beneath the blow and then there's a sound of metal against metal - where the bone crumbled, black metal is revealed, and a /smaller/ skeleton is revealed under the first, a human sized one. Jarred, but not immobile, Evaristo tumbles away but keeps his flank with Amund.
Sina's two Templars who are lingering near the entrance take on the duty of protecting Leafa, guiding her back further down the tunnel at Evaristo's words, while Sina is occupied, alongside Rysen and Amond, with Bone-Guy. The other Templar has his sword drawn, but it seems he means to use it to defend the Archscholar, rather than engage the creature aggressively. That's not his job. Protecting Sina is. They'll probably be having a long talk about this later!
Seeing Sorrel engaging the remaining animal, Alessia runs over to lend her blade, slashing at any she has yet to engage.
Reigna GM Roll checked mana(6) + occult(6) at difficulty 40, rolling 31 higher.
31 inflicted and Sina is harmed for serious damage.
31 inflicted and Amund is harmed for serious damage.
31 inflicted and Rysen is harmed for serious damage.
31 inflicted and Evaristo is harmed for serious damage.
20 inflicted and Sorrel is harmed for moderate damage.
20 inflicted and Dianna is harmed for moderate damage.
20 inflicted and Alessia is harmed for moderate damage.
10 inflicted and Zoey is harmed for moderate damage.
15 inflicted and Sina is harmed for moderate damage.
The flurry of blows rain down upon the golem, crushing that defensive layer of bone, chipping away the exterior, revealing the smaller skeleton underneath. This smaller skeleton has been wrapped in a cold, black metal, as if the metal grew around the bones like metallic vines. When this creature is exposed, the black tar dripping from the Stygian capped teeth, there is a panting hiss, despite there being, very obviously no lungs, "You... you god-touched *wretches*! Look... Look at all the blessings bestowed upon your unworthy selves!" He looks down at Sina, whose hand is still holding her blade into the dark mass where his heart should be. "And youuuuuu! You think you are so brave, channeling the power of a goddess?! Well I KILLED HER CHOSEN! WHO IS MORE POWERFUL NOW!?" He peals into insane laughter, even as that mass begins to loosen, tendrils unraveling. "You think this is a victory? HA!"
There is a sense of gathering pressure, the air being sucked into the center of the room, towards the skeleton at the center. It holds there for a moment before exploding outward is a shower of pressurized air, sharp as blades and carrying bits of bone and black tar outward, striking those closest to him the hardest. SMall projectiles strike and sting, but it is the air itself that cuts, not slowed by armor at all.
As it does, the skeleton begins to crumble, the metal losing its sheen, cracking, breaking into a shower of splinters and larger, brittle chunks that fall to the ground.
When the skeleton is reduced to dust and shard, the animals fighting Sorrel all hit the ground, lifeless.
As the air around him explodes, Rysen holds up his blades in front of him, but is blasted backwards, blood emerging from cuts on the exposed flesh of his face. He slides across the floor of the chamber, but instinctually bursts up to his feet. "Sina!!" he roars.
The cuts from the explosion hit Zoey on her unprotected hands and face, and she takes an involuntary step backward.
As the creature taunts them about killing one of Gloria's chosen, Sina lets out a low growl. Panting with pain, and the exertion of holding her blade in the creature's body, she cries out. Then, as the air seems to be sucking everything into the room, she groans with pain, but she pushes the blade deeper, using the momentum of that pressure to push it deeper. When everything seems to then explode outward, Sina is thrown back, and she skids across the floor, blade and smoking arm lying limp at her side, but thankfully still attached to her body. Then, completely and utterly spent, bleeding from several wounds, her arm a smoking ruin no doubt, she falls limp on the ground. She's not unconcious, and she's still breathing, but she's definitely not doing well.
The armor doesn't do much against lethal air - Evaristo stumbles back, small cuts all over his chest and legs, even his FACE. He is sort of thrown back against the table with a thud and only stands up because he leans against it, then gathers his wits and shakes his head to see what just happened. "Oh yeah? You're not telling US what to do, you Fancy Black Metal Toff," he growls, correcting his helmet in a defiant gesture. "Ow," he adds, as everything stings. "Oh crap!" he says and sees Sina there on the ground, also sliding over the table to get to her. "How's everyone?!"
Sorrel sprints over to Sina as quickly as she can and scoops up the Archscholar into her arms, cradling her against her breast as she would one of her own children. "It's gone," she says quietly. "We need to look around and see what we can do for the dead here, and take care of our living." She doesn't seem terribly bothered by the stinging pain she's in, far more concerned about Sina's health. "Zoey! Are you okay?! How's our rescued girl doing?"
It's hard to stay on one's feet in a blast of air and Amund has to thank the table for the fact he's still standing. His back doesn't, and neither does his chest and shoulders, as the former sellsword looks like a porcupine with the bone pieces and metal stabbing out of fireweave. He is bleeding -- down his chest, on both cheeks, near his collarbone. But he's quiet in recomposing himself.
The blast of stinging shards of stygian are /nothing/ compared to that force of air that shoves Dianna back into the wall behind, her body crashing limply to the ground. So forceful is the blast and so sudden that the newly-godsworn does not even have a moment to gasp; she's simply breathing with severe difficulty in shallow, quiet gasps, completely dazed. Her glaive still gripped, though draped upon contorted legs that fold under her. She focuses on nothing, on no one, staring into vacant space.
Having been distracted with the zanimals Sorrel was occupied with, Alessia's attention shifts to the bone golem once she feels the change in the air. She watches the creature with horror in her eyes as it speaks, seeing the mass loosening. Then it explodes outward, blowing her backward, though not with as much force as those closer to it. She groans in pain as the projectiles strike her, unstopped by the snakeskin. She steadily tries to get back up, clutching at her side, before lifting her fallen glaive and glancing around the room. "Di?" She slowly makes her way to her twin, before kneeling beside her. "Can you see me?" She rests a hand on her arm.
Sina seems pretty out of it, her features contorted in an expression of agony. Her sword arm is covered with burn marks, but they are /odd/ burn marks. They travel up her arm, with a semblance of silvery flames, from wrist to elbow. She seems more pale than usual, and her injuries are very severe. She probably won't be walking out of this tunnel. Her Templar, too, rushes to her side to ensure that she is, in fact, still alive.
A slight look of relief comes to Rysen's eyes when Sorrel speaks to Sina, who seems to be conscious, at least - that is, until Sorrel mentions Zoey. Rysen turns quickly to his right and with a look of concern, but seeing the Lady of Stormward on her feet, he finally focuses his stormy gaze back on the skeletal creature. He comes to stand over it, prodding the remain matter with his bastard sword.
"I'm fine," Zoey reports in as she starts to look around the room. She knows she is no healer, so she puts what skills she does have to use and starts investigating. She goes to the desk and picks up some Stygian coins. She picks them up and examines one of them in the lantern's light.
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