What's new

Chapter VII: Revelations

"But of course I trust my queen."
To throw me in jail once we are free of the sorceress.

"Any thief such as myself swears their loyalty to the true ruling royalty,"
We'd be fools not to, makes stealing from them easier,

"Regardless of the current predicament your highness is in right now."

If the sorceress wasn't deserving of death as much as she was, my guild would have probably been the same despite whose head is adorned.

Asher said his well versed lines and lies typically used to placate nobles. Though well versed, he could hardly hide the sneer in his words, as he thought the question ridiculous given that he already stated his doubts before. Also because the ascent was draining him of more than just his stamina.

Dina's words reminded him of the way some of his less sneakier colleagues would racketeer business owners: with kind words, a pat on the shoulder, and a vile smile.
 

Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
Administrator
Supporter



"You speak as one who has lived for much longer than you have," she told Maggie. "Travel will do that to you. But you haven't traveled the north, have you?"
Maggie shook her head. "Not this far north. It's very... imposing, isn't it?" She gestured at the frozen heights. "Pretty, but intimidating. I'm glad I'm with friends and not by myself, aren't you?"

Carn drastically picked up his pace and walked past the front, placing a hand on his chest where a hole could be.
"Something's amiss between those two," Violet said to Maggie and Auri, interrupting the conversation they'd been having.
The priestess nodded, watching Carn with clear concern. She glanced back, but Dina had started talking to Asher instead. "Excuse me," she said to Violet and Auri, and hurried to catch up with Carn, kicking up snow in her wake as she tried to make her small steps equal his larger ones.

"Carn?" she began, a little out of breath. "What's wrong?" Maggie hoped it was something that could be fixed. They needed to keep their unity on a mission like this, and if there was a problem between Dina and Carn, it needed to be resolved before it went so wrong it couldn't be got over.
 

ParrotParfait

A White Budgerigar Chillin'
Carn Barley

- The Iron Wall -


Carn hadn’t actually noticed he’d placed a hand on his chest. As such, he wouldn’t have noticed lowering it nor have seen the woman scurrying towards him. Only when she caught up and spoke did he notice Maggie. His pace, though still quite brisk, slackened.

"What's wrong?" Maggie hoped it was something that could be fixed.
Maggie asked. At her question, Carn gave a snort. Plenty of things... with Dina. That was his desired response, but to say it in front of Maggie? One who is both a person he respected and Dina’s friend?

“Nothing,” he grumbled. Not much of a response, but it was all he could muster. In other words, he didn’t want to talk, at least not with current circumstances. Too irritated, too many spectators, and a dozen other factors lead him to the choice of silence over discussion. Not one of his more mature judgements considering he was creating unnecessary drama and knew it. The fact just made him feel guilty and more irritated and-

Carn’s mind continued on its discourse, causing him to forget Maggie was still walking right beside him.
 

Andei

New Member
Ingvar Sindram
- Seeker of the Maker -​


The skirmish was over quickly - a testament to the skill and experience of the group. However, the tension brought by the unexpected encounter was less eager to dissipate. Varys broke the silence first, and the hunters started to lower their equipment, but their breath was still ragged, eyes accusingly swift, senses uncomfortably sharp. The unease in their actions spoke of a silent assumption that the sudden attack was nature's brutal reminder that they remain acutely aware to the unpalatable truth - they were still very much in hostile territory, and it was very much looking forward to killing them.

Ingvar took a series of slow, unhurried breaths with a focused regulation of easing air in and out of his mouth and nostrils. In and out. Then eyes open.

The dwarf knelt down to examine one of the dead wolves. Attacks from beasts were far from unusual here in the mountains. They were hardy creatures, they had to be to survive here. But there had been something beyond just natural hardiness with the wolves they had just put down. He did not doubt that there were others in the company who had noticed. These animals had been more than rabid or starved - they had been malicious.

Arrow to the shoulder, clearly penetrated but registered neither pain nor physical impairment. With the temperature, flames should be uncommon, but there were no signs of alarm at the sight of Faron's fire spell. That's another thing, Faron is a Drakkar - they're both an unusual sight in the mountains and there aren't many creatures here that size - at least none that wolves would encounter on a regular basis. And their growling is unnaturally low, even for the larger wolves of this region. But most worrying... is this.

His gauntleted fingers carefully, almost gently sifted through the rough fur of the dead wolf. Tracing the tell-tale shards of dark glass, he pulled apart the hairs until he could clearly see the join between the crystal and the actual skin. His eyes widened as he noted the way in which the crystal seemed fused together with flesh, almost as if it was alive and growing out of the skin itself. Taking the wolf's eyelids with a thumb and forefinger, he used his other hand to block and unblock the sunlight falling on it.

The way the light catches is not consistent with the glow of the crystal's facets, he observed. Same can be confirmed with the purple glow in their eyes. One can conclude that the crystal itself is the origin of the luminescence.

Pulling at its mouth so that its fangs were bared, Ingvar scratched at one of the revealed incisors, before taking out his knife to wrench it out. Holding it up to the light, he noted the same purple glow. Not only the flesh... could it be that it goes down even to the bone?

He brought his attention back to the crystals. They still had that same unsettling purple glow, quite unlike any he had seen before. These were not like the cheap illumined gemstones sold as trinkets on the streets of Alicante, but closer to some of the ancient artefacts he had encountered during his time as an archivist - devices involving powerful crystals that could hold immense magical energy in raw, volatile form. Yet even here was a difference. The neutral purity one would sense from those sources was not what was present here. There was a kind of wilful malevolence in the violet undulation of the crystals' light, as if it was alive and aching to run rampant. All of a sudden, Ingvar had to question whether the real beast was the wolf or the crystals embedded in it.

'Everyone - stay away from the wolves for now,' he called out to the rest of the company. 'There is something... not quite right. Faron! Areon!'

He beckoned to the two magicians in their company to join him in his autopsy. 'These crystals are quite unlike anything I've seen before, but I think they might be responsible for the unusual behaviour of these animals. Look at the way they're joined with the flesh here. It's almost like... it is a living part of them. I would like to try to extract one for a closer look. What do you think, my learned friends?'
 

Wolf Rawrrr

Wolf-Knight
Date: October 12th (Sunday), year 3321
Location: The Frostback Mountains
Weather: Cloudy, bright, and cold, with occasional gusts of colder wind.


  • Around 11:00 h
    Somewhere in the Frostback Mountains



    Dina fixed Asher with a firm eye, looking ever more serious as he spoke. There was almost a tension building up between them, reaching its peak during the silence that came after. Then the girl burst out laughing, loud enough to draw everyone's attention. When she calmed down and spoke, her voice was deliberately too quiet to be overheard, at least by Carn and Maggie.

    "I jest, of course. You do realize that? I'm not sure that our drakkar friend did; I fear he's taken me far too seriously," she told him. "I don't really feel like a queen. I have lived for twenty years as an ordinary person - one night's worth of revelations and ceremony isn't enough to change that. What I care most about is our fellowship. This quest we're on. There may be greater responsibilities for me down the road, but for the time being, I think I can afford to remain simply Dina," she grinned.

    Ahead, Violet still kept pace alongside Auri. "We cannot afford to distrust each other," she said to him, or perhaps to anyone who could hear it. "Not if we are to get through this."
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Auri Grashaal the Insatiable

- Drakkar Ambassador to Asgard -


Auri was solidly with Carn, Asher, and Maggie on this one. Trust each other? Really? "Do you trust your queen?" Seriously? Auri could expect this kind of childish behavior out of the Sorceress, but Dina hardly knew the people she was addressing. And here Dina was going around promoting the idea of trusting of the Sorceress (the biggest threat to Asgard there ever was!) while simultaneously trying to get statements of loyalty out of people she just met! Clearly, the Sorceress had some incredible hold over Dina, for Dina was now acting as an apprentice to a master who was simply not present at the moment. Not terribly long ago, Dina had stated she simply wanted to be her nineteen-year-old self. Where had that Dina gone? It seemed she had taken a long hike elsewhere to be replaced by this.

And now here was Violet parroting Dina!

It was all Auri could do not slap his own forehead in confusion and irritation. Then he remembered - people could not use words against you that never came out of your mouth, so Auri continued to keep quiet and mosey onward lest he stuck in poor Asher's position. Auri was willing to bet his favorite dragon-headed cane Asher was saying what he thought Dina wanted to hear out of self-preservation, and who could blame the master of rogues and shadow?

With Dina's parade into the unknowable, Auri wished he too could disappear into shadow and take Maggie and Carn with him, at least for awhile until sanity returned like a cleansing dawn upon them all. His cheer for this adventure diminishing quickly, Auri kept his ears open and his feet moving.
 

Rekai Leon

New Member
Faron Firestorm

- The Fiery Brawler -


Faron was relieved that the battle had finally ended with no casualties or serious injuries. Although it was as quick as he had initially anticipated, the Drakkar stayed alerted, just in case of any hidden surprise. “Never better!” he replied to Varys cheerfully with his left thumb up.

He then quickly approached Ingvar when being called over, and heard him throughly. His theory did make sense, but Faron was unsure if it would be a good idea to carry those crystals with them. “Well, if we carry the crystals with us, there is a chance that we would discover their sources and eliminate their potential risks. However, the thing I am concern about is that we have no appropriate means to store the crystals and make sure that we are safe from them. They might be poisonous or have something worse inside that will harm us in ways that are beyond our imagination. So, if we are going to take them, we must first know how to keep them. Any suggestions?” Faron explained.
 

Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
Administrator
Supporter



“Nothing,” he grumbled. Not much of a response, but it was all he could muster.
Maggie had been the recipient of too many similar responses to either believe him, or be offended by his tone. She simply nodded and patted his arm, though between her mittens and his own cold-weather gear, it probably felt like being tapped with a feather. "If you want to talk later, I'm here," she said quietly. "And remember, I'm a priestess, so anything you tell me in confidence is sacred. No one else will know." It didn't occur to her to add that if what he told her was a problem she could fix, she'd do her best to fix it without betraying his confidence.

She wouldn't scold like Violet had, but it was true that they couldn't have any mistrust among them. Actual trust would be harder to come by, particularly if Dina kept poking people about it instead of letting it grow naturally, but for the time being, Maggie would settle for an absence of suspicion.

The priestess had her own mixed emotions regarding the Sorceress, and had ever since their chat in the palace, but she kept those to herself. She wasn't sure what to make of the "friendly" side of the woman (if she was even human after all) who had chosen to conquer all of Asgard with demons. The former might just be the Sorceress wanting something from Maggie, though she couldn't imagine what. The latter was established fact, and neither conquest nor demons were things Maggie could equate with friendship. Well, time would tell, and they had a while yet to sort out things, both inside and between each other.

For now, Maggie just kept pace with Carn at the front of the group, and kept her eyes and ears open for whatever came next.
 

Andei

New Member
Ingvar Sindram
- Seeker of the Maker -​


“Well, if we carry the crystals with us, there is a chance that we would discover their sources and eliminate their potential risks. However, the thing I am concern about is that we have no appropriate means to store the crystals and make sure that we are safe from them. They might be poisonous or have something worse inside that will harm us in ways that are beyond our imagination. So, if we are going to take them, we must first know how to keep them. Any suggestions?” Faron explained.
Holding up the tooth he had extracted, he was about to suggest taking a sliver of the wolf fang when Areon spoke up.

"I would not encourage handling the crystals. This is dark magic. Perhaps darker than anything we've known. Can you not feel something profoundly wrong about it? Taking a sample could well be a mistake... This thing is doubtless what drove these animals mad."
Ingvar watched the mage as he walked away, feeling no small pang of shame at allowing his curiosity to get the better of his judgment. Did not the teachings of the Creator command the believer to flee from evil lest they fall prey to its temptations? There would be no need to flee if it were so easy to resist its subtle and chameleonic attractions - it would take any form, play any weakness, work any fault in one's heart to worm its way in and take hold. Even with his years of experience and discipline in following the footsteps of his Creator, he was reminded that he was but as a young child in learning how to keep walking on the bright but narrow path that had been set before him.

'Areon is right,' he conceded as he placed the fang amidst the purple-encrusted fur of the wolf carcass. 'I thank him for keeping me from poor judgment. How easily wisdom slips away from youthful fingers and grizzled old palms alike in the face of selfish desires, hm!'

He turned to Faron. 'Let us do as our honourable Commander Rains has suggested. Being far less skilled in flame magics in comparison, mayhap I can impose on your most excellent talents to set about burning these remains?'

Looking up at the mountain face, he thought to himself: Though it still stands... what hidden malevolence festers among the snow that could bring such an aberration about?
 

ParrotParfait

A White Budgerigar Chillin'
Carn Barley

- The Iron Wall -


A soft tap on his arm, that was all it was, a soft tap. It was like how leaves would graze atop his head or like how the wind would brush against his scales. Usually, those were beneath one’s notice but when felt at a time when one was sensitive.

"If you want to talk later, I'm here," she said quietly. "And remember, I'm a priestess, so anything you tell me in confidence is sacred. No one else will know."

Everything, he heard it all, from the tone of her voice to the gentleness of her words. A great appreciation arose from within him for her offer had value, and a value that Carn did not take lightly. Confliction and resentment still broiled within him, but Maggie’s remark served to lessen that burden. However, a remark is just a remark and is hardly a substitute for an honest outpouring of the heart. As such, Carn gave his reply.

“I’ll take up your offer,” Carn sighed, the stiffness loosening from his posture. “Later tonight, let’s talk.” Now cleared of some anger, Carn’s mind could move onto strategizing battles, rehearsing techniques, and reminiscing about home.
 
Back in Kossar every now and then some merchant or miner would attain riches through sheer twist of fate, earning them and their family a new status in society. Young or new nobles, typically much more creative with their spending habits, were perfect targets for thieves like him.

Although Dina's reply reminded Asher of those kinds of people, he felt she was anything but prey.

"Of course, my queen."
 

Wolf Rawrrr

Wolf-Knight
Date: October 12th (Sunday), year 3321
Location: The Frostback Mountains
Weather: Overcast, gloomy, and cold.


  • Around 12:00 h
    Somewhere in the Frostback Mountains



    The Chosen's climb continued uneventfully from there, taking them farther and higher into the Frostback Mountains. What little sunlight there had been was gone entirely by midday, and the mountainside seemed all the more ominous for it. The wind had let up, mostly, but even so the air temperature remained bitterly cold. The quiet was unsettling; broken only here and there by the cries of birds of prey. The dragonhunters' tracks led them past a great cliff on the left, up yet another hill. Even as they approached it, they could spy wisps of smoke from near the top - thin and long, as if belonging to several dying fires.

    When they got to it, they saw that It was a campsite, just as it had seemed from afar. And recently abandoned - no more than a couple of hours old. There were also signs of struggle; evidence of chaotic movement through the snow, and half a dozen large animal carcasses thrown about. They'd been torched and were still smoldering.

    Violet bid the group to stop and proceeded to survey the area carefully, including the nearby top of the hill, beyond which they could not see. There wasn't a soul in sight, or a sound to be heard.
 

Andei

New Member
Ingvar Sindram
- Seeker of the Maker -​


If pushed, Ingvar would say that he had an adequate level of confidence in his ability to follow a map. If anything, the lessons taught by many years of travelling little-known paths alone were reasons enough. The complaints that began disturbing the previously jovial air among the hunters were sown from impatience and ignorance, he knew - there was little reason or benefit for their ill-founded doubts to become his own. He nevertheless allowed himself a slight smile of relief and triumph upon setting their sights on the stone bridge, knowing that he had by the will of the Creator successfully guided the company down the right path. After all, it stood to reason that having a man-made crossing in the middle of nowhere across an otherwise uncrossable gap indicated that it led to a destination of some manner of man-made design.

In other words, they were heading the right way.

As such, Ingvar did not spend undue attention on the chasm itself - there was plenty of time to look down big empty voids later - and instead increased his pace across the snow to examine the stone bridge, leaving behind the company as they paused to take stock of their surroundings. Though he would be the first to admit that he couldn't match the expertise of the master craftsmen of House Eremus, he had studied enough of stonemasonry to perceive at first glance that it was a work of many seasons past, perhaps spanning ages and civilisations. This made its apparent sturdiness all the more remarkable, as it held steadfast against the brutal blizzards that embittered many a traveller's tale from their experience in the Frostback Mountains.

Upon reaching the bridge, he began dusting the heavily piled-up snow from the stones on their side of the gap. If the same craftsmen who built this bridge were the very same whose hands worked on the temple, perhaps there is a clue among the stones as to the nature of that temple, he thought. And if it doesn't... well, what of it?! A bridge that has no purpose in the middle of the Frostback Mountains, it is a subject of fascination in its own right!

Soon, the stones were laid bare and Ingvar, the fog from his breath snatched away by the whistling winds, excitedly prepared to scrutinise what lay beneath.
 

ParrotParfait

A White Budgerigar Chillin'
Carn Barley

- The Iron Wall -


The silence that pervaded the trek felt uneasy. However, Carn appreciated the quietness nonetheless as the slowness allowed him to catch up with his thoughts. As he was about to fully settle into the monotony of the walk, there, at the top of the slope they were climbing, small threads of smoke danced towards the sky. Carn’s first reaction was to momentarily freeze before resuming to a slower walk. Upon the group reached the site, he seized up at the sight of smoking corpses, loosening up moments later when he realized the remains smelled not of dragonfire and had not the shapes of humans. As the aftermath and tracks indicated, the hunters successfully fended off an animal attack before moving which made Carn somewhat relieved. However, something felt bizarre, whether it be the stench or the fact that these animals had been burned seemingly without reason, but no matter how much he thought about it, Carn couldn’t put together why it was so.

“I’ll go take a look at the top,” Carn announced after feeling dissatisfied with looking at corpses. He wasn’t expecting much at the top of the slope, but after seeing the hordes of animal prints as he walked up the slope, he felt safer holding his sword and shield before he reached the top of the slope.
 

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Auri Grashaal the Insatiable

- Drakkar Ambassador to Asgard -

The winds of fortune had blown and gone for those who had fought here, that much Auri could instantly see. But what of the details that were as yet beyond his grasp? What wizard worth his school did not seek knowledge, even among these sorry-looking corpses.

"What have we here? Wolves? Fire? A recent battle between beasts and those-who-create-and-use campfires? Is there more to this than appears on the surface?" Carefully and cautiously, Auri made his way around the battlefield, inspecting the still-smoldering dead. What kind of animals were these? What wounds had taken their lives? Only intelligent creatures with the means to grasp used fire, so what was the fire for? Did the fires slay the beasts or were they being burned for some other reason like spite or disease?

Auri took his time picking through the battlefield, looking for anything from arrowheads to spent spell components to track sizes and the like. Then he inspected the campsite. After all, answers and discoveries were only found by those who did the searching!
 
Last edited:

Wolf Rawrrr

Wolf-Knight
Date: October 12th (Sunday), year 3321
Location: The Frostback Mountains
Weather: Overcast, gloomy, and cold.


  • Around 12:00 h
    Somewhere in the Frostback Mountains



    They could hear the crackling of the leftover flames. The cooling of the cinders in the scorched snow. It was just that quiet. Violet was inspecting the campsite as well, working with Auri to cover more ground. When Carn announced his intention to scout from the top of the rise, the elf nodded her approval.

    Auri's investigation revealed certain things before long. There had indeed been a fight here, just like they thought. The burned remains were those of wolves - the large, grey mountain kind. But not dire wolves. Those would have been bigger still. It had to have been a small pack; six or eight, perhaps ten. Some of the remains were burned together, others isolated. Exactly where they had been slain, it seemed. No effort was made to bundle them up in a single pyre.

    "I don't understand what this is," Violet's voice rang out, puzzled. She was kneeling in the snow next to one of the wolf remains and using her knife to sift through the ashes. At about the same time, Auri noticed it as well. There were chunks of some hard, glass-like substance amid the charred bones. About the size of a sword's pommel, mostly, but broken and jagged. Viewed from the right angle, they reflected a dull, purplish gleam.

    Violet recoiled as if something struck her. She was immediately back on her feet, pointing the knife at the smoldering carcass as if she expected it to spring back to life and attack once again. "Don't touch it! Stay back!" she warned the group. "Those are... Those look like Taint crystals to me!" And the fear in her voice was very real.

    Dina did the opposite, walking up to the wolf remains that were closest to her - the same ones that Auri had been looking at, incidentally. The girl side-stepped around the large drakkar, like a curious child trying to get a better view. Meanwhile, Carn had made it about halfway up the hill when Violet grabbed his attention.
 

ParrotParfait

A White Budgerigar Chillin'
Carn Barley

- The Iron Wall -


Nothing much was going through Carn’s head other than staying alert. At the raising of Violet’s voice, Carn quickly turned in alarm, but calmed when all seemed fine. He quickly made his way down, quickly skipping down the hill while hoping all was well.

As he was nearing Violet’s location, he asked, “What happened?” As he grew closer, Carn became unsettled at Violet’s demeanor. To him, she felt like an arched, hissing cat, ready to lash out at a… corpse? Carn snapped his attention to the remains. It wasn’t apparent at first, but shards, like amethyst, were mixed in with the ashes. Gemstones weren’t Carn’s first thoughts.

“What is that?” Carn asked, but he needn’t an answer. Shards of tainted hue among the smoldering carcasses? His body stiffened as he continued to stare, the implications of their appearance sinking into his mind.
 
Last edited:

Dannigan

Kaerri's Man. =)
Supporter
Auri Grashaal the Insatiable

- Drakkar Ambassador to Asgard -


Auri did not mind at all that little Dina was trying to satisfy her curiosity by examining these Taint crystals - he had been young once too and she was but seventeen or eighteen years old; a hatchling by Drakkar standards - but if she made one move towards touching these crystals, Auri was ready to calmly pluck her up off the snow by her waist and while she dangled, ask her if she valued the wisdom of elves, of course, referring to Violet's warning. If she instead made no such move, then neither did Auri.

"Mmm," Auri mused. "Violet? What could you tell us about Taint crystals, if you please? And why would they be inside the stuff of feral canines? Placed there? Grown? Did they eat something wrong, perhaps?"
 

Wolf Rawrrr

Wolf-Knight
Reassured, perhaps, by the stillness of the wolf remains and the crystals buried within, Violet lowered her knife but kept her distance. She looked worried about Dina but at the same time paid Auri a subtle, appreciative glance. "Just don't touch the carcasses," she said to Carn as she passed him by, moving to stand left of Auri. On the right, Dina continued to stare inquisitively down at what used to be a pair of mountain wolves.

"We've only seen them once before," she began, looking worriedly at the scene. "Before we met Maggie in Dunn. Back in Raziel's temple on Sandpeak Mountain. There was this huge chamber, all wrecked and overgrown with those things. That's when Dina... When Dina got infected - merely by touching one of the crystals. And we were attacked as well. By four-legged beasts, but nothing like this..."

"The Azshari," Dina said. "That's what the Taint called them when it spoke to me."

"Right..." Violet sighed. "But those were made of rock and crystal, fairly easy to break and shatter, while these seem to have been flesh and bone somehow fused with crystal shards. I'm afraid to think that this infection could be spreading to living things," she said, wearing a grave expression.

"I don't think these are dangerous anymore," Dina descended into a crouch, but didn't yet reach out for anything.

"Don't -" Violet began, but Dina shook her head.

"No, really. I don't feel the Taint at all in these fragments. They're just dead rock now. See how dull the surface is?" She pointed out at an exposed shard. "It should normally be glowing. Like my scar does when I call upon the dark power. But there's nothing here anymore. Whatever influence the Taint held over these creatures, it died with them."

Violet took a deep breath and let it out. "I hope Aron is alright. He must have fought the wolves with the rest of the Silverthorns. They probably had no idea the danger they were in. Or..." The elf stopped to think for a few moments. "Or what lies ahead? What are the chances that this is an isolated incident?"

"If it isn't, I will be able to handle it," Dina said, looking around at her friends. "I know that you are afraid. That you want to protect me. And whether it's from sword or arrow or sorcery, I welcome your help. But when it comes to this one thing, I truly think that it is up to me to protect you. I am already infected, but I am also immune to further harm. You shouldn't take unnecessary risks. I don't know that I could persuade Ilhirel to dispense additional blessings!" she added with a slight grin.
 

ParrotParfait

A White Budgerigar Chillin'
Carn Barley

- The Iron Wall -


As Violet described the cave of shards and how Dina got blighted, a nasty picture developed in Carn’s mind. Shards of taint poking out of his scales, rooted in the marrow of his bones, Carn quietly shuddered at the possibility. What can he do if this thing somehow landed in his village or in his forest, spreading and consuming wherever it may please? It wouldn’t be too unreasonable of Carn if he distrusted Dina’s appraisal. And there was the other thing, Aron. A new plethora of worries exploded when Violet mentioned Aron. What if he was defiled by these… things? He looked at the prime example of what could go wrong as she was wrapping things up.

"If it isn't, I will be able to handle it," Dina said, looking around at her friends. "I know that you are afraid. That you want to protect me. And whether it's from sword or arrow or sorcery, I welcome your help. But when it comes to this one thing, I truly think that it is up to me to protect you.
Protect them? The furrowing of his brows gave away his thoughts. Her, protect him? Here was the person who was dying from the taint not too long ago, and not too far before that, she didn’t even have those powers. Carn let out a huff at the mention of “risk,” because if there was anything risky, it would be Dina’s inexperience with the “blessing” she so proudly flaunts. Not to mention the Sorceress, the thing Dina got was not a blessing. In the entirety of Dina's mini-speech, all of it plus the smile was a haystack too large for him to bale. He gave out an audible sigh before talking.

“We should get going since we’ve already gathered enough information.” He turned to look at the priestess before asking, “Maggie, do you have any miracles that can get rid of these crystals?” Carn stole a mistrustful look at Dina before looking back at Maggie. “We don’t know if those things can still revive or spread somehow.”
 



The smell of burning flesh hit Asher, making him hesitate going down where the others went, despite there being no obvious danger. The smell was grotesque, incomparable to a common barbecue and it filled him with unpleasant memories. After a minute he shook his head, trying to clear his thoughts and forced himself to push on and down the hill.

Weakling... Asher thought to himself, gritting his teeth.

The crystals everyone was disturbed by looked to Asher like unrefined gems, similar to an amethysts or spinel. Hearing what Dina said about them, they shouldn't be dangerous anymore, though he didn't have any good reason to believe her words.

Unable to resist, he looked for a small chunk that was nearest to him. Hoping his leather gloves would protect him, Asher waited for a chance to quickly grab one and store it, being careful not to come in direct contact with it and not to be discovered by the group.
 

Kaerri

Dannigan's Lady
Administrator
Supporter



The scent of the still-smouldering wolves turned Maggie's stomach, for some reason. Since they were animals, and all dead, she didn't see any need for her to get closer -- so she didn't, letting the others take the lead this time. The discovery of the allegedly-inert Taint crystals drew her closer at last, however. Though still not as close as Auri, Dina, and Violet, she peered from around their backs, concern clear on her face.

"Right..." Violet sighed. "But those were made of rock and crystal, fairly easy to break and shatter, while these seem to have been flesh and bone somehow fused with crystal shards. I'm afraid to think that this infection could be spreading to living things," she said, wearing a grave expression.
"We already know it does," Maggie pointed out hesitantly with a glance at Dina's arm, invisible though it was under all her layers of clothing.

"No, really. I don't feel the Taint at all in these fragments. They're just dead rock now. See how dull the surface is?" She pointed out at an exposed shard. "It should normally be glowing. Like my scar does when I call upon the dark power. But there's nothing here anymore. Whatever influence the Taint held over these creatures, it died with them."
Maggie wasn't completely reassured, but tried to look as though she was. Trust had to start somewhere, and Dina's experience was all they had to draw on. "I hope so," she replied. "Maybe the Taint was linked too deeply to them, so that it died when they did. Possibly the other way around, if there's any way to manage that." She hoped Dina took the hint of warning there -- Maggie did not in the least think the Taint was something to be taken for granted.

"If it isn't, I will be able to handle it," Dina said, looking around at her friends. "I know that you are afraid. That you want to protect me. And whether it's from sword or arrow or sorcery, I welcome your help. But when it comes to this one thing, I truly think that it is up to me to protect you. I am already infected, but I am also immune to further harm. You shouldn't take unnecessary risks. I don't know that I could persuade Ilhirel to dispense additional blessings!" she added with a slight grin.
"I don't know that any of us would want it," Maggie couldn't help saying, but she tried to soften it with a smile. "But definitely no one should take any risks if we do come across more of these. Let's try to keep them at range, if possible."

“We should get going since we’ve already gathered enough information.” He turned to look at the priestess before asking, “Maggie, do you have any miracles that can get rid of these crystals?” Carn stole a mistrustful look at Dina before looking back at Maggie. “We don’t know if those things can still revive or spread somehow.”
Doubt was not an inherent part of Maggie's personality, but since she knew so very little about these crystals to begin with, she wasn't sure what could be done to destroy them. Honesty builds trust better than false bravado, she knew, and so she admitted, "I'm not sure. I don't know much about these, and the Miracles I know tend to be intended for living things -- or once-living things -- or demons. I can try a lightning spear on it, but I think you should all stand pretty far back first in case it explodes." She paused, then added, "It's worth mentioning that the the Silverthorns have a priest of their own with them, and it doesn't look like he did anything to dispose of them. Whether he didn't know what to do either, or whether they were just in too much of a hurry, I can't say. But it's very likely he could have cast a lightning spear of his own."
 

Andei

New Member
Ingvar Sindram
- Seeker of the Maker -​


With an irrepressible smile, Ingvar admired the tenacity of the sculpted stones, the pride of the unyielding arches. This is a work of engineering that any dwarven clan would be proud to call their own, he mused. Yet that selfsame pride would leave any dwarven stonemason loath to leave such a monument behind without so much as a mark to claim it as their own craftsmanship. Every step in my journey, the Creator teaches me humility by reminding me of the limits of my own knowledge - to think even with my long years of devoted study I cannot for the love of me ascertain the origin of this structure. But the more practical dilemma would be whether it would take the weight of the company...

He was about to try taking the first careful steps on the bridge to test its weight when suddenly, all remnant of noise or chatter around him was wrung out of the air like a crushed windpipe. The hairs on his neck bristled as if trying to break free from their roots under his skin. Almost as if guided by a primal fear, his gaze looked up from the bridge at the dark shape that descended from the layer of clouds that clothed the mountain peaks and upon recognition, a soft, noiseless sigh, betrayed only by the mist of his breath, left his gaping lips.

Dragon.

Without slowing its descent, the creature swept through the sky above them like a reaper's scythe, and vanished, leaving a deathly hush in its wake. Though he remain quiet enough on the outside, the wheels were spinning furiously in Ingvar's mind.

Were we spotted? Against the snow, our company stands out, but we were not making any undue noise - it could be that the beast flew by without noticing us. However, if it is simply circling around to attack, we need to be ready to defend ourselves. If it comes to combat, it will not do to have ourselves cornered by the chasm. We need to get out of here quickly, it would be better to find a place where we can hunt on our own terms in a setting where we hold the advantage, otherwise we may find the role of hunter and hunted swiftly reversed. The question is... is that place behind us or ahead of us?

The dwarf rejoined the rest of the hunters and approached Commander Rains to give his report. 'Commander, I believe we should move,' he advised calmly. 'The chasm would prove to be disadvantageous terrain should we engage the dragon. My humble counsel is that we either retreat to more manageable terrain in pursuit of the beast, or advance over the chasm in hopes that we may give ourselves more time to prepare should it return. The bridge is well-built but old - I would advise that the company cross one man at a time while tethered to a rope.'
 

ParrotParfait

A White Budgerigar Chillin'
Carn Barley

- The Iron Wall -


Maggie’s reasoning seemed sound to Carn, but he tried finding justifications for employing the miracle. However, rather than justifications, he instead conjured arguments against the miracle’s usage. He let out a disappointed huff.

“You make a good point,” he agreed. “The priest probably would have done something about the crystals. Besides, using a miracle like that might send shards to the wind like chaff.” Carn looked out into the mountain range and frowned. “I would not want that.” As much as he hated the fact, the group couldn’t do much at the moment for various reasons, the most pressing one being that they had more important priorities to attend. He looked back at the group, and uttered in disappointment, “I don’t have any other ideas.”
 

Wolf Rawrrr

Wolf-Knight
Date: October 12th (Sunday), year 3321
Location: The Frostback Mountains
Weather: Overcast, gloomy, and cold.


  • Around 12:00 h
    Somewhere in the Frostback Mountains



    Violet frowned throughout the discussion. "The use of overly powerful magic might just powder the area with crystal dust," she reaffirmed Carn's point. "Besides, could you say with certainty that you've destroyed each and every crystal shard hidden among bone, ash, and snow? And if there is indeed still danger, who says that whatever we do won't somehow trigger an unwanted reaction? In all honesty, I'd just as soon that we leave well enough alone."

    Dina, who had been quiet and unmoving while the others talked, suddenly knelt down once again and reached for a sample of the controversial substance, perhaps in an attempt to prove her earlier point.
 
Last edited:

Users Who Are Viewing This Thread (Users: 0, Guests: 2)

Top