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ZONE - The Forbidden Halls of Clan Dimmlundar


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#21 Sephsekla

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 11:35 AM

Garandros leaned against a wall in silence.

Huo had more courage than he'd given him credit, speaking so calmly with the demon. He wasn't sure whether or not that was a good thing.

Regardless, Huo had better read carefully. Garandros would rather have the MSG's blood on his hands than a demon on the loose.

He continued his silence as the others entered the room. Best read the room before declaring his intentions.

"Binding on our souls? What do you mean...?"

Garandros growled audibly at last.

"Step back, Huo. Whatever this demon knows isn't worth unleashing its kind upon our companions."

He strode forward and put a scarred hand on the other man's shoulder.

------

Elnira sat in an alcove, papers scattered around her, as she looked for an insight into the people that had once lived here. This was an unnerving once, but an exciting one.

With a slight wince, she stood up. Sitting cross legged did not agree with her back.

"Oh no. Where did everyone go!"

Mr Whiskers hissed irritably and curled up in the very middle of the floor.

Elnira ran downstairs in a panic, almost running headfirst into Korvarl. Starting to apologise, she trailed off after seeing the stacks of papers around them, and a census in one of his hands.

"THIS IS AMAZING!" Her voice had become slightly squeaky again. Taking the census from him, she beamed widely. "This is exactly what I was looking for! Thank you!"

She kissed his cheek excitedly, and ran over to look at more papers.
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#22 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 12:33 PM

Caiden offered no comment, though he listened as Huo offered an explanation - until the demon spoke again.

The Priest glanced back at the Demon, and asked "Binding on our souls? What do you mean...?"

 

Garandros growled audibly at last, saying, "Step back, Huo. Whatever this demon knows isn't worth unleashing its kind upon our companions." He strode forward and put a scarred hand on the other man's shoulder.

 

The demon, calm as ever, said simply, "As I said, I need not be unleashed in Nidavellir, though I would gladly grant each of you a boon if you did. Returning me to the Underworld is, at this point, equally as desirable, and I will cause harm to no mortals from there. You may do that with a clean conscience. That is all I ask in return for the information I am giving you... which is far less than any other of my kin would do."

 

It turned its gaze to Huo once more. "You do not know of the binding? Are you unaware of it?" Again it arched a bony brow ridge. "I cannot tell you the nature of it, only that it is there. I sense a power hanging over each of you - the power of a binding contract. The only one present free from that binding," he pointed a long, black claw at Percula, "is her."

 

Caiden said nothing, but he did look at Percula and set his jaw.

 

It donned on the pixie once she caught that look in his eye: she had been tiny and stowed away back in the tavern, when this all started. She remembered something Caiden had told her - that he hadn't wanted her to sign the contract... Agni's contract to return Dainsleif to him, one way or another.

 

But everyone else here had signed it - and so had all the rest of the group.


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#23 Burger Warrior

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 03:02 PM

Korvarl shook his head with a heavy sigh, glancing at Valya. “We’re both lucky and unlucky, lass.” He decided. “Yer somehow not booby-trapped to death, but we’re gonna need a key. These things ain’t like nothin’ I’ve had t’break before.”

 

The sound of footsteps descending behind them prompted the dwarf to lay a hand on his weapon as he turned back toward the way he came… though he relaxed noticeably when he recognized it was just Malvolio and Allya coming to check on them. And give me paperwork. He noted silently, eyeing the sheaf of documents in the Templar’s grip. “Ah, just what I was looking forward to. Reading for the illiterate…” He muttered dryly. It was mostly a jest - he knew humans that could afford that much plate armor tended to be given some kind of education. Just not the kind that was useful when delving into old dwarf ruins.

 

Hard as it was to read by torchlight, Silvershield did his damnedest to skim the papers, grumbling at every useless document. “Bloody census-”

 

"THIS IS AMAZING!" Elnira’s voice had become slightly squeaky again as it pierced the darkness - and Korvarl’s darkening mood. He didn’t resist as she took the paper out of his hands, beaming widely. "This is exactly what I was looking for! Thank you!"

 

She kissed his cheek excitedly, and ran over to look at more papers.

 

Even under his thick beard and in the darkness, it was hard not to notice Korvarl blushing. He cleared his throat gruffly, trying his best to cover up as he looked through more of the documents… though his gaze did flicker back toward Elnira, each time bringing a small smile to his lips.

 

He’d scarcely finished reading with a small sigh of relief and a rub of his tired eyes when the Templar cut into his thoughts, however. "What do they say?" Malvolio asked. "Anything of use to us?"

 

“Surprisingly, aye.” The dwarf nodded, carefully stacking the papers again. “We’re gonna need to find King Hreidmar himself. Or rather, what’s left of him. Both th’ key to this place - an’ every vault in the city, sounds like - an’ Dainsleif are on ‘im, or at least in ‘is quarters. No point in lootin’ without snatchin’ both first.” Korvarl finished, tucking the papers under one arm. “So… unless you wanna check fer booby traps on these vaults the hard way, let’s get to ‘is palace. It’s tha’ big building in the center, or I’m six feet tall.”

 

------

 

Percula had gladly stayed by Caid as they - and Agethar and his dog - headed to the local temple in the hopes of finding the others. Halfway there Caiden’s stomach made quite a bit of a racket, and the pixie gave him a funny look; it was almost teasing as she eyed him up, though she quickly stopped before Agethar noticed, hopefully. She almost forgot he was present.

 

What they saw in the temple was noticeably scarier than Voros’s lack of lunch - it was a demon, apparently trapped in some kind of summoning circle. Saffron stared at it in unconcealed awe, though she couldn’t help but pout a little when Caiden inches in front of her, blocking her view ever-so-slightly. “H-heyyyy…!” She protested quietly, slipping around him with inhuman grace.

 

Agethar was - of course - automatically suspicious of the old blind guy, who seemed to have been talking to the monster, but Perky herself wasn’t so quick to jump to conclusions. Besides, the demon didn’t exactly seem unfriendly. Right now, anyway.

 

"May I ask to what purpose mortals such as yourselves would enter a place such as this?” The demon was asking, mostly that weird blind guy. “You spoke of those with you who fancy themselves demon slayers. I must warn you: if you came to slay demons, you should turn back. It is not myself of which I speak, but a far, far greater power. Unless you are here because of that binding upon your souls...?"

 

So polite! ...Wait, what? Bindi-

 

"I cannot tell you the nature of it, only that it is there. I sense a power hanging over each of you - the power of a binding contract. The only one present free from that binding," he pointed a long, black claw at Percula, "is her."

 

Caiden said nothing, but he did look at Percula and set his jaw.

 

It dawned on the pixie once she caught that look in his eye: she had been tiny and stowed away back in the tavern, when this all started. She remembered something Caiden had told her - that he hadn't wanted her to sign the contract... Agni's contract to return Dainsleif to him, one way or another. Now it was suddenly very clear why he’d done such a thing.

 

“...Wow, I didn’t think dwarves were weird like that.” Was the first thing that came to Percula’s mind, escaping her lips before she could even think about what she was saying. “Contract magic. Who would’ve thought?”

 

Perky shrugged to herself, wandering closer to the Huo - and the demon, as a result. “How do we banish this thing, anyway? Do I need to zap it or something?” She asked, more curious than anything, and not minding the humans in the room judging her magic. She’d cast spells in front of an Inquisitor before, after all. Venatori should be fine with it… and a weird old man who was tooootally not Gifted, too.

 

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#24 Sareth

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Posted 18 September 2017 - 05:58 PM

“We’re gonna need to find King Hreidmar himself. Or rather, what’s left of him. Both th’ key to this place - an’ every vault in the city, sounds like - an’ Dainsleif are on ‘im, or at least in ‘is quarters. No point in lootin’ without snatchin’ both first. So… unless you wanna check fer booby traps on these vaults the hard way, let’s get to ‘is palace. It’s tha’ big building in the center, or I’m six feet tall.”

 

Allya nodded assent. "And we should hurry" she said. "According to some messages I found scrawled in blood up there, a demon named Xiraloc---described as the 'eater of spirits'---haunts this place. We need to grab the sword and get out of this place before it realizes we are here."

 

***

 

“We’re both lucky and unlucky, lass. Yer somehow not booby-trapped to death, but we’re gonna need a key. These things ain’t like nothin’ I’ve had t’break before.”

 

"It was worth a try" Valya replied with a shrug. She rather doubted that the dwarfs who'd built this place had designed their traps with people like her in mind... although it was always possible that she was underestimating the paranoia of dwarfs when it came to their treasure.

 

“We’re gonna need to find King Hreidmar himself. Or rather, what’s left of him. Both th’ key to this place - an’ every vault in the city, sounds like - an’ Dainsleif are on ‘im, or at least in ‘is quarters. No point in lootin’ without snatchin’ both first. So… unless you wanna check fer booby traps on these vaults the hard way, let’s get to ‘is palace. It’s tha’ big building in the center, or I’m six feet tall.”

 

"And we should hurry. According to some messages I found scrawled in blood up there, a demon named Xiraloc---described as the 'eater of spirits'---haunts this place. We need to grab the sword and get out of this place before it realizes we are here."

 

The elf's words gave Valya a moment's pause. While part of her was raring for a good fight, another part... well, even she was not unaffected by the oppressive feeling of the city. Some deep instinct told her that there was something here entirely beyond the realm of martial prowess.

 

"Let's go then" she said simply. "And quietly" she admonished Elnira, owing to the dwarf girl's ear-piercing squeal of a minute before.

 

Drawing her sword again, she turned and headed up the stairs, leading the way to the palace.


"This means I will not have to regret sending back their envoy short a few limbs."

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#25 Dalton Westmoore

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Posted 19 September 2017 - 04:35 PM

The Templar stood quietly as the others discussed the information that they had found.

 

“We’re gonna need to find King Hreidmar himself. Or rather, what’s left of him. Both th’ key to this place - an’ every vault in the city, sounds like - an’ Dainsleif are on ‘im, or at least in ‘is quarters. No point in lootin’ without snatchin’ both first. So… unless you wanna check fer booby traps on these vaults the hard way, let’s get to ‘is palace. It’s tha’ big building in the center, or I’m six feet tall.”

 

"And we should hurry. According to some messages I found scrawled in blood up there, a demon named Xiraloc---described as the 'eater of spirits'---haunts this place. We need to grab the sword and get out of this place before it realizes we are here."

 

"Let's not waste any more time then," Malvolio said as he made for the stairwell "we need to find the others, find the sword, and get out of here."

 

---

 

 "As I said, I need not be unleashed in Nidavellir, though I would gladly grant each of you a boon if you did. Returning me to the Underworld is, at this point, equally as desirable, and I will cause harm to no mortals from there. You may do that with a clean conscience. That is all I ask in return for the information I am giving you... which is far less than any other of my kin would do. You do not know of the binding? Are you unaware of it? I cannot tell you the nature of it, only that it is there. I sense a power hanging over each of you - the power of a binding contract. The only one present free from that binding, is her."

 

 

Agethar went pale at this.

 

"What th'... do ye mean we be cursed tae find and bring that stunted hobgoblin th' sword?" 

 

He looked like he would make the sign to ward off evil, but his hands were full.

 

---

 

"Step back, Huo. Whatever this demon knows isn't worth unleashing its kind upon our companions."

 

"He has already given us helpful information," Huo said as he brushed the Venator's hand off his shoulder "if we left him here even after he helped us, how would that make us any better than him?"

 

"I cannot tell you the nature of it, only that it is there. I sense a power hanging over each of you - the power of a binding contract. The only one present free from that binding, is her."

 

...Wow, I didn’t think dwarves were weird like that. Contract magic. Who would’ve thought?

 

"This changes nothing," the Priest said "we are to get the sword and give it to Agni's clan, 'contract magic' or no."

 

"How do we banish this thing, anyway? Do I need to zap it or something?

 

"It is something that I am not familiar with," Huo said as he glanced at Perky "I know of how to deal with Yaoguai such as him, but as for summoning or banishing them..."

 

The Priest suddenly left the room, returning with something tucked under his arm.

 

"Maybe these will help us." He said, holding out the two books that had been open in the other room, trying to see if he could read anything on the pages.



#26 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 22 September 2017 - 03:44 PM

Making their way out of the district hall, Korvarl, Allya, Valya, Elnira, and Malvolio made straight for the great clanhall in the center of the city. Surprisingly, or perhaps not so surprisingly, they found absolutely no resistance in the streets as they walked through the great city. Everything was still and silent as the grave. There weren't even any signs of the demons they had heard so much tell of... and there were no signs of remains. There were no blood, no bones, no bodies anywhere. There had clearly been destruction here, but now, it was as if nothing had ever lived here at all - not even the things that had taken the lives of the dwarves who dwelt there so long ago.

 

So, naturally, the complete lack of movement and life kept them even more on edge than they would have been if a demon had walked right out in front of them.

 

It took quite a while, and by the time they reached the clanhall, their legs burned from all the walking - especially those carrying heavier equipment, like Malvolio. They paused for a brief breather before ascending the daunting set of stairs leading to the twin doors. How a dwarf was expected to get up all these stairs, they had to wonder. But given they were dwarf-sized stairs, the tall folk could ascend them quickly - which left Korvarl and Elnira in the dust, so they had to wait for them, anyway.

 

When they reached the massive doors, they found them shut. If the stairs were baffling for dwarves, these doors were even more so. How the dwarves move these, they had no idea. The handles on the doors were too high for even a tall human to reach... so Korvarl decided they could have only been operated by huge golems, long ago.

 

Looking around, they could hardly find another way in. At least, not until Korvarl - who knew to look much more closely at Dwarven stonework than did the Men present - found a rune on the wall that he recognized as one dwarves often used to hide things. Giving it a gentle tap, it glowed softly, and the stones there seemed to melt out of existence... giving way to a dwarf-sized portcullis and, behind it, a passage leading straight into the great hall. But despite the doorway sized for dwarves, the portcullis itself looked incredibly heavy... and made of deepgold.

 

It would take some truly considerable strength to move it, or else they would have to find another way in.

 

---

 

"This changes nothing," the Priest said "we are to get the sword and give it to Agni's clan, 'contract magic' or no."

 

Caiden snorted and crossed his arms. "Not like we have a choice," he commented darkly.

 

Percula then asked, "How do we banish this thing, anyway? Do I need to zap it or something?”

 

"It is something that I am not familiar with," Huo said as he glanced at Perky. "I know of how to deal with Yaoguai such as him, but as for summoning or banishing them..."

 

Huo then left the room very abruptly, and Caiden arched a brow. The huge Venator then glanced at Percula and said, "I wouldn't hit it with anything. Summoning circles tend to explode if they aren't destroyed properly."

 

Moments later, Huo returned with two books that had been open on the desk in the nearby study. One was bound in red leather and was a bit thinner, while the thicker one was bound in dark brown hide. The writing in the brown tome was consistent with the writing everywhere else in the city, so it was only natural to assume it was written in Dwarven. The other, however, was written in a much, much stranger hand, unlike anything they had seen.

 

"Maybe these will help us," he said, holding out the two books that had been open in the other room, trying to see if he could read anything on the pages.

 

Unfortunately, Huo was blind, so he couldn't read anything. Caiden, Percula, and Garandros also peered at the pages in turn, but none of them could read any of it, either. Caiden, however, rested a finger on one of the strange symbols on a page in the book bound in red leather and said, "I can't read it, but I know that's Demonic."

 

Then the demon spoke again, to the surprise of everyone. "You cannot read it?" it asked, its eyes squarely on Caiden.

 

Voros didn't seem to like that at all. "I just said that," he said flatly, turning his attention away from it once more and adding to Huo and the others, "It's not like that thing's going anywhere. We should regroup with the others. Maybe at least the dwarves can read one of these books."

 

But the abomination, calm as ever, replied, "I simply imagined that, considering the taint upon your soul, you would know at least some rudimentary Demonic... or something concerning summonings."

 

Calmly, Caiden looked at the demon again. "I don't talk to demons. But I do know you can't do anything in that circle, so you're trying to use your mouth to get us to turn against each other. It won't work, so shut up."

 

The demon shrugged. "Your allegiances with one another are no interest of mine," it said, innocent and casual. "I desire only freedom from this place. But, very well."


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#27 Dalton Westmoore

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 11:29 AM

Malvolio stared at the portcullis in front of them. 

 

It looked heavy, but they wouldn't need to open it all the way to get inside...

 

"If the strongest of us try," the Templar said "maybe we can lift this thing up high enough for the others to get by."

 

If anyone else shared his idea, Malvolio set down his torch and made his way towards the portcullis. Using all of his strength, he attempted to lift it.

 

Was it impossible? Only one way to find out...

 

---

 

"I don't talk to demons. But I do know you can't do anything in that circle, so you're trying to use your mouth to get us to turn against each other. It won't work, so shut up."

 

"Amen to that," Agethar said as he sheathed his axes "we should leave this...thing here tae rot and git on tae the middle o' th' city."

 

He then promptly left the building, followed by Maugrimm and anyone else who shared his sentiment.

 

---

 

"I can't read it, but I know that's Demonic."

 

"You cannot read it?"

 

 "I just said that. It's not like that thing's going anywhere. We should regroup with the others. Maybe at least the dwarves can read one of these books."

 

"I simply imagined that, considering the taint upon your soul, you would know at least some rudimentary Demonic... or something concerning summonings."

 

 "I don't talk to demons. But I do know you can't do anything in that circle, so you're trying to use your mouth to get us to turn against each other. It won't work, so shut up."

 

The Blind Priest looked grim as pocketed the books: the Yaoguai had confirmed what he had already seen. The Venator, Caiden Voros, was some sort of half-demon, either born that way or otherwise.

 

He breifly thought about asking the creature if it could read, but that did not seem like the best course of action.

 

"Your allegiances with one another are no interest of mine, I desire only freedom from this place. But, very well."

 

"Could we not simply destroy the ring?" Huo suggested.

 

As everyone stared at him, he continued "I am a Priest of Zhurong, and have some experience with this. If we destroyed the ring, there would be fallout, yes, but would the Yaoguai's corporeal form simply be destroyed in the explosion or freed?"



#28 Sareth

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 12:29 PM

Valya appraised the portcullis that barred their way. Heavy, but perhaps...

 

"If the strongest of us try, maybe we can lift this thing up high enough for the others to get by."

 

She gave the templar a silent nod of agreement, sheathing her sword. Stepping forwards beside him, she crouched low to grab the gate, so she could use her legs as well as her arms to lift. Tensing her muscles, she then exerted her full, considerable strength towards lifting the golden bars.

 

***

 

Meanwhile, Allya looked around the front of the building, in case there were any other possible entrances that they had missed.

 

Or, if Valya and Malvolio could not lift the gate themselves, then perhaps with another strong person or two---like that Venator, Caiden... She hoped the others would catch up soon.


"This means I will not have to regret sending back their envoy short a few limbs."

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#29 Burger Warrior

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Posted 23 September 2017 - 01:48 PM

"If the strongest of us try," Malvolio figured, "maybe we can lift this thing up high enough for the others to get by."

 

Before Korvarl could point out that that was insane, given he was talking about a portcullis - and one made of deepgold at that - Valya gave the Templar a silent nod of agreement, sheathing her sword. The dwarf’s jaw went slightly slack as she stepped forward beside him, crouching low to grab the gate and using her legs as well as her arms to lift. Tensing her muscles, she exerted her full, considerable strength towards lifting the golden bars.

 

Grumbling into his beard, Silvershield trundled over and added his own muscle, arms straining with the effort. “May as well give ye a ‘and…” He mumbled, though he knew once - well, if - they lifted it past him there’d be nothing for the dwarf to do but move on.

 

Or stick around, if Elnira so wished it.

 

-----

 

As Huo hunted for something that could help them, Caiden imparted some wisdom to Percula; "I wouldn't hit it with anything. Summoning circles tend to explode if they aren't destroyed properly."

 

“...Oh.” The pixie deflated slightly. “Damn.”

 

Much to everyone’s surprise, the blind man managed to locate books. Well, Perky knew he was Gifted, so it wasn’t terrifically surprising, but she was starting to wonder how no one else noticed he had some kind of unnatural way of seeing things. Then again, she didn’t know anyone could be blind until she met Huo. Maybe it was just a rare thing.

 

...Heh, rarer than mages. Heehee…

 

At any rate, they poured over the books, though inevitably it was realized that no one could read. At least, not dwarven and, as Caiden pointed out, demonic.

 

Then the demon spoke again, to the surprise of everyone. "You cannot read it?" it asked, its eyes squarely on Caiden.

 

Percula bristled noticeably as Voros replied."I just said that," he said flatly, turning his attention away from it once more and adding to Huo and the others, "It's not like that thing's going anywhere. We should regroup with the others. Maybe at least the dwarves can read one of these books."

 

But the abomination, calm as ever, replied, "I simply imagined that, considering the taint upon your soul, you would know at least some rudimentary Demonic... or something concerning summonings."

 

Calmly, Caiden looked at the demon again. "I don't talk to demons. But I do know you can't do anything in that circle, so you're trying to use your mouth to get us to turn against each other. It won't work, so shut up."

 

The demon faked innocence, but Perky sincerely wished she could freeze it and then explode it into a million little pieces. Agethar cut in, though, and not in a way the pixie expected - but in a way she agreed with, nonetheless.

 

"Amen to that," Agethar said as he sheathed his axes, "we should leave this...thing here tae rot and git on tae the middle o' th' city."

 

"Could we not simply destroy the ring?" Huo suggested, seeming quite firm in helping this monster. Percula frowned at the blind guy, her standing with him falling a few feet. Below ground.

 

He went on about being a priest and knowing how to destroy summoning circles and what-not, but Saffron simply walked right in front of him. “Just leave it.” She told him, her tone the most serious it had been so far. It was all but an unspoken threat that if he didn’t, there would be consequences.

 

Returning to Caid’s side, she nudged him. “Let’s get going.” Perky mumbled, eyeing the demon distrustfully. To think, she’d once wondered why everyone disliked such creatures...

 

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#30 Sephsekla

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Posted 25 September 2017 - 12:42 AM

"If the strongest of us try," Malvolio figured, "maybe we can lift this thing up high enough for the others to get by."

Elnira watched awkwardly as the others strained to lift, before brightening.

"I'll keep watch!" She declared in what she assumed to be an authoritative voice. She scooped Mr Whiskers up into her arms and stood facing away from the others.

-----

The abomination, calm as ever, replied, "I simply imagined that, considering the taint upon your soul, you would know at least some rudimentary Demonic... or something concerning summonings."

Garandros' remaining eye narrowed as he took in Caiden's deflective answer. There was something going on here, and he didn't like secrets. Other people's, anyway.

He stayed where he was as Agethar left. No way he was leaving any of the others with the demon. Particularly not the priest.

"Could we not simply destroy the ring?" Huo suggested, following up with an explanation.

Just leave it. This was Percula.

Garandros nodded in agreement.

"For a man with 'experience' you seem unsure, priest." He gestured to the ring. "It's contained the demon for this long. Besides, what boon could this creature possibly offer that we would want?"
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#31 Dalton Westmoore

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Posted 26 September 2017 - 12:28 PM

"For a man with 'experience' you seem unsure, priest. It's contained the demon for this long. Besides, what boon could this creature possibly offer that we would want?

 

"Maybe you misheard him when he told us of Dainsleif's location! Maybe the boon was that he would guide us to where the damn thing is!" Huo snapped, the irritation he felt towards the other finally breaking out.

 

There was a brief pause, during which it looked like the priest was going to attack the Venator.

 

Huo calmed himself before continuing "I am a man of my word; I gave my word that I would free him in exchange for the information he gave us, and I am not willing to break my word because of what he is or what he might do to us."

 



#32 Burger Warrior

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 01:53 PM

"For a man with 'experience' you seem unsure, priest. It's contained the demon for this long. Besides, what boon could this creature possibly offer that we would want?" Garandros pointed out.

 

"Maybe you misheard him when he told us of Dainsleif's location! Maybe the boon was that he would guide us to where the damn thing is!" Huo snapped back, the irritation he felt towards them quite clearly showing.

 

There was a brief pause, during which it looked like the priest was going to attack the gruff man. Percula frowned, the room starting to grow perceptibly chilly as she prepared for what might transpire.

 

Huo calmed himself, however, before continuing. "I am a man of my word; I gave my word that I would free him in exchange for the information he gave us, and I am not willing to break my word because of what he is or what he might do to us."

 

“...It’s a demon.” Perky found herself saying. Yeesh. I can still remember when I was as naive as he is about these things. “If you let it out, someone is gonna die. I’m not gonna let you risk us doing the dying.”

 

The room had definitely grown colder as Percula simply pointed at Huo, her mouth an unusually stern line as she all but dared Huo to make a move. It was rather blatantly obvious one of the two of them was Gifted. I’m gonna freeze him solid if he doesn’t leave that thing alone.


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#33 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 27 September 2017 - 07:37 PM

Malvolio, Korvarl, and Valya all moved forward to try and lift the portcullis together - but the only person who could rightly fit into the dwarf-sized doorway to reach it was Korvarl. Valya had to crouch, Malvolio had to stoop, and the hall was too narrow for all three to stand in it at once, side-by-side.

 

So each one tried it individually. Malvolio could not budge the golden gate, and neither could Korvarl. But by a positively Herculean effort, despite being crunched into an awkward position while doing so, Valya managed to lift the gate - but it wasn't by much. She could barely hold it open long enough for someone to slip through. Her first effort ended with her lifting it, holding it a second or two, and then being forced to drop it again unceremoniously.

 

But she could lift it just enough for someone small to slip through, perhaps - someone like a dwarf or a smaller human or elf... However, she could only hold it up long enough for one person to get under, or else she would risk dropping it while a second person crawled through.

 

Meanwhile, since he wisely left the others behind in the temple, Agethar showed up at the clanhall, with Maugrimm trotting nervously by his side. He found Elnira standing watch off to one side of the building, while Allya checked for other ways in.

 

And, upon giving the building closer inspection, she found a few things of interest...

 

First of all, there were some windows that could potentially be reachable if someone had some form of weighted rope to throw up there and then climb through them - or some other means of propelling oneself up to them. Those windows had been partially destroyed long ago, and what were once slats for arrows had become gaping holes, large enough for a man to climb through, but unreachable from the ground.

 

Secondly, she saw a set of grates leading into some kind of complex pipe system running under the clanhall - but the pipes were small, so larger folk would be unable to fit.

 

---

 

"Could we not simply destroy the ring?" Huo suggested. "I am a Priest of Zhurong, and have some experience with this. If we destroyed the ring, there would be fallout, yes, but would the Yaoguai's corporeal form simply be destroyed in the explosion or freed?"

 

Caiden stood in silence as Percula and Garandros both gave their answers: “Just leave it.” "For a man with 'experience' you seem unsure, priest. It's contained the demon for this long. Besides, what boon could this creature possibly offer that we would want?"

 

Percula, however, returned to Caiden's side and gave him a nudge, suggesting that they get going - while eyeing the demon with suspicion. Caiden just gave a nod, about to lead the way when Huo retorted to Garandros...

"Maybe you misheard him when he told us of Dainsleif's location! Maybe the boon was that he would guide us to where the damn thing is!" Huo snapped. That got Caiden to turn around, though he remained silent as ever. His eye narrowed briefly when he saw Huo's decidedly aggressive stance - and when Percula apparently noticed as well, as the room began to grow noticeably colder.

Huo calmed himself, however, before continuing. "I am a man of my word; I gave my word that I would free him in exchange for the information he gave us, and I am not willing to break my word because of what he is or what he might do to us."

“...It’s a demon.” Percula said. “If you let it out, someone is gonna die. I’m not gonna let you risk us doing the dying.”

 

She stood there, pointing at him, daring him to make a move, the room now undeniably colder. Standing in his circle, the demon said nothing, watching in silence. Caiden shot it a glance and furrowed his brow as he stepped forward - though he noticeably stayed out of Percula's path, standing by her side instead. But he faced Huo, looking the priest in his blind eyes.

 

"Us fighting over it is exactly what it wants," Caiden said. It was clear from his tone he was looking to avoid any fights, but it was clear from his stance that, if it came down to one, he would back every word Percula had already spoken. "Your word is worth nothing to a demon. Whatever boon it's promising, sooner or later, will blow up in your face. Just leave it here and let's go find the others."

 

"I have willingly given you aid already," the demon said, perhaps a bit quietly, "and received nothing in return. All I ask is my freedom - it is nothing more than any of you would desire, if you had lingered in this dreadful place as long as I have. I swear I will cause none of you any harm if you grant me this."


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#34 Sareth

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 12:59 PM

Valya looked at the gate for a moment more while she rested her arms. Even with her great strength, lifting it had been an immense effort.

 

Then she turned back to the others. "I can hold it long enough to get one of you smaller ones through at a time" she said, looking at the dwarfs and the slender elf.

 

***

 

"I can hold it long enough to get one of you smaller ones through at a time."

 

"Or there is a pipe that seems to lead inside, but I think only you two"---she looked at Korvarl and Elnira---"could fit through it."

 

She paused, and frowned. "Either way, whoever goes through would be on their own, without our best fighters. I do not think we should split up like that."

 

"Alternately, there is a broken window over there that all of us might fit through"---she gestured---"but... does anyone have a rope?"


"This means I will not have to regret sending back their envoy short a few limbs."

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#35 Dalton Westmoore

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Posted 28 September 2017 - 02:23 PM

Agethar glanced at the clan-hall, before making his way towards the others.

 

As he drew closer to the group, he heard them discussing what they should do next:

 

"I can hold it long enough to get one of you smaller ones through at a time."

 

"Or there is a pipe that seems to lead inside, but I think only you two could fit through it. Either way, whoever goes through would be on their own, without our best fighters. I do not think we should split up like that. Alternately, there is a broken window over there that all of us might fit through but... does anyone have a rope?"

 

"Mebbe we should send one each way," Agethar suggested "as fer rope, mebbe we can search in one o' these buildings fer it."

 

Malvolio nodded at this, and, after picking up his torch, began to make his way down the stairs so he could search the nearby buildings for rope.

 

Unless, of course, someone else in the group had any.

 

---

 

“...It’s a demonIf you let it out, someone is gonna die. I’m not gonna let you risk us doing the dying.”

 

This remark irritated the Priest once more, as it was obviously hypocritical as they had their own demon in the group already. It did nothing to help that the elf gave away the fact that she was a mage, as the air grew cold around her...

 

...only for the air to grow warm, as Huo looked like he was radiating anger.

 

It looked like a mage duel was about to commence, however, Caiden spoke up:

 

"Us fighting over it is exactly what it wants, your word is worth nothing to a demon. Whatever boon it's promising, sooner or later, will blow up in your face. Just leave it here and let's go find the others."

 

The Priest seemed to calm at this, the heat leaving the air only to be replaced by the elf's cold wind.

 

"I'm...sorry," he began "I-."

 

"I have willingly given you aid already, and received nothing in return. All I ask is my freedom - it is nothing more than any of you would desire, if you had lingered in this dreadful place as long as I have. I swear I will cause none of you any harm if you grant me this."

 

"Didn't you hear him?" Huo said with a bitter laugh as he made his way towards the door "Apparently, my word means nothing to you."

 

However, before he left the temple to meet up with the rest of the group, he glanced back at the demon and said something in eastern.

 

The others had no idea what it meant, but if the demon had any knowledge of the eastern tongue, it knew that the priest pay the temple one more visit before they left the cursed city.

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 

 



#36 Burger Warrior

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Posted 01 October 2017 - 10:53 AM

Korvarl frowned as, in the end, it was Valya who got the gate to lift. Muttering into his beard, he watched her finally set it down, addressing himself and Elnira.

 

"I can hold it long enough to get one of you smaller ones through at a time." She explained.

 

Silvershield set his jaw. “I ain’t leavin’ Elnira alone out here.” He decided, looking around. “There ought ta be another way…”

 

"There is a pipe that seems to lead inside, but I think only you two"---the elf spook up looking at Korvarl and Elnira---"could fit through it."

 

She paused, and frowned. "Either way, whoever goes through would be on their own, without our best fighters. I do not think we should split up like that."

 

Silvershield frowned right back, crossing his arms. “Ah’m a pretty damn good fighter, lass. Elnira an’ I’ll be fine. We c’n find a way ta open the gate from inside, no trouble.” He decided, ignoring her window option. Anyone wearing armor was going to have trouble getting up there, and Korvarl had no wish to go leaving the ground climbing places.

 

“What d’ya think, lass?” Silvershield turned to Elnira, searching her eyes for an answer. He was loathe to leave her, and as unpleasant as crawling in a pipe was… it was an option to proceed and prevent them from being separated.

 

-----

 

Percula stood there, pointing at Huo, daring him to make a move, the room now undeniably colder. Standing in his circle, the demon said nothing, watching in silence. Her remarks had evidently irritated the priest, as the air grew warmer, undoubtedly from Huo’s Gift. For a brief moment, Saffron wished there was an inquisitor with them.

 

In lieu of that, Caiden stepped forward - though he noticeably stayed out of Percula's path, standing by her side instead. But he faced Huo, looking the priest in his blind eyes.

 

"Us fighting over it is exactly what it wants," Caiden said. It was clear from his tone he was looking to avoid any fights, but it was clear from his stance that, if it came down to one, he would back every word Percula had already spoken. "Your word is worth nothing to a demon. Whatever boon it's promising, sooner or later, will blow up in your face. Just leave it here and let's go find the others."

 

And that was that.

 

"I'm...sorry," Huo began to say, "I-"

 

"I have willingly given you aid already," the demon said, perhaps a bit quietly, "and received nothing in return. Blah blah blah blah blahblah - blah blah blahblah blah blah blah blah blah blahblah…”

 

Percula naturally shut the demon’s voice out before it could get to her, though she finally cooled down with the magic. Caid, as usual, knew what was best. The pixie shot him a brief, thankful little smile for his support before she began to follow him out, pointedly ignoring Huo’s bitter laugh as he followed.

 

She couldn’t help but catch the man speaking in a language she’d never heard before, though, and Saffron snuck a peek behind her. Yeah, of course he’s still talking to it. Ugh…

 

Shaking her head, Perky stayed close to Caiden as they made their way out of the damned temple. “Welp, guess it’s about time we found where everyone else went…” She sighed, keeping an eye out.


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#37 Sephsekla

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Posted 09 October 2017 - 12:01 PM

Elnira looked cautiously at the pipe entrance.

"I'm sure we'll be fine.." she squeaked slightly more nervously than she intended. "But you'll have to look after Mr Whiskers."

She held out the slightly nonplussed looking cat to Valya.

------

Welp, guess its about time we found where everyone else went

Garandros rubbed the scar on his face irritably.

"Hopefully keeping away from this kind of trouble. I'm not optimistic."

He was speaking to Percula, but his focus remained in Huo, in his peripheral vision. The man was not to be trusted.
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#38 Maverick-Werewolf

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Posted 12 October 2017 - 05:18 PM

Shaking her head, Perky stayed close to Caiden as they made their way out of the damned temple. “Welp, guess it’s about time we found where everyone else went…” She sighed, keeping an eye out.

 

Caiden nodded. When Huo said something more to the demon in a language none of them could understand, Caiden made an odd noise low in his throat and glanced at Percula again.

 

"He's not very subtle," the Venator muttered to Percula under his breath.

 

"Hopefully keeping away from this kind of trouble," said Garandros, in response to Percula, as he joined them. "I'm not optimistic."

 

Caiden, in an unsurprising gesture, simply nodded in agreement.

 

---

 

Agethar and Malvolio searched around in some nearby buildings for rope, but they could find nothing of the sort.

 

Korvarl and Elnira, meanwhile, prepared to enter the pipe system. Elnira attempted to pass Mr. Whiskers off to Valya, but the cat was decidedly not in favor of that option, as he hissed and squirmed out of Elnira's hands the moment he was thrust in Valya's direction. He landed on his feet and padded over near Allya instead, fluffed up and flustered and eying Valya cautiously.

 

But the dwarves entered the pipe, one after another - with Korvarl in the lead, of course...

 

Meanwhile, Caiden, Percula, Garandros, and Huo arrived from the temple, just as the dwarves entered the pipe.

 

---

 

Korval and Elnira crawled through the dismal, narrow pipes deep into the underbelly of the clanhall. Once or twice, they nearly got lost - not that they had any real idea of where they were going. Eventually, however, they found an exit into what seemed to be an old, abandoned bathhouse in the clanhall. Climbing out, they made their way to the main entrance, passing by many empty, lifeless, once-beautiful rooms and down matching halls... but Elnira, looking around for anything else of interest about this ancient civilization, was surprised to see that most all the rooms seemed pick clean of anything remotely valuable. The clanhall was even barer than the buildings outside.

 

Upon reaching the entrance, however, they found that the giant doors had no mechanism to operate them. On either side of the entrance stood massive, towering golems as high as the great doors themselves - but they were still and devoid of magic, their stone would-be faces smashed and any sign of the runes that powered them was smashed with it.

 

However, they managed to find the golden portcullis again, and Korvarl located a winch to raise the gate. Lifting it, Elnira went under and informed the others of their means inside. They had to enter one-by-one, as narrow as the passage was, and Percula was afraid Caiden was going to get stuck.

 

But, soon enough, everyone stood in the middle of the clanhall... the great, empty, silent clanhall. There were some smashed-open doors at the top of two staircases on either side of the massive room, but searching the upstairs revealed nothing of interest. Just like the rooms Elnira had looked around in before, every inch of this place had been looted.

 

That only left one more way to go... down.

 

Korvarl led the way down some interior halls, his knowledge of Dwarven craftsmanship making it easy for him to figure out where the vaults would be located. The opening to the vaults was smashed open, as well, leaving what was once a great door as little more than a pile of dust and rubble. Everyone stepped around the debris and descended a long, deep, spiral staircase leading straight into the bowels of the clanhall... far beneath even Nidavellir itself. Apparently, this was where Clan Dimmlundar saw fit to keep their greatest treasures.

 

With every step they took deeper into the vaults, the sense of evil that had fallen over them the moment they first set foot in the Forbidden Halls grew even stronger. It was steadily becoming almost overwhelming. The smell of brimstone began to hang in the air as if they descended into a volcano.

 

And the staircase ended with an opening into a massive room with a surprisingly high ceiling, crafted of fine stone and lined with glimmering golden runes engraved into the walls...

 

Laying in the middle of the floor in that great room was a demon.

 

It was no small demon. It made the demon trapped in the temple almost look like a man. This demon was gargantuan, larger than anything any of them had ever seen. It looked almost like a giant cobra - a cobra was hellish red skin instead of snake scales, and a hood covered in horns, with massive fangs protruding from its upper jaw at all times. His enormous coils spread across and snaked around the entire room. His eyes were shut, and he slept in utter silence - the only means of knowing he still lived was the waft and stink of his breath.

 

Those among them educated in demons ((Divine or Forbidden Lore)) knew immediately what this was. This was a demon of Malice... and one of almost godlike power. There was no possible way they could currently defeat an abomination such as this.

 

The evil in this room hung so thick it was almost hard to think. It sent shivers up their spines, left sweat on their faces, clouded their minds, and caused them to tremble in fear. It almost made them feel sick... and the horrible, stifling stench of pure sulfur didn't at all help. It was enough to make almost anyone want to heave up their entire stomach.

 

But, behind this slumbering demon, they saw light glinting off what could only be treasure, lighting the room behind the demon in a lustrous, golden glow... it must have been mountains and mountains of treasure, possibly putting to shame the hoard of even the greatest of dragons. And, perhaps, it even held Dainsleif, along with the keys to every other vault in the city.

 

There was, however, no means of getting around the demon. At least... not without waking him.


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#39 Sareth

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 08:04 AM

“Ah’m a pretty damn good fighter, lass. Elnira an’ I’ll be fine. We c’n find a way ta open the gate from inside, no trouble. What d’ya think, lass?”

 

"I'm sure we'll be fine.."

 

"<Spirits preserve us from the bravery of lovestruck dwarfs>" Allya muttered in her native elvish, as the pair prepared to head into the drain.

 

As Elnira's cat retreated over to her, away from the large northwoman the dwarf had tried to hand it off to, Allya kneeled down to scratch it behind the ears, reaching out with her abilities to soothe the plump feline's spirit.

 

Despite her worries, Korvarl and Elnira managed to make their way back to the gate, opening it from the inside. And the others had rejoined them, so at least they would be going in in force. For whatever difference that would make...

 

But as they made their way into the clanhall, through the eerily empty rooms and then down, down, ever farther below the surface, her disquiet redoubled again and again, matching the growth in strength of that black, malevolent aura. And then the staircase ended, opening up into a massive room, and she froze, heart dropping clean out of her chest.

 

"Apophi..." she whispered, the blood draining from her already-pale features, leaving her as white as a ghost.

 

The demon of Malice before them was immense, a being of God-like power. It's eyes were closed, and it breathed slowly and steadily... asleep. "Xiraloc sleeps here" she muttered softly, remembering the hysterical blood-written messages she had found. Somehow, she had hoped that whatever demon had written that had been exaggerating, whether intentionally or as a simple result of insane fanaticism. That hope was utterly shattered at the sight of the monster.

 

She turned to the others, the words coming out in a hiss as urgency fought with the need to stay quiet: "We have to leave, now. This thing... even a legion of your Templar would scarcely stand a chance" she said---the latter comment addressed mostly to Malvolio. "Forget the sword, let us just turn around and go, before it wakes up."

 

***

 

As much as she wanted to argue, Valya couldn't help but consider the elf's words as she took in the thing before them. She would fight any foe, but even she had to wonder if a creature like that could be fought, as she glanced at her sword, and then back at the demon. Although large, compared to that monstrosity her weapon might as well have been a knitting needle.

 

She had never run from a fight in her life, and if the others chose to fight she would gladly join them. But in that place, surrounded by that hellish scent and gloom, some small, long forgotten part of her wondered if, perhaps just this once, discretion might be the better part of valor.


"This means I will not have to regret sending back their envoy short a few limbs."

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#40 Dalton Westmoore

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Posted 13 October 2017 - 12:45 PM

Agethar almost turned tail and ran at the sight of the enormous, snakelike demon that blocked their passage, his axes almost slipping from his nerveless hands. However, he did have the good sense not to drop them, as the noise surely would have caused the beast to awaken Maugrimm had refused to go down the stairs leading to this room, and they had been forced to leave him to guard it.

 

Now he understood why.

 

"We have to leave, now. This thing... even a legion of your Templar would scarcely stand a chance, forget the sword, let us just turn around and go, before it wakes up."

 

"We cannae, as much as I want tae," the Venator hissed back, for once in his life speaking quietly "we found out somethin' about th' nature o' this mission. The contract Agni had us sign...it has some sort o' power that'll force us tae git th' blasted thing, come hell or 'igh water."

 

---

 

Malvolio had never faced such raw, unparalleled evil before in his life. It made the demons that he had face before, even the one that had scarred his face, paled in comparison to the Demon of Malice that blocked their path. As he beheld the giant serpent, there was no doubt in his mind that this creature could kill them all with the greatest of ease, and it was fortunate that they had encountered it while it lay sleeping. That last thought triggered a memory in the Templar's mind, even amidst the overwhelming...well, malice of the creature:

 

This had to be Xiraloc, the Eater of Souls.

 

 "We have to leave, now. This thing... even a legionnof your Templar would scarcely stand a chance, forget the sword, let us just turn around and go, before it wakes up."

 

"We need do, is to discuss this elsewhere." the Templar whispered coldy as he made his way towards the stairs leading back to safety.

 

 

No need for the Demon to wake up and eat them all while they were arguing about what to do next.

 

---

 

Huo could do little but clutch the beads around his neck and off up a silent prayer to Zhurong that the enormous demon would not wake up and devour them all.

 

He had seen the souls of demons and their ilk on this trip - the twisted and corrupted soul of the Venator, what he could see of the Demon from the Temple - but trying to compare them to this...this thing was like trying to compare a puddle to an ocean.

 

If the others chose to lead, Huo would bring up the rear, ready to roast the Demon alive if it should wake.

 





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