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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 Yesterday, 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 Yesterday, 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 Yesterday, 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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