Private Tales Broken Compacts

A private roleplay only for those invited by the first writer

Órlaith

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Órlaith ate very little. She really had no idea how long these tunnels were, how long the journey through the mountains would be and if they made it, how long it would be until they found food. She was used to going hungry and she could manage on little bites here and there.

She stuck close to him in the dark, her mind causing the shadows to move and form shapes that weren't there. Hours passed, and the tunnel began to widen, more of those runes carved into it's smooth walls, the air was warmer, and a faint blue light shone up ahead. Órlaith paused and turned to look up at him in wonderment.
 
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Cal

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As they continued to walk the walls around them became more and more decorative. Grand runes and mosaics carved into the stone, stalactites turning to pillars, and huge chambers echoing out.

Blue light cast out from ahead, and Cal glanced at Orlaith with a shrug over his shoulder.

He had no answers for what they would find down here, no knowledge of what the dwarves or any of their Kin might have left behind for them to see. Cal ran a finger over his dagger and the whip beside it, checking it was there just in case.

Then they continued on.

Before long the blue light became more clear, gigantic chandeliers that hung from the ceiling casting a beautiful pale glow over the hall.

They were spaced out perfectly, leading on for what seemed like near a mile until another massive gate stopped their travel. Before it lay dozens of statues, each one arrayed in a pair. They resembled humans, though were stockier, and their armor far more ornate than anything Cal had ever seen.

A quiet breath left Cal as he took in the sight, not quite believing what he was seeing.
 
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Órlaith

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Her breath caught in her throat as they looked out over the vast chamber, her eyes and mind unable to take it in. She stepped up onto the dias of rock, her lips parting as she stared in disbelief at the sight..

"Dwarves..Did this?.." she asked incredulously and looked back at him. "Are they giants..Gods??.." she added with a gentle frown. Of course, she'd never seen one, she hadn't quite known what to expect, but something this enormous could surely not have been created by human hands.
 
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Cal

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Cal stared for a brief few moments, letting out a chuckle as Orlaith asked her questions. His head shook for a moment, and he grinned at her. "No, they're actually very short."

Though that hardly took away from their craftsmanship.

The statues were of a quality men could only dream of. There was detail, intricacies. A sculptor from Rhagos could work on a piece of art for a lifetime and it would not be as grand as any of these. Cal stared in wonderment for a moment, then gently reached out and grasped Orlaith's hand.

"Come on." He said softly. "We're gonna have to get past that gate."

Though he had absolutely no idea how.

The thing was gigantic, running the length of the tunnel and sealing off the other end almost entirely. By the time they reached it the scope of the door became clear. One could fit a dozen men stacked atop one another and still not clear it's height.

Carved upon the great doors was a depiction of a city, small crystals embedded throughout as though a shining night glittering above.
 
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Órlaith

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Short?.. She blinked "Oh."

It was a long way to the other side of the great hall, and Órlaith continued to gaze around in amazement. Her head tilted back to gaze up at the doors. "They're so beautiful.." she gasped in wonderment, gripping onto him to contain her excitement for a moment as she studied the intricate designs. Her eyes teared.

"How do we get through these ones?.." she wondered aloud, seeing no possible way to open them. She let go of Cal to wander up the few steps before the doors, and reached a hand out to press against them.
 
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Cal

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A sound roared through the caverns, like a great stone beginning to fall, or something unseen turning somewhere.

Cal was about to marvel at the fact that Orlaith had somehow opened the door with just a press of her hand, make a quip about her not knowing her own strength. Yet as the sound subsided the doors did not open. Instead the gems seemed to shift and change.

Dozens of colors flickered over them, a run of reds, blues, greens, and a dozen more than Cal couldn't have named even if he'd tried.

He took a step back, watching it for a moment as from the gems descended a light. It seemed to cast down through the mosaic of the city, until it eventually reached the base of the center of the doors. There something shifted, a stone falling away, and in it's place was left an open gap.

Cal looked at it wearily, glancing towards Orlaith.

The gap was large enough to fit a hand inside, perhaps a little more, but not large enough to pass through. "A key, maybe?"

He said quietly.
 
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Órlaith

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Órlaith flinched a little at the sound, and stepped backwards away from the door as it ground and rumbled, watching open-mouthed as the stones moved, casting the kaleidoscope of light through the massive chamber. Her arm snaked around Cal's, pulling herself against him as she watched in awe before returning his glance.

"I.. I don't know." her head shook. "Where would we find a key?" she frowned and looked back at the door, letting go of Cal to go and inspect it a little closer.

Her gaze narrowed as she stared at the gap, and she bit down on her lip, hesitantly reaching her hand toward it, and into it, unsure what exactly she was looking for.
 
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Cal

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"Orlaith wa-" The words died in his throat.

As soon as her hand slipped passed the small keyhole two small doors slammed shut around her wrist. They grasped and held onto her, not tight enough to hurt or harm, but keeping her hand there as a panel came up against her palm.

There was a flash of bright light, the gems sparkling once again.

Cal rushed up and over to her, his hand coming up to gently wrap around her arm. He gave a soft pull, panicking, already knowing it wouldn't do much. "Hang on I'll ge-"

Again he was rudely interrupted, the words cut off as Orlaith would feel a prick against the flat of her palm. A symbol pressed into her palm, and then the tiny stone get that held her hand in place slid open and released her.

Another second passed, and then suddenly the earth rumbled as the gates began to open.
 

Órlaith

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Órlaith's breath caught in her throat as she drew in a gasp when she pulled back and found her hand trapped. "Cal!" But he was already there, and he was panicking too. Dread washed over her.

Was her hand the payment?

She could feel something press against her palm, and she winced as she felt something pierce her skin.. "Shit shit shi--" she pulled and pulled until her hand was suddenly freed and she pulled it against her, against her pounding heart and she threw herself against Cal's chest let out a few shuddered breaths in relief.

The ground trembled, and the sound of scraping stone drew her gaze up at the doors, her gaze wide as they started to open. Still, she stuck to him, her hands curled into fists and sandwiched between them, as though the door might suddenly reach out and hack them off. She could feel the slight throb on her palm and knew something had punctured her skin. Her eyes closed with a silent prayer that she hadn't just been poisoned, that the drop of blood had been enough payment to pass.

Slowly, she slipped the hand out from between them and uncurled her fingers to frown at the imprinted symbol and the ruby bead of blood before she turned her attention to what lay beyond the opening gates.
 
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Cal

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Cal held her close, arms wrapped tight around her, squeezing her gently. "You're alright."

He said softly, whispering into her hair and grasping her tightly. His arms folded in an embrace, his eyes closing as he kissed the top of her head.

"You're okay." He looked down at her for a moment as she pulled back slightly, her hand coming up to display the odd symbol now placed upon her palm. It was a small wound, carved by the finest knife. He could already tell that it would heal well, not deep enough to leave any real scar or cause permanent damage.

Just what it was for though he had no idea.

His lips thinned and he was about to speak up as he turned to look towards the now open gate.

Whatever he was about to say instantly seemed to die on his tongue, eyes bulging as he saw an entire city laid about before them. Massive buildings not constructed of stone, but carved from rock. No edges, no corners, but an artistry of architecture that no man would have been capable of.

The city seemed to stretch out into a massive cavern, at the center of it all a massive spire of what seemed like glass encasing a constant flow of red hot magma.
 
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Órlaith

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Her breathing slowly calmed within his embrace, with his assurances and kisses. She was alright.. Calm down, she told herself with a few steady breaths.

Her mouth fell open and her hazel eyes widened on the city ahead, her grip on Cal tightening a little. Cities generally meant people, people didn't generally like her sort. But, it wasn't Rhagos. It was more beautiful than anything she'd ever seen, all hidden away underneath the mountains.

"Is that, where the dwarves live?.." she asked, not taking her eyes off of it for a moment. With a city so large she expected to hear it, see movement, but it seemed deserted. "I don't see anyone." her head shook slowly, and her grip loosened to slide her hand into his and give him a gentle tug through the opened gates.
 
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Cal

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Cal followed along, still somewhat aghast at the sight that was set before them. "I-I think so."

He said softly as they stepped through the gate.

Almost the moment that they passed the threshold the ground began to softly quake again. He looked back, watching as the massive stone gates fell from their place within the wall and began to shut behind them. He marveled, though found himself tugged forward by Orlaith.

"I think..." His head turned, glancing around at the buildings before him.

He saw the subtle signs there.

Small scorch marks on the wall, cracks in the ornate buildings, bare buildings and empty stalls. "Something happened here."

Cal said quietly as they stepped through the entry-way of the city and into what had once been a massive open square. Surrounding them were a dozen buildings, manors, and market stalls. The magma fall ahead of them illuminated every inch, yet as he spoke Cal found nothing but echoes.

"HELLO!?" He called out into the empty city, his word resounding for what seemed like miles.
 
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Órlaith

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There was nothing but silence after Cal's echos died out and the stone gates were firmly closed behind them once more. It was deafening, and a chill ran up her spine as she gazed over the eerie, abandoned city. She pulled herself a little closer to Cal and chewed idly on her lip.

"I don't think there's anyone here.." she said quietly and looked up at him.. "Seems like the only way to go." she frowned, feeling no small amount of unease about passing through the ghostly place.
 

Cal

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He gently wrapped an arm around her, giving her shoulder a soft squeeze and looking down at her to offer a reassuring smile. "I don't think so either."

There was something unsettling about the idea of an entirely empty city.

If there were no people, it felt as though it practically had to be filled with ghosts. His gaze flickered to open windows and doorways, a frown tugging at his lips as he wondered what had happened in this place. What could have breached those doors?

The thought made him shiver.

"Let's see our way through." He said softly. "Maybe we can find some signs."

This was not their end goal after all just a waypoint.
 

Órlaith

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Órlaith nodded, glad of his warmth beside her as she too shivered at the sight of the city. With people and sound, it would've been beautiful, but without them there was a cold and desolate feel, the eeriness of which crawling along her bones and filling her with unease.

She had seen worse, endured worse, it was only a city. It amused her slightly that she was quite literally being afraid of nothing. Though it was the strangeness of it, she supposed, that didn't sit right. She stuck close to Cal as they walked through the empty streets. Doors of half scorched buildings stood ajar, clothes were strung up on lines between the buildings above the streets, belongings strewn on the cobbles, but no sign of the people to which they belonged.

"Seems people left in a hurry." she murmured, her eyes wandering in search of any sign of movement.
 
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Cal

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He nodded his head. "It seems like there was a battle here."

Cal didn't quite understand of course. If there was a battle inside the city then why were the gates still standing? Why was it all still open? Lips thinned for a brief moment and he slowly looked around. His gaze flickered over towards the massive clear pillar in the center of the room.

Around it was a building that seemed like a palace. Carved from pure granite and decorated with lattices of gold and platinum there was a beauty to it that was almost indescribable.

"Let's check in there." Cal said quietly. "Maybe we can find some supplies."

Things they'd had to leave on the Mantic when they fled. "Or see what happened here."
 

Órlaith

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She followed his gaze over the palace, over the pillar that seemed to syphon from below the mountain. She gave a hesitant nod and laced her fingers with his, stepping over the debris in the streets until they came to the steps to the granite structure, with doors just as tall as those they'd come through already. One of them, thankfully, was open.

The steps were many, and the palace loomed over them as they approached, it's glittering walls designed with the same runes they'd seen marked in the tunnels. She had no doubt that many guards would normally have been stationed outside it, but today there were none, and Órlaith glanced to Cal before peeking inside.

The many crystal chandeliers decorated the marble floors, rather than the lofty ceilings they once had, as though the mountain had shaken them free. Much of the floor had been scorched, and the glass pillar that protruded from the building and into the air stood proudly in the centre of the hall, stretching up and through the domed ceiling.

"What is that thing?.." she asked quietly as they wandered inside, staring ahead at the column.
 
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Cal

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Cal looked up at the pillar, almost a child like wonder in his eyes.

There were few things in the world that had truly and entirely amazed him, and this was one of them. His fingers tightened ever so slightly in Orlaith's hand, mouth hanging open. From far away the column had been startling, up close? It seemed like an impossibility.

A low stream of magma seemed to flow not down the column, but up it. The Lava gave off a bright and warm glow, it's light sparkling through dozens of chandeliers all around the grand hall. "I...have no idea."

He said as he gently tugged her along the marble floor, wandering closer to the column.

"But it's amazing." Cal said softly as he stood before it, his eyes wandering to her with a smile. "And I'm glad I'm here to see it with you."
 
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Órlaith

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She looked up at him with a bright smile at his words, that smile of his that melted her a little. Her arms curled around his waist, and she rose up to kiss him softly. "Me too." she rumbled the words against his lips and sighed deeply.

"Lets see what we can find, maybe we can stay find somewhere to rest for a while." her lips twisted and she tilted her head at him. "Can't say I've ever set foot in a palace before. I suppose, if there's nobody else here, then it's technically ours, right?.." she grinned.

"King Tulio, Queen Sarah, and Prince Pascal." she snorted with a laugh.
 
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Cal

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His lips brushed over hers for a brief moment, and he smirked. "Suppose it is."

The idea of ruling a city had never really appealed to him. Too much to worry about, too much stress. That all disappeared though when there weren't any people to rule over. He smiled for a moment more as he listened to her laughter, his other hand gently roaming over her.

"Think it comes with a throne?" Cal asked. "Because I have some ideas for that."

He jested as he gently unfurled from her and began to tug her along.

His eyes flickered over the inside of the hall, glancing around to find several doorways that seemed to branch off in every direction. Quickly he found one that lead north past the column and chose it for their direction.
 
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Órlaith

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Órlaith's cheeks heated as she guess what those ideas of his were. She wasn't used to this sort of bond, this closeness and tactility that she'd found with him, but now that she'd found it, she hadn't realised how much she'd wanted it. Her shy smirk curled at the corners of her mouth and she chuckled as he tugged her along side him, her fingers squeezing at his.

"That..sounds fun." she responded quietly and dropped her gaze to the floor to hide her grin.

Along the corridor they came to a grand staircase, the foyer decorated with the same ornate chandelier, rich ebony furniture and a large pottery vase had been smashed to pieces crunched under their boots as they walked.

Órlaith gazed up at the sweeping stairs before looking to the door on their left and pushing it open.

"Looks like we found the kitchens.." she chirped with sheer delight.
 
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Cal

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Cal followed behind her as they stepped into the Kitchen. "The most important room."

He said with no small amount of amusement, glancing around to find that the room was one of the few that had apparently been left untouched. A few things were knocked off the counters, some jars smashed, but there were no scorch marks or rotting bodies here.

It appeared that whoever had raided this city hadn't been too interested in the Kitchens.

Slowly Cal followed along with Orlaith, moving between large counters and stovetops towards what appeared to be a large pantry. His hand slipped from hers as he pulled at the handle of the door. He found it's weight heavier than he'd thought, and had to force his weight into it.

Eventually the door popped open, a woosh of air rushed passed him as the open door revealed a pantry fully stocked to the brim.
 

Órlaith

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"Second most.." she smirked back at him as she rooted through cupboards. She skipped up to the pantry as it opened and her mouth fell open as her hands clapped together in front of her.

"Looks like we won't starve at least." she grinned and reached to bundle some of the food into her arms. "I might even try to cook.." she chirped.

"If we weren't being hunted, we could just stay here." she smiled at him and found some plates to pile up some dried meats, smoked cheese and dried fruits. She shoved a cube of cheese into her mouth and chewed, murmuring a muffled 'ohmygods' behind her hand.

She cast a glance toward the wine rack and pursed her lips into a mischievous smirk.
 
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Cal

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Cal smiled. "Maybe wai-"

He was about to say that they had no idea how old any of this stuff was, but it seemed that most of the food was either well kept or the type that age did not really matter much. He frowned for a moment, and shook his head.

"Well guess the worst that can happen is a stomach ache." Cal mused, more to himself than to her as he stepped into the pantry after her and looked over the shelves.

There really was enough to feed an army here, and he reached out to pluck what appeared to be some sort of dried fruit from the shelf. He popped it into his mouth, casting a glance towards Orlaith as she smirked.

"Well." He smiled. "I suppose the worst you can do is scream about it to an empty city."

As he spoke his hand softly dragged over her hip.
 

Órlaith

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She grinned at the memory and shook her head, her hand resting on his as she felt it on her hip, and she turned to face him. Her fingertips pushed his dark hair back from his face and she studied him. He was the sort of handsome that robbed her of breath at times, and she stared at him with no small amount of adoration..

"I don't know how I'm ever going to repay you for this. For everything you've done for me. No one has ever been this kind to me." her head shook slowly and she sighed, allowing herself to feel normal, and she beamed with the happiness she felt.
 
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