Quest Loot Runners 2: Grangomelle's Dark-er Place

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Raigryn Vayd

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There are symbols on portal stones that those who use them know to avoid. They work, but to use them for travel is to never return. One symbol was once found by a mage to lead to a stone that had sunk beneath the ocean. It is this symbol which you have been told to use to enter the next part of Grangomelle's challenges.

You arrive in air, frigid cold and damp. When you look up you can see the sunlight piercing through the water above. The silhouettes of great sea creatures ignorant to your plight. You feel the magic in the air and then you see them: students of Grangomelle with their hands held high, their eyes tight shut. Each stands before a small tripod of gold, holding up a crystal that glows with an eerie light.

Through magic the mages have carved out bubbles where men might breath in the depths.

"Welcome!" calls Grangomelle, "to the second part of my challenge."



"We have been studying this lost city for a week now and you are in what was once a prison! There is still one prisoner here..." he says cryptically, "...but more on that later."

"There are three directions you may head, though I suspect none will attempt the third. My mages maintain pockets of air but you will find you need to swim through some sections."

"Take the east wing to your left if you seek a... flaming mace." Grangomelle shrugged as if apologetic for such a mundane prize. "I'm afraid a colony of Shriekers lives in that direction. The might flee, they might swarm. The area is quite open, but you will have to hold your breath and swim longer sections. The ocean contains many dangers."

"Take the west wing to your right to find the Gr'dulle Warding Glyph. The corridors are narrow and dark and have become home to several Krakarl. Filthy monsters."

"Before you is a pit," Grangomelle stepped aside and waved at the dark hole surrounded by spikes. "You will have to swim down a narrow channel if you dare to the lowest level of the prison. It is not my magic that keeps that level filled with air. A darker presence lurks in the catacombs. The carvings suggest that a greater demon of reaping lives down there. Other monsters have also made their homes here. I have dropped the Orb of Nullification into its depths. A legendary item that can create a field of pure anti-magic. I hope to never see it again. The stones do not say how they managed to trap such a powerful demon, nor can I fathom the magic that keeps it bound to this place. They warn that it will try to barter for pieces of your soul."

"In all locations we have found a few nasties to warn you of. Brathen-squid have been seen around here. They will stick their tentacles into the air pockets and try and drag you into the water. Beware the Eye Lures if you must swim. They are hypnotic and will draw you into a mouth that can grind you to a pulp. Oh and if that isn't enough we've seen giant electric eels and a species of anemone that will sting you and suck the blood from your body."

The old wizard scratched his grey beard and turned to one of the students working the apparatus that was apparently keeping them alive in the depths. "Did we go too far this time?" he muttered, not quite lowering to a whisper.

The student shrugged.

"The challenge is now open!"



Info:
  • Don't wait for DM posts for the most part. I won't be doing that. The introduction has outlined the challenges ahead and writers are expected to play them out.
  • Exception: I will be roleplaying the Greater Demon of Reaping. Tag me if you dare approach it.
  • If anything I might throw a few new twists in along the way
  • This is a quick write format. In your pairs you can posts back and forth as quickly as you want to try and reach loot
  • To obtain items you can rush to them, wait to mug those who took them on the way out, or come up with new ways to find them. All I ask is that you give the challenges ahead of you some respect in your writing
  • Use the OOC thread, PMs or discord to discuss the thread as much as you wish
 

Alani Delkera

Daughter of Earth and Stone
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PIT

Alani stood in the middle of the bubble of air, the dim green light shining down through the depths above her head. She gazed in awe at the glittering water and the dark shadows of massive fish as they swam by. One passed between them and the sun and everything was shrouded in darkness. It locked one massive unblinking eye with hers before passing and light shown back into the small air-filled space. She let out a gasp of wonder. Though she realized she was not here to stare at the beauty of the environment but to preserve that environment from those who might destroy it.

She had come prepared this time. When she had heard that they would be traveling to this rune stone she knew that they would be dealing with water. In anticipation of this, she had forgone her usual pieces of plate mail that usually protected her chest and shoulders replaced with leather. Her fur collar was absent and though she still wore boots she was considering abandoning them. Instead of her hatchets and hunting knife from before she had a fishing spear with a polished stone tip strapped to her back and a stone skinning knife at her hip. her hair was tied back in a braid coiled into a bun at the nape of her neck, though a bit of fringe that would not fit into the braid hung loose in front of her face.

She listened intently to the old Wizard as he explained the challenges ahead. When he mentioned the Orb of Nullification she stiffened and cocked her head to listen better. There was a prize and a challenge that would pique the interest of many an adventurer. A prize that under no circumstances should fall into the hands of someone like Kerastrina.

The wizard had bearly even finished warning about the demon down there and Alani was taking off her boots. Right, beware of eels and squid and the like.

As soon as the Wizard finished his speech Alani ran and dove headfirst into pit. Narrowly avoiding the spikes in the walls as she swam into the blackness, completely forgetting that this was supposed to be a team effort as she left Quoril behind.
 
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Ivo Coppercrow

Templar Recruit - Gifted Artificer
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Pit

A young Templar stood amidst the crowd of gathered adventurers, half examining his fellow challengers while much of his attention remained fixed on Grangomelle. Rumors had spread of the mad wizard's previous challenge and the promising rewards that lingered within, and the Ivo found himself pulled by the draw of phat loot a potential advantage against the ever-darkening world. The great wizard mentioned one particular treasure that may just turn the tide in the war of light and dark. An orb, lost to the depths and guarded by a creature most vile.

Now that's one hell of a story, isn't it?

The young Templar pulled a small piece of wood from his coat as the wizard continued on, using his whittling knife to carve a small circuitous rune into the timber's surface. As soon as Grangomelle finished his speech, Ivo shoved the rune under his tongue and ran towards the water's edge. Someone else apparently had the same plan as him, for he found himself racing a leather-clad woman to the pit. The Templar had an edge, however-- As soon as he dove past the spikes and hit the water's surface, the talisman under his tongue swelled with energy, releasing a small bubble of air that clung around Ivo's nose and lips.

Down he swam, through the channel. Shapes moved in the darkness, leaving only vague impressions of the horrors Grangomelle had described. Every protuberance that shifted near the Templar caused him to flinch away for fear that it may be an eel's slick, shocking body, or worse yet, the tendril of some chilling leviathan.

Ivo was fast approaching what looked to be a wall at the channel's base. When he reached out to touch it, however, his arm slipped past it and into someplace dry and humid. The young man swallowed his fear, swimming forwards to fully breach the air's surface.

He fell.

The Templar landed in a heap on the ground, only vaguely aware of a distant scraping sound like metal on stone. He pushed himself upwards, clutching tightly to a small idol in his hand. It was his mother's pendant in truth, or it had been at one point; The diminutive figure of Metisa felt warm in his grip, and Ivo's faith burned bright.

Raigryn Vayd (Single Man Seeking Tough Demon Boi)
 
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Mischa Ven'rohk

The One Blessed
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Emaciated. Trembling. Eyes blackened from lack of sleep.

Mischa stood in the prison before Grangomelle and his mages. The water warded off by their magic. The wizard's words warded off by the desperate haze in Mischa's mind. A delirium brought on by the fanatical neglect of her own body. Skin clung to her bones beneath her armor. Body quaking and crumbling under the weight of the steel. A blur of starvation and fatigue clouding her vision.

It didn't matter. None of it mattered. For she was compelled.

The Great Holy One had directed her here. After so long a silence It had finally sent her a vision. After her failures in Elbion It finally deemed Mischa worthy again. Worthy of another chance.

Here it guided her. To a portal stone and with the right symbol and to this world alien to her orcish sensibilities. And all the way Mischa's memory of the Great Holy One's vision throbbed in her mind. She traveled day and night, neglecting everything. Pushing through. Pushing herself to the breaking point and still onward.

For this was how she would prove herself to the Great Holy One once more. And the Great Holy One had promised her the means to return home.

She had to endure. She could not quit. She could not surrender. She could not fail.

She would have to kill everyone and everything that stood in her way.

Because she had to.

If she failed the Great Holy One again...

Surely It would abandon her.

And she would never return home.

Mischa took a step forward and stumbled and collapsed to the wet floor of the underwater prison. A clattering of metal as her gauntlets and shield and her sword hit the ground. She stayed there on her hands and knees. Panting. Throat yearning for water and stomach begging for food and her body entire pleading for rest.

But she looked up. To the place she knew she needed to go.

East. East. East. East.
East. East. East.
East. East.
East.

And she grunted and slowly pushed herself back up to her feet and there with an unsteady gait did she stagger toward the opening of the east wing.

She would not fail. She would not fail. She would not fail.

She would see her father again.

Before her death.



(((Feel free to @ me if you're going East)))
 
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Quoril

Alchemist, Copper Class Adventurer
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A bubble of air surrounded those gathered to take on Grangomelle’s latest challenge. Sunlight streaming in from above illuminated the water around them. Quoril had initially been hesitant when Alani approached him and invited him to join her, but he found it hard to say no when she seemed so excited.

Since this was going to be a mostly underwater challenge, Quoril had brought only what he absolutely needed. He had left his cumbersome backpack at home along with his usual brown cloak, opting to wear a blue shirt, dark grey pants, and light leather boots. A belt wrapped itself around his waist. There was a pouch sewn on one side with a thin leather strap to tie the bottom to his leg so it wouldn't flop around. A series of loops covered the other side, each one holding a different glass vial, and his knife in a sheath attached to the back of the belt.

As Grangomelle finished his speech, Quoril turned to Alani to ask which treasure she wanted to go after, only to see her already sprinting off towards the pit. Cursing under his breath he ran after her, removing a water breathing and a darkvision potion from his belt loops. Quickly drinking both potions, Quoril stuffed the empty vials into his pouch and dove in after Alani.

Inky blackness enveloped him as he entered the water, slowly being replaced by dim light and shadowy outlines. Quoril followed the shadow that he assumed was his partner through the narrow tunnel.

Suddenly he was no longer swimming. Quoril popped out of the water at the end of the tunnel and slammed belly first onto solid ground. Slowly sitting up, he summoned a flame at the end of his finger and looked around. The tunnel ran in two directions here. Peering down the right path he couldn’t see anything, but as he turned to survey the left path he just barely caught a glimpse of somebody running around the corner.

“Alani? Is that you? Wait for me!” he called running after the shadow.
 

Faelyn Daestra

Drunkard mostly, Burglar and Pickpocket sometimes
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Towards the Pit

Faelyn blinked her golden eyes, disoriented at first. She'd heard rumours of an ancient, crazy mage giving away his wealth, and now found herself here. Well - maybe "giving" wasn't quite the right word. Her memory was a little fuzzy - but that might have also been from all the ale last night.

The light reflected prettily on the sandy floor beneath her feet. She smiled, genuinely, and poked a finger through the water, startling a fish on the other side of the barrier around them. Her smile grew.

She turned sharply as she heard a splash, pale air flying about her face - and then another and yet another. Faelyn clicked her tongue, annoyed. Starting already!

She looked around, frantic. There had been something about partners - where was hers?

Pursing her lips, Faelyn wasn't one to be left behind - she rushed after Alani Delkera, and Ivo Coppercrow and Quoril, not bothering to take her boots off as she dived horizontally into the water towards the orb of nullification.

Avoiding the spikes in the water slowed her down, but she saw three figures before her disappear - before falling through the top of the air bubble, tumbling into the sandy floor. She grimaced and groaned, rubbing her back, spitting out water and wiping sand and dripping hair off the side of her face. She could see a flame in the distance - and she was on her feet in a flash, darting after the small human it belonged to. Water ran in small rivers from her leather armour, and her hair splattered her face, much to her annoyance. She didn't glance behind her to see if her partner was there - was she supposed to? She wasn't sure how the rules of the tournament, if it could be called that, worked - and by the Spirits of the Trees, she wanted that orb, damnit!
 
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Alani Delkera

Daughter of Earth and Stone
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The Pit

Alani held her breath as she pushed deeper into the darkness the cold water enveloping her. After the first couple of feet, the pit widened out and she could see through gaps in the crumbling walls. She could make out shadows and dancing shafts of dim green light seeping down through the ruins. And the sounds. there was the overwhelming sound of the vast depths mixed with the subtle moans and high pitched clicking of distant sea creatures. She had incredible stamina for someone her size, she had her dwarvish and orcish heritage to thank for that but even so, her lungs were starting to burn.

She felt a shift in the water nearby and a charged tingle as something swam by. She saw a white orbed eye stare at her and the glint of needle-sharp teeth. An electric eel. She stared at it and it stared back at her for a moment before swimming away. It didn't seem hungry at the moment. Or perhaps it didn't see Alani as food or a threat. Alani continued on, kicking with legs locked together as she speed through the water.

As she neared the bottom she realized her lungs weren't burning anymore. Her nose and mouth were closed but her lungs were rose and fell filling with air just the same. She didn't have time to question this she felt her hand breach air and quickly spun upright in the water before falling through the air to the floor landing on all fours.

It was dark only the faintest traces of dim green light shown through water-filled gaps in the stones, not enough light to really see by. She sniffed her nose filling with cold damp air, the smell of fish and salt and wet sand and algae clung to the air. A dripping sound could be heard all around and it echoed as if to show threat this pocket of air leade of down an expanse of tunnels fore some way. There was also another smell, she couldn't quite place it but it pervaded the space and gave her chills. Instinct told her that this was something she did not want to meet. She followed the sound of the dripping down one of the corridors her eyes having adjusted enough to make out where the walls were.

Then there was the sound of someone else falling from the pit into the depths of the prison. More than one person. She paused. then a light, fire illuminated the room she had just come from sighing around the corner and she got her first look at the space in the outskirts of the orange light.

She saw water dripping down crumbling stone, algae clinging like a green grime to the surface. Salt stalactites of varying sizes hung from the ceiling, where there was any ceiling left, and the Runes. Hundreds of runes were carved deep into the walls covering every inch with words she did not recognize. They were unlike anything she had ever seen.

Alani heard her name called from the other room and she recognized the voice as Quoril's realizing she had left him behind. She sheepishly came back around the corner of the hall into the light.

"Sorry, I left you behind like that," She noticed they were not alone, other adventurers had chosen this route as well. She had been right, this path was too tempting for them. They needed to find the orb fast before the others did. She took Quorils free arm and lead him down a random path away from the prying eyes and ears of the other adventures. Once out of hearing she leaned close her voice still lowered "Alright does the compass say anything about where this Orb is?"
 

Raigryn Vayd

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Pit

The dark catacombs seemed endless. The pillars, stalagmites and stalactites made a maze of the darkness. There were cracks in the floor, wide enough to fall through. If one got stuck in the rocks below the surface then drowning was certain.

One could fall. Or something could rise.

A soft splash was the first Krakarl slipping into the darkness.

In the distance a sharp schlick. The sound of a metal blade running across stone. Far away for now.
 

Mischa Ven'rohk

The One Blessed
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EAST


Others in the prison jumped straight down into the pit. If the Great Holy One had so compelled her, Mischa would have as well. But her path was clear. East. All she needed was the strength to make it to the end. To overcome. Then she would find herself in the grace of That Which Makes Pure once again. And be one step closer to home.

Through the eastward portal she walked. The corridor darkened. Her armored steps loud in the silence even to her beleaguered ears.

She didn't even see it at first. The wall of water that marked the edge of the magic that held the ocean at bay. Mischa stumbled into it and staggered back and coughed water from her mouth and shook her head and blinked rapidly. She looked again. Eyes adjusting. A squinting and a reaching out with her sword. Poking at the wall of water with the blade. Feeling the resistance and the swishing of the water as she prodded and tested.

Mischa did not hear what the wizard had to say. Not truly. She had heard him speaking, yes, but it was noise all. This pocket of air down in this forsaken place was surely his doing. Did other rooms have similar pockets? The corridor stretched into darkness past the wall of water.

There had to be another pocket. There must be.

Mischa lowered her head and closed her eyes and sleep clawed at her mind like a voracious, demonic spirit. And she knew. Even if there were no other pockets of air.

Still she would go.

Still she would try.

"Father," she said. A hollow voice in a blackened hall. "Know that I fought until I could no more."

And Mischa took as big a gulp of air as she could and stepped through the wall of water. A few stubborn steps against the ocean which had taken her. Her feet left the floor. A reluctant transition from walking into swimming. Her pace slow. Her plate armor a heavy burden. Her body quivering with the numbing weakness of fatigue already accumulated from her journey to the portal stone.

And she swam.

And swam.

Through the submerged corridor.

Until her chest burned.

And she opened her mouth for air in panic.

And water filled her lungs.

No end in sight.

Safety far behind her.
 

Mischa Ven'rohk

The One Blessed
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EAST


There in Bhathairk.

Days after being left at the gates.

Holding the knife to her own chest.

The point of the blade poised between her ribs.

Aimed for her heart.

A gritting of teeth.

Clenching her eyes shut.

There in Bhathairk. It could have ended.

But it did not.

For at last she resolved to endure. To earn acceptance back in her tribe.

To make her father proud.

And the blade clattered to the ground.


* * * * *​

Seconds mattered.

A guiding clarity amidst the primal panic. Her body in turmoil but her mind focused. The near total darkness of the corridor smothered her vision. Mischa needed to see. If only for a moment.

From her left hand she ignited a split-second of Holy Fire. The unnatural fire strangely encapsulated by the surrounding water. It did not boil the water nor was it extinguished. The Fire flashed in and out of being of its own accord in the alien world of the deep.

But in that flash did the corridor become illuminated. The wide walls and arched ceiling and crumbling floor all visible at once. Some cracks in the ceiling by which weak light from above filtered through. But a monstrous gash in the floor and part of the wall, an ancient wound. Yet also one with scrapings and scratches in the stone that were far more recent.

And the water just through the gash, seen in the brief gout of Holy Fire, looked strange. Different. As if it ended. Much like the water held at bay back in the prison.

Her only choice.

Mischa swam desperately. The weight and the fire in the chest growing. Bursting. The pain intense. Threatening to lock her limbs. Heart heart slamming against her ribs. Blood pounding in her ears. Vision blurring even more. All things became the overwhelming need for air. Air. Air. AIR.

And Mischa breached through the water and into a new pocket of air and she fell, tumbling down the distance of the ceiling in this new room to the floor. She hit the floor on her stomach and her sword and shield fell from her grasp and immediately she began vomiting. A torrent of seawater rushing up from her throat and spewing forth from her mouth. A shivering gulp of air. She coughed so harshly that her vision went black and burst with colorful stars. More retching and heaving and her shoulders shaking and her throat shredded from the forceful expulsion of yet more seawater from her lungs. Breathing and coughing and shaking and retching still and gasping fiercely and even so she could feel the tiniest bit of water yet lingering where it should not be.

Mischa laid there. Hands and knees to the floor in this new room. Old waterlogged wooden racks and rusted breastplates and all manner of dilapidated and sunken furniture of utilitarian means strewn about. An armory, once. Now the greater portion of its ceiling broken and gone and the massive iron door fallen from its hinges and resting on the floor and the water of the ocean held at bay all around.

Mischa laid there. Her breathing slowing and the coughing subsiding and her body wracked with the tremors of exertion.

Then she heard a shriek.

And saw a fleeting glimpse of something rushing out through the armory door and into the wall of the water.
 

Quoril

Alchemist, Copper Class Adventurer
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Quroil was relieved when Alani came around the corner. “Sorry I left you behind like that,” she said as she made her way over to him. Suddenly Alani grabbed his arm and led him down one of the many tunnels.

Once they were far enough down the tunnel to avoid potential eavesdroppers, Alani leaned in and quietly said “Alright does the compass say anything about where this Orb is?" Quoril fished around in his pouch, and after a moment pulled a brightly polished silver compass. The needle spun slowly, from one direction to another, pointing the way to his desires. “Concentrate,” he thought. Closing his eyes Quoril imagined what the orb might look like and focused on the mental picture. “This Orb is what I’m after.”

After a moment Quoril opened his eyes, and looked down at the compass. The needle lazily fluctuated between two points - back in the direction they had just come from, and to a tunnel that branched off to the left. “This way!” he whispered, and started down the left passage.

Although the compass seemed to heavily favor the direction they had entered from, Quoril’s enhanced hearing picked up the faint sound of metal scraping against stone. He had no desire to find out what sort of creature the sound was emanating from.
 

Alani Delkera

Daughter of Earth and Stone
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PIT

Alani watched the compass needle swing from one side to the other. She could tell Qouril's mind was divided. He could be a bit distractable some times. She would just have to trust his judgment she thought as she followed him into the dark, salt water dripping from the ceiling onto her back, her bare feet padding across the cold stones.

Alani sniffed the air but all she got was fish and salt, all the water disrupting any kind of clear direction from any of it. The light of Qouril's flame illuminated the stones in an orange glow and cast dark tooth-like shadows across the walls from the stalactites and stalagmites. Alani placed a hand on her dagger and glanced back over her shoulder to make sure they weren't being followed.

She let out a shriek of pain as needles dug into her leg and she felt a tug. Her face was slammed into the stone before getting dragged through a watery crack in the floor by a krakarl's tentacle. The cold water enveloped her, her face throbbing and her leg burning. She could see the flicker of Quoril's light dimly through a thin cloud of red and bubbles as she was pulled deeper under.

Twisting around she saw the dark tentacled body of a Krakarl pulling her under. She kicked it in the face and it let go of her leg, a red cloud seeping from her new wound. She kicked back and pulled her speer from her back holding it in front of her as she hovered in the water.

She did not approve of the senseless killing that adventurers delt out. However, she knew how survival of the fittest worked. This creature wanted to eat her. She was not about to let it. If she failed then it would get its meal, if she succeeded she continued to live. That was the way of the world and the wild.

The burning in her lungs dissipated and she began to breathe again without breathing but she didn't have time to question it.

Her eyes had adjusted to the darkness and she was better able to make out the Krakarl, it's size and it's movements. When it saw that she wasn't swimming for the surface and wasn't drowning it lunged at her. It's tentacles were longer than she had expected and she was bearly able to kick back out of it's reach. It was a large beast and she was so small in comparison. The odd's were against her. She could feel her heart pounding in her chest and adrenaline roaring in her ears. She smiled. It was exhilarating.
 
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Mischa Ven'rohk

The One Blessed
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EAST


Mischa stared at the murky darkness through the armory door. What little light filtering through the damaged ceiling was swallowed whole by the waters beyond the door. Where the creature had ran.

She gripped the Lightbringer and her shield and slowly stood. Vision blurred, stance reeling, but eyes locked to the doorway and the water beyond.

A dizziness as she stood up straight. Her meager muscles sapped of energy. The relentless exertion of her journey and her swim in full plate armor demanding firm recompense. But she could not quit. She had to press on. To endure.

East. That overwhelming sense of it in the Great Holy One's vision. Yes, east. And once there, something awaited her behind the fire. She did not know what, or if it was a literal fire she sought, but her path had been laid out before her. She need not know the destination to walk it.

A test. All of this. One of unimaginable hardship. Her body pushed well beyond the extreme. Was this not the essence of strength?

Shrieking. Echoing throughout the armory.

Mischa looked. By twos they came, emerging from the waters of the cracks and crevices and breaches in the structure. Some through the doorway, some dropping down from the ceiling, some through the distant wall. Shrieking creatures only just smaller than Mischa herself. First two, then four, then six, then eight, then ten of them. Crawling slowly and circling like wolves.

Mischa stepped back until she felt a wall behind her. The half-moon of Shriekers approaching slowly. Cautiously. Eyeless faces and needle teeth. She wouldn't be able to kill them all, not with steel alone. This she knew. And she couldn't risk Holy Fire using her own energy, what little scraps she had left. She would need to kill one of the creatures, let its blood charge the Lightbringer, and then use that charge for Holy Fire. Even if it didn't kill all of them, surely it would frighten them and chase them away.

Shield up. Sword ready. Mischa watched. Said, "The blood of the Dm'rohk flows in me. The blood of the Dm'rohk flows in me. The blood of the Dm'rohk flows in me!"

The Shriekers charged her.

Mischa swung her sword.

Missed.

And they were upon her.

Claws raking her armor. Slender fingers grabbing her. A writhing mass of scales and fury and vicious shrieks. They had her sword arm. Animalistic thrashing. A yanking of both of her legs and she slipped and fell to the floor on her back and the Lightbringer slid from her grasp and was lost in the chaos and immediately the presence of the Great Holy One vanished from her mind.

Alone.

Mischa yelled and wrestled her shield to cover her chest and her exposed head. Earsplitting scraping of claws and teeth against the steel of her armor. The creatures battering the armor all around. Trying to breach it. She couldn't move her sword arm under the protection of the shield. Too many of the creatures grabbing and holding and wrenching and thrashing about it. And she felt it. One of the creature's fingers slipping into the exposed joint of her inside elbow. Frantic scratching against her arming doublet. Then biting pressure. Caught on the plate of her vambraces. More bites.

More bites.

"No! No!"

And a few teeth found purchase and pierced through her doublet and sunk into the soft flesh of her arm.

Mischa screamed.

There she lay under the frenzied mass of Shriekers. Disarmed. Wounded.
 
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Quoril

Alchemist, Copper Class Adventurer
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SPLOOSH! The sound of something violently entering water caused Quoril to spin around in surprise. Holding the flame higher up above his head, he slowly surveyed the room. No sign of Alani or of whatever had caused the splash. “A-Alani?” Quoril called.

Another loud splash followed by very angry sounding gargling interrupted Quoril’s search for Alani. Turning around once again put him face to face with what looked like a fish standing on two legs. Wearing nothing but rough cloth around its waist, the green scaled creature brandished a trident angrily.
Great. First Quoril’s partner went missing again, and now he had to deal with this...thing. Whatever had happened to Alani, he hoped she was alright.
 

Alani Delkera

Daughter of Earth and Stone
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Alani shifted the spear to point it at the creature, bracing the shaft under her arm to keep it steady like a lance. Giving a powerful kick she shot through the water towards the Krakarl the point of the spear tore a gash in it's side and it lashed out it's powerful arm impacting her chest and sending her spinning. She came to a stop floating upside down in the water. She just had enough time to see it's dark form lash out at her again and she shifted the spear point to intercept it simultaneously shifting and bringing her feet down to kick it in the back of the head. A shriek of pain and rage resonated through the water. As the spear impacted the water grew cloudy with a mixture of her red and its darker purple blood.

Alani felt another shot of pain again as it sunk it's needles around her leg and began to drag her deeper pulling her closer to it so she became to close to use her spear effectively. Without hesitation, Alani drew her dagger. Her eyes fell on the Krakarl's ribs and a set of gills. She stabbed embedding the dagger deep into its gills. It let her go and convulsed as if it was suddenly struggling to breathe. She met it's panicked eyes for a moment before it retreated disappearing into the darkness.

Alani felt her own breath catch and her vision darken as she began to swim desperately for the flickering light of Quoril's flame, a shooting pain racing up her leg with every kick and her lungs burning.
 

Smiling One

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A maze huh? Willis crossed his arms about listening to Grangomelle's challenge. Admittedly he was hesitant to do it because he was travelling with Eryn. While the young woman felt safe and happy with Willis close to her, she had no combat experience.

At least the items presented were interesting but of course, they had to go through a lot of hurdles to get them. The first path wasn't good while Willis was an excellent swimmer, Eryn wasn't. The Pit was a no go since what he described sounded like a Demon lurking below. There weren't many demons active since the Pandemonium incident but the Monster Hunter fortress did receive reports of Demon attacks on villages lately. Willis didn't have the items necessary to take them on so that's a pass on that.

The third path: West sounded no better from the other two paths. It was dark and narrow and there were Krakarl prowling about. Willis hasn't faced a Krakarl but he read up on them, monsters who dwell deep in caves preferably next to sea water. They have tentacles for appendages and use them effectively against their prey. They also posses a low level of cunning meaning that they can set complex traps and work in small groups. Krakarls were labeled as high level creatures in the Grand Book of Monsters. Not creatures to be underestimated but Willis is confident that he can take them out.

Besides a Gr'dulle warding glyph sounds like an excellent weapon to ward off magic. It'll help against creatures like Djinns. "All right Eryn," he said. "We'll take the WESTERN path. Stay close to me okay?"
 
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Mischa Ven'rohk

The One Blessed
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EAST


The Shriekers beat against her armor. Her shield. Scratched and bit into the metal. Feral creatures. Driven into a simultaneous feeding frenzy and frustrated rage.

And the one that had found the weak spot in her armor reared its head back. A blinding flash of pain and her scream crescendoed. Mischa could see just under the rim of the shield as scraps of her doublet and stringy red muscles dangled from its mouth. Involuntary spasms of her sword arm. But she managed to twist and turn it and hide her wound against the floor.

Another Shrieker swiped at the one with Mischa's flesh in its mouth. Then another. And the three backed away from the crazed pile and fought among each other.

The Lightbringer. On the floor. Close, but out of reach. It as if a malicious spirit had cursed her with the hopeless sight of it. She couldn't shift her body toward it. Not with the other seven creatures on her.

A grim moment of clarity.

The three Shriekers fighting over scraps had given her an idea. She could turn her arm back around. Let them take the whole thing to the elbow. They might all fight over it, since they couldn't breach her armor. A chance to take up her sword. Kill one. Burn the others.

There was no other choice.

Mischa breathed fast. In-out-in-out-in-out. Steeling herself.

"Spirit of the Mighty Bear," she said in haste, "give me the strength to endure this."

She shifted her shield arm out of the forward strap of her shield. Popped her head up some and bit into the thick leather of it. More breathing. Through her nose. Bracing. Bracing. An uncertain and reluctant groan.

That became a growl of determination.

She turned her sword arm back around. Exposed as much of the crook of her elbow as she could.

And then she felt a grabbing of her lower vambrace by slender fingers and immediately a sinking in of the needle teeth and a burst of white-hot pain exploding behind her eyes as her whole body was racked with it and she bit harder into the leather strap and tears rolled down her face and then came the slicing of flesh and muscle and tendons and ligaments and the slow crunch of her bones in the creature's teeth and the pain became excruciating and her heart slamming ferociously into her chest and the coursing lightning of adrenaline crackling throughout the entirety of her being and invading even her thoughts as she screamed out once again and her lower arm was ripped apart at the elbow and the last strips of muscle and bone torn away with a horrific snapping.

Mischa jerked what was left of her sword arm under the protection of her shield. A beat of her heart. A spurt of blood from her arm. A beat. A spurt. Beat. Spurt.

And through the utter turmoil of her body she saw from beneath the rim of her shield and felt the Shriekers abandoning their assault on her armored and shielded body to fight for her severed lower arm. All but one of them had done so.

Now. Now. She had to do it now. Before the bloodloss was too much.

Only her spirit and pumping adrenaline fueled her. She pushed up against her shield and tossed the singular Shrieker still thrashing on top of it back. Sat up straight. Cast her shield aside to free her only hand and frantically crawling toward the Lightbringer. Her sword in hand. The presence of the Great Holy One returning in her mind. Staggering to her feet. Vision doubling, darkening in the periphery. Turning to face the lone Shrieker as the others fought one another. The creature lunging.

And landing right on the point of her outstretched sword. An impaling. The creature fell to the ground. Limp with her sword buried in its chest.

Mischa planted her foot on the creature and wrenched the sword from its body. A splash of blood. The other creatures shrieking now. Most turning from their squabbling and back toward her. Mischa used her half-arm to pin the charged Lightbringer to her chest, freeing her hand. Quick breaths. And she aimed her hand at the encroaching creatures.

Holy Fire burst forth. A gout of white and yellow flame, unnatural to Arethil, spraying from her palm. Only a couple seconds of it, but Mischa traversed her hand in a smooth arc, trying to catch as many of them as possible. Those engulfed seemed to melt as the flames consumed scaly flesh and bone. Some were consumed nearly whole, perishing quickly, some partially and left as grotesque and writhing wretches on the floor to die a slow death. Two were untouched, but shrieked at a different pitch and skittered away and out through the armory door and into the dark waters as the light from the Holy Fire faded.

But she wasn't done.

Her arm.

It needed to be cauterized.

Her left hand pressed to the ragged and bloody stump of her right arm. Quick, unsteady breaths. Her heart on the precipice of exploding. The shock and trauma leaking into cognition. Her lower arm. Gone. Gone. Her own gushing blood running through her only hand. Father. Help me.

Focus.

Focus.

Too much Holy Fire and she'd lose the rest of her arm and more. Only the tiniest bit. More breathing. Hyperventilating. Desperate clinging to life.

And Mischa ignited the smallest and weakest puff of Holy Fire she could. The white and yellow flame there and gone in an instant, but even in so short a time burning into the living flesh and leaving in its wake a tangled--but sealed--mess. No more bleeding.

Then. Finally. Her knees buckled as she was completely overwhelmed by the pain and the stress and the adrenaline and neglect and everything all at once.

She dropped the Lightbringer and it clattered on the floor and she stumbled back and into the wall behind her and slid down. Her body failing to respond. Her head lulled to one side.

It was all she could do to just sit there and breathe. Breathe. Breathe.

Do not faint.

Do not faint.

Hold it together.

Do not faint.

The fading of the world.
 

Raigryn Vayd

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Schlick, schlick, schlick.

With each slow step its scythe was dragged across the rough, wet stone. It came to a slow stop. Many creatures could pass through the glyphs that formed its prison. Never this many with such clarity of purpose. They brought magic with them.

"We. Shall. Find. Them." Each word came from a different voice from the coffin on its back. A young man, an elderly woman, a dwarven accent and the sing-song voice of a fae.

Schlick, schlick, schlick.
 

Eryn Pere

Barmaid
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Eryn was completely caught off guard. She had no idea how they came to be under water floating in a bubble of air, or why there were other people with them, but these things happened, and she found herself in a completely unknown and strange world.
She had grown up by the seaside and knew her way around water... But as she looked up she couldn't 'fathom' how deep they might be. Giant sea creatures that never come near the surface swam about their protective bubble, their lidless eyes seeming to gaze directly at the estranged barmaid.
Eryn was in complete awe, but also fear gripped her heart as claustrophobia began to set in. She closed her eyes and clung to Willis's arm desperately while she tried to calm her breathing.

She hardly heard anything the wizard said, so focused on her own suffering. She hadn't spoken a word, not for weeks since the destruction of her village. She simply followed Willis wherever he led her, because he was the only person now alive that she could trust.

He directed that they would be going down the Western path, she didn't know what that meant, but as her claustrophobia eased a bit she nodded in acquiescence. Willis Reede had protected her so far, kept her alive and safe and happy for the most part. So as Willis decided to go into the depths of danger, Eryn followed.
 

Smiling One

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Ever since the destruction of her home, Eryn hasn't said word. It concerned Willis and he tried everything to make her happy. From telling stories of his travels all over the Arethril, his engagements with monsters and even holding Eryn in his arms. Willis just wanted to make the young woman happy again but at the same time Willis can hardly blame her. The home she lived all of her life was reduced to a crater, Eryn always dreamed of leaving Little Portshaw to explore the world but not like this.

Now on their way to Elbion, the two of them were teleported into a mysterious place with a Wizard excitedly issuing them and others a challenge. To be honest, this was hardly the weirdest thing Willis was in but with Eryn by his side, he had to be very catious now. The path was narrow but Willis managed to get to a more open area still gripping Eyrn's hand. "You know Eryn," Willis smirked. "This cave reminds me of the time we made love. Remember the time an Owlbear came in and licked my face?"

It was at least something to put Eyrn at ease but there was a niggling doubt in his mind that Eryn blames him for not saving her in time at Little Portshaw. Why else would she be this way? "No," Willis thought to himself. "She's just traumatized look at her eyes, she has the same look a solider has when he's been through a battle."

Just then, Willis heard a noise: "We shall find them," the voice echoed through the cave. "Shit," Willis muttered as he drew his Cutlass. "Find a place to hide," he whispered to Eryn.
 

Eryn Pere

Barmaid
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Willis tried so hard for her, it was sweet, but no matter how he joked or made lighthearted conversation, or even made love to her, the horrors of her village would drain any joy from her and she simply couldn't find any words to say. Attempts to speak would have the words catch in her throat and nothing would come out.

When he reminded her of a time when an owlbear had licked his face while they made love after a picnic lunch she gave a slight smile, but it was forced.

She followed along as they went down the path through the cave. All she could do was keep her eyes on the floor so she didn't trip. She held Willis's hand as they made their way forward. She moved closer when voices were heard up ahead, and Willis drew his sword. She hid herself behind him, hiding her face in his back and letting go of his hand to allow him to move freely. She trusted him, she could simply close her eyes and not get in the way whilst he kept his promises.
 

Smiling One

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There were multiple footsteps heard running at a rapid pace. The pitter patter noise filled the cavern again which made Willis cover Eryn's entire body. She trusted him to protect her no matter what and though Willis wasn't perfect, he made sure that Eryn was safe. Two Krakral came running from the other side of the cavern but they weren't going at them. They looked frightened as if they were running from something.

The young man raised an eyebrow, this wasn't like the Krakral to be panicky. Something obviously spooked them, something more powerful. The two monster saw Willis and growled wiggling their tentacles to intimidate. Willis gave one more look at Eryn and kiss her on the forehead. "Wish me luck?" he asked before rushing to the Krakal.

One of the creatures attempted to slash Willis with its appendage but he sidestepped and performed a vertical slash on the Krakal's back causing it to roar in pain. The other Krakral took a step forward only for Willis to punch it in the face staggering it. The young man had to be careful, Krakrals were known to be clever creatures even in the heat of the moment but so far he was succeeding.
 

Alani Delkera

Daughter of Earth and Stone
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PIT

Alani broke the surface gasping and choking for breath. She dragged herself from the crack dripping and shivering on all fours, her bangs plastered to her face and her leg torn up and bleeding. Her spear clattered to the stone and her chest heaved as she tried to catch her breath, her lungs stinging from the cold damp air.

She noticed a second creature was squaring off with Quoril. Her eyes flashed with danger and she bared her teeth. Grabbing her spear she lunged up crying out in pain as her injured leg buckled and she slipped in the puddle of saltwater and blood that was collecting beneath her. She tightened her grip on her spear breathing through her clenched teeth. Quoril would have to handle this new creature himself. She needed to do something now to stop the bleeding or at least slow it down.

Using her dagger she cut hr pants leg off at the knee and used it as a tourniquet, tying it tightly above her knee to slow down the blood loss. She then tore her sleeves off at the seems and cut them open creating four strips of cloth to use as bandages. Without her sleaves, one could see that despite being quite petite Alani had well-toned muscles with several minor scars from old injuries crossing her grayish skin.
 
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Mischa Ven'rohk

The One Blessed
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EAST


Mischa opened her eyes. Gasped.

The dim light in the armory had shifted. She'd fainted, despite trying her hardest to stay conscious. Unsure, now, of how much time had passed. But the creatures hadn't come back, nor had new ones found her. The partially burned Shriekers were all dead.

Numbed, throbbing pain in her chest. In the severed end of her right arm. A sheen of sweat covering her body. Not seawater. She could smell it.

She tried to stand.

Couldn't.

Tried to reach for the Lightbringer next to her on the floor with her only hand.

Couldn't.

Her body just wouldn't respond.

"Come on..."

Nothing. She lacked the strength to even move. She was Little Elf Teeth again. A shame to her tribe.

"Come on."

Nothing. It was as if she'd lost all control of her own body.

So she sat there. Head hanging to one side. Weeping silently. Lamenting her weakness.

And the world slipped away from her again.
 

Quoril

Alchemist, Copper Class Adventurer
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The splash and the sound of somebody gasping for air caused Quoril to turn to look. Feelings of surprise and relief were quickly replaced by a look of concern as he watched Alani pull herself out of the water, a large gash on her leg. He wanted to rush to rush over to help, but he figured Alani probably had survived worse.

Facing the monstrous creature once more, the flame disappeared from Quoril’s hand. Seconds later a spark erupted from his palm and grew to engulf his hand. Drawing his dagger with his other hand, he lunged at the fishman.

CLANG! Quoril’s stab was easily deflected. A quick strike from the butt of the spear sent him to the floor.