Private Tales Secrets of Gold

Discussion in 'The Chronicles' started by Verys Synsere, Jun 7, 2019.

  1. Verys Synsere

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    Somewhere in the wilds of Elbion....

    “Ey, Marv, whattya gonna do when yer all rich an’ famous?”

    Firelight danced across the far wall, throwing shadows across the moss covered ruins and the four men sitting in a loose circle around it. The one who’d spoken, a burly man with a large, greasy looking beard, leaned forward and pitched a small twig at the man in question -- Marv -- who was currently hunkered over a meticulously drawn map that was spread across his knees. Marv brushed the twig off of the map with a loud sigh.

    “Well, Greer, first we needs ta get the treasure, y’ moron. Stop interruptin’!” Greer scoffed at Marv’s irritated tone, leaning back and kicking at one of the logs in the fire. A cascade of sparks shot into the air, several of them drifting over to land on the map and smoulder through its surface, leaving tiny black holes in it.

    The small lump sitting on the ground between them, her hands and legs bound in way more rope than seemed necessary, let out a strangled sound of protest around the dirty fabric they’d used to gag her. She was a pretty thing, redhair, porcelain cheeks peppered with ginger freckles, and emerald eyes with long lashes, but bore evidence of the mens’ rough treatment, including a rapidly swelling bruise on her right cheek. She wore a pale blue dress over top of thick, sturdy, knee-high boots, ink stains on the edge of her dress and along the neckline. Despite the bounds, she squirmed towards the fire, as if intent on putting herself between the dangerous flames and her precious map.

    The man next to her grabbed her shoulder, dragging her back roughly and giving her a hard shove. “Stappit,” he snapped, then looked up at his companions. “Any time y’ wanna share with us where th’ treasure’s at, Marv, we’re all ears.” He spread one hand mockingly.

    Marv shoved the map off of his lap in annoyance. “You think its that easy?! Ain’t nothin’ here but scribbles an’ nonsense!”

    The redhead’s eyes got huge as she stared at the map, only a hair’s breath away from falling straight into the flames…

    “Aw, come on, it can’t be that hard. Th’ bartender said she had it all mapped out, all nice like, said this was a surefire job, just follow ‘er and nab ‘er shit,” the final man said as he stood and snatched the map up, holding it up and squinting at it. After a moment, he glanced to either side of him… and turned the map a quarter turn. No, he seemed to decide, he’d had it right the first time, and he flipped the map back… only to turn it 180* a moment later.

    Greer snapped it back from him. “See! Ain’t tha’ simple!” He smoothed the map over his knees once more, setting his compass on top…

    … and the redhead let out a muffled sound of protest that sort of resembled a heavily enunciated ‘Excuse me?’ Greer raised his eyes to her, then jerked his chin at the man sitting next to her. “What?!” he demanded.

    Verys held still as the man next to her jerked her gag off and out of the way, taking a moment to spit the foul taste of the gag out of her mouth before straightening up. Turning her attention to the man holding her precious map, she heaved a sigh.

    “That isn’t even the map for this continent,” she pointed out. “And please do be careful, it’s quite impo--”

    The man next to her cuffed her again, knocking her onto her side with a squeak of pain and protest. “Shuddup, smartie,” he growled, shaking his head. As he turned back to the fire, he found Greer staring at him with an annoyed expression on his face.

    “Don’t kill ‘er until we find the treasure!” he bellowed. “Now shuddup and lemme concentrate!”

    He stormed away from the fire and over to where the redhead’s belongings were -- a large satchel that had been emptied to reveal some dried meats and fruits, but primarily no less than a dozen different maps and scrolls and books, the most obvious one a large red covered journal with dog-eared pages. He took the map he’d been holding and tossed it near the back of the pile, rummaging through the other maps, muttering himself the whole time about so called ‘surefire’ money and troublesome redheads and damn empty ruins…

    Verys pushed herself up into a sitting position once more, wincing at the compounding goose-egg on her cheek… How very uncouth.
     
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  2. Smiling One

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    Willis Reede was walking in the forest of Elibon. In his hand was a bag of fish that he cooked from a nearby riverbank. The young man planned on selling them to a nearby village and hopefully probe the inhabitants for any jobs they might or even know any settlements who might have work.

    The forest was tranquil and the cool winds brushed against dark skin. Willis smiled as it were time like this where he could take in nature’s warm embrace. That is until he heard noises from the north. Frowning, Willis ran towards the direction of the noise and found what seems to be mercenaries huddled around a fireplace. There was a woman with them who looked beat up and was squirming against the men's grasp. The red-headed woman appeared to be their captive and part of Willis wanted to leave them alone as it was none of his business but something compelled him to go find out what was going on.

    “What’s this about?” Willis asked staring at the woman and the mercenaries. Knowing that he probably interfered, Willis forced a smile. "My name is Willis Reede," the young man announced. "I'm a mercenary and a monster hunter it seems that you folks are celebrating something." Willis crossed his arms and stared at the woman. "And who's this pretty lady you have here?" he asked. "What's your name? I got some ailments for your face if you want them. What happened to you?"
     
  3. Verys Synsere

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    The men all sort of stopped what they were doing as the newcomer stepped into the light cast from the fire, Marv still holding one of the maps that he’d apparently decided must be the right one.

    Into that silence, the redhead shuffled forward a little bit. “Hello Willis!” she said cheerily. Her voice was bright despite the fact she was bound, dirty, and her cheek was swelling rather impressively. “I’m Verys, and these are… Greer, Marv, Sten, and Po. They’re brigands. They followed me from the town and tied me up and are manhandling my maps all because they think I’m going to lead them to a treasure which I never even said mmph~!--”

    The man next to her -- Sten -- rather unceremoniously shoved the wadded up cloth back into her mouth, even as the three other men stood up, their hands going to their various weapons in a pretty obvious threat. It was, after all, four against one, and Willis didn’t exactly scream ‘impressive warrior’ despite his words.

    “She’s our niece. We’re taking her for a stroll, fresh air an’ all,” Marv sneered. “So, ‘Willis Reede’, I’d suggest you keep on walking. ‘Lest you enjoy a nice blade ‘twixt yer ribs….”

    Even as Marv spoke, the two men on either side of him, Po and Greer, sort of shifted outwards, effectively flanking Willis from three sides. They didn’t advance forward, just sort of leered at him, waiting for him to make the smart choice, the choice that was the most obvious, to take his fish and wander off --

    -- except, the attention they’d put on the man in front of them had distracted them from the redhead. They hadn’t pushed her back this time, and that put her in perfect place to kick out with her feet towards the fire, her heels hitting hard one log in particular whose butt was facing her. The resulting force cause the fire to topple over, throwing burning logs and red-hot embers directly into Marv’s legs and dangerously underfoot of Po. The men immediately started to hop away, yelping as they were burned and Marv’s pants set on fire.

    The redhead hopped to her feet, diving for the map that Marv had to keep it safe from the flames. That was most important, yes.
     
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  4. Smiling One

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    Willis frowned a bit treasure huh? Even though Verys never mentioned treasure, to many travelers especially greedy mercenaries, when one have loads of maps that’ll lead to fantastic areas they assume there’s some hidden treasure or something. A lot of mercenaries tend to be dullards like these folks were handling this red-head.

    One of the men: Sten gagged her before she can finish what she was saying. “Maybe you should’ve gagged her earlier before she unveils your motivations genius.” Willis thought while the rest of the mercenaries closed in on him in a threatening fashion.

    “Tying your nieces wrists and gagging her is an unusual way of taking a stroll,” Willis said feeling the presence of the men on his flanks.

    The young man remained calm, he’s been in these situations before. He’s killed monsters who were bigger and more powerful than him, drunken mercs weren’t really an issue. Willis saw Verys grab the map in front of her and he signaled her to get behind him while mercenaries were distracted.

    “Gentlemen,” Willis chuckled slowly reaching for his little black. “Surely this is misunderstanding let’s be civilized folks. We anit Bullywags.”

    Still maintaining his gaze into Marv, Willis reached for that item. “Let’s settle this with a game,” He said. “Do you like Dice?”
     
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  5. Verys Synsere

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    Verys’s hands closed around the map in front of her, clutching it to her chest as protectively as she could with both of her hands being bound so awkwardly. The newcomer had gestured to her and so she did what he’d indicated, quickly moving behind him even as the men dealt with the fact that she’d kicked part of the fire at them. By the time Marv had gotten the flames on his pantlegs extinguished, the redhead was solidly behind the dark-haired man, spitting out the gag that he’d shoved into her mouth.

    Fury creased Marv’s face, brought on by pain and the shame of having this slip of a girl effectively manhandle them. “We don’t give a shit ‘bout your dice, yer gettin’ cut f’r this meddlin!” he bellowed, gesturing to the men beside him. “Get ‘im!”

    The shout seemed to trigger the two men who weren’t dealing with fire or embers to charge forward, Po having drawn a long sword from his side and Sten gripping what was essentially a club made from a gnarled tree back. The men were obviously comfortable with the weapons, their swings good and their stances solid… but they weren’t exactly well-trained, either. Street-trained, from simply handling weapons their entire lives and always being the ones with the better odds… a situation that they seemed confident that they were currently in.

    Even as the two lunged for Willis, the redhead behind him hadn’t wasted any time in pulling the rope that had bound her off of her wrists. They were rubbed raw, burned from the tightness of her bounds, but she barely seemed to notice. Instead, she rolled the map up quickly and held it behind her with one hand, even as Marv moved to try and get around the two men and Willis towards her.

    “You bent my map!” she yelled, angrily, ducking to keep the three between her and Marv. She wasn’t about to let him get his grimey, map-bending fingers on her precious cartography again...
     
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  6. Smiling One

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    It seems that Verys was more angry at the fact that her map was bent rather than the fact she was held as their captive for what seemed to be a long time. Willis briefly raised an eyebrow at the red-head "weird girl," he thought to himself before grabbing a fistful of explosive powder that he reached from his bag. Marv was busy putting out the fire that Verys threw at his leg and it was Willis' opportunity to attack.

    The young man threw at Marv's eyes and he screeched in pain, his yell echoing throughout the forest. As Marv went down rubbing his eyes, Sten charged at Willis with his wooden club raised up high. Willis quickly sat up and blocked Sten's arm just as he was about to strike Willis in the head. Seeing Sten open for an attack, Willis punched him in the stomach repeatedly causing Sten to drop the club and double over in pain.

    Willis grabbed Sten by the scruff of the neck and threw him into the fireplace. Sten landed on to the fire stomach first and he roared pain like almost sounding like a Pig squealing before he was slaughtered. Sten rolled out of the fireplace trying to roll around getting rid of the flames that were all over him. Willis could smell burning flesh and thought to himself that Sten smelled like Chicken. Turning to Po, Willis immediately drew out his Saber holding it against a shaking and fearful Po.

    "Come on Po," Willis smirked. "You don't have to do this look at your comrades."

    Tears slowly formed around Po's eyes as craned his head to see Marv and Sten on the ground moaning. "I can't fucking see!" Marv cried out while Sten was rubbing his badly burnt midsection.

    "That explosive powder I hit your friend with has properties that can cause blindness if untreated," Willis said still holding his Saber against him. "The other guy could die from shock, judging by the injury third-degree burns are a major killer."

    Po alternated to his fallen companions and then at Willis. "There's a village where I just traveled from," Willis said. "It's not too far from here, they have a mage who specializes in healing you can save your friends if you hurry."

    Po immediately rushed to his friends and helped them up leaving Willis and Verys alone. Willis sighed and sheathed his weapon. "Should've played dice when you had the chance," he said before turning to Verys. "Are you all right?" He asked.
     
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  7. Verys Synsere

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    The men half-scrambled, half-stumbled away, leaving just the scattered fire, only half of it still burning where it’d been and the rest fading coals in the cold air away from the hearth, and the two of them… The young woman looked up at him from where she’d fallen on her butt in order to keep away from the action, her hair a loose tumble of scarlet around her shoulders and that shiner on her cheek markedly noticeable now.

    Still, as he addressed her, she smiled brightly at him. As if he’d just… chanced on her sitting under a tree enjoying herself, not bound up and threatened by brigands.

    “Oh, yes, thank you,” she said as she pushed herself to her feet, brushing her skirts out self-consciously. Terribly improper of her, that was for sure, but that was the least important thing as she moved immediately to inspect the disarray of books and scrolls that the brigands had spread about, clucking to herself in disapproval of the treatment of her precious items. She found her satchel and began to shake it out, carefully placing the books and scrolls back inside.

    “... heavy handed nincompoops,” she muttered to herself, then raised her emerald eyes to the man who’d rescued her.

    “Thank you, again. It was most inconvenient -- and they were so mean to my poor maps, look at this!” She held up the one that Marv had been pouring over, pointing at the ember-burns on one corner of it, before huffing. “Absolutely unforgivable. He doesn’t even realize how precious this map is -- not that he possibly could, no one really can unless -- well, unless you were there, but I’m assuming you weren’t -- It’s not even the right treasure map. Here’s the right treasure map,” she said, victoriously, pulling the map in question out with a brilliant smile. Despite the fact that she'd maintained 'there was no treasure', she certainly seemed to be willing to throw that word out now.

    “What do you know about this area, Mr Willis?” she asked as she moved back towards the fire, gesturing at the log next to her for him to join her if he so wished.

    After all, the brigands had left a full meal and several flasks of water and wine behind. Might as well put it to good use.
     
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  8. Smiling One

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    Willis watched Verys clean herself up before heading for the campfire. The men left in a hurry leaving weapons, food and other items behind. They could all fetch for some good coin but for now Willis wanted to rest, his stomach was growling and that pork sausage looked really good. "Don't mention it," Willis said giving Verys a slight smile. "It was nothing."

    The mercenary sat on the log and took a plate of Pork Sausage and eggs and began to chow down. The food was actually okay, the mercs were dullards but at least they were decent cooks. While he ate, Willis stared at Verys. "You want some food?" he gave the young woman some pork sausage before getting up and rummaging through the camp.

    "So you're really concerned about your maps," Willis said examining one Verys' items. "If they don't lead to treasure where does it actually lead to?"

    Verys had Willis' curiosity piqued he did wonder where did this treasure map lead to but of course two things had to happen. Number one: She pays him to go Willis doesn't work for free. Number two: They need to head to the nearest town, Verys needs to see a healer and Willis would like to trade these items for coin and items.

    "I've been to this area a couple of times," Willis replied. "There's town a few miles from here. We can gather these items to sell and we need to get you to a healer. Then we can discuss this journey you're on."

    Willis did enjoy the fact that Verys called him "mister".
     
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  9. Verys Synsere

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    “Oh it was much more than nothing,” Verys replied with a bright smile as she carefully re-rolled the map she had been holding on to, setting it to the side gently to join the rest of the collected ones in the satchel. “It was quite impressive!” The fire that remained in the hearth had settled down and was burning merrily, though substantially smaller than before the scuffle with the brigands. That was all right, it had been overly large anyway. This was much more reasonable, especially since the food was already cooked.

    Which, Willis was handing her, and she accepted it with a murmured ‘thank you’, setting it down next to her. Though, she at least plucked some of the pieces and popped them in her mouth as she found the map that she was looking for, glancing up at him. “Oh, I don’t need a healer. We’re far too close to the treasure to stop now! Besides, my cheekbone’s not even broken. A fracture, perhaps, but even then there’s no treating it except with magic, which… I’ll just be sure not to run into anything else face first!”

    That settled, she spread the map out, tracing it with her fingers until she found what she was looking for, glancing over at him with an impish twinkle in those emerald eyes of hers.

    “I never told them there was treasure. I didn’t say there wasn’t treasure. You, Mr Willis, are sitting in the shadows of the last remaining monastery of the Cult of D’Jen! It was a cult that ran for about a hundred years several hundred years ago. Most indications are that they worshiped a … candle, or lantern, or something. A holy light-giving object that could also grant your heart’s wish. Isn’t that wonderful!” She let out a dreamy sigh as her fingers traced over the small path that she had marked to lead her to the central monastery.

    “If I’m right -- and, well, not to brag, but I’m almost always right -- then there should be so much to learn!” Abruptly, she turned to look at him, leveling those big emerald eyes at him with a bright smile. “Do you want to come? It should be fascinating! Perhaps even boobytrapped. My, it’ll be fantastic!
     
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  10. Smiling One

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    A fracture can be just as dangerous as a break, Verys was rather tenacious. That was one quality that Willis already liked about the red-head but her possible injury could end up worse if she doesn't receive treatment. "I guess it's impressive," Willis shrugged taking an Apple and eating a big bite into it. "I was hoping they would rather play Dice."

    But alas people always want to solve their problems with a sword to the face which to be fair to them was Willis' first response whenever someone confronts him. "There may not be a mage in the next town," Willis said. "But there are Herbalists who can take a look on that bruise. I highly suggest you go there first."

    Willis continued to much on his Apple when Verys explained about where the map leads to. Apparently, they in the presence of an abandoned monastery of an ancient Cult of Djen. Willis had never heard of the Djen much less what they worshipped but the thought of exploring another monastery made Willis want to throw up his apple. "Fucking great," Willis muttered under his breath remembering his last expedition. "Another lost monastery."

    The young man examined Verys from her attire to what she was carrying. She will be dead in seconds and Verys was rather eager to go inside and explore. Willis loved to explore and examine new things as well but he was a cautious man especially after the shitshow that happened with the Toad Monks. "Well it's nice to preserve history I guess," Willis said. "You're gonna protection and I can provide it..... for a fee of course. We also should sell this shit around the camp to the nearby village so we can prepare for this expedition."

    Willis sighed heavily, he can't believe he's going to do this..... again. It was for the coin always the fucking coin. "Ah shit," Willis muttered under his breath. "Here we go again."
     
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  11. Verys Synsere

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    Verys picked at the food that he’d brought her with one hand, eating in this absent-minded way as she continued to pour over the map in front of her. It was minimally marked, but that didn’t seem to matter. There was this… look about her, this way that her emerald eyes took in the coarse parchment and the clear swipes of the ink, like she was seeing more than was there, like there was a whole discourse going on that she was privvy to…

    “Mm, did I say monastery? Hm, well, less of a monastery and more of a… hiding-place-where-they-practiced-their-ritual-sacrifices,” she said, with a flick of her hand. “None of the sources that spoke about it were very complimentary about it… I don’t think it was a very nice place.”

    Then he was speaking about a fee, and she turned her gaze to him as if she wasn’t quite sure what he meant… but ,oh, yes, money. She shrugged one shoulder, pointing off to near where she’d been sitting. “You can have all of that.”

    ‘All of that’ turned out to be a large sack that had been set behind where she’d been bound and sitting on the ground between the two logs. In that sack was, for all of Verys’s apparent disinterest in it, a substantial purse of gold and gems. Apparently the brigands, for all their talk of ‘treasure’ and for all of the fact they were rapidly dispatched by Willis, had had at least some notable luck finding easier prey earlier in their adventures.

    “Okay, so. If this is where this is, and that’s where we are, then…” Verys pushed herself to her feet, pulling on a rather large coat that was obviously not meant for her since the hem of it hung nearly down to the ground. Holding the map in front of her, she glanced around them. “That means…”

    And then without actually explaining what ‘that means’ actually meant, she picked up her satchel and headed straight into the ruins in front of them…. One track mind, it seemed.

    "Coming, Mr Willis?" she called over her shoulder. "This is going to be interesting!"
     
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  12. Smiling One

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    "So a forbidden cult?" Willis asked gritting his teeth. Oh even better! Willis remembered three years ago when he took a job to get rid of a small cult. On their way to their base, Willis was ambushed by the cultists and taken to their leader: A Halfling covered with scars. Willis was stripped naked and was forced to dance naked in the moonlight so the cult could appease the Moon God. It wasn't a pleasant moment in Willis' life. "That's fucking brilliant."

    Willis went towards the big bag of coin and gems struggling a bit to lift it up. He opened it and saw some rubies along with sapphires and emeralds. "Our friends have been committing an international crime spree," he said. "There's enough items to buy a mini brewery."

    He did have some big plans with the gold wine, women and baudy songs all night long. This was more than sufficient especially when he's going back to discovering long lost lore. "Okay I'm at your service Verys," the young man got up and stretched his looked at the road ahead. "Let's trade some items get some food and-"

    Willis saw that Verys went the OPPOSITE direction that he went. Willis groaned and ran after Verys "are you insane?!" he said. "You're gonna go in there blind without preparing for this trip?! I mean come on you said yourself there could be a lot of traps. I'm sure these cultists had to take precautions when they practiced their rituals!"

    Being prepared was something that was drilled into Willis' head for years. Whether he was a Pirate, Mercenary or Monster Slayer those who aren't prepared tend to die a grisly death. "You got yourself captured by a bunch idiotic mercenaries," he said. "What makes you think you can brave whatever lies ahead."

    The young man placed his hands on Verys' shoulders. "It can wait," he said. "Let's get some rest."
     
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  13. Verys Synsere

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    By the time Willis caught up to Verys, the redhead was pulling at several large vines that had grown down over a bit of wall. Or, at least, what had once been a wall, a nice one, too, the intricate reliefs and other carvings that were being revealed by moving the plants were any indication. Her emerald eyes flicked to him, sparkling in amusement.

    “Oh, I do hope for boobytraps, Mr Willis,” she said, her voice genuine and not the least bit sarcastic… As if she hadn’t spent the last month collecting information and stories just for that reason. Still, he didn’t know that, and even as she poured over the stonework that she could only barely see with the aid of the starlight overhead, she found his concern rather… sweet, actually. He didn’t even know her and he was very determined to look after her. Especially after she’d pointed him to a rather large bag of loot.

    Then he planted his hands on her shoulders and she looked up at him, taking in the strong line of his jaw and the warmth of his hands… and smiled. “Okay,” she replied. “But -- just -- hold on --”

    She reached behind her, feeling around… and pressed down on a particular relief that she could feel with her fingers.

    There was a loud clicking noise somewhere in the bushes behind them -- and suddenly the ground literally dropped out from underneath them, sending them sliding down a long ramp and tumbling to a stop somewhere dark and just slightly damp. A tunnel, it felt like, and man-made, if the evenly spaced stones underneath them were any indication. Verys detangled herself from him, rummaging around in her satchel, from the sounds of rustling paper and the muttering that she was saying underneath her breath.

    A soft sound of victory was followed by her clearing her throat before she said, clearly, “lumis,” and the room was bathed in light from the torch that Verys was holding. A torch that was burning with no visible fuel for the flame, though that was made clear a second later if he took in the enchanted runes etched into the handle of the torch. She had a smudge of dirt on her not-swelling cheek and some twigs in her hair, but otherwise seemed to have escaped their little tumble unscathed -- except for this brilliant excitement in her eyes.

    “But since we’re here and probably trapped, why don’t we look around just a little bit first?” she suggested, smiling.
     
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  14. Smiling One

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    #14 Smiling One, Jun 10, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
    Willis sighed with relief, it seemed that Verys was starting to see reason, that maybe she should slow down. That lasted only half a second when Verys went down and started to brush off the branches feeling for something. "Verys," Willis growled. "You really shouldn't-"

    There was a loud clicking noise that came from the ground. Instinctively, Willis grabbed the hilt of his Cutlass his heart racing at a breakneck pace. "Verys!" Willis yelled in a panic. "What di-"

    The ground disappeared beneath them and the two fell into the abyss below. Willis screamed his stomach feeling as though it wanted to escape from his mouth. The mercenary flailed his arms wildly desperately trying to find something, anything to hang on to. They both landed on the concrete floor with a sickening thud. Willis landed back first before and the young man thought he heard a crack in his tailbone somewhere.

    For a brief moment, Willis' legs felt like jelly and his vision became blurry. He could hardly hear whatever Verys said but whatever she did, it illuminated the room briefly blinding Willis. "Shit!" He said slowly getting up as he did so Willis' back began to tightened and he rubbed his lower back moaning in pain. Adjusting his eyes, Willis looked at his surroundings: A line of torches was placed on the walls leading to the main entrance. On the wall were strange symbols that carved into them.
    [​IMG]

    Willis frowned and stared at Verys. He was pissed off at Verys for getting them trapped but he had no choice but to press forward. There had to be a way out. "Verys," Willis mumbled grimacing in pain but otherwise grabbed her hand. It surprisingly felt soft and delicate. "Stick close to me we don't know what's in here."

    (OOC: Music for the monastery:
    )
     
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  15. Verys Synsere

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    Verys was already stepping forward to pick up one of the other torches, lighting it with her enchanted one before handing it over to Willis. He had a tightness to his face that she hadn’t seen in it before, and she looked at him as he grasped her hand, concern bright in those emerald eyes of hers. Not an auspicious start to the whole thing, her already sporting one hell of a shiner and him standing like he’d landed wrong. And… glaring at her. That was pretty par for the course, though. Most people found her incredibly annoying, she’d been told.

    “Of course we don’t,” she said, then leaned into him with a bright smile. “Isn’t that exciting?”

    Giving his hand a squeeze, she lifted her torch in the other hand and half walked, half dragged him towards the wall where she could see some truly fascinating shapes. Her eyes devoured the sight of them, committing them to her impressive memory, and then she closed her eyes, tilting her head one direction, then the other, this furrow in her brow as if she was concentrating really, really hard. And she was, cycling through everything she’d seen and read to try and see if she could figure out if she’d seen these before.

    “They’re reminiscent of previous reports, but I don’t have enough information to generate a guess as to their meaning,” she finally stated, sounding a bit disappointed that she wasn’t immediately generating the answers she sought. “Come on, let’s keep going!” She held her torch aloft, picking a direction down one of the halls and starting to walk.
     
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  16. Smiling One

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    #16 Smiling One, Jun 10, 2019
    Last edited: Jun 10, 2019
    Willis' lower back regressed to a dull pain it almost felt as though someone was tapping his tailbone. Still it was nothing that Willis couldn't manage so at least there's that. Verys on the other hand seemed to be glad that they were trapped in this unknown area her emerald eyes darted around taking in all of the symbols possibly committing them to memory. Taking the torch that Verys gave him Willis examined the symbols as well, it contained a man and many different animals. There were squiggly lines that was around the man possibly indicating magic. Was it possible that this cult practiced transformation spells.

    "If I had to guess," Willis said holding Verys' hand. "This cult is practicing the magic art of shapeshifting used to bee very common dating back to the Age of Tales. Now it's fairly rare, the secrets behind the art has been lost to time."

    It was at least that's what he picked up when he researched it in order to combat a shapeshifting mage he was contracted to kill a few years ago. Verys was about to walk to a different direction but Willis squeezed the red-head's hand stopping her in her tracks. "Let me take the lead Verys," he ordered the young woman frowning. "We don't know what lies ahead."

    Letting go of her hand Willis held the torch in front of him lighting the path ahead. The walls were much of the same, though every few steps there was a strange item that was carved into in the wall. A drawing of the cultists bowing down to what appeared to be lamp. The young man gritted his teeth having dreading that if it was the monster that he thought it was. However there was a loud boom that echoed through the monastery. The ground began to shake and Willis nearly lost his balance while ran to Verys and shielded her with his body. "Earthquake," he said in a panic.

    However what happened next filled Willis' heart with dread: "WHO DARES DISTURB THIS PLACE?"

    The voice sounded deep like boulder's breaking, Willis put Verys against the wall and drew his Cutlass. "Who are you?!" he growled though inside fear took over the young man's body.

    "I AM THE GUARDIAN OF THOSE WHO WERE LOST." the voice explained. "THE KEEPER OF THE SLUMBERING GOD. THE GOD WHOM MY CREATORS FOUGHT AND DIED PROTECTING."

    "What kind of God needs protecting?" Willis thought to himself.

    "YOU ARE DESECRATING THIS PLACE," the voice boomed. "YOU MUST BE DEALT WITH!"

    "Wait!" Willis said but the voice did not respond instead there were sounds of scuffling ahead. "Shit," Willis said continuing to shield Verys. What did they stumble into?
     
  17. Verys Synsere

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    The redhead cast a glance at him as he spoke about shape-shifting magic, a slight tilt to her head that was… well, perhaps a bit impressed by his deduction based on the hieroglyphs. It wasn’t often that one found someone capable of using both their swords and their brains, so she was pleasantly surprised. She lingered at the relief of the lamp, however, her fingers wandering over the stonework as she considered all of the dozen or so myths and monsters that she could connect with such an object as that.

    Surely, however, anything left in this place would have long since ebbed, given away into the dust of time…

    “Oh,” she paused as he grabbed her and pulled her back, blinking up at him as he… decided it was only right for him to go first. “Mr. Willis, I don’t need --” she began, just the tiniest amount of exasperation in her voice, because it wasn’t the first time she’d been in a dangerous situation, and, really, she’d survived a demon world, she could survive an ancient tomb… but, taking a breath, reigned herself in, instead smiling up at him. Really, he was being particularly attentive to her safety, which was … sweet.

    They’d barely gotten anywhere interesting, however, when suddenly the floor began to buck beneath her. Earthquake, he called, and she looked at him, an awestruck look on her face. “Localized tectonic movement, how --”

    Fascinating, likely, but it wouldn’t come out because Willis had pushed her up against the wall, and a voice was booming through the halls around them.

    “Sentience preserved through a magic spell?” she whispered, even as the sounds of… something approaching reached their ears. She pushed at him just enough so that she could peek around him, lifting her enchanted torch even higher above her head. There, coming around the corner, was a… creature. A construct of bones, ancient and missing pieces in places, with a pale blue glow emanating from where the jaguar’s heart had been, spreading up to its eyes so they glowed as well with a feral menace.

    “Reanimated guardians! Must have a power source -- perhaps activated by our presence, perhaps --” Verys began, but suddenly the bone jaguar was dashing down the hall towards them and the redhead hopped up, snatching at something overhead. She hopped again, this time smacking with her torch, the creature very nearly on top of them now...

    A second later, a whole tangle of roots and vines, dislodged by her attempts… and falling right on top of the thing about to attack them, wrapping it up and preventing it from jumping on them, at least for just a minute...
     
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  18. Smiling One

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    Willis saw the creatures running out from the darkness. The walking skeletons with glowing green eyes equipped with battle axes and rusted iron longswords. “You’re right!” Willis shouted turning to Verys. It was possible that there’s a necromancer somewhere in this temple-

    However Willis saw Verys being held by one of the reanimated corpses coming from their flank. “Shit!” Willis growled but Verys managed to fight the creature off and even trap him.

    Willis smiled, the young woman is very resourceful. Verys can kick some ass if cornered Willis liked it. Willis stood over the creature and stabbed it through its skull ending its life. The rest of the corpses continued rush at the two and Willis turned on his heel urged Verys to follow. “Let’s get out of here!” He shouted taking out a fire flask from his bag and smashed it on the floor creating a flame wall preventing the corpses from advancing.
     
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  19. Verys Synsere

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    As Willis’s blade broke through the bone-jaguar’s skull, the blue glow flickered and then faded, retreating to the source of where it’s heart had been. A small blue gem, rapidly growing opaque and grey as the last of its magic faded, fell from its place onto the floor and Verys ducked forward, scooping it up and holding it on her palm. “Ooh, look a--” she began, but then Willis was chucking a flask onto the floor and with a woosh! a wall of flame shot up. The redhead went “ooh--” but didn’t get to ask, because Willis was gesturing to her.

    “Right, running!” She grabbed up her enchanted torch once again, scrambling to her feet and picking the direction that the fire wasn’t. It was further into the temple, but that was all right. There was no exit the way they’d come, so heading back in that direction was just a waste of time. Into the darkened ruins they went, the light of her torch flooding each hall as they turned corner after corner, a dizzying pattern of lefts and rights.

    Finally, however, they had left the clunking of the pursuing skeletons behind them, and entered a large room that seemed to be mostly empty. There was no other way forward, the hallways just ended in the room, a large wall adorned with hieroglyphics in front of them. Verys wandered forward, mindful of any switches or traps she might stumble into -- she hadn’t been joking about expecting boobytraps, after all.

    “Are you all right, Mr Willis?” she inquired as her fingers traced over the carvings in front of her, drinking in what she saw. There was a way forward -- she knew there had to be -- but the question was… what?
     
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  20. Smiling One

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    Willis began brushing off the cobwebs that were on stuck on his shoulder. "I'm good," Willis replied looking behind them. The undead stopped chasing them? That's strange, undead never retreat unless they were being controlled. The thought of that made Willis feel a bit uneasy. Normally Necromancers have to be in close proximity with the creatures they summoned if they stray too far then the summoned creature will dissipate. The fact that the caster was nowhere in sight suggested that this Necromancer was very powerful.

    It also meant that caster ordered the undead to stop pursuing Willis and Verys. What was going on? Willis shook his head all that matters right now is getting out of here. "That's pretty resourceful in what you did there Verys," he said. "Do you have any combat experience."

    Willis underestimated the redhead but then again he met her while she was kidnapped by mercenaries. "IT SEEMS THAT YOU ARE PERSISTENT IN SEEKING THE GOD!" The voice boomed causing Willis to hold Cutlass in front of him and put Verys behind. "VERY WELL YOU WILL BE PUT THROUGH THREE TRIALS!"
     
  21. Verys Synsere

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    Verys was in the middle of leaning forward to inspect one of the delicate carvings in the wall in front of her -- when suddenly that voice boomed around them both again. Willis grabbed her, pulling him towards and behind her, and she sort of squeaked in surprise, nearly fumbling the enchanted torch in her hands. Still, she kept hold of it, and a moment later, the voice was booming about trials.

    The redhead looked up at him, looking… well, absolutely delighted. “Three?! Oh, this is fantastic. What do you think the first one --”

    She didn’t have to finish that sentence, though, because two things happened at the exact same time. First, around the corner came the shambling undead, their glowing eyes focusing on Willis -- and the redhead behind him -- before stumbling forward towards the two of them. Behind them, however, the wall of hieroglyphs that Verys had been inspecting suddenly lit up, from the base of the floor all the way to the ceiling, shimmering with pale light and illuminating the fact that in the middle of the wall was a large seam, obviously what would be a doorway. However, on either side of the doorway were two large squares with smaller versions of the hieroglyphs.

    “Ooh, a puzzle!” she turned to face the wall, apparently completely forgetting about the two skeletons shambling their way…
     
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  22. Smiling One

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    Willis took a step back but still gripped his Cutlass. “What tests?!” He shouted but just as he said that, the entire room began to illuminate. The Symbols on the wall became more prevalent and the part of the wall began to part showing a dark corridor. Willis was taken in but the green lights that he did almost did not pay attention to the two undead who were about to ambush Verys.

    “Look out!” Willis shouted pushing Verys out of the way with his free arm while still pointing his Cutlass at the undead trying to create some threat.

    Oh who was he kidding the undead doesn't feel pain. Advancing on the skeleton zombies Willis lifted his weapon up high over his head performed a vertical slash on one of the Undead with all his strength. The blade penetrated the front cranium and the weight behind the blow caused the Undeads entire body to collapse.

    As Willis dislodged his blade from the deactivated zombie the other zombie raised his ax and sliced Willis across the arm. The mercenary gave a cry of pain feeling the rusted ax graze his skin. The wound wasn’t deep but it did feel as though arm was on fire. Willis staggered back daring the undead to attack which it gladly did. Willis sidestepped and did a horizontal slash on the back of its knee. The undead collapsed and Willis finished him off with a decapitation.

    Before it died Willis heard whispers he stared down and saw the green smoke from the zombie disappear. As the smoke disappeared voices of a different tongue was speaking a fast rate before ceasing. Sheathing his sword, Willis helped Verys to her feet. “Sorry about that,” he said. “But damn it you really need to pay attention.”
     
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  23. Verys Synsere

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    The scholar had gone done in a bit of a tumble, her crimson curls curtaining around her face and the torch skittering out of her hand. She was most of the way to her feet by the time Willis finished off the second undead, bringing her arm up to flick her hair back out of her face. Other than her impressive shiner, she was unharmed, and -- still -- bearing this bright, steady curiosity, despite the fact she’d nearly gotten cleaved in half by a walking skeleton.

    ‘Ipso tae umun latis’,” she said, the ominous words sounding strange coming from the redhead with her cheery voice and unconcerned air.

    Reaching down to the hem of her dress, she carefully pulled at it with her teeth, ripping a swatch about the width of her palm from the fabric. Then she reached for him, drawing his arm towards her gently so that she could inspect his wound. It would need to be cleaned and treated when they had the opportunity -- for now, however, she carefully wrapped the cloth around it and tied it off, tucking the ends into the make-shift bandage.

    “I’m not sure what it means yet,” she said as she worked, “but that’s some of what I caught from every time these things have died. It’s always the same thing. Incantation, perhaps. Curse, perhaps! Also likely candidates -- fluke of the sound rushing from their bodies ooooor intentionally melodramatic warning that translates to ‘your blood will soak these stones’,” she finished with a bright smile. “Will need more evidence to make a full conclusion, so if you kill more, try and be quiet as they die so I can hear, okay?” She really was enjoying this, it seemed, because she moved past him towards the wall, reaching out and lightly touching one of the hieroglyphs in the box that wasn’t lit up.

    Several of the other hieroglyphs shimmered red, for just a second, before fading back to pale blue. She touched another -- different runes lit up. Experimentally, she touched two at the same time -- one of the runes that had lit up both times in red flashed a fiery yellow, and a mighty tremble rocked the room as the ceiling dropped several inches, spraying them with rock and debris. Once it came to a stop, the hieroglyph faded back to pale blue and the room settled into silence again.

    “Oh, brilliant!” Verys breathed, beaming up at Willis. “I’ve got it now. Just… hold on a minute and don’t get hurt again, it’s quite distressing.”

    Then she turned back to the wall, touching hieroglyphs rapidly now, muttering to herself as she did so, this manic light in her eyes.
     
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  24. Smiling One

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    Verys mumbled something that almost sounded like an incantation. Willis looked down and saw that she was probably repeating the words that came from the undead before it was destroyed. The young man grimaced a bit when Verys took a piece of her dress and wrapped it tight around his wounded arm. "Thanks," he muttered giving the redhead a small smile.

    Willis then wrapped his head around whatever the undead told them. "Ipso tae umun latis’, he mumbled. "It sounds like a hint to me, the horde had stopped chasing us but these specifically broke through." Willis picked up his torch that fell when he attacked the skeleton warrior.

    Willis raised an eyebrow as they continued to traverse through the narrow path that lay before them. Verys requested Willis to be quiet after killing the zombies. "I'll scream less when they carve my flesh in while I drive a knife through their skull," he replied rather irritably. It made sense why she said to be quiet but given that Willis had a cut, he was more focused on the pain.

    "It does sound like blood magic," Willis surmised looking over the hieroglyphics. "Many of the practitioners were wiped out during the Age of Expansion when King Grichen began his crusade."

    Willis read it from a book in the Monster Slayer Academy, King Grichen declared a religious campaign that was the largest and most successful one in history. Many magical arts, kingdoms were crushed by the Grichen who considered himself: The instrument of the Gods. "What's your plan this time Verys?" Willis asked having a very bad feeling about what she wanted to do.
     

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