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 Post subject: The Mystone Ruins: The Opening
PostPosted: Thu Mar 03, 2011 7:19 pm 
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It was early morning when the package arrived to the Order Library, on a day where James had been lucky enough to be there deep in study. It had not been handed to him directly but when the strange artifact came in, the man running the main office had no idea what he was holding or what to do with it. He looked around, hoping to find Ein Wetal, or even Zane Shadowcast, but alas neither of them was present; not even Vius Ottum had been in the library. That left the fourth ranking member of the Order, James Dehlim. The molding slab of stone was handed to him without his permission; it was still damn and unpleasant to touch.

“Why on earth would you hand me this moldy piece of junk?” He said before he noticed the particular shape it had. It was carved like a crescent moon and by very good hands. It was almost perfectly rounded and with crevices that matched what you might look into the sky at night and see yourself, with a few added blemishes from the sea. He remembered the shape and size from somewhere, a book he had recently read through maybe just a week ago. “Take this to the recovery team downstairs and tell them to clean it but not alter it in any way further.” Like that he had handed the moon back to the attendant and dashed down the library.

It took a few minutes but he found the book he had remembered readying about a mystical ruin surrounded in questions. The book was on spirits and the section chapter about this ruin was rather short. The only reason it was in the book at all was the fascination it had with spiritualists; not for a high spike in spiritual activity, but a complete and utter lack of it. No spirit has even been encountered in this area, and in a world full of war and death, that was a very strange occurrence.

The book had an illustration on it of a large door under a monolithic statue that reached over the trees. Though many have seen the statue, or at least the top of it, for you could see the head and shoulders, and the tip of a trident from nearly anywhere on the great lake; the real fascination was the door below him. To this day no excavation team had been able to open it, and luckily nobody was ever allowed to try to enter by destructive force. On the door were many empty sockets that once housed gem stones that had long been taken by bandits and robbers, the biggest of these indentations though, was a crescent moon; it was the only piece that went over both sides of the door. Closing the book and replacing it on the shelf he left for the recovery room, he arrived just as they were finishing.

What he was handed when he returned astonished him, the moon was not made of a common stone, but was in fact a sapphire that had been dirtied by the elements of the sea. The attendant was still in the room, curious about the stone that was causing such a commotion. “Where did you get this?” James asked while holding the sapphire moon. The attendant paused, almost hypnotized by the precocious stone until James looked at him directly.

“Oh, sorry sir. A man had just dropped it off. Said it was fished up from Brickwood and thought they could get more money from it out of us than anybody else.”

James nodded; Brickwood, the small town on the lake, nestled in the bosom of the Forest of Shadows and the Mystone Forest. That confirmed everything; the moon was the lost key to open the temple doors. “Indeed, give the man one-hundred gold pieces and send him on his way. Then set up a job listing. I now have the key to the Mystone Ruins.”





A few days had passed, three to be exact, and James was ready to venture out for the ruins. He had spent the days gathering supplies. Notebooks and pens, a small brush, drawing paper and charcoal sticks from the library stores; from the grocer dried food and bread; and from the apothecary two dozen vials filled with Glowing Paradise Roses. He also had a length of rope and two water skins for himself. On his hip rested his dagger, the only weapon he now carried, he had lost Amora and DaMonen in the swamp; those weapons were Atrin’s though, and had James been seen with them someone might make a connection. The clown was dead, he had died in the swamp and as far as James cared he was just another spirit roaming the bog.

Gear all accounted now came the attire. Brown work boots that were the same color as his pants; a tan shirt with sleeves under a brown, thin leather vest; and a brown hat. He wore his glasses and had two backups with cleaning cloth in his pack just in case. He was more than ready for this adventure; he was excited beyond words to set eyes upon that which hasn’t been seen in ten-thousand years. He set out the large library door and left for the rendezvous point, a few days journey by horseback.




When he arrived on the hill overlooking the city of Brickwood on one side, and the Mystone forest on the other, all his members had already been waiting, hopefully for not too long.

First of the members was a brown skinned man who went by the name, Tiam; he would play the role of body guard. He seemed adept at both melee and ranged combat, judging by the long purely wooden spear he held in hand and the five shorter ones he had strapped to his back by a leather harness. Most notable though was the strong scent of sea salts that seemed to stick to the man like glue. The scent would take a bit of getting use to, but at least he would be somewhat easy to follow if they were separated for whatever reason. He didn't talk too much but then again he wasn't hired to talk and being a man of few words was something James would likely come to appreciate.

Next of the group was the high elf named Ellia, a fellow scholar who would likely be seeking a cure for her curiosity; much like James himself. This elf wore a beautiful white robe which complimented her honey blonde hair. She looked much less threatening than Tiam, but just as mysterious. She also remained silent, and would most likely stay that way until spoken too or their arrival. Unlike Tiam, she smelled lovely, wearing a nice floral perfume that would also be easy to track in the dark. He wondered for a second if they had planned this before hand, it was an interesting idea that he wished he thought of.

Following from left to right was the oddest of companions he would share this day, an Orc in dusty and muddy clothes; he by far smelt the worst. He was scary, seemed to have a short fuse, and probably had the same stupidity that plagued his race. However, he possessed a brute force beyond anyone else and that would likely come in handy as long as he was tame, and hopefully house broken. James really did not care for orcs, in fact claiming his was racist toward them would be fairly accurate, but, he was never one to let his hatred interfere with results and so he would tolerate his presence.

Last of their group was the fighter Lin and her child, even more than the orc, James was hesitant of allowing the two to come. He did not doubt her abilities as a body guard, but they were sailing uncharted waters and the child could easily become injured or worse. Eventually he did cave and allowed the two to tag along because of the thrilling experience for the child and their puzzle solving abilities that both possessed. Still he worried about the girl’s safety and keeps one eye reserved to watch for her safety.

“Sorry for the wait.” He apologized even if he was not exactly late in arrival. “I trust everybody has what they need. Let’s get going.” They set off, traveling south through the forest. Between an hour and two was all the time needed to pass through the forest to the clearing of stone. There was no trail but the unbeaten path was not so hard as to slow them too much. Soon their feet would leave the forest and step onto ancient stone.




James was the first to pass under the last tree and see the ruins in their full splendor. The first thing any of them would see when entering that clearing was the giant stone man holding a trident. He was bare chest, had a large beard, and long unruly hair. His face looked serious and determined, large wrinkles seemed to sag to his cheeks. He looked out to the north western sky. His legs stretched down to a stone pedestal on which he stood; that was where the named door resided. Slowly he made his way to that door.

There were four lesser statues, seeming to face perfect north, south, east, and west; making it slightly strange that the stone giant gazed North West if whoever made them had a proper way to judge direction. These states sat a third of the height and were all broken in some place, leaving the left over stone to lie at its own feet. The four lesser stood on top of small pyramids maybe twice as tall as the orc, and in all the ruin was double the size of the average wheat field.

This all seemed far too strange. Walking along the stone floor and taking the entire ruin in, one thought screamed at him from the back of his mind. He thought of voicing this thought, but wanted more to see if his fellow companions had thought of the same thing. His thoughts would seem much truer if his companions shared them, and he didn’t want to taint their opinion with his own. He turned back to them with a smile, wanting their thoughts; some more than others.

“Well.” He spoke for all too hear. “What do you all think?”

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 Post subject: Re: The Mystone Ruins: The Opening
PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 6:03 am 
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When she first set her sandals on the ground of Darkness Incarnate, one of her first objectives was to scout local libraries for books about the geography of the land she had just arrived at. Back at home she had heard of the land, but there was no information about the place as a landmass, at least, not in any book she was given permission to know about. Showing up lost was not something she was fond of, so even before she met Boreas in the forest, she had wandered between towns, soaking up details of things she, at the time, did not really care about. The exercise was not meant to discover some important piece of information, it was only meant to familiarize her with her new home. When she read the vague information about ruins near the town of Brickwood, she took note of it out of curiosity, but ultimately shoved it to the back of her mind as her quest for geographic knowledge took priority. After everything that had happened since then, the story of unexplored ruins was nearly forgotten and Ellia lost interest completely.

That seemed like it happened ages ago. In those days, projects and interests could be postponed for decades or longer, the elf still used to the pace her home offered. There was little interaction among the shorter lived races in her life previously, and if a topic wasn't about war, or training for war, it was exceptionally common to leave it on the back-burner for a human lifetime. Seeing the flyer call to explore the ruins was quick to bring the attention back to that old curiosity. Perhaps it was better she waited in this particular case though, as she would find out later that the ruin was unexplored for good reason; it was unexplorable until just recently. If she had left when she first found out about the place she would only be met with disappointment.

Preparation was quick. After recent events she no longer required sustenance in a normal sense, so packing for survival required a whole inventory of nothing. Still, she had no desire to walk into a potentially hazardous old ruin empty handed. Screening off a section in her back with a piece of cloth as to keep her possessions from being coloured from prolonged exposure to the maroon clay that took up the majority of the bag, she made enough room for: a miniature summary of broad architecture in case the ruins followed some similarities with other found ruins, a compass to keep track of position should there be enough to get lost in, and her curved dagger.

Since her forest misadventure with another elf, Ellia had changed her appearance a bit. Her robe now actually resembled a robe rather than the strange hooded cloak made into a robe thing she used to wear, and had discarded the rope she used to keep her robe closed, now using a cloth tie that actually matched the rest. For reasons beyond her, when she made her way out from under the stones the colour of her hair was again its natural honey blonde. Today, she added a pair of small glasses to her face. Her eyesight dictated this an unneeded accessory, but it was only meant to help portray her image of a scholar. In hopes to counteract the light crossbow strapped to her back. They were just frail little things though, with thin frames and small circular lens that required to be a bit farther down than a normal pair, giving the impression that they were only for reading.

She had been last to arrive at the hill. Well, second last once James and his horse arrived. She spent a good amount of time prior in the nearby forest, waiting for the others to assemble before joining in the meeting spot. She didn't really want to sit through any awkward conversations while waiting for the group to arrive, and if she timed things right, she may not even have to introduce herself. An idea that proved correct, at least for the moment, for not much time had passed between her arrival and the quick word spoken that would signal the beginning of the event.

Right to business. Wonderful.

The trek through the forest was cause for discomfort for the elf. Still the wildlife evaded her, leaving her a wide berth. Not that such an event was annoying, but last time she had met with another in a forest they had noticed the odd reactions from the critters of the woods. Likely, none of her companions would be observant enough to notice, and even if they were, there was much less reason to figure out the who and why to their reaction. Still she felt insecure. A bad opinion could easily end her journey with the others kicking her out of the group, or even turning on her. She had no idea on how far Cerit had carried the word of Zu since they met, and she had even less of a guess if people knew about things like her mark. But it wasn't like she would be able to just ask. Suspicion was something she hoped to avoid.

Like that is the only thing I need to worry about.

She adjusted the scarf that hid her disturbing 'scar' of a hole in her neck. That would be a much easier exploited reason to freak out. Most people didn't walk around with the results of a mortal blow. It wasn't quite the full size it once was, but it was still large enough she often wondered how she still managed to talk normally. Still large enough that bad things tended to happen when others got a peak. Still large enough she wanted it hidden for as long as possible.

The statues bugged the elf immediately.

The largest one is the only one to stand above the treetops, so it should be subject to the most environmental damage. Yet it is the only one fully intact. Which means something
else likely damaged the other ones.


The statues all faces outwards, the cross shape of the formation making it easy to be reminded of direction. The drawing of the compass showed this guess to be accurate. It was then a sudden hunch struck her mind. If she was wrong she would look stupid or at least slightly crazy, but if she was right, it would likely draw in a deal of respect for her mind. A worthy and exciting gambit.

"Hey kid, catch."

She tossed the compass to the child that accompanied Lin after making sure the child was paying attention. She sounded different than before, calm, collected, and even confidant. It wouldn't surprising if she went unrecognised by those she knew before, though her clothing and weapon may give her away. She briefly wondered if she should make a more dramatic change to her clothing, but that was neither here nor there.

"I doubt I'll be needing that today."

Since the directions seem to be broken here anyway.

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 Post subject: Re: The Mystone Ruins: The Opening
PostPosted: Fri Mar 04, 2011 8:52 pm 
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"Mommy?"

Lin groaned, pulling her covers back up over her eyes in attempts to block out the sun coming in strongly through the window of their room. It had been such a long and taxing journey for them both; two days of sleep couldn't even begin to cover the time spent tracking the pirates day and night without resting. Even when she had found a ship she couldn't even think of sleeping until her little girl was right underneath her arm, cuddled up in the safety of all that was her mother. It had felt so wrong to sleep when Khivi was in the filthy hands of slavers.

But now, even as Khivi was trying to wake her exhausted mother to get ready for their adventure through the ruins, Kahlin was a hibernating mother bear. Ever courageous, Khivi did not back down, and soon she was prying the covers from Lin's face...only to get pulled into a firm embrace filled with tickling fingers. Khivi roared with laughter, squealing as she tried to wriggle out from mother's grasp. It was a very hard hold to get out of, as she had discovered time and time again since she decided to start waking her mother up.

They usually would play while they got ready, and they did not hold back this time. Lin had come so close to losing the only thing that mattered in the world; now was definitely not the time to be serious. This was their playtime, just as it always had ever been. They played "I Spy" when they were out the door, both skipping along as they visited other stores for supplies they couldn't get late at night when they got in two nights ago. Townspeople had various reactions to the way Lin was playing children's games with her daughter as they skipped along. Some had raised brows, possibly wondering why she wasn't holding back and acting like an "adult" like most other parents did. Others, however, were smiling and enjoying the fact that Lin didn't give a care about what others thought; it was only her daughter's opinion she cared for. When her daughter told her to stop embarrassing her, she would respect her opinion. But right now, she was Khivi's only friend...and she would always act that way as long as she needed her to.

"I spyyyyy..." Khivi said, her eyes locking on something in a store. Lin already knew what she was looking at--it was something she'd had her eye on ever since they first walked through the town. It was a simple, interlocking puzzle made of beautiful wood pieces. With a knowing smile, she picked Khivi up and put her on her shoulders, deciding that skipping was getting old by now. Khivi giggled--ever full of the energy that Lin sometimes lacked--and continued their game of "I Spy" until they got to the meet-up point. After waiting a little bit, she met the eyes of none other than the one she bested on the opposing pirate ship.

Too bad she couldn't send anything more than a warning glare his way. No, not in front of Khivi. The crew they consisted of was an odd one; what else was to be expected, really? Their leader of the expedition lead them into the ruins, and Khivi was "ooooing" and pointing excitedly as she whispered keen observations into her mother's ear. Lin, too, was pointing at the statues, telling her about which direction they were pointing before the elf in their party--a scholarly-looking one, although she knew by her build that she wasn't just "scholarly"--threw a compass to Khivi, whom was being lowered to the ground for a break from being atop her mother's shoulders for too long. Khivi's eyes lit up at the new present, and Lin smiled at the elf's words, nodding her thanks in being the reason for Khivi's smile. Khivi figured out what the woman meant very quickly, which was impressive for a six-year-old. Lin knelt to Khee's level to talk with her, knowing that Khivi observed things more differently than she did at times.

"What about the broken stuff?" Khee asked her mother. Lin nodded, having wondered the same thing. Maybe there was something to it?

"I think there could be something with it." She agreed, looking up to James. He looked like a man with ideas. Lin looked back over at the statues and noticed something more: one was not broken. Lin was about to point it out when Khivi did just that.

"Why is that one perfect?" She said, looking to Lin for answers. Lin could only smile broadly at Khivi, before holding her hand out. Khivi was practically glowing when she slapped her mom a "Hi-5" before turning to their leader.

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 Post subject: Re: The Mystone Ruins: The Opening
PostPosted: Sun Mar 06, 2011 3:29 am 
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The first few days after the disaster on the ship were taxing, both physically and mentally. It had been a long time since Tiam had needed to catch his own food beyond tossing a line into the water and waiting. It had taken some time to refresh his abilities to make snares and dig up roots, but he eventually managed to remember enough to subsist between roots, berries, and a few pieces of dried fish that inexplicably survived in his belt pouch.

His injuries were remarkably few for having had a ship literally explode around him, only a few scratches and a few bruises. In fact, Tiam distinctly remembered the searing pain of both arms shattering to pieces, as well as losing his foot before blacking out. How they were there now was a complete mystery, one that Tiam could not find the answer to on his three-day trek along a broken, long-forgotten road which he had found after a trip along the beach and into the forest. Roads usually led somewhere, even if they were ancient and badly neglected. Besides, having a direction was better than having none at all.

The three days were a blur of finding food, sleeping, and walking. He made the weapons on his back more usable by fire-hardening the tips and, despite himself, got a little sentimental while doing it. Dipping the planking of his former ship into a fire again and again did not seem quite right, and yet it needed to be done to make himself battle ready. He resolved to get new weapons as soon as he could, but first he would need money. Either that or he would need to steal them, though that would raise several problems he did not wish to deal with.

The sentiment continued as Tiam walked along the road as unbidden memories popped into his head. The two mages were prominent figures, as were Stormeye and, oddly, the woman he had fought with a short time before the ship exploded. Were any of them alive? Tiam doubted it. He wasn't even sure how he was alive, and if his dimly remembered injuries were any sort of analog, most of the crew were dead, and so was that woman and her little girl if she did not escape in time.

Finally relief from the thoughts came as Tiam finally broke through the shroud of the forest and emerged onto a plain about a mile away from a town. There was a road leading up to it, and a single farmer with his cart could be seen making the last leg of his journey to market. Tiam skirted the edge of the woods and wandered into the town. Looking so haggard, the guards were barely willing to pass, but they eventually did so with watering eyes.

Tiam made his way through town, crowds parting around him in a strange fashion, until he made his way to an ill-fated tavern. He walked through the door and strode right up to the inkeeper, patrons taking one sniff and then collectively holding their breath. He enquired about work to the barkeep who looked to be having trouble holding down his lunch. The barkeep managed only a few words before he clamped his mouth closed again. Tiam thanked him and then left, much to the relief of the patrons.

He checked the job board over until he saw the words “ruins”, “bodyguard”, and “ancient”. That promised some good money, and good loot. Tiam ripped the notice off the job board, and as he lifted his arm he noticed his stench with a twisted face. Before he left, he bathed in a stream to the north of the town, a stream which the townspeople avoided over the next few days.

The time that it took Tiam to get to the rendezvous point allowed him to acquire supplies. Over the course of the trip he picked up a backpack, some food, an eating knife and a pan. He also packed up a small bundle of charcoal, thinking that it might be useful for navigating the ruins and marking where they had been.

Arriving at the specified place, Tiam came face-to-face with the same woman from the ship, this time with a child. So she had survived, as had her daughter. Tiam didn't feel happy for her, but he didn't exactly begrudge her survival either. He understood better than most the idea of survival of the fittest and the luckiest, so he returned her glare with a knowing nod. She had all but beaten him below the ship's deck, but that was no place for skirmishing as his fighting style required, and the sword was not his strongest suit. His placement belowdecks had always been an annoyance to him, but he did not complain.

He stood a fair distance from the woman as an elf and an orc appeared after a time. Tiam had worked with several orcs, and he understood their basic workings – they were brutish creatures but were easily manipulated, perfect tools for banditry. The elf on the other hand had a pervasive feel of wrongness to her, despite her tender exchange with girl. She wore a scarf around her neck, likely concealing a hanging scar. Another criminal then, I'll keep my eye on that one.

While they waited for the final member to arrive Tiam listened to the group's input as he examined the area in which they stood. The statue was untouched, which immediately spoke of something being off. However, what really struck Tiam was that the entire courtyard was untouched by vegetation. The rest of the ruins were overgrown and tree roots had ruined the stonework. This place looked cared for, as if there was a gardener at work around the ruins. He voiced as much to the group, "This place has been cared for. The courtyard does not match up with the rest of the ruins. It's not overgrown." He did not voice his discomfort about the situation, but instead tightened his grip on his spear. A lifetime of thieving, banditry, and pirating had taught him that being safe was better than not.

He looked up at the statue again. Could it be the statue radiating some sort of power' was it the keeper, or was there something else at work? When the man named James arrived, Tiam nodded toward him and then moved to stand behind one of the statues across from the locked door, appearing ready to take on anything coming through. In truth, if it appeared that he could take what was coming through, he would, otherwise he was going to run.

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 Post subject: Re: The Mystone Ruins: The Opening
PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 9:08 am 
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It had been a great three days. In that time, he had managed to become the leader of a surging orc warband (before losing it when nobody else wanted to follow him), pound several smaller orcs into the ground and singlehandedly clear out three taverns in the course of six hours. If there was a way in which he would be making a reputation for himself, then he had obviously gone and done it. After all, what manner of puny mortal had been able to accomplish so many great deeds within a few short days? Not just anyone can take over a warband of squabbling orcs and a resume that contained an impressive number of bar fights was sure to put the fear of whatever deity that they wanted to follow into anyone that listened.

He should be able to go anywhere and have exactly everyone swooning around him. Small children would call him a hero and ladies would throw various baked goods and foodstuffs. Let the puny men shiver in their boots and even lesser ones run away in terror at the sound of his footfalls. Even more would faint at the sound of his bellows while the few and the brave would stand agape as they stopped to look on in awe at the deep, commanding sound of his voice. He would be able to demand anything from anyone and they would give it to him without a second thought. Through sheer fame, he would gain everything that he would need for his life and there would be nothing that he would lack.

Not bad for doing this for less than a week - all this was much easier than he thought. Those stories weren't true after all.

Unfortunately, the reality that hits you in the face rarely ever matches the reality that occupies the grey matter behind your face. Walking into his fourth tavern of the night, he struck his most heroic pose, allowing the light streaming in from the lanterns out on the street to illuminate his silhouette. The piper continued to play in the corner, people continued to shout and sing drunkenly. The occasional arguments continued on at the card tables as small fortunes were won and lost, then won and lost again. No one made a single comment.

So he yelled at the top of his lungs - a war shout that made his enemies tremble in his boots.

And everyone looked at him for a split second.

And went back to what they were doing.

Unabashed by his shunning, but still not totally impressed with the results, he decided to walk over to the bar and decided to extract some ale from the barkeeper. He went over and demanded a quart of whatever was good. The barkeeper slid a foaming mug of goodness down the bar, which was promptly consumed. Moments later, he signaled for another one, which was met with a request for money for the first one. Taken aback at such an outrageous statement, the orc scowled at the barkeep. Obviously, he didn't have to pay for it - that should have been blatantly obvious by who he was. There was a heated debate about "folks like you" and "folks like who" and "those that do" and "stuff you chew". In the end, there was no more beer and our orcish friend was left staring at a wall covered with various pieces of paper and no real idea of how he got there.

He had started to do this "reading" thing and that "writing" thing too about a few weeks before he had left on his grand adventure. He was getting pretty good at it too. There were these squiggles that were called "words" and they meant stuff. And these other squiggles that were called "letters" and they meant stuff too. Once in a while, you could put them together and they...um...they were amazing when they worked! There were these picture thingies that made life a lot easier most of the time. If there were too many squiggles in one place, they were hard to understand, but when there were a few, he could figure them out.

There were a lot of squiggles on this board. Naturally, he gravitated towards the papers with the pictures.

While he was staring at the papers, another shorter, skinnier man came and looked at the papers. His eyes opened with surprise at one of them and quickly grabbed it and started to walk away. Unfortunately for the poor sod, a long arm reached over to him and grabbed him by the neck. After about six minutes of "friendly inquiry" which involved a minimal amount of beating, he managed to get away.

Which, after a night's sleep and a half-day's walk, led him here.

Looking at statues with a bunch of other people that looked like they knew what was going on.

When asked for opinions, he let other people answer before he spoke.

There's a door over there...


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 Post subject: Re: The Mystone Ruins: The Opening
PostPosted: Mon Mar 07, 2011 8:10 pm 
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The Sylvan had wandered back to the ruins she had found earlier that week, after her run in with a certain woman, and had not really left. If anything, she had begun to explore around it, curious about the ruins and wondering if anything else was hidden within these woods she now claimed; it had been a fun experience for her to gaze at the statues and ponder what they had been for, wondering what sorts of people raised such beautiful structures only to have them fall.

Her exploring had come to a bit of a standstill for the time being, not sure of where to go now. Nothing of true interest was in the ruins she had found earlier, and her exploring had only shown her to a few similar rings of stones, but something about it seemed to make her wonder if they weren't part of a bigger ruin. It was with this thought that she had decided to climb one of the larger of the ancient trees around her to see if she could see farther, and maybe catch a glimpse of something else in her wood-- maybe another ruin, or maybe the center of all of these little offering temples.

With a careful and experienced measure she scaled the tree, climbing up the branches slowly yet easily until she stood on the topmost of the branches her weight would hold, her whole view now overlooking stretches of treetops.... and a large stone figure with a fork of some sort standing next to him stared back, the vacant gaze of the stone mask catching her breath. It was the largest statue she had ever seen in her life, and with that she began to scale down the tree in a hurry, directing her path towards such a work of art, intent on getting a closer look. As she went she hunted a few deer, chasing them not far from her path, and preparing them on the way, stashing some in a makeshift pouch she made so she wouldn't have to hunt while she was near the colossal man, a reverence for the area a main deterrent of shedding blood near the over-looker of the ruins. She was sure that the main worship of these ruins were located there, and that she would claim the area to protect it from any further damage...

It took her the better part of her time to finally make it to the last of the trees that beckoned her to the man, his feet visible on the pedestal he stood, the stone covered ground making a pad that the sun glinted from... four other statues stared at the four points of the sky, the larger man with the trident (she had realized the weapon after seeing the details of the man, who reminded her of the god of the sea from her home) stood facing at an odd direction compared to the others, but everything here had a purpose.

That was, everything had a purpose, save for the group of people standing there by the great statue.

The obvious leader of this pack was a man wearing brown boots, brown pants, a vest with shirt, and a hat which shaded the mans eyes from her view, obvious dagger at his belt; the next was a woman with honey colored hair, elven by her form, a white robe that screamed familiarity to her, but for reasons unknown considering her back was to her; a brown skinned man with spears, she would watch out for those-- she knew men to be able to throw them with deadly accuracy; an orc in dusty muddy clothes; and a woman with a child... The oddest group she had to admit. Why they would bring a child with them was beyond her, considering children were sacred, but she wouldn't let that stop her from finding out what they thought to be doing around her ruins....

She walked out from under the shadows of her beloved trees and stood a good pace away from them, her dagger drawn. Her posture was one of aggression, though her hesitancy to be overly aggressive was due to the child attached to the woman's side.

"This place is sacred. Get off this land now, or face me. I will not tolerate any further damage to this place, or anyone defiling it under any pretenses."

It was a simple warning, though her experience with others said that they would most likely try to fight her due to her appearance as weak. She had refrained from using her usual warnings for the sake of the child, wishing them to leave peaceably. Not that she expected them to, but anyone can wish. Her tone alone was full of bitter aggression, as was her stance. She knew nothing of this place and wished to explore it first before others invaded, but as it turned out, she was already too late it seemed.

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 Post subject: Re: The Mystone Ruins: The Opening
PostPosted: Tue Mar 08, 2011 7:02 pm 
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Throughout the group everyone threw in different opinion, all of which had been thought of, but none of which were his main concern. Ellia simply tossed young Khivi a compass; stating in her own subtle way that the devise confirmed the direction of the four statues in corresponding with the main. It was eerie how perfect the ruins matched the four directions for being crafted by ancients who existed far before the compass did. Did the gods make this ruin, or at least help in its design?

Next to speak was young Khivi, questioning why the giant had been spared the fate of his four children of stone. While she and her mother spoke, it was Taim who interrupted and concluded their conversation. “This place has been cared for. The courtyard does not match up with the rest of the ruins. It’s not overgrown.” There was certainly truth in his words, but James was not convinced a caretaker was to blame, at least not one of flesh and blood, and certainly not one of spirit. Clearly something was behind its maintenance though, be it divine or magical.

Last to speak was the orc, who’s response of; “There’s a door over there” made James hold his head and sigh. Thank you orc, he thought to himself. In that brief moment where James held his hand up, obscuring his vision, she approached.

James was the first to spot her, the practically nude elf stepping out of the woods with Kris drawn. The group was between the two as she snuck upon their spot. Taim had already been moving to take a vantage point in case something were to come out of those doors when opened, but he had been to hesitant in taking that location; the sylvan had spotted him.

James dashed forward, running past the girls and just beyond the orc who had taken the rear; as he ran the sylvan spoke a threatening warning to the group; “This place is sacred. Get off this land now, or face me. I will not tolerate any further damage to this place, or anyone defiling it under any pretenses.” She looked, in a word, manageable. There were five of them, at least three capable fighters and himself who could give ample support from afar; Ellia’s combat prowess was unknown, but he assumed for safe measure her not to be too reliable in a fight. They did have a child with them though, and he wished to avoid the upcoming conflict.

Taim however, simply laughed at the woman’s demand; loud and hard it was as the nearby nesting birds flew from their trees in fear. “Do you want me to run her through so we can get on with this? It’ll only take a moment.” Taim spoke in further mock of the woman.

James looked at him with a glare upon his face; it was bad tactics all around. He did not underestimate the woman as Taim did. Yes she could be a damned fool, but she could also be smart enough to know the situation and have the power to still overcome the odds. With Khivi in the equation it wouldn’t be that hard to form a hostage situation they couldn’t win; he would not let that happen.

The assumption that she was alone was also one James took into careful consideration. She could easily just be the warning party, with ten or more rangers pointing arrows at them all as they spoke. There were too many variables to consider, just as there was in any ambush. James did the only thing he could do given the possibilities; he surrendered.

“No!” He first shouted to Taim to halt his spear. “Stand down.” He spread his arms wide apart, dropped down to one knee, and lifted his head to the sylvan elf.

“We do not wish to cause any destruction to you or this temple, we merely wish to explore and learn from it. I have the key to the door just in my bag; it has been missing for thousands of years. All I wish to do is gaze upon that which has not had eyes upon it since the dawn of known civilization, and I will do so under your watchful eye as your prisoner if necessary. Please agree to my terms, and the fact the last thing this sacred place needs is a battle.”

His words were true enough for now, later with a full team and wagon artifacts may be taken to the library but for now his task was to observe the ruins and report on them. The only exception would be if any ancient power existed within the ruin; then he would claim that power as his own.

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 Post subject: Re: The Mystone Ruins: The Opening
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 6:54 am 
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No one seemed to mention what was on her mind concerning the statues. While it was tempting to ponder on how the large statue was still intact were the others had failed, she was much more interested in the why. Judging by the limited reactions to her compass throwing, she could only guess that her temporary comrades had only seen the much more obvious message, the one she had no want to display. Indeed, if she were to design a building where one could not tell direction once inside, she, or at least some of the elves she knew, would do something as witty as making crumbling statues to symbolize the broken cardinal directions within. Though, they were in a forest, and with the racial origins still unknown to her, there was a better chance that the creators of the now ruins were either too dull or too practical to do something like that. But the lack of notice, or at least mention, pleased her to some extent. Once inside, it would be easy to ask Khivi to take a look at the compass. If she was right, she could explain how her actions before were for this purpose, and if she was wrong, her mistake would go unnoticed. The playful gambit seemed to work out splendidly.

She mentally went backwards and re-listened to the chat, and quickly realized she had not actually answered the question James had asked. She had to give credit to Tiam in this case, as it seemed he may be the only one who had. Of course, the orc did respond properly, but seeing an object that was large and not concealed, then reminding the rest that he still possessed basic observational abilities would be tough to call thinking. And yet, he still answered. Which was still better than what Ellia had done. A situation that needed to be fixed immediately.

"To answer your question, I think, however much information standing here may or may not yield, I would prefer to move on rather than speculate at every oddity that we may come across. Unless you all have a year to spare."

It felt unusual, being impatient. More-so when there appeared to be no need to hurry. But long delays could cause the exploration to take a break, and even if the door can be relocked with the key, any extra time taken would be another minute where her access to the ruins would be jeopardized. Ambitious rivals could send a thief or assassin to reclaim the key, and should the door not be resealable, she would likely need to venture in by herself while the others re-cooperated, something she was not fond of either. If James had gone to the lengths of hiring bodyguards, there was likely a reason. Or perhaps he was just cautious. It mattered not, exploring ruins by herself did not sound overly fun.

A familiar voice pecked at her ears, tearing her away from her analysis of her current situation and its possible outcomes, mostly in regards to how urgent the matter was to her. It was so similar to last time, a threatening tone coming from a Sylvaan that happened to approach from the direction she wasn't looking in. The venom and seriousness were practically mirrored from that of her memory, and the pitch and willingness to attack made the identity a dead give away. Ellia placed a hand to her mouth while James confronted their guest, trying to stifle the giggle with no success. Even with her nose and mouth sealed, her giggle, albeit distorted, still escaped into her scarf. Paranoid as to anyone noticing, she quickly removed her hand and let the laughter flow freely. She turned around to visually confirm what she already knew, and walked towards the hostile shifter. Her mixed giggles and chuckles could easily have been taken the wrong way though. She had to explain herself before Nuncia attacked, thinking she was being laughed at.

Ellia shook her head back and forth a bit to shake up her hair, ruining the brushed look for something more unkept, which was how her hair must have been for the entire time the two elves were together. Her hand snatched away the petite, uncomfortable false glasses off her face, and finally finding an end to her laughter, spoke up after coming much closer.

"Imagine I had red hair."

She gave a moment to let the information sink in if she hadn't clued in already. It was a pleasant thought entertaining the idea that Nuncia may be joining the group. She had no reason to trust any of her companions, and having a friend to watch her back would be comforting. Quite comforting... for all the changes that had happened to her personality, seeing the closet thing she had to a friend in the entire land made her exterior drop. It was difficult to hold back the emotions that were raging inside chaotically, so she took a stride towards the woman for an embrace while she figured out how to continue speaking.

"Its so good to see you again, and so good to see you got away from that mess... but we cannot discuss that here. We will need to catch up after, okay?"

A scowl crossed her face, her mind not-so-gently nudging her about the ruins and why she was here at all. Nuncia didn't seem to change her mind about something unless the situation was dire, and simply seeing Ellia as a part of the expedition would likely not be enough of a reason to simply accept the journey. She backed up, recollecting her mask of joyful reunion.

"Yes, come with us! Keep your watchful eyes on us if you must, but do not deny us such an exciting chance to learn. The next people to come along may not be so willing to respect these ruins."

She was torn. She was indeed happy to see her friend again, but she valued her ambition more. It would be terrible if Nuncia remained an obstacle; Ellia already knew what her choice would be if they needed to go through the elf to continue, and she wasn't overly fond watching her friend be slain. She wouldn't completely hide this inner turmoil either, letting just enough to show so that Nuncia could pick up on where the situation sat if she was as stubborn as she was last time. Glasses returned to her face while she awaited the response she didn't really want to hear.

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 Post subject: Re: The Mystone Ruins: The Opening
PostPosted: Wed Mar 09, 2011 7:35 pm 
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From the moment Nuncia stepped out from the forest, Lin's eyebrows were raised. This elf stepped out with her weapons drawn, and her eyes told her that she was wary and conscious of her daughter. Was this an ambush? Would this be something of a massacre? Lin tried so hard not to smirk as Tiam's laughter told her all she needed to know; he was a bloody pirate for God's sake. He would know an ambush when he saw one!

“Do you want me to run her through so we can get on with this? It’ll only take a moment.” She did smirk at his statement, and she turned to Khee to tell her a few select words of her own. Khee had been trying not to laugh as well, but not for the same reason the grown-ups would be laughing. Laughter was very contagious for her six-year-old, and Khee usually bubbled with everything that was good to begin with. Laughter was second nature to her! It was only natural that she would be giggling with Tiam. And if her little Khee was giggling, Lin was following quickly after...even if it was barely contained behind the confines of her lips.

"Khee!" She fake-whispered. Khee looked to her mother again, trying so hard to behave. Lin could only smile and take her into her arms as she crouched, cupping a hand over her ear as if whispering a secret of great importance to Khivi. "See how that silly elf came out of nowhere with her weapons drawn?" After a "mmhmm", she continued. "That's what not to do when everyone else around has weapons. Can you point out who has weapons in our group?"

"Yeah!" She answered, eager to impress her mother. "The nice lady has a...uhm..."

"Crossbow." Lin reminded her. Khee smiled and blushed at the correction, knowing it was to help her remember.

"Crossbow!" Lin watched as said lady was walking toward the sylvan, shaking out her hair and telling her to imagine her with red hair. To be honest, Lin really wasn't interested in their relationship; no, she was more interested in the mystery of why their leader was groveling on the ground before her. There was no ambush...but he probably hadn't made the connection of what Tiam was and how he probably earned himself a spot on a pirate ship. Lin couldn't help but look over at Tiam with her brow raised, trying so hard not to roll her eyes at the amount of "tree-huggers" in this lot. Sure, they had their advantages...but there was also weakness no matter how you looked at it.

Lin had learned how to make medicine from the villagers that helped her with the birth of Khivi. They weren't this close with nature, but they knew how to utilize it for their good. There was a difference from being a fanatic and living knowing the fact that trees would be cut down and used. Everyone was entitled to their own opinion and way of living, yes...but she didn't prefer this one.

Lin turned back to Khivi before combing her fingers through her thin strands of soft hair. Khee's hair was getting long, she realized, but she would let Khee decide weather or not to grow it out. As the others did whatever, Lin asked Khee if she wanted her hair braided. Khee said yes.

So Lin began to weave Khivi a fishtail braid, much to the six-year-old's delight.

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 Post subject: Re: The Mystone Ruins: The Opening
PostPosted: Thu Mar 10, 2011 7:29 pm 
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Tiam was actually momentarily worried when the elf first stepped out of the bushes - worried enough to even overlook her bare chest. They could have walked into an ambush, but that didn't make sense - this didn't have the feel of an ambush. Tiam had set a large number of those over his lifetime, and this simply did not feel like one. When you were caught in an ambush, you felt it just before it was too late.

After he came to that conclusion, he was able to relax and then take in the elf that was advancing from the woods. She was topless, which was... interesting to say the least. Tiam had seen enough of that in his lifetime to not be overly effected by the sight, other than to find it strange. Perhaps she was one of those all-natural types - not surprising coming from an elf. She did wear pants and a belt, however, and had a knife in her hand that looked too long to simply be a tool. A weapon then.

Well, this elf was at least slightly dangerous, but not apparently dangerous enough to warrant her next statement. It was an open threat, against a larger, fully armed group. It was too much for Tiam. That the woman had the audacity to threaten them at all was laughable, but that she did so unarmoured and alone was was broke the dam.

Tiam's laughter rang through the clearing, his enchantment amplifying his voice and causing it to sound unnaturally loud. It was sudden enough to scare birds in the surrounding forest, and they rose from the trees in a squaking flock. After a few moments, Tiam managed to contain himself and settle down before deciding that this would be a good time to start fulfilling his part of the job. “Do you want me to run her through so we can get on with this? It’ll only take a moment.”

Given that it was his job, it was a valid sentiment to put forward, especially in the current situation. He was already moving forward when James put a stop to his actions, telling him to 'stand down'. Who the hell tells someone to 'stand down', especially one such as Tiam - his wasn't the sort to simply 'stand down' unless they were taking hostages or playthings. As far as Tiam was concerned, James was encroaching on his rights, something no leader should do. And then he went so far as to offer the whole group as prisoners!

This was not going to be a good job. It never was when you wanted to kill the group leader less than five minutes into the job.

The elf did not appear to be upset by this sentiment. Not one of Tiam's ilk then, but rather some fool who had her throat cut and managed to live. She even went up to the elf and shook out her hair, saying something about it being red. Tiam didn't understand, and simply added another fool to the list of fools in the group. Who the hell approached a person with a drawn weapon without having one themselves?

The lady with the child, on the other hand, had sentiments much closer to Tiam's own. She saw the foolishness in all of this, and was blatantly mocking the elf through an overly-loud lesson to her daughter. As it was, the orc was slow to respond, though Tiam had a feeling that sentiments would be similar.

So, there was a division in the group. The pragmatic soldiers and criminals and the foolish, tree-hugging scholars. His chances of gaining loot were suddenly looking more slim.

He sighed at the all-round silliness that was going on and gestured with his spear at the naked elf. "If you really want to be her prisoner, James, you're free to. I, however, will do no such thing. Watch yourself, elf." He would take the first excuse available to see her on the end of his spear.

He gestured with his other hand at the door, "So what's it going to be, are we going to stand out here and wait for more topless elves to show up, or are we going to do what we came here for?" Tiam was already impatient to get this job over with and get back to people with proper sensibilities.

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 Post subject: Re: The Mystone Ruins: The Opening
PostPosted: Sat Mar 12, 2011 11:24 pm 
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Minding his own business. That's all that he was doing. He had offered his glorious opinion to their scrawny leader and it had been met with rolled eyes and a sigh. Not being too sure what that meant, the orc stood there, happy with himself. He had made his first valuable contribution to the...e..x... It was a long word. The scrawny mand mentioned that it started with "X". "X" meant treasure, right? Maybe finding treasure would show people that he was the greatest warrior in the world!

Just like those bedtime stories that Mom used to tell him when he was just a little grot.

Of course, other people were with him right now, but if he was the one telling the story, he'd obviously be the hero! The humie with the glasses was too weak and stupid - he couldn't even see the door. The elf with the strange hair that was red, but not red was crazier than he was. And the woman with the little girl should be at home, cooking. But he had often heard of these people and they were called...um...uh..."adventurers"! They were always put together. A group of strange people that did amazing things. But there was always a hero. They always needed a hero. He liked the heroes the best. They were always the ones that the people remembered.

But he'd have to work with these people for now...no matter how dumb that might be.

And then there was the crazy, pointy ear that appeared out of the forest. He tightened the grip that he held on his club. Never know when you might need to smash something... The tree-elf had some sort of pointy thing, but his smashy thing was longer and probably hurt more. He started to get excited about the possibility that they might get some action where he could prove his worth. He stood up to his full height, clothed in the quilted armor that he managed to scavenge from his warband and got ready to meet the threat.

No! The scrawny humie said. Stand down! Confused for a minute, he wondered how someone would "stand" and be "down" at the same time. When he finished pondering that, coming to no conclusion at all, he noticed that the scawny one was still talking. As the "leader", that was his job. Some words were said about keys and doors, but the attention was mostly given to the words "prisioner" and "battle". Mostly the fact that there would be no battle and they would be prisioners.

The other people in the group didn't like that idea either, they way that they kept motioning towards the tree-elf made that much obvious. He liked the one with the spear. It was long and pointy. He said something about not prisioners. That was a good thing. He would stay with the spear-man.

So, the orc turned towards the leader and said something that could be construed as horribly profound for an orc - but something on everyone's mind. "I want smash, but if we no smash, what we do?"


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 Post subject: Re: The Mystone Ruins: The Opening
PostPosted: Sun Mar 13, 2011 3:26 am 
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It was definitely a motley crew that was gathered in her territory, each with a different, if not almost angering reaction towards her, save for the elven woman. Her reaction almost made the Sylvaan want to run back to the woods; the leader's made her want to laugh.

She came forwards with a smile that was as familiar as the dream she had the night before, vague and hazy in memory, yet obviously known... The confidence against an adversary was making her wary, but that smile-- she took the glasses from her face and shook out her hair as she approached, the wild elf's mind racing as pieces started to fall into place, the final piece connecting as the words came from her mouth.

"Imagine I had red hair."

The smile that broke from the usually stern face was awkward at best, her eyes lighting up a bit as she let the woman come in for the embrace, her mind full of the very questions she wished to ask, but a gentle suggestion from the woman halted the onslaught. With the promise of catching up, she let the woman go as she retreated back towards the group, the rest of their reactions finally appearing.

The sea smelling man wanted nothing more to spear her, which she respected, and almost wanted to try and take him on, the orc's sentiments along the same line with his 'higher thinking' logic (for an orc). The woman with the child was outwardly mocking her, and the leader had bowed down to give her the chance to take him prisoner, as long as they could explore.

The entire sentiment of the group was echoed in Ellia as she made it clear that she would fight with the others if she refused them, yet also asked her along. She was the only one here with an idea of her stubborn streak, and was imploring her without outwardly begging that she come along. The disrespect of the others save for the leader was hard to overlook though. With a careful breath, her dagger still out in case either the orc or the seaman decided to try anything, she took a step forwards towards the leader, looking to Ellia a moment before back to the man on his knee. It was the Seaman however that got her first words;

"You should never underestimate an opponent by appearance alone, regardless of weapon in hand. For all you know I could be an adept mage of the wood, or a trained assassin. Regardless of that, if you wish to test me, man from the sea, I would gladly take you on, just to prove my point, spear or no spear, you are no match for me. I was walking this earth long before you were born and I will continue to do so well after you have passed."

Turning her attention from the sea man, she looked to the leader once again, her stern gaze softening just a tint. "As for you, I will take your condition on my own conditions; first, any of your men or women challenge me, I will end them. You will not take anything from the temple while we are inside, nor will you harm anything within without my say. I will accompany you all inside, on these conditions. I am being more than considerate with this, trust me. Now show me this key you have and prove to me that it will open the great doors. Do we have an accord?"

She stood with her dagger loose in her right hand, resting against her thigh, the tip tapping her thigh impatiently as she watched the seadog from the corner of her eye, the orc hard to miss in her peripherals. She had no inclination to watch Ellia, trusting that their friendship lasted even past death, and considering the welcome they had given each other, it would be safe to assume that she felt safer with another to watch her back as well. A combination of her own curiosity and her friend's appearance and request were what stayed her hand on this one, and allowed such a thing to occur, but even if it didn't go all to plan, she could trust on one person to not stab her in the back. The or and the sea dog she wasn't overly fond of, but she knew she could take the seaman once inside the enclosed temple, and the orc.... well their reputation as fighters is a fierce one, yet their intellect left her confident enough in her survival. The woman she wished she could end for her mouth alone, but the child was one thing that she would not endanger, regardless. They were no threat to her at the moment, so with that her conditions were made. It was up to them as to whether they took them or not.

Either way she would get what she wanted out of this; if it was a fight or a curiosity sated, it didnt matter. It was all up to them.

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 Post subject: Re: The Mystone Ruins: The Opening
PostPosted: Thu Mar 17, 2011 10:18 pm 
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As Ellia walked past him in attempt to make friends with the sylvan, James was prepared to intercept. Only after seeing the two embrace did he lower his guard, if only slightly. Ellia and this sylvan were friends already it seemed, making his display slightly less required. His companions however, voiced displeasure with his choice of negotiation. Taim laughed, Orc stated he wanted to smash things, and even Lin took to taunting the elf; it was her who upset him the most, as he was acting purely out of the safety of her child. Perhaps he was letting the child’s presence make him too cautious if the mother was not nervous.

Looking at Taim, he already knew there could not be any more separation from their battle tactics. Taim seemed more the type to run in and let his strength and instinct take over, where James was more to assess the situation and size up his opponent before attacking; as a caster with limited spell points should. Neither was wrong, just opposite ends of the spectrum and James would have to calculate that into future assessments, not that he planning on making Taim’s company a familiar one.

Tension raised as the sylvan contemplated the request for a second before deciding to allow the expedition as long as nothing was removed. Perhaps she knew they meant no harm or perhaps Lin’s words had brought some sense to her. The terms were acceptable and eagerly James rose back to his feet, brushing his knee that had been resting on the dirty stone floor.

It was time, time to open the door to mystery. “Very well.” He responded.

His steps were that between walking and jogging, ever anxious to enter the ancient temple. In front of the stone slaps he pulled from his pack the sapphire moon key. It shined in the bright sunlight that shone down upon the stone clearing. Slow and carefully he places the moon in its slot, it fit perfectly, even after being lost in the side for an unknown amount of years. A few moments passed as nothing happened, he feared the worst, that perhaps the missing stars would also need to be obtained before the doors would open wide. Only just at the edge of faith's end did the stone slabs budge.

The old stones parted, revealing the stairs down into the stale air of forgotten lore. The stairs lid down a short way before looping around the corner in a spiral staircase, further teasing the adventurers, not letting a single secret go easy. They would need to descend the spiral walkway, having no clue just how many steps lie ahead of them. When he was sure nothing would emerge to greet them he turned to his party with a large smile.

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 Post subject: Re: The Mystone Ruins: The Opening
PostPosted: Sun Mar 20, 2011 3:01 am 
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The general tone of the group was worrying. The group, beyond herself and James, were hired as bodyguards, to her knowledge. While James' approach reeked of an elaborate slaver trap by bringing a body of people into an isolated area and then quickly surrendering the lot of them at the first sign of trouble, her personal connection with those involved evaporated any real chance that the situation was related to pre-arranged capture. Still, she would see herself acting in a similar fashion were she to lead and not know the assailant, though her word would be laced in deceit. She imagined his was not genuine either. The ambition and greed of man was far from unpredictable to her now that she had been killed by it and felt it herself. But she would not call him out on this, no, that would only cause friction. A fight against Nuncia would not have a chance to have a positive outcome at all.

The so-called-bodyguards were the cause of most of the worry. To her, it was almost surprising that it was the Orc was not the one she was worried about. Typically, their strength and seemingly typical love of using force to solve (and create) their problems, while often lacking the foresight to restrict their impulses, worried her the most. Perhaps it was racist to think unfairly about an entire people, but she had some not very fond memories of being thrown through walls that she didn't want to relive. But he had the sense to ask permission before acting. Indeed, had the sense to ask and not act. Almost smile worthy; this was the kind of reaction that should happen in this case.

The one with the spear though. Laughter and an indirect threat before bothering to find out where the leader stood on the issue. He was practically inviting the attack Nuncia had warned about. In her lifetime, a bodyguard did three things: mediated, protected, and served. He was certainly throwing two of those to the wind by furthering the hostilities without instruction, and as far as protection, should he end up wounded from a fight that he fanned into being, he wouldn't be able to perform there either. She had half the mind to request his dismissal right there for failing his duties before they even got past the door, but it was not her place to decide. Instead she kept quiet about the whole affair beyond the few words she shared with Nuncia. The woman and her child were doing poorly in her mind too. Laughter could cause quickly trigger anger, though she would be hard-pressed to blame the child for reacting that way. If only they weren't useful. If only.

Though she was excited for the opening of the door, for once she did not have to endure the physical symptoms of being excited, like the shortness of breath she had become accustomed to in her life. Her body worked differently now, the nerves not projecting her state of mind so readily throughout the rest of her body. It was a nice outcome. Even though she was as giddy as a child in a extravagant fair, her body language would not betray her by showing this to anyone else. She likely still looked calm and focused, which was good. She didn't want to be looked down on or made fun of any more. Her youth had enough of that to last her to her end. The spiral stairs that were eventually revealed looked ominous enough, but any place that hadn't seen light in thousands of years would likely have the same effect. As eager as she was to see what was ahead, she wasn't about to take point. Perhaps one of the bodyguards could start, just to make sure any traps would not be targeting her. If she was lucky it would even be Tiam, and there would be a single nasty one in the whole place. An entertaining thought for sure, though she felt as though she was at a crossroads. Her old self would be sickened by such fancies, and she could almost hear her scorn ring through time.

"I'd rather stay somewhere in the middle of the formation. We brought lighting, right?"

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 Post subject: Re: The Mystone Ruins: The Opening
PostPosted: Tue Mar 22, 2011 6:32 am 
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Almost as soon as the door opened the sylvaan piped up."I will be taking up the rear. That way I can not only look out for treachery, but then none of you can stab me in the back."

"Like hell you're walking behind us, we're not your prisoners. Not all of us, at least." Tiam cast a pointed glare at James and Ellia, "You can walk behind your prisoners, but I'm taking up the rear."

Nuncia gave a snort "Like hell Im letting the sea dog at my back, your the most likely to shank me out of sheer jealousy. Now get ahead of me and stop your backtalking; your not even as old as my big toe, you have no right to tell me what to do."

Tiam let out a guffaw "I should say the same for you, elf - I would sooner have a cutthroat at my back than you." That much was true - he had worked with many cutthroats, and though few of them had any real honour or control, at least he always knew where they stood. He smiled and waved his spear toward Nuncia "Age does not equal experience, it seems - you are a clear indication of that. Experience should dictate how things go, not age; and trust me, I have enough experience for several lifetimes. Now get in line - in front of me - before you piss me off. It's my job to protect these people - and the only current threat is yourself." It was the truth, a life of working in a team to survive often lead to a distinct understanding of how things worked and where everybody fit in. Tiam would have made a damn fine leader if he didn't hate making huge decisions.

Nuncia snorted "Once again I trump you on that, sea dog. You may be the protector for this group, but I am the protector of this place, so its either you get ahead of me now, or you can leave this wood, with or without your organs. Do not underestimate me. I would not have approached an entire group of armed combatants if I had any doubt about my victory. Now get ahead of me or my blade is the least of your worries. I have more honour than you sea dog, when it comes to my word; I gave my word I would not harm any of you unless I felt warranted, and you are dangerously close to warrant my wrath. Get in front of me. Now." She motioned with her dagger towards the door. Her eyes flashed a deeper orange around the yellow of her irises.

Was she crazy? Tiam was certainly beginning to think so - her actions and speech told him as much. Phaw, there was little chance of her emerging victorious in such circumstances.

Tiam's laugh came unnaturally loud before he spoke "Don't think that I'm underestimating you, elf - I'm just going off the image that you put forth of yourself - a fool, you make enemies while you have few friends. No person, no matter how powerful, would approach a group in your fashion. You're new to this - I get it - but the new member of the band does not tell the leader that he's doing things wrong - he's likely to end up without his hide if he does. And your 'honour' is not in question, but your interpretation is." Tiam gave her a toothy smile,"I've seen any number of 'honourable' people kill because they felt like it, you would be no different." Wasn't that the truth. People could be such beasts with the slightest provocation - or sometimes none at all. His childhood was more than enough proof for that.

Lin chimed in:"I would totally trust the elf--whom we don't need for this trip--to be at our backs after she pulled a weapon on this entire group. Very smart." She rolled her eyes, and her child watched on with a curious spark in her eyes. Now there was a woman with a sound mind - perhaps he could get to know her better. If the daughter was any indication of the mother, she would be a fine woman.

Nuncia's voice was strained, but maintained a modicum of control, "If it wasnt for your child present, I would have attacked outright and would have never thought to strike a deal, so hold your tongue woman, I do not need your sarcasm. I have enough from this sea dog to worry about. Stay with your child and out of this." Her eyes narrowed in deadly anger.

Did the topless creature really insist on calling him a seadog? It was just so... unseemly. The least she could have done was use the proper term: Pirate. Bandit would have worked too, or maybe thief, or burglar, or simply acquirer-of-things-in-one's-pockets. But seadog? That was just downright derogatory.

"Let's see you walk the walk, elf." Lin muttered turning to her daughter, "That, my love, is what people call a bluff. If you are going to do it, at least make it believable."

Yes, the child definitely got it from the mother.

She turned back to Nuncia "How about you prove all that big-girl talk?" She asked, easily keeping her cool despite the feisty elf. "You have at least two people here that can easily gang up on you. Around here, you earn respect. Don't expect any from me until you prove your pathetic words to cover your bluff. These wilds are not yours, or anyone's for that matter. We don't need you to continue our quest--you are disposable. I may have a daughter, but she's tougher than you could ever be with your terrible bluffs and empty threats."

Tiam smiled, taking his cue from Lin and drawing one of his javelins, "If you REALLY want to try and prove it, elf, you're more than welcome, but you won't be leaving this place alive." He would be killing two birds with one stone; fun would be had, and an annoying creature would be removed all in the same stroke! This dance was something to look forward to.

Nuncia gave a snarl that sounded very animal like, more orange bleeding into her eyes as she started to crouch, her dagger put carefully in her belt. "You want to dance, start the music. I was willing to do this peacefully but your stubborn streak almost outreaches a ram's when it comes to clashing horns with an opponent. You start this, I will end it. Simple as that." She snarled at Lin, more orange bleeding into her eyes until they almost completely engulfed. "You will stay out of this. I will Not leave a child orphaned for your own stupidity, regardless of how strong you all think you are. Last chance to reconsider; you choose your own fate. I merely dish it out."

The elf really didn't get it, did she? Had she never seen a professional soldier before? Tiam had, and in any other situation more than half of them would have made damn fine bandits, but they chose a different path. They could fight though, and they certainly didn't scare easily. Their children were often just as hardy, often being raised in the war camp, receiving a soldier's education. It was odd for a girl, but not completely unheard of.

Lin snorted, shaking her head. "Bring it on, hypocrite. Maybe you'll stay an animal when you're dead so we can all have dinner tonight." Dinner sounded great right now. "And again--you are outnumbered. With the way things are going--foolishly on your part, thanks to your stupidity--you have two people more than willing to kill you. And guess what? My daughter will not be in the least disturbed by it. She has seen blood from the first day she was born and has seen men die in front of her. You will not be the first she has seen die by my hand, either." She still hadn't taken out her greatsword, calling the elf's bluff. Tiam didn't doubt the woman's words about her daughter - not after hearing the slavers talking about the girl. Took out a man's eye with a splinter, she did.

The sylvaan, on the other hand, was simply becoming more ridiculous. She apparently fancied herself an animal, because she was crouching down as if to pounce. Perhaps that's what she was planning - or maybe just trying to look threatening. Best to keep her off balance.

A mock gasp of surprise escaped Tiam's lips: "You can turn your eyes orange? I...I'm terrified! Really, look at me shake... Phaw, I've seen more frightening displays from a six year old." Tiam turned to Lin, "Your daughter is six, correct?" Well, the little girl was quite the fighter, to say the least. He had even heard some of the crew grumbling about her, and she went without food more often than not.

The fight was on, but he wasn't about to get stabbed in the back by the other elf in the group. He turned to face to Ellia "You will stay out of this. Hey Lin, would you smash the fool elf if she moves?" Then turned back to Nuncia once more "Well, lets do this."

Ellia looked at Tiam "Really, sir, what have I done to deserve that sort of talk? I am not here to cause problems. I would not like to see any of us hurt. Imagine, if you will, that these ruins have not been locked to keep the insides safe, but rather to keep the outside safe from whatever might be in here. Regardless of who can kill who, a fight would benefit nothing but the winner's pride. I would rather not be slain because some children who are behaving worse than our actual child companion refuse look beyond the others' differences."

All the pirate heard from the woman's mouth was garbled garbage. He really didn't care what she had to say. He had dismissed her as a person worth listening to the moment she walked toward an armed person. No wonder she got her throat cut. Pity she didn't die.

"ENOUGH!" James yelled, bringing a stop to the brewing battle; damn him. "We're not here to kill elves we're here to explore and learn. Really? Killing elves was at the top of Tiam's 'to do' list for this trip, right below stealing treasure and restraining himself from killing foolish group mates. "If you two are so adamant on last you can both be it. We will go in two groups, I will enter first with the elf at my back. Agreed?" No, you bloody fool. That's the stupidest thing I've ever heard! Why is it that the 'smart' ones of the group don't seem to have a lick of sense between them, at yet the 'hired muscle' does. Maybe they should spend a few years outside of their libraries. Or maybe I should just burn them down. Tiam seemed to have a perpetual smile on his face. "All three of you are strong, yes? I do not wish to waste time with your pissing contest. That's why I'm trying to get through this encounter peacefully." Being peaceful was for the weak. Sure, Tiam would do anything to save his own skin if it was needed - even claiming to be a peaceful, runny-nosed scholar - but this was not such a time.

Nuncia stood up and looked to James with her eyes narrowed. Another look at Tiam and her lips were a thin line. She more or less stalked over to James and gave him a slight push. Tiam contained a laugh. "Lets get this shit over with so I can kill them on my own time. Come on, Ellia, lets get this show on the road so then we can catch up. Id hate to waste this blessing on fools." She walked past Lin and Tiam without a glance and stopped by the door, waiting for the obviously enthused James to take the lead.

As Nuncia walks past Lin and her daughter made the "kiss my ass" expression at Nuncia while Lin winked at her. They were in perfect sync, as if the expressions were practised. They probably were - the two certainly made quite the dynamic duo.

At the same time Tiam made the motion of smacking her rump with his javelin and said "I look forward to our dance - it's what I do best, after all." He turned to James, Have fun, James - you are no longer my responsibility. If you die, just know that it's on your head." He smiled at the petulant Nuncia and blew her a little kiss, "I'll be waiting." The innuendo was obvious.

James nodded to Tiam "I'll be fine, but also keep in mind you've all yet to be paid."

With that, James, Ellia, and Nuncia disappeared into the ruins. The orc had run in at some point during their conversation, no doubt hoping to gain honour or be a hero or some foolish thing like that. Well... at least he would spring the first trap in the place and protect the rest of them from it.

Tiam waited about thirty seconds for them to descend before scoffing "Phaw, they really think that I'm doing this because I'm getting paid? What an ignorant bunch they are - this really must be their first time out to sea." Tiam smiled at Lin as he replaced his javelin and removed his pack, "Oh well, all-the-better for us, huh?" Tiam pulled a fibre-wrapped stick from his pack, as well as a lantern, which he hung from his belt, flint, and charcoal which he stowed in one of his many belt pouches.

"I'm glad you made it off the ship before it exploded. No hard feelings for beating me - the sword isn't really my thing. The spear is where I do my best work." Tiam replaced his pack and glanced at the short one, "How is she, anyway? The brig isn't a nice place, and certainly isn't any place for a child, even one so tough as she."

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