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Cherizal
06/17/2004 2:38 AM

Cherizal looked at the entrance of the caves feeling uneasy. Those caves were a dreadful place she didn't wish to visit again. She had been there once, when her shalafi Dalamar had commanded her to rescue Zander, who had been kept prisoner in one of the cells. She wasn't sure why Dalamar had wanted to save Zander, the two black robes hated each other.

She shrugged. She knew she was not going to find out unless one of them wanted her to know. And that was not what mattered. They had to search the caves and try to find out where Fin'lar was and what he was plotting. The caves had been easy to enter the time before, but she had been alone and now they were seven, and then she was certain the place would be better guarded after the disappearance of Zander.

After another thoughtful glance at the caves, she turned to face her companions.
"This is the place where we are most likely to find some information about this whole mess. It started here. Fin'lar might be here or maybe someone who can bring us to him. The caves are not a pleasant place to be, they are infested by clerics of Morgion, so now you know what to expect.

It looks like it is deserted, but I'm sure it's well guarded and it will be difficult to get inside unseen. But we may have a chance if someone baits them. I will be the one. I will go inside alone and you will wait here ten minutes before you follow me. You will take the tunnel on the right. Now tell me that you understand and will do as I've said!" she gave them an expressionless stare and waited for their replies.

She had made up her mind and she would go no matter what they said, but she had to give them a chance to talk. She knew they didn't trust her or any other magic user, but she needed them to accept her instructions. She just hoped that Zander hadn't kept important information for himself.

QueshuWarrior
06/17/2004 2:53 PM

Theron, the punk monk, looked at the cave entrance with a curious expression. He half-listened to Cherizals speech, and half pondered what lay in the depths of the cave. He snapped into full attention to face the mage. His eagerness to enter and discover the mystery made him reluctant to agree with Cherizals terms, as his tone supported.

"Yeah...I get it." Theron finally agreed. He retrieved his retracted staff and twirled it mindlessly. "Just one question. What exactly are these guards capable of? Not that I'd be encountering them or anything, since I'll be waiting out here the whole time your distracting them..."

Theron looked quite suspicious with his question. He thought about perhaps running in after the mage, but then it struck him, she IS a mage, and Theron knew that they werent to be disobeyed.

Cherizal
06/17/2004 3:05 PM

Cherizal cocked her head to one side and sighed loudly looking at Theron.
"They serve Chemosh. They spread diseases, their touch is enough to change you into a rotten corpse. So if you should meet any of them, be careful and don't let them touch you. I'm sure Zander can shield you with his magic, if you let him. Any more questions?" she asked a little impatiently. She wanted to be off quickly, before she had time to think more about what she was about to do and changed her mind.

Lunitari0
06/17/2004 4:17 PM

Brooke listened quietly to Cherizal's instructions. She was about to ask about what they could expect from the guards, but when Theron beat her to it, she just listened to the red robes response and nodded. Wait ten minutes, then take the tunnel to the right, she reminded herself.

She herself couldn't think of anything to ask, so she waited to see if there were anymore questions. Drawing her sword, she did what she could to mentally prepare heerself for the things that would no doubt be in that cave.

Arandur
06/17/2004 4:18 PM

…the black robed wizard stood to the side of the group the chill evening wind whipping his black hair across his eyes, the single lock of silver-grey hair writhing amongst the ebon strands like some kind of living creature.

With a wry grin that slid across his lips he tucked his pale hands into the voluminous sleeves of his darkened robes and regarded Cherizal for a few moments with his dark charcoal eyes before turning away and looking to the sky for the shadowy orb of Nuitari that hung low in the sky like some kind of secret sinister message for its dark disciples like Zander.

“Of course I have magics that should lend some protection, but then that would of course require some modicum of Faith something that I am sure you are perhaps somewhat lacking Theron.” He said in his soft voice that reeked of mockery and hinted that the black wizard found the bestowment of such enchantments distasteful.

Deep inside the core of his being, the darkness within riled and struggled to be free, its dark murderous lusts, sending evocations of death and destruction thrusting into the Wizard’s mind, singing its maddening cacophony of sweet death. The Wizard shuddered slightly at his internal battle and pulled his robes closer around his lithe form, turning away from the others to cover his clenched jaw that had stolen his mocking grin…



[Edited by Arandur on Thursday, June 17, 2004 4:21 PM]

QueshuWarrior
06/17/2004 8:07 PM

Theron turned his stare from the caves to Zander. He was like a snake, to put it best. Theron even pictured the robes being torn away, revealing a scaly serpent with a wicked tongue. Theron was insulted by the mages mention of his faith. It worried him to think that the mage would question his faith, or even consider the fact of accepting the protection from Zander.

"I dont want your faith, nor your protection Zander. Unless it is protection from yourself, you twisted snake of a man." Theron replied calmly. He turned on his heel and made his way over to Brooke.

"I feel cold..." Theron said quitely to Brooke, once beside her. "I'm never cold."

Theron was certainly concerned and worried about this. The cave reeked of unknown fear. Was there a black dragon waiting for them over a mound of corpses? Perhaps a clan of banshees and ghouls to eat away at their flesh. Corria sent a cold chill down Theron's spine, or was it fear? He turned to look into Brooke's eyes now, to recall hope and reality.

"We have to watch out for one another. I fear there is already evil upon us." Theron whispered to her, making sure the oddly occupied black robed Zander didnt hear or see as Theron motioned his head towards him. Theron turned to the horizon behind them as he felt the wind pick up, ruffling his pants. He turned back and motioned to Cherizal.

"The sun is on its way down, mage. I suggest you go now." Theron said with a raised eyebrow.

Lunitari0
06/17/2004 8:43 PM

Turning to look at Theron as he spoke, Brooke took in his words and the expression on his face. She could sense the anxiety of the unknown that the monk felt, for she too felt something as well. Wether it was just fear over the current situation or a feeling of something to come, it felt like icy fingers were dancing up and down her spine. The feeling of unease made her grip her sword that much harder. Her violet eyes darkened as she nodded to Theron, a single, quick movement of her head.

"We'll all have to keep our eyes open. Whoever or whatever is in that cave, its us against it." She quietly responded back before he turned to speak to Cherizal.

Looking around, at the mouth of the cave, at the remaining companions who had had not yet spoken, the mercenary knew she sounded braver than she felt. She had never faced such a job as this before, and the factor of all the unknowns made her stomache knot. None of this showed on her face however. Even though her right hand tensed and relaxed unconsiously on the hilt of her sword, her face was once again masked, hiding any and all emotions. There was no way she would let her companions know how unnerved she was.

Cherizal
06/18/2004 3:35 AM

Cherizal nodded. She gave her companions a last quick glance and smirked.
"Good luck to you all"
She started walking towards the caves, muttering the words of a spell which would protect her from the worst stank and most of the bacteria that infested the air.

She took a last deep breath and then entered. The caves hadn't change since her last visit. They were dark and in spite of the spell, she could still smell death and decay in the stagnant air. Rotting corpses were everywhere and there was a silence so deep and thick that made Cherizal shudder.

Gritting her teeth she took the tunnel on her left and kept walking at a fast pace without making any noise, with her senses alerted. She knew it could not be that easy to enter the caves. She had walked for about 15 minutes when she sensed a change in the air, like... vibrations of some kind. She wondered what was causing them: a person, a creature or a machine? The smell seemed to get more intense too. Something or someone was probably on the way. She decided to stop and wait. The words of an attack spell were already on her lips.

QueshuWarrior
06/18/2004 7:35 AM

Theron saluted Cherizal as she ran off. He respected her for doing this, and gained a bit of trust for the mage. There was no doubt in his mind that she was doing everything she said, and only what she said. Zander, however, seemed to have alternative motives which he did not explain to the group. Some part of Theron even thought of the possibility that Zander would turn them in somehow. The monk watched as Cherizal vanished into the darkness of the cave. The shadows engulfed her, and Theron thought it possible they would not see her again.

"We go through the left tunnel, right?" Theron asked, smirking to Brooke. Jorgan seemed awfully quiet, and Theron assumed he was experiencing the same fear as he was. "...just kidding..."

Theron realized his attempt to make light of the situation was pointless, even to himself. He still felt the knawing at his gut, and he was very tempted to run into that curtain of darkness and just get it over with. But, he waited as he was told.

After a good 10 minutes, which he actually counted in his mind to keep it off the fear and anxiety, Theron turned to the others. With a sigh and then a grin, he spoke.

"Lets roll..." Theron began walking down to the cave entrance. The very ground seemed to be dead, more like a living-dead. He finally entered the dark wall of the unknown, and all around him went black. His eyes caught glimpse of torches running along the walls of the cave tunnel. He walked slowly, turning to make sure the others made it in safe. Releasing both sides of his staff, Theron lurked with his weapon ready to defend. Suddenly, from the darkness, came a low moaning sound, which grew into an alarming growl. He slammed his body against the moist cave wall as many huddled shadowy figures ran out of the right tunnel entrance in front of him. They gathered together, looking down towards Therons way, then to the left entrance Cherizal took. Theron prayed they went left, as terrible as that was, it was part of the plan. There was a loud noise down the left corridor, and the crew of things vanished into the left tunnel like bats...into the Abyss. Theron relaxed and caught his breath. Hopefully Cherizal knew of what came. He looked back at the others.

"I think the right tunnel is safe now, come on." Theron whispered, he motioned towards the right tunnel and his steady walk turned into a jog. They were obviously running on time, since if Cherizal were to be taken, they would return to wherever those things came from.

Noifsandsorbutts
06/18/2004 11:50 AM

Noigrom the mad some have called him. 'Crazy Noi' by others.
More fittingly, and the only name which he had never been called, Master. Yes. That had a certain ring to it, a certain flair that Noigrom had sacrificed much to try to attain. Master of the dead, bringer forth of unholy undead, All would refer to him as was his due! He would make sure of it, would castrate every fryer and farmer until they bowed knee before hi..

"You idiots! Do not harm the sacrifical host!" Noigrom waved his hand and a rotting corpse fell to the floor, its life, or unlife, stanched by Noigrom's will.
The human girl was finally showing some sign of life, thrashing at her undead escorts, who mindlessly began to strike her back. Seeing the altar upon which you were to be crucified and transformed into something.. more, that would do it to you.
Noigrom walked infront of the girl and began to chant. "Resfi unto omni verato.. resfi unto omni verato." He continued to chant, his voice a steady monotone spelling out despair and hopelessness, causing the primal instincts of the girl to simply,.. die.
Noigrom smiled, taking great relish in the overpowering of her will, in sundering her mind and causing her to stand rigid, unmoving and completely unaware of the corpses that lifted her and placed her onto the ceremonial altar.
Their usefullness abated, Noigrom dismissed the zombies, hardly noticing as they fell to the floor completely lifeless. Two clerics and a black robed wizard entered the anteroom adjoining the sacrifical chamber.
Noigrom pointed and they took their positions, not out of obedience, as Noigrom would have wished it, the efforts of conjuring and perfectly ressurecting their charge simply wouldn't allow for mind-alteration. A dominated mind was often destroyed or freed in concentration. And this ritual would take every once of concentration these three could muster.

The wizard spoke a word of power and a hundred candles burst into life around the altar, setting leaping demons around the cavernous room. Immediately, the duo of clerics began their chant, raising their arms to their patron, calling in one voice to their god Chemosh, bringer of plague and pestilence.
"Great master of worldly death, corruption and disease, master of strife. Take our offering, great lord, behold what is yours by rite." The candles flickered, as if in responce to the cleric's bidding, dancing with a life of their own, flaring and casting wax down their length in rivulets. The room got considerably brighter, and the clerics spoke again in unison, this time in the tongue of magic. "Veetah, Mortus, Khyio.. Veetah, Inmortum, Imperium.. Veetah! Adun Toridas! Adun Entaroadun!"
The clerics keening chant ended with a great gout of fire rising from the hundred candles. Smoke coalesced above the altar, swirling in a maelstrom of evil and bad intentions. The wizard took his que, as they had gone over this important part many times, and began his casting.
Tendrils of bluish smoke streamed from the wizards fingertips, weaving a strand of thickening porpotions that floated away from the mage toward the riotous ball of smoke in the middle of the room. The mage moved his fingers with amazing dexterity, shaping the dweomer into a giant cord of woven spells. The magic reached the smoke and violently recoiled, whipping backward toward the black robe. The wizard fought for dear life, for not even he knew the concequences of failure now. He managed to bring the massive knot of spells about, and with a willpower only one of the arcane can muster, plunged it into the black mass of smoke.
The strain was painted on his face quite plainly, Noigrom almost laughed at it.
The smoke swirled maddeningly, drawing into it the woven spell the black robe provided. Slowly, inevitably, the knot of magic and smoke became one, a multihued mist that folded in upon itself and again, until it was a round globe, the size of a man.
A deathly quiet filled the room, punctuated by a sputtering of candles going out.
It was almost time.
Colors swirled across the face of the globe, milky whites and sea-blues. It radiated a soft glow, enough to see the girl still lying prone on the altar. The mage departed, apparently trying to do so indiscreet. Noigrom had no need to slay that one. No time or reason even. The globe was slowing its rotations and had finally came to a stop.

"It is time!" Shouted Noigrom, his arms rising to throw back his hood. Magically charged white hair stood up in its ends, giving Noigrom a spectral look to his already gaunt features. It was now time to play his role in the ressurection.
Reaching into his robes, Noigrom brought forth a wand like no other. The slender black ivory base was quite normal, but affixed to the end was a greenish glowing stone, providing ample light in the darkened room. The wand had been handcrafted by one of Chemosh's chosen, along with a plethora of wizards, so Noigrom had heard. It would bring the spirit of Fin'lar from his astral prison through the gateway the globe provided, then the phlyactery of a defeated lich on the end would swap the girls soul for Fin'lar's.
Noigrom spoke three words in rapid sucession, brought the wand above his head and stepped foward to place a hand on the girls forehead. Abstractly, he noticed a sheen of sweat covering her form, but didn't pay much mind to the fact. His attention was fully on his objective, so close accomplished..
Cracks formed across the globe, spiderwebs outlined in garish light crossed its face completely.
"Come forth, O depraved one!"
"Revel in the life that is yours for the taking!"
"Come forth dead one, exist once more in this world!"
"Come home!"
"Come forth, Fin'lar!"
The cracks on the globe shimmered, and with force enough to knock the three clerics to the ground, it exploded, fragments lodging deeply into every available surface, the walls, the floor, the clerics, who screamed in anguish as the magic ate at their very souls,.. and the girl.
The girl might have suffered the worst in fact, for the magic bore down on her mercilessly, pummeling and separating her body until what was left spashed and dripped. The ghost of Fin'lar floated above the gore that was the girl, and opened its mouth in anger. "Noigrom... yo...u fool! Wr... ong fema.le. Fail..ed! Me....e" Its voice recalled to some distant place, the ghost of Fin'lar thrashed in fury at being defeated, at being riducled in this manner. The ghost unraveled, wisps of empheral reality scattering on a forgotten breeze..

"How could this happen!"
"Noo!"
Noigrom cursed in a fury, pounding on the bloody remains of the girl, fully enraged. "I studied every minute detail! Went over it a hundred times! Morgion take me, I killed a lich for this night!" That the girl had been the wrong sacrifice... How was he supposed to know?!
Noigrom howled his displeasure, cursing his luck and more, and collapsed at the base of the altar, soaked thouroghly with blood. Fin'lar would try to kill him when he arose from his death, which, Noigrom had no doubt, he would. Noigrom's failure would not stop that man from reclaiming the life he once had. It would only give Fin'lar an example for what happens to failures.. it would give him Noigrom's head.

"No! There has to be another way.. there's.." "Turmof!" Noigrom called, darting glances about. "Turmof!!" Noigrom cursed his lackey and rose, about to go spell doom for the ignorant cleric when he noticed the bodies on the floor. Noigrom swore fluently.
Two. Two acolytes in the same ammount of hours! Could he not find competant help anywhere? Sighing in a most profane and resigned manner, Noigrom stretched out his arms and began casting. "Veetah Mortus Mortium!" He went to each of the acylotes and poured in their mouths a generous ammount of a potion taken from within his robes. Noigrom stepped back and watched in bemused wonder, he never could truly get over the facination of it, as the acylotes skin took on a green cast, the flesh sprouting boils and red, inflamed sores. The eyes opened for one of the acylotes, the other having lost one from the magical battery, and they climed slowly to their feet.
"Welcome. Welcome back to the land of the living my friends. Now get a bucket of water and clean up this mess! Oaf's!" The zombies went to work, bumbling about the room looking for something to please the master, a 'bucket' whatever that was. Noigrom clicked his tongue and left them to their eternal task, considering what to do now. He would have to find that black robe, to be sure. The ceremony would not be complete without the use of his arts. He would have to send a messenger to the small temple above the altar and get two more clerics of Chemosh.
Why that particular deity was required for this ritual Noigrom had no idea. Morgion was death. He commanded the undead and therefore should be able to call souls for his faithful.. Noigrom was faithful. Yes he was. He had done many outstanding deeds to gain hi..
"Mass..ter. Tress..pass..ers"
Noigrom came out of his reviere and glared at the beast blocking his path. Cloakers couldn't speak, and were never meant to. That mage should have taken his pet with him. "So deal with them! Do well not to disturb my musings, altered one, lest you find yours.." To his complete and utter shock, the thing interrupted him! "Onne. Only onne. Femahle.. "
Noigrom bit back the spell he surely would use on this monstrosity once he had the chance. A woman?
"Where? Show me."
Perhaps this night would not be a complete failure after all..



[Edited by Noifsandsorbutts on Saturday, June 19, 2004 4:55 PM]

Lunitari0
06/18/2004 5:52 PM

The ten minute time elapse up, Brook followed Theron into the dank darkness of the cave, her sword at the ready. After a few miinutes, her eyes adjusted to the shadowy lighting the wall torches gave off and she was able to walk without faltering. Behind her she could hear the cautious steps of the others, and the sound gave her more confidence to continue on. The thing that didn't help, however, was the smell. Death was in the air, the scent of rancid and rotting corpes slamming into her senses like a wall. Even covering her mouth and nose with her free hand did very little to stop the nauseating smell from turning her stomache.

Hearing the sounds of growls and moans, the agile Mercenary pressed herself against the cave wall beside Theron. Barely breathing, she watched as the gruesome group weighed their options before leaving down the left corridor. Eyes widening, she silently thanked Cherizal for the sacrifice she was making and asked whoever may be listening to protect the elven mage.

Letting out a breath she hadn't known she was holding as the diseased group vanished from sight, Brooke gave an almost unseen nod at Theron's words. Picking up a bit speed to match the monks quick movements, she moved silently down the right tunnel of the caves.

Cherizal
06/19/2004 7:44 AM

Cherizal bit her lips nervously, it was a matter of seconds and then they would be on her. As soon as she saw the first shadow she cast a fire ball and a few of the creatures dissolved. Shadows? She wondered. She had been expecting Chemosh's rotting and smelling followers, but these ones were at Morgion's service without doubt. What did that mean? Her mind kept working at full speed while she cast one spell after the other.

Unfortunately the shadows seemed to come to life again or maybe they were just so many that Cherizal couldn't see an end to their coming.
"Shit" she muttered gritting her teeth. She turned her back on them and started to run. She would be no easy prey and as long as they followed her, her companions were safe.

The shadows followed at her pace without attacking her. Cherizal wondered why. She slowed her pace and so did the shadows. It seemed like they wanted her to go forth, like they were escorting her somewhere. Something, someone else was waiting for her, she was sure about that.

Noifsandsorbutts
06/19/2004 5:26 PM

The shadows stalked the female elf through the underground passages, keeping her in their otherworldly sights. They would attack her, would tear her flesh off and devour her insides. They would, but a commanding voice, the master's voice, forbade them to close the gap between them and the elf woman. The voice spoke of many levels of torment they would endure should harm befall the female. The voice also directed them, summoning them to adjacent corridors, blocking off the elven womans path, save for one route. The corridors began to take on a dry, aged appearance, and the moldy smell of death drifted, borne away by a breeze coming from an unknown source.

OOC: I dont want to control your character overly much...
lol i was about to post another story...
ummm.. ill leave it here, see where it goes.

Kalia_Majere
06/19/2004 6:26 PM

Hitomi and Kension came last, when they paused, Kension squeezed Tomi's hand breifly and then they followed quickly behind Brooke and Theron.

Hitomi still favored her left arm, wounded in a previous fight. The wound was cleaned and bound, but the numbing medicines had long since faded. She squeezed Kensi's hand in response and then hurried after the Monk.

Cherizal
06/20/2004 10:42 AM

Cherizal kept walking following the only possible route. There were secondary tunnels, but they were all blocked by shadows. She could feel their rage and their blood lust, but still they didn't attack. She wondered were the tunnel would take her. Surely to a not very pleasant place. She walked slowly, she didn't have any reason to rush.

She studied her surroundings trying not to look at the shadows, then suddenly the tunnel ended and she found herself in a big hall. Clerics were standing by a big altar and they seemed to be waiting, waiting for her.
"Thank you for this warm welcome!" she said in a sarcastic tone and smiled. She had not intention of showing them her fear.

****************

Therel opened his eyes and moaned softely. His body ached terribly. He didn't remember much of what they had done to him. He had lost consciousness at some point and he was glad about that. He pulled himself up and brushed a lock of dirty blonde her away from his sweaty face. He was in a small cell without windows. The cell was empty except for the rests of previous prisoner.

The sickening smell of decay filled his nostrils and he coughed. They had taken his staff and his pouches with the spell components and every other things he had had with him, except his black robe, bloodied and torn.
But even if he had had his things, he knew he was too weak to casta a spell. He cursed Dalamar and the day he had put foot in the tower of Palanthas.

Escape was obviously not an option. But he didn't want to die. Not for Dalamar, not for anyone else. If living meant to surrender to Fin'lar and help him, he would do that. He would tell the clerics when they came back to torture him again.

Arandur
06/20/2004 4:23 PM

…Zander moved along the darkened tunnels with the rest of the group, his form a wraith like shadow, shrouded within his long ebony robes, his eyes pools of darkness, lost within the shadowed confines of his cowl. Within him the thing that was flared again, sensing the Veil between life and death was weaker, it riled and pleaded and cajoled within Zander, filling his mind with incantations of death and pain as he moved along with the others his eyes fixed on Brooke and his teeth gritted beneath his pale thin lips.

He reached out a thin, pale hand and clasped Brooke’s shoulder to halt her movement, beads of cold sweat were forming on Zander’s forehead and he shook violently. He closed his eyes and took a deep steadying breath before opening them again and fixing Brooke within those charcoal orbs.

“There is someone breaching the Veil here, the dead and the living seek to exist as one, there is much death here and it calls…can you not hear it?” he said softly into the young woman’s ear before releasing her suddenly as if he had realized his hand was firmly within a burning flame.

The black wizard retreated a few steps and folded his hands into the sleeves of his robe and glanced at the two guards behind him briefly before moving further into the darkness of the tunnels…

[Edited by Arandur on Sunday, June 20, 2004 4:24 PM]

Lunitari0
06/20/2004 5:49 PM

Brooke stopped her movement down the tunnel, having to force herself not to jump as Zander's hand grasped her shoulder. She couldn't but her finger on it, but there was something about the Black Robe that creeped her out. However, looking into his dark eyes and listening to his words, she had to admit he had a point. There was something strange going on in the cave. Something unnatural.

She glanced around her thoughtfully. Zander was right. She hadn't stopped to think about it before, but noow that she had, she could feel something. Death was all around them, but it was more then the clerics. There was almost a sense that Death itself was waiting for something, someone. But what or who? The mercenary suppressed a shiver as she gazed into the darkness of the cave.

Picking up her pace once more, Zander's words continued to play in Brooke's mind as if he was still speaking into her ear. There is someone breaching the Veil here, the dead and the living seek to exist as one, there is much death here and it calls…can you not hear it?

Yes she could indeed feel it, but what did it all mean?

Noifsandsorbutts
06/21/2004 11:38 AM

The clerics didn't share the elf's enthusiasm. In fact, they were a bit miffed at having to come down from their studies and take part in this ceremony. A ceremony that would have taken considerably less effort without the ineptness of that poisonous Noigrom and his so called 'self-assurance'. Overconfidance was not quite the word..
They watched the woman enter the sacrifical chamber with gazes that matched the acursed in the halls for intensity.
The altar itself was different from the one Noigrom had used for the girl. This altar housed the priest of Chemosh and his followers. It had bas-reliefs carved around the chamber of skulls, painted with a sickly yellow paste and cunningly cut to center on the altar. Standing tripod braziers illuminated the chamber with brilliant light, aslo a dingy yellow.
The floor was littered as every other section of this hold with bones, long dead skeletons clutching rusty weapons in bitter denial of their fate. If one looked up they would immediately be regretful.
Cloaked in shadows the multitude of braziers could not penetrate, a giant leering skull stared down at the room, catching all who view its magnificent horror, holding them in thrall wrought of the deepest fear of evil, for surely this icon was of the pureest evil. Although why was not readily apparent.

A man wearing black robes appeared suddenly from behind the large inscripted altar. Opposite him, another man wearing robes came forth, but his ceremonial robes were far more impressive than the dark black of the wizard's. Gold trim flowed down the edges of his robes, yellow script in an ancient tongue emblazoned down the gold. The priest's face was hidden behind a mask of delicate craftmanship.
It was a human skull by all appearences, large enough to fit over the priests head. He removed the mask to better view this elven woman, that she could better view him. The maniacal expression was not an act.

Meanwhile, Noigrom had all but lost his patience with his host. He stopped suddenly, the cloaker halting in mid-air with remarkable control.
"Where is she! You'e taken me through this corridor once already. What are you about fiend? If you think to make fun of me I swear yo.."
"Ma.. sster callss.. Must goh." With that, the cloaker rose to the top of the cavernous corridor and seemingly vanished, narrowly missing the splash of acid Noigrom hurled his way.
"Foul beast! Ill have your hide for this insolence!" Damn this hovel of impudence! Noigrom swore bitterly, cursing for not the last time his choicy luck. He had spells to prepare, associates to enlist, sacrifices to appropriate. He did not have time to ride around on the whims of a... wait a minute..
It struck him like a closed fist! If the cloaker was still here, still under influence, Gai must be still here! He wouldn't leave his beloved companion with these dabblers of undeath. He had been oerly protective of the thing since he arrived here for the ritual.. Why would the mage send Noigrom on this.. pointless quest... Something was not right. Noigrom turned about and headed back the way they had come, intent on the temple of Chemosh and the answers he believed lied therein..

[Edited by Noifsandsorbutts on Monday, June 21, 2004 11:40 AM]

Cherizal
06/21/2004 2:19 PM

Cherizal was overwhelmed, but she did her best not to let her emotions show on her face. She looked around casually studying the place in search of a way out. But as she had expected, she didn't see any. It looked like they were making ready for some kind of ceremony. She frowned slightly at the sight of a man wearing gold trimmed robes. She could recognize madness when she saw it.

She was very confused, she couldn't understand what she was doing there, why they wanted her presence, but she had a very unpleasant sense of foreboding. The hair on the back of her neck raised and she felt cold sweat run down her back. Silently she chanted a few words of magic and raised a protective shield around herself.

She stared at the man with the mask trying to look defiant, even if she only wished she could run away and hide.
"I really like this place, it looks very... interesting, but I would like to know what I am doing here. What do you want from me?"

********

Therel had been waiting for someone to show up for hours. He was getting impatient. He had decided to sell himself to that damned Fin'lar and didn't want to stay in that smelling cell for another moment. He heard the soft sound of steps in the corridor outside the cell.

"Hey, get me out of here! I want to talk to Fin'lar. And I want to do it now. I have important information for him" he shouted.

Pogget
06/21/2004 9:22 PM

"Who are you?" Samual said to Therel. Being a Mercenary on the look out for a noble's Daughter He found himself in the caves. Most of the monsters paid no attention to the Aged Fighter assuming either death or dying was not in their interests. Even the undead Left him alone, Either by choice or other means. "I am looking for a woman. She was Last seen being brought to these caves. Have you seen anyone other than Your cell, stranger?" Samual peered into the cell. "Hold on a moment, I'll have you out in no time." A couple moments later the door Swung open and the remains of a guard lay in a heap on the floor. "Let's go. I have to find this woman and I could use some help."

Glasswalker
06/21/2004 10:41 PM

"I would suggest moving a bit slower Theron." Jorgan broke his silence finally, lowering his voice "I don't trust this cave, and I don't trust the black robe in the back. Let's just stay together and get this over with. The dead crawl in these caverns, I can smell it."

QueshuWarrior
06/22/2004 2:06 PM

Theron sighed at the suggestion of his friend. They were not entering a less torched area down the right side of the tunnel. He began to hear sounds that stirred the air about him.

"The dead, Jorgan? Crawling? Ha, I'll believe it when I...GREAT CORRIA...oof!" Theron's step was then interupted by a clasping hand around his ankle. The torches on the walls were lit, illuminating a corridor in which the walls seemed to move and gape with skinless jaw like the walking dead massing around them. Theron went down hard, a dozen hands reaching for him from the floor. The hands began to move him and carry him at a rapid spead to a large dome shaped room in the cave. In the center was a gaping hole, like a well, in which black smoke seemed to rise. Every now and then, an electric flash would occur in the well, and some beast would roar.

Therons mind told him nightmare, but the clawing at his bare skin convinced him of reality. In a panic, he was not able to attack. Hesitation and the will to survive were now coming back to Theron, which was bad news for the crowd surfing team below him, seemingly moving him towards this well at a rapid rate. Theron swung his staff down hard, not being able to turn his body to see what exactly grabbed him. There was a sight moan heard over the chanting of the dead. Theron shouted a prayer which froze the hands below him, creating a moving flatform as the dead beneath him ran and panicked in different directions. The board wobbled, almost causing Theron to fall to the floor, sending an image into Theron's mind of gaping hungry jaws eating away at his flesh. Just the inspiration he needed.

Summoning the ice blades to the tips of his staff, Theron left no time to waste before slashing at the zombies below him. The roar from the well got louder, creating a few moments of lost attention that would cost Theron dearly. As Theron looked with fear towards the now green lit well, a brown fleshed zombie grasped him from behind, holding his arms down. More zombies crawled up onto the platform of frozen hands, eventually weighing it down and crushing the zombies beneath. The massing horde moaned. It was a sea of evil, and Theron was the lost ship about to sink to its doom. The waves of zombies carried Theron to the illuminated pit, tossing him into the dark void of unknown fear.

A rush of wind struck him as he fell, just as a winged, demonic like beast flew his way, shoulder thrusting him and carrying the monks limp body back up the well. The purple human like beast with curling horns of a ram and black wings used its great muscular arms to toss Theron against the cavern wall, and falling like a ragdoll, back into the ocean of the living dead. The beast let out a rasping howl and its eyes flared fire, as did its sinister mouth, home to 40 knife like teeth and heat that could melt a furnace. Letting out a spectacle of flame, the beast illuminated the dome like cavern and spread its leathery vast wings. Kicking its powerful legs, the demon raced downwards and splashed into the living sea, slamming zombies in all directions on impact, like a splash in the ocean. Submerging from the zombies, the demon carried Theron's limp body to the top of the cavern, ready for a last final blow.

Theron reached deep inside his soul, finding the final fight left within him. Corria flashed in his mind, and with that, his skin was coated with an inch of flexible ice. The beast roared as Theron slipped from his fingers, and fell to the floor below with a thud. The ice broke, but was quickly replenished in a matter of seconds, leaving Theron unharmed and standing, with a new coat of ice to take on the next attack. His staff significantly lay at his feet. He kicked it up in his hands, swinging it at a zombie as soon as he felt the steel in his ice-coated hands, penetrating the zombies mulchy stomach. The zombie gaped its jaws and let out a low roaming sound. Theron gasped as he saw the great demon flying towards him in the reflection of his outstretched arm. If he had not turned that second, he would have been killed. Instead, he turned, using the shishcabob zombie as a shield from a force that send Theron back against the rock cavern walls... again.

Arandur
06/22/2004 4:16 PM

…The black robed wizard felt the shambling dead before he saw them, the darkness within battering his willpower in a frenzied struggle for release as the Monk of Corria suddenly disappeared from his view and the form of a Demon rose suddenly from the darkness, bearing the form of Theron in its clawed hands and then smashing the monk into the wall with a shuddering impact.

”Neh’ icarium nocturum corporus.” He chanted softly to himself, his pale hands tracing a delicate rune before him, the necromantic spell would mark him as one of their own to the undead, a creature that possessed no soul but still walked the face of Krynn. Idly in the back of his mind Zander analysed how close that notion may be.

Evocations of flame and shadow surged through the Wizards mind born unto him by the darkness writhing for release, and he raised his hand again as his soft voice carried an almost ethereal chanting of an evocation of Shadow, his hand outstretched to the masses of decaying, shambling corpses. A darkened shadow washed from Zander and along the cavern walls, commanding the shadows around a handful of the leading zombies to snake forth like ethereal tendrils of shadow made flesh and impaling their dead forms in grasping powerful tentacles of darkness.

The tendrils snaked around the limbs of their prey and crushed, pulling the putrid corpses apart piece by piece in a display of bone-crunching putrescent gore, flinging the shredded and broken remains of limbs and decayed flesh idly aside as the tendrils sought for another thing to crush, fueled by a dark hunger that was borne by the darkened soul of their conjuror the Black Robe Wizard, Zander.

Though they would do little to slow a demon, the tendrils were buying precious time for the monk, giving him a grisly barrier to protect his back against both demon and zombie, darkened fang and rotting claw alike. In his mind the enchantments screamed for him to release them, to command them seek the living, warm flesh of a beast with a soul, a soul as bright and glittering as the Chosen of Corria.

In the darkness of his cowled robe, the idea of the tendrils seeking the monk caused a moment of amusement and the flickering predatory smile to slide across Zander’s pale lips, he needed the monk still for the vessel trusted the strange monk and she was the key, the thing that Zander’s dark desires hung upon…

Noifsandsorbutts
06/22/2004 4:38 PM

The wizard, Gai, snorted in open comtempt of the elf womans attempt at making light of the situation. She wouldn't be so peachy when they strapped her down to the altar. It amazed him that the elf could get along so well in the dank corridors. He had seen many of the fair folk tremble before evil, his evil and other forms, but never did he witness the stoic casualness this elf exhibits in the face of impending doom.. Ahh, she would break. They all break.
The robed priest ordered the acolytes to seize the woman, pointing with a gloved finger and shouting a word. They converged on the elf with dispassionate eyes, hands reaching, and the stark scent of death cloaking them..


Noigrom stalked the corridors, soon finding his way toward the temple of Chemosh. He was approaching the outlaying halls when he heard voices around a bend. Unfamiliar voices. Noigrom slowed and crept to the corner, peering around the edge carefully. An armed man was helping out one of the prisoners,.. that rat Therel! Chanting a short verse, Noigrom brought forth an aura that took the shape of an open, flapping cloak. The color was pitch and an unholy fear spread out in waves from him. He knew it wouldn't affect the 2 unless they closed to melee range, but he wanted to prepare. Noigrom walked around the corner, reaching into his robes with both hands.
"Perhaps i can help you with what you came here for." Noigrom said, leering openly at the warrior. I believe the woman you are looking for is awaiting you... just around the bend." He nodded toward the way he had come, and the hall that had a few corpses that might aid him. Inconspicously, Noigrom slipped a sliver of metal into the palm of his left hand. The poison on its tip would drop a bugbear. He took a vial from one of his deeper pockets, and brought it forth, poping the cork that stoppered it. A putrid steam rose from the potion, purple haze rising from a jade liquid. Noigrom grinned. A new poison zombie guard was in order..

Lunitari0
06/22/2004 11:01 PM

Still making her way slowly down the tunnel of the cave, Brooke fell into step beside Jorgan, turning to talk to him. However, all thoughts of what she had been about to say died on her lips as she saw Theron fall to the deathly hands of the zombies.

After a few seconds of sheer panic in which the woman froze, Brooke remembered she was still holding her sword. She lifted the weapon, swinging at any of the creatures that made their way within her range. With clean cuts that made a disgusting squishing sound on contact, she managed to cut up a few of the creatures, but the main grouping of them seemed intent on dispatching the monk into the well and stayed at a distance.

Still, fear and the will to survive was caused the mercenary to fight on. Just as her sword took the head off another zombie that had dared to come close, she heard Zander's chant. Kicking her headless victim aside with a booted foot, she looked around for her next target. Finding none at the moment, she quickly understood why. Staring in horrified facisination as shadow-like hands moved along the cavern walls searching out Theron's attackers. Creature after creature was being destroyed by the dark spell.

The sight of the gore in the cavern was enough to shiver Brooke to her very core, but she stood her ground. They had a job to do and the stubborn mercenary wasn't about to lose any of her friends to a bunch of writhing zombies. Whatever was going on in this cavern, they had to hold out. They had to know exactly what was going on and why.

Cherizal
06/23/2004 4:42 AM

Cherizal snorted, the stink was even worse now that the clerics were getting closer to her. She closed her eyes and focused on her inner strenght, then concentrated all her energy on the protective shield she had raised around her. They were so many, she knew she could not hold it for long, but she would at least try.

The stupid wizard was not going to tell her what they had planned for her and she hated not to know what was going to happen.
"Tell me what you want to do to me, if you don't want me to destroy this place right now!" she demanded. Her fear was gone, she was angry and somehow almost ecstatic. Her face was flushed and her eyes looked feverish, magic ran wild through her veins and she smiled a mischievous smile, ready to damage the place as much as possible before they could get her. She was going to sell her life dearly.

Cherizal
06/23/2004 1:26 PM

Therel heard the steps coming closer and then a voice spoke to him. He frowned. The guy was asking him who he was?! He was obviously not a cleric. He didn't say anything until the door swung open. He regarded the warrior with his cold eyes and wondered how this man had got so far without being slaughtered by the guards. It was all very weird, but in the end the only thing that mattered was that he was free. Now he only needed to keep himself alive until he reached the exit.

"I haven't seen anyone. How do you think I could?" He answered rudely. Warriors were not famous for their intelligence and this one was no exception to the rule. "You go on and find your woman, I'll find the exit. And thank you very much for freeing me!"
He had just started walking down the corridor, when he saw Noigrom. Therel cursed under his breath. For a second he had thought he could walk out of those damned caves. He sighed and turned to the warrior.
"See, you have found your woman. Why don't you go with the cleric? I will wait here."

Noifsandsorbutts
06/23/2004 4:08 PM

Gai watched as the cleric's converged on the elf woman. The hapless fool's didn't see or didn't care that the elf woman had raised a protective magical barrier around her. The cleric's obliviously moved as one and grabbed the elf, thinking to lift her and plant her on the altar. The mass of brownish black robes solidified around the elf for half a second, then robed bodie's fell backward a step or two, repeled by the magic of the elf. Her spell didn't cause significant harm, but the clerics' had to shield their eyes as if some blinding element was forced upon them in a most annoying way. Gai didn't see anything.
"Fools! She is a witch!" The priest cried, elated at the opportunity this presented but afraid nonetheless. Elves were a magical race, damn his shortsightedness.. He should have suspected this sort of devilry from her. The priest turned from his acolytes who were milling about the elf woman, confused and unprepared for this kind of resistance with their small cadre of prayer's and spells.
From the corner of his eye the priest glimpsed steel flashing form one of the cleric's robes, and he hissed insistantly to the black robe, "Dont just stand there, do something about that elf before she gets spoiled. It is Fin'lar's new body and he wont forgive the slightest maltreatment! Hurry you fool before.." Gai gave the excitable priest a disgusted look, and focused on the Elf woman. He knew ways to penetrate a wizard barrier, but he had not studied the spells in ages. He had no need to. The only way he could think of would be to wear down the shield with offencive spells...And if one managed to slip through..
Gai cursed and started casting, his hands glowing with magical power. Three glowing orbs rocketed from his fingers and struck the shield surrounding the elf, splashing along its surface as the magic absorbed itself. The barrier remained, but its color seemed lighter, faded. Gai smiled wickedly at the elf woman.

Cherizal
06/25/2004 4:48 AM

Cherizal felt like she was kicked in the stomach, when the three orbs hit the barrier. She knew the shield was losing its strength and she didn't have much time before it would completely dissolve leaving her in the hands of the clerics. She was growing tired as well. She growled exasperated and made ready for one last spell. She was going to use her last energies on the most destructive spell she knew, hoping to kill as many clerics as possible.

Quickly she lowered what was left of her barrier and started chanting. It was a run against time.

Noifsandsorbutts
06/29/2004 10:08 PM

'Do something wizard!" The priest shouted almost directly into Gai's ear. He hadn't seen the priest approach, so absorbed was he in the elf's last desperate moments. He ignored the priest, that loudmouthed fool and concentrated on a counterspell that would foil the womans attack, and send magical report back at her, andsome rebound it would be! The wizardess was drawing immence power into her spell, it would have devastating effect. Gai paid close attention to the rythmic pulse of magic as it came into being, he aligned himself with its resonance and prepared to fire his counterspell.. They clerics below, however had not idly sat aside as they were wont to do. Two of the clerics stepped foward and clunked the elf over her head with the blunt ends of their weapons, sending her down in a heap. They swiftly picked her up, restraining her still conscious form. Gai, with an experated, and obviously relieved, sigh, let his spell fizzle into nothing and gave the priest a nonchalant shrug. Soon everything was in order, the priests were half-carrying, half-dragging the elfwoman to the altar and some of them righting objects that had been knocked aside by the force of Gai's magical missles. A shape drifted from the ceiling to hovering stop next to the wizard and Gai reached out and petted his cloaker, smiling warmly. "All is well my friend?" Gai asked of his servant. "wehll.. wehll." It replied. So, that pretentious Noigrom fell for it after all. The fool.

QueshuWarrior
07/02/2004 7:37 PM

Theron lift himself off the ground, and lept away from the wall as Zander's shadow mysteries began to claw and tear the living dead which surrounded the ice monk. Theron looked about frantically, swiftly dogding a hungry shadow claw just in time. All shadows seemed focused on the beat of a living heart as it backed away, skin coated in ice, towards the center of the room, where the dark void of a well exist. Theron returned his staff to the length of a foot and placed it in his belt. The shadow was spreading across the floor, inching closer to Theron's doom. The monk's retreat turned into a sprint.

As if things werent bad enough, the horned demon roared from the cavern ceiling, breathing fire at a behemoth of shadow, illuminating its darkness, and causing it to diminish. It too was avoiding the shadows of Zander, with the same goal of sending Theron to serve the death God of Chemosh. Theron saw the only way out of death was the well. It was either face the demon and shadows which Zander seemed to have lost control over, or see what the mysterious depths held. Theron was about 4 yards away from the circlular stone hole of wonder and fear, when the horned demon sped down with beating wings towards the monk. With momentum from the sprint, Theron lifted both feet off the ground in a 5 foot high jump, and formed a diving position as his ice glaze form dissapeared into the shadow of the well.

The fall was riveting. Theron felt a rush of the possibility that this was his last breath, and this was his last thrill. Fog filled the tunnel which seemed to illuminate as he fell further down. The demon's screech was not far. Theron did not need to dare himself to turn his head, since the heat of the demon's breath confirmed that he was indeed being chased by the servent of Chemosh. As the fog lifted, Theron caught sight of light green waters beneath him. Theron had fallen into a gigantic room, much filled with swamplike waters and moss on sewerlike walls. Theron dove into the water with a splash. The warmth of the water caused Theron to gasp. The very water seemed to be steaming around him. Looking from underwater, upwards through the green waves, Theron spotted a glimmering of the purple demon. As quick as Corria would allow, Theron turned the above surface area into a foot thick sheet of ice. The demon smashed into the concrete thick block of ice, red blood mixing with the green sea of death as the demon was powerfully carried from the fall, speeding into Theron's gut. The air in Theron's lungs were wisped away in a moment. The demon appeared unconsious, sinking further into the darker depths of the sewage ridden water. Theron rolled the large winged demon off of his troubled form, and began a quick swim to the surface.

Theron broke the surface with a gasp and a shout of pain and fear. With every prayer and cliffhanging escape, Theron saw his chances of survival slimming to a thread. Some ice chunks foated around him now, after the trick which saved his life...probably. He looked back up the well, seeing there was no way out, no ladder, or anything like that. It was a good 30 feet from the water to the well tunnel.

"It's safe!" Theron shouted up the seemingly endless tunnel of the well. The large bowl-like ceiling echoed at his shout. Looking around, he saw a large sewer pipe, about 60 feet in circumfurence, leading far off from the tub of warm green water, which reeked of death. A short ladder led out of the water, which Theron climbed, and sat on the concrete sewer piping, swaying his legs, catching his breath, and waiting for his companions stunning diving displays.

Lunitari0
07/02/2004 10:31 PM

Brooke watched on in amazement as, after some quick movements to avoid Zander's shadow creations and the demon, the monk who was still coated in ice, did a swan dive right into the well.

In the next few minutes, although she kept fighting any of the zombies that came her way, which wasn't many now, thanks to the shadows, she held her breath. Surely this wasn't the end of Theron. But after seeing the demon go into the well after him, Brooke became even more worried for her friends fate. Making her way carefully closer to the edge of the well, she tried to look over the edge. Unfortunately, the view was not good. Though the well was large around and deep, mostly all she could see was the dark walls of the inner pit. Surveying, she thought she saw chucks of what could have been ice floating in the water, but couldn't be sure. There did seem to be a light steam coming from inside the well though, and it stunk like the Abyss.

She heard him before she saw him. Sitting on what looked from this distance like a ledge in the wall, was Theron. She smiled in relief seeing he was alright and motioned down, not sure if he saw it or not. She nodded to her other companions as a way to let them know she would be the next to follow. Stepping up into a good position and taking a deep breath, she jumped.

Her dive was was quick and clean, and in a few seconds, the mercenary cut the surface of the green water with a gasp. The smell of death was even stonger now that she was in the water and she wrinkled her nose in disgust. Curly black hair sticking to her face, clothes drenched, she scanned for Theron. Seeing him sitting on the sewer pipe and the ladder with which he'd gotten to it, she swam over and climbed up to sit beside him.

Looking around curiously while they waited for the rest of the group, she said, "It may be safe, but I wonder what makes that awful smell? I don't see any bodies in the water....well except that." shee amended guesturing to the dark shadow of what looked like the demon, though drowned.

Noifsandsorbutts
07/05/2004 12:59 PM

As the clerics began the rites of passage for the elf womans demise, Gai quickly became bored with the proceedings and took a reprieve. There was a larder of sorts that the clerics survived off of, but where the provisions came from only the gods knew. Gai was content to eat the crispy bread wrapped in a large leafy plant and sip the warm wine bound in small iron casks. It didn't half the time he could wish of for a cleric to come looking for him, informing him that all was ready and that he would be needed shortly. Gai waved him off with a grunt and waited 'til he had left to summon his cloaker. The creature floated beside him for a good scratching and awaited his masters instructions.
"I know you don't like that impudent snake Noigrom.. he gives Me the shakes sometimes with his obsessiveness. He might be inclined, in fact, to stop the sacrifice of the elf woman that he might complete the ritual himself. He always was an extremist." Gai sighed. The cloaked looked at him blankly, its intelligence was more suited to survival and instinct. It couldn't unerstand the imprecative undertones of Gai's rambling. "You must ensure he does not disturb the high priest. Do Not allow Noigom access to the sacrificial chamber!" The wizard added for emphasis.
The cloaker emitted a sonic screech that sounded a lot like a challenging roar. It gnashed its maw of teeth expectantly and began to fly about erratically. Gai looked at it in wonder. It had never showed such emotion before.. Noigrom must have really done something to get under its skin. Gai felt sorry for the cleric, envisioning him last look of shock as the vampiric cloaked shrouded him in its wings and finished its task. Gai stood and left the larder. He had to reprepare the dweomer spells..

In the altar chamber, clerics went about the final preparations for the ritual, placing the candles at precise locations around the altar. Two of them, following Gai's cautionary instructions, were tracing protective glyphs around where the priest and wizard would stand. They would do their job good, of that the wizard had been adamant. The high priest was standing at the head of the altar, gazing down at the elf woman with a mix of victory and awe. The clerics had bound the woman hand and foot, to prevent her from casting spells and hefted her onto the polished surface of the altar. She was regaining consciousness and the priest wondered if he should have ordered her bound to the altartop. She had such a powerful presence about her. It made him want all the more to destroy her spirit and place Fen'lar in her host body. That would bring him much pleasure, would greatly placate his demanding god..

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