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Unread 10th of May, 2005, 05:35
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Chapter 8 - The Ruin Stone

That night they camp in a sheltered dell, still nearby the oasis. Blarth's plan seems to work, for although they hear the sounds of night feeders and scavengers, none comes to challenge their camp. The next day a meeting of sorts is called, in which the group decides to hole up here for a few days while they recuperate from recent battles and/or imprisonments.

They move their camp to the lion den Surayon had discovered - after removing the carcass she had created there, of course. The scent of such large predators is still strong, and the group believes it will keep most predators away. Nicos dispenses his uncomfortable healing as time and patients allow

Four days later a much healthier band of adventurers looks down from a low rise. Somewhat north and slightly west of them, the massive crown of the obviously volcanic Erol's peak breaks the line of the horizon. Below them lies the entrance to what can only be the resting place of the mysterious Runestone.
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Unread 12th of May, 2005, 03:01
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Standing on the slope looking down, Nicos feels the weight of the last several days weigh heavy upon him. That much magic in such a short space of time took an obvious toll on the bard, and although the power was coming with more ease each time it is not an experience he would choose to repeat. Also wilderness camping was not something the man enjoyed, and he found his thoughts drifting more and more towards a warm bath, soft bed, and the arms of a red-haired woman.

"Well there it is," he said warily. "Our destination of happy fun love."
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Unread 13th of May, 2005, 02:52
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"Happy fun love?" Blarth asks, clearly confused by Nicos poor attempt at a joke.

"I thought we were going to recover some kind of rock?"
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Unread 13th of May, 2005, 02:57
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"We are," Nicos says. "And if the gods are favourable it will be a rock which brings joy, peace of mind, and regrow the severed limbs of all who are near it."
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Unread 13th of May, 2005, 03:15
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Deciding that Nicos is being, well... Nicos, Blarth shrugs his shoulders and heads down towards the opening. What ever it was exactly that they were after, it was unlikely to grow legs and come out to meet them, so it'd be up to them to go in and meet it.
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Unread 19th of May, 2005, 02:57
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Entering through obviously not natural cavern, the group moves cautiously out of fear of traps or other hidden guardians placed to stop intrusion. It takes several minutes for them to determine that there are no nasty surprises, for indeed to all appearances the cavern appears to lead nowhere and contain nothing but air.

Standing near the entrance and looking at the others, Nicos looks slightly perplexed.

"Are we sure this is the right place?"
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Unread 20th of May, 2005, 04:33
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Shade looks around the small, bare cave and shakes her head. After all this way, she isn't sure what she expected but it definitely was not this. Yet if Cadogan had explained himself correctly, this was the place. Of course, Cadogan was blind . . .

She shakes her head again. This should be it. There weren't two volcanic mountains, and this was the only cave on the southern base.

It didn't seem as dark as it should be in here. Her grey eyes scan the stony walls, roving past a narrow fissure in the northwest quadrant . . .

Almost in a trance, she moves toward the shadow of that fissure, runs a hand along the edge. It was deep, but not open. And there was no air flow that she could detect but something deep in her mind hummed with anticipation. She almost had the sense of floating outside her own body, watching as her hands searched purposefull, almost had the feeling she had been here before, done this very thing. There, behind a knobby projection, was a decidely man-made lever. She pulled it without hesitation.

All at once, she was drawn back inside herself. A grinding sound permeated the small space as the door slid back, leaving a gap about four feet wide. The floor beyond was rough hewn stone. She looks back at the others.

"Let's find this thing and go."
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Unread 20th of May, 2005, 04:44
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Starring about the empty chamber, Blarth is unsure of what to make of it. Nicos's comment certianly seems justified to his mind.

At least, it does until Shade reveals the hidden passage way.

"How'd you know that was there?" Blarth asks in amazement once the door is open.
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Unread 20th of May, 2005, 11:38
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Ben also had misgivings about this place. It just didn't look like the resting place of a keystone or whatever it was they were looking for. And, if it was, someone had apparently gotten it before they had.

Then Shade did something and a door opened, revealing another room. Ben had to admit, he was impressed. The woman hadn't even looked around the room, she had just gone straight for the key. Almost like she knew it was there. Like she was herding them or something.

Stop it. She found it, that's all that matters.
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Unread 20th of May, 2005, 23:35
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Shade lowers her veil as she peers into the newly revealed passage. Dark, shadowy, but once again not as dark as it should be. It smelled dusty, dry, like nobody had been here in ages. And it was definitely warmer inside - uncomfortably warm in comparison to the other chamber.

Blarth's question tingles uncomfortably along her spine. She gives him a hard look, noting curiousity and sometimes suspiscion present in other eyes as well. She shrugs the question off, ignoring the looks.

"Just something you pick up in my line of work."
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Unread 21st of May, 2005, 04:07
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Surayon slips slowly into the cave, looking behind her as the light of the sn slowly slips away. She has never been fond of leaving the open world behind, but whilst caves have served their purpose in life, tunnels, such as the one that Shade has just unveiled... No. She dislikes them intensely, and she knows she can't help but show it in seeveral backward glances, and the fact that, whilst her movements are as fluid as ever, she is almost dragging her feet to enter the tunnel.
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Unread 21st of May, 2005, 12:42
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"Well at least we know it's the right place." Nicos said as he entered through the hidden door Shade had revealed.

The second room was cramped, with barely enough room for the party to all fit in. Immediate in front of them is. Inscrolled into the stone wall besides the door are four lines of text each in a different language.

The first is unknown to the bard, being of a language he never learnt though if he were to hazard a guess he would say dwarven. The second is in elvish and the third the language of men where it is repeated. The final one is in a language totally unknown to the bard. Nicos swiftly reads the text

'Herein lies the chamber of -word unintelligible-. Beware all those who would trespass in its sacred presence'

"Well," the one armed man said softly. "Can any one read the top or last line?"
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Unread 22nd of May, 2005, 01:36
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"Behind door is Eye of not-Gruumsh. Painful death to the heathens in its pressense," Blarth intones, reading the last line of the inscription.

Noting the curious stares of the others, Blarth shakes his head to clear the cobwebs that had suddenly formed and looks at them, "What?" he asks.
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Unread 27th of May, 2005, 02:47
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The persistant dry heat is stifling, as though the cramped chamber were trying to suffocate them. Slipping forward, Shade runs her hand over the strange carved symbols, furrowing her brow in an attempt to puzzle out their meaning. It was most likely the same warning as the others, but it bothers her that she can't make sense of it. It seemed important . . .

She pulls her hand back with a small shock, suddenly realizing that she's been standing and staring at the runes as time slipped by. What had she been thinking about? Ignoring the impatient shifting of the others, she throws her cloak back and examines the door itself in more detail. The stone seemed of the newer sort, and well crafted. The seems all met precisely, with no gaps or cracks.

The warning seemed to indicate a trap, and she takes a good long time on the door itself. In vain, as it happens. The door seems nothing other than a sturdy stone door. She frowns again and folds her arms.

"No matter the warning, there doesn't seem anything out of the ordinary with the door itself . . ."

She draws back the bolt and pulls on the door, moving aside as it swings inward. Cool air flows toward her, the tunnel beyond quickly fading to immeasurable black. The sudden change bothered her, as did the configuration of the door itself.

"Why bolt it on the outside?"
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Unread 27th of May, 2005, 05:36
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"To keep something in?" Blarth replies, nervously. The idea that the dwarves would want to keep something in, bothers him.

Looking down the tunnel, however, he can clearly see to the other side and there seems to be nothing to justify his supposition.

"Its empty?"

"No, wait, there's another door at the other end," Blarth ammends after taking a step forward to peer further into the darkness.
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Unread 1st of June, 2005, 23:12
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"Hang on" Nicos said as rummaged around in his belt pouch. Pulling out a gold coin the bard looked at it in disgust before returning it to his pouch and continuing the search. Eventually finding the copper piece he was seeking, the man grasped the coin in his hand and began muttering under his breath to it.

As he finished his quick incantation, the coin burst into light. With a small grunt of exertion Nicos throw the copper down the tunnel.

"Say," the bard said as he peered down the now lit tunnel. "What are those things on things on the floor- Fiol preserve!"

Sounding slightly sick as he recognised the crushed and broken lumps littering the ground up the tunnel as corpses, turned his face away.

"Anyone else want to go check for a backdoor?"
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Unread 2nd of June, 2005, 04:34
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Shade's gray eyes narrow slightly as she catches sight of the crushed bodies in the hall, the only sign she gives of her unease. Instead of speaking, she takes a step ahead of the others, holding her arms out to indicate they should stay where they are. The bard's magical light was bright enough that she raises her veil once more, and then begins meticulously scanning the walls and floor for any signs of the trap that must surely be there.
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Unread 2nd of June, 2005, 07:05
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"Ugh!" Blarth exclaims when Nicos light adds color to the formerly formless shapes and reveals them for what they are. Choking back a desire to vomit, Blarth pointedly looks elsewhere, only to have his eyes fall on the plaque again.

"Behind door is Eye of not-Gruumsh. Painful death to the heathens in its pressense," Blarth intones, reading the last line of the inscription, again.
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Unread 2nd of June, 2005, 14:44
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"Yes we know Blarth," Nicos says having recovered his composure after the initial sighting. "You don't need to repeat it."
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Unread 2nd of June, 2005, 22:09
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"Repeat what?" Blarth replies. As best as he could remember, he hadn't said anything since noting the presence of a door at the other end of the hallway, and that certianly hadn't been said before.
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Unread 2nd of June, 2005, 22:18
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"The plaque" Nicos replied, gesturing at it. "I think we can be certain that it says the same thing in all the languages."
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Unread 2nd of June, 2005, 22:30
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"The plauque?" Blarth asks, turning to look at it.

"Behind door is Eye of not-Gruumsh. Painful death to the heathens in its pressense,," he intones.

"If you say so. None of it makes any sense to me."
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Unread 3rd of June, 2005, 03:05
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Surayons eyes narrow as she looks at the bodies ahead of them. Moving forward, she kneels easily and looks closer. Although the light is poor, she can see enough to notice that one of the bodies is that of the man she was following before joining up with the group, although she doesn't recognise any of the others. Standing up, her eyes gleam with anger, her fists clenched. Her voice is a parody of its usual chilly self, some of the utter hatred leaking through.

"Let's get in there. Now."
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Unread 3rd of June, 2005, 04:59
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"I'll go first," Xandir says, "I've dealt with booby-traps before."

And boy, has he dealt with booby-traps. It's amazing what some people will pay good coin for, just to keep their possessions in place. Scything-blade traps on windows, high-velocity darts in door-handles, even magical traps that make killing clouds of poison, lethal bursts of flame... or worse.

Shrugging his pack to the floor, he tugs at the flap enough to allow his cat out. He whispers to her for a moment, then she begins prowling around the floor, sniffing and peering into corners. Opposite her, Xandir adopts a similar stance, half-crouched and intent on details.

After about a minute of searching around, Xandir looks up from his work. "Guys, I'm not entirely sure what we've got here." He points at the floor, right in the center of the room. "This has a slight point, like the floor slopes down from here. You can see it better when you look at the doorway from here. The corners are just a little bit lower than the floor there. There are also long scratches on the floor, like something big's dragged to-and-from this line. I can't find the trigger, but the walls--" he indicates the walls on either side-- "aren't joined to the rest. Shade? You think you can find the trigger to this? If you can help me spot it, I might be able to keep it from working."
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Unread 7th of June, 2005, 23:12
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Stepping between Blarth and the inscription, Nicos runs his hand over the words.

"Damn, that's interesting," The bard mumbles. Turing back to Blarth but making sure that he continues to block the half-orc's view of the. "I think it's enchanted to force someone who looks at it, to read it aloud. I've heard of things like this, but never witnessed one before."
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