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  #101  
Unread 26th of August, 2002, 23:37
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When those sounds finally come she grips her swords reflexively: a pounding, hammering sound accompanied by a bellow loud enough that the hair on the back of her neck stands up. Cadrius?. She doesn't allow herself to savor the hope that wells up from her gut, mercilessly squashing the feeling down.

Maybe it's him, maybe not. Either way, it doesn't sound good.

Still, the first door she'd passed through had been barred. It was doubtful that any of the jailers would be locked in here with the prisoners. She chews her lip before abandoning stealth and moving forward as quickly as the darkness will allow. The water recedes and she is grateful as the slime falls away. Further down she can feel another pile of rubble. She can hear faint sounds coming from up ahead in the darkness and her thoughts spin wildly as they try to puzzle out what might be happening.

Shaking her head, she continues on wondering if there is some foul beast trapped in here as well. It is difficult maneuvering in the pitch dark and, although she is used to working without light, she wonders briefly about her rash decision to attempt this on her own. Whatever might be in here, it was unlikely they'd make it back out without a fight. She could end up trapped here as well, and she struggles briefly with her reasons before closing the door on that avenue as well.

Focus on the task at hand, there is no turning back now.

In the dark she almost misses the small side passage that contains the door to the cell, but the hushed sound of human voices alerts her. Her fingers run over rough wood and she feels another heavy bar in place. Banging lightly on the door she calls out softly, hoping for a reply.

"Who is in there?"
  #102  
Unread 26th of August, 2002, 23:51
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Cadogan listens to Cadrius' plan, but sees the flaw, he cant exactly see where the hole will go.

"But I can't..." He begins and then a tapping, followed by a hushed voice.

"Who is in there?"

It sounds human, but Cadogan doesn't know the voice. It is atleast human, maybe this mysterious man next to him knew who it was.

"Friend of yours?" Cadogan whispers to Cadrius, not quite sure what to expect.
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  #103  
Unread 27th of August, 2002, 00:08
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Cadrius nods wearily, it would be difficult at best to make a hole in the somewhat sturdy door and it would be even harder to direct the shot. Besides, if it was barred the iron might not shatter easily, no matter how many times it was subjected to the chilling cold.

"Who is in there?"

His heart skips a beat at the voice. Shade. For a moment, a brief moment, he swells with joy, but it does not last long. She shouldn't have come here, and if she is alone she's an even greater fool than him. He looks over at his fellow prisoner and nods once, she is a friend, a damn stupid one for following him, but a friend nonetheless. He approaches the now battered door and leans against it. He suddenly felt exhausted, the day's events finally catching up with him.

"There is nobody in here but us rats and gnolls," he whispers, his feeble attempt at humor carrying through the door.

He closes his eyes for a moment and then snaps them back open. No time to rest now, even if Shade lets them out, they still have to make their way back to safety. Which might turn out to be far easier said than done.
  #104  
Unread 27th of August, 2002, 00:35
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Her voice stops and she waits for some response. The moment seems like an eternity and then she hears a faint reply. Her heart leaps in her chest and she leans against the door. She can't keep the smile out of her voice as she answers.

"You sound like hell."

She heaves on the bar unceromoniously and it pulls free, slipping from her grasp in her haste. It thuds to the ground with the muffled noise of timber on stone and her senses sharpen instantly. They weren't out of this yet; she couldn't afford to be careless. Her hands slide her picks free and she gropes for the lock in the darkness.
  #105  
Unread 27th of August, 2002, 00:47
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Cadogan hears the beam fall loosely to the floor and almost giggles with glee as he practically barges the door open... right into Shades head as she is kneeling looking for the lock.

"Uh... Sorry..." Cadogan says to the quiet curses from the darkness. He immediately turns to Cadrius.

"My Equipment? I mean -Our- Equipment!" Cadogan catches and corrects himself. "We Must find it!" he whispers towards his fellow escapee.
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  #106  
Unread 27th of August, 2002, 01:40
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Cadrius winces and supresses a chuckle as the other man practically bowls Shade over. Gods, the man acted as if he was totally blind. He shakes his head and replies, "If you think I sound bad, wait until you see me."

Emerging into the faint torch light is a character that looks only vaguely like Cadrius. The size is right, but he is covered with encrusted blood. The wounds received from the first two skirmishes with the gnolls stand out on his shoulders. His jaw is slanted to the right as if it had been forcibly placed there. One eye is swelled shut, and two large bruises can be seen on his side through a ragged hole in his shirt. His breath is raspy.

Blood, he thinks, there is blood in my lung.

"The goddess of beauty would love me right about now," he says, another weak attempt at humor. He slumps against the frame of the now open door and attempts to gather his strength.

"He is right," he says nodding toward the man, "we do need our things. They cannot be far from here, unless this place is far bigger than I thought it to be. How long did it take you to get here from the entrance?"

He looks down for a moment, inspecting his feet before looking back up and saying, "It was foolish to follow me," but his eyes are shining when he says, "but thank you."
  #107  
Unread 27th of August, 2002, 02:00
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She leans forward, hands groping in the darkness, and finally comes upon the doorknob. Her reaching fingers touch the sharp edges of jagged metal that was once the lock and she is momentarily confused. At that exact moment, the door opens and cracks her right in the forehead.

Of all the . . . !

A long stream of forcefully whispered curses trail through the dark. One hand reaches for her forehead as she hears an odd voice apologize. It appeared Cadrius was not alone in there. Weighing the benefit of a light against the danger of being spotted, her curiousity beats her instintive caution in the mental footrace. Pulling a torch and her flint from her pack she quickly strikes a spark; the shadows retreat as the light advances.

For a moment, she thinks that the stranger emerging from the cell must be the one that apologized. Then she catches the look in his open blue eye and she realizes her error. It is Cadrius, and he looked even worse than he sounded. Stubborn as ever, he makes light of his condition and even has the gall to suggest they go tramping about looking for equipment. She catches the look in his good eye and her heart swells with pride. Her eyes glow triumphantly in return, softening her words.

"You'll thank me well enough by staying alive for a bit."

She pulls out a small vial, the same one he had turned down earlier that day, and holds it out. She gives him a look that indicates she won't take no for an answer.

"We're not going anywhere until you drink this."
  #108  
Unread 27th of August, 2002, 02:19
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Cadogan stands vigil as the torch is lit and the darkness is removed, he doesn't seem to notice. Cadrius instantly recognises the mage, although he does look a little worse for ware. He has changed his clothing however, traded in his "royal blue" (Pink) shirt for a more plain brown one.

His pants have changed too. No longer frilly and long, he has tied them back with cotten straps, binding them to his legs. Probably so they wouldn't get caught on anything, the mage is unshaven and bruised across the face. The man is also missing his seeing stick, and begins to groap around in the air nearly swatting Shade twice.

"Umm.. I need a stick, or a guide. Probably both..."
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  #109  
Unread 27th of August, 2002, 04:22
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Cadrius looks down, or rather squints down at the offered vial. He glances up again, hoping to find a way to avoid using the liquid. Unfortunately the look in Shade's eyes suggest that the sun would crash into the earth before he could avoid drinking the potion.

Sighing he carefully removes the stopper and drinks the bitter amber liquid. It burns and once again he is reminded of whisky as the warmth seeps through him. He feels better, but he's still put off by the effects of the unnatural healing. The sensation of his wounds closing and his rib knitting itself back together are odd to say the least.

Looking over he finally recognizes Cadogan and Cadrius suddenly understands the cause of the man's fumbling. He was blind. He thinks back to the memory of the battle with the wyvern and the fire afterward. This man had been there, leaning upon his cane, dressed differently perhaps but he was there nonetheless.

"I never would have guessed," he says quietly, his jaw fast on the mend, but he does not finish his thought.

"Where are my manners? Cadogan, the woman you knocked down is Shade, Shade this is Cadogan."

Satisfied that etiquette had been taken care of Cadrius takes the blind man's hand and places it on his upper arm. He would at least try to be a guide.

"Now," he asks, "which way to our things?"
  #110  
Unread 27th of August, 2002, 05:31
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"This seems to be a prison area; I haven't found any trace of gnolls down here. I'd guess when we find the rest of them we'll find your equipment. There might be a village somewhere nearby or another underground complex but I don't think they are in this one."

She nods to Cadogan and then realizes her error. She thrusts her torch into the cell, looking for any other captives before turning back to the others.

"Greetings Cadogan. What is so important that we must risk retrieving?"

It is clear that she is addressing both of them. As she talks she hands one of her swords over to Cadrius, then presses a dagger into Cadogan's hand. It would be best if they all went armed.

"Let's get out of here quickly. Speed is more important than silence; let's hope we don't find the exit held against us."
  #111  
Unread 27th of August, 2002, 06:13
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Cadrius raises one blood encrusted eyebrow as Shade gives the blind man a dagger. He could do a lot more harm than good with a blade in his hands, but it might be best if he was at least somewhat armed. Still, Cadrius is afraid that Cadogan will likely end up stabbing himself before he wounds a gnoll.

"Right," he says, "then let us depart as swiftly as possible."

Keeping the short sword in front of him and Cadogan's hand on his arm Cadrius begins making his way down the winding passage. He grimaces as they come to the rather cold and unpleasant water, but with any luck some of the blood and grime will wash off of him.

He slows to a stop, holding up a hand for Shade and nudging Cadogan lightly with his elbow.

"Do you hear that?"

The sound of footsteps rebounding and echoing softly amidst the cave. Plus the scrape of an armored boot as it treads upon the stone.

Last edited by Cadrius; 27th of August, 2002 at 06:20.
  #112  
Unread 27th of August, 2002, 06:15
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Leading Maeko and Paladin along, holding the lantern high. Through some water and past an open door they travel with out incident. Then up ahead they see a light from a round a bend in the corridor.

Excitedly Itches calls out " Hello the light!!" Rushing ahead he round the bend and shines the bulls-eye-lantern in their eyes.
"Hello all of you, gee Cadirus you dont look -"


((i'm assuming someone is going to shut ITches up right about now))
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  #113  
Unread 27th of August, 2002, 15:10
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"Hssssst! Keep it down, Minstrel -- we don't know what else is in here," the paladin hisses. He makes his way to the corner, ignoring the water rushing into gaps in his armor.

To Cadrius, he says, "Thank the Battlemaster you're alive. Promise us you will not do that again; there is a fine line between valor and stupidity, which none of us should deign to cross.

"I say we get out of here, tend our wounds, and count our losses. Surely there can't be anything to gain by staying here, where we can get trapped."
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Last edited by LonePaladin; 27th of August, 2002 at 15:18.
  #114  
Unread 27th of August, 2002, 15:47
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Cadogan nods towards the 'Shade' character infront of him. This person of who's voice he recognises, recognises Cadogan but Cadogan does not have a name which comes to mind.

"Whats your name?" He asks Cadrius.

Shade thrusts the dagger into his hand and Cadogan feels it for a while, and frowns, choosing to store it in his boot.

"My Magic is far more potent." He explains, no doubt to the stares he recieves. They move on and Cadogan hears the water, hoping personally that they will not be going through any his hopes dimish as he hears Cadrius begin to slosh through the water.

"Do you hear that?" Whispers Cadrius. Before Cadogan can answer a loud reply echos down the cave.

"Hello the Light!!" A few seconds go by before Cadogan senses there is a forth person.

"Hello all of you, gee Cadirus you dont look -"
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  #115  
Unread 28th of August, 2002, 01:51
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What was I thinking giving my dagger to a blind man?

Shade shakes her head as Cadogan stowes her dagger in a boot but before she can comment she hears the unmistakable voice of Itches. Sure enough, the trio appears shortly. She eyes Paladin critically for a moment after he speaks, unable to fault his ideas or his actions. His more orderly entrance highlighted the foolishness of her own, albeit successful, rescue attempt.

"Agreed. All they need do is bar the main door and we're trapped."

She stands her ground, next to Cadrius and waits to see who will take the lead. If she were to step up perhaps it would avoid a power struggle between him and Paladin. She is reluctant to leave his side, though, and leading others has never been her favorite thing to do. She speaks to Cadogan as she tosses her torch into the water, dousing it.

"Can I hang onto that dagger if you aren't going to use it? I'll feel better with steel in both hands."
  #116  
Unread 28th of August, 2002, 05:54
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Cadrius turns to Cadogan and asks, "I thought you were there, after the battle, when I introduced myself," realizing that perhaps not everyone would have payed attention to a simple sell-sword like Cadrius he says simply, "I am Cadrius."

He turns to face Paladin, Maeko, and Itches. He never actually thought he'd find himself happy to see the lovestruck noble, and he wasn't exactly happy but for once he didn't mind the man's presence.

Cadrius is quiet for a time, merely staring at the paladin. He blinks once and then quietly says, "I would hesitate to call something foolish before you fully understand it."

He places Cadogan's hand back on his arm and begins moving forward again, his strides are no longer as long, and he limps slightly with one leg, but he maintains his balance. He wills himself to stay on his feet, if for no reason other than pride. It wouldn't do to fall now.

"Besides, we have to retrieve both my and our new companion's posessions."
  #117  
Unread 28th of August, 2002, 15:08
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Despite apparent expectations, the paladin does not rise to Cadrius's taunt. I understand, all right. You're afraid, and taking unnecessary risks; it's either an attempt to prove your own fears wrong, or you're trying to put them to a more permanent end.

"We'll take the chance that the gnolls realize we're here, and try to trap us. We'll find your gear. All of us. Together."
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  #118  
Unread 28th of August, 2002, 21:58
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Cadogan reaches down and draws the dagger holding it for Shade to take.

"I didn't catch your name either, Miss?" He ask Shade at a whisper.

Cadrius leads Cadogan off on a quest for his equipment.

Excellent, straight to my equipment, and the cube! Lets just hope that Shrivel has lasted long enough not to become Gnoll food, that foolish bird.

"Ah!" Cadogan remembers his little friend. "We'd best hurry. A little friend of mine might become Gnoll food if we don't."
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Unread 28th of August, 2002, 22:32
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She listens to the verbal fencing between Paladin and Cadrius as she accepts her dagger from Cadogan. She flips it neatly, catching it lightly by the blade, before spinning it point first on her palm. The dim light flashes off steel as she adroitly turns her hand to snatch it by the hilt. Her muscles had not forgotten the feel of the weapon and that was good.

"You can call me Shade. 'Miss' is for ladies at court, and nobody has ever mistaken me for that. As for finding your stuff, I think we'll find it when we find where these gnolls have laired."

She gestures at their surroundings with the point of her dagger, indicating the dust and disrepair. She is still hooded, although her veil is down, and in the uncertain light the shadows seem to press in on her slim form.

"This place looks largely uninhabited; they probably just use it to hold prisoners. Maybe we missed the entrance to their den on the way in, I know I couldn't see anything, or maybe their camp is above ground. Either way, I'll feel better with that door behind us."
  #120  
Unread 29th of August, 2002, 02:29
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Looking on silently, as the others quietly talk on, Itches glances around the cavarn they are in. As the talk moves on to the regaining of their equipment, Itches tentivly speaks up.

"Um... do you have any idea where your stuff is? I mean if not we might be wondering around forever."
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  #121  
Unread 29th of August, 2002, 03:39
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"I have no intention of wandering around down here at all."

Her acid tone bites into the nobleman; the stress of the chase and rescue coupled with the internal tension within the group have left her on edge. In addition, their strength was somewhat reduced; Itches and the blind man Cadogan were not the best fighters. Cadrius was wounded, unarmored, and wielding a poor substitute for his lost bastard sword. That left Maeko and Paladin, who were both as battered as Shade from the fighting earlier that day.

Storming an encampment of gnolls was not her idea of the path to a long and healthy life. She'd fight that battle when they'd had a look at the odds, though. Cadrius didn't look like he was going to be swayed by her arguments unless she had some proof. Besides, maybe she could steal what they wanted and avoid a fight altogether. She fixes Itches with a look sharp enough to cut glass.

"Have you listened to nothing I have said? Look around: this is a prison. Gnolls might be stupid but they aren't stupid enough to leave a prisoner's armor and weapons in his cell with him. Doubtless anything of value will be found with those who were strong enough to take it from the others. If we want to retrieve it we must find their stronghold."
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Unread 29th of August, 2002, 04:05
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"Well spoken. I've seen it before, but I don't think these beasts lack that much foresight. We seek their lair, then.

"But not in the shape we're in, now. I think we should find a secure place to rest and tend our wounds. We'll have a better chance of finding the place during the day, anyway."
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Unread 29th of August, 2002, 05:25
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Maeko nods agreement at the Paladin's proposal, she feels rather weak just now.

The latest fight had left her seriously wounded, and magical healing has taken his toll, right now she is able to stand more due to force of will than to strenght.

sometimes drawing legs to the snake is risky, not only silly...right now a novice could best me

But...praised be all the gods and Bodhisattvas, Cadrius is alive! and the old one unharmed...
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Unread 29th of August, 2002, 17:55
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Cadogan pipes up;

"If our equipment was here, Shrival would have called to me - unless he has already met a ill end..." Cadogan verbal gulps.
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  #125  
Unread 29th of August, 2002, 22:24
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They swiftly exit the complex, pausing only for a quick search of the gnoll Shade had killed on the way in. She spots a well-used track that probably leads to the gnoll encampment and points it out to the others. A small argument breaks out while they attempt to decide their course.

Paladin's suggestion makes sense, but finding a suitable resting place is going to take some time. Also, the gnolls might well be able to track them where ever they went. Perhaps surprise was their best ally.

I am sure that Cadrius and the blind one will wish to rush forward to claim their belongings.

"We do not know how many they might be. I ask again: what is so important that we must take this risk?"
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