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  #51  
Unread 14th of July, 2005, 21:41
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"Right." Nicos says to the darkness as the sound of Shade moved off. "So, if someone who still has both arms would like to follow the sound of my voice and help me move our fallen comrade?"
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Unread 15th of July, 2005, 00:09
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"Umm... Okay," Blarth replies, still totally lost in the unnatural darkness. "Keep talking."

Following the bard's voice as best he can (oddly enough it echo's slightly in an underground cave), Blarth stumbles about for a bit with his hands in front of him. After what seems like an eternity, but is actually only a few seconds, Blarth thinks that Nicos's voice is getting louder and his hands brush up against the back of somebody's head.

"Nicos, is that your?" Blarth asks, feeling the head in front of him.
  #53  
Unread 19th of July, 2005, 09:56
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"Yes," Nicos said as he reached up and guided the half-orc's hands down to the injured man. "If you take him, I’ll carry his gear."
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  #54  
Unread 22nd of July, 2005, 04:09
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Shade takes another moment to survey the room. The exposed surfaces are coated with a dull metal that makes the whole room seem almost surreal. Scattered at irregular intervals along the floor and atop the shelves carved into the walls are dozens of seemingly unrelated objects: coins, rocks, gems, crystal, weapons, armor, tools.

The whole scenario, from the moment they'd left the wastelands without, had been gradually gnawing on reality. Now, everything seemed to have moved completely into a dreamscape. The Runestone sits on the altar - a small, irregularly shaped gem. It is a deep green, the center seeming almost black. As she stares at it, Shade becomes aware of the peculiar way it refracts the light. Within the depths of the gem, she can see a dazzling, swirling array as though the stone itself were a deep sea filled with visible currents.

Almost without realizing it, she moves closer, leaning over the altar, grey eyes fixed with rapt fascination on the still surface of the gem. Within, her heart seems to slow to a crawl, its beat gathering intensity rather than speed. Her head lowers until it is within inches of the Runestone, the planes and angles of that emarald surface occupying the whole of her vision.

And then, behind her, there is a small scraping accompanied by someone clearing their throat. With a start, the world comes back in a rush. Her head snaps around, fingers already closing on the hilt of her sword. Ben. He was standing there, staring at her expectantly.

The stone

She glares at him, the turns back to the altar and abruptly snatches the stone from its resting place. The thing is heavier than she had imagined, but she stuffs it into her pouch without further examination.

"Alright, we got it. Now let's get out of here."
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Unread 22nd of July, 2005, 05:00
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Letting Nicos' hand guide his to Xandir's body, Blarth takes a moment to make figure out where Xandir's head is in the dark. Then moving aournd so that he's standing over Xandir's head, Blarth lifts him up by the armpits, encircling his arms around Xandir's chest.

"I have to walk backwards," Blarth tells Nicos, "so that I don't bump his head against anything. Try and tell me as best you can what the floor is like as we go."

Blarth then follows Nicos' lead, trying his best not to fall in the unnatural dark.
  #56  
Unread 23rd of July, 2005, 01:25
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"Rock. Ditch. Dead creature-thing. Step."

Murmuring warnings as they went Nicos lead Blarth away from the darkness.

"Alright, we got it. Now let's get out of here."

"Let's wait a moment until I make sure Xandir not dead." Nicos said as he emerged from the darkness. "I'd rather not have his angry ghost chasing after us because we didn't take a moment to tend to him."

"Besides," the bard added with a sideways glance at the items laying around. "After coming this far it would be a shame if we didn't take the opportunity to ... examine our surroundings."

Taking in the man's condition with a quick look, Nicos reluctantly pulled one of his dwindling supply of potions from his back. Muttering something under his breath, the one armed man forced it down Xandir's throat.
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Unread 26th of July, 2005, 03:02
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The potion slides down, almost effortlessly. Almost.

Just before Nicos finishes upending the contents of the vial, Xandir coughs and splutters, spraying droplets of magical fluid across the bard's face and chest. He doubles over, covering his mouth with one hand while keeping his balance with the other.

Finally drawing a breath, he says, "Cabbage? I hate cabbage. When did I eat cabbage last?" Then he looks up, sees a one-armed man in front of him, and notes the dung-eating grin. "Oh, it's one of your concoctions. No wonder. Did you use a spell to make them taste bad, minstrel?"

Picking himself up, he sways for a second, then finds his balance. Looking around doesn't tell him much; a circular room with several patches of... shadow. Not quite true darkness, but enough to make things hard to see. He starts to call out to Kahlan, but realizes that she's busy. When he realizes what she's doing, he almost retches again. "Well, I guess those tentacle-things are okay; Kahlan's busy chewing on one."
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  #58  
Unread 27th of July, 2005, 04:56
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"I don't think you can afford the good tasting concoctions," Nicos says wiping the stuff from his face with his sleeve. "But we can talk about my bill later."

Stepping over to the nearest item, which appears to be a mail-shirt of small rings. After examining it closely for a few seconds, the bard picks it up.

"Hmm," he said shifting the object in his hand. "This is a lot lighter then I thought it would be." Peering closely at the rings for a second, the man softly utters an oath. "I know what this is! It's Mitheral."
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Unread 27th of July, 2005, 06:07
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"What?" Blarth asks when Nicos makes his decleration, "It looks like a chain shirt to me. What's a mithral?"
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Unread 27th of July, 2005, 06:18
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"It's a rare metal," he answered in a slightly awed voice. "It's rarer then gold and stronger then iron, but it never rusts. But what makes most people seek it out is the weight."

Handing the shirt over to the half-orc, the bard looks around the room. "Feel that? It weighs less then half of what it looks like it should. I wonder what else is in this room."
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  #61  
Unread 28th of July, 2005, 00:24
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Normally, Nicos would have had some competition for his prize. After all, mithral was decidely rare, expensive and - most importantly - afforded excellent protection without undue bulk or weight. In short, it was perfect for one expecting combat but desiring stealth.

Instead, she watches the proceedings distractedly - disinterested, it seems, unless it is to chastise.

"We got what we came for. If you want to loot the place, make it quick. Let's get out of here before something else bad happens. The sooner we get this stone back to the Citadel the sooner we can wash our hands of these wizards."
  #62  
Unread 28th of July, 2005, 01:35
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Holding the chain shrit for a moment, Blarth can't help but notice how light it is.

"That is light, but given its weight it can't be nearly as strong as regular chain. Why would anyone want to sacrifice strength to make a lighter shirt? It won't do you much good in a fight."

Handing the shirt back to Nicos, Blarth moves to look at some of the other trinkets scattered about the room. Shade seems egar to go, but there doesn't seem to be any need to hurry. They aren't in any danager here that Blarth can sense, and its not like the citadel was going anywhere.

Besides, some of these little trinkets were neat.

Picking up what at first appears to be a silver coin, Blarth notes that it has a shape more like an eye than a circle and doesn't feel or smell like silver should. Turning it over in his hand, Blarth notes that its back is smooth, lacking any design. Obviously the object was meant to be viewed only from the one side. Flipping it back over, Blarth is once again taken by the designs resemblance to an eye and is reminded of the headdresses that the tribal shamman's would wear back home. Pocketing the trinket, Blarth wonders if he should give it to his old teacher, when and if he ever makes it back home, or if he should make a headdress of his own someday.

Moving about, Blarth picks up another couple of trinkets or bits of jewlrey that might serve a similar purpose.
  #63  
Unread 2nd of August, 2005, 04:23
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Cadrius trails behind the others, methodically searching the pitch black for corpses. Upon discovery of one, he prods it with the end of a sword and makes certain it no longer lives. Dangerous foes, but not beyond a cadre of wizards. The question of why they were sent in proxy disturbs him and the feeling of foreboding renews itself. An item so important will not be left so easily guarded unless...

He emerges from the unnatural dark to see Nicos and Blarth gathered around a silver chain shirt. Xandiir is pushing himself to his feet, Ben is surveying the room, and Shade looks pensive. The lack of organization of the items along the floor and shelves is troubling. A sword lays next to an iron ignot which in turn is adjacent to several crossbow bolts. He frowns, but stoops to gather up a few items.

One is a polished heater shield, decorating the front is a silver mailed fist on black field. Another is a shortbow made from a dusky gray wood. The fallen paladin gives it a test pull and grunts; it's stronger than he thought. He adds a quiver to his collection and casually glances around the room for more piles.
Once upon a time, he would have objected to such wanton looting. But he's a far more pragmatic man these days and the previous owners have not been here in a very long time.

"Best take what you can, Shade. We should be well away from here by dark."
  #64  
Unread 2nd of August, 2005, 18:23
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Surayon stalks into the room, looking around, taking everything in - the humans, having found the Stone they've been looking for, are busy looting, all except Shade, who seems to be almost in a daze. Typical humans, she thinks digustedly.

"So, can we go now? Or are there going to be more of these delightful" she pauses to kick a darkmantle into the room, "things or traps?"
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  #65  
Unread 3rd of August, 2005, 04:33
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Shade's eyes pass cooly over the elf before they continue in a slow circle around the room. At any other time, Surayon's words might have elicited some response. She even ignores a suggestion from Cadrius to take what they can. In her opinion, none of it mattered. What mattered was the stone.

"Looks like you have the good stuff already. And you are right: I want a lot of distance between us and this cave come sundown."
  #66  
Unread 6th of August, 2005, 05:18
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Ben glanced over the room, where some of the others were looking it over for possible loot. He, Shade, and the elf were the only ones not doing so. This place, it just didn't...feel right, like there was something watching him, the way a predator would watch potential prey. He wouldn't want anything from here.

"Yeah, we should get out of here. This place is too creepy."
  #67  
Unread 18th of August, 2005, 19:52
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The looting continues for several minutes as Ben, Shade and Surayon look on in disapproval. In that time an uneasiness grows slowly in the bards mind, much like an itch which grows from a minor annoyance to an irritation where you can't think. Shaking his head in attempt to rid himself of it, Nicos shoves the items he picked up into his pack.

"Come on guys, we've spent enough time here I think. We can take everything back outside and make camp, then we'll be able to sort it out in comfort."
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Unread 19th of August, 2005, 03:17
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Shade glances at the others quickly, but without really checking to see if they are ready before she leaves the chamber. The others follow, and they leave much as they arrived - with an air of wariness and without much talking. As promised, Shade sets difficult pace and they push themselves onward for as long as they have light. Twilight is pooling in the broken ground when they finally set up camp on the lee side of a stony hill.
  #69  
Unread 20th of August, 2005, 02:54
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Once they are at camp Nicos pulled out his new shirt and struggles into. Because it's fashioned as a sleeveless shirt the bard's missing arm doesn't cause it to sit awkwardly. Despite the lightness its extra weight he wasn't use to moving and fighting in, it would take time for him to become used to it.

Noticing Shade standing alone, Nicos rose and made his way over.

"Shade, now's as good a time as any that is likely to come up before we return. I'd like to examine the stone."
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Unread 20th of August, 2005, 02:59
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She regards him with a narrowed, sideways look. His new armor provokes a slight pang of jealousy - mithril was lighter, more flexible, and provided better protection than her own finely crafted studded leather. Or at least, she tells herself it is the armor that grates on her, that makes her reluctant to honor his request.

"Why? It's a rock, and one we aren't going to be keeping. No point in wasting time studying it."
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Unread 21st of August, 2005, 01:39
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"A Rock?" Nicos asked incredulously. It was unlike Shade to make such an obviously false statement. The journey for the stone had been difficult for them all and the conflict had only served to wear on everyone’s patience, Nicos not excluded.

"Do you seriously think this is just a rock? I don't know about you, but where I come from people don't set deadly traps to guard random pieces of stone!"

As soon as the words left the bards mouth he regretted the tone. Snapping at each other at this point would only serve to make the journey back more discomforting then it had to be. Taking a deep breath he tried again.

"Look, I'd like to know what it is we're handing over to them if at all possible. Considering both their interest in this rock and where we found it, there's a good chance that it isn't natural. Which leads me onto another point; if this is magical in some way it may be dangerous it’s better for me to examine it now then find out later that carrying it had caused your arm to fall off, or made you blind."

Holding out his hand, the man gives Shade his familiar smile. "I promise I won't break it."
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Unread 23rd of August, 2005, 00:02
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She ignores the smile and the outstretched arm. Shade makes no threatening move or gesture but her eyes have a dangerous glimmer despite her relaxed bearing. When she speaks, her tone is grating.

"It's safer for everyone if this is just a rock. We don't need an amateur fooling around with something powerful that we don't understand."
  #73  
Unread 23rd of August, 2005, 00:31
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As Shade spoke Nicos' smile became a strained twisted thing on his lips, though his voice remained light.

"Oh? I wasn't aware that you were an expert on these matters. I'd be interested in hearing the tale of how you came to know so much about such an obscure topic. Perhaps you could enlighten me of the side effects of carrying it around for a few days? Or why the wizards want it? Maybe you could tell me if it was hidden and guarded so well because the people who put it there didn't want it stolen, or they thought it too dangerous to keep anywhere else?"

Keeping his arm outstretched, the bard stared into the woman’s dangerously glinting eyes and began to mentally watch any signal that she was going to attack.

“I must admit that I’m rather curious about these things.”
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  #74  
Unread 23rd of August, 2005, 00:50
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"Too curious for your own good."

Shade is struck by the unreasoning desire to slap the amorphous smile off the bards face. This thing could damn well kill them all. The sooner they gave it to Cadogan, the better off they would all be. She wasn't going to stand by while Nicos tried to get them all killed by practicing witchery on it. Her mouth twitches with a bitter response just as her eye catches the glint of firelight off of armor beyond him.

She gaze shifts focus, suddenly aware of the rest of the group watching the confrontation. There was judgement there, maybe even accusation. Couldn't they see what was going on?

Maybe she could control the situation instead. She slowly digs the stone out of her pouch, then holds it out.

"Alright. Have your look. But don't get us killed."

Her fingers close around it as the bard reaches for it. Her voice drops to a whisper only he can hear.

"You'll hand it over when I say."
  #75  
Unread 24th of August, 2005, 22:04
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"Well so much for my plan to sell it and use the money to retire," Nicos whispered back. When she Shade failed to let go of the stone he quietly added "I'm not trying to rob you, I'll give it back."

When the green stone dropped into the bard’s hand, his breath caught in his throat as his eyes gazed deep into its dark depths. In its centre shadows chase each other forming vague, half glimpsed shapes and images before dissolving into chaos. A figure, a sword, an eye...

Suddenly feeling uneasy holding the jewel, Nicos tears his eyes away and consults his memory for tales of magical items. The crown jewel of Krevlion was said to be magical gem, but in itself it wasn't dangerous, was a sapphire and supposedly crafted specifically for the royal family. The hero Hulerion's sword Jeroinus has a large ruby on its pommel which apparently gave the sword intelligence and fantastical powers, but the man claimed it was an eye of a dragon he slew early in his career.

Mentally running through every tale of a magical stone, gem and crystal he can remember, it takes the bard several minutes before he concludes that he's never heard of anything that quite matches.

"Okay," he admits aloud. "I'm stumped. The only things I can tell are the obvious ones. It's not any type of stone or gem that I've ever encountered, but what ever it is it's heavier then I'd expect from the size and probably harder too."

Hefting the stone as if to measure its weight, Nicos continues. "I'm guessing that it's either naturally formed stone or it was crafted by a master stone cutter." Holding the gem up to his eye and turning it slowly as he spoke, Nicos explained. "No matter how closely I look at it I can't see any signs of that it was cut or formed through traditional means, I'm not an expert but I would have expected something to give it away and this stone is flawless."

Shaking his head the man looks ruefully at Shade. "There are a couple of more things I could to try and find out, but they would take hours at best. Over a week is more likely and we don't have that sort of time."
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