Author: Shiloh Kyrie, Posted: Sun Jan 27, 2019 11:49 PM, Post Subject: Unforgotten [Event][P]
When she saw the wraith it was then she put two and two together. Maybe that sudden bout of sleepiness she had wasn't normal at all. Due to her current state of divinity or natural resistance, she managed to shrug it off while everyone else had fallen under its effects. The nausea was coming back and her head was throbbing as more undead were trying to overwhelm her unconscious party. Jolting when the first wave slammed themselves against the barrier formed by the bottles of starlight, her hand gripped the handle of her switchaxe while she held her breath. Thank heavens it held–artifacts made by deities were reliable after all. There was something different about the skeletons and walking corpses than the last time. They were too organized, more coordinated. Someone was controlling them. Her eyes turned to the wraith.
It was the only one who wasn't attacking, staying behind while speaking in some eldritch tongue. Looking at it made her stomach twist itself into knots, but it confirmed what she had been suspecting this whole time. "Every good unit has a leader, in other words–you." A dead sorcerer who didn't leave the world after his life expired. Just thinking about it made her seethe with anger. Even after death, mages still forced their will upon the masses. He had planned this in advance, casting a spell to force them to sleep while he killed them when they were defenseless. He probably wanted to add them to his ranks. But he had made one fatal mistake with that plan; he targeted her and a group of people under her protection. And he would pay for it.
The long shadows cast around the lanterns began to pool around her own as she rose to her feet. Staring straight on at the wraith, she bared her teeth at him despite feeling like she was going to vomit. To break the spell everyone else was under, she'd have to break him. Sucking air into her lungs, she shouted at the invading swarm: "Get out! I said–GET OUT!" Shadowy arms lashed out back at the risen dead, smashing them against the walls and hurling them about until they were unable to move. Wisps were being released by the dozen as the decrepit bodies they were in no longer held together. She wasn't going to waste time dealing with the foot soldiers when she was gunning for the leader himself. With his forces gone she had evened the odds so things were one-on-one.
Just like a typical mage, when he was cornered he started chanting to prepare for another spell. As if she'd let him! The shadows merged into one great arm and snatched the wraith out of the air, slamming him against the wall before lifting him high and disrupting his incantation. Rage burned through her to where her entire body felt it was on fire and everything became a blur. After exchanging a few choice words with the dead man, she crushed the remains of his earthly shell like a ripe tomato. The spectral energy dripped through the shadow hand's fingers like water, then a larger and brighter wisp than she'd seen from the skeletons rose from the ectoplasm. Having lost whatever had prevented it from entering true death, it fizzled like a spark falling to the earth. Silence returned to the tunnel as her head was cooling down. The headaches were finally gone and along with it, the spell that kept everyone unconscious. A groan came from behind and she saw Auron struggle to finally sit up, rubbing his eyes. Nerine and Sylvain were beginning to regain consciousness as well.
Author: Caranthir, Posted: Sat Jan 26, 2019 2:38 PM, Post Subject: Unforgotten [Event][P]
As soon as he laid down, everything went black. It was like he was floating in a void blacker than night, body weightless with no sense of his feet anywhere near the ground. Then the sensation of falling started, and he saw the crumbling edge of a cliff above just out of his grasp. No–this, this had to be a dream! They had pulled him out with a rope. He hadn't let go! The sky above was shrinking as the blackness of the abyss swallowed it up. He was falling, he was plunging deeper into oblivion! All attempts to grasp at anything to get out failed. His arms too heavy to lift, voice unable to cry out. Terror spread like a fire through him as everything was closing in. He was suffocating–he was trapped! Inside his own mind he screamed, 'Let me out! LET ME OUT! Someone, anyone–please! Can anyone hear me?!'
He didn't want to die here, no he couldn't die here! He had so much he still wanted to do. He wasn't ready to go! He'd only just started his life, by the Conclave he wasn't going to enter the Reaper's embrace!
Helplessly trapped within the night terrors, there was something he could hear behind the nightmare's din. Faint, yet familiar there was a voice he could barely make out. Was someone here? Desperate, he tried to shout to let them know where he was. Unable to see anything other than darkness it was his last ditch effort to get out. The sounds died in his throat, but he kept trying. Again, again, and again–the desire to live pushing against whatever was trying to force him silent. After working so hard to survive as a child with no friends or family, he wasn't going to give up. Being born of infernal blood, every day was a struggle against older children like him and hiding from adults who would otherwise kill him if they knew what he was. Doing everything short of murder, he fought hard to outsmart and outlive those who were bigger and stronger. He had no other choice. It was the only way he knew how.'Somebody, please hear me! I'm here, I'm here!'
The words came out as a stifled mutter, sound escaping his lips at last as his throat strained. The darkness was fading, he could hear movement and that familiar voice more clearly. Moans and shrieking wails echoed in his ears as he heard the voice shout back in defiance.
"Get out! I said–GET OUT! "
The words blasted through the room, shaking the entire tunnel with howling fury. The winds roared over the ghastly shrieks as the deity's presence forced the lesser undead against the walls. The heaviness over his entire body was weakening as whatever had paralyzed him was losing its grasp. His fingers were loosed, and his eyes were able to open. He saw her, eyes flashing and teeth grit in rage as the shadows around her were a maelstrom. Hordes of undead were broken and battered releasing the spirits they once housed while a single floating wraith remained. Its pale light was resisting against her, unwilling to give up on what sinister designs it had planned for them all. As it tried to rally more of its kind, a swarming mass of shadow came from her arm as she slammed it against the ground."You despicable wretch! Did you think you could try to kill us all and get away with it?"
The wraith lord writhed and screeched under her grasp, but the shadowy hand's grasp held. "I don't care who you or what you are–you try to take one of mine and you'll regret thinking it for all eternity. And for that, I'm going to personally send you on a one-way trip to Dalanesca!"
Lifting the wraith high, the shadow-formed hand crushed it into smithereens of spectral energy. In its last moments, the phantom emitted a high pitched wail before its connection to the physical world was sundered. A bright wisp larger than the ones they had seen before shot out of the remains only to shrivel and shrink before it completely extinguished.
Author: Shiloh Kyrie, Posted: Sat Jan 26, 2019 1:44 PM, Post Subject: Unforgotten [Event][P]
Call it a hunch, premonition, or what other words people used for the feeling–but Shiloh felt they were getting close to something important. The pounding headaches were weakening and the tunnels were growing more quiet, but that nagging voice in the back of her mind murmured to stay alert. As everyone else slept, she sat before the fire within the ring of lanterns, waiting for time to pass. Hours went by, and soon she was starting to feel her eyelids grow heavy. Sitting in one position for so long made it easier to fall asleep and the relatively dim light made it doubly difficult to stay awake. Pinching herself in multiple spots, biting her own tongue, and even trying to force her eyes from closing failed. Her body wanted to sleep but her mind was too wound up to allow it. What was this unsettling feeling in the pit of her stomach that continued to gnaw away at her peace? Already ice cold now, she looked over at the leftover coffee in the kettle. Maybe drinking it would help ward off the tiredness. Didn't she just sleep a few hours ago?
Downing it all, she coughed as the last gritty drop fell on her tongue. She wasn't feeling sleepy anymore, but not necessarily any more alert. A sudden chill came into the air even though the area had a relatively stagnant airflow. It was strong enough that she was seeing her own breath as fog just a few feet away from the campfire flames. Something wasn't right. Going over to Nerine, she started shaking her. "Nerine! Get up, something weird is going on! We need to move camp, it's not safe here–hey!" She wasn't waking up. She was still breathing, but slapping her face lightly and pinching her skin didn't make her snap out of it. The others were the same way, completely unconscious. This shouldn't be happening! Was it the food? No, they were alone this whole time. They carried their supplies in with them so poisoning wasn't possible. It couldn't be a gas vent, she would've smelled that or felt the effects.
That oppressive presence was drawing closer, and her heart filled with dread. She could hear it coming, it was right there! The faint rattling of metal and rushing of air had the same eerie echoes that followed a wisp escaping their physical prison. With no time to run, she set up the lanterns as close together as possible with bottles of starlight in between to form a protective circle. All she could hope was that the areas under each vial's protection gave enough overlap.
It came through the walls. Gliding through the air just as the folktales told, a ghastly figure descended upon them. Its movements were less stiff than the walking corpses, but it lacked feet and wore layers of robes that were in tatters. A sickly light glowed from its face as the air became thick with that otherworldly energy. She felt her throat tighten and her body's joints freeze. So this was what sleep paralysis felt like, only now she knew what caused it. But what terrified her most wasn't the wraith itself, but the swarms of other undead that were crawling in! It was almost like the wraith was commanding them…like a necromancer.
Author: Caranthir, Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 2:11 PM, Post Subject: Unforgotten [Event][P]
At last they were slowing down. From the beginning things had felt so rushed, too tense for his liking. Constantly looking for the next pitfall or danger was wearing them all down. Personally taking a more leisurely pace was more of his style, after all whatever they were looking for wasn't going anywhere. Even he had good ideas every now and then. Shiloh finally went to sleep, and immediately sank against the ground with her head using her pack as a pillow. Nerine decided it was time they had something to eat, and started a pot of water for some coffee to keep them alert and their spirits high. After assisting with lighting the fire, he sat across from Shiloh while Niall was sniffing the walls and floor. In the brief time he had known her, he rarely saw her being so still. She would fidget when she sat, shift positions, even move around in her chair. He was beginning to doubt if gods even needed to sleep until now. "Shiloh." When he received no response, he came over and checked to see if she was really asleep. Carefully, he blew in her ear. When he wasn't sent flying across the tunnel, he was sure she was out cold. Niall scuttled over to see what he was up to. "She must be exhausted. I'm surprised that she didn't show it until now."
The ferret climbed onto his leg and laid himself flat over his knee while looking at him with a tilted head. "She's good at not expressing stuff unless she thinks she has to. It saves her energy."
Auron raised an eyebrow. "Is that so? She even counts emotions by energy cost?" He knew she was laconic and poker-faced, but this was on an entirely different level. "Ayup."
The ferret answered, rolling onto his back exposing his belly. Reflexively Auron began to scratch the animal's fur, earning low chuckling noises from Niall. "Am I tickling you?" He asked. Niall shook his head. "Nope, don't stop! That feels good!"
The ferret laid there enjoying the massage and scratches until his owner started waking up. Sliding off his leg, the ferret bounded over to Shiloh, poking his face up against hers. She picked him up and put him around her neck, and he curled up dangling like a very short stole."No Niall, you can't drink the coffee."
She said, holding the steaming mug away from the ferret's eager nose. "But I won't get sick! Please? It smells so good!"
Still holding it out of his reach, his owner still refused. "It might smell good, but it tastes bitter. Do you still want to drink it?"
Niall thought for a while. "…Ok."
Letting Nerine have the cooled untouched mug of coffee, they started preparations to cook. Actually Shiloh and Nerine were the ones doing most of the work, while he and Sylvain sat off to the side. Shiloh said he chopped too slowly and Sylvain had never cooked anything in his life, so they were left to wait. It was probably a better choice, as Shiloh had things all sliced and cut within seconds while Nerine took over with getting them into the pot. An agonizingly long wait later, he was ready to dig in. Almost anything would taste good following several hours of walking in cramped underground tunnels. Taking time to enjoy the meal, at the end there weren't any leftovers. True to nature, Niall promptly fell asleep after his stomach was full inside the warm confines of his owner's bag. "It might not be a bad idea to spend some time here for a while. Let's take turns keeping watch so we can all get some sleep. I'll take the first shift."
Shiloh said. He couldn't agree with her more. "Alright, well don't mind me then. My feet are aching, and I've been long overdue for lying down." It still wasn't the most comfortable of places, however this wasn't the time to gripe about haves and have nots.
Author: Shiloh Kyrie, Posted: Wed Jan 23, 2019 1:38 PM, Post Subject: Unforgotten [Event][P]
Getting out of the house back to the tunnels was the safer idea. With the place clearly structurally unstable she'd rather take chances of a cave in within the mine shafts than the ruined building. But the thought that a building was down here meant there might be more similar buried structures, or even portions of the lost kingdom further below. Niall was now awake and was having fun playing with the things they collected so far. "Let's camp…" It was unanimous, they were all worn out from nearly losing Auron back there. The undead hadn't shown up for a while so they had time to spare. Now would be a good time to sleep while things were still peaceful. Niall was no longer dozing, so she put him on guard duty. If anything strange happened he had to wake her up right away. Closing her eyes, she felt the heaviness that had been hanging around her up to now settle.
Sleep came more quickly than she thought. Tired as she was, the first portion was blackness. No thoughts, no dreams. In the rare moment where her entire being was relaxed, it was like sinking into something comfortable. Drifting like that for a long time, the images came again. This time it was slower, less sudden. Images of a beautiful kingdom high on the mountains, their rich mines bearing ore and gemstones down below. The blurred shapes of a man with a crown and his daughter, and a towering figure who demanded her as his right. Scenes of the same daughter with someone else, similar to the towering figure but different. Roaring echoes of rage at being refused, and a terrible disaster that caused the outlined form of the gleaming kingdom to fall down into the dark. Ruins and silence were left, and with the passing of time the area became overgrown and more broken down. And last but not least, the image of the mighty figure being cast down into the ruins he had poured out his destruction upon. This was the fate of all who forgot or abandoned their duty as a deity–to be thrown out and forgotten.
She mulled over the dreams for some time, even after no longer being asleep. So that was why this place fell into ruin. It was a somber reminder of the realities of godhood, a very important reminder of mistakes that should never be repeated. The warm smell of coffee pulled her out to open her eyes. Nerine had set up a pot which was now cooling off. Cooking was one of the few comforts one could have living on the road, and she couldn't have gotten up at a better time. "Oh you're awake! The coffee's ready, do you want some?"
She hesitated before nodding. "It's still a little hot, so be careful not to burn your tongue."
The blonde woman added. "That's fine. I don't want to drink it, I just want to hold it for a while." The metal mug resting between her hands, she watched as the wisps of steam rose up from the liquid's surface to warm her face. Staring into the rich dark liquid, there was something almost therapeutic about the warmth and the smell. She tried coffee once, even for someone whose taste preferences were bitter she didn't like it. The smell was the best part. She wasn't in a rush to continue exploring. Maybe after a meal and some thinking, then they could try the other tunnel at the fork.
Author: Caranthir, Posted: Tue Jan 22, 2019 3:10 PM, Post Subject: Unforgotten [Event][P]
"Tread lightly, and don't make a sound."
Shiloh said with a harsh whisper. He thought she was being too tense again, and thought she was stiffer than a starched shirt. Even stone was more flexible, and metal more relaxed. They were forced by her to move in pairs, and with no excuses in hand he had to go along. Still not one to be tied at the hip, he wandered away when she was busy. As they were looking in one of the great hall's corners, she suddenly turned her head towards him and shouted for him pull back. The flash of terror in her eyes and fear on her normally stone-cold face were the last things he saw before the ground crumbled out from under him. For those few seconds, he'd never been so desperate for having his feet on solid earth. His fingers were grasping at the edge of the ruined stone floor, knuckles white and arms burning. His legs were dangling above the black abyss, and he was too afraid to look down. If he did, he might lose his grip. His lantern tumbled into the gaping hole, continuing to fade without the echo of it hitting the bottom. "Auron!"
He heard Nerine's voice from above. "No! Don't come over here!"
Shiloh's voice snapped, a hint of panic underlying her sharp words. "The ground's too fragile, it won't be able to sustain the additional weight. If the entire place collapses we might bring the rest of the whole building down!"
"Get me everything you have that can be used as a rope, quick!"
Seconds were feeling like hours as he felt his neck and hands sweat. No, no he had to hold on! He couldn't afford to slip now! "Auron, listen to me carefully. Don't move, and don't think about anything. You hear me? Empty your mind–no thoughts, nothing."
This was the first time he could hear her be so nervous, and he did as told. 'Hurry, please.'
He thought as he began clearing up his mind. Time is a strange thing. When you want it to pass, it crawls by so slowly. But when you want it to stay, it kicks up its heels and begins to run. Right now he wanted time to stay put, anything to stave off a plunge into the darkness. The small pattering of feet approached him, and a familiar furry face emerged. "Hold tight buddy, we're going to get you out of there!"
Niall scampered down him and began fastening a grappling hook attached to a tough cord around his body in a harness. When the ferret determined it was secure, he gave the cord a few tugs to signal those above.
Slowly, carefully, he felt himself being lifted out. Holding onto the cord for dear life, once he was away from the crumbling edge he felt his entire body go limp. "Thank heaven above I had Niall with me."
Shiloh sighed, the ferret climbing back into her bag. With a stiff laugh, he let out all the nervous energy he had pent up while waiting for help. "I think I finally understand why you got a ferret as a familiar. Pyrope wouldn't be able to do anything in that position." Taking some time to recover from that heart-stopping experience, they all decided that Shiloh would be the one to test out the areas before they moved ahead. "Next time, how about you take my warnings more seriously?"
The deity glared. He forced a sheepish smile. "Yes, I should do that more often…" Auron wanted to make a quip about how she was finally acting like a sister, but decided to save it for when they were back outside in the open air.
Even if you put on that brave face and act like your heart is made of stone, I know you care the most out of everyone.
Author: Shiloh Kyrie, Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 4:05 PM, Post Subject: Unforgotten [Event][P]
The room as it had been was…beautiful. In the simulation of its former glory, sunlight gently filtered in through the windows up above below the high ceiling. The smashed pile of wood became a luxurious canopy bed with a sheer veil of some sort of fabric. It was so thin like gossamer, like someone had managed to replicate dragonfly wings into cloth. As she reached out to touch, her hand passed through thin air. Right, just because she could see didn't mean it was really there. Everything here was so ornate. Gold almost on anything metal, carvings and frescoes on the masonry. A huge mirror set in a frame that reached the floor, for checking your clothes weren't wrinkled in the back. A bureau–yes that's what they called the thing, with a mirror and other small personal items. The door they came in through was supposed to open out onto a balcony overlooking a grand scenic view. If this wasn't the first floor, then the rest was either crushed or buried further below.
The tapestries came to life with fuller, deeper colors and embroidered images signifying the owner's tastes. She saw a few family coat of arms on the banners, something to check with the local libraries. She doubted many records of Edelweiss still existed since the elder god's wrath was so sudden. But out of the restored details of the room, there was one that demanded her attention. A pile of rubble in the back that they had to walk around was covering another door. Comparing the past and present, the rubble was from the caved in ceiling. This door could lead to the rest of the house if it was still intact. With the hour of time now up, the vibrant color of the past started to fade away into the dim grays of the present. Just as she suspected, she was standing before the exact location of the formerly hidden door.
Calling everyone together she said she wanted to move away all the stone and wood out from here. "So we're going to be moving all of this? Why?"
Auron, being the unspoken extra wheel, immediately started complaining as soon as she mentioned physical labor. "There's a door here, but it's behind all this junk. If my guess is right, we might be able to see more of this place–if it's still intact." Nerine was eager to help, getting Sylvain to agree as well. Auron continued to grumble, but out of some sort of personal pride reluctantly joined in. She and Sylvain were doing most of the heavy lifting, moving the large chunks of limestone to the side and dragging out the splintered beams. Smaller pieces the size of a farmer's loaf of bread were being moved aside by the other two. After several hours of hard work, there it was. Another door, still in one piece. This time she tried the handle and undid the lock. With a satisfying click, she pushed it open revealing a great chasm before darkness.
Holding her breath, she carefully backed up when she saw how close the door was to the edge. "Of course it had to break the stairs… Hold on, everybody get your lanterns. It's pitch black down there and I am not rigging a rope down until I know there isn't something ready to eat me." Wrapping her wisp shawl around her neck, she took out her utility rope and strung together as many moonlight lanterns as she possibly could before lowering it into the dark. Creeping to the edge, she watched the lantern chain fall illuminating what was only a twenty foot drop from her position. Stone rubble below showed what happened to the stairs originally leading up, but everything seemed to be relatively stable. Also she did a quick scan for any magic or life signatures, relieved when the results came back negative. With a route down secured, they descended to the first floor. First Sylvain, so he could keep the rope steady, then Nerine, then Auron, and finally herself. After giving back everyone's lanterns, they went in pairs to explore the new area.
Author: Caranthir, Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 12:26 AM, Post Subject: Unforgotten [Event][P]
This grand place had seen better days. Though the fact there was anything left at all after centuries meant the craftsmanship and materials were of the highest quality. Even so, that didn't deter Shiloh from bagging anything she could get her hands on. The fixtures showed little to no corrosion. Auron suspected they were made of precious metals, though more testing was needed. The easiest ones to identify were the gilt objects. Gold even after exposure to air and time would never tarnish, and any fading of its original luster could be brightened up with a little wiping. It was however, a soft and easily malleable metal and rather heavy. The old furniture was already stuck shut due to the shrinking of the wood forming a tight seal. The wood originally used must have been slightly green, or else it wouldn't have done so. A firm tug and a couple shakes rattled the drawers loose, revealing an unpleasant pile of dead insects along with small personal items. Thank the gods there wasn't a nest of spiders, or else he'd set the entire thing alight.
Picking out the valuables, he palmed a small hand mirror. Concave in shape rather than the flat ones held by a handle, it appeared better suited for touching up small areas when using face powder and applying rouge. The rim was gold-plated, the backside a singular piece of opalescent mother-of-pearl. A true work of art, no matter how you looked at it. "This might have been a lady's room. A few more personal effects and I'll be able to confirm it." Glancing at the others he saw they were too preoccupied with their own investigating to mind him, so he pocketed the object for himself. An antiques dealer would fetch him a lovely price for this piece. Systematically emptying the rest of the chest he discovered a porcelain powder box, a jeweled pomander made of platinum and silver, disintegrating lace, a rosewood jewelry box with gilt clasps containing brooches and cameos, and dyed fine embroidered linens. The cloth was too delicate to be moved, but the rest were taken. Out of the cloth garments that were still able to hold together were silk scarves and dresses. They still had their sheen and the color had not suffered too greatly.
As he was collecting his spoils, he noticed Shiloh's rather odd movements. She was staring at the walls, walking the perimeter with that faraway look in her eyes. Sometimes she would stop before a broken object and be motionless for a few minutes before moving on. What was she looking for? When he went to the places she had stopped at he couldn't find anything out of the ordinary. He chose to keep a close eye on her for now. Perhaps she was still dealing with the 'nightmares' she had witnessed earlier. Nerine was standing above a locked chest with a mildly troubled expression. "Something wrong?" He asked, sliding next to her. "Well not really, no. Should we be taking these things? I know their owners have long passed on and all, but after seeing those undead I'm not sure if this is right."
The Rosenite fretted. "I don't see why not. Though there's no harm in leaving them either. Someone else will be likely to come along and they might help themselves after." For him this sort of thing wasn't a big deal, but he understood why she would think they were more or less grave-robbing. More like lifting without permission, but not exactly a hanging crime for centuries-old objects.
Author: Shiloh Kyrie, Posted: Mon Jan 21, 2019 3:37 PM, Post Subject: Unforgotten [Event][P]
The air smelled of dust and mold. It was bad enough that she had to hold a sleeve over her nose. The cobwebs were thick, yet even those were covered in dust. Perhaps even the spiders had given up. From the decayed remains of the structure, this might have been an important place at one time. It was hard to tell if it was part of a wealthy family's house or something where the ruling class used for formalities. The tapestries were tattered shreds from being devoured by moths, rubble and dust coated the floor. The floor was stone, but filthy. The rest of the objects still retained their form thanks to being more or less hermetically sealed. A candelabrum, still holding a metallic luster when the grime was wiped off. The weight and heft made her have to hold it with both hands, and the body was slightly bent. "Solid gold…" This kingdom, it certainly was rich if it could use so much gold in something so ordinary. In its heyday, Edelweiss must have been as decorated as Sularia. That may have been why it became such a prime target for divine wrath. She wasn't getting any more images thankfully, but the headache was still there. The stale air wasn't helping her cope with it.
This building probably didn't have very strong emotions tied to it or had an uneventful past. Places rife with suppressed and hidden emotion such as Egjora easily triggered flashes of reality between the cracks of the facade. If she could, she wanted to raise this area to the surface and have it sectioned off for further study. Since they couldn't bring the building with them, the most she could do was record how it appeared now. With an enchanted scroll she etched an image of the unsealed room, with all the objects present and damage. Closing her eyes she memorized all she could. That way if she didn't have access to the place once they left, she could reconstruct a simulation for personal use. Searching the space, she noted the dimensions. It was rather spacious and what was left of the ceiling showed it had been fairly high. "What do you think they used this for?" She asked Sylvain. Maybe he knew how nobles built their mansions. "It might have been someone's private chambers, if I were to make a guess. Most of the tapestries and cloth are aged beyond recognition but the furnishings are still here."
Candles were used here and the remains of a broken table meant at least people would be sitting. Further investigating revealed something with drawers and broken pieces of silver-plated glass.
"A mirror, maybe. It could have been a bedroom. They must have been very rich to have this single space for sleeping." Carefully reaching around a scrap of thin cloth, she wondered if she could restore it in its current state. It was so fragile that it might crumble apart. This room had been sealed beneath the earth by magic for ages, would that affect the power of Tsukihigui? Leaving it be, she took out a small hourglass from her knapsack. She had never tried it, but rumors said the Hourglass of Deadtime allowed one to see into the past briefly. There was no telling what she would see, but it was worth a try. "Alright, what will you show me?" Shiloh whispered to it as the sand began to run. The entire room began to spin forcing her to close her eyes so she wouldn't get sick from nausea. When the distortion stabilized, she found herself in the room's restored form back before it had sunk below the ground. "So it does work… I wonder if I'll still trip over something even if the hourglass doesn't show it's there?" For an hour, she would take a walk through time.
Author: Caranthir, Posted: Thu Jan 17, 2019 11:50 PM, Post Subject: Unforgotten [Event][P]
Returning to the group, they continued down. She was quieter than usual, even for her usual laconic self. "Are you alright?" He asked her. "I'm fine."
Typical answer. "You don't want to talk about it." He stated, her lack of response basically confirming the answer. Of course she wasn't fine, not after that terrible discovery. He could tell how she was feeling, even if she denied it. One of these days he'd get her to admit it and he'd keep on trying. Maybe it wouldn't happen on the first, second, third, fourth, or even fifth attempt–but he wasn't going to give up easily. After all, if you wanted to convince someone to hand you their money you had to try until something worked. Persistence was a small yet important part of being a successful swindler. He might not be able to pull the wool over her eyes, but he'd wear that defensive nature down. Every time he tried to get close it was like ramming into a slab of solid granite.
At last there were signs of the rich ore veins he had heard so much about. Twisting streaks of ore ran right up against the surface, glinting in the light of their lanterns. Clusters of raw crystal studded the walls. There was no time to lose as he began taking everything he could find. Compared to purchasing the materials wholesale, digging these out here meant he could ensure the minerals wouldn't be damaged or cut up into smaller, less valuable pieces. Anything that wasn't too deeply embedded into the earth went into the storage box. "Look, over here!"
Nerine's voice called out a little ways up ahead. Catching up he saw Sylvain already there while Shiloh was not far behind. "This must've fallen in from the surface. The masonry isn't the same composition as the rest of the tunnel."
The deity mused. A great pair of hardwood doors loomed over them, still intact after being buried for centuries. The low humidity and protection from sunlight had preserved it well. The door itself had a set of metal mechanisms that were supposed to lock and open it in a style he hadn't seen elsewhere. "The doors are stuck, as expected. I doubt the metal would have avoided corrosion despite being buried down here."
The vampire lord said having tried to turn the lock. "Alright, everyone stand back."
Shiloh was rolling up her sleeves when Auron realized what she was planning. "No! NO–absolutely not! Are you crazy?! You can't just bash open a set of antique mahogany doors!" "Sylvain, hold him so he doesn't get in the way."
She said and he felt his arms being pinned behind his back. As he struggled in protest, she took out her axe and swung it down from above! As he closed his eyes and braced for the worst, with a metallic clack the handle was hacked clean off followed by a swift kick from the sole of her boot. The force of a mighty wind blasted the ancient doors open, sending up clouds of dust while releasing the stale air behind them. Coughing while fanning the dust away from her, she pointed ahead with her weapon. "And we're in. Let's see if there's anything left after hundreds of years."
Released at last, he opened his eyes with a sigh of relief. The doors were still intact, though the locking mechanism was not beyond salvaging. Fretting over her brusque way of obtaining entry, he watched as she removed the remains of the antique hardware to add to their spoils. If they weren't so deeply set into the masonry, she'd probably take the doors too and cut them down for kindling. He shuddered at the thought.
Author: Shiloh Kyrie, Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 12:32 PM, Post Subject: Unforgotten [Event][P]
What does it mean to be a deity? From day one that was a question she always had in the back of her mind. Before she was given the job, she experienced the destruction and devastation one could wreak–without warning and without care for the potential loss. She also saw the good things they could do, but often the effects of the disasters lasted far longer than that. Even now there were scars on the world that to the deities were only a speck in time's existence. It was a small comfort that the beings called deities here were not all-powerful, and that they too had a higher authority to account to. But unless it involved the total destruction of the world, how often did that being they called the Voice actually intervene? What would happen if the balance of power was thrown out of alignment? Would there be another cataclysmic event–like the infamous Godslayer war that ultimately caused a destabilization of time-space the people here knew as 'Timedeath'? If it weren't for that war, she and thousands of others would never have come into this world from their own. Although time was stable now, there was damage that could never be fully mended. Things hadn't gotten better. Things had only been kept from getting worse.
Sometimes it was better not to know, to not see. The pain and anguish of the dead still wandering the tunnels had been sustained within the sealed shafts for hundreds of years. A continuous throbbing ache that could have lasted indefinitely, with no hope for release. Maybe it was a good thing that the Voice's efforts during the insect invasion had disturbed the ruins. At last the past that had been buried could finally be put to rest. The events of that day had been misremembered, not forgotten. History still kept the memory of this fallen kingdom alive but the details had faded as eyewitnesses passed away with time. Only those who had been there and had seen the outpouring of that elder deity's wrath would know the depth and severity of Edelweiss' punishment. The actions of a few led to the deaths of countless others. If she stayed longer, Shiloh was sure eventually she might find out more on how it all began. Before she became a deity she vowed to settle things with her own strength, with her own two hands. With the memories of Aysut and the Warped Spire still fresh in her mind, she renewed the vow and reminded herself that at the end of it all she was not a deity–she was a steward. When she was no longer needed or a better person was qualified for the job, she would step down and relinquish the station.
Time might be merciless, time might be cruel. But despite it all, time was impartially fair to everything and everyone. The past could no longer be changed so they had to move forward. Time marches on, unfettered and unyielding towards the future. Having finished scouting the passage, it was time for her to report back to the group that it was safe. "I might not be able to change the fact that you died that day, but the least I can do is ensure you make it to the other side this time." She said to a pile of bones half-buried in the rocks and dirt. "You'll be able to get out of here soon, I promise." Taking her axe she raised it high then brought it down. The edge splintered the cap of the skull with a gaping hole and a flickering wisp escaped through the nasal cavity and eye sockets. Rapidly it rose upward and vanished once it reached the ceiling. The blade of her shovel bit the dirt as she widened a hole and pushed the broken pile of bones into the makeshift grave. Covering it so not a single piece was visible, she arranged a few stones into a marker and turned to walk back to the tunnel entrance.
Author: Caranthir, Posted: Wed Jan 16, 2019 11:53 AM, Post Subject: Unforgotten [Event][P]
A somber air settled over all of them. They sat in silence, the words Shiloh said still sinking in. The undead were gone, at least for the time being. Shiloh herself wasn't looking any better after the event and kept staring at the opposite wall with that blank, empty look. That dullness in her eyes–it disturbed him. Of course she wouldn't take it well. Despite only knowing her as the deity who forcibly moved his life off its original course, he never remembered her mentioning how she felt about her position as one of the world's gods. Over time he learned bits and pieces on her likes, dislikes, habits, and peeves yet that was one of the few topics which she said nearly nothing about. She would avoid or divert all direct questions, give answers that were wholly ambiguous. It was a topic she never brought up or spoke about willingly. The fact she had admitted the roaming undead now being released from the tunnels were possibly related to the actions of a previous deity meant whatever happened here was bad enough that she couldn't
avoid saying it. It was hard for them to get any sleep for the rest of the 'day', or 'night'.
Packing up, they continued moving further into the shafts. The unspoken tension in the air was so thick you could cut it, despite everyone being as quiet as they had been before. Shiloh's words were kept to a minimum, only stating potential dangers in the immediate area and nothing more. Nerine and Sylvain were doing their best to keep communications strictly within the matters at hand. It was like everyone was walking on eggshells, afraid and worried about something they were all thinking of. But it wasn't really nerves; the person they were all concerned about was Shiloh. While she went to scout ahead, the three of them waited for the light of her lantern to return. "She didn't tell us everything, did she?"
Nerine asked, breaking the stiff silence that had followed since the undead assault. "I believe so. I suspected she was withholding from us despite being so shaken."
Sylvain sighed in frustration. "Stubborn as she is, if she was bleeding out she would try to convince everyone that she was only feeling lightheaded from fatigue."
They lapsed into silence again, then Nerine continued. "She probably saw something terrible and didn't want us to worry about it. I can't imagine how she feels right now, especially if what really happened in these ruins was caused by a former deity."
Since they were on the topic, now would be the best time to ask while Shiloh wasn't nearby. "Both of you have been with Antikythera longer, right? Has she ever told you anything about the other deities or other related subjects?" They shook their heads, sinking his hopes. Well it was worth a try. Then again, Shiloh really was too tight-lipped for her own good. "It's just so frustrating–wanting to help but not knowing where to start. I know it's not because she doesn't trust us, but the way she goes about it doesn't make things easier." Perhaps it was more of his own feelings than anything else, but the others certainly would be thinking the same way. "Maybe it's just my own imagination, but I feel as if Shiloh never wanted her status as a deity to be made public. She doesn't have any images or icons in Antikythera that people can use to associate with her, she uses pseudonyms when handling business, and in most appearances where her presence as a deity is required she always has her face and body covered."
"Is that so?" Now that he thought about it, it was beginning to make sense. When he first saw the interior of the Machinarium he recalled his surprise at the general starkness of the decor and how normal everything looked. He had heard colorful retellings of those who had visited the gods' temples, from incredible experiences to breathtaking environments only those with divine power could create. Detailed descriptions of unique architecture and curious features highlighted such stories. Yet the Machinarium on the inside could easily be mistaken for another Baltil workshop or the halls of some well-established academic institute. The way everything was designed implied that she didn't want to be recognized–anywhere or by anyone. The so-called shrines dedicated to the Overseer of Luck and Misfortune were just a fancy name for open-air markets. One time he went to see the shrine in Adeluna, he found himself confused and lost when all he saw were rows of stalls with vendors and traders. The only religious act they performed was a verbal prayer for fortune to smile on them and business to go along smoothly, then it was back to business. In his chat with a particularly friendly vendor, the man informed him that a group of Conclave zealots once tried to erect a proper monument to the deity only for a freak bolt of lightning to strike it down, obliterating it into pieces. Every time they tried to repair the damage it would be destroyed until it was beyond salvaging. It was almost like she despised being worshiped.
Author: Shiloh Kyrie, Posted: Mon Jan 14, 2019 3:53 PM, Post Subject: Unforgotten [Event][P]
Eventually they had to set up camp. After hours of walking, they chose one of the shallower dead ends to catch some sleep. There was only one way in an out but it was the safest option they had. It was a fitful few hours before she woke up to shouting. Sylvain was holding back the rush of undead attempting to swarm the area while Nerine caught the ones that slipped past him. With axe in hand, Shiloh slammed a boot into the torso of one of the skeletons, knocking it against the tunnel wall. Caving the skull in, she noticed it had the same cracks and threadbare rags as the body they passed earlier. It was true, the dead were rising again. From the broken skull an eerie flame escaped the holes and sockets, floating past her towards the ceiling. With each one they put down more of the wisps were released into the air only to gravitate upwards. The terrible headache was pounding like someone was driving an auger into her temples. When another husk grabbed her from behind, she backed up into the wall while she pried its bony fingers off her neck. The force of impact was enough to dislodge the head, and she was ready to break it when its wisp was released and flew at her face.
Shielding herself with her hands, it passed right through her to join the others. Suddenly images flashed in her mind. Dim lights from a lantern faintly lit the darkness as the sound of digging echoed. Without warning, the shafts were hit by a series of intense tremors. If earthquakes were terrifying on the surface, those feelings were multiplied tenfold underground. Screams of the miners as rocks and rubble raining down rang in her ears as a booming voice resonated through the earth. The voice, the way it spoke was familiar. There was only one type of person who could hold that sort of authority and power–a deity. The words spoken were blurred by the chaos of the miners' final moments, the cries of panic and desperation. All the fear, the pain, the slow eventual suffocation as the mines were sealed from the surface was too much–she wanted to scream. "Shiloh! Shiloh!!"
When she came to she was leaning with her back against the wall on the floor, hyperventilating and breaking out in a cold sweat. They shook her and the glassy look in her eyes left as they came into focus. Coughing, she slowly wiped her forehead and face with the palm of her hand. "…That cursed fool. He killed them, he buried them all…" She said, voice still shaky. "What are you talking about? Who killed them?"
Nerine asked with worry in her tone. When her breathing slowed down Shiloh replied, "…A god." The voice she heard in the memory was clearer now, and she could tell it belonged to a man. With the sudden horde of undead momentarily suppressed, the fragments of lost memories began to fade. The headache was weaker now and the chill had eased up. Eyes turning to the ceiling, she thought to herself: 'How many people did he trap here?'
Author: Caranthir, Posted: Tue Jan 8, 2019 3:39 PM, Post Subject: Unforgotten [Event][P]
He scoffed, giving her a look. "Identifying by smell? Let me have a look at it." Judging by the weight it definitely wasn't iron-based. It wasn't very heavy, and no rust like Shiloh noted. Taking out a small magnet he held it to the pickaxe head to see its reaction. The magnet and the head did not cling, ruling out a few other possible metals. Tools used for mining had to be made with materials that possessed a decent level of hardness, leaving stronger metals like platinum and steel better options. There was too much coating the head itself for him to determine exactly what it was, and they didn't have the time to wait anyway. "Let's bag it and continue. I don't have the right tools to clean or test it now." The rest of them moved on while Shiloh stayed at the back looking around the place they were leaving. "This must have been one of the first shafts dug. It's close to the surface…"
Somehow the way she said it seemed as if she stopped mid-sentence near the end.
He hadn't expected the chill to set in. Maybe it was because they were travelling farther from the surface, or maybe they were deeper within the mountain. Brushing off any unnecessary thoughts they pressed onward. The pickings were scarce for a formerly profitable mine system. Of all the paths they took, it was their luck to find the worst of the lot. What happened to the ore veins that ran for miles, clusters of glittering crystals studding the walls, and geodes half-buried for all to see? The most they found was old mining equipment, useless except to a historian or collector. Their first real taste of the fallen kingdom's wealth came in the form of old coins. "Yes, these definitely would look authentic." He gushed, already thinking of how much they would fetch at an auction. Of course setting the price would be tricky. Sometimes they could be priced higher before people discovered more of them, other times their value would double or triple when the demand inflated them. Before he could finish, the coins were plucked from his hands and dropped into Shiloh's storage box. "Let's keep going."
It was growing more frigid now. At this point he was sure this wasn't natural. Wasn't heat supposed to be trapped and insulated within the rocks and soil? He and Nerine were in charge of keeping the contained flames lit to ward off the cold. At intervals Shiloh would routinely ask them if they felt lightheaded or fatigued, and if they answered 'no' they would keep walking. Soon her repeated inquiry was becoming a bother. Out of them all she was the most on edge. The tunnels began to twist and skeletons started appearing. It was a grisly sight, and they kept a healthy distance. Shiloh however didn't trust that they wouldn't move and wanted to cave in the skulls just to be safe. Sylvain and Nerine convinced her otherwise, but she clearly wasn't happy. For all her paranoia, we would soon regret not taking her request more seriously.
Author: Shiloh Kyrie, Posted: Sun Jan 6, 2019 6:04 PM, Post Subject: Unforgotten [Event][P]
Everyone flocks when there's the promise of wealth to be found. She didn't have to be the current presiding deity of fortune to know that. But the possibility of potentially untapped mines left untouched for ages meant a chance opportunity to temporarily expand their growing lines of business. Even if she wasn't making crafts out of them she could sell the raw materials to the dwarves in Baltil wholesale. If she felt like it, she could make a little more coin dealing with smaller traders and artisans looking to buy their gems and ores direct. However that wasn't the main reason why she wanted to venture down beneath the earth; it was its 'history'. Shiloh was still an outsider to this world. She wasn't born from it, there were still so many things she didn't know about the land and its past. Sometimes the past was written down and collected by learning institutions and private libraries, other times they were blotted out from memory either by the passing of time or individual will.
Her sons were having their own little exploration somewhere else underground while she explored the abandoned shafts with her own small group. Their total number was four: Sylvain, Nerine, herself, and Auron for additional magical firepower. Technically he was the extra wheel as she could handle the traps while the couple handled everything else. If push came to shove, he'd be the decoy. She didn't let him know though–he'd try to leave and could possibly get himself jumped out of sight. His most important role was lighting the bonfire and burning away noxious gases.
When she came to the mouth of the Ancense ruins, she remembered clearing out a nest of ghouls a while back. The lack of their presence was odd. Had they moved or did something force them to leave? The entrance was surprisingly…clean. Inside she started feeling a terrible headache creep its way in, wrapping around her head from temple to temple. The magic in the air, it was making her sick. It wasn't as bad as when the tremors hit during the continental skirmish, but something about it was nauseating. There was something very old and very powerful lingering around the shafts that made the hair on her neck stand. At first she thought it was the stale air, but eventually she'd figure out the reason behind that feeling in her stomach. With moonlight lanterns, they didn't need to use torches to burn up their precious air supply. The first part of the shafts were nothing special, just caves dug out with old beams supporting the mines. There weren't any surface veins this close to the exit so they went deeper. With each step that awful sensation and headache grew.
If they found a fork in the road, she insisted they stay together. No matter which way they went nobody was separating from the group. Sylvain thought she was being unreasonable, but she didn't care. She didn't want to chance it. As they walked she kept looking for potential dangers hidden in the ceiling, floor, and walls. A few times she half-expected a giant spider to lunge from the corner. This wasn't the Umbral Depths, she reminded herself. At least she believed these tunnels weren't interconnected. "Wait, I found something!"
Nerine's voice echoed as the light of her lantern swiveled around. Gathering they saw some old tools that had seen better days. "What is it?"
Auron pushed his way to look, squinting as he moved his lantern out of his eyes. Kneeling down she felt the edges of the shape and started digging it out. Brushing as much dust off as she could, she held it up for them all. "It looks like a pickaxe head. There's some buildup encrusting the material, but it doesn't smell like rust. Definitely not iron."