Maiathreen doesn't see the faces of young orc, kobold, or gnoll. He sees the faces of children who went through some of the same hells he and Livain did. He slumps against the nearby wall as all he remembers is the pain of before.
He remembers once being put in a small room with no way out except the grated covering. He and...well he never though to count how many other young Aellar were in this particular cell were given no food, but they were given small swords shaped for small hands. Then one day nearly a week since being with out food they dropped bags of food through the grate. Even in his current state he was able to realize there wasn't nearly enough food. The weapons suddenly made sense...he was only 8.
Another memory replaces the last, his first inking. It felt as though his whole body was in pain. His skin felt like it had been burnt off and his bones were so cold they'd shatter under the stress. It never got better everyday until they escaped the pain would return and pain would continue throughout the day. You couldn't disobey you'd be aware of everything but couldn't disobey.
He remembered seeing the skin of one of his cellmates being torn from his still living body by some devil just for bumping into it after one of the reconstruction bouts where they worked on their eyes this time.
He comes back to the present when he feels Livain move out towards the children. "Livain...careful..." He says as he grips Servais' hilt trying to ward off unpleasant memories that have on more than one occasion nearly crushed the stoic Aellar.
Her back still to the others, Aylaeth makes her face into the most terrifying expression she can manage, she growls lowly at the children "Have I not already commanded you, maggots! Now do as I say and MOVE and inform the others! NOW!" Hearing someone aproaching, she truns her head and quickly mouths "NO!" at Livain.
Then, as they six children scurry into the fog filled room she turns to the others and says loudly and angrily "These mag...these children are under MY command, and none shall question it!" and then closes the door behind them, for now, holding it shut with her hand. Then calling upon the magic of the Message cantrip, she whispers to Damian, Min and Livain "There are many of these children and they have been horribly tortured, body, mind, and soul and are little more than mindless, savage beasts at present. Though it broke my heart, I was forced to use their own fear against them. Until we can get them to safty, please play along with my ruse."
Then aloud again she nods to the Warbanians "I have not checked that room, please do so now. As well, there are at least two other doors in the larger room that need to be checked as soon as possible. Especially the one behind the stone wall. For I fear our work here may not yet be quite done"
Aylaeth now that DRA had us level up don't you have an extra 1st level spell now? You could use color spray on the children so we can safely transportation them out of here.
I mean, I Suppose she could try to arrange them all within range of the spell and then cast it on them. But I'm hoping her scaring the daylights of of them will be enough to get them to simply follow her commands until we can get them all back to Van-Heara or something and safely locked away where their healing process can begin.
|Min Bein'Meleth Rámalóce|
Damian's words always struck Min to the core and it was hard to focus on much more then listening to the words of his Captain. He believed Fervently that they would succeed against the Dragonflight and the cost for that victory would be great. He pressed on through the doorway and looked at the scene grimly, tortured children twisted his heart but they had bigger problems to deal with. So he set off to check out the other door with the Warbanians. With his injuries he rather stay close to allies to avoid being overwhelmed again.
As he reached the door however he felt his muscles locking up, his hands and neck were sore mainly and recognizing the feeling he muttered a low oath. It wasn't a good time for him to be apart from Lin...
The children are terrified of the room full of fog, and two soil themselves as they walk in, befouling the hall and raising a terrible, acrid stink all around, but they do finally go back in the room. Hideous wails and the sound of fistfights arise as soon as they do. As Aylaeth closes the door the Warbanians open the other one, with Min right behind them. There is the sound of rummaging around and a clinking of coins, then all three come back out.
"Musta been some kind of bunkhouse. Nothing in there but a few beds and footlockers. Nothing interesting in 'em but we did find some gold!" The mercenary raises two decent-sized money bags. "'Easily a couple thousand in here, I'd wager, though I'm no Abadarian clerk, who can count coins fast as you can lay 'em on the table." He drops the bags on the floor by Captain Lamorak, then looks at Aylaeth. "Beg your pardon, milady, but ain't a stone wall more the specialty of you magic types? Reckon we could break it down eventually, but one of you mages could blow it up like that." He snaps his fingers. "And anyway, what about this door here?" He points at the double door at the end of this short hall, just several feet in front of you. "There's also the door we came in; that hall had a second door, as well. So there's at least four we need to check out if you want to make a thorough search of this place. Also, anyone know where in all the hells we are?"
The other Warbanian looks from Captain Lamorak to Aylaeth. "Say, who's in charge, here, anyway? This guy, or this lass? And how do you want us to proceed? We searching this compound -- or whatever it is -- or are we looking to see if we can go back the way we came and return to Stormfare?"
Keeping up her stern expression until the door is shut behind the children, Aylaeth then uses a quick presdigitation cantrip to remove the smell from the hallway. She then says to the closest Warbanian "Will you hold the closed for a moment please?" and once they comply, she goes into bunkhouse and then room with lever if need be to find what she needs. Returning in a few moments with a string or wire and a length of wood or metal wider than thew door, she places the length crosswise across the door and ties it too the handle, effectively locking the door so it cannot be opened from the inside.
Turning to the Warbanian who spoke last she says "Captian Lamorak commands the Skyknights, there is no doubt or question of that. My little performance just then was for the sake of the chilldren. They have been brainwashed and tortured till they are barely sane. I had to use an illusion into scaring them into believing they will be some sort of secret army for me. It is my hope this will make them come along with us peacefully, although truly, I am not sure what can be done for them."
"As for where we are, by my calculations and the type of stone I've seen, I would say we are (she tells him what she had reasoned out before, I personally forget) and yes, you are right they all need to be explored, and now I think on it, I may have just the wand to do the trick. Captian Lamorak, by your leave I'll go try that now."
If there are no objections, she moves into the main hall. As she passes Damian she stops and gazes tenderly upon the unconscious angel on his head. Whispering softly "May I?" she gentley takes Ada'an of the Captains head and just as gentley places him on her own. She then whispers again, this time saying "Thank you" and leaning in to place a quick kiss on the surprised Skyknights face.
As she moves into the main hall she takes out her wand of healing and uses several uses several charges on the Cassian and a few on herself.
Healing Ada'an: 5d8 ⇒ (7, 2, 3, 4, 7) = 23
Healing Aylaeth: 5d8 ⇒ (2, 6, 6, 1, 2) = 17
Once the little angel is conscious and almost fully healed once again the two share a few moments of wordless communion and appreciation for each other's well being.
Finally, placing herself at a safe distance from the stone wall, she unleashes a few blasts from her wand of lightning upon it.
Lightning Bolt: 18d6 ⇒ (2, 3, 4, 6, 5, 1, 3, 6, 5, 2, 4, 5, 3, 6, 3, 2, 1, 6) = 67
The rock in these walls is a southern volcanic type, meaning you are most likely currently located in the southern jungles around Dambulla and Maho ;p
"It seems that the Red Dragonflight are trying some of the same techniques that were used on Livain and myself. You leave children in an inclosed space with weapons and see who comes out alive. It was an efficient way of culling the weak from the strong." Maiathreen says without emotion his feelings locked behind mental barriers. What he doesn't add is that one never truly recovers from this type of torture.
|Min Bein'Meleth Rámalóce|
Prior to Ayleath blasting the stone wall Min kicks into action, his near death experiance was throwing him off his game and it was time to change that. "Ayleath before you bring the wall down lets plan this out. We don't need any more surprises." He waves his hand to the room of fighting children to emphasize his point. "Mai and Livain, do something to aid these children. You understand how you badly you were treated more then any other. If we need to move them to that bunk room and tuck them in there, without there weapon's, then do so. Ayleath you make it sound as if you have them under your command, so then make them stop fighting and help Mai and Livain get them in the bunk room. Hell tell them its bed time."
"Lets get those children squared away, get healed up and we'll split up and search the other rooms before we blindly charge into the next fight. Remember there's still another demon, plus those priests so it'd be best that we tread lightly and make sure nothing comes at our backs."
"The only problem with your plan Min is those children for the time being wont respond to any stimulus other than the one they were trained with. Fear. Why we were able to resist to an extent is still unknown to both of us." He says with a sad look towards the door the children are currently trapped behind.
"As painful and horrible as Aylaeth's plan with them seems its the only way, other than knocking them out and I don't have any spells prepared that can do the trick. You could do it with a physical blow, but who knows how much damage that could do to their small bodies."
Going on the assumption that Aylaeth is gonna blast the wall in no matter what.
@Aylaeth: With an ear-splitting *BOOOOOM* the wall finally comes down after you send several bolts of lightning into it. It was thick and strong, the magic holding it in place powerful.
The room beyond is a large empty chamber, about 100'x100' with a 50' high ceiling. The possible significance of the symmetry is not lost on you. Hundreds and hundreds of complex arcane and religious scripts are carved into the floor and ceiling (but NOT on the walls) with extraordinary clarity and elegance. Each character is precisely etched and looks as if it was coated with some kind of metal afterwards, making them near-impossible to deface or remove without using heavy-duty magic or just outright destroying entire portions of the floor.
There is one other doorway in this room besides the one you came in (again with the symmetry), and that door is shut. Looking more closely at the characters on the floor, you are quite confident you could tease some meaning from them, but it would take hours of work, even if Maiathreen helped.
@Behind the dais: As if they can hear you talking, the children set to wailing and crying in their room. Some are yelling to be set free, others are yelling that they want to kill you. It sounds like a couple are fighting.
The two Warbanians exchange a significant look, shrug, and walk to the last closed doors in the hall -- the double doors at the back -- and kick them open. Behind these doors is a dark stairwell about 10' wide that goes up at a steep angle.
"Well." Says one of the big mercenaries, disappointment obvious in her voice, "That's boring."
I auto confirm the knowledge roll with the lowest roll being a 17
"Interesting...this stairs were a more recent addition. Possibly added just a few months ago, though for what purpose I couldn't say." Its at this time Maiathreen hears an ear splitting *BOOOOM* and rushes over to find out just what Aylaeth had done. Remembering his own enthusiasm and ending up fighting troll skeletons and yeth hounds.
Min needs to perform his normal check the dead for shiny things while Aylaeth and Maiathreen decide if its worth the trouble to decipher the ceiling and floor....which I'm thinking its not worth it. Do I want to know hell yes do I think we have the time hell no. Even with my help it will take at best 4 hours....all though...
-What are the chances you've ever seen something like this Servais?- Maiathreen asks the Black Blade.
Aye, but there are also dead dragonflight soldiers now too. Some epic heros came in to say hi.
Maiathreen ponders on Servais' silence but more importantly the dark emotions coming from the blade. Wishing he had the time and privacy to properly commune with the blade he sets aside the bond. Knowing that Servais will speak when he is ready...when ever that may be. His thought turn to that strange meeting on the boat...only a few short minutes ago.
What exactly does the confluence have to do with anything. What and where are the undercities? Who is the queen of light, the sunderer waiting at the fountain. So many questions so few to no answers. Maiathreen thinks to himself as he feels like he is being pulled in a multitude of directions.
Aylaeth stays silent in the further debate as to what to do about the children. She feels terrible about how she feels she was forced to treat them, but she can still think of now other way at present. Being the soldier she is though, she will obey whatever orders she is given as to what to do with/about them.
As she steps past the rubble of the wall, Aylaeth stands in shocked and extremely disturbed awe at the enormity of the arcane engine which lies before her. The power that such a thing could produce! But to what purpose?? She knew without a doubt, in the depth of her soul, that the fate of the world might very well hinge on their finding out. In silent communication with her familiar she asks "Ada'an, in all your long memory have you have come across, or heard, or such a thing before?"
As she hears and feels the breeze of the Aellar Magus flying in above she turns her gaze upwards and the two share a look, for they knew that of all their companions, only they two had true conception, and hope of understanding, just what this thing was, and more, what it was for.
Sensing the hesitation in the winged magus's eyes she begins to try and sway him otherwise "Mai, I know it seems a nearly insurmountable task, and I know many other, urgent things await our attention, but we must discover what this is, what it is for. Consider the lengths our foes went to, to prevent us from entering this room. The final decision is Captain Lamorak's of course, but for now, please accompany me in exploring what's beyond yonder door? Perhaps some further clues to...this, await us there?"
And if he acquiesces, the Magus moves swiftly to discover what's behind the other door. Before opening it, she detects magic on the door and checks as carefully as she can to see if it is trapped. Then, as a further precaution and knowing he often has such a cantrip prepared, she asks Mai if he will open the door from a distance while they both stand safely back.
Perception: 1d20 + 9 ⇒ (17) + 9 = 26
DRA, I forget, are new spell slots available immediately, or does that involve waiting till the next morn as well?
@Aylaeth and @Maiathreen: The door on the other side of the "rune room" does not appear to be trapped in any way and gives off no magical aura, but it is locked from the other side.
You'll need to either make a DC19 Disable Device check to pick the lock, use magic (knock or similar), or just sunder it in some way e.g., more lightning bolts or whatever. It's a good, thick wood door with iron hinges, and is bolted right into the rock.
Smiling slightly and knowing she has no lock-picking skills whatsoever, Aylaeth smiles slightly at Mai and, brandishing her wands says "After you? I mean, I would, but another lightning bolt seems a little bit of overkill, no?"
Livain knowing the trouble Mai can sometimes get into enters the room just as the two Magus attempt to open the other door. She pulls her bow out and nocks an arrow just in case there are unfriendlies on the other side.
disable device:1d20 + 8 ⇒ (6) + 8 = 14
1d20 + 8 ⇒ (1) + 8 = 9
1d20 + 8 ⇒ (7) + 8 = 15
1d20 + 8 ⇒ (16) + 8 = 24finally
Maiathreen curses under his breath as the last pin on the lock refuses to turn. Just then he hears a satisfying click as the lock finally gives way. He hears Livain enter the room comforting him knowing she is covering them with her deadly bow. He opens the door.
We don't know unless we try and apparently trying is too hard for some... Min looks to Damian, annoyance crossing his face momentarily as the mages prove far harder to heed orders. Shrugging it off he continues with his plan. "Forgive me my Captain but i'm going to take care of the other rooms behind us I will take only three of the Warbanian's with me to ensure we are safe from behind." He searches the Red dragonflight soldiers and pockets what coins he finds on them, what gear proves magical in nature he piles on the side and leaves the magical armor for later. With that out of the way he nods to three of the Warbanians.
I think there was 6 of them right?
"I will need you three to accompany me as we will search the remaining rooms and ensure there is no swords or demons at our backs." I will deal with those children later.
|Min Bein'Meleth Rámalóce|
We don't know unless we try and apparently trying is too hard for some. I will deal with that later... Min looks to Damian, annoyance crossing his face momentarily as the mages proved far harder at heeding sound orders. Shrugging it off he continues with his plan, unless his Captain deemed otherwise. "Forgive me my Captain but i'm going to take care of the other rooms behind us I will take only three of the Warbanian's with me to ensure we are safe from behind." He searches the Red dragonflight soldiers and pockets what coins he finds on them, what gear proves magical in nature he piles on the side and leaves the magical armor for later. With that out of the way he nods to three of the Warbanians.
I think there was 6 of them right?
"I will need you three to accompany me as we will search the remaining rooms and ensure there is no swords or demons at our backs." I will deal with those children later. He leads the Warbanians to the main hall they had entered from, with the second silent door that no one had checked yet.
Started from the beginning and working our way towards the main hall. Saving the Double door for last. Min isn't going to enter the newly blasted open room until he's checked our flanks. ;) That is if Damian doesn't state a different course of action.
Cast CLW on self before entering said room, also give the Warbanian's time to heal up with thats allowable in the time frame boss man :). 1d8 + 8 ⇒ (8) + 8 = 16 HP at 46/66~
|Sir Damian Lamorak|
Damian begins issuing orders rapidly to the assembled soldiers looking to him for leadership. He straps his shield back onto his arm as he speaks, having retrieved it from the location that he threw it down. "Warbanians, one of your number check the prisoners. If they live, try to assist them in any way that you can. Try not to touch the liquid. We don't know if it has any lingering properties. Min, lead the remainder to clear the rest of the rooms. The rest of us will open this door and see what is behind it. Time is of the essence to make this area as secure as possible. Surely, this location leads to the outside at whatever place in the world we are at. Once we are sure that it is secure, we hold the position. Aylaeth will attempt to discern any meaning from these runes, taking whatever assistance he needs. I will return through the portal to Stormfare and retrieve either Van-Haera or her son to assist you." With the orders given, he holds his weapons at the ready to stand shoulder-to-shoulder with his soldiers to see them executed.
|Min Bein'Meleth Rámalóce|
Maiathreen finishes picking the lock and opens the door. Beyond it is a dark hallway, 10' wide and with an 8' ceiling. It is rough, worked rock -- natural cavern walls molded by magic or lots of hard work, tough to tell which. There is no light, and those blessed with the gift of darkvision can see that the passage slopes down as it curves sharply to the right, going out of sight about 50' out.
There are no bodies, no treasures, nothing save empty torch holders mounted on the wall.
@Sir Damian: After making sure this new door in the "chanting room" doesn't hold anything of immediate worth, you head back out into the sacrifice room where Min and three of the Warbanians are heading over toward the closed door on the other side of the room. You mount the stairs to the balcony, the other two Warbanians in tow, and go back to the entry point where you first appeared. The big red "X" is still there on the wall. Confidently you stride up to it and place your hand against it, expecting to simply walk through and out the tapestry at the other side.
But nothing happens.
You press on the rock, but nothing. You try some magic words, a bit of spellcraft...nothing. The portal simply doesn't work.
The Warbanians grunt in frustration. "Well, now we really have incentive to figure out where we are!"
@Min: The black dragonflight soldiers that got "subsumed" by the green ooze are dead; burned-out candles. Their bodies are terrifyingly light, as if they have been carved out from the inside. The last third of the orcs and gnolls, however, are still alive, but appear to be completely brain-dead. Their minds are just gone, and they do not respond to any stimulus. You can walk them to a place, but then they just stand there and drool. They, too, are very light, as if hollow.
After gathering up weapons and other items and grouping the prisoners and corpses, you and three of the mercenaries head to the closed door. It is not locked, and you open it cautiously. No attack is awaiting you, though, just an empty square hallway, 8' wide and with an 8' ceiling, lit by torches and built of good, solid quarry stone. It stretches both left and right. To your left the hall goes about 60' and then turns 90 degrees to the right. To your right, the hall goes 100' and then terminates in stairs leading up.
Sunlight is flooding down the stairs in glorious radiance.
|Min Bein'Meleth Rámalóce|
Min nods to the warbanians that had accompanied him. Pointing at one to remain in the doorway to signal them if something tried to cut off their rout to the others and leads the other two towards the stairwell and what appeared to be an exit. He wasn't taking there good fortune for granted and looked long and hard as each step could be trapped or a foul illusion.
perception - looking for traps mainly. Taking it slow and easy. I'm sure taking ten is impossible so here goes~ 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (6) + 10 = 16
@Min: P(Soldier) check: 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (12) + 5 = 17
K(Geography): 1d20 + 6 ⇒ (1) + 6 = 7
Survival: 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (8) + 7 = 15
It occurs to you, as you slowly make your way up the stairs, that retreating or escaping soldiers would only have time to set the very crudest of traps, or trigger already-existing traps that were laid well ahead of time for the express purpose of dissuading pursuers. This thought lets you work a little bit faster, and indeed you find only one very simple deadfall trap on your way up, which is easily avoided.
Cresting the stairs, you and the two mercenaries come out onto a large balcony, 60' wide by 50' deep, but with no walls and only a single staircase with no handrails to get down. From this balcony you three are rewarded with a spectacular view; you appear to be roughly halfway up the southern side of enormous mountain, and looking down you see thick, dense, steamy jungle vegetation which lines up with what Aylaeth said earlier about you Skyknights having traveled somewhere in the deep south. A few miles away, you can make out clear signs of civilization; massive ziggurats and obelisks and towers and domed roofs stretch up into the sky, easily clearing the high canopy of the jungle. The thick vegetation makes it difficult to tell just how big of a city or settlement is out there, though.
Unfortunately, aside from knowing that you are in the deep south, you don't have the foggiest idea where you are. The jungles are massive in this part of the Land and cover thousands of square miles. You know there are cities down here, but having never been here before, you'd be hard-pressed to identify any of them by sight.
|Min Bein'Meleth Rámalóce|
Min nods to the Warbanians and heads back down, making sure to careful mark where the deadfall is with a charred piece of wood as they pass it again.
Once back down in the hallway he stops at the door where the other mercenary is and writes on the wall. A basic message for those following behind them. Right -> Exit, dead fall trap on stairs, possible civilization nearby. <- Left (Blank)
He felt silly with the Warbanian's watching him but he had to be thorough. Once he was done with his quick scribble he pressed on, taking the left hand hallway and easing their way down the 60 foot hall before it terminated to the right. He keeps his bow ready and nods to the warbanians to do the same.
Perception- Searching for traps again 1d20 + 10 ⇒ (6) + 10 = 16
P(soldier) 1d20 + 5 ⇒ (12) + 5 = 17
@Min: This hall, it appears, is going to take more effort. You follow it as it angles and winds its way back further into the mountain. You find no traps, but the going is slow and the great racket the four of you make gives you no comfort; any creature or attacker waiting for you is going to be well-warned of your approach.
After traveling for nearly an hour, you come upon a decision point; you have entered a long, straight, flat hallway that is lined with doors. All of the doors are good, solid, strong wood and seem to be in very good shape. All the doors have locks on them as well, though of course you don't know how many are locked just by looking.
The torch holders in the walls are all empty, and between your darkvision, the darkvision of one of the half-orc Warbanians, and the light from torches the other two are carrying, you can count eight doors just in the 60' visible to you. As you slowly, slowly tread down this hall, mindful that one of these doors could spring open at any time, you realize there are more and more and more doors. After a couple hundred feet of this, you pause.
"Feh. Rusted blades!" one of the Warbanians lets loose a Gorumite curse, then addresses you; "Lieutenant! There's gotta be a hunnert doors here, at least. Maybe more! You figure that Captain of yours really wants us to search alla them? We could be here for days! We don't even know how much further back this thing goes!" The big warrior is clearly not afraid, but nor is she -- or any of her countrymen, for that matter -- equipped for a long-term search mission deep into a mountain hold. The Warbanians packed very lightly since they were mustered by Maiathreen at very short notice, and expected to either die or return home to Stormfare soon.
It also occurs to you that none of you are paying the Warbanians for their time, and while they most certainly came to help out of a sense of duty and a love of battle, doing work like this is something they consider to be beneath them, and the question of coin will come up very soon.
|Min Bein'Meleth Rámalóce|
Min shakes his head. "No we will fall back and secure the main chamber for now, this is beyond and beneath us at the moment. Also how much does it cost to contract you to us for the time? We can pay you in spoils of war or coin if we have too, I'd prefer keeping you for as long as we can." He then waves for them to fall back for now, moving out of the area at a steadier pace them before as he hoped they hadn't missed any traps on the way down. They head back to the main chamber and begin their search anew. Starting with the door the Red Dragonflight soldiers escaped from "We know the way out now at least lets go hunt down those Soldiers that escaped us and put an end to them."
|Min Bein'Meleth Rámalóce|
Survival 1d20 + 7 ⇒ (14) + 7 = 21
Min knew that there enemies had a hell of a lead on them by now and cursed his slowed reactions. "Forget it, they've got too much of a lead on us. Lets return to Captain Damian and see what he's came up with and tell him what we've found."
Well... I'm competent sounding as a lieutenant. :p
Once to Damian. "We've found an exit with a Pitfall trap and a hallway with literally hundreds of doors sir. Where ever we are this place is beyond massive and too much for us to search out. Outside there is signs of civilization, although crude looking, and lots of jungle. So I have to say I agree with Aylaeths assumption we are far south but I cannot say for certain Where we are." He lets the Captain digest that for a moment before adding. "I don't mind continuing the search in the lower hallway if you wish but the Warbanian's will be of better use with you here. Or I can scout the local territory and get some bearings which in that too I should do so alone."
Livain waits patiently at the entrance ready for anything and everything at this point. For a moment she felt slightly amused from watching Maiathreen pick the lock. Livain would sometimes go back and forth between looking down the hall and glancing around. She listened carefully to Maiathreen and Aylaeth in case there is any trouble. Her mind wanders and she starts to think of the children. A small smile crept up on her face as she wondered what it would be like to raise a bunch of wild children with her husband. Livain felt that if she was able to pull out of that dark hole of a past through love and patience, maybe it would be possible to do the same for the children. Her mind kept working in circles. The children, Maiathreen and Aylaeth, then back to remembering recent fighting that had occurred. For a moment she wondered what her life would have been like if she was still there, if she would even be alive now. The one gift she attained from her past was her amazing archery that has at least saved the lives of those she cares for. As she thought this she felt an emotion that rarely graced her mind. Hope. As long as she was alive and had her bow, she could at least see that those she cared for would survive a fight.
It's an ingenious approach, really.
In all your combined years researching magic of all kinds, this is the first time you have seen so large an…installation of magical power, its sheer size and scope taking your breath away in admiration even as the knowledge of its purpose boils your blood with anger at the audacity of those responsible for attempting such a thing.
It begins with the room. At its most fundamental level, the runes and spells in this room combine with the green goo to turn mortals into energy sources, their spirits converted to pure arcane or divine energy to be used in whatever purpose those employing the spells desire. This in itself is not particularly remarkable; sacrifice rooms and shrines have been around forever, and the use of mortal souls in certain magics is alike fairly common.
This room, however, despite appearances, is not a shrine, or a spell room, or anything else. The ingeniousness of the approach employed by The Red Dragonflight is that this very room itself is a magic artifact; the runes are carved using the same techniques as those employed by artificer-wizards and battle clerics creating magicked weapons, armor, or other items. This gives the spell net contained herein immediate and accurate re-usability. In other words, instead of completing a complex and difficult rite of sacrifice under very specific circumstances, any mage in the red dragonflight who knew a single, specific cipher spell could utilize the energy from this room just about anywhere in the Land, just like invoking a wand, or a ring, or any other magic artifact.
But while ingenious and evil (and frustrating in that you cannot use this room because you lack the cipher spell to activate it) and impressive, this is only the first step in the Red Dragonflight's plan. According to your historical and religious knowledge, Kalaroth the dragon god was banished and bound, and his consciousness scattered across thousands of "seeds", to prevent him ever returning. Indeed, to bring him back would require a burst of Arcane power so massive as to be essentially unattainable; it would have to be a burst of power so huge it would make the death of a god seem puny by comparison. This was the punishment visited on him by the gods.
This is also why this room is just one of thousands the Red Dragonflight have built.
According to arcane coordinates in the spell net and divine foci in the symbols, this room is but one tiny piece of a giant puzzle the Red Dragonflight have slowly been assembling for who knows how long now; a puzzle in the shape of the Sigil of Kalaroth, which each member of the Red Dragonflight army wears emblazoned on their chest and which they have methodically been stamping across the entire face of the Explored Land, to be fired when the time was right.
"The time" is the rapidly approaching Great Confluence, when Wild Magic will supposedly seek to return, and when all Ley Lines in the Land will be simultaneously struck with tremendous fluxes of energy and arcane power will be thrumming and coursing through the air. When this event occurs, the Red Dragonflight can activate their world-sized sigil and focus and shackle all that power for their own purpose -- Restoring their god, Kalaroth, to full strength and power, and freeing him from his imprisonment.
Aylaeth realizes that it is likely the map she saw burning would have listed at least some of the locations of other rooms like this, other pieces of the puzzle.
But even without that, while it has been known for some time that the Red Dragonflight meant to bring about the return of Kalaroth, it is now clear how exactly they are intending to go about it, and how little there is anyone can do to stop them. For, as Aylaeth and Maiathreen now realize, the Red Dragonflight can make these rooms easily with the assistance of their draconic masters, and they make them in such a way that destroying them is difficult and use of them is impossible without the correct cipher spell, which itself is unobtainable from back-ciphering the magic inscribed on the floor and ceiling here. Destroying this room would no doubt be an annoyance to the Dragonflight, but there is little doubt they could just build another one somewhere else, and do so in a very short amount of time.
You see, the magi also learn, through study of the main room, that this whole facility is very likely re-purposed; the magic the Red Dragonflight have employed does not require so elaborate a sacrificial area. They just used what they found, which means that the main room and halls and everything else were all built by someone else, and the Reds just made this side room into a sort of "control center". The implications of this are clear, and terrible, because they mean that these "arcane engines" could be literally anywhere -- a house, a cave, the middle of the woods. A structure like this is not necessary.
While bemoaning the loss of the map (and just what was on that book shelf?), Aylaeth goes through the journal and manifest she rescued. The journal has arcane formulae of some sort, and while it's not unreasonable to guess they are related to the manufacture and/or use of the green goo, none of you are skilled enough alchemists to be able to re-create it, even if you had the ingredients, which you don't.
The manifest book Aylaeth saved lists shipping times and routes, and some of the abbreviations are clearly references to alchemical components and other ingredients. The book appears to be listing the routes Red Dragonflight troops have been using to ship supplies needed to help them make these rooms (and the green liquid) all over the Land, and while the boats' owners aren't listed, the clever magus makes one clear connection; all the boats eventually use docks belonging to House del Luna in Mamban.
House del Luna, it is common knowledge, is one of the oldest and most powerful of the Houses that run Mamban, itself the oldest and most powerful city in all the Land. It is also an open secret that all members of House del Luna are phenomenally powerful and ancient vampires. Every. Single. One of them.
|Min Bein'Meleth Rámalóce|
After reporting his findings to Damian Min turned back down the long hall with the many rooms, each door may be locked but he was sure he could pry some open given time. If the Warbanians proved to wish to stay with the Captain then that was their choice, they had done their part and now Min had to do his...
Although, despite the bond being dead, Min felt a dread deep in the pit of his stomach. Last time Lin changed it was... a bad morning. To say the least. Sheawoke different, larger, stronger and Hungrier. Hold it together you scaly lizard and for gods sakes don't eat anyone!
Livain upon realizing just how much work Maiathreen and Aylaeth have to do and after hearing Min's report about the hallway decides to the best way she can help is by assisting Min in his investigation of the complex. "Mai, I'm going to help Min search the rest of the rooms." She says to Maiathreen before giving Him a deep kiss and holding him close for a moment.
"Sia kornari ossaluri mrith wux. Petranas zexenuma tokeq. He says as he holds her back.
"Si geou, Si inglata sia itov" She says as she gives him another kisser. She then turns around and picks up her bow and heads out to the "main" room. But before she leaves Maiathreen calls out to her. "Here give this to Min if he is going to be scouting with my wife he can't keep going around with that beaten and tattered quiver of his." Its Maiathreen's efficient quiver She smiles knowingly before accepting the quiver.
"Min if your going back I'd like to accompany you. Between the two of us we wont need a torch or any light source. I'd also like to know what else the Red's have hidden here. Also Maiathreen wanted me to give you his quiver. It can hold many more arrows than a normal quiver you can also pull which ever arrow you want just by thinking about it."
Also just before leaving she'd take one of the enchanted longswords and Leaver her falchion behind. Even though she doesn't provoke AoO for ranged attacks she'd still carry a melee weapon just in case.
My heart travels with you. Please stay safe.
I will, I promise my love
|Min Bein'Meleth Rámalóce|
Min accepts the quiver graciously and trades Liv the darkwood buckler (+2 :) ) he found in the dimensional prison room. "This buckler will protect you better then me, besides it's way more subtle as well. Not as reflective either. Thank your husband for me."
He led the way back down into the bowels of the strange mountain fortress. Once they were back at the beginning of the hallway he looked to her and pointed at the first door. "It goes on for a long ways, hundreds of doors. Shall we knock them down one by one or push on?"
Actually Min do you still have the adamantine longsword you found in the prison room? If you do can I grab it? Even though I fight only with the bow even in melee now for image purposes I still want to carry a melee weapon....unless you are using it. I know you normally use a bastard sword in melee I wasn't sure if you had switched or not...
Also completely unrelated...I want adamantine tipped arrows....for sundering purposes I think it'd be aweso to break an enemy's weapon with an arrow. ;)
|Min Bein'Meleth Rámalóce|
Min draws his Adamantium blade and hopes that he is able to use it effectively against each door as the blade is known to bypass the hardness of almost any object. Almost being the key word. "There's still that one demon about, keep your wits about you. Also those damn priests and go dknows what else lurking about. Ready? Here we go..." He whispers this before testing to see if he can wedge the blade in the door gap or use it to slowly cut his way though the door hinges. He wasn't going to cut a hole in the door if he could avoid it, merely find a cleaner way around the annoying lock.
Should I roll DRA? Attack + Damage or Just Damage?
@Min and @Aylaeth: Thus far, the doors are all unlocked. Unfortunately, the work is still tense and tedious. Every room requires you to check for traps, cover each other, then thoroughly search inside. Every single one you enter has been completely cleaned out, not even spiderwebs remaining. Things go on like this for hours and hours, until finally you come to a room that is a little bigger than the others. It looks like it might have been a meeting area of some sort, perhaps.
This room contains a grisly stack of skeletons. It doesn't take much to figure out that these skeletons belonged to dwarves, judging by height and other features. There are exactly 13 of them, and they are in two surprisingly neat piles; one of seven and one of six. The bones are startlingly white.
In the corner opposite the dwarves is an oiled canvas tarp with some writing on it. The writing was done with red paint, and is rather lurid and unnerving. There is writing in Common, Elvish, and you would assume the other languages are Dwarvish and Orc. (if you speak dwarvish or orc, then you know for a fact that's what they are)
What is written on the tarp is this; "DO NOT REMOVE THIS TARP".
Just looking at it, it's basically impossible to tell what is underneath it, aside from a rough guess at the height (about three feet), depth (about four feet), and width (maybe six feet). It seems...boxy, whatever it is.