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"You are mad if you think we serve Teraphim. We have just arrived from outside and all we are doing is defending from various undead things that attack without question. They are the only ones one can talk to. That doesn't mean we're the servants." Thulwar tries to explain
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Harfik found is focus split in too many directions between the escape route the creature was planning on taking, watching for struggle, and digesting it's words.

He considers briefly admitting that he cares little for what side he allies with in this god forsaken place but decides to keep that to himself for now.

"I serve forces from outside this hellscape that you cannot understand. You chose me as an enemy, not the other way around."

Harfik thinks through his Teraphim memories trying to figure out anything they know about these scarabs and these creatures.


the magical equivalent to the number zero
Aanzu growls, anger coming to the surface. This worthless creature is mocking him, and more importantly, mocking the spirit of the great Blue Dragon!

The dragonborn does not bother listening further. Letting go of the prisoner so he can grab his mighty sword with both hands, Aanzu lashes out with the blade, once, twice.

”No bugs shall speak of the Great Dragon that way,” he states with conviction.

OOC: Releasing grapple as free action, then taking the Attack action to swing the sword twice (Extra Attack): [roll0] for [roll1] damage, [roll2] for [roll3] damage.

Perception: [roll4]

The undead is let loose, only to be slaughtered by Aanzu's mighty strikes before everyone's eyes! Both swings cross the corpse at the waist, splitting him in two before he could protest!

Too late, though, Harfik realizes the ruse: the creature wanted to be killed! Scavenging through memories that are not his own, he's brought to understand the nature of the amberilans a bit more. By the time the Teraphim defeated the human invaders, a delicate decision had to be made: the city of Amberilan still held many diplomats, bound to frown upon Teraphim actions. As soon as they knew of the sacrilege within the Teraphim temple - and the death of their mortal comrades - the denizens of Amberilan fell divided. Some took the side of the Teraphim, while others condemned their actions. Conflict ensued, and in the end the Teraphim allies were taken from Amberilan to new settlements, below and beyond, while the treacherous rebels were submitted by force.

As punishment, they became the object of Teraphim experiments. Through necrotic technology and old rituals, their souls were bound into their bodies - no doubt an attempt to achieve immortality. The experiment failed, nonetheless: their bodies decayed, while their souls remained. Condemned thus, they became a stagnant society, living in the ruins of their ancient city and struggling to remain sane. Their hate for the Teraphim only grew as the years passed.

Why would the creature want to die, one might ask? To be rid of this mockery of life? No... Even after the body breaks, the soul lingers! It might even find a new host, either through possession or through necromantic rituals - should they know them, of course...

Lyllie and Ajax approach the group, glancing at the unfortunate body, eaten away by the bugs. The small creatures have taken a symbiotic bond with the undead - a painful, yet useful, relationship. The small scarabs are said to have been brought up from the lower layers of Mount Amberilan. No one knows how they were tamed, though...

The room's still thrown in darkness. Only the small passage, which the undead planned to use, is visible from here. Nonetheless, dark vision reveals another passage, fifteen feet to the right. This second way out seems to be a gallery that leads to another room. Beyond, only silence.

[Ok, you have the small passage and a gallery to another room. Remember that most of this room is thrown in darkness. More might be revealed, if you are inclined to explore.]

[MENTION=24380]Neurotic[/MENTION] [MENTION=4936]Shayuri[/MENTION] [MENTION=6776182]JustinCase[/MENTION] [MENTION=6855102]Greenmtn[/MENTION]


Harfik Human Monk

Harfik looks incredulously at the Teraphim with him for a moment before his face returns to his calm, political facade.

"How do your people look back on the crimes of your ancestors?" Harfik seems to collected his words carefully chosen.

"Prince, which way would you like to go next? We can't stay here. The destruction of that body freed the spirit within. Those that we just destroyed are free to return and warn others still. In future confrontations with them we should try to be more diplomatic, or somehow capture them so they cannot inform others of our actions. I see 2 apparent exits at this point here, and there." Harfik points in the directions of the two exits after scanning the room.

"Any other ideas?"


the magical equivalent to the number zero
Aanzu growls, but only softly.

"This one will not be diplomatic to insects," he says, but with less conviction than expected. The prince has grown to appreciate Harfik and his insight, and Aanzu is careful not to dismiss the monk's advice outright.

Then the dragonborn turns his mind to the question of where to go next. The current mission is to find a way towards Nova Palatine, and his personal goal is to destroy a totem somewhere in that direction, in order to get to Ella Ravenblade, who seems to be hiding somewhere in the mysterious Waterworks. So what direction seems like the best bet?

"Where does that lead?" Aanzu points towards the passage to the right that through a gallery leads to another room.

OOC: Does the Eagle totem feature ("See up to 1 mile away with no difficulty, discern fine details as if no more than 100 feet away. Dim light does not impose disadvantage on Wisdom (Perception) checks.") mean I get to see in the dark just fine with darkvision?

Regardless, Aanzu is curious what's in the next room.


OOC: Same question for darkvision here

"Let me check first few yards of the small passage. I'm interested if that was just quick escape route because of your size or it is a walk-around path so they don't have to pass through the big hall. Remember those ghosts at the start."


"Let us not forget that this is a contested area. There are others here no doubt." Harfik reminds the group in a soft voice.
[Ok, [MENTION=6776182]JustinCase[/MENTION] and [MENTION=24380]Neurotic[/MENTION], the answer to both your questions is yes: both eagle totem feature and darkvision can give more info, as long as you shift position a little - something easily accomplished now. I need Thulwar and Aanzu to give me a regular perception test each, though.]


The room's taken by the sounds of the heavy exoskeleton moving towards the group. A little later, the machine stops, and Ajax jumps down, closely followed by Lyllie.

"How do your people look back on the crimes of your ancestors?" Harfik seems to collected his words carefully chosen.
"Pragmatically." - Ajax answers bluntly. "We couldn't undo our own mistakes. So we fought the guilty. Some insisted in using people as lab rats..." - he leans before the small passage while he talks - "...while others took responsibility and decided to take care of the survivors. The undead, though... Nothing can be done about them, now. Nothing that I know of, at least..." - he seems to lament their situation for a second.

"Anyway, if you choose to go down through the small entrance..." - he points the passage as Thulwar steps towards it to study the area - "...I'm gonna have to use the exo to dig a larger hole, or we'll have to ditch it. Your call..."

Meanwhile, Aanzu stretches a bit to the east, trying to grasp what's beyond that path. His enhanced sight allows him a clear view of the corridor that stretches on. It goes for several feet. On the floor, the same sinuous lines that cover the present room have been drawn. They follow on, finding ways through a natural cave that has been reworked to accommodate such engravings. After two hundred feet or so, the corridor opens up into a room, flanked by two enormous statues resembling humanoids. Beyond them, a faint light struggles to light the room - and fails. Aanzu contemplates the area around, and sees a mostly unusual scene: the place holds several huts built amidst columns of stone. In between them, several creatures, strange and deformed, lean forward, squatting, immobile. Silence falls down on that side of the cavern, and nothing moves. Only water trickles all over the place, giving the chamber a glittering aspect.

Back at the opening in the wall, Thulwar employs his own reduced size to take his first steps into the small entrance. Water runs here as well, making the stone a bit slippery. The small corridor goes down, becoming more inclined shortly after entering. It seems it was conceived to allow a quick escape. Nonetheless, it has been carved here and there, allowing people to climb through it as well.

Carefully, Thulwar moves a bit inside, studying the way down. Beyond, he overhears voices in a compass, as if people gathered to chant. Some strange, green light comes from the other extreme of the hole, but that's far below. If he wants to see more, he has to climb down a bit further, but there's always the risk of slipping down...
[MENTION=24380]Neurotic[/MENTION] [MENTION=6776182]JustinCase[/MENTION] [MENTION=4936]Shayuri[/MENTION] [MENTION=6855102]Greenmtn[/MENTION]

The path downwards is hard to decipher at first. Thulwar stretches as far as he can, attempting to obtain further information about what happens below. With a little more attention, he begins to discern the chant as a ceremonial hymn of sorts. Names of forgotten gods are uttered amidst familiar words - serpent gods, dead gods of the Abyss, gods of necromancy and rot. Their homage to the cthonian entities seem almost as a calling, probably a beacon to those who live just beyond the veil of reality, within the astral world... A faint, sweet smell of rotten things being burned climbs through the duct, reaching the gnome. So familiar, they are... Burnt offerings, taken from mushroom plantations and dead arachnids, a typical way to call out the lightness of souls back home, or to send them towards the encroaching darkness as they leave their mortal husks in death... Necromancers are known to use such substances to raise the dead on occasion, or to call out spirits from the depths.

On the other hand, the cave beyond seems almost like a lair. The creatures, standing still like statues under the light, produce the softest of sounds. Aanzu's able to discern the exchanges as a whispered speech. Here and there, words are quickly exchanged. The creatures aske each other about what has been going on in the cave the heroes now occupy! No doubt they caught wind of the conflict, considering all the noise. After short deliberation, one of them moves forward, attempting to keep a silent pace with remarkable skill! the mongrel moves on all-fours, like a crouching thief in the night, but Aanzu can follow his movement with his gaze. A second one follows, just as silent, and then a third one, keeping distance between each other, but whispering constantly. Their eyes are empty, inert and useless, but the large ears are enough to allow sound to reach them from a good distance. Soon enough they'll be within range, noticing the heroes!
[MENTION=24380]Neurotic[/MENTION] [MENTION=6776182]JustinCase[/MENTION] [MENTION=6855102]Greenmtn[/MENTION] [MENTION=4936]Shayuri[/MENTION]


the magical equivalent to the number zero
Aanzu motions to the others in silence, then raises his sword in a defensive position. Whatever they are, they are approaching from this corridor! Whatever is down the other path will have to wait...

OOC: As a player, I'm all for diplomacy if such a thing is possible with the new arrivals. Aanzu, however, only thinks like a warrior, so someone might have to remind him of alternatives to fighting. :)


Tink comes right next to the great warrior, but his diminutive master comes forward in the shadow of the metal beast and raises his empty hands. "Hail and well met." in three languages, his own, undercommon and surface common.

He knows his size will make him look less threatening, but the background of the great scaled prince and even bigger metal monster don't really help the image. He hopes it will be conducive to peace talks rather than extra aggression.

Both creatures sniff the air around them, squatting and moving forward slowly, cautiously. They stop dead on their tracks as the snirfveblin salutes them. They sniff the air once more, bending their strange, deformed heads to do so.

"They're on to us..." - the first one says to the second, whispering.

"Your fault, rookie" - the other one answers.

"I played quiet."

"You're talking. We never talk. No matter how low."

"No point in silence now."

"Let me do the talking, rookie."

The second one moves forward, closely followed by the first one. He clicks his tongue and clacks his teeth, as if warning the creatures in the adjacent room of the heroes' presence. As he approaches, the second creature rises to its feet, stepping a good 30' from Aanzu and Thulwar.

"I smell scales from under the sun, and feet from under the earth. Dust from below and sand from the winds! Strange combination, indeed!" - standing, the creature looks a lot like an orc, but the eyes are completely blue. The creature hunches, one arm a lot larger than the other, and it drools a bit as it speaks, given the asymmetric mouth filled with twisted fangs. Only the hips are covered by some rough kind of leather, and from it hangs an old shortsword, clearly made by human hands - the siege of Wellington decorates the hilt.

"I smell other things... I... *sniff* smell... An iron golem.... *sniff-sniff* .... An anointed man.... *sniff-sniff-sniff* ...Mmmm, cursed flesh! And..." - his face suddenly lights up - "...A Teraphim!" - a cruel smile crosses the creature's face, but it's filled with cunning. The hand slides towards the blade's hilt, more as precaution, clearly, as it doesn't seem too eager to fight.

"But no dead Amberilans here... What happened to the Bugmeals?" - he glances around without glancing, still smelling the air, liking his own twisted lips with a tentacle-like tongue. The rookie stands up, right behind the other, readier to run than to fight. His smaller completion suggests a goblinoid of sorts, as misshapen as his bigger companion. "Ooooh... You killed them didn't you? Oooh-ohh-hohoho-ooooh! I can hear it! Their voices in the dark are drums of war! What-o-what have you done, strangers from a strange world?" - he smiles, moving forward just a bit.

"Can you hear it, rookie?" - he turns to the goblinoid. the creature's voice, high-pitched and broken, comes out now. "Aye!" - it answers - "They call the dead souls back! The dead souls come for vengeance, soon, quite soon!"

"You stirred up their nest, now, strangers..." - the big one continues. "And to bring a Teraphim here... Ooooh, big-big mistake..." - he keeps smiling a blind smiles.

"And why oh why did you do it, Gargan asks?" - he points towards himself, his right hand still upon the hilt of the shortsword.
[MENTION=24380]Neurotic[/MENTION] [MENTION=58664]aa[/MENTION]nzu [MENTION=6855102]Greenmtn[/MENTION] [MENTION=4936]Shayuri[/MENTION]


the magical equivalent to the number zero
Aanzu stares at the creatures as they move up to him, then start chatting. The dragonborn is unsure what to do, unsure whether the seemingly goblinoid beings are hostile or not.

"This one will ask you questions," he says loudly, as if to compensate for their apparent blindness and to hide his own confusion. "Are you friend or prey?"

This time the odd variation of the phrase 'friend or foe' is deliberate, meant to put the newcomers in their place -- which, to Aanzu, is plainly beneath his royal self.


"Be careful with that Wellington sword. They are known for being dull. It is easy to cut yourself with a dull blade." Harfik states. His own sword still in his hand but with the blade pointed down at the ground. Looking at the creature for clues as to how to deal with it.

OOC: Trying to "Remember" these creatures - [roll0]
"Be careful with that Wellington sword. They are known for being dull. It is easy to cut yourself with a dull blade."
Gargan smiles in response.

"Ooh-oh, this silly thing? It's not supposed to cut a thing! It's a gift... From a friend, nothing more! I use it... For the sweet memories..."
- he smiles and lick his own lips as he goes.

Harfik studies the creature carefully. Not much seems to be known about it, except its general nature. A bunch of mongrels were left behind in the confusion that happened decades ago. They survived somehow, reproducing and taking a good deal of the tunnels for themselves. Their origins are clear in Harfik's mind, though, for they're another stain in the Teraphim's past: these ones were members of the many races lodged around Mount Amberilan - orcs, goblins, dwarves - once regular creatures, but lost to Teraphim experimentation. They're the failed mutations that were discarded in the Teraphim's incessant search for racial superiority...

"Are you friend or prey?"
The creature laughs languidly.

"Right now I'm your best friend, sand dragon! Soon the dead will return. You shouldn't stay here. If you follow me, I'll lead you somewhere safe. But we cannot stay here. You killed their sentries. Their souls will return to the dead city, warn the others of how many are here, and they'll send the heavy troopers after you." - his gestures invite the heroes back to the room he just left. "You might be stronger than the dead... But their numbers alone can compensate that..." - he smiles a wicked smile, as if dreadful memories of battle pervaded his mind.
[MENTION=24380]Neurotic[/MENTION] [MENTION=4936]Shayuri[/MENTION] [MENTION=6855102]Greenmtn[/MENTION] [MENTION=6776182]JustinCase[/MENTION]