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5E [IC] THE CURSE OF AMBERSTAR

JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
OOC: Can Aanzu use his Teraphim blessing to "discern friend from foe" 3 times per day to tell if the creatures are hostile or not?
 
[OOC: yes, the power can be used. No gestures, words or materials required, so... It's subtle enough, if that's a concern at any given time. :)]
 

Greenmtn

Explorer
"You have friends among the Wellingtons Gargan? They are still a powerful family in the lands we come from, outside of this place."

Harfik offers the tidbit of information to judge not only Gargan's reaction, but mostly the one he calls Rookie. Already having guess that one to be the younger and less experienced of the welcome party, and more likely to be unable to control the subtle shifts in his body language that will give away his intent.

OOC: Insight Check - [roll0]
Geesh I'm 'rolling' horribly.
Also in watching their movements do they seem to be using the marks/grooves on the floor to help guide their movements?
 

JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
[OOC: yes, the power can be used. No gestures, words or materials required, so... It's subtle enough, if that's a concern at any given time. :)]
OOC: In that case I will!


Aanzu remains silent as he observes the conversation, his mind going back to the strange experience of being open to the minds of Harfik and the Teraphim captain. The prince is not sure what he’s looking for, perhaps just grasping at straws. But he needs to know whether these curious being pose a threat!
 

Neurotic

Adventurer
"Fascinating. Such sharp senses." little alchemist steps forward and makes a motion with a hand watching for reactions of the seemingly blind creatures.
"Is there a way to interrupt their ritual? Or prevent souls from moving away? How do you deal with them? Where are you taking us? We have two great creatures - they cannot pass little tunnels. And will you attack Teraphim?" barrage of questions seems only way deep gnome knows how to ask anything. Once he asks one, there is essentially a stream of consciousness running over his tongue.
 

Shayuri

Villager
"Are you not afraid that if you offer us shelter, you will incur the wrath of these dead souls?" Icosa inquires.

"To what purpose are you offering assistance"
 
HARFIK

"You have friends among the Wellingtons Gargan? They are still a powerful family in the lands we come from, outside of this place."
Gargan laughs lazily, licking his teeth with an open mouth.

"A few. Gargan knows how to make friends, then, oooh, he does!" - he answers, tipping his head to the side, as if to listen more intently to Harfik's words. Gargan's reaction is a mystery, but the smaller Rookie denounces what he tried to hide: not only he shows no surprise, but also he laughs cruelly as Harfik offers his piece of information. The small creature also confirms Harfik's suspicions: the lines on the floor are constantly consulted by the creature's feet and fingers, as if to denounce a certain location, despite their blindness. Odds are they took quite some time mapping the caves and drawing their way around...


AANZU


The prince is not sure what he’s looking for, perhaps just grasping at straws. But he needs to know whether these curious being pose a threat!
The prince searches around his own thoughts at first, but soon his consciousness falls down the strange chasm of mixed memories, from Harfik's mind to the Captain's. Instinctively, he seeks out for a layout of their attitudes, a hint that denounces their personal inclinations. Suddenly, he apprehends the instincts of the Captain, understanding fully the mongrels' dispositions. They're deliberately cruel and mostly hostile, but they can negotiate, when someone has something they want. It seems to be the case, now: they respect the strong, fear them, even, and try to strike alliances with them as often as possible. But they're prone to betray them down the road, out of spite and out of envy. For now, though, they aren't hostile, that's for sure.


[Aanzu discovers that their general behavior is neutral evil.]


THULWAR

Is there a way to interrupt their ritual? Or prevent souls from moving away? How do you deal with them? Where are you taking us? We have two great creatures - they cannot pass little tunnels. And will you attack Teraphim?

Gargan looks dazed at the storm of questions delivered by the Svirfneblin.

"Oooh-OOH! Calm down, small one! Gargan has only one mouth! I am taking you to our shaman. You'll be safe there, where spirits can't reach and undead soldiers dare not go..." - he turns and assumes everyone will follow. Moving once more on all fours, he signals with a grunt to the Rookie, who in turn takes point.

"You can stop the ritual, no doubt. Just go down and... Slay the chanters! Easier said than done, oooh, it is, oh...oho..." - he sniffs around, squatting, and continues forward.

"Mostly, we fight them in the dark. They need their eyes, they do... We... We do not." - he smiles, motioning with a pair of taloned fingers towards his blank-stare eyes. "But when the souls come, only the shaman protects... With her wards, you see.... Oho..hoho... You see. Come-come! The tunnels are large enough.... Step where we step, all will be fine... All will... be fine..." - he waves, indicating the way forward. "Come-come! We won't harm the Teraphim. Or you. Not today. Today we are on the same side... We are."


ICOSA


"Are you not afraid that if you offer us shelter, you will incur the wrath of these dead souls?" Icosa inquires.

"To what purpose are you offering assistance
"We don't fear the dead.... But we are cautious... If the dead are furious.... Well, let them be... furious! Oooh, let them, hoho..." - he continues forward, leading the group through a large room, where a disjointed encampment miraculously holds up.

All around, the cryptic, blind creatures squat, listening and sniffing as they go across. Huts made out of stone, fibers and strange chitinous carapaces - giant carapaces - are sprung around. Here and there, the mongrels, statue-like, lick their lips and study smells, all blinded by some old mutation made universal. In darkness, the huts are encrusted with skulls and bones, pieces of armor, chains and weapons - no doubt trophies obtained from the dead.

"Better get a torch or something... It's about to get dark, oh-hoho..." - Gargan says before he moves on, not a hint of light nearby.

EVERYONE

The room continues for several feet, until it turns to the left, assuming the shape of an 'L'. A few more feet and it reaches a black lake of stale waters. On the other side, four half-sunken passages lead to other rooms - most of which are probably under water. Rookie stops, and Gargan signals with a snarl and an arm jab for the others to stop. In the back, a few mongrels observe the entourage cautiously.

Gargan approaches the edge of the lake and intones. "Mamma, are you there? Mamma Kith, it's Gargan! And I bring visitors!"

For a few moments, only silence covers the area, bur the mongrels ears and noses are agitated, as if something stirred within darkness. It's small at first: the waters produce the faintest waves, chocking against stone. Silently, a body rises from the fetid lake, covered in murky waters at fist, but relinquishing the wetness as it walks out.

The creature is around five feet tall. Her features aren't strange - she resembles an old orc woman. Covered in reptile skins and chitinous adornments, she glances around, her eyes as worthless as the others'. Still, she appears to be seeing. The creature's face is long and old, with a huge nose, crowned by a black wart. She leans on a finely-made staff, hiding her ugly visage under the peculiar hood.

"So.... Visitors we have..... *grunt*... Aand... How did they come here?" - she asks pragmatically.

Gargan simply steps aside, alowing the arrivals to do the talking.

@Neurotic @Shayuri @Greenmtn @JustinCase
 

JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
Aanzu ponders. It seems for the moment the goals of these mongrels are aligned with their own, but the dragonborn is certain they will eventually betray him and his.

Trying this mental connection to Harfik and the Teraphim commander, Aanzu attempt to 'shout' mentally at the others that he wants to see where this is going but to be wary of the inevitable dagger in the back.

The prince lets Gargan guide him and the others to the dark lake, and he proudly walks first behind the blind creature. His hands never leave his sword hilt, and his fingers ache as the woman emerges from the water.

"Like a dragon that burrows through the burning sands, and through the insignificant pests that stand in the way," Aanzu says with conviction. He looks around the woman as if expecting something else to follow her.

"Where is your shaman, orc?"

It is not immediately obvious if Aanzu misinterprets the situation, or merely appears to do so to gain the upper hand in the exchange.
 

Greenmtn

Explorer
Harfik Human Monk

"Greetings." Harfik speaks up in a friendly tone.
"We come from outside of this mountain, and have traveled through this place to seek it's leaders to open communications long cut off in hopes that both sides can become better."

Harfik still holds the sword in his hand, point down at the ground in case anyone here can indeed see, he wants them to understand that he is not looking for a fight.
 
"Where is your shaman, orc?"

"You're talking to her, outsider."
- she answers with no pride or spite. "You are indeed strangers. Such interesting stories you should have..." - she studies the arrivals with her ears and nose, leaving her blanl, useless eyes to wander.

"We come from outside of this mountain, and have traveled through this place to seek it's leaders to open communications long cut off in hopes that both sides can become better."

"Outside, you say?"
- the information seems to pique her interest. "Ah, but you must tell me your stories, then! Tell me who do you seek, and I may be able to help you, yet!" - she smiles a half-toothless smile, fanged where the teeth remain, still.

The others simply wait, Gargan and rookie standing aside.

@Neurotic @Greenmtn @Shayuri @JustinCase
 

Greenmtn

Explorer
Harfik Human Monk

Harfik speaks up.
"The answer to your question has changed much since we left our homes. No one has come here and returned to our lands tell about it since before the war." Harfik pauses for a moment.

"Our leaders asked us to come here to see who survives, and if old hatreds could be put to rest. We came here thinking we would find one people, the Teraphim, an old enemy, perhaps we would never return home. We are learning that 'inside the mountain' is as the outside. There are many peoples, each with it's own needs, motives and enemies."
 

JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
Aanzu's expression is unreadable as the orc shaman corrects him. He knows that his draconic heritage makes gauging his emotions difficult for the softskinned races, and he likes it that way.

Her tone is not confrontational, and the dragonborn hesitates for a moment whether he should find offense with her. Before he can decide, however, Harfik has started with his diplomatic words, and Aanzu contents to let the man do the talking.

He does not turn his eyes away from the shaman, but Aanzu does relax the grip on his sword. A little.
 
EVERYONE

"You are right about that... We are many, and not always our... interests... coalesce."
- the shaman steps out of the water, studying the arrivals with a bending head and open nostrils.

"These ones have come from the old steel walls, shaman..."
- Gargan explains. "They faced the assassin scouts. The dead are rising."

"They are..." - she responds. "And yet I think it's not entirely because of them... They've been upset for a while. The small ones spoke. Down below, the doors were opened, and the pure-bloods have entered the old complex." - she responds to Gargan as she approaches Harfik, rising her hands slowly, as if to touch his face. She stops a few inches from him, as if to ask for permission.

"The answer to your question has changed much since we left our homes. No one has come here and returned to our lands tell about it since before the war."
"Oh, friends... Sad, sad thing that no one returns! For you are the second group that passes through... Outsiders as well. We were not inclined to believe at first... They came, searching... In the name of a certain Wellington... And they went down. Through the accursed dead city. We warned them not to do it. But they did it anyway. Gargan guided them. They gave him his blade as a sign of thanks... Right... Gargan?" - the mongrel scout agrees with a grunt.

"We hoped they had returned. A shame, indeed." - her face frowns a bit as her hands circle Harfik's face, still pleading to touch it.

"You..." - she turns quickly towards Aanzu's spot - "...called me ork, before.... We are mongrels, now. We were distinct, once. But, now, we turned into one people. No more goblins, no more hobs, no more dworfs... Only mongrels." - she remarks with a cautious, frail tone. "But... It's interesting you called us orks... Have you seen... Orks... Within the mountain?" - she asks, her eyebrows rising, despite her useless eyes.

@Neurotic @JustinCase @Greenmtn @Shayuri
 

Neurotic

Adventurer
Thulwar watches around with interest, his darkvision easily piercing the gloom of the cave. Tink moves to one side, less threatening position than looming over smaller people.
"You can feel me if you are not specifically interested in Harfik. I come from under the Demon City and you might find that your stories don't mention my people at all." he comments even as he looks the other way.
He is interested in her touch - it could help him decide if she's underwater native or simply protected by some kind of magic. What's more, if her skin is poisonous or otherwise different, he might be able to smell or feel it. And in case he falls victim to such poison. Well, better him than Harfik. He has a protector, Harfik doesn't.
 

Shayuri

Villager
Icosa, having been silent, observing, says in his hollow, booming voice, "I have no memories of this place, prior to my arriving here with this group. I do not know if I can be of assistance to you, or what assistance you can be to me. I am open to negotiating, however."
 

JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
"This one has seen orcs, and orcish blood," Aanzu confirms, although he starts to doubt whether the creatures that held the giantess and her baby - and the many miners - captive were, in fact, orcs. He does not wish to appear uncertain however.

The dragonborn tenses when the shaman attempts to touch the faces of some of his allies, and he will grunt disapprovingly if anyone tries to do the same to him. If that is not enough, he will take a step back. Otherwise he keeps observing the interaction without speaking much.
 
EVERYONE

The shaman holds a simple, pragmatic posture towards the whole process. She tatters around Harfik's face, grimacing oddly while doing so. Methodically, she invites the svirfneblin to approach, doing the same to him. All throughout the operation, Tink maintains a watchful posture, ready to charge at any sign of aggression.

"We were four devided clans. we waged war against each other before the Teraphim arrived. But then they came and made us whole." - she speaks in a controlled, direct manner. "They took our sight, the cause of our dissention, and they made us faster, and stronger, and more resilient. They guided us, trained us and handled us our traditions. In exchange, they only asked of us that we helped extract the hot ores from their veins. We did so, to pay tribute to the gods, as requested."

"Until the Day of Tribulation came. The Teraphim spoke of a great enemy. Many of our own enlisted to fight. Few ever came back. The city below was tainted, it was said, and we fought there as well. The clans were divided still, in the city below, it was said. After that, the Teraphim disappeared. We took upon ourselves to survive here, to live here. It was then that the dead came up. From the Dead City, they came. They accused us of killing them alongside the Teraphim. They used this as an excuse to wage war against us, to attack us for our bodies. We've been locked in war against them ever since." - she finishes, crossing her hands upon her lap.

As she touches Thulwar's face, the gnome can feel the texture of her skin. Her hands are far from frail; the claws are strong and sharp; and the skin, it's way too wet and scaled to belong to a regular orc. The fingers even show membranes between them. Underneath a gray-blue hair, both Harfik and Thulwar seem to be able to recognize gills...

"I have no memories of this place, prior to my arriving here with this group. I do not know if I can be of assistance to you, or what assistance you can be to me. I am open to negotiating, however."
"Indeed, we might be useful to one another..." - she says. "For I've never seen one such as you that hasn't come from the bowels of this mountain, and the aid of your kind might be indeed invaluable."

"This one has seen orcs, and orcish blood,"
Her clever expression seems to sum up every piece of info delivered by the heroes so far.

"This is indeed promising..." - she turns to Gargan, pointing out to one of the entrances beyond. "You should go, Gargan... Talk to your father, yes?" - Gargan nods and moves towards the dark waters, finding his way through stones and shallow paths, as slowly as possible. Rookie remains with the others.

"We've been imprisoned here for decades, fighting a hopeless war against the dead. They take our bodies to replenish their ranks, possess our young to cause havoc or simply to enjoy life once more... Some say they've even taken to... savour our flesh... As if it was some sort of delicacy..." - her tone becomes severe and concerned. "We've been looking for a way out. We've been looking... for a new home. Or at least for the means to destroy the dead... Once and for all." - she points out to you.

"You've made enemies with them. A sound choice. No doubt they want your bodies. No doubt they want the Teraphim. We are natural allies, it seems...." - she waves around. "And we might be able to work out a plan. If there are orcs beyond, there are other places we can go to... If there are Teraphim, perhaps our masters can receive us once more... Or.... There might be other alternatives... Depending on how fare you'd dare go." - she studies the heroes with her sightless eyes.
[MENTION=24380]Neurotic[/MENTION] [MENTION=6855102]Greenmtn[/MENTION] [MENTION=6776182]JustinCase[/MENTION] [MENTION=4936]Shayuri[/MENTION]
 

Neurotic

Adventurer
"I don't think you could survive in The Deep. You're certainly capable of moving without light and obviously adapt to different environments, but you have to be in force or you'll just get enslaved. And I cannot talk for Teraphim at all. But we can help each other with the undead. Whatever you did earlier and whatever your intentions, you're not stealing bodies from others."

Little alchemist offers while analyzing her touch and voice.
"You're not an orc. At least not only an orc. Are all your people capable of surviving underwater or each has specific...hm...evolutions."
 

JustinCase

the magical equivalent to the number zero
Aanzu's eyes narrow. The shaman is obviously hoping to get to an arrangement of sorts, but the dragonborn does not trust her. He knows, however, that Harfik is much better at this diplomacy thing, and unless the monk advises something truly stupid, the prince will go along. He does have a question, however.

"This one is curious how such an arrangement would benefit him and the lizards," he says softly.
 

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