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5E The Kalarian Precipice - Chapter Three


Otiroth: Small discoveries

Their rest was bat-ridden and cold, but Otiroth slept decently enough regardless. He sensed the voice, the gemstone, in his dreams, and laid awake for a moment once the others began to stir, contemplating it. A feverish dream brought on by bat bites, or a whisper of reality delivered quietly, a wish for responsibility and guidance? Guidance for himself and for a mystical stone so far bereft of its purpose.

Otiroth retrieved the stone, rolling it gently between his fingers for one moment. It was not so odd to think that mystical items could speak- and a stone capable of granting a wish of a spell a day was no minor artifact indeed.

A partnership. Yes. I will do right by your power.

It was no small decision to make. He would not do it idly or thoughtlessly; a hasty decision in such matters was worse than a poor one.

He'd straighten up as the others began to get themselves going; for now, the stone would be packed carefully away.

Otiroth's morning rituals seemed, otherwise, quite standard. A bit of mystical tricks out of his own personal bag of tricks to do a bit of cleaning and deodorizing in the morning- freshening up, such as it were, and then he would get the morning fire going.

"After we are out of here, friends, I am treating you all to a proper meal back at my master's shop. Some place we can get an oven..." Otiroth declared. They hadn't come super well-prepared to this mining delve.

Their next steps were up to them to decide. "We have more than ourselves to look after, now; but I worry that turning back now will undo much of our travails. Annit- before we came down here, did you father give any indication of what sort of gems or equipment we would need to find to help the cause?"

He worried that it was a 'know it if you see it' type quest, which defied some of their other preparation.

But if these other stones were as powerful as the one they had already found...


Jeovanna: Small discoveries

Jeovanna had piled up the skinned bat corpses in a corner while she worked.

She wasn't an animal!

Sleep had calmed her a bit- she felt that the part of herself she lost when she gave in to the madness was back. Was that a good or bad thing?

She grimaced as Otiroth started talking again. He really did love doing that. "Everything down this miserable hole should die," she voted. No mercy, no retreat. "The dwarf may well be safer with us than up in one of the upper rooms."

Not safe either place.
Carthum One-Tusk: Small Discoveries

Carthum had slept. Had spent time in meditation. He could not say where one began and the other ended.

He hoped Suru didn't mind him falling asleep on the job!

He had meditated on the nature of Suru's light: the light which had proven instrumental to their defeat of the demons. There were other clerics that Annit's father might have looked for- Paga, Hror- but they were not gods of light.

This was as it was meant to be, and he would endure it.

He would meditate on their dwarven friend and the gemstones he held as well. Metea could suss out her own prizes, but the black gemstone held other mysteries, and he must do his part. (As for the potions... did someone maybe want to taste one?) His knowledge of arcana was a bit specialized towards one source, though... <Arcana roll: 6>

As the others rose, Carthum would as well. He would fetch his water skin and drizzle some water into the dwarf's mouth- he was not sure if the mound had sustained him or not, so better safe than sorry- and then would move on to their next steps.

"Perhaps we can fashion a travois of some kind- and Metea, how often can you cast that image of yours, to hide from view?" They could keep both Metea and the dwarf- and whoever was pulling the travois- inside a hidden image as they headed down.

Carthum seemed loathe to just leave the dwarf, but even moreso to head back. His god wished him to be here, to fight! To bleed!

And splitting up was not worth considering.
Dain - Small Discoveries

Dain had taken the last watch, which was fortunate for him, as he had needed the time to recover. His wounds had been very close to being something he might not have walked away from. The difference between a flesh wound that closed quickly and one that allowed entrails to spill was small, no greater than the width of a finger.

I trod a narrow path for you, Essithea. Death on one side, dishonor on the other. Will you grant me more glimpses of my past? Or did I spring forth fully grown from some dark hollow that has never known the sun, to be your amusement?

He kept his vigil silently, and with earnest. There was little light, but what illumination there was granted him glimpses now and again of the images graven upon his blade. The blade that had been his, even before...before his time in Kalair. What did the new symbols entail? Or was it simply some gift from Annit's father, through some unknown means, to further aid his purpose? Either way, it still cut well enough. The edge had drawn much blood in the past day.

When the others awoke, Dain greeted them with nods and gestures of assurance that all had been well. He seemed preoccupied, or perhaps eager to continue on their journey. He didn't mind the dark, in fact he liked nothing more than shadowy woods and murky meres. But this mine was unnatural, not a cave sacred to Essithea but rather a symbol of the pains mortals would go through to find power. Wasn't that why they were here now? To recover power?

There was little wood to build a stretcher for the dwarf, unless they returned to the chamber they had rested in previously.

"Our bellies will no doubt enjoy your fare, Otiroth...should they remain unopened by some demon's claw. There will be time enough to feast when we have fulfilled our promise and leave this place." Dain was not chastising in his tone, but simply stated what he saw as matter of fact. He was already looking further into the mine, though his head did turn about to gaze back the direction they had come.

He looked at Annit, remembering suddenly her kindness when he was pained and weary. It was a gesture he could not forget. "If you have some knowledge of what we seek and where we should find it, perhaps now might be the time to guide us. Or should we take this poor dwarf back to the surface, trusting that he had some wisdom that may serve our purpose once his health has returned?"


Small Discoveries

At some point during his prayerful rest, some of the priest's questions are answered in a loose and roundabout way. Suru’s justice combined with Metea's subconscious stimulation of the little man has clearly helped. A tiny bit less pale, a loosening of the suffering expression upon his face, the easing of breaths. The dwarf is far from out of the woods yet, but whatever pain it is that afflicts him is slowly losing hold. After a night of careful watch, he is capable at least of swallowing the water kindly offered. There is hope yet.

Then there is the stone handed to the priest by Annit. Dark and light combined. A clarity interspersed with smokey ribbons of darkness. With it in your grasp you feel slightly less vulnerable, hidden too within a smokey shroud. A gentle fog rises around you as the secret is revealed!

<Possession of the gem allows a +1 AC whilst in your hand. Without direct physical contact its effects disappear.>

Annit had arisen to fresh questions, the recent events conjuring new curiosities and understandable concerns.

Otiroth had asked about equipment and which specific gems they sought. She could help with half of it at least. “In my pack I have some simple tools, a hammer and spike which should serve us well. Aside from that I guess we will have to hope that miners before us might have left something useful behind, and hopefully didn't pluck all the stones from the walls as well.”

She paused a moment then, wondering how to deliver an answer that might at least be of some help, now that Dain too sought some semblance of clarity. “I think there is more than collecting treasures expected of us. How can a few rocks help our people? There must be more to this expedition, and for that I guess we need to go deeper.”

The dwarf. What to do.

“Dain, we could call my father back to the entry, but that puts both him and us further risk. My heart does not wish the man to suffer here alone either. Can we carry him a way, or at least leave him in the room where we rested before? His situation seems to be improving.”

She smiled to the priest then, and wondered what the healer might think of all this. The dwarf was small and as light as a dwarf could ever be. The barbarian was strong... but also a little too intimidating to ask directly.


Metea: Small Discoveries

Metea had been mostly silent as the others went over their next steps. She was along for the ride, really. Perhaps she might have been more honed if she had gotten a few bat bites or a demon claw to the leg, but as it was, Metea found her comrade's protection to be more than adequate.

She'd brighten up a bit, quite suddenly. "Deeper! Yes! We have to keep going... what if the prize we seek at the end is not another treasure, but our own power? Do not pretend you don't all feel it! Perhaps it is the gemstones in this old mine, perhaps it is traveling hand-in-hand with danger, but we have learned much since we came down here!"

"Enough perhaps, to even drive off some creatures bothering farmers' fields!" She gave Otiroth a quick look at that. She knew he had, for whatever reason, taken that cause to heart. And Metea, well, she wouldn't mind helping out that sweet little Dira.

Besides, she knew her patron's desires. She had to fulfill them; it was a bargain, and Metea did not like to break bargains that seemed so in her own favor. Whatever her patron wished for, it was deeper in the mines.


Otiroth: Small discoveries

Otiroth frowned. He had to admit, he didn't find Annit's explanation wholly satisfactory- but he did believe her. They were in the dark, literally and figuratively, down here, and she had told them all she could. He could accept that, so long as they all worked together.

"I admit... the presence of demons and undead in this mine is troubling. To clear it out could protect Kalair from a great deal of trouble in the future, even if it is not in our life time. That is enough."

Was it, though? Metea spoke up then, and despite himself... Otiroth was charmed by her words. He knew flattery, but was still susceptible to it, especially from such a beguiling creature. And what sorcerer did not wish to believe that their power was essential- that they were essential- beyond just the power of their blood?

Yes! He was a dragon, and he would suffer no fiends to scrounge on his lands!

"We go on, then! Metea- that spell you cast before, to hide us. Could you do the same for yourself and the dwarf, should we run into more trouble? If the beasts see us, perhaps an illusion could ward off any creatures that might be looking for an easy meal?"

And protect Metea, as well. She was enthralling and deadly... but he could not bear to see her harmed!


Jeovanna: Small discoveries

It all seemed quite simple to Jeovanna. The strong were meant to protect the weak. The pack had proven itself to be strong, so as long as they weren't anymore bats, they could protect the citizens of Kalair. Perhaps even beyond.

This was all she had wanted; to protect Kalair.

"Good. We'll go down," Jeovanna agreed. Otiroth kept on going, though. Jeovanna could accept that. The dwarf was not pack, but it was weak, so they might as well protect it. "The rest of us can take turns carrying him," Jeovanna declared. By that, she probably meant those of them that could manage it. "Whoever is carrying the dwarf, stays to the middle."

There. Well-protected all around, and would leave room for a warrior in front and in back to protect their spell casters and their thief.
Carthum One-Tusk: Small Discoveries

Carthum rose from his vigil by the dwarf as the others took stock. He would let them know what he had learned about the stone- for now, he would hold onto it, unless anyone was particularly enamored of the idea.

He would wedge the stone into the strap of his shield for now- so that it was easy to transfer to his hand should he need to pick up his shield. In time, perhaps an armband of some sort might be something he could put together, so it was a bit easier to manage.

He smiled at the others as they talked. Their intentions, so far, seemed pure and just. And the sorcerer- already thinking and plotting! Otiroth irked him for many reasons, but he had to admit, it was good they had someone that over-thought everything.

"So, it is decided? We head down," Carthum looked to the others for final confirmation, for if anyone strongly protested, they might have to rethink. "I can take the dwarf first." The poor creature was light enough that he did not imagine it would be a burden at all to carry him.

And, like Otiroth, he figured that Metea protecting the dwarf in battle would help to protect herself as well.
Dain- Small Discoveries

Well, they were going deeper. Good. His own mettle had been tested, and some glimpses of his past, and some gestures from his goddess had followed.

He wanted more. If he had to bleed and suffer for some revelation, then he welcomed it. Better to die knowing who he was than to live a life of madness.

He simply nodded to the others. When they were ready, they would continue on. Jeovanna's idea was sound, especially when it was her carrying the dwarf.