Posts: 138
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2016 1:43 am


Postby Vogelens » Thu Sep 15, 2016 2:35 pm

The music of the tavern was heard even in the hallway behind the common room, which was no surprise. The songs of a drunk were a loud one, but that would suit the cowled form striding down the hall just fine. The form made its way down the hallway, stopping near one of the inn’s bedroom doors.
The figure took a glance to either side of the hall, to confirm with her eyes that the silence was not deceptive, excluding the raucous celebrations in the common room. The hallway was empty, all was silent. If one didn’t consider the energetic music and drunken singing, of course... those were excellent at masking hushed steps.

The knock on the door was subtle, a quick staccato of raps to the oak. Two knocks, a pause and two more. The door seemed to take the hint, as it responded with a small creak after some delay. The hint of pale fingers was enough to make one fairly sure the door did not act of its own accord, helped along by a figure on the other side.

"Nightingales flock at midnight." The voice sounded. Secretive, mysterious, and cause for the cowled person to exhale slowly. The response was a bit dry. About as much as a scorching desert. "... You like this cloak and dagger business too much." Silence. Silence and judging eyes causing the cowled woman to speak once more, reluctant. But due to necessity, giving in to a patience much stronger and better practiced than her own. "...But aye. Nightingales flock, to sing together through the night."

There certainly was plenty of singing through the night here, though none of it by nightingales, the woman thought to herself in mild amusement as the door creaked further open. She stepped inside, the silent invitation taken up. A glance was cast around the room; dimly lit, the corners of it in shadow. Only as the door closed, the cowled woman turned around to face her hostess, brushing that cowl back to reveal her features more. A set of comely elven features, bearing the faintest smile. Elven eyes that still knew more than she did, watching, judging perhaps. "Come now, Scarlet. You enjoy it just as much. You just do not wish to admit it." There was some mirth in the voice. Mirth and a faint hint of mocking, in such a way it could simply not be taken as offensive. A way that could simply be translated to 'elves'.

Gwendolynn shook her head, but she could not hide it. She did enjoy the mystery and secrecy. She played the 'mysterious wizard' card plenty of times with her friends and even her sister alike. "Regardless, it is good to see you, Fox." Fox, or Silver Fox fully. Not the elf's true name, more’s the pity, but the title she went by. She herself was dubbed Scarlet, and did have to admit to quite liking the ring of it, the connotation.

"And you, Scarlet. You must be glad to be in Cormyr again too." The spellsword cast a brief sideway glance to the one window in the room. The curtains were closed to hide the apparent majesty of Cormyr, but the elven woman spoke true. Gwendolynn was glad to be back in Cormyr. She welcomed the rain the Forest Kingdom more so than that everlasting winter in Impiltur. She was not a fan of the snow, nor cold. Despite the long trip to Cormyr, she did not regret it. Truth be told, Gwendolynn never minded travelling nor wandering, and this was a much needed trip. A part of her wondered if she was missed, around Sarshel. Her presence likely was, considering her prowess with the Art and blade alike, but her personally? Her jibes, puns, jokes, simple company? Some might even not notice she is gone, believing the wizardess to be locked in her room studying. She has had those habits before. Would Serace think the same? She did not tell her sister where she was going, only that she would be gone.

"I received your report, about your sister." The elf spoke up again, words that matched Gwen's line of thoughts well, as if she knew. What was she, a Diviner? These words brought Gwendolynn from her silent musings backs to reality rather swiftly though. A grim reality, one that manifested in a frown upon the redhead's features. Serace, wounded and maimed in a fight against cultists. The healers said that she would no longer be able to use her arm, the armour melted to it. Gwendolynn's heart sank when she thought about it, the fear, shock and desperation she felt back then trying to claw their way to the surface again. She had nothing witty to offer in response. Her usual sharp wit was as blunt as a blacksmith's hammer.

The elf noted the silence, not a surprise. She knew Gwendolynn well, better than most. She was the one who saw the spellsword grow up, the one who taught her the ways of the Art. A master's insight, which was a terrifying thing in itself. It could rival some of Gwendolynn's own divinations with ease. Fortunately, that insight was used for good rather than discomfort here, as she continued speaking, brushing past the daunting, uncomfortable subject. "The reports you gave me about Songhall were also promising. But, the one that worried me..." Straight to business, unusual for the elven folk but welcome enough, here and now. Gwendolynn could practically read the elf's mind with that. Of course, she was aided by foresight and one of the reasons for the meeting.

Silently, the redhead opened up her satchel, to withdrawn a small bundle of cloth. Wrapped tightly, bound by magic even. Though of course, the magic strands that kept the abjuration in place were invisible to the naked eye, but that did not seem to make the elf pause. She frowned as well now, carefully taking the package. "This is it?" "Aye. A dagger, definitely identified as originating within Narfell." "Is it dangerous?" "No. I did not discern anything bound to it." A sensible question, especially after what happened before with such weapons in Sarshel moons ago. Perhaps the abjurations were unneeded, but Gwendolynn did not wish to take any risks. Also the reason she decided there were better hands than her own to handle that dagger she recovered, while delving through an old ruin with some of her friends. It was disregarded as some old dagger, a wizardess' fancy. Some might have seen it as mere loot perhaps, but that was for the best. There were laws against taking such artifacts in Impiltur. But then again, what the authorities did not know would not hurt them. They might be in more danger if they did know and wished the object to be kept in the country. Perhaps not to the scale of demons erupting out of it, but... Well. Gwendolynn could not come up with an example. The dagger was likely merely ceremonial. No example was needed, much like no unnecessary risks were needed either. And it was the reason she spent weeks on the road too.

The object, wrapped in protective cloth and warding magic alike was placed lightly on the table. Both magi watched it a moment, as Gwendolynn's hand withdrew from it. Silence. Or, as silent as it could be in that backroom. The faint muffled sounds of laughter, music and drinking was still heard. It was not minded by either, likely. It did help drown out their conversation for any possible eavesdroppers. But who would drop their eaves there, in that particular inn? It was a mere roadside inn. A cozy one, all things considered. Gwendolynn deemed it cozy enough, but perhaps that was her being nostalgic about Cormyr and being back, even if but for a few days. It was a bit out of the way, at the least, and that served the two magi just fine.

"I suppose this wraps up our business here then?" Gwendolynn's words made the elf's hand pause, as it moved to take the wrapped up dagger. The spellsword then received a strange, sideways look from the elf. Curious, confused. It left Gwendolynn pleased, though perhaps her smile was a bit too smug. Still, this was her victory. Even subtle puns have their place. A small nod was given, as the elf collected the object now. "Keep us apprised of similar artifacts though. And any other information of note. Especially the demon." Gwendolynn nodded to that. The demon, that had all but disappeared. She did not like that, it could only mean trouble. At least if it was rampaging, they would know what is was up to. Still, concerns for later.

"You will not stay? I was hoping you would, for a few days at least." Tempting. And the Spellsword wished she could. She considered her response, her options. Would the world stop turning if she stayed a few more days in Cormyr with her former teacher? They had a lot to catch up on, after all. That, and Gwendolynn had to admit the pressence of another arcanist was more than welcome. But she couldn't and she knew it. One simple reason, that simple reason being but a name as a response. A single name that held more emotion than a full sentence could. Sorrow, pity. Sadness. "Serace." The priestess needed her. She needed her sister, for support. And Gwendolynn herself had her own tasks, her duties in the town called Songhall. And of course, friends were missed. She still had quite a journey ahead of her, the burden of the magus who did not possess any means of teleportation across countries. No, she could not afford any time to stay those few days.

Then again, what good would it be to travel this night? She had plenty of time to still set out the next day. Tomorrow.
Kara Farrowwood ~ Druidess of Silvanus

Posts: 138
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2016 1:43 am

The Art of sharing

Postby Vogelens » Tue Oct 18, 2016 4:53 pm

It was a dark tunnel, but that is expected from these sorts. Nobody in their right mind would venture down in some abandoned, sunken ruin to light candles or torches daily, would they? No, the darkness kept visitors away, and would not let itself be chased from its cozy home anytime soon. Someone seemed to try though, Gwendolynn noticed as she stepped quietly along that dark and empty hall. A solitary light flickered in the far distance, around the corner.
She did not like it too much, nor trusted it. That lightsource did not belong here, no more than those who carried it with them. Capable people, whoever they might be, the spellsword noted this quickly enough. The ruins she was investigating had very few traps left. The kobolds that lived here were slain as well, efficiently removed by those would be adventurers.

“Would be”, as they were not truly adventurers. She found that out when two sentries, men clad exclusively in black, attacked her without a word. All this aggression despite Gwendolynn's best efforts to disarm them with her wit. Though, thinking about it, Serace would have mentioned that aggression may have been because of her wit, rather than despite it. Skilled men though, trained killers. They were quick with their blades, but just not quick enough; a fact the spellsword considered very fortunate for her own well-being.

Het footsteps were kept as silent as possible as she advanced through the dark tunnel, the only light that of the flickering torches ahead, the only sound a light ringing of her chain. The light was a bright contrast to the rest of the tunnel, an spot of brightness in a world of black and grey that stood out like a guiding beacon. It was extra bright to Gwen, a downside to the spell to enhance her eyesight, perhaps. While the spellsword could see perfectly in the dark with it, colours remained behind. But then again, it was not like there would be many interesting colours to see in this place, anyway.

She reached the corner and turned it, to peer into that brightly lit hall. What was once a stone door, protected by ancient runes and carvings, stood wide open to reveal the room beyond. She was not quite certain what it was meant to represent. It looked in parts like a vault to store something of important and in part like a tomb, a place to bury something to be forgotten after a few ages, though in this case it would not be a body. Old carvings and decorations adorned the walls, words in an old, dead language. She didn’t have time to try and guess at which. Pillars stood in a circle along the round room, to make it look all the more impressive. In the middle however, was the prize that which Gwendolynn was after. A pedestal, shaped like a hand, sculpted out of a smooth marble. In its palm, it held a tome, old and important looking, even from the far distance. The way it was presented, it almost could remind one of a temple, the room built around the display of this work. The altar held it up, presenting it to the little sliver of the world that’d ever come down here. And then of course, there were the three faithful standing around the centerpiece of this underground church, each glaring over towards Gwendolynn, the one disturbing their pilgrimage.

Except these were not faithful men, nor were they priests. These were dark men who were not up to much good, weapons brandished and a glare in their eye directed towards the spellsword. Gwendolynn was given ugly looks before, but these men were trying hard to impress in that regard. The man with dark hair in a small ponytail and an oddly clean shaven sneered at her. He stepped forward, a blade held in each of his hands. He was flanked by large brute with an even larger hammer only fit to break things into very tiny pieces, certainly not to forge or craft. The eyepatch worn was only noticed after the large weapon was, but when it comes to spotting details priorities still have to be made. The third man had a full beard that would put her friend Merney's to shame, though it was less well groomed. His bald head only put emphasis on how full and scruffy the beard was, a tangle at every angle. He stood in the back with a large crossbow in his hands, the tip of the bolt gleaming in the nearby torch light. It was, as expected, aimed towards the spellsword. And much to Gwendolynn's quiet disappointment, this was not simply to show the weapon off. Ponytail spoke up. Clear the spokesman of the group, perhaps even the leader. Gwendolynn was inclined to lean towards the latter, going by the sense of authority surrounding the man. "And who are you supposed to be?" A sophisticated tone of voice that stood in odd contrast to the company this supposed gentleman kept.
He did not seem pleased, it was hardly a fool's guess as to what happened to his sentries. There was still some blood staining the sword held by the magus, which was only further proof of how she got past.

There they stood, three armed men and but one Gwen. She faced such odds before, though these three seemed skilled and experienced past the common thug. They carried themselves as if they fully knew how to use those weapons they were holding. The spellsword knew that it would be wiser to be diplomatic in the situation she was, if she wanted to avoid more blood being spilled. It would be wiser to not give them reason to get any angrier than they were already.

"Just call me Scarlet. And I am dreadfully sorry, I must have taken a wrong turn down the hall. I did not know this room was occupied." The words came out in a highly cheeky tone. A very wry smile accompanied the words, which only confirmed that wisdom was not her response to the men. But that was a thing she often struggled with. Humourous and witty, if not just inappropriate, remarks were made to hide her tension before a battle. Not something many appreciated or understood, as the case here likely would be. Gwendolynn stepped forward as well. She tried to be casual about it while she let her eyes sweep between the men, their weapons and their stances. It made her notice that her words did rub them the wrong way, their entire posture become more aggressive. Men that were ready to kill and eager to get to it now. Well done Gwendolynn, she thought to herself.

Eyepatch growled out after her response. "Feckin' bitch!" He lurched forwards, intimidating and with murder in his eyes. The large hammer was lifted up some with both hands, ready to smash right into her. Gwendolynn tensed some more, she did not quite fancy to get smashed by that thing at all. Ponytail held up sword though, a halting gesture to make eyepatch pause. His eyes remained locked on Gwendolynn. They were calculating, considering. There was recognition in the way he looked at her. Ah, reputation. A blessing and a curse both at the same time. His posture did not falter though. He remained guarded, ready to strike. Though with some luck the reputation would make the man more cautious. One can hope, the spellsword thought. But then again, optimists never seem to learn, do they?

The bald man would have none of the caution though. Not even when the brute was halted. "Just kill 'er and be done with it, Jared!" The shout came, almost loud enough to drown out the thunking sound that went along with it. The bolt shot like lightning and Gwendolynn realized a split second too late it came to her. She flinched even as the deadly shot bounced aside, but a few inches of her face. A protective spell, of course, Gwendolynn was at least well prepared with her wards. The brute roared his battlecry, though the spellsword snapped to her senses soon enough to intercept him. The fight had started with the crossbow discharged, even Jared could not hold this ogre of a man back now. The hammer only hit air as she dodged it, her own sword lashing out as eyepatch was caught slightly off balance. The sharp steel cut right through his shirt, only to be met with a metallic clang. Breastplate worn under the cloth. Was this not /her/ thing though?

Gwendolyn deftly stepped around the brute. She heard a creaking sound in the far end of the room, a background noise. The bald man's crossbow being reloaded. The hammer came at her again, a vicious blow that would have hit her if it were not for one of her wards. The abjuration made the hammer bounce off harmlessly, no doubt saving her life as a result. The spellsword responded by bringing her sword down in a low cut, slicing through cloth, skin and flesh. Eyepatch howled out in pain, slumping to one knee. The trouserleg started to darken as blood poured from the injured leg. A good thing breastplate only covered its namesake. One does not don breastplate to protect the limbs after all.

A swooshing sound passed by Gwendolynn, followed by the clatter of a bolt hitting the wall. She quickly turned in the direction the shot came from. Baldy was already working on the crossbow to reload it once more, Ponytail was between her and the archer though, with intentions to engage as well. He closed the gap by dashing to her. Both his blades came at her; one was caught by the spellsword's blade with a metallic clang. The other came low, slashing at a hip. It cut easily through the cloth of her robe, only to be met with a dull clang: the adamantine underneath the cloth.

Jared did not seem shocked, nor surprised. A strike never intended to wound but to simply test her defenses. The man smiled at her. A confident, smug smile. An infuriating one actually, she decided. Gwendolynn struck at him next but he easily caught her strike with both of his smaller swords. The sound of steel striking steel sounded in the room again as a result of the parry, a skillful one.

Gwendolynn met many experienced swordsman. Many of her friends considered her to be amongst the better, though most of her skill was in the Art of magic. Magic enhanced her swordplay when needed. Rather than being a master swordsman herself, she was still a mage.

That also meant rather than being a master swordsman herself, she –was- still a mage. Words of power easily flowed from her lips as the three blades met together in a metallic clang once more. As the spellsword finished the incantation a searing flame sprang to life. Magical flames engulfed the blade, dancing with heat and flame along the sharp steel. Ponytail's eyes widened in shock and suprise. He heard of her reputation, but seemingly did not ever see magic used like this before his very own eyes.

The man backed away to disengage, his footwork an artform of its own. Gwendolynn pursued with her now flaming sword, but was halted by another bolt striking the protective shell around her. She recovered quickly enough to engage ponytail again, her focus on him rather than the archer. He kept that smug smile however. A smug smile, as if he knew something she did not. And suddenly, she realized why he was smiling so smugly at her. Or rather not at her, but behind her.

She tried to turn at the roaring sound that was born by rage, but it was all she could do before the hammer struck her hard. Eyepatch managed to get up, and while hi leg was bleeding rather profusely, he gathered himself enough to join the battle. The hammer blow felt like a tidal wave crashing into her. It was dampened by her protective wards and her adamantine armour, which kept the mortal strike to not knock her out instantly. It was the only mercy given to her that instant.
Gwendolynn staggered back, trying to catch the breath that was knocked out of her. She could barely make out Jared closing in and she did not even see the brute from where she lay on the floor. The entire room was swaying and dark spots hindered her vision. She rolled aside along the rough stonework to force herself out of the way and keep herself moving. Her head was swimming even as she reached for the spell to defend herself. Her head was pounding as she gathered all the mental strength she could for the spell. Fortunately she was skilled and practice in spellcasting when normally a wizard's concentration would be broken, a skill that might save her life here. The incantation was spoken as the illusion was called upon. Not a moment too late, the hammer came crashing down just besides her when she finished. Jared's blades sweeped near that spot as well. A bolt followed as well, only to clatter against the stonework where other weapons just punished it too.

The magical displacement gave her opportunity to push herself up, to regain her composure. Another hammer blow came at her, but it missed her by at least two feet. Ponytail lashed out in a flurry of steel with those two swords, adjusting and dealing with the magic better than the brute did. Gwendolynn was forced to parry one of his attacks and had to step back to avoid another one. Perhaps not step, it was too clumsy for a step. A stumble. She felt the pain across most of her body, leaving her stance an unsteady one. What was this man? Was he even a man and not an ogre? She thought the brute was taken out of battle by the cut to the leg, but it seemed she was mistaken. A foolish mistake she should not have made. She only took a brief moment to curse herself; fortunately she at least had means to salvage the situation after her misjudgement.

The brute was unsteady on his wounded leg too. Each angry swing did take a toll on his stamina, at least it meant this ogre of a man had limits too. The spellsword quickly took opportunity, clumsily backing away from ponytail's wall of steel. More words of the Art filled the room though some were drowned out by a blade slashing her across the chest. Jared's sword struck her armour like a bell. She felt it resonate against the pain in her body, though while painful it was not a lethal strike. Just one more bruise for later. She pushed her mind through the pain and released the magic she called upon. The brute was midswing as he suddenly stopped completely. A permanent look of suprise was etched upon the living statue's face. Or at least, it would last as long as the holding spell did. At least that was one of the three killers disabled.

Gwendlynn barely could raise her blade up to block one of ponytail's sword as it came at her again. Flames flickered along the edge as the metallic clangs sounded through the room. Their eyes locked. Narrow and holding an orange glow from the flames, the two glared at each other. But for a second however, as Jared did not waste much time. He brought his second sword next to his first one, pushing it against Gwendolynn's mage blade. He pushed down at it hard with both hands, as he tried to nudge the flames towards the spellsword's own face. How ironic would that be, scorched by her own magic like that? Gwendolynn struggled to keep her blade from moving. Even with her strength enhanced by magic, it was a losing battle. She was sore and getting more and more tired from the battles she fought that day. Not only that, but Baldy approached with his crossbow as well. Her protective magic might not do as well against a pointblank shot, something the archer realized as well. The man's teeth were bared, his lips pulled back to reveal the sneer in the sneer in the midst of that beard. Jared's smug smile became a more vicious one, a growl released as he leaned more into his efforts.

Gwendolynn decided she would rather not fight a losing battle however. A hand was raised up, finding the words of power in her mind. Her mental strengths and focus pushed away the pounding in her head long enough and a hum of static clung to the air. Sparks flit between her gauntleted fingertips for a split second, and the room suddenly lit up for a moment. Lightning roared out of her outstretched hand, lashing out towards the men. Jared jumped aside with almost unnatural swift reflexes causing the bolt of lightning to do little but graze his arm. It however scythed its way right through the archer, crashing into him like a hungry snake into a meal. It kept its course, only stopping when hitting the opposite wall. Another static hum and the evocation was gone.

The bald man toppled over with his crossbow clattering to the floor. The smell of burned, scorched flesh invaded Gwendolynn's nostrils. It was a sickly sweet smell, one she smelled often enough but would likely never get used to. Jared backed away more, the arm that was grazed by lightning held close to his chest. The smug smile from before was a pained grimace now. If Gwendolynn was not as sore and tired as she was, she would have told him that he looked shocked that she disarmed him like that. She had time to lament a missed pun later though.

There they stood. A sore and exhausted spellsword faced the injured swordmaster. They watched each other for what seemed like an age. Each of them held a calculating look in their eyes as they tried to judge the other's state and how the battle would continue.

Jared seemed to form his own ideas before long, a plan that Gwendolynn could not help but agree with. He backed away, eyes kept on the spellsword all the while. "Congratulations then, Scarlet." He said. An attempt to be polite, to portray himself as a gentleman. Words not meant and a thin veil to hide the fact he was still a killer prevented Gwendolynn from smiling back at him. Jared then turned to leave, his departure made quick.

Rather than enjoy her hard earned victory, Gwendolynn strode over to the brute. Sore steps but the holding spell would not last forever. She did not like spilling blood much, even when it was a neccesarily evil to do good. It did not quite feel right to execute the man like this. She frowned, but knew it had to be done. The brute was brought down with a quick swipe of her blade. A bloody end. At least it was quick, not something men like him always receive.

Two of the three mercenaries were dead, and one had fled. Gwendolynn finally exhaled with some relief, both at surviving yet another encounter as well as being able to recover what she was after. It was relief, but no true joy. She was too sore and bruised for that she considered, as she made her way to the altar. She recovered the book with care, more care than she had been given in this place.

And after all that and all the injuries she had endured... She still had to climb all the way up a damn mountain too.


"A donation?"
The man asked. He was one of the librarians at the Hall of Knowledge in Songhall. Gwendolynn knew of him, she saw him about before. Once or twice, perhaps. She knew /of/ him, but she could not claim she knew /him/.They never talked or met, really. The man looked at the offered book. Gwendolynn was not an unfamiliar sight at the library and on top of that, an arcanist in armour tends to stand out.
The tome was nothing magical, nothing special to many. But it was a part of history. A book with stories and tales. Folklore and myth. Ones lost to the ages, or simply forgotten on purpose. But there are many who love to indulge in the past and all things considered, this book remained a work of art, in one form or another.
Gwendolynn asked herself if it did not take more effort than it was worth to recover, though. She had expected more in that ruin but most of it was plundered already, either by adventurers or opportunists like the men she encountered. She had wondered why a storybook like this was locked away but soon settled on the questions regarding the tome being more interesting than the answers. It would be a good donation, perhaps she would make some scholar or lore master happy. And perhaps it would help her with gaining more reputation in the library as an added bonus.

"Aye." She responded, with a faint smile. She had changed to fresh clothes before seeking out the library, but she unfortunately did not have the luxury of a fresh body. She was still sore, which took a toll on the effort of smiling. "Courtesy of Gwendolynn Highblade." The spellsword continued when she saw his look. "It was found in a place once long forgotten but recently remembered. As for the reason to the donation?" She figured a reason would be asked for, she might as well get to the point rather than have him ask first. “I share an interest to preserve knowledge and works of art. And to share it with others." It was a simple truth. There was no need to go into details about the sources that led her on this trail. Gwendolynn was already seen as resourceful by many, this might simply reinforce that belief by this librarian too. What she could not explain however why this seemingly simple storybook was kept locked away as it was. Why was it on a pedestal? Why was it so special? Questions for any loremaster more interested than she was to find out, she figured.

The man seemed to accept the reasoning, though he did remain thoughtful. The spellsword however felt little more needed to be said and with a nod of her head she moved to leave the Halls of Knowledge. Out into the cold and the wind and likely more punishment for her already sore body, in the search for knowledge.
Kara Farrowwood ~ Druidess of Silvanus

Posts: 138
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2016 1:43 am

We hall have our demons I - A Bone to pick

Postby Vogelens » Sat Oct 29, 2016 2:23 pm

Dark and gloomy. That summed the old tomb up well. Gwendolynn felt ill at ease, but none in their right mind would feel comfortable in places like this. Even Serace was unnerved by delving in deep catacombs and she was a priestess, supported by the faith. The spellsword accompanied her sister too often to those dark places, to put the dead to rest once more. Too often for her liking at least, but this is where her path led her this night. It was a grim reality, that this was where most of her paths led her these days.

Here and there in one of the nooks and crannies of the underground cemetery, there was a sarcophagus or coffin hidden away, and cobwebs aplenty. Apparently when it comes to unnerving places, those are the first to take advantage of the location. Dust covered everything as well, something that would come hardly as a surprise. The place was sealed for a long time, up until recently. But the thing that made Gwendolynn feel even more ill at ease; an orange glow ahead, illuminating the room at the far end of the antechamber she was in. That glow was the reason she was in these halls of the dead as it was. Torchlight. Torchlight brought in by graverobbers to be more precise. A band of hooded men that stalked through the night in a recently unearthed tomb. And, as the spellsword discerned when trailing after them, a Narfelli tomb at that. The signs, the scriptures on the walls and sarcophagi alike gave it away too clearly. As if a regular tomb would not be unnerving enough...

Gwendolynn advanced slowly and cautiously, she did not wish to give her presence away too soon after all. Her sword had already been drawn and held firmly in her one hand. The other was occupied with a crystal vial, containing what may have seemed simple water to the naked eye. She had managed to convince Serace to bless several vials of holy water for her some time ago, with the promise to the priestess that she would not go gallivanting in unholy places alone. And here she was, alone in just such a place. Life is full of surprises like that. At least she was prepared.

A loud shout of panic made Gwendolynn tense up. It was the sound of a man, a cry of pain and terror. Another cry followed a split second later. A different one, this one had a higher pitch to it. Gwendolynn frowned, and licked her dry lips. Her breath was held still until she came to the decision to move forward again, her heart beating fast in her throat. Best not let whatever is ahead and caused this catch her by surprise. She had means of escape ready, in case it was too much for her. She had already decided to not engage in any battles with too much risk ahead of time, the spells she prepared reflected this well.

The spellsword expected the worst in this tomb already; To expect the worst means you can only find yourself disappointed when it is not as bad as initially believed. Some words of wisdom once shared with her long ago. It held little value then and there, as the spellsword was not left disappointed one bit by what she saw. She stepped into the room, after noticing the place had been plundered and pillaged already. Coffins and sarcophagi were broken apart, urns were toppled over and altars were plucked bare of any valuables they may have held. The culprits were still present it seemed, but not in any state to enjoy their plunder. They lay mostly on the ground in slowly growing pools of blood and with a several skeletal forms towering over them. The skeletal beings were clad in ancient armour, with worn arms held that held little illusion as to what their purpose was in this place. Guardians or ancient warriors, raised from their slumber by the desecration of their tombs. Someone might find some poetic justice in a situation like that. Graverobbers plunder tombs and disturb the dead. The dead rise and slay the ones who woke them from that slumber. Gwendolynn just felt she felt sick to her stomach. A strange feeling and sickness, caused by the lingering taint of dark magic in the air. There was nothing poetic and hardly any justice, just the stench of necromancy at play.

The skeletal guardians turned towards the spellsword and a shiver passed through her spine. A cold shiver, that went further than simply her body, cutting into the soul. Empty eyesockets gazed at her, with ever grinning skulls not showing any good intentions in them. Had it been some years ago she would have fully frozen up no doubt, paralyzed by fear. Experience fighting them alongside her sister and a mind trained for focus allowed her to steel herself, and to act quickly. She made the arcane gesture as words flowed from her lips. Powerful words, words of magic that echoed through the room as the almost alien phrases were muttered. Powerful conjuration was called upon to open up a portal, one to another world, another plane of existence, a portal to allow her summoned help to step though. Stone scraped against stone as a large, lumbering form stepped before her. A large being, formed of pure stone and earth, towered above all in the room. It moved slowly, deliberately forward. Each movement it made was accompanied by the grinding sound of stone on stone.

"Thank you for the distraction, Scarlet! Try not to die now!" A voice sounded behind Gwendolynn, followed by footsteps running across the stonework. The spellsword frowned deeply as she cast a glance over a shoulder. She did recognize the voice, seeing the fleeing outline of the man only confirmed it. Jared, a treasure hunter she met before under similarly grave circumstances. The pun wasn’t intended. The bastard, he must have hid himself in a corner, using Gwendolynn as a distraction to get away. He clearly was not leaving empty handed either. Something long was carried, a staff? And something else, she could not quite make out what before the sole surviving man disappeared into the tunnel.

The sound of shattering bones made Gwendolynn snap back to the dangerously armed skeletons. One had gotten close enough for her elemental guardian to take action. The large rocky creature had slammed a fist into it. The skeletal vanguard's bones were sent flying through the room, a rattling promise to the others what might happen if they decided to follow. But, undead are not known for reason, something made clear as they all leapt forward in unison upon the stone. The majority of them charged the elemental, their ancient blades slashing at its stone body. It had the expected effect on the towering stone creature. That is to say, it had none at all. The elemental retaliated with its own slow strikes at them, fighting them off. The heavy fists shattered the skeletons one by one, though they kept coming, keeping up their relentless assault.

Two of them managed to move around the elemental, the living rock was occupied by others and slower than them. Lucky her, they came right towards her. Gwen was ready for them. She still held the vial with water, blessed water by a powerful priestess of Torm. As one raised its rusted glaive for a strike, Gwendolynn seized the opportunity without hesitation. The vial shattered against its skull and the blessed water splashed all over it, hissing as it struck the bones. The undead recoiled, but Gwendolynn stepped forwards. Gwendolynn was fully aware the blade of her sword could not do much against it, there was little to cut. But a sword is more than the blade alone, something proven by the spellsword as the blade's pommel was slammed into the skeleton’s skull. A sickening crunch at the hard impact and the thing toppled over. Serace definitely earned herself a hug for her work with the blessed water.

The second skeleton swung it's battle axe at Gwendolynn, but it was deflected by one of her protective wards. Arcane runes flared up along her armour upon the impact, the force of it absorbed fully by the magic. It would have been a deadly strike if allowed free reign, something prevented by the spellsword's foresight. She was not even going to bother with swordplay at this point Gwendolynn decided, it was better to minimize risks with the undead. She raised her now freehand, murmuring the words for the incantation. The skeleton lunged at her, but was met by a burst of flame, erupting from her hand. Fire fanned out, engulfing the undead. It lost its momentum against the burst of fire, despite its attempts to struggle against the magic. It took but a moment for its bones to blacken and become brittle. And it was but a moment later as ash and scorched bone collapsed onto the floor in a useless, unmoving pile.

The elemental had shattered two more of the skeletons as well; it's heavy fists made short work of the moving bones. Though, the relentless assault upon it was starting to leave it's mark. Even a heavy rock can suffer damage, if chipped away at long enough. These skeletons had all the time they needed for that, and the unholy strength to make it easier for them. Gwendolynn eyed the undead and the elemental, a frown on her features. A brief glance was cast over a shoulder and back to the fight. This battle could go on for a long time without either side giving in, but the spellsword did not have the time. She had to try and catch up with that man, Jared. Or try to at least, the bastard had a good head start.

Gwendolynn stepped back before raising her hand. A dismissive gesture was made as she willed the summoning spell to end, the elemental sent back to where it belonged. Perhaps the elemental would have managed to shatter all the skeletons, perhaps not. Gwendolynn was not one to simply leave a living being behind like that, however. It would feel wrong with a person and it felt wrong for an elemental. The skeletons turned towards her before they advanced slowly, bones ticking against the floor with each footstep. Gwendolynn however did not care for them to close the distance between them and herself; another spell was already flowing from her lips before they could take more than a couple of steps. In response to her words and the spell called upon, flames rose out from the floor. The roaring fires formed a long line all along the room to form a wall between Gwendolynn and the walking dead, a barrier to hold them at bay. One of the skeletons was unfortunate enough to have been caught by the rising flames; it took but a split second for it to be reduced to ashes. As the others halted before the flames, Gwendolynn turned to quickly depart and leave these dead behind. She was not ashamed to admit she was rather eager to do so; the place did unnerve her to the core. Even after so long such places always did, and this she was here without her priestly sister.

The cool air that met the magus as she emerged from the tomb was welcome, though she could not enjoy it much. She expected Jared's headstart to be enough for him to get away and she was proven right. It annoyed her though as she had to find him through other means now. Someone stealing something from a Narfelli tomb cannot mean much good..artifacts of that ancient empire were to blame for Sarshel’s state even now, after all. She had to find the man, in more ways than one. Find out where he was and also who he was. As well as find out what he stole and find a way to secure it. And the spellsword also had to let a holy man or holy woman know of this tomb so it could be cleansed properly. Gwendolynn figured she could use some help with that, fortunately she had the right people in mind as well. Hopefully they would be willing to aid her.

But, all that had to come after looking up her sister for that well deserved hug, of course.
Last edited by Vogelens on Mon Nov 07, 2016 9:07 am, edited 2 times in total.
Kara Farrowwood ~ Druidess of Silvanus

Posts: 138
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2016 1:43 am

We all have our demons II - Of Research

Postby Vogelens » Tue Nov 01, 2016 10:09 pm

If one were to imagine dusty old tomes, imagine their stale smell and leather texture, the stains of age and faint crinkle of paper, one would note that the books in front of the spellsword would meet every expectation, down to the faded ink and probable boredom. At least, boredom for most. These tomes, though, were not coated with dust. They were kept clean, neat and ordered, as good a state as age could allow due to the diligence of Songhall’s loremasters. The ancient works of knowledge were gathered in two small piles at the table in the library, one pile of tomes Gwendolynn still had to go through and the other, the ones she already researched. The unread one was the taller of the two by several thousands of pages, all of them huddled together cozily between their own respective bookcovers. The books were stacked carefully, for the peace of mind of the wandering librarians.

The magus would have jested to friends that the pile of books was merely light reading, but there was nobody to make such a jest to. And it was, in fact, quite weighty, even for her. The loremasters had left her to her silence and solitude for her research, as she had requested. She could hardly make the jest to the tomes; she had been given strange looks when she had a conversation with one of her tomes before. Admittedly, it was a rather one sided conversation and ultimately was nothing more than the spellsword musing her distracted thoughts out loud. Books would make for awful conversation partners anyway; Gwendolynn had always pictured them to have a very pedantic and limited way of approaching debates.

In front of the spellsword and between the two towers of books laid out her work. Among it were the tome she was currently working on as well as quite a bit of parchment and two maps, spread out and corners held down by the book towers. One was old, aged, and the other far newer, the pages clean and precise. The setup was flanked by two inkwells on the right, one of them nearly depleted by one of the quills stored. Notes and additions were made to one of the maps, as well as the formerly empty parchment the spellsword brought. And then there was the left flank, spell components as well as other tools used for her divinations laid out orderly. Divinations the magus had employed to get through the tomes faster and to be able to make the connections quicker. Divinations used to find references, both on the maps as well as the other tomes she still had to go through or in some cases, ones she had already read thoroughly before. It was nothing surprising that wizards were among masters of research, and even they had developed subtle shortcuts to draw the monotony and hours out of their work.

Her research was coming along well though, and she was definitely no stranger to this sort of deskwork. There were times she felt more at home doing research rather than merely out in the field, despite the teasing a younger her had endured from a younger Serace. In her youth, Gwen knew, the priestess had been a very different person, far more likely to tease and jest and be the one to draw the pair into trouble and impropriety. Maturity, and faith, had changed that, and sometimes the more energetic memory was the fonder one. Especially lately. There were also, of course, the times when Gwen had been wounded, beaten, injured and worn out from the fieldwork and whatever creature had attempted to kill her for whatever reason.

At least in this library the books would not kill her, at most she would suffer some inkblotches on her face and hands, something she could easily deal with. She had to admit, the Loremasters and their helpfulness with her research and work did not hurt at all either. Perhaps being a familiar face and having been involved with small matters at the library in the past had helped her there, or perhaps it was just an eagerness to aid a fellow scholar in her pursuits. Perhaps it was just the only chance for many of them to even interact with a woman, and a pretty one. Whatever it may have been, it at least worked in Gwendolynn's favour for once.

Pages were flipped and notes were made. Additions were jotted down on the map as she worked many hours in the library, making a sacrifice of many tall candles to offer the light needed in her work. It was valuable work, time dependent, as it meant finding out more about the tomb the spellsword had visited. She had to find out whom the tomb belonged to and what was stored there. And, most importantly, why a relic hunter such as Jared was so interested in what was meant to be buried in that place. Gwendolynn only had a few leads to go by, but fortunately they were enough. Thanks to her many hours of reading and research as well as the right divinations to get through the materials, she did find the answers. Or, as so often was true in the scholarly field the closest she could get to educated guesses.

Gwendolynn had to admit that she liked ignorance better sometimes, though. She did not like these answers at all, nor what they implied. As much as the spellsword enjoyed doing some research in the library for a change, her armour beckoned. Her supplies restocked, the greatsword formerly in the hands of her sister at her back, the scholar let the librarians care for the books and return them to their nooks, leaving with her green robes sweeping behind her for the library’s wide doors, and the descent from Songhall into darker places.
Last edited by Vogelens on Mon Nov 07, 2016 9:13 am, edited 1 time in total.
Kara Farrowwood ~ Druidess of Silvanus

Posts: 138
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2016 1:43 am

We all have our demons III - Of Riddles and Traps

Postby Vogelens » Mon Nov 07, 2016 9:13 am

The stench of rot was thick in this cave, which came as no surprise to Gwendolynn. What must have once been a proud tribe of goblins, however proud goblins could get, was reduced to a pile of corpses. Their faces were twisted and their bodies maimed, the creatures rotting in their own dried blood. It was likely the work of adventurers, which suited Gwendolynn fine. She was engaged with her search for several days and already at her fourth cave. The less battle the better, as she was hardly prepared for longer skirmishes. No, she was looking for something else entirely; something based on nothing more but her research and educated guesses.

With one hand holding her staff and the other occupied with a map and some notes, the magus let her gaze drift along each of the walls and floors as she moved through the newly vacated goblin territory, little but an open grave now. She had employed the aid of divinations to empower her senses, she believed it to be needed but was glad that her sense of smell stayed rather mundane in this cave. After all, what she was looking for has been kept hidden for a long, long time without being found. The fact she was at this for some time through many caves already was a good indication of that too. She had to submit herself to a process of elimination due to a lack of concise direction and location, but Gwendolynn never expected it to be easy.

To the spellsword's mild surprise, the search in this cave did yield some results; although she had been looking for a clue like this, actually finding it did wonders to dispel any growing disappointment in her mind. In one of the abandoned side tunnels amongst the natural stone she found a strange inconsistency in the stonework, cleverly hidden especially to those with but mundane sight. The goblins surely did not find out, this tunnel was a dead end for most, and likely used as a place for refuse. It smelled like it, at least.

Gwendolynn made her way over to the wall, the notes placed in her satchel for now. She studied that wall with a thoughtful frown forming, while using her staff to tap lightly along it. Curious. Nothing seems out of the ordinary, at least initially. The very faint grooves were well hidden, anyone might even consider them to be natural cracks in the stone. At least, anyone who was not a dwarf or employed divinations to enhance the senses like she did. Gwendolynn could not help but grin faintly, an excited grin any scholar might get when uncovering answers. Her educated guesses might just be coming to something.

The spellsword stepped back, eyeing the rocky wall for a long moment. There was only one way to find out if this place held the answers she needed. Gwendolynn raised her staff slightly to point it at the wall as her lips formed the words that called upon her Art. The gesture with the staff was not needed but, she had it in hand and felt like giving the spellcasting some flair, something Serace often shook her head at. The words formed and the spell was brought to completion, causing a knocking sound to echo through the cave she was at. A moment of silence followed, with a frown slowly replacing the magus' grin. Perhaps... she had become a little too eager.

The rocky sound that followed ensured Gwendolynn that she was not mistaken, after all. The part of the wall that seemed out of place screeched out its protest as it slowly slid aside, the sound of stone grinding against stone breaking the silence that had fallen. Gwendolynn looked over her shoulder briefly as she allowed the secret door to slide open before shifting her staff from her swordhand to the other. As she turned towards the unknown darkness ahead, she roused her steel from its slumber, drawing it free from the worn scabbard. As stale and dusty air greeted the spellsword, she took a careful step inside towards the unknown dangers hidden in that tunnel.
The narrow tunnel led to a dead end rather quickly. Still, that did not deter Gwendolynn much at all. Why would someone go through the effort to hide a tunnel that leads to nothing here? Sloppy dungeon work, this. It could be argued this hidden tunnel was storage of sorts, a place to hide things that should be kept safe, but it would not be practical, nor would the tunnel lend itself much to that. The spellsword tapped her staff lightly against the rocky walls, a thoughtful frown forming on her features. She did not see anything strange about it, no secret passages, doors or even switches. Was this a diversion or decoy, to divert people away from the real place? This was certainly a possibility, though Gwen was not so willing to discard having found the right place. No, she had means to find out what was going on here.

The magus exhaled softly before letting arcane words of power break the lingering silence. She was well prepared for investigating her surroundings properly, a preparation that paid off. The cantrip allowed her to reach her senses further, towards magic itself. And there it was; she could sense it clearly now. One of the walls in that tunnel was practically oozing arcana. The spellsword turned her focus upon that wall, letting the magical senses touch upon it and feel it out. A faintly amused hum escaped her lips as she placed her hand against that wall a moment after. She sensed it clearly now, she was dealing with an illusion. The spellsword pushed both her hand and mind against the wall, forcing her will against it. Her studies with the arcane did grant her a considerable focus and will against all matters magical. This illusionary wall proved to be no exception, and as Gwendolynn disbelieved the former obstacle, she stepped into the corridor beyond. No wayward goblin could do that, certainly.

The corridor that followed was definitely a change of scenery. The stonework along the walls, floor and ceiling was all smooth, standing in stark contrast to the rocky caves from before. Statues were nestled in alcoves along one of the walls, though Gwendolynn would argue against this sort of artwork. The statues were carved from stone and almost lifelike, which was rather unsettling as these statues portrayed demonic beings. The spellsword frowned as she let her gaze drift along the stone-carved abominations. There were thirteen of them, all glaring ominously down upon anyone who would dare to cross the hallway. And Gwendolynn had to do just that. A shame that no one built dungeons to house artifacts in nicer places.

The spellsword sheathed her sword and shifted her staff to her right hand. She struck the bottom of it on the stone floor with a soft thunk before uttering the arcane incantation. The words were spoken softly, as if not to give offense to the stone demons and their unnerving glare. The divination took effect and Gwendolynn focused it upon the corridor ahead. She had expected traps in a place like this, and with the absence of people like Wynna or Lucien, she had to make due with her own abilities. A glint stood out on the floor, the seventh statue. It seemed to be the only trap present here, or at least that she should discover. Gwendolynn moved forwards, and despite her eyes were on the trap spotted ahead, a frown remained etched on her features. Despite that she was quite aware these statues were just that, statues, they still managed to unnerve her. She imagined even her sister would feel ill at ease in a place like this.

Gwendolynn knelt down near the statue, examining the trap. It was magical trap, up close she could see the sigil on the floor now. Or perhaps not quite 'see', but she knew where it was and what it looked like thanks to her spell. As Gwendolynn looked up at the statue, she nodded slightly to herself. She could deal with this sort of trap with relative ease. The spellsword rose up again, while drawing upon the spell. She took hold of her staff with both hands, only to slam it into the statue's mouth, jamming the more slender bottom end into the hold she noticed there. She gave the staff another hard push to make sure it remained stuck and would not go anywhere before nodding to herself. A deep breath was taken before the spellsword dashed forwards, over the tile. The wood of the staff creaked and started to smolder as flames tried to burst out from the hole it was stuck into, though they could do little against the elemental warding Gwendolynn placed upon the staff. She grinned briefly to herself as she passed by without issue. Gwen felt she could enjoy this little victory, how she thwarted the trap and managed to stop the fire-breathing statue. The ominous glare of one of the other pieces of artwork brought the spellsword to reality and focus quickly however. The focus was a good thing, she welcomed it. It was needed, there likely would be plenty more danger ahead.

The room that followed the lineup of demonic sculptures was not much better, Gwendolynn decided. It was unnerving in its own way, even with the lack of abyssal effigies. Hallways stretched out into the darkness at every direction, twisting and turning as they pleased. Gwendolynn did not have much need for getting lost in a labyrinth and to fade away due to dehydration, hunger and fatigue. It would be a thoroughly boring and depressing way to die for a wizard like her. Assuming there would be no traps or beasts to tear her apart, of course. The spellsword took some notes from her satchel, bound in a simple leather cover. She had decided to keep the notes she made in her research about this place nice and orderly, and had them bound in a cheap, improvised tome for that reason. It would have to do. Perhaps there would be a clue in it how to go about it. Gwendolynn frowned, glancing along the rooms now and then as she went through her notes. She did not have maps, nor any hints about a labyrinth. It would be foolish to expect to find maps or anything like that in a library though. As she let her gaze sweep along the room once more, there was a pause. Her eyes remained locked on one of the symbols, carved in the wall near each of the corridors. These symbols, odd as they might have been clearly were ancient and of times long past. The realization was a long time coming even for her, but then she knew what these symbols might represent. They were the four primal elements; earth, wind, fire and water. She could work with this, she thought to herself while flipping her through researchwork.

There it was. It did not take too long to find, a lot of the information written down was still fresh in her mind too. She had come across a poem of sorts in relation to this mage. Apparently, it was carved upon his sarcophagus too, though the spellsword did not have the time to look for it when she was in that tomb. She likely would not have thought of it either, or to have it hold any significance. "Hatred blazed forth, giving birth to life. Festering wounds scabbed over, creating land. Cries of anguish rang forth, birthing the howling wind. And then it was, that the skies wept seas of tears. Know that our world is built out of rage, pain, anguish and sorrow." Gwendolynn murmured softly to herself. The words made a small shiver course through her spine. They were certainly creepy, but as Gwendolynn discovered in her research that this mage practically lived by these words, she had the foresight to write them down at least.

Gwendolynn lifted her gaze up again to look at those symbols. Her eyes rested on the symbol of fire for a long moment before she gathered her staff. Gwendolynn did not quite feel like getting lost in case regardless though, and the spellsword made sure to withdraw a piece of chalk from her satchel, something she rarely left home without. She then advanced into the dark of the labyrinth, guided by her magical light while leaving a mark of chalk on the walls as she passed them by, unsure what to expect further in this place...
Kara Farrowwood ~ Druidess of Silvanus

Posts: 138
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2016 1:43 am

We all have our demons IV - Element of Knowledge

Postby Vogelens » Sat Nov 12, 2016 4:34 pm

Another dead end; one that was just like the two tunnels Gwendolynn investigated before this one. She was getting tired of mazes and labyrinths already. This dead end . however, proved more promising to the spellsword. She noticed scratches along the floor, as if something big and heavy was scraped over the stone. Not only that, she found an odd hole, its shape being that of the symbol of fire's outline. She came across this symbol enough times to be familiar with it, and had it on the page in front of her even. The hole did not lead to anything; it was rather small, all things considered. Was it a keyhole? It did not look the part, though when it comes to magic keys can come in many shapes and sizes. The problem with that was that she had no key.

It did not deter Gwendolynn however, as she investigated the presumed keyhole, with mixed results. Her mundane search did not offer much inside aside from the fact that the inside of the hole was far too smooth in a place like this, though her arcane senses offered her more interesting information. The spell allowed her to discern what the thing was meant to be, though how to utilize the information and its purpose were left to educated guesses at this point. The magus found this hole to serve a font of power. This power was the Arcane, though that is still a broad term. Gwendolynn frowned at it in thought for a long moment before going through her notes again. She went over the words she found once more, the ones that led her to this place in the labyrinth. 'Hatred blazed forth, giving birth to life. Festering wounds scabbed over, creating land. Cries of anguish rang forth, birthing the howling wind. And then it was, that the skies wept seas of tears. Know that our world is built out of rage, pain, anguish and sorrow. “Hatred blazed forth”... The hint at fire. This font had the outline of a symbol that represented fire. Perhaps the solution would be a simple one for a change. Gwendolynn exhaled slowly before leaning down towards the hole slightly, speaking up towards it. "I hate you, hole."

The silence that fell was as unimpressed as the font itself and Gwendolynn felt rather silly. She was tense and somewhat nervous in a place like this, alone. She often used humour and her comments to mask that, she had not even noticed that mask sneaking up on her like this. A slow breath was taken by the spellsword as she forced herself to focus again. Clearly, this was bound to fire somehow. Either this was arcane fire or something similar that represented it. She also had to keep some logic in mind, the wizard who erected these defenses had to be able to clear them with relative ease himself. Gwendolynn considered the options, creating some theories as she examined the font once more. It would be something simple, a key easily accessible. She was prepared in some way in regards to this verse, she had believed it to be important and was right. Her preparation was a simple one, one she could afford while not neglecting to memorize and prepare other spells. A gauntletted hand was brought forward, the adamantine it consisted off holding a purplish-white sheen as Gwendolynn's magical light shone down upon it. A few simple words were spoken and the magus discharged her magic. The cantrip cased a bright flare to light up within the font of power, her attempt to stimulate fire. Immediately, in response a runic circle sprang to life around this font, the runes glowing blood red. Was this...?

Gwendolynn gritted her teeth. She had to, for the sound was similar to nails being ran down a chalkboard. The screeching of ancient stone slowly grinding against even older of its kin was far from pleasing, though the cause for it all the more so. The cantrip to stimulate fire was enough, much to Gwendolynn's relief. What if it was some stone or object that served as a key? It would have left her stranded here, to go home empty handed. And it would quite literally be empty handed, as her staff was still quite stuck in the statue's mouth to jam the trap. But she could lament its noble sacrifice later, this place being one that demanded focus. And Gwendolynn had no choice but to give in to those demands.

The spellsword stepped into a room similar to the one before. Four corridors spread out from her, each marked with their respective symbols. This place was empty and quiet, her armoured footsteps were dampened enough by the thick layer of dust to keep the silence a suffocating one. Shadows flickered and coiled away as the spellsword advanced, the magical light surrounding her cause of the skittish flight. It did not take long for the next destination to be found. A crude symbol, with jagged lines to almost appear stony. 'Festering wounds scabbed over, creating land.' Earth then. Gwendolynn picked her direction and left both footsteps in the dust, and markings of chalk on the walls in her wake.

The spellsword's advance was halted by another such font, similar but different. An unnaturaly smooth hole, formed in the outline of the earthen symbol. The words came easily, and with a flick of her wrist a glob of acid splashed into the font. A cantrip of earth, or to represent earth at least. She could see the correlation between these 'festering wounds' and acid now, acid is a substance that can burn and rot through many things. Untreated acid wounds would burn away skin too, leaving them to easily fester and rot. The spellsword was rewarded for her tribute once more, as a circle of dark brown runes blinked into appearance. The brown glow had a strange contrast against the wall, but Gwendolynn figured it made sense enough. The screeching of stone against stone made her flinch again. That sound was abysmal in its own right. While painful to her ears, Gwendolynn worried about more than her ears. She worried about other ears that might hear her approach from too far away to be comfortable with. She did not relish the possibility of battle at all, down here. The silver lining was that there were, indeed, no other footsteps in the dust here..though that did not preclude something else in the deeps, waiting for her and waking. The thought was enough to make one shudder.

White runes flared up, in response to the cantrip. An electric spark to represent the element of air had been released into the font Gwendolynn found. The same patterns as before were followed; it turned out it really was that easy. At least, it was that easy if one knew how to get through this labyrinth. Gwendolynn imagined it would be quite effective to keep people out of it. Another pathway opened, as walls shifted and moved around her. Gwendolynn had noticed she was moving in circles however, for the most part. She had started to pay attention to it after the first shifting of the maze. It kept sending her around in its own pattern, which meant the actual labyrinth was not as big in surface area as she had believed. Gwen had to admit it was smart though, it made the obstacle all the more impressive. One could keep wandering endlessly in an ever shifting maze, while still contained to a relatively small area. It was quite clever, that.

'And then it was, that the skies wept seas of tears.' An easy clue, as Gwendolynn knew what to look for. Though, it was made easier by the fact it was the last element left too. The thin ray of ice and frost was taken in eagerly by the fourth font as well, resulting in deep blue runes to glow up around it. The magus was prepared for the excruciating sound that was to follow, but that hardly made it a comfortable experience. She wondered what was to come next, where she would be led next after being sent in circles over and over by the labyrinth. Fortunately she did not need to stand in suspense for too long; as the walls slid away she saw a long corridor stretch ahead of her. The walls had a mural upon them at both sides, though the passing of time was not kind for it. Perhaps for the best Gwendolynn considered, these murals depicted abyssal incursions upon mortal world it seemed. Demons taking people and murdering them, or worse. Why could she not find a pleasant still life of flowers for a change, in these sort of places? Perhaps that was too much to hope for, in ancient lairs.

The spellsword's advance into that corridor was halted by one of her sense alerting her, one of the senses she had gained through the divinations she cast upon herself. She caught a glint of light and a feeling of warning as she neared a rune drawn on the floor. There was a faint glow to the rune, a sickly green colour she noticed now that the trap was brought to her attention. She looked at it and around, scanning the murals that flanked her, as well as the floor and the ceiling. This was a deadly trap, very deadly. Gwendolynn figured there must be a clever way to disable it to get past it, but she could not see anything. If there was something here, it was hidden to her magically enhanced senses too, which was not something to sit well with her. She did not have that much time to spend on searching the entire corridor as thoroughly as may be required; her spells only had a limited duration after all. Taking a deep breath, the magus turned her gaze back on the sigil ahead of her. It was a magical trap, there were other ways to get rid of those. She was prepared for the occasion however. Many things could be said about Gwendolynn Highblade, but not that she came unprepared.

The scroll was easily found, the arcane parchments were stored in a neat order. Gwendolynn held it up before her, as she let her eyes drift along the writings. Her lips moved to recite the words upon it, to release the magic slumbering within. As she finished the incantation the magic burst from it, lashing out at the trap. Gwendolynn felt the two forces of magic collide, but failed to get a hold on it. The abjuration shattered upon impact, and arcane energies scattered and dispersed. The paper turned brittle and crumbled to a fine ash, its purpose fulfilled. The spellsword frowned as she dusted off her hands, ridding herself of the remnants of the scroll. That is why they call it "Lesser", she supposed. She was an abjurer though and had similar spells memorized though. Spells that were similar but more potent, though Gwen had preferred to preserve such magic for now. The trap left her little choice though, and she called upon the words, reciting them from mind and memory. Gwendolynn's focussed shifted to the spell, calling upon the magical energies. The spell formed and was ready to be released. Gwendolynn focused the arcane energies upon the trap, with her own mind guiding and directing them rather than the scroll. Again she felt the two forces collide, but this time she could get a hold of her target. She forced her own abjuration through and felt the trap being washed away, like a fire doused by a torrent of water. If only dealing with other traps was done so easily. It likely was for the likes of Lucien and Wynna. The company either would have been a welcome one to the spellsword, but Lucien was already aiding her elsewhere. Gwen had requested the man to find out more about Jared and where he might have gone, Lucien was more at home in the social investigations while she had her own strengths. And that was research and fieldwork to back that research up, the very reason she was in this ruin now. As she proceeded further into said ruin, a lingering sliver of hope remained with her; the hope that she would not encounter anymore traps. Perhaps she should have been more realistic about those things, but she had been called a dissapointed optimist before. She could not help it.

The large door did not offer any more cheer than a trap would have, but at least this door did not try to kill her. Gwendolynn had to resort to another scroll to discern more about the door, which had her learn it to be protective by a magical barrier. She did not have any keys for this either, though even if she had it would not do her much good. This door, a solid stone one, had no keyhole at all. At least, none that she could find. She did learn that there was a web of arcane magic spun over it, invisible to the naked eye but still able to be detected through the right divinations. It was quite intricate, the magus was even impressed by it. To weave such warding is not easy; she believed there were several of them tangled together even..but to make them last for so long was harder yet. The spells seemed to support each other, one built on another. Brute force would not help against this arcane equivalent of a vault door. Gwendolynn scanned the barrier, letting her senses trace along each of the strands that held it all together. Each strand moved to several others and branched off again after that. She made mental notes of the pathways as she went over them, until she found what she was looking for. Brute force would not have helped, she could have attempted to force the door open with magic but the barrier before her would simply be too strong.

Fortunately, she knew abjurations. She knew abjurations well. This knowledge was not limited to simply erecting barriers or wards, but she knew their foundations and principles. This knowledge served her well; it allowed her to find the foundation of this barrier. She focused upon it, taking a deep breath. She hoped not to be wrong about this, as she would not get many more chances to get through otherwise. The words were spoken softly, the incantation flowing from her lips. The spellsword called upon the power, the spell that she had prepared for this. The second of the two abjurations to shatter opposing magic she brought with her to this place. The spell reached its completion and Gwendolynn released it, focusing it on that one specific point in the web. She felt the resistance, but forced her mind against it to push the two abjurations together. And then suddenly, the pressure on her mind was gone. Arcane energies shattered, one of the abjurations yielding to the other.

An excited giggle bubbled from Gwendolynn's lips as she felt the entire arcane web woven upon the door unravel. She managed to find and shatter the foundation of this powerful barrier, that which kept it together. The entire ward, strong as it may have been simply collapsed upon itself, not unlike a house of cards when the right one at the bottom is removed. She forced herself to focus again after but a moment. Gwen had allowed herself a moment of excitement, it was well earned for this achievement and the progress made. It helped her get rid of some tension too, but she also had to remain realistic. More might await her, and the spellsword did not possess the secrets behind infinite arcane magic. As the last of the strands of magic snapped away, the door grunted its dismay, by means of grinding against the floot. It slowly started to slide away to give entry to its conqueror. Gwendolynn exhaled slowly, her focus on what was guarded behind the door. She passed through the doorway, and paused. Her eyes widened ever so slightly in surprise. She did not quite know what to expect here in this ruin. Even though she knew she was looking for this, she also knew that /this/ was clearly not something she even considered expecting...
Kara Farrowwood ~ Druidess of Silvanus

Posts: 138
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2016 1:43 am

We all have our demons V - Leaving no Stone unturned

Postby Vogelens » Tue Nov 15, 2016 2:54 pm

Gwendolynn found herself standing on a balcony, looking into a large room. The room was three stories deep by her estimate, with a winding staircase at the far end of the balcony to lead any visitors down. Demonic gargoyles adorned the walls, looking down upon any intruders with a glare that only promised something nefarious. Fortunately, they were but statues like the ones from before. Down below, in the circular room bookshelves were arranged to form a library, with part of the room dedicated to a workshop. Gwendolynn could spot it from here, workbenches, summoning circles and similar tools of the arcane trade. She had found the mage's study she was looking for, and despite rising expectationsafter each trap and obstacle she was not left disappointed.

The study resembled its owner, in an ironic sort of way: it too was decaying and past its prime years. While the bookcases were made of stone, moss and vines had found their way around the walls of the room, the bookcases and perhaps worse yet... the books as well. The walls showed cracks here and there, a result of the otherwise sturdy stonework carrying a large burden for many ages. The staircase was but a shadow of its former self as well, most of it had collapsed already. Gwendolynn figured it could take her but half a floor down before that last step all the way into the study would be a long one. Still, she might be able to find something here. This was, after all, an amazing discovery.

The only thing that managed to stem the tide of her growing excitement was a stone construct in the library below. A statue of grotesque shaping, similar to the demonic effigies found all around the place, but different. For one, this one was much taller and rougher sculpted. The second difference was one the spellsword found herself disagreeing with the most: this one moved. It slowly made its way around the library, in a repeating pattern. Gwendolynn watched the patrolling sentry with a worried frown. She had reason to worry, if she was fully prepared for dealing with such a creature she might be able to match it and stand a chance... Perhaps even defeat it. But she was not prepared for this. The spellsword had only a handful of spells for battle prepared, most of it was magic to deal with other obstacles. That handful of spells would be enough to deal with a small band of goblins but most of it was essentially useless against this stone construct.

She stayed silent on that balcony for a while as she watched the thing move. She could perhaps not beat it, but she had other weapons than just blade and spell. The magus had her wit too, after all. There was a certain pattern it kept following, one she already could begin to predict. Gwendolynn had a perfect view of the worskhop and library alike from her high perch, it would be a shame to simply waste such an advantage. After gathering enough information by observing, the spellsword shifted towards the winding staircase. That would not be the way down, she decided quickly enough. Gwendolynn took a long bundle of rope from her satchel instead. To have the right tool prepared is as important as the right spell, Gwendolynn knew. She found a good spot to secure the rope, giving the stone gargoyle a small pat on its inanimate head after she secured the rope around it. Her way of descend was given a few strong tugs to ensure the knot was tight enough to her satisfaction. There was a small pause as Gwen glanced down to the golem, only to drop the rope over the edge when it was facing away. Soft words followed, as she cast the spell of strength upon herself. While the magus was physically quite fit and a fair bit stronger than the average person, it could not hurt to balance out the weight of her armour with some extra physical prowess. The adamantine chain armour was not as heavy as the plate mail Serace wore... used to wear, but Gwendolynn still would rather be able to climb fast when needed. Serace could match this golem here and now with that large blade of hers, were she here. But she was not, and it was a fact that was a sober reminder each time. She watched the golem once more and its patrol, before taking a slow breath. The rope was taken hold off, and she then slid down along it, into the study below.

One hundred twenty seven... One hundred twenty eight... One hundred twenty nine. Gwendolynn counted quietly to herself as she navigated the library. She had a path planned out already and the patrol of the golem was memorized. She knew where the golem would be, the sound of heavy footsteps did not aid her too much here. Heavy, dull thuds echoed all around the room, as a bored drummer in the distance bashing his badly tuned instrument in a rather monotonous rhythm. The steps were unnerving, as Gwendolynn did not fancy standing eye to eye with the thing. One hundred fourty one... One hundred fourty two.. Gwendolynn paused. She held her breath as she pressed herself against one of the bookcases. She did hear it better now, the thunderous steps strolling by, that bookshelf the one thing keeping them separated. The steps moved by and softened slightly once more as it gained distance and rounded corners. Gwendolynn waited two more beats before shifting from the bookcase, moving further to the workshop. Like a thief in the night she moved from cover to cover, manipulating the golem's patrol to her advantage to get to the workshop. This part of the study was more open, there were not many bookcases to hide behind. It would be where the magus figured she had most success to find what she needed. The books in the library were not preserved well, it would be an ordeal to find anything remotely useful there. And that would be without stone death marching around the place too, its presence made that search even more impossible.

When Gwendolynn reached the study she had paused a moment. The golem would pass by soon again, to keep moving back and forth from her safe cover would be folly. She would barely have time to search, if she did not wish to risk being in plain sight. Fortunately, with only a handful of spells to go to battle with, the spellsword ensured she had means to avoid battle too. The words were murmured softly and the shroud of invisibility fell over her, removing her from mundane sights. The illusion would not last long, but that is where those bookcases and the cover they granted came in before. She snuck forwards, taking some care to not have her armour give her presence away. The summoning circles were as one can expect, runic circles to keep outsiders in to not have them run rampant. Gwendolynn did frown as she passed by. The dark spots in the circles gave birth to many darker theories. This seemed like dried blood, and blood used when conjuring outsiders is never a good thing. With a sharp exhale she moved onwards, concealed footsteps timed with the Golem's. She was hardly a master of stealth, but she could let her sound be drowned out by the louder steps the sentry made at least.

The desk was covered in a thick layer of dust. Gwendolynn carefully brushed some of it away, apparently cleaning did not fall under the golem's responsibilities. There were several objects on the long abandoned desk. An inkwell, the ink dried in long ago. An old quill, clearly past its prime too. Old notes, though what was once written there could no longer be read. A leatherbound tome, in a curiously good condition. There were a handful of fragments of this on the desk as, dust free the spellsword now noticed. Next to these fragments stood a small pyramid shaped object, of the same materials as these stones, also not having any dust cling to it. And lastly there were several jars with a dark substance in it. She did not recognize all of it, but her most educated guess was materials for conjuration. The question as to what would be summoned would hardly be a mystery either, Gwendolynn figured. Those thoughts made her stomach churn some.

The stone fragments were carefully collected in a pouch, as well as the odd pyramid shaped rock. She could see about what this is later, she had to admit that the questions these objects posed tickled at her curiosity. As the spellsword picked up the tome however, she felt her nose itch. Despite her care with the dust, the movement of the tome picked up made it stir thickly in the air. Quickly, one hand moved to cover her mouth and nose. But despite trying to hold back the sneeze with all her might, one still escaped her. And then silence. The hard footsteps patrolling the room had stopped.

Gwendolynn wanted to avoid this, she did not much like the fact the sentry was alerted to a presence. She quickly slid the tome in her satchel, while scanning the room. She did not see the golem yet, meaning it was somewhere in the library section of the place. It was time to get out of here before it would find her. The spellsword reached in her satchel, withdrawing two small stones from it. She took a deep breath and tossed one of them away, as far as she could to one of the corners of the room. There was a moment of silence still before this was broken by the loud bang the thunderstone caused, when colliding with the floor. Immediately heavy footsteps thundered towards this, drawn by the noise. Gwendolynn moved quickly towards the library, while murmuring softly under her breath. She then released the second thunderstone, the object held aloft for now still by the invisible mage hand she cast upon it. The spellsword navigated her way along the bookcases, towards the rope. She got about halfway before the golem's steps came to a halt, to which she responded with a flick of her hand. The cantrip was dismissed, causing the second thunderstone to drop too, with another loud clap that echoed through the room. Two sets of footsteps followed, the golem rushing to the sound and Gwendolynn dashing towards the rope. She took hold of it and started to scale it, a glance cast over a shoulder towards the golem. And the stone monstrosity looked right back at her from across the study...

The golem was much like a demon in appearance. More slender than expected, in the image of a twisted, wingless bird. Its twisted beak was carved in a permanent snarl, a snarl that was now directed towards the spellsword. Her invisibility spell had run out, at a rather poor time at that. Gwendolynn frowned as she kept scaling the rope, her gaze focussed above her again. She could hear the thundering footsteps of the creature as it rushed in her direction. As the footsteps stopped she could hear a scraping sound, the sound of stone grinding against stone. Gwen held her breath, and started to sway along the rope to make it swing, before leaping from it towards the broken staircase. More of the stone crumbled and plummeted down as her full weight landed upon it, followed by a girlish grunt. Her leap was not a moment too soon, as a large chunk or rock crashed into the balcony, hurled at the rope by the golem. The impact cracked more stone, and part of that balcony collapsed under the force of it, including the gargoyle that held her rope. Gwendolynn scrambled up on those stairs before running up on them. That stone could have easily hit her, and there would be no recovering from that. She reached the balcony, and took a leap over the gap that was left in it. Gwendolynn cast a brief glance down at the golem, only to notice it picking up another piece of rubble. The spellsword did not stay to wait out what would happen, it was easy enough to predict. She was clearly unwelcome there now, but that did not matter too much anymore. She had what she came there for, at least in part. She headed back down into the tunnels and the labyrinth at a pace much swifter than her arrival had been. Aside from getting away from an angry golem, she still had plenty of work to do too...
Kara Farrowwood ~ Druidess of Silvanus

Posts: 138
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2016 1:43 am

We all have our demons VI - Of more research

Postby Vogelens » Thu Nov 17, 2016 9:25 am

Gwendolynn walked through familiar gates, gates she had passed countless of times. The flakes of snow drifted gently down upon the already blanketed streets. The streets were mostly abandoned, though that came as no surprise with the cold weather at this late hour. Evening had fallen already, and the city would soon be asleep. One of the guards unfortunate enough to be on duty grunted a vague greeting in Gwendolynn's direction, the man's mind clearly on warmer places that would beckon him when his shift would end. Freshly fallen snow crunched under the spellsword's steps as she made her way towards the Sailor's Star, the inn she was staying at. It had been a long day of travel and while Gwen felt some relief to finally arrive to the city, she would soon exchange the cold, wind and snow for hard work and more research. But that is the life of a magus, as it is said. It could be otherwise, comforts and riches, but not just yet, not for her.

A soft nickering from the stables near the gates managed to draw the spellsword from her thoughts however. She paused in her stride to look over to where the sound came from. A slightly louder nickering followed, while a horse's head peered out at her from behind the low door that kept it safely secured inside. The spellsword smiled briefly as she changed her course towards the request for attention. "Should you not be asleep at this hour, Archibald? I suppose Merney letting you inside the house was a one time thing, mm?" Gwendolynn asked the horse, while a wry smile touched her lips. She reached a hand out to stroke along the equine's mane, before opening her satchel. The horse was lucky, she had some treats left; the remnants of the food she brought with her for the road. Gwendolynn took the apple to offer it to her friend's steed, the true reason it asked for her attention. She had been spoiling the horse, something Archi, Merney and she herself all three knew. Gwendolynn smiled. She did not care much about spoiling the horse, she felt he earned it. After the apple was devoured as per usual when offered, Gwendolynn gave the animal one final petting along its snout before she continued her way.

Gwendolynn scaled the familiar steps of the Star after she navigated the dark, snowy streets. She opened the door and let the warmth welcome her. The inn was not too crowded, though it rarely ever was, and most had gone to their homes or rooms already. She frowned briefly though, as she had meant to meet others there. Gwendolynn knew she was delayed, her own expedition to that mage's study took longer than she had anticipated as well. The spellsword stepped over to the bar, though found no messages left for her either. Nothing she could do about that now, she figured, as she made her way to her own room. Her cloak was tossed idly over one of the nearby chairs, and she eyes the spot on the wall where she often left her staff. She sighed, thinking towards the procurement of a new, needed staff. She lost far too many of those, fortunately they were not imbued with magic on their own, and wood was cheap. Gwendolynn's satchel found its way on her desk, though it was left there undisturbed for now. The spellsword first took care of shedding her armour, working into some well-deserved comfort. She was no stranger to study while clad in the adamantine protection, but she had been wearing it for some time now. Her muscles needed some rest too, and Gwendolynn figured they would only get a small moment of respite before the armour was to be donned once more.

"Do you /have/ to do that...?" She asked her familiar, as it sat before the window. Clad in more comfortable clothes now, the magus had taken to stalling the items she recovered on the desk. The owl, her familiar, sat before the window to stare out at it, as per usual. It however decided to turn its head backwards to watch its master work. It always gave Gwendolynn chills, to see an owl's head turned like that. It was just creepy. The owl did not respond to the question, however. It was the owl’s prerogative. Gwendolynn pushed her mind away from it and to other matters. She had the stones, the preserved tome in a tongue she did not know as well as the small stone pyramid. Lastly, she put her research work on the subject down on it too. She had acquired a decent bounty, one enough to work with at least. The items laid out on the desk, Gwendolynn moved to collect some appropriate books and tomes as well. The final part of her preparations included the magical rituals; the divinations she needed. She had prepared two different scrolls for this already and the spell components were easily found too. A few strips of ivory, a small silver ball, a mirror, powdered pearl and a glass of wine. Cheap wine would work just fine, but Gwendolynn felt she could treat herself to one of the finer ones. It would mask the bad aftertaste of the powdered pearl she had to mix in better as well.

The spellsword hoped the help she had requested before she set out herself would have some good results for her as well. This information would likely be needed to form a bigger picture, as her own work and research only covered one angle of it, she realized. Those thoughts were banished to the back of her mind as she set to work, however. When it came to divinations and this sort of research, the less distractions that were present, the better. This would be complicated, even for her. Her plan was to learn more about this mage by means of magic rather than research, by using objects that once belonged to him as a focus, and only then to try and establish a connection with other objects that once belonged to him, objects important enough he would be buried with. She knew that she might not get all the answers she wished from this and much would be open to interpretation, but while others were good at social investigations and knowing how to ask the right people the right questions... Asking the Arcane those questions was what she was good at. Gwendolynn checked to ensure she had enough candles to burn through the night, before setting to work.
Kara Farrowwood ~ Druidess of Silvanus

Posts: 138
Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2016 1:43 am

We all have our demons VII - Old Friends

Postby Vogelens » Fri Nov 18, 2016 10:23 am

Gwendolynn woke with a start in response to the three level knocks on her door. She blinked several times, trying to get her bearing. The spellsword had fallen asleep at her desk, having spent many long hours doing research and her spellwork. There was plenty of daylight outside, the hour drawing close to noon. Gwen stood up, taking hold of the parchment that clung to her cheek, the note placed back with the others. The knocking repeated itself, and Gwen made her way over to the door. "Aye. I am here." Her voice sounded groggy, and she looked the part. There still was sleep in her eyes, her hair was a mess and she had ink staining her cheek where the parchment had stuck to it. A yawn was stifled as the spellsword forced herself awake some more before opening the door.

"...Long night, Gwen? Not scarin’ away any lovely suitors, am I?" Lucien asked with a faint smile and a deliberate look over her shoulder as he and the other man were left in. Only when inside did he look at the spellsword with a frown, some worry and concern, the banter having had to come first. Gwendolynn waved it away. "No, technically it was as long as any others, time wise. I just had some alterations made to the usual way of how I spent it. And unless you wish to check under the bed, or think the suitor was transmuted into the owl, mm.. no." A wry smile formed on the magus' lips. Lucien smirked and the other man chuckled as he spoke. "Ah, that famous Highblade wit. I missed it. And you for that matter, Scarlet!" The man spoke with an accent that placed his origin in Cormyr, much like Lucien and herself. The man stood slightly under six feet with long, dark hair on his head. The hair was kept in a loose ponytail, a very similar style how Lucien wore his hair Gwendolynn had realized. The man had a thin moustache and a small patch of beard on his chin, well groomed with both brush and pride. Varinth Ravenholm, or 'Raven' as he preferred to go by was an old friend, one fortunate enough to be travelling near Impiltur when she needed help. Though, it may be less coincidence than it might seem, if Gwendolynn knew the man as much as she thought she did. She and her old friend shared a quick embrace, with a smile forming on the spellsword's lips. "And it is good to see you again. We need to catch up soon, but pleasantries can wait." Lucien agreed with a thoughtful hum. The blonde man had pulled out one of the chairs to seat himself on, a slim frown matching his thoughtful posture. Gwendolynn noticed he had a bruise on his jaw, usually in the way of a souvenir from a brawl. "I take it, it did not go as smoothly as expected?" Gwendolynn asked them, gesturing vaguely to Lucien's face. "Some folk didn’t appreciate my diplomacy, aye? One o’ the bastards tried a punch He got just that one in, though, don’t y’worry." came the response. Raven chuckled again. "And Mister Castell put him down cold in return! It made them a lot more willing to talk." Lucien smirked some to that, and even Gwen could not hide her amusement. "Jared, then. And his operations. To business."

The spellsword frowned as she was briefed on the man. The man called Jared, no last name known. Or at least, none that anyone was willing to share according to Lucien and Raven. He was treasure hunter operating in the lower dregs of society, but across a wider range of cities. He was best at finding rare objects and artifacts to sell them on the less legal and regulated markets, for handsome profit. Though, the men had found out he had some dealings with the higher classes, the ones not too afraid to get their hands dirty to get what they wanted. Still, it did give some insights on the man and how he operated.

"What of his current dealings?" Gwendolynn asked. Lucien looked at Raven, letting the darkhaired Cormyrean speak.
"Arcane objects of some worth, but little more was known. That is where you come in though, Scarlet?" Gwendolynn nodded her head and Raven continued.
"Your Jared is known to work in name of others, a man hired to hunt treasure. Much like he was on this job."
"Do you know who?" A logical question, and an expected one.
"We don't yet. An organization, a cult. But we do not know their affiliation. We know he left for Vlasta for this meeting." The news made Gwendolynn frown. The road to Vlasta is a long one and she doubted it would be in the town itself.
"Nothing else?"

Not the answer she wished to hear. Gwendolynn sighed and turned to her notes, and a map of the region. It was not the best map, but one she had available. It was the one used in her own search as well. Lucien remained seated, watching on as Raven approached to look at it as well. "Y’haven’t been idle either, Gwen." Gwendolynn smiled, with a soft hum to confirm Lucien's words. "An old mine, does that ring any bells? One in the forest." Gwendolynn asked the two as she turned back to them, who shook their heads. The spellsword continued to speak. "It is what we are looking for, between here and Vlasta." She explained. Gwendolynn had discerned as much through her divinations. The magus had considered trying to find Jared, but she had expected what she was told already. Jared was not a collector for himself but for coin, she could maybe have found him but not the items, and those stolen items was what they were after. "Try to find out then, before the morrow. We likely do not have much time." They nodded, and Lucien stood up from his seat. Gwendolynn exhaled slowly, and both men showed concern on her features, concern drawn forth from Gwendolynn's own expression. "Gwen..?"

Gwen moved to recover the old tome from her desk. She showed it to the men, as she explained. "The tomb belonged to a Narfelli conjurer, called Tor'uni Alskad. Incidentally, this conjurer was one who had more affinity with the lower planes than anything pleasant, but that can be expected when it comes to old Narfell. A demon summoner, a demon binder. However you wish to call it. While a fairly competent arcanist, I would put him roughly equal to myself, if we are to compare raw power. At least, from what I gathered. These divinations are not an exact science. Regardless... This conjurer was one who achieved most of his success by using foci, specifically designed to amplify his power and dominion over the things he summoned." Raven stroked his patch of beard as he listened, and Lucien could only utter the word "...Joy." with none of the enthusiasm and cheer that the word usually would imply.
"To sum it up, a hired, professional treasure hunter robbed the grave of a demon summoner and took his belongings to sell it to a cult of sorts?"
"And these items may have been used as a focus for this?"
At least Gwendolynn's efforts in that ruin had given her plenty of leads, insights and answers. As well as granting some connection to find a vague location, even if that did not help her too much directly, yet.
Lucien was the first to break the silence that had fallen. "I'll be getting’ my armor then. And my supplies. When do you want to set out, Gwen?"
"As soon as we have a clear idea on a destination. Preferably today." The blonde man nodded to that. He gave a small nod of his head to Raven as well, before leaving the room to get ready. Raven watched him leave, before turning to Gwendolynn, with a sigh.
"What of any local help, Scarlet?"
"I do not know any, we have not met yet, I think."
"What of the lead to that tomb you received."
Gwendolynn frowned at that before responding.
"I got an anomynous note directing me there. It seemed reliable enough, and you know me." The spellsword smiled wryly, while Raven shook his head with a grin of his own.
"Very well. I will get some more information about any mines. You will need time to prepare your magic, yes?" The spellsword nodded to the question. She still had to spend some time getting ready too. The daily memorizing of spells was perhaps not a difficult task, but it was one that took time. Gwendolynn also still had to decide what to prepare, what spells may be needed with that awaited them. Most of that was unknown, and not knowing was quite disliked by the spellsword.
"I will also try and gather more aid, I may know some other people who will can help us." Gwendolynn remarked after a moment of thought. At least she hoped she would be able to find some her friends to aid them, it seemed their paths crossed less these days. Raven nodded to her, before taking his leave as well.
"Until soon, Scarlet."
"Aye, until then."

Gwendolynn exhaled a slow breath, while her hands reached up to fix her hair up some, in a somewhat more manageable ponytail. Her eyes drifted along her desk and research work, as well as the map while she bound her red tresses. She then wasted no time to gather her spellbook and prepare for the day ahead. It would be a long day, she figured, not the first nor last.
Kara Farrowwood ~ Druidess of Silvanus

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Joined: Mon Jan 18, 2016 1:43 am

We all have our demons VIII - Bearer of Bad News

Postby Vogelens » Thu Dec 15, 2016 1:20 am

The group of three had made their way along the snowy forest, with the more well-traveled trails long left behind them. They found information to go by, as well as the location of an old mine, which aligned with Gwendolynn's research, maps they had acquired, and information gathered from people who knew the forest. Gwendolynn wished that they had the help of a pathfinder too, but the ones she knew were not found, not on the short notice the group had to work with. She had not seen Garvin in many moons, which worried her. Aleira was not in Sarshel either; Gwendolynn had not seen her there for some time, when giving thought to that. Even Merney's swordarm was beyond their reach, Archibald was gone and had taken the man with him, the spellsword learned. And so it was just the three of them, with logic and maps and landmarks as the methods used to find their way. At least the fact that she had a sharp mind for analytical work lessened the burden that the lack of a pathfinder left them with, but it was hardly a science akin to the rest of her work. Odd that so many called it “the Art” when the nature of it was so much more scientific, she mused.
"Hear that?" Raven whispered when they eventually managed to find their way close to their destination. They were fortunate that they had to deal with an abandoned mine, rather than some long forgotten ruin that was not meant to be found. Lucien and Gwendolynn listened when the words were spoken, falling silent for it. Lucien gave a small nod, though Gwendolynn frowned. She did not hear anything. "Sentry. Aye." Lucien confirmed. The two of them had keener and better trained senses than she did, clearly. At least sentries or guards meant they were on the right track. Raven held up a hand before creeping closer, while the two in heavier and louder armours lingered behind. Gwendolynn tugged her cloak a bit tighter around herself to fend off the cold around them. It had gotten chillier, both in time of the year and due to the time of day. It took them some hours of travel, the sun was already considering setting, with a soft twilight slowly covering the land and forest already. It was a good thing that they were near, to look for their destination in the dark would not be something any of them would look forward too, especially if there were sentries.

Gwendolynn caught Lucien eyeing her from the corner of her eyes. She turned her gaze to eye him return, noticing the man's thoughtful expression. No questions were asked however, not much time was given for that. Raven had returned quickly enough from his scouting. "One of them, just ahead. I can distract him if you can subdue him then, mister Castell?" Lucien agreed with a nod of his head. Lucien and Gwendolynn let the scout stalk forward again, giving him some time before following. Quietly, slowly. At least, that was the intention, but such intentions and heavier armours do not always cooperate well.

They got closer, while staying low to the ground and behind trees as much as they could. There he was, the scout. A stocky man, clad in thick leathers and furs, with a sword on one hip and an axe on the other. He seemed rather distracted as it was already, even without Raven's help. The man stood facing a tree, his trousers dropped and creating some steam as he relieved himself against the cold snow. Gwendolynn unsheated her sword slowly and quietly just in case, though Lucien did not reach for his own steel yet. The guard suddenly looked sharply to his side, away from where the two were hiding. The sound of branches breaking was heard, no doubt the distraction. Lucien however did not move yet, he waited. Moments passed, the sentry still peering to where he heard those suspicious sounds. It wasn't until he finished his business and had his trousers pulled up, that Lucien suddenly sprang up and rushed forwards. The guard turned around to face the heavy armour charging towards him and reached for one of his weapons. It did not do him much good. Lucien’s fists weren’t the precise things his thin blade was, but one blow came sharply to the man’s diaphragm, driving any air or desire to scream out of him. The sound thudded into his jaw not a moment later, felling him.

Gwendolynn approached with a swift stride as Lucien made sure his target was indeed knocked out cold. Raven emerged from his cover as well with a small frown. "You were a bit late with that, mister Castell. It could have led to a fight if you were any more delayed." "Aye, but it didn't." The three looked down at the man in the snow. The man had flopped in the snow and mud, with blood pouring from his nose to stain the white. It was hardly dignified.
"'Sides, this way we do not have to look at anything dangling while questioning him."
They all agreed on that point. Gwendolynn could not help but smile one of those wry smiles, while a smirk formed on Raven's lips.
"Alright then, mister Castell. I salute you for being a gentleman true and true, sir." The man said to Lucien with some amusement. He then continued on a more serious note. "I will see where their main camp is and how many we deal with." Gwendolynn nodded to that, as she watched the man stalk into the woods again.

The sentry was still knocked out cold, though while the spellsword figured he was not going anywhere anytime soon, they had decided to tie him up and gag him nonetheless. Even if he would wake up in a groggy state he could shout and give their presence away too early. Perhaps, they would be able to make their way through there without spilling too much blood too, something she always preferred, but not something that she often got to enjoy. Gwendolynn still had her steel drawn and held at the ready however, she was not one to let such hope and musings cloud her alertness or readiness for battle. She had taken up to stand guard, to await their scout's return or be warned of incoming danger, at least. Lucien was still occupied with the man, working to tie him up firm and tight. They were silent and alert, to remain as undetected as they could from anymore men in these woods. Lucien did not take long to break the silence though, the curse muttered softly. "Shit. Gwen, this doesn't look good."

The spellsword looked over to Lucien and the bound man, a wry smile forming on her lips once more as she gestured to the mess of a man. "You were the one who punched him, Lucien. You are the one who left him in this sorry state of--" She paused. Lucien had a deep frown on his features, the man nodding towards the bound man. As much as the two of them enjoyed their banter, this was not a moment where it fit, and Gwendolynn fell silent. She moved a bit closer to see what had caused the swordsman to become as concerned as he was now. She kneeled down besides the man, to look at him. It was not the man or his bruised and bloodied face Lucien was worried about, but something found on the man. The spellsword frowned deeply as she saw it for herself. The clammy chill in her gut followed on the heels of the realization.

Kara Farrowwood ~ Druidess of Silvanus

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