The wind whipping past his face, a steady rhythm, growl of thunder, rhythm breaks. Fire. Shrieking. Ignae fighting Undine for rights to a mortal soul.
A cold voice. "Boring. I should have let it land on Cyrus before destroying it. Oh well, maybe I'll get Fishy to tell me about it once he wakes up."
A hand pulled Silver to his feet, & the voice sneered, "Look what you forgot to bring with from the last battle! Some heroes you are." Silver smiled as he stumbled over his feet. It was good to be back with everybody, even Rapierian.
As Silver relaxed, he remembered that he could repair his broken body, & as they journeyed on through the dark, that's what he started to work on.
Wizard stopped suddenly and glanced around.
"What's wrong?" Chrysothemis asked him.
"I'm not sure...I have no memory of this place."
"No surprise there," Rapierian put in.
Wizard ignored the necromancer and cautiously headed forward. The others followed.
A light soon appeared ahead of them.
"That looks like the sun," someone said excitedly, as they pressed on.
With startling suddenness, they exited the cave and found themselves on a grassy hillside.
Glancing around, they saw that they were on among the foothills of the northern mountains. South of them, across a narrow canyon, the rest of the mountains marched on out of sight.
"We're on the edge of the pass between the mountains," Wizard said in relief. "All we have to do is cross the canyon and we can enter the caves once more. We're nearing the lava fields."
Crossing the canyon, however, would not be easy. In later centuries, the path between Pnyx and Cademia would be well maintained. At this time, it was a maze of overgrown vegetation.
In addition, to prevent the Tyrant from launching a surprise attack, the mages watched the canyon from the west. The Tyrant had also sent forces to cover the land west of Cademia, in case the mages that he was hunting tried to escape that way.
Fortunately, no one was in the canyon itself and the group was able to reach the slopes of the southern mountains undetected.
They began to quickly search for an entrance to this area's cave system...
Escaping the cell had been as easy as he'd imagined; an entire section of the far wall had been replaced sometime between his present and the current moment in the past. After craftily slipping out of the fetter he'd been bound with, he began to loosen a few key bricks from the mortar. Once satisfied that the structural integrity had been sufficiently weakened, he delivered several swift kicks to the wall.
Although his injuries meant that the action was painful, the sight of seeing the bricks falling apart from each-other like dominoes was entertaining to watch.
He hurried outside; the guards undoubtedly would have heard that. Rushing around the building, he made his way around to the front, and entered to the stunned faces of two very shocked wardens.
One attempted to raise the alarm, but was quickly cut off as Shanadar delivered a heavy-fisted blow that broke the man's jaw. The other tried to fight the time-traveling Enforcer off, but Shanadar had fought entire gangs of much more menacing ruffians in his own time. The poor sap never had a chance.
He looked around for an evidence locker. They had to have put his equipment somewhere , after all. After a short search, he was rewarded by finding his confiscated possessions in a locked drawer, the key to which had conveniently been on the person of one of his non-unconscious jailers.
He quickly took inventory, and re-equipped himself.
His armor and most of his equipment was present. His bladed staff, however, was notably absent. Likely, the Tyrant had taken it to his personal armory as a curiosity.
Shanadar silently cursed under his breath. It wasn't so much the potential damage to the timeline that concerned him, although that crossed his mind. No, he'd just bought that stave as a replacement for the one that Rapierian and Cat had ruined when he'd broken up their fight some time ago (and had nearly gotten himself killed in the process). He'd just started to like this weapon, and he'd be damned if he'd leave it behind too. Else, he could very well end up on the receiving end of a very vengeful armament.
A bit crazy, perhaps, and certainly unduly superstitious, but the Enforcer had been through too much manure for one day to be concerned about rational reasoning. He was going to get his weapon back.
Unfortunately, he didn't even know where it was.
The city, still en-walled in this era (which could pose another problem later), was considerably smaller than the one he knew in his era. Nevertheless, Cademia was still a large place to search for such a small item, and he'd have to be avoiding the patrols looking for him all the while whilst he searched for--and later retrieved--his staff.
He'd start at the Tyrant's keep. If it was likely to be anywhere, it'd somewhere near there.
Silver stumbled along, searching for something, but he was having a hard time remembering what. He was quite delighted to find the tunic he was wearing several times.
"I've found it!" 1 of his companions shouted, he wasn't sure which, he turned to follow just as a flood of water burst from the ground behind him. As the water tumbled past him, Silver felt the last of the Mana wash out of him. Then the water stood on its legs & hurled him @ the party.
Silver caught himself on the air, prompting the Undine assassin to roar in rage @ being thus tricked, & dived into the crevice after his friends...
Wizard shouted to the party in surprise of the unexpected undine foe, "We are almost to the lava fields, move quickly through the tunnels!". A strange purple field shot up behind them as they frantically fled into the tunnels, whoever had setup the shell would most likely still be behind. Yomu had no time to worry about this at the moment as he came to the realization that the party's numbers had been greatly cut. Pulling out a large glowing strung bead from his bag, Yomu looked around himself to find silver flapping by, "Silver! Everyone else is gone, they must have been separated from us when that thing attacked.". Silver paused to catch his breath and then a look of shame spread across his face, "I'm afraid that's partially my fault, I somewhat, taunted it. I'm not to blame, really!", Yomu cut him off, "Listen, it does not matter now. Wizard told us to make it through to the lava fields, so that's the plan. I'm sure these tunnels meet up again at some point, but for now we can't keep are friends waiting.". Silver began flapping again, "Right!". Silver and Yomu began jolting down the tunnel.
"You've doomed us!", Cyrus yelped. "Be grateful, now you can die a hero.", the gem let out a light laugh then sparkled. "I don't want to die a hero, I don't want to die at all!", Cyrus shouted at Gem, however was met with a small silence, "Fine.", Gem stopped sparkling. The purple shell that had been holding the creature back suddenly shattered and turned into vapor. For a brief moment Cryus looked into the Undine's eyes, "Gem?".
They had planned to reach the lava fields but the main part of the group had stopped in awe of a strange chamber. Chrysothemis looked up at the large white gem hanging from the roof of the cave. "What is it?" the girl inquired to Wizard, "I believe it is quartz.". The carved markings on the floor appeared to be ruins, though they looked different from anything they had seen before. Wizard studied the ruins and then returned to the group, "It appears that this area was used for some type of time displacement ritual. As far as I know I don't recall anything about this place in the fu-" Wizard cut himself off when he remembered his company, "ah-hem, back home.". Rapierian sighed, "It's quite simple really, this place doesn't exist, back home.".
Yomu and Silver had started to loose the fire they mustered up earlier, as fatigue slowly grew over them. Yomu stumbled and dropped the glowing bead into the darkness. Silver perked up, "I'll get it!". After he went to investigate the crack to which the bead had rolled through he found himself in a small brick lined room, "Wow!" Sliver exclaimed. Yomu brought himself closer to the crevice, "What do you see, is the bead there?", "I'm in some strange room, and..." Silver looked around for the bead, "I found the bea-" Silver screamed in surprise. "Silver?!", Yomu called out, "Oh, just a skeleton." Silver calmed himself then took the bead, but was then stopped when he saw what was placed around the skull of this dusty figure, a crown decorated by white gems. Almost hypnotized Silver reached up to take the crown, but was met with a fiery burning sensation through his hands. "Ah! Magic!", he cried out.
Yomu grew tired of being left in the dark. He reached into his pouch and pulled out his red hat. POOF, He easily passed through the narrow crevice to find Silver grasping his hands. POOF, Silver jumped in surprise, "Ah! I have quite enough surprises for one day, Yomu!". Yomu laughed, "Yes, I'm sorry for that.". Silver tossed Yomu his bead, "Look at this crown I found!" Silver exclaimed to Yomu. Yomu hung the bead to where Silver was pointing and gasped in amazement. Silver smiled, "I think I'll name my new discovery, Eyes of Silver! Because the gems look like eyes, get it?". Yomu wasn't listening, he reached out and then placed the crown in his pouch, "I had heard legends of this crown, 'He who posses this crown will gain the power of kings past and kings yet to be.' No ones ever been able to figure out what the riddle means." Silver grew bored from Yomus brief story, "Eyes of Silver is a much better title! Besides, we've wasted too much time here. I'm going on now, try to keep up." Silver slid through the hole once more and continued down the tunnel. "The crown of Kings old and yet to be, and excellent addition to my collection.", Yomu smiled and after a brief hat fitting, chased after Silver.
I think that I've read something about this place Rapierian mused to himself.
The necromancer rummaged through his cloak for a few moments before pulling out a book. Opening it, he leafed through the book before stopping and beginning to read.
Wizard was quickly considering their options. They had lost several party members but stopping to look for them was perilous. Staying here was also perilous. At any moment, their pursuer might appear. The chamber and the device it contained might be of some use, but it would take an extremely powerful temporal device to defeat the time magic that the water elemental might be able to manipulate.
Pushing on might be their best course...
Before Wizard could say or do anything, Chrysothemis noticed what Rapierian was doing.
"You're stopping to read at a time like this?" she asked incredulously. He glanced up at her.
"Of course! Reading is a fundamental, you know! Why, without the ability to read, where would we all be now?" he paused. "Oh, well, I suppose it is true that none of you would be affected."
At that moment, Wizard spoke.
"I'm afraid that we might have to move on. To search for our companions or to linger here is dangerousâ€”"
Rapierian began to read again, and Chrysothemis, thoroughly annoyed with him, tried to snatch the book from his grasp, hoping to hit him over the head with it.
"The authors of these things like to put all sorts of highly destructive (and highly amusing) protective spells on their books, you know," the necromancer told her casually. "Could be amusing though."
Without thinking, she glanced at the page he was reading.
Suddenly, she screamed and stumbled backward, pawing at her eyes. Startled, Aster caught her and tried to calm her.
"Whoops, I had forgotten that little detail," Rapierian said. He began to chuckle to himself. "That IS funny."
"What did you do?!" Wizard burst out, looking as if he were about ready to throttle Rapierian.
"Me? Oh, I didn't do anything. She made the mistake of trying to read the page . . . and, well . . . this particular language is not very agreeable to uninitiated readers, particularly those who have had no training in magical scripts." He looked at Wizard. "Come now, if I were actively trying to harm her, don't you think she'd be dead by now?"
Wizard sensed that Rapierian was speaking the truth. The the old man also knew of the deleterious effects that reading books written in the languages used by the dark mages could have.
As always when such occasions arose, Wizard wished that he could do something about this impudent young upstart. Unfortunately, they needed him right now, and, in the future, he was legally safe from all reprisals, having been formally cleared (although not necessarily through honest means).
The necromancer began to laugh.
"Quiet!" Wizard hissed. "Do you want to lead it right to us?"
"Yell at her! She's the one who started making loud noises!"
The dark mage looked as if he were going to laugh harder, but Wizard turned away from him and headed toward Chrysothemis.
"What's wrong? What did it do to you?"
"My eyes are burning! I can't see!"
"Should be temporary," Rapierian put in from behind Wizard. "I think."
"You think?" the older man growled at him. "That's news."
"Such sad outdated wit . . . poor old man," Rapierian said, shaking his head in mock sympathy.
Wizard ignored him, trying to see what he could do to help Chrysothemis.
"I have a potion that might help," the necromancer said. "Well, either that, or it will blow her up . . . or is that cause her to go mad . . .?"
He chuckled again, apparently amused at the various possibilities.
"So, what do we do now?" he asked cheerfully.
Aster sat down against a wall, watching to see who would try to kill Rapierian first. The necromancer had been getting on his nerves throughout the adventure, but there was no way in Cythera he'd say so. He was too worried about drawing attention to himself for that. But still, there had to be some way of inconveniencing Rapierian without making a fuss.
Sighing quietly, he wondered why the party had to wait. No-one seemed to want to tell him.
He wondered idly what had become of Shanadar.
As Silver & Yomu hurried through the darkness, a roar of rushing water sounded behind them. With a gasp Silver exclaimed, "Cyrus! Yomu, I think Cyrus was left behind guarding our escape! I think I can help him survive, but you need to hurry to the others & get a plan worked out!" Yomu didn't think it sounded like a sane plan, except for the catching up with the others part, but there was no time to argue, so he just nodded briefly & kept running.
Meanwhile, Silver turned back & after all too little time saw the Undine bearing down on him, & within its mass Cyrus floating lifelessly. The Assassin, too rushed to properly kill him, had apparently opted to drown him on the way down the tunnel. Silverfish dived into the Undine as one trying to make no ripples in a smooth pond, & latched onto Cyrus. The Assassin rushed onward as if he had noticed nothing.
It was only a few seconds work from there for Silver to wrap himself around Cyrus like a young child on a shoulder-ride, but rather than strangling Cyrus, Silver was converting the water into a breathable form. Cyrus's life-signs were weak, but definitely there. Hopefully all he needed was good air to be back in spell-casting condition soon...
Much as with escaping, retrieving his equipment had not been particularly difficult for Shanadar. Despite the heightened amount of security, the Tyrant's guards were apparently as perceptive of their surroundings as bricks, and the latter probably challenged their intelligence too. Then again, the Enforcer's years of dealing with the seedy underbelly of the Cademia some centuries in the future probably gave him a decisive edge in stealth as well.
Of course, not everything was going to be so easy.
In this past timeframe, the walls of Cademia were still very much intact. The vertical stone surface would doubtless impede his progress, but Shanadar knew he very well couldn't exit through any of the gatehouses, especially since they'd soon be alerted to his recent prison-break. The wall didn't protect the city from the coastline, but, given the choice between swimming through what was quite possibly scylla-infested waters and climbing a sheer cliff of brick-and-mortar, the choice was simple.
He began climbing.
His ascent was slow and arduous, but, nonetheless, he made the seemingly insurmountable climb to the artificial structure's summit unnoticed. Once he reached the top, he paused, momentarily, to rest, but it was not to last, as the calm of the night air was rendered by the alarm bells ringing at the keep, and the city guard scrambling in search of their escaped fugitive.
Knowing, full well, that he did not have time to climb down, and that remaining on top of the wall would inevitably lead to detection and capture, the Enforcer made a split decision. Running as fast as he dared along the spine of the bulwark, Shanadar scanned the darkness nearest the wall for a suitably tall tree. Finding what he was looking for, he made a silent prayer to what powers would listen, and leapt into fate's open arms.
The resulting din of many breaking branches, bones, and one ego were heard from across the city, as involuntary cries of pain and explicative drowned out even the deafeningly-loud alarm bells. Stifling the howling pain, the Enforcer climbed down the unfortunate deciduous as fast as his injuries would allow. Silently, he wondered, with all the pain he endured, was he a glutton for punishment, or was the universe just out to get him.
Hearing the sounds of soldier's footsteps closing in, he decided on the latter, and made his way into the inky dark. Hopefully, the deep of a thousand midnights would defend him for a change against those who sought to do him harm, as he made his way West, towards where he supposed the group would be by now. He knew that the group was heading towards Land's End, but they would probably try to find entrance through the mountains to avoid further delays (and perhaps delay the Water Elemental with the lava flows he'd heard rumors about in the southern spine).
Alaric willing, they were still alive, and he would soon be free of this temporally-confused nightmare.
This post has been edited by ~vIsitor~ : 28 November 2008 - 01:45 PM
I wish Shanadar were here. . . Wizard found himself in a quandary.
At least three members of the party, Yomu, Silver, and Cyrus, were behind them somewhere, but with that assassin following them, there was no way they could turn back. It wasn't even safe to wait here.
Wizard glanced towards the wall where Aster was reclining, "Aster!" Aster, still day-dreaming about what would happen to Rapierian, jumped. "I'm sorry, I didn't mean to startle you. Could you help guide Chrysothemis, at least until her vision returns?" He glared at Rapierian as he spoke the last bit. Aster silently nodded and slowly moved over to Chrysothemis.
"I know that this cavern will be of some help to us when it comes time to return home, but right now, we can't use it, nor can we wait. Let's keep moving south. I think there should be another tunnel further south that will circle around back here; I hope anyways."
The others began move on, Aster helping Chrysothemis as she went. After the others were gone, Wizard stepped in front of Rapierian, blocking the exit. "Listen, necromancer, I've never cared much for your antics, but that was taking it too far."
"But that wasn't my fault, she looked at something she shouldn't have; you know this." Rapierian protested. He didn't seem too concerned.
"Yes, I know it wasn't. This time, but I don't even want to talk about all the trouble you've caused us before. May I remind you that this time we are in the past, trying to save Alaric's mother from certain death? One wrong move and we'll have destroyed everything, everything that we know about Cythera. So I'm warning you: watch it. I'll be watching you more closely than I ever have before, and, as much as I revere Alaric, I don't care for that slip of paper he signed pardoning you from your crimes. If I see you cause one more 'accident,' I will be sorely tempted to defy Alaric's ruling on the matter." Wizard's face had turned harsh and determined; he seemed seriously angered by Rapierian's latest gimmick.
Rapierian was half-amused. "What would you plan on doing?"
"If necessary, I will kill you," the old mage said as his eyes narrowed.
"Oh really? Go ahead. Do it." Rapierian's expression changed to form a twisted smile.
Wizard appeared to be contemplating action for a moment, but then his features loosened. He looked like a harmless old man again. He shook his head a time or two to clear his mind before he turned his back on Rapierian and began to follow the others, "No, I won't play your game."
"Oh well, suit yourself."
They journeyed onward in silence for a long while.
Later, Chrysothemis' eyes had begun to clear; Wizard was walking beside her now, just in case she couldn't see everything yet.
"If you've all come to save me, why did he come along? How did you ever get involved with such an evil man?" Chrysothemis asked. She was obviously not going to forget her experience with Rapierian's magic anytime soon.
"I really don't know why he wanted to come along. You can be sure he has his own motives for everything, and I doubt that all he wants to do is help. He's caused so much trouble for this group. . . I always knew he was up to no good. From the very first time I laid eyes on him, I knew he was a scoundrel. I just didn't know until recent years, well recent years in my time anyways, the extent of what he was willing to do." Wizard paused a moment, reflecting on some of the incidents they had had with Rapierian and the time that he betrayed them at Tavara's fortress.
Chrysothemis said nothing, waiting patiently for Wizard to continue his monologue.
"But, regardless of the crimes he may or may not have committed, there's nothing we can do about him right now. Our first priority is to get you safe, permanently."
"And then you have to get back home. Right?"
"Right. I'm certain that after we've gotten rid of your pursuer, we will be able to find that time-travel cavern again and somehow get it to work." Wizard smiled, but Chrysothemis couldn't help but think he was putting on a show to protect her. She began to wonder if these adventurers who had saved her so many times would ever be able to return to their own time.
That was, of course, if they could even manage to defeat this terminator that seemed to be right behind them every step of the way. . .
Four soldiers gathered around the tree by which Shanadar had exited the city.
One of them was bent over the ground, holding a torch close to it.
"He definitely went this way," the guard said, nodding with satisfaction. "We'll catch him easily, considering the shape he must be in after having taken that topple."
"Are you sure this is wise?" one of the others asked dubiously. "He's tied in with some of those mages by most accounts...rumors are he's crazy."
"So what?" the first replied disdainfully. "He's injured, he's alone...who cares about his sanity? We'll get him first and get the reward."
The new voice came out of the darkness behind the guards. The two who had been talking whirled...only to find their two compatriots lying on the ground, out cold.
Something flashed in the darkness, and the torch that the lead guard had been carrying went out. A shadowy figure rushed forward out of the darkness.
There were a couple of crashes, a moan, and then silence.
The attacker glanced at the fallen guards once. This would only delay the pursuit of Shanadar slightly, but any little bit helped. It would at least give him time to take up the pursuit himself.
Stepping forward, he briefly moved into the moonlight. The man was short and stocky. He had long blond hair, wore the clothes of a fighter, and had one sword strapped to his side.
Having guessed the Enforcer's destination, he moved forward silently, doing his best to follow Shanadar's trail as best he could in the moonlight.
As the group moved forward, Rapierian hung back slightly. He had a suspicion about something and wished to see if he was correct. He waited a few moments and then crossed the time travel cavern, emerging into the narrow tunnel opposite the one the group had just used.
As he suspected, the creature promptly appeared on the other side of the tunnel. It had been far closer to them than they had thought.
"Hi, how are you? Feeling well or are you still utterly boring? You appear to have someone floating in you. Oh wait, I have to kill you, right? Hmm, sounds boring..." the necromancer's voice trailed off, and the creature advanced.
"Oh wait! I have it!" He stopped and continued in a serious voice. "I'm taking up a new hobby. It involves causing disastrous cave-ins just for the fun of it.
The necromancer began to laugh and threw a lightning bolt at the cave ceiling. The tunnel began to rumble and rocks began to fall from the ceiling.
"Isn't burying people alive just one of the funnest things?" Rapierian asked, still howling with laughter.
Plowing through the falling rocks, the creature said nothing in reply.
"Oh, I suppose it is less fun to be on the receiving end? Oh well, it builds your character...or not...oh well."
The necromancer threw another bolt at the ceiling, causing it to collapse utterly.
Then, he turned and walked away whistling.
The cave-in would, he suspected, only slow the creature down slightly.
Moving quickly, he soon caught up with the others.
"What was all that racket?" Wizard demanded angrily. "Are you trying to give our position away?"
"Oh, I was just having an inventive talk with one of the most boring things...oh, and you might want to pick up the pace...unless you want to see Chrysothemis messily slaughtered," Rapierian replied with a laugh.
Wizard's eyes widened as he realized what Rapierian meant.
"Run!" the old man yelled and the party took off down the tunnels.
Silverfish kicked back hard as the ceiling crumbled above them, barely saving Cyrus & himself from being utterly crushed beneath the rockfall. Moments latter they were dry as the Assassin hurried away toward its prime target. But that was a luxury they didn't have long to avoid as Silver noticed a trickle of liquid where his body was crushed beneath the rocks, & a small puddle of blood oozed out around them.
Yomu had not yet gained the company of the others when he realized that the Assassin was too close for him to help them form a plan before it arrived. Pausing a second, he switched hats, & squeezed quickly into a crack in the wall. He quickly readied a bomb, but when the Assassin rushed past moments later, he noticed two of his companions engulfed in its raging body & decided that, for the time being, it was better not to risk their lives with an explosion. He quickly followed.
As Yomu entered the bright cavernous room, he felt the crown in his pack respond to it. But as he moved to examine it, he noticed Silver & Cyrus lying under the rockfall...
Throughout the night, Shanadar ran wildly across the plains, towards the southern end of the Titan's Spine. Despite his injuries, he made relatively good time, and maintained a pace that would have astounded the Tyrants' men had they still been pursuing him. After all, he'd suffered worse injuries in the past and kept mobile; this situation was little different.
Eventually, it became apparent to the Enforcer that he was, indeed, being followed. While he was not particularly surprised at this, having been expecting trackers, the behavior was definitely not that of a typical city guard. For one thing, the pursuer was much too fast for a soldier in heavy armor, and another, he seemed to quickly recognize when the Enforcer tried to double back. Eventually, he stopped trying, and simply ran along the shortest path he could take towards his destination.
When he reached the foot of the mountains, he dared a glance behind. In the pale moonlight, his would-be pursuer was but a vague shadow in the distance, but he was unmistakably closing in fast. By the Enforcer's estimate, he would be overtaken within the next half hour.
Fortunately, that was more than sufficient time to find an entrance to the network of inactive lava tubes that honeycombed the mountain range. Alaric willing, he would be able to meet up the group half-way, and together they could deal with the Elemental Assassin (and perhaps this new "friend" which Shanadar had picked up on his way back from Cademia). It was a bit of a gamble, seeing as how the caves were a twisted, interconnected maze, but the distant echoes of voices told the Enforcer he was close.
He set into the tunnels, still wounded, but determined. There was no time to waste.
"Yomu..?" Silver said softly, "Silver! I'll get you out just hold on!" Yomu began clearing the rocks covering Silver away as fast he could, but then Silver grabbed his leg, "Cyrus, he's in deeper; I can feel him touch my foot. As for my other leg..." Silver grunted, "Hurry you must get him out. I, have to close my eyes for a minute."
What could he do? He kept tossing aside as many rocks as he could but they grew heavier until Yomu could not lift one even will all his strength. He had to think, quickly, or his companions would die. "Dynamite!" he though, reaching into his bag he pulled out a few sticks. "This would definitely clear the rocks, but the damage to the others would be far too great." He took a deep breath walked to the center of the dim chamber and sat, "I have so much power, surely there must be a way to use it." He took his pouch off and peered inside, looking into the vast depth of his travels, when a bright light caught his eyes. "What's this? The crown is reacting! What does it mean? Maybe.." Yomu placed the crown on his head, but to no avail, he trusted the crown forward, "Crown of kings, I call upon your power!" only silence answered his pleas. He placed the shining crown atop a rock, and gazed at it, "How did the old riddle go? 'He who posses this crown, will gain the power of kings past and kings yet to be-" and with his last word the cavern quickly filled with a blinding light. "W-what's this?!" Yomu rubbed his eyes, to his amazement the rock on which the crown had laid, was gone.
A thunderous roar shook the room, with it one of the main metallic beams supporting the giant crystal above shattered and fell to the ground. "Truly the fates weave to my favor!" Yomu rejoiced as he equipped himself with a large metal stock. "Silver! Cyrus! Do not leave me to quickly, I shall have you out soon!" Yomu exclaimed as he began forcing the rocks off his trapped companions.
Shanadar stumbled as the tunnels he traversed through began to shake wildly, "Haha, I must be close." he said as continued along.
This post has been edited by Two Jacks : 04 November 2008 - 08:59 PM
The man following Shanadar paused a moment before entering the tunnels.
He was impressed that the Enforcer had spotted him following. He considered the possibility that the man might be lying in ambush for him.
On his guard, he carefully entered the caverns...
The group with Chrysothemis ran through the tunnels.
The caves were a twisting labyrinth through which it was impossible to find a straight way.
Wizard did his best to lead them south, but it was quite difficulty to be sure of the proper path.
Rapierian continued reading from his book as they went along, hardly seeming to notice the circumstances.
Suddenly, Wizard stopped.
Ahead of them, there were several tunnels which branched off into another maze.
"Ah, here's where we need a map, unless ol' Wiz goat here has some ability to find the proper path through caves," Rapierian said.
"Yes, and unless you happen to have a map, would you be quiet so that I can think?" Wizard replied, glaring at the necromancer.
"'Think?' Rather strong terms for your so-called cognitive abilities, don't you think?" Not waiting for Wizard's retort, he continued, "We should take the one on the right, by the way."
"And how would you know?" Wizard asked in annoyance.
"It's what the book says—"
Wizard almost yelled but stopped himself to go on in a quieter voice, "You have a map? Why didn't you say anything? No, wait, don't answer that. Let me see it!"
"Sorry, you wouldn't be able to read it...not that that makes it unique...being illiterate must be quite a handicap."
"Why should I trust you or your book?"
"Why not? In any case, do you have a choice?"
Sighing, Wizard took the suggested passage.
"I'm going to regret this," he muttered.
bump Kronos, elemental of Time, looked down at something by his feet. hmm... a stone bearing every indication of being freshly cast from the TIme-Stream. Something interesting might happen. And he kept an eye on the events that are now unfolding.
Working with the metal spar, Yomu was able to make good on his promise to free Cyrus & Silver, and soon had them laid out on the floor away from the cave-in. Cyrus appeared to be unconscious, but Silver could not get comfortable until he had managed to hang himself from the wall by his feet. He waved to Yomu, who was giving him funny looks, & fell asleep.
As the party started to head down the far right tunnel, Radik sub-consciously took off running at his normal pace. His mind wondered, mainly about how this fight would end and snapped back to reality as he noticed that he was ahead of the group. He slid to a stop, turned around and waited a few moments for the party that was moving at Chrysothemis's speed to catch up. He bent down, picked her up, and took off running again, allowing the party to continue at a faster pace.
This post has been edited by Dark Jet : 01 December 2008 - 01:20 AM
As if launching the stone to parts unknown had primed the chamber for some purpose, what had started with a crash subsided into background noise, which redoubled every few seconds until the whole chamber was vibrating with a vast & mysterious energy...
As the group ran along, Wizard was beginning to get more and more tired. He used his powers to keep moving, not wanting to make the others wait on him, but he knew that should they have to fight the elemental again, he would not even be able to challenge it in his current state.
Shanadar ran through the winding tunnels as fast as he could. As he rounded a sharp corner, he collided into a robed man, much to his surprise. Both let out a cry of surprise as they went crashing into the hard rock floor. If this person wasn't with the group, who else could be wandering around these tunnels if not the elemental assassin? Shanadar scrambled to his feet and readied himself for another fight.
"What's going on here? Who are you?" the robed man shouted out as he also struggled to regain his footing.
Why was that voice so familiar? "Wizard? Is that you?" Shanadar relaxed only a little as he attempted to recognize the other man.
The cloaked figure had successfully gotten on his feet and turned to face Shanadar. He hesitantly took a step forward, "Yes. . . that's what people call me."
Shanadar moved the torch that he had been carrying closer to Wizard's face to examine him more closely. It was undeniably Wizard, although his face looked smoother than Shanadar had remembered. It was very subtle but there was something different about Wizard's appearance. He almost seemed younger. Shanadar was still very pleased to see the old man again, "It is you! Where are the others?"
"Others?" Wizard cocked his head in confusion. "Do I. . . know you?"
"It's me, Shanadar." The Enforcer was by no means slow-witted; he was already beginning to consider possibilities for why his friend was acting so strangely. Remembering that the water assassin could take any form, he prepared himself for anything.
"Look. . . Shanadar, I really don't know who you are. I don't even know what's going on. I don't make a habit of traveling this deeply into the mountain, but I heard lots of rumbling and crashing. So I came back here to explore." Wizard realized that he was once again beginning to ramble as he had a tendency to do. I'll have to break that habit someday , he thought. "Anyways, do you have any idea what's going on back here?"
"Yes, I already told you that."
"But you don't know who I am?"
"Well, now I know that your name is Shanadar, and you quite possibly enjoy hitting unsuspecting victims over the head with that club in your hand." Wizard gestured to the club that Shanadar was holding.
"No, I only hit people over the head when it's necessary, and I don't know if I can trust you yet."
As a general rule, Wizard did not like grabbing thoughts out of people's heads without permission. He even tried to ignore the thoughts that were so obvious they seemed to come at him without any effort. He could tell that this stranger did recognize him. "You do know me, don't you? But how can that be, if I don't know you?"
There was a period of silence as the two stared at each other. Wizard spoke again, "You are obviously not from around here."
"No, no. . . I'm not." Shanadar was beginning to realize who he was speaking to. He knew Wizard was a very old man, but older than Alaric? He had not expected that. Even so, Wizard's age wasn't his biggest problem. Shanadar was cautious about how much he could safely tell this Wizard from the past. He lowered his club and tried to explain, "Umm. . . I'm not sure how best to say this."
But the younger Wizard said it for him, "You don't know me , but you know me. You're not from this time!" Wizard smiled at his conclusion.
"Yes, exactly! Now. . . uh, I have to go."
"Good! I'll go with you."
"I don't think you should. I don't want to risk messing up the timeline. In fact, you should probably return home and try to forget everything." Shanadar walked past Wizard and continued running down the tunnels. He tried not to look back.
"Well, obviously, if you're my friend in the future, you're a good guy." Wizard was running next to him now. "I'm coming with you to help you and the 'others' with whatever it is you're trying to do. Besides, I would really like to know what's been causing all these earthquakes behind my home."
"You don't understand, it could be dangerous. I don't know what will happen."
"Happen? The worst that could happen is that I'll bump into my future self and will create a temporal anomaly that will unravel the fabric of the universe!" Wizard chuckled at the suggestion, but Shanadar stopped running and stared at him.
The old man stopped laughing, "Oh, that is the problem. I see. . ."
The cave floor rumbled again. Wizard's attention focused to the rumbling, "It's been doing a lot of that. You know there's a whole network of underground rivers deeper in the mountain; those must be overflowing or something. Maybe, however unusual it is, something is causing a large amount of water to move against the rest of the water." Wizard shook his head at the notion, "Control over water. That's Undine sort of stuff. You guys wouldn't be messed up with them."
Shanadar didn't respond, but he knew what the rumbling meant: both the group and the water assassin were nearby. He set off running again.
Wizard started after him, "Wait, you're not are you? Are you!?"
Radik noticed that his left leg was starting to cramp from the constant running, and noticed not only his pace slowing, but the groups as well. This time, it wasn't due to any one person slower than the whole, but of fatigue. The fact that the party had been running for this long without anyone tripping, fainting or just collapsing was a testament to the will of the adventures.
He started glancing at Wizard more and more, as the old fellow was running out of physical strength. While Radik was watching Wizard, his right foot landed on a group of small loose rocks and his right leg slid forward. Quickly, Radik shifted Chyrothemis's weight onto his right arm, and pushed off the wall with his left hand. Using his forward momentum and the wall, he was able to lean forward and bring his right leg back down, and continue in stride.
For some reason, Radik blocked everything out and listened to the rocks bounce down the tunnel ahead. Click.... Click.... Click... Splash... It took Radik a few moments to make the connection of the watery termination to the bouncing rock. Splash... Wait... Water, Oh Crap! Well the wall was warm, and not cold... so we're getting very close to the lava so.. the water that is a head is likely a small pool, nothing more...
With Chrysothemis's weight still mostly on his right arm, Radik winced as his right leg hit the ground again, and he knew he had pulled some muscle in his leg. He guessed he'd be able to keep up with the group's pace for about another 30 seconds before the pain would spread and he'd be forced to limp. Since no one else had either noticed or mentioned anything about the splash, he reached behind him, to his belt where a wooden bottle hung.
He unhooked the bottle, brought it around to his face where he popped the cork out with his teeth, and took a whiff. He shook his head as his nose burned from deeply inhaling the smell of Ale. Wizard noticed what Radik was generally doing and proceeded to ask him...
W: What are you trying to do? Drink at a time like this?
R: There is some water ahead, I don't know how big. I can't keep running after that slip. I can buy you some time to get to the lava, It should be close by, The walls are getting very warm. Wizard confirmed this when his foot touched the ground and some of the heat from the floor transfered through his shoe onto his foot. Keep running, don't stop till you get to the lava, and then throw him in there.
As Wizard begun to protest, Radik turned, tossed Chrysothemis a little bit into the air, and she fell into Rapierian's arms. The two were suprised and before either could complain about the sudden arrangement, Radik stopped and said as the group started to slow down, "Keep running, follow Wizard's lead. We don't have time to argue!"
-- A few minutes earlier... --
Shanadar came running into the Time cavern to discover Silver hanging upside down (like usual), Yomu and Cyrus. Yomu stood up to greet Shanadar and held up the crown in a triumphant 'Look what I found!'. After a very (very) short talk between the four, Shanadar grabbed the crown and ran down a side tunnel as Yomu and Silver helped Cyrus out of sight from Shanadar's pursuer.
-- A few minutes ahead of previous events... --
Shanadar quickly darted from one tunnel branch into another and slowed down before he fell off the end of his tunnel into another one. He quickly turned around, lowered himself and dropped silently and painlessly a few feet into this new tunnel and took off towards the warmer end.
As he was running, he saw a bright burst of light and two figures came into view. One, being the wielder of the object causing the light, and the second was semi-transparent...
--30 seconds before that... --
Radik pulled out his claymore, close his eyes, then poured his ale over his blade. Rapierian, per Radik's instructions from Wizard, tossed a potion towards Radik. Radik caught it and heard a faint comment that the necromancer simply couldn't resist. He smiled as the words, "Greek fire, at least I think it is..." drifted down the tunnel to Radik. We hope it is , Radik corrected..
He turned to face the Undine's assassin, who slowed a little bit. Radik struck his claymore against the wall, and the ale lit instantly. The assassin, being caught off guard by this, attempted to stop running, but Radik stepped forward and swung out, halving the being of water.
The assassin reconnected itself as the blade cut through it, but some water turned to steam as the flame ripped through him. While still not yet fully recovered from the flaming claymore surprise, Radik stepped forward again, bring his sword down, cutting the elemental from it's right 'shoulder' to the left edge of its 'waist'.
The elemental finally recovered from the turn of events, and 'drew' its own weapon and parried Radik's next swing. As the elemental drew its other sword, Radik was forced to turn his swings into defensive ones. Radik smiled, because he now had (hopefully) bought the party enough time to reach the lava before the Assassin would be able to catch up. As he was being pushed backwards more and more with the swings hitting harder, his foot splashed into the puddle of water.
Radik chanced a glance to see how big the water was, and discovered that it was just that, a pool of water. It was roughly have the width of the tunnel and only ran on for a few feet. With the lightning conditions and not being able to look for too long, Radik was unable to see just how deep. The assassin smiled now, and pushed Radik back harder. Radik stumbled, but forced his defensive swing to push the elemental into the water and him out of it.
The Elemental regained its former strength from the aid of the pool, and its next attack sent Radik stumbling backwards, but this time he wasn't able to say on his feet. His claymore lay at his side, and the assassin stabbed Radik in the right leg before he could grab his sword and counter. He let out a brief scream of pain, and looked directly into the elementals eyes, or at least where they were supposed to be.
Radik dropped the claymore, agreeing to this fate. He was exhausted, most of his reserve energy had been used, and now wounded. The elemental withdrew its blade from his leg and lifted its arm back to pierce Radik's chest to end this distraction quickly.
As the weapon moved forward, a bolt went ripping through the elemental's torso. The elemental looked back down the tunnel to see Shanadar come running forward and disconnect its legs with a swipe of his staff. As the Elemental regrouped, Shanadar pulled Radik up, and started to help him limp down the tunnel after the party.
Radik pulled out the potion Rapierian had tossed him, and threw it at the feet of the Elemental. A small explosion spread out, catching the bottom of the elemental on fire, and igniting the previously undisturbed layer of ale that had been on the pond. The elemental screamed in pain as the greek fire proceeded to ignite the ale that it had absorbed as well.
Radik continued to hop after Shanadar, "You just had to make a dramatic entrance, didn't you?" The two enjoyed a quick chuckle as Shanadar helped Radik almost run down the tunnel. The younger version of Wizard, right behind the two. "You wouldn't happen to have any ale, would you?" Shanadar gave him a look of, 'I got better, but at a time like this?' and Radik returned with a look of 'I just got stabbed in the leg, now give me some alcohol'.
He quickly gave Radik a small container, and watched as Radik chugged it, shook a little violent, and had to stop moving as he regained control. When Radik looked up, he saw the enforcer give him a look of, 'Told ya', and to the 44 year olds' and the younger Wizard's surprise, got up and started running down the tunnel. Shanadar caught up to him a few moments later, and as they rounded a curve in the lava tube, they saw light.
Radik was grinning as they saw the party near the source of it, and felt an immense amount of temperature difference. The party had made it to the lava, Radik's plan worked. A scream of rage and fading pain echoed down the tunnel after the two and Radik forced his very badly injured, but mostly numb leg to run faster...
The party, now reunited, minus Yomu, Cyrus, and Silver, and with the addition of a younger Wizard, slowed down as they exited the tunnel and onto a ledge before a vast opening. The ledge spread out, and towered above the lava. Rapierian, Shanadar, Wizard, and Wizard (the younger one), had a quick mental discussion about a plan. The four nodded after Shanadar gestured to the crown in his hand, and then Wizard (older) motioned for the group to follow him. They moved at fast, but not running pace along the wall of the vast opening.
Radik ripped part of his, already, ripped shirt and tied it over the gash in his leg. He limped close to the edge, looking down into the churning pit. He turned around as the elemental came running out of the tunnel. It locked eyes with Radik and drew its weapon, charging the injured-slightly drunk- human. Radik countered the blow, and fought such that the elemental's back was towards the end of the ledge.
Radik was quickly over powered and fell to his knee. The elemental, forgetting its target, wanted revenge for the pain the human had caused him and punched Radik, who then fell backwards and rolled some distance away. The assassin gave a triumphant yell, as Radik got onto his hands and knees and spat out blood.
The elemental took one step, then stopped. It couldn't move. It looked towards the concentrating (young) Wizard and was about to break the spell, but a golden crown came whirling from the Older Wizard's hand towards the assassin. Rapierian tossed up a potion, the crown shattered the container and begun to change before piercing the elemental. The assassin became less transparent and stared in horror as the younger Wizard also sent one of Shanadar's explosives hurling to a few feet in front of him.
Radik stood up and made a rude gesture towards the assassin right before the explosion went off. The edge of the ledge split off from the shock wave and went crumbling down into the churning lava. Radik, and the party shielded their eyes from the debris. The party moved back to the ledge, and Radik collapsed.
The younger Wizard and Rapierian walked to the end of the shattered rock ledge and looked down and watched the edge and the elemental disappear below the surface of the lava. No steam rose, and Wizard smiled. The party regrouped with Yomu, Cyrus, and Silver back in the time cavern and discussed their options on how to return home, while Cyrus remained unconscious and Radik injured, but with their wounds healing with the aid of good old magic.
As the group stood around discussing their options, Chrysothemis wandered over near Radik. He was propped up against a rock, with his leg immobilized sipping a wooden bottle. Chrysothemis clutched at her arms, muttering something about being cold, as she watched the necromancer manage to lit both Wizards' beards on fire, simultaneously. She heard a slight grunt and turned around as Radik finished standing up, took off his jacket, and handed it to her. She nodded in thanks and turned to enjoy the show with Radik as the two 'old' white robed fellows moved frantically about, trying to distinguish their beards.
This post has been edited by Dark Jet : 01 December 2008 - 01:21 AM