The Age of Worms Chapter 1: The Whispering Cairn (Game Thread, Closed, Started)

suspicious guard

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"This sculpture's finger is missing. Can anyone see it?"

"No fingers over here," Millie called back. There wasn't much of anything, aside from dust, but it was pretty dark even with the torches and lanterns. The lanterns, incidentally, had apparently caught James and Wilmet's attention, and they were trying to work out if the coloured lights meant anything. Millie herself couldn't think of an explanation...maybe it was something to do with magic. Or perhaps stained glass had been in fashion when the crypt was built.

"Why is one hand open and one clenched into a fist?"

The big armoured chap had a point. A fist seemed out of place with the whole dearly departed, rest-in-peace thing. Millie went over to have a better look at the sarcophagus. Normally she rather liked puzzles, but then again, there was usually money involved.

Turning to the knight Millie raised her hand, with three fingers up - copying the carved hand with the missing finger. "Maybe the dead chap got his finger bitten off. Happened to somebody I knew back home in Lesser Burkington. That, or we have to find three of something."
 

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As the others moved through the hallways Charles looked down the left, looking at the fresco, thinking it could have some importance he tried to memorize the details of it before continued. To the right he noticed something else, he decided was of greater importance. Bones, a pack, and an indigo light.

After a few seconds of wondering whether or not it was a trap he tried to signal anyone who had yet to pass the cross and went to investigate. He crouched down next to the bones and the pack and lit the torch in his hand. He decided the other light was untrustworthy as he started to investigate the passageway. As the fire in his hand started to burn he began to search the bones and the pack on the ground.
 

hiei82

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As Charles crouched in the dim light and searched the ancient body, he was quick to note the body's many injuries. He couldn't be certain how long the body had been there for it had been picked clean by scavengers. Teeth and claw marks from some local wildlife - likely wolves - covered the bone though, based on the condition of the body they seemed unlikely to be the cause of death. Rather, severe cracks and breaks from some large concussive force seemed to be the true source of the man's death.

Turning his attention to the indigo light, the source was immediately apparent - the rotten backpack. Large tears in the sack revealed the glowing magical lantern within before Charles could even open the pack. This however was but one item within the pack. Beneath the lantern were two other items; a simple copper necklace and a stone finger.

The stone finger was clearly broken off some greater piece but was exquisitely carved into a rather odd angle for a finger. The necklace was marked on two sides. On the front was a symbol Charles was unfamiliar with, while on the back a name and number were carved in the common, modern Barovian tongue; "Ulavant, #4"


Inside the sarcophagus chamber however, it was Millie and Godric to make the next discovery. While inspecting the stonework at the base of the sarcophagus, they found a seam that circled the entire base of the stonework. Though it, they could make out a complex mechanism beneath the base that would allow the base - and by extension the sarcophagus - to rotate clockwise.
 

The Harkinator

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It was a very small seam, but annoyingly noticeable now they'd actually seen it. Godric cursed himself for not realising it was there sooner. Perhaps this was the key to unlocking the secrets of this room, who knew if they'd already missed other hidden secrets?

"It rotates! There could be something under here, or this might be a lever of sorts." Godric said, placing his hands onto the sarcophagus at one end and motioning for Millie to do the same at the other end.

"Perhaps if we push it round it will open something." he said, tensing up his arms as he prepared to apply pressure and push the sarcophagus round before he stopped, "Or perhaps it triggers some sort of trap, and we're just about to kill ourselves horribly." Giving a smile as the words left his mouth. It wasn't a particularly amusing prospect, but Godric was trying to be optimistic here.

"What do you think?" He asked Millie.
 

booksv2

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Looking down at one of the others looking at the statue cry out about a seam and the statue maybe rotating Thalith Blinks in surprise and squats to get a better look at the so called seam as the two who had found the seam get ready to start moving it before stopping.
"Perhaps if we push it round it will open something. Or perhaps it triggers some sort of trap, and we're just about to kill ourselves horribly."

Looking at the one who had spoken Thalith grunts softly and slides a finger along the seam as he looks at the statue. Rumbling to himself but still heard to those in the room.
"Where is the finger... it looks like someone tried to move it and broke the finger while they were."

Looking around and seeing someone down a passage without a lantern he can see him kneeling next to a backpack and shakes his head as he goes back to the statue. Running his hand over the base and feeling the stone.
"Why have a trap so hard to find?"
 

suspicious guard

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"Perhaps if we push it round it will open something. Or perhaps it triggers some sort of trap, and we're just about to kill ourselves horribly."

"Worth a shot!" Millie replied, bracing herself against the corner of the sarcophagus. The corridors all appeared to be dead ends (literally, in the case of the skeleton), and nobody seemed to have any better ideas for making progress.

The big guy was inspecting the mechanism. "Why have a trap so hard to find?"

Millie laughed nervously. "Right! Of course it's not a trap. Doesn't make sense. No traps here." There'd better not be any traps now, she thought to herself. Mum would be so disappointed if she died ironically.
She beckoned to Thalith. "Can you give me a hand here? I'm not exactly made of muscle."
 

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Charles looked over what he found, briefly wondering about why the man was carrying what he was carrying when he died, before placing the finger and the necklace in a pouch on his belt and picking up the lantern with his right hand. He stood back up and walked back down the hallway before joining the others in the chamber.

Charles looked at the room. Seven tunnels, coloured lanterns. It looked like the fresco. This was oddly convenient. After a few moments of wondering and looking at what the others were doing he walked over to the tunnel the indigo lantern should match up to. He walked in and attached the lantern to the chain before quickly backing out of the tunnel, wary of the possibility of the room being trapped.

Not seeing much happen he walked over to the sarcophagus to see what a few of the others were looking at and apparently trying to move. Missing a finger, convenient again. With it being in the pack it was either part of whatever mechanism was in this room or nothing. Probably nothing, could be something. He placed the finger where it looked it was supposed to be and took a step back again.
 

booksv2

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Looking at the man who had put the finger back from wherever he had found it Thalith looks at it and over towards roughly where the finger was now pointing. Looking from the finger to the blue lantern he shakes his head and bends his legs and jams his fingers under the edge of the coffin. Looking over at the girl who had asked him to help he grunts low and lifts the lid. Looking down at the crack where he was lifting Thalith is half squinting when something flies out of the darkness and slams him in the face. Roaring and staggering back he slaps his hands over his face as it burns and the upper half of his body as well.

Thankfully he was not wearing much and as he staggers back he slaps at the fire burning at the leather harness for his axe Thalith shakes his head and rubs at it as he blinks and tries to get the spots and ash form his eyes. Breathing hard and glaring at the coffin that he had been lifting.
"WHO THE HELL PUTS A TRAP IN A COFFIN!!!"
 

DarkRawen

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"WHO THE HELL PUTS A TRAP IN A COFFIN!!!"

"Probably the same kind of people who makes this entire place into a puzzle," James replied in a sarcastic tone. "Now, given that we know that the entire place is a death trap, perhaps giving things a bit of a thought next time you decide to try to push something open by force. I don't really care what happens to whoever triggers it, that's their own fault, but I'd rather not be caught up in it."

Honestly though, James didn't really want anyone to get done in by a trap, but that didn't matter, saying it aloud would only make him seem like a fool, after all. It didn't seem like anyone but the Goliath had been hurt by the fire-trap, though.

It wasn't exactly the brightest idea out there.

He had stepped away bit as the Goliath and the shorter of the women had decided to lift the lid of the sarcophagus. While he obviously hadn't seen it coming, James suspected pretty much everything that could be interacted with in the Cairn, especially after having seen what happened to the stranger with the indigo lantern. He looked at the now placed finger, and then at Charles. "So it points towards the blue lantern... Where exactly did you find it? By the dead guy?" he asked, he knew that he wasn't the only one who had seen the body.

"Any clues to how that guy went?" he continued. The finger didn't seem to have changed much, if anything there. No sounds of mechanisms getting triggered, and no sudden solution. "Anyways, you," he pointed at the knight guy who looked like he had been in a few battles too much. "It turns, right? I don't think we'll find much without turning it, and though I am hesitant to do so, it looks like it is part of the intended use, unlike the action of opening it. Everything so far suggests that as long as we act within the intended actions of this puzzle, following the pieces laid out for us, and choosing the right solutions, we'll be fine. So..." he sighed, and went towards the sarcophagus.

It'll be fine.

He couldn't help but feel his heart beating, though. For a moment, he surveyed the area.

Where to try first? Or rather, what direction?

If the stranger had an intention behind removing the indigo lamp and the finger, perhaps that was a clue. Given the location of the lanterns, and the way the finger and the arrow interacted, it would be easy to check. Because, if it really was tied together with the finger, it would only take a slight push to move it there, pointing the arrow at the yellow would be enough. To anyone else, it just looked like he was taking a very brief moment to consider it, and, to be honest, all the thinking was just a way to keep himself calm.

It's fine. It's part of the puzzle... I hope.

He started pushing it upwards, towards the yellow. Hands shaking, feeling a bit short out of breath and eyes almost closed from fear, he prepared himself mentally for what could happen, triggering a trap, or even just a sound would probably get him startled and running.
 

IFS

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"WHO THE HELL PUTS A TRAP IN A COFFIN!!!"

"Looks like you got your wish," Wilmet said to Millie, checking his hair to be sure it hadn't been singed, then turned to Thalith "probably people who didn't much care for their dead being stolen from."

Of course that was what they were here to do, so no doubt there would be more traps such as these. He glanced back at the halfling, hopefully in the future she would be able to disarm such diabolical devices before the exploded, crushed, maimed, or otherwise negatively impacted party morale. Unfortunately this one had certainly done that last thing, James began rambling about how they should proceed but it was clear from how the boy was shaking that the trap had rattled him. Doesn't like not knowing things, hidden traps would be rather unnerving for the lad. Nevertheless the boy began pushing the sarcophagus in a particular direction, perhaps he had already unraveled the puzzle.

Wilmet took a glance at the missing (now found) finger and the colored lanterns, before it settled on him. Of course, the colors, they proceed in the particular order with indigo and red missing. He had to admit he was impressed by James having puzzled it out, though of course time would tell if the hypothesis was the correct one. Then again if I was tall enough to be able to tell that the thing was shaped like an arrow I probably would have solved this ages ago.

He cleared his throat "boy if you're worried about traps then our intrepid Queen of Chaos could try inspecting the mechanism for such devices before we begin pushing it about," he said, then turned to Thalith "Ah and before I get caught up in the thrill of discovery, are you injured? You seemed to take the brunt of that trap, if you're hurt I might be of some use."

Healing was of course not his specialty but every aspiring cleric had some practice with it and he was no different.
 

hiei82

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As James and Millie pushed the sarcophagus. Due to either the extreme age of the mechanism or the weight of the sarcophagus, the sarcophagus proved difficult to turn. However, little by little the pair made progress until finally it pointed in the direction of the yellow lantern as soon as the mechanism clicked into place, a pillar of rotating winds appeared around the lantern abut 10ft in diameter and centered around the lantern and the chain it hung from. Below this, a circular stone in the floor began to lower into the earth and down a shaft it previously concealed.

Looking down into the shaft revealed only darkness.
 

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Charles showed little reaction to the trap going off and the goliath yelling in response. It didn't shock him that there was a trap and the goliath didn't look too hurt by the fire. He thought to check on the creature but the gnome, Wilmet attended to him, so it seemed that he wouldn't need to burn any of his powers this early into the expedition either way.

"So it points towards the blue lantern... Where exactly did you find it? By the dead guy? Any clues to how that guy went?"

"They were with what remained of him," Charles responded after a moment. "I think he was probably crushed and dragged off by animals."

Then the turning started and a passageway opened. Charles went alert and walked down the passageway to look down, trying to get ahead of anyone else incase it needed to be sealed. Darkness. Probably unnatural. Probably a trap. He suspected that the only one with any relative safety was the indigo path but he couldn't be sure.

He stated "There's no light down there." Before hesitantly adding "Yellow is a sickness colour, I think we should try another first."
 

DarkRawen

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James grinned, he had managed to figure out something, something amazing like this, a passage-way had revealed itself at the yellow lamp. It had yielded results, just as he had figured it would.

It has to be down there, right?

"There's no light down there. Yellow is a sickness colour, I think we should try another first."

"But it makes sense, it's the only colour that makes sense!" James said, eagerly. "Why would that man remove the indigo lamp and the finger, had they not been tied together? They were obviously clues, and though it is dark, I am certain that this too is part of the puzzle. Well..." he trailed off, a bit of his courage disappearing. "Well, it could also be a trap. However, for what purpose would a man like that remove those items? Surely he, even in death, would not benefit from our destruction?" James asked. People were odd to him, but he couldn't see the logic behind setting them up for failure.

Of course, there are those who take more enjoyment in knowing people will suffer.

He sometimes had that, but, to be fair, it was mostly when he was in a very bad mood. And surely he couldn't be blamed for his moods.

Still, better check it, to be sure.

"I mean, we could check it for a trap, and it would be the best idea. However, if we're going to try every colour, most of which I am certain will wield either no result at all, or be just as risky as this one, I say we check our possibilities with this one. There are no clues that I have seen that would lead to any of the other colours, after all, and it was by careful deduction I selected the yellow one. For, why would there both be an arrow, and a finger pointing, if they weren't supposed to interact? Of course they were, this is a puzzle, in a cairn, to make unnecessary additions would be more work than it's worth."

Now, how to really get the point across? Rid ourselves of the superstition with the colour? Oh, I know.

He chuckled, slightly, it was an amusing thought.

"Besides, yellow is not a colour of sickness, but one of the sun, and of gold. Let's follow the grandness of the sun!" he said, spitefully, then added; "I am, obviously, being sarcastic. Yellow is whatever you want it to be, right now, it could be an opportunity. There's people who can create a magic light to light up the darkness, and we have someone adept at finding traps, wouldn't it be better to see if I'm correct before complicating this further?"
 

The Harkinator

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"Follow the grandness of the sun? It works for me." Said Godric, drawing his sword and advancing towards the shaft that had just opened. He hadn't really considered the yellow lantern meaning sickness, but he knew they'd find a bad reason in every colour if they really tried. "Otherwise, we'll all rot into skeletons before we pick a path to explore, and that time we spend debating could be spend exploring. This path may be dark, but we carry light with us."

Lighting a torch, Godric stepped into the tunnel, tapping the ground with his sword as he did so. There could be traps down there, but that just meant disarming something and they'd probably have to do plenty of that down here. That little trick with the fire and the sarcophagus was surely just the tip of the iceberg.

Godric's torch didn't appear to be cutting through the darkness, "Come on, someone magical get in here and conjure up some light. It's not like you've got anywhere better to be right now is it?" He said with a smile. Chances were they'd have to try several paths that led nowhere, it would take some methodical work.

"Come on! There's secrets to be found, and we won't do anything just standing around talking about colours!" Godric really hoped somebody was going to go in after him, preferably a mage capable of casting light.
 

booksv2

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Looking at the pit that showed up Thalith narrows his eyes and pulls his axe from his back. following the other fighter person as he moves forward he agrees in his mind with exploring rather than talking, his own words a deep rumble.
"Lets go, waiting here will make us the same as the one who tried the tunnel over there."

Stomping into the stairs making the stone quake under his massive weight Thalith changes his grip on his Greataxe and looks at the carvings on the wings before looking into the darkness that the torch didn't seem to eat away at.
"Come on, someone magical get in here and conjure up some light. It's not like you've got anywhere better to be right now is it?"

Turning his head and calling up into the top of the stairs Thaliths voice roars up into the open air.
"Someone who can get rid of darkness better than a torch get your ass down here and show us what we are doing down here!"
 

IFS

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"I am, obviously, being sarcastic. Yellow is whatever you want it to be, right now, it could be an opportunity. There's people who can create a magic light to light up the darkness, and we have someone adept at finding traps, wouldn't it be better to see if I'm correct before complicating this further?"

"Someone who can get rid of darkness better than a torch get your ass down here and show us what we are doing down here!"


"Darkness this darkness that," Wilmet said "I am more than a magical lantern you know."

Still he flicked his hands and conjured up an orb of light, casting it into the darkness illuminating the passage and laying bare what the darkness had concealed. While he did certainly enjoy applying his magical talent and being of use he hoped that a more interesting test of his abilities would present itself.

"There we go, it should float ahead of us and keep the passage lit," he said.
 

hiei82

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As the light descended down the shaft, it quickly became clear that it dug deep into the undermountain. Were one to fall down the hole, without magic they would almost certainly die. Fortunately, the wind held steady and was clearly designed to provide a safe way to descend into the depths.

After a significant distance (nearly 100 meters by Wilmet's best guess), the light stopped moving; revealing a roughly 6 meter on a side room offset from the shaft at the bottom. While the edges of the far side of the room were hidden by the sharp angle and length of the shaft, there was clearly the beginnings of a staircase at the edge of the vision afforded by the light. The walls were clearly carved and decorated, though the specifics were impossible to tell from the top of the shaft. The stone circle that had lowered down the shaft earlier now appeared to be a part of the floor below the shaft. Aside from the potential fall to it, the chamber below appeared safe in all respects.
 

DarkRawen

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"Darkness this darkness that, I am more than a magical lantern you know."

Are you? I couldn't tell," James said, and covered most of his eyes when the bright light appeared. "Perhaps it would have been more clear if you had helped me with the puzzle, and not let a mere toddler do all the thinking for you," he continued, intending to jest but not entirely sure it sounded like that. It mostly sounded like an annoyed snark, actually. James couldn't help it. He hadn't exactly intended for the other to light the whole thing up, and though he was impressed and curious about it, he was also pretty annoyed over the amount of light, because that meant his vision was limited. Then again, James supposed it was better than no light, even he couldn't see in a pitch black room.

At least it looks like I was correct.

That gave him a tingly feeling of happiness and satisfaction. James liked solving puzzles and figuring things out, and he certainly didn't mind being correct. He walked next to the tiny wizard, trying figure out how the other had cast the spell, and if it needed to have magic applied to it continually in order to function, or if it simply had an effect that wore off on its own. Besides, that meant James didn't have to go first, going first could be very scary, and he felt the worry fill him. They were pretty high up, after all.

I don't want to fall.

He put the largest of his coat tighter around himself, it always made him feel a little safer, before he continued after the others.

"Is someone checking for traps?" he asked, suddenly. He wasn't sure why he did, he was sure the others had thought of it themselves. Still. Better make sure. "Just for safety's sake, of course."
 

Josh123914

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Everyone was moving around her, and the conversation had moved past whatever information she had gathered, so Clodagh found a passably smooth rock and sat on it. She slouched a little bit and adjusted her posture by resting an elbow on her leg, and used it to rest her face from the cheek. Clodagh then shivered a little.

In truth, practical puzzles weren't much to her taste, and Clodagh wasn't about to start exhibiting her powers to illuminate the nearby chasm on the risk that one of those in the party was some sort of sociopath. No, no keeping any exceptional attention being drawn to her is best.
Clodagh looked around and spotted someone that wasn't frantically searching the area. Andria. "um, hi?" Maybe she would be friendly. At the moment there was a Millie-James spectrum of cordiality, and finding where Andria lay would probably be useful.
But Andria just kept looking onward, the 15 year old's question not even eliciting a nod or glance. She just stood there, motionless. This annoyed Clodagh. "Why are you just standing there?"
 

The Harkinator

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Looking into the illuminated shaft Godric could see the entrance to a room about 100 metres down from where they were looking. His stomach shivered slightly at the prospect of falling such a difference, but his curiosity won that particular battle.

"So this magic current will carry us safely down there? I think I saw a circus performance like this once, done with painted ropes to hide the trick. Unfortunately they were on after the knife throwing act, and one of the ropes was damaged, it didn't end well." Godric realised this wasn't quite the best thing to bring up, his stomach shivered once again, and his knees shook slightly. He didn't like heights.

"Well, somebody has to be the first down there..." He said, winking at the rest of the group and stepping into the embrace of the magical current, trusting it to carry him gently downwards.