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

hiei82

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Room Above​

"Why are you just standing there?". Andria just glanced up at Clodagh, her eyes full of disdain, before making her way to the shaft and jumping down into the darkness.

Room Below​

In retrospect, Godric wouldn't call the trip down "gentle". The wind had safely delivered him to the bottom of the shaft, but whether by a quark of the design or the age of the enchantment, he still hit the ground with enough force to send a bolt of pain up his legs. After a quick once over, Godric was certain he'd suffered no lasting harm beyond the memory of the landing.

With his safety confirmed, Godric was free to look around the room. The walls in the room were covered in bas-relief images similar to the slender figure upon the sarcophagus lid in the chamber above. Nearly a dozen androgynous, hairless humanoids stood in poses of deference, almost as if they were paying homage to the viewer. Many had their hands extended in adoration, their faces awash in adulation. Several of the statues lacked hands, arms, heads, or anything else easily hacked off; no doubt the desecration of long gone tomb robbers. About fifteen feet to the south, a dark passage extended from an elaborately carved arch up a small flight of stairs. Only a little of this hallway was visible, however, as a large stone block obscured most of the passage. Ancient words were carved into the area above the arch.
 

The Harkinator

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Ouch. Godric had been expecting a somewhat gentler landing and wished he'd bent his knees to absorb the impact of landing, but he was down safely. The room he now saw had almost a dozen figures that looked similar to the one on the sarcophagus they had found before. This looked like some form of chapel or burial place. A passage extended away on the other side of the room.

"It's safe to come down!" Godric shouted up at the group, "Just bend your knees when you land!" If they didn't hear him up there they'd find out themselves. "Because this place is beyond my understanding..." Godric muttered to himself.
 

IFS

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"Just bend your knees when you land!"

Perhaps the drop would be safe enough for the larger members of the group, but scale was everything and to Wilmet it looked like a much longer drop than it might to the others. Fortunately he had a spell for that. Is there nothing magic can't solve? It was even a very simple spell, one of the first any mage learned (particularly if their master had the fondness for towers many wizardly sorts held).

"Feather fall," he muttered, waving his hands over the group "enjoy a comfortable drop."

With that he hopped off the ledge and began drifting downwards at a slow rate. Certainly climbing back up would be somewhat more tiresome, but he doubted it would prove much of a challenge for their group. Particularly not when it contained a Goliath. He could probably just throw me back up top.

Landing smoothly at the bottom he brushed dust off his robes and began looking around.

"Well what do we have here?"
 

DarkRawen

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"It's safe to come down! Just bend your knees when you land!"

James stared wide-eyed at the place they were supposed to go down. He absolutely did not want to go down there. Wasn't there some sort of clue somewhere? Some way of knowing that this really was where they were supposed to go?

But that guy already went down... and he replied. It should be safe.

Should be. But what if only one person was supposed to fall down? What had happened to the woman who had jumped down afterwards? She hadn't spoken at all.

Come on, James, it's not that...

He felt both angry with himself and worried about being right. They hadn't heard the other woman fall to her death, but he couldn't shake the fear. James didn't like a lot of things, heights included, and he had gotten just about enough of risks and chances with no obvious gain. Besides, if the landing was really that tough, would anything in his pockets spill? Wasn't he making up excuses by now, though?

Am I really this cowardly?

Before he got the chance to answer, the small mage spoke, cast a spell even, before going down.

"Feather fall, enjoy a comfortable drop."

"Don't even---" he snarled under his breath, mostly to himself, though part of him felt a huge relief about having something to support him. That said, he still wasn't entirely sure about this.

Only when he had waited for a while, and not heard the sound of broken bones, did James step forward. Making sure to go down the same place where the mage had gone, he took a shaking breath, and stepped outside. For a brief moment, he considered closing his eyes as he did, but he decided that the thought of not seeing what happened was more frightening than the fall.

It was odd just sort of falling down. Floating downwards in the darkness, and landing safely, the only sound heard as he did a soft jingle from the different bottles in his pockets, all safe and in one piece.

"Well what do we have here?"

"Someone should go check the passage out," James replied, as he looked over the statues around them. He stepped a little away from the sources of light, hoping to spot something that could help them. "Someone not me, that is. I don't like it."
 

booksv2

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Turning and watching one of those still up top fall down in a slower fashion than the others Thalith walks over and pulls him from the middle of the still swirling air and grabs him as he brushes off his robe. Dragging him forward, his hand taking up most of the mans upper arm, the Goliath holds him at the edge of the meager light down there and points deeper into the darkness.
"Make it so i can see where im going. Some kind of magic or hold a torch for me. Can you make magic for that?"

Looking down at the much smaller man Thalith finally lets go of his arm after seeing he is half picking him up. Thinking to himself.
"Light thing, could sling him past the ceiling if i wasn't careful.
 

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Charles shook his head slightly at the discussions and after watching the others drop into the hole and down the wind passage he followed them with a little thought. As his feet touched something solid he saw it was getting kind of dark again. He looked at the others and stood in silence briefly before muttering a prayer, drawing his sword and tapping it against his left arm.

After a few seconds his blade developed a dull white glow to it that while illuminating, it illuminated what was around him more than it sprayed light. That's when he noticed the goliath handling the gnome and blurted "What are you doing?" as he walked towards them.

As he got a better look of his surroundings as he walked towards them he noticed that they were looking at a passageway, and he noticed words above... he felt like he knew them... his mind was wandering, he looked back at the Goliath.
 

The Harkinator

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"Oh, so your sword glows in the dark does it?" Said Godric, unsure whether he was unsettled or impressed at Charles' glowing sword, "That's actually very useful." He continued as he peered at the words above the arch. He wasn't able to read them himself but they were likely very important. Someone had taken the time to carve them into stone and it would be reckless to ignore a potential warning.

"Can anyone read this? I don't want us to walk straight into a bottomless pit just because we couldn't read the sign we all walked past." He half-joked, knowing they were essentially trespassing in a long forgotten place. Somebody had likely ransacked this place long before them judging by the state of the statues around them, if they'd made it any further than this room there was no sign.
 

hiei82

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Room Below​

Looking around the room revealed little more than had already been seen. The area was certainly well carved and detailed, though each of the statues seemed "flawed" in some intangible way. Fortunately, where the architecture failed to provide any further details, the writing did.

The carving above the passage seemed to be some kind of religious passage that Charles, James, and Wilmet could understand. Roughly translated, it read "Let those who would pass, show humility before Zosiel". In particular, Charles recognized the form of the phrase as similar to that of a classic prayer to Ezra. It's use here was sacrilegious at best.

Beyond the arch stood the stone blocking the passage. It looked easy enough to move with the proper application of force for it was circular in shape and appeared to be easy to roll aside because of it.
 

DarkRawen

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"Can anyone read this? I don't want us to walk straight into a bottomless pit just because we couldn't read the sign we all walked past."

James rolled his eyes, before looking up at the sign. He wasn't exactly eager to walk closer to the passage, but with the others waving around glowing swords and demanding spells, he thought a death trap might actually be preferable.

"It's... Let those who would pass, show humility before Zosiel... whoever that is. Sounds like some sort of religious crap," he muttered -the last part rather quickly- arms crossed. James didn't exactly feel like letting the statement hang in the air so that someone could get insulted, and continued quickly; "So, I assume we're supposed to do something related to the statues. Show humility... bow, or something."

Because of course all we are supposed to do is kneel and show respect.

The gods weren't amongst the things James had a keen interest in, so he knew very little about them or the societies around them. Heck, he didn't even know for sure if it was a religious statement, but with the humility, and "Zosiel", it was his best bet. He started walking back and forth, impatient for someone to act.
 

booksv2

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"Can anyone read this? I don't want us to walk straight into a bottomless pit just because we couldn't read the sign we all walked past."

"It's... Let those who would pass, show humility before Zosiel... whoever that is. Sounds like some sort of religious crap, So, I assume we're supposed to do something related to the statues. Show humility... bow, or something."


Looking up at the words above his head Thalith takes only a second to look at them before going back to the statues standing around. Walking over towards the closest one he runs a finger over the angle trying to find out what had gone wrong. Whatever was in the words were none of his business, whoever this god was he was no match for his own. Moving to the next statue he does the same he had for the first.

Running a finger over the weird angles on the thing Thalith shakes his head and regrets the looks to these amazing statues. Looking back at those who had gotten down into this new area he suddenly narrows his eyes as something came to him. Turning around again he doesn't let his eyes focus on the statues as he looks for treasure or somewhere it may be hidden. Muttering to himself, fairly sure it was to quiet for those behind him to hear.

"We had to find that way down and i took a fire ball to the face. Whatever broke these statues, it wasn't treasure hunters."
 

IFS

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"Make it so i can see where im going. Some kind of magic or hold a torch for me. Can you make magic for that?"

"Release me you insufferable cretin, you titanic dullard!" Wilmet said, not at all pleased with having been manhandled. Fortunately he was quickly released, though he suspected that it had nothing to with his protests.

"Do that again and I'll make your brains, or whatever composes your minuscule nervous system, leak from your ears," he snapped, rubbing his wrist where he'd been grabbed and walking away into the dark, his magic light brightening to illuminate his surroundings.

Fortunately the room contained much to distract him from his fuming, various religious carvings which he doubted many in the group could read. A prayer to Ezra, misplaced in this environment, and something about showing humility to Zosiel. Zosiel... does that sound familiar? Perhaps I should consult my notes.

"So, I assume we're supposed to do something related to the statues. Show humility... bow, or something."

"You are quite learned for an infant," Wilmet commented "it could refer to a specific rite, sign, or ritual to show deference. I wil consult my notes to see if I have anything contained there about such. In the meantime I suppose the rest of you could try to shift that rock, doubtless we will want to see what is behind it."

"Ah yes," he said, finding a small footnote in his historical notes "seems the fellow was a minor prince or cultural equivalent thereof, this would likely be his tomb then. If that is the case I doubt anything more deferential than a bow would be required, if that."
 

DarkRawen

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"We had to find that way down and i took a fire ball to the face. Whatever broke these statues, it wasn't treasure hunters."

"Actually, you took a fireball to the face because you tried to force the lid open, so it is very possible that someone else has been here before us. Could just have been less stupid. However, I don't agree that these statues are only broken -though they certainly are that as well- they appear... wrong. There's something off with them, I can see it in the details, but I'm not an artist, so I'm not sure what it is. Odd that there should be such flaws in the craftsmanship, as whoever made them seems to have known what they were doing."

Suspicious, even.

Crossing his arms, he looked towards the statues again. He wondered if any of them were more significant than the others, if there was something to signify whoever they were going to "pay respect" to.

"You are quite learned for an infant, it could refer to a specific rite, sign, or ritual to show deference. I wil consult my notes to see if I have anything contained there about such. In the meantime I suppose the rest of you could try to shift that rock, doubtless we will want to see what is behind it."

"If you are to move aside the rock, do it quickly. We're already wasting time," he huffed. He really didn't trust that damned rock, but even if he had, he doubted he had the strength to move it on his own. "Or do you expect me to do everything around here?"

"Ah yes, seems the fellow was a minor prince or cultural equivalent thereof, this would likely be his tomb then. If that is the case I doubt anything more deferential than a bow would be required, if that."

James raised an eyebrow, partly curious, partly annoyed. Sure, it would have been interesting to know more about those customs, but right now, all he cared about was getting out of there.

"Do you have any further description? Any sort of way to find out if any of these statues are special? Or are we stuck waiting for that rock to be moved? That stupid..." he bit his lip, eyebrows lowered into a scowl.
 

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Charles looked at the statues, the stone blocking the way forward, the others, and the phrase for a few moments before speaking up "I don't like to indulge things in tombs but there could be magic here. If you're not going to push you should be bowing."

Charles then walked over to the stone and looked for something on it to pull or push, hoping atleast one of the others would help move it if bowing didn't do it.

The statues, the writing, the feeling he had, all of this tomb was off. The odd almost deformed feeling statues, the warped prayer, everything else he had come across in this place was normal for these lands. But the way they were adding together made him anxious about the whole thing.
 

hiei82

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As Charles searched the block, he found no handles but did find the stone remarkably easy to move. Despite its large size, it required relarively little strength due to an incline within the rut it rested in. It still would take a bit of strength to get it started - likely beyond what the less physically inclined could achieve by themselves - but nothing they could not handle. Interestingly, it seemed that the great stone block was designed to be rolled into a slot in a wall that was currently hidden from view by the block itself. Besides that, he could hear the sound of "whispering" the cairn had made above from behind the stone, suggesting there were more of the vents on the other side, though it sounded somewhat "out of tune"; even accounting for the stone block.

Meanwhile, as Thalith looked more closely at the statues, he was finally able to see why they looked so wrong. When the stone had been carved, the natural faults and impurities in the stone happened to align with the carving in such a way that light reflected differently that it should, making odd shadows. In Thalith's expert opinion, these statues were flawed by a quark of nature more than any design intention. More likely, the area was little more than a storage room for statues unworthy of the tomb proper. What that meant about the writing, the door, and what was beyond it however was well and truly beyond him however.
 

booksv2

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Thalith spends a few more minutes looking at one of the statues, running his fingers over the natural fissure they had used in the work and smiling to himself at the craftsmanship. Turning away and frowning to himself as he hears someone talking.

"You are quite learned for an infant, it could refer to a specific rite, sign, or ritual to show deference. I wil consult my notes to see if I have anything contained there about such. In the meantime I suppose the rest of you could try to shift that rock, doubtless we will want to see what is behind it."

"If you are to move aside the rock, do it quickly. We're already wasting time,"


Eying the rock they are talking about Thalith flexes his arms and locks them together against his chest and themselves, working them to get ready as he walks towards it. Saying as he does to the on who had been talking about the statues and not being sure what was wrong with them.
"Nothing wrong with the statues little person, they used the flaws in the carvings. It is master worthy, but not good enough for above."

Stepping up next to the one who was fiddling with the large stone Thalith sets a hand on it and after giving it a bit of a push grunts in surprise at how easy it moved. Setting both hands on the stone and giving it a shove Thalith has to catch his step when it moves into the wall into a place set up for it. The initial strength needed using a little strength after that it was almost to easy. Looking down at the person who had been studying it he says down at him.
"Want it here?"
 

hiei82

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As Thalith pushed the stone slab into the wall, the sound from the other side became loud enough to hear even to those not near the slab. The whispering became a rapid hissing noise as vents previously blocked by the stone slab were opened. Immediately, these vents spewed forth a torrent of sickly green gas.

Beyond the rock was a 15 meter passage with a fork in the path at the end

@Everyone: please post your immediate response to this development
 

IFS

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"Oh wonderful," Wilmet said as the presumably toxic vapor started hissing in, he thought better of wasting his potential final breaths on idle chatter however, instead opting to take a deep breath of the stale but presumably safe air before it was made poison. In an effort to be extra safe he pulled a piece of cloth over his nose and mouth, if he did become desperate for air then hopefully it would filter out some of the poison.

Unless they could manage to move the stone back and block off the vent they would have to figure out how to survive the vapor. Is it rising or falling? If it is falling then we could try to climb out... ah of course it is rising otherwise it would be at our feet and not filling the air around us. Well that made things easy then.

Wilmet dropped to the ground, lying flat on it. With luck the poison would only displace the air above him and eventually filter out, becoming harmless as it dispersed into the air above. If his assumption was correct then the greatest danger he was now in was someone stepping on him. Too bad he had no way of communicating this to the others without possibly endangering himself, even if his assumption was correct he had no wish to risk exposure by taking a breath or using his voice and even his magic would require some vocalization.

Still he had to make some effort, so he limply waved his staff, still lit with magic light, up and down so as to draw attention to himself, pointing downwards with his other hand and patting the ground. If they have an ounce of intelligence they'll catch on, otherwise they might think I am having a seizure.
 

DarkRawen

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"Nothing wrong with the statues little person, they used the flaws in the carvings. It is master worthy, but not good enough for above."

Is that aimed at me or the actual small person?

He could have asked, but it mattered little. "Fair enough. How dull," he replied instead, with a sour expression. "What a purposeless group of statues. I---"

Suddenly he heard the vents, and saw the gas. The rock had been removed, and, unsurprisingly, a trap lay behind.


"Oh wonderful,"


I knew that damned rock would do something.

However, the only path had to be through there, if the statues really were just another distraction. Of course, there were other, more imminent distractions. The gas. Green and sickly, and with a familiar smell. He stepped closer, just to make sure, and it became easier to see the path out. "If I'm correct, and I often am, this one'll suffocate you lot. Me... I'm not so sure, but I'd rather not take the risk." He looked at the small wizard, the way he reacted to the gas, and nodded.

At least the mage's not stupid.

"Do as Wilmet, cover your mouths with some kind of cloth and get to ground, but don't crawl, just bend down. Go past the rock and keep moving as far as you can. If someone knows some kind of wind-spell, they could keep it at bay for a little while, but moving is the best thing to do-- cough."

James felt his throat hurt, and stopped talking, closing his mouth and taking a breath of clean air at the lower parts of the room. He found an empty vial in his pocket and took a sample of the gas before following his own advice, and running past the trap and as far as he could get. He stopped at the fork, hesitating.

I just want to go somewhere with fresh air.

If he had a torch, he could see where exactly they were headed. He opted to stand aside and wait for the result of one of those with a light, who had surely managed to move past him during the time he had spent taking a sample.
 

booksv2

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Jerking back and coughing Thalith waves his hands in front of his face and roars out as he gets a face full of whatever this is. Waving his hands in front of his face more and moving away from it he looks into the area they had just opened and lurches into it. Someone was talking behind him but after getting a face full of a trap AGAIN he was not in the mood for listening as he stamps forward making the ground shake under his forward movement.

Glaring at the stone he had just moves Thalith pulls his fist back and slams it into the center of it, wanting to roar his anger but keeping his mouth closed and holding his breath as best he can. Rushing past the stone into the hall it had shown and looks at the littler person he had talked at a bit ago about the statues. Looking back the goliath shakes his head and waves his hand in front of his face again, more angry now than he had been with the fireball in his face.

Stopping close to the little person who had gone down this hall first Thalith makes fists with both his hands unconsciously, feeling the edges of his control which was never that great at this, getting thinner as the always bubbling rage inside him comes closer to the surface.
 

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As things unfolded Charles looked at the vents and the gas spewing from them, held his breath, and walked into the now open passage as the Goliath was doing something. Thinking carefully he remembered the writings and noticed the gas was rising. Clever. He bowed down as the goliath approached and motioned with one of his hands for the goliath to do the same.