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

The Harkinator

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Jun 2, 2010
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Poison gas! Slightly cliche but Godric knew how effective it was. Even the mightiest warrior or most mystical sorceror had to breathe. The others were covering their faces and dropping low to the ground, Godric did the same, bringing part of his travelling cloak to cover his mouth and nose.

Wilmet was motioning with his staff for all of them to drop to the ground, it seemed like a good idea. Heading out of the room as everyone else was doing also seemed like a good idea. Godric thought he heard the small one, James, try and speak to the others, but Godric was too busy shuffling past the trap to really hear him over the commotion and coughing. He caught up to the others at the fork in the tunnel where it was clear the mighty Goliath was struggling to keep a handle on his rage. It was understandable, all that strength wouldn't help in a situation like this.

"Let's not hang about here," He said, moving through the group and heading towards the right hand passage at the fork, "We shall survive what this place throws at us, but for now we must press on. Doubtless there will be more traps to discover and evade." Waving the group to follow after him.
 

Josh123914

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Nov 17, 2009
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Clodagh noticed everyone jumping down the chasm. Andria wasn't moving, so to her it was best to stay with the rest of the group than gather dust next to the flesh totem.

So she instinctively jumped, which was actually a terrible idea. See that only made the falling distance larger, and even though her speed had been artificially slowed, it only made her panic midway down that the extra foot or two would result in shattered kneecaps.
In the end that didn't happen, instead she bent her legs a bit too far, and by the time she was busy tripping over herself the group had found themselves somewhere new.

Clodagh had looked up and Charles was waving a glowing sword around. It helped illuminate the area while people took turns deciphering a language completely alien to her. More people started talking about the discovery, and Thalith was ruminating while pushing blocks around. Clodagh was just about ready to find a seat and do some rumination of her own, over how she's realistically going to explain disappearing for the night to her brother.

Then, out of nowhere a hissing noise kicked Clodagh back into the situation. An annoying hissing to be precise. The type that you hear and its so sudden it makes you feel your brain between your ears. There were vents next to the slab Thalith had moved, and some sort of gas was coming out of it. It looked putrid, and the others did not like the look of it. One of them bandaged cloth over his mouth and started to move, but then he dropped to the floor.

"Ah, shit" Clodagh said very audibly. She looked around and jogged back to the hole they had dropped out of. Maybe there was a way back up, or something. She reached up into the air and nothing happened. "Oh shit I'm gonna die" she realized in a blunt, monotone fashion.
Then she heard James speak.
"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 begins to splutter, and Clodagh, well, she didn't want anyone to die, but if he's the casualty of the operation she can't say she'll mourn him. So running out of options and probably brain cells, Clodagh does as he says and pulls out a handkerchief. But then realizes it probably wouldn't cover both her mouth and nose, so she started feeling up around herself for some loose clothing to rip off. She was wearing nothing but patches and sewn clothes, which was great, except after months of wear and tear this particular garment has had every spare end wrapped up and bound in leather straps to stop exactly what she was trying to do from happening. Not even Clodagh's hood would wrap around far enough to cover her face.

She looked up and the gas was practically on her. She dropped to her knees and took a big gulp of air.
"socks"She said, exasperated. Clodagh practically ripped off her boots and slid the horrible pair of cloth off. She then put her boots back on, hunkered down, and started dragging herself forward with one hand that was glued to her face, scrunching the socks and handkerchief.

"Let's not hang about here, we shall survive what this place throws at us, but for now we must press on. Doubtless there will be more traps to discover and evade."
She heard being called from a distance, and by the time the gas had hit her she just had to keep moving in the direction of the voice. Honestly if the gas got her on account of the cloth filter not working, at least Clodagh's nose would appreciate an end to the hell it was being subjected to...
 

hiei82

Dire DM (+2 HD and a rend attack
Aug 10, 2011
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James was the first down the tunnel and should have been the first to see what lay beyond. Unfortunately, before James could take stock of his position, his vision went black. A moment later, he felt three sensations; a sharp pain around the crown of his head, a burning sensation on his head, and something wrap around his throat and squeeze. Needless to say, this was decidedly unpleasant.

Thalith - the second down the tunnel - got a much better view. The right and left forks were largely identical and seemed to bend around and probably meet at the other side. Two large doorways were 90 degrees up the two forks. The only obvious difference between the two passageways was that the right passage was covered in a thick brown fungus. Of course, more pressing was the large, black, squid-like thing that had dropped on top of James from the shadows in the ceiling.


Back at the lobby, the green gas was still flowing into the area, but because of the entryway in the ceiling it was flowing out as fast as it was flowing in. While the cloth didn't seem to help much, by staying ducking down a bit, the effects of the gas trap could be avoided entirely. Wilmet was effectively immune to the trap as the gas never dropped low enough to threaten him unless he jumped into it.
 

DarkRawen

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James couldn't believe what was taking the others so long.

How did I...

His vision went dark, and he felt pain in the entirety of his head. His crown stung, a burning sensation covered the rest of his head, and something trying to strangle him. He would have screamed, had this something not also covered his eyes.

What is this thing?!

It had to be some sort of creature, with the way it moved. A creature on top of his head, trying to strangle him.

Accursed creature! No no, wait, I have to be... have to be calm. Calm. James, calm.

Yet he couldn't quite feel calm. He knew that if he didn't act quickly, it really would choke him. He brought his hand up, trying to push it away. The others would probably leave him, he'd be all on his own. Or they would watch as he died, though, if they did, he hoped they choked on the poison-gas.

What happened next only took about a second. Cursing in his mind, growling to himself -it was the only thing he could do with his mouth closed- James drove his head into the wall, backwards so that the creature would feel it, though attempting to do it carefully not to hurt himself. It was a sudden movement of instinct, though it didn't make the pain go away. However, it allowed him to calm down a little, think. The hold around his neck kept him mostly panicked though. If what he felt around his crown was teeth, the things around his throat would be limbs.

Which means its brains will be right over my own head. Probably.

At least the burning sensation made it possible to pick out where it came from. He grabbed one of his daggers -not like he would forget them in his belt, even if he was blinded at the moment- and tried to stab the creature.
 

booksv2

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Still holding onto his anger just barely Thalith starts to pull it more under control when he sees the person who had gone ahead of him being attacked by something dark. It was grabbing onto his neck and wrapped around his head. Staring at it for one long second Thalith jumps forward roaring out a battle cry and lets himself fall into rage. His already amazing strength got a huge boost as he sees whoever it was being attacked slam themselve into the wall and try to stab whatever it is. Grabbing onto to the thing and crushing it in his hand the stone Goliath grabs the man it is on a bit lighter and pulls on the thing hard.

Inside Thalith a battle for control rages, the rage he is in wanting to kill not only the thing attacking his party member but also the member himself, wanting to split him and all the rest who have come into this hall with him with his axe. But on the other side he knows killing team mates is one of the worst things to do. So as the fight inside and out rages on Thalith rips on the dark thing hard and slams it down, using his fists to pound that spot of flooring over and over, each punch sending vibrations through the floor.
 

IFS

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Of course things got worse, as they so often tended to do, and a black squid-like creature dropped from the ceiling onto James' head. Wilmet racked his brains for a second before placing a name to the thing. Darkmantle. A worry that more could be lurking in the dark above glanced through his mind before swiftly being replaced by the fear that the now rampaging Thalith might step on him.

Fortunately the Thalith seemed in control of itself enough to focus its aggression on the creature and not on James himself, brutally stomping it into paste. Still with that threat removed if he didn't manage to control himself then the party would be faced with a much larger threat.

Carefully Wilmet prepared a sleep spell, difficult though it was while lying on the cold ground, ready to loose it if the Thalith wasn't able to reign himself in.
 

hiei82

Dire DM (+2 HD and a rend attack
Aug 10, 2011
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James bashed his head - and by extension the monster - into a wall to limited effect. The rubbery nature of the monster des tributes the blow effectively, rendering it meaningless. This rubbery nature however didn't protect it from the following stab wound. The creature had little defense from the daggers blade save the awkward angle of the attack. Still, the blade cut deep into one of its free tentacles. A spirt of jet-black ichor shot from the wound as did a screech did from its mouth around James's head. While the screech hurt his ears, it did offer an opportunity as the beast's hold on him loosened.

While James couldn't take advantage of this, he was not alone. Thalith - his rage finally bubbling over - ripped the creature from his ally's head, leaving James covered in digestive juices but free. Thalith squeezed down on the creature but found it slick and hard to get a grip on. Further, the creature was hardly without options for escape. With a screech, an unnatural darkness settled over the area, blinding all but those adept at seeing in the dark. James - being both present and capable of such feats - saw the creature slip from Thalith's hands and skitter off down the right passage.

Before the darkness settled however, Wilmet spotted something of note about the creature; it had a symbol burned into its side. It had been branded by some unknown being or beings. The symbol was a triangle divided into three equal parts, each part featuring an eye on a hand, a scythe crossed with a dagger, and a sword over a circle.
 

The Harkinator

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Jun 2, 2010
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"What the hell was that thing?!" Exclaimed Godric, approaching the group and gripping his sword tightly with both hands and holding it out in front of him in an attempt to ward off further attack from the dark creature. It had fled before Thalith could turn it into mashed chunks, but was surely hiding before securing another opportunity to ambush the group. "Where are you?" He cried out to the group as the creature let out a screech and darkness fell over the area, blocking his vision.

Godric held his sword closer to himself, without being able to see it was irresponsible to be waving it around, but the creature may attack again and was sure to lurk nearby. "Everybody draw weapons!" He barked, "This foul creature will no doubt attempt to strike again, and cannot be far away!"

He hoped the others still moving clear of the gas chamber had caught up to them, or managed to get to safety without being caught in this foul distraction. Straining to hear for the slightest movement from the creature, Godric held himself completely still.
 

DarkRawen

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James rubbed his neck, breathing heavily and eyes wide as he stepped away from the giant and tried to gather himself. He looked at the creature that had tried to , it felt familiar to him, probably because Jonathan would have known what it was. Some sort of... creature. However, it was not that which scared him the most now. It had stressed him, he had felt panic grasp as his senses. However, it wasn't until now that he felt like curling up.

He was terrified of the goliath. And he couldn't seem to push that fear away. Even as he saw the darkness fall, and his instincts told him to attack the small, slippery creature, not let it get away, he hesitated. The knives he threw, 2 small -but extremely sharp- throwing knives, were aimed perfectly, and he was lucky not to have his hands shake, were more of an afterthought. A way for him to feel like he wasn't as pathetic and cowardly as he felt. It was an empty reassurance.

"Everybody draw weapons! This foul creature will no doubt attempt to strike again, and cannot be far away!"

One of the armoured guys said. If he had gotten a name, he couldn't conjure it up, though that could just be the fear. God, that goliath thing wasn't going to come closer, right? It'd just, kinda, stay angry over in its own corner, right?

"I-it went to the right," he said. "I threw some knives, but it's quick, so I don't... I don't know if they hit." He closed the larger of the coats tighter around himself, feeling some sort of safety from it. Safety from the big guy, and his anger. While he wasn't curled up, his body language was closed and his heart was beating.

"I'll... keep an eye on it, since I can see it. We should just move, the gas is... p-probably still a threat." He hated that he couldn't force the frightened stutter away. Not sufficiently enough to not seem fine, at least. However, he did as he said he would, keeping an eye out for whether his knives had hit, and, if not, the creature would try to attack them again.
 

IFS

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Wilmet caught only a brief glance of a strange mark on the creature before it vanished into a cloud of magical darkness. The mark itself was not one he recognized, though it seemed made up of the holy symbols of various deities, Vecna, Erlin, and Sarameous to be specific. All gods or goddesses tied to death in some way, though Vecna's portfolio was secrets the god was a lich, Erlin was specifically the god of death and undeath, and Sarameous was a goddess of war and violence, as well as rule by strength. Not the most pleasant trio all things considered. Odd that such a creature would bear that kind of a mark, something to think about.

Careful not to raise his head to far Wilmet crawled out of the gas room, before standing to join the others. He was lower to the ground than them and they were so far unaffected by the toxins out here so it seemed safe enough for now.

"Did we lose anyone?" he asked "we should proceed carefully, I have a suspicion something is going on here, that creature was marked with religious symbols and nothing too pleasant. It is hardly intelligent enough to threaten us much though, and if it comes back we will be ready for it, so I see no need to go rushing after it. That said James is right, we should make some effort to distance ourselves from the gas."
 

booksv2

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Raising his hands above his head and bringing them down on the ground in a double fisted slam Thalith roars his rage to the ceiling after the creature had gotten away. His rage growing inside him because of the escape the Goliath can feel himself wanting to cut his way through his enemy's with a desire that would make everyone around him an enemy. Tightening his fists he ignores the people coming out of the gas and glares at where the earth was cracked in his punching.

"I-it went to the right, I threw some knives, but it's quick, so I don't... I don't know if they hit."

Spinning around and glaring down at the small person who had been originally attacked by it Thalith can feel an insane smile stretching his face and he starts to laugh loudly, it echoing out of his chest. Pulling his Greataxe off his back he takes a step towards the little person who had backed away from him, looking past him into the hallway and starts walking with his axe ready. Moving towards the way his Enemy had gone mostly ignoring the people behind him now as his every sense stretches out searching for the escaped thing.

Making his way down the hallway Thalith can feel an oppressive cold making it hard to move, his breath fogging out white in front of him as he narrows his eyes, feeling it sapping his strength. A dozen feet down the hall he glares at the doorway ahead and shakes his head hard, turning back and stomping back towards the group more angry than before but his rage leaving him making him tired.
 

Josh123914

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Clodagh kept moving along, breathing through her mouth as the gas began to dissipate. She heard yelling, and stabbing noises. James was yelling, and she closed her eyes and just kept edging along, keeping to the wall so as to not get the attention of whatever monster the others had to deal with.

Before she knew it the gas was all but gone, and she was able to stand up properly again, dust herself off, and put her socks back in their rightful place (making a mental note to unceremoniously burn them later). As Clodagh looked around, she squinted in the dark, and heard a jaunty sort of voice,
"Did we lose anyone?"
"Everybody draw weapons! This foul creature will no doubt attempt to strike again, and cannot be far away!"
Clodagh's ears glossed past the first question, almost subconsciously, but heard that second statement and dutifully obeyed, wondering what could possibly be their enemy. James looked awfully flustered, meanwhile the others were being highly vigilant. If it was something big the group would have seen it by now, but small?

"Oh...fuck." Clodagh double checked and found it wasn't there. She could have sworn she had brought a knife, but it either had been dropped earlier or she was misremembering, it was impressive though that while none of her clothes would rip away earlier, the single item that could have torn them away easily was now missing. "Sorry. I-I don't have a weapon." She said meekly.
 

DarkRawen

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"we should proceed carefully, I have a suspicion something is going on here, that creature was marked with religious symbols and nothing too pleasant. It is hardly intelligent enough to threaten us much though, and if it comes back we will be ready for it, so I see no need to go rushing after it. That said James is right, we should make some effort to distance ourselves from the gas."

James nodded, he thought what he had said made sense as well. He was about to move towards the other door, when he suddenly was rushed by the Goliath from behind, getting pushed into the wall as he barely stepped out of the way. Rather than yelling at the creature, being angry and cursing, the fear from before overtook him, and he found himself headed the other direction, shaking violently. He wanted away, he hoped the Goliath was walking right into another trap and got himself murdered, anything to keep it away from him.

"Sorry. I-I don't have a weapon."

That doesn't bloody matter now, does it?!

He thought in his mind. Sure, the girl was probably thinking about the common good, but either the big guy was going to crush the thing completely, or he would get its attention, neither was a reason to interfere. Still shaking, arms put around himself as he struggled to breathe completely, James simply opted to lead the way into the other doorway. With a quiet voice, he only said one word.

"Here." Then he walked quickly, almost ran, trying to keep an eye and ear out for any traps -especially now that his senses felt heightened from the fear- wanting nothing more than to curl up and be alone, or even better, be safe. He wished Jonathan was there, that the other could just take over his body and mind and control it, handle it for him like he had done with so many of his problems. However, he was all alone, left to fend for himself. And it terrified him.

I have to get that... that monster, out of the group.

Else he would be done for it, he was sure of it. In his mind, there was only three ways to do that; persuade the others of that the Goliath was crazy and couldn't be trusted -he had, after all, triggered every single trap so far-, force the Goliath to leave out of choice, or murdering the damn thing. Well, or wait for this to be over. Feeling his shoulder ache, James knew for sure that he didn't want the other to make it away unharmed, though a confrontation wasn't something he could even consider right now, as he kept heading into safety.
 

Anti-American Eagle

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After he saw everyone pass Charles closed the passage to stop the gas flow and caught up with the others. He arrived in time to see something happening, the others talking, and then darkness infront of him.

He simply asked "What happened?" as he walked into the darkness and listened, moving towards the voice that said "Here."
 

hiei82

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Aug 10, 2011
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James carefully made his way left and away from the oppressive darkness. As he - and those who followed him - made there way down the passage, the passage turned to the right; it's path clearly continuing around and eventually connecting back to the right passage. A door marked the meeting point of the formerly left and right passages.

Upon reaching the doorway, two things became immediately apparent. First, the room in question had been some kind of workshop. The rooms was littered with the remains of half-complete sculptures and ancient tools of the trade (now turned to rot). Second, they were clearly not the first to breach the chamber, for a dead body in relatively modern, bright-red armor lay on the floor, still clutching his or her rusting longsword.

To his back was a now ruined, simple fountain.

Since this can be somewhat difficult to visualize, I've made a rough map of the scene.
 

booksv2

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The anger inside him still roiling around at not being able to kill the enemy Thalith puts his great axe away on his back as he forces himself to calm down. The murderous rage that had stole over him was enough that he had wanted to kill everyone around not just those that threaten him and those with him. Looking around just after getting back to where the rest of the group had stopped just beyond the poison gas the large goliath turns and watches the one who ahd been being attacked walk down the opposite way from where the darkwhatever it had been had gone.

Turning and walking towards the small person Thalith takes a second to close his eyes, the anger inside him making it harder but he reaches out trying to see if anything out there was moving and making itself feel like a threat. Stepping up behind the small man the Goliath leans his head down and makes a noise of surprise when he sees that the small room ahead was a workshop. Walking past the man and into the room he looks around at the broken statues and rotting and rusty tools. Scratching his chin as he looks around. Saying low but it still easily reaching the doorway.

"I wonder what kind of people could create such amazing statues."
 

DarkRawen

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He got a brief while to calm down, and it helped his mind. Of course, it still wasn't enough to make him feel well.

"I wonder what kind of people could create such amazing statues."

Fuck off you destructive maniac.

James simply continued ahead towards the door in the far end of the corridor. ignoring the body and the room altogether, where the Goliath stood. He had no interest in dwelling, as far as he knew, the poison gas was still coming. Walking forwards didn't mean they were safe either, they just had to get out of there. completely. Besides, he would rather have the creature from before bite his head again than rely on the moron. With a sour expression, he hoped the others would follow him and not the giant, they were better off without the creature either way.

"Are you lot coming?!" he yelled out, as he kept walking, keeping an eye out for his surroundings. "I mean, if you truly want to die to poison, then be my guest, but I at least intend to get out of here." When he got to the door, he carefully examined it, if it felt safe, he would try pushing it open.
 

IFS

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"I wonder what kind of people could create such amazing statues."

"I'm rather less concerned with the statuary and more with the corpse," Wilmet said, "or rather what killed it."

He moved closer to the body trying to see if the body had any wounds, it was of course possible that they had succumbed to poison whoever they were but assuming that wasn't the case then learning what had befallen them could help the party avoid the same fate. We know there are monsters in here, and something has reset the traps since this poor fool came here. That speaks to intelligence, or perhaps the traps magically reset...

In the meantime James was busy examining the door, clearly eager to press forwards, or perhaps eager was the wrong word. From how he was yelling Wilmet could only assume the lad was frightened, an understandable reaction given their circumstances.
 

The Harkinator

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Godric moved over to where Wilmet was examining the dead body.

"I'm rather less concerned with the statuary and more with the corpse, or rather what killed it."

"Red armour, at least this poor soul's enemies couldn't see them bleed. Any dents or piercings in that?" He enquired, wondering just how the poor adventurer had met an end. It might tell them about the nature of a trap in this room, or the strength of a wandering monster. Seeing Wilmet was already checking for such damage he decided not to interfere too much.

Further along the corridor Godric found James about to open the door they had found, speaking in a low voice so the others couldn't hear he tried to offer some advice, "Listen, you've got to slow things down here. I know you're eager to press on, and perhaps eager to be away from some of us, but you already rushed into one dangerous situation and you might end up rushing into another." Hoping some of this was getting through he tried to continue, "There's nothing wrong with taking it slow in a place like this, rushing ahead will get you in danger, rushing ahead without the group will get you killed."

Godric couldn't tell if James was scared or frustrated by recent events, or perhaps it was a little of both. But his attempts to push further into the Cairn while the group stopped to investigate the rooms were only going to lead him into trouble.
 

DarkRawen

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"Listen, you've got to slow things down here. I know you're eager to press on, and perhaps eager to be away from some of us, but you already rushed into one dangerous situation and you might end up rushing into another. There's nothing wrong with taking it slow in a place like this, rushing ahead will get you in danger, rushing ahead without the group will get you killed."

"That's bollocks an--" he hissed at the other, but then he stopped himself. As difficult and annoying and different as it was, he knew that his best bet in this was staying with the rest of the group. And, since the Goliath had made itself his enemy now, it meant that he had to ensure that he got along with the others. Even people who claimed outrageous things, like him rushing ahead, or putting himself in danger, as if he wasn't already the most careful person there.

James, just bloody do this and then you might get to see the Goliath thrown off a cliff or something. Worst case scenario, you'll still be on good terms with the others, or at least okay ones. Even if you don't get any money or anything like that, it could aid you back at the lake.

But oh, how he loathed the thought of it. How he loathed the thought of forcing himself to get along with simpletons and arrogant jerks. He bit down a little, and looked at the other. It was clear he couldn't lie either, as much as he wanted to just smile and get it over with so that he could back to avoiding people, he simply didn't know how to. So he was forced to rely on one of his feelings, try to appeal in a different manner. Which was better? Being aggressive, or being a coward?

Being honest, I suppose. Ugh. I wish I could just leave. But at least... he doesn't seem to want to hurt me.

That was worth something. It meant he could show a weaker side without being attacked. Hopefully even make some sort of appeal. He could get as worked up as he could, but the fear still sat in him. Fear of the traps, of the Goliath, of never being able to go home. Of being all alone in the world. And he channelled that fear, let it show, looking into the eyes of the knight.

"I know. I know, I shouldn't, I'm just... it's so scary, I can't help it. It's so scary and I try not to stop moving and there's still poison gas, and the Goliath and I'm so so so so scared. And I hate this, I just wanted to get home. Not to the stupid lake, my actual home, and..." he whispered towards the end, though the knight could still hear it, if he was still standing there.

"I don't want to be here, Mr. Knight, I don't bloody want to spend a second more than I have. I thought it'd be fine, I really did, but I had not... I had not thought it was as possible to be as simple-minded as the Goliath, and I honestly think its going to murder me, either by intent or mistake. Please, just help me calm down." His eyes were fixed at the other, almost eerily so, because he didn't know if he should look away or not. Finally, he looked at his feet, starting to realize what he had just admitted to.

Oh god. That was bloody horrible.

So much for trying to seem like a reasonable person.