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

hiei82

Dire DM (+2 HD and a rend attack
Aug 10, 2011
2,463
0
0
As Wilmet looked over the body, the cause of death quickly became clear. The death was a result of some kind of creature; evident by the four long gashes and one short gash on the front of the armor. The body further showed signs of being picked clean of all "meat". Among these signs was that the skull of the creature had been torn from the body and cracked open on a nearby rock. Despite all of this, the armor was in repetitively good condition; the gashes not withstanding. All of the other equipment was beyond use or repair.

At the door, James could make out no signs of trapping though there were the sounds of movement beyond it. Specifically, it sounded like small waves breaking on a shore. Seemingly safe enough, the door was pushed open to reveal a strange but no unexpected sight. A short staircase descended down from the door to an intersection. While the left and right passages were hidden from view, the area beyond was unmistakable.

The area beyond the intersection consisted of a staircase leading into a large chamber carved out of the stone. The exact size of the chamber and the length of the stairs was indeterminate for the chamber was flooded up to the intersection with what appeared to be water. The water was unquiet and apparently stocked with fish.

In the center of the intersection was a well. It was perhaps two feet in diameter. The rotten remains of a bucket sat next to it. The only other noticeable feature of the area was that it smelled of rot, mold, and a strange, faint acrid sort of smell James could identify as an acidic compound.
 

The Harkinator

Did something happen?
Jun 2, 2010
742
0
0
"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."

"The name's Godric, and you're doing better at this than you think." Said Godric (obviously) as James opened the door. The kid wasn't so bad, he just seemed unused to working with so large a group. Turning his head to look through the now open doorway Godric was surprised at what he heard, "Is that running water?"

Looking down the staircases he could see the well and flooded passageway, "Have we found the source of the lake here?" He asked because of the presence of the well, a flooded chamber in a place like this could mean any number of things, particularly since it seemed to have been inhabited by some civilisation long ago. It was always possible that their means of water storage and distribution had been damaged and flooded certain parts of the Cairn, but the well suggested there had been access to a naturally replenishing supply in this area.

With an odd smell hitting his nostrils, Godric gave the air a couple of sniffs. "I really hope that's not a gelatinous cube I can smell, if they even smell of anything..." Looking back at the rest of the group still examining the body he said, "Finish up there, let's delve further into this place."
 

DarkRawen

Awe-Inspiringly Awesome
Apr 20, 2010
1,816
0
0
"The name's Godric, and you're doing better at this than you think."

"No I'm not, it's scary how stupid---" he trailed off as the door seemed to open without no hesitation, no trap triggered or key required. Inside was a sight he hadn't expected, water, a well, a rotten smell filling the air. That, and some sort of acidic compound. And fish. And the water seemed far too... alive for somewhere like this. Just processing it made his head hurt, but that may very well be because of the thing that had almost eaten the top of his head.

"Is that running water?"

"It's dangerous," he muttered to himself. "If we're not careful, it'll kill us." It wasn't the acidic smell, or the rotten smell, but the water, and the fish. He didn't like water, he had little experience with it before coming to Diamond Lake, and even then he had avoided it for most of the time. James thought he could swim, from Jonathan's skills passed down to him, but he had never tried. Water was dangerous and unpredictable, it housed things one couldn't possibly deal with without the benefit of being on land.

"I really hope that's not a gelatinous cube I can smell, if they even smell of anything... Finish up there, let's delve further into this place."

"Don't. The water smells acidic, I don't trust those fish and I'm not entering the water without it being tested thoroughly," he stated, crossing his arms. "To test it, perhaps Wilmet can cast some electric spell on it. If it is strong enough, it should be able to sufficiently electrify anything in the relevant area, but if not--" He looked at the water again. Part of him wanted to throw something in it, break off a piece from one of the statues or something and just see if anything large and powerful grabbed it. Another part wanted to curl up and wait for someone else to test the water, out of harm's way. He looked at the knight. The knight, Godric was being useful, not that good at reassuring, but this person seemed calm and charitable.

If I want to get rid of the Goliath, I need useful people around. For as long as it takes.

Besides, he'd never been treated as nicely as this before, and though he'd never admit it to anyone, ever, and even though he didn't need anyone, that did count for something.

So far, I know I need to keep Wilmet around as well.

In a matter-of-factly tone laced with caution and fear, he continued;

"Don't go in it, Godric. Something will try to drown you, I'm sure of it."
 

The Harkinator

Did something happen?
Jun 2, 2010
742
0
0
"Don't go in it, Godric. Something will try to drown you, I'm sure of it."

"Don't worry, I wasn't intending to take a swim in that stuff." Godric gently tapped his chainmail, just enough to make a sound, "Besides, I'd probably sink like a stone." Giving a slight chuckle at the unfunny prospect of sinking to the depths of some godforsaken pond, Godric's hand went to the hilt of his sword. Knowing it was there gave him no small measure of comfort.

"When I said delve I didn't necessarily mean we'd dive to new depths through some unknown body of water. Only that we'll explore further into this place." The thought of something in the water made him shudder slightly. Adept as he was at combat, any underwater encounter would have him at a disadvantage against a foe that would surely have no worries about drowning. Even the mightiest warrior needed to breathe.
 

booksv2

New member
Aug 17, 2012
632
0
0
Thalith was done looking at the statues, their amazing details and their flaws both, were captivating but he knew he had to move on. He could feel a few of the other people he had come with ahead, next to what almost felt like a door when they had opened it. Barely glancing at the dead body and its armor as well as its rusty useless other items. Two people were close to it talking to each other about it but he ignored it, it was useless to him in everything.

Walking out of the door that had lead into where the statues and body was he looked over and saw one of the heavily armored people talking to the little person who had been attacked earlier, and he thought he had also saw something else but he didnt know. These short small people were so hard to read, their bodys and faces small and hard to understand as well as being so weak in body. Walking over towards them he gets close just in time to hear the smaller one say to the armored one something about not going into the water, how it would drown him.

Looking past them Thalith grunts from behind the smaller of the two and he points over them both out into the next room and rumbles.
"Smells like acid. In the well? or a trap? How do we test?"

Thalith frowns as he talks, feeling out with his other sense. Trying to figure out what he is feeling.
 

Anti-American Eagle

HAPPENING IMMINENT
Legacy
Apr 11, 2020
3,772
8
13
Country
Canada
Gender
Male
Charles followed as the others moved and still unsure what he had missed carried on, and looked at the body the gnome was examining. When he saw the skull he had a creeping suspicion about the Cairn, and why the man he had found earlier had moved the lantern as he had. If the body had flesh he could check for the pattern it left, even in rot, but without it all he had was a suspicion. The yellow... It was better to check them than risk being torn limb from limb.

He walked to the group around the water and started talking to them, wondering about the smell as he approached. "All of you have weapons? Something you can start a fire with? Have any of you fought the dead before?"
 

IFS

New member
Mar 5, 2012
1,776
0
0
Killed by a monster and picked clean, an unsurprising death considering the location and one that didn't offer them any particular warnings. Ah well it was to be expected after so long he supposed, at least the man hadn't died to some cleverly concealed trap that they would need to search for. That of course left the groups attention focused on other matters, James seemed most concerned with the water which he claimed was acidic, and the fish which he seemed worried might devour them or some such. Thalith was predictably interested in the statues, which Wilmet had to admit were impressive examples of their culture.

"Don't go in it, Godric. Something will try to drown you, I'm sure of it."

"I might know a spell or two that could electrify the water, might do something about whatever's in it," Wilmet said "it would require me to touch it however, and if it is acidic as you say that could be rather unwise. So long as we don't go wading through it anything in there will have to crawl out to cause us trouble."

"All of you have weapons? Something you can start a fire with? Have any of you fought the dead before?"

Wilmet frowned at this, the undead could be expected in such a place though they took so many forms of such varying strength it was difficult to say they could be prepared to face them. Still he had trained in a temple and come to this place to assist the faithful, it was in many ways his duty to face such a threat should it arise.

"I can conjure flame if required," he said, withholding that he would be better able to conjure the illusion of flame than the real thing "why? Do you sense the undead lurking about?"
 

DarkRawen

Awe-Inspiringly Awesome
Apr 20, 2010
1,816
0
0
"Don't worry, I wasn't intending to take a swim in that stuff. Besides, I'd probably sink like a stone. When I said delve I didn't necessarily mean we'd dive to new depths through some unknown body of water. Only that we'll explore further into this place."

Then what do we do? Where are we supposed to go?

James tilted his head, unsure of how to reply. He didn't know where else they could go, unless there was a path behind the fungi from earlier. However, so far the crypt had been rather symmetrical in his opinion, and if that was the case, the next room would be empty at best. Then again, it could be a trick. Before he replied, the Goliath appeared again, and James very obviously stepped away from the thing -out of its path as well- scowling at the thing's back. He had no reason to talk to him. Besides, he felt a bit of relief as he noticed more people approached, he had gotten out of the way before being forced into a crowd, and that was always good, people being close made him both uncomfortable and very annoyed.

Even if being close to someone as calm as Godric had made him calm down considerable.

"I might know a spell or two that could electrify the water, might do something about whatever's in it. It would require me to touch it however, and if it is acidic as you say that could be rather unwise. So long as we don't go wading through it anything in there will have to crawl out to cause us trouble."

Hesitating with his reply, James muttered at first.

"That's the way we need to go, though. I mean, where else? Unless we're going to fly." He looked at the mage, then at the water, but before he could reply for real, Wilmet was already addressing someone else.

"I can conjure flame if required, why? Do you sense the undead lurking about?"

James looked at the one Wilmet had addressed, the middle-aged man whose name he currently did not know. Could he sense the undead?

It is possible... that's peculiar, though, for someone like that to join a quest for money. It's some sort of magic, religious, I think. Light.

"Can you sense the undead?" Even with Jonathan's knowledge, there was still so much he didn't know beyond a feeling in the back of his mind. "It's strange. How can you sense the presence the undead without seeing, hearing or smelling them? There's taste and touch too, but those don't apply here. Nevertheless, how?" James asked, the pale blue rings around his abnormally large pupils appearing somewhat unsettling in the dim light, especially as they fixed upon the man. "How does that work?" He gave the man a brief moment to reply, before looking back at Wilmet, regardless of if he got a reply or not.

"And Wilmet, I don't think that's the issue," he started, continuing their conversation from earlier as if there had been nothing between now and then, simply because he hadn't thought of the possibility for confusion. He wasn't confused, and that was the most important thing.

"It would take a lot of an acid for it to harm you by just touching it, and the smell isn't that strong. And there's fish there, had it been truly that dangerous, I can't see what kind of fish would live there. Unless they adjusted to it, or have some magical attributes, but even then I can't see it harming you. Although..." He fished out an empty vial from his pocket.

"I don't want to go close to the water, I'm worried something might grab me. But if you want to, you can use this," he fished an empty vial out of his pocket. "--To gather a sample, and I'll check it myself. It won't take long, and you won't have to touch the water, but it's not my fault if it goes the wrong way."
 

Anti-American Eagle

HAPPENING IMMINENT
Legacy
Apr 11, 2020
3,772
8
13
Country
Canada
Gender
Male
"I can conjure flame if required," he said, withholding that he would be better able to conjure the illusion of flame than the real thing "why? Do you sense the undead lurking about?"

"Can you sense the undead? It's strange. How can you sense the presence the undead without seeing, hearing or smelling them? There's taste and touch too, but those don't apply here. Nevertheless, how? How does that work?"

"It's not like that," Charles replied. "I was a hunter some years ago. I've seen signs in the Cairne, not many but enough to suspect their taint." He pointed his blade toward the nearby skeleton, "With the body and the yellow I thought it worth checking if you could fight before going deeper."

Charles sniffed and looked at the water, "I wouldn't trust anything living down here for as long as it's been but I have a faster way." He walked over to the skeleton and looking through it's things he picked up a strip of rotted leather before returning and presenting it to the others. "I'd rather not remove my gauntlets down here, so if one of you could smear some of your blood on this I'll drop it in and we'll know how."
 

The Harkinator

Did something happen?
Jun 2, 2010
742
0
0
"I'd rather not remove my gauntlets down here, so if one of you could smear some of your blood on this I'll drop it in and we'll know how."

Removing one of his gloves, Godric made a small cut to his left little finger, allowing a few droplets of blood to fall onto the rotting leather. "I hope this isn't going to summon something with a taste for my blood." He said in a voice tinged with discomfort. Small as it was the cut would bother him for a little while yet, though he took some satisfaction from knowing none of the other would have to shed blood just yet.

"Conduct your experiment, I'm eager to see the results." Said Godric, motioning Charles to place now bloodstained leather into the water.

OOC: Just moving to a new place so I won't have Internet for about a week or two. Post again as soon as I can.
 

Anti-American Eagle

HAPPENING IMMINENT
Legacy
Apr 11, 2020
3,772
8
13
Country
Canada
Gender
Male
"Conduct your experiment, I'm eager to see the results."

Charles nodded and slowly lowered his arm towards the pool before dropping the bloodied leather into the water and retracting his arm. He thought it close enough that anything within the pool that would react to him would react to it acid, fish, or otherwise. The slight smell of blood if he was right would also draw anything present out that was close enough.

He noticed a slight discomfort in the man, if there was no reaction to the leather it would be a simple matter to seal something so slight when he knew it was 'safe.'
 

hiei82

Dire DM (+2 HD and a rend attack
Aug 10, 2011
2,463
0
0
As Charles and Godric approached the water, the acrid smell grew until it was nearly overwhelming. That is until they passed the well in the center of the room. After the well, the smell began to decrease ever so slightly. Once they reached the center of the new chamber (near the well), they could see the two chambers off to the left and right.

The left chamber seemed mostly untouched. It consisted of a dozen stone blocks that would have once hosted mattresses. The entire room was overlooked by a single large statue similar in appearance to the man on the sarcophagus above. The right chamber had clearly seen better days however as the whole room appeared to be covered in a sticky yellow substance. Several mounds in the room bore humanoid suggestions. Other, smaller mounds looked to be the remains of fish.

As Godric bloodied the piece of leather and Charles was about to toss the leather into the water, all could hear a new sound; a "clicking" sound. This was shortly followed by a skittering sound. Turning toward the well - for that was where the sounds emanated from - Charles and Godric were faced with what could only be described as a "geyser of beetles".

A geyser of glowing, yellow beetles. A geyser of glowing, yellow beetles who seemed very very hungry.
 

DarkRawen

Awe-Inspiringly Awesome
Apr 20, 2010
1,816
0
0
"It's not like that, I was a hunter some years ago. I've seen signs in the Cairne, not many but enough to suspect their taint. With the body and the yellow I thought it worth checking if you could fight before going deeper."

"Oh. Dull. Though at least it makes sense." He didn't ask about it further, instead resigned to watch as this one decided to do something about the issue at hand. With a glove and the request for some blood, the man conducted some sort of experiment, making the glove a bait for whatever out there that would be interested in attacking.

It should be sufficient.

Though he wasn't going to be the first one to follow the two into the water.

"Conduct your experiment, I'm eager to see the results."

James wasn't sure where he wanted to stand when they did it. On one hand, seeing the result of the experiment would be useful, on the other hand, he still felt like something was off. Very off.

They've gone into the water, and nothing has...

James cringed as he heard the clicking sound, it sounded like something bad, and immediately afterwards a lot of beetles started crawling up the well. Glowing yellow beetles, aggressive, from the looks of it.

There was a corpse... was that them?

He felt the urge to step back and run, but Godric was there, and he was useful. The other man too seemed like it would be a waste if he died.

I don't want to step closer. What would be good... fire, fire should work. I have that bottle of Alchemist's fire somewhere...

"Get out of the way!" he said, forcing himself past the others, though stepped clear of the water. He only needed to get close enough to throw the bottle. Feeling at the bottles in his pocket, he picked out the one who felt like it might be it, and checked the bottle against someone's torch to ensure the colour was correct. Then, he said; "I'm throwing it now, don't get close to the well!" With that, he threw it, aiming for the beetles, figuring that shattering it on the well would be sufficient to at least hit a portion of the beetles.
 

IFS

New member
Mar 5, 2012
1,776
0
0
"I was a hunter some years ago. I've seen signs in the Cairne, not many but enough to suspect their taint."

Wilmet nodded in understanding, not magic simply perception. Good perception he'd grant, followed up with a good idea for testing the water. A glove was volunteered and the water was approached when, quite shockingly, voracious beetles erupted from the well, the smell of acid intensifying as they arrived.

Wilmet took an involuntary step backwards as the beetles arrived, startled by their sudden appearance and somewhat disturbed by the clicking noises. A voracious swarm like this could tear a man to shreds in minutes, and he was much smaller than a man. Still he steeled himself, mind pouring over his prepared spell searching for his memorized collection of arcana for just the signs, words, and energies he might need to face this foe.

"I'm throwing it now, don't get close to the well!"

Or throw a bottle of goop at it, that works too. Still he could appreciate the quick thinking and preparedness on James' part. Sad that it lacked the flash of real magic though.

Burning hands, if they aren't immune to the alchemist's fire it should work on them nicely. He spread his hands before him, the tips of his thumbs touching. The spell covered a small cone with flames, but was short enough (and his allies far enough away) that he had no risk of hitting them. Hopefully this finishes them, I don't much like the thought of being eaten.

Still there was nothing he could do about the range limits, he bit the inside of his lip for a moment then moved forward, just into the edge of range for the swarm and cast his spell. Incantation flowed from his lips and fire sprayed forth from the tips of his fingers at the swarm, adding to the fire already created by James' flask.
 

Anti-American Eagle

HAPPENING IMMINENT
Legacy
Apr 11, 2020
3,772
8
13
Country
Canada
Gender
Male
Scarabs? Charles eyes went wide as he realized what had happened down here and what he had just drawn out. He tossed the leather towards the chamber with the remains in it and quietly said "move" to himself more than anyone else. Fire in one hand and the other once again drawing his blade he began moving towards the room with the stone blocks. Instinctively he began muttering scripture and prayers to Ezra, asking for her protection and the strength to strike down his enemies as he tried to think of a way to fight the swarm.
 

hiei82

Dire DM (+2 HD and a rend attack
Aug 10, 2011
2,463
0
0
Between James and Wilmet, a torrent of flame washed out over the insectoid mass. The fire proved effective against the beetles, but like a bucket of water against a raging fire there was simply not enough fire to hold back the entirety of the swarm. Still, the fear of fire is an instinctive one and the beetles were little but a mass of instinct. Recognizing the danger of those with fire, the swarm sought out easier prey. Charles' flaming hand kept he and Godric protected and Wilmet and James kept most of the others, but Andria was too far out front. She tried to move back behind Wilmet, but the beetles overtook her. With all the thousands of beetles focused on a single individual, it was barely a second before Andria's movement ceased.
 

The Harkinator

Did something happen?
Jun 2, 2010
742
0
0
Godric cursed under his breath. His sword would be of little use against the scarabs, and even his armour would only hold off the swarm for a few seconds before that mass of teeth tore him to shreds, just as the poor girl Andria had been. He felt bad for thinking this, but Godric had completely forgotten she was there.

"How long can you keep that up?" He asked Charles, whose use of fire was keeping the swarm well away from them both. It wouldn't matter too much, unless they could incinerate the entire swarm they would eventually be overrun. Godric stepped back with Charles, moving towards the room with the stone blocks, partially to get away from the swarm and partially to keep close to Charles. If they got separated it wouldn't be long before he was a pile of bones on the floor.

"This room we're backing into is safe, yes?"
 

booksv2

New member
Aug 17, 2012
632
0
0
Stepping up into the doorway Thalith kept to himself as people talked about the water and undead. So many things had been going on quickly but most of it was uninteresting to him so he ignored them. turning away from the doorway to look back where they had come from Thalith jumped a little and spun around as something made its way up the well, something weird.

As the beetles made their way up and out of the well, then took down one of their party and killed as well as ate her, Thalith could feel his rage bubbling up in his body. Starting to reach back for his axe and stopping because it would be no use he made fists and they cracked like breaking stones as he stepped forward, ignoring those ahead and around as they threw fire and got ready to run and fight.

Roaring out right behind the people who had been standing ahead of him Thalith threw himself forward and jumped, bringing his hands down in a double overhead slam onto the floor. the slam as well as the jumping landing made the ground shake as he slammed himself into where the beetles are.
 

DarkRawen

Awe-Inspiringly Awesome
Apr 20, 2010
1,816
0
0
James cringed as he watched the beetles eat a person, -though luckily not one of the ones he considered useful- only biting his tongue so that he was sure he would not say anything to make the creatures take note of him. Or scream. One or the other. A little tingling in the back of his mind told him that this was perfectly natural, that this was how these beetles acted. However that didn't stop him from shaking, wondering if he should take out his second alchemist's fire or depend on those capable of creating fire from magic.

It's too late for me to throw it now that they've spread this far, isn't it? The floor is filled with water.

He stepped a little closer to Wilmet, who seemed to be the safest person to be around right now. Carefully tugging at the short mage's hat, he spoke. "Uhm, don't stop, even if it kills you. They've... the water would make my fire go out, so I can't help, but they won't come for us if there's fire." He got slightly startled by that "guy"'s roar and indistinctly stepped aside as the Goliath leaped past him, though he was not very surprised to see the Goliath run head-first into danger. Again.

I suppose he would be safer... but they're acid beetles, right? They must have... well, acid. I suppose this is working out well, then. Perhaps they have abilities that will erode him. Perhaps they will kill each other. That would be perfect.

Then all the danger would go away. For now, at least.

"The Goliath won't get eaten, so just focus on the beetles that are away from him, he'll act as bait. Besides, we need to protect Godric and that other man, they're useful," James told the mage, it was true so technically no one could accuse him of trying to get his "team-mate" killed. Of course, the frightened yet triumphant smirk on his face might give away his true intentions.
 

IFS

New member
Mar 5, 2012
1,776
0
0
"The Goliath won't get eaten, so just focus on the beetles that are away from him, he'll act as bait. Besides, we need to protect Godric and that other man, they're useful,"

Wilmet found James' enthusiasm about putting a party member in danger somewhat disturbing, but now was not the time to comment on it. Particularly not when he needed to keep his mind and words focused on the incantations and manipulations of arcana that sustained his magic. In truth he could only keep the spell going for a matter of seconds longer but there was no break in his incantation for him to relate such. Besides the Goliath was capable of great surges of movement and he did not wish to risk his flames falling on an ally.

Instead he nodded sharply to James' suggestion, and then jerked his head back as if to indicate they should keep moving away. His fires were certainly more intense than those of a torch but they would not last nearly as long without catching some other fuel alight. Perhaps an illusion... but I could only make an image of fire, not the heat so it might not fool the beetles.