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  1. - Top - End - #481
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    ~Corvus~'s Avatar

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    Default Re: At the Edge of Humanity {IC}

    The ascent is easy, and Alala arrives just as Jerid and Verin are ushered inside the Atrium to a large circle where the guard prompts Jerid to present Ealo to a wall covered with interlocking runes. The two "dwarves" (and Watt) shimmer and disappear, along with their gem. With their absence, the wall returns to a totally blank state. The border guard directs his ram to a hallway connected to the Atrium and rides away quickly.

    The guards posted at the entrance, as Alala can see, are backed up by six others inside. One with a gravely female voice much like Freyda's but less overpowering halts you. She wears the usual full plate, halberd, and waraxe and her head hosts a series of glyphs that glow from white to deep blue. She stares at you all, her frown displaying little besides...is that contempt? The border patrol let you in, hm? I don't suppose she said why? You know, a rat is not so threatening, but one with such a powerful mind...and one spellplague-- she inhales while looking at Omar.Fascinating. But you, centaur. There must be a good reason she trusted you... she cuts off her sentence with a sneer. I won't spit on you, but... Tell me, did you slay an Angel yourself and have a fairy graft them to you? Or did you do it with your magical friends here?
    Last edited by ~Corvus~; 2016-04-25 at 12:54 AM.
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  2. - Top - End - #482
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    One of the guards from inside barks, Angra, that's enough! Your duty is to protect, not wield your words and start a fight. You're RELIEVED.

    With that, an elderly female purses her lips. She wears the same regalia, but where Angra has a waraxe, this one has a hammer. Bless me, this is the thanks you all get for returning two of our own. Freyda is one of my own daughters, a fine soldier and a good judge of character. Angra lost her Patrol status to her a year ago fair and square and she's salty as the Western Sea. Now, is there anything we can do for you? The least of which is give you passage to another part of Nidea as great thanks.

    Angra gives Alala one last scowl for good measure and stalks off to a passageway to the right. Her staff clacks angrily against the stone in tune with her heavy-footed, quick steps.
    Last edited by ~Corvus~; 2016-04-26 at 04:53 AM.
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  3. - Top - End - #483
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    Default Re: At the Edge of Humanity {IC}

    As Angra had been speaking to her, Alala had kept a nice, pleasant smile on her face.

    A more honest example of her feelings on the matter could be found by glancing at her wings, that were slowly spreading... and beginning to glow...

    But then the other dwarf stepped in, and she quickly folded them against her sides once more.

    "There's a couple of things, actually. We're to undergo the 'Seventh Bond of Miruna', at Ms Freyda's suggestion. We would appreciate a description of what that actually is, and directions as to where we must go to undergo it, as she was in a little too much of a hurry to explain it to us.

    Secondly, I have an etiquette question I hope you could answer for me. When Ms Angra was addressing me, I'd intended to offer her the chance to choose between offering me an apology and losing the ability to eat solid foods. But I'm not sure if that's considered acceptable behaviour in dwarven society... I ask, you see, because I was warned that even after the bond I will probably face discrimination from certain quarters. I would hate to respond to such things in a way that was considered... inappropriate...
    "

  4. - Top - End - #484
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    She looks genuinely surprised. Well, I'm no storyteller, but Miruna is the black Gem, the one of Law. Freyda's family has many runepriests, and they can tell you more... she motions to another guard near the Atrium wall. He steps forward, attentive. Sixth quarter, Rune-Scriber Lorj

    He nods, and pulls a staff out from the wall. He pushes it into the stone and the wall lights up with a huge net of runes.

    About etiquette: it is not typical of monsters to abide by dwarven law, but you may challenge her to a Contest of Strength. Your ability is likely considerable, but Angra is...well, she's experienced. There will be a formal Contest happening tonight, now that Ealo is back. Anyone can help you find the way.

    She motions the three of you forward onto the rune-covered circle.
    --------
    You feel your body being tugged to another place. Its close by, and you know you'll get there. Something about it feels much safer than the teleportation used by Abdul: it's more like taking a long step than being pulled frantically through a vast space.

    Spoiler: OOC
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    As I said to Whoiam in the OOC, everyone gets 2200 XP. Jerid and Verin, the two of you are due for more soon.

    We have a Ritual, a ceremony, and political proceedings to influence. Meet me over on the OOC board to discuss, as I may need to split attention in the thread or things could get choppy.
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  5. - Top - End - #485
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    Tai

    Tai studies all they are seeing with some interest – even ordinary rats know that some stray bit of knowledge may end up saving your life someday. He looks at the shimmering wall, the strange glyphs on Angra's head (he's somewhat relieved that dire rats do not have a history of slaughter among the dwarves, but it would be a great loss if he were to lose his current mount).

    He also consults his own texts for anything about this "bond of Miruna" Freyda mentioned.
    Spoiler
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    I'm not sure which of these subjects fall within which knowledge, so I'll just give the straight rolls and refer you to the character sheet for appropriate modifiers, which range from +8 (locals, geography and history) to +17. While I fluff this with some book reference, Tai won't expend any of his 3/day uses of the Tome of Worldly Memory nor take the 2-8 hours of study required by the Book of All Knowledge. (He starts off each day studying his Tome of Ancient Lore, so its bonus is already included in listed skill modifiers.)

    wall - (1d20)[6]
    glyphs - (1d20)[2]
    bond - (1d20)[16]
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  6. - Top - End - #486
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    "Well, you know. Monsters might not be inclined to obey laws, but I was raised by people and all that. I still miss my old circus..."

    Alala ambles over onto the runic circle, talking quietly as she goes.

    "...Still, 'formal Contest of Strength' sounds like the sort of thing I'd like to stick around for. That sounds an awful lot like gladiatorial games, and it's been a good six weeks since I last got to perform in front of a crowd..."

  7. - Top - End - #487
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    Before Alala, Tai and Omar can get too far into conversation, they feel the drag of the cave around them as it swirls and melds into light.

    Spoiler: OOC
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    You three are invited here, last page. There is no need to catch up, as Tirn or Vutha can explain whats happening.
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  8. - Top - End - #488
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    The world appears white and then stretchy and then snaps back into focus. Mostly. As your minds reel to accommodate the idea of being stretched into a vast expanse of consciousness of all dwarven lands but also into a great crystal cave, Watt doubles over towards the ground.

    You all catch the image of a hydra, a sworded outsider who looks like Vutha, and another form in between, flash before your eyes as the cavern come into clearer focus, but leave the telltale marks on your eyes as only a brief and brilliant image can.
    On the right-hand side, an unflowing rivers with a faded rose color sits before the purple waters, then black waters flank the purple colors. On the opposite bank, the orange river blends into a pale yellow.

    You both know what this is: the Pools of Life, the sacred resting chamber of the Shardminds, the progenitors and creators of the Dwarven people.
    Spoiler: benefits
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    You are both now Initiates of the Gemsmoot, a sacred rite of Dwarven decision-making which begins at the Shardminds.
    You may both make skill checks +10 twice/encounter for each of Diplomacy, Sense Motive, and one/encounter of each of knowledge (Dwarven Spine), Knowledge (history), knowledge (religion). Knowledge will be shared between the 2 of you.
    Last edited by ~Corvus~; 2016-05-04 at 02:06 PM.
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  9. - Top - End - #489
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    The voice of Ealo again fills your minds, with a soothing quality, like on the brink of celebration.Perhaps I did choose poorly. This rite should be seen as a privelege, not as a duty. Would you like instead to choose a real dwarf, and leave you two to your adventures?
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  10. - Top - End - #490
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    Jerid rushes to check on Watt, two stubby fingers pressed to his neck. He'd seen Watt do it sometimes. It... helped? Who knew? "Well, the 'privilege' just knocked my friend on his ass, so forgive me if I'm less than enthused."

  11. - Top - End - #491
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    Ealo muses to both Jerid and Verin, Hmm... To get here involves the flood of ancestral memory. I hoped his mind was as strong as his will to stay by your side; I was incorrect in this conviction.

    Dwarves are ideally suited to this experience, as their minds are more attuned to the earth. The way it affects other minds is poorly known to us. You will find that you know more of our people, perhaps, than you think you do. He will grow from this experience, as will you and Verin.
    Last edited by ~Corvus~; 2016-05-10 at 05:34 AM.
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  12. - Top - End - #492
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    Verin

    Verin squints around, and then tests out the (possible) new found knowledge.

    Spoiler
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    Knowledge (History) (1d20+13)[23]
    Knowledge (Religion) (1d20+5)[17]

    To figure out what they would be expected to do next, and what the upcoming rituals would entail.


  13. - Top - End - #493
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    When gods still walked the worlds of men, The Spine of Nidea was formed when distant lands were pulled together by an Ascendant, Io, named after the ancient dragon apsect. Desiring a release from his earthly prison, not allowed by his god to leave the world, he moved the young land of his creation so that he may be smitten by the land itself. And so the world's primal fire consumed him and spread his body into its earth.

    Were it not for Io's self- pity and desire to escape, the Dwarves may not have had a home upon this world, or such bounty to use. And so the dwarves remember Ascendant Io for his sacrifice. The journey to this cave in the Spine is meant to help the Dwarves remember that all they create, all they surround themselves with, was made possible not by the gods but by their Earth and humanoids before them.

    It is not known by the Dwarves when the Shardmind came to be, but it is from this dying being on this world that they came to be. Thus is the need to honor those who came before us and be thankful for those we have. For the Gemsmoot, we offer gems to the Shardmind, the Creator of our people, in whatever means we think necessary. If it desires them, they will be taken. If not, we bring them to our own, that they will be treated with use.


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    Edit: Tai and Verin are supposed to offer up Ealo to the "shardmind" however they see fit.
    Last edited by ~Corvus~; 2016-05-11 at 07:14 PM.
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  14. - Top - End - #494
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    Verin

    "What'dya think? Could make it a nifty little pedestal. Or just throw it in."

  15. - Top - End - #495
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    NecromancerGirl

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    Jerid smirks. "I like the second option."

  16. - Top - End - #496
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    Watt stirs on the ground. "Why does my head hurt so much? Where are we?" He looks around and gives a whistle. "Sure looks nice"
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  17. - Top - End - #497
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    Ealo speaks up into Jeridexeles' mind. Your hesitation reveals you. Do what you will, however you will, and be done with it. The worst fate, it is said by dwarves, is to be caught in an endless cycle of indecision. Do what you will, and take the consequences that come.
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  18. - Top - End - #498
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    Jerid growls and throws the gem in with considerably more force than necessary.

  19. - Top - End - #499
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    The gem sails forward. There is a brief moment where Jerid and Verin get a feeling of elation from the gem. It begins to float forward from a gentle pull of power along a gentle stream where dust shimmers and blows before the beautiful scenery before you. But the throw is too hard. Ealo lurches through the field where it might have floated and falls toward the earth. There are a few brief impressions of terror you have before Ealo's presence snuffs out as it shatters on the ground below.

    There are a few moments of silence, where all they hear are the distant sounds of water. Wisps and coils of arcane power twist around the three of them and they find themselves overlooking an enormous hall. There are ten others seated there, talking among themselves.


    "And Ealo is returned." A dwarf in royal blue stands up from a luxurious chair. They are in a room with a dresser full of many colored robes, mostly red and assorted hues, a few comfortable chairs, and several mirrors that span the walls. The dwarf looks appraisingly at the three of them, and salutes Jerid. "I remember the last time I saw you Androl, you'd barely grown your first beard, and you could barely let go of your axe. And now look at ye. The Stoneheart clan couldnt 'ave picked better than Bromin, but ill be buggered if you don't make a fine Brewer. Well, the members are waitin' below. Best you and...your advisors change. I look forward to seeing you down there. Ten minutes."

    With that, the Dwarf smiles grandly and starts to leave.
    Last edited by ~Corvus~; 2016-05-26 at 02:42 AM. Reason: Grammar fixins i didnt catch
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  20. - Top - End - #500
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    Jerid returns the salute. When the 'other' dwarf leaves, he huffs out a breath. This... whatever the hell dwarves did here was actually happening, and he was expected to play a large part in it. The room starts to feel a little warm. Jitters? To hell with that. Jerid was a dragon, and dragons can do anything. Even be absolutely phenomenal dwarves. He thumbs through some of the red outfits in search of the fanciest one. "I hope they've got something in your size," Jerid mutters to Watt.
    Last edited by Nyarai; 2016-05-26 at 03:35 PM.

  21. - Top - End - #501
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    Watt combs through the outfits and finds the skinniest outfit possible, but after he tries on every traditional robe (they leave his knees exposed or his shoulders with half again as much room or both), he finds several ceremonial cloths and manages to wrap his torso in a confusing array of reds. He gives a sheepish grin to Jerid and asks "Do you think they'll mind?"
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  22. - Top - End - #502
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    Jerid smirks. "If they do, I'll eat them." He casts a discerning eye at his friend's outfit. "Besides, you look fine."

  23. - Top - End - #503
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    Verin

    Verin selects the brightest possible red, "Best go down, I s'pose. Think tall thoughts."

  24. - Top - End - #504
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    As the three of them descend the stairs, they pass by numerous statues of dwarves in victorious poses. Each has a plaque that, if you focus on it, impresses the relevant history into your mind. "Chamra Stoneheart, founder of her clan, was a miner long before the Dwarves found their freedom. She was one of the first to find the Shardmind, the being that has granted all Dwarves their powers on this world. Before her the Dwarves were merely slaves to many monstrous races. She…."
    "Thungrin Steelbeard, Ulma ‘Greataxe’ Steelbeard, Mörua Stonefist, and Hamarr Granfoot are the leaders of the first successful revolt against Neogi known to us. They were the first ones to scribe magical runes onto their bodies to mask the spells they imitated, and thus fool their captors…."

    They pass several more that have busy looks on their faces, and hold tools instead: "Lurgin Marblehand, Morra Hopsblood, Rory Malachmind, and Durum Ashmount wasted little time when the Dwarves had found safe haven in the mountains, and guided our people to build homes, craft tools and brew the first great beers from the mushroom-hops we found and managed to turn what would have been poisons into life-giving brews. They gave all of the escaped dwarves hope and jobs, things to do while we waited and prayed for our warriors to return home safely."

    Finally, the three of you pass a carving of the auditorium on both sides. A series of voices fill your heads: "The Gemsmoot is our meeting of the organizers of our kingdoms to decide, as a collective voice, how to respond to drastically changed lives for our people. Reflect on the needs of our people before you step into these halls. Reflect upon your memories, your conversations, and the sadness in your heart that you wish to change into hope."

    As you walk forward, the low-handing and poorly-lit hallway opens from its typical conservative height to curve upwards and downward into a light-filled hall. You now come to a series of stairs, bounded by pure and clear crystal, that lead downwards to the meeting chamber. The descent takes several minutes, and you hear nothing but your feet walking against the stone. Even the voices ahead of you are impossible to hear.

    The Dwarves look up to the entering three people, and many smiles shift into concern when they see Watt. The dwarf that you saw earlier clears his throat and says, "Androl of the Stoneheart Clan, and his two chosen advisors for his first gemsmoot. Surely, this crafty war hero has many excellent stories about the world. Please trust him with all the gravitas that his clan deserves." What would have been a reasonably uncomfortable silence stretches for a few moments.

    "Aurora," says an elderly female dwarf in a rainbow-colored robe, "would you begin the Rite of Unification?" Across the table, a white-haired female dwarf dressed in Orange robes (of Orvos, the gem of Worship, faith and connection), shakes her head in consternation, clears her throat and speaks slowly. "I…don’t believe that is possible, Chancellor Ashmount. The Shardmind is…fracturing." Every head turns to Jerid, Verin and Watt.

    "Is it possible? Is it time?" A dwarf in yellow (Knowledge gem) has spoken up this time, and his other companion, a wrinkled woman of considerable age, pulls out a scroll that looks yellow cracked and fragile and traces along the scroll as she reads to herself as murmers around the room begin. She clears her throat and speaks for all to hear, "…we shall know the Fracturing when Dwarves that are not come among us. And they shall tell us that this it is neither a betrayal nor an attack, though they be among our greatest enemies, and we will know it is but a sign that The Journey must begin again, for our home within this world shall be soon be Forsaken."

    A dwarf in purple turns to an orange-robed dwarf sitting next to him. They nod to each other, and chant the words to two spells, one of which Verin recognizes as a very complex True Seeing spell, suddenly replicated ten times. As they complete there are eleven gasps as the dwarves look at Jerid and Verin with what could only be fear.

    "Outsiders, this is a perilous time for us. Tell us, what exactly transpired with you and Ealo since you met its previous owner, Bromin? Do you have his body?"
    Last edited by ~Corvus~; 2016-06-01 at 07:37 PM.
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  25. - Top - End - #505
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    Verin

    Verin shifts back and forth, "Well. Ain't this a bit awkward. An' things bein' waht they are, hope I get a proper number'a limbs again soon. As to the dwarf, that was a bit 'afore I joined this little group, we were set on helpin' to complete 'is mission though." She goes on to relate what the gem had told her.
    Last edited by Silver Night; 2016-06-03 at 02:51 AM.

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    Jerid fills in the various gaps in Verin's story. Hopefully, they wouldn't have to fight their way out of here.

  27. - Top - End - #507
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    The council listens intently and quietly as Jerid relates his tale. Although it takes some time, they ask very few questions--only for purposes of clarification--and smile at the excellent display of Ealo's power during the ambush.

    The one in the black robes speaks up. He is a dark-skinned dwarf, but radiates an aura of compassion and kindness. "We will not harm those that spoken of in prophecy. You are honored guests, and will be given all rights of full citizens."

    Spoiler: Guide to the Dwarven Shard-Council Colors
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    White - Genros - Gem of the People. Encompasses politics, diplomacy. There are usually 2 of Genros, one of whom wears a rainbow-colored robe, which is the Mootleader.
    Red - Ealo (Shattered) - Brewing. Principal gem of the Shardmind, as it governs the vitally important aspect of brewing. All knowledge of recipes, practices, etc. regarding Brewing. Most political influence.
    Orange - Orvos - Gem of Worship & Faith. Most clerics of non-Moradin factions (As Moradin is the Primary, the dwarves of Orvos represent ALL aspects of faith).
    Yellow - Ios - Gem of Knowledge.
    Green - Gaela - Gem of (all other) Agriculture & Construction. This includes control of otherwise invasive plants & redirection of nature. Third most political influence.
    Blue - Modros - Gem of Military. This includes militia (aided by Genros). Second most political influence.
    Purple - Arkhon - Gem of (arcane) Magic. Least influential, but least interested in politics.
    Black - Miruna - Gem of Law. Police & ensures that Laws are followed. Final vote in all decisions. Only 1 representative of Miruna is ever present at a Gemsmoot, and acts as a tiebreaker.

    When Jerid finishes, one of the purple-robed dwarves coughs gently, and says, "The shape-changing spell Ealo wove on you will unravel in an hour or so. Hopefully this is not an issue. I would presume that many of its lesser and less-powerful effects, such as knowledge and such, are still in your grasp. If it pleases you, we would like this knowledge back--"
    The old and white-robed representative of Genros interrupts kindly, "You must feel confused and a little worried, child. We will not do you harm. We are here to serve the interests of our people, and we cannot change what has been done. We can, perhaps, relieve all of you from further burdens asked of you from Ealo, painlessly and laboriously, but only with your permission."

    One of the orange-robed representatives stands up. "We don't have much time before the shape-changing spells run out. My partner and I know each others' stances on these issues well, and I can accompany these three to the Knowledge Pool. It is a simple Rite, and should take no more than ten minutes. But the walk is just about twenty minutes from here. You all do not need to be present for these proceedings if you do not desire."

    The younger of the blue-robed chairmen clears his throat and says, "It may also be of some interest to you where your companions are. We had sent your companions to receive a Blessing of Miruna, but we believe that the Shardmind's perception of Ealo's presence must have caused a wild surge. This can happen--even the Shardmind is not perfect--and it can sometimes cause errors to even our most reliable teleportation spells." He pauses and smiles, and continues, Some Hunters appeared where we were expecting your companions. We believe they've been stalking your group for some time. They will at the worst be less in number. "

    The black-robed dwarf speaks up once again. We may be able to pass on Bonds of Miruna to give to your allies. They may be helpful later, but only if we act soon. However, as much as we may desire both the knowledge you have and to aid you and your companions, you may all lawfully act in stead of the councilmen of Ealo. It is your choice.

    Watt looks at Jerid and gives a non-commital shrug, as if he didn't care one way or the other.
    Last edited by ~Corvus~; 2016-06-05 at 09:43 AM.
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  28. - Top - End - #508
    Troll in the Playground
     
    NinjaGirl

    Join Date
    Mar 2011

    Default Re: At the Edge of Humanity {IC}

    Verin

    "Well, ya see, I am by nature a lovin' and forgivin' type - being as I am a multi-limbed horror of the cloth, always willin' to help those in need* - but this has all been very confusing, and not in a fun, 'Let's eat these mushrooms I found in the sewer' way. So, helping my friends first, helping out here after if there's time."


    *Those in need are almost always Verin, and it's mostly helping herself to other people's possessions.

  29. - Top - End - #509
    Troll in the Playground
     
    NecromancerGirl

    Join Date
    Aug 2010
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    Female

    Default Re: At the Edge of Humanity {IC}

    Jerid grunts in agreement. "Save my friends first. Then we can decided who represents what where or doesn't."

  30. - Top - End - #510
    Troll in the Playground
     
    ~Corvus~'s Avatar

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    Jan 2009
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    Perched in a tree
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    Default Re: At the Edge of Humanity {IC}

    The dwarves look to each other with both barely-concealed smiles and furrowed brows. At least a few of them let go of held-in breaths. The one in Rainbow robes looks to the Orange-robed one that had stood up earlier and says, "Norwin, thank you for your offer. It appears that we will take you up on it. Do you have your contingencies list?"

    The dwarf nods as he's already started to fish in his robes. He seems to be feeling among many documents when his face lights up and he produces a neat and beautifully-crafted pad of parchment, at least fifty pages thick, and says, "Here. Page twenty-one concerns my concerns about the--er--the ship, which will likely be discussed." His scratchy, gravely voice reminds you of a scotsman whom is inured to having his way.

    The council members nod knowingly, and the rainbow-colored man nods to his dark-skinned and black-robed partner, who has spent most of the meeting taking notes in a thick tome for notes.

    Norwin the Dwarf motions Jerid, Verin and Watt over to him and claps his right hand over a ring on his left hand. Part of the wall in the meeting chamber opens up with intricate runic arcs and interlocking circles, and he motions the three of them forward. Once they are within the opened passage--which simply seems to lead into a poorly-lit library with a plethora of plain-orange robed dwarves of all ages--he steps from the council room and the passage closes behind them. Several dwarves perk up at seeing their visitors but he holds a hand up and motions them back. One approaches, and he says in a stern voice, Urgent business, Rümin. Gather all acolytes and our most important texts. Any other assignments are suspended effective immediately. Contact Glemma, Norgin, and Hiemla immediately and pass on these orders. Trust your gut, son, and resolve any conflicts or necess'ry decisions as best you can. Everyone meets at The ship in six hours. Yoo have much ta do.

    With that, he proceeds to another acolyte whom is standing behind an doorway that leads to many orderly racks of wands and staves. As the bustle and sounds of dwarves in excited conversation builds around them, he says "Tormick, a Staff of Traveling and one wand each of Nerveskitter, Disguise Self, and Hold Person."
    He gasps at Norwin. "Master, that is--those are---"
    "I know what they're for, boy, now hand them ovah!"
    "A requisition is--"
    "I bloody designed tha requsitions an 'undred years ago. Hand them over! Now!" Nowrin starts to get red in the face, and opens his mouth but the younger dwarf turns around and ducks into the chamber. He returns with three wands and removes a red ribbon from the staff. He mumbles "I'll fill them out for you then, sir," as Norwin snatches them out of his hands. He hands the first two wands to Jerid and the wand of hold person to Verin. He taps the staff on the ground three times and says, "Mass Expeditious Retreat." He taps the staff on the ground twice more and says, "Mass Longstrider".

    Verin, Jerid and Watt all feel the effects of the staff's energy wash over them. They feel like they could walk as fast as a horse. He motions for them to follow him, but says first. "Tha effects of these spells can be a bit much. Be wary o' runnin. Just walk quickly, an' we'll be fine."
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