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  #61  
Old May 6th, 2023, 08:25 AM
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As Aelys began her descent, Ravgor adjusted his pack and tied a strip of cloth so that his axe handle was secure against his thig. He had taken the strip out along with his rope, an old trick he had learned to keep the handle from getting caught or being knocked from his belt as he descended into the darkness.

He had planned to be the last one, staying above ground to make sure the rope held as the others descended. It was a solid rope he had used for years but not having explored the cave he wasn’t sure what to expect. It was likely that the rope would be fine but it was just as likely the rope would get pinched between rocks or get cut from rubbing a rough rock edge.

He was rubbing dirt in his hands to dry them out when Aelys startled scream rang out, loud and then fading – a sure sign she was falling. Tossing the pebbles and sand to the ground he ran to the cave entrance. He tried to grab the rope but it was
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Originally Posted by Palliven View Post
Dice * Climbing down. Move 2, Gear 1, Help 1:
4d6smch6 2 ✘, 4 ✘, 3 ✘, 2 ✘ (0/4) 0⇑ 0⇓ Total = 11
tight between a crevice in the rocks.

“Damn it!” he cried out in frustration as he tried to dig the rope free. If not for the callouses on his fingers from years working needle through leather and grabbing heated metal to hammer into shape they would be cut and bleeding from the course strands and sharp stone.

“You won’t get the best of me that easy,” he growled back to the moaning sounds that were echoing in the cave. Finally having a hand around the rope
Quote:
Originally Posted by Palliven View Post
Dice * Push to climb down: Move 2, Gear 1, Help 1:
4d6smch6 6 ✔, 5 ✘, 5 ✘, 2 ✘ (1/4) 1⇑ 0⇓ Total = 18
he pulled it free of the crevice and began to climb down “Hold tight lass. I’m coming.”

A fall in a place like this could kill a person and he just hoped she suffered little more than some scraped skin or cuts. He knew it wasn’t likely she would get off that lightly but all he had was some bandages in his pack. If she had broken a leg or been impaled on a stalagmite he wasn’t sure what help he would be able to offer.

"Take care on this rope," he called back to Halinne as he began his descent. "Don't want to have to haul two bodies out of this hole."

”OOC Notes”
Actions: Climbing down to aid Aelys
Damage: None
Willpower: 6
Consumables: Food : Depleted Water: D8

 
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Last edited by Palliven; May 7th, 2023 at 07:50 AM. Reason: fix formatting syntax
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  #62  
Old May 7th, 2023, 10:09 PM
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Year 1165 - Springrise (early spring season) - Evening Quarter, Day Three

The Catacomb of Dark Stars



An Upper TerraceRightful fears getting to her, and the terror of the descent making the half-elf's hands slick with a sweat so cold, saw Aelys soon unable to keep contact with the rope. Even Halinne's well-placed knots weren't enough to save her, as every time she reached out to grab a desperate handful, the rope, like a devious snake, seemed to dance and coil from the shifting of weight. She plunged downwards, perhaps wondering if these would be the thoughts of a mind's final moments, or if the legs dangling below her were soon to be broken. Then, her buttocks touched upon rock at an angle surprisingly steep, the momentum continuing like a child's slide, sending her ever further into the unknown. A brief moment later, she heard a loud clattering sound as she came to a complete stop. Unscathed! A miracle? She felt no pain. No wrist bent, ankle oddly angled, or arm dangling loose. All she'd suffered was a slightly bruised behind. This must have been her lucky day, and she'd be right to think so, until having a look around!

There was a tiny and miniscule light far above, no doubt from the final evening light above the hole's entrance. It was just enough to make out shapes nearby, yet far from sufficient to glean any great detail about these new surroundings. Perhaps considering that it might be time to light a torch, her ears spent these half-dark moments feasting, for there was much to hear. Moaning. Moaning everywhere, coming from all sides. Somewhere out there, a grinding noise, like two bones being furiously rubbed upon each other. A quieter clatter, as though a dice were being tossed.

Things moved. Was that a distant arm, now pointing her way? Were those the shapes of people in various... unusual... poses, she could almost make out?

Moments later, something touched Aelys's side and it near scared her out of her skin! It was only the rope though. It was moving, and up above the grunting of a descending dwarf could be heard...


OOCI failed to roll any damage again Aelys for the fall, horray! Once things are illuminated I'll let you know more hehe.
Whilst you are down here, I need to keep a tally of something. Don't let it bother you. The current tally value is 1.
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  #63  
Old May 8th, 2023, 01:31 AM
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Halinne
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Halinne stood at the mouth of the cavern, and even though Aelys and Ravgor had already descended the rope, she could see nothing below but a blackness stretching to infinity. She had been waiting like this for a few minutes, but she could hear no sounds, and no cries of help. She could only hope that things had gone well, but she dared not disturb the silence of the cave. She'd best not announce their arrival to any and all that could hear within.

She had searched all memories of her readings for any knowledge of this location, but to no avail. This only highlighted the inadequacy of such things: for it seemed to her that secrets lay buried even under her nose, merely within a couple of days' march from Straya. There was, then, only one way to get to the bottom of it, quite literally in this occasion.

By now she felt that enough time had passed for Ravgor to have completed his descent. Now her turn had come, and, last but hopefully not least, she wrapped her leg once around the rope and begun.

OOCAction: Climb down.
I'll make the roll in the dice thread and will add any concequences or potential damage effects in my next post.

Last edited by Woland; May 8th, 2023 at 01:33 AM.
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  #64  
Old May 9th, 2023, 05:15 AM
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Aelys' heart thumped in her ears as her realization that she made it down safely did little to slow the adrenaline pumping through her. She considered yelling back up at her companions, but she didn't know how far her voice would be carried in this dreadful place. Instead, the half-elf decided lighting a torch would be the best way to not only give some assistance to her companions, but also to let them know she was alright.

Her hands trembled as she rummaged through her satchel. It was easy enough to find a torch, but it took her a moment of fiddling around through her bandage, blanket, lockpick, chalk, and plate before finding the flint and steel. She could only hope that some sight in this place would serve to soothe her nerves rather than make things worse.


 
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  #65  
Old May 9th, 2023, 08:29 PM
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Dark DescendingsThe journey down the length of a rope, dangling into an unknown abyss, was a whole different experience to working one's legs up a mountainside under wide and expansive skies. The contrast was a brutal one. The vertical movement made its demands well-known to the explorer's upper bodies. Mentally, the rapid shift from a sense of freedom, to dark constraint, was at best... unsettling. Ravgor's downwards journey was not without its perils, both logistically and summoned within one's thoughts. It took a good deal of that dwarven stubbornness to overcome uncertainty and force his hands and tightly gripping legs to rhythmically clench and retract. Then below, came the tiniest flash of light. A burst of sparks. In that split second, daring to look down, he saw the shapely silhouette of Aelys crouched and working at a torch. Then, all of sudden, the darkness returned. Knowing that his companion had touched down though, and was safe, was all the motivation he needed to keep on working, moving, one yard at a time.

Somewhere above Ragvor, Halinne too had begun this entry into a mountain's inner secrets. She wasn't spared the truth of this venture either. The knowledge that one wrong move could lead to injury or worse. The sensation of penetrating an unknown world, where in a post-Mist era, anything might lurk in wait. Monsters and riches were equal in probability. With any luck, perhaps a Halfling might be found too... hopefully, alive. Fighting the burning sensation in her hands, and a tiny nagging voice in her head that wanted to describe everything that might go poorly, she pushed on through this game of wits.

Another flash of tiny fragments of light, and another, and then a flicking yellow glow erupted just as Ravgor and Halinne touched down. With a burning torch in-hand, Aelys moved the light with arm extended, the flames warmly burning as an occasional crackle accompanied the revelation of truth.

It was a lot to take in. There was a moment of disbelief perhaps, as the world around them was coated in a new light. A floor of dark stone containing tiny red and blue speckles, perhaps formed by mysterious geological activities in ages long gone. Scattered around this somewhat charming and magical looking surface were... bones. Arm bones. Leg bones. Finger Bones. Was that half a skull over there? Overhead, a black stone ceiling watched them from above, covered in crystals that reflected the torch's light as though glistening stars. At the opposite end of the space, the floor looked like it fell off at an angle, into something of an exit hole. But that was not all.

Around the edges of this cavernous place were people. Tired and pale looking folks, as though their souls resided elsewhere. Many were just stood there, gazing upwards at the tiny slither of light shed by some distant world above. Occasionally, they moaned and murmured. The sounds weren't of pain or pleasure, but more of wishing to have their presence known? They made slow movements, a few of them raising weathered hands and pointing. Pointing at the torchbearer and her companions. Others seemed to be otherwise occupied with tasks more important than greeting the cavern's most recent guests. One seemed to be building something out of loose ribs. Another rubbed a collarbone against a small piece of loose rock, as though attempting to give birth to fire. Two others, were sat in front of a foot-square piece of timber, and rolling dice upon it.

"Merrarrr!"

The relative peace was broken. A weary looking man dressed in mold-covered leather armor turned his dead empty eyes towards the trio. Next to him, another man in little more than rotten linen coverings turned too. Then the pair stood up and began to step forwards. The former was holding a rusty sword in his hand, and the later, had formed both hands into fists.
OOCLovely posts everyone!
Halinne got a success on her first roll, so you didn't really need to push if you didn't want to. Up to you! There are always fun bonuses to getting extra successes along the way.
We aren't necessarily entering combat, but please roll a D10 in your next post so if things get nasty... I'll know who goes first hehe.
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Last edited by 97mg; May 9th, 2023 at 08:33 PM.
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  #66  
Old May 10th, 2023, 03:38 PM
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It was, perhaps, fitting in a twisted kind of way that it had taken the terror of the dark descent to jog Halinne's memory. By the time she made her touchdown she had recalled not one, but two tales that were, in all likelyhood, tangentially related to this mountain-hole. But at first she said nothing, instead taking in the awe-inspiring sight about her as she completed the last part of her downwards climb. She had never seen anything like it, and she marvelled at the natural beauty that was hidden deep within the heart of the mountain.

Then everything seemed as if happening all at once. As the torch was lit and she hit the ground (gently, thankfully), she saw the bones first and dark thoughts begun to race through her mind. She shuddered, and for a moment considered returning the way she had come. But she knew full well that climbing upwards would be much more difficult. It was pointless to think it anyway: for soon after, the strange, grey-looking people appeared.

"The thousand dead!" she whispered warily to her companions as the pair of strangers begun to draw nearer. The song was widely known in Straya, but only now had she at last connected the dots. It must have been referencing this place and these folk all along. But of what use was that tale of two lovers doomed to dwell in darkness here?

They had to act. Quickly. Things were already escalating. She had to do something before violence erupted.

OOCGotcha. I wasn't sure if that 1 in the first roll had a negative effect. Ok, I'll keep it simple then and ignore the push if that's ok. And I'll try to remember it for the future! I'll also roll the d10 in the dice thread.

This is just a fluff post for Halinne's POV. If anyone wants to take charge, I'm happy with it. I have a few ideas too if the group prefers, but I'll wait and see what Ravgor and Aelys do.
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  #67  
Old May 11th, 2023, 09:30 PM
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When he made it down and saw the unusual dark stone floor he was excited, thoughts of a great table or throne made of such marvelous material rising up before they were dashed apart by the sight of the bones all around them. Around and between those bones were gaunt and pale people, nearly as white and the bones themselves. The words of the mountain coming to mind. “Of this, you would be welcome. Far more welcome than the Orcs who littered my inner sanctums with that they caused to perish, so very long ago. Eternal life, comes with a cost, and though I am not eternal, I have seen enough years to know when a deal is ill made."

It was the ones crawling and scrambling over the bones, trying to make something from them which caught his interest. Could these vacant eyed, slack jawed things have a spark of thought still burning in their heads? As a craftsman himself, he didn’t know if he should be intrigued or insulted watching them.

Oh, what’s this then?

The moldy armor of the first one to take a step towards them looked like it would split easily under his axe. Even in good condition leather could rarely turn aside a well-placed blow. The rusty sword in its knobby hand could leave a festering wound though should it strike. They couldn’t afford such a wound. Hauling someone gripped in a delirious fever up the knotted rope was not something he was eager to try. Untying the strap across his thigh and pulling his hand axe free of its loop he put himself between the two shambling dullards and his companions.

“Hold,”
Quote:
Originally Posted by Palliven View Post
Dice * Pushing that Manipulation Roll: Empathy 3, Skill 2:
5d6smch6 4 ✘, 2 ✘, 6 ✔, 6 ✔, 1 ✘ (2/5) 2⇑ 1⇓ Total = 19
he said in a deep voice, speaking the common tongue first and then dwarven “Stay your hand and I’ll do the same”

Despite his words, he held the shaft of his axe firmly, its wood worn over time to fit into the curves of his wide palm.

”OOC Notes”
Actions: Trying to Manipulate adversaries and be at the ready to attack if needed
Damage: 1 Damage To Empathy
Willpower: 7
Consumables: Food : Depleted Water: D8

 
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Last edited by Palliven; May 11th, 2023 at 09:30 PM.
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  #68  
Old May 12th, 2023, 04:34 PM
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The Hole
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Under better circumstances, the half-elf would've loved to just stare at the cave walls and forget her troubles for some time. The sight of the bones and the husks of what might be called people only served to keep her on that edge of terrified that she could not manage to step away from. Halinne's words didn't exactly help either. The thousand dead? Are these people dead? Are there a thousand of them in here?!

Thankfully the dwarf's gruff voice and stern demeanor gave her some confidence that they hadn't found themselves in a hopeless situation. Aelys drew her dagger with her free hand as she glanced between him and the approaching men. At the very least, only one of them was armed. She hoped it wouldn't come to a fight, but it didn't seem as if there would be much of a choice.


 
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Old May 14th, 2023, 09:30 PM
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Scared of Dwarves?The approaching duo of slow-moving cavern dwellers seemed to decelerate their shuffling even further, when the authoritative tone of a dwarf's voice blew upon them. Had they truly understood his command to hold? Or had the demanding resonance of the visitor's words simply been enough, to dissolve these potential foe's thoughts, and sap whatever remained of their immediate motivations? It was hard to tell, but Ravgor's decision to test a non-combative solution, appeared to have worked. With the pace of a sloth, the sword wielding fellow and his raggy unarmed accomplice turned half circle, and began to wander back to the section of cold stone floor where they'd been earlier seated. The attention of the other souls here had moved away too, their pointing fingers limply falling back to their sides, as they went about their previous business. Trying to start a fire. Rolling dice. Oh, and over in a distant corner, it looked like two of the residents were gently pawing at each other and moving in for a kiss...

From this bone littered space beneath the mountain's crusty armor, was only that one exit. A decline in the floor at one end that seemed to fall away into darkness. With a careful holding of the torch aloft, and eyes narrowed, the guests would realise that it went into another, much smaller cavern.

But wait! What was that little flash of light? Something had bounced the torch's firey glow back into the trio's eyes. The man with the sword... its pommel had reflected a sparkle and promise of gold. Was it possible that that fellow's weapon was more than just a relic rusty and dull of edge?
OOCGM's Mysterious Tally: 2
Well done folks! You've avoided any unpleasantness (for now hehe). Let me know what you'd like to do
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Last edited by 97mg; May 14th, 2023 at 09:34 PM.
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Old May 15th, 2023, 04:32 AM
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Halinne turned to the dwarf and sighed with relief. For a moment there, she was fearing the worst. She was ill-prepared for a fight, and the sight of those bones unnerved her. They were much too human-looking for her liking. She was much more concerned about that than the brief glint of gold: something she did in fact notice, and something that made her bring to mind the tales of old.

A notion to examine the remains crossed her mind, but she quickly thought better of it. If they truly were human, did she really want to know? It would do her little good... And besides, they had more pressing concerns presently. She wondered if the halfling's bones also littered the cave, but only briefly: she was not one to dwell on such grim speculation without good reason.

What could she guess? It was clear that these wild troglodytes had made the cavern their home a long time ago. Many decades, perhaps even centuries. Did they know anything of the outside world? Perhaps they were human once, and they still looked the part, at least roughly speaking, though they were malnourished. The harsh exclamation also suggested to her that they had their own tongue.

But before jumping to more conclusions, she stayed near Ravgor-for clearly they feared him-and observed them, trying to discern their disposition. If she could notice something of use, it could save their lives, and perhaps the halfling's as well.

OOCAction: Observe the cave-dwellers and discern their disposition.
I'll attempt an Insight check in the dice thread.
Edit: Not bad, I think that's 3 successes?

Last edited by Woland; May 15th, 2023 at 04:37 AM.
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  #71  
Old May 16th, 2023, 06:58 PM
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Aelys let out a soft, drawn out sigh as the strange duo actually listened to her companion's words. She was surprised that it had worked, and certainly relieved that she wouldn't have to actually fight just yet. While she had some time to take in just how strange the other cave dwellers seemed to be acting, the sword's apparent value did not escape her notice. She had a few ideas on how she might get her hands on it being a thief and all, but she wasn't going to jeopardize her compnaions' safety for it. Not until they found the halfling at least.

She spoke to the others in a hushed tone, hoping not to draw any further hostility. "Let's find the halfling's brother and get out of here. I don't want to spend more time down here than I have to." It was likely that the halfling would be under the same sort of stupor these people seemed to be under, but she hoped they wouldn't have to linger and find out just why these people are the way they are.


 
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Old May 16th, 2023, 08:14 PM
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As the pair of slack jaws made their way back to the midden heap of bones the rest of their kind seemed to covet, Ravgor caught sight of a golden flash from the tarnished pommel of the rusty blade he carried. Folk often talked of the dwarven love of gold as an obsession, a greed that overcame their senses. Nonsense as far as Ravgor was concerned. Nothing wrong with having a passion for something beautiful, especially after it was expertly crafted and shaped.

In this torch lit darkness, he could not tell if the blade was rusted through or just had a coating of rust. Slow, loving strokes with a whetstone and some scouring sand would take care of the latter. There was no hope for the weapon if its condition was the former. If it was garnished with gold there was a chance it may be inlaid with other precious metals or gems. Despite the poor light, he tried to
Dice * Crafting Roll on Sword: Strength 4, Crafting 3:
7d6smch6 1 ✘, 1 ✘, 4 ✘, 2 ✘, 1 ✘, 2 ✘, 6 ✔ (1/7) 1⇑ 3⇓ Total = 17
get a sense of the quality of the work and whether or not it was worth risking a confrontation to obtain.

Looking around to find a large bone he spotted one that was about the length of the sword. Hefting it in his free hand as if judging its weight, he turned to Aelys. He didn’t bother to whisper, convinced that these creatures wouldn’t be able to make sense of anything they heard.

“Not so hasty. He’ll keep for a few more minutes don’t you think?” he asked her with a smile. “Think you can swap it out. Leave him a bone and bring back a sword?”

”OOC Notes”
Actions: Peer pressuring Aelys to try and do a swap out and get the sword for him to look over.
Damage: 1 Damage To Empathy
Willpower: 7
Consumables: Food : Depleted Water: D8

 
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Old May 20th, 2023, 06:42 AM
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Weapon SwappingThe little flash of gold had really captured the dwarf's interest, and this wasn't all so surprising. Sure, there had been decent blacksmiths and quite reasonable metals available in Straya, but gold? Not a whole lot of it actually. That sword had to be very old, and though that might mean it wasn't particularly sharp or lacking in spots of rust, it did mean it was most likely exquisitely made. The sort of tool that deserved restoration, and appreciation, rather than being carried by someone who seemed... well... only half there?

As Ravgor tried to inspire, or dare Aelys into a trickster's sleight of hand project, Halinne kept her eyes on the locals. Far more dangerous, or mysterious than some ancient blade, they were. She studied their movements, their communications with each other, and the manner in which they went about their various "tasks". The pair who had threatened the new arrivals were seated now, on the cold hard stone floor, and looked content just relaxing one might suppose.

OOCI love this idea of swapping a bone for the fancy sword! Feel free to roll a Sleight of Hand (Agility) check. Helpers are welcome too, if you want extra dice, and can describe how you help IC
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Old May 20th, 2023, 12:26 PM
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Well, if Ravgor was interested enough in the sword to jeopardize their task, who was she to say no? The half-elf quickly looked for a bone that would be of similar weight to switch out with the sword before handing off the torch to the dwarf. She didn't believe something like this would work on most people, but that man didn't seem like he'd really notice if his sword was gone for a couple of moments.

Aelys slowly approached the man with the sword, clearly not as worried about potential onlookers as she would in other places. She just didn't want to startle them as her gentle footfalls brought her to her target.


OOCI'll roll and describe what happens after any potential helpers decide to help.


 
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Old May 20th, 2023, 02:34 PM
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Halinne stood and watched, and for a while she did nothing but observe carefully. To all others, she might have seen frozen, perhaps paralyzed by fear, but in truth, gears within gears inside her skull were turning rapidly, her keen mind swiftly combining the tales and legends she had heard with what she presently saw.

Her eyes widened as the terrible truth of this place dawned on her, and the grave peril of their predicament, and she gasped in a subdued manner. Then, she quickly sought to speak to the others. So single-minded had she been that she had not even noticed what Ravgor and Aelys were plotting.

"This place is cursed, or blessed, or both!" she said in whispers, and pointed to a few of the unfortunate souls amongst the horde that seemed to stand out. "Look at their clothes! Look at their skin! They are not dead, but they are barely living... and they are ancient, older than the Blood Mist, I believe! They must have been banished here many centuries ago, but the histories have long forgotten it. Something about this place, some strange magic or perhaps a powerful curse: it preserved them, but they have forgotten much of what had once made them human, or half-elf, or dwarf."

To illustrate her point, she singled out specific individuals of these races, though they were barely distinguishable in their current state. Then, she spoke again, this time grimly and sternly.

"We must proceed with the utmost caution. One wrong move, one loud noise or disturbance... It will rouse their anger, and as one they will turn against us, and there's no knowing then what they will do... but they will become our enemy, and I fear that they will seek to destroy us. But if we keep quiet and to ourselves, then I think that they will also keep to themselves, and leave us be in peace. So let us find the halfling and be on our merry way. That is the most prudent of paths."

OOCGiven what Halinne has discovered, I think that she wouldn't try anything dangerous, so... I think I'll refrain from helping with the scheme. However, I as a player am totally cool with trying to swap the sword with the bone; it could lead to some potentially very dramatic and fun outcomes. Though, given the info I got from 97mg... I suggest we try to avoid failing at any cost!

If we can trick them into leaving this place... I think there is a good chance they all drop dead, and leave this cave and its treasures to us. So perhaps that too is worth trying!
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