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  #61  
Old Sep 9th, 2014, 03:49 PM
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Muriel met Seven's suggestion that she remove her clothes with an icy glare. A similarly cold expression regarded the clothing he produced. Dry, perhaps, but ill-fitted and dreadfully unfashionable. "Thank you," she said with a grimace, "but my present clothing will suffice." Her brows arched with interest as the pirate captain spoke of Von Crois, but gradually knit together as her brow furrowed, lips pursing in obvious displeasure.

She regarded Sev through narrowed eyes and turned her gaze upon the woman. Kiriel Swiftsong. A good name. Elegant.

She flicked the butt of her still-smoldering cigarette at Sev's feet, her eyes flitting between the two silver-tongued companions and the hulking warrior as she stepped forward to accept the cloak, wrapping it haphazardly around her slender shoulders as she retreated hastily back toward the fire. "Tell me, mistress Swiftsong," she asked through gritted teeth, "does your 'Captain' always speak in falsehoods, or does he think me so foolish as to give credence to his Landed a 28 on my Sense Motive. Sorry, Irish!blatant deceits without question? After I freely avowed knowledge of the man and his mission?" She clicked her tongue disapprovingly, a wicked sort of grin quirking the corners of her lips. "Von Crois is independently wealthy. He had no need of funding. We sought here not wealth, but power. And he cannot have passed through more than a few days past! Either you know all of this to be true and think me a fool... or you yourselves are fools and have been deceived."

"My question now is... which? Answer me plainly." The air around the wizardess crackled faintly in much the same way it had mere moments before when they confronted the spirits. "Or you will find this 'strange fish' of a most unpleasant disposition."

 
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Old Sep 10th, 2014, 05:32 AM
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Rule #3 When accused...

'Damn it, Sev. You're a better liar than that. This cold is grogging up your mind. But if it's the truth she wants, then that's exactly what she's going to get.

Sev flicked his half finished cigarette in the smouldering cloak. 'Damn woman, where's that firewood?' He looked Muriel in the eye and put on his most
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honest face.

"Very well, I confess. We were hired out of Evermere by a deposed prince to help him rescue his long lost sister, who might very well be dead, who is being held captive by a very powerful vampire lord known only as the Archmage, who turns into a giant, flesh easting gargoyle every time the blood moon rolls around. It is believed that this Library holds the secret to his defeat, but if we're being honest, I'm just here for artifacts."

Sev walked over to Kiriel and turned back to face the wet blanket soaked lady. He put his arm around Ki to show his relaxed manner. "It is our intention to then confront this Archmage, free the sister, then take her and the prince back home where we'll launch a guerilla style campaign to return him to his throne. Only the prince has since gone missing, believed captured." Sev removed his arm and walked up to Muriel. "And since you're so focused on the truth, here's a couple more factoids for you. Your dress is very revealing. Ki is actually the best minstrel on all the seas, I am indeed a Captain of a very fine ship, You've been under that ice for a few years. And Tolle's eyepatch is really cool. I want one."
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Old Sep 10th, 2014, 03:15 PM
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Kiriel's mouth opens to diffuse the situation when Sev decides to come clean. Instead of the entertaining and only slightly mean put down she had planned for the Captain she simply stares, dumbfounded, as he tells the truth, the whole truth, and nothing but the truth. With an audible pop the bard closes her mouth as he puts his arm companionably across her shoulders and allows Sev the time to complete his honest assessment of the situation. Once he's finished Ki continues to stare for a moment as he moves closer to Muriel.

Finally composing herself from the surprise the bard steps in again, this time speaking to Sev, "You know, Captain, that might be the longest string of honesty I have ever heard from your lips." She turns to Muriel and stage whispers, "He didn't even lie about his name this time." And finishes with an exasperated smile and shake of her head. "I think it comes from being paranoid all the time."

Kiriel takes a step back and holds up a hand, ticking off points with the other. "To his points though; if you've been stuck under the ice since Gothos Von Crois came through you've been there at least a few years. The bartender in Slint, Gustav, remembered him passing through some few years ago and can corroborate that part of things when we return to Slint."

She ticks of the next finger, "We are here to defeat the Archmage, who is the vampire lord that rules over these lands," Tick. "We do believe that the library beneath this lake contains information that will aid us in defeating him." Tick. "I would like to ask your help in getting to the library in this lake. We have a few potions that will allow us to breath underwater and some gear, but someone of your arcane might would certainly be helpful and if, as it appears, Gothos Von Crois stranded you here somehow, perhaps the library would hold some clues as to where he went after leaving here."

The bard looks hard at Muriel for a moment, allowing the other woman to read her truthful expression. Suddenly she turns to Tolle, looking up at the big man. "And thank you, Tolle, for your help as well. I don't yet know your purpose here, but if we can aid you in any way please just say and we'll do our best for the aid you have given us."
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  #64  
Old Sep 11th, 2014, 12:04 PM
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Gradually the mage's countenance softened. Her mind spun to process the various strands of information, weaving them into a seamless whole... a plan... a plot. A crooked smirk curled the left side of her mouth and she shot the pirate a dark look at his commentary on her attire. "You are a pig, captain. But an honest one, in this case."

For the first time she averted her eyes from the three who stood around her, brushing her chin pensively. "Years, you say?" A heavy sigh punctuated the question. "Suspended animation. The fool expected me to die down there, no doubt, but in the gaseous state...." Trailing off, she met Kiriel's gaze, "Yes, I will aide you. I know nothing of this Archmage or your prince, but our initial goal remains the same -- to find the Library. What we find there will surely persuade us to either part ways or continue on together. Beyond that I can make no firm commitment. As for Gothos, I only ask that if we find him, you permit me to deal with him as I see fit. A quick death does not befit such a coward and traitor as Von Crois. If these terms are acceptable to you, then I should be pleased to light the way."

She tapped the base of her staff on the ground and the head of it Cast Light on quarterstaff.flared brightly. Illuminated by the arcane light, Muriel appeared somehow less fragile. If nothing else, a rosy hue had returned to her lips and cheeks and her light blue eyes sparkled with the same sinister beauty as the ice that surrounded them.
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Old Sep 11th, 2014, 01:55 PM
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It's a small sound, but it carries. Maybe it's something with the pitch, maybe it's just the moment it happens in the otherwise stillness of the eternal winter. Tolle had gone silent while the others spoke, the smile on his face dying a swift death as Muriel bristles and crackles in her frozen clothing. With a squeak of steel on ice to set teeth on edge, he pulls his ax free of the frozen lake, reversing it and - apparently unaware of the noise - resting it casually in the crook of his left elbow while he brushes away flecks of ice that have formed on the hand and arm he thrust into the lake itself.

These people were discussing things beyond his knowledge, beyond what he had learned in the days with his clan. Beasts and monsters he knew little of. Still, it was clear they all wanted something beneath the frozen surface of this lake. Could this be the lake of blue fire he had seen hinted at? There was no reason to suspect it was ... just as there was no reason to suspect it was not. It was, perhaps, as good a place to try as any.

The rest of the business these hotlanders were about? Well, perhaps he would come to understand that soon enough.

With a shrug and a twitch of his shoulders he pushes back the walrus-skin cloak, letting the dim sun shine down on his face and bare arms for a moment.

"Library?" Tolle asks, his tongue feeling its way around the long-unused word. "Library zen is where to put books when you have too many to carry?" With a dubious look, he taps the ice with the butt of the ax. "Wouldn't water ruin zem?"
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  #66  
Old Sep 16th, 2014, 10:34 AM
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"Thank you Muriel. I take that as a compliment."

The barbarian had brought up a good point, so much so that Sev was ashamed that he hadn't spotted this one giant hole in the plan from the get go.

Another awkward silence fell on the group.

As this realisation made it's way through those assembled the silence grew longer and more awkward still.

"Tolle. That is a fantastic point, I'm glad you brought it up. But don't think that a famed treasure hunter, a renowned bard, and a lady of the arcane arts would have travelled all this way without some sort of way to get around that issue." Sev looked to the others for reassurance. "Right guys?"

Then he remembered the poem. The smile returned to his face. It was followed by the worst recital the poem ever had endured.

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"In the lands of the Nihlus, where winds freeze flesh and soul;
Where men possessing sanity and reason dare not go;

A lord from lords holds watch over eternal night;
Else fangs drip with ripe divine might;

Ware to the curious seeker, life's light is nigh;
To be snuffed by passions in only a passing sigh;

All secrets go as secrets must;
Fleeing safety from light and dust;

Below the waves of mountain tears;
Varraquez's mind did wander to page;
A torrent of apprehensive denials and fears;
Swallowed whole by his impotent rage;

Thus misjudged, thus miguided, met in demise;
Deemed by Slint, below the Sun Rise."


"Sorry, reciting poetry really isn't my thing. However, does any of that mean anything to you Muriel?"
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Old Sep 16th, 2014, 10:52 AM
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"Does any of that mean anything to you Muriel?"

Muriel rolled her eyes and set Sev with a withering look. "Yes," she replied drolly, "you need A TWO, Irish? acting lessons."

 
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Old Sep 21st, 2014, 12:40 AM
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Tolle frowns at the poem, a frown that seems to stem from something rather deeper than Sev's inelegant recitation of it. He turns his frozen blue gaze to each of the strangers he's just met, then cocks his head to one side and spits. Already cold when it leaves his mouth, the glob of spittle is frozen by the time it strikes the ice and shatters with an incongruous sound like the tinkling of a dainty little bell.

"Zis is the Pack you are speaking of," he says evenly. "Zose are fangs drip with divine might. Wolves. All killers and monsters. What do you with zem?"

He drops his gaze again to the hoary sheet of ice they're all standing on. "If there is way around zis issue, what is it? If zis library is below, how you get there?" He taps the butt of his axe once more at his feet. "Zis water will kill fast if you are not born to cold, no?"
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Old Sep 25th, 2014, 09:51 AM
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Stormy blue eyes narrowed as Muriel glanced askew at the hulking Frostfolk, then turned fully to face him, her stance guarded as her mind raced to fit the pieces together. The Pack. Wolves. Nihlus. Dakur'Guld.

The name fell from her lips unbidden, "Dakur'Guld." She watched Tolle intently. "The poem held nothing for me, but you say it speaks of the 'Pack?' The Wolves... and the Bear, perhaps? And a name spoken but not comprehended... Dakur'Guld."

Eager yet cautious, she prompted with the commanding charm of a well-bred woman accustomed to having her questions answered, "What more do you know of these things, Tolle of Clan Hoarsjokull?"

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Old Sep 30th, 2014, 02:38 PM
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Tolle isn't sure yet what he thinks of hotlanders. Strange, that was certain. Impatient, that too. Not what he expected. But then, there were many things in this world that were not as he had expected, and not always was that a bad thing. Or so he had learned in the months away from his clan.

Except now the one from the lake, the one that tried to compel him, was staring at him and demanding answers.

"Hrrmmm," he reasons to himself. "I have been given none. Is this some hotlander rite of passage among strangers?"

"Much," he answers bluntly. "Zis is my land; zese names are old. Zey are written below the snow. I am of the cold." He nods as though those words should mean something. A quick frown later, he continues. "Zis Archmage, what is he? I have heard nothing of zis thing that claims to rule here."
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Old Oct 4th, 2014, 02:27 PM
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Sev flicked the butt of his cigarette into the snow bank on the shore. Where ever Jenna went, she obviously didn't know the first rule about gathering fire wood, which was get back before the fire goes out.

Listening intently on the conversation, Sev let all the information sink in before he cleared his throat to speak.

He turned to Tolle, "Unfortunately, the guy that could best answer that question decided to go missing this week. He used to work for him, allegedly against his will, as his story was that the life of his sister was, and maybe still is, at risk. He is apparently some sort of ancient Vampire that has lived hear for...." Sev tried to roll his eyes back into his brain as he struggled to remember, "for a long time anyway."

Sev's eyes then went to the frozen lake as he did remember the part he rather would not have. "We've seen first hand, his ability to turn in some sort of winged daemon that feeds on the flesh of people." As a semi-successful treasure hunter, Sev knew the importance of local legends. As Slint had it's Bloodmoon, maybe this Frost-folk had their own story. "Tolle, do your people have a story about some sort of daemon that comes out every now-and-again to hunt or terrorize your people?"

As Sev could still feel the unsettling cold touch of the ghost, he began rolling up his second cigarette. He was happy he topped up his supplies in Slint, but at this rate, he'd be out of tobacco before they even found the bloody library. Ironically, that only made him want to smoke more.
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Old Oct 9th, 2014, 02:12 PM
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Tolle's immediate answer to Sev is only a studious look, head cocked very slightly to one side as he regards the hotlander trying to make another small fire in his hands. The pale face with its too-pale blue eyes seems almost to have been carved from ice. It is at least as motionless for ice, the only sign of movement the slightest wisp of vapor trailing on the frost folk's breath - nothing compared to the plumes that accompany everyone else's breathing.

Then, abruptly, he grins. An open, amiable, guileless grin. And reaches out to smack Sev on the shoulder. "I like you," he proclaims gustily. "But you do not know the snow. Zis is no place of comfort and plenty. Zere is much in this land that can kill. And we have many stories. Yes, many. Some are things I have seen with mine own eyes. Others? Zey may be nothing but tales of the wolkjin. Or maybe zey once were and now gone?" He shrugs to indicate it doesn't really matter, though his eyes cloud over as he does.

"Zere are things that hunt us," he continues after a moment, his voice a little quieter. "But zis thing ... archmage? No. Zere is no story like that. None zat I have heard."
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Old Nov 17th, 2014, 06:13 AM
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Around the fire

The cold weather was having its way with Sev. His normally well groomed goatee had recently become a full beard. His normally tanned skin growing a tad paler every day. On the days you can see the sun, it only sits just above the horizon, warming the snow just enough to get soggy and soak the bottoms of one's pant legs.

It was Sev's turn to cook tonight. On the menu tonight was roast Hare a'la carte with a seasoning of sea salt courtesy of Tolle's hunting skills. Cooking wasn't wasn't Sev's forte, let alone something that wasn't from the sea, but Mr. Gardner had shown him a thing or two for when wanted to impress a lord's daughter, or a governor’s niece. After all, the most important thing was to simply look like you knew what you were doing and that was a skill Sev mastered long ago.

As what happens when strangers find themselves all gathered around a camp-fire, stories start to be told. Sev had travelled enough with others to begin to notice a pattern. It always starts with small talk, recent events that dealt with the immediate travel arrangements, and works back from there. After a few swings of the wine skins though, memories and stories begin to break through the ice.

Tolle had just finished telling a particularly funny tale, even if Sev was only catching every other word. Although their methods were different, Sev could see he had a lot in common with the frost-barbarian. He seemed to enjoy life and a good laugh. Maybe he'd be interested in a life beyond the frozen wastes. Some of the southern ports might be a tad warm for him though.

As with most camp-fires, talks of Dragon's always springs up. Sev already new Ki wasn't keen being near the fire, but talk of fire breathing dragons was making her more uncomfortable. Sev decided to try to steer it away from talk of people burning alive.

While he dished up, he began. “Say what you will about Red's and Black's, but the meanest dragon fight I've ever had was against a Brown Dragon.” Muriel rolled her eyes, obviously not believing anymore from Sev's mouth than she needed to, but Jenna took the bait.

“When did you ever fight a Brown Dragon?”, she asked.

“Well, this would have been a few years back. I got involved with an adventuring group along the Sword Coast. A princess had been abducted and required saving... or so we thought.” Sev gave a chuckle. “But that's another story. Anyway, the short of it was that I found myself travelling through the high desert of Thay with a Purple Dragon Knight... Henry I think his name was, and a Sorceress by the name of Toni. As luck would have it, we stumbled across a village having a dragon problem.”

Sev rolled up a cigarette as he continued. “We took it upon ourselves to see what we could do for the village. They pointed us in the right direction and off we went. From their stories, it didn't sound much older than an adolescent, so we figured we could handle it. We marched off to the cave, it was easy enough to find. We dispatched it with the ease, grabbed what we could and skipped back to the village. I had an itch telling me something was wrong, but when the beast is dead and your holding the treasure, it's hard to think it's not over. I should have know it was too easy though.”

Sev tucked away his tobacco pouch and pulled a stick out of the fire, lighting his cigarette with it before putting it back. After a long draw, “What the village had failed to mention was the dragon's very protective and over bearing mother also lived in the area. The three of us weren't equipped to deal with a dragon that old and in the open, but the old bugger must have ate the messenger. What makes Brown's tricky is all the tunnelling. When the dragon flies, you can keep eyes on it, keep the pressure up, ya know. But Brown's don't fly... they dig, and I'm sure I don't need to tell you how hard it is to fire a crossbow at a dragon under five feet of sand.”

Sev took a swig from his wine skin and continued to puff away. “So we did the only thing we could think of. Next time the Dragon popped up, Toni fired off a Web and anchored the sucker. Henry and I jumped in and fired off our broadsides. That really pissed her off. We hacked and stabbed away, while Toni fired off her spells, but we just couldn't bleed her enough. She was bloodied, for sure, but there was still plenty of fight in here. She fired off her acid breath and it ate through her webbed anchor. Henry must not have noticed it, maybe it's those damned helmets and their narrow vision, but he was still swinging at her when the tail swept across and sent him crashing through some of the village buildings.”

Sev's tone got a bit more serious. “Toni and I started the guerilla tactics then. Running through the town, firing spells and crossbows whenever the ol'b*tch popped up. We got a few good hits in, much to the expense of the village. She seemed to be slowing down, but that could have been the eternal optimist in me. Even with all that, it didn't do Toni any good when the hole opened up right under her feet...”

There was a brief pause before he continued. “So Toni was gone, and Henry was at the bottom of a pile of rubble somewhere, hopefully awake enough to be digging himself out, but it was just the dragon and I now. I kept moving, keeping off the ground whenever I could, firing my little crossbow whenever I could. But eventually, she trapped me on a rooftop with nowhere to run. So there I was, facing down a Brown Dragon that was about to bring it's razor sharp teeth down around me, and all I had was my blade and a crossbow that was out of bolts.”

“So what did you do?” pipped in Jenna.

There was a long pause while Sev looked around at everyone.

“I... I threw a rock at it.”

“WHAT!?” the audience all chimed in together.

“It was a big rock.” Sev said in his defence, like that was all that was needed. “The rock caught it right in the eye. Dragon was moving so fast that it must have travelled straight through the soft tissue and lodged into it's brain.” Everyone gave a sigh of disbelief. “As real as I'm sitting here now, I swear that's the truth of it. The villagers and I were able to dig Henry out of the rubble and bring him to. I think he went off to make quite the name for himself, saving an Empire or something. But I kid you not, I have slain a dragon with a rock.”
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Old Nov 20th, 2014, 11:06 PM
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Clear! *thump* it lives

Impediments have ways of working themselves out. In rare times, obstacles evolved into avenues of progress.

In this case, the obstacle was forcefully removed by way of a large man with a larger ax.

And thus, the group sat around the fire, staring at the hole in the lake created by Tolle's emancipation of Muriel. That he'd done so under her guided influence apparently bothered him little, and her even less.

Meanwhile, the remainder of those yet strangers to this land sat huddled around a bonfire. Sev passed the time the same way he dealt with everything... with ceaseless chatter. If Kiriel and Jenna even heard the pitch of his voice anymore was a debate best left unspoken.

They didn't.

Occasionally, Jenna would stride over to the hole in the lake with a stick to break the forming ice upon the hole. Best to keep an avenue open to beneath the ice, instead of wasting valuable resources on opening a new point of access. In a way, this act served as a timer for the passing of time. None dared sleep. The howls in the distance assured their insomnia, as did the the pressing issue of what exactly they sought under the frozen waves.

As the morning light crept over the south east tree line, their method for reaching the bottom had yet to resolve itself. Frustration haunted the corners of each member's mind, with the exception of the barbarian. He knew with unwavering certainty that his dreams had guided him here. he need only wait.

Jenna, however, had no patience for the whims of fate. She combed her options for diving beneath the lake, coming up short time and time again. Something was there, she need only remember it. An option unused, and path untaken. A choice undiscovered...

Olaf. The half frost folk from Slint sprang into her mind like cold lightning. He'd given them other gifts along with their cloaks, and among them some strange bladders that until now had not made sense.

Relieved to have an option, she immediately moved towards the hole in the ice. Sev, amid likely another truthfully untrue story, balked at the interruption. Kiriel and Muriel, felt only relief. How many horribly transparent stories could one man tell?

Stopping only to place the odd bladder over her mouth, Jenna dove head first into the watery hole.

The water stole her breath, and set her skin aflame. Her sharp, involuntary gasp would have normally driven icy water into her lungs. Instead, the bladder sufficed to fill her lungs with fresh, yet bitterly cold, air. Driven by her success, and the very real threat of hypothermia, she swam hard for the bottom. Behind her, she heard the tell tale splashes of her companions deciding to join her in her sudden madness. She dearly hoped they'd seen her grab a bladder from the collection.

Her fears were assuaged as Sev swam by her with the grace of a merfolk. Of course he would be a natural swimmer. If his stories held half a grain of truth, he'd been aboard a handful of sinking ships. Swimming probably came as naturally as walking to the pirate.

All but one of them now shivering uncontrollably with the cold, they made their way to the bottom of the lake. It proved shallower than they suspected, which was a boon to those susceptible to the biting temperatures of the water. In moments they found the bottom of the shallow lake.

Not long after, Kiriel took sudden prerogative and swam away from the group towards something that caught her eye. A few strokes later, she was drawing towards two large columns framing a doorway in the side of lakes rock bed. A motion, and the others joined her in studying the apparent entrance to... well, something.

Misunderstanding their hesitation as a concern that he may not fit, Tolle decided to prove to them it was more than enough room by entering first. The entrance gradually transformed into a short dropping tunnel, which a quick turn back vertical. It was here that Tolle's head emerged from the water into an air filled cavern.

As each member emerged, they were pleased to find the space lit by two blow glowing fixtures on the hewn stone walls. The only other feature of the stone enclosure was a door. Cast iron, with no apparently lock, it awaited them with all the anticipation of their respective journies thus far. For those from the South, a culmination of loss and frustration. For Muriel, a discovery many years and one treachery in the making. For Tolle, the possibility of answers long sought to questions beyond count.

And there it waited, silent and ominous. Another secret of Nihlus, perhaps better left buried.

OoCOkay, fastfoward much? lol.

The chamber is about 15 feet in diameter. Nothing exciting, other than two lights and a door. Enjoy!
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Last edited by Toba; Nov 20th, 2014 at 11:07 PM.
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Old Dec 15th, 2014, 12:50 AM
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Nimlos Nimlos is offline
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The first splash has Tolle spin around in alarm, wondering at first if something has come up from the depths and then - seeing Jenna gone - fearing the girl slipped and fell. He surges to his feet and rushes to the hole, only to see her swimming down, away from the surface, not at all the panicking spectacle he'd expected.

He turns to look at the others in surprise, but sees them all readying to follow. Sev tosses him some strange thing that appears to be an inflated bladder, clamps another in his teeth and leaps into the water.

The thought of diving in there isn't particularly inviting to Tolle; he can't imagine what that water would do to hotlanders, but it seemed they'd made up their minds about it without consulting him. Suddenly alone on the wind-swept surface of the lake, he frowns. His pack was not prepared to be soaked - too much would be ruined, so he leaves it here. He puts the bladder to his lips as he saw the others do, grips the haft of his ax tightly, and steps off into the water.

When his head breaks through the surface in the hidden cave below, he takes a quick look around and, seeing no sign of anything trying to kill him, climbs from the water, staying crouched beside it to pull each of the others from its icy grasp as they find their way to the surface. Once they are all up, he snaps his walrus leather cloak to shed the water from it and looks at the piteous shivering of the rest of the little band. It's warmer here than up above, obviously. No wind for one thing. No ice on the surface for another. But still, too much cold for the hotlanders to endure.

"You have way to warm yourselves?" he asks leadingly. "Zere is no wood here for fire, and it would eat the air to try." As he asks, he sits down, pulling off his boots and pouring the water from them. Not particularly interested in inviting rot, he ties the boots to the back of his belt to dry, walking in his bare feet across the frozen stone to the door, leaning closer to peer at it as the others warm themselves however they are able.

"Zose bladders, never have I seen something like zem," he comments over his shoulder. "Magic?"
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