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Old 08-08-2018, 10:25 PM
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A step deeper

With the worst of the mess cleaned up, the pair left the illusory wall behind. Led by Topaz, they made their way through the charred-web hallway that angled southward, with only ashes stirring besides them. At the hallway's corner, where the gnoll had immolated himself, there was only stillness. Then they were out into the large room with an eye painted on its floor, apparently alone now that Minotaur had left.

The room was noticeably cooler than the others, and the air was decidedly fresher. There were two options to explore to the south though, Grayne's stated area of interest. The nearer one was narrow, like the other hallways, with two branches to the east. The slightly further one from where they stood, was wider and had a single branch to the east across from what must have been the badger den. Besides the small noises the pair made, dead silence reigned.

 
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Old 08-10-2018, 06:42 AM
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With a silent shrug, Topaz chooses the near passage. She hates the thought of taking the far one first and then being jumped by something from behind. She takes a soft, deep breath, and exhaling slowly through her nose, pads ahead, ears and whiskers out-thrust, looking at everything at once, floor to ceiling.

 
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Old 08-17-2018, 01:07 PM
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Grayne followed Topaz to exactly the part of the tunnels that he wanted to explore. They were of the same mind on one count: they needed to erase the potential for something to surprise them from behind. He watched as she went into sneak mode, allowing her to move slightly ahead of him. He had been taking deep breaths, letting his lungs expand to teach the armor how much space he needed to function. He stopped that now, paying all attention to both being silent and trying to spot anything that might be in there area.

 
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Old 08-18-2018, 01:19 PM
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Opting for the nearer choice, Topaz led the way south from the spacious 'entrance hall'. While the corridor was just wide enough for Grayne to walk freely without scraping against either pitted wall, the ceiling 8' high lowered to the point that the goliath had to duck slightly in order to keep from scraping his 'head protector' against it. His new armor seemed to have settled into a comfortable fit, although it still creaked a bit when unusually taxed.

The lingering reek of smoke, undoubtedly from the burned webbing back in the angled hallway, still clung to the ancient stone. The only nearby sounds discerned were their own, as the soughing of snow amidst the gusting winds outside faintly reached the 'entrance hall' behind them. Yet despite the lack of obvious evidence, Topaz knew that something living lurked around the corner just ahead. A room opened to her left from the corridor, its door and frame long since scavenged like all the rest. So it was just a peek around that age-rounded corner, that granted her a glimpse of the room.

A massive green plant grew out of the room's northern wall, near the floor, quite unlike any plant the feisty bugbear had ever seen before. It towered all the way up to the ceiling, which was the same height as the corridor's. Dark ridges lined its lengthy body and protruding 'arms' from base to tip, with lighter colored furrows between. Yet it was the narrow finger-length spines, brown with reddish tips, bristling from every ridge that so differed from her experiences. She had seen all manner of thorns, but these spines were more like needles, clustered tightly in symmetrical rows that likely numbered in the hundreds. There had to be many thousands of the pointy spines on the weird plant, with 'crowns' of them at the arm's ends where the long ridges came together.

Then there was the floor directly beneath the plant, radiating a significant amount of heat, but only a faint purplish light. The plant seemed to be absorbing every bit of that heat, as the room's unusually dry air at the threshold where she stood was barely any warmer than the corridor's. There though, the smell of 'growing plant' could just be made out, although that too differed somewhat from any plant in the Horns Mountains region.

Despite the strangeness of the tableau, there was something very alluring about the healthy-looking plant, possibly even compelling. It had 'yearned' for discovery for far too long, alone in the cold of that stone room. Now it 'begged' to be examined more closely, in order to share its myriad secrets.

 
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Old 08-20-2018, 05:57 PM
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Topaz spends a long few seconds staring at this alien plant-thing, taking in its bizarre magnificence. It's almost like...no, it's got a...those things are... She lifts a stealthy foot to step in for a closer look.

She blinks. Wait this is weird. It's like it wants me to go closer!

Silently she withdraws and beckons Grayne's stooped figure back a bit down the corridor. She leans in and whispers.

Grayne there's a huge plant thing in there that has piles of needles or something and it's heating up its floor and it's like it WANTS us to go look at it. But I'm not sure that's a good idea!

She steps back, spreads her arms, and shrugs.
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Old 08-20-2018, 09:03 PM
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Grayne was ready to burst towards Topaz if she seemed to need help, so he was surprised when she spoke cautiously without charging forward. "A... plant?" He screws up his face in thought, clearly confused by the situation. A plant underground, giving off heat, and urging her to come closer to it. "We should either bypass it entirely or figure out some way to terminate it from a distance. Do we have something we can burn it with?" Another fire sounded like a bad idea to his ears, but he was hesitant to try to 'fight' a mind-affecting cactus. He looked at his mental list of stuffs, hitting roadblocks at several potions and the crystal petals.
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Last edited by Amy; 08-20-2018 at 09:03 PM.
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Old 08-21-2018, 05:05 PM
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"What if it wants to give us..." Topaz tries to think of the nicest thing that can come from a plant. "...Honey? Or, tea?

"I mean, do plants count?"
She half-directs this last to the usually-murdery dreamcatcher, tucked safely away in her pack.
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Old 08-21-2018, 10:25 PM
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Topaz's hopeful glance over her shoulder to the Dreamcatcher does earn a response, albeit a significantly different response than the few already witnessed from the spirit-channeling artifact. as per the spell Silence permeates the immediate vicinity, as a couple of adjacent dangles begin 'strangling' the gnoll remnant that hangs from the Dreamcatcher.

Then the tiny hopefully it's alright for me to add this adornment .... mouse skull, dangling from the Dreancatcher's other side, spits out a pair of 'sizzling' orbs of silvery flames. The first arcs down to Topaz's rusty sword, while the other zips to the high end of Grayne's stave. In both cases, the weapons are immediately wreathed in silvery flames from tip to tip. Yet rather than pain being felt by the wielding hands, it is instead a soothing dryness that will likely aid one's grip if things get sweaty.

And then finally, one of the little emeralds the Dreamcatcher 'grew', is spat back towards the gaping doorway that Topaz just stepped away from. It bounces off the wall and through the egress, out of sight, yet likely within a pace or so of that doorway. More importantly, the emerald took the magical Silence with it, allowing the pair to hear each other again.


 
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Old 08-22-2018, 09:55 AM
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Before the goliath could instinctively yank his hands away from the silvery glow enveloping his staff, he felt his grip improve and decided to keep hold of it. He heard the silence encompass them, then move away with the emerald. He stared at Topaz to make sure they were of one mind, then determined that he should speak and verify that they were of one mind. "The Dreamcatcher wants to help us defeat this plant, right? We were undecided, and your crafty project just buffed us so we can beat it." He paused, as if re-reading his own summary. "Right?" He adjusted his hands on his staff and took a step towards the opening to the plant's room. He felt the edge of the silence effect as his helmeted head broke the quite seal. "I assume that this thing's ability to control minds is based on a kind of noise that we can't make out."
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Old 08-22-2018, 10:25 AM
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Topaz is always amazed at the magic creation's power, wisdom, and gift-giving-ness.

"Holy smoky snot," she breathes, proving that her upbringing didn't include any instructions on inventive, or even decent, cursing.

She attends carefully to Grayne's thoughts. "Hm. Okay, so, I'm not sure I can sneak up on it, what with it being a plant. That already knows I'm here. But I wonder if it knows you're here?

"Could we maybe plan to have me go in, grab the emerald and bring it even closer to the weirdo plant, and then just, you know...start chopping it to shreds? Then you come in either swinging, or, stay outside the quiet part and explode it with fire?"
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Old 08-22-2018, 10:39 AM
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Grayne tugs his head back from the edge of the silence effect, listening to Topaz fling tactics about like water off a shaking duck's ass. "Alas, my burning abilities are limited today. I chose poorly this morning. But we can both chop it to shreds. And I can make you stronger." This seemed like a good idea no matter what they decided to do in the end, so he began to cast the Bull's Strength spell he had in reserve.

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Old 08-22-2018, 09:17 PM
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Apparently the unexpected aid from the Dreamcatcher had come to an end, while Grayne and Topaz discussed tactics, as it settled back into its 'inert' form. Grayne's brief casting of a Strength spell was completed without issue, yet its results were bizarrely paused. An image swirled into being in the empty air next to the duo, of Minotaur frowning back over his shoulder amidst a mild snowstorm.

"You owe me an apology, bugbear, yet I shall not hinder you out of spite." he barks in his which Grayne knows as dwarven native tongue. This time though, a translation into common is heard even louder than Minotaur's words.

The image promptly disappears, leaving a momentary 'flurry' of snow falling in its wake. The results of Grayne's spell belatedly take effect, significantly improving Topaz's strength. The question of how they will proceed, is all that hangs in the air.

 
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Old 08-25-2018, 12:18 PM
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When the ghost cow materializes to yell at her, Topaz startles and hops back a step, sword up. When nothing worse happens, she's suddenly mad. "You don't get to scold me!" she yells back, and now it's maybe easy to see how things might have been tough between her and Mother, towards the end.

To make matters worse, or better, she experiences a sudden surge of strength blazing through her rangy limbs, with a swelling feeling, and she tightens her grip on the crappy sword even more. "Augh!" she spits, throwing Grayne an anguished look--before whirling and stalking straight into the weird plant room. Right now, with the monster's reprimand burning her flattened ears, she just wants to break things, regardless of how pretty or interesting they might be!

Unless hindered, she marches up to the plant and begins swinging. "Stupid. Weird. Mind-messing. PLANT!" If opposed, she attacks whatever's in front of her first!

 
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Old 08-27-2018, 09:20 AM
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Once again, it took his ward's simple approach to make complex things straightforward. He no longer worried about interpreting events and dealt with the reduced scope of keeping Topaz alive. He gripped his staff in both hands and dove around the corner with his eyes high to take in the whole room. He anticipated the quiet since he would be unable to communicate with the bugbear, but the arcane zone of silence gave him the willies anyway. He charged through it and swung his staff in a wide, high arc aiming at the upper branches of the mind-bending cactus.

 
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Old 08-27-2018, 11:41 PM
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The weird plant was exactly as she had last seen it, when Topaz rushed back into the room, right up until it was obvious that she was going to attack it. Then it moved. While the nearest plant 'arm' swayed away from her rusty longsword, the mildly upset bugbear still managed to slam it a good one. Those silvery flames wreathing her blade seared a frost burn into the plant, causing it to recoil further. The whole damned plant was moving though, and green-plant heads were suddenly bulging out atop the end of each 'arm'.

By the time Grayne was approaching, the plant's transformation was complete. Serpentine heads topped each of the plant-hydra's arm/neck appendages, while the central stalk instead grew an enormous ram head, all bristling with ridges of crimson-tipped needles. The five serpentine heads wetly gaped jaws lined with row after row of lengthy serrated teeth. They writhed defensively around the central stalk, where the ram head looked to be futilely shouting at the pair of delvers.

Coming up alongside Topaz, Grayne delivered a strike that hit two of the coiling necks. The bright silvery flames ghosting his stave likewise seared with frost upon contact, creating puffs of steam. The force of his blow seriously dented the first neck he hit in addition, limiting the movement of that snarling hydra head.

Not surprisingly, the plant-hydra heads bit back. One of the two snapping at Topaz managed to get a piece of her, and left a handful of needles stabbed into her. The other swerving plant head silently snapped on empty air. Neither of the two needle-bristling heads biting at Grayne managed to get past his defenses.

 
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