(I took creative freedom with some details, forgive me if I forgot any actions or poignant words. Let me know if I should include anything! I definitely forgot NPC names! Enjoy~)
Mira fell to the floor, brought low by her own naievity. A sinister poison seeped deep into her gut, and she felt thin… like too little butter on too much toast. The room swirled while Va’haan scooped Mirras’ child sized body into her arms.
“Mirra, why did you open that chest without checking for traps?!” Rilken was exasperated. O’Yen’g was at a loss as well, scrutinizing her actions.
“She is only a child! Come, we must find her help.” With these words, Va’haan turned back towards the entrance. None spoke as the group solemnly retreated to the bandits hive, hoping for a cure. Mira thrashed around, speaking in different voices, as if in an argument with herself. An hour passed before they again encountered the brigands.
“What’s this?” Called out the brigand leader. The party was greeted by a dozen pairs of eyes, gleaming with a sinister curiosity.
“Please, this child is poisoned, help us.” Plead Va’haan. “Do you have a healer among you?”
“Told ’em it were dangerous in there.” A voice from the crowd jided. The brigand leader called beyond her shoulder for someone, and turned back to Va’haan.
“Yea, we could help you. Depends on how much value you place in the childs life.” She looked down at Mirra, feeble and fevered in Va’haans arms. Then she looked into Va’haans eyes, her own gleaming with greed.
Va’haan seemed at a loss at this request. “Please,” she searched for words. “She is a child.”
O’Yen’g approached, snarling with contempt at these gold worshippers. She whipped coins from her pocket, flinging both gold and invectives at them. After many gold pieces scattered the ground, the brigand leader held up her hand for O’Yan’g to stop. The man who was called for approached.
“Yes, I’ve just the thing.” He concluded, after sniffing her punctured belly." He unstoppered a vial which contained a thick green liquid and poured it down Mirras gullet. An obvious grimace of disgust spread across her face as she forced the medicine down.
A tense few minutes passed before Mirra roused. She dropped from Va’haans arms, reached deep into her pocket, and turned it inside out. A clinking clatter of gold fell to the floor, all of her gold in fact, and she walked off saying “Let’s go.” With a few condescending looks back at the brigands, they left.
Gathering the youth and the sleds, they set off once more. Time was a burden upon all their minds, wondering what new danger the rest of the world faced. Would Seers Home still be there when they returned? They proceeded in silence; past the trashed room, down a deep, dark, and cold corridor, walking for hours.
As everyone grew weary, they began to think of setting up camp. They were now deep under the glacier. Mira instantly flung herself down, tried and tired from the days blunder. The rest of the group planned the watch. With one of the youth taking the first watch, and while everyone else layed down to sleep, O’Yan’g went to a private spot and communicated with her guide & goddess, Shimye-Magalla. As she recharged her elemental energies and powers from this ritual, a special blessing was granted to her by the goddess. From a deep crevice in the vast cavern emerged a furry head, who listened intently. Many sounds unheard to the group were revealed to this creature, and a special vibration was calling her, urging her to O’Yan’g’s side. This creature was, in fact, a dire bat, huge in comparison to the normal bat many are accustomed to, yet young and not fully grown. It swooped down to O’Yan’g’s side, and took part in her ritual. It was as though they had known each other for many lives past, so easy and natural was their communication.
A stifled yell disturbed their romance. Alerted to danger, O’Yang strode with her long legs directly to the eldest youth who had also taken up the first watch.
“I seen a thing moving, twitching, scurrysome…” Her voice trailed off, her finger pointing out into the vast and enveloping dark. “Is that a bat?!” She asked O’Yan’g incredulously. With immediate and silent knowledge between the 2, O’Yen’g’s bat friend swooped into the dark, a sentinel, listening. “Yes.” Confirmed O’Yan’g, smiling.
Va’haan stirred from her tent. She felt the tense air, roused from sleep by a presence of danger. This she felt keenly due to her life on the glacier, where one would always need to be ready to move on or die. Something certainly waited in the dark, aware that they were aware… gathering magic into her palm, she flung an orb of congealed light as high as possible. The scene revealed horror. The ceiling crawled with millions of tiny spiders, the whole of the vast cavern roof covered in ancient webs. Those were but the babies. Hanging from thick threads above them were enormous spiders, whose pincers clicked and their eyes shone with a dark luster in the magical half-light. They dropped at once to the ground, a half dozen of them, and the group was beset.
Amongst the youth dropped a spider, and everyone felt the urge to rush to their aid; however there were spiders all around, and they attacked swiftly. 2 were upon Va’haan, who froze the eyes of one with her great magic. Rilken pierced through a spider with deft skill. Mirra, who had slunk into the shadows, was immediately charged by one of the brutes, while O’Yan’g and her bat companion worked as a team to bring low one of the hairy, many legged creatures. The spiders were no match for any of them. Mirra struggled in her battle, impacted by the poisons toll. Va’haan blazed magically, defying the advance of the spiders. Rilken dodged, thrust, parried, and sliced his way to victory. O’Yan’g hacked while her bat bit chunks from their attackers. The youth displayed a brazen defense, and Rilken ran to them, leapt upon a sled, and laid the last spider to death. As swiftly as it started, it had ended.
They wondered if they should prepare against another attack, but it felt as though danger had passed. They looked up, and Va’haan assured everyone that the remaining spiders were only babies. They again set up to sleep. O’Yan’g came over to Mirra, and issuing a warning about foolish actions and consequences, shone a healing light. Mirra felt restored and sleepy. She drifted off. The camp slept.
When they awoke, they set off once more down the great cavern. At length they felt the ground beneath them rise to an incline, and they were rising again. The path led them to a room with 2 statues, a vaulted octagonal ceiling, and most impressively, an enormous pillar of rich ruby in the rooms center. They puzzled for a moment over where they had arrived, and Va’haan cast a light into the ruby, which splattered bloody light across the whole room. Mirra, being blind, could certainly not see any of this, but was impelled toward the pillar. A notion to discover, to explore this wondrous pillar urged her closer to it. Though she was blind, the magical light that Va’haan had cast into it sent the color into her mind as well. She marveled silently.
The rest of the group was discussing the room’s significance. Apparently, they had arrived to the stair that led to the top of the glacier. The eldest youth was just trying to figure out the tone that revealed the passage when Mirra placed her hand upon the shining red ruby column. She was instantly petrified, turned to solid stone, gone to the world… The group barely had time to register this when in the corner arose a monster! It had seemed a simple puddle, but now its gelatinous tentacles rose with killer intent.
A battle broke out, with Rilkin slicing a tentacle off only for it to populate into a tiny version of the puddle-beast. A hydra! Of some sort… O’Yan’g shoved her fist inside the thing brazenly, her hand erupting in a violent display of magic. The side of the creature exploded, but O’Yang began to feel an acidic burn upon her fist. Va’haan, following O’Yan’gs lead, issued forth an icy touch that whispered across the beasts body, which froze, cracked, and utterly destroyed the creature wherever the frost touched. The youth looked from the puddle monster to Mirra and back again, frozen to the spot by panic and concern. Rilken, in a display of his own latent magic, pulled a torch from his pocket which suddenly sprang to life with a flame, and thrust it deep into the creatures body. The creature did not last long. It fell away into a now lifeless puddle, and after dispatching the little hydra, they turned to Mirra. One among them tried to pry her grasp from the ruby, but in so doing, broke off chunks of her robe. It was clear that she was breakable, and that was not the solution. They looked at one another with hopeless expressions. Rilken and O’Yan’g were spouting off again about the foolishness displayed by this child, who so easily fell prey to obvious traps, while Va’haan lamented that they had not spoken out to her, as she was blind.
Then an alarming thing happened. A noise, barely audible, droned forth… seemingly from Mirra. A stone slung with leather over her hip had not transformed as had the rest of her. It seemed to act of it’s own, rising slowly into the air. This captivated the attention of the room. It stopped suddenly, seemingly stuck in space. Then with an ear rending crack and a brilliant flash of light, the stone split down its center. The solid stone fell with a clatter to the floor, while, glistening where it had floated, shone a silvery substance. It seeped into Mirras stony form and BANG! Another blinding flash of light, and when their vision returned, they saw an unsettling, unexpected sight.
The stone form of Mirra still touched the ruby, but now there lay next to her a second figure. A wail pierced the tense silence from this stranger, whose hand clutched out at the statue of Mirra. This person was covered in cascades of white hair, absolutely concealing her behind its wavy cascade. They choked on their sobs as everyone came to attention. Va’haan approached, putting forth a hand to calm her. Rilken and O’Yan’g were instantly suspicious. After the presumably ancient stranger quieted down, she looked up at her in thanks, and patted her hand. Va’haan recognized the opaque stone eyes of this elder woman. Rilken and O’Yan’g were distrustful, and demanded explanation. Va’haan plead for gentleness. This woman, whatever the state of her arrival before them, was in grieving. The stranger slowly stood up, towering as tall as O’Yan’g. She was clad in old robes, her limbs defined by muscles, and sporting huge hands. She spoke:
“My name is Almitra, I have lived for 700 years in hiding, and the girl you knew as Mirra was my most recent ally & vessel, 8 in all.” These were not the wisest first words. O’Yan’g was instantly hostile, accusing her of taking advantage of this child. Almitra spoke against this, saying she could never share a body without consent; to which O’Yan’g queried with great distaste, “How can she give consent when she is only a child?” There was no way to explain it all, Almitra thought. Her hand still rested on Va’haans and she was grateful they hadn’t killed her outright. Rilken joined O’Yan’g in detest.
“You do not understand… I have been in hiding for nearly 700 years. The stone that you have seen cracked was much sought after by the evil which we now are set against. I have been safeguarding it, so that it does not fulfill an evil intent… I cannot believe it is broken.” She reached out to the 2 stone halves, picking them up. “After so many years…” She stared down at them. Va’haan stood near, while the rest of the group wondered aloud about trusting this old woman.
“A rider of children.” O’Yan’g at one point said, glowering.
“You serve Shimye-Magalla, and I tell you, I do too. It was she who blinded me.” Almitra motioned to her eyes. “You fear walls and prisons of bars, and kill those who erect them, but what of the terrors of an imprisoned soul, which bars and walls cannot contain? That is the terrible power which we fight against, and why Shimye-Magalla blinded me, gave me further sight; why I am on this path which crosses yours.” She fell silent.
O’Yan’gs vehemence lessened a degree at such reverent speak of her Goddess. She was clearly thinking, then said: “You speak with plain knowledge of my Goddess, Shimye-Magalla, and for this I will consider your words. We must be moving along anyhow.”
Va’Haan turned to the youth who earlier expressed knowledge of the stairs secret. “Have you remembered the tune?”
“Yes! Well, I think it goes…” 3 pitches sounded, high, low, and high again. The room rumbled. The ceiling moved in a spiral, as the ruby pillar descended into the floor. As the great stair came down, Mirra’s stony figure was shattered to pieces. They advanced up, and at length emerged on top of the glacier. The scene was beautiful, and one could see the sun on the horizon many hundreds of miles out. A sense of peace and power rested here. None had come this way for a very long time. At the top of the stair were a few ragged, ancient corpses. Almitra asked if they could be burned, at the request of their ghosts in her stony sight. They were released at last from their bondage to their unfortunate death. A map was spread while the youth informed them of the journey ahead. Everyone listened attentively, while Va’haan described the scene to Almitra. It would take 90 days to cross. Luckily they were with Va’haan. But what would come of the world and the war in that time? Seers Home certainly did not have 90 days. They were worried, but they had only to continue on and find the power that would beat the armies of BloodEagle, and the dark power that emboldened him.