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The Scarred Lands - Broken Lands and Forgotten Treasures

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The cat woman stalked over to the two other women and crouched low. Kora cocked her head and flared her nostrils, listening and smelling for any sign of threat, of what had assailed Sigrun's familiar. After a long moment, she shook her head. She heard nothing and the only thing of note she had scented was the suggestion of something long dead that was barely distinguishable from the dust and dirt sullying the tower.

"Nothing that lives. Perhaps something long dead," Kora informed Siwan.

Zai peered more closely at the stone sides of the opening for the stairs, even pulling the torch closer for contrast, despite her eyes being able to pierce the deepest darkness. After a while, she made a stifled squeal of excitement, pointing animatedly at the bottom edge of the sides of the opening for the stars, slowly moving the torch.

Siwan looked closely, and as Zai moved the torch, she finally noticed the finely incised arcane runes. The eldritch markings were so finely carved, minute and closely packed they were hard to read. Zai bent her head down, getting as close as she could, trying to decipher their purpose.

"Trap," she asserted softly, after a moment. "Not the tripwire I think, but limits the range of the activation. It's... it's like the boundaries for the trigger." Her lower lip protruded in a frowning pout. "I can't disable the trap from here. I think it is the pedestal in the center of the room, but maybe I can delay it from triggering from here. For a time at least. Long enough to get the rest of you through. Maybe."

The girl looked at Siwan anxiously.

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"Wait," Zai's shoulders slump with disappointment at the older woman's word, "I just want to check this before sending you in there. Whatever destroyed Skirra's physical form could also do the same to you."

Siwan laid down on her belly and leaned over to look at the inscription closer.

After studying the strange runes and symbols she sat up, resting on her heels. "I don't recognize them, I think they may be related to Ancient Ledean but I'm not sure. They may say something about a boundary."

The red haired woman takes a few calming breathes then begins whispering an incantation her fingers making deft and very precise movements in the air in front of her. a soft glow comes to her eyes then fades in the chamber below the pedestal mirrors the glow. "You were right Zai, the pedestal is the center of the trap. I think I can suppress it for a short time do you think you can disarm it so that we can pass freely. If not then we should all pass through as quickly as possible."

Spoiler

Siwan uses Detect magic to verify the pedestal is the source and prepares a dismiss magic to suppress the trap if needed.  here is the dismiss magic roll

Rolling 1d20 + 8
( 11 ) + 8 = 19

 

 

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"To be fair..." Sigurn spoke up, "Skirra isn't very.. stout. It doesn't take much to dispatch her physical form. Just because the trap managed to sunder her form, doesn't mean the trap is all that much of a threat to us. I could be, but it doesn't man it is."

"Can you divine the nature of the trap. For it is Magic Missile, then the arcane Shield stored within my tattoo can render me immune to the sorcery. It is a benefit I believe can bestow on all of you, as well, if only briefly. I am not sure though, I have never tried it with this spell. If not, I may be able to knock over or destroy the pedestal or some such." the Albadian woman said, brushing the hammer hanging on her side with her hand, almost lovingly.

"Just a thought." Sigurn shrugged.

"The medallion may also offer safe passage through the trap." she added with another shrug.

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"hmm" Siwan smiles at her friend, "No, the spell i used could only discern the presence of the magic not it's nature. I would rather not destroy it if possible aside from it's historical value, if it can be made safe we may could learn more of the magics of this place.

But the medallion i had not considered, you could be right Sigurn. If Zai attempts the trap she could wear it. it does carry an abjuration dweomer it could very well be a protection amulet of some sort."

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Sigurn nodded and tossed the medallion to Zai.

"Those who worked or dwelled in this town must have had some means of avoiding the trap, lest t be just as harmful, or even deadly, to them."

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Zai caught the medallion deftly in her quick hands and strung it on a thong, then tied it snugly around her throat so her hands would be free and it wouldn't impede her or jangle against anything. The slight girl wiped her hands dry on her pants then nodded at Siwan and Sigurn. She could do this. She would do this.

Siwan focused her thoughts, then wove together the gestures and syllables of her dispelling magic. The eldritch threads spooled out from her, visible to her eyes only and contracted about the orb and the pedestal it lay upon. They contracted, tightened, and Siwan saw the dweomer grow dormant. She nodded in satisfaction then gestured at Zai. "It is done. Go."

Zai went, scampering down the creaking stairs. She tensed at the first step, bracing for an impact, but there was no flash of light or arcane missiles thrown her way. She cased the open room swiftly with the trained glance of an experienced burglar, but her eyes returned to the orb on the pedestal. She grew close, but did not touch them.

She blew softly, dust flying free, revealing fine arcane glyphs on the pedestal, swirling to center on the orb. She studied them closely, trying to decipher the pattern so she could disable the eldritch mechanisms. Watching from above, Siwan could feel her suppressive threads straining against the magic of the orb and pedestal.

Zai unrolled her leather folder of well crafted thief's tools and selected a fine file of silver. Working meticulously, she began altering the glyphs, changing their meaning so they would work against each other instead of together, so as to negate their function.

"Hurry, Zai," Siwan urged, her cancellation of the magic unraveling.

"Almost done! Almost done!" she replied tersely. "There - oh!"

Siwan's spell fractured. The orb pulsed just as Siwan saw the magic of the pedestal fade away under Zai's manipulations. Three bolts of blue-white light flashed from the orb at Zai and... seemed to flow into the pendant at her neck. Zai took a step back in surprise, but otherwise, appeared to be unhurt. She patted herself down in reassurance then glanced up the stairs and gave Siwan and Sigurn a big smile.

"Done!"

As the others game down the stairs one at a time - though they seemed solid, the stairs creaked alarmingly at each step - Zai fiddled with the pedestal and orb, finally working the orb free as the other women reached her. Torches kindled, they could see the pedestal was made of bone white marble veined with pale blue. The orb was of a size to fit comfortably in a palm, smooth, its translucency marred by geometric inclusions inside it. Zai presented it proudly to the others - Siwan could see that it's magic was still intact, though no longer entwined with that of the pedestal.

The room was open with wide, shallow alcoves around its perimeter. Most gaped open, though two had the remnants steel grating lain out on the floor before them. From the stone racking inside the alcoves, it appeared this floor may once have been an armory, though no weapons or armor remained, and a cursory glance didn't reveal anything else hidden. A desiccated lizard, its hide grey and shrunken on its bones lay near the stairs.

These stairs looked to be the most intact. There were toothed gears by the short railing, though the chain linking them was missing. It seemed like this set of stiars may have been able to be raised. Looking down, the base of the stairs, along with the bottom third of the floor appeared to have been swallowed by the ground when the town had had been swallowed by the Perforated Plains. It had clearly not been a natural occurrence.

But the bottom floor still looked navigable, though they would have to crouch. They could see the gaping entrance to the tower opening up onto a street of heaved cobblestones.

Spoiler

When and after you guys take a short or long rest and study the pendant and orb, you'll be able to determine their properties.

BROOCH OF SHIELDING
Wondrous item, uncommon (requires attunement)
While wearing this brooch, you have resistance to force damage, and you have immunity to damage from the magic missile spell.

ORB OF MAGIC MISSILES
Wand, uncommon
This orb has 7 charges. While holding it, you can use an action to expend 1 or more of its charges to cast the magic missile spell from it. For 1 charge, you cast the 1st-level version of the spell. You can increase the spell slot level by one for each additional charge you expend. The orb regains ld6 + 1 expended charges daily at dawn. If you expend the orbs's last charge, roll a d20. On a 1, the orb crumbles into ashes and is destroyed.

 

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"Let us get out of this tower." Siwan said as she wrapped the orb in a cloth and placed it in her pack.

"Kora lead the way."

Siwan followed the hunter with Sigurn and Zai coming behind.

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Kora leading, the band of women walked out onto the floor of the crater. The ground was gritty and a bit loose, kicking up puffs of dust with each step. The sun filtered down into the crater at an angle, revealing dust hanging in the air. The air was thick, they could taste it on their tongues. Zai wrinkled her nose and tied a scarf over her nose and mouth.

The streets seemed to be laid out like the spokes of a wheel. Whatever event that had formed the crater was clearing not natural. Though the structures they passed by - all single story - seemed more or less intact, the ground swallowed them from their bottom third up to well pass half way to the cracked or missing slate roofs. A cursory glance into a few showed them to be largely devoid of anything of interest - if they had once held anything of value, they had been pillaged long since.

Looking for tracks, Kora found some belonging to typical wildlife, mostly lizards and snakes here, but a pair stood out. There were a pair of wide furrows that weaved through the streets that reeked of blood and carrior, but she couldn't tell what type of creature the tracks belonged to. It held something of an insect and something of a serpent. Beyond the whistling of the wind across the mouth of the crater, it was eerily silent.

They began working their way towards the East side of the crater. The sheer walls broken by the partially buried remains of buildings. Beginning to grow slightly concerned that what they sought, Sigurn and Siwan perused the map once more, trying to decipher exactly where the arcane holding should be while Kora maintained a lookout and Zai desultorily wiped dirt and grime from the lintels of the nearby buildings, seeking some sort of identifying mark resembling one of those on the map.

Spoiler

Sigurn and Siwan, could you each please make a pair of Intelligence (Investigation) rolls, to see if you can better determine where your goal is, inside the crater.

 

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Spoiler

Rolling 1d20 + 9
( 18 ) + 9 = 27

 

Siwan reached around Sigurn to trace the streets on the map with her finger.

"Assuming this was the tower then this should be the route."

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Spoiler

Rolling 1d20 + 4
7 + 4 => 11

 

Sigurn looked down at the map, but could not make heads nor tails of it. Siwan reached around her to trace a finger along the map, and seemed to have a better bearing on their location than Sigurn did, prompting her to nod.

"I agree." she said, nodding her head, as if she actually understood.

 

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Following the route Siwan had deciphered, the Band moved over a street and down another block where it ended against the inner side of the crater. For a moment Siwan feared that the building they was sought was entirely buried, but then she noted the edge of a building protruding from the wall. Siwan pointed and with Kora keeping watch, Siwan, Sigurn, and Zai began working the face of the building free from the side of the crater.

Like soft sandstone or dried clay the dirt feel free in sheaves at their prodding, breaking into choking dust when they hit the ground. It took several minutes, but finally they cleared the front of the building, sweat making the dust stick to their flesh. At first, it seemed rather modest, perhaps fifteen feet on a side, though they could not tell how deep into the side of the crater it went.

But the raised frame surrounding the pentagonal doorway was elaborately carved with runes and sigils, that glowed with their own faint light. On the upper most point of the doorway, the lintel stone was an abstracted version of the symbol of the Wheel that matched the one of their map. Unfortunately, the doorway did not gape open but instead seemed sealed with a seamless wall of iron. Rapping on it, it returned a dull thunk, appearing to be solid.

Zai scowled. There was no lock for her to pick, not as she understood it. Sigurn and Siwan did understand, however. It was a door locked by arcane means. With her innate witchery, they believed Zai would be able to open the door herself, she simply lacked the training. It took arcane skill to open the door, just a minor amount even, if they could apply it in the proper fashion. The formula for access with woven into the intricate carvings surrounding the pentagonal doorway.

It would take them some time to solve the eldritch formula and being in a crater, the light was fading fast. But just as they started, Kora gave warning. Everyone could almost feel the ground vibrate as two heaving mounds of dirt rose from the street. A moment later two creatures broke free of the earth and hissed at them.

They were foul, twisted creatures, combining aspects of beetle, mantis, maggot, and serpent. They had long, articulated bodies with a chitinous hide and moved like snakes, snakes the size of draft horses and reeked of carrion and blood, they breath holding an acrid taint they could smell from thirty feet away. Aggressive and single-minded, the eyeless titanspawn rushed towards the female flesh they sensed.

Spoiler

To open the door to the Arcane skill, it takes three consecutive, successful Intelligence (Arcane) skill rolls vs. DC 16, one roll per round. Three consecutive failures means the Door cannot be unlocked until after the next dawn.

Everyone, please roll initiative and post it in the Combat Thread. Nobody is Surprised.

You make make an Arcane or Religion check to see if you know anything about the creatures.

 

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Zai bit down on her lip to keep from screaming at the sight of the horrid, nightmarish creatures that would have haunted her dreams... if she slept or dreamed anymore. Not seeing any cover to hide behind within immediate distance, the slender girl moved to one side of the street as she pulled out her long knife in one hand and brandished her other at the minions of Gaurak in a mystic gesture, launching a beam of purple-white lightning at each one.

But in her haste and fear, the girl struck wide of both, the arcane lightning scoring dark streaks on the stone of two other buildings lining the broken street.

Spoiler

Sigurn is up next. Post any rolls or actions in the Combat Thread, then post your fluff in the main thread. I'll be around as much as possible to answer any questions, or PM me if I'm not.

 

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Without even thinking, Sigurn moved in the direction opposite of Zai, at worst forcing the creatures to split their attention, and at best causing them to forgot or lose track of Zai. With a few uttered words and gesture at the creature with her ax, Sigurn send out a bolt of fire at the creature nearest Zai, hitting it with a splash of flame before she raises her shield once again, preparing for the creatures' retaliation.

The flames blackened a patch of chitinous hide on one of the creatures, an acrid scent rising in the air, but seemed to do nothing to deter or hinder the Vengaurak. Truly, all the grazing bolt of fire seemed to do was draw the disgusting creature's attention towards the Albadian Witch, its eyeless head swinging in her direction as it made a chittering hiss.

Spoiler

Kora is up next, though I have no issue with Siwan posted next, if either of you prefer.

 

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Remaining calm in the face of titanspawn enemies, Kora loosed a pair of arrows with the grace and precision few Manticora could match, a small smile curling her lips. She loved fighting titanspawn, It left her feeling fulfilled as a huntress to slay them. Both arrows struck true in the softer flesh of the Vengaurak's underside, Kora drawing its ire away from Sigrun.

Siwan dashes forward angling to put herself between the monsters and Zai. As she skids to a halt some 10 to 15 feet from the Vengaurak's, she swings her staff in an intricate arc about her body and intones the wizardish incantation. As she finishes the magic word she brings the staff down, the point touching the ground facing the creatures and a wave of thunderous force erupts roiling toward the monsters!

Dust and rock are picked up by the pressure of Siwan's spell and flung into the air even as it slams into the pair of creatures. The one pinioned by Kora's arrows had reared and was caught by the wave of booming thunder and was flung back nearly to the cross street but the other had crouched low at the last instant and clung to the broken ground with its spiny claws.

An instant after the wave passed it by, it slithered with insectile speed towards Siwan and snapped its mandibles on her shoulder piercing flesh, its saliva making her skin blister. It then tried to wrap her in its chitinous coils, but she fended it off with staff.

The second Vengaurak still focused its raging hunger on Kora and with a hideous combination of slithering and crawling, rushed the Manticora woman, ignoring all else. Siwan fetched it a blow with her quarterstaff in passing, striking it hard enough that it would have fallen off its feet, had it used them instead of a tail for locomotion.

Between the Vengaurak's ungainly haste and Kora feline grace, the creature came nowhere close in closing its maw or coils about her. Zai took advantage of its hissing frustration, releasing another pair of crackling eldritch blasts at the wounded creature. The first one went high, but the second burrowed itself deep into the juncture where one insectile limb met the trunk of its body and knocked it tumbling almost ten feet past Kora. The disgusting creature was slow to right itself, severely injured now as it leaked putrid gore.

The slim girl bared her teeth in a fierce grimace.

Spoiler

Sigurn is up. The Vengaurak engaging Siwan is merely scratched and lightly pummeled by her spell, while the Vengaurak engaging Kora is seriously injured. It seems no less intent on eating the catgirl however.

 

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Seeing the wounds inflicted on the Vengaurak face to face with Kora, and knowing her friend's particular effectiveness against such titanspawn, Sigurn feels secure that she and Zai can finish the creature and so she slips past her friend, running to Siwan's side to lend her support.

"Hold steady, my friend, these foes look more fearsome than they are." she calls to Siwan, reassuring her.

Once at Siwan's side, Sigurn once again calls on the witching ways taught by her mother and summons forth another bolt of fire, placing her irritation and anger within it. With a brief incantation and gesture at the creature with her ax, a bolt of flame hurls forth at the Vengaurak, scorching it's chitinous hide and sending forth the foul smell of seared flesh beneath.

"Forget about her! Come at me you piece of filth!" she yells at the creature, trying to draw it's focus, and once again she raises her shield, bracing for retaliation from the beast.

Siwan twisted away from the creature menacing her and used her power over nature to manipulate the thrumming currents in the air. An ominous cloud of deep grey formed above the rim of the crater. With a pointing finger and a shout, a searing bolt of of silvery lightning struck the Vengaurak in front of her, so close she and Sigurn could smell the ozone and feel their hair rise and stir by their proximity.

Uncomprehending its prey's actions, the foul creature was completely blindsided by the bolt of lightning from above. It writhed and screeched in paroxysms of pain and fury.

With nary a thought as the creature closed in to attack, missing thankfully, Kora dropped her bow and donned her catclaws. Letting out a feral growl as she seemed to lean back before lunging forward to tear at the carapace of the creature with the feral feline fury that only a female Manticora could muster. Her first slash dug deeping into a gaping wound made by one of her arrows and her second raked it along the flanks. But her last upward strike ripped it open for halfway of its length to the underside of its mandibles.

Thrashing in its death throes, the Vengaurak flailed at the lithe Manticora, failing to wrap Kora up in its dangerous coils, but it clamped down on her arm with rending teeth and acidic saliva. So close to death already, Zai dashed in low and quick, then jumped up and managed to slip her long blade between plates of chitin high up on the creature's back. It's thrashing immediately ceased as it fell limply with a heavy thump. The girl breathed rapidly in excitement and fear, looking up at Kora with wide violet eyes over the fallen Vengaurak.

Maddened by the electricity wracking its nerves, the other disgusting creature lashed out blindly. Just before its mandibles closed on her face, Sigurn voices an incantation and makes a gesture. One of her tattoos glimmers with its own light and the creature's bite is obstructed by an invisible field of force. Its long, segmented coils attempt to crush and rend the Druid, but bolstered by the Bard's encouragement, she nimbly slips out of its reach.

Spoiler

The Vengaurak facing Kora is dead. The second one is hurt, but still has plenty of hunger - I mean fight - left in it. Still with all of you able to focus on it now, its life is measured in seconds, most likely. Next round, Zai has already acted.

 

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The Vengaurak's mandibles snapped at Sigurns face, but was blocked by an invisible shield of force, causing Sigurn to grin darkly. She reached down deep and drew on that inner darkness, unleashing it for just a moment as she snarled at the creature. 

"You think you can hurt me?! Or that we're afraid of you?! You are NOTHING!" she snarled at the creature, her voice laced with hate and anger, ending with a bellowing roar.

The malignant creature recoiled in surprise at the sound, tucking its mandibles low and its skittering legs close to its body. Then it countered in kind, making a hissing screech and snapping its mandibles at the witch, its eyeless head following her movements.

Sigurn, still breathing heavy, her face twisted into a mask of anger and hate, slowly moved around the creature, trying to keep it's attention so as to coax it to give its back to Kora and Zai.

"Stay alert, my friend. This monstrosity is not done with us yet." she said to Siwan.

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Siwan holds her staff up and with her empty hand make a few quick gestures and mouths words of magic. The words are different from those spoken by Sigurn, as are the gestures, yet the result is the same as two bolts of fire leap from her hand to flash in the monster's face. But at the last moment, the Vengaurak ducked and the flames licked lightly across its carapace.

Her immediate foe dead, Kora spared a moment to nod appreciatively, then, despite the injury, she leaped back into battle, crossing the distance to the remaining creature and tearing into its unsuspecting back. The Manticora's gleaming catclaws savaged and gouged deeply into the creature's back, stinking viscera torn free in a putrid rain.

The monstrous titanspawn spun around in fury, rearing up before it plunged down to bite Kora on the thigh, but she just managed to deflect it away with crossed catclaws. Siwan was not so fortunate. As the Vengaurak spun around, it lashed out its tail and wrapped Siwan in its coils, entrapping her with crushing force, segmented chitin cutting into her flesh.

Despite the grievous wounds inflicted on Siwan, still restrained by the creature's entrapping length, there was just the single Vengaurak left, a Vengaurak severely wounded, while all the ladies of the band remained to bring it low. And bring it low they did, with blade and spell. Seconds laters, the band was breathing hard after the brief battle, cleaning weapons and tending to wounds.

Only a mystically locked down stood between them and the untold treasures they sought.

Spoiler

Vengaurak's Bite on Kora: 1D20+7 => (11 + 7) = 18 Miss

Vengauraks's Constriction on Siwan: 1D20+7 => (20 + 7) = 27  Critical Hit! Ouch!
Constriction Damage: 2D6+11 => (4 +2 + 11) = 17 Bludgeoning Damage + 2D6+11 => (4 +4 + 11) = 19 Slashing Damage = 36 Damage Total

Okay guys, the Vengaurak has some hit points left, but with the rest of you going before it, you'll bring it down easy enough.

Combat is over.

Feel Free to proceed as you will. To open the Door, it takes three consecutively successful Arcana rolls vs. DC 16. If you make three consecutive failures, then you have to wait until the next dawn to make your attempt again.

 

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The creatures dispatched, wounds were tended and the four adventurers got back to their mission.

While Kora and Zai kept watch Siwan and Sigurn studied and attempted to open the magic lock sealing the place they had sought.

The two tried for a good long time trying to decipher and open the ancient mystical barriers. Through trial and error the two magic users finally succeeded in bringing down the barriers.

With physical effort the two women shouldered the door open and they peered inside.

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The door scraped across a floor of blue marble so dark as to be almost black, leaving scratches - presumably, there used to be another mechanism or dweomer to manipulate the door at one time. Looking closer, there didn't seem to be any seams of tile or flagstone, the floor - and possibly the walls? - being of a single piece, but it was hard to tell as the room was so dark it seemed to swallow the light.

Until Siwan and Sigurn took several steps into the room and four slender obelisks of clear crystal flared to life with soft blue-white light, revealing the rest of the room. It appeared to be a precise cube, faced in the same dark blue marble. Under the eldritch light, a subtle animate frieze appeared on the walls, detailing the origins of the Empire of the Wheel, the male sorcerer of Albadia fleeing the cruel and power hunger Witches of that land to form their own nation.

The air was remarkably clear and refreshing in the room. Kora and Zai stepped into the slight cool confines of the room as Siwan and Sigurn went further in. There appeared to be no other hallways or doors leading out of the room. But the four obelisks emitting light proved to be the boundaries to a square of gleaming white marble into which was inscribed a circle of sigils made with silver and red gemstones that was perhaps ten feet in diameter.

Sigurn easily recognized their arcane significance, but it was not a magic used by the Helliann of Albadia. Siwan, from her study of the spellbook belong to a more academic wizard recognized the sigils as belonging to a teleportation circle - a permanent and localized one that was linked to one other single location. It seemed this was the true door to the Arcane Manufactory. A symbol in the center of the circle of sigils appeared to activate the magic, at the behest of one with arcane talents, though it did not look as though one would have to actually expend any of their own energies to power the effect.

Though Kora felt quite comfortable, there was something in the air that made Siwan, Sigurn, and Zai itch, an ephemeral touch on their flesh that pricked at their arcane sensitivities. Zai tried to ignore it, looking around with vague disappointment, having expected to see riches and treasure laying about now that they had finally reached their destination and managed to open the door.

Spoiler

Anyone able to cast an Arcane Cantrip can activate the Teleportation Circle. It will only activate if there are five or less Medium Creatures inside the bounds of the circle. If you have any other questions, feel free to ask me in chat or the OOC thread, and I'll answer as I can. If anyone does activate the teleportation circle, feel free to make up what the arrival point looks like. It'll be a room of roughly equal size (30 foot diameter or on a side) with a single exit out, no door.

 

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The small party studied the friezes Sigurn scoffing at several of the panels. In short order they determine that there was nothing noteworthy aside from the wildly skewed history lesson and the transportation circle.

Siwan made contact with her familiar warning him that they were about to use a magical device that may trasport them out of range and to take car of the animals as best it could should they not return.

After pushing the stone door closed so that no unwanted creature could follow them or accost them should they need to retreat back, if such would even be possible, the four adventurers positioned themselves in the circle and activated the circle with a cantrip.

The room vanished as a flare of magic enveloped them and the light went out.

They each felt a wave of nauseous disorientation and their ears popped. Kora growled even her eyesight saw nothing. The darkness was as black as pitch

But even as both Sigurn and Siwan began spells to bring light, the darkness began to fade. Light dim at first seeped into the space they now occupied

Glow which came from no apparent source grew brighter. They stood in a circle identical to the one that had been in the first room, but the room was not the same.

The space was circular with a diameter of about 30'. the floor was of gold veined marble and to their rear a an opening the size of a door but shaped like a Pentagon. An odd choice for a doorway.

The walls were also of marble divided into five sections by thick strips of gold and looked as if they were covered in Friezes.

The women moved off the circle and Siwan moved toward the nearest wall section to the door. As she closed on it she gasped.

“Look the frieze! It moves”

Indeed the friezes had begun moving, the stories they told being played out on the very walls of the chamber.

Sigurn stepped close to one section her gaze look on with astonishment at what she was seeing. For the moving wall told a story she was familiar with one which she had lived with all her life.

The wall depicted Her story. Indeed each section depicted the life of each of them with the fifth section devoted to their adventures as a group

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Zai stared in wonder at the animated images of friezes, but when she realized what they were, she quickly looked away. She was acquainted with her history and had no wish to witness it again. If any of the other women turned away from watching their own living histories they would have seen the depiction of a ship sailing away from an unknown continent towards one that resembled their own Ghelspad.

Sigurn for her own part for the first time saw the face of her father. He was a handsome man with intense, intelligent eyes and a neatly trimmed beard. He seemed short for an Albadian male, but broad shouldered and well muscled. And he had fled Sigurn's mother and her Helliann allies to save his life after trying to abscond with an infant Sigurn.

Not seeing, nor expecting, anything untoward in her own past, Kora stepped towards the pentagonal doorway and peered out. Outside the circular room that passed as a foyer in this arcane domicile was a hallway twenty feet across. The hallway seemed to curve back and around the room they had arrived in, encircling it.

The same sourceless light continued spreading, lighting up the area, reflecting off the gold-veined marble. Across the hallway from Kora was another pentagonal doorway, the frame elaborately carved. There was writing incised on the upper edges Kora couldn't read. Siwan recognized it as Ancient Ledean, indicating 'Residences' and 'Personal Studies'.

Looking each way down the hallway, Kora could just see the edge of another doorway on either side just before they would have been hidden by the curvature of the hallway. The air was fresh, slightly cool, and utterly silent except for a distant thumping, regular and rhythmic, almost like the beating of a heart.

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Everything around her fell away as Sigurn saw a image of her father for the first time in her life. She stood there, motionless, taking in the scene, her eyes shifting from the image of her father, to that of him attempting to abscond with what was clearly herself, as an infant.

Sigurn had always harbored a doubt that she would ever find her father. She had never known him, or even his face, and yet here, in this strange ruin, she stood, staring at an image of him, trying to take in every detail, as if to make sure to never forget the face.She blinks several time rapidly, fighting back in tears from the entirely unexpected well up of emotion within her while the others began to explore somewhat.

To the others, it was stranger to Sigurn like this. She was usually so spirited and jovial, that to see her struck silent was an unfamiliar occurrence.

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Siwan saw nothing unusual in the frieze depicting her life but she did marvel and wonder how it was possible for whatever spell or item used to depict the lives of someone who had never been anywhere near the place until now. Shaking her head at the wonder of it all she moved to join her companions.

"Can you tell which way the thumping is coming from?" She asks Kora while watching down the opposite way.

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Kora cocked her head, pointed ears seeming to grow even more pointed as she listened intently. There was something off about the acoustics in this place, making it hard to discern the distant sound with the accuracy she was used to. She caught just the faintest hint of a rasp tied to the thumping. The manticora woman nodded towards the left.

"It believe it is coming from that direction," Kora said in terse softness. "But I cannot tell if it is coming from through that door we can just see or from further around the curve of the hallway or whether it is getting closer or further away. It sounds almost like footsteps, though very regular and very heavy."

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Siwan nodded and looking back at Sigurn and Zai, motioned for them to follow.

"That is the way we shall go then, we will check the door when we get to it. Move carefully companions this place is alive with Magic and who knows what else."

The women weapons or spells at the ready crept down the hall toward the door Kora had indicated.

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On 7/2/2017 at 7:29 AM, Asarasa ST said:

"It believe it is coming from that direction," Kora said in terse softness. "But I cannot tell if it is coming from through that door we can just see or from further around the curve of the hallway or whether it is getting closer or further away. It sounds almost like footsteps, though very regular and very heavy."

Sigurn snapped out of thoughts and caught what her friends were saying. 

"Like a shambling undead or a golem, perhaps?" she asked, drawing her witch-axe once again with her shield at the ready as she followed her companions, careful to check over her shoulder every few seconds.

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Zai shrugged noncommittally, unsure of what they sound could be. Kora considered for a moment, then nodded in agreement with the Albadian bard. "Perhaps."

The quarter of women moved cautiously and quietly down the curving hall, the sound growing faintly louder. The inner curve of the hall - the wall shared with the chamber they had arrived in - was decorated with portraits of former masters and notables of the Circle of Eldritch Iron, which the school or arcane manufactory - it seemed to be one or the either or both - was called. The outer curve of the hall, pierced by what appeared to be equally spaced doorways held painted murals depicting scenes of sorcery and battle from the history of the Empire of the Wheel.

They reached the next doorway, the sound more prominent. Siwan read the Ancient Ledean above it, which simply proclaimed, 'Arms'. Kora paused at the doorway without passing through, head cocked as she listened intently. A moment later, she shook her head. "Not here," she finally decided. "The... footsteps, the come from the next doorway, I think."

They continued on, not wanting to be surprised from behind while they explored the arcane structure. This doorway was labelled as 'Armor'. Kora listened again, then nodded. The noise wasn't louder, but there was a difference in the quality of it. It was hard to judge in the spell warped atmosphere, but it sounded like less walls were interposed between them and the sound here. "Here."

Zai sidled up, checking the open archway for any traps, mechanical or arcane, glyphs or sigils perhaps hidden in the elaborated etched frame. She nervously keeping looking through the arch towards the sound as while she looked for traps. The sound, definitely louder now, grew more distinct, then after a moment, starting growing more faint.

Zai shook her head, finding no traps, then arched her brows, puzzled by why the footsteps - they had to be footsteps, despite how heavy and deliberate they sounded - seemed to be receding.

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