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 The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}

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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}   Mon Sep 24, 2012 11:53 pm

Inhaling, Arwyn allowed herself the briefest moment of weakness by closing her eyes and focusing solely on the mountain around her. She was less aware of anyone else, save for Thade who was standing the closest to her. She only managed to catch the last seconds of his fixed gaze when her eyes opened, before he turned to continue leading them through the maze of buildings built directly from the mountain itself. She followed as much in his footsteps as she allowed Har’dro to lead her. Sometimes she would stop and stare at a certain spot for a second or two but then she would move on as if nothing had happened and her eyes were once again focused ahead of them, where the workers mingled.

Arwyn began to feel a little self-conscious as one by one, Darnorn’s workers stopped to track their progress. Then she noticed their tools and eyed them skeptically. She was not much of a fan of these instruments, but she would not begrudge the Dwarves their fine crafts. After all they were not as magical as the Elves and therefore had to rely upon other means to rebuild.

With the large group of Caladwen’s army at her back and Thade at her front, she eyed the two approaching over her guide’s shoulder with some interest. The elf, whom Thade introduced as Sage was an unknown to her, as was the Dwarf known as Garvin. Both were in return greeted with the slight tilt of her head as she could say no more, since Thade was running into a short monologue. He really was far too serious for such a young elf. By the end of his little speech, Arwyn was looking at him with some amusement, and then shaking her head returned her attention to Sage and Garvin who were rising from their bows. It was the former that spoke first.

Oh no, I’m not very, just then, two more elves, younger in appearance and much similar to one another came scurrying up and removing her pack from her back. Wait… Don’t… If you just… one of the two rushed off with her bag while the other began to tug at her arm, a silent indication that she should follow. If stamping her little foot wouldn’t have seemed somehow spoiled, Arwyn would have done so. As it were she simply sighed and resigned herself to being led away…again. She didn’t like all of this game of follow the leader.

The building that they chose for her was modest, even now when everything seemed ready to crumble around them; it was of a sturdy make, though she was required to stoop low as she entered, since the doorways were made for Dwarves and not Elves. A makeshift bed had been set up, as well as a place to perform her toilette in case she should have to do some freshening up. Arwyn sat down on the single bed, close to her pack that was sitting on the floor beside it and started to dig out some of the items she had brought along. Most of them were nothing important, save for a leather bound journal that had a pale green ribbon tied around it to hold the book closed.

Upon the cover was inscribed her name surrounded by depictions of woodland creatures and a forest scenery. It was the only gift that her parents had ever given her, on the one birthday they had remembered before they were… It was full now, with no room even in the margins to scribble. Filled with all the things she had learned being the Princes’ Proxy. Her ‘go-to’ guide, as it were whenever she felt a task was too monumental for her to take on alone. While they were giving her time to rest, she would be spending it reviewing some of her notes and even fell into a short, restless nap for a time. Her body lying at an uncomfortable angle upon the bed so that when she woke, her back and neck were sore from the position.

Standing over the wash basin, she splashed a bit of cold water on her face and turned when the sound of someone clearing their throat broke the silence. Miss Lu’karn, if you are ready, I would like to discuss with you your impression of the mountain. Sage, the wizened silver-haired Elf stood with a distinguished air about him. Briefly she wondered if he was of Darnorn’s court and if he had ever known Larquin, her father. Of course, she ran the back of her arm across her face, using the sleeve of her tunic to wipe away the excess water as Sage stooped low to enter the building and stand with a stiff formality by the door. Har’dro, yutsu, she called to the Earth Prince. He returned to her by way of a shiver that traveled up her spine and changed the atmosphere of the room.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}   Tue Oct 02, 2012 8:04 pm

The climb up the mountain face and the trek through the caverns weren't enough to tire out Thade, and even if they were, he did not have the luxury of retiring to his own quarters. He approached the soldiers that accompanied Arwyn on their journey, and informed them that they were more than welcomed to make camp outside the building so that they could provide the Lady with a perimeter of defense. He also offered them whatever assistance they needed in getting set up. After that formality he turned on his heel and sought out the individual he left in charge during his absence.

He felt it was best not to leave either the leader of the Geomancers or the Engineers in charge, nor would he leave them both in joint leadership. One would surely exert that advantage over the other to get his way, or they would have mutually torn apart the effort so they could pursue their own ideas and methods. Instead he left a third party in charge, an older dwarf by the name of Griff. Thade found that he preferred dealing with dwarves opposed to other elves. Unless there was drink to be had or a grand story to be told, dwarves were much like their craftsmanship, meticulous attention to detail, and no excess ornamentation. Where an elf would go into unnecessary explanation, a dwarf would give just the facts.

Thade found Griff at the edge of the camp giving the blunt edge of his personality to a group of workers who had managed to make a mess of something in his opinion. The move quickly to get things in order, and gave a sigh of relief when Thade walked off, taking Griff with him. They had a great deal to talk about because Thade had been gone for a week. The pair took a long walk around the campsite, and sometimes ventured out into the city to allow Thade to see firsthand what Griff spoke of. Security was tight, and provisions were holding strong. The order established before the Elf left still held true on his return, but the excitement of the impending Princes' Proxy was stirring up the natives like a kicked hornet's nest. Thade only nodded to each subject and filed it away mentally.

After that Thade made his way back to the command office that had been set up to run operations from. There were quite a few messages that came back from scouts, and other senders he would need to read personally. He found one that was addressed to his eyes only, checked the wax seal for tampering, and then used a knife to break the seal. Just as he expected, he found a poisoned needle embedded in the wax that bore Darnorn's seal. It was good to know what to expect from the Dwarf. He didn't even trust his own people fully, with the exception of Thade. The news he found there made his brow furrow, and his scowl darken. Without saying a word Thade held the letter between his fingers and focused on the paper. The sheet's center began to glow and suddenly burst into a flame that quickly consumed it. The magical tongues of flame devoured everything, including the ash that tried to escape. When the amber lights were gone, nothing was left behind. Wiping his fingers on a handkerchief, Thade stood from his desk, and made his way to Arwyn's quarters.

Meanwhile at Arwyn's quarters Sage Tor Vryn'las stood in amazement at the power he felt flow into the slight elven noblewoman before him. Given his rank and experience, he was powerful in magics of nature, his focus being earth, and he had been in the presence of a great many gifted Shaman. What he sensed now dwarfed them all, himself included. His eyes grew wide, and he quietly mouthed the words more than spoke them "Har'dro..." Even though he could not see the Prince, he could feel the power of his presence in the woman before him. It took a few moments for the Sage to gather himself, but he was able to ask her. "Are you able to sense the entire range from here? If you like, I can escort you deeper into the city, so you are closer to the heart of the problem."

Sage Vryn'las took the initiative instead of waiting for a true answer to her question. He reached back and opened the door behind him and stepped out of it. His hand was extended in a polite gesture of invitation that extended out before them. "There are a few abnormalities that I have not been able to unravel and I would love to see if you can succeed where I failed." This project was extremely important to him. If he were successful, not only would he please the Emperor of Shadow, he would have forged a bond between the dwarves and the Elven Geomancers. The two could be formidable allies, and his own sense of ambition wanted to see it so. Sage Vryn'las escorted Arwyn through deserted city, deeper into its streets, and thus deeper into the mountain. The farther they went into the mountain, the more she could sense. Deep below her she felt fissures, faults that were wedged together tightly. Running through them was a number of then underground rivers that seemed new when compared to natural ones. The Enlightenment had opened up cracks in the water table that flowed beneath the land, and those cracks lead here beneath the mountain where water had not flown before. The presence of water would be like a blind spot to someone, like these Geomancers, who were not attuned to water.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}   Mon Oct 08, 2012 11:52 pm

Har’dro was not the cheeky one of the four Princes. If Arwyn had to describe the Earth Prince, she would have to say it was calm. Not so easily riled up, Har’dro settled over the Proxy like an invisible cloak. Already green eyes became a deeper shade of the same color and tracked the movements of the elder Elf like a hawk. Yes, thank you. From her bed she retrieved the journal and with it cradled against her chest proceeded the elder Elf from her quarters. Stationed outside had been two of the guards from the company that Caladwen had sent with her. She stayed them with a raised hand when they tried to follow her, a silent command that they need not bother. Though she was surrounded entirely by those loyal to the Emperor of the Shadow Court, Arwyn had reason to think that should anyone harm her then Darnorn would be highly displeased.

With Sage as her guide, she was led through the winding streets of the abandoned dwarven city. So far in they were that the noises of the worksite were dim echoes in the distance behind them. How deep into the mountain have you been able to reach? Looking at him with a piqued brow, Arwyn stopped her stride and knelt placing her book to the side and laying her hands flat against the stone road. Jous uns'aa nindel vel'bolen zhah velkyn. Her senses delved beneath the surface on which they walked; passing each layer of the earth through those many fissures that had been created during the Enlightenment and the mountain had become disturbed by the chaos of the world.

Har’dro showed her many such things that were previously unnoticed by Sage’s Geomancers and the Dwarves. The newly routed rivers that formed beneath the mountain to create soft shelves of land that, if disturbed, were ready to collapse. Years of water erosion had softened the mountain and made it more susceptible to crumbling. Arwyn eased herself out of the trance-like state she’d fallen into. Pulling away from her connection with Har’dro only slightly so that the Prince didn’t overpower her like he had in the past when she would over exert herself. With some effort she rose from the ground and ran the back of her hand across her brow; wiping away the perspiration that had formed there while she had been concentrating.

Below the mountain, there are…rivers that flow throughout like a system of webs beneath the city, she was indicating the ground as she spoke, drawing lines in the air with a pointed finger around her in all directions. With her hands on her hips now, she was staring at the ground in silent contemplation, wondering how she was going to fix such a complicated issue. From behind the sound of approaching footfalls caused the female Elf to barely glance over her shoulder in time to see Thade round the corner of one of the abandoned buildings towards them. She spared him one of her winning, friendly smiles right before she knelt and retrieved her book from the ground and placing her free hand against the stone once again.

Har’dro extended back into the mountain for a few spare seconds, making a second pass to make sure that neither the Prince nor his Proxy had missed anything. What measures have you taken to repair the damages thus far?

Translations:
Jous uns'aa nindel vel'bolen zhah velkyn = Show me that which is hidden
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}   Tue Oct 30, 2012 10:46 pm

Sage Vryn'las strode by Arwyn's side as he guided her deeper into the dwarven city.  Event hough his was not the center of the entire mountain range, it was the center of the massive cavern that housed the dwarven city.  The Sage brought her here because it would give her the best look at the heart of the city.  If necessary he could take her to the outlying boarders of the city so that she could commune with the cavern walls, but he had faith in the power of the Princes' Proxy.  He stood back and marveled at the second calling Har'dro which was no less amazing for having seen it already.  

 

There wasn't much for him to do while he waited, so he focused his attention on his eyes and watched the flows of mana that channeled through her and out into the stone around her.  Even though he had been a Geomancer for over two centuries, the way she wove mana through the element was something he had never seen before.  Even though it seemed alien, the way she did it seemed completely natural.  It was like a bird being shown how to fly properly after spending years simply gliding safely to the ground from great heights.  


"Water?!?" the Sage exclaimed, "None of the other Geomancers ever mentioned sensing the presence of water.  It must be buried deep within Terra.  The accounts of the Dwarves who inhabited the city never mentioned any presence of underground waterways.  They had to pipe in water from the surrounding lakes because the water table ran parallel to the mountain range and not beneath it."  The Sage knelt down and pressed his hand to the ground beneath his feet and opened himself to the magic around him so that he could sense the mountain as she did.  It was quite the eye opening experience because he was able to sense deeper, and now saw the blind spot in the stone and knew it for what it truly was.  "Water....amazing."


When asked about the methods they had used to repair the mountain range thus far, Vryn'las stood from the ground and gave his thoughts a moment to collect the list so that he could be thorough and complete.  "The Geomancers have tried delving into the mountainside with our magic to find any fissures in the stone.  Once we find them, we seal them by manipulating the stone to bind together. "  As he spoke he began walking once more, taking her through the city streets towards the outer edges.  "We have also taken to the task of strengthening the stone of the mountain to provide a type of superstructure within it. " When he spoke of the super structure he cupped his hands together as if encircling an invisible ball, and used his fingers as a rigid rib cage like formation.  "We were trying to protect the city with it like the shell of an egg protects the yolk"


"The dwarves have also been extremely busy.  For what they lack in magical prowess they certainly make up for in ingenuity." There was a tone of respect in his voice while he spoke about the dwarves.  "They have built wondrous machines that bore into the rock to find fractures and relieve the stress on them.  They have also begins mining ore, melting it, and injecting it into the mountain to give added stability.  ". Sage Vryn'las continued to speak as they walked. He filled the time of their trip with grand descriptions of these machines and how they worked.  If one really paid attention to how he spoke, it was as if he was speaking of it like it was magic instead of machinery.  When they reached the walls of the cave around the city, Arwyn could see the many machines lining the walls. They were massive titans of metal and genius, a testament to how much the dwarves wanted their city back. 


Since Arwyn was so in tuned with Har'dro and the mountain around her, she felt the approach of familiar footsteps.  She could see the darkness being parted by a pool of light as Thade approached holding the luminous crystal above his head.  As always his face was the stone make of determination as if there was always a task to be done.  "Lady Arwyn," he said when he finally got close enough to be heard. "I know we are among people we should be able to trust, but I must insist that if I am not with you, you are accompanied by some of the Queen's guards.  I don't want anything happening to you.  This is a big city." When he finally joined them, Thade fell instep with the two of them as Sage Vryn'las continued his tour. 


That very same connection that she had to the earth and to the magic of Terra was now telling her something else.  There was the quick repetition of steps speeding towards the three of them.   Suddenly this sprinter disappeared from her perceptions when it was about a hundred feet away.   For a moment there was nothing and it hung in the world like a bad silence between two people.  On the edge is her perceptions Arwyn felt a powerful surge of magic amassing, earth magic.   Whatever it was, it was coming towards them, and happening so fast that Thade and Sage Vryn'las were unaware.  Whatever it was was exploding in the air above them, sending shock waves of power into the rock around them.   The mountain began to rumble and the cave walls around them and floor beneath them erupted.  It was a cave in, and Arwyn had to act fast in order to save the three or them. 
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}   Sat Nov 10, 2012 10:58 pm

His exclamation at her revelation about the water startled Arwyn enough to make her jump slightly. Even a seasoned Geomancer should have known to delve further into the earth for faults than just what appeared on the surface. But she wouldn't tell Sage that, no doubt it would be unwelcome. These rivers are recent, made towards the end of the war after the city had been abandoned. They probably didn't think to search for water because none had ever existed when the city was alive. She felt proud at her discovery and gave a mental pat on the back for a job well done.

As the two elves set off deeper into the city, Arwyn allowed Har'dro to expand her senses outward while still listening to Sage. Tell the shaman to continue with the spells they are doing but they should also start working in spells to protect against erosion from the water. I can't divert the streams without causing the floors to collapse so it is best to just protect against them. It will also allow the dwarves to pipe from the rivers beneath them than having to seek it from outside the city.

They approached the machinery that Sage so raved about. Arwyn stared with some trepidation at them, her head tilting one way and then another as she tried imagining how they looked while in operation. She would never understand the fascination that the Shadow Court had with the dwarves or why they allowed one to sit upon the throne as their Emperor. But it was not her job to question these things. Ah Thade, there you are, she greeted him with a smile even though his expression was grim, as always. Immediately he went into reprimanding her about wandering off without him or any of her guard in tow. She smirked at him and had enough sense to look properly chastised, though it was feigned and she was laughing inside her own head.

Of course, Thade. My apologies for being so inconsiderate. She didn't know if he caught the teasing hint to her voice, but when she cut a sidelong glance at Sage she could tell that he was forcing his expression to remain blank while his eyes danced with amusement at the young Proxy. Walking between the two men as they continued their trek around the city, Arwyn studied the faults that Har'dro allowed her to see that would have been otherwise hidden. Many deep fissures within the mountain created throughout the previous hundred or more years. Nothing that wasn't easily fixed.

Thade is it possible for me to... she paused mid-sentence and slowed her steps, falling behind the two men. Arwyn looked in all directions, searching for the owner of the swift feet and then feeling a sudden panic when there was none. Her hands flexed down at her sides and she could feel Har'dro pushing her to run. We need to leave...NOW! The vibrations started out as just a small shift in the ground, barely noticeable at first and then growing into a rumble that nearly threw the Proxy off her balance. Tiny chips from the ceiling began to rain down upon them while long, deep cracks ran up the walls, across the floors and ceiling.

The whole section was ready to collapse in upon them. Arwyn had warned the other two to run, but she would remain behind, kneeling down with her hands pressed to the ground and a chant falling from her lips. Har'dro, xun ussta orn She was impressing upon the earth prince to still the mountain however her power, even with Har’dro to help was not great enough to calm the vibrations that rocked the foundation. Large portions of the cave roof broke away and began to tumble down upon them, crushing the machines built by the dwarves and cracking the floor beneath their feet. Arwyn remained crouched where she was, her eyes screwed tightly shut and her fingers digging into the ground as she repeated the phrase; her voice more determined each time the words came out.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}   Tue Nov 13, 2012 12:11 am

That was the beauty of attacking rather than building. It took more energy to build something than it took to destroy it. The cave was a wonder of dwarven engineering in its day, but now it was a house of cards waiting for a clumsy hand. That attack was more like a fist being slammed into it. Cave walls started to rumble and collapse in on themselves. The floor beneath them broke apart and gave way to gravity, allowing the trio to fall amid the rocks. Sage Vryn'las and Thade had not heeded Arwyn's warning to run. The Sage turned his head in curiosity to the sudden surge of magic, to see what it was. Thade's reaction was different. He spun on the balls of his toes, and threw himself between Arwyn and whoever was attacking them. That gesture proved futile, because there was no longer ground for him to hold.

Sage Vryn'las yelled out in terror as he fell through the air amid the debris. Even though it was his element he was surrounded by, the Sage was taken off guard, and fate was not kind to him. He franticly grabbed at the energies of Terra around him and tried to summon his magic to aid him, but there wasn't enough time. Two immense boulders collided together, with his chest between them, driving the air from his lung as they broke ribs. Terror driven incantation became cries of agony, but they were quickly silenced. His life came to an abrupt end as suddenly as his fall ended. The stones beneath and above him fell into a haphazard pile with his broken body between them. The Sage was beyond help and beyond caring because he no longer drew breath.

Thade wasn’t taken by surprise as the Sage had been. When Arwyn called out the warning, The Emperor’s Hand attacked, because he was always ready for battle. The mana and life force that constantly circulated through his body increased its pressure, and Thade felt his body bursting with power. His two hands quickly moved through complicated gestures, drawing on mana, and shaping it to task. An extra sensory awareness of something outside his body came into being. It was the familiar tingle at the back of his mind of the telekinesis spell giving it a way to directly influence the physical world. He didn’t know what he was fighting, or what he needed to defend against, so Thade chose the most versatile spell he knew. It was like having an extra set of hands that could be shaped and used on the fly.

Having this versatility was the only thing that saved his life as the floor fell out from beneath him and the cave walls began collapsing inward. Thade could not fly so his only option was to use what tools he had at his disposal inventively. He began by creating collections of solidified telekinetic energy to use as stepping stones. He pushed off of them to propel himself away from falling boulders and make his way towards Arwyn. ”Arwyn!!“ he yelled as he leapt from telekinetic platform to telekinetic platform, in an erratic path to make his way to the elf he was charged with protecting. He had no true way to deal with the falling rocks and breaking earth. He was relying on Arwyn to do something to save them both. ”Do something!!“ he yelled as he did all he could to keep from getting crushed in the air before landing and getting crushed.

All around them were massive chunks of rock tumbling about chaotically. Beneath them, the cave floor was quickly becoming an imminent danger. Whoever attacked them was no were to be seen at the moment, and there was no other magical signatures around them at the moment. Arwyn could feel the magic coursing through Thade’s body, but there was no other presence than his. In her expanded perceptions of the world around her Arwyn could feel the mountain range quaking. It was as if the house of cards was now reacting like a long chain of dominos. The structure was beginning to crumble and getting worse as it spread from this point. If someone didn’t stop it, the entire mountain chain was going to collapse in on itself and everyone back at the camp would be killed. The Geomancers back at the camp may be able to save someone of them, but stopping the loss of the city was beyond their skill and ability.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}   Sat Nov 17, 2012 11:29 pm

Later on, when this story was recounted, Arwyn would swear that time had slowed to a near grinding halt. But then she would also say that everything happened so fast that it was almost like the blink of an eye. The Sage's screams made her eyes pop open and watch as his body was crushed beneath the path of falling rock. Tears spilled down her cheeks as she watched the older Elf disappear from sight, never to be seen again.

Another tremble of the mountain and Arwyn's focus shifted to the world around her. She saw the world as Har'dro saw it; everything was more clear and she could see the layers that made up the earth. As her head swiveled around and her green eyes, moist with unshed tears focused on Thade, the blonde elf realized then that if she didn't do something then they too would join Sage.

The caverns below them were opening and filling with the crumbling floors of the mountain, slowly but surely as the ground she knelt upon broke away in large chunks with the help of the ceiling as it dropped. Har'dro, xun ussta orn! Har'dro, xun ussta orn! Louder she screamed the verse, over and over again as she force her will into the mountain as well as the power infused to her by Har'dro.

Around her the mountain began to still and the rock reform itself. Fusing together in a slow fashion as she pushed herself and her ability to its absolute limit. The green of her eyes darkened until the iris nearly matched her pupil in color. A trickle of bright crimson formed at her left nostril, beading at the entrance and then slowly traveling down to her lips which were still moving. Her eyes focused now beyond Thade, who was hopping from one platform to the next.

There was a light that illuminated the crevices between the broken stones as well as the gaping holes around them. Bright enough to illuminate the entire area within a two mile radius and appear to those on the far side of the cavern as a patch of sunlight. Thade's platforms were no longer telekinetic but solidly formed ground as the mountain began to take on it's original form with jagged pieces of rock jutting up from the ground where they had landed and filling in the holes that had opened up into the rivers below.

In the time that the mountain had been stitching itself back together, Arwyn and Thade had fallen through the cavern floor into the tunnels beneath the city. Har'dro, ku'lam! Beneath them a blast of rock sprouted up to greet the two elves; not softening their landing by much but allowing them the luxury of surviving the fall with nary more than a few bruises and scrapes.

The earthquake ceased only when the last of the rock had been placed and Arwyn was laying unconscious on the tunnel floor from having bashed her head against the rock that had caught her. Her left palm, where her thumb connected with her hand was marked with the earth symbol. When the others from above came running to check for them, there would be no trace of the Proxy or the Emperor's Hand, nor of The Sage. Only a pile of broken machinery and fallen rocks where the three should have been.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}   Fri Nov 23, 2012 4:05 am

Trust wasn't something the Hand of Shadow did easily, but this was a case of extreme circumstances. There was nothing he could do to stop the cave in, or falling rocks all around him. He could use the Ethereal Jaunt spell to take him someplace else, but he could only return to a place that he had been in the last hour. Every one of those places was in the dwarven city. He may be able to get away from this place, but he would still be in the belly of the beast, and he would be leaving his charge behind. Abandoning Arwyn was not an option. Darnorn tasked him with protecting her, and she was a fellow Elf. Humans fled to save themselves, leaving their fellows behind. Elves were better, and Thade sought to prove it with every action he took. His choice made, Thade continued to fall through open space dodging bounders, trusting Arwyn to save them.

The Prince's Proxy rewarded his faith with a breath taking display of power. The cave floor that lay beneath them began to shift, then erupted it upwards, and started to fall again. The combination of movements matched their descent enough to keep them from being crushed by the sudden stop. Thade rolled with the impact and came back up on to his feet. The stones above their heads that should have surely fallen upon them, landed haphazardly around them. Thade had seen the boulders above them. There wasn't enough luck in the world to keep all of them from hitting the pair to either cripple or kill them. By some miracle Arwyn had managed to save them, and the falling rocks landed all around them in a labyrinth of stone.

Once Thade had his feet under him he immediately looked for Arwyn. He saw the elven woman strike her head and fall to the cave floor. Without hesitation he ran to her side and crouched over her. Hands searched over neck and chest for signs of life. He found a pulse, and felt her chest rising and falling. She was alive and his mission had not been failed. Thade didn’t breath in relief yet because the assassin was still lurking about. He stood from Arwyn cautiously, with hands held at waist level, and ready to act. Stormy azure eyes searched the darkness, but found nothing. Only a little bit of light filtered through the dust floating in the air from his light crystal that had fallen on the ground where he had landed fifteen feet away.

There was nothing to be seen and he listened carefully, but all was quiet. One foot after another, he crept around Arwyn’s unconscious body, making a full circle, searching the surroundings, and still nothing. Unhappy with waiting a growl rumbled in his throat. Thade stepped over Arwyn’s body and began to slowly move out into the darkness. He would rather hunt than be hunted. He followed his instincts and moved away from the light knowing that the darkness offered more places to hide, so it was more likely to be where he found the assassin. Steadily he moved into the darkness, closing his eyes so he could pay greater attention to his other senses.

The assassin, however, was very patient, and watched from the safety of stone ensconced darkness as Thade left his charge. The assassin smiled to himself at the hubris of the Shadow Court’s infamous killer. He was nothing more than an attack happy dog. Arwyn was his target and the bastard heir left her wide open to attack. The assassin summoned and infinitesimal amount of his magic while he was hidden and wove it over his feet so that they were prevented from making any noise when they contacted the ground. Perfectly silent he stalked forward through the shadows towards his mark. In his hand he held a tainted blade dagger, ready to pierce flesh. It was doubly deadly because if its sharp blade did not deal a fatal wound, the magic would poison the flesh, and cause the body rot and die.

Thade’s senses were sharp, but the standard five were not what he was focused on. Most shaman could see the energies of magic with their eyes so that they could decipher the make-up of spells. Thade was a shaman but his training in the art of Ny’zul Kahn had given him a special sensitivity to mana. He could feel its presence, when others could not see it. Thade felt the gathering of small amounts of mana as he moved through the darkness, and knew it was the assassin. The killer had taken the bait, Arwyn. In his mind, the Hand kept a sense of where he left Arwyn, and he waited until the mana he sensed almost overlapped it. His heart beat faster and faster the closer the two came to one another. He stood there, like a coiled spring, waiting to be unleashed.

The assassin’s blade darted forward like a striking viper seeking Arwyn’s throat, intent on slicing it open. ‘NOW!’ he thought to himself and forced his body to go where his focus was. That sense of Arwyn’s location had been the beginning of the Ethereal Jaunt spell. Thade was aware of every place he had been in the last hour, like a trail of afterimages left behind in his wake. The place he chose to go back to was where he had stepped over Arwyn’s unconscious body. One moment the assassin was stabbing his blade at the undefended length of Arwyn’s throat, and the next his wrist was being crushed in Thade’s iron grip. Thade suddenly appeared crouching over Arwyn. His left hand darted out to the side, to grab hold of the assassin’s wrist, and push it off course. His right hand slammed into the assassin’s face in an open palmed strike.

Mana gathered in Thade’s hand, and at the moment of impact the energies erupted outward into his target. All things possessed energies that made their existence possible. Ny’zul was so deadly because it disrupted those energies. The assassin’s head not only snapped backwards from the strike, the energies injected at this particular spot disrupted his mind. His perceptions were dazed far worse than any mere blow to the head could do, and because of it, he was unable to grasp at the flows of mana to work magic. He took advantage of that off balanced moment to twist the assassin to the side, and drag him down to the ground away from Arwyn. He wanted whoever this was alive so he could question him.

The moment Thade had the assassin down, one precise strike to the assassin’s spine was supposed to disable his ability to move his appendages. Unfortunately this hired killer was a professional, and didn’t believe in being taken alive. Still able to move his jaw, the assassin bit down on something in his mouth, and let out a scream of pain. Fire shot from his eyes and his mouth. The brilliant flash of flame lasted only a few seconds, but it was more than enough to burn away everything inside his skull. There would be no knowledge gleaned from him. ”NO!!!!” Thade yelled out in protest to no avail.

With the assassin dead and there nothing to be learned from him, Thade delivered a series of strikes to his body that would be certainly fatal for a number of fey races just to be certain that the suicide wasn’t an elaborate ruse. He pulled the dagger from the corpse’s hand as he muttered the incantation for his telekinesis spell, and reached out with his mind to recover his Light Crystal. Now that he had the benefit of being able to see in detail, he began to search the body for useful clues. He didn’t want to leave Arwyn’s side while she was unconscious. There was a chance that he may get lost amid all the rubble, or worse, fall into another endless cave system. He had no idea where they were, or how to get back so it was better to wait for the Princes’ Proxy to wake up. For the time being, he would ponder what little he learned from what he found.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}   Tue Nov 27, 2012 12:28 am

While she was out, Arwyn dreamt of verdant fields as far as the eye could see. Full and newly bloomed without so much as a trace of the old destruction wrought by the war of men years ago. She saw the V'nal d' Ssussun (Vale of Light) and the Ssussun Valshath (Light Palace) where her cousin, Caladwen ruled over the Light Court. Further north were the Barra Obok thac'zilen (Shadow Highlands), where the Emperor Darnorn ruled over the Shadow Court and the Mountain Dwarves with an iron fist. The same mountains that Arwyn was currently trapped beneath. Perhaps these were visions of what was yet to come, or a simple taunt inflicted upon her by the fading remains of Har'dro, the former Prince with whom she'd severed the connection with and obtained the power, evident by the burn mark on the palm of her hand.

NO!

Startled into consciousness Arwyn woke with a jerk. Her head throbbed something fierce and she gingerly prodded the goose egg that had formed where her head struck the rock, thankfully her hand came away clean. Feeling a tad nauseous, she refrained from rising to her feet thinking that the sudden change in altitude might upset her constitution and instead peered into the dark with blurred vision to find her protector beating the corpse of the would-be assassin. Thade, her voice was quiet, too soft to even echo in he cavernous space they sat. He didn't need to be told that the assassin was dead, she could read it in the angry way he held the body by the shirt collar, but he needed to be calmed. Perhaps focusing on something other than that failure would do it?

When her stomach stopped doing flips she staggered to her feet (with Thade's help if he offered) and looked around the darkness. Very little light was permitted this far below the city, with most of the ceiling above them having been remade during their descent into the cavern thanks to her exertion of power. The blonde elf dusted herself as her eyes adjusted to the darkness and shapes began to take form; dark masses against an even darker backdrop. It was nearly suffocating however she somehow felt the open space around her, knowing that there was open air up to 3 yards ahead of her before a wall rose up fifteen feet above them.

To the east and west of them opened two enormous tunnels, which then branched off into smaller passage ways in four other directions. A system of long passage ways that mazed beneath the stone city of the dwarves and eventually opened up into the forest at the base of the mountain some one hundred miles in front of them. This is...amazing... she spoke, not to him directly but in general. Arwyn, though blind in the darkness, felt as if she could see everything. But it wasn't sight, more of a sense of knowing where everything was, where to step and what sort of earth surrounded them. A new power was coursing through her veins now, giving her a sense of worth that she did not feel before now.

Darkness gave way to light as Thade produced his light crystal. Oh, there you are. I was wondering where you had run off to. Are you unhurt? She gave him a cursory once over from head to toe and he appeared unharmed. However in their short acquaintance Arwyn had learned that Thade was not a man who worried about his well being overly much. So she forged on, pointing into the darkness ahead of them with a cat got the canary smile, I know the way out of here.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}   Thu Nov 29, 2012 10:58 am

When Arwyn finally regained consciousness and came to her senses completely Thade was there waiting patiently. Laying off to the side was the dead body of her would be assassin. His face was burned out, but vaguely elvish features remained behind. Even if he wasn't an elf, he was some off shot species. Directly beside Thade was a small row of objects. "You alright?" he asked her first and waited for her to tell him that she was. He was impressed by how she was handling this entire ordeal. He had imagined her crying and running in terror, but the girl kept her wits in the face of death, and still refused to break down after the danger had passed. It took a lot to impress The Hand, and this noble was a far cry from court typical.

"I have no doubt that this was an attempt on your life.", he said in that brooding rasp of his. His voice seemed at home in the darkness, like it belonged cloaked in shadow. "The attack was focused on you. When you lost consciousness, he waited until I left your side to come out of hiding and attack you and not me." Thad picked up a strange piece of metal that looked as if it were crafted to fit in a mouth around teeth. His other hand picked up a dagger that looked to have the same scrollwork pattern in its design. "These are a matched set. The dagger is enchanted with a rotting sickness, and he had this in his mouth to make sure he wasn't taken alive. I had him subdued and he set it off by choice. Whoever he was, he was a professional. "

Thade took off his coat and bundled up the two matched pieces along with a few other things: a lock of hair, a severed fore finger, a scrap of cloth, and one of his shoes. There wasn't much to go on, so he took as much as he could in hopes that something would be of use. With all the evidence secured, he stood up and looked to Arwyn. They couldn't stay there hoping for someone to find them, and she was their best hope of making it out. Arwyn seemed to understand the meaning of his look without the need for words. That garnered another mark in her favor. She had common sense and a grasp of the situation. Thade was certain that he had judged her wrong.

Falling into step beside her the two elves marched through the bowels of the mountain, taking the various twists and turns. He did his best to try and focus on the puzzle of who hired the assassin, but there was something else bothering him. After a few turns he asked. ”That mark on your hand... It wasn’t there before the cave in. Are you alright?“ He wouldn’t press the issue but he felt it was worth a shot to ask. If she spoke about it, he would listen. If she didn’t he would allow the issue to fade away for the time being. Thade would remain silent until the two of them walked past a strange pattern in the rock wall. ”This mark….. I’ve seen it somewhere before.“

Thade was searching his memory for any recollection of that pattern, and almost missed Arwyn telling him that there was a large void in the stone beyond the wall, meaning there was a cavern. Curiosity forced him to ask her to open the wall and grant him access to what discover what was on the other side. What he found was enough to take his breath away. The limited pool of light that came off his crystal illuminated a large metallic structure. ”By the great mother….“ he said when his voice returned. Thade knew what the eight foot tall man made of metal was. He’d seen them in action during the war; companies of them marching against human armies, leaving devastation in their wake. ”War golems…. I thought they had all been destroyed.“ The peace treaty had specifically called for the destruction of these monsters, and forbade the creation of more.

This was a lost cache that had somehow survived the Treaty purge. Whoever created this armory had either intentionally kept it secret, or was no longer alive to tell about it. He carefully walked out into the cavern, picking his way through the forest of war machines. Light fell on one after another, and it seemed endless. There had to be hundreds of them. It was a sizeable force, an army that one could wage a small scale war with, or start a very large one. He turned back to look at Arwyn, ”You can’t tell anyone about this. We don’t know who we can trust. Someone has already tried to have you killed, and you weren’t the only target. The magic he used started a cave in that brought this whole mountain down on us. Whoever it was doesn’t want this city resurrected and I don’t know why. It could be anyone, even Caldwin or Darnorn.“ He turned to meet her eyes when he said those treasonous words. ”You don’t seem the type to make political enemies. Perhaps they want to remove you and make Darnorn’s venture a failure, or he eliminating you allows him to save face and use you as a scapegoat. You have no reason to trust me, but I am the only one you can. BOTH Courts are dangerous places.“
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}   Sun Dec 02, 2012 5:35 pm

As they walked through the labyrinth of tunnels, following Arwyn's sudden uncanny sense of direction in the dark with only a small globe of light to shine their way, Thade inquired after her well-being without telling her about his own. In truth she was a little shaken up but figured that the shakiness she felt could be attributed to the new found power that was surging through her body. I'm fine, truly. She gave him a reassuring smile while scrubbing her palms against her thighs, rubbing off the sweat. I'm just a little shaky and nervous now. Too much adrenaline in my system.

They were both staring down at her palm, at the symbol burned into her hand that hadn't been there that morning. I don't know what that is. I've never seen it before. Taking her hand away from him, Arwyn inspected the opposite palm but found nothing. Thade knew what it was, he said as much but trailed off without elaborating on it. They continued further into the tunnels, taking turns whenever she indicated a new direction that they must travel. Thade...there's something that way. Behind that wall. She motioned to the right of the direction they were heading in; pointing at a mass of solid rock wall beside them.

For the both of them, the curiosity they felt at wanting to know what lay beyond the wall was too much to handle. At Thade's request, she picked away at the wall before them. A single, miniscule crumb from the wall pulled at the perfect angle and before them a passageway opened, large enough for them to pass through side by side. What they found shocked both elves into stunned silence. Arwyn was quiet because besides finding an army of large, metallic beings, Thade spoke of them with such a reverence that she did not need to ruin it by asking what a 'war golem' was.

Her green eyes took in everything and missed nothing. Shifting uneasily between the metal man and Thade as he stepped forward to inspect the cold structure more closely before turning back to her. His voice was pitched low and laced with a commanding tone that could no be mistaken. To be honest, I'm not even sure what these creatures are. I've heard the term used before, by the Generals in Caladwen's armies and Caladwen herself. She was chewing on her lower lip now, staring passed him at the dimly lit figure of the war golem behind Thade. I won't tell anyone. But then you can't tell anyone about this, she held up her hand to indicate the mark on her palm, Not until one of us can figure out what it means.

She wouldn't have him running back to Darnorn, telling the dwarf king all about this symbol on her hand and how she came to have it. To seal the deal Arwyn shook hands with Thade and they left the cavern, leaving the war golems behind. She resealed the opening to the cavern and with each stone replaced the wall of rock reformed until it looked as it did before they arrived, giving no indication of any tampering whatsoever. How do you think everyone else fared? There was a measure of worry in her voice when she asked after the rest of the people who'd been in the mountain city. Arwyn couldn't be sure that the cave-in had extended all the way to the other side of the city. But she sincerely hoped that the others had survived.
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PostSubject: Re: The Shadow in your debt {Tag: Arwyn}   Mon Feb 11, 2013 8:51 pm

The spellbound gaze that the war golems held Thade in was broken by the sound of Arwyn’s voice. The shadow bound elf turned to look at the sun dweller. The blonde haired elf was like a light in the darkness as he stood there among the monuments of death from times passed. ”You have a deal. I won’t speak of the mark…. Or what you did to anyone.” Thade reached behind him and pulled free the leather gloves that were tucked there. From beneath his jacket he pulled out the dagger that was tucked there yet seldom used. Thade cut the fingers and thumbs from both the gloves, and then he pulled tight the drawstrings that laced their backs, and retied them.

Thade handed the gloves to her now that they were tailored to his liking and said, ”If you don’t want people asking questions you’re not ready to answer, you’d better keep them from seeing it.” If Arwyn took the gloves she would find the leather coverings able to cover her palms while leaving majority of her fingers free to work. They were a bit baggy since they were made for hands larger than hers, but the draw strings created a comfy fit that wouldn’t go anywhere. Thade sheathed his dagger and picked up the removed fingers that he had cut free. He didn’t want to leave any evidence that they had been here for someone to possibly find.

”These will be our secrets.” Thade took a step back towards the entrance of the room, and turned towards it. ”We should go back and check on them. If they’re alive I’m sure the camp is in chaos. I’m hoping they are.” Once he reached the large opening keen eyes were devoted to searching for the locking mechanism. It was easier to see from this side now that it was open. The dwarves that made it were masters at their craft, and even with knowing what he was looking for they were still hard to find. Having watched Arwyn open the lock, Thade figured out what it would take to reclose the door with a few intuitive leaps. He shifted two rocks to the side and the great wall started to move. He turned around and cocked his head to the side for Arwyn to follow him.

Stepping out with her, Thade turned back to spare one last glace at the war golems. Thoughts formed in his mind as pieces were added to the board. He had his own thoughts for what to do with them, and didn’t want anyone else’s thoughts to conflict his own. Yes, these secrets were theirs to keep. His line of site was cut off by the wall of rock and Thade watched as the people slid back into place. Its positioning was perfectly aligned with where it had been before. He marked it in memory and repeated the exact motion that Arwyn made to open the secret room. Just as before the rock wall slid open. He needed to make sure that it still worked as it was supposed to. What good were these things if there was no way he could regain access to them. He finally reclosed the room and followed Arwyn’s uncanny sense of direction back to the city and the camp.

The camp they returned to was in fact embroiled in chaos. The engineers and geomancers were running around among the structures doing what they could to check the cavern’s integrity and reinforce it. Thade immediately strode into the mess and started barking orders to bring things back under control. After a few moments the people scrambling fell to his authority and began forming groups as they were set to task. On the outskirts of the city the soldiers that had accompanied Arwyn to the dwarven city were organizing search parties. One of them bellowed out that he had found her the moment he caught sight of Arwyn. The commander of the small contingent started barking orders to have the search teams found and ordered back to camp. Thade didn’t give them any orders because they weren’t under his command. He left their actions to Arwyn.

After a while order was restored, and a head count was taken. As it turns out the quake had begun on the outskirts of the mountain range, and stopped before the ripples reached the city with enough strength to bring it down. They Geomancers were puzzled as to how it suddenly came to an end. A dwarven engineer came running in to the cavern yelling something that caught everyone’s attention. One Thade was able to calm him down he reported that there was a lake beginning to form outside the mountain range on the eastern side. The bedrock beneath the mountain range had shifted and collapsed. It dammed up the underground rivers that had started to flow beneath the mountain range during the Enlightenment. The water was no longer a problem as it was now flowing to the surface to fill the valley creating a lake. Now the problem was repairing long chasms and trenches that they left in their path. If that could be done, the city would be safe for inhabitance. Thade ordered one of the Geomancers to report the change to Arwyn, and ensure that she has all the resources she needs to see her work done because the Sage was gone.
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