The Tower of Druaga (Game Thread)

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Spiriah disappeared, poof, gone.

"Well, glad to see that's over. Now we can finally get off this level-oh crap!"

Atticus turned back to see the small army moving at top speed, emerging from the pool. Damien threw the two blue capsules Atticus had given him into the water spreading out and sealing the entrance. He then quickly turned back to the group.

"We need to leave, forget the crystal men, they are almost harmless. Stonefuse, push forward, clear a path for Aleister,Nathan and Caedis to finish off what you knock out of the way, use each other. Faunra, Atticus, form a ring with Zavier and Veritas, protect yourselves and follow right behind the other three. Prail, you're with me, your job is to keep me moving behind the group and support me as rearguard, use those flyers you have to distract them. We're going to be swarmed if we don't move now. NOW GO!"

"Sir yes freaking sir!" Atticus yelled as he realized how many crystal guardians had really followed them and noticed the walls slightly cracking. Atticuc through 3 tornado traps into the small army of guardians and continued following Damien's orders. As they ran, more of the walls on each side of them began crumbling away and Atticus could make out small shimmers between the cracks and a few began leaking.

"Stonefuse, you heard Damien, pick up the pace!" Atticus yelled as he began to grasp what was about to happen.

"We're going to be swarmed if we don't move now. NOW GO!" Damien said, ordering the group into battle formation. Faunra didn't need to be told twice.

Running forward, she made to grab the last of her discarded equipment before circling up with Atticus, Zavier, and Veritas. While retrieving her equipment, she spotted it, lying on the floor, forgotten - the Spiriah's three fingered, blue-grey hand, his cards dissolving into dust. Feeling particularly spiteful, she grabbed the limb, intent of mounting it to a wall sometime in the near future, and stuffed it into her bag, along with a handful of gems she had "liberated". Faunra then got into position next to Atticus, who was busy throwing tornado traps while escaping farther into the underwater chamber.

"I hope someone has an idea of how to get out of here cause I would rather not go swimming with those crystal warriors again." she said, eager for an answer she expected would never come.

The chamber was flooding, stone pillars and crystals sheening with water. It poured through openings in the transparent wall. The guardians smashed at the ice barrier, giving the party precious time.

And then, the ceiling simply collapsed.

Most of the water from the ruptured wall stayed in the front, but tons of it rushed down into the rest of the structure. The sound of ripping rock was heard and everything began to shake. The smoothed corridor came back to a series of rocky tunnels. As the climbers ran down the jeweled tunnel the water came rushing on them. Within a space of seconds three feet of ocean water flowed past as a river. It splashed and sprayed all around. Ramirez lost his footing and was carried along with the flood. He landed in a cave pool and came up gasping. The guardians came into view, kicking up water and pebbles as they moved.

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Zavier stopped quickly when Spiriah vanished. That wasn't the last time they'd seen him, he knew. More crystalline guardians began to come to life though, to take Spiriah's place. Zavier had pivoted, preparing to engage this new threat, when he noticed a steady dripping of water in the cavern. A dripping that was rather quickly becoming louder and more noticeable.

"We need to leave, forget the crystal men, they are almost harmless. Stonefuse, push forward, clear a path for Aleister,Nathan and Caedis to finish off what you knock out of the way, use each other. Faunra, Atticus, form a ring with Zavier and Veritas, protect yourselves and follow right behind the other three. Prail, you're with me, your job is to keep me moving behind the group and support me as rearguard, use those flyers you have to distract them. We're going to be swarmed if we don't move now. NOW GO!"

Zavier was already dashing toward his pack before Damien had even finished. He lunged for his belongings and pivoted back toward the others with impressive speed. The water flow was picking up, cracks in the foundation of the cavern were springing leaks at a disquieting pace. Zavier kept pace with the group, all running as quickly as they could. For a moment there, things seemed to be well-enough. The leaks were troubling and would flood the cavern, but the water level wasn't rising at a pace quite quick enough that imminent fear of drowning was an issue. With the pace the group was keeping, it seemed likely that they would find an exit, or at least some higher ground, before the cavern completely flooded.

Then he heard the ceiling collapse, followed quickly with the sound of thousands of gallons of water rapidly rushing in. "This is hardly good." Zavier said.

Aleister watched as Spiriah vanished into a mist, he realised that this wouldn't be the last time that the group met him. Spiriah seemed to be eliminated a bit too quickly, almost as if it wasn't really him at all. He then heard the order from Damien.

"Stonefuse, push forward, clear a path for Aleister,Nathan and Caedis to finish off what you knock out of the way, use each other."

Aleister kept his blade in hand as he hurriedly packed up the health kit, making sure not to miss a single item; as some of them were rather rare, and hard to come by in the tower. When he was finished, Aleister formed the small group of him, Caedis, and Nathan; who would act as a clean up squad for anything Stonefuse failed to kill with a single blow from his fists.

As soon as everyone was prepared, they rushed through a nearby cave passage; as the cracks in the wall became more apparent. Aleister tried to slow down the flow of water, by patching the cracks up with ice magic. Whilst some of them succeed, many failed to hold long enough to have any sort of effect.

It was at that moment, in which part of the ceiling caved in, causing thousands of gallons of water to come flooding in like a great tidal wave. Aleister managed to steady his balance, but just barely. He only just noticed Nathan rushing past him, and falling into a cave pool.

Atticus began slipping, his legs sloppily scrambling to maintain balance. He slowly made his way up front and grabbed onto Stonefuse. The water was rushing beneath their feet and Atticus felt that the entire cave might flood at this rate. That changed from might to definitely when Atticus looked back and saw the gigantic title wave behind them. He then saw Nathan rush by and land in a cave pool up ahead. This gave him an idea.

"Well, it's either live or die, might as well try to survive." Atticus said as he jumped away Stonefuse, landed on his back, and was carried forward by the current. Nathan was gasping for air, getting out of the rim of the cave pool as Atticus rushed by and grabbed him. The two were now being carried down the cave and Atticus looked back to see the group fading out of view.

"Guys, go with the flow!" Atticus yelled as he and Nathan continued down the cave, weaving down paths, towards and opening. The two were then ejected from the cave and launched into a small wading pool.

"Guys, go with the flow!" Aleister could hear Atticus yell, as he and Nathan was carried along the current by the flow of water from above them.

"Might as well then join them, after all, can't keep my footing forever." Aleister remarked, as he walked to the edge of the rapidly flooded passageway. He graciously leapt into the cave pool below, and rapidly came up to the surface.

"Well, that was fun." He remarked with a laugh, as Aleister was heading towards Atticus and Nathan.

Prail did as instructed sticking to the back of the group and making every attempt she could to hold up their pursuers.
They got uncomfortably close more than a few times and the water was thick and fast. Narrowly avoiding a falling rock that would have cost her a hand or potentially a whole arm she kept up hopefully she wouldn't need to use her tail as motivation.
If she had post a hand that couldn't she'd have had to waster weeks regenerating it.
Then she reached the edge.
Nowhere to go but down and wet.
Her jump wasn't the most graceful; streamlined wouldn't be the word to say the least.
The splash was massive and it took her much longer than she was comfortable with to get back to the surface. She failed about a bit before trying to grab on to the nearest person for stability. Hope they appreciated the extra weight.

Zavier saw Atticus and Nathan jump into the water and get carried away downstream. Aleister jumped in soon after them. Zavier looked up ahead, they weren't going to outrun the water, and there were worse decisions he'd made. With a sigh of impending regret Zavier leapt into the current after his comrades. The water was colder than he'd remembered, or perhaps it was the rapid current rushing through the cave's tunnel system. Regardless, a few moments later the current slowed and Zavier emerged to find Aleister, Atticus and Nathan laughing like children. "And I was just getting dry." Zavier said as he swam toward his companions.

"Well, that was fun." Aleister said, laughing a bit.

Atticus broke out in laughter along with Nathan. That was probably the most obvious yet crazy plan Atticus had thought up in a while. Boy, this transfer to the next level was a lot more difficult than some of the others.

"And I was just getting dry." Atticus heard Zavier say as he walked over.

"You and me both, buddy. Luckily, all of our stuff, such as your books, are still dry." Atticus said holding up the bags he'd made. Atticus looked up at the entrance, more water rushing through. Hopefully the others were on their way. The sooner they got down here, the sooner they could get off this level.

And Atticus could set up a few traps, just in case the guardians hadn't given up yet.

Damien did as he said he would, which was to cover their retreat, Prail did more than he asked of her, which both gave him a measure or satisfaction as well as a small dose of annoyance. Wherever he swung Altimar, crystal men toppled and few of their attacks managed to get past Lariss, and the few that did, he angled his armor to disrupt the force behind them.

He came to the pool and was determined to hold them off as long as he could when he was pulled under by the weight of Prail pulling on his leg. He managed to hold onto his sword, and sheathed it once they were both under the water, a meager bit of light returned as Altimar was returned to his small prison.

He and Prail arrived just as Atticus finished speaking.

"You and me both, buddy. Luckily, all of our stuff, such as your books, are still dry."

"Is everyone unharmed?"

Her horns spluttered there was a choking sound as water shot out violently and she stumbled a little.
She luckily she had an extra Limb to keep her as close to up right as she could really get at the moment.
She behind her expecting to hear the frantic fluttering.
No such noise.
She lay down on the ground. Looking up.
Another new sky wonder what their next world was going to be like.

With a resounding crack, the ceiling above gave way, releasing a torrent of water crashing down upon them. Their hard fought dry land quickly gave way to the uncompromising wrath of the ocean above. The chaos that ensued destroyed the finely crafted formation Damien had constructed as though a hovel before a mighty storm.

"Guys, go with the flow!" Atticus called, before jumping into the rapidly growing pool below. Stonefuse, Zavier, Aleister, Damien and Prail quickly followed, Nathan as well though not by any choice of his own. Their course decided, Faunra jumped head first into the unquiet pool with surprising grace. She stayed below for a moment, trying to confirm if any crystal monsters might have followed them and if there was an exit they had missed beneath the waves. Seeing neither, she returned to the surface just in time for Damien to call out "Is everyone unharmed?"

"More or less." she responded, glancing at her bandaged shoulder to be certain. The stitches had snapped in the long running fight, but the blood had clotted; she would need to redo the bandage when they were in the clear but it would hold for the time being.

Faunra then turned her attention to Atticus. "So, any idea where we go to next?" she said, swimming to rejoin the group of waterlogged adventurers

"So, any idea where we go to next? Faunra asked.

Atticus looked around the new cave they had entered and noted only one way out. An opening on the wall behind them.

"Well, there's that one opening over there. Nowhere else to go and good luck getting back out of this cava. I'd also suggest getting out of the water." Atticus said laying a few tornado traps andblue capsules, behind him as well as a small motor-like device that emitted a smoke that smelled like rotten eggs.

"I'd rather not have the guardians following us, if they're still in pursuit."

The rushing water continued, but even through it the travelers could see the shapes of open ocean. And then suddenly the cave broke, trailing out into the sea. It was filled with the noise of wind and rushing water and echoing stone. Ramirez impacted a rocky ledge and swam straight upwards, bursting from the surface and into fresh air.

Looking up, he saw in the distance many great pillars of stone, carved with the likeness of historical kings of the Jewel Ocean. Mighty they were, and yet Nathan felt a sense of being welcomed; they were come now to the borders of their land. Upon each head there was a crumbling helm and crown. Great power and majesty they still wore, adorned with the largest gems. And past these stone kings was a great bridge, a slab of stone leading over the ocean, ending at a rock. And where the bridge ended was something like a massive door, glimmering with energy. A portal.

They set their arms to the water and hastened on their way. They came up to a stretch of sandy beach. Behind it rose the first gentle slopes of a coast lined with vast and flourishing trees. A spring of water fell tumbling down from the hills, and fed the ocean. The sun shone in a windy sky.

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One of the carved statues was not like the others.

It looked at first glance like a small dinosaur.

The skin was wrinkled, like a prune.

The head was humanoid with a grin and big, mocking eyes.

Nathan's heart skipped a beat- the statue couldn't be real, it was just another illusion. He began to wish for a suave and subtle assassin, or even a raging berserker: They would have been a welcome release from the cartoonish aberration that was actually chasing them.

As if to answer him, there was shrill laughter and a woman yelling. Ramirez turned to see Faunra, and with horror he saw that her bag was moving- squirming with the limb inside it. The hand emerged from it's carrier, reaching for her knives while she fought and grappled to get it off.

Atticus recovered from the fall and was awestruck by what he saw. They out at sea again, the sky was clear, and it looked like they were a few hundred miles away from where they'd originally found the cave. The statues with the gem encrusted crowns captivated him the most. "Those must be the former rulers." Atticus thought quickly. He then noticed the bridge which led to a massive door, shinning with energy. As he ran over, he noticed one strange statue among the bunch, a wrinkly bi-pedal creature, and tapped Zavier's shoulder.

"Hey, does that statue look familiar to you-" Atticus was cut off by a shrill laugh and Faunra screaming. He turned to see a limb reaching out from her bag and trying to grab for her knives, Faunra fighting back.

Atticus looked at Faunra and yelled "Why would you even take that with you?!" and armed his slingshot with an explosive pellet. He fired at Spiriah laughing away.

Zavier emerged and beheld the awe-inspiring sight before them. He would have been awe-struck in any event, seeing that the party had just narrowly survived an almost certainly deadly situation, but now he was especially awed. "Breathtaking." He said to the sight.

When they landed on the beach, Zavier decided to reluctantly open his bag. His beloved tomes were almost certainly ruined by the rather great swim they had taken recently. Opening it, Zavier's face assumed an expression of bafflement for a moment when he realized that everything was completely dry. He quickly shifted everything in his bag to make sure. Everything was in pristine condition. The silver medallion caught his eye once more. Hesitantly, Zavier picked it up, to his surprise it was warm, rather too warm for its recent travel. He set it back in the bag and threw on his coat. Whatever was going on could wait for later.

Just past the row of regal pillars, Zavier saw the portal to the level's exit. "I have never seen a more beauteous image." He announced as they neared the end. The journey out, however, was cut short by the rather loud screams of Faunra and the sound of whatever seemed to have crawled into her bag. Zavier quickly produced his throwing knives once more, ready to kill whatever it was when the first opportunity arose.

Faunra could not help but yelp in shock as her little prize reanimated and reached for her knife. In spite of it's size, the arm proved to be remarkable strong, proving more than a match for her own strength. With little time to react, Faunra grabbed the knives it was reaching for and threw them from her, denying the arm its goal. One knife clattered as it hit one of the numerous stones on the beach, before landing a few feet from her in the sand. The other embedded itself in a tree not far from the beach.

"I just had to take the stupid arm. If this thing kills me, Biratlort will never let me live it down; killed by my own spite and a stupid hand."

It's tactic now thwarted, the arm moved to a new target: her injured shoulder. One of its jagged clawed fingers pushed open the fresh wound, renewing the bleeding. Unfortunately for the reanimated arm, it's new strategy backfired. With new strength born of pain, she pulled the arm free from her bag and slammed it back onto the ground. In one fluid movement, she drew forth one of her arrows and impaled it through the palm, pinning the squirming limb to the ground. Even after it was affixed to the ground, the disembodied limb continued to flounder about lite some ugly deep sea fish out of water.

"Why would you even take that with you?!" Atticus yelled in a mix of shock, confusion, and disgust as he fired at the Spiriah. Faunra got to her feet and drew her bow, ready to take her own shot at the despicable Spiriah. "Do you have any idea how much you can learn about a creature from a body part? Strengths, weaknesses, magical potential. It could have been useful if it didn't try to kill me. Besides, I wanted to mount that thing to a wall!" she yelled back, her bow now drawn.

"And thanks for all the help. You know I could have used a hand back there." she finished, her voice positively dripping with sarcasm. She let the arrow fly.

The next arrow was nocked and drawn before she realized her error in the statement. "Don't even..."

"Do you have any idea how much you can learn about a creature from a body part? Strengths, weaknesses, magical potential. It could have been useful if it didn't try to kill me. Besides, I wanted to mount that thing to a wall!" she yelled back, her bow now drawn.

Atticus couldn't help but admit that she had a point. Not so much on the whole wall mounting thing, but the concept of learning from the enemy. But then again, Atticus was less concerned about understanding the enemy and more concerned with the fact that they had an enemy who had minions who just happened to be wrinkly bi-pedal monsters with magical cards.

"And thanks for all the help. You know I could have used a hand back there." As she said this, Atticus couldn't help but put his slingshot down and chuckle for a bit.

"Don't even..." Faunra started saying. Atticus simply responded with "Too late."

"Besides, I thought you were capable of HANDling the situation." Atticus laughed as he fired another explosive pellet at Spiriah, Zavier launched knives into Spiriah's hands, and Faunra unloaded with her bow for good measure.

Caedis was the last to exit the cave and arrived at their new destination before them. It was all a gleaming, magnificent landscape akin to the murals that she had seen, adorned on cathedral walls or a nobleman's mansion. The sheer majesty of the statues before them was a testament to the mysterious nature the levels the tower had. She was amazed at the sight and she walked up the water and into the beach alongside her companions.

Then she watched as what appeared to be a limp try to handle a knife towards them. Caedis saw it as a minimal threat and something the others could take care of. But something ticked her off.

"Besides, I thought you were capable of HANDling the situation." That was it. Caedis raised the bottom of her spear and "lightly" tapped Atticus behind the head. It was enough to sting but not enough to do any real damage.

"Make any more puns like that and I'll end up killing you first." Caedis said. She quickly made her way up the beach and finally onto dry land underneath the shadow of the enormous mountain before them. She couldn't tell if it was man-made or if something else shaped it but whatever it was had the ability to carve even the most of minuscule of details.

"Besides, I thought you were capable of HANDling the situation."

Zavier tried not to pay attention to the horrible puns, instead focusing on killing Spiriah's arm. After a brief and destructive bout where the arm was stabbed, shot, and blown up, things seemed to settle down.

"Make any more puns like that and I'll end up killing you first."

Zavier agreed with the sentiment, but kept his response to a rather diffident roll of the eyes. He bent down and retrieved his knife. Slipping it back into his sleeve, he turned toward his companions. "Now that that's been dealt with, can we please leave this level?"

Inside the passages were lit with twisting, crossing, and echoing paths. Through a space with pillars hewn out of the rock, the walls covered with glimmering gems. Ahead was the bridge that led across the ocean. The water broke swift and strong beneath; and at the far end was the gate that brought them from the Jewel Ocean to the level above. Across this bridge the climbers passed. The evil creature called Spiriah still laughed.
"Give my regards to your boss. Tell him he's next."

It replied with a single word."Soon."
The wind blew. There was a sound like the roll of thunder heard far away. Ramirez clenched his hand to his team in a sign of brotherhood, and passed through.

Atticus was enjoying the sensation that came from firing explosive pellets at the asshole that was Spiriah when he suddenly felt a slight sting in the back of his head and turned around to see Caedis glaing at him.

"Make any more puns like that and I'll end up killing you first." she then walked off, making her way up the beach and under the shadow of the enormous structure they'd landed on. Geez, what did people have against a good pun? Back in Agris, they were a main form of merriment and joy...even though everyone fully understood how lame they were, but still.

"I'm sorry guys, crappy farmboy humor. It's in my blood."

Zavier picked up his knife and turned to the rest of them. "Now that that's been dealt with, can we please leave this level?"

"Sure, I'm with you there." Atticus said as he looked out to where him and Faunra had been shooting Spiriah, only to find him intact.

"Give my regards to your boss. Tell him he's next." Nathan said grimly.

"Soon." Spiriah responded before disappearing. Things were gonna get a lot more interesting from here on out, Atticus thought. Nathan clenched his hand, a sign Atticus had seen him do multiple times before passing through a level, and they began walking through the portal. But Atticus stopped and looked back.

"Minalca was an interesting experience, but a time waster. How much time until Agris freezes over? I can't keep wasting my time, I gotta focus." Atticus said to himself as he walked through the portal.

The Forgotten Expanse

The Forgotten Expanse is a jungle level that holds it's mysteries closer to it's chest than nearly any level of the tower. No one knows how far the jungles extend or even much of what is on it. Ruins dot the level, some larger than the grandest cities of the lower levels. Despite this, no one knows of any animal life (sentient or otherwise) that makes its home there. The common dangers of the level are poorly recorded though many climbers have passed through the level. When asked, they merely saw it was unremarkable and move on. As a result of the poor records about the level, the forest has earned its name as "forgotten".

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As you walk through the portal, you find yourselves atop a solid stone cliff, looking out over a massive verdant green jungle. Dotted across the landscape are dozens of ancient structures, each crumbling back into the mighty forest.

From the cliff face, a massive wind pushes against you with enormous force, carrying with it the sweet scent of fertile land, unpicked ripe fruit, and flowering plants of a thousand varieties - each scent more wonderful than the last. The world appears a paradise like no other. You feel as though you could stare at the scene for a lifetime and never see all the beauty it has to offer. Each of you hardly notices the lack of sound.

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Glancing around, it becomes clear that also atop the cliff are more of the scattered ruins. The buildings appear to have once been massive towers that spiraled into the heavens above. What once must have stood more than a thousand feet in the air now stands a mere four levels. Each of the massive floors has been reclaimed by the forest, and many of the largest plants seem to emanate from the tower.

Surrounding the tower are a dozen massive aqueducts, all but one of them fallen into destruction. The single remaining aqueduct has also decayed to near destruction, only barely carrying a supply of life giving water from mountains behind you.

Before the structure stands a single, massive monument. Upon the monument are images of people - each depicted as carrying jars and urns of goods from what you believe to be the ruined tower. Below them are symbols of unknown design and meaning. A single additional word has been carved with haste into the monument, this one in the climbers pidgin tongue. The single word is "Calgradni" though it means nothing to you.

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Upon further inspection, the people seem to be of strange proportions; their strangest adaptions include a four-pronged tail and a pair of horns. They are unlike nearly any being you have ever laid eyes upon. Unlike any being except one: Prail.

A single, enormous, stone road leads off into the jungle, headed up the river from your current location. Three other roads of similar design but smaller scale head off into the jungle: one headed down the cliff, another toward the large lake, and another off into the jungle's eerily quiet expanse.

Atticus looked out over the expansive forest, he felt slightly depressed as he realized this level probably wouldn't provide any useful technology for him, but stopped worrying about that when he was immediately hit with the most wondrous breeze he'd felt in a long time. Thousands of plant types and unpicked fruits made their way to him, bringing along their beautiful aromas, filling his nostrils with pure sweetness. They were simply glorious, a perfect paradise, but another even more fantastical smell filled his nostrils. It was a smell every farmer dreamed of, a smell every farmer would agree to live off of.

"Oh, how I've missed you." Atticus whispered, his voice wavering.

It was the sweet scent of untouched fertile land! If it wasn't for the accursed snow, Agris could match the beauty of this land 10-fold! If only he could migrate all of Agris here; he could stop this stupid 8 year long journey of wandering and spend time with his family again. Perhaps even start one. Atticus tried to push the thoughts away, but the concept of teaching a little Atticus to shoot a slingshot and build a generator left him so awestricken that he actually shed a few silent tears thinking of such a thing. Suddenly he remembered where he was and who he was with, so he quickly composed himself, wiping away the tears and hoping no one had noticed.

As he did, he noticed that the level was sprinkled with buildings, ruins covered in growing plants. Oh great, another dead level, Atticus thought. He looked off and noticed a tower off in the distance, mostly covered in foliage and a few fruits. Atticus thought nothing of it until he began tracing it back to the group and saw massive trenches leading to it. Alright, now Atticus was interested in this tower

"Wait, aqueducts? Okay, so whoever lived here understood basic had basic plumbing. Power to ya."

But Atticus noticed something peculiar about the aqueducts. It almost looked as if they ran up the tower. Who would do that and why? Atticus noticed one large aqueduct still had water and as he followed it, he noticed someone enter the woods, just out of his field of vision. From wear he stood, it looked like they were wearing a strange mask. So this level wasn't dead?

"Alright, ladies and gentlemen, where do we begin?" Atticus asked, partially ignoring what he'd just seen.

Veritas spoke up; "I say that we get a feel for the land we're on. This is the tower of druaga, after all. Things will definetly not be as they seem". This was the first time Veritas had graced the group with his opinions since the first encounter with Spiriah and his crystal warriors. Veritas could not sense any immediate hostility here, and perhaps this was a good thing: a chance to turn off the ever-consuming truth.

Zavier had to admit, this was one of the most amazing places he had ever been. From the vantage point they had it seemed as if the jungle would go on forever, and likely, as far as this floor was concerned, it probably did. It took no great amount of wit to realize that this was the Forgotten Expanse. That both fascinated and frustrated Zavier. In all his research, the Forgotten Expanse was hardly mentioned. That fact, in and of itself wasn't terribly remarkable, past a certain point even the best accounts became hazy and vague, relying more heavily on myth and rumor than actual fact, but there wasn't even so much as that for this level.

In futility, Zavier pulled out his thickest volume: "The Compendium of the Trials and Levels of the Tower of Druaga." After flipping through the book for a moment he came across the section on the Forgotten Expanse. All the knowledge on this level barely covered a page. The only definitive things that seemed to be of any note were the fact that the ruins seemed rather well-preserved, current scholars' estimates put them at roughly 5000 years, and a general sense of a somewhat eerie calm. Frustrating, but that boded well. Perhaps they could exit this level without problem.

"Alright, ladies and gentlemen, where do we begin?"

Zavier was about to respond, when a nearby monument caught his eye. Why, he couldn't say, only that something about it was striking. He made his way ahead of the group toward the odd structure. On it were all manner of archaic symbol emblazoned into the stone. Most of it made no sense of him, until he saw a more recent word cut into the stone. Calgradni. Calgradni. Why does that sound familiar? Zavier thought. Nothing came to mind as to what it might mean, or where he may have heard it. He turned back to the compendium and scanned it, looking for some reference to the word. Nothing. Curious. "Calgradni." He said aloud, to no one in particular.

He was blind to the beauty that laid before him, instead focused on something upstream. He was attracted to it, much like he was attracted to the crystalline spires of the Jewel Ocean.

Being created and not born, Stonefuse was constantly under the watch of two dozens of Scholars, always being told what to do. This instilled obedience into him, and he never did anything unless he was told to.

As he latched onto this new group he found it increasingly difficult to just obey. It was the simple things, things you don't usually have to tell another sentient, intelligent being to do, such as walking and talking. They would move on, leaving him behind, and he had nothing else but to follow. Later on, he found out that his new masters, although they tended to know what they wanted, hardly ever told him to do something that would complete, or help in the completion of the task at hand. So he had to learn to speak when not spoken to, to suggest and advise, but only ever so slightly and with long periods of silence in-between.

Stonefuse looked over the group, each and everyone blinded by the scenery, except Zavier started moving towards the nearby tower, or rather, the monument that stood before it. Taking the opportunity while they were awestruck, he trampled along the wide road that led upstream.

This looks so close to the land the Temple is near that I have trouble differentiating the two at this moment.

"Alright, ladies and gentlemen, where do we begin?"

"There's little enough we can do beyond looking for any mention of a portal in these carvings, or we could simply wander this place, and hope to find the portal that way. These look like you, Prail, can you read this writiing?"

"Alright, ladies and gentlemen, where do we begin?" Atticus asked, trying to assess the groups current situation. Aleister remebered going through the portal, that Faunra bandages had become undone slightly, and that some of the sticthing would need to be redone.

...These look like you, Prail, can you read this writiing?" Damien asked Prail, hoping she understood the local langauge. Aleister then walked over to Faunra, his medical kit in hand.

"Excuse me Faunra, I couldn't help but notice that the bandage became damaged during the fight, do you want me to re apply them, along with repairing any of the broken stitches?"

"Excuse me Faunra, I couldn't help but notice that the bandage became damaged during the fight, do you want me to re apply the bandage?"

Looking back down at her arm, she found it still torn apart by the reanimated hand. The several shots she had taken with her bow had done nothing good to it and it definitely needed a patch job. Already the blood was re-staining her cowl. But even though she could see the blood dripping from the wound, she found herself calm and reserved. "Is it this place?" she thought, staring over the cliff down onto the landscape.

After a moment, she realized she had not given an answer. Embarrassed she had been caught staring off into space after being asked a question, she flushed for a moment then answered.

"Ah... yes, that would be kind. Thank you."

So many questions.

She's not expected to see signs of her people again. She'd given up on that hope long ago in fact.
And then she'd seen them, the symbols were primitive as far as she could make out, but that meant.

She sniffed the air; she couldn't smell any of the weapon so could these people be safe, maybe she had found home again.

Could she read the text good question?

Her radials sharpened going from their usual fog like appearance to bright lines casting light on the monument.

The language was old ancient even, she was no historian and had never thought much of the profession (well after the war started she gained an appreciation for them).

She still knew exactly what it said; even out here the stories were the same. She felt like a hatchling again the child of nostalgia flowed through her. She didn't even realise she was
reading it out loud.

The noise of her horns burst from her, it filled the air and would resonate for miles, and maybe in the back of her mind she was hoping for a reply.

It's a shame they wouldn't understand it, such a beautiful story.
Maybe she had it has a candle.

This is as far back as we can be sure the world goes in this time our were weak the bottom of the food chain prey to all the great beasts that in this time were like gods. They drove the world and we were powerless in their wake. They say entire villages could be wiped out with is even one of the tectons decided to get up and walk away with all the good land on its back.
But one day one was born a child unlike any before, this child was smart, cunning even devious. They led their people to build machines to rein in the animals and gain control for us, but the others were weak and foolish they distrusted the new child and so they turned on her and drowned her in a lake.

When the child awoke they saw the world reverted, their former tribe had been wiped out by the beasts, but she was without sorrow she had work to do. She knew her knew race would need shelter at first so she raised an area of ground above the rest of the world to give her space to work.
Once she had space she made a new people these weren't weak and stupid as the ones before they were smart and taught them to manipulate the world and the beasts. For a time all was good but eventually around 60 some of the new people grew untrusting of their god they wanted Serragish's power for their own seeing her as being part of the old peoples and therefor weak.
So they stabbed her and dropped her body in the lake. Then they drank from the water and gained fractions of Serragish's power. They became gods and those that had remained loyal to Serragish had been forced to flee down the mound, where they spread and their descends became the many tribes.

The faithful among us know that Serragish will rise a third time and lead us back to our rightful place on the mound while those who fallow the traitors that do not deserve to be gods shall become like the weaker men and be lost to history.
Only a few of the old beasts remain un-controlled among them the solar flock and the tectonic turtles.

Her eyes smoked a little, it was a lime green gas and smelled like swimming pool water.
Please let someone respond.

"Ah... yes, that would be kind. Thank you."

"Very well then, I shall proceed." Aleister replied with, as he laid out his medical equipment on a tall stone that was about waist height.

"Hmm, it seems like I may have to burn off some of the bandages to get too the broken needle work." He remarked whilst trying to activate his Fire Magic, for some reason, it didn't want to work. A confused look appeared on his face.

"How strange, perhaps going through that portal, has had an adverse effect on magic. Let me just check the others." Aleister noted, slightly worried about the potential loss of magic. He quickly whirled through some other elemental magic, finding relief that only Fire magic seemed to be non-working.

"Oh well, I doubt we'll be needing it any time soon. Luckily, I have a back up plan. I have this scalpel, which can be used to cut through the thick linen that those bandages are made of. Won't be a minute." Aleister remarked, sounding surprisingly okay about not being able to use Fire Magic. He then pulled out a long, thin bladed device, and began to gently cut through the bandages with ease. Afterwards, he carefully tossed the bandages over the cliff.

Aleister then began to observe the needle work from before.

"It looks like the whole lot will have to be replaced, as it is difficult to replace specific sections." Aleister noted, unhappy at his previous attempts. He quickly, yet gently removed the stitches; and began to replace them through the same process as before.

Just before he put all the stuff away, Aleister removed a jar of light blue coloured gel, which had flakes of something dark green in colour. He began to dab it onto the fresh needle work, talking as he went.

"You don't have to worry about this stuff causing any trouble, Arceian Gel helps to keep wounds sealed, and aids in the healing process. The reason why I didn't apply some earlier, when the wounds were fresh, is that, its best not to use it on fresh wounds." Aleister commented on the nature of the gel.

"The blue gel is made from a mixture of jellyfish and crystal dust, hence why you might feel a slight numbing sensation in your shoulder for a few hours. As for the green flakes, their made from leaves, which have been grounded up. There you go." He noted, as the gel started to harden. Aleister then quickly applied a fresh roll of bandages, before the gel completely set.

As he began to pack up his equipment, Aleister noticed Prail emitting some green form of smoke from her eyes.

"Could Prail be crying? I don't think I've ever seen her do that before. Then again, there hasn't been much to cry about... so far."

He decided to go over, and see what was the problem.

"You alright Prail? I take it whatever is written on here, is something important about your people's history. A little lost culture? Pity I cannot understand the language of your race, it would be interesting to find out what this read; so that I could understand you better."

Prail looked in her bag. She found a candle, hoping she wouldn't regret it.
It was the same story, pretty much word for word. But she couldn't just let one of them take it.
She offered it out hoping they'd light it together.
It felt weird handing over such history. Then again she'd have to get used to it. If there were more of her people here then she'd need to enlighten them.
Prail shook her head causing the chlorine gas to dispel it. In the open air it probably wouldn't harm them.

Caedis didn't like the jungle around her. It wasn't the sight of course but much rather the "feel" of it seemed extremely off. She tried to think what it was but everywhere she looked, the feeling remained. Caedis fanned away some of the smoke that came from Prail as Caedis walked towards her. She looked distraught, saddened even by the writings on the wall that seemed unreadable. Caedis gave Prail a look of respect and patted her on the shoulder.

"It's okay, Prail." Caedis said simply. She turned towards the others who were their separate ways. Caedis walked down the steps and looked around seeing the multiple roads that they could possibly take. This world was no doubt huge and filled to the brim with fantastical beings or creatures but they had no time to look at it all. They had to find the exit and get out. They weren't here for an archaeological dig but rather seeking an exit to get out.

"Something doesn't seem right here and whatever -it- is, I don't like it." Caedis said aloud, agitated by this level. "Where should we go?"

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