As the chanting continued, the gathering spiders began merging together into a large ball, and the light from the rune seemed to be absorbed by the churning mass. After what seemed like an eternity, a smooth, sinister female voice drawled out, "You think I would allow you to go back so simply after I went through so much trouble to have my men get you out of the way, Slindis? I have plans in motion that would prefer if you were out of the way. I'm feeling generous though, so I'll allow one of your body parts to go through. Which one will it be?" After some laughter, the ball forms into a drow with the body of a spider.
Panic coursed through her mind. Even though this must be an aspect, she could feel the sheer power from here. Slindis hadn't felt this primal terror since she enraged Vulkoor. Her mind raced, trying to think of how to send her message to get some way to counter this..thing.
"What the!?" Rugal reacted as his escape plan turned into this...Thing.
As he trained himself to do he rushed at the Creature and went for a massive Down-ward Axe Kick.
It blocked with it's Blade which was able to take the blow before grabbing his leg and slaming him into the ground over and over.
While he had taken worse beatings, it still was taking it's toll on his body.
Slindis shouts, "Wait! I have chosen, and I have a small deal to make with you." She wraps the letter around one of the arrows, using some of her hair to tie it securely. "First off, your issue is with me, correct?"
The spider woman stops the assault on Rugal, then scornfully looks down upon her. "Your point?" Slindis sighs, then sits down. "I will never enter nor contact anyone in Eberron in my lifetime if you vow to kill a cleric of Aureon within Stormreach with this untouched arrow in the next three days."
The woman laughs. "What's the benefit for me?" After thinking about it for a minute, Slindis responds. "If you don't, I will keep trying to find ways to get back, and I will eventually succeed. Take a look at what happened to Lailat in the Menechtarun."
She paces the ground. "And your friend here?" Slindis stands up, and firmly states, "He will not go there as well. It doesn't benefit him at all, so he would have no reason to."
The Drider snatches the arrow from Slindis' hand. "Interesting... We have a deal. However, do not fall back on your part of the bargain, mortal. I have a very long memory." After that, the woman vanishes.
Rugal was dropped the ground hard as the Drow-spider disappeared and the Rune vanished.
He struggled up to his feet and asked "What on Earth was that about?" as he stretched until a crack was heard, seemingly releasing some pressure on his back.
as he waited for an answered, he began to make another Rune.
She closes her eyes, breathing heavily to regain her composure. "That is what I was worried about when I started my investigation into the cultist's temple. Still, it'll be interesting to see what my allies do when they see the message on that letter."
Slindis paces the ground, thinking of where she would go from here. She obviously couldn't head home now, but the rest of her team should be able to find a way to counter the machinations of that goddess.
"Rugal, it's obvious that I won't be able to make it home now. So then, where should I go from now? This cave will only work for so long." She laughs, and a small tear rolls down her face.
"Mmmm...Back in my world, we used Technology for Portal's, not Magic...prehaps if we return to my world, I can set up a Portal to your world, as well as an ambush should you're "Friend" Try to interfere..." Rugal suggested as kept re-doing the Rune.
"Rest assured, you'll get home, one way or another..."
Huh...you really have fallen for her... Unbelievable...
He took at step back and prepared to open the Portal again.
"Don't you realize what this is? Rugal, that was an avatar of a goddess, and a powerful one at that. I can trust well enough in the rest of the Torchbearers to try to do what needs to be done, but I can't afford to tip this Lolth off at all." She keeps her eyes closed, trying not to think of what this meant for her.
Rugal walked over and placed a hand on her shoulder.
"Trust me, In my world, Mankind has fought countless beings of power, branching from all forms possible, Hell, not even the servants of the One True God could stop Man." He comforted Slindis, recalling his fights with the Arch Angel's of God and the Battle with Tiberius that nearly claimed the entire planet.
A small smile comes across her face. "Look at me crying like a child here. Real paladin, huh?" She starts laughing with tears rolling down her face. "I'd like to head to this universe of yours to get stronger so something like this can't happen again." An air of determination seems to surround her. "Take me to your world, then. I will work alongside you, no matter what will happen."
Rugal gave a smile back before repeating the Ritual.
Again, the Portal opened, this time showing a green field.
However, the field turned black.
"Oh No, THEY FOUND ME!" Rugal said as he tied to close the portal, only for a vacuum to engulf the entire cave, dragging Rugal and Slindis into it.
The two soon awoke on a wooden floor in a realm of pure darkness, the Void.
"no....no..." Rugal groaned weakly as he founf himself in that court of Divine unseen beings again.
"RUGAL BERNSTEIN, YOU HAVE BEEN CHARGED WITH FLEEING FROM A ETERNAL SENTENCE, HOW DO YOU PLEAD?" Several voices said in unison.
"No...no...nonononono!" He shouted clearly both fearful and angry at the possibility of being sent back "There".
Slindis was soon picked up by dark figures and bought before a Portal back to the cave.
"IT HAS BEEN DECIDED! RUGAL BERNSTEIN! OUR ORDER SENTENCES YOU TO IMMORAL ETERNAL EXILE TO YOU'RE OWN PERSONAL HELL, MAY THE GODS HAVE MERCY ON YOUR SOUL."
"Dammit, I was so close..." Rugal groaned as he pictured endless life with endless cupcake force feeding.
She charges through the portal before it closes again, quickly grabs her arm and summons an extremely slick grease under the feet of the guards, causing them to fall. As they try to get up, she touches her arm again, producing an extremely dense fog. As the guards try to regain their bearing, she charges them with her rapiers drawn, stabbing them in the gut and throwing Rugal over her shoulder before fleeing from the scene.
The Duo jump out of the portal and Rugal punches the wall next to it, cracking the Cave wall and closing it.
He then took several deep breaths and calmed himself down.
Then he lashed out at the wall again in pure fury at the fact that there was no way to return it his world, which was the entire point of this trip.
After several minutes of breaking pure stone with his hands, he finally sat down against the remains he made and said "You have my thanks, Those Beings, they were the ones who sent me...There...I thought by coming here, I could bypass them but...AAAAAARRRRRRRRRGHHH!"
He hit the wall one last time for good measure.
"Didn't you hear me? I told you I would stick with you, no matter what happened." She grins. It was unpleasant being stuck here, but her main goal was complete. All she needed to do was find out what to do from here.
Rugal was petty surprised at that comment though he didn't let it show.
But...I've...an-...I don't understand...
Rugal stood up and said "Well, we can't go to your world and we can't go to mine, this is not the ending to our quest I was hoping for...".
He gave the matter some thought.
"Ok...I think that if I can get a Technology based portal, I can avoid those judges and that Spider...thing...only problem is, whe- A-HA! THE SCANNER! That was some advanced Tech, the creator must be in this world, so we should seek him out and have him build us a portal!"
"Agreed. For now, though, I'm going to recuperate while I can." She sits down next to the cave wall and quickly falls asleep with a content look on her face.
After some time, Rugal and Slindis left the cave.
"Right, Now to find out where that scanner came from..." he said as he looked around the surrounding area for a vantage point.
"Well, that should do it." Richardson, staisfied with the modifictions made to the Valiant, re-entered the bridge. Now to chase up the sensor logs and find where that scanner flew off to. He sat down at the helm and began scouring through data.
She decides to head up the mountain, jumping up broken eggshells and bloodied nests along the way before finding the corpse of one of the enormous birds to sit on. However, the airship from yesterday dominated the sky, as it was on the edge of the forest about one hour away. The intense sun nearly blinded her, so she used her arm to block it out. This blocked out the glare, but the plate covering her arm started to warm slightly in response. That airship can cover ground far faster than we can on our own. It's a shame that we don't have one of our own.
Rugal followed her up and took in the area.
"Dammit! The person who sent out that Scanner could be anywhere! Huh?"
Rugal watched as one of the Giant Birds.
"Mmmm...I think I have an Idea...You see these birds here? Could we be able to use them to fly?" He asked, already thinking of the best course of action should the bird need breaking in.
She pokes the corpse. "Unless you can find one of those that wouldn't want to snack on us, we're going to have to use these." The birds had been long gone, only leaving two young griffons for them to fly. They warily approached Rugal and Slindis, having lost their entire families to the attack.
"This will do...Rest assured, I've Broken Horse's, how different can it be?"
With that remark, Rugal ran and leapt onto one of the Griffons and grabbed it's mane.
Clearly, it was displeased and attempted to throw him off.
The only thing missing from this scene was a ten gallon hat.
Slindis slowly pulls out a piece of jerky from a small pouch and feeds it to the griffon. It slowly chews at first, then quickly scarfs it down, and nudges her hand with its beak, expecting more. "You like this, don't you? I only have a little bit more, so make sure to savor it." The griffon swallows the large chunk of meat in one bite, ignoring her completely. However, the griffon seems to have been won over.
The same could not be said with the griffon that Rugal planned on using, as it seemed to want to have nothing to do with him.
After several more minutes of attempting to break in the Griffon and a few attempts by it to throw Rugal off the Mountain, It calmed down and accepted Rugal as it's rider.
"Whoa, whooooooaaaaa....Ahh...went better then expected, Now then, Shall we?..." He asked as he readied for take off.
"Rugal, unless you want one of our griffons to carry Rodem under them, we may have to leave him. I need my arms open in case we need some archery, and I doubt you want him on your back the whole time we're in the air." She mounts the griffon somewhat clumsily, but eventually finds her balance. "So, boy, ready to help us out? I'll try to get you some fresh meat today, so don't complain too much."
"Rest assured, he always finds he way back to his master, Ain't that right boy?" He said to his pet before Rodem went off hunting.
"Right, that's that, now then, onward..."
He rode this mount towards the edge.
The Griffon took off into the sky, much to Rugal's delight, his plan was back on track...
She pats her mount's neck. "Whenever you're ready, boy." The griffon sprints and jumps, taking off. Everything seemed so small from this height. The river that had proven so difficult to cross looked like a blue paint stroke through a thicket of trees.
"So then, where should we start our search?" Slindis takes a look around, wondering what would be a good first move.
"My Guess, Any Place that looks like a city, That kind of Tech seemed mass produced, Which would need a Factory, So keep an eye out and keep your distance from that Airship, It Attacks, we won't last." He shouted over the wind.
Owen awoke with a loud yawn, staring up the ceiling from his bunk before rolling off the bunk and stumbling blearily to his feet, taking a moment to wake up properly, he grabs his helmet and slips it on before slinging his sniper rifle over his back and trudging towards the lift up to the bridge.
"You seem to know a lot more about this than I do, so you can take the lead on this one. Want me to act as our defense up here? Flight doesn't lend itself well to close-quarter combat all too well, so you'd have some issues with that." She draws her bow, watching for anything that could cause trouble. How in Khyber am I supposed to know what these factories are supposed to look like? I never dealt with Cannith all too much, and Shieldwarden was never upfront with what they're supposed to look like.
"Understood, The Factory's are like massive metal sheds, if you see any let me know." He answered as he began to scout the area.
At this point, Rez had decided to stop building out. He built up. The lowest point in the complex was 4 stories tall, and the highest was 37. There was also a repulsion field forming a dome around the entire area, and every open space was patrolled by some form of android. And all of this was controlled by Rez's brain.
"Whoa...Slindis! I think I found it..." Rugal said as a massive tower on the horizon came into view.
Jesus, how on earth did he build it so fast?
"Wait, something's off about this. Why would he build this with no defenses?" She looses an arrow, which bounces harmlessly off a slightly shimmering barrier. It's never easy, is it... "We need to find a way to draw this person's attention!" She lands outside the city limits.
Rugal follows, once he's landed, his Griffon flies away, clearly plotting to do this the whole trip.
He walked toward with his hand out until it hit a barrier that felt a bit like glass.
"Mmm...If this person wanted us, I'm sure he would've, Never have I seen tech this advanced..."
Mental Note: Steal some specs...
He began to test the strength of the barrier by punching and kicking it with brute force.
While it clearly wasn't doing much, it might be enough to attract some attention.
A hole opened in the barrier large enough for the two of them to enter. On the inside there was an entire population of various kinds of robots performing different tasks.
"Well, have you come to apologize for breaking my scanner drone?" Rez's disembodied voice said jokingly.
"Welcome to Genesis, my latest experiment. Don't worry about the robots. Also, don't try to break anything or otherwise 'misbehave', partially because you have no reason to, so doing so would just be immature on your part, and partially because every square inch of metal in this city is virtually an extension of my body. So, do you have something to contribute, or did you just want me to lend you my knowledge?"