Hesitating for just a moment, Rema grabbed the chain and pulled. It was almost as if she couldn't do anything else.
Please be helpful, please be helpful, please be helpful, please be helpful...
Golems thought Kalic What do you use against golems?
He fell back onto mages instinct, a fireball. As he drew his will a series of thoughts flew through his head in rapid succession
Gold melts at 1064°C they went A typical mages flame is 1100. I'm shit so take away around 200 degrees. Gods this better work
An instant latter two fireballs flung towards the nearest golem, striking it in the head an chest. While his logic was flawless he'd forgotten the magic, the gold on the golems chest melted, revealing the blue fire of animation. Overall all it did was slow the brute down a second.
"Maybe we should hit them with swords."
The perpetual buzzing that surrounded Anguis grew louder, almost angry sounding, Golems would shrug off most of his magic and left nothing behind for him to consume. He preffered to be the one fighting alongside the golems rather than against them, and wondered if anything in the room controlled them, or if they were the work of the mage who had fled into the tomb earlier.
He scanned the room, looking for anything to use against them, the coffin was the largest and likely heaviest object in the room, and golems were vulnerable to direct force.
Reaching out with his magic he attempted to lift the coffin off the ground and throw it as hard as possible at the nearest golem, hopefully the impact would be enough to destroy it. As he did this he retreated behind some of the paladins, they would do a much better job of holding off the golems in melee than him.
First, the fireballs struck the golem, initially seeming to do damage as the gold melted off, but it soon reassembled itself as if nothing had been done to it at all. That was until a giant golden coffin came slamming into it, sending it careening towards the group and crashing directly into the wall, crushing a large amount of brick. Whatever was controlling it obviously couldn't anymore because the gold fell silent and became a mass of rock again. The rest of the golems broke off their attack for a moment, staring at the coffin and making a move towards the entrance...before a the chain Rema pulled activated the secondary sealer for the room and dropped a giant metal door, stopping anyone from entering or leaving the once undisturbed king's room.
A loud thumping could be heard before silence. The people stuck in the room with the golems unleashed a good assault from the sound of things, but quickly began losing, screams of agony could be heard from behind the walls as bones were being broken and heads smashed. A final call of pain could be heard from the Drow as she spoke for the first time, yelling for some assistance. Her calls ended by a large thumping noise. A pool of blood began flowing under the wall and all was silent.
Rema was visibly distraught. She brought her hand to her mouth to keep herself from gagging as her eyes welled up.
"Oh my. I... that wasn't..."
Rema gagged, Kalic threw up. Obviously he knew what blood looked like, anyone living in Morarth had seen at least one stabbing, it'd just never been in this quantity before.
After his stomach was empty Kalic mentally slapped himself, knowing stories they'd be much more blood to follow. Kneeling down he examined the pool, faintly dark thanks to the Drows black blood, forcing past his discomfort he drew out a small vial and filled it with the substance. Blood was an alchemists dream, full of substances and life, it would be a shame to waste.
Standing he looked at the party
"So what do we do now?"
Anguis watched Rema and Kalic's reactions with disinterest, his only regret with this situation was that he couldn't get at the supplies the paladins had been carrying. He made note of Kalic collecting some of the blood, clearly the bard was an alchemist, or a vampire, but most likely an alchemist.
"At leassst we managed to get some of their food before they met their end," he said.
"So what do we do now?"
"I sssuspect we will continue through the chamber, unless our illussstriousss leader has given up on the quest already."
"But, what about them?" Lithfin said as he pointed at the large metal door. "Wait for them? They come soon, right?" He was met by silence and eyes that avoided him. Lithfin kind of understood, but he wouldn't accept it. He placed his hand on the door. "You in there... you have to come now. We have to go." But there was only silence behind the door.
Rema walked up to Lithfin and put her small hand on his large shoulder. "Lithfin... they're not coming. We need to keep going without them."
Lars sighed at the dark blood. It was a shame he hadn't had the chance to kill the drow himself; their ears fetched a very high price.
The butcher turned to Rema and gestured towards the chain. "A golden rule of this place tends to be: 'don;t touch anything that looks old and disused'. They usually look that way for a reason." He moved his face close to the Samsarin's, the flickering torch casting unnerving shadows across his face. "You'd do well to rememeber that."
Taking a few paces further into the chamber, Lars shone the torch to see better. "Which way now, leader?"
Elbaron was still once more. Silence had been his virtue til now.
"We must hasten further inward" He said, pointing toward an exit "if we tarry to long, who knows what is next"
He looked toward Rema, hoping for and answer.
"Which way now, leader?"
One could make a very good assumption that Rema was looking into Lars' eyes, her brows furrowed in frustration. She didn't budge.
"Forgive me for acting impulsively, but I will not be patronized. If you cannot show respect to the person that will be dressing any wounds you most likely will get along this journey, nobody will stop you from turning around and going home right now. Otherwise, hold your tongue and continue forward. We are not stopping."
Her voice was calm and steady, but had a certain finality to it, punctuated by her spinning on her heels and all but marching further into the caves.
The group marched in silence, Rema was leading a few feet ahead of the gang with Kalic behind her, the rest had fallen into their own order. As they marched Kalic began to drift into fantasy, remembering some of the stories he'd read in the Academys great library. Noble heroes marching out on epic quests into the mountain, adventure in their hearts and a song on their lips, at the moment his own group wasn't looking very heroic.
Without thinking he began to hum, most of the songs he learnt were chants and stories, which Kalic then put to music. However, a few texts contained words and notation, often creating a better song than Kalic could ever write, his hum grew into a song, loud enough to be heard without disrupting whatever was lurking in the dark.
Far into the Misty Mountain Cold,
To Dungeons Deep and Caverns Old,
The Pines were Roaring on The Heights,
The Winds were Moaning in the Night,
The Fire was Red, it Flaming Spread,
The Trees Like Torches Blazed with Light.
His song finished Kalic gazed around, examining the place in which they found themselves.
Lithfin was lost in his own thoughts. He was still trying to understand what Rema meant when she said that they're not coming. Why weren't they coming? Did they decide to leave? Were they tired of walking? Or did they...
Lithfin shuddered at the thought. He knew it was the most probable one, but he didn't like it. He gripped his sledge even tighter. He then heard Kalic sing. Lithfin's ears stood straight up as he focused his hearing on the song. He didn't quite get the meaning of the words, but it didn't matter. He liked it, and his big tail started wagging as his spirit immediately picked up. When Kalic finished Lithfin nudged his shoulder. Kalic turned to the werewolf. "Kalic. Sing another one?" Lithfin said with a big smile on his face.
Anguis had never cared much for music, yet he found the buzzing that surrounded him set itself to match Kalic's singing, as if he were humming along. He wondered if this development was a result of his subconcious or whether it was purely the action of the vermin that composed his body.
He looked back and forth, his magic eyes sweeping the darkness for anything important, he noticed a few side tunnels, as well as the occasional rat.
"Should we ssseperate to explore the chamber, or do you already know the path through it?" He asked Rema, walking faster to catch up to her.
At Rema's words, Lars had almost left the group there and then but this was the only lead he had on the mythical crown. For now, Lars decided he would keep his mouth shut, but he glared daggers at the Samsarin's back and felt his grip tighten on the torch.
They party continued forward, silent except for Kalic's song of a war-torn land. It wasn't one familiar with Lars, but the words cut deep. As the song ended, the innocent dog requested another. Lars turned to him. "Does the song soothe your soul, boy? Does it lift your spirits?" He glanced sideways at Kalic, his fake eye shining brightly. "It seems to be a song about the Grand Finale..." He looked straight at Kalic's face, "An elven song about the Grand Finale." He turned once again to Lithfin. "Do you know anything about that, boy? Do you know what they did to my people? What they tried to do?"
As Lars continued, his voice had gathered volume and vehemence. He wasn't shouting, but the intensity of his voice was startling in the chamber. His words echoed around, bouncing off the walls.
At Lars's words Kalic cowered, no matter how confident he was in song he was still just a boy.
"It's... it's not a song about that" He was stammering again, thankfully he was confident in what he said "Its from before the Grand Finale. Dwarven. Its about one of the ancient dragon attacks."
Lars's rage peaked Kalic's curiosity, this was the second time he'd shown anger at the Grand Final
"What happened was awful Lars, but the Elves have made amends. Its in the past."
Lars whirled around and grabbed the bard's shoulder with his free hand, slamming him into the wall. Dust and cobwebs attached themselves to Kalic's clothing as the butcher put his snarling face into the boy's.
"Made amends?" His voice was quiet but brimming with fury. "The elves despise us. They continue to look down on humans and - given the chance - would wipe us out." He released the boy and backed away. "Or enslave us. Send us down to the mountain to the shades... Elves cannot be trusted!"
"They may not be as forthright in their hatred as before... but the past isn't buried; it's barely beneath the surface. The tactics they use now - if anything - are worse than before. They belittle us from afar; they connive and plot...strike from the darkness."
Which is why I use the same tactics; to teach them a lesson. He thought bitterly, images of the crown in his hands flashing before his eyes.
Lithfin was scared. He hadn't meant to make Lars angry, and he had no idea how to answer his questions. He had heard very little about the Grand Finale in his village since the adult elves rarely talked about it. Lithfin didn't ask either, he was never that interested in history. But it was something that sure made Lars angry.
Lars slammed Kalic into the wall. Lithfin looked on in shock, and spoke shortly after Lars finished talking. "Please don't be mad. Lithfin sorry. Didn't mean to make angry." His words were weak and apologetic and didn't match his big frame at all. An outsider looking on would probably think that the situation looked ridiculous with a big werewolf apologizing so timidly to a man that was smaller than him.
Rema pulls the map out of her bag to look at, but continues straight down the hallway until she reaches the door to a side room.
"Hmm... there are many side chambers in these corridors. Maybe they have something of value in them? Should we check them, or continue on? It likely isn't anything useful."
She tried to sound cordial, as if the arguing didn't bother her. Truth is, it did, but she wanted to avoid antagonising anyone in the party further. Her job demands she remain as neutral as possible. She's a doctor, after all.
Anguis ignored the others, he didn't care for their petty arguments, they could kill each other for all he cared, he only needed to keep himself and Rema alive, and he only needed to keep her alive until they reached the crown. He followed Rema to the door.
"It would be unwise to leave threats behind us, and perhapsss what is in these roomsss can aid usss."
Shaken from Lars' force Kalic made a note to move away from him, hopefully avoid confrontation Nethertheless, he was in a grumpy mood when he walked away
"Thank you for the help there" he said with a cold voice, as he moved to join Rema and the cloaked man. At her questions he turned almost cruel
"Here's an idea Leader. Lead us. This is your journey, we're just here for the ride"
Rema, forcing herself to remain calmly neutral in tone, didn't even turn around. "The 'patronizing rule' applies to everyone, Kalic, on both ends. I extend the same offer to you: Remain cordial to the entire party, or leave. I will not argue over this."
With that, she walked calmly into the room she was pondering, hand resting on her sword.
This isn't going well, she thought. We have hopped all of one obstacle, and we're already in-fighting... I knew I should have done this alone...
As Rema walked into the chamber Kalic turned to Anguis beside him. Until now he hadnt really had a chance to examine the strange man, so far he'd remained fairly quiet. Standing this close it was hard not to notice the hum surrounding him, both the physical and magical ones; one was constant, a never ending pulse of magic, as if he was holding on to a complex enchantment or charm. The other came and went, an odd shifting under his robes, as if his skin was crawling against itself. Both were pretty disconcerting.
"You want to follow her?" He said, his skin crawling.
Anguis looked at the bard, he could tell that his presence was putting the bard on edge. He was used to this reaction, most people tended to be disturbed by him and those few that had learned what he was rarely lived long enough to share their disgust with others. He disliked being inspected although the bard was at least courteous enough to not pester him with questions about himself.
"Yesss," he replied to Kalic's question, "What about you?" he asked, not waiting for an answer he turned and followed Rema into the room.
She couldn't let it go. It was still nagging at her. She carefully folded the map and turned around to face Lars and Kalic, her expression strained. She took a deep breath.
"... I'm sorry. I'm just... on edge from what happened to... in that room. Even so, it is behavior unbecoming of a practitioner of medicine... and I would like to find the Crown as quickly as possible, but don't want to come across as being dictatorial. I will attempt to be more decisive in the future."
She kept her head bowed as she spoke. Her guilt appeared genuine.
As the party walked into the room, a scurrying could be heard, but not much aside from that. Upon further examination, the room had a bit of furniture around it, mostly made of carved stone but there was also a set of heavy duty plate armor in the corner. The torches revealed it to be a reflective white and it sparkled. Soon however, darkness began to encapsulate them and a voice could be heard. Lithfin attempted to exit but a wall of darkness blocked his exit. "Who are you and why have you come? This is not for you! Out! Out! Outttt!"
Lars moved the torch desperately but the darkness was overwhelming and the fire refused to illuminate anything. "If you want us out, then let us out!" He said to the voice. Slowly, he unsheathed the cleaver and readied himself to attack.
Anguis had seen this sort of trickery before, he was not impressed.
"Enough of thisss shade!" he yelled out, "What do you wish of usss, perhaps we can reach an underssstanding."
He prepared to call forth a blast of fire should the shade turn against them, at the very least he would mildly irritate it before it killed them all.
The darkness receded for a moment, seeming to get ready for a strike, but when Anguis began speaking, the shadows began forming a shape. What the party could tell was that it had a human shape, though no distinguishable features, just an ever moving blackness that went into and out of form at seemingly random intervals. From no apparent location a less threatening voice came.
"What are you even doing here? The treasure is long gone. You are here to hurt me aren't you? They always come here, always."
Rema, who had begun to pull her sword when she heard the voice, began to relax when it spoke again in a calmer tone. What is this? she thought. Another defense? Or trap?
She remained on alert, but removed her hands from her sword. "We are not here to hurt you. Do you have a name, or at least something we may call you by?"
Anguis stepped back and let Rema speak, a shade was not something he wanted to fight, especially not in the dark, and Rema was almost certainly more persuasive than he was.
Still he remained prepared to call forth fire if the shade became hostile. The buzzing sound around him grew quieter but more intense.
Kalic stood behind his now prepared allies, as it always did time seemed to slow.
It was like he was in the academy library, row upon row of shelves dotted the wall, all manner of knowalge for all many of creature. In his mind he drew a volume from the shelf nearest to him; "On the Shades of the Mountain" scholars weren't very creative with names.
Suddenly the knowlage came back.
"Keep them talking" he said, hopefully quiet enough to remain unheard by the Shade "If he gets hostile make sure you cover your eyes"
And with that he became to chant a spell of Magefire, a short burst that shone with a fierce white light. Whether or not it would kill the Shade he was unsure.
"We are not here to hurt you. Do you have a name, or at least something we may call you by?"
The shadow became a bit calmer, its form having less ripples, that was until it sensed the magical energy being channeled into attack spells ready to go. It shrank backwards and in an insanely amplified voice yelled "I knew it! Surfacers only ever want to hurt me! You are liars all of you!"
The moving darkness sensing it was outnumbered, fled the chamber, retreating into the darkness.
"Wait, don't--" Rema stepped forward, but the thing was already gone. She swore under her breath. "Well, that was a waste of time..."