The Age of Worms Chapter 1: The Whispering Cairn (Game Thread, Closed, Started)

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As James and Millie pushed the sarcophagus. Due to either the extreme age of the mechanism or the weight of the sarcophagus, the sarcophagus proved difficult to turn. However, little by little the pair made progress until finally it pointed in the direction of the yellow lantern as soon as the mechanism clicked into place, a pillar of rotating winds appeared around the lantern abut 10ft in diameter and centered around the lantern and the chain it hung from. Below this, a circular stone in the floor began to lower into the earth and down a shaft it previously concealed.

Looking down into the shaft revealed only darkness.

Charles showed little reaction to the trap going off and the goliath yelling in response. It didn't shock him that there was a trap and the goliath didn't look too hurt by the fire. He thought to check on the creature but the gnome, Wilmet attended to him, so it seemed that he wouldn't need to burn any of his powers this early into the expedition either way.

"So it points towards the blue lantern... Where exactly did you find it? By the dead guy? Any clues to how that guy went?"

"They were with what remained of him," Charles responded after a moment. "I think he was probably crushed and dragged off by animals."

Then the turning started and a passageway opened. Charles went alert and walked down the passageway to look down, trying to get ahead of anyone else incase it needed to be sealed. Darkness. Probably unnatural. Probably a trap. He suspected that the only one with any relative safety was the indigo path but he couldn't be sure.

He stated "There's no light down there." Before hesitantly adding "Yellow is a sickness colour, I think we should try another first."

James grinned, he had managed to figure out something, something amazing like this, a passage-way had revealed itself at the yellow lamp. It had yielded results, just as he had figured it would.

It has to be down there, right?

"There's no light down there. Yellow is a sickness colour, I think we should try another first."

"But it makes sense, it's the only colour that makes sense!" James said, eagerly. "Why would that man remove the indigo lamp and the finger, had they not been tied together? They were obviously clues, and though it is dark, I am certain that this too is part of the puzzle. Well..." he trailed off, a bit of his courage disappearing. "Well, it could also be a trap. However, for what purpose would a man like that remove those items? Surely he, even in death, would not benefit from our destruction?" James asked. People were odd to him, but he couldn't see the logic behind setting them up for failure.

Of course, there are those who take more enjoyment in knowing people will suffer.

He sometimes had that, but, to be fair, it was mostly when he was in a very bad mood. And surely he couldn't be blamed for his moods.

Still, better check it, to be sure.

"I mean, we could check it for a trap, and it would be the best idea. However, if we're going to try every colour, most of which I am certain will wield either no result at all, or be just as risky as this one, I say we check our possibilities with this one. There are no clues that I have seen that would lead to any of the other colours, after all, and it was by careful deduction I selected the yellow one. For, why would there both be an arrow, and a finger pointing, if they weren't supposed to interact? Of course they were, this is a puzzle, in a cairn, to make unnecessary additions would be more work than it's worth."

Now, how to really get the point across? Rid ourselves of the superstition with the colour? Oh, I know.

He chuckled, slightly, it was an amusing thought.

"Besides, yellow is not a colour of sickness, but one of the sun, and of gold. Let's follow the grandness of the sun!" he said, spitefully, then added; "I am, obviously, being sarcastic. Yellow is whatever you want it to be, right now, it could be an opportunity. There's people who can create a magic light to light up the darkness, and we have someone adept at finding traps, wouldn't it be better to see if I'm correct before complicating this further?"

"Follow the grandness of the sun? It works for me." Said Godric, drawing his sword and advancing towards the shaft that had just opened. He hadn't really considered the yellow lantern meaning sickness, but he knew they'd find a bad reason in every colour if they really tried. "Otherwise, we'll all rot into skeletons before we pick a path to explore, and that time we spend debating could be spend exploring. This path may be dark, but we carry light with us."

Lighting a torch, Godric stepped into the tunnel, tapping the ground with his sword as he did so. There could be traps down there, but that just meant disarming something and they'd probably have to do plenty of that down here. That little trick with the fire and the sarcophagus was surely just the tip of the iceberg.

Godric's torch didn't appear to be cutting through the darkness, "Come on, someone magical get in here and conjure up some light. It's not like you've got anywhere better to be right now is it?" He said with a smile. Chances were they'd have to try several paths that led nowhere, it would take some methodical work.

"Come on! There's secrets to be found, and we won't do anything just standing around talking about colours!" Godric really hoped somebody was going to go in after him, preferably a mage capable of casting light.

Looking at the pit that showed up Thalith narrows his eyes and pulls his axe from his back. following the other fighter person as he moves forward he agrees in his mind with exploring rather than talking, his own words a deep rumble.
"Lets go, waiting here will make us the same as the one who tried the tunnel over there."

Stomping into the stairs making the stone quake under his massive weight Thalith changes his grip on his Greataxe and looks at the carvings on the wings before looking into the darkness that the torch didn't seem to eat away at.
"Come on, someone magical get in here and conjure up some light. It's not like you've got anywhere better to be right now is it?"

Turning his head and calling up into the top of the stairs Thaliths voice roars up into the open air.
"Someone who can get rid of darkness better than a torch get your ass down here and show us what we are doing down here!"

"I am, obviously, being sarcastic. Yellow is whatever you want it to be, right now, it could be an opportunity. There's people who can create a magic light to light up the darkness, and we have someone adept at finding traps, wouldn't it be better to see if I'm correct before complicating this further?"

"Someone who can get rid of darkness better than a torch get your ass down here and show us what we are doing down here!"

"Darkness this darkness that," Wilmet said "I am more than a magical lantern you know."

Still he flicked his hands and conjured up an orb of light, casting it into the darkness illuminating the passage and laying bare what the darkness had concealed. While he did certainly enjoy applying his magical talent and being of use he hoped that a more interesting test of his abilities would present itself.

"There we go, it should float ahead of us and keep the passage lit," he said.

As the light descended down the shaft, it quickly became clear that it dug deep into the undermountain. Were one to fall down the hole, without magic they would almost certainly die. Fortunately, the wind held steady and was clearly designed to provide a safe way to descend into the depths.

After a significant distance (nearly 100 meters by Wilmet's best guess), the light stopped moving; revealing a roughly 6 meter on a side room offset from the shaft at the bottom. While the edges of the far side of the room were hidden by the sharp angle and length of the shaft, there was clearly the beginnings of a staircase at the edge of the vision afforded by the light. The walls were clearly carved and decorated, though the specifics were impossible to tell from the top of the shaft. The stone circle that had lowered down the shaft earlier now appeared to be a part of the floor below the shaft. Aside from the potential fall to it, the chamber below appeared safe in all respects.

"Darkness this darkness that, I am more than a magical lantern you know."

Are you? I couldn't tell," James said, and covered most of his eyes when the bright light appeared. "Perhaps it would have been more clear if you had helped me with the puzzle, and not let a mere toddler do all the thinking for you," he continued, intending to jest but not entirely sure it sounded like that. It mostly sounded like an annoyed snark, actually. James couldn't help it. He hadn't exactly intended for the other to light the whole thing up, and though he was impressed and curious about it, he was also pretty annoyed over the amount of light, because that meant his vision was limited. Then again, James supposed it was better than no light, even he couldn't see in a pitch black room.

At least it looks like I was correct.

That gave him a tingly feeling of happiness and satisfaction. James liked solving puzzles and figuring things out, and he certainly didn't mind being correct. He walked next to the tiny wizard, trying figure out how the other had cast the spell, and if it needed to have magic applied to it continually in order to function, or if it simply had an effect that wore off on its own. Besides, that meant James didn't have to go first, going first could be very scary, and he felt the worry fill him. They were pretty high up, after all.

I don't want to fall.

He put the largest of his coat tighter around himself, it always made him feel a little safer, before he continued after the others.

"Is someone checking for traps?" he asked, suddenly. He wasn't sure why he did, he was sure the others had thought of it themselves. Still. Better make sure. "Just for safety's sake, of course."

Everyone was moving around her, and the conversation had moved past whatever information she had gathered, so Clodagh found a passably smooth rock and sat on it. She slouched a little bit and adjusted her posture by resting an elbow on her leg, and used it to rest her face from the cheek. Clodagh then shivered a little.

In truth, practical puzzles weren't much to her taste, and Clodagh wasn't about to start exhibiting her powers to illuminate the nearby chasm on the risk that one of those in the party was some sort of sociopath. No, no keeping any exceptional attention being drawn to her is best.
Clodagh looked around and spotted someone that wasn't frantically searching the area. Andria. "um, hi?" Maybe she would be friendly. At the moment there was a Millie-James spectrum of cordiality, and finding where Andria lay would probably be useful.
But Andria just kept looking onward, the 15 year old's question not even eliciting a nod or glance. She just stood there, motionless. This annoyed Clodagh. "Why are you just standing there?"

Looking into the illuminated shaft Godric could see the entrance to a room about 100 metres down from where they were looking. His stomach shivered slightly at the prospect of falling such a difference, but his curiosity won that particular battle.

"So this magic current will carry us safely down there? I think I saw a circus performance like this once, done with painted ropes to hide the trick. Unfortunately they were on after the knife throwing act, and one of the ropes was damaged, it didn't end well." Godric realised this wasn't quite the best thing to bring up, his stomach shivered once again, and his knees shook slightly. He didn't like heights.

"Well, somebody has to be the first down there..." He said, winking at the rest of the group and stepping into the embrace of the magical current, trusting it to carry him gently downwards.

Room Above

"Why are you just standing there?". Andria just glanced up at Clodagh, her eyes full of disdain, before making her way to the shaft and jumping down into the darkness.

Room Below

In retrospect, Godric wouldn't call the trip down "gentle". The wind had safely delivered him to the bottom of the shaft, but whether by a quark of the design or the age of the enchantment, he still hit the ground with enough force to send a bolt of pain up his legs. After a quick once over, Godric was certain he'd suffered no lasting harm beyond the memory of the landing.

With his safety confirmed, Godric was free to look around the room. The walls in the room were covered in bas-relief images similar to the slender figure upon the sarcophagus lid in the chamber above. Nearly a dozen androgynous, hairless humanoids stood in poses of deference, almost as if they were paying homage to the viewer. Many had their hands extended in adoration, their faces awash in adulation. Several of the statues lacked hands, arms, heads, or anything else easily hacked off; no doubt the desecration of long gone tomb robbers. About fifteen feet to the south, a dark passage extended from an elaborately carved arch up a small flight of stairs. Only a little of this hallway was visible, however, as a large stone block obscured most of the passage. Ancient words were carved into the area above the arch.

Ouch. Godric had been expecting a somewhat gentler landing and wished he'd bent his knees to absorb the impact of landing, but he was down safely. The room he now saw had almost a dozen figures that looked similar to the one on the sarcophagus they had found before. This looked like some form of chapel or burial place. A passage extended away on the other side of the room.

"It's safe to come down!" Godric shouted up at the group, "Just bend your knees when you land!" If they didn't hear him up there they'd find out themselves. "Because this place is beyond my understanding..." Godric muttered to himself.

"Just bend your knees when you land!"

Perhaps the drop would be safe enough for the larger members of the group, but scale was everything and to Wilmet it looked like a much longer drop than it might to the others. Fortunately he had a spell for that. Is there nothing magic can't solve? It was even a very simple spell, one of the first any mage learned (particularly if their master had the fondness for towers many wizardly sorts held).

"Feather fall," he muttered, waving his hands over the group "enjoy a comfortable drop."

With that he hopped off the ledge and began drifting downwards at a slow rate. Certainly climbing back up would be somewhat more tiresome, but he doubted it would prove much of a challenge for their group. Particularly not when it contained a Goliath. He could probably just throw me back up top.

Landing smoothly at the bottom he brushed dust off his robes and began looking around.

"Well what do we have here?"

"It's safe to come down! Just bend your knees when you land!"

James stared wide-eyed at the place they were supposed to go down. He absolutely did not want to go down there. Wasn't there some sort of clue somewhere? Some way of knowing that this really was where they were supposed to go?

But that guy already went down... and he replied. It should be safe.

Should be. But what if only one person was supposed to fall down? What had happened to the woman who had jumped down afterwards? She hadn't spoken at all.

Come on, James, it's not that...

He felt both angry with himself and worried about being right. They hadn't heard the other woman fall to her death, but he couldn't shake the fear. James didn't like a lot of things, heights included, and he had gotten just about enough of risks and chances with no obvious gain. Besides, if the landing was really that tough, would anything in his pockets spill? Wasn't he making up excuses by now, though?

Am I really this cowardly?

Before he got the chance to answer, the small mage spoke, cast a spell even, before going down.

"Feather fall, enjoy a comfortable drop."

"Don't even---" he snarled under his breath, mostly to himself, though part of him felt a huge relief about having something to support him. That said, he still wasn't entirely sure about this.

Only when he had waited for a while, and not heard the sound of broken bones, did James step forward. Making sure to go down the same place where the mage had gone, he took a shaking breath, and stepped outside. For a brief moment, he considered closing his eyes as he did, but he decided that the thought of not seeing what happened was more frightening than the fall.

It was odd just sort of falling down. Floating downwards in the darkness, and landing safely, the only sound heard as he did a soft jingle from the different bottles in his pockets, all safe and in one piece.

"Well what do we have here?"

"Someone should go check the passage out," James replied, as he looked over the statues around them. He stepped a little away from the sources of light, hoping to spot something that could help them. "Someone not me, that is. I don't like it."

Turning and watching one of those still up top fall down in a slower fashion than the others Thalith walks over and pulls him from the middle of the still swirling air and grabs him as he brushes off his robe. Dragging him forward, his hand taking up most of the mans upper arm, the Goliath holds him at the edge of the meager light down there and points deeper into the darkness.
"Make it so i can see where im going. Some kind of magic or hold a torch for me. Can you make magic for that?"

Looking down at the much smaller man Thalith finally lets go of his arm after seeing he is half picking him up. Thinking to himself.
"Light thing, could sling him past the ceiling if i wasn't careful.

Charles shook his head slightly at the discussions and after watching the others drop into the hole and down the wind passage he followed them with a little thought. As his feet touched something solid he saw it was getting kind of dark again. He looked at the others and stood in silence briefly before muttering a prayer, drawing his sword and tapping it against his left arm.

After a few seconds his blade developed a dull white glow to it that while illuminating, it illuminated what was around him more than it sprayed light. That's when he noticed the goliath handling the gnome and blurted "What are you doing?" as he walked towards them.

As he got a better look of his surroundings as he walked towards them he noticed that they were looking at a passageway, and he noticed words above... he felt like he knew them... his mind was wandering, he looked back at the Goliath.

"Oh, so your sword glows in the dark does it?" Said Godric, unsure whether he was unsettled or impressed at Charles' glowing sword, "That's actually very useful." He continued as he peered at the words above the arch. He wasn't able to read them himself but they were likely very important. Someone had taken the time to carve them into stone and it would be reckless to ignore a potential warning.

"Can anyone read this? I don't want us to walk straight into a bottomless pit just because we couldn't read the sign we all walked past." He half-joked, knowing they were essentially trespassing in a long forgotten place. Somebody had likely ransacked this place long before them judging by the state of the statues around them, if they'd made it any further than this room there was no sign.

Room Below

Looking around the room revealed little more than had already been seen. The area was certainly well carved and detailed, though each of the statues seemed "flawed" in some intangible way. Fortunately, where the architecture failed to provide any further details, the writing did.

The carving above the passage seemed to be some kind of religious passage that Charles, James, and Wilmet could understand. Roughly translated, it read "Let those who would pass, show humility before Zosiel". In particular, Charles recognized the form of the phrase as similar to that of a classic prayer to Ezra. It's use here was sacrilegious at best.

Beyond the arch stood the stone blocking the passage. It looked easy enough to move with the proper application of force for it was circular in shape and appeared to be easy to roll aside because of it.

"Can anyone read this? I don't want us to walk straight into a bottomless pit just because we couldn't read the sign we all walked past."

James rolled his eyes, before looking up at the sign. He wasn't exactly eager to walk closer to the passage, but with the others waving around glowing swords and demanding spells, he thought a death trap might actually be preferable.

"It's... Let those who would pass, show humility before Zosiel... whoever that is. Sounds like some sort of religious crap," he muttered -the last part rather quickly- arms crossed. James didn't exactly feel like letting the statement hang in the air so that someone could get insulted, and continued quickly; "So, I assume we're supposed to do something related to the statues. Show humility... bow, or something."

Because of course all we are supposed to do is kneel and show respect.

The gods weren't amongst the things James had a keen interest in, so he knew very little about them or the societies around them. Heck, he didn't even know for sure if it was a religious statement, but with the humility, and "Zosiel", it was his best bet. He started walking back and forth, impatient for someone to act.

"Can anyone read this? I don't want us to walk straight into a bottomless pit just because we couldn't read the sign we all walked past."

"It's... Let those who would pass, show humility before Zosiel... whoever that is. Sounds like some sort of religious crap, So, I assume we're supposed to do something related to the statues. Show humility... bow, or something."

Looking up at the words above his head Thalith takes only a second to look at them before going back to the statues standing around. Walking over towards the closest one he runs a finger over the angle trying to find out what had gone wrong. Whatever was in the words were none of his business, whoever this god was he was no match for his own. Moving to the next statue he does the same he had for the first.

Running a finger over the weird angles on the thing Thalith shakes his head and regrets the looks to these amazing statues. Looking back at those who had gotten down into this new area he suddenly narrows his eyes as something came to him. Turning around again he doesn't let his eyes focus on the statues as he looks for treasure or somewhere it may be hidden. Muttering to himself, fairly sure it was to quiet for those behind him to hear.

"We had to find that way down and i took a fire ball to the face. Whatever broke these statues, it wasn't treasure hunters."

"Make it so i can see where im going. Some kind of magic or hold a torch for me. Can you make magic for that?"

"Release me you insufferable cretin, you titanic dullard!" Wilmet said, not at all pleased with having been manhandled. Fortunately he was quickly released, though he suspected that it had nothing to with his protests.

"Do that again and I'll make your brains, or whatever composes your minuscule nervous system, leak from your ears," he snapped, rubbing his wrist where he'd been grabbed and walking away into the dark, his magic light brightening to illuminate his surroundings.

Fortunately the room contained much to distract him from his fuming, various religious carvings which he doubted many in the group could read. A prayer to Ezra, misplaced in this environment, and something about showing humility to Zosiel. Zosiel... does that sound familiar? Perhaps I should consult my notes.

"So, I assume we're supposed to do something related to the statues. Show humility... bow, or something."

"You are quite learned for an infant," Wilmet commented "it could refer to a specific rite, sign, or ritual to show deference. I wil consult my notes to see if I have anything contained there about such. In the meantime I suppose the rest of you could try to shift that rock, doubtless we will want to see what is behind it."

"Ah yes," he said, finding a small footnote in his historical notes "seems the fellow was a minor prince or cultural equivalent thereof, this would likely be his tomb then. If that is the case I doubt anything more deferential than a bow would be required, if that."

"We had to find that way down and i took a fire ball to the face. Whatever broke these statues, it wasn't treasure hunters."

"Actually, you took a fireball to the face because you tried to force the lid open, so it is very possible that someone else has been here before us. Could just have been less stupid. However, I don't agree that these statues are only broken -though they certainly are that as well- they appear... wrong. There's something off with them, I can see it in the details, but I'm not an artist, so I'm not sure what it is. Odd that there should be such flaws in the craftsmanship, as whoever made them seems to have known what they were doing."

Suspicious, even.

Crossing his arms, he looked towards the statues again. He wondered if any of them were more significant than the others, if there was something to signify whoever they were going to "pay respect" to.

"You are quite learned for an infant, it could refer to a specific rite, sign, or ritual to show deference. I wil consult my notes to see if I have anything contained there about such. In the meantime I suppose the rest of you could try to shift that rock, doubtless we will want to see what is behind it."

"If you are to move aside the rock, do it quickly. We're already wasting time," he huffed. He really didn't trust that damned rock, but even if he had, he doubted he had the strength to move it on his own. "Or do you expect me to do everything around here?"

"Ah yes, seems the fellow was a minor prince or cultural equivalent thereof, this would likely be his tomb then. If that is the case I doubt anything more deferential than a bow would be required, if that."

James raised an eyebrow, partly curious, partly annoyed. Sure, it would have been interesting to know more about those customs, but right now, all he cared about was getting out of there.

"Do you have any further description? Any sort of way to find out if any of these statues are special? Or are we stuck waiting for that rock to be moved? That stupid..." he bit his lip, eyebrows lowered into a scowl.

Charles looked at the statues, the stone blocking the way forward, the others, and the phrase for a few moments before speaking up "I don't like to indulge things in tombs but there could be magic here. If you're not going to push you should be bowing."

Charles then walked over to the stone and looked for something on it to pull or push, hoping atleast one of the others would help move it if bowing didn't do it.

The statues, the writing, the feeling he had, all of this tomb was off. The odd almost deformed feeling statues, the warped prayer, everything else he had come across in this place was normal for these lands. But the way they were adding together made him anxious about the whole thing.

As Charles searched the block, he found no handles but did find the stone remarkably easy to move. Despite its large size, it required relarively little strength due to an incline within the rut it rested in. It still would take a bit of strength to get it started - likely beyond what the less physically inclined could achieve by themselves - but nothing they could not handle. Interestingly, it seemed that the great stone block was designed to be rolled into a slot in a wall that was currently hidden from view by the block itself. Besides that, he could hear the sound of "whispering" the cairn had made above from behind the stone, suggesting there were more of the vents on the other side, though it sounded somewhat "out of tune"; even accounting for the stone block.

Meanwhile, as Thalith looked more closely at the statues, he was finally able to see why they looked so wrong. When the stone had been carved, the natural faults and impurities in the stone happened to align with the carving in such a way that light reflected differently that it should, making odd shadows. In Thalith's expert opinion, these statues were flawed by a quark of nature more than any design intention. More likely, the area was little more than a storage room for statues unworthy of the tomb proper. What that meant about the writing, the door, and what was beyond it however was well and truly beyond him however.

Thalith spends a few more minutes looking at one of the statues, running his fingers over the natural fissure they had used in the work and smiling to himself at the craftsmanship. Turning away and frowning to himself as he hears someone talking.

"You are quite learned for an infant, it could refer to a specific rite, sign, or ritual to show deference. I wil consult my notes to see if I have anything contained there about such. In the meantime I suppose the rest of you could try to shift that rock, doubtless we will want to see what is behind it."

"If you are to move aside the rock, do it quickly. We're already wasting time,"

Eying the rock they are talking about Thalith flexes his arms and locks them together against his chest and themselves, working them to get ready as he walks towards it. Saying as he does to the on who had been talking about the statues and not being sure what was wrong with them.
"Nothing wrong with the statues little person, they used the flaws in the carvings. It is master worthy, but not good enough for above."

Stepping up next to the one who was fiddling with the large stone Thalith sets a hand on it and after giving it a bit of a push grunts in surprise at how easy it moved. Setting both hands on the stone and giving it a shove Thalith has to catch his step when it moves into the wall into a place set up for it. The initial strength needed using a little strength after that it was almost to easy. Looking down at the person who had been studying it he says down at him.
"Want it here?"

As Thalith pushed the stone slab into the wall, the sound from the other side became loud enough to hear even to those not near the slab. The whispering became a rapid hissing noise as vents previously blocked by the stone slab were opened. Immediately, these vents spewed forth a torrent of sickly green gas.

Beyond the rock was a 15 meter passage with a fork in the path at the end

"Oh wonderful," Wilmet said as the presumably toxic vapor started hissing in, he thought better of wasting his potential final breaths on idle chatter however, instead opting to take a deep breath of the stale but presumably safe air before it was made poison. In an effort to be extra safe he pulled a piece of cloth over his nose and mouth, if he did become desperate for air then hopefully it would filter out some of the poison.

Unless they could manage to move the stone back and block off the vent they would have to figure out how to survive the vapor. Is it rising or falling? If it is falling then we could try to climb out... ah of course it is rising otherwise it would be at our feet and not filling the air around us. Well that made things easy then.

Wilmet dropped to the ground, lying flat on it. With luck the poison would only displace the air above him and eventually filter out, becoming harmless as it dispersed into the air above. If his assumption was correct then the greatest danger he was now in was someone stepping on him. Too bad he had no way of communicating this to the others without possibly endangering himself, even if his assumption was correct he had no wish to risk exposure by taking a breath or using his voice and even his magic would require some vocalization.

Still he had to make some effort, so he limply waved his staff, still lit with magic light, up and down so as to draw attention to himself, pointing downwards with his other hand and patting the ground. If they have an ounce of intelligence they'll catch on, otherwise they might think I am having a seizure.

"Nothing wrong with the statues little person, they used the flaws in the carvings. It is master worthy, but not good enough for above."

Is that aimed at me or the actual small person?

He could have asked, but it mattered little. "Fair enough. How dull," he replied instead, with a sour expression. "What a purposeless group of statues. I---"

Suddenly he heard the vents, and saw the gas. The rock had been removed, and, unsurprisingly, a trap lay behind.

"Oh wonderful,"

I knew that damned rock would do something.

However, the only path had to be through there, if the statues really were just another distraction. Of course, there were other, more imminent distractions. The gas. Green and sickly, and with a familiar smell. He stepped closer, just to make sure, and it became easier to see the path out. "If I'm correct, and I often am, this one'll suffocate you lot. Me... I'm not so sure, but I'd rather not take the risk." He looked at the small wizard, the way he reacted to the gas, and nodded.

At least the mage's not stupid.

"Do as Wilmet, cover your mouths with some kind of cloth and get to ground, but don't crawl, just bend down. Go past the rock and keep moving as far as you can. If someone knows some kind of wind-spell, they could keep it at bay for a little while, but moving is the best thing to do-- cough."

James felt his throat hurt, and stopped talking, closing his mouth and taking a breath of clean air at the lower parts of the room. He found an empty vial in his pocket and took a sample of the gas before following his own advice, and running past the trap and as far as he could get. He stopped at the fork, hesitating.

I just want to go somewhere with fresh air.

If he had a torch, he could see where exactly they were headed. He opted to stand aside and wait for the result of one of those with a light, who had surely managed to move past him during the time he had spent taking a sample.

Jerking back and coughing Thalith waves his hands in front of his face and roars out as he gets a face full of whatever this is. Waving his hands in front of his face more and moving away from it he looks into the area they had just opened and lurches into it. Someone was talking behind him but after getting a face full of a trap AGAIN he was not in the mood for listening as he stamps forward making the ground shake under his forward movement.

Glaring at the stone he had just moves Thalith pulls his fist back and slams it into the center of it, wanting to roar his anger but keeping his mouth closed and holding his breath as best he can. Rushing past the stone into the hall it had shown and looks at the littler person he had talked at a bit ago about the statues. Looking back the goliath shakes his head and waves his hand in front of his face again, more angry now than he had been with the fireball in his face.

Stopping close to the little person who had gone down this hall first Thalith makes fists with both his hands unconsciously, feeling the edges of his control which was never that great at this, getting thinner as the always bubbling rage inside him comes closer to the surface.

As things unfolded Charles looked at the vents and the gas spewing from them, held his breath, and walked into the now open passage as the Goliath was doing something. Thinking carefully he remembered the writings and noticed the gas was rising. Clever. He bowed down as the goliath approached and motioned with one of his hands for the goliath to do the same.

Poison gas! Slightly cliche but Godric knew how effective it was. Even the mightiest warrior or most mystical sorceror had to breathe. The others were covering their faces and dropping low to the ground, Godric did the same, bringing part of his travelling cloak to cover his mouth and nose.

Wilmet was motioning with his staff for all of them to drop to the ground, it seemed like a good idea. Heading out of the room as everyone else was doing also seemed like a good idea. Godric thought he heard the small one, James, try and speak to the others, but Godric was too busy shuffling past the trap to really hear him over the commotion and coughing. He caught up to the others at the fork in the tunnel where it was clear the mighty Goliath was struggling to keep a handle on his rage. It was understandable, all that strength wouldn't help in a situation like this.

"Let's not hang about here," He said, moving through the group and heading towards the right hand passage at the fork, "We shall survive what this place throws at us, but for now we must press on. Doubtless there will be more traps to discover and evade." Waving the group to follow after him.

Clodagh noticed everyone jumping down the chasm. Andria wasn't moving, so to her it was best to stay with the rest of the group than gather dust next to the flesh totem.

So she instinctively jumped, which was actually a terrible idea. See that only made the falling distance larger, and even though her speed had been artificially slowed, it only made her panic midway down that the extra foot or two would result in shattered kneecaps.
In the end that didn't happen, instead she bent her legs a bit too far, and by the time she was busy tripping over herself the group had found themselves somewhere new.

Clodagh had looked up and Charles was waving a glowing sword around. It helped illuminate the area while people took turns deciphering a language completely alien to her. More people started talking about the discovery, and Thalith was ruminating while pushing blocks around. Clodagh was just about ready to find a seat and do some rumination of her own, over how she's realistically going to explain disappearing for the night to her brother.

Then, out of nowhere a hissing noise kicked Clodagh back into the situation. An annoying hissing to be precise. The type that you hear and its so sudden it makes you feel your brain between your ears. There were vents next to the slab Thalith had moved, and some sort of gas was coming out of it. It looked putrid, and the others did not like the look of it. One of them bandaged cloth over his mouth and started to move, but then he dropped to the floor.

"Ah, shit" Clodagh said very audibly. She looked around and jogged back to the hole they had dropped out of. Maybe there was a way back up, or something. She reached up into the air and nothing happened. "Oh shit I'm gonna die" she realized in a blunt, monotone fashion.
Then she heard James speak.
"Do as Wilmet, cover your mouths with some kind of cloth and get to ground, but don't crawl, just bend down. Go past the rock and keep moving as far as you can. If someone knows some kind of wind-spell, they could keep it at bay for a little while, but moving is the best thing to do-- cough."
James begins to splutter, and Clodagh, well, she didn't want anyone to die, but if he's the casualty of the operation she can't say she'll mourn him. So running out of options and probably brain cells, Clodagh does as he says and pulls out a handkerchief. But then realizes it probably wouldn't cover both her mouth and nose, so she started feeling up around herself for some loose clothing to rip off. She was wearing nothing but patches and sewn clothes, which was great, except after months of wear and tear this particular garment has had every spare end wrapped up and bound in leather straps to stop exactly what she was trying to do from happening. Not even Clodagh's hood would wrap around far enough to cover her face.

She looked up and the gas was practically on her. She dropped to her knees and took a big gulp of air.
"socks"She said, exasperated. Clodagh practically ripped off her boots and slid the horrible pair of cloth off. She then put her boots back on, hunkered down, and started dragging herself forward with one hand that was glued to her face, scrunching the socks and handkerchief.

"Let's not hang about here, we shall survive what this place throws at us, but for now we must press on. Doubtless there will be more traps to discover and evade."
She heard being called from a distance, and by the time the gas had hit her she just had to keep moving in the direction of the voice. Honestly if the gas got her on account of the cloth filter not working, at least Clodagh's nose would appreciate an end to the hell it was being subjected to...

James was the first down the tunnel and should have been the first to see what lay beyond. Unfortunately, before James could take stock of his position, his vision went black. A moment later, he felt three sensations; a sharp pain around the crown of his head, a burning sensation on his head, and something wrap around his throat and squeeze. Needless to say, this was decidedly unpleasant.

Thalith - the second down the tunnel - got a much better view. The right and left forks were largely identical and seemed to bend around and probably meet at the other side. Two large doorways were 90 degrees up the two forks. The only obvious difference between the two passageways was that the right passage was covered in a thick brown fungus. Of course, more pressing was the large, black, squid-like thing that had dropped on top of James from the shadows in the ceiling.

Back at the lobby, the green gas was still flowing into the area, but because of the entryway in the ceiling it was flowing out as fast as it was flowing in. While the cloth didn't seem to help much, by staying ducking down a bit, the effects of the gas trap could be avoided entirely. Wilmet was effectively immune to the trap as the gas never dropped low enough to threaten him unless he jumped into it.

James couldn't believe what was taking the others so long.

How did I...

His vision went dark, and he felt pain in the entirety of his head. His crown stung, a burning sensation covered the rest of his head, and something trying to strangle him. He would have screamed, had this something not also covered his eyes.

What is this thing?!

It had to be some sort of creature, with the way it moved. A creature on top of his head, trying to strangle him.

Accursed creature! No no, wait, I have to be... have to be calm. Calm. James, calm.

Yet he couldn't quite feel calm. He knew that if he didn't act quickly, it really would choke him. He brought his hand up, trying to push it away. The others would probably leave him, he'd be all on his own. Or they would watch as he died, though, if they did, he hoped they choked on the poison-gas.

What happened next only took about a second. Cursing in his mind, growling to himself -it was the only thing he could do with his mouth closed- James drove his head into the wall, backwards so that the creature would feel it, though attempting to do it carefully not to hurt himself. It was a sudden movement of instinct, though it didn't make the pain go away. However, it allowed him to calm down a little, think. The hold around his neck kept him mostly panicked though. If what he felt around his crown was teeth, the things around his throat would be limbs.

Which means its brains will be right over my own head. Probably.

At least the burning sensation made it possible to pick out where it came from. He grabbed one of his daggers -not like he would forget them in his belt, even if he was blinded at the moment- and tried to stab the creature.

Still holding onto his anger just barely Thalith starts to pull it more under control when he sees the person who had gone ahead of him being attacked by something dark. It was grabbing onto his neck and wrapped around his head. Staring at it for one long second Thalith jumps forward roaring out a battle cry and lets himself fall into rage. His already amazing strength got a huge boost as he sees whoever it was being attacked slam themselve into the wall and try to stab whatever it is. Grabbing onto to the thing and crushing it in his hand the stone Goliath grabs the man it is on a bit lighter and pulls on the thing hard.

Inside Thalith a battle for control rages, the rage he is in wanting to kill not only the thing attacking his party member but also the member himself, wanting to split him and all the rest who have come into this hall with him with his axe. But on the other side he knows killing team mates is one of the worst things to do. So as the fight inside and out rages on Thalith rips on the dark thing hard and slams it down, using his fists to pound that spot of flooring over and over, each punch sending vibrations through the floor.

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