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(Created page with "{{Guild|Mage's}} '''Summary''': (Summary Pending) ==Mage Tower== (Direct follow-on from the conclusion of RP: Magical Mysteries Scavenger Hunt|Quintessa's Scavenger H...")
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Latest revision as of 21:16, 12 October 2019

This is a Mage's Guild RP.

Summary: (Summary Pending)

Mage Tower

(Direct follow-on from the conclusion of Quintessa's Scavenger Hunt)

Lanlan follows Odhranos into what the latter calls his 'office'. It isn't much, and Lanlan isn't impressed, and is no longer offended. "Yeah, I'm surprised they let you keep it after all this time," he lies. Before Odhranos could get too drunk, Lanlan would reveal the latest thing he needs help with. In fact, it almost seems like a culmination of many of their past adventures. Lanlan and an apprentice encounter a monolith buried in Sage forest, an egg shaped piece of amber the size of a house. There's sixteen robed and hooded humanoids trapped inside standing in a circle, arms raised in a 'V'. But the reason Lanlan requests Odhranos' help in particular? The surface of the amber is scribbled bottom to top in runes, just like the ones they've encountered in the past. "It took me a long time," he says, "But I've finally figured out how to open. I can make a key." The whole time Lanlan explains it, he's visibly excited. He can't even sit down! His hands wave, he points, he gestures...totally animated. "Will you help? We'd have to go soon. Even though it's in a secluded part of the forest, it's a gigantic precious stone and others will want to claim it for themselves!"

Odhranos could see the shift in his colleague's (friend's? Yeah, they've suffered enough together to be friends at this stage) expression and couldn't help the grin from spreading as he sat down in the old sturdy chair behind his desk and pulled the cork on the bottle. He'd missed Lanlan's over the top attitude in the interim that he'd been gone and secretly enjoyed teasing the drow with the idea that he'd been granted some esteemed office space. Pouring a generous amount of the wine into a tumbler, he swirled it one handed while listening to Lanlan's tale. "Another one of those crystals? Sven above, Lanlan, I don't know... We barely made it out of our last two encounters with these things, not to mention you say this is what, about fifty times the size of the last one? For all we know, you could have an artefact of mass destruction on your hands." Odhranos hummed concernedly, hoisting the gold cage he kept slung by his side onto his lap, drumming his fingers idly on it's polished surface while the small miasma of sand whirled within. He drained half the glass in one gulp and let his breath hiss between his teeth as he mulled it over. After a moment or two of consideration, he sighed exasperatedly before a wry smile crossed his face. "You know I can't turn down a mystery like this. I've been wondering where those crystals came from ever since we got back from the first encounter. I'm in, when do we leave?"

Lanlan holds his breath while Odhranos deliberates, halfway crouched and tense as a spring waiting for the answer. Then he gets what he wants! "Yes!" He shouts as he claps his hands together. "We should leave tomorrow morning! Maybe even earlier. I don't want a sunburn." If that's alright with Odhranos, Lanlan would arrange for a carriage to pick them up and take them to Kelay. "It took a long time and a lot of reading in a language I'm only beginning to understand," says Lanlan while they ride, "but I'm confident. The runes pose a question and I have the answer." He has a backpack filled with a volume of books, all notes he's compiled pertaining to the runes they've encountered. The log people, the weird crystal, and more from recent adventures. "But we can talk about that when we get there," he says. "We've both been on hiatus, but I took mine before you. Seems you've been promoted? Arcane steward."

Odhranos tried feeling anxious about the emergence of a new runic crystal, he really did, but goddamn if Lanlan's excitement wasn't infectious. It felt like he was back in the old days before he had joined the Mage's Guild, getting roped into these crazy half-baked arcane investigations with little to no prep beyond a "roll with the punches" attitude. And yet, Odhranos couldn't help the bubbling of excitement when it came to the unknown depths of magic. Here Lanlan was, offering him the chance to get to the bottom of a mystery that had been evading them for years, and was Odh going to take the opportunity? You can bet your robe-clad ass he was.

Ancient Forest

Up at cockcrow, Odhranos had packed light for the journey. A small satchel at one side and his golden cage to the other, the grey-robed mage hopped into the carriage with a feverish energy. Eagerly nodding as Lanlan presented the fruits of his research, his intrigue was only mounting as they descended into Kelay. Smiling at Lanlan's congratulations, he drummed the cage resting on his lap with his thumbs as he replied "Indeed! Congratulations to you, likewise! Pilar and I were both chosen for promotion sometime last year, but I had to take leave a month or two after the ceremony, the affects of the Raiez ordeal and it's aftermath took a while to catch up with me, but I needed to take a step back from work to give myself time to recover fully. I'm glad we've gotten this chance to catch up, it's been far too long."

Lanlan||When he wasn't too busy paying attention to himself, he noticed the tiny enclosure Odhranos played with. He leans toward the edge of the carriage in an unconscious effort to put some distance between himself and whatever dirty animal might be inside, and points to it with his hand tucked into his chest. "What in the world is that for?" It won't be long until they get to Kelay and can start on their path. "Ah we're almost here. Deep within the Robelous wood I found the thing," he says using a description of Sage no one's ever heard, "I think the most amazing thing, was how someone was clever enough to design the leaves on the trees in such a way that when sunlight filtered through them, they cast shadows in the shape of glyphs." Lanlan had since seen nature writing some sort of magical script two other times, and he was yet enthralled by the possibilities. "I would very much like to meet the architect."

Odhranos looked down at the cage in his lap, the curving flame-like filagree reflecting his face in a distorted, twisted reflection. "This is... well, it's part of the aftermath of the Raiez incident." Holding it up before him so Lanlan could see inside, what the drow would observe in between the metal of the cage is a small twisting nebula of sand, whirling and coruscating in on itself, like a caged sandstorm. "This artefact was lying in Raiez's horde. When we were released from the jars that Raiez had shrunk us down and imprisoned us in, I stumbled across it. Last I remember was Linn trying to drag me away as my fingers touched it." Odhranos placed the cage back on his lap and grimaced. "Next thing I knew, I came to half-buried in a sand-dune in the middle of the Nameless Desert. With someone else's voice in my head." The mage tapped the cage with his forefinger as he explained. "This cage is... a phylactery of sorts? Not the conventional kind, it's a kind of soul trap. Seems some of our predecessors in the Guild were experimenting with soul-binding magic, and the culmination of their research resulted in the imprisoning of a sand-dragon's soul in this cage; where he remained trapped, until I came into contact with the artefact, and provided a host for his soul." Odhranos gave a wry grin and winked, revealing one gold iris in contrast with the other's natural grey. "We've come to... an arrangement since, but I needed the time away from the Guild to accustom myself to sharing my mind with another, as well as recuperating from the ordeal."

Lanlan heard a little about the Raiez incident, through osmosis mainly. It didn't mean much to him though, he never got captured and put in a jar. Lanlan instantly became interested in the artifact, though it was his favorite kind! The kind he'd never seen anything like before and couldn't even conceive what made it function. He pokes a timid finger through the little cage bars to see what effect if any that would have on the magically swirling sand. "Hm," he'd say probably not being satisfied, "What a strange story. Does it have a name? The dragon." Then Lanlan leans closer to Odhranos, staring into one eye and then the other curiously, "What is it like living with another person in your head? Especially something so powerful like a dragon." Then Lanlan suddenly became wary and snaps back, putting as much space between Odhranos and himself as possible while in this little carriage. Then in a soft whisper, "Can it...Can it hear me?" Lanlan became very finished talking about the dragon as soon as the thought occurred. And in a moment they'd arrive at Kelay, and it'd be time to disembark. "We're actually meeting some other of our colleagues here. Maybe you've met them." Once them two arrive, Lanlan would remind them that they're going to the middle of the ancient part of the 'Robelous Wood' (as he's been calling it lately) to smash an enchantment on a giant amber egg and see what comes out. He has the notes, and believes he can solve the riddle the runes pose. "Oh and this is Odhranos, Arcane Steward."

Odhranos was amused by Lanlan's sudden fascination with the artefact, he lit up like a child would when presented with a new toy. The sand continued to swirl lazily inside the cage when Lanlan poked his finger through, though a small thread of sand looped closer towards the offered digit as if to come in contact, before retreating, thinking better of it. "He does, in fact, his name is S'erok Lamar. And the, ahem, living arrangements aren't too bad, all things considered. He stays quiet a lot of the time, simply observ-!" Odhranos' voice was suddenly cut off, before a deeper, more gravely timbre grumbled from his throat. "Other times I decide it worthwhile to emerge and scare inquisitive drow that stick their fingers into my cage. I can hear every word, Silvermane, every word." The deep voice chuckled before falling silent again, while Odhranos rubbed his throat, grimacing. "He, ah, has a tendency to do that sometimes. A couple hundred years in a cage didn't improve his humour much. I just wish he'd go easy on my vocal chords sometimes...". Once the carriage pulled to a stop, Odhranos gathered his satchel and the cage's strap before disembarking alongside Lanlan. Smiling warmly at the two aforementioned colleagues, Odhranos bowed at the waist politely in their direction. "Odhranos Kerrigan; It's a pleasure to meet you."

Quintessa was in Vailkrin when she got the call to join the Arcane Stewards in the ancient forest and she was always willing to put down her studies in leu of actual field experience. She headed to the stables at House Dragana and fetched her newly acquired mount, a Golden Cockatrice that was easily over two meters tall. Fitted with armor and a special visor that could be lifted on his eyes, the large bird that Quintessa had affectionately named 'Bloodbeak' was a gift from a noble benefactor, although the changeling didn't quite know what that meant. She just knew she had a new way to travel back and forth between Xalious and Vailkrin. Luckily for her, she had read Gregory Trymbul's book on Petrifying Monsters twice and knew how to take care of a Cockatrice this size. When the hex blade finally arrived here, she kept her aggressive bird far away from Lanlan and Odhranos, ordering Bloodbeak to remain still until she returned and he stalwart mount obeyed with little more than a "Kweh." "Good day, Steward Lanlan, Steward Kerrigan," She dipped her head to greet them both. "I'll wait for the fellow apprentice to arrive before I ask you why you've called me here."

Karasu lowers her tail to brush over the top of Quintessa's head as she approaches. "Already here." Her armor is veiled in an enchantment that gives it the illusory appearance and texture of tree bark, the result of her newest set of trained spells. With a huff, she jumps down from the branch she perches on. The enchantment fades and her armor resumes its brass shine. Unlike her apprentice, she has no familiars following her. Having already been in Kelay to check in on the tavern board, the news of a meeting had left her with far too much free time. "Steward Kerrigan. A pleasure. I'm glad you returned from the desert safely." At the time of his departure, she had still been a child that excitedly watched the comings and goings of members without knowing much of what happened within. She bows her head in return to his. Her hazel eyes drift over to the half-drow and her smile fades. "Lanlan." No effort is made to conceal the icy tone. "This is in regards to the artifact, I presume?"

Lanlan didn't like S'erok Lamar. He didn't like that he felt like he was being spied on by someone who he didn't even know existed. "Maybe you would be better off if you both parted ways? Hmph." Then he jumps back, startled by a rapidly approaching monster-bird. Unconsciously he places himself behind Odhranos. The sight and sounds of a bird this size were unfamiliar to him. He'd seen pictures, but never knew them in person. Once the rider dismounted and he saw it was Quintessa, he relaxed. What they were might not be 'friends' exactly, but he trusted her enough not to trample him with a bird. "Yes, obviously," he responds to her, but then Karasu shows her whiskered face. He rolls his eyes at her reception of him. All her animosity stemmed from him asking to do what was necessary. "We're all here. I'll talk while we walk." Since they'd be make the rest of the way on foot, Lanlan channeled magic into his backpack, making it levitate. All it had inside were some notebooks, but that was enough to make him uncomfortable. "Do you remember how to get there Karasu? Probably not." Lanlan did, but he felt like putting her on the spot. "And...here," he says, "I'm done with it." He puts a balled up jaguar pelt in her hands unceremoniously. It smelled like incense, wine, and immense pride. Gevurah had been wearing it. It was a longish journey, but Lanlan was too excited to make it relaxing. He'd drag them from landmark to landmark talking the whole way, as promised. "There's a monolithic piece of amber out here," he'd say. Then darting to a gnarled tree and leaning against it while peering through foliage, "It's fossilized almost twenty people inside of it," before rushing under an abandoned tree house. "It's covered in runes..." jogging to the edge of a tiny spring then leaving it before so much as a sip. "But I think I figured out how to free them." If they wanted to know which way to go they'd have to keep up. They'd come upon the amber soon. After pushing their way through an inconspicuous looking wall of brush, they'd see it half embedded in a glade of loose dirt. It was an enormous piece of amber. Egg-shaped, slightly tapering at the top. It was remarkably homogenous, vibrant considering the time of day, and translucent. The most amazing thing though, was the circle of hooded and robed people fossilized inside of it. It would be impossible to know for sure what they were, male, female, human, elf, something else. They were trapped behind a few feet rock. But if only based on where they found it, a prudent guess would be elves. "We're here," Lanlan says for no reason, and he retrieves one notebook in particular. Inside, after flipping through page after page of notes, he settles on a section. "Hmm. As I recall you're something of an expert with magic as it pertains to stone aren't you? I wonder if you could call some up. Or create some, even? What I'd hope for is four stones large enough," he says as he offers Odhranos a picture of a circle of runes, "for us to comfortably carve all these into?"

Odhranos smiled fondly as Karasu dropped down from her concealment and introduced herself. 'Ahh! Karasu! It has been some time since I last saw you around the Tower, I see you've made a fine apprentice." Children in the Mage's Tower of Xalious were a rarity, most of the mages had dedicated their lives to their research and had little time for such frivolous activities like raising offspring, so the few children that did grace the tower were often doted upon by the kindlier academics. "Apprentice Quintessa, I have heard mention of your name around the tower, I would much like to talk and make your acquaintance, if you have the time to spare. I've missed the introduction of many of the newest members of our guild, I'd like to correct that." Pleasantries aside, Odhranos followed a few places behind Lanlan, allowing the excited half-drow wind his erratic way through the forest, while Odhranos took a more direct route after him. Once they broke free of the treeline, Odhranos lifted his cage higher onto his shoulders, so it sat at the small of his back like a rucksack. "Fascinating..." The mage whispered as he walked closer to the amber, seemingly entranced by it's form. Once he was within arm's reach of it, he stretched out his palm, almost placing it against the smooth glassy surface, before reconsidering and stepping back to where the others stood. Glancing at Lanlan's drawings, the mage reached over his shoulder, causing a thick spiral of sand to whisk out of his cage and pool in an amorphous cloud over his palm. "Absolutely, four you say?" The cloud over his hand grows bigger still before suddenly compacting with a grinding crunch. The newly formed chunk of sandstone hovered between the two mages, while three more were added to the collection. "That should be enough there."

Quintessa gave Karasu a warm smile, "Hey, didn't notice you up there. It's good to see you again," She would have liked to sit and chat with her for a while but she'd have to wait until later. "I've heard word around the Tower about yourself too, Odhranos. I didn't realize it was you who came to my little performance the other day. How's the goldfish I gave you?" She laughed. All the leftover ones had already died. "I've love to talk one-on-one with you later. I'm very interested to hear how you learned your spells." With that said the changeling became very silent as Lanlan explained everything, but she didn't quite understand until she saw the large amber egg. "Delisha's Bosem! Look at the size of it." She rushed over to get a better look, trying to make out the figures inside. "Free them? Why would you want to do that? They look fine to me right where they are." The hex blade moved to join Lanlan and Odhranos, a hand moving to grip the hilt of her katana. She'd never seen Terromancy in practice before and she didn't want to miss it. "Amazing..." She muttered without realizing it. She would have to look up some books on this next time she was at the library.

A scoff rumbles out from the half-feline when the pelt is so rudely shoved into her hands. Dishonorable in battle, and desecrating the dead. She was going to need extra mental willpower to not shave those eyebrows with her sword. "Thanks." Karasu says, her voice dripping with sarcasm. "Come on. Lanlan probably can't get there by himself since he was too distracted thinking of how to shag Gevurah the first time around." She quips, her tail giving a light smack on Lanlan's hand as she passes him. The tail darts around to her other side in case he had any ideas of pulling her tail in revenge. When she addresses the other two in the party, her demeanor immediately lightens. "I'm surprised you remember me, Odie. Tessa, what do you think about me growing my hair out?" She makes idle conversation between Lanlan's monolgue. Big egg, twenty people fossilized inside, big deal, she was already there for that first part. "There's no possible way for them to be alive though, what good is going to come out of exhuming them?" As she talks, she idly wraps the inactive invisibility cloak around her shoulders. Ugh. She was going to have to wash it later. As Odhrandos is creating the stones, Karasu walks the perimiter of the crevice to examine the runes. Part of her reading allowed her to read some of the simpler symbols, but the majority of them are foreign to her. Once she rejoins the group, she picks up one of the stones. "Jog my memory, what are we doing with these?"

Lanlan rolled his eyes again. "Ugh." Odhranos was fine for a human, Lanlan could look past the smell and the ugliness because of the work they've done in the past. But this sentimentality was repulsive. Luckily Odhranos appreciates weird magic rocks, being so impressed by a giant brown boulder redeems him. "Four," Lanlan confirms when Odhranos checks. Quintessa's just as fascinated by the rune covered egg, and Lanlan smiles proudly, as if he had something to do with its existence. "I think they do too," agreeing with Quintessa, about the people looking fine where they are. "Very fine. I think if we can deconstruct it, we can rebuild it. Isn't that how it works? These types of things are always harder to break than to make," Lanlan guessed. "And I just... need to. For some reason." They didn't know, probably, but he had recently been affected by a strange curse. It happened as he began to realize he was being manipulated toward some greater purpose. Mostly it affected his mind, filling his thoughts with this very big piece of amber, punishing him with anxiety and fatigue when he tried to avoid it; flooding him with joy when he thought of ways to break it. Meeting Odhranos again at the scavenger hunt was lucky. And Lanlan's is also impressed with his work, "I'm impressed," says Lanlan. This cloud of sand was immensely useful. "I expected something involving much more...ceremony." He taps his gloved hand To Odhrano's shoulder, "Very efficient." He inspects the rocks. "Okay," he says, satisfied that they'll serve their purpose. "Everyone pick a rock." One by one, he steps over to each person with their chosen boulder. "Is that your boulder? That's a nice boulder," he says to every single person. Then he flips open a notebook, settles on a page, and holds it open with his free hand hovering over everyone's rock. The drawings on the page slide up, crossing lines and margins, eventually falling off the side of the paper and onto the rocks, before expanding. Eventually the stones are covered with translucent glyphs. "Trace those," he says. "Carve them. Color them. I don't care." Then he finds his rock and begins deliberating on what a suitable medium might actually be. Eventually he burns the bottom of his Xalious-wood staff with a firebolt and writes with charcoal.

Odhranos smiled warmly as he distributed the boulders to each individual, levitating them until they had been safely secured, before letting them drop to the ground. "Theobold was a little melancholy for a day after I put him in his bowl, but I may have accidentally dropped some pixie dust in his bowl and he perked right up. And flew... Away, that is... But he did seem none too worse for wear." The mage hummed, next time he'd leave his window closed when any pets were in situ. Flying or not. "Well, I'd be a sorry excuse of a mage if I didn't have a halfway decent memory. All said, it's good to see you again, Karasu." Raising a curious eyebrow at Lanlan's statement of purpose, he didn't question his eminently questionable motivation, marking it down to sheer inquisitiveness; Lanlan did like a good auld rock. "It does the job, ceremony and pomp is for those with long lifespans." Yeah right Odhie, now tell me that again after you squander a half hour making one pot of "artisanal tea". Appreciating Lanlan's words of boulderly appreciation (They are nice boulders, made 'em meself, Momma's recipe), the terramancer floated his boulder over to the indicated position, carving the runes in one-handedly while in transit. "I wouldn't be so quick to write off the lives of those individuals stuck in amber, as a material it has innate preserving abilities. Not to mention we know we're dealing with some sort of arcane sealing ritual here, it's absolutely possible that they have been frozen in a sort of... Suspended animation. Like they were frozen in time." I mean, has no one seen Saurian Park? What a classic.

"Yes, of course!" Quintessa blurted out, "Mikhail Critterson wrote a series of books on the subject! Amber has special qualities and has the potential to preserve living things for millions of years!" The changeling didn't much care for the alarmist style that Mikhail Critterson wrote with, but she couldn't deny that Saurian Park was a classic book that every young reader should pick up. She quickly took her place by her designated boulder and did her best to wrack her mind to remember what little she studied of runology. Luckily for her, she just had to trace what was already there. The changeling places her index finger against a sharp tooth and bites down hard, piecing the flesh and causing a little bleeding to start. She then begins to draw the runes on with her own blood, squeezing the fluid out of finger when the slow trickle wasn't enough. It may have been morbid and didn't actually improve the magic any, but Quintessa liked the way the rock looked with bloody runes drawn on it, and she steps back to appreciate her work when she is finished. "Nailed it," she said to herself before sticking her finger in her mouth to suck the blood. She would look at each spellcaster's boulder, taking note of the different styles of runes a mage could make use of.

Karasu draws her Xalious wood wand and recites an incantation to it. "Critterson is fiction, though; there's no real cases of mummified tissue being able to be rescusitated. Necromancy excluded, of course. Are we taking these guys to the Necromancers?" The tapered end of it begins to glow a soft orange, and the glow soon protrudes upwards into what appears to be the tip of a quill. With an inquisitive hum, she starts to burn the markings into the stone given to her. Did something move from within the amber? No, surely that was a trick of the light. She continues to etch away, ignoring the prickling on the back of her neck.

"Are you implying I couldn't be a decent mage for not remembering a twerp like Karasu from the yesteryears? Hm?" Lanlan of course took no actual offense Odhranos' inoffensive statement. "Well, you'd be right I am no decent mage. GREAT mages like myself, we only bother commit to memory things worthy of remembrance." Then as if to refute his suggestion that he might be a great mage for remembering great things, he brings up an apparently famous book by a renowned author. It's annoying that he hasn't heard of it. It's devastating that the two apprentices have. Yes, he'd always be the outsider on the surface lands (and sometimes in the under-lands too), but that's because he is so special! He told himself this each time he felt left out (more than a bajillion times).

Should we do this?" He asks grumpily, "Or maybe you'd rather go home to read your books about pretend adventures and phony magic?" Sure, he was bitter! He was so special he deserved to be the center of attention. But he didn't even know enough about the topic to make himself stand out by playing devil's advocate! So continues following the steps to the program he wrote (with help), and pulls a bright blue two-pronged fork made of stone from his pocket. "The key." Quin, and anyone else who was paying attention, could notice that several runes on her and Karasu's jaguar pelt also appeared on Odhranos's rocks, and Lanlan's magic fork, and furthermore on the amber monolith. Yet there were also many more they haven't seen.

He holds the fork near the stone he scribbled on with charcoal, and the runes on it begin to glow brightly; then burn! He's forced to drop it, bouncing it off his rock with a persistent low warbling noise, like hitting a heavy bell, and NOT like tapping two stones together. After it hits the rock, it doesn't succumb to gravity, it slow-bobs gently in the air, floating over to the next rock and tapping each of them. The low warbling noise simply accumulates, never losing intensity. Each rune-carved rock glows, and burns just like the key. They follow their programming, reacting to Lanlan's fork, to the amber, to each other, forming invisible bonds. Suddenly they lurch through the dirt they rest in (or rip themselves from the hands that hold them), and form a pyramid around the amber with the key on top.

What's next happens quickly: Each warbling corner stone of the pyramidal enclosure harmonizes with the others. The intensity of the low tones continues to increase, and its vibrations seem to pass through everything. Critters fall out of their hiding spots in nearby trees all around them. But the plops of their falls, their screeching, squealing, whining is all smothered by the low tones of the rocks. Lanlan feels the vibrations jiggling his heart, rattling his bones. He falls to his knees when he can no longer stand the dizzying effect of his eyeballs quivering in their sockets. Still, the vibrations intensify, until finally, finally, hairline fractures appear bisecting each individual rune on the amber monolith. Then it shatters.

The hooded people that were trapped are now free, and do indeed draw breath. Their shrouded faces dart back and forth to each other frantically. In a strange version of elven, they whisper questions. "What happened? Why are we awake? Where's Haladavar?" One of them breaks the circle and sprints toward Odhranos. In the same unfamiliar version of elven she asks him: "What have you done!?"

Odhranos raised an eyebrow at Lanlan's monologue; sometimes he did question the one-liners he came out with, but he was an alright sort of fellow. Most of the time. Odh was about to quip back that perhap's Lanlan's forgetfulness regarding Karasu was more of a case of selective memory loss, when Lanlan initiated the ritual and sparked the runes on all four boulders. Immediately distracted by the arcane happenings, Odhranos' eyes went wide with curiosity, as he took an involuntery step forwards, following his rock as it hovered languidly through the air. Open intrigue quickly turned to abject revulsion as the vibrations began. As horribly unsettling the vibrations must have been to his companions, to the earth-sensing terramancer, it felt something like a million nails were being scraped down a thousand chalkboards, right inside his head. Wrapping his arms tightly around his body while a disgusted grimace contorted his features, the mage squeezed his eyes shut and prayed for someone, anyone to stop these horrible stone-shaking reverbations before he lost his mind. Suddenly, seemingly in answer to his prayers, with a silvery shattering noise, the vibrations ceased, leaving cool blissful stability in their wake. Resisting the urge to throw himself flat on the gorgeously unshaking ground, a fussilade of emotions struck the mage as he opened his eyes and surveyed the scene before him. Firstly, a wave of glee and pride at seeing the entombed robe-wearers up and about, excitement coursed through the mage as he realised the implications of this success. Secondly, a feeling of confusion and foreboding as one of the entombed broke formation and approached him, babbling furiously in some unknown language. Thirdly, utter bewilderment as he was bombarded by a series of enraged and agitated thoughts from S'erok blasted apart his concentration. A rapid back and forth of internal dialogue ensued;


<"Wha-!?! What in the name of the gods are you talking about, S'erok, calm down!">

<"Did you not hear what she just said!? I swear you will all be the death of this world!">

<"Of course I didn't, I don't even know what language she was screaming...">

<"Elvish, you halfwit! Ancient Elvish! She was asking you what in the hell you've done!">

<What have we done...? We saved them? They were trapped...?">

<"Do you know that? Or did you big wonderous mages just blunder in like you always do and assume you knew everything? Think, Odhranos. They don't seem happy to be let free, meaning they did this willingly to themselves. Why do you think that is?">

<"Why would they... oh gods, oh gods above...!!!">

Suddenly, the mage sprung into action, arms flung open, stance wide and planted on the ground. A barrage of stone stards and sand rattled out of his cage as blistering speed, enveloping him and the robed person in a seething cloud of material, before it coalesced, taking the form of a colossal stone dragon, wingless and heavily scaled. Opening it's mouth to roar, the dragon screamed with vehement fury at Lanlan; "Al rel hiin miiraad, Silvermane!" Crouching low to the ground, it bared its stone-shard teeth in furious preparation for what was to come.

The hex blade was about to argue about the credibility of Critterson's writing but then she remembered that awful book, the Larketian Strain that was just a bore to read and she let it go. She remained quiet for the time being, watching as Lanlan goes on and on about being a great mage and all of that. Quintessa scoffed to herself when he speaks of 'fictional magic'. "Illusions are fictional magic..." She muttered as she placed her left hand on her sheath, not caring if he heard her or not. This was all getting to be a bit boring, that is until boulders started floating and vibrating in the air at high speeds. Grinding her teeth, the hex blade grips her sword harder, bracing herself against the horrible noise and weird sensation assaulting her. She was about to complain when the amber finally shattered, and she was left gawking in awe right up until the moment the elven woman approached Odhranos. She draws her katana instinctively, ready to move to defend her guildmate. She wouldn't have to it seemed. Mismatched eyes blink at the dragon transformation, and she is momentarily confused by what is going on. Did these elves cast a spell on him? This must be a cultist trick! "Tân yn llosgi ' n llachar!" Called the hex blade, her sword setting aflame as she uttered the words of her incantation. "What is the meaning of this?!" She demanded to know, her left hand moving up to point at the remaining cultists, a flame already burning at her fingertip. "Stand down or I'll reduce each of you to ashes!" She was serious and aiming a firebolt right at the head of the closest elf. Should any of them make any sudden movements she would immolate him right before she charged into the fray to cut them down. If they wanted a fight she would be happy to give them one.

Karasu has somehow taken residence on top of a nearby boulder during the miniature earthquake, for fear of the ground opening up the way it did the last time they were here. Her claws stay dug into the rock as she watches the hooded figures look around in utter confusion. A tail that has poofed to three times its normal wags around her and the hair on the back of her neck prickles with a primal sense of danger. Something has gone very wrong, though she's not entirely sure what yet. It is only when Odhranos engages the one robed mage that she springs down from her post, drawing her silver swords. The halfling recites an enchantment in ancient Common, and her swords slowly become enveloped in blue light with every word. Instead of striking at the strangers, she strikes the ground, letting the light transfer to the earth. Almost immediately, the light shoots forward, snaking through the grass towards the elves. The light encircles them and shoots upwards, trapping them inside a ring of mana-created blue flames. The halfling keeps one hand splayed out so her fingers touch each of the swords, and a dagger is withdrawn from the underside of her fauld. "Tell them to call off the attack on Odie or else." Karasu calls out to anyone who could speak the ancient language.

Haladavar blinks closed his new scarlet eyes and takes a few deep breaths. There's chaos all about him. A particularly talented human has adopted the form of a giant stone dragon. Or was he a dragon all along? He shields his wife from danger. Or maybe he traps her, either way Haladavar could feel her alive and unharmed. Birds and other small woodland creatures were beginning to find their bearings again. He could just hear it under the anxious, angry, and frightened speech! Squirrels found their feet, and scurried up trees to their safety. Small birds took wing and lifted away into the air, happy to rid themselves of the calamity unraveling while they dozed.

A creature looking much like a human, but with a distinctly non-human heart, is brimming with bloodlust he can feel. She's ready to fight. She wants to fight. To kill. Fire and malice coats her finger. And on Haladavar's hands...he's wearing...gloves? He pulls them off his slate colored fingers and digs his digits into the dirt. It's soft and cool. He scoops a handful and watches it rain between his fingers. There's no reason for him to get up just yet.

There's another creature here; another hybrid. What is she doing? Escaping to higher ground like the other woodland critters, but like the other two, the human and human-plus, she was using magic. Amazing! It seems like anyone could use magic these days. He takes one last deep and meditative breath. He's attempting to attune with a corporeal form for the first time in hundreds of thousands of years! Even before he was imprisoned, he abandoned his shell. But he missed this; a body has limits, but at least he could feel things again.

He stands, looking from stranger to stranger, and then to the remnants of the tribe he used to call his own. Before they sacrificed themselves in attempt to bind him, trap him, freeze him. It's convenient that they've already been discouraged from leaving. It meant he wouldn't have to spend much time at all. The hooded elves panic, and aren't prepared to find themselves trapped. They could escape, if they could think. But they can't, and they'll never be able to again. Haladavar turns a palm skyward and half-curls his fingers. Beneath his sleeve, bright white runes appear in a dense formation and burn through his long sleeve until his arm's bare. The runes twist and snake up his arm, bending over his hand, and one by one curling around his fingers until they slide off and disappear. Then the Earth inside Karasu's cage begins to burn.

First a cacophony of agonized wails from within the cage. Then an almost musical, almost rhythmic and ethereal chime sounds off from within. Once by one the anguished screams is silenced. One of the hooded elves runs through the blue flames, and finds himself engulfed in them. His robes catch, blinding him as they smolder. He can't run for long, not with his lungs burning as they are. Luckily he can no longer scream either. He collapses, a few meters from the burning enclosure, and twitches. His feet displace dirt behind him, his fingers weakly claw ahead of him, but he's doomed. Haladavar disappears and reappears kneeling by the burning man's head. Haladavar's spidery eyebrows bounce daintily before his eyes, and he attempts to brush them back. They spring and return. A problem for later. By now there's been 14 chimes in all, 14 voices silenced forever. "I'm surprised at your constitution, Cirdan," Haladavar says in a strange language but familiar voice. "I thought you would've succumbed earlier." Then a sharp cobalt light glows from under Cirdan's flesh. It rapidly grows brighter, stinging a ray of light through his skin, then more rays, until he's completely perforated. The fifteenth chime, and Cirdan's burning robes collapse over nothingness. Not a spec of dust left.

Finally Haladavar addresses the three who functioned as his allies in releasing him, and detaining his captors. A ring of glowing white glyphs appears at his feet. "I appreciate the assistance," he says, oblivious and indifferent to anyone's comprehension. "Goodbye." The circle rises up to the top of his head, completely disappearing him.

His wife, still conceivably safe within the stone dragon's chest, covers her ears and sobs, pulling the loose top of her hood into her eyes.