Explorers of Ariqua: Part 2. Rated R
Posted 29 August 2013 - 07:22 PM
Jhanell was very wary as they followed the trail that the strangers had made. Five unknowns were five more than she wanted to tangle with if they were going to be hostile. Then she hid up a tree when they almost reached the entrance to the ruins and she observed the five armor-clad strangers having a meal at their campsite. Those five had obviously not lived here for long if they were wearing heavy armor like that and had to be very uncomfortable. Chainmail was the most she would wear in the name of armor, and now she was wearing hard leather in deference to the hot and steamy jungle. Then Elizabeth had seemed to recognize something about them and called them Knights of the Five and she stepped out of hiding and greeted them. Jhanell eased out of her tree and stood by Elizabeth as she watched the five. She trusted Elizabeth enough not to pull any weapons, but she still watched the strangers as they were greeted.
Tevyn wasn't sure what they would find when they reached the end of the trail, but knights certainly wasn't the first thing he thought they would find. He had never seen such shiny armor, nor something that heavy being worn in this jungle. When Elizabeth stepped out of hiding, he also did, and watched the strangers warily. He had never heard of the Knights of the Five, but Elizabeth apparently knew about them, and knew that they wouldn't be hostile. "Hello." He said by way of greeting. "I'm Tevyn."
Posted 11 February 2014 - 06:14 PM
She replied politely. "I am Serrala, Knight of Anotarja." She introduced herself. "If you are Explorers then you must be here for the ancient temple further into the jungle." She reasoned out loud. "Then I must warn you away. A great supernatural danger lurks within and we are going to seek it out and destroy it today." She informed them. In truth she would be glad to finish the job, return to town and remove her armour. It was so hot and uncomfortable in this climate. This group looked more seasoned and had clearly been in this land longer than the few days she and her group had been.
Elizabeth and shook hands with Serrala when she introduced herself and issued her warning and explained the Knights' reason for being in this exact spot in the process. She wasn't entirely surprised to hear that there was some kind of unknown supernatural threat within the ruins. Any kind of shelter or enclosed space out the wilds usually invited something or other to take up residence inside. But she was to hear that it was a supernatural threat and apparently very dangerous. "My team and I are diverse and skilled." She countered. "We've been exploring, mapmaking and doing jobs for the Arlessa for quite some time. I think it would be more practical if we team up and deal with this threat together. We're under orders to explore these ruins and find out why it's apparently an ancient Kilairi ruin." She smiled. "My name is Elizabeth by the way." She added.
Posted 11 February 2014 - 07:18 PM
Tevyn regarded the five knights as they all stood, and he couldn't help but feel a little sorry for them. They were obviously not accustomed to traveling in this type of weather, or they would not be wearing that heavy armor. "Why is your armor so heavy?" He asked. "You won't be slaying any creatures if you keep it on, you'll dehydrate too fast."
Aveline stood on the dock an watched as the tiny shape of the ship on the horizon got bigger and bigger. She'd known it was Nick with his load of passengers and cargo returning from Sandesina. She could hardly contain her excitement as she watched him expertly steer the ship towards the dock. He'd been gone a long time, and she had missed him every single day. And tonight she had special plans just for him. She intended to welcome him home with his favorite food and herself. She smiled as she thought about what she wanted to do to him as soon as she could get him alone.
Posted 12 February 2014 - 05:11 PM
Serrala thought about for a few moments as she glanced over her shoulder at Jor'ell and the other Knights, then back at the explorers before them. They seemed earnest and trustworthy. She noted that they were a mixed group of locals and Talmians-well armed, packed and equipped. Their help could be useful in both fighting and dealing with the climate. After a few moments Serrala nodded. "We will be grateful for your assistance. May the Divines guide us all today. And we'll follow Arlene's advice." No sooner than the words had left her mouth she began removing her all her armour entirely.
She'd put the chainmail back on in a few minutes once she and her team had cooled off. Underneath her armour was a light undershirt and shorts made of a thin material, already dampened with sweat. Serrala then stood under a tree in the shade and relaxed. "What we may be facing is some kind of demon apparently bound to the ruins, protecting them but slaying anyone who accidentally strays too close." She explained before taking a long drink of water from her flask.
Elizabeth was relieved when the Knights of the Five took the advice given to them regarding their armour and agreed to their assistance in dealing with whatever was inside the ruins. The Order composed of skilled fighters and only allowed the talented or well-trained individuals into their combat ranks. But she knew her Explorers were also very well trained and adapted to this climate. She would have pressed ahead and investigated the ruins anyway should Serrala said no, but it would be safer and easier for both groups now they were working together.
She didn't like the sound of having to fight a demon though. This seemed more a job for the Guardian Unit back in Niobia. She wondered why the Knights hadn't asked for their assistance. "I'm glad we'll be working together. I have respect for the Knights of the Five. Once you've all recovered we'll continue on our way." She dcided.
Posted 12 February 2014 - 05:33 PM
Tevyn was relieved when the Knights had taken the advice of strangers to strip down. Chainmail was much cooler and would still protect them in a fight. He sat down on a nearby log while the others stripped down, then had some water before sitting to cool off. He didn't like the idea of fighting a demon, but if one was around and killing people, then they had to. Especially if they were going to explore the ruins.
Posted 12 February 2014 - 08:22 PM
"Indeed!" said The Professor, his interest piqued. "I knew some of the early Knights. They were inspired by the exploits of our old compatriots in Delmi." When the two groups had exchanged pleasantries and agreed to cooperate, he approached Serrala and closely inspected the pile of armor that she had removed, much to her bemusement. "Ah, yes, the workmanship on this pauldron is unmistakable. It's nice to see the filigree design of Hadaglad is still appreciated. Hello, I'm Arjhay," he added, noticing Serrala starting at him. "I recovered several suits of armor similar to this from the lava ruins of Circumpei a few months ago. Or maybe it was the Michaelmas before last."
"More like seventy-two years ago,", Eru muttered. Once the armored figures were determined to be non-threatening, she had transformed back into her Human self and gotten dressed. She hadn't come out of hiding before that, so the Knights still did not know that she was a Lycan. She would have liked to ask them about their fabled headquarters at Rondelet, but it seemed more important at the moment to focus on the possible upcoming battle with a demon.
Standing quietly in the background, Boday absorbed all the details of this experience. What a journey he was having. Armored giants and a naked wolf woman. And possibly a demon before the day was through. By the time he got home, he would have enough material to write a best-selling scroll.
Posted 13 February 2014 - 07:27 PM
Serrala didn't quite know what to make of the fellow that examined her armour after she'd taken it off and made some remarks about the design. Finally she decided that he must be some kind of scholar or archaeologist. "Thank you Arjhay." She finally said. "I find this armour design efficient-at least in cooler climates." After a few minutes when her team looked cool enough again she put on her chainmail again. This was a much better compromise given the climate. Serrala nodded once everyone was ready and the heavier parts of their armour had been packed away into packs and the weight distributed amongst the five of them. When they got to the ruins they'd conceal their belongings where others couldn't find them then retrieve it on the way out. "We'll follow your lead then for now." She indicated to Elizabeth.
Elizabeth nodded when the Knights had finished resting and preparing themselves. They resumed the journey as before, all taking turns at hacking away the thick undergrowth when unable to use game trails. She was feeling somewhat more confident now that they had backup in the form of the Knights of the Five. It was said that the deity whom the individual Knight had pledged his or her services to bestowed a blessing upon the Knight to help them in their tasks. She didn't know if it was true but suspected that by the end of the day she would.
The hour's walk was quiet and peaceful as the day gradually got hotter. Finally she spotted the gleaming white stone of the ruins ahead. Elizabeth studied the ruins, as did Arlene. From the way the structure was built with one main building and several smaller outliers all connected by crumbling corridors along with the lack of ornate carvings or statues she didn't think that this was a temple or place of worship. She got the impression there was a purpose to these ruins. That it had been a small settlement or facility of some kind back in it's heyday over ten thousand years ago.
It was then that she noticed the unnatural stillness in the vicinity of the ruins up ahead. No insects or animals rustled in the flora. No birds sang or flew overhead. Even the grass, moss and other plants growing amongst the ruins were stunted and absolutely nothing grew on the white stones themselves. "Looks like the rumours of something unnatural here were right." She remarked to the others cautiously.
Posted 13 February 2014 - 10:07 PM
Jhanell had been quiet for the most part when they encountered the group of knights, other than to introduce herself. At least they had the sense to listen when told to remove their heavy armor and just do with the chainmail. That was what she was wearing now. She had listened when the knights talked of a supernatural creature in the ruins they were heading for, and then accepted the group's assistance.
Now, after about an hour of trekking and slashing undergrowth, they were there. She studied the white stone building curiously, as she had never seen anything like them. She had also never seen the lack of plant life like she was seeing now. In ruins as old as these were, the place should have been overgrown, but there was barely any grass, even in the cracks of the stone. She felt a shiver pass through her as she continued to study the place and she didn't like what her senses were telling her. Something bad was here, and it was keeping things out, by killing them. She growled low in her throat as she looked around, hoping that whatever it was, they could kill it.
Posted 16 February 2014 - 05:12 PM
Elizabeth wasn't quite sure how Serrala was doing it. As a psion she herself could feel the faint supernatural aura emanating from the ruins but nothing on that detail. She shrugged inwardly. Any information was good information regardless of the source right now. "The psion or supernatural members of our group can sense the faint supernatural aura. But just by looking and listening its apparent nature is being driven back by whatever is in the ruins." She explained. "But if we're dealing with a demon the psions in our group will have to focus on protecting and shielding the group. We'll need our most formidable fighters at the front of the group." Here she glanced at Demiriz, Jhanell and Eru. "And our physician at the back." She glanced at Arlene.
"A sound plan." Serrala agreed as she and her knights concealed their packs in the undergrowth and except for a few necessary items the Explorers did the same. Once everyone was prepared and in formation, Serrala led them into the ruins through the main entrance. From her position in the middle of the group Elizabeth held her sword ready but her role would be to try and shield the group from any psionic or telepathic attacks. She was happy enough about that as they proceeded inside.
Posted 16 February 2014 - 05:26 PM
But psions or mundanes with enough psionic energy crystals could summon demons through the barrier between dimensions for brief periods of time. There were also interdimensional gates that could be opened to let demons pass through at will but that had only happened a handful of times in history. Arlene also knew that a demon could be summoned and bound to a psion energy-infused object but that was very difficult to accomplish. She shook her head and dismissed her ruminations about demon lore as they entered the ruins. The ruins showed their age. Worn, cracked and crumbled in places. They'd have to be careful how much noise they made in here.
So far the corridors were bare stone that lacked any furniture or carvings. Just solid white stone blocks. Every so often there were glowing blocks set in the ceiling that emitted a white light to illuminate the corridor. There were small windows but the wooden frames had long rotted away and the glass was gone. Still, Arlene didn't like this place and both her hands rested on the handles of her twin blades as they continued to walk.
Posted 16 February 2014 - 07:53 PM
As they approached the ruins, Eru became aware of a feeling, crawling up from the base of her spine and settling along the back of her neck. A kind of vague ominous pressure that was pushing her back-- and when she actually laid eyes on the ruins she wanted nothing more than to turn and leave. She understood on a primal level why no animals went near this spot. But they had to go in and Elizabeth wanted her up front. "Okay," she said, taking a deep breath, and took off her clothes. It took three tries to convince her body to transform into her Werewolf self.
Without hesitation, Boday moved to the back of the group. "Toxicity, indeed," he muttered. "I can conceive of no protective armor of any substance that would protect us from this foul spot."
Posted 17 February 2014 - 03:21 PM
Jhanell stowed her stuff with the other packs when they reached the edges of the ruins. She got into formation with the others, letting the more experienced Knights go ahead of her. She was no Knight, but she could fight with sword and claws and teeth if she had to. Whatever manner of beast that was in there, if it bled then it would die if it was stabbed or clawed or bitten enough times. She kept turning her head this way and that as they entered the ruins, looking for signs of traps or beasts as they proceeded. Likely she would smell any beast before the others even noticed it, and she would sniff the air every few feet to be sure.
Demiriz nodded and smiled reassuringly when Elizabeth glanced at him. He was no psion or Knight, but he was big and strong and he could fight. He stowed his stuff, and then he walked next to Elizabeth as they entered the ruins. He had his spear with him and he would protect Elizabeth with his life if he had to. Nothing would get past him without a difficult fight first.
Posted 17 February 2014 - 03:36 PM
Talia walked along with the other Knights as they entered the ruins. She had been on several missions with them before, but none which filled her with dread as this one did. The atmosphere of this place was stifling in more ways than one. It retarded the growth of the vegetation and kept the animals away. Anything that crossed its borders seemed to be filled with dread. The feline being was in a state of alertness one only saw in a hunting lion and appeared to be sniffing for scent. Talia herself was alert and looking around, and the farther they walked into the ruins, the more alert she became.
Posted 17 February 2014 - 10:34 PM
Set around the statue were rows of stone benches. Elizabeth was surprised when she saw that Captain Gerrel Traybis and his first officer Daena Dervanni. They were an explorer group with their own ship similar to hers in many ways. However Traybis and his crew were more focused on treasure hunting, mostly Elviri with a handful of Salaran Elviri aboard. And in some ways Traybis and his crew were rivals to Elizabeth. However he and his six away team members were either standing or kneeling on the floor staring vacantly into space. A moment later Elizabeth saw the cause standing by the statue.
The being was bipedal, shaped neither as a man or a woman. The facial features and the tail vaguely resembled a fox except for the bright glowing emerald green eyes. It was the size of an average Elviri female which meant it was a bit shorter than a Hume. It was covered in a fine shimmering golden fur and didn't seem to be as evil as the aura those sensitive to it could feel emanating from it. It didn't seem to have noticed the Explorers yet. "I've never seen anything like it." Elizabeth whispered to the others, staring at the furred demon.
Posted 17 February 2014 - 10:57 PM
Lizara stayed close to Boday as they remained at the back of the group close to the healer and the hunter Elviri. If she hadn't been so disturbed and frightened by the ruins and the distinct evil permeating the ruins, she'd have been excited and curious about the ruins and the faded carvings on the walls. She knew it was a very, very early-era ruin judging from the architecture. When the laid her eyes on the furry demon in the domed hall Lizara yelped. "Is that a Covet demon?" She exclaimed. "I thought they were extinct!"
Serrala almost felt ill at the strength of the repulsion aura permeating the ruins. It was strong enough to be overpowering to her. Whatever demon was residing within did not want visitors at all. When they entered the domed hall and spotted the furry demon she nodded when the female Kilairi correctly identified it. "Yes its a Covet demon." She confirmed as she drew her long silver sword. "It preys on what you covet, what you want that'll make you richer or better off." Serrala frowned. The positioning of the gold and silver statue was perfect to help the demon seduce its prey. "Whatever you do, don't think about gold or treasure, riches or discovering lost history. Do not let it seduce you with it as it has with those Elviri there." Even as Serrala finished uttering her warnings the Covet demon turned and fixed its bright green eyes on the group and studied them.
Posted 19 February 2014 - 07:04 PM
Then Lizara identified the being as a covet demon. He had no idea what a covet demon was, but he knew what covet was, and it wasn't a very good thing. Then Serrala warned them not to think about treasure, or anything, just before the being turned and fixed its green eyes on them. Then he got the most uncomfortable sensation he had ever felt, as he couldn't help but be transfixed by the green eyes.
As they walked down the short corridor, the fur along the back of Jhanell's neck started rising, making her neck tingle with awareness. This place was not right, they shouldn't be here, but it was too late. They were here and they were standing just inside a domed room containing an ornamental statue of some kind with some Elviri scattered around it, along with a furry figure that resembled a fox on its hind legs. The Kilairi identified it as a covet demon and Serrala warned them not to think about treasure. That was easy, she didn't do this for treasure, she did it for entirely different reasons. She growled a warning when the being fixed its eyes on them, and extended her claws, ready to claw that thing's eyes out if it made any moves.
Demiriz was very uneasy as he walked with the others, staying very close to Elizabeth. All of the others were also very uneasy, and when the walked into the domed room with the jewel-encrusted figure in it, he stood and stared at it. What was it doing there? And what was that furry fox doing next to it. He didn't know who the Elviri were, but he had a feeling that the fox had something to do with why they weren't moving.
Then he heard the female Kilairi identify the being as a covet demon and Serrala warn them not to think about treasure. Well, treasure came in many forms, but he already had his treasure. As he regarded the green-eyed being, he hefted his sword. If that thing did anything to harm his treasure, it would die by his hand.
Jo'rel couldn't believe his eyes when they walked into the domed room. He had sensed that this was a powerful force to be reckoned with, and he was right. It was a covet demon. He knew he wouldn't be swayed by it, he was protected by Seth and had pledged his life to the god. When the being turned its green eyes on him, he lifted his big sword and prepared to take on the demon at Serrala's word.
Posted 19 February 2014 - 07:33 PM
The interior of the ruins was oppressive and horrid and Eru wanted to get this job done and get out as quickly as possible. Then, when the group entered the domed chamber, her eyes were drawn to the walls and the faded symbols engraved there. She almost forgot about the evil permeating the atmosphere of the place as the excitement of finding an unknown language rose within her. What did these symbols mean? Who wrote them and why? How long would it take to translate them? Then the sound of conversation broke her out of her reverie and she saw the statue, the hypnotized Elviri-- and the Covet Demon. Serrala wisely reminded them not to think of any kind of treasure, including intellectual treasure. Everybody had something they wanted very badly. Even herself, who had everything in her life that anybody could hope for, still had insatiable desire for more knowledge.
Posted 19 February 2014 - 07:58 PM
"Seth be with me." Jo'rel whispered as he saw some of the explorers appear to become entranced. It looked like they would be the ones to fight it after all. Talia was right, the demon was bound to the statue by the psionic stones. "Anyone who covets the statue will be an easy meal." He said, trying to warn the others before they, too, were entranced.
Posted 19 February 2014 - 09:52 PM
We don't have to be any kind of threat to each other. I know what you want Elizabeth. On a basic level you want the golden statue behind me to add to your already considerable wealth so you can continue your ambitious plans. But on a deeper level, you yearn for the ancient technological secrets the ancient green ones left behind so long ago. The knowledge of how to build weapons and defences that means your Sandesina and Niobia would never be threatened by the Ariqun or anything else again. Elizabeth felt surprised. She had no idea how the Covet Demon could know what she really wanted to find in these ruins. The Demon seemed to walk towards her, almost floating as its paws barely touched the ground. It came to a stop in front of her. She felt warmth and trust coming from it.
Of course I know. I've been waiting for you to come here since before you knew this world. We could help each other Elizabeth. I was here when the ancient Kilairi were built this place. I knew them as I know you before they retreated to their underground city. I know all their secrets. And I would trade them all for one simple task. She thought about it, uncertain for a few moments. She recalled the warning Serrala had given only a few minutes before about how the Demon would try to operate. Then her resolve hardened, she shook her head and the illusion dispersed. "I will not deal with the likes of you." She hissed.
OOC: Edited Elizabeth's reaction in accordance with everyone else's reaction to it.
Edited by Mikoto, 20 February 2014 - 10:40 PM.
Posted 19 February 2014 - 10:22 PM
Why so eager to kill me Arlene? It asked in the silence of her mind with a warm, friendly, trusting smile. What have I done to you? I need help, won't you please help me Doctor? It pleaded with a hopeful look. This did make her pause and lower her hands to her sides although she kept ahold of her knives. She wanted to help this creature but she knew nothing about its physiology nor could she see any injuries. The Demon walked over to her and smiled again. My pain is emotional my dear. It explained.I have been trapped here for thousands of years, bound to this statue. I haven't seen plant life or felt the sun on my fur in so very long. Will you help release me? All you have to do is use your blades to dislodge the crystals from the statue. I would, but they're warded by enchantments that prevent me from touching them.
The Demon clasped its clawed hands together then pointed out the statues. But I would never ask something of you without giving you something of equal value in return. I will give you this statue here. My most prized possession. I can tell you where more gold treasures are hidden in this old temple. I can take you there and show you. What do you say? It asked. Arlene hesitated as she tried to think it through. But it was hard. She vaguely recalled entering the ruin in order to dispose of some great evil. Was her new golden friend that evil? It seemed so. But then the Covet Demon spoke again. Arlene. I know what this gold means to you and Tevyn.
It will give you enough wealth to build that state-of-the-art hospital you dream of and attract the best doctors and alchemists in Talmia to come and research the new medicines that would be found in this land. I could show you those plants. You would be able to help Tevyn build his fishing farm. You could buy yourself the title of Bann and become nobility. You would achieve your dreams of founding a line of Elviri Niobian nobles. All for doing one good deed by helping me out." Finally Arlene nodded and smiled happily at the Covet Demon. "How should I begin?" She asked.
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