His head went under for a moment when Leonna came by and brushed into him. Water went up his nose and he tried not to panic. Soon enough his head bobbed back up and he snorted, blowing air out his nose in attempt to get all the water out. He wanted to yell at her, but the movement required would force him back under again. So he scowled deeply at her on top the stone, next to Khaz who was giggling again at Leonna’s prank, and then looked ahead, ignoring the both of them, and continued to swim on.
Even Rontu smirked a bit before saying, “Leonna, can you give us a push to the other side of the room?”
Ooc: Once again, I have no idea where this hunk of rock is in this room, so I'm assuming that Leonna's gonna have to propel them by swimming herself...Uh...just thought you should know...if it's useful or anything... Read on!
"As you wish." I slid back into the water again, holding on to the edge of the rock. It is a good thing that this water is not cold...I wonder if the water that leaked in is connected to a hot spring....
I began to push the rock across the room, using my legs to propel it. The smooth sensation of water was always pleasureable to me, a soothing feeling despite the fact that we were very deep in a mountain with an unkown number of dark elves. I couldn't help but smile at Ren as we passed him, looking all too much like a child entering deep water for the first time.
Dark elves, everywhere. He wasn't certain how long he'd been walking, or why he'd been brought out of his thoughts for something as unimportant as drow. Some hurried, some walked casually. The vassyr were far more intriguing, especially with their control over energy and matter. A copper scale broke off from behind Omentus' ear and zipped in front of him. It hovered there briefly, before disappearing back behind his ear. Something in the apothecary's chest twinged, and he stopped walking to take stock of his surroundings.
He was somewhere in the mountains, down deep where snow did not yet cover the ground. The mountain he stood on was unusual… the faint smells of sulphur and loam, and the formations of the stone alerted him to the geological activity of the area. There were hot springs beneath the ground, that was certain, and since hot springs need a source of heat, it was only logical that they were connected somehow to a sleeping volcano. From the comfort of the onyx and granite shelves, Omentus would have ventured that seismic activities were only in the memories of this earthly god. There were dark elves teeming about, eyes cautious for signs of betrayal and enemy presence, but ignoring Omentus completely. Naturally, they were all affected by his peculiar and aptly named Ignore Me charm, which made him not invisible, but unnoticeable.
He would have said this place were normal, but he was thinking more clearly than normal. His haze of thought was evaporating, and he wanted to know why. Turning his focus inward, and yet casting it around him, the necromancer began to meditate. Something thumped and pulled, deep within him. It was like a calling, but very gentle and quiet. His eyes snapped open; something inside the mountain was calling for the man’s soul, and curious now, he would not ignore it. He cast his gaze back over the drow, scrutinizing them for whether or not they knew of this same calling force.
When the dark elves thought themselves to be alone, they discussed “the dark crystal” as though it were by title. Some would trade pieces of violet quartz, the mineral also known as amethyst, or smooth black opals (confirming the presence of the hot springs), or larger pieces of onyx, for slips of paper with various writings on them. They were uncharacteristically organized, working toward some goal. The drow who’d collected the stones waited until they had gathered a certain amount, and then disappeared into one of the caves dotting the mountain, only to be replaced by more collectors. Yes, this was certainly an operation of some great importance to the drow, one with a secret being kept from Omentus. Unacceptable.
Selecting a stone-laden drow leaving into the mountain, Omentus pulled a vial of gods’ blood from within his cloak. He followed closely in the drow’s wake, knowing himself to be safe from notice. The shorter being walked quickly and glanced into his peripheral vision frequently but surreptitiously to check for signs of pursuit, but he still wasn’t looking specifically for Omentus, and so the apothecary still went without being detected.
Down a tunnel, across an intersection, turning right at the next one, and left at the one after until it ended in a metal door. Omentus couldn’t help but notice the signs of invisible guards standing just outside the stone collector’s path. One the way in so far, there had been six guards so cloaked. They could make themselves invisible, and were trained in the art of silence, but the tunnels had still been used for quarry work in the recent weeks, and that meant dust. Where dust swirled but would not gather, there was certain to be a sentry who could not easily be seen. The precaution was standard for drow work, but not so standard that it did not reek of important security.
Omentus’ unwitting guide took a key out of his vest and placed it in the door. He turned the key and a mechanism moved, but he did not open the door. Instead, he traced a sign over the door, and a slight prickling on the back of his neck alerted Omentus to the workings of novice magic – novice in that its worker had not gone to the rigors of making it less easily noticeable. That meant the ward hadn’t been worked by a priestess, nor had it been done by a trained caster. So, Omentus thought to himself, the security here is important enough to have unseen guards, but not so important as to have a real mage doing the clean-up. They’re never cocky… too paranoid for that, so either the operation here isn’t critical, or we haven’t gotten to the important places yet.
The door swung open, and the drow walked through. Omentus slipped by as well, getting the tail of his cloak through just in time before the iron door closed. That was too close, the necromancer commented silently. This place was nearly the same as before, and his guide pressed on quickly. Left at the first intersection, straight through the second, right at the third, right at the fourth, and down a flight of stairs. There were no invisible guards here. Why? No matter, surely there was some other form of guardian in this place. He was getting into thought again, but the force of calling kept him lucid. An idea crossed his mind, and he glanced up. How could I have been so blind? So few people look up, it’s only natural, he thought. And there they were, spiders, crawling about the ceiling of every tunnel, their bodies dull and dark grey. They blended in beautifully, and of course, they wouldn’t attack the drow, not with their goddess’s favor on them.
Through another door, but the wards on this one were stronger, and more silent. Omentus and his guide walked into a checkpoint. The drow’s belongings were combed through, but he was not asked to disrobe. That would have been a slight of disrespect and mistrust, and with four other dark elves in the room, whoever was dumb enough to utter such words would have been cut down on the spot, and no one would have seen anything. His bags cleared by the checkpoint, the drow was given a pass to move on to the dark crystal. The next door opened, and Omentus managed to slip through this one, as well.
They moved onward, and it became increasingly obvious that intruders were meant to be kept out of here. Mimicking his unwitting chaperone’s movements, Omentus ducked under and stepped around nearly a dozen surely deadly traps in as many rooms, each with its own guardian and magical wards. He was certain that there was also magic over the entire area, but he couldn’t be certain of its nature. The path to the dark crystal was like a maze. The drow in front of him counted as he walked, then skipped over a paving stone by means of levitation. Crap.
The necromancer took a ring of interwoven metal and gemstone bands out of his cloak and slipped it one of the fingers of his left hand. In Omentus’ vision, the paving stone blossomed in wisps of ethereal green fire, as did the other traps concealed throughout the room. Quickly, he chose an alternate route and walked around the large stone, then grasped the archway that led to the next part of the maze and flung himself through. His boots landed on the other side with a scuffing sound, and the drow in front of him stiffened, turning about with weapon in hand.
Yes, that’s fine, Omentus thought. The beli syringe was already in his hand, and he just managed to pierce the drow’s leather when the tip of a dagger punctured the living armor on his chest. Blood spurted from the wound, but the drow’s mind was no longer on killing Omentus. He was in a world of his own making, as the alien concepts of happiness and love flooded the dark elf’s mind. You’ve led me far enough, anyway. Now it is time for you to teach me. Putting beli away, the necromancer drew a hardened obsidian scalpel from his belt and looked about the room. All things considered, it was a nearly ideal place to start a biopsy.
Omentus palmed the blood of Alrohir and focused on it. Placing a hand on the comatose drow’s forehead, he made the necessary signs for the wound transfer spell with his other. With the knowledge god’s blood to augment the spell, memories poured into Omen’s mind like water from a broken main. He picked the necessary parts out, and discard the rest. No more did he need the drow to guide him to the dark crystal. The way was his, but he wasn’t finished. The drow had a peculiar sensitivity to magic, and a means of seeing in the dark that was currently beyond the necromancer’s ability. Time to get to work.
After some small work, Omentus removed the armor and piwafwi from the drow’s body. His scalpel slid across the drow’s chest, causing blood to seep from the skin. Without the sensations of pain or bodily danger, the flow of blood was a slow thing, but it was about to get messy nonetheless. Two minutes passed, and the apothecary worked diligently. He severed the bones on the dark elf’s side, and with a wrenching from his gripping hand, he tore the stupidly smiling creature’s ribcage from its body, and discarded it onto the ground. A massive hook on the wall became important, and he reached almost casually into the drow’s abdomen, drawing out his intestines with a satisfied nod. He tied intestine about the drow’s right upper arm, slung the ropey flesh over the hook, and then tied it to his other arm. He moved lungs out of his way and with a quiet incantation, reshaped the flesh within the torso cavity. The remainder of the creature’s ribs now cradled lung and stomach alike, as if it were a grotesque chandelier with equal decoration. A moving bone sliced through the artery in the socket of the drow’s right arm.
The artery shot blood into the relatively clean cavity of the drow's chest, where his ribcage had once been. This was going to be troublesome, especially if the creature died before the biopsy was complete. A spot of oily valiau from the syringe of the same name in the drow's anterior shoulder, and the body responded. Quickly, flesh shriveled and bloated, cutting off the artery as though by cauterization as cells and healing died in the immediate area, staunching the drow from losing further blood from that source. The pharmacist's eyes turned back to the drow's beating heart, now plain to the eye. Blood trickled into the torso from other sources, and Omentus only shrugged, applying valiau to anything that could cause death from blood loss in the short term.
A short examination revealed nothing that the apothecary could use of the drow’s heart. The body’s extremities can exist for up to six hours without blood before succumbing to death, but the trunk and head are a little more flimsy. Obsidian scalpel in hand, he cut away flesh from the drow’s right cheek until he exposed the sinus cavity, then used magic to clear away sinus until there was only a thin, membranous window between him and the creature’s brain. His incantations were less cautious than they might have otherwise been, as time was still precious. He did not know how long it would be until another drow came along. As a result, he made one portion of the fleshy window too thin, and it began to leak cerebrospinal fluid. It was nothing for him to worry about, as the leak was not so severe that it would kill the drow inside the next six hours, and the beli would have worn off long before then. He probed the drow’s brain through the leaking crack, looking for that elusive knowledge of its workings… why it was so sensitive to magic, but he could not find it.
Shaking his head, he knew the next step would be the easiest. He cut away the drow’s left eyelid, until the crimson eye had no choice but to stare out at him. In his waking dream, devoid of the agony this should have caused him, the drow gurgled, and a limp, jerking smile broke onto the left side of his face. He’d stopped smiling when Omentus began to cut through his face, but he’d apparently hallucinated some euphoria that brought it back.
Omentus put away the scalpel, and plucked the drow’s eye from his head. The optic cord resisted him at first, but snapped away when he tightened his grip and pulled a little harder. He dropped the eye into a vial of preserving fluid, and pocketed the new treasure. He looked the drow up and down, and decided there was no point in killing him. Some four hours from now, the beli would wear off, and he’d awaken to what had happened to his body. Like all creatures in this state, he’d thrash and scream, breaking open the wounds that had been gently sealed off by the valiau, and bleed himself out, if he didn’t find a way to rupture the membrane holding his cerebrospinal fluids in.
Bringing to mind the way forward to the dark crystal, Omentus turned and left the drow on the wall. He put away the blood of Alrohir and recast the Ignore Me spell, and then walked through the next door. This one had not been warded, but he knew already to step over the cleverly hidden trap on the other side.
(OOC: Goodness, that was a long post. Sorry about that, I'll try to be more succinct in the future, but I believe it will help that I won't be introducing Omentus a second time.)
OoC: Oh Drammie … you’re bad. Well, Omentus is bad. Couldn’t ask for a better villain.
Unknowing of the … heinous acts going on above them 500 feet, the group continued to chuckle to each other as they watched Ren swim uncomfortably to the other side of the room. Once reaching it, Rontu stepped off it gracefully. The only one out of five who managed to avoid getting wet. Ren put his clothes back on, while Khaz asked Leonna to make that light again. When she did he finally got a good look at her face and her eyes.
He stared at those unnaturally bright blue eyes in surprise. He leaned close, perhaps uncomfortably so for Leonna and gasped, “Your … your eyes … they’re beautiful!”
And they were, he thought anyway. Never seen eyes glow like that. He stared for a bit longer and Ren snorted on the ground, lacing his boots. “Watch out for that one, Leonna. He’s a player. Don’t let him make you fall in love. He’s a heart breaker.”
Khaz finally leaned away, appalled by what Ren said about him. “That’s not true!”
“Don’t lie. Trisa has told me all about those girls’ hearts you stole and then broke when you couldn’t stay in one relationship at a time.” The half dragon stood and smirked at Khaz.
The Hylian scowled back, folding his arms across his chest. “I’m not like that anymore.”
“Sure you aren’t,” said Ren, arching a cynical brow at his friend. “Malon’s heart just snapped in two on its own, eh?”
Real hot anger touched Khaz’s insides, somewhat unexpectedly. Of course, that was because he hadn’t seen that coming. Ren bringing up Malon like that. The Hylian stared, true appall and seriousness on his face now.
“Don’t … It’s—it was complicated.” With that he turned and walked away from Ren standing next to Rontu. His cheery mood ruined.
“Enough of this,” said Rontu, suddenly serious himself. “What do you all think this is? A hiking trip? From now on be quiet and be careful with that light …”
The others looked at him oddly, suddenly becoming so stern. All Rontu knew was that his instincts were ringing a loud alarm at him. It had been a couple years but he knew this like he knew his own two hands. He was forgetting something he knew it. Another reason he should stay far from his own race and society …
The hair on the back of his neck tingled and he slowly started to move forward down the passage. He let his sight open and stared carefully about. Suddenly, something Ren said earlier rung in his head. “When you’re this strong you don’t have to be smart or rational, though, I guess being so weak you wouldn’t know. These fools are nothing to me but spiders …”
“Spiders …” he muttered to himself and his eyes widened and he stopped moving immediately. Of course. How could he be so stupid? Spiders—Lolth! Not even in his own thoughts did he think her name in the correct way. The drow very slightly turned his gaze up and saw all their bodies moving around up on the ceiling. The drow’s Spider Queen goddess, Lolth, no longer held any fondness for him.
Khaz's reaction to my eyes was completely unexpected. People never moved that close to me, and they certainly didn't call my strange eyes beautiful. Beautiful was something humans called eachother, often when they were courting within my village. While I had watched them interact with eachother, I had often been excluded from such things. No one wanted to court a demon, so when Khaz used that word on me, it was like getting slapped into a different kind of reality yet again.
He speaks to me as if I were like him...and more than that, beautiful! He even said it with a straight face... But it wasn't only my eyes that I was thinking about. Khaz had dark blue eyes, dark and deep just like water.
I don't know how long I would have stayed staring like that if Ren had not taken Khaz's attention from me. It made me smile to think that Ren would defend me, even if it was just to spite his friend. Of course, even that smile didn't last when Rontu calmed things back down again. His serious demeanor was what had been keeping his companions on track this whole time, and now I could see that it was beginning to have an affect on me as well.
When Rontu had muttered the word 'spiders,' I was immediately confused. What do spiders have to do with...oh. Insects had a way of moving that tended to make my insides twist. I could hear the distinct movement above me suddenly, alerted by Rontu's words. From the sound of it, there were a lot of them; harmful or not, it was impossible to tell without looking.
I am not going to look up. I need to stay calm. They have not attacked us...yet. While most insects didn't normally bother me, I had a very special place in my phobias for spiders. A giant species of them had lived near my home, occasionally carrying off an unwary villager. I had once stumbled into one of the creature's nest accidentally when I was fairly young, where the bloodless corpses of many creatures had been hanging from the sticky twine of a spider's string. Needless to say, I ran off as fast as I could and never returned.
Knowing that there were tons of the nasty creatures just above me, my stomach tied itself into knots. My inner flame rushed defensively to my hands, just tingling beneath my skin. Trying not to cower, I followed Rontu closely, hoping wildly that the spiders would not take notice of us.
Ooc: That lovely autopsy of Drammor's reminded me of somthin' I saw on CSI, or X-Files. *shudders uncontrollably*
(OOC: The autopsy of Drammor's post almost made me throw up. >.< Thank you for sticking very disturbing images in my head. Also, since you guys have trouble making sense of this room, I'll draw a rough map of it.
(Excuse me if you can't read it, MS paint sucks. )
I'm not going to do a BIC post yet becuase I'm supposed to be resting)
Khaz leaned against the passage wall moodily, still upset about Ren’s teasing. His gaze wandered over to Leonna again, who was holding the light in her hands thus she was particularly illuminated by it. Besides her eyes, she was rather beautiful now that he thought about it more. His eyes traced up her legs exposed from wearing a skirt. They were shapely and athletic. Her clothes were wet and clinging her to her body, outlining more details about her figure than before, and her hair was wet, pulled up in a bun on her head, except for a few extra strands that had fallen out sometime while being thrown in a cell and battling drow. They fell about her face, wet but starting to dry and curl just slightly. She had rather soft features as well…
He forced himself to look away, a grim and slightly bitter smile graced his face in the shadows. What was he thinking? He supposed it had been a while since he had shared a bed with a woman. And he was in some dark tunnel, facing uncertain death. He was just searching for comfort somewhere. I’m just … He didn’t want to think it, but … lonely was the word that came to mind.
“You’ve really been alone for a long time, haven’t you?”
It had been that way before his life in the Gerudo’s Fortress. The farther back he went in his memories the more confused he was. He was never sure whether they were his or Takai’s memories. He supposed it didn’t matter. Maybe they had once been the same person … but now split and fragmented into two parts. But he remembered the adults whispering about him when they thought he wasn’t listening.
“That Serwen boy has such strange eyes. Well, the way he looks at you with them … It’s just eerie. There’s something odd about that child … pity when he has such wonderful parents. His little sister is such a sweet girl.”
Everyone had always adored Leita. So did he, and he didn’t care that others had preferred her better. His parents had loved him and so did Leita. That was all the acceptance he needed. His father and mother … but he stopped there. Thinking about his parents made his stomach clench horribly and his heart ached with that deep pain that felt like something was crushing it. It had the same affect on his lungs, like something heavy was sitting on his chest.
When he started living in Gerudo’s Fortress … it was the first time he really had friends. It only lasted four years, and then everyone abandoned him. For a while he thought Blaze had too, but now he knew he had other reasons. His peers then scuttled past him carefully, trying not to make any eye-contact, as though they feared he’d suddenly jump out at them, sprouting fangs and spitting venom. Though at the same time they liked to stare at him when they thought he wouldn’t notice and talk.
“That’s the Serwen kid … right? The one that went crazy and chopped up his uncle in his sleep …? Feel sorry for his sister. No wonder she’s so timid. I’d be if I had a brother like that, wondering when he’d chop me up too if I didn’t do what he said … And my dad told me his uncle, Sori Serwen, was a war hero back when we were fighting the Gerudos. Such a horrible way for a hero to go.”
Most of time he’d act like he didn’t hear. He’d always been very good at keeping his emotions off his face. He could lie blatantly to anyone and they’d never know the difference. But whenever he heard these things, his insides burned with such anger. Hero? That man a hero? They didn’t know anything about the real Sori Serwen. If it had been them … wouldn’t they have killed him too?
Takai wasn’t wrong for doing it. He wasn’t wrong.
He finally realized something through his haze of thoughts, looking up at Leonna. She looked nervous, staring determinedly forward, lips pressed tightly together. Rontu looked oddly still too. Ren was gazing upward at the ceiling with that determined sort of glare he had before he got into fights. Khaz looked up and at first he didn’t see anything but then he realized … was the ceiling moving?
Rontu stared forward like Leonna did, though he sensed her inch closer to him. To the surprise of others, he was actually rather intuitive about another’s emotions and sensed that spiders made her particularly nervous.
“Leonna,” he said with a perfectly calm voice. It wasn’t even too calm like he was trying. “They haven’t noticed us yet, but they will. So it’s best if we eliminate as many of them as we can before they do. You’d be better at this than the rest of us with your magic. It doesn’t have to be too hot. Their bodies are more fragile than ours or that bear’s back there. Can you do this for me?”
Melon slicer. That was what they referred to this door by, colloquially. In the wall beside it, there were three dials, each with six numbers on them. If you didn't turn the dials to the right number, then putting the key in the door would cause a pair of fine metal wires to snap across the room, typically slicing up intruders at the head, or "melon". The suppressing mechanism wasn't finished, though. While the key was in the lock, and turned so that it released the locking device, a person needed to turn the dials again, or dropping the door latch would prick a person's finger with a poisoned needle. Altogether, it was an excellent way to ensure that intruders did not progress.
He opened the door, and dodged left by pivoting on his hip. The gleaming, starry luster of the steel-colored metal called adamantite shot over his chest, and the drow guard beyond the door advanced on him. Adamantite was a metal strong enough to pierce his demonic skin, so he had to be careful and end this quickly. Fluffy was in his left hand next, twirling away the guard's rapier in a concise parry. His blade hissed, excited to exact death on Omen's opponent.
The drow regained his balanced and thrust with his rapier. Omentus turned it away but did not riposte; he was wary of the dagger in his opponent's other hand. The poison on the blade was no matter to Omentus, but its possible enchantments were a point of concern. The drow forced his strength against Fluffy's blade, trying to press the advantage of his high ground (he stood on a raised step from Omentus) and combine it with the cutting edge of his adamantite rapier. Fluffy's blade began to give when the drow suddenly reeled with pain, mouth agape but not screaming.
While the drow's attention had been on his brute tactic, Omentus had stabbed him in the arm with Argindur, and then injected the merest drop of the syringe's excruciating drug. To the drow, his swordarm felt as though it were on fire, or being shredded from within... maybe both at the same time. He still had the good sense not to make a sound, but his silence wouldn't help him either.
With no mind on the battle at hand, the drow was as good as dead. Omentus reached out to him, and set a hand on his neck, then gripped lightly. His other hand was on his armor, and he uttered the words, "Oscrua ecross." Luck was on his side, for all of the drow's attention was concentrated either on the wretched pain in his arm, or on not screaming. The latter would have meant death, for there were cages in the wall here filled with hungry giant scarabs, whose doors would open if their crystalline triggers were disturbed by too much noise. The scarabs were each about four inches long and particularly voracious, a species that had been bred by the drow specifically for use in this sort of trap. Certainly, any drow would have the good sense to make no sound in this room.
More to the point, is that the drow in no way objected to the spell being cast on him. Omentus supposed he couldn't split his focus between the three things at once. The wound on Omen's armor closed, and an identical but proportionately larger gash appeared on the drow's chest, which immediately began to soak through his leather armor. With mental hmming, the necromancer decided this might be a better way to kill the drow than he'd first thought. After the armor's wound had sealed, he took his hand away from the armor and gripped Fluffy's handle. He shoved the drow onto the ground and took away his rapier with a little effort, causing him to release his weapon by injecting a touch of argindur into his stomach. The drow's body seized, but Omen's mind was on Fluffy and the adamantite rapier.
One slash, one stab, a line down the blade, and puncture the guard. Fluffy was bleeding freely, her blade cracked dangerously when Omentus put down the rapier and touched the drow again. He was doing his best not to whimper for the pain, when sanguine flowers blossomed across his skin, wounds breaking open and soaking his clothes and armor apparently without cause, for there was no indication on his clothing, other than two pinpricks where the syringe had punched through. His spine cracked, a shard from it sliced into the spinal cord. His skull cracked, and many fractures appeared in his armor and legs. Fluffy had been healed.
Omentus sheathed the grateful pit viper in her scabbard and walked forward. That drow would not be moving, and if he uttered a word, he'd be dead. As it stood, there was still a remote chance he'd be brought back from beyond the veil for his service to the drows' Spider Goddess, but there would be no chance at all, if even his bones were devoured by the scarabs.
Only five rooms left before the apothecary could meet the dark crystal. He recast Ignore Me.
Ooc: Phew...Omentus is NOT a person I'd like to meet in the dark of the night...
But then I would have to look at them. Still, my mouth said, "yes" anyways. It took no effort at all to release my flame again--not only did such a thing feel natural to me, it was just on the verge of exploding anyways.
"Get down!" I whispered urgently, concentrating the full energy of my body into my hands. If I was going to hit these spiders, there was no way I would leave any to creep around for retribution. I channeled all of my fear, all of my power into the flame, Raising my hands up above my head and finally shooting it up into the ceiling. The movement created a white hot pillar of flame, seeping up into the spiders like a diving eagle.
Rontu was right about the hideous creatures--each one of them lit up like mini torches. My flame consumed them hungirly, leaping to each screeching insect as fire moves through prairie grass. The flaming bodies immediately turned to charred pieces of hair and ash, falling from the ceiling like black snow.
"I never want to see anything like that again!" I moaned as my stomach finally started untwisting itself. That moving mass of gleaming red eyes and spindly legs had frightened me far more than even the giant bear had...
OoC: Yeah, especially for Leonna. If he finds out how special she is …
Rontu did as Leonna said and ducked down as she torched the spiders all over the ceiling. He smirked slightly at her words of never wanting to see that again. He felt a little sorry for her. There were probably going to be more spiders from now on. They might get bigger too. Though he didn’t really know why they were so frightening to her when she could just torch them like that. They weren’t any match for her magic.
Ren snorted a laugh at Leonna for freaking out so badly, smirking broadly. He started walking past her, stepping on any crunchy remains of the spiders she burned. Khaz stepped up next to her, eyes wide with concern.
“Are you okay?” he asked, and then he beamed at her encouragingly. “You did great. Not one of them is left.”
“All right,” said Rontu to get their attention. “I have a feeling things are only going to get more dangerous around here. We’ve left the jailing area behind and now we are going deeper into their home, and if what Adurna said is correct and they have some sort of crystal here then they aren’t just going to leave it unprotected. When there are secrets and treasures, the drow guard them vigorously. There will be traps and hidden guards, and they will get more dangerous and heavy, I’m assuming, as we continue toward it. I wouldn’t be surprised if our weapons are in some room nearby it. They wouldn’t just leave such valuable things lying around in any armory. So it seems we should help Adurna find the crystal as well. I’m going to need everyone’s absolute attention to get through this.”
Khaz let out a low whistle. “Sure glad we’ve got you with us, Rontu.”
And then he heard Takai’s soft chuckle inside his head. His cool, velvety voice said, “So he wants my help, does he …” It wasn’t really a question, more like a curious pondering that amused him. Khaz expertly kept the surprise off his face and responded.
Since when have you been awake?
“A while …” and Takai said nothing more.
“No more whistling, Khaz,” said Rontu.
Khaz smiled sheepishly, like a child caught biting his nails. You really think he was dropping a hint to you?
“Surely, he’s a clever man. I could feel his intentions anyway as he spoke the word so clearly. He wanted me to know that he needs help.”
“And we need a better plan,” continued Rontu as Takai whispered in Khaz’s mind. “Wandering about blindly like this is doing us no good … We need a better way to get past everyone without fighting. There’s only so far we can go without raising the alarm.”
He peered at Khaz and Ren and then said, “You remember the battle at Lon Lon Ranch, don’t you?”
Khaz blinked curiously, not sure where his friend was going with this yet. “Of course, it was our first battle for the rebellion.”
Ren seemed to understand something he didn’t, because he smirked at Rontu knowingly. “Right …”
“So,” the drow pressed onward for the rest who did not understand. “What we need is … a drow noble. We kill him and I take his clothes. The rest of you will pose as my slaves.”
The fact that everyone seemed to respond to my spider reation was fairly surprising. I was used to being alone, having no one to care whether I did this or that. Now, these people were actually asking me to do things, like they trusted me to do it without completely ruining everything.
Ren's reaction did not come across too painfully; I figured he would want revenge for my revenge. Khaz, however, shocked me again with his concern, and those eyes...he had such kind eyes! It was not difficult to notice that he would have passed as handsome in my village. In fact, I could not recall one man looking quite like he did. Khaz had such a nice shape to his face, almost heart-like. His fair skin contrasted beautifully with the dark black of his hair, which was shining faintly in the last burning embers of my fire. What surprised me the most, however, was the muscular frame that was outlined by his wet clothes. He had appeared so vulnerable before, but such a form could not exist on a man who did not actively use his body.
But he is so unlike his companions, so much more sensitive...could it really be that such a personality has known bloodshed?
It was not until Rontu started speaking that I realized that I had been staring at Khaz. Somewhat embarassed, I returned my full attention to Rontu, trying to shake off the strange tension that was forming in my chest.
I sighed deeply after Rontu presented his plan, the weight of it sinking in. If it was clothes he wanted, then that meant my power would be useless--there had to be something wearable left once we killed one. There was also light to consider, for it certainly would be strange for a slave to be walking around with a bright orb of light in their hand. That meant I would be stumbling around in the dark, which did not sound fun in the least. As the being I was, it was easy to move silently and gracefully as elves do--it simply was the result of being built a certain way and using it enough for such things to be completely natural. In the dark I would be fairly vulnerable...and if there were more spiders creeping around in this blackness--I shuddered at the thought.
Perhaps the worst thing that came to mind was the fact that we would be moving deeper into this awful place. The dark energy coursing through the passageway was already smothering, putting me that much more on edge. Still, this was no time to be scaring myself. If I did not act rationally, I would only be a burden on everyone else.
"In that case, perhaps it would be best if I move in front." Compared to everyone else in the group, it seemed logical enough that I would be the easiest to attack. I did not have their muscular build...and...I was a woman, after all. "If I could distract the drow by playing victim, it would make it truly easy for you to get an undamaged garment from him."
Ooc: I hope I got Khaz's description right...I'll fix it or somethin' if I don't.
OoC: Nah, you did great ^^ Funny thing is I’m actually working on a new and more accurate picture of him than I gave in his description.
Rontu was about to respond but then Khaz leaned close to his side and whispered barely audibly, not wanting the others to hear him. But he knew the drow would hear him just fine.
“Rontu … let Takai handle this,” and then he leaned away but stared at Rontu. His expression free of anything else but his normal curiosity. The drow stared back impassively at him. Rontu was the only one who knew about Takai and had some idea what he was capable of. Takai would be able to find a noble and return with his clothes faster than anyone here, and no one else’s life would be at risk. It wasn’t that he worried for Leonna or anything. He knew she could handle herself fine, better than himself, but … this was just the easiest way to go about it.
“All right,” said Rontu, and then turned his eyes back to Ren and Leonna. “It’s okay, Leonna, Khaz has volunteered to get the clothes by himself. Let’s get a bit farther from the other room but then stop and let him go ahead. He’ll come back with the clothes.”
“What?!” hissed Ren, completely confused by this discussion. “Khaz? You wanna get him killed, Rontu? What makes you think Khaz can do this by himself?”
“That is for me to know,” said the drow as turned to start walking down the passage like he said they should. “And for you to have faith in.”
Ren ran up to walk next to Rontu as he led them down the path.
“Have faith in?! Have you gone mad?” said Ren, glaring at him. There was definitely something these two were not telling him.
Ren wasn’t the only one complaining about this development, as they walked Takai spoke in Khaz’s mind again.
“Why have you volunteered me for this?”
Khaz kept his face blank as he walked, checking his feet every now and then to make sure he didn’t trip. And they say I’m the stupid one. You know this is the best and fastest way. You only have to do this one thing and then we can take care of the rest. We need to get out of this alive, or do you want to die here without having found Leita and the others again?
Takai knew he was right. He was only acting the fool because he disliked mixing with the outside world unless he was on one of his hunting trips. So he agreed to do this one thing for them.
Khaz...it is too dangerous. I didn't dare speak the words out loud after Rontu had placed such faith in him, but as Khaz walked ahead, I could not dispell the sick feeling that was beginning to curl around my stomach. I should not even care this much, I only just met him! Who cares if he dies?
Then it struck me. Khaz was a kind person, a good person. He had people that would care about his passing, many of which I probably did not even know. The man had a history, a purpose, a way to actually add something to the world...whereas I did not. I did not even belong to this world, for there were no other creatures like me. There were not people who needed me, who wanted me. That was the sole reason why I was here, because I had no place to which I belonged. Here in this mountain of death, I was at much at home as I had been in my village. If anyone was to die, it should be me.
So why did Rontu so easily accept Khaz's offer over mine? They were friends, were they not? Rontu would not put my life in front of Khaz unless...unless there was more to Khaz than he had let on.
But he could not have been hiding something...he was so sincere, so...kind...Too kind. Of course. Khaz had such a perfect mask. I had been too busy stupidly fawning over him rather than actually looking at him to see it. Hemanias used to do that to me sometimes, when he was particularly stressed about something. He would distract me with smiles, hiding the true feelings that were hidden in his eyes. When I was careful, worried about him, I could see it, the pain hidden in there. He would deny it, of course, laugh it off. So I watched him. I watched for all the things that made him flinch, the words that caused him pain. But it was not until Hemanias finally trusted me when I found the real truth.
And that meant that all I could do now was wait and have this faith in Khaz that Rontu had. If I trusted him, perhaps somehow, Khaz would find it in himself to trust me. There was something dubious about him, something he was trying to hide, but I would have to wait patiently, watch carefully, and most importantly...trust him.
I am insane! I am truly insane! Look at me, delving so deeply into something that has nothing to do with me. I do not know Khaz, I do not know Rontu, I do not know Ren--Honestly, I do not know anyone! After this is over, there is not going to be a 'we.' The high elf will get his rock, the other three will escape, and I will be alone, just as before. That is how it should be. These creatures are not my friends. I cannot get carried away...
And so I put my mask on, watching Khaz go with the plainest expression I could muster. "Well, if that is what you wish, so be it."
Ooc: Whoo...eh...kinda got carried away with the internalizing here. If it isn't apparent already, I'm a big character person. While I've probably been apologizing too much already...eh...forgive me again?
OoC: Sticky, I didn't say there were spiders all over all of the ceilings and nor did Navi say that Leonna's flame reached that far down the tunnels. Plus, I don't think it's fair you can just say our characters have been sitting there for 20 minutes when the longest they could have been talking like this is 10 minutes. I should have been more detailed about exactly how many spiders were on the ceiling, and Navi probably could have been more detailed about the length which Leonna's flames spread. Let's at least try to keep this accurate though. I don't mean any offense. I just think you should stick to your own limit placed upon your character.
Ooc: Uh...I hate to be the odd one out here, but...what's going on? Did the story go into pause mode while I wasn't looking?
BIG FAT EDIT: So, erm, Mr. Sticky, can you give us another post? I am knawing on my keyboard at the moment (it kind of tastes like plastic, so I strongly suspect that it is. Can you even digest plastic?)
OoC: Happy? Well, not really, Stick Link. I’d be happy if you didn’t seem upset with me. And here ya go, Navi, something to get things moving again.
Ren continued to hiss and growl at Rontu as he led the group steadily farther down the tunnel. The two took the lead easily for they could see in the dark. So Khaz found a good excuse to drop back next to Leonna and walk with her, since she held the light for their eyes.
“Um, Leonna …” he paused for a moment because he was about to use the honorific suffix again when he realized, again, that most others didn’t understand that though it was common in his home land. “I wanted to apologize for earlier.”
By her confused yet curious expression he saw that she didn’t understand what he meant so he continued.
“I mean, about earlier in the cell when I scolded you. I … really had no place doing that. Honestly … I hated Rontu and Ren when I first met them, though to be fair, Ren did try to kill me when we first met.” That brought back the memory of a spiked mace whizzing past his head on a chain, and Rontu knocking him over only just in time for him to avoid getting smashed. “But he’s different now. Really, Rontu hadn’t done anything to me to make me hate him so much. He even saved my life once and I still hated him after that. I was worse than you. I hated him just because he was a drow, and for the longest time nothing he ever did made me change that opinion of him. I just clung to the belief that he was drow scum … I was … really confused back then … So anyways, I just wanted to apologize before I left.”
My lips curved slightly at Khaz's apology, though I fought the smile back. I needed to seem neutral, as if his apology was a mere formality.
"I take no offence." I did not even look at him, for fear that I would show the emotion that I was trying to hide. He's being too kind again...it's so hard not to like him. Was there even a way to control that? Was there a way to look at a good human being and say that they had no qualities to admire, to like?
I cannot just let him go off on his own! Who cares what Rontu says? Khaz cannot even see without a light, nor does he carry a weapon! A person like him should not be the one whose life is at risk! It does not matter that I hardly know him, or that I ever will. Creatures like him should not meet their end in a dark hole like this! Not while I still do something!
"Khaz." I turned to look at him, which made it all the more difficult to keep my fear from showing. I spoke softly, trying hard not to let Ren or Rontu hear--I didn't want to argue with all three of them at the same time. "Let me go with you." How could I express that it was not my mistrust of him that led me to ask it? How could I tell him that I could never forgive myself if he was killed?
As always, he kept the nervous tingle inside him off his face when she said this. He allowed for the surprise to spring on there. He had to think fast. Lying was about the only thing he was good at anymore, which wasn’t really something to brag about. It was like second nature to him. He heard Takai chuckle his cold laugh in this ear, mocking him now. In all honesty, he probably wouldn’t care if Ren knew about Takai. Were they really so different? Ren would understand, and Leonna …
Wait, why did she want to come with him in the first place? Because she didn’t think he could do it was mostly likely. Though he would have thought Rontu’s words would convince her. Now walking next to her made him nervous. The more questions she asked the more odd it would seem.
“See, you fool, this is why you shouldn’t have said anything. They’ll start noticing oddities about you and that’s all the closer they come to knowing about us … Or why don’t you just take her with you and let me say hello. That will take care of this silly situation …”
He didn’t want her to see Takai. Ever.
Her words came tingling into his mind. “People are heinous because they choose to be.”
She wouldn’t understand, and this was exactly why he didn’t let women close to him. All the ones that claimed they loved him only loved how he made them feel. It wasn’t really him they felt that way about. If they knew the real him … if they knew about Takai, they would stay far away. They wouldn’t love him.
“Why do you care about what this na´ve girl thinks? Just let me have a moment with her and she’ll never bother you again …”
His insides curled and clenched at the thought. He remembered the look on Malon’s face the first time she ever saw Takai. Blood had splattered on her horrified face, because he had stabbed his katanas straight through the drow that had been trying to rape her. But she stilled looked up at him with that expression that screamed, monster, what are you?
He didn’t want to see that look on Leonna’s face either.
They would part once this was over, never to see each other again. She could remember him, and not Takai. Only him. Just this way. Not tainted.
“So fond of her already … You fool.”
“Leonna … thank you, but it’s better if I do this alone.” He smiled kindly at her again and walked ahead quickly. It was best to cut this as short a possible. He paused only to walk next to Rontu, asking him a few quick questions. Afterward, Rontu stopped, and Khaz continued ahead, walking off into the darkness, turned back only to give the three a cheery wave and a smile, before the shadows consumed his form.