NationStates Jolt Archive

Valley of Dragons (story-RP. Relates to "The Dig")

Pages : [1] 2
Reploid Productions
03-09-2003, 06:09
((OOC: Okay, this is a quasi-sequel to events in Slag's big Dig storyline. In short, events from that have helped set off the chain of events that will take place in this. This is also pulling a touch of time dilation, since Kiara and Tsunami from the Dig are at the summit, but are vital to this storyline. This is probably set about a week after the summit.))

The helicopter cleared the final ridge, revealing the valley below in its isolated splendor. Green fields rolled across the valley floor, crashing to a halt against the deep grey rock of the surrounding mountains, like a strange sort of wave. Several stone ruins litter the valley, standing uncannily white against the vibrant colors around them.

"It's good to finally be coming back to this site." Kiara stares out the window. "Ne, Tsu?"

The blue reploid dragon bobs her head. "Have you sent out that message yet?"

"Not yet... I suppose I ought to get around to that shortly. I mean, hell, look what calling on the international community did for that dig in the SLAGlands!" Kiara notes, scratching at an itch on her back. "... Man, Tsu, do me a favor and scratch my back while I send out the transmission? I can't quite reach one that's driving me bonkers."

Tsunami rolls her eyes and hops over. "My talons were not intended to be a glorified backscratcher, you realize."

"Yeah, yeah, I know." Kiara flips open her laptop and fiddles with the settings.

ALTIMIT Broadcaster
Encryption: Off
Broadcast type: Civilian/Research
To: Any interested
Return transmission band: Open
IDENT: Kiara Alson - Arpean Historical Society, RP

Friends in the archaeologic community, I'm hoping you aren't all scared off by what happened the last time a call went out about a multi-national dig team, because I would like to call for assistance in deciphering the ruins in a location known as the "Valley of Dragons", which is located in the far north of the Colony of Aquamarine. The site is of thaumatological importance, and we're pretty much totally and completely stumped. There are ruins with inscriptions we have yet to decipher, as well as a considerable underground network that has yet to be investigated.

Friends from the Outset Islands dig, you might remember the sword I carry- it is a relic from the site, which I have yet to figure out. I can assure you there is a very low probability of maniac deities nearly going on a rampage on this excursion. The most dangerous thing about the Valley of Dragons is the cold weather at night, which we can easily avoid, as there is some temporary housing on site with heaters. :-)

The Valley is accessible only by air, preferably by helicopter. We can arrange transport from the Aquamarine Int'l airport to the dig site if necessary.

Please let me know if you're interested!

<End Transmission>

((OOC: Serious participants only. This isn't invite-only, but I reserve the right to tell somebody that I don't want them to participate. =) ))
The SLAGLands
03-09-2003, 06:18
Hmmmm... well, I really appreciate the way you reploids busted your keisters helping us out on our dig, so I suppose the least I can do is return the favour. I'd be more than happy to take a look at what you've got going on over there; while my specialty is ancient SLAGLandic archaeology, perhaps there's some kind of connection between your discovery and the events of The Outset Islands--specifically the use of the thaumatological cannon during the defensive strikes.

I'll be transporting myself, of course... now that I'm a hero, I can afford to hire helicopter pilots. Isn't that grand?
Remmington Lee Vivaldi
Archaeologist, Hero, and All-Around Super-Great Guy
The Emerald Heights of The SLAGLands
03-09-2003, 06:26
"I'll go ahead and test my luck one more time, and turn up."

'Providing you don't mind. I'll drag Kevin along with me too."

"And uh, do you mind if I bring a Colt Single Action Army?" (OOC: Western six-shooter)

Kurt Jenson
Survivor of the Outset Islands Incident
The Outset Islands
03-09-2003, 06:26
I must say that I feel more than a little guilty regarding the events that transpired in my lands--in particular the damages done to my new friend Tsunami. As such, and because of advice I have received regarding such matters, I feel that it is in my best diplomatic interest to "pay you back," as you mortals are so fond of saying.

While I would like to personally attend this excavation, I feel that it is in my best interest not to do so. As such, I am sending Guide of The Brethren of Shade, whom you met during your visit to our caves, to offer our insights in my stead. I am certain that you will find him more than capable of assisting in such thorny affairs as ancient mysticism and magic.

I apologize in advance if I came off as pompous or condescending just now; this business of diplomacy is very, very new to me.
Queen of The Outset Islands
Goddess and Protector of The Emerald Heights of The SLAGLands
03-09-2003, 06:31
Reply From:
Subject: RE: Open Call

It sounds fascinating. I would love to join.

Introductions first though - Jonathon Thorgardson. I'm a recent graduate of the University of Southwestern Sunset. Major in Applied Science, Minor in Archeology. I guess I'm a well informed amatuer, but I would love the chance to go on a dig where you don't have to wear a hardsuit everywhere.

If it's ok I will head over there as soon as possible.

Reploid Productions
03-09-2003, 06:38
ALTIMIT Broadcaster
Encryption: Off
Broadcast type: Civilian/Research
To: All involved
Return transmission band: Open
IDENT: Kiara Alson - Arpean Historical Society, RP

Thanks for the support! Yes, if having a weapon makes you feel safer, go ahead- hell, I've got my sword, after all!

Esmerelda- Tsu says not to feel bad about it- she's the one who opted to torch her own mouth. We both look forward to seeing Guide though! Hopefully he can help us out here! :-)

Kurt, Kevin- Look forward to seeing you guys!

Remm- Just don't accidentally shoot yerself in the foot! j/k!

Jon- Good to have you on board!

<End Transmission>
03-09-2003, 07:01
A transmission arrives.

This is Councillor Ereki of the Dominion of Anhierarch, Coordinator of Research and Development - this sounds absolutely fascinating - we'd be honored to send a team in.

It should comprise Sub-Coordinator Jalane Gregnig and Professor Tyloru Zost. Zost is the Professor of Anthropology at the University of Andulos, and Gregnig, of course, is the 4th Sub-Coordinator of Research and Development. I hope they can contribute to this endeavor.

~Councillor Ereki, Coordinator of R&D

Dominion of Anhierarch
Sneaky Bastards
03-09-2003, 08:01
=> To: Kiara Alson - Arpean Historical Society, RP
=> From: Archeology Department, RPRA Research Labs, SB
=> Subject: Valley of Dragons

To our good friends in RP, we've recieved your message and we would like to be a part of this dig. We'd like to send one of our new members of the department. Her name is Karen Allen and she recently requested to be assigned to a dig team. Unfortunately none of our current active teams have had room for her. We think this is a wonderful opportunity for her to get some hands on experience in the field. We look to hear from you soon.
Reploid Productions
03-09-2003, 10:01
ALTIMIT Broadcaster
Encryption: Off
Broadcast type: Civilian/Research
To: Sneaky B, Anhierarch
Return transmission band: Open
IDENT: Kiara Alson - Arpean Historical Survey, RP

Welcome aboard! Look forward to meeting with the international team. Perhaps we can sort out just what the heck the ruins and so on are for!

<End transmission>

Kiara grins and sends off her latest reply. "Man, I am so looking forward to this!"

"Let's just hope this doesn't turn into a huge fiasco like the Outset dig ended up!" Tsunami retorts from the large sink in the room, where she's in the process of cleaning herself yet again.

"What could possibly go wrong?"

"Kiara... never, EVER say that."
03-09-2003, 10:14
OOC: Is it too late to throw a Tsarainese guy in? If not, read the following;

Message to: Kiara Alson - Arpean Historical Society
Message fr: Division Six Commandant Sural tsaChanya

Though we are unfamiliar with the Outset Islands, after consideration of the avaliable data on the Valley of Dragons site, Researcher Platoon Commandant Kiranz Sche'daya has requested to join this dig. As the Platoon Commandant commanding Tsaraine's investigation ( into the historic find of the tomb of Dominar Tsalin I, Commandant Sche'daya has previous experience in subterranean excavations, and has made a study upon the decipherment of foreign inscriptions.

Division Six Commandant Sural tsaChanya
on behalf of Researcher Platoon Commandant Kiranz Sche'daya
03-09-2003, 10:25

The clerk looks about worriedly, avoiding Gregnig's apoplectic expression.

I didn't sign up for this...

"Er, that's right, Sub-Coordinator. Councillor Ereki's assigned you to an expedition with Professor Tyloru Zost."

"Again?! But.... what.... Aaagh!" She storms off, her vexation wordless. Behind her, the clerk sighs in relief.

[ooc: Brief rundown on my characters.

Name: Tyloru Zost
Occupation: Professor of Anthropology, University of Andulos
Age: 43
Sex: Male
Species: Human
Description: 6'1", 174 lbs. Dark grey hair, grey eyes.
Served with distinction in the Order of the Scythe for 12 years, then left to pursue academia. Prior to that, he spent a great deal of time in the university, earning degrees in anthropology, theoretical psionics, applied quantum mechanics and biology.

Name: Jalane Gregnig
Occupation: 4th Sub-coordinator of the Low Council for Research and Development
Age: 37
Sex: Female
Species: Human
Description: 5'11", 149 lbs. Light blonde hair, purple eyes
After completing basic education, she also spent a while at the university, where she first encountered Zost and began to dislike him. After acquiring degrees in Advanced Robotics and Applied Biomechanics, she joined the department of defense research, where she rose steadily through the ranks, and was promoted to 4th Sub-Coordinator of the Low Council for Research and Development.
Reploid Productions
03-09-2003, 11:45
ALTIMIT Broadcaster
Encryption: Off
Broadcast type: Civilian/Research
To: Division Six Commandant Sural tsaChanya, Tsaraine
Return transmission band: Open
IDENT: Kiara Alson - Arpean Historical Society, RP

We'd be honored to have Platoon Commandant Kiranz Sche'daya assist in the dig! We're currently setting up the temporary buildings for everybody, but things ought to be all ready to go by the time everyone has arrived. Probably a good idea to bring some cold weather gear though, as it does tend to get pretty chilly up in the hills.

<End Transmission>
03-09-2003, 11:54
[ooc: So, when do they start arriving?]
03-09-2003, 11:55
Message to: Kiara Alson - Arpean Historical Society
Message fr: Division Six Commandant Sural tsaChanya

We thank you. Platoon Commandant Sche'daya will be dispatched to the Colony of Aquamarine immediately. We'll be certain to provide him with appropriate clothing.

~Division Six Commandant Sural tsaChanya
on behalf of Platoon Commandant Kiranz Sche'daya
Reploid Productions
03-09-2003, 11:58
((OOC: Sometime tomorrow in real time, most likely =p I'd like to give the Slaglandic Dig participants some time to post. For the record, there is going to be a mystery element to this storyline, and a fair bit of 'magic' (or thaumatology, as I prefer to call it :wink: ) involved. This is probably going to have a heavier weirdness/fantasy element to it than the Dig had, and I can definately say it will not end with a deranged, vengeful goddess standing naked above the waters of Nekoa Bay while hordes of critters swarm the mainland! :lol: ))
03-09-2003, 12:03
OOC: Heh, Kiranz is going to be freaked out. The Tsarainese don't believe in the supernatural.
Reploid Productions
03-09-2003, 12:13
((OOC: Oooh boy, he is really gonna be freaked out then! Ought to make for some nifty character development though, huh? 8) ))
03-09-2003, 12:21
[ooc: I call it thaumaturgy myself :D And the Anhierarchi acknowledge psionics and such.

-bates breath and waits-

Just so you know, Tyloru Zost is quite the maverick firebrand researcher who doesn't really give a toss about protocol. Can be a bit arrogant and condescending, always manages to look sloppy no matter what he's wearing.

Jalane Gregnig's practically his polar opposite. Singularly brilliant in her own way, she is, however, a stickler for protocol and procedure. May be rather rude if you don't play by the rules. Solid and dependable, but not as creative as Zost.

They detest and despise each other. Ereki enjoys sending them on expeditions together.]
03-09-2003, 12:21
OOC: Yeah. I'll add it to the agoraphobia and poor social skills suffered by most Division Six personell. (Division Six is research, by the way. One is Hydroponics, Two is Manufacturing, Three is Light Manufacturing and Secondary Industry, Four is Mining and Construction, Five is Government (including the State Security Corps, External Intelligence Corps, and Rukine Knight Subcorps), Six is Research, Seven is Ground Command (Army), Eight is Air Command (Airforce) and Nine is Space Command (Starforce). Whoo, that was a long bracket thingy.)
03-09-2003, 12:24
Interesting... of course, after what happened last time, I don't trust any of you. I saw what happened. Besides, all of my archaeologists are in Rohan, 'reclaiming the homeland'.
03-09-2003, 21:11
OOC: Arrival time? Arrival time...

A Republic Assault Shuttle cleared itself through RP airspace and managed to find the campsite just before dusk. Hovering two feet off the ground the rear door opened and bags came hurling out with clanks and clatters. Then two men jumped out - the first was younger, perhaps 23, with blond hair that bounced around his head as he landed. The other was slightly older, perhaps 27, with short black hair. The hair and the face is all that is visible, as both are wearing heavy parkas.

"Cold weather? It's baking in here..." Jon said as he picked up his three bags and headed for the campsite. "Better than dying of hypothermia." the other commented. His name was Wilson - technically he had a first name but he didn't often use it. Jon had met Wilson at University - The two had become friends and while Wilson was no archaelogist, he had a lot of experience in the outdoors.

They both trudged towards the worksite through the rapidly gathering gloom as the Assault Shuttle roared off into the night.
Reploid Productions
04-09-2003, 01:21
Kiara comes running from one of the temporary buildings, set across the valley from the stone ruins, sword slung across her back. She's wearing a pair of heavy jeans and a sweatshirt, and boggles somewhat at the parkas.

"Welcome to the Valley of Dragons!" She grins after the noise from the shuttle has subsided. "I said it gets cold up here, but that's mostly at night! But where are my manners? Name's Kiara Alson, my partner Tsunami's inside."

She eyes the luggage. "Need a hand getting settled?"
04-09-2003, 04:09
[ooc: I suppose it's alright if we leave out the tedious formalities of airspace clearance and so on?]

Shortly after, a black helicopter emblazoned with the flag of Anhierarch descends from the sky, the downblast of its rotors flattening shrubbery and grass.

The thunderous whine of the helicopter drowning out their voices, two figures emerge from the helicopter, one noticeably grubbier than the other. Inside the chopper, a crewman tosses out bags and cases, to the ire of the neatly dressed individual on the ground. Cheerily, the crewman waves as the helicopter begins to leave.

As the whine of the helicopter dies away, the pair survey the area around them. Both are dressed in sturdy jeans, hiking boots, a light sweater and a snowcap, but they somehow manage to look quite different. For instance, one pair of boots betrays a gleaming polish, while the other is scuffed and worn.

Tyloru looks at Gregnig, grinning faintly. "Well, here we are together again."

Gregnig rolls her eyes.

"Just don't embarass me this time, okay?"

04-09-2003, 05:14
OOC: Bit of a time-warp here, since I don't actually have the Revenant troop planes yet, but I can hardly send out a Ghoul (airship) for just one person.
Kiranz Sche'daya shivered inside his thick coat; this military transport was no good at keeping out the biting cold of altitude. Whoever had known there was so much sky? It tugged constantly on the edges of his vision, vast and grey and clouded.
"We're going down, Platoon Commandant." the pilot told him. "Please strap in."
Kiranz fumbled with the straps of his hard seat, eventually managing to secure them before the Revenant began it's descent. Then the troop plane lurched out of the sky like ... like the squat, winged brick it was, actually. Finally the landing lights went green, and Kiranz unbuckled his safety harness, standing on wobbly feet.
The rear door of the plane opened, and he exited it hurriedly - anything to get off this unnaturally flying block of steel. The co-pilot dragged his gear - several crates of equipment, and one small personal bag - onto the frosty ground with a grumble.
Kiranz thanked him, and looked around as the Revenant's jets roared into action, thrusting the thing back into the sky.

OOC: Kiranz is of medium height, with olive-coloured skin and dark brown hair, and looks somewhat gaunt. He's wearing the traditional white coat and bottle-green goggles of Division Six Researchers.
Sneaky Bastards
04-09-2003, 05:42
A silver and blue helicopter made a landing at the site. A young red haired woman with glasses climbed out of it, pulling out a suitcase and several other bags with it. She dragged them away from the helicopter which took off once she got far enough away. She made her way over towards the temporary buildings with very mean look on her face, which appeared to be matching the color of her hair.

"I HATE test pilots! HATE THEM!" she thought to herself as she dropped her bags outside of the building, looking around for a member from the Arpean group. She spotted Kiara and made her way over to introduce herself, quickly changing her mood and hiding her anger at the pilot.

"Kiara Alson, right? I'm Karen Allen. The RPRA Research Labs sent me over." she said with a smile, extending her hand to shake Kiara's.
Reploid Productions
04-09-2003, 05:55
Kiara shakes Karen's hand, with a mildly boggled expression at the anger radiating off the woman. "Kiara Alson- Arpean Historical Society. Once everybody's settled, Tsu and I were gonna call a meeting to explain the area and what we know about it." She grins, idly scratching one shoulder. "The housing is this way- need a hand?"
Sneaky Bastards
04-09-2003, 06:04
Karen looks back at her bags. "Uhm, I think I can handle it. Thanks though." she says. She walks over to her stuff, grabs the suitcase and the other bags, hauls them back over to Kiara, and waits for her to lead the way to the housing.
04-09-2003, 06:06
Groaning a little with the weight - it had been years since he'd kept in something approaching shape - Kiranz picked up his crates, and staggered over to the woman he vaguely recognised as Kiara Alson of the Arpean Historical Society.
"Hail, Researcher!" he said formally, puffing a bit as he put down his crates. "I'm Researcher Platoon Commandant Kiranz Sche'daya."
04-09-2003, 06:10
Gregnig and Zost walk up, easily bearing their luggage. Before Gregnig can set down her bags properly to greet Kiara, Zost drops his bags, sauntering forward with an easy smile, his hand extended.

"Professor Zost, nice to meet you. We're from Anhierarch."
04-09-2003, 06:15
Kiara comes running from one of the temporary buildings, set across the valley from the stone ruins, sword slung across her back. She's wearing a pair of heavy jeans and a sweatshirt, and boggles somewhat at the parkas.

"Welcome to the Valley of Dragons!" She grins after the noise from the shuttle has subsided. "I said it gets cold up here, but that's mostly at night! But where are my manners? Name's Kiara Alson, my partner Tsunami's inside."

She eyes the luggage. "Need a hand getting settled?"

"Hello! Jon Thorgardson. This is my friend Wilson. I know I didn't write ahead, but he was sorta last minute." "Yes, Jon think's I need a vacation and forced me to come." Wilson was the bulkier of the two, likely 220 pounds while Jon was somewhat skinny, maybe 170. "I thought we might need the parka's by the time we found the site." Jon rattled on, "Never hurts to be prepared."

Neither seems to need help as they walk towards the buildings, though they both clank as they walk.
04-09-2003, 06:17
"Hi, Kiara," Kurt said. Stepping out of a helicopter, his bags behind him. Kevin was behind him, briefly conversing with the copter pilot before it took off.

OOC: Since we're assuming transportation has been made, I hope that's alright.

"Uhm, i've got the Colt Single Action Army with me, but Kevin wanted something more-"
"Modern," Kevin interrupted. "Glock 17," he said, putting his hand in his pocket to confirm it's presense.
"Well, we've got our bags and some tools," Kurt said pointing to two small wooden crates.
The SLAGLands
04-09-2003, 06:46
It's quite obvious right away that when Remmington Vivaldi said that heroes get helicopters, he didn't necessarily read into the quality of said choppers.

What is quite obviously a smoking mass of steel and paint that is well past its prime sputters toward the Valley of Dragons, finally managing to force its way down on the nearest landing spot. The side hatch creaks open, and the first out is Remmington himself. Dr. Vivaldi is wearing a dusty denim jacket and khaki pants, his usual stubble beard shaved and supplanted by an unusually clean-shaven look. A large backpack on his back shows that he indeed traveled light, as per the promise of no convoluted encounters with sleeping goddesses with split personality disorders.

Dr. Vivaldi coughs from the smoke of the chopper as his traveling companion steps out. Guide stands about seven feet tall at the head, his smooth white fur remarkably clean given his surroundings. He glows a dim shade of yellow, and the red, yellow, and orange markings on his face complement a somewhat bemused smile as he and Dr. Vivaldi walk down the path to join the others.

"Are we a bit asphyxiated from the smokey journey, good doctor?" Guide asks. Dr. Vivaldi scoffs, looking back at the tall cat.

"Look... it's transportation. That's all that matters to me," he replies, wiping a bit of soot from his shirt. "You're lucky to get so little, big guy... great tank-drivin' Jesus, it's not like I asked you to come along..."

"...and it is not as if I asked to hear you complain about the volume of the propellers for the duration of the flight," Guide interrupts.

Dr. Vivaldi stops and looks back at the cat. He points his index finger and starts to speak, closes his mouth, shakes his index finger menacingly... returns to the rest of the walk. Guide, meanwhile, glows bright orange and lets out a low hum akin to a sigh.
Dread Lady Nathicana
05-09-2003, 03:20
Reploid Productions
05-09-2003, 03:24
Dread Lady Nathicana
05-09-2003, 03:31
Is this a mistake?

Leandro Pacci, Science Minister of the Dominion, specializing in linguistics, anthropology, and sociology, sat staring out the window, his brow furrowed in thought.

A hale 54, his hair had long ago gone white, only his thick brows showing the darkness they once held. He was dressed in his usual field garb - hat, glasses, loose jacket with large pockets, his hiking boots and khakis.

The noise of the rotors droned on, making it difficult to hear the small crew when they took the time to speak, though it was mostly amongst themselves. It had been clear from the begining the man was distracted, and so close to the end of their flight, they had ceased trying to draw him into conversation.

Not so long ago, he had embarked on an adventure - one he had scarce been prepared for, and afterwards, had vowed never to repeat. But in the interim, he had found himself becoming restless in his day to day business. His spacious office now seemed cramped and confining. The paperwork he had once enjoyed poring over, a mundane task that he often managed to push off on subordinates.

He found reasons to work with the odd powers he'd trained in while down below the SLAGLands with the Il Adib. He'd gotten rather proficient at manipulating objects and tweaking with things, though in truth, with the rare exception of a well-placed (and annonymous) practical joke, it was nothing he let others see.

Until then, such things had been beyond his reckoning. A mere myth, with no basis in reality. Surely, no one here would understand, in fact more than one of his colleagues had scoffed at his stories, his award from Marlena and Esmerelda notwithstanding.

When the call had gone out, he had admittedly leaped at the opportunity, explaining away any and all concerns and clearing his schedule to acommodate it. But now that he was nearly there ... the old nagging worries had come back. Was this going to end up another fiasco?

The beautiful mountains slipped by, and the Valley came into view, barely noticed by the older man.

"Sir ... sir, we're landing," one of the crewmen said loudly, reaching out to pat Pacci's arm.

He gave a slight start, looking over blankly before nodding and beginning to gather his things.

"Of course ... of course. Yes. Must be ready ..."

The military chopper came in for its landing, a safe distance off from the others. The crew began unloading the few crates and baggage that he'd brought, looking to him for direction. Seeing Kiara, he made his way over to her, smiling.

"I see you've managed to drag me off on another adventure. Let's hope it's a touch more tame than our last, shall we?" He chuckles, reaching out to take her hand if she'll allow it.

"Good to see you, my dear - you're looking fabulous. Where would you like me to set up?"
Reploid Productions
05-09-2003, 03:50
Kiara beams and gives Pacci a friendly hug. "Good t'see ya again, and believe me, I'm hoping things don't turn into a world-ending fiasco either!" She indicates the temporary buildings. "Take yer pick of the bunks- we got real beds and most of the comforts of home this time around!"

((OOC: Okay, doing a little fast-forwarding here... =p Long, important STUFF follows! Any latecomers are still welcome, so entry into the story isn't closed out yet. Late arrivals just miss the big briefing!))

After helping everybody get settled, Kiara and Tsunami gather everybody in the site's 'command center', one of the temporary buildings like the others, only housing various equipment, charts, and supplies. Pinned to the whiteboard at one end of the room is a large chart of the valley, with various things circled and marked on it.

"Okay, first of all, I'd like to thank everybody for coming- it's very much appreciated, and being a 'fringe' scientist like we are, Tsu and I don't generally get a lot of help." Kiara begins the explanation.

"We've been studying thaumatology, or 'magic', to use the layman's term, for several years now, with some results." Tsunami continues, standing on the desk next to Kiara. "Ancient Aquamarinian culture is rife with the stuff, and by studying and learning about it, weapons like the thaumatological attack carrier Zeroel were made possible."

"However, this particular area seems to be a major center of thaumatological energy, if our equipment is any indication." Kiara takes over, gesturing to a large contraption on wheels in the corner. "That device is a thaumatometer- basically a metal detector for psychic energy. Machines don't really register on it-" With this, Kiara waves the long wand attached to the thing over Tsunami, and watches as very little shows up on the device's monitor. "But damn near anything that has organic material in it will register- intelligent beings especially." With this, Kiara hands the wand over to Tsunami, who waves it over Kiara. The device beeps several times and registers "1321239 TU" on the monitor.

"'TU' stands for 'thaumaturgic unit', which is defined as the amount of psychic energy generated by one human in one second." Tsunami explains. "Kiara here has always registered rather high on it, and has since gone higher following the brief training she received over the course of events at the Outset Islands. I imagine if we used that device on Guide here, that he would register far higher, since he's an entity of thaumaturgic orgin, and has presumably worked with 'magic' all his life."

"I imagine if we ever tried it on Esmerelda, the damn thing'd blow up!" Kiara interjects with a laugh.

"This other device-" Tsunami points at a seismograph-looking device in the corner. "-is a thaumatograph. Basically a seismograph for thaumatological energy. Due to the nature of said energy, a single graph can detect major thaumatological events a very long distance away. For instance, this graph from a little over a month ago-" With Kiara's help, Tsunami unrolls a paper drum, revealing a slightly squiggly line on it with two noteworthy spikes on it. "- This first spike corresponds timewise to when Esmerelda was put back together on the Outsets. This second spike corresponds to just under one hour later, when Pacci got the gold ring onto Esmeralda's finger."

Rolling the paper back up, Kiara nods to the big chart behind her. "Ever since the Outset Islands affair, this area has been uncommonly busy so far as the graph goes. We think that there's a chance that events in the SLAGLands have somehow set off activity here, which is why there's been a renewed interest in this site by the Arpean Historical Society."

Scratching her left shoulder, Kiara continues, indicating the chart. "This map shows the entire valley, and the location of all the ruins. We've yet to determine what purpose these ruins served, though we're inclined to think it's some sort of religious site, given the lack of housing-type buildings, or any of the usual trappings that go with a town or city. Various swords have been found at the site, one of which I've been studying for years without any luck figuring out its purpose." Kiara hands around the sheathed sword that people from the Outsets affair would remember seeing her with. "The runes on the blade translate roughly to mean 'holy blade of the dawn'. The other three weapons that we've found and have stored here are of similiar design, with the runes on them translating roughly to mean 'holy blades of the twilight, darkness, and evenstar'. All of them register very high on the thaumatometer."

"We're certain the key to the entire mystery is the 'Script Monolith', here in the center of the largest ruin on the site-" Tsunami points at one of the circled locations on the chart. "-or in the presently unexplored catacombs underneath most of the ruins."

"When everybody's ready, we'll give you the ten cent tour of the site, and we can get started on the fun stuff tomorrow." Kiara grins.
05-09-2003, 03:52
"Magic"? Must be semantics, Kiranz thought. Magic is simply technology not yet explained. The unofficial motto of Division Six was comforting. Perhaps they should have sent a theoretical physicsist. "It could still be a city, despite the lack of house sites." he said. "After all, houses - made of wood or thatch or whatever - would decay quite quickly in this environment. And there are actually comparitavely few isolated temple sites - unless it was some form of monastery. Might I examine the glyphs on your weapon?"
05-09-2003, 03:53
"Lead the way," Kurt said, dressed simply in a t-shirt and jeans, holding his ballcap in his hands. Kevin was dressed "nice." For him, at least with khakis and a collared shirt.
05-09-2003, 04:00
"Wilson, you hear that? Magic. I took the 'Studies in Magic / Psionic Theory' last year. Never thought it would have come in useful." Jon whispered to his friend. "I'm a bit of a skeptic myself," Wilson whispered back, "But I've seen some pretty odd things out there. Enough to know there is always a reason for everything, no matter how strange the reason is."

"We are ready!" Jon spoke up. He seemed almost giddy to Wilson who rolled his eyes noticably.
05-09-2003, 04:08
Zost and Gregnig take mention of the arcane and eldritch in their stride, though they do look quite interested at the devices of measuring magic.

"Well, lay on, Macduff.", quotes Tyloru Zost.
Sneaky Bastards
05-09-2003, 04:30
Karen is scribbling down notes in a small notebook she brought with her. She sets them down to quickly snap a few pictures with her camera of the blade Kiara is showing everyone. "Man, this really beats looking at old dinosaur bones every day. Magic, who woulda thought..." She thought to herself as she resumed scribbling down notes as she listened to Kiara explain everything about the equipment and site.
The SLAGLands
05-09-2003, 06:05
Dr. Vivaldi listens, a small notebook in his hands. He hasn't taken any notes as of yet, but he seems quite interested in everything that's being said. Guide, meanwhile, looks over toward his new friend, his glow deep blue.

"I certainly hope that what happened on The Outsets has not negatively affected your friends in Reploid Productions," he says quietly. Dr. Vivaldi nods, tapping his pen against his notebook. "The mystical energy within Esmerelda is incredible, and I can only imagine that such an event could have an unprecedented global impact. I do not wish for... are you even listening?" Dr. Vivaldi hasn't stopped nodding... and still doesn't stop. With an annoyed grunt, Guide begins grooming himself with his unusually long tongue.
Dread Lady Nathicana
05-09-2003, 06:07
"Excellent," says Pacci, looking over the equipment with his usual undisguised interest. True to form, he fishes out his little notepad and pen, and begins scribbling down notes in his firm but slightly illegible hand.

He nods as the explanations are made, then asks "I take it our ah ... new talents may come in handy then?"
Reploid Productions
05-09-2003, 06:48
Kiara nods. "S'good chance that the hocus-pocus we picked up on the Outsets'll come in handy."

She and Tsunami lead everybody outside and proceed to give everyone the 'ten-cent tour'. The early evening breeze proves to be fairly chilly, though nothing a good heavy sweatshirt and a jacket can't defend against, the sun hanging a short distance above the mountain peaks overlooking the valley.

"The ruins date back at least four thousand years, given the similarities in the architecture to structures built during the first Pegasii dynasty." Kiara indicates the white stone walls and partly collapsed buildings. "But the carvings don't match up to that time period at all. The carvings loosely match up to some things that have been found in ruins across the country from all time periods, but we've yet to figure out their origins."

Kiara leads the group around one of the white buildings and gestures to some sort of elaborate stone structure far up on the cliff above. "As for that, we've yet to explore it because there's no apparent ground entrance, and getting a chopper up there to drop hikers is a veritible pain in the ass due to the high-altitude winds and stuff. At any rate, we've nicknamed it the Aerie, but have virtually no idea what its for, or how it was built, let alone accessed. We've got lots of pictures of it, but that's about it."

"And it's a little too high for me to fly to." Tsunami notes with a sigh. "I got up there once, but I couldn't bring any advanced equipment, so we just have my pictures. I think there's a cave entrance, possibly connected to the catacombs, but I couldn't find it."

While the two are explaining, anyone looking up at the distant Aerie might glimpse a dark figure peering down from the structure... or perhaps it's just a trick of the early evening shadows?

"Anyway, the big mystery is in the main ruin." Kiara indicates a gigantic white stone structure that seems to be in considerably better condition than the smaller buildings, with only a few stones fallen from its roof. "This one we've nicknamed the temple, because there's not really anything else it could be. S'also where the 'Script Monolith' is." She strolls through the wide hole in one wall where the doors apparently used to hang.

As the group enters behind her, the sun drops just a bit further, gleaming like gold fire off the massive stone monolith that dominates the center of the cavernous ruin. At the top of the stone slab is a carving richly inlaid with gold and silver and gemstones, depicting a human figure clad in some sort of elegant armor, with four large gold wings. Surrounding the figure are carvings of several creatures that appear to be half-human, half-dragon, as the figures appear mostly humanoid, but sporting horns, wings, tails, and claws. All of them are depicted holding swords. Beneath the elaborate carving is what has earned the stone the nickname 'Script Monolith'- a long... something... carved into the stone in ancient runes, inlaid with silver so that the runes gleam against the dark grey stone:

"No hojk eih jnehtj ad lawacudk jcoof
Eih fihfejo dek ook semo
Semo edo cukkoh tuo, no jxucc hajo
Udt cavk eih jnehtj uwuad

Uvkoh kxo udsaodk nuh uk cedw cujk odtj
Udt kxo vucjo giood'j kxhedo kxhend tend
Eih ojjodso mohwoj nakx kxuk ev jkooc
Kxo sxact ev kxo xoulodj rehd

Kxo whouk nuh huwoj kxheiwx xoulod udt ouhkx
Kxo Sxuej Udwoc hajoj
Nxe xuj taot edso ad rekx reto udt ad jeic
Edco ke hajo ed wectod nadwj

Ad jehhen udt khaimfx, kxo Udwoc nacc hajo
Udt rihd kxo ect ehtoh ke kxo wheidt
Ifed kxejo ujxoj, Fuhutajo nacc uffouh
Udt kxo wiuhtaudj nacc unubo

Boofohj ev knoclo jushot rcutoj
No jcoof idkac kxo Udwoc'j semadw
Uk kxuk kamo no jxucc uhajo
Reidt ro rceet udt rcuto"

"This would be the Monolith we mentioned." Kiara points at the rock. "Complete with the stuff written all over it that we can't read."

Tsunami hovers in the air by the monolith. "We've deciphered a meager handful of it, all of it useless." She points to the rune 'kxo'. "That one equates to the word 'the', as far as we can tell." She then points to the rune 'no'. "That one is 'we', from what we've figured.

Kiara points at the rune 'Fuhutajo'. "This is the big one- in ancient Aquamarinian, that's particular rune denotes Paradise, or something to that effect. But that's about the only link to any currently known form of that ancient language. The rest is similiar, but different enough that I think it may be an even older form of the language than anything we've found thus far."

Tsunami lands on Kiara's shoulder. "Anyway, that's the ten-cent tour." She glances at the setting sun, visibile through the hole in the wall. "We might as well call it a day- it tends to get cold up here real quick once the sun's down."

((OOC: Just a hint to help decode the Monolith- it's not a complex code. It's a 25-letter alphabet, and is basically the 26 letter alphabet, only scrambled. And no, I did not create this code, I stole it from a series I like quite a bit ^_~ Happy hunting!))
The SLAGLands
05-09-2003, 07:33
Dr. Vivaldi stares at the code for a moment... and scratches his head. He begins painstakingly copying down every character. Guide, meanwhile, only stares intently, as if he has already begun the process of cracking the code.

After he has copied down every word, Dr. Vivaldi manages to stifle a yawn. "Perhaps we should hit the hay..." he says, collapsing to the ground. Guide, meanwhile, glances over Dr. Vivaldi's shoulder at his notebook. He begins scribbling characters on the ground with one claw--a map of the alphabet.

"I can translate this... just give me some time..." he mutters, observing Vivaldi's notes carefully. In the dirt on the ground he writes these words:

We rest our swords in vigilant sleep
Our purpose not eet come
Come one latter dae, we shall rise
And lift our swords again

"This is the first stanza of the poem written on the monolith," he says. "Note the absence of the letter 'Y' in the words 'yet' and 'day,' a sign perhaps indicative of the absence of this letter in the Aquamarinian alphabet... or perhaps an indication of something greater."

Guide looks up at Kiara and Tsunami, expressionless. Dr. Vivaldi simply shakes his head, throwing his notebook to the ground in frustration.

"I shall continue to translate this message; I do not imagine it will take long. The code appears to correspond very well with the modern alphabet, and as such, I shall begin work on a key."

Guide returns to his alphabet chart and begins filling it in as best he can based on what he finds in the message:


Dr. Vivaldi only grumbles, taking a sip from his water skin.

(OOC: I do have the whole message translated already; however, I figure I'll give you poor saps a chance to catch up to my mad brainy skillz. :P )
05-09-2003, 07:49
Zost observes the decryption with some admiration.

"Why do we always forget to bring a cryptologist with us?"

Gregnig nudges him - something's up. She leans in close, whispering.

"Zost, were you watching the Aerie a few minutes ago?"

"No, why do you ask?"

"I think I saw something."

Zost's ears perk up.

"Really? What sort of something?"

"A figure, I don't know."

"Hmmm... shadows, perhaps. But we'd best be on our guard... if there's something in there, it probably doesn't like being disturbed...."

"Fair enough."
05-09-2003, 09:38
OOC: Got the thing translated - eebil! My brain, my poor brain! Anyways, interesting...

"Amazing that it hasn't been plundered, after four thousand years." Kiranz muttered to himself, looking up at the bejeweled statue in the gathering twilight.
"The carvings - did she mean the statues or the runes? Fate accurse this horrid language - are found all across the country, in varying time periods." Speaking aloud was his way of figuring things out; if anyone else was listening, what did it matter? They were doing this together. "Varying time periods. That suggests either a prolonged dynasty - which it apparently wasn't - or a religion. Or elves. They live a long time, and their culture and languages don't change."
Kiranz's attention shifted to the monolith with it's attendant statuary.
"It's runic, which means it's probably a script used more for tombs, border markers, or short inscriptions than for large works such as libraries. Usually controlled by the priest class, as in ancient Mesopotamia and Crete. I must ask Researcher Kiara about the hierarchy of this "first Pegasii dynasty". Runic script also means that it's limited to certain basic forms due to the lack of easy curves; this script resembles certain of the ancient Mesopotamian ones from the same period as the Pegasii dynasty, although they were much further south.
Anyway, if that means "the" and that means "we" - group-inclusive-of-self-numbers-undetermined - and that complex rune means "Paradise", then ... aigh! It's a glyph system similar to the Chinese in function, where every word has a different glyph! Nothing so simple as a syllabary or an alphabet. Though unlike the Chinese and most ancient scripts it does possess particulates such as "the". If only I knew that ancient Aquamarinian script she mentioned! Those inscriptions on the swords they found..."
Struck with inspiration, Kiranz turned to Kiara.
"Some questions, Researcher!" he called. "Firstly - it would help if we could examine the runes on those weapons you found, I believe. Also, this "ancient Aquamarinian" script, that you say the "Paradise" rune resembles - might you have more information on it? And is the ground here dry enough for an aerial radar scan of the subterranean catacombs (OOC: Actually possible, but it has to be very dry indeed)?"
Then he saw the words scrawled in the dirt, crudely written by the ... ryecat? For some time he'd assumed it was a form of organic assist, like a seeing-eye-dog, but if it could calculate such complexity, it must be some form of bioengineered sentience - and groaned.
"I guess it's somewhat redundant now." he said. "Keep up the good work, Researcher Commandant Cat."
Sneaky Bastards
05-09-2003, 09:38
Karen finishes copying the writing on the stone in her notes. She sets the notes down to snap some pictures of the monolith and the other ruins before the sun goes down. She takes a few pictures of the Aerie while she's at it before putting the camera away. She picks up her notes and looks back up towards the Aerie, catching a glimpse of the dark figure up there. "What the...?" she mumbles to herself as she squints at the figure. "Huh... that can't be a person. I must be seeing things..." she thinks to herself as she turns back to the group.
05-09-2003, 09:43
((It begins...))
05-09-2003, 10:05
Zost nods, his wild hair bobbing slightly.

"Salient observations, sir. It's an interesting thing about runic languages - there seem to be some underlying constants in the system. For instance, the intrinsic symbolism of the rune, which is tied to mythology, religion, psionics and thaumaturgy - something to keep in mind if we find singular runes. It's just a theory at the moment, but I've been pondering the possibility of psionic resonance based on geometric configurations."

As Gregnig records images for archival, she overhears Karen's mumbling. She approaches, apprehensively.

"Excuse me. You saw something in the Aerie too?"
05-09-2003, 10:48
Kiranz blinks. "This is the problem with religious fanatics," he mutters under his breath. Aloud, he says,
"I believe the links between runic scripts and religion exist due to the fact that runic systems are difficult to write, and that for primitive societies they are also hard to learn, and may be restricted to the class of society with the most time on it's hands, which is often the priesthood. You're surely thinking of the Norse runic script, which was used almost exclusively for religious rites, and was in fact rather unwieldy as a script for general use?
But I was referring to the fact that the straight lines imposed by the usual media for runic scripts - stone or wood - limit runes to certain basic arrangements of lines by the elimination of curves from the script. Thus there's likely to be some similarities between runic scripts even across continents, though of course the arrangement of the different lines gives a large variety."
He catches his breath after that long speech.
"But what can you tell me of this so-called "thaumatological" force at work here? Clearly it can be measured and quantified, as demonstrated by the apparatus we were shown earlier, but being satisfied to label it as "magic" shows a belief in the supernatural which should be anathema for any trained researcher, at least in the Dominion. "Magic is simply technology not yet explained", as we say in Division Six. They really should have sent theoretical physicsists."
05-09-2003, 11:27
[ooc: Just so you know, damn near everyone's atheistic or agnostic in Anhierarch - Tyloru Zost included.]

Tyloru, uncharacteristically enough, grins.

"It's just a hypothesis, Mr. Kiranz. I think these things up every few minutes, and most of them are just wild conjecture. I find it keeps the mind sharp.

As for thaumaturgy, that is not my field. But many would attribute psychic manifestations to magic, and I'm quite familiar with psionics. Allow me to demonstrate."

He holds a pen in one hand, standard ink ballpoint sheathed in grey plastic. He concentrates on it, sweat beading on his brow, and abruptly -

The pen levitates. It remains for a few seconds, then drops into the palm of a rather tired Professor Zost.
05-09-2003, 11:34
Kiranz stared at the pen in suprise. No, I am *not* going crazy. That *did* just happen.
Finally he recovered, trying not to stare.
"In Tsaraine," he said carefully, "We regard "psionics" as just as unprovable as "magic", and therefore false. However, the brain does have a potent electromagnetic field, and we do know how to manipulate that. The Rukine Knights, for example, were formed around that basis. Anything that can be explained away by "magic" or "psionics" can also be explained, much more concisely, by science. I'm sure there's a rational explanation."
05-09-2003, 11:52
Tyloru nods. "Ay, I think so too. It happens, therefore there is a rational explaination behind it. All hypotheses at the moment, I'm afraid, but it's certainly an exciting field."
05-09-2003, 12:00
"Indeed - the Rukine Project Corps always seem very enthused, back home. But this "psionic", or "thaumaturgic", energy - how is it different from the brain's electromagnetic field? We Tsarainese have never detected anything like these mysterious energies you describe."
05-09-2003, 12:23
"Well, I'm no thaumaturgist. And as far as 'psionic energy' goes..... there're plenty of theories to fit available observations, but no one can prove them either way. Yet."
05-09-2003, 12:38
"Ah. So this mysterious, undetectable forces acts by a mysterious, unprovable theory? Have you ever heard of Phlostigon? Never mind," Kiranz continued, "It doesn't matter, I'm sure."
He gazed up at the Aerie, which was thickly clad in the gathering darkness.
"How would one get up there, I wonder? It would take workers hanging on ropes from the top of the cliff, I think, as they are thought to have done in building the pre-Inca "White House" tomb in the Andes. Unless there's some kind of tunnel from the underground network, but that would take not inconsiderable skill to build, going up from the ground with no cues as to the location of the cliff or the ledge it's built on."
05-09-2003, 12:49
Jalane Gregnig pops up, fiddling with the controls on her camera.

"Scaffolding, possibly, to allow them to get up there - tedious, dangerous and inadvisable, but human persistence knows no bounds."
05-09-2003, 12:55
"Human stupidity also." Kiranz agreed. "I suppose we could look for sockets cut in the cliff for beam supports - if they exist, we could use them also, if it came to that."
He sighed. "It's a pity the ground's too wet here for an aerial radar scan. Otherwise we could get a map of the catacombs without exploring them ourselves - that could be dangerous, although the tunnels would appear to be through good solid bedrock. Is there a known entrance to the tunnels, or must we find that also?"
08-09-2003, 00:17
They have returned to this place. There are more of them now than the youngling and the strange creature.

The youngling has held Vikiho's blade for some time now, yet shows few signs of it. Has the Goddess' power waned from Her Gifts?

The taller figure leans slightly over the edge to observe the goings on so very far below, before quickly ducking back in.

I doubt that. We still live, after all. If Her power had gone, would we not also wane from this world?

The shorter figure snorts in mild irritation. It is good to be awake after so long, but why are we the only two who felt that wave of astral power little more than one moon ago? I would have thought that Najoedo would have also awoken at the very least.

Look at it this way, little sister, we are unsupervised, left to act as we see fit. The taller figure stretches and yawns. I for one would direly enjoy having speech with them.

The smaller figure growls and delivers a boot-to-the-ass of the taller one, who yelps and sits back down. We cannot understand the language they speak any more than they would know ours! And we know they lack the speech of souls! If we were to appear so suddenly, it would more likely than not re-ignite the fires of war we left behind!

The taller one pouts. I said that I desired speech with them, not that I was going to be foolish about it. You certainly didn't have to kick me in the tail like that!

The smaller one appears unfazed by the pouting. We should remain hidden as we always have, at least until Vikiho's blade completes its enchantment. The youngling could then serve to translate, since with the enchantment comes the speech of souls.

The taller one frowns. It has been at least six passings of the seasons since the youngling took Vikiho's blade, yet there are no signs of increased power, or anything! How much longer must we wait?!
Reploid Productions
08-09-2003, 01:36
Kiara nods to Kiranz. "We've got the other swords and all our information stored at the command center- you're welcome to peruse. The runes are mostly unknown, but the carvings of those winged figures have been found in ruins all over the country, and dating back to various periods."

Tsunami glances at the monolith. "Another mystery is how anyone could get here in the first place to build this stuff, let alone for a robber to come and plunder it. It's virtually impossible to enter this valley without flying in, and even with modern aircraft, the turbulence off the peaks makes for some tricky piloting. The stone the ruins are built of isn't native to this valley- I can't think of anywhere within modern-day Aquamarine where you could find any sort of stone bleached this white- and there are no signs of rock having been quarried up here."

Both Arpean thaumatologists stare in slackjawed amazement when Guide starts scribbling.

"We've been trying to crack it for at least 6 years, with only a couple of successes... and he just cracked it in under ten minutes." Kiara manages to say. Tsunami nods numbly in agreement.

"Well, this bodes well for making progress on this site." The little dragon comments.

After everyone's been herded back to the housing had dinner (consisting largely of a stirfried veggies and noodles dish Kiara whipped up), the group is left to peruse the files and artifacts stored in the command center.

"We've found several caves in the area, though we haven't ventured more then fifty or so feet into the catacombs." Kiara indicates the large chart on the wall. The amusing bit would be that she's using the skills she picked up on the Outsets and lighting her finger up, rather than use a laser pointer. "Some of the tunnels dead-end suddenly, but going by the carvings on the walls, which appear cut off, it would seem like some of the caves were blocked off. Definately not a rockfall, since I doubt rockfalls routinely consist of perfectly smoothed sheets of rock." She explains.

Tsunami watches the explanation and pounces Kiara's arm when she spots whatever she'd been watching for. "I thought so!" The little dragon declares, pushing Kiara's sleeve up.

"Ack-! Tsunami, what in Shimeki's name are you-?!" Kiara flails comically as Tsunami reveals a vivid red rash on the woman's shoulder.

"Sorry to get so off-topic, but I'd noted that Kiara here had been scratching herself a lot lately, so I thought perhaps something was wrong." The little dragon notes calmly.

"Tsunami! You coulda just asked me!" Kiara yelps and glares at the little blue dragon. "Y'make it sound like I'm some kinda pet that needs to go see the vet!"

Tsunami nods. "I'm the one with the access to medical records and stuff. To the bedroom with ye! You know as well as I do that if I'd asked, you'd've sworn up and down that nothing's wrong with you. Time for a checkup by Doctor Tsunami!"

Kiara grumbles and is shooed out the door by the little reploid dragon. "I guess it's bedtime for me."

"Don't worry about Kiara." Tsunami notes to the other researchers. "Feel free to browse everything in our files. I wouldn't recommend staying up too terribly late though- sun's down and it's already chilly, but it's likely to get near to freezing by about midnight."

With that, the Arpean thaumatologists exit the room and head for the bedroom Kiara and Tsunami share.

((OOC: Had to turn you guys loose somehow ^_~))
08-09-2003, 02:20
Jon sits down at a table and begins talking over the event's with Wilson. "Quite a quick solution on that language, wasn't it?" "Some people just have a head for that stuff. Me, I'm thinking about the Aerie. I brought climbing gear for the caves." "Always bring rope, a 10 foot pole, and iron spikes eh?" Jon replied with a grin. "Always."

"Let's see who else wants to give it a try." Jon said standing up. "Is anyone interested in attempting to climb the Aerie? We've got climbing supplies." He sounds quite enthusiastic. "I think it might be best to hold off til tomorrow - we will have all day and a night's sleep." Wilson said as he scribbled a list of needed supplies on a piece of paper.
Sneaky Bastards
08-09-2003, 02:32
Karen makes her way over to the artifacts at the command center and begins looking them over, writing down all sorts of stuff in her notes about them. She then takes several pictures of the individual pieces from all sorts of different angles to go along with the various sketches she made of them in her notes.

She eventually makes her way to the swords. She picks one up, pulls it out of its sheath (assuming its in one), and looks it over. "Kinda heavy..." she thinks to herself as she holds it up. She runs one of her fingers down the edge and cuts herself on it. "Ouch! Sharp..." she says as she sets it down. She takes care of the wound on her finger and resumes looking the blade over a few minutes later. She grabs her notes, flips to a clean page, and begins drawing the runes out in her book along with sketches of the sword. She finishes and repeats the whole process, minus the finger cutting, on the other blades until she has them all sketched out in her notes. She finishes up her work for the night by snapping some pictures of the blades to go along with the notes.

"If anyone wants to look at the swords, I'm done with them." she says to others in the room as she packs up her notes and her camera. She heads out to make her way over to the housing building to write up a report and download her pictures to her laptop. As she gets outside, she's hit with a gust of cold wind. "Augh! Tomorrow I'm bringing my coat with me. They were right about it gettin cold down here." she thinks to herself as she starts to run towards the housing building.
08-09-2003, 04:37
{OOC: Sorry about entering so late. I'll post up some stats sometime when it isn't late at night.}
A small Cetagandan Frontier Fleet pinnance lands near the complex, and two people emerge. Dressed for cold weather and carrying packs, they head for the housing building and arrive at the same time Karen does.
As they near her, she can hear one, a man, say, "I still don't understand why you volunteered us. Last time we nearly got killed by a bunch a cave-dwelling psychopaths."
"But we didn't, and we've got all sorts of nice bonuses and medals for helping to save the SLAGLands," replies the other, a woman. "Besides, what's the chances of encountering a deranged goddess on two archeaological digs in a row?"
"You said the same thing about the demons two years ago, and-" he breaks off, seeing Karen. "Good evening, ma'am. Lord Sir Sean Aldars, of Cetaganda. My partner, Dame Nita Fingan. A pleasure to meet you." He bows, and then pulls the door open for Karen.
Nita only rolls her, nodding in greeting to Karen.
Sneaky Bastards
08-09-2003, 05:17
Karen smiles to the new arrivals as she runs in the open door. She stops and waits for the newcomers to enter. "Ah! Thank you! Its quite cold out there. I'm Karen Allen, nice to meet ya. I'd love to stay and talk and stuff, but I've got some stuff I need to get done. Thanks again for holding the door for me." She says. She turns and heads off to her room.
08-09-2003, 08:43
OOC: Ghem-lords? Or is this some different Cetagandan thing?

Kiranz entered the command center, such as it was (one prefabricated hut was not much different from another, he thought), notebook in hand.
In a clear, concise hand he'd copied the runes from the Script Monolith; they were accompanied by the squarish blocks of Tsarainese Sekhel script, small but clear; his conjectures about their links to other scripts. He'd have to get the meanings of them from the genemod cat everyone was so impressed with soon.
Now he copied the runes from the blades into his notebook, just as neatly as the previous runes; these ones were clearly the same alphabet as the ones on the monolith, though he couldn't translate him. Another job for that amazing genemod cat. I wonder if I could get a skin sample?.
08-09-2003, 12:58
Jon sits down at a table and begins talking over the event's with Wilson. "Quite a quick solution on that language, wasn't it?" "Some people just have a head for that stuff. Me, I'm thinking about the Aerie. I brought climbing gear for the caves." "Always bring rope, a 10 foot pole, and iron spikes eh?" Jon replied with a grin. "Always."

"Let's see who else wants to give it a try." Jon said standing up. "Is anyone interested in attempting to climb the Aerie? We've got climbing supplies." He sounds quite enthusiastic. "I think it might be best to hold off til tomorrow - we will have all day and a night's sleep." Wilson said as he scribbled a list of needed supplies on a piece of paper.

Zost steps forward, eyes glinting, a faint smile on his lips. "I'm game. I've scaled the Razortooth Needle back home in Anhierarch.... so I think I should be able to do it - or at least get a good shot at it." Behind him, Gregnig rolls her eyes, resigned to Zost's antics.

"Unfortunately I left my climbing stuff at home," he says, shrugging. "I don't suppose you'd have any spares?"

Adjusting her snowcap, Jalane Gregnig walks off, resolved to have a closer look at the artefacts.
08-09-2003, 13:18
Kiranz pushed his goggles up onto his forehead to see better; the bulging bottle-green lenses distorted his peripheral vision, and all this weird technology - It is *not* magic - was leaving an ugly feeling in the base of his gut; like the primitive animals he was descended from, he wanted to be able to see.
"Kiara said that this one, the one she was wearing, translates to "holy blade of the dawn" and that the others are "holy blade of the twilight", "holy blade of the darkness", and "holy blade of the evenstar"," Kiranz mused aloud. "Therefore, those two runes mean "holy blade of the-", and that one means "dawn". Therefore the runes on those other three mean "twilight", "darkness" and "evenstar", though we can't tell which was which. All four different runes - "dawn", "twilight", "darkness" and "evenstar" share similarities, in the form of that odd horizontal line crossed with two short vertical bars; probably it means either "holy" or "blade"; therefore the other two runes meant either "holy" or "blade" and "of the"; if we knew more of the grammar in Ancient Aquamarinian, we could tell.
"Blade of the Holy Whatever" or "Holy WhateverBlade"? Either would do. Given the seperate rune for "of the" and the way they were arranged, we'd suppose the former. Hmm. If there are blades for "dawn", "twilight", "darkness", and "evenstar", might there also be blades for such times as "noon"? Only further research will show..."
There was someone at his elbow, Kiranz realised.
"Ah, hello." he said, somewhat nervous. "I do hope I'm not being a bother?"

OOC: Anhierarch: I meant it to be Grenig, but it doesn't have to be if you don't want it to.
08-09-2003, 17:46
She shakes her head, businesslike and polite. "No, of course not. I'm just doing a little documentation," she says, producing a small digital camera from one pocket. "I hope you don't mind..... interesting expedition, isn't it?"
09-09-2003, 01:43
Two figures sit atop their high perch as the moon rises over the valley. The taller one is clad in... well, nothing, really, though one wouldn't realize this at a glance. The shorter one is lightly clad with a steel chestplate and not much else. Neither are bothered by the biting chill of the wind at such a high altitude.

"The changing goddess is certainly bright tonight, isn't she?" The taller one notes, his lanky body framed by the full moon briefly before he shifts to lay down on the cold stone.

"I'm still concerned that the youngling has yet to make the change. Six passings of the seasons... it should have happened by now!" The shorter one paces, toenails clacking on the stone.

The taller one glances over with a grin. "It took you some fifteen passings before you made the change." He notes dryly.

"Well, I inherited my blade fresh from my master! Vikiho's blade has had at least an age to accumulate power that had gone untapped! Surely that would accelerate the process some!" The shorter one stops pacing to shoot the taller one a dirty look.

"Relax, little sister. The youngling's aura is stronger now than the last time they were here. Either the youngling has started to tap into the powers granted us by the Goddess, and is therefore near to the change, or has perhaps had formal training in the arts elsewhere. It will happen when it happens." The tall one cushions his head on his arms and gazes at the sky. "I for one look quite forward to being able too mingle again. Unusual looks or not! Hey... what's that flying thing-?"

Both figures gawk when the Cetagandan ship overflies their mountaintop perch and lands in the valley below. "More visitors?" The shorter one peers over the edge at the ship.

"Well, in any case, the next several days will be very interesting!" The taller one also peers down. "Very interesting indeed."
09-09-2003, 01:48
Zost steps forward, eyes glinting, a faint smile on his lips. "I'm game. I've scaled the Razortooth Needle back home in Anhierarch.... so I think I should be able to do it - or at least get a good shot at it." Behind him, Gregnig rolls her eyes, resigned to Zost's antics.

"Unfortunately I left my climbing stuff at home," he says, shrugging. "I don't suppose you'd have any spares?"

Adjusting her snowcap, Jalane Gregnig walks off, resolved to have a closer look at the artefacts.

"Sure. I'm sure we can rig something up, and we probably have plenty of rope." Wilson muttered under his breath "Enough to hang ourselves with." Jon laughed at this, "Looking on the bright side, that's Wilson. I suppose I should introduce myself. Jon - and this is my friend Wilson. We're from Sunset."
09-09-2003, 02:50
Zost laughs as well, deep throated and hearty. "Pleasure to meet you. I'm Tyloru Zost, Professor Zost as some of the more protocol-minded people would have it, but I don't give a toss." He grins. "From the Dominion of Anhierarch."
09-09-2003, 04:35
After dropping off most of their belongings, the two Cetagandans quickly walk over to the 'command center,' where they introduce themselves. After that, Sean asks, "When you're done with one of the blades, could I see it? I'd like to examine one."

(OOC: Nope, no ghem or haut lords. I had originally intended to RP as the actual Cetaganda, but decided to make up my own stuff instead.)
The SLAGLands
09-09-2003, 04:51
Dr. Vivaldi and Guide both shake their heads.

"I'm tired as a cross-country lemur," he yawns, stretching. "I think I'm just gonna settle down." With that, he unrolls a sleeping bag and lies on the ground. He's out in just a few seconds.

Guide, meanwhile, lies down at the ground just as the group prepares to leave.

"I choose to contemplate," he says, settling down in silence, his glow fading to nothing.

(OOC: Sorry for the lame post, but I'm kind of lost right now... probably should reread when I'm less tired...)
09-09-2003, 07:07
OOC: Ah, that explains it.

"Indeed yes," Kiranz nods, "Though very perplexing. I wish I'd been able to go on the previous one! There seems to be so much I missed out on. Well, tomorrow I shall ask that feline being to assist in translating the rest of that monolith - it really must be quite smart, to be able to decipher the script so fast, don't you think?"
Reploid Productions
10-09-2003, 06:41
While the others are checking out the information in the command center, Tsunami is loudly bickering with Kiara in their bedroom.

"Kiara, damnit, take the friggin' shirt off so I can examine that damn rash!" For a dragon with a standing height of maybe two feet, she can be remarkably loud.

"But it's cold!"

"Bullsh--! The heater is going at near full blast. Take the shirt off before I do it for you! Your health is important, especially in an isolated place like this where it may take upwards of a day for a rescue team to get here!"

"Okay, okay already! Geez! It's just a little rash, what's the big deal?!"

"You've also been showing higher on my infrared sensors, which would imply a fever- Good Goddess! You call this 'just a little rash?!"

"Gaaah! Watch it with those talons- they're like ice!"

"How long has this been going on?!"

"Dunno... been an on and off thing over the past year or so. I think it's an allergy."

"Some allergy! All over your back and shoulders, clear down to the backs of the legs... geez!"

"You said it yourself, there's not a lot we can do about it, right? It just itches. S'not a big deal, so we might as well go about business as usual instead of raise a huge fuss."

"You stay right there Kiara Alson! You haven't had a full checkup in at least three years, I'd say you're overdue!"

"Aw maaaaaaaaaaaan!"
10-09-2003, 09:19
Kiranz looked up at the stars, and wished for a good solid kilometer of rock above his head. There are too many of the accursed twinkly things.
With a sigh, he pulled shut the door to his tiny prefabricated cabin, and looked at his bags strewn across the floor. I suppose I should sort them out. In the morning, it's oh-dark-hundred out there.
Tomorrow I'll have a look into those catacombs; it's probably the best place to find surviving artefacts or inscriptions.
10-09-2003, 13:39
Jalane sighs, rubbing her eyes blearily.

Damn, that was a long flight. Damned helicopters, I wish they'd requisitioned a shuttle. Much quieter.

She shuffles towards the prefab accomodation, too tired to appreciate the breathtaking vista of the universe, burning gems in a mantle of deepest sable. Drawing closer, she hears Kiara and Tsunami, and grins wryly in the night.

Sweet dreams, everyone.
10-09-2003, 23:14
"I'm going to take a look around." The taller figure climbs to his feet and stretches.

"You're what?!?" The shorter one nearly falls from her perch at the taller one's declaration. "Are you crazy, brother?! Taking such a foolish chance?!"

The taller one waves off the shorter one's concerns. "It is late, all the visitors have gone inside for the night. The cold drives them to hide away in those strange little buildings. I'll be careful not to raise any unusual noise." Before the shorter one can protest, the tall one takes a running leap from the cliff, landing noiselessly in the grass far below.

"Oooh... that impatient idiot!" The shorter one peers down at her brother, who turns to look up the cliff at her, his form lost in the shadows, his glowing amber eyes the only thing giving away his position.

Relax, little sister, I'll be cautious. The taller one's thoughts brush her mind for an instant and he's gone, creeping toward the buildings, his movements fluid and silent, reminiscent of a cat, or perhaps a snake.

He creeps up to the prefabricated buildings, careful to stay hidden in the shadows provided by the moonlight. Odd... that cat-creature radiates a power similiar to that which woke Luceh and I up over one moon ago. He creeps along the buildings to the room occupied by Guide and Vivaldi. Keeping hidden in the deep shadows a short distance away, he gets to his feet and peers into the window as best he can.
Reploid Productions
11-09-2003, 03:15
((OOC: *flies the thread to the top of the forum*))
The SLAGLands
11-09-2003, 03:36
Dr. Vivaldi is fast asleep... quite fast asleep. His sleeping bag is pulled over his body, and his head is sandwiched between two pillows. His snoring comes loudly and slowly--and implies that poor Remmy is suffering a cold.

Guide, on the other hand, looks up almost immediately upon the approach of the creatures. He sniffs the air, and almost immediately, his glow disappears. The Brethrenite turns translucent--noncorporeal--and begins searching the room, trying to find the source of the thaumatological signatures his keen nose is detecting. At long last, he heads to a window opposite the creatures. Guide seems to be concentrating heavily... then, with a degree of difficulty, he narrows himself to a few inches in girth and begins slowly sliding through the slightly ajar window.
Sneaky Bastards
11-09-2003, 03:42
Karen sat on her bed with her laptop, typing up the last of her written notes so they guys back home could read them easier. She closed up her notebooks, saved her files, and pulled out her camera, taking the memory card out of it and sticking it into a slot on the laptop.

"Lets see if any of them came out good. I think I should have had the flash on maybe..." she thought to herself.

The picture transfer program moved the pictures to the hard drive and automatically opened up the photo viewer software. Karen opened up a random file. It was the picture of the Aerie.

"Hey... I wonder..." she mumbled to herself as she zoomed in on one spot, the one where she thought she saw somebody on Aerie. "Huh... I must have been seeing things. There's nothing there in the picture." she said as she closed the file.

Karen checked out the rest of the images and finally called it a night after an hour of looking them over. She set the laptop in a backpack, shut out her lights, and laid there in the dark, staring at the ceiling above her bed.
11-09-2003, 04:33
Having finished a quick initial look at the artifacts, the Cetagandans head back to the housing building. Just before they enter, Nita tells Sean, "I'm not to tired. I'll be in in a few minutes." He nods, and keeps going.

Nita walks around the complex for a while, enjoying the time outside after being cooped up in either caves or various official functions for weeks. She wanders for about an hour before heading back. As she nears, she pauses, sniffing the air slightly.

'What is that? It not human, nor a reploid. But its not Guide, either.'

She stealthily follows the scent, until it leads her to the housing building. There, she peers through the darkness, looking for whatever it is she smells.
11-09-2003, 05:10
((OOC: Just a reminder, it's probably closing in on midnight in-game, and that it's 'f---ing cold' =p))

The tall figure's sensitive ears twitch and he turns in the direction of the noise, amber eyes narrowed to gleaming slits in the darkness. Someone is out this late? He retreats through the shadows toward the cliffs, one hand tightly gripping the weapon strapped to his back. Once he has the buildings between himself and the source of the noise, he leaps silently to the roof, careful not to make much noise.

Brother, did you get caught? You're tense. The shorter figure's thoughts come smugly to him, and he glances toward the distant cliff.

No, not yet. And I don't intend to. He sends back with mild annoyance. He creeps back from the edge of the roof and flattens himself against the flat surface, keeping still, aside from his ears twitching occasionally as he tracks the noises below.
Sneaky Bastards
11-09-2003, 06:15
Karen lay there in bed staring at the ceiling, trying to fall asleep. She was slowly starting to drift off when she heard the sound of something on the roof. "What the..." She said as she quickly sat up, looking up at the ceiling. She quietly climbed out of bed and over to the window. She unlatched it and slowly opened it up. She shivered as the cold air hit the bare skin on her arms. She stuck her head out the window looked around above her to see if she could see anything. "Is somebody out here...?" She asked loudly as she looked up towards the roof. She waited a few seconds for a reply before she shut the window and latched it. She walked back over to her bed and sat there, looking up at the ceiling, listening for any more sounds up there. "It was probably just the wind or something." She thought to herself as she laid back down.
11-09-2003, 08:26
Not far away, oblivious to the commotion, Kiranz was dreaming.
The kash'ha dragon (a traditional figure in pre-Dominion mythology, Kiranz knew) was massive, occluding the corridor lighting. It's claws stretched out and branched into the tunnels all about, making the surface crack and flake away like dried skin to revealing the pulsing purple-red dragon veins lacing the earth.
One black-and-blue eye looked up at him from a vast crater, lightning sparking from the cat-slit iris.
"Do not meddle in the affairs of dragons, for you are crunchy and taste good with ketchup." Kiara Alson said from nearby, leaning on her sword suddently grown huge. Kiranz noted her presence in his dream without suprise.
The eye-bleeding-lightning became the familiar icon of the Rukine Knights.
Flickering reddish light, like firelight, heralded the arrival of the genemod felinoid, Guide, and in the light the white stone became tawny brown, the colour of the local stone around the valley.
"Things are not as they seem." Kiara intoned. "Skim milk masquerades as cream."
The eye-bleeding lightning was still there, painted with something Kiranz's trained eye rapidly recognised as a lapis lazuli-based pigment, expensive. The eye was in the red ochre face of a humanoid figure, painted similar to the mesoamerican style, with golden wings spreading from it's back.
"The steel, though old, is not in poor repair." the painting told him. "Look upon my works, ye mighty, and despair."
"Kash'ha gratu nei'ka," the dragon said in Sekhel, reappearing beside the winged figure. You have woken the dragon. It shifted, and became Tsunami.
"The wind has been sown," the much smaller dragon said.
"The whirlwind must be reaped," Guide agreed. Tsunami became the kash'ha again, settling back into the painted frieze.
"Caution is necessary to ensure you do not fall before the reapers." it advised. Kiara advanced on him, the Holy Blade of the Dawn in her hands, and Kiranz found a sword in his own hands.
I don't know how to use this! he thought desperately, and backed away from her into the frieze, seeing Tsunami, Guide, and Kiara melt into the frieze and become scales on the kash'ha.
The massive dragon turned to Kiranz and yawned, it's breath chill and icy.
"Kash'ha gratu nei'ka," it intoned, "Now join it."
Kiranz backed away, but found the golden-winged figure behind him, blocking retreat with it's massive wings.
Which moulted, filling the air with golden feathers, until Kiranz found himself looking up at Kiara where the winged figure had been. The foreign researcher picked him up almost tenderly, and pushed him into the kash'ha's maw, it's teeth a myriad of blades. Kiranz fell down the dragon's thoat, and landed on the floor of his cabin.

OOC: That was fun to write. Remember, it's a dream.
11-09-2003, 18:19
"Well, I don't know about you but I'm going to turn in." Jon said, standing up and yawning. "Nothing like a brisk morning climb to get your blood moving." "Perhaps later for me - I want to take a look at those weapons before I hit the sack." "Suit yourself."

Jon walked off, taking a bag that was softer and less clanky than his others. Wilson walked over and picked up the smallest blade. While he was no expert, the weapons didn't seem to be 'weapons' to him. Too fancy. He was not a swordsman, though he had taken some melee weapon training, but these felt unsuited to his admittedly human hands.
11-09-2003, 19:42
Catching sight of movement out of the corner of her eye, Nit turns to see...nothing at all.

Whatever it was, its probably gone now. I'll ask about wildlife tomorrow morning. For now, its getting a bit chilly even for me.

Shrugging, she heads inside and goes to sleep.
Dread Lady Nathicana
11-09-2003, 22:19
Pacci was having the damndest time focusing. He was glad to be out and about, and among some who he knew, and others he was certain he soon would come to know. The artifacts and translations were fascinating, and he was shocked at the speed which Guide had been able to break the code.

Still ... he was off, and he knew it. His thoughts were scattered, and his focus dulled. He made his notations, drew his usual scrawl of pictures and symbol as he pored over the evidene provided them.

As one by one the other scientists left, he scrubbed his face with his hands, as if to clear away the weariness and thoughts that were plaguing him. Finally, shrugging on his thick jacket, he made his good nights to anyone lese in the room, and made his way out into the chill darkness.

Rather than head straight for his cabin, he wandered off a bit, away from camp, keeping his jacket wrapped tightly around him.
The SLAGLands
12-09-2003, 05:29
Guide manages to slither out the window and take shape on the other side, stumbling to regain his footing as he does so. He shivers a bit at the cold wind blowing through him, his translucent hair standing on end. He sniffs...

Above me. The cliffs? The roof?

Guide backs up about ten feet from the building, getting his bearings carefully.

The roof...

Guide walks around the building in silent contemplation, his paws leaving no footprints behind him.

The height is too great to make the jump in this form; however, the integrity appears too questionable to support my solid form. But I know he is up there...

Guide looks back into the window at the sleeping Dr. Vivaldi.

If I wake him, I will alert the creature on the roof...

Out of options, Guide resolves to do the next best thing. He sits down, gazing intently up at the roof.

If he moves, I will follow... if an ally approaches, I will alert quietly. His only escape is down or up... and I can follow either way.
12-09-2003, 06:00
Curse it all! Why is he just waiting like that? Doesn't the cold bother him? The tall figure swears colorfully to himself. Then again, the cat-creature would likely have come up here if he could. I could either stay put and outwait him... the Goddess knows I've enough time... but then I risk losing the cover of darkness.

Wonderful going, older brother. The shorter figure's thoughts come to him from where she is still perched up on the cliffs. Now what do you propose doing?

The tall figure ignores the short one's commentary, and scoots to the opposite edge of the roof from where he can smell Guide. As silently as possible, he climbs down onto the elevated walkway between two of the prefabricated buildings and creeps to one end of the walkway, shrouded in the near pitch-blackness between the cheap structures. He sniffs the air once, twice, taking in the scents of all the people that had passed down the walkway.

He then stretches, and sprints in silence down the walkway, tensing to spring into the air...

... and runs smack into Pacci, completely killing his forward momentum and sending both of them to the ground with a thud.

"Ex Wettojj Jxamoba- jxak!" He yelps aloud, scrabbling off the archaeologist and bolting the opposite direction, leaping first to the roof and then into the air, having thrown caution to the winds. Leathery wings beating furiously to gain altitude in the chill air, the creature quickly disappears into the darkness of the cliffs. Oh Goddess, what have I done?!

About all Pacci gets a glimpse of in the low light is a creature with 6 limbs and a tail, the moonlight catching brief flashes of silver-copper off its hide before it disappears against the stone of the cliffs.
12-09-2003, 06:01
((EDIT: Damn double post!))
Sneaky Bastards
12-09-2003, 06:25
Sneaky Bastards
12-09-2003, 06:35
Karen heard the commotion outside. She bolted up from her bed again and opened up her backpack, pulling out a flashlight. "Okay, that is definitely NOT the wind." she said to herself as she quickly ran over to window, opening it up. She stuck her head and her arm out with the flash light and shined it around the area.

"Alright! Who the hell is out there!?" She yelled as she looked around from her window. She shined it around the ground then up around the roof above her, trying to find the source of the noise she heard up there.
12-09-2003, 15:24
Zost skids to a halt beside the fallen Pacci, his fine senses yet undulled by years of academia - long missions in arctic climes having inured him to extreme temperature as well. Taking a second to recover his breath he shines the flashlight about, cursing himself for not bringing his old nightvision equipment. Alarmingly enough, in his other hand he grips a hunting knife - sharp enough to shave with.

Seems to be gone - whatever it was. If I'd run faster I might have seen it.....

He sheathes the blade, offering his arm to help Pacci up.

"I heard something. What happened? You alright?"
Dread Lady Nathicana
12-09-2003, 17:16
Pacci goes down in a tumble, shouting and cursing vehemently in his native tongue, scrambling and failing to regain his footing, and grappling his 'attacker' awkwardly.

"Maledicalo del Dio ... che cosa?"

As the creature flies ... yes, flies off, his eyes widen. Immediately, he reaches for his notebook, finding it finally down on the ground where it had fallen free of his pocket. He sits there, rapidly makes a sketch, then another, then yet another, making careful notation of the brief glimpses and impressions left by the encounter.

Oddly enough, it doesn't occur to him to run for help just yet, or that there might be others. He's too wrapped up in the newness and excitement of the moment, muttering under his breath.

"That thing called out to the goddess Shimeki, I swear it ... just like the Reploids do. Connections ... native creature ... lost language ... Il Dio, the name of this place, even ..."

He blinks in suprise as Zost appears, noting with some alarm the knife. As the man sheathes it, and helps Pacci to his feet, the older man nods and shakes his notebook excitedly in front of him.

"This! This right here," he says, tapping the page firmly with his finger for emphasis. "This is what I saw. Came out of nowhere. Don't believe it meant harm - seemed to stumble over me in the dark. Flies. Wings. Six legs!"

His eyes are alight with excitement, his disheveled form nearly quivering at the discovery of a living breathing something new.
12-09-2003, 17:30
So perhaps Gregnig did see something earlier....

Zost peers closely at the notebook in the poor light, lank hair falling in disarray about his head. He remembers his flashlight, which is promptly flicked on. Curiosity in Pacci's observation rules for now, but he remains wary, a hand resting lightly on the knife's handle.

"Hmmm. If we had an empath or a hypnotist here we could get better detail on that. But this configuration is new to me - six legs? Most curious. You say it said something?"
Reploid Productions
12-09-2003, 21:06
Kiara emerges from her room at the commotion, looking very disheveled, sword in hand. "Wha's all the noise?" She inquires sleepily. Tsunami is outside just a moment later, and quickly spots Pacci and Zost.

"Pacci? Are you alright?" The little dragon comes running over, her talons catching briefly on a new dip in the walkway. "What the-?" She looks down and makes a little noise of surprise. "What in all the Hells?!"

Kiara comes after, carrying an electric lantern. "Huh?"

With the added light, it's readily apparent what Tsunami's gawking at- three moderately sized claw marks in the wood, probably made when the creature bolted.

"What in Shimeki-sama's name happened?" Kiara exclaims, looking toward the frazzled Pacci and Zost. "Guys, what's going on?"

A chill blast of wind reminds the group of why it's generally wise to be indoors so late at night.

"It's too cold to be chattering out here. C'mon, let's go inside, get some warm drinks and thaw out, then get the story." Tsunami suggests.
13-09-2003, 01:53
Zost nods, though he isn't as bothered by the weather as some might be.

"I agree. We should all get somewhere warm and discuss it nice and calmly."

He thinks to the elegantly machined blade in his luggage, built with cunning skill to be conceal under the sleeve, only to emerge when needed.

Perhaps I should wear it from now on....
13-09-2003, 04:38
Kiranz swore virulently in Sekhel as voices woke him just as he was returning to sleep. Picking himself up off the cold boards of the floor, he shrugged into his heavy white coat, found his Researcher's goggles, and ventured outside, aware he must look like a dishevelled ghost of some kind.
"What's going on?" he asked blearily, staring at the little group with bleary eyes.
13-09-2003, 05:02
Zost turns to Kiranz, reminding himself that no-one looks their best when they've just been woken up.

"I heard a commotion, so I came running. Found Pacci on the ground - he says he's seen something. Something..... unique. But right now we're going inside to discuss it properly."
13-09-2003, 05:22
Kiranz swore fluently in several languages.
"In the middle of the night? Well, anything to get out of this cold weather, I suppose..." he groaned tiredly, "I need coffee."

OOC: Gah, short.
13-09-2003, 05:36
Zost shrugs neutrally. "Well, it isn't up to me to decide, but I'd rather we discuss this now, when memory is still fresh. Probably half an hour or less, though, and I'd want to continue tomorrow. For all we know we could very well be in mortal danger."
13-09-2003, 05:45
"Mortal danger? Fate be kind, what was this thing that he saw?"
Before Zost could reply, the group as a whole moved into the warmth of the command center, furnace-like after the chill of outside. Kiara, thoughtfully, started the coffee machine.
13-09-2003, 05:59
Striding into the warm interior, Zost removes his pleather gloves, stuffing them casually into a pocket on his sweater. Sauntering over to the coffee machine, he belatedly answers Kiranz's question.

"I didn't see it myself, but according to Pacci it had six legs and wings - and big enough to knock him down. It sounds outrageous, I'll admit, but you may have noticed the large claw-marks in the wood outside. It may even be intelligent - I'm almost certain I heard a voice other than Pacci's when it happened."
13-09-2003, 06:07
"Six legs and wings? Wouldn't that make most of the limbs redundant?"
Kiranz accepted the coffee mug Kiara passed him gratefully, and sipped.
"Most of the limbs should be vestigial," he continued. "Unless it's some kind of genemod creature. I wouldn't be suprised if it was."
Reploid Productions
13-09-2003, 07:16
"Ne, ne, let's hear Pacci's version of what happened before we all go jumping to conclusions." Kiara mumbles over a mug of coffee, still a tad bleary.

"I've been doing base calculations based on the spacings of those claw marks- there was another few sets down the walkway like footsteps in a fashion. Going by those measurements, I think Pacci's description of the creature was a little off." Tsunami clasps a marker in both forepaws and starts scribbling on the whiteboard. "Given the spacing between steps, and the size of the marks, the critter was running on two legs, possibly four. If it flew, it couldn't weigh all that much, and if Pacci is merely rattled and not really injured from colliding with it, it can't be all that large either."
The SLAGLands
13-09-2003, 07:27
Guide still didn't move, even after the creature apparently went off the roof. At long last, as the conversation reaches a head, he stands up, sauntering to the group that has gone inside. With a low hum that seems akin to a sigh, he sits.

"I am afraid I lost the creature's scent," he says. "I did not get a good look at it, nor did I notice the direction it went. I am quite sorry... I feel as if I have failed you all."
13-09-2003, 07:42
Taking a gulp of steaming coffee, Zost looks to Guide, a slight expression of consternation on his face.

"Failed? Absolutely not. None of us are perfect - ergo, all of us will make mistakes."
13-09-2003, 11:50
"You can decipher unknown scripts at a glance," Kiranz told Guide, "And that's enough for me, at least."
He gulped down the coffee, feeling the hot fluid sear down his throat.
"Ah! That's better. Two legs, then; that's more biologically sound. But what was it?" Kiranz yawned, and added, "Perhaps we can solve or shelve that soon? I want to get back to sleep."
Sneaky Bastards
14-09-2003, 05:59
Karen pulled her head back in and shut the window. She put some of her warmer clothing on and headed outside with her flashlight to look around. She wandered around a bit in the area around the housing building until she came across the claw marks. She shined the light on them as she got closer to them.

"What in the hell made these?" She said to herself as examined them closer. "I've never seen any marks like this before..." She thought as she started to head back to her room. "Definitely need pictures of those."

Karen headed back to her room to fetch her camera. She returned to the site of the claw marks, pulling a quarter out of her pocket and setting it down next one of the marks to show how big they were compared to the coin. She pulled her camera out of her sweatshirt pocket, turned the flash on, and started taking pictures of the claw marks.
Reploid Productions
14-09-2003, 07:03
Kiara, hearing the noise outside, peers out of the door. "Karen?" She blinks. "The noise woke you up too? C'mon in- those marks aren't goin' anywhere- we're all in here."
Dread Lady Nathicana
14-09-2003, 10:08
Pacci is still muttering to himself, even as they move towards the building. He pauses, examining the claw marks, and hastily scribbles down notes on that as well, adding yet another set of drawings to his notepad.

"Yes, the creature spoke. And unless I was entirely wrong, was speaking the language on thes artifacts. Called out to the goddess Shimeki, just as our hosts do. I believe whatever it was, is an indigenous species."

He shivers, moving inside, and helping himself to some coffee, taking it black. In between sips, he continues.

"Six limbs, that was ... not neccessarily six legs, as noted. Possibly bipedal, though it was difficult to make out. Yes it did indeed have wings, and moved quick, and strong. Here," he says, showing his notebook to the group. "Take a look for yourselves. It's the best I could manage all things considered."
14-09-2003, 10:31
Kiranz took the proffered notebook and looked at the rough sketch within. Drawing was not a skill that was highly advanced in practical Tsaraine, but even Kiranz's untrained eye could tell that Pacci had some skill.
He turned the notebook around, looking at the figure from different angles.
"Isn't this one of the statues on the Script Monolith?" he asked finally.
Reploid Productions
14-09-2003, 10:39
Tsunami peers at the drawings. "That does look awfully similiar...." The little dragon fetches some photos of the monolith to compare against Pacci's drawings. "Guide, did you see it?"

Kiara leads Karen in to the little late-night session, and eyes the drawings over Kiranz's shoulder. "Damn, that does look a lot like those carvings! Pacci, did it have a weapon that y'saw?"

Tsunami eyes her partner. "Given those claw marks in the walkway, I doubt it would NEED to carry a weapon!"
Dread Lady Nathicana
14-09-2003, 10:44
Studying the offered proof, Pacci's eyes widen slightly, and he smiles.

"This ... this is wonderful. Another lost species? Fascinating. And with a culture that obviously spans hundreds of years, yes? And all this time, hidden. And sentient, to boot! After our jaunt in the Emerald Heights and all ... most interesting. I ah ... no, no weapon that I saw, and it obviously meant me no harm," he says, nodding towards the door and clawmarks outside. "It seemed rather distraught."
14-09-2003, 10:47
Kiranz shifted uncomfortably; Tsarainese might have smaller personal spaces than other cultures, but having Kiara peering over his shoulder like that was disturbing.
"Uh, speaking of weapons," he said nervously, "If this thing is running about attacking people - do we have any weapons?"
Reploid Productions
14-09-2003, 10:55
Kiara scoots over to the cabinent where the other swords are stored. "Well, Tsu's got her teeth, talons, and laser torch, I've got my sword, there's three more swords here that are in perfectly good condition, and I think most of the team members brought guns." She briefly surveys the stored blades, gleaming brightly even in the dim light offered by the overhead lighting. "But I doubt the thing is out to get anybody. Hell, it woulda had plenty of chances to get me or Tsu on our previous trips here. And it had a prime opportunity to attack Pacci here, but apparently spazzed and ran."

Tsunami hrms to herself. "Pacci, did you catch what exactly it said? I mean, the odds of... whatever it is... also being of the same, or similiar faith, as the modern Shimekian church... certainly possible, given that Shimekism has its roots in the ancient Aquamarinian dynasties, but certainly odd."
14-09-2003, 11:05
Use priceless archaeological relics as weapons? Kiranz thought, horrified, Is she *crazy*?
Aloud, he said, "That's all right then. By the way, do you know where the entrance to the catacombs is? I'd like to have a look in there tomorrow."
Kiranz checked his watch. "Later this morning, actually."
14-09-2003, 15:14
Zost nods soberly.

"As far as self-defence goes I am prepared. Though I feel it would be inadvisable to use melee weapons should this creature or any companions it has turns out to be hostile - clearly it is exceedingly agile, fast, strong. And those claw marks.... I don't doubt they will be kind to flesh."

He shrugs. "Still, best to hope it isn't a danger to us - its flight after encountering Pacci is compelling proof of that. If it does turn out to be benign, intelligent and willing to meet us... that would be fascinating. Groundbreaking, even." As he ends his brief speech his eyes are clearly brighter, enticed by the historic opportunity at hand.
Sneaky Bastards
14-09-2003, 19:58
Karen followed Kiara in and made her way over to the coffee. She poured herself a cup, dumped some sugar in with a little cream and walked over to the group. She glanced down at the drawings, picking one up to look it over.

"Is this... is this what made those claw marks outside?" She asked, a suprised look on her face. "It was on the roof above my room. I heard it while I was trying to sleep." she said as she set the drawing down.

Karen pulled up a chair and sat down. "I thought it was the wind at first, then I heard something outside. I guess what I heard was that thing running into one of you guys." She said before taking a sip of her coffee.
Dread Lady Nathicana
14-09-2003, 22:20
"Said? Ah, well ... yes. What it said was ah, well it sort of cursed, you could say. Ex Wettojj Jxamoba, jxak ... Oh Goddess Shimeki ... yes."

He takes a good long sip of his coffee before going on again, shaking his head.

"I truly don't feel we're in danger. As others have pointed out, the creature is more than well equipped to rend flesh from bone, and yet didn't. Its only thought was for escape that I could see, and it seemed horrified that it had run into me at all. Frankly, I don't think it saw me there for some reason."
Reploid Productions
15-09-2003, 06:14
"Well, with the lights out, it is pitch black in between the buildings. Maybe while trying to get away from Guide here, it didn't realize somebody else was out this late...." Kiara pauses. "Was it wearing anything, or have any fur? It's freaking cold out there at night like this."

Tsunami tilts her head to one side in thought. "The guys from Cetaganda have some sort of weird telepathic abilities, right? Maybe they can help track the thing down. I'd guess it knows the catacombs fairly well."

Kiara nods. "We'll definately have to check 'em out. There's an entrance in one of the side buildings of the ruins- at last check though, part of the roof had fallen in further- we'll have to clear some of it to get inside."
The SLAGLands
16-09-2003, 06:20
Guide shakes his head soberly.

"I did not catch a glimpse of the creature," he says. "However, I did pick up its scent. The Brethren of Shade, you see, are gifted with the ability to detect by scent powers akin to our own. In the terms of mortals--not Her terms--this has been deemed 'magic.' For the sake of science, it is justified under the euphemism 'thaumatology.' This creature must have the inate ability to manipulate these forces; otherwise, I would not have such a clear recollection of its scent."
16-09-2003, 15:02
Zost nods respectfully to Guide, then stifles a yawn.

"Well, at any rate tomorrow should prove to be quite interesting.... to say the least. I think we could all use a good night's sleep - we'll be better for it in the morning."
Reploid Productions
16-09-2003, 22:36
Kiara nods and expresses her agreement with a wide yawn. "Oog... yeah. Sleep's good, an' s'not a lot we can do about anything tonight aside from think ourselves in circles." She gets up and tosses her sweatshirt on. "We can work on this more in the morning- the fact Guide can track this thing oughta be a big help if it is hiding out in the catacombs."

((OOC: Shall I assume everyone goes back to bed and fast forward to morning? =p))
Dread Lady Nathicana
17-09-2003, 00:26
Pacci nods thoughtfully, still rather excited about the night's encounter.

"Yes, sleep ... sleep would be for the best, I think so, if you don't mind I'll just ... " he trails off, looking at his notebook again, then nods. "Yes, bed. Sleep. That's what's called for. I ah, bid you all a good night then. Bouna serra ... will see you in the morning."

And with that he heads towards his cabin, muttering to himself excitedly, going back over his notes.

It is some time before he manages to settle down for sleep.
Reploid Productions
17-09-2003, 01:27
((OOC: Okay, so... assuming we're all on the same page here- on to morning!))

The day dawns bright and icy, dew having turned to ice sometime overnight. The entire valley glitters as the sun strikes rainbows from each miniature prism.

The coffee machine had thoughtfully been set to start brewing shortly before everyone was likely to be up, and Kiara's already got breakfast prepared for everyone. Nothing fancy, to be sure, but there is a certain hominess about fresh waffles and eggs and sausage.

Tsunami is busy scribbling on the whiteboard in the command center. When she's done, it appears she's got two lists written:

Team A: Aerie Climb-------|-------Team B: Catacomb Expedition

"It'd likely be best if we divide and conquer- let everybody pick which group they want to work with." Tsunami notes.
Dread Lady Nathicana
17-09-2003, 04:28
Walking in, holding a steaming mug of tea, Pacci smiles at his companions. He looks refreshed, and sips his morning cup contentedly.

"Kiara, I had no idea you were so ... domestic," he says with a grin. "Excellent fare you've prepared for us." And with that, he gratefully helps himself.

He chuckles, looking over the chart. A climb or another underground adventure ... Il Dio, the choices ... Still, he picks up a marker and jots his name down underneath the catacomb side, for some reason, a little lopsided smile spreading across his lips.
17-09-2003, 04:37
"Well, i'll say back in the Outsets we spent plenty of time in caves. I'll go for the climb," Jenson remarked.
"Sorry Kurt," Kevin mentioned, opting for the catacombs. "You've got your six-shooter, you'll be fine."
"Colt Single Action Army," Jenson said back.
"Yeah, yeah. Only six bullets though," he said, touching the Glock 17 in his pocket just to make sure it was still there.
17-09-2003, 05:20
OOC: Couldn't get on last night, my sister comandeered my computer for last-minute Ag assignment panic.

Kiranz entered the command center, looking slightly less bleary than he had last night, and blinked in suprise at the other names on the whiteboard. Taking the pen, he scrawled a blocky "K. Sche'daya" on the "catacombs" side of the board.
He accepted the cup of coffee proffered by Kiara gratefully, and downed it fast, gasping a little as the heat hit his mouth.
"Now I'm awake," he said more cheerfully, "Thank you, Kiara."
loading a plate with waffles, he looked about for the others who'd put their names down to investigate the catacombs.
Sneaky Bastards
17-09-2003, 05:32
Karen walked in stretched, yawning. She slowly made her way over to the coffee, poured herself a cup, loaded it with sugar and a little cream, and walked over to the whiteboard. She looked the board over as she sipped her coffee.

"Huh. Aerie climb and Catacomb expedition. Hmmm... " she said to herself as she thought about which team to join up with.

Karen picked up the marker after making her decision and wrote her name under "Team A: Aerie Climb". She sipped her coffee and headed back to her room in the housing building.
17-09-2003, 05:37
Kurt and Kevin finished listing their names on the board.

Team A: Aerie Climb Team B: Catacomb Expedition
Kevin Pacci
Karen Kurt
K. Sche'daya


The board after signing by five people.
17-09-2003, 06:50
While life on the valley floor was just starting to stir, activity in the cliffs had been going since late the night prior.

"What in Her name were you thinking?! Not only do they know there is more than just old buildings and such here, they know there are other people! Do you think they will just quietly forget about that?" The short figure paces furiously in front of the very subdued taller one, who is sitting at attention, wings tightly furled to his back, tail curled tightly about his legs.

"It's not my fault! How was I supposed to know that cat-creature is skilled in the Arts?" He whimpers back in his defense.

"Well, if you hadn't gone down there 'for a closer look', none of this would have happened!"

The taller figure yawns and eyes the shorter one. "Luceh, what if it's time to stop hiding? We awoke to that sensation of power one moon ago... what if the time has come, like Najoedo predicted? We forget, after the long years of isolation, that we once walked with kings." The taller one stands up, his tone solemn. "Empires rose and fell on our wings. Armies trembled and fell away when they knew they were fighting one of the Wetrcuto Boofohj. We were as gods then. Until Najoedo saw how pointless it was, that the times were not yet ours."

"So we hid ourselves away so that we would not further unbalance the times, so that we could wait until the long war was over at last, and we could offer our swords and strength to the one who would arise." The shorter one finishes the recital.

The taller one nods. "While I was looking around the valley, I got a feel for the youngling. It is close- thought not yet bearing the form, the lifeflame is the match to our own."

A third figure joins the pair, the sunlight gleaming dully on deep green scales. "I am not surprised that you two are the first of us to awake to action." The newcomer notes. "Has the time come?"

"Oduh seems to think so, Vumacetajij." The short figure greets the newcomer with a stiff bow.

"I see." The newcomer nods slowly, also bowing formally to the pair.
Reploid Productions
17-09-2003, 09:34
Kiara grins at Pacci's comment. "Well, I promised most of the comforts of home at this site, didn't I?" She pauses to take a bite of her breakfast. "'Sides, I find it's better to do a little work t'make some real food than rely on nasty instant crap."

Seeing the name listings starting to form, Kiara wanders over and jots her name down for the catacomb group. Tsunami jots hers for the Aerie group.

"After we're all suitably stuffed, I guess it'll be time to kick some archaeological butt!" Kiara grins and sips at her coffee. "Hey, Tsu, should've put a third team option down for the generic stuff- like deciphering the monolith and some of the other ruins."
17-09-2003, 11:07
Wilson shuffled in - clearly a man for whom a morning without coffee was worse than hell itself. "Mmmm. Kaf lem ge ov." he mumbled as he poured his cup. Less than 30 seconds later it was gone, and he was intelligible.

Jon bounced in shortly after, ran over to the whiteboard, and signed up with a flouris before taking a seat next to Wilson. "So - who's ready for a little brisk climb?" Clearly one of those 'morning people' you hear about, but can never find.
17-09-2003, 14:55
Zost saunters in, a little sweatier than he should be, given the physical exertion of sleep. Seeing a few curious glances, he grabs a steaming mug of coffee.

"Exercising. A little morning calisthenics never hurt anyone, hey? Light warmup for a good climb."

As he walks over to the whiteboard to scribble his name on the Aerie list, Gregnig shuffles in - clearly not a morning person, but maintaining a sense of decorum nonetheless.

"M'rning 'vryone. Mmmmm. C'ffee." She sips her coffee as Zost walks back, a spring in his step and breakfast on his mind - waffles are summarily shoveled on to his plate garnished with a healthy serving of eggs and sausages. He eats noisily, mumbling vague compliments.

Gregnig, now coherent, peers at the whiteboard, squinting slightly without the aid of corrective contact lenses - for reasons of her own, she eschews the surgical treatments available to correct the defect. Noting Zost's scrawled name on the Aerie list, she pointedly signs her name under the roster for catacomb exploration.

"Well, good morning everyone.... sleep well? I thought I heard something in my sleep last night."
17-09-2003, 15:00
Team A: Aerie Climb Team B: Catacomb Expedition
Kevin Pacci
Karen Kurt
Tsunami K. Sche'daya
Jon Kiara
Wilson Gregnig


"Board's fillin' up pretty evenly," Kevin muttered in between bites.
"Yeah," Kurt mentioned.
Dread Lady Nathicana
17-09-2003, 15:26
"Excellent. Now, details on the mission, perhaps might be in order. What sort of gear will we need to take - I've plenty brought along back at the cabin - any known dangers we need be aware of?"

Pacci interjects his questions among cheerful chatter, seeming to have at least for now, thrown off the quiet contemplative mood that he'd arrived in. Over breakfast, in between bites, he scans back over his notes, reviewing and comparing with any interested.
Reploid Productions
17-09-2003, 19:10
"Well, I think the climb team's pretty much covered- that's a nasty cliff to try and tackle though- we've got a stash of rock anchors and stuff in the storage shed, but even then, parts of that cliff are either crumbly and prone to give way without notice, or sheer rock." Kiara explains. "As for the catacombs, I've got a partial map that covers what little Tsu and I've explored. We'll need lights- but those of us who studied with the Brethren on the Outsets are probably pretty well covered on that score. Overwise, we'll need flashlights, and hard hats are probably a good idea- the caves seem to be remarkably sturdy, but y'never know. Cameras are probabaly a good idea too."

She nibbles on a waffle and looks thoughtful for a moment. "I wonder if the Brethren like waffles? Guess Guide can answer that one!"
17-09-2003, 23:13
"I've got a built in lighter," Kurt said, looking at his finger as a small flame formed above it. "Anyone gunna carry a camera?" he asked, looking at those who signed up to tackle the catacombs.
18-09-2003, 05:06
"Well, I for one don't feel like mucking about more caves," states Nita. "Put us down for the aerie."

"Don't I get a say?" asks Sean plaintively.

"No. Now, we brought some climbing equipment with us. The most important are some repulsor belts. Basically, they act as personal safety nets in case you fall, keep you from going splat. We couldn't get any actual countergrav equipment, unfortunately. For some reason, Tech & Engineering Directorate's recently began to greatly restrict taking advanced gravtech out of the empire, even into allied territory."
The SLAGLands
18-09-2003, 05:12
Guide looks curiously at the plate of waffles. He saunters toward them and takes a whiff.

"Smells... bizarre," he says. At once, the waffle begins to levitate, floating slowly toward Guide's mouth. He takes a bite, then cringes.

"It tastes like the floor of a cave."

Letting the waffle drop into the dirt, Guide returns to Dr. Vivaldi's side. The human doctor scowls at Guide, muttering something about how Guide should learn a lesson in manners.

"Oh, and Guide and I have decided it'd be best if we split up at this point," Vivaldi says, stuffing a sausage into his mouth. "I'll be joining the climb team, and Guide will be helping out down below. His abilities should come in handy."
18-09-2003, 05:23
Team A: Aerie Climb Team B: Catacomb Expedition
Kevin Pacci
Karen Kurt
Tsunami K. Sche'daya
Jon Kiara
Wilson Gregnig
Zost Guide


"Hmmm, guess all of a sudden we've got a lot of climbers," Kevin mentioned.
Reploid Productions
18-09-2003, 05:41
Kiara grins and reads over the team lists. "Well, that's everybody then!" She wolfs down the rest of her breakfast, the thought of doing something new having kicked her into high gear. "I've already got my stuff packed."

Tsunami bobs her head. "Typical Kiara for you. I'll go unlock the storage shed so we can get those extra rock anchors and gear." The little dragon glides to the door, perching awkwardly on the doorknob. "And Kiara, I want you to take it easy today! Running around getting all sweaty and stuff isn't going to help that rash, or that fever!"

"Pfft!" Kiara razzes her partner. "The rash just itches a little- and as for the fever, I feel FINE, thankyouverymuch!"
18-09-2003, 05:42
"Well, remember Kurt; it's a big "i-told-you-so" if something weird happens down there," Kevin mentioned, getting up and stretching after a nice big breakfast.
18-09-2003, 09:37
I'll go get my stuff, then." Kiranz said, departing; his paper plate contained a few uneaten waffle crusts.
He returned shortly, carrying his notebook, digital camera (you wouldn't find any other kind in Tsaraine), and rubber boots.
"In case the tunnels are flooded," he told Kiara in answer to her inquisitive look, "A few years back we were excavating an old shaft tomb which had flooded. Having wet shoes is not fun."
He sat back down, and pushed the cooling waffle crusts idly around his plate.
"The hard hats have lights on them, no?" he asked after a while, "They ought to, if they're anything similar to miner's helmets. For those of us without bioluminescence."
Reploid Productions
18-09-2003, 09:40
After everyone has sorted out who's bringing what to where, the groups head out- Kiara leading her group to one of the buildings that was probably part of the large central ruin at one time, and Tsunami gliding over to where the climbers are going to attempt the long climb to the aerie some 5,000 feet above the valley floor.

((OOC: And it's the return of the subtitles in bold!))

Rock on!.... top of the catacomb entrance

As the catacomb team enters the ruin, it is readily apparent that several large rocks have fallen in from the cliffs above, crashing part of the roof and blocking the entrance.

"Well, between all of us and a little hard work, I think we can get this thing opened up enough to go inside." Kiara grins sheepishly. To prove her point, she grabs a large steel rod that was leaning on the wall (apparently rockfalls have occured before, since there are a number of lever devices strewn about), and starts to pry one of the small boulders out of the way.

Who's bright idea was this again?

The climb team finds that the cliff face is as described- grey bands of solid stone interspersed with bands of brown-grey stone that crumbles without much provocation.

"Well, this is as good a place as any to start a climb." Tsunami notes, perching on a nearby boulder. "Our elevation on the valley floor here is roughly 6,000 feet above sea level. The peaks range from 9,000 to 13,000 feet above sea level- the Aerie is roughly 5,000 feet above us." The little dragon points to a shadowed ledge about halfway up. "We might want to aim for that ledge- the lighting has made it almost impossible to confirm one way or another, but I think there may be a cave entrance up there."
18-09-2003, 09:52
OOC: Ooh, bold subtitles.

"I'll help," Kiranz said quickly, picking up a crowbar and wedging it underneath the boulder. Not to help would have been completely at odds with Tsarainese culture.
"Ready?" he asked, and Kiara nodded.
"Ok. One, two, three..." they heaved on the poles, shifting the boulder up the passage and out of the way, where it settled in a small hollow and would not budge further.
Kiranz swore at it in Sekhel.
"Come on, give us some help!" he called back to the others, "This thing isn't going to shift itself."
18-09-2003, 14:22

Kevin looked up the face of the cliff.

Maybe he ought to have opted for the catacombs afterall, the aerie climb now looking quite daunting. "When do we get started?" he asked, looking at the climbing gear he'd been outfitted with.


Kurt watched as Kiara and Kiranz attempted to pry away the boulders. "Hmmm," he said, looking around at the other catacomb explorers. "I wonder if Guide could possibly move these..."
The SLAGLands
18-09-2003, 14:34
Usurper of the Bold Subtitles, Thy Doom is at Hand!

Guide takes a long look at the rock and emits a low-frequency hum akin to a sigh.

"I am sorry," he says. "Were I of Il Adib, I could quite easily destroy this rock. And as I am incapable of prying without opposable thumbs, I am afraid I cannot be of much assistance at this point in the journey."

Guide takes his position behind the scientists, preparing to warn them in the event of rockslides, six-armed critter attacks, robot pirate ninjas, or any other impending threat of infinite doom and despair.

You're Still Usurping My Format Device!

Dr. Vivaldi, looking up and down the impressive cliff, makes a point of double-knotting his spiked climbing shoes.

"It's a good thing I used to do this back in my ROTC days," he sighs, removing a long length of rope and a grappling hook from his pack. Vivaldi then scans the cliff for the highest ledge at which he can get a good grip with the hook.
18-09-2003, 14:39

"Hmmm," Kurt said. "Well, I guess we all need to pitch in it getting these boulders out of the way."


Stands there.
18-09-2003, 15:16
Tyloru Zost, the manic maverick!

Zost peers up at the aerie, mentally comparing it to some of his previous climbs, assessing the probable risks and most advantageous techniques. Unfortunately, none of his ascents ever had such a profusion of crumbly rock.

He sighs with grim resolve, tightening his gloves and spiked climbing shoes.

"Well, there's one way to go and that's up.", he says, stepping back to give Dr. Vivaldi a little clearance.

Jalane Gregnig, the..... normal one!

Gregnig nods, bending down to pick up a long metal tool. "Might as well get started."

Seconds later she is quite absorbed by the task of removing boulders, applying herself to the task with much aplomb.
Dread Lady Nathicana
18-09-2003, 15:51
Taking but a moment to retrieve his gear from the cabin, Pacci soon joins the others, a compact pack on his back, and a slightly bemused smile on his face.

Upon encountering the boulder problem, he grabs another bar, prying and pushing in against it with his shoulder to assist the others without a word.

Il Dio ... I'm getting to old for this sh--" He grunts with the effort, digging his boots in and starting to mutter imprecations under his breath in his native tongue.

Then he stops, and laughs. Hard.

Stepping back, he concentrates, using the skills he's been casually honing over the past months, and starts working the stones, intending on manipulating those that can be moved out of the way, and reshaping others to provide more stable support whilst clearing the passage.

[ooc: your call on how or whether this works. *grin*]
18-09-2003, 20:54
Yet Another Bold Subtitle

Nita looks at the cliff and whistles. "Wow. Well, I brought our safety equipment. We've got just enough that everyone without wings. Funny how that worked out."

She opens a bag and pulls a circular device roughly the sixe of his hand, which he clips to his belt before handing the bag to the next person. "Its set to slow you about six feet from the ground, then you hit this button to let you down the rest of the way. Please, please be cautious, though. They're not perfect. If you hit an outcropping on the way down, you'll still break all sort of body parts. Also-"

"And now that Miss Worry-wort has had her say," Sean interjects, "I have a suggestion. If we send the two or three most experienced climbers up first, they might be able to drop lines down for everyone else."

(OOC: Please note, I have no experience rockclimbing at all. If what I suggested makes no sense, just pretend I didn't say it.)
18-09-2003, 22:43
Double post
18-09-2003, 22:43
Triple post
18-09-2003, 22:44
Quad post
18-09-2003, 22:44

Kurt watched as Pacci used his skills earned from the Il Adib. "Well, if they did one good thing, it's teach you some pretty useful skills," Kurt said, looking at his seemingly-poor flame making skills.


"I'm no climber myself, but i'd think that would work in theory," Kevin said to Sean's suggestion.
18-09-2003, 22:55
18-09-2003, 22:58
"I would agree. I'm only an amateur, so I'm out. Wilson here could likely free climb it though. He's a regular monkey-mountain goat cross." Jon said as he looked up, and up, and up.

"I've done my share of climbing, yes. Though this is certainly a much tougher climb than I've ever even seen done in a free climb - at least by a human." Wilson was checking the rock, seeing how much of his weight it could support and if pitons would hold or just pull free. "We might be able to use snow pitons. This stuff is so crumbly they might be able to punch in."
18-09-2003, 23:01
OOC: Good we got someone who knows something about climbin', cause I sure don't.
Reploid Productions
19-09-2003, 04:18
Mimicry is the sincerest form of flattery, Slag!

Kiara stops and gawks at Pacci's display of hocus-pocus prowess as some of the boulders shift position.

"Damn, wish I'd thought of that!" She grins, shoving one of the remaining boulders clear. Then she looks down. "What in Her name-!?"

Among the boulders appears to be a skeleton, the humanoid frame barely held together by rusted metal armor of some variety. At a glance, one could almost mistake it for a human skeleton, except for the horns jutting from the skull, the presence of small fangs, the fact that the feet each only have three toes tipped in pointy claws, and the bones jutting off the back of the shoulders- broken remnants of wings.

"I... guess that critter y'ran into last night ain't the only one, Pacci." She notes, eyeing the now-opened tunnel entrance.

Up, Up, and Away!

"I can't fly clear up there, but if somebody can give me a short lift, I can carry lines up ahead and anchor them." Tsunami offers. "Unfortunately, my particular model type wasn't intended for high altitude flying. If that ledge is a cave entrance, I imagine that it connects to the Aerie somehow."
19-09-2003, 05:03

"Strange," Kurt remarked looking at the skeleton, starting into the cave, then stopping. "So uh, guess we'll get this little cave jaunt started, eh?"
Sneaky Bastards
19-09-2003, 06:23
I'm afraid of heights. Why am I doing this again?

Karen stood at the base of the cliff that the group would be climbing and stared upwards, letting out a quiet whimper as she looked up.

"Yeah. Sign up for the climb team. Real good Karen, real good. YOU'RE AFRAID OF HEIGHTS YOU FREAKIN DOLT!" she thought to herself.

She made her way to a small boulder and parked herself on it, looking kinda worried as she waited for the climb to begin.

"As much as I hate heights, its better than having to walk around catacombs. All the creepy things that could be down there..." thought Karen, shuddering.
19-09-2003, 09:04
"Not yet!" Kiranz snapped, bending to photograph the skeleton. "We should probably get this out of the cave eventually," he said, "It's a valuable anatomical model of ... whatever these things are. But it can wait till we come back, I think."
Kiranz stood up, brushing dust off his coat. "Onwards, then?"
Reploid Productions
19-09-2003, 09:55
Kiara nods in response to Kurt and Kiranz. "No time like the present!" She casts one more glance at the battered skeleton before ducking into the cavern entrance, pausing to focus briefly and light herself up a la Guide. "Kinda weird... this was the building I found my sword in, now that I think about it."

She casts a bemused glance in the Brethrenite's direction. "I never did thank you guys for showin' me an' the others these nifty tricks. Very handy not having to haul lighting equipment around!"
19-09-2003, 10:06
Grumbling something rude in Sekhel about "superstition" and "cheating", Kiranz adjusted his own heavy lighting, shining it down the dark passage.
"You found your sword in here?" Kiranz asked, "Might there be more of the things about?"
Reploid Productions
19-09-2003, 10:17
Kiara shrugs. "Found the sword stickin' up in the dirt, like somebody had stuck it there and left it. " She gestures back at the skeleton. "He's new- I wonder if he'd died up in the hills and the rockslide brought him down. At least now we've got a good idea the size of the claws on whatever the hell it was that Pacci ran into last night."

In the light given off by herself, Guide, and everyone's equipment, various ornate carvings are seen adorning the walls. Nothing quite as complex as the Script Monolith, but still astounding in their detail. The winged figures are prominent in the carvings, which mostly depict fighting and slaughter.

"There's actually a few myths and legends about those critters." Kiara points at one of the carvings. "Your typical mythology fare though."
19-09-2003, 10:25
"Oh?" Kiranz looked at the carvings - simple paintings with few colours, resembling Classical Maya friezes. There was something familiar about them, but he couldn't place it. Probably just the style.
"What exactly would that be, then?" he asked, "Mythology tends to be complex."
Leaning closer, he saw the remnants of blue pigment - the light blue colour and grainy texture reminiscent of a lapis lazuli-based paint - around the eyes of a winged figure.
"I think these were painted!" he called to the others.
Reploid Productions
19-09-2003, 10:38
Kiara leans over to light the wall better. "On previous short trips down here, Tsu and I noticed that... some of 'em are painted, some of 'em are carved into the rock..."

She straightens and scratches one shoulder while she thinks. "As for the mythology, the story is first depicted in ruins near Arpia that date back to the first Pegasii dynasty. Basically that the goddess Jxamoba ordered a poor swordsmith to create 12 swords so grand that they would never have an equal. According to the story, it took him twelve years to make them, after which he died, and Jxamoba blessed the weapons with power from her icons- the golden axe, representing chaos, and the silver chains, representing order."

While continueing down the tunnel, she continues the story. "According to ancient mythology, the goddess created 12 warriors to serve her- they're generally depicted as those-" She points at the carvings of the humanoid figures. "-or occasionally as a full-blown dragon. Most of the carvings and glyphs about them go on to depict them destroying armies and empires, and creating new ones. Legend claims that they helped create many of the ancient dynasties- the first Pegasii, the first Drakonic, the first Nekoite, and so on."

She points to an ornate painting on the tunnel wall that shows one of the winged figures lying on the ground, presumably dead, given the hazy image of the same creature hovering above the fallen body. "That'd be a depiction that lives on as a children's fable. There are conflicting images that would imply these critters are immortal, and therefore demigods, and others like this one that imply they can be killed. The fable says that one of the Goddess's soldiers was told by Her to take good care of his things- in this case, a sword- or he would suffer the consequences. He then loses the sword, and dies at the hands of a robber."
19-09-2003, 10:45
"Ah, variations on that tale are nearly universal. In Tsaraine they tell of Corrupt Lord tsaJaerh, who was so greedy for prestige he made his weapons out of gold and was killed by a peasant with a club. Apparently that's a true story, though."
Kiranz walked a little further, thinking. "Wait a minute. If in this story there were twelve swords - might yours, and the others you found, be some kind of ceremonial replications of the myth? Ritual reenactments or the like?"
Reploid Productions
19-09-2003, 10:53
Kiara unstraps her weapon from her back and glances at it gleaming in the light. "It's possible.. but I dunno if mere replicas would register like they do on the thaumatameter. I mean, when I first picked this thing up, it almost felt like it was... I dunno. Alive isn't the right word for it, but that's about the closest I can come to describing it. I've tried damn near everything I can think of to figure out its thaumatological properties- practicing with it at various 'special' times of day, one special days of the year. Hell, I even bloodied it once when I slipped and knicked myself!" She rolls her sleeve up slightly to reveal a thin scar on her left arm. "Usually stuff with high ratings on the meter react to stuff that carries personal essence, be it blood or some sort of excretion, or other forms of thaumatological energy. More recently I've tried using it coupled with the stuff I learned from the Brethren on the Outsets. Still no reaction, 'cept the rash Tsunami so kindly pointed out flared up."

She holds the sword out to Kiranz. "Some people say it sorta tingles when they touch it, some say they can't feel a thing."
19-09-2003, 11:05
Kiranz took the sword gingerly, nearly dropping it as he got a grip on the hilt. "Sorry!" he said, "It's heavier than I expected."
He held it for a minute, waiting for something to happen, but there was no change.
"No, no tingling here I'm afraid," he said, moving to hand it back.
This time he did drop it, the sword slipping from stinging hands; where he'd been holding the sword the skin was stripped from his hands, blood trickling down his fingers.
Kiranz stared in shock at his hands, swearing copiously in Sekhel. "Is that normal? Has anyone got a bandage or something?"
Reploid Productions
19-09-2003, 11:11
Kiara winces as the sword bangs on the ground, swearing colorfully in Japanese. "Just a sec... got some stuff in my pack..." She quickly thumps her backpack on the cave floor and digs through it, eventually retreiving a roll of gauze and a small can of spray-disinfectant. "That isn't exactly normal- the grip part'll rub yer palms raw if y'don't have much callouses, but this is... weird."

She deftly applies the disinfectant and the gauze, her agile hands working swiftly enough that by the time the sting of the spray has properly registered, the temporary bandage is already in place.

"Now, what just happened? Did it slip?" She swings her backpack back over one shoulder, and gingerly lifts the sword, eyeing the weapon warily.
19-09-2003, 11:19
"I'm ... not sure," Kiranz replied, looking at his hands, "I went to give the thing back and I realised my hands were covered in blood. I think I'll pass on touching it again, if that's all right."
Reploid Productions
19-09-2003, 11:24
Kiara nods. "Normally I'd crack a joke right about now that it just doesn't like you, but I think I'll pass." She slings the weapon back into its carrying strap across her back. "It's zapped a few people- kinda like static, but that is definately a first." She fiddles with the strap for a second. "Y'okay, Kiranz, or do you wanna head back out? Those injuries are bound to sting like a bitch for the rest of the day. They don't look serious though, at least. Tsunami wasn't kidding when she said that it'd take awhile for somebody to come pick anybody up."
19-09-2003, 11:30
Kiranz swallowed, and shook his head.
"I'll be fine," he said, "I'm not about to give up now." And my teachers always said that curiosity would be the death of me.
"Onwards," he continued, "Onwards and inwards and downwards to boot. No reason to stop just because of a little blood, after all."

(OOC: This is a fairly typical Tsarainese response. They don't like admitting weakness, and they're often stubborn as mules.)
Reploid Productions
19-09-2003, 11:38
Kiara grins. "If you say so! Though I suspect the tunnels lead more upwards than downwards!"

The group finds a branch in the tunnel a short while later. The left fork is clear, but a slab of stone blocks the right one, and given that the carvings on the tunnel wall appear cut off by it, it's likely the tunnel continues on the other side of the stone barrier.

"And this is one of those weird blockades I mentioned earlier." Kiara notes, leaning on it.
19-09-2003, 11:42
"So, do we try to shift this, or go the other way?" Kiranz wondered, shoving on the slab with a shoulder; he wasn't about to risk his hands again.
"On the one hand, getting through this slab may be difficult. On the other hand, if the builders took the time to seal it off, there may be something interesting on the other side."
Dread Lady Nathicana
19-09-2003, 12:00
Pacci was torn, looking at the inhuman remains. To leave it here, out in the elements, for however brief a time pained him on a professional level, yet time was limited and the group seemed to want to move on.

He hastily recorded his notes and observations, still sticking with his time-honored tradition of writing them down, and making sketches in his notebook. He kept an ear out to the rest of the conversation, cocking a brow on occasion at the revelations and goings on.

When the sword is dropped, he jumps, swearing loudly in his native tongue.

"For the love of God, I beg you!" he says, rising from the crouched position he'd been in whilst making a detailed sketch of the skull.

"Kiara, you realize you're speaking of the same goddess that you worship, yes? Shimeki, Jxamoba ... remember the translations. I'm still working on the rest of that bit, but I hope to have it all soon. Any other bits we run into here I think bear careful consideration. As for that sword of yours ... do you really think it's wise to be using it? All evidence points to rather, well, odd goings on here." He looks pointedly to Kiranz for a moment before going on. "If you do not understand the thing, I would suggest it in your best interests to put it aside for now. Not to mention, you should be taking better care of yourself. A simple thing such as a rash while out in the middle of nowhere can quickly become nothing to laugh at."

That being said, he rises, walks over to take his turn examining the carvings, again, taking careful notes.

At the barrier, he narrows his eyes, places his hands on the cool surface, and quietly concentrates on molding the stone, hoping to create a large enough break for them to pass through, should it not be too thick.
Reploid Productions
19-09-2003, 12:22
Kiara shrugs. "I've had it for six years now, with no problem. Daresay I've kinda gotten attached to it." She moves away from the stone to let Pacci work his mad rockshaping skillz on it.

The stone creaks loudly in protest to Pacci's manipulation. Oddly enough, the barrier seems to react to the application of 'magic' to it, and parts neatly down the middle, with much less effort than the archaeologist had had to apply to the boulders outside.

"Nice going!" Kiara cheers, her voice echoing farther down the tunnel.

The tunnel continues on the other side of the barrier much the same as it was on the unblocked side. It appears to widen a short distance off, opening into a large room. The room puts the Monolith's artistry to utter shame, the walls, ceiling, and even the floor lavishly decorated with complex carvings inlaid with precious metals- gold, silver, even platinum- and gems. Instead of blood from fallen soldiers being illustrated with red paint, it's glittering sprays of ruby. Rivers run with sapphire, and fields flicker of emerald. Here, the winged figures from the other carvings are portrayed at full-size, the tallest of them just a little shorter than Guide. The swords carried in the images are inlaid with platinum, and gleam vibrantly in the lights of the dig team. At the far end of the room a large female figure is portrayed in robes inlaid with gems of all colors. In one hand the figure holds a large golden axe. In the other, a length of silver chain.

"Good Goddess Shimeki-!" Kiara gasps, her eyes wide at the sight. She runs forward a few steps to get a better look at the display before she stumbles on something on the ground and sprawls on the golden floor with a yelp. "Itai-!"

Upon closer examination, it appears that the thaumatologist tripped over a small stone table, sending several goblets and plates made of platinum clattering to the ground.

"This is... this is amazing." Kiara manages to stammer out, gawking at... well... everything.
19-09-2003, 12:41
"This is corrupt." Kiranz echoed, with only slightly less awe. "Swords of gold, what did I tell you? I'm sure that axe would be useless against a peasant with a club."
His attempt at a joke fell flat, as everyone else was busy staring at the room.
Taking out his own camera, Kiranz swept his torch around the walls, taking detailed pictures of the extravagant images there.
The stone table looked out of place among the splendour of the room; Kiranz bent to examine it, wondering if it was from the same time period as the room itself, or a later addition.
Reploid Productions
19-09-2003, 21:13
The table is made of simple grey stone- most definately out of place compared to the rest of the room. It looks worn and well-used- scratches and stains dominate its flat surface. On closer examination, the place settings that had been upset are likewise simple, aside from the materials they're made with.

"Corrupt or not.... hell, this room and everything in it is probably worth at least half the Shogunate's entire GDP! And that estimate is probably low." Kiara looks at one of the two goblets she knocked over. Upending it to check the bottom, a few drops of water slide to the rim of the cup and fall to the floor. ".... And these were used not too long ago, if there's still moisture in them...." She trails off at the implications of this.
Reploid Productions
19-09-2003, 21:57
((OOC: *BUMP!* C'mon, people on the climb! Do I need to nag at you guys or have an act of RP GM kick your half of the story into gear??))

Going up!

With Tsunami's help, the first rock anchors are secured in place partway up the cliff, and lines run to them. For a mechanized critter meant for flying, the little dragon is reasonably adept at clambering up miniscule foot and handholds in the rock. The only downside is that she can only carry one or two rock anchors with her.

"Well, even if we don't get to the ledge or the Aerie in one day, we can get the path up in place!" She notes on a return trip to get more anchors.
19-09-2003, 22:39
OOC: I will be away for the next day, out in the countryside where civilisation is a distant rumor and internet is unknown. So, no posts from me tonight. However, here's a thingy.

"Those creatures, whatever they are," Kiranz said, "Must have some other way into the catacombs. If they've got functioning wings, as that skeleton would suggest, then they can probably go in through the aerie."
19-09-2003, 22:52

"Amazing," Kurt said in wonderment of the riches all around him. "Boy, Kevin'll be jealous when I tell him of all of this," he thought to himself, looking at the ornate gold pieces and precious stones strewn about.
Dread Lady Nathicana
20-09-2003, 10:23
Speechless, Pacci lets his eyes wander over the richness of the room, taking it all in with slow, steady breaths, his hands fumbling immediately for his notebook. At the crash from Kiara, he jumps, letting out a brief curse, scowling slightly.

"Honestly, Kiara. Everyone, do watch your step."

His eyes flicker hungrily from one wonder to the next - not for the reason one might think. The jewels, the riches, all wonderful ... but what truly draws him is the utter novelty of it all - the thrill of discovery. He debates back and forth for a moment, then settles on studying the full-sized figures first. He carefully catalogues them in his notebook, paying close attention, as always, to details. The final figure, the one with the axe and chain, he pays careful attention to, comparing the differences between it and the others, pondering.

He does however chuckle silently at Kiranz' attempt at humor, moving on to the wall carvings, looking for script to translate, whilst pondering the lines already recorded in his notebook.

We rest our swords in vigilant sleep
Our purpose not eet come
Come one latter dae, we shall rise
And lift our swords again

After the ancient war at long last ends
And the false queen's throne thrown down
Our essence merges with that of steel
The child of the heavens born

The great war rages through heaven and earth
The chaos angel rises
Who has died once in both bode and in soul
Onle to rise on golden wings

In sorrow and triumph, the angel will rise
And burn the old order to the ground
Upon those ashes, paradise will appear
And the guardians will awake

Keepers of twelve sacred blades
We sleep until the angel's coming
At that time we shall arise
Bound be blood and blade

At Kiara's revelation, he turns sharply. "What? Still ..." He walks over to examine them with her.

"So much for my initial thought of this being intended as a burial chamber of sorts ... had thought, perhaps, as the Egyptians and others did that maybe ... bah. And we truly need to date those remains outside." His mind skips around on different points, his heart racing a bit, understandably so given the circumstances.
20-09-2003, 12:07
[ooc: Problem is I think most of us are climbing illiterate, myself included.]

The Aerie

Zost peers up at the aerie, squinting slightly as his eyes follow the flight of the small mechanoid dragon.

Certainly beats having to climb a virgin face...

Again he checks his crampons, and looks curiously at the repulsor device supposed to keep them from a fatal fall.

The Catacombs

Such richness.... such decadence.

Gregnig begins recording images as well, as soon as the initial shock and awe of the room had passed, the hyperrational being within her telling her that she should not be in awe of shiny minerals and sparkly metals. Of the quality of artistry, perhaps, but not the sheer profusion of rare matter.

"Certainly a great deal of valuable substances here - this place will require heavy security in the days and years to come - to risk having this archaeological treasure damaged by looters is... unacceptable."
20-09-2003, 20:15
Up up and away!

"Well, here goes nothing," says Sean. Pulling out his <insert nifty climbing equipment that I don't know the names of>, he begins to climb up the cliff face, cautiously testing that the anchors he places are secure as he goes.
Reploid Productions
20-09-2003, 22:04
((OOC: Hrm.. yeah, and climbing a cliff face is long, tedious, boring, and not prone to encouraging idle conversation. I'll just press the magic fast-forward button then ^_~))

Oooh! Shiny!

"Yeah... that thing that ran into Pacci here last night apparently flew off without much trouble... and if the Aerie is blocked off by a stone slab like the one that blocked this room..." She trails off in thought for a moment.

She nods absently to Gregnig's comment. "Granted, like I said before- the difficulty in just getting here is what's kept it guarded for so long. But this... this has got to be the find of the century... or something. I can hardly imagine how long it had to have taken to find so much mineral wealth, bring it here, and inlay it all into the stone... Amazing!"

She pauses in front of one of the full-size portraits, studying the figure. Half human, half dragon like the others, with red-orange scales represented by small rubies and pieces of amber, covering the legs and torso, wearing silver-colored light armor. She lets out a gasp upon examining the sword held in the figure's hand.

"Guys, look at this!" She unslings her sword and holds it up for comparison. A perfect match, right down to every last rune on the blade. Upon further examination of the room, the others might notice that some of the other figures are depicted carrying the other swords that are stored back at the command center.

I'm so high!

While those bums underground are oogling all the pretty shinies, the climb team is steadily making progress- the ledge no longer an impossible goal, but simply a lofty challenge. With Tsunami climbing ahead of the others and jabbing a few rough anchors into the rock, and then the more experianced climbers in the group using those lines to secure more anchors into place, progress is going much faster than anticipated.

By about midday, Tsunami's reached the ledge, and the others are maybe and hour or so behind her.

"There is a cave entrance up here!" The little dragon calls down. "And there's carvings!"
Sneaky Bastards
20-09-2003, 22:53
Tsunami cheated! She used her wings!!! :(

Karen slowly climbed her way up, following behind the experienced climbers. She spent most of the climb looking straight up, not wanting to look down at the ground below her. She grabbed onto another rock and pulled herself up a little further.

"Don't look down. Don't look down. Don't look down. Just keep looking up and climb slowly." she thought to herself.

Karen reached up to grab the next rock. As she grabbed it, the rock underneath her left foot sliped out and fell, nearly hitting anyone below her.

"Eeeeeeeeep!" she screamed. Karen scrambled to get her foot onto a more stable piece of rock.
Dread Lady Nathicana
20-09-2003, 23:38
Pacci examines the figure, then the sword, then gives Kiara a very level look.

"I think, my dear, that all things considered, you need to have that rash looked at," he says in a quiet voice.

"Look here now. You mentioned not too long ago that you cut yourself on the blade? How long ago was that? Was it recently? As much as I hate to admit it, understanding of course, an almost inborn suspicion and dismissal of such things, that we are dealing with a mystical element here. Thaumaturgy, in and of itself, deals with blood. These swords are supposedly mystic in nature. You've noted a ... bond of sorts with the thing, yes?'

He takes on his lecturing tone, hands tucked behind his back as is his nature, pacing slowly.

"Now bear with me. Fact - there are twelve swords. Fact - you appear to hold in your hands one of them. Fact - these things do indeed exist - I'll swear to that my dying day, after the encounter last night. Fact - we have what seems to be the remains of one just outside this cave, which might I add, we really need to take care of and properly preserve as soon as possible ... at any rate."

Needing a replacement for their lost brother? Dare I even say that aloud? It sounds ridiculous, but ... no moreso than many myths in various cultures. And myth, as we know, often has a basis in fact. Blood magic ... ritual sword ... and she bathed the damn thing with her own. This can't be good. We all changed on that last trip, every one of us who was there. How much moreso might that be when the methods used to invoke that change are more direct, less passive? Il Dio, what have I gotten myself into again?

He takes a breath, clearing his head. "This is where we get into grey areas and conjecture. The writings - they speak of guradians and sleep, and swords ... vigilant sleep, one I believe means more of a quiet watchfullness - such as would be suggested with the empty yet recently used cup for example. I've no idea what this great war raging suggests, nor what this chaos angel could possibly be. Then again ... we did just go through rather a nasty conflict, one that's raged over time, and indeed take place through the heavens and over the earth, but ... sorry, sorry ... rambling again."

He pauses, taking a sip from his canteen, nodding thoughtfully to himself again before going on. "The writings speak of being bound by blood and blade, and hint that the guardians are waiting for this sign to awaken again. Dying both in body and spirt, now ... I'm not sure I like the sound of that, but all the same. Kiara, I truly think you need to put that thing away, and lessen your chances of getting bound up in all this any more than you already are. These ancient mystic interpretations are by their natures, vague. True, I've never been one to believe in curses and the like, but all evidence of late seems to point to the fact that such powers do indeed exist. I'm now living proof of it." He gestures to the stone barrier with a wry grin.

"Please, when we get back to base, at the very least, let us take a look at you. And for heavens sake, put up that damnable sword."
21-09-2003, 01:16
Six figures sat at attention in a cave deep within the catacombs. The one that ran into Pacci the previous night leads the discussion, their voices low and urgent.

"We are all awake now... the time must be at hand!" The tall figure paces, the flickering white light from several small balls of light striking flashes of copper from his hide.

"But that is not the truth, Oduh. The Elder sleeps still, and Cavowaloh has not awoken. Thankfully, neither has Xefo." The one previously identified as Vumacetajij notes. "There have been many occasions where a number of us have awoken briefly- yourself and Luceh tend to sleep lightly among us."

"I would recommend we remain hidden. If the time has come, we will be sought out, and Najoedo will awake. He is the oldest- it is not surprising that his sleep is the deepest. It has been many long years since the Luco ev Hojk has seen this much activity." One of the new figures notes from where he stands in the corner away from the others, the light striking a dull gleam from lead grey scales.

"But we are being sought out! Even as we sit here, the outsiders are trying to scale the heights, and others are penetrating the blockades we have hidden behind for so long!" The shorter one, identified previously as Luceh, exclaims. She concentrates for a moment, lost in thought. "In Her name, they're in the room where Oduh and I ate this morning! One of the outsiders is somewhat skilled in the Arts- he was able to open the stone wall!

"They are just a bunch of outsiders with little knowledge of the Arts. Surely we can repel them and remove them from our home. A figure with black scales grumps, earning him glares from the other five.

"The times of such slaughter are past us, Umuouha. I know you disagree with the Elder on many things, but surely even you can see that much!" Oduh retorts. "The Elder never meant for this place to be a home- merely a hiding place where we could safely keep away from the ancient tribes while they sorted themselves out."

"Then what of the Sxuej Udwoc? What of the child of the heavens? We have seen that the outsiders possess skyships, but none of those bear even a trace of the Arts!" Umuouha snorts.

"The Elder said it would all become clear in time. Perhaps we just need to look." Oduh sighs. "In any event, the youngling is so near to the change that I would not be half surprised if she already possesses the speech of souls. If so, then we would have a means of communicating with the outsiders, as none of us know the languages they use."
21-09-2003, 04:13
Nice weather up here

Zost digs the spikes of his crampons firmly into the grey rock, peering down in the direction of Karen's cry.

"You all right down there?

As he waits for a reply he pauses for a moment to savor the view, hundreds of feet high in clear, almost crystalline air. He inhales deeply, finding the freshness of the air deeply invigorating.

An entrance and carvings up there.... well, that'll have to wait.

Ooh, sparkly

Gregnig passes the time scanning the runic carvings into a small, handheld device, presumably something for the storage of text based information or translation. The conversation revolving around myths and legends does not particularly interest her, though Zost would probably be going on a wild tangent by the second sentence...

I wish we had a working translator programme. Well, with the data acquired here we'll have one eventually...
Sneaky Bastards
21-09-2003, 04:26
I can see my house from here!

"I'm fine! I'm okay! Everything is alright down here! How's everything up there?" Karen replied. She clearly didn't sound alright. She sounded more panicky than fine.

Karen continued making her climb, a bit more carefully now, choosing only the rocks that the climbers above her used to climb.
21-09-2003, 04:56
"Alright then. Well, no problems so far up here, just a bit tricky navigating around the dangerous rocks..."

He continues up the sheer rock face, steel crampons rythmically digging into the grey rock of the Aerie.
21-09-2003, 05:19
Wilson climbed steadily, finding handholds and footholds while moving back and forth across the cliff face. His muscles were burning, but it felt good. He hadn't worked out like this for days. He stopped for a moment. "Getting near the cave - just think of the rest ahead."

Jon called up the cliff - his climb had been a little more... intense. "A spot of light in the dark tunnel that is my vision, I assure you." He has slipped a couple times, and was panting heavily.
21-09-2003, 07:13
Kiranz looked at his bandaged hands in fright.
"This, ah, needn't have any "magical" explanations at all," he pointed out. "It could be some kind of blood-bourne disease."
Sweet Fate, let it be a disease. Tsaraine knows how to handle diseases. We can't handle an ancient curse.
"Granted, by now I'm willing to accept it could be anything," Kiranz continued, "We really need a xenophysicist here. And a xenobiologist. And a xenoanthropologist. But we don't have any of those, so we'll have to deal with this thing ourselves, whatever it is. Which raises the question, if this thing is some kind of supernatural curse, what are we going to do about it? Can we do anything about it?"
21-09-2003, 07:17

Kevin was surprised he had completed the climb. Or at least, that portion of their cliff-scaling jaunt. He was sort of surprised to see a cave entrance way up here on the cliff. Though heights didn't bother Kevin that much.
Reploid Productions
21-09-2003, 07:23
"I doubt it is any sort of curse." Kiara crosses her arms, somewhat irrate by Pacci's further insistance on putting up her sword. "Nothing we've found would imply any sort of hostile behavior, and nothing we've found or translated implies a curse- the place isn't a tomb, that much is for certain- otherwise the dead guy at the entrance would be in here, not up in the hills to be brought to the valley floor by a landslide."

She checks her watch and is mildly surprised to find that it's already well after noon. "Well, do we want to press on or keep examining this room?"
21-09-2003, 07:36
"It depends," Kiranz said, "On how much we can find out here in a cursory investigation. With an in-depth examination we could find out a lot, sure, but this isn't an in-depth examination. That would be a job for about five times our numbers, and armed guards. I'd say we should press on, unless someone finds something of extraordainary interest ... archaeologically, not economically. This room, while it does show that the builders had tremendous resources to work with, isn't particularly illuminating to a cursory inspection."
Kiranz paused.
"That is, if it's safe to push on ... the inhabitants, whatever they are, may become upset at our intrusions, and there are at least eleven of them, if the myth is correct, all armed with rather nasty teeth and claws."
21-09-2003, 07:45
"Well, if we do meet some creature that wants to eat us, and doesn't know what a six-shooter is, I don't mind teaching it," Kevin mentioned.
Reploid Productions
21-09-2003, 07:56
Chicken! Bu-kaw!

"If they were gonna get annoyed, I think they'd've shown themselves by now." Kiara notes, glancing around. "Looks like this room dead-ends, so that leaves the other fork in the tunnel. With Pacci's mad skillz, the stone blockades that have always stopped Tsu and I shouldn't be a problem. Though I imagine fully mapping the catacombs is gonna take multiple days, unless the other team turns something up."

Going up!... still!

As the climb team reaches the ledge, it becomes more and more apparent that the semi-hidden cavern must serve as an aerial entrance to the caves. A series of stairs wind upwards a short ways inside, and simple carvings line the walls, and the presence of footprints would imply that something had been that way in the past several days.

"Well, looks like we're all going cave-diving today." Tsunami notes, doing a percursory examination of the cave entrance. "You guys up for it, or would you rather break for lunch?"
21-09-2003, 08:03
Chicken! Bu-kaw!

"At least those Il Adib taught Pacci some useful skills," Kurt mentioned.

Going up!... still!

"Well i'm ready to continue on, but i'm not sure about everyone else," Kevin said.
21-09-2003, 08:05
"Let's go on, then." Kiranz sighed. "I won't say I'm not somewhat worried, though."
21-09-2003, 08:05
High, high in the sky.

Zost appears next, hauling himself easily over the lip of the ledge. He pauses momentarily to wipe the sweat from his exposed skin. That done, he walks towards the cavern, peering curiously at the inside of it.

"Fascinating. Is everyone up yet?"

Not so high
Gregning muses on the walls of the chamber.

Aloud, she says, "I agree with Kiranz. For now, I say we press on - this chamber will still be here tomorrow. Some artifacts exposed to oxygen for the first time in centuries may not be so durable..."
Sneaky Bastards
21-09-2003, 08:05
I'm up! I'm up!

The first thing Karen did once she made it to the top was to get as far away from the edge as possible. She took a couple deep breaths and calmed herself down, turning her head towards Tsunami.

"I heard something about lunch. I think we should rest and eat before we do anything more. That climb was hell... well, for me anyways. Heh..." She said as she sat down.
21-09-2003, 08:07
"Well, if the others want to take a break, then i'm fine with that," Kevin said, soon sitting down a couple of feet from the ledge's edge.
Dread Lady Nathicana
21-09-2003, 08:22
"Oh come now, if they intended to do us harm they would have by now. Honestly, you people and your bloody damned guns. You recall just how well that attitude served us on the last dig, yes? Bloody near got us killed." Pacci grumbles, clearly not amused, though he grudgingly has to admit, given the evidence, that those claws would be rather nasty should they choose to use them so.

"All the same, a bit of lunch is, I believe, in order. Can't think clearly on an empty stomach, and this relatively secure place, or just outside if you like, seem as good a spot as any. Will give me a chance to look over things further at any rate ... " His eyes are already wandering again, taking in the incredible scene.
21-09-2003, 08:30
"Oh come now, if they intended to do us harm they would have by now. Honestly, you people and your bloody damned guns. You recall just how well that attitude served us on the last dig, yes? Bloody near got us killed." Pacci grumbles, clearly not amused, though he grudgingly has to admit, given the evidence, that those claws would be rather nasty should they choose to use them so.

"All the same, a bit of lunch is, I believe, in order. Can't think clearly on an empty stomach, and this relatively secure place, or just outside if you like, seem as good a spot as any. Will give me a chance to look over things further at any rate ... " His eyes are already wandering again, taking in the incredible scene.

OOC: It's not like he'll ever use it, and the situation Ben was in with Esmerelda probably won't happen again.
Reploid Productions
21-09-2003, 08:34
One hell of a place for lunch!

Kiara sets her backpack down. "Food, yeah. Lunch is good. Hard to believe we've been mucking around in the tunnels for a good couple of hours already." She straightens the low stone table and sits down in front of it, digging several small paper bag lunches out of the hefty pack. "S'nothing fancy, just PBJs or ham and some munchies, but I guess it'd be kinda funny to be eating a schoolday lunch in a place so lavishly decorated, huh?"

Before she gets into hers, she takes a moment to gather up the place settings she'd upset earlier, and neatly stacks the plates and goblets off to one side. At any odd looks, she grins. "Somebody uses the stuff- it'd be rude to leave 'em a mess, right?"

Room with a view

Tsunami sits and waits for everybody else to catch their breath or eat lunch or both, busy admiring the view from the ledge. The ledge stands just a little higher than the peaks across the valley, providing a breathtaking view of the peaks and the valley, plus the wide range of mountains outside the valley, some still capped with snow. In the far distance the ocean can be barely glimpsed between distant hills.

"Wow... Imagine the view from the Aerie-!" The little dragon notes. "Too bad it was pitch black the one time I got up there."
21-09-2003, 08:43
They look like ants from up here

Zost pats the external pouches on his backpack hungrily, vaguely wondering which pouch he'd stuffed the sandwich and thermos into. Eventually he produces them from the cavernous depths of this pack, slightly bruised and squashed.

Sitting on a rock that offered a great view of the world around him, he eats his meal, a hearty sandwich of fresh vegetables, zesty sauces and no meat at all, washed down with a cupful of chilled apple juice. He spaces out as he eats, lost in introspection.

Hiho, hiho, hiho

Gregnig chuckles softly in response, shrugging off her backpack and sitting opposite Kiara and taking a swig from her canteen.
21-09-2003, 09:32
Kiranz sat down carefully to eat, although not without some private misgivings about the sanctity of archaeological sites. Clearly, without a firm hand at the reins, foreign digs were more lax than those of Tsaraine.
Taking off his pack, he extracted a couple of battered cans; thermal food packs, manufactured by Division One in Tsaraine.
Pulling the tab on the top made the simple heating circuit in the cans activate, rapidly heating the food; when a certain time had elapsed, the lid popped off. Somewhat hungrily, Kiranz unfolded his collapsible spork and began to eat.
Sneaky Bastards
21-09-2003, 21:41
Karen made her way into the entrance of the cave and sat down on the ground inside, getting herself as far away from the edge of the ciff as possible. She slid her backpack off her shoulders and dropped it in her lap, unzipping it. She pulled out a bottle of juice and a couple of sandwiches, unwrapping one. As she started to take a bite of it, she noticed footprints around the steps inside by the stairs.

"Hey, umm, Tsunami... Did you make these footprints in here?" she asked as she turned towards the reploid dragon.
22-09-2003, 02:41

"You know," says Nita, swallowing a bit of a sandwich, "Pacci did say that the thing that he ran into last night had wings. If I was some flying creature that didn't want my home to be found and was eluding possible escape, I'd head for an entrance that was up high."

"It would explain why no one found any trace of the creature last night," agrees Sean. He had already finished his lunch, and was examining the carvings, comparing them to the ones they had already seen to see if they made any sense.
22-09-2003, 03:29
Wilson hadn't brough a pack up with him, though he had put left one on the ground. It took a bit of hauling, but it was certainly easier to pull it up on a rope. A really, really long rope. Still, with Jon helping it only took 10 minutes.

"You brought a lot more than lunch," Jon said as the bag hit the floor with a crunch. "Yep - more climbing gear. Just in case any broke on the way up. Good thing too - if we can get meals brought up we can likely stay in here a couple days rather than face a 2 hour climb every morning and evening." "But this is likely the same complex..." Jon interupted. "So? Don't assume it's a straight shot from one section to the other."

Both sat down with the others and began to eat, Jon enjoying the view while Wilson looked into the depths of the cave.
Reploid Productions
22-09-2003, 04:31
Tsunami is examined the faint markings in the dirt. "I didn't make these... they were here when I got up here."

The little dragon glances at the other climbers. "Correct me if I'm wrong, but the only reason it took so long to get up here today is because we had to lay the lines first, correct? Getting up here on future forays probably won't take as long."
22-09-2003, 04:40
Tsunami is examined the faint markings in the dirt. "I didn't make these... they were here when I got up here."

The little dragon glances at the other climbers. "Correct me if I'm wrong, but the only reason it took so long to get up here today is because we had to lay the lines first, correct? Getting up here on future forays probably won't take as long."


"Well, if we all manage to use those lines effectively," Kevin said, remembering one single time where he seemed to dangle with no way to get moving again.
22-09-2003, 04:51
Putting his empty tins back into his pack, Kiranz folded up his spork and returned it also. Everyone seemed to have finished eating; he stood up, shouldering his pack.
"Well, shall we explore that other branch, then?" he asked.
Dread Lady Nathicana
22-09-2003, 05:28
Pacci eats in silence, still going over the carvings and the rest of the room, careful not to get food anywhere nor to muss up the treasures with his hands. He continues on as long as he can, making detailed notes and drawings, muttering in his native tongue on occasion.

Once folks start packing up and preparing to head out, he gathers up his things, cleans up, and tucks his notebook back in his pocket.

"Right then - shall we go on?"
The SLAGLands
22-09-2003, 07:21
My Name is Remmington Lee Vivaldi And I Loves Teh Climbz0r!

Dr. Vivaldi makes it to the top of the cliff without any problem. It's abundantly apparent once he reaches the top that he's winded, but he could easily go another few hundred feet if necessary.

"Whoo! Wow! Haven't had that much fun since my college days!"

He sits down to a roast beef sandwich and Thermos of fruit punch with the rest of the group, eyeing the footprints nervously.

"Things like that... they freak me out now," he says. "Of course, after what happened last month, I'm sure nothing can surprise me anymore. I mean... after I watched Mother... uh..."

He looks back down at his sandwich, a disgusted look on his face. He returns it to the plastic bag whence it came.

"I... I'm not hungry anymore."

You Need a Guide Who Needs a Map

(OOC: Brownie points if you can identify the song reference. ;) )

Guide takes a long look about the room, intrigued but not necessarily impressed. He listens curiously to Kiara's stories, logging everything away for future reference. As the rest of the group enjoys lunch, he merely sits in quiet contemplation, observing his surroundings and the nature and strength of any thaumatological signals about him.
Reploid Productions
22-09-2003, 07:34
Heat sources detected at uh... something o'clock!

Noting Guide sitting off by himself, Kiara walks over with a brown bag in hand. "Oi, aren't you hungry? S'not fresh fish, but I'm pretty sure a Brethrenite can tolerate processed ham."

If the tall cat seems distracted, it's likely due to the rather unexpected abundance of thaumatological energy Guide is sensing somewhere well above the room the team is currently at.

"In any case, I'm all set to go."

Thanks for ruining lunch, Doc!

Tsunami makes a face. "I'm glad I was lost mucking around the caves. Granted..." The little dragon visibly cringes. "I'm fairly certain I accidentally touched Mother in the process of diving into the caves."

The others probably had already noticed the near-obsessive amount of time the little blue reploid had spent cleaning herself during breakfast.

The cave entrance looks somewhat more used than the lower catacombs- portions of the rock floor covered with grooves and scratches that imply the aerial entrance was used fairly regularly by... whatever. A short ways inside reveals a staircase winding up through the cliff, and a fork in the tunnel leading down a short ways, dead ending in a stone barricade like the one the catacombs team had already run across.
22-09-2003, 09:40
OOC: What's this "Mother" thing?

"You know," Kiranz said as they filed out of the gold-encrusted room, "If the myths are correct, there were twelve of those creatures originally, one for each of the blades. The myth also says they've been "in vigilant sleep", but what's to stop them breeding? There could be hundreds of the things by now."
Reploid Productions
22-09-2003, 09:48
((OOC: You'd have to read back through the "Archaeological Discovery in the Slaglands!" thread... basically a very huge, very grotesque, very unclean fertility demigoddess. Several members of the Slaglandic dig team had the misfortune of witnessing Mother... ah.... giving birth.))

Kiara looks doubtful. "If they had been multiplying, I would imagine there'd be signs of it. Hell, Tsu and I've been on this site regularly for some six or seven years now, and we'd never had a single encounter with anything until this trip!"

She leads the group back to the fork in the tunnel. A number of small rooms branch off the new route, mostly devoid of any artwork or artifacts. Some contain clay containers of gemstones- obviously left over from the decoration of the other room-, while some contain other pieces of apparently neglected furniture- tables and benches, plates, and so on.
22-09-2003, 10:52
OOC: Ah. Urgh. Well, now I know.

"If these gemstones are still here, then this place must have been abandoned soon after it's completion. Any civilisation would surely have found a use for spare stones." Kiranz mused aloud. "But the other items suggest that this was perhaps living quarters for the artisans who worked on the construction of the temple, or perhaps for priests of some kind, if this was a monastery or some such. I wonder why they built it underground - the economic costs to continually light it would have been horrendous."
22-09-2003, 17:10
I am Jalane Gregnig. You will follow protocol, punk.

She moves forward, speaking softly. "In human society, economic practicalities often take a backseat to religious and ritualistic significance. The Easter Islanders denuded their entire island to build their statues, for instance."

Her two cents added, she resumes her usual silence.

I'm Tyloru. Let's go have a beer.

Zost finishes the last of his sandwich, washing it down with icy apple juice. "Well, I'm done. So, what's the deal with this 'Mother'? You all don't seem very fond of it. I have a picture in mind, but it's probably way overexaggerated. I hope it is, anyway."

He stands, stretching - dangerously close to the cliff edge from a mixture of blithe self-confidence.
23-09-2003, 02:04
"Ah, I didn't think of that." Kiranz replied, looking thoughtfull. After all, noone I know would be so stupid.
"I don't think we're going to find any inscriptions or suchlike in this area," he said, "They'd put those in the temple, not the worker's quarters. We might find graffiti, though, depending on the level of literacy in the ancient culture."
Reploid Productions
23-09-2003, 07:30
Aw, man, ANOTHER barrier!

As the catacombs team continues on, they are stopped by yet another one of the stone barricades. In the storage rooms, there doesn't appear to be any graffiti. Another branching room is devoid of any furniture, but sports a detailed painting of a dragon the wraps around the room's stone walls.

"Hrm... we might want to think of calling it a day before long... Pacci's right that we ought to get those remains out of the elements for study. Such a find... amazing. And do we want to take anything out of the storage rooms as artifacts, or should we leave well enough alone until we can establish contact with the presumed residents?" Kiara glances at the ornate artwork.

You do NOT want to know about Mother....

"Oh, I imagine your mental image of Mother isn't exagerated enough." Tsunami notes with a visible cringe. "And be careful near that ledge! What happens if you get caught broadside by a gust of wind, which is all-too-common an occurance on the heights!"
23-09-2003, 10:01
Kiranz ran a finger over a nearby bench and examined it; thick with several thousand years of accumulated dust.
"I don't think they'd necessarily notice if we took anything from here," he said, "But there isn't really much that would be useful to take. If we had several platoon's worth of junior researchers I'd advocate doing a careful survey and collection of the site, but we don't.
So I say we leave this stuff here, but yes, we should take the remains; that we can do, and the lack of funerary items indicates that the other creatures either haven't noted or don't care about their fellow's demise."
23-09-2003, 15:04

Zost grins.

"Well, I've been told I have an unnecessarily vivid, occasionally Lovecraftian imagination, but I'll take your word for it."

He peers absently at the edge, as if noting it for the first time. "If that happens I get to test out this repulsor thing. Test of a lifetime, that." Giving a brief snort of laughter, he walks towards safer ground.

Under the sea.... um, earth

Jalane shrugs, absently studying the painting of the dragon as she paces around the room.

"I rather suspect the residents would be a little vexed at having us filch their furniture. Given the opulence of these chambers, I think it's safe to say their displeasure might be rather more severe than Joe Average."
Dread Lady Nathicana
23-09-2003, 16:10
Pacci shakes his head. "Everything needs to be left where it is, for several reasons. First, documentation. Where was it found. What condition was it in. What was near it, and so forth. Second - it's apparent that these creatures are still using this place."

He ponders for a moment, looking rather thoughtful, then sits down, and promptly begins scribbling down something, referencing his notes on translations and such from earlier.

Muttering softly, he pauses on occasion, biting the end of his pen, then continues on.

(written in the code, not coded here for the convenience of the readers)

Greetings, dwellers of the valley, and indeed these caves.

I wish to apologize for invading your home. This has been the archaeological find of a lifetime for these people, and until last night, we had no idea anyone still laid claim to the site.

I ask on behalf of my fellow scientists and explorers that we meet, to discuss and learn from you, and to hopefully better explain ourselves and our actions here.

We have taken what seem to be the remains of one of your kind back to camp with us. Please know, we mean no offense - it seemed the right thing to do, rather than to leave it to the elements.

Should you wish for a more private meeting, my cabin is the third from the right as you come down the mountain. I await your response with anticipation. There is much to be discussed.

--Leandro Pacci, Dominion Minister of Science

He finally lets out a sigh of satisfaction, scanning back over the page, and nodding in satisfaction.

"There. An invitation. I hope they take it." Walking back to the original room, he carefully arranges the small table and plates as they were, as best as he can, and lays the page atop them.

"Now, I recommend we gather our things, take the remains, and head back to camp. It will take a bit to prep them and make a cursory study. The things here aren't going anywhere. We've made our notes, marked our progress ... we can continue in the morning. If, ah ... if that's alright with you, Kiara?" he asks, somewhat abashed.
Reploid Productions
23-09-2003, 19:07
In movies, nobody ever thinks to politely ask the natives for a meeting...
Kiara blinks, somewhat surprised at Pacci's suggestions. "Ah... yeah, probably a good idea.... An invite scribbled in whatever they use... now why didn't I think of that?"

She adjusts her backpack and grins. "Well, given that nobody's attacked us or otherwise confronted us for so rudely barging in, I'd say it's a safe bet that whatever lives here either doesn't mind or is extremely shy."

She takes a few photographs of the artwork on the walls before she tucks her camera away. "Or they're giving the climb team hell. But I imagine I'd've heard from Tsu if anything happened."

Going up... again?

"So, from a short survey of the entrance area, the lower fork dead-ends, while I think the stairs may lead to the Aerie." Tsunami explains briefly, having wandered a short ways into the cave while the others were eating. "Shall we keep going or climb back down?"
24-09-2003, 04:24
Going up... again?

"So, from a short survey of the entrance area, the lower fork dead-ends, while I think the stairs may lead to the Aerie." Tsunami explains briefly, having wandered a short ways into the cave while the others were eating. "Shall we keep going or climb back down?"

"I don't see why we should go back down just to have to climb up again," answers Sean. "At the very least we should go on up and look at the Aerie. And it shouldn't be too hard to bring up some sleeping bags and food for anyone who doesn't have any. Especially if there's any where we can easily get outside from the Aerie. While there was no where to actually land, the cutter we came in could pretty easily drop some supplies if we need them."

(OOC: Just a little FYI addition. When they were first developed, Cetagandan gravitic drives were based largely upon magical principles. While the technology has be significantly refined and become more technology-oriented, there would still be some signs that whoever made them were somewhat skilled with magic and psionics. I don't know if this will affect anything, but I wanted to be sure that you knew.)
imported_El Hefe
24-09-2003, 04:46
"I would say go up - lets see what we can find. Sean's right - two hours is two hours, I'd rather see something than climb back down." Jon said as he packed up his garbage and moved carefully over to the edge to look down. Wilson nodded a second to Jon's comments.

"Should take some pictures." Jon went over and took out a camera of sorts and began taking pictures of everyone and everything.

Edit: Wrong Nation, oh well.
Reploid Productions
24-09-2003, 05:32
((OOC: Ah, good to know Ceta =) Will take that into account ^_~))

Room with a view...
The team treks through a moderately long climb up the narrow winding staircase. (If any of the crew suffers claustrophobia, it's particularly narrow). The climb team passes several more stone barricades and some simple wall carvings- unlike the more elaborate lower catacombs, this upper level seems much more utilitarian in design and decoration. There are also several scratches and grooves in the flooring- markings carved out by claws scraping on the stone for who knows how many years.

"How long does this thing wind upward?" Tsunami gripes in the murky dark of the tunnel.

As if on cue, sunlight can be seen just around the next upward spiral. As the group rounds the bend, the tunnel widens into an open-air patio-like room with one hell of a view, decorated with simple stonework- brilliantly white, like the ruins (very far) below. The walls are adorned with simple decorative carvings, as are the pillars and the 'guardrail'. Despite the large open-air 'windows', the wind doesn't seem to quite reach into the semi-enclosed room, and the white stone seems slightly warm to the touch. Compared to the chill winds from the climb up the cliff, and the stuffy warmth of the tunnel, the room seems to be a very comfortable temperature indeed.

"......." Tsunami glances around. ".... I think we made it."
Sneaky Bastards
24-09-2003, 05:33
Karen finished her lunch and packed up her things.

"Going up sounds good to me. Just let me get a few pictures from down here first and I'll be ready to go." said Karen as she got herself back onto her feet, pulling her camera out of her backpack.

She made her way around the cave and stairs, taking pictures of the footprints, the walls of the cave, the stairs, and then some of the other climbers. She finished up and followed the others up the stairs.
24-09-2003, 05:36
"Very impressive," Kevin mentions at the sight of the room.
24-09-2003, 06:12
"Hardly a place you build just for the view," Wilson commented as he skirted the outer edge of the room. "And if it was for the view I wonder what they were looking at or for. Watchtower, or maybe a religious observance."

"Whatever they built it for, I'm going to enjoy it for my own reasons." Jon scooted on his stomach close to the edge. "Maybe they had a string of them - signal towers. Could be why they are so tall."
The SLAGLands
24-09-2003, 06:13

Guide and Vivaldi are placed under GM control, as per the course.

*begins the break*
24-09-2003, 15:46
Windy up here.

"Magnificient view."

Zost walks around the room, paying equal attention to the breathtaking vista outside, admiring also the elegantly simple carvings that adorned the walls.

Producing a small camera, he begins recording images for posterity and research purposes, mumbling under his breath as he does so.
24-09-2003, 16:27
"If it was some kind of signal tower, then there would be other Aerie-style sites around," points out Sean. "Let me take a look around with my binoculars. It might be possible there's something that could be easily missed from the ground that's visible up here." He takes out a pair of binoculars and begins studying the surroundings, looking to see if there's anything on other cliffs or any ruins that have a line of sight on the aerie.

Meanwhile, Nita studies the white stone that the aerie is made of. "I wonder if this is heated somehow. It would make sense, as it would get pretty cold up here at night." She pulls out a thermometer-like device to measure the heat given off, and after that pulls out the Cetagandan equivalent of a thaumeter, checking for any ambient traces of preternatural energy.
25-09-2003, 00:49
"The outsiders climbing the cliff reached the upper entrance. They're up at the Watchtower now. From the way they are acting, I think they intend to spend the night there." Vumacetajij notes to the others in the room, sealing the stone barrier behind him as he enters.

"It gets so cold there at night though! Surely they realize that?" Umuouha raises an eyebrow in surprise at the news. "The cold may not bother us, but they are only normal people!"

"Perhaps they would rather brave the cold than the climb to and from the entrance. They don't know that the lower entrance connects to these upper levels, and they cannot simply fly to and from the entrance." Oduh paces in thought and snaps his fingers. "We should warm the Watchtower! If they are up there, the outsiders will be cut off from their companions- it would take too long for help to arrive if something happens!"

"You want to make the outsiders more inclined to stay? Are you insane, Oduh?!" Umuouha gives Oduh a disbelieving look.

"We may be very isolated, but it never hurts to be kind to people. They don't know just how severe the cold gets, while we do, and have a means to prevent the cold from bothering them. If I had spent the better part of the day climbing the heights, I know I would not be too keen to climb down, likely in the dark, only to climb back up the next day." Oduh responds matter-of-factly.

"Everyone! Look at this! " Luceh barges into the room, waving a sheet of paper around. "One of the outsiders left this in the portrait hall!"

Oduh snatches the paper from his younger sister and sniffs at it curiously. "What a weird material to write on.... better than old hide scrolls like the Drakonics used though." He examines the paper curiously. "It has the same scent on it as the one I ran into last night.... I think they may have figured out the old Pegasii runes we use-!"

"It's really rough and a bit tough to read, but it seems so. Amateur or not, it's a message to us!" Luceh notes excitedly as the paper is passed around the group.

"What's "ar-chae-o-log-i-cal"?" Rihdadw frowns, slowly going over the unfamiliar word.

"Or "sci-en-tist"?" Oduh ponders aloud. "Explorer I know. Maybe it's some sort of special sort of explorer?"

"It says they found the body of one of our own..." Vheqod notes quietly, almost to himself. "We never did find Jaohhu."

"'Leandro Pacci'? I guess that's that guy's name. Pretty strange sounding, isn't it?" Oduh frowns. "And I guess the stuff after it is some sort of title."

"It's asking that we meet..." Luceh reminds the excited group. "Should we?"

"I'll go tonight!" Oduh declares, earning suprised looks from the rest of the group. "Certainly if they can decipher Pegasii runes, we can communicate to some degree! That entire group has a strong aura... perhaps some of them even possess the speech of souls!"

"I'll accompany you then." Vheqod says quietly. "If they have found Jaohhu, I would like to finally give him my farewell."
Reploid Productions
25-09-2003, 01:35
Sean is treated to a spectacular view of the valley and the surrounding mountains, though no other Aeries appear to be found. The late afternoon sun glints off the snowcapped peaks and off the distant ocean- a postcard-perfect vista that travel companies would probably kill for.

"I think the stone is heated somehow..." Tsunami notes in response to Nita's comment. "It certainly shows well on my infrared."

The thermometer indicates that the stone is somehow maintaining a steady temperature of about 75 degrees ((OOC: F, not C. Too lazy to do the conversaion right now =p)). On the other device, the area registers as having a moderate amount of some sort of energy- stable, and apparently centered in the stone flooring.
imported_El Hefe
25-09-2003, 02:56
"You know - this would be really fun with squirrel suits and grav belts. You could probably glide all the way to the mountains." Jon said as he lowered his camera. Wilson just shook his head. "Enough excitement in my life already, thank you."

Dread Lady Nathicana
25-09-2003, 06:46
Pacci takes the lead, organizing the team in setting things straight, and moving back out, hustling them along in his eagerness to be gone. He gathers the remains carefully, using the tools he's brought, and a light canvas he takes from his pack.

The hike back is uneventful, and he finds himself rather excited both at the find, and the prospect of posible contact with the creatures responsible for all this. At least, he hopes it's possible. He's certain he wrote as correctly as he was able. No way of knowing really, what effect inflection and such had on it all ... he hoped for the best.

Upon reaching camp, he lays out the remains in a quiet, respectful manner, even as he's looking at it greedily.

Incredible find. Couldn't have been luckier. Benissimo.

As per his nature, he takes very detailed notes, muttering quietly to himself as he works, obviously quite content. When the time finally comes for dinner, he leaves his work wistfully, and breaks out one of his ready-pak meals, heating it up back on a small burner in his cabin, then eating quietly, going back over his notes.

Unless anyone needs him, he remains there for the rest of the evening, brushing up on translations, reviewing notes.
25-09-2003, 11:04
Squirrel Suits?

Zost grins as he hears mention of extreme long distance gliding.

"That I'd like to try.... at least once, at any rate. Have you heard about that spacediving thing in.... I think it was Steel Butterfly, yes. Fascinatingly life-threatening." The grin widens.

Removing a glove he feels the stone carefully.

"Strange stuff. I don't think they have central heating up here, so it's probably some sort of thaumaturgical thing."

At camp

Gregnig stands before the remains of the strange creature, maintaining a respectful silence as she nurses a mug of hot chocolate.
25-09-2003, 11:27
Back at camp, Kiranz peered animatedly at the skeleton, measuring it's wing structure and examining the complicated shoulder joints where the wings met, or as much as was possible without disturbing the bones. He didn't want to give the thing's living relatives, if they turned up, any reason to be upset with him.
"Quite impressive wingspan, really." he mused. "But it lacks a breastbone to anchor the wing muscles; the only birds that's a trait in are all flightless. I'd doubt it could fly for any long period of time."
25-09-2003, 11:36
Jalane takes another sip.

"So it would seem. Probably useful for gliding, at the least, or they'd harness whatever mysterious metaphysical powers they seem to be able to use. Pacci mentioned the thing flying off into the Aerie, and I don't think you'd get many thermals in the middle of the night."
25-09-2003, 11:42
"Perhaps they create their own thermals with microwave organs or something." Kiranz suggested.