Valley of Dragons (story-RP. Relates to "The Dig") - Page 2
Jalane nods. "Possible, I suppose. I'd like to ask them how they do it.... I hope it doesn't cause offense."
"If they turn up," Kiranz reminded her, "They may not. They might not even find Pacci's note, after all."
Jalane sighs, sipping again from her cooling mug.
"We can but hope, for now."
Look! Guide is actually active in the story again!
"Well, here's to hope that they show up." Kiara notes, surveying the skeleton. "Y'know, what if they don't have a proper breastbone to anchor flight muscles, but instead something less likely to stand the test of time? Maybe a cartilledge growth attached to the sternum?" ((OOC: I think that's the name for the bone plate that the rib cage attaches to...))
((OOC: And here's to hope that I do a satisfactory job NPCing Guide since Slag's on hiatus x_x))
Guide looks over the skeleton quietly, the soft glow of his fur giving away his curiousity. After a long moment of contemplation, the big cat speaks his piece. "Even in death, these creatures have the same scent as the one Pacci encountered last night. They may even appear tonight- the caves where rife with the scent, I would not be surprised if our every move in the caves was observed."
Kiara grins slightly at that. "Well then, given that they were presumably tracking us, and didn't confront us, we must not've done anything to torque 'em off!"
Her laptop beeps, indicating an incoming message, and she steps away from the skeleton to check. "Whoo! It's from Tsunami- the climbers found another entrance to the catacombs partway up the cliff- they're up in the Aerie now!" She beams, reading the rest of the message. "I guess instead of try to climb back down, they're gonna stay the night- they've got supplies, but they'd appreciate it if we could send some additional supplies up to them using the climbing lines."
A room with a view... and room service?
"Well, maybe they've tapped a geothermic heat source and use that to heat the stones?" Tsunami taps the white stone with her talons. "And as for that distance gliding from up here- been there done that. It's a long way down, especially after being blasted even higher into the air by the updraft that's prevalent right by the cliff face. In any case, I'm sending Kiara a message to send some more supplies up the climbing lines- certainly we can haul the stuff up to the Aerie from the ledge."
The sun sets while the group ponders the heating system. The room temperature starts to take a dive shortly after sunset, but a short while later the stone heating system apparently gives off more heat to compensate, bringing the temperature up to a comfortably warm level- enough for half-frozen climbers to shrug out of heavy jackets and sweatshirts and still be comfortable. Before anyone thinks to turn on flashlights or electric lanterns, the white stone of the floor, walls, and ceiling, for lack of a better description, click on, abruptly emitting a low white light- not enough to cast harsh shadows, but enough to see or perhaps read by.
"... Tsunami, I don't think that's geothermic." Vivaldi pokes at one of the stones, somewhat entranced by the subtle patterns of color in the rock that weren't apparent before.
While everyone is distracted from their travel supplies and such by the new oddness, a silent figure hides in the shadow of the entrance tunnel, with a large bundle propped against the wall. The shadow pauses, and the large bundle lifts into the air and floats silently into the room, setting itself down on the floor with a soft 'thunk'. The shadow hastily departs after making its delivery, the only trace of its passing the merest whisper of the air being displaced.
"What was-" Tsunami spins at the 'thunk', only to gawk in confusion at the latest addition to the room.
Two low, stone tables (much like the one the catacombs team found), set with rough plates and goblets made out of platinum (again, much like the ones the other group found), and heaped with slightly messy slabs of some sort of meat, obviously cooked over a campfire of some sort, as well as a modest salad consisting of grasses and plants native to the valley. The golets contain nothing more extravegant than pure spring water, and there seems to be no silverware- obviously the entire meal is intended to be finger-food, messy though it might be.
"... Okay, if weirdness was a measureable quantity, my weirdness meter would be completely through the roof right about now." Tsunami states after a long moment.
"Around here I believe weirdness now is. Still - a hot meal. Question is do we eat it?" Jon said as he sat at one of the tables and examined the food. 'One of those rare instances where I would like to have a 'corder.' he thought. 'It doesn't smell poisoned...'
Karen walked over and looked at tables and food with suprise. She sat down next to one, looking at the food in front of her.
"Well, I dunno about you guys... I ain't passin up a hot meal. Especially when its free." she said as she started to pull a little bit of the meat away from the slab on her plate.
She nibbled on it to sample its taste. Finding it to be okay she finished the piece and pulled another piece off and started to eat it.
"I think its safe. It doesn't taste poisoned. I'm sure if they wanted us dead, they could have just pushed us off the cliff instead of feeding us poisoned food." said Karen as she picked up her goblet, taking a sip of water out of it.
And the wing-bone attaches to the rib-bone...
OOC: Indeed it is the sternum.
"Could be, could be." Kiranz said, peering at the ribcage. "But there isn't much sign of that. Alternatively, the major wing muscles could be attached to the spine."
Carefully, he turned the remains over, exposing a spine with almost spiky vertebrae.
"Yes, see here? Probably these extended bits (OOC: I have no knowledge of the structure of the vertebrae at all) would have anchored large muscles. They must look rather like hunchbacks, with all that muscle mass on their backs."
Yay! Reppy hasn't completely forgotten what she learned in bio!
"Could be..." Kiara carefully sketches the spikes. "They aren't depicted as being hunchbacks though in the carvings... although that could be artistic license, of perhaps the muscle mass isn't readily apparent... or maybe the muscle mass is dispersed among a number of anchor points, to enable complex motions that one would probably need to be able to perform in order to stay airborne. From this-" She indicates the slightly enlarged shoulder bones. "-it almost looks like maybe the wing muscles might be directly anchored to the shoulders- meaning that the arms would also be involved in any major wing motion."
She studies the sternum a bit more. ".... Although... maybe there was a breastbone to anchor the wings.... I just noticed, but it looks like there was some sort of ridge on the sternum that must have snapped loose- probably in the rockslide that brought this guy down out of the hills."
She stretches and yawns. "At any rate, I think I'm gonna smear my rash with the anti-itch cream and hit the hay. Pacci'll probably raise the roof if those creatures do show up, so I'm gonna go catch a few Zs ahead of time." She picks up her sword and wanders out of the command center, studying the stars overhead for a moment before she heads to her cabin. She emerges a short while later bundled up in a heavy coat and sneaks off toward the ruins, grumbling under her breath about everyone's 'silly' concerns over just a stupid rash.
Vent off a little irritation with some sword practice... always works wonders. She thinks to herself, silently going into a practice routine, shrouded from sight in the cavernous central ruin.
"Well, at the very least I don't want to have to carry you down." Jon said as he dug in. Jon tended to take and eat with his hands, so things were constantly being waves around, especially when he described his one squirrel diving afternoon to Zost.
"No breathable atmosphere outside of course, so we were doing it from the peak of a dome. The suits had controls in the arms and legs, so when you stretched out..."
Here he almost speared someone with a leg.
"It gave you a nudge in that direction. You could do rapid spirals by stretching out one leg and the opposite arm. Not enough to keep you up of course, but enough to get you moving in near freefall. Some of the braver types wove in and out of the cross-dome bridge supports."
By this time Wilson had finished, and was blowing up a collapsing air mattress he had thrown in the pack that morning. While the ground was pleasantly warm, he still wanted something between him and the rock.
He peers at the food.
"Well, they certainly are polite, if a bit shy. Well, no reason to pass up some free food. Thank you, if you can hear me. And understand me, for that matter.", he says, calling out into the darkness.
Zost listens attentively to the vivid description of squirrel diving, distractedly grabbing lumps of meat and salad, masticating them with little decorum.... none whatsoever, actually. Every now and then he nods, sipping from the goblet - after a while he notices that they're made of platinum.
"Bloody hellfire. This is some hospitality."
After finishing the hearty meal he reclines easily against a wall, quite used to sleeping rough - enjoying it, in fact.
Da Hip bone, it go to....duh..... da Arm bone? Yah.
Jalane listens quietly to the rest of the discussion on the nature of the creature's flight, the biology of winged creatures not one of her stronger points. As Kiara leaves the room she sits quietly by the dessicated corpse, still sipping from the mug.
"I found why Cavowaloh has not yet awoken." Vumacetajij enters the hall, a solemn look on his face. "Xeco Rcuto ev kxo Knacawxk has gone missing. Cavowaloh shall never wake again."
"It was probably stolen by the outsiders at some point, if he is dead then." Umuouha spits the statement as if it tasted foul. "And yet Oduh insists on making nice! They stole the blade, and in doing so, murdered one of our own!"
"It was taken some time ago- well before any of the outsiders would have been alive. Remember, Umuouha, how fleeting human life is. We forget, having lived so long. A century to us passes in the blink of an eye, while for normal people, it can encompass three or four entire generations. Also, do not hate them for it- Cavowaloh was tired of life anyway, he was second only to Elder Najoedo in age. The outsiders would have no way of knowing what that loss would entail for one of our kind." Vumacetajij replies calmly.
"I still don't like it. Our numbers are dwindling! Where there should be twelve, there are only eight, and one of them is sealed away because of pure madness!" Umuouha grumps.
"Patience. Only time shall reveal the intentions of Jxamoba. If it is Her will that the wetrcuto boofohj pass from this world, so it shall be. If it is not Her will, then time shall reveal how we are to continue."
Oduh and Vheqod stood on the cliff overlooking the valley.
"The third strange hut to that side, coming down the cliffs, correct? Vheqod peers over Oduh's shoulder at Pacci's note.
"Right. I haven't been this excited in ages! Let's get going- night has fallen, the changing goddess lights the sky- our appearance should not be quite so startling in the darkness as it would be in broad daylight." Oduh grins, showing his fangs. He stretches his wings and prepares to leap from the cliff when Vheqod abruptly grabs his shoulder.
"Wait... do you feel that?" Vheqod notes quietly, his tone mildly urgent.
"Feel what-?" Oduh starts to reply, his extra senses suddenly alert. "Glory to the Goddess-! I haven't sensed that sort of aura since Luceh finally made the change-!"
"I suspect our meeting with the outisders is about to become more complex, and briefly delayed. Shall we? Vheqod releases his hold on Oduh, who nods enthusiasticly.
"Let's go!" Oduh leaps from the cliff and freefalls a few hundred feet before snapping his broad wings open and gliding to a soft landing on top of one of the tallest ruins, Vheqod following suit seconds later.
Watch where you put that leg, buster!
Tsunami ducks Jon's leg as he describes his diving trip, scooting to the railing and hopping up to perch on the white stone rail.
"In any case, I'll keep watch in case anything happens- we don't know the intentions of our hosts."
The little dragon glances over the rail while everyone settles in for the evening, looking a second time at a brief flash of movement somewhere far below. What was that-?
A more thorough look down fails to turn up anything, and the little mechanical dragon turns her attention to surveying the room.
Big plot twist in 5.... 4.... 3... 2...
The more Kiara thought about it, the more it was irking her. Yeah, there were some pretty weird things one deals with when being involved in thaumatology. But some of what Pacci had said was too far out, even for that! I've had this thing for six years now! If I was gonna get roped into something, I think it woulda happened by now!
She pauses for a moment and shrugs out of her jacket, having started to roast in the heavy garment despite the cold. Geez... maybe Tsu was right though- I should've taken it easy. Shoulders are sore from tramping around with that heavy backpack all day.
She notes the slight lump on her head with further annoyance. That had to have happened when I tripped in the caves. Geez, battin' a thousand today, huh?
Ten minutes later, the young woman is tugging her sweatshirt off, working up quite the sweat from her late night workout, and growing vastly annoyed that she's not venting off body heat fast enough. Good Goddess, it feels like a storm is brewing or something- like everything is holding its breath. She glances around, noting the total silence that dominates the high mountain valley late at night.
On a whim, she concentrates for a few moments, putting the training she received on the Outsets to good use and phasing, shivering as the cold air finally cools her down. Refreshed, she starts swinging her sword around some more, admiring the way the blade glints in stray beams of moonlight.
This goes on for several more minutes, the young woman unaware of the two shadows peering through a gap in the roof, watching her. Reaching some silent consensus, the two pull back from the opening and move into position nearby.
Blarg.... I wonder if those critters will show up? For all we know, Pacci could have completely botched his note- they might not understand it, or might take offense... who know-AH! Her thoughts are abruptly cut off as a sensation like pure fire suddenly snaps her out of her reverie. She staggers backward several steps with a loud shriek, flailing her sword blindly, the sharp edge gleaming in the moonlight. The soreness from the hike earlier pales in comparison to the burning sensation covering her from head to toe like someone has pour molten metal over her, and with a final cry for help, she swings at the shadow she can barely make out with her rapidly clouding vision, the sword sliding out of her grip and crashing into the far wall. The shadow sidesteps easily, and pauses, debating whether to approach or hide, as Kiara blacks out and hits the floor unconscious, no longer phased due to her concentration being shot to hell.
Jalane perks up abruptly from her semi-conscious vigil over the body, the shriek in the night snapping her back to total awareness.
Shit. What's going on now?
She gets up hurriedly, muscles protesting momentarily before being overridden by the urgency within. She unsheathes a modest hunting knife, hoping against hope that she wouldn't have to use it - not being very good at using the blade, for one thing.
She sprints outside, headed for the source of the noise.
Dread Lady Nathicana
Pacci is snapped from his reveries, as he lay on his back on his cot, staring at the ceiling and pondering.
What the .. who the hell was that?
Quickly grabbing his coat, he runs for the door, pulling on the warm garment as he goes, slamming the door closed behind him. He makes his way in the direction of the scream, his heart racing.
Il Dio, was I wrong? Did I lead us wrong? What if they took my message amiss? Surely ... surely they wouldn't ...
He ran all the faster, his face a mask of worry.
A shadow waits in the darkness of the Aerie entrance, waiting for the climb team inside to settle in and fall asleep for the night. As if on cue, Vivaldi lets out a long, loud snore, definately implying the poor doctor has a cold.
After several long minutes, the shadow creeps into the room, apparently unaware of the watching eyes of the miniature dragon perched on the rail. Tsunami keeps perfectly still, carefully recording the figure as it makes its way through the sleeping group to the stone tables. With a wave of one hand, the tables levitate and move ahead of the figure toward the door.
Once the tables are no longer floating above sleeping archaeologists, Tsunami lets out a high-pitched trill, rudely shattering nappysleepsleep time and rousting the sleeping humans.
"Ah-! Wha-?" Vivaldi sits up, nearly hitting his head on the wall.
The figure freezes in surprise, the tables both clattering to the ground as its concentration is shattered. With a female-sounding gasp, the figure spins to face the awakening team, one clawed hand reaching for the sword strapped across its back.
Upon closer examination, the creature stands barely over five feet tall, and is largely covered with pale blue scales. Matching wings are loosely furled to its back, a cascade of light brown hair interrupted only by a pair of short curved horns and delicate looking finlike structures -probably ears- on its head. Its feet end in three large toes, each sporting a wicked looking talon, and a short spur sticks off the heel. Its tail waves loosely behind it. The face, oddly enough, appears almost perfectly human- pale skin, a delicate nose, bright blue eyes wide open in surprise- though they glow almost visibly in the low light-, and a set of tiny fangs are visible in a mouth partly opened in surprise.
"Nx-nxuk'j weadw ed? Nxuk muto kxuk jeidt?" It manages to stammer out- definately a female voice, as it glances in Tsunami's direction, hand on the sword hilt, though it appears hesitant about actually drawing the weapon.
At this point, the others might also notice that the creature is completely nude, aside from a silvery chestplate covering its modest breasts. It hesitates in thought for a moment, slowly pointing to itself. "Mo dumo aj... Luceh." It then gestures at the humans. "Nxuk uho oei succot?"
Um... Man plans, Jxamoba laughs?
Guide very nearly jumps, whipping around in the direction of the shriek. "Something has happened." The big cat notes, taking off in the direction of the noise. "That scent is stronger now, perhaps they have decided to come."
Jalane and Pacci are the first to arrive, Guide catching up moments later, a bright glow in a sea of moonlit grass and stone. A precursory search indicates nothing is outside the ruins, and the Brethrenite's keen nose and ability to sense thaumatological energy leads them to the main ruin.
Inside, they are greeted with a sight best described as unusual. The white stone appears to be scorched quite black near the Script Monolith, and Kiara's sword lays abandoned near the entrance.
The room is lit by several small balls of white light, revealing three figures at the base of the monolith- myth made real. Two of the figures are kneeling by the third- one covered in lead grey scales, the other in copper that gleams in the light. Pacci might recognize it as the one he ran into the previous night.
The third lays unconscious, limbs splayed gracelessly, the light striking redish orange glimmers from its scales.
The copper-scaled one looks up at the dig team's arrival, mouthing something quietly to its partner and standing up, cautiously approaching the group, its large talons clacking on the stone. It stops about ten feet away, making certain to keep its hands from the weapon strapped across its back. This one appears to be male, given the lack of breasts, though while naked, any male reproductive apparatus appears to be hidden. It bows, apparently a very formal gesture, as it involves both arms and its wings- a gesture oddly reminiscent of the formal sort of bow Pacci might recall seeing Tsume Dragonis perform at the summit a week ago.
It gestures to Pacci, then to the piece of paper it is holding. "No hosoalot kxo mojjuwo kxuk oei covk veh ij, udt sumo. Kxo oeidwcadw xoho aj edco donco sxudwot- ak essihot uj no noho semadw ke mook nakx oei."
"Oduh, kxoo suddek idtohjkudt ij. Kxo oeidwcadw dootj hojk, udt kxod nacc doot veet, udt nukoh. Kxod fohxufj no sud mubo eihjocloj idtohjkeet." The grey-scaled one notes from where he is carefully gathering the unconscious one into his arms.
"Kxoo vawihot eik eih nhakkod cudwiuwo, uk kxo coujk!" The copper one half-turns and snaps at his partner. "No sud'k zijk kihd udt hid den!"
Guide interrupts the exchange, gesturing toward the sword laying by the wall. "One of the members of our team owns that weapon. Do you know happened to her?"
The copper-scaled one looks at Guide, his expression clearly indicating that 'I don't understand a word you just said.' He glances at what Guide points at, and seems to figure something out.
"Kxo Xeco Rcuto ev kxo Tund?" He also points at the weapon, then points at the unconscious red-scaled one. "Ak rocedwot ke Vikiho, rik den jxo aj akj mujkoh." He then shakes his head, gesturing to the unconscious one, then to the prefab buildings not too far away. "Jxo dootj hojk, kxod nacc doot veet udt nukoh."
Kiranz stared at the figures in confusion and suprise; he hadn't actually expected the things to turn up, much less to look so human.
There was an odd tingling in the air, like before a lightning strike; could a negative charge be part of this so-called "thaumaturgy"? His palms itched under their bandages.
"Pacci, Guide, someone," he hissed, "Can't you translate whatever they're saying?"
Dread Lady Nathicana
Making a formal bow of his own, showing his respect, Pacci looks on at the creatures in wonder, his gaze shifting from one, to the other, gears clearly turning in his mind. He waves off Kiranz with an irritated expression, his mouth moving, fingers already fumbling for his notepad and pen.
His brow furrows in thought as he pieces together the conversation, and he holds up a hand to the coppery being in a silent plea for patience.
(spoken in their language, written ours for brevity)
"I ... hear you. Hard speak, more easy write. Changed?" He gestures to the red-scaled creature resting in the other's arms. "Our friend," He gestures to the sword, "Changed by that?"
He looks clearly amazed, though there seems to be no other ready explanation. Gathering himself, he gestures to the cabins. "Food and water we have. Rest there? Time for talk?"
He slowly walks over to the sword, and gingerly picks it up, again, respectfully ... and with no small amount of trepidation. He is most careful not to touch the blade with his bare hands, taking it by the hilt, and laying the flat of the blade across his forearm, covered in his heavy jacket.
To his companions, he says, "These are the ones we seek. They have done no harm to our companion." He looks back to the reddish form in the grey creature's arms, his brow furrowing. "Unless I miss my guess entirely ... that ... that is Kiara. Il Dio, I warned her about that thrice-damned sword ..."
He shakes his head, redefining. "They were coming to meet us. They got my note. They say this is a 'younglin', newly changed. Note the humanoid features? I think we have much to discuss."
Zost blinks uncertainly, the shock of seeing the strange creature and Tsunami's piercing trill bringing him to full wakefulness in a time he'd never thought possible.
He turns to the others, half-whispering, half-hissing.
"Ah.... what the heck did it just say?"
Composing himself, he faces the blue-scaled being, his analytical eye taking careful note of its physiology and appearance.
Deciding to be polite for once, he stands very slowly, then bowing more formally than anyone had ever known him to do. He makes a vaguely placating, peaceful hand gesture, and, as an afterthought, points to himself.
Her innate desire for formality and respectfulness kicking in almost involuntarily, Jalane bows deeply, hoping that the gesture would be well recieved.
At Pacci's pronouncement she turns to him, shocked.
Wilson sat bolt upright.
He had been dreaming. He was back aboard ship, and they had been on a routinue patrol. Suddenly something happened and the alert went off.
He stared at the creature for a moment. It didn't seem hostile, so he threw aside the blanket and got to his feet. His eyes went to the sword, then to the gear bag. If it was, anything even sort of weapon-like was in the bag. Beside him Jon stirred finally and stretched. When he saw the creature he froze mid-yawn.
I'm awake! I'm awake!
'AIEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEE!!" Karen screamed as she sat upright at the sound of Tsunami's trill, scared awake by it. She looked around to see the creature standing there. Her eyes widened at the sight of it.
"Uhmmm... hi?" she said quietly to the creature, waving a hand. "I guess its not here to kill us. It would have done so already if it were." she said to the rest of the awakened group.
Karen reached into her bag, pulled out her camera, and turned it on, shutting off the flash. She slowly stood up and moved closer, looking the creature over before stepping back and snapping off a few pictures.
"Wow... this is so crazy kinda..." she said as she took a few steps back and turned towards the group. "Anyone wanna pose with it for a picture?" she added jokingly with a smile.
Karen turned back towards the creature. "I don't know if you understand me or not. My name is Karen." she said as she pointed to herself.
Dr. Vivaldi stares, rather horrified, unable to move. He simply stands with jaw flapping as the creature speaks in the bizarre tongue. Vivaldi's eyes are wide as he suddenly forces his hand to his chest, quivering it slowly upward as if he is pulling on it against heavy resistance.
"V-V-Vivaldi. Remmington V-Vivaldi..."
Guide, on the other hand, fares much better. He processes the language of the creature just as quickly as he speaks it. Surprised that the creature has understood his words so well, he decides instead to take on its language. Approaching slowly, raising a paw gently in front of him, Guide glows a cool shade of green.
"U im livvon Qauno... livv mo Guide. U ne wed lemo de puqrd. U lemo de divt. Cud gudr ac, peb go gucr de voibw mebo ikead dro cgebnc. Go rifo peen iwn nbuwt."
He turns back to the group, speaking more quietly.
"I have invited them to dine with us and tell us more. I do not believe they mean to harm us; I believe they wish to talk."
The creature... Luceh, rather, steps back hestitatingly from Karen's brief examination, and very nearly jumps in surprise as the eager scientist points the camera at her. She calms down as the others introduce themselves.
"Uh...." Tsunami stares, hopping down from her perch on the rail and joining the rest of the team. Luceh's bright blue eyes follow the little dragon's every move. Humans are apparently a known thing- this strange little metal noisemaker on the other hand, isn't.
"Tomed-?" Luceh shrinks back from the tiny dragon, pointing at Tsunami. Her tone implies that whatever 'tomed' is, it is not good.
"Oh for the love of the Goddess-!" Tsunami stands to her full height, a (not-at-all-)imposing two feet, and points a talon at herself. "Tsunami Drakos."
At Zost's formal gesture, Luceh seems to relax, returning the bow with an elegant gesture of her own. At Vivaldi's apparent distress, she makes a concerned noise and runs to the doctor's side, her weapon and the scattered dishes forgotten.
"Holy-! She's fast!" Tsunami turns in surprise, not having expected the half-dragon creature to be so swift.
"Uho oei adzihot? Nxuk aj nhedw?" She asks, apparently also forgetting that they can't understand a word she's saying, and vice versa.
((OOC: Slag, y'translated wrong =p My reverse translation script only scrambled whatcha wrote further, while the one I use to translate stuff INTO that language was able to decode it for me =p It should read, "A um succot Wiato... succ mo Guide. A te dek semo ke vawxk. A semo ke kucb. Jak nakx ij, veh no najx ke couhd meho ureik kxo jnehtj. No xulo veet udt thadb." Next time yer on IRC, I'll have to send you the IRC script I use for translating ^_~ You can retcon it if y'want- I'm just going to assume Guide said it right :wink: ))
The copper-scaled one lifts an eyebrow at Pacci's broken attempt at speaking coherently to him. At Guide's nearly flawless statement, he looks flat-out amazed. The grey-scaled one standing near the monolith looks surprised, though his expression is kept far more neutral than that of his companion.
"Ooj... ooj, kxo sxudwo aj loho kahadw, jxo tat dek bden ak nuj semadw... xut de nuo ke bden." He nods enthusiasticly, the rest of his statement more rapid, nearly to the brink of not being understandable even to those in the group who are gifted in language. "Ak xuj rood vuh kee cedw jadso kxoho nuj u don boofoh ev edo ev kxo urudtedot wettojj rcutoj."
When Pacci lifts the sword, he can all but see and feel a difference in the weapon. While it had been a beautiful blade before, it positively glowed in the light cast by the strange floating balls of white light. While touching the weapon earlier in the day gave the person touching it an impression much like that of an angry cat- fangs bared, claws revealed, back arched, hissing angrily-, now it was the polar opposite -warm, lounging lazily, purring in smug satisfaction-. Indeed, the blade seems to be quite warm in Pacci's hands- not uncomfortably so, but enough to pleasantly counteract the chill night air.
"Vheqod! Xihho if, eh xudt xoh eloh ke mo- rik jkef jkudtadw kxoho cabo u vceeh tosehukaed!" The copper one moves toward the entrance to the ruin, shouting at his grey companion. He pauses as he's about to pass by Pacci, and looks at the scientist sheepishly. "Ex... Mo dumo aj Oduh, ectoh rhekxoh ev Luceh." He gestures at the grey one, who is approaching the entrance with a much more measured stride, seemingly unbothered by the weight of the red one... presumably Kiara. "Udt xo aj Vheqod."
The copper one- Oduh, fidgets before the scientist for a long moment, looking incredibly embarassed, before he bows deeply. "Ureik cujk dawxk.... A najx ke ufecewaqo veh xakkadw oei ad kxo tuhb. Mo kxeiwxkj noho ed wokkadw unuo, udt A tat dek joo oei eh xouh oei idkac A nuj ed kef ev oei. Fcoujo vehwalo mo."
Dread Lady Nathicana
Pacci blinks, offering Oduh a genuine smile. He seemed to be warming up to the spoken word, the more he heard of it. And, ancient languages was indeed a study near and dear to his heart, he was fascinated by it.
"Tiring, yes I imagine. A xut de atou. Kxo jnehtj uho kxo boo? Edso ximud, ucc?" he says, breaking into the strange language as queries them concerning the swords and changes.
"Ucc aj nocc. De ... ufecewo dootot. Mo dumo aj Coudthe Fussa. Fcoujo, cok ij we," he replied in a halting, uncertain fashion.
"Enough standing around. We go."
Leading the way back to the main cabin, he holds the strangely warm sword still as carefully as when he'd picked it up, occasionally glancing back over his shoulder to the others, looking concernedly at the unconscious form in Vheqod's arms.
The cabin is warm, and it is a pleasure to get in out of the cold. He immediately puts on a pot of coffee, and another pot for tea, rummaging about for some food. He directs the Keepers to lay the red-skinned youngling on a nearby cot.
"Xidwho?" he asks the newcomers ... and of course, anyone else, forgetting entirely he's not going to be understood for a moment.
"Oh, I'm sorry. Um ... anyone else care for anything?" He gives them all a look, suggesting they make like nice, polite hosts, despite the obvious strangeness of the entire situation.
"I believe the next step is 'Take us to your leader.' Jon joked. "Maybe we should head back to camp. If it will come with us, we can put all our heads together to figure out how to communicate."
"I would agree - we can grav-belt down and get back in a couple minutes," Wilson seconded.
Zost nods. "I suppose that might be a good idea."
Their leader is kinda... um... asleep
Luceh fidgets, not quite certain where to go from here either. Vivaldi appears to be alright, so she turns her attention to cleaning up the dropped tableware. "Ex rhekxoh, nxuk xulo oei wekkod ij adke?" She mutters under her breath. Casting a sidelong glance at the humans and at Tsunami, she takes a deep breath and sends her thoughts to her brother. Oduh, because you wanted to be so welcoming to these outsiders, I have been spotted! And unlike you, you great bloody fool, I have no one up here who can hear the speech of souls and translate! She casts another glance at the group, her glowing gaze fixed momentarily on Nita and Sean.
Gee, time to wow the natives!
Oduh makes a gasp of surprise when the group is led into the command center. Vheqod makes a much quieter sound, but is looking around the small room with no small amount of wonder. At Pacci's instructions, the grey-scaled Keeper sets the red one down on the cot, careful to arrange limp legs and wings so as not to cause any undue injury. When he steps back, the others can finally get a good look at the red one. Red scales dusted lightly with ash, the upper torso completely bare. The face, eyes clamped shut and expression showing exhaustion, is most decidedly Kiara's.
"Kxo Kuco ev kxo Wettojj Rcutoj aj u cedw edo, deh aj ak jamfco." Vheqod straightens, glances around the room. He stops when he sees the skeleton neatly laid out, and between one breath and the next the grey figure has moved across the room, looking the remains over. "Jaohhu...."
He drops to his knees in some formal stance, hands folded in some form of prayer. "Jcoof ed kxo nadtj, muo kxo Wettojj Jxamoba, ceht ev Sxuej udt ev Ehtoh, ev Cawxk udt ev Tuhbdojj rcojj edo ev Xoh end nxe xuj johlot Xoh nacc udt calot udt taot veh Xoh, sxudwot rooedt houjed veh fihfejoj idjood. Jcoof nocc, udt homomroh. Veh no jxucc mook uwuad."
Oduh, meanwhile, is like a kid in a candy store, bounding from one nifty shiny thing that catches his eye to the next, murmuring excitedly. Just looking at him and at Vheqod, it's evident the grey one is older than the copper one. At Pacci's question, he shakes his head, a broad grin nearly splitting his face, showing both his pointy fangs. "No ted'k doot ke ouk misx, udt no xut taddoh jxehkco roveho no sumo tend vhem kxo sulohdj." He pauses and cocks his head to one side as if listening to something and blinks. "Ex.... mo jajkoh wek veidt eik ro kxo ekxohj. A'cc kocc xoh ke semo tend xoho nakx kxo ekxohj!"
Dread Lady Nathicana
Watching the two carefully, not to mention the sleeping Kiara, Pacci concentrates on gathering some cold cuts, cheese, and other sanwich fixings. For Kiara he snags a broth mix and adds some of the hot water from the teapot, hoping that might be easier on her system.
"Long tale or no, er ... U cedw kuco, ooj. Uj oei najx. Jkacc, u kuco nehkx koccadw?" He responds to Vheqod's initial half-phrase, then watches the Keeper go to his knees, offering up words of seeming benediction. A religious man himself, Pacci quietly bows his head in respect, murmuring his own quiet words.
"Benedicat tibi Dominus et custodiat te. Ostendat Dominus faciem suam tibi et misereatur tui. Convertat Dominus vultum suum ad te et det tibi pacem."
Oduh, of course, is terribly distracting, in a good way. Pacci finds himself quite amused at the younger Keeper's antics, watching him out of the corner of his eye.
He nods at the polite refusal of refreshments, and arches a brow at the mention of others.
"Ev seihjo! A ... xefo ucc aj nocc if kxoho?"
I Thought Music was the Speech of Souls...
All at once, Dr. Vivaldi smacks himself on the forehead. He holds up his index finger in a "Hold on a second" gesture as he digs around in pack. At last, he produces a piece of paper with his copied version of Guide's translation of the code. He makes a few quick translations, then speaks, his pronunciation slow and muddled over the bizarre consonant combinations.
"A um Remmington Vivaldi. A um vhem u fcuso succot... uh... Kxo... uh... errr... JCUWCudtj? A nacc dek xuhm. A um u vhaodt."
Before they can reply, he realizes that he will be unable to translate their speech quickly. He adds, "J...Jfoub jcenco."
Screw You, You Incoherent Bastard! I Am Über-Soul Speech Ninja!
Guide listens carefully as Vheqod recites the prayer and speaks of the Goddess Blades. He nods solemnly, his fur turning a cool shade of purple.
"A idtohjkudt. Cabo oei, A semo vhem u foefco nakx u cedw xajkeho ev kihmeac. Xenoloh, A um sohkuad kxuk edso oei opfcuad oeih suijo, oeih rihtod nacc rosemo mado."
He steps towards Vheqod, extending a paw forward in a friendly manner.
"A um idsohkuad av oei uho unuho, rik ad ximud sickihoj, ak aj semmedfcuso ke whujf kxo xudt ev udekxoh udt jxubo if udt tend uj u jawd ev vhaodtjxaf udt idtohjkudtadw. Kxaj aj dek u wojkiho ev mo foefco, rik ak aj edo kxuk A xulo utefkot. Nacc oei jxuho ak nakx mo den?"
((OOC: Okay, guys, do I need to take a roll call here? Seems the past several posts have been either me, Nathi, or Slag (though I know several of you guys are still active =p) So guys, please respond and let me know if y'still want in on this or not, kay? =p Also, anybody who has IRC, drop me a line on Espernet (nickname: Firefury) and I'll send you my English <> Ancient language translator script (works for mIRC, no promises about other IRC clients).))
Great.... now there's more of them...
Luceh glances at the humans, one eyebrow raised at Vivaldi's broken speech. She nods slowly, apparently unfamiliar with where the doctor is from. "Mo rhekxoh... xaj dumo aj Etix... jiwwojkj rhadwadw kxo ekxohj." She speaks slowly, making sure to enunciate clearly. "A bden ud oujaoh nuo tend vhem kxo Nuksxkenoh vhem xoho kxud kxo nuo oei odkohot."
She finishes stacking the tables and hefts them, an awkward bundle for her small size. Her concentration is too scattered to lift them the way she did before, and she turns toward the entrance tunnel. "Nacc oei veccen? A xulo succot kxo ekxohj, kxoo nacc mook mo ed kxo vceeh ev kxo Luco ev Hojk." She sounds a bit uncertain.
The chaos is about to commence!
Vheqod nods slowly, and gets to his feet after he is done at the skeleton. "Kxaj aj ucc kxuk homuadj ev edo ev kxo knoclo Boofohj ev kxo Wettojj Rcutoj. Kxeiwx uj ev hawxk den, nxoho kxoho eiwxk ke ro knoclo, kxoho uho edco dado, udt edo ev kxom cesbot unuo ad mutdojj."
At Guide's raised paw and inquiry, he raises an eyebrow, obviously somewhat dubious of such a foreign greeting. Gingerly, he does shake Guide's paw, showing great care as not to scratch the Brethrenite with his short claws. "Jisx jkhudwo nuoj ev whookadw. Ak rosumo sijkem umedw kxo Boofohj ke whook edo udekxoh ro thunadw edo'j noufed udt renadw eloh ak." He demonstrates, unslinging his sword, pointing the weapon vertical toward the floor, and bowing neatly over it.
Oduh, meanwhile, is busily examining the weird machines in the room, easily as awed by the command center as the archaeologists were by the room with the gemstone-encrusted artwork. "Kxaj aj je umuqadw! Jmucc nedtoh no xulod'k vawihot eik nxuk kxo Octoh moudj ro kxo 'sxact ev kxo xoulodj' eh kxo 'sxuej udwoc'! Nakx jisx jkhudwo tolasoj... Jxamoba edco bdenj nxuk mahuscoj kxo metohd omfahoj sud nehb!" He chatters excitedly.
All activity comes screeching to a halt at a low groan from the direction of the cot. "Good Goddess, what in all the hells hit me? I feel like I got mowed over by a bloody tank!"
"Does anyone here speak dragon?"
Sure, leave your translation notes back in your room. Real smart, Karen. Real smart.
Karen shook her head at her last thought and looked at the creature, clueless as to what it was saying. She raised her camera and snapped a few more pictures of it holding the tables. She then turned to Dr. Vivaldi, who seemed to be the only person with translation notes.
"Uhmm... so, what did it say?" she asked as she pocketed her camera.
OOC: I'm still in it. Though I don't really think there's much Karen can do at the moment other than observe and take pictures since she can't understand the creatures until she gets her notes back at her room. :/
"I'm not the language person here. Hopefully he/she will get the drift here through." Jon walked over to the edge and looked down. "We're not the only one's up late though. The lights are on in the camp."
Wilson was playing rope over the edge, more to help guide the descent than slow it. "Busy too - no room lights. Looks like they are having a party without us."
"Then let's crash it!"
Taking the rope in both gloved hands Jon switched on the grav belt and threw himself off the edge.
Luceh drops the tables with a yelp as the two climbers leap from the Aerie. Mouthing what can only be oaths under her breath, she concentrates briefly, alerting three others who she knows are on the aerial entrance ledge and about to leap off.
As Jon and Wilson plummet, a pair of dark shapes come up alongside, matching their speed, perhaps going a bit faster to get underneath the falling climbers. In the moonlight, it's apparent that the two are creatures like Luceh. With likely much protest, both suddenly move in and hook scaled arms around shoulders or waists, wings beating furiously to slow their fall. The one that catches Jon is covered in black scales, a dark patch in the night, and can be heard swearing colorfully at the antics of the humans.
Obviously, they don't know about antigrav tech.
"That was a bit of stupidity on my part - we don't have wings, do we?"
"Nope, though I followed you. I can blame it on lack of sleep though." Wilson replied.
As soon as they got down on the ground Jon turned the belt off, handed it to one of the creatures, then turned it on.
"I'm hoping they will understand the difference in weight and figure out the purpose."
Dread Lady Nathicana
As the elder Keeper speaks, Pacci tries to follow the conversation, generally getting the gist of it as he concentrates, though still, most likely missing the entirety of it.
"Nxuk te oei moud edco dado ev knoclo? Udt cesbot ad mutdojj? A te dek idtohjkudt."
He nods and grins at Oduh, amused and pleased the younger Keeper is so enthusiastic about their equipment and gadgets. But as Kiara, or the being that once was Kiara speaks, he nearly drops the mug of tea he'd just prepared, rushing over to her side.
"God almighty, Kiara ... are you alright? How do you feel? Here, drink this," he rambles, pushing the mug into her hands and watching her worriedly. "And please, please ... don't panic."
[ooc: Still here, though intermittently due to school commitments. Grav belts for everyone, right?]
Zost grins manically as he watches Jon and Wilson throwing themselves over the edge.
Now that's living....
With a wild whoop he turns his own belt on, grabbing the rope and propelling himself over the edge of the ledge.
As Kiara begins to speak, Jalane wishes she knew what the heck everyone was saying.....
((OOC: Okay, for future ease of posting, I'm going to stick translations in red after the encoded statement ^_~))
Bloody Party Crashers!
The black-scaled figure takes the belt, obviously at a loss for what the contraption is for. He makes a surprised noise at the slight lift from the ground, and hastily drops the contraption. The other one shakes his head at his companion, carefully picking the gravbelt up. Obviously the polite one of the bunch, the green-scaled one hands the belt back to Jon, though the expression on his face would indicate some degree of confusion. A third one spirals down from above, backwinging to a neat landing, the moonlight revealing brown and grey scales.
"Xulo foefco rosemo cabo commadwj jadso no vahjk xat unuo xoho?!" (("Have people become like lemmings since we first hid away here?!"))The newcomer declares loudly, obviously exsaperated at the humans' antics.
Meanwhile, up in the Aerie, Luceh shakes her head, ducking into the tunnel and indicating to those who remain in the Aerie to follow her.
"I would assume she knows some other way through the tunnels to the ground entrance." Tsunami notes, trying to process the vocal version of the language seen on the monolith. "Or some way through those stone doorlike objects we saw on the way up here."
Don't panic, he says....
"Huh-wha-?" Kiara fumbles the cup, at something of a loss. Everything just felt... off, out of whack, and the like. The two scaled and winged figures peering curiously at her don't help any. The realization she was stark naked didn't help much either.
"Kiiya-! HENTAI-" She was just short of launching into the 'Offended Anime Female Backhand SMITE o' Doom' when she slips and falls off the cot, landing in a heap on the floor. It takes her a very long moment to register the red tail dangling in front of her face, or the fact that the three-taloned feet seem to respond to her own desire to get right way up. She unsteadily gets to her feet, grabbing a towel from the nearby supply closet. The fact all the color has drained from her face clearly indicates she's aware that... things... are extremely different, and she's trying very hard not to panic. "What... the... f---... happened?" She manages to bite out, the words coming in a high-pitched squeak.
Vheqod and Oduh both bow formally, Vheqod's expression solemn, while Oduh looks like he's trying hard not to grin too widely.
It has been a very long time since there has been a new Keeper of one of the Goddess blades. If you will calm down, we can explain in full, sister in kind. The others come.
Before the sheet-white Kiara can look around in confusion at hearing a voice but not hearing it, Vheqod clears his throat and speaks aloud. "Kxo ekxohj uho semadw, udt fohxufj edso no xulo opfcuadot ke... Kiara ...nuj ak? ...No sud opfcuad ad vicc. Ak xuj rood u loho cedw kamo, udt xajkeho sud ro nuhfot udt vehwekkod walod odeiwx kamo. Fohxufj kxod no sud unubo kxo Octoh udt vadt eik av eih kamo xuj semo ke odkoh kxo nehct uwuad." (("The others are coming, and perhaps once we have explained to... Kiara... was it? ...We can explain in full. It has been a very long time, and history can be warped and forgotten given enough time. Perhaps then we can awake the Elder and find out if our time has come to enter the world again."))
"Good Goddess, now I'm hearing voices." Kiara manages weakly, her legs giving out as she slides heavily to the floor, unconsciously shifting her tail so as not to sit on it. "Pacci, Jalane, Kiranz... I don't s'pose any of you got anything more potent than tea? I think I'm in dire need of a drink. Or to wake up. Whichever is more convienent."
Kiranz has been left very confused by this strange turn of events; strange creatures popping out of the woodwork are not within his experience. A voice in a readily recognisable tongue, however, is welcome, even if it's coming from a retrovirally-engineered Kiara.
"Uh, I think we have coffee somewhere..." he says uncertainly, hunting for the coffee maker.
Dread Lady Nathicana
Pacci grabs the pot he'd put on earlier, taking a small flask from inside his jacket, and adding a liberal dose.
Handing it to Kiara, he gives her a look not quite of pity, but ... close to it. "I told you not to play with that thing," he says under his breath.
"Your sword, Kiara. Somehow, your sword is linked to the Godblade Keepers - these beings you see before you. I'm quite certain they can explain better than any of us. We merely await the arrival of the others."
He snags a blanket and helps tuck it around her, hoping to offer her both physical and emotional comfort at her predicament.
"I'm sorry, Kiara," he says softly.
"Uhhmm, yeah, okay. Crazy bastards. They're gonna wind up as bloody splotches on the ground one day." Karen said, shaking her head.
She thought about going over to the ledge to look over and see what happened to the three jumpers, but her fear of heights told her not to. She turned to see Luceh enter the tunnel.
"Hey, she's got the right idea. If thats a safer way down, I'm all for it." She said as she walked over to her things, gathering them up.
Karen made her way over to the tunnel and followed Luceh in, putting her backpack on her shoulders.
"Woo, lead on dragon person!"
((OOC: Just a quick bump. Just heard from Ceta, who will be posting sometime within the next 24 or so hours to pull out of the story, due to real life eating up NS playtime. After that, we ought to be able to go back to full-speed ahead with the storyline ^_~ While I'm wasting space with an OOC post, here's a quick rundown on who's where:
Team A: Aerie Climb- Current status: Following Luceh to the ground entrance
Team A.5: Aerie Cliff-divers- Current status: On the Valley floor with three of the Keepers
Team B: Catacombs Expedition- Current status: 'Party' in the command center, awaiting the others for massive storytelling to commence
There we go- that ought to help everybody figure out who's where now ^_~))
"Let's head inside - see what the party is all about."
Wilson nodded, shut off his belt, and followed Jon.
Jon pushed the door open to find everyone up. And more of the creatures inside.
"Wilson - it looks like we are not the only ones who have had an interesting time."
Jon stepped back outside past Wilson, who took a seat while he figured out what was happening.
"Get down here everyone! Events are afoot!" Jon yelled into the night. Perhaps they would hear him, perhaps not, but it needed to be done.
Well, I have no real intelligent response planned... and given my writer's block as of late, let's just assume that ol' Guide and Vivaldi do what everyone else is doing and reassemble, eh? I'll jump back in once things pick up, but I don't feel artistically inclined to give this thread CPR right now. ;)
((OOC: Okay, yeah. Assuming that Nita and Sean have been retrieved and are out of the story now... and also assuming a bit of fast-forwarding to get everybody on the ground! =p))
Luceh leads those still up in the Aerie to one of the oddball stone barriers in the tunnel. With a wave of her hand, the stone parts, revealing another dark tunnel. Muttering under her breath, a small ball of white light forms above her upturned palm, and with the humans in tow, she heads into the cave.
It's a long walk, but not altogether unpleasant- the walls are lined with decorative carvings, and the route Luceh is taking is gently downhill. After several long minutes at a brisk pace, the group emerges at the ground entrance. A few minutes later, and everyone has gathered in the command center, now much more crowded with the additional presence of the winged Keepers.
Kiara is huddled in a tight bundle on the cot, her face sheet white in a stark contrast to the red-orange scales, wings, and tail that are visible despite the blanket Pacci's tucked around her. She's shakily sipping from the coffee Pacci spiked for her. Tsunami makes a surprised noise when she sees her partner, and leaps from her perch on Vivaldi's shoulder to glide over everyone to get to her. "Kiara! What in Her name happened to you?! You're-you're-!" The little reploid gawks, at a loss for words.
The Keepers nod in greeting to eachother, the new arrivals gawking at the modern equipment and exchanging excited murmurs among themselves. Oduh seems to take great delight in showing the coffee machine to the new arrivals.
"Everyone's here." Kiara squeaks in a tiny voice. "Can somebody explain now please?"
One of the new arrivals- Vumacetajij, the one with the deep green scales, nods slowly, as if hearing the archaeologist's semi-panicked thoughts. "Adtoot, ak aj kamo veh ud opfcudukaed ke ro walod. Ak xuj rood oujaco u kxeijudt oouhj jadso kxo cujk kamo edo ev kxo Wettojj Rcutoj sxudwot xudtj." (("Indeed, it is time for an explanation to be given. It has been easily a thousand years since the last time one of the Goddess Blades changed hands."))
Oduh pauses in poking at the buttons on the coffee machine and looks up. "Ureik kamo!" (("About time!")) he exclaims.
Dread Lady Nathicana
Pacci looks on quietly, his eyes tight with concern for Kiara. Obviously she wasn't taking it well, though she was making a gallant effort. He nods to the newcomers, indicating with his eyes to go easy on the woman, then with only a little hesitation, feeling awkward, he sits down next to her and puts an arm around her shoulders in a comforting manner.
Poor girl ... never seen her like this. Then again, just how the hell is she spposted to react to such a massive change? So sudden ...
At the older Keeper's words, he nods again, giving Kiara a comradely squeeze 'round her shoulders.
"Yes, please. Tell us the tale."
His fingers twitch to take notes ... and he resists, firmly deciding to remember every word that's said, to the best of his ability.
Uberpost of Story Information!
Kiara is quite warm to the touch, whether or not it is a fever or just natural for the winged Keepers is unknown. The poor woman cuddles up to Pacci, and he can probably feel her shoulder muscles twitching periodically as previously undeveloped nerves and muscle groups fire experimentally. Tsunami sits on the cot opposite Pacci, everything about her stance showing concern for her partner.
Vumacetajij nods slowly. "Ehawaducco, no noho weadw ke nuak ke holouc eihjocloj idkac kxo oeidwcadw xoho nuj sxudwot, ke oujo semmidasukaed, uj nakx kxo sxudwo semoj kxo jfoosx ev jeicj, nxasx bdenj de cudwiuwo ruhhaoh. Xenoloh, tio ke u dimroh ev kxadwj, kxuk fcud nuj uckohot." (("Originally, we were going to wait to reveal ourselves until the youngling here was changed, to ease communication, as with the change comes the speech of souls, which knows no language barrier. However, due to a number of things, that plan was altered."))
Kiara's eyes widen slightly, and she manages to squeak out "Speech of souls? Is that... the- the voices?"
Tsunami glances back and forth between the Keepers and her partner in confusion. "Huh? I didn't make out a word of that."
"Kxo 'jfoosx ev jeicj' aj kxo tahosk semmidasukaed ev kxeiwxk udt omekaed vhem edo madt ke udekxoh. Kxejo kxadwj uho kxo jumo, de mukkoh kxo jfebod cudwiuwo. Ak aj dukihuc ke kxo Boofohj ev kxo Wettojj Rcutoj, kxeiwx u von ekxohj fejjojj ak uj nocc." (("The 'speech of souls' is the direct communication of thought and emotion from one mind to another. Those things are the same, no matter the spoken language. It is natural to the Keepers of the Goddess Blades, though a few others possess it as well.")) Vheqod pipes up from where he stands.
"T-telepathy?" Kiara quickly translates for the others, since apparently she's hearing it in some way she can understand.
"Ad udo sujo, A te dek bden av kxo jkeho aj jkacc bdend, rik u loho cedw kamo uwe, cedw roveho udo ev ij noho rehd, kxo jkeho weoj kxuk kxo Wettojj tojsodtot rhaovco ke Ouhkx udt sxuhwot u feeh jnehtjmakx ke shouko kxo knoclo Wettojj Rcutoj." (("In any case, I do not know if the story is still known, but a very long time ago, long before any of us were born, the story goes that the Goddess descended briefly to Earth and charged a poor swordsmith to create the twelve Goddess Blades.")) Vumacetajij continues, with more than a little wonder in his voice. "Nxuk rosumo ev kxo jnehtjmakx aj u mojkoho olod ke ij, kxeiwx ak aj fhojimot xo xuj rood tout veh giako jemo kamo. Kxo jkeho scuamj kxuk kxo Wettojj Xohjocv kxod rcojjot kxo noufedj nakx Xoh fenoh, ke shouko jectaohj veh Xoh suijo, kxo rucudso roknood kxo vehso ev Sxuej udt kxo vehso ev Ehtoh." (("What became of the swordsmith is a mystery even to us, though it is presumed he has been dead for quite some time. The story claims that the Goddess Herself then blessed the weapons with Her power, to create soldiers for Her cause, the balance between the force of Chaos and the force of Order."))
Kiara dutifully translates, while clinging rather tightly to Pacci for support. The older man probably ends up finding her red tail draped around behind him and across his lap.
"Jectaohj nakx kxo adxohodk sxuej ev ximud vhoo nacc, ook nakx kxo cedw cavojfud ad nxasx ke joo udt idtohjkudt kxo whoukoh fukkohdj ev kxo nehct." (("Soldiers with the inherent chaos of human free will, yet with the long lifespan in which to see and understand the greater patterns of the world."))
Vumacetajij gestures to Oduh and Luceh. "Nakx kxo opsofkaed ev Kiara, kxojo kne uho kxo oeidwojk ev ij, zijk idtoh kne kxeijudt oouhj ect." (("With the exception of Kiara, these two are the youngest of us, just under two thousand years old."))
Vheqod takes over the storytelling from there, his tone soft. "Kxejo jbaccot ad kxo Uhkj sud kuf adke kxo fenoh ev kxojo noufedj. Ak aj u whouk fenoh, udt nuj kxo suijo ev mudo whouk omfahoj hajadw udt vuccadw. Eloh kamo kxeiwx, kxo cukodk fenoh ev kxo Wettojj Rcutoj sxudwoj kxo cavovcumo ev kxo naoctoh. Olod dehmucco, kxoho uho opumfcoj ev kxo cavovcumo sxudwadw kxo fxojasuc vehm ev kxo lojjoc ak rihdj ad. Kxo omrakkohot celoh, uwadw roveho xoh kamo aj edo jisx opumfco." (("Those skilled in the Arts can tap into the power of these weapons. It is a great power, and was the cause of many great empires rising and falling. Over time though, the latent power of the Goddess Blades changes the lifeflame of the wielder. Even normally, there are examples of the lifeflame changing the physical form of the vessel it burns in. The embittered lover, aging before her time is one such example."))
"You mean this-" Kiara's voice cracks on her sentence and she points over one shoulder at the wings adorning her back. "-is because I've been using that-" She gestures wildly at the sword on the table. "-for a few years?!"
Oduh nods, leaning easily on his own weapon. "Ak edco keeb oei jap fujjadwj ev kxo joujedj... ak keeb mo jajkoh vavkood. A kxadb ak'j rosuijo kxo rcuto xutd'k rood xoct ro udoedo ad u loho cedw kamo." (("It only took you six passings of the seasons... it took my sister fifteen. I think it's because the blade hadn't been held by anyone in a very long time."))
Vheqod shoots Oduh a look for interrupting, and continues. "Ad udo olodk, edso kxo sxudwo aj muto, kxo naoctoh wuadj whoukoh fenoh ad kxo Uhkj, rik ad opsxudwo aj reidt ke kxo noufed. Kxo cejj ev kxo jneht aj toukx ke ij, uj ak nuj ke xam." (("In any event, once the change is made, the wielder gains greater power in the Arts, but in exchange is bound to the weapon. The loss of the sword is death to us, as it was to him.")) He motions to the skeleton laid out on one of the tables. "Veh mudo oouhj no noho nehjxaffot udt holacot, waladw eih jkhodwkx ke mudo suijoj ed u nxam. Rik olodkiucco kxo Octoh jun kxuk eih sedkadiot adkohvohudso neict edco suijo kxo cudt ke jkuo sedjkudkco ad nuh, udt xo sedladsot ij ke xato eihjocloj unuo xoho idkac kxo shakohau ev xaj lajaed noho mok." (("For many years we were worshipped and reviled, giving our strength to many causes on a whim. But eventually the Elder saw that our continued interferance would only cause the land to stay constantly in war, and he convinced us to hide ourselves away here until the criteria of his vision were met."))
Umuouha interrupts now, a slight scowl on his face. "Kxeiwx kxo Octoh ned'k ocurehuko. Ucc xo xuj kect ij aj kxuk nxod kxo 'Sxact ev kxo Xoulodj', mohwadw eih ojjodso nakx jkooc, aj rehd, udt nxod kxo Sxuej Udwoc hajoj, kxuk no nacc semo eik ev xatadw udt evvoh eih jkhodwkx ke nxe eh nxukoloh kxaj 'sxuej udwoc' aj!" (("Though the Elder won't elaborate. All he has told us is that when the 'Child of the Heavens', merging our essence with steel, is born, and when the Chaos Angel rises, that we will come out of hiding and offer our strength to who or whatever this 'chaos angel' is!"))
The other Keepers all give Umuouha dirty looks, while Vumacetajij, in a display of extreme patience, continues. "No xulo cedw rood sik evv vhem kxo eikjato nehct. Fohxufj av kxo Octoh xuj unebod, no sud jfoub nakx xam udt vadt eik av ak aj adtoot eih kamo ke hozead kxo nehct." (("We have long been cut off from the outside world. Perhaps if the Elder has awoken, we can speak with him and find out if it is indeed our time to rejoin the world."))
Kiara nods numbly. "I can't just stay here-!" She squeaks. Given the way Oduh and Luceh are watching her, it's safe to assume that the youngest of the Keepers are silently giving their reassurances to the understandably freaked out woman.
"Whoa..." Tsunami manages to comment intelligently when the story is finished.
"Who or what is this "Elder"?" Kiranz asked, somewhat uneasily; twelve strange beings was bad enough, without some mysterious even stranger creature added to the mix.
Vumacetajij looks to Kiara for translation. Whatever silent communication is going on is obviously keeping the poor girl in an impressively high-strung state. The green-scaled Keeper nods slightly after a moment, turning to address Kiranz. "Kxo Octoh aj edo ev ij, ro kxo dumo ev Najoedo. Xo aj kxo jkhedwojk ev kxo Boofohj ev kxo Wettojj Rcutoj, udt loho najo." (("The Elder is one of us, by the name of Najoedo. He is the strongest of the Keepers of the Goddess Blades, and very wise."))
Kiara translates, her voice still in a rather high pitch from hysterics barely kept in check. "He says the Elder is... really old, and wise, and stuff. Oh Goddess..." She's still practically glued to Pacci, apparently clinging to the most fatherly of the team like a drowning person clings to a floating bit of wood.
Tsunami hops up to her usual perch on Kiara's shoulder, draping one small wing across her friend's shoulder in a show of support. "It'll work out somehow, Kiara. It's got to..." I hope... She notes silently to herself.
Karen sat quietly listening to Kiara finish translating what the others were saying.
"'if the Elder has awoken'? What's that supposed to mean? Why wouldn't he be awake?" she asked, looking to Kiara to translate.
During the whole of the story, Guide is consistently whispering the translation back to Dr. Vivaldi. Vivaldi seems rather taken aback by the story, shaking his head slowly.
Oh, Great Camofrog... he mutters. I thought they said there WOULDN'T be rampaging goddesses and ancient critters of doom...
Guide stands up, glowing a light green colour--apparently a shade akin to curiosity. "Nxoho teoj kxo Octoh hojk den? Aj xo unubo den? Av je, xen sud no vadt xam?" ("Where does the Elder rest now? Is he awake now? If so, how can we find him?")
Vumacetajij nods slowly at the barrage of questions. Kiara silently translates to the Keeper.
"No xulo rood xattod unuo ad kxaj luccoo veh heiwxco kne kxeijudt oouhj. Misx ev kxuk kamo xuj rood jfodk ad rehotem, coutadw ke kxo suhladwj ad kxo sulohdj, eh jcoof. Uj kxo Octoh xuj dek rojfebod udo ev ij, ak aj juvo ke ujjimo xo jcoofj jkacc ad xaj sxumroh." (("We have been hidden away in this valley for roughly two thousand years. Much of that time has been spent in boredom, leading to the carvings in the caverns, or sleep. As the Elder has not bespoken any of us, it is safe to assume he sleeps still in his chamber."))
((OOC: And if I recall correctly, Slag, I only said there would be no rampaging Goddesses =p Nothing about ancient critters!))
((OOC: And if I recall correctly, Slag, I only said there would be no rampaging Goddesses =p Nothing about ancient critters!))
(OOC: And if I recall correctly, poor Remm has been severely traumatized and I'm playing him as such, so bite my shiny metal ass! Equals Pee)
Guide nods slowly, but turns a more orange colour--obviously, the answer was not what he wanted. "Kxuk muo nocc ro, rik nxoho aj kxaj sxumroh? Sud no mook kxo Octoh?" ("That may well be, but where is this chamber? Can we meet the Elder?")
Dread Lady Nathicana
He listens quietly, letting Kiara snuggle as close as she needs, hugging back, and patting her in what he hopes is a comforting manner.
Il Dio, Kiara ... what are you going to do, child? And ... voices? Telepathy, as she says, perhaps ... unsure. By the gods, this just gets more and more ... ethereal. Damn what a group of people to get mixed in with. Just hope Kiara will come through this alright.
The myth of the Goddess Blades intrigues him, having studied such things a lot of his life. Still, he'd always treated it as just that - myth. And here he was faced with a group of things straight out of the pages of those sorts of stories. It still boggled his mind as much as intrigued it.
At Kiranz' question he too perks up, arching a brow, then nodding at the subsequent questions and answers. He leans his head in against Kiara's whispering softly.
"Hang in there, Kiara. We're all here for you."
Oduh slaps a fist in his other palm. "Kxo Octoh'j sxumroh aj ad kxo sulohdj. U rak toof ad kxo sulohdj, rik dekxadw ud xeih eh kne ev nucbadw sud'k vap!" (("The Elder's chamber is in the caverns. A bit deep in the caverns, but nothing an hour or two of walking can't fix!"))
Kiara translates for the not-so-language savvy, and saving the others the trouble by asking if they'll take everybody to meet the Elder.
Vumacetajij nods. "Fohxufj semo mehdadw. Edo aj adluhaurco kahot uvkoh mubadw kxo sxudwo, ak aj rojk veh olohoedo ke hojk. Vhem nxuk A xulo xouht, oei xulo ucc xut u hukxoh kahadw tuo." (("Perhaps come morning. One is invariably tired after making the change, it is best for everyone to rest. From what I have heard, you have all had a rather tiring day."))
Kiara translates, confirming the Keeper's statement with an unintentional yawn. Tsunami nods. "I think we've had enough shocks for one night, it might be a good idea to finish the night and start in the morning..." The little dragon looks at the clock. "... Or perhaps in the early afternoon."
"I do feel completely exhausted." Kiara shakily admits. The little reploid dragon eyes her partner.
"Well, yes, hysterics, extremes of shock, and the like do tend to wipe a person out." Tsunami notes, puffing up with authority. "The rest of you do as you like, but it's bedtime for Kiara! On your feet, woman, the least you can do is walk to yer own bedroom! Need to get your balance anyway, might as well start now!" Amazingly, the tiny blue dragon gets Kiara to release her hold on Pacci, and the woman shakily gets to her feet and is shooed from the room, albeit slowly and very shakily.
After the pair have exited, the Keepers exchange boggled glances. "Kxo jkhudwo cakkco rcio shoukiho aj loho ujjohkalo." (("The strange little blue creature is very assertive.")) Oduh notes lamely.
"Ah yes, sleep. That's good, I suppose," Kiranz said. Though I don't know if I'm going to get any tonight. But the sooner we deal with this "Elder" the better, I suppose.
Dread Lady Nathicana
Pacci lets Kiara go, watching with concern as she and Tsunami leave the room.
"Aye, 'tis best if we get what rest we can." He pauses, looking towards the Keepers. "Jxeict oei Boofohj doot jxockoh veh kxo dawxk, fcoujo jkuo. Oei uho nocsemo xoho." ((Should you Keepers need shelter for the night, please stay. You are welcome here.))
He shrugs on his coat, pausing long enough to clean up his mess he's made with the food and all. He heads to the door, pausing to turn and address the Keepers.
"Udt ooj, Kjiduma aj giako ... adkodjo uk kamoj. Udoedo suho ke zead mo?" ((And yes, Tsunami is quite ... intense at times. Anyone care to join me?"))
Vumacetajij bows formally. "No te dek hogiaho misx jcoof, rik kxudb oei veh evvohadw oeih jxockoh. A rocaolo mejk ev ij nacc hokihd ke eih end sxumrohj veh kxo homuadtoh ev kxo dawxk." (("We do not require much sleep, but thank you for offering your shelter. I believe most of us will return to our own chambers for the remainder of the night."))
Vheqod nods agreement with the green-scaled Keeper. "Kiara sud sedkusk ij nxod dopk jxo nuboj. Tajkudso aj de ruhhaoh ke kxo jfoosx ev jeicj." (("Kiara can contact us when next she wakes. Distance is no barrier to the speech of souls."))
Oduh, obviously too excited to be doing much resting, period, shakes his head. "Uho oei battadw? Kxoho'j je misx ureik kxo eikjato nehct kxuk kxojo foefco bden! Av ak'j uchawxk, A neict celo ke jfoub vihkxoh ureik ak!" (("Are you kidding? There's so much about the outside world that these people know! If it's alright, I would love to speak further about it!")) The copper-scaled Keeper hops lithely to his feet, talons clacking on the hard floor. "Im.... av kxuk'j uchawxk nakx oei, jah." (("Um.... if that's alright with you, sir.")) He adds sheepishly.
Dread Lady Nathicana
Pacci blinks in surprise at having one of these ancient creatures address him so.
"Why ah ... o ... of course! Er, that is to say, um ... " He casts about for the proper (or at least what he thought might pass for) words, his mouth moving quietly, then straightens up with a nod of satisfaction.
"Ooj, fcoujo. A neict cabo kxuk," "Yes, please. I would like that," he says with a genunie smile, stiffling a bit of a grin.
Well THIS should prove interesting ...
Oduh hops up and down briefly with a happy noise, slinging his sword into its carrysling across his back. "Cok'j we kxod! A sud'k olod kxadb ev nxoho ke jkuhk!" (("Let's go then! I can't even think of where to start!"))
The other Keepers file out of the room, though Luceh remains, looking at all the unfamiliar things.
(OOC: Because I'm just too damn tired and dosed to think of anything else...)
Vivaldi and Guide return in silence to their chambers and sleep--it's been a long day.
Dread Lady Nathicana
"Whouk - semo nakx mo. Muoro oei neict cabo ke kho udt couhd u rak ev eih cudwiuwo? Udt A xulo giako u von kxadwj veh oei ke ceeb uk rusb ad mo surad. A xefo ke couhd meho vhem oei kee." (( Great - come with me. Maybe you would like to try and learn a bit of our language? And I have quite a few things for you to look at back in my cabin. I hope to learn more from you too.))
And with that, Pacci heads back to his cabin, feeling tired, yet oddly restless at the same time.
I hope Kiara is going to be alright. La vigilanza del dio di maggio sopra e la protegge.
((OOC: I apologize profusely for slackng here. I'll try to kick this into gear again ^_^;;))
Thankfully, the remainder of the night passes uneventfully, and Pacci gets an enthusiastic earful about Oduh's life as one of the Keepers, full of wars, empires, lost arts, and all sorts of stuff. The copper-scaled Keeper listens as much as he talks, thirsty for information about the outside world. All in all, a very profitable night so far as exchange of knowledge goes.
Sunrise comes and goes, and the morning is well advanced before anybody drags themselves out of bed to the command center. Vumacetajij and Luceh are already there and have thoughtfully brought what is most likely some sort of traditional breakfast meal for everyone.
Kiara awakens to Tsunami standing on her stomach, leaning over and nagging to get up.
"Oog.... las'night wasn't a dream, huh?" Kiara manages to comment intelligently to the reploid dragon.
"No, if what you're asking about is what I think you are, no, it wasn't a dream, and if you don't at least roll over soon, you're probably going to get a wing cramp." Tsunami notes dryly.
"Aw, maaaaaaaaaan." Kiara groans, disentangling herself from her bedsheets, a task that proves substantially more difficult than usual. "What the hell is everybody gonna think? S'pretty clear it can't be reversed... those other guys are proof of that!" She gripes as she goes to get dressed- an activity that rapidly degenerates into what can be best described as a comedic display of flailing limbs, colorful swearing, and more than a few crashes.
"Um... Kiara, I suspect that there's a very good reason those other Keepers prefer to go au naturale." Tsunami watches the mess. At least it's diverting her attention from the main fact that everything as she knows it has been turned on its ear.
"I will NOT leave this room in nothing but my birthday suit!!" Kiara shrieks, storming to where her sword -accursed thing- was propped against the door. With a malicious growl, Kiara commences a violent attack on her wardrobe.
Some time later, Kiara and Tsunami join the others, Kiara dressed quite awkwardly in a pair of jeans that have been cut off at the knee and with a hole hacked in the back for her tail, and a baggy t-shirt that has seen similiar treatment. She's also got the sling for her sword worked across her back so as not to interfere with her wings- an apparatus that's she's still not accustomed to, given she manages to bang them both on the doorframe, stumble, and faceplant in front of everybody with a loud curse.
"Um... morning, everybody." Tsunami notes lamely.
Jon hid the giggles - it was funny to see the lengths she had gone to to keep a link to her humanity. He keep eating though. Technically it was lunch, but he was still enjoying pancakes and OJ.
Wilson had not yet appeared, but he had mentioned he had needed to make a journal entry before going to bed. Hopefully he would be up shortly.
'Note to self - don't date just any strange sword you find. Always meet the parents.' he thought as he finished his meal and wiped his face.
"S'not funny!" Kiara declares indignantly to the floor before she gets back to her feet. Luceh has the decency to try and hide a smile, but Oduh bursts into a fit of the giggles, earning him a pointed glare from Kiara.
"A ted'k moud udo tajhojfosk, rik kxuk'j opuskco xen A nuj roveho A couhdot mo rucudso!" (("I don't mean any disrespect, but that's exactly how I was before I learned my balance!"))
Pointedly ignoring the copper-scaled Keeper, Kiara marches over to the table to acquire some food. Goddess only knew her stomach was growling loud enough. Tsunami joins the group, gliding to a neat landing on the back of a chair. "I spent most of the night trying to analyze the Monolith, what with all this new information. I'm still stuck. Obviously the script's references to guardians and keepers of blades refer to these guys-" She nods in the direction of the three Keepers who came back down from the caverns. "As for their 'Chaos Angel', no idea, and the references to a false queen and an ancient war could mean any number of events- the entire spectrum from the Outsets incident to the Arpean Dividing War. I'm also clueless as to what 'their essence' is, or what the 'child of the heavens' could be. I also cross-referenced some other data on myths that might be relevant, mostly dealing with the epic story 'The Journeys of the Far-Searcher'. At this point, I honestly would not be surprised if the Far-Searcher from the story has something to do with these guys."
"Mm." Kiara intelligently comments through a mouthful of pancake.
"What's this "Far-Searcher?" Kiranz asked. Don't tell me more strange creatures are going to turn up.
"And you" - he turned to Oduh - "What's this "Chaos Angel" and the "child of the heavens"? For that matter, how to we reverse whatever happened to Kiara?"
He glared, drinking coffee like water, barely noticing the taste or the heat.
Oduh pauses in his chuckling, expression turning somewhat more solemn after Kiara presumably telepathically translates. "A... te dek bden. Dedo ev ij bden- kxo Octoh aj kxo edo nxe shuvkot kxuk fhefxojo uvkoh xo hokihdot vhem xaj cedw facwhamuwo. Xo xuj dek kect udo ev ij nxuk ak moudj. Udt jisx uj no bden, kxoho aj de nuo ke holohjo kxo Sxudwo. Kxo edco efkaed aj ke utufk, eh ke fohajx." (("I... do not know. None of us know- the Elder is the one who crafted that prophesy after he returned from his long pilgrimage. He has not told any of us what it means. And such as we know, there is no way to reverse the Change. The only option is to adapt, or to perish."))
Upon his answer being translated, Tsunami cocks her head to one side- the draconic equivilent to raising an eyebrow. "Well, I imagine that likely does tie into it." She straightens, a stance that implies a teacher about to lecture, despite her diminutive height, and continues. "The Journey of the Far-Searcher is a collection of myths, much like the Greek Iliad. The main character is described in some of the myths in a way that, at least to me, implies one of these guys-" Tsunami nods at the Keepers. "-while in other parts of the story, the Far-Searcher is described as a great dragon, known in some of the ancient tongues as 'Kxo Jboceht', or 'The Skylord'. The stories cover several different events, including the founding of the first Pegasii Dynasty. The Far-Searcher is so called because most of the tales consist of stories of a long journey for some inner enlightenment. The stories tell of the Far-Searcher finding a tribe of people who lived underground, ones living in the clouds... hell, I suspect more than one of the stories actually deals with Menelmacar, since they've been around like, forever."
Kiara nods, looking up from her heaped plate, focusing more on the explanation than on Oduh's confirmation of what she knew all along. "'The Kingdom of the Trees', I think is the one yer thinking of, Tsu."
"Fatal, huh?" Kiranz stares suspiciously at his bandaged hands, as if they're about to sprout scales.
Hearing the bit about the "Skylord", he mutters "Now that I do not want to believe" in Sekhel, followed by, quieter, "Great Ruki, Lord of the Skies, to you I commend this soul..."
"What's all that mean?" someone asks curiously.
"It's part of an old funeral rite I learned in Training, actually," Kiranz replied. "The later dynasties of the First Dominion worshipped a god known as Ruki, the Lord of the Skies. Tsalin I himself apparently worshipped the Elentári Sirithil. The eerie thing is, though, that Ruki was served by dragonlike creatures called kash'ha. They were the national animal of the early Commonwealth under Kail I and Kail II."
Jon listed raptly to the history lesson - mythology was a favorite, though he hadn't done much more than read up on it. Mars didn't have a lot of the local myths, being settled directly by advanced nations.
Wilson finally plowed in, and watched Kiara with some interest before pouring a large cup of coffee and piling up some pancakes with jam.
"So what's the word this morning?" he asked Jon.
"Seems as though the whole thing revolves around dragons somehow - perhaps these things are created by the swords as guardians for them, or perhaps agents of some kind. I'm still sorting through it really."
Dr. Vivaldi is unusually quiet, his denim jacket as dusty as his hair and face as he listens to further talk about legends, myths, fallen deities, and angels. He contentedly shoves a whole corn muffin into his mouth, nodding slowly, his eyes distant and slightly glazed over, as if to imply, "Oh, Great Camofrog, has this ever been a long couple of months..."
Guide is, as usual, a bit more cool. He eats very little, snarfing up a little bit of Vivaldi's extra rations as he sits on his hind legs and quietly grooms himself. He listens with special interest to the stories of the Far-Searcher and turns bright pink at the mention of the tribes "living underground." Deciding instead to think nothing of it, he regains his colour.
"Perhaps these questions are best answered by the Elder," he says, translating to the Keeper tongue after each sentence. "I believe we should set out after we have eaten."
Karen finally dragged herself out of bed and down to the command center to join the rest of the group. She made her way over to the food and filled up a plate, grabbing some juice on her way over to a table.
"Mornin' everyone, whatcha all talkin about?" she asked, looking around at the group as she sat down.
"Very strange..." Tsunami notes after Kiranz's brief explanation. "But yes, after everybody's eaten, let's go meet this Elder."
Kiara sighs and nods. "I'm so gonna need to start seeing a shrink after this is all over with."
"Less chatter, more eating. We're burning daylight here, and I for one would love to know what all this Elder guy knows." Tsunami hops back and forth on the table briefly. "If he's as old as these guys claim, can you even begin to fathom the knowledge he must possess?" The little dragon turns to Guide at his comment. "D'ya think the Brethren might have some recollection of a dragonlike visitor? Maybe before the place was sealed up?"
"According to these guys," Kiara interrupts. "they've been hiding out and napping away here since these two were changed, which they said was some 2,000 years ago. That definately predates the Outsets being sealed up, dunno about predating the existance of the two tribes though. An' I can't think of anybody else who lived underground more than 2,000 years back."
"In any case, hurry up, Kiara! Getting all shell-shocked and useless won't help anybody! Do you think the Queen got where she is by sitting in shock at a change forced on her? Buck up, let's tackle this thing head on. Think of the career advancement!"
Kiara stares at the little blue dragon, her words a verbal slap upside the head. "..... Good Goddess, Tsu, I hate it when yer right." She finishes her plateful and gets up, albeit a tad awkwardly. "Ready when everybody else is."
"Edo utludkuwo aj kxuk kxo Boofohj ev kxo Wettojj Rcutoj sud vco giako nocc." (("One advantage is that the Keepers of the Goddess Blades can fly quite well.")) Oduh notes with a fanged grin, fluttering his wings for emphasis. Kiara shoots a dirty look at the Keeper.
"Yeah, and YOU can be the hotshot to teach me!" She retorts, adjusting the sling across her back.
Dread Lady Nathicana
Pacci quietly worked on his breakfast, listening to the conversation, chuckling softly at the continued enthusiasm of the Keepers, and watching Kiara carefully. He stifled a yawn on more than one occasion. Though he'd enjoyed the late night chatter and Oduh's company immensely, he couldn't help but feel he was getting too old for all this.
Watching Guide and listening to the talk of the Outsets, his mind wandered, thinking back to Esmerelda and the last time he'd seen her, at the Hall in the SLAGLands. His look turned distant, perhaps slightly wistful as he sipped his morning tea.
"Una visione di perfezione, è," he murmured softly.
Still, at the mention of heading out, he nodded, taking a last bite of breakfast then cleaned up his plate, assisting with putting things away. "Yes, of course. Excellent idea, that. Must," he paused, yawning. "Pardon. Must pursue this track. I'm ah ... yes, well. Ready when you are."
OOC: I'd like to RP but there is no way I will read all that and follow it.
OOC: I'd like to RP but there is no way I will read all that and follow it.
((OOC: Aye, and it's a bit late to start bringing new players into the storyline ^^; Sorry =) ))
Once everybody has finished eating, Oduh and Luceh lead the party to the ground entrance. A glance at the cliffs reveals one or two of the others up in the Aerie, and Vumacetajij leaves the group after a hasty bow, leaping into the air and flapping rapidly to gain altitude before hitting an early afternoon thermal and gliding the rest of the way to the upper entrance.
Sister in kind, according to the others, the Elder sleeps still. However perhaps he will wake when you and your friends arrive. If not, I am certain we can wake him.
Kiara rubs her head with a groan. "Oi... This telepathic crap is gonna take getting used to." She mutters under her breath before relaying the message to the rest of the group. She stumbles quite often on the trek to the cavern entrance, getting increasingly inventive with her cursing each time. At a smart remark from Tsunami, she watches how the other two Keepers place their feet, and tries to mimic it, though she continues to voice frustration, even as her balance improves.
Dread Lady Nathicana
Pacci hiked along with the rest, feeling once more the creaking of joints that reminded him he was, despite being in good health, no spring chicken. Muttering quietly under his breath, he buckled in, head often down, trudging along.
Oi, if I could but take wing as well, by damned I would ...
He watches Kiara though, as he is able, his expression one of concern, though he tries not to let her see it. Strong-willed woman as she is, he doubts very much she'd care for such a public display.
And she is strong. She'll weather this fine, once she's able to better wrap her head around the idea. Still ... a pity things had to change in such a way, with so little warning.
Kiranz struggled along behind Pacci, sweltering in his heavy coat despite the brisk breeze off the mountains. There were few opportunities for exercise in Tsaraine, and he was being reminded of that with every step.
"How ... much ... longer?" he gasped. "My ... legs are stuffed ... after yesterday's walking."
I think after this I'm going to go and classify Sche II pottery in a museum somewhere. Pottery doesn't involve ancient creatures who blithely break the laws of physics.
After a considerable trek through the tunnels, Oduh stops at a stone barrier, much like the ones encountered elsewhere in the tunnels, only on a far more massive scale.
"Rooedt xoho aj kxo Octoh'j sxumroh... xaj uffouhudso muo.. ux... ro jemonxuk jkuhkcadw- xo aj misx ectoh kxud kxo hojk ev ij, udt loho najo." (("Beyond here is the Elder's chamber... his appearance may.. ah... be somewhat startling- he is much older than the rest of us, and very wise."))
"Just get on with it already." Kiara gripes, concentrating briefly and pulling the stone barrier down with hardly a thought. The two Keepers accompanying the group exchange surprised glances, and quickly dart into the room ahead of the dig team.
The room is quite massive, far larger than one would have thought possible underneath the mountain, sunlight filtered and refracted down through a myriad of tunnels into the room, mostly lined with milky crystals. Most of the floor space, however, proves to be occupied by a massive form lying curled loosely on the crystal surface, long tail coiled among some of the taller crystals, massive head crested with a small bladelike horn resting atop large forepaws, vast wings tucked neatly against graceful back ridges, the entire thing's form covered in pale white scales that very nearly blend with the surroundings. With a gutteral grumble, a large pair of blackish-blue eyes fix on the arriving group.
Tsunami gasps, very nearly falling from her perch atop Kiara's shoulder, the woman herself coming to a dead halt in slack-jawed shock at the serpentine form regarding the group calmly, almost exuding an aura of vast age.
"Octoh Najoedo, kxoho aj u don Boofoh ev edo ev kxo Wettojj Rcutoj, udt kxejo nakx mudo giojkaedj kxuk doot udjnohadw." (("Elder Najoedo, there is a new Keeper of one of the Goddess Blades, and those with many questions that need answering.")) Luceh intones, half-bowing in greeting before the massive creature.
Dr. Vivaldi is speechless. The man who witnessed the childbearing of Mother--quite possibly the most grotesque sight in the history of anything--is speechless at the sight of the great dragon. His jaw flaps agape as he desperately seeks to force tongue to roof of mouth, to force air in the form of verbs.
"Gah." That's the best he can do. Sad, no?
Guide, as usual, steps forward and takes the initiative, his glow an inquisitve pink. The glow emits warmth, an air of friendliness in the darkness of the caverns. He speaks in the ancient language, translating back to his friends as he does.
"Good day to you, Oh Wise Elder," he says, straightening his front paws in front of him and lowering his head in an attempt at a bow. "I am known as Guide. We have many questions for you, and I am certain that you have much to teach us. I suppose the best way to start is thusly... what are you?"
Karen followed behind everyone through the tunnels and into the Elder's room. As she entered her attention was immediately focused upon the massive creature that occupied to the room.
"Holy shit... he's huge." she whispered to herself as she stood there, looking at the elder.
Karen took a few more steps into the room and looked around at everything before returning to attention to the Elder. She thought about taking her camera out to get a picture of him, but decided against it, instead pulling out her notebook. She stepped back near the entrance and started to scribble out a sketch of the Elder in her book, along with some sketches of the room, making little notes next to them as she worked.
Dread Lady Nathicana
"Santa Maria, madre del dio... un drago," he murmured under his breath, his eyes wide as he surveyed the scene.
More mythology, springing up out of the ground. But this ... this was a stretch even for him. Somehow, humaniform dragons hadn't been as much so in comparison to what could, in his mind, only be called a dragon. Even he was struck with a feeling of reverence and awe, bowing as well, out of respect ... and no small amount of fear.
They've all been quite decent folk so far, after all. But my god, is that what Kiara will eventually turn to? No humanity left?
Such thoughts, for some reason, did not sit well.
The great dragon stretches and yawns- revealing fangs as long as a man's arm- and regards the group for a moment, obviously in deep thought.
"Xefo jcoofj jkacc, A xefo?" (("Xefo sleeps still, I hope?"))The dragon intones in a deep, rough voice, eyeing Oduh and Luceh, who both nod.
"Who's Xefo?" Kiara raises an eyebrow, finally finding where her voice ran off to.
The dragon lifts his massive head slightly, speaking carefully, voice thick with an archaic accent. "Xefo is the mad one, whom has slept here."
"Y-you can speak English?!" Tsunami yelps, having found her voice as well. The dragon doesn't acknowledge, instead surveying the rest of the group.
"The long war underground has ended, has it?" The dragon tilts his head slightly, addressing Guide. He then eyes Kiranz for a very long moment, before speaking in perfect Sekhel, "What questions bring people to this remote place, and wakefulness to the Keepers?"
"Huh-?" Kiara looks back and forth in confusion. "I didn't understand a word of that."
Kiranz's eyes widened in suprise, but he bowed politely to the dragon.
"It's Sekhel, the Tsarainese tongue," he whispered to Kiara. Then, turning back to the Elder, he said, in formal Sekhel of the court of the First Dominion,
"Curiosity, Skylord, as is always the case with my kind, I fear. It created chaos aeons ago when the Kash'ea were born, or so they say, and I fear it may be doing so again now, as it has done through all the turnings of the world."
Chaos was anathema to the orderly Tsarainese, of course, and thus so too was the curiosity that, according to Rukine myth, had first begotten it.
Division Seven might be, by nature of it's duties, exempt from most of that cultural phobia, but the desire to make certain that progress ran in time with order still ran strong in Kiranz's blood.
Am completely lost after abandoning this thread for so long. If someone were to be so good as to provide a brief rundown on what's happened in the last 2-3 pages I really would be most appreciative.
I suppose I can still resume my characters?
~The neurotic, forgetful player behind Anhierarch]
((OOC: No problem summarizing =) As of where you last posted, Kiara's... not a whole lot calmer, but she's not in hysterics or anything. Storytelling has been in abundance, and long story short, using one of those swords, the so-called "Goddess Blades", ultimately changes the form of the wielder to the half-dragon looking form Kiara's now sporting. The conversation mentioned the "Elder", and it was decided shortly thereafter that "Hey, maybe he can answer all our questions, let's go see him!" Everybody went to bed and slept... okay, except for Pacci and Oduh, they stayed up all night talking.
In the morning, there was some comic relief in the fact that the simple of matter of getting dressed is a lot more difficult with a tail and two wings thrown into the equation. Everyone got a bit of a mythology lesson from Tsunami, who mentioned she'd cross-referenced stuff that might relate to the Keepers, mostly coming up with the collection of myths known as "The Journeys of the Far-Searcher". After that, the group was led back into the caverns to go see the Elder, who, apparently, is a rather large white dragon who knows multiple languages.
And that's where things stand at the moment, Anhierarch =) Of course you're welcome to resume your characters! ^_~ ))
Zost whispers in Gregnig's ear. He knows she hates that, and that's precisely why he does it.
"Did I just hear that.... dragon speak English!"
She scowls in turn.
"Zost, how many times have I told you not to do that?"
"36. See? I remembered."
Hastily shushing Zost with a wave of her hand, she turns to listen to the magnifcent creature. Zost observes intently as well, his daily quota of mischief fulfilled.
Guide turns bright orange, giving off an aura that some would equate to shock. This time, it is Vivaldi who speaks, nervously stepping forward, raising his index finger as if he is pointing out a fact exclusive only to him.
"Yes, we put an end to it not two months ago," he says, smiling nervously. "And, of course, the two Tribes are united as one now under the banner of the rejoined goddess, Esmerelda."
Guide looks back at Vivaldi, his shade turning to yellow, then to green--a friendly, almost smiling shade. He turns back to the dragon.
"Yes... but how do you know this?" he asks. "Have you been to the Outsets before?"
The dragon shifts, half stretching massive wing pinions obviously stiff from long disuse, with a gutteral rumble that was probably the creature's closest equivilent to a chuckle. "That would likely be what has awakened everyone then. We are... very sensitive... to the pulse of the lifeflame of the world."
He looks over the group again- obviously in no great rush. "I know not the name, Brethren Guide, but if it is the place where two tribes fought for supremacy under the guidance of a being by the name Esmerelda, then yes, I was there briefly, once." He chuckles again. "A very, very long time ago. But I digress. I am Najoedo, eldest of the Keepers. As for what I am... it is something of a tale in of itself, but the short version is that, as the blades shape the Keepers, further use of the Arts over a very long time shapes the wielder further. One does not play with the greater energies of the world without consequence."
Kiara slides to the floor with a dull thump. "Good Goddess..."
"If my present form is making you ill at ease, I can shift to something... less intimidating. This form is merely natural to me now." The Elder looks around. "After all, I was brought up to respect the wishes of one's guests." Another chuckle. "Even if that was many thousands of years ago."
Dread Lady Nathicana
Oh dear ...
Pacci rushes to Kiara as she slumps, wincing as he arrives too late to entirely break her fall. He cradles her gently, watching her with a concerned, fatherly air, speaking quiet words of comfort in his native tongue. He gently taps her cheek with his fingertips, then softly flicks some water drops from his canteen across her face, hoping to bring her back to wakefulness.
"Kiara ... come on now, woman. You're stronger than this ..."
Over his shoulder, he replies to the large dragon.
"Well met, Najoedo. I am Leandro Pacci, Minister of Science for the Dominion of the Dread Lady Nathicana - pleased to meet you, and ah, damnably curious as to your origins, as you've hinted at possibly sharing the tale. I myself, while ah ... yes, quite overawed shall we say, at your form, feel no er ... discomfort at it perse. Your kin have been most pleasant, after all. I see no problems here."
Kiara snaps out of her brief stunned state with a half-mumbled. "I'm okay... I think."
Tsunami, feeling even tinier than usual in the presence of the massive dragon, flies into the air so that she's more visible. "Thousands of years?! They said the youngest were these guys-" She nods her head toward Oduh and Luceh. "- and that they're some 2,000 years old! Just... how old ARE you?"
The Elder chuckles. "Unless I have miscounted, approximately five times that span of time." He speaks slowly, deliberating the use of each word, and likely having to make up for the modern accent. "Of all the Goddess Blades, the one that I am bound to is the only one that has never once changed hands. The others have all passed through multiple wielders."
Dread Lady Nathicana
Blinking at that last revelation, Pacci ponders for a moment, the wheels turning. He starts to say something a couple of times, rethinks, quiets, then finally lets it out.
"That is rather ... impressive," he says carefully. "However, and more to the point, now that you've all awakened, what exactly do you plan on doing? How will this affect the peoples and government of this land? That is, ah ... well ... you can't expect this to all go unnoticed. There will be questions, and no small concern, I'd imagine."
He looks over the massive form, swallowing hard, reaching for his canteen to whet his lips while he fumbles for the words.
"The ah ... prophecy we translated seems to point to conflicts and such." He clears his throat and reads back from memory the words, in case those present had not heard, or had perhaps forgotten.
"We rest our swords in vigilant sleep
Our purpose not yet come
Come one latter day, 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
Only 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."
Looking slightly uncomfortable, he shifts, again, clearing his throat, taking a short drink from his canteen.
"You can see wh--" He cuts off suddenly, a look of sudden surprised comprehension creeping onto his face. "Just how long since the first of you woke up? And Kiara - refresh my memory, if you would. How long since the revolution here? I'm familiar with some of the details, due to studying up for this current dig project, but I admit, much of it escapes me."
Kiara pauses for a second. "The Dividing War? That ended... like, 40 or so years ago. Queenie and Tsume are about the only rebel leaders from that not close to retirement."
Najoedo tips his massive head to one side. "Usually at least one of us is awake at any given time to keep the watch. Oduh and Luceh had been alternating on the watch for the past few centuries, as they have always been light sleepers. Admittedly, I myself was soundly sleeping until I felt something shake the pulse of the world... and that occured little more than a month ago."
Tsunami, sitting again on Kiara's shoulder, hesitantly speaks up. "All this talk of chaos..." She falters, considering her words. "I was serving on a recon squadron back in those days, but Firefury-sama often used chaos as her... I guess you could call it inspiration, or maybe propaganda. The four-winged emblem of the rebel flag was often called the 'Wings of Chaos'."
"Oduh tells me that he did see the sky filled with smoke a few decades past. That is the purpose of the Watchtower, after all. I had thought it to simply be another small war between the clans." Najoedo shifts slightly. "And that, at least as humans measure it, the Vale of Rest did have one prolonged visitor, though none of us ventured to see who or what it was."
"We saw no sign of prior habitation," Kiranz noted. "Apart from the ruins, that is. Do you know when this person left?"
OOC: Argh, brain activity monitors flatlining.
Oduh answers Kiranz, and his statement is swiftly translated. "We did not come down from the Watchtower, but it was a few centuries ago, and the intruder stayed for little less than a century. We had never seen flying... things... like the one that brought the intruder."
Now this is interesting...
"What did they look like?" Kiranz asked Oduh, "Anything like ours? You did see our transports, did you not?"
Karen, having no questions for the Elder, stood quietly as she listened to the conversations, taking notes and making sketches every now and then in her book. As she wrote, a question popped into her head.
"Uhmm, pulse of the world? What do you mean by that?" she asked, stepping forward.
Luceh frowns and speaks to the Elder, who translates for her. "Luceh says it was very small, not at all like your... transports was the word you used?- perhaps big enough to carry a single person. And that for such an odd shaped metal thing, that it could dance on the winds to match any of us."
Najoedo pauses for a moment in thought. "Luceh and Oduh both tell me it was a strange device, all hard angles and sharp like the head of an arrow, at times mounted to a glowing shaft."
At Karen's question, the great dragon tips his head in thought. "I fear I may not have the words in your language to describe it. The lifeflame, the source of all things. The pulse of the world... it is like the sun in the sky, giving warmth and life. The source of the power that sustains the Keepers, certainly, and the thing that is touched when one uses the Arts."
Karen quickly scribbled something down in her notes after the Elder answered her question.
"Ohhh. Okay. About that visitor... What did he/she do the entire time they were here? They were he for a while right?" Karen asked after making the little note about what the pulse of the world was in her notes.
Najoedo frowns as Oduh answers, translating for the copper-scaled Keeper. "Apparently the visitor seemed troubled, wandering through the temporary buildings we had made before we made the caves. Oddly dressed, as well, the Keepers could not tell from looking if the visitor was male or female."
Oduh continues his explanation translated by the Elder, visibly shuddering with a slight rustle of his wings. "And shortly before the visitor left, there was laughter, which frightened the Keepers, because it sounded like the person was broken in the mind, much like...." Najoedo trails off in his translation for a moment. "Much like Xefo, the Sealed One."
Karen quickly flipped through her notes for the the translation information she had written down. She translated the name in the book and read it back to herself.
"Sealed one? That doesn't sound good. What happened to this Xefo guy?" she asked, looking up from her notebook.
The Elder exhales in a deep sigh. "Xefo is... a shame. A dishonor. He is one of the Keepers, among the oldest of the few of us who remain. After he had a taste of power, he became very... what is your word for it? Vain? Through the ages, the Keepers have been servants- forces fighting under the leadership of others. Xefo wished for more. To command, not to serve. To rule. When I returned from my wanderings, he was ill-pleased to hear what I had to say about his seizing the throne of the Pegasii Empire."
Kiara frowns. "That was about 2,000 years ago, according to research.... but we found no records about anything like one of you guys running the place."
"That is because, youngling, in his madness, and the fight to contain him, everything related to his time as king was destroyed. Along with most of the Pegasii clan." The Elder notes in a very serious tone. "I suppose it had to come to pass eventually, that one of the blades would fall into the hands of one driven by base desires to the heights of madness. He is quite powerful, and at best, we were only able to contain him. He sleeps still, in these very caverns."
Dread Lady Nathicana
Pacci's brows arched up at the continued conversation, trying to piece together events and what little he knew of the history of the region.
"If he is a danger," he began carefully, "is there a guarantee of him sleeping, or do other ... ah, well ... measures need to be taken?"
His expression was as careful as his words, yet his eyes were hard.
We've seen enough what can happen when powerful beings lose their grip on reality ... ah, my poor Esmerelda. Il dio, but I hope she is doing well.
Najoedo chuckles, a deep-throated rumble. "Youngling, there are no guarantees in this world. The only things that are certain are tributes and dying- and there are ways to evade those. Xefo may sleep for eternity, he may awake tomorrow morning. We could kill him, if we could get his weapon from him, and thus sever his connection to the flame of the world which sustains the Keepers in their long life. The problem is that he has used the Arts enough that he is able to shapechange as I do- in a form such as mine, the blade is part of the form. He sleeps in that form, hence the problem in taking his life." He chuckles again, rumbling the chamber. "And the Keepers are notoriously difficult to kill by more conventional means."
"Oh... my." Tsunami intelligently comments. "Given our track record on the Outsets, what do you want to bet that he wakes up?"
"Tsu, please do not jinx us. PLEASE." Kiara shoots the little blue dragon a dirty look.
"Uh," Kiranz said, quite confused by now, "What exactly happened on this Outset Islands dig? You all allude to it, but nobody seems willing to actually tell the story."
Then he adds a typically Tsarainese sentence;
"What's to worry about, anyway? A couple of fusion warheads will solve the problem. Won't they?"
Tsunami shudders. "We've got a nice long report on the Outsets affair. In short, bunch of us stumbled across how to activate some magical contraptions, ended up in a sealed underground cave, divided between two races of magicy beings- the Il Adib, and the Brethren." She glances at Guide. "Led by a demigoddess who'd been suffering a seriously bad case of split personalities. I'm sure you heard about the massive military exercise off the Slaglandic coast? That was when the seal on the caves was broken and all bloody hell nearly broke loose." The little dragon gives another shudder. "If you're feeling bold, we've even got some of my video footage. I do not recommend it though."
The Elder blinks at the comment about fusion warheads. "I am sorry, I do not know the word. What is a fushun war-head? Some form of war commander? How would they resolve the problem?"
Kiara and Tsunami both mutter something under their breath.
How to explain first-strike clean atomics to a creature with no concept of Einsteinian physics?
"It's a weapon," Kiranz said finally, "Used to remove large problems quickly."
OOC: Tsarainese strategy regarding the use of nukes against targets which don't need to be kept intact or alive is to nuke them first, and then send in ground troops to clean up. That's what comes of living under a radioactive wasteland.
Ignore this post. It has served its purpose, and is useless now.
"I see." Najoedo nods slowly. "Then the tools of war have also evolved over the course of the long sleep? There will be much to learn, should we wake to the world and find the Angel risen. Unfortunately, much of what the prophesy is based upon is vague even to myself."
Kiranz's brow furrowed, confused. Is this "angel" a threat to Tsaraine?
"What is this "prophecy" you speak of?" he asked, "And this angel thing?"
Najoedo averts his gaze sheepishly. "Well, the prophesy is what you saw on that massive stone in the ruins. I pieced it together from insights I gained in my travels. Much of it is a mystery even to me- there are things I lack the words or understanding to describe, and things that could fit any number of events. The child of the heavens is one of the former, and the false queen the latter."
The other Keepers all listen closely, as this is the first they've heard from the Elder about his prophesy.
"As for the angel, I am also uncertain. These things tend to be vague, and fulfilled in a way you may not expect. The angel could be a person, or perhaps an event, or a structure. As is the nature of chaos, I suspect that a great change will be centered around the angel. Given that the prophesy states the angel will die and then rise, it would seem to be a person." He continues in a thoughtful tone.
"Um... death and then resurrection? That's still a little farfetched, even to me." Kiara quirks an eyebrow.
"Again, youngling, these things cannot be taken at face value. Death may not be a death of the final kind. It could be something cultural, such as how the servants of the Goddess are 'reborn' into their positions."
"Ah, pardon. It would seem I am showing my age. The holy men and women would go through a ceremony, a ritual where they were 'reborn' as the servants of the Goddess." Najoedo nods his head slightly.
((OOC: *BUMP!* Okay, I know the participation in this has dropped horribly, and frankly, I don't hold out hopes for finishing the thread in the traditional manner. When I get the chance, I'm going to see about storywriting out the ending, since characters and stuff from this are already in active duty in storylines set after this expedition. If anybody involved has any specifics regarding the fates of their characters, speak up ^_~ I won't kill anybody off unless the character's owner requests it, so don't worry =p))
<RPIN News Report>
Valley of Dragons, AQ--
This once remote curiousity for the nation's archeologists has become a hotbed of activity following an international survey of the site. Over the past month, members of an international team with members from the Slaglands, Oglethorpia, Sunset, Anhierarch, Sneaky Bastards, Tsaraine, Cetaganda, and the Dominion conducted the most thorough survey of the site to date, and in the process made discoveries that have rocked the world of thaumaturgic research.
Thaumatologists Kiara Alson and Tsunami Drakos of the Arpean contingent have been studying the site for a number of years after recovering several artifacts that initially revolutionized the field of thaumaturgic research, and it was Ms. Alson who inadvertantly made one of the most surprising discoveries concerning the site when her sword, an artifact known as the 'Holy Blade of the Dawn', or 'Sword of Sunrise' triggered what has been dubbed a 'thaumaturgic mutation'. According to medical experts who have examined the changed thaumatologist, Kiara is in perfect health despite her altered form.
In a dig full of surprises, the transformation is hardly the biggest discovery the team made. Finding a way past previously impassable blockades in the catacombs of the site, it was discovered that the Valley of Dragons - a remote location accessible almost entirely by air, hence the confusion as to how the massive ruins ended up there in the first place - is in fact the hiding place for the 'Boofohj ev kxo Wettojj Rcutoj', or 'Keepers of the Goddess Blades', a group of beings changed like Ms. Alson, who had been hiding in the remote northern valley for roughly the past two-thousand years.
According to these Keepers, one of their own was forced to join them in hiding, rather than use the astounding level of thaumaturgic power for conquest. For reasons unknown, this one, by the name of Xefo, woke up and nearly buried the dig team alive while bursting out of his prison and collapsing a considerable portion of the underground tunnel system.
According to members of the dig team, the leader of the group, the 'Elder' by the name of Najoedo, engaged Xefo in single combat, nearly bringing the rest of the tunnel system down while the team and the other seven Keepers tried to keep clear.
Despite the intensity of what has been described as an all-out thaumaturgic firefight between two ancient and almost immortal beings, the confrontation was abruptly ended by, surprisingly enough, the dig team, many of the members having some military training, and having been permitted to bring various firearms for self-defense. Apparently while near impervious to thaumaturgic attack, the Keepers proved to be little better shielded against modern firearms than an average human.
In the aftermath, the Keepers decided to officially come out of hiding, and are petitioning the Shogunate government to assist them in acclimating to the modern world. Most of the 7 remaining Keepers are likely to be brought under the tutelage of the Arpean Thaumatology Institute or the Arpean Historic Society. The Elder has expressed a desire to remain in the Valley to teach any who are interested in learning 'the Arts', and to ensure the four unclaimed weapons do not fall into the wrong hands. These events are bound to have a profound influence on the future development of the nation.
We will keep you updated on the story when more information becomes available. Thank you for watching Reploid Productions International News. This is Typh Skypeace, signing off.
<This has been an RPIN News Report>