< Basins and Blood | Red Ice Logs | The Other Lights >
The second torture chamber offers no further threat. The Terrestrial is long dead, the Nimbus Demon has dissolved into vapor and the basin of blood and vital fluids has been shattered, oozing across the floor. Each time one of the Synodics look upon the mess, the pain of their punishment throbs faintly.
Iron Horse and Kinqueduran find the pain, but not the damage, of their punishment quickly fading away. Kin's takes longer and recedes only as much as to leave a throbbing ache in the back of his eyes, while Iron Horse finds the horrible frozen burns on his arms hurt not in the least. The ache clears from Kin shortly after he stops cursing.
- Kinqueduran rubs a hand across his cheeks, smearing his blood with the splattered gore of one of the victims. "I think I've managed to ruin my day."
- Iron Horse cracks his knuckles to remove the numbness from his fingers. "... yeah. Let's hurry up."
- Jaom sigh a little, still offering Kin a helping arm-and-shoulder. "Well, whatever the hell just happened, let's just pray it doesn't happen again. I'd like to think you don't enjoy bleeding from your eyes."
Kinqueduran: "Yeah, there are other places I'd rather bleed from..."
- Glory trails behind the group, hands clasped behind her back. Her swords seem to have disappeared again. "Such as?"
Kinqueduran: "I wouldn't tell until after at least the third date."
- Jaom oooohs, putting her trademark grin back on. "My, for being suck a sourpuss, you're direct."
Glory: "Now *there's* incentive to keep coming back for more."
- Kinqueduran rolls his eyes, then groans because even that hurts.
Jaom: "In any event... how in the hell do we get out of this dump? I don't think we'll find another mystic pool to leap through."
Kinqueduran: "Even if we did, I think the whole hopping-into-pools thing has been worked out of my system."
- Glory shrugs lightly. "There should be a way out."
- Iron Horse is already stepping ahead, not having quite waited.
Jaom: "Of course there has to be, but the question is which way... h-hey, wait up, Horse."
- Glory stops at the doorway, peering around inquisitively. "Now, which door do we take.."
The corridor is lit in the same dark fashion and carved of the same matte grey-black stone as the cells. Numerous doors line the passage, each opening onto a similar scene as greeted the four Exalted upon entry into the last chamber. Though in every room, the Nimbus Demon has left, taking the basin with him. Corpses still hang from the chains, empty of life.
- Iron Horse just steps in a random direction, peeking at each door and keeping his ears and eyes open for... anything that may still be alive.
- Jaom will be doing a fine job of holding down her last meal yet again as she half-lugs Kin along for the time being.
- Kinqueduran irritably disengages himself from Jaom's arm and shoulder, lurching on his feet for a moment before catching his balance and standing straight.
Glory: "So, who wants to go smash a few more of those basins?"
- Kinqueduran 's stomach turns at the thought. "I don't know if that's in our best interest..."
Jaom: "I.... well. You'll have to forgive me, but I think I'm going to have to pass."
- Glory gives Kin an impish smile before half-skipping up the corridor.
- Jaom also does a good job of not looking too rattled at seeing so many of her fellow (dead) Blooded.
- Kinqueduran can't even muster the heart to fling a rude gesture in Glory's direction, and just sighs.
The corridor extends some distance, curving tightly into a spiral. Twenty-eight more cells line the outer curve of the corridor. Twenty-eight more bodies of Dragon-Blooded. Almost all are either freshly-Exalted younglings or rough-worn ancients at the edge of death. Only three look to be in their prime and fresh wounds scar their bare bodies.
- Iron Horse just grits his teeth as he passes more and more dead bodies, -still- keeping his ears and eyes open for any living thing...
Finally the hall of torture comes to an end in a fork. The right curve leads upwards and outwards while the left turns down into the central column that the corridor has been wrapping around.
Kinqueduran: "Flip a coin. Somebody has a coin, right?"
- Glory pulls a small silver coin out of her pocket and gives it a quick toss.
- Kinqueduran watches it spin into the air, speaking before it lands. "Somebody else decide how this affects things. I have bad luck."
Glory: "Skull we go up, sword we go down."
- Glory grins, holding up the side engraved with a stylized black sword. "Down it is."
Iron Horse: "... one moment..."
- Iron Horse closes his eyes, and sighs, stepping first towards the left path and staying there for a few seconds, and moving back to the right. He's fairly rattled, but seems to be trying to calm himself down and... listen. For anything at all.
The right tunnel smells slightly less dank and the left is better illuminated. Otherwise, there is no difference.
Jaom: "Anything? Some kinda help would be nice right about now."
- Kinqueduran shrugs a little, leaning heavily against the wall.
- Iron Horse sighs. "... right smells less dank, left has better lightning... can't hear a thing."
- Jaom grunts softly. "I'd much rather prefer to see what might be down the bend. Left?"
- Glory starts heading for the left set of stairs, humming cheerfully.
Jaom: ".... works for me."
- Jaom follows along, sneezing once before rubbing at her nose.
- Kinqueduran straightens a little easier than before, apparently feeling a little better.
Kinqueduran: Oh, and goes along with the others.
- Iron Horse sighs and steps right after them, catching up with Glory fairly quickly.
The light grows stronger as the hallway dives deeper into the central column. The floor becomes steeper, nearly a slide, before leveling out once again. The light flickers and flashes in shadows of silver, gold, red, blue, green, purple and yellow. Silver again, then gold. Gold, then green. The flickering lights are distracting, coming from every direction. The walls here glitter with obsidian, reflecting the light."
Jaom: "... okay, now I have this sinking sensation that the lights can see us better now, too."
- Kinqueduran grits his teeth, closing his eyes against the light, putting one hand on Jaom's shoulder so as not to be separated from the others.
- Glory rolls her shoulders, daiklaves materializing on the bracers. She continues walking down the corridor, still humming.
- Jaom tenses a little at the hand, then realizes it belongs to Kin and relaxes... somewhat. Her sword handís close to the Lady's pommel, waiting to draw.
Kinqueduran: Forcing his eyes open again, K squints, pulling his hand back to take up his shield.
- Iron Horse frowns, squinting a bit and glancing around.
With fair ease Jaom, Kin and Iron Horse are able to determine that the lights come from several directions, all fairly close. The gold is likely the closest of them, coming from somewhere up ahead and in the ceiling.
Jaom: "I... suddenly wish we'd gone right."
Kinqueduran: "Yeah, I kinda do, too."
Iron Horse: "... ah... the light..."
Iron Horse: "... aren't they like Sidereal animas, Kin? And... I'm not sure, but the gold and silver ones... Solars and Lunars?"
- Kinqueduran squints a little, his face shifting into first thought, then worry. "...yeah...they kinda are, I guess..."
- Iron Horse pauses, and quickly hops ahead, towards the source of the golden light.
Jaom: "Eeeeeh? What and... what?"
- Jaom obviously doesn't exactly get the terms, judging by the look on her face.
- Kinqueduran , having grown up in a Realm-occupied town, explains. "Solar and Lunar Anathema."
Kinqueduran: "Sidereals are ... nothing. They're just a fairytale."
- Jaom blinks, then nods. "Oooooh. Okay, yeah. Makes sense... should've guessed. Thanks."
- Glory nods, covertly winking at Jaom. "Just stories. Can't even be found in the history books."
Kinqueduran: "You hush. Worry about the lights."
- Glory heads after Iron Horse towards the golden light.
- Jaom raises an eyebrow at the wink, then returns to light-watching. "... so long as they don't attack or anything."
Kinqueduran: "I expect them to eat our flesh and souls. Not necessarily in that order."
Jaom: "... well, that's just swell."
In short order the source of the golden light becomes apparent. A translucent block of stone is set into the ceiling, pulsing with golden light. The vague form of a man's boots can be seen against the bottom of the block.
Glory: "At least you're in luck, Kinqueduran. I expect they'll spit you right back out."
Iron Horse: "... hey... hey, look!"
- Kinqueduran holds up a hand for them to stop, and looks up at the light, squinting. "...I believe that's our quarry, Iron Horse."
- Iron Horse nods... crouches... and -jumps- as Essence flares around his feet.
- Jaom stops at the command. "After this, can we get out of this hellpit?" She then... marvels at Horse's jumping.
- Kinqueduran shrugs. "We're probably needed in some other hell-pit next."
- Glory glances up at the ceiling. "..So, what do you need done to it?"
- Iron Horse scowls, spins in mid air, planting his feet against the ceiling, and then bounces towards the closest wall, and from there back to the floor, landing in a crouch. "... damn..." he looks up. "... think we can break it?"
- Kinqueduran shrugs, giving the translucent stone an experimental prodding with his lance.
Jaom: "Okay, you're just trying to destroy it?"
Kinqueduran: "Well, preferably without killing Mr. Shiny inside."
- Jaom makes a face. "Mngh. Finesse... not my specialty."
The lance *ting*s against the stone as if it were normal stone.
- Glory twirls her daiklaves, gripping the handles solidly as the chains connecting them to her bracers rattle eerily. "Easily done."
Jaom: "Then go right ahead, missy. I'll stand over here and hope my eyes don't explode."
Kinqueduran: "You're not the one who has to worry about that."
Jaom: "Well, can't be too careful, now."
- Glory tosses one of her daiklaves in the air, testing the rock surrounding the stone prison.
The rock has every reaction of normal obsidian.
Iron Horse: "... Should we try going up?"
Kinqueduran: "Whatever we do, I think we need to get that guy out."
- Glory explodes into action, daiklaves whirring upwards and into the ceiling. They cut wide swathes of rock out from around the clear stone prison, shearing away huge pieces of obsidian that crumble when they hit the floor, until all that's holding the block up is a tenuous and relatively thin tether of black stone.
- Glory spins around on her heel, daiklaves whipping back into their slots on the bracers. With another grin, she snaps her fingers, and the Solar Exalted's prison comes crashing down to earth.
- Kinqueduran steps clear of the falling stone. "...I could do that."
- Iron Horse -blinks- and hops back. "Whoa..."
The stone lands with a heavy SMASH that shakes the hallway and sends a resounding echo through the air. There is no chance that anyone could have missed the sound of the impact.
- Jaom whistles. "I need me one of those things..."
Kinqueduran: "Someone will have heard that. Let's get this done."
- Iron Horse -winces-, and looks around. "... yeah."
- Glory dusts off her bracers and the swords attached to them. "What, these? Yeah, they only took a half-decade or so to get down right."
Jaom: ".... I don't have that long, though. Let's hurry up."
- Glory heads over to the grounded prison. "Ah, right, short lifespan. I'll see what I can do about that.."
- Jaom nods a little... then blinks. "Wait, what?"
- Kinqueduran waves a hand dismissively. "Let's get the Solar and get moving, alright?"
Jaom: "Fair enough. Need a hand, Glory?"
- Glory leans down, attempting to lift it in such a way that does not compromise her dignity. She's wearing a dress, after all.
- Iron Horse blinks, shrugs, and moves to help.
- Kinqueduran sets his spear against the wall, and assists.
- Kinqueduran stops, releasing his hold on the stone and steps back, letting it drop. "...what the hell are we doing?"
Glory: "..Carrying it out? I'd rather not deal with the emotional state of whoever's in here."
Jaom: "Looked like you were about to carry it... and Glory has a point, there."
- Iron Horse blinks, stops... and chuckles. "... if he's conscious... easier breaking it than carrying that thing though."
Kinqueduran: "We'll knock him unconscious if he's a problem. I don't think carrying out a huge fucking stone is in our tactical interests."
- Glory sighs and sets it down. "Fine, fine."
- Jaom mms, then nods. "All I have is my jade, though. Might help, but... any other ideas aside from beating on it?"
- Iron Horse grins.
Kinqueduran: "Something to say, Iron Horse?"
Iron Horse: "Yeah, let me give it a try."
- Kinqueduran steps back, picking up his spear again, and gives Iron Horse a 'go-ahead' gesture.
Iron Horse glowers at the block of stone imprisoning the Solar and it seems to throb faintly yellow for a moment. Then with a terrific SMASH of flesh against stone, the upper edge of the block crumbles away. Leaving the Solar still encased.
- Iron Horse scowls for a second... and then smirks once more, rearing his fist back again and SMASHING his other fist against the object, Essence dancing around him.
- Kinqueduran sighs, pacing a slow circle around the block.
Jaom: "... damn. Someone's having fun here."
- Kinqueduran takes a few steps back. "Give me a little space, please."
- Iron Horse lets out a deep breath, hopping back a bit. "Have fun."
- Glory sits back, watching with an amused smile.
- Jaom watches as well, bouncing a little on her toes.
- Kinqueduran circles the block again, trailing fingertips along the broken areas left by Iron Horse. Stepping back, he brings his spear up, spinning the gleaming starmetal blade in a broad circle around him, then in a vertical semicircle, bringing it down on a fine spiderwebbed crack left by Iron Horse.
Under the rain of blows from Iron Horse's fists and Kinqueduran's spear the top half of the stone shatters into shining fragments. The golden-glowing man within blinks at the Abyssal, Terrestrial and two Synodics standing over his half-trapped body.
Iron Horse: "... hi."
Kinqueduran: "Yes, yes, we're all thrilled to meet each other. Let's go."
- Cizin sits up and grabs Iron Horse's neck. "You!...nevermind." He lets go.
Jaom: "... you know him, Kin?"
- Iron Horse ... just blinks.
- Jaom smirks a little. "I wonder if that's how everyone greets him... ah, well. Let's hurry."
Kinqueduran: "We'll discuss it later. Go time."
Cizin: "I assume that you're going to explain things along the way, then, spear-boy."
Kinqueduran: "Avoid talking."
- Cizin punches out of the remaining rock and shrugs.
Glory: "I see we have a charmer."
- Kinqueduran starts walking down the tunnel, then pauses, sighs, and looks back. "Which way, Iron Horse?"
- Jaom rolls her eyes. "Go time, indeed. Let's." She looks Iron Horse's way as well.
- Iron Horse blinks, notices everybody looking and him... "... Oh... yeah..." he pauses. "... maybe we should try going up?"
Kinqueduran: "Sure. Up."
Further down the same corridor the group stands in are the sources of the other lights. In the opposite direction, the fork and the less-dank air.
- Kinqueduran looks in the down direction, unable to avoid a slightly wistful stare at the lights.
Jaom: "Up's good. But... more people? Was this guy the only one you were supposed to find?"
- Glory shrugs and heads for the up-stairs. "We've already wasted enough time."
- Jaom looks about... then follows. "Ah, well. Bravely into the abyss we go."
Glory: "Oh, like the abyss is anything to be afraid of."
- Iron Horse scratches the back of his head and follows after them
Iron Horse: "... there... was supposed to be a Dragon-blood too... and another person. We were supposed to know when we saw them..."
- Glory glances back. "Who was the other person supposed to be?"
- Iron Horse shrugs. He doesn't look happy.
Glory: "Ah, well."
Jaom: "Well... I don't know. Probably wasn't me... you didn't seem to react much to me and Glory... Kin did, but he was half-ready to kill us both."
Iron Horse: "... well, you -are- two people... but I don't think she needs much rescuing."
- Iron Horse points at Glory
- Glory shrugs, dispelling the two massive black iron swords in another visually weird anti-flash.
Jaom: "I guess it doesn't exactly matter right now, does it?"
- Jaom sighs wistfully. "Oh, for a warm bath and some tea..."
- Cizin blinks.
Cizin: "So, what is going on again?"
- Jaom laughs heartily. "I have almost no fucking clue myself! I just know demons are involved, and that's never good."
Glory: "We just rescued you from being part of a ritual to free the Demon Princes. Nothing to worry about."
Cizin: "oh. Thanks."
Iron Horse: "You are welcome."
Jaom: "Yeah, Glory bailed me out. So... lifedebt and all that fun."
< Basins and Blood | Red Ice Logs | The Other Lights >