Deep in the jungles of the Southwest, Cerin and Birds follow up on the rumors that have led them here -- the faint trace of gold in the river, the tales of a cave that can only be seen when the sun shines through the trees at its utmost zenith....
The sun shines above, just a few scant degrees from its apex; Mt. Meru rises up from the Northeast, collossal as always.
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Good idea." Birds-of-Trinity finds a nearby boulder and lounges there, waiting.
As the moments pass, the sun climbs up through the sky. Within minutes, the two Solars see it move to a position directly between two tall, ancient trees. As it reaches its highest point, the sun's light is focused into a fine beam, through the carefully positioned leaves of the trees; it falls upon a seemingly featureless stretch of vertical rock, some distance away, in which a cave entrance can suddenly be seen.
The Solars find themselves within the mouth of what is clearly a natural cave, with well-worn limestone walls that begin to rapidly slant downwards into the Earth. Behind them, the Solars watch as the cave entrance grows dim once the sun moves away -- it seems to be concealed only, not blocked.
The slightest hint of a metallic sheen can be seen within the walls.
The cave begins to descend rapidly into the earth, so that the Solars quickly find themselves deep below ground. After some distance, the natural passage gives way to worked stone -- complete with support pillars and stairs. The thin glint in the walls remains.
<BirdsOfTrinity> "We should be prepared to meet the miners, I suppose."
<Cerin> "If there are any still here..." he advances again, a little slower.
As the hallway advances further down, the walls begin to show evidence of direct working -- places where ore has been extracted can be clearly identified, and uncleared rubble begins to be visible upon the floor.
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Are those fresh, Cerin?"
<Cerin> "No, very old. Human though, I think. More than one."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Bad. Indifferent."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Let's move on."
<Cerin> "Still, the attack evidently lead to the mine being abandoned since it wasnt cleared up, so the attackers could still be in residence."
<BirdsOfTrinity> "That's true."
<Cerin> "I can hear rumbling..scrapping..it's a long distance away though." continuing to listen, he proceeds deeper into the mine, looking for more traces of the miners, thier attackers..anything of interest
Proceeding deeper, the traces of struggle become quickly more obvious -- more numerous stains, human skeletons, claw marks in the rock, places where some sort of huge force must have shattered the walls entirely....
<BirdsOfTrinity> "Don't tell Zahara I said that."
<Cerin> "Hmmm? What is wrong with them? Aside from the fact that most of them want to kill us?"
<BirdsOfTrinity> "That would be it."
After a moment, the path splits in two, both leading further under the ground.
<Cerin> "The left hand passage has what we seek. Orichalcum." he starts down it.
<Cerin> "Be on your guard." As essence swirls around him, filling his form,readying him to flow like blood, his bow of gold appearing in his hand.
A moment later, something shoots out of the darkness in front of the Solars, towards them at rapid speed.
<Cerin> "Don't kill unless we have to." he says as the thing emerges.
A beastly form shoots out of the darkness -- a core of greenish-blue fire, with six limbs, each tipped with jagged obsidian claws.
Cerin's arrows streak through the beast, sending off little gouts of flame and leaving open-air holes as they re-emerge behind it. It's enough to blunt its charge, though moments after, the fire begins to grow to fill in the holes again.
<Cerin> "Why do you attack us?" he asks in old realm, as it starts to advance again.
Birds' weapon passes ethereally through the beast's flaming body as it digs its jagged claws into Cerin's shoulder.
The beast is violently thrown backwards onto the stone with the force of Cerin's arrows.
It lies on the stone for a moment, then quickly hops back to its feet -- a large portion of its fire still dissipated, however.
<Cerin> "Do you still wish to fight?"
In answer, the creature leaps forward once again, its claws glowing brilliantly blue.
The arrows tear through the beast's fiery belly, dissipating the flame entirely and letting its obsidian claws clatter uselessly to the ground.
It glistens and shines. The Essence channels within grant it a strange shimmer in the light.
Down the hallway, something else shimmers -- the first signs of the mine's deep stores of orichalcum.
Tags: (:tags Hundredfold, Magical Materials, Fire-Clawed Creature :)