< Into The Chamber | Red Ice Logs | Saving the Golden Light >

After the Black Veil retreated from the room, her Wyld-tainted cultists vanished back into their hiding spots across the Chamber of Wine. Only the birds, adorably cute animals and the tinkling fountain kept the room alive with noise and color. Iron Horse started trotting around, searching for another way out and Glory went to join him, leaving Kinqueduran and Jaom standing near the doorway that Black Veil had exited by.

  • Jaom finally decides to let loose a tense exhale and scratches at her temple a little. There's this look on her face that just says, 'Of all the things to stumble onto...', even as she smiles thinly. "... if anything, today's been eventful."
  • Kinqueduran coughs slightly, turning to survey the Chamber of Wine. "Eventful. I'd kill for a few weeks of boredom."

Jaom: "... seriously. Kinqueduran, right? Can I call you Kin? Kin, are you always this grumpy?"

The Chamber appears as it did prior to the appearance of Black Veil: serene, peaceful and surreally beautiful.

Kinqueduran: "No, I'm unusually optimistic and chipper today."

  • Jaom rolls her eyes, fists on her hips. "Well, that's nice to know. I'll try to cherish this day."

Kinqueduran: "Don't worry, I'll be back to normal soon."

Kin's glower quiets the birds and animals as he scours the Chamber with his grumpy visage. In the momentary silence faint and almost inaudible echoes of screams can be heard coming from the first terrace up. The one thing about the Chamber that appears puzzling is the lack of easy access to higher terraces.

Certainly, flowering vines and trees reach easily five terraces high, but no architectural feature offers access.

Kinqueduran: "...did you hear that?"

  • Jaom jerks a bit at the sound, and looks up. "Did I ever."
  • Kinqueduran approaches the direction of the screams slowly, scouring the tangled vines for a climber-friendly pass.
  • Jaom pauses for a moment, then shrugs and tails Kin, getting all nervous and watchful again.

None of the vines look to be up to Kin's weight, or Jaom's. Some of the flowering trees could probably handle either, but not both.

  • Kinqueduran doesn't ask for a second opinion, but begins slowly climbing the nearest tree that looks sturdy enough to hold him.
  • Jaom checks for another, while idly watching Kin climb for a second---".. naaaah."---and proceeds to do her best to follow him on up. On another tree, of course.

The trees easily support the weight of the two Exalted and neither has any trouble getting up. There are numerous branches and knots to hold onto making the trip up fast and simple. Once on the terrace, no more then a shelf of extended gold stone, the source of the faintly echoing screams is apparent. A pool of water ripples gently back and forth. Through the blue-clear fluid, a thin blue-haired man writhes and twists.

His screams send bubbles to break the surface of the water. Though pale eyes stare upwards, he gives no sign he notices either Kinqueduran or Jaom.

  • Kinqueduran obviously doesn't trust what he sees, and holds his spear level, approaching very slowly with his shield in place.

The water gives no overt sign of threat, simply rippling and bubbling in response to the torments shown in its surface.

  • Jaom pauses, starting just a little at that sight. She almost moves ahead unprepared, but upon seeing Kin's uneasiness, she stops herself and approaches warily. Her sword remains undrawn.
  • Kinqueduran prods slightly at the surface of the water with the butt of his spear.

The butt dips into the water, sending ripples across the image. The man gives no sign of notice. Six inches deep, the butt of Kin's spear stops, having reached the bottom of the shallow pond.

Jaom: "Well... he's... do you know what in the world's happened to him?"

  • Kinqueduran shrugs. "No idea. Poke him."

The bare flesh of the man's torso is faintly blue-tinged, a clear sign of frostbite. He howls over and over, only faint echoes emerging along with his bubbles of air rising from the shallow pond. His clothes hang on him in ragged tatters, but even almost nude his body gives no sign as to the cause of his torment. He is alone in the pool.

Kinqueduran: "Or, like, pull him out of the pool, maybe."

  • Jaom pfffts. "I'd rather not risk it. Still... frostbitten. In here?" She then gives Kin a stern look. "You're the man, you do it. I'll stand back and look dainty."
  • Jaom folds her arms. Nope, definitely not dainty.

Kinqueduran: "...right. Dainty."

  • Kinqueduran mutters something about daintier Celestial Lions, kneeling by the pool and setting his spear down.

Jaom: ".... wait. Waitwaitwaitwait... don't touch him yet."

  • Jaom grits her teeth and draws the Lady, moving close enough to try and pat the man with the flat of the blade, watching closely for a reaction. "Something's wrong... there's... something... gyeh, makes my skin crawl."
  • Kinqueduran pauses, looking up.
  • Kinqueduran steps back, retrieving his spear.

Even as his image goes all to splashes, the man remains unaware. Considering his inability to notice the two or their actions and the depth of the pond, it is unlikely he is actually inside the water.

Kinqueduran: Circling the pool, K frowns. "Splendid. What is it?"

Jaom: "Illusion. Some kind of illusion. And yet... the screams come from here. Odd."

Kinqueduran: "So now we decide between trying to ignore the screams and trying to figure this out, I suppose."

  • Jaom withdraws her daiklaive and flicks it clean. "I like to think that he'd be looking out for me if I were in his shoes, so I'd look for some answers. Blood is blood."
  • Kinqueduran shrugs a little bit. "Nice theory. If you insist, I'll help you pursue it."

The butt of Kin's spear, when withdrawn from the pool, has a faint odor of rotting iron to it and no water drips from either the butt of the spear or Jaom's daiklave.

Kinqueduran: "....very, very bad sign."

  • Jaom notices that, and then pauses. "... that's not normal water, no. Tempted to see if it boils."

Kinqueduran: "I'm tempted to just leave."

Kinqueduran: "But I highly recommend not touching the water."

Jaom: "You really do not have to tell me that twice. Dragons save whoever he is..."

Kinqueduran: "I'm not even sure it is a 'who'."

  • Jaom grunts. "... so then, fearless grump, where to next?"
  • Kinqueduran shrugs. "Back to the lower level, I suppose."

A heavy-bodied demon lumbers into sight in the pond. With the appearance of a thunderhead made flesh, the demon's body bulges with muscle in odd places, an ill-assorted construction ment for strength and little else. Its huffing breaths send sparks across the pond. In two massive hands, one with five fingers and the other with three, it carries a basin of ivory.

  • Kinqueduran instantly snaps into a fighting stance, believing it impossible for the demon not to have spotted him.
  • Jaom nods, and starts on back down... but stops upon glimpsing that sight, and turns back to watch. ".... gyeh. Demon." She also draws again, mostly out of nervous reflex.

The hulking demon makes no sign of having noticed Kinqueduran or Jaom watching from above. It simply places the basin before the tortured young man and waits.

Jaom: "... ugh. I got a bad feeling..."

  • Kinqueduran gestures for Jaom to be quiet, then inches slowly in the widest possible arc, trying to position himself behind and off to one side of the demon.

Something in Kin's newly-modified body alerts him to a time of power. The dark essence that has been making itself at home in his spirit and flesh stirs violently as the midnight of the final day of Calibration strikes. The rush is intense and momentary, a glimpse of a long-sought goal or a fleeting kiss from a lover thought long dead.

Kinqueduran: The sudden sensation stuns the Red, and he freezes, gritting his teeth, for a moment utterly detached from his surroundings.

  • Jaom snaps her head Kin's way, and is about to say something, but holds her tongue and approaches him instead. Quickly.

Inside the body of the young Terrestrial, five lumps begin to move from their disperate locations, converging. From the center of his chest, they seperate. One remains. One moves down to his stomach, one for each thigh and the last climbs up, nestling in the hollow of his throat. The bubbles stop as the pulsing lump cuts off the young man's air. He struggles frantically.

  • Kinqueduran drops to one knee, but shakes his head, snapping out of his stupor. Unfortunately, that moment of detachment cost him a moment of planning, and he acts hastily, lunging at the demon to drive the spear through whatever part of the monster's body seems likely to contain vital bits.

Even confused, Kin recognizes the distinctive appearance of unbound Stomach Bottle Bugs attending to some purpose within the Terrestrial's body. As his mind registers this fact, his body acts on instinct, plunging his spear forward. With a sound like metal shearing through glass the spear drives through the pond, nearly sucking Kinqueduran along with it. But he stands firm.

Jaom: "---gyah! D-damn, Kin!"

  • Nimbus Demon? bellows in agony as the spear drives through its chest, piercing it cleanly. Transfixed by the shaft of starmetal, the demon howls and expends its last effort trying to drag its attacker down into reach.
  • Jaom thinks for a moment to finish the thing off, but instead reaches out to get a grip on Kin and keep him from going anywhere.

Though the Nimbus demon's immense strength is just enough to drag Kinqueduran into the water, Jaom is far stronger then she appears. With a mighty effort she hauls back, pulling the grizzled Orange from the pond and dragging the demon itself halfway out of the water. It lays gasping, half in, half out of the pond.

A large soulsteel daiklave embeds itself on the terrace's edge, one young woman in a dress hurtling up after it on the attached chain. Glory rockets past the terrace's edge, spins in midair, and swings her second daiklave in a vertical cut at the nimbus-demon. The black-iron sword screams with delight as the path of the cut leads it right across the foul thing's neck.

  • Will is now known as Glory
  • Jaom grins over at Kin. "See? You should be less grumpy. Never know when you might run outta time to smile."

Kinqueduran: "I'll have plenty of time to smile when I'm dead."

Jaom: "I dunno... I don't think you do much of anything then."

Even as the demon is hauled from its position, the Stomach Bottle Bugs perform their duty. Holes open in the man's flesh as the beetle-like demons begin emerging. In their delicate pincers they carry thick arteries. The man screams with all the air in his lungs before that is exhausted, then he simply makes a rasping, horrible rattle. With silent snips, the demons open his arteries and aim the flow of blood into the basin.

  • Jaom then catches that sight... and she lets go of Kin, promptly fighting against the sudden urge to vomit.
  • Kinqueduran 's shield-hand takes hold of his spearbutt, his other hand moving down the haft a bit, and he hurls himself to one knee, levering the spear through the demon's flesh, the blade cutting as the haft simply tears through infernal flesh. The lance spins in a wide arc, coming around to cross over K's shoulders, striking the basin precisely.

Jaom leaps out of the way of Kin's wildly swinging spear as the Orange overbalances and hurls himself into the pond. With a splash that soaks the two women, Kin sinks into the water and appears, very suddenly, sprawled on the floor next to the basin. As the blood flow from the young man's legs begin to wane, the demons tie off the arteries there with bits of his flesh and muscle and move on to other tasks.

  • Kinqueduran just lays there, closes his eyes, and lets out an exhausted sigh.

Scuttling through the dying boy's flesh, they re-arrange his anatomy so that the rest of the liquid in his body is directed into the basin as well. Even the sweat pouring from his twitching form drips and flows towards the basin that seems to suck it all in.

  • Jaom lands in a half-crouch, hisses as she's soaked. Of course, she notices Kin's position a moment later and moves forward to see just what in the hell he's up to now. "Watch where you swing that damn thing!"
  • Iron Horse finally pulls himself up on the terrace, and blinks at the people involved. "... aah... what's going on?"

Jaom: "Your grumpy friend lanced him a demon, and got a bit overeager about it."

Kinqueduran: "Piss off."

Iron Horse: "Eh?"

Kin's voice is lost to those above. In fact, Kin can't see the water at all. The ceiling overhead is just that, a black stone ceiling with no trace of any sight nor sound of the others.

  • Glory rips her first daiklave free from the terrace, spinning in midair for a moment before launching both daiklaves into the pond. They hit directly below, ricochet off the ground, and launch in different directions. One hits the wall at an angle and ricochets again, flying right for the tortured man's neck, while the other flies straight at the basin.

The young man goes limp, the last twitches of life fleeing his body as Glory's second daiklave slices his neck, dropping his head and the stomach bottle bug in his throat to the ground. Her first daiklave strikes true, shattering the basin and spraying the blood and fluids of the young Terrestrial across the room. Not an unusual occurance for Kinqueduran, but he is now covered in gore.

  • Iron Horse approaches the pool and peeks in. "... um... ew."
  • Kinqueduran mutters something inflammatory, rolling over to get to his feet just exactly too slow to avoid being spattered with blood. Standing up, he grimaces, and spits out some blood that had gotten into his mouth. Shoulders slumped, his eyes fix on a lock of gore-drenched hair that obscures his view, and he irritably blows upward at it, trying to remove the obstruction.
  • Glory flicks Deliverance lightly and the force is magnified; the point slides across the ground, scattering black-red sparks and screaming as it goes. The point is flicked upwards again, this time to bisect a stomach bottle bug. Promise is retracted quickly from the basin's remains and quickly launched downward again, to gore one little demon and then slice through its corpse and cut the second one's head off.

The two remaining demons scuttle around, searching for flesh to inhabit. With his vision cleared of the gore-caked hair Kin can see clearly the room he stands in. A simple cube of black stone with only one entrance, that used by the demon. The chains that held the young Terrestrial in place and now support his headless and bloodless corpse groan softly. Soulsteel. Aside from them, no sound but the dripping of gore can be heard in the room. Faint light shimmers beyond the doorway.

Glory's two Daiklaves hang limply from the ceiling. Where the chain should continue up, it simply merges into the stone blocks.

  • Kinqueduran retrieves his spear, keeping an eye out to kick off the demons if they approach. Straightening and sighing irritably, K slowly approach the doorway.
  • Glory flicks her hands. The chains rattle in the pool-room.

Kinqueduran: The rattling chains draw his attention in an instant. The Sidereal stares up at them, not making the connection at first, initially believing them to be part of the macabre decorations.

Iron Horse: "... um... how do we get K out?"

Glory: "I'm working on it."

  • Kinqueduran adjusts his grip on the spear to maximize his reach, and pokes the ceiling with the spearhead.
  • Glory sighs, still rattling the chains. "Your comrade has the intelligence of a particularly dim animate corpse, though."

The ceiling is firm and unyielding.

Iron Horse: "Try lowering them to the floor?"

  • Glory nods, releasing more of the chains. The daiklaves clink to the pool-chamber's floor.
  • Kinqueduran had turned to the doorway, but paused and looked back when the daiklaves touched the chamber's floor. Red eyes narrowed, and he walked to the daiklaves, taking hold of one of the dangling chains and giving it an experimental tug.

Iron Horse: "Need a hand pulling him up?"

  • Glory tugs back. "I'd appreciate it. Thank you."

Once the chains stop jiggling, Kin's keen senses detect the faint splatter of liquid hitting something solid and filling a vessel. The way the sound repeats indicates not only distance down acoustic tunnels but several sources. Many sources.

  • Kinqueduran releases the chain, listening to the sound, and starts pacing around the room in an effort to pace the sound.

The sound comes from outside the room, down the faintly illuminated hallway.

  • Iron Horse sighs a bit. "... or somebody could try jumping down."
  • Kinqueduran begins following the hallway, taking his time, the glittering Starmetal lance leveled before him.
  • Glory retracts her Daiklaves, the pair spinning into place on her bracers. She makes a disgruntled noise. "A particularly dim.." She jumps into the pool, the rest of her statement audible in the chamber. "..animate corpse."

A hundred or so feet beyond the room he'd fallen into, Kinqueduran finds another doorway into an identical black-walled room. An elderly man hangs from Soulsteel chains, his last drops of blood collecting in a basin. Another of the stormcloud demons stands patiently, stupidly, waiting to take the basin away.

  • Kinqueduran approaches slowly, adjusting his grip to maximize the reach of his lance. Leaning carefully, Kin moves like a viper, flicking the tip of the lance deftly under the basin to overturn it.
  • Iron Horse ... blinks.
  • Glory runs down the hallway after Kin, daiklaves detaching from the bracers and sliding into her hands.
  • Iron Horse looks at Jaom. "... so... uh... what do you think?"

Jaom: "I think your friend's well past crazy. My kinda guy."

  • Jaom then smirks at Iron Horse. "Let's go. Might as well do something stupid as a group, eh?"

Iron Horse: "Sure. Couldn't find another exit anyway."

  • Jaom shrugs, and hops on in with a whoop.

With a sweep of its massive black-grey arm the Nimbus Demon deflects Kin's spearthrust. Turning in a flash of lightning the beast jumps for Kin, claws of blue light reaching for his soft throat.

  • Iron Horse sighs, and jumps in as well.

As Iron Horse's feet hit the blood-soaked floor of the torture cell, he drops to his knees in the puddles of spilt gore. His hands ache with a deep, bone-shattering cold and his skin feels as if it is trying to fall off in chunks. Brittle black ice spreads over his arms, cracking open his skin and searing the muscle below.

Preparing himself for a strike at the nimbus demon and the basin it guards, Kinqueduran staggers. His vision grows cloudy then stains red as invisible razors stab deep into his skull and eyes. Fingers made of broken glass claw at the back of his eyes, at the inside of his chest and skull. Blood flows from his eye sockets.

  • Kinqueduran screams, dropping to one knee in surprise, simultaneously dropping his spear. The only thing that kept him from losing the shield was the leather strap securing it to his armor.
  • Jaom lands, looks over... and winces. "... geh! What in the world?! Iron, you alright?!"
  • Iron Horse gasps as the cold hits him all of a sudden. "A... aaaagh... what... what is..."
  • Kinqueduran forces himself to his feet, trying to wipe the blood from his eyes with the back of his free hand, his spear forgotten as he staggers back blindly.

The Nimbus demon, a very stupid breed of laborer born from Adjoran's lowest Brass Soul, is confused by the sudden screaming and profusion of blood issuing from its target. It hesitates, totally uncertain of what to do. It is very sure it has yet to pummel the intruding man...

Jaom: "... lemme go ahead and see what's happening. You stay put, alright?"

  • Jaom points at Iron Horse, then marches on ahead to catch up.
  • Glory leaps, rolls, and lands in front of Kin, facing the nimbus demon. Promise darts up, stabbing twice into the cloud-thing's lower torso. Glory whirls around, ripping the first daiklave free and standing as she attacks, bringing both of the massive swords through the demon's neck.

Kinqueduran: Infuriated, Kin hurls himself forward. His free hand lights on Glory's shoulder as he vaults over her, bringing his shield down onto the demon's face, tucking his body behind the starmetal targe to compress his full weight into the impact.

  • Iron Horse grunts a bit as he pulls to his feet. "Dammit..."

The demon staggers slightly as its lightning-fast flurry of blows knocks away the worst of the Abyssal's and the Synodic's wrath. It howls, no longer confused at all!

  • Kinqueduran rolls off of the demon's back, striking the floor with a loud clatter, his shield and armor thundering against the floor.
  • Jaom skids to a stop just close enough to see what's going on without putting herself in too-immediate danger. "... dammit, Kin. Can't you go five steps without pissing some demon off?"
  • Iron Horse stumbles in after Jaom a few seconds later. "Agh... damn."
  • Kinqueduran looks up, giving Jaom a killing glance, his gaunt features only enhanced by the dark blood running along the creases of his face, giving his eyes a sunken, otherworldly appearance.

Iron Horse: ".. oh, you too?"

  • Jaom winces, just a bit. That's shocking sight number two for her today.
  • Kinqueduran ducks and rolls, his hand gripping just under the spearhead of his lance. Turning swiftly, he uses the momentum of the spin to launch the spear at the demon, letting the haft slide through his hand to recover his reach. The starmetal head buries itself in the demon's gut, and with a pained, infuriated growl K levers the spear out to the right, shredding infernal flesh as the spear cuts itself free.
  • Glory stores her daiklaves, collecting a ball of Essence that seems to suck the light into itself in her hand. She launches it at the center of the demon's back.

Crippled by the dark essence flung by Glory, the nimbus demon is ripped to shreds by Kinqueduran's attack. With a clap of thunder, it vanishes into mist. All that remains in the black-walled room are four Exalted, a dead Terrestrial and a basin of blood and gore.

  • Jaom pauses to stifle down yet another urge to vomit, and takes a look towards her formerly-living fellow Dragon-Blood. "... why?"
  • Kinqueduran drops his spear and shield, then sinks to the floor, grimacing, and tries to wipe the blood from his face again.

Iron Horse: "... Are... these the prisioners we have to save?"

Jaom: "I think the saving part's not an option anymore."

Iron Horse: "I think we should hurry and find others before they do -that-"

  • Kinqueduran coughs once, then leans far over to one side and vomits. Spitting and coughing a bit, he wipes the back of his hand across his mouth, speaking hoarsely. "Something tells me that we're going to be universally too late ... if these are even our objective.."

Jaom: "... heh. That could've been me... funny how fate works, eh?"

Kinqueduran: "Yeah. Real funny."

Iron Horse: "I think we should hurry nontheless."

  • Kinqueduran drags himself to his feet, spitting blood, leaving his implements of war on the ground. "I agree, unfortunately."

Jaom: "Likewise. Let's go..."

Kinqueduran: Retrieving his shield and spear, Kin groans, obviously still in pain.

  • Jaom does notice that, frowning just a tad. "Need a hand, or are you going to tell me to go away?"
  • Kinqueduran rubs his forehead. "I've got a -slight- headache. I could actually use a little help."
  • Jaom quietly offers Kin a shoulder, while nodding Iron Horse on towards the way *out*.
  • Kinqueduran slumps against Jaom's shoulder, closing his eyes, mostly out of fear that they'll just fall out if he doesn't use his eyelids to keep them in.
  • Iron Horse nods, and steps out quickly, having regained -some- of his step in his hurry.

Behind the four Exalted, the basin swirls ominously, silently and with growing speed. With limited time to work, the unseen forces manipulating its contents take to their job at a fever pitch

  • Kinqueduran stops, looking back. "...somebody dump that damn thing out..."
  • Jaom looks over at Kin, then shakes her head. She may well hear what's going on behind her, but she really doesn't wanna look. "... Iron, could you?"
  • Glory kneels down next to the basin, filling a small glass vial with the basin's collected bodily fluids. She stoppers the gore-carrying thing, slipping it back into her pocket before picking it up and shattering it in a smooth motion.

Though Glory's destruction of the basin brings no further damage to either Iron Horse's arms or Kinqueduran's eyes both men feel their wounds re-open. Kin's eyes start bleeding anew and Iron Horse's skin cracks wider and grows colder. Mental rumbles of displeasure and anger emanate from the back of their minds where the whispers of their patrons originate.

Jaom: "... ah, hell, Kin! Dammit, where's my blade cloth..."

  • Kinqueduran groans, bowing his head. Drops of black-red blood spatter on the floor, and Kin feels his stomach turn over.

Iron Horse: "--AGH!"

  • Jaom clamps the relatively clean cloth to Kin's eyes, then hisses as Iron Horse reacts, too. "Okay... I think it's high time you two left this place."
  • Glory runs over to the two Synodics, kneeling. "..I think so, yes."

Iron Horse: "I don't... -think- that's going to stop this... PLEASE... don't... shatter more of those things... ok?"

  • Kinqueduran 's comment is barely more than a groan, "Yeah...they make me have a bad day."

< Into The Chamber | Red Ice Logs | Saving the Golden Light >