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Savage Kingdoms: Snake that Speaks; Chapter 2!
Topic Started: Sep 21 2017, 06:35 AM (127 Views)
kintire
Arch-Magi/Hero-King
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
The two adventurers descend the long path, through the twisting caverns and the knife edge ridge and to the long ledge. They remain alert, especially through the caves, but nothing emerges to disturb them. Only the occasional mournful wail echoes across the peaks as the mountain people scatter.

They rest by the shores of the lake. It is a little early, but Galatea is wearied by spellcasting and a long march, and the plentiful supply of clean water is useful. Galatea spends some time bathing in the limpid lake, and looking out over the silent jungle, visible fleetingly through the mists below them. The spot is beautiful and would be very restful were it not for the constant presence, just under the western horizon of the lurking menace of the land of terror.

As they begin the final descent into the jungle, the ruins of the Serpent people now in view thrusting above the jungle canopy Galatea asks.

"So uh,, what's the plan?"
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Nialldubh
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[ *  *  *  *  * ]
While they rested; Athelos extends the hilt of the rune etch sword towards Galatea, he gripped the blade rapped in his cloak so as not to get any grease from his hands on the blade which would cause it to rust faster, nor for that fact did he want to slice his hand on it's shape edge!

"Can you recognise these runes, and if so what do they say?" he asked.


Later as they marched....

With the ocean wind in his face, Athelos to pause to consider what Galatea had just said.

"I think we should return to their lair and enter as friends still, seeking our reward from our patrons; but be on guard the first sign of treachery; we attack without hesitation!" He replied.



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kintire
Arch-Magi/Hero-King
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
Galatea looked excited.

"Oh yes, its Sidhe! ... oh.. it's not a dialect... ohhh.I think its DARK Sidhe... something about... I think its been infused with hatred for the... dead who will not...for the undead! Its a dark Sidhe sword, enchanted against the undead!"

She frowns slightly. "Useful, but be a little wary. Enchantments, especially Sidhe enchantments, are prone to be a little fickle if used too much..."

They descend into the hot and humid jungle again. The oppressive climate seems more sinister now as if a miasma hangs around the city of the serpent folk, but perhaps that is just an overactive imagination.

They approach the ruins along the great road and see the silent sentinels on the battlements, sunlight gleaming from ancient armour. By the time they approach the dark tunnels their former host is waiting for them. But there is a change in him. where before his face was utterly still, now it is merely stoic. Expressions, though limited, do cross his face. he looks much more human.

He also looks pleased.

"You return, victorious. The mountain king is dead and his people scatter. This...is a great day."

He looks over them both.

"We are preparing a feast. You will be welcome. We have prepared maps of the lands as we knew them. You may have them. And then our treasuries will be open to you and you may take what you choose!"

He beckons them within, to the dark passage lit only by the flickering torch he carries.
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Nialldubh
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[ *  *  *  *  * ]
Athelos acknowledges Galatea's analyses of the black hilted sword and rolls it within his cloak and slung it over his shoulder; he would work with his own weapons for the now.

On arrival at the entrance to the tunnels, he greets the other with a curt nod and speaks, "Aye, we will be glad for some nourishment and rest before we take our leave from you!" He looks for any sign of subterfuge in the man's eyes or tries to sense any change in his emotions as he leads them into the tunnel!

'They look so human,' thinks Athelos, 'how can I be sure they are not?' He asks himself; but gets no answers. The uncertainty threaten to send him in to uncontrolled confusing as he sought to keep his hand off the hilt of his sword and passing it's blade through the back of his host; just to see what would happen...

He glanced at Galatea to see if she was fine, they must act soon, but once they were closer to the centre of this viper's nest, then they would strike while their enemies were relaxed and unprepared.




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kintire
Arch-Magi/Hero-King
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
While more mobile than before the man's expression is still wooden and hard to read. Still he gives no immediate signs of any kind of hostility, leading them back along a route that seems familiar, and emerging into the hall not far from the rooms they had had before.

More figures are here, some dozen or so of the stoic faced inhabitants and perhaps the same number of deeply cowled figures who move with the stiffness of the walking dead. These latter a finishing setting up a great table, surrounded by couches on which the inhabitants are beginning to lounge.

Again Athelos can detect no sign of treachery. The feast seems genuine enough, and they are gestured to couches at the head of the table, next to their host which is presumably a place of honour. The only things he notes as odd are that this seems to be a male only feast as far as the inhabitants are concerned. Galatea is the only woman in the room.

Galatea is in a lower couch than Athelos, and it seems to be set so that she is associated with him rather than at the table in her own right. Still, she is at the table.

their guide speaks.

"Do you wish to recline for the feast at once or refresh yourselves first? there is a bathing chamber adjacent."
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Nialldubh
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[ *  *  *  *  * ]
Athelos looks down at his dust and blood covered tunic, "I think it would be best to find something suitable to don," he part smile, "and yes a bath; it will help me to relax more."

Athelos really was not concerned for his attire, he just needed somewhere private to talk to Galatea, he was still having doubts about their host's intentions; plus it might be best to wait till their were only a few of the others inhabitants of these dark tunnels nearby; if they chose to attack!
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kintire
Arch-Magi/Hero-King
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
No one appears to follow them into the bathing chamber, and the hot water seems alluring. It is a large pool, a dozen yard across with water pouring steadily in from a gap in the north wall, and flowing out through the south. A natural hot spring, not heated water.

Galatea lays aside her now filthy silks and slides into the hot water with a sigh. It is deep enough that she can stand in it with her shoulders just emerging, and she quickly plunges into it before emerging, throwing back her wet hair.

She moves closer to Athelos, then, close enough to speak quietly.

"See the way their faces move now? They've improved their disguises after seeing us..."
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Nialldubh
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[ *  *  *  *  * ]
Athelos nodded, it took the wisdom of the sorceress to help him comprehend the illusion. "We must cause them to relax; I cannot imagine they will let us leave; for if we return to tell of what we have seen, they will be in danger and if we had not suspect their true identity, people would still return to make contact with them and the risk of them seeing through their disguise...!" He pauses and continues staring around him, "...they cannot take that chance," he whispered cautiously.

"Lets allow a few to remain after the banquet and strike quickly, it also might give me time to don my armour before more arrive. But, silence is or best attack, kill quickly and with little noise as possible!"
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kintire
Arch-Magi/Hero-King
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
She nods grimly. Once their bath is concluded they rise. Athelos' armour has been placed neatly to one side, out of reach of the steam, but it is still within easy dashing distance!

They return to the hall and take their places. The feast is not exactly convivial, with the conversation cool and stilted. The food is plentiful and richly spiced, but Athelos notes that the basic ingredients are not much varied: Lamb, peas, wheat and broad beans are the only ingredients apart from flavorings. The wine is plentiful but of no great quality.

The music is exotic but beautiful, however, and the incense is sweet.
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Nialldubh
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[ *  *  *  *  * ]
Athelos attempts to be gracious and manneredly, but his fear of the 'snakes that speak,' is great, 'perhaps the food is poisonous, or the drink,' he smells nothing but herbs and spices, and cautiously picks at the food and slightly sips the wine, he does not want to drink much; to keep his mind focused.

Athelos though is in a daze; the difficult sojourn into the hills had left him mentally exhausted and he seemed oblivious to his surroundings.
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kintire
Arch-Magi/Hero-King
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
His exhaustion builds, and he feels heavy limbed and heavy eyed. He loses track of the conversation, such as it is, and the feast hall seems to swirl around him as if it was underwater. He observes that Galatea seems to have fallen asleep, and he would very much like to do the same.

His companion's speech returns to him in snatches.

"Excellent service... many threats still remain...to close to the cursed land... monsters... useful..."

He has trouble following he details,but he thinks he is being asked to stay...
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Nialldubh
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[ *  *  *  *  * ]
Fearing he had been poisoned or drugged, Athelos attempts to comply and convince his hosts of his good intent. But, he would find a way to strike when they were vulnerable and alone, if not may Argathon grant him safe passage into the afterlife!
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kintire
Arch-Magi/Hero-King
[ *  *  *  *  * ]
He acquiesces to his hosts' approaches, his head getting increasingly vague. He is now quite certain that he has been drugged, as the world begins to ripple as if viewed through water. Still he is aware that the menace he felt is receding as he professes himself willing to aid. at last darkness claims him and he sinks into sleep.

He awakens an unknown time later in the guest room he had before. his limbs feel heavy at first, but the feeling soon fades. His gear and possessions have been neatly stowed away in the chests about the room, and jug of cool water and a goblet has been left. His mouth is dry and his head has a slight throb, like a mild hangover.

About his neck is a tight chain, gilded, but he thinks steel beneath. in the front of it is set a strange gem, faceted like a jewel, but black as midnight in the bronze mirror, ominous rather than decorative, especially since the chain has no catch, and will not come off.
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