Crazy Like a Fox - by Drac

Re: Crazy Like a Fox - by Drac

Postby Drac » Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:26 pm

Rosa peered between some plants at the top of a rise... still no sign of the tomb's entrance. Could we have been mistaken, she thought? That Nord was half-drunk and mumbled a good bit; maybe they'd misunderstood, and this was all a waste of time. She slipped a hand into the pocket inside her robe... no, at least the key was certainly real. It's a fair-sized island, it would probably just take awhile to locate. Just then, she heard an excited yelp from over to the west.

"Ayia! It is here! Dven, Rosa, come and see, just where Nord man said!"

Dven looked up, then grinned.. trust the Keynari vixen to smell out adventure. He stood and trotted in the direction of the voice, slinging his pack over one shoulder. He spotted the Tigaran moving that direction as well.. great, we can maybe get somewhere now.

The tomb's entrace was pretty much the same as many on Vvardenfell and the surrounding islands; Velothi in appearance, made of limed clays into an arch, with a heavy door. The Dunmer crouched to look at the mechanism of the door, and grunted. "Just like the old ones, they've trapped it. There's a spring here, and if it gets tripped, who knows what'll happen?" Of course, the Keynari pushed her nose close, and peered at the device in front of the Elf.

"Is maybe poison needle? Maybe burning liquid gets sprayed? Arissi has seen many, but this is different. Let Arissi examine, Dven, and think." She stared at the thing from several angles, never touching the blocky mechansim, while Dven stepped back... then removed a small square packet from her pack and looped a bit of twine over the door's handle. "Please to step well back!" She payed out string until she stood with the others, a dozen feet from the door, and tugged. The doorway seemed to sprout fog, and them with a *WHOOMP* the mist disappeared into a momentary wall of orange flame, leaving an acrid smell and a hint of soot drifting to the stone in front of the door. She nodded... "Fiery liquid, Arissi wondered. Just different from Keynari kinds." She turned the lever-shaped handle on the door and it swung open with a faint creak. Down a rough stairway they saw another door. "Is also probably trapped," said the vixen. "Arissi will see, please to be having lights ready?" She led the way downward, holding a candle, her gait bobbing as her legs weren't shaped the way that the builders' had been.

Some time later, Rosa leaned over the Keynari's shoulder and smiled. "You've been studying that handle for some time, Arissi. No traps yet?" She'd watched the smaller vixen peer, poke and prod the latching mechanism, sniff closely at it, and "dust" it with a small soft-bristled brush. "Maybe they thought the outer trap would be enough."

Arissi flattened her ears. "Is not that Arissi does not see trap, is that Arissi does not see way to open the silly door. Is latch, yes, but turn and nothing happens. No opening, no sound at all, should be little clicks of door at least!" She tapped the metal block on the door with the butt of her dagger; "Open! Why does not open, nobody could get in this way!" Then her expression changed... "Nobody could get in this way. Is... just different sort of lock, nothing happens unless know what to do!" She moved her candle about the metal block again, and giggled quietly to herself. "Arissi is foolish, and proves it." She grasped the handle and pushed; it sank inward slightly, and this time, when she turned... clunk-clack-click! The door moved inward a bit, showing only darkness beyond. "So simple, child could find the way... but we have no child, so silly Arissi must suffice. Now for being careful, because nasty things guard tombs!"

Dven smiled to himself... he wouldn't have spotted anything so simple either, but the sometimes-childlike Keynari vixen... well. He slipped the blade Arissi'd gotten him from its sheath, being careful not to touch the hungry thing's metal-like blade, and held his torch a little higher, glancing behind at the shaft of daylight well above before following the others into the musty-smelling chamber beyond.

They'd followed the ancient hallway for some distance past the antechamber when they came to an intersection. "Right or left?" whispered the Tigaran. "Arissi thinks right; always turns same direction when in unfamiliar places, so will not get lost. Follow wall and will come to deepest parts, and then follow out too." The Tigaran nodded, the Dunmer agreeing, and they crept along, leaving faint scuffs in the dust covering the floor. The darkness was almost palpable, the air oppressive; the walls seemed almost to lean in toward them. The Dunmer's torch gave some light, and the Tigaran's staff was a help, but they only lit a small area about them. Urns containing the bones of Dunmer ages-dead loomed from the darkness atop stone platforms, decayed offerings giving a sickly-sweet tang to the heavy air.

The Dunmer almost jumped out of his skin when a muffled clunk followed by a momentary scrabbling noise came from in front, but the Keynari vixen whispered back over her shoulder, "Arissi sorries, was nasty rat. Do not trip over carcass, please." The Dunmer smirked at himself... jumpy as a scamp, he thought, then stiffened; there was a sound behind him. He turned slowly, in time to see a whitish face and outstretched clawlike hands. Before he realized it himself, he'd spun about, whisked the heavy blade in his hand through the thing, and pulled back for another try. But the face was distorting in rage as it faded; it left a puddle of something thick on the floor as it disappeared. The others appeared at his sides, weapons ready and Arissi almost chirping in her excitement; "What is, Dven?!?"

It's all right, just some ancestral spirit was bothered that we were here, little love" he replied. He looked at his blade; the faint face seemed somehow smug, though unsullied by its passage through the ghost. He watched as the mage gathered something from the thing's remains on the floor and stoppered it inside a tiny flask, whisked away inside of her robe. "If that's the worst that we face, I'll be surprised; it's been tense so far, but much too easy. Something's waiting, I'm sure."
Last edited by Drac on Sun Apr 21, 2013 1:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Crazy Like a Fox - by Drac

Postby Drac » Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:27 pm

The clatter of metal on bone was a grating clash to Dven's ears, though he certainly wasn't about to stop and complain. He sidestepped, leaving one leg outstretched, and a skeleton wielding an enormous, rusty axe went sprawling... the Dunmer's short blade neatly snapping the thing's grinning skull from its shoulders. "'rissi, Rosa! Need any help?" He turned toward the others, keeping half an eye on the archway from which the undead things had emerged.

The Keynari vixen didn't seem to be having too much trouble; she flicked one hand toward the bone-ward nearest her, planting two tiny blades in its empty eyesockets; then neatly leapfrogging the thing, somehow retrieving them as the thing fell, already waving her chitin blade at the next. "Aieeeyiyiyiyi! Is good exercise, but not so nice to the nose!" As always, grinned the Dunmer to himself, still the silly creature. He had to agree about the stench; the half-rotted bonewalkers scattered about the floor were enough to make a scrib retch. He looked to where the Tigaran mage had been last, and saw her swing her staff in an arc; all three of the skeletal wards' frames danced with sparks as they jerked and twitched, then fell to piles of dusty bonemeal.

"These are not a problem, friend Dven" shouted the mage. "These are but the first of many however, I fear." She was already crouching and scooping some of the dusty remains into something. The Dunmer frowned, looking around; where were the others? Oh... there weren't any more. He slumped, his breath heavy. The others moved near him, and all stood, catching their breath.

The Tigaran spoke first. "This is not a healthy place to stay. The air is fouled by the walkers, and there is too much bone-dust in the air. We should either move to the next chamber, or retreat to the antechamber. I think that we should rest for a bit, as well." She turned and moved toward the archway into the previous chamber; rough-carved from the stone, it still provided an easily-noted landmark. The faint glow of patches of mosses and molds along the walls showed that the arches themselves were smooth, almost the only smooth things in these dank spaces.

So you see, Arissi, Daedrons are not just bits of energy floating about, they're also alive and aware... in a sense." The Keynari's eyes grew wide. "Magicka lives? What lives *on*, what does do besides mage's bidding, how does react to weather?!?" The Tigaran laughed quietly... "No, not alive in quite the same sense as birds and animals and us. They reproduce, when there are living things about to provide the energy needed, and they even react to their surroundings... but they do not have actual minds, nor do they eat or breathe. But they share some of the same characteristics." Rosa laid her staff down against the stone upon which she sat. "Daedrons are bits of energy given off by living things, and living things can control them, to an extent. But we also need them in order to live, for life *is* magickal in nature, and Daedrons *are* what we call magicka."

Dven shook his head.. listening to those two always seemed interesting at first, but quickly became confusing and boring. He always felt as though he *almost* understood what they were talking about,, but then some sudden twist in their conversation left him feeling as if he were drowning in words. Mages, he thought. They're almost a separate breed entirely. They think differently, they have different motivations, and they always, always seem to want to go wherever it's the most dangerous... or at least, where there are the most books, usually about subjects that I don't understand. He examined his black blade; the faint reddish lines seemed to form a face that leered at him. Yes, I know, you. You'd like nothing better than to bite into me, just as much as anything I've had to use you upon. When Rosa told me that a Daedric blade was actually a creature, it became very clear. You hate and hunger after everything that lives in our world. Still, you serve me, and keep me alive... as long as I don't let you touch my flesh. Bah! It's like Arissi said, you have one visible edge, but it's the edge that you can't see that's likely to bite back. He slid the thing back into its sheath, and scowled. If it weren't that he cared for the little Keynari vixen... but then his featured softened into a faint smile. Yes, the little vixen; Arissi, who could one moment be dancing like a child in delight at the warmth of a sunny day, chasing a butterfly, and the next be stalking an alit she'd spotted... and later, play a silly child's prank upon him when he was readying to sleep. How did she cast her spells upon him, he wondered? Ah well, it's not as if I mind... and she's so very warm at night. He chuckled quietly, then froze. The two voices were silent, and the air seemed almost to hold its breath.

--------***--------

Slowly gliding along above the stony floor of the corridor, the shadowy creature whispered to itself. Seven feet of bony apparition, a skull-like head perched in shadow impossibly high over shoulders covered in tattered shroud, four limbs held out as if for balance, the thing moved through the catacomb like Death itself. It paused, as if in contemplation, then reached out to touch one of the jars along the sides of the dark corridor. It nodded, then floated slowly onward, always a whispering voice coming from the half-rotted hood covering its bony pate , two feet above the red of its shroud. It stank of years of stale air and the dank of underground, moving always through rooms carved of stone blocks. It paused, its sightless skull turning from side to side; something? Yessss, it hissed, and turned down still another passage. Intrudersssss. Grave-robbersss, thievessss...

--------***--------

Arissi's sensitive nose twitched, the only part of her visible at the edge of the chamber, then was followed by a longish muzzle, whiskers twitching; then catlike eyes, in a reddish-orange furred face. She peered into the darkness; something was wrong. She couldn't quite make out what was bothering her, but her inner self kept telling her Danger Ahead! She held her breath, her tail lifting to warn her companions that she needed quiet. She strained, her triangular, pointed ears swiveled to the darkness ahead.. and then, a faint brownish blur, and a hint of white; something that seemed horrible, seemed wrong. She pulled back and motioned to Rosa, who seemed almost to glide forward. The Keynari pointed down the corridor, and the Tigaran eased forward, to let one eye show around the edge of the stone.. then pulled back with an audible gasp. She grabbed at Arissi's arm and pressed back at Dven with her staff, and the three quickly moved back to the previous chamber.

What is, Rosa, what is horrible thing?!?" The vixen whispered. Dven could see that she was agitated; just the flaring out of her tail was evidence enough, but her ears were laid back and her eyes were wide. Rosa whispered quickly, "Something that I've only seen once before; it's called a Bone Lord, and it's very strong. If we're to best that, we'll have to be very careful. We won't be able to beat it by brute force, it'd kill us easily." She leaned in between the other two and smiled, showing teeth. "I do have an idea, however..."
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Re: Crazy Like a Fox - by Drac

Postby Drac » Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:28 pm

The apparition drifted slowly forward, toward where the life-thing had appeared so briefly. Robbers, invaders... kill them, make them stay forever, it thought (or whatever passed for thought). Something different, something amusing, a change from the perpetual stillness of the tomb. It could smell the... wait. Another scent? There was another somewhere up ahead. It would have more amusement than it thought. It glided forward more rapidly, almost eagerly in the darkness.

Ahead, just beyond the doorway, two forms crouched to either side of the opening to the hall, the smaller of the two practically fading from view. The third of the trio stood at the far end of the chamber, clutching her staff and muttering quietly to herself and fussing with two scraps of paper. The faint hissing from the corridor was coming nearer, the shadowed figure approaching in the gloom. It raised four skeletal arms, a swirl of faint light gathering in front of it until it sped toward the cloaked figure with the staff.

The bolt sped forward, until fading away just before the Tigaran's staff. Rosa winced, and staggered slightly, before straightening and pointing her staff at the figure. A much brighter bolt sped toward the floating thing, but it too faded before reaching it. The skeletal creature emerged from the hallway, already another swirl of dark-blue light gathering about it; the bolt never completed forming, however, as the "bundles of rags" to either side leapt up with doubled shouts.

Dven whirled his vicious black blade into the space between the thing's upper shoulders with a puff of dust and a loud crunch, just as the Keynari's small chitin blade entered the front of the thing's tattered shroud, the blade turning suddenly black and jagged just before the inevitable scrunch. "HAYIIEEEEEE!" The thing's half-skull somehow managed to look astonished, just before it fell into a small pile of bones, the shroud and mantle both shredding into puffs of dust.

Rosa shook herself free of the energies she'd been gathering about herself. "Well, that was easier than I'd thought it would be." She stepped forward to poke the base of her stave at the half-skull lying upon its side. A translucent bluish stone rolled from the eye-socket, which the Tigaran scooped up and tucked into a fold of her cloak.

Dven just stood there, half-crouched with wide eyes, his blade held ready. He stared at the dusty pile, then at Arissi, and then turned slowly to Rosa. "It's.. dead?"

Rosa grinned, and nodded. "It was always dead, friend Dven, but it is destroyed, yes. Let us hope that there are no more of them later on."

Dven blinked, and turned to Arissi, who was watching him with bright eyes and lolling tongue.. her form of a mischievous grin. "I suppose that you weren't afraid at all, you bush-tailed little bundle of fur!"

Arissi giggled, a sound akin to pouring water into a mug. "Arissi did not fear, good Dven.. but was terrified, which is different. It is right to be terrified of such things. But it is gone and we are still here, so all is good." She reached with her own jagged blade to tap Dven's short curved blade downward. "Is okay to relax for moment."

Rosa intervened, once Dven slumped a bit and then caught himself. "For a moment, yes, we can rest. I do not sense anything nearby, but we have a distance to go, I should think. If you two care to nap, I will stand the first watch, and wake Dven in two hours."
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Re: Crazy Like a Fox - by Drac

Postby Drac » Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:29 pm

Dven woke slowly, as if rising from deep water toward light; his first image was of darkness, with an oddly-shaped face just above his. "Wake, wake up please, Dven; Rosa says room will become very dangerous soon, is time to move on."

Arissi, he thought, and smiled. "All right, all right.. though I'd enjoy just lying here with my pretty fox-lady kneeling by my side." He rolled to his side and stood, dusting off his clothing. "I thought we'd killed... um, destroyed the remnants that wandered here. What's changed?"

Rosa stepped into view in the gloom, a finger to her feline lips. "Sshh, there are many more that roam these dusty corridors, Dven. We cannot risk being heard; I was looking around and saw a group of at least six. I doubt that we could handle so many, just now." She turned and looked behind her, then motioned. "Arissi, now would be a good time to try the spell we'd discussed. Down this hall, I think."

The Keynari vixen rose and trotted to the indicated hallway. A faint luminescence seemed to grow between her slender hands, and flickered toward the hallway, before disappearing. Her jaw opened, and her tailfur bristled, before she slipped to one side of the entryway. "Rosa!" she hissed. "Dven! Are at least eight, coming this way! Must move now!" She half-leapt toward the corridor from which the Bone Lord had come, her bonelike blade slipping free... tiny thing though it was. The others glanced toward the other hall, and then each other... then as if on a hidden signal, both were an instant behind the small Keynari, moving as quickly as they could while remaining as quiet as they could.

===***===

All right, I think that we're okay for the moment" whispered the Tigaran mage. She leaned against the damp stone wall, holding her stave before her. "I'll ward the doorway so that they'll tend to avoid coming in here, though if they see us, they'll ignore it." She turned, placing herself between her two companions and the open corridor, moving her staff as if it were a large pencil, and indeed there was a faint trail of light following the bladelike tip. She formed a symbol of sorts, which faded directly, and turned back to her companions.

Arissi pointed to the aperture. "Arissi saw Daedric symbol, was letter like great "D". She looked up at the tall Tigaran, her ears cocked forward inquisitively.

Rosa nodded... "Combined with the directing of energies and setting up a small current of Daedrons, the symbol was a focus for me to concentrate upon. It's like the image of the candle and the star that you used to cast your spell of detection earlier. Now, we'd better move on, the spell will not last more than a handful of minutes, and we shouldn't be here when they finally wander through."

The trio moved into the corridor, following the faint guiding light from the mage's staff, soon coming to a winding stair leading downward. Down, down and further still, for fully the half of an hour, negotiating crumbling stairs carved from stone in less light than a single candle would provide. The gloom seemed to deepen, the further they descended, the air itself becoming more and more stale and close. After what seemed an eternity, Rosa stopped suddenly and hissed a warning. "Ssst!" She motioned Arissi and Dven back, and after stepping backward to join them, whispered, "We are here. This is the maze of which the Nord spoke; the undead rule here, and we must be very careful."

Arissi curled her lip, and pressed her hands together.. and a tiny bow appeared, clenched between her palms. It grew larger, and larger, until it was nearly her own height; a thing of blacks and reds, all angles and sharp points. Dven blinked, and pointed at the bow; "Arissi.. that thing, in a maze?" he whispered. "You're much more of an archer than you ever mentioned.."

The Keynari flattened her ears, and leaned up to touch her nosepad to the Dunmer's chin. "Is easier to use than looks, and is most needed now." She swept her small cloak to one side, showing a quiver with a number of arrows. "Arissi must be very quiet, and strike nasty things from afar." She moved to the lead, and peered out into the open darkness, before again forming her wisp of light and sending it into the gloom. A moment later, she stiffened, then nocked an arrow and let fly, once, twice, then a third time. An instant after each, a faint clatter sounded. The vixen stood there, ears pricked up as high as Dven had ever seen.. then turned and nodded to the Tigaran, and stepped out into the darkness.
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Re: Crazy Like a Fox - by Drac

Postby Drac » Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:30 pm

The trio moved slowly.. painfully slowly.. through the humid gloom, so as not to let the ankle-deep (and stale-smelling) water swirl noisily. They knew full well that somewhere out in the darkness, there were creatures that should be dead and gone, that would hurry to kill them if they were discovered. So far, the Dunmer, Tigaran and Keynari had either destroyed or avoided a number of skeletal creatures; they'd negotiated part of a maze of stone, tall flat rocks set upright to form walls.The Tigaran, whose eyes seemed best-suited to the darkness, silently led the way, her companions alerted when she stopped by a touch... as she did now. Arissi and Dven eased close, her whisper barely audible even when their ears could feel her breath; "We must be coming close; there are two more skeletal guardians, at least one ancestral spirit, and my least favorite of the lot, up ahead... a bonewalker." She did not need to see the 'walker to know that it was near; her sensitive nose told her as clearly as if it were bright day. The undead things that were collections of broken skeleton, half-rotted meat and malevolent spirit could be smelt for nearly a mile downwind, and there was a faint breeze coming from ahead.

Dven looked up ahead and nodded, though he could see only blankness, and the faint phosphorescence floating on the water. Wait.. there was a swirl in the dim gleam as something moved. He gently turned Arissi's muzzle toward the sight, and after a moment, felt her nod. He nodded to Rosa and shifted his heavy blade in his hand. He'd heard of the bonewalker's ability to drain the very strength of one's arm from a distance.

Arissi swallowed silently.. bonewalker? A boggle from kit-stories until now. She leaned back behind the wallstone and called her... bow, so that the faint gleam of its appearance could not give them away, feeling the others move back behind her. She leaned the opposite direction, to slide her muzzle about the edge of the stone... yes, she could see them. She'd take the 'walker first. Must get with first arrow, or Arissi will be made weak as Kajhiit kitten, she thought while nocking her arrow. It was a good thing that the minor Daedra that her spell forced into bow-shape imparted a momentary aura of Daedric energies to the arrows; elsewise she'd need to have enchanted a good many arrows before they'd begun the journey here, and she wouldn't have been able to recover any from remains after shooting them. She stretched the bowstring, trying not to think of it as a tendril of some grotesque imp, and slowly lowered her aim until the arrowhead centered on the 'walker's hips; the arc at this distance should place it somewhere near the thing's chest. A faint "thung" and... well, her aim was off, but she'd take what Keyna allowed her; the thing staggered with the arrow transfixing its skull, through the hole where a nose would have been, and fell. Of course, the other creatures immediately started, and stared about.

---***---

Ssssshha! Intruders! The skeletal wards stared about, the gloom more like early twilight to them. But where? The bonefiend was down, struggling with an arrow through its rotting brain, but it was rapidly weakening.. soon it would be deanimated again, and rotting. Where was the attacker, where, where? Suddenly one of them pointed its shortsword to a distant wall, where a moving gleam in the floating glow-slime showed some sort of disturbance. With a many-voiced HISS! they started forward, bony feet splashing through the fetid water waving their shields and weapons, the apparitional spirit trailing behind; its floating was not nearly as fast as feet.

---***---

Arissi pulled back behind the wall, her heart in her throat. The thing was down, but was it dead? And the others had seen her! Abandoning stealth, she nocked another arrow, barked "Come! Fighting begins!" to her companions, and stepped out to shoot, though her first arrow glanced from the raised shield of an axe-wielding ward. Tossing the bow aside, as they were now too close for another shot, she drew her little chitin blade and waited, half-crouched and tail flared. The mage dashed out, bare paws splashing in the filthy water, a swirl of light already forming about her, and the Dunmer scrambled out to the open, black blade raised.

"Not quite what we'd hoped, but still!" snarled the Tigaran mage. "Och chae ma fesht'lar!" A crackling flare struck the leading skeleton full in the face, or lack of face, and the creature split into a falling pile of bones. This did not deter its fellows, however, who came on without a pause, a conjoined howl rising from no-longer-present throats. Their charge did not last, however, as a half-rotted timber smashed into the remaining two. Rosa blinked, her next spell fading from her surprise, and looked at Dven, who grinned back at her with dripping arms.

"Someone left something here, and it seemed a shame to waste it, don't you think?" smirked the Dunmer. "I think it was a bench or something."

The Keynari lolled her tongue at them both, then her ears perked upward. "Wait, where did last ward come from? And where is nasty floaty-spirit?" A hiss from above gave them their next clue, as the apparition descended upon Rosa, translucent claws groping toward her face, a sickly glow moving from it to the Tigaran.

Rosa gasped as a chill seemed to fill her middle, and she felt the life draining from her for a moment.. then there was a whoosh over her through the thing, and there was only dripping greenish goo covering the front of her robe. "Awwwwrrrr! Disgusting!" She did, however, have the presence of mind to scoop a bit of the syrupy ichor into a vial she produced from somewhere within her robes.

Arissi looked about and upward, then turned to the others. "Is okay now, but Arissi must hope that more from further away did not hear." She blinked at her Tigaran friend, and gape-grinned. "Rosa says ick, but saves some anyway. Is true mage and alchemist." She flattened her ears for a moment at Dven's chuckle, then lolled her tongue at him. "Silly man, help to splash water to clean goo from Rosa?"
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Re: Crazy Like a Fox - by Drac

Postby Drac » Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:31 pm

Dven looked upward for a moment and shrugged, as if to say "I know, spirits, but.." and then moved closer to assist in cleaning the gelatinous substance from the Tigaran; it's funny, he thought. Without magicka, or an enchanted weapon, you can't even touch those things, but when they die.. again.. they leave slime all over. He scooped up stale water and sloshed it over the mage's robe, where little Arissi was scooping greenish ichor from the fabric. "So what next? Do we keep going the same direction? These stone slabs seem more like a maze than anything else."

Rosa held a hand to keep from being splashed on the muzzle, and smirked. "A maze indeed, my red-eyed friend. That is precisely where we are, and we must find the center." She ruffled Arissi's ears a bit, smiling to the small vixen. "And I think we're getting close. It will get a bit worse now, I think, but a little rest and we'll be able to continue. I wouldn't recommend sitting in this water, though; dead things have wandered through it for too long. We'll need to see about getting truly clean when we get out again."

Arissi looked back and forth, from the Elf to the Tigaran and back. "Arissi thinks must get to center and then back out before making plans for hot bathings" she giggled. "Much to do and much to not do, before can begin heating water and filling tubs." She lifted her chin, turning to one side and sniffing the air. "Something is not far away, something that Arissi has not smelled for long, long time. But Arissi thinks can rest for little bit."

The little troupe settled onto a fallen stone column in the gloom, one leaning against the next, amid the dank air and oily-looking water. Shortly, the two females slept, and only the slight turning of the Dunmer's head now and then showed that he was awake.

===***===

Staagzz was annoyed. He'd been in this stupid place for far longer than he'd been promised, and these thrice-trzz't unmortal mortals weren't any amusement at all; they thought only of sloshing through the liquid, hissing and muttering to themselves. And the clacking of the bones was beginning to grate on him; there was no sport here at all. It'd been ages since the last mortals had come down the stone stairway from the maze above; now that had had some amusement value, especially when he stood over that pair's cowering forms and told them just what he was going to do before he feasted on their still-living flesh. The Hunt.. the Hunt was good, when you could get it, these mortals were practically animals once you took away their toys. He licked black lips, and retreated into memories of the chase, while undead muttered to themselves in the shadows. Somrtime he'd return to Overaad, which the mortals called Oblivion, and then he'd find a way to Nirn again.. and once again enjoy the Hunt...

===***===
Dven woke, to find himself alone. He leapt upright, peering into the gloom, before he heard two familiar (if quiet) voices nearby. He slipped into the ankle-deep water and moved toward them, pointed ears pricked for any sounds out of the ordinary. A few moments, and he could make out the shapes of his friends.

...that is why, Arissi, you must always, always keep the relation between positive and negative so strictly controlled." The tall Tigaran was speaking, looking at a faint glow between cupped hands. "Without full control, you would risk a cascade from the imbalance, and that could cause your daedron flow to flex beyond your control. Then you could be engulfed, and that would mean that you'd be burned, shocked, frozen and even perhaps poisoned, all at once. This is not a healthy thing, you see?" She turned to smile at Dven (which he'd always found a little disconcerting; those were the teeth of a carnivore, long and sharp. But he knew that she meant him well). "Good morning, mister sleepyhead. You need to wake us for our proper watches, or you'll be too tired next time."

Dven chuckled at the smiling faces turned toward him. "If mages don't sleep, they aren't such good mages as they would be otherwise. I'm a thief, I use physical means. My head doesn't need to be as clear.. which is fortunate, since it never is."

Arissi poked her tongue out at him, a pinkish blob at the tip of a long and pointed muzzle. "Dven is silly, thinks Arissi. But is why Arissi loves so." She flicked her tail about behind her.. not like the simple wave she'd used when trying to charm a guard, but quick flickerish movements. Dven had learned that that meant that she was amused and pleased, and felt himself warm a trifle more. She had such an effect upon him, almost like chains.. but welcome chains.

Rosa flicked her hands, the faint glow fading and expanding into nothing. "Well, I've taught Arissi the beginnings of directional location, and she's surprised me already; she's found a doorway that looks likely to be our goal at this level. Shall we?"

They gathered their things, and with faint splashes now and then, set out toward a faint glow in the darkness.
Last edited by Drac on Sun Apr 21, 2013 2:37 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Crazy Like a Fox - by Drac

Postby Drac » Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:33 pm

See, Arissi said she smelled something different!" whispered the small vixen. She pointed toward a figure standing in the faint glow, from where the trio huddled at the edge of a rough stone wall. "What is? Rosa, can be Dremora?!?"

The Tigaran's lips were drawn back in a silent half-snarl. "Yes, Arissi, that's a Dremora. I didn't think we'd run into an inhabitant of Oblivion here; our luck has fangs today... or tonight, whatever this is. We'll need a plan; do you see those plates about its shoulders and legs? Dremora armor is very tough. Dven, what do you think?"

I think we've come too far to back out now, just because of one swollen-headed demon" whispered the Dunmer. "Do they bleed? If they bleed, then they can die. If they can die, then we can kill this one." He fingered the pommel of the black blade he wore. "I've read that they hold us in contempt, calling us animals for the hunting. We can let this one see what it's like to be the hunted, for a change. Besides, we've two resourceful mages... surely you have some sort of tricks up your sleeves, besides soft fur?" He winked to Arissi, and smiled when he saw the insides of her triangular ears darken slightly.

Rose shook her head slightly. "No, Dven, Dremora do not die. They bleed, but when their bodies fail, they just go back to Oblivion, until some foolish mage or priest summons them without knowing how to enforce their control. Or, in rare circumstances, one finds a way to slip through to Nirn and form a new body for itself. But that is almost as good, you're right in that; if we can damage its body enough to force it back to Oblivion, then we can treat it as dead; it may return in a few days, or a few hundred years, but either way, it's unlikely to bother us again. Besides," she smiled. "From the expression in our sharp-nosed little friend's eyes, I'd say she has an idea." She ruffled the Keynari's ears lightly for a moment. "What are you thinking, little mischief?"

Arissi gape-grinned for a moment. "Arissi remembers Rosa telling about Dremora, and how some Daedra can reflect spells.. but Dremora do not do this. So Arissi wonders... if nasty Dremora is made very slow, is then plenty of time to poke holes in its body from distance, no? Arissi thinks knows how to make very slow indeed." She whispered with Rosa for a moment, the Dunmer trying to peer into the darkness to see if anything else was about besides one single demon. He felt better... Gods, what I get into... and, Azura help me, as long as Arissi's involved.. I even like it. Demons, stinkwater, darkness, next I'll be walking into Oblivion itself to follow where she goes. He squared his shoulders and shrugged. The Lady plays Her games and mortals get to experience whatever She wills, live or die.

===***===

Staagzz muttered, licking black lips. What he wouldn't give for just one mortal to "play" with... but he was stuck here, guarding what needed no guards, and had plenty. Why guard a mortal tomb, anyway? He grumped and set his gauntleted hand on the haft of the spear leaning against the doorway. His lip curled a bit; the imp that he'd forced to take the spear-shape wasn't enjoying its existence, he could tell; it was amusing to make some of the lessers of his realm serve him in ways that caused them pain. Now all he needed was something to hunt.

===***===

Rosa crouched with the Keynari vixen,, Dven just behind them. "Take your time, Arissi, gather your thoughts... let the patterns assemble in your mind's eye, until they achieve perfection." The Keynari's hands were before her, a faint flicker between them. A tiny spark appeared, and grew into a complex swirl of faint lines sliding over one another, at first a jumble... then showing almost a tiny picture, a pattern of depth and sharp angles. "Once you have what you wish, hold your hands toward the recipient, and open your fingers. The pattern will escape and fly in the direction you've chosen." A blink, and then the lines were gone, a flicker speeding off into the gloom. Dven tried to keep his attention on the sounds (or lack of them) in the darkness, but couldn't help glancing in the direction of the Dremora; wait, it'd seen something, and grabbed its spear; if it spotted.. no, it was already too late, a nimbus of tiny arcs of greenish fire slithering over its form; it started toward the trio, but already something appeared wrong.

Staagzz cursed, a foulness that even he found distasteful emerging from his throat. He'd been so careless! Mortals were prey, but prey sometimes bit back.. and now he was bitten, himself. He'd seen a faint flicker, and ignored it; then something speeding toward him. He'd tried to leap to the side while grabbing his weapon, but too late, too late.. he felt his limbs turn leaden, and stiffen. He tried to dash toward the mortals responsible, but his movements seemed.. to be.. slowing.. slowing.. he could barely push one leg in front of the other. He gritted black teeth, and fought his way forward, but so.. very.. slowly...

Arissi yipped quietly, a sound that Dven knew to be her expression of delight. "Worked! Rosa, worked, stupid Dremora will take ages to reach us! Now, Dven, help to show nasty thing why we are not prey to be slaughtered!" She'd already pulled her bow from the air, and was nocking an arrow, but was still raising to aim when a silvery whirl zipped past her, and struck the thing in an arm. Another small whirl struck the other, just as an arrow 'grew' from the Dremora's thigh.

Staagzz growled, almost a gnashing grunt of frustration. He pushed on toward the presumptious animals, ignoring the star-shaped blades pricking his arms; they obviously knew that silver could hurt him, but these pricks were noth*AGH!* A feathered shaft sprung from his thigh, just above the knee; that shouldn't have hurt! Something was.. yes, the smallest of the group had a weapon formed of the body of a lesser imp from Oblivion, just like his spear. He raised it to hurl toward the group, a snarl of defiance building in his throat, but that too was cut off as the white-furred prey struck him with something else. Sparked danced over his flesh, his armor not resisting the electrical flares racing over his form. He struggled to hold his body together, but a second feathered shaft pierced his throat even as a third star-blade embedded itself in his forehead. He shrieked silently as his body sagged, and fell away into a blob of jelly in the water, and knew as he stretched into the void that he'd lost the game... this time.

Dven stared... had he seen what.. yes, the demon had literally melted! He stared at Arissi and Rosa in a moment of confusion, then as they turned to look at each other, the trio all shouted as one, a peal of relief and laughter. YAH!

Arissi danced in place, small footpads splashing the water, a rapid *splashplashplashplash* of pent-up energy suddenly released; then she went still, ears flicking this way and that. She slowly looked at the others, and grinned. "Arissi hears no others for long way, is just this one. And now we have a door!" The others grinned back at her; who'd know that they'd have such good luck?
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Re: Crazy Like a Fox - by Drac

Postby Drac » Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:34 pm

The small vixen sniffed at the handle upon the door, then turned her head and peered at it from this angle, then that. A small sound, like a "Hrrn?" came from her, and the Dunmer shifted; this was taking too long. "Arissi, come on, how long are you going to look at that thing?"


The little Keynari looked up and poked her tongue out at the tall DUnmer. "Is tricksy, Dven knows this. Place guarded so would surely have many ways to stop going through the door. Wishes Dven to need to be dragged rest of way, or sit and wait in darkness? Arissi thinks no, but Dven always had strange tastes for fun." The words were sarcastic, but the vixen's expression told Dven that she didn't mean them.. she always teased him. Arissi finally stood up and pointed to a corner of the boxish protrusion that held the door's handle. "Arissi sees little hole, and smells acid, but has no probes left. Dven can help?"

Their companion, the Tigaran mage stepped aside as Dven moved to the lock and crouched to examine the lock. The light from the Tigaran's staff was a little odd, but... yes, there, he could see the mechanism. A clever trap, he thought. You almost can't get at the thing's workings without turning the handle, and you had to wrap your hand around the handle to even turn it a little.. and of course, then it's too late. A good thing I'd seen this sort of thing before, he thought. He set the pommel of his blade against the casing.. just so.. and rapped, hard. A faint "spung" from inside, and then he knocked the now-exposed pin off, rendering the trap harmless, and stood up. "At your convenience, ladies." He flipped the handle and the door swung silently open, a pit that seemed to absorb even what little light there was.

===***===

The gloom was deep and oppressive, the air thick with damp and staleness. It was as if no fresh air'd been in here for centuries, thought the Tigaran. Her staff gave little light in this place, so they moved slowly.. and the rough stairs were damp and slick. They inched downward, downward, the stairs winding in circles along the side of a rounded shaft. After what seemed like hours, and several pauses for rest in the stale air, they came to a wooden door. This one, however, was sagging on its hinges, and fell completely away when Dven kicked it; the wood had long since rotted to uselessness in the damp. They were on a stone ledge, high over water and winding arches of rock... and there, in the mist, rose the mast of a ship.

===***===

The stairs and arches to the ancient longboat had been easy, and after making silent apologies to the cold bones that lay in state on the deck, they'd piled their findings together; Rosa had shown that her cloak held a great deal more than it looked like it should. Dven scratched his head.. that thing swallowed bags and even small chests, and never grew bulky. Mages... always they have to play tricks. Not that this was a bad trick, not at all...

Where is it?" growled the Tigaran. "It's got to be here somewhere, every reference seemed to indicate.." She eyed the boat, then the surrounding arches of stone. "It's been hidden, that much is certain. Now comes the difficult part. We need to search the upper ways, and under the water. Can either of you swim? I can swim, but not very well."

Dven shifted his weight. He looked at Arissi, who was looking uncomfortable and eyeing the chill water. He sighed and looked up at the mage. "I'll try the water, if you can provide light to see." He smiled inwardly when the vixen seemed to relax considerably. She looked upward at some of the ledges, and licked her lips. I'll have to remember that she doesn't like swimming. Must be the fur, he thought. He looked at Rosa, and started stripping off his shirt, then started when everything suddenly seemed to both go "flat" and several shades brighter. He dropped the shirt and loosened his blade; "Did you do something to me?"

Rosa smiled. "For a while, you'll see like my people do. But it won't last too long, so don't dawdle; I can refresh it when you surface, but you don't want to be in some dark place when it fails. Also, for a while, you'll be able to hold your breath better. But again, don't dawdle." She hadn't finished this last yet when the Dunmer had already slipped over the side, grunting when he entered the cold water. He tried to grin up at her, a rictus of an expression; Rose chuckled; she knew that that water was cold. She turned toward Arissi, but the vixen was nowhere to be seen.. until she looked upward. So-jka! she thought. She'd been practicing! Rosa hadn't expected the vixen to become adept at lifting herself for some time yet. She smiled wider, watching the Keynari apprentice float slowly from ridge to ridge, peering into all the spaces they couldn't see from the deck. From time to time she turned her attention to where bubbles rose and burst in the water, following Dven's trail as he swam about deep under the water, also searching. He'd probably be annoyed if he realized that he himself were glowing, she thought, and shrugged. She squared her shoulders and concentrated on mage-sensing her surroundings.

Dven was amazed at how long his breath was holding out. He'd found several bottles, some alcohol and possibly a potion or two, as well as a dagger and an old Nord blade of some sort. He'd placed these on a ledge that was just awash at the surface, and taken new breath before heading down again. After a bit more, he noticed the darkness growing again.. ergh. He kicked off from the bottom and headed toward the shadow of the old boat, and surfaced with a splash, then accepted the Tigaran's hand, hoisting himself into the vessel. That wood, even treated with the Nord secrets of preservation, wouldn't likely last too much longer. He nodded to Rosa and pointed toward the ledge where he'd piled his findings, then both looked up at a sudden exclamation from high above.

Aeeeyiyah!" Arissi floated next to a tiny stone ledge, fully fifty feet above the ledge where they'd entered. "Arissi finds something, a mask! A black mask!" She flipped a piece of cloth over the thing, and scooped it up in her arms, then dropped toward her companions. She floated downward, then they saw her expression change... and suddenly she plummeted toward them like a stone, vanishing into the water with a SPLASH!

Dven reached into the water and plucked her up like a dripping rag, but she still had her arms tightly clutched about her prize. "When your spell runs out, you silly creature, you really should keep your arms free to refresh it!" said Rosa. "Dven, can you get her dried out? I need to see what she found. If it's truly the Mask..." Her voice trailed off at a dry whispering voice coming from the shadows nearby.

I should thank you, mortals, for all of your diligent work in recovering my prize" whispered the cloaked figure, emerging from the dark. A thin gold-skinned arm clutched a staff of gnarled wood. A hand reached toward the trio, and Arissi felt chilled to the bone, far more than her wet fur could account for. This.. creature.. smelled of death, and she caught Rosa's.. and especially Dven's.. scent of fear. "You will now give to me that which is mine, and I will allow you to live; my hungers are sated for now, and I can afford to be generous. You may even keep the other trinkets, but I will have the Mask."

Dven stepped in front of the two females. "You will not harm these two, creature. I told you before, if you even attempt it, you will regret the night that you were made."

Arissi blinked, and then blinked again. She'd have to ask Dven about this, if they got the chance. In the meantime.. she readied the spell to summon her bow, and felt the hilt of her 'special' dagger. She was close enough to see Rosa sliding a ring onto her hand, and then grasp an amulet danging about her neck. Dven's hand was on the pommel of the black blade Arissi'd helped him aquire as well.

If you think that you could defeat me, I would suggest thinking again. Tigaran, you consider yourself a master mage? I was casting spells of complexity a century before you were born. And you, Keynari? You wouldn't require a second to dispatch. Dven, you surprise me... after all of our dealings, have you ever known me to break my word?" The figure swept the hood back from its face; a gaunt, drawn-looking Elf, but with a world-weary, hungry expression around sunken red(!) eyes.

Yes." was all the answer that Dven gave. "Maybe not to me, but you paid off a friend of mine and then killed him, and left him a lifeless husk." He muttered to Rosa and Arissi, "This creature is dangerous. He's a mage, he's three hundred years old, and... he's a vampire." He kept his eyes upon the creature, but held one hand in front of him, fingers spread, as if to ward off the figure's eyes.

Rosa snarled. "You knew of this, Dven!" She gripped her staff. "We trusted you..."

Dven whirled upon her and gritted his teeth. "He'd have killed you if you knew! I couldn't take that chance, especially with Arissi, you have to know that if I could've told you, I would have!" He glanced to the Keynari, his expression heavy. "I'm sorry, Arissi, I truly am. But I couldn't chance your life; I couldn't ever do that, even if it meant my own... and it might." He glanced toward the undead thing. "You said you'd leave them unharmed."

The figure seemed to slowly glide toward them across the short stretch of water. "I did, and I still say so. But I will have the mask." It stopped, cloak just touching the boat's side. "Now."
Last edited by Drac on Sun Apr 21, 2013 3:01 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Crazy Like a Fox - by Drac

Postby Drac » Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:35 pm

Arissi clutched the mask to herself, shrinking back from the cloaked and hooded figure, her ears flattened against her head when it reached toward her. "Arissi found, wicked creature has no right to what Arissi finds. It does not matter if made bargain with deceitful Dven!" She glanced at the tall Dunmer, who seemed to wince when she spoke his name. "What gives undead.. THING, right to take Arissi's findings?!?"


The former Elf chuckled, a dry rasp in the air, and withdraw his gaunt hand. "It's no wonder that Dven came to care for you, fuzzy creature. Very well, I can afford a few moments. What gives me the right? I placed it where you found it, ages ago. Now I merely wish to recover my property. And why allow the three of you do do the work? Because I dislike dealing with those clattering husks outside, they remind me of things best forgotten. But you may have all else that you've found here; I wish only the mask." He frowned slightly, and Arissi shivered; those eyes seemed to see clear through her, to all her secrets, her very soul lay bare for all to see. "Now... give me the mask, and you may take all that you find, as reward for recovering my property."

The Keynari vixen swallowed, her arms moving of their own accord, stretching out the bundled cloth-covered thing in her arms, until the withered hand snatched it from her grasp... then she sank to her knees, eyes unblinking, staring at the creature.

The former Elf slid the bundle into a fold in its cloak, and grinned,a rictus of stretched, faded yellow skin and sharp teeth between blackened lips. "I thank you all. And now.. ha!" He whipped about, a bony hand pointing at the Tigaran, her staff flying from her grasp and into his, the beginning glow of a striking-spell fading from the tip. "That is not nice, child. Were I not honor-bound to not harm you, I would take you and feed, and leave your husk to rot here... but you see now, Dven, I do indeed keep my word." He licked his lips, a flick of black upon black. "And yes, I did kill Arvik, but only because he betrayed me. He did not keep his word, but I shall keep mine." He dropped the staff, the ebony shaft clattering dully where it struck stone, and a nudge of a shoe slid it into the dark water. "This will be easy to find, but by then I will be long gone. Now that I have my prize, I will also release you from your geas, Dven. You are free, but do not presume upon our past relationship; if I find you stalking me, I will react appropriately." His red eyes flicked to one side for a moment, then the Elf seemed to blur, only to appear a few feet to one side, as Arissi's small form passed through the spot where he'd been standing a moment ago, her jagged black bade held straight out in front of her. "Oho, the Keynari has sharp teeth.. or at least one. I will not underestimate you again, my pretty." He whispered another chuckle, "You could not recover so quickly. You must have been pretending to be mesmerized. How amusing!" And with that, he flung his cloak in a wide circle, and the cloak seemed to fade into the stone behind it, leaving empty air and a scent of decay.

Arissi scrambled at the edge of the stone, having overbalanced when her thrust missed her target, and sat upon the edge of the stone. "Pah... Arissi should not have missed. What a foul thing! How could Dven bargain with such a wickedness?!?" She squeezed water from her tail and smoothed it, looking at the Dunmer... Rosa, too, was watching him warily.

Dven flopped to a seat in the boat wearily, hanging his head. "I know, I know... I should have told you both, long ago. I tried... I tried a hundred times, but always something prevented me. I suppose it was part of that thing's geas; I was stupid to have become involved with him, but who knew what he was, back then?" He looked from one accusing face to the other. "I suppose I'd better tell you everything... now that I can." He squared his shoulders, and waited for the slow nods from two muzzles. "It was some nine years ago..."

===***===

Dven was nervous; he'd never actually tried anything like this before, but... here he was, reaching for the pouch on the table next to the sleeping noble. He'd struggled quietly up the vines at the side of the manor, thinking that every slightest sound would bring shouts and an arrow, but he'd made it to the window. The thin knife he'd kept had slipped the hook from the shutter easily enough, just like the old Elf had said; now all he needed to do was get the pouch and slip back out and down to the street, and he could fade into the alleyways of Balmora. He grasped the small bag, squeezing it to stifle any clink of coins, and crept backward toward the window. One leg over the ledge, then into the vines, then the other, that's it. It was more difficult going down silently than upward, but he didn't see any guardsmen whenever he glanced about; good. Once both feet were on the ground, he stepped into the shadowed alley where his mentor would be waiting, and...

A cold hand slipped over his mouth, and suddenly he was in a grip of iron; he caught a whiff of foul breath and was lifted upward, a flash of red eyes and teeth.. a vampire! They weren't just stories! He struggled, but to no avail; he might as well have tried to arm-wrestle a troll. He swallowed, his desire to shout dying in his throat as those teeth came nearer.. then the dry whisper. "Choose, boy. Live and serve, or die and serve, which?"

===***===

.. and after that, when he demanded that I do jobs for him, I couldn't refuse. It seemed to weaken over time, but... well, there you are. Nine years of that, until tonight. He didn't have to try to remove his spell, Arissi. When I thought he'd break his promise and harm you... the compulsion disappeared in a flash of pain." He sighed, hugging his knees, with his two companions seated on the stone nearby. "I doubt that you'll ever really trust me again, but I swear that I'd never let anyone or any.. thing... harm you. And you've been my friend, too, Rosa. If you'll both let me, I will try to earn your trust. But I'd understand if neither of you wanted anything to do with me. I've lost the mask for you both, and kept secrets that could've proven deadly."

Rosa nodded. "The will of a vampire, once one has succumbed to it, is a difficult thing to resist, or so my old mistress at the Guild once told me. It's a rare mer that can break it even at great distance. For my part, I'll work with you, under two conditions."

Dven nodded.. "Anything. What are they?"

Rosa smiled. "Be a good boy, and recover my staff? And I'll probably keep a closer eye upon you for awhile, but that's understandable, yes?"

Dven grinned.. "All right, that's something I can live with." He turned to Arissi... "In your case, I want to ask forgiveness, but..."

Arissi nodded slowly. "Arissi wishes to know one thing, first. Are ANY other secrets Arissi and Rosa should know?" She nodded again when Dven slowly shook his head. "None? Then Arissi has a secret to share as well, since secrets are being told." She motioned to the seat upon which Dven had planted himself. "Look under, please?"

The Dunmer blinked, and reached underneath the board, and withdrew a bundle of cloth. "It's heavy for its size. What..." He unwrapped some of the windings, showing a gleam of black and red. "What.. how.. I don't..." He swallowed, clutching the thing in his hands.

Rosa stared, her tail suddenly thrashing about. "But... you.. he..."

Arissi giggled, a velvetty titter in the damp air. "Arissi gave bundle, but not same bundle as was demanded." She reached to flip open still more of the scraps of cloth covering the mask. "Nasty creature has skull Arissi found upon the ledge next to evil-looking mask." She plucked the thing from Dven's shaking hands, and with a grand gesture, presented it to the Tigaran. "Arissi's present to her friend."

Dven laughed loudly, though a tinge of hysteria could be heard about the edges of his voice. "All right, that's the best joke I've heard in a long time. But now, we'd better get out of here, before Vask finds out his "prize" is just an old bone!"
Last edited by Drac on Sun Apr 21, 2013 3:12 am, edited 1 time in total.
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Re: Crazy Like a Fox - by Drac

Postby Drac » Fri Apr 19, 2013 8:37 pm

Rosa stood still, staring at the mask that the Keynari was holding out to her, her jaw moving, but no sounds coming forth except a faint squeak. After several long seconds (during which Arissi's expression grew even more bright-eyed with amusement), she found her voice. "H-how.. you.. ohhh, you fuzzy little thief!" She reached to wrap fingers about the edges of the mask, and gently lifted it from the proffering hands, then sat down heavily, with an "Uff!" She turned the thing over and over in her hands, her eyes taking in every detail as she marveled over their prize. Then she stopped and stared at the inside of the mask, holding it closer and closer to her muzzle, squinting in the gloom. She popped a small lightspark and held it at the tip of her finger, then thrust it into the recesses behind the eyeholes, peering intently, and gasped aloud.

Arissi's gape-grin faded to an expression of concern. She leaned closer, her tail held straight behind her. "What is, Rosa? What, what? Something is not right?" She moved to crouch just behind the seated Tigaran, her pointed muzzle easing forward just over the taller mage's shoulder, peering intently.

Dven remained seated... he wondered what was happening, but knew that when the two mages were concentrating so, it was better not to interfere, and wait for some sort of outcome. He'd wondered, when their encounter with that fripping vampire had been so relatively easy, and they'd appeared to have tricked him, but dismissed the feeling, thinking that the creature had been in a hurry to leave with the mask while he had the upper hand. Now he watched the light coming from the eyeholes and mouthpiece; the thing looked positively evil, though he had to admit, it had a certain... he leapt to his feet when Rosa and Arissi both suddenly shrieked, the Tigaran standing and looking as though she wanted to throw the thing into the darkness, and Arissi literally dancing in place pumping her clenched fists up and down.

AAAAAGGGHHHH! Howhowhow!" snarled the vixen. "Arissi had in her arms the whole time, he could not have done!" She struck into the gloom with fingers outstretched, as though she had talons. "Is not possible!"

Dven... blinked slowly, and stood in the boat. "Um... what?" he asked, looking from one companion to the other. "If I might ask..."

Rosa turned to the Dunmer and worked her jaw, her snarl apparent as a gleam of white teeth. She held the mask toward Dven, and after several seconds, growled, "This mask is a fake, a clever fake, and he knew it. Somehow, he knew Arissi would switch bundles on him, and switched them again." Just then, the helm in her hands vanished, leaving a scrap of paper. "It was a bound imp! Look here, at this small patch of paper. Can you read what it says? She held the lightspark closer.

Dven leaned in, peering in the faint light. "Uhhh... I see 'You are all fools to think I wouldn't guess your intent. Your vixen isn't as clever as she thinks she is. Vask.'" He looked up; "Somehow I knew that was too easy." He looked around, then shrugged. "I hate to say it, but... he got us. At least we have the rest of this, and that's not bad."

Rosa's expression eased somewhat, and Arissi stopped her flow of Keynari invectives... which Dven suspected would have made him either cringe, or admire her command of the language. The vixen hopped into the boat and started flipping things into her sack. "Well? Is not useful to growl when you lose one bird, when two are in your net. Is much here still, come help gather!" Already she was looking cheerful again, ears pointed straight up and her tail flicking. "See, are some very nice-looking potions, enchanted axe, armors, and gemstones!"

Dven and Rosa looked at each other, then Rosa shrugged, and they both grinned. The Keynari was right, and they both knew it; nothing they could do now but make the best of it... and the best of what was left was pretty good, really. He started picking up bits of jewelry from an open chest, while Rosa was sorting through old herbs that had been left about the bones at the center of the ancient longboat. There'd be another time...
Last edited by Drac on Sun Apr 21, 2013 3:33 am, edited 3 times in total.
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