EE1: Stonekeep - Door Number One
Sept. 29, 2020, 9 p.m.
Outside Arx - Lyceum near The Roseward - Edge of the Roseward - Volkov Forest
Comments and Log
EE1: Stonekeep - Door Number One has started at Outside Arx - Lyceum near The Roseward - Edge of the Roseward - Volkov Forest.
In truth, the journey that led them to this door has already been bloody. Their time is limited, they may not have much of that commodity even after opening the door. In fact, it is beyond a commodity, time is a luxury. Certainly the sounds of struggle were heard from afar, but with the majority of the garrison engrossed by the events taking place outside, they'll likely take some time to organize to deal with this hidden, sudden threat.
But the door opens once unlocked with that key found in the purse of the guard, and then they are greeted by a stairway, leading up and down. Likely this is the tower they'd seen outside, which means they might well expect it to be guarded, or for there to be surprises along the way. But which is it?
The Dragoon, who'd managed to wet Canon on the skirmish leading up to this door, groans a bit as the group finds themselves inside. Up or down? A glance over towards Dante and Lora with a check of a sweat soaked brow, "The Light is coming from above. Split up?"
Daria is watching over her shoulder as the door is unlocked. At the sounds of it being opened, her head turns and she darts a look into the stairwell. "Not much time to go only one way if we made enough noise for someone to come and investigate," she offers.
"We have a key now - let's find out what's behind that door. Clearly something important if they went through the trouble to keep it locked up that seriously," Dante remarks quietly, bloody blade in hand as he jerks his head backwards in the direction of the locked portal. "Then we can head upwards towards the light."
"Up," Lora agrees. "As much as I dislike the notion of roaming about in here like some sort of brigand, I should very much like to see what lies at the top of these stairs, whatever caught the light from outside, that they keep locked up thus. You may have to carve a path back down. However, you might have to carve one back up, as well." She looks up, then down, then up again, before preparing to climb the stairs. "Do close the door and lock it behind us, though."
Daria checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 14 higher.
Lora checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 1 lower.
Brigid checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 3 higher.
Dante checked perception at difficulty 15, rolling 5 lower.
There is a testing step forward before Brigid feels something give way beneath her plated foot, the stairwell was then given a keen once over then a huff of breath, "Be careful climbing up, I don't think all of these steps have been well maintained. Lighter folk first? I'll lead the rear given I'm fully armored and not slight."
Daria is padding up the stairs after, following the dragoon lady with her bow still held close. She nods to Brigid's words. "Yes. We don't want to make it easy for anyone else around to catch up with us," she says. "I'll go ahead."
Dante heads back to the locked door with a click of his tongue against teeth. "Alright. Head up, I'll check the door and then follow you after seeing what is in there. Something important has to be there." He nods to Daria and Brigid before asking Lora, "Going to check out the door or go upstairs? Whichever you choose, be safe."
Going upstairs, once one is mindful of the steps, goes easily enough. Those lightly clad going up first seems like the best idea, considering that the steps with unsteady footing have a bit of a wooden creaking sound to them. Enough that those wearing armor might want to bypass them altogether or step gingerly. At the top of the tower, there are three doors, two of them open, leading out to... the empty air. The crumbled remains of an overpass can be seen, likely leading to the other tower or a higher portion of the battlements, but it no longer exists in its current form.
The advantages to not wearing heavy armor are few and far between, but when they arrive... well. Lora doesn't make much noise here, maybe because there aren't any stray decorations to knock over, on account of much of this section being entirely missing. This doesn't stop her from peering warily out through the open doorways, but she, perhaps wisely, doesn't get particularly close to any of them. She but gestures at the third door, almost expectantly.
It wasn't easy to maneuver in such a fashion, skipping lightly in step armored such as she was but it is managed! A door closed looms as well as two others opening out to nothingness, though Brigid inspects the crumbled remains and moves about with sword drawn. A nod at Lora, moving to shoulder aside the door with a look to Daria and Dante to be ready should something be on the other side!
Daria has been advising on bad areas during the climb up the stairs to help the others in attendance, so points out on the poor building quality, "Definitely watch your step here." Seeing the last door unopened, she does move to the flank position and lend backup to Brigid who seems to be preparing to ram it.
Dante carefully makes his way up - and as silently as possible - but stands back until they get to where Lora is prepared by the third door, returning Brigid's nod and murmurs to Daria, "Agreed. Especially in this armor." He prepares with his sword out with Brigid for whatever may await them on the other side of the door.
There is no one on the other side of the door, but there is a pedestal, made of black and white marble, whereupon sits a lyre, made of bone and stringed with bright, blue shining strings made of some very rare metal. Perhaps diamondplate. When the wind blows, it is as if a string is plucked, the note reverberating in the chamber in a way that is extremely pleasing to the ears, even if it seems that the notes that follow are almost melancholy, perhaps just a figment of ones' imaginations.
Lora is quiet for a long moment, studying the lyre, like she's trying to match it with the bit of information the scholar they saved earlier provided. Likely it holds up, because she nods in careful confirmation, though waits until it's clear there is no one inside before stepping in herself. "I wonder if it's really made of dragonbone." It might be that subtle suggestion of melancholy that turns down the corners of her mouth, an answered echo of some sadness largely put away. She moves toward it though, circling the pedestal as if looking for... what. Traps?
Daria looks mildly disappointed there isn't more excitement on the other side of the door. They did /charge/! She makes room for Lora to enter and explore when the all clear is given, the prodigal instead choosing to stare at the odd little treasure in this ramshakle tower. She isn't much of a scholar, so quirks her brow at her betters to explain it.
Stepping in ready to run someone through, the vicious resolve cast on Brigid's features fades as she realizes there is no one about - yet. The music however touches her ears, causing bright eyes to rest on the lyre with minor curiosity before looking to Lora, "How would you even test it to see if it is?" Was asked idly, easing towards the window to peer out it and cautiously see if anyone is still moving below.
Standing off to the side, Dante has no one to hack to bits so he just stares at the lyre - but he knows nothing about such things, so there's little he gains from doing so. He does remain by the door, guarding it in case of visitors. "Lora, is this that the thing? I can't really tell. It's pretty though."
"Pretty strange," Daria quips, before looking still a bit deflated and stealing a glance at the window too. Maybe it's possible to still see their 'friends' gathering down below...
How would Lora test it? She runs a fingertip down one of its arms, almost cautiously at first as if wary of it, but surely it is just a lovely instrument, and little enough to stop her from picking it up. Or from cradling it, finding the way it best fits along her arm, before running her fingertips along the strings, a careful series of delicate little plucks calling forth the idea of a melody, but quietly. Perhaps to avoid attention.
Brigid checked luck at difficulty 10, rolling 4 lower.
Lora checked luck at difficulty 10, rolling 1 higher.
A flight of crossbow bolts flies in, suddenly, hitting Brigid on the torso. 70 inflicted and Brigid is harmed for minor damage.
Daria checked luck at difficulty 10, rolling 12 higher. Daria rolled a critical!
Dante checked luck at difficulty 10, rolling 48 higher. Dante rolled a critical!
Arrows fly in from the window, shot by crossbowmen on the ramparts below. Someone caught a glimpse of the lyre being moved from the pedestal and tried, in vain, to stop the intruders. A bell rings in the distance, warning of unwanted guests.
It is only a matter of time until the entire tower is teeming with guards, so it is time to think and act fast.
The music clearly had distracted her for into the window do several bolts fly, hitting the Moore square in her armored torso causing the wind to be pumped from her lungs as she staggers back and grits teeth, blood at the corners of mouth from biting her cheek against crying out, "We need to move - now." Is groaned, a glance to the trio.
Daria is hastening towards the door and Brigid to offer assistance if needed moving. "Back down, then back out the way we came?" she says with a look towards Dante and Lora. "We might still have an opening."
The bolt hitting Brigid and her subsequent warning to get out yesterday doesn't require a second thought. Lora has the THING and so he motions quickly for them all to follow, Dante heading out the door and leading down the stairs - a quick glance given to the portals that go to nowhere with a sigh. "Yes, I'm afraid we'll be hacking our way out likely - but as quickly as we can."
The final note twists perhaps a bit sharp as the bolts hit Brigid, Lora distracted from her initial playing by this, with a look of very slight dismay, as though she's at fault for that somehow. "We'll have to come back for the rest of them later." For now, however, she will follow, securing the lyre with a few of the straps on her satchel.
Heading down the group immediately faces with a difficult situation -- likely the stairs continue all the way to the bottom floor, but the main corridor they came in from is likely to be flooded with guards already, and they might certainly find that door open and unlocked. The sound of boots is only a distant echo, for now.
Brigid checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 14 higher.
There is an exhale of breath, offering a wry look to Daria and Dante, "They're in the tower, we need to find another way." Gauntlet enclosing around Canon, " Are there any stairs leading another direction? Or was that our only way?" The bolts for now remain where they are, features paling.
"There's the stairs that lead down from where we came in the tower or out back into the hall we came through." Daria adds, "Not sure if there is anything farther down, but might be a way there." Might. It's a slim chance.
Listening down the staircase, Dante grimaces and exhales, gauntlets gripping the hilt of his sword with a grim look. "We didn't see any other way. There's those doorways that lead to nothing, but I'm thinking we don't want to take the quick way down," he murmurs to Bridget with a wry smile before snapping the visor shut on his helm. "If someone saw something...now's the time to speak up." He nods to Daria, "Better than nothing. Let's go."
There is one very real moment where Lora looks like she might try and do something about the bolts that have punctured the dragoon, but now isn't the time and so she only frowns at the woman. But she moves quickly enough, trading out her previous position at the end of the line now for the slightly safer middle of the pack. "We didn't bring any rope, anyway. Perhaps there will be another exit at the base of the tower; some bolthole for easy egress."
Daria nods. "Yeah or... more options," Daria supposes optimistically, but will hasten with the group and try to assist them down the steps again. Last thing they want is to get stuck at this point.
Uneasy silence falls upon the group as they make their descent. Finally, though, they come across the first group of steel-clad guardsmen. Two crossbowmen point their weapons upward at the group, while men bearing short swords and shields stand behind them, crowding the narrow staircase further.
Well, the Moore closes her visor and huffs out a breath, she's already injured and there is no use in sitting aside being idle. She's a Knight after all, "Daria, cover me." Is uttered towards the skilled archeress before Brigid decides to rush forward with Canon brandished.
Brigid checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 45, rolling 11 lower.
Bolts come flying out at Brigid, and as she closes, the short sword of the men in the rear guard try to sink into her side. 60 inflicted and Brigid is harmed for moderate damage.
Dante checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 25, rolling 15 higher.
Dante leaps down the stairs right behind Brigid, Edge of Perdition clasped in both hands and raised high over his head. Momentum carries him right down into the crossbowmen, slicing one's head off in a neat slash and getting himself between Brigid and further harm as blood sprays over the area.
Daria checked dexterity + archery at difficulty 25, rolling 38 higher.
The inevitable crash of metal against metal is one Lora still hasn't entirely steeled hereslf to; she manages not to flinch or look away, but there is a look of some very subtle dismay, all the same. And it is inevitable; there's no way out, no hope for the Lamenters, nothing here but the clean justice of the blade. And a tiny spray of blood that makes it high enough to freckle her cheek. She stays close though, hugging the wall like Daria's own leather-clad shadow.
As they meet with the squad, Daria fits an arrow to her bow and looks between Dante and Brigid before the latter charges. There is a swift nod, Daria lining up a shot shortly afterwards. Dante connecting with one of the crossbowmen leaves the remaining one to her. She angles, fires, and punctures flesh.
Two down, two remaining. There are sounds coming from the corridor, shouts of names and calls for help as well, while the bell continues to toll.
Brigid checked strength + huge wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 10 higher.
A snarl passes her lips as the short sword sears across her side, retaliating with a plunge of Canon in a jutting thrust. Breathing is labored, however, crossbolts, sword slash taking their toll on the Knight as she continues to press forward not towards where they first entered but further down.
Dante checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 30, rolling 38 higher.
Dante spins on his heel after the decapitation move, careful not to smash into Brigid. A short sword clatters uselessly against his diamondplate and the wielder gets literally chopped in two for his trouble. Panting and bloodied, he curses at the sight of the horde waiting for them. "Come on, we need to run. Quickly. Daria, take the lead and see what you can see, I'll be right behind you. Brigid, guard Lora and take a breath."
"Come on, Lady Moore, that's quite enough for now I think," Lora murmurs. "You can come back later with a proper army, clear the whole place out. Find whoever had the audacity to shoot you." Such easy promises to make in the heat of things. She stops short of taking Brigid's arm, but does step forward, moving to follow the dragoon instead.
Daria forms what might be a premature smile of relief when Brigid and Dante handle the remaining cultists. Dante's warning and instruction reaches her ears and the expression fades and she gets steel-eyed again, quickly moving down the descending flight of stairs to see what awaits them there and if the prospects are any better.
Dante checked luck at difficulty 10, rolling 5 higher.
Brigid checked luck at difficulty 10, rolling 13 higher.
Daria checked luck at difficulty 10, rolling 1 higher.
Lora checked luck at difficulty 10, rolling 3 higher.
The group makes good time in leading away from the chase as they manage to go down to the last flight of the stairs without event; their armored foes aren't so lucky, with at least five of them either tumbling down or getting their legs stuck when the rotten woodboard gives way. There are screams echoing down the stairwell as well as orders for the soldiers to continue. Or at least they sound like orders.
Once they do manage to reach the bottom floor, they will find themselves facing a quartet of men wielding bardiches as soon as they get past the door; these men are armored in plate from head to toe, their weapons gleam with the reddish hue of rubicund, though they show signs of wear.
And of course, if they tarry too long in this fight, they will find themselves surrounded. The window of opportunity for a clean escape is narrowing.
Lora checked charm + performance at difficulty 40, rolling 31 higher.
There's no time like the present, really. Almost quick as she fastened the straps to secure the lyre, Lora unfastens them again and traces her fingers over the bone contemplatively, like she's searching for something in the carving. It gives her line time to square off against the new line of armored men. It's time to collect the fragments of a song, less familiar to those from the Lyceum, maybe, but the Isles hold some particularly keen melodies well-suited for the subtle melancholy of this instrument. Where, before, she's sung canticles and Gloria's battle hymns, this one is subtly more dire. More inevitable.
The men are stunned, taken aback for a moment, though their eyes are filled with rage. They grip their bardiches tighter, but aren't about to charge yet. Instead, there is an exchange of looks between their Captain and Lora, and the way the Captain regards her, with that cold, mortal contempt, implies she may or may not have been given recognition for the song, but also a silent vow of revenge.
So Lora bought the group precious moments to flee -- flee, rather than stay and fight and likely get captured.
Brigid checked composure at difficulty 15, rolling 6 higher.
Breathing was hitched, fractionally so but calm was forced through her form in a defensive stance whilst Lora brought fingertips to strings. Brigid motions head to keep moving, bright eyes however not leaving the Captain and others.
Circumstances being what they are, it seems there is nothing else to do but take on the men in the base of the stairwell. Daria is frowning at that much shiny metal armor glaring in her face but is reaching for an arrow when the sounds of lyre playing reach her ears. She blinks once or twice before it registers Lora is the one playing and giving them an opportunity. As Brigid motions, the scout prepares to move with the rest.
While fighting the four considerably better armed and armored cultists may have been a more appealing option with more of their own heavily decked out types, Dante agrees with Daria and Brigid that discretion is the better part of valor, gently taking hold of Lora's arm and moving out with her, keeping his body between her and them - although if they want to keep staring hatefully at each other he's not going to block that.
Lora's song is, arguably, not particularly discrete; they've seen what she has, they know, now, and to add insult to injury... well. The song promises rain upon the walls and no one left to feel it. A problem for later, perhaps. She follows along, all the same, content to have stalled them in their tracks and eager to get out and past and back to safety.
They make their escape through an unused section of the battlements, and though they are searched for, they aren't found. On the other hand, rumors abound that groups of men clad in black armor have started the occasional rampage on caravans leading to the Roseward...
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