[Closed] Depths Of Madness

Gior's galdori temple city and also most populated. Home of the ruling Gioran family as well as the center of Gioran education with both the Temple and the University in the same location.
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Athrym Bruthgrave
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Mon Jan 14, 2019 6:26 am

5th Ophus, 2718
THE DEEP | MID MORNING
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"And so you see, Professor Siordanti, our people have been trying to gain access to the Deep ever since. Of course, there are components you can still reach. The first tier, where we found Javekan Inaute’s writings of the final days of Animark Giore, that is easy enough with a simple torch and warm weather gear. As you progress though, you need to draw air from the surface and the heat of fire and furs is not enough. The lack of air seems to cause our torches too die, and our Physical magic is unable to produce a source of light that can be maintained whilst drawing air for breathing. We have had some casters get further, echo casting or casting in chorus, but it is draining and most times, they do not come back.” Athrym glanced between at Nauleth with a frown. She'd told him most of this before in some way, but this time it was more tangible. More real.

“This means you will encounter bodies on your journey down, Most Esteemed Siortanti.” The statuesque woman that walked beside them said in a curiously deep voice, her quartz skin almost the same color as the white rock tunnel they walked though, long straight hair flowing like a fall of fresh snow. Her rose colored eyes looked directly ahead, and she towered over the tallest of the trio by at least a foot. The young diplomat turned her gaze to the woman and bowed deeply.

“We will try to pay them all the honor of Imaan we possibly can whilst down there, Ethseeda Lomenak.” She said in Estuan, lifting her chin to continue to follow the procession down into the recesses of Qrieth, towards the entrance of the Deep. In tow, they had assistants to carry any instruments and equipment required, as well as a guide for the First Tier. A young priestess, no more than eleven, walked beside them in her fine white and silver robes. Her skin shimmered with quartz dust and her pale pink eyes were warm and wise beyond her years. With a stark obviousness, her lack of field hung in the air, the passive no more concerned than any of the other Giorans with them. She looked over at the Anaxi and smiled, taller than Athrym by about half an inch.

“I bless you for journey, for if no return.” Turning her eyes on the Ambassador, awkward with her poor Estuan, the girl spoke more freely in Gioran.

Ey verahay anaxas worships te Goddess Alioe. Ey see ensure Nauleth eate zeeute abandoned bede teeyeth euaghze deity.I understand Anaxas worships the Goddess Alioe. I can ensure Nauleth is not abandoned by his own deity. The blonde tilted her head to the girl.

Thank deuee, Illustrious Peak.Thank you, Illustrious Peak. She said respectfully, looking over the man with a nod. It was hard for him, no doubt, being in the presence of passives treated so. But now was especially not the time to display his personal feelings about the girl, as either side of the party walked two men at least seven foot tall and half as wide. They wore their white locks in ceremonial braids, and carried a white ash spear and shield. They did not smile, or talk, only walked.

As they moved deeper through the mountain, the air would feel a little more stale, as though it was sitting heavy in the caverns. Light was given by the scones on the walls, and the ground was unpolished even by the feet of hundreds. There was a sort of superstitious fear of the Deep, one grounded in myth and truths. People really had died there, the body of Animark Giore and her most faithful followers was rumoured to be entombed below along with treasures both tangible and wrought of history and knowledge. Of course, there were other rumours too. Whispers that other things lurked in the blackest of dark, things that were twisted with time and the Betrayer Kaelm.

Of course, no one truly knew if these could be true or not, but mothers threatened their children with stories to keep them in check and older folk repeated the stories on cold winter nights to pass the time.

“Mister Siordanti, Ambassador Bruthgrave. I must stress the…kaeeke….no the…danger of this expedition.” A thin lanky man with spectacles and bright blue eyes said as he slowed to step in time with them from ahead of the group. He was older, in his fifties, with a tight topknot of aged white hair and wrinkles in the corners of his eyes. His grasp of Estuan was better than the priestess, but not as good as the Da Huanes, and he rolled his hand as he thought of the word required.

“If you loose…uh…light. If you loose light below, the darkness is the ugliest…no…the…uh…the most absolute darkness you will know. You will not be able to see—hand see? You will not be able to see hand.” He waved his own closely in front of his face, frowning as the words failed him. Lomenak raised an eyebrow and spoke for him.

“If the light dies, you will not be able to see your own hand before your face. It will be a darkness you cannot describe. You must ensure you remain tied to each other, and keep a guide rope to lead you back to the entrance. If you are lost in the Deep, we will not come for you.” The Da Huane delegate said bluntly, her rose gaze turning downwards at Athrym.

“Not for any of you, Ambassador Bruthgrave.” The younger woman tilted her head in acknowledgement, turning her face to Naul once the woman was facing the front again.

"How do you feel? Are you well rested, have you eaten? Is there anything else at all you need before we begin?" Her excitement was suppressed by the need to keep face for her Matriarch, but her field jittered ever so slightly, tinged with just a touch of trepidation.

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Nauleth Siordanti
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Location: Qiereth, Gior
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: Magus in the Making
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Tue Jan 15, 2019 11:11 pm

5th of Ophus, 2718
The DEEP | THERE'S NO SUN ANYWHERE WE'RE GOING
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To say that the eldest Siordanti was nervous would have been an exaggeration, but to say that he was excited would have been an equal understatement. He felt the tingle of fear at the ends of his nerves, especially along his damaged left side, even though his field was all but humming with electric anticipation.

He'd just learned how to use climbing gear yesterday and had taken copious notes, tucked into a notebook in his thick wool coat, one of three notebooks he'd shoved into pockets. His backpack was heavy with gear he wasn't sure he would need and equipment from his various experiments he was hoping would have some use, not to mention food and water and other necessities for the unknown. He was a professor, a researcher, an academic, not at all an athlete or a warrior, despite his love for biking and hiking and running. He was a sorcerer and never had any aspirations otherwise, feeling the chill of that understanding beneath the layers of warm clothing he wore. This much of a trek down into some dark hole in the mountains of Gior was far more of a physical stretch of his abilities than a magical one, as far as Nauleth was concerned.

Athrym was talking, translating, explaining as their expedition party traveled through the carved halls of Qrieth, "Tell me again how your people became separated from the lower tiers of the Deep? Was it a natural phenomenon—an earthquake or a cave in—or was it purposeful destruction?"

He was aware of the clan infighting between Gioran ruling families, the current family in power one that had held their position for centuries now,

"—bodies. Oh, for clocks'sake."

The ginger professor sighed, pushing away the squeamishness that writhed through his insides at the thought of finding pale, long-dead idiots in the darkness below, "This—uh—this is just a scouting mission. Need I remind everyone to stay calm? We won't be down there more than thirty hours to make some initial assessments and plan out the first phase of an actual exploration, so I don't think we need to worry about dying."

The sparkling, albino child with them spoke, hardly older than a first form, and Naul was uncomfortably aware that the acolyte of Imaan was very passive. He just couldn't be ersed to be too bothered, not this time and possibly not ever. This wasn't his Kingdom. It wasn't his decision because he had no power here, and so he held his tongue over bringing up his long list of intellectual arguments about the religious or scientific validity of passive equality. He was only a bit ruffled because bringing a potentially explosive innocent life into a completely incalculable situation was clearly not a clocking blessing from whichever Circle god you chose to ask for favor from as far as he was concerned.

"Ey see verahay deuee, deuee kayzeuagh.I can understand you, you know. Just because we're far from Anaxas doesn't mean we're far from my homeland's Patroness—so long as we are within reach of the mona, we're never out of reach of any of the Circle gods. Time passes in every Kingdom, and so I know that Alioe is with us." Nauleth was very aware that he'd just spoken those words to someone whose voice wasn't heard by the mona and yet had been made a servant to the Eternal Child, but his emphasis was on his rather quietly kept faith made known for perhaps one of the first times in his life.

This moment seemed poignant enough to require conviction of more than just the secular kind, after all.

"I have a plan for making sure we keep track of our progress, and I do not intend on losing light. I've taken a bit of a queue from your luminescent lifeforms here under the mountain, with a little help from my brother and Miss Bruthgrave." Choosing to ignore the persistence about danger, which the eldest Siordanti believed to be more superstition than fact, more mythology than truth, he paused to reach into one of the outer pockets of his backpack and pull out handful of long, sharp nails around which were tied strips of fabric, most of the thin ribbons pale blue but a few of them orange and green, each of them infused with magically-altered lichen so that it could be used to mark things, the fabric meant to glow softly in complete darkness,

"I'd prefer to be the judge of what's actually immeasurable instead of relying on hearsay. It's terrible science. It's also a shame to lose valuable academics in the shallowest reach of some legendary, sacred hole instead of taking a moment to rescue them, don't you think? I didn't sign up for a lack of international concern when I agreed to bring my research to your Kingdom." Nauleth wasn't purposefully attempting to be culturally insulting so much as simply being his own overly analytical self, aware that probably for a heartbeat, he sounded like his clocking erseehole of a father, inadvertently channeling the Siordanti lineage to chastise those who'd given him permission to even be here for Lomenak's declaration that no one would come for them if they disappeared for longer than was expected in the dark. It seemed like a poor way to treat anyone, really, especially those who seemed actually brave enough to put to rest all of the myths and actually provide some factual information.

He'd listened carefully to the somewhat superstitious warnings, attempting to hear between the words and really try to grasp what was actually waiting for them in the Deep below, "Again, this is just preliminary research. There won't be any reason for such dire predictions."

Fingers listless over the buttons of his coat, the tall Anaxi who was made to feel quite small in the shadow of statuesque guards and the other Gioran officials present save for the child and his fiancé,

"I don't think there's much more preparing we can do—I don't think either of our educations were meant for this sort of thing." Naul offered a wan sort of smile, the hint of apology in his tone.

His gold-rimmed gaze slipped to Athrym, wanting to tell her to stay behind but quite aware that such an admonishment would have been as firmly refused as his request for her to sit down all those weeks ago on Brunnhold's campus,

"Do seerstones not work below?"
This isn't Brunnhold anymore, ersehat, and you're not going home.
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Athrym Bruthgrave
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Wed Feb 06, 2019 12:58 am

5th Ophus, 2718
THE DEEP | MID MORNING
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Athrym shook her head as they walked, summer gaze on the path before her as Naul asked questions.
​​
​​ “Neither? Both? The lower tiers, as I understand it, were accessible in the reign of Aminark Giore. Whether they knew of spell work that was better suited to the depths, or whether perhaps there was ventilation carved that might have become sealed off, we are unsure. I do know that there is account of some dispute between the Da Giore and a man we know as Kaelm tha—” The older man frowned at her, looking over his spectacles with disapproval.
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​​ “We do not speak the Betrayers name in this place.” He said sternly, making the symbol for Imaan’s holy protection with his hands. The other Giorans with them, including Athrym, repeated the same movement.
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​​ “Apologies Professor Meakaen, I meant no ill wishes.” She said with a short bow, field doetoed with embarrassment. Looking at Naul, she shook her head.
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​​ “I will explain more, when we are not so close to The Deep.” The pale creature said quietly, wincing at his sighed curses. It was clear that the man was stressed by the comments from their government overseerer, and to be honest with herself Athrym could have probably spent more time on the topic of what was in The Deep with the Anaxi, but truth be told this was a first for her as well. She knew of the place, and the history behind it, as well as her people’s failed attempts to return to the tiers that Aminark herself had attended, but to venture in on an expedition had been beyond the young woman. Her mother had plans, and they didn’t involve a dismal death in the suffocating darkness of the catacombs.
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​​Lomenak raised her brow as the red haired man commented on the seemingly trivialness of their scouting mission, tucking her hands into the sleeves of her pristine white formal robe.
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​​ “It may be a scouting mission, Most Esteemed Siordanti, but it is not without danger. You enter an area of Qrieth, of Gior, that is largely lost to history and therefore unexplored. I do not expect you to die, but we must advise of all these hazards. Gior will not be held responsible by Anaxas should you meet your end, scouting mission or not.” Her tone suggested mild annoyance, though it could have been mere warning. Either way, it was barely more than a simmer of emotion under her cool exterior, squared jaw relaxed and untelling. It was her field that expressed her emotion, slanted slightly with a touch of satisfaction at his boldness.
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​​As he spoke to the priestess, she looked back at him with a warm smile and a bow.
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​​Ey agheyarar beah yaleh teu eahebe ayte, exte teeyeah aghah yalveahaykay.I will be sure to remember that, next time we speak. She said softly in a tone that could have been easily construed as having a mild go at the man, should he notice it.
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​​All of the Gioran’s with them looked over with interest as the Anaxi pulled out the cleverly imbued colored strings, Professor Meakaen making a sound in the back of his throat to show he was impressed with a pulse of his field and the Da Huane woman simply blinking and turning back to the path ahead. As the tall—for his people—academic pressed on with his rather bold cultural slight, the young Ambassador beside him bit her tongue and kept her eyes on the ground.
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​​By Imaan’s light, don’t piss off the Da Huane matriarch.
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​​On either side of them, one of the military figures glanced at Athrym with a cool scowl, unimpressed by her foreign partner, field clearly hostile. Their relationship was somewhat known, it was impossible not to know after the rather public reunion in Upperton, and it was frankly a talking point of contention. On one hand, some people felt that a Gioran woman should be joined with a Gioran man. On the other, some felt that a flawed half-breed should never hold a diplomatic position in the first place, and her tainted bloodline should be removed from the country entirely. Her father was tolerated, because he was a politically accepted nuisance. It didn’t automatically apply to his stunted daughter.
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​​Smiling ever so briefly at his gentle joke, the blonde shook her head.
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​​ “Even if they did, it’s a lot of work to scry as well as draw the heat and oxygen from the surface. The risk of brailing is too great, and to brail below is frankly an absolute death. No light, no heat, no air…” She gestured to his equipment again.
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​​ “Another reason why you are so important right now Nauleth. You are essentially, a new hope for my people. Those catacombs could contain unfathomable knowledge and priceless historical information. They do contain the body of Aminark Giore. She carved this entire city, she brought our people refuge during the atrocities of the War. Like your crypts under the Church, her personal works must be buried with her. If we can at least find a way down there, we might find out how they were able to access the tiers so easily. Make it accessible for others, without risk of death.” Leaning closer, she spoke quietly in his ear.
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​​ “At present, you can literally do no wrong in the Da Huane eyes, as much as you both annoy and interest her. You are a celebrity Professor, and people are watching. They want you to succeed, but I assure you out of spite and traditional views, a great many want you to fail.” Drawing back, she looked at him with a fierce intensity.
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​​ “My mother wants you to fail.” She said softly, before the procession slowed.
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​​ “We have arrived.” Lomenak said simply, gesturing at an arched opening carved into the pale stone before them. It was approximately eight feet high and four feet wide, framed with decorative monite symbols carved into the stone. If read the inscription would read as a Physical spell for carving, only every so often a Gioran symbol would intersect the spell. Athrym pointed at the curious carving.
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​​ ”That means ’Rest and Echo.’ It’s an indication to echo cast this certain spell. We know from The Carvings Of The Caverns, this is the basic spell Aminark used to build Qrieth.” As the party came to a stop, Lomenak looked at Nauleth with a nod.
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​​ “When you are ready, Most Esteemed Siordanti, yourself and Ambassador Bruthgrave will enter The Deep. Professor Meakaen and an assistant will follow you, and one of my Quartz Guardians, Braeth. The Professor is highly apt at Static conversation and will ensure Clean Air is adequately provided. Braeth if required, can cast a strong Lumination spell, with a hint influx of heat. The assistant has torches for light and heat, though at a certain point Clean Air will not keep the flame alive. I will leave a contingent here with Illustrious Peak, until this time tomorrow. If you do not return, we will mourn your death and pray to Imaan and Alioe that you find peace in the Afterlife. May the Child’s Light protect you.” She said, bowing slightly to the Anaxi and nodding to Athrym. Her field belied a sense of hope and mild scepticism, having faith in the foreigner but knowing it was wrong to presume a success before it had happened. The shorter Gioran returned the nod with a deep bow, looking to Naul with smile when her back was turned on the woman.
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​​ “This is it!”

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Nauleth Siordanti
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Location: Qiereth, Gior
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: Magus in the Making
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Sun Mar 10, 2019 4:28 pm

5th of Ophus, 2718
The DEEP | THERE'S NO SUN ANYWHERE WE'RE GOING
Nauleth did not hold the biases or the historical grudges that these Giorans held against their own various clan lineages like a bunch of children squabbling in the schoolyard or tribal wicks causing riots in Vienda. Whatever had happened between the Da Huane family and the rest of their various rivals, the young Siordanti could care less—it was obviously some of their infighting over the centuries that allowed what little access they previously had to the Deep to fall into disuse and disrepair.

If there was anything valuable down there at all, it should have been everyone's priority to keep it safe, not backstab each other and waste precious magical history.

This was why the Anaxi professor did not understand people.

"Not even for my own edification? I suppose I will conduct my own research at a different time then." He muttered, offering Athrym an apologetic shrug. It appeared as though he would not be winning Lomenak over on this day, for the tall, pale woman was not at all impressed with him given the tone of her voice. She washed her hands of responsibility and like a bunch of first forms on a their first field trip out into the wilderness, she chided him with warnings of danger. He nodded, "I understand. I doubt anyone in Anaxas feels particularly responsible for me, so I don't think you will have any political ramifications if I meet my demise."

He managed that with a straight face and a serious tone, though it was the passive child-turned-acolyte's almost snide words that made his calm expression falter. Frowning, his gold-rimmed gaze darted to her quartz-dusted face, the girl at least a decade his junior, if not more and yet she was hardly that much shorter than he was. He rolled his eyes at her, dismissing the creature who the gods hadn't even deigned to bless with magic, and chose not to riposte her remark.

"I'm not here to be anyone's celebrity. I'm here to conduct research as well as further my understanding of the applications of electricity and electromagnetism. Your mother—" Nauleth added with a whisper so as to hopefully not be heard quite so clearly while standing in the shadows of leadership within a matriarchal society, "—can clock off."

The slowing of procession drew a sharp inhale from the young professor, the sorcerer looking away from Athrym to let his attentions wander over the carving and the archway carved into pale stone. He read the Monite and the Gioran together, committing the marks to memory and resisting the urge to pull out one of his notebooks to write some thoughts down. He hummed an affirmation, but his ginger brows drew together—one side before the other—at Lomenak's magical decisions,

"I disagree. I've taken the time to carefully research and prepare for this scouting mission, Luminous Lomenak." Nauleth said flatly and without even a hint of apology, his physical-mona laden field tightening around him as if he had his own unique center of gravity, a barrier of decisiveness, "In order to save us the energy for upkeep, someone on the surface will be maintaining our light source through this—"

Setting his pack down, the tall Anaxi began to withdraw a series of clear, thick glass globes, each with filaments inside. Athrym would recognize them as adaptations of his light experiments from their time on the Lawn together—the filaments produced pure, white illumination even brighter than phosphor because of how the wires heated when electricity was passed through them. Naul had commissioned these spheres to be created with much thicker glass than the small, palm-sized originals he'd played with on Brunnhold's campus.

"—so long as the spell is upkept properly through several shifts of your personell on the surface, electricity will travel through the air of the Deep and illuminate each one of these spheres. The spell is my own—" He unfolded a piece of paper and handed it to Illustrious Peak, "—it is actually taking part of a radiomancy Clairvoyant inclusion cause and shifting the Monite pronunciations to instead send electromagnetic energy through the air. This will not be affected by oxygen levels, unlike a torch, and so long as we continue to place them at regular intervals, they will stay connected, leaving us a luminous trail and lighting our surroundings. But you must keep the spell going, so long as you are willing. It will save us explorers energy and breath. The heat provided by torches are so minimal that it is almost a complete waste of time. If everyone dressed properly, then we should be able to reach significant depths before suffering any particular complications from the cold. Once we reach that depth, we should turn around anyway. Here, allow me to demonstrate."

Naul was smirking, talking with his hands as he passed the spheres around, totally in his element, totally unconcerned about stepping on egos or crashing through delicate levels of ego and rank because he was sharing his mind and his passion. It was with a rare sense of complete confidence in his sorcerous skills that he braved being so contrary. To make sure all those present did not doubt him, he spoke the Monite from memory, having gathered his field while he made sure everyone held a sphere, and as his spell finished on his lips, each of the spheres began to light, first closest to himself and then radiating outward. The glow was bright indeed, somewhere between a candle and a torch, and a steady white, comforting presence.

"Who will be maintaining this spell from the surface? I can go over the phrasing again if you need me to. This is part of my experiment for this mission—eventually I will be running these spheres without magic. Please pay close attention to what you feel is difficult about maintenance and if you have the presence of mind to run any Quantitative analysis of distance and voltage, I would be most appreciative of the insight." He was willing to take all the time needed to explain the details of the Physical Conversation, especially the finer details of transmission—asking the mona to seek out the thin coils of specially crafted metal filaments and how to excite them into a hot, glowing state. Once his demonstration seemed satisfactory, the young Siordanti ended his concentration and began to distribute the small spheres so that everyone had plenty of them in their packs,

"I propose that we should all be responsible for upkeep on a Clean Air spell to share the burden until we reach a point where Professor Meakaen becomes most needed. It makes more sense for us to make sure not to overreach ourselves. Part of working together is learning to support each other in magic." Teaching had suited him more than he wanted to admit, and while his face was alight with excitement, his tone of voice remained even and calm,

"I have also brought a thermometer in order to keep track of our reasonable tolerance levels, a barometer for analyzing air pressure, and a significant amount of measuring tape in the hopes of keeping track of just how deep we do travel. Who would like to be responsible for assisting me with these measurements?" Assuming his fiancé would be taking on some of the burden of his very thorough need to research, he passed her the thermometer with a broad smile, resisting the urge to let his fingers linger on hers because they were, in fact, trembling with a nervous energy he hid behind his professor's bravado and a ramscott field,

"This is it. And no one will be mourning our deaths." Gods, how foolish of a thought! Besides cold and darkness, besides a lack of air, what could possibly be so terrifying or dangerous in some abandoned cave?

Ridiculous superstitious nonsense.

Naul returned the bow with a respectful flourish, "I appreciate the opportunity to further galdori knowledge of their own cultures as well as surpass our already significant magical understanding. See you tomorrow!"

He just couldn't help himself, that last line a subtle snub on all of the ritualistic ignorance. Magic was a science and science had no time for worrying about the unknown. He was here to make it known. To bathe it in light for all to see.

"I hope everyone's ready, then." Clearly, Nauleth Siordanti thought he was.
This isn't Brunnhold anymore, ersehat, and you're not going home.
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Athrym Bruthgrave
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Sat Mar 23, 2019 7:19 pm

5th Ophus, 2718
THE DEEP | MID MORNING
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Athrym covered a smile behind her hand at his comments about her mother, unable to hide her delight as his blatent lack of care about Carmel’s opinion. The woman hated him, because he threatened her control and her plans for the shorter woman’s future. She didn’t get to have her glory days, but she could live them through Ath.

The Gioran’s looked on with stoic nods and hums of interest as Nauleth continued to present his curiosities, the young passive taking his paper and looking over it with interest before handing it to the Professor and he to Lomenak. The sphere’s themselves were even more interesting, and an almost impressed sound issued quietly from the group when the Anaxi lit them up, and Athrym couldn’t help the swell of pride in her field. Shown up by a foreigner, there were definitely bruised ego’s simmering under the surface of those hard faces.

The question about who would run the spell at the surface was met with a brief silence, as though no one wanted to put faith in this idea. To illuminate from the surface? The marble carved people looked at each other, then back at Lomenak who nodded to the other Quartz Guardian in their group.

“I am not fond of this idea, but given his specialty, Turek will stay and cast.” The towering being nodded once at his leader, before turning full attention to the red head, going over the monite with him carefully and watching the way the sphere’s reacted. Once satisfied that he understood it, Turek spoke the spell work loudly, far louder than Nauleth had. The words reverberated off the stone around them as his deep voice sounded, echoing syllables briefly here and there. It was a test without the gathering of a field, a new spell to bounce off the caverns, though experimentation with echo casting the new spell would have to be done at a safer time.

Athrym took the thermometer without hesitation, moving to assist her fiance in an act of solidarity and faith, feeling the slight tremble in his field. It might not be noticeable to the others there, but she had spent long enough with the man to know his intricacies. It wasn’t fear though, it was excitement and nervous anticipation. Taking a moment to pull on any warm layers they required for the first tier, the team nodded to each other, before stepping through the archway. The mona hummed around behind them as though it too bounced around the airspace, as the tall Guardian collected his aura and began to incantate the spellwork as Naul had shown. In their packs, the spheres reacted just as the man had explained.

Professor Meakaen led the ensemble, along with Athrym and Nauleth, whilst Braeth and the few assistants brought up the rear. As they moved into the deep, they would find themselves following a tunnel, around six feet high and four feet across. It was plain, without decoration or carving on the walls and with a sloping decline. Even if they couldn’t see it as such, it was clear the tunnel was leading them downwards. It wound to the left, following a natural vein that Physical mages centuries ago had used to ensure that load bearing in the stone was uninterrupted. Rudimentary stairs were dug into the floor at the more steep places, and the entire area felt cold and almost damp, however to reach out and touch the stone one would find it wasn’t wet at all.

The Clean Air spell was not necessary yet, though they would taste the staleness around them. Breathing was easy enough, albeit cold and slightly metallic. The galdori would pause as Naul instructed to place down spheres at his direction, their fields thick with doubt until the light of the entrance way had faded and they were still able to see with no torches. The Professor spoke at great length about his impression of the lighting as they walked, stealing the Anaxi away from Athrym slightly in his excitement.

“So as long as Turek keeps his casting up, these will continue to burn? I must admit the idea is so rudimentary but so fascinating. We will have to write an Echo Cast for this, perhaps something that would work like an Everspell? I am not sure on the details, but it would be fantastic to work with you Most Esteemed Siordanti.” The Professor slowed the group slightly, reaching out to rest a hand on the stonework beside them. It was almost anticlimactic, but on the wall beside them was a carving of an ancient face, stylized and angry, but a face none the less.

“We are entering the First Tier.” He said simply, before moving on. Athrym used the pause to come closer to Nauleth as they continued into the depths. Around them, the design work began to change. The tunnel became more squared, and the walls were marked with carved deceptions of Aminark’s journey to the mountain that would become Qrieth. As they moved along, they would come across alcoves carved into the stonework, some containing pottery and artistically work from centuries long gone. Others still contained far more morbid decor.

“The Watchers.” Athrym said quietly to Nauleth as they moved slowly through the tunnel, pointing to the skulls that dotted the alcoves along the way. Some of them were plain, the bones yellowed with age, staring with empty eye sockets at the passers by. Others were intricately decorated with careful filigree carvings that were filled with gold inlay.

All of them were small, varied in size, but clearly not fully grown.

“Priests of Imaan who gave up their exile to watch over the entry into the Deep, to keep the unwelcome at bay. They were chosen with great honor and sacrificed themselves to become Watchers, according to the texts we’ve found. What they were keeping at bay, we’re not clear on. It seems there was a lot of strong superstition around The Lost Ones, though who or what they are…” She left it hanging, indicating that they had yet to find enough lore within the reachable tiers to clarify.

Onwards they went through the morbid yet beautiful tunnel, towards the first of many antechambers. This one was a medium sized rounded room, with four long alcoves carved into the walls. Two on the right hand side, one above and one below, contained a collection of gemstones and scrolls, as well as a spear and a shield carved of hard onyx. On the left they contained leather bound texts and aged bolts of fine silk that had long since begun to rot. The roof was carved with a great beast, appearing to be a stylized ghost fox, snarling and filling the entire space with its long legs and tail.

Athrym turned to face Naul, gesturing around the room as the others waited patiently.

“We called this room The First Archive. This is where we found the first account of Aminark Giore’s final days, along with grimores containing some of our most useful Echo spells. Carving, channeling, detecting where to dig and where not to dig. These,” She gestured to the shield and the spear.

“These belonged to Aminark’s Guardians. Ceremonial weapons, left as an offering as they mourned her passing.” Braeth moved towards the weapons, looking down on the ancient artifacts with an unreadable face, before looking across at the shorter galdor’s.

“They would not have left their Matriarch. Da Giore Aminark would have an escort to the afterlife. The Guardians believe these were placed here by others. Not by her own guard.” The Professor moved to join them, adjusting his glasses.

“Yes but we have nothing to prove that. The texts in the first tier don’t tell us who left these or why. The Guardians hold different beliefs to the scholars of the University.” Standing back, he nodded.

“Let us continue. It is not that much further before we will need to start using our magic for air.” Leading the group from the antechamber, Meakaen moved along another tunnel system, this one decorated again with the skulls of those long dead and collections of artifacts from the past. During their course of travel, any measurements Nauleth required or directions he would have given her, Athrym took with due care. The air had begun to change, and the group would notice that it was a little harder to draw breath, though not suffocation so. The Professor cast the first Clean Air spell, allowing his syllables to reverberate through the tunnel complex and around the group. The mona around them swelled, as though collecting in a thick mass of tangibleness, and the atmosphere felt charged. As the spell echoed, it was like a chorus, becoming stronger with each echo and the air around them would become sweet again. As the echo’s faded, the team would be able to breathe cleanly, though as they moved deeper into the catacombs it would start to become stale again, almost as though the incantation itself had filled the space with fresh breathable air that was slowly dispersing and escaping the area.

At the end of a long and sloping tunnel, the Giorans stopped short of a set of stairs. This area was steeper than the previous, handholds carved into the walls. Without the lighting, after a few steps the area ahead plunged into utter blackness. Meakaen turned back to face the party.

“This marks the final part of the First Tier. Past these stairs is the Second Tier. Usually by now we would have been expending energy on keeping the torches burning and cleaning the air. These stairs are long, and can be slippery. Hold onto the sides and if any one feels too short of breath, we will need to cast again. Once we get to the bottom, we can take a brief break in the Maw.” If the group were to pay attention, they would realize they had been walking for nearly an hour. Athrym reached for Nauleth’s arm, nodding at him.

“I’ve never been this far before. Are you okay?” She said softly, her field drawn close as though the sheer weight of thousands of tons of rock overhead was pressing down against her. There was not a sense of claustrophobia for the Gioran, she had lived and breathed being underground for her whole life, but it was easy to forget that an Anaxi might not feel quite the same way.

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Nauleth Siordanti
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: Magus in the Making
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Tue Apr 16, 2019 2:46 pm

5th of Ophus, 2718
The DEEP | THERE'S NO SUN ANYWHERE WE'RE GOING
The eldest Siordanti was nonplussed by the displeasure and discomfort he caused his Gioran hosts, watching their attempts at hiding their concerns from their pale, statuesque faces. Nauleth enjoyed magically challenging the status quo, his blue eyes alight with satisfaction at Lomenak's words of caution before he shifted his attention to the Quartz Guardian and walked him through his own special variant of an otherwise well-known and acceptable series of spells—

It was his turn to be surprised, however, when the other galdor repeated the Monite louder, more forcefully, and he heard the syllables reverberate through the caverns, bouncing off themselves, creating a chorus of echoes. The possibilities filtered into his thoughts, crowding out his focus, distracting the ginger Anaxi for several long, deep breaths as he seemed to be recalculating his estimations on the very spot. Fumbling for a notebook and a pencil right there in the antechamber, he scribbled things down, chewing on his lip, before he remembered who he was with and what he was doing.

Passing off the thermometer with the most awkward of brief smiles, Naul wasn't shy to share his emotions with Athrym in their proximity, his field easy for her to read given their intimacies.

Then they were moving again, bundled against the cold and worn leather notebook still clutched tightly in his gloved fingers. The sensation of spellwork echoing was quite fascinating and the young Professor resisted the temptation to mutter some Quantitative analytics of it all, the lingering tingle of electricity registering through the Physical mona that had made themselves part of his existence in his field.

Instead, the other Professor, Meakaen, led them downward. The tunnel was narrow, far narrower than the Crypts, and the intricate carvings soon gave way to plain stone. Gloved fingers traced along the wall while they passed, the eldest Siordanti dwarfed by his Gioran companions curiously musing whether magic had been used to create their claustrophobic pathway or if it had been created by hand. It soon became obvious no one really ventured this far, for while breathing still wasn't a problem in the cold air, it was stale, abandoned. Writing while he walked in the soft glow of his own clever light, hearing the echoes of familiar Monite as if it was a comforting whisper, Nauleth took notes about his ideas on how to bring fresh air down a tunnel such as this one without the need for spells all while listening to Meakaen ramble on,

"It's not fire that's burning." The ginger whispered, attempting to decide how much of a treatise to jump into when it came to current and light and electricity, "It's electricity. Electricity is the transfer of electrons along a surface—in the case of my bulbs, a wire—but fire is the reaction of a substance with oxygen. Fire always produces heat because it's a chemical reaction, but not all electric current produces heat even though particles are in motion. I'm actually hoping to further my study on motors and eventually attempt to create a battery to store an electric charge for portable travel. It would be like Echo Casting into a small container, so to speak. An Everspell won't be necessary if I can—"

He'd gotten carried away and was caught off-guard by the request to stop, blinking up at the carving of a face. Athrym curled closer to him and he tucked his pencil behind an ear under his hood to tangle his hand with hers, utterly unconcerned about the judgment of their stoic companions—she was his fiancé and he'd do as he pleased in the face of such superstitious dangers.

His hand curled tighter in surprise when skulls stared back at him from the new walls. Bejeweled and gilded, the professor gasped when the petite blond whispered their title—the Watchers—so close to his ear. He was no anatomist, it was true, but he'd taught children and had mingled among young people for so much of his life that he knew without being told that the dead sockets darkly glowering at him were immature. His stomach churned at the thought of stolen youth, of children asked to sacrifice themselves for such morbidly useless protection.

Jaw clenched, he remembered with a flush of heat on his freckled cheeks that so many Priests of Imaan were passive children and that Gior was, according to Athrym and everyone else, totally non-discriminatory toward their magic-less, cursed offspring.

Chroveshit. Superstitious chroveshit.

"You asked children to—" He bit his lip and quickly quieted his objections to requiring such decisions from a section of society that clearly should not be held responsible for such sacrifices, "—The Lost Ones?"

Of course Naul wanted more but was terrified to ask in the presence of such important, judgmental figures. He'd have to do his own research outside of their watchful gaze. The room they found themselves in was thankfully devoid of more skulls, and the intricate carving of a ghost fox begged for his appreciation until his so-called emotionless, Gioran escorts began bickering over their various opinions.

Gods, it was hard to stay out of it all, listening to the two of them for a brief moment admit that their own historical records were woefully incomplete on their own leadership. The truth was, this was what terrified the Anaxi professor about academia. This was, perhaps, one of the real reasons he'd clung so tightly to magical theory, to the immutable, undeniable laws of the universe in physics. Sure, they were ever-changing as science made progress, but there weren't any unnecessary emotions tangled up in it all. Or tribal affiliations. Wisely, Nauleth held his tongue, choosing instead to peer at the artifacts left behind without the weight over concern about who left them or when. There was most likely a lie somewhere tucked in with the dates of things, some clever shift of historic opinion meant to give one tribe of Gioran galdori more power over the other.

Politics never changed, and the son of a politician knew too well.

Another tunnel and more skulls stole the rest of his curiosity once their little expedition moved on, Naul careful to check on the spacing of their thick glass bulbs, admittedly excited about just how well they were functioning, pausing once he realized that breathing had begun to feel strange to take more notes on both the sensation of it and the continued curiosities of echo casting.

Darkness met them, and the ginger professor was forced to tuck his journal away again in order to grip the hand holds provided once the climb downward became too steep and slippery with moisture. The feeling of pressure was so very strange, leaving his ears in a bubble and his chest tight as if he needed to yawn but couldn't. He was too excited to feel light-headed, the Clean Air spell keeping that kind of oxygen-deprivation at bay for the time being. If he was finally aware of just how far away from the light of the sun they were, it had yet to make him afraid. He was perhaps far too distracted by all of his observations to really be crushed by the claustrophobia expected of him, but that didn't mean he wouldn't.

"I'm not feeling any ill effects yet, but I don't think I'm paying attention. The stale air is awful, but that seems unavoidable. Maybe I should be more concerned, but there's far too many other things to keep track of. It's best that I don't dwell on just how far into Vita we are right now." Naul offered as academically as possible, glancing back up at the other professor. His own field was ramscott and encouraged, brimming full of a kind of enthusiasm he'd not felt before. He'd never considered himself one for possibly deadly adventures, preferring the quietude of Brunnhold's library or the chill of the Crypts, but here he was with his heart fluttering and sharply ignoring the creep of fear that kept trying to crawl up from the darkest parts of his over-analytical mind, "My lighting is dimmer than I expected, and if any of you fear it is becoming insufficient, I may have enough to start setting two down at a time instead. I have this idea for creating candle-less headlamps—sorry—"

He waved a hand, excusing himself from continuing down his random line of thought, clearly still very excited despite all of the strangeness and stomach-turning traditions.

"—is now a bad time to finally ask about subterranean wildlife? Do you have records of anything living this deep despite the lack of oxygen? Signs of creatures that do not breathe as we do?"

It was a stupid question, and he smirked as if to chide himself for it, but that mention of the Lost Ones with such ominous tones lingered and he couldn't help but hint around the questions he really wanted to ask out of fear of some sharp dismissal by Lomenak or the Quartz Guardian who both seemed far more staunch than Meakaen.
This isn't Brunnhold anymore, ersehat, and you're not going home.
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Athrym Bruthgrave
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Wed May 08, 2019 7:07 pm

5th Ophus, 2718
THE DEEP | MID MORNING
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Athrym looked over at the man’s notes as the Echo Casting ended, leaning in slightly and turning her head as though scratching her nose.

“I can teach you, if you like.” She whispered, before drawing back again. His field was familiar and it’s curiosity thick and heavy. The blonde enjoyed surprising him, even if it wasn’t herself. Gior as a country was different from Anaxas to be sure, but Qrieth was probably the most starkly obvious. Citeiva tended to be less strict with outward emotional control, or traditions, and Giorite had begun to be less lax on foreigners—though it still needed Da Huane approval. Tucking thoughts of a country tour away for the warmer seasons, Athrym pressed on with the others.

“Fascinating! Echo Casting in a small space. Impossible of course, but you…make me understand good.” The Professor fumbled for the correct Estuan, giving up and replacing it with words he knew. Vibrating molecules, reverberating matter, he knew those things. Electricity he didn’t, but the physics behind it he did.

Braeth did see the handholding, and her face shifted only impeccably, though her field reeled with disapproval. It was just so…Anaxi of them both. So…un-Gioran. Especially for the so-called Ambassador. But who was she to question her Matriarch’s decisions.

”You asked children to—"

Summer eye’s glanced at Nauleth briefly, field bristling slightly before the petite Gioran let it go. She didn’t want to get into cultural semantics with the red head here, knowing full well that even though they had made up and moved on, the taller man had more thoughts on the passives in Gior.

As they descended the dark yawning staircase, Athrym listened to her fiancé, nodding with a small brief smile. Meakan, ever the helpful soul, cleared his throat.

“Not really that far. The Deep starts before the foot of the mountain. It’s…long time. Too far. We haven’t gone there yet.” At the mention of wildlife, the Gioran nodded.

“Oh yes. Insects, amphibians, reptiles. They are here. As far as we have seen. Some—“ He cut off abruptly as Braeth stood firmly before him.

“Stop.” She said sharply, pale pink eyes glaring into the darkness. The Gioran Professor adjusted his glasses and peered from behind her. Athrym frowned, looking back at Naul again.

“Light. I need more light.” Braeth said simply, the assistant that had followed slipping past everyone and rapidly casting to form a bright orb above her head.

Before them, a great cavern plunged into darkness, miles deep and at least that wide. The stairs stopped, turning to the left, to follow a pathway that appeared natural. For the sake of safety someone had put in a handrail of stone and rope, and with caution the party followed it around and down, with the abyss beside them. The Maw, as Meakan would explain softly, seemed to plummet into endless depths. They’d tried to ascertain the depth, but it was too far and too dangerous to climb down. They would continue walking, occasionally the Gioran cleaning the air for them.

As they continued to move, a dark emptiness would become visible further ahead. An arching stone entrance to another room, veering to the left. Braeth’s field was almost crackling with tension, and the Professor had begun Echo Casting for air. The darkness pressed in around them, almost laughing at their meagre attempts at light. As they approached the doorway, everyone paused.

“No one has gone down here in years. In…centuries.” Athrym whispered, trepidation clear in her field. They moved together, Braeth in front with the assistant, Meakan next, followed by Naul and Ath.

The doorway opened into what could only be explained as a type of crypt. Three rows of three large stone alters stood in the vast room, decorated heavily with translucent lichen and carvings. Monite again, though some of it was unfamiliar. Laid on top of the alters were bodies, mummified remains. They had been dressed in finery, silken robes and gold jewellery. Leathery skin clung taughtly to skeletal remains, and white hair lay in halos around their heads. The central alter seemed far more decorated then the others, the seven foot mummy staring at the natural stone ceiling with empty eyes. The Professor leaned down to look at the alter closely

“Ancient monite?” He said, though it was not a statement, but a question. Beyond the alters and bodies, a huge set of stone carved doors stood in their way, currently closed. Athrym moved away from Nauleth, slowly walking between the bodies of the dead towards the doors, before she let out a small shriek of surprise, hands flying to her face in shock. Braeth moved rapidly, field drawing sharply and spear held at the ready. Both women looked down at the foot of the doorway.

A body. Not an ancient one, but more modern. Dead for what could be years now, but rotting and half eaten by the subterranean wildlife. They were leaning against the stone doors, as though holding them shut with their body, a text gripped firmly in hand.

“Imaan’s Light Bless us.” The petite blonde breathed, moving closer to the body as Meakan followed suit. He glanced at the body, around at the room, and back at the group.

“I do not…I do not know what this is.” He admitted, moving back to the alters and gesturing at the figure in the middle.

“This is a man, judging by the clothing and such. He could have been a Patriarch maybe? Perhaps Aminark’s decendant, or her own Patriarch? No, surely not. Too close. We have been so close to this to not know it.” Athrym turned and frowned.

“Have we though? This man here clearly got close enough to know it, and did not make it back. It looks like he just sat here and died. Why would he not try to come back? It is not even that bad here, with the air being purified.” Braeth stood, finishing her examination of the body.

“There are injuries to this body, I think. The pant legs are torn, and there are bloodstains. He did not sit here and wait to die, he was too hurt to walk. Are there more bodies?” The group would look around, finding nothing else except those already on the alters. Meakan adjusted his glasses, looking at Braeth and the assistant.

“Lets move this body and open these doors. I want that book, and to see what is on the other side.” The young Ambassador looked at Nauleth with concern.

“Are you sure that is wise, Most Honored Professor?” The taller, older man gave her an expressionless glance, but his field hummed with insult. Athrym bowed her head slightly, stepping back to allow the commands to be actioned. Slipping closer to Nauleth, she shook her head.

“This feels wrong. Do you feel it? Somethings off.” Indeed, if they were to pay attention, a tension could be felt on the other side of the doors, as though their fields were being drawn towards it. Thermometers would also read a temperature change, slightly increasing as they stood in the cavernous crypt. Braeth and the assistant moved the body, carefully, wincing when a loose arm fell to the floor as the book was retrieved and handed to Meakan. Putting their large bodies against the left stone door, both Gioran’s pushed hard. The heavy stone rumbled, moving barely more than an inch, but it did move.

From the crack in the doors, a waft of thick stale air assaulted their senses, and a faint stream of fog swirled on the eddies of the air. The sensation of pulling was stronger, and became stronger still as the door was pushed open just enough to let them slip in. Inside, it was black, darker than could be possible Ath thought. The air was stale enough to cause the group to cough, and Meakan quickly cast another Clean Air spell, though his handiwork was clearly strained.

“What is that?” The assistant asked, squinting through the darkness. She lifted her orb higher, revealing a low lying pool of mist across the wide room. There were bookshelves here, containing all sorts of texts that appeared to be dusted but in tact. From the otherside of the room they could just make out three arched doorways, and from the left something….shimmered. Athrym stayed back, unwilling to enter the room yet, examining the carvings on the doors.

“Nauleth, do you know this beast?” She asked quietly, running her hand over the curious animal carved over and over on the stone. It looked like some sort of wolf or fox, but also dreadfully not. It had a longer neck, and clawed feet, with a thin long body and short tail.

And still, the temperature would increase. Slowly, impeccably, but it was increasing.

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Nauleth Siordanti
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Location: Qiereth, Gior
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: Magus in the Making
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Thu May 09, 2019 2:02 pm

5th of Ophus, 2718
The DEEP | THERE'S NO SUN ANYWHERE WE'RE GOING
"Why haven't you already?" The Anaxi professor whispered back, freckled features expressing a mockery of disappointment before he offered the briefest of smiles, rolling his gold-rimmed eyes and forced to return his attention to Maekan as the older galdor revealed his total lack of imagination when it came to the type of electrical progress Nauleth had been describing so generally. Ignoring his struggle with Estuan with an almost conceited air of dismissal, he shrugged and decided not to give more details until he could perhaps share his schematics.

The skulls would haunt him, however. Their dead bones watching the small exploration party as they descended further into the heart of the mountains hardly giving the eldest Siordanti a feeling of safety or protection—other than suffocation or a horrible fall, what in the world would anyone need protection for anyway?

Gioran mythology was rampant with ridiculous superstition. Naul resisted his urge to wrinkle his nose at the thought, still quite disturbed by the lengths with which this Kingdom's culture was willing to go in order to perpetuate their strange beliefs.

"Mostly sightless and small, I'm assuming?" He quipped about the kind of fauna to expect living in such deprived conditions, "Some what—? Oh."

Braeth's imposing form stopped them all and his sea glass-colored gaze swept up her armored silhouette when she asked for more light. He'd begun to slide his bag off his shoulder, willing to pull out some other object he'd brought along for just this occasion, but instead another willing body wasted their energy on casting a bright, glowing orb of light—

Naul gasped at the cavern they were in, the sheer size of the Maw something that took him several rapid heartbeats to wrap his over-analytical mind around. The flutter of vertigo rippled through him, dizzy and suddenly so very aware of the weight of darkness as if it should feel like anything at all. It was the pressure of their depth, he told himself, and not the press of fear. It was the lack of fresh air that made him dizzy, he reminded himself sternly, and not fear. Fear was a waste. They were here, mostly safe, well-guarded, and all skilled sorcerers.

There was absolutely nothing to be afraid of other than a clocking wrong step.

Oh gods.

Naul looked down into the endless black and for a moment, he might have grown paler. Swallowing hard, one free hand gripped the rock wall to one side and he steadied himself, blinking away the sheer terror that clawed its way up his spine and gnawed at the base of his academic mind.

Then they were moving again and for that he was grateful. He felt the ebb and flow of breathable air, pausing more than once to lean against the cliffside and carefully record observations. He was obviously very distracted by Echo Casting and its possibilities, taking side notes in his main notes, making little calculations. Occasionally, he ran his fingers over the stone, considering his options, and before too long they all found themselves at the gaping entrance of yet another antechamber of sorts.

Clock the circle—more damn bodies!

"Who are these people?" The Anaxi professor asked almost immediately, taking in the scene in their meager light. He'd hardly had to cast yet and so he did, removing from his pocket two small, glass orbs and focusing his Monite phrases on the filaments within. Creating self-contained currents, both small spheres began to glow with a bright white light, still hardly sufficient enough for his satisfaction but far better than just one Light spell. Passing one to Athrym and glancing at the thermometer she still held, he immediately moved to study the ancient writings, quick to copy down everything he saw for later research.

He didn't even see the fresher corpse, too distracted by the intellectual discovery of spellwork he didn't know.

He felt his fiancé's field brush past him, jumping at her shriek and sensation of surprise, eyes widening at the long-dead but very unceremoniously interred body, "Clocking hell. How can you not know who's been down here?" Naul snapped his teeth shut as soon as he barked his surprised question, aware that his annoyance would not at all be well-received. Scowling, he tucked away his notebook into the fold of his coat, gathering his field as if it was just as much an unruly child as he was.

"So close to what now? What is this 'it' you're speaking of?" Uncomfortable being spoken around, he raised a hand at the suggestion of opening doors, "I really don't think we should be doing that, Professor Meakan. This man was clearly injured, perhaps by a fall or a rockslide or—" Wise Alioe, he wasn't even going to open his mouth and talk about how the shredded old clothing and torn, rotten flesh looked more like an animal attack than anything so tame as stupid clocking rocks. Attention diverted by Athrym's question, he paused, eyes fluttering, extending his senses for a long, slow inhale.

Exhaling, ignoring just how light-headed he had begun to become, he blinked, "I think the depths are finally getting to me." But, still, the sensation of being tugged away like iron shavings by a magnet wasn't lost on him and he held his hand up higher for emphasis, freckled face darkening into a scowl, "There is something, Athrym, but I can't tell if it's me being nervous or actually monic in nature. It feels magical and I don't—gods, really? And you all kept warning me about being stupid."

They were moving the body. Opening the door. Naul wanted nothing to do with it, taking a step back and putting his gloved fingers on his notebook again only to note just how warm his palms had begun to feel when they'd previously tingled with cold. His cheeks, too. The temperature had shifted. Raising his hand away from his book to his face at the abhorrent staleness, he watched the swirl and eddies of what could only be described as fog curl out from the darkness with the utmost curiosity,

"Is there water down here? Magma-heated springs?" Mist, perhaps, he told himself, gold-rimmed eyes wide and senses tingling. How could it possibly be any darker down here, he wondered nervously, hacking and clearing his throat. He had no interest in following Meakan, though he felt the waver in the older professor's field and could sense the resistance in the mona at his casting. At least, he told himself it was at the man's casting.

Mist clung to the floor of the next chamber, the room the more freshly dead corpse had clearly crawled out of mortally wounded. The young Siordanti's field bristled, and the physicist felt the strange sensation far stronger than he had before, mind racing to explain what exactly he was experiencing and coming up empty. Athrym was speaking and he blinked, not wanting to look away but also unable to help but glance at where her fingers were dancing over stone.

The elongated, canine-esque monstrosities weren't unfamiliar. In fact, he knew exactly what they were. Swallowing thickly, he looked away from the mythical beasts that shouldn't have been carved into gods only knew how old glyphs in the heart of the mountains of Gior,

"Hatchers."

He shook his head, dismissing it all as superstition, as stories left behind after the War of the Book. If mythological beasts survived today, they were right to stay in hiding, "They're said to live in the Western Territory of Anaxas, which is why no one travels through there to Gior or Hesse. They're just a fairytale told to little galdori children who won't go to bed or used to threaten slacking students before exam days. It's said they live in the mist and prey on sorcerers like us, but I think it's chroveshit stories because no one's ever brought back a body."

Then again, those who went into the Western Territory rarely came back at all.

He chuckled, but it was a hollow noise. The ginger galdor felt his pulse pick up, the thrum of it rapid in his veins. Fingers tugged at his scarf, lingering over a button or two and he immediately reached for the thermometer, "What the clocking hell is going on? It's growing warmer. There must be a—" Mentally making note instead of bothering to write anything, he turned and bent toward the ground, giving the bright glowing orb in his hand a very hard roll over the stone floor and into the impossibly dark, foreboding chamber ahead,

"—wait! Hang on just a moment—Braeth, Lomenak—and save your godsbedamned magic, professor. We need to be able to get back out of here." The Anaxi professor growled, watching not the orb but the room as it was lit by the swiftly rolling object. Without thinking, he stood and placed himself between Athrym and the open doorway, taking a couple of steps forward, gathering his field while mist curled at his ankles, the Monite for a barrier spell burning against the back of his tongue even as he kept himself from casting just yet.
This isn't Brunnhold anymore, ersehat, and you're not going home.
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Athrym Bruthgrave
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Mon May 13, 2019 6:48 pm

5th Ophus, 2718
THE DEEP | MID MORNING
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“Hatchers? Gioran historical texts mention them, but only briefly. I’ve heard of your Anaxi stories. Perhaps…” She looked at the red head, only noticing the warmth when he mentioned it, looking at the instrument in her hand. Indeed, it was getting warmer. The short alabaster galdor frowned.

“We have subterranean hot springs in the city. I suppose they have to be fed from something. Maybe the source is down one of these tunnels, and the doors keep the humidy in so it creates the fog?” It was a weak attempt at an explanation, the Gioran clearly unsettled. Braeth had moved further into the mist of the room, the young assistant by her side. Meakan moved towards the left doorway, adjusting his glasses and holding is hands out.

“It feels…tugging here. Like my field is being aghkay? Worked? No. I not know the word but it is…” He couldn’t help the smile, out of place on his stoic scholarly face. There was no fear there, only excited curiosity. As Nauleth set his sphere rolling, Athrym stood behind him, drawing her own field to her. It felt heavy, like trying to pull soaked skirts out of a pool of water. The light flared around the chamber, lighting up the walls and the roof in a dimmed glow, the mist shrouding the sphere itself.

In the light, they would see the shimmer on the left was more than just a trick of the light or refracted quartz. There was something in the air, hanging at around chest height, at least two feet top to bottom. The rock wall behind it seemed to ripple, and along the centre was a darkness, like a crack in the air. The tugging sensation on their fields was stronger if they got closer, and occasionally a sensation would push back against the people there. It was a familiar one, yet not something anyone there might be able to say where they’d felt it before.

“I do not know this agheysekay, uh…abnormality.” The Professor said with wonder, lifting his hands and ignoring Naul’s warning, finding the monite for a Quantative spell.

Except nothing happened.

Meakan spoke in Gioran, confused and frustrated. He tried again, field gathering, and again the mona didn’t respond. It felt as though their fields were emptying, worse as they got closer to the strange tear in nothingness.

“I think we should go back.” Athrym said softly, panic and a warmth of dread now weaving through the sludgy aura of her field. She put a hand on the Anaxi’s shoulder.

“Nauleth—“ The rest of her words were lost, as from the tunnels came a long drawn sound. A hissing, growling sound. It echoed, sounding like it was still a fair distance away in the dark black of the entrances, but there was no way to tell which one it came from as it reverberated around the stonework. Meakan looked up sharply, before backing up to where the red head and the blonde stood.

“We need to go.” Braeth said, walking backwards, watching the tunnels. Even before the words were finished, another hiss sounded, this time it was definitely closer though which tunnel it was from was still unclear. That was all it took for the Professor to turn on his heel and start running from the cavern, leaving everyone else to fend for themselves.

Everything happened then, lit dimly by Naul’s sphere in the mist. A shape, dark and leathery, came from the central tunnel like some sort of shadow, powerful legs launching it towards the Quartz Guardian and the assistant. Braeth held her spear and shield up, taking the brunt of the beast square on, grunting as she fought against its weight. The assistant screamed, her orb dying even as a second beast sprang from the mists. The large military woman cried out, managing to plunge her spear into the creatures side, causing it to leap away with a shriek. Scrambling to her feet, she stumbled back, her booted heel crunching down on the tall-ish man’s light sphere with a hollow pop sound. Immediately, the remaining trio were left in darkness, their eyes not yet adjusting for the small iota of light the sphere’s in the previous room was providing.

“You need to get to the surface. Run.” The woman said, her breath ragged and wet, tinged with pain that was barely being held in. In the darkness, there was no way to tell how badly she was hurt. Athrym grasped for Naul’s hand, tugging him back away from the room as another hiss came from the darkness.

Boom!

A heavy, clawed body slammed into the barrier that the Anaxi had created. He would feel the shock through his field, the immense strength behind the wiry body. Snarls came from the room, the creatures unhappy with their meals fighting back. Braeth growled angrily.

“I said run!” She shouted, before she launched herself back into the room.

word count: 864
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