Spring 1155.   Posted by The Grey Mouser.Group: 0
Jasper
 NPC, 282 posts
Thu 31 Dec 2015
at 12:56
Re: Spring 1155
Owyn:
Can we perhaps stack these corpses enough to help us reach the top?

Jasper looks listlessly at the small heap of meat. "I think we might have to wait a while lad" he says, with the ghost of a smile. "Maybe if we don't touch it they'll throw down something else. Or we starve to death, as I'll die before eating mouse" he ends grimly, moving painfully to the corner of the room and settling down to sleep.

From the acoustics the pit is very deep. Also Happy New Year everyone :)
Ambrosia
 player, 177 posts
Thu 31 Dec 2015
at 19:31
Re: Spring 1155
Ambrosia sighs.  "Such noble sentiments are easy now, sir, but I'm afraid we may feel differently when the hunger truly sets in.  I've read accounts of mice caught away from civilization who have resorted to cannibalism when all they had to eat were their former friends."

Looking determinedly away from the other two, she begins studiously tracing a finger along a crack in the wall.  "To be perfectly - brutally - honest, I would agree, now, when things are simple, that I, too, would prefer to die.  But I would not, even now, prefer to watch both of you die, and as that is also in our immediate future..."

She lapses into silence, but then plunges ahead, speaking quickly.  "It's clear that these caves are not easy to escape, and it's clear our captors consider them inescapable.  They may be right, but they are also savage; if there is something they do not know, do not understand, about this, it may lie within those frescoes we discovered earlier.  But studying them will require time, and energy.  Calories.  And if we fail to escape, then.. other mice will die after us.  We don't truly know how many have already fallen prey to this... tribe?  Clan?"  With a quick shake of her head, she pulls herself back on track.  "Every moment we are trapped here is a moment another mouse might be claimed.  Another team might be sent after us, armed only with the same ignorance with which we began.  I fear I must propose that it is our responsibility to do whatever is necessary to escape, as quickly as possible, and cope with the psychological consequences later."
Owen
 player, 217 posts
 Only thing we should fear
 Weasels, owls, wolves...
Mon 4 Jan 2016
at 04:48
Re: Spring 1155
Owen nods in agreement with Jasper, trying his best to mask how scared he is as he sees the apparent defeat in his hero's demeanor.  He staunchly turns his back on the reeking heap, forcing himself not to shudder.

A gargantuan lump forms in his throat as Ambrosia unvarnished assessment of their situation brings the harsh truth of their situation home to Owen.  He shivers from nose to tail tip.

  "What are we going to do?  I don't want to die..."  he says quietly and turns his face away, ashamed of the tears welling in his eyes.  He stands there, looking at the seemingly unconquerable walls of their prison, feeling utterly helpless.

He almost squeaks in astonishment as Ambrosia speaks again, offering a course of action, desperate though it is.  She was right of course, they owed it to the rest of the mice at the site to survive, and to warn them.  To give in to his fears would accomplish nothing.  He could almost hear his old mentor Roland telling him: 'You're in the Mouse Guard now, son.  Time to start acting like it!'  He looked over at his two companions, then said.

   "Jasper, sir.  I agree with Ambrosia.  After we have a quick sleep we should take a look at those frescoes.  We have nothing else to occupy us down here and they might help us understand our captors and our situation better."  His felt himself gain strength, the tremble in his voice fading as he was filled with a sense of purpose.

  "One of us should stay awake, in case our captors decide to visit us.  I'll take the first watch, I'll wake you in a while Ambrosia for the second watch.  We should investigate the odd glowing fungi more closely too.  It looks horrid, but it might be edible, I've a little experience with such things, I'll check it out; it could help our situation."

Once his companions are sleeping, Owen gets to work.  Doing his best to fashion a weapon from the bones they brought back.  A knife, a club, whatever he could make.  He refused to go down without a fight.

This message was last edited by the player at 04:59, Mon 04 Jan 2016.

The Grey Mouser
 GM, 438 posts
Sun 17 Jan 2016
at 11:02
Re: Spring 1155
Owen experiments with a tiny piece of the mushroom and the resultant stomach upset and vomiting convinces the mice they have no choice but to eat the meat that is periodically tossed into the pit. Luckily you discover several cisterns fed with fresh water, although you avoid the one lined with glowing algae.

The days turn in to weeks. Jasper condition worsens; his wounds get infected and Ambrosia spends many hours tending to the warrior. Worse than his physical condition, Jasper's spirit seems to be broken. He rarely moves or speaks, and barely eats enough to keep body and soul together.

At first Owen and Ambrosia make good progress on cleaning and interpreting the many mosaics dotted around the complex. However, once you get closer to the room with the glowing rock room the thickness of the algae increases, and after an hour of working you begin to feel sick. Both mice start to lose tufts of hair, and notice their gums bleeding.

So far this is what you have inferred of the feral's history. Long ago a small tribe of mice was forced to shelter underground from a plague of weasels. The delved deep, until they discovered a seam of strange, glowing rock. This rock somehow changed the mice. Many died, but a few seemed to evolve into a higher form, with huge brains bulging from their skulls. Their superior intelligence allowed the mice to conquer the caves and build an advanced society, with a mastery of stonework like nothing before or since.

Several more mosaics remains, those closed to the glowing rock room. Cleaning them safely would take weeks, but doing it faster may mean permanent harm to the two mice...
Owen
 player, 221 posts
 Only thing we should fear
 Weasels, owls, wolves...
Thu 28 Jan 2016
at 04:34
Re: Spring 1155
After weeks of working, Owen's spirit was the lowest it had ever been.  He was concerned for Jasper's health, Ambrosia's morale, and his own battle against the feelings of despair.  And yet day after day he would rise and go through the same routine, hoping that somehow, they desperate mice would learn something that would help them to escape...

   "Am...Ambrosia," Owen gasped, fighting the violent churning of his painfully empty stomach.  Something is still not right.  We are missing...end of the story.  Can't think straight anymore.  So bloody tired.  Must think.  Ferals haven't...haven't killed us yet...why?  Need to continue, got to...learn more.  We can work in shifts,  one at a time so we don't get sick, until...mosaics are complete?"


He regarded Jasper, who seemed barely alive now, and for a moment he was angry.  He knew he had no right to be, he knew Jasper couldn't help being so sick, but somehow it almost seemed like he'd given up.  Another pair of hands working the remaining mosaics would have been useful.  He felt ashamed of his anger, how could he blame Jasper; none of them had any idea they'd end up prisoners in a labyrinthine pit filled with nauseating fungi, and infuriating old mosaics!

He forced his feelings of shame down violently.  They didn't serve any use now.  He let the anger give him strength to continue.  He had to live so his captors could suffer.  And goodness help them if Jasper didn't make it!  Owen would make them regret it for the rest of their sorry lives, which wouldn't be long if he had his way.

   "We can't give up.  WE HAVE TO KEEP WORKING!  I KNOW THERE'S A WAY OUT!  There, has...to...be..."

This message was last edited by the player at 04:37, Thu 28 Jan 2016.

Ambrosia
 player, 183 posts
Tue 2 Feb 2016
at 03:02
Re: Spring 1155
Ambrosia works diligently, quietly, discussing their findings eagerly and avoiding discussing anything else almost as fervently.  Within this obsession, her morale is almost disturbingly OK.  Owen does sometimes find her, at night, rocking softly in place and muttering that `the light is wrong', but she doesn't seem to remember these episodes in the mornings.

Having made her decision early, however, she eats the meat that is thrown down without any further hesitation, letting it keep her strength up.  She doesn't press this decision on the other two, though; she made her case, and their choices are their own to make.

She looks at Owen sadly, almost absently, and pats his hand.  "There really doesn't," she says, in a comforting tone entirely at odds with the statement.  "Yes, why they are keeping us alive is a very big question.  If I were going to guess -- and we really don't have anything else to do -- I would guess that the reason we're down here, is to be exposed to the glowing rock.  Perhaps they're hoping we'll turn into more of those.. hyper-intelligent mice, and lead them back to their vaguely remembered days of glory.  Perhaps they're right, though I must say, I don't feel especially intelligent these days."  She turns away, looking down the tunnel wistfully.  "You're probably right.  Working in shifts.  Minimize our exposure.  It would probably be foolish to go the other way.  There's no sense in rushing anymore -- whatever damage our absence was going to cause has been caused, and our only real hope now is to hope someone comes to save us.  In the meantime.. learning as much as we can seems to be all we can do.  And trying to keep Jasper alive.  I would very much regret eating Jasper.  I'll go now.  I'll come back the moment I start to feel ill.  You need some rest."

She stands, without looking back, and walks back down the tunnel, to work on the next section.
The Grey Mouser
 GM, 439 posts
Tue 9 Feb 2016
at 17:29
Re: Spring 1155
After days of painstaking work followed by hours of nausea you reveal the final fresco, and Ambrosia has more evidence for her theory. It shows a great procession of mice descending down into the sealed vaults to the glowing stone, where supplicants are ensconced in their stone alcoves to bathe in its transformative magic. The hair loss, bleeding gums and vomiting are inexplicably not shown.

Ambrosia is the first to notice that the procession entered the vaults through an open gate at the foot of a great spiral staircase. You can identify the wall in question - somehow there must be a secret door. The ancient mice were stone-cunning, but Ambrosia's mind, always keen, has been honed to diamond from their ordeal. She finds the hidden pressure point that opens the door. A musty spiral staircase leads up.

Japser is still holding on to life, if not hope.
Owen
 player, 223 posts
 Only thing we should fear
 Weasels, owls, wolves...
Sun 14 Feb 2016
at 20:49
Re: Spring 1155
Owen felt tears sting his red rimmed eyes as Ambrosia showed him the panel that opened the hidden door.  A door that had been there for weeks, months...however long they'd been trapped in this accursed place.  Suddenly, in spite of his exhaustion, he was once more the alert path finder that he had always been.  He turned and hugged Ambrosia as tightly as he dared.

   "Ambrosia, you are amazing!  No time to lose, help me with Jasper, we are leaving this place, right now!  Hang on Jasper, sir; we are going to get you some help!  I...I made us some weapons...from the bones we found all those weeks ago.  They aren't much, just sharpened improvised knives, but they are better than nothing at all.  Just in case...well, just in case.  Here take them and let's go before the realize we've left."

Doing his best to help the oldfur to his feet, Owen braced him with one arm, then sniffed the musty air, wrinkled his nose, and stepped onto the staircase without a backward glance for their dingy prison

This message was last edited by the player at 13:29, Thu 18 Feb 2016.

Ambrosia
 player, 184 posts
Wed 17 Feb 2016
at 19:07
Re: Spring 1155
With the plan to work in shifts, Ambrosia is, of course, alone when she first makes her realization.  At first, she says nothing, not wishing to give Owen false hope.  Instead, she follows her line of thinking alone, as she has her last four theories, none of which led anywhere.  So she goes quietly to study the room with the staircase while Owen sleeps.  When she presses the plate and the door opens to reveal the stairway, her first instinct is to press it again and close it up, fearing that seeing the stairway would most certainly fill Owen with false hope.

...Then she realizes that an actual, existing stairway might qualify as a tentative hope, and goes to wake Owen, whispering, "I have... I think I have found something you should see."  And takes him back, pressing the plate again.

If one could see into her head, this, then, might explain the nervous expression she gets when Owen immediately brings Jasper into the fold -- his fevered mind certainly doesn't need the strain of hoping the stairway leads anywhere better.  But she quickly tucks this away and helps Owen get the once-mighty Guardmouse to his feet, patting Jasper lightly on the hand, and, in what feels like a wild leap of dubious promises, offers, "There may be sunlight again," as she helps prop him up from the other side.

Wiping her free hand across her mouth, she absently licks the blood away and nods, taking one of Owen's improvised knives.  "Well done," she says, giving Owen an encouraging smile.  "Though I do hope we won't need them.  We didn't do especially well fighting our captors even when we had real weapons."


OOC: How possible would it be to bring along some of the glowing moss for light?  I'm hoping we might have found maybe a good hand-sized loose rock covered in it so that we can just pick that up without having to scrape the moss, which I assume kills it and makes it stop glowing.  If she can think of any such thing, she'll be carrying that, and tuck Owen's bone knife into the tatters of her clothing.
The Grey Mouser
 GM, 443 posts
Sun 13 Mar 2016
at 10:34
Re: Spring 1155
Jasper seems galvanised by your news, and struggles to his feet with unexpected strength.
Ambrosia, having noticed a suitable moss-covered stone earlier, leads the way up the winding stone staircase holding up the stone and bathing the trio in its lurid green light. After hundreds of stairs, and three brief rest, you come to a small antechamber with a plain stone door at the other end.

Steeling yourself, you open the door. to reveal a huge stone chamber, the carved stone wreathed in shadows. Three huge thrones stand at one end of the room, and each is occupied by an abomination, a mouse swollen to many times the normal size, with a huge, exposed, pulsing brain and obscenely wrinkled and wizened skin. One of them appears to be in advanced stage of decomposition, one of them sits drooling and insensible, but the third opens a blood-red eye at your intrusion.

Dozens of feral mice, all adolescent females, mill around the thrones. Servants or guards, you are not sure...
Ambrosia
 player, 187 posts
Mon 21 Mar 2016
at 16:44
Re: Spring 1155
Ambrosia stops as the door opens.  The room is both larger and far more occupied than what she had hoped to emerge to.  She's about to try pulling Jasper to the side, in hopes that maybe they can skulk around the edges without anyone noticing, when she sees the glint of red as one of the trio opens an eye.

With that, she slumps slightly, fearing her rash promise to Jasper is already dashed.  Shifting her weight a little bit, she leans him the other way, to rest more on Owen, before she gently extracts herself from him and steps forward.

She takes five more steps, walking firmly ahead into the room, and then raises her arms, the glowing rock in one hand.  "Lo!  We have ascended!" she announces.
Owen
 player, 227 posts
 Only thing we should fear
 Weasels, owls, wolves...
Thu 24 Mar 2016
at 03:11
Re: Spring 1155
Owen's heart sinks as he takes in the bizarre scene; the large chamber filled with so many mice, all crowded around three abominations he never would have believed, had he not seen them with his own eyes.  They had failed, after uncounted days, sickness, hunger and exhaustion, they would die in this abysmal place.  Suddenly his despair, his fear, turns to anger, and from anger to rage.  NO!  Not like this.  They would not die without a fight.  He would make them rue the day they had ever met them!

Before he could do something insanely rash and suicidal, Ambrosia apparently decided she would do it instead.  Owen accepted Jasper's extra weight, buoying his ailing commander and watching in astonishment as the science mouse stepped boldly forward and made her declaration.  He prayed the old fur would be up to one last battle, if it came to it.

Owen was trembling, heart pounding in his chest, as he quietly and discretely reached for his makeshift bone knife with his free paw and wrapped his fingers around the hilt, but he kept it beneath his ragged stained cloak.  He wasn't sure what she was doing, but he trusted her.  He stood alert and ready to help her, the moment the situation worsened.  Not that it could get much worse...
The Grey Mouser
 GM, 445 posts
Mon 11 Apr 2016
at 10:36
Re: Spring 1155
Do the ferals understand her? Ambrosia will never know. But her outcry sparks a frenzy of activity. The leader barks a harsh command, and a trio of his attending mice run for a large bell suspended from the ceiling in one corner. But then, responding to a collective outburst of anger, a third of the mice begin to struggle with their sisters. Some attack the three obese leaders - you see a mouse stabbing the decomposing one again and again, her face contorted in fury - while others try to stop the mice heading to sound the alarm. The loyal faction is at first taken by surprise, but their superior numbers start to show, and one of them manages to ring the bell, which echoes alarmingly in the cavernous throne room.

As this transpires a single feral mouse, barely out of childhood, scurries over to you and urgently gestures to a passage in the far wall, trying to shoe you over to it, her face alight with terror and awe in equal measure.

Apols for the delay folks :)
Ambrosia
 player, 189 posts
Mon 11 Apr 2016
at 17:52
Re: Spring 1155
Satisfied with just the one burst of suicidal ideation, Ambrosia steps back to take Jasper's other arm again.  "Follow her," she directs, starting to guide him after the young feral, trying to urge him to move quickly.
Owen
 player, 229 posts
 Only thing we should fear
 Weasels, owls, wolves...
Fri 15 Apr 2016
at 20:04
Re: Spring 1155
Owen did not hesitate for even an instant.  Clearly some kind of upheaval was taking in place and he did not want his friends to be swept up in the violence.  As Ambrosia took Jasper's one arm, Owen took the other, helping to move him along to where the young feral mouse was desperately trying to send them.  He was a Pathfinder, and the path was laid out for him, what else did he need to know?  He did his best to move Jasper, Ambrosia, and himself quckly up the path and away from the madness.

"This is likely our only chance, Ambrosia, I'm with you; let's get out of this wretched place!"

This message was last edited by the player at 20:04, Fri 15 Apr 2016.

The Grey Mouser
 GM, 446 posts
Mon 25 Apr 2016
at 10:17
Re: Spring 1155
Supporting Jasper the two mice rush for the exit, led on by a frantic feral child. As you reach the passage, half a dozen deadly looking feral warriors rush into the room. In seconds they lay into the rebellious faction, slaughtering the young mice in a frenzy of ripped throats and spilled guts. In mere seconds they will be upon you...

Jasper straightens up, pushing the two mice away, using the last of his carefully hoarded strength. The old captain's gaze is drawn to a nearby ledge, where a handful of trophies are displayed; a familiar spear is among them.

The"Get out of here! I'll hold them off as long as I can"
Ambrosia
 player, 190 posts
Thu 28 Apr 2016
at 13:19
Re: Spring 1155
Without a word, Ambrosia grabs Owen's hand and tugs him along to keep following the child.  She doesn't even look back.
Owen
 player, 230 posts
 Only thing we should fear
 Weasels, owls, wolves...
Mon 2 May 2016
at 05:01
Re: Spring 1155
Owen held tight to Ambrosia's paw as they followed the young feral girl.  He winced as the awful screams echoed up the passage, his heart hammering in his chest.   Terrified, they forged  on, but it was clear they were being intently pursued, and their hunters were in far better condition.  When Jasper grabbed his fabled Red Spear and prepared to stand and fight, Owen stifled a cry, desperately wishing there was some other way...but there wasnt and all of them knew it.   The old fur had made a choice to die as he had lived;  with resolute courage.  Owen knew he must honour that choice.  Biting his lip he gave Jasper a final salute, "it's been an honour, sir, " he replied, looking into the Commander's eyes one last time.  Then he turned and fled with Ambrosia and the girl.  He shut his eyes, blinking away tears as they ran.

This message was last edited by the player at 05:13, Mon 02 May 2016.

The Grey Mouser
 GM, 450 posts
Wed 18 May 2016
at 17:59
Re: Spring 1155
The sounds of a desperate battle follow the guardmice as they hurry down the long corridor, punctuated by a series of short but steep staircases. Suddenly Owen feels a flgastone sink under one foot, and without thinking, grabs Ambrosia and throws them both forward, avoiding the falling stone block by mere inches. The trap has totally blocked the tunnel behind, and so the two mice, now suffering from their weeks of hardship, move slowly onward. After half a dozen more staircases the way ends in a stone door with a complicated opening mechanism that Ambrosia operates almost without thinking.

Daylight streams into the underground and the two mice stand with tears in their eyes from the terrible, wonderful brightness. Once their vision has returned Owen reckons they are somewhere to the north of the main settlement dig, outside the terminus of a very well disguised exit tunnel.
Owen
 player, 233 posts
 Only thing we should fear
 Weasels, owls, wolves...
Sun 22 May 2016
at 22:57
Re: Spring 1155
Stumbling forwards, away from the horrible tunnel, Owen squints against the blinding sunlight, tears streaming down his grimy cheeks.  His knees grow weak, and he is no longer certain where the strength to move is coming from, overcome as he is with exhaustion and grief.  A dozen more meandering steps, and he collapses to all four paws, as sorrow and anger crash over him, a great wave of pain and loss shakes him to his very soul with great wracking sobs, and dashes his tattered dreams in its awful wake.

"JASPER! Curse my craven heart!  I should have stood with you...my Captain...my friend!  I...I..."


He forced himself to stand, wiping his face with the back of his paw.  Taking several deep breaths, he fought back the torrent of emotions raging in him, and composed himself once more.  There would be time later for regrets, for mourning.  He surveyed the surrounding area, availing himself of the natural signs that he had learned so well he could find them almost without thinking.  He found a suitable walking stick, then scratched a mark in the stone with his makeshift knife.  Then he returned to Ambrosia's side, meeting her gaze with steely resolve.

"We are north of the Dig Site, to the best of my knowledge.  Let's leave this benighted place.  We need to tell the Old Furs what has happened here, to tell them...that the Red Spear has fallen.  And then plan how we will avenge him!"

And, without a backward glance, he began to make his way southwards, towards the Main Settlement.
Ambrosia
 player, 193 posts
Mon 23 May 2016
at 15:02
Re: Spring 1155
Ambrosia watches Owen, resting a hand on his back while he sobs, looking around.  "I'm sorry he didn't see the sun," she says, quietly.

She nods her agreement with his directions.  "I hope that no one else was taken while we were trapped," she notes, "But now that we have escaped, they will surely be looking for new subjects.  I do not like to think of another being held there."
The Grey Mouser
 GM, 451 posts
Wed 1 Jun 2016
at 16:21
Re: Spring 1155
Weary to the bone, you arrive at the settlement to find it in the last stages of evacuation. With a column of mice loaded down with supplies streaming away into the wilderness. The first harried guardmouse you find obviously has no idea who you both are, and is too distracted to notice your emaciated bodies and patchy fur.

"Weasels. Dozens of them coming this way. We're abandoning the dig. Get moving, we're got to get back behind the scent barrier before nightfall"
Owen
 player, 234 posts
 Only thing we should fear
 Weasels, owls, wolves...
Sun 12 Jun 2016
at 17:50
Re: Spring 1155
The exhausted, grieving, confused Owen felt an overwhelming urge to scream!  After everything else, the weasels were coming!  There would be no vengeance, no triumphant return to bring justice for the many mice murdered, no retrieving the Red Spear's battered body to give him the hero's burial he deserved!  He bites his lip hard, and does his best to swallow his anger.  The instinctive chill that races through him, from nose to tail tip, at the mere mention of weasels is enough to push him into action.  Tired though he was, these mice needed help.  Lives are at stake.  There is no time for righteous anger; it would do nothing but waste valuable minutes...

"Is there anything we can do to assist?  Do you have a pathfinder to lead your mice safely to the scent barrier?  If so, then I am willing to follow in the rearguard to make sure everyone gets out safely!"

He looks to Ambrosia for a moment, knowing she is every bit as tired as he is, and gives her a weary half smile.  Whatever happens, they would survive it.  They'd both been through worse.

"Is there any Intel on when the weasels will arrive?" he asks, turning back to the guardmouse.
The Grey Mouser
 GM, 452 posts
Mon 20 Jun 2016
at 10:08
Re: Spring 1155
The guard looks at you more carefully, two emaciated mice in rags holding bits of bone. He still hasn't recognised you. "Just catch up with the others, you look done in"
Ambrosia
 player, 194 posts
Mon 20 Jun 2016
at 18:57
Re: Spring 1155
With a quiet nod, Ambrosia reaches for Owen's hand again and tugs him towards the column of fleeing mice.