[IC] Episode 004: Time Enough for Exploration.   Posted by The Strange.Group: 0
The Strange
 GM, 79 posts
 Many faces
 all the same.
Tue 24 Jan 2017
at 17:41
[IC] Episode 004: Time Enough for Exploration
Time: Apprx 2100 hours.

The "evening" passes quietly. Dreams inhabit nearly everyone's mind -- some more pleasant than others... the pulsing machinery becoming heartbeats, drumbeats, and the like. Eventually, you all awake, fully rested, to be greeted by a very simple yet filling meal of a decent gruel laced with occasional strips of meat, and water cut with a bit of wine (likely to sanitize it more than anything else).

Soldiers break camp for you, so there is little for you to do to prep before you're good to go. Perhaps half an hour after you wake, an escort of three soldiers are walking you to the east, toward your chosen entrance.

The eastern road is practically a mirror of the southern road you entered through; massive walls extending up out of sight, time and decay marring their faces to the point of near unrecognizable function. Here and there, teams of scientists guarded by soldiers cluster around various collections of odd objects or possible vehicles.

Eventually, you find yourselves at the entrances to the northeast and southeast quadrants. The soldiers lead you to the entrance of the south-eastern quadrant, and seem about to speak when a slowly-rising sound emanates from the northern entrance across the road from you. It starts low, less heard than felt. A rumbling that that gains in both timbre and intensity as it gets louder, until it begins to resemble something akin to a mechanical yet human scream. This goes on for nearly three seconds before it is suddenly cut off, replaced with the sound of a muffled, far-away explosion.

Then, silence.

One of the soldiers shudders, before speaking "That's the third we've heard from there this week. They keep sending things back, though, so boss says don't worry about it. Would hate to see what is making that noise, though." Even as he speaks, one of the strange spider-mechs, carrying what looks like a clawed, seven-fingered hand about the size of a human head, trundles out of the northern entrance before heading toward the main camp.

The soldiers look back to the southern entrance, "Well, in you go. Good luck t' the lot of you! Try not to die, right?"
Tor the Younger
 Sharp-Eyed Seeker, 11 posts
 Seeker
 A Unique Attitude
Thu 26 Jan 2017
at 23:17
[IC] Episode 004: Time Enough for Exploration
Falling into familiar trail routines, Tor is ready to move within a few moments of breaking his fast. He has precious little equipment with him - his small pack and what equipment he had the previous night - and took a few moments to scrape the trace of stubble from his face with a small razor, humming one of the learning songs of Malvich quietly to himself as he makes quick work of the chore.

When they set off his curiosity ensured that he ranged ahead and trailed behind, the roadside detritus new and unfamiliar to him. Where he sensed it will be welcome he exchanged a few words with his companions, but otherwise he keeps his own counsel unless approached. Every now and then he stopped and crouched to examine some curio or tale of some curio's past presence, tracks into the past.

At the entrance his brow furrowed at the scream and his shoulders tensed for a moment, before he chuckled softly to himself at the guard's remarks. He called out to the others, though not loudly, "Once more unto the breach, for you?"
Taelan Faswell
 Fugitive Jack, 31 posts
 Jack
 Fugitive
Mon 6 Feb 2017
at 17:40
[IC] Episode 004: Time Enough for Exploration
It took a while for Taelan to finally fall asleep that night, his mind having been captured in thought and paranoia making it difficult to even contemplate putting down his defenses and getting some much needed rest. The regular inspection by the four legged puff ball admittedly did help in that regard, the gentle nuzzle and linking forcing a smile onto his gruff expression that seemed to be the theme of the day. Eventually he would finally succumb and drift off, the steady and even thumping of machinery giving him dreams of lively music played in a tavern with a heavy drum playing louder than all the rest.

He awoke and went among his morning duties seemingly in better spirits, if only marginally, having forced himself to relax. As he got his pack into sorts he ended up standing next to Daesa for a moment. A twinge of guilt hit him as he considered the day before and his general temperament which had lead to him being overly harsh. He let out a short, uncomfortable cough and didn't look at her as he said a short, "Sorry." His pride prevented him from saying any more and he turned, walking purposefully to the other end of camp.

He remained in quiet solitude until they left, walking towards their intended entrance into the ruins proper. He is given pause at the sudden loud and destructive noise coming from the opposite entrance. He wonders for a moment whether the source of the sound was from a creature they would meet as they explore or one of the other expendable adventurers they had hired. He looked Tor as he spoke though he didn't reply, nstead looking to the group. "So... I know we have light sources. I think whoever has that should go first. Unless you want to give it to me and I'll go first."
Daesa Lightspire
 Empathic Nano, 25 posts
 Nano
 Psionic
Tue 7 Feb 2017
at 00:50
[IC] Episode 004: Time Enough for Exploration
Daesa slept wonderfully.  Between the fur-lined bed roll, the tiny green puff ball snuggles and the pleasant dreams she had, she work up in a better mood than she fell asleep in.  Once the morning came, she gathered her things and followed along with the group.  She is surpised that Taelan even speaks to her, and while it takes her a second to realize that he apologized, she shakes her head.

"Don't worry, it won't happen again."  Which is mostly true, since the mind speaking spell is still active for several more hours, she's just pretending it's not.

Still, there is a bit of excitement in her step, glad to finally starting this grand mission they've been sent on.  She isn't even deterred by the thought that they're one of many groups and are mostly seen as dispensable.  The explosive noise does cause her to pause and jump.  "I... hope we're not going into a maze of explosions.  A pitch dark maze of explosions, but at least they'd light the way!"

She'll linger back and hover toward Tor, offering her hand to him.  "I apologize for my rudeness yesterday.  I'm Daesa Lightspire.  I was tired from the long journey, and ready for rest."
Tor the Younger
 Sharp-Eyed Seeker, 13 posts
 Seeker
 A Unique Attitude
Tue 7 Feb 2017
at 08:51
[IC] Episode 004: Time Enough for Exploration
Nodding politely, Tor took her hand and shook it, "Tor, sometimes called 'the Younger', though I suspect the lack of others of my name here will make that unnecessary". He smiled, looking on the verge of saying something further but his eyes darted to the guards, "If the maze permits, I have a few questions once we have entered"
Taelan Faswell
 Fugitive Jack, 33 posts
 Cranky
 Carries a big hat
Thu 9 Feb 2017
at 08:17
[IC] Episode 004: Time Enough for Exploration
Taelan sighed softly and turned, leaning up against the wall to the right of their chosen entrance and crossing his arms over his chest. He waited patiently for someone pick and hand him a light source, leaving it up to his travel companions whether they should use one of the globes or stick to torches for now. He gave Tor and Daesa a curious look, apparently listening very closely to their conversation.
Daesa Lightspire
 Empathic Nano, 27 posts
 Nano
 Psionic
Fri 10 Feb 2017
at 00:39
[IC] Episode 004: Time Enough for Exploration
Since Daesa has no idea how long they're going to be in this maze, she decides to start with one of the shorter term light sources.  She does have the month long one, but figures that should be used as needed, so they don't get stuck in the darkness with out a source of light.  With a deep breath she walks through the door and into the room, looking about as she does.

"Of course, I'd be happy to answer anything that I can.  I warn you though, I'm the odd woman out.  Everyone here seems to know each other, or at least crossed paths, I'm just the random element in the equation."  She says brightly after she shakes Tor's hand.

She winces slightly in the dim light and looks over her shoulder at Taelan, than the others before she continues on.
Tor the Younger
 Sharp-Eyed Seeker, 14 posts
 Seeker
 A Unique Attitude
Fri 10 Feb 2017
at 13:58
[IC] Episode 004: Time Enough for Exploration
With a nod, Tor hefted his pack to sit more comfortably on his shoulders as Daesa pulled out her torch and lit it. He followed silently into the room, staying a few paces behind the torchbearer and peering out beyond the circle of light to try and keep some of his night vision. With the Baron's men supposedly out of earshot, he glanced between his companions and began to speak, but quietly

"North of my home is a small city, Karsha. In the hills that overlook it, a barrow. No-one visits the barrow, so they say."

He paused, continuing if not interrupted, "Within the barrow I found an obelisk. Jet black and non-reflecting. It spoke to me, called itself a Child and me a Father..."

"Did you all come here via these Childs? What were you told of the Mother? Of you being Fathers? Are you, I known Taelan is. I am"

This message was last edited by the player at 22:06, Fri 10 Feb 2017.

Taelan Faswell
 Fugitive Jack, 34 posts
 Cranky
 Carries a big hat
Fri 10 Feb 2017
at 18:01
[IC] Episode 004: Time Enough for Exploration
Taelan sighs softly as the groups starts to head in after lighting a torch, pushing off the wall to stand straight and follow after. He gives Daesa an odd look as she mentions how she's the odd one out but a part of him doubts that. He has no proof to the contrary but he finds it hard to believe that out of all these people from his past that only one member of the party isn't tied to him somehow. He says nothing though but what Tor says prompts him to speak. "You showing up was the first mention any of us has heard of a Child involved in all this. As far as Mother and Father goes that's all a mystery. If you have more information share it." His outright hostility towards Tor seems to have ebbed away a bit with a night of rest but he still seems a bit uneasy, curious what could have brought him so far just to join this party.
Daesa Lightspire
 Empathic Nano, 28 posts
 Nano
 Psionic
Sat 11 Feb 2017
at 00:19
[IC] Episode 004: Time Enough for Exploration
Daesa turns to stare at Tor as he makes his explanation.  "I uh... I haven't birthed any stones, and none of them have called me Mother.  So I'm afraid I'm not much help there."  While it's a little odd, seeing how strange this place is, she isn't too perturbed about it.

"Well hopefully you will find some answers here.  Maybe you're destined to find a wife?  Not that there are living things here, and if there are they're probably going to try and kill us."  She pauses for a beat before she smirks at the others.  "Isn't it exciting?"
The Strange
 GM, 85 posts
 Many faces
 all the same.
Sat 11 Feb 2017
at 00:39
[IC] Episode 004: Time Enough for Exploration
Time: 2145 hours

As the group first enters the passageway, the sounds of the city mute a bit for a moment, almost as if the threshold of the quadrant is somehow separated from the rest of the city by an invisible barrier. Even the light of Daesa's torch flickers a moment as that "barrier" is crossed, it's glow dimming visibly, and the radius of cast light visibly retracting several feet.

Moments later, as you push further in, walking down the thin corridor two by two, the entrance opens up once more into a much larger causeway. This appears to lead out into what can only be described as a courtyard. Your entrance is almost central in the north wall, while a small alleyway can be seen in the southeast corner of the area.

The courtyard itself is an example of ancient disarray. Crumbling building walls surround on all sides, each going up only twenty feet, uniformly, with empty space above it only barely visible in the reduced range of your light. Caved in doors dot the walls here and there, long-since rendered unusable.

Rubble dots the ground. Some of it appears to have been pushed to the corners, but even more is just strewn out in the open. Stone, dust, metal, and other detritus can be seen. Occasionally, a crumbling bone, dessicated and rendered unidentifiable by age, can be found as well.

Central to this area is a massive structure, easily taller than the surrounding buildings, stretching up out of sight. Multiple layers, tiers growing larger the closer to the ground, are visible, with odd metal appendages sticking out at irregular levels from it. This catches Dexil's attention first, the white, featureless mask he has started wearing preventing any view into his reaction. He remains silent for the moment while kneeling at the base of this large structure. "There are holes..." escapes him eventually, as his hand sifts through the garbage at the base of it.

As the others mention the Mothers, Fathers, and Children, Jaeda nods, fingers idly stroking Puffball in the little sling she'd set up for him near her chest. "First I heard of it was when the Baron mentioned it... or what it the Priestess? Something about their research in the city pointing to us with a glyph translated as 'father', and the pyramid represented by 'mother'. Or something like that. Nothing about 'children'... then Dexil asking us if we were fathers out on the road..."

Dexil pops his head up, "I did what?"

During this, Lofwyr's eyes go to the building. A torch is pulled from his own bag, which he lights using Daesa's, silently, before walking to the edge of the west wall. His eyes close a moment, before flecks of metal begin to orbit his body, slowly, seeming to lift him on an unseen wind. A moment later, he's looking over the lip of the building wall. Above him, perhaps ten feet higher, is a solid ceiling, stretching unbroken as far as the light carries. "There are multiple floors here, it would seem. I don't recall them saying anything about that. Wonder if the other teams discovered this."

With that, he floats back down, and extinguishes his torch, walking back to the others. "I believe the glyphs are rough translations, to be honest. I've been considering it... we're talking something at least a full world past, if not more. Translations are almost never direct. It could implicate some sort of relation."

He then looks to Tor, "It can't be a coincidence that the trend continues. Tell us about the Child?"

This message was last edited by the GM at 01:24, Sat 11 Feb 2017.

Tor the Younger
 Sharp-Eyed Seeker, 15 posts
 Seeker
 A Unique Attitude
Sun 12 Feb 2017
at 22:32
[IC] Episode 004: Time Enough for Exploration
No stranger to the delicate traces of ages past, Tor still fell silent as they entered the chamber. His eyes scoured the room, taking in the detritus and ruin for a few moments, but his attention was pulled back inward when first Jaeda and then Lofwyr mentioned the gylphs of the Father and Mother. His knuckles cracked as one hand unconsciously tighten into a fist, but he relaxed it with an effort and squatted on his knees to observe the scene from a different perspective, studying the dusty floor and the the sheer scale of the central building.

"It definitely has many floors", he murmured to himself, before glancing back at Lofwyr's question. He sighed, to himself and stood.

"Outside the city of Karsha, I went into one of the barrow. I found the remains of a Child. An obelisk much like the pyramid that hangs over the city. I touched the broken stone and it spoke to me."

He shuddered, his tone becoming that of one recalling something remembered by rote, "Unit:Designate:Father:Bloodline.0.0.2.1.1.4D. That's me. 2.0.11.2-A. That was the Child. It had something, a gift, that a foolish nobleman's foolish son had stolen when he desecrated it. An unworthy boy, who died a meaningless death as a man"

Gazing everywhere except Taelan, he adds, "But the man had a key upon him when he died."

"It showed me a band of quickened men and women", he rushed on, "Designate 'Fathers'. From many places and stories. They looked very much like you... They were approaching the prison of the Unit:Designate:Mother. "

After a moment's silence he adds, "This prison. This city "
Daesa Lightspire
 Empathic Nano, 29 posts
 Nano
 Psionic
Tue 14 Feb 2017
at 00:46
[IC] Episode 004: Time Enough for Exploration
Daesa listens to all of this new information, and when she gets a look at just how high Lofwyr is flying she bites her lip.  This is going to be far more complicated than she realized.  When Tor spouts out a series of numbers, she tries to follow along, but it's nothing she's ever heard of before.

"Did you bring the child with you?  I am curious to see if it speaks to others, and perhaps it will confirm your theory?"  The rest of the conversation sinks in and she shakes her head.  "If this is a prison, as the child says it is, than perhaps we shouldn't be meddling with it.  Who knows what was locked away."
Taelan Faswell
 Fugitive Jack, 35 posts
 Cranky
 Carries a big hat
Tue 14 Feb 2017
at 01:27
[IC] Episode 004: Time Enough for Exploration
At the mention of holes from Dexil a shiver runs down Taelan's spine, frowning as he is sure he doesn't want to meet whatever could potentially come from those holes. His hand slips to the hilt of his weapon, at the ready to use it should something arrive that plans to do violently horrible things to them. While listening as the others make observations his attention is more focus on potential entry or exit points in the area, watching for some unknown entity to walk through or potential routes forward. As Tor starts to speak Taelan freezes at the mention of Karsha, his eyes snapping in his direction. At the mention of the gift his eyes narrowed for a moment and his hand reflexively grips the hilt. As if struck by something he blinks and then sighs, taking a deep breath and loosening his grip a little.

He let's Daesa and Tor finish before stepping forward, reaching towards the point where his weapon was strapped to his hip, removing it in a practiced motion. He holds in front of him, giving those close enough a clearer view of it. The hilt is slightly rounded with a square shaped cross guard. The blade itself is seemingly sheathed inside a square shaped scabbard looking to be made of overlapping layers of metal without any seeming pattern, making the purpose behind its appearance unclear. He looks at it for a moment before asking, "This gift... the one that was being held by this Child you keep talking about the one the nobleman had taken... is this it? Because I don't feel like dancing around this issue any more."

This message was last edited by the player at 18:06, Thu 16 Feb 2017.

Daesa Lightspire
 Empathic Nano, 30 posts
 Nano
 Psionic
Tue 14 Feb 2017
at 01:53
[IC] Episode 004: Time Enough for Exploration
Daesa stares at the sword, looking very confused.  "Wait, so you might have a key to ancient prison?  This does not sit well with me at all."  She switches the torch to her other hand and sighs, looking at all of those who are gathered.
Tor the Younger
 Sharp-Eyed Seeker, 16 posts
 Seeker
 A Unique Attitude
Tue 14 Feb 2017
at 13:08
[IC] Episode 004: Time Enough for Exploration
Laughing, Tor turned to Daesa, "Perhaps I was unclear - the 'Child' was a massive onyx obelisk three times my height". He tensed as Taelan approached, drawing his blade as he came, but held his reactions in check for long enough for his ex-student to speak. He studied the blade with his eyes, with it's over-regular shape and geometric scabbard, then sighed, "You would have been better to report the scene then to take this from that fool... But it is long done. Yes, I believe the sword is the key"
The Strange
 GM, 86 posts
 Many faces
 all the same.
Tue 14 Feb 2017
at 23:23
[IC] Episode 004: Time Enough for Exploration
Time: 2215 hours

Dexil shakes his head, "I do not understand. I said nothing about Fathers before. I do not know what you mean." Looking back at the structure, he sifts his hands over the floor, "This, at least, makes more sense. These would be drainage holes... for something to flow into. There is signs of rust on the metal."

Jaeda, on the other hand, looks to the others. "So you're saying we're each a Father. Whatever that means. And what's trapped above us is a Mother. And there are Children... yours with a gift. That those are 'designations'." She looks to Lofwyr, nodding at his suggestion, before looking back, pausing as more is offered. She looks to Taelan as he shows his sword, and then to Daesa, "This 'mother' could be anything, or anyone. We all know, I'm sure, that not everyone in prison is rightfully so. Or that they deserve to be locked there forever. If there is a system in place to free her... who's to say that 'prison' is an accurate word, either? I sure know that I won't be fathering any children any time soon."

As Taelan holds out the sword, and addresses it as a gift, there is a momentary stillness. Unnatural. The pure absence of sound is itself almost deafening, until a low buzz can be felt, more than heard, coming from it.  The moment passes, and the sound slowly seeps back in.
Taelan Faswell
 Fugitive Jack, 36 posts
 Cranky
 Carries a big hat
Wed 15 Feb 2017
at 18:34
[IC] Episode 004: Time Enough for Exploration
Confirmation of yet another seemingly random coincidence shook Taelan on several levels. His hand gripped the sword almost by instinct and pulled it back to him, his eyes staring into Tor as his paranoia flared again feeding his fear and anxiety. That energy built up within Taelan in that moment and having nowhere to channel it went somewhere most likely a little unhealthy. Anger.

"THAT IS NOT-" Taelan yelled in fury, catching himself mid sentence as he heard his own words echo back to him. With a sideways glance to Daesa he took a sharp breath before staring harshly at Tor again, his tone making it clear that he was trying his best not to shout. "That is not an excuse for what they did. I was a child. When a child steals something you reprimand them with a slap on their wrist and the threat of taking them to their mother. You don't go to their home and..." His words trailed off as he refused to speak the words, turning sharply as he walked a few steps away from the group, his right hand balled into a fist while the other tightly gripped the scabbard of his weapon.

This did not stop his ranting though. "Since the moment that bird showed up I should have known this was going to be trouble. All of a sudden people from my past are all being drawn together to be sent on this mission talking about Fathers and Mothers and now Children." He turns towards the group, face red with anger. "And now I'm being told that this thing, this thing that ruined my life, is somehow tied to this floating pyramid above our heads? The only thing I have left is this damn thing and now you're telling me it-" His train of thought gets cut off again, but this time by something else. His sword. He stares at it in a moment of horror as the low buzz starts coming from it before looking upwards and around, confusion clear on his face. He blinks in bewilderment before looking to the rest of the party. "Did... did the rest of you hear that?"
Daesa Lightspire
 Empathic Nano, 32 posts
 Nano
 Psionic
Thu 16 Feb 2017
at 00:43
[IC] Episode 004: Time Enough for Exploration
Daesa clears her throat when Tor points out the obvious about the obelisk.  "Well, I thought it might have been one of those... travel sized... obelisk...  They exist... some where."  She says nervously as her cheeks redden in embarrassment.

Listening to Jaeda's words she nods her head thoughtfully.  "You have a point, perhaps this place was meant to keep the mother safe rather than the other way around."  Though another revelation causes her to raise her brow and look downward at herself.  "Yeah I don't think I'll be fathering anything either, and I don't think this is really a place I'd want to mother either."

Taelan's outburst causes her to jump, and she listens as he spouts out a bit of his past.  She takes one step closer, but stops herself from going further.  She doesn't need to be an empath to read that he isn't the sort to enjoy comfort.  Especially not now.  However when the sword reacts she freezes, feeling that buzz in the air, but hearing nothing.

"Yes... well no, I didn't hear anything and that's the problem... You should probably put that sword away."
Tor the Younger
 Sharp-Eyed Seeker, 18 posts
 Seeker
 A Unique Attitude
Thu 16 Feb 2017
at 09:32
[IC] Episode 004: Time Enough for Exploration
Standing silently whilst the young jack worked out his anger, Tor said nothing. Sometimes these things must be let run their course. He had seen both the boy and his frustrated, even angry before, but nothing this ... intense. Just the usual frustration of students trying to find their way in the world. He stood, letting the words wash over him. He stood, and he listened. Perhaps the Baron's response had been harsher than he had heard about. It sounded ... disproportionate. He opened his mouth to speak, only half paying attention to Daesa's mumbled apologies, then - when Taelan's anger left him suddenly deflated - his listening caught up

"What did you hear", he asked softly
Taelan Faswell
 Fugitive Jack, 38 posts
 Cranky
 Carries a big hat
Thu 16 Feb 2017
at 16:31
[IC] Episode 004: Time Enough for Exploration
Taelan closed his eyes for a moment as he shoulders tensed, still tightly gripping the sword in his left hand. He tried to calm himself but that proved harder than he could muster, a long sigh escaping him carrying with it a small hint of a growl. Opening his eyes again he addressed the group, not looking to anyone in particular. "It was... strange. It sounded like a voice but it was coming from around us, not Griever." He looked to the sword before shaking his head, closing his eyes again. "It was all disjointed, didn't make much sense... 'A gift. Of many. Child give to Father. Freedom. So close.' Does that make any sort of sense to any of you?"
Tor the Younger
 Sharp-Eyed Seeker, 19 posts
 Seeker
 A Unique Attitude
Thu 16 Feb 2017
at 16:38
[IC] Episode 004: Time Enough for Exploration
"Griever is the blade?", continued Tor softly, trying to bring the young man back to a place of calm, "From that I would say it is more than that, a key"