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[Exploration] An Obvious Trap

Postby Indigo » 09/27/2016 12:57 PM

ImageImageImage

The three of them had, up until now, been traveling in silence; there wasn't much in the way of scenery this far out in the desert, nor animals to catch the eye, and complaining about the heat had lost its novelty immediately. There was only so much to say about it and they'd run out hours ago.

Erskine broke the silence as if continuing a conversation, possibly one he'd been rehearsing inside his head. "Even if that Howell person was telling the truth—"

Arabella sighed. "I'm certain he was. We've been over this. He was one of mother's most trusted contacts, and if anyone knows where the sword is—"

"Doesn't mean he would tell us," Erskine said. "Mother's judgment wasn't perfect, you know that." He flicked his tail backward, to where Silas trailed behind them. The Malphas had answered Arabella's letter, and had been at the appointed meeting place, but he had spoken very little apart from his initial greeting even before they'd run out of things to say about the desert. He didn't react to Erskine's comment, at least that Arabella could see.

"I know," she said, "but I did pay him."

Erskine muttered something she couldn't hear, and continued. "Even if what he told us was true, we still could have bought a map back in town. I don't particularly like the thought of getting lost in the desert forever and there aren't a lot of landmarks around."

"In that case, a map wouldn't do us much good, would it?"

"It would make me feel better," he said. "I can't shake the feeling we're going to die out here."

"There is no need to worry," Silas said, and fell silent again. Neither of them questioned him on this point. It was hard not to be a little unsettled, still, and Arabella at least thought she probably didn't want to know what he meant.
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Re: [Exploration] An Obvious Trap

Postby Phoenix » 12/28/2016 12:16 AM

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Oberon & Marceline

"I think I'm baking," Marceline whimpered, holding out her arms and inspecting them. "Pretty soon, all that's going to be left of me is a piece of beef jerky. Err...human jerky, I mean."

Her partner rolled his eyes. "The heat isn't going to harm you," Oberon stated in a matter-of-fact tone. "The potion we drank will last until at least an hour after the sun goes down. As long as we remember to keep drinking it every twelve hours, we'll be just fine."

The woman did not appear to be convinced. "Then why do I feel like I'm about to melt?" Pulling her sticky shirt away from her body, she fanned the material for a few moments, although it didn't help much.

"You're still going to feel the heat," Oberon explained. "But if it weren't for the potion, we would probably both be dead by now in these temperatures." Looking her up and down, he scowled. "Who wears all black in the desert anyways? You didn't even bother trying to dress appropriately for the climate."

Marceline threw her hands into the air in exasperation. "That's because you said that you had some sort of magic - hey, are those tracks?" Kneeling to get a closer look, she pointed to the prints in the sand. "These must be pretty recent, right? Otherwise the sand blowing across the area would have already covered them. Hmm," she eyed the tracks thoughtfully. "There are at least three sets, although I can't tell what created them."

The man didn't look happy as he nodded. "This isn't good." Rubbing the bridge of his nose, he sighed. "We'd better pick up the pace. I doubt anyone came this far from town on a simple stroll. If we heard about the sword, others probably did too."

Pushing to her feet, Marceline nodded grimly. The two began moving again at a brisk pace, searching the seemingly endless expanse of sand in front of them for any sign of the ones who had made the tracks.


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Re: [Exploration] An Obvious Trap

Postby Indigo » 12/28/2016 10:05 PM

[I realized it's very not clear from my first post so, for reference: Arabella is the Sun Leawolf, Erskine is the regular one, all three are in pet forms. Also your post and format and everything is fine, don't worry about it~]

The silence went on a bit longer, though now it was a little sulky on Erskine's part, until Arabella felt something hard under the sand and stopped. She stepped forward and backward a few times, trying to gauge the exact edge of what she'd found, aware that the others were watching her in confusion; she'd been walking at the front of the group, as the one with the most knowledge of what they were looking for.

A sweep of her tail cleared enough sand away to confirm that she'd found something other than a big rock. The surface was stone, as she'd expected, but it was too smooth to be natural and there were symbols carved into it, mostly too eroded to read. She brushed away a little more sand and bent to look closer. One or two of the glyphs looked similar in shape to marks she'd seen on some of Mother's older magical trinkets.

"We've found it," she said. I told you we were going the right way, she wanted to add, but it wouldn't make anything better and she knew she'd regret it anyway. They were all on edge and had been since discovering the sword was missing, and of all the things Erskine had worried about recently, dying in the desert was the most reasonable.

Silas hopped forward to help with the clearing of the sand, his tail being much better suited to the task. "I thought I felt its pull growing stronger," he said. "Some of its magic is similar to that which binds me, and I am drawn to it."

"Are you going to be okay in there?" Erskine said.

"I will let you know if something is amiss, but it should be no trouble." Silas made one last decisive sweep and hopped back. The entire structure wasn't visible—that would have taken more work than the three of them were capable of—but he had uncovered a large trapdoor. It was made of the same stone as the rest of the ruin, and very heavy, but together they managed to pull it back. Nothing was visible beyond except darkness.

"Tell me you remembered to bring a flashlight," Erskine said.

"Of course," Arabella said, and turned to remove it from the pack on her back. "I do know what I'm—wait. Do you see something?" Off in the distance behind them, something moving. Possibly two somethings. It was hard to tell from this distance, but they appeared to be upright—humans?

"Is that good or bad?" Erskine said. He'd clearly seen what she had.

"Only one way to find out. We'll wait for them. Don't give me that look, we're perfectly capable of defending ourselves, unless you've forgotten all that training in the last six months."

What I love is
What I love is to hear you talk
Coming straight from the heart
Though you can't hardly walk
Nearly midnight
Honey for heaven's sake
Nearly midnight
Honey for heaven's sake

We're barely getting started here
It's almost time to go
Will time stand still
If loving you
Is all that I know?


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Re: [Exploration] An Obvious Trap

Postby Phoenix » 12/29/2016 2:51 PM

((Thanks for clarifying, it helps me to know which is which, even if just for visualization purposes.))

Squinting into the distance, Marceline nodded decisively. "There are three of them. It's impossible to tell from this distance what exactly they are, but they aren't gigantic or anything."

"Two of them are Leawolves," Oberon said. Ignoring the surprised look of his companion, he added, "The third I believe is some sort of Malphas, or that it's not like any I've seen before." Resting his hand on the hilt of his sword, he sighed. "I really didn't want to encounter anyone else out here, but it looks like we have no choice."

The woman bit her lip, already dreading what Oberon's idea of an 'encounter' would be. "Are you sure? We could just go back, and try again another day. How do we even know that these guys are even on the right path? It's really easy to get turned around out here, you know."

But Oberon shook his head. "They've already seen us. And judging by the fact that they had chosen to pause in that specific area, I would assume that they found something." Hoping to save himself the lecture that was sure to come, he tried to calm his partner. "Look, I know you hate fighting when we don't have to. I don't want to go around hurting innocents either. I promise, we'll just talk to these guys and see what they know. For all we know, they aren't after the sword in particular."

"Wow, Obi, I didn't think you were capable of thinking rationally like that." It was impossible to tell if Marceline was being sarcastic or sincere as she patted the man's shoulder. "For once, we're in agreement. Talk first, and leave fighting as a last resort. So, let's go talk."

It didn't take long for them to catch up to the other group, now that the trio had stopped. Oberon eyed all of them suspiciously as they drew near, but Marceline's expression was friendly as she lifted a hand to wave.

"Hi there!" she greeted. "What are you three doing out here, so far from...well, everything?"


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Re: [Exploration] An Obvious Trap

Postby Indigo » 12/30/2016 12:41 AM

The man's expression didn't exactly put Arabella at ease, but she was still more or less willing to give the humans the benefit of the doubt—though she couldn't imagine what they were doing out here. Were they lost? Were they looking for the ruin? Why? She wasn't normally one for snap judgments, but they didn't strike her as archaeologists; at the very least they should have more gear.

It wasn't worth being antagonistic just yet, anyway. They might outnumber the humans, but she had no idea whether Silas could fight or what might happen to him if he were damaged. Maybe if she answered the woman's question there wouldn't be any trouble.

"We came out here looking for this ruin," she said. "There's a family heirloom in it, if our information was right." And if not...well, it wouldn't be the first time. Something about this felt right to her, though. The empty box had been in a swamp, so for the sword to be in the desert was nicely symmetrical, or, well, something like that, anyway. It would probably turn out to be another metaphor that went over her head.

"What brings you out here, anyway?" Erskine said. "If you're here for the ruin too we're happy to keep out of your way, I think. Right?"

"I don't see why not. We're only looking for the one thing," Arabella said. Erskine sounded worried and she wasn't sure why. Was there even anything else of value down there? If Mother had been the one to bring the sword here she probably would have taken anything she found, and even if not, that Howell person might have been trustworthy to a point but he did seem like the type to be easily swayed by the right price. Not that she would ever acknowledge that within Erskine's hearing.

What I love is
What I love is to hear you talk
Coming straight from the heart
Though you can't hardly walk
Nearly midnight
Honey for heaven's sake
Nearly midnight
Honey for heaven's sake

We're barely getting started here
It's almost time to go
Will time stand still
If loving you
Is all that I know?


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Re: [Exploration] An Obvious Trap

Postby Phoenix » 12/30/2016 6:59 PM

"Family heirloom?" the two words stuck out to Marceline. For some reason, she imagined that the two had been left a map to the 'treasure' in a will or something like that. "Are you more familiar with the ruins, then? Or do you have at least some sort of idea where things are within them?" Always the optimist, the woman was beginning to believe that this would be a quick in and out trip.

But Oberon didn't look nearly as excited as his partner. He elbowed her, giving her a look that caused her to glare at him, although she was effectively silenced. "Yes," he spoke slowly, considering every word. "We're here for the ruin. However, I'm not sure whether or not all of us entering is a good idea. For all we know, the three of you will take whatever you're looking for and then trap us in the ruin and leave us for dead."

The woman stared at him, appalled. "Why would you even say something like that?" she gasped. "They would have no reason to do something like that to us. Besides, we're only looking for a single object as well. Don't be so difficult, Obi."

He shrugged. "I'm just saying, we have no reason to trust each other. What is it that you're looking for in there, anyways?"


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Re: [Exploration] An Obvious Trap

Postby Indigo » 12/30/2016 8:52 PM

Arabella didn't quite know what to make of this development; how did two people with such discord between them make it this far out into the desert together? There must be something of value in the ruin, or—surely they weren't looking for Mother's sword. It was such a specific weapon, it would hardly be of use to just anyone. She glanced over at Erskine and Silas, but her brother just looked back at her in confusion and the Malphas was unreadable as ever. He hadn't moved since the strangers had shown up.

"We have no reason to distrust each other, either," she said. Not that she tended to trust people by default, but even to her it seemed a little extreme to expect someone to be plotting your death on meeting you, especially if they wouldn't gain anything from it. Though the fact that the man suggested such a thing wasn't exactly a point in his favor, she supposed.

At this point Erskine took over, perhaps picking up on her inner conflict. "We're here for our mother's sword," he said. "So unless you happen to be looking for it too, we shouldn't have any problem."

"We don't know anything about this place, anyway," Arabella added. There was no guarantee the strangers would believe this, since apparently at least one of them would believe anything that cast the three of them in a bad light, but it was true. "Apart from where it is and that the sword's supposed to be in it. Which means we probably can't help you much, but we also couldn't harm you with it even if we wanted to."

"Which we don't," Erskine said. "We don't even know you."

What I love is
What I love is to hear you talk
Coming straight from the heart
Though you can't hardly walk
Nearly midnight
Honey for heaven's sake
Nearly midnight
Honey for heaven's sake

We're barely getting started here
It's almost time to go
Will time stand still
If loving you
Is all that I know?


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Re: [Exploration] An Obvious Trap

Postby Phoenix » 01/08/2017 1:46 AM

//I am so sorry for the wait, my muse was dead for a while there.

The two hunters exchanged a look. Marceline immediately opened her mouth in an attempt to stop her partner, but it was too late.

"A sword, you say?" Oberon spoke quietly, but with authority. "We're here for a sword as well. It supposedly has special properties that would aid us in our...job." His gaze moved from one of the strangers to the next, until he had turned his glare upon each of them. "I highly doubt that any of you would be able to do as much good with this sword as we could."

He had been so focused on the three strangers, that Oberon didn't notice Marceline's hand coming towards him until she had slapped him soundly on the back of his head. He jerked forwards in surprise, before turning to her with a shocked expression.

"Knock it off," the woman said firmly. "First of all, we don't even know if we're looking for the same sword. Of course, chances are that we all came here for the same thing. But if this sword belonged to their mother, then it is rightfully theirs." Her hands settled on her hips as she scowled up at him. "We aren't thieves, Oberon. We're trying to protect people, not rob them just because we think we deserve what they have."

Turning to the three, she spoke casually, as if nothing had happened. "Sorry about Obi, here. He gets pretty intense. Blame his upbringing." She rolled her eyes and then grinned, hoping to lighten the mood a bit. "If you don't mind, maybe the two of us could come with you guys into the ruins? If the sword you're looking for isn't the one we want, then we'll know to keep looking. And if it is the same sword, well, at least we'll know to give it up."


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Re: [Exploration] An Obvious Trap

Postby Indigo » 01/14/2017 10:01 PM

So Howell had sold their mother out, or someone else had somewhere along the line, someone mother had relied on to arrange the sword's hiding place. Arabella would have liked to believe it was a coincidence, but as far as she knew the sword's properties weren't such common knowledge that two complete strangers would know of it. Well, there was nothing they could do about it know.

"I think you might find we're more able to make use of the sword than you think," she said quietly. "You seem awfully quick to judge. I'm told that doesn't make for a very effective demon hunter." Behind her, Silas coughed in what she thought was probably surprise. She had told him she wasn't going to use the sword, and she'd meant it at the time, and it wasn't that she exactly wanted to take up the mantle or whatever you might call it. But there was something...

Well, even if she wasn't going to use it, these people didn't need to know that.

"At least one of you can see sense," Erskine said. Supporting the woman's attempt to lighten the mood. He was good at that. "I think it probably is the same sword, and obviously Arabella thinks that too—" He nudged her, and she made a face at him. "But more eyes can't hurt, whatever the situation down there turns out to be."

Personally, Arabella was much less inclined to agree now than she had been before, but Erskine had beaten her to the punch and she was still determined to present a united front; starting an argument wouldn't help their position. But she didn't have to be nice about it. "Very well. We should get going before we all wilt out here." She pulled out her flashlight, turned, and stepped down through the trapdoor.

Fortunately there were stairs beneath, and not a ladder or a straight drop, something she probably should have considered before stepping directly into it. Would have considered, if she'd been less bothered by the whole situation. The realization snapped her back to relative calm; they'd have to find the sword before any meaningful dispute could happen, anyway, and for that she'd need a clear head. She heard Erskine and Silas coming down behind her, the flashlight illuminating her descent so they could tell it was safe to follow.

What I love is
What I love is to hear you talk
Coming straight from the heart
Though you can't hardly walk
Nearly midnight
Honey for heaven's sake
Nearly midnight
Honey for heaven's sake

We're barely getting started here
It's almost time to go
Will time stand still
If loving you
Is all that I know?


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