Ghost of the stones.

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by The Fox and The Spider, Feb 19, 2013.

  1. Part 1 “The winding path.”

    “I still remember that day; foolishly both I and Zavrosh thought this contract would prove as easy as it would lucrative. We had no way of knowing the terror that lurked within the stone, perhaps if we had known we would have ventured a different route. Turning down the wealth promised for something far more easily obtained.

    As beings of conviction and principle, we found ourselves bound to this path of shadows. Blindly wandering the realms, accepting contract after contract just to make it in this chaotic world of ours. Once we had signed the dotted line, our fate had been sealed, our path set. The time for regrets had faded; our chances of avoiding the disaster to come had diminished. By our own volition we ventured out into the mountains, hearts filled with joy and our empty pockets demanding fulfillment.

    Zavrosh and I had adventured along each other’s side for many months now, though he had become a trusted ally, I knew little of his past. And even less of the world he had escaped, a world too foreign to my own, filled with countless dangers. I remember the day we met, his eyes filled with the desperate thirst for companionship, for he had been like me…alone.

    Out of necessity we became one, a dangerous gamble that had proven worth the risk. Many might find such origins to be demeaning if not insulting. But we knew no regrets, nor did we know any certainty. He had no reason to stand by my lonely side, yet at the dawn of each morning there he was, a sight I always welcomed.

    The unusual circumstances surrounding our current job became apparent fast. With it fear and concern unbridled had set in, only to be brushed off as quickly as they had formed. In a fight there was little time to question, when faced with a foe the only thing that mattered was survival. Seldom do we ask ourselves why, seldom do we ponder over the consequences of our actions until it is far too late. I will not avert my eyes from this road, I feel as if Zavrosh felt the same.

    As usual he stood by my side in silence, only speaking when he had something wise to say. Even then as we ventured up the winding mountain path, we had been as always…alone. Pilgrims to a world that had little room or respect for our kinds.”

    Show Spoiler


    Show Spoiler


    The hoarse whisper of steel friction against metal had pierced the normal clamor of the mountain side. Once more we found ourselves locked in combat between the Goblin and their brothers. With ease we dispatched of the lesser of the two races, yet now we found ourselves locked in combat with the Gnolls, part Hyena part humanoid. Much like their Goblin brothers they were renowned for their cowardice, fleeing at the sight of a powerful foe. Fighting only with ferocity whenever backed into a corner, yet something was wrong with this lot.

    They did not flee, their eyes burned with the fires of one with unwavering resolve. As if they understood their purpose and wholly accepted the fate of those that failed, that being death. Their opponents served just as strange, defying the norms of their races. The first being a female Tiefling monk with crimson skin and trimmed horns, her fists covered from the rock of the earth. The female stood proudly, her defined form adorned in a set of simple leather armor capable of stopping any arrow or knife. Granting her mobility and stealth at the cost of defense against a keen blade, the armor seemed crafted just for her, fitting her as if it were another layer of skin.

    While her partner, a Drow with onyx like colored skin stood firmly. In his hands rested two blades, the hilt designed after an eight legged spider with its legs pointed skyward. He wore a set of chain mail that seemed enchanted as to muffle the sound his armor made during movement. With pale eyes he surveyed their targets, in silence formulating a plan no doubt.

    “Be weary Zavrosh, these Gnolls seem to thirst for blood!”
    Eveline warned her partner, knowing better than to wait for a reply. Without delay both Gnolls were upon them, one charged at Zavrosh wielding a fine crafted battle axe, whilst the other bore a spear. Letting out a shrill the Gnoll would charge, the stone head of the spear pointed toward Eveline’s abdomen. No doubt wishing for a quick and painful end toward their encounter, something the Tiefling saw coming long before they had locked eyes.

    With an outstretched hand she waited, standing firm as the Gnoll closed the distance for her. Her left hand did grasp the tip of the spear, quickly forming into a clenched fist. The Gnoll seemed to snarl out of approval, ignorant of what was to transpire. No blood had trickled down; no expression of pain had adorned her face. Clenching with all her might the stone head did shatter, sending countless shards flying every which direction. An expression of pure shock and awe now lingered on the Gnoll’s scarred face.

    Seeing her window of opportunity Eveline acted without delay, her left hand grasping the shaft of the spear pulling the Gnoll closer to her. Being caught off guard the Gnoll stumbled as it fell forward. Eveline now moved at full sprint, retracting her right hand that now formed a fist. As the distance was closed she’d send the fist flying toward the creature’s chest. The blow connected, shattering the frail tribal bone armor that he so foolishly thought would stop her attack.

    Sadly he was wrong; the armor barely slowed the blows speed let alone its force. The sound of shattering rips served as music to her ears. The broken rips pushing inward, penetrating the Gnoll’s heart, thus ending its life. Eveline peered into those milky white orbs of her opponent as its back lied on the floor. Not taking any chances she raised her foot, sending it downward, crashing her boot against its snout several times. Causing the ugly creatures face to cave in, leaving a pool of blood in the wake of her attack. An improvement in her humble opinion…

    Zarvosh raised his twin blade heavens ward, making the shape of an X as it caught the attack. Sparks danced and twirled in the howling breeze, his wild white mane dancing to the tune of the mountains song. Those pale irises of his drifting momentarily toward Eveline who had finished her opponent before him, stinging his ego quite potently. In a fit of rage the Drow pushed forward, throwing the creature off balance for it did not expect the Elf to possess such strength.

    What transpired next could only be described as a fluid ballet of swordsmanship. Vainly the Gnoll attempted to fend off the aggressive series of attacks, sparks flew as the clash of their weapons resembled that of a beating war drum. But even the Gnoll knew what was to come, that this was his end unless a fatal error was made. Regrettably for the Gnoll no such slip in his opponent’s defense occurred.

    Finally a blow connected, a vertical slash tore the skin and flesh form the monsters core. A splash of blood slammed against the bland stone walls of the pass. Buckling out of pain, accepting its fate, it awaited the sting of the Drow’s blade. No clemency could be shown to these raiders and slavers; even now Zavrosh had sensed his foes resignation. The end of their waltz was at hand; his other blade connected with the creature’s neck, cutting a deep wound the tore apart its wind pipe.

    The battle was his, elegantly the Drow flicked both his blade sending the blood that adorned them to slam against the ground. With a single motion he would sheath the extension of his arms, pivoting to face Eveline whose face seemed to glow with glee.
    “What took you so long?” She questioned, her words stinging him. Though no offense had been birthed, for he knew she jested. Instead he’d shrug his shoulders, exhaling. “Shall we be on our way?” Zavrosh retorted, for they were not far from the slave camp. That so happen to be on the way to the temple that served as these beings base of operations.

  2. I raised my blistered hand onto the iron bars, ignoring the searing heat that caused my pale skin to fester, and boil even further. The goblin-like things knew my weakness: ... iron. Of course they did. They called themselves Gnoll, and that is as much as I know. I am most of the time passed out in my iron cage being slowly burned... to unaware of my surroundings to learn much else.

    I'm sure I look horrid, what man would want to marry me now? Hah! Listen to me, thinking about men at a time like this. But what else am I to do with only my mind as company? And a sore company I am, at that.


    "Water," I creak. I have no idea how much time has passed since my last blackout. "Oy, woss'at you say?" I strain my weakening neck to look over at another prisoner and smack my cracked lips in an effort to tell him what my voice will not allow. "Water, you want, is it?" The human male looks at me incredulously, and I narrow my pale, winter-blue eyes at him with an almost hatred. Why would I not want water? Is it so wrong to want to survive? I think all this bitterly and turn my back at the male, resting my scarred back against the singing metal. I just cannot find a reason to care anymore. Being a high-born elf of royalty apparently means nothing to my clan. They did nothing to try and save me. "You know they won't give you water. They like to watch you suffer. They relish in your pain." Spittle flies from the poor males mouth.
    Whatever I could have done to make the gods give me a punishment such as this... I cannot figure out. I only hope that I live to see another morning.

  3. With the Gnolls and Goblins both slaughtered, the winding path ahead held virtually no resistance. The eerie silence though seemed in complete contrast with the resistance they have met thus far. Still both the Drow and the Tiefling remained on edge, ever vigilant as they crept up the rocky road. Though both members of the party proved skilled fighters, they preferred to stick to the shadows. Masking their presence as much as possible, for neither of them thirsted for blood.


    Such wants had been long since sedated, respite seemed more preferable. But by their principles they were led, knowing no peace would come till the job was complete, and proper payment had been received. Some might sum them up as rogue mercenaries, living off of the suffering of others. An assumption that rang with some validity, a logic they could not so easily refute. However they were not heartless, they refrained from turning blind eyes toward the suffering of others.


    After twenty minutes or so of travel, the Tiefling reached the top of the hill first. Those honeyed glazed eyes of hers was the first to witness the slave camp from afar, the goblinoids seemed ignorant of their presence, something that could easily work toward their advantage. With a wave o her wrist she’d warn her Drow companion Zavrosh to maintain a low profile as he scaled the hill. Eveline moved into cover, masking her presence the best she could in the foliage that adorned the side of the mountain.


    “Slavers…” She whispered under her breath, Zavrosh sensitive ear’s picking not only on her words, but also her tone. A tone that seemed to reek with disgust, an emotion merited giving the dreadful sight. Crawling to her side the pale eyes of the Drow narrowed, attempting to make out the two prisoners, though their race had eluded him, their sex not so much. Casually he’d cast his eyes toward his female companion, “One male, one woman.”


    Eveine had always admired Zavrosh keen eye sight that could see as far as a hawk, but also had the unique ability to see in the darkness via infrared vision. The arches of her luscious lips did contort, the muscles along them tugging to grace her partner with a subtle smile.
    “And only a few guards.” The Tiefling retorted, birthing an arch of the brow from Zavrosh. Seeming somewhat perplexed by this epiphany. “Perhaps they did not expect resistance to travel this far up the mountain?” He mused, though without solid facts backing them up, his thoughts were just a theory.


    Eveline seldom lending any credence to idle hearsay or perceptions, she was a woman who sought after one thing, the truth. But the truth often proved elusive and far less tangible with each passing day.”
    Perhaps…” Pondering out loud; taking note of their primitive cages. “If we can get close enough, such obstacles will not hold against us.” She referred to the fine wooden cages, far too elegant to have been crafted by goblin hands.


    Zavrosh nodded in agreement, a rather sly ol’ grin now brandishing itself on his onyx skinned face.
    “Leave the sentries to me, they are few and I have a plan. You tend to their cages.” Evelines had to admit she was curious, though no resistance would she offer, knowing better than to second guess her friend. After all like all Drow he proved equally resourceful as he had crafty, a dangerous gift if one was on the receiving end.


    Zavrosh waited not for a reply, taking advantage of their complacency the Drow darted downhill, raising his hands skyward as he called upon his innate ability. A sphere of amethyst flames had engulfed the entire slave camp, though the roaring faerie fire proved harmless to the touch. Within this barrier all sight had been robbed of the occupants within, without their vision the goblins tripped against each other and the terrain, leaving enough of a window for the Zavrosh to dive into the epicenter of the fire.


    All the while Eveline followed suite, circling the sphere of purple flames as she made her way stealthy around, toward where the cages had been. Her mind kept perfect recollection of their placement as she slammed both of her fist against the stone, using her innate ability to bend the earth, creating a jacked spike that removed the entire right side of both cages. Leaving enough room for the Elven woman and the human male to crawl out once the darkness dissipated.


    Patiently Eveline waited outside the threshold of the faeries fire, tapping her foot as but the sound of tearing flesh escaped its clutches. Moments later the darkness did fade, as sight returned to all those trapped within its grip. The prisoners would note the fact their captors were indeed dead, lying at the feet of the now blood stained Drow. Zavrosh breathed heavily. His pale eyes erupting with an unquenchable flame. An intimidating sight even for the Tiefling who had traveled alongside him for quite some time. Causing her to avert her eyes toward the prisoners…


    “Can you stand?” Elegantly her inquiry had been posed, defying her almost demonic appearance. All the meanwhile Zavrosh stood silence, frigid irises locked on the female elf. Within him stirred the stalker, a swarthy side of his psyche that served as his salvation during trying times.“Flee now whilst you can.” His words like venom seeped into their cores, piercing their bodies and infesting their soul. “sorry you have to forgive Zavrosh, he isn’t a peoples person…” Eveline quickly replied, her words causing the Drow to sigh out of disapproval, turning his back toward the freed slaves.
  4. [​IMG]
    (My char. & I don't own the image) Why is that so big?!

    I crawl out of the cage hesitantly, unsure of my rescuers. Surely, a Drow could not be here saving me... I turn to the woman and can only stare. I owe her my life.
    "Many thanks," I croak out, and bow my head. It is Elven custom to never thank someone unless they save your life. I never thought that I would have to udder the words.
    I find a newfound strength and hoist myself to at least a sitting position. Then I tilt my head, and wonder why on earth these two would have been in these parts. "I again regale my thanks to my rescuers. But why save me, may I ask?"

  5. This woman, this elven maiden posed the strangest inquiry. So thought Eveline as she tilted her head, permitting the jet black strands of hair to obscure her crimson face, confusion forcing her brow to arch. Momentarily, for once she was lost for words. What sort of being would question such an act of charity she could only wonder? Zavrosh on the other hand seemed to possess little interest in the coming and goings of this surface elf.

    <o:p> </o:p>

    This so called kin of his, whose eyes knew not the darkness that engulfed the bowels of the Underdark. Her fair complexion and mane sickened the onyx skinned Drow. He recalled his time at the academy where his instructors uttered their dogma. An insipid tale of betrayal wrought eons ago by the hands of her ancestors. A part of him wanted nothing more than to cut this one up, yet somehow he managed to keep the beast at bay. He was a Drow from a house that existed no more, out of Lolth’s favor and being hunted by his kin, he hardly considered himself a drow anymore.

    <o:p> </o:p>

    This acknowledgement kept his hand from once more unsheathing his blade, that and the stern gaze barreling down on him from Eveline. His only friend, whom he purposely kept in the dark regarding his people and his past. For something’s are best left unknown, less they birth unwanted feelings.

    <o:p> </o:p>

    A heavy sigh escaped Eveline’s lips as she’d permit her companion to wallow in his own thoughts. Those honeyed glazed eyes of hers averting toward the human male who said nothing. Finding his own lack of etiquette to be the most distasteful. Though such idle thoughts would remain locked away within her mind, for the Tiefling sought no confrontation.
    “You’re welcome, though I do not see why I needed a reason.” Eveline so wisely added, a wide grin plastering itself on her picturesque, if not demon like face.

    <o:p> </o:p>

    The Drow growled under his breath, unlike Eveline, Zavrosh lacked the skill to tame his tongue. A character flaw that often landed the strange pair in trouble, though his Drow pride refrained him from admitting such things.
    “Surely not all elves lack such tact or social graces.” Quickly he’d realize the folly in his own actions, as a rock was thrown his way from Eveline. Dropping to the ground he would evade the none fatal attack. “As I said Zavrosh isn’t a people’s person.” She retorted, hoping to absolve such words from the elven maidens mind.

    <o:p> </o:p>

    Quickly Zavrosh did rise to his feet, patting the dust off from his chain mail, carefully avoiding the blood that decorated his finely crafted armor. Finally the Tiefling saw fit to address her prior question in a far more tactful manner than her partner.
    “I saved you not because of pity, nor because I wanted to. I destroyed your cage for a single reason; our principles would not permit us to simply walk away.” The Tiefling purred as she spoke to the elf. Her arms nesting against her defined core as her demon like tail coiled itself around her own waist.

    <o:p> </o:p>

    Truth be told Eveline was more than aware that such an answer was vague at best, yet still it rang with unbridled sincerity. Removing all doubt that this Tiefling attempted to trick her, something her kind was well known for. No doubt by now she’d notice that these two were odd, in opposition with the ways of their people. For Tieflings often were chaotic, betraying others and aiding only when it benefited them financially. Whilst no self respecting Drow would lend a hand toward a surface elf, and if they had by mistake, such an error would quickly be remedy via the edge f his keen blades.

    <o:p> </o:p>

    Carefully Eveline examined this one, as Zavrosh graced her with a stare of his own. Though for less kind than that of the red skinned woman.
    “I sense magic about you, are you some sort of spellcaster?” She inquired into, meanwhile Zavrosh whispered under his breath “More like witch.” His words fell in deafened ears, for even to the keen ears of an elf his muffling came off as inaudible. Eveline need not hear his words to know that they were drenched in sarcasm. Another fine trait of her friend…

    <o:p> </o:p>

    The Tiefling was unsure if her observation will serve her well, for uneasiness may settle between them. For few in the lands had such refined perceptions, even the greatest ranger could not have deduced so much from such a brief encounter.
    “And why did the Gnolls and Goblins take you?” Zavrosh posed, though truthfully he doubted she knew anything of value. Still he cling to hope, for he wanted answers.
  6. ((I'm sorry, but I'm switching to third person. Sorry for the sudden change. The character will just work better this way))
    She could not believe the tongue of this man. Aye, she had a temper and a bad mouth of her own. But never in all of her years -few, at that- had she ever been talked to as such. Perhaps that was due to coddling of her clan and the many spoilings they did for her.
    Ein, -with her strength slowly coming back- proceeded to step right up to the red woman and smiled. "I asked why you saved me because of my race. I am privy to why the Drow would dislike me-" And yes, she did intend to say the Drow "but why rescue a dying, pale, scrawny, and quite thirsty elf from her prison? You have already given me your reason why, and I will not give my thanks again for I intend that last one to be the very last time I ever say it."
    She could get angry as well. Annoyance knows no gender. So she turns her attention to the Drow and stares him straight in the eyes with her pale, icy gaze. She raises a silvery brow and steps up right to the Drow. She invades his space on purpose because she knows that it will irk him, and she thinks that she deserves a good laugh after being in the damned cage for almost a full harvest season.
    Ein will not speak to the Drow yet, no. She doesn't want to start something she may not be able to end in her weakened state. And she is most certainly not about to fight the man, Drow, or not.
    Ein turns her attention back to the red skinned woman and opens her mouth to speak.
    "I am glad your customs..." She searches for the right word. "Entail you to rescue me. For that I owe you my life, what ever it may be worth to you. That is our custom. We offer our lives to to the ones who save us for a year and a day as a way of payment. Whether you choose to accept my life, that is up to you and no offense will be taken as to either decision. And, aye, I do have magic. I have a way with the woods, they respond to me, and I may have limited control over them." Ein bows her head to signal that her "speech" of sorts is over. She never speaks this much, for it is rare.

  7. This elf seemed a trouble maker, purposely seeking to annoy Zavosh, the finest swordsman she had ever met. Eveline knew the fault in her attitude, if he were to strike at her and successfully close the distance, the squishy magic user would be done for. Zavosh could only sneer as she so brazenly enticed her, for a moment all the Tiefling could do was watch. Luckily he seemed more amused than angry, this realization birthing a gentle sigh of relief.

    <o:p> </o:p>

    The Drow saw no need to guise his feelings toward her kind, albeit conceived out of ignorance. This at times served him well, almost admirable. Yet like everything in life, it suffered from a dual complex. Cutting him as often as it served his interest.
    “You know nothing of my kind elf.” Zavrosh retorted, for though she be pale, this one did not have the eyes of one who wallowed in the darkness. Her soul seemed untainted by the horrors that lurked beneath the stone they so dared to tread on.

    <o:p> </o:p>

    Eveline cleared her throat, wanting nothing more than to clear the now stale air. The tensions between them were entertaining to watch, but an unnecessary distraction.
    “As much as I like the sexual tension, we have work to do children.” Boldly Eveline did jest, unsure of the reaction her words would conjure. Closing the distance between herself and the female elf, the crimson skinned woman placed her hand gently on her shoulder, purring in her ear. “Be still, Zavrosh is not so bad when you get to know him.” A paused followed by a wide grin. “And seeing how I accept your offer, you have 365 days to get to know him.”

    <o:p> </o:p>

    Though Eveline found this to be humorous, Zavrosh did not share the same sentiments toward what had just transpired. Still he’d simply shrug it off, knowing better than to needlessly arouse Eveline’s anger. For few sights in this world are as terrifying as a female Tiefling on the rampage.
    “I will keep my tongue at bay Eveline. I see no reason to fight with a newly founded ally..even if her heritage is less than ideal.” Eveline narrowed her eyes and purred as she retorted. “Zavrosh stay that tongue, your sarcasm and wit, or lack thereof isn’t helping.”

    <o:p> </o:p>

    The Drow could not deny the logic of her words, thus taking them into account. Permitting them to guide his future actions.
    “Regardless, welcome to our merry band.” It took all of his inner strength, but the onyx skinned Drow mustered a single smile. “I fear all appreciation you feel will diminish shortly, fr we are in route to root out the source of this infestation. At the moment I am sure this is a less than ideal position to find yourself in. Nonetheless it must be done, and I trust you are a woman of your word?” Her question seeming hypocritical, considering her race’s own reputation.

    <o:p> </o:p>

    Zavrosh gaze averted from both females, toward the north at a open mouth, a cave that most likely would take them to the temple.
    “It will be quite the hike, but we should make it by evening.” Zavrosh added, Eveline shrugging her shoulder in reply. Not truly caring for she enjoyed sleeping in the wilds, even if it was a Gnoll infested region.

    <o:p> </o:p>

    Those potent pale eyes of his narrowed, his nostrils flaring as something ominous seemed to spew froth from that cave. A bane ancient, yet evil. Though he need not express such thoughts, for all could feel it’s influence weighing down on them. Eveline didn’t care to exchange pointless theories, for soon the truth would reveal itself, until than she’d remain patient. Her honey glazed eyes locking once more than that of the elf. Trying to assume the horrors she faced as those Goblins prisoners.

    “Did you know that human male?” She spoke, hoping to stir some conversation as they prepared to set out. As they made their way up the hill the camp slowly vanished from their line of sight. Hoping this one would prove more talkative on the go than her present company...Meanwhile Zavrosh only listen in silence. Only to respond either when called upon or having something prudent to say.

  8. "No, I did not." Ein looks away from the one called Eveline. The wood elf remembers all of the horrors she had gone through over the last few months, and she would preferably put them out of her mind. "He did nothing but spew nonsensical things and sing of the mer-people and their follies." As Ein once again meets Eveline's gaze, she actually offers a rare smile and then looks at the Drow. She raises the corner of her lip at him in a mock snarl, but thinks better of it, eventually, and, instead, settles for a deep frown.

    Ein was grateful to the Drow for killing the other Gnolls. But even "grateful" was too strong of a word. What the Drow had said stung Ein in a deep part of her gut that had never felt this kind of sting before. And Ein was not too fond of it. So the elf strode over to the onyx-skinned man and poked him hard in the chest. The striking skin contrast almost made Ein forget what she was going to say, so instead she focused on her pale green tattoos that wind up all over her body. Calm, and with a clear head again, she lifts her head to the Drow and has to stretch her head back significantly just in order to properly see the man.
    "You know nothing of my people," she seethed. "You cannot judge a woman who has no control over her heritage. You can no more hate this mere boulder for existing then you can me." Ein breaths hard and stomps away from him. She goes back to Eveline and nods her head yes.
    "I am always a woman of my word, and will have no problem trecking through the wilds. These forests know me better than anyone and I intend to protect the wilds until my dying breath." The pale elf looks from man, to woman assessing their gazes and Ein lifts her chin stubbornly. "Now then, I believe we have somewhere to be"

  9. Ein’s words were bold, yet not without truth. She had shown a bit of wisdom that for a moment, caused the onyx skinned elf to back off. Narrowing his eyes Zavrosh silently studied this one, feeling quite small for once. The extent of damage his damning words may have wrought her, seemed over towered by the comment she spewed in like kind. Foolish, the single word the echoed thought that labyrinth of a mind of his. A word aimed no insipidly toward the female elf, rather toward himself.

    Eveline could sense the inner distraught growing inside her companion, for though he could guise such emotions well. She knew him far too well, and so she would not be fooled by his macho act. The arches of her lips did bend, a wide grin of amusement now plastered itself on her crimson picturesque face. The Tiefling had a feeling that this journey would prove fruitful, if nothing else at least entertaining. Zavrosh seemed too lost in thought to note his companions amusement, and even if he had, he wouldn’t focus on it for long.

    Ein, this pale elf, whose pigmentation seemed quite foreign to his own, was correct. An epiphany now dawned on the Drow, was he no better than his own brethren? The kin he so abandon to find a home of his own? Was he no better than the humans who branded both himself and Eveline based solely on their race, and their stereotypes? A troubling thought indeed, for the implications of this revelation undoubtedly would prove far more damaging than originally thought.

    Zavrosh wanted nothing ore than to dissipate, melt away into the shadows and ponder these wild notions. Yet deep inside he knew now was not the time for such selfishness. The lives of others, though not Drow or Tiefling, were at stake. If he should avert his eyes, lose sight of his mission, and forsake his principles for but an instance. The less likely this blight could be removed, ad the more innocent blood that will be spilled. Something that indeed troubled him, more than the wisdom shown by the Ein, their newest companion.

    Sighing heavily, whilst his right hand ruffled his white mane, the Drow did speak,
    “I cannot refute your logic, it is sound and more wise than I care to admit.” He paused, seeing Eveline’s mouth become ajar out of shock. “For what little it may be worth I extend an apology. I should not let the past, nor the hate of my people, nor the darkness within cloud my vision.” Zavroks concluding, folding his arms against her chiseled chest, permitting his elbows to rest on the hilt of his twin blades.

    A sign of peace within the Underdark, though he wasn’t sure if Ein could fathom it’s meaning. For he doubted very much that she ever ventured deep into the stone, deep enough to meet any of the sentient races that call the darkness and stone their home.

    Eveline cleared her throat, signaling her agreement with the elven maiden’s final words. For time seldom was in their favor, this time proving no exception.
    “I am glad to hear that both You and I share a common trait, that being integrity.” Briefly the Tiefling felt the need to address her comment regarding how true she was to her words. Lest she leave room for offense, that could, ultimately, jeopardize the mission. Stepping forward, her tail became uncoiled, waving wildly about as she led the way. Her stride that of a woman of confidence merited one who demanded respect; resonating with a sense of unbridled authority, traits all contradicting the norm of her race.

    “Let us be off, shall we?” As usual Eveline waited for no reply, and continued to press onward, up the hill. Those honeyed glaze eyes of hers fixating on the mouth of the cave. Momentarily averting it’s gaze to take note of their surroundings, fearing an ambush. Zavrosh feared the same, yet oddly enough to conflict awaited them along the winding stone path.

    No complacency would set in, instead remaining ever vigilant; no doubt a sign of their experience. Hopefully this proved of some comfort to the elf. Finally they approached the moss ridden entrance, a darkness cloaking its gaped mouth. The swarthy curtain proved to potent for most to pierce, but those delicate pale eyes, acclimatized to both this world of light, and the darkness of his subterranean home world. Had little problem seeing beyond the shadows, for as a Drow, Zavrosh had many innate abilities. Seeing in the infrared spectrum came as natural to him; as breathing does any babe.

    From the entrance a frigid wind crept, the aroma of both fungi and moisture lingered in the air. Filling the longs of the party, but a reminder of the danger most failed to see…The danger of his home The Underdark.

    Eveline took note of her friends tightening muscles, and franticly dancing eyes. She felt glad now that she had a Drow for a friend, though this did little to absolve fear. A fear interlaced with the baneful ominous presence she felt. Though subtle in nature, it was unmistakable to one of her kind.

  10. Ein breathes in deep, and closes her crystaline eyes from pure bliss. She was at home in these woods, the wilds were her kin. Ein looks into the deep cavernous mouth of the cave and becomes slightly troubled. She would not be able to see as well in there. She was a creature of the woods; the light. She could see... enough, but nothing more then that.

    Once into the depths of the cave she would no longer be able to see every little pebble, or every little ant scurrying up an exposed root with a leaf hefted onto its back. And that scared her. Vision was one of her greatest allies because few things in this world could be trusted and she had learned from experience to trust her senses before her head or gut. She would have to rely on her acute sense of hearing allowed by distended ears, and oversensitive touch. She hoped that the cave would be an ally, not a foe.

    She wouldn't let the Drow have the satisfaction of knowing that the Dark scared her a little. No, he had made a peace offering, and the pale elf suspected that he did not think she would pick up on it.
    Ein knew when to speak, and when not to speak. Now was one of those times. She did not want to further any damage between their ragtag team of unlikely beings. So to acknowledge that she understood Eveline and the dark Drow she nodded her head allowing her thick head of waist length silvery-alabaster hair halo her face. She raised her head and allowed her two other companions lead, for she had not the slightest clue where they were going.

  11. Eveline could sense the fear in Ein, for though she masked such feelings well, they shared a common emotion. The lack of sight, which has proven a wondrous ally, would be sorely missed. This rimal fear of the dark, inherent in most surface dwellers failed to deter her conviction. For her principles proved far too stubborn to be wavered by a few shadows. Silently Zavrosh led the group, assuming the mantel of leader with no protest from Eveline.

    It was no secret that the Drow were conceived in the shadows, their eyes able to pierce the most potent of darkness with ease. A racial trait, that will soon birth a tangible sense of courage, that undoubtedly reverberated amongst the unlikely party.
    “Stay close, within the stone lays a world not fit for those of light. Few survive such trips, and those that do, are forever warped.” A harrowing warning, dauntingly one that was uttered with unfaltering confidence. As if the Drow himself had personally witnessed such fates. Something Eveline failed to doubt.

    Hesitantly the Tiefling stepped through the gate, all light becoming swallowed by a darkness so thick, it could be felt. It didn’t take long for her eyes to adapt, though still she could only see shapes and only thirty or so feet ahead of her. The perfect setup for an ambush, yet not Goblin or Gnoll could be found. Was their information wrong? Or perhaps, just maybe, they lied in wait deeper within the embrace of this foreign world.
    “Use your other senses, sight will fail you and prove of little aid at best.”

    Zavrosh made it sound so easy, as if such a feat came naturally. To the Drow he couldn’t fathom the lack of advantage this brought his fellow companions. For no only could he see in the infrared spectrum, his ears, scent and touch were at home in this realm of large fungi and moisten rock. Zavrosh took care, his pace slow, permitting his allies to chop their steps without falling far behind him.
    “What can we expect my friend?’ Evelines inquired, no doubt a question she shared with Ein.

    What can they expect? If only she could understand the folly in such words, for he could give no comforting answer. If her were to lie, and offer them the delusion of ease, such flaccid words undoubtedly would fail him. And even if they somehow were fooled, in turn he’d be setting them up for failure. A troubling dilemma he found himself in, between a rock and a hard place as the humans would say.
    “Glowing Fungi will provide some light, make you feel safe, but such hope is a lie. For in the shadows predators wait strength beyond measure and size greater than even a stone giant.”

    His morbid tale did pause, for as they cleared the scrawny and cramp tunnel, the group found themselves within an open clearing. Here stalagmites reached for the ceiling, as vast gardens of glowing fungi pierced the darkness, a lush array that traversed the entire spectrum. A sight as awe striking as it was terrifying for the Drow. Finally it had dawned…he was home.

    “Welcome to the Underdark. Do not fret we are not deep enough to encounter the most evil and powerful of the races that call this home.” Zavrosh smiled, his Onyx skin when met with the darkness became indistinguishable from the shadows. Only his outline could be made out within the perception of those born of light and cerulean skies. This was a realm of darkness, a world of unchanging temperature and lack of seasons. Within these tunnels and heartless stone skies time had little value. For there was no way to keep track of the hours.

    “This is your home?” Eveline whispered, her eyes widening as she beheld the beautiful spectacle that spawned before her eyes. “Aye…” Zavrosh replied, lowering his head so that his white mane shielded those pale eyes of his. He found himself being flooded with memories, mostly bad with the occasional good memory sprinkled across this river of nostalgia.”Let us be off.” He concluded, making his way toward the center of the opening.

    “Be always aware, but do not watch your back for too long. For those who watch their backs, meet death from the front.” Little did they know, Zavrosh shared with them an old Drow proverb. Its wording altered due to the transition between tongues. Eveline found herself confused, not really understanding it’s meaning. “Ein, how are you holding up?” Zavrosh whispered, showing some genuine concern toward their elven companion.

    Suddenly a sound pierced the haunting silence of this world, a constant and methodically clanking of stone. Assuming a crouched position both Eveline and Zavrosh waiting and choosing stealth as their approach. Refraining from moving a single muscle, for something was creeping out from the mouth of a tunnel, something large.
  12. Ein breathed quick, and hard. She was not in her element down here, she was on edge. Her long ears picked up every drip and drop of water. But that was no comfort in a world like this. She unconsciously reached out her hand, as was a habit in her youth whenever she found herself a fright. But as if suddenly realising what her betraying hand was doing, she snatched back her pale hand and hissed. She had almost grabbed the Drow's arm! I wonder how that would have gone down, she toyed in her thoughts.

    And so she played Follow the Leader with her companions further, and further into the dark. Ein slowly lost more and more of her vision, and noticed that he hearing and other senses were beginning to become hyper aware. Ein tossed her eyes back and forth desperately trying to find some sort of light down in this hell hole of an abyss. It was not natural for one of her kind to be so far underground; she was a species of fresh air, and the stagnant air was slowly starting to choke her.

    After some more trecking, she noticed that the fungi were giving off a low light emittance. She found some sort of comfort in that. She had also hoped that the dark-skinned elf would not be offended by her discomfort. She had no quarrel with him, only his home. She did not judge him for where he was from - he was born here. But the simple fact-of-matter was that she was not.

    She heard the Drow ask if she was doing alright, and before she could give a somewhat complacent answer, sounds were heard. The sounds down in the cave were amplified so they appeared much louder then they really were. And with Ein's over sensitive ears, the sounds were deafening. She reached her arms up, and clamped onto her pierced ears. The wood inside her ears poked into the palms of her hands as she tried to silence her madness.

  13. Part 2 “World of shadows and stone.”

    “The darkness was thick, suffocating even as we fumbled around this world of stony skies. My eyes had failed me, my senses not as keen as Zavrosh, yet with him by my side I felt secure. I could only imagine what was going through Ein's mind, so far from her element perhaps more so than myself. When we met her she was prisoner, but then again who isn't?

    I remember well the words from Zavrosh, my dear Drow companion, he often referred to us as prisoners. One day, along a roaring camp fire I wanted him to explain, happily he obliged. He said that all races, immortal or human alike wore shackles. It matters not if they be made of actual iron or Gold. For golden shackles are still shackles nonetheless. Some folk are slaves to Religion, others to Logic, some themselves and others the expectations around them.

    No matter their anchor, all are slaves trying to find freedom. From birth all life is enslaved to fat, enslaved to their environment and enslaved by those around them. At first I laughed at his words, wanting so hard to refute them. But no matter how hard I tried, no matter how often I fooled myself. Eventually those words slither into my mind.

    I am a slave, indentured to my principles. This I now know contently, I accept this fate and bear the consequences of this cruel master. This strict mind set that led me deep into those cramp and moist tunnels of stale air. Of darkness few light could penetrate and a world ruled not by order, but chaos. So entranced I was, so much so that I forgot about that nefarious aura I felt.

    Zavrosh and Ein, they’re company the only tangible thing to fight off the insanity wrought by this world. Within that darkness, I could of asked for no better light to guide me.”

    The darkness made it hard to make out the form that did creep from the tunnel, it was large and armored. Though it wasn't the outline that disclosed this, but the sound of its stride. The earth subtly vibrated under the weight of its influence. The occasional clamor of its hook like hands scraping against the stone floor brought with it a shiver. That ever so coldly coursed down Eveline’s spine. Zavrosh seemed immune to this sound, and rather than have his mouth ajar with awe, he seemed ever so still and content.

    This monstrosity was a hook horror, a powerful and armored creature of the deep. Far from its normal nest it seemed on the prowl, for easy prey no less. If it noticed the party Zavrosh had no doubt it could easily make a meal out of them. Physical attacks couldn't hope to pierce its armor, and few gaps could be found on its shell. Whilst the magic of the surface world was weaken here, acting unpredictable. Something he wondered if Ein had noticed yet? If she had, she provided no outward expression.

    Patiently they would wait, watching as the Lone Hook horror sluggishly made it’s way across the clearing. But just as Zavrosh had begun to move, the creature abruptly halted. Did it hear his footsteps? Or perhaps registered the foreign scent of the spices that danced in the surface world’s air?

    Sweat formed on Evelines brow, as carefully she’d wipe it off with the palm of her hand. She couldn't deny the uneasiness and fear that had over taken her. Slowly her eyes averted from the beast and toward Ein, holding her breath as she wondered how the elf was fairing. By the little she could make out, she wasn't fairing much better than herself.

    Out of nowhere a group of Gnolls charged the Hook horror, spears in hand and at the ready. Vainly they clanked the head of their weapons along the harden body of their prey, with little to no effect. Enraged the monster would let out an almost mechanical and unearthly shrill, flaying it’s hooked arms about. Tossing and crushing the goblinoids around it with ease, making short work of them.

    Zavrosh paused, hoping this spectacle served as a grim lesson for his friends. That here in the Underdark, numbers did not matter. Only two things did instinct and the size of the stick one carried. With a motion of his hand Zavrosh gestured for his companions to follow, taking the path the Hook horror exited from. Certain that whatever goblin lurked there was now dead. And whatever monsters that called that lair home fled, for few were foolish enough to attack such a beast so lightly. Nor stand in its path.

    Here Zavrosh stood upright, leaning against the moss covered uneven stone wall. “If you have any questions or concern, speak now. For I know not when we can converse verbally again.” He seemed adamant about this, though regretted the lack of sign language shared among the surface dwellers. If he were within the company of Drow, they could use the unspoken language to plot and organize. Still there was little he could do to alter this.

    Eveline sighed, longing to hurry this job alone and be done with it. Permitting Ein to speak first, for she usual was the talkative one. Something even Zavrosh wouldn't dare to deny.Part 2 “World of shadows and stone.”
    Here within the tight corridors they could find safety; few of the larger monsters could fit in this space. And if there were goblins hey could easily funnel them in easily dispatching of a large number due to lack of mobility.

  14. Ein was not sure what the creature beyond them was, but she, as all anything, did not want to find out. There was no forest to help aid her, or hide her. Down here, she was naked and exposed. And no, Ein was clothed in the traditional rags to cover just enough. But she was naked because she was unsure of herself down here, and did not know where she stood with the world. What a frightening thing for an elf in this massive world...

    Ein hears the Drow speak up, and she considers saying something - anything. But what concerns could she express without showing defeat, alarm, or weakness? "How long do you intend for us to stay down here? What are we doing down here anyway? Forgive me, I cannot think in this darkness." Ein scrapes a still scarred hand over her scalp and tries to steady her breathing. The wood elf would heal eventually from the wounds she sustained while being a prisoner, but she would forever hold the scars. The elven people did heal fast, that much was true. But they were always left with scars, for they did not heal.

  15. Though Ein couldn’t have known, Zavrosh could understand her pain. He remembered the first day the light of the sun beat against his onyx skin, birthed in a world of shadows and conspiracy, his body and mind needed to adapt to those scorching rays. Each moment in that heat was like purgatory, consuming and absolving him of his past. Ultimately diminishing and destroying all the trinkets that reminded him of home. Born anew in that maelstrom of fire, the old Zavrosh of a house no more died.

    <o:p> </o:p>

    No longer could he simply cling to shadows, no longer was he so easily hidden from the view of his enemies, The one comfort he knew in the Underdark had betrayed him, that being mystery shrouded in a web of darkness. The Drow had to learn a new method of combat, endure the change of seasons and the passing of time marked by celestial objects. These deep tunnels were stagnant, the air heavy, the temperature never changing. Here spring and winter did not exist, day and night were abstract concepts. A lesser Drow would have been consumed or killed, but Zavrosh body proved enduring toward the dangers of this new world. However though the body was quick to adapt and heal, the mind was never as resilient.

    <o:p> </o:p>

    Eveline may have been unable to comprehend the reasons behind Ein’s discomfort. Though they both shared the same base sentiment toward the darkness that obscured their vision; even if their other senses adapted with haste, they’d still find themselves at a disadvantage. For few could fight well blind, a feat that came as natural to Zavrosh as breathing, those unnaturally pale eyes when in contrast to his skin did narrow.

    <o:p> </o:p>

    In silence he noted Ein’s words intently, understanding her desire to be free from this world of harden stone and heartless beings. For here in the Underdark only one truth shone through the veil of darkness, one rule that governed all life beneath this frigid stone sky…Survival of the fittest.

    <o:p> </o:p>

    Oh how Eveline wished her companion would lie to them, throw out some sort of random number of lesser value. But deep within her heart she knew no sweet lie would dawn, instead a cruel truth. For Zavrosh was not one to sugar coat things, he was a blunt and honest man by nature. Those honeyed glaze eyes vainly attempted to make out the expression on her ebon skinned friend. Finally giving up, instead opting to note the subtle variations within his tone.
    “How long?”

    <o:p> </o:p>

    Zavrosh paused, his finger gently raking against his chin as he pondered the appropriate answer.
    “I cannot say for sure, such an answer remains unclear to me. Though the reason why is simple enough, unlike our current situation.” He mused over his words, the arches of his dark lips contorting as a wry grin crept on his face. “We are here to identify the one behind the Gnoll and Goblin plague. And in turn obviously find some sort of method to remedy the problem haunting this land.”

    <o:p> </o:p>

    Zavrosh chuckled to himself, musing over the simplicity of his words, in comparison toward the complexity of their situation. Eveline sighed heavily, unable to refute the logic of his words, though still wishing to verbally express her own thoughts.
    “You make it sound so simple.” Eveline purred, stating the obvious. “Ein do not fret, I know you are a being of the woods. Soon we will see the light of our world and our thick evergreen home.” She replied, Zavrosh smiled knowing how to provide some comfort toward their newest companion.

    <o:p> </o:p>

    “Here there are no trees, yet still plant life can be found. Moss and various thick fungi make up the vegetation of this world. Within these groves lurk Mushroom men, if you are truly one with the earth, one with the wilds, than you should be able to use these as a supplement.” Zavrosh purposely left out the dangers of these Fungi. For just like everything else in the Underdark, even the plant life proved dangerous.
  16. Ein found herself almost smiling. However, given their situation, she did not find it appropriate to do so for some reason. So she settled for a nod of her head. She allowed her eyes towards the Drow and her eyes crinkled at the edges. She wasn't smiling, but instead, seeing the Drow with a new light. He had sensed her discomfort and had tried to make her more at ease. She was touched.

    She took the Drow's words in, and closed her eyes. She tried to block out the constant drip-drop of water against stone, and instead focused on feel. She let her surrounding surround her. She felt the minerals inside the stone, and the tiny animals that clinged to their walls. She sensed the winged animals that gripped the cave overhead, and finally -finally- she felt the greenery. She reached out a blind hand hoping to contact at least some sort of greenery and... she did. Ein had come in contact with one of the fungi that the Drow had told her of. It was soft, pliable, and dare she say "like mush" Ein reveled in it. She could exist down here. Or at least she could exist for however longer they had to stay down here. She would be okay.

  17. Both Eveline and Zavrosh watched silently as Ein communicated to the wilds of the Underdark. Softly he chuckled; glad to see that her primal fear had been washed off of her. Eveline however took some small comfort in the sight, though she still felt vulnerable. There was no way Zavrosh could comfort his Tiefling friend, other than standing by her side.

    <o:p> </o:p>

    The silence of the Underdark proved quite nerve wrecking, at time the only subtle sound that reminded one that you still lived, was but the drop of water slamming onto the stony deck. But something stirred as Ein reached out across the vast tunnels, something that disturbed the deafening silence. Zavrosh eyes darted across the tunnels, seeing via the infrared spectrum he made out various heat signatures.
    “Get down.” Eveline barked, but despite her tone Zavrosh remained unmoved, he recognized this signature.

    <o:p> </o:p>

    “Stay your hand!” Zavrosh warned, as from around the corner came a dim light, suddenly melting into sight were fungi men. The benevolent beings froze as they saw the Drow, normally they would flee, but the distant calling of another made them far more curious than frighten. “Bloop, bloop?” One of the mushroom spoke, watching as Zavrosh and Eveline looked at each other’s confused.

    <o:p> </o:p>

    Suddenly the mushroom men spewed forth a thick cloud of spores, that engulfed the entire tunnel. Eveline held her breath, assuming the spores fatal. But Zavrosh sensed right away the void of malice in their actions. Seeing the Drow accept the spores gave the Tiefling courage. Eventually she too would accept the spores and potential consequences. Suddenly all those that breathed the spore heard a voice. Inaudible but somehow echoing through their mind, the purpose of this spore had now become clear to Eveline.

    <o:p> </o:p>

    “Who calls to us? Who disrupts the void with vibrant colors?” They questioned, the Fungi men were a hive mind and so one thought was shared by them all. Creating quite a unique and odd sensation, but not one that’d prove unpleasant or threatening in nature.

    <o:p> </o:p>

    Somewhere within the shadows, four eyes scouted the sudden shift in the chambers. Their movements muffled, and presence masked by swarthy embrace. If one were to sense their prying eyes, they would note that they were not of maleficent or threatening demeanor. Rather they were a curious gaze, for it wasn’t often the Fungi men ventured from their groves, let alone spoke with another race. Even though these eyes couldn’t hear their thoughts, they both sensed that neither party hated the other. A rare sight within the Underdark…
  18. Ein laughed. The wood elf had laughed. She was completely giddy with joy that heard the mushroom men. Ein did not know what she found to be funny other then the fact that she just did it on instinct. She smiled down at the tiny men.

    She regarded the Drow's warning about the fungi men, and she retracted the hand that she had outstretched. When she had heard the fungi's voices in her head, she knew that it was somehow directed at her. What did they mean by the 'vibrant colours'?, she thought curiously. She narrowed her eyes at them, but not with distrust, but with mere fascination. How can they survive down here?

  19. The fungi men could read her thoughts, for just as they could converse without audible words, via telepathy. So could those they invited into conversation do so toward their kind. Casually the Mushroom beings glanced at each other, curiously shrugging their shoulders as they heard her thoughts. Zavrosh had nothing to fear from their kind, for though they are dangerous, they rarely act without just cause. It was this sense of comfort around them that calmed even Eveline’s rising nerves. Something about having your thoughts invaded didn’t sit well with the Tiefling.

    <o:p> </o:p>

    The onyx skinned elf did cast her an amused stare, for rarely in all their time together had he seen her uncomfortable. For a moment both their eyes did meet, Eveline rolled her honey glazed eyes, knowing of his amusement and caring not enough to slap it out of him. The Fungi men could of course sense Evelines disposition toward them, such an epiphany wrought no offense or ill feelings. For those who used verbal communication thought their minds as sacred. So such initial feelings were expected, not unforeseen and thus not at all outside the norm.

    <o:p> </o:p>

    “Why do you question as if we cannot hear?” One of the fungi men inquired into, stepping forward, closing the distance between itself and the Elven maiden. “Vivid colors, yes….For within the sea of black, rarely do we hear the call of another. It fills us with life anew.” It explained, hoping to put the Ein’s mind at ease. Perhaps now she’d understand that these spores permitted their minds to connect, for the words they spoke slithered deep within her mind. Like the echoing of one’s conscious.

    <o:p> </o:p>

    It was around this time that Zavrosh first noticed the curious gaze that did barrel down on them. Though the Drow could sense these pair of eyes meant no harm. Still within the Underdark even a curious gaze can lead to conflict, if not death. Casually Zavrosh narrowed his eyes, permitting them to frantically survey the scene.

    <o:p> </o:p>

    Those four curious eyes could sense that the Drow was aware that they were watching, but comfortable that even this Drow
    couldn’t pinpoint their location in this darkness. For judging by his company he was either a slaver, dragging victim’s from various cultures to serve the Drow, A scout for a war party, or a renegade. For the only thing worse than a Drow, was one whose intentions were unclear.

    <o:p> </o:p>

    Gently one of the two unknown beings placed its hands on the head of its partner, gently patting it as if too soothe its comrade. In silence they watched, taking shallow breaths as they maintained a low profile. Not wishing for a confrontation yet, not until the intents of these outsiders and their Drow were made known. For little could they fathom, this curious stranger had a deep hatred for the Drow. Something shared by most species under this stony sky.

    <o:p> </o:p>

    A reputation merited for their unbridled cruelty. What drove this unknown entity? Why the hatred toward Zavrosh kind and curiosity toward this group? More importantly what manner of beast willingly lurks in the wilds of The Underdark with so few allies?

  20. Ein could hear the voices loud and clear in her head and she wanted to keep hearing them for as long as she would be down here. They had just become her instant ally for sanity down in this dark, cold, and almost feral world. She focused her powers over nature and directed it towards them. She pushed her Green energy towards the fungi and hoped to give this gift as a way to say to them that she wanted their company. But then she noticed the change in the Drow, and Ein became worried. What did he seem so on edge about?