Post by greentongue on Oct 26, 2015 18:54:18 GMT -6
The small stream feeding into one side in the distance had the tallest palm trees and a mix of other usual types. The marshy area where some of the water drained out had a few stunted trees that looked more like bushes. The rest of the shoreline varied but was thickly overgrown with palmetto scrub.
There was a opening in the palmetto scrub along the nearest lake shore edge and it looked like it had been widened by hacking off fronds that had stuck out. Kumahl's hunter skill told him that the cutting had been done about a week ago.
The palmetto scrub along the shore was well rooted and would easily hold the weight of the door frame.
Through the opening was a short trail that lead to a small cleared area. There were human bones in a pile to one side and the burnt area from a fire.
Kamuhl also spotted some broken rods in the weeds that were of Hlyss make.
After this quick glance, Kamuhl hurried back into the water and through the sunken doorway.
Post by greentongue on Oct 28, 2015 18:05:26 GMT -6
Kumahl: Emerging through the doorway and out to the entryway to the shrine, Kumahl first checks on Huruyan and then removes the communication Helm. Handing the Helm to Khivasha, "Brother, we have some trouble on the other side of the doorway. Though this Helm, I will be able to inform you of any trouble should it arise."
Looking at the Hyls Doorway, Kumahl thinks for a moment, "Khivasha, does the shrine go any lower?"
Returning to the Doorway, Kumahl attaches ropes to the corners of the Doorway and returns to those on the steps. To the porters, he hands the four ropes. Pointing to the two holding the ropes to the top two corners, "When Brother Khivasha tells you, slowly lower the top of the Doorway." To the two porters holding the lower ends, "Each of you stand to the far end of the stairs. You stabilize the Doorway as it is lowered."
Double checking the communication Helm, Kumhal sends a couple of thoughts Khivasha's way to check how long he has before he needs to recast his spells.
Huruyan: "I think I'm ready."
"Kumahl, I feel better now, let me help you move the portal." "Will she be coming back?"
Post by greentongue on Oct 28, 2015 18:06:51 GMT -6
Junior Priest Khivasha: "Huruyan the Chashkeri (Water Maiden) is dead. She will not be coming back to control your mind."
"You are lucky she didn't drown you like she did any other victims." "Not many have returned from the watery lair of a Chashkeri."
Turning to Kumahl, "No, the shrine only has this one level."
After looking carefully at the helm that Kumahl handed him. "Your's must be a special ritual known only to Thumis. My teachings don't require a physical object to focus on."
Kumahl: Kumahl laughs a little, "It's only special in that people are less worried about spells cast on objects than themselves. I designed this," hefts the leather helmet, "Many years ago, before Huruyan and I ever came here."
Taking the Helm he puts it into one of the baskets the porters are standing near. "Change of plans, slightly. Now that Brother Huruyan is functional again."
Looking Huruyan over, "Brother, when you fall for a girl, you don't hold back, do you?" Kumahl tries to say this as serious as possible, but ends up laughing half way through his scolding of Huruyan.
"Brother porters, your task remains the same, except I will give the command should we need to change its position. Huruyan and I will go secure the doorway to a much higher location. Then we should see the water drain, pretty quickly. Brother Khivasha, when the water gets to where you can move through it with ease, begin securing the shrine."
Taking up 2 more 50 foot lengths of rope, Kumahl motions to Huruyan and they both head off through the Doorway.
Huruyan: "You don't understand what it was like, she was my entire world, nothing else mattered, nothing at all!" Huruyan started to follow Kumahl back into the water then stopped, "She was so beautiful." Huruyan stayed where he was looking off into nothing, "so pretty!"
Post by greentongue on Oct 28, 2015 18:09:02 GMT -6
When Kumahl reaches the other side of the doorway he realizes that Huruyan is not with him. He is still standing waist deep in the water on the stairs.
The dead body of the Chashkeri is draped on the stairs near Huruyan with its tail in the water.
Kumahl: "We can talk about it afterwards. Then you can make all the clan females jealous as you swoon over the Chashkeri. But now, I need you to focus. Come, a task remains to be completed."
By this point in time, Kumahl has re- ascended the steps and taken Huruyan's arm to direct him below the water. If Kumahl is unable to get Huruyan to move then Kumahl will go on without him. Time is of the essence.
Huruyan: Suddenly Huruyan started singing, "She's so pretty, she's so pretty..." then goes back to staring off into nothing.
Post by greentongue on Oct 28, 2015 18:09:39 GMT -6
Kumahl: Kumahl leaves Huruyan with the mermaid and heads through the doorway. Carefully surveying the area around the lake once again, Kumahl does not like interruptions while he works.
Assured that the area is secure, Kumahl will return to the shallow lake and begin securing the ropes to the corners of the Doorway. When the corners are secured, Kumahl takes the remaining ends of ropes and begins securing them to the tallest tress. He then begins slowly pulling the Doorway from the lake.
When the top of the Doorway begins to crest the surface of the lake, Kumahl slows his process to make sure that the water from the shrine is emptying into the lake. Kumahl continues to pull up and secure the excess ropes as the Doorway emerges from the lake. Kumahl makes sure that the Doorway is secured at least a foot above the ground.
--- Kumahl's plan worked smoothly and soon water was pouring out of the doorframe as he pulled it out of the lake.
The noise of the water masked all other nearby sounds.
Inside the shrine the water level slowly lowered until the top of the doorway was visible.
Kumahl could see the lanterns from his party through the top of the doorway as the water level went down.
Kumahl: Kumahl stops with the Doorway partly extracted from the lake and ties it off. Then turns to check on his surroundings again.
When he is confident that he will not be interrupted, he proceeds to finish the Doorway extraction.
--- Kumahl noticed a shadow slide from the land out onto the water, out of the edge of his glass face plate.
Quickly glancing up he saw the shadow was being cast by a huge spongy, khaki-coloured, shapeless bag drifting towards him. The bag had a whip-like central tentacle the thickness of a man's body and numerous smaller ones dangling from the misshapen body. (It looked like a huge cancerous jellyfish in the air.)
Kumahl: Kumahl, uncertain of what has drawn this new creatures attention, decides to finish the commission. Grabbing the ropes, he hauls the Doorway clear of the lake. Securing it firmly to the palm trees, he checks on the floating sack of tentacles.
If he can manage it. He will attempt to make it back through the Doorway to the other group members.
--- The central tentacle looked like an elephant trunk as it sprayed Kumahl with a plume of greenish brown gas. For a moment it was hard to see through the faceplate of the Helm the gas was so thick.
Around Kumahl the plants withered where the gas touched them.
Glancing around Kumahl noticed that the float he was breathing out of was just outside of the plume, pushed there by the outpouring water from the Doorway.
The plume was slowly rising but tendrils of it were being sucked into the Doorway as air replaced the water in the shrine.
Pulling the float towards the Doorway would bring it within the plume radius if the creature blasted forth another.
Kumahl: Kumahl judges distance and space, to see if he can remain low enough to get to the float. He will attempt to get to the float without being detected. Always one to be grateful, he thanks Thumis for the Helm and suit he is wearing.
--- Kumahl plunged quickly into the lake and was effectively hidden from the Teqeqmu (Flying Fungoid Creature).
With no "food" remaining in the area, Kumahl saw it drift away over the marshy side of the lake.
The rest of the party smelled nasty throat burning fumes for a time but besides from coughing were unharmed.
They also saw daylight shining through the open Doorway as the shrine slowly drained the last of the standing water.
Kumahl: Kumahl keeps an eye on the Teqeqmu to make sure it is out of distance as he prepares to make the final efforts to secure the doorway.
Quickly, Kumahl heads back to the spot with the broken Hlyss rods and begin collecting them. He takes them and places them on the other side of the Doorway. When he has gathered all that he can find, he steps back through the Doorway, carefully pulling hos float through the Doorway with him.
--- Kumahl passed back through the Doorway into ankle deep water that was still slowly draining out. After stepping over the pile of various length rods and a mound of breathing hose he saw one slave with a lantern, a guard, the porters and Huruyan clustered around the stairs near the room entrance. The body of the Chashkeri is still draped on the stairs.
Looking down the Chamber of the Assembled Host, Kumahl saw Junior Priest Khivasha and the other guard standing behind a large statue of Chegarra on a multi-stepped dais in the main shrine.
Kumahl: Quite certain that he verified his kill, Kumahl hauls the Chashkeri back through the Doorway and sets her body to rest on the lake bottom. Let nature do with her what she will.
Picking up the Hylss rods, Kumahl loads them into the baskets of the porters and secures them. Double checking to make sure the water is flowing out and the shrine is mostly dry, Kumahl begins removing the suit and helm. He carefully stores each piece in a basket that will fit and not overweight the porter. He next does a check of the porters and the torch bearers and makes sure they have eaten and nourished themselves. Last he checks on Huruyan whom he believes will be ineffective for another day or so.
When everything is safely taken care of and secured, Kumahl instructs the porters will the ropes to help him, using the ropes to turn the exit of the Doorway to the wall. [Private to GM: Would the thickness of the Doorway frame prohibit the shrine from draining completely if it was layed flat on the floor?]
Kumahl makes every possible preparation to join Khivasha and check on the status of the eye.
--- With all the Hlyss "rods" that Kumahl had collected together he noticed that they matched the frame of the Doorway, only some are broken into shorter lengths. The ones that are not broken have one end a size smaller than the rest of the rod. The other ending with a curve and a hole that smaller size would just fit in.
One of the "rods" is thicker and flatten on one side. The working Doorway has this same size on its bottom.
Turning the Doorway towards the nearby wall slowed the draining a little but the wider bottom kept it from making a good seal. This also caused the room to darken noticeably as the sunlight was now behind the mirror like rear side. The sunlight did outline the Doorway however.
Kumahl finds that Junior Priest Khivasha had taken care of the rest of the party in his absence.
Junior Priest Khivasha: Returning to the entry room. "Well Craftsman Kumahl, it is as I had feared, the Eye is gone," Khivasha said. "All we can do now is clean this place up and be glad the inner shrine was not penetrated."
"What are these rods you have collected and have you found a way to seal that portal?" "Would busting it be dangerous do you think?"
Post by greentongue on Nov 8, 2015 14:06:45 GMT -6
Kumahl: "I have found a means to disassemble the Doorway. Do you have any idea who came for the Eye? Another question is how did the Doorway get here in the first place?"
Looking at the Doorway, Kumahl turns it back around again. "Brother Khivasha, maybe you could join me on the other side of the Doorway and tell me where it is. I am still fairly new to this area and I only know a few significant landmarks."
Huruyan: "Thank you for asking. I seem to be getting better but I am not myself yet. Kumahl, why did you bring these rods here?"
Kumahl: "These rods form another doorway. They were laying in a pile near the original location of this Doorway's exit. Picking them up and moving them gave me a chance to look at them. I know how to disassemble the doorways."
"Still the questions remain. Who brought the Doorway here? And who has the Eye now?"
Able to now look closer at the dead guard, "Khivasha how many men normally keep watch on the shrine?"
Post by greentongue on Nov 8, 2015 14:07:09 GMT -6
Junior Priest Khivasha: Though not appearing to be pleased with Craftsman Kumahl using his personal name as if they were close family...
"I too would like to see where that Doorway leads." "I would be happy to accompany you." "Infantryman Ghuru you will accompany me."
"Infantryman Neqo, keep vigilant here."
"As for an active guard here." "Previously, it was felt that the traps were effective enough and there was none."
After inspecting the body. "He looks like a junior priest that I recall seeing at the temple." "His clan favors Chiteng so he may have trusted the wrong people."
"It is good that you can disassemble the Doorway." "We will be able to take them back to my temple for study and secure the shrine." "This expedition will have great glory when we return with success and artifacts."
Post by greentongue on Nov 8, 2015 14:08:27 GMT -6
Kumahl: Noting the look of purturbence in Khivasha's face, Kumahl says apologetically, "Brother Khivasha please excuse my ignorance and lack of practice with using formal titles."
Hoping his apology will soften the mood, Kumahl continues in an effort to negotiate terms, "I would welcome the opportunity to come study these Doorways within the protection of your Temple."
"As to the body, let us leave it on the other side of the Doorway. It does not belong here in this shrine."
Junior Priest Khivasha: "As we are all working together here in the Tsu'urum, some informality is acceptable." "I understand you are not intentionally trying to give the wrong impression to our comrades."
With some surprise in his voice, "No, We must bring his body back to the temple for proper burial." "Maybe you did things different where you are from but here we respect our fallen comrades."
"With what you have done for us and what you have already learned of these, I'm sure your inter-faith co-operation would be approved."
Post by greentongue on Nov 8, 2015 14:09:50 GMT -6
Kumahl: "Most of the time, when someone died, we returned their bodies to the water. Our clan was first and foremost sailors and fishermen."
Checking on Huruyan, Kumahl continues to see the dazed and far off look. "My brother, you should stay here and rest."
Strapping on a couple of waterskins, Kumahl picks up his staff, his club, he has since replaced the mace and looks at the weighted vest Huruyan is still wearing, "I could possibly use one of my weighted vests as protection if these commissions continue to be profitable. May need to modify it a bit more."
Huruyan: "I would come with you but I just keep drifting off."
Post by greentongue on Nov 8, 2015 14:10:11 GMT -6
Kumahl: Kumahl pats Huruyan, "Was she any better than the clans women you were with a few nights ago? Just kidding, I do feel you are going to be out of action for a bit though. Rest here and take it easy. Maybe Infantryman Neqo and you could speak of past battles and maybe skirmish a bit."
--- Junior Priest Khivasha, Craftsman Kumahl and Infantryman Ghuru passed through the Doorway careful not to slip on the wet ground on the other side.
There was no sign of the Teqeqmu that Kumahl could see with a quick scan around the area.
Infantryman Ghuru led the way to the clearing after confirming that there was no threat to Junior Priest Khivasha nearby.
Post by greentongue on Nov 8, 2015 14:11:50 GMT -6
Junior Priest Khivasha: "This looks like the Flats of Tsechelnu to the west of Jakalla." "I may be wrong but from the look of the palms and palmettos that would be my guess."
"If we could see the Ruins of Ngala, then I would be sure."
Kumahl: "Brother Khivasha, what do these ruins looks like? Maybe I can get a look at them from one of the palm trees."
Kumahl begins maneuvering through the palms heading east, trying to find a rise, something above the tree line, or maybe a really tall tree.
--- Kumahl started using his hunting skill and soon came to the stream that fed the lake. A short ways upstream he spotted a thin trace of smoke. Moving cautiously and signaling for the others to stay quiet they moved to get within sight of the source of the smoke.
Through a narrow break in the bushes Kumahl spotted a camp.
There was a small fire in the center of the camp with a small amount of smoke rising from it. A couple of lean to shelters and a more sturdy hut were placed around the fire pit. Beside the hut was a banner with a large Orange Axe symbol.
There were several large snake skins hanging from a rack to dry.
One of the hunting party was tending a spit over the fire.
Post by greentongue on Nov 16, 2015 18:52:14 GMT -6
Kumahl: Kumahl mulls over the details from the Junior Priest. "How long on foot would it take us to get to your Temple in Jakall? I don't like the thought of leaving the Doorway open here, and would feel much better if we disassembled them both."
Junior Priest Khivasha: "You mean from here by foot? With just us three?" "Since I have no idea where exactly we are, I couldn't even venture a guess." "Why would you want to?"
"I know from the Ruins to the Sakbe road would be about two days if nothing stopped us." "From there to Jakalla on the road, another day."
"I will be returning through the Tsu'urum. While dangerous, I know where to go." "Wandering lost in a palmetto jungle is just a good way to die without glory."
Post by greentongue on Nov 16, 2015 18:54:34 GMT -6
Kumahl: "Unless someone knew how to bypass the securities of the shrine, I believe they came and entered the shrine by magical means. Something similar to the Hlyss Doorway, maybe something else all together."
"I would like to secure both ends of the Doorway. That was my only reason for asking about the distance back to Jakall, While we are talking the Doorway, maybe the Orange Axe have seen something in the last week or so."
Junior Priest Khivasha: "I agree securing the Doorways is a good idea." "It is a shame we will have to break them as they look to be a very useful artifact."
"Considering that the dead priest was a member of the Orange Axe, they may very well know details about who was in the area." "If they were involved, I don't think they will welcome our questions."
Post by greentongue on Nov 16, 2015 18:56:34 GMT -6
Kumahl: Before heading back through the door, Kumahl re-positions the Doorway so that it looks like it belongs amongst the bones and is away from any water. Then he carefully steps through to the shrine side of the Doorway.
After the Infantryman and Junior Priest are through, Kumahl shows Khivasha how to disassemble the Doorway. After the Doorway is disassembled, Kumahl ties the pieces with some rope and put them in another of the porter's baskets. Hefting the basket, Kumahl checks to ensure the load is not too much.
Taking poles from one of the shared porter's baskets, Kumahl creates a stretcher using the leggings and vest of the Helm. After disconnecting the tubing from the suit, Kumahl secures the the stretcher and priest's body with another section of rope. Kumahl re-distributes the pay load from the shared basket that he took the poles from, amongst the others porters. The last item secured in the baskets is the empty basket itself.
Satisfied the loads are ready to head out, Kumahl checks the areas of the shrine that he went through and makes certain that nothing is amiss or out of place. Returning to the others on the stairs. "Priest Khivasha, we are ready to depart."
Post by greentongue on Nov 16, 2015 18:59:31 GMT -6
Leaving the warehouse under the scrutiny of the guards wearing the Crossed Key emblems, the party wound its way through the city. Junior Priest Khivasha answered Kumahl's questions of where they were as they traveled. The party soon arrived at an extended plaza in front of the massive pyramid that formed the Temple of Ksarul. There were steep stairs up the side that rose to the main temple complex entrance on top.
They turned west and passed in front of a less massive pyramid of the Temple of Thumis. It had no stairs on this side but there was a street between them that had stairs up for each temple. The Temple of Thumis was almost half the size of Ksarul's but had a lower extension to the west that almost made up the difference.
The park that flanked the wall to the Foreign Quarter extended towards the Thumis Temple pyramid and its extension. The thoroughfare became narrower and crowded. There were some delays as the obviously important were given right of way.
Just past the park corner was a tall cluster of clan houses abutting the wall for those that handled all the needs of the various temple's maintenance and supplies.
Passing between these clan houses and the Temple of Thumis they saw the promenade that ran behind the temple and turned to the bridge over the Eqnonel River. The river flowed east to west under the bridge and behind another row of Temple pyramids that flanked the promenade.
On the left across the promenade from the Temple of Thumis was the massive Temple of Vimuhla. The Temple of Chegarra was on the right and smaller even than the Temple of Thumis.
The smell of burnt flesh wafted from the Temple of Vimuhla. Across the river a temple gong resonated as a time for prayer was marked.
Post by greentongue on Nov 16, 2015 19:00:33 GMT -6
Arriving at the Temple of Chegarra was similar to arriving at a military outpost. Warriors in elaborate silvered armor and bronze helmets stood guard at the stairs of the rectangular pyramid. Their red and white checkered capes draped down their backs.
Junior Priest Khivasha saluted the first guard with a thump of his chest and explained that his party had returned from a successful mission but that one of their's had been lost.
The guard responded with congratulation for his success and that the Officer of the Day would be informed. The guard pulled forth a silver whistle and piped a series of signals. Almost instantly there was an answering whistle from the left of the pyramid. Armed men poured forth and rushed towards the party from an adjoining barracks on the left side. It was a squat building between the Temple and the river.
Soon there were warriors taking the body of their fallen from the party and carrying it up the stairs sideways. As they reached the top of the Temple, an officer behind a handful of functionaries began descending the stairs.
Junior Priest Khivasha saluted the officer and introduced Priest Captain Bazhan of the Shining Orb to Craftsman Kumahl and Hunter Huruyan. Khivasha made his report to one of the well dressed functionary priests while the Officer of the Day listened.
Priest Captain Bazhan was wearing actual steel armor under his red and white checked silk ropes. His ornate helmet of bronze was inset with rubies and pearls in patterns. The functionary priests wore silver trimmed chlen-hide armor under their red and white checkered linen robes.
Junior Priest Khivasha looked happy not to be having to report a failure of the mission. There were little details of who had done what but primarily that the water had been completely drained and the shrine sealed. A lot of attention was paid to the rods of the Doorways and the missing Eye.
Priest Captain Bazhan ordered a functionary to check the records for who had been to the shrine so that the search for the culprits could begin.
He ordered another to provide Proof of Services Rendered to the Emerald Fisher clan representatives.
Post by greentongue on Nov 16, 2015 19:01:16 GMT -6
Kumahl: Kumahl nods his way through the introductions and checkpoints and is careful to only speak when spoken to.
He shows a great deal of surprise when he sees Priest Captain Bazhan in a suit steel armor. Bazhan must be a fairly important person, suits of steel armor being very hard to modify to fit another person once they are made. Even that much steel in one place, just about blows Kumahl's mind.
Junior Priest Khivasha: Craftsman Kumahl if you could separate the Doorway rods between the ones that were in the shrine and the ones you found outside?
Turning to Huruyan, "In personal thanks for what you have done for the Temple I give you my axe." Pulling an axe from his left side harness he handed it to Huruyan. "As a follower of Chegarra may this axe serve you well and inspire you to greatness."
It is a very well made chlen-hide axe with many intricate holy symbols engraved into it.
Turning back to Kumalh, "As you seem to favor helms, in personal thanks for what you have done for the Temple I give you mine." Khivasha took off his helmet and offered it to Kumahl.
Post by greentongue on Nov 16, 2015 19:02:17 GMT -6
Huruyan: Huruyan has been looking around and finds himself very impressed by the great temples and the people. The steel armor is particularly impressive.
Huruyan is deeply moved by the gift and thanks Junior Priest Khivasha politely, profusely and respectfully. Then turning to Kumahl, "Look Kumahl isn't it beautiful!"
Back to Khivasha, "Would it be possible to enter the temple? I have never even been in one so grand, and to be able to pray to Chegarra here... WOW!"
Kumahl: "May Chegarra anoint thy head that you may never have need of this gift." Taking the helm from Khivasha, he tries it on for size and fit. Making mental notes as to its fit and design, Kumahl runs his hands over it, already thinking of ways to replicate it and improve it.
Taking the Helmet from his head, Kumahl stores it protectively in his pack, which he re shoulders.
"Huruyan, hopefully you will fancy the weapon more than the Chaskeri." He pats Huruyan reassuringly, "It should serve you well."
Uncertain who asked about the Doorway rods, Kumahl heads to the porters and extracts the wrapped rods. "These made up the Doorway found in the shrine."
Heading to another basket, Kumahl removed another set of Doorway rods, not bound with rope, "These were found in the reeds near exit of that Doorway and the lair of the Chaskeri."
Kumahl checks to see where the suit chest and leggings have ended up so that he can return the to the Emerald Fisher Clan.
Post by greentongue on Nov 22, 2015 13:42:58 GMT -6
Kumahl: As much as he would have loved to study the functional Doorway, the Brethren of Cheggra needed answers more than Kumahl needed to satiate his curiosity.
With the pants and shirt of the suit returned from the stretcher, Kumahl repacked them in the porters baskets.
"Huruyan, I need to return the suit to the Clan Dive Master. This other Doorway I will secure in the Temple of Thumis for further investigation, before returning to the Clan docks."
Kumahl looks at the height of the sun, tries to remember where the Clan docks are from the Temples, and attempts a rough estimate of how long it would take to get to the Docks and back to the Temples.
"I would like to meet with the Brethren of Thumis and then we need to get some better equipment."
Huruyan: "If by equipment you mean clothing and possibly armor, then I agree. However, right now I would like to see the inside of this temple and give thanks to Chegarra." Turning to Khivasha, Huruyan gestures toward the temple and says, "Would you please lead the way?"