Logs:The Raven King -- Raven Hill: Part 2
|The Raven King -- Raven Hill: Part 2|
|Dramatis Personae|| |
15 January, 2018
Damian, Frankie and Aurore go on a hike through Crow Hollow to find the infamous Raven Hill Mausoleum.
Frankie steps further into the tomb, frowning at the canticle. "Nobody start saying it out loud," she cautions them as she goes. She makes her way to the big stone casket, placing one gloved hand on it tentatively. Her mitten flaps are tucked back, so her fingers are bare.
<OOC> Wyck says, "Damian / Frankie: Before, when you were feeling the 'battery' from all of those graves pointing at the statue...now you feel a distinct LACK of undead energy."
"Nothing. That's ominous." Damian retracts his hand from thing, share a glance over at Frankie. "Not the finding nothing, the tomb being empty." He makes sure he has all the pictures he can of the stanzas, might as well if they're stuck. He's flashing his light over the wall, considering the stanzas. He doesn't really seem to be worried about the outside or escaping just yet. His hand stops, putting his phone in his pocket and then putting his flashlight on the wall at the world 'NE'RE'. He touches the word. "Something about this is bugging me." He can't shake it. "Why write this word like this?" Is this really the time?
Aurore nods. "I noticed the mis-spelling in the copy I obtained of that stanza. I assumed it was just a copyist's error, but... replicated here suggests that it's anything but accidental, given the care with which everything *else* has been assembled." She's also not *yet* too perturbed about being stuck in here - compared to some of what she saw when hauled into the Underworld, this still feels rather mild.
Frankie waits for Damian to not be poking around in there to close the sarcophagus lid. She hops off the dais, moving over to the door again and giving it an experimental push. Kind of a nudge, at her current strength levels. "You mentioned the spelling mistake before, too," she says. Presumably to Aurore. "So it should be, what? Ne'er, enn-ee-apostrophe-ee-arr?"
"More importantly than that, why not just write 'Never'? This isn't done on any other words. Like it's supposed to stick out." Damian's still studying the wall, but he puts his flashlight between his chin and start touching the words while balancing the flashlight, pushing at them and feeling around them as if looking for something. Specifically the word Ne're and 'mor' in the word morrow. "Nevermore." He says it to himself, really.
Damian’s idea was correct. The word ‘Ne’re’ is actually a button. When he presses it, the sound of stone sliding across stone can be heard with a dull thud about every second for the next thirteen heart beats. Slide. Thud. Slide. Thud. The floor beside Damian drops away as stairs, previously difficult to see in the dim light of the rear of the mausoleum, slide down into place. Thankfully he doesn’t slip and fall or it might be a rather long and dangerous tumble. The stairs extend down, wrapping around the casket but vanishing into the darkness below. Foul, stale air wafts in from the newly opened chamber and a cold, chilling breeze that blows up could send shivers up your spine.
New Map: http://imgur.com/45xKbRI
Frankie turns around as the mechanism starts to move, shining her flashlight down below. "Well, then. That's... I haven't seen anything like that before." Frankie moves to the stairs to start making her way down. "Good thinking with the... button?"
Damian is incredibly quick, and incredibly nimble, it might speak to why he makes so little noise on snow, or that could be something more. The floor falling out from beneath him is a surprise, but he's simply too fast for it, moving to the safety of a ledge and catching himself. "Well, I feel like Indiana Jones." It's say so dryly that it's not clear if he even means it as a joke. "A button, yeah." He takes his flashlight back, catching it as it was about to fall, and looks back to the door. "Out...or once more unto the breach?"
The stairs wrap around the stone coffer above so that you’ve done a complete turn in your direction and now seem to be heading towards the door. The walls of the passage are cut stone but they’re cold and slightly damp by the looks of them. The stairway is thankfully nearly five feet across with a sufficient height so as most people wouldn’t feel claustrophobic for walking down them. After the first revolution of steps, there’s another...until the stairs lead to a single long stair that goes down probably three stories. The passage takes a right turn and another set of stairs heads down probably another two. All told, you’re probably five to six floors below where you started.
At this point you see a long hall with two small alcoves on either side; four in total. Within each of the square-like niches stands a statue that easily stands seven feet tall. They are carved to resemble a robed figure wearing a raven or crow-skull mask.
"You can tell that by feel?" Damian glance sup and behind him at Aurore briefly. His eyes then going back to scanning the area in front of them as he walks down carefully. He's no bull in a china shop. He runs a hand along the wall as they twist and turn, his glove come up a little wet. A brow raises, but he carries on, listening and looking. "We are deep." As if pointing out the obvious. "The question is why." Damian pauses when they reach the alcove, holding up a fist. It's a military sign for stop, but Damian has never served. He starts carefully studying one of the statues. "Now I really feel like Indiana Jones. Temple of Doom."
Aurore shakes her head. "If Norbert can't get in, then I'm presuming it's warded against him," she says softly. "And... the key points for a ward are the corners - but those could be set behind stone, within the foundations, given the nature of this place." Upon seeing the statues and hearing Damian's comment, she sighs, then chuckles. "Indy doesn't always come out with all of his companions intact, I seem to recall. Though maybe it's only those who betray him who die. I hope so." Frankie stops when Damian raises a fist. "Oh, great. More statues. What are we not gonna do?" That's aimed at Damian. Frankie pulls her compass from her pocket and consults it. It's kind of weird - bone case, crystal cover, and the pointer is shaped like a crow feather.
"I'm not touching them." So what if his hand was reaching towards one? Damian does not in fact touch one, he just studies them, though he doesn't seem to glean much from his study. "We'll be fine." That he assures Aurore with complete sincerity. Then he looks between Frankie and Aurore, making no decision himself.
"There's...." Aurore holds up a hand, frowning, head canting forward, then to one side. "It's not... I've never felt anything quite like it." She looks up, pursing her lips at the two Geistly types. "I, ahh, can see, hear, smell, touch Avernian Gates. Full-time. They're part of my world. In a way I'm told they're not even for ghosts or the once-dead. Rather than a sense of their direction, I... well. It can make it hard to navigate the supposedly mundane world, at times, if you see a flaming portal lighting up a playground at the side of the road, or the like. But... I'm getting an intermittent flicker of something. It feels a bit like the proximity of a Gate, but it's coming and going. As if... I dunno. There's something here trying to bring one into existence, and only managing it momentarily? Just a wild guess, but that might be what the statue-power is for?" "That's... weird." Frankie glances from Aurore to Damian, then back. "Did you see the nearest two statues here have tiny glints of light in the eyes?" She pauses and licks a fingertip, holds it up. "Breeze from further in. Air supply shouldn't be a problem. I'm game to keep going if you both are. I wonder if this will take us under the main statue outside."
Damian's brows shoot up at that news. "Then I'd suggest not touching these ones, just in case." His gaze goes to Frankie and he shares a look with her. It's unreadable and unspoken. Then back to the statues. "Yes, don't touch these. The eyes lit up when it was draining me up top." A nod and then he's looking both ways. "If someone is opening up some sort of gate to the Underworld, I really have no choice but to go forward." He doesn't explain that. Frankie might understand why. "Watch your step." Damian starts forward, but he's looking at the ground and such for traps. Maybe he's seen too many Indiana Jones movies.
Every single break in the stones used to pave the passage might contain some weirdly ornate trap created by the authentic genius or crack pot whacko Blackwell. The party slowly continues forward down the passage and the tiny pinpricks of light in their eyes seem to follow their movements. First pair coming up...everyone hold their breath and Damian manages to get past them without issue. Then Aurore to follow and Frankie pulling up the rear. They continue down until they come up to the second pair and the chilling breeze blows through and the tiny pinpricks of light remain ever-constant as they walk by… without issue. %R%R The hall ends at a left turn and then opens up onto a larger chamber beyond. "Not poking stuff seems wise," Aurore agrees dryly. "And... yeah. I can't help but think about traps. And how I wish I'd worn some sort of armour...."
"Oh, goody. If this were a computer game, we'd probably be onto the pre-boss fight stage, now," she murmurs upon getting a glimpse of the large chamber ahead.
The door (on the map) has been broken open. Yanked off its hinges one might say. Tossed against the wall. Claw Marks scratch the stones of wall as though they were made of rotten wood but the spread for each talon would make the hand nearly eight-inches across, the talons nearly a foot in length.
Damian turns the corner to see that. The claw marks, the talk of Avernian Gates, and all that. He seems to position his body so Aurore can't see how. But magically, Damian is pulling a very long Katana into his hand. He flips the hilt deftly in his hand until it is upright. Where did that come from? "Alright, I officially don't like this." To Aurore, the sword looks fairly normal, etched with some sort of odd writing, but otherwise normal. To Frankie, as it always appears, it is surrounded in the dark glow of death. He starts approaching the once door slowly. "Always talons. That fits, I suppose."
Frankie has it easiest, being the last one. If anyone's going to spring a trap, it's probably the other two, right? Unless it's time-delay or something. Maybe don't think of that. She looks at the claw marks with interest. "Crow," she breathes. "That's... worrisome." A look over at Damian when the sword appears. She inclines her head to him. Agreement? "You want me ahead or second?"
Aurore siiiiighs. Then turns around to face the other way, making a point of carefully checking back, up, down, and to either side past Frankie... just in case something is crawling out of the stonework while they're expected to be distracted. Selfish though it might be, she'd rather find out about *that* while Frankie's first up as a target rather than her.
Damian glances back to Frankie, but not for long. He's not wanting to take his eyes off the chamber ahead. "I'll go, you watch?the rear." He doesn't say Aurore, but he does flicker his gaze to her and back. Then Damian is creeping forward, steps so light it might be a wonder if the man walks on air. He neck tilts a little, and then cracks.
"Alright," agrees Frankie, biting her lower lip.
Somewhat reluctantly turning around again, Aurore nods grimly... then starts forward after Damian, once again holding her lamp high. <<SCENE>> The chamber is not necessarily that wide nor is it especially long in its dimensions. As the party clears the doorway what strikes them is that at the center is an impressively tall archway that climbs higher than the ceiling would permit. As they enter the room they quickly realize that the reason that the archway doesn't crash into the roof over their heads is that? ...there isn't one. The entire ceiling of this chamber is gone, replaced by a star-lit night sky with the archway climbing some thirty feet above them. This is no doorway into a closet or a bedroom - this is a gateway for giants. The starry sky above them doesn't match any known arrangement of the constellations. A pair of tall stone pedestals, thankfully human in size, stand flanking the arch to the right and left. The space in between the sides of the arch is intermittently filled with a shimmer of silvery-white light that almost looks like the ripples of water under moonlight. The shimmer is there one moment and gone the next. The 'sparks' last for maybe a second or two and then are gone.
Damian pauses inside the chamber to look up and up. He can't help it a breath is released. Shit. There's a study of the pedestals, and gate itself, and the stars above. "Well, I don't know how this is possible." All of it, for a moment, then he balances his sword in one hand and his flashlight as he leans down an pick a little pebble from the floor. He hefts it in his hand for a moment and then tosses it at the gateway. Curious.
"I... think these guys knew a bit more than me about this sort of stuff," Aurore says weakly, showing no inclination to move around Damian - peering over his shoulder is just fine with her. "Shit. That's... bloody scary, to be honest. I have *no* idea how to even start making something like that. And I dread to think why it would ever need to be so good."
Frankie steps into the room as well, lips parting and eyes widening as she takes in the contents. She looks up, up, up at the starry sky. "Crow," she marvels. The compass is produced from her pocket again to be consulted.
The 'flash' of shimmering light within the gate seems to coincide with the gust of cold breeze that occasionally was blowing down the passage as you were walking down here. The pebble, however, doesn't quite match up with the horizon when it's 'turned on' and passes through to the otherside. As much as Damian might want to see what the halls of yore look like, this might not be the time to risk that, but who knows. He does take steps further in, adjusting his sword back to his free hand. "Well that doesn't seem stable." He probably hasn't picked up on the pattern like the other two, one the breeze and Aurore?. He stops near one of the stone pedestals to study it and then the other, as if trying to determine if they have any use. He doesn't touch them though. Not YET. "Anyone feel like going through?" It's impossible to say if he's serious or not. He's good at that. Aurore loiters *just* inside the door, head cocking again. "Every... pulse matches the, umm, sensation I was getting. And again, there. When it's in its activate state, it's a real Gate. When it's not, it's "just" an awe-inspiring piece of architecture set in an impossible room...."
"It does not seem stable at all," Frankie says, brow furrowing. She shoots a frown at Damian, but nods to Aurore. Duly noted. "Going through seems like a bad idea ...What's that up on the pedestals?"
Damian sets down his flashlight at his feet. He does this so he can reproduce his phone from a pocket. He takes a picture of the tablet on top of the pedestal, but doesn't try removing or touching it. Just inspects it. Then he moves to the other one, giving the box a once over. "Some kind of tablet. I would venture to guess it controls the thing. But I'm basing that on movies I've seen, so?" A little shrug. "And a box. It looks like it opens." He takes a picture of it and puts his phone away. Before touching it though, he does tap it with his sword gently.
However wary she is of what this branch of Apostolic research has built, Aurore can't help but be lured out to that *tablet. Not that she's going to risk touching it, but tablets are for inscriptions and information and....
Frankie walks further into the chamber; she's curious about the items on the pedestals, too. Damian is given a wry look when he pokes the box with his sword. Her lips give a sort of upward twitch at the left corner, but then it's gone.
The pedestal with the tablet is blocked off into a nine-grid square with runic glyphs inscribed and back-filled with a silvery metal. The box, when opened, reveals a spear-like, metallic point set upon a velvet cushion as though it were a priceless artifact. %R%R:Tablet Runes: http://imgur.com/3jcIqIM
Frankie frowns, peering at the runes. "Okay, so... I definitely recognize that one." She points to the bottom right rune. "That's a symbol for ghosts or death." She touches two fingertips to her lips and keeps pointing with her other hand. "I think that one is plant life. And that one is animals. The center one is... water? Maybe these runes detail what the crown pieces do. And don't touch the spiky thing directly. I think it might be a piece of the crown, and touching it doesn't go well." So how are they supposed to move it? Poke it with Damian's sword the whole way? Then again, Sin-Eaters have a weird, weird assortment of abilities. "Which means if we can get it to sunlight, we might just destroy it."
Damian is at the box, he starts slowly removing his gloves. He places one glove on top of shard. Then the other. "If this goes bad?well." He looks to Frankie, sharing another of those silent glances. "We can't leave this here though, if it is a piece of the crown and I think it is, too." He takes off his backpack and then tries to sandwich the piece of the crown between the leather of both gloves and the velvet cushion as he attempts to quickly lift it out and drop it into his backpack. Here goes nothing.
"They define a location," Aurore muses aloud, peering thoughtfully at the symbols on the tablet. "Choose... three, I believe, and you define a point for the Gate to connect to, I think. It seems to have been left with one such location in place...." Then she registers what Damian's saying and doing, and double-takes. "Is that wise...?"
"Oh, crow," Frankie says, her eyes wide again when Damian makes to collect the jagged crown shard. If that is what it is. Is she going to have to kick him again?
"Wise? No." Damian is quite certain about that. His voice very firm on the subject. But he's doing it anyway. Maybe it's the distraction of talking, but his very nimble fingers almost fumble the thing as he transfer it to his bag. There's a bobble and then he deposits it in his back. He shuts it immediately and closes it quickly. Loosing a large breath he passes a concerned look Frankie's way. Something has him worried. He hefts the back with the crown pieces back on, nicely protects in fabric of gloves and velvet. He doesn't move right away, his chest lifts and falls as he seems to have to shake out some cobwebs. Head shake done, he moves over to the tablet, blinking.
Studying it now at length, he keeps shifting the bag on his back a little, one might say, nervously. After a moment he points to runes. "Death or Ghosts, Yes. Water." Another nod as he carries on. "Wind, maybe? And Air." He's not certain, he doesn't sound certain, but something is tugging at his brain about those ones.
Aurore had back up a little, trying to keep as much as possible in view... but she does relax at least *slightly* when Damian's bold move doesn't appear to lead to instant disaster. Taking a step closer to the tablet, she nods thoughtfully - trying not to cast *too* many glances towards Damian's backpack. "So... taking the ones you've identified and adding them to what I think I recognise... down the left-hand side we have Lightning or Storm; 'Wind', with a connotation of great force to it, I think; and Earthquake. Then the middle column is... 'Growing Things', probably trees above all else. Water. And Air. And the right-hand column will be... Animals. Spirits - of the, ahh, 'created by the existence of the world' sort'. And Ghosts or Death. But it does strike me that we haven't yet poked around all of this room, to see if there are any other surprises in here. Such as a clue of where whatever tore the door off actually *went*. We can't currently be sure it went through the Gate at any point."
Frankie winces at Damian, though some of the tension eases out of her shoulders when he seems to be alright. "Let's go back up," she says, glancing between the other two. "I want to get this topside and into sunlight. We can poke at this gate thing after."
"Why would something just leave that here?" Damian's gaze goes back to the door that no longer exists as if to emphasize the something and then to his bag. There's a nod though, not to anyone in particular. "You are both right. There might be clues in here about how these runes work, or anything. We could look around, but?" He takes another, deep, shuddering breath. "This thing needs to be destroyed." He's torn.
"Something with enough strength can breach a Ward. But it will be weakened, and - at best - uncomfortable while within its bounds even so," Aurore says, frowning as she glances back at the ruined door. "I would hazard a guess that whatever broke in here was keen to get out again... which could be either through the Gate, or by finding some physical route outside the limits of the barrier. I am... wondering, I admit, if whoever Warded this place was intending to *prevent* use of the Gate. That the crown-fragment - or whatever that is - was left here as the safest place for it. But perhaps it's all just part of the great magus having his secrest and wanting to keep them for himself."
"I don't know," Frankie says, and for a second she bares her teeth. She takes a deep breath, shakes her head, and then starts toward the doorless entrance. "I just want to get moving."
Damian listens to Aurore and nods, but something else lingers in his mind. "Perhaps, but we got in here, and not that difficulty. The ward did not stop us, which means, it wouldn't stop others who are already looking for it. And we've left a trail I don't know how to close back up, but even then another can find it. It might not be safer with me, or any of us, but I can't feel it's safe down here." A shrug and a sigh. He looks between the both of them. Then he goes a little pensive. Considering.
Aurore shakes her head. "We're all clad in flesh and bone," she says. "The kind of Warding *I* could erect - and my magical path is worryingly similar to these guys' - would do nothing to us. What it *does* do is stop those things that are naturally bodiless. And down here, next to a Gate and in a place redolent with all kinds of symbolic and actual power, there are *no* spirits and *no* ghosts. That strongly suggests that it *is* 'my' kind of Ward. People who know the 'trick' have access; spirits and ghosts are meant to be kept out. We've not run into any *active* defences or traps: just things that if exposed to a particular type of power, siphon it. That's more of a ritual site, to me: a way of consciously fuelling things. My one immediate concern with taking the crown out of her is that we're taking it out of the Ward. If there is something out there that wants it..."
"How about this: we take it out, expose it to sunlight. If it doesn't crumble to dust or otherwise get destroyed, we take it back in here," Frankie says, arching an eyebrow. "...Though if the ward breaks because the thing it's supposed to be containing got out..." she trails off. "I still want to destroy it."
Damian is still considering as Aurore's words flow over to him. He nods, it makes perfectly logical sense, except for one thing. "That thing that shot Booch was, as far as I can tell, flesh and bone, was he not? Which means whatever it is, has those kind of agents, too. Or Booch himself and his cult. They were looking for the pieces of the crown, I know this. Perhaps this is one of their safe houses, I don't know. I suspect Mr. Blackwell might have a similar affliction to what Booch had." That being Immortal, though he doesn't say it. He taps his lip with a finger and looks to Frankie, nodding. "It is worth a try, this thing being destroyed is better than even inside a ward." A shrug.
So now they're heading outside? Frankie blinks, and moves to follow Damian. "...Do you care to expand on this theory that involves, what, touching that statue again?"
Aurore once again comes to a halt near the door, frowning pensively once again. "And... if we want to deal with the Raven King, it's possible that the best weapon against him is something with as powerful as possible a sympathetic connection to him." She points to Damian's pack. "The crown *might* be more use to us intact. Gah. I wish I knew more. But, ahh, yeah. Go for it. We can monitor the gate, and... Frankie can kick you away from the statue before it drains you dry?"
"Precisely." Damian nods to Frankie. He glances back at Aurore. "Or, at least, before it kills me." He doesn't say again. "I don't think I need to touch that statue though, I'm guessing one of these others with the glowing eyes might work. That's my theory Frankie, I didn't say it was a good one. But you and I both aren't capable of fighting him like that, so a place like this, might be a good idea to have it powered up. We don't need to keep one piece safe. And I'm worried what destroying something like that may do. I have almost no knowledge in this area." He sighs, walking into the hallway and around the bend to one of the statues with glowing eyes. "We ready?"