Points of Light

The Great Mine

July 27th, 2008

Leave goblin lair. Fight bandits on tollbridge.

Return to Crossroads and paid for services by Jayne. Given mission from Orsik to travel to mine in search of news of Bandit King.

Head out to mine. Meet Phantom Warriors in guardhouse. Told about secret tunnel through mines.

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Soreth

Seated on one of the boulders in the mine tunnel, Soreth peers around, looking absently at the bodies of the dire rats—policed and piled into a corner of the cavern with their wererat pack leader. He eyes the corpse warily, waiting to see if the beast is merely playing dead whilst its injuries knit together again, as they did during the fight.

Long silent moments pass. The corpse remains still and silent, quite surely dead.

Nodding to himself in satisfaction, the eladrin reaches into his satchel, pulling out a leather-bound folio.

‘No light in these depths… no sky… no stars. No way to observe, record, and predict… At least, not directly.

Soreth opens the folio across his lap, whispering an arcane phrase as he unfolds a sheaf of parchment. The material is printed in blue-black, but at his word, soft silvery lines and marks are set aglow, like a portrait of the night sky, luminous and annotated.

His eyes wander the paths traced from star to star, the marks of constellations, and of lines and arcane notations linking other stars, in less recognizable configurations. Fixing his gaze on the marks of the luminous star chart, Soreth reaches into his satchel again, pulling out another small book. He runs a finger along the chart, tracing a series of lines as he maps the shape of the overhead sky, beyond the vaults and the solid stone hiding the world above.

Turning his attention to the tiny book, he flips through its pages, turning them back and forth, noting the phrases and astrological signs correlated to the observations made on the star chart. Soreth’s lips move as he recites the assembled phrases to himself, voice almost silent.

“Seeking the Path of Ashes… Void’s Embrace… Herald of Bones… and… Ihbar’s Blessing…”

The Eladrin tilts his head in puzzlement at the assembled prediction. Tucking away the smaller book, he continues to pore over the charts, watching little flickers of arcane energy dancing along the starlight ink lines, illuminating the page. One hand strays to his belt, pulling out the elegant close-fitting leather gloves that the lycanthrope carried. The smooth material gives no clue as to what creature’s hide was used in their making.

As Soreth pushes back his sleeves, and dons the gloves, a cold feeling seeps into his hands—at first, briefly, bitterly frigid, then a gentle coolness as they warm to his skin…

’...Or am I simply accustomed to their cold?’ he muses.

Adjusting them to a firm fit, he turns his gloved hands back and forth, feeling the arcane weavings within them awaken at his contact. He draws in a short, sharp breath as the gloves abruptly turn icy-cold again. A brief flicker of un-light darkens the hide even further, and in that darkness…

His eyes narrow as he watches, in dim, yet somehow pale blue-purple, an outline forms in each glove—the shapes of his hands… no, the bones of his hands—before he blinks, and the sight fades. The shadowy luminance is gone, and only the gentle blue-white glow from the arcane star chart and the torches of his companions remain.

Soreth flexes his hands thoughtfully, noticing even the gentle coolness he felt before has been chased away for now. Nodding to himself in thought, he turns to gently fold the chart back into its folio, pausing to thoughtfully trace its lines. A dark, nebulous region catches his notice, marked with a variety of uncertain notes and observations.

‘Ihbar. The Veil. Herald of Shadows. The Ashen Cloak…’ Soreth taps the parchment in thought, noting the tiny star-mark in the midst of the region.

’...And Hadar. The Devouring Star. Eater of Light. The Ebon Hunger…’

As he stares intently at the map, pondering these markings, something… tugs at him… and the world around him begins to soften…

Just for a moment, reality feels thin… like a shroud of cobwebs he could breach with a thought. The light begins to fade, leaving the suggestion of blackness all around, studded with faint points of light…

With an effort of will, Soreth grits his teeth, squeezing his eyes shut. His gloved hands press against the stone beneath him, and he concentrates on that feeling, until the sensation of… impermanence… unreality… ephemerality… fades, and the world grows solid to his senses once more.

His own body feels overly dense, and drawing breath is like swallowing a mouthful of molasses. Gradually the heaviness fades, and his breathing eases. Opening his eyes once more, he looks across the cavern, watching his fellows as they rest, seated or lying down. Soreth keeps his gaze firmly on them, refusing to look down. His hands move by instinct and long practice, as they carefully fold the chart closed and replace it within the folio, before slipping it to the bottom of his pack, well out of sight.

‘For now…’

The Great Mine
xintriel

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