Rudi, who wasn't paying that much attention to the exchange between his two favorite females (really the only ones he knows, but that's beside the point - slavery is a bit of a lonely business), hastily covers a cough when Jasra mentions that maybe Keturah is still in her time, and the obelisk has transporter them back in time.
"Nah, that can't be it," he concludes after a bit of thought. "Keturah seemed to feel the passage of time, with people and things flashing past her in a blur, because she was moving so slowly. I didn't notice anything like that, or even like that in reverse, so that can't be what happened." Rudi sounds a bit like he's trying to convince himself of that.
To Jasra's request for questions for her divining, he doesn't offer much up. "Maybe ask if it's worth our time to check out the maze, though I don't know if we'll get a worthwhile answer if we can't define what would or wouldn't be worth the time... but maybe something along those lines?" he adds with a shrug.
Keturah reaches back into her memory, as muddled as it is from her years of isolation. The more she thinks, though, the clearer things get. She remembers the cavern, but there was definitely no glassrock then, just plain, unworked stone. The gem sits on the stone floor, wrapped in cheap sack-cloth surrounded by twinkling coins. There had been no fight, no enemies, just a massive pile of treasure at the end of a long tunnel. Breaking the first rule of almost all thieves, she simply grabbed it and stood. Then her mind and body were detached, body a statue, mind and senses alert. Her back was to the main chamber and in the gloomy silence, she heard motion. A rustle, the crack of stone, and a loud thump that shook the chamber. Then a roar of fury, a roar that echoed through the massive chamber nearly deafening the frozen woman. A shout of warning in Common and the sound of drawn blades. The sound of crying. A torch burned at her side, illuminating the small alcove filled with loot, projecting her shadow upon the wall. A crunch, a hiss, a scream. Muddled voices shout to each other, but the sound that stands out to Keturah is that of what she knows, without a doubt, is a dragon. She hears the scraping of claws and the clang of a useless sword. Another scream and footsteps running away followed by a faint boom and roar. Then she smells the dragon, its breath reaking of blood. It bites her, but there is no pain. There is a snort and then she is surrounded by blackness. Some time later, she feels the jaws lift her from the floor and begin moving. They moved fast, but she could see nothing but blackness. She knew somehow, though, that they were heading at a down at a slight angle. Time passed, but not much, certainly not a day, and she was placed upon the floor on her feet. The blackness vanished and she was in a slightly glowing room. She heard the faint splash of water behind her, and then time began to pass...
Chandra stands by stoically, looking intently at Keturah, but obviously trying to put things together inside her own head. She grins and nods as Jasra mentions the crystal. A moment later, she gives a slight shake of her head. Curiouser and curiouser, eh?
Do you want to cast divinations in here or try and get out first. If the divinations go well, we can come right back in if necessary. I'm getting tired of watching my step on these damned slippery floors. I have a few divinations I could throw into the mix, and I did prepare some things to get us out of here.
Jasra is not known for her empathy, and so she misses the subtle tremors that are the only sign of Keturah's reminiscing.
She replies to Rudi instead. She does not fault the man for his lack of competence in this domain, but she has to help him learn - it's the way of the teacher. "The more precise the question, the more interesting the answer. I realize you are not versed in the Arts, but letting a fickle deity (they're all fickle, if you want to know) define 'worth' for you is like making a notorious con man your treasurer. You'll benefit from it for a time and then you'll find yourself in a hole."
Then to Chandra: "I was thinking I'd try mine here. I do not think it will be dangerous, though it might failt outright. Keep yours for later, maybe.
But I would not say it will be easy to come back. Remember how much time you took on the way in."
"The slopes are tricky" she adds by way of explanation for Keturah's benefit, because she can sense the woman will ask about it if she is not preempted.
OOC: I'll wait for a post by either Thram or Balt then I'll go ahead with the divination. edit: Jasra's level-up is mostly complete. Dropped the Craft feat and a truckload of gear to go with it, took a level of Abjurant Champion. Now she's actually decent at Intimidate, and I took appropriate witchy spells (Baleful Polymorph), because if you carry the name you should act the part!
Chias patiently awaited the outcome of whatever the spell casters were about. They might think their magic was the be all and end all, but they still needed to go to whereever they found, and the scout would have his place again.
"Let's make it happen, the trail goes cold."
Chias's long barbed tentacle whipped out and cracked in the air, seeking flesh to bury itself in.
"Well, if WE decide amongst ourselves what we want to define as worth our while, maybe we can get something useful out of the divination..." Rudi isn't versed in the Arts, as Jasra knows, but he's certainly well aware of the fickleness of deities, and fate, and other various entities.
"Stupid glassy slopes" he mutters under his breath, as Jasra clarifies the comment about time for Keturah's edification.
Keturah’s memory has been coming back in fits and starts but all of a sudden it is as if a veil is removed and she remembers what happened, or at least as much of it as she can. Shock of what she remembers keeps her quiet. She runs her tongue over her teeth as she thinks, taking another drink from her waterskin in an absentminded way.
It is the memory of hearing a dragon’s roar that has caught her entire attention. She had already foolishly snatched up the gem and been turned to stone, yet for some reason her mind was not frozen. She could make out the image of the gem, though it was as if seeing it through a thick curtain, and when nothing moved, her vision slowly grew dark. She could hear too, which seemed to her a bit odd. Unfortunately she was facing the wall instead of looking out into the cavern, which means she could hear what was going on but all she could see was her shadow flickering in the torchlight on the wall, and that thrice cursed gem. Her mind is consumed by the fact that there is a dragon out there. Maybe it is Makross come to save her. Hope flares within her.
She expects rescue. What she does not expect is to smell the dragon, its hot, blood reeking breath thick in the air. She also does not expect to be bitten, except that it doesn’t hurt like she would have thought it would. Blackness descends and she can no longer see her shadow against the wall. Has she turned all the way to stone? Panic rises up in her before she realizes she is still able to think and therefore she should still only be a physical statue, with her mind still her own.
She can feel movement but without her sight she has no idea what is going on. It feels as if she is traveling downward at an angle. After what seems to be a long time, she is sat back on her feet. Strange that she is able to tell what angle she is at and whether she is on her feet or not. Perhaps the preparations she had done were not all in vain. If she had to guess, she would say that the spell to petrify her was meant to be a one-way trip. She shouldn’t be able to think, unless something went wrong. She should be able to break the spell, and if not, likely it will wear off fairly quickly and the most she’ll loose is a few weeks of her time.
The darkness vanishes, interrupting her thoughts. From what little she can see, she is once more in a cavern holding that damnable gem. A splash in the water behind her leaves her guessing that wherever the dragon brought her, he is leaving her here to her own devices. She would frown if she could. It cannot have been Makross, for she cannot envision him leaving her like this. Maybe it was one of the other dragons. She knows a few, though she only claims friendship with a couple of them. Several reasonable explanations present themselves. It could be that one of the other dragons is trying to undermine Makross. There is always a power struggle of some kind going on amongst them. It could be retaliation for some slight given, or thought to have been given. It could also be a dragon-friend of that half-breed Manabreche!
Keturah blinks as she realizes that Jasra has just spoken to her. She rifles back through her recent memories and pulls up what the topic of conversation is. Oh, they are talking about whether to finish exploring this place first or come back later. “The slopes are tricky.” She raises an eyebrow when Rudi adds, “Stupid glassy slopes.” She doesn’t remember any of that on her map and looks down to see what she’s drawn and the area he might be talking about.
She doesn’t say much, uncertain where she stands with this group. The more she is around them, the more it seems each of them is down here with a different agenda. What could bring such an interesting group of people together? What do they have in common, or are they using each other to accomplish their own goals? She cannot blame them for the latter, for she will do it too if needed. She watches, knowing that much can be learned by what a person says or does not say.
She does pose one question. “Glassy slopes? There definitely were none of those on my journey in to the gem. I do remember a period of darkness and being ‘carried?’ somewhere. When the light returned I was in the chamber where you found me. If I had to guess I would say I was teleported or carried to this place.
These glassy slopes, do we need to climb them to get out?”
Do NOT meddle in the affairs of dragons; for you are crunchy and go good with ketchup
Jasra wonders why the woman only now mentions she has been carried. That changes everything. Perhaps the place is the equivalent of a private gallery, exposing the odd pieces its creator collected.
She decides it's time. Drawing her sword again, she sits cross-legged with the blade across her knees. She slices a finger with the sharp edge, and writes one Draconic rune in blood on her forehead - Travel - and one on the blade - Truth. The unnatural vitality lent to her by her transformative magics lets the cut heal in moments.
The witch slowly enters a trance, her eyes now unseeing. A distant part of her wonders where she will end up this time - the divination she cast in the Bazaar had been interesting, to say the least.
The others can see the blade flickering, as if it wasn't quite there anymore.
[OOC: I don't know where she ends up so I won't describe it for now]
Will Keturah be a danger to me directly or indirectly in the coming days? Jasra is not one to be careless, despite what Chias might think.
Are some members of the Blood of Vol aware that the Thought Bottle was found? That takes care neatly of both her finding the Bottle and learning what it contained.
Was the creature in the crystal linked to the creator or creators of this place?
As Jasra's eyes close, all becomes dark. The throbbing sound of her heart echoes in her ears, drowning out all external sounds. Slowly a sea of clouds materializes, surrounding her completely. The closer clouds are smaller and less defined, while the farthest clouds are towering mountains of cloud. Lightning flashes and flames flicker from the elemental realms, while the planes of the evil deities are a threatening black. While normally this familiar sensation is crystal clear, there is a strange haze over everything, muting the colors, sounds and smells.
Jasra ponders for a moment and weighs the odds. A simple decision. If one wants knowledge, one goes to the font of knowledge.
Her consciousness soars through a skyscape of clouds, banking around the smaller, weaker powers and heading for the great Celestial Library, a massive bank of clouds that she somehow knows intuitively. She approaches and steps upon the strangely firm cloudstuff. Instantly, a massive building appears. Broad steps lead up through a massive doorway flanked by towering columns. A number of strange figures stand upon the steps in front of the library, reading from scrolls and books or talking. She is unable to make out much more than the presence of these figures, though, as they are hazy and the words muffled. She pushes forward and enters the doors. All sensation of movement ceases Stretching as far as the eye can see are massive shelves filled with books and racks of scrolls. A figure appears before her, familiar figure, the avatar of knowledge.
Greetings ma'am, how may I help you?
The librarian listens to the questions, digesting each fully and completely, possibly weighing his answers against each other.
I believe the font of all knowledge will be able to help you. Please wait a moment. As per the standard rules of the magic you have used, you will receive simple, succint answers. Perhaps at a later date we could sit down and speak more fully? No, yes, yes. Have a nice day!
There is a push, as if a massive fist shoved her backwards. Her consciousness retreats, even as she makes and holds eye contact with the smiling eyed librarian. His twinkling eyes seem to follow her back to where she began. Jasra tries to speak, but her voice is constricted. She cannot even utter the words: I am owed two more questions!!! There is a pause, things darken and Jasra opens her eyes.
Omen: The spell ended prematurely, as if it was being weakened by some outside force.
Akavasha: I should have clarified this for you. The details could have been lost in the length of the thread. This entire area is covered in slick rock. You will slide from the upper areas(all the exits are uphill) down to here. Even when coming to this area from the place you were frozen required some method of traversing the slope.
Sorry for some of the inconsistencies lately, been shifting things around plot/hook wise.
When Jasra opens her eyes, they are at first filled by inky darkness, but it quickly recedes. "I got to learn that the elf-like creature encased in crystal had some kind of relationship with the creator of this place, but I didn't get to pursue that line of thought. The ambiant magic must interfere with divinations."
The witch seems troubled. Hunted again?! I did not wish for that. But reaching for power will lead down that path inevitably, especially when your methods are unconventional.
Thinking on back on the celestial librarian, she can't help but wonder. When I finally retire, that would be a good position for me. How does one apply for it?
She has to be decisive though, now more than ever. "Very well, let's move back out so Chandra can try her own spells unhindered. Do you think you can handle the climb back up?" she asks her land-bound companions.
"Or you can try the maze" she adds, remembering Rudi's fascination with it.