The Song: the Miner's Choir
July 27, 2020, 9 p.m.
Outside Arx - Lyceum near The Roseward - Mendiluze Mines
Comments and Log
The Song: the Miner's Choir has started at Outside Arx - Lyceum near The Roseward - Mendiluze Mines.
Isabelle, who is just so tired of everyone's nonsense arrives, delivering a message to Esme before departing.
No sign of the glow remains. No trace of that peculiar, haunting song lingers. There is only a distant drip, slow and inevitable, a single bead of water oozing through tons of stone and gathering at the tip of some lethal rock spike and plunging down through the blackness to land in the pool. Is it miraculous? Does it truly have healing powers? None of this has been satisfactorily proved, though nor has it, exactly, been disproven. But the show is over and the miners are starting to get antsy, the foreman trading looks with his associate. There's one rather irate Marquis, three cold wet noblewomen, an Oathlander knight who thinks maybe his own injuries may be better than they were, and one former Sword with a faintly gleaming blade that may be adding to their desire to go ahead and get this show on the road. Or at least out of their mine.
"Come on," says Evaro "Let me take you back to camp. You can always come back and see it again another day. Or you can go back to your castle, or your city, or whatever you were about." You know. Before the mine went dry and stopped sending anything of value to be counted in the coffers.
Dante weighs in very quickly on that idea. "No. You have hidden so much from us and I expect this to become productive again. We are going to sit down here until something happens. I am tired of going in and out of these crevasses, especially after you led us down a fake path." Pointing his sword at Evaro, "Get comfortable."
With a long look at Evaro, the relatively new baron cast a long, lingering look to him and for a man whose patience ran somewhat deep, it was quite clear that there was little left of it. Rane found something to lean up against and folded his arms over the breadth of his chest.
"I think he's starting to run out of patience, good man. That's a shitty predicament for you." Amund intones evenly as he looks at the miners, and then at the foreman. Assessing how quickly he might be able to put them down if he must needs.
Esme allows the water to run through her fingers for a few moments. Her eyes scanning the area thoughtfully and then back to the water. Drip. Drip. She just lets it fall from her fingers before she moves towards Dante. If she's uncomfortable she doesn't let it show. A smile upon her features. "It could be spirits. The winds have spoken to me before and they act... according to their desires." She turns to look at the men and then around the area. She lifts out a hand to attempt to run it across Dante's shoulders. It's as if she expects her touch to calm as there is that normal serenity around her for the moment.
Dante checked dexterity at difficulty 15, rolling 38 higher.
Rane checked dexterity at difficulty 10, rolling 3 higher.
Esme checked dexterity at difficulty 10, rolling 12 higher.
Amund checked dexterity at difficulty 10, rolling 13 higher.
Lora GM Roll checked dex(3) at difficulty 10, rolling 17 higher.
Lora GM Roll checked dex(3) at difficulty 10, rolling 17 higher.
Lora GM Roll checked dex(4) at difficulty 10, rolling 6 higher.
Evaro sighs. It's a defeated sound; it's a defeated gesture, the way his shoulders slump. He steps forward like he's going to take a seat on one of the rocks...
...but instead he throws down the lantern he's been carrying most of this whole time. His companion does much the same in the next moment, and with a clang of metal the two pierced tin-work things go rolling off across the floor, throwing a brief flurry of pinprick stars around the cavern before the lights inside go out entirely.
There's a soft scuffle, leather on stone. Probably footsteps, suddenly running away. The miners, at least, possibly know where they're going.
Dante checked wits + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 7 higher.
As soon soon as the lanterns get flung, Dante squints and jumps towards one he can see rolling about, sending a constellation of stars made of pin pricks around the cavern. Snatching it up, the flame goes out but he hastily relights it, sword in one hand and lamp in the other. "Go! We need to grab those scoundrels and find out what they're up to! Don't kill them both - if possible, take them both alive!"
Amund checked wits + athletics at difficulty 35, rolling 5 lower.
Off Amund goes, perhaps on impulse, to try and catch up to those miners as they flee. Of course, the walls are on the way and he is significantly delayed by the fact he's bumping into rocky wall after rocky wall. He'll get there, eventually.
Esme checked command + leadership at difficulty 60, rolling 2 lower.
Lora has rolled 1 5-sided dice: 4
Lora GM Roll checked 4(4) at difficulty 60, rolling 35 lower.
Esme lurches forwards as if she's about to take off running, but there are so many already doing that. Esme seems to debate something in her mind for a moment, perhaps a glowing appeal of the world. However, she offers, "STOP!" This just allowes the echo of the caverns as she watches the lights. These aren't her men though.
Lora GM Roll checked dex(4) + archery(4) at difficulty 60, rolling 8 higher.
Brigid checked command + leadership at difficulty 60, rolling 13 lower.
arrow blindshot from the darkness 80 inflicted and Amund is unharmed.
Well, Brigid is certainly not going to follow in the dark, settling in beside Esme and letting her voice reach out with a rumbling command, "Halt!" But nothing, an exhale of breath as her attention focuses back on that lake now dark and mysterious.
Rane checked wits + athletics at difficulty 30, rolling 7 lower.
With his wife nearby and Brigid not far away, he was ready to end this whole ordeal and he started back the way they came. Rane didn't make it very far and knew all too well the dangers of navigating in unknown terrain even when one could see. This was something else entirely and the sound of an arrow whistling gave him further pause. "We're being fired upon..."
The sudden descent of darkness causes a great deal of confusion. It is horrifyingly disorienting, blacker than the darknest night, worse than being blindfolded. There's sound, but it's suddenly difficult to tell where it's coming from - and where it's going, because those scuffling noises suddenly get much quieter. The miners have the homefield advantage: the gods alone know how long they have spent in tunnels like these. Or these tunnels themselves.
What might be more unsettling is the little thwp and hiss of air as something comes rushing through the blackness with too much speed to be dodged, even if it could be seen: an arrow that seeks and finds its mark, though it has no success then penetrating Amund's armor, but is instead deflected by fireweave.
After the arrow hisses and plunks against Amund, Dante is even more angry. And now he has a lit lantern! He growls and charges towards the sound of running footsteps, sword in hand. If he catches up to one of those miners, he's going to try to chop out their legs from beneath them to make them stop.
Dante checked wits + athletics at difficulty 25, rolling 16 higher.
Amund checked wits + athletics at difficulty 25, rolling 32 higher.
Lora GM Roll checked dexterity(3) + athletics(4) at difficulty 15, rolling 42 higher.
Lora GM Roll checked dexterity(3) + athletics(3) at difficulty 15, rolling 19 higher.
Breaking the arrow with a snap, Amund's eyes adjust to the light that Dante brings into the picture and starts to dash after the lord, sword in hand, and a lot of murder in his gaze. There might not be many miners to tell the tale if he has his way with them.
Well if everyone else is on the move, Esme will be on the move as well. She takes off with the others, but even her normal dexterity is a bit off in the darkness. She mutters something under her breath about shadows and darkness.
Esme checked wits + athletics at difficulty 25, rolling 28 higher.
Lora GM Roll checked dex(4) + archery(4) at difficulty 35, rolling 10 higher.
Lora has rolled 1 5-sided dice: 2
Another arrow comes from behind, in the gloom on the far side of the pool. 80 inflicted and Rane is harmed for moderate damage.
Rane checked wits + athletics at difficulty 25, rolling 5 higher.
Brigid checked wits + athletics at difficulty 15, rolling 3 higher.
With aid from the lantern and Dante's guidance, Rane takes Katherine in there direction, toward salvation (hopefully).
Ah yes, hello darkness! Realizing that the water she'd stepped into earlier was shallow - the Dragoon eased out and began affixing the armor she'd originally traveled down in, Canon was hefted up and away Brigid went towards the source of an angry Dante's fading light. All the while bringing up the rear with Rane and Katherine ahead, then she hears another arrow shoot close ahead, "Rane?" She asks with a grunt.
Just before Brigid's call to check, the whistling struck home and plunked high in his chest. The air was quite literally knocked out of him. A quick sigh was all that left past his lips. "I'm..fine." He wasn't, but he was functional. The fatigue from the trek, couple with the armor in him was now...debilitating.
Evaro and his compatriot didn't get very far. Out of the cavern and through that narrow point, just about to the place where the tunnels fork off again, different passages leading in different directions. Perhaps they slowed there because, in the pitch blackness, they had to take a minute to figure out which way they wanted to go, but the Marquis's swinging lanternlight soon illuminates them.
"Don't!" the foreman yells, but it might be to his assistant, who grabs a couple of rocks and whirls around like he's going to make a stand. "Just run! We can still..." And then he catches sight of Dante coming around the corner, the others right behind, and he takes off again.
One would think facing off against an entire party of nobles in tight tunnels like this with nothing more than a couple of rocks would be an extremely foolish idea. And yet there the man is, his gaze flicking sidelong down one of the other passages at the very last moment.
Snarling, Dante charges at the foreman with his sword up, the light shining off the alaricite blade as he launches himself to drive the tip of the sword deep into the knee of that fleeing bastard. "Stop or I will kill you, I only need one of you to question! Cease and you'll live!"
Dante checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 17 higher.
Lora GM Roll checked dexterity(3) + dodge(3) at difficulty 15, rolling 22 higher.
Lora GM Roll checked dexterity(3) + athletics(4) at difficulty 15, rolling 24 higher.
Lora GM Roll checked dexterity(3) + small wpn(3) at difficulty 15, rolling 16 higher.
Lora has rolled 1 5-sided dice: 2
With the foreman running, the last (visible) man standing throws a rock? 20 inflicted and Rane is unharmed.
Amund rushes in after Dante, fully intent on taking out the foreman. The sword is held low, meant to be stabbed through the man's hipbone. Granted, he might have to catch up with said foreman, when all is said and done. The one hurling rocks is summarily ignored for now.
Amund checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 86 higher. Amund rolled a critical!
Lora GM Roll checked dexterity(3) + dodge(3) at difficulty 15, rolling 28 higher.
Amund is, well, propense to a lot of violence. Sandstalker is sent in a low arc to catch the man's calf, ripping into the flesh as he pulls, before he jabs through the foreman's ribcage once he draws his sword back and moves forward again. It's brutal, but it is precise. Evaro won't bleed out quickly, but he WILL bleed out without proper care. Moreover, he'll have some trouble walking for awhile. "I think he told you to stop."
Esme checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 14 higher.
Lora GM Roll checked dexterity(3) + dodge(3) at difficulty 15, rolling 16 higher.
Esme watches the guys flee into the dark after the main person. She doesn't seem intent on bodily harm and she's fighting blind. There is a flash of her sword through the air towards the one throwing stones and.... swing batter batter... miss. Perhaps it will stop the pitch towards the others though.
Sometimes, when something looks like an ambush, it's because it is an ambush.
A somewhat motley one, but perhaps unexpected, unless anyone was paying attention to where the stone-thrower was looking. Evidently they were not, being invested in ensuring Evaro doesn't get away. Evaro will be likely if he lives at all, thanks to the Marquis and Sandstalker, but he's paying no attention either to the four other men who emerge from the side tunnel. They are armed, and not with mere rocks. Three of them have pick axes; one, a man tall enough that his head almost hits the ceiling, carries a beam that might've been meant for bracing the ceiling.
Lora has rolled 1 5-sided dice: 1
Lora has rolled 1 4-sided dice: 3
Lora GM Roll checked strength(5) + huge wpn(4) at difficulty 35, rolling 16 higher.
Dante checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 45 higher.
Lora GM Roll checked dexterity(3) + medium wpn(3) at difficulty 20, rolling 19 higher.
Lora GM Roll checked dexterity(3) + medium wpn(3) at difficulty 20, rolling 9 higher.
Lora GM Roll checked dexterity(3) + medium wpn(3) at difficulty 20, rolling 3 lower.
Rane checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 24 higher.
Brigid checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 25, rolling 42 higher.
Brigid checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 14 higher.
Lora GM Roll checked dexterity(3) + dodge(3) at difficulty 15, rolling 27 higher.
Brigid making sure to check in on Rane whose already taken an arrow in this terrible place, seeing Katherine is held back out of harms reach, she surges forward and the wily axe wielding cretin barely misses Canon.
Esme checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 6 higher.
One of the miners gets uncomfortably close to Esme, the business end of his pickaxe aiming for her shoulder. 40 inflicted and Esme is harmed for serious damage.
Were there no shaft of arrow protruding from his shoulder, one wouldn't think there's anything wrong with the baron...aside from a sheen of sweat on his brow. Even the blood that flowed from the wound was hidden beneath the armor. He readied Goldenshade low to assume a stance to parry and defend.
Rane checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 27 higher.
Lora GM Roll checked dexterity(3) + dodge(3) at difficulty 15, rolling 30 higher.
Esme checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 9 higher.
Lora GM Roll checked dexterity(3) + dodge(3) at difficulty 15, rolling 28 higher.
Esme is swung upon in the shoulder. There is a hiss of breath as she takes a serious wound. She then turns to attempt to swing her sword at the man, but unfortunately they are more skilled at evading; then she is at swinging. There is a roll of her shoulder as she pauses to assess her wounds.
Absolute chaos now. The tunnels, which were tight for half a dozen people, are now a melee, bright metal flashing in the light of a single lantern, the copper smell of blood now joining the damp lime air. Evaro was running, and his momentum propels him forward a few more steps as if he were going to keep fleeing, but nature - and that sword - have other ideas. Does the glass blade drink blood? Who knows.
AFortunately, no arrows join this particular mess. Unfortunately, pickaxes are much better suited for tight tunnels than fancy blades are, the long reach of a sword thrown off by the claustrophobic terrain, and for the moment, most of the miners fare better than the nobles.
Dante checked dexterity + dodge at difficulty 15, rolling 27 higher.
Nearly missed by a beam swung his way and smelling the metallic tang of blood in the air, Dante's mossy eyes fill with anger in the tight space, enemy miners on either side and the light causing a nauseating kaleidoscope of whirling stars around them. He glances around at the others and urges to Esme, "Cousin, get back and take cover!" Lunging forward violently, the Marquis tries to skewer him on the alaricite blade.
Lora GM Roll checked dexterity(3) + dodge(3) at difficulty 15, rolling 36 higher.
Dante checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 23 higher.
Amund checked dexterity + medium wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 35 higher.
Lora GM Roll checked dexterity(3) + dodge(3) at difficulty 15, rolling 42 higher.
Esme will listen to Dante when he tells her to duck and cover. She's also assessing her arm, so she will attempt to make herself less of a target.
Brigid checked dexterity + huge wpn at difficulty 35, rolling 7 higher.
Though they are, perhaps miraculously, holding their own, the miners maybe realize that this cannot possibly last. They are outclassed, out-geared, and their leader is bleeding out on the floor. His second drops his last rock, freeing up his hand for a loud whistle. A sign, pre-ordained, which sends them all scattering. Him included, with one more look at Evaro.
Lora GM Roll checked dexterity(3) + dodge(3) at difficulty 15, rolling 18 higher.
They scatter, and Amund sheathes his blade after wiping it clean with his cloth, looking at the disabled foreman. "Time to drag him out of here, get him treated, and do some questioning."
Standing over Evaro, Dante levels the sword and places the tip at the foreman's throat. "Yield. You are my prisoner, you need to be patched up before you die. And then you have an awful lot of questions to answer," he says in agreement with Amund, a worried expression over at Esme. "Are you alright cousin?"
And so ends the saga of the Miracle at the Mendiluze Mines.
Evaro no longer has anything to protect, nothing to hide, and so pieces together the patchwork story he'd told, wholecloth. The truth is mostly what he said it was, before. The mineral veins they had been working ran out. It's not unusual, it simply requires them to go deeper into the mountains, into new caves, chasing the veins of the earth until they find a new place to make it bleed the stones the nobles love so much. It's usually a job for the young, for boys, really, scrappy lads who want to be men, who prove themselves by braving the darkness.
One of them, Evaro's sister's son, went in and never came back.
Another young man went into the secondary caves, which had been given up as barren an age ago. He didn't find emeralds, but he did find the cave, and late one night over way too much cheap ale, the miners decided they'd try something else. They hatched a scheme. A story, really, of a miracle in the mountain. A simple appeal to the simple man. The lights and music were nothing more than colored lanterns and a syrinx; the stories of the greatest miracles paid for with a bit of coin. The trinkets the pilgrims took are nothing more than colored glass, faceted like precious stones, but people paid silver for them, and gave donations.
Over time it took on a life of its own. More and more people came, desperate, seeking hope, seeking the promise of healing waters. Many of them stayed on, despite not experiencing anything more extraordinary themselves, but many of them seemed happy. Happier than they had been, too sick or infirm to work serf labor. A cut of the coin they collected went to pay his men, but most of it went to feed the people who showed up, and kept showing up.
And who now all will be quite dismayed to learn the terrible, simple truth.
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