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Post Reply Highlands
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Posted 7/5/15

The mountain range of Coblen is much more spread out than it's lower counter part. The people see each other less and the "villages" are no more than two or three families living together. These people hardly get out and most are uneducated in anything other than their family trade.

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Posted 7/6/15 , edited 7/6/15
A castle sat on the side of a mountain, in between a vast mountain range. It was barely visible between the dark of night and the dense foliage that surrounded it. Perhaps, in it's time, the castle held a king or noble. However, to the sadness of anyone gazing upon it's vast beauty, it had been run down with time as nature reclaimed it. Perhaps in a hundred years, there would be no proof that there had ever been a castle, or anything under it, for that matter, at all. The light of the moon lit up the castle's side, revealing a black crow sitting on the top. The birds always seemed to be an omen of evil. The crow cawed, looking down on any who dared to approach. It would be in their best interest to leave.
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It was at that moment, as his sister balanced clumsily on the edge of a rock on the jagged path that lead further up and deeper into the mountains, that Aric regretted following her. She held a lantern in one hand, the light flickering weakly, and in the other the knife she used to skin animals that she held out in front of her protectively.
Now, he regretted following her for two reasons. The first was that he promised a family that lived not to far from their cabin that he'd bring them a basket his mother wove together the next morning and the second was because night had fallen and Cira was still set on traveling deeper into the mountains.
Aric looked up, squinting his eyes and wishing that like his sister he'd inherited his father's eyesight. Tall trees hung above his head and he could see glimpses of the moon in between the leaves.
A branch snapped. His sister had jumped down from the rock. She swung the lantern around to look at him. "Let's keep going," she said and she nodded towards the path that would take them further into the trees. Her voice dripped with excitement. It was hard to say no to her.
"We should make camp," he suggested so at the very least she'd have a night to think her plan for adventure over.
Cira shook her head. "I can still see just fine."
She turned on her heels without another word and Aric had no choice but to follow her.
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Posted 7/6/15
As they continued, they would find themselves closer and closer to the castle. The crow, alarmed by their close proximity to him, raised his wings and cawed out. Although it would prove hard to see the crow himself, his caw revealed the castles' location. Unimpressed by the two he saw he ruffled his feathers before cawing again and moving down off of the roof and into a broken window. His cries echoed through the castle and were now faintly audible to the two. Then, there was silence again, only occasionally broken by the sounds of bugs in the plants around them or the whistling of the wind in the trees. Fog started to gather on the ground.
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Aric was easily spooked and found himself gripping onto Cira's arm as they ventured further, digging his nails into her skin as the faint sound of caw echoed throughout the night. He felt more than ever now that they should turn back, but had him spooked had Cira absolutely thrilled. She raised up the lantern, the gnarled trees of the forest slowly giving way to a place long forgotten.
"The twins found themselves drawn in by the nightly chill, perhaps they would meet their doom," Cira narrated as she always did when she got excited. Her voice was haunting.
"Stop that," Aric snapped. He stood up straight, pulling his hands away from her arm and brushing imaginary dust off his clothes. He looked up into the pale moon light, spotting silhouettes of man made structures that were starting to stand out among the trees. He had the feeling that they shouldn't be there. And although he was fearful,he and Cira alike both found themselves speechless and awed when the castle finally came into view.
"Whoa," they said in unison. Aric gulped. The realization that Cira would not be satisfied until she explored every nook and cranny of the abandoned castle hit him hard.
Fog swirled around his ankles and the cold mountain air was beginning to make him shiver. Cira displayed her knife, a protective gesture and Aric smiled weakly although he doubted that it would do them any good if they found themselves in any real danger. He nodded to her, "Lead the way."
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Posted 7/6/15

As they entered the ballroom they came upon what would probably have been a great ballroom at it's time. However, now dust covered the area, and what wasn't covered in dust was probably a hole in the floor. The various holes led down into a hallway, made entirely out of wood. It seemed to be a passage way so that anyone who knew the castle well enough they could pass through it without being seen by anyone. Termites had ravaged those passageways still, and below them there was darkness for a long, long time.
In the room past the ballroom, there was a very large circular room with a throne at the end. It was a golden throne adorned in velvet, which contrasted the dark grey look of the room. there were pillars running in a circle around the edges of the room. In the center of the room, the floor got lower in a circle.
There, in the center, was a stone pillar attached to the floor with a book on it. It appeared as if the entire table could be turned along with a section of the floor it was under, as they weren't directly attached to the rest of the floor. The floor was thin and if stepped on would give off a sound that hinted at there being something underneath it. There was a book on the table.
In the other rooms leading from the bedroom were various bedrooms. They were unique in their ways but all had a bed, something else to lay on, and a bath.
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Cira paused in the throne room, trailing her finger along the walls as she gazed around with wide eyes. "Isn't this just grand?"
Aric didn't feel the need to answer. The extravagance of the once great room spoke for him. This place was definitely beyond what he could imagine and he felt almost honored to call Coblen his home if at one time a place such as this was granted to exist. They passed the throne room, exploring the bedrooms and the long halls until Cira turned back, swearing that they missed something. Going back to the throne room, Aric had to wonder how they missed such an obvious dip in the center of the room. Or at least, how his sister had missed it. His eyes had finally adjusted and he could see better but Cira should have no excuse.
Cira, giddy and with a hop in her step, jumped down into the circle. The hollowness of the floor echoed just loud enough from him to hear as he minded his footing while stepping down into the circle after Cira.
She rested the lantern on the edge of the table, the pale light wandering over the book. She clapped her hands together excitedly. "What do you think this is? An old relic? How much do you think it's worth?"
"It's a book," he said bluntly. "No one we know can read, it can't be worth much up here."
Cira tugged him by his sleeve. "You can read, can't you? Go on then, tell me what it says."
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Posted 7/6/15
The book was titled, "Secrets of the King." Upon picking it up and opening it, a slip of paper came out. It was worn and faded, but could still be read. The paper said, "To Free" and had a few drawings made out of charcoal. The first depicted the room that they were in. The table between them, however, was shown as having split down the middle and moving to the side, revealing a dark tunnel underneath. The pillars in the drawing seemed to have marks on them. Upon inspection, the pillars in the actual room had a movable section near the base that had the same marks as in the drawing, except the marks were not turned to face the center of the room. The next drawing showed a person descending a ladder from the hole that had opened up where the table once was, and then showed them moving down a stairwell. There was presumably another drawing after that, but it had been ripped out.
The book itself told secrets of an ancient king, however a lot of it was hard to read. It was quite a large book. Somewhere, inside that book, was a story of a giant trapped under the earth, however the letters had faded with time.
There was also a little note written on the bottom of the slip of paper with the drawings, one that gave warning to searching below. "Do not enter unless the king is in danger. Do not free it." There was nothing else written on the sheet of paper.
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As Aric skimmed through the book, Cira shook his shoulder excitedly. She'd spotted the drawings and although her reading skills weren't quite as good as her brother's she understood enough of what she was seeing. Aric read out loud and he read what he could as a lot of it was now impossible to understand as the words had faded and the pages were worn. The bits and pieces of a story of a giant trapped under the earth sent a shiver done his spine. Cira reached over his shoulder, grabbing the drawings and holding them up to the light. She stared at them closely. "So this is how we do it? How we free this thing?"
Aric snatched the paper from her. "Have you no care for warnings? You've had your fun. We should head back before--"
But Cira wasn't listening to him, she'd jumped up from the circle with the paper back in her hand and was walking towards the closest pillar. She studied it, running her hands over the pillar before she knelt down and found the movable section. She grunted as she tried to turn it, but it was old and hadn't been touched in years. It hardy budged.
"Don't just stand there. Make yourself useful."
Aric chewed his bottom lip. He felt silly standing there pouting and with his arms crossed. His protests wouldn't persuade her not to continue on with her needless exploration. She wouldn't listen to warnings.
He groaned and walked over to help her. It was easier to move with two people and they turned it so that the marking faced the center. Cira wiped sweat from her forehead and moved onto the next one, Aric followed reluctantly behind. As they worked he couldn't shake the feeling that what they were doing would not possibly end well. Warnings and ripped out drawings weren't usually good signs.
When they'd turned the last mark towards the center, there was a moment of silence and stillness before the table split and parted ways and the dark tunnel was revealed.
Cira jumped up and down in celebration before she tugged Aric along and they came to stand before the dark tunnel.
"Alright, that's enough." Aric was already taking a step back. "Isn't this enough? You found a castle in the middle of nowhere and a secret tunnel leading to who know's what. Are you satisfied."
Cira didn't answer, but somehow he knew she wasn't.
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Posted 7/6/15 , edited 7/6/15
As the stone table split, a passage was revealed going down into the darkness. There was a ladder going down there as well, however it was rusty and looked like it could break at any minute. It went down around 10 feet before dropping into a dark room. The room was very small and led to a spiral stone staircase that seemed to go into the dark forever. The deeper you went into the staircase, the more run down it became. Holes appeared in it, ones that gradually became bigger and more frequent over time. Halfway down the passage, suddenly the stairs stopped. It was safe to assume that many had fallen to their deaths here. Even if one had the reflex to stop in time, there was still a chance that the crumbling rocks would break below them and plunge them into the dark. Below, there was a small glow of an orange light, but not much else could be seen.
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Cira held her lantern over the passage. She looked disappointed at the current state of the ladder. She wasn't a complete fool and knew enough not to get herself hurt. However, she wanted to venture further. Cira was still only half elf, her eyesight was only so good. She could see it wasn't a very far drop but she felt like the tunnel would go deeper and she knew the passage couldn't be safe. She nudged the ladder with her boot.
"You go first." She nodded towards Aric. He grumbled but didn't complain as he passed her to step down the ladder. She could see him shaking although he put up a brave front as he started to lower himself into the dark room. The ladder snapped about half way down it with a yelp Aric fell and thudded heavily against the floor. He groaned and stayed rolling around on the floor for a good minute before he got to his feet. He brushed himself off.
"I'm coming down now," Cira said. She set down her lantern and made sure her knife was fixed at her belt. She lowered herself slowly. She dangled from the edge right above her brother. Cira steadied herself and grabbed her lantern before letting go and falling down to where Aric was ready to catch her. She smiled and patted him on the shoulder as he let her down. "Good catch."
She turned towards the spiral staircase. While Aric would have already thought of way to get themselves back up into the throne room, Cira was certain now that there was no turning back. Of course, even she was slightly nervous about where the staircase would lead them and if it was even safe, and she suspected that it wasn't, but she was ever so curious. She grabbed Aric's hand and tugged him forward while holding the lantern out in front of them. They started down the staircase. Slowly, but still.
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Posted 7/6/15 , edited 7/6/15
The staircase made various crumbling noises beneath them as they continued down. Occasionally, stones would dislodge themselves from the ceiling and fall to hit them.
Below, Dardanos opened his eyes. He swore he heard something. He searched above him for any signs of falling bodies, but could see nothing. His eyesight had started to fail him with all these years spent in the dark, with only the dim glow of orange from the magic that imprisoned him lighting up random areas in the walls of dirt around him. Lifting his nose into the air, he took a deep breath in. Yes... He smelled the two twins. He moved to snap up into the air and try to desperately reach for whatever he could find to eat, however he stopped himself. Any movement might scare away his prey. Instead, he stopped moving entirely, waiting for something to happen. His breathing slowed and then stopped entirely. He didn't really need to breathe to live, with the chains keeping him alive no matter what he could do. He paused. Could he even eat them if he tried? He didn't really need to breathe at all and wouldn't do it if it wasn't a habit... His digestive system may have stopped working as well. He resisted the urge to groan as he waited. Although he didn't need to eat, he was starving.
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After dodging the third stone that almost knocked Aric upside the head he decided that he had enough. He snatched his hand away from Cira and crossed his arms. She looked back at him, puzzled. "Go on then," he grumbled. "I'll wait for you here but I can't--" he wasn't sure what to say but he was simply done with this little adventure of hers.
She grinned wickedly at him. "Really? You'd rather wait here alone? All by yourself? In the dark?"
Aric hugged himself, gripping his sleeves tightly. The thought of being alone in the dark on a crumbling stairwell was not a welcome thought, but he couldn't continue like this. So, he nodded. "I'll wait here."
Cira narrowed her eyes at him but she shrugged her shoulders, hesitated for a moment to let him change his mind, and then continued on without him. She took the lantern. Cira guided her hand along the wall as she continued down. Yes, she was worried about leaving Aric behind but she was sure she'd be back in no time especially since now she didn't have to deal with all his complaining and attempts to get her to turn back.
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Posted 7/6/15 , edited 7/6/15
Dardanos heard murmurs above him and continued to stay still. There were more than one of them? He smiled. Looking up again, he tried to focus on the stairs above. Earlier, the stairs would have ended right over him, leaving adventurers to fall right on top of him. But now, since the stairs had decayed, they dropped off on the other side of his prison. He grumbled. If she was to fall she could end up out of his reach. He took a deep breath. Perhaps if he tried to breathe upwards he could cause her to become intoxicated and fall off the edge...? He grumbled again. If he just let himself breathe out freely while he was trying to knock her out, he would probably end up knocking himself out as well.
As Dardanos was pondering what to do, suddenly a crack was heard beneath Cira. The stone had taken about as much as it could handle, and gave way beneath her. A piece of stone stuck out and was in grabbing range if she was quick enough. Dardanos wasn't close enough to reach her, instead reaching forward and grabbing at the dirt beside him, pulling it up and throwing it under where she would fall. If she was to fall now, she would not die if she landed on the soft dirt. He preferred his prey alive, and would be quite upset if she died immediately and he could not reach her body.
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Cira didn't scream when she fell because it was unsuspected and she didn't have time to register what was happening and she also didn't want to worry her brother. Her lantern fell and crashed somewhere below as her fingers scrapped against the piece of stone she was currently dangling from. Her legs kicked usually in the air and Cira groaned loudly. Goodness, she thought, if she didn't fall to her death than Aric would surely lecture her about this later. He'd go on and on about how careless she was.
Taking a deep breath to calm herself, she looked down. She narrowed her eyes trying to take in her surroundings. Would she be okay if she fell? Pulling herself up was proving to be useless and if there was another way she'd prefer that. Besides, she couldn't just hang here forever.
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