Bones of the Sovran

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An ancient Sovran temple has appeared in the Stone Canton.  The Cartographer's Society has issued a challenge to all adventurers and explorers, to search the vast complex and bring back Sovran relics for study and display.  A generous reward is offered to any who will dare the ancient traps and crumbling ruins in search of treasure and glory.

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Not...entirely unexpected. So he'd have to use a little more oomph eh?

Well then...Mayfax began folding up the pole and packing it away before taking a few more steps back from the mysterious moving knobs. He'd take a deep breath...and then manifest a twin set of tendrils of psychokinetic force, hazy rippling outlines of psionic energy pushing up against the stone circles, the mental constructs gradually applying more and more pressure to the knobs until something ticked.

"Guano!" Kate doesn't even bother glancing behind her when the plate shifts under her foot - the faint whoosh of the darts firing is all the warning she needs. She drops to all fours and runs as fast as her stubby little limbs will allow, wings pulled protectively around her as she dodges debris and darts.

Mayfax

The knobs respond to a certain amount of force, sliding back into the wall with a loud CLICK! and ceasing their turning.  In a split-second, and series of heavy spikes shoot out of the wall, three meters of sharp, violent death right where Mayfax would have been standing, if not for his psychokinetic powers.

The knobs have stopped turning, and the building itself slowly stops shaking, calm once more.

 

Velveteen

The situation certainly seems desperate.  The gem is set it very well, and it's taking all Velveteen's strength to pry at it.  It feels like it's just finally starting to give....

When abruptly, the room stops shaking, and the great carven head falls backwards, into the wall like a drawbridge falling, dumping Velv and Steel into another dark hallway.  It then snaps shut again, leaving the two of them trapped, but at least there's a floor on this side.

Somewhere up ahead, there's a light glowing from around a distant corner.  Perhaps there's someone else down here?  Or maybe an ancient Sovran lamp still has batteries that work, somehow.

 

Kate

With the darts hot on her tail, Kate can't prevent triggering another trap.  Long, sharp poles start to shoot up from the floor, skewering spikes that threaten to turn her into shishkabob if she can't dodge them.  And at the very end of the hall, just short of freedom, a trap door in the floor opens directly in front of Kate, revealing a pit filled with rusty spikes.

Dodging is not something she does well, and feathers and blood go flying as the jutting poles clip the edges of her wings. She manages to get ten feet, twenty...and then the floor opens up beneath her, and she tumbles for a heart stopping second.

Before stopping dead, her fully extended wings braced against both sides of the trap, leaving her suspended head down. She lets out a shaken breath, and surveys her position.

"God-bothering bloody Sovran.... Hey, Baxter! A little help here!" Hopefully the battlebot managed to avoid getting crushed, trapped or robot-poisoned. 

"Come on... come... Emperor's rust tarnished sins,  come out." She strains at the gem, using leverage for all she's worth, even applying her bayonet, to no avail. 

With a yelp she's pitched forward with Steele when the face shunts them into the hallway beyond. The sound of Steele's alloy skin scraping on stone is overlaid with the ringing chime of the mechanic's bayonet bouncing across the dark stones.

She lays there a moment, atop her companion, while regaining her bearings. She rolls off the metal man, rising to her feet and dusting her pants and shirt off. 

While she checks over her rifle Steele levers himself up to his feet, metal scraping metal as bent panels clearance themselves. He methodically puts both arms through their full range of motion without a word, just the slight squeal of hydraulics and the soft rush of steam in his pipes. "I appear undamaged, Ms Lenin."

"Same here, but I lost my bayonet. 'Sec..." She digs into her pocket, pulling out a token and wiping a drop of sweat across the rune. The token glows soft blue, gradually brightening as it turns daylight white. The light reaches outward several meters before it tapers off to nothing. "Now, bayonet first, strange hallway exploration second. We have half an hour of light."

 

Mayfax winced as the giant spikes of death erupted where he would've been standing if he'd tried to depress those knobs with his bare hands. Part of wondered how in the hell a crumbling ruin'd still have perfectly-functioning deathtraps after several millenia of disuse and decay before shrugging it off as more that 'magic' stuff.

Given that there seemed to be no further effect from activating the strange knobs, Mayfax'd take one last look for anything unusual or interesting in the ruined hall before shouldering his pack and moving on to the what looked like the nearest entrance into the deeper parts of the ruins.

Baxter simply walks down the hallway, darts pinging harmlessly off his metal hide.  He walks through the skewering spikes like they were nothing but grass, snapping them off with his heavy passing.  Then he reaches down very delicately, and plucks Kate up by the scruff of her neck, lifting her out of the pit.  He very carefully steps over the open trap door before setting the little Chittersqueak down again, brushing her off with supreme dignity.  "The shaking appears to have stopped.  It may be wise to proceed more slowly from here on."

Velveteen

As the rune flares to life, Velveteen finds herself surrounded!  Fortunately, the figures crowding either side of the hallway are not real, but statues (though for just a moment, it sure seemed like they were moving...)  Rows of statues on either side of the hall, built into individual alcoves in the wall.  Images of Sovran, each dwarves Velveteen herself, though they stand very passively, hands clasped before them and heads bowed in supplication.  There are no gems or decorations on these statues, and it seems a reasonable assumption that they represent servants of some kind... or slaves.

Mayfax

Aside from the eerie gaping of the distressing hole in the ceiling (are those TEETH around the edge of it?) there's nothing of particular interest in the main hall.

As Mayfax goes along his chosen corridor, he could make quite the study of the artwork worked into the very walls of this temple complex.  Wherever there are not bas-relief sculpture of Sovran, there's panels of indecipherable Sovran script.  It's all very mysterious and a not a little bit creepy.  Even stranger, perhaps, there's no sign of moss, fungus, or even a single spider web to be found.  Usually when a structure turns up from deep within the City, it's teeming with weird below-life.

At last, Mayfax will come to something more unusual.  An alcove in the wall, the size and shape of a doorway fit for the tall Sovran, that stands out by virtue of not being covered in sculpture or writing.  Instead, it is decorated only with three triangles carved into the stone, arranged in a sort of shallow "V"-shape.

"Alright, now to find my bayo-soot and sin!" the oath bursts from her lips as she catches sight of the first Sovran statue, eerily lit by the unwavering glow of the rune. She falls backward, rifle clattering to the stones as she bounces off Steele's legs and back onto the floor.

Her companion just stares down the hallway, using the rune's light to identify the numerous alcoves and the statues they contain. He steps over his mechanic, moving to stand face to face with the nearest stone faced supplicant. "They appear to be mere statues. There is no threat to us here, Ms. Lenin."

Cari picks herself up off the floor, peering about as she retrieves her rifle, though instead of shouldering it as before she holds it in something that pretends to be a trained and professional readied fashion. "Okay, If you're ready then, Steele... let's go see what the hallway brings, keep an eye out for my bayonet."

"As you wish, Ms. Lenin."

 

The pair proceed down the hall, toward the distant dim doorway. The shadows on the statues are creepy but after the fifth or sixth she manages not to jump at each new blank face. 

Velveteen

Fortunately the bayonet has only gone a little ways down the hall, lodging itself in a crack in the foot of one of the statues.  It's impossible to shake the feeling that the statues are watching them.  There's just some heavy creep in the atmosphere.

Mayfax continued taking his time as he made his way deeper into the ruins. Slow and steady...well...may not win the race but just may keep him from being impaled. The man hrmmed to himself as he noted the lack of fungus or other underground life signs. ...Probably the same thing that's keeping those traps functional, he'd guess.

Despite an odd lack of underground flora and fauna and a neverending tapestry of disturbing Sovran art, Mayfax shouldered on, eventually finding himself within stone-throwing distance of the alcove and those mysterious triangles.

Again the psion paused, studying the conveniently door-sized alcove and it's carvings. It seemed pretty obvious what he was supposed to do here...which also made it a pretty obvious trap. And since he's already in a stone's throw away...

He'd reach into his toolbelt to do precisely that, tossing a smooth, ovoid stone at one of the carvings.

The bayonet is quickly retrieved, but instead of putting it on the end of her gun the mechanic slips it back into its sheathe on her belt.

"Steele... you don't see any movement, do you?" Cari hurries up her companion's wake, more than a little spooked. She has her rifle held in both hands, muzzle down, but she's already closed it up for fire.

"You have asked me that question three times in less than five hands, Ms. Lenin. I assure you, I have not spotted movement or I would have informed you, Ms Lenin."

The pair continue toward the lit end of the space.

Mayfax

The carving struck by the stone, oddly enough, makes a musical tone, and starts to glow with unearthly light.  The single sustained note gets louder and louder, joined by others as the remaining patterns on the door begin to glow as well.

Then they all abruptly go dark and silent, and the floor of the alcove suddenly plunges away, disappearing down a long shaft.  If Mayfax had been manipulating the wall by hand, he'd be taking a VERY fast trip downwards right now.

He can hear the stone land, eventually, with a tremendous crack at great distance.  If he looks down the hole, he'll see a light at the end of a long vertical shaft, and hear distant voices.

Velveteen

Cari and Steele eventually step into a large round chamber, light by strange orange globes held high by yet more of the Sovran statues.  These are larger than the statues in the hallway, more powerfully built, with the addition of four eyes carved into their otherwise featureless faces.  Including the hallway Cari has just come from, there are six halls connected to this chamber, spaced equilaterally along the walls.

At the center of the room there is a raised stone structure, about chest-height.  The main body of the object is a cylinder several meters across, and the top side appears to be a separate cap-stone, slightly curved across the top.  The entire 'well' is covered in elaborate carvings, dominated by a huge jeweled eye in the center of the cap stone.

As Cari is looking around, a stone plunges out of a shaft set into the ceiling, hitting the floor with a tremendous bang and splitting into three pieces.

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