The Quest Board attracted all sorts of strange individuals, but the person with the cards was out of the ordinary even by those standards. As sketchy and untrustworthy as they seemed, Nerius had accepted their offer, and for one main reason, the haze of magic that hovered around them. What this person was, he had no idea, it wasn't as simple as a node or arcane relic. The cards too, appeared to hold some sort of magic, but if they were for tarot readings or something else entirely he couldn't tell.
But the details weren't really important, what mattered was what such a person could offer in reward. For whatever reason, quest rewards were never mentioned ahead of time, he'd noticed, but one had good odds fore a desirable reward. Nerius didn't really trust the person, but it was an official quest. And, well, he wasn't about to admit it, but it wouldn't be the first time he'd been involved in a sketchy magical artifact hunt.
He had, at first, thought the person was implying he'd need to steal something. Ethics aside, burglary wasn't something he had any experience in, and he doubted he'd be able to break into someone's house, sneak around, break through security systems, and grab an item, without being noticed. But tracking down a magical item in some far flung, dangerous location? That was something he had plenty of experience with.
The location given had ended up being rather vague, the individual hadn't been lying when they said they knew who had it, but who didn't necessarily mean were. Which was why Nerius was at the outskirts of the city, near the mines, where the roads were poorly kept up, and the underbrush threatened to take over entirely. It was also cold, winter had set in, and snow coated the trees, and the roads hadn't been cleared, and were patchy with snow, making them not the easiest to travel.
From what Nerius could piece together from the person's pitch, and the sealed quest paper, was that the item did, legitimately, belong to them. But someone (Nerius suspected it had been an 'associate') had taken the object, and had hidden it away off in a hideout at the outskirts of the city. He wasn't sure why the person giving the quest couldn't have gotten it back themselves, and for whatever reason was willing to pay someone else to get it. Perhaps they were fully capable of it, and just preferred to hire someone else for the menial task.
He could certainly see why someone would rather hire another person to wander around in the woods looking for this hideout. The quest paper had included a map, and though Nerius was in the right place, it only showed a general area. He also had no idea what the hideout itself would look like, apparently it was a 'you'll know it when you see it', sort of thing, and there shouldn't have been any other camps or buildings in the area.
Still, it would have been nice to have a little more information, but that couldn't be helped. Nerius had decided to start by following the road to wherever it ended. He rather doubted it would be that easy to find, but it was a place to start. Though, he'd been walking a good half hour outside of the city proper now, and hadn't come across anything yet. The road was getting worse and worse, less people came out this far, though footprints suggested some did, but less traffic meant more undisturbed snow.
The snow, he hoped, would actually be an advantage. Nerius didn't know much about tracking, but it didn't take any real skill to notice a pair of footprints in a foot deep of snow. He was keeping an eye out for that, though it was possible whoever had taken the item hadn't come back to the hideout since the last snow. He would have expected the person with the cards not to want to wait to get it back, but who knew how long setting up an official quest took.
The road wasn't getting any better, but finally Nerius spotted a trail of footprints leading off the main road. It was impossible for him to tell what they were from, he wasn't really a tracker, but it was (maybe?) bipedal, and it was the best lead he had. So, he veered off from the road, and into the trees, following the footprints. It wasn't a straight path, but Nerius couldn't tell if the maker was deliberately trying (not very successfully) to make the trail harder to follow, or if they were avoiding obstacles along the way. He suspected the latter, as the trail was rather easy to follow.
It didn't seem to really be going anywhere though, he noticed after following the trail for a while, and just seemed to wander around. There could have been a path beneath the snow that Nerius couldn't see, or it could just have been made by an animal, and not actually lead to anything. Nerius would not be happy if that was the case, he could follow his way back easy enough, but it would make this a waste of time.
The trail wasn't crossing over or doubling back, at least, which suggested there was a goal location in mind. It was also getting further from the road, and closer to the cliffs, Nerius could see them occasionally in gaps through the trees. He was still following the footprints when he detected something more interesting than cliffs; the faint buzz of magic. It was completely off the trail, but seemed a much more reliable lead than the meandering path, and besides, if it didn't turn out, he could find his way back by his own footprints.
Taking a moment to focus on the magic, Nerius could tell it was coming from somewhere to the right, in the direction of the cliffs. It couldn't have been a crystal that had somehow gotten out of the mines, it was too 'polished'. It had the feel of shaped magic, not the raw, unrefined feel that came from crystals. He couldn't tell what it was at this distance, or if there was more than one source.
The way was a bit more rough off of the footprint trail, Nerius found, as he headed in the direction of the magic. He was having to fight through leafless bushes, navigate around rough rocks, and even scramble over a large fallen, dead tree. Maybe there was a reason the maker of the footprint trail had gone in such a roundabout path.
The tree had been the worst, it had fallen lengthwise against the way he needed to go, and completely blocked his path. It was big too, and even sideways the trunk was almost chest high on Nerius. There were a few branches that had been growing off it it, that weren't completely brittle and fragile, and were able to hold his weight as he climbed up them. Yes, more climbing, but trees were much more manageable than rock faces. Or slippery wrapping paper. Really the only thing that was a bit of an issue was all the snow, not so much that it made it harder, but he did end up poking himself on some broken branch remains he couldn't see.
It wasn't far after the large fallen tree that Nerius reached the cliff face. He hadn't expected to run into it so soon, but he hadn't really been able to see the distance through the trees well. The magic pulled a bit to the left now, further along the cliff, and it occurred to him the hideout could be in a cave, not a traditional building. He was near the entrance to the mines, and there were plenty of smaller offshoot caverns besides the main entrance.
Turning to the left, Nerius followed along the wall of the cliff, in the direction of the magic. The ground, while it hadn't been 'good' before, became even more uneven and rocky, the further he went. That wasn't a surprise this close to the mines and cliffs, but it did make for slower going, as he had to carefully pick his way through the rocks. It made for uneven footing, and he had to awkwardly climb over a few of the larger.
But the thrum of magic grew stronger, and eventually a large crack in the cliff wall came into view. It appeared natural, and would have been easy to miss if one hadn't been looking for such a thing. Nerius paused close to the entrance, both to take a break from the difficult trek, and to see if he could sense anything more specific about the magic now that he was closer. There was.. more than one source, a closer one, which had a smooth, spell like feel. A ward, he realized, but felt more focused, meant to keep a specific entity out. Likely the item's owner, which would explain why they'd needed to hire someone else to retrieve it.
There were other sources of magic, further into the cave, but only one powerful one, almost certainly the item he was seeking. But first, the question would be, could he get past the ward? It felt like a simple seal, not one meant to deal damage, so he shouldn't be harmed even if it wouldn't let him pass.
Still, Nerius would rather try it against an inanimate object first, and picked up a fallen branch from under one of the trees. Walking back to the cavern entrance, he could tell the ward was set slightly into the opening, probably due to the uneven rock. He tested the ward, by using the ancient arcane secret of.. poking it with a stick. It sounded a bit silly when said like that, but the branch was able to pass safely through the ward, which shimmered slightly.
Satisfied with that, Nerius carefully reached up to the ward, brushing the tips of his fingers against it. It shimmered again, but didn't cause him any harm, and with that he felt confident to step through the ward. The process tingled a little, but he was able to safely pass through the barrier. From here, he looked around, but couldn't really see anything, as the cave quickly got dark. He'd brought a flashlight, expecting to be wandering around somewhere dark, and switching it on, he was able to see around.
There wasn't a lot to see, at the moment, just a twisting tunnel that lead deeper into the rock. It did occur to Nerius that someone else could be here, but he didn't hear anything, or see any lights further along the cave. There really wasn't much else but to head down the tunnel, which after a few dozen feet led to a small chamber.
It looked like a ramshackle camp, a bedroll in one corner, a rickety old table with a chair. it was hardly cozy, but there were a few more utility items as well, a shelf with old, and in some cases ragged looking, books, and a second small table set up for what looked like magical projects. Some of the items even had a faint feel of magic to them, but nothing strong enough that could have been the item he was searching for. He still felt it worth taking a look at the items, and the notes next to them.
From what he could tell at quick glance, the notes referred to summoning techniques, and the items matched up with what he was reading. It may or may not have related to the stole item, as the notes weren't mentioning anything unusual. Nerius left it alone after that, it wasn't what he was here for, that was still further in the cave.
He could feel it from here, it had been what he'd sensed all the way out in the woods, and it was coming in the direction of a second shaft leading further into the cliff. As Nerius walked down the shaft, it only got stronger, the thrumming getting louder and louder, easily more powerful than a node, and it became difficult for him to focus on anything else. It felt.. strange, unearthly, and somehow different from the usual sources of magic around the Labs. It was more like something he would have found in the old ruins in his homeland, and was hardly something he would have expected to run into here.
It was starting to make him dizzy, and Nerius had to balance himself against the wall. It wasn't simply from the buzz of magic, there was something about the item specifically. There was a pull to it too, that made him want to go to it, not just because it was the goal of the quest, and he had to wonder what the relic was designed to actually do.
He wasn't sure how much farther the tunnel went, before it opened up into another small chamber. But this was no rough camp, it was nearly empty, save for a few small unlit brazers set around the perimeter, and a large stone slab in the middle, which held the relic. Half dazed, Nerius walked over to the slab, almost touching the relic before he caught himself. No, no, no, you do not go around poking unknown magical artifacts, that's how you ended up with a burned hand, or worse.
Shaking his head in an attempt to clear it, Nerius tried to examine the relic, without touching. It was an orb, made of stone, with large, pyramid shaped spikes off either side, giving it an almost diamond shaped silhouette. The orb swirled with runes, but they translated into a language he didn't understand. The runes were glowing as well, with a sickly red light, as were jagged patterns that decorated the pyramid sides. He had no idea what it did, and just made Nerius want to examine it further, it was a shame he'd have to turn it in for the quest. Then again.. he could always.. keep it.
Ugh, had that thought come from the relic, or his own mind? Shaking his head a little, Nerius put a hand to it as he narrowed his eyes suspiciously at the relic. He did not trust the thing, and there was one major reason why he was not keeping it, it was very likely dangerous, and he didn't have any way of containing it for study. Oh, and it belonged to someone else, and it would probably result in another quest sent to get it back.
No, he'd be returning it, but the trick would be actually getting it there. It was large, though not so big it wouldn't fit in his backpack, he just wasn't sure how he was going to get it in there without touching it. Maybe he had some supplies remaining from his last mining trip? Taking off the backpack, and setting it on the stone slab, he dug around. All his real mining supplies he'd removed, but there were a few rags in there, they weren't fancy, but would let him avoid touching the relic with his bare hands. There were a variety of sizes, though the smallest was to little to be of much use. Now how to do this...
Grabbing the largest rag, Nerius draped it over the relic, placing a smaller one over one of the pyramid spikes so he could hold it without touching as he wrapped the larger around the relic. It wasn't elegant, but it did protect him from touching it, and Nerius carefully set it in his pack, before zipping it up.
Twilight-Claw: Thanks for that piece of info Ren! <3 | But would it be allowed for the flavor of the rp if the berry wasn't filling enough for the Lotine?
Jun 1, 2020 6:09:21 GMT -6
Renathan: There is no need to double up on a fish and a magical berry (doesn't change the effect of the berry at all) in a lotine breeding.
Jun 1, 2020 6:02:21 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: Does anyone know if it is possible to combine both a magical berry and a fish in a Lotine breeding? Or is you can only choose one of them? (right now writing a Lotine breeding)
Jun 1, 2020 5:36:49 GMT -6
Twilight-Claw: I am still interested in trading it for a green drake.
Jun 1, 2020 0:31:33 GMT -6
Ridelys: If you are still interested in a trade twilight, for your fidelity result, let me know.
May 31, 2020 22:49:49 GMT -6
Riku: I got three pet levels and 15c out of it. <3 And all the necessary posts for my job salary form.
May 31, 2020 18:49:26 GMT -6
Riku: In mine my crossbreed used foxfire to burn it - but then it used incendiary illusion, which was extra scary because my cross is a plant pet with thick fur. It used the distraction to escape. I’m proud of it, and it’s okay that I won’t finish this month.
May 31, 2020 18:48:42 GMT -6
Renathan: *But of course, the RNG was not having that. / In Morgan's story, the Nyssa was a real thing, so I wanted to have two different situations for the variety.
May 31, 2020 18:15:27 GMT -6
Renathan: Yeah, the 'finished the story but the RNGods are being a butt' thing is a rather unfortunate situation to be in. I had already decided that in Ren's story, the elderly woman had lied about the nyssa and just wanted someone to talk to*
May 31, 2020 18:14:49 GMT -6
Riku: That makes sense. I've considered that before. -nod- I hope your non-hxr life is going smoothly.
May 31, 2020 16:38:08 GMT -6
Haix: Just quitting the job. Don't believe I'll be making the ten posts required per month any time soon. XD
May 31, 2020 16:34:01 GMT -6
Riku: Note to haix, I believe you can post the new application form at the same time as the quitting form. Unless you are simply taking an overall break from the job system.
May 31, 2020 16:30:58 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: even AT the gardens yet. XD It sucks when you've finished writing your story and haven't gotten a success, because then its like "well... now what?" XD
May 31, 2020 15:51:47 GMT -6
Fiera Ferella: ive found that when there's a quest that might take longer like this, its a good idea to try and space out the story beats to try and roll a success before i get to the meat of the story. XD Like, by the time i was 5 posts in my character wasn't
May 31, 2020 15:51:21 GMT -6