2/14 Hot Miners, Cold Iron

JWaldman Feb 16th, 2020 242 Never
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  1. /Hot Miners.... Cold Iron/
  3. Tyrium, an alien metal that had no true place amongst Earth's crust. Useless to most, harmful to the world's Magi population. Something that no one sane would actively seek out.
  5. So of course the leader of the party would be Eudocia, the Blackstar witch. Accompanied by what one could only call living embodiment of Anarchism, Dun. And the mighty Princess of the Demon Wolf Clan, Ame'Vel.
  7. Following rumors of an old mine that had to be shut down, they'd find the search would prove no trouble. They'd be sent to a hole in the mountain chain that Silverfall would call home.
  9. Remnants of an old mining expedition would be seen. Anything of value picked up, some older personal mementos left askew outside the cavern's entrance.
  11. Their quest would start here, but would they be turned away by the rumors? Of a beast that "absorbed" all of the workforce and turned them into something... unexplainable.
  12. Osronan nobility was the type to lead from the back; they'd send forth their armies to do their bidding while remaining in their mansions and thrones, or in truly dire circumstances perhaps on a tent close to the back, where retreat would be easy. Eudocia was a different breed - she led directly from the front, black stardust trailing in her wake, hand positioned by the grip of Silver Durendal so that she might draw it from her side at any moment.
  14. "Heard about this place from an old man," she said, "One of those... cryptic, wise, but also slightly-drunk types," she told the group, "You know - the kind of guy that would wave his hands and go 'noooOOO! Don't go ANYWHERE near that mine! Stay away! Stay far, far away! I've never been the saaaame since I worked there!'"
  16. Her (admittedly pretty impressive) impersonation dropped as she took a step forward, keen to enter the cave proper. "The effect this mine had on its workers, mentally, points to tyrium, yeah," she said, "But rumor has it there's something else here. I'd chalk it up to hallucinations and we're better than that," she figured, "But be on guard, anyway."
  18. She paused at the entrance, though - just a moment.
  20. "Some tribes," she said, "Practice magic that hinges on sentimental stuff like this. I think Ghede called it voodoo. I don't believe in any of that - but if it does happen to be real, I'm just gonna..."
  22. ...Shove some of those personal mementos into her bag before proceeding on.
  23. (Eudocia Mimés)
  26. Dun the Tower, used to leading men into the breach for all manner of reasons at this point, was quite content to simply follow along and enjoy himself for once, his black sabatons clanking ambiently against the ground with a steady jingle of the brass bells that adorned his plate. The trail of black stardust was his own personal, chaotic north star; wherever Eudocia led him, the fun would follow.
  28. "Cryptic, wise, and intoxicated old men tend to have survived the best kind of maddening horrors. Good sources of information, also excellent companions for gambling. If he's giving this place such a grandiose review, it must be something special!"
  30. Why the clown warlord was so incessantly cheerful about the threat of madness and death was beyond clarity. Perhaps he no longer feared the latter, and thoroughly embraced the former at this point like a snug blanket of unpredictability.
  32. "If it lines up, that's what we're here for, yeah? We're already crazy for showing up here willingly, not like the tyrium's gonna change much. Besides, if there is some spooky voodoo nonsense, that means we might get to PUNCH A GHOST IN THE FACE. IDEAL!"
  34. Dun would clap his palms together as he followed steadily behind Eudocia. He was overjoyed. Danger, go team.
  35. (Dun)
  38.  Coming to a place like this didn't seem like a big deal to her, as she had come from worse depths and Esshar was quite pleasant in comparison. So for them to go into a potentially dangerous mine? She seemed more happy to be accompanying the Jesters on their little adventure, more than anything else.
  40. "Old man... cryptic, and drunk?" A second to think it over, did they even have any of those? "Nope..." She didn't know at all. "But it does make me want to go in even more! People who tell me not to do things, essentially make me want to do the opposite."
  42. Shrugging, she sticks close to Eudocia and Dun. Those pretty specks of stardust that trailed off from her aura, it took up most of her attention upon arriving here.
  44. "I don't think I have ever suffered from hallucinations, but it could be an interesting experience?" Could she eat hallucinations? "But yes, I will be on guard even if I don't typically feel this could be too dangerous. I am quite confident in us!"
  46. Voodoo though? She was sure that she's heard something similar to that, but hasn't exactly witnessed anything. Wasn't it a lot like witchcraft in a sense? Or maybe she was wrong? "I think I am worried about it falling apart, as I would rather not have to dig my way out off the mines. It wouldn't be the first time I have had to use my claws to climb out of rubble!"
  48. Awkward silence for a moment, looking left and right. "Yeah..." Wooden arms adjust, moving over her body to fix up clothing and even hair. "Let's just go in, do you want me to go first?"
  49. (Ame'Vel)
  52. Ame'vel might be able to eat hallucinations but honestly they never turn out exactly as you want them to.
  54. As Eudocia reached out to grab a memento she'd see it was... mundane and boring. A memorial to someone's father who was lost within the mines.
  56. "Alec, for wherever you are, Leonaus guide you back home."
  58. A relatively inexpensive token, which is a letdown isn't it?
  62. Entering in the cave itself, there's a few things to notice.
  64. The cave itself was obviously man made. Crafted through years of mining in attempt to hit a payload of some sort. The direction of the cavern seems relatively straight forward and aimed, deeper and deeper with no real side caverns of note.
  66. Lining the walls of the cave are various tools expected from a mine. Pick-axes, lanterns, and so on. All strewn haphazardly across the way. Left in a hurry, perhaps?
  69. But the most important part lays dead center within the path, a few yards in is the start of a minetrack. Mine carts lay at the end. Unused for quite some time and, of course, inhabited with little creepy critters. Spiders and the like.
  72. From the minetrack forward, the cave goes on.
  73. The witch glanced down at the memento, gave it a shrug, and pocketed it anyway. Maybe she'd find the father - if he was still alive - or, even more amusingly, the kid someday. But the time for fooling around, of course, was at an end - onward, onward!
  75. ...So that she might fool around inside of the mine. Her own aura seemed to swallow the light itself, and although living on the border of life and death for so many years gave her the ability to see beyond - which did have some mundane utility as a means of seeing somewhat well in the dark - there was still some practicality in grabbing a lantern, attempting to light it, and proceeding on. On and on - deeper and deeper, until...
  77. Her arms shot out to her sides, stopping the following Ame'Vel and Dun in their tracks. "Gods," she said breathlessly, eagerly, supernatural blue gaze locked onto the minecarts. "Do you know what those are? I think the Dark Lord's seen fit to bless me with some entertainment. Dun, Dun, give me a push, will you?"
  79. She looked back, blinking.
  81. "...And then hop in. Even if it's boring, it'll probably get us to wherever the miners stopped faster than just walking there would. We gotta find out what made them run away in such a hurry - what's bad news for them, honestly, is probably good news for us."
  83. Flawless logic.
  85. She cannon-balled into the frontmost cart, the impact and her life-draining stardust almost assuredly making quick work of any small lifeforms inside of it.
  86. (Eudocia Mimés)
  89. The dark wouldn't be a problem for this demon, as her eyes have that soft tint of red. Able to see in the dark, it wasn't that difficult to do. Besides, Eudocia seems to grab onto a lantern anyway which made things easier.
  91. Stopped in their tracks, she gazes down at Eudocia's arm, and then to Dun. Before looking up towards the cart, tilting her head to the side a little. "No..." She had no idea what they were, but it seemed Eudocia was excited to see them. Entertainment? She wondered what they even had to offer, but there was only one way to find out.
  93. Jumping inside of the cart with Eudocia would be ideal, but wouldn't that put them at risk of touching too? No, no... With these four wooden arms, she could easily maintain that distance Eudocia needed.
  95. So she climbs in, probably a lot slower than Eudocia's excitement rushed her into the cart. Making sure no dirt or critters were close, a slight touch of water magic tokeep her perfect. "I'm going to guess that this is going to move, and maybe even fast?" Two wooden arms move forwards, clamping down on Eudocia's shoulders before that essence of magic was removed from them.
  97. ...But now she couldn't use them again until they stopped, otherwise Eudocia would be feasting on her during the whole ride. A nuisance, but it would help keep them steady during things. The other two wooden arms clamp onto the sides, making sure to keep her body still.
  99. For a wolf, these arms worked a lot like spider legs. "I'm ready..." Did she have to brace herself? She would just to make sure! While also leaving some room for Dun to jump in, did this mean she was going to be in the middle?
  101. Oh boy.
  102. (Ame'Vel)
  105. Dun would ignite his form with an ethereal blue shroud of fiery, pulsating mana, a pale gleam ambiently flickering from his form that aided to some degree in the general darkness of the locale. Granted, he also only had one eye, and that one eye was covered by a heavy set mask, so it seemed at this point he was guiding himself along through sheer chance and fortune.
  107. As it should be.
  109. Halted by Eudocia's tiny arm, the giant clown would blink steadily as he glance at, with some shock, appeared to be a REAL MINECART LIKE FROM THE STORIES. Having grown up in Sudsbury, he'd never seen the inside of a mine in his life, so the appearance of such a wonder presented him with genuine excitement.
  111. Blinking steadily as he heard Eudocia's words, a mad grin that spread practically ear to ear behind the man's mask would precede a cackle of delight, watching the pair of ladies swiftly make their way into the minecart as the clown strongman pulled up his sleeves.
  113. Taking a deep breathe, Dun would focus his ambient, frenetic flow of energy into his biceps, the musculature of his arms bulging out with condensed mana as his muscle fibers swelled beyond the limits of safety.
  115. Who needed safety when they had FUN.
  117. Arms reinforced by his concentrated might, the clown would swiftly, and even more dangerously, accelerate his own personal timestream and metabolism beyond its limits, sprinting forth at blinding speed to slam into the back of the minecart and begin pushing it with immense swiftness down the track.
  119. Just as his control of his acceleration was beginning to slip, the clown would vault over the side with his strained arms, landing cozily beside Ame'vel with a wheezing breathe as he coughed into his arm before leaning against the demon princess.
  122. (Dun)
  125. Ame'vels wooden appendages move on to grip the sides of the cart. Of course a tried and true safety measure that could never fail.
  127. But just before she'd grab hold, something would catch her eye! A black ooze was running off the side. Thankfully dripping down onto the ground below rather than pooling into the cart.
  129. Being close to it would give her a very familiar feeling. Something akin to Eudocia herself. A tugging at their essence and mana, yet way less focused or powerful.
  131. It's safe to say Ame'vel can avoid dirtying her wooden arms, if she chooses.
  134. Of course things get shaken up a bit when Dun decides to Super Energy Power ram the cart. Launching the trio forward at breakneck, and honestly terrible, speeds.
  137. Caution was thrown into the wind, and the speeds reached would make it a bit hard to see the writing on the walls.
  139. The deeper they go, however, they notice something peculiar. The lantern's light seems to be almost absorbed by the cavern walls. Leaving them dark and blank. Devoid of color or anything else.
  140. The blackstar witch tensed up at the touch of Ame'Vel's wooden hands; it stood to reason that someone whose powerset boiled down to 'you die if you come near her' was, as it turned out, someone who was never ready to be touched in any capacity. She snapped out of it once Dun sent them speeding down the track at such a pace that she couldn't even take the time to wonder how they were even staying on the track at a speed like this.
  142. Even then, no sense worrying about it. They were quite literally on rails for now, might as well roll with it. Also quite literally.
  144. And so Eudocia did the immediately sensible thing in this situation: put on the nifty brown hat she found at the entrance of the mine, duck to avoid ramming head-first into any haphazardly placed wood beams, and... now hold on, what's going on? Once she noticed the light being consumed, she squinted at the lantern still clutched in her decaying hand.
  146. "Oh, hey!" the former jester said all too cheerily, "It's just like my magic! It really is the motherlode down here, isn't it?" She let out a giggle, setting the useless lantern down on the floor of the minecart and keeping her hand atop it, so as to prevent any unfortunate accidents.
  148. "...On second thought, this minecart ride may have been the worst idea imagineable. Right into the heart of it. At these speeds. We are dead."
  150. A pause.
  152. "Fun, right?"
  153. (Eudocia Mimés)
  156. Dun was along for the wild ride with an excited cackle, finally recatching his breathe after over two decades of determined smoking. His lungs were likely crusted with minty tar, but that was just weighted clothing for a true energy magi anyways. No fear.
  158. The clown warlord would simply enjoy the ride with a steady, thoughtful calm, keeping his trusty corncob pipe tucked away in the mouthhole of his mask as he puffed away steadily on it, keeping it ignited with ethereal flame even as they hurtled forth at these breakneck speeds recklessly.
  160. Rather than stare forwards, Dun would merely shut his eye as he enjoyed the chaos of the moment, drinking upon its energy with cheer as he chuckled with delight with a steady, ambient slap of his calloused palm against the black plate of his cuirass.
  162. "Wouldn't be the first voidy, dark space spookery and nonsense I've jumped palm first into, won't be the last. BETTER TO BURN OUT THAN FADE AWAY EUDOCIA, AHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAH!"
  164. The clown would raise his fist with cheer, nodding to the pair of ladies as he prepared with excitement for whatever came forth.
  165. (Dun)
  168. [19:25] Something was tugging on her essence, and it wasn't Eudocia. Those wooden arms used to hold onto the woman had been unattached to her, meaning the magic used to shift them had been taken away until they moved again. And even if Eudocia wasn't used to touch, and Ame'Vel wasn't typically someone that accepted it either... They felt the reason was justified, and it wasn't her actual limbs.
  170. But those other appendages seem to find something, causing that curiosity to be sparked rather quickly. "Huh..." And before she got a chance to check, Dun had already sent them speeding off down into the mines.
  172. "Eee!" Unexpectedly, which causes surprise. But moving fast wasn't an issue, so she calms down quickly. But the deeper they got, the harder it was to see. Even with her demonic eyes, she could not see too well in the pits of these mines. No hard hat was needed when her horns were tough enough to handle any wooden beams. Probably not the best idea.
  174. "Like your magic?" Was this really the case now though? Slowing down hopefully... It made her question what would happen if they got out of the cart, would it begin to tug on them heavily?
  176. "Do you really think it's going to suck us dry?" The moment they made their pact, it was close to death. So how would it feel to be surrounded by things quite similar? Surely they weren't as powerful as Eudocia's ability alone. "Death isn't accepted..." She mumbles, could they even hear clearly?
  178. When do they stop?!
  180. Ame'Vel does use one of her wooden arms to trace against the black ooze, most likely as a mistake while curiously wanting to inspect it. What was oozing at the side of their cart, which had the same properties as Eudocia?
  181. (Ame'Vel)
  184. "Suck us dry?" Eudocia called out, amplifying her voice enough to be heard over the careening minecart, "Probably! But if it doesn't, I hope it's something I can shove my sword through!" She resisted the urge to stand up, put her foot up onto the front of the minecart, and point her sword forward. It would've looked really cool, but she was relatively safe crouched down in it right now and wasn't quite crazy enough to die for the sake of a really cool pose.
  186. As cool as it would be.
  187. (Eudocia Mimés)
  190.  Ame'Vel says, "Save some stabbing for the-- Nevermind... We don't stab things, but I could scratch them? Or something."
  191. Dun says, "I will stab them WITH MY FISTS."
  192. Tracing the ooze was a bit of a mistake, Ame'vel would be right there. As her wooden arm was dipped into the sludge that remained, any magic that would've be put into that appendage would be drained out. Albeit, slowly.
  195. Their cart right wouldn't go on for too long, of course. Yet a few final touches were shown as they continued deeper and deeper. The walls, which before were of course solid, started oozing that same unknown substance. Piling up onto the ground below.
  197. The pull of the mines would increase to a final stage. Light was devoured, voices were muffled. They could feel something prodding at their magics, yet never able to dig deep enough to get it.
  199. Soon enough the minecart would lose speed. Whatever magical push Dun gave it would be eaten away, and they'd be stranded.
  202. Yet worst of all they weren't alone. Looking to the sides they'd quickly discover skeletonized remains of humans. Covered in the ooze, frozen in time. Showing their last pickaxe swing before they were devoured.
  205. Ahead of them lay a bigger pool of the substance.
  206. Eudocia, meanwhile, was blissfully unaware of any of this ooze business until she saw it seeping down the walls; she hadn't taken notice of Ame'Vel's personal exploits within the minecart, and all in all she was just enjoying the ride... up until it ended. Poking her head out of the minecart, she took a look around. The skeletons caught her eye first, and she flashed a grin.
  208. "I wonder which one is Alec. Hey! Alec! Got some dumb pendant or whatever with your name on it. Come get it!" She looked to her companions and fake-whispered: "See, he's dead, so he can't get it."
  210. A normal person would've found this morbid; Eudocia was - no points for guessing this - quite possibly the farthest from 'normal' a person could be. Her oddness didn't mean she was unintelligent, however. As her elongated fingers wrapped around the front of the minecart and she squinted at the pool of ooze in the darkness, she sent a single, telepathic message to both of her companions.
  212. - I can't even generate my own mana. Anything that steals it from me is awful news, especially down here. Let's make this quick. -
  214. And so, kneeling down and picking up the lantern, she locked her gaze onto the pool again.
  216. "And that, I think, isn't tyrium. So it's useless."
  218. She chucked the lantern at it. Antimagic or no, there's nothing magical about lantern oil.
  219. (Eudocia Mimés)
  222. Dun would contently sigh as the ride at last met its end, accepting that all good things must eventually meet their crescendo. Accepting this necessary sacrifice with dignity, the clown warlord would glance about their surroundings with a degree of whimsical, careless mirth.
  224. Chuckling to himself as Eudocia jested towards the skeleton, Dun would think for a time thoughtfully to himself before gesturing towards the very same skeletons with a light click of his teeth.
  226. "To have lost a nice pendant like that, he would have needed to be quite....hollow headed. Wouldn't you say, Eudocia, Lady Vel? Ohohoho…"
  228. The clown would glance about with sudden recognition of the mana sapping ooze, his aura of ethereal, unrefined energy being idly sapped at in spite of the pugilist's excessive reserves. Humming thoughtfully to himself, he'd attempt to reflect a bit of the encroaching slime in a bit of an experiment, gauging whether the effort would be nullified by the voidy slime or not.
  230. Doesn't hurt to try.
  231. (Dun)
  234. Black ooze... It was tugging at her magic. Was this worse than Eudocia? And how long would it even take to kill her? It... Caused an idea to flow through her mind, one that might actually be stupid.
  236. The wooden hand pops off, as the open end is used to scoop up a lot of the black ooze that seems to be draining away at her essence. And once she had gotten enough, she would focus on applying the hand back on its end. But now... She couldn't use that arm, could she?
  238. So she stops, causing the appendage to stop moving and even dangle lifelessly. Now if it was allowed, it would be a container for some of the ooze. With only three wooden arms remaining, unless she couldn't actually do this?
  240. Now, her attention is brought to the skeletons stuck in their final moments. To be of terror or simply at work, what had happened here to cause this? Multiple jokes... And little pieces of entertainment given to her by both jesters. Her smile is displayed, unable to even hide it anymore without looking elegant.
  242. "Haha... They must have been dying to get the job done, right?" Humor, she just hoped she was doing it right.
  244. "Oh!" She stands in the cart, looking around at all the ooze. "Don't touch that stuff, it's pretty potent. You'll feel tired, as I can already feel myself getting dizzy from the stuff." Would she let them know about her gathering of it? It didn't seem important right now.
  246. "I touched some on the side of the cart, so be careful..." What would the lantern oil do?
  247. (Ame'Vel)
  250. Eudocia would throw in the Lantern, the oil would stay on the top while the brass it was made of would be absorbed fully. Adding to the overall mass of the blob.
  252. Dun's attempt to "reflect" the encroaching mass would yield interesting results. As his blue energy is put into it, the ooze that he'd touch would harden while the outside would crystalize!
  254. Those with quick enough eyes, or eye, would notice that in its hardened form. The ooze would resemble Tyrium.
  257. As Ame'Vel goes to gather some of it, she'd be attacked back! Growing too close, and not having mastery of deflection magic like Dun, caused the ooze to come to life. Sending out a long tendril to strike at her!
  259. A tyrium tendril coming out to graze one of their real arms. While there wouldn't be a lasting wound, the Tyrium would sap their magic for some time.
  261. Yet she'd be able to gather some of the Ooze into her arm.
  263. Now fully awakened, the blob starts its assault on the magic it detects. Attacking the party.
  264.  For the briefest moment, Eudocia looked a bit crestfallen at the lantern trick not working; she'd have loved to set the whole thing on fire and continue on her way. Andy et... perhaps that wasn't the best option - now that she got a closer look at it...
  266. "Liquid tyrium," she muttered. "That's neat - but is that really what drove the miners out? Just a little bit of living tyrium?" She glanced over the edge of the cart for a spot untouched by the ooze, then hopped out to give herself some more breathing room. She drew Silver Durendal with her left hand, wincing as she did, as she always did - and rose her right hand, clenching her fist and beckoning her black stardust to gather protectively around her.
  268. Mana drain was bad enough for an ordinary magi; for someone whose only mana was that which she siphoned from other living, magic-capable beings - especially deep in a mineshaft with very few sources of mana arouynd them - this was, perhaps, the worst possible situation to be in. A veritable, personal Hel.
  270. And yet she was thrilled to face it, as long as - true to her telepathic message - they finished this fast. She simply wouldn't be able to hold out if it went on too long. The urgency of the situation was palpable; she wasn't even making light of the situation now. At least Dun was here. Someone had to stay a joker.
  271. (Eudocia Mimés)
  274. Dun would blink steadily as he noticed the hardening of the ooze, coming to realize that this gelatinous being may very well be A LOT OF TYRIUM THAT ALSO ATE PEOPLE. The clown admittedly was not experienced in the domain of metal slime, and so admittedly couldn't very well comment from experience truth be told.
  276. Still, no fear.
  278. The warlord would rise as he raised his fists with a deep breath, the pulsating shroud of mana that enswathed his heavy plated form shimmering with intensity as his fists began to blacken and harden, coated in a hyper dense layer of unrefined mana to engage in the good old fashioned pastime of PUGILISM.
  280. Placing one plated foot upon the edge of the minecart, the clown would rise to make a foolish, bold pose towards the tyrium-like blob before pointing a finger gun at it, preparing to engage in a good old fashioned brawl like he was right back in Theria.
  282. But more slimy. Well, actually.....about as slimy.
  283. (Dun)
  286.  A tendril moves out to smack at her real arm, which only causes shock for a moment.
  288. "You lay a... Tendril upon me?" Lifting her arm up out of her dress, she gazes down at the mark that was left behind. That surge of demonic energy picking up fast, the surge of power channeling through her form. "To touch what you should NEVER even dream off, and now I have no choice but to DESTROY you."
  290. The air around her drops, as cold begins to take over the mines. Cold huffs of air blown out of her nose, pushing out from between sharp teeth. One real arm on display, the one that had been touched before. Sharp snails sprawled out, clearly meant for carving up her meals.
  292. Those wide eyes slowly move, finding its prey. "You are going to die." Did it even understand her? Realize the mistake it had made?She couldn't help but keep making herself more of a target, that flood of blood that begins to dance around her body menacingly.
  294. Anger... She couldn't help it.
  296. If Eudocia wanted to get this done quickly, the monster itself having laid its tendril upon her form would have granted that wish. As with four arms being used once again, three made of wood and one of flesh. Ame'Vel was already moving to strike at the creature, and most likely intended to wipe it out completely.
  297. (Ame'Vel)
  300. As the battle rages on, the blob is pushed back!
  302. With Dun's energy magic crystalizing parts of it, it's left open for Ame'vels blood and Eudocia's cosmic to break it into pieces!
  304. But as the Tyrium slime is shattered, it's inner workings are revealed. A skeletal framework. A marriage of many different bones taken from each and every worker. The ooze leeching on the dead bodies, using them to strengthen it's own inner structure.
  306. Banding together, the Slime slinks back, reforming itself in a smaller form. Something more mobile and capable of fighting.
  307. Dun would dance about the battlefield against the slime as if it was a grand performance, and not some kind of vaguely dangerous fight for life and limb in the depths of a spooky tyrium mine on a quest for glorious treasure.
  309. That would be ridiculous.
  311. Continuing to focus his withering nostalgia upon the great slime's form as his energy magic forcefully hardened it, the clown warlord would take steady, concentrated breathes as the shroud of energy that fluctuated about his form was maintained in spite of the oppressive presence of tyrium.
  313. What better way to push his limits, then to strain his body's capacity to form magic itself?
  315. Hopping back steadily with an idle clank of his black sabaton against the ground as the clown scanned the darkened terrain, Dun would nod firmly to Eudocia and Ame'vel as he puffed away lightly on his corncob pipe, raising his blackened fists to deliver yet another series of brute force fisticuffs upon the sentient slime.
  317. "If it has bones, they can be broken. If it has milk, WE CAN DRINK IT. NO FEAR."
  318. (Dun)
  321. First and foremost, Eudocia keeps her distance from the creature; as stated repeatedly, mana drain is bad news and thet closer she gets to it, the more likely she is to just... die, instantly. It's a risk that's more or less completely unique to her; Ame'Vel and Dun had both proven they can withstand the drain, but Eudocia?
  323. Eudocia can't - hence her imploring the party to finish it quick; to her credit, she certainly tries to. In contrast to her typical haphazard, berserker fighting style, she goes for precision. She can't afford to mess around, and flashiness isn't the way either. She slams Silver Durendal back into the sheath, raises her left hand, finger pointed like a child's depiction of a mimed handgun, and aims down the invisible sights.
  325. Precision: searching for a weak point that a normal person couldn't see - searching for a weak point that even her own special eyes couldn't quite scope out. Breathing in and then out, she finds it, steadies her left hand by clutching her wrist with her right hand, and fires off one of her characteristic beams of pitch-black cosmic anti-energy.
  327. The blob shatters, as anticipated.
  329. And reforms... not as anticipated.
  331. "Well, gods dammit. This changes nothing, but-" She could feel that she was running out of mana at this point, "-As always, expedience. It's urgent."
  332. (Eudocia Mimés)
  335. Dealing with it rather quickly, they didn't have much of a problem tearing it down. The blob had touched her arm, and it was paying for it. As Dun's energy magic weakened parts of it, her own blood and Eudocia's death star causes it to shatter.
  337. Pieces of Tyrium all over, but was most of it even usable? No, no... Something else was rising amongst the debris of its body.
  339. A skeletal form made up of the bones from each of the workers within the mines. Even spreading its reach to more, increasing its structure and improving itself rapidly. Was this it's real form? Have they just released it, and now it wasn't as weighed down as before?
  341. "Mmm... This could be trouble?" So far, everything has worked out rather well. But something told her, that this wasn't going to be as easy. Should she transform to match it? No, no... There was no need to turn large to fight this, as it would just expose her to the absorption of these mines much easier.
  343. "I am ready to crush its bones, but as for drinking its milk? Uhh… I eat humans and even other demons, but that doesn't look very appealing to me. I feel like I would just be eating something that'd kill me from inside out."
  345. Ah... No time to be blabbering on. With her one real arm on display, three wooden arms shift and turn into action. As one still holds the black ooze from before, she didn't plan to risk draining herself by using it. "Let's make this quick..." As Eudocia requested several times now.
  346. (Ame'Vel)
  350. Smaller, more unified, more condensed. The effects of its new form could be seen, and felt, by the entire party. A slime that would dart across the room and unleash a tidal wave of Tyrium Ooze at the party. Or when it shoots out bone bolts to pin down its next victim.
  352. One such victims would be Eudocia. She'd feel the Tyrium Slime pull forth from her body, yet... given her unique circumstance her star would take its placed. Capturing the star dust from around her and empowering itself. Possibly forcing her mana draining into overdrive to compensate.
  354. As before, Dun's mastery over energy would crystalize portions of the slime. Opening up weakpoints.
  356. Which Ame'Vel would utilize to save Eudocia from the Slime's grasp.
  357. Dun would dance once more with the great centurion of tyrium, its concentrated form a far more dangerous foe than its previous amalgamation. Heaving steadily as he delivered concentrated beams and blasts of unrefined mana, the clown warlord would do his best to support his lady companions in the great bout against the tyrium ooze.
  359. Progressive, they'd wear it down, but not without cost. The clown prince would watch Eudocia be pierced by a dart of tyrium with a sudden shout of worry from behind his mask, a strange noise and gesture for the otherwise seemingly carefree fool.
  361. Leaping swiftly to his fellow jester's side, Dun would make the generally unwise, but thematically bold and necessary decision of place a hand firmly upon the woman's shoulder, doing his best to stave off the great drought of mana that had afflicted her with his own generous reserves.
  363. It was no true fix, but she would not die on him. Not here, not ever.
  366. (Dun)
  369. This time it was different, much stronger than before. It even felt sturdier, like it could take more of a beating from them all. This was odd, as it only got smaller upon transformation. But was that really a surprise? Eudocia could take a lot of punishment, and she was rather small too.
  371. Yet; it moves quickly... And they had to strike before it got out of hand. The bones of the miners taken and used as a defensive and offensive were harsh. Each time those bones connected, it threw her off balance.
  373. Luckily, she had the ice to her advantage. Causing its body to stiffen and slow, even amplifying the damage it took from the others. Perfect, but sadly she couldn't control the Tyrium blood it possesses.
  375. Dun was doing well too, using that odd mixture of magic to keep toppling it over. She has never seen anyone fight like him before, which made this whole thing even more exciting. So with that energy that silenced the creature, and rain of stardust that threatens to flatten it. Her own blood is utilized in a way that forces itself into its cracks, applying pressure to expand on it's weakened areas.
  377. It wasn't enough to put it down, not even close. "It's a lot tougher..." And if they didn't finish things fast, maybe they would all die to exposure?
  379. Until it strikes back, using bolts of bone collected from the miners. Which one strikes at Eudocia, pinning her down to the ground as the ooze itself drains at her very essence. Red hues widen, as that sudden moment causes Ame'Vel to quicken.
  381. Transforming, the wolf is brought out to play. The form is large and nearly filling the cave itself, dashing across the stone and sliding. The specks of ice and blood coat her maw. With one quick swipe, the bone itself is cracked and destroyed to free Eudocia. "OFF!" She roars out, quickly making her way towards the creature.
  383. That maw opens wide, nothing like any normal wolf could ever do. Clamping down on the neck of the ooze, crushing the contents of its body with relative ease after Dun had weakened it. Leaving its particles to shatter and crack, but at what price would she pay for using her mouth?
  385. "Disgusting creature, to ever think you can put your vile tendrils upon me. But then to dare touch upon any of my monsters?" Ame'Vel was going to make sure it was finished this time.
  386. (Ame'Vel)
  389. In her haste to finish things quickly, Eudocia continued to commit to the goal of precision; under normal circumstances she'd flood the caves with her explosive stardust and flail wildly until everything was dead, but this was something she couldn't quite afford to do. Yet her previous tactic no longer worked, either: every time she tried to line up a shot and fire, she'd miss. Every time she tried to guess where the slime would be and catch it in motion, she missed even more.
  391. So she waited until the slime got closer to her, in the hopes that it'd pick up on her being the easiest target - low mana reserves, easy to take out of the fight, if the slime had any sense for that sort of thing. Whether it did or not, however, it came to her.
  393. She hunched over immediately and was brought to her knees via proximity alone, and she rasped out: "Oh gods - call an ambulance." At once, her hand rose as she prepared to fire off a point-black cosmic ray. "But not for m--"
  395. She was cut off as the slime enveloped her, quickly draining straight through her stolen mana and - if she had to guess - rattling the cage of her soul itself. She let out a quiet little gasp, unable to vocalize anything, and even once Ame'Vel freed her from its grasp, Eudocia would be...
  397. Dead?
  399. The demon had seen Eudocia in a similar state many times; she often described sleep as being more like temporary death than anything resembling normal human sleep, after all, and her past of being mistakenly buried while only comatose wasn't an exaggeration.
  401. It's only when Dun forces his mana into her that anything resembling life returns to her darkened sclera and pitch-black irides, and even then she clearly isn't okay.
  403. She doesn't say anything - but Dun can feel himself drained a lot more than normal, and Eudocia doesn't seem to be siphoning off nearly as much mana as she should. Her signature is weak, barely visible - like a solid 90% of what she absorbs is simply lost, rather than stored.
  405. That... will be a problem.
  407. "I'm okay! I'm... okay."
  409. She's not okay.
  410. (Eudocia Mimés)
  413. Perhaps it was luck, or maybe it was sheer instinct. But the Wolf Demon's maw would land upon bone and crystalized... slime-flesh... Allowing them a perfect point from which to..
  415. snap the creature. Bones shattered and it's body falls - instantly. Unable to keep it's shape any longer.
  417. Upon the ground it withers and shrinks - turning into what would seem to be a big chunk of their sought after metal. Tyrium.
  419. A large ball of ore that was possibly ready for refining. As long as they could take it to where it needed to go.
  422. The Minecart track was clear once more. They could see the end of the cave - perhaps that's where this whole outbreak started?
  424. "IIII..." she said slowly, sounding out the word as she pulled herself up into a seated position with Dun's help, "...Should probably not touch that. One of you, if you'd be so kind." She gestured weakly toward the chunk of tyrium and raised her arm up, clutching onto the side of the minecart. She made a clear effort to pull herself up and into the cart, but it was equally as clear that she barely had the strength for it.
  426. She didn't ask for help.
  427. (Eudocia Mimés)
  430. Dun would find his mana sapped swiftly from Eudocia's touch, a far more imposing drain than the usual measure, which was quite saying something. Yet, the clown did not release his hand until Eudocia was properly on her feet before nodding, ensuring his fellow jester had the strength to persevere before glancing across the nearby landscape.
  432. Ame'vel certainly put on a show, that was one particularly dead ball of tyrium if he's ever seen it. It was their goal however, this was the way of things.
  434. "Already a positive gain in the journey, now we just need to find a half decent refinery..."
  436. The clown would prepare to push the cart once more if Ame'vel seized the boulder, or would handle that himself if she entered the cart otherwise. The adventure into the depths of this tyrium mine continued without fear.
  437. (Dun)
  440. It wasn't the worst thing she's put in her mouth, and it was for good reason too. Killing it, or something like that. It had taken a step further than simply laying its tendril on her, but going out its way to harm Eudocia.
  442. "Disgusting... Vile... Trash." Spitting out any little pieces she held in her maw, she just blinks a few times for a moment. Had she gone overboard? Most likely! Which causes her body to revert, using the clouds of blood to cover her up in the process.
  444. Until revealing herself again, as normal as she was before that transformation took place. Rubies turn to find Eudocia, making her way over to the woman.
  446. "Eudi… Are you okay? I wasn't fast enough!" How disgusting it felt, to be unable to stop a projectile like that from hitting something you care for. To feel so pathetic, and as a Demon it only felt amplified heavily. Failure again, how many times would she taste it?
  448. "Try not to make too much contact, Dun. Even if to help, you don't want to wear yourself out too." No, they didn't need two people relatively slowed by the events thus far. "Eudocia…" Frowning, that flow of telepathy sparked in the air.
  450. And she could multi-task while communicating. Making her way over to the boulder, it really wasn't hard to lift it up with those wooden appendages of hers. She had three left, so two to lift it up and hold onto it wouldn't hurt. With one wooden appendage left to be used, everything was working out fine.
  452. "Let's... Just keep going?" Was it even wise to use the cart now? "Let Eudi ride it, and we can take it slow."
  453. (Ame'Vel)
  456. Dun says, "....Just this once, slow."
  457. Dun says, "JUST"
  458. Dun says, "THIS ONCE."
  459. Dun would nod firmly, pushing along the cart as the official Eudocia taxi of the evening.
  460. (Dun)
  463. While they had their moment, something else was watching. Studying the group and learning everything it could.
  466. Dun would push the cart, and Ame would presumably get the boulder of Tyrium. Thankfully the rest of the cave got no worse. Being met with the familiar sites of melting walls and all-absorbing darkness might be a decent change of pace.
  469. It wouldn't take long for them to get to the end. A circular room with their prize in the center. A machine of unknown origin, totally untouched by the Tyrium Ooze that had seeped into every other facet of this mind. More precise tools would lay about the room - this is what they aimed for.
  471. But why?
  474. The machine, as far as the party could tell, had a place to feed in Tyrium. A large cylindrical tube, with some metallic filigree inside. And an exit point.
  476. Yet before they could do much else,
  480. WELCOME."
  482. Out from the darkness a large metallic creature would arise. A living blob encircled by a metallic disk - where multiple appendages would branch off.
  484. The Blob was crowned by a skull. Treated as the creatures eye it'd bob and greet the three.
  486. Each of its metallic hands would be fitted with some tool. Taken from the miners.
  488. It would lay there in the darkness. Making no real movements, just waiting.
  489. Eudocia Mimés asks, "...Dad?"
  490. Ur says, "Unknown."
  491. Climbing agonizingly slowly out of the cart and using Silver Durendal as something of a crutch to remain standing, Eudocia took a small step forward as she spied the machine. "We might need a bit of energy magic," she guessed, "That's how it usually works, I think - but that is probably what we're looking for. See, I figure..." She paused, taking a few deep breaths as if the very act of talking exhausted her, "I figure the only machinery that would be in a tyrium mine is something that'll make it more... workable. Less destructive. Simple process of elimination."
  493. Certainly, Eudocia was one of her generation's greatest minds. She gestured from the boulder to the machine as if to tell her group to hurry up, because as much as she didn't want to admit it she genuinely feared what continued proximity to such a big chunk of tyrium would do to her. She was already terribly weak. She couldn't even conjure enough stardust to be threatening - she didn't even look like the self-proclaimed 'blackstar witch' now. She just looked like a shambling corpse.
  495. Before they could do anything, though, another... thing spoke. Her abyssal gaze turned and her head tilted.
  497. "Hey, hey, thanks. We just want to use that machine there," she said, gesturing with her free hand toward it again, "And be on our way. See, there's this cute little pendant I want to make. Ever seen rainbow sand art? All the rage with kids. I want to make that," she said, "Except with the ashes of a dead star."
  499. A pause.
  501. "I left the ashes at home, so you'll just have to take my word for it that I have them."
  502. (Eudocia Mimés)
  505.  Dun would trudge along with minimal complaint as he whistled away a jolly tune in contentment, puffing upon his corncob pipe deep within the mine as he did his best to conserve his remaining energy for whatever tasks might be at hand. This wasn't the clown's first rodeo, he was confident the trio could see things through.
  507. As they at last arrived in the cleaner part of the facility, it became apparent to the warlord that this place was definitely NOT abandoned, there was no way they paid janitors enough here to make the place so damned SHINY. It was frankly villainous, even beyond the forte of the clown crime lord.
  509. His remaining eye would glance over the great sovereign of blobs with a degree of amusement, blinking for a time before at last barking out in laughter as a joke came to mind at last.
  511. "So the ore mined the miners, huh? AHAHAHAHAH. OH GODS, THAT'S RICH. That said...what the nice lady said. Yes."
  513. The clown warlord would cross his right, serpentine scarred arm over his left, folding the pair over the black plate of his cuirass without fear. The old one had been spookier, and he'd gotten a whole bunch of brain damage from that encounter.
  514. (Dun)
  517. Moving on, Ame'Vel had already decided she would do twice as much to make up for the feeling Eudocia was experiencing. Even if that meant fighting, she would make sure to transform completely if it was needed.
  519. But it might not be, as they come to an opening with one thing in particular in the room. A machine, that was clean compared to the rest of the mine. Is that what they needed to put this chunk into? It felt like the end was close, which was good for Eudocia right now.
  521. Until... Something else pops out.
  523. "Wel-come?"
  525. It had multiple appendages, much like herself. But it clearly wasn't for the same reasons, as it holds tools from the deceased miners in each of its hands. Weapons? Or maybe it had an actual use for them, rather than wielding them like some kind of weapon.
  527. It only had one eye.
  529. For now, Ame'Vel remains quiet. She didn't know what to say but moves close to Eudocia. If anything, she was in protective wolf mode. ...Pausing, she realized if she actually did get too close, she would put the jester-witch in trouble. This big chunk needed to go in that machine, as gestured by her before.
  531. Was that thing going to stop her? She had nothing to say to the eye but moves forward to place their findings into the machine anyway. Even if it didn't seem like it, those demonic eyes of hers did not leave that one-eyed thing for even a second.
  532. (Ame'Vel)
  535. The greater blob, Ur, would hang above the ground. Opting to keep itself stuck to the ceiling. It's form was as nearly perfect as it could get - remaining in one place. Balled up to form the creature before you.
  537. As each person took their turn to speak, Ur would turn excitedly. Listening to each of them.
  539. "YES,
  546. Yet when Eudocia started talking about Children, the creature visibly paused.
  548. "KIDS?"
  550. Riding across the ceiling it'd reach down into a pile of bones to drag out a very specific skeleton. Bringing forth another metallic claw to pull out a book - from which it flips open. Only to disregard the skeleton after and return it to a sea of bones.
  555. Drawing itself back to the party, it hovered over them. Watching, each of its appendages clacking on itself.
  559. It pauses, waiting for some response.
  560. Assuming she was stopped when making her way forward to try and refine the ore. Ame'Vel waits, maybe they could do this without instantly fighting more? Eudocia already wasn't too well, but Ame'Vel was more than ready to fight for them both. And she was sure Dun would too, so that made four of them!
  562. Or something.
  564. Looking back at Eudocia for a moment though, as expecting her to maybe ask more about other things presented. The Princess turns back around to Ur, the one-eyed abomination that had created itself with this machine?
  566. "Yes." Is the answer she gives. "We wish to refine our findings, do you mind?"
  567. (Ame'Vel)
  570. She knew she kept that thing for a reason. The name Alec was familiar to her - though in such a short period of time she had already forgotten. She took a quick glance down at the-- oh, yeah, that's right. Alec. The miner. Missing father, or whatever. Okay, great, she was up to speed again.
  572. Her obsidian eyes, occasionally flickering an odd blue, watched the creature carefully as it moved. Her head cocked slightly as the mechanical creature waited for their response. It hadn't attacked them instantly. That was probably a good thing, right?
  574. "That's right. Not steal it, not destroy it - just turn this tyrium here into something... functional. What do you say, friend?"
  575. (Eudocia Mimés)
  578. Dun would blink steadily as comprehension began to dawn upon the clown warlord, the revelation that this was the sentient amalgamation of greed. The mad dream to refine such an otherworldly element enmasse only begged for trouble, and this being before them was a monument to all their sins.
  580. The bald clown would nod firmly, taking a light drag from his corncob pipe as he gestured to the ball of tyrium before them. He bore no hostile intent at this time, blowing a cloud of minty smoke up towards the heights of the cavern.
  582. "Yes, you see, we have this big ball of the stuff, and we'd like to make it a big or slightly less big ball of useful stuff."
  583. (Dun)
  586. "PROBLEM.
  592. It's skull eye turns to the tools that adorns its body, and the ring from which it lays upon.
  595. [00:17] Ame'Vel waits... Allowing for the better suited to answer them. Eudocia always had a way with words, and maybe Duns joke would loosen them up? Haha...
  596. (Ame'Vel)
  599. "Personally," the witch said, Silver Durendal dragging along the ground as she moved, "I don't believe in things like... assigned purpose." For someone as notoriously terrible as Eudocia Mimés, it was an oddly genuine answer. "If we all marched to fate's strings - that is, if someone else decided our purposes for us, I don't think any of us would be here right now. I'd be dead, even. I'm supposed to be dead. But I decided otherwise."
  601. She gave a weak shrug.
  603. "So what do you want your purpose to be? Are you capable of answering that?"
  604. (Eudocia Mimés)
  607. Dun felt himself existentially challenged by the sentient ball of tyrium Ur, that was all pretty deep. The misanthropic clown would nod steadily as he shut his eyes behind the mask, puffing away on his corncob pipe as he raised his head to to the great blow.
  609. "Absolutely not, down with the system brother! Fate has no binds on you, live as you want to live! Free, with choices of your own to make! Society's lies will not have you."
  611. The clown would embrace the class struggle.
  612. (Dun)
  615. "PURPOSE?"
  617. The being would shift about its podium and think. It wasn't supremely intelligent, and it was hardly sentient, but it was being exposed to slightly more advanced concepts.
  619. A ticking sound would come from it, before it's answer.
  624. "PROPOSAL.
  629. A metal drill points towards the tube, which housed a series of intricate filigree.
  632. The witch's head only tilted more. That was alarmingly easy. Sure, being heartfelt was a tax all of its own - but it wasn't usually in her nature to settle things so... peacefully. She was patient as the creature mulled it over, and she made no sudden movements as it made its proposal.
  634. "Dun," she said, "I think energy magi are best suited for that sort of thing, as long as it doesn't kill you."
  636. A pause.
  638. "Unless you mean 'power source' literally and there's some kind of missing battery or something sitting around."
  639. (Eudocia Mimés)
  642. Dun would clap his calloused palms together with a steady nod as he gave Eudocia a two fingered salute, pacing off towards the machine that had been gestured without a moment of hesitation. He'd needed a way to push his limits further, this seemed like the perfect opportunity for the energy magi.
  644. "I have no fear of death Eudi, but this will not be mine. Let's see how far I've come since the start, when I could sputter nary a spark of mana. I am ready."
  646. The clown would raise his palms to the machine, taking a deep breathe as the shroud of mana that coalesced about his crimson cloaked form began to pulsate with increasing fluctuation and vigor, the warlord making his best guess on how to power the machine the old fashioned way.
  648. No matter how much it strained him and his reserves, they would fulfill their task.
  649. (Dun)
  652. Before it even had a chance to correct itself, Dun would spring into action. Raising his palms to the machine and trying to channel his energy magic into kick starting it.
  654. Blue Ripples of energy travel between his body and run through the wires and metals within the tube. A rumbling starts from the machine as dust is blown off and its inner machining bursts to life.
  656. To a normal man, Dun would've ate shit. The Machine drawing straight from his magic to fuel itself.
  658. Yet this agent of chaos? A beacon of both Justice, and Anarchy?
  660. Flipped a 10.
  663. But they'd have to work quickly, as he powered the machine the Tyrium would need to be inserted into it.
  664. Eudocia quickly gestures to Ame'Vel to put the tyrium in. She feels slightly bad to be such a taskmaster, but really - a pitiful thing like Eudocia that will die without mana to sustain her shouldn't be touching anti-magic.
  665. (Eudocia Mimés)
  668. Dun would designate all of his focus and resolve into maintaining the power of the machine, gritting his teeth steadily behind his half melted mask as he grunted with exertion. Though his very mana circuitry felt nearly at its limits, he persevered on without fear to achieve their goal. This was a worthy test as any for claim to true mastery of energy magic.
  669. The longer he held the effort, the further his shroud was pushed as his vast reserves steadily began to deplete. Like a sore muscle after a long workout, his circuits were beginning to grow overstimulated even beyond typical zealous effort from the clown. But the less he had, the more he made what remained shine, his musculature pushed to its limit to maintain the stream of energy unimpeded for the refinement process at hand.
  670. (Dun)
  673. They had managed to get it to work, without having any trouble from this floating eyeball... Which was a plus, as Eudocia really wasn't in the right state to be dealing with it right now.
  675. So Ame'Vel moves forwards, inserting the chunk they had received earlier into the machine. She made sure to hurry so that Dun didn't need to strain himself too much to keep the machine going.
  676. (Ame'Vel)
  679. The Tyrium Boulder makes its way in, and the inner machining gets to work. Working on forming the raw Tyrium into a more usable shape and...
  681. A final ZAP as it passes over the section that Dun powers. His energy magic is super focused into a final surge of power. The energy forcefully taken from his body. Ripped out to be shoved into the raw stone.
  683. He'd hurt, but certainly his spine would break. Again.
  685. On the other side of the machine, three large Coldsteel ingots emerge.
  688. Ur himself watches, not saying or doing anything. Retreating back into the shadows.
  691. All that's left is the minecart ride back home.
  692. The injured witch observes proceedings very carefully, without a single hint of emotion on her face; as long as the creature didn't pull any tricks on them and as long as Dun didn't die trying to power the machine, all would be well. Even better that the machine really did generate refined tyrium as promised.
  694. She moved slowly forward, placing her partially-decaying hand atop the metal as if to test whether or not contact would outright kill her. Finding that it didn't - and quite satisfied at the discovery - she looked back to her companions.
  696. "Well! I think that about squares things away, and..." She turned again, gaze glowing blue as she searched for Ur. "Thank you! Good luck finding your purpose, friend!"
  697. (Eudocia Mimés)
  700. Dun would grit his teeth with pain as just about every last ounce of energy was sapped from his form, pushing the manifestation of his ethereal shroud further and further as the exertion increased tenfold with each passing moment.
  702. In that great zap of agony, the clown warlord felt his previous twice shattered spine surge with energy, and as it shattered once more he felt, in that moment of sheer emptiness, the core ember within from which it all manifested. The unsnuffable resolve of a scorned man.
  704. He would not succumb.
  706. Collapsing back from the machine, the clown would nearly tumble over from the pain, though he did his best not to make it appear as if he was deeply drained. His lady companions did not need to needlessly worry.
  708. He would persevere.
  709. (Dun)
  712. Blinking, she just watched the ingots come out as a result.
  714. Turning to look at Dun, the zap that seems to snap back at his body wasn't pretty. But it seemed he was trying to play it off, something even Demons did when they were in pain. It causes her to smile, before shaking her head.
  716. "Nobody dies."
  718. It was mostly to herself, pleased with the result of this event. "And we get what we've come for..." What would have happened if they said something else to that eye? Fighting again with Eudocia injured wouldn't be good, but the woman seems to test the ingots before they claim them too.
  720. "It all worked out!" Wooden hands clap, as she was tempted to give them both squeezes... But it seemed both had good reasons for her to stay back. Eudocia zapped away your essence, while also was injured. And now Dun was injured too, so it probably wasn't best.
  722. Either way, it was only a thought. She typically didn't enjoy touch like that, so squeezing was just an imaginary thing for her. She could see herself doing it right now! Nice and tight!
  724. Anyway... Moving on.
  726. "We should head back quickly, so we can all rest..." It was strange, she still felt a little weak from being drained by the ooze. But compared to them both? Ame'Vel was quite fine. "Take our prizes?" She moves up beside Eudocia, taking one of the ingots too.
  728. Even demons can get tired.
  729. (Ame'Vel)
  732.  Eudocia's words would be ignored by Ur.
  734. And with that, they were free to take the Minecart out.
  737. Eudocia Mimés says, "Unless something /chases/ us on the way out of here, I think we're in the cleeeeeaaaar."
  738. {Item} You picked up Cold Iron Ingot. Dropped by Ur. .
  740. (Eudocia Mimés)
  743.  Ame'Vel says, "Yes... Let's get you back to bed so you can rest."
  744. ITS CLEAR.
  745. Ame'Vel asks, "Or... Under it?"
  746. Ame'Vel pushes the cart a tiny bit.
  747. (Ame'Vel)
  750. Dun says, "That is...good."
  751. IT MOVES.
  752. Nothing's wrong!
  753.  Ame'Vel says, "I have a bad feeling..."
  754. Ame'Vel says, "Something is wrong..."
  755. Eudocia assumes the Captain Morgan pose now that she knows nothing is in the way. NOTHING IS WRONG. Onward!
  756. (Eudocia Mimés)
  759. Dun would try to push the cart like he hadn't been used like a battery.
  760. (Dun)
  763. And with that they cart into sunlight once more.
  765. Exiting the cave....
  767. Freedom. For everyone...
  769. Later that evening…
  771. Dun would sit atop his favored, ruined tower at the peak of Theria, the wintry overlook of the land surrounding that had become a point of retreat for the clown warlord. Legs crossed over each other greave over greave, the pugilist would meditate thoughtfully as he clasped the ingot of cold iron tight.
  773. With a grunt, the energy magi manifested a brilliant blue shroud of ethereal mana, straining against the anti-magic properties of the metal before him with a steady click of his teeth as he pushed more and more mana into the progressive flow that manifested through his circuitry. The richer the content of it became as the blue deepened, empowered in spite of the burden that it bore on the clown’s physicality.
  775. The power he’d tapped into when he’d empowered tyrium, the potential he had to surpass his limits, it sat right before him like a string of cheese. But he’d embraced the frenetic chaos and freedom of Theria, his spirit had been nourished by an unchained life in Theria. And the further he pushed himself, like refined metal, the stronger he’d become.
  777. Releasing the ingot as he reached the pinnacle of his build up, the sudden cessation of mana nullification upon Dun’s shroud would increase its intensity with a jolt, the shroud growing a radiant cyan as an invisible barrier was, in a moment, shattered by the sudden assault of its ceiling by surprise. The mercenary’s biceps nearly doubled in size as his musculature was pushed farther than ever before, and in that moment his body began to memorize the new potential of its limits.
  779. Before, he’d found his resolve. Now, he’d found a passion. Freedom, at any cost.
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