Log 7: Attempting to Escape the Maze
Time unfroze. Suddenly, Xora disappeared. Tiddles and Opal looked alarmingly at the bracelet lying on the ground. After a moment or two though, they shrugged and picked it up -- they had seen this too many times already. The pair were standing in the room full of mechanical detritus, from the battle against the clockwork servants moments before. Naro caught up, angrily muttering to himself "god fucking damn markus you shouldve listened to me but nooo instead you drag us into webs and gas and we get caught up and get stuck and cant do a damn thing come on ma..." Opal gave Naro a wary eye, and then looked over at Ryder, who gave her a head nod. Tiddles took this time to start checking out the desk in the center of the room. He opened one drawer, finding it full of clear quartz gems, each about 1 inch across. Feeling around inside that drawer, he located a switch, and flicked it, opening the next drawer below. Inside he found 3 small clockwork bugs, each containing a circular slot about 1 inch across. One of those bugs had a bright yellow quartz crystal slotted into it. Tiddles recalled his knowledge of clockwork devices. He held one up and showed it to those around him "Hey look, I found clockwork bugs! These things can record audio, and then play it back! They store the audio on gem stones, like these clear ones"
Ignoring the fact that the yellow gem inside the clockwork bug was different from the clear ones, Tiddles packed everything away into his sack. The four of them took a door to the west, and then went south. They found what appeared to be another large black metal door. Tiddles put his hand up to it, and felt the hair on the back of his arm raise. He touched the door, and felt a small quick shock jump to his finger. "There's some sort of lightning device behind this door!" he said. "I'm not sure we can open this safely" Ryder stepped up and said "Dont worry, I know what to do. Hey, Kir, come here." Kir dutifully obeyed and stepped up beside Ryder. As Ryder backed away, Tiddles stood there beside Kir, just off to the side of the door. "Open it!" commanded Ryder. Kir opened the heavy metal door, and immediately tried to dodge as a massive bolt of lightning came coursing through the door. The electrical energy spread out, striking Tiddles, and just missing the rest. Tiddles and Kir's reflexes were good though, and they managed to avoid most of the electricity. "Holy shit" came murmors from around the room. Opal peeked her head in, and took a good look at the machinery. "It's safe, y'all!" She said and she walked in. "Lightnins gone" She looked at the strange room. There were scorch marks all over the place, and little pieces of metal embedded in the walls. Something had catastrophically failed in here. In the center of the room was a large and strange machine, shaped like an inverse metal whirlpool, with a flat circular spot on top to stand. On that dias was a podium, with a slot on it that could only be for soul coins. Opal knew that while this one was broken, had it been in working order, a user would stand on it and place a soul coin inside it, and be filled with some sort of power. Relaying most of that knowledge to her companions, the group continued on their way. They chose to follow in the footsteps of the mechanical mage that caused them trouble before. Tiddles leading the way strode confidently south, and opened the next door heroically. "BUGS!" He yelled, as 2 fire beetles scuttled towards him rapidly. Tiddles, in a panic, slammed his rapier on his shield, letting out a blast of sonic energy. The wave hit the two bugs and immediately liquefied their brains. The bugs rolled over onto their backs, dead. "Phew." Said Tiddles, catching his breath. He examined the bugs, and found them to be glowing softly. Picking them up, he turned and presented them to Opal. "Hey, can you take a look at these?"
Opal took the bugs as Tiddles turned and walked away. "Anyone want one o these glow bugs?" Opal asked "This one'll glow for another 5 days'r so" She looked at Naro, who shrugged. Opal handed one of the bugs to him, and then walked away. Naro looked at the bug in his hand for a long moment. "...What do I do with this?" he mused, then turned to follow Opal. The four of them split off into two groups to check a couple rooms. Naro and Ryder went down a corridor, winding their way through sets of confusing double doors, before reaching yet another simple wooden door. Upon opening it, Naro saw it led to a plain straight corridor. At the end was a sign saying "wrong way", with a red bottle laying underneath it. "NOPE" said Naro, who turned and walked away. Ryder turned his head to watch Naro walk away, before quickly walking down the hallway to grab the red bottle. "It said wrong way!" said Naro from the distance. Meanwhile Opal and Tiddles took the northern corridor, resulting in a much simpler path. At the end of their hallway, they found a simple wooden chest, containing another map piece. Tiddles opened another door, and found another fire beetle. "SHIT" He yelled, blasting it with sound again. "I hate beetles!" Opal pocketed the map she found, and the four of them reconvened. Opal showed off her map pieces, Ryder showed off his nice red potion, and Naro grumbled about wrong ends. They noticed on the map that there was a room they hadnt entered yet, so they traced their steps backwards to the unopened door. Tiddles charged through the door, and instantly alerted the clockwork mage hiding behind it. Thinking fast, he blasted the clockwork with a burst of sound and vibration. The clockwork retaliated by splashing Tiddles with grease, making the floor slippery. --- Elsewhere, time finally unfroze for Rusticus, who was trading blows with a great shielded clockwork guardian. Not noticing the time skips, Rusticus swung his hammer and destroyed the guardian. Stepping over the debris, Rusticus continued down south. He got to a crossroads, and thinking ahead, scratched an arrow into the floor indicating the direction he was to head, west. Following his own arrow, Rusticus arrived to a large stone door. Forgetting briefly that doors could be opened, Rusticus felt despair. "Dead end!" he thought. The dwarf turned and went back to the crossroads, scratching out his previous arrow. He marked a southern direction this time, and followed it south. Finding a chest with a silver key in it, he felt sure he was going the right way -- yet not 30 second later, the corridor ended at what appeared to be another cave-in. Once again feeling despair, Rusticus took a moment to think. He suddenly remembered he is a STRONG DWARF, and purposefully strode back to the closed stone door, ignoring the markings on the floor this time. He strode up to the door and powerfully opened it. Charging through, he found another set of stairs, leading downwards from the floor. Thinking back, he realized they looked exactly like the stairs they came up from in the north eastern corner. He ignored them for now, choosing instead to grab another map piece from the chest in this room, and then progressing onwards past another locked door. In the next room, he found an odd piece of machinery. In it's center was a large circular slot, big enough to fit a forearm into. Above that was smaller slot, the size of a soul coin. Thinking back, he realized it looked quite similar to the machine that gave them all their crystal bracelets in the very beginning. He grinned, and shoved his arm into the slot, immediately slotting a coin into the machine as well. Power coursed through his bracelet, and bright light filled the room. As it faded, so did the feeling of energy from his wrist. Rusticus looked down at what was once a vivid and brightly coloured crystal bracelet, only to see a dull gray hunk of crystal wrapping his wrist. He could no longer feel power coming from it. However, he could slowly feel the energy building in it again -- he knew that within a day or so, it's power would be back, although in a different form. While Rusticus was putting his arm in strange machinery, strange machinery was trying to put it's arms in Tiddles. The clockwork mage swung it's 4 fists at Tiddles, dealing damage to the bard, who immediately backed away, carefully so as to not slip on the grease. Ryder saw his chance, and gave Kir a pat, sending his big friend in to the fray. Kir charged forward and stepped on the grease, immediately losing any and all balance he had. The armored eidolon swung his arms rapidly, kicked his feet in the air, and fell backwards, slamming down on his back in the doorway. The clockwork mage stepped nearer, carefully onto the grease, and began assaulting the prone eidolon. Naro ran forwards and tried to slide past the combatants, but drew the attention of the clockwork mage, who swung at him, just barely missing. Seeing this as her chance, Opal stepped up. Perfect straight shot down the hallway, no where for the clockwork mage to go, she charged up her lightning bolt. Tiddles charged forward and slammed his rapier into the clockwork mage, but found it's armor too strong. Peeking to the side, his eyes opened wide as he recognized what was about to happen. Opal let loose a massive bolt of electricity straight down the hallway, straight through Kir, the clockwork mage, and Tiddles. Kir spun on his back on the ground to try to avoid most of it, while Tiddles and the clockwork jumped to the side. Sparks jumped between all three as the electricity scoured them, singing and burning them. The clockwork mage twitched and shuddered from the energy. "Oh my heart" murmered Opal "Im sorry!" she called "i forgot not to use lightning in hallways!" Naro looked straight ahead, wide eyed and thankful that the lightning bolt just missed him. Ryder helped Kir stand up, and Tiddles brushed some ash off himself. Naro, Kir, and Tiddles began their assault on the clockwork mage once again. Trading blows with Kir, the mechanical man was avoiding most of the damage. Opal tossed a hex on him and began to cackle, as Kir finally landed two massive blows, severing arms from the body of the clockwork. The mage turned as Naro slammed fist after fist into it, bashing gears, while Tiddles parried and sliced. Finally, with two last pathetic attacks against Tiddles, the clockwork mage was bested. Meanwhile Rusticus was exploring on his own some more, still trying to find his friends. He found a large black metal door. Around it's edges it was extremely corroded. The metal was cold to the touch. There was no keyhole to be found on the door. Rusticus took out a large silver key, and pushed it against the door, sliding it around. He put the key back in his pack, confused. Ignoring the fact that the door was unlocked all along, he opened it, and immediately was hit by a wave of noxious fumes. Finding the fortitude within himself to withstand it, he entered the room, finding a large metal grate, with a hollow behind it. He attempted to lift it, but even it was too heavy for the dwarf. He left the room. Heading onwards, Rusticus opened another door, revealing a clockwork familiar. The small metal bird immediately started rapidly beeping, fleeing in the opposite direction from Rusticus. The familiar reached a closed door, and started attempting to beep as loud as it could. Rusticus charged in after it, and came crashing in with his hammer, destroying the familiar. He was too late though, as the alarm awoke the clockwork guardian behind the door. The large machine with a large shield smashed open the door, and stomped up to Rusticus. "Oh good" the dwarf thought "Another one" before taking a massive shield bash to the face. Rusticus stowed his hammer away and brought out his claws, rapidly swinging both his fists, cutting bits of metal off his foe. The guardian, using its huge shield, blocked most of the damage. It raised the shield and slammed it twice more into Rusticus, dealing massive damage. This made Rusticus angry. The dwarf started angrily slicing back into the clockwork, ignoring the hardness of the metal he was striking, sinking claws deep into the machine. The two warriors sat trading blows. It was a war of attrition as both of them landed hit after hit on eachother. They continued to fight while Naro, Opal, Ryder and Tiddles tried to find Rusticus. The group of 4 moved south along the corridor, reaching the cave-ins that they had to cross. Tiddles lead the way, deftly making his way through. Opal attempted to follow, but dove head first into a rock, getting herself stuck. With a push from behind, she forced her way through. Ryder moved through with some difficulty. Naro followed, and smashed his face into the exact same rock as Opal. He too required help through, as Ryder smiled and gently helped the angry 6 armed man through. Kir got stuck, but then also managed to force himself through. The 4 of them reached the point where Rusticus had marked the floor. "He's gone south!" Said Tiddles. They all went south, where upon they found the cave in. "Oh god he's dead! The hallway caved in on himself!" Tiddles looked closer, and found a lot of dust on the cave-in. "No, this is an old collapse. There's no dwarf under there. He just either decided to fuck with us, or forgot to mark the right way to go." Slightly upset, they backtracked, before heading the proper direction. They found the same machine Rusticus put his arm in. Tiddles explained what it was, but all of them were happy with what their bracelets did, so they continued on their way. Naro took a quick detour and found a clockwork servant deactivated in a corner. Not trusting it to stay that way, he permanently deactivated it by smashing it into a million pieces. Finding another crossroads, the group of 4 had a choice of either north or west. All 4 of them chose west, and continued on their way. To the north, on death's door, Rusticus was still fighting the clockwork guardian. Managing to just barely dodge two more blows from it's shield, Rusticus slammed his two clawed fists into his foe, destroying it. Arms to his side, he looked up and screamed "AAAAAAAAARRRRRRRGGGGGGGGGGGGGGGG" alerting his nearby friends to his presence. Tiddles jogged over and found Rusticus kneeling in some mechanical debris. "Found him! He seems fine" called Tiddles over his shoulder. He passed Rusticus a small bottle for healing, and the dwarf immediately drank it. Having finally regrouped, the full party split up to begin exploring. In these southern rooms they found some large metal gears, gold-ish in colour, each featuring a large hand crank on them. Spinning the gears did nothing as far as they could tell. They also found more chests, and more map pieces, slowly putting together a map of the area. As the party continued to explore, they failed to notice the time skips and stutters, as once again everything froze.