Maura_icon.gif Taril_icon.gif

Ghilan - The Temple's Guide

Scene Title Why They Keep Mages in Circles
Synopsis A scavenging expedition goes… awry.
Location The Bone Pits
Date 21 of Bloomingtide, 9:31 Dragon
Watch For What they DON'T take home with them.
Logger Taril

The Bone Pit, also known as the Maharian Quarry was, as most other structures in the area, once controlled by the Tevinter Imperium. Despite the presence of the skeletal structures of ancient mining equipment and scaffolds, the quarry gained its name by one overseer's propensity for feeding slaves to his dragonlings - supposedly as punishment. Rumors abound that so many deaths thinned the veil, still others suggest that those ancient dragonlings' descendants still roam amongst the ruins. For those brave enough to venture here, the view is one of ruin and emptiness while the wind howls through tunnels and caves— it IS the wind, isn't it?

Apparently they will get some actual hunting done on their way back. One look at the skeletal remains of the former quarry and it's obvious that nothing curently alive enough to be used for food or fur is going to hang out here. What it will be good for, however, are minerals and reagents that Maura needs for potions. She wasn't really expecting such a creepy place though, as evidenced by her dubious expression. "Well. I suppose it's a good thing I brought my staff." She's dressed as a huntress rather then a scholar however. Walking through the gallows in a robe and with a staff would have been sheer foolishness. Honestly. And it's been well disguised as a mere walking stick. "Shall we pick a tunnel? Or will we be crawling through the old mining equipment for salvage?"

Taril shrugs. "It's either spiders or dragonlings," he mentions almost idly. He wrinkles his nose as he glances at the old mining equipment. "Trust me, you don't want any of that stuff. Let the scavenger shems come for it. No good can come from using that, even as scrap." Still, that leaves the tunnels and the elf's ears seem to nearly flatten at the thought. "Well, it's that or nothing. They quarried the stone, but I doubt they touched any of the useful things. The amounts would be too small."

"I see you're as enthralled with the thought as I am. I would suggest we head to the mountain instead. But we've not enough time ow if we're going to hunt and scavenge." Maura admits, glancing up at the position of th sun in the sky. "Alright. Let's try an entrance a few feet away. Everyone always picks the first and easiest one right? "If you see something coming, tell me the direction and I'll freeze it in place to give us more time." He knows she's a mage, so really.. why not properly coordinate their attacks? At least being on the slim side, she's a quick mover as they ascend towards the tunnel entrance she has in mind. Spider venom and webs are always useful. It's a mentra she keeps repeating in her mind.

Taril steps toward the tunnel, inhaling as if to smell out what's in there. It's not too far fetched, you can usually smell dragonlings before you see them and spiders… well, they don't roll in roses. "Never thought I'd see someone hunt with magic," he admits before stepping into the tunnel's entrance. "I think I see torch-sconces, which might help further in." Apparently he's opposed to hunting blind.

"We all do what we have to, in order to survive. At least if I hunt my own food and greens I don't have to spend coin on it. And until I have some employment I need to make what I have last." Rueful, Maura just nods at the suggestion of the torch sconces. Though for now she surges just a bit of magic into her staff so that the fire spell inside flares to life and acts as some muted illumination. She pays special attention to the cave wall and that spot where it meets the ground. Hopefully a glint of something will show up eventually. But for now it's about walking along until she can light the torches.

Taril readies an arrow as he heads toward the darkness looming ahead. "I have to ask… have you ever skinned a rabbit? Or anything, for that matter? Taken apart a spider? Drained things from its organs?" It's not unkindly asked, it's pretty clear he's trying to prepare himself for what will need to be done. "Because that's what we're going to find in here. See the old web there in the crevices?"

Maura looks distinctly uncomfortable with the question, though she nods at the first one at least. "I'm not very good at it, but I've skinned rabbits and other creatures around this area for food. I haven't yet taken apart a spider and drained its organs milked its venom yet though. So it may wind up being trial and error unless you have and can show me." Obviously, the poor lost mage does not relish the thought at ALL. But, seems to realize that she has to learn somehow. And retain her own bodily fluids at the same time. At least, if she's going to be able to survive without relying on others too much. "Hmmm, yes. I see it. Hopefully we can gather fresh webs. They're good for holding together a poultice." The first filled torch sconce is happened upon, and she lights it deftly, without even thinking.

Taril doesn't look surprised, and if he's judging it's not going to show on his face. "I'll show you how. I've done it often enough." Can you say 'punishment chores'? He stops for a moment and then gestures toward the tunnel ahead. "Hear it? Like a scratching sound in your ear?" The last is whispered, and doesn't he have just the BEST way of putting things?

It's not Taril's fault that the scratching sound is getting louder at a rather alarming rate! … Or is it?

Of course it's Taril's fault! "Uh…." Yep, Maura sure does hear it! But she's faced fade demons and come out ALIVE, so surely she can handle this, right? HAHAHAHAHA. No. It may or may not be a good thing that she thinks quick on her feet, as the 'holy shit that thing can move' nature of the scratching sound prompts her arm to flind out abruptly, with a stream of cold icy air visibly flowing out to slow or freeze the creature(s) with ansi(hc,Cone of Cold). "This probably wasn't the best tunnel to pick." she squeaks.

Taril looks over his shoulder, clearly confused. "You want the gooey insides of spider organs, don't you? Why wouldn't a tunnel with spiders be the best one to pick?" He shakes his head and turns his attention back toward the direction the scratching is coming from. "You might want to wait until we can see it." MAYBE.

The scrabbling scratching sound pauses with the first blast of icy wind… but it doesn't stay gone. Instead there is a change in the quality of the sound - sliding now, almost like the comic sound of some poor fool trying to run on a frozen pond and getting… well, getting mostly nowhere.

Maura would clearly prefer if the insides of gooey spider organs were just delivered to her door in bottled or pre-packaged form. But she shall swallow past that and instead smile thinly at Taril. "Yes. I'm just saying… that did not sound like the uh, kind of spiders I dealt with back home." Ahem. Right. As for waiting until they can see it before casting a spell, the fact that she's now slowed it down and turned it into an ice skating spider int he darkness just makes her smug. She did that! And she's not sorry for it. She will wait for them to see it before casting the next spell she's been mastering to slow things down though.

On the one hand, there's the hilarity of a spider kicking over ice like an inexperienced skater. On the other hand… he has a mage fresh from the nest. One day his Keeper will hear about this and smile in that satisfied way one does when one sees justice served. Still, Taril is more interested in killing that thing on the ice before it gains footing and comes at them for revenge. It's harder to kill things when they want to see you hurt.

The corridor gets distinctly colder as they move farther in. The meagre light of the torch illuminating two ice sculptures of spiders the size of small ponies; the ground all around them is a smooth sheet of ice and there are two more similar spiders trying to squeeze through the tunnel now mostly blocked and sliding on themelves, their frozen brothers and the ice underfoot. At least three more sets of eyes reflect the torchlight behind those spiders and the noise of scrambling is getting louder.

But none of that is quite as disturbing as the childer grubs slowly worming their way toward the light-source. On the upside, those are slow. On the downside, they don't seem bothered by the ice at all.

"Listen, I don't care what anyone says. That is not a spider. It's a … it's a mutation of the Maker's design. That's just not right." Maura sputters, at the sight of the pony sized spiders. "But, do you think they could be tamed for riding mounts? … No? I'm going to guess no." She's guessing no, guys. She's also casting a gravity ring spell, so that when that ice shatters the spiders STILL can't move very fast. "And there's more coming." Unless they are going to RUN for their LIVES, she pulls her staff in front of her and readies it to aim some pretty fireballs at the not pretty creatures. She's not even going to talk about the grubs.

"You want a hairy spider between your legs?" If Taril were actually thinking about it, it WOULD have been innuendo. As it is, no. It's not until he counts the variety of life heading toward him that he becomes at all eloquent. "…fuck…" He's a hunter, not a poet. That being the case, he's just going to let his arrows do the talking. Nearest bundle of 'holyshit' first.

It's a good thing Taril's handy with his bow. One of those scrabbling spiders ends up with his arrow embedded in what passes for its insectoid brain. The dead weight causes one of the ice-sculpture spiders to tip over and crack into several large chunks of frozen spider. The good news is that means two spiders are 100% dead. The bad news is that opens up the tunnel for the four wriggly ones on their way. But that's not even the worst news.

The worst news is that, for some reason that surely has to do with the physics of ambient energy bouncing off the material in a tunnel this shape, size, and variety… Maura's gravity ring does not add weight to the spiders, but to the two of them.

That really unpleasant sudden slam of gravity surely causes a grunt of surprise. Because really. Maura is not that bad a spellcaster. She'd never have been able to even *learn* an advanced spell like that if she sucked this bad normally. "That's now how this works! That's not how any of this works!" she wheezes, trying to move further from Taril so it lessens the effect on him, and then slooooooooooooooowly gaaaaathhhhhers the magic to pummel the stupid spiders and grubs with a Fist of the Maker spell.

"You're sure? The spell seems to think so. Start backing up." Taril doesn't bother to look back, nor does he stop firing at the collection of creepy crawlies in front of them. "…this teaches me to hunt without checking if there were a nasty bug going round… If we can try to get them toward sunlight, we might have a better chance."

Taril does well. Despite the dead weight of gravity around his limbs, those arrows kill two more spiders and three of the large childer grubs. Given enough time, it's possible he may even have been able to handle the whole lot of them.

But with Maura invoking the Maker's fist, time (for all of them) has run out.

With more force than anticipated (aided, perhaps, by the glut of gravity in the caster) the spell impacts the critters coming at them. They go splat. E v e r y w h e r e. Unfortunately, it's not the splat that catches the attention, but the rumble-crash of stone and wood and earth when the ground gives out from under their feet and the nigh-silent 'whoosh' of the torch going out in the fall.

"He should have come with me. I knew he should have come with me. Maker help me, I'm going to turn myself in to the Templars tomorrow if my magic has gone this far awry." Maura's prayer for salvation, as the rumble of earth beneath them heralds the opening of the ground and their sudden plummet towards however far below the next solid surface is. "I know… wrong way." Her voice gets sucked away in the whoosh of gravity. That ain't the sun they're heading for, Taril :(

"Well shit…" Taril would have asked who Maura was talking about, but he has about enough time to draw in a breath as he does to realize that his feet aren't on anything solid. But hey, it could be worse, right? They could be on a quick descent into the deeproads instead of a pit and possibly their sudden but inevitable death. So they've got that going for them.

Not quite the Deep Roads, but it's certainly a fall of decent height. They get lucky; nothing broken, though one of Maura's shoulders gets wrenched pretty good in the landing and there are scrapes and bruises all around. It's dark down here - pitch black, in fact - and the only sound beyond their breathing is running water trickling down into a pool of the same. That's somewhere off to their left.

But hey, at least the scrabbling is gone.

Maura's breathing it more like a wheeze, really. Between having the wind knocked out of her and her shoulder wrenched in painful ways, she's grateful to be managing that at all really. Her stave, naturally, has landed beside her near the non-working arm. So she can't really reach for it right away to help with the lighting situation. And does she really want to attract more spiders? No. So she's just going to stay nice and quiet for a moment thanks.

Taril is silent at first, mostly due to having the wind knocked out of him. Once he's gotten THAT under control, he takes stock of his various hurts and breaths a sigh of relief that he's merely in pain and not a great deal of agony. He shifts enough to reach into the pouch on his belt and does his best to strike a spark into a small bundle of tinder that won't last long. He has enough time to take stock of Maura's condition and lean forward to place her staff over her chest. "Next time you're going to hit something with magic? Don't hit so hard." IT'S THAT EASY. "Creators, where have you landed us?"

There's a fair bit of moss on the ground beneath them - fed no doubt by the moisture in the air. In the brief flash of light, the reflection of something shiny may or may not catch someone's eye, but it's too quick to tell more than that.

"I didn't intend to hit them quite that hard." Maura, admitting things she ought not to since time immemorial. She's stil contemplating turning herself in to the Templars at the moment, as her hands curl around her weapon and she flares it to life to provide some light. This time, she gives it enough magic to add a bit of flame at the top. Flame that apparently doesn't hurt her much at all, since she doesn't pull back from it and it doesn't sear her face. She does, however, use it to pull herself upright. And then keeps it in her good hand. "I think there's something over that way." The glint, maybe? She gestures with the stave in the direction she means. "I wish I knew, honestly."

"Well, there's no use complaining once the blood's soaked into the ground," Taril assures, as if it's SUPPOSED to be reassuring and as if it's some sort of saying he's repeated often. "I saw, but I was more interested in whether or not I'd have to drag your broken corpse out of here on my own. How's the arm?" As he asks, he unravels what would have served as a game sack if the mage hadn't pummeled that into goo and sent them on a slider into a pit. At least it's not crawling with darkspawn and, you know, an archdemon or anything, so it's not TOTALLY horrible. For now he's working the small sack into a sling just in case.

The interesting thing about Veilfire is that a little goes a long, long way. The one flame started on Maura's staff illuminated the entire room… well, sort of. For certain the circle of light around the two of them is normal enough. But from the moment the Veilfire sparked to life, stones in the walls all around the room flare to eerie blue-green life, acting like glowstones until the entire room (and its dramatic elven frescoes) is lit up like creepy Dalish Christmas. The murals are beautiful if a little graphic. Scenes of wilderness more fantastic than any fairy tale or Fade dream - with creatures that couldn't possibly exist hunting other creatures and being hunted in return. There's something pure and innocent about these depictions, despite no shying away from blood and death; as though it shows and comes from a time when everything was much… simpler. Wolves and tigers, Leviathan and eagles, prides of lionesses and flocks of swans - the pictures cover the whole span of wall wrapping around to a single great set of doors flanked by two statues poor Taril would know very, very well. Two wolves laying on their sides with their backs to the wall and their heads closest to the doors have remnants of ancient offerings scattered around their feet.

Oh, and that glint? It's still there. Except it's an amulet. And it's glowing almost as brightly as one of the many glow stones.

Maura thinks Taril should not go giving the Maker any ideas about what horrible thing could happen next. Her lip wibbles in the dark, and she uickly turns her head twoard her shoulder so that she can see if there's any visible damage. "Feels like someone stuck a hot poker in my shoulder then wiggled it around. So, I won't be using it till it's pulled back in place." Does one really want to ask how she would know that? The logical answer would be no. This time when she gasps though, it's in awe. The murals around the room, even looking all creepy glowy like that, are amazing. "Taril, this is elvish work, is it not?" Amulet? What amulet. She's not even paying attention to it quite yet. The two wolves DO give her pause though. Hmmmmmmmmmm.

Taril stands and holds out the sling. "I'd offer, but it'd hurt and I'm no healer. …plus, you passing out would probably be bad." Oh those murals get his interest, but then so does the statuary and he takes an involuntary step back. "This is where my luck is going to lead to those doors being our only option, isn't it." It's not even a question. "It is, but why is it down here?" Oh, he's seen that amulet and he'd rather pay attention to that than those doors. If he doesn't pay too much attention to those doors, there may be another way out of here. So he's going to do the most mature thing he's ever done in the history of his life. He's going to poke it with a stick.

Or an arrow, at least.

"Or it would be good, considering how well I've done so far today." Maura mumbles, accepting the sling and only swaying once as she tries to secure her arm in place against further jostling until they can get back into town. She looks up just in time to watch him poke the amulet with an arrow, and wanders over thataway. "Allow me. I should be able to tell if it's enchanted and how." She can at least do that much without royally screwing it up. Hopefully.

The amulet is not amused.

Poking with a stick doesn't do anything bad, at least. It just lays there and stares back at Taril disapprovingly, a figure of a woman with dragon's wings and arms outstretched.

The figures in the murals Maura examines are done with great attention to detail. Interestingly enough, the tigers, Leviathan and eagles all seem to have amethysts for eyes. The wolves have emeralds and the lionesses and the swans all have rubies. The dragons… have empty sockets where jewelled eyes once had been. Because that's not at all creepy.
The amulet is familiar, striking a childhood memory from having snuck out of an aravel late at night to see the Keeper telling his sister her very own story and having crept over to listen in as well.

…and so DaernThal was born, a creature almost entirely of wildness and freedom, with only tiny fragments of order embedded in her soul. The tigers of Tevinter were her children, as were the great eagles of the Anderfels and the pods of Leviathan who roamed the seas. She was not inherently evil none of the Forgotten Ones were, no more than the Creators were inherently good but her refusal to abide by the constricting laws necessary to any society made her feared and hated among those that would see great cities and nations built. DaernThal would follow only a handful of rules. She called them Natural Laws and they were the only things that bound her…

And the Keeper had held a charm up to let little Halani = get a closer look while she told the story - a charm that looked an awful lot like the woman in this pendant.

Taril reaches out to pick up the amulet while holding one hand up toward Maura to stop her. "You probably shouldn't. No offense, but we've lost enough ground already. Any further and we're likely to meet the next archdemon." He has complete confidence in her abilities, in other words. "…it's… I heard the keeper tell a story once. Dearn'Thal, one of the Forgotton Ones. I probably wasn't supposed to hear it, it was for my sister, but she had an amulet that looked an awful lot like this figure. …I'm going to regret touching this thing, aren't I." It's the story of his life.

The amulet is warm in Taril's hand, a warmth that seems to spread, soothing and comfortable. There's a sense of… not quite recognition, but something that would evolve into recognition if it weren't so simple. His grasping of the amulet comes just before a series of heavy clicks and thuds from somewhere beyond the door - a mechanical sound if ever one was heard.

Maura doesn't say anything; next time, she's totally hunting by herself. If, that is, she doesn't throw herself on the alter of Templar. She's quite convinced that if her Fereldan templar were with her, he'd be able to help keep her spells from backfiting until they figured out what the problem is. She spins on her heel to take herself and her veilfire back over towards the walls. "Gemstones. Probably worth a fortune, but… no. They belong here." she can be heard from her distance away. But then, her voice cuts off abruptly and she spins towards the door. Oh sure. THAT's a good sign.

The clicks and thuds go on for a minute, like enormous gears turning heavy machinery, but they do eventually stop and then the room goes deathly still again.

Even the running water has stopped.

Taril had been working up a glare until Maura decides against removing the gemstones, then he turns his attention to other things. "The water stopped. …Let me guess, we're going through the door? Because, really, what else could possibly happen?" He's probably going to be kicking himself for asking that later. "The dragon's eyes are missing, did you see? That's not ominous at all." He sighs and moves to join Maura. "If I were more of a believer, I'd pray and promise to never get myself in trouble again. …but I'm not, and I'd be lying." Besides, the door is open so they pretty much HAVE to now, right? Right. He's going to do the thing.

The doors are oddly easy to push open now, heavy only because of their weight and not from any force barring their entry. The hallway they reveal is wide with stairs leading from the doorway down into water that doesn't… look very deep. Without the aid of Maura's Veilfire, however, there isn't much more to see.

Contrary to all of the evidence that she's displayed so far… Maura is not a total moron. "I don't see as we have much choice." she agrees, sounding sorry for having to do so. But since she has the light, she steps up beside Taril and waits for him to open the door before making any headway in to see where fate has decided to lead them. Yippeee!

As the Veilfire draws closer, more of the walls light up, glowstones nearby picking up and amplifying the light even as those at the far end of that first room begin to dim and go out. The murals continue inside - eagles flying with swans, tigers playing with wolves, Leviathan swimming with a woman whose face is always turned away. There can be no doubt that this is a temple to Daern'Thal, but who would build something so grand and beautiful to honor the equivalent of a demon… it's impossible to say. The hall ahead is, regrettably, in hip-deep water, but it is (remarkably) clean and there certainly don't appear to be any more creepy crawlies to deal with. It's hard to say for certain - since the Veilfire and glowstone light doesn't quite reach that far - but about a hundred paces ahead it looks like there may be steps up and out of the watery bit at least.

Taril gestures toward the steps. "The water's clear, so either it's safe or it's a pool of acid." Because why NOT look on the bright side? He takes a moment to pull another strip of leather- likely for making traps- and dips it into the water. At any other time, he'd just assume and splash right on in but he hasn't had the best luck with anything today. "I can't say that it hasn't been interesting since I met you, Maura."

The leather strip wibble-wobbles a little in the water, but is otherwise unchanged. It's wet - and not altogether pleased at this turn of events - but considering the bowl of petunias it could all be much worse overall.

"Honestly, the pool of acid would explain why there's nothing else trying to kill us right now." Maura admits, sounding a bit morose. Cause seriously. They came for reagents, and instead wound up beingmolested by pony sized spiders, having her spells go so awry they fall down a pit, and then they wind up at a shrine for an elven deity that could be demonic. It would be fair to say that Taril and Maura may never volunteer to go hunting with one another ever again. Ever. Never. "Indeed. Think of the stories you'll be able to tell of the simple human apostate mage who can barely control her own magic." Welp, since the leaher strip doesn't spontaneously combust, she forges onward into the supposed water. Denizens of the water, attack!

The water sloshes and splashes up the sides of the walls at Maura's energetic plunge onward, but even those movements subside into silence. How anticlimactic.

"The next time you need things from outside the city? Just give me a list, would you?" Taril is teasing and follows along in the water, though not without precaution. He's just going to keep an arrow ready the entire time. It's easier that way. Hopefully they'll make the stairs. Then they can worry what's at the head of those stairs.

The trek to the stairs is as uneventful as a meander through hip-deep water can possibly be. Even the stairs are normal - simple, even, nicely-chiseled marble stairs. Simple. Upon cresting the top of the stairs, however, there is a blinding flash of light and the Veilfire ghost of hooded elvhen figure is left standing in front of them when the flash fades.

"Andaran atish'an, da'lenen. Emma Ghilan a el Asha. Garas quenathra?"

His voice is calm, mild, mellow - just about as nonthreatening as could be. But he speaks quickly, with the kind of fluid grace only cradle speakers of a tongue can be. Also he seems to be waiting for his answer. So there is that.

Maura makes a face at Taril, albeit a playful one, before turning her attention back towards the stairs. It's almost peaceful now, which is soothing after the chaos that brought them here. "I believe the best thing in Thedas right now would be a nice warm bath. And a healer for this ar…" Welp, the appearance of an elvhen figure in front of them, veilfire ghostly as he is, definitely shuts HER up quickly. A quickly concerned glance is sent towards her elven hunter companion. Because, uh, she has no idea WTF was just asked. Even if she realizes they have been asked a question.

Taril lowers his bow, taking the arrow out slowly and replacing it into the quiver. He's pretty sure it's the right thing and he's also pretty sure an arrow isn't going to do much good here. "Aval'var Atisha," or at least he's pretty sure that's how you convey your journey is peaceful. "Ir abelas…" and then he's going to give up. "We're lost." It's the truth! Now he's going to wait, because this is either going to work, or he's going to be set on fire. At least he still has that amulet, so he can try offering to give THAT back next.

There's a hint of a smile as Taril tries to explain their peaceful purpose, but when he gives up and returns to the common tongue, the amulet in his hand grow momentarily hot and bright - a change echoed by the glowstones embedded into the doorway. It leaves a small burn in his palm but the apparition seems to absorb something of the energy left behind. "Ir abelas, I had not known that so much would be lost. I will borrow your words to make it… easier." He speaks slowly, haltingly, like it is he who is now unsure of his grammar and syntax. "I am Ghilan of our Lady. Why have you sought this place?"

Maura looks between the apparition, and Taril. And then, well, since it's all due to her mistakes, she owns up to their reason for being here. "Well met, Ghilan of our Lady. I am Maura Zehavi. It is my fault that we are here. Though truthfully, we did not seek it out. A spell I cast caused an unexpected reaction and the ground fell out from beneath us. We wound up here, and are trying to find our way back to the surface without disturbing this place more then necessary." She keeps her voice appropriately respectful, and really quite chastened.

Taril COULD say 'so, you see, it's all her fault' but he's not going to because there's that burning sensation in his palm- THANKS, MAURA- that he's doing his best to not react to. "I'm Taril. My clan is Lavellan, and you have my word that we have no wish to disturb this place." He's going to take the mage at her promise, obviously. "We were hunting in a tunnel above and found ourselves here." THANKS, MAURA. "…lady… Daern'Thal?" Ok, maybe this one's on him. He should think before he asks or drops names.

The ghostly figure listens patiently to this regaling of their (quite eventful) adventures, occasionally nodding along to show his comprehension. There are moments where his brow furrows as though he doesn't understand, but comprehension from context clues can be a wonderful thing indeed. So it is that in the end, he actually laughs. "Simply 'Ghilan' will do. You are certainly daring, but strong for a shemlen. That the water did not drain you is a good sign." Oh, so there was something funky with the water. But then Taril's talking and his focus must shift. He seems to grow in an indefinable way when the name of his goddess is called upon, but he does not appear angry. "Indeed, it is as you say. Our Lady was among those who hunted those who would dare shed the Lioness' blood, but even she was betrayed. She slept among the stones until the shemlen priest woke her with corruption. That was over a year ago and we have not felt her presence since."

Some say daring, some say foolish. Maura will accept daring from a ghostly entity anytime though. His mention of the water and that it didn't drain her has her glancing back over her shoulder towards it though. And a shemlen priest? Corruption? That certainly seems to bother her. Corrupt magery of any kind does. "I am sorry to hear of this." But, she will leave the rest of the talking to Taril. He seems to know more about all of this then she does.

Taril listens to the story and frowns. "…woke her with corruption…" You can nearly see the wheels turning, or at least hear them cranking along. "You don't suppose," he starts as he glances toward Maura "that Kitty? I mean, I'd expect her to be bigger, but…" He shakes the idea out of his head. That would be impossible, right? "I think I've been sleeping in the Vhenadahl too long. We're taught a much different story, that the forgotten ones were betrayed and sealed away." Welp, he did say he wasn't much of a believer. "But if it was that recently, maybe that mage is still around. It might not hurt to look for some answers." Which would mean them getting to the surface, so it would be a trade.

Ghilan nods, but corrects a seeming misunderstanding. "They were all sealed. They were all betrayed. The loss of Mythal was too much for him - for them both." Right, because that is MUCH less cryptic and FAR more comprehensible. "They slept. She was tainted in her sleep. He promised his protection. She was corrupted by the Priest of Beauty. She woke. We lost her. He slept on. He broke his promise." There is something sad and old and bitter in this truth. Ghilan shakes his head and sighs. Well, as much as a Veilfire ghost can sigh at any rate. "If you truly mean to search, I will show you to the gates. But for now, you must sleep. You will need your strength to open them. Come, there is some power left in this place still. You will be safe here."

The chamber to which they were shown was both alien and familiar. Art and architecture alike contain elements that have survived the centuries, but never a whole idea and never in the original context. It's a bit like being in a dream state, where things feel familiar but also not quite right. There are wide couches draped in soft, exotic furs to sleep on and a small fountain in one corner for drinking and washing up, but nothing in the way of food. The room's wardrobe contains shoes and sets of clothing in an ancient, lavish style. They're strange, but at least they're dry. It is to this place Ghilan showed them and bid them rest. Presumably, it will be to this place he comes to fetch them.

Taril slept as he usually sleeps- enough to feel rested but not deep enough to be taken by surprise. Of course, it's hard to tell if it's morning or not, but his internal clock says yes so he's going to sit up and check his clothing to see if it's dry. Also? Sorry, Maura, but he's kind of used to being in a group for bathing and dressing so he's just going to re-dress in his own things. Upside? If there's any light in the room, his pale booty will reflect it. Once that's done he'll try to memorize the room. He'll have a lot to tell his Keeper (maybe that'll defer the talking to he's going to get?).

Upside or backside. It's one of those.

Maura, for one, is simply glad the clothing is dry and there's water to drink and wash with. She's not about to complain about the lack of food given the circumstances. And those couches? Probably the best rest she's had since fleeing Ferelden, and it shows when she's finished readying herself in the morning. Her eyes are brighter, with the dark circles beneath having faded considerably. "This is all quite amazing. Things here are so well preserved and cared for." She's been up since about the same time he has, and she hasn't said a peep about his backside. Pale or otherwise. A Circle is somewhat communal, but she's obviously had her eyes averted as they dressed. "There's an odd feel to the place, though. Ambient magic?"

"Probably," Taril agrees as he unwinds his braid and pulls a comb from the large pouch that hangs from his belt. "You know, I expected you to have a dagger out to pluck those stones from the wall the second you noticed them. It was surprising when you left them alone. I'm glad you did. I wouldn't have felt good about killing you." At least he says it as if he's genuinely grateful. "My clan trades with humans, but we're always aware that they see us as less." With that, he begins to comb. "There's probably been magic here so long that it's sunk into the stone. Maybe that's why the colors are all so bright."

Oooookaaaaaay, then. "I am neither greedy, or hungry for power. And only someone with one or both of those traits would have chiseled out gems from their rightful place. I can appreciate art without defiling it." Maura points out, combing the tangles out of her hair with her fingers alone. "I can't speak for most humans. I can only speak for myself, in that I am usually too grateful not to be killed on sight or turned over to the Templars by any who recognize my magic, to be thinking of anyone as a lesser being simply because of their circumstances of birth." It's hard to tell if she's taken his lack of desire to kill her as a compliment, or the whole thing he just said as an insult. As she seems fairly neutral and much more 'together' today. But as he talks, she rests her hand against the wall to see if the magic is seeped in there too.

There is, in fact, the gentle tingle-hum of magic present in the very stones around them. It's not entirely comfortable against Maura's hand, but nor is it outright hostile.

Taril finishes combing and quickly braids his hair once again. "It's a compliment," he clarifies before offering over his comb. "It's safe. We have ways of preventing parasites." He watches the mage touch the wall for a moment as if he expects she'll be tossed back to the middle of the room. "It's really strange. I hate closed in spaces. If I stay in one too long, it feels like there's not enough air or room to draw breath, but here… it doesn't feel like that and I KNOW we're pretty far below the surface." THANKS, MAURA.

Maura seems momentarily absorbed in whatever she's feeling against her palm. Her shoulders give a little twitch, but she doesn't tossed into the middle of the room or anything. "Mildly uncomfortable, but it isn't… bad, or painful in any way." she reports, sounding curious about it really. "Yes, it was a pretty far fall." she agrees, accepting the comb without any squeamishness. "But you are right that there's no sense of claustrophobia. Probably part of the magic. Or maybe that it's all elvhen is kind of a balm for your senses."

"A place sacred to the Lady could not possibly feel like a cage." The voice is familiar, though perhaps a touch unexpected. Ghilan's ghostly figure stands in the doorway - though he wasn't there a moment ago and he never quite crosses the threshold. His face is still partially obscured by his hood, but his smile is both visible and surprisingly warm. "She would not tolerate it."

Taril glances over at Ghilan and has to school the surprise from his face. This guy must be great at parties. "That makes two of us," he jokes before picking up his bow and quiver to settle them into place. "Thank you for sheltering us. After what we had been through, we were exhausted." And bruised, Maura. Very bruised.

Maura doesn't bother with the schooling of the expression. Her surprise is just there, written plain as day before she blinks a moment and then smiles politely at Ghilan's presence. "I haven't slept so well in ages. You have my sincere gratitude as well." Assuming it's time to head toward that gate that was mentioned yesterday, she retrieves her stave, which fortunately was not the cause of doom so she can at least use that without worry. For now.

Maura's open shock and Taril's quickly masked surprise are noted but mostly glossed over. "You certainly did not take the usual path," Ghilan agrees, still slow and halting as he pieces together an unfamiliar language. "Come. If you are ready, I will take you to the gates."

Taril glances at Maura. "No. No we didn't." He's not going to say it, but it's THERE. "One day, I'd like to find the usual path." He's assuming it doesn't involve falling through the ground and landing on your ass, that's all. Mention of being taken to the gate has his attention now, though, and he steps up to indicate his willingness.

Currently the one-armed harbinger of disaster, Maura is happy to let others lead and she can just follow now thanks. No matter how well she slept, it did nothing to improve the ache of a dislocated shoulder. "Thank you, Ghilan." She returns Taril's look with a pointed 'WHAT???' expression. Some people, man. They're like dogs with a bone. Can't let go!!

And with both of them ready, Ghilan turns and walks back the way he (presumably) came. It's alarmingly normal, if you ignore the fact that he's mostly see-through and almost certainly a magical construct of some kind. He doesn't seem to need any light to navigate the temple, but the two mortals might want some.

Taril merely smiles at Maura in the most accusing way possible. No, you are not ever going to live this down. Of course, never mind their situation. He'll have time to react to that once they're safely not in said situation. For now, he's following the obliging spirit like a good little hunter.

Maura makes a slightly disgruntled noise in the back of her throat. You screw up two spells in a row, in a major way, and suddenly you're persona non grata. Geez. But, at least she can provide veilfire. It lights the top of her staff again, providing that creepy green glow to illuminate their way. Of course, now that she feels relatively safe here, her eyes are constantly darting upward and around at the walls and ceiling and artwork. Where is Kodak when you need them?

Ghilan leads them through a series of passageways with twists and turns to rival any rabbit's warren. It is immediately evident that anyone not intimately familiar with this place would be lost within five turns. The artwork varies, but not enough to really navigate by on such short acquaintance. When finally their guide stops, it is before a simple door no different than any other they've so far passed. "The gates are through this door. You may go in when you are ready. I will wait here. There will be questions."

Taril studies the art, though there's no real sense that he's doing it to plan a return trip. He'll have to report these things to his Keeper later. "Questions?" Not that there's any indication he expects that to be answered. Either they're going to have a lot of them or it's a pop-quiz. Either way? Lovely. He takes a moment to look back at the way they've come- because he DOES have questions of his own- before turning back to the matter at hand. If he asks too much, they may miss their opportunity to leave.

Maura has been studying the artwork just to study it. Maybe to sketch it out later and frame it on her wall with captions like 'Why Taril never lets me cast spells anymore'. and 'Why Taril calls me a naked molerat', for example. Little reminders of an adventure gone awry. And speaking of awry… what? Questions? "Of course." There's always questions right? And of course this couldn't just end smoothly for everyone involved. She inclines her head gratefully at Ghilan and nods at Taril. She is ready! But, maybe he should open the door.

When Taril opens the door, Maura's Veilfire sparks life into glowstones all around the revealed chamber - one the size of an Imperial court hall. Everything is more decadent in here. The wall art is done in rich colors and accented with precious metals as well as gemstones. It's like the first room they found themselves in, except less ceiling and tunnel rubble and more displays of elaborate wealth. The floor of the room is covered in plush carpets woven with exotic, swirling patterns that make one dizzy if looked at too long. But without a doubt, the centerpiece of the room are the three sets of massive doors on the other end of the hall. To the far left, the doors are gold and decorated with three massive dragons - each decorated with a different kind of gemstone; one emerald, one ruby and one amethyst. To the far right, the doors are a deep and solid silver, tarnished with age and depicting an entire herd of halla leaping and running. The center doors are made of a bright material that is almost mirror-like. They are decorated, but it is impossible to say with what, since the image seems to keep… changing. It's fluid, malleable. But there is no way to make a door out of liquid… right?

Taril can appreciate the prettiness of the more flashy doors, but he seems more interested in the decorations they carry than the material they're made of. Of course, that liquid door thing fascinates him and he's going to study that one for a few second before glancing at the duller, tarnished set. "Is this where we have to decide which set of doors we're going to try?"

Ghilan does not dignify that with a response. He is a very dry sort of magical construct.

Maura is admittedly fascinated by the liquid doors. "Could that be an Eluvian? How fascinating. We were told that there were none left working." Her voice is more awed then anything else. "But not knowing where they lead…" her voice drifts off, and she gives her head a shake. Being curious is one thing. Jumping through an Eluvian, if that's what it is, could be way worse then just foolish. "And anything with multiple dragon heads just sounds waaaaay too dangerous to consider. So, if it's choosing a door? I'm gonna suggest those ones." The tarnished silver.

None of what Maura says is phrased as a question beyond an echo of Taril's earlier query, so Ghilan remains a silent observer in the doorway.

"If there are some that work, it's better that no one know. …and that we not touch them." Taril's theory is that if you don't understand how it works, you should leave it alone. It's kept him alive rather well over the years (which is probably good, since he's the elf form of the curious cat). "Ghilan, does the silver door lead to where we wish to go?" It's worth a shot!

Maura will agree it's better that nobody know, but the curious mage inside is all 'whatEVER' at the 'and that we not touch them'. Fortunately for all of them, she doesn't say a word. What she will do, however, is look back over at Ghilan for his reaction to the question.

"That depends entirely," Ghilan begins, "on where you wish to go." Right. Because that's helpful.

"Fair enough. Will choosing this door lead us back to Kirkwall?" Taril apparently had to force himself to ask the question that way. Also, don't think he didn't detect that silent 'whatEVER', Maura. NO TOUCHY. "If not, can you tell us which one will?"

To these (in all fairness excellent) questions, Ghilan is disappointingly silent.

Maura has only one usable arm to touch with at the moment, and it's keeping her veilfire lit stave upright. So Taril hasn't a thing to worry about! "Aye, we need to get back to Kirkwall." she agrees. Not want to, necessarily. For there are probably many places both would prefer to be. But it is where they need to head back to. Other than to agree, she remains quiet until there's a long moment of TOO quiet. "Will the choosing of that door cause any harm?".

"Not directly." Helpful is, as always, the ghost-elf's middle name.

"Not directly…" Taril sighs and stops his motion to touch the silver doors. "Who will be harmed by my opening this door?" Because he's RESPONSIBLE. At least, he's responsible when it's not his own life he's putting at risk. "Directly or indirectly." He'll wait for an answer and, if there's none, he's pushing those doors open because not making a decision is just as bad as choosing poorly.

"It is impossible to say, da'len." Hey, at least it's an answer! As for the silver doors? Well, Taril can push on them all he likes. No one dies, but the doors aren't budging either.

For better or worse, at least for a day, Taril is stuck with Maura at his side. Probably only because she has the light at this point. He can't go home if he can't see the way out. So, she feels fairly confident stepping up alongside him. "Together?" she wonders, placing a hand on the silver doors next so they can try to push on the darn thing at the same time.

Oh the combined force of youth and optimism. The silver doors aren't particularly happy about being subjected to such force - there is definitely some kind of inorganic groaning going on - but they do not budge.

Well no one saw THAT coming! Taril takes a deep breath and nods, waiting for Maura's effort before adding his own. Hey, if this doesn't work there's always that watery thing. Nothing bad could come from that, right? "Together." Aaaand… nothing. "One more? If that doesn't work, then you choose the next one. It'll at least lead us somewhere." Oh look, he has a sense of humor.

Third time's the charm!

Except not, sadly, in this instance. The doors continue to groan but they do not buckle - nor do they give way.

"One more." Maura agrees, putting some extra weight (which isn't saying much) into the push against the silver doors. "Well, alright then. Ghilan, do any of these doors lead somewhere specific?" Maybe that will provide something work with. She's NOT going near the liquid doors all willy nilly. Notably, she is not rising to Taril's attempt at humor. She is flatly ignoring it! So there. Harumph.

"All doors lead somewhere specific, da'len." Ghilan's voice is as calm as ever, though there is perhaps some slight sense of amusement lurking around the edges of tone and expression.

Taril shakes his head. "Maybe we need a key? …Fen'Harel… those statues at the doorway when we landed here… Or maybe the amulet." He's guessing. He's a hunter, ok? He pulls the amulet out to study it and then glances at those doors, and swears under his breath. "There was something… If I were as good at remembering the things I listen in on or snoop into as I am at snooping into them." Why you not appreciate his joke, Maura? It was funny!

Maura caught that amusement, Ghilan! "It's all in the phrasing." But getting the phrasing /correct/. Now that is obviously going to be a trick for one such as she. "Do any of them lead to a pre-determined destination. Or do they all lead to a place of our choosing, but through a different… route." She glances at the amulet again, when Taril takes it out. "It didn't look like there was a keyhole. Maybe it first around the neck of one of the Halla carved into the door?" They'll discuss HIS sense of humor later, surely.

The amulet is colder than it was when it opened the first doors for them, silent and inert. The doors they're trying do not unlock.

Because of COURSE they don't, but there's something he hasn't tried. Yep, Taril's going to knock. It's literally what he's named for (sometimes he questions his parents' taste in names). Of course, he doesn't expect anything but why not? "Fen'Harel ma ghilana, as they say when you're walking off a cliff. Ghilan, how do you open this door?" And if that doesn't work, it's off to waterworld because he's run out of ideas. He'll push Maura in first. "But what phrasing?"

"Did you try to pull, da'len?" The question is softspoken and incredibly dry, but altogether unnecessary as it seems the knocking does just as well. There's a humming in the air from ambient magics increasing in pitch and volume, cresting in a single, ancient, only slightly familiar female voice.

"Aval'var din'ena tel'enaste. Melanada na nadas. Begin at the beginning."

"The phrasing of the question." Maura replies, with a shrug. "I imagine he can only answer a certain way. So, the questions we ask have to be designed precisely if we're going to get the kind of answer we need." But hey, then there's Ghilan again, and she groans at the obviousness. Pull the door instead of push the door. Argh! "Begin at the beginning? Does this mean we have to go back to the spider gut scene?"

Taril is gonna laugh, because that's funny. "Pull… Maura? If you never mention this to anyone I'm going to forget you cast the spell that sent us down here. …well, I'll at least not mention it. It would be hard to forget." He reaches out to try pulling on the door but hold on. "That voice." Look, he's a hunter. Weird shit happens to OTHER people. Ok, that's a lie, but he's not used to next level weird shit. "If we're lucky we'll go back to spider guts or the quarry. There are a LOT of beginnings we could go back to." He's getting used to this 'worst case scenario as norm', apparently.

Apparently he has more personality than anyone was going to give him credit for - or maybe it's just a side effect of being around actual life for the first time in Creators only know how long - but the suggestion of returning to spider guts earns the pair of them a scoff from Ghilan. "Don't be so literal." Sass. From a magical construct. Go figure.

"My lips are sealed." Because really, after the day they just finished sleeping off? Maura would prefer to forgive and forget their mutual derp moment of forgetting to try pulling the door. Sigh. "I'm going to choose 'lucky', since we're due for the good variety about now." She will forever be optimistic.. about anuything except her own magic from here on out. "Alright. Who goes first, then?" She will. She's not afraid! But, he might want to. Also, "I think he just sassed us." she whispers.

Taril shakes his head, but he's laughing. He heard that sass. "I truly hope I get to talk with you again, Ghilan. …but for now, maybe I should go first." It's part of his people's lost history, after all. If there's going to be a risk, he's going to take it first (plus, he might be a little more responsible than he wants credit for). "Hopefully I still have a pulse on the other side."

Before either of the present mortals make a potentially deadly decision, something in the ambient magic seems to wake the amulet up once more. Not only does it warm again in Taril's hand, but there is an inexplicable pull toward the golden door - like someone's pulling on the other end of it to lead them in the right direction. Ghilan almost resists commenting, but in the end, the urge is simply too strong.

"Try pulling this time."

"Funny," Taril points out. "It's a pity we couldn't have you on the surface." He actually means that one. With the right questions asked, think of the answers they could have. So, he follows the amulet's lead toward the golden doors- which he'd passed up, since shiny usually means 'it's a trap'- and tries giving a pull. "Ghilan… this place will remain safe, won't it?"

Maura squints at Taril and the amulet. I mean, she can't feel the magical pull. But, she can see the magical aura of the thing light up again and the minute movement of Taril's hand as the amulet tugs in the direction of the golden door. "Really? Well.. I suppose since the that we took to get in had images of dragons…" Now she really wonders where the silvered Halla doors lead. But, alas, they are apparently destined to try the scary golden dragon doors. Wheeee! "Your advice, as always, is excellent." she murmurs, for Ghilan, sounding truly amused until Taril asks that last question.

For the first time since their arrival, Ghilan's face hardens - his expression gone sharp and feral and more than a little bit frightening. "The sacred grounds will always remain. I am not the Wolf." Well. Whatever that means. In any case, the golden doors hum with the same frequency as the amulet and swing open easily at Taril's tug. Inside is a veritable hoard; jewelry fashioned of precious metals and gems lost to living memory, bits of armor made of leather, ironbark or steel and inscribed in a silvery metal with flowing runes whose meaning is not readily apparent, bows and staves and swords and shields of exquisite make and material all scattered amongst the other treasures.

Before there was anything - in the time before elvhen or shemlen or durgen'len… there were the Evanuri; there were dragons.

Taril nods. "Good. I'd like to think I can come back and look at the walls some day." Hey, hunting is his THING! And look, a huge treasure. "There's no way THAT could be a trap or test," he muses as he steps in. "It's a good thing the only gold I want to see is the sun." Not that he's ever really been one for shiny things anyway. "Maura? I dare you to touch something." See that grin? Yep, he's making a joke out of 'it could be a deadly trap, why don't you poke it?'.

"Not even in the Circle's archives did I see anything like this." Maura muses, leaning closer to look at some of the designs on the metalwork, and simply breathe in the age and beauty of some of the timeless treasures in here. (I want to right click SO BAD RIGHT NOW). "Your sense of humor leaves something to be desired." She also sticks her tongue out at Taril when she says it too. But, she touches nothing. She just looks and admires, and keeps walking lest an enchantment of some kind try to take hold. "It's not likely we'll see items of this age again. Blessings be upon those who can turn metal, wood, and leather into such fine things."

Amid the various and sundry niceties are small figurines - some that look like those posted around many Dalish campsites and others that look like nothing familiar at all. None of them look like the amulet Taril holds, either. There is also a key.

Taril spots the key and picks it up. That's what they're here for. Of course he is going to take a long, studious look at each of those figures. Especially the unfamiliar. Once they're done the key is held up for Maura's view. "See? I knew a key would be involved. There has to be a lock around here somewhere."

The key is simple - it stands out in this room because it isn't shiny at all. It is, however, made of suspiciously white antler.

Maura's taking a long look at those figurines, too. They would look awesome in a display case. Which she doesn't have. The key, however, that brightens the day considerably. "What're you going to do if it's the lock to a gilded chest instead of a door?" she wonders, lips curling up into an amused smile. Nonetheless, she starts looking around for a place that is missing some white antler. That obviously means she will miss it, because it's likely a plain doorknob looking for a key.

Taril rolls his eyes. "By all means, if you're tempted…" He gestures toward the treasure. "Even I was, for a minute. At least, by the bows. Gold, silver, and gems only have a use in decoration or buying, selling, and making people suffer. That's all the slavers talked about." In fact, he is going to pick up one of the bows to examine it (hey, he could pick up a trick or two to use in his own bow) before leaning it back in its spot. "I'm gonna guess that the key is for that door we were battling against like idiots. It's halla antler and that door was covered in them. I could be wrong." Because he has been before!

"Some jewelry is enchanted, to provide a benefit to the wearer. But I concede your point, about it being used in trade in suffering." Maura replies, almost sadly. She will, undoubtedly, stop by one of the many staves that litter the place. Though it is damnably hard to disguise her real use for them. Walking around Kirkwall with a staff is just asking for trouble. Especially a shiny, new one. But it doesn't hurt to at least look. Admire. Okay touch. Ahem. Perhaps there's something else of interest she'll see on their way out and back towards the Halla door. Mage-ing ain't easy, yo.

The key does, in fact, open the halla door. The doorway is a bit hazy and passing through it carries the feel of magic, but stepping through on the other side leaves them in a shallow cave on the north face of Sundermount. Looking behind them shows only a flash before fading to a still and silent eluvian. It's mildly anticlimactic after everything else, but they're alive and in (mostly) one piece.

And Ghilan had said they could come back.

"No. NO spiders today, thank you. Food, and then I have to find someone to fix my shoulder back in Kirkwall." This was the wooooorst attempt at hunting, ever. "And then, figure out how we can help Ghilan. Since you made that offer." Maura points out, finally sounding as tired as they ought to be after such a wild ride through the old quarry.