A Meeting of Darkness - RPLOG
From Rusted Promises
After camping out, sending word back to the city and waiting under the shadow held peak, the camp still stands, unmolested by the shadows presence so far. "It's not normal," speaks Sally, whom paces back and forth.
Mazurek had taken the time to get a bit of sleep during the downtime. Of course there were times when he would mumble and turn over and over somewhat restlessly, but he tended to calm down after a bit. As the time approaches for the mission to proceed apace, he takes care of natural business in the trees, bushes, or whatever is around.
Rogna shakes his head. "I worry that pressing times are ahead Miss Sally, the shadow are acting peculiar." The hippo is weighing his soul gem usage. Noble soul gem would be far better suited to the seemingly upcoming task, however the task is dangerous and surely nothing he should charge into unarmed.
Sally eyes Rogna's fiddling a moment, "Take both," she recommends, "If you insist on this, but there is few other, reasonable, roads laid out for us, hmm... Just know that there is no shame in retreat against such odds." Her tail jingles with a fit of a twitch.
Mazurek comes out of the foliage, adjusting his shorts for a better fit. Noting the fidgeting as well he remarks, "I have only one soul gem worth taking, myself. I feel I have almost mastered it entirely."
Rogna gives Miss Sally a nod and laughs. "I would like to hope it does not come down to such haste. If they are truely committed to the peace then I would hope we can leave peacefully, however knowing the nature of the shadow gives me more than a single doubt.
Sally wrinkles her nose a little, "I have my theories, but let's get facts, not musings," She gestures at Rogna and Mazurek, "M'lord, your honor guard appears ready, if you are?"
Mazurek spreads his wings and flaps once before closing the distance to the Rhino, "I am as ready as I think I will ever be." He looks around at the camp and those still slumbering, "It figures the Tegu would still be sound asleep, too."
Sally cants her head, "He is not asleep," she counters, "I sent him with a message to the city. The kind needs to be kept updated to our actions. It is not within our authority to brashly charge ahead as if we had permission. The least we can do is keep him informed of our situation."
Rogna nods to the two and proceeds to hike back up towards the arc, running scenarios through his head as he tries to think of what he could say in polite company to the shadow themselves.
Mazurek cocks his head as well, "Alright. I guess it was a good idea to keep his bedroll present and stuff it with things to make it look like he's sleeping." He smiles and then offers a sharp salute to Sally before he turns to follow Rogna.
The hike up is a good one, but undisturbed, passing by the signs that direct the way towards the ark, used by pilgrims across the years on their way to see the sacred site and pay homage to the Creators. The air is still and no animals are about at the moment.
Mazurek's stride is slow, yet steady, while marching up the hill behind the Hippo, keeping himself slightly to the side so as not to accidentally bump into the other should a sudden stop happen. The signs are noted and followed, and the lack of any natural noise does eventually make him look around while remarking to the Hippo, "If Nature has anything to tell us, it's that the Shadows are around and likely watching our every move."
Rogna adjusts his weaponry and adjusts his cape, throwing it back with one hand. This is an appearance he cannot leave up to pure adventuring rough, he must look his bst. "This situation is volatile." he says as he thinks it over. There are very few good outcomes for the shadow, peaceful or not, they are a danger to numerous people and rather unnatural in their nature.
The lip of the top is reached shortly. Standing at the end of the path is what looks like it might have once been a squirkik, but now seven feet tall, on two legs. Its club tail glimmers darkly, entire body dark and unfathomable but its bright green eyes. It looks between the two before opening its mouth. Squeak. A pause...
Behind and around the squirkik, the shadows roam freely, many as floating bits of shadow stuff, other in a variety of dark forms. Most interesting are the two dark pools at either end of the clearing, and the bright pool in the center. The ark itself is nowhere to be seen, though it may be hidden under that great pool of white.
Mazurek's first reaction is to start to reach out to help adjust the cape, but he forces himself out of that line of thought fairly swiftly. This is not something he is familiar with, after all. His gaze wanders around to the activity after they reach the lip and are...greeted? by the odd Squirkik. What he is seeing is fairly close to what he had reconnoitered from the air the last time, yet he can't help but give voice to a single thought, speaking just over a whisper to his companion, "Just like I saw the other day, but...where's the horde of critters?"
Rogna frowns at the pools. Have they melted down the arc?! He looks the squirkik over and gives a slight bow, gesturing back to the camp. "May we proceed?" he addresses to the large creature, listening to but not responding to Mazurek in the company of prying ears.
The creature makes an odd gesture with its fingers, difficult to discern with black on black, but then turns and walks, striding purposefully onto the clearing. Its stance is somewhat exaggerated, with large plodding steps that eat away the space quickly despite looking odd. Its tail sways in counter point, heavy weight bobbing at the end. It would be cute if it wasn't what it was.
Mazurek turns his gaze on the odd creature when it makes its gesture. When there is no threat of attack, at least not immediately, he leaves it up to his companion whether to proceed or not, keeping quiet for the most part and somehow managing to suppress a giggle at how the creature is walking. Cute it might have been under normal circumstances, but it is more than likely a victim in its own right.
Rogna watches the oddly proud squirkik and follows it slowly, sure not to exhibit weakness. He looks around occasionally to eye a shadow or two, it is rare to see them as such he may as well determine what he can about them.
The other shadows keep a distance from the visitors, or intruders, none coming closer than ten meters, and those who approach even that seem to move off swiftly. The squirkik guides them to the dazzlingly bright white pool. Its intensity enough to cast some light into its darkness, making its fur visible in its contrast with it, but also emphasizing that the creature is mostly darkness. Another gesture, then, with a squeak, it points to the pool.
Mazurek takes the opportunity to look the creature over in more detail as the light shines directly upon it. The shadows that surround them are given nothing more than a glance, even those who come closer than the others and hurry off. The gesture from the creature into the bright light has him focusing his attention on it, then the pool, and then the Hippo. His look says it all, Should we go toward it?
Rogna does not hesitate, looking the pool over and then gesturing that he will follow the squirkik. Surely they do not intend to have him enter this strange pool without a demonstration of its safety.
The creature makes no move to enter it, just watching impassively and with an enduring patience. If it wasn't for the slow swaying of its club tail, it would be a statue.
Mazurek reaches out to make contact with the Hippo for the first time this journey, one hand resting on a shoulder, "Do you want me to go first?" Then to their Squirkik 'guide', "You don't have the ability to speak at all, do you?"
Rogna gives Mazurek a nod, watching the squirkik. "I believe that would be wise.
It seems rather odd that this one refuses to enter."
The shadow guide does little to quell their concerns, just watching them quietly as it is. Can it even understand them? It certainly does not speak, or, perhaps just hasn't decided to.
Mazurek nods, squeezing the Hippo's shoulder, "Very well." He leaves his charge's side and boldly steps toward the white light, passing right by the Squirkik in the process. Despite inwardly worrying what he is walking into he maintains an outward calm, though his tail does twitch a little.
The whiteness accepts Mazurek like water, and it feels like there is a sloping surface underneath. It's not wet, but does resist, like water, rippling as he passes deeper into it. If cupped, it remains, but the moment there is escape, it flows like the liquid it is, but none is left behind, not clinging to flesh or clothing.
Rogna observes it's behavior and follows Mazurek into the pool, careful as he does so. Even if it seems tame this could of course be a trap to be employed later.
Mazurek feels rather strange when he notes the sloping surface that he is traveling down, and he does indeed play with the fluid that he thinks he is feeling. He keeps his wings tucked as tight as possible while he descends. Before it reaches his neck, though, he calls back, "I can't see a thing, but this light is feeling like a liquid! There's a slope, gentle at the moment!" He doesn't even know that Rogna is following, so he's shouting it all.
As it turns, the layer of light is not thick, perhaps a foot of it before emerging into air again. The light, now above, brilliantly illuminates the exposed section of the Ark. Divine machines glow softly, roused to activity, perhaps by the shadows, or their presence. Only one being resides there. A tall figure of shadow, with more limbs than he has right to have, though his shoulder still bears a clan seal of the Adaptable Folk. He turns towards them and bows at the waist, "M'lord," he speaks, "I did not expect royalty." His voice, his posture, the sword at his hip. This shadow puppet is known, all too well, Robert, great warrior of Mossy Stone, soulless that remained while his men fled, giving them life in return for his own. But clearly, he remains, in some form.
Mazurek remained unaware of the fact that he was followed until the Shadow Creature speaks to the Hippo directly. He blinks in blatant surprise and turns his head quickly to find that he isn't alone. He was about to speak to the creature but steps to the side to defer the diplomacy to Rogna, even bowing slightly.
Rogna adjusts to the light, inspecting the being. "And I did not expect this pleasure, are you quite alright?" he asks as he looks Robert over again. "I suppose you are the one i'm to speak to regarding the presence of the shadow and the peace they have offered?"
"I am afraid you will be dissapointed," he says, "We are not yet ready. But," He holds up two fingers on two different hands on the left, "Good things are coming, I think. Have faith in your soldier. I have not forgotten my loyalties, even if they are muddied by circumstance." He reaches back, manipulating the buttons of the Creator device, "I will say this. The Creators are more wonderful than even we gave credit, and, perhaps, more terrible than we could ever have feared. We will be leaving soon."
Mazurek says nothing for the moment, his gaze wandering over the figure that they are addressing. He can't exactly help but think that the multitude of arms is unsettling...yet at the same time may prove to be quite useful.
Rogna considers this. "Let us be clear on the matter. Soon, they shall be leaving. Leaving the arc? Leaving Sweetwater? Along with this, what are their intentions, surely you can tell me their goals, if not the specifics of them. The shadow present a threat to all of Sweetwater, people fear them and for good reason, they have been nothing but trouble to us since their arrival. Why have they suddenly opted to be peaceful?"
He makes the motion of a sigh, though no sound to accompany it, "It is difficult. You see shadow as one horrific whole, but that is not the case. Those here will leave the ark. We came only to see what the Creators left, and we are finished. You are right to fear." He frowns, closes his eyes and going still a moment before he speaks, "I have spoken out of turn and can say no further. I can only hope that is enough to satisfy."
Mazurek stays quiet for the present, continuing to listen, watch, and wait. For now, anyway. He's actually waiting for some sort of hostility to show itself.
Rogna shakes his head. "I dare say it is not, but I understand. I cannot fully believe your words, as when we approached the arc in the past, before it was defiled and looted of it's knowledge, we fought a shadow on this very spot, captivated and frightened beings held bound in terror. I understand the necessity for a translator, but your presence here, indicates they have taken you against your will in the past. So they will leave the arc, that is wonderful news, however from what I gather they will still be causing problems elsewhere? The shadow spotted on the farm, the possessions, it appears the threat will not vanish?"
He shakes his head, "I can only speak of future change. At present, you will do well to be vigilant. I wish I could tell you more. Everything. But I cannot. I ask in your faith on this." He makes a sign of the creator faith, meant to ask forgiveness from the Creators. "We will meet again, perhaps. You will not be bothered as you leave."
Mazurek finally speaks, "What about the new creatures that they are apparently creating? The creature that greeted us here was not natural nor was it made by the Creators."
He turns his gaze towards Mazurek, "Squittles? He was here before I." And that is all he has to say on that matter it seems, waiting with all the patience that 'squittles' had above the light.
Rogna looks to Mazurek and then gives a nod to Robert. "I will take my leave with the knowledge you have given. I hope you remain well, it was a pleasure to see you again even under these circumstances." The hippo casts his cape back as he gives a second nod and departs upward from the pool.
Mazurek is about to say something additional but definitely thinks better of it. With a light huff he turns to follow the Hippo out.
"Creators watch over," Comes a parting statement before they go. Through the light, emerging to see Squittles still standing there, waiting for them. Once they have stepped free of the light, he moves, guiding them back towards the path that they arrived on.
Rogna follows Squittles away from the pool, looking curiously at th shadow pools before proceeding towards the camp, giving the squirkik a nod as they proceed back towards camp to see the others.
Mazurek follows wordlessly, though he does smile at 'Squittles' and even give it a slight nod. Once back at the camp, he makes his full report to Sally
Squittles nods in return at the gesture, and points at the path when they reach it. Nodding, pointing, two gestures he seems to have down. No shadows come to harass the two as they descend, rejoining their companions at the base of the peak.