All That Glitters is Not Golem - RPLOG
It is warm and clear among the craggy mountains that surround the Firebough volcano. A cart loaded with provisions and Freeswords rumbles down the dusty road through small mountain passes, hauled by a shaggy, swaybacked beast and its portly beaver driver. "And that's why I never bathe after dark," he finishes some long-winded story as they rattle to a stop in front of a small camp.
Beings of all sizes and descriptions are scattered around between a collection of fifteen tents, some are at work carrying water or tending animals or preparing food, but most seem to just be passing the time.
"About time you lot arrived," a loud, gruff voice calls, soon followed by its owner, a stocky bull with a broken horn in sturdy, workman's clothes, "You the Freeswords?"
Galve hops off the cart, stretching a little. He wasnt used to being carted around, but other than beng a little sore from the bumpy ride he was fine. "Yes sir, we fit that description." The vespid rogue replied, stepping away from the cart a few steps to give the others ample room to disembark.
Terry steps up with the rest of the mercenary group, standing somewhat apart from them. The small feline stands straight as the bull speaks, only a salute away from standing at attention. "Yes sir. We were told you needed help clearing out the mine." The small being reaches back to check on the state of his slung shortbow before returning his attention to the bull.
Benna tightens her belt, adjusting the straps on her very own set of adventuring clothing! Her incorrectly sized chain armor clinks as she steps off the cart, falling in line timidly behind the small feline and the wasp. Having the question answered for her, she checks her own weapons, a bow and quiver on her back. Checking her spellcasting as well, the fur of her hands stands on end before she smooths it out after giving herself a light shock, awaiting instruction.
The bull snorts and folds his arms, looking over the trio as the cart lumbers back into motion, carrying the beaver and his remaining cargo away. "You don't look like much," the bull grumbles, "But if you're here, we'll make use of you. Follow me."
He leads the way through the little tent town to a boarded over mine shaft. It is easy to tell that it is a mine shaft because of all the painted signs that read "DANGER: MINE SHAFT."
"This is the Glitterrock mine," the bull says, "Or it was, anyway. Now it is just a breeding hole for weird rock elementals. If it were me, I would just leave the thing sealed up, but some knob in the city wants the platinum that is down there." He turns to face the Freeswords and folds his arms again. "Trick is, place was overrun by these elementals. You clear them out and figure out why they showed up, and you'll get a nice, fat payday." He glares down, daring anyone to ask any questions.
Galve nods, checking his equipment for a moment. "Is there anything else we need to know? Any additional hazards besides the elemental infestation?" He asks, wanting to know as much as he could before he went in.
Terry raises an eyebrow. "Rock elementals." He frowns slightly, unsure if a bow was the correct choice for this assignment. Still, he nods and adjusts his tunic. "Yes sir. We'll clear it out for you." The small being then looks over at his two companions, analyzing them critically. His gaze lingers on Benna a moment, his attention caught by her use of magic.
Benna seems like she's doubting her own choice of weapon again as she looks to her hands and sighs, hoping her mathemagical study will come in handy in fighting the elementals. "We will sort it out," she assures the bull, her northern accent thick. She notices the small cat's gaze on her and summons a flame in her hand for a brief moment to amuse him, smiling for a second before looking up to the bull again.
"Hell if I know," the bull snorts, "Nobody has been down this rotten tunnel in better than a decade. I would just leave it shut, except the big man says he needs the shiny stuff down at the bottom of this hole." He steps up to the boarded up tunnel and opens a large padlock that has chained a low door shut. "Just knock when you want back out," he says, "Till then, I gotta lock it behind you.
Galve nods. He retrieves a torch from his supplies, eyeing the tunnel. "Well, we can't all go in at once." He remarks to his compatriots as he headed inside.
Terry lets his facade drop as he smiles and giggles at Benna's little flash of flame, but he straightens up and puts on his professional face as he steps up to the mine. He falls in behind Galve, following him into the mouth of the mine. "Do either of you have experience with this sort of job? I'm afraid I've never been inside a -mine- before."
"I have been inside tunnels," she says, "but not into abandoned mines, or caves. Well, not many caves. Never ones with elementals," she says, stepping in after Galve - her head bowed to avoid clipping her antlers off the door. "IT is alright. Stay in the back with your bow if it gets scary," she assures him. She again practices her fire magic as she concentrates on keeping a flame lit in her palm, lighting the tunnel up as a second torch as she follows Galve.
Beyond the wooden barrier, the mine is dark, by surprisingly dry and warm. The shaft itself is not particularly steep, and it is surprisingly wide and open, slicing gently downward into the mountainside. The floor is smooth and sandy, here at the entrance. So far, there is not much to see, aside from stone walls, and nothing to hear but the muffled sound of the camp outside.
Galve holds his torch up to provide the most light combined with Benna's magiks. His other hand was resting on the butt of his pistol, and he was thinking of the perfectly good hammer he had left back at his living quarters. It would be so much better than his current armaments against elementals...
Terry fans out to the right hand side of the group, keeping a slight distance in the cramped quarters of the mine. He keeps his bow at the ready, as if expecting to be ambushed at any second.
Benna:ceases her magicks, not wanting to wear herself out so soon into the expedition, instead huddling close to Galve to share in his own light. She quietly hums a tune, her eyes scanning in the dark of the mine as they descend.
The tunnel is smooth and open as the trio descends, and the ambient sounds from outside fade, giving way to the silence of the deep earth.
Well, silence. As far as it goes, at least. Breathing seems loud and strange in the darkness, and occasionally there is an inexplicable groan, or a tapping sound. It looks like this place has lain undisturbed for a long time, though the occasional struts and beams seem well preserved. If there really ARE elementals down here, they are not showing themselves.
Galve looks around a little as he walks, looking for signs of awry elementals. Cracks in the stone that separated whole chunks of rock from the rest of the living earth that's still seemed to stay where they were instead of crumbling out onto the floor from the walls or ceiling another evidence left behind by stray Elementals or Elementals that might be hiding.
Terry stops to carefully analyze the walls that surround them. He places a hand on the right hand side wall, feeling it's texture. "Mmm.." He looks over at Benna. "I.. don't suppose you have any sort of aptitude with earth magic as well? It might be useful in guiding us. Or even fighting them, if they show up."
Benna shakes her head at Terry. "No, I am sorry. I only know the.. fire magic and air magic. Sorry," she says yet again, with a little frown. Their odds did not actually look very good. She could do little more than keep her eyes out as she crept along with the group, anxiously shifting from foot to foot.
It is not long before the group comes to a smaller, branching tunnel, leading off from this one, probably following a vein of whatever ore it was they were digging here. The main tunnel continues on, uninterrupted.
That strange, intermittent knocking sound is a little unnerving. What causes that, anyway?
Galve continues down the main tunnel, though he makes a mental note that this is the first branch tunnel that they have passed. The knocking was annoying but he did figure it was something important. "Listen... we might have company soon, stay on your toes." He says, pulling his pistol out.
Terry grits his teeth. "Blast. That will make things trickier." The small ocelot hefts his pack and stalks forward, keeping his stance low and his bow at the ready.
Benna glances down the side tunnel, keeping her gaze back over her shoulder as she reignites the flame in her hand, cautious of any sneaky elementals that may try to flank them. "Oh, dear.." she murmurs, backing up to keep up with the group as she eyes back where they came from.
There is absolutely no sign of anything having been down here in years. No animal leavings, no marks in the sandy floor, and certainly no elementals. There are more branching paths here and there, all smaller than the main shaft, which has narrowed considerably. It is not so small that anyone has to stoop to get by, but it has reached a point where two averaged sized beings could walk side-by-side, but no more. The descent has also become steeper and the air has cooled considerably. Maybe there was nothing to worry about down here after all!
Galve remained vigilant as he moved into the front of the others, his torch cutting back the inky blackness of the tunnel as he descended the slope.
Terry stops a moment, peering down one of the smaller branching paths. "Odd, for a place that should be swarming with things.. it sure does look empty."
Benna squirms in discomfort as they continue down the narrowing shaft, being stuck in the back, covering the group's behind. "We should turn back," she suggests. "Perhaps we have missed the path with the elementals on it." She lets out a little sigh, clearing her mind in a brief moment of darkness before re-igniting the flame.
Suddenly, the shaft opens into a wide, low, excavation area. This must be where the main seam of ore was. It is difficult to see very far in the light of the torch, but it seems that there is a strange, egg shaped rock formation situated in the center of the large chamber.
Galve slows to a creeping walk as he examined the floor and the walls, looking for anything out of the ordinary. "Be careful.... something feels off..."
Terry blinks as he sets eyes on the large rock formation in the center of the room. He points in that direction. "Can you get some more light to shine on that thing? It doesn't look.. normal." He steps aside, making some distance from his companions. He ponders, then looks over at Benna, thoughtful.
Benna furrows her brow as they apparently reach a new area, bumping into Galve as he slows. She has turned around now, but turns yet again to face the egg-rock as she sees it, furrowing her brow. In an attempt to illuminate it, she reaches out toward it, not doing much. "I am not very good at.. just throwing al ittle bit of fire. I throw a lot," she explains.
In the illumination of Galve's torch and Benna's little flame, the egg is easy to examine. It seems to be rough hewn from the surrounding stone and connects both to the ceiling and the floor in a smooth, organic way. Veins of some dark metal run through it, with glints of silver reflecting in the torch light.
Galve gingerly approaches the egg, reaching up and resting his hand on the surface lightly, tracing the veins of metal. "This is.... impressive. I wonder if the elementals made this or...the miners...." He says in a hushed awe.
Terry tightens his grip on the bowshaft. "It looks ominous. That thing looks more than unnatural, it looks downright dangerous." He steps aside, stepping around the outside of the room. "Be careful.."
Benna giggles at that suggestion, getting distracted by the egg herself. "They are miners, not sculptors," she says, shaking her head lightly. "But this is good! There will be lots of metal for the miners when we are finished. But we better make sure it is safe." She rolls her shoulders and wiggles her fingers, mentally practicing her math. At Terry's suggstion of carefulness, she steps back as well, eying where they came in.
It does not take long to find out exactly who made the egg. The strange formation moves suddenly under Galve's hand and a large chunk of the stone tears itself way, throwing itself at the Wasp, burying him in a personal avalanche!
The rest of the egg breaks apart as well, revealing a total of six, amorphous stone creatures!
Galve struggles beneath the weight of the stone. "I'm fine, you two deal with those." He says, trying to heave the stones off of himself and get free.
Terry grits his teeth as the egg breaks apart into a bloom of roiling earth elemental.. things. He leaves his bow be for now, and raises his hand at the formation of elementals, palm-out, fingers curled as if forming a claw. He visualizes the magic in his mind, and a whip of wind rushes around him, converging on his hand as it flashes out in a blade-like shimmer of moving air - Cutting Winds, an elementary application of math from a rather novice mage.
Benna stiffens up straight at the sound of moving stones burying her wasp companion, spinning on her heel to face the egg. Following in Terry's footsteps, she copies his spell, sending a (hopefully) powerful gust of air toward one of the stone creatures.
Poor Terry does not manage to so much as scratch any of the writhing masses of stone and ore, and Benna's blast of air, though much more powerful, seems to have little effect on the flailing masses. At least Galve is able to shimmy his way out from beneath his own attacker.
The elementals, if that is what they are, do not attack just yet. Instead, it seems that they are trying to reshape themselves. Each of the six irregular blobs writhes and wriggles as stone reshapes itself. More quickly than anyone could want, there are six roughly hominid shapes scattered around the room, with thick arms, short, bandy legs and lumps atop their torsos that might be heads in a biological creature.
Galve crawls out of the rubble and gets to his feet, backing over to his compatriots. "Wait.... let's not jump the gun here." He says, holding up a hand to the others signalling them to hold off on any further spells.
Terry was already nocking and pulling back an arrow, though he greatly doubts the efficacy of sucha weapon against creatures made of rock. He holds his arrow in the ready, bow pulled back and ready to let it fly. "They attacked you. Are you sure of this?"
Benna, in her panic, jumps the gun, unfortunately. She widens her stance and lowers her head, not that doing so lowers her profile much, antlers considered. With another thrust of her palm, she does some more air magic in the direction of the nearest stone formation, hoping to break it apart back into the little pieces from whence it came.
While the misshapen stone constructs would certainly applaud Galve's chivalrous nature, applause does not seem to be on the list of things that they do. Instead, they pair off, two rushing toward each of the freeswords, their heads and hunched shoulders just short of scraping the low ceiling.
Wind blasts forth from Benna's palm, her hunched stance keeps her grounded. But the stone juggarnauts don't seem especially concerned by the air magic as bits of windblown dirt and stone glance off of them. She does manage to force one of them backward a bit, but the other barrels toward her on the edge of the vortex!
Galve tries to dodge out of the way of the incoming golems, one running headlong into him and the other landing a solid blow onto his armor, damaging the leather and mail armor as the blow was absorbed. Winded, Galve pulled out the pistol and took aim at point blank against one of elementals, not sure what the high speed ball of metal would do.
Terry watches as the inevitable happens - the creatures lash out at the beings invading their den. The small ocelot holds the arrow nocked as he leaps aside, rolling past the clumsy creatures and rising up to one knee after his tumble, arrow still nocked. He picks a target, one of the elementals assaulting Benna, and aims an arrow center-mass, hoping that they are not as solid and rock-like as they appear at first sight.
Benna squeaks as one of the stone constructs barrels towards her, stopping her vortex as she hurriedly sidesteps, the rattling of chain sounding as it grazes her. With quick breaths, she scurries about in a panic, deciding to try an alternate form of attack as she sends a jet of flame rather than wind toward her pursuer, boots clapping on the stone as she keeps trying to evade.
The air is suddenly full of a plethora of competing noises as each of the freeswords springs into action. First, there is the crack of Galve's pistol, snapping into the head lump of his nearest attacker. The heavy ball embeds itself in the monster's head and cracks spread from the point of impact. The thing is certainly not down. Indeed, it seems more annoyed by the attack than actually injured. Both it and its companion reach out toward the wasp with oversized, fingerless hands.
Terry's arrow flies straight and true and lodges impossibly in the stone chest of one of the two elementals descending on Benna. There is a loud knocking sound and the monster has a moment to somehow, despite its general featurelessness to look confused before it suddenly crumbles into rubble! Unfortunately, both of his pursuers are still ready and able, having righted themselves from a near miss, they are lumbering once more toward the ocelot.
Finding herself with only one opponent remaining, Benna can focus her flame to its fullest potential. Which is to heat the stone monster that is reaching out to give her what might be the least pleasant embrace of all time. It seems almost to glitter under the heat. Or maybe that is just the tarnish burning off the metal veins that cover its surface.
Galve tries to parry, to defend himself with his weapon and then strike back at his pair of attackers. He draws his sword and tries to pull it off.
It doesn't go so well. Parrying was meant for defending against other weapons, even ones larger than one's own. Not golem fists made of solid rock and ore. The fist smacks his blade out of the way like a toy and then a second clobbers him right in the face. He crumples over into a heap, unconscious and bleeding.
Terry scrambles out of the way of the two elementals closest to him. He hops aside, narrowly a very dodgy slam by one of the rushing creatures. He drops his bow and draws a dagger, drawing down into a defensive stance. He baits the next attack, and dashes forward with the dagger to try and punch a hole center-mass just like he did with the arrow.
An awful sound to hear in such an enclosed space, Benna lets out a shrill shriek of terror as she is hit by the heated metal of the elemental, the smell of burnt fur in the air as she scrambles away in a panic. Her hand moves to cover her burn, having learned that she probably should have brought a better tool for smashing rocks on such an expedition. She scrambles upright again, holding her wound, and spotting her waspy friend getting absolutely clobbered. "Oh, dear!" she says, apparently thinking of no expletives that would better capture her feelings as she draws her own bow and nocks an arrow, loosing it at her lone pursuer in an attempt to end him the way that Terry had finished the other.
There is no reason that shambling stone constructs like these should care about knives and arrows, and yet, both prove to be effective tools. Benna's arrow finds a chink in her opponent's stony flesh and sinks into one of the currently molten veins of ore, lighting the wooden shaft on fire. The elemental halts, mid lumber and crumbles into slag. Terry has similar, inexplicable success and his narrow blade sinks deep into a vein of soft ore. The elemental sags, the life gone out of it, and crumbles to the ground.
That leaves only three elementals! One steps in to take a brutal swing at the small ocelot, while the other two close in on Galve's crumpled form, the two stone monsters reaching for him with ominous purpose.
Terry soaks the bash from the elemental, staggering backwards. He pulls his shredded armor away from him - that blow ripped his poor tunic to bits. The small feline retaliates with a cry that reveberates in the cramped cave, bringing his knife point-down on the elemental's 'shoulder', or whatever it is they have in that general area of their bodies.
Benna breathes a sigh of relief as the elemental crumbles, scanning through the dark to her waspy friend, her eyes widening as she sees the other elementals descending. There's no hesitation as she sprints for him, raising her hand with the palm pressed outward to throw another blast of wind in his direction, hoping to hold the elementals off long enough for Terry to come assist.
Whatever that magical spot was that reduced the other elementals to rubble, Terry does not strike it this time. His knife glances of the hard stone of the monster's hide. The elemental, seeing an opportunity, throws itself backward, attempting to make ocelot jelly by simply falling backward.
Benna's blast of wind has exactly three effects: One, it causes both elementals to turn away from Galve's limp form. Two it holds them securely at bay. And three? It sends poor galve tumbling head over heels across the sandy floor of the mine, to the base of where the egg-cum-elementals were grouped earlier.
Terry acks as he's rolled onto by one of the elementals. He is nearly crushed beneath the stone monster, but just about manages to wriggle out and roll away. He clambers onto his feet and hefts his dagger in a defensive pose. The poor weapon is dulled by its use on tough rock monsters, and slightly bent at that. He gives it one final moment of glory by charging forward at the elemental in front of him, shoving his dagger into the creature's center.
Benna cringes as she watches the poor body of her companion roll with the gust of wind, shuffling aside to avoid catching him in the breeze once she has the attention of the two golems. "You are okay?!" she asks aside to Terry as she hears falling rock, simplying doing her best to push the creatures further back from herself as she holds them away, her brow wrinkled in her concentration.
A fine moment of glory it is, too. Terry's knife sinks deep into a crevice in the craggy hide of the elemental and it crumbles, leaving the little feline to catch his breath.
Meanwhile, it does not seem like the rock creatures are especially bothered by the wind whipping through the underground chamber, but they don't seem to be able to get any purchase to attack Benna, leaving the two rock monsters and the caribou at a stand off.
Terry throws away his useless dagger, bent out of shape, deprived of any career outside of 'paperweight'. He recouperates, then runs over to his discarded bow to pick it up. He nocks an arrow and readies it, picking out a target.
Benna stares expectantly at Terry, her look of concentration now appearing to be a cross between pain and rage as she struggles to keep up the energy required to hold stones at bay for so long. "Shoot!" she commands, flexing her hands as she gives a last push of her magic.
the crumpled heap that was the wasp started to stir a little, roused from unconsciousness by a combination of reasons. Still extremely groggy and with a splitting headache Galve rolled over to sprawl out on his back and groan weakly.
The elementals, struggling against Benna's gale force winds actually start to moan aloud as air whistles across them. With this last blast of power, however, Benna manages to catch rubble from one of the fallen elementals, sending shards of rubble carreening against the nearest one, slamming into its little head nub hard enough to break it completely off, along with a large chunk of its torso! The broken monster crumbles, leaving only one elemental to struggle against Benna's magic.
Terry pulls the bowstring fully taut as he readies a powerful shot aimed at the one remaining elemental. He lets the arrow fly, and quickly nocks another one, then another, and one more. The first powerful arrow is followed by a flurry of rapid-fire projectiles in a barrage to whittle down the last creature standing.
Benna groans as she shreds one of the elementals and leaves the final one standing alone, her hands falling down by her sides as she stares dazedly ahead at it, hoping Terry can destroy it before it takes advantage of her rather out-of-it state as she recuperates from the mental exhaustion. Her eyes wander to poor Galve, watching him as the action goes on around her.
The last standing elemental crumbles, Terry's arrow finding whatever sweet spot it is that disrupts these things, leaving the dark cavern quiet again. Galve's torch gutters on the ground where it fell at the start of the fight.
Galve pushes himself up into a sitting position, wiping blood out of his eyes and fumbling around clumsily with his belt pouches for his supplies.
Terry reaches back for another arrow, but finds his quiver empty. It is now, four arrows after the fact, that he notices in his panic that the elemental is no longer moving. His legs tremble and he leans into the wall, taking a moment to cool down and come down from his adrenaline high. "Everyone okay?" He asks, wheezing.
Benna grunts as she forces herself to walk over to Galve, boots slapping off the stone with heavy steps. "I am okay," she says, hurrying over to Galve as she regains her composure. "You are okay, too? You are looking not so good."
Well, the elementals are gone. The ones that were here, anyway. That might just be mission accomplished.
Galve finds some clean bandages in one of his pockets and uses it to mop up the blood from where his skin had been damaged by the rocky impact. "Ugh... I..... I think I'm ok....."
Terry slings his bow back into it's place again and staggers over to Benna and Galve's side. He nods in agreement with the reindeer. "Good.. being okay is good. I think.. I think we should go. I'm in no condition to fight and.. um.. I don't think he is either." He remarks, looking over at Galve.
Benna offers a hand down to the poor abused wasp, frowning sympathetically as her other hand holds her burn. "Come, let's get out. This should do the job for now," she says, sighing.
It is a good thing that the mine is not down an actual shaft and that the walk is pretty easy. The bloodied trio manages to drag themselves back to the wooden barrier blocking the mine from outside where their knock is answered by the clanking of an unlocked padlock and an open door into the evening sun where their bull patron is waiting.
Terry emerges from the mine looking quite exhausted. His armor has been torn to shreds and will need replacing, and his dagger was left behind, now a dull, crooked mockery of it's former self. He straightens up as he sees their employer, and adjusts what's left of his shredded tunic. "Done sir. The.. the egg-thing where those elementals came from is gone. I don't think they'll trouble you any more."
Benna comes out with her hands still covering the burn wound she gained during an ill-advised flame assault on the golem, staring ahead as her eyes adjust to the light, looking just as frazzled. "Please let us know if they do," she adds to his assurance, with a bow of her antlers as she nods, offering a halfhearted smile to go with it.
The bull looks over the group appraisingly. "Huh," he grunts, "Well, good work. Get over to the medic's tent and let him have a look at you. We'll get you paid and on your way in the morning. Lord Strongheart will be glad to hear this mine is back in service."