Finals at the Academy:Campaign/Chapter 08

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Chapter 8: A Whole Lot of Darkness

"When we last left Our Party, the Elven ladies had laid some smackdown, Hiro had taught the air a thing or two, Pyralis had performed some magical air conditioning, and the warrior woman was beginning to think that maybe volunteering to pound on some Academy greenies wasn't worth the extra pay after all."

Pyralis grits his teeth a bit. "You may have dodged my Ray of Frost, but you won't dodge this!" He shouts out another magic command, and an energy missile obediently darts forth from his finger, streaks around Ayaka, and hits the warrior woman squarely in the chest. There's an odd sort of "splash effect" as the energy seems to be diffused across her body by something, though judging by the grimace on her face it still made a pretty good impact.

The warrior woman grins weakly. "You know, you're all really not bad at all..." She then flops over backwards and lays motionless on the floor with her arms and legs akimbo.

"Good shot, Hughes," Khila'eru says.

Pyralis grins. "I pride myself on it... though that first one missed..."

Ayaka snickers softly, her eyes glittering strangely before she straightens and looks around. After retrieving her pack from where she laid it aside earlier, she finds that, other than her and her fellow students, the fallen warrior, the warrior's gear, and the closed doors leading north, the room is plain and barren. The walls, ceiling, and floor are all made of the same grey stone as the Library, but here the walls look less well-kept. She also notices a large piece of parchment pinned to one of the doors.

Ayaka walks over to the parchment and reads it. She finds that it says, in Common:

"'So I'll practice the 'Choral Hymn in A Minor'... ' 'That's B Minor, you dolt! B Minor!... '"

Meanwhile, Khila'eru checks to make sure that the warrior woman has nothing more than superficial injuries. After deciding that does in fact seem to be the case, she stands, retrieves and sheaths her sword, and picks up her pack. A glance around the room fails to turn up her errant bolt, so she then heaves the warrior woman's pack off her bedroll and says, "If someone wouldn't mind giving me a hand, she may be more comfortable in bed."

Hiro looks over and offers, "I'll help you."

"Diol-lle, Hiro."

Hiro smiles slightly. "No problem." After a bit of shoving, they both manage to get the warrior woman laid out onto her bedroll. She snores obligingly. Khila'eru then rubs her aching side and decides to see if the woman's gear contains any healing supplies.

"Is there anything of use to us in there?" Hiro asks curiously as he watches Khila'eru. She opens the backpack and systematically pulls out the gear within, eventually ending up with a scroll case, some flint and steel, an inkpen, a vial of ink, a lamp, a pint of oil, a waterskin, and a bronze key.

"Some of this could prove useful..." Khila'eru muses out loud.

Ayaka snickers a little at the parchment and looks around some more before she smiles. "Hmm... ?" she asks.

"This lamp may come in handy if anyone should feel like carrying it," Khila'eru comments.

Hiro whistles and looks away. Khila'eru shrugs, then takes the key and opens the scroll case. After glancing at some of the text on the parchment within, she then closes the case and carefully puts it and the rest of the gear back in the woman's pack. Finally she stands and takes a look around the room. Eyeing the parchment on the door, she heads over to give it a read.

Hiro looks over to the door. "So, what does it say?"

Ayaka ignores Hiro and continues looking around, wrinkling her nose and thinking. Khila'eru suggests, "Why do you not take a look and see?"

Hiro sighs. "If I must." He walks over and joins Khila'eru in reading the parchment on the door. Afterwards, he looks at his comrades. "Well, I think we should move on."

Ayaka nods in agreement. "I do too," she says, calmly.

Pyralis nods slightly. "Sounds like a plan to me."

"Khila, are you ready to move on?"

"Might as well."

Ayaka moves forward, silent now, her eyes shining. Hiro tries to open the door, but finds that it's locked. Khila'eru sighs and tosses him the bronze key. "Here, try this."

Hiro catches the key. He turns it in the lock, and hears a soft *click*. He takes a breath and pushes the door open... revealing... a whole lot of darkness.

Khila'eru walks back to the warrior woman's pack, gets the lamp, fills it with oil, and lights it with the flint and steel. A happy little glow of light emanates from the lamp. She then closes the oil jug and hands it to Hiro along with the lamp. "Lead on..."

Ayaka chuckles, before she falls silent, her eyes narrowing as she thinks. Hiro takes the lamp and heads into the dark room, Pyralis following close behind.

As they head in, the lamp reveals a whole lot of emptiness... otherwise the room is somewhat similar to the one they were just in. The doors on the north wall lie open, however. Ayaka walks along behind the pair, silent now, deep in thought but still very alert, while Khila'eru brings up the rear.

Suddenly, Ayaka gives herself a shake, her eyes narrowing as she listens intently, her eyes glimmering. Hiro also hears a sound further into the room ahead and whispers to his companions that he will investigate.

Pyralis raises a pinkie finger to his ear and twists it around for a bit before removing it. He can barely hear the noise, but he nods slightly. Khila'eru stands very still, her eyes trying to pierce the darkness. Ayaka simply waits, silently, her eyes half-closing as she thinks, before her eyes widen, glittering brightly.

Hiro starts to move ahead, then thinks for a second and turns back, whispering, "I think it would be better if we moved on together - you Elves have excellent vision, don't you?"

Khila'eru nudges Ayaka and whispers, "You go."

"Here, I'll hold your pack for you," Hiro also whispers to Ayaka.

Ayaka nods, smirking now, handing her pack to Hiro and moving extremely silently and yet swiftly forwards, one ear twitching, one hand brushing across her snake's back. Hiro joins her in quietly creeping into the next room, while Pyralis stands silently still, waiting for the others to discover the source of... something.

Hiro walks just past the doorway and looks around the room curiously. Ayaka, however, notices some definite movement behind both doors... She narrows her eyes, stalking silently forwards towards the left door, flicking a look to Khila'eru, then to the other door.

Khila'eru whispers in Pyralis' ear, "Get ready." She then moves into position to flank the doors with Ayaka.

Hiro taps Ayaka and whispers to her, "What is it?"

Ayaka whispers, very quietly. "There's... creatures behind both doors..." Her eyes glitter brightly then, and she reaches for one of her weapons... the snake on her arm trembling with anticipation. She lunges around the left door, while at the same time lashing out with her sword.

Hiro realizes that there is someone else hiding in the room and decides to snuff out the targ... er, lamp he is carrying.

Ayaka's sword flies through the air just as Hiro douses the lamp. She still connects true thanks to her Elven hearing, then most definitely hears a satisfying yelp of pain from whatever is behind the left door. Then, in the darkness, Hiro and Ayaka both hear *plinks* as something misses them both... but they're not sure what...

Ayaka snickers softly, straightening before she slips into a defensive crouch, her eyes narrowing further, ears listening intently.

Khila'eru curses under her breath at Hiro's action. "That idiot, now no one can see!" Pyralis stands there, helplessly, wondering what the hell is going on and aware that he is helpless to do anything.