Geometric Archipelago:The Pyramid of Triangle Island/Chapter 02
Chapter #2: Dusty can Fly?
<mainstreet/Dusty> As the good ship Lollipop approached Triangle Government Harbor (yay for unoriginal names), it occured to Dusty that he might want to do more than calmly wait for docking. Since, you know, the wind and the tide were both against the vessel at this point, making docking impossible until the tide comes in... that another hour or two out. The nature of his assignment indicated he should only be on the island a single day... and that day was woefully behind already.
<Dusty> Still, if something came up that could further the goals of his deity somehow, he was to pursue the opportunity... yeah right. The High Priest he'd received the assignment from had laughed when suggesting that. The last 10 Missions to Triangle Island had all been beyond uneventful. Perhaps if he got on the island and done, he could ship out on this same vessel.
<Dusty> Decision made, he chanted the words of power and lifted off the boat, walking on the air as solidly as though trodding on any of the dusty byways and highways he'd traversed. Heading for the port a few hundred feet in the air, he smiled and strolled idly.
<mainstreet> Cryloth glided amongst the cloudy skies, circling, looking for any landmark whatsoever. She briefly glanced up at her rider, calm as ever. They weren't really supposed to go out in these winds, but the Princess had wanted to try anyways. And look where they were now. Ha!
<mainstreet> Cryloth spots a vague humanoid-shape a few hundred feet below. "Humanoid below," she comments to her rider. "There we go," the Princess replied. "See if it has better bearings. Down and after it, now." Cryloth obliged, flapping hard down at the vague figure.
Dusty glances up, then adjusts his course to avoid the incoming creature, still strolling casually. A dragon, sure, but no point in getting excited unless there's an indication that it's hostile.
<mainstreet> Cryloth drops past the figure then halts suddenly when she realizes the figure didn't react. "Ow!" Ashley complained. "Sudden stops *hurt*." As Cryloth reluctanly flies up a little to where the person is, Ashley yells out: "Hey, would you happen to know which direction the land is in? We got lost."
Dusty grins. "Sure, it's in the direction I'm walking. Face into the wind, at this point, and your dragon there should smell it." A quick glance over the pair, and he adds, "I'm Dusty, by the way. You?"
<mainstreet> "I'm Ashley, and this is Cryloth," Ashley replies, introducing herself. She gives him a quick look over... it's rare that a dragon fails to scare someone... yes, very interesting... definitely worth a closer look. "Say, that Flying ability is nice, but it probably isn't as fast as actually flying this way. Care to join me? I'll take you straight, erm... home, I guess."
Dusty looks over the dragon with an appraising eye, then up at Ashley.
Dropping his gaze back down to the dragon, he says (in Draconic), "If that's all right by you... Cryloth, is it?" His pronounciation may be just a snitch off, but he's definitely in the proverbial ballpark with his draconic. Not sure WHICH ballpark, but there's one in there somewhere.
<mainstreet> "She's the boss," Cryloth responded back in Draconic. "Just don't blame me if I can't handle your weight and we crash." Ashley snickered at that, replying in the same language, "You'll be fine, Cryloth, you've carried Mom and me together when you were even younger." "So were you." "Ha!"
<Dusty> Dusty snickers as well, then shifts his flying position so he's horizontal, one arm "propping up" his head. "Oh, Ashely's DEFINITELY not too much to carry." He winks at Ashley, then adds, "In my travels, I've found that most people are not going to attack just at random. Hence why I just try to avoid being between you and where you want to go." He starts floating closer to Cryloth, though, aiming for a spot a little behind Ashley.
<mainstreet> Dusty connects, and manages to get himself seated onto the back. "There we go," Ashley says, smiling. "Rapid speed, Cryloth! Homeward!"
<mainstreet> Cryloth flies rapidly in the direction Dusty was originally flying. As the clouds part, the magnifisance (in parts, lack of in others) of Government Center was revealed. The grand Palace stretches across a good percentage of the center's acreage, while a few small office-like buildings are spread around it. Far off, you can see the corner of a lake, and a shabby looking dock.
<Dusty> Dusty puts his hands on Ashley's arms to steady himself on Cryloth's back. "So, what do you do around here for fun besides ride dragons?"
<Dusty> Once he catches a glimpse of the shimmering Government Center, he catches his breath. "...awesome! Civilization! I'll get to sleep somewhere that isn't a leaky boat or a dusty rock!" He sighs contentedly, then adds, "And somewhere to look for a party." A grin.
<mainstreet> "Well, there's not really a whole lot to do. I have a hard enough time just getting out of the house, and this is one of the few ways to: *get* out. Although, in theory... whatever I want. But, theory doesn't apply here," Ashley replied to Dusty's earlier comment. "And, indeed. Cryloth, let's land on the hill please. *Try* not to wake Mother," this both in general and in part to the later comment. Cryloth grins, flies around the palace but not over for some reason), and lands on top of the hill rising behind the palace. "Let's get off so Cryloth can 'morph," Ashley commands gently, doing it herself.
<Dusty> Dusty gently hops off and moves to one side.
<Dusty> "Well, darn it, if there's no good parties to go to, I might as well finish what I came here for and get lost." He kicks at the dirt lightly with one foot.
<mainstreet> "So it's a party you want?" Ashley asks. "I think I can provide something even better..." Ashley is cut off by the light shining from Cryloth, and she changes into an average human. "...Can't you do that with less light? Anywho, I was saying I could provide... a Quest."
<Dusty> Dusty pauses to watch Cryloth's transformation. "...as many times as I've read about it, I never thought I'd actually witness that." He shakes his head, then turns back to Ashley and smiles at her. "It'd have to be an interesting quest, or my superiors would whip me and stick me back on the Misty Swamp Healing and Welfare Patrol." His grin falters, and he shudders before the bright smile returns.
<mainstreet> "Oh, it's interesting enough. Walk with us, Dusty, and I'll tell you all about it..." Ashley says, beginning the hike down the hill. "But first, tell me something: what do you know about the Pyramid of Triangle Island?"
<Dusty> "Um... it's not on the Interesting Places of Triangle Island pamphlet distributed by ACME Travel, so really, nothing."
<mainstreet> "Well, it's at the bottom of the lake. There's a whole legend about it, which I do *not* feel like relating -- look it up in the library if you care to -- but basically, we're going to send someone off to go in and get various objects of great power. I think the person we are hiring could easily be persuaded to let you tag along, provided of course that you're useful. But from what you've said, I gather you're a cleric. That would be very useful indeed, we would expect."
<Dusty> "I'd expect so, but why do you suddenly have the hankering to get these 'objects of great power'? And why not go after them yourselves, as your intimate knowledge of the place would have to best the random luck of a band of strangers."
<mainstreet> Ashley snorts. "We have no better knowledge than anyone who's read the legend does. And Mom's dying, and I can't think of any other way to save her. Nor can any of us," she admitted. As the back wall of the palace loomed up, Ashley pulled out a small spyglass and exmained the ramparts. "Hmmm... looks like Alpha shift still, alright, I'm not *too* late."
<Dusty> Dusty looks up at where she's looking, then realizes with a very deeply sinking feeling that he's talking to someone who is a little closer to the throne than he thought. "Um, and your mother is... um... the Queen, then?"
<mainstreet> "For now," Ashley replies softly. "She won't be in a few days if something isn't done," she continues, a tear appearing in the corner of her eye. She wipes it off and approaches the back door of the palace... very slowly...
<Dusty> "...when should I come back?" He rests a hand on her shoulder, gently. "I'll help."
<mainstreet> Ashley nods and smiles. She looks up at Dusty and smiles. "Alright. You'd best come in with me. You won't make it in otherwise." She leans back a little bit into him for an instant then continues her walk towards the door, at a normal pace this time.
<Dusty> Dusty blushes a little, but follows with little more than a backward glance.
<mainstreet> Ashley goes to the back door and frowns. "This door is always guarded. All doors need to be guarded. Where's the guard *now*?" Ashley wonders. "Hmm, might as well just go in," she says, pulling the knob and opening the door with ease. "Not even locked. Sheesh. Discipline is getting slack with Mom sick." Ashley sighs, lets Dusty and Cryloth pass, then shuts the door and locks it. Ashley walks down the corridor and starts to ascend a nearby staircase
<Dusty> "...wait, the door wasn't locked or guarded? Ashley, are you sure this is a good idea?"
<mainstreet> "No. But what other option do I... eep!" Ashley half-screams as she tumbles back down the stairs to Dusty's feet. "I get it now," she groans. "Minirith, I know you can hear me, and that is *not* funny."
<Dusty> Dusty drops his hand to the small mace at his side, dropping down to Ashley's side, although his attention is actually on the area in front of her... where the unknown assailant attacked. "Who is Minirith?!" One hand drops to check her, the other ready to draw at the slightest sign of a real opponent.
<mainstreet> A young man comes charging down the staircase. "Looks pretty funny to me. I simply can't believe you fell for it. For the thousandth time!" He sticks his tounge out at her. "Sheesh, you're pathetic. No wonder your Mother's desperate to save her own hide."
<mainstreet> Ashley slowly gets up and growls. "Cryloth, do us all a favor and take him outside and send him on a nice long flight to Hexagonal Island, please?"
<Dusty> "...is this the NORMAL modus operandi around here?" Dusty shakes his head, rising himself and helping Ashley up as he does so.
<mainstreet> Minirith interrupts. "Ha. I'm faster than she is, we all know that. It'll never happen." "No, but I can dream, can't I?" "Dream on!"
<Dusty> "...Another dragon?"
<mainstreet> "Indeed. My sister's dragon. And infinitely more annoying. Hmm, just like my sister. I've often wondered who got it from whom."
<Dusty> "Considering that I was about half a second from going in front of you, I know which I'd vote for."
<mainstreet> "Yes... Minirith, take your tripwire and get lost. I have a guest, and I'm going to be sending him off on the Quest if I can manage it. He's considerably more useful then YOU. Get lost before I have your head pounded in." "Uh... going," Minirith replied, gulping, grabbing something off the ground, and charging back up the staircase.
<Dusty> Dusty shakes his head, then says, "Just in case, perhaps I should walk in front?"
<mainstreet> Ashley shakes her head then starts walking up the staircase herself, this time being much more careful to check for tripwire. As they ascend, you hear footsteps below you -- sounds like the guard is: *finally* returning to his/her post at the door.
<mainstreet> "Guard must've been paid to take a hike while I get tripwired," Ashley comments as they ascend.
<Dusty> "...be fun to go back there and smack him around with a few spells... too bad I didn't prepare any interesting ones today." He sighs and follows.
<mainstreet> "I don't want to have to break up a fight please. And you'd cause a very bad first impression here, which would not be a good idea no matter: *who* you are."
<Dusty> "True enough." He glances down the staircase longingly. "He basically let someone mess with you, though, and that's not good practice no matter who is doing the bribing. Sets a bad precedent."
<Dusty> "...that and I didn't want to see you hurt, either."
<mainstreet> "Let's see... who would he fear more... a 20-year-old female with basic combat training and would most likely have to initiate a slow legal process to do anything about him, or a young dragon who could bite his head off within 10 seconds?"
<mainstreet> "And, thanks, Dusty. That's sweet," she replies, smiling at him.
<Dusty> He flushes a little again, mouth nearly opening to add something, but instead hanging open for a moment as he forgets what he was about to observe.
<mainstreet> They reach the top of the staircase, into a corridor that looks: *very* well-furnished... this might well be one of, if not the, nicest parts of the palace. "Rooms for me and my sister. Lots of empty ones we never bother using; this floor is capable of accomdating 8 heirs quite comfortably, with only 2 of us... it's: *very* spacious. Feel free to take anything on the left here -- left side is my side. Well, except for the farthest-down room, I let *nobody* in there." she points all the way down the hall -- you can't quite see where she's pointing. There's a pair of female guards about 70 feet away, and the pattern looks very predictable.
<Dusty> "Right. No peeking in your secret room. No problem." He starts to head down the hall, then pauses. Quietly, he adds, "Ashley... I hope your mom gets better." He doesn't turn around to add this, and then heads toward a room about half-way down on the left.
<mainstreet> Ashley follows Dusty, giving a quick nod to the guard as they pass, mouthing "He's with me. Don't worry about it," then following him into the room. The room seems to have a distinct blue-tone theme. Light blue walls, a dark blue bed, a few medium blue cabinets... the doors are yet another shade of blue.
<mainstreet> "This is actually one of my simplest rooms. Somehow I'm not surprised that you ended up here. But this works."
<Dusty> "It's just right. Simple's a good thing."
<mainstreet> Ashley nods and smiles. "Good." She opens one of the drawers to a cabinet, pulls out a card with a large "2" on it, ink, and pen, and signs the back. "This validates your access. You can go pretty much anywhere except our private rooms, or security areas. Library's on the first floor. So is the dining hall... if you need anything else, I'll instruct the guards outside here to help you. And thank you for being one of a very few people I have who've made me feel human, and not like a simple Princess."
<mainstreet> "Quest is announced tomorrow at noon. Try to be in the dining hall a bit before that."
<Dusty> "...I have?" Dusty pauses, then adds, "Happy to do so. I'll be there."
<mainstreet> ----END CHAPTER 2----