Shadows of Darkness
((Note: Corinthian is the real thread master for this RP. However, due to the style and nature of the game, he won't be taking on a character. Rather, he will guide us from the shadows and play whatever NPCs come across our path. This is a co-post between him and myself.))
He fought to open her eyes, cringing with the pain from all over his body, especially in his head, like someone had slammed him over the head with a club and then proceeded to scrape the inside of his head with a dull knife. That, along with the whistling noise in his ears about made him deaf. The pain made a little more sense as he picked himself up. Blood was splashed on the bone-like rocks, especially where he head had lain. Touching the back of his head, it came away sticky and matted. There was also blood running from a gash on his left leg. He looked around the cave. Five others lay among the dust, four of them stirring slowly.
A soft groan left his gritted teeth as he came to. It seemed that each part of his body - every finger and toe - was protesting his very existence, aching and burning with pain. Gritting his teeth, he fought away the darkness that was threatening to drag him down again, knowing that something had happened - and he wanted to know what. Slowly, and ever so gingerly, he opened his eyes.
At first, he thought that he had gone blind. He felt his eyes open - he felt the lashes brush against his skin as he blinked again - but he still couldn't see anything. Several seconds - perhaps minutes, hours, days. He couldn't tell, he had no perception of time at this point - passed, and a slow panic began to build in his chest. However, before long, his eyes began to adjust. Perhaps he hadn't gone blind - it was simply too dark to see.
As his eyes adjusted, he noticed an eerie green glow of no definite source, seeming to pulse malevolently from the walls. His eyes slowly became accustomed to it. The cave seemed to be filled with ancient skeletons, their bodies contorted into unnatural positions in death. A few were stranger than others, with strange bones coming from the lower spine, neck, or back of the head. Besides that, the cave was empty except for a strange edifice, like a massive, twisted human skull with a far too large forehead and a jaw that was narrow and shrunken compared to the rest, with a flat, polished bone table in front of it, covered in dust. Two torches flanked it.
Slowly - ever so slowly - he tried to move each section of his body in turn. First his fingers, then hands, arms, and shoulders. Then his toes, feet, legs, and hips. Finally, he gently shifted his upper body from side to side - his spine was sore, but otherwise fine.
Rolling onto his front, he gingerly got to his feet, hesitant at first to put any weight on either his legs. His muscles didn't seem to be entirely there for one reason or another. He found, however, that they could hold him. And after standing, he slowly turned a full three hundred and sixty degrees, trying to get a better account of just where he was. He pulled a face when he saw the mutated skeletons, his mind whirring. Where was he?
As he glanced around, he became more and more convinced something was extremely wrong with this situation, but he couldn't place it. An overwhelming sense of deja vu filled him, but he couldn't remember where he had seen this before. He then put his finger on what was wrong - he couldn't remember anything.
Nothing - nothing at all. Where he was, who he was, what his eyes looked like, what color hair he had...hell, he couldn't even remember his own name. There were a few lingering senses - like ghosts that wafted at the back of his mind, more like feelings than actual memories - but beyond that...everything was blank. For the life of him, he couldn't remember what had happened before he had woken up. To him, there was no past, not even a childhood. A malicious feeling made him feel that if he didn't find any of that at soon...he wouldn't have a future either.
A thump roused him from his reverie. One of the other five was shaking. His eyes had snapped open and were staring at the cavern ceiling, spittle streaming from his lips.
Quickly turning towards the sudden ruckus, he began to dash over. However, a bone gave way beneath his foot, and he ended up skidding the last few feet to the man's side, gritting his teeth as a bone gashed his leg. The man looked to be having a seizure - or so he thought. Grabbing a bone that had been kicked up by his sudden arrival, he placed it between the man's chattering jaw, holding down his tongue. Once in place, there really was nothing that he could do but wait for the seizure to ride out.
The man shook madly for several seconds, then stilled. The man's eyes caught his and he spat out the bone. "Get the others and run. You're in command now." He then went still and shook one last time, then let out a final breath.
His eyes widened - the man was dead.
In command? What the hell had he meant? Who were the others? Obviously they were the others in the cave, but...who were they? What could he expect from them? Would they remember what had happened? Would they know what to do?
And last of all...where the hell was he supposed to run?
The dead man, unlike him, still had a few things on his belt. A small pouch, and a long-bladed dagger thrust through a slot.
The sight of the glinting metal caught his eye, and a strange feeling of nostalgia washed over him. One of the emotion-like feelings in the back of his mind seemed to stir and wash over him at the sight - and he found, as he reached out his hand to grasp the hilt, that it felt comfortable in his hand. Apparently, he knew how to handle a blade.
Pulling the dagger out of it's make-shift sheath, he held it up to the faint, green light, admiring the way it glinted off its sharp edge. Finding a similar slot in his own belt, he store it away before reaching gingerly for the pouch, having no idea what could be inside it.
The pouch clinked as he lifted it off the belt. Opening it, he found a small number of silver and copper coins, the silvers marked with a crown on both sides, the coppers stamped with 'Kopek'. The language you can understand, but you do not know it's name.
It was currency of some sort, apparently. He settled back on his knees, curiously running a finger over the inscriptions. He knew the language, obviously, he could read it...but who or what was 'Kopek'?
He growled softly, shoving the money back in the pouch and violently drawing the string closed, standing up again. So many new questions, and no answers. His questions were simple - who was he, where was he, and why was he here? But nothing and no one seemed to want to answer them for him. In frustration, he kicked a loose bone and sent it sailing a few feet away, clattering into another pile.
The bone cracked on impact, breaking off a chunk of grey rock from the floor. The cavern was apparently closed on all sides, and the walls were unnotable except for the altar. As he glanced around further, he noticed a squid-like network of cracks in the wall.
His eyes narrowed slightly at the cracks, curiosity burning in his mind. Slowly and cautiously - with his dagger out and held ready over his shoulder - he moved towards them and hesitantly pressed a hand against them.
They shifted slightly, but slid back into place. He needed a better grip. More light would help, too.
He glanced around, eyes finally locking on the two torches that were positioned on either side of the altar. With a new excitement flooding his veins, all caution was thrown to the winds as he dashed over to the altar. That excitement was chilled to a dull throb when he came close to the stone table, however. The freeze of fear could easily do that to someone, and it did just that to him.
It was such a strange and ghastly sight, this altar. It screamed arcane arts and devil worship - and had there been any trace of blood, he would have guessed human sacrifices as well. It looked like it could easily be the breeding ground for a dark cult...except for the fact that it seemed totally abandoned.
Grabbing one of the torches, he quickly yanked it out of the ground and moved back towards the cracks, jamming it down between two rocks to hold it upright.
The torch sprayed green light over the cracks in the wall, revealing a subtle bas-relief of a series of twisting figures, a language that made your head throb even more fiercely than it already did.
He closed his eyes, as gasp ripping from his mouth as he doubled over. What the hell had just happened?
A quiet whisper filled his mind. I see you...
He gasped again - this time in fear. He felt as if that single gasp had wrenched away the whole lungfulls of breath that he had in his body, leaving his body weak and shivering. He fell to his knees before finding his voice.
It was rough, and ragged - sounding almost...like a wanderer's, or a warrior's. Perhaps a ranger - or maybe a soldier. "Wh...Who are you?"
A cold feeling ran through his bones. Then the feeling was gone, almost like it had never been there at all.
He fell to his hands and knees, gasping for breath. He suddenly felt...cold...so, so cold...
It took several long minutes for his limbs to steady themselves, for his heart rate to return to normal and for his breath to come back. Even when they did, he didn't stand up. Rather, he fell back into a sitting position, moaning softly. What was going on?
A groan and shifting sounds came from behind him.
Firing up onto his knees, he fell into a crouch on the balls of his toes as he pulled the dagger from his belt, holding it high and ready as his eyes searched the darkness. His body was tensed like a tiger, ready to pounce.
((Cue the next person to wake up ^.^))
Initially, the only thing that registered was pain. Ignoring all else for the moment, she remained motionless, hoping the pain would fade. It didn't. With a faint groan, she rolled over... and ran into something. Startled, she opened her eyes and barely managed to make out the lifeless eyes staring back at her. She pushed back with a frightened yelp.
"F-fff-ffface..." she mumbled incoherently, rubbing her aching head. She looked around frantically, as if looking for whoever or whatever had left the dead man in his situation and saw a crouched figure in what seemed like a threatening gesture. Panic flooded over her and she scrambled back, gasping and whimpering faintly.
"Ss-sss-stay back!" she stammered. "D-don-don't..."
The first thing that she came to be aware of was the fact that she was alive. This would not have been such a bad discovery (indeed, under different circumstances it would have been quite a good one), were it not for the second thing she became aware of: the fact that she was in utter, abject pain. She was breathing, yes, but each breath was a laborious struggle, her windpipe feeling as if it was flattened and her lungs as if they had been scorched raw. Nevertheless, she gulped greedily at the air in an attempt to oxygenate herself.
Her eyes fluttered open, staring into an inky black darker than the insides of her eyelids. She attempted to make her body move upward and immediately regretted it as white-hot pain shot through her entire being. She lay on the cold ground as the agony throbbed through her, her mouth agape and gasping for air. Only when the pain had subsided to a dull ache could she think straight again.
Her right shoulder was dislocated, at the very least, since any attempt she made at moving it was instantly met with sharp stingers of pain. She tried moving her legs and was mildly surprised that they seemed to respond well enough, albeit with quite a lot of discomfort. She inhaled deeply as she attempted to very slowly work her body into a sitting position. The air passing through her nose smelled musty, damp and somehow very old.
She had just managed to prop herself up with her left arm when another of her senses decided to kick in.
"Ss-sss-stay back! D-don-don't..."
The voice came from in front of her, just to the left of her position. She froze, not knowing what to do or expect as she tried focusing her eyes in the direction the voice came from.
A high pitch screech rang in the ears the young mans ears, it was like a flock of bats had began to scream into his ears. This was the first thing to register as the man awoke from his unconscious state, then it was the pounding feeling within his head, it felt like a Large man had used his skull as a war drum. Each muscle ached like his body had been crushed under a ton of rocks, and the slightest attempt at movement felt like needles were stabbing them. Each time he breathed he felt like he was inhaling fire into his already scorched lung and windpipe.
He began to hope this pain would pass and waited for what seemed like an eternity before he decided to open his eyes. Slowly his lids began to rise up and were met with nothing but darkness, for a moment he felt he was blind then his eyes began to adjust, the room was dark but there was a flickering light in the room.
He slowly turned his head to the right, with great effort and pain, and was met with the sight of a skeleton. At first glance human but distorted in many ways. ‘What the hell are you.’ He thought. ‘A friend? An enemy?’
Then it hit him he didn’t know anything, Who he was, where he was, what he looked like.
“Ss-sss-stay back! D-don-don't..." A voice called out not far from where he lied breaking his thought… Suddenly he found himself almost instinctively reaching to the skeleton and grabbing a bone. Groaning in pain while he did it he knew not why, only that he needed to a tool, no weapon, to defend himself.
The squeal had come from a woman - one of the others that were trapped here with him. Again, he couldn't help but idly wonder - where was here?
Her squeal was frightened, and she scuttled back as far as she could from him, her hands and feet slipping and stumbling over the bones. A small smirk of amusement came to his lips - she was just afraid of him as he had been of her.
Standing straight again, he deposited the dagger back in his belt, looking to the three forms in the semi-darkness - for indeed, there were three others stirring, now. The sound of the first's shout must have woken them.
"I won't hurt you," he said, holding both of his hands out placatingly, "On my honor, I will not."
After being awaken by the sounds of screaming, movement and talk, he grunted as he was struck by a pain he had ever felt before. He tried taking deep breaths and closing his eyes but nothing he could do would stop the pain. He then opened his eyes and directed all attention towards the celling and hoped this would lessen the pain, however this resulted with no success. He then tried to squeeze on a nearby object and use it as a stress relief. Under the immense pressure of his grip, he felt the smooth, round object he had chosen begin to crack. Curious, he looked at the object and realized he had been using a human skull as a stress relief bag.
Shocked by what he had done, the threw the skull against the wall and jumped up, stumbling backwards before hitting against someone. He jumped again and turn, not seeming to notice that the pain he had injured had gone.
Hardly satisfied by the strange man's promise, the woman tried to force herself to calm down. It wasn't like panicking would do her any good, regardless of her situation. Which is what, exactly? she had to wonder.
"W-where are we?" she asked, her voice still shaking. "W-what is this place..."
Her eyes fell on the dead man. "And what the hell happened to him?"
"I wish I could answer your questions..." he said, frowning faintly, "But I know about as much as you do, right now."
So...she didn't remember? She didn't know where they were? The thought really put quite a damper on his plan...and his hopes. If she didn't know, then there was a good chance that none of the other three would know either, once they became fully conscious. And if none of them knew where they were or what they had done to get here...
He paused a moment, a thought hitting him. What if she really didn't know any more than he did? Could she remember anything?
"Miss...might I ask your name?"
Ordinarily, she thought a name would have slipped easily from her lips. Indeed, it felt as if there was a name on the tip of her tongue, but no matter how hard she tried, she could not remember what it was. And that frightened her more than anything else in this confusing place.
"I-I-I don't know," she stammered. Then, the full meaning of those three words struck her. "Oh, God... I don't know!" She sat down hard, and put a hand to her head, which she suddenly seemed to remember was aching. "I don't know... name... no name, no face... nothing." In the dim light, she looked over at the man. "Who the hell am I?"
The question wasn't directed to the man as if she thought he would know who she was. There was a trace of desperation in her voice, as if she could not possibly imagine what might have caused such a total memory loss.
"Please," he said, moving slowly towards her with both palms facing upwards to disarm any thoughts she may have had of him attacking, "Don't panic. That's the last thing we need."
She didn't remember a thing either. For God's sake, what was going on??
He slowly sank to the ground when he was a foot or two away from her, his legs folded indian style beneath him. He had to grit his teeth for a moment - his leg still burned. He watched her for a moment before continuing to speak.
"I can't remember anything either - not a name, not a face, not hair or eye color - nothing. No history. No childhood. I don't know who I am, how I got here, why I'm here, or who any of you are."
"I can't remember anything either - not a name, not a face, not hair or eye color - nothing. No history. No childhood. I don't know who I am, how I got here, why I'm here, or who any of you are."
It took a few false starts, but she managed to find her voice buried beneath her aching vocal chords. "Doesn't help that it's so damn dark in here, we can't tell what you look like." Even her voice sounded bruised. She groaned as she pushed herself up into a sitting position. Her eyes were adjusting enough so that she could make out the shapes of the people in front of her, but not much more than that. Breathing heavily, she finally managed to right herself. "Oh, and don't bother asking me if I remember anything, because I don't."
“Me Neither.” The Man informed and revealing himself to the rest of the group as he stood up, groaning as he did from the pain he continued to hold the bone that was once apart of the skeletons leg. Walking forward a couple of steps he looked at one of the men’s belts and noticed a digger hanging from it. “So what the hell is going on?”
"So let me get this straight," the woman huffed. "There's five of us here. We don't know where 'here' is, we're complete strangers, and we don't know who we are or where we came from. Oh, and there's a dead guy on the floor and bones scattered about." She paused for just a second. "Have I missed anything?"
"Just that there's a big stone altar and skull over there. Oh, and there's most likely someone watching us." he added, smirking at her. "Other than that, you've just about got it."
"Lovely," He muttered as he looked around, trying to make sense of his surroundings. Although the current situation was scaring him to death, the idea of somebody watching him in this current state was extremely close to the edge. He needed to get out of this place as quickly as possible. "I know I may be simply pointing out the obvious here but wherever we are, we've been put here for a reason so I say we find that reason as quick as we can so we can leave..."
"Or we could just leave," she said. "I think figuring out a way out is just a tad more important than finding out why we're here." She took a look around at the walls and the large altar and skull. "These surroundings aren't exactly the most comforting to look at."
Another sharp pain in her shoulder made her gasp for air. "Ugh," she muttered. "I don't suppose any of you have medicine or some such?" She used her left hand to place her right forearm in between her legs, securing it, then pushed her right shoulder back in one quick movement, sending a loud crack reverberating through the chamber as it reset into its socket. She held her tongue from uttering several choice curse words and continued to breathe heavily as she dealt with the pain.
The crack seemed louder than it should have been. Far louder. The altar seemed to pulsate and glow coldly, as if it sensed the pain and relished it. The bone-like walls seemed to begin crawling in the dim light, shifting and moving like a creature awakening from a long slumber.
He looked around frantically, his hand automatically shifting to his dagger and yanking it from his belt. The sudden shifting movements had put him on full alert, and he now jumped to his feet. "Get away from the walls." he ordered the others.
Almost as soon as the words were out of his mouth, the shifting stopped, almost like it had never happened. A sense that someone or something was toying with them became overwhelming.
He continued to watch the walls, turning a full three-hundred-sixty degrees, not lowering his guard once. "We've got to get out of here." he breathed.
There was no way out, the only signs of anything were the strange markings on the wall, near where he had embedded the torch.
His eyes settled again on the strange webbing, frowning faintly as he studied it again. The memory was fresh in his mind of what it had felt like the last time he had touched it...but what if one of the others could push through it?
"Hey..." he said, pointing the blade of the dagger towards where the torch was positioned, "You see those markings on the wall?" he said, "I've tried to get through once, but couldn't. D'you think one of you could...?"
"You see those markings on the wall? I've tried to get through once, but couldn't. D'you think one of you could...?"
When no one stepped up to take charge, she sighed and slowly rose to her feet. Her entire body screamed at her in protest, but she managed to shunt the pain to another part of her brain. Approaching the man, she took the dagger out of his hand, neither gently nor roughly and limped over to the part of the wall he indicated. The entire surface seemed to pulse with an invisible, but oddly palpable aura. She shivered involuntarily, for the first time fully taking in the very creepy feeling the room exuded.
She shook her head and grunted, clearing her thoughts again. Studying the markings the man had indicated, she ran a hand across them, trying to decipher what their purpose was. Her bruised fingers made out an indentation in the wall, shallow and thin. She stooped forward to peer at it closely, but the dim light wasn't sufficient and she couldn't make anything out very well. "Looks like a lock of some sort," she rasped at her quiet companions.
Seized with a flash of inspiration, she raised the dagger to the indentation and carefully probed at it. After a few prods, the tip of the blade caught onto something inside the indentation and a loud click reverberated through the room. Raising an eyebrow, she tried to pull the daggar out, but it held fast. She frowned and tried twisting at it. Another click followed, then another, then another, until the daggar spun of its own accord. She took a step back as the mechanism continued to whirr and gasped in surprise as a section of the wall swung open, revealing a new chamber. Lighting inside wasn't any better, but it was enough to see that it was much larger than the room they were currently in. There was also a thick pillar in the center of the room, made of the same material as the walls.
She turned to look at the man who had spoken first. "How's that?" she asked dryly.
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