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Chapter 8 - Slaves

Turn 12 continued [Dainn] "Many of us are reaching our limits. We should rest and try to recover some before proceeding. There is no telling what we will find further on."

"Go right ahead Circe. I personally find it odd that it was here in the first place. It must have (had?) some type of purpose."

Dainn stands up from where he had been recovering. Seeing Khoron's quick look and knowing that he is currently physically unable to stop any attack on the half-orc, Dainn nods in his direction knowing that cooler heads must prevail or a possible advantage would be lost."

Cyvara physically recoils from the orc-kin's comment, backing off a couple steps, crossing her arms, and looking at the floor...

Damien: "That is good, I sensed that kind of kindness in you, that is why I thought you would be a good companion for her. Take good care of her, she can be hurt, she is real, though magical, her hurts will heal much faster than you or I"

Damien: "Yes, I suppose it could be a little frightening, I am used to being on my own thought, so i suppose I did not expect support once we arrived, just would have to make due with what we have with us, and what we can find along the way. We can always get out the same way we came in, but we are not defeated yet, banged up for sure, and perhaps a little overwhelmed, but we are just starting as well. And we have a good group of allies to be traveling with"

Damien: "It looks as if we may be resting here for several hours, I will tell you of some of the places I have seen. I have traveled through the Spine of the World Mountains, and seen many wondrous sights. I have seen a white dragon slain by a band of elven archers, I have even seen a dwarven kingdom in the deep north that is home to humans, gnomes and elves as well as the dwarves that live there, a true revelation seeing that."

Damien will tell tales of his travels as they rest. Damien sets his backpack beside him and takes his cloak off. Balling it up he lays it in his lap, and gestures to Cyvara "If you are sleepy, you should get some rest, I will watch over you" Damien takes a few long sticks from his quiver and a small knife from his pack and begins to whittle on them, making a few new arrows..

"I will take first watch if it will help. Khoron and Cyvara should be allowed to rest first, and the injured, as it will best serve the rest of us if they have command of their spells again"

Seeing his companions calming down, the fiesty gnome replaces the rapier in its sheath. He removes the lute from his back and quickly tunes it under the watchful gaze of his fellow adventurers.

He begins to quietly strum a tune then adds his voice perfectly to the music giving life to a song:

"A group of adventurer's wandering went,
Through temple they had fought.
Passing some barrels when suddenly,
The gnome he had a thought.

"What of the prisioner left helplessly,
Tied with a mighty string,
Lying next to a pit, dread and foul,
Containing some unnamed thing.

"Leaving the group he quickly went,
Back to the mentioned pit.
Found the orc helpless and still,
Ready to have a fit.

"With clever skills and dexterous hands,
A binding he quickly did make.
To hold the Orc while she moved,
And stop false steps she might take.

"He questioned her as they went,
Back to find the group.
Asked about the pirate kings,
'Where do I find this troup?'

"She said she was an orcish slave,
Now without master and home.
Renounced the orcs as filthy pigs,
Who don't use mirror or comb.

"Her name it is Katya, friends,
And now we must truely choose.
Whether to take her with us,
Or for her life to lose.

He puts down the lute and addresses his companions. "She wouldn't tell me very much apart from the fact that we are going in via a difficult way and that there is a fellow she calls the 'Black One' who controls the temple. Apparently the slave lords have givent he lower caverns to an insect people to live in and patrol. Even the orcs are fearful of their presence. Katya here may be willing to guide us into the temple in return for our protection.

"For those of you who have a hatred of orcs. Katya is a half-orc. Do you understand me. Half orc and half human. She is an outcast to the orcish people. A slave for their whims. Arn't we here to ultamately free the slaves of this city and destroy the pirate kings? Why not get off the high horse and learn to help unfortunates as we go. What do you think?"

Damien looks up from where he is speaking with Cyvara "A good song Kilroy, and a good message, but I do not want to give any trust to a 1/2 orc, quarter orc or full blooded orc. If she is to guide us, it will be under strict guard, and with a weapon on her at all times. I am not proposing killing in cold blood, nor would I allow that to happen. If anyone wants to kill her, then give her a weapon so she has a fair chance"

"Yes, my name was once Katya ... long ago", the half-orc says plaintively. "And I have no love for the Slave Lords, or the Black One".

Tyrmar listens to Kilroy's tale, while intently watching the half-orc. Turning his back on her he replies to Kilroy, "I think it is a mistake to trust her, but do as you must."

Dainn listens as Kilroy sings his tale. "A very good song Kilroy! I'm looking forward to hearing the entire ballad of our adventure if we succeed."

Lianya chuckles "Celestian didn't appear to grant me the knowledge of danger before when I felt nothing dark eminating from that mound of tentacles but it never hurts to ask. I only warn you that while the darkest souls shine through as untrustworthy, a lack of shadow on ones soul doens't mean they won't betray you."

Lianya grasps her holy symbol and begins to pray to Celestian.

Smiling, Dainn says, "According to my brother Storm, for him it is more than just being warned of danger. He told me that it is more like seeing into the soul of the being.

"I could see why Celestian didn't grant you the knowledge of danger before the mound attacked. I have a feeling that the mound didn't care about good or evil - just survival, and that meant eating anything that came along. It seemed to have little if any mind and cared only for filling its belly."

"Alas you are correct. Even with the knowledge from Celestian, we cannot be totally sure of her motives. However, it will be helpful if we know to what depths she has gone to in the judgement of at least one god."

Dainn quietly watches as Lianya lifts her holy symbol.

Circe looks over to the group discussing the future of the half-orc. In a lull in the conversation he speaks to everyone there. "Since this is a defenseable place and everyone is not sure on what to do with her right now, I say we make camp, relax, heal, read and contemplate our next move within the temple and with our guest." With that said he takes his blanket roll off of his shoulder, rolls it out, sits on it and takes out a book and spreads some things out in front of him.

Damien looks up from where he and Cyvara and sitting together "I will take first watch as I said before, who will keep watch with me?"

While Lianya is trying to detect evil on the half orc, Dainn turns to Kilroy. Some of the others found some gems a little while ago. Do you think that you can see if you can appraise them?"

Hearing several of the others wanting to bed down and rest, Dainn says, "Yes, it probably is best to camp here for a while - at least until we are completely healed. Before you all get too settled, I have a proposition for you all. Many people in the realm are latent psionics, but do not realize it. It usually takes a traumatic event or a psionicist to uncover the power. If anyone so wishes, I will check him or her for latent psionic abilities. I assure you that I will not probe your mind and read your thoughts. Also, I want you all to know that this is completely safe [OOC: DM guarantee :)].

"I do not know if any will have latent powers or not, but later on after I learn more, I MIGHT be able to unlock the power in your minds as I have seen others do. The only problem with that is that it will be risky. Anyway, for now I can just check. Are there any takers?"

Damien perks up at the mention of mental powers "Well that sounds interesting, Yarfel always said that I had a quick mind to go with my quick reflexes. You can test me if you want, and besides I have nothing to fear, or hide from you"

The half-orc looks at Dainn. "I will kill anyone who threatens my life or that of the gnomish one." She seems to be stressing the _anyone_.

"Well, I like that idea but" he turns to Katya "I don't think you should kill anyone just now."

He quickly unties the half-orc "If she is to go with us I would prefer it to be in some sort of trusting environment, not as another slave!"

With a slight limp, Malikor walks to a corner of the room, sets down his pack and seats himself on the floor. Keeping his eyes on Katya, the battered warrior leans warily against his pack and lays his staff across his legs.

Shifting his gaze to the tall ranger, Malikor replies, "I'll keep watch with you Damien, for I feel that sleep will not come easily to me this night."

Hearing Dainn discussing the possibility of probing the minds of others, Malikor's eyes widen as he unconciously leans a little farther away from the psionicist. The elf's slight shaking of his head stands as his answer to Dainn's offer.

Hearing the half-orc's words Dainn turns on her and gives her a cold stare. Before Kilroy has a chance to untie her, he says, "No one was threatening the gnome. Remember that you are here and alive because we want it. Should you prove to be more trouble than you are worth..." Dainn lets the sentence trail off - letting the half-orc's mind finish the sentence for him.

Hearing what Lianya found out, he adds, "However, should you aid us ALL", Dainn glances quickly at Malikor and Tyrmar, "we shall protect you and help you start up a new life on your own once we are done in this temple. You can then do as you see fit in freedom. The choice is yours."

Forcing himself to lighten is mood, Dainn focuses his attention back to the others in the group, "As to who takes watch when, we probably need to mix talents to some degree for each watch and not have all our best fighters on one shift. If no one objects, I'll take last watch."

Dainn looks at Lianya, "If you would, I would be most honored you would take the last watch with me. I would love to hear how you became a holy warrior." Thinking for a brief moment of more quiet times in the past, he adds, "I have a feeling that it would remind me of home."

With a slight smile, Dainn nods in Malikor's direction, "No one has to go through the procedure. Psionic powers are both a boon and a bane. There are many creatures out there that feed on psionic power." With a chuckle he adds, "In fact, I'm a virtual beacon for those creatures. Malikor, if you change your mind later, let me know."

Dainn walks over to where Damien is, "This should take but a few minutes. I want to give you a let you know what might happen so you won't panic. During the process, you may start to feel light headed - sort of like when you are drifting off to sleep. Another possibility is that you might feel as if your brain is being overloaded with information. Both of these scenarios are quite normal and quite harmless. Whether either occurs depends on the individual and how his or her mind perceives the mental probe. If I am able to find the power there, I will start teaching you how to harness and use it." Then sitting on the floor in front of Damien, Dainn put his hands on either side of Damien's head. Closing his eyes, Dainn starts the probe - the look of extreme concentration is visible on his face.

When the probe is over [OOC: waiting for DM's ruling], Dainn stands up and looks around. "Anyone else?"

Khoron nods at Dainn and smiles. "Thanks for the offer, Dainn, but I'm happy with who and what I am right now. I am content to serve Moradin, no more no less. Actually I would love to just find a nice quiet mountainside and shape the stone for the rest of my days, but in service to Moradin I give my thanks for the gift he has given me. Anyways I don't think you can help me with that lad. You can test the others but I think I'll sit that one out."

As the half-orc is untied Khoron fishes into his pack and removes a metal circle on the end of a leather thong. The circle is engraved with an anvil and hammer on one side and some dwarven runes on the other. The dwarven priest walks over to the half-orc and holds out the charm. "This is a holy symbol to my god, Moradin. I am going to cast a spell on it that will not allow you to move more than 50 paces away from me at anytime, or else you face the wrath of Moradin, something few have survived to tell about. Now I don't seek to harm you but the symbol may grow hot, uncomfortably so, but that is just the infusion of Moradin's power into the holy symbol. So as long as you wear this and you stay within 50 paces of me then no harm will come to you. If I die or you move more than 50 paces away from me then you will die."

The dwarf holds it out, awaiting a response from the half-orc.

Dainn smiles in understanding, "That is quite all right Khoron. Like I said earlier that having one's mind open does provide more headaches to deal with. If you ever change your mind, let me know. I hope that eventually Moradin's only desire for you is for you to sit and shape stone as you wish."

Cyvara, who had been standing silently, purposely not looking at the half-orc, shuffles over to where Circe is sitting on the floor. She watches for a moment and says, much in the manner of a teenager boy approaching a girl for the first time, "uhm, Circe. Sorry to interrupt, but... well, do you think it's safe to be doing that. I mean, right here, right now. That's a pretty extensive enchantment it looks like you're preparing for."

{Later} Cyvara watches Dainn 'scan' Damien with fascination. When the two are done, she asks Dainn, "Would you mind trying that on me? I'm just curious to know. Master Rhyloren always said I should seek to expand my knowledge and abilities. If I have some mentalistic potential I am unaware of, then I think it is my duty, as a service to myself, to learn about them and develop them."

Smiling Dainn says, "Of course Cyvara! Please sit down. Remember what I told Damien about some of the things that you might experience while I do this and just try to relax. This will just take a few minutes." Dainn put his hands on either side of Cyvara's head just as he had done with Damien. Closing his eyes, Dainn concentrates on searching for the latent talent in Cyvara's mind. [OOC: Again, I have to wait for Simon's ruling :)]

After Kilroy's emotional speech regarding our new companion Katya, Cygar walks over to her and reaches out a hand in friendship "I have not had alot of dealings with the Orcs but I know what it is like to be an outcast because of mixed breed. My name is Cygar and I know what it is like because I am Half-Elf and neither the Humans or the Elves seem to want much to do with me. I have even noticed some of the looks I have received from some of my fellow party members. I do not know whether to trust you or not but I will try to look upon you without prejudging you. In a gesture of friendship can you answer me a question? Do you know what is on the other side of that door?" Cygar indicates the door on the other side of the room.

After speaking with Katya, Cygar walks over to Dainn, "I already have enough stacked up against me and I don't think I need another label attached to my reputation at this time. Thank you for the offer though." Cygar then offers to take the second watch and walks over towards the door on the far side where he sits down and pulls out of his backpack a sharpening stone and some rations and proceeds to hone the edge on his daggers and sword while chewing on a piece of dried meat.

Lianya watches the proceedings between Katya and Khoron with growing concern. Stepping back toward the half-orc, she stays a hand on Khoron's arm. "Really, Khoron .. I do not believe that is fair. These ruins are completely unknown to us and at any time one of us could be separated from the rest. If Katya is now accompanying us out of good will, we will not treat her as a slave. Two of our party fell down that pit in the other room. Should you now fall down a pit, that would put her more than 50 paces from you. She would completely innocently die. Any one of us could fall prey to monsters or a trap at any time -- it is a risk we accepted coming here, and should it happen to you, Katya could innocently die. I cannot be party to a setup like that."

Lianya's gaze rests on the rest of the party as well. "When we individually decided we would seek out and destroy the Slavers we took on the added burden, however unwittingly, of helping out the slaves we encounter. I am quite sure that a half-orc is far from the strangest or most unwanted company we will find here. Simply because she is someone we would not normally interact with does not mean she was any less a victim of the slavers than a human, elf, gnome or dwarf we find in here. If we treat the slave victims we find down here as slaves for us simply because they are not of our race, we are not better than the slavers. I cannot be party to that."

At Katya's warning, Malikor looks at Tyrmar and, with a slightly sarcastic tone, says in elvish, "Beware, Elgwez, it appears our bane is upon us!"

Tyrmar just shakes his head, then replies back quietly in elvish, "We could always put her in front to trigger the traps. I certainly don't want her behind me causing trouble."

Tyrmar stares coldly at Lianya, "When your people and family have suffered as mine under the depredation's of those races you can make judgements. Until then I suggest you keep your prejudices to yourself."

"Thank you", Katya says, taking some of the rations. "But before I eat, I must give thanks to my patron." She sits crosslegged, next to Kilroy and Lianya, and closes her eyes.

"OH ZUGGTMOY!" she shouts. "UNHOLY DEMONESS. DARK LADY OF FUNGI. THANK YOU FOR THIS DELIVERANCE FROM BONDAGE AND THIS BOUNTY."

Even Circe looks up ...

Munching on some beef jerkey, Katya looks across at Lianya and notices her holy symbol. In a conversational tone, she asks "Who do you worship?" The half-orc appears to be very hungry.

[Khoron: If I die or you move more than 50 paces away from me ...]

Still munching on her jerkey, Katya merely nods at Khoron. After Lianya speaks, the half-orc holds a hand up to forestall any more protests, "I have not promised to protect your life, dhoyak. Yet ... if you tie my life to that of the Gnomish one, instead of yours, then I will undergo the ritual."

[Cygar: Do you know what is on the other side of that door?]

"A passageway leading to a junction. From there, you may travel to the Cemetary of Winds or to a tunnel that leads into the temple proper. It would best if we avoid the Cemetary, and travel _quickly_ through the tunnel if it is the Black One you seek."

[Tyrmar: I certainly don't want her behind me causing trouble]

Katya looks slyly at Tyrmar. "Do I get a weapon, gnomish one?" she asks, not talking her eyes off Tyrmar.

Damien "well now, I did sign on to stop the slavers, not to help all the slaves we encounter, and I still do not know if that one was a slave or part of another trap. I was not there when you found her, and encountered the orcs, where exactly did you find her? Was she tied or bound in some way, or did she just happen to be with the orcs. What makes her a slave other than her story, and what is that about an Unholy Goddess, that does not sound good to me. Like I said before, I will be watching her, I do not trust her, and I agree, she should be in the front"

Khoron nods his head in agreement. "Well if I am going to put this limitation on you then I give you the right to choose who you will be bonded to." The dwarven priest holds the holy symbol out to Kilroy. "If I am going to bond her to you then you will have to place the symbol around her neck and hold the metal symbol firmly in both hands. Now when I start to pull my hands away let go of the symbol and don't place it inside her tunic or else the infusion of magic will burn her." Khoron waits for Kilroy to place the holy symbol over the half-orc's head and grip the symbol firmly in his hands. He steps forward and holds his hands around Kilroy's, not quite touching the gnome's hands. He closes his eyes and begins to chant in dwarven, the words emerging from gritting teeth and you see sweat begin to form on his brow. He slowly begins to pull his hands away but continues to concentrate on the symbol and his chanting gets quieter. After a couple of minutes he finishes chanting and his body visibly slumps.

With a sigh of relief he says, "It is done. Now remember do not move further than 50 paces from Kilroy and do not let him die, or else you will die also. I am sorry to place this curse on you." The dwarf moves off to the side and lays down on the stone. "All of this spell casting has made me tired, I need to rest if I am to call upon Moradin again any time soon. Oh and I wouldn't try to open the door yet, it is trapped." With that the dwarf lowers his head and tries to go to sleep.

"I'm not very happy with this but if all of you agree to it and especially you, Katya, then I will do so."

Kilroy follows Khoron's directions faithfully.

"I am not sure if what I have taken part in is evil or not" Kilroy whispers aloud to himself "But I will make it up to Katya."

Malikor grins briefly and nods his head. Then almost as an afterthought he answers in elvish, "But in the front she will have a better opportunity to warn the rest of her miserable kin, or lead us into something much worse." Shaking his head with a look of distaste, the wild-elf continues, "I do not like the thought of having one such as her amongst us. I find it hard to believe, part human or not, that any creature tainted with orcish blood is capable of being trustworthy. Yet I must respect the wishes of our new friend," Malikor states while motioning toward Kilroy, "and hope we can prevent his charge from causing grievous harm."

Malikor speaks out in support of his silvan elf kinsman. "Listen to what Tyrmar has to say. His judgement, and mine, of that thing is born from ages of hard experience. The half-orc can not deny its foul nature for long. Most likely, it would sooner sink a blade in your back in payment for your kindness, than lead you like a faithfull hound."

As everyone stares at Katya after her outburst, Malikor casts a meaningful glance at Lianya, then growls menacingly to the half-orc, "Don't thank her yet..."

"If Elgwez has his way you_will_get a weapon, foul-one," Malikor tells the newly released beast.

"We found her with the orcs, unbound and happily traipsing off to bring more, no doubt. She appeared rather free for a lowly slave. I, for one, do_not_believe her story. Even if she was their captive, slave-status does not automatically make her a trustworthy companion."

Tyrmar gazes at the human for a long moment the stepping forward replies, "I would be interested in trying."

Tyrmar sighs at the half-orcs shouting. Turning to Lianya, "Are you still sure you want to defender her? She has probably brought every creature in the area down upon us, not to mention she worships one of the dark powers."

Dainn motions for Tyrmar to sit. "Please remember what I told Damien about the possible discomforts this might cause. The probe will be done in a few minutes." Then doing as he had before, he places his hands on either side of Tyrmar's head and concentrates - looking for a glimmer of psionic talent. [OOC: Waiting for DM's ruling] After the probe, Dainn stands and looks at those that haven't answered if they wanted him to check or not, "Lianya, Kilroy, Circe, do you want me to see if you have latent psionic potential?"

Startled, Dainn looks over to Katya. He thinks to himself, ~Now that was odd.~ Glancing around, he notices that others in the group were startled as he was. Then to no one in particular, "I hope that we haven't just made a horrible mistake."

To add more to Malikor's description on how they found her, "Actually, right after we found her and the other orcs, she yelled out 'Intruders' in orcish as she ran back the way she came from. I have no doubt that if we were not able to stop her that she would have brought reinforcements.

"Though I really don't trust her, I guess that we should give her a chance to prove herself. Lianya did say that Katya's soul wasn't tainted too much. Just everyone remember to keep on your guard."

"I guess that explains the noise I heard through the door. It must be the Cemetary of Winds that makes the running water like sound." expresses Cygar at the response from Katya. Returning to the far side of the room Cygar pulls a bedroll out of his backpack and spreads it on the ground. Sitting down he begins a quick inventory of the contents of the pack and then places it behind his head as a pillow. The last sounds heard from him involves a request to wake him when it is time for his watch. Then nothing else except for a light snoring.

Once done with her psionic scan, Cyvara rises and approaches the group again. "Excuse my interruption. How long are we going to be resting here?"

"Circe," she asks the wizard, "will you have enough time to complete your ritual? Will you then be able to refresh your spells too?" A tone of incredulity taints her voice.

Chapter 9

Chapter 7