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The Troubled Two

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The Troubled Two

Post by Ronson on Sun Aug 08, 2010 7:49 pm

"I think I understand, Morden," Tondal spoke quietly as he examined the strange platform in Yxtta, one of the temples in Taelosia. "It's some kind of time device, like a clock."

"Ye gotta be kidding. That thing? Not a chance. Seems like it might be a key or riddle. It opens that cave behind us. Really . . . must you read into everything?" Morden said in a gruff tone, clearly frustrated.

The two adventurers found their way through some of the trusik temples until they stumbled on a peculiar device. Tondal insisted they figure out what it was for. That was days ago.

"It's more than just a key, my friend. I'm sure it's about time. I think it's counting backwards. From what I've learned from some of the Taelosians, the Muramites reset this time-keeping machine at the same moment they began chanting at a portal near one of the temples. We have to get there soon. Something is bound to happen," Tondal said with some urgency.

Morden had been staring off into the sky as Tondal spoke, his expression vacant.

"The sooner we get this entire bloody business over with the better, elf. I want to get back to Nedaria and see 'ow she's fairin'," Morden said.

"You just don't care at all about the intricacies, do you? I've tried my hardest to learn ways to end the suffering of these people. This has got to be a clue. Sometimes I think you are more of a dark elf spirit than I, old man," Tondal said.

"Who are ye callin' 'old'? We were sent to get that blasted amulet for Calliav. That's what I wanna do. Nedaria is of greater importance than any of your crazy ideas," Morden growled. "Without 'er, we're nothin'. Ye are a . . ."

His voiced trailed off as he did his best to get a hold on his temper. He was thankful for all that Tondal had done and did believe that the Muramites were up to no good. His anger wasn't directed at Tondal. His heart and stomach had felt twisted and choked ever since he heard of Nedaria's illness. He was emotionally exhausted and his physical strength was failing him too.

"We need to get movin' to that temple and get that amulet now," Morden said. "We can send scouts and sages up here in droves if we need to. Look, we 'ave spent enough time 'ere and can report what ye've found," Morden ordered. "What ye've done is admirable, but we 'ave to get back to the Queen of Thorns."

Tondal sensed Morden's fright and panic about Nedaria many days ago, but chose not to discuss it then. As it was, Morden's good humour had all but vanished and he was quiet -- too quiet for the boisterous rogue the dark elf had come to know. Morden was so preoccupied that it was getting dangerous to travel with him and Tondal didn't want to risk both of them dying because Morden wasn't focused.

"Frankly, Morden, I think it's too dangerous to take on this task. You are too distracted right now and have almost gotten us killed a couple of times," Tondal said, trying to be honest, but also preparing himself for Morden's wrath and insults.

Morden shot him a steely glare and then turned his eyes to the rocky ground. He sighed, his strong shoulders slumped slightly.

"Aye, I know me mind's been a bit off and I'm sorry. I 'aven't been without Nedaria for years and the spark of chance of 'er dying . . . well, I'm sure ye know already that it don't sit well with me," Morden said quietly. "I will promise ye that I'll keep me 'ead on straight if we can leave now and just get this done."

"Agreed. Let's continue on," Tondal said, picking up his satchel and sword. Morden's eyes brightened at the thought of adventure and danger.

"You know," Tondal said, lightening the mood, "you get a sick pleasure from facing impossible odds."

"Aye," Morden grinned for the first time in days as they crept their way to the temple called Tacvi.

It took them two days to navigate their way to Tacvi, having spilled a lot of blood, including some of their own.

"I'm almost out of energy," Tondal complained while he cleaned some fresh Muramite blood from his sword. "I don't know how we're going to make it, especially if that amulet is well guarded."

"We 'ave it under control, friend," Morden said, reassuringly. "Calliav already said that a fierce creature guards that amulet, but somehow we'll make it through okay. 'e's not been wrong yet, 'as 'e?"

"Aye, 'tis true, but I'm leery," Tondal said.

"Be leery, then. I won't be . . . 'eads up!" with blinding speed and feline grace, Morden pushed past Tondal and sunk his dagger deep into the belly of a pouncing ukun beast.

"I really 'ate those things," he said while Tondal stood stunned for a moment, collecting himself. "Let's go. We're close. I want ye to stay near that doorway just ahead when we get it open. We cut the chatter now, so do yer usual signs and shouts if we get ambushed, hm? Ye may 'ave to fight on yer own."

"I can handle myself. You're not that good," Tondal said, patting Morden on the shoulder, noticing the caked blood and dirt on his chain pauldrons. They both carefully opened the stone door and took stock of the surroundings.

Morden left Tondal at the doorway near the main chamber in the temple. He masked his movements as he became one with the shadows. Tondal was able to see him well with his ultravision and watched other shadows and doors for danger.

Morden moved out of the shadows, his raised right eyebrow dug lines of confusion into his forehead. The temple chamber was eerily silent.

There was a plain stone altar in the middle of the room. Even Tondal could see a gold chain hanging over the side of it. Morden circled the altar at a great distance, looking for traps or some sign of danger. He found none.

He moved to the altar carefully and examined it. Wary, but satisfied it was safe, Morden carefully grabbed the chain and as he held it up, he found himself looking at a large swirling gem in a glowing setting. He slipped the amulet into a small leather satchel on his belt and nodded to Tondal as he walked quietly across the stone-tiled floor toward him.

"I don't know 'ow, but we 'ave it," Morden said, with a sliver of nervousness. "Too easy. Way too easy. I'm almost disappointed."

"Best not to question it now. Let's get out of here and back to the ship," Tondal said.

As they turned to leave the chamber, Morden had an uneasy feeling that they were being watched. He turned abruptly.

There, far beyond the altar, the rogue swore he saw the blurred edge of a shadow slink back into the darkness.


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