The temptation to bolt free once the gnome had dropped from her shoulders was strong, but the dust and debris filling the area had made things difficult for her at best. The air was temporarily polluted with soot and plaster dust, making it impossible to even pull in a breath of fresh air. Lifting her arm to her face, the elf breathed in through her sleeve to cut some of the dust she inhaled, it made it just a little easier but not much.
She was just barely able to make out what appeared to be a lump of a body being drug away, and she only hoped it was the skeleton of a Duke. His whereabouts were still unknown. As a woman, the temptation to end his miserable life was overwhelming, simply to prevent other women from meeting the same fate as his previous wives.
When the voice began to speak, Aayria managed to prevent surprise from being displayed on her face, although her eyes widened just a tad, there was no other slip in her mask to show what she was feeling. The message was cryptic, and she wanted to demand an explanation, however, that would require her to draw in a breath and the air had not cleared enough for her to accomplish that without choking. ‘Friends? When in this hell of a quest did I acquire friends? This is certainly not what I signed up for.’
Yet Aayria had the faintest feeling that the message the voice was trying to impart was that she was now stuck with the small, crude male who was now questioning if she had heard as well. Pulling her arm from her face, she tested the air surprised to find that it was now suitable to breathe. She assumed that whatever the entity was that had spoken had wanted to make sure that the two were there to hear the message, and now that it had been passed on, they were free to go. Sometimes she hated the paranormal; they never knew when to let things be.
“I heard. When I inherited a ghost friend is news to me though.” She replied flippantly, her eyes rolling to the side in annoyance. “Although the part about the mountain was a nice touch. I’m sure there are plenty of others who would have just marched off into the mountains to meet some kind of messy fate.” Head tilting down so that she could look the gnome in the face, Aayria arched a brow. “I’m hoping that you have a bit more sense than to follow the lead of a disembodied voice, or are you convinced that it will not steer you wrong because it implied it was an ally?”
“We have yet to discuss what our intentions are for the scroll, and I am not fully willing to relinquish it yet.” Aayria shifted her weight from one foot to the other in a move of impatience. She had started off with only the intentions of finding the scroll and moving on, but now it seemed that there would be some obstacles thrown up in place to ensure that her job would be twice as difficult. While she was not entirely willing to follow the advice of the voice, she also was not willing to completely ignore it either.
“We must discuss our intentions, and then decide what to do. Before we go scurrying off like two blind mice scenting cheese, I believe we should read the scroll first to learn if the voice can be relied on. But first might I suggest we evacuate this location…the stench is giving me a headache and I have no desire to encounter anything further oddities. I’ve had more than my fair share for a lifetime all in the span of the few hours I’ve been in this nightmare of a mountain.” The elf did not wait for the gnome to agree or disagree. She began to walk away from the scene with a slow stride so that the male could catch up to her. Even though she was quite anxious to get away, she wasn’t entirely going to abandon the gnome, at least not until she was certain that the voice was inaccurate and she would not need him to continue on her journey.
Risen from ashes
Snoot rubbed at his eyes, wiping away any forms of crystallized dust that chose to remain behind. Luckily it seemed like it all just up and disappeared. How could an object just disappear? He knew magical creatures could conjure elements, but never knew they could send them back from once they came. What if this being wasn't born of elemental power and everything he had witnessed was false?Feeling real through a means of mental domination. That thought alone sent a shiver down his spine. . How could he go from small time artifact hunter to hero? Why would someone want him to? This entire event left him with far more questions than answers.
The women appeared to have the same concerns though she chose to voice them rather than keep them welled up inside. Her central focus seemed to be on their own intentions, putting what they had witnessed on the back burner. He wasn't sure that was such a good idea given the display. He had no doubts that said display was witnessed for a reason. A sign of how weak they were in comparison to whatever the hell that was. Crossing it seemed unwise, but so did blindly following it like a mindless underling. Despite his apprehension he had to agree with woman’s idea to come up with a plan of their own.
Patting his sides he made sure his two revolvers were safely secure. He had a feeling he was going to need them in time. No longer would they merely be a means of warding of pesky drunk crooks or two bit hoods. Shooting others had never been a particular highlight of his day nor was he all that fantastic a shot to begin with. He took in a deep breath as he rose to his feet, mumbling to himself, “Hero indeed.”
He broke into a brisk jog in order to catch up to the slowly moving elf. It seemed she wasn't kidding about getting out of here. He couldn't blame her one bit, part of him wished he had never even seen this place. The other part of him relished the chance to go on this grand adventure. That part however was the quiet minority. “I agree, trusting this ominous voice completely would be just plain stupid. That said we have to play along to some degree. Ominous or not it seemed to control that dust. If it wanted to kill us it certainly could have. I have a feeling it has it's eye on us so to speak.”
Information on his new companion was rather sparse considering they just met under an hour ago. The one thing he could garner however was her inability to take orders. She was the type of person that had to be in charge hence why she worked alone so often. That mentality would butt heads with others, but he was fairly laid back for the most part. He didn't mind following her lead for now. If he felt he had a better plan he could just lead her down his line of thinking, allowing her to come to the conclusion herself. This would soothe her ego, letting it seem like she came up with the idea herself. It was a method he'd used on more than one occasion with former and current bosses.
“If you plan on reading the scroll I suggest we find a safe location, away from prying ears and eyes. That naturally rules out an inn. I have a small home not far from here. It might be a bit cramped for someone your size, but you aren't a giant so you should fit.” He slid his hands into the pockets of his jacket, walking side by side with the elf.
“Oh! Since your the secure and never trusting type, you can sweep the home before we go in to make sure you aren't falling for a trap or whatever. Once you feel secure we can have a drink and go over that bad boy. You been searching for it long?” Eyes remained firmly ahead as the pair walked away from the rubble that was once the Duke's home.
All credit for this awesome set goes to Lillian Thorne!
Aayria continued to take small strides knowing that her short legged companion would need to run in order to keep up with her if she decided to sprint out of the area the way she wanted to. Ominous voices aside, there was still a matter of the walking skeleton, whom she had not forgotten about; although she wasn’t sure the gnome was as lucky. Peering down at him, the elf halted her movements, her head tilting down in order to fully gaze down at the smaller male. “Are we sure that the Duke was killed in that mess? I usually would not care, but considering I am a newly initiated member of United Uterus, I feel I should do my sisters a favor by ensuring he cannot ruin any more of their lives.”
Normally serious by nature, Aayria felt that the jest was needed, especially after the situation that they both had endured. It was unsettling that something so small as a scroll could result in such destruction, but she could not say that she was too surprised by it. Given the nature of the scroll and the artifact that the words on the page were leading to, anyone would assume that naturally there would probably be guardians and wards set up for protection. The biggest problem was, just how many were there, and how dangerous would they be?
Aayria was silent for a time, considering the gnome’s proposal. It was true they would need some place private, but the problem was, how private would his home be? If she were perfectly honest with herself, no matter where they went, she had a feeling they would not be alone. The disembodied voice had prevented them from leaving, who was to say it was not going to follow them where ever they went? Or worse, one of the other guardians appearing from the dusty page currently secured in her satchel?
“Do you truly believe that your house would be the best option?” Aayria questioned lightly, a slender brow rising inquisitively. “That voice is probably not the only oddity that is linked to this scroll. There is a chance there are several guardians connected to it. Do you really wish to risk it?” Lips pursed into a thin line, the elf shifted her gaze to the area, taking in just how much the destruction of the house had brightened the atmosphere; it almost felt as if the mountain top was starting to come back to life in a sense. The heavy feeling of despair had lifted, and while the air still carried the faintest odor of decay, it was quickly being swept away by the light breeze.
“While you may believe that I am being silly, and I have certainly considered it myself, I believe that we are stuck together on this journey. The voice did not insinuate just one of us, it stated both of us.” Releasing a soft sigh of frustration, Aayria cast a glance down at her bag, the lids of her eyes narrowing to show her irritation. “Really, I just wanted one job that would earn me enough for retirement. I should have known that nothing could really be that easy.”
Returning to her slower pace, the elf cast another glance at the gnome. “If you truly want to risk your home, we may go there. However, I’d prefer some place where I won’t have to worry about the roof falling down on my head. I have already experienced that enough for one day.” Her brows drawn together, the elves thought over possible areas where they could examine the scroll in privacy, where there would be little risk of danger should they awaken another paranormal entity. “A cave perhaps?” She questioned, daring a glance down at her new traveling companion. “What do you think? There really is not very many options.”