A Fault in the Plan

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========================> 13) A fault in the plan <=========================

Open/Closed: OPEN: This event is open to any player who wants to sign up using +event/signup. There may be limited space, so signing up does NOT guarantee you a spot in the event. Poster: Bjoric* Start Time: 09:00:00 PM (EST), Thursday, January 26, 2017 (6m 42s) Location: rp2 Level Range: 6-10

The earth shook and cracked, and the moan of the deep cried out. What was that flash of light?

-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= At a glance around Plot Room: Two =-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-=-= Aya 55s 4'7" 105 Lb Shadow Elf Female Mul'niessa. Braided hair. Simple clothing. Bjoric 0s 6'0" 195 Lb Human Male An aged Aesir with many tattoos, and a beard of white. Elisabeth 32s 4'8" 100 Lb Human Female http://tenebraemush.net/images/c/c7/Elisabeth.jpg Selerik 3m 6'0" 150 Lb Human Male Spoony. So spoony. Stjepan 1m 8'0" 534 Lb Giantborn Male Big, blonde jotun. Whirlpool 3m Lb Otyugh I am stinky! -=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=--=-


No guild called. No bulletin board with flyers. The world demands aid sometimes with no notice. First the earth trembled. Trees dropped their leaves, and wild life fled. The ground opened its maw, and through the gash let forth the howl of the gods themselves. Light from within the cavern below wells, and sends a purple flash high into the night, cascading off particles of dust to leave an aurora high in the sky. Adventurers, treasure seeks, the good, and the bad sped to the disaster. Each for their own purposes. Atop a cliff one small group, built by plan or happenstance, looks down at the chasm in

the distance, the deep purple light pulsing within. The aurora lights their faces in violet glow.

Fresh from the workshop, where he was rengineering his armor, Fazahd arrives at the rise while having run here from the city's lower quarter. He is, one can imagine, very tired in the moment - but he does not let it keep him . "Well, then," he says, voice echoing through amplified vents in his helmet. "That is...unusual."

Elisabeth eyes the chasm from the cliff atop which she stands. "Very", she replies, simply, as she eyes the purple-lit area between the cliff and the chasm. "Have either of you heard or noticed if anything came -out- of there?", she asks of the others with her.

Selerik is actually on his way to try finding Fazahd. "Hey Faz, I had been thinking about that other day with the barrel and..." He glances over, following Fazahd's gaze. "When did that happen." Yeah he has no idea.

Deep in the distance, at the far end of the crack, several dome shaped objects crawl out of the

ground. In the dark they seem black, but once fully out the flashes of light reveal shiny and chrome. The distance is deceptive, but they are large. Several arms reach out of each, and sparks of mauveine light in short bursts at their ends. Across the great vast several more can be seen working

in different areas of the newly created valley.

Pulling off her helmet, as if doing so will get her a better look at what she sees, Elisabeth asks, "... Do you see them?", as she uses one hand to point at the things. "They appear to be some sort of. .. artifice...?"

You paged Fazahd with 'From this distance it is hard to see, but they are most certainly tearing

apart the ground. The arms have saw blades, earthmovers, and the sparks are some sort of arcanolectric discharge. Welding tools perhaps. Tough construction. Large constructs. Very old school.

You paged Selerik with 'Once in a tavern, a particularly drunk dwarf raved about the ancient builders. Mad mages built diggers that could change a landscape in mere weeks. He wove a tale of

cold mechanical swiftness.' He called them Formers.

"They're construciton engines," Fazahd says, frowning at the machines that emerge from the earth. "Quite old. Their tools are going to be quite lethal, however, should we have to deal with them in combat." A beat. "Though they might be old enough that I can speak with them in the tongue of Kulthus. Shall we go down?"

You paged Elisabeth with 'It is a distance so you can't read, or make it out, but lines on the silver domes is not separations in the metal, but large writing splashed across them.

Selerik squints at what is taking place. "Is that... Really?" He looks over to the others. "I think those might be Formers, a type of ancient creation by mad mages used to reshape the world. In, uh, the image as imagined by mad mages. So don't expect them to be sane, Faz."

"There seems to be some kind of writing on their backs, although I can't quite make out what it says", Elisabeth adds.

"Because naturally the only constructs that we would meet in the wild would be crazy," Fazahd mutters. "I'll leap down and then try and talk to them, if you don't mind?"

"Perhaps we should stay together, rather than split up like that?", Elisabeth suggests.

"Fair enough," says Fazahd. "Let's get going." He leads the way, activating machines on his person as he goes - and using a wand, it appears, which is socketed into one gauntlet for ease of use.

Elisabeth nods, then tugs her helmet back down onto her head as she follows after Fazahd. Hurrying to catch up to him, she asks, "It appears that those things make use of constrained lightning. Shall I ward you against such, as preparation for possible combat?", of the artificer.

As she walks along, Elisabeth lays a hand on Fazahd's shoulder and speaks a prayer: "Morning Lord, as your light brings peace to still mornings and shines through to signal the end of a storm, I ask that you grant this man a measure of that peace and tranquility, that the energy of the storm's lightning find less purchase upon him."

Selerik stays a short distance behind Fazahd. Not that they're a body shield, or anything. "I've got your back." Certainly not that.

Staying behind Fazahd, but before Selerik, Elisabeth utters another prayer, as the group grows closer: "Lord of Light, grant me your wisdom and insight, that I may understand the words I see."

As Fazhad approaches the Formers, they show little to no reaction. A single stalk rises on one to

turn a crystal eye towards the adventurer. Its arms continue to work the earth, and it does not seem to care that the artificer is approaching. Rocks and trees are consumed, disappearing within its body. Only the dregs are pushed out the back, leaving a trail of useless refuse. Centipede like legs move the construct about. When Selerik and Elisabeth are notice they start moving faster as one of the two Formers turns in lace. Its arms pull back in a defensive position. A series of whistles and clicks rises from its innards.

You paged Elisabeth with 'The words seem to be instructions. One line lists types of precious metals. Another describes in detail how to separate gemstones from ore. One section discusses combat, and another alternative functions. There is a part about day and nighttime activities. The whistles and clicks were speaking. It said "What are your intentions? Unit 82 is currently commencing with construction. This area is dangerous. Please exit." The section on combat discusses its tactics in actual combat. Including calling for assistance from actual combative Formers. This Former's man purpose

is work.'

"Thank you, Unit 82, for your caution for our safety. May I ask what it is you and the others are constructing, here?", Elisabeth asks, as she comes to a halt, raising her voice so as to be clearly heard. She's speaking... to the big, mechanical centipede thing, too. "Or is there a foreman available to whom I can direct my question, so as to not delay you in your purpose?"

Selerik also has Elisabeth's back, as it works out. He speaks quietly to her. "You're doing great. They're used to mages, to authority from superiors. Be sure to show control."

The domed artifice is silent for a long moment, as if processing Elisabeth's words. Finally with a

whir the unit speaks again, whistling and clicking rapidly. Its many arms pull into its body with a hiss. Centipede legs wriggle and writhe under the dome, like a artifice rolly-polly. Turning the shining thing moves towards the crack in the ground at a reasonable clip. The other unit continues

its work, ignoring the group completely.

Stjepan watches with interest, taking the most care not to step on anything or anybeing. "What're they for?"

"They're... building. It didn't say what, but I think it's taking us to visit with a foreman, as I requested of it, who can answer our questions", Elisabeth says, starting out after the mechanical critter.

You paged Elisabeth with 'Unit 80 through 90 are collecting materials for repairs. Unit Alpha must b

repaired. Foreman... *bzzzt* Fo-foreman. Are you foreman? This way please Foreman. Progress at two

percent of required activity."'

"... and I think it's mistaken me for a foreman, actually...", Elisabeth adds, quietly, after listening to the thing's whistles and clicks.

The lights within the chasm flicker and shine. Inside the hole a large number of small constructs

collect the materials the larger Formers are dropping down to them. A line almost like ants forms downward to something deep at the bottom.

You paged Selerik with 'There is a path that is been roughly cut into the side of the chasm off to the right.'

You paged Elisabeth with 'From behind you can read more of the script. This thing can fly.'

Selerik looks between the others a few moments before pointing off to the side. "I see a path there, over to the right. We could walk down instead of... Whatever the alternative is."

Stjepan squints for a moment, watching. "I do, too." He nods. "I can fall lightly, but I'd rather not have to." He turns off towards the path, and makes to lead the way.

"Unit 82", calls out Elisabeth. "We will take the path down. Please await us at the bottom", she says to it, before turning to head for the path the others have pointed out to her.

The dome opens up along a seam along the center of Unit 82. Beneath the two half-shells thin

gossamer wings made of golden fabric extend and begin to flap. The construct's flight is clumsy and slow, but its descent will bring it to the bottom long before the walkers will get there. The path is coiling, but relatively safe. The smaller creatures move out of the way as the adventurer's walk, as they seem to have little use for the path. Climbing down the sides of the drops with ease. Half-way down a small portion of the path has collapsed. In the distance you can see that this has happened several times, leaving empty space between where they stand and the next

portion of the path. About six feet separates this first jump.

Elisabeth pulls her shield from her arm and stows it on her back, to free both hands. Ushering the others back a bit, she clears a little distance before the gap... then trots forward before leaping across to the other side of it.

Stjepan cheats, just a little, since he's a bit bigger than the others. Relatively speaking, even if he totters a little, he's just taking a hop-step. Up in space.

You paged Selerik with 'You hear a sound directly above you. One of the Formers is dumping a load straight at you. Roll a reflex.'

Selerik claps his hands together. "That's it, just have to judge the distance and not hold back when you commit." He glances upwards a moment, suddenly moving forward with urgency. "Like this!" Off he goes through the air, evading falling debris gifted directly from a helpful Former above.

The earthquake had opened a chasm in the ground, forming a valley. Many had come to investigate

long before the guild would offer work. Having passed their first true obstacle, the adventurers come across a pile of debris that seems to have grown some braided hair. A groan comes from

underneath of another adventurer that had tried to search the chasm on their own.

Elisabeth goes quickly to the pile of debris, saying "I'm here to help. Are you awake in there?", as she reaches down to pull up some piece of debris to toss aside, trying to free the covered-up person enough to let him/her breathe.

Stjepan grunts. "Here." Then, he gets to freeing the person underneath. Two people, better than one. Especially when one of them is a giantborn.

Selerik doesn't help. Probably because he has spindly little spoon arms. Instead, he keeps his eyes to the sky for more falling debris. "Have to say this is a first..."

Aya would have been perfectly fine, if not for the shoddy construction. That accounts for the timbers which fell upon her and graced her into semi-consciousness. Whether they fell on her here, beneath the surface, or she and they fell through a crack above... isn't immediately apparent. Now able to see and stands, Aya rises to her feet with a grimace and brushes bits of debris from her clothing. "I'm fine," she insists.

"You aren't badly injured, then? Are you well enough to continue on with us to the bottom?", asks Elisabeth of Aya, once the woman's been freed of the debris that'd buried her.

Deeper down the thing at the bottom of the chasm can be seen. Massive and chrome it looks to be a

partial constructed scorpion. Gargantuan in size it bristles with tubes, rods, and what looks to be cannons. The small bots collecting the debris are bringing it here to be welded back in place. Unit 82 sits silently waiting at the massive monstrosity's immobile feat. Again a bit of collapsed path blocks the way, much further than the rest. A steady stream of sand pours from the edge into the depths below.

You paged Selerik with 'There are a few rock columns that are getting pretty slender from the

digging. Probably why the path is crumbling. This place is not very structurally sound.'

Selerik eyes the area, gesturing to a few spots in the nearby rocks. "This isn't going to be good if we linger, the natural supports are all thinned from the digging. We need to go deeper or turn around." He glances around. "And I know which way you're going to choose.

Stjepan looks over the side, and watches the the scorpion for a long moment. "That's going to be interesting." He gestures. "We'll need to jump, though."

"Well", Elisabeth says, pursing her lips. "Do we have time to set in pitons and rope?", she asks after a heartbeat or two, directing the question to Selerik.

Selerik glances back to Elisabeth. "They won't hold here. Up or down, choose quickly."

"Well... let's back up and make the jump then!", Elisabeth says.

Aya shakes her head and rolls a shoulder. No sever injuries, but not quite severe interest. She stops with the others at the minor obstruction. "After you," she steps back to give Elisabeth room and gestures to the gap.

Stjepan springs over the next gap, knees flexing.

Elisabeth trots towards the gap... and, on her second to last step, her foot skids six inches. She gets the other foot down and heaves heavily off of it. She lands on the edge, just barely, and pinwheels her arms a bit to catch her balance and, successfully, avoiding falling backwards and off after the leap.

Since rope can't be anchored in the soft, sandy walls, they are of little help. Fortunately, Aya could easily jump the distance. Could, but she doesn't. Why? Because she can cross more just as easily. Her form darkens in an instant to utter shadow before discorporating into wisps. The reverse occurs near Unit 82, as she coalesces anew.

The rest of the path is uneventful for the others. Of course Aya took the shortcut. Unit 82

suddenly comes alive at the arrival of an unknown. Its many arms rise out of its body in a defensive stance. Whirs and clicks rise in the cavern, bringing the attention of another artifice construct that until now didn't seem to be doing much of anything. An almost crab-like creature, its single crystal eye glows dimly with periwinkle light. A large clawed hand clacks menacingly as it moves in Aya's direction, who of course is still quite a distance from her fellows.

You paged Elisabeth with 'Unit 82 calls out. "Unknown. Unknown. Protect Unit Alpha. Foreman,


"Unit 82! Stand down! No threat posed!", Elisabeth calls down from up on the path, cupping her hands around her mouth to project her voice towards the caterpillar-like Unit 82.

Stjepan watches, carefully, to see if the units obey their forewoman.

The bug-like unit chitters at the crab, which closes its claw and settles down into position. The

Unit clicks and whirrs at Aya and then pulls its many arms into its body. Moving forward it heads to

what looks like a small hut built under a rock overhang, and waits.

Stjepan turns, and keeps descending, after seeing that.

Selerik just focuses on trying to make sure nothing else falls on them. After that near miss earlier, he is looking up like a worried field mouse.

Aya steps back from the automaton as it threatens; wary, but not fearful. After the call from above and the standing down, she, too, now waits. Once the others get nearer, she admits, "It takes orders rather well. Where did you find this thing?"

Elisabeth, too, resumes heading down towards the bottom. "Good thing it actually listened to me... !", she comments, quietly. "It's one of the worker drones from above. Daeus lent me enough of his wisdom to, for the time being, understand its language. Luckily, it understands me, as well", she explains once at the bottom and Aya's asked her question. Turning to look up at Unit 82, she says, "82, take us to the Alpha Unit, then instruct workers to shore up and strengthen the walkway down which we came, using least-needed materials for that purpose."

The unit's eye stalk rises and turns to the little hut. A whistling sound that seems almost sad

comes out of its innards. Finally a few whirs and clicks and it crawls away to send small workers to shore up the pathway. The hut itself is made of scrap metal, with a small window and door cut into it. More of a way to have personal space than to be a shelter. It smells odd. Acrid. Dusty.

You paged Elisabeth with 'Unit Alpha is inside Foreman. This Unit will get the path fixed. There are

non-essential workers not fulfilling the primary objective.'

Stjepan shakes his head as he follows, "It was tired?" He scratches his chin, and continues to descend.

"82", says Elisabeth before the machine can move away, to get its attention. "What is your primary purpose?", she asks of it.

The unit pauses to click at Elisabeth before continuing to fulfill her request. You paged Elisabeth with 'Finishing the construction of the Annihilator Unit of course, Foreman.'

Selerik is keeping focused on keeping the others safe, not paying attention to the interactions with 82 so much. He glances over to Stjepan. "The next one might not buy what she is selling, be alert." After Unit 82 leaves, Elisabeth quietly asks, "... anyone know what 'the Annihilator Unit' is?...", as she turns to moves towards the little hut. "Unit 82 says their primary purpose is to finish its contstruction."

Selerik says, "Going on a limb that it isn't to deliver hugs and kittens."

Aya's eyes shift from the unit, to the now-still crab-like one, to the nearby hut. Her gaze makes a slow survey back and further until it reaches the others. "It may only be following her commands because it was told to... or not told to ignore them." A shoulder rolls and she gestures to the hut. "It doesn't sound inviting, even less than that looks." Of course, that's where it seems somone, or something that may know could be.

The door to the hut opens easily, almost falling off its hinge. Rust has turned it to dust. Inside

is a small office, perhaps that of the original foreman. Who is still inside. A decrepit skeleton sits in a chair, laying face first on a desk. Rotting papers, and documents with blurred writing are stained a dusky brown. Two small drones sit beside the skeleton, ineffectively trying to figure out how to repair the skeleton with metal parts.

You paged Selerik with 'While everyone looks at the skeleton, on the back wall is barely legible plans. You can roughly make out a picture of the hulk of junk out in the cavern. You may not understand it all, but it is obvious it can eat the landscape and use it as ammunition. A machine of

unending destruction.'

Stjepan pauses, then considers. "Someone better with being careful might want to look at those papers."

One snowy brow arches at the sight. "Well, that could explain the lack of competing orders..." She steps up towards the table, opposite the alleged foreman and would-be repairers to look to the table's contents.

Selerik winces at the sight. He sidesteps the table and the corpse, heading to examine the back wall. "Hrmm... Okay..." He squints at the details on the faded picture there, tracing lines in the air with his finger. "So the thing outside must be what they were talking about. It looks like it eats the ground." He tilts his head. "Aaaand uses it as some sort of ammo. That doesn't sound good." He glances back to the others.

"Drones... report to Unit 82 for instructions on construction detail", Elisabeth says, after a moment's pause on seeing the skeleton. "Daeus, lends us your light", she then requests... and the inside of the hut brightens, so that it's easy to see inside it, now. "...and, Morning Lord, lend the breath of life to these things, that they might not suffer the ravages of time so badly", she adds, before leaning down to, lightly, blow air across the papers on the desk.

Stjepan nods, waiting for the magic to happen, arms folded across his chest. He stations himself at the door -- he's security for this salvage operation.

You paged Elisabeth with 'The documents restore a little bit. They are really old and damaged. The

rough gist of them is missives ordering the construction of a massive weapon. Once finished it would cleanse the topside.'

You paged Stjepan with 'Now that you are looking out, the crab 'robot' is standing outside the hut.

Waiting silently.'

Aya's eyes narrow at the sudden brightness. "I could read just fine, before... and, no, that doesn't sound good at all." She keeps her eyes lowered to the table, but she is not an expert at artifice, and technical drawings would mean little to her. page Sure, why not.

After about ten minutes of blowing on, looking at, and setting aside the paperwork, one page at a time, Elisabeth says, "It seems they were to build a massive weapon to 'cleanse the topside'... probably for the wars of long ago. Perhaps, though... perhaps we can repurpose these beings, give them new purpose so to speak, by taking them to Alexandria's guild of artificers, so that they and the Annihilator can be studied, and so that they can find new purpose in helping to maintain the city's primary weapon of defense against Heth?" She says it all in a tone of question, as if she's suggesting it as an option and asking for other ideas, as well. Then, she uses the last of her spell of mending to carefully remove a necklace, Daeus' magic repairing it as she touches it, from the skeletal remains of the foreman. "This appears to be his badge of rank... it may give us enough authority with the ... work golems to be able to make it happen."

Stjepan tilts his head, and looks straight at the crab. "Patience," he says to it. He pauses, turning back. "What is the Annihilator? The scorpion?"

Stjepan pauses. "Ask the workers. Are they tired? Do they need to rest?"

You paged Stjepan with 'You see a lot of the small workers that seem to be rushing away from the

path and to the scorpion. They are covering it with their bodies if protecting it.'

You paged Aya with 'Your sensitive ears can hear the telltale sounds of a cave-in beginning.'

Stjepan gestures. "Look," he points, "The small ones are shielding the scorpion-thing." A pause. "Maybe we should just close up the crack in the earth and reseal it."

"I'm not in any hurry to see the city annihilated," Aya agrees with the general concensus, "So there's no reason to rush or-" Her words stop suddenly and her head tilts; then her eyes widen. "Hurry! More earth is collapsing!" She steps outside, the better to see any falling objects before they decide to crush her.

Outside the hut you see that the path has been restored. Unfortunately the workers had been pulling

it from the columns that Selerik had mentioned earlier. The ones that seemed a bit weak. And holding

up the ceiling. The walls begin to moan, and small rocks area already falling.

Elisabeth grabs the papers, rolling them up and hurriedly stuffing them into her pack to present to the artificers of the city, hurrying out of the hut. "Is it safe to go back up the walkway?", she asks. "... have we even a choice but to try?"

You paged Elisabeth with 'Foreman, foreman. Cave in. Get to safety!'

Selerik doesn't need to be told twice. He is already hoofing it up and out of the chasm. "Not the tiem to dawdle, get a digger and chat with them later. Hop to it."

Stjepan rumbles upwards. "Let's just go." Arms and legs pumping, he runs.

The path is clean and clear, well built and secure. Hundreds of the small workers swarm the

Annihilator, shielding it protectively. Even the Formers have descended into the hole, their sparking arms fending off debris has it falls. As the adventurers ascend rocks pour from above, threatening to bury them beneath the earth forever. Unit 82, in its clumsy way, blocks the falling rocks with its body. The group barely escapes with their lives as 82 falls to the depths of the chasm. Topside the ground begins to collapse towards the center. Beating feet for all their worth brings them to the edge of disaster. Fortunately it is the safe side of it. All that is left is a destroyed landscape, and the violet glow of the still

existent aurora above.

"A burial in tons of rock would slow down any annihilating," Aya points out curtly and succinctly before evacuating rapidly. Fortunately for her, she has shortcuts available.

"For all that it was designed to build a weapon, Unit 82 wasn't at all 'bad', was it?", Elisabeth says, quietly.

Stjepan nods. "It seemed like it was ready to be done. And the units didn't seem to want us to take the weapon." He gestures at the crater, wiping his brow. "This is what success looks like."

"Success in keeping a weapon buried and forgotten... but at what cost in life?", Elisabeth quietly adds.

Aya shrugs. "From what I saw, only the one, and it ended a long time ago."