After the last room with the table puzzle, the corridor leads down to another barracks room, much like the starting area to this set of puzzled. Twenty foot across and with bunks on each side, a table has been set in the middle, various place settings provided but no food in sight. A baptismal font and a small alter are tucked away in one corner along with mirrors and a pair of sinks alongside for those who wish to wash up before the next stage. A sheet of light blocks the doorway onto the next area, more of the curious physics that seem to occur in this area, although in deference to those who would wish to sleep there is a blind that can be affixed in place. Similar arrangements have been made with the various lanterns that are fixed on the walls, either by shutters or covers so that those who wish can sleep before continuing onward. Directly to the left and right of the doorway as you enter the room, there is shelving to lay out your rucksacks, along with slotted sections for the various poles and other tools that may have been brought with.
Looking about, having come into the room somewhat cautiously, Reno sighs at the apparent resting area, though he doesn't move far beyond the door, simply moving to the side so the others can look in. Eventually he moves further in after a careful study of their new surroundings, nodding slightly. "It seems to be safe enough. They have not stocked any additional supplies for us, but there is more water, which I think will be a good thing should we need to make use of it again. No food though... perhaps it is time to break out the ah... Spam was it? You seemed rather excited about that particular foodstuff Simon. I am curious to see what it is like." His hand brushes over something along the wall and he frowns. "A.S. 1866... does anyone have any thoughts on what that might mean?"
Jax walked into the room, still looking a bit sodden as she wrung out her silky skirt and then her hair a bit before retying it back into a braided tail. "Well then, I suppose that could be a good plan. Though I was lucky enough to get fairly well washed in that last room." She rubbed down her arms and moved over to look around, checking on the items that were available for them to take and taking at least one of each. Never hurt to be prepared after all. "Anyone need anything before we move on? Any scratches or cuts, bruises? I can do some treatment now before we head off into the next room. I can't imagine it's just the exit, but must be another puzzle if they've provided a resting place."
Andrew comes through the door into the rest area, combing his fingers back through his hair, now sodden with the melted ice (from having been quite recently frosted) and sweat (from fending off an invisible assailant only slightly more recently than that). He moves to the shelves and eyes them suspiciously. "Is this one of those 'lay down your burdens sort of things, or a 'give up perfectly good equipment then get proper fucked' sort of thing?" he wonders aloud, eying the wall of light for a moment before his shoulders relax. "Has anyone found a loo? My bladder has decided to defrost as well."
Simon picked at the sleeves of his corduroy jacket and shook his head. "Maybe we should have thrown someone across the room rather than mess with the tiles." He chuckled and double checked his brown scarf which looks remarkably untouched compared to rest of his clothes. "Apparently this spell held against all odds, I'm sure my mentor will be thrilled my apprentice robes remain intact." Glancing at the others, he took a deep breath, "No point in being a hero. If anyone is hurt, rest and get patched up."
Cefyn makes her way into the new room, inspecting it warily before she takes it at face value. "It that someone came here a hundred and forty years ago," she suggests to Reno, then eyes the shelves, the racking and the spaces. "They do not want us to the place untidy make, I think." She drifts over towards one of the beds, there to take a seat and bounce experimentally.
A voice crackles from overhead, a grill in the center of the ceiling relaying the voice from deeper within the complex. "Well done on making it through the first tests!" There is a moments pause and the sound of someone shuffling paper. "You are now in the 'Restway', you are perfectly safe here and may rest well full in the knowledge of what you have accomplished so far." More paper rustling and then, "When you are all ready, please continue onto the final trials. Good luck to you all!". There is a cracking and then the recording stops, up above, motes of dust float down from the grill.
Reno looks up at the device, head tilted in curiosity. "Hmm... I am beginning to wonder if it is a simple recording, or if there is someone actually there. I admit I would rather the latter, only if for the reason that it suggests if something went wrong for a group going through this, it might be stopped." He shrugs. "Interesting... there are no wards in this room. I wonder why..." He looks to the others, hefting his packs. "I do not require rest, so am able to continue if the rest of you are?"
Jax nodded towards the door with the sheet of sunlight pure and solid through it. "That would keep out most things that you would ward against, and if something has made it past all of the other wards in this place? It's likely something they aren't too terribly upset about having here." Jax shrugged softly and offered Reno a smile. She turned that same smile over to Simon and chuckled. "I imagine he'd be quite shocked it was still in existence as well, Simon. Though it's a lovely accessory that you would just not seem the same without." Her eyes moved over to watch Cefyn bounce on the bed to test it, amusement in their deep, warm depths. When she scanned over to Andrew, Jax shook her head. "I won't be leaving my gear behind, I've only just collected a bit of everything. I think I do see your facilities though, Andrew." She moved over and pushed at the door just beyond the water sinks. It opened to reveal a well appointed water closet, with one toilet. "There you have it, though I'll be a lady and let you go first." She winked to Andrew and moved away from the small room back towards where she set her bag before she'd filled it.
Andrew groans as Cefyn points out the careful design of the room to prevent untidying, which means finding a nice corner or writing his name on the wall is right out. He busies himself by wondering about the previous visitor as he shifts his weight from foot to foot, and grinning back at Simon. "I'm with you, Simon. Next time, someone's getting tossed. I'll be the tosser." Pun definitely intended. It's then that heaven opens up and the Angel Jax announces to him the location of the WC and chivalry be damned, he blurs towards it at top speed and, only a moment later, releases a moan of the purest bliss over the sound of liquid hitting liquid. When he emerges, en route to find find a non-Holy Water basin in which to clean his hands, he bows to Jax. "All yours, my good lady."
Simon took a deep breath, setting down his pack to search for century old, yet preserved canned meat. Plucking it open, he started munching on that. "So aside from anti-gravity, drowning, fire, frosting, emotional overload, can we save any beatings planned for me until the end of the tour?" Trading his canned meat from hand to hand, he took off his scarf and jacket to Jax. "They're still absorbent." Waiting until Jax either took and said no thank you, Simon pulled double duty of eating and filling his pack with items.
Cefyn, having bounced experimentally on the bed, takes off her cloak and lies back. "Aaaaaah," she sighs happily. "This the best modern convenience is. Your wagons without horses, your button-press lights, your heat spells that go ping, none of them to this compare." She doesn't really seem inclined to go anywhere else right now.
Reno blinks, holding up a hand. "You know... until now I have never realized that Bram was short for Abraham... A.S. Abraham Stoker." He looks about. "And thus things begin to be explained. The nature of this place. The fact that it is so designed against vampires, and the black court in specific... one wonders if this place was designed by the man, or if it is where he learned everything he knew to write that book." The greying man smiles. "I remember reading the book when it first came out. So many considered it tripe. Even I preferred the Lair of the White Worm. Fascinating that it should be the case..." He looks to the others, his face curious. "I cannot imagine what we have stumbled upon here, but I cannot wait to see what comes of it."
All is calm within the 'Restway', clever workings within the walls or possibly the linings mean that little sound from within the rest of the complex makes its way into here. It would almost be soothing if you don't know quite where you were. There are worse places to be held up though, the beds are comfortable, the bedding clean, the place is swept and there are now two options available to the party. The first, to continue onward, the second, to turn back.
Jax chuckled and shook her head, shrugging a bit to Andrew. "I'm afraid I don't need to use them, I just wanted to give you a little start in case you were going to wait on queue for it." She winked to the fellow good naturedly and then looked over at Simon, smiling warmly. She stepped closer and accepted the jacket, pulling it on over her rather soaked outfit made of silk. "How kind of you Simon, thank you. I imagine we'll all be more comfortable with the ruined silk hidden from view." She closed up the jacket as much as she was able but refused the scarf. "You should keep the scarf, heaven only knows how much good luck that thing has bestowed on you for years." Her attention moved to Cefyn and Jax grinned happily at the picture of the woman relaxing. "I have to agree with you, Cefyn. When I come home from sleeping on cots for weeks and months at a time, all I care about is the bed I'll be feeling under me the moment I get back." Curiosity piqued, Jax looked at Reno with her fine, brown brows raised. "How very interesting. No wonder indeed at all the tests. Could it be someone using his information for such a series of tests? It seems wasteful to go through all of this to test to see if someone is a vampire of the Black or even Red persuasion. It must be a test for something else."
Andrew also settles onto a bed, kicking back and resting his hands behind his head. "You have good taste, Wise Woman. This isn't half bad...except I think I just subjected myself to the laws of inertia." He picks his head up to grin at Simon. "Are you kidding? This is a brilliant lark! It has all the best trappings except liquor, and we don't know what waits for us at the end!" Reno's revelation actually prompts him to lean up on an elbow. "Abraham Stoker. Of course. He's played by Gary Oldman in the movie, right?" Of course, Jax quite handily steals his attention away. "I miss the ruined silk," he grins with too much teeth showing.
Simon finished up his canned meat and offered a smile to Jax. "Sorry about the dress.." Glancing back to Reno, "White Council pushed the book to be written if I recall. I can't imagine them dumping all the black courts secrets out there in public if it wasn't done in wartime." He frowned a touch, getting out his notepad to double-check the date from the brochure.
"A vampire of black or red the cave could not have come through," Cefyn points out to the ceiling. "If one beyond us waits, that door it will stop." She waves a languorous hand towards the glowing doorway in question, then rolls off the other side of the bed and heads for the 'closet'. "Who Abraham Stoker is? Was?"
Pipes rattle underground as the plumbing is given a fresh workout by Andrew, thankfully though, everything seems to be working and in tip top condition. The room is well lit, even without the sheet of sunlight covering the exit, the empty shelves and beds making it not quite as homely as it could be. The tiles on the floor and ceiling are all uniform, much like the construction on the first room and others in the complex, although these ones probably don't have traps or darts lying behind them...
Reno looks to Cefyn, grinning. "Bram Stoker was a writer when I was a child. His books were fantastic, if a bit strange at first read. He wrote Dracula which, as I understand things in this day and age, led to the forceful reduction of the Black Court's numbers, due to the book giving away all their secrets and weaknesses. He also wrote the Lair of the White Wyrm, which as I said I rather preferred, though I do not think it was quite as... supernaturally significant." He shrugs. "Either way... the date carved and the nature of these tests suggest that Stoker was here before he wrote his books. I think this is where he learned what he knew... amazing."
"Do you then, Andrew?" Jax looked over at the lounging, toothsome fellow with a consistently amused smile before she turned her head back towards Simon. "Not a thing to apologize for, Simon, I have other skirts and tops, and it was my own silliness for not dressing more appropriately for our day out." She nodded in agreement with Cefyn, then motioned to Reno as he explained Bram Stoker. "If you'd like to read it, Cefyn, I can lend it to you. Though I have no doubt that most any wizard you know likely has a copy, possibly even an old copy."
"So...not played by Gary Oldman in the move. Anthony Hopkins, then." Andrew reasons to himself, the Dracula movie clearly a more ready reference than the book. He hauls himself up to sitting with a grunt. "So, this is...vampire slayer training camp? Wish it had seen more use, lately, the bloody things are running rampant in Oxford and they taste...well, that isn't important." He briefly lets a nostalgic grin ghost over his face before he cracks his neck and rises. "Everybody in one piece, then? I'm eager to see what more fun awaits on the other side."
Simon nodded slightly, looking over the walls. "If that's how the dates line up... We can't say for certain if this place is how he learned about the Black Court... He may have helped to design this place. Personally I don't know if he was part of the White Council or not." Gathering up his pack, he put it on, adjusting his umbrella. "Not a lot of reason to train people when your enemy is all, but extincted. I should probably read up on the timeline for what happened." Heading over to the doorway of light, he waited, a smile stayed there as he watched Andrew, "At least you're having fun with it."
There is a loud 'clunk' from up above and a large amount of dust shakes its way down from the ceiling. The initial clunk is followed by two others, noises that seem to shudder the very stone itself, heard and felt by all in the room.
"Hmm, I see," says Cefyn. "Thank you." And that said, she vanishes into the closet. And when there's a 'clunk' from the ceiling, well, she's in the right place...
Reno blinks, raising a hand and pointing up. "I... think the ceiling may have just shifted somewhat. I am unsure that we are safe in this room any longer..." He looks to the others. "It may behoove us to press onward at this time."
Jax lifted her backpack and nodded, grimacing slightly, "Yeah, I think that's a good plan." Looking up at the ceiling for a moment, she sighed and started walking... then moved right through the brightly lit doorway and into the next room. Naturally, she was quite careful as she passed through the light barrier, as most of the rooms had only small spots on their entrance to allow for safety.
Andrew peers up at the ceiling as if it had insulted his mother, and mutters something grim about 'crap old timey alarm clocks' and 'flattening' as he moves through the wall of light into the next room.
Simon was inspecting individual strains of his scarf when Reno piped up, "Uhh... What?" He blinked a few times, but herd instinct took over and he too went into the doorway of light.
Cefyn emerged in a hurry, holding up her trousers with one hand. She nipped over, grabbed her cloak, and legged it for the doorway. Apparently doing her trousers up and re-buckling her belt could wait, and the sack? Abandoned in the rush.
Past the doorway of light, the corridor is narrower than previous examples but still of sturdy construction. Wide enough for two abreast to walk down, that would however be a bad idea. After an initial ten feet from the doorway of light, the floor changes from flagstones to red tiles, the surface slick and reflecting the light from the doorway. The center of the floor has a channel that runs down the middle, all of a foot wide and a foot deep, the channel thick with some sort of grease. The walls of this corridor are also made up of the same red tiles, giving this corridor a distinctly red hue as it dips up and down like a carnival ride before dropping out of sight some ten yards ahead. One oddity, would be the tiles on the left and right sides, in places they are missing and occasionally from these holes, a beam of light spills though while others remain dark.
"Hmm... this is rather disturbing. I have this... unfortunate feeling of walking into the ah..." He looks to Cefyn and Jax. "Perhaps it is better to say I feel as though I am being born in reverse when walking through here. Most unfortunate." He eyes the floors and walls. "The floor undulates and then drops. I..." He shakes his head. "I am afraid this one has me a bit baffled."
Jax chewed her bottom lip for a moment then nodded to herself. "Right.. well. I'd feel better with climbing spikes on, but we haven't got those." Instead of strapping something to her feet, Jax shifted and knelt to the ground, then went to all fours. she looked a bit silly to be sure, her long legs, Simon's coat, and that big old pack on top of her back like icing on a cupcake. Of course, it was nothing near as silly as she looked when she started moving forward. Crawling, she kept her knees and hands to the firm layers of tile, leaving that greasy looking gully in the center untouched. She pushed forward, getting all four of her limbs onto the pathway she decided on... then she started to slip. Sliding forward, she let out a squeaking sound of surprise as she couldn't seem to slow herself down. Up, over the first hump in the path, Jax skidded along, and then she was over it... and gone completely from sight as she let out another surprised "BLOODY HELL!" going down the other side of the hump.
Andrew snorts as he follows behind, hands stuffed in his pockets and leaning out of the queue to look ahead. "Doesn't seem so bad to me. I hardly see what all the fuss is about. I've been down bigger slides at water parks. The grease probably makes for a nice lubricated ride, without all that nasty chafing you get from sweaty skin meeting hot plastic." He eyes the walls. "The holes are a bit weird though, yeah? Why some are letting light in and some are blocked?" Then, Jax is over the hump and out of sight. "What the hell? I'm not getting left behind!" And he dives down the slope, using his back pockets as a sled, caution be damned. As he slides, his voice wafts up, "Fuck! My cigarettes!"
Simon walked along, though it was apparent his scarf was still distracting him and it took a few tries to get it to his liking. Glancing about, he nodded. "Red... Red is blood... Also the court, so maybe it's suggesting something like that." Simon smiled, "In that not-so-subtle way that most apprentices may need. It's like someone holding and waving an arrow sign so people will pay attention." He snapped his fingers, "That was supposed to be a way to tell if you are in the Nevernever or not." With his boots starting to slip, he smiled. Rather than fight for footing, he calmly just when with the flow, lowering his center of gravity and skating on down towards Jax.
Cefyn emerges from the light blinking; she hooks her cloak over one shoulder and takes a few moments to do up her trousers. "This interesting is," she says, eyeing her hands and then wiping them on the seat of her trousers. She swings the cloak about her shoulders, then frowns and breathes a word. The feathers and the fabric underneath ripple and the wise-woman takes to the air once more, floating serenely after the others.
After the first dip, the corridor continues much in the way it had before, the floor undulating up and down. There is still the channel in the middle of the floor and the overall width of the corridor which would allow two to walk down with just a bit of a squeeze. The beams of light come into view now, as do the the spaces where the tiles are missing to reveal empty spaces, the source of the light is unknown but it has a 'quality' to it that makes the skin itch.
As he lands, Reno looks about, still rather confused it seems about the nature of this place. Scrubbing a hand through his greying hair he looks towards the light coming from the open spaces, gritting his teeth at them. "I think it is real sunlight. I think... we have already discussed the red court. How this space reminds one of them. I cannot help but wonder if this is a feeling of what it is like to be the demon under the mask. Slipping and moving through the false skin they wear which accords them some protection from the sun..." He points to the gaps in the walls. "Protections that cause discomfort when removed..."
As the rest of the people coming down the walkway crested the hill that Jax had disappeared over, it was in time to watch the leggy woman slide up the next rise, still on all fours, now hollering in concern as her body seemed to just keep going... flashing a glimpse of long, nude legs and black panties as the jacket and now simply damp silk of her skirt fluttered up behind her. She was seriously moving now, at a quick as all hell clip. And once again she dipped out of sight completely as she went on the down slide.
Andrew reaches the crest of the next hill and manages to use the momentum to get up on his feet. He pats his back pocket and laments ruefully, "I'm sorry, baby. I'll never forget you're back there again." He makes a sideways descent down the next slide, moving as swiftly as he can without losing his balance. "I think you might be on to something there, Reno. But what about the grease? Is it cholesterol or something?"
Taking his time to sort out where his boots would catch and where as smooth sailing, Simon was more than happy to come down and use his momentum to make it up the next. Reaching back, he snagged his umbrella to take make of his weight and guide himself as need be. "Is anyone noticing patterns on light versus dark? And before someone strikes any fire, we want to check whether this grease is flammable or not."
Cefyn floats onward, her cloak billowing as she does so. "I no patterns can see," she says, trailing after the others - sliding is much quicker than floating, after all. "The light at different levels is." She floats through a beam of light, then looks back over her shoulder, startled. "Did anyone else that hear?"
This final section of the corridor is all downhill, the beams of light that dotted the corridor before and now much more pronounced and on differing levels. The exit can be seen though some 40 yards ahead, a doorway that spills out into a white tiled area, the gully area widening at the entrance to the room but not much else discernible from up here.
As yet another beam of light is broken, there is first one then a series of clunks from behind, elsewhere the sound of heavy machinery sounds. With a loud bang, a set of doors open at the very back of the corridor and a stone wheel drops into view, a thick wooden axle keeping it upright and screeching as it scrapes against the tile walls. Weight alone has it soon catching up with the party, the nature of the spindle giving it a vast advantage.
The stone disc roars down the corridor, picking up speed as the lubricated gully eases its travel. The flying Witch is knocked to one side with a thud as the wheel goes past, Simon faring a little better and managing to tuck into the wall as the disc makes its way to the room ahead, stopping with a violent bag at the doorway and then sinking through a trap in the floor in a movement that has to be admired for its engineering if not its lethality.
Reno's forward momentum carries him right down the chute, and as the disc flies by he flattens himself against a wall, continuing to slide even as he avoids the stone with ease. When he comes to a final halt he looks to Cefyn and Simon who were clearly struck and frowns. "Are the two of you alright? That looked sufficiently unpleasant." He turns to eye the doorway, waving a hand at it. "It seems we are at least through this particular section. As... diverting as it was." He peers through, noting the white tiled room beyond and frowns.
Jax had finally started to control her insane speed, managing to get herself tilted a little to the side, and was digging the toes of her shoes against the tile she skated along. The elation over the brief control she'd gained on her rapid flight was a bit short lived, however, as she turned her head back to risk a look and spotted the impending murderstone. A moment after she saw it, she stopped slowing herself down, cruising towards the doorway ahead like a missile. At the last moment, she skidded herself to the side and caught the doorway with her elbow, flinging herself into the next room and back against the wall. As she hit the wall, she pulled her arms and legs in close and held herself tightly as the stone slammed into the doorway after her, then went away via the cleverly designed trap door that seemed to be waiting for it. Blinking, she looked around the room she'd entered and swallowed. "Uhm, be careful coming in here guys, it looks like you could perform surgery in here. Or at the very least eat off the floor. I'd give gratuities to my orderlies if they could keep things this clean." She leaned over and peeked back through the doorway, checking to see how the others had fared.
"Whaffat?" Andrew asks of Simon around the slightly crushed cigarette between his lips, lighter poised to light it. But the surfing wizard's sound advice creeps into the part of his brain that doesn't want to be cooked alive and with a grumble the blond man tucks the cigarette behind his ear for later and stows his lighter safely back in a butt pocket. He turns backwards to watch Cefyn float effortlessly down, and is about to say something cheeky until the giant rolling pin comes hurtling down after them. "OH, shit!" is about all the commentary he can offer as he flattens himself back against the wall, sucking in his belly and thinking unsexy thoughts because really, you can never be too careful. "Oh, hell, are you two okay?" He asks Simon and Cefyn when he opens his eyes, after first double-checking that all his bits were still attached. When he pulls up beside Jax, he bristles, shoulders and jaw tensing and he growls deep in his throat. "That's not the only thing, Doc. Something is..." he shudders. "Weird. I don't like it."
Throwing himself to the wall didn't spare him completely as Simon let out a surprised groan when he was hit. The rest of his surfing down to the room was slowly as he used the wall as much as he could. Letting out a cough, he gave a nod to Reno, working through his breath. "That was unpleasant... But it looked like Cefyn tried to slow it down for me." Hanging back at the doorway as he ground to a halt, he looked back at Cefyn, "You alright back there? I should have been in the back I think." He gestured with the tip of his umbrella in a vague gesture to himself, "I'll live. A few bruises and scraps."
Cefyn had had a decision to make in an instant, and the option of 'up' was not the best answer. She didn't get smashed, but she came away from the wall with scraped face and knuckles, and the sort of careful movement that might be okay in a couple of minutes or might turn out to be something more serious. "I fine am," she replies to the others, despite the evidence to the contrary. A few moments later she's joined the sliders, her cloak hanging from her shoulders like any other cloak would. She's not sliding artistically, but she doesn't fall over immediately.
The white room is tiled on the walls, floor and ceiling with uniform square tiles, everything matching up perfectly in this cube of a room. There are four doorways in this room, one which leads back up the corridor you just came and three others. The other three doorways are closed, the doors blocked with the same white tiles, the only difference an indentation around the frame which would suggest some form of movement. On the left and right side of each doorway at chest level, there is a hole in the wall of about 4 inches in diameter. On top of each doorway, there is a series of roman numerals, going from left, center and then right. XI XIII XVII is written above door one. XXIII XXIX XXXI is written above the center door. XLVII LIII LV is written above the door on the right. Those are the only details in the room, it is otherwise clean and without many features.
Reno walks into the room carefully, looking at each door and shaking his head. "I must be honest this one has me quite stumped. Though, if we are assuming that the first series of rooms concerned the Black Court, and that corridor was about the Reds, than logically this is about the White Court. Of which I do not know much, I admit, save for I believe a recent meeting with one." He eye the numerals and shrugs, turning to the others. "I am rather stumped I am afraid."
Jax looked around the room now that people were coming closer, seeming to be satisfied that they were all arriving and functional. Cocking her head to the side she peered at the numbers over the room. "Hmmm, ok. So that door there is 11, 13, 17. The next door is 23, 29, 31. The last door there is 47, 53, 55." She shook her head and slowly stood up, wiping her hands unconsciously onto her skirt and the coat she'd borrowed from Simon, but getting the grease off of them. Her knees, for now, would stay the gooey mess they were. "I don't see anything that draws out that this is about the White Court, save for the fact the tiles are white. There's nothing emotional here, no sense of feeling or any sort of demonstrated desires." She frowned a bit and looked at the holes that rested at chest level. "Hmm... I'm betting there's either something that will reach out and rip out our hearts, or something that looks into our hearts from those holes, though."
Andrew squints at the numbers, his hackles still raised from the first sense of the room. "I'm glad you can read the numbers, Jax. I got as far as the third door and got distracted by all the Xs, got me thinking about something else." He quirks a smirk, a too-long canine making itself prominent, but the attempt at levity failing to ease his mind. "Is there anything the same about the numbers? Some kind of pattern?" He growls again at the holes in the walls as Jax points them. "I like my heart where it is, I'm using it to power other things."
Simon stared at the roman numerals above the doors. "11, 13, 17... 23, 29, 31... 6-- No, 47? I thought 47 was IIIL... We went over Roman numerals as part of Latin, but they're useless to add and subtract. I think that's 47, 53, 55. If that's right, they're in ascending order and they don't seem to match anything else." He grimaced as he counted on his fingers. "Prime numbers maybe? But 55 isn't prime... It still points to the same door as being the oddball, odd Roman numerals..." Grimacing, he started counting tiles.
Cefyn staggers through the door last, taking a few moments to eye the numbers. "I can them read," she says, stepping to one side and rotating her shoulder carefully, "But what a 'prime number' is?"
There is a clunk from underground from where the wheel fell through the floor, the trap doors now securely closed and meshing perfectly with the rest of the tile pattern. It is otherwise quiet and peaceful in the room, a slight dripping and glooping sound coming from the previous corridor as grease filters through a trap but otherwise quiet.
"Well... let's see. From 11 to 17 there are 6, from 23 to 31 there are 8, and from 47 to 55 there are 8. It points to the first room being different. Both the second and third door have only 2 numbers different between the second and last, but the first room has 4 numbers different. Which means the first door is still the most different. yes, the third door is the only one without them all being prime numbers... but I think it's got less pointing to it being different than the first door does." Jax motioned to the first door. "I feel like that might be the one, but I'm not sure of course. Does anyone else have an idea?"
Andrew exhales through his closed lips, and looks at the numbers, and then the doors in turn, deep in thought. His brow is furrowed and his lips work as he speaks silently to himself. Finally, his calculations done, the actor concludes, "Nope." He grins toothily and shrugs. "There's always trial and error. We could start with what's behind door number one."
Simon considered Cefyn's question for a moment, "Uhh... Prime numbers are numbers that divide evenly only by themselves and one. So 2, 3, 5, 7, 11, 13... They don't make nice even numbers when divided." He considered Jax's explanation, "But there are 3 numbers, if the spread the important part why have 3 numbers. 11, 13, 17, repeating number is 1, 4 added together, 10 left over. 23, 29, 31, repeating number is 2 and 3, 2 plus 2 plus 3 plus 3 is 10, remaining number 1 and 9 for 10 again. They're numbers, there are all sorts of ways to twist them to meanings." He nodded in agreement with Andrew, "I brought us down here, I can try for pincushion if everyone wants to stay back."
"If no-one a pattern can find or a clue can name," says Cefyn, standing on one leg and carefully extending the other one in different directions, "Then we should a door pick and what is behind it live with."
Birds don't chirp, a foul wind doesn't blow through the room. The light is getting a bit irritating, it's all the white tiles. It could only be worse if there was florescent lighting in here.
Jax looked at the doors, then finally walked up to the one with the number that was not prime, the third door. "Alright, well, obviously two of us have to do this because there are two holes, right?" And Jax promptly reached her hand into the hole in the wall. She reached in, and kept reaching... further and further, til her whole arm was in the hole and she nodded. "There's a handle, a bar, you can grab. Someone get in the other hole, I'm betting you pull them both at the same time and the door opens. If someone else can help open the door, the others could watch for what might happen next? Possibly rescue us even?" Jax peered over her shoulder at the others, offering a beatific smile.
Andrew peers into the other hole, not currently occupied by Jax's arm. "Well, it didn't eat the lovely lady so far..." he muses and reaches through the other hole, taking hold of the bar there. He too looks over his shoulder, smirking, and says, "If I don't make it, tell my mother I love her." Then he nods to Jax. "On my mark, then? Three...two...one...pull!" And pull he does, hoping his arm stays put. It's his favorite arm.
"What if..." Simon took a deep breath, "Wizards are sort of like lizards... We lose an arm, he can grow it back in... Twenty or thirty years." He narrowed his eyes in thought, not sure that was correct, but what the hell, he shrugged it off as 'sometimes you scrap your knees'. He gave Andrew an umbrella salute. "Good luck with that and maybe the doctor should be the one on standby in case of tourniquet application."
Cefyn stops checking how easily she can move, when Jax and Andrew reach into the wall by the door. She pulls the axes from her belt instead and stands ready, just in case good solid steel is required for what the door reveals.
With the two of them, Andrew and Jax both holding onto their respective bars, they pull. There is a loud clunk and then from within the holes, something secures the wrist of Andrew and Jax, the pressure only easing off once the door starts to open and then the cuff is released and both can remove their arms.
The doorway opens to reveal a corridor that is the polar opposite of the white room, the tiles all in black and very little light permeating the area. There is writing on the walls on either side in Latin, big tall script designed to be seen as you walk down the corridor towards the final door. The last door is heavy and black, a set of holes on each side of the door much like the ones that got you here. Above the door frame, carved into the stone is the word 'fortitudo'.
Jax stiffened for a moment as her wrist was enclosed by a cuff. When it gave way, she started taking deep breathes as she was trying to still her suddenly fluttering heart. "Well then, that was a surprise." She waited til the door was open and then looked into the black room, her face impassive for a moment until she gave a grim smile. "Well now, who among us is the most strong, I wonder? And will it be strength of will, of body, or of heart?" She stepped to the doorway and peered inside the room, stepping through and moving to the side to give room for others to follow, but not going too far into the black room so as not to trigger any possible tile traps on the way to the far door.
As the doors open Reno steps forward, at the very least the one most likely to be able to dodge an incoming trap. Though the dimness of the next room he can just make out the script on the walls. "Take what you have learnt.... and fortitude... one last puzzle until freedom perhaps? I cannot make out the room very well but with any luck this is almost done." He nods to Jax and Andrew. "Thank you."
Andrew grunts and heaves, and then yelps...in the most manliest of fashions, of course, as something grabs his wrist. Nonetheless, he continues pulling on the door until it gives way even more fiercely, as much out of retaliation against the door for scaring him as for the actual intended goal of getting it open. Once his wrist is free and the door is open, he steps through muttering under his breath as he squints into the darkness. "Fortitude...last time, that was mostly a test of pain tolerance. Hope everyone is feeling limber..."
Simon watched Andrew and Jax closely as the mechanisms sounded and the door opened. Letting out a sigh, he read the Latin and shook his head. "Is it better to send one rather than all of us setting off trapped tiles on the way here? We all took it on the chin last time."
"Take what we have learned," says Cefyn, "And, Strength. I no idea have of what this place wishes." And with that, she simply steps forward into the corridor, heading for the door at the other end.
Reno raises his hand. "Simon brings up a valid point. If the rest of you are willing to provide me with information and assistance, I am willing to venture in. I may stand the best chance of avoiding a trap, and I am fairly strong and hard to hurt." He smiles ruefully. "And if nothing else I heal fairly quickly." When Cefyn steps into the darkened room, Reno watches carefully before following after her. "Hmm... not strength of body but courage it seems..." He moves into the darkened room, going for one of the holes on either side of the door. "Perhaps we must simply be willing to risk ourselves against what we cannot see."
Jax took a deep breath in and nodded. "Alright, well, it seems to want some strength and courage, of which we seem to brim over in this group." She rolled her shoulders and looked over at Simon, smiling to him. "I don't know if I'd be all that happy with your arm going missing, Simon. Forgiving myself for your umbrella handling going downhill would be a vicious proposition." She grinned and reached over to pat Andrew's shoulder softly, reassuring him with the gentle touch, then walked into the room after Cefyn, following the wise woman in her feathered cloak. "Two people are needed, we've got Reno, who else wants to grab a mechanism? I'll stand here and be ready for health support should it be needed."
Andrew steps out next into the darkness, treading lightly as possible. The darkness won't know what hit it. "I've had good luck so far, I might as well ride this wave while it lasts, right? I just won't use the same arm this time, it's the one I use for..." he reconsiders his words. "Driving." Nice save. He crosses over to Reno and reaches through the hole by the door, once more. "So, be ready to get grabbed. Or for some unknown horror to befall us in the interest of variety," he grins at Reno, his pep talks clearly needing work. He also nods to Reno and gives a heave to open the door.
Simon rested his umbrella against his shoulder. "I wasn't suggesting that the loss of my arm would be national holiday, Jax. I was stating that if someone had to lose an arm, first, it shouldn't be the doctor that has the best chance of saving a life, and second, it should probably be the guy that led everyone down here." Simon continued toward the darkness, "Courage and Strength, so are we suggesting a sprint?"
While Reno and Andrew get to work on the handles, Cefyn sets up in front of the door with her axes at the ready.
For the two opening the door, there is a pressure on the wrist as a cuff comes down, only this time it doesn't release. There is a whirring sound and then the noise of a pump working, the two being held in place for about a minute until the door opens and the cuffs holding their arms are released.
The door behind shows a hexagonal room with a raised dais in the middle with a stone sarcophagus in the middle. Two torches flash into life once the door is open, casting a dim glow in the still dark room, chains can be heard rattling but that seems purely for effect, a series of them hanging from the ceiling for some reason. There is a gold edged doorway leading out of the room, the sound of running water can be heard but nothing else seen behind a thick iron gate. A pair of tubes run from the ceiling into the sarcophagus, a steady dripping can be heard and is echoing from within. There is a plinth on the left and right side of the room, altar shaped but without the usual holy accoutrements.
Nodding to Andrew, Reno smiles and places his arm within the hole, pulling at the mechanism as Andrew does, his hand braced against the wall as he does so. "Well... at least it does not require that I place my leg in a hole like this.." Reno winces as something jabs at him and he remove his hand to eye his wrist, turning it this way and that. With no apparent visible marks he looks to Andrew. "That was... rather unfortunate, but I think I am otherwise unharmed..." As he steps in to the room, following the path of the tubes to where they enter the sarcophagus. "It seems we have been fed upon Andrew and for the purposes of sustaining whatever may be in that coffin." He looks about, trying to figure out the source of the running water. "I admit the archaeologist in me cringes at these words, but it is somewhat tempting to just smash this all to flinders before whatever is in there emerges." He looks about again. "This place has been about the black court for the most part. If it is possible that there is a Black Court vampire in that coffin, it is a shame we could not simply find the source the water, bless it, and drop it on the thing. I don't suppose we have any left do we?"
Jax's eyes widened as she slipped over towards the entrance of the room and stared. "Oh shite, that's about to come open." She looked at the gentlemen gathered and dropped her backpack to the floor, reaching into it to pull out the holy water she'd kept in it. After all, a woman never gets rid of something that might be of value later! "I have some holy water left. I don't suppose anyone happens to have a cross on them? Perhaps any sort of holy item?" She hefted the water to be ready, then looked over at the others. "Just be ready, it's about to happen, or so it seems."
Andrew growls and snaps his wrist out of the door as soon as he's able. He turns his wrist in front of his face, eyeing it carefully in the light pouring in from the next room. "Right then, that's it, run of luck is out," he says, swaying ever so slightly and sounding a bit woozy. "After all of you," he bows and sweeps his arm in towards the sarcophagus chamber. He looks at his wrist again and growls. "I don't like that kind of surprise," he says, low and rasping in his throat, and he slips out of his pack, shortly followed by his shirt, the torchlight doing marvelous things for the abs that got him roles that his talent couldn't carry. Shoes and the rest follow soon enough and are also stuffed in the rucksack. "Would someone mind carrying this for me?" he asks, dropping the pack to the ground, and then waving his hand in a dismissive gesture, his body fading from view in the half light.
Simon took off his pack to dig out the holy water in the skin. "Great..." Once he had it, he poured it over himself and his umbrella. "Cross? We can do cross... Or faith... Religious symbols? I sort of left my sex wax at home, so that won't help... Now magical items? Got a few of those."
Cefyn steps in with her axes in her hands - then blinks at the setup. With Reno and Jax delivering the information, the wise-woman gets on with doing something about it; her axes go away on her belt and she heads for the nearest torch, quick-like, trying to get it down from the wall.
The lid of the sarcophagus explodes outwards in a hail of stones, dust and drops of blood, a scream filling the narrow chamber as a bound creature struggles against some chains. The angry screams stop a moment later as the chains shatter, a shriveled husk of a body sitting upright in the coffin and then standing tall, blood red eyes in hollow sockets regarding those who have just entered the room. The creature is a nosferatu, of that there is little doubt. From the pointed ears to the lack of hair, the sharpened teeth...there is no mistaking this creature for a human. It is dressed in a rather dusty but well maintained doubled breasted jacket, the front covered in buttons there would be a nightmare for anyone wishing to dress in a hurry. The creature's neck has what remains of two brass tubes sticking out of it, the beast looking somewhat confused as it rips out first one and then the other.
It takes a deep breath as it finally gathers its senses, two of those in the room getting its direct attention, the creature going from standing among the rubble to standing at the bottom of the dais in a mere moment, a flash of speed that many might find familiar.
The creature moves with surprising speed, lashing out and grabbing Reno's wrist, bending down and sticking it's teeth in to feed in one rapid frenzied movement.
Reno watches as the Sarcophagus violently fragments, moving his head just enough to easily avoid the large piece of stone that hurtles by to smash into the wall behind him. As the vampire rises, he regards it with an odd mix of distaste, outright hatred and... is that pity? With the way his eyes move it appears that he has little difficulty tracking it's movements, a level of speed Reno himself is decidedly used to. When it comes for him first he manages a neat sidestep, avoiding the fangs that comes at him, though a hunger driven burst of speed manages to catch Reno. His eyes narrow in a mix of annoyance and he grunts. "I admit sir I find your fate a sad one. I cannot imagine how long you have been laying within that prison of stone, waiting to be freed by this trial. What you may not know is that the entire point of this place has been to teach people how to kill your kind. You are nothing more than a test subject. Frankly it's a little pathetic." A palm thrown forward at high speed is enough to send the vampire back with some force, as Reno shakes off his other hand. "Hmm... not an experience I care for."
Jax hissed slightly as her breath left her body and the creature within the sarcophagus was freed. "Take this, Simon, if you need it." She handed the bottle of holy water over to Simon, then looked back at the vampire attacking Reno. "You, my dear, poor lad... do not even know what you've woken up to. We know all of your secrets, understand how to kill you, and will not be letting you leave this godforsaken room. You will die here, likely suffering and losing your last breath at the hands of these humans and human like which have tread here, fearless of your kind." As Jax spoke her skin almost glowed, but it was her eyes that took on the most unholy light, burning brightly like someone had lit a burning flame behind a piece of amber, the strange glow radiating from her eye sockets. "I feel so sad for you, seeing you wake up only to die in a quick, disgustingly easy little death..." Her words dripped with disdain and derision... letting the creature know he was worth nothing. Less than nothing.
Cloaked behind a simple glamour, Andrew is changed into...something else. An oversized white fae wolf with frigid silver eyes, red tipped ears, and a gaping maw full of white fangs. The cu sith snarls viciously and leaps for the vampire, savage claws lashing out to rip at the undead creatures torso, shredding withered flesh. The beast, safe behind its cloak, laps at the blood on his claws, bloodying that white maw and circling about, tensing for a new lunge.
Simon flicker open his umbrella the moment the coffin exploded. Once the shrapnel stopped, he closed the umbrella once more, rushing in to swing wide at the vampire, but enough drips of holy water flying its direction to warn of the nature of the water on the apprentice.
Cefyn stops trying to get a light off the wall and turns to face the vampire; she raises a hand in the air and points the other at the creature. She speaks a word in a language long gone, and brilliant sunlight bathes the beast for an instant - but an instant is all it takes.
When Roderick is lit up, any vestige of sanity that he had left is quickly removed. Letting out a guttural scream, he advances on Cefyn with blinding speed, talon like hands slashing left and right, gouts of blood hitting the walls of the chamber as he opens up Cefyn with two deft strikes.
As the vampire lunges at Cefyn and slashes her, Reno lets out a roar of his own, his speed matching the vampire's and then over-matching it. He's across the room in an eye blink, a fist lashing out to slam into the vampire's jaw, breaking it cleanly. His next blow comes up into his gut, the added force of his godling nature pushing the vampire up into the air. And then it's just all over, as a barrage of blurred punches and kicks overwhelm Roderick, each one with enough crushing force to break bone and pulp the organs beneath. By the time Reno's done the vampire is nothing more than a mass of unrecognizable flesh on the floor, And Reno is looking rather pissed. "I do not know who I am angrier at. This fool of a vampire, or the people who set this test up... now I truly do hope there is a living force behind this, so that I may question their motivations in person. And in depth." He turns to Cefyn, kneeling down to try to offer what little support he can, and looking to Jax.
A few moments went by and the vampire was being done crispy, making Jax cringe a bit away. Of course, that cringe brings her eyes immediately to the person he attacks, that being Cefyn. A horrified sound left Jax as she realized exactly how extensive the damage to the wise woman was and started moving towards her. Sure, the vampire was dead, and Reno was holding Cefyn, but the second Jax got over near them she skidded to a stop on her knees and looked at Reno, speaking in short, clipped words. "Put her down, Now. I need my backpack, and space, and water, and a lighter." Rather than waiting for anyone to bring her anything, Jax started ripping Cefyn's clothes away, not seeming to find there to be a need for propriety when there was obviously a nearly eviscerated woman involved. "NOW!" she called out louder in case no one had heard her, and then started examining the wounds.
As the Vampire is felled by Reno, a few moments pause and then the body dissolves to ash, clothes and all. Even as this happens, the gate at the other end of the north passage can be heard getting winched up, the water is still running but one of the sun streaked doorways can be seen ahead.
Andrew lets his glamour fall away, and the massive white fae wolf is suddenly visible in the blink of an eye. He buries his snout in his dropped rucksack and produces his jeans, shaking the lighter out of the back pocket. He carries it in his blood-spattered maw to Jax and deposits it beside her. The creature stares hard at Cefyn, assessing, then pads away, apparently satisfied that she is not presently shaking off the mortal coil. He surveys the perimeter, sniffing at the air.
Simon was still blinking and trying to process the ashing of said black court vampire. The fact Jax was working her doctorly ways on Cefyn meant not crowding the two of them. "If we have too, I have start on a portal if she needs to be out of here fast. Granted, it's Nevernever travel and there is a chance we would step into a solid object..." Simon frowned, "We'll just tack that as emergency plan F, alright?"
Cefyn, her insides rapidly becoming her outsides and her blood now painting the walls, collapses where she stands, her eyes bright with pain - and with rage. That rage diminishes as Reno's onslaught destroys the vampire, and when it turns to dust she relaxes under Jax's ministering. It turns out that her tattoos really do decorate her entire body with lines of blue - or the bits that Jax exposes, at least. "Did anyone the name of that dragon get?"
The northern passageway is now open, the gate has been fully winched to the top and a sheet of sunlight beckons. Okay, perhaps not. It's not waving at anyone but it's certainly better staying in an emo vampire's bedroom. The vampire's coffin now lays empty, the lid having exploded, the base show the chains that the poor beast was secured with before being closed down here.
Reno lays Cefyn down immediately on Jax's words and blurs, criss crossing the room and returning with all of Jax's things. Water comes in the for of a canteen pulled from his pack, a lighter snaked from Andrew's discarded clothes. "Doctor. Here you are." That done Reno steps back and waits, watching Cefyn carefully."
Jax nodded, then reached over and grabbed her own backpack, since it hadn't been delivered, and jerked it open. "Use the lighter and sterilize this." She tossed over a sewing kit. "The needle in there, not the thread." Then she looked for the fishing line she'd gathered earlier. "I'm just going to get you sewn up enough to keep you all together, Cefyn. And then later at the hospital I'll treat you more thoroughly, right now I'm just trying to stop some of the worst bleeding." her voice was mellow, calm, and Jax proceeded to wash her hands in the leftover holy water from her bag. "Alright, bite this." She rolled up a piece of cloth tightly and held it out for Cefyn, then got started. Proving why real women were from hundreds of years in the past...
Andrew drags his t-shirt out of the rucksack and carries it over to Cefyn and Jax, lifting a paw and touching the wizard's own torn clothing, then nudging the shirt towards them. Confident that Cefyn is in good paws...er, hands, he trots out to the sunlight to see what he can see.
Simon takes a deep breath and nods. "So since we're not going for Plan 'F', the quickness way out of here is forward, so..." He grabbed his bag from the ground and jogged onward to the next room... Corridor, something.
Cefyn mostly stayed where she was, being ministered to. When Jax offered the piece of cloth she bit down on it, then nodded for the doctor to go to work. Painkillers? Anesthetics? Nah.
The last room is a simple hexagonal shape, much like the very first entry room. A raised dais rests in the middle, bathed in sunlight and on top of the dais a pillar and then a lectern. There is a shimmering doorway on the other side of the lectern, a row of brightly glowing sigils on either side of the doorway giving a clue as to what its purpose it.
On the lectern there is an ancient looking book, the front of which has a wood cut picture of a cloaked figure. Gothic lettering notes that this book is 'On the nature of vampires' and then at the bottom of the book, in a smaller script 'not to be removed from library'.
With the room opened up, Reno moves into it, making sure there are no further threats. The room he moves through carefully, doing his best not to set anything off. Considering the sunlight streaming through the doorway he's not that concerned about it. The book on the dais he stops and stares at, smiling to himself. "Interesting..." Going back to the last room he looks to Jax. "How is she Doctor? And I think I need to borrow a pair of your surgical gloves. I do not wish to touch the book in the other room with my bare hands."
Jax didn't bother getting up just yet, as she didn't have Cefyn entirely ready to move. It took her a few minutes, and some insanely quick hand movements, along with the rest of her water, but she did manage to get Cefyn sewn up. It wasn't the most beautiful job, but it was pretty damn fine and the wounds on Cefyn's abdomen were ready to get wrapped in gauze, which they'd have to find later. She looked up at Cefyn's face when she was done and offered a supportive smile, her eyes only glowing softly with amber light. "I think we're ready to move you out of here. I'll carry you to keep the abdomen from having too much pressure." Jax then looked over at Reno and nodded. "In my bag, side pocket. I'll carry Cefyn in so she can see the room. Did you guys figure out the exit yet?" She asked the question as she stood, then bent over to prepare to pick up Cefyn. "You ready, Cefyn?"
You know what really helps turn pages? Opposable thumbs. The cu sith steps into the sunlight and up to the lectern and rears up on its hind legs. That silvery white fur melts into tanned fair skin, joints snap and grind, bending opposite directions, lanky, blood spattered limbs contort into arms and legs, tail vanishes, and all that remains of the fae beast are those eerily cold silver eyes. Here stands Andrew, in all his glory, wearing nothing but a smirk and lingering specks of blood. "Well, isn't this pleasant by comparison? Cheery." He leans over the book and squints at the lettering, snickering with one too-long canine peeking out. "Not to be removed from library. Hell, for once, I'm obliged to obey them. If that's the test to check out the book, I can only imagine what they'll do if you take it."
Simon scans the runes surrounding the runes around the lecture carefully before stepping up the the lectern itself, but not so far to break the pillar of sunlight. "So touch and the door home opens?" Simon waved his hand at the light, hoping for something to allow them to leave this place. "Alright... I'll try to fasten a stretcher, if you need one, so we can get Cefyn out of here." Taking off his pack, he started examining the frames to see if there was any way to link them together.
Cefyn waits for Jax to finish, then spits out the piece of cloth. "Only if you sure are," she says to Jax. "Many thanks, Doctor. I ready am." For whatever reason, she doesn't object or try to move herself - she doesn't like it much, it seems, but she's willing to be carried. Even if she does shift the cloak so it's in front of her, covering her, rather than dragging on the floor. She looks with some curiosity at the book, the door and the room, but does seem to be having trouble focusing.
Jax nodded when Cefyn told her she was ready, offering the woman a warm smile. "Sounds like we're in accord then." Tucking her arms up under Cefyn's legs and behind her shoulders, Jax stood with the other woman in her arms, careful and yet sure. She then carried her out into the other room, watchful, getting the woman to safety as they left.