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Aug 21, 2019 4:06 AM
Yvette and James in Tyria
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"It would presumably have been the Mursaat that put them up! I assume you don't listen to them, because they were terrible. Except for, possibly, Lazarus, who may or may not be terrible."

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"But the architecture here should give you an idea of why I am dubious of this."

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"Yeah, no kidding. Anyway, shall we go see what horrible dangers await us inside the architecture?"

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"Sounds like a splendid idea."

Handholding?

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Handholding!!

But adorable handholding is no reason not to keep an eye out for Mursaat traps and strange magic in the area. She can do both! So she does. Is there anything on the way there that looks weird or potentially murderous? It's safest to peer at the weird things safely instead of bumbling mindlessly into them.

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Not very murderous. There's magic all around, dormant and sunk deep into the jade towers, and most of it seems to not want to kill them.

There's also some disturbance, though. It is recent and small, compared to the power these ruins could bear once upon a time, when the mursaat civilisation was at its appex and had magical power and knowledge to rival any other species's - but it is definitely there, present, an undercurrent of disturbance and renewed activity that feels chilly in her spine.

Like most mursaat magic, it is fueled by the bloodstone; it is fueled by death, by sacrifices. The structures they are approaching are not currently malicious towards them, but with such a malicious base, it seems like they're ready to turn on them the moment they become a menace to the erstwhile city.

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Vetareh hums thoughtfully in consideration.

"Not quite as asleep as I'd like, but also not so awake as to bite just yet. Now how do we get in without waking it up..."

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"We could knock."

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She giggles.

"No, darling, that would not go well. Do you slip in past a guard dog by ringing the doorbell?"

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"Well, once."

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"What, really? When did you—actually, no, no, I'll ask later when we're less busy. The trouble with the doorbell idea is that I really doubt that the ominous fortress built on the power of blood sacrifice, on an active volcanic island, surrounded by rocky shores that would ground most ships, would expect any visitors at all. So, no way for outsiders to knock and be let inside. Knocking would be 'Hello, I am an intruder, please transmute my blood into the essence of pure agony, thanks!'"

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"I think if the mursaat had that kind of power that would be registered somewhere," James says dubiously. "And besides, the dwarves did manage to get in somehow."

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"The transmutation example was neither serious nor, hopefully, accurate," she says wryly. "And yeah, but maybe Lazarus woke something up. Let's scout around the edges a bit before going closer? Maybe there's an obvious hole or something."

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"That sounds like a good idea."

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"I try to have those occasionally!"

And then: scouting. Any strangeness going on? Any obvious holes in the sleepy defenses?

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The defences aren't super thorough at this level of activation so that's easy to find. And through once such opening, James quietly points at a lone figure standing - a human ghost.

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Vetareh raises her eyebrows. Well. It stands to reason, in a place with so much death, that some of them would slip out of their bloodstone captivity and then decide to stick around in an effort to have the whole thing torn down, or to warn people away from the same horrible fate. Ideally, it's what she'd do.

"Well," she murmurs, "I think we should go say hello, how about you, darling?"

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"Sounds like a good idea. In the worst case we have to fight a ghost."

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"Actually worst case he's a sentry ghost that'll set off every defense in this place and then try to fight us, but I don't think that's all that likely."

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"Probably not!"

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"I expect that if the mursaat wanted a sentry, they'd have better options than a ghost. Like a ghost tied to a suit of armor, or several ghosts unethically stitched together into some abomination, or something. Besides, the two of us would make terrible subjects for blood sacrifice. I'm a magic disrupting mesmer and you're a lifeforce sucking necromancer. We're the worst people to put as batteries in a complicated magical system. So, come on, let's go say hello!"

She hooks her arm through his and heads over, smiling.

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James grins at her and then puts his mask back on.

    The ghost notices their approach and turns to face them, raising a hand in greeting. "Ahoy there, friends!" he calls, his voice made out of a somewhat cacophonous superposition of the voices he had when he was alive. "Watch your step up ahead - that fortress is fit with defenses that'll tear you to shreds."

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"Thank you," says Vetareh, sincerely. "It's appreciated, but we need to sneak past the defenses to turn on a machine that'll prevent the destruction of these islands. Do you know how we can get past them, or turn them off?"

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    He shakes his head sadly. "The defenses only allow mursaat to enter. Anybody who doesn't look the part is cut down where they stand."

"...look the part. Could I disguise myself as a mursaat to fool the defenses?"

    The ghost looks stunned. "What? That'll never work! ...wait, could that work? ...that might actually work." He pauses to ponder this. "I saw some mursaat armor around... The place's very well defended, but if you can get it, it'd make a serviceable disguise."

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"Oh, that's a good idea. Both of them, I mean. Salvaging actual mursaat armor would help immensely. I doubt my illusions on their own would hold up to any real scrutiny, but I could certainly add little touches and fill in awkward gaps to make the whole thing look better."

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