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Kasuin
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The Sublime Overlord of the Realm
Jik limped along, his arms and back hunched to protect his ribcage where Ryvala kicked him. Because of Nym's violent words, the hiskr kept his whimpers to himself as he followed along quietly. Jik is not safe... Jik will be killed... Jik needs to get out... The thoughts ran through his mind like a chant. It seemed as though the heat had gotten to the drow's mind, making him less kind than it had seemed that he was, or perhaps... that he had never been Jik's friend at all. He decided it would be safer to stick closer to Short Man and the dwarven girl instead at this point. Kayra had been grateful for Kelter's grip around her. The familiarity in this unfamiliar situation was comforting. She felt that he would protect her from harm, being within the safety of his arms.

The centaur looked at Nymmur'ss at the 'crazy' remark and chuckled. Crazy is crazy. Magus is probably a few hundred years old, one eyed, never bathes, talks to himself, and tries to kidnap children to scratch his crotch for him. I try to avoid him at all costs. You should too if you knew what was good for you. He placed his hand on the handle of the large circular steel doorway and blew a shrill whistle. The elf that Ryvala had called Lappa and one of the half orcs pulled out keys from chains about their necks and placed them into keyholes on the doors. The two turned their keys, a loud click blossoming into audibility as they pulled the small metal things free and the centaur began to lift the handle. The entire contraption was heavy, needing, apparently, a lot of strength behind the opening. The centaur's large arms bulged and a vein on his forehead stood out as he lifted and pulled. The doorway groaned and swung free of the frame with a hiss of sand.

I've always hated this door. I thought that someone would have improved upon it by now. The centaur grunted, his teeth bared in both grimace and smile all at once. A cool breeze flew out of the opening into the hot, dry air above. Past the door was another world altogether. A small ramp lead down from the opening, small barricades marked its turn as it clung to the wall of the massive cavern in front of them. The entire thing was simply one large room that went straight down, the ramp fastened to the wall in a spiral as it went further down into the raider's warren. The place was lit by torches and small bits of quartz that were installed in fanciful glass lanterns that were magically enchanted to give off small bits of colored light. The sounds of people moving and speaking were a constant background noise as well as sounds of hammering on steel, cutting canvases, and gears turning. Lappa, the elf with the bow, took the lead after shooting Ryvala a particularly nasty look. Ryvala came next and waved her hand in a forward motion to let her companions know that they were going inside. It would be the centaur that closed and locked the door before bringing up their rear.

Kayra looked around, wide eyed and amazed at the place. It was much larger than she could have ever imagined. One central cavern ringed by tunnels and ramps cut into stone or fashioned out of ropes and wood. The cool breeze of the place made the torchlights ripple and dance, but not go out. Her mouth was about as open as her eyes. How... how is this possible? The desert should have crushed it all.

It's rock.

What?

Ryvala motioned with her chin towards the cavern. This is a small mountain range that has been eaten by the dunes and worn down over the years. Some people or other built a small town on top of it when they realized that it was solid rock beneath. That way their buildings wouldn't simply sink beneath it. Raiders came, the villagers were killed or brought inside, and they carved this. She gestured at the whole structure. Whether by magic, ingenuity and persistence, or foolishness probably aided by slavery, they hollowed out an underground mountain. I, however, would not recommend trying to jump straight down because I have no idea where the floor of the cavern actually starts. If, of course, it has a floor.

Jik shivered as he looked down and began to slide closer to the wall. Jik cannot fly... This was not a good day for the hiskr.

The dwarf that had been with the party from the surface leaned closer to Kelter and looked at the side of his face, frowning. Where do I know you from? Your face is... familiar.

Lappa looked back towards the group, her eyes narrowed with suspicion centered around Ryvala. We will make sure that you are hydrated before we take you to see the Leader.

Oh how lovely, Lappa. I'm so glad that you aren't dead. The sarcasm in the wood elf's voice made Lappa's frown deeper as she extended her arm towards a room that was off of the main ramp, well lit and full of people sitting at tables. If one looked closely enough, it resembled a tavern like any on the surface with a bar, a man behind a counter, singing and arm wrestling ruffians, and serving wenches carrying trays about. Water's still free, isn't it?

...Yes.

Pick a table. Order water unless one of you has money and wants to get pushed over the ramp once you stumble out of here, plastered. Ryvala's smile was wicked. Jik shivered and huddled close to the pair of dwarves.
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The Hole · Kastalin Sands


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