Crane grumbled as he woke up, giving a sigh as he saw the drenched remains of his campfire. He'd set himself up next to the temple's entrance, a little cover granted by a pile of rubble making an ideal place to sleep. Well, ideal in the sense that nothing would find and then try to eat him there. The rain's chill had woken him up early as he'd hoped, it gave him time to get moving again before his pursuers did. Gathering his pack together again and taking up his prybar, Crane cracked his knuckles and made his way to the nearby stone door.
After a good twenty minutes of leveraging, wresting, pushing and a few imaginative curses, Crane managed to open the huge stone doorway open just enough of a crack for him to get inside. As the archaeologist dragged his pack in behind him, the golden caste mark on his brow flared to life in the darkness, illuminating the long hallway he'd emerged into.
You seem to be grasping the utliity of your Exalted state.
Crane fought back the urge to make a "good morning" jibe, glancing around the hall suspiciously. "Much as I love your compliments Byblos, turning this thing on-" he looked up towards his forehead, "wasn't my doing."
Intriguing. Unescapable Banner-Of-Destiny Eyes that still function. Someone has been maintaining this place, after a fashion.
"So I'm being watched?"
Not necessarily. I did warn you there would be hazards, Slashing Crane.
Dim blue-green light suddenly flooded the area, Crane raising the steel prybar defensively as he looked for its source.
It is Dragon King technology.
"Right...I was wondering where the torch-holders were."
The Glowmoss is a form of emergency lighting, to be more accurate. It was triggered by the Eyes locating your presence.
Crane's own eyes continued darting around, looking for assailants. "...I knew that." he said uneasily. "Any other pearls of wisdom you want to send my way before I go any further?"
As this is a service entrance and you have no proper authorization, it is likely the security systems have activated.
"Traps. Great." Crane took all of a step foreward before a red beam of blazing-hot essence singed the air less than an inch from his nose. "New and interesting traps." Crane said without moving a muscle. "Even better."
They will not have much power remaining, if nothing else this tells us we are the first to arrive.
"Oh wonderful, Byblos, thanks for that. We're lucky enough to face down the red-hot death rays."
It is nothing you have not done before, Slashing Crane. Follow the hallway and make the right twists.
Crane grumbled, setting his pack back down on the floor as he took a few steps backward. "Always easier in the manual, isn't it." Crane took a deep breath as he tucked the prybar behind him in the belt-loops of his buff jacket, his caste mark glowing a bit brighter as he focused his essence.
Sprinting foreward, Crane ducked under the first beam as it shot across the hallway, then diving over three others as they swept at waist, knee and ankle level in order. Tucking into a roll as he landed under the next series of beams, he sprung into a handstand leap as another beam fired low. Flying feet-first down the hall using his added momentum, Crane's legs split out to catch himself, arresting his movement just barely shy of a beam that split the hallway vertically in half. Swinging down into another handstand, Crane rolled to his right past the essence laser into a cartwheel and between two other vertical beams. Going into a series of backflips as he proceeded, Crane finally landed with a resounding THUNK, hitting the far corner of the passage, back to the wall. Shaking off the impact as quickly as he could, Crane gasped in alarm as a beam lanced out.
The prybar was in his hands before he could think, intercepting the beam that would've impacted his face head-on. The iron bar glowed with heat, finally melting at the contact point with the beam as the essence laser finally exploded through. Crane's sight turned red...and his face felt a little warm as the beam struck it, fading to nothingness.
Crane sat there for a moment, breathing heavilly after righting himself, fighting down a heart attack. His hands went to his face, his chest, the rest of him, just ensuring himself it was all still there.
"I'm not dead." he finally said between gasps.
Indeed you are not, despite your lackluster execution.
Crane looked at the prybar, the end that had been blown off still red-hot and smoking. "Why am I not dead?" he said incredulously.
As I informed you, the system is very low on power. Complex and potent deterrents like this one are the first to be shut down of differing security measures. You were lucky.
"Right..." Crane said, letting out a deep breath and trying to regather his thoughts. "Does that mean no more traps?"
The more mundane variety does not require Essence batteries to function. Thankfully you are not as incapable of dealing with those.
Crane ignored the insult and proceeded along the passageway, tossing the slagged remains of the prybar aside. Whatever it was he needed to find here, he had a long way before he found it. If I'm lucky, I'll find it before I run out of parrying aids, Crane thought as he took the as-yet unused torch from his pack.
The map deactivated in a flash of pale blue light, the Glowmoss now the only illumination.
"They are coming, Grandmother." a figure by the door growled.
"They always do." came the woman's voice, low and full of threat. "We shall wait for them to meet. Then we deal with them as with the others." She drew up the thick cloak around herself, the hood obscuring her face despite the silver of her fingernails glinting in the poor light.
"We are ready for them. This will be a good hunt."
"It will be indeed, child."[/b]