• Solo • [Belaera] The Secret World Under the Crawl Space

Oram has decided to enter and explore a bit the shared space he has acquired with the other Ascension Heroes in the late Belaera's erstwhile Domain of Sacrifice.

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Oram Mednix
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[Belaera] The Secret World Under the Crawl Space

31 Vhalar 721


It had not taken long for Oram to score his first kill at his new place, and the hunter was about to place a part of its body upon a wall in his house. The quarry in question was no fearsome monster, though, nor a magnificent stag. Neither did the body part in question sport a snarling maw or sprawling rack. Nor was the envisioned spot on the wall up near eye level, in a conspicuous place of honor.

Only after several failed tries had Oram managed to draw any significant amount of blood from the rat he had trapped in his stable that morning. Dead bodies did not bleed, and rats, apparently, did not drain much blood from cut throats when held upside-down the way many larger animals did. Only by cutting into the thing’s chest and piercing the heart had he managed to extract a significant amount of the stuff. Oram had been taken aback by how dark the blood was. Almost every other time he had seen blood from an animal, the creature had either been alive or quite freshly dead, and such blood was usually a vivid red. Yet even after just a break or so, this rat’s blood had turned almost black. Oram hoped that didn’t mean that it wouldn’t work for what he was about to try next.

After the events last cycle -the so-called Ascension- Oram had found himself, along with Zoro, Nir’wei, Varlum, and Cail, to have absorbed some power and domain from the slain Immortal, Belaera. And supposedly, what the hunter was about to do next would open a door to a space in that domain. He did not know if it would work, nor what would happen next if it did (or didn’t).

With the rat’s blood collected, Oram next began to draw an outline of a doorway on the wall in front of him. The blood was thick, which fortunately made it spread more smoothly and cling more readily to a surface; however, there was not much of it. Oram saw quickly that there was not enough blood to trace a normal-sized doorway. Glumly, he improvised and drew a small doorway, one the size of a crawl space door. He found that, intuitively, he knew how to activate this portal, and he felt a tingle as the gateway opened to Emea, to the Domain of Sacrifice that had once belonged to a now-dead Immortal.

Looking at the tight portal, Oram wondered what he should try to bring with him. Weapons? Supplies? Would he find enemies in Emea? Friends? Food? Anything? He doubted that he would fit through the small door with even a small pack, so he elected simply to wear his rope harness, with its hatchet, knife, lamp, and other basics attached, and put some jerky and hardtack in his pockets to eat in case he got hungry. As he put the food in his pockets, his fingers touched something hard and round, and he recalled the Arma coin there. With it, he would hopefully be able to call upon a more substantial weapon should the need arise.

In spite of feeling woefully unprepared and under-equipped, Oram got on his hands and knees, and crept through the cramped portal into the Domain of Sacrifice.
Last edited by Oram Mednix on Sat Jan 01, 2022 3:28 am, edited 1 time in total. word count: 561
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Oram Mednix
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Re: [Belaera] The Secret World Under the Crawl Space

What did he see in the parallel dimension?


Oram had gone through portals before; he had even been to Telka, Saoire’s domain. While the traveler had often heard tales that daring such gates would land one in some sort of chaos, in which one found oneself falling, or dazzled amid blizzards of swirling colors, or beset by terrifying apparitions in a nightmarish landscape, the actual portals the hunter had gone through to date had proved anti-climactically prosaic and efficient.

This one was no different. There was a brief trill of confusion as he crawled through, a vague fleeting sense of being unmoored from the ground, but it passed quickly, and instead of a surreal dreamscape, Oram found himself emerging on all fours from a cramped gap in the base of a crumbling stone fence, which enclosed a large, flat earthen expanse littered with bleached animal bones.

The air was different here; it felt…older somehow than that on Scalvoris, and the ruddy, diffusely-lit sky now overhead was not the one the hunter had lately seen out his windows. It was eerily silent and still here; there was not even the faintest breath of wind. Oram himself, as he unfolded his limbs to rise from his brief plane-traveling crawl, seemed to be the only thing in this realm that moved or made a sound.

Once he was on his feet, he saw that the fence was no more than chest high -the type of fence one might use to pen farm animals, rather than to keep determined intruders out. It was decrepit, as if from decades of neglect; all over there were cracks in the wall both horizontal and vertical, jagged gaps in the crown like rows of rotted teeth, even entire sections of the perimeter completely fallen away -and, of course, the occasional hole near the base such as the one Oram had just crawled through like some invasive marmot. At one point stood a broken gate, made largely redundant by all the other gaps in the fence.

The enclosure was round, roughly circular. Oram guessed it to be somewhat under a hundred paces across. And over the entire area the ground was strewn with bones, all old, dry, and long fleshless. Looking at these, Oram could see that a large number were from goats and rams. He also recognized quite a few bird bones, surprisingly well-preserved considering how fragile they were. There was the occasional bull and calf, and a few he did not recognize. All or nearly all were livestock animals. Sacrificial animals, he realized, with a shudder.

Oram turned to look outside the perimeter of the dilapidated fence, to regard the expanse of this domain. For as far as he could see, Oram saw only a barren plain, devoid of any sign of life animal or vegetable, past or present. It was as if the enclosure he was in was the only place in Belaera’s domain where living things ever set foot, even if only to die. But Oram knew that couldn’t be true, for a few hundred paces away stood one other feature rising from the plain, huge, impressive, and clearly made by something or someone living: a gigantic black-and-white stone step pyramid.

It was as tall as a watchtower or lighthouse and far more massive and sprawling. One side faced squarely towards Oram, and he could see the staircase that ran up the center of its alternating slopes and panels, leading to a flat roof, in turn crowned by a structure that Oram suspected of being some sort of temple. Looking for the most convenient way to exit, the traveler realized that the fence’s broken gate pointed straight at the pyramid -in fact, straight at the staircase. Clearly the sacrificial field and the pyramid shared a common activity and purpose.

And, although the litter of sacrificial remains did not make Oram enthusiastic about discovering that activity and purpose, he nonetheless felt compelled to do so. Picking his way over bones to the gate, Oram exited the sacrificial enclosure and then approached the base of the enormous stone staircase.
word count: 693
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Re: [Belaera] The Secret World Under the Crawl Space

He saw beans, lots of beans


Oram looked up from the bottom of the staircase, built as were the inclines and panels flanking it in alternating courses of black and white stones, contrasting, even clashing with the reddish earthen tones that prevailed on the plain around it. The hunter regarded the odd color scheme for a few trills, wondering if it had had any significance for the Masked Immortal. He realized he knew little about Belaera and his domains, and resolved then that it would behoove him to learn more, especially if was to spend more time in this place.

The courses looked quite level, with little or no visible sagging, and the stones looked somewhat worn but intact; Oram could see no cracks nor any fragments broken loose. The structure seemed old and long-unused, yet in surprisingly good repair, especially after the crumbling stone fence around the sacrificial field behind him. The staircase, by contrast, showed almost no signs of wear or discoloration, as if it had been added more recently.

One feature struck the traveler as odd: the corners at either end of the pyramid’s face seemed to be at a larger-than-right angle, and the faces adjoining to either side of the one facing him flared outward from those corners, allowing him to see more of the structure than he would have expected were it square-shaped. Perhaps it was irregular-shaped, he mused. Or maybe it had more than four sides. He supposed he would find out once he reached the top.

Taking a deep breath, Oram began to climb the steps. The case was not steep, and the treads of each step were comfortably deep; however the individual rises were high, and there were a lot of them. Oram did not start to count the until he reached the top of the first tier, of which there were five. There were fifty steps on the second tier, and fifty as well on the third and fourth.

A squarish section of the pyramid’s top platform jutted outward and interrupted the middle part the stairway near the top, forcing Oram to walk around it to continue his ascent, and causing him to lose count, but he would have guessed there were around fifty steps on this tier, as well.

The top of the pyramid was a level platform. When he reached it, Oram paused to catch his breath and drink some water from his skin, having just ascended 250 steps. While he rested, he looked around to see that the pyramid was, in fact, a regular five-sided shape.

In the middle of the top platform was the temple-looking structure Oram had seen earlier from the ground. It, too, was a regular or near-regular pentagon, similarly built of black-and-white stone, arranged in alternating courses. The temple looked imposing, in a solid, cheerless way, although it was hardly as large nor as magnificent as the Glass Temple in Scalvoris Town. Like the staircase, it seemed less timeworn, perhaps more recent, than the main bulk of the pyramid.

Centered in each wall was a double door, which presented the one striking break from the complex’ otherwise uniform black and white scheme: one leaf was painted bright blue, the other a vivid red. On either leaf was painted half of a black-and-white design, which joined when the doors were shut to form a diptych of a masked face, starkly split down the middle by a prominent red-and-blue astragal. It was not welcoming nor even pleasant to look at.

The platform extension that had interrupted Oram’s count of the fifth tier’s stairs sported a plain stone altar, flanked by braziers. Other braziers sprouted at regular intervals around the edge of the roof, and also flanked the double doors to the surmounting temple. Filled with firewood and lit, they would have been quite a brilliant site, but now they stood dark and fuelless.

Standing next to the altar, Oram gazed out over the surrounding plane. The vista, while vast, was depressingly uniform. The barren plain seem to stretch, barren and plain, from horizon to horizon. With a slightly disappointed sigh, Oram turned back to face the unsettling doors, and steeled himself to approach and open them. This was *his* domain now, he reminded himself, one he shared with four albeit absent allies. Alien and unsettling as the temple’s aspect was, Oram intended to make himself as at home here as possible, to “act like he owned the place”, as his brother would say. For in a sense, he did.

To be continued...
word count: 775
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Re: [Belaera] The Secret World Under the Crawl Space

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Oram:

Knowledge:
[Athletics] Wriggling through a narrow crawlspace with equipment.
[Endurance] Walking up 250 steps.
[Field Craft] The best way to bleed a dead rat is to take the blood straight from its heart.
[Logistics] Deciding what equipment to take on an inter-dimensional trip.
[Medicine] Dead bodies do not bleed; they drain.
[Science (Zoology)] A rat’s body only contains a few ounces of blood.

Loot: -
Lost: -
Wealth: -
Injuries: -
Renown: -
Magic XP: -
Skill Review: Appropriate to level.
Points: 10
- - -
Comments: Having a (shared) space in Emea is great. When Oram decided to use a rat’s blood to activate a doorway and discovered that there was just enough blood to draw the size of a crawl spaced door, I couldn’t help but wonder if he would have to crawl into his new domain.

I was right!

Somehow, you’ve made something as simple as crawling through a doorway entertaining!

I really enjoyed Oram exploring that Emean space, and I appreciate all the little details that you added to your descriptions, such as the fact that the fence was the type of fence one might use to pen farm animals. They really added something to the narrative. It was fascinating to read and a bit creepy at the same time!

I can’t help but wonder if Belaera’s domain was different when she was still alive …

I’m most interested in the pyramid, I have to admit. I look forward to reading what Oram will find inside (and do inside!), and I wonder if his previous allies will ever join him there.

Enjoy your rewards!
word count: 267

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