The Things That Slumber Beneath The Earth (PM For Entry) Nov 20, 2018 16:26:16 GMT -6
Post by Carlisle "Hartmut" on Nov 20, 2018 16:26:16 GMT -6
Torchlight cast long shadows down the old tunnels, or were they hallways? The extensive cave network around the mountains near Darrun were vast and ancient. Carlisle held his torch high with Percival by his side as they ventured deeper and deeper. It was less than a week since they had gotten Percival back and he was still not in the best of shape, but the old knight refused to rest when others were doing work. So the prince allowed him to serve as his guard during what should be a mission with very low stakes.
"You know, there is a reason I have asked you to come with me here," Carlisle scratched markings into the walls to denote the path they were taking and the way back out. The old knight grunted curious to hear more. "I believe it would be prudent for us to create an inner circle of trust."
"Is that not what we knights are?" Percival's brows furrowed as he tried to decipher the prince's intentions. "You don't mean to create another group within ourselves do you? I fear this could cause division among our numbers."
"Let's be honest with ourselves, that division is already there. You heard the whispers the same as I, and Travis all but renounced me already. Forgive me for thinking ill of those knights who have maintained such fierce loyalty, even now, but I fear betrayal from them regardless." It was a rare moment of vulnerability from Carlisle to admit it. A vulnerability that not even Percival was shown much.
"And this group would remain secret, I presume?"
"Yes. The rings of our order will allow us to know each other at a glance, but the circle will be the first among equals."
Percival sighed deeply in thought. "And who would be a part of this circle? Surely you have some in mind."
"Yes, as of now, yourself, and Marceline. You have always been there by my side and I trust none more than you, and her? She intrigues me."
"Milord!? You don't mean-"
"No, not like that," Carlisle chuckled. 'Her loyalty to us is stalwart but it feels hollow. Its like she knows no other way of life. And given her skills I believe it would be wisest to keep that fierce loyalty in check, not betray her, and fill that emptiness with purpose and meaning."
"The way you say it sounds almost conniving, milord."
"Perhaps." The prince scratched at another tunnel. Soft winds blew the torch's flames toward another tunnel. "We go left. There may be another exit down here, and that is worth noting." Then back to business, "But I do not mean to be a manipulator. Rather, with her skills she could lead a group of specialists compared to the others who are more militant minded."
"What? Like a new inquisition?"
"No, never, but the parallels of their skills... do not go unnoticed." he admitted. "It is merely an idea I have had to consider. I appreciate your honesty in the matter and for discouraging this inner group. I will consider it, but the possibility is not off the table."
Percival nodded silently. The prince was quick to defer to his judgments in the past but ever since leaving Nabatta he had overruled him more than once. It was frustrating and yet welcomed as well. It was good that the prince would think for himself but Percival often felt he knew better as well. The price of loyalty.
The winds around the torch suddenly blew more violently in another direction. "Hmm?" Carlisle turned to see where the light was taking him. It appeared to be a wall, but a wall with cracks and holes in it. "I think we may have found our exit."
"I don't think it would be wise to dig it out. In case the roof should collapse." Percival took the torch from the prince to observe above them. "Well... perhaps not, the way seems more blocked intentionally."
"Do you think Sharktooth kept a hoard here?"
"It's possible," the Knight admitted, "But I am doubtful. But these caves are old. There may yet be something of worth there."
"Right!" Carlisle chuckled. It reminded him of being a kid again and playing explorer in the kitchen. The gold was always the sweet rolls. And the cooks were the watchful guardians. But here? Who knew, there could very well be gold. Or nothing, or that exit out. "So... these rocks though. They're pretty big, but nothing we can't move. Just need to be careful." The prince moved a single stone from the mix. It looked isolated enough and yet.
Rumble, rumble, rumble, crr crr crr crr! Percival yanked the prince away from the pile as the stones came crashing down. Thankfully they fell into the discovered tunnel but more curiously they fell downward. Repeatedly the stones hit the ground and fell. "Stairs?"
The prince took the torch back and examined the stone pile. The majority of them had fallen and it was easy to climb over, but the stairs were most curious. "Well, you did say these ruins were old."
"Yes, and the oldest of its recorded record did little justice to its true age." The knight looked pensive as the prince began to climb over the stone pile.
"Right, let's watch our step and head down there. I don't much want to wait for the others."