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Taris and Sparrow find an adventure in the underground mines of Sunberth.

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A lawless town of anarchists, built on the ruins of an ancient mining city. [Lore]

The Underground Maze

Postby Adriana Sparrow on March 7th, 2019, 12:50 am

Spring 52, 519AV


Adriana knew the Rotten Ruins district pretty well, at least she liked to think so. She had been living here for a few seasons now and she thought it necessary to know the layout of the neighborhood. She had spent many a days wondering the streets, getting to know the different dilapidated houses and crumbling structures. This was how she found her current home, as well as the entrance the two stood at today.

Taris and Sparrow had met up a few times since they first met last season with the successful stall heist. She liked the boy, but he concerned her. She was very distrustful and while Taris had not done anything to prove to her that he was worthy of such distrust, she found herself wary anyway.

This feeling was still present, but rather dull now since another feeling usually arose when Taris was around. He pumped her up, made her excited and hyped. Honestly, when he was around, Adriana felt like a kid again, a teenager, someone who did not have to worry about their next meal or where they would sleep that night or if someone was watching them from across the street -- all the things she fretted about on a daily basis.

They had gotten to talking recently about the maze of old mining tunnels that had been dug underneath Sunberth, back when it was a mining city rather than the filth pile it was today. Everyone knew about the tunnels, most seemed not to care. It was obvious that they had been abandoned a long time ago, probably because they no longer held the value they were originally created to find. Adriana did not know much about mining but it made sense they were no longer worked if they no longer had the mineral the miners were looking for. But still, she was curious.

She knew they were probably filled with rats and other vermin that might not take a liking to their intrusion. She knew it was dark and they ran the risk of getting lost in the maze, even though she held her lantern at her side. She knew the two of them would more than likely not find anything other than rocks and dirt and that it would be a completely waste of an entire day they could have been using to find food or steal coin. Yet, she didn't seem to care.

She was filled with adrenaline looking into the dark abyss of the mine entrance. Taris, at her side, she felt exhilarated. Adventures were not things Adriana had the time to go on, she was extremely excited, almost to the point of jitters. The lantern shook a tiny bit in her clenched hand.

The cave entrance was completely dark. She had already lit up the lantern and it burned at her side. Her satchel swung towards the ground off her shoulder, her boots pressed firmly into the dirt ground beneath her. She brought her coat with her today, despite the temperature outside, she knew, living in a hole, that the underground could get much colder than the outside.

"You ready for this?" She asked Taris, still staring into the nothingness before her. "What do you think we will even find?" Her tone somewhat doubtful, but her face sported a large and anticipating grin.

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Adriana Sparrow
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The Underground Maze

Postby Taris Orlanith on March 7th, 2019, 5:42 am


“We’ll have meat tonight,” Taris said. “Rat meat!”

He looked at Sparrow and laughed. They would probably find rats, but he was hoping for more.

“I hope we will find some silver,” he said. He widened his eyes and grinned. “Or some gold!”

He laughed again. Sparrow seemed excited about this trip underground. And, now that Taris looked at the girl, he saw she was so excited that she was shaking. Taris was excited too. This was so different from what they had done before, and with all the times they had talked about the mines, he could hardly believe they were standing here, about to go into the tunnels.

“Maybe we’ll find some gemstones. Even little shards. Those have to be worth something,” he said.

It wasn’t all about money. Money was great, and they were doing this instead of picking pockets or robbing some merchant blind. But just seeing what was in the mines, exploring for the sake of exploring. He felt like a kid playing a game for no other reason than because it was fun.

“Let’s go,” he said.

He motioned toward the mine entrance with the chair leg he held in his left hand. He had two of them and held one in each hand. He had taken them from a broken chair that had been thrown out behind one of the city’s taverns. They weren’t real clubs, and they weren’t half as good as a knife, but they were long and they were much, much better than just his hands.

They entered the mine tunnel, walking side by side. Cold air greeted them and Taris couldn’t help shivering at its touch. He wished he had a heavier coat, but that would have taken money to purchase. Or he could have stolen one, in which case it would have been taken from him by another thief or street urchin before the day was out. He would just have to bare it. And, if it was the price he had to pay for a gemstone or a gold nugget, then he could do it and with ease. A little cold never hurt anyone anyways.

The light faded from behind them and, soon, Sparrow’s lantern was the only light they had. Taris turned his head constantly, looking left and right, up and down to see what the lantern light showed them. At this point, so near to the entrance, the tunnel was bare rock and dirt. There had been trash and seeds and leaves close to the entrance, all blown in on the wind, he imagined. To the sides and overhead, thick wooden posts held up the tunnel walls and ceiling. Taris ran his hand over one of the posts before rapping his knuckles against it. The wood was ancient and hard as rock.

They kept walking. After a few feet, Taris turned to Sparrow. Teasing, he asked, “Scared yet?”

Taris liked Sparrow. He was glad he had befriended the girl. She had let him think she was a boy, though. He thought that a bit weird, and he still kicked himself for not having seen the signs. They were all there, but she hid them so well.

Sparrow was a cautious girl, which was probably why she had lied and said she was a boy. He was cautious too, though not around Sparrow. He felt he had gotten to know the girl pretty well and didn’t think she would betray him. Taris knew he wouldn’t betray her. Still, there were moments when the girl was especially distant and was as anxious and fearful as the day they had met. There were other things the girl was hiding, he was sure of it. Maybe, if he’d had more to hide, he would too. But he didn’t. He just wished Sparrow would trust him, like he trusted her.
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The Underground Maze

Postby Adriana Sparrow on March 8th, 2019, 3:13 am

Sparrow giggled as she watched Taris wielding his wooden sticks. He looked funny, but she had to admit it was probably a good idea to have thought of bringing a weapon beforehand. She did not think much of what might be a physical threat in the mines, besides cave ins. She reached into her satchel where she fumbled around for a moment until her finger nicked the side of a cool metal blade. She pulled it from the depths and wielding the small eating knife by her side. It was not much, but it had a sharp edge and a point, so it would work better than her bare hands if she ended up needing to defend herself.

She hoped that wouldn't come to pass, but better safe than sorry, she assumed.

Taris was amusing, he was very carefree and it sometimes confused Adriana. Although more often than not she felt a tiny twinge of jealousy at his moods. She wondered how someone like him, like her, could go through life with happiness like that. She guessed if she only had herself to worry about it would probably be easier, but with Bae needing her, she had more to worry about and less time to think happy thoughts. Although this was one reason she liked having the boy around, his moods were contagious and she found herself smiling more often than she could have ever thought before.

She was definitely excited about this adventure, and as the pair slowly started into the cave her excitement grew. She held up the lantern in her left hand as they walked side by side, illuminating a bit of the space ahead of them. It wasn't very bright and they could only see a few feet, but it worked much much better than nothing. Other than the eating knife in her other hand and the clothes on her back she did not bring much else. She had a very small limited amount of food int he satchel as well, as much as she could scavenge up for the trip after feeling Bae for the day and leaving him with dinner, so it wasn't much, but again, it was something.

The rest of the bag she had left room for any 'treasures' they may find. She liked to think of ti that way rather than knowing it was simply because she didn't have anything else to bring, be was trying to be more positive.

Taris always seemed to think like that and she laughed aloud, the noise echoing into the cave, at his speculations of gems and metals and riches. She highly doubted something like that, but she admitted it was nice to imagine. "I just want a story! I don't care if we fight off a giant rat, or we find a gold ore vein and become so rich we buy the entire city!" She exclaimed, she just wanted to be able to think back on something in her life with happiness and excitement rather than fear and worry.

"What would you do with that kind of money?" She wondered to her partner, she mulled the thoughts over in her head as they descended slowly into the black. So far, thought they've only gone a little ways, it was just dirt and more dirt. She couldn't even imagine what she would do.

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Adriana Sparrow
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The Underground Maze

Postby Taris Orlanith on March 8th, 2019, 5:06 am


Taris glanced sidelong at Sparrow’s knife and nodded to himself. Now they were talking. He would bash the rats over the head and she could carve them up. Or any people they met who tried to get between them and their treasure.

“Buy the entire city!” he said. He laughed. How much money would it take to pay off all the gangs? Way more than he would ever have, that’s how much!

"What would you do with that kind of money?" she asked.

Taris’ foot slipped on a loose rock. He stumbled, and had to run forward to keep his feet. Straightening, he said, “I’m alright. There was a rock.”

He pointed one of his makeshift clubs back up the tunnel. Then, shaking his head, he said, “Come on. Let’s keep going.”

What would he do with that kind of money? He hadn’t thought of that before. Actually, he had. But he tried not to and always put a stop to those thoughts as quick as he could. It wasn’t safe to day dream when you lived on the streets in Sunberth. Even if you were in place you thought was safe, someone could come along and kick you out at a moment’s notice. Day dreaming got you caught when you were picking pockets. Day dreaming got your hopes up and kept you from surviving.

“I don’t know,” he said. He bit his lip in worry. He should have some sort of idea, shouldn’t he? They were hunting for treasure, right? Silver, gold, gemstones. Why didn’t he have a plan for what to do with the treasure once they found it?

“What would you do?” he asked Sparrow. She had to have some kind of idea. Why else would she have asked him. And, maybe, her ideas would give him some ideas.

They came to an intersection and stopped. The tunnel ended in a rocky wall directly ahead and they would have to turn left or right to continue on. He looked right, then left. He couldn’t see anything beyond the light of the lantern Sparrow held.

“What do you think?” he asked. He pointed toward the left tunnel with one of his chair legs. “Should we go left? Or right?” He raised the other chair leg to point down the right tunnel.

He grinned at Sparrow as she considered the question. He had no idea which she would choose.
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The Underground Maze

Postby Adriana Sparrow on March 13th, 2019, 1:41 am

Sparrow watched as the boy nearly tumbled, she shook her head. They were never going to get far into the mines if he kept fumbling and ended up hurting himself. Adriana was no nurse, and had nearly no upper body strength to drag him out of the tunnel, so he better watch his step. She was, thankfully, not as clumsy as he seemed to be, Taris in general seemed to have a lot of quirks that made him slightly dangerous to be around, from clumsiness to carelessness, but she still enjoyed having him around.

Although she could understand his tripping, the tunnel was dark and there was litter in the form of rocks and debris scattered all over the place. She guess she could cut the kid some slack, this time.

His thoughts seemed deep when Taris considered the weight of her question, though he couldn't actually come up with an answer. Although Adriana knew thoughts like this were dangerous, she was very guilty of thinking them. She knew exactly what she would do.

"I wouldn't buy the city, this place is lost as it is. I would just leave. Find someplace with kind people and buy a house for me and --" She cut herself off abruptly. She was about to say me an Bae, but she managed to catcher herself just in time. Bae was still a secret to Taris, a secret to the world, she couldn't trust the boy with her brothers life. not yet. "me and all the guard dogs I'm gonna buy."

She pulled the dog idea out of the air. She had never had a pet of any kind throughout her life. Her family was always too poor to afford another mouth to feed. A pet was never even a thought in her family. But she was not blind to the homeless dogs that ran through the streets of Sunberth, just like she did. She did no fear them, she were just as starving as cared as she was, she always let them have their way, though, if their paths crossed. Yeah, maybe, one day if she could afford it, she'd get a dog, save one from the street. Give it a home and food everyday. That would be nice. Bae would love it too.

Soon the pair came across a crossroads. The mine split, classically, to the left and the right, and Taris left the decision up to her. She thought for a moment, raising her light to each tunnel, though it gave her no clue which way was better. "How about left?" She said more of a question than an answer, and headed down the path, taking a small lead.

The ground continued in the same brown and uninteresting manner it had before, but before she knew it she almost walked smack into a wall. She paused and took a step back, holding up her light to take a look at the wall in front of her. "Oh crap," she said, "Its a cave in. This place it blocked, lets go back and head down the other way." She looked at Taris for his agreement and then began to backtrack until they reached the split again and went down the right path.

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The Underground Maze

Postby Taris Orlanith on March 16th, 2019, 2:33 am


He turned down the left tunnel with her and they walked on. He glanced at the tunnel walls around them, but kept his eyes mainly on the floor. He had to watch where he placed his feet. He got the feeling from Sparrow that she was growing tired of his clumsiness.

Welcome to the club, he thought.

He had been thinking about Sparrow had said. If they found treasure, she would leave Sunberth.

A lot of street kids talked like that. They wanted to leave Sunberth. Go to Nyka or Syliras. Some wanted to go even farther. Maybe they had. Taris had always chalked up their disappearances as them having been killed or captured by slavers. How he had survived so long he didn’t know. He just had.

Leaving the city, though, he had wanted that, once. Before he had reconnected with Tairi. Now it would still be a great thing to do, but he didn’t know if he could leave his sister. She wasn’t holding him back, but since they had found each other again, he didn’t know how he felt about leaving her. He both wanted to leave, wanted to do something with his life and not do something. It was nice when he was with her. It felt like he had family again. Like there was someone else out there who cared about him, who would notice if he left.

Sparrow drew up sharply and Taris halted with her. Ahead of them was a wall of rocks. Taris scowled at it while, beside him, Sparrow swore. She was right: it was a cave in. And there didn’t look to be any way around it.

“Yeah, let’s head back,” he agreed. “I bet the other tunnel is clear and has some treasure in it.”

They turned around and began walking back the way they had come. “I think I would buy a house,” he said as they walked. “Something big. With two bedrooms. One for my sister, one for me.” He glanced at Sparrow and shrugged. “Her house has just the one bedroom. She lets me stay, sometimes, but there isn’t a lot of room and I don’t think she likes having me spend the night there. She says I snore.”

He laughed and rolled his eyes. He snored? What about her?

They reached the intersection and he stopped. “Don’t get me wrong,” he told Sparrow. “She loves me and likes having me there. But I think she would rather be on her own. Or, at least, have the bedroom to herself. Like she usually does.”

He shook his head and continued down the tunnel that was, now, straight ahead of them. They had only walked a dozen feet, however, when there came a sound ahead of them. A soft scratching noise.

Taris froze and held up one of his chair legs. “Do you hear that? I think we found the rats.”

He flexed his fingers around the chair legs. Readying himself for a fight, he bent his knees and crept forward. Holding one chair leg out in front of him and the other over his head, he was ready for anything.

Mmm, meat, he thought. He didn’t particularly like rat meat, but it was meat all the same.
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The Underground Maze

Postby Adriana Sparrow on March 19th, 2019, 11:53 pm

It was always amusing, Taris' overly optimistic view. He would say that 'if this tunnel was closed off, the other must surely have some treasures. Whereas Adriana would say that 'if this tunnel is closed off the other one probably is too'. But she enjoyed going along with his sunny sight of life. He seemed to like it that way.

Adriana was interested in Taris' choices about living the rich life. A house was very reasonable, and she expected something more glamorous. But then she understood the drive to protect a sibling, and couldn't disagree with his thoughts. She admired Taris' love and care for his sister. That was admirable. But the way he portrayed his sisters act towards him, she didn't understand. "Siblings protect each other no matter what." She started, somewhat vague. She did not want to openly call out his sister, but also felt wrong not to say something about it.

If Adriana were Taris' sister with a house and food and Taris lived like he does now, she would gather Taris up from the streets and let him live in a house with food on the table. How could she knowingly let him live like he does? But she thought she shouldn't press it more. It wasn't her business really, and she wouldn't want someone poking into her family life.

They had made it back to the fork in the tunnel and proceeded down the other way. It was still very dark like everywhere else under ground. The lantern helped for immediate light, only a couple feet in diameter. Just enough to enveloped Taris and herself and allow them to see enough in front of them to not trip on rocks or fall in a hole. But any farther than that was a mystery and the danger of that presented itself clearly to the pair only a dozen or so feet into the new tunnel.

Taris heard it first, a soft scratching in the darkness ahead of them. Once she heard it, probably only moments later, she turned in slight worry and panic to the already stopped Taris. She looked at his face long enough to know he heard it too and it was not her imagination. She looked back into the hole, and raised her hand attempting to shine the lantern light farther into the depths. It did not work and while she could still hear the scratching, she could not see what was making the sound.

She took one tiny step, desperately trying to see what was ahead of them, but as soon as she moved the scratching stopped. She sighed in relief, assuming whatever it was had gone on its way. Until the sound started up again in a frenzy and she realized quickly that the sound was getting louder, closer.

She immediately backed up a few steps in fright. She hoped Taris understood what was happening as she was too frightened to speak or yell out to him. She dropped her lantern as she realized she had a knife in the other hand. She gripped the handle with both hands, holding it protectively in front of herself. All the while the lantern clanged to the ground, but somehow managed to stay upright and burning, although she didn't take much notice of the lucky land in her current state. She suddenly realized in the heat of the moment that this eating knife was very small. How was it supposed to do any damage?

It only took a few moments for these movements and thoughts to occur, and in those moments the strange noise came closer. It began to slow once it reached near the edge of the light and Adriana could see a reflecting of the light in something eyes. It was a pair of yellow circles that skittered from one end of the edge of light to the other. It was probably a foot or so off the ground, the height of a street dog, Adriana thought in the back of her mind.

She gasped in terror. Something that big could do some damage. But why would a dog be down in this hole? She couldn't think of a reason as she moved the knife point to follow the direction of the pacing creature. It came to her in the nick of time. It was a rat. Not just any rat. A Sunberth Rat -- "a Brat" she whispered. She knew it. She had come across their kind before and she could now recognize the scratching sounds it produced. She waited in terror for Taris or the rat to do something, feeling suddenly dependent.

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The Underground Maze

Postby Taris Orlanith on March 23rd, 2019, 8:54 pm


Taris hissed in surprise. Sparrow was right. It was a brat. One of Sunberth’s enormous, dog sized rats.

He gripped his chair legs tighter. “This isn’t what I meant about finding rats,” he said. He threw a glance at her, then stepped between her and the brat. “Stay behind me.”

He hoped she didn’t think he was being all chivalrous and didn’t think she couldn’t protect herself. He damn well hoped she could protect herself. With how big the brat was, he and his chair legs wouldn’t be able to take it down all by himself. Maybe if he could break the creature’s spine, or smash its skull. But he doubted he would be that lucky.

Why isn’t it attacking? he thought. The brat was dancing along the edge of the lantern light. It can’t be expecting me to attack it, can it? There is no way—

The brat snarled and leapt forward. Taris stopped thinking and swung his right hand. The brat dodged his attack, skittering to his right. Taris turned, keeping the brat in front of him.

“Yah!” he screamed, and swung his left hand over his head and down at the creature’s head.

The brat darted forward and Taris’ chair leg came down on its shoulder. The thing screeched in pain.

Too late, Taris realized it had been aiming for his legs. His chair leg still in contact with the brat’s body, he pushed as hard as he could with his left hand. There was no way he could get out of the creature’s way in time, but maybe he could change its path.

The brat snarled again as its teeth shut on air, only an inch from Taris’ leg. The side of its head hit him instead, and Taris yelped in surprise as the creature’s weight and momentum pulled his leg out from under him.

Taris fell forward on top of the brat. It growled and tried to bite at him. Taris rolled away from the creature.

Getting free, he stopped and blinked in confusion. He had lost one of his chair legs in his fall and, now, the creature stood between him and Sparrow. It was focused on him, though. Teeth bared, dripping saliva, it leapt at him again. Still lying on his side, Taris pulled his knees up to protect his belly. He raised his hands, too, and tried to put his remaining chair leg between himself and the creature.
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