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Ashton

Exploring the Ruins... (open)

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Dunes

 

The Earth Pony grumbled as he pushed his way through the encroaching... was it a forest? They called it a forest, but he felt it was more like a jungle! Why was he here? This was far from his normal hangouts, and even further from the places he normally explored! He crossed the rickety old rope bridge over a deep gorge as he thought back to the odd visitor he had had recently, claiming that there was a wealth of knowledge, not to mention artifacts, to be found in the abandoned ruins of the old Castle of the Two Sisters, deep in the Everfree Forest.

 

*CRACK!*

 

*yip! Yip! yip!*

 

A flick of his whip sent a timberwolf scurrying, to be so 'dangerous' and 'frightening' these  creatures couldn't take so much as one good snap from his whip, he almost wished for more of a challenge... but returning to his thoughts, he remembered telling the visitor that he usually went for much older ruins, being an archaeologist, but the visitor had promised to make it worth his while, and set a bag on his desk, a mixture of bits and gemstones... normally he wouldn't take on a 'private service' like this, but he was running a bit low on funds, and even if it wasn't exactly his normal job, it would pay the bills, so after agreeing, and the visitor leaving without giving him so much as a name, he set off, wondering just how said visitor had managed to practically vanish from the town so fast, since nopony there had seen her... but that wasn't he main concern, his concern was the huge castle looming before him in the distance... whatever it might hold for him to... discover...

 

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Tehengu still wasn't sure what to make of this pony. He had spotted them crossing the bridge as he flew over it, and had followed them since, trying his best to keep his eye on them through the tree cover. They seemed to be heading to that old castle in the woods, which was quite the coincidence as he was headed there too. 

 

Perhaps he should introduce himself... The griffon hummed slightly in thought before flying down and letting his momentum carry him through the tree cover and his armor block the branches from hurting him too much. He ended up in front of the stallion, landing heavily with a grunt before looking at the pony. 

 

"You going to the castle?" He asked simply for now. 

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Dunes didn't even seem to flinch, stopping on a dime when confronted, though the look in his eyes made it clear he almost grabbed his whip, clearly he was on edge, no matter how calm he pretended to be... "I am" he said "a mysterious mare... suggested... I take a look around the castle for rare artifacts, that it was mostly abandoned and filled with timberwolves that scare off most archeologists..." he snorted "so far I've not see anything remotely challenging, these wolves tuck their tails and run when I pull out my whip" he paused "and why are you on your way there? are you planning to try and pilfer the magical artifacts for use in a cult uprising?" he asked, it sounded like a joke, but he seemed serious, but could he really be? a cult? surely it was a joke...

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Tehengu gave no response to the look in the stallion's eyes that told him the pony was on edge, giving a nod to the confirmation of what he had thought. 

 

"A cult?" He asked, giving a short laugh before continuing. "Do I really look like some zealot to you? I'm simply here on a job." He finished, watching the stallion. 

 

"Name's Tehengu." The griffon stated simply after a moment of silence, giving a nod of greeting. 

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"I once heard of a town's mayor, very nice fellow, who always worked for he better of his town, his family, and raised his daughter very kindly and strictly... and was secretly part of a cult to take over the world" explained dunes "so I apologize for not trusting at first sight..." he paused "and you still haven't answered my question... why are you here? 'a job' isn't very descriptive" he paused again, as if unsure if he could give his name, finally he said "Dunes, Archeologist" he paused "And if you try to compare me to that... daring do... I don't think I can hold my whip back..." he tried to make it halfway into a joke, but it was clear he was sick and tired of being compared to the fictional adventurer. 

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"Fair enough." He said in response to the talk of the cult mayor. The griffon listened in silence as the stallion said more, giving a nod at the end. 

 

"Never really liked that character anyways." He shrugged, continuing a moment later. "I'm a merc, right now I am supposed to retrieve some item from the castle and give it to them." Tehengu said before gesturing towards the castle. "Shall we?"

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"Hopefully not some kind of keystone that when you yank it loose the castle collapses on top of me..." he said, his eye moving to his whip for just a moment perhaps as a warning or perhaps as just some personal thoughts "Hopefully you at least know who hired you, all I know is this big, tall, dame shows up in my office wearing a huge hooded cape despite how hot it is outside..." he said as he walked, watching the castle growing in the distance, not even noticing as they walked, the way the moonlight seemed to make glow a single stone, nearly worn down to nothing that said seemed to have a name etched into it and below it a date.... of course he might be less inclined to miss it next time..........

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"I'll try to avoid that." Tehengu said with a chuckle, pretending not to notice the stallion's moves towards the whip. Did he not see the large sword and bow? No matter, he went back to his walk, humming slightly at his words. 

 

"Yes, I know who hired me. I've worked for them before." He said as they walked towards the castle. He noticed the glowing stone, but he didn't give it more than a glance. 

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((you can actually ignore the stone, I forgot this was WoE and not FFA --- in FFA I'm known to make a certain unicorn mage's spirit appear in the castle at night, but here I dont have him app'd (if that's even allowed, it's kinda a grey area)))

 

"Yes, I took the job, but untill I find out who it was I'm not turning over any artifacts, depending on what I find, it could prove disastrous in the wrong hooves" said Dunes "...provided everything hasn't already been stolen by looters... of course it seems most ponies cant handle these wooden pests" there was a blur as Dunes reacted to something in the corner of his eye, his whip lashing out at an incredible speed that bespoke of many years of practice, and indeed there was a yipping as a timberwolf hurried away "though it may be a good thing in this case..." he mused, since if most ponies couldn't handle them, there were likely fewer looters...

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(Alright)

 

"Good plan. I don't accept work until I know what I'm supposed to do and who I'm doing it for." Tehengu said, nodding to Dunes momentarily. As Dunes reached for his whip, the griffon drew his bow, and had an arrow knocked by the time the whip cracked. He paused as the wolf ran off, putting his weapon away after a moment.

 

"You've obviously got skill with that. Good job." He said, nodding again as he continued on.

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((of course the amusing irony is several seasons ago there was a spectre of some sort in the castle... I have to idly wonder if they planned something similar...))

 

Dunes nodded "hard to say no when your running low on bits and they drop a huge bag of them on your table" he explained "I just hope it doesn't come down to a fight with a powerful unicorn cultist..." he left the though unfinished, it sounded like he was worried for himself, but he was more worried because he would be forced to use some of the more dangerous artifacts he had in his persona collection and he knew the effects would be bad... both because he was unsure of their power and because it would only encourage thieves, especially given how often he was away from his home

 

"Keep your eyes open" he said as they passed under the portcullis "This place is littered with boobytraps, and by some strange quirk of fate, most of them are still functional" 

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"I live in a forest, so I guess I'm just used to living off the land when I can't get supplies. That, and I do a lot of traveling in my work." The griffon stated, shrugging a bit. He let things fall silent between them until they made it through a gate and Dunes talked again. 

 

"Eye." He replied on instinct, gesturing to the bandanna covering his ruined eye before continuing. "Got it, I'll watch for them."

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"If you start to walk into a piller, I'm not going to warn you" said Dunes, making it clear that he wasn't going to underestimate Tango based on his disability, knowing the griffin probably had long ago learned to compensate for it... 

 

Dunes looking into the dark opening, pausing momentarily as the torches flickered to life, no doubt wondering if they were being expected by somepony -or something- of it was simply a magical spell triggered by them being nearby "I dont trust magic..." he muttered, looking around, he walked forward and then leapt back at the tiny grinding sound as a slab of the floor suddenly leapt upwards

 

"And this is exactly why!" he commented, looking in noticeable surprise at the reversal of natural law...

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Tehengu gave a small chuckle at Dunes' words, giving a nod. "Fair enough. I didn't expect you to anyways." He said as they paused in front of the dark opening. He gazed through it, looking for any trouble. This became much easier as the torches came to life as they entered, giving him plenty of light to see the room with. Even so, that did not help him to spot the part of the floor raising up until it was already moving. His eye narrowed a bit as he tried to spot any other parts that might move like that one. As a test, he drew back an arrow and fired it across the room, to see if it was some kind of sensor or if it was a pressure plate situation.

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The arrow flew down the hallway, disappearing at the far end, but they never heard it impact, whether it was simply too muffled to hear or the hallway was magically limitless (or something else entirely) was unclear

 

Dunes frowned "The sisters were a devious pair, that much is clear, I worry what kind of power we might uncover if we survive these deathtraps..." he said, for better or worse not knowing the true purpose of all the "Death traps" or even the fact that none of them were actually deadly... at least not to an alicorn... not that it would have given him any comfort

 

"So, shall we run for it or look for a less ominous hallway, There might be some stairs outside leading up the castle walls"

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"Well it does not seem to activate unless you touch the ground, so I might be able to fly over this one." Tehengu said, looking at Dunes for a moment. "Of course, looking for another way in could be good too..." He fell silent for a little bit, thinking it over before he lifted into the air. "Unless you have a complaint, I'm going to try to fly through this hall." He said, starting towards the hallway slowly.

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Dunes shrugged "your funeral I suppose" he said, sitting down to wait, no doubt expecting to hear a *crunch* sound and his companion become a griffen cieling-pizza...

 

When tango flew though the hallway though, it would seem to extend forever, in fact if he kept flying, eventually he would find his arrow! Still in midair and flying as if it had just left his bow!

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Tehengu shrugged as he went down the hall, eventually seeing his arrow ahead of him. How was it still going? Must be magic... 

 

The griffon sighed before starting back where he had come so they could find another way in. 

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Looking back, despite how far he'd flow, it seemed to have only been a few yards... just far enough to be in shadow from that first row of torches, though if dunes hadn't stayed behind, likely it would seem like a long dark hallway behind him...

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"Looks like this one's a bust, there's some kind of magic at work." Tehengu called as he traveled back to Dunes, sighing to himself. 

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"That was suprisingly fast" said Dunes "I thought I heard you calling something from some ways off, but then you popped back in" he cocked his head, clearly wondering if tango was really a LOT faster or perhaps secretly some kind of griffen mage...

 

((gotta ask - did he take back his arrow? lol))

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(Sure, I suppose he would.)

 

"What?" He said, blinking slightly as he looked back down the hall. "Must have been the magic or something. Anyways, let's go find another way in." The griffon said, shaking his head. He hated magic too, it was annoying to deal with every time. 

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((the really annoying part is just how simple this trick is... and be warned... they ALL are gonna be magic and tricks...))

 

Dunes nodded "hopefully there are less-magical entries" he said as he walked around the castle "this looks better" he said, starting up some stairs...

 

...though if tango followed they woudl find themselves exiting a stairway in a partly broken pagota in the park area outside...

 

Dunes just blinked, looking down the stairs, then looking back at the castle, his mind clearly struggling to comprehend what just happened...

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(I dunno what to do with this magic stuff...)

 

"Ugh, more magic." Tehengu growled, seeing where they had ended up after taking the stairs. He looked around again, trying to spot anything that might be useful to get rid of this stuff. 

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((they're mainly logic puzzles, though if you really have no idea I'll explain it to you, no reason to have them running in circles constantly))

 

There didn't seem to be anything nearby, and in fact the stairs down seemed to descend into darkness, which made this all the mroe confusing...

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