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Still riding high on the bean, Graham watched in awe and amazement as the shrill fairy summoned forth a dazzling display of blue flames to light the torches. He was so awed, in fact, that he failed to realize he would surely be engulfed by the ballooning ball of flame if he continued to stand there with his jaw agape. In the end it was the strange Sheikah woman from before, Alyce, who yanked Graham aside by his arm, pulling him back against the wall mere moments before the two were badly burned.

"Fool! Keep your wits about you!" she hissed, squeezing his forearm tightly as she chided him. She quickly pulled back her hand, wincing in pain; it would appear that she had not anticipated just how hot a Subrosian's real body was. Rubbing her palm in stunned confusion, she rattled off a rather perturbed "...what are you?" in Graham's direction.

Her question would remain unanswered, however, as the antechamber began to shake furiously, sending the already woozy Graham hurtling to the ground once more. While the others quickly regained their footing, one such Subrosian found it a little more difficult to find his sea legs (in a manner of speaking). Moaning in a clump on the dusty stone floor, Graham had already missed much of Lethe's history lesson by the time he pulled himself upright again, but he did catch the end of her little transformation act.

"Yikes! Did you see that?" asked Graham, marveling once again as the small spritely fairy had now adopted what appeared to be a humanoid form (mind you, the realization that a hulking automaton from an ancient civilization had joined their fold appeared to be completely lost on him). He looked over at Magus, expecting him to validate his surprise, but instead the cloaked fellow went forward and began casting some variety of magic. Graham managed a triple crown of over-the-top reactions as a ball of dark light formed around the cloaked magister's hand, eliciting an excited gasp from the hooded thief. Subrosians were raised to be wary of sorcery from a young age; what limited interaction the Subrosians did have with wizards came in the form of the feral Wizzrobes who made their homes in the volcanic caverns surrounding the mines. Such folk were not to be trusted, and they were often the subject of ghost stories in which curious children who wandered too far from home were captured and turned to stone forever.

Since moving to Hyrule, however, Graham had slowly begun to develop an interest in the arcane arts, and the bean's calming effect on his psyche turned that burgeoning interest into full blown curiosity.

"Gosh, that was a pretty neat trick there!" gushed Graham, striding up alongside Magus with wobbly legs. "You really gotta teach me that one some day, pal. Super cool," he added, sheepishly.

Alyce interrupted Graham before any other fawning praise could tumble out of his drug-addled maw. "Cool? There's nothing cool about shadow magic. It's an unnatural perversion of Nayru's sacred laws and it stands in opposition to everything pure and good about the arcane arts," she snapped, turning her nose up at the two as she produced an old tome from her bag and began flipping through it furiously, straining to read it in the dim blue torchlight.

"Pfft. And since when are you the arbiter of cool and not cool? Nice book you got there, dork!" sneered Graham, smacking the old journal out of her hand rather immaturely. He had apparently misjudged just how old and frail the text was before doing so, however, as the tome immediately fell apart upon landing, sending an almost comical flurry of yellowed parchment in every direction as the pages came loose from the binding. Graham felt a pang of guilt as the Sheikah shot him the coldest of all possible death glares before bending down to collect the materials as best as she could.

"This book has been passed down in my family for generations. My mother bequeathed it to me on her death bed, and it's the last thing I have to remember her by. Touch it again and I will end you, Graham," she spat. It seemed Alyce's contempt for the Subrosian only grew with each subsequent interaction.

Double yikes. Well. I guess, uh, well. You know, there's no backing down now. Better to just own it and ride this one out.

"Yeah, whatever, bookworm," he scoffed, shaking his head sarcastically. He turned to the other fellow in their group, Archer, as they approached the middle hallway. "Ha, totally got her. Got her good. Am I right, bro? Up top!" he exclaimed, cheerfully extending his hand upwards for a hi-five.

Archer stared back at Graham with a mixture of bemusement and fear, but still returned the hi-five for no other reason than instinct. First he motioned to do it with his hand aflame, and then at the last moment switched to his inactive one.
He had been raised on the streets, after all: he knew a hi-five to be a social contract broken only by jerks and weasels.
Never leave a bro hanging, it was a law or... something. Besides, Zephyrus was still within visible range, and would never let him live down a perceived rudeness towards a total stranger.
He'd probably say something like, β€œWater doesn't... discriminate between rocks or... something."
Nailed it.

"Haha!" he'd laughed along, "... what? And, uh, who are you guys, again?"

Graham managed a surprised "Woah!" in response to Archer's flaming hi-five. So there were two mages in his group now. What a trip!

"The name's Graham! I work as a trail guide usually, but I also dabble in strategic acquisitions from time to time," explained the Subrosian, with a curt but polite bow. "Strategic acquisitons" happened to be Graham's favorite euphemism for thievery. It sounded so official and legitimate!

Since his spell had failed to come up with the results that he wanted, Magus had simply gone back to doing what he had been doing before; Trying to filter useful information out of those around him without actually having to listen to whatever they had to say. Outright ignoring them would have been easy under most circumstances but the fact that against all odds they might have had something useful to say forced him to not just tune them out.

The scattering of paper caught his attention. Turning towards the source of the noise, he noticed what appeared to be one of the Hyrulians (a woman from the looks of it) who was gathering up scattered pages that had been knocked to the ground by the 'business man'. He was honestly surprised by the fact that not one, but TWO of the sheep from the Goddesses flock could actually READ... and one of them was a Poe.

In an honestly rare show of favor, Magus slowly walked towards the mess that the other hooded moron had made and was so happy about before bending down (with a strangely wooden creaking noise) to help gather up a couple of the scattered pages before offering them back to their rightful owner. "Do not fret. It is likely that the hooded fool will die first and free us of his company."

Alyce eyed Magus with a great deal of suspicion as she snatched the pages from his hands, shoving the last of the tattered parchment hastily into the worn leather binding and shoving the mess into her bookbag with a sigh of disgust and frustration. "At least fools are usually too stupid to do significant harm," she noted, rather brusquely. "Evil magic in the wrong hands, however, is much more worrisome. Please keep your hexes and curses away from me as we move forward. Shadow magic in the den of shadows is only asking for trouble."

The glowing lights that seemed to represent Magus's eyes seemed to roll at the woman's statements about his magical ability. "Evil is a logical fallacy my dear; A matter of perspective that depends largely on where you are currently standing on an issue, your cultural upbringing and what you stand to gain or lose. I am sure that before this 'quest' is over, you will either ask me to use my talents... or reprimand me for not acting sooner."

"These goofballs over here?" chuckled Graham, gesturing towards Magus and Alyce as he continued the introductions for Archer's sake. "Well, I don't know the Sheikah's name, but the other hooded fellow is Magus. We've recently become business associates as well as good friends," he added. If he had the ability to wink in Magus' direction, he would, but sadly, a nonchalant head nod would have to suffice. Alyce rolled her eyes as she turned to face the two of them.

Archer raised his hand, a curt greeting to Alyce. Then pretended not to hear anything pertaining to Magus - they had already been introduced, and Archer had decided it was in the expedition's best interest that they spend some time apart.
"Hey, another Sheikah, that's great," he said, although he wasn't quite sure to what extent he believed it. Sheikah tended to be a dry lot, from what little he knew of them beyond his own brother - the driest of them all.
"That puts us up to two and a half. That's a pretty good number for a place like this, right?"

"You can call me Alyce," she explained, reluctantly. She didn't seem to be the social type to begin with, and apparently the thought of working with such a strange group appeared to frustrate her even more. "It's good that you can wield fire magic. I am certain we will need it to combat the darkness ahead. Speaking of which..." she trailed off, looking over to the middle hallway that stretched out before them as the sound of a flock of keese grew nearer. "I believe we may have need of it sooner than expected."

Archer followed her gaze, down into the stretch of black before them, and laughed nervously.
"That's great, because there's nothing I love more than responsibilities and unpleasant surprises. Ask anyone."

Graham's bean induced courage was at an all time high, and that drugged up confidence only appeared to be bolstered by his need to demonstrate his worth to the group early on. Dashing forward to meet the bats head on, Graham's gloved hands moved with astonishing speed to quickly to unclasp the seed satchel on his waist. "Just watch!" he exclaimed, before tossing what appeared to be a small seed into the blackness of his hood. Graham's white dot eyes smoldered to a flickering orange-red as the keese converged on him, eager to take a bite of finely roasted Subrosian.

Instead, the bats were met with a burst of flame exploding out of Graham's mouth into a swirling, cone-like shape. The bats closest to Graham immediately caught flame and fell to the ground, defeated. However, it would appear that a good three quarters of the flock still lived, and thanks to Graham's fire breath, now took the form of much more imposing Fire Keese, flapping around angrily with their dark wings wreathed in flame. Although it was now much easier to see all of the bats, it would appear that Graham's Ember Seed had done more harm than good.

"Pretty neato, huh?" beamed the Subrosian, turning to his comrades expecting a shower of praise. Instead, they all rather occupied with the swarm of fire bats descending upon them. He would have to wait until after the skirmish to receive his accolades, apparently. Graham's disappointment was fleeting, however, as he found the trails of flame left behind by the Fire Keese to be quite striking and brilliant, at least to his own bean-augmented vision. He seemed content to sit back and watch rather than aid his comrades in any significant manner (aside from encouraging shouts of "Wow!" and "You can do it!" when appropriate).

" You were saying something earlier about fools not doing much harm? the hooded Twili asked with an imperial mocking tone to his voice as he shook his head at the fact that due to the short sighted nature of the idiot, they now had flaming keese flying towards them, looking for a cooked meal.

Muttering in his native tongue, Magus raised his right hand up before spreading his fingers, allowing a small ball of what looked like dark magic to form up at the tips of each finger... before firing each of them off at five of the flaming flying rodents that were now coming towards them.

Whilst it was within his capacity to hurl a fireball or two, certainly, Archer felt that maintaining magic after it had left his hand was an effort he didn't feel like expending this early into the journey.
Keese weren't exactly taxing targets, after a-- oh sweet Goddesses they're on fire.
Well, that made killing them with fire alone a little trickier. But fortunately, Archer was no two-bit one-trick pony. He had several tricks! He was a pony of plentiful, magical tricks.
He reached into his card satchel, slung low on his belt, and pulled out a small handful of printed cards which read:

Zephyrus,
Trade this in for one good deed.

IOU,
Archer.


Any excuse to get rid of them, he supposed. A birthday present gone horribly awry, he'd never expected Zephyrus to keep track and use them so sparringly. He took five or six cards from the deck, and then slid the rest back into his pouch. Holding them in his still burning hand, Archer wreathed them in fire. Then, with a strange, panicked grace to him, he tapped into his magician's experience, and slung them off into the dark, where four struck their marks.

Four fire keese collided with Magus' shadow orbs, giving a final screech of pain as they crashed into the cold stone floors below and withered away into dark embers. The fifth orb missed its target, however, as the flaming rodent executed a surprisingly sharp turn at the last second. The concentrated orb of darkness burst upon impact with the wall, sending midnight-black spores of darkness flying in several directions. Along with the fifth keese from Magus' group, only three of the original flock seemed to remain, all of whom appeared rather content to ignore the competent fighters who had bravely stepped forward in favor of converging on a rather helpless Alyce in the back.

"Back, you beasts! Get away from me!" she huffed, angrily smacking one of the bats aside with her hefty book bag. Unphased, the keese continued to harass the bookish Sheikah until a startling sound cut through the shrill cackling of the winged beasts. A bluish metal boomerang whizzed past Magus and Archer, spinning so quickly that it was hard to make out the appearance of a glowing red jewel inlaid in the crook as it moved. Graham's boomerang sliced through one of the keese closest to Alyce, but it had been thrown so carelessly that she had to drop to the ground to avoid taking a hit to the dome.

"Hey! Watch it!" she shouted, fumbling to escape the two remaining keese in a terrible awkward looking half-crouch half-run. As she scuttled towards Archer and the rest of the group waiting further down the hallway, she seemed woefully unaware that the boomerang had made an unnaturally sharp turn after hitting its mark and was now speeding back towards its wielder at an alarming rate. Hearing the whirring sound of spinning metal once again, Alyce ducked down once more, barely avoiding the weapon as it continued on its path, slicing another keese in half as it passed by. Finally it returned to Graham, who caught it with a finesse-heavy flourish. He cupped his hands to his mouth and bellowed a fairly smug "You're welcome!" in Alyce's direction.

The Sheikah only's response came in the form of a very frustrated yet still oddly restrained quasi-growl. The kind of utterance that one might let loose on someone who knocks a whole bookshelf over in a quiet library. With a final grunt of stressed exertion, Alyce swung her book satchel at the last keese who still lingered around her, slamming the bat against the wall and flattening it with a satisfying crunch sound. Drastically misreading the reactions of the others in his group, Graham gave a cheer of excitement, clapping his hands excitedly to celebrate the group's quick and breezy dispatching of those pesky bats.

"Great job, you guys!" he beamed, spinning his boomerang on the tip of his finger before flipping it end over end and clipping it to his belt in one smooth motion. Graham wasn't normally one to show off, but then again, he also wasn't normally one to take psychoactive drugs and screw up everything for his companions. "I always knew we could do it! As team leader, I couldn't be more proud!" exclaimed the Subrosian, patting Magus on his creaky wooden back as the rest of the group began making their way further down the hallway.

"From now on, you don't talk. Or breathe fire. Or try to take my head off with your silly toys. Or do anything really. Just stay out of my way and try not to ruin anything else, you... you... stupid dumb idiot!" fumed Alyce, rudely bumping into Graham as she hurriedly stormed to the front of the group and continued down the dark hallway in a huff.

"Jeez. What's her deal? If it weren't for me, we'd all be bat food right now," smirked Graham, turning to Magus as if he was expecting some kind of support or validation.

Magus said nothing as he simply turned away from Graham and followed after Alyce and the rest of the group. Despite her flaws, the woman could at least be spoken to without suffering a headache.

"What did I say about talking? It's barely been two minutes since we've set out and I'm already weary of your prattling!" scolded Alyce, speaking gruffly over her shoulder as the group walked on.

"That's no way to talk to the team leader, y'know," added Graham, in a quieter, slightly more defeated tone.

As the dark hallway stretched on, an unsettling stench started to permeate the walls; decaying flesh. As a dim light appeared at the end of the hallway, the stench grew even stronger and Alyce slowed her annoyed, aloof pace until she was moving at a rather timid walk, running her hand along the wall with caution as the group approached a wider, cistern-like chamber. She motioned for the rest of the pack to slow down and approach carefully, as it appeared as though the hallway terminated at a ledge with no protective railing. Graham inched forward carefully, peering over the side fearfully.

The first thing to catch his eye was a large column in the center of the room, connected to the ceiling by a series of gears which seemed to be causing the column to rotate rather quickly. As Graham's gaze followed the column from the ceiling down to the floor, he spotted several ghoulish reaper statues attached to the column, each perched back to back in pairs holding long, razor sharp scything blades as they spun around in circles. There seemed to be about eight pairs of blades altogether, staggered in height and varying in speed to create a big spinning fan chamber of death. Anything unfortunate enough to fall over the ledge would likely be sliced in half several times before it would even hit the bottom. What little light there was in this hellish death trap of a room came from a chandelier-like arrangement of eerily floating lanterns towards the top of the room, none of which seemed to be held in place by anything other than magic. One larger lantern carrying a blue flame hovered in the middle, bobbing up and down unnervingly. Given the dim setting, it was hard to make out exactly what lay at the bottom of the cistern, but judging from the awful stench, Graham guessed it was a big pile of dead bodies.

"I've read about these before. The Sheikah used these rooms for mass executions. For all the good my people do, their history has its darker parts," explained Alyce, quietly. "There should be a crystal switch somewhere that will stop the blades from spinning. Anyone see it?" she asked, scanning the room. Although neither Graham nor Alyce spotted it, the switch could be barely made out in the darkness towards the bottom of the room, attached to the lower section of the spinning column beneath all eight pairs of whirling blades. Although seeing the switch was possible, how one might manage to safely activate it without the scythes getting in the way was another matter altogether.

"[color=FF5733]Hold up. We- you mass executed people? With [/i]whirling death scythe[/i] statues? Ten for style but aren't you guys meant to be level headed and subtle?[/color]"

While the light blinded races might have had difficulty adjusting to the dark places of the world, Magus's gaze zeroed in on the crystal hidden beneath the spinning blades of death that had been designed with an artistic flare when it came to an instrument of execution. An idea of how to get past it to shut it down did come to mind, but it would require most of the people he was with to look after his frame for a bit without doing something stupid like damage it or set it on fire.

As amusing as the idea of watching them try and die on the blades below might have been, he wasn't going to waste his meatshields so easily...

"[color]=a0410d]Watch my body for a moment. I'll take care of this.[/color]" was all the warning that Magus gave before his cloaked form sat down on the ground with the clear sound of wood being placed on stone... looking for all the world like a puppet that had its strings cut. Alyce gave a startled yelp, paralyzed in shock for a moment. "H-hey! What is this demon's trick, you, you... foul creature!" she half-sputtered, half-shouted.

From under the cloak, a black ooze seemed to seem out as he slid towards the edge of the ledge before sliding over, clinging to the surface as it slowly made its way downwards. Granted Magus didn't actually think that the drop would hurt him in his current state, but there was wisdom in the old saying 'look before you leap'.

"Don't bother coming back! I hope you get torn to shreds, or worse!" shouted Alyce, backing away from Magus' lifeless husk until she found herself up against the cold stone of the hallway. Her back to to the wall, she slid down to the floor, thoroughly spooked and still a little bewildered. She had her suspicions about Magus, but to have them all confirmed among this ghastly scenery was simply too much.

Archer squinted into the murk beyond the exposing glow of his fireball, which he instinctively intensified to reveal more of the room and its ominous workings. He more or less overlooked Magus altogether, for the sake of party harmony and bliss.
"I always figured big, elaborately punishing temples like these were just fairytales. What sorts of people did you feed into the meat grinder?"

Alyce hesitated for a moment, her panicked expression changing to one of grave seriousness hidden behind a glazed, somewhat distant exterior. Her eyes drifted to the floor, clearly holding something back. "Well, you see, that's actually been the subject of my research for quite some time. The Sheikah's early history is one of strife and struggle, and is known to only very few. My ancestors were among the first scribes of the Sheikah people, and through my study of the ancient dialects, I have slowly been transcribing their notes over the last twenty years," she began, producing the (now thoroughly mangled) old tome Graham had so recently torn apart. "Had a certain idiot not ruined the binding, I could just point you to the proper passage. But I suppose my memory will have to do," she sighed, leaning over a bit to peer down into the cistern as she resigned herself to spilling what appeared to be a rather distressing secret.

((Music.))

"Although the Sheikah now serve the Royal Family dutifully, the Sheikah and the Hylians began as warring tribes in the early years of man. The Sheikah were people of the earth, who drew power from blood, strength, and cunning. They practiced dark magic and were known as crafty warriors who won many battles under cover of darkness. The Hylians descended from the sky, and believed in deities of light and law. When the wild nomads refused to accept the will of the Goddesses, the golden-haired skyfolk condemned the Sheikah as heathens and set out to conquer them," she continued.

"The Sheikah fought bravely at first, but the Hylians were many and better equipped. As many Sheikah began to perish in the war of faith, a council meeting of Sheikah elders was called to determine the fate of the tribe, and it was to be held here, in the Shadow Temple, the birthplace of dark magic. While most of the elders believed surrender was necessary to avoid extinction, sixteen still saw fit to fight to the death rather than face servitude at the hands of foreign missionaries. As the council adjourned for the evening believing their discussion to be inconclusive, the elders awoke the next morning to find that all the dissenting councilors had been murdered in their sleep in an act of widespread betrayal. That's why the Eye of Truth cries of a red tear. It used to just be an eye, but after the assassinations at the council, the symbol was changed. To quote the first Impa, 'We mourned our fallen brothers, though we could cry only tears of blood. They died along with our freedom. Shadow Temple... here is gathered Hyrule's bloody history of greed and hatred.'"

"What followed was an unabated massacre from within the tribe. Shortly after the news that the separatist elders had been killed, all Sheikah who refused to submit to the Hylians were killed en masse. What we now know as Gossip Stones are the graves of ancient wild Sheikah who died a warrior's death in the cleansing, still serving as faithful spies even in death. Others would run and hide instead of die fighting... this chamber is where they were sent when they were captured," she finished, gravely. "At least, that's what my research suggests. Sources from that time period are scarce and unreliable."

Hugging tightly to the wall to avoid being sliced by the sixteen reapers, Magus inched his way down the side of the wall until he found the dimly lit bottom. The dim glow of the crystal switch provided some light, allowing the night-eyed Twili to slowly take in his surroundings. The cistern's floor was not solid ground, but rather, a rusty metal grating underneath which a dark and festering pond of greenish, clearly poisonous water lay stagnant. The toxic pond reeked of rotting flesh, as did the entire bottom of the chamber. The stone walls closer to the bottom seemed coated with some of the same poisonous green rot, although it was dried and thick now like old mud. Four unlit torches arranged around the outer edge of the grating also appeared to be caked with the stuff.

Graham mostly kept to himself as he took in the horrifying nature of this room and Alyce's story. The bean's effects only exacerbated how utterly unnerving the derelict and downright demonic torture chamber appeared, and with absolutely no positive imagery to draw on, his drug-addled imagination was going to some dark places. As he sank to his knees and felt around inside Magus' shed cloak in a shocked stupor, the room seemed to be spinning around him.

"Where'd he go? He was... he was right here! Just a second ago. Where is he? Where did he go?" mumbled Graham, absently, as he frantically searched around the folds of the black robes hoping to find any sign of his recently disappeared friend. In his mind he seemed to be splashing around in a thick black puddle of oily blood, and as he finally began to come to grips with the ridiculously frightening situation he'd wandered into while on hard drugs, the Subrosian practically went catatonic. Crawling over to the edge of the cistern on wobbly limbs, Graham leaned his head over the side of the ledge and puked up a sooty black mixture of gross weird food and burnt ember seed husk, the bulk of which seemed to be speeding down the side of the wall on a collision course with where Magus was perched.
Dawg you know it. Catching up with the Titanpad, will be posting it all in the IC in a bit.
Sorry everybody, been so sick as to be bedridden DESPITE traveling over the last few days so it's been rough. The middle hallway's titanpad has been updated, and there's a puzzle now for you guys too. Feel free to insert interjections and responses amidst the wall as usual, I'm sure everyone will want to tell Graham that he's being a dumb idiot or something like that.
Sorry mid hallway team, been traveling and holidaying. I'll get something up tomorrow.
@Bright_Ops @Captain Jenno

I have posted in the titanpad. Once again, feel free to insert bits and pieces amongst what I've written if you want to.
@Captain Jenno @Bright_Ops @Baklava

I have begun things in the titanpad. I had to do a long-ass stretch of Graham because I haven't posted for him in a while, please feel free to insert your actions amid my wall as necessary.

If you guys are wondering why I had Graham drop some hella psychoactives right before meeting the group, it's because regular normal Graham would have just said "lol no thanks" and left right away, or he would have otherwise kept to himself quietly and had fairly muted reactions to things. Basically it was an excuse to get him to do some things he would never normally do if I were to write him correctly. Please feel free to fuck with him while he's out of it, it makes for some good times! I'm not a troll, I swear. I'm really trying here. Trying my guts out!
I was about to start one myself! Go right ahead.
hey what's up blat blat blat team cool ass muthafucking dudes i'll be leading the team so get ready for a wild ride!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

all i want from you is 110%. give me that and everything will be golden richards. anything less and we'll have a problem. nobody likes problems!!!!
Graham has ember seeds, I suppose that would count. If anyone wants to come along with team cool ass motherfuckin' dudesβ„’ you won't have to bring your own fuego nom sayin' bro blat blat blat $$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$$
Graham will go with Magus. Cloaked bros gotta stick together! Plus he's still kinda beaned out so I'm sure shenanigans will ensue.
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