Crossing The Rubeh Con Part Trois

"I like that idea; I like the thought of leaving to them and just walking away. It will be there again. If we do not have to confront them the better off we will be." Autumn voice is gentle and that quiet pool of calm remains. Her eyes are bright and they remain on the creatures. "Or do we confront them and hand it over and see what happens?"

Ruby considers this grimly. She's rather silent while she chews it over, but by the way she fingers the pistol at her side, she's considering a number of options. "None 'o this my fault, roight?" she finally finds her voice again. What, was it only a few seconds? "They tried tah kill me…Or at least drag me back. I ain't gonna get 'ooked again. But you two be smart. I follow yer lead…I think if we keep goo'n oop, we get there…Peek down."

"If they're the same ones that attacked Ruby," Cristof answers, "I don't think that we want to draw their attention." He purses his lips. "They don't seem to have noticed us. If those caverns are exits as well as entrances, and we leave the book in front of one of them, they might find it." Then he nods to Ruby. "From there, we should have a better view. I don't want them to hurt any of us if I can help it."

"Nope, you did what you needed to do to survive. Hopefully our skills will be on our side." Autumn points out. She leans back on her boot heels and her mismatched gaze still rests on where they went. "I would suggest that we do not go deep into enemy territory." She nods her head. "Are they the same ones my friend?" She asks ruby. "I do not want to hurt them as well. A clean break then?" She keeps the magic gathered against her.

Ruby makes a beckoning gesture after one more look down to where the entrances are sloped beneath them, and then to the jungle. She's uncertain if she sees the ship at anchor, and can't see Gaval. She hopes he's finding things…work-able, our there. "We all meet at tha ship if things goo bad. Worse than egg-spected." And with that she finds some natural handholds to further her accent. She whispers over her shoulder, "You change yer tunes when they screech aftah you, Crist'oof." she pauses in her climb, unsure if to proceed with concerns of going deeper. "They look same. Worse now though. Was just top 'o 'eads tha was bad. Now somethin with tha mouths. Watch oot fer their fingahnails. They metal…Wasn't me fault, y'know. I just tryin…aye, what you said. It's tha idol or metal god. Hhhis fault. Takin one book can't mess oop everythin…"

Cristof glances to Autumn and wonders, "Can you send a message to Gaval on the wind from here? Then he and the hands can bring the ship closer or at least be ready. Then he nods to Ruby. "I saw the damage. I don't want to tackle with them, either. That's why I suggested leaving the book and retreating as quickly as possible if we don't attract their attention."

"Not your fault it is its fault and theirs. I have a feeling that those that disagree are gotten rid of." Autumn nods her head. "I can send messages on the wind." She promises. "Hopefully he can get it. I will see what can be done, just let me know what message you want sent and when and if I am able to, I will." The earth beneath her feet continues to change into a stairs as she continues walk. The earth shifts and moves and as it and magic bend to her will. She looks at her companions. "Lets get rid of this book quickly, I am not certain there is anything we can do to save them, destroy the god perhaps? The book was strange."

Ruby hinges her jaw from side to side and nods slowly. "Tha's a good idea. Bloody boat bettah get close'ah. S'long as they don't raise tha bloody island…but tha onlah supposed tah 'appen every twelve 'ours. We good for awhile. War-den must be dead dead dead…or 'alf metal monstah." As Autumn moves, she continues her own climb. "I all be all for runnin. Loife fer…us. Truth. Aye, let's get rid 'o book. Aye, if you can reach Gaval, let'm know what we doo'n. Meet at boat if things goo bad…or we ready tah leave fast. I all for leavin fast. With all our skin."

Cristof follows Autumn down her path of stairs. he nods to Ruby. "Life is for runners," he echoes her motto. "We go only as close as necessary, drop the book, and leave for the boat." He glances to Autumn and urges, "As Ruby suggeted, send a message to Gaval. Tell him our plan and advise that they should keep the boat close to shore without running aground." He frowns and adds, "We might need to leave the dinghy. Ruby? We should reimburse the owner of that ship for the loss of the little boat when we return to Amber."

"The message will be sent." Autumn gathers the wild wind to her and whispers a message before she sets it free. Her eyes glow from the magic here. The wind when it is released wraps itself around her like a cat curling around a person's leg before it darts in Gaval's direction. With the message given Autumn nods her head. She frowns as she turns her attention back to walking up the incline. When they reach the top she stops and lets her eyes take in their surroundings.

Ruby murmers, "I pay'm back dooble." she rasps, "Dooble-Dinghy debt. Truth." When she has a hand free, she's constantly touching knife, pistol or Trump deck, like a drug addict fingering a stash which must be held in reserve.

At the top of the hill, it becomes clear that this is one of the tallest land masses upon the island. In the distance, a string of further islands stretch off like pearls. From this vantage, one can see that the green water is only green due to the submerged jungle, beyond the ring of presumably steeping foliage is a thicker dark ocean hue. Purplish blue and beset by currents that cycle about the landmass in a curious circular pattern.
Upon the relatively top of this hill is what appears to be an opening. About a 100 meters away. Like a dormant volcano. No smoke emits from it, but as dusk is approaching, there is illumination from below. Some manner of hollow space filled with both artifical spaces and rooms, mingling with natural rock formations. And a very large carven representation of a face.

When the face comes into his view, Cristof peers at it. "We're losing daylight, and we'll need to find the ship." Then he suggests, "We could place the book there and then head for the shore." He extends his hnnds and volunteers. "I'll take it." He takes a deep breath. "Ruby, if something happens, they'll need you to guide the ship back to Amber, and Autumn, they'll need your magic to protect them. I'm expendable."

Autumn's eyes takes it all in, she looks down at the dormant volcano. She turns her head towards the submerged jungle. There is a laugh out of Autumn, "Doctor, if there is one thing I have learned in my life is that death comes for us all, I am not afraid of it, but you are not expendable. Out of all on that ship you are the only one who knows healing and you can fight, those two things right there do not make you expendable." She turns her head towards him. "You say that again I will dump cold water on you when you are sleeping." She warns. "To get out of here with the crew alive we will need all of us. Including those on the ship." She looks to Ruby. "Ready?"

It appears that the drop is approximately a story. Maybe two. Underneath the graven image is a library of sorts, with a transparent ledge to presumably protect from the elements or rain. Or tantalizing bait. There are thirteen slots. One is empty. The face has depressions only for it's teeth. There are number of them missing. They're about the same size as the modules that Autumn had in the bundle that Ruby handed over in the embassy. The present teeth glow with an internal light and hum very gently. The face is smiling in a strange manic grin.

Ruby nods vigorously and takes a few steps closer to the opening. She unclasps her pistol and offers it over to Cristof if he wants to don the handcannon. "Aye. We all goo back. No one gets left." Her breathing goes through a bit of a panicky anxiety-attack rhythm when she gets a better look at the idol. "Bettah if we all goo back. Autumn be roight. Mebbe you take this…this be insurance. Strap ovah yer should'ah? Bit 'eavy but you fit."

Cristof smiles. "I did not intend to die, and you're right. All of us should return." While taking the pistol from Ruby, he nods. "We go together and quickly, then." He studies the area again, and then focuses on that row of books. "Is that where our book belongs?" he questions. "It's possible that when we return it, things will return to normal here. Let us hope, but let us be quick."

"Ruby it will be alright who says we need to put it back in the exact spot. One would think they would be able to do it themselves. If we are changing the course of this shadow, then it is meant to be for better or for worse." She explains. "We have a path to choose or a few, I should say. Have heart you are not hear alone."

Her gaze goes to Cristof next. "Good to know, next I was going to offer to kiss you to your sense." She teases.

Ruby relinguishes her hold on the weapon, grimacing a little as she misses the comforting weight of it already. She nods slowly and wipes at her face with a calloused palm. It doesn't make a streaky-glass sound no matter how hard she presses. "Aye. Quick." she nods again. Ruby rolls her shoulders and wanders closer to the lip, steeling herself. The jack-o-lantern smile is worse now, on a repeat viewing. She begins to feel a little conflicted about stealing those teeth. "Can lower you down…or toss't close tah tha bloody face. I don't see no femmes."

Apart from the strange carving of the face and the shelf inset below it, the other features are the humanoid shapes cut into half the diameter of the interior and a large barn-like door made of metal. There are no visible handles or latches to it. It is set into the interior rock. Foot traffic shows evidence of many comings and goings.

Cristof takes another slow breath while he studies the area, particularly the place where the missing book would fit and the tracks of many footprints. Then he looks to Autumn and questions, "Do you have any ideas for delivering it safely, without damage and without any of us needing to go closer to that spot?" he asks. He touches the handle of the pistol and nods to Ruby. I'll give this back to you if we find an easier way to get that book back in place. Then we'll head for the ship."

"Put it in a pack and lower it down there. If they have a lick of sense they will figure out where it goes. Once it is lowered down there we run." Autumn explains. "That is my idea, the question is do we have rope or do we try other means?" She asks them both. "I am open for ideas that does not include us going down there." Those things down there give me the creeps.

Ruby is tempted to take it back. Eagerly. But she bites on the edge of her tongue hard enough to instill a bit more resolve and shakes her head. Crouching, she gets on hands and knees and slowly pushes her head over the lip, hair spilling over in a mop. She reaches behind her waist and draws her knife. "Somethin 'appenin…" She holds her breath and squints. "There's loight in one 'o them femme shapes. Not blocked…They goo'n oot. They goo'n back oot…mebbe." Eerily, even before Ruby opened her yap, anyone staring at the carving would have seen a tooth change hue. From green to red. Another one turns red and the sound of movement echos thinly about the acoustics of the room. "Gaval." Ruby states in a monotone voice. A certain sounding voice. Just then, a shriek of voices like a banshee wail and it's certain that some of the natives are being 'deployed'.

"If we can find vines from the jungle, they might serve as a rope," Cristof suggests with a nod to Autumn and then a look toward Ruby, who is peering over the edge of the cliff. When she murmurs the name, he questions, "What about Gaval?"

"Hhhunt be on. They aftah loose cannons. A bloke. Gaval ain't claimed…they must 'ave sniffed 'im or they not get so excited." Ruby turns to face Cristof and Autumn, hand still curled over the edge. "I can drop down an catch one or both 'o you. I don't wanna goo down neithah if we don't ave'tah. But I can toss ya back oot no problem. 'Ow important be tah git tha book back?" she chews on her bottom lip vigorously. "Smash more teeth!" The violebt option is too easy to fall back upon. Senseless violence. "Blast tha face, Crist'oof…Autumn, burn't till it runs loike wax!" Breathing faster and faster, she's obviously getting way too worked up. In her throat she starts to whine. A weaker version of the cacophony spilling out towards the mostly submerged jungle.

Autumn is studying the area and catches the light, changing and then there is Ruby's reaction. "Tim to toss it and run, I wish I knew more, the book is full of starts, restarts, and reboots." She tells them. She is gathers more magic to until she cannot hold any more. It moves along her skin. That calm of hers mixes with her magic. She reaches out to place a gloved hand upon Ruby's arm. "Think my dear friend, think. Those icons are holding the magic back, it is pushed away, and destruction could cause more trouble. As a last resort I can try, but I am not certain it would do much. I am half tempted to have us chuck the book back." She looks to Cristof. "Ideas?"

"If they're after Gaval, and can swim, then we need to return to the ship as quickly as we can," Cristof answers with a frown and a look to Autumn. "If they're seeking men, only you and Ruby are safe. We don't have time for to be careful. We can toss the book toward that statue and run. As Ruby said, 'Life to the runners.' Toss the book and run."

Ruby nods vigorously and starts to rise from her knees. "Aye. Let's run." Her hand grips the handle of her knife, but Autumn's touch keeps her from drawing it from the sheath. "Throw tha bog-blasted thing. I should nevah 'ave st…taken tha thing. Not me fault though." Broken record. "I don't loike none 'o them…Magic…whatevah tha 'ell is oop with this Bog-blasted thing with teeth an 'ard-'eaded femmes. This per-verted…abomy-nation." She drools just a little from the corner of her mouth.

"Ruby it is not your fault, you had to survive the encounter. This is not your fault you did all that you could do, to stay alive. You lived and you brought us information, you have more about this shadow than most. You survived and you brought knowledge and gained wisdom." Autumn points out to her, her hand remains on her arm. "We can do this."
She looks to Cristof. "I agree toss it and lets run, if it is destroyed then it is destroyed, if it survives, then it survives. Time to leave the book to the fates themselves." She waits for the it be brought out. "I really do not want you, Gaval and Ruby harmed."

"Stop blaming yourself, Rub," Cristof urges, stepping to her and resting his hand on her arm as well. "Take slow breaths. Gather your wits. We'll toss the book and then we'll run for the coast as soon as Autumn gives Gaval another signal. We need to put as much distance as we can between ourselves and this place."

From over the lip where the trio came, distorted sounds issue from pockets of the jungle that remain above water. There's an odd quality to them that is muffled and diffuse. At one point they seem to be concentrated in the direction of the ship, when suddenly they'll erupt from a totally different direction. A group of shrieking voices raise in shakey union. "Los Ka-non! In-ga-nonooo!" Something like ecstatic glee is tainting the mob-voice. Real emotion.

Ruby tries to pull away from Cristof's touch, though Autumn's is like an anchor. She bares her teeth in an involuntary grimace before she can remember where she is and how much she's depending on them. "Alroight. Alroight." she swallows, her whole body tense and rigid, making a grotesque display of veins along her arms and neck. "You give tha word, I be'ah blurrrr." she slurrs.

From the pack she has been carrying Autumn takes out the book and she holds it high in the air and begins to chant, The elements dance around it creating small wards layered upon one another. Around droplets of fire, water and iron dance on a breeze. The magic here comes at to her call, the air is thick with it. It shimmers like a mirage of water in the desert at high noon. The crowd of banshees surges forward. She holds the book up and looks to towards the surging crowd. She then creates a wall of fire between them and the crowd. The fire springs to life and grows brighter. With the book warded she holds it out for Ruby or Cristof to take and chuck. Her eyes are wide with fear and sweat is starting to form on her brow. She is shaking but holding the fire and the flames in place. The words of the arcane whispered into the wind. Then she says in their common tongue. "Hurry!" Her words are said in a panic. That normal calm is not there at the moment.

When Ruby shrugs away from Cristof, he does not insist, but takes a step backward and nods. He looks to Autumn. After the mage has produced the book and sufficiently warded it, he snatches it from her hand. Whirling like someone throwing a discus, launches the book. It arches over the wall of flames that Autumn invokes, hurtling toward the onslaught of femmes. He does not hesitate. Suspecting that Ruby is already running, he reaches for Autumn's gloved hand and begins to run. "Let's go!" he urges her. "We need to find the ship and escape from here. NOW!"

Ruby is well and truely back into survival mode. She cringes back from the manifestation of magic that Autumn commands, the light from the phenomena lighting up the area and their faces in the dimming light. She's rather impressed by how Cristof hurls the tome in that way, but she's not eager to admit it, and circumstances are dire. She stays long enough to watch where it falls, bouncing on the balls of her feet like a sprinter warming up. "Good! Tha's good! Tha ship!" Caught up in the moment she takes off for the incline. At some point, her knife has come free from the sheath.

The mobs cries out in alarm, both outside the hollow and those still within, nestled within their appropriately shaped tunnels.

The crowds, the smoke and the magic fire burning hotter than it should. Autumn has wrapped her mind in water but her already on the edges the fire is trying to break the will of the Mage. She turns when her hand is grabbed and she begins to run. It is as if a life line was given her eyes are still wide and the flames on the wall writhe against her control, eating at her fear, longing to be free. The magic cries to be let loose of the will that shackles it. Autumns eyes are bright and tears are sliding down her cheeks as she runs now blindly with Cristof. Water she needs to get to the water. Memories moves through her mind as the heat of the contained fire increases.

Luck and expedience, rather than thoughtful planning was behind why Ruby hired out the Dipsy-Daisy. Cheaper than a larger ship, and requiring less crew. Hell on the high seas and risky to use in a storm. But as it turns out, it's frightfully good at coming in close to shore with it's shallow keel. The choice of smugglers and river-merchants everywhere. It can't drift right next to where the tops of the jungle are still poking out of the swallowing sea, but it's damn close.
From the hollow, there's a shout of triumph as the book is seen. It's followed by confusion as the returned tome cannot be reached.

Cristof clamps his hand around Autumn's hand while they run. He does not have the distraction of magic begging to be free. He focuses on the path ahead and on tugging the mage along with him toward the shoreline. Then he sees the faint silhouette of the ship and targets it. "You're doing well!" he encourages Autumn. Then he calls to Ruby, "We're just behind you! We might need to swim to reach her, but we're close!"

Ruby pumps her arms and legs. She's going at a good clip. From off to the right comes a whistle and then three barely perceptible threads like fishing-line zip into a tree she's about to vault behind. "Ah fook!" She doesn't stop and scrabbles onwards. The ship is ahead. The ship is safe. She feels like she's got the motivation to run /across/ the water if she has to.

Holding tightly onto his hand Autumn continues to run. She will hold the pounding wall of flames in place until she is in the water, then it will be released. Her eyes are watering and she is almost choking on memories as the unseen battle of wills continues. She knows Ruby is close at hand. When they reach the point they are about to enter the water she releases her hold on it. The flames grow hotter and are turning blue before they disappear, their last push against her. Her eyes are wide and the tears still streaming down her face. She lets go of Doctors hand and she throws herself in the water, not thinking just desperate to feel it.

After Autumn dives into the salty but shallow water, Cristof pauses for a moment. He flings aside his satchel and pulls his boots from his feet before he follows her. He swims with smooth, powerful strokes, often checking ahead to be sure that he is swimming toward the silhouette of the ship.

The hooks come. From behind them and to their flanks, those mobs not distracted to other sections of the jungle are silhouettes against the lights comng from their homes. Before entering the water is a building web of filaments like a spider throwing silk crazily. Whistles precede their appearance and sink visciously into tree and branch, frond and leaf. They sip like starlings over the top of the water like bullets, tumbling badly when they careen into the surface. Another unwanted thing comes from behind the group. The noise that preceeded the lowering of the island.

Ruby definitely cannot walk on water, and crashes into it, sending up water in a frothy surge. She pulls herself across it until she's forced to duck the projectiles and try and make her way right on through the tangle of submerged flora. The water does cut off her string of frightened curses as she powers her way towards the ship.

The cold water seems to reach for her and it pulls her down. For a moment she just lets herself sink and her eyes remain closed. The salt water cools her nerves. Boots still on she begins to do the breast stroke towards the surface. Breaking free she breaths in the fresh air deeply and then continues to do the breast stroke and side stroke towards the ship. Ducking under the water Autumn dives deep to stay away from the strange projectile creatures. She pulls herself to the surface again and grabs another deep breath of air. Soon breathless and spent she reaches the ship.

Aboard the ship, Pete and Rickerson have helpfully dropped a rope ladder over the side. Looks like someone got the message. They don't provide much of a silhouette to anyone shooting things towards them, ducking down, bobbing their heads like pigeons and shouting encouragement. They're pretty certain that unless they get the rest of the crew, they're marooned in this shadow. Pete has a bandage against the side of his face and shoulder where the Wandering Star tried to peel him. He hefts a long pike in one hand at the ready, "Hurry! By the Unicorn's crusty tail, hurry!"

Cristof continues to swim just below the waves, breaking the surface long enough to fill his lungs with air and sight the ship. However, he makes good time and soon reaches the side of the ship. The hands are waiting when they arrive, and reach to help with hauling the bedraggled trio onto the deck, which is now free of the despicable creatures that attempted to kill them before they went to the island.

On the deck Autumn lays on her back useless as she gasps like a landed fish. She closes her eyes and lets the flow of conversations and the whizzing of bullets overhead, happen. Her eyes are open and she staring up at the sky. She turns her head to make certain that Christof and Ruby are well. "You two alright?" She gets out as her lungs work like bellows in blacksmiths shop.

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