On the Hunt: Stone Spider

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Eye Scream
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On the Hunt: Stone Spider

Post by Eye Scream » 9/20/18 06:21 AM

...It was a clear day above the mountainous reach around Canterlot, over one of the numerous abandoned mines of iron and coal.

These mines were abandoned for multiple reasons. Some say that it was due to them being repurposed as Batpony homes after Luna came back. Others say that they were too dangerous, and risked the whole mountain to collapse onto the nearby Capital city. And the official documents state that the veins of iron found here were too few and too far appart for the mining operations to be remotely profitable.

Thus they closed their doors and sealed the entrances with thick wooden boards and the ocassional warning sign, leaving behind rather large holes that dug into the stone quite deeply.

Enough to attract certain individuals with ties to smuggling or the rare medium-sized dragon in search of a cave to temporarily use as a home, something that could imply hidden caches of illegal goods or small treasure hoards in the area.

But as of recently, the southermost mine -And the closest to the city- has been reported to house a new kind of creature. One of artificial origin. A Golem that went rouge, a Spider one for the matter. A potential threat for the city, whose existance is unknown to all but those who have checked the bounty boards in the past day or so.

The road to the entrance was clear -Afterall, this was the capital, and arguably the safest place in Equestria, but that could change depending on the outcome of this day.

The wooden boards that sealed the entrance were long gone, as someting of the size of a stallion, but with rather long legs had punched a hole straight through it, leaving behind splintered wood, plank chunks and a strange smell of burnt grass.

It was obvious that the subject of a bounty has been here, and was probably still inside the deep cave that was once an unsuccessfull mining operation.

Fresh carvings in the cave's walls hinted that some of the remaining iron had been extracted through means of magic, incitions too prescise for tools littering the sides and ceiling in a steady pattern. Not good news, for anypony willing to cash-out the 1.5 thousand Bits worth of a reward per creature, for this rogue creation.

Another faint reminder of the warning etched onto the bounty. 'Creatures prepared to face magic beams in multiples of eight preferred'...

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Achrome Sol
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Re: On the Hunt: Stone Spider

Post by Achrome Sol » 9/21/18 10:38 PM

Achrome made her trek to her bounty site, thoughts in the meantime running in her head as memories of her research started to piece together. There were a lot of rumors about this place, a lot of them wild fantasies and others rather grounded, but it was wishful thinking that the official documentation would be the only issue and there wasn't anything that went unnoticed. Still, Achrome came prepared for the worst, armed with only the bare essentials she felt she would need.

Her saddle bag was left with basic bandages and splints for any injuries she would endure, nothing too advanced. In one hoof attached to her is a strange hybrid of a wooden kite shield and a round shield, circular in figure but the sides whittled down to give the imitation of an axehead, the metallic rim of the shield bulked and rounded out to further replicate that. Tucked away on the same side was a rather standard weapon to pair with a shield, A chain and sickle with a studded ball over the traditional flat style. Really, the mare hoped she wouldn't have to squander half of the profit she would get, but if push comes to shove, her getting out without being too incapacitated would be preferable to the alternative.

She soon finds herself standing in front of the abandoned iron mine, and the first detail to catch her attention was the severe lack of boarding on the cavern's entrance. It was no surprise, but the bigger relief came when she made measurement to the hole presented from a distance, the target creature not much taller than a normal pony. It wouldn't take all that much to take down, but that warning of the creature's combat potential was alerted to her once again as the faint smell of grass finally reaching her nostrils, alerting her to the rest of the minor rampage pitted about.

She poked her head through the damaged wood, getting a quick look at the immediate surroundings and noticed the unnaturally clean excavation of the area. Even though it was loose rock, the thought of magical impacts were not fun going to be a fun for her to deal with, let alone eight at once. She knew she wasn't going to get out of this one without some sort of injury somewhere, so she had better be fast when dealing with this golem.

No time for having any last second regrets. She already got herself here and prepared, if only just lightly so. She started to gather herself up and press onward into the abandoned mines, marking the beginning of her hunt against a rather abnormal beast. Besides, she'd handled troublesome monsters herself a few time sin her life time. This wasn't the worst thing she had to deal with, right? At least she hopes so.

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Eye Scream
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Re: On the Hunt: Stone Spider

Post by Eye Scream » 9/25/18 02:24 AM

As the mare -And only hunter hailing to the bounty thus far- made her way through the scorched grass, the broken planks and the unnaturally carved rock walls, darkness slowly engulfed her the deeper she went, the only glints of light in the mines being the exposed formations of Rubies shilily peeking out from the sides, marking the locations of once rich iron deposits, and a half-missplaced iron railing in the middle of the trip.

The further she went, the darker it got, the claustrophobic hall going in a straight line into the mountain that housed the Capital. Faint echoes of bat chirpings and hisses resonated through the abandoned mining operation, hinting that this wasn't the only corridor. Such would be confirmed as after a solid five minutes of walking in the total darkness, a large ravine revealed itself for the mare.

There was a half-rotten wooden bridge connecting both sides of the tunnel that was digged into the rock, with smaller pathways carved into the edges of the massive drop, one leading upwards and the other going down to the bottom. The other side of the bridge looked just as enticing -But strangely enough, it lacked the unnatural cuts that the entry path had, and it was tighter than the entrance.

The bridge itself, although terribly mantained, looked sturdy enough to fit a carriage and all its weight ontop of it. There was an unlit torch stand in the middle and to the right -Perhaps abandoned in a rush.

It would be hard to tell wich path would lead to the target, but a looming sensation from above hinted that this Golem liked heights.

Alternatively, exploring never hurted anybody. In most cases, at least.

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Achrome Sol
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Re: On the Hunt: Stone Spider

Post by Achrome Sol » 9/27/18 07:10 PM

Very quickly Achrome found herself needing to take some kind of measure as she went down inside the caves. She decided to cast a spell, a small flame beginning to dance about untop of her horn as she took the initiative to trot forwards. It was always a blessing to have this kind of spell on her when she needed it most, and thankfully in the reports, there was less likely to be a risk of starting a coal fire she would have her name attatched to. She knew, however, she really wouldn't want to keep this up forever, feeling as if she would have to conserve something for when the golem would show itself to her, but for right now, she has no other reliable method to look about her

Her eyes slowly looked all about the cave, as much as she could see, to catch her attention first were the little glimmers of gemstones flickering as light reflects back. She began to wonder exactly how much down here was left behind; She very easilly could make the return back to these mines and pocket all of the leftovers for herself if there were to be no further interruptions, but would there even be enough for her to really go around? Time and effort would tell.

The mare squeezed her way through the passageways, continuing on as the eerie silence began to creep all about her, only offset by the chirping of bats from all about. There was always something unnerving about going out to mine out iron by herself, and really, it was no different today, except this time she actually knows there is a danger that could make their way to her, but she felt very sure that at least here she would be less likely to be attacked. Minutes stroll by, and that turned out to be quite the case the sounds of flowing water soon catching her ears and ahead light began break away from the walls of the caves, revealing the revine right before her eyes.

She walked forward to be met with the bridge, very clearly having seen better days now, but serviceable enough on its own. The spider definitely could have strolled its way through here... Or moved elsewhere. The torch stands quickly came to be quite an attraction sight for her, taking the time to share her flame and light the way. OF course she couldn't exactly carry them with her reliably, but having something to light where she'd been is very handy to have.

Looking ahead at the end of the bridge, She can see the cutting began to end here, very likely that the creature may have passed through here and didn't continue on, confirming her suspicion that perhaps it moved off into the ravine, but how could she tell exactly where it could have gone from here...? As a spider it could possibly climb walls, but she couldn't. Nor did she feel too keen on jumping off the bridge to find out how far down it was; Far too dark to see, really. No time to make silly decisions just yet. She would have to hope that path ahead would have a reliable path down, or else she would have to start throwing things down herself.

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Eye Scream
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Re: On the Hunt: Stone Spider

Post by Eye Scream » 10/1/18 05:12 AM

As the mare made her way into the ravine and secured a spot of relative safety ontop of the old bridge, and lit its torch, the faint sensation of being observed started to loom over her, the light bringing its own perils and advantages.

What she was seeking could see her now, as she could see it, if it dared to show itself. Not yet, however. Not yet.

The uncarved path ahead was roughly edged, unlike the two alternatives to the sides. The continuation of the mine looked more natural, in a way. As natural as a boundle of dynamite can be. However, it was also richer in ores than the heavily exploited entrance; considerable chunks of a redder stone dotted the sides and ceiling, with some gemstone formations that looked like they could be extracted by simply pulling from the weakened rock they latched to.

On the right, a wooden structure waited. A rope-operated lift, probably dating a few centuries old. It seemed to be made by the hooves of Earth Ponies, as the ropes and wood, although old and exposed to water filtrating through the rock, were in a well-enough condition to be used a few more times. If one ignored some missing key components, such as a lever to get this all to work again. Nothing some magic couldn't solve.

The tunnel ended on a cave-in, however, as the wooden supports seemed to have rotten and bent, failing to keep the ceiling from giving in, crushing an unlucky pickaxe, forgotten ages ago. Thankfully, no bones were present anywhere.

The echoes of the bats resonated at the other side of the cave-in, hinting that the rest of the mine was behind those tonnes of fallen rock. The lower levels remained as a mystery, surrounded by pitch darkness...

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Achrome Sol
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Re: On the Hunt: Stone Spider

Post by Achrome Sol » 10/4/18 10:22 AM

That familiar chill ran down her spine, the thought that eyes scattered all around her, glaring down upon her. Attention was never a comfortable thing for the smith, but in here of all places? She knew if she tried to sense for magic, with how tall this place was, that sensory would never quite reach farther than she could see in this darkness, so thus, she didn't even attempt to waste her own time. She would have to suffice with keeping her alertness up for now.

Looking to the end of the bridge, she could see where the tunnel ended up caving in, and much to her dismay, she could see the source of the problem, the beam supports having so thoroughly turned rotten and mushed. That didn't make her feel any safer going through these mines. Her eyes darted towards the larger gemstones littering the rocks, a brow raised now that she was more face-to-face with these excavation markers. She couldn't quite gather why use something so illustrious and expensive to mark out where one last dug, but quite frankly, this place DID appear as if it was abandoned in one hell of a hurry with all that got left behind, that pickaxe definitely being a telling sign.

Achrome looked over at the lift, out of commission for the most part, seeing as the lever was bizarrely absent from its place. She supposed she should be lucky that she was a unicorn; She could operate this lift herself. The original group that spelunked this mine likely didn't take into account their placement would come soon with some issues, noting the water exposed unto the wood. This was likely what also caused all of this rot to appear on those wooden supports, the mare now thinking that nothing she would be standing on was going to be stable for too many repeated uses. It could hold her own body well enough, but she wouldn't risk trying to haul out numerous ores with everything in such a condition. So much for coming back to this place...

Everything about this place so far made her think back to that bounty posting; wondering if that reward was just money to keep anybody who went down here quiet. Certainly some of the bigger dangers right now seemed to be the environment rather than what she was hunting, although the seering of those walls also get dragged back to the forefront of her mind.
There wasn't much use debating it, however. So long as she can get that thing taken down, one way or the other, this would be worth it. Begrudging, she stepped unto the lift and caught the rope mechanism in a levitation field, manually operating the lift with her own magical aura.

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Eye Scream
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Re: On the Hunt: Stone Spider

Post by Eye Scream » 10/17/18 03:14 AM

As the mare magically operated the lift, it slowly brought her into the depths of the mine, engulfed in darkness once more, the light of the torch no longer reaching the old lift.

The wood under her hooves complained and creaked, the rope that made it all work stretching beyond reasonable levels... But it all held through the trip, product of sturdy Earth Pony construction. Or sheer luck.

With a 'Thumph', the lift came to a halt, in the bottom level of the mines. Down there, only the faint glimmer of the torch in the bridge reflected from the ravine access to the left. Down there, larger deposits of iron -And even some streaks of gold- were present, hinting that the lower levels of the cave is where the riches were. Sadly, not enough riches to keep the mine operational since centuries ago.

However, something moved in the darkness. Something that made little clinking noises, and there were plenty of those.

Along the ceiling and walls, little stone spiders wobbled over, chipping at the rock and extracting its ores. In the spots where they concentrated the most, carvings similar to the ones in the entrance followed, as the stone spiderlings strip-mined the area.

Every now and then, they'd reunite where they had overmined, and after 'dancing' there, a little Ruby would emerge from the rock, draining the remaining iron from the deposit, compressed with the carbon that made it.

They seemed to ignore the mare, as they carried on with their mining duties. Silently and effectively, like the little automatons that they are.

But a new question rose. Where is their mother?
Last edited by Eye Scream on 10/17/18 04:43 PM, edited 1 time in total.

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Achrome Sol
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Re: On the Hunt: Stone Spider

Post by Achrome Sol » 10/17/18 04:31 PM

The very creaking of the mechanism made Achrome cringe with anxiety over every passing second she was stuck on that lift from the bottom, the sheer regret making her quite uncomfortable until she hit the ground floor, sighing in relief that nothing went wrong. If that lift breaks — No, she's not even going to risk going back up that wretched contraption again, she thought as a more brilliant idea flashes in her mind; she has a teleportation anchor in the distance in the form of light, provided it was still there after a while. Lucky her for being so thorough.

That sneaking feeling was beginning to overwhelm her again as she trotted forward unto darkness, hairs beginning to stand on end as precognition settles in. As she closed in, there were sounds, distant, but as she came closer, the sound became louder, but it wasn't as harsh as she expected, the soft tick tacking of multiple feet on the ground.
That was far from the impact she would expect to hear from something her size. Curious and confused, Achrome approached ahead, and then what became one noise became two, three, four... And then finally she saw exactly what made all of these little noises.

There were so many of them; tens, possibly hundreds of these small golems skittering about extracting ores from stones. Achrome couldn't exactly believe what she was seeing; Did... The spider she was hunting for reproduce? Living right next to the Everfree, Golem-like beings such as Timber Wolves was no real surprise for Achrome, a force made of nature's reject timber. However, she never quite considered the thought that such a golem could reproduce, let alone a pony-made golem could do so itself through some makeshift.

What she was dealing with was... Sentient, in a sense. As much as she disliked spiders in all her years, she couldn't help but feel amazed, fascinated with these little creatures, sensing the individual flow of mana resonant throughout each unique specimen, however small it may be. Excellent use of magic was ALWAYS something for Achrome to appreciate in Equestria, those regrets from earlier beginning to quite quickly wash away in the midst of her discovery.

After her initial burst of glee and excitement ended, she slowly began to refocus and the biggest question came to mind: "Why are they ignoring me?" She mused to herself. She would have thought they'd at least move away or attack her as if she were a foreign entity, so what's the deal here? Were they simply so neutral? In fact, where was their mother? There may be an off chance she actually doesn't have to fight this creature if it remains as docile as the other minions. It wasn't anywhere in front of her or behind her, she would think. What about Above her...?

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Eye Scream
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Re: On the Hunt: Stone Spider

Post by Eye Scream » 10/24/18 03:45 AM

Thankfully, there was the alternative of teleportation. She wouldn't need to reuse the lift to return to surface level, as the light of the previously ignited torch still roared to its fullest, providing light and a safe place to return to for the next few hours. Unless the bridge collapses or the torch runs out, there was a spot that would welcome her with no risk whatsoever.

The same couldn't be said about the lower levels of the mine, as although the litle tickling, semi-living contraptions completely ignored her existance -Some even passing between the mare's hooves lije if she was an obstacle more to circumvent-, a more looming, imposing figure made itself know.

As if on cue, the moment she looked up, an arachnid figure of a drastically larger size awaited, firmly nailed into the rock ceiling, al eight legs buried into the rock, only its front and abdomen exposed to sight.

Said abdomen was split in two, open wide as some of the little golems deposited their ore findings into the far back. Said ore was then magically split into iron and spare rock, and later transported to the front through smaller claw-like extremities.

In the front of the golem's abdomen, more of the little claws assembled the spare rock into the shape of another miniature spider, wich was later branded with the extracted iron, copying and replicating the magical runes that gave them life over and over. With one quick spark, consuming the remaining spare pure iron, a new spider is produced, as it is soon released from the sides. With that, it automatically goes away to mine for more ore, along the thousands of other little golems.

It was... An automated assembly line, so to speak. All of it mounted within the backside of a stone spider of the size of a Stallion. Trully an autosuficient magical marvel... That was ordered to be put down through a considerable bounty.

Its eyes however, were still very active. If those runes inscribed onto its 'face' could be called eyes. Those things swirled and moved on their own, detecting movement in eight different directions -And two of those were nailed upon Achrome.

A third one was gazing upon her armament, like if it was scanning it over. Analizing what her shield was made of.. And judging by how it rose from the ceiling and closed its abdomen, it looked very interested in her equipment.

With that, the larger Golem fell from the ceiling, its legs twisting like hinges as it landed with a loud, rocky 'TWOMPH' just in front of the mare -Blocking access from continuing towards the ravine-, its stone body twisting upon itself to realign its pieces back towards a recognizable shape. Then it slowly rose, to an almost eye-level with the mare.

The Golem was wider than it was tall, its eight legs occupying most of its width. Its head was more or less of the size of her hoof, while the body and abdomen gave it the remainer of size. It wasn't impossibly big, but it looked large. Most of it was empty space however, the Golem being thin and lacking in stone mass, making it physically weak.

Most of its mass was in its abdomen and the mobile factory that it was -Needing to use three of its four pairs of legs to stay in balance. It looked passive -Albeit highly curious. And curiosity is only a step away from aggression...

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Achrome Sol
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Re: On the Hunt: Stone Spider

Post by Achrome Sol » 10/24/18 05:36 AM

The beast was revealed to her, and on cue, she could see exactly what her bounty was. That crack along the spider’s abdomen; It was like an egg sack of sorts that kept all of the tiny ones flowing both in and out of it’s mother golem, putting inside what seemed to be what little ores they were collecting from this empty cave. It was… Collecting ores for an unknown reason. It wasn’t just digging through the rock around here; It was just digging its way through for a reason, being its plan from possibly the beginning.

The spider drops closer nearby, making quite a racket while it was at it, giving Achrome room to guard her eyes from the likely debris that could have kicked up around her. It was right on top of her and, she definitely could feel the aura of magic around her. It eclipsed all the entities around her, their existence almost void to her sixth sense. The amount of magic that must of have went into this creature gave her a slight headache in its presence. Any sort of concentration was going to be difficult at this venture, and she was going to have to deal with it in octets.

Now she could understand exactly why this bounty was called out. Whatever was made here was far, far more advanced than what she or the contractor could have anticipated, and from the looks of it, they wanted it to be kept quiet out of fear for what something this intelligent could do. She couldn’t blame the contractor for their decision, yet, the temptation to leave the creature be was almost too strong, quite a shame for it to have to go to waste on some bounty, but as she thought of the implications of what this assembly line meant, that's where her real worries started. Was collecting these ores its original directive or was this one it took up itself? It's too early to say.

Her keen observation very quickly noticed how much damage she could possibly do to this spider, the structural integrity of the legs could be made zilch with one swing of the flail, much the same could be said of some of the other hollow bits of it as well… Provided her strikes could hit it. It obviously had all the firepower it need right in front of it; Why give it the bulk for durability when it could just evade attacks made its way and strike at a distance?

She watched as the creature eyed her up and down, staring at her equipment. This was the moment of truth, now; she might have to get serious if the creature’s mood changes one bit, but for right now she was in the clear. She placed her flail to her side as a sort of gesture of peace, the tension foreboding her from doing the same for her shield attached to her leg, a quick defense in case the spider would strike a threatening posture… Or rather would begin to blast her.

The most interesting bit of her equipment was her shield. While her flail was a rather standard plain carbon flail with a studded ball, her aegis contained a rather highly unusual mixture of ingredients: It was a steel, quite obviously, around it's rims and surface to most likely case around a wooden core with how well she seemed to hold onto it with little strife, but the actual composition of the steel rims were of an unnatural hardness, tinted a very faint gold in the midst of the silver. If if the golem's eyes were quite astute, they could possibly gather the exact composition and numerous elements melted and merged together into one.

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