(an IC reason for an extended RL absence)
Kerala stared at the arching doorway with a sense of unease. The stone curved high, yawning open on a large circular room lit brightly by the sun above where a hole was cut in the ceiling. The light filtered down in a visible column, dust swirling like glitter. The rest of the room fell in a deep gloom by comparison. Dark shadows slowly made themselves known as heavy drapes lining the walls, covered in dust and cobwebs, relics of a time long past, if not forgotten.
Kerala stood in the doorway, the strength of her resolve beginning to crumble. Surely this mistake could be solved some other way. Why did the Forsaken have to embrace the aspects of deathly existence so wholeheartedly that they lived underground? For all they professed to hate their curse of undeath, they sure seemed to revel in it!
Kerala stepped through the doorway, eyes drawn increasingly upwards to the faraway promise of light and air above her. Her stomach flopped oddly.
Directly before her now rose a stone chair with a four steps surrounding it. To either side was a smaller human-sized archway. Uncertain, Kerala habitually steered to the right, hand reaching out for a wall. She was momentarily surprised when she encountered none. This was a large room, not a tunnel! She took a deep breath, suddenly aware that she'd been breathing too fast.
She took another slow deep breath, made herself take steps toward the chosen doorway.
The banker had been adamant. There was no way for him to meet her outside Undercity, not even in the courtyard. The Kor'Kron were too restrictive in their overseeing. The necessary paperwork was kept in the vaults. There were other reasons, but Kerala only really remembered that this was the only way.
The amount missing was staggering. The Horns would be bankrupt now if she had not replaced the funds with her own, and it had taken over half of what she had. Not that she needed it. Kerala lived simply, mined gems and shaped them for pleasure. She had no real need for money. But that someone should TAKE it from her...
Irritation quickened her steps, distracted her enough to step through the doorway and down the small ramp without really paying attention to what she was doing. She came to a stone coffin surrounded with tall pillar candles and turned right into the first tunnel without thought.
She blinked, suddenly aware of the gloom. She was surrounded by stone. Weak flames flickered on torches flanking the small tunnel behind and before her, where two Kor'kron overseers gazed at her. Their expressions were unreadable, hidden behind the narrow slits of visored helmets. Large spiked pauldrons covered their shoulders and each held an ax ready in hands that flexed on the hafts.
A soft grinding noise as the stone door between the orcs slowly slid up. The elevator beyond had three large lanterns that burned brightly from a fixture decorated with skulls. A circular green carpet covered the floor. Discomfitted more by the stare she felt from behind the visors than from the dimly lit tunnel, Kerala stepped between the orcs and into the elevator shaft, which seemed inviting by comparison. The stone door slid slowly down with the same soft sound of stone against stone. The elevator ground slowly into motion. She was relieved to be away from the orcs and on her way to hopefully solving the bank issue.
The small circular chamber grew dim as the floor slowly fell away from the bright light of the lanterns fixed not to the chamber of the elevator, but the ceiling of the shaft itself.
Suddenly unbalanced, she staggering against the jagged spikes ringing the chamber like the ribs of some great beast that had swallowed her. A violent trembling overtook her. She was trapped! She fell to the carpet, gasping. She clawed at her neck, confused when there was nothing there to rip away, nothing strangling her. Her chest began to burn, her heart pounding and her lungs crying for air. She tried to call for help, not sure if she made a sound or not. Confused, certain that she was dying, she did the only other thing she could think of. Then there was no more thought.