The Long Road to Ruin Ch. 33-35byLady_Blackhawk©
Disclaimer: This fanfic is based off the Neverwinter Nights community module by the name of "A Dance with Rogues" created by Valine. I fell in love with this story and felt compelled to write something that compliments it. This story contains explicit content and graphic violence. All characters except Shiloh, Bastian, Rhys, Nicca, Ni'as, Narev and Essex are property of Valine.
A/N: "The Golden Chalice" had originally been split into 3 separate chapters, but for the posting here I'm making them all 1 chapter so the readers can enjoy it in its entirety. It will be a very long chapter so bear with me! The story is worth it!
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The Golden Chalice
Once Christano and Shanna had gathered their packs, Shiloh led them to the stairway that headed further down. She bypassed the set of stairs on the left leading to the sanctum, opting for the unexplored set to the right.
"We really should be on our guard down here. Myra and I encountered all kinds of undead, though she was able to use her divine grace to destroy them. Of course if I had such power, I think I could've done it better," Shiloh smirked.
Myra scoffed at her, "You wouldn't know which way to point the holy symbol, fat ass. It's your fault our armor got destroyed."
"Hey! It is not my fault! I tried to be of help to you. I've never encountered undead things before. You don't exactly find them wandering the streets of Betancuria!" Shiloh retorted, glaring at her.
Myra sneered disapprovingly, meeting her glare evenly. "And it was your fat ass that caused the rope to break!"
"Ladies," Christano barked as he shook his head, "Enough bickering!"
Shiloh turned her glare towards him while Myra lowered her eyes once more. "Let's move on then," she huffed.
"Did you find any tombs down there?" Christano asked hopefully.
"No, just lots of undead, we should be cautious!" Shiloh shrugged before turning the corner. She took the steps slowly, hugging the wall until it opened up into a large square room. She pressed herself against the wall and waved caution when she caught sight of a dozen or more, foul, stinking undead milling around aimlessly. There seemed to be more climbing out of a vile pit as tense seconds ticked by.
Christano ignored her warning and charged in, to do battle while Myra surreptitiously brandished the holy symbol of Bastian, directing it away from Christano at a few undead creatures that came at her. Shanna and Shiloh worked in tandem with their holy warrior counterparts, providing the necessary distraction that allowed Myra to use her divine power to destroy the foul undead.
Suddenly Shanna howled and doubled over, retching violently as one of the undead had slipped past her defenses, slamming her in the chest with its closed fist. She rolled away, slipping behind Christano. The paladin took it all in stride, stepping up to it while calling out to his companions, "They're ghouls! Be careful not to get hit. You'll end up sick!" He smashed his morningstar into the head of the one that had hit Shanna, giving her time to recover her senses. The ghoul slammed a fist against Christano's shield before he bashed it again, this time reducing it to chunks of putrid flesh.
Shanna cheered him as she nimbly dodged away from another ghoul, landing a hit, with her dagger, into the ribs of a nearby ghoul. She called out to Shiloh frantically, "Behind you!"
Shiloh twirled about, whip in her right hand and her short sword, Darksbane, in the left. She cracked Oathreaver at the ghoul, rending chunks of its putrid flesh, following it up with the slash of her blade. Myra chanted loudly, calling to her hand a sphere of blazing white light. She directed it at the two ghouls before her. They shook under the wrath of Bastian's glorious radiance, turning to dust in a spectacular implosion. Myra then whirled around to meet the next two, thrusting the holy symbol at them. They too exploded, turning into more particles of dust.
Once all the ghouls were defeated, Myra turned to the pit, engulfed it with the same glorious light as before, this time, forever sealing its putrescence. No undead would come out of that pit again. Tucking the holy symbol inside her pack, she moved to Christano's side. "Have I done well?" She asked, lowering her eyes as flashes of memory raced through her mind. She could clearly see him bedding Shanna, clearly remembered the words Christano had uttered to the younger female. It made Myra burn with need for vengeance and soon he would pay dearly for his indiscretion.
Christano glanced around the room, noting the scattered remnants of the ghouls. "Very well, I shall have to reward you tonight properly," he replied with a leering grin. He reached out and tweaked her one of her exposed nipples roughly.
As Christano continued to ply Myra, Shiloh led Shanna to a nearby door, allowing Shanna to practice her newly learned skill of picking locks. Shanna nimbly plied the lockpick and skeletal key in the keyhole, manipulating the tumblers within until she heard it click. "I got it," she beamed before opening the door.
"Watch out!" Shiloh warned, shoving Shanna back as metal spikes thrust forth from tiny slits in the floor. Shanna landed haphazardly on the floor, sprawled out rather unladylike. "I'm going to have to teach you how to search for traps before you open something at random. That was a close one."
"Ouch!" Shanna whined as she stood up, rubbing her bottom gingerly. "Warn me next time. That hurt!"
"I can guarantee that it didn't hurt as much as any one of the spankings your darling Vico gave me!" Shiloh retorted, glancing back at Myra and Christano who remained across the room, their heads close as they spoke softly between themselves. Shiloh motioned for Shanna to enter the small room beyond the door after she disabled the spike trap. She lowered her voice as she gazed down at Shanna. "Did you succeed with Christano? Is Lord Bastian pleased?"
"Yes, to both your questions," Shanna replied, "and Myra?"
Shiloh grinned widely, momentarily taking in a glowing light around the corner in the room. "She accepted Lord Bastian's offer, but we have to play our roles until the time is right. He gave us this armor and the new weapons. I'm sure he'll have something for you, too."
Shanna beamed a smile. "I hope so, too. I like that armor. It's very sexy, especially Myra's. Do you think I'll get some like it?"
Shiloh looked around carefully before she spoke. She had to make sure Christano wasn't within earshot. No, the paladin seemed occupied with fondling Myra. Shiloh's eyes narrowed. She noticed the afflicted look on Myra's face as the paladin's hands caressed her none too gently. "Damn him!" Shiloh growled. "We'll talk later. Christano, I've found something over here. I see a glowing light."
Christano turned to see Shiloh standing in the doorway of the room, her hands on her hips, tapping her foot on the stone floor impatiently. He joined her, brushing past her suggestively, his hands touching her hips just above the gold bands that formed the waist of her armor. She pushed him away from her, glaring a challenging look at him with her blazing blue eyes. Christano cocked an eyebrow at her. "Show me," he stated.
Shiloh led him to the ledge of the room that looked out over a deep dark abyss. She motioned to the south. "Look, it seems to be coming from around the corner."
He nodded, peering out and then down. "Yes, you're right. There is definitely something there. Now the question is, what is it and how do we get there?"
"I'm hoping there's a secret door." Shiloh turned and began thoroughly searching the wall beside her, frowning, as she discovered nothing.
"The walls look too solid." Christano thoughtfully replied as his eyes raked over them as well as her mostly bare flesh. "I have an idea, though."
"Which is?" Shiloh replied. "I don't like that look in your eyes, Sir Paladin. You shouldn't be gazing upon me like you're a starving man and I'm the main course. It's rather rude, especially with your lady nearby."
"And you should keep your mind on the mission at hand, thief," he firmly admonished her. "Now, here's my idea. Listen well. You might be able to put your foot onto that edge along the wall. Admittedly, it's very tiny. We'll form a chain so that you don't fall off. Myra will hold you, and I'll hold Myra from here. This way you should be able to reach the other side safely."
"You're out of your mind, you loathsome pig. Do you really expect me to dangle over that deep hole with only her holding onto me? She's so scrawny she may drop me," Shiloh protested.
"I'd gladly do it!" Shanna piped up.
"You'd do anything, you little slut. A word of advice, back off. Christano is mine!" Myra shot out, pushing Shanna away from Chris.
"Ladies!" he bellowed for a second time that day. "I've just about had enough. I mean it. Now, we will do this my way. Shiloh is the obvious choice because she's the most dexterous of us all. She also has the smallest feet."
Myra huffed ungraciously. "Do you really think I'll dangle above this hole with her weight dragging me down?! Her ass weighs as much as I do!"
Shiloh hissed and glared at Myra furiously. "At least I have an ass!"
Christano gently touched Myra's face, his hands cupping her chin. "Fear not. Myra, dear, I'm strong enough to hold you both. Please don't worry. I'd rather jump into the abyss myself than let you come to harm."
Myra stared him down, chewing on her bottom lip. Part of her wanted to push him over the ledge, but she knew they needed his strength to get them what they sought. She sighed as she heard Bastian's voice cautioning her to go along with Christano.
"And Shiloh, it'd probably be best if you take off your armor and leave your pack so the weight does not add to your own in case you fall off and we have to catch you. Really, though, I don't think you'll have much trouble getting from this ledge to the other one. That step in between is wide enough for your feet. You'll just want to be careful and go slow, but not too slow. And for the sake of the gods, don't look down."
"Why is it all these things that need doing require me to disrobe in front of you?" Shiloh glared at Christano.
"Quit worrying about showing me your ass and get out of that armor. As far as I'm concerned, you couldn't hold a candle to my Myra so don't flatter yourself. Now, get out of your armor and let's do this!" Christano barked at her as he put his hands on the red and gold cups that covered her breasts.
Myra flashed a furious look between Shiloh and Christano. "Take your hands of her and stop this foolish behavior both of you. I swear if you take only one wrong look at her..."
"You have nothing to worry about, my little one. You're my sunshine. All others pale in comparison." The words poured seamlessly from his lips.
Shiloh rolled her eyes and shook her head. "Climbing along a very thin ledge, naked, and only held by Myra... Lovely idea indeed," she muttered as she pushed Christano's hands away from her body and called on Shanna to help her remove the scanty armor. Once she was ready, she nodded at Christano.
"All ready, Shiloh?" His eyes perused Shiloh's naked body, his eyes lingering here and there.
"As ready as I'll ever be," she huffed before she peered at the tiny ledge, mentally envisioning her path. She sent a silent prayer to Bastian and felt his grace settle upon her. In her head, she heard his voice.
"Never fear, my precious one. I have you. I will allow no harm to come to you. Trust in me."
Myra grabbed hold of Shiloh's hand as Christano grabbed Myra by the waist. Shiloh winked at Myra, smiling secretively before she carefully placed a foot on the edge, looming above the abyss. It was pitch black and Shiloh was certain that she don't want to know how deep it was. She heard a familiar chuckle in her head. "Oh, it's a few hundred feet deep. Jagged rocks line the bottom of the chasm. Don't think about it, though. I have you and won't let you fall."
"Bastian! Damn it all!" She cursed him under her breath, placing her feet on the little ridge between the two rooms before grabbing hold of the adjacent ledge. She hugged the wall and carefully started moving towards the room that's around the ledge. She pulled herself into the small room that held a sarcophagus. The thought of opening the coffin niggled at her in some odd way she didn't quite understand, but if it provided something that would help them on their mission here it was worth it.
She searched the lid for a latch to open it, and noticed a vial of green acid positioned where it would break if disturbed. She made short work of disabling it, then dropping the vial into the abyss; she then picked the lock that held the sarcophagus shut. It wasn't a particularly difficult lock and came open rather quickly.
She cautiously lifted the lid and peered inside. There were no bones, just tattered fabric and a small pouch that held a key and a belt. She wrapped the belt around her waist and tucked the key safely between it and her skin, shivering as the cold metal touched her. Then she moved back to the ledge and called out to Christano. "I found a coffin. There was a key in it. Maybe it goes to that other door I saw in the room where we fought those ghouls."
"Excellent work, Shiloh," he replied as he peered around the corner, looking for her.
"I'm ready to come back," she spoke up, looking down into the darkness before her.
"Don't look down. I'll keep you safe!" Bastian's voice boomed in her head. Shiloh winced at his admonishment of her doubt.
She took a deep breath and eased herself down onto the narrow ledge, still hugging the wall while reaching out for Myra's hand. Shiloh shot Myra an almost pleading look and mouthed the words, "Don't let go!"
Myra nodded, gripping her hand tightly while helping Shiloh back up to solid ground. She sighed as she sank to the floor. "That was so scary. I envisioned falling, plunging to my death."
"Fear not. I wouldn't have let you fall. You were in safe hands. Perhaps we should rest here. This room seems safe enough if we bar the door, and I can make some tea to calm our nerves. There's even some spare wood to build a small fire with as well." Christano smiled. "I'll even take watch for the better part of the night so you ladies can sleep undisturbed."
"That's the best idea you've had all day, Chris dear." Myra stalked over to the wood and began to build a fire, expediting the process with a little magic. She spread out her bedroll on one side and sat down on it, pulling from within her pack a mug and a packet of tea leaves. "Do you have our kettle?"
Christano pulled it from his pack and handed it to her along with his waterskin. "Allow me, dear. I have the tea you enjoy so much."
She smiled at him, starting to gaze into his eyes as if no one else was there until Bastian's voice entered her head once more, giving her a warning. "He's trying to think of a way to fuck not only you tonight, but Shanna as well. Possibly even Shiloh. Be on your guard."
Myra looked away, hoping she'd managed to disguise her surprise quickly enough. She should've known better. Of course he'd continue to try to get away with whatever he could as long as he thought she wasn't aware of it.
"Will someone help me back into my armor?" Shiloh piped up, hoping to distract Christano and pull the spotlight off Myra. "Oh, I found this belt as well as the key in the coffin over there. Also, I think I may have an idea on what door the key goes to. The other door in the big room with that foul undead producing pit, I haven't the faintest why this belt was in the coffin. There were no bones, no body, nothing but these two things. Isn't that odd? Makes me wonder whether this thing has magical properties, maybe someone can examine it and do a little hocus pocus on it."
Shiloh un-wrapped it from around her waist and held it out to Christano, who eyed her slowly before handing it to Myra. "Check it for magic, my sweet."
Shanna assisted Shiloh with her armor, slipping the pieces in place. "This is some bad ass sexy armor. I think Rhys will like it. I wanted the armor that Myra's wearing, but she found it first." Shiloh smirked to her sister, winking.
"It doesn't leave much to the imagination, that's for sure."
A laugh slipped from Shiloh's lips. "That's what I like about it, though." Then she turned to see Christano laying out his bedroll near Myra's. "Should we set up a watch order? I'll gladly take first watch. I am far too wound up after dangling over that chasm to sleep. Myra can take second watch. Shanna, you take third and Christano can take the last few hours."
"And just who made you the one to say who gets what watch?" The paladin challenged.
"Since you volunteered me to the dangerous stuff, I think that qualifies me as the leader. I'm the one handling the traps, the locks, and finding the way to the lower levels. And as I've mentioned before, I am a princess, after all, and am heir to my father's throne."
Christano glared at her, mentally sizing her up. "I don't care who you are. I hired you! I'm taking first watch. You'll take the second and third and Myra will take the fourth one. She'll need her rest to renew her spells."
"Is that so, huh? Have you ever stopped to ask Myra what she wants? Maybe she'd prefer first instead of fourth? And do you think that Shanna can't take a watch? She's competent enough with a blade from what I saw earlier against those ghouls. I think she could handle it."
"I'd actually prefer first watch," Myra spoke up as she accepted a cup of tea from Christano. She hesitated while lifting the cup to her lips.
"Don't drink it, my precious one. It's laced with herbs to make you sleep," Bastian warned her mentally.
She set it down on the floor, near the fire, switching it with Christano's, while he was occupied, arguing, with Shiloh.
"And if she takes first, will you still be taking second?"
"Yes, I'll do both. Now have we a watch order or are we going to argue all night?" Shiloh retorted back at the paladin. Disgust ate at her, causing her stomach to roll. Leaning in close to him, her eyes narrowed dangerously, while glaring at him. "Keep your hands and everything else off my sister!"
"I really don't know what you're talking about," he shrugged as he unbuckled the straps holding his breastplate together. "I protected her while we were separated from you and Myra. Why would I be interested in a child when I have my lady?"
"Why indeed?" Shiloh retorted. "I'm warning you, nevertheless. And furthermore, Shanna will take third watch. You can have the last. I think you need some sleep to improve your mood."
Christano glared at her, looking her straight in the eye. "Fourth watch, it is, but do not make the assumption that you're calling the shots."
She cocked an eyebrow at him arrogantly and chuckled. "You have no idea, do you?" Then she spread out her bedroll and sat upon it, pulling a waterskin from it. She took a long swig of the tepid liquid inside before lying down. Her eyes met Myra's momentarily and winked at her slyly.
Myra nodded in acknowledgement and sipped the tea before yawning loudly. "Good night, dear." She watched surreptitiously as Christano drained his cup, how he eyed the females around him. It was almost as if she could read his mind as his eyes lingered on Shanna and Shiloh. He licked his lips, focusing intently on Shiloh's curvy hips and well-rounded bottom. Then he moved his gaze to Shanna, drinking deeply of the parts of her anatomy that he'd come to know so well over the past day or two.
Christano glanced around, noticing that the eyes of the three females were closed. The herbs seemed to have worked in Myra's tea. He smiled to himself and settled down, rubbing his face as a yawn slipped forth from his lips. He'd wait a while longer before waking Shanna for another lesson.