Ludo gazed into the gloom at the dark figure and held his torch higher to cast more light into the room and to clear away any cobwebs within his vicinity. “Come on Miklos, lets get what we came for and leave”.
“A dragon for a steed!” marveled Hasan. The young elf’s grey-green eyes consumed the painting. “I wonder what powers that rod brings. Methinks this one is but a pale shadow of its master. Not a shadow like that, of course,” the elf concluded, gesturing angrily at the dark images across the way. “Go ahead, Miklos, but if you fail, let me try.”
The dwarf took note of the artwork for a moment. “I’m getting an inkling now of why the Sons of Night are so interested in this place,” he commented drily as he positioned himself by the entrance, facing outward – keeping watch behind the group while Miklos decided how best to proceed.
Stephan too took in the dramatic artwork. “I’m just a simple soldier, but I’m getting the feeling that Hasan needs to take the rod.” As he spoke, the woodsman maneuvered away from the side of the chamber that depicted the dark figure. He could not look long at the figure as its blackness seemed to draw him in. Icy tendrils seemed to envelop his heart. He gritted his teeth, forcing himself to look away from the dark silhouette.
He noted the Hutaaka seemed to be gone for the most part; having positioned themselves just outside the doors to the vault. Hefting his sword and shield, he looked to Miklos who had a wondrous look on his face as he gazed at the rod.
Miklos withdrew the rod he held and felt its power grow. The young mage smiled at his friends watching eyes. “It really is an elementary application of force, you see,” the mage began. “All triggered by great mental strength and channelled through a command word. At least, I believe so.” The mage’s eyes closed as he added his power to that intrinsic to the rod. The mage quietly spoke the trigger word his study with Hasan had divined, “Oppna.”
A stone trapdoor behind a large altar opened at Miklos’s command.
Maruc watched warily. “The lack of faith these priests show, it disturbs me. They seem to know their immortal’s reach has weakened. We may be challenged here, even in their sacred place. On guard, Stephan.”
Steep, ancient steps lead down into the gloom. For a few moments, nothing could be heard except the sound of the party’s own anxious breathing, but then a sound from below, like stone grating on stone broke the silence.