Monthly Archives: April 2007

CLANK!

The odd-looking metal intrigued the dwarf and he heads over to study it more. He did not see any craftsman trademarks upon it or any runes. The fact that it is enclosed separately implies to him that it is either dangerous or special in some means so for now he doesn’t cross into the enclosure but he does toss a pebble from the roof onto it to see if it somehow reacts. The pebble bounced on the metal as normal.

With nothing else of note in the area, Feldard chose to venture into the enclosure, wary of magic but too curious about this strange metal to not learn more about it. He lifted his foot over the short railing…

* * * * *

Nicolai conducted a search of the area, and then said “I suggest we free the victims from below, learn what little they know, and return to Sisak for the night. Once we have all rested, we move onto the Elven village marked on the map and decide what to do from there.”

Miklos studied the map for a few moments then as the others searched the roof above he made a copy of the map on a clean piece of parchment. “What do you make of this Maruc?”

Maruc took the original after the mage had finished his copy. “A bit melodramatic eh? Labelling your own Tower like that. Sign of a disfunctional upbringing, or perhaps he was brought up in a monastry?” Maruc grinned at his own joke.

“Still this offers up many questions. What is the Book of the Sons of Night, did we miss it in our searches of Cadwell’s castle? Or do we have it in front of us now?” Maruc indicated the large book. “Why are there no points of interest around the tower itself? He did choose to build it here, he could have built it anywhere. Mind you Radlebb Woods may well be overrun with elves so its building might have been challenged. Especially if you build it using orc labour.”

Miklos gestured to the settlements indicated on the map. “I think these are purely for reference and scale. I don’t think there is anything of particular interest to Dentiata in Sisak or the Elven village. The Temple, on the other hand seems to be what he has been concentrating on, He’s even noted historic reference to Darker. Surely a nickname. Still, if you are correct in the assumption that we have the ‘Book of the Sons of Night’ it would indicate that he has sort Sevastians aid or more probably he has raided his tower.”

Maruc nodded. “Either way it’s quite plain that Dentiata’s researches have lead him to believe that the ‘Black Opal Eye’ may be found there or clues to its whereabouts at the least.”

“By searching out this ‘Eye’ have you thought that we might be rousing powers that should be left well alone?” The concern registering on Miklos’s face.

“Look, Miklos. Do you truely believe that we have found all the members of the Son’s of Night?” Marus replied, “We have exposed ourselves to them already. We have upset the balance of power within their ranks by dispatching two of their number. We have committed ourselves now, if we do not locate this artifact it will not be long before it falls into their hands. Come now and put me out of my misery and tell me what that book is.”

Miklos breathed out slowly as lifted the large book and placed it in front of him on the table. He squared it up and looked up at the priest. “I truely hope this is not cursed in some way. I have no counter magic for it even if it was. Still nothing ventured nothing gained.”

Miklos opened the book. It was immediately clear to him that this was indeed the Book of the Sons of Night, a written history of the malevolent group. Before he could delve into its pages however, he was distracted by a loud CLANK! from above.

* * * * *

Saeth, less than enraptured by the study of the book, had decided to trail the Dwarf up the stairs, arriving just in time to see him get sucked down onto the metal area of the roof. He landed with a large CLANK!

Feldard found himself pinned down, unable to get back up. Every piece of metal he possessed was pulled by a strong force of magnetism to the roof.

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The Darkmage’s Map

dentiata_map.jpg

“Hopefully the traps on the cupboard indicate that the book wasn’t used often… Any ideas what that little case is?” Saeth stared at the objects they had just found.

Since the dwarf couldn’t read nor understand runes, Feldard left the further studying of the objects to the mage and/or cleric. He shrugged at the Elfs question. “Something to help him retrieve the Eye?” The dwarf turned and looked to Ashira once more. “Dungeons. Lets’ go.”

“Maybe these prisoners were told what was expected of them when they were to be sacrificed.”

Miklos’s eyes lit up at the books. “Now this is what we are after. If you would be so kind I would like to scan these texts over here by the table. Maruc, I noticed you investigating the shelf eariler. It may help my understanding if we made a list of the artifacts there.”

His mind racing he barreled on, it didn’t occur to him his comments might cause offence. “Feldard, my worthy and highly esteemed dwarf, we are not yet at the top of the tower.” Miklos gestured toward the stairwell. “Perhaps, defensively speaking, ensure the upper halls hold no threat before searching the dungeons below?”

The dwarf grumbled some at Miklos words; and without a word he altered direction and headed up the next set of stairs on his own.

Maruc, taken aback somewhat, mumbled under his breath, “Who died and made you leader?”. Then in a louder voice he said, “Of course Miklos I defer to your superior course of action. As you can see this brief task will take but moments. Perhaps thereafter I may assist you in decyphering the texts? Remember Dentiata was fond on anagrams, The text might be laden with them.” he hoped the hint of sarcasm was not lost on the young Mage.

Miklos registered the comment but chose not to be baited. “Thank you, Nicolai. Now lets see.” He unrolled the parchment first, a cursory glance at the case indicated the clue to opening it would need to be researched so no point in looking at that now. Also, the book could wait until the parchment revealed its secrets.

“Let us see what Dentiata was up to….” As he unrolled the parchment, he saw that it was a map. It seemed to have been drawn by the wizard himself, with notes that Miklos matched the Dentiata’s handwriting that he had seen in the office. It showed Westron Road, the tower (labelled The Dread Tower), Sisak, Specularum, Caldwell’s castle (which was labelled as Sevastian’s with a note about The Book of the Sons of Night), an Elven village in the Radlebb woods, and ,near the village, was a temple which was labelled ‘Temple of Gray Mountain’. A note underneath the label read ‘Built on the Ruins of The Darkers Tower’ & ‘Black Opal Eye??’.

* * * * *

The dwarf made his way up the stairs and found himself on the tower’s roof. It was surrounded by a 5-foot high crenellated wall. A low wooden railing surrounded a 30x 30′ area against the north wall. The portion of the roof enclosed by the railing was made of a strange-looking metal. The rest of the roof was paved with slate. The view from atop the tower showed forest stretching from miles.

 

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The Secret Compartment

While his companions recovered in the hallway where he’d dragged them to, the dwarf sourly paced the bottom of the stairs that led to Dentiata’s evil workshop. “Nicolai managed to open the compartment before he triggered that trap. I should go back up and check it out.” But he didn’t move that way quite yet. Who knew what other sort of evils the mage had guarding his secrets? Things more foul than darkness and mere sleeping gas. Thoughts of such kept the dwarf with the group and in a bad humour.

“Praise Halav the tray was not fatal.” Maruc said with feeling as soon as he realised what had happened. He looked with concern at his other formerly-unconscious friends but was relieved to see that they also were groggy, but fine.

Miklos was surprised when he awoke with the priest bending over him. “I’m fine, I’m fine, stop fussing.” He snapped.

After a brief recap over the events that lead to the trap being triggered Maruc commiserated with the young rogue, “Oh well , Nicolai this sort of thing happens to the best of us, think nothing of it. Be thankful rather that it wasn’t worse. Perhaps now we can discover what was protected by such an elaborate trap. Are you up for it?” He asked Nicolai.

“Yeah, sorry about that guys. I would have thought that might have been a touch more lethal considering he came downstairs to confront us earlier. He might’ve tried to stay hidden, and hope we’d all fallen under that sleeping gas.”

Miklos had been thinking the same thing, but then reconsidered it aloud, “Dentiata quite plainly thought himself impregnable. This trap was designed for the capture, and probably torture of miscreants. He may well have a score of hapless thieves in his dungeon ready for experimentation, poor souls… I wonder what Dentiata took great pains to conceal and protect?”

The group once again made their way back to the darkened area for a final search of the recess.

Inside the compartment they found three items:

  • a huge over-sized black leather-bound book matching the dimensions of the altar’s podium
  • a rolled up piece of parchment
  • a small, sturdy black case covered with runes and a strange lock with no keyhole

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Sleeping It Off

Saeth held her breath, and scanned the room–were there any windows, to help vent this poison? With no time to open them, she descended the steps, then stood panting at the bottom as the indefatiguable Dwarf went back to drag the others out.
Feldard didn’t dare speak and waste precious breath instead he motioned for Ashira and the Elf to descend the steps. The dwarf then made his way deeper into the gas-filled room and tried dragging the others over to the stairway without breathing in the noxious fumes. He grabbed the Cleric first and spent a moment at the stairs gaining back his breath before going back in for Miklos and lastly Nicolai. He didn’t know how long the fumes would last but the dwarf took no chance.

As he dragged Nicolai back, he glanced at the altar. It seems that Nicolai was at least able to open the secret compartment. He did not have time to examine it at that moment—his priority being to get the young man safely out of the room.

Thankfully, the three unconscious friends seemed only to be knocked out and not poisoned. After a few minutes, the effects of the gas wore off and they recovered.

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A Trap Triggered

“There’s a secret compartment on this alter” He didn’t try opening immediately, rather he waited for the rogue to check it out. Leaving the disabling of the trap and search of the compartment for the others, he passed off the guide rope to one of those remaining and then heads out of the darkness shaking his head.

Returning to the darkness, Nicolai warned the others to stand back, and started to attempt to remove the trap.

Feldard looked to the servant. “While my companions further check the alter, you’ll lead me down to the dungeons.”

“As you wish,” said Ashira. She was not comfortable in this room. Dentiata had forbade her to enter, and she was not especially anxious to find out why.

The Dwarf’s words, as he emerged from the darkness, spurred a reply from Saeth. “Going to the dungeons? Care for a good sword at your back?”

The Elf set herself up too nicely with that question. “Yes I am. And I sure would but you can come along instead.” He chuckled to himself, watching for her reaction.

Miklos stepped back at Nicolai’s warning. Fasinating, Miklos hoped that the compartment might reveal some of Dentiata secrets. Which up until now were well hidden. This finding would spur a closer check of all the rooms they had visited. Miklos stood aside and allowed Feldard to pass and waited to see what the rogue discovered.

Maruc turned to the emerging Dwarf. “Do you mind awaiting the results of Nicolai’s ministrations before setting off? Mainly because you may need my help and so might Nicolai any minute. Thank you.”

Then he looks to Maruc as the cleric bids him wait. He sighed but did indeed wait at the top of the stairs with Saeth, keeping his eye on Ashira.

Nicolai tried to deactivate the trigger. Click. Oops!

A cloud of gas immediately filled the room.

Standing next to the darkness aura Maruc didn’t see it coming. “Whats that funny smel….?” He, along with Miklos and Nicolai, slumped to the floor. Saeth and Ashira, who were standing at the top of the stairs were able to act quickly and avoid breathing in too much of the gas. Though they felt a bit woozy, they remained conscious.

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A Secret Compartment

“I, for one, have little care for seeing this sacrificial altar, or enjoying whatever use you might put it to. If our apprentice wizard here wishes to take a look, that couldn’t hurt, but I’ll just as soon wait out here.” The Elf relaxed, hearing Feldard’s voice from the darkness, but was not entirely comfortable with the wizard’s spell.

Miklos’s mood darkened slightly at the ‘apprentice’ comment. He tried to keep it from his face. Who was this Elf to question the training of human Magi? Perhaps it was the Elven unique approach to magic. Perhaps he should not be as swift to judge her as she had judge him. Feeling slightly more superior at this thought he replied, “Indeed I wish to experience these things as it will enable me to identify simliar artifacts and form opinions based on personal observation in the future.”

That said he now had to brave the darkness. He still wasn’t entirely convinced that it wasn’t some clever ruse by a malevolent mimic. Still he couldn’t back down in front of Saeth now. He stifly drew himself up, took a deep breath and exhaled slowly. Before he could change his mind he closed his eyes and walked straight toward Feldard’s voice.

He walked straight into Feldard.

“Ow, sorry.” He said absently and blindly his arm reached out. Into fresh air. Stumbling he cursed and picked himself back up climbing up the alter. He could see and the first thing he saw was the Dwarfs surly expression and the slow shake of his head.

“I’m sorry.” ‘I must stop apologising’ he told himself.

Maruc’s jaw dropped at the same time as his hold on the rope. Miklos breezed past him. “But you aren’t protected.” He breathed, too late. He glanced over to Saeth then into the darkness. “I still wouldn’t advise going in there.” Then he directed his next question into the darkness, “Are there any ways on from in there?”

Nicolai, walked back out of the darkness following the rope. “This is a pedestal for a book. It might be an idea if we work out which book was to sit on that pedestal. And then burn it. This kind of knowledge should be destroyed.”

Miklos bulked at this comment. “Would you then surrender your weapons so that you may not harm anyone further? Weapons are not evil, people are. The fact that a man might use Dentiata’s knowledge for evil intent does not in itself mean that knowledge is evil. It’s not the search for the secrets of life a noble calling? It is only what Dentiata and his Sons of Night have done with this knowledge that is reprehensible. It would be wise to take his studies to the Mages guild so that they might better understand the foes set against them.”

Feldard studied the alter more as he waited for Nicolai and Miklos. The cleric’s question had him searching about for hidden doorways or secret paths under the alter. A little far fetched to be sure but.. these were evil mages they were dealing. Might as well check..

“Hmm interesting.” Miklos studied the alter. “Our assumptions were correct. A blood collection bed? Or perhaps just a method of keeping the surgeon and the floor clean whilest he works?” This sounded more dispassionate than he intended. “And the book stand, reminds you of a recipe book stand I have seen in kitchens does it not? Or church pulpit…”

Miklos traced the direction of the deep groove to see where all the blood collected.

“I very much doubt it was a kitchen,” said Nicolai. “Unless you can force a cow up several flights of stairs, through a magically darkened area and then up onto that slab. Miklos, do you fancy trying that? But it is unlike any church I’ve ever entered.”

“What? Eh?” Miklos paused in his investigation and turned to Nicolai. “Sorry, I was thinking aloud. No, no this is no kitchen. I was refering to the nature the tables’ design. I was likening the ‘book stand’ to what you might find in say a kitchen or a church not the room or its function. Judging by the size of it I’d imagine this was used for dissecting creatures no bigger than a man.”

Feldard didn’t find any evidence of a hidden doorway underneath the platform, but as he turned his attention to the altar itself, he noticed the subtle outline of what he surmised to be a secret compartment within the altar.

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The Stone Of Sacrifice

The squat figure disappeared into the dark, and silence filled the room. All that could be heard was the slow breathing of the four companions, waiting for news of the fifth. Finally, after an interminable wait, the elf called in her singsong voice, “Master Dwarf, has the darkness swallowed you whole?”

Miklos waited to see if the surly dwarf replied. The rope hadn’t gone slack so there was still hope. he had stopped though he must have reached the obstruction. “What have you discovered Feldard?” he asked trying to keep his voice level.

Maruc paid out the rope until the dwarf stopped. He kept the rope from draggin on the ground and waited for Feldard to reply to the questioning.

“Sod this.” Nicolai drew his sword and with one hand on the rope followed Feldard in.

“When touching the stone in here you can see. It is a sacrifical alter—an eight pointed, dark red stone alter about 15 ft across. Has grooves on it for channeling blood I think. It’s been used extensively by the stains I see. In front of the stone is a pedestal, for holding a book. ” He pauses a moment hearing footsteps and feeling a tug on the rope. “I suppose that means the rest of you are coming in now too?”

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