Monthly Archives: November 2007


Saeth slowly backed into the room, hearing only the last bit of the conversation between the two. Turning her head halfway towards the conversation, she called, “Ask it if its twin has a weakness.” She returned to her guard stance, but added as an afterthought, “And it could probably tell us something about the Eye we don’t know, come to think of it.” She trusted Miklos to handle the rest of the questioning—he seemed to be keeping that notebook of the quest. Speaking of, she’d have to ask for it later, see if she could put it to rhyme.

“Excellent idea, Saeth. By the look of it, like the golem above, common blades would seem to do little to it. Perhaps Miklos’ magicks, as much as I hate to say it, may save the day against such unnatural creatures.” As it seemed the Elf of Stone was content to talk rather than battle, Feldard moved into the chamber further, examining the route the lay beyond. “Also can it tell us of some of the other traps or such that lay further within?”

Saeth’s eyebrows rose slightly at the Dwarf’s praise of her, though she held back a retort that came instinctively to her, whether it be in contrast or kind.

Hasan approached the stony elf. “Ular-Taman, you served Master Elyas well. Would this binding enchantment allow you to guide us to the Tower and Halls? It would seem that is your purpose, as there is no way better to guard those places than by bringing one who follows the Quiet Way safely there, to restore these places to their lost glories.”

“I may not accompany on your mission, for I am bound to this chamber,” the stone elf replied stoically.

“Very well then, faithful servant. Discharge your duty as you must,” said Hasan with no little sympathy to the endless task. “But tell us then, how should we go forward?”

“There is a secret exit…here,” said the elf-creature as he gestured to one of the walls in the chamber.

“What should we expect on that journey? Has Elrond gone beyond this chamber?”

“Nay, he did not venture beyond this chamber.”

“Have you seen a dark man, a man of the north and west my companions tell me, called the Rahib?”

“Aye, he too tried to access the tunnel. I repelled him, but he found another way to the Tower Ruins”

“Last, if it is true that we will find your doughty, depraved brother on our way, tell me, friend, did he put these scars on you? I fear my humble blade will be no match for your enchanted flesh.”

“My wounds have accumulated through the ages as I have fought all those who sought to pass. No ordinary weapon may harm those of my kind. This holds true for my other.”

“I have such magicks that can harm these creatures, Feldard, but none at hand.” replied Miklos. “Even if I were to memorize such an invocation I fear it would do little to stop them. Yet if you are all prepared to trust the Elf of Stone I see no safer place to rest and heal. I doubt it would be intelligent to proceed as we are. Both you and Maruc himself are still in a weakened state. Let the guardian guard us and if his brother appears we should fair better here would we not?”




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Pendant Lost


The sight of the stone-skinned elf was a bit surprising, but after a moment Feldard lowered his axe into a merely defensive position and backed off a few steps to allow Hasan entrance. It was best to let the Siswa find out this story that Elrond spoke of and talk their way through the guardian rather than fight it. Odd notion for the dwarf, but then he was still feeling his earlier battle wounds. What the dwarf wanted most right now was a moment to sit down at an inn and quaff back an ale and then sleep for about a week. But such was not to be.

Feldard glanced beyond the Stony Elf to the room itself, looking for other passages or exits, as Hasan answered the question. Someone had wanted in quite fervently. Why? To speak to the Elf or for some other reason? Feldard puzzled this over.

Meanwhile, the cleric filed along the wall to allow the others entrance to the room, still wary of the strange new creature. Halav be blessed that it hadn’t attacked out of hand.

Miklos shivered as it inhuman voice intoned its words. If only he’d mastered his magecraft to such a level as to create such a marvel. It was wonderful and frightening at the same time. He stood in the doorway mesmerized by its grace. If it chose to attack he could do very little except flee so he didn’t, for the moment step beyond the threshold of the door.

“Yes, I am Hasan,” replied the relieved elf, still gasping from the tension of the entry into what he feared was surely a clever snare by some living dragon sprung from a young elf’s nightmare. “And you, what may I call you? Our meeting was foretold by my great clanhead, Elrond, who has now faded into the earth. After he left, he appeared to me as if in a dream and told me to seek out an Elf of Stone, which you do seem to be.”

“My name is Ular-Taman,” responded the rocky-fleshed elf, switching to the Common tongue. “Born from the conjurations of Elyas, I am tasked to guard the way to the Elyas’ Tower and the Halls of Grandeur. Elrond had hoped that you would find me.”

“Tell me, if you can, what you know of Elrond’s end and what lies ahead and below,” requested the noble Siswa. ”For know this, these brave companions of mine, as unlikely as they appear to us who know only the Peaceful Path, share my charge to seek out that which has poisoned our fair temple and animated those fallen spirits that now haunt our paths. We seek the Sisters Three that fell long ago, the Pendant of Elyas and—yes—even the Opal Eye itself.

“When last I saw Elrond, he entrusted me with the Pendant, lest it fall into the hands of those who serve darkness. But, there is another of my kind that lurks within the ruins below. Dark powers have perverted its noble purpose and it now serves the enemies of the Siswa. It entered the chamber. Aided by the undead, it was able to obtain the pendant. Bound by enchantment to the confines of this room, I was unable to pursue.”


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The Elf of Stone

Feldard did not understand the words between Hasan and the other, and distrusting, took the slight opening of the door not so much as an invitation but as further potential for attack. He roughly shouldered Hasan out of the way of the opening to prevent the elf from being a casualty while he strode forward to the door. Gripping his axe ready in one hand he pulled the door open with the other, revealing to all what lay behind. “Show yourself!”

“Ooof.” Hasan thudded against the narrow walls of the passage, as Feldard barreled past him. Once he regained his balance, Hasan quickly ran through the words and gestures he had studied to unleash a magic missile. He then stepped forward to greet their unseen host, and hopefully prevent the dwarf from getting them into trouble.

Hands spread wide with palms facing forward, in what he hoped would be seen as a peaceful gesture, Hasan intoned the most formal of the Elya’s ritual greetings, “May the sun shine on your land, the water run clear, and peace rule ever after.”

Saeth shook her head at the Dwarf’s rudeness, though she supposed it was to be expected. She kept her watch toward the rear, hoping that the Elf was peacefully defusing the situation.

Miklos rolled his eyes as the Feldard blundered in with Hasan in tow. Such for the subtlety of deception. He waited a few seconds with Seath for the sickening sound of dwarfsteel breaking flesh and bone. Then he had the sinking feeling that he had no magic left to rescue the foolish dwarf.

The priest grimaced and hefted his shield up. He offered a swift prayer to Halav and strode in behind the other two, raised his shield and shook out the chain on his mace meaningfully.

In the room before them, was what could only be what Elrond had referred to as The Elf of Stone. Assuming a defensive posture, it regarded those before him. At first glance, it appeared to be some sort of animated statue of a male elf in his prime, but as it moved, it appeared that while the skin of the creature looked exactly like stone, it retained the freedom of movement and grace common to the elven race. The elf’s skin bore several wounds carved into its stony texture.

It’s eyes fell upon the jade ring worn by Hasan, and it relaxed its stance.

“Are you the Siswa they call Hasan?”


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Feldard readied his axe at the sudden voice from the dark. He recognized the fluid and lyrical manner of speech as being Elven though he had no clue what was being said. He studied the tunnel and door warily and sidled up beside Hasan, speaking low in dwarven to only the Siswa companion. “Was that a warning or welcome?”

Maruc braced himself for a flurry of activity and tried to strain through the dark to see Hasan’s expression and wondered if he recognized the voice. The priest could offer little in advice as even a low discussion right now would alert the speaker to their number. That and the fact that he didn’t understand the question—but the fact the the speaker hadn’t stormed into the room sword drawn meant that he wasn’t expecting any particular or immediate trouble.

Miklos lent on his staff next to Seath at the rear of the party, there was little he could do here save to be patient. He did not speak. Hasan was the only one qualified to do so without raising too much suspicion.

Hasan slipped past Feldard to the door. “We are Siswa, driven from above by terrible creatures disturbed from their blessed rest,” answered Hasan, as firmly as his surprise and nervousness would allow. “I am Hasan, and I speak for the Elya. Open this gate, reveal your face, and we can talk of the things we have seen and why you find yourself trapped behind this rubble.”

Saeth glanced backwards, tuning out the chattering between Hasan and the doorkeep. Even were she not more or less disinterested in what the Siswa had to say to get through, she knew her role was clear—to ensure that no one was behind her in the tunnel, and to protect the others if there was.

“Enter,” invited the strange-sounding voice.

The door cracked open a little more.


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Who Goes There?


The work of opening up a passage through the rubble tired the dwarf a little more than he cared to admit. His wounds still bothered him but he stubbornly refused to let that slow him more than absolutely necessary. With the passage open, Feldard took back up his axe and led the way through. “One at a time and don’t dislodge any of the rocks to either side or the whole thing could come down on us.”

Hasan was anxious to leave the site of his lengthy labor. “Good. Well done, Feldard. Now let’s go, you and I, as quickly and quietly as you can, dear Dwarf, before the others come with their torches and ruin anything we’d see via infravision.”

Saeth heard only snippets of the other demihumans’ conversation, but it was enough to convey the message. She sighed, resigning herself once more to the rear, and scanned the hallway as the humans entered the tunnel.

One-by-one they entered the passage, crawling and slouching through the narrow space in single file order. After several yards, the tunnel widened and then ended in a solid metal door. The door’s sturdy lock was damaged extensively. It appeared someone had gone to great lengths to enter whatever lay beyond.

Who goes there?” challenged a voice in the language of the elves. The voice was low and gravelly, yet retained a graceful Elyan accent.


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Clearing the Way

Saeth didn’t meet Miklos’ eyes, gazing out the doorway and shaking her head. “I hear nothing, but shall smite anything that does come this way. Any news from the Dwarf?”

Feldard glanced back in annoyance at the elf that dared speak HIS language, and so horribly at that! “I’ve found a small opening that could be cleared somewhat to pass through the rockslide. It’s evident that someone has been trying long and hard to make this tunnel. This slide is not recent. This is result of the mountains collapse. I’m thinking the route to the Sisters is this way.” Feldard made his reply in Common.

“I’m going to see if I can enlarge this opening enough for a human pass.” That said he set down his axe and moves to the blockage and carefully started moving boulders and large rocks.

Maruc bowed to the experience of the more knowledgable dwarf.” Let us make a chain. Hasan pass up those bounders as Feldard removes them so that the way would be made clear. I shall pass them on.”

“Very well, let us get to work,” sighed an audibly unenthusiastic Hasan.

After some time they were able to open up a small passage through the rubble just large enough for them to pass through one at a time.


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A Small Opening

That this tunnel was not part of the original construction was ever so evident by the rough and unfinished state not to mention the quality of the tunnel—it definitely wasn’t carved by the dwarven hands! It appeared that whoever dug it had removed rubble and earth that were the result of the mountain collapse long ago.

Despite his criticism of the workmanship, the tunnel did seem structurally sound so Feldard questioned the cause of the collapsed. Seeking an answer, he descended further into the tunnel cautiously, judging how deep the collapse might be by the size of the outer rubble.

The mage waited patiently of the dwarf to proclaim the tunnel blocked and secure from the safety of the room beyond. He stalked over to Saeth. “Anything coming?” he asked her.

The priest took the opportunity to readjust his strapping whilest he waited.

“Eesh … Feldard, get on with it. If we’re going to go down this far, I suppose we best see how far these rocks go,” said Hasan, in his most exasperated Dwarvish. He then shouted back to the waiting companions. “There’s a rockslide down here. We’re going to investigate.”

The dwarf examined the rockslide at the tunnel’s end. His keen eyes detected a small opening in the rocks. If they were careful, it could be possible to remove enough rubble for them to clear a gap large enough to crawl through.


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