Monthly Archives: December 2007

Something Amiss

The priest hadn’t seen anything like it in his life. It didn’t look as terrifying as the gargantuan reptilian in the other room but something inside him told him it wasn’t a creature to be easily overcome. “Halav rewards the brave, not the foolish. Time to depart Feldard.”

Once again, they were able to narrowly escape what seemed to be certain death at the hands of a horrific beast. The cleric said, “I hope the reason that that creature is stuck in that room is that it can’t open doors….”

Miklos, who had been at the back of the group with the elves said “Can’t open doors? What do you mean?”

“No hands.” replied the cleric simply, “It was just a floating eye.”

The colour drained from the mage’s face, “I read a history once where Archmage Antonius faced creature matching that description, he barely escaped with his life. I doubt a creature that has mastered the art of moving without legs would find difficulty with a door.” He thought for a fraction of a second and ensuring no one was left in the short passageway he slammed the second door shut to the main corridor. “I’d suggest a turn of speed gentlemen. Back to the main chamber. I don’t want that behind us!” without waiting waiting for the others he speed off. “Let us hope that the creature chooses the dragon chamber to explore first!”

Saeth stood back in surprise as the others pounded past. Whatever his failures, their failures, cowardice was unlike Feldard or the others. And, apparently, they were quite serious about the dangers in the rooms.Taking Miklos’ suggestion about this eye-creature as a decent one, the swordswoman paused by the first set of doors to crack them open a ways, hoping to trick this creature into going the wrong way. She turned to catch up, but couldn’t resist the urge to peek through that small gap, to catch a glimpse of such the mighty beast while she had the chance, and lingered there a moment before continuing after the others.

With the door only open a crack, she saw nothing, save for darkness, despite her elven infravision.

“What could his fleeing companions have seen?” Hasan wondered. Having seen nothing in either room, only the terrified reactions of his heretofore unshakeable companions, he remained astonished. He backed away from the two doors, watching the portals and the lone elf that remained. Saeth’s coolness seemed as extreme as the other’s panic, but—well—that was her nature. An elf’s heart can be as stout as the bravest dwarf, although their guts will always be a bit more refined, Hasan mused.

The dwarf had needed no further prompting from the cleric to quit the room while in the presence of the creature; but now away from the foul thing, he fumed at his own cowardice. What was wrong with him? He was a dwarven warrior. Nothing should strike such fear into the likes of him. He paused in the long hallway seeing the Mage ahead of him hurrying towards the main chamber, then glanced back towards the hall door that lead to such horrors.Their search for the Eye and the maidens led to some rather fearful creatures, but did that not mean they were on the right track? Fleeing now would only lessen their chances of succeeding. “Miklos, hold up!”

As they regrouped, Nicolai turned and asked, “If both those creatures are as powerful as you say they are Miklos, would they live peacefully in such an underground lair? If they do, it is likely that something more powerful than them controlling them? And I for one do not want to meet something more powerful than a dragon.”

Indeed, something seemed quite amiss. How could such powerful creatures exist in such proximity, lurk in the ruined tower, completely undetected by the elves who lived for centuries in the forest above? Yet, they had just seen them with their own eyes…

The dwarf turned to regard the party’s rogue. “Nor do I, Nicolai, yet what is the alternative? Forgetting all about the Opal Eye and the Sons of Night and the more imminent threat of the Three Sisters?” He shook his head. “As much as I hate to say it. We must press on. Too much is at stake.”

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Behold Terror

Hasan backed away from the door and moved to follow Feldard. But the whole “dragon” episode continued to bother him. Catching up with Saeth, he murmered in Elvish, “I know your Miklos seems to know things about this place that my clan did not. But a dragon? We might not know some things, but tales of a dragon do not die quickly. Honest to Ilsundal—if I had a bit of concealment, I have half a mind to go back in there.”

“I am here you know! And do not assume you know all that your clan elders know.” snapped Miklos in elvish, then he switched to the common tongue of men. “Dragons are very dangerous creatures and are rumoured to have varascious appetites and I doubt all its food was down here. What I am concerned about is why the elves of the village did not warn us. It might be an illusion cast by the Sisters? Although I have no intention of testing the theory. Come come now,” Miklos winked at Hasan, then turned to Feldard, “I doubt there are two dragons here, if there are, I will eat my hat! Let us continue.”

Feldard glanced back towards the group, one last time as if to be sure that this was what they REALLY wanted to do. Then with a steadying breath he opened the door and stepped in, axe up defensively; and him, ready to tuck and roll away from any spouts of flame that might be resulting from entrance.

At first glance, the room appeared to be dark and empty. However, as the group began to feel slightly at ease, suddenly a gigantic beast seemed to materialize before them. Despite having just seen a fire-breathing dragon, before their eyes was the most terrifying creature any of them had ever seen in their lives. Before them, floating in the air was a gigantic spheroid creature with a large fanged mouth and single eye on the front and many flexible eyestalks on the top that crackled with mystical energy. The otherworldly aberration immediately began to aggressively glide toward the group. Its hideous eyeballs glared in anger at the intruders and seemed to be poised to unleash a torrent of harm upon them.

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Moving to the Other Door

In answer to Hasan’s question the dwarf fixed the elf with a dead serious look. “A dragon.” Feldard eyed the now barred door and turned to head back out into the hall. A door would be a mere hindrance to a dragon should it decide to come after them for disturbing it. It was time to leave.
Having been confined to the rear, Saeth didn’t get a good look before the Dwarf barreled back through the doorway. She smirked, then queried Hasan in Elven. “Is this his idea of a jest? What would a Dragon be doing down here? If he’s just losing his nerve, I’m quite content to take his place in the van. Let him languish at the rear!”
As the others retreated back into the main passageway and Miklos listened to the fears expressed by the others he risked a swift glance at the barred door and the intervening corridor. “Dracos Nobilis Vermilious indeed? Fascinating. A shame he was not asleep. I would have relished the chance to see such a magnificent beast from close quarters! Either way I should be calm. He has been asleep for some time and was probably a little drowsy which is why we are still alive. That and the access to this passageway is too small. My reasoning is that the villagers did not mention a dragon. Which doubtless would have been a key concern of theirs. Therefore I can only assume that they thought it was dead or long departed. There must be some vast access on the other side of the hill that we did not explore in our haste to get inside. Else this creature could not have entered. In future my advice would be to ensure tha this does not happen again by skirting places before we enter. Either way we have been blessed with a narrow escape. Let us steel ourselves and more cautiously investigate the other door in the short corridor there.” He indicated the opposite door to the dragon chamber.
The priest calmed his hammering heart. The seemingly light conversations around him washed over him as he leaned heavily against the wall. He waited a few seconds have expecting the infernal dragon breath to reduce the door to white hot embers of molten slag.

He waited for several seconds, satisfied there was no immediate danger, he offered a brief prayer of thanks to Halav Incarnate. “Ok, let’s try the other door. I little more cautiously please.”

Nicolai turned and said, “Yep, next time lets try the other door.”

Feldard glanced around at the others like they were mad. Speaking so calmly.. did they not hear what he said? There was a dragon on the other side of a door. The soot and burnt timbers in the hall now made perfect sense. Yet here in this corridor, there were no burnt marks of any kind. Odd…

Still, they were seemingly content to continue poking around looking for what? Two captured maidens, three evil sisters in spirit form looking to possess the maidens and take over the world, and gemstone that was being sought after by the most foul of evil wizards and undead? Well, okay put that way maybe their overall purpose was rather noble and worth a bit of risk.. but .. a dragon!?

The dwarf scowled deeply as he looked about at the others. Surely if they could quell their fears and continue on, he could do no less. He was a dwarf after all—the pinnacle of all the races! He brusquely nodded and moved to the opposite door. This time laying his ear to the door and listening beyond himself.

If this was an entrance to the dragon lair, surely he would be able to hear something. But there was no sound or any hints of anything threatening beyond it.

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Back Out of the Room!!

The dwarf who had heard tales of dragons from his forefathers stopped dead tracks at the sight of the dragon. The fear that coursed through his veins was chilling and Feldard literally pissed himself. The spout of flame was all that was needed to urge the dwarf into frantic movement. “Back out of the room!”

“Ye gods, dwarf!” shouted Hasan. “What is it?”

With a display of alacrity and strength that even amazed himself, Maruc grabbed at the back of Feldard’s breast plate. With one hand on the door handle, he threw the dwarf and himself backward, not caring who stood in the way allowing the momentum to pull the door shut with his other hand. “Halav’s burning soul!” he cried.Miklos had been standing in the outer corridor straining in the gloom trying to see what was going on. He fervently wished there was more light. And lo! There it was, followed by shouts of chargrin and pain. The heat and sulphuric gust chocked him and his eyes watered. “Oh my…” was all he managed to say.

The two armored heroes managed to narrowly avoid the dragonflames and shut the door.

As they fell to the ground in the small corridor, Nicolai, the fastest among the group, closed and barred the door. Back in the hallway, the heat and flame odor quickly dissipated and all was silent once again.

Feldard coughed and sputtered.. and tried to scramble back up to his feet from where the cleric had dumped him to put out the flame. “We need to get out of here now!” The dragonfear was still very much upon him.

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Dragonbreath

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Maruc followed Feldard in around to the left again. He positioned himself next to the door and waited for Feldard to open it.

Feldard grumbled as he moved into the hall and went to the door on the left. He repeated the same procedure moving off to the right side listening at the door, while letting the rogue check it for traps and locks.

Then once more, when given the all-clear by Nicolai, he opened it and strode through; axe up and ready in defensive position.

In the dark chamber before them was a large, red dragon—it rose its head and belched a searing blast of flame!

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To The Left

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“Left seems as good as any direction to me,” said Nicolai quietly, as he caught up to the others. “Found this stone amongst the rubble, that looks interesting,” he shows a green stone from his pocket, “but anything else will be well buried under that.”

“Ahh, a beautiful piece. Given time, I could determine if it has an enchantment on it. But I fear this pleasure will be ours after we have defeated the Sisters.”

 

As they moved down the hall, he whispered to Hasan. “Do the tales of the Tower’s collapse indicate anything about a fire?” He sniffed the air wondering if that fresh burnt smell would linger in the air after centuries. Whatever caused this, must have happened long ago.

At arriving at the two scorched doors Feldard, will set himself up to the right. He motioned for the rogue to check it out. While waiting for Nicolai to give the all clear, he watched Hasan. The elf obviously wasn’t the Siswa threat he first thought him to be, but he still wasn’t sure how well he fit within the group. The others he knew by experience were more accepting of new folk—Feldard preferred to make people work to earn his trust.

One thing keep nagging at the dwarf, after freeing the maidens and dealing with the Sisters Three and whatever else was between them and the Black Opal Eye.. what then? Would Hasan feel his task done.. or would he aid them in uncovering and dealing with the larger issue.. his thought were cut short as Nicolai gave his assessment.

Hasan drew his scimitar and looked at his dwarvish companion. “I know nothing of this fall, but that it has happened. I believe the fall was the result of my clan’s great triumph over a Darker plot, but Miklos seems to think otherwise. I do not know what to expect here.”

“I fear Hasan, I have upset you.” replied Miklos, “Please be assured that my knowledge is based only on the facts I have learned. I entirely agree that the evidence so far confirms the tales given to us by the elves from the village. Namely that Elyas overthrew Teriak, took over the tower and surrounding lands, and decades later reduced this, his tower, to rubble in a confrontation with his apprentices, the so-called Witches Three, who had succumbed to the will of the Black Opal Eye. I don’t believe I said anything to the contrary.” Looking at the blacked timbers on the passageway Miklos observed,”It seems an intense fire caused the tower to collapse so far. I would hazard a guess that it was magical fire as these six inch oak beams are notoriously difficult to light.”

Maruc stopped to the right of the first door on the left. He slipped his hand around the familiar holy symbol of Halav Incarnate. “After you, Feldard.” he said gesturing at the door, his familiar grin creeping across his face.

Behind the door was a small connecting corridor. There were two doors on either side. They were not burnt like the doors from the hallway.

 

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Down the Hallway

 

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Hasan said, “I gather the tradition is to go left when there’s a fork in the road. Well, I’d go where there’s sun, but down here, left is as good as anything.”

“Aye, left is good.” said the priest as he shone the lantern down the passageway. “Lets go.” Maruc fell into step next the Feldard. “As the undead cast no heat-shadow I fear there is little advantage in not using the lantern.”

Not finding any indication of which way the Rahib might have gone… left was as good a direction as any. The dwarf nodded his acceptance of the lanterns use and strode through the archway to the left.

When he had finished adding the latest detail to his map, Miklos joined Saeth at the rear of the party being careful to avoid most of the rubble as he threaded his way along the passageway.

“Better to go where there’s sun,” grumbled Saeth. But neverless, she followed the others as they proceeded westward.

And so, the group took the left passageway. The floors walls, and 30-foot tall arched ceiling were all coated with a layer of black soot. About halfway down the hallway, there were two badly scorched wooden doors, one on each wall. The hallway ended at a set of bronze double doors.

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