Monthly Archives: February 2008

Nobody in the Whole Cellblock?

“So, your sorcery, what did it tell you?” Saeth queried after a time. “Anything useful?”

Hasan will then join the others in seeking out the dwarf.

Miklos studied the flickering auras that the incantion revealed noting the stubtle incandecencies and interpreting them as best he could. “This is no mere shielding device.” he said eventually. “I suspect it may have effects beyond warding against evil, the rhyme re-enforces this theory. I guess that the aura cast by this enchantment is limited in area but powerful. Elrond himself bid Hasan to find this thing specifically for its use against the Darker Order. It has maybe one or two uses remaining within it.” Miklos returned the charm to Hasan.

“This is the most powerful charm I have ever held, more powerful that Feldards axe, or Saeths sword. More powerful even than Denetiata’s paralysation wand. Use it intelligently,” he glanced sideways at the cleric. “and wisely.” he added with grudging respect to the priesthood.

“Most interesting, Miklos,” said Hasan. “You’ll have to show me that magic some time. Very useful. In the meantime, I’ll need to preserve the few uses of this very carefully.”

With Miklos’ explanation, Saeth chimed in. “Not that it was a particularly long minute to cast your spell, but no doubt that Dwarf has gotten himself in trouble by now.”

The mage stood up and stowed his spell book. “Yes, let us go and see what Feldard is up to. I dread to think what mess he has got himself into.”

Maruc grinned, “Ahh, I see you are approaching the light Miklos! I agree lets go and find what remains of the dwarf. The life power of Halav Incarnate courses through his veins. He is well, I know this.” Maruc followed after the mage retracing their steps.

Miklos fell into step next to the elves. “Indeed I should like nothing better than to enjoy studying the magic of the Elyan. It may be that when this is over I might spend time with your loremasters?”

* * * * *

Feldard strode along the empty cellblock… rapping on doors and listening for any answering sound from within. (this is assuming that the prison cells are stone worked and not barred cages) The barred windows were too high for a dwarf to peer into so he had to make his assessment another way.

“Anyone alive here?” Feldard called out in a normal tone of voice.

The dwarf tested the doors, half expecting them to be locked. To his surprise, they were unlocked. No reason to lock them if they are all empty, he supposed. Briefly peering into each small room, he determined that two of the six cellblocks had fresh straw bedding and unspoiled food inside. The other cells appeared to be long unused.

It wasn’t long before the dwarf heard the sound of his companions’ approach.

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Stone of Power/Stone of Bright

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As the dwarf left the room in a huff, Maruc shrugged. Oh well, if Feldard finds anything interesting he’ll come and get us, he thought.

Saeth shrugged slightly, cleaning her blade. She supposed a few minutes made no more difference at this point—who knew what time it was now, anyway? Besides, it wouldn’t feel horribly to sit down, just for a bit.

Hasan, curious about the heirloom, agreed with Miklos and stayed behind. As he was about to hand over the pendant to the mage, he once again saw the inscription, and now, without a gargoyle trying to rip him apart, he had time to read the elven script:

Stone of Power/Stone of Bright
Giving Men Their Rays of Light
Forces Dark Will Thou Make Small
Weak’ning Men of Night’s Dark Call
Putting Ring into the Back
Vengeance Give to Those in Black

After reading the passage in Common for the others, he handed over the pendant to Miklos for examination.

“What do you make of it Miklos?” pressed the cleric

“”Patience!” the mage snapped. “How is one supposed to think and study with all this racket?”

Hasan shared interest in the study Miklos was undertaking, and listened closely as well to the incantation the human used to better divine the amulet’s powers. “Such a useful skill for one so young to have acquired,” he thought. Warming to the familiar tingling of magic being summoned, he thoughts continued, “The ingenuity of these humans is impressive. And both Miklos and Maruc appear well grounded in causes beyond narrow self-interest. There is much even an Elyan could learn from people like these.” In silence, Hasan passed Miklos his ring and showed him how the two pieces fused together.

He continued his study of the spell book and, after combining the pieces together to create the talisman, he cast an analyze spell. As in the laboratory, there was a bright flash of light the moment the ring was fused to the pendant.

Though his spell was limited in scope, Miklos quickly understood that the item he held in his hands was the most powerfully enchanted piece he had ever held. It was an incredibly powerful ward against the dark arts, creating a radius of protection around itself. However, its power was waning, for only one, perhaps two, charges remained.

* * * * *

The dwarf meanwhile had, come to the realization that the others hadn’t followed him out from the mirror’d hall. He glared sullenly at the closed door before him. The wiser part of him knew he should return to the others.. or at the very least wait for them here WITHOUT opening the door, but the dwarf was growing impatient and slightly on edge with all the magicks. He was warrior.. what need did he have for rings and amulets? He put his trust well made steel. His thumb tested the edge of his axe for a moment, and he nodded. Let them wait. He’d clear out the rest of the chambers alone if need be! He tested the handle of the door and strode through.

The dwarf found himself in an empty prison cellblock. He stood in a hallway that was approximately 60 feet long, with six cell doors—three on each side.

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Onward to the Next

Feldard, who had since retrieved his axe after having failed a third time to go through the portal, regarded the two returning companions somewhat sourly. “Now that you’ve graced us with knowledge of your well-being.. MAYBE we can actually continue on? Where does the portal lead? Did you see sign of the maidens? What of the three sisters?”

Hasan turned to his companions and relayed what he found in Elyas’ laboratory. He showed them the pendant and described how it appeared to frighten away the Guardian, but had no other effects that he could identify. He then also showed them the hat, which appeared to be enchanted, but which led to nothing when he put it on. He then separated the ring from the pendant and wore them as ordinary jewelry in their separate forms.

Disturbed by the sudden appearance of his friends, the mage stopped his studying. Gathering his wits again, Mikos’s eyes alighted on the pendant-ring. “What a wondrous piece! Might I examine it?”

The dwarf’s scowl only seemed to deepen when he learned that the portal did not lead to their goal but was, in fact, a dead end. They would have to backtrack now and continue on from the hall… he pointed out as much to the party. “Unless someone else has a better idea..”

“Feldard, we will have to search all the dead ends here before we leave. If we are to leave no trace of this evil behind.” replied Nicolai.

“I’m as lost as you are, Feldard,” Saeth chirped with more cheer than the Dwarf displayed. To her–in moments of safety–each dead end was the seed of a new stanza. She was quite ready to continue onward to the next.

Feldards’ grumpy gaze fell to Nicolai and then Saeth. “I am not lost,” he asserted forcefully as he turned back toward the illusion room containing the dragon.

“Would you stay your advance and indulge me?” asked the mage. “This pendant-fusion may have other purposes. Some of which may aid us in the near future against the Sisters. I shall only be a few minutes, I promise!”

“Hold your beard Master Feldard!” Maruc called to the retreating dwarf, but the determined demihuman was already on his way. He strode forcefully through the small hallway into the main hallway and across to listen at the door directly to the north.

The wooden door was still scorched. Though he now knew the dragon in the other room was mere trickery, the burn marks on the door did not seem to be illusory. He strained to hear anything, but could not, save for the sound of his companions behind him.

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Reunited

“So,” Saeth queried, poking the creature’s corpse with her sword, “with that done, how do we find the others?” She raised her blade, and once more waved it through the shimmering portal, trying to divine a hint of the far side in the ripples it left.

Feldard stood back from the fallen gargoyle and did a quick check around to be sure nothing else was about to attack. Finally, his gaze rested upon the mirrored portal. The fact that the gargoyle returned, but Nicolai and Hasan hadn’t, concerned the dwarf. Perhaps they were badly injured… with a scowl the dwarf set aside his fine dwarven axe beside the portal “Maruc, be ready with your heals. I’ll try to bring them back. Miklos, it may be that they are stuck on the other side. It will be to you to figure a way to get us back.”

On hearing Feldard’s comment, the priest stopped the rite of healing. Although he was concerned about the immediate danger and the safety of his dwaven companion, the fact that the others were not the first to emerge troubled him greatly. He offered a prayer to Halav as he watched the dwarf go through the portal third time.

Miklos snapped his book shut and allowed himself a few moments to recover from the pain behind his eyes. Holding too much magic was certainly not a pleasant experience. He stalked over to the creature and studied it. The Elven Guardian was reputedly its twin, but the twisted broken statue (as it now looked more like to Miklos) betrayed none on its origins. Indeed, he wondered, what would cause such a transformation? A Darker bend on destroying any traces of elven beauty from it?

He chuckled to himself. You are, he thought, rather assuming that when Ular-Taman said ‘twin’ it meant ‘identical’.

Once again, Feldard re-appeared in the room, unsuccessful in his third attempt to breach the portal.

Miklos stepped over the remains returned his attention to the Mirror. He stood to one side of the mirror studying its workmanship. “Fascinating! look see how the interplanar surface is bound to the frame with he use of umbilicating strands that…….. (etc.)”, Miklos carried on until he finished with, “I should like to take this back to the Guild and study it most closely! I might be able to discover a way of recalling our friends from within.” He paused, “If they still live.”

Maruc turned to the Mage, “Believe what you wish Miklos my friend.” he grinned, “But Halav Incarnate watches over us, not blind and fickle fortune. Is there no way to open the portal?”

“Aye.” replied Miklos. “Give me a few moments to recover and I will try to ascertain the nature of the command word. Your quiet would be appreciated, thank you.” With that he opened his backpack produced a wineskin and took a long draught, he offered it around the others before recorking it and stowing it away. He reopened his spellbook and flicked through to the Analyze incantation and started to study…

* * * * *

On the other side of the portal, Hasan looked again at the hat. “How unusual,” he thought, “for a textile like this to not have decayed. It’s rather weathered, but I can’t imagine anything like this surviving for the millennium, since this temple fell underground. Could this too be magical? Could this be from Elyas as well?”

He took it off the hook and judged it about elven size. He was torn between the temptation to take on still more Elyan magic and the uncertainty of this unexpected find. Prudence, he strongly felt, suggested he should bring the hat to Miklos and Saeth for discussion.

Still, the thrill of using magic to deter the gargoyle was acute. And after all, wasn’t he the leader now of the Elyan?

Standing in the area of the main laboratory, Hasan put on the hat.

“Hasan, are you sure that’s wise? I wouldn’t try on anything from here except in daylight”, says Nicolai as Hasan placed the hat on his head.

Nothing unusual happened, so since they had finished their exploration of the room, and Hasan stowed the hat and joined Nicolai in re-entering the portal. Emerging on the other side, the group was reunited once again.

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The Guardian’s End

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Finding himself back in the hallway, Feldard grimaced and turned about intent on trying the mirror again; instead he found himself facing his friends once again. The mage stood there with a crackling bolt of energy. Suddenly, Miklos pointed at him and barked a command word in that accursed tongue of the spellcasters. The bolt of mage-power then flew directly toward him!

Feldard froze, stunned momentarily as he tried to comprehend why his friend would suddenly turn on him. Then, at the last moment, the energy missile arced upward and shot past the dwarf. Spinning around, he now found himself facing the twisted guardian, who was sporting a fresh burn mark on its chest courtesy of Miklos.

Raising his patented dwarven battle call, he quickly swung out with his axe at the creature.

Maruc had relaxed as he recognized the dwarf emerging from the mirror, and had been about to say something when the stone-creature burst from the portal behind him. Still labouring under the belief that only Saeth and the Feldard could actually harm the creature, Maruc hastily started chanting his cure light wounds spell for Feldard as he spun to engage it.

Saeth was still mystified by how the portal seemed to be working, but the reappearance of the stone beast made her choice obvious. Gripping her blade in both hands, Saeth stepped forward towards the Dwarf, standing shoulder to… helm with Feldard as they assailed the creature.Saeth resolved that, once she put this battle to song, that she’d give Feldard a few extra inches. For the sake of the poem.

Outnumbered two to one, wounded, and facing opponents armed with enchanted blades, the guardian stood little chance and quickly met its demise.

* * * * *

Meanwhile, on the other side of the portal, Hasan and Nicolai heard the sounds of battle on the other side of the portal. From what they could tell, their allies were successful in defeating the guardian, and so they began to explore Elyas’s ancient laboratory.

Nicolai set about examining the room. He did not find any books or writings of any sort. Nor any wands, jewelry or valuables of any sort. What he did find was broken and useless lab equipment and dusty, dried up jars and bottles.

While the rogue continued his search, Hasan was exploring the alcoves. There didn’t seem to be anything that remarkable about either, except for an old wizard’s hat which hung on a peg next to the southern alcove

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The Fleeing Gargoyle

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Hasan watched with surprise as the monstrous creature retreated. He blinked down at the Talisman of Elyas and wondered what more adventures this find would lead to. Then, pulled from his momentary reverie by the sight of Nicolai scrambling away from the gargoyle, he sprinted toward his companion, ready to provide whatever aid he could and hoping that whatever barrier prevented the gargoyle from striking him—be it raw intimidation or something magical—would safeguard Nicolai as well.

Nicolai scrambled out of the way of the creature’s path. The fleeing guardian disappeared through the portal.

* * * * *

Once more, the dwarf found himself in the unenviable state of disorientation due to whatever magicks controlled the mirror’d portal. He blinked rapidly and squinted, but little seemed to help at making his surroundings any less blurry. There was little else he could do other than continue on through—his companions on the other side had need of him. Resolute, he strode forward, and once again emerged back into the room with Saeth and the others.

Directly behind him, the malignant guardian materialized back once again into the room.

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The Talisman of Elyas

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Hearing the unmistakable sound of battle beyond the dwarf didn’t hesitate—he moved into the shimmering mirror.

Miklos counted the seconds to see how long the dwarf would take to re-emerge.

“Let us hope that they return swiftly, and safely.” the priest murmered. He waited poised for action. Following his companion’s lead, the mage prepared his Magic Missile incantation from his book fully expecting the guardian to burst from the Mirror after the others.

* * * * *

Hasan immediately set the fit jade stone of his ring into the golden pendant. The jade gemstone was released from the ring and attached itself to the newly formed talisman. There was a quick flash of energy as engraved writing seemingly etched itself into the back of the talisman. There was no time to read the inscription as the gargoyle was descending upon him, claws and fangs, poised to strike.

Suddenly, the creature halted. It slowly withdrew, hissing as it reluctantly backed away from Hasan.

Its stony skin contorted with rage and the malignant construct spun and charged toward the portal and Nicolai with great haste.

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