Monthly Archives: July 2008

The Hall of Statues

As the dust settled Nicolai scanned the rubble. He nodded at Feldard to check the passageways to the left, and glided over to where the door lay in hallway. The portal was completely choked with rubble piled to the ceiling. Whatever its contents of the room were, they would remain a mystery as it was buried in the ruin of the tower’s collapse.

The priest stalked over to Saeth and checked her over. “No harm done!” he said brushing the remaining rubble from her. The elf said nothing. The others picked an inopportune time to rejoin the group—just in time to witness her courageous return to the lead result in nothing more than a pile of rubble. Was the dwarf baiting her? With his keen knowledge of engineering, perhaps he had noticed the door was unstable and that was why he let her be the one to open it? She mused in silence, hoping that some new development would lead to everyone quickly forgetting this mishap.

Feldard had nodded at the rogue’s silent suggestion and made his way to the intersection to the left. He peered down each passageway for a moment listening carefully.

“You think this place will hold up much longer Feldard?” Maruc asked trying to keep the concern from his voice. He ghosted the Dwarf as he approached the crossed passages.

Miklos scanned the ceiling with visible unease. He waited a good few seconds to see if the roof would collapse. Satisfied, he finally passed the entrance and moved away from the rubble strewn walls.

Hasan stepped carefully down the hall, all the while thinking that the time had come for him be above ground again. Spelunking, he thought, was a business for worms, moles and the occasional dear, deluded dwarf.

Once again at the lead, the dwarf saw down two passageways. He grew ever-anxious to reach the final confrontation with these elven witches. He was unnerved at the prospect of taking on their dark magicks—the sooner they got it over with, the better. He explored a bit into each passage.

The southern passage led straight into a spiral stair leading up. He surmised that it most likely had been the access to the mage’s tower. Now it led to nothing but more rubble.

The passage to his left was more interesting. The long corridor continued for 70 feet, ending at a pair of bronze doors, intricately carved with more woodland designs. Curved alcoves were cut onto either side of the 10-foot wide hall. Still, shadowy figures stood silently in each alcove. At first glance, the dwarf clutched his axe tightly, thinking he was facing an army of gargoyles running at him, but their poses frozen, he thankfully saw that it appeared these were nothing more than statues.

As the light from the human’s torches was cast down the passage, the statues were illuminated with silvery reflections. The dwarf gasped. These statues were made of platinum. They could fetch a king’s ransom in Specularum. He went for a closer look and saw that they were sculpted with breathtakingly detail that rivaled even that of the most skilled dwarven craftsman he had known in Rockhome. Humans, dwarves, elves, halflings—adventurers all. The sculptor had for some reason chose to pose them all in running positions, hands and arms outstretched, with broad smiles covering their faces.



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Taking The Lead

Hasan admired the ferocity of the rubble to the north and east, idly contemplating the terrible force necessary to create such a mess. Knowing that the casting down of tower had been the doing of Elyas was a sobering realization, as Hasan knew much separated himself from such power. The young elf hoped fervently that the party could swiftly find the missing elf maidens and return above, safely avoiding an enemy of the sort that could challenge Elyas himself. Still, though he knew little of its capacities, fingering the ring given him by Elrond, that was passed down from Elyas long ago, gave a bit of comfort.

“Through the door then, yes? I hope there’s no need for a speedy retreat,” Hasan noted, remarking at the cleric’s ponderous, clamorous progress through the small entryway.

Saeth craned her neck trying to peek through the cracks in the dilapidated portal. Her ears strained to hear anything from the far side. Hearing nothing, she gave a curt nod of assent to the other elf. In a fluidly graceful motion, she pulled the door open, ready to face any unseen foes that lay beyond. For a brief moment, she relished taking the lead position. And then the door broke off at the hinges and a mound of rubble fell at her.


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On the Other Side of the Door

Nicolai crossed to one side of the door. He drew his shortsword. He wasn’t about to argue about who opens the doors around here. Although it might have be a good idea to wait for Miklos and Maruc to return before banging about, he thought.

Feldard had no such compunctions about waiting for reinforcements. He approached the door and peered through the slight opening, using the partially closed door as a shield against the rogues lantern light, to see into the room. He only paused a moment, just long enough to determine if there were others within or not, then opened the door wide heading in. The others followed.

* * * * *

“Halav is bountiful, his will be done.” The priest finished his liturgy and tucked his holy symbol back beneath is tunic.

He stood up and stretched, yawned in fact. Retrieving his water flask he drank a little and splashed some on his face. He glanced over to Miklos. The young mage looked pale and tired. He probably would take the same view of Maruc himself. He looked at his shield and flail with a sinking feeling.

“Come Miklos, let us follow our impatient friends.” he said picking his combat gear up at last, he grunted with the effort and waited for the Mage to ready himself.

Miklos jolted himself awake. Truth to tell he had nodded off waiting for the priest to finish. He had already got his gear together and was leaning against the wall went sleep overcame him. “What? Yes the others… where?”

“Down here.” Maruc indicated the panel that was wedged ajar. He produced one of the lightstones that Miklos had given him and shone it down into the eastern vault. “No bodies. Thats encouraging.” He descended into the vault and waited for Miklos at the bottom.

Miklos also splashed water on his face and ate a small lump of cheese and bread before picking himself up and crossing to the vault entrance. He peered down and waved at Maruc and climbed down the ladder. “Quite.” he said. “No Bodies. Well there’s only one way on, after you old chap.”

Maruc lead the way through the stairwell doorway and cautiously climbed the stairs. He glanced back to see Miklos bobbing up and down impatient to get on. He paused to listen. Muffled voices. Familiar voices, Maruc relaxed and climbed to the blast hole. “Interesting.” he said.

“Hmm.” Miklos elbowed past to get some room. He scanned the hole. “Too precise for alchemical explosion. Magical discharge in my opinion although there are neater methods and magic. Not important though. Onward!” Miklos crawled through the hole.

“After you old boy,” mimicked Maruc as he followed him through.

The two followed the path of their companions who had just recently crawled through the rubble of the blown out room. They caught sight of their friends who were on the other side of the exit door. Apparently, they were contemplating their next move.

Feldard, Hasan, Saeth and Nicolai were out in a hallway. All was quiet, save for the sound of the cleric’s armor clinking off the rocks of the room from which they had just emerged. Outside the door they had found a hallway. The passage north was blocked by ruins of the tower’s collapse, as was a passage that led to the east. For as far as their vision could see, the passage south seemed clear. Additionally, across from them was a badly damaged door, which appeared on the verge of falling off its hinges.


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Into The Hole

Saeth ran her fingers down the charred stone, marveling at the forces wrecked upon it. “What might’ve done this?” She glanced to Feldard. “Know you if this came from within or without?”

Feldard looked over the rubble and the scorch marks. “The blast originated from this side.” The dwarf also ran his hand along the scorched wall, trying to judge how long ago the hole was made. It wasn’t recent considering the amount of dust that had accumulated.

As his answer came, the Elf peered with her good eye down the hole, straining to see anything that might lie within. The hole opened into a room that was crowded with more fallen stone from the tower’s collapse.

Nicolai scanned the hole and whispered. “I wouldn’t want to have been next to the person making that hole. It looks as if whoever was being chased this way was running out of options.” Nicolai shone his narrow beam of light into the hole, and saw the same view of the room that his one-eyed elven companion.

With no indication of danger, Nicolai started to go in, but the dwarf held him back “I’ll go first.” The dwarf clambered over the debris to enter the blown out hole in the wall.

There was a narrow path that had been cleared—perhaps whoever had done so was the source of all the rubble that covered the lower parts stairwell. The route through the rubble ended at a heavily damaged door that was slightly ajar.


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Pressing On

Hasan descended the ladder and joined Nicolai in examining the vault. “Hmmm,” the elf said. “last time, a bit of agility and then a bit of magic was enough to evade the trap. But that one was a bit more provocative. What do you think? Is it worth it this time? I say press on. We can always return later.” With that, the elf returned the the ladder and hollered up at the humans, trying to urge them on from the studies. “And I thought humans were the most impetuous of races,” the elf thought to himself.

The dwarf pondered the same question and then shook his head—this wasn’t a treasure hunt they were on he reminded himself. “We have three Sisters to find and deal with. The elf is right.” Amazingly. That said Feldard headed to the door which the rogue had peered through and opened it wide, taking note of the rubble along its passage. The dwarf paused a moment to assess the structural integrity of the stairway and judging it safe, he started up.

It didn’t take much to convince Saeth to give up on her reverie and move back towards the action. She trailed after, Hasan, her hand near her blade’s hilt in anticipation of the other Elf’s promise.

“There’s not been much loot down here,” grunted the rogue. “And there it is and you want to leave it. Look, its a poison gas trap, if you all clear off into the stairwell and I’ll put a damp cloth over my mouth and nose. I take a deep breath and activate the trap with a pole or something, run out to the stairwell too. We wait for the poison to go. In ten minutes time we’ve got enough loot to feed us for a few more months.”

“Or we could be nice and safe and just try to destroy the living dead! I want to leave here with more than just a story for drunkards.” Nicolai scanned their faces, no point in pushing things now. Anyway as much as he hated to admit it the elf was right there was always later…

He shrugged. “The stairs then.” He made his way round the vault to the stairwell and shone a narrow beam of his light up.

* * * * *

Meanwhile, in the tomb above, Maruc continued to pray as Miklos continued to study. For their efforts, they were beginning to recover their spent spells.

* * * * *

The small contingent of adventurers explored the stairway leading upwards. The dwarf noted that it continued the symmetry of the western side of the undertemple. More and more rubble obstructed their progress until they could no longer continue up the stairs.

However, on the right side of the hallway, a hole large enough for a man to pass through appeared to have been blasted through the wall. The walls were scorched and pitted, as if from a massive explosion.


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