Guardians of the Passage

“Hold Miklos.” Maruc stopped the chanting mage. “They seem to fear the bridge.There must be something here that they fear. You might need your powerful magic’s ahead, rather than behind.”

Maruc lent closer, “Golthar was keen to get the tapestry from us. Perhaps it was for this reason? May be it is a key in more ways that one?”

“Well, Maruc I was about to have a look at the map anyway. After to rather pressing urgency of the warband. But they seem to not wish the climb up. That is good, we deserve so luck.” Miklos hunted for the map and look a look. ” See here the map clearly indicates the way into the mountains. This must be the path, See the ancient ruin on the bridge? Easily as old as this map.” Miklos offered to map up to the horizon. ” See? Yes it is quiet clear. Notice that rock spur? Yes this is the way.”

Clutching the map like a lit brand, Miklos lead the way across the bridge and toward the ruin.

As the party passed the three skeletons, the dwarf took a moment to look over them more carefully to determine how they might have been killed. Everything about the scene, gave the dwarf a chilling feel. There were no arrows or bolts as he first suspected there would be.

Whatever had killed them, it did not seem to have been any physical weapon that Feldard knew of. Likely it had been some sort of blunt force trauma judging by some of the broken bones. But what bothered him most was their positioning. What manner of men would crawl away, as if in fear, rather than face an oncoming death with honor and dignity? No. Whatever had happened here, gave the dwarf a sense of foreboding about the ancient tower. However, unlike the corpses, he would face whatever it was head on.

Ludo stooped by the skeletons and did a quick search however he could not find anything of value, “there is nothing of value on them, they must have been here a long time Master Dwarf”, he said to Feldard.

As he stood up, he glanced back half expecting to see the Gnolls to come charging across the bridge, but it seemed that they had paused their chase. He cheerfully said, “Oh well it looks like we have seen the back of those Gnolls. Feldard, maybe we could spend the night in yonder ruin to rest? I doubt those Gnolls are going to trouble us now.” Slinging his backpack, he confidently advanced towards the tower happy that they were now not being pursued and would have a chance to rest.

Feldard too glanced back to the gnoll war party watching from the gorge, waiting. Unlike the rogue, he found it disturbing. The fact that the gnolls seemed to know something about this place that his party did not. Nevertheless, Feldard put his apprehension aside and checked his weapons, ensuring they were at the ready – his crossbow still loaded, his axe but a swift release from use.

The tower was 20 foot square and spread the width of the bridge. It had once been larger, but now only the ground floor was intact.

The large bronze door on its front was closed. It was engraved with a geometric pattern not unlike that of the ancient tapestry.

“If we are unhurried,” Hasan cautioned, “let us not rush. Search for magic in that tower, Miklos, afore we return as these lads did.” The elf stepped gently past the three corpses, then paused. Stripping out his weathered spellbook, the elf drew a mysterious rune in the air and whispered softly to the whipping wind. He then smiled to his companions and advanced.

Stephan genuflected to Halav upon seeing the skeletons. The eerie halt and silence of the gnoll war party made the scene worse. He too eyed the skeletons as they passed. The obvious terror and agony still on the “faces” and in the body positions brought a welling terror to Stephan’s heart. He steeled himself to his duty and kept pace with his comrades.

He kept his shield up against the gnolls and other creatures watching them from below and proceeded with the party into the structure on the bridge.

Inside was a bare windowless room, occupied by two 10-foot-high steel statues depicting the same race of robed jackal men that the party had been encountering throughout the Duchy. Many more skeletons littered the ground. Quite a few gnolls and an ogre. And then there were some human warriors, and a couple others, likely mages judging by the robes. Near one of the robed corpses was a wand, and another clutched a scroll in his bone hand.

As soon as the door had been opened, the statues began to move, slowly at first. The golden threads on the tapestry began to glow in the mage’s hands. The statues did not attack. Instead, they stood to the side and bowed.

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11 Comments

Filed under D&D, Dungeons & Dragons, rpg

11 responses to “Guardians of the Passage

  1. 4:51pm, Soladain, the 11th of Flaurmont, 1001AC
    Clear, dry, warm.

    Maruc: 10xp+10xp
    Miklos: 10xp+10xp
    Feldard: 10xp+10xp+10xp
    Hasan: 10xp+5xp
    Stephan: 10xp+10xp
    Ludo: 10xp+10xp

    TOTAL:
    Maruc: 27,920/48000
    Miklos: 27,805/40000
    Feldard: 28,290/34000
    Hasan: 27,290/32000
    Stephan: 27,400/32000
    Ludo: 27,045/40,000

  2. hasan

    “Very good, then,” muttered Hasan, watching as the statues made way. “The blessings of Ilsundral,” the elf whispered, as he gently opened the skeletal fist and removed the scroll. “The Siswa are taught to respect the innocent dead, and bury them with their own treasure,” the elf intoned to nobody in particular, “But the Quiet Way never saw the Siswa in place like this, I don’t think.” The elf picked up the wand too.

  3. Feldard

    At the movement of the statues, Feldard quickly switched from crossbow to axe and made ready should they attack – but they didn’t. The dwarf frowned in confusion, til he noted the glowing threads of the tapestry. “The map. Seems you were right Miklos.. it is some form of key or pass.”

    Feldard glanced back towards the gnolls, wondering if they would charge up now, figuring it was safe since the party wasn’t fleeing for their lives. Just in case, he shut the door behind him. Then turned to regard the bowing statues. “As pleasant as they seem at the moment, lets make this visit short – we don’t want to overstay our welcome.”

    As the elf moved about the room to raid the corpses, Feldard kept close watch on the statues for any ill movement from them.

  4. Ludo

    Ludo looked at the two giant statues in awe, they were quite like nothing he had ever seen. “No wonder the Gnolls stopped chasing us, they were hoping that these two brutes would make mincemeat of us”. Keeping an eye on them he quickly walked past them. Miklos, do you think that it would be safe to doss here for the night, to rest and recuperate? We could have these guardians do something useful and protect us”?

  5. miklosdostevar

    Miklos looked at the map as its glow faded. “Now there’s a thing.” He glanced back at the tunnel mouth. “It seems these guardians have been holding the way quite successfully for some time. Dare I say millennia?” he looked doubtfully at Ludo. “I do not think the map bestows dominion over these golems. No, this map is a key, or proof that the wielder has right of passage.” He glanced at the corpses. “No wonder Golthar needed it so much. I suspect Maruc would like the opportunity to rest soon. We are none of us at the peak of health. I can think of no better place to rest. Perhaps I can take the time, if Hasan is willing, to identify the nature of the wand and the scroll.”

    Miklos stalked over to the living statue. “Hmm, if only the jackal headed silver statues in the gnome mine would have bowed to the presence of the map.” he spread his hands, “This gateway way built to keep people out. The Hutaakan race was powerful indeed. These guardians are still mighty and wield great fear their magic has not faded, it is a marvel. Even and entire clan of hundreds of gnolls have not ventured to the gates.There would be gnoll corpses amongst the ruins.”

    Miklos wondered and said softly, “But the question still remains, what are they guarding? What is at the head of the valley that is so valuable the requires such guardians of terror? Who were the Hutaakan what caused thier death all thoses years ago?”

    Then he said out loud “What right have we to unearth the past? Perhaps we are about to disturb something best left to rest? Is what we are doing…right?”

  6. Maruc

    “A little late for soul searching Miklos?” Maruc sat heavily on the ground. “We aren’t in a position to turn back right now. Remember we have clues as to the actions of the Sons of Night. Although we found no solid evidence that Golthar was a member he rather fits the mould wouldn’t you say? He was onto something. Something big. Would you rather leave it to another Son of Night to discover? Our Lord Halav Incarnate has lead us here. He does not lead to no purpose. Have no doubts that we are on the right path, Miklos.”

    He eye’d his fellow travellers. “Feldard, we cannot risk another encounter without rest. we have been driven at spear point and Halav has granted us a place of peace. Let us use it to steal our selves for the onward journey. I for one do not think that a warband of marauding gnolls will be our worst challenge. I insist we rest here unitl we are healed and I have enough blessings to see us to whatever end this valley has.”

    With that Maruc cross his legs and started to meditate.

    If possible Maruc will encourage his friends to remain under the watchfull eyes of the statues until he has completely healed the party (this may take more that a day or two and regained his spells for the journey ahead.

    Marucs spells for the onward journey:
    CLW CLW Hold Person Silence 15’R

  7. miklosdostevar

    Given to opportunity of time Milkos will cast detect magic on the whole area and Identify any results of the searches and also identify the wand & scroll.

    If there are any writings on the walls Miklos will study them in his free time (if not meditating or researching.)

  8. Stephan shuttered at the sound of the closing doors. Feldard, he thought, did not seem affected by stony chamber.

    “Are you mad?” Stephan asked Miklos and Maruc after hearing them reason on spending not just one night but maybe more in the room. “You sure that old map will keep these….these…things,” he looked at the steel gollums with wide eyes, “from deciding to add our sorry carcasses to the collection they’ve got going here?” he gestured at the myriad skeletons laying about. “It seems they have not added to it in some time.

    “Nyet! Better we put distance between us and these gate keepers.”

    Stephan looked at his comrades and knew he would lose the argument.

    “Paush luva kornnin,” he muttered in defeat. “This is a dark, windowless cell full of death. But full of comrades!” He tried to smile.

  9. [assuming there’s a door opposite the one they entered…]
    Seeing the far door to the bridge tower, Stephan carefully made his way to it, keeping an eye on the statues. He tried the door and found that it could easily open. Looking carefully at the statues, he pushed one door open enough for him to pass. Still with sword and shield in hand, he stepped out onto the other side of the bridge. The gnoll war party was still assembled below. Upon seeing him, there was a great commotion. Stephan could see the shock and terror even in their hideous faces.

    Lifting his sword in triumph, he bellowed in goblin (he hoped they’d pick up some of the words), “Your mighty foe is dead by our valiant swords and magic! Flee you puny gnolls before we bring death upon you too! Flee you disgusting, mangy curs! Or we shall bother to come down and bring you a large serving of pain and death!” He mixed in some common tongue that was generally understood by even gnoll types.

    At his words, he could see that the gnoll’s were confused and frightened. A few of them, he noted, seemed to be translating bits of his speech. A great many in the front ranks began to push back. There began a great turmoil of gnoll and ogre with much yipping and snarls as panic began to set in.

    To help them along, Stephan slowly lowered his sword from the upraised position to point at the mass of gnolls. As he did, the panic mounted and several of the beasts tumbled or were pushed into the torrent of the river.

    “Be gone! Death chases you! Flee!”

  10. miklosdostevar

    Miklos sighed, it might have been better to let them assume we were dead. Either way it was too late now. Perhaps it might help their cause? It probably would sew some fear amongst them that the party had power over the guardians of the bridge. He returned to his studies of the wand.

  11. Hasan

    Hassan passed over the wand and scroll. “tell me what you can of these, Miklos.”. And the elf went outside to add his greetings to the gnolls to Stephan’s. after two nearly lethal spears from the dogmen, the elf was ready to taunt from safety.

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