Chapter Fourteen

May 28, 2011


            Briggette turns and raises her symbol of St. Cuthbert, screaming “By Cuthbert’s cudgel, begone fiend!”  Light pours forth from the symbol and snakes throughout the room, encircling the remnants from the statue, but not seeming to touch the emerging creature.  Finn shoots from the back of the room, and his arrow seems to connect.  The skeleton moves toward us and swings at Ulric.  It doesn’t have a weapon, but his giant arm bone would be an effective club.  He misses, and I swing at him with my shortsword while Brianna runs in for a punch.  We both miss.  Briggette runs toward the dais and leaps the five feet with an unexpected grace.

Finn fires again, but his arrow bounces off.  The skeleton attacks me, hitting me with a hand that I now notice is clawed.  I thrust my sword up toward his ribcage as I duck away, and Ulric swings and misses.  Brianna swings again, but misses, and Briggette rushes forward to hit with her club.  By this time, Finn has made his way onto the dais as well, and he swings at its legs, pulling it to the ground.  The creature strikes at Briggette, and I slice at him while he’s still down.  I hit just as Ulric’s blow lands beside me.  Korvinean and Brianna attack simultaneously, and Brianna’s punch seems to connect well.  Briggette slams into him with her cudgel again, and the creature begins to stand.  Briggette, Ulric and I all take advantage of this opportunity and all attack him again.  While Ulric and I both miss our next swings, Briggette’s club connects once again, just as Finn again pulls it to the ground.  On it’s way down, it reaches out and slams one arm into me.  I try to attack, but can’t regain myself in time.  Ulric slices through just fine, and although we see bones shattering, the abomination still starts to get up again.  Briggette brings her cudgel down on its skull, and it cracks.  A strange green liquid begins to pour out of what remains of its head.

I search the body and the plinth the statue originally sat upon.  I notice the outline of a door just behind it.  I check it out, and it is not trapped.  I unlock it, and the door begins to slowly slide away, revealing a staircase into the darkness.  After some discussion, we decide to leave this for now and continue on the level we’re on.  We go back to the room where we originally came down the stairs.

We find that the hallways make a large circle.  The cells on the east and west walls mirror one another, and all have curtains rather than doors.  The cells on the north and south walls have full doors.  The interior area is one large room with smoking torches along the walls illuminating the rows of dark wooden tables.  Alcoves are carved into the eastern and western walls, each with a name that we don’t recognize carved above it.  The western wall  says “Kesini,” while the eastern says “Kesana.”  I check out the western alcove and find nothing; however, when I bend to inspect the eastern alcove, I drop my bag of caltrops, and they disappear.  Ulric checks the other side, but this teleport area (if that is, in fact, what it is), but the caltrops are not there.  We decide to go back to the staircase and head down, leaving the caltrops for now, so that if we find them later, we will know where that “gate” leads.

We go back to the stairs, and I lead the way down checking for traps as I go.  About ten feet below, the stairs end in a landing with a large iron door facing the west.  Finding no traps, I unlock the door to reveal another staircase leading down another ten feet where we find a door facing south.  This door is made of bronze.  Again, there are no traps, so I pick the lock and open the door.  The pattern repeats, this time with a steel door facing east.  I don’t find any trap, but when I finally get the lock open, a crossbow bolt falls down from the ceiling and hits me gently in the back, then falls to the floor.  When I open the door, I find a five by five room with a door to the south made of redwood.  It doesn’t appear to be trapped, so I open it to a loud creaking.

The room I reveal is thirty feet wide east to west and twenty feet across.  The center of the room has a large pile of silver with a sword and a staff sticking out of the center.  I check out the floor in concentric circles leading in toward the tempting horde.  Korvinean finds two secret doors, one in the center of the back wall and one in the north wall.  We approach the one in the south wall, and I head to check it for traps.  I notice that the staff has a large snake head carved into the end of it.  I don’t find any traps, but I do find the mechanism to open the door.

It leads to a tunnel that goes off at a forty degree angle to the southwest for 200 feet before opening into a large cavern.  Grey stone walls rise 60 feet up to the cavern’s ceiling.  Inside the cavern, there appears to be a large tower.  Cut stones from the walls and battlements riddle the floor.  Darkly stained doors stand in the tower’s wall.  Unrecognizable characters cover the doors, carved deeply into the metal.  There is another tunnel near the front wall of the tower that leads roughly back to the north, and, as it is on the right, we head that way.

This tunnel is very narrow, and it winds loosely back toward our starting area.  It ends in a flat masonry wall.  I find a secret door in the wall, but I can’t find the mechanism to open it.  After a while of searching, I find some writing carved into the floor in front of the door.  It appears to be magical, but none of us can read it.  We return the way we came, and end back in the cavern with the tower.

I get to the doors and find that they are not trapped or locked, but I can’t open them.  We have to all put our weight into it together, and it slowly creaks open, filling the cavern with its groans of protest.  It opens into a forty foot long elaborate corridor.  Ulric and I begin to head down the hallway into the gloom with the others behind us.

Suddenly two men in black step out of the shadows and attempt to stab us in the back.  Ulric’s armor turns one of the blades, and the other simply misses me.  Finn slams into Ulric’s attacker with his gruisarme and takes him down.  Briggette attacks with her cudgel, but misses.  Ulric challenges the remaining combatant, and bashes him with his shield, knocking him cold.  We bandage his wounded comrade, and Korvinean ties them both as we did with the men above.  I search the men, who turn out to be human.  Both of them have, among other things, an old bottle of wine with a label.  The label says, “The Wizard of Wines Winery, Purple Grape Mash #3.” They also have what appears to be a serial number at the bottom of the label:  14231241-S. 

We continue forward into an extremely large octagonal room.  The center of the room is filled with broken beams and rubble.  Overhead, the ceiling is broken through by beams and stone.  There is a hallway leading off to each side of the room, and we begin with the one to the east.

This passage extends twenty feet, and tees off to the north and south.  Directly across from our entry point stands a pair of metal doors.  Korvinean points out that there is a secret door in the north section of the initial hallway.  We continue to the south, following right-hand rule, and find that forty feet down, the hallway ends in a curving staircase leading down below us and a metal door in the east wall.  I open it and find a twenty by thirty room with a large wooden butcher’s block in the center of the room.  It smells like good food, and appears to be a kitchen.  The cupboards are well stocked with meats, cheeses, fruits and bread—all of which appear to be exceedingly fresh.  There is no dust in the room either.  We all take a moment to enjoy the food.  Korvinean and I try some of the Purple Grape Mash.  He and I both pass out immediately.  I come to about ten minutes later, and remember a very frightening dream in which three large dragons are encircling a small one with only one eye, and they are glaring at him.  About twenty minutes later, Korvinean wakes up after having the same dream.

We decide to unstop the door and move on, but just as I go to retrieve my piton, the door jiggles from someone trying to open it.  I step back, and Ulric prepares to bum rush the unsuspecting person as Finn knocks the piton out of the way.  As the door flies open, we see a very beautiful elven maiden.  Ulric pulls himself up to a stop just in time not to hit her.  We hear a loud roar and see a large black cat standing next to her.