Chapter Fifteen

June 11, 2011


            The cat is the size of a great dane, and appears to be a panther.  Ulric looks at the elven woman, and says, “I am Ulric von Zurwald.  I’m here to rescue you!”  I begin to climb up on the large butcher’s block in the center of the room.  The elf looks confused and at a loss for words, and Ulric continues, “May I escort you from this building?  Perhaps you would like to come in and have some cheese?”

“Alright,” she says and begins to enter the room.  Instead, she grabs the doorknob and tries to slam the door closed, but Ulric has his boot in the way.  Brianna tumbles through the party, through the door, and pops up behind the elf.  She attacks the panther, and it goes down.  The elf manages to get the door closed before Ulric can block it, and she begins to cast.  Brianna slams into the back of the elf’s head, knocking her forehead into the door, and leaving a large blood stain on the door.  She overcomes the attack and turns to complete the spell before bolting down the hallway.  Brianna gives chase.

Ulric attempts to open the door, but it is sealed as though it were welded.  Finn and Korvinean begin to chop at the wood to get through.

The elf runs through the doors back at the center of the hallway.  This hallway is about forty feet long with two raised alcoves on either side.  The hallway appears to be lit, but has no apparent light source.  There are doors at the end which open into a thirty foot diameter circular room with a domed ceiling.  There is a well in the center of the room, and statues standing at the cardinal directions other than the one by the door.  On one wall, the word “Nwad” is written, and on the other, Brianna sees “Pah.”  The elf has disappeared, and fearing the teleportation points we’ve seen in other areas, Brianna turns back to return to the party.

After beating on the door for some time, it simply creaks open.  We restock our packs with food from the kitchen, and head out.  The panther is nowhere to be seen.  We continue down the hall and take the same door where Brianna just came from on the right.  We see shadowy movement in the alcoves, and they appear to statues of humans.  One appears to be wearing a holy symbol, but it is obscured by his clothing.  I cast a small spell to wipe the dust away, and we see that the statue is made of some metallic substance.  I realize that it is platinum!  However, not knowing who these items belong to, I am forced to leave them behind.

We continue to the end of the hallway, and Ulric steps into the room.  He walks up to the well and peers in.  By all accounts, it appears to be normal.  These statues are not as detailed as the ones in the hallway, but are also very good.  These are made of marble.  I begin to search the walls, while Korvinean follows her tracks to the edge of the well.  He lights a piece of cloth and drops it into the well.  It goes down and down until we can no longer see it.

“Wait, guys, I’ve got this,” Ulric says.  He stands in the place where her tracks ended, and says “PAH!”  Suddenly, a blue light starts to lift up from the bottom of the well, rising at a rapid pace until it reaches a level with the top of the well.  He pokes it with his sword, and it appears solid.  He stands on it, and then steps off.  He says the other word on the wall, “NWAD,” and the disc of light descends into the well at a steady pace.

We decide to bar the door and mark it, so that we can see if someone has been through—if she could magically lock the door to the “kitchen,” she may be able to magically unlock a door we have barred.  As the doors close, Korvinean pulls a single hair from his head and places it between the two doors as well.

At the end of the hallway, we continue to the right.  We come to a turn in the hallway that ends with a doorway.  As we approach, we hear arguing in a language I don’t know.  It is similar to Goblin, but not similar enough to make out what they say.  The door is slightly ajar, and there is light coming from under it.  I lie down on the floor next to the door and peer in.  I see a room that is about 20 by 20 with five figures huddled in the far corner arguing.  They are in cloaks and armed.  I stand and relate this information to the party.

Ulric says, “I have a plan.”  He throws the door open, throws a torch into the center of the room, and says, “I am Ulric von Zurwald!  Surrender immediately!”

The figures turn and draw their weapons.  Briggette pulls her sword and attacks one of the creatures—who we can now see are orcs.  He drops just as Brianna tumbles into the room and attacks another.  She punches one of them in the head, shatters his jaw and he drops.  Ulric falls into a defensive stance, and prepares to take on all who come at him.  I tumble into the far corner of the room, getting nicked by one of the orcs on my way through.  However, when I come up, I stab him in the back, and as I withdraw my tiny little sword, arterial blood sprays through the room, and he drops.  Korvinean continues to guard our rear with Finn.  Briggette swings again, taking out another orc, and Briana lets loose on the final contender.

We search the room and find a large stone chest.  I check it out, and, finding no traps, get Finn to open the heavy lid.  Inside, I find 10 pieces of gold, 50 pieces of electrum and five pieces of platinum—all of the old mint.  There is also a long cylindrical object wrapped in cloth, as well as three bottles of wine.  The bottles have a label from the same winery as the earlier bottles, but these are of a different vintage, “Wizard of Wines Winery, Red Dragon Crush, ID number 331422-W.”  Ulric picks up the cylindrical package and opens it to find a particularly well-made mace with a word etched into the handle.  It appears to be old Elvish, and Korvinean tells us that it says “Evening.”  The mace is forged of one solid piece of metal.

I find a secret door in the room, and it opens to stairs leading down into a pile of rubble.  We decide to continue on this level, so we bind the one orc who is still living but unconscious.  We place him behind the secret door, and I shut it.  We continue moving around and to the right.

We open the door to the first room on the right.  The room seems to be charred and burned, and all the walls are charred and pitted.  There is a hole in one wall that seems to have been blasted outward, and is big enough for a man to walk through.  I go in, and check out the hole.  I see that it is at the top of a large pile of rubble.  To the right, I can see the orc tied up behind the secret door from earlier.  We tie Finn’s rope around my waist, and I crawl out onto the rubble to see where else the stairway might lead.  I see that it goes to another staircase that goes up.

We continue onto the other side of the hallway, first finding a room full of shelves and nothing else but dust.  The next room we open seems to have a vaguely acrid odor, and as we place a torch into the room, we notice that it dims.  We see several sets of small red eyes glowing in the back corner.  Ulric pulls out the mace we found earlier, and it seems to be glowing.  He pushes about ten feet into the room and says, “Reveal yourselves, fiends!”

Six giant rats charge him.  I attempt to get behind them and attack, but I miss terribly.  One of the rats bites Ulric, and he attacks it with the mace, and ends it.  Brianna tumbles into the room behind them and punches one of them into oblivion.  Korvinean shoots into the room and fells two more of the rats.  Ulric swings, but misses, while I chop one in half.  Brianna punches toward the final remaining rat, and efficiently ends it.

The shelves in the room contain old jars filled with oils and powders.  Some of them have labels, but nothing is identifiable.  We exit the room, and continue back to the secret door we skipped earlier.  It opens to a stairwell leading down to double doors.

We continue back into the first large room with the rubble in it.  We go to the large double bronze doors, which open onto a great hall.  It is thirty feet wide, and extends fifty feet, ending in a plush red curtain.  There are two alcoves on each side wall.  I check the curtains for traps, then Ulric opens it.  It moves freely.
Most of this area is taken up by a platform with a large brazier in the center.  The flame in the brazier is blue.  There are three stone coffins arranged in a triangle around the brazier.  The largest coffin stands at the front of the platform, and all three are covered in strange writing.  Behind the coffins, there is an ornate cast iron throne.  To the left of the throne, a metal stand supports a large ancient leather bound book.  The book is closed and held with a large metal clasp, and a quill lays across its cover.  It is arranged so that it can be read or written in by the person sitting in the throne.

As I begin to search the stairs, Ulric simply walks up to the book and opens it.  It does not have any words written on the page, but it begins to talk!  It says:

Receive the tale of years
Come woodland folk and gather near
The tale of the Wizard’s Keep to hear
Whence long ago in a younger age
The Black Opal was held by Elias the Mage
The Opal increased his magical grace
But he kept the stone in an open place
Three witches wishing to heighten their power
Rained flame and stone upon his tower
Elias trapped each witch in a dragon’s eye
But without The Opal, they did not die
As Elias raced to retrieve the stone
A granite mountain crushed the Mage and his home
The spell near completed, the three witches wait
In eternal suspension until by some fate
Their souls are released upon innocence sweet
Then revenge they will reap upon all that they meet.”


Ulric holds the quill and looks around askance.  “Hello!” the quill speaks.

“You forgot the end of the story where Sir Ulric von Zurwald and his companions come and save the day.  Write that.”

“I will as soon as it has happened,” the quill reasons.

“Well, you’ll have to come with me and see it, then.”  He sticks the feather in his helm, and continues to converse with the feather.  At one point, he goes up to the brazier and picks up a coal.  It does not burn, but continues to “burn” and emit light.  There are six of them in the brazier.  Ulric has much more conversation with the feather, asking questions about our surroundings.


I hear a movement behind us, and give the signal to be on guard to my friends.  I turn and draw.  I see five goblins sneaking up behind us.