Chapter Forty-One

March 3, 2012


27th of Shedmonth


            We continue down a hallway that has alcoves cut into each side.  Each alcove contains a metallic human statue.  I check the area for traps and find none, but notice an odd air current and that the statues have cogs and gears on them, perhaps making them capable of movement.  I inspect the one on the right and find no traps, but the one on the left is clearly made to move.  Thinking it a regular trap of some sort, and being familiar with gears, I try to disable it.  In one fail swoop, it draws a giant falchion and swings at me.  The damage is tremendous, and I tumble away to ensure that my friends have room to dispatch the clockwork creature.  Eventually, he is defeated and we continue along the hallway, disabling two more traps as we go.
            At the end of the hallway, there is a room roughly 30 x 30 with a large central pillar which is on fire.  The light is more akin to a lava-like glow than of open flame.  As I walk in, two floating humanoids wearing tight-fitting floor length black dresses emerge from the sides of the pillar.  Their skin is chalky white, and their faces are hollow porcelain masks.  The hair is steel, and a pale ball of light hovers within the hollow of their heads.  Ulric grabs me and pulls me out of the room.
            The closest one speaks, “It’s greater than the gods and more evil than the lord of the pit.  The poor have it, the rich need it, and if eat it, you will die.”  She stops and awaits an answer.  I think for a minute, then step back into the room.
            “Nothing,” I say. 

Both of them bow before me, and one says, “You man enter.”  They indicate a doorway to the right, and I go through.

Another hallway leads off to the right, and appears to end in a room with a glowing blue pool.  Despite another hallway to the right, since the strange women pointed us that way, we head to the room with the pool.  We stop at the intersection of the halls and look to the right to see what is there.

A blade slides out of the wall and cuts into me!  It hurts, but I survive.  We proceed down the hallway to the right.  It culminates in a large empty room with only one door to the left.  As I head that way, I hear a scraping sound and look up just in time to see a large portion of the ceiling collapsing toward me.  I manage to jump out of the way, though the massive stone scrapes down the front of my body.  I make my way to the door, and finding no traps or lock, I try to open the door.  It has no visible handle, so I push to no effect.  Even when stronger members of my group help, we cannot budge it, and despite a diligent search, I find no mechanism to open it.  We move on to the next room to the right, which is the one with the blue pool.

This room is quite large and contains a large central pool.  As we get closer, we realize it is not a pool at all, but is a swirling blue fire.  At the far end stands a large bronze statue of a monstrous humanoid sitting down with a greataxe across its lap.  In his hands, there is a brazier filled with a bright fire, above which hangs suspended an orange-yellow stone.  I approach the dais with the statue, and Ulric says, “Hello?  Mr. Statue-man?”  When there is no response, Ulric begins to climb up.

The statue stands and in Ulric’s head, he says “By whose authority do you come?

“By St. Cuthbert’s, of course, and my father, the Count, the Duke and the missing King Delrith.”

You have twenty-four seconds to depart,” the statue again speaks in Ulric’s head.

Indignantly, Ulric asks “By whose authority are you here?”

I protect the Tear of the Sun. . .

“Well, I want the Tear of the Sun,” Ulric interrupts.

The statue was not finished, “you have eighteen seconds to comply.

Ulric draws his sword, and Korvinean fires immediately.  Finn charges and attacks with his guisarme, and rips into its leg.  I fire, but miss and Boian rushes up on the dais to strike, but also misses.  Briggette makes an astounding leap onto the raised area and connects with a solid blow.  Korvinean fires again, connecting again.  The statue swings at Ulric, then at Briggette, but the head of his axe clips a piece of trim on her armor and his axe flies off across the room.  I run back across the room and do some aerobatics to hop onto the dais and attack.  The statue runs off the edge of the dais to retrieve his axe, and we all follow to attack again.  After another round or two, I strike at it and it crumbles to the ground.  In the process, it lands on top of me, and I am knocked out.

After Briggette heals me a bit and we all get out from under the rubble, we see that the brazier and the stone are still suspended above the dais.  Ulric grabs it and is burned slightly before putting wrapping it and putting it in a bag.  Where it was sitting, we find a flat key, and I suggest that it might go to the steel door we found earlier with no visible lock back in the room where the ceiling fell on me.  We head back that way.

As soon as the key touches the door, it disappears and the door flips up and open.  Beyond it we see a chest with the sun emblazoned on it.  I check carefully, find a trap, disable it and cautiously decode the combination lock.  The chest is filled with various treasures, including coins, gems and magical items.

We make our way back to the “sanctuary” area and make camp for another two nights to allow our bodies to heal from these exertions.