(Excerpts from the Journal of Solven the Scholar) Revisions Needed
A bright pulsating light shined through the doorway, illuminating the hallway in a soft blue. Our party carefully moved into the room. The lingering memory of several pouncing arachnids was still fresh in my mind and inspired caution in my step. I was happy to let Mourundar enter ahead of me.
The light emanated from a large circle in the center of the chamber. Inside the circle various geometric shapes intersected with no obvious purpose. Among this perplexing design, surrounding seven concentric circles, lay as many lines of ancient runes. I moved closer to inspect them.
I concluded that the writing was an ancient form of Thessalonian but could infer little else. Albrecht, our eccentric alchemist, suggested that he might be able to read it and I left him to the unraveling of this particular mystery. I know that sometimes the bent mind can think in ways the exemplary cannot. After a few minutes spent studying the runes, Albrecht gave an assured nod.
“These,” he said, gesturing to each of the seven circles with a motion of his hand, “represent the seven deadly sins according to the Thessalonians. But,” he added proudly, “they also represent the seven schools of magic.”
“Indeed,” I said. I was aware of no such a thing. I desperately wanted to know what Albrecht meant, but I did not want to seem a fool. Luckily the Bard’s curiosity had peeked as well.
“The seven schools of magic?” Natalia asked. “How are these two things connected?” Her ashen brow furrowed.
“Well,” began Albrecht. He spoke of the sins and listed their counterpart from the schools of magic. I imagine if one cared enough to know about how the two corresponded, then they could look it up themselves. While Albrecht was busy explaining about sin magic to the bard (and me as well), our more physically imposing members moved on to the back wall of the chamber.
On the farthest wall from the room’s entrance, flanking a doorway that led to nowhere, four carvings greeted Mourundar and Sa’diyah. The carvings, being two to each side of the doorless door, were: a castle, with a square slot beneath it; a coin, with a triangular slot; a house with a cross-shaped slot and finally, a Hammer with a circular slot beneath it.
Albrecht, Natalia and I stepped up to see what the dark elf and barbarian were looking at. It was seeming more likely that this was another puzzle, much like the insidious clock and candle before.
Albrecht bent down and casually picked something up off of the floor. The object seemed to be a rod of some type. The madman studied the rod. I noted that it had a circular protrusion at one end of it and on the pommel (for lack of a better word) the emblem of a house was stamped.
Albrecht, with little hesitation, moved to the carving of the house and placed the circle-end of the rod into the circular slot. Nothing happened. He then tried turning the rod clockwise, and then counterclockwise, with no avail. Nothing clicked, shifted or otherwise changed at all.
“That would have been to easy,” stated Mourundar in his usual dry tone. He then began to pace about. Being useless in the situation, he showed an uncharacteristic intelligence in staying out of my way.
As of the wild one Sa’diyah, I must admit I paid little attention to where she was or to what she was doing. I was wrapped up in my own curiosity and can only assume she sat to the side somewhere, drawing crude pictures on the dirt covered floor. With a sharp stick, perhaps.
Albrecht seemed perplexed. He ran to the large glowing circle and began pressing on the floor with his hands. After a few moments he his exploration. “I felt… something. What did I feel?” He asked no one but himself. “Power? Magic? Yes that’s it, magic.”
“Magic, you say?” The voice belonged to the usually silent Natalia. “Let us find this out.” She closed her eyes in deep concentration. “The circle, I think it is a mechanism of some kind.” she said a moment later. “And the keystone in the wall, it has a weak aura about it and—There, that alcove.” She pointed to one of the guard stations. “I sense something there.”
With reckless speed, Albrecht sprinted to a small wooden desk inside the alcove and kicked it aside. Among some debris we found another piece to the puzzle. Another rod, much like the house keystone, lay beside a second broken rod and the splinters of a third. The stamp was of a hammer. He grabbed the unruined key and took it to the carving of the hammer. He repeated the process of inserting the rod into the wall, as with the house rod before. Once again his efforts meet with disappointment.
He sure does love to run around, I thought. Maybe, as with others who have a touch of… strangeness, running is good for him and calms him down, that sort of thing.
I am not sure what thought led the alchemist to his next course of action but he grinned. Rummaging through his bags and pockets, he soon produced a small vial and after a small ritual of some sort (I am not sure what I should call it) he then pulled the rod of the house from the wall and poured the contents of the vial on it. The rod began to glow the same pale blue as the circle in the center of the room was. He placed it back into the wall. I gave a start as the hammer key popped out of the wall and onto the floor.
Fifteen minutes passed as our small group conversed and debated. I was beginning to understand our task at hand and felt that we had all the pieces to the puzzle. I voiced the thought and we proceeded to experiment.
We spent another quarter hour, with help from Albrecht and Natalia, channeling different magics into the rods. Every time the outcome was the same and it soon became evident that we would have to make a choice. Being that the pale blue light now coated the rod of the house, we chose to forgo the further wasting of spells and use the currently illuminated rod.
“It is settled,” said Natalia. She closed her eyes and concentrated. She forced her will on the mechanism of circles.
“Try to envision the magic working,” I coached the bard. “It is important to believe that nothing else, other than that which you want to happen, will happen. I once saw an orc shaman—” I was about to relay the events of an interesting occurrence when the fates saw fit to interrupt my anecdote.
The once unstable, pulsating light at the center of the chamber ceased to flicker, radiating a steady glow instead. All at once the party’s attention turned to the doorless door.
The stone wall inside the door’s frame congealed, then evaporated into pitch black nothingness. A gale of forceful wind was released into the dank, underground room from the portal ahead and the staleness of the ruins lessened. We stared into the nebulous hole, hesitant.
“Something is coming,” shouted Mourundar. I heard nothing. I squinted and made out a shape in the darkness; it was quickly growing larger. by the time I realized what it was the beast was at the door.
It had a thick serpentine body, covered in scales. Its face was more monstrous than human and its sinister slitted pupils peered back at me with contempt and fury. It was a dark naga. Like a nightmarish cousin to a bad dream, it was much like the naga I had come in contact with over the years, only worse in every way imaginable.
Not thinking, I drew my bow and fired on it as it halted, mouthing words I assumed could only be a dark spell. My arrow glided harmlessly off its shoulder, taking a few scales with it. It paid me little heed.
The Barbarian was on the creature before I scarce had time to blink. Her flaming sword snapped out, drawing an ember colored line across the naga’s breast. The naga’s eyes narrowed but it continued to cast its spell.
Melodic tones filled the air accompanied by the whirring sound of arrows as Mourundar set about his work. I have never seen a dark elf that did not love the chaos of battle and he was no different. His arrows, much like my own did little to stop the beast.
The current situation was looking dire indeed. Then Albrecht cackled and a procession of high-grade, short fused explosives made their way through the threshold. For a maniac, his aim was impeccable. Not a single part of Sa’diyah was detached, incinerated, or otherwise blown to the smallest of tiny bits after
Albrecht’s assault. The naga did not fare as well.
For a brief moment it seemed as if the danger was over. Then I realized why the creature had ceased its spell. Silence, too short, preceded the terrible bolt of lightning the dark naga called forth. It cut through the party mercilessly.
The flash temporarily blinded me. When I could see and hear again I noticed our line of assault was in shambles. Mourundar and Albrecht seemed more rattled than hurt. Natalia, however, lay in a crumpled pile, her ashen skin as dark as charcoal and her hair afire. She twitched and then began to crawl on her stomach toward the exit.
In my panic I drew another arrow and it zipped by the creatures head, hitting empty space. I was shaking and weary and my head throbbed.
Sa’diyah roared in anger and lunged at the naga, connecting with two powerful strokes of her fiery sword. A chunk of flesh the size of a fist sloughed off, and a magical fire erupted form the wound, sending the naga lurching backwards.
Mourundar steadied himself and smiled at the creature. He put two arrows neatly through the naga’s heart and it dropped with a heavy thud to the ground.
The beast took a few minutes to die. As I thought of the havoc it had unleashed on our party, of the smoldering half dead bard and the pain its lightening had caused to my eyes, I took great pleasure in speaking with the creature.
In its native tongue I explained its death to it. I savored telling the naga that it would die here, in this underground hell. I also told it that I would be taking its treasures and that it would die worthless, without power.
“How—,” it gurgled. “How was I beaten. How could I have been so weak?”
Mourundar stepped over the creature’s body and looked it in the eyes. “Don’t be foolish,” he replied. “We are just strong.” As if on signal, the beast died.
Chapter 9 (unfinished scrawlings)
The naga was housed in a 40×40ft dark chamber. There was some treasure:
Light repeating crossbow (excellent), Signal whistle (fine), potion (reduce person) and set goggles. Gems (150-200g) a strange crystal growing out of the wall.
900c, 330s, 75g, 5p) 167g.
I don’t think I could get it out without breaking it.
Solven, “that is only found on the plane of elemental air” , and why there was a rush of air room.
We gathered loot and saw to the bard. She was near death. Blackened.
The Bard limped to Albrecht expectedly.
He smirked and tapped her with the wand, until she felt better. Every time he made an exaggerated gesture that said ta-da.
I rested against a wall as Albrecht continued to mend the party.
Mourndar stepped up to Albrecht. “I seem to have scuffed my boot up can you help me with that.
Albrecht produced a vial that took off the scuff, but left a dark, rough corrosive mark. It was acid. Mourndar’s eyes widened. Albrecht tsked. I can take it out, I can do something later.
Albrecht produced another potion and poured it on the hammer key. He cast his will upon the Thessalonian machine. After a while the portal opened again. Another blast of air.
It was an identical version of the main chamber. Sans the carvings.
There was a slot with a keystone in it.
The chamber was in almost pristine condition compared to its counterpart.
Albrecht opened the door out of the chamber. A 40ft hallway ending in massive stone doors lay on the other side. After studying the doors he seemed satisfied and opened the massive doors. The doors opened inward. Albrecht almost fell into a gapping pit. A 20ft sinkhole impeded our journey.
Mourndar attempted to climb the near-sheer walls of the chamber. He failed.
Albrecht told him to hold on and then he whipped up a spiderclimb potion. Mourndar walked up the walls and attached a rope to the ceiling.
I swung across the chasm with relative ease.
The Bard was next followed by the barbarian. Albrecht was next. He didn’t make it across. He instead swung back awkwardly several times.
Mourndar took pity on the madman and loaned him his enchanted cloak. Albrecht, with cloak wrapped around him, flapped his arms I a cartoonish manner and turned into a bat.
He flew across the gap, doing a showy barrel roll and landing neatly in human form.
The other side was like a stone island. Two more garishly large doors stood before us.
Again Albrecht charged ahead, barreling through the doors.
The room was 40×20 feet, with a torch every ten feet down each wall.
A large statue of a bull ordained the center of the room. As we stepped through the rooms thresh hold I noticed It was made of interlocking metal plates. And alive.
It was a Gorgon. It’s breathe could turn a person to stone.
“I suggest we retreat…momentarily.”
The barbarian was hesitant to back down from the challenge.
After a few minutes of tenuous discussion behind a door with a 2 ton metal bull on the other end. We decided on a plan.
We opened the doors once again, the bard cast her spell and the Gorgon charged.
Mourundar’s arrows were as fast as ever. In his haste he missed. I laid down suppressive fire and jumped to the side.
Albrecht let loose with his bombs. They passed right through the figment. “It’s not real!!!” The illusion disappeared into a cloud of mist as it hit the threshold. Albrecht laughed
Another door stood in our way. Behind it was a 15×40 hall lined with pillars.
In single file formation we marched ahead, Mourndar alone hugged the walls to the side passing behind the pillars.
Near the end of the hallway we beheld the long dead remains of some humanoid creatures. Another set of double stone doors with a hammer engraved in each door. I found no traps on the doors. The barbarian opened the doors.
It was the largest room by far.
A chamber flanked on either wall by what I wanted to be statues, but seemed to be inert golems. Four on each wall. They might hold some value.
Albrecht inspected the golems with no success. I assisted him and we looked for powercores. There were none. The next doors awaited us. Again no traps. The barbarian opened the door, which opened into a small chamber.
Bard denoted magic in the room. One of the items radiated a strong transmutation aura. It was on a desk. It was a small metal sphere.
Albrecht identified it as the powercore we needed. We inched towards it with the intent to pick it up….