Conquering the Barbarian Altanis: Session 57
|Marston Dangon||Magic-User level 1||A tall man engulfed by large cloak with broad, stuffed shoulder pads. Hundreds of sewn fireflies make his cloak look alive.|
|Darrad||Cleric level 1||A cleric of Pernatem, God of Sculptures, is a well sculpted man himself with long brow beard, slicked dark hair, and imposing frame.|
|Rashomon||Elf level 2||A dangerous looking elf.|
|Lyffed||Elf level 1||Thin and balding elf whom also happens to be Rashomon's friend.|
|Brent Goose||Cleric level 4||An eccentric, but charismatic, cleric seeking the Holy Bird. White robes and black cloak conceal his tall, frail and anemic frame. His eagle-like nose is exposed for all to see.|
|Hedwig Hogwarts||Elf level 2||An always alert owl masquerading as an elf.|
Goodgrove 10th, Airday
“We should go back to that tower.”
“Yeah, it was full of treasure.”
No, this is not a déjà vu. The adventurers decided to repeat what they did a week or so ago—and so they did.
Marston Dangon, and his two new starry-eyed students Rhys and Starisa; Darrad; Rashomon and Lyffed; Hedwiga; and Brent Goose with his three acolytes, Tou Cansam, Daisy, and Della.
The party set out the day before. With the days now being shorter due to change in seasons, it took them slightly longer to get to the ruined tower.
Adventuring entrepreneurs entered the tower around noon.
“How about we check the trapped doors?”
Hitting the pressure plate next to east doors hadn't activated the arrows that stuck elves in the back during one of the previous expeditions.
Opening the doors had proven to be a trivial matter. A new chamber laid before them, fifty by thirty feet. Empty, devoid of any valuables! But wait, there were another doors in the south-west corner.
Failing to find any traps, one brave member swung them open. Lo and behold! Another fifty by thirty room, but this time with a spectacular sight.
Thirty feet long and twenty feet high frame holding a shiny golden sheet stared straight back at the salivating entrepreneurs.
“Wait. This might be a trap.”
Darrad tensed his sling and unleashed a stone at the sheet.
“GET OUT OF HERE!”
Golden sheet violently erupted, spewing forth unimaginable amount of gold-yellow dust, consuming the room.
“CLOSE THE DOORS! CLOSE THEM!”
Peeking around the corner only revealed that the cloud penetrated the chamber. One would have to enter it in order to close the room.
“SCREW THAT, FALL BACK TO THE ROUND CHAMBER!”
“Huh, where to now?”
“How about we go through the secret passageway and check out that place where we ran into our former retainers?”
“Oh yeah, those bastards need to pay.”
A few moments later...
“Bah, there is nothing here except urine and some leftovers. They also defaced some of the walls.”
“Let's head further north.”
Bypassing the pendulum traps with ease, the party moved into the chamber with three doors. Last time they fled through west doors, but this time they went through the northern ones.
Another thirty by thirty foot chamber, barren, with nothing but an archway leading east. There, another perplexing barren chamber, with doors in the north-west corner and heavy, steel portcullis in the north-east corner.
Not even the combined strength of Hedwiga, Darrad, and Rashomon could budge it.
“What do you see beyond the grates?”
“Nothing, just a corridor...”
“Let's try the doors.”
They opened with surprising ease, revealing a sharp turn to the right. Just a few feet on, the corridor twisted left. Peeking around the corner, the adventurers could see an impressive bust poking out of the west wall.
The elves edged closer to it. It was a statue of a veiled woman, covering her lips with both palms The statue was from hips and up; the lower portion wasn't present—as if the woman was reaching out from the wall.
Darrad studied the statue with great interest. He marvelled at the quality of its makes, especially all the life-like details. Lyffed observed letter-like marking on the statue's forearms. Since he inferred they must be in some unfamiliar language, he decided to cast Read Languages.
“KISS ME” said the left forearm.
“GENTLY” said the right forearm.
Lyffed fixed himself, stood straight in front of the statue, and leaned in for the kiss. Mere moments before he delivered the goods, he noticed smaller lettering on the statue's collarbone.
“DO NOT TOUCH ME”
He quickly jumped off and abandoned his plans.
The statue was at a T-shaped junction splitting north and east. The latter led into the corridor with the previously encountered portcullis—but it was raised! The north led them to another archway adorned with raised portcullis.
Pressing on, the party ventured into yet another rectangular chamber with little but doors in the north-east corner. Brent Goose and his followers hugged the south wall; the rest dispersed throughout chamber, scanning it for secret doors, valuables, or any other hints.
Darrad listened at doors but heard nothing. Lyffed came to his aid.
As soon as the elf joined him by the doors, the floor gave in, and they both disappeared. Marston witnessed them falling through the rotating panel, which immediately closed after the duo.
A loud clang echoed.
Lyffed heard yet another sound; a loud crunch.
Darrad lied lifelessly right next to the elf.
“Quick, we need to get the rope!”
“Where are they?!”
“They were right by the doors! It must've been a pit trap!”
“Quick, tie a rope around my waste and I'll try to activate it with my weight!”
Just as the party was discussing their rescue plan, Marston felt a subtle change in the air. Then he picked up a slight breeze as well as sound of scrapping stone coming from behind.
But it was no rolling stone.
It was them.
Two dwarves and two humans right behind them.
“How dare you disturb Golding the Impatient's lair!”
“Well, how dare you disturb us!”
Rashomon did his magic, casting magical Sleep on the would-be surprisers. The humans fell, but dwarves still stood.
“How dare you cast spells at us!”
Two sleeping humans were dragged into the darkness, while the dwarven duo counter-charged Hedwiga.
In the ensuing skirmish two more humans charged out of the dark corridor, one reinforcing the dwarves against ferocious Hedwiga, the other going for Marston.
The latter one was dressed in plate, had a magnificently looking shield, as well as appropriately matching mace. He grabbed Marston and manhandled him like a ragdoll.
“Drop your weapons or I'll smash his head into a bloody pulp!” he roared.
“No!” Brent retorted, and orders his goslings to shoot him with their slings. Alas! All missed, and Della even managed to drop her sling!
Rashomon cast another Sleep spell—for he was wise enough to prepare it twice for this expedition—this time solely targeting the dwarves.
“Friends, let's stop this violence.”
An elf walked out of the dark corridor, speaking in elvish to Rashomon and Hedwiga.
“I suggest you drop your weapons.”
“And if we don't?”
“We will kill you!”
“Forget the dwarves, kill those that are still standing!”
Hedwiga, ignoring a single man still attacking her, cast Charm on the man whom has pinned Marston to the ground. Just as she did so, she herself was overcome with great need to lay down. And so she did.
Just like Rashomon.
Five more men came out of the dark corridor. They quickly woke the dwarven duo.
“Drop your weapons, or we will kill all your friends.”
Brent turned to his followers and ordered them to comply.
“Drop them. Yes, you heard me right, drop them.”
Not even a minute passed since Lyffed fell into that damn hole. He could hear clang again, and then light blinded him as the ceiling rotated open.
It was not Rashomon or Marston or Brent whom came to save him.
It was them.
Two unknown dwarves and one unknown elf. The former had really sour faces. The latter was as featureless as the chambers they've traversed. They threw him the rope with a word.
Lyffed climbed up.
Oh, what a sight greeted him.
All of his colleagues, except Brent and his followers, laid on the floor, sleeping like babies. Their hands were tied and their mouths gagged. Brent's “acolytes” were similarly treated.
Brent, on the other hand, was untied and ungagged. Heavily armoured man stood next to him, observing intently.
“I'm Golding the Impatient. You have intruded into my territory.” a tall man in gold robes politely, but firmly, introduced himself to Lyffed.
“As I can see, you have obviously bested my friends. Listen, is there a way we could ransom ourselves?”
“I'm a business man first and foremost. I'm listening.”
“I could offer you a gold chain for our lives. It is worth at least 1400 gold coins!”
“Don't mock me elf. I can get more for you and that cleric over there by selling you into slavery. You'll have to offer more.”
“How about four gold chains?”
“Hmmm. Tell me more.” Golding encouraged the elf whilst stroking his chin.
“We have four large gold chains, just stashed in Hara. I can fetch them and bring them back for our lives.”
“You have five days. For each day you are late, I'll slit one your friends' throat.” then he turned to the stony faced elf “Lanithdir, escort him to Hara and back.”
“I will see to it, Master.”
Lyffed was stripped off his armour, weapons, and all other valuables.
“Walk.” the elf prodded another elf.
Lyffed and Lanithdir exited the tower.
It was still noon.
And by the looks of it, it was going to be a long, long day.
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