Rise of the Thrall Lord
Knights of the Couch - Part I - The Search for the Ancient Scroll - Part 3
It seemed like only a few minutes had passed when Glorfindle heard Seth nudging the others awake. The elven wizard wasn’t really asleep. Elves never slept. They just entered a trance-like state which would allow their bodies to rest while their minds remained alert.
Aksel got up and checked on the party. Everyone was fully healed and ready to go. They all packed up and prepared to enter the basement of the keep.
“Glo, have you heard anything from your familiar?” Aksel asked.
“Raven is keeping a low profile right now. There were lots of bugbears roaming around the courtyard and outside the keep this morning. And a man in robes was flying around as well.”
“Flying?” Aksel repeated. “Now that’s interesting.”Seth had his ear up to the secret door that led to the basement. “Well, all sounds quiet out there,” he reported.
“Then let’s go,” Aksel said.
The little ninja opened the secret door. They all filed out into a dark, dank room and closed the door behind them.
“Seth…” Aksel started to say.
“Already on it,” the halfling replied. He started sneaking ahead.
Glorfindle had a light glowing on his staff, but had thrown a cloth over it to mute the glow.
Seth returned a few minutes later. There’s some kind of storage room up ahead, with lots of stuff covered with sheets.
They all moved ahead and entered the room. They started searching under the sheets and found a lot of old furniture. It was all in pristine condition.
Seth and Lloyd pulled the sheet off of one long rectangular shape. It turned out to be a luxurious, ornate couch. Seth plopped himself down.
“Oooo,” the little halfling said, “this is comfy! Lloyd you have to try this!”
The big warblade sat down and sunk into the cushions.
“Well?” Seth asked.
“Yep,” Lloyd said putting his arms up behind his head and lying back in his seat, “comfy.”
“Glo?” Seth looked at the wizard inquisitively.“No, I’m just fine,” the elf replied.
“You don’t know what you’re missing,” Seth said enticingly.
“Yes, yes, that’s all well and fine,” Aksel said. “Now can we get back to our exploring?”
“Sure,” Seth said, “still not moving, “But when we are done here, I’m taking this couch back with us.”
“If you can carry it,” Aksel replied, “then you can take it.”
“Oh, I’ll find a way,” the halfling declared as he finally got up. Then he started searching the rest of the room.
Lloyd had also gotten up and was checking out a sheet hanging on the wall. He pulled it off and found a plain mirror.
“I wonder what this is doing here,” the big warblade said. He reached out his hand to touch his reflection.
Aksel whirled around and yelled, “Lloyd! Don’t…”, but it was already too late.
Lloyd had touched the mirror and it started to glow. All of a sudden the big man got sucked into the mirror and disappeared! The others all ran up to where the warblade had just been and stared at the reflective glass.
“Where did he go?” Brundon asked in an excited tone.
“It’s a magic mirror,” Glorfindle responded. “It teleported him to another location.”
“Is there any way to know where?” the ranger asked.
“Not without going through ourselves,” the wizard responded.
“Well not much else we can do but follow him,” Aksel added. “Seth, do you want to wait here, just in case he comes back through?”
“Sure,” the little halfling replied.
“Um, I’ll stay here too,” Brundon said sheepishly.
“Ok,” Aksel said, starting to wonder why they had brought the ranger along in the first place. “Everyone else, let’s go through the mirror and see if we can find Lloyd.”
Glendor, Glorfindle and finally Aksel entered the mirror one by one and disappeared from sight.
“What do we do now?” Brundon asked the little ninja nervously.
“We wait,” Seth said, walking over to the couch and falling back into its comfortable cushions.
Aksel reappeared into a small room filled with tables covered with vials, pots, books and parchments. There were bookshelves filled with books along the wall. Behind him was another mirror just like the one in the basement. Across the room was a door. And to his left was a window with the morning light streaming through it.
Lloyd, Glendor and Glorfindle were all there. The wizard was examining the books and parchments on the table. Lloyd was roaming around the room. Glendor stood where he was next to the mirror and stared around the room in wonder.
“What is this place?” the fighter asked.
“I believe it is the wizard’s lab,” Glorfindle replied not taking his eyes off the book he was reading.
“Then we are probably on the third floor of the keep,” Aksel stated. “Lloyd, can you check outside?”
The warblade walked over to the window and peered out. “Yep, we are high up. I can see the courtyard below, and the tower to the left.”
“Uh-Oh,” the big man added suddenly.
“What?” Aksel asked.
“I think I see the wizard. There’s a man in robes below walking across the courtyard. He’s coming from the tower and headed this way.”
“I think that’s our cue to leave,” Aksel told them. He walked over to the table and quickly grabbed a bunch of pots, stuffing them in his robes. Then he started over to the door. He was about to open it when he heard growling and grunting coming from the other side.
“Bugbears,” the little cleric exclaimed. “We’re trapped!”
“Only one option,” Glorfindle told them, “back through the mirror.”
With no other choice, they all hurried over to the magic glass and one by one filed through, disappearing from the room.
Barely a minute had gone by when suddenly Seth and Brundon appeared in the room. They materialized out of the mirror.
“Where is everyone?” Brundon asked nervously.
“Shhh,” Seth hissed at the ranger. But it was too late. The door burst open and a man in robes strode in. He spotted the two of them, raised his hand and began casting a spell.
“Back through the mirror!” Seth yelled. He turned and dove, dematerializing into the glass.
Brundon, however, turned just a bit too slow and before he could reach the mirror the wizard’s spell caught him. A pinkish glow washed over his body, and the he stopped, turned around and calmly looked at the old man. Then he said “How may I serve you, Master?”
Seth appeared in a small room with three stone walls and one wall made of bars with a barred door inset in it. Lloyd and Glendor were there pushing against the door. But it wasn’t budging. Leaning against the wall to the side was Glorfindle and Aksel.
“Nice of you to drop in,” the little cleric said.
“Yeah, about that,” the ninja responded, “we’ve got that wizard on our tail.” He turned around and looked at the mirror behind him. The glass was dark with no reflection.
“It’s a one way mirror,” Glorfindle informed him. “We’re not getting out that way.”
“Where’s Brundon,” Glendor suddenly asked.
“He was right behind me when the wizard burst in on us,” Seth told them. “Guess he wasn’t quick enough.”
“I hope he’s ok,” the big fighter said with concern in his voice.
“He probably is,” Aksel responded. “That wizard is probably more curious than anything else right now. He’ll want to know more about us before he decides to do anything.”
“And he has to know where that mirror leads so he probably things he’s got the rest of us nice and safely tucked away for the moment. That should buy us a little time,” Glorfindle finished.
“So, who wants to get out of here,” Seth asked as he walked over to the jail door.
Lloyd and Glendor moved out of the little halfling’s way and let him get to work.
Seth fiddled with the lock all of ten seconds and it clicked and he pushed the door open.
“Child’s play,” the little ninja/rogue commented to no one in general.
They filed out of their jail cell and down a hall filled with other cells. They all were empty except for assorted skeletons.
Seth led the way moving quietly down the hall. Glendor, being the loudest, brought up the rear. They came to a door and Seth listened carefully.
“What do you hear,” Aksel mouthed at him.
“Snoring,” the halfling replied.
The backed off the door ten feet and huddled. Aksel laid out a plan. Seth would unlock the door and pull it open, Lloyd would charge through, followed by Glendor, and take out the sleeping guardsman, or guardsmen, before they could fully wake up. Glorfindle would go next in case there were more than a couple of guards.
They followed the plan and it went smoothly. Two bugbear guards were taken unawares. They ran into a third one farther up the hall, but he was easily dealt with.
The party moved swiftly through the dungeon area and found stairs leading upward. The ascended them quickly and made their way through a few rooms. About ten minutes later, they found themselves back in the room with the couches and the mirror.
They decided it was too risky to enter the mirror again. If the wizard was still in his lab, he could catch them as they rematerialized. The storage room had three doors to it. They had already come through the one that led to the secret passage, and the one behind them led back down to the dungeon. Now the group took the third door.
Seth was in the lead again, scouting out about fifty feet or so ahead of the rest of the part. After about fifteen minutes of traversing more empty corridors, the little ninja doubled back to the rest of the party.
“There’s a room uphead,” he whispered, “with a strange green glow coming from it. It sounds like someone is in there chanting. It’s not very melodious.”
“Let’s check it out,” Aksel decided.
They slowly moved towards down the hall towards the green glowing archway. Seth had the lead with Lloyd behind him. Then came Glorfindle and Aksel with Glendor bringing up the rear.
When the party reached the door, they peered in to see a strange sight. There was a large chamber filled with a pool made of green glowing water. At one end of the pool stood two bugbears wearing helmets and carrying staffs. They were standing over an altar with their backs to the pool. There was a body on the stone slab in front of them. They had their hands and staffs raised and were chanting some kind of hideous song.
Standing around the pool were four paler looking bugbears. Glorfindle looked closely with his keen elven eyes. “Zombies,” he hissed suddenly.
“And look at the one on the left,” Seth added. It was Gilstench! Or at least it was zombie Gilstench.
“Necromancy.” Glorfindle whispered. “No something worse. It’s radiating negative energy in waves coming from that pool. What are they playing at here?”
“I don’t know,” Glendor said from behind them, “but this an affront to all that is good and holy. It needs to be stopped.”
Seth looked quizzically at the big man and then at the others.
“I’m afraid I agree with Glendor,” Aksel said. “This kind of thing cannot be tolerated.”
“I also agree,” Glorfindle added. “Whatever is in that pool is pure evil. It needs to be destroyed.”
“Oh well,” Seth sighed. “I guess I can’t let you all go in there alone and get yourselves killed. So what’s the plan?”
Aksel assessed the situation for a few minutes and then came up with a strategy. Seth would sneak into the room and stealthy set up what was becoming his trademark rope trap around the zombies. On Aksel’s signal he would spring the trap knocking all the zombies to the ground. Lloyd would charge in and attack the fallen undead creatures getting the two Necromancer’s attention. Then while they were distracted, Glorfindle would attack them with his burning hands spell. Then Glendor would enter the fray and finish off the Necromancers.
The bugbear necromancers still had their backs turned as Seth snuck in the room and set his rope in place. The zombies were unaware of the little ninja’s movements. They stood by the pool staring off vacantly into space. Glorfindle snuck the other way around just out of the necromancer’s line of sight. Lloyd and Glendor stood back in the hallway with drawn blades, ready to charge.
Aksel signaled Seth and the little ninja sprung his trap. All four zombies tumbled to the ground at once, and one even fell into the pool. The necromancer’s heard the splash and whirled around, grunting and growling. They Lloyd came charging in the room. The two necromancer bugbears raised their staffs and began to cast spells at the hurtling figure.
Then, with no warning, they were both engulfed in a stream of flame. Caught totally unawares, the two necromancers yelped with pain as they were mildly scorched and little flames sprung up in their fur. They turned to see the source of the flames when they heard a loud clanking noise getting louder and louder. Too late the saw the green light from the pool shining off of Glendor’s polished armor as the fighter drove into them. He knocked them both down with his charge. One necromancer was completely stunned, but the other one scrambled to its feet. It turned to run, but Glendor had already turned and took a great swing with his sword, catching the evil bugbear wizard in its back. The creature fell to the ground and did not move again.
The other necromancer had begun to recover, and quickly regained his feet, only to find two knives protruding from his chest. Lloyd and Seth had made quick work of the remaining three zombies, all tangled up in Seth’s rope. Seth, seeing an opportunity for some “target practice” with his throwing knives, couldn’t resist. The second necromancer fell to the ground dead.
Glorfindle was standing at the edge of the pool looking down into the water, a look of revulsion on his face. Seth peered into the pool and saw a dark crystal at the bottom of the water. The gem was pulsing almost as if it was alive. It was rather pretty Seth thought. It would be a shame to…”
“Don’t fall under its spell,” Glorfindle said from across the pool. “It is evil. It must be destroyed.” And with that statement the wizard lifted a finger and pointed it downward at the crystal. “In the name of Corellon Larethian,” Glorfindle said and two purple projectiles launched from his fingertips and lanced down through the water towards the pulsing crystal. The missiles reached their target and the pool shuddered as they impacted. Then the crystal shattered and a dark light fanned out in all directions. The dark flash was gone almost immediately and when Seth looked back at the pool, the water was clear again, the sickly green color gone. There was no trace of the crystal.
“What was that thing?” Glendor asked walking up to the edge of the pool.
Glorfindle was quiet for a moment, then responded, “Back when the world was younger, during a period some call the Age of Monsters, there was a great nation of golbinoids that dominated all the others. They were called the Dhakanni. It was a strong empire, but they also delved in dark magic. The Dhakanni created many items of power back then, all of them evil. One of these items was called the Tear of Dhakann. It reportedly had the ability to bring the dead back to life. But it did not return the soul to the body. Instead it would fill the empty husks with evil spirits. That crystal at the bottom of the pool was the Tear.”
They were all silent for a few moments. Then they heard Seth’s voice.
“Hey! Look what I found!” the halfling called.
They all turned and saw the little ninja/rogue next to an open door on the other side of the room. It had not been there when they entered the room.
“Another secret door?” Aksel asked. “Who built this place?”
Glorfindle brought his light over and they peered in the room. There was dust everywhere. The floor had an inch layer of it and there were no footprints. This room had obviously not been entered in a very long time.
In the center of the room was a round table. At the table sat a skeleton. It was covered with cobwebs. On the table in front of the skeleton was a dagger and a book.
Glorfindle cast a spell and the dagger glowed. He picked it up from the table and examined it, then handed it to Seth. “Carefully,” he said holding it by the hilt. “It is a dagger of venom.”
Then the wizard reached down and lifted up the book. He cracked it open carefully and leafed through a few pages. Then he whistled.
“What is it?” Aksel asked.
Glorfindle handed him the book.
Aksel looked at the pages and then also whistled. Then he looked up and said “It’s a manual of golem creation; stone golems specifically.”
“What is something like that doing here?” Seth asked.
“It makes you wonder who the original builders of this keep were,” Glorfindle said.
“Anyway, we better get moving. We still have that wizard to deal with and we need to find out what happened to Brundon,” Aksel told them.
They continued moving through the basement rooms until they came across as small room with shelves. On examination, they appeared to once have been filled with foodstuffs. Now they were all but disintegrated.
“Look at this,” Seth said. He was pointing upward.
There above him was a rectangular hole in the ceiling. It was about 3 foot long by 3 foot wide.
“Do you think you could climb up it,” Aksel asked Seth.
“No problem,” the little ninja replied. “Lloyd, give me a boost.”
The big warblade stood underneath the hole. The little ninja scrambled up his back, onto his shoulders and jumped up into the opening. He disappeared into it.
About 5 minutes later a rope dropped down from the hole in the ceiling.
“Guess he wants us to climb up,” Aksel commented. “Lloyd, want to go first?”
“Sure,” the big man replied. He grabbed the end of the rope. He tugged on it and it held fast. Then he hoisted himself onto it and began climbing until he disappeared out of sight.
They waited a few minutes and then Glorfindle climbed up.
“Me then you,” Aksel told Glendor.
“But I’m not good at climbing,” Glendor told the little cleric, “especially in full plate.”
“Not a problem,” Aksel said after a moment’s thought. “Tie the end of the rope around your belt. Then wrap it under your arms making a kind of harness out of it. When you are ready, tug on the rope and we will haul you up.
Glendor did not look so certain, but he did as the cleric told him. Aksel checked the knots and then shimmied up the rope.
The big fighter waited about 5 minutes and then tugged on the rope. “Here goes nothing,” he said to no one.
Suddenly, he was being hauled off his feet and up into the opening. He went up and up about thirty feet until finally he reached the top.
Lloyd and someone else grabbed him and hauled him onto the floor.
“I think you’ve put on a few pounds,” a familiar voice said.
Glendor looked up and was staring right at Brundon!
“Brundon? How?” Glendor asked in amazement.
“I don’t remember much,” the ranger said. “Seth and I had gone through the mirror looking for you all. We ended up in a room and the door burst open. I saw an old man in robes point at me and then a quick flash of light. Next thing I know I wake up in this little room,” he spread his hands.
Glendor looked and saw they were in a small room, about ten feet long by ten feet wide with shelves all around it. It was filled with foodstuffs, but these were fresh. And there was a door diagonally across from the hole they had just climbed up.
“It’s a pantry,” Brundon continued. “The door was locked and I thought I would be stuck in here forever. I did find that chute over there but I had no way of knowing how far down it went. Then about ten minutes ago, Seth pops his head out and says How are you doing Brundon? Imagine my surprise. Then I find out that all of you are coming up here. I’ve got to say, am I glad to see you guys.” Then he reached out and hugged them all.
‘Ok, ok,” Seth said, “enough with the touchy feelies. Yuck,” the little halfling said, brushing himself off. “Now, how about we get out of here.”
Seth walked over the door. “Locked, huh?” he smirked. “We’ll just see about that.” He went to work on the door mechanism and in less than 30 seconds they heard a click. “Not anymore,” Seth bragged.
Then the little halfling put his ear to the door. “I hear something,” he said after a minute or two. “It sounds like pacing. Heavy footed whatever it is. But it recedes then comes back every 3 minutes. Enough time for me to take a look around.”
“Ok,” Aksel replied, “but be careful.”
“Aren’t I always?” Seth said trying to sound as innocent as possible.
“Not really,” Glorfindle replied.
They all turned to look at the wizard.
“What?” Glorfindle said. “If he can taunt me about my flame spells, then I can tease him about being a magnet for trouble.”
“Why Glo, I believe we are rubbing off on you!” Seth grinned.
The elf rolled his eyes and said “Why me?”
The heavy footsteps began to recede again. Seth counted to ten and opened the pantry door. He eased his way out into a hallway. To his right was a wall and across from him was a door. To his left he saw another door and then the corridor made a left turn.
He peered around the corner and saw a long corridor with a few more doors on either side. But about ten feet in front of him was a huge gray creature. It was lumbering down the hall away from him. This was the source of the heavy footsteps he had heard.
A stone golem Seth thought. It must be patrolling the hall. But why? So far all he’d seen were a few random doors.
He decided to follow the golem down the hallway. He could always duck into one of the other doors before it got to the end and turned around. He moved out into the hall and began pacing the creature. When he was halfway down the hall he saw a flight of stairs leading down to his left. He decided to take them to see where they led.
He darted down the stairs which went straight down to another floor. When he reached the bottom he saw a large room with two huge doors at the end. But blocking the doors was another stone golem! Luckily it had its back to him. And it wasn’t moving like the other one. This one must be protecting the entrance Seth realized.
He heard the upstairs golem approaching again. He hid around the corner at the bottom of the stairs. He listened until the footsteps stopped receded and hurried back upstairs. There was a door directly across the hallway from him. He snuck across the hall and tried the handle. It wasn’t locked. He carefully opened it and snuck in closing the door behind him.
He was in a large room filled with cots, backpacks, pots and pans and cooking utensils. This must be where the bugbears were camped out Seth thought. He started sneaking across the room when something grabbed him by the foot. He gave a quick start then looked down. There were two little bugbears hiding underneath one of the cots. One had grabbed him and started to yell. The other one started to cry.
Seth quickly reached over to grab a pot and then banged the bugbear child that was holding him on the head. The bugbear went silent and slumped down to the floor.
The other bugbear kid stopped crying for a second and stared at him. Then it started wailing again, this time louder.
No help for it Seth thought. He banged this bugbear child on the head as well with the same effect. Hopefully that would keep them quiet for awhile.
It had been about ten minutes since Seth had disappeared out the door.
“He should have been back by now,” Aksel said.
“The gods know what he’s up to,” Glorfindle commented.
Aksel turned to Brundon. “Can you go out there and see if you can find him?”
“Me?” the ranger replied incredulously. “You want me to go out there?”
“You’re the only one who can come close to Seth when it comes to being stealthy,” Aksel replied. “Unless you rather we send Glendor out there.”
The ranger looked over at his friend and then shook his head. The thought of the big fighter trying to sneak around in all that full plate was too ludicrous to imagine. Brundon finally gave in. “No, I guess I’ll go,” he told them.
He listened at the door, just like Seth had. He also heard the heavy footsteps getting louder and shaking the floor as they got close to the door. Then they receded away again. What is that? Brundon thought worriedly.
The ranger waited until the footsteps came back one more time and then started receding once again. Then he took a deep breath, opened the door, and went out into the hall. He carefully closed the door behind him. He saw a door in front of him and quickly went to it. It wasn’t locked so he opened it slowly and eased his way in and then gently closed the door behind him.
He looked around and realized he was in an armory. There were lots of weapons stashed in here. But many of them were rusted and some were just plain broken. He scouted around the room but saw no sign of Seth. So he went back to the door and listened.
He heard the heavy footsteps receded once again. So he gently opened the door and went out into the hall. He saw the second door now to his right. He began sneaking across the hall to it when he took a quick look down the hall. When he saw the stone golem, he almost fainted.
Brundon felt weak in the knees. He was frozen where he was and could not move. The golem was almost all the way down the hall. It would turn around almost any moment and see him! Move! he thought to himself. Please move! The suddenly his legs unfroze and he made it to the second door.
He opened it and hurried in quickly shutting the door behind him. He breathed a heavy sign of relief then turned around and looked at his surroundings. This was a bedroom. There was a bed, a night able, a dresser, a wardrobe, and a desk and a chair. He carefully scanned the room but it was otherwise empty. Seth wasn’t here either.
There was no way Brundon was going to go farther down the hall with that golem out there. So he waited until he heard it turn around and head back down the hall once again, then opened the door and looked out. The golem was halfway down the hall with its back to him once again.
He snuck out into the corridor and closed the door behind him. Then he slowly tiptoed across the hall and to the pantry door. Suddenly he heard a door open behind him. He turned and saw the door he had just come out standing wide open. Then just it slowly closed itself.
Brundon shook his head. He didn’t feel a draft, but it must have been the wind he thought. Then he opened the pantry door and went inside.
“Where’s Seth…” Aksel began, when suddenly they heard a shout from outside the door. Then they heard a heavy thumping coming closer and closer. It stopped on the other side of the door. They heard a voice yell. “Knock down the door and kill them all!”
Boom! Something heavy hit the door. It shook violently. Boom! It hit the door again and the door began to wobble.
“What in the name of all that’s holy is that?” Aksel yelled.
“It’s a stone golem!” Brundon cried.
“Lloyd, Glendor quick, bolster the door,” Aksel ordered. “Gentlemen we need to get out of here now! Quick back down the chute. Brundon you go first. Then Glo. I’ll go next. Then Lloyd. Glendor you last.”
Glendor turned his head to look at the cleric. “I’ll never make it down that rope in full plate!” he exclaimed.
“Here, take this,” Aksel told him. He took off his feather falling ring and handed it to the fighter.”
“Thanks,” Glendor said and he smiled grimly as the golem hit the door again shaking both him and Lloyd.
Brundon was already down the rope and Glorfindle quickly followed him. Aksel saw the elf make it halfway down and then started down himself. He was halfway down when he hear a huge crack and a thud. The golem must have knocked down the door.
Then he heard Glendor’s voice. “Go Lloyd! I’ll hold him off until you get down.”
“But…” the warblade began to protest.
“Go!” Glendor yelled louder this time. “I’ve got Aksel’s ring! The faster you get down that rope, the sooner I can jump!”
Aksel was almost all the way down when he heard Lloyd’s voice at the top of the chute. “Ok,” the warblade said. “Here I go!”
Lloyd must have half climbed and half skidded down the rope. He was down in almost ten seconds, three times as fast as it had taken Aksel. If he hadn’t been wearing gloves, his hands would have been torn to shreds. When the big man reached the bottom, he yelled up the chute “Glendor! Jump!”
They heard crashing an banging coming from above. Then Lloyd saw the fighter floating down the chute. When Glendor landed, he crumpled to the ground. There was a huge dent in the side of his armor. “That… thing…sure…hits hard,” the fighter gasped. Then he passed out.
Aksel was at his side immediately. He placed his hands over the dented area and began healing the big man. After a minute, he sat back and said “Whew! He is one lucky man. That full plate saved his life. If he had been wearing anything less that blow would have killed him. As it stands, he had some cracked ribs. But I managed to heal them. He’ll probably wake up in a little bit. He’ll be sore, but able to move again.”
Lloyd picked the big man up and moved him away from the chute. Then all of a sudden they heard a terrible racket from somewhere above. It was a banging sound of stone against stone, over and over again. The chute shook and dust started falling out of it.
Aksel went over to the hole and looked up. Something was blocking his view. It moved, thrashing around in the chute. A big fist hammered against the wall of the shaft. It was the golem! It had jumped into the chute and tried to follow them down. Now it was stuck, wedged tight in between the stone walls.
“So now what?” Lloyd asked.
“And where’s Seth?” Glorfindle added.
Seth had been searching the bugbear’s room when he heard the shout in the hall. “Come hear!” The voice had screamed. Then he heard and felt the golem’s footsteps as it quickly moved down the hall.
He went to the door, opened it a crack and peered out. He heard a voice yell “Knock down the door and kill them all!” He saw part of the golem around the corner of the hallway as it began beating on the pantry door. But he could not see the source of the voice.
Then he heard it again. “Harder!” it said. “Harder!”
The golem was intent on bashing down the door, so the little ninja snuck out into the hall. He made his way down towards where he thought he heard the voice. Then he heard the golem smash through the door.
The halfling heard Glendor’s voice. “Go Lloyd! I’ll hold him off until you get down.”
Then the disembodied voice yelled “Kill them all!” again. It was right in front of him.
Seth took out the venom dagger he had just gotten and inched his way closer. He could hear heaving breathing in front of him now.
The voice screamed out again. “Don’t let them escape! Go after them! Both of you! Go down the basement! Kill them all!”
Then Seth braced himself and stabbed the blade forward as hard and as quick as he could. He felt it slide into something then heard a scream followed by a groan. Whatever it was slumped down and hit the floor.
Suddenly, a body materialized in front of him on the ground. It was the old wizard. He was dead.
Seth quickly checked the wizard’s body. He waved his hand over it and cast a detect magic spell. The two rings the wizard had been wearing started to glow as did the cloak. He took the rings off and looked them over carefully.
Suddenly he heard a crashing sound coming from the pantry. He got up and snuck to the door. He peered in but saw nothing in the room. None of his friends and no golem either!
Then he heard the crashing sounds again. It was coming from the chute! He went to the edge and looked down. There was a light at the bottom of the tube, but something was blocking most of it. Then the obstruction started to move. It thrashed around in the chute. It was the golem! It had tried to climb down and gotten stuck!
Seth yelled down the chute. “Are you guys down there?”
A couple of second later a voice responded, “Seth? Is that you?” It was Aksel.
“Where were you?” Aksel yelled.
“I was searching the rooms! Then I heard all the commotion!” he yelled back down the shaft. “I came back and saw the golem attacking you! The wizard was controlling it! So I killed him!”
“You did what?!” This time it was Glorfindle’s voice.
“I killed him!” Seth shouted back.
Then he heard Brundon’s voice. It screamed “We got trouble! It’s another golem!”
Blast it Seth thought. The other Golem was still obeying its master’s last command. It had gone down the basement was going to kill the rest of the party.
“Quick close the door! Lloyd, Brundon try to hold it!” he heard Aksel say.
Then he heard Glorfindle’s voice calling up the chute again. “Seth?”
“Yeah?” the halfling responded.
“Did the wizard have any items on him? Some jewelry perhaps?”
“Yep, he had two magical rings! I have them on me!” Seth yelled back down.
“Destroy them! Quickly!” the wizard cried.
Of course Seth thought. These rings were the controlling mechanisms for the two stone golems. But which one was which?
Seth heard pounding now coming from the basement. Then he heard Brundon’s voice, “We can’t hold it! It’s gonna break through!”
“Seth!” Glorfindle screamed again.
“Yeah!” the halfling yelled back, “I’m on it!”
He looked quickly around the pantry room. There was a large heavy stone slab in the corner next to the chute. It must be a cover for the hole he thought. Good thing it wasn’t in place or they would never have gotten up here in the first place he thought as he went over to it.
He looked at both rings. Which one do I choose? he thought. Which one?
Below he heard a crash. “It’s breaking through the door!” Brundon screamed.
It’s now or never Seth thought to himself. He picked the ring in his left hand and put it down on the ground. Then with a great effort the little halfling hoisted the stone up. He held it there for a second and then sent it crashing down on the ring. He heard a crunching sound.
Below suddenly everything went silent. Then he heard everyone cheer.
Aksel voice came up the chute “You did it Seth! You did it!”
“What happened? Was the golem destroyed?” Seth shouted back.
“Yes!” It was Glorfindle this time. “All that’s left is a pile of dust!”
Suddenly, the other golem started thrashing around the chute again. But it didn’t move any farther down.
Seth suddenly laughed. They wouldn’t have to worry about this golem for quite awhile. He pocketed the second ring and went out to the hall.
The body of the wizard was still lying on the floor. The little ninja walked over to it and removed the cloak. This could come in handy he thought. Then he searched the pockets and found what appeared to be a spell book. He pocketed it to give to Glorfindle later on.
Then Seth went downstairs to meet the others.
It was only early afternoon when Glorfindle, Aksel and Seth reentered the wizard’s lab. They had sent Brundon and Lloyd to go get the horses and riding dogs. Glendor, meanwhile, was resting in the bedroom on the second floor. The fighter had been pretty banged up after holding off the first golem single handed.
Seth began sweeping the lab, looking for secret doors and compartments. Glorfindle and Aksel started going through the books.
“Look here” Aksel said, holding a small book in his hand. “It seems our dearly departed wizard friend was named Telvar. This is his journal.”
Glorfindle walked over and looked over Aksel’s shoulder. The cleric continued, “It seems that Telvar came here looking for the secret to golem creation. There are a number of references in here to scrolls and manuals that he was searching for.”
“He must have been looking for that manual we found in the basement,” Seth said over his shoulder while examining the wall.
“Look here,” Glorfindle pointed to a passage. “I’ve found two of the old golem master’s stone golems and their control rings,” the elf wizard read out loud.
“So he didn’t create these golems himself,” Aksel pointed out.
“The old golem master,” Glorfindle repeated. “He couldn’t be referring to the old Thrall golem master, could he? I wonder.”
“I found something,” Seth suddenly called out. He was kneeling on the floor in the center of the room. He had lifted out a stone tile and underneath was a box. The little ninja was examining it carefully. Then they heard an audible click. “So much for that trap,” Seth smirked.
He lifted the box out of the hole and quickly unlocked it. When they opened and looked inside, they found a gilded scroll case. They popped it open and saw that it contained an ancient looking scroll.
“Looks like this is what Peltar was looking for,” Aksel announced.
“Aren’t you curious,” Seth said nudging Glorfindle in the arm.
“I might be,” the wizard answered. “But ancient magic can be very powerful and very deadly too in the wrong hands. This scroll is probably far beyond me at the present time. It would probably be best to just bring it back to Peltar.”
“You’re probably right,” Aksel concurred.
They heard horse’s hoofs outside the window. Looking outside in the courtyard they saw Brundon and Lloyd bringing the horses and dogs into the keep.
“Let’s get Glendor and go meet the others. I we leave now, we can be back in Restonford before dark,” the cleric said.
Later that day, the wizard Peltar was sitting in his laboratory when he heard a quiet knock at his door.
“What is it?” the old wizard yelled, not bothering to get up.
“Some adventurers to see you Master,” a voice said from the other side of the door. “They say they’ve found the scroll you were looking for.”
Adventurers? Peltar thought. What adventurers? Oh, yes. That table of common buffoons he found at the inn yesterday.
He paused in mid thought. Then he got up and rushed to the door. He swung it opened and looked into the face of one of his disciples.
“Did you say they found the scroll?” Peltar repeated incredulously.
“Yes Master,” the apprentice replied nervously.
This he had to see for himself. If these charlatans were trying to pass off a fake scroll to him, he would fry the lot of them for interrupting his research.
“Where are they?” Peltar demanded.
“Downstairs Master. In the study.”
Peltar made his way downstairs. He was half annoyed and half excited. When he got to the study he found four young people sitting on his couch and chairs. There was a human in red armor, and elf in purple robes, a halfling dressed in green and black, and a gnome in cleric’s robes.
Oh yes, now he definitely remembered. These were the rif-raf from the tavern yesterday. But was it possible that they found the scroll? He calmed himself down internally and then said in a congenial voice “Welcome. I hear that you have completed your quest.”
The travelers all rose when he entered the room.
“Yes we have Wizard Peltar,” the gnome spoke for the group. “We successfully made it to Bone Hill and back again as you instructed. Here is a map of the ruins as you asked.”
The little gnome walked over to the wizard and handed him some parchments.
The elf also stepped forward, “And here I believe, is the scroll that you were looking for.” He handed the old man a gilded scroll case.
Peltar took it and with trembling hands opened the end and looked in. He could just make out the corners of the scroll inside. It was indeed ancient. In fact, it was the scroll he had been looking for. This would give him all the power he needed. Now they would have to accept him he thought to himself.
“Ahem,” the gnome cleared his throat breaking the old wizard out of his revelry. “There is the matter of our reward.”
“Yes, yes,” the old man replied. He waved his hand to his apprentice and told him “Pay them. 5000 gold I believe.”
“5500,” the little halfling spoke up. “500 for the map and 5000 for the scroll.”
“Yes, that’s right,” Peltar said absently. “Pay them 5500,” he ordered his apprentice.
He could not believe they had found the scroll. Maybe this little band was not as useless as he had originally thought. The old wizard turned to leave the room but then heard the cleric clear his throat again.“Yes?” Peltar asked half turning back towards the group, still intently staring at the scroll in the case.
“Please let us know if we can ever be of service to you again,” the little gnome finished.
“Yes,” Peltar replied. “Indeed I will.”
With that he turned on his heel and hurried back up stairs. He had much preparing to do before he would be ready. But he had the scroll! Finally!
Lloyd, Seth, Glorfindle and Aksel walked down the road away from Peltar’s cottage.
“Well that was profitable,” the little ninja said.
“Yes. Not so bad for our first quest,” Aksel agreed.
“So what’s next?” Glorfindle asked the group.
“Well,” Seth said, “I would like to return to Bone Hill sometime soon. If we could figure out how to invoke that ring and control that Golem, it could come in handy. And of course, I still want my couch!”
They all looked at the little halfling and laughed.