Rise of the Thrall Lord
Knights of the Couch - Part VIII - In the Shadow of the Colossus - Section 5
The night went by uneventfully. Early the next morning, Aksel got up and prayed. When he was done, they all gathered in the middle of the camp.
“Okay, who’s going swimming with Donnie and Ruka?” Aksel asked.
“I will!” Lloyd cried raising his hand as if in school.
“Alright. The spell won’t last forever like Donnie’s ring, so I’ll cast it when we are all ready,” Aksel replied.
The group had a quick breakfast and then broke camp. Then they headed back into the water room. Lloyd and Donnie stripped off their shirts and boots. When they were all ready to dive in, Aksel cast the spell of underwater breathing on Lloyd. Then the big man, the elf and the young girl all dove into the water.
“Let’s all head to the center,” Glo said. “Once the water comes pouring down, we’ll need to be under that dome.”
The group all relocated out onto the center platform.
Below the waterline, Donnie, Ruka and Lloyd had reached the bottom. Both golems were back to their regular routine. One marched back and forth and the other one stood over the second switch.
Ruka would once again distract the second golem. She would time it so that she would draw it off once the first golem turned around to head away from the first switch. Then Donnie and Lloyd would quickly swim in and pull both switches.
The young girl swam off and got in position. The other two waited far enough away for the golems to ignore them. Then as the first golem marched towards the first switch, Ruka began swimming towards the second golem. She reached it just as the other golem turned. The second golem saw the girl and reached for her. She easily dodged it once again and began swimming away. The golem followed her.
Donnie and Lloyd took off towards the switches. They reached them at the same time and pulled them simultaneously.
Above water, the outside door closed and water began pouring in from the ceiling. Seth hit the switch on the center dais, and the platform was covered with a force bubble.
“Alright!” Elvisda cried. “I love it when a plan comes together!”
The chamber filled up more and more. The center platform slowly rose with the water line. A few minutes went by and Lloyd, Donatello and Ruka appeared. Seth turned off the bubble and Lloyd climbed on board.
“Coming Donnie?” Alana asked.
“No, I think Ruka and I will stay out here just in case,” the swashbuckler replied.
“Suit yourself,” Seth said. Then he pushed the switch and the force bubble reappeared.
The platform continued to rise as the chamber filled up. Finally, after about half an hour, the chamber completely filled and the top of the force field hit the closed door at the top of the room.
“Why isn’t the door opening?” Elvisda asked.
The chamber continued to fill. The water began rising past the bottom of the platform. If the bubble had not been in place, the group would have been underwater.
“Donnie!” Seth yelled. “Check around for a trap box! Up near the door.”
“Okay,” Donatello yelled back. He started swimming around the bubble and searching up top. Finally he saw something. He invoked his spider climb boots and crawled up onto the ceiling. The water was now even with their necks.
“Hurry!” Elvisda yelled, “If the bubble turns off, we’re all gonna need gills!”
“And I don’t have enough underwater breathing spells to go around!” Aksel added.
“I’m working on it!” Donnie yelled back. He had found the trap box and was working on the mechanism.
“Almost there!” he said as the water was now over the heads and reaching the top of the bubble.
“Got it!” he cried. The door above them opened and the platform shot upward just as the water reached the top and the bubble disappeared. Donnie and Ruka dove onto the platform as the water rushed in and soaked the party. Then the platform cleared the opening and they were in another room entirely.
Everyone piled off the floating platform onto solid ground.
“Whew!” Elvisda said. “I thought I had sung my last song there for a minute.”
“Nicely done Donnie!” Glorfindel said.
“Even if you cut it close,” Seth added. But the ninja was actually smiling this time.
Donnie flashed a smile and said, “I just wanted to see you all sweat.”
“G-d, now he sounds like Seth!” Elvisda groaned.
“I don’t sound like that,” the ninja complained.
“Yes you do!” they all said at once.
The upper room was like a park. There were trees, and grass and pathways all around. The spread out and searched the area. Finally Lloyd cried out, “I found it!” There was a platform with a dais on it. Floating on the dais was another golden eight of a sphere. Lloyd retrieved it and handed it to Glorfindel.
The wizard looked it over and said, “Yep, identical to the last two. There should be another one though.”
Then he heard Ruka cry, “Here’s another one.” The young girl walked up to them with another piece of globe.
“Where did you find that?” Elvisda asked.
“Oh, just floating around,” the young girl replied evasively.
“Thank you,” Glo said as she handed him the sphere piece. He held one in each hand and slowly brought them together just like before. When they touched, there was no sound, but they instantly merged and became a quarter sphere.
“That’s neat,” Elvisda commented.
“Elvis, can I see the other one?” the wizard asked.
The bard reached into the bag of holding and took out the first quarter sphere. He handed it to the wizard.
Glorfindel held the two quarter spheres now, one in each hand. When he brought them together, they merged noiselessly into a hemisphere.
“Cool!” Elvisda said.
Glo handed the entire half sphere back to the bard for safekeeping.
“Okay, where to next?” Elvisda said as he put the hemisphere into the bag of holding.
“I say save fire for last,” Seth commented.
“Then onward to earth,” Aksel said.
“I only have one question,” Lloyd said, “How do we get out of here?”
It turned out that when the pulled the switch on the circular platform, the water began emptying out of the chamber below. It took about an hour, but the chamber eventually emptied back down to floor level. The party took the time to eat while they waited.
Once they were back down, they left the water room and crossed over to the earth room. Once again they crossed under the arch and down a short corridor. The door had the same chakra disc lock mechanism. After they opened it they walked onto a rocky cliff. Stretched out in front of them was a cave with a wide pit across the center. The crater was filled with acid. There were also some clay golems roaming around along the bottom. On this side of the pit, there was a lever. Over on the other side was another cliff with a second lever and a podium on it. On top of the podium was another golden eighth sphere.
“Well that’s different,” Donnie commented.
“Okay then, let’s pull the switch and see what it does,” Seth said. He inspected it closely first and then flipped it.
Large tiles suddenly appeared in front of them at the same level as the cliff. The tiles filled the space between the two cliffs. Each tile had a symbol on it.
“Well, the tiles are in Dwarven,” Glorfindel said after a minute. “But they don’t really spell out anything from what I can see.”
“Great! Another language puzzle,” Elvisda commented. “Lareth must have loved language puzzles.”
“Anyway, I’m guessing we have to walk across them to reach the other side,” Seth said. “But there’s probably a pattern to it. The question is what is it?”
“Nothing really stands out,” Glo replied.
“Okay, then looks like we do this by trial and error,” the ninja replied.
“Well then, how about a tune,” Elvisda said. He took out his loot and played the inspire courage song.
“So you’re doing this Seth?” Glo asked.
“Yep,” the ninja replied.
“Fine by me,” Donnie said.
“Then let’s give you a bit more protection,” the wizard said. Then he cast a spell on the ninja to minimize the damage he would receive if he fell in the acid below.
“Ok, here goes nothing,” Seth said. Then he jumped up onto a tile. Nothing happened.
“That’s an L,” Glo noted.
Seth jumped ahead to the next tile. Again nothing happened. “That’s an O,” Glo said.
Seth jumped this time to his left. Once again nothing happened. “That’s an R,” Glo observed.
Seth leaped to the tile in front of him. Suddenly the tile began to shake. Seth leaped backwards onto the previous tile as the tile in front of him fell into the acid pool below.
“That was close,” Donnie remarked.
“You’re telling me!” Seth replied. “Ok, let’s try that again. What do we have so far?”
“L, O, R,” Glorfindle repeated.
Seth looked around. “And what’s next to me?”
“There’s a B to your left and a D behind you,” the wizard said. “The D! That would make sense.”
“Wish you had told me that in the first place,” Seth told him. Then he jumped backwards onto the tile behind him. Nothing happened.
“L, O, R, D. Lord,” Glo repeated. “Hmm, I wonder.” He stared at the tiles next to the ninja.
“I got the next word!” the wizard said suddenly. “Move to your left.” Seth did and nothing happened.
“Now move ahead,” Glo instructed. Again it worked.
Glorfindel told Seth to then move left, up, up, right and up. Seth followed the path and the tiles did not move.
“So what did that spell?” Aksel asked.
“Lord Lareth,” Glo replied. “The question is what is the next word?”
Elvisda snapped his fingers. “The inscriptions from the first room! Didn’t one begin with Lord Lareth?”
“Yes,” Elistra said. The second line said “Lord Lareth is the Divine Master of all Constructs.”
“I need a better view,” Glo said. “Lloyd, lend me your cloak.”
“Don’t worry!” Seth yelled. “I’ve got it from here!”
“What do you mean you’ve got it?” Glo yelled back.
“I mean, I can read Dwarven,” the ninja replied.
“Since when?” Glo asked in disbelief.
“Since always,” Seth yelled.
“Then why didn’t you say anything before this?” Aksel interjected.
“Glo seemed to like doing all the translating, so I let him,” the ninja replied.
“So basically, what your saying is that your lazy!” Donnie said.
“Yep!” Seth called back. “Now do you want me to finish this puzzle or what?”
“Go ahead,” Glo yelled. Then he turned around, and walked over to the wall. He sat down and sighed, “I give up.” Elistra followed him and sat down next to the wizard and attempted to comfort him.
Meanwhile, Seth started across the tiles again. Now that he knew the message, following the path was relatively easy.
As the ninja continued to follow the tiles, the path led him over to the right side of the room. There in front of him was an alcove with another podium and a second eight of a sphere. He continued to spell out the message and ended up in front of the alcove after he finished the fifth word.
Seth stepped into the alcove and after examining the podium carefully, retrieved the piece of globe. Then he stepped back out onto the next tile.
He spelled out the last four words of the message on the tiles which brought him to the other side of the pit. Then he pulled the switch and all of the tiles grew together and solidified into a bridge across the acid pit. Then the ninja turned and retrieved the eighth of a globe from the podium. He walked back across the bridge and joined the others.
Elvisda took the half sphere out and attached the other two pieces. Now they had three quarters of a sphere.
“One last room to go!” Donnie said enthusiastically.
“Yeah, the fire room,” Elvisda replied. “That should be a real blast.”