Rise of the Thrall Lord
Knights of the Couch - Part XII - To Resurrect A Baron - Chapter 5
Which Way Do We Go George?
While the others continued to celebrate their victory over the flesh golems, Glorfindel went to examine the teleporter. This device was actually quite intricate. It wasn’t just a set of permanent teleportation rings. Gaither was a genius. He had devised a mechanism to control the destination of the teleport through a system of rods and gears. The gears hung from the ceiling above the teleportation circle. Rods ran from them to the wall where they connected with a second set of rods. These rods ran down the wall and connected to yet a third set of rods on the floor. The floor rods ran beside the teleportation circle to a dias with a number of dials on it. Behind the gear mechanism above was a backdrop depicted the stars in the heavens. The gears would move a pointing device around the backdrop aiming at different areas of the sky as it moved around in a circular motion.
The wizard now carefully examined the position of the pointer compared to the celestial backdrop. Based on his previous experience with the device, he was able to discern with reasonable certainty that the teleportation device was currently set at the town of Redune at the south eastern end of the island continent of Thac. It was actually just a little south of Penwick, Lloyd’s hometown, but it was a few days ride from Lukescros. The device did move on its own and given time would eventually point towards Lukescros, but that would not be for another day and a half, and they did not have that much time to waste. So the elf wizard got busy on resetting the teleporter.
He began slowly changing the dials on the dias in front of the teleportation rings. As he turned each dial, the pointer began rotated around the celestial backdrop. But something just wasn’t right. Each time the indicator got close to the spot in the circle corresponding to Lukescros, it would then stop and begin moving backwards! Glo moved the dials a number of times, trying multiple combinations, but try as he might, he could not get the device to point to Lukescros. He began to swear under his breath.
“What’s wrong?” Elvisda said walking up behind the wizard. Aksel followed the bard over.
“Dragon dung!” Glorfindel exclaimed as he continued to fiddle with the dials. “Each time I think I am getting close to Lukescros, the entire mechanism swings away from it!”
“Easy there Glo,” the bard said putting a hand on the other elf’s shoulder. “Maybe we can help.”
The wizard stepped back and took a deep breath. “Yes, yes, maybe you can.” He then went into the long explanation of the device, detailing how the dials worked the rods, which in turn moved the gears, and mapped out the location of the teleport based on the celestial map behind it on the ceiling. Glo further explained how the device normally moved on its own over a 2 day period, and how he had studied that movement to originally figure when it would be pointed back to Restenford on their last trip.
He further went on to explain that the device would eventually move over the area in the heavens that matched Lukescros, but that would not occur naturally for another 30 hours. Figuring that they did not have that much time, Glo had begun to adjust the dials to manual change the location of the mechanism. But he was having trouble doing it. He stepped forward again, moving the dials and pointing upward to show the bard and cleric where he wanted the device to point. Each time the indicator got close to the position in the heavens the wizard wanted to reach it would slow down and then turn back the other way.
“That’s just crazy!” Elvisda declared.
“Yes,” Aksel said. “I quite agree. Let’s try this again together.”
The three of them began taking turns suggesting approaches and working the dials. But the machine was far more complex than any of them had imagined. “What’s going on over there?” Seth called seeing the three companions working feverishly over the dias.
“This machine is being stubborn,” Elvisda called back. “We are trying to set it to Lukescros, but the gears just won’t move in the right direction.”
Suddenly a voice called out from above. It was Martan! They had almost forgotten the archer was crawling across the ceiling. Now he shouted down, “If you’re trying to move the gears around, there’s something funny up here. It looks like there is an iron bar wedged between two of them.”
“Really?” Glo cried back up. “Can you remove it?”
“I think so,” the archer replied. He disappeared behind the gears. A minute later he returned waving a bar in his one hand. “Got it!”
“Let’s try this now,” Aksel said. He began moving the dials around. The pointing device moved around the circle and this time kept going till it was aimed at Lukescros!
“Alright!” the wizard, cleric and bard all cried at the same time. Then Elvisda called up to Martan, “You definitely earned that raise! Now get down here already so we can properly thank you!” The archer crawled down the wall and rejoined the others. The two elves and the gnome surrounded him patting him on the back and thanking him for solving the mystery of the teleportation device.
“Well then,” Aksel said finally, “looks like we are already to go.”
“There’s just one last thing,” Elvisda interjected. “Someone had those golems waiting for us. Who’s to say if we come here again, another nasty little reception committee won’t be waiting for us. I say we do just a little bit of exploring of this tower before we leave.”
“And by we you mean me,” Seth said folding his arms and facing the bard.
“Well…ummm…yes,” Elvisda replied. “You did say you heard something moving down in one of the rooms down below.”
“So why do you need me?” Seth responded stubbornly. “You can just go and knock on the door and see who, or what, answers.”
Realizing that the little ninja was dead set against any further snooping, the bard decided to try a different tact. “Okay then. I guess you don’t care at all about the treasure.” He turned and began to walk away. Wait for it he thought to himself.
“Treasure?” Seth replied quizzically. “What treasure?”
Ah, a bite the bard thought. He casually turned around. “Well it may be nothing, but…” He described a secret door that he and Donnie had found in the ceiling on the next floor down on their first visit to the tower. But it had a trap on it and the swashbuckler couldn’t disarm it.
“Well…” Seth said contemplating for a moment or two, “Maybe it would be worth another look downstairs.” It wasn’t exactly the thought of treasure that had lured the ninja into changing his mind, although it was intriguing. The idea however of opening up a secret door that Donnie could not get to really appealed to him.
“I’ll show you where it is,” Elvisda said enthusiastically. He was very pleased with himself at the moment.
“I think I’ll join you,” Glorfindel added. “I could use to stretch my legs and clear my head after wrestling with that confounded teleporter.”
The three adventurers made their way down the spiral staircase to the floor below. As they entered the room, memories of Gaither’s monkey entered the wizard’s head. It had only been a few days ago that they had meet the creature and had to battle their way through two of his golems. Now the little simian was just a memory.
There was no sign of any more golems as they looked around the room. Elvisda pointed to the spot on the ceiling where Donnie had found the secret door on their previous visit. Seth cast the spell of spider climbing on himself and crawled up the wall and onto the ceiling. He made his way to the area that the bard had pointed out and began to search around. The halfling quickly found the secret door and the trap connected to it. It was an explosive trap. The ninja deftly disarmed the device and then unlocked and opened the secret door in the ceiling.
Seth climbed up into a crawl space. It was dark so he cast a spell to create some light. About ten feet away from him were two small chests. Ever cautious, the halfling began searching the little room. He quickly found a trap, but this one was a bit different than any trap he had ever seen. But there was something naggingly familiar about it. Then it dawned on him. This was a teleportation trap! Only Gaither could pull off something like this. If anyone blindly crawled up to the chests, or failed to disable the trap, they would be teleported away to some unknown place! The ninja had never disarmed a trap like this before. And realizing the experience of the wizard who had set it, Seth believed that this would not be very easy. He backed out of the crawlspace and climbed back down to Elvisda and Glorfindel. He told them what he had found.
“I don’t think I ever heard of anyone using teleportation as a trap before,” Glorfindel commented. “Gaither was, or is, a rather unique magi. Best you be careful up there.”
“Yes,” Elvsida agreed, “let me help you a bit.” The bard played his song to inspire confidence and then cast good hope on his halfling friend. “There, that should do it.”
“Alright then,” Seth replied. “If you don’t see me in the next ten minutes, I’ll be the gods know where.” Then he turned and went to the wall and climbed back up to the entrance to the crawl space above. He rubbed his hands together and said, “Here goes nothing.” Then he began to work on the device which would disable the trap. It was more intricate than he had initially thought. He had out his tools and worked diligently on the mechanism. Just when he was about to give up he heard a click, and the device powered down. Seth sat back and wiped his forehead. “Whew, that was tough.”
Suddenly, without warning, the trap box powered back up again. Seth stared at it incredulously, realizing that there must have been a backup power source that he missed; a magical one most likely. Then before he could move, the trap went off. “Oh crap…” the ninja exclaimed as he vanished. The room went eerily silent, the only noise coming from the tool Seth had been holding in his hand as it clattered to the ground.