Rise of the Thrall Lord
Knights of the Couch - Part XII - To Resurrect A Baron - Chapter 7
No Where to Go But UpWhile Lloyd was being healed, Seth took the opportunity to search the room. It was rather large, 70 feet long by 70 feet wide. There were no doors or windows of any kind. There was however a lot of valuable items in the room. After searching the entire floor, the ninja found magical chain mail, a magical mace, a magical dagger, a magical silver ring and 4 potions.
When he was done, the companions all gathered in together to discuss their situation. “If the walls and floor are solid, maybe there is a way out in the ceiling,” Glo offered.
“It’s worth a look,” Aksel agreed.
So the wizard and Lloyd flew up to take a look. They searched the entire ceiling but found no openings. However, they both noticed something weird about the ceiling where cell chain was hanging down.
“Maybe Seth should see this,” Glo decided.
“I’ll go get him,” Lloyd offered. He flew down and returned a minute or so later with the little ninja on his back.
“What’s up?” Seth asked. Glorfindel pointed out the ceiling where the chain was hanging down. “Take me in for a closer look,” the ninja told Lloyd. He examined the ceiling for a few minutes and then motioned that they should all land. “There is a hatchway up there with the chain running through it,” Seth reported to the group. “It’s circular, about ten feet in diameter; definitely wide enough for the cage to be pulled through. However, there’s one small problem.”
“What’s that?” Elvisda asked.
“It doesn’t look like it opens from this side,” Seth finished.
They were all silent for a moment then Aksel asked, “What’s the hatch made out of?”
“Its solid stone from what I could see,” the ninja replied.
“Okay,” the cleric replied. “Then stone shaping should work on it.”
“Stone shaping?” Andrella asked.
“Very clever,” Glorfindel said nodding approvingly. He turned to Andrella and said, “It’s a spell that uses existing stone and shapes it into a form that the caster pictures. If Aksel uses it on the hatchway above, he can carve out a hole through to the other side.”
“Ingenious!” Andrella declared.
“Thank you,” Aksel replied, “but I will need to rest before I can pray for that spell.”
“Actually, we all should,” Glorfindel replied. He stood up and began casting a spell. When he was done, a rope hung in the air in front of him disappearing into “nowhere”. “Rope trick anyone?” the wizard asked. The group climbed up into the dimensional space formed by the rope trick spell and then pulled up the rope behind them. They all slept for a solid eight hours, when the spell finally dissipated.
Aksel prayed for his spells, including stone shape, and then prepared to carve out the hatchway.
“Need a lift,” Lloyd asked the little cleric.
“No thanks,” Aksel replied. “I got this.” He cast a spell and then began slowly “walking” through the air. It looked as if he was climbing a hill, slowly arcing upward towards the ceiling.
“What spell is that?” Andrella asked Glorfindel.
“It’s called air walk,” Lloyd replied. The two turned to look at the warblade with surprised looks. “My brother Zellos used to use it all the time back home,” the big man continued. “He’s a cleric of the church of Pelor.”
Andrella grabbed the young man’s arm and said, “Lloyd, you never cease to surprise me. Your family seems very interesting. I will have to meet them all someday.”
“If you think my brother’s interesting, you should meet my mother,” the warblade replied. “She’s the First Wizard of Penwick. I can’t remember a week going by where she wasn’t concocting something that blew up our house. Dad had to have her lab completely rebuilt at least five times over since as far back as I can remember.”
Glo just looked at Lloyd with his mouth opened. “All this time we’ve know each other and just now you decide to tell me that your mother is the First Wizard of Penwick? And you had me apprentice to Peltar when I could have been learning from her!”
“Trust me,” Lloyd replied. “You don’t want to go there. She’d be sending you out on trips looking for some weird spell component just as soon as she’d teach you a spell. And you’d be taking your life into your hands with some of her experiments. Mom went through at least twenty apprentices at last count. She’s a genius, but she can’t seem to teach at all.”
“Well that’s just too bad,” Glo replied sadly.
Andrella locked her other arm in the wizards. “Don’t feel too bad,” she said brightly. “I still think you’re a great wizard.”
“Thank you Andrella,” Glorfindel said smiling a bit. “But I have a long way to go before I earn that title.”
“Hey everyone,” Seth shouted out. “Aksel’s reached the top and is ready to start carving.”
“Well then, let’s get up there,” Glorfindel replied.
“I’ll take him,” Lloyd said. Seth climbed on the warblade’s back and Lloyd took off for the ceiling. At the same time everyone else moved back towards the walls to avoid any falling stone.
Aksel was already up top when they got there and was casting stone shape on the hatchway. A round circle appeared in the hatch about 8 feet in diameter. Then that piece of cover fell out of the hatchway and tumbled to the floor below, crashing and cracking apart with a resounding thud. Bits of stone went flying in all direction. Good thing the party had moved to veritable safety along the wall a good 35 feet away. The little cleric cast stone shape once more to remove the remaining 2 feet of hatch. That slab of stone also fell to the ground with a thud. When he was done, they could see a 10 foot circular shaft going up about 25 feet with the chain running up the center. Peering upward they could see light at the top.
“Looks like it’s my turn now,” said Seth. Lloyd flew him up into the hole and the little ninja cast spider climb on himself. He leaped over to the wall of the shaft and invoked his cloak turning invisible. Then the little ninja began to climb upward.
Aksel said to Lloyd, “I’m going too. Go back down and get everyone into the cage. As soon as we find the lift mechanism, we’ll pull the whole thing up.” Then the cleric cast a spell and also turned invisible. When he made it to the top of the shaft, he found himself in a large room, about 30 feet square. The thick chain ran up and over a huge pulley suspended from the ceiling and down to a large winch over by the wall with an equally large gear and lever mechanism attached to it. And standing next to the lever was another flesh golem!
“Just great,” Aksel said softly.
“Get a load of the rest of the room,” Seth’s voice came softly from his left.
The cleric looked around the room and saw an iron maiden, a rack, skeletons chained to the wall, and various humanoid bones in a pile. It was a torture chamber! Aksel fought down the urge to gag. He walked over to the bone pile, picked one up, turned and threw it at the flesh golem. It bounced harmlessly off the creature who didn’t even seem to notice. The little cleric, getting frustrated at this point, yelled, “Hey ugly!” as loud as he could. The golem didn’t even bat an eye.
“Did you really expect that to work?” Seth asked his friend, the amusement obvious in his voice.
“Not really,” Aksel replied. “But it felt good.”
“I have an idea,” Seth said suddenly. “Wait here.”
“And where am I going to go?” Aksel shot back, but there was no response. The ninja must have already been climbing his way down the chain to the cage below. All the others should have been back in the cage by now the cleric surmised.
As Seth climbed down the chain to the cage below, he began to hear faint music. As he got closer, he could make out the tones of a lute. When the ninja made it all the way down, he hung his body over the top and peered into the cage below. Everyone had indeed made it up to the cage and was keeping themselves busy waiting. Elvisda was strumming a romantic melody while Lloyd and Andrella were locking lips. Glorfindel was looking over some of the magical items they had found below, and Martan had a stone out and was sharpening his arrows.
“Hey Elvisda!” Seth called.
The bard stopped strumming and put down his lute. All the others stopped what they were doing and began to look for the halfling. “Seth, is that you?” Elvisda replied looking all around.
“Up here,” Seth said becoming visible once again.
“Ah, there you are!” Elvisda cried looking up and finally seeing his companion. “What did you find up there?”
Seth quickly described the upstairs chamber and their current predicament with yet another flesh golem.
“Want me to come up there and take care of him?” Lloyd said eagerly.
“You will do no such thing!” Andrella said taking a firm hold of the big man’s arm. “You just got healed from your fight with those disgusting oozes. You need to rest before you go off fighting again.”
“But Andrella…”Lloyd began.
“It’s fine Lloyd,” Seth interrupted. “I have an idea anyway. Elvisda, can I borrow your bag of tricks?”
“Better than that,” the bard replied. “I’ll come up with you!” he said and laughed. Then he turned to the warblade and said, “Lloyd, let me borrow your flying cloak.”
The big warblade looked like he was going to say something, but Andrella was still hanging onto his arm. After a momentary pause, he said, “Sure.” Lloyd took off the cloak and handed it to Elvisda. “Here it is.”
“Thanks!” the bard replied swinging the cloak over his shoulders. Then he invoked the cloak and flew out of the bars and up to the roof of the cage. Seth stood there waiting for him. “Lead on!” Elvisda said. Seth nodded and began to climb back up the chain, the bard keeping pace with him as he floated upwards.
They had gone maybe 10 feet when they saw something floating down towards them. It was Aksel!
“What happened?” Seth asked the little cleric as he floated down towards the top of the cage. “I thought you were going to wait for me up there?”
“I got tired of waiting,” Aksel replied. “Then I had an idea. I had prayed for a summon spell for the day, so I used it to summon a celestial bear.”
“And?” Elvisda prodded as the cleric paused.
Aksel landed and turned to the other two who had followed them down. Then he continued. “It attacked the flesh golem and definitely got its attention. But the bear was not fairing so well. So I dismissed it thinking the golem would go back to guarding the lever. But then it turned and saw me and started to come after me! So I decided it was a good time to feather fall out of there.”
Elvisda laughed. “Good idea. Well, if it is anywhere near the shaft, then I have an idea of my own!”
The three adventurers started to head back up the shaft, Seth climbing, Aksel air-walking and Elvisda flying. As they got closer to the top they could see the golem looking down over the edge. The three of the conferred for a moment, and then Seth went invisible once again. The little ninja climbed up the chain and jumped off quietly into the room. Then he silently positioned himself behind the flesh golem.
As he looked on, Elvisda rose out of the pit. The golem reached for the bard, but the elf stayed safely out of range. The bard began casting a spell, and when he let it loose, a layer of thick black liquid appeared on the ground underneath the flesh golem’s feet!
At that same exact moment, Seth took out Elvisda’s bag of tricks and reached in. He pulled out a ball of fur and threw it in front of him. The ball expanded into a wolf. Seth instructed it to knock the golem into the hole. The wolf took off towards the flesh golem who was currently doing its best to stay upright in the middle of a pool of grease. The wolf charged forward, but didn’t slow down in time. It hit the grease and went flying past the golem and over the edge down the shaft. Seth quickly recalled the wolf before it hit the ground below.
But the whole debacle did work somewhat to their advantage. The flesh golem was distracted by the wolf as it slid by. It turned to watch the creature and forgot where it was for a moment. That was enough though. The golem lost its footing and fell to the ground.
Seth, seeing the golem fall, took off at a dead run towards the prone creature. As he approached the monster he thought back to the battle with the armored constructs on the upper floors of the monolith in the Dark Woods. He had done the same thing with the empty suits of armor that he was attempting now. The difference, however, was now he had spider climb.
Seth hit the edge of the grease but kept his footing quite easily. He slammed into the golem at a dead run and the creature moved forward. Seth gave it the biggest shove he could manage and then stopped himself. The golem flailed helplessly as it shot towards the edge of the shaft and out into thin air.
Elvisda, still hovering, watched as the creature fell straight down and landed with a thud on top of the cage below. “Now why couldn’t it have been more cooperative and fallen all the way to the ground?” the bard asked.
“Why, where is it?” Seth asked.
“On top of the cage,” Aksel told him. They all looked down and saw the creature stand back up on top of the cage. It looked back up the shaft and stood there watching them. “Oh well,” the cleric continued, “it couldn’t be helped. Looks like we’ll have to deal with it when we pull the cage back up.”
“Well let’s get to it then,” Seth replied walking over to the lever. The little ninja tried to pull on the lever but it wouldn’t budge. He turned back towards the others.
“Don’t look at me!” Elvisda told him. “I’m an artist and a lover. I don’t do that strong man stuff. Want me to go get Lloyd?”
“Maybe,” Seth said, “but let me try something first.” The ninja reached into the back of tricks one more time and this time summoned a black bear. He instructed the creature to pull on the lever. It started to budge, but did not quite move. Then Seth walked over and grabbed the lever as well. “Pull!” he cried. The ninja and the bear both pulled on the lever together. It moved!
“Alright!” Seth yelled. “How are we doing?” he asked the others.
Elvisda and Aksel peered down the shaft. “Looks like it came a few feet,” they told him. “Keep going!”
Seth and the bear continued pulling on the lever. Each time they cranked it, the entire cage came up another few feet. After about fifteen minutes, the top of the cage had almost reached the top of the shaft. Elvisda and Aksel stared at the flesh golem as the creature continued to glare at them. One more pull and the top of the cage was aligned with the floor.
The golem began to move off the cage. Elvisda, ready for this, cast another spell of grease. The creature stepped off the cage and onto the grease. It fell and landed with a thud.
“What is that noise?” came a voice from the cage. It was Glorfindel.
“Oh nothing,” Elvisda replied nonchalantly. “It’s just a measly old flesh golem falling on its behind…I greased him!” the bard finished laughing raucously.
Seth and the bear continued to crank the lever until the cage was up above the hole. As the others jumped out into the room, Seth commanded the bear to push the golem back down the shaft. The bear lumbered over to the creature, but slipped and fell in the grease. The ninja sighed and said, “If you want something done right…” Then he launched himself at the flesh golem once again.
It seemed like déjà vu, but when Seth was about to push the golem, the creature managed to grab him! The ninja twisted around and was able to pull himself out of its grasp. At the same moment, the bear managed to right itself and fell upon the golem. Both creatures went slipping and sliding over the edge of the shaft. As they fell out of sight, Seth recalled the bear.
The companions all walked to the edge, carefully avoiding the grease, and looked below. The golem had hit the ground hard, but was still intact! It got up and shook its fist at them from down below.
“That’s just crazy!” Elvisda cried. “Isn’t that thing dead yet? Or redead should I say?”
“It will be,” Lloyd said ominously. “Elvisda, give me my cloak.”
“Lloyd!” Andrella cried.
“No Andrella,” the warblade said firmly. “I’m not leaving that thing behind. It may, or may not know if a way out of there. And I won’t have it sneaking up behind us.”
“Very well,” she replied. “But you better be careful.”
He took his cloak from Elvisda and pulled it over his shoulders. Then he drew his two huge blades and said, “I’ll be fine.” He invoked his cloak and went flying down the shaft. As he plummeted down towards the golem who waited below, Elvisda cast rage on Martan. The archer took out his bow and knocked an arrow. Then he waited for Lloyd to attack.
The warblade swooped down and fell into a warblade maneuver they were now all familiar with. It was his Death From Above attack. He sliced through the golem with both blades as he flew past it, heavily damaging it and throwing the creature off balance. As Lloyd landed a few feet beyond the creature, Martan let loose with two arrows, catching the golem in the chest both times. Then Elvisda turned to Andrella and said, “Web the thing.”
The young lady looked at the bard and then over at Glorfindel. “Just like we practiced,” the wizard told her with a reassuring smile. The young lady nodded back and then took out the appropriate spell component out of the small bag hanging at her waist that Glo had given her. She recited the verbal part of the spell and then pointed at the golem far below. As she watched, sticky traces of webbing began to appear all around the creature. Within a matter of seconds, the monster was stuck in a thick mass of webs.
“Way to go girl!” Elvisda cried. “Nicely done!” Glo agreed. The bard laughed as they looked down and watched the stuck creature below.
Then Lloyd began moving in to finish off the golem. Unfortunately, as he got close, he too became caught in Andrella’s web.
“Well that wasn’t supposed to happen,” Elvisda declared.
“I’m sorry,” Andrella said almost in tears. “Sorry Lloyd!” she cried down the shaft.
“And here I thought you already had him wrapped around your finger,” Seth quipped.
Andrella immediately stopped her crying and gave the ninja a deadly look.
“Look, they’re breaking free,” Glorfindel cried trying to deflect attention back to the battle. Sure enough, down below, both Lloyd and the flesh golem had broken free of the web. At the same moment, Martan let loose with another arrow and caught the creature in the top of the head. The golem slowed for a moment, but it was enough. Lloyd walked up to the creature and launched into a barrage of swings with his two huge blades. Three times he struck, each decisive blows. When he was done, the golem slumped and fell to the ground unmoving.
The companions all cheered as the warblade launched himself back up to join them. Andrella turned back to Seth and gave him an evil look.
“What?” the ninja said innocently. “I was just trying to lighten the mood.”
Andrella did not look like she was buying it, but Lloyd had reached the top of the shaft and landed right next to her. As he wiped some remaining cobwebs off his armor, he said, “Andrella, you didn’t need to web me. I’m already stuck on you!”
Andrella looked at Lloyd incredulously, then over to Seth, and then back to warblade. The companions held their collective breath, waiting for the outburst. Then she finally cracked a smile and began to laugh. “Oooo, you are just all impossible!” she cried and then threw her arms around Lloyd and kissed him. When she was done, she turned to Seth and said, “I’ll forgive you…this time.”
“Why thank you your highness,” Seth said sarcastically as he bowed before the young lady.
She went to take a swipe at him, but the little ninja just tumbled out of the way laughing. “I take it back!” she cried after him.
“I don’t care!” he yelled back.
“Well the two of you better make your peace quickly,” Glorfindel said, “or it is going to be very uncomfortable in this rope trick.” The wizard pointed to the rope hanging in mid air next to him.
“Yes, that’s a good idea,” Aksel concurred. “I used up a lot of spells just now that I’d like to recover before we move on.”
The companions all agreed and went into the rope trick together while Martan stood guard this time.