“More Questions Than Answers”
Mid afternoon of the 8th of Trisad, 1331 Avard.
In the pitch black depths of the mining complex known only as Quidirikar, their torches were feeble sources of light. Dust rose with every step they took, and the dry ground was littered with the prints of those who had come before them – and those whom had been too long removed from the living.
They left the great cavern Kwartz had drawn for them on the map, leaving it and the symbol of the Elementalists behind. To the west, as near they could determine under ground without sun or stars, lay what had once been the kitchens. A hallway twenty feet wide and forty feet long connected the great cavern with the kitchens. Before, they had skirted the western end of the kitchens; the eastern side was alien to them. Caution was held, but only to a point; they had been into the kitchens before, and this was just an exploratory jaunt to confirm that their map was accurate.
Like all the rest of the complex, the kitchens were made of solid stone. The countertops were raised platforms of smooth-cut mountain, and the layout implied a cooking staff of scores of people. The receiving line alone for those who would ferry food to the great cavern and empty plates back, was some forty feet long and eight feet across. The preparation areas were enormous, though there was a strange absence of anything but stone and dust. There were no signs of heating elements or ovens or sinks or cauldrons, and the layout was strange and almost incomprehensible to them.
There was, almost inaudibly, the hum of power as an underground river flowed somewhere about them.
They were not the first to explore the kitchen. The prints of skeletal feet walked circles around the room, though of the skeletons, there were no signs. There were also the prints of four man-sized boots and two sets of kobold tracks, criss-crossing the room and the dust in confusing patterns.
On the far side of the room, near where they had first gone through the kitchen, they found a strange pit whose bottom was covered in a thick layer of fine dust. The elven shaman Aelar slid cautiously into the pit, the butt of his spear and his feet poking around in the thick dust. His movements lifted the fine material up into the air, partially obscuring his vision, but his search found something else.
In the depths of the pit were several items with no sign of their owner. There was a book with too many pages, the symbol of Agincoth, Goddess of Magic, upon its cover. There was a purse with naught but dust, a brooch in untarnished silver, an almost diaphanous sheet of cloth, and a holy symbol of Agincoth. No leather, no bones, nothing else remained in the pit, and it raised questions as to why the items were there, and when they had been placed.
Telamon, finding only dust inside the purse, poured it out in disappointment and curiousity. The purse was still good, though why it should be so after so many years, when all else had fallen into decay, was a mystery. The other items, too, were in excellent repair, as though time itself could not harm them.
They leaned up against stone platforms in the flickering torchlight, more light provided by Aelar's spirit companion, a glowing, semitransparent falcon that rode upon his shoulder much of the time. The book was mostly empty, save for two powerful rituals in the first two pages – one of which could call the dead back to life, the other a way to commune cirectly with the angels themselves. The brooch was protective – powerfully so – and went to the smith and paladin Liam, because he was there main defender. The cloth and the holy symbol had powerful protective enchantments, but for the wounded and the dying. These Aelar took, wondering if they had served their last owner well, or not at all.
Their curiousity slaked, the southern side of the kitchens were left unexplored; they felt comfortable that Kwartz Spurbreaker and the others had gone over it well.
The moved towards the north, following a second passage out of the kitchen that they had not explored, before. Off of the passage was another, leading to jakes, with drop holes down to the underground river.
They continued on, finding stairs leading up. At the top of the stairs, they were almost startled by earth elementals that had stood there for perhaps centuries. The elementals immediately attacked, with Telamon trapped in the midst of them while others poured into the tunnel. They had fought such elementals before, and they were not afraid nor surprised. The battle was fierce and fast, with Liam's heavy, enchanted shield soaking up much of the damage the elementals could do.
They toed through the debris that had been living rock, and found three faceted tourmalines of two-toned colors, each a marvel of beauty. The tourmalines had held the spirits of the elementals, but those spirits had been destroyed; the tourmalines were dark, save when the torchlight touched them.
Moving on, they found that the area they were in touched on the back of another area. Before, they had retreated in the aftermath of air elementals that had hammered them mercilessly. That same area had also held a secret room with lightning blasting from the corners. Moving cautiously, they returned to the same area, having made a full circuit. Another passage led off from the general area, moving, they thought, towards the west.
Of the air elementals, there was no sign, nor were there any jewels to found of the ones they had defeated. The secret room, though intrigued them. They felt there had to be a way to defeat the lightning blasts without getting killed.
Telamon tossed a torch into the dark room, and it never hit the ground; lightning blasted it from all corners, deafening them. Aelar, with the giant lynx Rumus beside him, guarded the entryway in the event more air elementals would come. The rest, focused on the secret room and how to deal with its traps.
The lightning, they found, would not target them through the doorway. Telamon, Liam, and Saebael used bows and slings to hammer at the half-rounded rocks that sourced the lightning. After several shots, Saebael brought her electrically charged spear to bear - permanently silencing the first trap.
The wilden elf Saebael and the ranger Telamon were fast – so fast that they could outrun the hum of lightning, once two of the four traps had been destroyed. The three worked together to silence the third, until only one remained. Braving the lightning, they rushed in together and finished the last lightning blaster.
They heard only their own breathing, deafened as they were by the blasts of lightning and thunder, but they were alive and well, and whatever secrets the room had held were theirs.
Beneath the dust, they found a small onyx figurine of a barking dog. There was a set of bracers made of darkest ebonite, that soaked up the light of the torches as though it hungered for light. There was a pair of gloves made of some black leather, with a stamped pattern embossed along the cuff. There was a polished black diamond set in ebonite, on a light chain of ebonite links. And there was a pair of boots of blackest leather, supple and whole, despite being under a layer of dust.
There were also bits and pieces of the former owner of the items. Half his skull was found, its edges blackened by lightning. Burst ribs were found elsewhere. One leg had been blown clear of the pelvis, and that leg blown to pieces. The owners of the complex had left nothing in the secret room, but a man had, long ago, found out the hard way that the room was trapped.
There had been another skeleton in another room, with only tatters of cloth and scraps of molding leather remaining. Who that might have been, they had no idea, either. It seemed others had come before them, and before Kwartz, and many had met terrible endings.
Still maintaining their guard against elementals, or the undead, they maintained a watch, let some of their hearing return, and turned over the items they had found, discovering just why they had survived all the many years passed. Each had enchantments that intrigued them.
It was when the amulet was offered to the wilden elf Saebael that they learned she would not wear worked metal; her weapons were of natural glass and wood and leather and stone, and she would not use trappings that she could not replace on her own. The onyx dog, though, was different, and onto that she held, though the others advised she give it to Aelar, who often needed protecting. The figurine would call forth the spirit of a black mastiff, and the wilden Saebael was intrigued and fascinated by the figurine.
The others divided the rest of the items as best they could, resting a bit, drinking some water from their skins and gnawing on hard tack, preparing themselves for the next leg of their delve into the complex.
Evening of the 8th of Trisad, 1331 Avard.
THU08APR2010. We met at Sommer's place, again, and managed to keep her daughter easily amused with computer games. Sommer said, “The apple doesn't fall far from the tree.” We started a bit late, as Ross was coming in from Houston after some time well-spent with his girlfriend, but what time we did have was apparently fruitful. Tonight's session seemed to be Loot, Loot, Loot! Next Thursday will be a one-shot with Sommer's son Caileb learning some D&D, as David will be out of town.
David and I realized before the others arrived that we were still carrying some baggage from prior editions of D&D. Looking through the books, Sommer and I had noted that several powers for the lynx Rumus were unnecessary, as skills did the job just as well. We had to take another look at several aspects of the game mechanics, and are kicking ourselves for not catching onto such things sooner. But, we're making progress, and as the players get more of a hang of the mechanics, I think the combat will go much gooder from here in. The DM rolled like crap, and they rolled well, so it was an 'easy' night for them. :)
My favorite scene: Telemon dumping out the enchanted, holy powder of wound stitching, simply because it looked like dust.
I made some changes on the trap room - since my significant other seems to forget the things my character does. :p I am so glad we played anyway - even if we had to start late! I had a good time! (DM rolls poorly and we roll well - recipe for a great time! lol)
Yeah, I role-played that in character and out… -.-
I think that the gloves would actually go better with Aelar than with myself. It grants the wearer the ability to ignore resistance 10 or less, and my attacks dont do a specific damage type whereas his does cold, fire etc. I'll keep the boots if that's ok, and I'm good to go.