LocNar

Chapter 21
Mysterious Mysteries!

Whose Throne is This?

One-Eye left the throne at which point the suit of armor started following him. He continue exploring the keep and Noone ventured back into the main room and also decided to sit on the throne. A contest of wills followed after which Noone wrested control of the throne’s power from One-Eye. She found it gave her an amplified sense of her surroundings, especially within the walls of the keep. One-Eye had headed down into the cellar, and once there the armor tapped him on the shoulder. It repeated the gesture and pointed back towards the cellar door. One-Eye ignored the armor and then it tried tickling him and left.

The cellar is where the action is at!

Now alone in the cellar, One-Eye began a thorough search. The stairs that lead down there were on the east side of the room, there were three desiccated corpses nailed to crosses along the south wall, and a pile of boxes in the middle of the room. It appeared these had been recently moved (by Sal) and so he checked the area they had been moved from. Here he found the floor was made from a different and softer material than the rest of the cellar.

At this point Noone, Sal, Valanthradil and the suit of armor had all come back down into the cellar. They worked together to dig up the floor where the boxes used to be stacked and it gave way to a black pit. The darkness was impenetrable to their eyes even when they dropped a torch down. Although, they did hear the torch hit the ground only about 10 feet down. Just as they were all peering down into the hole, a huge skeleton came rushing up out of the darkness at them!

Another skeleton! How obvious!

The skeleton easily crawled out of the hole as it stood a good 10 feet tall. It stood up and brandished two scimitars at the party. Valanthradil reacted first and made a glancing hit with an arrow. The suit of armor also attacked and took a large chip of bone out of its leg. The skeleton seemed to focus on the suit of armor since it was the most effective at damaging the skeleton and so the party continued to hack and shoot away from behind while it was distracted. Eventually the huge skeleton was shattered to a pile of bones skewed across the cellar and the party sighed their relief. At this time Noone mentioned it was getting dark as she had noticed the sun setting on her way down to the cellar.

The Black Pit of Darkness

One-Eye was struck with curiosity and lowered himself into the pit. It was pitch black and he couldn’t see a thing. As soon as he touched ground his hair stood on end and he heard faint whispering. He threw a pebble and heard it hit a wall about 5 feet in front of him. After moving forward a couple of feet he could all of a sudden see again, but it was still pitch black behind him. In front of him was a door covered with glowing blue runes. Spooky!

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Chapter 20
Survey Time

Nice Accommodations

After a brief refreshing swim, Sal, Noone, Valanthradil, and One-Eye headed back down the passage and into the smaller one. They came to a split in the passage and One-Eye suggested they go left because he had come from the right. They found a spiral staircase cut into the rock that lead upwards. They went up single file and came to a dead end. A quick search revealed the stone wall actually slid open and on the other side was a small room with a washtub. They piled in and listened at the door on the other side of the room. They didn’t hear anything so they pressed on and found themselves in a spacious living area with a fireplace. They also noticed a small metal safe in the corner which was locked. Noone banged on it for a while before giving up and wandering off to check the fireplace for any religious depictions.

To the East they found a large bedroom with barely any furniture. To the West there was a small closet and some partially broken stairs leading down. Valanthradil made a hearty leap and cleared the broken stairs and continued his search of the lower floor. Noone (being a small gnome) was hesitant to jump, so had Sal help her with a rope. While yelling down to see if Valanthradil and Noone were okay, Sal spotted One-Eye walking nonchalantly back from where the safe was in the next room over. He double checked it to make sure it was still closed and then the two of them decided to head downstairs as well.

They were in a nicely tiled room with a door to the east. Valanthradil and Noone had found another sliding stone wall that lead into the same stone staircase as before. They all decided to head through the east door and were astonished to walk right into a merry party complete with drinks, dancing, merriment, and music!

Were not in Kansas anymore…

Noone felt a strong sense of displacement and One-Eye got an odd feeling when he made contact with a man who had come over to introduce himself and shake hands. They ended up relaxing a little and checking out the party. Just as they were enjoying themselves, the torches and braziers in the room stuttered and there was loud thunder outside. The party panicked and started barricading the entrance. Just as they had finished, spectral figures of ragged sailors rose from the floor and started killing all the people in the room. A massacre ensued in which One-Eye, Valanthradil, and Noone were also killed. Sal didn’t believe for a second what he was seeing was real, being too similar to the description of past events at the keep. His strong will enabled him to awaken from the temporal vision everyone was experiencing and he sat up to see the other three lying on the floor around him.

Sal found himself in the main hall of the keep. A throne stood at the north end and a large set of double doors at the south end. Next to the throne was another set of armor standing in the corner, but it did not seem to respond at all to their presence. He roused the others from their trance and they set off to search the rest of the keep. They found a kitchen, staff living area, and many empty rooms. Valanthradil found some tracks through the layers of the dust and various signs someone had recently stayed in one of the second floor rooms. Just outside kitchen area they also found some large cellar doors which opened to reveal stairs leading down into the darkness. While the rest of the party was still searching about, One-Eye also tried sitting on the throne and sat there looking thoughtful for a while.

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Chapter 19
Musty Smells!

First Obstacle, the Door

One-Eye spent some time trying to unlock the large metal door to the building they wished to explore, but was having some trouble. Noone made a very successful bluff to convince the door she was the key, but it didn’t respond. One-Eye did manage to eventually unlock it and crept in to check for nasty surprises. The rest of the party quickly bored of waiting (not to mention a few of them didn’t trust One-Eye much) and charged in to see what was inside for themselves. Behold! A warehouse filled with old crates and barrels!

Where there’s boxes there’s loot!

Most of the boxes and barrels were filled with sawdust, things in various states of decay, and sometimes nothing at all. With perseverance on their side, the party continued searching and found a crate full of potions labelled as Potions of Cure Moderate Wounds! Just what the ailing party needed. A stack of larger barrels was examined to reveal an emblem burned onto the wood depicting two griffons on either side of a shield bearing the word “Rosilt”.

While searching, Noone stumbled upon a fake covering on the ground near two large crane contraptions. It was patterned just like the floor and concealed a wooden platform underneath. A search was conducted around the area and it was discovered that the platform was suspended over a vertical shaft by some wooden slats. There also appeared to be fixtures on the platform to attach ropes to using the block and tackle the party found nearby. They rigged it up and prepared to lower themselves when they noticed One-Eye had gone missing. They cursed him for a bit and then decided to continue on without him.

Double Déjà vu

Weapons ready and torches blazing, the platform reached the ground and the party immediately saw a suit of armor come to life and draw its large two handed sword. Valanthradil took a quick shot but missed while Sal charged in and drove his sword into the armor. Unfazed, it swung a powerful chop directly between Sal’s neck and shoulder dropping him unconscious. Valanthradil loosed another shot which found its mark this time and Noone ran to Sal and healed him just in time to prevent the fatal wound from killing him. The armor then advanced on Valanthradil with a sweeping blow right into his side which dropped him as well. Still recovering, Sal missed the armor and then backed up next to Noone. In a panic, Noone reached out and cast inflict wounds again which was just enough to stop the armor.

The platform had come to rest in a large open area of a dark underground tunnel. To the North there was a tall and wide passage. To the Southeast was a smaller passage. About this time, Noone and Sal heard loud growling noises coming from the smaller passage. They prepared themselves to face the unknown when One-Eye came walking out of the passage with his best impression of a scary monster. Unimpressed with his sense of humor, Sal took one of Valanthradil’s health potions and used it to revive him.

A Breath of Fresh Sea Air

With two of them barely standing, the party headed along the North passage. They were pleasantly surprised to find a cave that opened to the ocean. There was a rickety dock tucked out of sight and a decently deep channel leading out of the cave. As good a place as any, they decided to camp here for the night and recover from the ordeals of the day.

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Chapter 18
Your Barn Door is Open!

Brief Wanderlust

Bored with the relentless questioning, which the skeleton seemed to take in stride, Valanthradil wandered outside and started practicing his aim on wandering zombies in the courtyard. The rest of the party joined him moments later and got into a scrape with some more undead. Sal decided to ready a javelin and run at a zombie, but was unprepared when the zombie turned and grabbed him. While it tried to bite his neck, Valanthradil maneuvered around and shot it in the back. Sal managed to avoid the bite and then break free to deliver the killing blow.

One-Eye wandered off again to check on the skeleton he left dangling from the outer wall (if you recall from the end of chapter 15). He hoisted it up and called loudly to Harold who was still guarding the horses outside the walls. When Harold arrived at the base of the wall, One-Eye began lowering the skeleton down. He had it in his head that the skeleton would be the perfect addition to the ship he planned on captaining and decided Harold would understand he was lowering it to him for safekeeping. Harold was not on the same wavelength (spectrums away) and in his surprise at seeing the skeleton immediately killed it. One-Eye shouted at him, but Harold just smiled and waved back thinking about what a great job he did killing that skeleton.

The party quickly decided they were beat up, exhausted, and needed some rest. They piled into the stables next to the barracks and split up into stalls and the loft to sleep. Like any good adventuring party, they forgot to close the door and didn’t set a watch.

Midnight Rumble

Sal woke up first to the sound of shuffling footsteps outside the stable. He crawled toward the door to listen. Noone and One-Eye woke up next to the sound of dreadful moaning. While searching around, One-Eye bumped into a zombie in the darkness. A fight broke out while Valanthradil was still sound asleep. Daggers and swords flew about as arrows zipped by this way and that. The commotion awoke Valanthradil who joined his bow to the madness. The dust (or hay mostly) settled and the party went back to sleep after making sure to close and secure the stable door.

Two buildings searched, on to the next one!

The party freshened up and then struck for the North West building within the keep’s walls. There were a couple of spry looking skeletons wandering around outside the building, so Sal and One-Eye charged right it at them. Sal landed a solid blow with a thrown javelin, but before One-Eye had a chance to even attack, Noone made a terrible shot with her crossbow and accidentally hit One-Eye in the back of the arm. They battled back and forth for a bit, and then One-Eye made a quick move behind the skeleton focused on Sal to deliver a killing blow.

Noone begrudgingly healed One-Eye as another skeleton reached Valanthradil who was firing away at all comers. Two quick strikes and Valanthradil was down and dying again having still not fully recovered from his near death experience the day before. Sal and One-Eye cleaned up the remaining skeletons while Noone saved Valanthradil’s life again. As the party searched the corpses, they reflected on how these skeletons were must faster and stronger than those previously encountered. In addition, they wore tattered leather armor and wielded short swords. Not fazed by the harrowing battle, the party checked the door of the nearby building and prepared to face whatever lay within.

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Chapter 17
20 Questions

A Drunk Skeleton

The party decided to investigate the rectangular stone building next to the stables. Upon entering, it became clear the building was a barracks of sorts. Just inside the door was an open eating area with a bar and large fireplace. To the right were two doors, one was open and connected to some sleeping quarters with bunks and chests, the other was a thick metal door that was locked.

The most noticeable thing in the barracks was a well dressed skeleton drinking at the bar. It was in a captain’s attire with an eye patch and drinking a cup of what appeared to be liquid fire. One-Eye and Sal walked up, put down money on the bar (Sal was broke and used a button instead), and called for a drink. After no answer they introduced themselves to the skeleton and quickly realized it only answered in nods (or shrugs). One-Eye inquired about losing an eye to which the skeleton replied with a sad nod yes. While Sal, Valanthradil, and Noone continued “conversing” with the skeleton, One-Eye went off to inspect the sleeping area.

A Dust Up

After a thorough search of the sleeping quarters, One-Eye brought back some dusty old rags to Valanthradil. He told him to hang on to them because they were magic and important. One-Eye then tested the other larger metal door to find it was locked. He spent some time to pick it and managed to unlock it after a couple attempts. Inside he looked around to see a small storeroom with weapons and a suit of armor on a stand. Valanthradil joined him and started examining some bows on a rack. All the weapons looked to be in decent condition, but standard issue quality. In between questions, Noone called into the room that she bet the suit of armor was not alive. While Valanthradil was contemplating the situation, One-Eye picked up a helmet resting on one of the racks. Immediately after, the armor slowly ground into motion with a loud grating sound and raised its sword into a ready stance.

One-Eye and Valanthradil were surprised, and even though the armor was slow to ready its sword, it managed to attack first. It swung a sweeping strike at One-Eye, but he managed to dodge just in time. Hearing the commotion, Noone asked what was going on and saw the animated armor attacking One-Eye. She asked the skeleton if they could appease the magical armor to which he shook his head no. One-Eye backed out of the room while Valanthradil made a solid hit with his longbow. The armor was not slowed though, and walked right up to Valanthradil and ran him straight through!

Sal saw the whole ordeal unfold and ran up to throw a flask of acid onto the armor. It took a direct hit and the acid started eating through the armor. With the armor stumbling around and corroding, One-Eye dragged the dying Valanthradil clear of the door and tried to slam it shut. The armor recovered and starts pushing back while Sal joined One-Eye in pushing it closed. While they struggle against the armor, Noone jumped out from behind the bar and healed Valanthradil, saving him from certain death.

The armor managed to overpower Sal and One-Eye and break out into the main room. Sal, still stricken with wobbly legs, backpedaled out of the way and then asked the skeleton if it knew how to cure his condition to which it shook its head no. One-Eye sized up the armor and lunged at it with both his punching daggers and managed to rough it up a bit. While Valanthradil crawled away after recovering, Noone reached out and touched the armor to cast inflict wounds which caused it to topple over.

Interrogation

Noone asked the skeleton if the party can take some of the weapons to which he shrugged yes. Noone wanted to know if anyone would get angry at them and the skeleton pointed at the sprawled suit of armor on the ground. The party then took a short break and continued to grill the skeleton with hundreds of questions. At various times they stopped and wondered why they were even here, but then shrugged and continued the relentless questioning. Here is a brief summary:

Questions to which the answer was a nod yes

  • Are you from this world?
  • Did you choose to come here?
  • Did the humans that used to live here die?
  • Do you want more fiery beer?
  • Do you know what the fiery beer is made of?
  • Is Captain Breaker still around?
  • Does the woman own the bird? (In reference to the picture he drew, see below)
  • Is the guy with the sword in the picture you?

Questions to which the answer was a nod no

  • Are there any humans inside the keep?
  • Do you want to join our party and avenge the deaths of those who used to live here?
  • Is there an undead sorceror or something inside the keep?
  • Is the fiery beer your soul in liquid form?
  • Is there more fiery beer in the keep?
  • Will the Admiral’s ghost come back and help us?
  • “English motherfucker, do you speak it?”
  • Is the woman in the castle? (in reference to the picture he drew, see below)
  • Would you like to help us?
  • Would you protect us from Captain Breaker?

Questions to which the answer was a shrug

  • Are you looking for work?
  • Interested in working on a boat?
  • Could Captain Breaker kill us?
  • Would you help us if we got you the fiery drink?

Questions to which the answer was a pelvic thrust

  • How are babies made?

Pictionary

Sal decided to hand the skeleton paper and some charcoal. Fascinated by the fiery brew (which the skeleton wouldn’t share) Sal asked the skeleton to draw the ingredients. What followed was a crudely drawn picture of a stick figure with a sword and a hat (much like the skeleton’s) being handed a jug from a well endowed female with a bird in the background. One-Eye asked him to sign the drawing and he did so with the name “Grimshaw McDivitz”. Noone asked if the bird was a raven (thinking of their recent encounter with Griddle) but the skeleton shook his head no.

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Chapter 16
Man the Walls!

The Rest of the Gang

While One-Eye was entertaining himself with zombies and skeletons near the keep, the rest of the party headed south along the eastern wall. They spotted some zombies and skeletons of their own down in the inner courtyard and decided to start firing arrows at them from atop the wall. The zombies mostly milled about in confusion, but the skeletons made their way to the doors leading into the drum towers and up onto the wall. Valanthradil, Sal, and Noone peppered them with arrows the whole way and managed to kill a few. Sal even ventured down one of the hatches in the south east tower to peek into the courtyard, but came face to face with more zombies and skeletons.

He quickly shut the door and climbed back up to close the hatch and heard banging on the door below. Once up top, he sat on the hatch to make sure it stayed closed, but after a short while of doing this some skeletons came around the corner from the currently unexplored doorway to the southern wall. He made a fighting retreat back to the eastern wall where Valanthradil was still firing down into the courtyard. Together they defeated the skeletons, but then heard the sound of splintering wood. Meanwhile, north along the wall Noone had heard the commotion and starting running south from all the way up near the northern drum tower. Her short legs made it a long run though and she arrived just in time to see the skeletons defeated.

Together, the went back into the south east drum tower and killed the zombies that had broken in through the hatch. They continued exploring by venturing west along the southern wall. They found and defeated some more skeletons manning the gate mechanisms which were also dispatched. They were housed in a small enclosed section of the wall over the main gate. Here the gang stopped briefly to heal up some wounds. After feeling much better, they continued their very effective tactic of scouting the wall and then firing down upon unsuspecting undead in the courtyard. After continuing on to the western wall they noticed a long one-floor stone building and a stable in the southwest corner of the courtyard.

Into the Fray!

Valanthradil, Noone, and Sal huddled up for a bit and decided to take one of the drum tower stairs down into the courtyard. The squared off with a couple more skeletons and zombies and then settled down behind the stable to catch their breath. It was here that they bumped into One-Eye who was searching for them. They briefly exchanged stories about what had happened so far, but then got into an argument about where to go next. The noise attracted some skeletons down the alley between the stable and long stone building next to it. The fighting got a bit tight in the alley and Noone almost hit One-Eye with a crossbow bolt. Eventually they finished them all off and hunkered down to discuss what to do next a little quieter.

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Chapter 15
Breaching the Walls!

A Fine Morning… or Afternoon

The party awoke well rested late in the afternoon. Their grim adventure into the mines were fresh in their mind, but the troubles were behind them. All except for Sal, who was still afflicted with a case of the wobbly legs from his brush with the nightmarish creature in the mine.

[Sal and Noone reach Level 3!]

They gathered outside the mine entrance in the glorious sunlight and took in the nearby stone wall. It was pretty long, about 20 feet high, and had drum towers at each change in direction. The top of the battlements was lined with merlons. Sal elected to take a quick ride around to gauge the size of the structure. It was almost square shaped, except the SW corner was cut off by a diagonal wall segment. At the south side there was a raised drawbridge despite having no moat. He returned to the group to find One-Eye tossing his grappling hook towards the top of the battlements. He missed twice, noisily clanging against the stone wall, but got the hook secure on his third attempt. Without a word, he climbed swiftly up the rope and disappeared over the top.

Not to be left behind, Sal followed up right after and the two scouted the wall. There didn’t seem to be anyone or thing around at first, but then they peeked over into the inner bailey. Directly below their section of the wall were some skeletons looking up at them as they were attracted by the noise. Two appeared in no better condition then the ones they encountered in the mines, but the third was well put together, wearing leather armor, a short sword, and a shield.

Down below, Valanthradil decided to climb up and join the other two and Noone tried to follow, but her lack of strength and heavy armor made the going tough despite having the wall to brace against. She took a deep breath and overcame her obstacles in the end though which helped her build some character and work through some tough emotions dealing with failure.

As the party studied the scene of the inner bailey, they noticed the keep was a good distance from the wall and about twice as high. The side of the keep facing them had a large set of cellar doors with a tough looking zombie nearby. The keep sat closer to the north wall and south towards the gate was dotted with skeletons and zombies. Valanthradil checked the drum towers at each end of the wall section they were on and found a wooden hatch leading down into each one. He listened at one and then went down the spiral staircase to see where it lead. He came to a door facing into the courtyard and peeked out.

Shooting Fish in a Barrel

One-Eye and Sal started hatching plans to somehow enter the keep from the top as it was much more badass then using the front door. After a while though they decided to deal with the undead infestation below them. The party took aim with their crossbows while Valanthradil sneaked out into the courtyard itself with his composite longbow. Sal and Valanthradil managed to down one skeleton each in a single shot, while One-Eye and Noone peppered the remaining one. It ran straight towards Valanthradil and One-Eye tried to hang off the wall to get a clearer shot past Sal and Noone who were in front of him, but his one-handed shot failed to hit the skeleton. Noone aimed at a fourth skeleton approaching the commotion and managed to blast it to pieces with a critically placed shot. Meanwhile, Valanthradil took aim at the mean looking skeleton running right at him, but it reached him in time to land a heavy swing into his side. He still managed to loose his arrow though which downed the skeleton.

Split Up? Definitely!

Valanthradil, Sal, and Noone head south along the wall and start firing at anything in range, electing to stay safely in the battlements. One-Eye stayed behind and eyed the remaining zombie hovering near the cellar doors and tried taking pot shots at it while it wandered about.

The Story of One-Eye

The zombie, two arrows sticking out of its body, went around the north side of the keep just out of sight. One-Eye stood in between two of the merlons, puffed out his chest, watched the rest of the party stalk away to the south, and then tried to backflip into the inner courtyard. His plan was to deploy his batwing glider cape, but his backflip went terribly wrong and he crashed to the ground bruising a couple ribs. His pride hurt, he looked up in time to notice the zombie shuffling right at him.

He braced his crossbow on the ground and fired, but missed! He quickly reloaded to try and take another shot, but the zombie reached him first. He tried to jump to his feet instead while the zombie reached out to grab him, but he managed to slip away and with a lightning quick draw he tried to uppercut the zombie with one of his masterwork punching daggers. He was just a hair too slow as the zombie tilted his head to one side. The zombie started trying to land blows with both hands, but only grazed One-Eye who quickly responded by grabbing his arm equipped with the dagger and landing a powerful jab with both hands behind the blow. The zombie shuddered and fell to the ground.

One-Eye backed up to the wall of the keep and quietly slid along towards the south side. There he spotted some skeletons milling around what looked like the main entrance to the keep. He sneaked up behind the closest one and grabbed a hold of him to kill him, but the skeleton shook free. One-Eye still had the jump on him though and attacked with both punching daggers, landing solid blows and killing the skeleton. The others did not seem to notice, so One-Eye disappeared back around the corner of the keep and setup a tripwire with caltrops.

He shot and killed another skeleton and two more noticed and gave chase. They rounded the corner where one tripped and fell into the caltrops, but they didn’t damage the skeleton since he was all bones. The second skeleton seemed to notice this happen and went around the tripwire. One-Eye shot another crossbow bolt at the skeleton still standing and clipped him for some damage, but he closed the distance and scratched One-Eye for some minor damage. The second skeleton made it back to its feet and joined the melee which lasted a couple rounds with hits being traded back and forth, but in the end One-Eye prevailed.

He then used his grappling hook to climb the wall again and the noise drew the attention of another skeleton. He decided to use the grappling hook to “fish” for the skeleton and managed to latch into his rib bones with the hook. He pulled the skeleton about halfway up the wall and climbed down the rope to disarm it. The skeleton took a swing at him as he lowered himself down, but missed. One-Eye cleaved the arm off the skeleton and then left him dangling there. Worried about being alone for so long he went off in search of the rest of the party.

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Chapter 14
Catch Me If You Can!

Scooby Doo Tactics

The planning session to catch the mysterious disappearing thief degraded into the party wandering about the lower level of the explored mining tunnels alone. As this went on, almost all of them had some sort of glimpse of the creature trying to nab them. It seemed like it always appeared out of nowhere behind them somehow and tried to grapple them. The party was on the alert though and all the attempts by the creature failed. However, none of the party members were quick enough to catch the creature or even get a better look than Sal did. Stumped, they decided to group back up and discuss other options. Judging by the tactics of the creature and some deep knowledge pondering, the party deduced the creature was attracted by magical objects.

It’s a Trap!

They decided to try and lure the thief out by placing the boots out in one of the tunnels and laying a trap. One-Eye went back to the small room where they found the loot pile and removed the arrow trap. He brought it along with an extra spider silk sac back to the group and got to work. He used the arrow trap, a rope, the silk sac, and a tanglefoot bag to rig a trap using the boots as the trigger for a tension wire. It was all hidden in the silk sac which was about 15 feet from the boots. Valanthradil, Sal, and Noone went a ways down the tunnel and huddled in a small offshoot tunnel while One-Eye closed his lit bullseye lantern and found a nice hiding spot within clear view of the boots. He could not see in the dark without his lantern, but he could clearly hear around the area.

A short while later, One-Eye could hear something moving about in the vicinity of the spider silk sac. It then moved over towards the boots and he clearly heard the twang of the arrow trap and a grunt of surprise. He threw open the lantern shutter where it was resting on the ground already aimed at the boots and rushed the creature he saw with both his punching daggers making sure to shout to his cohorts. He saw the creature was just as Sal described and was covered in a sticky mess from the tanglefoot bag and unable to move. He managed to wound the creature a few times as the rest of the party arrived to see the creature lean over and bite One-Eye on the shoulder. He backed up out of reach while the rest of the party engaged with arrows and felt a bit woozy from the accumulation of all his wounds so far down in the mining tunnels.

Then the party heard a tearing and snapping sound as the creature tore free of the tanglefoot bag’s hold. They were befuddled as it bounded straight at one of the nearby tunnel walls and then vanished completely. They ran to the spot and frantically searched for a secret door to no avail. Seeing the creature in action, Noone used her knowledge of the planes to hypothesize that the creature was travelling between planes when it disappeared meaning it could go through the tunnel walls. They had noticed the creature was badly wounded when it took off so they split up and started combing the tunnels looking for tracks or the creature itself. Valanthradil soon stumbled upon the creature huddled in the same room the loot pile was in and that One-Eye had just recovered the arrow trap from. He took a quick shot as he spotted it and the creature cried out and fell over dead with an arrow in the back. Valanthradil took a vial of its blood to check out later and the party agreed it was high time to get back to the surface.

I See the Light!

One-Eye used his natural good climbing ability and with the help of his spider silk climbing gloves he quickly scaled the rope in the lift shaft back to the first sub-level of the mines. Valanthradil then cut the rope at the bottom and One-Eye used it to pull him up as he climbed. Then the two of them worked together to pull up Sal and Noone. One-Eye scaled the next lift shaft and then pulled up the other one at a time using the horses to power the lift. Once topside, they woke Harold and shared their adventures down below with him. He told them he would stand watch while they got some rest since the sun was just rising and they had not slept yet. They piled into the cave after feeding the horses and got ready for bed. Valanthradil gave the raven a quick medical check and offered his arm which the raven hopped up onto and climbed to his shoulder. Pleased (but not as pleased as if he could train a bear), he joined the rest to sleep.

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Chapter 13
Oh the Horror!

Into the Darkness

The party scrambled into the blocked up tunnel and made short work of the group of skeletons shuffling about with their mining picks. Once the area looked secure, they set up defensively around the entrance to another tunnel in which Noone had sighted a creature. Valanthradil crouched down in another smaller tunnel entrance across from the tunnel in question. Sal and Noone stood near the wall opposite the tunnel. One-Eye gripped his crossbow and quietly sneaked down the tunnel. As he made his way down the tunnel he spotted a creature of sorts down further, but had trouble getting a clear look. Whenever he tried to peer directly at it, the unknown creature became blurry and hard to focus on. He decided to get closer and as he did, the creature suddenly came into focus and a huge shark appeared flying through the air right at him! He screamed and fled the tunnel yelling, “Shark!” as he sped around the corner and took cover in a small offshoot tunnel.

That’s Not What I Saw

The rest of the party was a little mystified and readied their bows and crossbows. Noone and Sal watched as a blurry smudge slowly approached them from the tunnel. They waited, curious, and as it got closer they both gasped. Valanthradil was further away and did not see anything other than a blur, but Noone called back that she thought she saw a miserly old nun from her childhood and Sal told them he saw a group of small children in flames calling out for him to save them. Unsure about what to do, they started backing up towards the wall and continued to watch their differing visions move slowly towards them. After only a couple seconds, what they saw blurred into something new and One-Eye saw something as well. Sal now saw a shark, Noone saw the children who were writhing in a fire, and One-Eye saw a jester with filed teeth who left a trail of bloody footprints as he approached Sal and Noone.

That was the turning point for One-Eye and he let fly with his crossbow which sort of faded away as it hit the jester squarely. The rest of the party followed suit and fired arrows at the various things they saw. Valanthradil decided this was as good a time as any to try his new arrows so he let one fly. He fumbled with his longbow for the shot, but despite the terrible aim the arrow seemed to whiz right at the monster. As soon as it was about to strike, it burst into confetti (yay)! To say the least, Valanthradil was a little upset. The creature changed shape again so that Sal saw the jester, Noone saw a shark, Valanthradil saw the burning children, and One-Eye now saw a girl sitting on the floor bleeding from her eyes saying, “One of us! One of us! One of us!” in a sing-song voice.

Then, the various horrific visions faded away and the entire party saw a bulb shaped sac with ten eyes floating around and numerous smacking mouths. The sac was full of the arrows they had previously shot and the party continued to let fly with arrows as Sal readied his greatsword and advanced on the monster. He landed some great blows, but the monster lashed out with its tentacles and slashed Sal leaving him feeling incredibly woozy. His body became sluggish and droopy. He tried to swing again at the horrible creature but his body responded lethargically and his arms and legs were wobbly.

Full of arrows and gushing dark blue fluids from gaping sword wounds, it ignored Sal and advanced on One-Eye and Valanthradil. Noone contemplated trying to cast a healing spell in case it was enlivened by dark energy, but decided not to risk healing it instead. As it lumbered on, Sal pulled himself together and made one last mighty swing of his greatsword which split the monster in half spilling its innards across the ground. Relieved, the party saw that Sal looked normal again, but after a short time of swapping descriptions of what they saw as the creature he wobbled and became unsteady again. The party did search around and find some brown mushrooms which had various colored dots on them. Noone identified them as magical, but was unsure of their properties. Hoping for a miracle of chance, she convinced Sal to eat one with green dots. He gulped it down but no effect seemed evident to him or the others.

Wait, There’s More?!

Disheartened about Sal’s condition, they left the blocked tunnel. Back in the rest of the mines, Valanthradil complained about his cloak still missing despite finding the creature. Sal corrected him by saying the thing that tried to grab him earlier didn’t look anything like that nightmare creature and it must still be loose in the mines. Determined to find his cloak, Valanthradil discussed plans with the party to find the thief.

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Chapter 12
Mystery Loot!

Boulder Engineering 101

With the spider nest cleared, the party turned their attention to the elephant in the room. In this case, the elephant was a boulder wedged firmly into what appeared to be another tunnel, but one much smaller than the rest. Using his engineering skills, One-Eye devised a plan to dislodge the boulder with the mining picks, shovels, and rope they had available. They set to work and after about 10 minutes of struggle they manage to move the boulder out of the way after loosening it from the tunnel entrance. The tunnel is a tight fit, so they push Noone in first and then follow slowly by squeezing their way through. At the other end of the 20 ft tunnel they find a small room with a pile of clothing on the floor to the left and many small alcoves dug into the walls.

Loot!

Upon closer inspection, the pile of clothes appeared to contain a belt, two cloaks, goggles, and a pair of boots. The pile itself seemed to move around and flap about. Next to the pile was a coiled rope, sword, and quiver of arrows. The alcoves in the walls each had a single small item which after a glance amounted to a pearl, two rings (one silver, one copper), dice, vial, spinning top, glass sphere, and spyglass. The first and foremost item on the party’s agenda was to solve the mystery of the moving pile. Sal wanted to stomp on whatever might be causing the movement, but it was agreed their might be something breakable in the pile. A net was draped over the items and then carefully they were removed and inspected one by one. One of the cloaks happened to be Valanthradil’s missing cloak so he donned it again. Once the pile was sorted out, it seemed the other cloak was causing the motion all on its own. Nothing out of the ordinary was discovered about it other than its constant flapping.

Sal then opted to take a closer look at the boots and reached down to pick them up. As soon as he did there was a twang sound and three arrows shot out from a hidden trap. Luckily, only one of the three arrows found their mark on Sal and he didn’t receive too bad a wound. He put them on and tried to tell the others what a great fit they were but found he couldn’t speak. Fearing the worst (that they were cursed) he frantically motioned to the others and pointed to his open mouth. They got the gist, but were a little too focused on sifting through the items to stop and help him. Items were being claimed when they noticed the glass sphere was no longer in any of the alcoves and seemed to have gone missing. Fearing the mystery creature that stole Valanthradil’s cloak, they got a bit more defensive in the room and made sure to watch the tunnel entrance. Valanthradil grabbed the quiver (the arrows had multi-colored fletching and round clay balls instead of arrowheads) and spyglass, One-Eye claimed the dice (one red and one blue with white number markings) and spinning top, and Noone picked the pearl and the silver ring. Sal realized he could just take the boots off and his voice returned, so he told the others he wanted the longsword and decided to keep the boots as well.

Everyone was feeling pretty good and started discussing the last few items when they all noticed that something had happened in the corner of the room. Where One-Eye had just been hunched over was now a big hairy creature with ethereal wings sprouting from its back. It slowly rose, turned around, and stared at the group. From this angle they could now see it had big horns sprouting from its bull-like head. It pointed raised one of its arms and pointed directly at Valanthradil. The party just stood perfectly still, a little stunned by the turn of events and looking like children caught with their hand in the cookie jar. The creature spoke in a low grisly voice and said, “You must leave an offering and I will let you leave with what you have stolen. You must leave me something if you ever want your friend back.” At this point it slowly started beating its ethereal wings and hovered slightly above the ground and continued, “Leave me an offering or you will all die!” The party stared in silence for a bit and then started fumbling around in their packs to find something to satiate the creature. At this point, the creature dropped to the ground and morphed into One-Eye right before their eyes who sprang to his feet and backed up against a wall looking wildly about.

A bit of confusion followed as the party tried to sort out exactly what just happened. Valanthradil had reason to believe the creature was a minotaur, but didn’t remember anything about them ever having wings. Sal and Noone thought it might be some sort of demon. Regardless, the party decided to leave some gold. Valanthradil and One-Eye put 200g each into a pile on the ground. Sal contributed 16g 5s 19c (the remaining money to his name). Noone opted to leave a bone from one of the skeletons they had defeated in the mine earlier (as she had been collecting some of their bones in her pack). The other party members agreed she was on her own if the creature came back after them looking for more. The excitement of loot faded and Noone scooped up the remaining items (copper ring, goggles, belt, and vial). On the way back out through the spider nest, One-Eye also opted to drag one of the spider silk sacs eerily shaped liked a body with him.

A Close Encounter

The mine had been pretty thoroughly explored except for the tunnels beyond the other blocked passage, so the party decided to investigate and then get the hell out of there. On their way there they spread out a bit to make sure they checked each tunnel and ended up getting separated for a bit. Sal was on his way to the blocked passage where the rest of the party was waiting when he spotted a blurred shape come out of nowhere behind him. He quickly whirled around and found himself face to face with a creature he had never seen before which looked like it was about to pounce on him. Startled, the creature turned and disappeared into thin air as it took a step to the side. Before it did though, Sal got a good look and described it to the others when he caught up with them. He told them: It was about their size, but had only one large leg; the body was bulb shaped and a snout like appendage rising from it, but the eyes and mouth were on the body; and it had four long slender arms.

Perplexed, the party decided it was best if they stayed together from now on and made sure to watch each other’s backs. They let that mystery go for the moment and decided to crawl in and explore the blocked up passage they had discovered earlier. This one was a much larger blockage as it was the continuation of one of the main tunnels. However, there was a small hole in the blockage that they could all make their way through. Noone cast another Hide from Undead spell on herself and took a quick look inside. She reported a couple of the weak skeletons with mining picks were inside, along with something else skulking down a tunnel that she couldn’t quite make out. They all mustered their courage and climbed through the opening one at a time..

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