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The 9Qs: Questions 4-6
Q4. Light BulbAs stealthily and cautiously as possible, Tengrym returns to the tower and keep surrounding it. Before taking further action, he utters the words of an enchantment to make himself invisible.
Meeting no other obstacles or horrors on the monster-haunted streets, he enters the ruined gates of the walls. Immediately surrounding the entrance, four of the wizard’s undead sentries are posted, as the young half-elf had anticipated. His enchantment holds, and he bypasses the skeletons with ease.
He sees a bluish magical light peering from one of the windows lofting above the yard in the partially ruined tower—Gelfan is searching the height, Tengrym realizes.
Perhaps the upper portions does have some unclaimed treasure. However, according to his uncle Messrym’s divinations, the lower portions is where Tengrym ought to look. It is believed the treasure vault is below, and the desired prize within.
He finds an open door to the tower, similarly guarded. Tengrym passes the skeletal sentries and finds a descending stair. Once inside the darkness, he sheds the invisibility veil and calls into being a small globe of light within his left hand. The winding way descends some distance, finally coming to a landing.
He is in the tower’s depths, unbeknown to the wizard who now searches the tower’s broken heights foolishly!
Q5. FountainTengrym continues through a dark arched corridor some distance to end in a great chamber of roughly finished stone. At his feet, a pool of still water reflects his pale fairy light. Opposite stands a great iron door with a landing that climbs by stone steps out of the water.
Tengrym is unsure of the water’s depth, but is certain that the place resembles Messrym’s vision of the antechamber to the vault. This is it! he realizes with a smile.
If he knew what the necromancer was really doing in the heights of the tower, Tengrym might not be so smug about his current action—Gelfan simultaneously searches for the device which keeps the pool’s guardian at bay.
Tengrym, ignorant of the fact draws the raft tethered to a rope, which is still intact, toward himself. Slowly, the small craft floating in the center comes to a rest at the near bank. He clambers on and eagerly begins to draw himself across the dark still water.
From the most shadowed corner of the pool, something stirs in the deep. A single eye opens—an enormous one. Pale blue-green illumination emanates from that ghastly orb, and a great bulk begins to slither toward the raft across the pool’s floor under the water’s surface, attracted by the disturbance. It is slow and still groggy from a years-long nap.
Now more than halfway across, Tengrym pulls strongly, lured by the notion of plucking an easy victory from an imagined hoard of gold and jewels.
Descriptors: bloated amorphic horror in the deep, sinewy slimy tentacles, toothy maw, unworldly evil intellect
Suddenly, waters froth and several rubbery groping tentacles burst from the surface around the little raft, searching out for living flesh. Tengrym nearly loses grip of the line. Despite his deft slices and catlike balance on the little raft, successfully severing two of the nasty things, a cold slimy appendage wraps around his left wrist, choking out his magical light, and one grasping his ankle. His fist is still tight around the tether strung between both ends of the pool, but the monstrous strength of those flexible sinewy feelers is astonishing. He feels their incredible muscles pulling him down, and it is only his grip on the line that keeps him above the frothing water. Then, the blubbery pockmarked slimy mass breaks the surface, and its loathsome bulbous leering eye. Underneath the staring orb a ghastly carrion-stinking fanged aperture opens, mouthing and licking in anticipation of its next meal.
Urgently, Tengrym hacks at the appendage griping his arm and leg. It is no use, the strength vying against him is too great. However, he manages to loosen the grip about his wrist to bring back his magical torch and free his hands enough to work one act of magical desperation. With three words of magic, he touches his sword hilt with both hands, releasing the tether momentarily to afford one life-saving maneuver. The ball of light from his hand glints, traveling to the tip of his sword.
With one final command of power, Tengrym thrusts the shining point of his elvish blade into that leering eye just before the thing pulls him off the raft and into its mouth. His aim is true, plunging the blade deep within that luminous staring orb. A sudden flash of light explodes and the thing releases grip of the half-elf’s ankle and sinks back into the dark water, tentacles thrashing blindly throughout the pool.
Tengrym quickly rights himself and regains hold of the tether, going forward madly toward the door at the opposite side. He manages to haul himself to the steps, breathing hard from the exertion. Once on the landing, Tengrym approaches the door, with the blind thrashing of the pool-thing still groping anything that moves in the water behind him. He notes the lock, and with another word of magic, opens its magical seal, tumbles in and locks the door behind him.
Q6. ID CardIn moments, he lights a new globe of light and finds himself in a short corridor leading forward. Ahead comes the glint of something metallic shimmering in the faint light. He hastens forward and enters a treasure vault—miraculously untouched during this time of ruin. Gold, jewels, and ornamental baubles litter the floor. At the center of the small round room is a pedestal with a luminous white orb of crystal sitting at its center.
A smile crosses Tengrym’s face, and he quickly snatches up the crystal, dropping the goodly-sized globe into a velvet bag secured at his waist. He also wastes no time in scooping up as many valuables as he can stuff into his pouches, but not so much as to weigh him down unduly. It is wealth enough to last him a good long time.
Giddy of his success, and unmindful of a means of escape or the forces pressing against him, the sudden banging on the door of the vault brings him out of his mirthful disposition. A second and more violent rap on the door bends the iron inward. Then, a magical radiance outlines the frame and rips the door off its hinges. Within the glowing doorway comes a horde of skeletal figures, jaws agape and dripping water. Without hesitation, the throng rushes in. Behind them, Tengrym hears the voice of their wizard master.
“Find the crystal! Kill any guardians within!”
Tengrym is trapped with no other apparent escape—nor should there be one. It is the treasure trove of the dead wizard, Zaryn. Following the apparent orders of their master, the undead things charge the only living thing in the room—the swordsman standing before them. There are more skeletal figures than before. It is beyond Tengrym’s ability to cope with so many. But with no other option than to fight or die, Tengrym takes a fighting stance and utters a quick word of warding around him and smiting upon his blade. He has to trust to his sword, light coat of elvish armor, and skill with blade and magic to cut a path of escape.
Before the group can enter the room proper, Tengrym leaps forward with a cry on his lips. “Selûne!”
Using what tactics are available, he tries to keep them penned within the entry corridor before they can swarm him with overwhelming numbers. This is it, he thinks. My number has come up at last.
Descriptors: strength of the living dead, nothing but old bones, slow and witless
The subtle enchantment of his blade and sudden rush, penning the things within the narrow space aids the swordsman in the initial moments. With lightning fast arcs, his gleaming blade hacks away at the old bones and dusty garments. Bone fragments fly through the air as he methodically severs limbs and hacks skulls. One by one, the things start to fall. However, their numbers are still overwhelming, causing Tengrym to loose ground. Slipping on some of the coins underfoot, he stumbles and is surrounded, loosing his momentary tactics.
I am not dead yet, he reminds himself, banishing his fey thoughts. “Selûne, help me still!”
He manages to find footing before being hacked by half a dozen axes and blades and puts some distance between himself and the first few, taking a few more down as he does. Still, the numbers are against him. He sees now that the way is clear behind the throng and desperately makes out a path to dash through the group.
With a burst of energy, Tengrym charges recklessly through, but not without first getting the wind knocked out of him from a crushing axe blow to his abdomen. Fortunately, the light elvish coat of ringlets holds. Gasping for breath, he is nonetheless free and stumbling toward the exit.
To be continued…