D&D Chronicles: A puzzle solved and then a test

ZILLAH

D&D CHRONICLESIt’s taken us four more days, but finally we have retrieved the final two silver items we need to defeat the sorceress. Four days in which we have trekked and crawled all over this awful dungeon, back and forth, in and out. It’s been one enormous puzzle.

We found the silver chime swiftly enough. Armed with our bearer torcs, we ventured into the restricted chambers, where we came across a rough-hewn cavern with a sulfurous pool and another room protected with a magical barrier.

These of course we investigated cautiously. Calwyn used a magic rope trick to retrieve a magical wooden club from the bottom of the pool (later identified as a Ranger’s Club). We then deactivated the magical barrier using the arrow of negation found in the stirge nest. The silver chime (a chime of opening) was easily retrieved from the chamber beyond.

But we still needed to get past the room with the six clay statues — we came to call this the golem room — which had a password on the opening. Our first two attempts failed, and each time two golems animated. Ammonite took out the first two, I assisted with the second lot. But they were getting tougher and we knew we needed to find that password.

Alix entered the Oracle Room in the Temple of Pentarch to seek counsel, and reported back that “the password is clear for those who know the upper halls”. We hadn’t made it to the upper halls yet, since we lacked the correct sigil to pass yet another pair statues — in this case made of crystal. But in the bottom antechamber, there are murals on the walls depicting ibis… and the required sigil also featured an ibis-on-nest… so for our third try at the password, we attempted ibis.

It worked! Praise be to Emrys. We made it into the golem room.

Beyond was a corridor with several locked doors and, to cut a long story (featuring Brynn’s lock picking and trap deactivating skills, Calwyn’s knock spells, and a lightning blast) very short, we scavenged a fair bit of coin, several sets of spare clothes, five of the required ibis-on-nest sigils required to pass into the upper halls… and one silver dragon figurine.

Finally.

We discover all is not as it seems

Right. Three silver artifacts and a silver throne in which to put them. It seemed obvious, although we weren’t entirely sure what would happen.

This is what happened. A projection of a mage manifested (his name was Abhorran) and told us we had “done well” except now we had to “prove ourselves worthy”. Then he disappeared, leaving us scratching our heads, before reappearing in the shambling body of the sorceress, who (it turns out) has been his creature all this time.

I thought it was strange we should have the run of this place for an entire week without anyone investigating… We’ve been jumping through the hoops of this mage, just so we can deliver the Eye of Arik back to him somewhere far away from here. He’s promised us 30GP for the honour, but he wouldn’t tell us anything further unless we — get this — take a sip of some potion, which will transport us to another plane, where we have to battle each other to the death to prove ourselves. He says we won’t really die, but…

Is he joking?!

So far, we have refused to take the potion or prove ourselves any further, but we tried to take the Eye from the woman, and now Calwyn is lying on the floor, lifeless, at our feet.

This cannot be happening.

We enter the arena

In the end, Alix took the potion and met Abhorran on that other plane. He told her we had to wait three days and he would restore Calwyn to us. He was not dead precisely, but trapped inside the gemstone.

For three days we kicked our heels in the upper rooms — which were actually rather nice — and then, Calwyn restored and a little worse for wear, we agreed to drink the mage’s cursed potion and undergo his stupid test.

A vast arena awaited us, full of obstacles and vantage points. Since anything we used would be replaced, it gave me the opportunity to try out my exploding beads — which I have been desperate to try. My companions conveniently gathered all together in a clump, and the bead dealt masterly damage to all except Ammonite, who is a freak.

Unfortunately for me, this show of strength convinced Ammonite I was something of a threat, so they decided to take me out. I was never going to last very long one-on-one against Ammonite, particularly as they’d taken some potion which gave them double attacks and stuff and I was out of the competition fairly quickly.

In the end, Ammonite won the contest (of course) with Alix coming second, Brynn third, me fourth and poor Calwyn (who expired in the bead blast) fifth.

North to Highwater

We are now in the port town of Highwater, more than five days’ journey north of that hellhole citadel, and mighty glad I am about it too. (So is my dog, who has been so patient. I have been teaching him tricks.)

Abhorran wasn’t overly impressed with our performance in the arena, but he told us to go to the Three Planks Inn on the island of Mycross, which is a boat-ride east of here.

I finally had to acknowledge Schill wasn’t coming back, and we built him a pyre to remember. Alas, so few of his personal belongings survived the acid bath, but I have sold his sword and will save the coin for his family. If I ever see them again.

The Baron of Ritten paid us our gold for ridding the Vale of the evil influence of Erivar/the Eye of Arik. We had to traipse all the way back to the citadel to prove it, but at least he paid up. The amount seems such a pittance for all the time it took and the cost of Schill’s life.

The boy from the village, Brynn, has come with us north. He seems a good enough sort, although he is so very young. I am not sure whether he was more motivated by adventure or gold. Time will tell, I guess.

So here we are, all cashed up with the proceeds of our adventures and re-provisioned for the next one. The island of Mycross awaits.

We seem to be heading in the opposite direction we should be, though. That other Eye, the one we have sworn on Glynd’s soul to seek, lies far to the south in the midst of a cursed forest.

Or so we assume.

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