'I Elanveril, seek the aid of heroes to complete a task--let them come and hear, and if they decide "yea" reward is offered, and they will seek to complete the task, thence to be returned to their home plane. The initial offer is 100 gold pieces on arrival, and they may return whence come if they refuse, plus said 100 gp.'
We all said, 'yea!' and he continued, 'The task set is to help the captain of the guard, one Dudegrin,' (a dwarf), 'return to the barracks where his troops are stationed, the completion of which task will render a further 300 gold pieces to each hero.'
Further questioning of said Dudegrin revealed that he had come from the barracks to the inn through a secret tunnel built as a contingency, but that he had since collapsed it to prevent monsters following him. Moreover, the city of Kalaetha was in some dire straits, what with weird black oozes that had rained down from the ceiling (the city being underground, it has a ceiling), and thence devoured everyone on the streets--and beyond that, there was rumor of undead horrors and such monsters roaming the streets as well. Dudegrin had fled the barracks because of an ooze's entrance into said building, but now wished to return, hoping to find the remnants of his city guard gathered there.
Ere leaving the inn (the Comely Crock, apparently), Magic Meryl, asked for some biscuits of the proprietors, and received several pieces of hard tack; meanwhile, Frigga summoned up a demonic monstrosity of wolf-heads all kind of jammed together into a semi-coherent form, which she called Fenris.
As for leaving the inn, it turned out that the door opened onto a street, but not the street where the inn ought to be--it opened onto a street some other place in the city! Good thing for us, Dudegrin still knew where we were and where to go.
Up the street, Meryl detected a sound kind of like the slow running of water and alerted us; assuming an ooze, we moved into an alley and Hildi climbed up to the roof; with a rope thrown up by myself, she fastened it to a chimney, and we all clambered up, and none too soon as the ooze came down the street where we had been.
|At some point, I asked if the ooze was like the|
death ooze from the end of Princess Mononoke
--Josh Rapp laughingly agreed that it was
On the rooftops, we continued toward our destination finding the city to be constructed in concentric rings of buildings, and at its center a great glass and crystalline tower with globes full of 'lighted' rocks, a spire held up by huge chains connected to the ceiling.
Ultimately, the city being circles, we found ourselves unable to continue 'inward' without crossing a street. At this point, the Ayatollah Goblini appeared, with 14 goblins in tow. After some discussion of building a goblin-bridge, instead, Hildi used a magic tattoo to fly across the way and set up two lengths of ropes as a kind of bridge (one above, one below, across which a person could shuffle). We used this same technique to cross a second street, and found ourselves finally across from the roof of the barracks, but at that point Hildi's magical flight was close to expired.
On the rooftop of the inn was an ooze of the same kind as wandered the streets, though a little smaller. I suggested we launch a volley of arrows into it, and the Ayatollah Goblini mentioned that he had a brace of six pistols. While he set up a goblin firing squad, everyone else used their own missile weapons ... unfortunately, the goblins only managed to divide the ooze into many smaller ones; but the silver bullets fired by Hildi's rifles, and the arrows launched by my own magical longbow managed to destroy the miniscule oozes.
Magic Meryl then scouted across the street for us, and found it largely safe (though with some ooze coming up behind us not to far off).
Alas! the doors opened onto a chamber unfamiliar to Dudegrin (i.e. not part of the barracks); and Hildi opened a trapdoor from above that proved to be magically linked to the same room (she dropped some shot through the trap, which fell from the solid ceiling of the room we were looking into at the same time ...). When Frigga pushed Dudegrin into the new chamber, he turned back and started mouthing at us, but we couldn't hear him; when we followed, we found that we had gone through a door into a chamber with no door whence we had come. We were trapped within some diabolical dungeon!
A single torch illuminated the room; picked up, it shed no heat, and seemed some kind of 'light' spell. Through the singular exit to the north, we found a corridor that forked, NW and NE, and I with the torch in hand spied a chest on a pillar where the point of the walls should have been. It proved not trapped, and contained but a single a cloudy potion.
To the left (NW) we found a room filled with thorns (like giant acacia thorns); turning back, to the NE we found a room with a high pillar in its center, and a door to the west that led back to the thorn room. The pillar was studded with gemstones, of which we pried out four of the most valuable (under Dudegrin's appraising dwarven eye). The pillar had bridges leading out from its top, but we didn't feel up for a free climb, so we went back to the thorn room and managed to make our way through without any trouble (my plate armor saved me here).
Beyond that, to the north, lay a room I don't know how to describe. It was large and basically empty, filled with the sound of grinding stone, and apparently containing a series of moving stone platforms (I had given the torch to Frigga at this point, and she reported the nature of the otherwise invisible stone platforms).
|At this point, Frigga the witch asked if we had|
been somehow teleported into Super Mario World,
beating me to that very question
There was a secret door to the west that we opened, inside of which was a room with bones and a single nice dagger. Magic Meryl entered and was immediately oozed with some kind of blue suffocating ooze; but due to the skill with my sword, Frigga's demon-wolf-thing Fenris, and the heroic strengths of Meryl and Hildi, we managed to save Meryl from second certain doom, and destroy the ooze. Frigga nabbed the dagger from the wall.
Back into the vast strange hall, Hildi managed to find a secret door that led (east?) to a platform that connected with the pillar and its bridges. An initial examination of a room on the other side of the pillar's bridge found it empty, but when Dudegrin inadvertently shut the door, reality subtly shifted, and we found a safe in the middle of the room.
It was Dudegrin's safe! Usually kept in his office. And when he turned the locks and shot the bolt back, he opened it onto a kind of portal back into his office, through his safe. Through this odd portal we piled, face first onto the floor, and each of us received our 300 gp reward for delivering Dudegring safely back to the barracks.
After that, Dudegrin handed out onyx stones which are a kind of magical gate-way back to Kalaetha whenever we wish to return--and then we vanished, each of us back to where we had been before we left (or so I presume--I returned to my rooms in the inn at Merripond, whence I had intended to return to Vymrrys to search for some Corvus Isn).
I shall keep you apprised of other such adventures, Xanthos, my friend. I hope that you find them edifying; and I hope too, ultimately to spread the Chaos of the Black Dragon to realms beyond ours.