Friday, February 16, 2018

Play Report from Jeff Rients' Vaults of Vyzor 5

(the expedition to rescue Kat Eumeleia from captivity in the prisons of the Elf-King following the last expedition in which we faced off against the Elf-King himself and were driven back ...)

"Laurantha the Unbeautiful to the Sorcerer of the Blue Mask, and to Companions at the Jarrod Memorial Library,

"O! puissant one, comrades, Kat is free again and my honor restored, for though she was lost following in my employ, she has been delivered from captivity thanks to the efforts of myself and a fine fighting crew. This is my account:

"During our escape from the collapsing throne room of the Elf-King, wherein we had confronted him and learned of just what adamant he is made, Kat Eumeleia was captured by the coming reinforcements of lion-men come to guard the body of their king, and dragged bodily down into the darkness while we fled upward to the light. I myself was in little shape to help, my left hand mangled by a fell creature's claw and myself badly wounded.

"When we arrived on the surface, I found I must needs do three things; firstly, restore my hand and its ability to weave spells; secondly, discover from Laurela, estranged niece of the Elf-King and now guest of the Blue Sorcerer, just where Kat might be imprisoned; and finally, gather a company to descend into the dungeons once more.

"The first deed was done by Pete Loudly, resident wizard of power; using a magical silver dagger long in my possession, he fashioned new fingers for my left hand from its dweomers, fingers dextrous and deadly.

"Secondly, in going to Laurela, I purchased for her a mobile of brass bees for her child, which I heard she had recently delivered into the world. Thanking me for this gift (and worried for Kat no doubt, as Kat was the first to coax her from hiding in the Blue Sorcerer's tower), Laurela informed me that prisoners of import are typically held on the sixth level of the Azure Vaults--not far from where I myself have traversed before. I thanked her for this information and then went forth into the streets to collect a comitatus for adventure.

"These were the four: a human fighting-man called Colonel Kaffshyth; the owlman fighter and demon-slayer Lars Hootman; and my sometime companions, Mario de Parma, fighting-man, and Frigga the Witch. From the boldness of their hearts they agreed to accompany me seeking out Kat, and so we entered the Azure Vaults and quickly descended through the levels.

"Thanks to the number of good maps in our community (some of them my own), we made good time. The arena on the second level was filled with cheering and the sound of combat, but we hurried past on our way ever down. Finally, we arrived on the sixth level, followed Laurela's directions to the prison, and were confronted with a large ooze in the vague shape of a man. He did not see us--rather, Kaffshyth tied an animated talking skull ("Doctor Cranios" he called it) to a poll-axe and stuck it around the corner, which Cranios then reported the presence of the ooze-man.

"Frigga opined an excellent plan here: that I should become invisible, known and wanted as I am by the Elf-King's goons, while the others pretended to be torturers come to collect and torture a prisoner, namely Kat. Here it was that we realized that Mario was destitute and completely lacking equipment--he had followed along gamely into the dungeon, and here he was, essentially naked (I'm not sure just what he intended to do if a fight had developed ...). So Kaffshyth wore Cranios as a disguise, his own face swathed in a cowl, while Frigga played her creepy self, and Lars remained an owl-man, and the lot roped Mario up and led him in, dagger at his back, and the ooze-man took the charade in full swing.

"The Colonel declared that they had come to requisition the most wanted criminal of the lot for torture, and the ooze-man gamely unlocked a cell containing ... some assassin who had been hired by others to try to kill the Elf-King--not Kat. We duly collected him, but the ooze-man would not give us the keys to unlock other doors. When it seemed like things might finally require violence, Kaffshyth finally hit on the point that the ooze-man greatly desired to see what was happening in the arena above--he had money on some Gorgoro the Two-Headed, or some such, and Kaffshyth declared that Gorgoro was no longer two-headed, and the ooze-man pressed the keys into our hands and took off for the upper levels.

"Keys in hand, we quickly located Kat--much the worse for wear, poor creature--and just as quickly as we had descended, we returned to the surface, delivering Kat into safety and the assassin, Thoreg, to the Sorcerer of the Blue Mask.

"So easily was this deed accomplished that we resolved to return into the depths, this time seeking treasure. Therefore, some days later, we convened again and again descended, and behold, we found the ooze-man trapped in the menagerie of Agony-Machines on the first level. He begged to be let go, and Kaffshyth took pity on him, promising to free him if he would tell us where treasure might be.

"This the ooze-man readily agreed to, and told us to seek the crypt of the Elf-King's son on the third level, the sarcophagus of which contained not the body, but great valuables. Following this advice, we descended to the third level; and continuing east past the throne room, we found a south-branching corridor that opened into a great temple with a statue of the Elf-King, entirely of adamantium, backed by a tapestry depicting his ancient (and exaggerated) deeds. The tapestry we took down to sell, and lo! there was a door behind it. And through that door we discovered through the northeast door a crypt containing a sarcophagus for the Elf-King's son.

"I looked carefully and discovered a brown residue around the seam as if something had leaked out partially from inside; fearing to open the sarcophagus directly, Lars, Mario, and myself looped a rope around an extruding part of the effigy and hauled the thing open from the doorway--and indeed! a brown gas poured forth and filled the room while we waited in safety in the corridor. Finally, the gas settled, and we could enter and look into the sarcophagus, and there we discovered a suit of Elfin plate, a sword, and glinting jewelry worth many thousands of gold. All this was quickly stowed in sacks, and despite my protestations to look in the other door, my companions prevailed that we must leave immediately.

"Returning out to the temple, we interrupted an active service with strange communicants before the altar--a dozen floating spheres, shaggy with fur, central eyeballs surrounded by three tentacles. Before they could react, I cast a lightning bolt forth and incinerated eleven of the twelve, so that only the priest-thing remained, festooned in a ridiculous miter. This final shaggy thing was surrounded by the party and stabbed to death by the weapons of Lars, Mario, Kaffshyth, and Frigga; and Frigga, witch that she is, insisted on taking the corpse out of the dungeon to make some kind of fetish or spirit-trap.

"Back on the first floor, the Colonel was much aggrieved to discover that none of us had any means to free the ooze-man from his plight, and chastised me for attempting to blow past him without real acknowledgment. But really, I cannot understand the empathy of these human creatures--why care suddenly for a thing that one had just as easily cut down in the depths of the dungeon, a thing that was gleeful at the prospect of torturing others, just because that thing is now trapped? Bah! What a fool thing to have an empathetic soul.

"From here, we again made our way out of the Vaults without scathe, and much the richer for our haul. My account has grown overlong; no doubt the tales will be told drunkenly in the Drooling Thoule and around the town.

"Your lieutenant in the War Against the Elf-King,
"Laurantha Akala"

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