Alteras

Depths of Turan - Chapter 2 - Halflings can't Fly


Octavian was feeling pretty confident with himself. After all he discovered a secret compartment in the statue outside and a trap on the door to the Mausoleum and had disarmed the trap. Yes, some might say the bird brain mage, Elwyn had done it, but Octavian knew better. Now he was inside the mausoleum. It was one large room with broken and smashed bones, rusty armor and weapons scattered about. On the far side of the room was a large stone table with a candelabra on it with two black candles burning with a flickering flame. Tavi spoke up, “A Sarcophagus in the back of the room. No one touch it.” Octavian quietly cursed his small size as he couldn’t see that the stone table was actually a sarcophagus.

Octavius continued around the room looking for more traps or hidden treasures. He noticed what looked like grove marks in the walls and small chips from the stone in the ceiling. He also noticed that the ceiling was flat except for an impression about the size of the sarcophagus directly above it. “Be careful, it looks like the floor and the ceiling can smash together. It is probably triggered by the door trap.” At that Elon pulled out a couple of pitons and a hammer and did his best to wedge the door open.

“There is a secret door behind the sarcophagus somewhere.” Elwyn said in a hushed voice. “I know that” said Octavian a bit miffed that the bird mage was stealing his credit. Of course he was lying because he couldn’t even see behind the sarcophagus yet. Octavian continued around behind the sarcophagus and saw a large stone slab lying on the floor. “Pffft!! Not much of a secret. Anyone could have found that.” he thought as he rolled his eyes in the direction of the mage. “Over here. You need to push this slab over to reveal the passage.” Octavian said as he pointed at the slab. Tavi and Grug set their weapons aside and started pushing the slab making only minor progress at moving it. While were focused watching the two push at the stone slab, unnoticed by the group, Ratagast was fixated on the sarcophagus and the black candles. Ratagast began cast some sort of magic that he would later claim was a hallow spell on the sarcophagus. Once the spell was cast, a sound of stone grating on stone was heard by all as the lid of the sarcophagus slid back and out jumped a skeletal figure with black bones. The skeleton wielded a kama in each of its bony hands and lunged at Ratagast.

The group quickly sprang into action. Ratagast defended against the attacks while Grug moved around the sarcophagus to flank the creture. Tavi thought to quickly jump into the sarcophagus and attack the creature from its flank but tripped as he jumped into the sarcophagus and fell flat on his face inside the ancient coffin. Elwyn fired magical darts from his fingers that flashed in a bright light as they struck the dark entity. Eventually the skeleton was laid to rest once more by a powerful blow from the saber tooth axe used by Ratagast. As the skeleton was shattering into pieces, Tavi recovered from his self inflicted stun and poked his head out of the sarcophagus and said, “the inside of the sarcophagus is empty. I thought I would check it to see if there was something in here that would have helped in the fight.” Octavian took notes on what Tavi said and thought to himself, “I will have to remember that one.”

The group returned to pushing the massive stone slab and finally slid it enough to reveal a ten foot wide dark hole in the floor. Down one wall of the hole were iron rungs spaced apart to where they could be used as a ladder. Tavi asked if one of the mages could create a light and was greeted with silence. “None of you can cast a light spell?” Tavi said in a tone that revealed his disbelief. Elwyn and Ratagast both shook their heads. Octavian thought to himself, “I am a sneaky person who delights in darkness and shadows, why would I have a light spell. These guys are useless; especially bird man. I knew that feather head mage would be the death of us.”

Tavi then asked if anyone had a torch and again was greeted with silence. “No torches? How are we supposed to explore the dark places of the earth with no light. At this Elon shook his head and pulled out a torch and said, “this is the only one I have so use it wisely.” While the mage and the priest were unable to cast a light spell, they both could cast a simple cantrip to give them a small light like a candle and did so. At that Grug was asked to descend the ladder into the unknown depths since he had the best vision in the dark.
Grug climbed into the hole and began moving downward with Tavi was close behind him. Octavian was in line to be next. He leaned over the hole and saw how dark it was and asked to be the one that carried the torch. Elon had the nerve to give Octavian a lecture about how difficult it was to climb down a ladder while hiolding a torch. Octavian was offended and said, “I am a professional and know what I am doing.”

“Octavian! Octavian! Are you alive.” Octavian opened his eyes and saw the frightenting face of the lizard priest Ratagast staring back at him. “He sstill breathesss,” the priest said in his snake-like voice. Octavian was unsure of what had happened. He remembered reaching for the ladder and the sensation of falling and of Tavi and Grug both trying to catch him as he fell by. After that it he has fleeting memories of a cold floor against his face and seeing his feet and legs being above his head in a quite unnatural way. He sat up from the floor and saw the rungs of the ladder reaching up at least sixty feet to the opening above. “That was quite a fall, it is a wonder he is still alive.” Tavi said as he bent down to check on the Halfling. “He isss alive because of my powerful sspellss and the mercy of Prothossss.” Ratagast said in a matter of fact way.

Octavian sat up and saw Elon decending the stairs with a torch in one-hand. “The torch went out when you hit the ground. I had to go back up to the candle to light it.” Octavian looked around to see the entire group on the lower floor. He looked particularly at the Arkan, Elwyn and thought, “that bird brain must have pushed me. I will have to keep my eyes on him.” Octavian stood up and grabbed the torch away from the Murrnahoim and said, “What are we waiting for. Let’s get moving.”

At the base of the iron rungs was a corridor stretching off into the darkness. Tavi asked Grug to take the lead and then followed immediately behind him. Octavian took up the third spot with the torch as the party began to move slowly down the hallway. After they had gone a short distance, Tavi cried out, “Grug disap…” He never finished the sentence and Octavian saw the samurai fall straight through the floor. Octavian heard Grug hit a solid floor below and yell out a muddled ouch right before the sound of Tavi landing on Grug followed by another ouch. Octavian moved to the hole in the floor and positioned the torch to see what had happened. He looked down to see Grug on a corridor floor twenty feet below with Tavi sitting on top of him. Neither seemed to be hurt too badly. Octavian looked around the top of the hole and saw some more iron rungs making a ladder down. He yelled down to his companions below and said, “next time use the ladder.” He chuckled to himself about his great wit as he reached for the first rung and slipped. He then felt the sensation of falling and was waiting for the crunch and the pain when he landed softly in Tavi’s arms. Tavi looked down at his prize and said, “Yes next time we use the ladder.” Octavian pushed himself out of Tavi’s arms and on to the ground. He looked up to see Elwyn descending the ladder. “Just as I thought. Bird boy was right behind me.
Convenient. He must have pushed me again.” As Elwyn reached the ground Octavian walked by him and said, “I have my eyes on you beak face.” Elwyn returned a puzzled look not knowing what the Halfling was referring to. “Maybe the Halfling is watching me to help protect me.” Elwyn thought.

This time the party was in a rough hewn cavern leading away to a door. The group moved through the doorway and continued on until they came to a small room. In the room were several piles of bones. Grug saw some shiny coins under one of the piles and reached to grab them. When he pulled his arm back he was met with a burning pain and his arm was covered with a green slime material. The priest took the torch from Octavian and held it on the Half-Orcs arm and burnt away the slime. Grug was screaming and crying like a gnomish girl. Ratagast told him to “ssshut up” and proceeded to magically heal the damage he had just inflicted with the torch.

The group moved on through an empty room with worm eaten carpets and an empty casket on to a short staircase down. Grug and Tavi still leading the way managed to avoid stepping on a trap that they had not seen. Octavian pointed out the trap which was meant to catch ones foot in a hole and then pin it in place with poison spikes from each side. The party managed to avoid the trap and continued to the base of the stairs to find a room with a skeleton in a chair stairing back at them. The skeleton was covered with some sort of red ants. A small table sat next to the chair and had a deck of cards on it. Ratagast noticed a statue of some sort under the skeleton’s chair. He used some sort of telekenetic magic to retrieve the statue from under the chair.

While Ratagast was retrieving the statue, Griug went up and grabbed the deck of cards. Grug again let out another girlish scream as the cards passed some sort of poison into his bloodstream and caused him immediate pain. Grug quickly dropped to the ground and would have died but for the quick reaction and spell casting by Ratagast. The group decided to rest for a bit and used broken furniture and rotted carpet from one of the previous rooms they passed through to create a makeshift campfire and to make a few torches.

After resting, the group continued through the skeleton room into another hallway. As they entered the hallway both Grug and Tavi fell into a ten foot deep pit. Ratagast and Elon used some rope to get the two out of the pit. The pit was only five feet across so the group decided it should be easy enough to jump it. It was easy for everyone except Octavian who slipped as he was jumping and fell headlong into the pit. As he was brought up out of the pit he was heard to be muttering something about the bird pushing him yet again.

The adventurers continued down a long corridor when Elwyn said, “I detect a secret door ahead.” Octavian quickly replied, “I saw it too.” He lied. As they approached the door Elwyn said, “I detect some sort of undead that direction.” “I detected them too.” Octavian replied in a mocking voice. He lied again. To a member, everyone in the brave group of adventurers chose to avoid the secret door and the possible undead creature behind it.

The party eventually came to the opening of a large cavern. The sound of running water, hundreds of rats and a woman’s scream could be heard. With the limited light the party had they could not see much, but did see the reflection of many small eyes moving quickly along the ground. Elwyn decided to get one of the makeshift torches and fly into the room to see what was happening. The torchlight did not let him see much but he could hear the womans screams moving across the cavern. He followed the sounds of the screams and saw a elvish looking woman climbing up a pile of rubble to get away from hundreds of rats, a few of which were the size of large dogs. The woman climbed over the rubble into another cave. The rats seemed unwilling or unable to follow. Elwyn flew over to the rubble pile and looked over to the other side. He saw the woman down the hallway apparently being dragged down a side passage by some unseen creature. Elwyn quickly climbed over the rubble to rescue the damsel. As he hit the ground on the other side of the rubble he quickly realized that he had been tricked. The woman turned around and laughed at the Arkan as three other humanoids came out from side passages of the cavern. The four creatures all appeared to be human but had slight features that made them look a bit rat-like. The rat men creatures charged Elwyn. Elwyn reacted quickly and cast a spell and disappeared.

The remainder of the group decided to see what happened to Elwyn. Ratagast began to levitate across the room while the rest of the group tried to decide how to get past the army of rats. Octavian volunteered that he could cast a darkness spell that he could move with the group that would hide the from the rats. “Lets play like we are part of the wall and hide behind the darkness spell I cast while we seek where Elwyn went.” The group agreed with Octavian’s plan and decided to hide behind the darkness wall and move toward where Elwyn dissappeared. While the party agreed on the plan all Grug heard was, “wa wa wa PLAY wa wa HIDE wa wa wa SEEK wa wa.” As the party moved quietly along the wall according to the plan, Grug covered his eyes and began moving forward into the center of the cavern quietly counting. The group was beginning to think that the plan was going to work when they heard the voice of Grug yelling in the distance, “What number comes after 3?”

The screetching of the rats immediately stopped and then gradually grew louder as all of the rats began moving the direction of Grug. Octavian, Tavi and Elon took advantage of the distraction and ran to the pile of rubble. They arrived there about the time that Ratagast landed. In the distance they heard Grug say, “Grug no like this game anymore!” Girlish screams errupted again, quickly growing louder until the party saw the Half-Orc running so quickly it looked like he was running over the tops of the rats heads. He managed to make it to the rubble with no further damage. “Hide and seek stupid game!” Grug said as he angrily looked down at the Halfling for proposing it.

Tavi peeked over the top of the rubble pile and saw the four humanoids but also heard the sounds of arrows whizzing past his head. “We can’t attack without taking heavy damage. We need some sort of distraction to be able to get close enough to engage them without being cut down.” The group was quietly discussing options when the sound of a small explosion could be heard followed by the sound of heavy coughing. Tavi looked over the rubble and saw a large cloud of smoke between him and the four enemies. Where the smoke came from didn’t matter but its timing was perfect. Tavi yelled “Charge!” and the group quickly climbed over the rubble and through the smoke to engage the rat men creatures. Ratagast nearly tripped over Elwyn, who was in the center of the smoke and on the ground coughing.

Unknown to the party, when Elwyn first faced the four rat men, he had cast a dimensional pocket spell allowing him to dissappear from his attackers. The dimensioanl pocket spell transports the mage into a pocket dimension the size of a small closet. The mage can not see or interact with his home dimension while in this pocket but has to come out of of the pocket exactly where they went in not knowing what is happening at that moment. A mage can only stay in the pocket for an hour or so because after that his oxygen will run out and he will die in this dimension; never being seen again. Elwyn had every intention of staying in the dimension for 30 minutes or so but had forgotten one thing; he had a torch with him. Elwyn was enjoyimng the light of the torch and was deep in thought, deciding what to do next while the fire of the torch was buring up his oxygen and filling thetiny dimension with smoke. When he realized what was happening he tried to put out the torch but had no way to do it. He limited his breathing as long as he dared before popping back into the middle of the fight; smoke and all.

Elwyn’s smoke cloud allowed the party to engage the smaller weaker creatures in melee. The party quickly dispatched their enemies and looted their bodies of a few items. Elon noticed some humanoid tracks leading down one of the side passages. The group followed the passage and found the stash of the rat men creatures. The creatures had several magical items and a sizable pile of coins. The group decided to take the loot and return back to town.

The adventurers managed to make it past pits and up ladders with no real problems. When they reached the mausoleum, the outer doors were shut and the sarcophagus was closed. Octavian ran to the doors and began tinkering with them to try and get them open. A loud audible click was heard and the floor started moving upward. The slab covering the hole in the back of the room started moving, on its own, back to its original position. Grug and Elwyn dove into the hole just before the slab closed over it. As the floor continued to rise to the ceiling, Octavian was certain that he could disarm the trap. He continued tinkering with it until another audible click was heard and the floor lowered back into its starting position.

The group managed to get the slab off of the hole again and free Grug and Elwyn from the pit below. The brave, now slightly more wealthy adventures, left the mausoleum and made the trek back to Rosedale.

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