Broneslav went first.
"Watch my back, Alki. I'm trusting you here and Rahasia won't be pleased if we fail."
"Don't worry. I'm right with you, and I hope we can do better than my previous attempt."
Broneslav looked around the corner of the wall carefully and peered up the corridor. It was another dusty stone corridor filled with cobwebs and nothing shiny to attract a newly-Sheared Traladaran. After passing several alcoves he stopped short of a junction in the corridor (7). Ahead was a long corridor which flickered with light. Two shadowy figures could be seen at its far end. To the right was another corridor, again with two shadowy figures at its end. To the left was a corridor with a curtained doorway. Broneslav decided to check the curtained doorway before moving up the corridors to deal with the guards at the end of them.
The two heroes stealthily approached the curtain (8). Low muttering and a scraping noise could be heard from beyond the curtain. Broneslav gently lifted part of it and looked in. He could see part of a long room. Moving silently to the other side of the doorway he peeked from behind the curtain at that side. A small group of robed figures were now visible. They were sharpening curved daggers of a type popular in Ylaruam. Broneslav stepped away from the curtain and motioned to Alki to move back.
"There's five of them," he whispered, "With surprise I think we can take them."
"If they are Siswa, we must capture them alive," Alki whispered back.
Broneslav was not happy, but he agreed. The two allies lined up on either side of the curtained entrance. Broneslav nodded to Alki and leapt into the room with Alki close behind. He swiped with his shield and slammed one enemy to the floor, while knocking a second out with the return swing. A boot to the groin disabled a third, who staggered into a fourth whom Broneslav punched in the face with his sword hilt. The last of the enemy had gathered his wits by this time and fended off Alki's attack, before stepping inside his sword and stabbing him in the belly (1 DAM). Broneslav stepped in and ended it with a savage blow to the back of the head that left the Siswa in an undignified heap on the floor.
Broneslav and Alki quickly tied their unconscious foes up, before tending to Alki's wound. Then he turned his attention to two sacks with a black panther design on them. They contained gold which Broneslav quickly loaded into his pack. No point letting it go to waste or be used by the forces of evil after all!
With the Siswa still unconscious, Broneslav left Alki to guard them while he scouted the end of the corridor. He was worried that the sounds of the fight might have attracted attention from the guards he had seen. Sneaking back the junction (7), he noticed that there was now one guard along the corridor ahead of him. As he peered around the corner to his left, he spotted a guard poking his head around the end of the corridor. This seemed odd to him. Why would the guards be poking their heads around the corners like that? (Passed a difficult test to spot the guard's head. Good job that Broneslav is sharp-sighted! This may help him later.).
Broneslav backed away from the junction. In doing so, he noticed that the other guard directly ahead of him was also backing away from something. The guard seemed to be keeping pace with him too. He turned and jogged back to the room with the Siswa. Alki was still there and the Siswa were not awake yet, so Broneslav decided to investigate the other end of the corridor (9). To his right and ahead of him the corridors ended just twenty feet beyond the corridor. To his left the corridor continued back to the shrine containing the alter with the hole in it (6). As he paused at the junction, suddenly four armed men emerged from the dead-end corridor to his right.
Broneslav reacted immediately and without thinking. His sword ended the life of two of the men in one great sweeping arc. The remaining two attacked Broneslav but he easily fended off their blows with his shield. With time to think more he realised that these were not Siswa. He thrust with his sword, driving it through the body of one of the men. As he withdrew it, the body slumped to the floor, and he slammed the other man with his shield. The man was hurled back into the wall. Suddenly the man threw his sword and shield to the floor.
"I surrender! I see now you are no Siswa!" he yelled, backing away until he could move no further because his back was against the wall he had come through. (The man failed a morale roll in the face of a red-handed hero)
Broneslav quickly disarmed him and escorted him back to the room with the Siswa where he hoped to find out what was going on here. He learnt that the men were thieves who had sought treasure in the temple. They had entered, as Broneslav had, through the main entrance, but had found themselves lost after entering a long corridor. They had turned to look back and found that the corridor behind them was blocked by a solid wall, so they could not return. Investigating further, they had wandered around only to find that at various crossroads in the temple the corridors could only be traversed in one direction. Each time a wall appeared behind them as they moved through an area where the light in the temple shimmered slightly. The man who was called Teikus explained that all he wanted now was to escape the temple with some of the treasure he had gathered. Broneslav could keep the rest if he would only let him go. Broneslav agreed but made Teikus show him the shimmering light. As suspected, it was at the start of the long corridor (7). Moreover, when they looked down the corridor, they could see two figures in the distance, where previously there had been only one. Broneslav jumped up and down. One of the figures did the same. Yes, he was clearly looking at his own back from a great distance. Intriguing magic, he thought to himself.
He escorted Teikus to the entrance to the temple without mishap and watched the bandit leave. Then he returned to Alki before investigating the corridor near where he had encountered the bandits. Off the corridor to his left were a series of deep alcoves, while in the corridor, brown and dry flower petals had been strewn in front of the statues that occupied the alcoves. Investigating more closely, he found a golden pendant around the neck of one statue (10). Set in the pendant was a black jade stone of obviously great value, if only because of its size. Broneslav tried lifting it off the statue, but it would not move at all, no matter what he did to it.
When he returned to Alki, the Siswa were now coming to. Time to question them. From them, Broneslav learnt that they had a set pattern for entering the temple and that the shimmering light was in fact a magical door to a different part of the temple. Well, he would investigate that next by following their directions. But first he secured the Siswa so that they could not come after him. If he returned alive he would return them to the Kota-Hutan for justice. If he did not return alive, well, he would be beyond bothering about their fate.
Broneslav Torenescu (S16, D14, C15, I12, W10, Ch14, F1, HP 8/9, AC4, Sword 1d8+3, Bow 1d8)
Torenescu Family Member 1
Keen Vision 1
Good Education 1
Empathy with Animals 1
Goal: Prove that he is an adult following the Shearing Ceremony
Goal: Slay a red dragon
Quest: Deliver a parcel to Merisa in Gray Mountain Village
Alki (HD 2, AC 4, Att 1, DAM 1d8, Skill Bonus +2)