Saturday, 18 June 2016

4 Flaurmont - Earth, Wind and Fire

Broneslav found himself in an alcove behind a statue. He stepped round it and into a circular room with alcoves to north and south.

"I'm not going anywhere near those," he thought to himself as he considered how many times he had been teleported around the remains of Elyas' tower.

The room contained four large statues of demonic figures. Each of the statues in front of an alcove had a human-sized handprint carved into its chest. The fourth statue was in the centre of the room and its front part had been carved out to fit an iron throne into it. A bright, pulsing, red light shone from the gems in the eyes of the statue he had just stepped around. Dimmer blue lights shone from the statues to the north and south. A black gem could be seen in the left eye of the central statue, and there was a hollow where a second gem could be placed. It was the right size to fit the gem he had just retrieved. He tried the gem in that eye, but nothing happened, and it fell right out again.

Examining the other statues, he realised that there might be a purpose to the handprints. He placed his hand tentatively into the handprint on the northern statue. His mind was filled with a sense of another person's despair. It was Sylva's! He realised now that the witches must have stolen the bodies of the elvish women, and their spirits were trapped here. Perhaps the clue to freeing them lay in this handprints on the statues. To test this theory he approached the southern statue and tried that one. He felt Merisa's despair. The red eyes on the other statue probably meant something else again. Only two elves had been kidnapped so perhaps the red meant that the witch was still trapped. He decided to forego testing that theory just in case.

There must be something more he needed to do to free the elves and destroy the witches. He needed to explore further. Turning south out of the circular room, he followed the corridor to its end. The wall had crumbled here and a small hole was there. It looked like he could enlarge it enough to get through, but he could see that there was someone there, and he was not sure he wanted to disturb them. He returned to the other end of the corridor which ended in a blank wall. Knowing that there had once been a secret door at the other end helped him, and Broneslav soon found the door, and opened it. It was not well hidden, suggesting that it was intended to stop access from the other side.

As he had seen through the broken wall, the door opened behind an altar. This one was empty but for an altar with red altar cloths. The second he stepped through the door, it slammed shut behind him. Grabbing for it only wrenched his arm. With the door shut, he could see a handprint carved into it. Well, he would check that later. For now he needed to find a way to activate this gem so that it would fit into the statue. Looking around he saw that the walls were decorated with frescoes of leaping flames.

There was only one door out of the temple, so he took it and found himself in a room with a carved idol in its centre. It's hands were placed in front of it  as if to accept an offering. As he entered the room, the hollow began to glow. The glow got stronger as he approached the idol, and noticed three alcoves to the east.

"What is it with all these alcoves?" He muttered to himself.

Suddenly the idol spoke, "Answer me and I'll answer thee in truth, if but to questions three! What is thy name?"
He took a moment to consider whether it was wise, and then answered, "Broneslav."
"What was the first name of the last creature you killed?"
"I don't know, it was a panther."
"What is thy quest?"
"To free Merisa and Sylva."
"Accepted."
"Right, so I now have three questions. Well, I think I only need one. How do I use the Opal to free the maidens?"

The idol began to recite more doggerel:
Beyond the three temples of the elements
The black dragon's eye waits for thee.
Find its secret through nearby magical ways
That have waited for many long years.
Beware the tricks of Old Elyas,
And return here with the Black Opal Eye, to give it power.
Then set it in its place and behold
The end of great sadness; the beginning of life;
The destruction of evil and the end of strife.

Broneslav took the Opal Eye from his pouch and placed it in the idol's hands. After a moment it began to glow from deep in its centre. He waited a while. Nothing more happened so he picked it up and headed west to a door there, reasoning that the door to the south must be to the temple with the broken wall.

The door opened into another temple, decorated with images of clouds racing across the sky and trees bent under the force of a hurricane. Behind the altar there was a handprint in the wall. Right, so, better check the person in the last temple before he returned to that statue ...

He opened the door as carefully as he could and sneaked into the third temple, noticing as he did so that it was decorated with images of mountains and rock formations. At the altar was a slight elvish woman with her back to him. He thought it looked like Merisa, whom he had encountered before. He padded as silently as he could towards her, using the pillars as cover. When he got to ten feet behind her, he gave up on all stealth and dived for the woman. Before she could react, he had pinned her to the ground and placed his hand over her mouth.

"No sleep spells for you witchy woman!" he growled as he trussed her up and gagged her. he was then able to clear the gap behind the altar so that he could get through and drag her behind him. She looked at him with a hate-filled gaze, as though she wished at this time to be a medusa. Once through the gap, it was the work of a moment to place the Opal Eye in the statue. There was a flash of blue light. The eyes on the two statues that had been blue flared red, then the eyes on all three statues went out. All that remained was black burnt-out stones. Merisa jerked and slumped slightly before sitting up looking confused.

Broneslav soon ascertained that she really was now Merisa and that the witch's spirit had been vanquished. He guessed that this had happened to the other possessed and dominated elves too. Given that the alcove to the west had brought him here, he guessed that the alcoves to the north and south might take him away again. Tossing a coin, he headed to the northern alcove with Merisa. The two of them found themselves in a room with dark stone platform. He recognised the layout, and checked the double doors to the west to see if you was back in the room near Sylva's bedroom. It turned out that he had got lucky; the doors opened into the treasury! He filled his bags with all he could carry before checking for a way out. The arch to the south no longer glowed, so he decided that the curse must no longer be in effect.

The pair headed through the arch with no ill effects and found themselves in the corridor with half a dozen groggy looking elves, dwarves, hin and humans. The platinum statues that had once lined the hall were no longer their. A candle lit in Broneslav's mind. The statues were of those that had tried to rob the treasury by going through the arch. The newly animated people seemed to be no threat at the moment, so Broneslav told them how to work the disc as he passed them and headed out of the tower with Merisa.

The journey back to the village was simple, even though they encountered many more people who had been transmuted into statues along the way, but all were too groggy to pose a threat. The pair were greeted on the path to the village by the joyous villagers. Sylva had come to when Broneslav placed the Opal Eye in the statue, and she had explained what had happened. Broneslav was feted as a hero, and was finally able to deliver the package to Merisa and return Rahasia's pendant to her.

With the experience gained here, Broneslav has now gone up a level. He gains +1 Attack Bonus, +4 hit points and 1 trait point. The trait is really difficult to decide. It has to be something related to his adventures since last going up a level. That means it could be travel related, dungeon exploration related or anything else of that ilk. I was tempted to give him something related to resistance to spells because of all the Sleep spells he was hit with, or perhaps to give increase his Hunting attribute, but in the end I opted to give him the trait Elf-friend. Rahasia has connections with the merchant Sindar, and with Arnulf Armbruster in Selenica, so I thought she might have connections further afield too. Broneslav may now be able to seek aid among the elves of a place by finding a connection of Rahasia's. I'm not sure how useful it will be, but it seems appropriate.

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