Saturday 11 December 2021

3 Yarthmont - Requiem for a Jester

 Broneslav walked carefully down the ramp. The walls of the room he entered were painted with scenes of a royal court. The centre of attention in these paintings is a dwarven jester. The paint was peeling and faded, but a lot of effort had been expended in its application, so the jester must have been someone important. A small, brightly painted coffin rested by the wall. In each corner of the room stood a  large brass jar.

There seemed little threatening here, and Broneslav did not wish to tempt fate, so he moved quickly to the door in the north wall and opened it. Beyond lay a long corridor. As he crept pantherlike down the corridor, he heard voices from ahead of him. Their squawk-like voices carried and it was clear they had seen his light as they rushed towards him.

From the dark emerged  four people flapping their arms and squawking. Each wore a bird mask and a feathered cape. None was armed, so he relaxed a little. As they neared Broneslav, they started squawking more urgently in a bird-like version of the language he had heard the Magi use. Not knowing what they were saying, Broneslav stayed quiet and did his best to appear non-threatening. The people flapped around him a bit and then flapped off again in disgust, throwing what must have been insults in Broneslav's direction. He had noticed this about the Cynidiceans. They seemed to inhabit a different world from him, and he had no clue what was up with them, not even those who were close to normal, like the Magi.

With the people gone, Broneslav stalked down the stone corridor of the pyramid. The people had run off to the right down a side corridor, so Broneslav kept going straight on. Soon he was faced with a choice of going straight on or turning left. He opted to turn left. He found himself in a short corridor with a door in one wall.

The door and the end of the corridor were soot-blackened. The image of a human-sized humanoid form on the wall marred the otherwise perfect sootiness of it. The door itself was open a hand's width. It was dark within, as far as Broneslav could see. Figuring that anything within would have been alerted by the light from his torch, Broneslav kicked the door open.

The walls of the room within were covered in murals depicting a priest performing ceremonies. In this room, the priest was clearly the focus of the paintings. The priest was also clearly the focus of three humanoid creaters with grey skin and long claws on their fingers. As Broneslav stepped into the room, they looked up from their grisly repast. His injuries from the day before still bothered him, and Broneslav only nicked one of the ghouls. The three hideous monstrosities immediately leapt towards him. Despite his best efforts, one of the ghouls raked his arm with its claws (1 DAM) and another bit him (1 DAM). A cold like the chill of the grave started spreading through his veins. Mustering every ounce of determination he had, Broneslav willed himself to keep going (Defy death after failing to save versus paralysis, 1 DAM).

This time he was able to behead the ghoul he had wounded before, but it was clear his wounds and burns were bothering him. The eldritch poison that the ghoul's touch injected was really not helping either. Fending the monsters off was proving hard, as one of the ghouls raked his body with its claws once more (2 DAM). Once more the ghoul's poison chilled his body and slowed his movements. Once more Broneslav mustered every ounce of willpower to keep going (Defy death again, 1 DAM).

Drawing on everything he could, Broneslav fought on and skewered a ghoul to leave it twitching on the ground, while knocking the other one back. It renewed its attack, but with just one ghoul left, Broneslav was able to fend it off easily and to ripost with a stroke that cleaved it from shoulder to waist.

Breathing hard, he looked around to see if any new challenges had emerged. Seeing nothing around, he closed the door to the room and bandaged his wounds. Searching the room, he found a valuable necklace and a pair of valuable-looking bracelets. He put them in his back, being all in favour of highly portable wealth.

Where to now? Should he return to the Magi and rest up to heal his wounds, or should he risk carrying on a bit further?

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