DM Turn 14, A Brief Sojourn
The discussion continues regarding the Black One, who Katya states to be the leader of the orcs. Despite Damien's and Dainn's prodding, Katya won't or can't answer anymore of his questions. "I simply do not know anymore, elgwez", she states.
Slowly, but surely, Cygar picks the large ornate lock on the door. The rest of the party stand hushed before it, as they watch the half-elf slowly open the lock.
Circe stands back, with his new bronze ring on his finger. As no one states their desire for the potion, the red-headed mage places it in his backpack. Dainn has collected the gems from where he was meditating upon them - he now has nine; three small clear pale aqua ones and six transparent golden ones.
Cygar removes his picks and, with a flourish, pushes the door. It silently swings open, and you feel a slight, steady breeze flow out from the passage. "Is that the Cemetery?" Cygar asks of Katya, and the half-orc nods. "It is not for the living, Cygar" she says in a whisper.
When did Katya learn of Cygar's name?
He advances down the passageway into the darkness. Upon returning, he states "The half-orc is correct. The passageway junctures off to the right about hundred yards ahead. The right passageway has a few torches lit along it."
The party begins to move down the passageway. Turning to the right, you follow the lighted corridor until it begins to noticeably slope down. Strangely, it appears the breeze only flows down the main passageway. How odd.
Eventually the lighted passage comes to a stairwell leading down. You see the stairwell goes down for many yards, and you slowly follow it down.
It ends in a tunnel, made from hard-packed soil and roofed by wooden planks. The tunnel varies in width irregularly, from 10 to 15 feet wide, and goes both left and right. Katya indicates to the left, and the party travel along the tunnel in that direction.
She veritably bounds along, a few paces ahead of Cygar and Kilroy as you advance along. Eventually, the party reaches a large chamber. It appears to be empty, although the floor has four 3' deep pits dug in it. There is ample room between the pits to safely walk across the chamber. The pits appear to have nothing in them. On the east wall is a ladder to a trap door in the ceiling.
Katya points at the trap door, "That door leads back to the proper temple. The room above is used to sort new slaves, though it should be empty. The last lot of elgwez slaves were moved two days ago."
Proving her words wrong, you hear what sounds to be the crack of a whip and a deep, guttural voice bellowing something. A high-pitched scream, like that of a child, is heard ...
Circe: hurt (badly)
Damien: injured (just)
Khoron: injured (barely)
Malikor: injured (a lot)
Tyrmar: hurt (barely)
At the cracking sound of the whip, Cyvara flinches physically. Quickly, she volunteers her opinion, speaking mostly to Damien, "We should help!"
Damien: "We will, if Katya is going to be trusted, then now is the time for it, she either comes through and has my trust, or she betrays us, and we see what happens. Either way the questions, for me, will be over. If Katya will provide a distraction, then we should be able to silence the guards quickly, but what will we do with those who are in there. If we attack we will let everyone who is expecting the slaves know something is happening. Unless we lead them out, and get rid of all the bodies. That will keep everyone guessing what happened to the slaves, slavers and this places guardians."
Damien follows along as the group winds it's way through the underground tunnels, and after a while he turns to Khoron "Am I lost, or are we going deeper underground? I thought we should be making our way to the surface, isn't this temple on the surface?"
Damien moves to the ladder, and begins to climb up, then stops and faces the group "I am not going to let that continue. What say the rest of you?"
Damien looks at Katya "Have you been here before, are you allowed to travel through these places. How many guards will there be up there? I have an idea that may work if there are only a couple of guards"
Hearing the whip crack, Dainn knows that they will have to do something.
Thinking for a second, Dainn says, "There is a chance that I may be able to do something from here. If it works, then hopefully no other enemies would be called by the din of battle. In essence, the guards will seem to just drop to the ground for no apparent reason."
He turns to Katya, "Yes, please tell us about the guards. I need to know as much as I can before attempting to fry their minds."
Khoron places a thick hand on Damien's forearm. "Now don't go rushing into a situation you don't understand boy. We can do more to help these slaves if we use our heads before we rush in there. Dainn's got the right idea. Katya, tell us all you know of this chamber."
Malikor tenses visibly at the sounds of torture from above. Initially moving toward the ladder with Damien, he pauses at Dainn's suggestion that the psionicist use his mental powers first. The wild-elf turns and watches expectantly.
All of a sudden you hear a voice that sounds like Circe's. "Everyone be ready and keep an eye on those pits." That is the last thing you hear from him.
Hearing Circe's disembodied voice sends shivers down Dainn's back, "Oh great! Katya, quickly tell me all that you know about the guards - or possible guards. I will only have one chance to keep our presence quiet. Everyone else, can you hear any other guards besides that one cracking the whip? What I'm planning will probably either quietly kill them - or render them unconscious. There is a chance that it won't work so just be ready in case Circe tries to pull off whatever he has in mind." Dainn listens to their responses about the guards as he quickly readies his psionic powers.
Damien: "You are right Khoron, but this is so difficult to listen to, I have not experienced it this close before, I knew the slavers were evil, and of course i had heard stories before, but nothing like this. I just want to bust through that door and kill every one of them. I shall not, but I want to."
Damien stands at the bottom of the ladder, and looks towards Cygar "Cygar, can you tell if there is a trap on this door." Damien pulls the figurines from his pocket and looks at them, then shakes his head and replaces them. In a low voice he mutters "no, it has not been long enough, they need their rest and they must eat, perhaps later, and I really want these slavers myself"
"Wait up Folks" Cygar says in a quiet but firm voice, " I know that the sounds from above are tearing you all up inside, they are sure ripping my guts out, but I don't think rushing into this is the smartest thing to do. We need to think about what we are going to do here. First of all we need to determine how many guards we are dealing with. I don't think we want to be rushing into this Circe!" Cygar says as he reaches out and places a hand on the invisible mage as he tries to pass towards the ladder. [OOC: I assume Circe has gone invisible and use my Blind Fighting skill to sense his presence as he passes me.] "We need to have a plan. What if you are discovered as you, I assume, open the trap door? What if the door is trapped and you set off some form of alarm? I suggest that I go up the ladder first and check the door for traps, and then I will listen to try and determine how many guards there are. While I do that the rest of you need to figure out what we are going to do with the slaves if we are able to free them. They surely can't tag along with us and I think going out the way we came in might be too dangerous for them. What do you all think?" With this said Cygar makes for the ladder and begins to climb towards the trap door.
Tyrmar grips the hilts of his swords as the cries filter down from overhead. The elf waits impatiently from his position at the rear of the party for the others to move on.
Kilroy listens to his companions discussing battle tactics for the upcoming raid on the temple proper. Bemused at their obviously superior skills in tactical planning he refrains from commenting, prefering to gain from thier combined knowledge of combat senario's.
He is brought back to reality by Circe suddenly disappearing from sight without discussing what use that might bring to the party as they still hadn't deceided whether to search for the Black One or enter the slaves area!
Confused, Kilroy deceides that he has obviously missed something and that everyone has deceided to do something but not informed him. He moves to Katya's side and whispers rather quietly (only she will hear it!) "I think the two of us should check out the slave pens above. Perhaps we can find you a weapon and capture someone who knows more of the temple proper than you do."
Seeing his companions still debating combat tactics, the gnomish bard slings his lute and pack upon his back and, with a guesture to Katya, moves quietly over to the ladder and attempts to unobtrusly climb it and open the trap door. He will check for traps while there. Once it is open he will burst through with rapier drawn.
[Damien: Completely OOC - But that ladder is where the group is gathering now, Cygar is checking the trap door for traps, and several of the rest of us are standing there with drawn weapons.
Lianya pales and closes her eyes for a moment at the sound of the whip. Gripping her sword with whitened knuckles, she draws it and glances around. "Hurry up with your checking, I cannot abide that long."
After climbing up the ladder Cygar looks back down at the party and makes a motion for them to be quiet. He then listens intently to try and determine how many guards maybe in the room above. He also tries to determine their direction and distance from the door from the sound of their voices etc. Turning his attention to the door he checks for traps and locks. If he finds either he will attempt to remove/open them. Once successful he will quietly ask Katya if the door is covered by something or out in the open. If he thinks the guards are far enough away, he will then push open the door a crack, approximately a half inch at first and then an inch if all looks okay, and try to look into the room above. If there is resistance on the door he will stop. If the door gives he will look directly to the front and sides of the door for any guards, then he will pull a small mirror attached to a handle from his belt and will use it to look to the rear of the door by sticking it slightly out to the side of the opening on both sides. Once he has a feel for the layout of the room and the occupants he will quietly close the door and return to the ground and relay this info the the others.
Khoron watches Cygar maneouver himself into position remains quiet, inwardly cursing, as the half-elf checks the trap door and goes to open it. The dwarven priest grabs his holy symbol and stares up at the opening, ready for trouble.
DM Turn 15, Bad Feelings
Gutteral commands and pitiful screams can now be heard along with the cracking of the whip. Damien looks at Katya and asks "Have you been here before?" The half-orc turns from where Kilroy is hurridly gesturing to her and replies, "Yes I have, elgwez. And the last time I was here, there was only one guard and one slaver."
After stating his intention to use his mental powers, Dainn places his hands on his face and closes his eyes. Damien, Khoron and Cygar confer and the half-elf scout moves towards the ladder.
Standing there conspiratorially are Kilroy and Katya. "Please move aside, minstrel", Cygar begins. But, before he can finish his sentiments, Kilroy has grasped a rapier and launched up the ladder!
As he does so, Circe disappears. "Everyone be ready and keep an eye on those pits", his disembodied voice states. "Hey!" Cygar says, as he goes to grab the ascending gnome. In a blur, Katya moves forward and wrenches Cygar's arm back, pulling him away from the ladder. With his free arm, he tries to break free of the half-orc's armlock but she's very strong!
Away in the corner, next to Tyrmar and Khoron, Dainn's exertions are becoming apparent to the rest of you. "Something's not ... right", he states in a strained voice. "I can't seem to work out which are the minds of orcs."
But they don't hear him over at the trapdoor.
As Lianya and Damien move closer towards the ladder, Kilroy has reached the top and is loudly pounding away at the trapdoor with the hilt of his weapon. He's panting, "I ... can't ... seem ... to ... get ... it OPEN!"
"Allow me" speaks the ghostly voice of everyone's favourite red-headed mage, and there is a faint murmuring of miraculous syllables.
Then, the trap door springs open with a tremendous CRACK!
Kilroy bursts through the open portal, closely followed up the ladder by Lianya, Malikor, and Damien. The four of them find themselves at the end of a long, dank room that smells of decay.
The room is wide enough for ten to stand abreast. Along its walls are twenty human slaves, their ankles and wrists shackled and manacled together. They wear clothing similiar to Katya, though odd bulges jut out from beneath them. At the far end, there is a wall jutting out, creating an alcove.
You can also see the shadow of a large ogre-like figure brandishing a whip, projecting out from the alcove. Near it is a large door. At each crack of the whip, the slaves cringe and cower.
Below, Cygar manages to pull himself free of Katya, who smiles a fang-filled smile at him. He begins to climb the ladder, as the four above slowly move to the centre of the room, with their weapons drawn. Katya also begins to climb up the ladder, with Tyrmar slowly following.
The two ugliest slaves, those nearest the door, are caked in so many layers of grime and filth that you can bearly make out what they are wearing. Suddenly, one of the slaves near the far end grips his head and screams in agony. He collapses to the ground, chittering uncontrollably.
Cygar is in the room now, followed by Katya. Tyrmar is still climbing. At the bottom of the ladder are Khoron and Dainn (who appears to be trying to say something). Cyvara stands a few paces away, watching the entrance that you came in. No one can see where Circe is.
At the end of the room, one of the slaves begins chanting some sort of prayer - a low sonorous chant, rather strange for a prayer of thanks. The whip has stopped cracking and the shadow on the wall shows that the ogre-like creature is moving out of the alcove.
Before Tyrmar can enter the room, the trap door swings closed with another resounding CRACK. "I've got a bad feeling about this", Malikor states quietly ...
Circe: hurt (badly)
Damien: injured (just)
Khoron: injured (barely)
Malikor: injured (a lot)
Tyrmar: hurt (barely)]