Tuesday, 9 July 2013

Dragon Warriors 2:13

The write-up is a little late this week as real life took over a little. Anyway, here is the next instalment in the Dragon warriors tale...

The Final Chair (3rd July 2013)

The Dragon Warriors
Aethelfrith – Thane
Sir Erich of Barton – Knight
Hillson – Warlock
Nazir al Khalid – Barbarian
Solaran – Elementalist
Karban Telos – Sorcerer (NPC)

The Chair of the Lyre (Day 39 – morning (119)

Aethelfrith, Hillson, Nazir and Sir Erich returned to the ship again to rest and relay their latest exploits to their companions and crew members. Even though they had only been gone half a day, the fight to the death had taken its toll on the warriors.

They rested up the rest of the day and got in a good night’s sleep before heading back to the halls again. This time though, Solaran decided that they may need more brains to go with the brawn of his fellow adventurers.

Their journey back to the halls was uneventful and so they made their way to the top table again. As Solaran had not sat upon one of the chairs yet, he was unanimously voted to be first upon the Lyre chair. Again, the party were ported through to another plane without harm. This time they arrived in a large circular room with walls filled with scroll shelves. In the middle of the room, facing each other, were two lecterns with books open upon them.

Solaran stepped straight up onto the right side lectern and glanced at the book in front of him. The pages were blank. His puzzled look did not last long as a shadowy form appeared on the pedestal opposite him. The newcomer was young but wore a full beard. He appeared warrior-like but was without weapons.

The new arrival spoke to Solaran and posed him the following riddle…

My words soothe more than any medicine you know,
But still cut deeper than any sword or bow.
It is my verse that shapes all history,
Who are you to challenge me?

Solaran thought about what he could answer to this riddle and quickly spoke the single word “Truth”. A few seconds later the bearded man spoke a second rhyme…

You have no answer to my rhyme,
A challenger who wastes my time.

The elementalist received a sharp shock from the pedestal he was standing upon, which caused him to recoil and step down from the lectern whereupon the riddler faded from view.

Hillson was less fazed by this turn of events than Solaran and confident that he could work out the trick behind this challenge, so he stepped up to the lectern. The bearded warrior reappeared at the pedestal opposite and repeated his rhyme. Hillson waited out the time, listened to the same rebuke and took the zap from the pedestal and waited to see what would happen next. The bearded warrior repeated the original rhyme and Hillson took another bolt of energy, so he too stepped down from the pedestal. He then proceeded to examine the scrolls upon the shelves that were located around the walls of the chamber. He realised they were all written in stanzas and said so to his fellow adventurers. Nazir, who until this time had not spoken a word, said that he had figured out the conundrum and that he should be able to challenge this bearded figure and beat him at his own game as he had attended the university in his home city back in the east where he studied poetry in all its forms.

He stepped up to the plate and the bearded warrior reappeared. He repeated his original rhyme to Nazir, who responded with a rhyme of his own. Impressed, the bearded man responded with a second rhyme but no shock from the pedestal affected Nazir. This battle of wits continued for several minutes before the bearded man conceded defeat and presented Nazir with a picture of a lyre upon the page of the open book in front of him. Nazir made to trace its outline with his fingers but rather than touching a flat page, the lyre began to take form in front of him. Nazir grabbed the fully formed lyre and a misty gateway appeared in place of one of the scroll shelves. The party stepped through the shimmering light back into the main Trickster’s Hall.

Loki’s Chair

When the five adventurers had collated their prizes, they tried to work out what to do with them. Solaran picked up the eye and sat upon Loki’s chair. Rather than get burned immediately, the seat only slowly began to heat up. Solaran stepped off of the seat again, knowing that it would need all of the prizes from the six quests to resolve the puzzle. Hillson grabbed all of the items and placed them upon Loki’s golden plate at his place setting. The golden chair began to glow, so the adventurers sat upon it one at a time and were transported to a new location. This time, they strode into a new hall through a pair of iron bound oaken doors. Eight columns that represented women in a variety of tasks ran down its length and carvings of scenes from Norse mythology graced its walls. At the far end of the hall was a raised dais with a pedestal upon it. Stood upon the pedestal was a beautiful woman with a simple iron pot-helmet placed upon the floor in front of her.

The party approached the woman at the far end of the hall. As they approached the dais they saw that it was inscribed with a variety of runes, but no-one in the party could read them. As the party approached the base of the dais the woman spoke to them. “Heroes, you have found the way through Loki’s door.”  The party engaged her in conversation and found out that she was imprisoned here many years ago (the party gathered this as all of the place names she mentioned were now named something different and the peoples she spoke of no longer existed). They found out that she was a Fomorian named Egrin.

Whilst the party spoke to her, Aethelfrith tried to grab the helmet from the dais but was stopped from doing so by a strange force. Egrin said that she had been imprisoned so long that she wished for her freedom and would reward the party for letting her free. She pointed to a rune and said that if that rune was scratched out she could leave the pedestal and join the real world. Sir Erich, ever the chivalrous knight, scratched away the rune setting her free. She stepped straight down from the dais and made her way to the door without looking at the party. Nazir and Aethlefrith wondered what their prize would be but she ignored their questioning. Nazir stepped in front of her to block her exit, but she cast some kind of charm over him and he became as still as a statue, mesmerised by her beauty.

Meanwhile, Aethefrith was able to block the door and stall her with chat about the lie of the land in the era in which they currently lived. Whilst this conversation was going on, Sir Erich grabbed the helmet from off of the plinth and placed it upon his head. Immediately he began to hear lots of talking emanating from the statues within the hall. When he touched his helmeted head against the pillar of a woman who appeared to be reading a book he could hear her much more clearly. The verse she quoted to him seemed to grant him the power of remembrance; any verse that he heard in future he would be able to remember flawlessly.

Finally, Egrin had decided that she had had enough of the party and forced her way past Aethelfrith. He let her go and ran back to the others gathered around Sir Erich. She shouted at them as she left the halls that her master, Balor of the One Eye, would show them no mercy. He warned them that she had left the hall and that he was worried in case the doors sealed behind her or that, gathered from their conversation, she would steal their ship.

The magical gift bestowed upon Sir Erich proved a more powerful draw to the rest of the party however, and one at a time they too placed the helmet upon their heads, pressed their heads against a pillar and gained a minor boon. Aethlfrith, not one to miss out, also grabbed the helmet in turn and was granted the boon of charming animals. Sir Erich then chanced his luck with another of the statues, but the magical resistance to his attempts and the potential loss of his original boon soon convinced him not to try again.

The Fomorian

They finally listened to Aethelfrith’s pleas of cutting off Egrin before she gained their ship and hurried from Loki’s Hall via the iron bound doors. Upon entering the main hall in the real world, they noticed that Egrin had managed to make her way across it a fair distance. They also noticed that their prizes had disappeared from Loki’s table. They hurried to catch her up, but it was only Aethelfrith’s tracking and observation skills that showed them that she had indeed headed towards their ship.

The party just managed to catch her before she boarded their ship. It was now too late that they realised she was evil and only intent on pursuing her own agenda. When she stepped aboard the cog she ordered the crew to obey her will but they cowered on the fore deck, looking to the adventurers for guidance. Nazir made his way to the aft deck and grabbed the wheel and Aethelfrith grabbed Egrin’s arm to stop her from making her way to the back of the boat and commence taking command.

As soon as Aethelfrith’s hand touched the Fomorian’s arm, she snarled an incantation and an onyx spear appeared in her hand. Aethlfrith made to grab the spear, but a second incantation made the pair of them fade to smoky shades in the eyes of the crew. Aethelfrith also saw that the crew seemed to fade from his eyes and become smoky shades – he was on his own against the Fomorian in their magical cocoon. He quickly drew his magical short sword and stabbed Egrin with it. Egrin calmly cast yet another incantation. A perilous melee erupted. Aethelfrith struck his opponent many more times than she struck him, and he also defended well with his shield, but over time, the magical incantations she threw at him took their toll. He struck the Fomorian warlock with blows that would have felled an ox each time but the devil woman still stood; Aethelfrith began to fear for his life.

The rest of the party could just about make out the fight as it played out and willed their companion to victory, but a final flurry of spells and a blow from her onyx spear pushed Aethelfrith to the floor unconscious. This was not what the party wanted to see, but the spell had finally broken and the Fomorian appeared to them again as a real person. This was the opportunity they had looked for and as they had the fight between Aethelfrith and the Fomorian surrounded at all times they all struck their blows. Sir Erich’s battleaxe, Nazir’s magical morning star and Hillson’s Silent Warrior spell fell upon her without her being able to respond to the flurry of blows, and the next time they all struck her she fell to the floor dead. They quickly tended to Aethelfrith and found he was not dead yet. Karban, who had remained below decks throughout the entire melee came up on deck and ran his magical powers onto Aethelfrith’s wounds, which brought him back from the point of death.

Now that the Trickster’s Halls had been fully investigated and the ship was now fully stocked with provisions for a few more weeks, the party set sail again back into the Glissom Sound and continued upon their journey north around the cape in the hope that they had thrown off pursuit from the Bloody Bitch and her pirates.

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