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 A Climactic Conclusion

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Number of posts : 761
Registration date : 2007-04-26

PostSubject: A Climactic Conclusion   Tue 24 May - 13:39:11

They Think It’s All Over…It’s Not Now

So we’d just pretty much had our arses kicked, or so we thought. The elf in particular looked none too good and the witch elf was working out how upset the rest of the party would be if she raised Harvey as a zombie hellhound.

Fortunately she saw sense, meanwhile one of Snorri’s tame gargoyle statues ripped through the remaining portcullis and we set off again descending a narrow stairway that then doubled back under the corridor above.

Using the well tried principle of driving prisoners over minefields,* we sent the gargoyle down the corridor towards the distant symbol of Hagrim on the end wall. There was a commotion and then, in the words of the great Miss Christie, there were three. Something had chopped our tame statue into constituent parts.

*As pioneered with goblin slaves by our supposedly honourable elf

Andilwei decided to check out the corridor to locate the trap that was surely responsible. While we decided how to recover the elf’s body, Snorri guarding the corridor was suddenly attacked by chill, dead hands. Half a dozen dwarven wraiths skulked in the corridor and their freezing touch was responsible for our woes.

Luckily Snorri as you will recall was armed with a magic hammer; indeed, he was pretty much our only properly equipped fighter. Unluckily, he was outnumbered and his armour was no use against these ethereal opponents.

The witch opened up with her extensive repertoire of necromantic enchantments. This actually had some effect damaging and dispelling, although as usual her somewhat cack handed casting technique left her weakened and mind numb.*

*Her mind was almost completely Snorrified at one point

The invincible Snorri now fell and the dwarf warrior who had accompanied us was forced to engage as the only effectively armed asset on our side.* The wraiths were pretty effective too though, as they demonstrated by removing the dwarf’s head.

*I’m not counting the doomstones Ok? I said effectively armed.

Getz now intervened decisively. Having kept his doomstone flavoured powder dry, he now unleashed its terrible power, with the usual result. Mitchell is in fact the man who put the doom in conflagration of doom.

The gargoyles and wraiths equally wiped out in the explosion, but Cyrillia too was added to the pile of bodies that were now choking the corridor somewhat. How we will all miss her. The dwarves back in the flooded chamber had meanwhile despatched the last gargoyle that Snorri had ordered to hold the corridor and we had a much needed respite for rest and recuperation.

My old granddad always used to say to me, ‘Smile, things could be worse,’ so I smiled, and yep, things got worse. The long awaited rival dwarf force, also seeking to claim the crown announced their arrival with the crash of unseen siege engines launching against the mountainside.

More mixed news, our badly hurt comrades were still alive, including unfortunately the witch necromancer. Our only real casualty was the dwarf captain, whose head resisted all attempts to reunite it with its body. I grabbed his shield and rune engraved hand axe and felt slightly better armed for the first time in ages. We were in no shape to face any lurking big bosses, and I returned with Sunderin to parley with the dwarf king.

It went surprisingly well with a little good fortune: I persuaded the old boy that his top captain would have died in vain if we didn’t get our weapons and equipment back to finish the job, plus the estimable Dr Quackers to put us back together again.

Even without Sunderin backing me up (you may recall I had earlier saved him from the gargoyles) I’m sure he would have been convinced, you could see he could almost taste that crown. I went back topside and grabbed the good doctor. Didn’t see much, but you could tell that ownership of this place was being fully disputed judging by the twang of crossbows, the crash of bombarding missiles and the wounded dwarves I saw.

We patched up as best we could; the dwarf king even seemed to take a shine to Snorri for some reason, lending him a strange healing amulet. It seemed powerful as he perked right up then and there with the aid of a potion. His extra arms‘ll be falling off next!

We moved into the corridor and Owen and the elf checked out the tomb entrance for traps. The ceiling duly fell in as the elf smashed the door down with my pick (shamelessly borrowed without my permission). The giant stone slab shattered on Snorri’s doomstone protected head, at least that’s what he said, I’m pretty sure that’s solid bone any way. After all that, the door turned out to be false.

Owen and the elf searched the corridor and the formers tomb raiding credentials at last seemed to pay off as he discovered a secret entrance at the corner of the corridor in the opposite direction, revealing a secret passage.*

*Or secret back passage as Snorri insisted on calling it

We proceeded along this to another door resulting in a clue that we were on the right track: A giant dwarf head appeared advising us that we were about to enter the tomb of Hagrim and indicating that this was not a good idea if we had ambitions to live longer than a few minutes.

Well of course always anxious to comply with cabin crew safety announcements, we completely ignored this highly accurate warning and entered the tomb of the great king. A columned hall, inlaid with mosaics led to the usual dais on which stood a gleaming white sarcophagus protected by four dwarf statues, no doubt of the kick ass variety.

We advanced towards our goal, focussed on the no doubt deadly statues, which is possibly why the spectres emerging from the mosaics took us by surprise. A tough fight followed: just what we needed at this point. Getz deployed a fire elemental which proved a highly effective ally, right up to the point when it attacked us, or more specifically me, after running out of spectres to defeat.

So limping and bleeding we now approached the tomb, Getz having eventually returned the elemental to its crystalline home. The elf carefully skirted the great stone coffin checking for traps and was attacked by the statues. What a surprise! He leapt on top of the tomb and combat resumed. Once more the fire elemental was fired up in our cause, after all, it could hardly miss with its skill and power.*

*Although it managed to on not one but two occasions.

Snorri was doing well and the king was defended successfully, the last guardians were dispelled and after some debate and recharged doomstone assistance we were able to defeat the enchantment protecting the corpse receptacle.

This left brute force and ignorance as our only options to finally slide off the lid, fortunately we were plentifully equipped with both. We jemmied the lid off, I used my trusty Shafter, Snorri my spare pick, Owen and his reliable old crowbar. The great slab, already fractured by the earthstone, crashed aside.

But there was a final twist left by the tomb designers, or perhaps the late king had a severe flatulence problem that had ripened and festered for a century. Either way an extremely poisonous cloud of gas billowed into the room, which rendered me briefly unconscious and killed the dwarf king at his moment of triumph.* Dr Quackers and Owen our tomb robber also fell dead. This was not good; our casualty rate has been increasingly alarming recently.

*All that sucking up for nothing

At least the perfectly preserved body seemed to promise rich pickings: armour; a great axe; the pearl encrusted crown that was the key to a dwarf kingdom; and, clutched in the king’s stiff cold fingers, the unmistakeable shape of a fourth doomstone.

The witch elf was practically drooling and reached for it, so I snatched it to save us and possibly the world from the terrible fate a creature like her possessing such power would bring. Something slightly unexpected happened at that point: As the water stone attuned to me, the four stones glowed brightly and flew together, melding into one in an instant that seemed to take forever, and everything faded to a black as bottomless as the black glow of the chaos stones themselves…

I was alone. I was elsewhere. Certainly not in the tomb or even under the mountain, maybe not anywhere at all, but then I was somehow in the mind of a dwarf, a dwarf in another time, another place; somewhere hauntingly familiar. It was the aerie that I saw, but as new, still being completed in fact.

Time travel again, an astral projection, hallucination or an illusion, just a dream? Whatever it was, perhaps this was a chance to do some good: I was able to guide and influence my host’s mind, and I soon had him scribbling notes onto a parchment, notes that would become prophecy, prophecy that would guide our quest, for the thoughts I could sense in the elderly dwarf were confirmed by his glimpsed reflection and I knew that I was in the mind of the great Yazaran himself.

He wrote furiously as I poured out warnings, details that I thought would be crucial, descriptions that would smooth our way, or had already? I realised that time was short as images began to fade, and just as I got to the ‘Don’t touch the fourth doomstone’ bit I lost my connection: Bloody chaos service providers….

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