Monday, August 5, 2013

All Over the World...

Last turn the party decided to try and use the pedestal they found in the center of the spire chamber. The discovered the entire contents of the chamber, including themselves of course, had been moved to a different location. Let's see what happens next.

Finding themselves in a wildly different place than they anticipated has not deterred the party. After a brief conference inside the Spire, they decide to take a quick look around the immediate area before returning to the pedestal and its mysteries. Leaving Raúguey and Ohwatoo with the hirelings inside, the others fan out around the spire, looking for clues as to their location.

Rawon pokes around the base of the spire and discovers that, like the original, this one extends below the earth, at least as far as he's willing to dig in the brief time allotted. Durego and Maro examine the bones and determine that while the majority are humanoid, they are probably not human. The bones are too heavy and the teeth are almost fang-like. Scattered among the bones are rusted and corroded remnants of weapons and armor, some iron, some bronze. The few bits that are identifiable are crude work, and one features a demonic face as a decorative element.

After his digging proves the tower did not suddenly appear here, Rawon joins Mordikarr and Locky, who have been circling the small, barren hilltop, peering into the ravines and valleys that surround it, Suren sniffing along behind and around them. It's obvious to all three that this terrain does not match the place they left. The hills are steep and stony, unlike the rounded slopes they've seen in the areas they've explored; furthermore, the exposed stone they see is darker and coarser. "Definitely not the same place, though as Ohwatoo says, the sun does look right. We should take note of that when we try this again," says Locky. "Speaking of which, let's get going."

Back at the doorway, they find Durego and Maro have stacked loose rocks into a small cairn. Durego flips over the top stone, showing a hastily scratched X on the stone. "At least we'll be able to tell if we've been here before," says the cleric.

"Good thinking," says Ohwatoo, peering out of the doorway. "You know if we were doing this at night, we might use the stars to approximate our position. Something to think about if this takes a while."

"Let's get inside and try the next sequence," says Raúguey, anxious to move on. "What colors next?"

"Use the same slots, green sphere, red cube in the south, blue pyramid in the southeast," says Maro, consulting his notes.

"Right, let's do it." Rawon places the pieces in the appropriate slots, and Locky twists the key. Once again, the door snaps shut, but there is no other sensation. No movement or strangeness.

"Whatever is happening, it's beyond any magic I've ever heard of," mutters Ohwatoo, "and I've read many tomes of lore and history."

The group moves to the door in standard formation (by now the mules have been shuffled to the far side of the chamber, where they appear to be sleeping, mostly). Locky swaps the key around and opens the door, then blinks in surprise. "Huh, what's that?" The entire doorway is filled with a shimmering bluish-black... something.

Raúguey reaches out a curious hand. "Careful!" calls Ohwatoo, "You don't know what that is. It could be molecular acid or something. Use a stick. Raúguey nods, pulls out a bit of kindling from his tinderbox, and touches the surface with it. The twig goes in and comes out without resistance. Raúguey peers at the end, sniffs it, then touches it.

"Water!" He touches the twig to the tip of his tongue. "Salt water."

"We're under the ocean?" asks Maro, worried expression on his face.

"Apparently so," says Rawon pulling out his glowing arrow and sticking it through the watery plane filling the door. The glow reveals a flat silt-covered floor dotted by slimy rocks. Here and there clumps of some sort of plant, black in the dim light, rise from the bottom, waving and shifting in some faint current. "When we can, we should grab some sticks so we can mark places we've been. Until then..."

He puts away the glowing arrow and draws another, but Gorvil stops him. "Use this," he says, tossing Rawon a torch.

"Good idea." He notches the torch shaft with his dagger, then reaches out again and sticks the torch into the silty ground, just outside the door. He gives Locky a nod, and the halfling closes the door.

"Next!" says Ohwatoo.

"Back to our original try, green, red south, brown southeast," says Maro. Rawon arranges the shapes, Locky twists the key. The group opens the door. Steep, rocky hills and misty valleys. A small pile of stones near the doorway.

"At least it's consistent," says Ohwatoo. "Let's try again. What's next Maro?"

"Green, red south, white southeast." Snap-snap-snap. Twist-click. Shuffle-shuffle. Twist-click.

Plains covered with shoulder-high grass as far as the eye can see, illuminated by the morning sun. In the distance Mordikarr can just make out a herd of something four-legged and big. When he describes what he sees, Durego says "At least we can hunt if we need to."

"Maybe so priest man, but beasts hunt beasts too. Mordikarr does not wish to be hunted by beasts that hunt such large prey."

"It's too early to be talking of hunting," says Locky. "Mark this spot, and let's move on." Raúguey and Mordikarr step outside and hack and beat down an open area in the grass, then tie several clumps into a crude bundle. With a nod the troupe heads back in.

"Green, blue south, white southeast," calls out Maro. Rawon and Locky repeat their process. This time the door opens onto a smooth slab of gray-black rock. Ohwatoo peers at the surface closely while Raúguey fetches a hammer from the mules. "This appears to be volcanic stone. Perhaps the solidified remains of some lava flow, though it is cool to the touch now. Hmmm. There are volcanoes far to the southeast of Auslaug, well beyond East Gorsebonn. I wonder if we might be inside one now."

"Let me see how solid it is," says Raúguey, hefting the hammer.

"Very well, but Locky, be ready with the key, just in case he strikes molten rock."

"Uhhh <gulp> OK."

A few solid whacks with the hammer shows the rock is thick and solid, but leaves an identifiable mark. With no place to go, the party tries the next combination, green, blue south, blue southeast. This time the door opens to a rancid, humid smell. "Ugh, that's rotten," says Durego, peering over Raúguey's shoulder.

"Swamp. Bad one looks like." Raúguey pokes his head out and peers about, then catches sight of several large log-like shapes in the slimy water. "I think those are alive," he says, pointing.

Mordikarr looks at the sky, which is overcast, but a bright spot betrays the sun's location. He points westward. "Light in sky there. It moved."

Ohwatoo shakes his head. "We have moved my good Mordikarr. If the sun is west, then we are east, far to the east." The mage peers between the two warriors studying the 'logs' in the water. "And I should think those are crocodiles. Huge aquatic lizards common in the southern regions. I would be very careful venturing out, the big ones are quite dangerous."

"Let's just mark this and move on," says Rawon, nodding to Jonquil for another torch.

"Green, blue south, white southeast." Snapity-snap. Clickity-click. Water again, though this time it is fresh. The lake-bottom is covered with rocks and stones and the occasional trout swims past. Peering upward, Mordikarr can see a faint glimmer from far above, but no one seems anxious to go for a swim. Durego and Maro pile another cairn of stones outside the door and mark the top one with a circle.

Again, this time green, red north, brown northwest. The door opens to patchy woodland between pools of standing greenish water. Here and there piles of worked stone rise above the squishy ground or the still waters. The sun is high overhead, somewhere past noon, and the air is warm, stirred by an occasional breeze. Mordikarr sniffs the air. "Smell good, smell like home."

End Date: August 14, Year of the Badger, past noon (or is it?)
End Status: Still lost?
End Location: The Spire, in a swamp.

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