Chapter Twenty One –"Indiana Stumpy and the Circle of Doom"

I run to the entrance of the room chasing after the errant Monk and stopping in the doorway, call out directions for the others to get him. Chunk moves past me first, followed by Idjit, even though he is completely blind from McFlurry’s earlier special attack on his optical orbs. McFlurry meanwhile has clung to the ceiling like a spider, so I get my sling out to annoy him while still calling out co-ordinates so that Chunk can try and drag him off the ceiling.

My fog hampers everyone to some extent, but does not stop Trixie from taunting McFlurry about his uselessness. Trixie is rebuffed though as the Monk retaliates with “..the spider may leeeeap if you come too close…..” and although Trixie brushes this off with a girly laugh, I notice she does not move any closer into the room to test this theory.

The Monk is still trying to lose us in the fog, but I keep tabs on him. Idjit, still blinded thinks that the fog must have evened up the playing field and that we are all blind and so fair game for his ‘special blind-man archery competition’ loosing shafts in the direction he thinks I am indicating, but merely ends up shooting at me instead.

Mcflurry then drops in front of me, and I bravely kind of muddle about a bit, missing any attacks I intended to attempt, but hold him up for those brief few seconds for my shrieks to draw others nearby. Someone hits McFlurry a glancing blow in the back, and then Chunk is there and rather too enthusiastically smashes the Monk over the head once, twice, three times, making him a bloody mess on the floor as well as proper dead, which was not really what we wanted.

After a few ‘oops!’ type comments, we drag McFlurry to a corner, and drop into an exhausted rest period which lasts until dinner before we retire for an early night.

McFlurry is raised promptly in the morning, and before he has even come round properly, he is bagged and cuffed ready to be questioned about his dastardly deeds. Trixie, our usual main Torquemada ignores the Monk in favour of checking the new items found, so the job falls to Stumpy, who forgoes the tongs of fiery death instead casting Zone of Truth, which is slightly cheating really.

Despite the lack of hot coals and tongs, our excellent Sherlock Holmes deductions lead us elementary towards the fact that he started trying to kill us all when the coffin was opened.  Stumpy believes that he does not have those feelings now and to be sure, the committee, i.e. Trixie and I, ask if he has ever had inappropriate feelings towards others in his family, or if he was abused as a child.

He is reluctantly released and healed, and during this, Trixie does a special hand signal that indicates that we are observed by someone or something. As Trixie is still identifying items, we are not moving anywhere in a hurry, and it is not long before the secret door is heard to open, and then another huge Fire Elemental appears, smashing our quite rubbish barricade made from the coffin lid out of the way with a punch from a fiery fist.

Idjit who’s vision has restored over night reacts the quickest, and activates his Boots of Haste, moving in to battle the giant Fire Elemental. He lashes out with all the finesse of a Labrador in Ballerina pumps and misses with his newly acquired godlike Orb weapon, and we can now see what a big fiery thousand degree fist can do to soft flesh as Idjit is scrapped along the shoulder, his elbow bursting into flames from the attack. McFlurry rushes in next, gets struck really badly as the Elemental expected another attack and then much like Idjits fine attack sequence Delta Oscar Three, punches a wall, fails to trip this huge opponent and rather than complete a trio of failed attacks, resorts to beating out the flames on his backside.

Trixie casts Tasha’s Laughter on the Elemental, while I move closer to Idjit, healing him by tapping his burnt elbows with a light healing spell. Chunk who up until this point had been sulking in the corner for some reason, finally comes in and smashes the Elemental hard, to which the Elemental retorts by grappling him and pinning him down to the floor.
Trixie drops an epic Acid Fireball but this catches McFlorry wrong footed, and utterly destroys the monk, who looks quite dead again as well as having a melted face. Double Oops. Stumpy heals Chunk, and Idjit is whacking away with the Orb weapon that has intuitively added cold damage against the fiery Elemental. Chunk is being struck and pummeled into the floor just as the naughty Cleric appears right in front of Trixie, who was in the midst of casting Hold Person.

Stumpy quickly readies Dispel Magic, casting it on the Cleric and I help by running round in a distractive manner before darting back into the melee to spit in the Clerics eye. This ‘small chance’ happens to blind him, and as usual, the party fail to make the most of the situation as Idjit smashes Chunk by accident in the melee. Idjit is quickly let off though, as his follow up strike is massive, and completely extinguishes the Elemental. The Clerics reacts to the loss of his ally by casting Doom Tide down the corridor towards us all, but luckily no one is caught in the dark rolling cloud.

Trixie brings out the big guns, her hands full of the black vile smoke that is the Enervation spell, but the casting of it is rebounded from the ion stone swirling above the black garbed Clerics head. Chunk moves around me in combat to flank the Cleric to strike him, but misses, while Idjit charges from the other side of the dark cloud to strike him nicely. The Cleric defensively casts a Circle of Doom in the area containing us all, but no one seems affected.

There is a massive negative energy explosion as Trixie’s exceptional spell rebounds on herself, and I ‘monkey dance’ for Idjit while Chunk strikes the Cleric twice about the back and shoulders. A cold magical shield surrounding the Cleric snaps with each blow, and a frosty sheen has worked its way up Chunks weapon and down his arm.   
Another spell flashes as Chunk catches him low in the back, and the Cleric looks healed in some way, although not fully. Idjit continues to pound away at the heavily armoured man with one fine strike and then another, but the dark Cleric’s spell keeping the cold shield up is damaging the already wounded warrior badly.

The Cleric once again casts Circle of Doom, which flares with power and causes Stumpy to be blasted backwards into the wall unmoving, and staggers idjit by dropping him back a step and to his knees. Chunk, also wounded, drinks a potion in a lull in combat before stepping back in and whacking the Cleric. The blazing energy flashes back to hurt the barbarian, but the sustained attacks on the Cleric are beginning to make him falter, and he looks staggered and shaken, despite still looking with angry eyes at the group.

Idjit uses his last remaining reserves to smash into the Cleric with the Orb weapon, and the Cleric slumps up against the wall. Thinking the battle over, something strange happens, as the Cleric does not fall to the floor, instead hitting the wall and slowly fading from sight before disappearing completely.

A wail goes up amongst the group as we are not strong enough to walk back upstairs, let alone carry two corpses into another fight wondering where the Cleric may have gone. Plus the Cleric’s ‘lair’ could be anywhere as he keeps popping out of walls, so we moan for a while, which does not help, and quaff potions, which does.

After that satisfied ‘ahhh’ sound one makes upon recovering a large percentage of health back, we stuff our fallen comrades into a special sack, and make sure anything dropped is returned to its rightful place, just as the Cleric reappears on the fall and falls over quite dead at our feet.

A respectful few seconds of drawing weapons and then sheathing them again while poking the Cleric with a boot follow, before the Cleric is quietly and efficiently stripped of anything of wealth, perceived or otherwise - a process that can only come through years of adventuring.

We then quickly make our way out of the complex, and once outside, I change into a Donkey to carry the dead back to the small deserted town. Once camped down for the evening, we use a scroll of Sending that we thankfully found to go back to Cilema once more.

After a brief conversation, we are picked up and teleported back to town where we explain to Lady Paedroch about the Plane of Fire portal, and our discoveries so far. Chunk does very well in explaining about the background of the sword, and also the swords wife, Soranna, but he has that glazed look and the pregnant pauses of one person translating another, so I suspect some internal monologue going on between Orc and Sword.

We stay in the castle for the night on comfy pillows and bedding devoid of blood and urine, and during the next day raise our dead – after having a good hearty breakfast of course. Trixie and I train in our respective arts, becoming far more powerful that mere mortals can comprehend obviously, but sadly we do have to leave the comfortable castle interior to head back into the hot and sweaty volcano.

The searching for the ‘Man in Black’s’ boudoir continues immediately upon arrival, and again I am neck deep in lava feeling around for strange buttons or miscellaneous trinkets. We are soon back at the statue covered in fireflies and against all odds, I find a little button on the base which reveals a drawer with five large rubies contained within.
Feeling strangely honest, the rubies are put into the party pocket before I declare this room ‘done’ and move onto other rooms. Trixie finds a secret door in another section, which Chunk volunteers to open.

The Barbarian opens it, and it blows up, setting him off, but luckily, our resident female wizard is on hand to cast Hold Person, which catches the Barbarian before he can do any damage at all. McFlurry and I move down the corridor, setting off various traps as we go along. None are fatal thankfully, so I move along, set one off, fall over burnt or statically charged or with a rock embedded in my skull and lay on the floor until I feel better before moving onwards and repeating the process once more.

Soon we leave the corridor to enter a room that is well furnished, but empty, and after a brief search, yet another secret door is found. This door opens to reveal a room containing a bed with a steel chest underneath. Chunk pulls the chest out with a strong grasp, but then finds sticky poison on his hands, which causes a little burning sensation, and worst of all, sticky fingers.

He seems ok at the moment though, and so we ignore any peril he may be facing to open the chest, and lordy, lordy, we are rich once more as we find it brimming with sacks of coins and gems.

We go back to the metal trap door in the reverse pyramid room. I then cast a number of spells on the surrounding rocks and walls, but none have any effect. “Something powerful protects this area!” I tell the others, and for once I am not covering for any mistake I may or may not have made while attempting something brave, foolish or useful.

Chunk only thinks that powerful things are created for him to smash, so he climbs down the short rungs in an attempt to “…blow the bloody doors off!” but doesn’t manage it.  

Suddenly a figure appears on the stairs above us, wreathed in flames, covered in black plate armour and armed with a spear on his back, small stones circling his head.

He makes no threatening gestures, and as we believe this to be some kind of illusion, we stand our ground, listening to his words, but still ready as we glance to the exits of the room.

He greets us warmly telling us that he is an Efferrti and that his name is Immolious, and immediately notices the sword in Chunks hand, nodding and directing a greeting to the sword. Straight to the point, he tells us that although he is not happy with the loss of his Cleric, that he has an offer of employment, and will grant us a wish as payment should we accept – the only condition being that we have to stay here and guard him and this volcano from intruders.

Although more than one person thought about the prospect of what they could do with a wish (or what they could do to someone else with a wish) we basically tell him ‘no thanks’ – we may have used harsher terms than that though, so we make sure we sleep in a Rope Trick in case he comes round later to borrow some sugar and burn our faces off.

Stumpy casts a Sending to the tower to indicate that we have met an Efreeti, and what the bloody hell should we do, and the answer is basically to kill everything evil looking in here and use to use Cold based attacks on those that are from the plane of Fire. This helpful comment confirms the fact that Wizards do go to the School of the Bleeding Obvious, just in case you are wondering.

We descend down the stairs ahead of the group, accompanied by rumbling and dust showering us as the ceiling shakes above us. We both see strange writing on the floor, and the rumbling continues, getting more frequent as Trixie moves up to fly above me. The room suddenly explodes in rocks shaken loose from walls and ceiling and gouts of flame escape from the cracks causing Trixie to fly back almost as soon as she had arrived. Edging back a little, we wait for things to calm down a bit before moving in once more, this time moving down the side that does not have runes or writing etched into the floor.

Soon we come across a marked floor that looks like a chessboard. I have a theory that one day, I will be showered with gems for pretending to be a chess piece, so I stand in the correct space and move like a knight, but nothing happens as I criss-cross my way to the other side.

I can feel a magical effect quite similar to the tingling that I get just before I shape-change, so warn the others, and further into the corridor more effects are felt, a magical undulation of the floor and lights from an unidentified source revealing obsidian pedestals, one with an axe on it, and another with a plumed hat. McFlurry moves in and a wind quickly gathers him up and he gets covered in buffeting winds and obscured from view and suddenly there is an air elemental in his place attacking us.

I am picked up buffeted about as I ride the McFlurry elemental express and I then get sucked in and it flies off. Idjit begins to fire arrows at the wind while Trixie Magic Missiles it. I am stuck completely, buffeted about and then dropped face first into the floor before the process starts again and I am flown back into the air. A terrible pain grips me but I manage to shake it off and get dropped again. With no wind attacking me anymore as it moves towards the others threatening it, I walk towards the items on the pedestals. I move over and pick up the hat, while Trixie resorts to ‘when it doubt, blast it’ and Fireballs the creature above us.

The wind attacks Stumpy and Idjit, and both are ‘hit’ very hard by the elemental and slammed into the ground by buffeting winds. I continue to walk leisurely around inside the area, picking up items like a pensioner at a grocery store.

I am still getting the weird tingle of changing magic, so shape-change to a Woodling Dark Stalker, shrugging off the effects completely so ease the act of stealing everything protected by the winds.

My bag full of swag, and the wind gone, we start searching the huge cavern, which is mostly just letting Trixie find things, with us following behind ready to say ‘I was just about to say I saw something….’ when she does. A door is found, and opens into a tunnel that has a door at the end of it, with a slot which looks like a sword would fit into it.

Chunk thinks that Bez would fit in it, and after some deliberation, in he goes. The door opens and nothing helpfully blows up, which is always a good sign. A marble room is revealed behind the door and we are standing on a ledge, with the room full of water apart from a platform just above the water’s edge in the centre of the room. The ledge is very slippery though, and with us all crowded on it, someone takes a tumble headfirst into the pool, and obviously that person is the least amphibious of us, Stumpy.

Chunk plays at Aquaman and rescues him, though sadly not changing into red trunks and running in slow motion before diving in to do so. Helping Stumpy up on our side, Chunk decides to swim round and clambers up on to the other side where there is another ledge identical to ours. Too late he hears a small ‘click’ and gets thrown high up in an arc before landing back into the water, narrowly missing smashing his head on the platform in the centre.

The door behind us ominously clicks shut and a quick check finds us locked in, just as yellow runes on the platform flare and large fish creatures with lots and lots of teeth appear in mid air before dropping into the water. Strange Mermen of sorts appear on the platform also, and the temperature increases rapidly, reminding us of the lava upstairs, while the water that Chunk is swimming in becomes black and oily and by all appearances, very hot and bubbly indeed.

Chunk is spluttering on the surface, and calling out that he is being bitten, and the fight begins. It begins by Idjit incredulously asking “Do they English?” before shooting one with his bow. His arrow was true and damn nearly took one of the Mermen’s eyes out, and if I was them, I would have shouted back “I do do English, do you?” but they didn’t and so were shot again.

I fly to the island to try and help Chunk, landing in amongst creatures, just as Trixie releases the ‘sleeping bee’s’ which also affect me. I say also, but I mean only, as I lay down with the Mermen prodding me with tridents and electrocuting me, while Chunk crawls burning out of the water without my help. His anger is palpable though, as in a frenzied attack he cuts down two attacking me, leaving just the eyeless one alive. I get up and fly McFlurry off the central platform in which he jumped, and we leave the last Merman alone on the platform with Mr Furious.

Mcflurry quite indignantly says that he can handle himself, before scuttling off to hide on the ceiling, while the poor fish man winces from arrow wounds as he turns and is struck with such force that he is blatted across the room. Chunk thrashes around on the little island but can’t do anything so glares angrily at us until he feels better.

The water slowly stops being black and reverts back to normal, and Chunk breathing better now calmly swims back to us.

I then borrow McFlurry’s cloak and climb across the wall to the opposite ledge with Bez the sword strapped to my back, and use him in an identical keyhole the same as the one that gained us entry into this room. I remain off the platform, stuck to the wall and not touching the floor, and the door slides open as the sword clicks into the slot. I make my way back to the others and give them back their stuff.

 

Played: xx/xx/10
Started Draft: 30/09/11
Finished: 08/02/12

 

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