Chapter Twenty Four –"It's a Unicorn!"

The Genie is quickly looted of anything that looks valuable and all stored away for later perusal. We then move back to the cold area, using McFlurry as a ferryman to cross the pit for those that need it and we spend the next few hours searching around the whole of the large cave area.

It’s now late in the afternoon and we are back looking at the wall that Trixie was playing about with earlier. Almost seeing the ‘strangeness’ that Trixie was talking about, I perform my best Trixie imitation and announce that “….the wall is just a figment of your under-developed imagination and not real at all. Should anyone fail, then surely they own a stunted, almost child-like brain and therefore could never begin to truly understand life’s future mysteries!” before closing my eyes and hoping that I myself do not clatter into it. Thankfully my empowered speech has improved my wall walking skills, and I pass through quickly followed by the others, well, apart from the Zen Monk McFlurry who crashes into it quite soundly and not to mention painfully, before sliding to the floor.

The rest of the ‘imagination travelers’ discover that the other side of the wall is a short passage than has a very faint blue wavy line painted on the wall at the end, which as we get closer, discover that the corridor itself begins to get very cold. This type of environment does not work well for my complexion or health, so I retreat, while Stumpy edges closer as he is protected with spells to test just how cold it gets.   

Not wanting him to disappear from sight, we call Stumpy back after he has only ‘stuck a toe in’ and retire for the evening – its nearly dinner time anyway and as practically all of the group are magically drained from previous attacks it seemed a good stopping point.

Nothing happens during the night, and waking in the morning, Stumpy casts spells to return everyone’s Strength and then we cast protective spells too ward us from cold. I go first and run through and am mighty grateful that I had a virtual winter coat as the chilly blast would otherwise have given me serious chilblains as the temperature of the corridor plummets to below freezing.

Chunk had wandered off in the night, and arrives back just in time to see the last of us disappear through the illusionary wall to be able to catch us up. After making our way down the corridor and around the corner, we soon come to a single door baring any further travel, again with a familiar looking slot that looks like it could take an inserted sword as a key.

Chunk pushes past from the rear and puts the sword in and the door opens to issue forth a invisible wall of heat, that rolls across us all, not unlike opening an oven while standing in front of it.

Once we have accustomed to the heat, we move across the threshold and see a huge cavern that contains floating rocks above a lake of lava. The ceiling is covered in spider webs, and as we look about from our platform above the lava, the rocks before us begin to move up and down so that while one is high in the air, the other is almost submerged in lava. I spot very thin gossamer threads that cross the entire cavern and begin to point them out, however no matter how hard they try; Chunk and Stumpy just can't seem to spot them.

With all four of us peering into the cavern, Stumpy asks no one in particular “.. why don't you tug on the web?” and before no one in particular can retort with “..Yeah right, you do it!” McFlurry does, leaping up and hanging from a small cluster of webbing. He moves about touching the very thin strands from web to web, but nothing appears. Remembering the last time we found spiders in hot areas, and how useless they were as they were quite dead, we shift focus to how we are going to cross the chamber instead, with McFlurry the obvious choice for the advance scout.

He leaps onto the first rock, and I light a torch to chuck to McFlurry to burn the thin web that I can see before him. He does, and then flips and moves on to the second platform. Chunk follows afterwards, one rock behind. When McFlurry hits the third rock, darkness descends and we see a huge spider drop from the ceiling to land in the darkness covering the Monk.

McFlurry is struck with legs and then bitten before finally grappled, and the slippery Monk twists and turns in vain trying not to be pinned, but there can only be one victor in this scenario, and sadly it’s not Brother Ashitaka. The rest of the party seem unable to do anything because of the darkness, so it’s left to me to fly over to see if I can help. I rain down little centipedes on the area of darkness, and luckily no one can see just how ineffective they actually are, while I shout out “…bite the spider my little beauties!” as words of encouragement.

Looking back at the rest of the party who are doing nothing at all, it seems like I am the only one that can attack or do anything, and that’s normally when you know things are really bad. I fly in and attack the spider in the darkness, surprisingly giving it a huge ‘thwaack’ across its spidery buttocks, which causes it to leap up off the Monk and spit goo out of its bum at me. The goo is a very potent and very sticky web, which catches me full on and sticks in my wings, and in a few moments of panic, I manage to wrap myself up quite nicely before plummeting like a winged stone.

The diversion was all that McFlurry needed though, and with a leap he is out of the spiders clutches. The spider then scurries out of the darkness and fires goo at Chunk and Idjit, and Stumpy manages to land a Doom spell on it. My fall is broken by more web, and so I struggle to become a beautiful butterfly and escape my ugly chrysalis, but get no were fast.  

With Chunk and Idjit webbed, McFlurry chucks oil on the Ranger and sets him on fire to free him. The spider comes to eat me, but I have Shape Shifted into a Clacklin to help me with the poison, a far more horrible dish than my normal self as I am now crustaceous. Well, I say normal, but sometimes even I forget what I actually look like. 

Chunk roars in rage and tears the web off himself and then Stumpy, while the spider starts to pull apart my shell and eat me like Lobster. Oh, and inject me with gunk. Chunk moves across with an oil flask as I call, or rather shout out in a voice laden with panic, “….burn me free of the web, and don’t worry if I get dunked in the lava!”

McFlurry unlimbers his bow ready to fire, and Idjit steps free of the web and fires his bow at the large spider, hitting it in a hairy leg. McFlurry then drops his newly drawn bow and runs in and bops the spider on the nose, stunning it!

It's all dark where we are again, and after another three fine hits from the monk in the darkness, suddenly, the spider is gone......

I am completely stuck inside my web cocoon, despite having burning oil poured all over me (and my face curiously enough as I think on it) by McFlurry and it takes ages to pry me free, but the wait is worth it, as I emerge a beautiful butterfly, standing out of the ruined web with arms outstretched like a magicians assistant. The effect is slightly ruined by the fact that I look like a man crab with my face on fire, but I hold the pose as I was taught in Magician school before taking a well earned bow.

We cross the final floating rocks without further incident, and are on solid rock once more, where another slot based doorway bars us from travelling any further. The ‘not very talkative today’ Sword goes in the slot, and a light green light shines around the doorway, before the ghostly form of the woman Sorena appears.

She looks at us, but more in the spot where we stand before saying “You have found my treasure trove, and I thank you for freeing my husband.”

The green light intensifies and Sorena does not acknowledge us at all – soon the light is too bright and we have to look away before it vanishes, leaving an open doorway, and an empty key slot. The sword has gone!

Stepping past the sorrow faced Chunk, we see a small 15 foot room with gold flecked marbled walls, with four alcoves, one in each of the compass points and each containing an embalmed human.

The room contains a desk with a sword in a scabbard and two caskets on top. I volunteer to open a casket, which suddenly makes all of the mummies come alive and step from their alcoves towards us. One of them is closest to Idjit and just explodes, small multiple explosions of bits flying out, which then cause a chain reaction as a part catches another mummified human until the explosions sets all four of them off.

As the smoke clears, Stumpy brushes himself off and looks fine, while I am slightly stunned with a ringing in my ears and a bloodied lip, while Idjit looks like he has been smashed face first into a wall, with a bloodied nose, two black eyes, and rubbing his head. Chunk, still outside peers in, looks around taking in the bloody and stupefied expressions on our faces and slowly draws his head back, staying where he is.

Within the caskets, we find a book, a ring and sword, and as I read the books cover, ‘The Adventures of Bonnie Day’, I proclaim that it's a Druid book and that I will take good care of it. To emphasis this, and with Trixie not about to ruin any plans, I open the cover and show them the inside, ready to take anything shown and quickly twist it to my favour.

However I was not prepared for the picture of a lady on a horse, wielding a staff. With the angle of the staff, my brief glance thought it was a unicorn, and as usual, my excitement level overruled my brain*** and I ruin any chance I had about being nonchalant by crying out “It’s a Unicorn!”

Leaving this room with the book tucked away in my pouches for safekeeping, I wonder what exactly would have happened if Sorena was not happy with us. I mean, “Here’s my stuff and thanks for laying to rest my poor husband who’s soul had previously been stuffed into a weapon” seems to be carte blanche to ransack her stuff doesn’t it? She could have said, oh, don’t worry about the exploding undead, they are for people that don’t do good deeds, but they still blew us up anyway.

Just shows that you can’t please some people.

We move back across the floating rocks and then search some more, but don't find the Genies bedroom, and finally getting the feeling that we have looked around all that we can, decide to leave. We head back via the hatch that had the rune meaning ‘refuge’ for one last look, but have no new ideas. I mention that I will tell the Mages of Cilamar and for them to check it out, or as usual in these situations, for them to send someone back here totally alone, and for that person to get lost, and for all the usual Mage rescuers to be on holiday or dead, leaving the Mages no choice but to employ a cunning bunch of travelers not unlike ourselves to go and rescue them…...all helps to swell the coffers I suppose!

Stumpy casts a Sending spell and we are contacted a few hours later, and rather than our normal Wizard arriving to take us away, we are greeted by the Patriarch and the Lady of the town, as well as five important looking Elves. We tell them that the Clacklin were responsible for taking the villagers and were feeding them to the hydra, and that the Genie was responsible for the volcanic eruptions due to a portal to the Plane of Fire.

We lead them to the portal and they are to close it, but gently decline our help, politely ignoring our suggestions for plans on how to use it in some acme ‘wild e coyote’ type scheme, or simply as a BBQ for the poor or something.

We are teleported back to town, and after resting for the day and examining some of the goodies we found, return to the palace for talks. Here we find that we are getting a massive reward for our troubles, some 10,000gp, which cheers everyone up, and they also mention that they sort of closed the portal, and collapsed the tunnel to help seal the place.

We leave, heads full of ideas on what to spend our coin on, and they will call us when they need something else dealt with. Myself and Stumpy ponder over the Bonnie Day ‘Its not a Unicorn’ book, and settle for the age old tradition of gambling with knucklebones, which after a very tense battle, Stumpy wins taking the book as a prize.

Crying, I return to my studies, but secretly grateful when I see stumpy laid up I'll in bed with a runny nose and looking quite ill from excessive studying. The days pass and the rest of the party buy magic stuff from none other than the magic man, while I stick to my own books learning about the sticky frog like people the Kuo-Toa – as anything is better than a fish-man that can’t swim to be fair….

Stumpy finishes the book and he beams with the healthy glow of adventuring skills as though he did a fist full of quests all on his own. I am obviously cursing my dice rolls as dungeon experience is always handy to be given as a bonus, but I am secretly glad that he did not get granted the ability to summon unicorns as it appeared to me in the picture.

 

Played: 2010
Draft Started: 14/05/12
Draft Finished: July 2012
Posted October: 31st 2012

 

*** Hence “He’s not a bean!”, or “Mr Tumnus!”

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