Infernal Ascendant

A Labyrinth of Uncertainty

The adventurers threw open the doors to the keep, but strangely found it deserted. The weapon racks were picked clean, as well. It seemed that the forces of the Infernal had empties, and the Blades, urged vigorously by Quarion, tried to make their escape as well. Utilizing the flying boots they had all found in Mt. Storm, the wizard leapt up and shot into the air…
only to collide with a magical barrier above!
Drakorgamort and Medrash began frantically praying to Zehir and Bahumat, but both gods could not even locate where the Eldritch Blades were. Quarion tried praying to Uk, with greater success. Uk knew that dark, horrible magic was being employed by The Infernal himself to sever the adventurers from the outside world, as well as block them spiritually from the gods!
Meanwhile, Lexor Narmolanya found the entrance to the dwarven tunnels below. He called back faintly that the way was open, but his voice was quickly muffled. The rest of the party tried to investigate the passage with various spells of light, but they did no good. They would have to rely on their bravery alone to venture into the dark hole. One by one, they mastered themselves and filed into a the narrow passageway, the damp, squishy walls pressing in on them.
Towards the endo of the tunnel, they heard Lexor Narmolanya‘s voice calling to them. Following it, they arrived in a small stone room, with doors on all three other walls. They lit up torches, and could see that the doors were all covered in dwarven runes. They had found the ancient city of Labyrinthia!
They adventurers set off through the passageways, going from room to room and dodging traps that shot spikes, acid, and flying blades at those who were caught unawares. After a time, a warm glow from the doors on the left broke the monotony. Curious, they followed it, and as they continued to take the left doors, the light and heat intensified. The next door they opened lead into a larger room, the walls covered in bronze pipes that belched hot steam. A low growl could be heard, and then came a metallic clanking. A great monstrous creature approached!
The beast was a minotaur fashioned of bronze entirely, twice the size of Red Horn and with a pulsing red gem where a heart should be! It roared, belching flame from its mouth. Red Horn held his ground, his eyes alight with a plan. If the dwarves had made this construct, he reasoned, then the Axe of the Dwarvish Lords should be able to transform into it!
The great warlord raised his axe and prayed: “O Dwarvish Lords, if our ancestors wrought this contraption, then can you not transform into it?” The Dwarvish Lords were stunned, and Red Horn heard some murmuring before the Speaker cleared his throat and explained that it was possible, but such a thing required a Dwarven Soulstone, such as the red gem in the minotaur construct they faced. The Soulstones were made by very powerful dwarf mages in the past, who trapped their lifeforce into gems so that they could be used to power mechanical creations. The Dwarvish Lords explained that three mages gave their lives to create three of these stones: a red, a green, and a blue. If Red Horn were willing to pour his own life force into the Axe, the Lords supposed, a temporary construct could be made.
Of course, Red Horn was willing, and the Axe, siphoning from his energy, began to transform. The Axe flew out of his grasp, landing on the floor beside him and exploding into fragments of brass that reconstructed themselves into a giant minotaur! Red-Horn grunted as he fed it some of his lifeforce.
The rest of the Blades launced into the fight viciously, and the adventurers were scorched by fire and steam and knocked about by immense paws as they chipped away at the beast’s brass plating. Red-Horn’s construct fought savagely, while its master pored more and more energy into it, until, in a great, crushing blow, it bashed in the other construct’s chest cavity and ripped out the Soulstone. It placed the soulstone into its own chest cavity, and Red Horn breathed a sigh of relief as his creation began to power itself. The warlord straitened up, unburdened once more, and the victorious marched on, into the unknown.
They wandered through more and more trap-filled passages, bleeding from a thousand wounds that various hazards had inflicted. After a time, a more pleasant sight filled the dark rooms. A root slithered from under the left door of the next chamber, giving off a gentle green glow, and thrumming with power. Upon closer examination, it seemed that this root was made of brass as well! Having deduced that following the root would lead them to the green soulstone, they followed it through the left door. With each passing chamber, the root grew in thickness, and the glow it gave off intensified. At last, the adventurers reached a larger chamber filled with the green glow. At the center was a sliver tree, with crystals and bulbs of precious metals dangling from its branches. Roots shot our from it in all directions and under all the doorways. A green gemstone, pulsing with energy, was embedded in the tree’s trunk.
As they approached the tree, it began to talk in a lilting voice, speaking only in rhymes, yet threatening death unto any who passed. Amused by the rhyming tree, none of the adventurers wanted particularly to fight it, especially Quarion! He rhymed back at the tree, and the two of them debated passionately, the wizard urging the tree to let them all pass. Red Horn, who had been following the discussion, came to the conclusion that, as Keeper of the Axe of the Dwarvish Lords, he had EVERY right to pass. To this, the tree consented, but none of the other adventurers, being neither Axe-Keepers or dwarves, were allowed to pass. Seeking a loophole, Red Horn turned to the Dwarvish Lords for guidance. The Speaker, upon Red Horn‘s insistence, revealed that once per year, the power of the Dwarvish Lords could be used to deconstruct completely something made by dwarves. Seizing the opportunity, the warlord summoned that power, and the resounding authority of all of the Dwarvish Lords filled his voice as he commanded the tree to stand down and allow them to pass.
The tree began to wither, shrinking back from the warlord’s power, and the green gem popped out, which the adventurers collected. As they moved on in search of the final soulstone and the way out, Quarion felt a bit sad at the loss of his arboreal friend.
The group only had to brave a few more dark, trap filled rooms before the passage straitened out into a long hallway. They walked on, and soon saw three pars of glowing blue eyes in the darkness. When Quarion cast Light into the room, three owlbears, one unnaturally large, two of average size, all made of platinum with claws and feathers of diamond, snarled at the party. The largest owlbear had a pulsing sapphire soulstone lodged in its chest. The cornered owlbears fought furiously with ripping claw attacks and paralyzing icy breath, but the strength of the Eldritch Blades and the mechanical minotaur overcame them, and they tore out the last of the soulstones.
As the final owlbear fell, they noticed, in the back of the long room, there was an enormous golden door. A great dwarven face was carved into it, and it was bordered by lines of runes. There were three slots in the door – one for each soulstone.
The emerald and the sapphire were clicked into position, and their power flowed into the door. Reluctantly, Red Horn removed the gem from his construct, and the construct reverted to the Axe’s regular form. When the ruby was placed in the door, thousands of gears turned within the door, hundreds of tumblers clicked, and the great door swung open.

Comments

I liked that treeā€¦

A Labyrinth of Uncertainty
 

You really named this entry THAT of all things…nice

A Labyrinth of Uncertainty
 

wait… That was meant for Out of the Frying Pan…

A Labyrinth of Uncertainty
Zizzlehoff

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