Arcanis: Gonnes, Sons, and Treasure Runs (COMPLETED) - Page 40
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    Madness in Freeport - Part 11: Prayer Room

    The long room followed the curve of the outside wall of the temple. The walls were covered with a mosaic of a large serpent. Its tail began near the door, and the body wound along the outside wall, culminating in a fanged head at the far end of the room.

    Kham lowered his lenses. “Any artifacts in here?”

    Ilmarė sighed. “I’m pretty sure they’re not going to come running just because you asked.”

    “Whoa,” said Kham. “Don’t look at the snake’s eyes.”

    “What snake?” asked Beldin.

    “Vlad,” said Ilmarė, “cover Beldin’s eyes too.”

    Before Beldin could look, Vlad looked down at the ground and covered Beldin’s eyes with one hand.

    “What?” muttered Beldin in confusion.

    The eyes of the mosaic serpent glowed with a green light. In front of the head was a stone table on which a large book rests. Kham gingerly stepped past four large piles of dust shaped like serpents.

    When he reached the stone table, Kham lifted the book off of it. The volume was written entirely in Valossan. “The Society should like this.”

    Ilmarė had her eyes closed. “What’s the problem?

    “I had the overwhelming urge to kill you all,” said Kham, returning to the entrance with book in hand. “Now, I have that urge a lot these days. But usually it’s when Fleshripper is in my hands. I think it had something to do with the snake.”

    “Think that’s the Scales of the Serpent?” asked Ilmarė hopefully. The book was covered with mottled serpent skin.

    “No,” said Kham.

    “Damn it!” shouted Ilmarė. She stomped off down the hallway.

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    Madness in Freeport - Part 12: Infirmary

    The walls on either side of the room were lined with rotting sedan chairs. Along the far wall was a stone table with a shelf above it holding various jars.

    “Great,” said Ilmarė. “More snakes.”

    Most of the chairs were empty, but two of them contain the shadowy forms of Valossan serpent priests.

    “Come clossser,” said one of them. It motioned with barely visible hands for them to advance.

    “One of you had better have an artifact of the Serpent,” said Ilmarė. She drew her serpent bow and knocked an arrow. “Don’t let the bow fool you, I have no love for your kind.”

    “We will make an exchange,” said another. “We will ssshare information in exchange for a quick death.”

    Ilmarė lowered her bow, surprised.

    “It must be torturous, living like this,” said Vlad. “You’ve got a deal.”

    “If you ssseek the Ssscalessss of the Ssserpent, you mussst defeat Vrosssh, the warrior priessst. He wearsss the Ssscalesss.”

    “Great,” said Kham. “Kill them and let’s get out of here.”

    “Not ssso fassst,” said the first ssanu shade. “The armor makesss him invulnerable. There isss a missssssing ssscale jussst under the right breassst.”

    “Anything else?” asked Kham.

    “The Avatar of Yig isss a giant ssserpent located in the lowessst level of the temple, inssside a great pit usssed for holy sssacrificesss. That isss all we know.”

    Kham nodded. “That’s more information than we’ve gotten from every other rotten thing in here.”

    Ilmarė looked as if she were about to say something. Instead, she left the room. When she called Beldin’s name, he followed after her.

    The Milandisian looked around. He was alone with the shades. The dark smears that passed for the shades’ eyes looked at him piteously. He hefted Grungronazharr.

    “I don’t think Master Elabac had this in mind for my blade,” he said to no one in particular. “But I believe it will affect even you. Please lower your heads.”

    And for the first time, Vlad’s beheading reputation was well deserved.

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    Madness in Freeport - Part 13: The Serpent Scales

    The large room looked like some sort of gymnasium. Rotted matting covered the floor, and various combat dummies were scattered throughout the area. The walls were lined with racks that held rusting and tarnished weapons of all sorts.

    Standing in the center of the room was a shadow ssanu holding a crackling spear and wearing a suit of green scale mail.

    “Finally!” said Ilmarė. She drew a bead on the ssanu.

    In a loud, deep voice, Vrosh spoke. “Come, young onesss. Come for your lessson. You mussst be ssstrong to fight for Yig.” With that, he assumed a fighting stance, brandishing his spear.

    An arrow fired straight towards the weakness in Vrosh’s armor but he slapped it out of the air with his spear. After spinning it a few times, he waved them on. “That isss not ssstrong enough, young one.”

    Beldin rushed him. His waraxe was deflected sideways by Vrosh’s spear. The dwarf stumbled past the ssanu.

    Kham struggled to draw his pistols, but Fleshripper’s call was too great. He drew the wicked blade with both hands and bore down on the waiting ssanu warrior. Vrosh stepped aside and smacked Kham in the back of the head with his spear.

    “Clumsssy,” Vrosh chastised.

    The ssanu turned to face Vlad, only to discover Grungronazharr jutting just below his right breast.

    “A worthy ssstudent,” said Vrosh. “You have done well.”

    Then he disappeared into mist. The scale armor and spear collapsed to the ground.

    “Fool.” Ilmarė grabbed the armor. “This must be the Scales of the Serpent.”

    “Don’t mock him,” said Vlad. He reached down to pick up Vrosh’s weapon. “He fought with honor.”

    “And suddenly you’re Quintus?” asked Kham.

    “Leave him be,” said Beldin. “Vlad’s just remembering who he wanted to be.”

    The dwarf left the room.

    “Man,” Kham shook his head. “He is seriously messed up in the head.”
    Last edited by talien; Thursday, 21st February, 2008 at 04:01 PM.

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    Madness in Freeport - Part 14: Sseth’s Prison

    Peering through the portal, Kham could see a room completely bare but for the Valossan writing covering every square inch of wall, in many different styles and sizes.

    “Looks like a prison,” he said over his shoulder.

    A voice called out from the gloom. “Enter Foolsss! Help you Ssseth can. Yesss! You may be the onesss.”

    The same voice responded. “NO! Ssseth isss not sssure.”

    “Yesss!” came the voice again. “In you mussst come!”

    “Is that thing rhyming?” asked Vlad.

    Kham struggled with the door. Then he stepped back and made a welcoming gesture to Vlad. Vlad obliged him by bashing the door open with a swift kick.

    The room beyond the sealed stone door was crescent shaped and completely bare of any furnishings.

    A voice called them from the back of the room, “to Ssseth you mussst come, young onesss. Ssseth alone can help you. Need you do the Venom of the Ssserpent. Have it Ssseth does.”

    “But no!” the same voice said. “Give it to them Ssseth will not!”

    Ilmarė rubbed her temples. “They’ve all gone mad.”

    “Who is he arguing with?” asked Vlad.

    “Himself,” said Kham.

    “Yesss!” said Ssseth. “You mussst!”

    “No!”

    “Yesss! Yess, give it to you Ssseth sssshall. Only if they anssswer the riddle. Yesss! Only if they anssswer the riddle.”

    “No!”

    “Yessss! Anssswer it they mussst!”

    “I hate to interrupt this conversation,” said Kham. “But do you by chance know where the Venom of the Serpent is?”

    Sseth responded with a riddle:
    “I create life and also nourisssh it.
    I contain life and the future for sssome.
    I am firssst, although some sssay I came lassst.
    I am fragile, yet ssstrong enough to hold preciousss cargo.
    What am I?”

    “An egg,” said Ilmarė without hesitation. “You ssanu are dumber than a bag of rocks, I swear.”

    “Very good,” said Ssseth. “You will find the Venom of the Ssserpent in the tail of the ssstatue of Yig on thisss floor.”

    “Great,” said Kham. “Don’t let us interrupt your conversation.”

    He closed the door again behind him.

    “I told you the riddle wasss too easssy!”

  5. #395
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    Ha, that was funny as hell.

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    My wife is a funny gal, and quick-witted too. On the other hand, I sympathize with anyone putting a riddle in a scenario, especially if it's necessary to succeed. You don't want to make the riddle too hard, since figuring out a riddle is largely an out-of-character skill.

    The answer to the riddle will have much deeper implications, as you will see.

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    Madness in Freeport - Part 15: The Servants of the High Priest

    Kham decided to explore on his own while the others fiddled with the statue of Yig. He opened a door into a circular chamber.

    The room’s furniture had been separate in a very deliberate fashion. Both sides of the room had a single desk, chair, mattress, and closet. A line was drawn down the center of the room with white chalk.

    “Hurssst is a traitorousss lying ssson of a toad! You mussst kill him before he betraysss you! I will help you find the treasssure of the temple!”

    Standing on either side of the line were two shadow serpents shouting and pointing their fingers at each other.

    “Arnesss is a yellow-bellied dirt eating sssack of ssslime. He ssseeksss to trick you into doing hisss bidding and killing me. Kill him firssst before he leadsss you into a trap!”

    Kham looked back and forth between the two ssanu.

    Then he closed the door.

    “Good news.” Vlad caught up to Kham in the hallway. “That crazy snake was right. We found the Venom of the Serpent. That makes three items. What’s in there?”

    “Nothing,” said Kham.

    “Now all we need is the Fangs of the Serpent.”

    “Why do I get the feeling that the fangs aren’t just lying on a table somewhere?” asked Kham.

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    Madness in Freeport - Part 16: Yet Another Statue of Yig

    Kham disappeared again into one of the rooms while Beldin and Ilmarė examined yet another statue of Yig.

    It was a tall statue of a coiled snake with its fangs bared. Yellow light shone across the hallway from its eyes. The light fell on a set of double doors with an elaborate carving of a snake upon it.

    Vlad walked back from the double doors. “Locked. They won’t budge.”

    “That’s strange,” said Ilmarė.

    ”What?”

    “You’re standing in the path of the light, but it goes right through you,” said Ilmarė. “Nothing seems to block its path to the doors.”

    Vlad looked down at his torso. Then he stepped out of the way of the light.

    “The eyes,” said Beldin. “They have lids. Lower them.”

    Vlad climbed up the side of the statue and pulled down on one of the statue’s eyelids. Stone ground on stone as the lids slowly closed over the eyes and the light winked out.

    As the light from the serpent’s eyes was covered, the huge double doors creaked open to reveal a large chamber beyond.

    Kham peeked out around the hallway. “Oh good, you got the door open.”

    “Where were you?” Ilmarė asked.

    “Nowhere,” said Kham. He tucked something white and round into the folds of his jacket. “Just securing some precious cargo.”

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    Madness in Freeport - Part 17: The Pit of the Great Serpent

    Beyond the double doors lay an amphitheater shaped like a half-moon. There were five tiers of steps leading down to a shallow pit. The steps were covered with rotting cushions, and long faded tapestries adorned the walls.

    “Let me ask you something,” Vlad said to Kham. “If this cave is only visible when the tide is low. Doesn’t that mean when the tide rises again, the exit will be underwater?”

    Kham blinked. “Yes.”

    “And how long is it until high tide?”

    “I’m not sure,” said Kham, “but it’s been hours since we’ve been in this stinking pit.”

    At the center of the pit was a gigantic snake. Its skin was yellow with decay. It reared it head as they entered, baring a set of gleaming white fangs.

    “This is the manifestation of Yig, right?” asked Vlad, his blade out. “How powerful do you think it is?”

    “Prepare yourself,” said Beldin. “It likely wields magic beyond our reckoning.”

    “Do you hear yourself?” asked Ilmarė. “You just used the word ‘reckoning.’ I fear you mind is more scrambled than I thought.”

    The snake reared backwards as Vlad and Beldin advanced.

    “I don’t have time for this,” said Kham.

    BLAM! BLAM!

    The snake’s head exploded as Kham’s bullets shattered its rotten skull.

    “Someone grab the Fangs and let’s get the hell out of here,” he said.

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    Madness in Freeport - Part 18: Receiving the Jade Serpent

    Alissstar was overjoyed to see them.

    “Thank you! Thank you for doing asss I asssked. Pleassse put the artifactsss there on the altar.”

    Kham dumped the armor, the vial, and the fangs on the altar. “There. We’re kind of in a rush, so if you could speed this up a little…that’d be great.”

    “I ssstill need your help,” said Alissstar.

    Ilmarė slapped her forehead.

    “Due to my ethereal nature, I cannot perform the physssical partsss of the ritual. One of you mussst sssacrifice sssome blood ssso that my people can be sssaved.”

    “Don’t look at me,” said Ilmarė. “The snakes left my people nothing but misery in pain. You can rot here until the end of time for all I care.”

    “It isss true, we will be consssigned to an eternity of sssuffering,” said Alissstar. Then he added, “but you will never get the Jade Ssserpent.”

    “That’s really helpful,” Kham said to Ilmarė. He turned back to Alissstar. “Look, can’t we use a substitute or something? I spend most of my time trying to keep my blood in me.”

    “There isss no other way,” said Alissstar. “Be warned, thisss sssacrifice will be great. You will lossse a part of yourssself permanently.”

    Vlad stepped forward. “I’ll…”

    Beldin interrupted the Milandisian’s decision by placing his axe in Vlad’s path. “I’ll do it,” he said.

    Vlad began to protest but Beldin silenced him with a shake of his head.

    “Beldin,” said Ilmarė in gentle tones she rarely used, “you’re not right in the head. This is ridiculous. You don’t know the consequences of your actions.”

    Beldin shook his head again. “I appreciate your concern. But I remember a time when I was trusted with the guardianship of mankind. My betrayal of Illiir’s trust led me from gianthood to this twisted form.” Beldin strapped his axe onto his back and opened his palms. “The ghost of Ironfoot showed me just how much humanity is suffering.” He looked into the eyes of Kham and Ilmarė. “You both saw what happened to the town of Vestalanium when they were shown the Yellow Sign.”

    “Vestalanium?” asked Vlad. “Never heard of it.”

    “That’s because it no longer exists,” said Beldin. “The madness that ensued destroyed the entire town. I will not let that happen again.”

    There was a roaring sound above them. The sound of the surf.

    “Uh guys,” said Kham, “we don’t exactly have a lot of time here…”

    “Then let usss being.”

    Alissstar performed all of the extensive verbal and awkward somatic portions of the ritual. The Scales of the Serpent were laid on the altar as Beldin donned the Amulet of the Serpent. Alissstar instructed Beldin to take the Fangs of the Serpent and use one on each wrist to draw blood.

    Beldin slit each wrist with the fangs and mixed the dripping red blood into the Venom of the Serpent. He poured the mixture onto the Scales of the Serpent.

    “IT IS DONE!” proclaimed Alissstar.

    The building began to shake. Alissstar made a motion with his hands, and the Jade Serpent rose from the center of the altar and floated before Beldin. He grabbed it, his wrists mysteriously healed over with jagged scars in the shape of serpents.

    Kham took the Jade Serpent of Yig from Beldin. “Let’s go!”

    “And now, finally, we are at peace,” whispered Alissstar. He waved a goodbye as Kham led the charge back towards the boat.

    Beldin hesitated, tears in his eyes. “I have saved a few,” he whispered. Then he scooped the artifacts off of the altar and followed after them.

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