The One True Game: According to Hoyle, and Others


New Art

Ben sat dazed. In his mind he believed he had just encountered an evil god. Later his thoughts would drift back on the event as a turning point in his mind. He felt like something had invaded his soul and was destroyed before it could destroy him. But the old door it opened was now ripped off. Ben felt as if he was no longer safe from the evil in the world. He felt as if he had no protection for his soul.

As to what happened to Darius only the Gods know for sure. He reported prodding the space the red hangnail and been in. It was soft and he felt the sensation of being pulled inward. A used torch then fell out of the space as if from nowhere. Darius had picked it up and pushed it into the opening again and was pulled headlong inside. Was he in another plane? Darius said his surroundings looked like the pool room and he was aside the frightful pool of darkness. Kayla and the others went into the room behind the throne looking for Darius in the interim. They saw a gold coin fall from nowhere onto the floor. Darius confirmed it was his doing as seconds later he too fell into the room as if from nowhere. Darius had jumped into the pool. Kayla told the group there was something called a "portal" between the two rooms though it could not be seen. Uncomfortable about what just happened the group crawled out into the throne room. Kayla made sure she was the last out and hurriedly scooped up all the pieces of the red chalky material that was leftover from the glow stone.

After chewing on a midday snack the group felt ready to keep exploring the caverns. Seeing as the right tunnel was rather short, they chose to head back down the left one. Mirel's hand drawn map came in useful as it pointed out one path not yet explored. Bypassing the sandtrap and double-checking the wax statue cave to see if the barkers had returned, the group decided to turn right at the second fork this time. The path curved to the right here and then straightened out. Those in the rear kept a good watch behind them lest the barkers snuck up. Ahead was a crossway with paths leading forward, left and right. The path to the left was blocked by a another boulder. The cavern forward shortly came to a dead end. And the path to the right traveled on a little ways before sloping down gradually becoming a vertical shaft.

Intrigued by what might be further below, Darius was tied up and climbed and then was lowered into the pit below. Seeing better without a torch he looked out from the wall as he slid down against it. This room was rather large, perhaps 40' across. It was a vertical shaft which looked to have water completely filling the space below. Like a cistern Darius could not see the bottom of the water so he yanked on the rope to be let back up. The short hallway ahead was searched for secret entranced but without luck. Faced with another apparent dead end the party decided to verify the second boulder room across from the cistern room was also an entrance to the bat cave. After some exertion the group’s expectations proved true. It was the second exit Darius had previously spotted. They then traveled back to the wax statue room and slowly entered the bat cave individually via the first boulder entrance. They hoped the tracks of the barkers were still visible to follow.

Ben thought about their original plan to not fight the barkers in the bat room, but chose to keep quiet. With most of the party entered Darius walked into the middle of the bat guano. Dalin used care to keep his torch from the floor. Once the whole group entered Dalin lead everyone forward through the guano. The room was exceptionally large and everyone was silent hoping not to wake the bats above. There were tens of thousands of them. The room's shape seemed rectangular with the left and right walls being about 100' feet apart or more. The far wall was not in view. The message was passed along to give a low shout, if anyone spotted the barkers. After mucking through guano for over 100' Darius said he saw the far wall. It had a single, large, circular cave exit in the center of it. Thankfully no boulder was blocking it.


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Sorry for the wait

Pellets flew out of the darkness ahead. The party was under attack! Darius pointed forward and said that seven barkers had returned with slings. Half the group loosed bowshots into the darkness ahead. None were heard to strike. Darius lit one of his arrows off of Dalin's torch and fired at the barkers intending to give the rest a clear view of the targets. WHOOSH! The arrow missed the small figure and ignited the bat guano instead. A pylon of red flame seared over the seven figures difficult to see because of night blindness. Barks, yips, and yelps came from the figures aflame.

The fire began to grow larger burning out its fuel as it went. It was estimated the small figures were 120' distant. Darius, Dalin, and Ben ran forward firing while Kayla, Dram, and Mirel hung back firing missiles and pellets of their own. As the circle grew wider the barkers tried to retreat from it. They began howling now even louder than before. Fearful Brother Ben yelled for a retreat to steer clear of the flame. Darius, Dram, and Dalin kept rushing closing to within 30 feet. Spooked by the flames and woken by the howls a seemingly infinite number of bats descended all at once filling nearly every empty space.

All were lost within a flurry of bats for a couple of minutes as vision was obscured. The circle of fired advanced further outward forming a ring with black charred ground within its center. Members of the party continued to use what weapons they had at hand to swing back at the bats surrounding them. When they began to thin out the group could be seen again scattered about the room. Many had retreated while others had jumped through the flame wall. The barkers were nowhere to be seen. It was presumed they had headed up the central exit tunnel were they seemed to have attacked from. The flame circle slowly burned itself out as those who were outside of it backed into the boulder alcoves near the far entrance wall. The party checked each other over for damage and discarded what equipment was destroyed by the flame.

After regrouping, the band headed into the tubular cave. It was about 10' in diameter and had strangely smooth sides. Even the footprints of the barkers were difficult to follow, but Darius did his best. Continuing at great length Darius noticed the cave gently sloping upward. He said it was due to his dwarven upbringing in the great mountains to the East. They were even further East than the forest surrounding the Keep and Outposts. After about 1/4 mile of walking, light was spotted ahead. It was daylight.

The sight that greeted them upon exiting the cave was a kind one. The cave opened out of the side of the very top of a high hill. The top of this hill was covered in grey-black, slate-like rock which kept most of the trees from growing on it. Surrounding the group on all sides was slow rolling hills blanketed with a forest of trees as far as the eye could see. No sun was in sight, but the ambient light shining through white pillowy clouds in the sky above lit up the land. Fresh air once again filled the band's lungs. Checking for tracks Darius had to admit that somehow he had lost the barkers. Older tracks could be spotted leading out about 15', but after that point the rock precluded any further searching. Darius suspected that some of the smaller crevasses in the cave near its start could have been of adequate size to fit the barkers, if they had tried to hide from the group. Ben made a mental note to be on guard during their return trip.

Darius took a quick look at the tunnel exit as Dalin, Dram and Mirel looked for tall trees to climb to find their bearings and possibly the outpost. Darius noted that the cave had narrowed to only 7' in diameter and the fact it seemed to have been formed by rushing water. The wisewoman Kayla remarked that it might have been formed from a geyser. Being such a high hill so strangely formed with grey-black slate at the top was suspicious enough. Not to mention having a cave entrance being at the top of such a hill. Seeing as the surrounding trees were missing the leaves off of one side it was possible the tunnel had launched water recently. They noticed the rock was wet upon the top of the hill and believed the geyser theory was correct. "No wonder no one had found this particular entrance into Quesquaton," Ben thought. Out in the middle of the wilderness even rangers would likely have no desire to climb into such a place. Lost in thought he did not notice the small groups of bats flying back into the cave mouth.
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The three scouts came back and agreed to the best of their knowledge that Outpost Xavier was to the northwest of the hill. None could see the actual outpost, but they believed the tunnel exit faced east. This brought on a bevy of discussion on how the Outposts, Margrave Keep, and the forest were situated. In the end it was decided most of Margrave County was to the west of this large eastern forest named Greenwillow. As the Keep was just inside the forest the outposts were agreed on being a half circle ring blocking Margrave’s entire eastern border along the forest. Where they stood now was not as deep in the forest as the outpost by about a half mile or more. Still, without a proper guide they really had no safe path back to Outpost X without using the tunnel. As it was late in the day, the group decided to head back to the outpost using the tunnels of Quesquaton. Retracing their route did not take too long. No signs of the barkers were seen, but many of the bats had returned to the bat cave, if not their guano.

Finally climbing up the well wall once again the six adventurers walked tiredly to the army encampment. Igor had made the meal for everyone, but Darian did not breathe a word. He did leave quickly afterwards to report on the group's findings to the Elf Elion. Brother Ben and some others in the party were still quite curious about having a creature like an elf nearby not to mention a dwarf. They had never seen either one before. Inside Elion's tent, the large central one within the encampment surrounding the outpost, Darius reported all they had found. What this was word for word only he could say. Darius did relay to the others that the barkers below were really foul beasts called "kobolds". Elion was unhappy about their existence within the Quesquaton caves. Afterwards Darius talked to the soldiers outside the tower and slept along side them too. Dram coordinated the militia watch schedules. Exhausted everyone else cleaned their gear while Mirel made a point of not mentioning the day long chores she had missed. Sleep came quickly.

[DAY 8 - Weddingday, Mao 25th, CY 81]

Brother Ben arose before sunrise the next morn. He roused Darius and they both began to set up temple services for the tower militia and soldiers. Darius being a follower of Thor honored glorious battle and courage during the same. Brother Ben had studied over ten years under a system revering all divine creatures, but only the goodly ones of course. He prepared a speech highlighting the need for camaraderie in the days ahead. Seven days and six nights he had stayed in the outpost and already it felt like home. He had not forgotten the drastic loss of life nor the attacks by the giant. Either could occur again at any moment he knew. But morale was high and he hoped to keep it there.

It appeared almost the whole of the encampment came to attend the outdoor service. Clothes washed and weapons gleaming Ben talked to them of standing firm in the fight against evil. He spoke on how each individual there was vital to defending the County Margrave and their families back home. Asking all to shake hands with the men and women around them he asked them to take the time to learn their new comrade’s names and stories. At the end Ben offered to meet with any one who needed to speak privately. Darius chose to help in this too and lines of people formed outside the tower waiting for the few minutes alone each would receive with either the cleric or the dwarven paladin. Twenty-two in all were seen.

In the meantime Dram spent more time with the small group of tower militia he was training in archery. Testing each one he noted their improvement or the lack there of. Igor walked out of the woods and Mirel and others noticed he had not attended the religious services. He mentioned having scouted in the southeast woods surrounding the tower. Fortunately, no orcs were hunting that morning. :) Other work done included the final clearing of the downed trees surrounding the tower. Some of the logs were up to 40' in length after being removed of limbs. Arrows were coated in pitch in case of battle. Kayla acquired some long knives from the army’s supplies in order to protect herself. She managed to get a fine looking dagger for Dram too. Brother Ben would later wonder on the exchange and whether it meant something more. What Ben did not notice was Dalin taking bets with Dram on who would kill the most creatures that day. "And bats don't count!" said Dalin.
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Sleeping in again :)

And so, once more our brave intrepid heroes descended down the well into Quasqueton. Igor would once again stay at the keep proving his loyalty. It is uncertain what was said to him in private from his reckless foray into the woods by other group members. But Mirel, Kayla, Dram, Dalin, Ben, and Darius all were eager to learn more about this new spot of forest beyond the cavern's other exit. Before beginning Darius asked to check the bottom of the well for any further possible entrances to other levels of Quasqueton.

While no other footholds went past the original entrance, Darius was lowered down by rope over 100' feet to a still pool of water. Checking carefully he spotted movement within. While the others could not see what Darius did, they could hear and felt a tug on the rope as it pulled away hard. Raising Darius back out of the well he said he saw a large snake in the water and that the water was flowing deceptively fast just below the surface. He said this as the group dried him off as the water was also deceptively cold. It was decided no other exits into Quesquaton existed by way of the well.

No encounter occurred in the halls of Quesquaton or the caverns beneath it. Walking outside the first thing the group noticed was the clear sky and the sun's heat on their faces while they stared out from the hilltop. Invigorated to start a new day's adventure, the group set on to exploring the environs around the cave exit. Dram had the best eyes and had spotted a smoke trail in the distance below. A stream was seen flowing right to left in the valley just below the hill.

Scouting from a tree again Dram determined the previous day's guesses were wrong. The cave was in fact facing south. And the spot he took to be the outpost in the distance was not. This meant the hill could be in any possible direction away from Outpost X. "Igor was certainly not going to drop in during one of his surprise visits," Ben thought. The party headed down the southern slope the cave exit faced towards the rolling stream. It was suggested everyone kept the hill in sight in case a person became lost or separated. As they walked the trees thinned out and made for easier travel. Turning to the right they followed the waterway upriver awhile keeping a look out for smoke.

Before they came to the next hill in the ridge Dram spotted the thin tendril of smoke. The band cautiously headed in its direction through a grove of trees. Spotted ahead looked to be around ten humanoid creatures as tall as men. They were dancing around a large old willow tree in a clearing along the riverside. Brother Ben tried to make out the faces of the creatures. They were bloodied about their heads and wore skins beaten into some kind of makeshift armor. Each carried swords and spears while some had crossbows as well. A lithe young woman was in the tree as well wearing only a simple brown dress. “Some kind of worship ritual?” Ben wondered. A mountain lion moved out of hiding in the tree to stand on one of its limbs. The monsters swung weapons at the tree trunk adding to the cuts from before the band’s arrival. Small flames licked from their torches lighting the tree's lower branches.
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"ORCS!” cried out Darian and waved everyone forward as he charged and fired his crossbow. Flail in hand, Ben ran toward the right taking cover behind a tree while Dalin circled left using his bow. The remaining three allies shot arrows and slings bullets into the mass of orcs. Six of the orcs drew back from the tree and fired crossbows at the movement in the forest. The woman in the tree began to sing a mystical song with words they could not understand. Each felt a strange feeling and Ben for one knew he was even more compelled to free the woman and her companion. The lion, which Ben now believed to be an ally and friend of the tree-woman, leapt out off its branch and badly wounded one of the orcs. The remaining orcs surrounded it attacking with swords and spears. They were seemingly unaffected by the woman’s song.

The six orcs with crossbows continued to fire into the woods as five of our heroes used the trees for cover. Darius courageously ran straight forward and began hammering upon the orcs around the mountain lion. Dalin ran up and swung his longsword at one of the crossbowmen felling it as Ben ran to try and flank the other side of their line. The six orcs stabbed at the massive lion using their spears and killed it. Mirel successfully hit another with a sling stone.

The tree-woman sang even louder. The fire was beginning to really burn on the lower branches now. The orcs with crossbows dropped them and one attacked Dalin. Dram had been missing with his arrow shots but finally hit an orc which was now turning on Darius. All twelve of the orcs then swarmed the tree and began hacking at it with swords while Darius managed to hammer upon a few of them. Ben arrived on the rear side of the orc ring and flailed missing. The old willow tree began to creak and fell to the forest floor with a loud crash. The lady within screamed as her singing stopped. The group felt the strange feeling stop too.

Dalin started backpedaling pulling out his waterskin which was full of healing fruit juice. Dram shot two more orcs with his bow felling one. Darius continued to press the frontal attack but his fatigue was really beginning to show. Doubtless his field armor was affecting his endurance as did the hot early summer day. The six remaining orcs turned their attention to Darian with the tree now crashed to the ground. Dalin rested taking deep breaths of his own and drank some of the potion juice. Mirel and Dram continued with ranged attacks from the trees while Kayla kept lookout. Dram managed to hit again hoping to drive the creatures off Darius. Brother Ben ran to the lady in the tree and poured some of the healing juice from his own waterskin into her mouth. She had been dying, but not dead.

Mirel killed another orc with a stone and Kayla now ran forward with a dagger killing another. Dalin once again refreshed missed his own target while Darius tried to keep defending himself from the surrounding orcs. They continued to focus on killing the dwarf. Dram killed another with an arrow. One orc turned its back on Darius trying to retreat and the dwarf easily dispatched it. "That’s three kills for Darius!" thought Dalin, so he pressed forward his attack and killed another matching the dwarf in kills. Dalin smiled. Another orc attempted to run managing to slip by Brother Ben who was standing in the branches of the fallen tree. Brother Ben started after it as did Dram a second later stowing his bow and pulling out a sword. All three sped into the woods heading away from the river.

Dalin and Darius now squared away on the last remaining orc. Each landed a good blow and it went down. “Only half a kill each for both of us. That puts us at even" said Dalin. In his own thoughts he began to wonder, "Perhaps what I need is a suit of armor like our paladin. That will clearly give me the best odds." Darius walked over to the tree-woman now standing on her own. Kayla and Mirel joined with Dalin to listen. Both dwarf and the tree-woman bent over and light flared from their hands healing the tree. When Darius had healed Brother Ben in the tower Ben had been restored, but the tree continued to look dead. However, the tree-woman said they were successful in saving the tree. She introduced herself as Greenwillow of the forest. Darius told her his name as did Kayla, Mirel, and Dalin. As a reward for saving her Greenwillow gave Darius a handful of berries. She then looked over at the dead lion and bemoaned her loss. She asked if Darius was willing to join in her in guarding her tree. He declined looking ill at ease.
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First Post
Good to see updates - but could you tell it simply from Brother Ben's perspective? It would be really interesting to see what is going on in that slightly amped-up head of his... ;)


beer_motor said:
Good to see updates - but could you tell it simply from Brother Ben's perspective? It would be really interesting to see what is going on in that slightly amped-up head of his... ;)

It took some time for me to decide on which point of view to pick. I eventually decided upon the 3rd person narrator. Most information is not shared openly in character, so half the story would be missing if it was told from a 1st person perspective. It also happens that the narrator is imperfect as I personally don't have all the information others do. But at least the current style relates the vast majority of the story. That said you will see a surprise coming up concerning the writing format.

Also, other players are always able to add a 1st person write up for their character. I believe the narrator style blends better with this potential hodgepodge storytelling without the risk of too much repetition. Players could divulge secrets and personal character knowledge not in the full narration which lends impact as well as insight.


End of Session

Meanwhile, in the woods north of them, Brother Ben chased after the wounded orc. Dram followed after keeping Ben in sight. Within two or three minutes of running all were beginning to tire, the orc most of all. It stumbled and Ben jumped atop it. He had already planned to knock it out so the others would not kill it. He had thought of capturing one for questioning while in melee and now was his chance. Ben dropped his flail and pummeled the creature's face with his fist. Once, twice, three times he hit it while getting a good look at facial features. What he had taken for just blood was in fact red skin. The face had mongrel-like features, but there was also red wax running down the sides of its head. Curiously, its ears were filled with red wax. "That is why they were not affected by the witch woman’s song," thought Ben. His four companions back at the fallen tree were noticing this same fact at about the same time when Dram arrived up and tried pulling Ben off of the unconscious orc.

"More are coming down the hill in front of us! I can hear them. They will be here any minute. We have to go!" urged Dram. Brother Ben stood up and started pulling the orc looking at his friend for compliance. "We can’t carry him and run back in time. Kill it or they will kill us" Dram said as he ran back in the direction they had come. Ben struggled internally on whether or not to kill the sleeping orc. Dram ran as Ben heard the sound of approaching feet coming down a hill slope in the direction the orc had run. Frustrated Brother Ben ran after Dram before he got out of sight. The orc was left alive.

The two maneuvered their way back in the direction they believed Darius and the others waited. Breaking out into the clearing Mirel's call rang out from the trees for the others not to shoot. The group had readied bows in fear more orcs were approaching. After climbing down they all ran down along the riverside back to the hill cave of Quesquaton. The tree-woman hid while Dalin asked Ben, "Did you get the ears from the orc you were chasing? They’re worth good money once we return to the Keep". Ben did not answer as he had no ears or kills to show for the battle.

Heading back up the hill, the group did not detect any pursuit from the unknown enemy. Their tracks were scuffed over while climbing back up and everyone relaxed and rested once back in the tubular cave. The water outside had dried in the meantime. No barkers, now called kobolds, attacked in the bat room thankfully as the party was still weak from battle. Many of the bats had returned to roost though. At the cavern fork Darius decided to set off the suspected sand trap they had discovered the day before. Prodding forward the sand slid away quickly sinking anything inside it. Darius had roped himself off while the group held the other end and pulled him out each time he looked to go too deep. After a few attempts much of the sand had sunk into a hole which appeared to lip underneath the floor. Darius rappelled down about 60’ and felt what might have been a large stone box or column under the large pile of sand. Off to one side of him were the remains of a human body. It was clad in armor with the symbol of an eagle upon its shield. Did the skeleton move or was it merely the shifting of sands? Darius took no chances as he smashed in its skull with his hammer. The leather armor and shield were in bad repair. A scabbard and busted dagger lay to one side. Perhaps it was one of the slain combatants in the level above from when they had first entered Quesquaton? No matter. The bones weren’t answering any questions today.

Once at the top of the well the group was happy to see Outpost Xavier again. They decided to wait until tomorrow before exploring once more. Darian cleaned his armor of sand and orc blood. He ordered the company to build a makeshift bridge that could be placed over the sandtrap below and then went to meet with Elion in the Elf’s tent. What was said Ben did not hear. Perhaps more of the group joined Darian in his report while Ben worked with the Gresslam Brothers? He suspected that all of the days activities were likely reported. One of the facts Ben learned later was how every creature in the Greenwillow Forest took the name Greenwillow for itself. He learned also the tree-woman was not human, but a 'dryad' defending her tree. With the mountain lion dead she would be looking for a new companion to help her guard it. Fortunately for Outpost Xavier, Darius had not accepted the position.
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[Session 5]

The rest of the day would see each of the members working on their own projects or with the troops. Dram worked on training his archer crew and tested them for improvements. Targets were drawn and each member took his turn firing. Dram saw some improvement from the work so far, but each still had quite a bit to learn. Dalin put the pikeman crew he was training through a series of difficult exercises. They were huffing and puffing at the end of his work. Due to the bruises and injuries still healing from the first half the day, Dalin only watched and supervised the drills instead of joining in. Mirel found out Outpost Xavier was slowly being repaired, but many of the basic chores were being ignored. No one had even walked the horses or brushed them down that morning. She worked quietly, but steadily the rest of the day not saying a word of it to anyone.

Dram and Darius looked over the stone masonry work the soldiers and their smith had done to the broken door frame over the last couple days. It looked very nice, but the smith had not known how to rebuild the murder hole from the second floor pouring out on the porch below. The two decided it was better to have a strong, secure door. Dram tried drawing out schematics in the ground with the Smith nonetheless. The 3rd story of the tower was still almost entirely demolished by the Giant attacks from before the band had arrived over a week ago. A great deal of the supplies that were found behind Zelligar's throne room were stored in the 1st and 2nd floors while the stone blocks had been piled up on this third floor and for use along the encircling tower stairs. The holes in the walls created by the Giant's attack were currently being patch up by Militia soldiers. It was obvious to everyone a great deal more work would be needed before the tower was fully repaired.

Kayla spent her time away from the others. Pouring through the old booksfound in Zelligar's library she had several conversations in quiet with Darius throughout the day. Brother Ben did not see whether or not any information was shared with Elion the Elf, but neither did he hear what they were talking about. Instead, he was busy working with the Brothers Gresslam: Goodrich, Rizzle, and Grizzard. Still learning the basics of healing, the Brothers were put on numerous jobs mimicking Ben cleaning wounds and learning bandaging styles. Ever since the army arrived the infirmary stayed empty, but continuous work kept it as clean and orderly a place as possible given the circumstances. In the evening Dalin and Dram took inventory of the food and weapons and set watches. Most were no longer worried about another Giant stike given the one hundred soldier strong army.

Late in the day Elion called our heroes, the heads of the tower militia, to his tent to discuss what was going on back at the Keep. "Captain Devereaux has been promoted to Lady Devereaux. She took temporary command of the county when Lord Margrave took his army in chase after the enemy." Where was that we inquired. "Far to the North and East over the mountains." Elion also informed us of Lady Margrave staying in the city Harling which lay in the center of the county. She had not accompanied her husband. Brother Ben had heard about Harling and always wanted to go. Many thousands of people were said to live there. Elion spoke on about how he and Lady Devereaux had conversed over these past few days, but none in the group dared to ask how seeing as he had not left the camp. The Elf explained how he was an advisor to the Lord Margrave and how he agreed to stay behind in Margrave and assist Lady Devereaux as the acting authority.

Brother Ben was caught up in the otherworldliness the Elf seemed to possess. Very well spoken he told the group of how Quesquaton was originally the first human settlement in these lands. How over 80 years ago Zelligar and Rohgan had arrived in this very same spot and built the tower of Outpost Xavier. Elion explained that Quesquaton was a word from a barbarian tongue, which meant "the death of orcs". Dram looked angrily back at him for this. He knew the language which Elion spoke of was of his ancestor’s and by barbaric the Elf had meant ancient human. Kayla smiled to herself upon hearing the news. Perhaps she already knew some of it? Ben was unsure as he walked out into the starlit night afterwards. Working so hard to protect everyone he had neglected in learning quite who each of them were.
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[DAY 9 - Thunderday, Mao 26th, CY 81]

After Ben prayed in the morning and Kayla studied from her books, the next exploration into Quesquaton was mounted. Climbing down the well had become practiced for the group, but a surprise awaited them in the side hall half way down. The door to Quesquaton was closed. Instead of saying the original password "quesquaton" which opened it, Igor pressed the plate next to the Zelligar etching to the right of the door.


Ben wasn't in the well when they had first opened the stone portal, but he did remember this loud call echoing up the well.


Our heroes chuckled a little at this. Today they planned to search for any final secret doors or rooms as the whole of Quesquaton was now explored in their minds.


"Qua" said Igor. "Quest" said Brother Ben. "On" said Dram and the door opened.


The central corridor was empty. Igor checked for kobold tracks or those of any others that might have closed the door and found two different types. Both small distorted footprints were erratically about and several points sticking in the sand and debris. "kobold tracks and what I think is the second spider", said Igor. Brother Ben remembered the 7' beast. "Maybe it was simply spear tips," thought Ben, but chose not to say anything. Brother Ben was glad Darius had relented and Igor was traveling with the group again. Hadn't he healed the once-misshapen fellow? Besides Igor was a far better tracker than any of the others.

The secret doors in the two alcoves in the left side of the main corridor were still open. The two on the right were searched again, but nothing was discovered. Heading into the main halls, the group traveled into the pool room as the small footprints seemed to lead in almost every direction. Checking on the crack in the wall leading to the collapsed storage chamber Kayla rediscovered Ben's lost list. It contained the inscriptions encircling each of the pools. Ben made sure to hold onto it lest he misplace it again.
  • The frightening endless black pool = Speak My Name
  • The healing fruit juice which looked pink and fuzzy = Restore Health
  • The greenish clear fizzing acrid liquid pool = Strip Flesh
  • The murky grey liquid pool = Curse Upon
  • The green gooey pool = Slime
  • The icy water pool = Fresh as Mountain Stream (becomes beer when spoken)
  • The dark red liquid pool = Bordo
  • Dry, parched pool = Dust in the wind (fills with dirt when spoken)
  • Flaming pool = Toil & Trouble (fire goes out when spoken)
  • Empty pool, but with an uneasy feeling surrounding it = Your Worst Fears
  • Greenish liquid pool = Go to Sleep (speaker becomes drowsy)
  • Goldfish in water = Here Here Fishy Fishy (when spoken this kills the fish)
  • Ice (steaming) = Freeze
  • Heaping pile of gold coins = Fools Treasure (The phrase makes the coins appear or disappear)
  • Slowly trickling water = Be Silent (There is no sound from this pool)
  • Incomplete in construction = (There is no writing around this pool.)
  • Milk pool = Sour Puss (The milk curdles when spoken)
  • Swampy water with frogs = Ribbett (When spoken the tadpoles become frogs and more appear in the water)
  • Pool of ashes = Ashes to Ashes
  • The now empty pool which contained the cloth-wrapped corpse = Arise
The healing juice pool was about half empty at this point. Members had been filling their waterskins after fights. The other pools were filled to within a foot of the brim. The group had an empty quarterbarrel lowered down the well by the guards above. Once full everyone else filled waterskins until the juice was gone. Ben planned to make a tally of available doses once above ground again. The quarterbarrel was tied off and raised back up the well with instructions to store it carefully in the infirmary.

Further down the hallways more footprints could be seen. A collection lead through a series of closer rooms. The armory was still disheveled and full of rusted arms. The utility room's junk piles also seemed untouched. The footsteps led on and past the room with the smashed idol in it.

AUTHOR'S NOTE:[sblock]No one noticed the map not corresponding to this detail. On the map the hallway stops and enters the idol room[/sblock]
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