Co’Naan ran towards the door. Guydalf yelled out, “It’s trapped.” Co’Naan nodded and pulled out his maul. Taking a few steps backward, he ran and swung the maul at the door near where the hinges would be.
Crack! The wooden door and building shuddered at the impact. Wood splintered and cracked. Co’Naan backed up and repeated the running swing, this time towards the bottom hinges.
Crack! The door shook and flew inwards. Spikes flew upwards from the bottom of the door frame. Somewhere pointed outwards, but the long handle of the maul, and a quick jump back kept Co’Naan safe.
Guydalf waved his hands around and pulled magic from the area around him. Motes of magic appeared in the air and swirled around. A little tempest of magic appeared and tightened until a little tornado three feet high, and with two arms sticking out of the sides became visible.
Guydalf pointed in through the door and the conjuration darted into the building. Each foot it covered, kicked up dirt, dust, and bits of wood. A couple of traps went off, shooting arrows or clouds of gas into the hallway. Arrows disrupted the tornado but it kept moving towards the back of the building.
Until a large stone burst through a wall like it was parchment, hit the tornado, and flattened it against a much more solid wall. Co’Naan rushed in with maul at the ready. The fighter looked around for danger, left, forward, right, and then up, and started laughing.
Poking out of the ceiling were two little halfling boots. Kicking and wiggling like they were trying to run through the air. The drops of blood immediately ceased Co’Naan’s laughing though. The fighter lifted the maul upwards so the feet could get purchase on it.
“Can you stand and get yourself out?” Co’Naan said. A grunt and whimper was the only response. Co’Naan pushed upwards on the feet and slowly the halfling was lifted out of the hole.
“Someone was expecting visitors,” Guydalf said.
Primore paused before stepping into the building. Breathing slowly he closed his eyes and whispered a prayer to his god.
“Tulanri, show me where evil lies,” Primore said. As his eyes opened, his jaw fell more and more open. Turning his gaze away from the house Primore choked and gagged. Turning a complete circle, the cleric averted his eyes upwards while trying to calm his stomach. “Every… where.”
Eyes closed, Primore bent over and emptied his stomach on the ground. Pressing his eyelids closed the cleric blindly tried to wipe his mouth, then reach for his waterskin. Some gargling and much rinsing of his mouth, gave time for the prayer to run out.
“Everywhere,” Primore said in a low tone to Guydalf. “It is as if the whole city has evil bubbling from underneath it.”
“The people?” Guydalf said glancing towards the two guards nearest to them.
“No, just the ground, as if it's been soaked with the blood of innocents,” Primore said.
“Always the poet,” Guydalf said. The wizard stepped into the house and looked up at Rovi through the hole in the floor. “Can you come back out the window so Primore can heal you?”
Rovi nodded and with a groan grabbed the window sill and pulled himself through the window. As soon as he was out the window, his boots glowed and he drifted towards the ground. Primore reached out and touched him midair
“Tulanri bless and heal this brave man,” Primore said.
The deep gouges in Rovi’s legs and thigh disappeared. Pink scars and scabs covered the areas now. His pants were still tattered, but he landed on the ground mostly healed.
“Thank you, been a while since a trap got me,” Rovi said wincing a little.
“Whoever is in charge is obviously prepared, let's proceed carefully,” Guydalf said after a small sigh of relief once Rovi landed.
“How carefully?” Rovi said as he pulled a pack off his horse and removed a new pair of pants.
“Break out the trap finders and see if the guards can get us more rope,” Guydalf said. Co’Naan was still inside the house looked back towards Guydalf. The wizard beckoned the warrior to step outside.
“My maul can open the doors just fine,” Co’Naan said once he was a few feet from Guydalf.
“We are proceeding with extreme caution.”
“How extreme? Like…” Co’Naan was interrupted by Guydalf.
“Tomb of Horrors extreme,” Guydalf said. Co’Naan and Rovi whistled and nodded their heads. In a quiet tone, Guydalf whispered, “Primore detected the whole town is seeping evil from the ground. Whatever is here has been here for a long time. It has had time to prepare.”
Co’Naan headed back to his horse and removed a small pack tied to it. Opening it up, he pulled out a wooden stick about six inches long, and three stones about the size of apples.
“Sure these still work?” Co’Naan said walking back towards the entrance of the house.
“If the magic had faded, your horse would have been crushed,” Guydalf said.
“Crushed, but I like Hoofsteader,” Co’Naan said glancing back at his spotted horse. Looking back towards Guydalf, “How about you carry them in the future.” The warrior extended his hands holding the three stones and stick.
“No, you kidding?” Guydalf stepped back and put his hands up. “I’m the likely target of magic nullification spells.”
“What about Primore?”
“The last person we want accidentally crushed, and don’t suggest Rovi, he also tends to encounter magic nullification.”
“What about hiring someone, they could carry loot and extra gear.”
“The fucker who stole all our goblin ears?” Co’Naan clenched his jaw and his hands. With a sigh and looking down at the ground Co’Naan almost seemed to shrink. “What about dragging them behind us, or on a long pole.”
“Let’s talk about it after this, maybe it is time we buy a wagon,” Guydalf said as he reached up a hand to pat Co’Naan on the shoulder.
Behind them from inside the house there came a yell from Rovi, “Shotgun!” Rovi walked out of the house to stand next to Guydalf, Co’Naan, and a Primore. “Found a door leading down, it was hidden pretty well.”
“You think it is trapped?” Guydalf said.
“I’d be disappointed if it wasn’t,” Rovi said.
“Let's solve one problem then with part of another,” Guydalf said. He reached out and without asking took a stone from Co’Naan. The small stone had weight but the wizard was able to carry it. “Show me where,”
Guydalf walked into the house and to where Rovi pointed the hidden entrance. A wooden trap door had been hidden under a small cabinet and false wall. Standing a few feet from the door, Guydalf held the stone with both hands over his head. With all of his might, he threw it at the door and shouted, “Mastadonic!” as soon as the stone left his hands.
The stone grew in size as it fell. Going from the size of an apple to the size of a watermelon in a second. It kept growing as was about five feet diameter when it hit the wooden door. Metal hinges bent and snapped as the stone hit. The door fell downwards into darkness, followed by the rock.
Faintly Rovi heard the sound of bows and springs being released. Some glass breaking and definite pop’s. Carefully the halfling placed a hand on one of Guydalf’s arms and pulled him away from the hole.
“Never know if they used acid or gas traps,” Rovi said. Guydalf nodded his head and went back several feet.
After waiting for a count of fifty, Rovi wrapped a wet cloth over his face, tied a rope around his shoulders, dropped down the hole. Co’Naan held the other end of the rope lowering it carefully to minimize slack. Primore took the other end of the rope and tied it to a second rope in case more length was needed.
Forty feet of rope down, Rovi tugged on it three times. Co’Naan lowered the rope to the ground and went to tie the other end to a support beam. Before trying, he tested the beam by grabbing onto it and verifying it would hold his weight.
Rovi had dropped down into a round room with two doors. The hole was in the middle and made getting out this way require a rope or magic. Walking to a wall Rovi pulled out a piece of charcoal. With four slashes he made two vertical lines and two horizontal lines crossing through them.
Guydalf floated down from the hole in the ceiling, using the rope as a guide. Primore followed by Co’Naan climbed down afterward. Rovi went to one of the doors and started examining it.
Solid wood door, probably oak, metal band at the top and bottom, hinges not visible, and simple latch type of handle on the right side. Rovi couldn’t see any traps but looped a small bit of twine around the latch handle. Slowly walking to the right side of the door, he motioned to his friends to step back. Squatting near the floor, he pulled on the twine and the latch slowly opened.
Guydalf using a tiny bit of magic created a little hand of force that slowly pushed the door open.
Swish! A blade dropped out of the top of the door frame and fell to the floor. Rovi moved closer and sighed at the blade.
“Ug, not even worth as scrap,” Rovi said. He pulled the short sword from where it stuck in the ground and tossed it over to the side. Looking upwards he could see the trap mechanism, a lever that held a sword in place. A spring behind it in the ceiling.
Through the doorway, a long hallway stretched before them. Wooden support beams and partial walls to the left and right. Rovi slipped in and carefully crossed the distance. After forty feet it opened into a larger room.
Co’Naan stepped in after Rovi gave an all-clear sign. Once past the door, he pulled out an ax and chopped where the hinges met with the door. Once the door was free, he placed it to the side.
“Don’t want someone coming behind us and resetting this thing,” Co’Naan said. Guydalf and Primore nodded. Co’Naan looked at the door frame, then swung the ax where the trap mechanism was. A few more chops and the spring fell from the ceiling. Co’Naan put it in a bag.
As the warrior walked down the hallway, he tested each of the wooden pillars with his ax. Also thrusting his torch behind the sections of wall for secret doors. One wall had a sizeable gap between the dirt and the support wall. Co’Naan hacked for a bit at the wooden support beam. Small amounts of dirt rained on the group as Co’Naan hacked at the support beam.
“I don’t think it is hiding a trap or secret tunnel,” Guydalf said. The wizard placed a hand on the warrior’s shoulder. Co’Naan stopped chopping at the support beam.
“I think something is back there,” Co’Naan said.
“Let Rovi check it out before you bring the city down on us,” Guydalf said. He looked in Rovi’s direction but the halfling wasn’t in sight. “Where’s Rovi?”
“Crap, RUN!” Rovi yelled as the halfling appeared at the end of the tunnel. His eyes wide and some hair missing from the top of his head, he was running towards the group. Behind him, a large wave of green slime rolled into the tunnel.
Guydalf pulled in and started focusing his power. Waiting for Rovi to move out of the way, he examined the oncoming wave of green slime. The edges of it were square instead of a smooth wave. A droplet of the slime bounced and hit a wall, then bounced off to rejoin the wave. The tiny square seemed familiar.
“Gelatinous creatures must be hundred of tiny ones,” Guydalf said as Rovi passed by him.
“Still burns,” Rovi said as he passed the doorway to the round room.
Guydalf closed his eyes to block out the wave of acidic slime rushing towards him. Calling forth a flame, he opened his eyes and yelled, “Fireball!” A tiny orange orb flew to the wave, when it impacted on the slimes, it burst into a ball of flame. The explosion blasted most of the slimes into tiny bits of goo, a few though were thrown towards the group.
“Dammit! Guydalf, you got one in my hair.” Co’Naan roared as one of the cubes landed in his hair, one on his chest and another on Guydalf’s leg. When the creatures landed they stuck to the object and the acid started eating away.
Co’Naan ran his gloved hands through his hair and knocked the cube out of it. With a downward swipe like sluicing water off of him, he dislodged the one on his chest. Guydalf used a tiny bit of magic to conjure a hand of force to pick off the cube eating away at his leg.
“Alright, maybe that wasn’t the best idea,” Guydalf said.
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Life long gamer and geek, after decades of RPG's, decided to start telling his own tales. Ones where the players can't derail.
I love fantasy and sci-fi. Have for decades, from the first time I read Dragons of Autumn Twilight to Stormlight archive, the worlds created have entrapped me. Now after years of attempting to complete a story, I've finished a few and am working on a new ones.