Novella I Wrote - Circa 2001

Discussions and help for Bard's Tale I: Tales of the Unknown
Post Reply
User avatar
Posts: 1502
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:53 am
Location: Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

Novella I Wrote - Circa 2001

Post by Darendor »

I completely forgot about this little story I wrote about Bard's Tale: Tales Of The Unknown.

I published it on my Angelfire-hosted BT site way back in the day - about March 2001 if memory serves correctly.

Thanks to the miracle of Google and its caching of webpages, I stumbled upon it.

Thought I'd post it here.

User avatar
Posts: 1502
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:53 am
Location: Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

Re: Novella I Wrote - Circa 2001

Post by Darendor »


Tallennius kicked the heavy oaken door open and charged out of the obsidian tower, sank to his knees in the snow and let out a scream, a loud battlecry declaring himself victorious over the Archmage known as Mangar The Dark.
Zanzibar, Darendof, Harrigan, and Soraelii emerged single-file from the tower into the sunlight that beat down on Skara Brae. Harrigan squinted his eyes sharply, as did the others: the sun had not beat down on Skara Brae or the surrounding countryside for well over eighteen months now.

"Hmmph, look at him. Just look at him. The barbarian that he is. No sooner are we out of that foul place than does he begin shouting battlecries, as if he alone is the saviour of the city," sneered Harrigan, sheathing his dagger into his hip scabbard.

Darendorf was scanning the sky, and the tower from which they had just emerged, half in amazement, half in distrust. "Well, you heard Klyearan himself say that Skara Brae was free because of us. I, for one, am glad to have rid the town of the eternal winter spell. If I never see another snowflake again for as long as I live, it shall be far too soon for this old boy!". He stowed his scribebook into his leather backpack, slung it over his shoulder, turned around and looked up at the tower. Already his wizard-sense told him that the tower was slowly disintegrating, as though the very molecules that bonded the brickery and mortar together had become unravelled by the death of the evil archmage.

Zanzibar shouldered his way past Harriagan and cast a sideways glance at Darendorf as he passed by him. He was the Paladin, the champion of the city's temples and healing synagogues, and he alone was shouldering the burden of hauling their dead companion, the Monk who had only been known as Zulai.

Zulai had accompanied the party for most of their journey, from the time they had emerged covered helm to boottip in sewer sludge from the depths of Skara Brae. Upon learning of the party's intention, which was to rid them of Mangar The Dark, he stepped up to the party as they were exiting the Scarlet Bard and brought them up short with a single palm-up gesture. "I am Zulai. I had been a traveller visiting Skara Brae when I stopped into Skara Brae for supplies. I had been visiting the nearby town of Hamelon, helping to oversee the construction of the Synagogue there. When the eternal spell of winter had been cast upon Skara Brae, I had become trapped within the city walls, as have so many other denizens of this town." The monk had remained completely emotionless during his introduction. "Forgive my intruding, but I have overheard your remarks while sitting at the bartable next to yours, and I wish to assist you in your quest. I do not wish any sort of monetary compensation; only to be given the opportunity to be free again so I may return to my Brotherhood, whom no doubt believe me to be dead."

Harrigan had stepped up beside Zanzabar and chirped, "Now see here, Flatfoot the Robed, this sort of business isn't for flower-eating, tea-sipping, mantra-humming pansy-asses such as yourself. We're hardened adventurers, we've killed lots of monsters, seen lots of treasure and have a lot of scars to prove it! You couldn't handle yourself in a fight with a butterfly!"
Zanzibar had turned to the Rogue, who was a good head shorter than himself, and was about to berate the halfling, but Zurai interjected, "Kind sir, if I might be permitted to display my usefulness?..." The monk half-raised an eyebrow to silently accent his question.

"By all means, sir," Zanzibar replied, with a slight bow of respect. He knew what was going to happen next.

Before Harrigan or anyone else knew it, the monk's left hand shot out, grabbed Harrigan's tunic, and with the right hand he very quickly grasped his dagger from the scabbard at his side. In the next instant, the monk released the hapless rogue, slashed his tunic with his dagger in a criss-cross pattern without cutting his skin underneath, and did a spin-kick which caugh Harrigan in the solar plexus,sending him flying backwards up into the air a good four feet. He landed with a loud THUMP on the wooded floor on his backside, then collapsed, stunned, onto his back with a muffled groan.

Zurai ceased his attack as quickly as he commenced it, immediately seeming to be the harmless figure he appeared to be a moment ago. He reversed the dagger in his hand and offered it to Zanzibar. "I assure you, your friend is not permanently harmed. I damaged his pride more than his body, and perhaps bruised his ego a bit. Forgive me if this seemed harsh. I will allow you to punish me as you see fit, if you believe I was out of action." Placing the dagger down on the ground beside him, he knelt on one knee with his head lowered and did not move. His robes flowed with grace whenever he moved.
The howls of laughter coming from behind Zanzibar and the rest of his party subsided, and Soraelii, Darendorf and Tallennius were helping a startled and huffing Harrigan to his feet.

"DID YOU SEE THAT?!! Th-that idiot monk attacked me!" he instinctively reached his hand down to his scabbard, which was empty of course. "H-h-he stole my dagger, too! He's a thief! A THIEF!!" Harrigan was easily flustered from time to time, especially after he had been consuming mead in the bars from a hard day of adventuring. Or what he considered a hard day adventuring, which typically meant he watched his companions do all the fighting while he selected the best treasure to pocket for himself.

Darendorf was trying very hard not to smirk. "You know, some people would call you a thief, Harri," he began quietly, with a wink to Soraelii. Soraelii flung his hands up, bound and determined not to get involved in the rogue's hissy-fitting. He had, after all, gotten what he deserved. The bard retreated to the nearest bar stool some fifteen feet away and sat down, ordered a half tankard of ale, picked up his flute, and began playing a staccato tune, watching his companions with a semi-sullen look on his thinly bearded face all the while.
"I am n-not a thief; I am a rogue. A ROGUE, do you hear me you spell-slinging wimp? Just because you stand back and cast magic from a safe distance while I go up close-"

"SHUT UP!" Zanzibar had yelled over his shoulder. He turned back to the brown-robed stranger in front of him, who had not moved. Was he still breathing, or was he a gargoyle in disguise? And why was he kneeling down in front of him? Does he expect me to behead him for putting the thief in his place?

Clearing his throat, the Paladian said, "Please, stand up. There is no need for you to, uh, do this. We would, uh, be more than welcome to have you join our ranks. I'm certain you have already accomodation of your own, or if not we could surely speak to Bryan at the Adventurer's Guild, to get you at least a cot if not a bunk of your own..." The monk had stood back up at Zanzibar's urging, but had not retrieved Harrigan's dagger.

"Thank you very much, but I have my own acccomodations in place, as I have had ever since my first day arriving in Skara Brae. Shall I meet up with you and your party-" Zulai nodded towards Darendorf, Soraelii and Tallenius seated at the bar, "-at sunrise tomorrow in the Gran Plaz? Is this agreeable?"

"Yes, that shall be fine, Zulai. Until the morrow, in the Plaz."
"Go in peace, Sir Zanzibar, noble Paladin." Zulai executed a deep bow, followed by a half-kneel, then, after casting an eye at Harrigan, who was staring fireballs at him, he retreated out of the Scarlet Bard into the wintery night. Zanzibar only noticed then that he was not wearing any sort of footwear. He bent down, his plate mail armor clinking together as he did so, and picked up the dagger. He walked back towards the other four members of the party. Soraleii was still playing on his flute, this time playing the Watchwood Melody, a tune that he found especially soothing.

He tossed the knife at Harrigan casually and said, "Next time, watch your mouth when someone offers to help us. They might not go so easy on you." He sat down. Darendorf had been reviewing his scribed notes from their journey into the sewers beneath the Scarlet Bard. Casting an eye at the barkeep, who was busy hitting on one of the barmaids, he remarked, "Zanzibar, do you think he knows?"
Zanzibar looked at the mage, and waited for him to meet his gaze before answering, "Of course he knows. He sent us down there to 'accidentally' discover the entrance to the sewer system. Perhaps it was his way of trying to help put an end to this wintery hell that Mangar has placed upon us." Silence, except for the bard's music, followed his words. Jerking a thumb at the doorway, he announced, "The robed stranger is a monk. Goes by the name of Zulai. Apparantly he was travelling to Hamelon to help them build a temple of some sort, and was sent here to pick up supplies one day. Well, as luck would have it, that was the day that ole Manger decided to make it snow forever, and he's been stranded here ever since. He is going to be joining us, and we are to meet him an hour after sunup in the Gran Plaz tomorrow. Best we all return to the Guild and get some sleep. And NO wenching, Soraelii!" he tapped the bard on the arm lightly, enough to disturb his flute-playing. He put the flute away with a grumbled curse. Harrigan was examining the damage that the monk had done to his tunic.
"I need a new tunic. Can we stop by at Garthe's tomorrow and-"


"But..." he whined pathetically. The others were already heading for the exit.
And so, the following morning the five adventurers, the paladin Zanzibar, the bard Soraelii, the mage Darendorf, the rogue Harrigan and the hunter Tallennius all met up with the lone monk in the Plaz the following morning, one hour after sunrise. The hearty band of adventurers, the six, assaulted various labyrinths both above and beneath Skara Brae. They battled countless sorts of vile creatures; both living and not, encountered foul magicks of various schools, found countless treasures of all sorts (Harrigan had pocketed various gems and other sorts of plunder), sustained countless injuries, and battled other sorts of phenomenon only found in dank, sinister dungeons of arcane construction: magical darkness, areas that countered all sorts of magical spells, teleport traps that flung the party in random directions (Darendorf despised these; and always had his Sorcerer Sight spell activated whenever possible to alert them of a possible trap. The spell manifested itself as a magically pulsing eye that floated above his head by a few inches. The warrior-barbarian, Tallennius, thought it to be an evil curse the first time Darendorf cast it and had proceeded to skewer the "evil spirit" that had apparantly claimed his soul...), even silence zones that inexplicably prevented any sort of noise at all. These areas, naturally, disoriented Soraelii, for he was unable to play the Sanctuary Score on his flute while the party was exploring. This song formed a magical shield around the party's existing armor and therefore increased their survivability considerably. But his throat ran dry often, and thus encouraged the party to return to the surface of Skara Brae so he could wet it with a nice tankard of ale, or mead, or beer, or if he was feeling particulary chancy, what the barkeep referred to as "foul spirits". Only Zulai the monk seemed largly unphased by the traps, terrors and tribulations the party found upon each dungeon level. As Zanzibar had already known, he was a more that competent fighter, not even using a weapon save for his bare hands and feet, which were admittedly sandalled during the excursions into the various mazes and dungeons of Skara Brae. He moved with amazing speed and dexterity such that a foe's blows rarely landed, and when they did the monk barely reacted to the impact and instead returned the attack, often killing his opponent before they struck the floor.

And so they went: They invaded the catacombs beneath a vile temple dedicated to the long-dead Mad God called Tarjan, where they dispatched an undead priest and a foul dragon and then, furthur beneath the soil, they discovered the animated remains of Sir King Aildrek, who was ruler of all the countryside some 250 years ago. He merely turned to them and began moving towards them, reaching out with the much-decayed remains of his hands, much to the horror of the party. Zanzibar was ruthless in running the spectre through with his holy blade, and the animated corpse of the once noble king fell to the ground, the evil magic that possessed his remains dissipating into the air with a loud sigh. Tallennius and Zulai searched the burial chamber and found a stone bauble that seemed to resemble a humanoid eyeball.

Next, the band of adventurers advanced upon the castle of Baron von Harkyn, the nobleman who had taken over as the current mayor of Skara Brae and who also commanded the city's guard. Since the city had succumbed to Mangar's spell of winter, the guard had all but crumbled. It was no longer safe to walk around unarmed at all. People were being terrorized by the minions of goblins, hobgoblins, mutant spiders and even undead. Corpses were frozen in the streets, partially buried underneath snowdrifts that kept rising and rising. The party found that they had to defeat stone statues that guarded the way to various sections of Skara Brae; no doubt constructed by the vile necromancer-sorcerer himself. When the party approached to within twenty feet of so of one of these, they would animate without warning and assault the party. Three such statues blocked the party's progress to the Castle's courtyard: A giant who stood perhaps 50 feet tall, a smaller one that was a bulky golem, and finally a dragon that guarded the courtyard itself. The party sustained significant wounds during the battles with these constructs, but luckily a healing temple was nearby. And so the party charged into the entryway of the castle, ultimately defeating any foe foolish enough to attempt to stop their frenzied charge. Atop the Castle, after solving more than a few complex puzzles and riddles, thanks in part to Darendorf and his prediliction for scribing the dungeon levels as they explored, the party of six had arrived outside of a doorway that had a sign over top of it. It read "The Barracks". Harrigan's acute hearing picked up muffled sounds coming from behind the oak door. Everyone paused to listen closely, and what they heard was somewhat surprising. It sounded much like a drunken party going on. Removing his helmet first, Tallennius pushed the door open very slowly and risked a look inside. What he saw were hundreds of barbarians dressed in green robes, sitting and standing at very long tables, drinking and eating and feasting very loudly. The room itself appeared to be very large, in fact, Tallennius could not see the other end. On the lower level of the castle, the party had dispatched a group of six such barbarians wearing the same robes. Since this was the only area of the castle yet to be explored, and since they were only six in number, they decided that to just saunter into a room where hundreds of barbarians were feasting and drinking rather merrily was not a very good plan. Zulai suggested that they retreat to the entry level and retrieve the robes that they had left on the now-deceased owners and disguise themselves as one of their number. The party agreed, and thanks to Darendorf's Apport Arcane spell, the party teleported back to the area where the robes were and returned right back onto the top floor of the castle in under three minutes. All party members now dressed in the robes, they entered the massive chamber and almost instantly blended in with the others. A few turned their heads and raised large metal mugs of mead at them, screaming out what the party only could assume was a word of greeting. Tallennius, being a barbarian himself, immediately returned the hail with a "HUURRGGAHHHAAA!!!" of his own and held his bloodied axe aloft. The other five members began to appear to mingle without really trying to do so; they were looking around for any other possible exits to other chambers. Soraelii found it, in the south wall. He let out a whistle, which caught the attention of the other party members, as well as about five or six of the partying barbarians. Zanzibar, Darendorf, Zulai and Harrigan made their way towards the bard, but Tallennius was engaged in an arm-wrestling contesting with a burly barbarian, who had clearly had too much to drink. He slammed the drunken man's knuckles down onto the table hard, causing him to fall off his seat and onto the floor. He didn't move any more after that. Tallennius stood up and walked over to his companions quickly, receiving a hearty slap on the back of his mithril platemail armor that nearly sent him stumbling. Darendorf rolled his eyes. Organised again, the party checked the door for sounds, found none, then opened it and went into the next chamber, Harrigan casting an uneasy glance backwards over his shoulder at the crude men, drinking and eating and belching and fighting.
It was at the end of this final chamber, in the southeast corner of the top floor of Harkyn's battered castle, after negotiating a field of "spinner" traps, that the party found a large statue of a warrior, human-looking, made completely of stone. He held a mighty claymore with both hands above his head. The statue might have been here for decades. Having been wary of the guardian-statues outside of the castle, Zanzibar held up his hand in warning to the rest of the party. Having deactivated his Sorcerer Sight spell before entering the "party room", Darendor now reactivated it and concentrated on having the magical eye examine the statue very closely. He reported that there was a latent magical field emanating from the statue, but it was different from the statues outside. Soraelii instinctively put his flute to his lips and began playing the Sanctuary Score, more out of nervousness than anything else. He did not like this one bit. His mind wandered to Lorianna, the beautiful barmaid that worked in the Scarlet Bard, but he kept one eye on the statue.

One eye...

He lowered the flute from his lips and peered closer, while the light azure glow from the mage's hovering eye-spell. As the eye floated upwards towards the figure's head, he saw that its left eye was missing. Soraelii turned to Zanzibar to voice what he was thinking, but before he could speak, the monk Zulai strode quickly forward, the eye-bauble that they had retrieved from the lich-king Aildrek a month before held in his open palm before him. He walked up to the statue until he was almost toe-to-pedestal with it, when the eye began to levitate upwards out of the monk's hand. He lowered his hand down to his side, took five steps backwards in rapid succession, and said, "Everyone, prepare for a battle!".

Harrigan gaped. He felt for his dagger and instinctively took up a stance in the shadows, off to Soraelii's left flank. The bard put his flute back to his lips and began playing the Sanctuary Score once more, which was naturally the party favourite for combat situations. Zanzibar and Tallennius each took up a position to Zulai's left and right flanks, while the monk just watched the eye levitating up higher, nodding very slightly to himself. All eyes were on the one eye, which stopped levitating upwards when it was level with the statue's empty socket, and, rotating its pupil outwards, began to float into the socket.
"Dar, prepare any spell that you might find helpful here!" Zanzibar called over his shoulder.

"Any particular one you wish me to ready, oh mighty wall-o-muscle?"
"Just do it," he snarled back.

The eye fitted itself into the socket, at which point the entire room began to vibrate beneath their feet. The statue glowed with an orange, then green, then blue aura and then animated. Without furthur warning, it leapt off the pedestal and landed on the floor, directly in front of Tallennius, and swung its vicious looking sword straight down at him.

Zulai reacted instantly by ducking into a backwards somersault, rolling to his feet, then executing a leaping kick at the attacker's midsection. Half-expecting his foot to contact stone, he was relieved when he found flesh padded by metal armor plating. The statue barely reacted to the attack, its heavy blade was caught in the middle of its downswing by Tal's huge axe, making a vicious CLANNG. The barbarian wheeled his axe around and chopped into the statue-man's side, but barely cut into the armor at all. Darendorf had been chanting in the background, and four fiery trails shot forth from his extended fingers and cleared Harrigan's head, impacting into their foe's head, chest twice, and leg. Singe marks appeared where the magical damage struck, but it did nothing to slow its advance. Zanzibar swung his crystalline longsword at it, which he had discovered after the party defeated a Jabberwock on the lower level, but missed cleanly as it retreated a few steps backward. Meanwhile, Zarrigan had his dagger out and was using the shadows for cover. He had managed to circle around behind the statue, and hopped up onto its pedestal and poised his dagger. When it took its backwards steps, he made his move. He leapt from the pedestal and plunged his dagger into the back of its neck. He clung to the back of the warrior-statue, and it wheeled about, trying to dispatch this newest threat. Zurai, however, took advantage of the opportunity and rained a savage flurry of punches and blows on its lower back, careful to avoid striking the hapless halfling, who was now beginning to ponder the wisdom of his attack. The statue was beginning to falter slightly, trying to maintain its balance from the brutal assault delivered by the monk and the unaccounted-for weight of Harrigan.

The statue turned back to the party and pointed its blade at Soraelii. An instant later, a white bolt shot out of the tip of the blade and struck the bard in the gut, causing him to drop his flute and double over in pain. He fell down onto the marble floor and vomited, spasming violently.
Darendorf had decided to risk casting a Death Strike spell at the automaton warrior. He knew that it was exactly the same spell that had hit Soraelii, and he ought to be thankful to be alive. Chanting furiously while the others attempted to bring the monster down in melee battle, he brought up his right hand above his head and spread his fingers apart while pointing a finger from his left hand at his intended target. Tallennius was trying to flank the enemy to yank Harrigan off the thing's back, who was clearly too terrified to realize that letting go and scrambling for cover would be the easiest and smartest thing to do. Now that Soraelii was effectively disabled, the party no longer had the benefit of the Sanctuary Score song, which meant their survivability for this encounter had dropped sharply in the last thirty seconds. Apport Arcane was out of the question, simply because it required all people to be within a narrow area of effect and be relatively motionless. Having completed the Death Strike spell, he walked forward, maintaining the somewhat silly looking pose of both his arms and, uttering a final mantra, discharged the potentially lethal magic energy towards their foe.

The bolt hit the statue directly in the head, causing it to stiffen, lowering its sword, looking for all the world like a man who suddenly had been the victim of an attack of diahrrea, then promptly keeled over onto its side with a loud CRAASHH. Harrigan had the intelligence to fall off the statue before it hit the floor, bouncing slightly and groaning loudly. He didn't bother to get up just yet. No, sir.
There was a low hum coming from the pedestal where the statue had been standing prior to the party's intrusion. Zanzibar had rushed over to the fallen bard and was trying to help him to his feet, and he looked up to see a portal rising up out of it. It rose up to about seven feet in the air, by about three wide. It was a rectangle of pure energy, melting in color from sky blue to deep purple then back again. Casting his eyes at the fallen statue, it appeared that the thing was once again inanimate stone, Harrigan's dagger still protruding from its neck.

After a moment, the party regrouped itself around the huddled form of Soraelii, all eyes glancing over the portal that was just patiently waiting where the statue once stood. Darendorf cast a healing spell on the bard and the rogue (who was suffering from bad nerves more than actual injuries sustained). They all held a very brief and impromptu meeting, which was party standard by now for whenever the party encountered an unusual phenomenon during its explorations. Tallennius wanted to charge through the portal, for surely Mangar lay beyond it. Harrigan was all for retreating out of the castle and going back to the Guild. For perhaps a decade. Zulai did not offer a vote; but listened to everyone else voice their opinions instead. Darendorf believed that this was the next step towards finding a way inside Mangar's tower, and that if the party hesitated for too long the portal would close, perhaps indefinitely. Soraelii was concerned with his own centre of balance and didn't have an opinion, although he would not resist of the party decided to beat a strategic retreat. Zanzibar, as party leader, voiced his opinion last, and stated that they ought to press forward while they could, since nobody was critically injured. He waited, silently counting to fifteen, then when nobody expressed an overt objection, said: "It is decided. We step through the portal."

* * * * * * * * * * * * * *
User avatar
Posts: 1502
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:53 am
Location: Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

Re: Novella I Wrote - Circa 2001

Post by Darendor »

"Another tower?"

Harrigan voiced the rhetorical question that formed in his mind, as he stared at the amber-colored fortress that was in front of the party. The portal that the party had stepped through had deposited everyone right here. Tallennius looked around himself apprehensively. Clearly they were still within the city limits of Skara Brae; it was snowstorming quite fiercely. "Now what?" he barked out in frustration.

They were in a circular courtyard, with only a single exit heading south. However, just barely in sight of the party due to the blowing snow, a very large iron gate was visible, blocking off any access, in or out.

Zulai peered closer at the tower. It looked more like a squat fort, having a central rounded spire that rose to perhaps half of the height of Mangar's own sanctum. There were four smaller parapets, each one connected to the central structure by what he could assume were passageways. The entire thing looked like a mockery of Harkyn's castle, where they just left, and also seemed to have borrowed from Mangar's tower, their ultimate goal, the light at the end of the neverending, wintery tunnel.

After walking around one of the parapets, Zulai discovered a very large doorway. "Sir Zanzibar! Gather your party over here, please. I believe I have found egress!" Zanzibar came around, followed by Tallennius, who had his bright green robe draped around him tightly to ward off the chill, then Soraelii, Darendorf and a sullen-looking Harrigan. Halflings were not especially receptive to cold weather, and thus Harrigan had followed the barbarian's cue and huddled himself within the green cloak to ward off the effects of the biting cold. Being smaller of frame, he was able to hide himself within the fabric, and Darendorf got the impression that the rogue wanted nothing more than to just disappear inside the fabric and emerge someplace else. He didn't completely blame him.

The party of six gathered themselves in front of what looked to be a very large metal door. It was bronze in color, and had intricate runes carved into the metal. Darendorf peered at them curiously, then scribbled into his scribebook furiously with a large pencil.

"Uh, so..." Soraelii looked around at his companions, his eyes settling upon the paladin. "What next, glorious leader? Do we attempt to maybe seek shelter inside, or do you just intend to allow us all to freeze in place. In case you had not noticed, this snowsquall has been going on for, oh, what, over a year and a half now? It isn't going to lift unless we figure out what to do next so we can get into Mangar-The-Cold-Hearted's tower and put an end to it! On second thought, I'm sure he'd make excellent animated statues out of us if we did freeze ourselves solid out here...." Soraelii's voice had taken on a calculated lilt during his rant.

From under Harrigan's robes: "I'm flipping cold!"

Zulai had actually permitting himself a half-smile at the bard's chastising of Zanzibar, who had just rolled his eyes and was thinking about what to do. Do we just charge the door? Or perhaps we should just knock. He walked up to Darendorf, who was studying the runes on the door. "Got any arcane ideas on how to get inside?"

The mage peered back at him and said, "Yes." He knocked on the door, three short raps. And waited.

There was a rumbling sound coming from within the building, beyond the door. The door suddenly began to slide open, to the left, into the wall. Zanzibar looked at the door, then at the mage, who looked back at him and winked. Zanzibar cast an over the shoulder glance at Zulai, who had the same half-smile on his face that he had before. The bard and rogue each took a few steps closer to the now-opening doorway, Harrigan's head poking out from under the robes. He looked for all the world like a small child who had gotten trapped in his own bedding.

Tallennius gave Darendorf a hearty slap on the back, which actually caused him to wince in pain. "Good work, mage! You may not be such a useless burden after all!" he let out a hearty laugh.

Darendorf merely said between pursed lips, "I shall remember that the next time you try to dance with an animated piece of rock."

The door had finished sliding open, and Zanzibar, Darendorf and Tallennius took a tentative step forward and peered into the darkness. Naturally, they saw nothing.

Zulai stepped forward and sidled up to Zanzibar and said, "Why not put the halfling rogue to good use?" Zanzibar immediately knew what he meant. "Harrigan," he said, "you're a rogue, right? A pretty good one, too, right?"

Harrigan removed his lithe form from the green robe. "You know it's true, pal." He felt a small twitch of apprehension in his gut.

"Why don't you put your rogue skills to good use, and check the entryway over yonder for traps and the like?" chimed in Soraelii. "Or do you always prefer to cower in the shadows while the fighters do all the dirty work?"

Harrigan's cheeks flushed at the bard's comment, and he turned on him and began to advance on him. He stopped a few feet away from Soraelii, who had an eyebrow cocked. He held an amused expression on his face, while Harrigan was flushing hotly. It was obvious that the rogue was insulted and seemed about ready to make something out of it. Or at least try.

"Smart words from someone who plays on a fiddlestick while everyone else fights," snarled Harrigan. "I have never ever seen you draw a weapon in combat. And who is it that whines to Zanny about returning to the inn whenever your voice runs dry? YOU! Who is it that can't stand to be away from the Scarlet Bard for more than a day? YOU! I bet if we searched your packsack we'd find a tankard of ale hidden away in there. C'mon, dinglenuts, let's see what you have in there!" Harrigan had reached around to the pack on Soraelii's back to open the top flap, but the bard had whirled towards him, moving the pack out of his reach.

"Back away now, thief, and I'll not cut your fingers off with me blade!" Soraelii's eyes lit up with anger. How dare this thief try to search my belongings! His left hand went down to his sword at his hip and he half-drew it, watching Harrigan.

Zanzibar stepped towards them, but a powerful hand was on his shoulder as soon as he did. He turned and saw it was Zulai restraining him. "Let them work this out by themselves," he intoned quietly, "for the good of the party."

Zanzibar relaxed his stance and watched as two of his party members began a urination contest.
"...oh look, he does have a weapon!" Harrigan exclaimed in mock disbelief. He turned and called over to the rest, "Hey look at this, guys! The drunken coward does have a weapon after all! Imagine th--OOF!" WHAP! Soraelii had charged towards Harrigan and hauled off and decked him one, right in the nose. He felt the bones crunch under his fist and grinned in satisfaction at the spray of blood that resulted. Harrigan went down into the cold snow onto his own packsack and rolled onto his side, groaning in pain.

Soraelii stood over the downed rogue, the fire in his eyes still burning. "Did it ever occur to ye, thief, that the music I play actually keeps us alive? Did it? No, of course not. All you are is a low-life, purse-snatching, gem-stealing, grave-robbing hoodlum, out for yourself with no regard for anyone other than yeself! That's right, ye lay there and think about what I said. Perhaps we ought to leave ye right there to freeze, we ought." With that, he turned around and stalked away from the rogue and back towards the group.

With incredible agility, considering the mind-numbing cold and the pain he was in, Harrigan lept to his feet and pounced on Soraelii's back, drawing the hidden dagger from the scabbard under his tunic as he did so. As he landed on his back, he reversed the blade in his hand and drove the pommel against the back of his skull. Both bard and rogue went down in a tangled heap. Tallennius had been watching the scuffle, amused in his barbarian sort of way, at two comrades in arms arguing over trivial things. It was annoying in its own way. Darendorf's annoyance was plainly written on his face as he stood slightly behind Zulai, his arms crossed and his brow knitted. He might have been tapping his foot impatiently.

Dazed, Soraelii had no time to recover before Harrigan had roughly kicked him onto his back. He knelt down beside the bard, grabbed his hair with one gloved hand and pressed the point of his dagger against Soraelii's throat with the other. Blood was coming out of both nostrils, and his nose was bent slightly. Despite this, Harrigan was able to speak clearly and calmly. "I ought to kill you for what you have done. I will say this to you once and then no more, so you best remember it. I am not a thief. I do not steal, I do not murder and I do not pillage. I am a rogue. A rogue, do you understand? Do you understand me, Soraelii? A thief is one who merely collects wealth and treasure for his own personal gain, not caring about who he hurts or what laws he violates. I am a master of night combat, I use the shadows to my advantage. Rogue, Soraelii. If you ever call me a thief again, I will kill you. I have honor. Tell me you understand my meaning. Say you understand. Say it."

Soraelii looked into Harrigan's eyes. "I understand, already. I do."

Darendorf chose that moment to step towards the two. He clapped his hands together once and said, "Well, that clears that up. Soraelii really is useful to the party after all, and Harrigan is a rogue as opposed to a common cutpurse. Now that you two are done playing, can we please get back to the task at hand?" Harrigan removed the dagger from Soraelii's throat and backed off. Darendorf helped the bard to his feet and gathered his packsack for him. He took Harrigan by the arm and examined the damage to his nose. Casting a Flesh Restore spell, he repaired the damage done to his face and made the pain go away instantly.

The party, once again a whole unit, stared into the open doorway. Zanzibar addressed Harrigan and said to him, "We are in need of your services. Your visual scope can see in the dark to a limited degree, correct?" Harrigan nodded. "Could you please go on in and secure the immediate entryway? Specifically, search for any traps that might catch us unawares."

Harrigan stepped up to the door and looked in. "It's about twenty-five feet wide and extends inward farther than I can see. I'll go in, but not alone."

"I will accompany you, Harrigan." Zulai stepped up to the doorway beside him. "In the event that we are set upon by hostile creatures, I will cover your retreat. Lead on."

Cautiously, the halfling rogue stepped into the stone corrider, looking in all directions as he did so for any manner of trap, and there were plenty: trapdoors in the floor, trapdoors in the ceiling, tripwires that triggered poison arrows from a concealed nook, flaming oils from the ceiling, walls that moved together to crush whoever was unfortunate enough to be caugh, and many more. After inspecting the immediate area inside the entryway, he motioned for Zulai to follow behind him closely. The other four watched them slowly disappear into the darkness, then Zanzibar instructed everyone to get inside the entryway but to proceed no farther. No sooner had Darendorf stepped inside than did the door begin to slide closed again. Fortunately, he was the last party member to step inside. Tallennius first attempted to stop the door panel from closing, but Darendorf shook his head in warning. It was a magically activated doorway; the barbarian would simply have had his fingers crushed if he tried to stop it from closing.

And thus, the party explored the strange amber-colored fortress, and were set upon by many different riddles, teleport traps, magically animated mouths, cast upon walls, that demanded cryptic responses (a failed answer meaning they were prevented from moving forward), foul creatures that stalked them through the many areas of magical darkness. They encountered a lair containing six dragons, a battle which the party was ill-equipped to handle. They fled for their lives, and escaped with them as luck would have it. The fortress was teleport-shielded with magic that rendered Darendorf's Apport Arcane spell utterly useless. Zanzibar had become convinced that the architects who built the fort were utterly mad, perhaps even more mad than the Mad God himself. The party discovered a curiously flat silver shaped object, in fact, the second one of its kind, for Soraelii had discovered a flat silver object, a metal square, while they were exploring Baron Harkyn's castle. Since its immediate function was beyond comprehension at the time, if it even had one, it had been stowed away in his packsack. Now that there was another similar item, he stowed it with the first, Darendorf making a mental note to examine them for latent magical ability once they were clear of this nightmarish place. The party came across a curious status; another guardian, this one made out of crystalline. It attacked the party, and Zanzibar dispatched it in two quick slashes of his sword, also made out of crystalline. Finally, the party found the inner sanctum, where they found Kylearan, none other than Skara Brae's resident "good wizard", as he called himself. Kylearan allayed the party's fears and demands to know why they had been transported to his tower (it was, after all, a tower, Kylearan told them) by explaning to them exactly why he had them come to him. He explained that Mangar was a travelling Archmage, perhaps following an arcane path of magic, and had settled into Skara Brae to conquer it. Mangar was his nemesis, and had ensconced himself in his multi-leveled tower in the southwest corner of Skara Brae, the entryway guarded by magical statues, much like the ones that the party encountered at Harkyn's castle. Darendorf listened with fascination to the old wizard as he spun the tale of how their town had succumbed to such sorcery. Kylearan finally told them that if they were to succeed and gain entrance to the tower, they would need the key of onyx. He handed the key to Darendorf, and spoke quietly: "You are all hearty adventurers, proven dedicated by your very presence in my inner sanctum; for none other than those noble of heart could have endured my trials within my abode. I regret that it, too, has been pervaded with Mangar's foul abominations, and the very magic that prevents random teleportation without also prevents me from banishing them from within. But I am secure within the sanctum, and I must encourage you to take leave of me, for you have what you require to lay siege to the tower of evil; I cannot go with you." The wizard turned his eyes on each member of the party. "Trust yourselves. Trust your instincts. You will be tried and tested far more than you have been up to this point. See with your heart and your mind, not just your eyes." He stood aside and pointed towards the north section of the room. "This concave will transport you to the exit of my Amber Prison. Go in peace, and remember what I has said to ye all."

Everyone murmured their thanks and farewells to Kylearan, then Zanzibar led the party into the teleportation zone. They arrived once again in the snow-covered street of Skara Brae, the large iron gates behind them. They were on the opposite side than when they had arrived from Harkyn's. The wind was howling, the snow driving. Darkness was descending.

"We must retire to the Guild and prepare our next move," spoke Zanzibar, "if we get an early start to the day tomorrow, we shall advance upon Mangar's Tower itself."

Tallennius raised his axe and shield over his head and clanged one against the other. "Agreed! No more will he torment us with this foul magic!"
User avatar
Posts: 1502
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:53 am
Location: Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

Re: Novella I Wrote - Circa 2001

Post by Darendor »

The party departed the Adventurer's Guild, while it was still dark. Darendorf had devoted an hour's time to study of the two flat, silvery shapes that they had discovered. He had his spooky Sorcerer Sight spell in operation, a detached eyeball that was literally peering over his left shoulder, scanning the things for magic. Sure enough, they registered a faint enchantment dwoemer, but they were uninteresting beyond that. The square was five inches to a side, and perhaps one quarter inch thick. The triangle was four and one half inches equilateral, with the same thickness. They were relatively lightweight objects, and this confused him all the more. They offered no clues as to their purpose. Perhaps they were learning instruments? He resigned himself from the task with a deep breath and a shrug, and placed them back into Soraelii's packsack.

And now, the party proceeded northwards, along Main Street, passing Garthe's Equipment Shoppe. Harrigan peered into the window as they trekked by, and thought he saw Garthe moving among the dim lighting within. Reaching Blacksmith Street, they headed west for a short walk, then turned south again, passing by both the Sinister Inn and the Town Hall, also known as the Board of Review, the place where adventurers and would-be adventurers alike would return to have their exploits weighed by top-level elders in the various schools and classes that people plied their trade, and, hopefully, be granted an increase in rank and status. Mages especially trained their skills within those halls, in fact, an entire wing was devoted to the study of magic and arcane lore. A single sconced torch remained everburning above the massive paired doors, a sign of defiance against Mangar. The party continued and turned west, down along a twisting alleyway, and emerged into the Gran Plaz. From here, they crossed diagonally south-west, exiting the Plaz and going through another twisted alleyway. The party was occassionally set upon by foul minions of darkness, which Tallennius seemed overly eager to tear apart. Nobody spoke during the trek across the city. Zanzibar kept his eyes focused on the faraway tower, the twilight slowly bringing its dark shape into contrast. The alleyway turned into Dilvish Street, and the party continued west, until the street turned south onto Night Archer. And here the party of six stopped.

A guardian statue, this one in the shape of a brusque ogre, stood to block their way. To the west, what had once been the city gates was now buried under tons of ice and snow.

Zulai offered, "Shall we charge?"

"But of course," Tallennius sprinted towards the statue, pre-empting Zanzibar's battle orders. The ogre, predictably, came to life and was about to swing its massive stone club down onto Tallennius's head, but the barbarian got to him first. He literally charged into it, extending his axe in front of him at the last moment, piercing the chainmail links and the flesh beneath it. The force of his charge toppled the ogre-thing backwards, and it fell onto its rump, much like a child stunned by sitting down too hard.

Zulai charged forward too, and gave the guardian-thing a lightning-speed low kick to its head. It snapped backwards at a grotesque angle with a loud CRAACK, then it fell onto its side from its sitting position. Its life force defeated, it turned back into stone. Harrigan confirmed this by tapping its foot with his dagger.

The tower was directing south of them, looming. It looked very tall, a black needle stabbing against the everlasting white snowstorm. Zanzibar ordered the group reformed, then led them south down Night Archer street. They were almost at the tower itself, when the party discovered another statue-guardian thing, identical to the one they just dispatched. They demolished it in short order, and moved south and around the corner into the courtyard. Or at least, that is what they would have done, had the large iron gate that they encountered not, annoyingly enough, been there.

Primal rage took over Tallennius and he tried the same tactic that he had used on the ogre statues on the iron gate. It met his blows impassively, its only reaction a constant clang sound echoing down the dead alleyways and streets.

Dismayed, Harrigan said unhelpfully, "This isn't any good. How do we get past?"

"The key! The old wizard gave you a key!" Soraelii wheeled towards Darendorf, but the mage already had the key in his hand. He stepped forward, pausing long enough for Tallennius to see him standing there out of the corner of his eye, paused a bit longer to let his tantrum subside so he would move aside, and began searching for a lock to insert the key into. He searched and searched, but there was no lock to be found. In fact, he could not even see any hinges for the gates to swing open, should he actually be able to unlock them! His brow furrowed in frustration, and then in thought.

Zanzibar and the others walked up to the gate and looked at the tower beyond it, less than fifty feet away from them. It had absolutely no windows. It was sheer ugly. Odd lumps and irregular patterns appeared at random on it. It was circular, roughly, and unidentified beasts were carved into the sides of it, perhaps like gargoyles. Even if we were to pass this gate, would those figures animate and descend upon us, too?

The morning twilight had removed most of the darkness. Soraelii complained, "So, now what shall we do? We cannot open the gate, I am guessing, and I doubt our barbaric friend here can cut the bars down." The barbarian scowled at him. "No offense, Tal. Just pointing out the obvious."

"Why don't you just sing the gates a song, maybe they'll be nice and open for us?"

"I doubt that would work, even if that was what was required to open them." Darendorf pointed. "There is too much snow and, more to the point, ice freezing the gates in place. There is no conceivable way for us to get past these gates. Not even climbing." He turned to Zanzibar and spoke solemnly. "We cannot get any closer to Mangar than this, save for him coming down here himself. What do you advise, Zanzibar?"

He turned around and looked back down the way they came. "Let us beat a strategic retreat to the Plaz and get our bearings."

He led the disheartened party back the way they came, circumventing the felled statue-guardians, around to Dilvish Street, through the twisting alley and into the Plaz. He led them up to the steps of a temple along the south edge and knocked on the door.

The acolyte opened the door and invited the party inside. Zanzibar asked if he and his companions might be allowed shelter inside the building, to collect themselves. The acolyte agreed.

The party sat and, in the case of the platemailed warriors, knelt in a circle. Zanzibar asked everyone what they thought they should do next, one by one, beginning with Zulai.

Attempting to bring the events of the past few months into focus in his mind, the monk spoke slowly. "It would seem to me that we have missed something vital to our quest. There is nowhere else for us to investigate. No rock for us to overturn, no dungeon for us to explore. This, gentlemen," he pointed in the direction of Mangar's tower, "is the final objective."


"We are stopped because of an impassible gate. Maybe we missed a teleportation zone or something?"


"I will drink of the blood of this vile wizard, after I have skewered his gizzard and made mincemeat out of his heart!!" Barbarians had few illusions about their mortal enemies and what they would do to them once they found them.

The paladin winced slightly. "I was asking for your insight into the current problem, which is how to get beyond this gate and into the wizard's tower. Once we accomplish this, then you can skewer to your, uh, heart's content."

"I do not believe I am helpful in this regard."

"No kidding?" Harrigan muttered to himself.

Zanzibar turned his head to the rogue, sitting crosslegged on the monastery floor and picking at a fingernail with his adamantium dagger, and said, "Have you something to say to the group regarding this matter, Harri?"

Harrigan started guiltily, then put the dagger away. "Well, what can I say? Dar's pointed it out to us already; we can't get beyond the gate. We walked up to the front gate, Tallennius even knocked a few times, but sure enough, we can't go any furthur."

"What did you say?" snapped the mage, who seemed to have just come out of a trance.

"I said we can't go any furthur."

"No, said we walked up to the front gate."

"Yeah, and?"
"Hmm." Darendorf picked his way through his packsack and retrieved his scribebook. He flipped through the pages impatiently, much like a housewife might search for a lost cheesecake recipe. He stopped and seemed to be speed-reading over some notes he had written. "Underneath," he said.

Zanzibar leaned closer. "Underneath?" he echoed.

"The sewers. Remember? Scarlet Bard, wine in the cellar, that bit?"

"Sounds like a plan, Dar!" Soraelii got to his feet. "I've been craving some ale for a while now, and I sure wouldn't mind seeing Lorianna again. She has a set on her that just won't quit, y'know..." The bard had been trying to lighten everyone's spirits, but he was only half-joking. Still, he felt the disproving glares from Zanzibar and Zulai on him without looking at either one of them.

Zulai stopped lancing the bard with his gaze and instead turned his green eyes on Darendorf. "Are you referring to the sewers beneath Skara Brae?" The mage nodded, and Zulai continued. "This must have been one of your exploits prior to me joining up with you."

"We had just completed our exploration of the sewer system beneath Skara Brae. Would you believe that there is an entrance to it from the basement of the Scarlet Bard Inn?" Harrigan chimed in. He gave Soraelii a nudge. "I think that your ladyfriend there wouldn't take to being in there if she knew what sort of demons and ghouls trudged around the cellars, hmmm?"

"Alright, that is enough fooling around Harrigan. We have a problem here and we are going to solve it. If you have nothing useful to contribute, I would appreciate it if you would be silent." The paladin was losing patience and getting snappy as a consequence.

Harrigan sighed, "Okay okay, I'm sorry." He sat back on his haunches and listened to Darendorf recount their expedition to the sewers.

"We discovered the entrance to the sewers from the Scarlet Bard's wine cellar by accident, but we resolved to explore it. We did so, but it took us several journeys to the surface to heal ourselves. Many horrid legions of foul creatures stalk about down there, not to mention the diseases that one can catch just from the environment. All in all, we found nothing significant except for the statue of some large spider, which naturally came to life and just about killed Harrigan here, a mirrored sunbeam blocking a corridor, and one other thing. On the bottom level of the sewers, we found a spiralling stairwell leading up." He drew in a breath. "We began to explore it, but it looked like it went a very long way up. Our party was critically injured, and Tallennius was dying of some poison. So we retreated up to the Scarlet Bard and that was pretty much when you found us, Zulai. Tensions were high that day, so you'll have to forgive us for being so rude." He managed a small smile, which was something Darendorf rarely did.

Zulai smiled back, "It is nothing; do not apologize."

"So, then. Those stairs, way down there, do you think they will lead us into Mangar's courtyard or something?" Soraelii blinked.

"Can I divine beyond sight? I do not know. It is unexplored; that is the only place for us to go to now, it would seem." He turned to the paladin and said curtly, "I recommend we return to the bottom level of the sewers beneath Skara Brae and investigate this mysterious stairwell."

Zanzibar said, "Any objections? If so, speak now." Once again, he counted silently to himself. When he reached fifteen, he stood up, signalling the end of the meeting. "It is decided. We return to the sewers. Everyone, please pay a donation to the temple." Everyone reached into the packsack, or in the case of the bard and rogue, their beltpouches and deposited a few gold coins into the open coffer by the doorway as they walked out.
User avatar
Posts: 1502
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:53 am
Location: Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

Re: Novella I Wrote - Circa 2001

Post by Darendor »

The party entered the Scarlet Bard, only to find it in complete disarray. There was nobody alive in the place at all. Dead bodies, mostly human, but a few hobgoblin, littered the booths and tables everyplace. Soraelii moved behind the barcounter, and his gasp drew everyone's attention. Lorianna, the beautiful barmaid, lay sprawled on the ground, her clothing torn and ripped. She had been defiled, and her throat slit.

The bard collapsed, holding her dead body close to him and sobbing loudly.

...and so, the party ventured down into the sewers, located the stairwell spiralling upward into the darkness, and finally emerged through a sewer manhole into the courtyard of the tower of Mangar. The party entered the antechamber and were greeted by a magically animated mouth, this one spewing all sorts of obscenities and foul curses at them. Darendorf took the onyx key and shoved it between the moving lips, gagging the mouth and also causing the wall in front of them to evaporate instantly. They charged forward into the tower, slaying scores upon scores of monsters and finding all manner of treasure and loot. They ascended the floors one by one, encountering more traps, fiends, puzzles that only a deranged sorcerer could create, and much more. A third silver shape was discovered, this one a perfect circle. They stumbled around midway up the tower in near-perpetual darkness. Finally a magical mouth, one of many, asked them for the seven words to ascend. Darendorf uttered a sentence of blasphemy, and the stairs leading upward were concealed no longer. Higher and higher into the tower of evil the six adventurers went. Harrigan was not above pocketing a missed gem here, an overlooked jewel there. But he performed valiantly in combat, taking the opportunity to get behind a foe and attack him from behind, in the shadows. He was actually becoming quite good at it. Near the top level of the tower, the party had entered a room with a black coffin in the centre of it. Before Zanzibar could utter a warning, the rogue, in his impulsiveness for a quick treasure find, touched the lid, trying to find a way to open it. The lid slid off suddenly, and a vampire rose out of it. Instantly it flew at the party, so fast that even Zulai was caught off guard, and the vampire clung itself to the monk and pieced his neck with its fangs. Zulai let out a stranged scream, and his life force was being drained rapidly. All five of the others sprang into action instantly, the paladin chanting holy hymns as he scored the undead lord's back time and again, Tallennius hacking away relentlessly with his battle axe, Darendorf casting every sort of anti-undead spell he knew of as fast as he possibly can, Soraelii also had dropped his flute and had charged in, hacking away at the vampire with his Song Axe, the blade singing in the air with each swing.

Ultimately, the party did destroy the foul undead, but not before it had completely drained Zulai of his life force. The blood had literally been drained from his body and he was now a pale color. He collapsed onto the floor and did not move again. The party was in shock. The paladin removed his armor and began to make strips of his clothing, and then bound up the body of the monk. He turned to Harrigan, and said, "He is dead because of your impetuosity. Let this be a lesson to you, Harrigan." He addressed everyone else. "For now, we must leave the body of our companion, our friend, here. Once we have destroyed Mangar, we will return here and take his body with us to be given a proper burial. Darendorf, destroy the corpse of that...thing." Darendorf complied, casting multiple Holy Water spells until the vampire's remains were nothing at all. "Let us file out of this room," Zanizbar said next. Then, he said, "Have you a spell that will ward off anyone trying to get inside this room until we return?"

"Yes, I will do as you ask."


The warding spell in place, the party proceeded to the final level of the tower. The mysterious silvery shapes finally had a purpose; for they approached a door at the end of a corridor that had quarter-inch deep impressions of a square, a triangle, and a circle. Realizing now that they were keys, he placed them into their respective fittings. The doorway shimmered and then vanished, proceeding into the northernmost section. They fought, and fought hard, and finally, at long last, they walked into the antechamber of Mangar The Dark. The pure hatred radiating from him was overwhelming, and he immediately gated in from another plane his minions. The ensuing melee was a tough, fierce battle, but on that day, atop the black tower, the party of five, driven by such anger and frustration and a drive beyond anything else they had ever known, they ran Mangar through. He died with a stranged yell that turned into nonsensical babble as blood poured out of his mouth, nostrils and ears. Zanzibar pushed the dying archmage off of his blade with his booted foot. Soraelii had discovered something on a stone pedestal in the middle of the north room, and he called the others over to look. Darendorf picked it up. It looked to be an oversized fishing net. He picked it up and put it into his packsack, vowing to study it at a later time.

A brilliant flash appeared in the room where they had dispatched Mangar. Weapons were drawn instantly, and the party rushed back into the antechamber, but they saw Kylearan instead of a new legion of foes. He spoke to them, saying, "Friends, heroes, at first I had dared hope beyond hope, but it is true! I see it with my own eyes; Mangar The Dark is destroyed, as is his spell of eternal winter upon this land! As we speak, the snowfall outside is slowing down, and the wind has decreased. I want you to understand, you are heroes now. May the gods smile upon your lives." He was smiling at them, like a father who is proud of his children. Then he sobered slightly and said, "The fabric that is holding this tower together is unravelling. You must evacuate this place promptly. I must leave that to you, as must I return to my own abode. We will meet again, I am sure. Farewell!" Stepping back, the goodly mage vanished with the same brilliant flash that he arrived with.

The party returned to the spot where they had sealed Zulai's body in, dispelled the spell that Darendorf had placed there, and Zanzibar carried the body over his shoulder, while they hastily made their way down the series of stairwells. They encountered no resistance at all, and finally, they made their way outside of the tower.

They found that the iron gate that had barred their way into the courtyard had vanished. Zanzibar ordered a final marching order, while Soraelii put the flute to his lips and, despite his mildly aching throat, began to play the Badh'r Kilnfest, as it resembled a funeral dirge closest. They walked solemnly towards the Gran Plaz, with Zanzibar in the lead, followed by Tallennius (he had his helmet off), Soraelii, Harrigan, and Darendorf. The clouds overhead had broken; sunlight was twinkling off of the snow and ice. It was still unkindly cold, but the sun brought warmth. People were gathering around the adventurers as they travelled from the dying tower to the city's central square that was the Gran Plaz. They ignored the "Hail heroes!" that seemed to bombard them. They had put an end to the menace, but it felt like a hollow victory. Zulai was dead. Zanzibar intended to try to resurrect him at the temple, but he didn't hold too much faith. The vampire had drank of his blood, his skin was pale from the savage attack...Zanzibar drove the images from his mind and concentrated on walking forward, and on the rhythm of the tune coming from Soraelii's flute a few paces behind him.

At the temple steps, he turned to Tallennius and said, "I would like you to collect the party's funds and pool them into your helmet. Everything we have."

The barbarian looked into his eyes, and then at the blanketed form of Zulai's body. "He has been dead too long! It will not work."

"We must try."

Tallennius paused for only an instant, and then held out his helmet upside down as the other three party members emptied their pockets and packsacks of any money or anything else that might have been valuable. Darendor put his coins into the helmet, as did Soraelii, and Harrigan dug deep and put his coins and even several small and a few not-so-small gems into it. Soraelii raised his eyebrow at him. "Been busy, I see."

The rogue looked hurt. "It's all party treasure too, just like the rest."

Tallennius and Zanzibar walked up the steps to the temple, the door being held open by the acolyte. The remaining three waiting on the steps, watching the clouds overhead break apart, the snow stop completely, it might have even warmed up a few degrees. Suddenly, a loud tremor came from the direction of the tower, and they walked away from the temple steps and got a look. The tower was collapsing, the top third of it had broken apart and crashed to the ground below. A collective cheer went up around the city, and Darendorf allowed himself a sad half-smile to himself. He glanced at Soraelii, and Harrigan, and then at the entrance to the temple. Perhaps they were making the burial arrangements now.

Watching the remains of Mangar's tower collapse in onto itself, the three members of the party turned to the temple door when they heard it open. Zanzibar emerged, then Tallennius, then a familiar figure in brown robes.

Zulai had been resurrected!

Darendorf's mouth opened, then closed, then he smiled and walked towards them. Soraelii and Harrigan were already there, their eyes unbelieving. The party of five, now a party of six, had cheated death of their companion. There was much celebrating in Skara Brae that night, at the Guild and everyplace else. The snow melted away, the ground thawed, and the vegetation slowly grew back. Trade routes were slowly reestablished to the other towns and communities in the land. The inhabitants of Skara Brae spent many weeks in celebration of what the heroes had done to rid them of the evil that had pervaded the city forever.

But there is no such thing as forever...
User avatar
Posts: 1502
Joined: Wed Jan 14, 2009 1:53 am
Location: Red Deer, Alberta, Canada

Re: Novella I Wrote - Circa 2001

Post by Darendor »

Post Reply