Category Archives: Story

Beyond the Sea: Part Two

After having sailed across the sea…

The deck is lined with barf and spilled rum.

…fought their way through the Bahomet Megalith…

My darling Serpentine...

…and ascended BlackSpike Mountain, our heroes…

Rainbow-ish

…had finally arrived at the Lair of the White Owl!

“Have you guys noticed our food bars never go down?”

“So, that’s what that bar is! I thought “FOO” was some kind of super attack bar.” Exclaimed Chuck.

“This isn’t Street Fighter, Chuck.” Said Nander Gruff. “We don’t have any of that faggotry in this game!”

“Quiet! We’re finally here!”

Que dramatic chanting music...

“He has a giant statue of himself on his fortress… not very humble.”

Behold!

“Greetings, Winged Exemplar!” They all shouted, in perfect unison.

“You have traveled very far, overcoming many trials and traps I had left for you. You are indeed the ones who will save us.”

“Please”, started The Beholder. “Help us.”

“Of course, I’ve created four magic relics to give you AIDS… sorry, aid you, on your quest.”

He shows them a cube, a cone, a pyramid and a sphere.

“You may only choose one. Choose wisely, Heralds.”

Of course, the Heralds found an enormous bug, allowing them to take all four relics, multiple times. They even went so far as to sell the excess relics back to The Winged Exemplar for profit.

“You’ve chosen, wisely. That ONE relic you took will aid you greatly. To continue your quest, you’ll have to descend into the bowels of BlackSpike fighting your way through the N-Space Grid to the room that contains the clock, the Metronome Mysterium. You’ll then have to wind it. Then, assuming nothing goes wrong (and something always goes wrong) everything will be right again.

Without saying another word, our heroes bowed to The Winged Exemplar and departed. As they left, the owl said one last thing to them.

“Adventurers, while you’re out, can you get me a quart of milk and a pack of jelly beans?”

 

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Beyond the Sea: Part One

Alrighty!

After having solved the mystery of Gideon, slaying Knorlo Knossos and acquiring the “Aurora” Tablet, our adventurers were wondering what leads they had left to continue their quest.

 The Beholder had written a checklist:

1. Killed the Wicker Man, stole his tablet… Check!

2. Slayed Shelach the Spider, took her tablet… Check!

3. Explored the City of Waterport… Hrm… Nope… I guess that’s our next stop.

Almost at the start of their quest, they had come across the City of Waterport, but had been unable to explore it. It had been closed by Lord Ahriman and had all its law-abiding citizens evacuated. The entrance was guarded by a hairy, brutish fellow, who refused entry to all unless they knew the secret password.

“Look”, said Chuck. ” We didn’t know the password back then and we still don’t know it now… but there is one thing that’s changed about us since then.”

“What?”

“We’re much more… experienced.” (No pun intended)

It was true. They all looked around at each other.

Mariel had become a child of the shadows. Clothed in a midnight-black robe and hood, she was a deadly assassin who always remained unseen to her foes.

The Beholder’s magical abilities were so potent, she gave off a faint blue aura.

And Chuck… his muscles had grown so big, he could barely fit in his armor.

“So, here’s my plan. Being much more badass then we were back then (which seems like months ago), I propose that we simply storm the city and kick the crap out of any Vanguard resistance we encounter.”

They all nodded in agreement: a couple Vanguards were nothing they couldn’t handle.

They walked up to the stout man who guarded the front gate.

“Halt, what is the password!?”

“I got cha freakin’ password right here”, smirked Chuck.

SMACK! CRACK! WHACK!

A pile of loosely connected gibs on the ground, the front gate guard wasn’t looking too good. Chuck and X. bashed down the front door.

“Knock, Knock!”

They looked around the City. It had been flooded. The water came up to their knees.

A squad of Vanguard Marines charged at our heroes. They met a fate similar to the front gate guard, albeit, much more painful and much more messy. The surrounding water had turned a dark shade of crimson.

They searched the water-logged city to find anything of interest, any kind of clue or hint as to where to proceed next. They were just about to call it a day when they realised there was still one building left they hadn’t checked. Opening the front door, they saw a flight of stairs leading down into darkness, a most familiar sight to them.

They found that it led into the Chamber of Commerce, a series of connecting stone passages and rooms that ran under the entire city of Waterport.

 

Dark Passages always have something good at the end of them. (SARCASM)

 They began charting the great halls, so as not to become lost.

Spot the subliminal message in this screenshot!

 They would start with the Smuggler’s Hideout, as pirates usually pick up a few useful scraps of information in their travels.

They expected that a bunch of bloodthirsty sea-dogs would give them trouble when they entered, but these chaps weren’t exactly pirates in the normal sense of the word.

A sweaty, noisy, french pirate who had spittle fly out of his mouth when he talked stopped our heroes in their path.

“Avast ye Mateys! Yar be in the Smuggler’s Den! Black Pierre said he’d a be a sending a banch of scallywags like yoselves over. He also said that you’d be givin’ me siz thousan’ crowns!

Clearly, this fellow had mistaken our heroes to be friends of his. However, they were quite rich from all the loot they had found and thought it a good idea to keep this man thinking that they were members of this “Black Pierre” crew. Chuck almost blew it.

“What the hell are you talking about? We aren’t-“

“What he means to say!”, said The Beholder, putting on her best pirate voice (which is very difficult for a female Aeorb) “Is that, by yar! Ya betar mind ye silver tongue, yar wonderful bastard. We ain’t ya average scallywags, were some of the finest sea striders to ever sail Hyperborea! Here’s ya stinkin’ gold!”

He nodded at them, and in exchange for their gold, gave them a rusty, Y-shaped, mechanical apparatus.

The heroes pocketed the item and tried to hide the look of disappoint on their faces. Had they just traded 6000 coins for a piece of junk?

As the pondered their next move, a bunch of hideous monsters ambushed them.

 

Oh my God! It's the RPG Codex Trolls, back for revenge!

 A few magic missile spells and a few good blow with the Vorpal Blade, and the Troglodytes were dead.

“Well, at least we checked out the Smuggler’s Hideout… Let’s check out the Electrophoresis Works.”

Electrophoresis: The process of extracting electricity from biological creatures.

As they explored the labs, they were attacked by a horde of electric worms. They weren’t much of a problem, nothing old, Mr. Boot couldn’t handle.

They came across some kind of hydro-electrical elevator…

“Before using elevator, check that the main generator is active.”

So they went to the generator room and conveniently, there was a Y-Shaped hole in it, preventing the electrical current from powering the underground facility.

As soon as they powered up the generator, they heard an enormous gushing of water, as if some ancient machine had resumed it’s task of pumping  out an old undersea cavern.

They promptly ran back to the well they had seen earlier, and noticed that the bottom was now dry. They climbed down the rope and, as luck would have it, they found that the Tablet “Scylla”, had been hidden here.

“Where to next?” asked The Beholder, who had become something resembling their leader (although she had been deceased for the larger portion of their journey), “We can go to Loch Lalain, or Quiddick Harbor.”

“Hrm… Quiddick sounds like a good move.”

 

BUT WHERE IS THE CRAB!?

“Last stop, the Loch.”

They immediately felt a cool sea breeze on their faces as soon as the entered Loch Lalain.

“Wow”, said Mariel.”It’s massive…”

 

Now, how do we get across?

As they were wondering how they would get to the other side, they saw a sight unlike anything they had ever seen.

Lysandra, the Golden Lady of the Sea!

???

Reflekshun

Dungeons were becoming a frequent environment for our brave heroes. They couldn’t seem go five steps without stumbling upon some dank underground crypt filled with “Nosferatu”, or an ancient, haunted catacombs, relentlessly stalked by spectres and banshees. 

Visit Lovely: Skulheim

You might as well have called them the Dungeon Crawlers.

Every dungeon they had been in so far had a “gimmick”to it. They were wondering why the dungeon designers went to that much trouble:

“So, Phil, yeah, what should we do with this dungeon? I was thinking of a kind of  flooded theme, with some evil Mermaids and Oriental Water Dragons scattered here and there.”

“WOAH, WOAH, WOAH! You’re mixing water with ORIENTAL Water Dragons?  Didn’t you pay attention in Dungeon Designer School, Ted!? You never, EVER, mix two themes  together.”

“Oops, my bad! Thanks for the save, Phil. Now, what kind of loot should we put in the secret chest?”

Regardless, our heroes were becoming quite adept at this whole adventuring business. Nander Gruff had become perceptive enough to detect any secret passage or hidden chest he walked past, Delia could now heal almost any wound or affliction (including death) and N. Greyford had become a powerful Psychic, capable of both reading an enemy’s mind and turning it into scrambled eggs. However, there was something a tad more significant about this particular dungeon. It wasn’t just your generic, run-of-the-mill stone bunker, there was definitely something important down here. Perhaps it even had one of the Nine Tablets hidden in it…

As usual, Chuck was the first to break the silence, created by the frightening aura of the dungeon:

“Hall…of…Re-Flek-Shun… Damn idiots spelt reflection wrong, twice, once on the inscription at the start of this maze and wrong a second time on that tome we found.”

“Perhaps when the tome was created and the dungeon was built, that was the correct spelling of reflection”, said N. Greyford.

“Probably.”

Suddenly, they had come across something that instilled fear in their hearts. Something, was very off with what they were looking at:

Huh? What's this? It looks like a mirror, but...

 
They took a few steps closer to it…
 

...

 
They gazed into the polished glass. It had  lovely gold embellishments and jewels embedded in the dark wood that framed it. The mirror had a thin coating of frost on it and was cold to touch. They knew what they had to do. They opened the tome they had acquired earlier, the Book of Reflekshun, and promptly began reading the arcane words that filled it.
 
 
Aww, Great!

Their blood ran cold…

 

Demons: Not Fun

They braced themselves for one hell of a fight… 

Wait, THIS WAS ONLY THE BEGINNING!?

Well, here they were…

They took Nander’s suggestion about the Chronoworks and Cosmic Egg, which had given them the Mechano Egg, which had spawned a Mechanized Owl, which had flown away, which had returned a week later with a special key, which they had used to open the magical vault containing the first tablet, Lachesis.

The Samhain Horror, a horrible being from another dimension, guarded this tablet, and although it was a terrifying entity, they were surprised at how easily they had defeated it.

What the #*$% is that thing!?

“That thing looked like a giant levitating testicle!” proclaimed Chuck.

Ignoring Chuck’s comment, they approached the chest that stored the tablet. Opening it, they found that the tablet had been covered in several sticky preservation fluids… the tablet must have been created thousands of years ago for the makers to go to that much trouble… perhaps they knew it would be millenia before anyone found it.

“Thank the Exemplar! We found the first tablet!” said Cleve. “I’ll bet the others are somewhere in this vault as well.”

“I don’t think so.” said N.

“Why’s that?”

“No particular reason.”

So they looked and looked and failed to find another tablet. After a while, Mariel found something.

“Hey guys, I didn’t find a tablet, but I definitely found somethin’.”

She was referring to a mysterious altar with a glowing floor. Stepping on it, they found that they were transported to a place they were unfamiliar with…

They examined their surroundings, and found beautiful rushing rivers and rock faces around them. Pushing on through these natural walls, they emerged to a sight that made their minds explode with a million questions.

“Oh…My…Owl!

...

The heroes realised that they had only found the first tablet, and the amount of trouble they had finding the first one was a cakewalk compared to finding the rest.

The journey was not over…

It had only just begun.

“Well,” said Chuck. “I’d better call my wife and tell her I won’t be home in time for dinner.”

Cosmic Eggs and Impassable Gorges

They were running out of time…

They knew they only had a few months left to find that stupid clock…

…And they hadn’t even found the first tablet.

They had wandered their way through the Briarpatch Woods, Rowed their boat through Aquavia, hurried through The Village of Crowl, Fought their way past the beasts that resided in the Gardens of Midknight, Squashed Hobnob the Spider, Slain the Black Lich (Who wasn’t nearly as tough as the legends made him out to be), failed to find a way across the Samhain Gorge, Opened the passage in the tomb of Saint George, Trudged their way through The Eyrie, Stolen the Wizard of Worfair’s Treasure from his floating sky ship… 

Yes, that is a floating ship... Wait till you fight the Blink Cat that patrols it...

…and had come into possession of a bizarre, Cosmic Egg…

And that was the short version…

They had backtracked back to an abandoned, but safe building in Crowl, to discuss their situation. They were trying to find something, some small clue they missed…

N and X Greyford were pacing around the room.

The crew was getting restless…

“Nander Gruff is hungry… do we have any Elysium Berries left?”

“No…”

“Need Protein…”

“Why the hell are we carrying this “egg” around?” Proclaimed Chuck, examining the weird oval-shaped oddity.

N. Greyford groaned. “I don’t know… I saw a carving of an egg in the Temple Catacombs… maybe we’ll need it.”

“Look”, interjected Cleve. “I say we go back to the Urluk Mining Company, and try to find a way across Samhain Gorge.”

The image of that terrible abyss flashed briefly through everyone’s eyes…

It's a long, long way down...

“Nander Gruff thinks we should fry up that cosmic egg and make a omlette… maybe, if we do, a magic chicken will come out and tell us what to do… and then we can also fry up the magic chicken…”

“Maybe we should talk to Captain Krone?” said Delia.

“We’ve already asked him everything we could think of”, said Cleve. “I suppose we could use a “Mindread” spell on him, but what would we learn from that?”

“Maybe we shouldn’t have killed that Mordecai guy…”.said Mariel.

“He was a shifty fellow… I could tell he was a conspirator against us… I’ll bet, that if we didn’t kill him, he would have tried to take a tablet from us when we found it.”

“Captain Krone was fuming when he heard we’d done that… good thing we bribed him before he called his guards.”

“We still haven’t figured out how to open  the Chronoworks”, said X. Greyford. “It was found along with the enigma well, so it’s definitely relevant to our mission… but there were six different objects on it… that’s at least 500 possible combinations.”

“Wait!” said Nander Gruff. “Nander Gruff recalls reading a religious message of the Winged Exemplar… it sounded like generic moral advice for how one should live their life… but, after pondering the message, he realises it had a concealed code!”

“What are you talking about, Wolfin?” said Chuck.

“Nander Gruff understands now that the innocuous-looking religious verse was really a code on how to open the Chronoworks Box.”

They all shouted simultaneously:

“Nander, you magnificent bastard!”

Ghost Town

Our heroes returned to the surface, after defeating Shiva-Han-Goromu, and obtaining a mysterious crest he had been guarding.

They were discussing the unfortunate demise of their friend, The Beholder.

“I don’t understand”, said Mariel. “Why doesn’t the Caduceus of Life works on Aeorbs?”

“Because, they have a different biological make-up to normal creatures”, said Cleve. “We’ll need a “Raise Dead” spell to revive her.”

“Where can we obtain that? Can we find it in scroll form?” asked N. Greyford.

“It isn’t just about learning that spell or obtaining a scroll of it. It’s a very advanced piece of magic that requires a very advanced Necromancer to use correctly.”

Everyone looked at Cleve.

“If I learn that spell, you guys will be the first to know.”

After wandering through the thick, overgrown Briarpatch Woods for several hours, our heroes saw civilisation on the horizon.

Crowl on the Horizon

They wandered into the village, which seemed deserted.

A small wooden sign on the wall said “Village of Crowl”.

Sinister  layers of fog covered the ground… something was very off in this town.

A devious, black-garbed troublemaker approached our protagonists.

Mordecai

 
He welcomed the heroes to the town, but it was obvious he had insidious intentions.
 
He bid them good day before wandering off.
 
Our heroes found a deserted building.
 

Forcing open a door

 
 
 Bashing down the door, they spent the night sleeping inside. In the morning, they would investigate the town further.

The Guardian

The gigantic golem stood before them…

Before it could do anything, Chuck flew at it with a  roundhouse kick.

“Huuah!”

To no avail…

The statue retaliated with a “Leaping Sparks” spell, burning the eyebrows off of Chuck.

Not wasting another second, the heroes bombarded the foul creature with spells and blows.

The statue didn’t even flinch…

It was clear that their attacks were having no effect, but there must have been someway to combat the beast.

The Beholder, realising  what she must do, took the Canopic Jar that N. Greyford had taken earlier, and threw it at the golem.

Hanging in the air for a split second, before smashing into the golem’s face, creating for a brief moment, a mist of blood and dirty decay.

The golem was wracked with pain and damage, and after a few more hits from the heroes, it collapsed into a pile of dust.

Sic Semper Tyrannis!

Despite the satisfying victory, the heroes felt something wrong…

“Nander Gruff will do a headcount! Nander, Mariel, Cleve, Delia, Chuck, N, X and… oh…no…”

The Beholder had fallen… the beast must have got in a lucky hit before bring destroyed.

The Caduceus of Life they had found before was useless: Aeorbs did not possess the same life-force as other races.

They would have to find some other powerful magic to revive her.

Although they had only known her briefly, the heroes were distraught at the loss of their guide and friend.

They gathered the treasure the golem had been defending, a measly crest.

They hoped that it was worth the loss of their friend.

They took her body with them. If she couldn’t be resurrected, the least they could do was bury her.

Aquavia

Emerging from the “Shrine of the Raptor”, our heroes see that the warm protection of daylight has passed, and a veil of darkness has come.

Cleve is most pleased.

“Ahh… the cold darkness in comforting.”

Chuck Norris coughs.

“Maybe we should stay underground until morning, guys?”, said Mariel.

“There’s a stone bunker over there”, said Delia. “It will probably have more treasure for us to take, as well as providing shelter.”

They all quickly dashed over to the stone bunker, and found it had a staircase leading into the unknown. Chuck walked down before anyone else, and was the first to see the jelly.

“Bleugh! What is this crap?”

“Nander Gruff knows that this is an amniotic slime, a living goo that is caustic.” 

“How do we kill it?”

“Just squish it, but don’t let its juices get on you.”

Squish!

After smooshing the slime, they proceeded through two wooden doors to see Aquavia.

“Ooooohh! This place is beautiful!

A room of carved stone, with pools of crystal-clear water. A thick steel door laid on the other side.

“How do we get through this door?” asked N. Greyford.

Cleve suggested they look for another hidden switch and sure enough, they found one.

“Nander Gruff thinks that dungeon designers aren’t very bright.”

Pressing it, a bridge extended across one of the pools of water, revealing a small little room with a key inside. Taking it and placing it in the steel door, they were unsurprised to see it open.

“Well, at least it was more elaborate than a Hide-A-Key”, chuckled Chuck.

They continued through, and found a room detailing the life of a particular man. Only a few words were legible:

Life…

Extreme Dedication…

…Preserved in a jar…

…shall never die.

The Beholder spoke.

“It would seem that this man was perhaps, a lord or a king, and because of his extreme dedication to his followers, they rewarded him with a process that made him immortal. Or perhaps, it was reversed, a follower rewarded with immortality for being very loyal to his king.”

N. Greyford announced his opinion.

“I think The Beholder is correct on her second guess. As for “preserved in a jar”, it sounds like, as long as his organs are preserved, he shall never die… interesting… there’s obviously quite a bit of magic involved in this ritual.”

“What if this “man” isn’t friendly?” asked X. Greyford.

“Then I’m going to make him wish he wasn’t immortal.” bragged Chuck.

They searched the room, and found that there was a causeway and a boat, as well as a small red vial in a chest. They took the boat through the underground lake.

“I don’t get it! What was the point of this room if there’s nothing on the other side?”

“There has to be something here.”

“They probably put it here to confuse trespassers like us. I bet the real treasure is back in the very first room.”

“Who says there’s even treasure here? Dungeons are built to either keep others out, or keep the contents inside.”

“Are you saying the “contents” is a monster?”

“Well, we did just read those plaques about that immortal undead guy… I’ll bet he’s guarding something valuable down here.”

They all stopped talking for a moment, and listened to the stillness of the water. It was so clear, they could see the skeletons of past adventures at the bottom.

“That’s unsettling…”

N. Greyford demonstrated his scientific knowledge.

“Because of the way reflection and refraction work, this causeway is around twenty metres deeper then it looks… maybe they saw treasure at the bottom, swam down to get it, and drowned.”

“Hey”, said Mariel. “What does that red vial we found before do?”

N. Greyford, examining the bottle, found a tag on it saying  “True Seeing”.

“Hrm… Nander Gruff thinks that bottle will reveal to us the way to find the secret of this underground lake.”

“The question is: what should we do with it? Boil it? Pour it into the lake? Drink it? What if it’s poisonous?”

“Why would they give us a potion that would kill us?”

“Perhaps that is their intention, to prevent us from getting the treasure.”

While the rest were discussing what to do with it, N. Greyford simply took a big swill of the red mixture, and almost immediately felt the effects.

His eyes began stinging, and began watering. After a few moments, the pain was gone, and his vision was a hazy red.

“Guys, I see the way we have to go… that wall that looks solid is really a magical illusion… we can paddle our boat right through it.”

Having full faith in him, the others set full steam ahead into the wall, and found that they casually cruised through it.

They got out of their boat, and found they were in a shrine.

“Please wash feet before setting on this holy ground”, said a sign on the wall.

They looked on ahead, and saw an impenetrable door, with a weird statue standing behind it. They realised they were standing in a room of canopic jars.

“Is this that room about jars they mentioned earlier? asked Mariel.

All of the jars were cracked and broken, aside from one.

“Should we… should we take that?”

“Why the hell would we want to take a jar with a heart inside?” said Chuck. “Let’s find a way into that room with the impenetrable door.”

N. Greyford casually slipped the jar into his knapsack, thinking it might be useful. The Beholder saw him do this, and blinked at him approvingly.

“Nander Gruff has found a way into this room… he pulled this lever and it opened right up… that’s odd.”

“What’s odd Nander?” said Mariel.

“Nander Gruff finds it extremely suspicious that it is so easy to open from the outside, but if one was trapped inside that room, they would never be able to escape.”

“Well, the only thing inside that room is that statue, so I think we’re relatively safe.”

Immediately, this assumption was proven wrong. Our heroes walked inside the room, and found that the impenetrable door closed behind them.

The statue was quivering… and began slowly standing up.

It wasn’t a statue to begin with…

It was alive!

The statue telepathically spoke its name to our heroes.

Shiva-Han-Gorumu, Eternal Guardian of the King’s Crest.

Our heroes had no choice, but to fight!

A Deadly Meadow

Our heroes awaken to find themselves in a forest. They have no recollection of how they arrived here, and are unsure where they are. Rummaging through her bag, The Beholder finds a mysterious owl statuette. It has emerald eyes and exquisite craftsmanship. Looking around them, they see thick trees side by side, forming artificial walls in the forest. A stony, cobble path that has cracked with age, is nearby. They begin following it. It is broad daylight, and despite being in these beautiful, lush woods, they can’t help but feel an overbearing of a sinister presence.

“Where the hell are we?” Chuck Norris asked.

Nander Gruff had an idea, and in a deep voice, replied “Nander Gruff thinks we’re in the Briarpatch Woods. There’s nothing really dangerous here, aside from a few Phangshrubs and bandits.

“Good”, spoke The Beholder, “The less dangerous, the faster we will progress. Time is our greatest enemy at the moment”.

Travelling along the path, they were careful not to stray off it. After heading someway through the forest, they came across a ladder leading down into darkness.

“Is it really a good idea to go down this hole?” asked N. Greyford.

Cleve,  at the back of the group, said in an almost offended tone “Darkness is not as bad as it’s made out to be: the hole may contain something critical to our mission”.

One by one, they descended, and found that their surroundings were peaceful.

“Zombies?”

“Rats.” said Nander.

They found that they were in a sanctuary with many long corridors and hidden passages.  Stone signs on the walls said they were in “The Shrine of the Raptor”. A small altar laid in front of them.

“This alter looks important”, said Delia. “Perhaps we should try placing something on it?”

“What about the Owl statuette? It obviously does something”, said N. Greyford.

They placed it on the altar, and sure enough, the wall faded away to reveal a secret room. On the left, a magic fountain that invigorated all that drank from it, and on the right, a chest filled useful items and oddities, the strangest being a mysterious staff.

“That’s a Caduceus of Life”, Whispered Delia. “It can bring the dead back to life, with no side effects.”

“I hope we won’t need it.”

A sign next to the chest said:

“Welcome to Hyperborea, please help yourself to complimentary travel gifts in chest.”

After exploring the dungeon’s many rooms, they finally came to one that was definitely significant to their quest. A wall filled with runes and symbols taunted them.

“Anyone read Gibberish?” asked Chuck.

“It’s Hyperborean script”, stated The Beholder. “It says:

Mine talon sets word in prose to say, Nine tabula writ I to lead the way. The first of Time and Entropy, is held secure by aerial lofted key. I writ thee… Lachesis.

“Look”, said Chuck, “I solve my problems by kicking people, not deciphering riddles. What does it mean?”

They all looked at The Beholder, before being unnerved by her great giant eye.

“Well, it sounds like it is referring to nine stone tablets, that each represent something. The first tablet is “held secure by aerial lofted key”… your guess it as good as mine for that part. As for Lachesis, I’d say it would be reasonable to assume that refers to either the name of the tablet, or something that is associated with it.”

X. Greyford, although usually quiet and subtle, spoke out at these pieces of information.

“We were supposed to find a “magical clock”, wind it, and then the quest would be over. Now we have to collect nine stone tablets?”

“Patience, brother”, said N. Greyford.

Some of the more warrior-like party members began expressing their displeasure.

“Nander Gruff wants to go back to his house. You promised Nander Gruff a big juicy ham for finding this “clock”, and then he could go home.”

“We already found you a ham in that chest.”

“That small ham did not sate Nander Gruff, he refuses to leave until he receives a large, juicy ham.”

Through out all the commotion, Cleve slipped on a damp part of the floor, and slapped the wall in an effort to prevent himself from falling. Once again, the wall opened, revealing another secret room.

Mariel restored order to the room.

“Shut up, Nander, I’ll get you as many damn hams as you want when our quest is finished. Unlike you, I chose gold as my reward, which can be used for plenty of things, ham purchasing none the least. And if the rest of you didn’t realise, Cleve found another secret room.”

They wandered into the room, and discovered stone signs detailing the other eight tablets.

“Within the depths of the Ziggurart, this tablet in shadow rescquiat. To retrieve it thou shalt expiate, the beast who feasts on sins he ate. I writ thee… Nemesis.”

As if the first riddle wasn’t complicated enough, the others flung them into a spiral of confusion.

“This tablet is given to evil Queen. She dwells in darkness, sight unseen. Her fertility and offspring royal, shall hold my stone in safety loyal. I writ thee… Arachne.”

N. Greyford was alarmed at hearing this.

“Well, you don’t have to be a genius to figure that one out: that particular tablet is guarded by some sort of “Spider Queen” and her offspring… I really hate spiders.”

“Nander Gruff likes these riddles, read him another.”

“Water dwellers preserve my tokens: A secret traced and never spoken. The emblems of the scaly clan, are drawn upon the burning sand. I writ thee… Scylla.”

“Hrmm, Nander Gruff’s guess is that more information about these “mermaids”, is located in a desert somewhere.”

“Who says they’re mermaids? They could be horrible sea monsters!” said Cleve.

They traveled methodically through the room, examining each set of riddles. The second last one was the most ominous.

“To demons I cast thee tablet mine, who trapped within the spike do pine. For freedom to rage upon the land, deferring not to mortal man. I writ thee… Thanatos.”

“Demons”, said Cleve “Even I hate demons, and I’m a necromancer. A friendly demon would be quite a sight to see. I really hope we don’t have to travel to the infernal plane to retrieve that tablet.”

Scribing down each of the riddles before returning to the surface that was the forest, our heroes feared that this quest might not be as simple and straightforward as initially told.

The Story So Far…

THE LEGEND

The ancients believed that fate is only a word men use to describe that which is unseen, a force that overshadows all that mortals think and do.

They taught that destiny issued from out of the heart of a marvelous clock, a clock they called the “Metronome Mysterium,” the clock of fate.

The clock was said to be under the care of the Winged Exemplar, a white owl who serves as the emissary of greater powers in the universe.

THE CLOCK

It was believed that in the far ago age, the white owl had brought the clock a great distance  across time and space when the lands were in terrible conflict, in order to restore peace and harmony to the world.

Nobody has ever seen it, nor has any mortal ever discovered its hiding place. The clock was whispered to be somewhere deep in the earth, marking off time and chance, all the forces of nature regulated by the endless motion of its cosmic pendulum.

THE PROPHECY

It was also taught by the prophets that someday, at the end of time, the clock would wind down. As the clock would slow and finally stop, all beauty, truth and light would give way to the dreadful era of anarchy, havoc, war and devastation that had existed in the forgotten past.

When the mainspring of the clock ground to a halt and was stilled, the world too would be silenced in a stifling pall of oblivion and darkness… forever.

Unless, of course, someone… somewhere, could find the clock…

…and wind it once again.