Crypt of the Everflame

Dawn

Dawn. I thrive at dawn, when much of the world is in shadows and I’ve had a good night’s rest. Our party rises in the crypt, feeling better after getting some sleep. We all look around, getting our bearings. I go to the Northwest door and scan it quickly for traps. I have to admit, I am a little surprised there are none. I thought this place would be riddled with them. The door is locked. That’s not a surprise. While the boys look at each other, no doubt trying to decide who would beat the door down, I take out my tools and deftly pick the lock.

I open the door, fighting the urge to say “Tada!” as the boys look on. It is a small room with a rectangular pool taking much of the space. There is a weeping angel statue at the far end of the room, at the edge of the pool. As we look around, a loud booming voice rings out “MAGIC IS THE KEY!” Trent takes a moment to seek out the source. I’m getting impatient, but I know he knows what he is doing. Or not. All he figures out is that it is magic in origin. I could have guessed that! Next, we all look in the pool. There are keys in the pool; so many keys! One must go to one of the locked doors in the room. I check the locks and discover that they are from early Kassan, back when it was founded. So now we know what kind of key to look for, but there are at least a couple hundred in there.

Trent seeks magic in the pool because “MAGIC IS THE KEY!” and determines a section of the pool to dive to. Guess who gets to dive? Apparently boys can’t swim. They can pull me up though, so we tie some rope around my waist and down I go. When I reach the bottom, I grab a key that looks right and tuck it in a small pocket of the backpack I took with me. Then, I grab another 20 or so keys for good measure and put them in the larger pocket. I tug the rope and the boys pull me up, Adokul pulling so hard he flings me out of the pool and nearly loses balance himself. He’s a good kid. Trent looks for magic amongst the keys and chooses one, not the one I picked, not old at all. I’m skeptical, but learning to trust my party. We try it on all of the doors and it does not fit anywhere. We go back through the door that led us here.

Now, we try the Southeast door and enter a shadowy room. We can barely see. A few of us attempt to light up the room, to little avail. The floor is crumbling beneath our feet. Stepping carefully, I find a lever on the wall. I pull it. It clicks, nothing more. Maybe it opens a door? Alastair goes to the one door we can see, other than the one we came through. I pull again and he pushes. Nothing. Then he falls through the floor. He honestly falls through the floor. It appears to be about 10 feet down and he reports landing in pillows. After he is out, the boys find another lever. I’m staying put by mine until we figure this out or give up. I’m not going to risk falling only to have to come back to this one. We pull both levers and push the door. Still no. Finally, one more lever appears. Adokul goes to the door and the rest of us pull the levers.

The door opens and a wailing sound emerges from down the hall, which is strewn with bones. We talk, trying to decide if we continue after the flame or rescue the wailing soul. Unanimously, we go for the rescue and hope it isn’t a trap. We come to a locked door and the wailing behind it stops. “Who? What? . . . trick . . . voice of Death! . . . Angry Ones . . . not real . . .” says a fearful voice. Great. A nut job. Trent talks to the man about Kassan, but the man is still distrustful. Trent keeps talking. The man opens the door. He looks like he has not been eating, so we share our rations. Roldair tells us his story. He and his party arrived three days prior to prepare for the trial (I knew it was a sham!). Roldair’s sister was taken during a fight at the doors. He insists she is not dead and that he is safer here. He offers up his Masterwork Crossbow and gives us a couple of potions to heal. He is scared of the Voice of Death and makes us promise to find his sister and come back for him, then closes himself off in the room again. Like I said, nut job. But at least I got a good bow!

We go through a different door in this dank hall and find a corpse being pushed by a man-sized beetle. I’m sure at least one of the guys flinched. Babies. Of course the bug sees us and we can’t get past him without killing him. That would be too easy. Adokul gets cocky, swinging and missing with his axe. Trent gets a hit in. I shoot him from the corner and he roars in pain. In his anger, he shoots Alistair and Trent with acid. Adokul makes up for his bad shot and annihilates the beetle. Trent heals us and Alistair wastefully drinks a potion we could have saved for later.

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