The journey up the mountain had been strenuous and tiring and I was feeling utterly demoralised as I started to consider the injuries our party had sustained on the journey to this god forsaken place. My thoughts turned to the many fallen heroes whom we had lost on our pilgrimage, and then I make a small prayer to Raendir sullenly remembering his bravery and wishing that I was half the person he was.
By the time we reached the tower I was sick with worry, though the sight of our goal rearing overhead boosted my moral somewhat. Though I believe we may suffer more loss within the tower it is some little accomplishment to reach ones goal, and to know that soon we will have completed our current goal. Terrified of the magical capabilities this place may possess I offer to try and break through a wall, fearing what magic the gate could be enchanted with. Nobody else seems to understand the danger of our situation as I do, either that or they are unafraid of death as they told me not attempt to break in. So without ceremony Captain Vuranel Landonir the Promised decided to walk straight up to the gate and open it, granted he managed to do this safely and no trouble befell him but it might have been dangerous. Indeed, I fear that our party has become too accustomed to death as we continue losing brave comrades but rarely are tears shed, though I know we all feel the loss of Raendir. Indeed I am sure that Alathia is still heartbroken though her recent meeting with the Sphinx seems to have calmed her somewhat.
We entered the courtyard just as quickly as we had opened the gate, the whole group trampled in one after another. Once within the courtyard it was quiet as we walked towards the entrance to the tower, too quiet for my liking. I followed the group believing that there is strength in numbers, but all the while I kept an eye on the gate fearing that we had entered a trap and that the gate would should preventing us from making a quick escape. We reached the door and nothing had happened. Again I offered to try and make a hole in the wall or through one of the bricked up windows so as to avoid any possible traps, again the group felt that they should try the door first, so I held back my attempts to break. And again he pulled the door and it opened willingly, however as Vulpi leant over the threshold the door slammed shut pushing him inside, I knew there was going to be a trap.
For all we knew Vulpi could be dead, but instead of heeding this warning the others started talking about going inside. I stood back and watched considering my options, as I saw it I had two choices: go inside with the group, or stay outside and bide my time until the other half of the group arrived. They were talking about entering in some sort of formation, but I wasn’t included in this plan so I planned on waiting for the rest of the group.
No sooner had I decided on my plan of action than Logan opened the door to the tower, but then to my astonishment he proceeded to push me through it. I struggled against his strength and it seemed for a moment that I may succeed however Alathia quickly joined the struggle, and with the aid of that meddlesome wench Logan succeeded in pushing me into the tower, on my own, though I tried to pull him in with me. The door quickly slammed shut behind me and the rest of the group disappeared behind the sold wooden door, leaving me alone.
When I looked up I found myself in a delightful room, there was a small garden area in the middle with a large tree growing in it. Looking up towards the ceiling I realised that the light in the room, which seemed to mimic sunlight, was emanating from a big gem. Momentarily I was in awe but soon my thoughts were drawn back to the room and more importantly its contents. There were a variety of statues in the room, including: a porcupine, an elephant, a bore and a tiger; however Vulpi was nowhere to be seen but then I noticed that there was a broken statue.
Tentatively I resolved to approach one of the intact statues, fearing that they may be enchanted I decided to err on the side of caution advancing towards the least dangerous creature, the porcupine. I had my mind on the door the whole time, believing that I could be in need of a quick escape. Once near the porcupine statue I raised my horse headed staff and placed the end of it upon the statue, expecting that the statue might come to life but nothing happened. The room was still quiet so I started to feel reasonably safe; in fact I was quite pleased that I had found such a room considering my originally pessimistic outlook. Feeling more courageous by the so far placid state of the room I chose to cross the room and inspect the broken statue. Upon examining the pieces I managed to identify that the statue use to be a primate, as I turned round to continue examining the rest of the room something flew at me. Looking down at my chest and stomach I realised I was covered in faeces; I scanned the room search for my attacker, presumably the chimp, but to no avail the room was still apparently silent. However moments later another lump of monkey faeces flew through the air towards me from the direction of the tree and this time hitting me on the head, it reeked and I was almost covered in it, but now I scanned the tree for my primitive assailant then spotting him hiding in his lair. My initial annoyance at being covered in faeces subside as I realised I had four options: attempt to befriend the chimp, attempt to hide from him and his poo, leave the room, or retaliate and start a turf war. Not wishing to leave the room and believing that hurting him was morally wrong I decided to attempt to befriend him, so I proceeded to climb the tree but half way up I felt something brush past me and on reaching my destination I realised that the monkey had stolen one of my water skins, and now he was biting and pulling at it.
Damn! I just can’t catch a break these days. I would not like to admit to the other members of the group just how much losing the water skin hurt me but I have lost all my morale during the course of this journey. I have nearly dyed whilst attempting to save my spell book then I got kicked in the face by Alathia and lost all my gold at the same time. I’m starting to think she took it; she definitely hates me enough to have done that and all because I wanted to befriend her, I miss having friends. But enough of this ranting, and back to my account of the events in the tower.
I wished that I’d have had a banana too offer the monkey, but I thought that I may be able to offer him a gift of something in my backpack so I rummaged through it and found some rum and a sack. Thinking that a bottle of rum would be lost on him, or her I suppose, I opted to poor some of the rum on the sack, my hope being that he would take the sack and start to bite or suck at it. He approached slowly looking at me expectantly; I stood motionlessly as he advanced fearing that movement might cause him to lash out or flee, but it made no difference for as soon as he was close to me he pushed me from the tree and onto the floor then he proceeded to pee on me.
I felt a little dazed as I stood up, covered in urine. I’m not proud to confess I lost my temper, in anger I mimicked monkey sounds so loud that the sound filled the room, but this did not phase the chimp who through another poo at me. That was it I saw red, the next thing I knew I had thrown a magic missile directly at him to discourage his mischievous behaviour; which seemed to work as he stopped throwing poo at me and he disappeared into the foliage of the tree.
I took my remaining water skin and scooped up some of the water from a small pond in the garden surrounding the tree. I went to sit by the door which I had not entered through expecting that I would be unable to open the other door, then I washed my face and hands cleaning off as much of the faeces as possible until I noticed the monkey pushing at the tiger statue. Heavily suspecting that he was trying to summon a tiger, I jumped too my feet and ran through into a hallway. I spun around shutting the door behind me hoping that I was safe, but no sooner had I done this than the door opened and out jumped Baby Doll. Though I did not like being separated from the group Baby Doll was the last person I had expected or even wanted to meet, and it even caused me some apprehension remembering his or her strange behaviour towards myself and Squid Slayer when we had first met but I hoped that fate had thrown us together for protection.
We greeted each other briefly but then we turned and inspected the hallway together. Along the wall, opposite the door we had entered through, there were three doors of varying quality. One appeared very plain, the next looked slightly more intricate and the final seemed rather posh, Baby Doll suggested we exit through the poorest door believing that it would be the safest route of passage. Before approaching the door I looked at the ceiling and the floor, hoping that this would reveal any traps, but all seemed well so I followed Baby Doll crossing to plainest door. On the door there was a mouth and as we turned the handle the mouth began to speak to us in riddle, we did the same for the other two doors both issuing us a different riddle; each seeming as difficult as the next. Now we determined to work out the riddle for the rich door suspecting that great rewards may be found within, we were there for what felt like hours working on the riddle and slowly the door began to wriggle as we made guesses to the answer, getting nearer and nearer to the solution.
Every now and then we would get side tracked and we would start to talk about our pasts, leading me to learn more and more of Baby Doll’s history. The things he told me of his past were moving and I slowly started to feel comfortable around him (indeed I found out that Baby Doll was in fact a male) and not only that, but his real name was Hercillean or Herc for short. Despite our procrastination and delays we eventually we came to the answer; which was something like ‘sunrise over daisies’, or something stupid like that.
When we entered the room we soon realised that it had been worth our time and effort, the bed looked expansive and soft and all the furnishings were made of expensively lavish materials. Part of me wanted to stay in the room forever as I was slowly assured of its safety, but I knew that we must leave at some point so as to depart from the tower and continue on our adventures, whether that may be separately or collectively I am yet to know.
I went into a corner and poured the remainder of the water in my water skin onto my hair washing out as much of the faeces as possible before my attentions were drawn to a cupboard, with the enticing prospect of clean robes to replace the dirty rags that currently protected me from exposure. In the cupboard there were piles of silk robes in a variety of colours and all of them trimmed with gold, I picked out a set which were iridescent black and purple. I changed into them quickly particularly aware that Herc was in the room though his attention seemed to be detained by a small locked box which he was attempting to prise open. I then went to the dressing table and seeing a bottle of incense I splashed a small quantity onto my neck and wrists, with the hope that it would mask any lingering smells though I was no longer sensitive to the stench that I assumed was still emanating from me. After I had used it I put the incense into my bag, along with a very nice brush set that was on the dressing table, if I wasn’t going to get some use out of them myself I could sell them later to pay back my debts to Squid Slayer and Valten. I realised Herc had opened the box and he was holding a selection of gems stones in his hand, as I approached him and he offered me a gem which he identified as an Onyx worth 5,000 gold pieces, apparently of equal value to the combined cost of the three other stones. Though I doubted the legitimacy of his statement I decided not to argue as I needed him as an ally whilst trapped alone together.
He changed into a fresh set of robes and we discussed the merit of sleeping in the bed before deciding against this. We thought about the two other riddles which we had not solved before we eventually proceeded through the exit door, entering into a room quite different from the one which we were just in. The first thing which grabbed ones attention was a glowing gem in a cage in the middle of the room, but on closer inspection of the room there was writing on the wall which made no sense to me, though I guessed that there was something that we were not meant to say. Though I was wary of the writing Herc read the words he out loud, causing the fire gem to glow and from its depth appeared four goblin. Again my cowardice got the better of me and with Herc at my heals I ran to the exit door, as heroically he turned to defend me but the door yielded before the goblins had time to attack and pulling him through with me we ran through into the dark obis.
The feeling of dread which had suddenly filled me did not abate once away from the goblins as the new room which I ran into was shroud in the shadows of darkness, a solitary dim light emanated from somewhere in front of me. We had no way to make a light for ourselves so we tentatively progressed down what originally seemed to be a hallway. After a reasonably short while we were presented with a choice, whether to turn and follow a different path or continue on the road which we were on. I believe I may speak for both of us when I say that we were starting to fear that we had unknowing entered a maze, which was particularly not ideal considering the dangers which I knew would be likely to present themselves in a place with such magical significance but as this was not confirmed I attempted to steady my nerve as Herc tried to decide which path may lead us to the quickest exit. Declaring that he felt air coming from one of the paths I suggested we followed, hoping that it would lead us to an exit. However the breeze which had briefly given us the hope of a quick exit had dissipated by the time we reached another divide so we chose a path at random and continued on our way.
I attempted to keep a mental note of the turns we took but I must admit that I was soon at a loss as to how many turns we had taken and in what direction, so I will only recount events which I particularly remember, the first one being our encounter with a trap. I had positioned myself behind Herc for protection, though whether he realised this was my tactic I am unsure, and as we continued along the dark corridor in silence the first sound to penetrate this was that of a small snap, like a piece of thread breaking. This was soon followed by a thud as a large indiscernible mass fell from the ceiling, in front of Herc, swinging forward and hitting him squarely in the torso throwing him to the ground. After a small moment’s pause due to the fear induced by such an encounter we continued our progress through the maze.
In one part of the maze there was a powerful smell of decay which made is back away, fearful that there may be zombies nearby, and in another we found some torches on the wall. Not daring to take them in case it was a trap, Herc took a torch from his bag and we lit it on the flames presented appetisingly before us then, though the corridor continued round past the torches, on Herc’s instructions we returned the way we came, he seemed hesitant of proceeding past the torches fearing a trap – I respected that.
After wondering around for a while, and feeling that we had been down this corridor a million times already, we saw a turning which led through an archway. Herc tried to persuade and then force me to continue down the corridor before him, but knowing my strength and foreseeing danger I protested eventually almost refusing to advance unless he went ahead to check that it was safe, and in the end that was exactly what happened, he unexpectedly disappeared into the shadows reappearing a couple of long minutes later informing me that the exit did not lie ahead so we turned round and head back the way we came.
I took us what felt like an age wondering around the maze but eventually we found the lights again, this time we decided to pass but only after putting out our torch fearing that they may trigger a trap. We wondered through the maze eventually hearing a dripping sound which was unfamiliar too us, so at least we hadn’t been down the corridor before but only our fallen heroes could know whether we were on the right path, here I spare a thought for the mighty Raendir with the hopes that one day I will be able to look back on his heroics that saved me so many times and rejoice in safety which he will have provided but also know that I repaid my debt too mankind in some way. After hearing the sound of the water we were soon bounding through corridors meeting no resistance and eventually stumbled to the exit, opening the door. But what awaited us was disheartening, we opened the door to a black room that looked the same as before and as we stumbled about in the dark we came across the trap we had already triggered, the smell of death, the arch, then the torches… we had re-entered the maize but this time we moved quick we wondered through the maze search for the lights then listening for the sound of water until eventually reached the exit. My fears about the magical capacity of the tower were strengthened, I feared entering the maze for a second time but what was worse I thought about the likelihood of finding the exit our chances looked bleak and I feared what we might find next.