Sunday, October 23, 2016

Wine Cellars of Marqest: A Solo adventure

A lone traveler from far away approaches the ruins of castle Marqest. His name is Icarus, and he is a Magic-User of the 3rd Circle. Research and tales have led him to this treacherous place in search of lost & hidden magicks used by the Wizards of the Duke.

The Square Tower
Icarus decides to start his investigations in the large square tower to the east of the old gatehouse. As the robed adventurer reaches the breach in the castle wall nearest the tower he hears the sounds of fighting from within the courtyard. Icarus spies a lone Dwarf fending off a handful of naked goblin-like creatures. Though the hardy axeman lays into things with vigor his blows seem to have little if no effect!

"Ho there Dwarf, do you need aid?" cries Icarus.

The tiring warrior shrugs off the lunging assault of a naked creature and looks to the robed stranger. "Aye, you bet your bloody arse I do!"

With a wave of an odd feathered wand the stranger intones a series of bird-like hoots and a cloud of golden sand appears around the heads of all five of the hunched attackers, and just as quickly they all slump to the ground in a deep slumber! The dwarf takes advantage of this and strikes each monster in the head with his axe, each hit creating a sound like a rotten melon being dropped from a great height.

"Tell me," intones Icarus, "do these creatures have magical defenses? hey seemed immune to your axe."

Removing his helmet the dwarf looked over his handiwork. "No, not magical per say. Just bloody tough is all. They took me by surprise and were trying to subdue me I'm sure. Any way I am in your debt stranger, what is your name?"

"I am called Icarus, and you are?"

"Tic Tok you may call me. I am in your debt and will accompany you on your journey until you reach a place a safety. By the way, what manner of man are you Icarus, for you are surely not human."

The spell-caster flips back his hood to reveal himself in the full days sun, his great eyes looking down upon Tic Tock like great saucers. "You are correct dwarf, I am not human. I am of the Owl-men a most ancient and almost forgotten race. I have come here to seek old secrets hidden in this place."

Icarus speaking with some halflings.

Icarus cries out in the language of his people and in moments a handful of large vultures appear and begin feasting upon the corpses of the naked creatures. The Owl-man and Dwarf then turn their attention to the Square tower. The pair decide to attempt entry through a door set in the base of the tower facing the courtyard. Tic Tok attempts to break the door down after the pair discover it is either barred or barricaded from the inside. Icarus then decides to use his magic and raps upon the door in a rhythmic pattern while hooting softly, which causes the portal to open all on its own.

The Square tower door.
  An ancient guardroom is revealed within, thick with cobwebs and dust. The pair can just make out some racks of weapons and a door to another chamber within the tower. Icarus summons a sparrow from his "Birdhouse" Staff and has the little bird carry a candle into the room and ignite the torches they see on the walls. The room now lit and most of the cobwebs burnt away, Tic Tok enters warily with his axe at the ready scanning the ceiling for spiders, when suddenly a pit opens beneath the dwarf plunging him into a dark pit!
"Are you alright?" cries Icarus.
"Yeah, just a little bruised. Quick look for a lever or latch before.." the dwarf is cut off as the pit closes.
Staying away from the pit, Icarus scans the wall looking for some sort of mechanism to open the pit. After a few frantic moments he finds a rusty pull rod near the closed door in the room. The Owl-man works the iron rod until it moves and the pit opens again. He then ties off a rope to a torch sconce and lowers it to the Dwarf. Tic Tok in the meantime is searching the bones and debris in the pit, when Icarus hears a strange gurgling bubbling noise from below. "Quick my friend, get out of there. I do not like those noises!"

Once out of the pit the pair decide to set the pit so it will not open again and lock the trap in a closed position. Tic Tok reveals he found a key on a long dead body in the pit. "Look what I found on an unfortunate soul down there."

Key from the pit.
"Mayhap it shall open this door to the rest of the tower." says Icarus pointing to the rooms only other exit. The pair try the door and discover it is not locked at all and opens to reveal a long hallway with a single door on the left and right sides about halfway down its length. The hall ends in an open archway leading to another chamber, but it is too dark for either companion to make out anything but the slightest hint of detail. Icarus lights a lantern and Tic Tok takes the lead as the pair head along the hall and decide to try the doorway on their left.

This door is locked and the key is put to use. Surprisingly it unlocks the door and the dwarf pushes it open to reveal a bunk room. Two sets a bunk beds lie rotting along one wall and an old table and a couple stools lie strewn about the room. A musty odor assails the pair and something stirs in the chamber...

Skeleton guardsmen
The old guardsmen attempt to fulfill their duty and rise to attack the adventuring duo. Tic Tok holds them at bay in the doorway so only one can attack at a time. Icarus encourages the dwarf with positive banter, and soon three of the four creatures are smashed to shards. However the last skeleton gets a good strike in on the dwarf slicing him good across the ribs. The flat of the axe quickly dispatches the last undead guard and the pair enter the room. As Icarus searches the chamber, Tic Tok unslings his pack and proceeds to drink the contents of most of a small keg he had with him. Icarus discovers an ols map-case beneath one of the beds and brings over to the table to check it out. In the lantern light the pair find a tattered and moldy map within. It is an outdoor map of an area unfamiliar to both of them. Icarus then hears that same gurgling noise from before. Looking about he determines it is coming from a small side chamber. "That sound again from in there!" he says pointing. Tic Tok shines the lantern there to revel the doorway to the guards privy, and the fact the floor there is covered in a slimy coating.

"I believe we should go, before whatever is making that noise reveals itself." say the Owl-man quickly rolling up the map.

Shouldering his pack and backing towards the hallway Tic Tok whispers, "I agree."

The two adventures left the bunk room closed and locked the door, then scouted out the chamber at the end of the hall. It turned out to be a mess hall, with a large fireplace and two sets of spiral stairs. One flight ascends to the upper levels, while the other descends below ground. Icarus uses wood from a bench to get a fire going while the pair decide what to do.

Tic Tok the dwarf.

  What will become of this pair of adventurers, stay tuned.....