Dungeon Delving

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Dungeon Delving

Post by Wraithwriter »

In the passing of time civilizations rise and fall, and whether they fell due to disease, disasters, decadence, magic, or war one thing always remains constant, the ruins they leave behind. Now it is common knowledge that these long abandoned places hold untold riches for any brave enough to venture forth to pit their skills against the challenges such places hold. Many never return contributing to the stories of the follies for going; however, enough do return with riches only dreamed of ensuring there would always be adventures ready to conquer the challenges and tempt fate. It was in one such place that Tiag found himself accompanied by his friend Aalish.

The two of them were deep in the bowel of a warren on underground tunnels build by a race of burrowers. Like dwarfs these creature had had a love for precious minerals, gems, and metals found underground and legends spoke of vast hoards just waiting for the taking. However, it was not the legends of these riches that drew Tiag and Aalish, well reality it was Aalish’s idea to come here.

No, it was the other legends that interested Aalish, the ones that told of wondrous machines and mechanisms built and used by the ancient race to hollow out their vast tunnel civilization. For Tiag’s part, while he was a dwarf and subject to the racial weakness of avarice, he was also a river dwarf so did not covet the things the came from the dark places of the world as much. Tiag was along to keep his friend Aalish out of trouble, and trouble is what they found.

Thus far Tiag pulled the absent-minded gnome up short before he plummeted to his doom several times. He had also utilized his cloaks magic to make into a shield stop the poison darts that shot from a wall when the gnome had stepped on the pressure plate Tiag had warned him of. Though these were the extent of what they had faced and according to Aalish they were almost to where they desired to be. Suddenly the tunnel that they traveled widened out into a large dimly lit room.

“We are here,” Aalish announced excitedly and it was only Tiag’s hand on his shoulder that kept him from rushing forward recklessly.

“Aalish wait,” Tiag cautioned in an exasperated tone since this was not the first time he had to restrain his friend. “There may be traps.” After saying this Tiag waited for Aalish to nod his head in understanding before removing his hand from the gnomes shoulder.

Quickly going to one knee Tiag began to scan the floor and near by walls for any notable signs of traps. When this search turn nothing up he gradually began to extend his search out till finally he had covered the entire room with no traps found. The only things odd about the room were its size, the elaborate runic glyphs on the floor and walls, and the pictographs chiseled in to the back wall. Straightening, Tiag turned from his inspection to advise the gnome that all seemed clear only to find that Aalish was already at the back wall studying the pictographs on the wall.

“Aalish what did-,” Tiag began but stopped in mid-sentence as the glyphs began to glow and swirl. A grinding rumble to the left and right warned him that what ever was going to happen would come from both directions at once. Taking up a defensive stance that allowed him to monitor both sides, Tiag waited for what was about to come.

Slowly a split appeared in both walls and began widen as the two slid open to reveal rooms behind. From what he was able to tell the rooms contained alcoves that were thick with spider webs and cobwebs. When the walls finally stopped all quieted, and Aalish still was absorbed in his studies of the pictographs.

Tense minutes passed with nothing else happening, and just when Tiag was about to relax he picked out a quite rustling. Next came hollow clicking sounds, however, it was the sight of the skeleton emerging form one of the alcoves that captured his attention. In one smooth motion he removed his axe form its hanger readied for combat.

“Aalish!” Tiag shouted in an attempt to get the gnome’s attention. “We have company!” After that Tiag had very little time to anything but fighting as the first animated skeletons charged from out of the darkness beyond his vision.

The skeletons were vaguely humanoid in the since that they had a head, two arms and legs, and ran upright thought that was where the similarities ended. With curling horns protruding form their skulls and pincer like mandibles, they looked more like an insect. Their legs also bent backwards like a birds cause them to lean forward to lead with their horns as they ran. These were the only observations Tiag made of the skeletons as he brought his axe around the smash the leading skeleton’s skull.

Tiag was not the best of fighters around being primarily a scout for his clan in his youth, but he was certainly no stranger to fight. So though the fight was desperate in some spots, especially when he had to divide his attention in fighting the threat and protecting the oblivious gnome, he managed to hold the skeletal hordes off. What also helped was the complete lack of organization to the attack; his opponents hindered each other in their attacks. Three or four even took out several of their fellows when they charged right on by Tiag.

Suddenly bright light flashed blinding Tiag, for a second he thought that he and Aalish were dead but when nothing happened he frowned in confusion. As the after image of charging skeletons faded from his sight and he was able to see the room once again he saw the reason why they were not dead. Scattered all across the floor were the collapsed remains of the former walking skeletons, so seeing he lowered his axe and began the process of gearing down form the battle excitement.

“So you were saying something company?” Aalish inquired in a tone that told Tiag that he was still not aware of what had happened.

Still trying to catch his breath, Tiag watched as the gnome turned form his study and did a double take as he took in the mess on the floor. “With all these bones everywhere it’s a wonder we didn’t trip and fall on our faces Tiag,” commented Aalish. The gnome then gave Tiag a look as he notice his heavy breathing. “Are you alright my friend? What? Why are you doing that with your hands?”

At this point Tiag was reaching out to strangle the misbegotten gnome, friend or no friend.

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