Reese finds himself separated from the others, currently unable to follow. The others find themselves in the aftermath of fighting the two-mouths.
Reess Whitesmith touches the bluish color on the circle. Nothing happens.
Reess Whitesmith sits down on the circle and concentrates, forming a picture of his friends in his mind. Again, nothing happens.
Sarrag: “I will check on that one.”
Sarrag points to Ian
Rikard Castleberry: “Drag him away if you would, a bit away from these things.”
Sarrag: “I might need you to suck out the poison.”
Rikard Castleberry: “…”
Ian Aedan lies stiffly.
Rikard Castleberry: “Do you suppose I should just off these things since they’ve stopped moving?”
After about sixty seconds Ian begins to stir and is able to stand after another few rounds.
Sarrag: “At least restrain them, though they did not give Ian any choice.”
Rikard Castleberry looks to see if he can find the one he stabbed previously.
Sarrag: “How are you feeling?”
Ian Aedan stirs and groans, “Reasons like this are why children are scared of the dark.”
The critters you stabbed left blood behind and one dead body. You know there were at least two though in the darkness it was hard to say for certain how many there were.
Only one of the corpses is on the ground now.
Rikard Castleberry picks up his light gem that was left on his pack and holds it up higher, to let more light spill into the room.
Sarrag: “Do you think they carried off the one called Reese?”
Rikard Castleberry: “I’m not sure Sarrag. We will have to see if there is sign of a struggle or drag marks.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Ian, how are you? Hit your head?”
The room is roughly 50 to 60 feet on a side. A row of stone posts and metal bars divides the room in two. The central bars lie bent and twisted upon the ground. Beyond the broken barrier, an opening in the wall leads to a descending stairway.
In the corners on either side of the stairway; a circle has been carved into the floor. The circle to the left of the stairway is black, while the circle to the right is multicolored in all the hues of a rainbow.
Reess Whitesmith stands up, and paces around the area, looking intently for anything that would give a clue. He starts to wrack his brain, and can’t remember much of what happened before, only that he went first. He then decides to drop down to his belly, and get an up close look at the circle, to see if there are any clues- perhaps a footprint or disturbed dust.
Ian Aedan sits up, slowly and rubs his arm, “Foggy, bit dizzy, but I’ll be fine.” He looks at his arm, “That’ll sting though.”
Rikard Castleberry picks up his pack and throws it back on, and walks around the room, letting everyone see what’s in all the corners.
Rikard Castleberry: “Well guys, should we go for the dark circle or the rainbow circle?”
Ian Aedan sits cross legged, rubbing his arm as he looks around at the light Rikard provides, “Did we just appear in the middle of this room? Or was I dragged here? I don’t remember much.”
Rikard Castleberry: “We just sort of appeared here, when we stepped on that one rainbow circle.”
Ian Aedan: “So then that circle in the corner, that’s not where we ‘came in’, then?”
Rikard Castleberry: “Er. Doubt it.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Probably a bunch of 1 way things.”
Ian Aedan: “That’s what I was thinking. Guess we’re stuck exploring then.”
Sarrag: “We could just take the stairs.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Oh that’s just no fun.”
Ian Aedan: “Come on Sarrag, we have magic…who takes the stairs?”
Rikard Castleberry: “I suppose stairs are safer though. We can always walk back up them.” Sarrag: “Stairs do not lead you into middle of hand-eaters”.
Reess Whitesmith discovers after several minutes of intense scrutiny that he’s discovered nothing new. The dust was very limited, and with all the walking, it’s been scattered around. He decides that he can learn nothing else, and decides to toss something on the floor. He sits down and rummages through his things, looking for the right item.
Rikard Castleberry: “Is there anything here we can arrange into like an arrow, in case Reess comes this way? We can point to where we are going.”
Sarrag: “How about – an arrow?”
Sarrag points to Ian.
Ian Aedan pats his quiver, “That’s what I was thinking…but maybe we can get something off that gate.”
Ian Aedan rises to his feet and checks his balance before heading over to the gate. He starts to tug and rip off what pieces he can.
Sarrag: “Will that not look like debris? How will he know it is from us?”
Ian pulls loose a long 6 foot rod of the gate.
Rikard Castleberry: “If you like, we can take off enough to write, “Ian was here” on the floor.”
Sarrag looks confused.
Ian Aedan sets aside the one piece and then tries to get at least two more pieces.
Rikard Castleberry goes to the gate and works with Ian on pulling off 2 sections.
Ian Aedan: “I think we can make it look ‘manmade’ enough that he’ll be able to tell the difference.”
Sarrag watches for Hand-eaters.
Ian wrestles loose two more rod like pieces, nearly the same length.
Reess Whitesmith takes out a vial of Bart’s blood, and sets it down in the circle. It vanishes! He dashes over to the other side of the room, finding it in the center of the circle. Reess chuckles to himself, in happiness that he finally has some progress on figuring out the problem.
Ian Aedan takes the pieces to the center of the room and lays them out in a —> shape, pointing towards the stairs.
Ian Aedan thinks for a moment, then takes puts a hand in the blood from his arm and tries to make a palm print at the base of the arrow.
Ian Aedan: “Hopefully that will be enough of a clue.”
Rikard Castleberry: “He’s a smart enough guy. Shall we go down the steps?”
Ian Aedan: “We better…that’s where the arrows pointing. Go another way and we may really confuse him.”
The wide stairway has broad steps about 1 foot deep. Although the descent is fairly steep, each step provides a broad platform with sure footing.
Rikard Castleberry: “Hm. Some proper stairs. I like it.”
Ian Aedan follows, bow at ready. “Let’s hope everything is straight, we’ll need to leave bread crumbs otherwise.”
The stairs continue for about 50’ or so, descending into the deep. At the bottom you see it reach a spacious landing and sense an opening into a different chamber.
Rikard Castleberry: “Well, this looks promising.”
Ian Aedan preps an arrow to his bow and advances cautiously, “Indeed.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Keep an eye out for more of those light gem things.”
Ian Aedan: “I have a lantern, but I can’t hold that and use my bow at the same time.”
You see diamond shaped columns and steps leading down beyond them, you sense more leading out into a very large chamber.
Diamond shaped columns surround a rectangular depression about 10 feet wide and who knows how long? Three shallow steps encircle the basin and descend to a central area about 4 feet deep.
Reess Whitesmith picks up the vial, and tucks it away. He tries all manner of facings in the circle, hopping, and spinning. The result is always the same: he keeps teleporting across, one leads to the other, over and over. Growing tired of this, he tries a coin, setting it down in the circle in front of him. The coin vanishes. He checks the other side, and predictably finds the coin on the center of that circle.
Rikard Castleberry: “This is kinda interesting.”
Sarrag: “What is the reason for this?”
Rikard Castleberry: “A large bath?”
Ian Aedan: “Audience chamber?”
Ian Aedan moves a bit further south.
Rikard Castleberry keeps up with Ian and Sarrag to give them light.
Sarrag: “Shall we follow the trough?”
Rikard Castleberry: “Sure. But let’s do it on the steps, not inside it.”
Sarrag moves back up to the steps
Ian Aedan continues to follow the trough, "This is one long trough…. maybe 45 feet long…”
Rikard Castleberry: “Yeah it is. Rather excessive I would say.”
Reess Whitesmith picks up the coin, and puts it away, mumbling about his fate. He decides to head back to the room at the beginning with water, and wash his face. He finds the rest and water quite refreshing as he washes himself and relaxes for a couple minutes, considering his options.
Rikard Castleberry: “Well then, nothing remarkable here. Shall we check around the walls? Maybe Reess didn’t come this way…”
Ian Aedan looks back, “It looks like there’s an alcove or something over there.”
Sarrag: “I see nothing that looks like the dreamers are connected here.”
The corridor runs straight for 15 feet before turning left. Just beyond the turn, a stone privy rises from the floor, with a marble seat connected by steel hinges so that it may be raised and lowered. The hole is only about 5 feet deep, empty, and very clean.
Ian Aedan looks down into the hole, “Reess, you down there?”
Ian’s voice breaks the silence of the shitter.
Rikard Castleberry: “I don’t think he is.”
Sarrag: “Does Reese frequent such holes?”
Ian Aedan turns and walks back the other way, “Only if he’s in deep shit.”
Rikard Castleberry: “I have the distinct feeling he didn’t come this way.”
Reess Whitesmith takes off his pack and places it by the eastern circle. He then steps onto the circle. He reappears on the other side as normal, but his gear on the ground did not follow.
Sarrag: “Do we check the room out completely?”
Ian Aedan: “Probably….want to bet there’s another one of those around the other corner?”
Sarrag: “We could do so quicker if we split up and had more light.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Sure, but if we don’t find him, I really think we should go back and take that rainbow circle.”
Reess Whitesmith, growing tired of walking the same path, uses the teleporter to get back. Not surprisingly, he teleports back to the side with his gear. He decides to glance around at the walls and ceiling.
The walls are composed of black trapezoidal blocks about 3 feet wide on the long side and 2 feet wide on the short side. The blocks alternate orientation in an interlocking pattern.
The cracks between blocks are so thin that the slimmest blade could not fit between them, and the ceiling is 15’ high.
Ian Aedan pauses and starts to dig out his lantern, “Can you carry this Sarrag?”
Ian Aedan hands Sarrag the lantern after prepping it, “Here you go.”
Ian Aedan follows Sarrag, taking advantage of the larger light radius.
Sarrag: “Are we staying together?”
Rikard Castleberry: “We should.”
The corridor runs straight for 15 feet before turning left. Just beyond the turn, a stone privy rises from the floor, with a marble seat connected by steel hinges so that it may be raised and lowered. The hole is only about 5 feet deep, empty, and very clean.
Sarrag: “This is a huge toilet.”
Ian Aedan: “Be thankful they’re using these alcoves and not that large trough."
Rikard Castleberry starts heading back to the stairs. “We can explore this more later; I really think we should go try that circle. I don’t think Reess is here.”
Ian Aedan: “I dunno, if we take that circle, there’s no telling where we’ll end up…as is, he only has one circle to go through to find us.”
Rikard Castleberry: “But why wouldn’t he have taken it then?”
Sarrag: “He went before we did.”
Sarrag: “The hand-eaters may have taken him.”
Rikard Castleberry: “And yet we haven’t seen any sign of him at all. That’s what bothers me.”
Ian Aedan: “Oh…do you think he may have gone through the circle?”
Rikard Castleberry: “To run away from those things? He probably could’ve seen it.”
Sarrag: “Something made them leave, maybe they got their meal.”
Rikard Castleberry: “No blood on the floor though.”
Ian Aedan looks around, “Though I still think we should check out this area. If we go through the portal, there’s no telling if we can get back here.”
Sarrag: “I am fine with either path. Both seem equally likely.”
Alcoves hold statues atop small pedestals.
Reess Whitesmith, having learned nothing new decides to go take that rubbing of the door he was intending to do previously.
Rikard Castleberry: “I hate statues.”
The fully revealed statue: A Swamp Man stands with feet apart and arms upraised. The figure wears a long and complicated tunic composed of vines and leaves. One hand grasps a large object shaped like a f’lunin pod, the other the skull of a small animal. This statue is almost twice life size of a swamp man and goes almost 14’ high.
Ian Aedan looks up at the statue, “Nice, very well done. Obviously someone of great importance. Sarrag…anyone you recognize?”
Rikard Castleberry puts down his gem and pokes the statue closest to him with his spear.
Four alcoves hold statues atop small pedestals. All appear to be representations of Swamp Men nearly twice life size. The statues are carved from a gray stone and polished until the light sparkles from the surfaces.
The next Swamp Man statue wears a simple tunic. The face is tilted upward as if looking at the sky, and one arm points in the same direction as the gaze.
Ian Aedan takes the obvious approach and looks in the direction of the gaze.
Sarrag studies the statues to see if their bearing or weapons remind him of any legends.
The next Swamp Man wears a robe. The head faces forward and is tilted down, as if inspecting all who pass through the corridor. One hand holds a book, the other grips a staff topped by a many faceted gem.
The last Swamp Man is muscular, and carries a double-bladed spear at the ready. An intricately worked breastplate covers the chest, and greaves the lower legs.
Rikard Castleberry: “These are rather interesting.”
Sarrag: “A link to the dreamers?”
Ian Aedan: “So…we have….a hunter….a ..commoner? A priest, and a warrior.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Wouldn’t it be wild if these guys were the actual dreamers?” Rikard looks at the statues, “Hey wake up guys!”
Sarrag hopes they aren’t as grumpy as he is when awoken by someone screaming.
Ian Aedan grins, “I don’t think that’s how it works….”
Ian Aedan: “Can you imagine the gunk in their eyes from being asleep that long?”
Rikard Castleberry picks up the gem again.
Sarrag: “Are there more?”
Rikard Castleberry: “It appears just the 4”.
Rikard, Ian, and Sarrag keep exploring, looking for Reess. They head south from the large room they were previously in. The corridor opens up into a large room. There are metal tables and metal chairs on wheels visible to you.
The tables are 12-foot by 4-foot rectangles. Beneath a light layer of brown dust, the silvery surface shows no blemishes or rust spots. Chairs of the same silver metal are tucked beneath the long ends of the tables, neatly spaced so that every table has an identical number of chairs.
Rikard Castleberry: “Is this a classroom?”
A single sheet of silver metal blocks the doorway. To the right of the doorway, at about chest height, a black circle two inches in diameter appears painted on the wall.
Ian Aedan follows into the next room, “Dining hall?”
Rikard Castleberry: “It would make sense.”
The corridor passes the statues and opens into a room about 35 feet wide and 25 feet deep. Four rows of metal tables extend the width of the room from front to rear. Each row is composed of two tables separated by a central walkway.
At first glance, the chairs appear to be of the typical four-legged variety, but closer inspection shows a large circular hole in the back, just behind where a person would sit, and a small metal wheel at the base of each leg.
Reess Whitesmith keeps trying. He puts down a coin, and then immediately follows it himself. He appears on the other side. The coin is there, but he is not standing on it. Feeling a spark of ingenuity, he unloads his bag of coins over the circle, to cover more of the circle. He hears them fall on the other side of the room. He jumps onto the circle, and appears a few feet outside of the circle. Reess decides to walk to the other side, and set his bag down, and then follow it.
Sarrag: “There are other exits.”
Sarrag states the obvious.
Ian Aedan pushes one of the chairs back and forth, “Interesting. I’ve never seen something like this in a dining hall. Nor such fancy tables. The silver is usually reserved for the forks and knives.”
Rikard Castleberry: “This is truly odd.”
Sarrag: “At least the chairs look comfortable.”
Rikard Castleberry: “I still feel we should go try the circle we passed by. We haven’t seen or heard of Reess in a long time now. Certainly he wasn’t brought this way.”
Ian Aedan wipes his hands free of the dust from the chair, “They certainly haven’t been used in a while. Let’s see where these two exits go, then head back?”
Rikard Castleberry: “Ok, but at some point if we don’t see anything, we should go back, even if the hall just keeps going and going.”
Ian Aedan: “Agreed.”
Sarrag: “Where to?”
Reess Whitesmith teleports further away from the ring, but still across, and in the same room. He decides that more mass is perhaps the answer. He looks into the half circle room at the pillars.
They are carved as if from the stone. They go floor to ceiling and oddly there are no cracks visible.
Ian, Sarrag, and Rikard look down another hallway. There is nothing of note to be found in this area.
Ian Aedan: “Well….that wasn’t very exciting, was it? Peek down the other hall, then back?”
Sarrag looks to Rikard.
Rikard Castleberry glances at Ian, “Last hall to peek down, mister!”
Ian Aedan trudges along, “Yes, Dad.”
You’ve entered a 15’ room with 3 other exits. The walls are curved.
Sarrag: “Strange that we have seen no other circles.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Yeah, unless it was designed that way, so people could only come in from 1 direction?”
Ian Aedan looks at the numerous exits, “My curiosity is getting the better of me…but reluctantly I have to agree. We’re taking too many twists and turns for Reess to find us down here.”
Sarrag: “Shall we head back?”
Rikard Castleberry: “Ok, let’s take a look for him past the rainbow circle, then come back down and get around more?”
Rikard Castleberry: “Yeah.”
Ian Aedan follows, humming, “Someday we’ll find him….the rainbow connection…”
Ian Aedan: “There was a passage to the north of this room. Shall we peek since it’s along the way?"
Reess Whitesmith decides to employ some Telekinesis to solve the puzzle. He removes all the fragile and breakable objects from his bag. Then he draws his bastard sword and activates the power. As soon as the pack hits the circle it vanishes. He glances next at his frying pan. He slams it against the circle quite hard. It disappears, and he can hear a distant clattering.
Reess Whitesmith quickly jumps in the circle, and lands as the pan finishes settling next to him.
Rikard Castleberry: “We will hit it first thing once we come back down this way.”
Ian Aedan mutters, “Kay.” and follows along, a bit disappointed.
Sarrag: “We should go together.”
Ian Aedan: “Wait, before we do the circle….”
Ian Aedan takes the lantern back from Sarrag, “One moment.” He heads back to the center of the room and grabs the rods for the make shift arrow.
Ian Aedan returns, handing Sarrag the lantern, then lays the rods out in an arrow shape, pointing at the circle.
Rikard Castleberry: “Oh good idea.”
Ian Aedan: “Would have confused him slightly.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Shall we?”
Sarrag: “Do we hold hands?”
Rikard Castleberry: “Nah just step on at the same time.”
Rikard Castleberry: “On 3?”
Ian Aedan: “Wait…is it…1, 2, 3, then go? Or, 1, 2, go on 3?”
Rikard Castleberry: “On 3.”
Ian Aedan: “Right….”
Rikard Castleberry counts to 3, and steps onto the circle.
Ian Aedan does likewise.
Sarrag enters the same time as Rikard.
All three of you step onto the colored circle. After a few moments you feel somewhat silly looking at each other.
Rikard Castleberry walks over to the dark circle and steps onto it.
Sarrag: “Is this what was supposed to happen?”
Sarrag follows the light.
Ian Aedan: “Somehow, I suspect not. Does that one work Rikard?”
Rikard steps into the black ring…he does not wither and die.
Ian Aedan: “Maybe…one at a time?”
Rikard Castleberry: “On the rainbow one? Sure.”
Sarrag: “We came together.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Well, I don’t know.”
Ian Aedan scratches his head, “Okay….back the other way?”
Rikard Castleberry: “I wonder….”
Rikard Castleberry “Goes to check on the 2 mouth things.”
Though there are a few smears of blood…there is no body.
Rikard Castleberry: “Ok now this is weird, where did the bodies go?”
Rikard Castleberry looks around the whole chamber.
Ian Aedan gathers up the rods and points them back to the stairwell. “If Reess came this way, he had to have gone up the steps.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Ok. Let’s go back down then.”
Sarrag: “I don’t know where the Hand-Eaters disappeared to the first time.”
Ian Aedan: “Knowing our luck, we find Reess; we’ll find the hand eaters.”
Reess Whitesmith thinks on his situation, and decides to collapse a pillar. His plan is to wet his rope, then wrap it around 2 of the pillars tightly until all the rope is used up. Then he inserts the flat of the blade of his greatsword against the rope in the center, and twists the rope using the sword as a lever. He turns it over and over, tightening the rope. Just as it feels as the rope could not take another turn, he hears a crack, and a few pebbles and some dust falls from the ceiling.
Reess Whitesmith braces his weight against it and casts a lightning bolt at the top, where the crack and pebbles came down from.
Ian, Rikard, and Sarrag head back to the large room, and start searching around the north side.
Rikard Castleberry: “Let’s go around this way now, ya?”
Sarrag: “Good as any other.”
Ian Aedan: “Maybe we should start shouting for him….”
Sarrag: “If I am stepping into another crapper…”
Reess Whitesmith strains to hold on as he casts his energy into the pillar. It snaps like a twig. Then the rope, sword, and stone go in different directions. The pillar falls, but unfortunately the rope flashes at him like a massive spell powered whip. It cuts into his chest, wounding him. He looks at his work, and sees that the pillar has broken into several parts.
Reess Whitesmith pushes a large chunk of pillar to the teleporter. It disappears, as predicted. He follows it, and to his joy, does not appear on the other side, but rather, into pitch darkness.
Suddenly there is a short staccato rumble felt through Sarrag’s, Ian’s, and Rikard’s boots!
Ian Aedan stops and reaches into a belt pouch, pulling out a piece of paper and a charcoal pencil, “It’s like a maze in here.” He starts scribbling a quick map of the way they’ve come."
There is a passage going left and right.
Rikard Castleberry: “These folks really like this sort of passage.”
Rikard Castleberry walks around the path completely to make sure it’s another circular one like the others.
Rikard Castleberry: “Yep. They certainly seemed to have a thing for this sort of architecture.”
Reess Whitesmith fiddles with his cloak clasp, and activates it. It immediately turns fiery, and produces 10 feet worth of light.
Reess Whitesmith starts searching the room. He finds blood smears where he appeared. The room is 50 to 60 feet on a side. A row of stone pots and metal bars divides the room in two. The central bars lie bent and twisted upon the ground. Beyond the broken barrier, an opening in the wall leads to a descending stairway.
Reess Whitesmith quickly hurries down the stairs, knowing he doesn’t have long with his current light source.
Suddenly, there is the sound of footsteps behind Rikard, Ian, and Sarrag. They all turn around.
There is a happy reunion… Reess has made it!
Reess Whitesmith: “You would not believe what I had to do to get here.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Oh well, it appears we were not looking in the right spot. Unless, Reess, did you come through a classroom?”
Ian Aedan comes around the corner and sees Reess, “Hey there. Maybe you can help us. We’re looking for our friend. Blacksmith fellow, goes by the name Reess. Seen him?”
Reess Whitesmith: “Classroom…wha? NO! That damn teleporter put me on the other side of that hallway.”
Ian Aedan: “What hallway? The giant circular place? Before we came here?”
Reess Whitesmith: “When I got back to the side I started on, you were gone.”
Reess Whitesmith: “Yeah.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Yeah I showed up in a dark room and started getting attacked by crazy things.”
Reess Whitesmith: “Took me forever to figure out how to get through to where you guys went.”
Sarrag: “We kept moving.”
Reess Whitesmith: “Rikard can you look at this wound?”
Rikard Castleberry: “Sure.”
Reess Whitesmith: “I took a rope to the chest after I collapsed a pillar.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Er.”
Rikard Castleberry: “A rope?”
Rikard Castleberry: “Sit down. I’ll fiddle with this as you tell us about this strange place.”
Ian Aedan: “Do you just go around collapsing pillars as a hobby?”
Reess Whitesmith: “Yeah. I used my sword as a lever and never mind. I brought a goddamn pillar down to drag a big chunk of it to fool that teleporter into thinking someone teleported first.”
Reess Whitesmith: “Took a bit of work.
Reess Whitesmith slaps his forehead.
Reess Whitesmith: “I could have grown to 6 times my size and probably just punched the damn thing.”
Sarrag and Rikard work on Reess, but don’t seem to be able to fix his wound. He is, however, wrapped in many bandages.
Rikard Castleberry: “Ok, you look right as rain. Shall we move ahead?”
Rikard Castleberry: “Well, wrapped up anyways.”
Reess Whitesmith “No no… I think I will be fine…”
Reess Whitesmith: “Seriously, you are not helping.”
Ian Aedan stands back from it all, “You look like a mummy I discovered one time. Only…he was healthier.”
Sarrag: “You have worked on a softskin before?”
At head height, steel hooks project from the walls at regular intervals. The floor below the hooks is raised a few inches, so that a platform perhaps three feet wide lines the walls.
Rikard Castleberry: “A coat room?”
Reess Whitesmith: “Meat locker?”
Sarrag: “Back to the dinner hall?”
Ian Aedan: “Cloak room here. Guest greeting just south, then the dining hall further south.”
Rikard Castleberry: “Well, this is a flub, let’s head back down to the dining room.”
Sarrag chases after Rikard going the other way.
Rikard Castleberry: “I’m curious if the next room will be a kitchen.”
Ian Aedan follows, keeping an eye behind.
Ian Aedan: “Hope so…wouldn’t mind a bite.”
A black metal pole about 10 feet high rises from the floor, topped by a golden globe the size of a man’s head.
Pillars ring the circumference of a circular chamber.
Sarrag: “Finish off the other room first?”
Ian Aedan pauses occasionally to continue his makeshift map. “I think we’re going to find something interesting no matter which direction we go, Sarrag.”