Chapter 3- A Mad Scientist, A Mad Shaman and A Mad Criminal
The Third Chapter of The Myth of Krisodoris
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Our heroes were back in The Sleeping Giant planning their next move. In the rumble of Nima’s house, Ape and Octavius had found a slip of paper with a rough drawing of a waterfall and behind it a cave. It had a note written in a hurried fashion reading, “Of all the sources we mine from within the Gearhole range. my yield of powder still proves the purest and powerful! However, ever since I had a fight with Mr BoomBlaze someone has been trying to have me sell them the cave. Despite having differences with the Boom ‘n’ Blaze factory, but I don’t want to hand it over to someone who might just use it to destroy the city.
Since my refusal, the letters have become more violent and now some kobolds are outside the door fending off citizens, as they are about to break down my door. Please help me.
Signed Nima Cinred.”
Durm sighed, “By the description, this looks like Mt.Krimmel.” “Why do you say so?” Octavius asked.
“That’s cause it is rich in mineral deposits and there are legends of a cave which was covered by water. For all, it may be the location. Also, the drawing has MK written on it. What else shall it mean?” Durn explained. The door flung open and a recognized face walked through. Sybil Slantoungue, rushed inside at the top speed his ageing legs could carry him at. “My other bounty hunter, Yinra Emberwind, is kidnapped.” Sybil worriedly informs the heroes. “Slow down sir, what happened?” Ape calmly asked. “She found some glorious clue and went to Mt. Krimmel and then she ever came back.” He shouted drawing weird looks from the other patrons. “By the way watchmaster, when did she go to Mt.Krimmel?” Prima asked. “Yesterday night, 11pm…” “Crap! She found them before us.” Prima blurted.
“That’s supposed to be said inside your head.” Octavius scorned. “We were just heading there, we’ll get her back.” Ape ensured. “Are you sure we want to get her back? Like we can leave her in there and…” Prima was interrupted. “That should be kept within the head, girl.” Sir Reginald commented. Then Sir Reginald added “Sir, you be here. Within a few hours, we shall return to you only if we are with Yinra and she is alive and safe. That’s a promise, and Commander Sir Reginald Stuart-Lane of House Amcathra doesn’t break promises.”
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As our heroes leave the polluted atmosphere of the city for cleaner mountain air as they begin their hike up the treacherous heights of Mt.Krimmel. The steep climb grows more and more precarious as they travel higher and further, with pathways becoming thin and hard to traverse among the cliff-side trees and grey rock of the mountainside. Durm keeps the silver line of the tumbling waterfall always in his sight and acts as a guide towards their hopeful destination.
As they move out of the foothill forests, Durm notices a track of smaller lizard-like footprints going through the mud. Kobolds, he realizes that the kobolds were lackeys working for either Stoink Zebralis, the escaped prisoner or the mastermind behind this escape.
He shifts the path and follows the Kobolds trail until after a faster but perilous journey they finally reach the silver waterfall. The water fell from the River Lumise, if it were not for the Krimmel falls, the water would rush at a much higher speed in the city making floods common and devolution lesser. The air was humid with water mist and there was the freshness of nature wafting through the nose. There however was a strange uneasiness, Prima looked closely at the falls. There was some black smoke rising behind the water. Could this be Nima’s blasting powder cave?
Prima pulled out a rope from her bag and handed it to Sir Reginald, she said, “Commander, You have the height. Sling the rope to the base of the black smoke. Let’s catch this prisoner for the second time.”
Sir Reginald was not accustomed to taking orders but he knew that Prima knew more than what he knew about caves. He took the order and threw the rope, anchoring it to the base of the cave. Prima signalled silence and they all climbed slowly via the rope.
Beyond the rushing spray of water is a dry cavern. Multiple lanterns shed light across the rocky interior, revealing a floor thickly strewn with dried blasting powder, a small tent and table, a steel door set into the far wall, and two wide workbenches. A female goblin is working at the farthest bench, shackled to a chain set into the rock wall. Four kobolds sit around the table near the tent, playing a dice game with a grey-skinned goliath, who was familiar to Sir Reginald.
Prima, Octavius and Durm walked tiptoed and wanted to sneak past the goliath to attack with advantage. However, Ape’s beak hit Sir Reginald’s behind, making him shout, “Can you see your beak, birdie bird?”
Before the others could attack, Prima hit her staff on the ground and hissed something in snake tongue before it turned into a thick snake which moved slowly around one of the kobolds and wrapping it. Prima then dissolved into a bear, a massive brown bear. She roared frighteningly at the kobolds. Octavius lashed open his spellbook and muttered some enchantments, as he lanced out a bolt of crackling bluish-purple lightening towards the goliath, Stoink Zebralis. She fell down and her body felt empty for a second. As she got up, an arrow zipped past her striking a kobold and killing it. She then got up and attacked the other goliath, Sir Reginald. She struck him across the chest, which the armour mostly absorbed but still there was a sickening thud. A sickening thud of Sir Reginald’s ribs cracking. Durm shoots another arrow killing a kobold which was rushing towards him. Octavius says a few words which again make Stoink fall in pain as her body glows blue. Using this to his advantage, Sir Reginald strikes her with both of his axes. Her chest-plate blocked most of the damage, but she still howled in pain, due to the overwhelming amount of force. The restrained kobold tries his best to escape the giant boa constrictor grappling him but fails to even lose the snakes grip. The other kobold rushes towards Sir Reginald, but is kicked by Ape and rolls down the cave. Prima attacks the restrained kobold in her bear form as the boa constrictor continues squizzing it. As soon as Prima’s claw hits the kobold, it explodes like a water balloon coating her fur with deep crimson.
Sken looks towards her ring and then rushes to hit Sir Reginald. She jumps over him, confusing him and hits him on his shoulder blades, the only unarmoured spot on his body. It turns bloody. Ape quickly scrambles back and whispers something in Durm’s ears. Durm winks and gets his bow ready. Ape then moves to Sir Reginald side and slaps a bandage over his wound while doing so he winks. Octavius snaps his fingers expecting Stoink to howl in pain, as her body again grows crackling blue. But this time she was prepared and didn’t wince as his curse seemed to have no effect. Ape suddenly attacked Stoink stabbing her elbow with his Rapier, as she tried to attack him her other elbow was hit by an arrow shot by Durm. She tried to defend herself before another attack, this time it was Sir Reginald axe, knocked her off her feet. She stood up and suddenly she disappeared. Prima and Durm looked at each other in confusion when suddenly a boom sounded. Behind them, a kobold was there trying to stab Prima but something hit him blasting him.
A female middle-aged goblin emerged from behind the table and said, “Nima Cinred, Miner, Blaster and part-time Artificer.”
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Our heroes returned back to the cave after a few hours, compleating a short rest in a nearby Shaman village. They were now accompanied by Nima as she knew the layout of the place better, as she once used the cave and was also captive for two weeks. This time, after they climbed the cave with the rope, they were greeted by multiple lanterns whose oil had burnt out. The floor which was strewn with blasting powder was now no longer dry. The small tent and table still showed the signs of the violent clash. The steel door set into the far wall was left open after Stoink had escaped, and the two wide workbenches upon which Nima was forced to work lied overturned. Four kobold corpses lay across the place along with their dice which were now not in use. Nima pointed towards the steel door and said, “That is the entrance to the inner area. Stoink and her Master Sthal are in there.”
“You don’t mean Huron Sthalmast by Master Sthal, do you?” Octavius asked. “How do you know his name?” Nima is surprised. Octavius frowns and clearly shakes his head. He was not happy regarding the presence of his colleague. “Let’s go inside,” he said quickly dismissing the questions everyone had. They all walked inside. The metal gate opened into a narrow cavern. It was wet and had hints of fungi, there was an uneasy smell of rot that surrounded the place. “Walk carefully everybody. These are leeches fungi. If they pierce your skin, they will start slowly siphoning your blood.” Prima informed. They walked further and reached an iron door, accompanied by a lever. Octavius pulled the lever quickly triggering a mechanism that shot a needle piercing his neck. “Oww! he shouted.”
“Not really that smart was that. Don’t worry it’s an inch needle. The poison hurts but soon enough you shall be okay.” Nima explained. She then slowly moved the lever, the needle didn’t come out this time and the door rose.
Our heroes then cautiously walked through the 20ft long corridor which lay barren. At its end was another door that could be opened with a lever. Octavius straight up refused to open this door, unless Durm and Ape checked it for traps. After they confirmed that it was trap free, they opened it. In front of them now laid three long tables which occupied the centre of this square cavern, a lantern dangled above them. The walls were adorned with hooks and loops that held digging tools and basic weapons in a disorganized fashion. A large chest was set beneath one table, and a door stood closed to the eastern exit. There sat a kobold underling who was cleaning muddy and soiled weapons. When he saw the weapon laced characters, he decided to leave his work and run. Nima pulled out a pistol which she was about to fire but was stopped by Ape. “What the hell, bird? I could have got that filthy creature.” She shouted. “Nima look, his feet were muddy. He will run through the shortest path in the dungeon fortress. Now we can avoid all traps like poison needle injection.” Ape laughed. “Quit it guys. Octavius was in a hurry. “He had forgotten to take his medicine so he took it right through.” Sir Reginald joked. “Don’t get any more poisonous dude,” Durm added. “Okay, let’s quit it for real now.” Sir Reginald said in a commanding voice. They walked past the door into another corridor, this one was still in its original form. It wasn’t smoothened or carved in any way after Stahlmast’s intrusion. The kobolds footprints seemed to merge with a wall. “Now how did this kobold disappear?” Durm shouted in confusion. “I don’t think it disappeared. Nor do I think this place has been left unchanged.” Prima said pushing a strangely light stone slab. The secret door pivots open to reveal a chamber of finished stonework. The room is cluttered with crude furnishings, and the air is hazy with the smoke of a small cooking fire. Dozens of yellowed skulls are suspended from the ceiling by fraying ropes strung through holes punched in the bone. A kobold in a ragged black robe looks up from her work, her face twisted in an expression of rage. The kobold along with her followers two smaller kobolds get up from the sitting position and attack our heroes. Prima’s hits her staff on the ground and her body glows with a starry shine as a bow of light materializes into her hands and a quiver of light arrows is formed on her back. Sir Reginald lifts Nima up and keeps her on his shoulder to give her range. Nima jumps up using the shoulder as a springboard and fires her pistol on a kobold blasting it. The other kobold runs towards Sir Reginald wielding an axe clearly unsuitable for his size. It still hits it cleanly causing a bone-deep cut in Sir Reginald knee. The Kobald Shaman takes advantage of the situation and throws a spear at Sir Reginald and enchants the flame to form another spear and attacks Prima. Durm fires an arrow towards the follower kobold killing it. Ape winks at Prima and moves towards the Shaman and stabs her. Prima fires a light arrow towards the Cleric. Reginald slings his axe and Nima fires a shot.
The shaman dodges some of the things but in the end, her leather robes are covered in blood. She pulls out three vials of an orange substance and pours it over the flames erupting it. Using this as a distraction she opens a gate behind her releasing four hideous creatures who looked like a cross between a large bat and oversized mosquito, Stringes. The flame eruption sends Ape flying back with the edges of his feathers charred. The shaman laughed villainously and teleported out of the room. Durm shot one of the creatures with an arrow while Octavius fired three quill shaped purple projectiles, which killed the rest of the stringes. “Now where did that Shaman go?” Sir Reginald roared. “So you found me Octavius, you big bully. And now you also bought friends. I see, I see.” a voice boomed. Nima shot at the voice but heard nothing but a bang of metal striking metal. “I am not here, you fools. Find me, if you can.” Stahlak roared. “Guys, we have bigger issues.” Durm says, as everybody looks towards him he adds, “Due to our battle, the footprints are gone.”
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Our heroes took the other door, the one they hadn’t entered through. As soon as the last one of them stepped through the door, it went shut. Dust filled this hall like a layer of grey snow. In the rounded northern end of the chamber stood a ten-foot-tall sculpture of a coiled dragon carved from red-veined white marble. Durm moved closer to the next door, not excited to face a dragon, but as soon as he stepped within the five-foot radius of the sculpture it uttered, “We come at night without being fetched; we disappear by day without being stolen. What are we?”
“What?” Durm asked.
“Wrong answer, Durm Dunerider. You have only two tries left.” The dragon informed.
“Guys help me.” He shouted.
“Wrong answer, Durm Dunerider. You have only one try left.” The dragon informed.
“Stars” Prima blurted.
“Correct answer, Prima Hornblower. You along with your comrades may leave now.” The dragon pleasingly said. “We don’t get anything for defeating you?” Ape asked. The dragon now looked still and lifeless, like an ordinary statue. Our heroes exited the room and again heard their foe on the speaker, “So you met my pet? Cute right?”
“Stahlmast, drop this charade okey. We are hardly interested in you. We want Stoink and we will leave.” Octavius bargained. “Really, We are gonna leave this dangerous guy alone?” Sir Reginald loudly asked. “No! He was fooling the other guy. Why do you have to interrupt at the wrong time captain?” Ape shrilly said.
“Commander.” Sir Reginald corrected. “Too bad, I am not gonna hand her over. aww!” The voice pseudo-sympathetically said. Octavius marches into the next door and everybody else follows. A roughly diamond-shaped cavern opens up beyond a set of double doors. Each of its four walls holds a three-foot by-three-foot iron plate, mounted at the centre of the wall and featuring a three-inch-diameter hole cut through the plate and the rock behind it. Across the cavern, another set of double doors stands closed. “My kobolds like a feast of steamed mortals.” Suddenly the doors on both sides shut close. The chambers open up and the room starts filling up with steam. The temperature rises and the air is tense with panic. “Soldiers, We need a plan and we need it quick.” Sir Reginald orders. “I think we can cover the holes and stop the steam,” Nima said. “Break the door.” Durm shouts. “The steam is the real threat.” Nima counters. “We will still need to break the door, why not do it first?” Durm shouts.
“Stop it.” Sir Reginald commands. “Octavius, you help me break the door. The rest of you cover the valves before the room steams any further.”
Durm opens up his bag and starts handing everyone banners made of cloth with Hobbit co. branding on it. They all start stuffing it in to jam the tubes. However, till then the chamber had started filling up with scalding hot steam which was burning everybody’s skin. However, with two hard bangs on the door; it was open. The steam rushes out and everybody pulls out the banners which they hand back to Durm.
This room opened to the natural parts of the cavern. There was a light intelligible sound of hammering from a small distance. Idissicent whispers were heard. Ape signalled everybody to stop and sit down. He then pointed to Durm and Prima and actioned towards healing.
Durm pulls out ten berries and keeps it on the ground. Prima pulls out a vial containing water with leaves in it.
Ape signals to Sir Reginald to consume all of it. He eats the berries and drinks the vial of leaf induced water, which cause his fresh scars to heal almost instantaneously. Sir Reginald then puts everyone information. He was the frontline, behind him stood Ape and Nima. The further most were Prima, Durm and Octavius.
Prima had exhausted most of her energy shapeshifting and was sure that she couldn’t shift anymore. Therefore she decided to use her nature magic, alongside Octavius.
A mighty anvil of dark metal rests in the centre of this cavern between two rocky pillars. To the south stands a semicircular pool of stagnant water. Numerous tables line the cavern walls, piled with partially constructed mechanical devices and motionless automatons. A massive forge stands along the north wall, filling the cavern with a bright orange glow. A dangerous-looking clockwork construct rests in front of the forge, resembling a skeletal iron statue without a head. A sweaty, pallid human of middle years is climbing up the side of the construct. He then slips down inside it, as if donning a monstrous suit of armour. The human addresses our heroes with a wily grin as he puts on a pair of goggles. “You’ve certainly proven capable and determined by getting this far. I appreciate those traits immensely, and they should be rewarded. Work with me and my team. Help us correct the addled vision of Lumise’s future and the future of this wretched empire. Wealth and power await those who prove useful to the destined victors of this war. What do you say?”
“We say NO to you, We say NO to your offer and We say NO to treachery with the Open Lord and her council.” Sir Reginald says. “A soldier. I admire your bravery and loyalty, but there is a thin line between bravery and stupidity. You are on the wrong side, my fair sir.” Stahlmast says. He then turns to Octavius, “In your last life, I worked with you. In this life, I give you the chance to work with me again and reach the greatness we are destined to.”
“You worked for me, Stahl. FOR ME. And hiring you was my biggest mistake, All-father knew what shall be done, and this is my next chance and I won’t take your services this time.” Octavius shouted in rage. “Maybe this is why you fell from grace. Where you were once a to-be lich and where now you travel with allies who hardly are worth your standard. Durm Dunerider, you live for profit. You are a true businessman. Join me and revel in riches.” Stahlmast reintreated his offer.
“Money is my priority, but I want to live a unique life. As a king, as an adventurer and as a daredevil. Joining you is me losing my ethics and thoughts. You may have riches but I have trust. Friends and Trust will take you places where Money cannot.”
“It seems that it was all luck for you all. Ape you are a wretched beast of the wild and deserve to be kept in a cage-like an animal is supposed to. I shall not give you my offer. Prima Hornblower, you are a failure and embarrassment to the living. You connect more with animals than humans and deserve nothing better than the bird. However, you Nima have betrayed my trust by siding with these outsiders. I will give you another chance, Join me and rejoice or die fighting.” Stahl monologued.
Nima said nothing and looked thoughtful. She slowly walked towards the suit and raised her hand. Boom! She shot the suit’s energy source twice clearly defining her loyalties. Stoink Zebralis, the goliath prisoner walked from behind the suit and so did the Kobald Shaman. They attacked back.
Stoink ran towards Sir Reginald ready to attack him and end him. The suit’s helmet closed down and fired an arrow from its shoulder-mounted crossbow straight through Nima’s left hand.
Sir Reginald hit Stoink’s great axe with his own hand axe’s and they engaged in a duel. The kobold shaman started speaking something causing Stoink to almost overpower Sir Reginald if Ape hadn’t broken her concentration with a timely rapier strike. Durm also fired a volley of arrows towards the shaman to prevent her from otherwise powering up her allies. Octavius and Prima said spells causing a vine of spikes to spring out of the cave floor, causing damage and difficulty to Stoink, Stahlmast and the Shaman. Octavius pulled out two cigarettes and transformed them into bursting flame throwers, both targeting Stahlmast. Nima jumped using the right elbow of the suit as a jump board and fired two shots, one aimed at the main rector of the suit. The suit slowly shut down and fell to the ground and the mad scientist crawled out slowly. The second shot was for the shaman and as soon as it hit her the shaman collapsed, dead.
Stoink Zebralis dropped her weapon and lied on the ground knowing that she was outnumbered and outpowered.
Our heroes had successfully compleated their first quest.