We left the Boar in the Kennel Room where we had Whipped all those Hyenas (“Hey! Don’t go chewing on those carcasses! Aren’t Boars Vegetarians?”) and went into the Next Room. We bypassed a Couple of Closed Doors because we heard Voices in the Far Chamber but when we Entered it was Empty. Or at least, we Thought It Was.
When we Tried to Leave, Joboy found himself at the point of a knife. From Out of Nowhere steps two Demon Tiefling Guys, one who Grabs the Budding Psychoanalyst and puts a Dagger to his Throat. They were the same Scaly, Orb-Eyed Weirdo Demon Freaks as the Nagging Demon whose Voice is in my Head, but the Knife Wielder was More Psycho than She was! He was Paranoid and Ranting about Conspiracies and a Second Shooter on a Gassy Gnoll. Not a Comfortable Place for Jorome to be, but he put his PyschoBabble to Good Use and Managed to Talk the Nut Case off the Ledge. Then the Two of them sat down at a table with Cashmere Fridayto play cards while the Other Tiefling stood Silent Sentry. Here’s the Thing: There Were No Cards. I’m Pretty Sure Jowry Knew That and was Playing Along (Almost Positive), but I think the Drunk Friar was Playing for Keeps.
I got Bored Quickly Watching these Geniuses Cheat at Cards, but the Tiefling didn’t want any of us to Leave. He said Something About a Door That Should Not Be Opened and I caught Barbie Girl‘s Eye. She Smiled and Winked at me before Announcing Loudly She Had To Go To The Bathroom. The Tiefling, who a Moment Before was Rabid at the Suggestion that Anyone Leave, didn’t Bat an Eyelash when Half Girl, the Iron Giantess and I Left the Room. (I Find it Mildly Interesting that Males of All Races Seem to be Programed to Accept that Females Cannot Go Pee without Someone to Hold Their Hand… Only Mildly Interesting… Don’t expect a Thesis on it!)
We Chose one of the Forbidden Doors Because Something was Mumbling Behind it. It was one of those Bigger Gnolls and I got in a Couple of Good hits on it before we Finished it Off. Pixie Girl and I were Looting the Room… I mean LOOKING at the Room when we heard a Rukus in the Hall (And Wherever There’s a Rukus is Where I Want to Be). An Invisible Something in the Last Room was Rampaging and as Much as I would Like to Say I Took it Out Singlehandedly, the Metal Maiden and the Flower Child Elf actually Didn’t Really Need my Help. When we were LOOKING through the Room, we found an Old Book that the Platinum Paladinwanted to Keep (Like she has Time to Read!) and made Our Way Out.
The Boys were still Playing at Cards and for a Moment it Looked like the Tiefling wasn’t going to Let Jowanna Go, but we Finally all Continued to this Huge Walled Chamber which could only be the Well of Demons (I think there was a sign on the door). At this Point, Long Ears excused himself. I don’t know where he thought he was going; he’d have a Hard Time Finding his Way Out, but he Needed To Be Alone. Maybe it was his Moon Cycle or Something.
Entering the Chamber (which was more passages and doors), we could tell it was the Scene of Past Unpleasantness… Blood Saturated the stone floor where Something had been Dragged Away. There was also a Strange, Worn Groove that Ran down the Middle of the Passage as Far as the eye could See. We hadn’t Ventured Far when Three Spirits Rose from the Bloodstains. The Boring Kind that you Can’t Fight. There was a Human Male, a Armor Encased Dwarf and a Female Elf… Valdieron the Fruit, Sir ToyzRus and Mendarrow the Bitch respectively and all Pretty Mangled in Death. They wanted to Test us. (I wanted to ask if that was their Blood that was Flung all around, and why we had to answer to the Obvious Losers in that Encounter but I’m working on my Diplomacy so I didn’t.) They had us Show Off our Skills. I Swung my Maul at the Wall and… Failed Miserably. They Laughed at me. Which Pissed Me Off. I Swung Again and… they Stopped Giggling.
I don’t know What It Is About the Dead, but once they get an audience they just WON’T Shut Up! It took a While for them to Spit it Out but Apparently they were to Let Us Know That We Had To Collect a Knife, a Mask, a Bell and a Book from Various Chambers and Place them all at once on the Four Altars in the Chamber and That Will Open the Door to the Final Chamber. Wouldn’t it have been easier to Just Write that Down Somewhere? Maybe on a Plaque on the Wall? But No! We had to have Soliloquizing Spirits Wasting our Time with their Eternal Gabbing.
We already had the Book so we Chose Another Door. The Platinum Paladin and I readied ourselves before a Curtain Draped just Inside. We flung it Open. And Suddenly we were Transported into a Dark Room with No Sign of our Companions. Lighting a torch, we were Attacked from the Darkness by a Gnoll. His face was hollowed and he looked slightly Skeletal (which was not a Good Look for him). That, and the Desperation in his Eye, made me Realize he didn’t just want to Kill Us, he wanted to Eat Us as well. Yeah, well, Dwarfs are Tough, and not Just to Chew On, and we quickly Beat him Down. Once our enemy was Vanquished, we could see we were in a Small Room with No Doors or Exits. Just as we were Absorbing this (and I was Wondering if we would be in here Long enough to have to Eat the Gnoll), there was a Loud Pop and Thursday Friday Popped In. He Mumbled Something about a Magic Mirror that Teleports and we Realized What Happened. The Iron Maiden and I smiled at each other. We just had to Wait for our Remaining Companions to Open the Glass From the Other Side and Pull Us Out.
I sprang to my feet . “Are you Complete Idiots?” I bellowed. “There’s no way out of here! You were supposed to let us out, not join us for tea!”
I stomped to the Far Side of the Room and started Kicking the Gnoll Corpse until the Tin Lady mildly complained that the Extra Bood and Bits of Gnoll being Strewn Around wasn’t really helping with the Ambiance of the Room.
I stopped. And we Waited. I wasn’t really sure What we were Waiting For. The Elf was Out There Somewhere but even if he did come Looking For Us, how would he know Where to Start? We sat in the near darkness for several days, trying to Stay Sane. We still had three more days of rations, which was good because the Gnoll was looking even Less Appetizing now that he had started to Decay. But what would we do after Three Days? I did not like the prospect of Eating my Companions or Being Eaten. I just hoped Arneth could Hold us All Together.
When Something Did Happen, we were all so Worn Down it took us a Moment or Three to react. A Healthy, Heavily Armed Gnoll Appeared and Demanded our Weapons. My First thought was ‘Fresh Meat!’ but then it became Apparent that he was part of a Patrol who periodically checked on these traps. If we didn’t Give Up our Weapons, his companions on the other side would fall on us and kill us when they transported us back. I was the last one to Surrender my Weapon and did so only Grudgingly when prompted by Arneth. The Others were Tired and Weakened and in No Condition for a Fight. Me, I could Barely Contain Myself from Throwing Myself on the Gnoll and Throttling him with my Bare Hands. For Good or Bad, we were Teleported before I got the Chance.
What Happened Next was in Some Ways Worse than being Trapped in the Exitless Pit. At least there, I had my Weapon and some control over what happened to me in that space. Now, I was stripped of my armor and valuables and thrown with the Friar into a cell. Nixie, Arneth, and Jowho were taken away. When they let me out, it was to put me to Manual Labor, which wasn’t often because every chance I got I would Fight Back at my Captors. Not the Smartest thing, I know. It would’ve been better to wait and formulate a plan, but neither of those are my Strong Points. Although they beat me in retaliation, they didn’t Damage the Merchandise. Casual Friday and I were to be sold into Slavery and the Guards were Speculating that I could make someone a lot of money in the Fighting Pits. Finally, after I knocked one of them unconscious, they kept me chained in the cell. Without the Adrenaline Rush of trying to Escape, I grew Despondent. My chains were too thick, my wrists were raw and bloodied from the manacles. I saw Splug once so I knew he was still alive but didn’t bring myself to his attention (“Hey, Splug! I’m here to save you!”)
I was Helpless, Chained to a wall, Mired in my own Filth, and Shackled in my Mind. I needed an Adversary… if not an Enemy, then Valyn or Tyranny who could Goad me into a Fight. I needed Someone to Protect… a Squishy or Nixie to Give me a Reason to Fight. I needed Arneth to tell me what to do and that JoGuy to tell me why I do it. Instead I had Casual Friday, a Man of Few Words who speaks even less when Sober. Even the Voice in My Head had Abandoned Me. I needed a Purpose, a Quest… but instead I was as Helpless as some Stupid Princess in some Friggin Tower waiting for Someone to Come Rescue Me.
Suddenly, there were Shouts and Sounds of Battle. The Gnolls were panicked and there was a Huge Fight in the Corridor that I Longed to join. I caught a glimpse of Nixie sprinting through the Passage. More men thundered by, then quickly the ringing of swords ceased and screams subsided. Footsteps approached and Elvis strode in the room.