04 - The Nine Lessons

Chapter Four: The Nine Lessons

I wish I could say that I found torment in my decision to sign the contract to Asmodeus, that my loyalty to Aroden caused me qualms about my allegiance, but that would be a lie. It was like a weight off my shoulders, a figurate wave of relief. Once I mentally accepted the fact that Aroden was dead I felt like I could move forward with my life. That my actions, the murders I committed, were rational, reasonable decisions. I was guilt free.

We rested in The Master’s house for several days enjoying the comforts of good food, fine wine, and dedicated servants, or slaves as I was beginning to get used to calling them. When The Master summoned us, I knew that we were to be tested. I cannot say how I knew but I certainly understand that we would have to prove our loyalty to Asmodeus, to The Master.

When we arrived The Master told us of our test. We were to go into his especially prepared dungeon basement and retrieve a silver and sapphire pendant.

The first room had but a single door although a quick look around revealed two more hidden doors. We decided to head south for no particular reason.

The second chamber proved to be a challenge as Dunn opened a door and was immediately speared by a trap. After this we used more caution and Tylus checked for traps on almost every door we found. There was an extremely cold fungus of some sort growing on one of the doors in the room and we surmised this was the one we were supposed to use as an egress. Without hesitation brave, or foolish, Frohike opened the door and dashed passed. We all followed suffering frost burns from even the briefest of exposures.

The next room was completely dark and even our torches could not penetrate the gloom. Frohike tossed a fire bomb into the room and it illuminated briefly but then went dark again. The one quick glimpse seemed to indicate a dark sphere on a pedestal in the center of the room. We surmised that destroying this would banish the magical darkness. I went forward with a rope around my waist but was not far into the room when I felt a sudden prick. I continued with each step seeming to bring more pricks and a general weakening of my body. After a few stumbles I managed to find the sphere and hurl it to the ground revealing some sort of misty creature all around me. The others rushed forward and slew the thing quickly enough but the multiple attacks badly weakened me. This proved a significant obstacle to my fighting prowess for the rest of our time in the dank confines of the dungeon below The Master’s house.

We headed out one of the doors in this room and quickly enough found ourselves in a room with a pair of metallic snakes. With my strength drained and little Frohike and Tylus unable to penetrate their armor it became a prolonged battle as only Dunn was able to damage our foes. Luckily the snakes seemed to have a limited supply of toxins and we eventually defeated them. It was an exhausting battle and afterwards our gnome gathered the pieces and made them into little bombs.

The next room was designed to fool as a silver and sapphire pendant sat on a pedestal and a nearby stairwell led back to the house. While searching for what was clearly a trap I got too close to the stairs and triggered a massive spiked ball that bowled me over. It also hit the little pendant on the pedestal and smashed the thing revealing it to be nothing more than paste and glass.

We followed the corridors to a door where we decided to test our new Iron Circlets but they proved more difficult to work than we imagined. We tried to get all four of us disguised but each time at least one of us didn’t activate them properly. In order to wait for the circlets to recharge we headed back and went through one of the doors we previously skipped.

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This led us to a torture chamber of a sort where a young squire devoted to Aroden was hiding. He told us that Cardinal Thrune was a worshipper of Asmodeus and begged for our help. Apparently he and a knight named Sir Balin were tricked by the Cardinal and captured. He told us what he knew of the dungeon but Frohike grew weary of the boy’s prostration to Aroden and stabbed the squire in the back. We made short work of the boy after that. There was some talk of reviving him and putting him on the rack but in the end we let him lie where he had fallen. Let Aroden save his soul.

From there we returned to the southern region and tried to disguise ourselves once again. Then we opened the door and shone our lights inside. A shrieking mushroom immediately burst into full-throated song although Frohike silenced it with a bomb quickly enough. Shortly after that four Unlife creatures stormed into the room and we did battle with the beasts. Frohike’s metallic bombs did a great deal of damage and we defeated the beasts after a hard battle.

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We continued on and found a chamber with eight coffins, four of which were burst open. Beyond that was another corridor and what would prove to be the final room. Behind a locked door, the key of which hung on a chain, we found Sir Balin Leroung. The knight was most arrogant demanding to know who we were and when Dunn told the man his name he immediately recognized him as the Oath-Breaking Cavalier sentenced to Branderscar prison. Sir Balin proved a worthy champion of Aroden and sent Dunn to the floor with a mighty blow but the effects of Frohike’s poison, Tylus’s stabs from behind, and my own spells put the champion down. We then revived Dunn.

A search of Sir Balin’s corpse revealed a holy symbol of Aroden made of silver with sapphires. We wearily took this back upstairs to The Master who was pleased with our work.

Thus having proven ourselves to The Master he began our training in earnest spending hours each day for long months perfecting our skills.

After this intensive time I correctly surmised we were ready to take part in the plan to save beloved Cheliax. All hail Asmodeus, ruler of Cheliax!

04 - The Nine Lessons

Way of the Wicked tomlib