After finding some grisly remains and trying to ascertain their
significance, the adventurers are moving onward once more...
Bosco: Whew...I'll be glad to leave that all behind.
Songa: Don't say that - you have no idea what's ahead.
Mongo: (hefts Stormcrest) I have a pretty good idea, I think. I figure we'll avenge those peoples' deaths shortly.
Gorin: It's got to be done.
Otto: (to Belphanior) To hell with avenging - I'm more interested in surviving, myself.
They quickly found that boredom would not be a problem in this
Bosco: (his eyes widen) Oh, my...
Songa: What in the world is that?
Mongo: (shaking his head) Looks like a person.
Gorin: Not one in very good shape, then.
Ahead and to one side, in a smaller side passage, a man was...
fastened to the side of the tunnel. It looked as if the strangely-
shaped walls had extruded themselves, wrapping around the victim and
securing him fast. The man's arms and legs were completely pinned,
held in place by weird glistening protrusions and glistening slime.
Alindyar: Is he alive?
Belphanior: (holding Blackrazor, listening to its pulses) Yes.
They quickly made their way over, standing in front of the man.
Knives and swords were employed to free the victim, while Songa
wet a bit of cloth with some wine and wiped the man's face.
man: (his eyelids flutter) Uhhh...
Mongo: Can you hear us?
man: (nods, weakly) Ugh... (he retches, coughing)
Bosco: Are you okay?
man: (freed of his bonds, he staggers about) Argh...hurts...
Mongo: (he and Gorin move to support the fellow)
Arnold: (looking around, wondering if he just heard a noise from the darkness somewhere nearby)
Ged: Here, sit him down over against the wall.
Peldor: Well, we can certainly fix that. (he produces a flask of water, handing it to Ged)
Ged: (puts the container to the man's dry lips) Drink...slowly.
man: (does so, for a long time) Ahh.
man: Much better. (he looks around) Where am I?
Belphanior: We were hoping you'd be able to tell us that.
Peldor: Who are you?
man: I am Clavius, a thief...one of the party sent here by Rary and the Circle of Eight.
Ged: (nods) We figured that much.
Peldor: (to Tanya) I thought this guy looked familiar - I've seen him around Greyhawk.
Ged: (to Clavius) What happened to your party, exactly?
Lyra: (ESPing to Alindyar) Smart, the elf - he isn't mentioning the remains we found.
Alindyar: (ESPing to Lyra) Aye.
Clavius: Well, the main thing you need to know is that we weren't the first ones here.
Clavius: Someone else - we figure an agent of Iuz - got here first.
Ged: Iuz? How do you know-
Clavius: I'll get to that. So, the main entrance above was closed but someone had been in, and recently. We figured the door must have closed itself. We entered, came down here, looked around a bit - the usual stuff. Weird place, weirder than most, but nothing too problematic. We were heading down this big tunnel-like cavern, and we came across a dead ogre mage.
Peldor: (to Otto) The first part sounds familiar, but the other doesn't.
Otto: Maybe we haven't gotten that far yet. I doubt we missed anything.
Belphanior: (eyes Clavius doubtfully, shaking his head) This is getting complicated.
Clavius: I don't even have all the answers yet, myself. The ogre was still warm, even as we arrived, and he had a big hole torn in his stomach. He wore an amulet with the insignia of Iuz, which is why we figured him for an agent of Iuz.
Arnold: Makes sense to me.
Clavius: We were trying to figure out what to do with the body when we heard a screech in the distance, definitely something alive, and decided to go in that direction, see if we could find whatever made the noise. (he shakes his head)
Ged: What? What made the noise?
Clavius: We...I never found out. We'd gone a fair distance, and made a camp for lunch, when Renfield found another chamber beneath the floor of the main tunnel and went down to scout it out.
Clavius: The other thief, the dwarf. He went down there to check it out...and never came back. The shaft leading down was narrow, so we could only go one at a time. I went first, but as I got to the bottom, I heard a commotion above.
Belphanior: Like a battle?
Mongo: Makes sense, kind of. But we've already found the battle, and no ogre body, and no shaft down. (to Clavius) What was in the shaft?
Clavius: (looks confused) I...I can't remember. I had just found Renfield, then I heard the sounds from above...yelling and screaming. And then I heard other sounds, from behind me... (he grimaces, then shakes his head, as if to clear it) Damn it! I can't remember anything after that!
Belphanior: What about your companions?
Clavius: I don't know...can't remember... (he sinks to the floor)
Ged: (turns to the others) By Boccob, this is like a puzzle whose final shape we don't know.
Belphanior: And we only have some of the pieces.
Mongo: Well, if he's telling the truth, someone or something moved the ogre mage.
Ged: And his companions may have moved during their battle...moved from where it started, toward our current location.
Peldor: That still leaves unanswered the question of this man's memory.
Lyra: And what killed his four companions.
Otto: Not to mention the fate of the sixth adventurer, Renfield.
Belphanior: I say we move on. If we can find this chamber beneath the floor, like he's been talking about, we might learn just what happened here.
With that, they moved out, heading deeper into the unknown darkness
and whatever secrets it held.