AND NOW: WHERE DID SAILOR BOY GO???
Roy heard something move in the darkness. He opened his blood caked eyes and tried to glance around but his head hurt. The blow he had taken should have thoroughly done him in, but it seemed he somehow had managed to survive. He tried to sit up but nothing happened. He twitched his fingers. That was at least something.
The movement grew closer and he tried to turn his head, but all that did was bring sparks of pain and fireworks in his vision. He groaned softly, trying to find the hilt of his sword but found nothing but rock. So groggy was his thoughts that he didn’t even notice something touching his shoulder until it pinched him and a grimy face appeared in the darkness above him. Mutton chops fitted into a neatly trimmed beard without a mustache framed a round face, small nose, and beady eyes. He vaguely thought the sight amusing, wondering what kind of monstrosity lived in these caverns that looked like the Tomte called Bill. Then it hit him. Maybe this was Bill. An alarm rang in the back of his foggy mind as he considered the idea that maybe this wasn’t such a good thing. He couldn’t figure out why it was a bad thing, but it certainly wasn’t something meant for excitement and jubilation.
“Hey, I know you,” The husky voiced gnome cackled. “You’re that sailor boy that works for Aloranna. What luck!” He clapped Roy on the shoulder which solicited a whole series of groans and new pain sensations tearing through the young man’s body. It didn’t appear to Roy that Bill had even noticed let alone cared what he was doing, but his recollection of the Tomte was that he didn’t pay much attention to anything outside of what bright shiny object had managed to ensnare his attention.
“You can help me. I have set up a devious plan to bring down the mountain an ergo this sinister castle above in one swift stroke!” He giggled and caught hold of Roy’s shoulders, “Come on, no time to be lolly gagging around, there’s work to be done.” He grunted and started to drag Roy back the way Bill had come into the cavern. “Damn, you’re a heavy one.” He unceremoniously dropped Roy back to the ground and stared down at him with a considering look. His face lit with a moment’s surprise and he trotted off back into the darkness, “I’ve got an idea.”
“Gods help me,” Roy mumbled but there was no answer to his prayer.
A moment later Bill returned dragging behind him a large wooden cart. Grunting and huffing, he pulled Roy up into the cart and securing him there, grunted and huffed the cart back into the passage way.
“It would have probably helped to bring a team of ponies to move your sorry ass, but I’m afraid I don’t have time to go fetch them,” Bill grunted. “Fortunately we don’t have far to go.”
After much grunting and huffing, Bill managed to wheel Roy into a large cavern alight with torches. Roy’s head lulled back and forth, giving him a view chamber, the large stacks of barrels that reached nearly toward the ceiling, and the cords that sprang from the tops of each of those barrels, running down to the ground and then across to a large wooden box with a handle attached to a shaft at the top. Roy frowned, looking at the barrels and grunted. He wanted to say, “What the hell is that?” but it came out more as muff-mar-muh.
Bill, being quite versed in mumble, brightened and motioned toward the tower of barrels with glee, “I found this wonderful room full of gun powder. I figure they’ve been sitting here for the better part of a hundred years, but they’re still potent. Fortunately, I didn’t have to stack them as they were already stacked, but I have been busy setting up wires to each of the barrels and hooking them to my detonator there. Of course, we will have to be far from this room before we hit the plunger, but if my calculations are correct, which they always are, the castle is directly over head and once we detonate the stock pile here, it will bring it all crashing down
in one glorious eruption and we will defeat that bad guys once and for all. Mu-aha-ha-ha-ha-ha!!!” He held his ample belly as he laughed at his own ingenuity, then beamed at Roy, “The others will have to accept that I am a genius then.” He cleared his throat and managed to get control of himself as he tried to look less sheepishly at Roy, “Don’t you think it’s a good idea?”
“Mu-na-upid-gah!” Was all Roy could manage to get out. What he was thinking was, “No, you stupid Trog! You’re going to get us all killed!”
If Bill had understood what he said, he chose to ignore it. Instead, he got behind the wagon and wheeled Roy up a slight incline away from the room a safe distance and parked the wagon. He made sure to set a rock under the wheel so that the wagon stayed in place, then hurrying back to the chamber of horror, Roy got the succinct feeling he was about to come back with some truly horrific idea that was going to put an end to them both. It was possible. Anything was
possible with Bill. A moment later, unable to disappoint, Bill trotted in with the plunger detonator and a long string of wire behind him. Setting the plunger on the wagon with Roy he set to work wiring it up. He patted Roy’s leg and nodded with a smile, “I’ll be back. Just a few last things to check over before we send them
all to kingdom come.”
He turned and headed back down the passage. The detonator shifted, falling forward so the handle was pointed down the passage between Roy’s feet. Roy groaned, trying to lift his head and see where it was. He moved his feet and wiggled, getting a little more feeling and use out of his hands. He managed to lift his head and see that the detonator was set to be the head of the battering ram that was himself. Again he tried to move, but all this managed to do was crumble the rock holding the wagon in place. Roy glanced around, raising an eyebrow in surprise and dread as the wagon creaked, then started to wobble and finally began to move.
Roy hadn’t noted how far up the passage Bill had managed to move him. As the speed of the wagon picked up it appeared to have been a good distance. Still, he wasn’t moving so fast that he should slam into anything with enough force to be disastrous. He focused all his attention into getting into a sitting position. As the wagon bumped and jostled its way down the passage he did finally manage to sit. He was reaching for the detonator as the wagon burst out of the passage and sailed into the chamber filled with gun powder. The last thing Roy say and heard was Bill’s surprised look from atop the stack of barrels and his statement, “Hey, that’s not part of the plan!”
MEANWHILE, ELSEWHERE IN THE CAVERNS …
Wringing a finger in her ear and shaking her head slightly “Nice to meet you too and you dear sir, what powder did you use? Way too much power for only 100 grains.” Looking the adventurers up and down slowing “Well down to business… I came here on a pilgrimage to exorcise catacombs to be a more full fledged priestess and was wondering how to stay safe enough long enough to do it, but seeing as what ever came through that door,” throwing a thumb over her shoulder and the broken door, “certainly did a dang good job at destroying everything dead in here. Seeing as you guys don’t have a priest let alone a healer I would like to offer my services in return I wish to continue to strive to become a stronger priestess.”
“I for one will be happy to have a priest along,” Says a weary and disheveled Elven Ranger who has been following Aislynn and Bran through the catacombs. “Too bad you weren’t around to help the sailor lad who was with us.”
“I have no problem with the extra help and company.” Looking things over Aislynn eyes Bran, “Shall we proceed on and see if we can find where Aloranna’s voice came from?”
With a sly grin Aislynn starts humming the harmony to the same song.
An eerie silence fills the room. Bone fragments begin to dance around, only a little at first, then bouncing with the ever growing crescendo that begins to shake the very walls and air. Dust falls down from the ceiling as one of the sconces and it’s long dead torch
break lose from the wall and clang to the floor. The rumble becomes a thunderous roar echoing back from the tunnel which our intrepid adventurers first entered the room.
The Elven Ranger looks back over his shoulder, “Um, guys, that doesn’t sound good.”
OUT IN THE SUBTERRANEAN PORT …
“What the hell is that?” Haran perks up, listening intently. “Earthquake?”
“Nay, this area is stable. Made sure of that before I built me hideout here!” Salaius grumbled.
Aloranna listened intently for a moment, “Sal, that sounds an awful lot like an earthquake.”
“Don’t start going daft on me too, your highness,” Salaius growls, "This place has’na seen an earthquake in nigh two thousand years.
An that was at the time of the Cataclysm!" He walked confidently over to the railing of his boat and stared intently at the entrance to his marble halls, “That there is the sound of an …” He stopped, turning slowly to look at Ed, Aloranna, and Haran, “Oh shit.”
“Oh shit?!?” Aloranna exclaimed, raising an eyebrow, “What does Oh shit mean?”
“Ye remember those casks of gunpowder we stored down here before we left the place?”
Aloranna stood there a moment looking at him uncomprehending. The light of understanding filled her eyes as her jaw fell open.
“Oh shit!” She said.
“Um, forgive my ignorance here, but doesn’t gunpowder get really testy after about say twenty years,” Haran shrugged, holding his hands out, palms up, “Give or take?”
BACK WITH AISLYNN AND BRAN …
Looking to her companions, Aislynn with much urgency in her voice says, “No that does NOT sound good at all! In fact that sounds like the words ‘RUN LIKE HELL IS CHASING YOU’!” With that she runs like her life depends on it. Until she is told otherwise she strongly believes that it does.
“Run isn’t the word for this, like fly low and hope your faster then the gods in doing so” as bran grabs the book and books it for the door the cannon ball came from.
“Run? Like hell run! More of flee like the devil is on your ass! Also wasn’t this place a thieves hideout? There are bounds to be quick ways out and that cannon ball brings idea of a boat down the way it came and it should prove a nice way out.” Dashing towards the door she shouts back at Bran “Hope you have an idea of how to read that book with out getting cursed cause I ain’t that skilled yet.”
The four race toward the stone archway at the far end of the hall as a pillar of fire erupts from the cavern opening. Unfortunately, the Ranger is caught in the blast and set aflame as his friends run for all they’re worth to escape the billowing clouds of fire chasing after them. They race passed doors yet unopened and reach an enormous archway opening to utter darkness. With a shriek of rushing air they leap from the corridor into the emptiness of space and go tumbling down the stair case as fire leaps out the hallway behind them.
As the fiery explosion fills the dark cavern with light, Aloranna, Ed, Haran, and Salaius are left with the afterimage of the explosion, the thunderous roar of the flames, the shrieks of falling women as they bounce down the broad stone staircase, and a very cold, chill feeling echoing in the pits of their stomach.
The ground where Sati, Aislynn, and Bran come rolling to a stop begins to glow, circles upon circles etching their way across the stone quay like ghost fire. Arcane runes and symbols appear and the ground shakes again, this time as though it is going to burst beneath them. Before anyone has time to flee, a howling shape erupts from the floor surrounded by fire and smelling of burning sulfur. Bran finds himself laying on his back next to the foot of the thing, and as he looks up he comes face to face with the horrifying visage of a Baal-rog, it’s fiery whip uncurling and it’s enormous cleaver of a blade cutting through the air as it stares down at him a moment, then looks toward Aislynn, then turns its attention to where Aloranna, Salaius, Ed and Haran are standing. The creature’s expression seems to darken all at once as it’s gaze meet’s Aloranna’s and it start’s marching toward her.
“I’ve got a bone to pick with you, your highness,” The monster’s voice is like the grinding of rocks together in a tumbler.
(Next Episode: Run Like Little Girls)