It's late at night, and your master, the wizard Glive, whom you have been studying under, has hastily left, leaving you in charge of keeping his store clean. With the little money you have managed to save these past four years, you decide to eat a meal of crevel, tasty and a delight to the pallet, considering your meals lately have consisted of grub mash for ever so long. The only place in town to get a real crevel dish is at the Green Dragon Inn, expensive, and you will most likely have to eat dirt for the rest of your life, but well worth the price.
The streets of Portown are packed with the frenzy of miners, sailors, and the ever present militia. One of the largest DWP transport ships ever built is docked and being loaded for this single night only. As you approach the Inn the crowds thicken, and the noise is deafening, soon the battle to get into the Inn will begin.
Just as you are about to make it through the front entrance, you feel a strong pull on your cloak. You resist, but to no avail, as you are dragged through the crowds and around the corner into the dark alley beside the Inn. As if your luck wasn't bad enough, now you stand facing that sleazy, low-down, no good, shady, contemptible, back-stabbing-OK, so he did save your life that one time, and you've been paying for it ever since-thief, and his sidekick Ape, the fighter.
|T:||(whispering) "Have I got a deal for you, Wiz. You owe me a big one, and this is a big one ... the biggest, but you've got to come now."|
|W:||(loudly) "What is it this time?"|
|T:||"Not so loud. Not here. It's not safe. Follow me!"|
As Ape grabs your arm, you are dragged deeper into the back alleys of the city. Finally he stops behind a tall stack of old crates, pulls out the gem of light that you made for him, and delicately reaches into one of the many pockets of his robe and brings out what appears to be an old piece of a torn scroll.
|T:||"Take a look at this; I don't know the language! It may be magical."|
He whispers so low you can barely understand what he is saying.
You grab the parchment, and begin to unfold it.
|T:||(louder) "Gently! It's very old, and falling apart."|
As you gently spread out the parchment and begin to examine it, you notice that the parchment is old, burned, torn, and stained with blood on both sides. You cast the spell of read magic, but the wording, or what you can see of it, remains unchanged.
|T:||"Well, is it magical writing? Is it real, old, what?" (He shakes your arm fervently.)|
|W:||"No. There's no magical writing on the parchment, no magic at all. What makes you think there would be magic on the parchment, anyway? Where did you get this?"|
|T:||"Questions like those are best left unanswered, my friend." (As he pats you on the arm.) "The parchment looks like a map of Portown, but everything is out of place, the wrong size. All I know for sure is that it's real."|
|W:||"The map's for real. It shows this area a long time ago. Look here at these numbers in the corner. It's a date. I would say about 1187, which fits the layout of the rest of the map. This letter that looks like an E is really an N, which makes this word here the name of the tower, Zenopus."|
|T:||"He was the one who built that tower on top of the ruins of that castle a long time ago, right?"|
|W:||"Yes, he thought he could control treasure hunters from excavating the ruins and finding the wealth of the castle before he did."|
|F:||"Didn't he go up in flames?"|
|W:||"Flames, yes, but not natural fire. Anyway, the treasures of that old castle are stories for little children, not you and I. Since that great earthquake that followed the tower fire, no entrance has been found into the underground reaches of the castle."|
|T:||"Look at that mark right there. It shows where the old entrance was. If we hunt around a little we could find that entrance, I just know it!"|
After a lengthy argument, you finally decide they will never find that entrance, and you will only be gone a couple of days at most.
|W:||"Before we can get to that entrance, we will have to get out of the city. That northern road requires a pass from the garrison, and there's no way they are going to give us one, especially you, thief."|
|T:||"I've already got that worked out. I know where there is an opening in the wall. We can sneak out tonight."|
|W:||"What about this little area right here? We'll need an army to get through all those goblins, orcs, and who knows what else."|
|T:||"That's why we have Ape."|
|W:||"Ape is big and powerful, but there is only one of him and a lot of them."|
|F:||(pounding chest) "I eat goblins for breakfast."|
|W:||"Fine, but listen good: this evens the score between us, understand?"|
|T:||"OK, Wiz. This makes us even, but let's go before it gets light. We stand a better chance in the dark up there."|
As you pass through the worst part of the thieves' quarters, you begin to rethink your decision to go, but prodding by Ape keeps you going. It takes hours to get through the north end of town, not to mention the time it took to find that opening in the wall. Once outside the city, your progress seemed effortless, until Ape stepped on a sleeping kobold. The cry of the kobold must have stirred some primitive emotion deep within Ape. With a great yell, he charged the center of the kobold camp. With a keen eye, the thief and you notice that all attention was on Ape. Looking at each other, you both decide to support Ape's right flank. From the far right flank, you were able to witness the entire battle, unobserved. At first, you would have wagered on the kobolds, but apparently they were taken completely by surprise. Soon Ape's crazy charges and wild frantic attacks had the kobolds fleeing in all directions. So throwing on some dust and ruffling your cloths, you charge in to rescue Ape. With great effort you settle Ape down enough to continue on.
By morning you reach the ruins and begin searching for that lost entrance. After hours of searching, you sit down and begin to use your head. With the thief and Ape trying to dig up everything in sight, you climb on top of the highest pile of rubble you can find, near the mark on the map. As you study each pile of rocks, you notice a little shimmer from one not too far away. That shimmer brings back memories of the first trick Glive played on you, with an illusionist's spell. Upon closer examination, you discover that this pile of rubble is not real, as your hand passes through a portion of it.
|W:||(Yelling as loud as you can.) "Hey! Look at this."|
|T:||"A trick! I fell for a cheap trick!"|
|F:||"Can I do that, Wiz?" (Swinging his fist at it.)|
|T:||"What are we waiting for? Let's go!" (And with a mighty yell, he leaps into the illusion, and disappears.)|
|F:||"Wait for me, little buddy!" (And with a mighty yell, he leaps into the illusion, and disappears.)|
|W:||"You know, guys, these are stairs."|
As you gently, and cautiously step down, it becomes deathly silent, and a feeling of doom comes over you...
Last updated: Mar 4, 2011