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Froggy the Great

Grimtooth's dungeon of doom

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[Turn 13, Rini and Havilan]

 

Havilan glowers at Rini's chain.  "That's a bit better.  Now that we're all correctly beamed and propped,  let's see about getting out of this little rat's hole.  I don't see any  exits right off the bat.  Probably behind this bloody stucco again.  Rini,  can you go check the ceiling for doors or whatnot?  I'll investigate this  pile of sacks.  Klortho the Unnameable only knows what's in them or why  they're here.  And you lot," Havilan glares pointedly at the chains,  "Behave yourselves or I'll know the reason why.  And if you see a gnome,  kick him in the crotch."  Havilan lumbers off to check the mysterious pile  of sacks, still adjusting to his renewed quadrupedity.  (Sextupedity,  technically, but he's not going to try and learn how to fly again until he  knows there's a good reason.)

 

As he gets closer, he sees that most of the sacks are old worn canvas, and most of them have at least some holes in them.  Every sack, however, seems to be full of very fine gold dust.

 

Rini flies around the ceiling, glowing inquisitively.  "Well, there's a door over *here* (southwest corner), and one over *here* (east wall), and OOO!" 'Rini exclaims as she sees the gold dust.

 

Havilan sniffs curiously, and follows with a prodigious and spark-intensive sneeze which partially melts the nearest bits of dust. "Nearly useless.  How do you carry gold dust in leaky canvas sacks?  Pah. I need portable treasure!"  Havilan stomps past the sacks to examine the door in the corner.

 

The door Rini indicated is apparently behind stucco.  As Havilan sneezes, part of the concealing stucco burns away.  As Havilan stomps over the sacks, which is the only way to the door, there is an ominous muffled *CLICK*.

 

Rini backs away from anywhere near the vicinity of the sacks...

 

...and wisely, it would appear, for a whirling shimmering blue mist appears in the center of the room, and the air starts to swirl around it.  Faintly audible at first, then increasing in volume, they can hear a torrent of curses in an unknown language.

 

The mist comes to full form, revealing a floating creature, apparently formed of living cumulous clouds, about five feet tall and built like fat Uncle Jerry, who needed the aid of five specialized poodles just to get from his chair to the restroom.  The cloud being is very very angry.

 

"...ach blow it all!  Keep ME locked up in a bloody cage fer years, then drop me here, will they!  I've got me a mind ta taker this place down around me, bloody effin' stupid..!"

 

It continues on in this vein, punctuating each phrase with a cloudy fist.  Within seconds of the start of the tirade, the room is a small self-contained cyclone, and the fine, gritty sand of the floor is mostly airborne.

 

"Bugger all, not another one."  Havilan tries with limited success to squint his nostrils shut.  "Oy, you!  I'm trying to breathe here!  What's the big idea?"  Havilan squats down and covers his nose with his forefeet. Given the general state of dragon feet, this is not an exceedingly effective air-improving technique.

 

By laying flat, and folding his wings to his body, Havilan is able to escape most of the swirling dust, sand, and grit.  Rini, however, is not quite so fortunate.  She is caught up in the swirls around the increasingly angry cloud creature, and only avoids being smacked into a wall by blind luck.  "Blind" in this case, is too accurate, since the sand makes it impossible for either of them to open their eyes for more than an instant.

 

The cloud thing does not seem inclined to stop shouting or blowing any time soon.  Rini is getting very tired and very disoriented, and Havilan notices that the sand is piling up around the edges of the room, almost halfway up the walls.  If he does not take care, he will be buried in very short order.

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[Turn 13 - Everyone else]

 

Kerani shakes her head at the stunt Thorolf just pulled and wonders if she should go down and check on him. She waits first to see if he is still moving or not first. She glances back up the way she came wondering what the others were doing up in the room she just left, then she glances at the Nathi girl "By the way, I'm Kerani.

 

Interrupting, Snowy leaps merrilly towards Kerani.

 

"HELLO! I'm Snowy! Oh, wait, we met...." She peers down the slide. "I think that getting killed must be fun or something. Everyone seems to be  trying really hard to die. Especially on this one! Does that mean the slide  is fun? Even if it l- l- lacerates you?"

 

"Hello!" She calls down the slide. "Does anyone need Fixy Uppy Thing-ing? It  helps stop you from leaking...."

 

It is then that she notices the remains of the pretty fairy, and bursts into  tears. "I don't care! Even if she does come back, that HAS to hurt! Oh, *sniffle*  wait! THORALPH! Can you hear me Thaw-off? Don't you need to breathe soon?"

 

"Does he need to breathe? Shouldn't he stick his head up or something? Maybe  he has gills..."

 

Coughing and spluttering Thorolf climbs out of the water up the wall and onto the ceiling above, his eyes glowing bright red.

 

"I'm ok!  I'm alright!"  Thorolf looks to check where the seat of his pants ripped to make sure his announcement is not false!  After making sure he is mostly in one piece, Thorolf will begin to check around the bottom of the slide to see if there is an exit of some sort.

 

The exit is a set of double doors at the very bottom of the slide, each five feet wide and ten feet tall, each with three little holes in place of a doorknob.

 

Unfortunately, the bottom seven feet of the doors, and therefore the opener-holes, are under water.

 

Thorolf studies the doors for a second then turns and yells up the slide "Hey, How did you guys get the door open at the top of the slide?!"

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[Turn 14 - Rini, Havilan]

 

"Bugger this for a lark."  Havilan blinks his eyes open for a moment to get a fix on the thing's approximate location, and, taking as deep a breath as he can while inching forward, blasts what would be more or less the thing's center with fire, hopefully avoiding Rini in the process.  

 

Havilan's jet of flame strikes the cloud being and passes through  it, setting a good deal of the stucco on the ceiling on fire.  

 

"GAHOYAAAUGH!" shrieks the being, as he starts to burn away from the inside.  "No!  Wait!  I can help y..."  

 

...and then he's gone.

 

"Pah.  If he was as helpful as all of that, he wouldn't have been caged up all those years and stuck in a lame little trap.  Bloody djinn, never minding their own business."

 

The room looks like a big bowl of sand.  The sand, fine except for where it has been melted into hissing globules by Havilan's breath, is mostly up against the walls, and a small patch of bare stone shows in the center of the room.  There is no sign of Rini's post, the sacks of gold dust, or the portions of wall where there was allegedly a door.

 

Havilan is buried up to his shoulders in the fine gritty stuff, and he's pretty sure that it got into his dagger sheath.  All that can be seen of Rini is a single bare foot sticking out of the wall of sand on the opposite side of the room.

 

Havilan wriggles about experimentally, trying to get free of the smothering sand.  If he does so successfully, he will  plod over to Rini and attempt to gently extract her from the sand with his foreclaws.  Then he sets about poking for another door.  One without a crackhead djinn guarding it.

 

Rini splutters and shakes sand out of her hair, her ears, her clothes, etc.  "Stupid airheaded ball of hot air," she mutters.  "The other door is over there," she points out to Havilan, when she clears her eyes enough to see what he's doing.  "Let's see if I can defuse it."  Shaking herself free of the sand one last time, she flits over to the other door.

 

The door can be opened by a simple spell, having already been de-stucco'd by Havilan in his dissolution of the cloud creature.  Rini performs this spell, and there is a click.  However, there is still about seven feet of sand blocking the door shut.

 

Havilan glances at his six-inch-high companion, then down at his large, spade-like, clawed feet, then at the huge pile of sand blocking the door. He sighs heavily, and starts in on his work.

 

Digging and pawing at the sand, he makes some decent headway, then notices that the doors are pushing inward a little, probably under pressure.  Then he notices that the sand around where the doors meet is getting steadily wetter.  Since it's so fine, it's very sticky.

 

Havilan pauses his efforts.  He considers the trickling water and bulging doors.  If one listens closely, one can hear the tiny gears clicking madly away inside his reptilian skull.  He then begins rapidly reversing the excavating process, shoring up the doors as best he can.

 

"Were there *any* other exits to this room, Rini?  I don't particularly feel like drowning again.  And I'm quite certain that fire-breathing dragons dislike immersion.  Your wings don't care for it much either, as I recall."  He does not pause in his de-excavation efforts as he speaks.

 

"Just the one with the Djinn, maybe it's ok now."  Rini heads over to inspect the other door behind the sacks (but does not open it).  It's the same as all the other doors in this place so far, If the sand were cleared away, it'd be a set of double doors, each ten feet tall and five feet wide, with three finger-sized holes in the place of the doorknobs.

 

Havilan's efforts are rapidly seen to be a losing battle, as more and more water spills through the widening crack between the doors.  It's very dank and dirty water, full of what might even be faerie bits, and peices of gnome.  Finally, Havilan is swept away into a growing pile of sticky mud in the middle of the room, but manages to pull himself out and onto the slope by Rini before he gets stuck.

 

As the doors open wider, more water pours in, eroding a channel from the doors into the center of the room, filling the center to about a foot deep.  when the doors are open almost completely, Rini and Havilan can see that it opens up to the bottom of the slide they were dealing with before, and they can see the sagging remains of the spinning saw halfway up.  Someone is pushing the doors from above, and it is soon apparent that it is the same Nathi that Havilan saw inside the chamber by the saw, during his brief stint as an old woman.

 

Up at the top of the slide, they can see the rest of their companions.

 

Most of the sand in the room is slowly seeping downward, absorbing water, and turning into a very sticky mud.

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[Turn 14 - Everyone else]

 

Reekik shakes her head and says with mostly well concealed amused malice,  "Why is it that the dumb ones are always cute?"

 

"So Kerani? I take it that Thorolf is your partner? Well he's found our  door, do you have any ideas how we might get it open?"

 

"ya, he is my partner, but at the rate he's going he'll be dead soon." She pauses looks over her shoulder "Hey! You up there." she yells up "Did any of you hear Thorolf's question?" then looking back at Reekik, "What did the ferret, er I mean Snowy mean about 'coming back'?"

 

While Karani tries to get an answer from all the 'people' milling about in the room at the top of the ramp, Thorolf winks at Reekik and then begins to search the door and its accompanying holes for traps.  It appears to be a straightforward mechanism.  Stick something in the holes, and it activates a mechanism to open the door.  Granted, since he's doing this searching under three feet of water, it's hard to really be certain.

 

Thorolf climbs out of the water and hangs on the wall above the doors.   "Hey Kerani?  Do you have 3 sticks roughly finger sized I can borrow?  If not maybe one of those other people have something?"

 

Below Thorolf, there is a quiet unassuming click from the doors.

 

Meanwhile, Snowy shows unusual caution in NOT sliding merrily down the slidey-ramp, not  least because the slidey-ramp has gruesomely killed several more of her  fellow spelunkers. She does however attempt to give Thorolf a fighting  chance of thinking his way through the current puzzle. Pausing to ask his  permission and gather her powers, she will cast "Think! Think! Think!" on  him.

 

Thorolf raises an eyebrow at the click heard below him from the door. Bracing his feet on the ceiling, Thorolf pushes against the doors to see if they will open.  They do, slightly, and he continues to push.  Soon, he has a fairly widening crack, through which the water joyfully rushes.

 

Reekik calls down, "I may not have any tools that will help you open that. But do you need some  more light?"  She is already fumbling in the HUS for a light source, or a door openy  thing, or a hair curler.

 

She pulls out a curious little mug with a bonemetal handle, connected to a series of coils within the mug itself.  Presumably, one channels power into the handle and it heats your drink.  If in a pinch, it can also be used to torture gnomes, as it is just about big enough for a gnomey foot.

 

"Damnit, that's not useful here." Reekik puts it back into the bag next the  the knife and the clockwork mouse.

 

Kerani looks through her pack looking to see if she has anything close to what Thorolf needs.

 

Meanwhile, the doors continue to open.  Finally, Thorolf has opened them about five feet, which is all he can reach at the moment.  All the water has flown into the room now, and the bottom of the slide is dry, save for some sticky bits of gnome and faery, plus more mud than you'd expect.  The far room, from what little light emerges from it, appears to be fairly deep, and mud-filled.

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[Turn 15]

 

Someone inside the far room mutters, "By the inky waters of Orsonne's Well!  I think we might have been better off being drowned.  Well, at least it's more warm bodies to take the brunt of the next few traps."

 

A labrador-sized dragon pokes its head through the doorway, then raises his voice above his usual semi-private monologue.  "Oi!  You lot!  If you're all through playing with the saw and the slide, there's another door what needs opening in here. Who doesn't need their fingers anymore?  And who the bloody #### is this strange man who seems to be following me?"  The dragon gestures at Thorolf.

 

Thorolf "stands" on the ceiling.  Planting his fists on his hips defiantly he looks back at the ladies at the top of the slide "Stand back girls, I got this reptilian behemoth covered!"

 

Havilan snorts loudly, emitting a puff of smoke and a sulfurous odor. "Behemoth indeed.  If I qualify as a behemoth in your book, then I imagine your ladyfriends suffer some acute disappointments.  If you're in any danger, it'll be from the fact that you've just turned your back on a dire ferret and a cannibal frog-man after calling them 'girls'."  He pointedly turns to examine the locked door.  He is unfazed by the ceiling walking, having become somewhat inured to unusual sights and sounds at this point. A crazed sand-genie beats glue-bottomed shoes any day.

 

"Thorolf turns to the Dragon, and says "Who the Bloody #### are you?!"

 

Rini hops up, and hovers over towards the door, scowling.  "It's Havilan, silly.  Are you coming down here or not?  I could use a metal wire to open the door if you'd bring one down."

 

"Who the Bloody #### is Havilan?!"

 

Havilan continues, "Or any finger you might have to spare.  What's one finger, more or less? It's still cheaper than a travel coach in Havna."  Havilan sits back on his haunches, using a sand dune as support, and resumes plucking at his dagger with his foreclaws.  Now that everyone else has arrived, *they* can poke at the doors for a while.  This would be a good time to get that sand out of the sheath before it scratches the finish."

 

Kerani looks over at Reekik "he's right. Who is Havalin?"

 

Rini sighs.  "THAT is Havilan," she points at the little dragon.  "He was the old lady that slipped past you, and before that a...um, gnome, right?"  She flits over to the hole.  "Snowy!  Can you bring down a shiny piece of metal so I can get this door open?"

 

"Bloody gnomes.  Bugger them all with splintery sticks," agrees Havilan affably, still plucking at his dagger.

 

Thorolf studies the Dragon for a moment. "So you trust a..thing that can't keep its shape for more then a few moments?"

 

"'S a bit hard to stay in a body that's been reduced to ribbons by one of the godsforsaken traps in this madman's funhouse.  Give it a try someday, maybe you'll be better at it."  Havilan manages to finally retrieve his dagger, and inspects the blade carefully for marks and imperfections.  He cleans it on a dry patch of sand and begins the even more difficult maneuver of replacing it in its sheath.

 

Thorolf walks Over "Havilan" to the door in question, via the ceiling, and begins to study it for traps and a locking mechanism.

 

Havilan snarls a bit at his recalcitrant foreclaws.  Razor sharp killing blades are all well and good, but a little manual dexterity goes a long way.  "You stick something in the holes.  One of them opens it, the others try to lop whatever you stuck in off at the roots.  At least, that's how the other doors worked.  Generally there's some other sort of nasty side effect, but at least the door usually opens.  And you may wish to come down off the ceiling before all the blood rushes to your head and you have an aneurism and drop dead.  Mind you, then we'd have some expendable fingers to use on the door, so I suppose it's not such a rush after all."

 

The room, once people enter, is twenty feet wide by fifty feet long by ten feet tall.  The center of the room is a morass of sticky mud that is growing larger as the water from the stairway is being absorbed.  The rest of the room is filled with incredibly fine sand, mostly flung up against the walls.  The walls are covered with stucco bas-relief, though due to the sand and a number of charred spots, it's hard to see what it depicts.  There is a door in the southwest corner.  It's been de-stucco'd, and is the same standard arrangement, with the three finger holes in place of the doorknobs.  The sand in front of it will prevent it from being opened too easily.

 

Turn15.jpg

 

In this map, you came in at the top of room 3, the saw is sagging across 5, and Havilan and Rini are in room 5.  The door is south of the lumpy thing in the corner, which isn't evident now because it's been dealt with.

 

After making it across the room on the ceiling Thorolf studies the door closely.

 

"So am I to understand that with all of you guys/things/ladies down here no one has a stick or two to poke in these holes?!"

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[Turn 16]

 

Kerani sighs and heads on down the rest of the way. Upon reaching the bottom of the shaft, being very careful to avoid the broken saw blade, she looks around the room. He eyebrow raise at the sight of Havalin as a dragon, but she says nothing. She looks back up the shaft and yells "Hey! You guys want to toss that piece of metal the fairy was using?"

 

In reference to Havilan, Reekik says, "He's our um...its somewhat complicated but he's not harmful. Mostly, well  don't stand too near him."

 

"I will remember that." says Kerani. She waits a few more minutes, to see if the others up above reply or not.

 

Snowy wasn't actually watching, having been distracted by her surroundings  yet again. "OH! I'm sorry! I'm coming, I've got it, wait for me!"

 

Snowy, the poinging dire wonder-SHE-ferret, thankyou, quickly retrieves the  finger-substitute. She tucks it into her bag and picks her way down the  ramp. Then she pulls out her increasingly bedraggled ferret-shaped fetish,  and begins the process of constructing a magic to make her footfall very  light indeed. She dubs this new magic "Featherfeet". With a mime-based dance  that involves LOTS of rapidly pattering tipy-toes and expressive  interpretation of the concept of "lightness", she does her mystic thang,  and, ferret-icon in teeth, pitter-patters directly across the room to the  doors. She takes a moment to coil catwise around and past Havilan's legs as an enthusiastic greeting- since her current, centipede-sinuous mode does not allow for poinging, and her mouth is too  full for shouts of glee.   She bowls Havilan over onto his side, and Rini is too high up to greet in this fashion.

 

Upon making it to the doors, she pulls out the metal object, and  immediately becomes utterly entranced by its shininess. She holds it aloft,  pincered carefully in two foreclaws, to better admire it, her whiskers all  a-tremble with joy.

 

Thorolf stairs mystified at the dance the large mammal is doing across the room.  "Is there something wrong with that thing?"

 

Kerani shrugs and says "I don't know. But what how do you expect a large ferret to act? Now about that door..."

 

"Hmmmm, I guess I hadn't quite thought of it that way.  That's why you're the smart one and I am the good looking one!"  Thorolf winks at Kerani and turns his attention back to the door.

 

Kerani rolls her eyes (getting a 5) and looks to the heavens for patience.  A small quantity of charred and sandblasted stucco falls from the ceiling in a powdery mess.  That's probably about as good as she's going to get for the moment.

 

"Snowy..."  Rini hovers in front of the ferret.  "Yooohooo...."  Placing her hands on her hips and putting a little extra sparkle in her wings, she says "Snowy!  Time to open the door!  Just stick the shiny in the holes one by one!"

 

Havilan edges out of the potential blast radius of flying ferret parts, should such an eventuality come to pass, heaven forbid.

 

Snowy stands as far back from the door as possible, stretches her  shiny-holding forepaw out while half-covering her face with the other, and  quickly, tensed for instant flight, pops the thing in each of the holes and  out again once without pause. She then intends to leap away on the instant  to hide behind someone big, Dracohavilan for example. Her bag is clenched in  her teeth, which also helps muffle the anxiety-driven tooth-grinding noises.

 

On the first hole, there is a <click> and the door unlocks.  There's still an awful lot of sand and much to get out of the way before it can open though.  Snowy lands behind Havilan with a squelch, and starts to sink in the muck.

 

Havilan sighs and moves forward before anyone can say anything, and once again begins the  door-excavating process.  Thorolf nods approvingly and winks at the fairy then moves forward to help the big lizard dig.

 

With the door sufficiently opened, another stairway is revealed.  It is ten feet wide, fifty feet long, and rises roughly fifty feet.  At the top of the door is yet another set of double doors with the three finger-holes.

 

Turn16.jpg

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[Turn 17]

 

"Oooo! Thorolf can walk on ceilings, like a big spider!" Spiders taste a little like chicken, she recalls hazily from her days as a normal ferret.  But Snowy is eager to impress her new friend, and can think of few things  more impressive than the pretty fairy. She begins another dance, ferret-doll  under her left "arm", door-hole stick held in her right forepaw. Those  watching can see shadows gather and swirl at her back, where they begin to  take shape and glitter. The dance seems to be taking some time, and the  ferret starts to sing a very strange song, that somehow sounds like dry  grass... or, maybe, insect wings.

 

Then, suddenly, she shoots into the air, trailing sparks, and flies, limbs  and tail flailing wildly for balance, towards the next door. She unlocks it  and pushes it open (with her eyes shut, waiting for horrid splatting).  Having miraculously survived that, she barrels around the room in barely  controlled flight before shooting back down to the others and landing with  an inelegant series of somersaults terminating in a mud-spraying chinslide.  From the bedraggled muddy ferret come the slurred words "'sais "Pull The  Chain"". She then passes out, and her glowing fairy-wings vanish.

 

Thorolfs eyes light up.  "I'll go!" he says excitedly "I can help the fuzzy thing get through the hall and the next door open, no problem!"

 

Kerania watches the ferret in amused wonder as she goes through her spell. Her eyes widen as she Snowy take flight. "This isn't going to be pretty" she mutters. She watches as Snowy gets down to the doors and unlocks it, her sigh of relief is replaced by a by a creative curse when she she's the ferret come barreling back up the stairs and fly erratically into room! She closes her eyes and winces at Snowy's "graceful landing. "That had to hurt." She then looks at the unconscious ferret, then back to the others. "Is she o.k.? She passed out."

 

Thorolf stares in wonder at the weasel, now laying face first in the mud. "I didn't realize that thing could fly as well!"

 

"That's new..." ponders Rini.  The faery flits over and rubs behind Snowy's ears, figuring that maybe she'd like that.  Y'know, like a cat does.  Maybe it'll wake her up.

 

Havilan snorts disdainfully, scorching a patch of sand briefly dry before the water seeps over it again.  "Perfectly normal for ferrets.  I'd worry more about what horrors your boyfriend is about to open up at the bottom of those stairs."  He gestures towards the hallway down which Thorolf has lately vanished.  "Me, I'm bloody well staying here, where the traps have already been sprung."

 

Snowy seems ok, though she is face-first and slowly sinking in an awful lot of very sticky mud.  If not aided, she'll probably suffocate in a couple minutes.

 

Noticing the weasel is sinking, Thorolf trudges over to her, and is able to lift Snowy out of the mud with some difficulty, and convey her to within throwing distance of relatively dry ground.  In the process however, he finds that he is up to his left ankle and right shin in the muck, and nearly falls over himself.

 

Once Snowy is propped up, Rini sits on the ferret's head, idly scritchin behind one of the ferret's ears.  She watches Thorolf's plight with interest.

 

Thorolf eyes the mud he appears to be bogged down in then looks over to his companion, Kerani, "Help?"  He asks  "It appears I am stuck in the mud after helping that weasel out!"  Thorolfs glance flicks nervously to the dragon, wondering if it will take this chance to pounce on a trapped morsel...

 

Havilan yawns hugely, showing his teeth to the fullest extent.  He  sidles over to Thorolf and grins widely in his face until such time as  Kiriani actually shows up to extract him, at which point Havilan slinks  quickly away with the air of a cat who's been caught on the kitchen  table when you get home.

 

Kerani looks around for the rope she was using earlier. Once she finds it she tosses one end to Thorolf. "Catch" Once he gets a hold of it she starts to try and pull him out.

 

Thorolf is successfully removed from the mud, and the chronicler assumes that he goes about his initial mission of investigating the door down the stairway.

 

Climbing to the ceiling, he walks down the top of the stairway, till he gets past the open door at the bottom.

 

What he finds is more like a section of hallway than anything else.  It is 10' by 10', and 20' long.  There is a golden chain with a leather handle hanging from the ceiling, next to a small unassuming plaque, which reads "Pull Thye Chain!"  Some stucco flakes out from under (above?) Thorolf's feet, where he stands on the ceiling.

 

The chronicler also assumes that all this information is relayed back, as he does not want to split-post if he does not have to.

 

After yelling back the description of the room, Thorolf, always good at following directions, pulls the chain, still standing on the ceiling.  A little bit of stucco falls from the ceiling and lands on the underside of Thorolf's chin.

 

With a creak, the floor of the chamber starts to descend, first slowly, then with increasing speed, till it is out of sight, leaving a 10x20 trench between the bottom of the stairs and the opposite end of the building.  There is a quiet click, and the blank wall in at the end of the room drops, and reveals the following room.  It appears vast, and is shrouded in shadow.  What little can be seen is a tiled floor.  Each tile is five feet across, alternating green and blue, is set individually in the floor, and shines faintly.

 

Quite a lot of stucco is falling on Thorolf now.  It appears now that someone is cutting a circle around the patch of ceiling upon which he is anchored!

 

"Um..." ventures Rini, just as the patch gives way, and Thorolf finds himself falling, still attached to the circle of stucco, into the pit left by the descending floor.

 

There isn't a thud, not that anyone hears.

 

Here's a map.  Thorolf was last seen at 8, which is now a long

deep black pit, and the bit south is the large room nobody can really see, the one with the tiled floor.

 

Turn17.jpg

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[Turn 18 - Everyone but Rini and Thorolf]

 

There is a small "Hee hee hee!" from the area of ceiling where Thorolf had been standing.  Moments later, a flowerpot follows Thorolf down the pit.

 

After a few long moments, the unmistakable sound of a CRASH echoes up from the pit.  Immediately following, Thorolf's voice echoes up, distorted by the echo to the point of being indecipherable.

 

"Ai OYYEee!  AAKAaee!"

 

Rini looks at the squares on the floor in the room  "Oh!  I remember that!  You're supposed to... hm, step on the white?  Or maybe it was the blue... hmmm.  Or maybe it didn't matter and they all did something nasty."  The faery shrugs, and flits up to look into the hole where the flowerpot came from.  "HEY!  Gnomey!  Why the stucco??" she calls.

 

Kerani  slowly makes her way down the stairs, just in time to see the flower pot follow Thorolf down the pit.  She looks at Rini and Havalin "You two think a gnome built this place?"

 

"Most likely, yeah.  Certainly it's the gnomes that keep it up.  And keep putting Havilan into weird bodies."  'Rini grins at Havilan "Though I think the current incarnation is a good one!  Much better'n the old lady!"

 

"Gnrrrgh," grumbles Havilan, stumping over towards the pit which has lately swallowed Thorolf.  Four legs are harder to keep straight than two.

 

Rini reappears briefly.  "Well, he could have at least answered the question.  Really.  Stucco is so outdated!"  The faery calls down to the others "Back in a second!" and flits up into the hole.

 

"Oi!  Don't go off alone just yet!  There's prob'ly some ghastly demise waiting about up there.  Eh, oh well.  She'll show up in the next room if there is, I s'pose.  I wonder what happened to that Thorolf fellow." Havilan lumbers down the stairs to Kerani, and they both continue down.

 

Ten feet from the end of the stairs (which end abruptly on the pit, for those watching at home) the stairs suddenly start moving down, escalator-style.  If nothing else is done, Havilan and Kerani will be carried into the pit in about 15 seconds.

 

"OH Shhhiiiitttt!" says Kerani as the stairs start to move and she looks around for something to grab hold of!  Besides Havilan, nothing is immediately apparent.

 

Those not on the stairs can see the ceiling start to lower, at a speed proportional to the speed of the stairs.  There is also a wall descending at the bottom of the stairs at perhaps double the speed of the ceiling, and will block the bottom of the stairs when it is completely down..

 

"Go now," Keelug can hear his father telling him as he descends, very much relieved, to the sand/mud room, "and you won't have to go when you're battling that 600 pound python."

 

"Or," he adds to himself as he hears Kerani's cry, "when rescuing silly people with no pattern recognition."

 

Kee'g runs up from behind, throwing his pot on a rope down to provide a handhold, hopefully without braining one of them in the process.

 

As Keelug runs onto the stairs, his weight causes them to move even faster.  It is now clear that the stairs have become a giant treadmill.  The edges of those steps are awfully sharp, too.

 

Kerani grabs hold of the thrown pot.

 

"Bloody brilliant, the pair of you," says Havilan.  He ignores the thrown pot, as the frogman is now in more or less the same boat.  Havilan grabs Kerani by what means he can (if nothing else, snagging the back of her shirt in his mouth) and attempts to outrun the stairs and get back to the top.

 

"Get out of the way!" he shouts to Keelug.  But it comes out as "Ge'ouf't'vay!" as his mouth is full.  Still, the sight of a very irked dragon, emitting puffs of steam and smoke, clambering up the stairs at top speed will hopefully communicate this message as thoroughly as can be.

 

Havilan's concerted efforts succeed in bringing him about a quarter of the way he had come, and all the rest of his running succeed merely in speeding up the treadmill.  The wall has now dropped the entire way from the ceiling to the floor, effectively blocking off the bottom of the stairs.  Keelug's pot is snagged from his hands and carried to the bottom, where it is shaved into many little bits by the sharp edges of the stairs, against the wall.

 

The ceiling is maybe a foot lower now.  Havilan and Kerani are still only about halfway back up.  Havilan drops Kerani, and is able to make it to about 15 feet from the top before he bowls Keelug over.  

 

Snowy's eye cracks open at the sounds of havoc and dismay. Scampering to the  verge of the stairs, she attempts to take in the quite confusing scene. It  seems some of her friends are trapped in a giant mechanical grater of some  sort. Not really sure wether she understands this AT ALL, she nevertheless  tries to help out by attempting a risky unprepared cast designed to make  Havilan bouyant. If successful she will squeak the very helpful advice:  "Flap, Havilan! Flap!" Truly overwraught by now, she shrieks the still more  helpful tip: "Use the walls! USE THE WALLS!!"

 

Havilan and Keelug are carried to the half-way point, bleeding slightly from the stair-edges, before either of them disentagle from the other, and Kerani is fifteen feet from the cuisinart-like meeting of the end wall and the churning stairs before she can right herself.

 

In the interim, the ceiling has dropped at a speed proportional to the stairs, and is now only five feet off the stairs, and closing.

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[Turn 18 - Rini]

 

There is a small "Hee hee hee!" from the area of ceiling where Thorolf had been standing.  Moments later, a flowerpot follows Thorolf down the pit.

 

After a few long moments, the unmistakable sound of a CRASH echoes up from the pit.  Immediately following, Thorolf's voice echoes up, distorted by the echo to the point of being indecipherable.

 

"Ai OYYEee!  AAKAaee!"

 

Rini looks at the squares on the floor in the room  "Oh!  I remember that!  You're supposed to... hm, step on the white?  Or maybe it was the blue... hmmm.  Or maybe it didn't matter and they all did something nasty."  The faery shrugs, and flits up to look into the hole where the flowerpot came from.  "HEY!  Gnomey!  Why the stucco??" she calls, assuming she can't actually see one of the gnomes.

 

Meanwhile, Havilan and Kerani start down the staircase towards the pit.  Kerani looks at Rini and Havalin "You two think a gnome built this place?"

 

"Most likely, yeah.  Certainly it's the gnomes that keep it up.  And keep putting Havilan into weird bodies."  'Rini grins at Havilan "Though I think the current incarnation is a good one!  Much better'n the old lady!"

 

She pokes her head up through the hole, which is about two feet in diameter.  she sees a wide low room, about eight inches tall, three feet long, and maybe seven feet wide.  There is a row of flowerpots and a small keyhole-saw against the nearest wall.

 

There is also a gnome, smaller than most, with an immaculate white beard.  It sniggers at Rini, then scampers off towards a wall, against which it smacks its forehead when it gets there.

 

"Oi buggrit!" it exclaims, then dives into the wall six inches to the left, and disappears.

 

"Well, he could have at least answered the question.  Really.  Stucco is so outdated!"  The faery calls down to the others "Back in a second!" and flits up into the hole, where she proceeds to survey the plants (hey, theifing means looking like you're not interested).  "Oh lovely plants!  Oh, this one's pointy!  (she's never seen a cactus) How very interesting!"  She shines a little brighter, trying to see better while 'meandering' in the direction of the saw, which she proceeds to steal (using relevant skills) and tuck into her magic-pouch-for-stealing-things.  "Poor poor flowers, stuck here in the dark by the gnomes.  That's hardly nice at all!  I'll see if I can talk some sense into them.  Not that they listen."

 

One of the plants, a rather fetching amaryllis, turns a blossom towards her and raises what can only be described as an eyebrow.  It's not a caterpillar at least.  On her attempt to flit back outside, The amaryllis and a fern both extend fronds down to the floor and skitter on ahead of her, their pots appearing slightly like unto a spider's bloated abdomen behind them.  Upon reaching the hole before her, they sit back on their pots, peering at her in an affronted manner.

 

"What, you think the gnomes do take care of you?  I'm sorry!  I bet they have good gnomey sun...or whatever gnomes have instead of sun." Rini ponders that for a split second before becoming distracted again.  "That's a rather neat trick you have, with the moving.  Quite expressive, as plants go.  I bet the Queen would love to meet you! And she has a garden of the most *interesting* plants."  This Rini ponders for a little bit, since the flowerpots are somewhat larger than her.  "Hmm."

 

From below, Rini can hear Kerani's sudden impassioned expression of opinion, thusly: "OH SHHHIIIIIIIIiiitttt!", followed by some muffled draconic exclamation of an almost-printible Havillannic nature.  Snowy also can be heard, "Flap, Havilan! Flap!  Use the walls! USE THE WALLS!!"

 

The Amaryllis blinks twice (yes, I know).

 

"Oh.  Oh, dear.  I see."

 

The fern slowly and hesitantly reaches out a frond, with which it pats Rini on the head a few times.

 

Rini giggles and glows an extra bit brighter, rainbow sparkles running along the edges of her wings.

 

Meanwhile, two whitebearded little gnomes poke their heads out of the rock behind her, accompanied by a larger, "normal-sized" bald gnome with a red beard.  A whispered "Bugg'rit" can be heard.

 

"Hey!!!!  Hey, why 'stucco'?" she asks again, momentarily forgetting the plants.  Then, she remembers, and says "Really, you could have put them into something a little more ... mobile."

 

"Why noot stucco, ye glowin' bairn?" grunts the larger gnome, trying to yank his foot out of something in the rock.  "The boss says stucco, we do stucco, ne're mind that it's econoomical and easy ta replace!"

 

"Nac mac feegle!" it adds for good measure, finally yanking his boot out of the rock.  The two 'nains snigger, then groove to something inaudible.

 

"An' noo," says the gnome conversationally, having righted itself. "Yeh'goora wha'hae!"

 

The fern grabs Rini from behind, by the lower arms, as the gnome and 'nains advance.

 

"Eep!" is Rini's immediate contribution to the matter, then "AAAAAAAAAAAIEEEEEEEEEEE!!!  HAVILAN!!! SNOWY!!!! THEGNOMESGONNAGETMEAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!"  She struggles and tries to get free from the fern.  "Thought you were my friend!" she mutters to it.

 

And in that moment she stops panicking, remembers that "Oh wait, I know MAGIC!" and Transforms Body on herself into a slippery* snake that squiggles out of the clutches of the fern.

 

Having done so, Rini slips out of the Fern's grasp.  It is at this point that the two 'nains body-tackle Rini.  After a couple moments that can only be adequately described by the image of a greased bratwurst going *squit* out of one's hands when squeezed too tightly, then trying to catch it before it lands in that pile of cat hair behind the fridge, Rini is eventually pinned to the floor.

 

As expected, the 'nains snigger at her.

 

"Wos tha' reallie neccessarie?" asks the gnome as he ambles over, pulling out something small, intricate, and pointy as he does so.

 

"Mmm....  Yes?"  Rini then tries to transform into "Something Big So as to Squish the Gnome on the Roof"  An elephant will do.

 

"Och, well, the boss wants these back," explains the gnome, leaping to Rini's wrist before she can complete the spell.  He starts to fumble with the inscrutably pointy thing with her left manacle.

 

It is at this point that one of the 'nains leaps up and grabs the amaryllis over its head.  Rini is able to slip away from the other 'nain at this point, who gibbers at her.

 

Thorolf's head appears through the hole in the floor.

 

The 'nain throws the amaryllis at Thorolf, much to the plant's disquiet.  Thorolf withdraws its head, and the amaryllis crashes through the floor, crashing again a disquietingly long time later.

 

Both 'nains again leap at Rini, at about the same time that Thorolf's had reaches through the hole.  Suddenly, a 6' staff appears in it, and he sweeps across the room with it, back and forth.  The staff brains one 'nain, smearing it about the floor not unlike discarded salsa.  The other 'nain and the gnome dodge successfully, and the fern leaps out of the way too.

 

Rini, however, gets hit hard in the gut.  She falls to the ground, just in time for the fern, flailing wildly to avoid her, to land pot-first on her head.

 

Needless to say, the world goes black, to the background noise of many sniggers.

 

...

 

After an indeterminite period of time, she comes to, laying on her back with a bright light in her face.

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[Turn 18 - Thorolf]

 

There is a small "Hee hee hee!" from the area of ceiling where Thorolf had been standing.  Moments later, a flowerpot follows Thorolf down the pit.

 

He falls for a bit, and can't see the bottom.  Seizing the moment Thorolf grabs his scope-stick and extends it to its full length.  Twisting he uses it to push off of one wall, propelling himself in the direction of the other side of the pit.  Reaching out he tries to grab the wall and stick fast!

 

The stick expands to its full 10-foot length in his right hand, pushing Thorolf hard into one of the side walls.  He hits on his side, losing most of his air.  Flailing widely with his left hand, he manages to grab onto the wall with his climbing-glove, not fifteen feet from where the floor had stopped falling.  Beside him, a flowerpot whooshes past, and crashes on the bottom.

 

He faces a seventy-foot climb back to the top, as far as he can tell.

 

Staring at the flower pot for a moment and then the hard floor beneath him, Thorolf retracts his stick and tucks it away.

 

"I'm alright!"  he yells up the pit in the hopes his concerned companions don't worry, "I'm ok!"  With that he begins the long climb up the side of the pit.  Once he makes it to the top he will take a close look at the ceiling to see if he can figure out exactly what happened.

 

He sees a glow inside that might just be Rini, having flown up into the hole.  Meanwhile, Havilan and Kerani start down the staircase towards the pit.  Kerani looks at Rini and Havalin "You two think a gnome built this place?"

 

"Most likely, yeah.  Certainly it's the gnomes that keep it up.  And keep putting Havilan into weird bodies."  'Rini grins at Havilan "Though I think the current incarnation is a good one!  Much better'n the old lady!"

 

"Well, he could have at least answered the question.  Really.  Stucco is so outdated!"  The faery calls down to the others "Back in a second!" and flits up into the hole.

 

"Oi!  Don't go off alone just yet!  There's prob'ly some ghastly demise waiting about up there.  Eh, oh well.  She'll show up in the next room if there is, I s'pose.  I wonder what happened to that Thorolf fellow." Havilan lumbers down the stairs with Kerani.

 

Ten feet from the end of the stairs (which end abruptly on the pit, for those watching at home) the stairs suddenly start moving down, escalator-style.  If nothing else is done, Havilan and Kerani will be carried into the pit in about 15 seconds.

 

"OH Shhhiiiitttt!" says Kerani as the stairs start to move and she looks around for something to grab hold of!

 

Those not on the stairs can see the ceiling start to lower, at a speed proportional to the speed of the stairs.  There is also a wall descending at the bottom of the stairs at perhaps double the speed of the ceiling, and will block the bottom of the stairs when it is completely down.

 

Soon, the wall descends the whole way, and the mess on the stairs is hidden from view.  Thorolf hears, from the hole in the ceiling, Rini shrieking thus: "AAAAAAAAAAAIEEEEEEEEEEE!!!  HAVILAN!!! SNOWY!!!! THEGNOMESGONNAGETMEAAAAAAAAAAA!!!!!"

 

Thorolf glances at the hole and then with little thought throws himself at the wall and climbs up to the ceiling to squeeze through the hole, dropping anything that might get in his way on the way through!

 

Climbing up onto the ceiling, he sticks his head through the hole.  The first thing he sees is a small gnome with a white beard, holding a flowerpot, possibly an amaryllis, over its head.  It sniggers, and throws the flowerpot at Thorolf.

 

Thorolf pulls his head out of the hole, and after a few edgy moments finds himself on all fours on the ceiling.  Moments later, the flowerpot crashes through the ceiling and arcs ungracefully down into the pit, where it crashes, tinkles, and is still.

 

Having dodged the first flower pot, and being extremely irritated at the short guy with the beard, Thorolf again tries to get through the door. This time however he pushes his extenda-stick through first and extends it with the intention of both keeping the little guy at bay as well as batting thrown flower pots to the side!  He feels his stick make contact with a couple things, but he can't tell what it is that he's hit.

 

A fern crashes through the ceiling just to the left of Thorolf's torso.  It falls, in a spray of stucco, clay pot, and what appears at first glance to be a shower of faery dust and a couple wings.

 

The ceiling is now full of cracks, and it appears to be decidedly unstable.  Thorolf collapses the stick and tries to get to a wall.  The ceiling crumbles before he can get there, and so he tumbles ten feet, landing on his back just inside the doorway into the tiled room with a loud painful thud.

 

The world spins for a moment, and he hurts...a lot.  In fact, he's not sure how long it's been since he fell.  From what he can see of the ceiling above the pit, most of it has fallen, revealing a large round low room above, mostly with no floor.

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[Turn 19]

 

Keelug makes a mad scramble for the top of the stairs, ignoring any slicing the stairs may be doing to his person.  He makes many a panicked croak, something along the lines of "Help-a-help-a-help-a."

 

Havilan scrambles to his feet, having some difficulty as he is somewhat tangled in frog.

 

"Geroff, ye great lump!  I'm *tired* of dying in ludicrous, silly, or otherwise inane ways!"  Havilan attempts a prodigous leap over the fallen Keelug, aiming for the top of the stairs.

 

With his Snowy-induced lightness, Havilan is up at the ceiling before he realizes it, and heading straight for the third step down.  A hidden instinct prompts him to flap his wings, and he careens into the sand-room, hitting a leftover dune broadside, from which he rolls down in a cascade of sand, coming to rest on his back, perilously close to the point at which the sand becomes the quicksand.

 

There is a muffled "Bugger all..." from the vicinity of Havilan's head. He otherwise remains unmoving.

 

Reekik wakes from her daze to stare dazedly at the dazzling scene in front  of her. "Oi, think a rope would help?"

 

After this stunningly intelligent statement Reekik moves to try and calm  Snowy, failing that she she will try to restrain Snowy until Snowy has  stopped hyperventiliating.  This takes long enough for the ceiling to descend to three feet at this rate.  Those still in the room can see that it is only about two feet thick, and it looks like there is another stairway on the top of the descending portion.

 

Seeing the ceiling descend inexorably towards her two friends from as long  ago as she can clearly remember, Snowy squeals in panic and gathers the last  of her power with a chant so urgent the dominant sound is her teeth clicking  together. Fetish in one paw now, she stretches the other forwards in a  convulsive grasping gesture and shouts "Grab! Grab! GRAB!". The last of her  power rips through the air and seizes the nearest target- the nice frog man-  lifting him up and yanking him backwards out of the horrid stair-trap. There  is no finesse to the spell, and he suffers for it.

 

Keelug flies through the air and lands in teh sand with a foof.  He falls to the ground where he is and enjoys the prospect of being able to bleed for a bit in peace and quiet while the others nap.

 

Struggling in Reekik's grasp, she waves her hands frantically to save the  pretty lady, too, but nothing happens. Again, the waving, and again nothing.  The pretty lady is DOOMED!

 

The ferret is enraged beyond reason at being thwarted! Exposure to Havilan's  terrible influence on impressionable young mammals shows in the tirade that  ensues!

 

"BUGGERING GNOMES! BUGGER THEM! BUGGER THEM WITH PINEAPPLES! BUGGER THEM  WITH NASTY POINTY JAGGED BITS OF RUSTY METAL! AAAAARGH! I'LL KILL EVERY  BUGGERING LAST ONE OF THEM! I'LL KILL THEM AND THEIR FAMILIES AND THEIR PETS  AND THEIR BUGGERING, BUGGERING POTPLANTS! AAAIIEIEAAAAYARGGGGRRGH!"

 

The Chronicler lays down his pen, blinks thrice in a bemused stare, then continues.

 

Bristling with anger, the ferret emits puffs of magical radiation infused  with single minded rage. She pauses to try to Fixxy-Uppy-Thingy the poor  dear frog man (ohhh, those gnome have it coming, oh yes they do, she growls  as she works), and then, still stiff with pique, she goes and hides in her  bag.

 

Keelug is bleeding slightly less now.  Thank you, Snowy.

 

"I'm all out. Wake me when we have gnomes to torture."

 

"That's the spirit," says Havilan, still on his back in the sand.  He raises his voice slightly.  "Oy!  Kerani!  Try to show up in a room nearby after you die!  I don't feel like wandering all over the Eighteen and a Half Levels of Kerbopple's #### and Hair Salon Emporium for Infidels looking for you afterwards."

 

From somewhere indeterminate in the ceiling of the sand-chamber comes a snigger, and a flowerpot containing a rather sad-looking gardenia thuffs down hard on the sand not eighteen inches from Snowy's hidquarters.

 

"Buggering gnomes," mutters Havilan, as sand scattered from the flowerpot patters into his face.  He breathes a gout of flame across a large portion of the ceiling, on general principles.  "Geroff!  I'm taking a nap until the bloody stair shuts off."  He then eats the gardenia.

 

In the midst of Snowy's tirade, the ceiling descends to the point where Kerani can no longer stand upright.  She falls headlong on the stairs, and is carried down to where she stops against the wall blocking off the bottom.  Agonizingly slowly, her feet and lower legs are ground to mulch by the churning stairs against the wall, as her front is rasped off by the edges of the steps as they too descend.

 

The ceiling finally reaches the stairs after a few more seconds, abruptly cutting off her scream of pain.  After a couple seconds of grinding, the stairs lurch to a loud halt.  The wall blocking the bottom of the descent raises up into the ceiling again.

 

The ceiling, which is about three feet thick on top of the stairs, has another set of stairs carved into its top, obviously one peice with the ceiling itself.  Beyond that is the twenty-foot long, ten-foot wide hole, upon the very far lip of which can barely be seen Thorolf, lying on his back in a small puddle of blood.

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[Turn 19 - Kerani]

 

Needless to say, the world goes black.  After an indeterminate period of time, she comes to, laying on her back with a bright light in her face.

 

This is not so much of a surprise as the fact that she has a back upon which to lay.

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[Turn 19 - Rini]

 

"That stupid, insane, inept....  "  Rini glowers around to see what she can, glancing at her right wrist to see if she still has her manacle or not.  Then she glowers some more to see where she is, where her stuff is, and all the while thinks of the best curse she can put on Thorolf when she sees him again.

 

Her wrists are both free of manacle, and she appears unfettered otherwise.  Should she sit up and look around, she sees herself in a round room, about 5' in diameter, her flay table/gurney the only furnishings.  It is lit by a single bright lamp directly over the table, hanging down from the ceiling.  Because of the glare, she cannot see the ceiling.

 

Her two manacles are coiled up near the room's only exit, playing a curious card game that seems to involve placing cards out in front of the player, then turning some of them diagonally, pushing other cards forward, then arguing a lot.

 

The door is closed, and looks somewhat substantial.

 

"Hm.  Well, I guess that answers that question."  She looks about for her stuff, double checks the Magic Pouch for Stolen Stuff to see if the saw is still in it (it's still there), and then hovers above the chains, looking at their game for a bit.

 

It appears that Left is playing a counterspell deck, while Right is trying to deplete Left's deck.  They also appear to be playing different editions, and there are little Kodomas pasted on Left's land cards.

 

Rini puzzles for a bit, then says under her breath, "But that's not how magic works at all!"  Then she shrugs and tries to find if there are any hidden doors, etc in the room as in pretty much all the other rooms.

 

The chains shrug and keep playing.  After a bit, Left gets tired of Right, and body-tackles it.  the two roll round for a bit, and end up thoroughly knotted up.

 

There is only the one door, though there might possibly be windows in the ceiling.  She can tell this more by feel than look, since it's not obvious from this side.

 

After a while, the two chains disentangle from each other.  Right coils up in a despondent heap, while Left slithers to the door, turns the handle, and slips out.

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[Turn 20 - Thorolf and vaguely everyone else]

 

Thorolf stands up and dusts himself off.  "Hello?  Is everyone alright?" He yells in the direction his adventuring friends should still be.

 

Blood pounds in his head and the world twitches momentarily. Apparently that fall he took was pretty bad.

 

Steadying himself on the wall, Thorolf makes his way slowly back the way he came from.  If there is no way to circumvent the pit on foot, he will crawl across the wall slowly, watching carefully above for thrown pots!

 

No pots are forthcoming, as he makes his way around the wall.  The best surface upon which to move is actually in the pit itself, as the walls above the pit are still stucco'd.  His progress is very slow and careful, because the world lurches every time he moves his head.  He can tell he's probably bleeding from a nasty bash to the back of the head, and probably the shoulders as well.

 

When he makes it to the far side of the pit, he sees that the ceiling above the stairs appears three feet higher than it used to be.  It looks like a three-foot thick block of the original ceiling descended onto the stairs.  Thorolf is currently too low to see the top of this block.

 

A chunky slick of blood is slowly dribbling down the wall from between the original ceiling and stairs.

 

"Hello?"  Thorolf yells up the stairs.  He studies the block for a moment then decides to climb over it...

 

"Well done," opines Havilan.  "Good job on not dying there.  Rather a shame that we nearly lost three of us trying to save you, isn't it?  Is there a door on your side of the pit?  Only if there isn't I'm bloody well not stepping on those stairs again."

 

"Who did we loose?!"  Thorolf glances around anxiously looking for Kerani.  "There is a door at the other end.  There appears to be the remains of a room in the ceiling as well but I'm not sure yet if it goes anywhere."

 

Slowly and majestically, the stone that was the ceiling over the stairs slides down on top of the original stairs, extending out over the pit.  It gathers speed, until it slams into the far edge of the pit with a resounding BOOM.

 

It looks like there is still about five feet of ceiling/stair resting on the original stairs.  If anyone should step onto the original stairs, they find that they do not move.  In practice, there's a more or less continuous ramp from the door of the sand room, ending at the far wall of the pit.  To get from there from the tile room is about a twenty-foot climb up sheer rock.

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[Turn 20 - Kerani]

 

Kerani blinks and squints against the light. Moving her arm to block some of it. "Well, the dragon...um Havalin was right, I am still alive. what kind of a mad house is this place?" She will attempt to rise and look around, but will not more from where she is at until she gets her bearings.

 

It looks like it's a fairly small round room, maybe ten feet in diameter, with featureless grey stone walls.  She cannot see anything of the ceiling, because of the glare of the bright light directly overhead.  All of her personal effects are neatly stacked next to the bench she was laying on, and there is an imposing door off to the right.

 

There is a knock on the door, probably at about knee level.

 

Gathering her stuff together, at the knock she looks up and hesitantly says "Yes?"

 

The door is pushed open, and Rini slips inside.  She seems healthy enough, though a bit annoyed.

 

The two chains that were on her wrists have vanished, though one of them is coiled around her waist, eyeing the world through its manacle.

 

 

[Turn 20 - Rini]

 

"There, there."  Rini pats Right on the...um...manacle.  "I'm sure Left didn't mean it.  You can come along with me if you like."

 

Pending the chain's 'answer', she either takes it and draps it across her shoulders, or leaves it there and then peeks out the door.

 

Like a reassured puppy, the chain crawls gleefully up her leg and wraps around her waist a couple times, leaving the manacle-end up like a sort of eyepeice.

 

She smiles at it.  "Right then.  Let's go find the others so I can give Thorolf a piece of my mind for killing me.  And maybe we'll find some shiny stuff!"  Rini then carefully peers out the door, to see what's out there.

 

Outside is a square, dimly and indeterminately lit corridor, about the size of a Gnome-proportional office-building hallway.  It is lined with doors, most of them less sturdy than the one to her room, and there is the occasional gurney scattered about in a utilitarian manner.  A little farther down to her left, there's another door like hers.  Down to the right, the corridor opens up a bit, and she can hear snuffles and the occasional "fwoosh" noise.

 

"Oo, this should be fun!"

 

A potted plant ambles by, nodding at her as it passes.  She smiles at the plant, and heads hesitantly out the door, knocking on the door down the hall on the left.

 

She hears a hesitant "Yes?" from within, but muffled enough she can't tell who it is.

 

Rini opens the door and peeks inside.  She sees Kerani, in a similar, though appropriately-scaled room, that she started out in.  A brief look of disappointment at not finding the Head Gnome (or even a Clerk Gnome) crosses her face but she recovers and goes to see how Kerani is doing. Kerani seems to be fairly healthy, and is gathering up her stuff.  The room is much the same as the one in which she woke up, though sized appropriately for Kerani.

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