Part 24: Chapter 6-03
Sorry this took so long, but this was a golden opportunity for custom writing. This update includes the third "fake screnshot" of the LP
First, there was only darkness.
Then there was a cold dog's nose.
: The Bard awoke in a strange darkened room, not realizing where he was or how he got there. If only I had a piece of silver for every time that happened.
The Bard gazed up at the hole in the roof. There was no way he would be able to climb up there.
He looked around the room he was in. It seemed very old, so he summoned his explorer for advice.
Explorer: Ready to explore!
: Yeah. Do you have any idea what this place is?
The explorer snorted, and wandered around the room. The Bard summoned his thunder spider, in case any wandering creature should find its way to the room.
Explorer: What do they teach lads at schools these days? It's as plain as the nose on my face that it's a Viking tomb.
The Explorer stopped in front of a door carved with symbols and marked with a pair of raven statues. He eyed the hole in the ceiling with disgust.
Explorer: This is just shoddy workmanship if you ask me. Why, in my day anyone who woulda built a tomb like this woulda been the first buried in it.
The Bard continued walking around the room while the Explorer ranted about the poor quality evident in every aspect of the tomb. There were two locked doors - the one with the raven mentioned earlier, the other bore the image of the world tree Yggdrasil. Both doors bore indentations that looked like an object was meant to fit in them.
There were two hallways leading out of the room. The Bard was contemplating choosing between them when he caught a glimpse of something shiny. There was a golden necklace placed around the neck of an ice-covered statue of a Viking. The Bard took out his knife and tried to chip away at the ice.
"What the hell do you think ye're doing?!" boomed the Explorer, causing the Bard to drop his knife.
"What does it look like? I'm tryin' to chip the ice way so I can get this amulet from off of this statue," the Bard snarled as he retrieved his knife.
Explorer: That's no statue, you IDIOT! That's a Draugr!
: What's that, Norse for 'statue'?
Explorer: No, it's Norse for "corporeal undead" - It's a Viking zombie!
The Bard looked at the statue - really looked at it. It was as the Explorer had said. It was a frozen zombie.
: Right, right... I knew that... I was just... testing you, yes.
The Explorer snorted again in that patronizing way that the Bard was already beginning to hate. "Right. Of course ye were. What do ye think yer' doing, trying to loot a Viking tomb when you haven't go enough knowledge to fill a thimble?
This rankled the Bard. "I didn't come here on purpose; I fell through the bleedin' roof! Now help me find a way out of this place."
The Bard chose one of the hallways, but the Explorer rushed ahead.
Explorer: I smell a trap!
The Explorer braced his back against an apparently ordinary section of wall.
: What are you doing?
Explorer: There's a... crushing wall... here! There's... a way... to disarm these... if you push... in just... the right... spot. Must. Stop. Trap.
The Thunder Spider wandered a bit too close, and was caught when the crushing wall snapped shut - with the explorer still in it.
To the Bard's surprised, the elderly bond-servant picked himself up and dusted himself off as if nothing had happened.
"Oh yeah, brilliant job disarming, there," the Bard laughed.
The Explorer was unruffled. "Take a look," he said, pressing the walls, "this isn't going to move again."
"So why did it go off then, exactly?" the Bard queried.
The Explorer looked down, "I haven't exactly mastered the technique."
They pressed on, but it didn't take more then two steps before the Explorer was already dashing for another non-descript section of wall.
While the Explorer held back the swinging blade with his frail body, the Bard and his remaining companions safely dashed through.
The Explorer was not so lucky.
Given the preponderance of traps, The Bard decided to save this passage for later, and try the other hallway instead.
Partway down, he was stopped by a recent collapse of ice and debris.
"Bugger!" the Bard said with feeling.
Then a voice was heard form the other side of the ice wall, slightly muffled by the ice.
Dolyn Nice and Snarky
Dolyn: Oh my goodness! Can it be? Do I hear my rescuer?
: Hello? Can you hear me? Who are you?
Dolyn: Ah, there is someone there. I feared I was goin' mad. I've been exploring this tomb for weeks and everything was peaceful until a few days ago when these undead Draugr started rising up. I got caught in a cave-in as I was tryin' ta get outta this bloody place. Can you get me out of here?
: I've no way to knock down a wall of ice, but le me take a look around to see if I can find anything that might help to free you. Don't go away.
Dolyn: Thank you stranger, I don't have much but if you can get me out, I'll have a reward for ya. My name's Dolyn, by the way.
: You can just call me the Bard.
The Bard returned to the central room. There was nothing of apparent interest in helping him find an exit or a means to free Dolyn, and the doors were still locked, so that left him with just one option, the hallway with traps.
Naturally, the Bard let the Explorer lead the way.
: Hey, you can't deny that it is his job.
The wall-crusher trap and swinging axe traps were still disarmed, but nevertheless, the Bard was unusually quick about stepping through them. No further traps were encountered along the hallway.
Soon the Bard had another choice to make. The hallway reached a room that had lost most of its floor into a yawning crevasse, but there was still enough left to connect the eastern entrance the Bard emerged from with halls leading north and south
The Bard went north, but encountered two dead-ends - a wall of ice...
... and traps in front of another locked door requiring the World Tree keystone.
South was equally fruitless - more traps, and another cave-in of ice and debris.
The Bard tapped at the ice, but it was too thick for his sword to make an impact.
With all possibilities exhausted, the Bard returned to Dolyn.
Dolyn: Are you still there? Did you find a way to help me?
: You still there my trapped friend?
Dolyn: Did you find a way to get me out?
: I haven't just yet, do you have any clue as to where I might find something to help get you out?
Dolyn: I had a strange stone that I found in here, had a raven carved in it, very nice work. I think it was some sort of a key. I left it in my camp, had to run away from the Draugr. It may prove useful to you.
Explorer: Doesn't that just figure? Anyone capable of swiveling their empty head from side to side these days considers themselves an explorer. Why in my day, that guy wouldn't have been fit to explore a three-foot hole in the ground.
Dolyn: Who's that?
: Just an annoying old man no one cares about.
The Bard, apparently with nothing but a slow death from starvation to look forward to, did another sweep of the halls to see if there was anything to free himself - and possibly Dolyn if he really had to. He tried to feel the walls for secret passages, while the Explorer rolled his eyes and slapped his forehead in disbelief of the Bard's ineptitude.
The Bard didn't find anything of note, but when he came to the ice wall in the southern hallway, he thought he heard faint sounds from behind it.
"Hello?" the Bard shouted. "Is anyone there?
The noises stopped. The Bard shrugged his shoulders and returned to Dolyn.
Dolyn: Thank goodness you've returned.
: I'm thankful you're still alive.
Dolyn: Please help me. I don't think I can take this much longer.
: I'm doing all I can for you. Is there any other information you can give me that may help?
Dolyn: I've got another of those strange keystones on me, found it in the cave-in. Shaped a little different from the other one though, has a carving of the tree on it.
: Which way is your camp?
Dolyn: It's back down the way you came in, then take the hallway west, then south.
: I was afraid you were going to say that. That passage has been blocked by another cave-in of ice. All the other doors seem to need some sort of a key that I don't have.
Dolyn: Oh dear, can you look around some more?
: Sure, it's either that or wait around here while I starve to death.
The Bard wandered around and once again came to the ice wall separating him from Dolyn's camp.
But now he could clearly hear the sounds of someone digging through the ice.
"Hey! You there! Can you hurry it up and help me?"
There was another pause, then the sound of the digging increased in to a more frantic level. The Bard returned to Dolyn.
Dolyn: Bless your soul for your valiant persistence.
: You still there?
Dolyn: I'm not likely to be goin' anywhere soon. Not physically, anyway.
: Just making sure you're still in good health.
Dolyn: I'm fine for now, but please try to hurry. I'm not sure how much longer the air in here will last.
: Don't worry. I think help is on the way.
Dolyn: Oh, thank you!
: It seems the other members of your party trapped in your camp are digging themselves out. It shouldn't be long.
There was a long silence.
: Hello? You haven't gone an passed out on me, have you?
: Then why aren't you celebrating?
Dolyn: There aren't any other members in my party. I came here alone.
There was another long silence.
: So... who's digging their way through the wall of ice in your camp?
Dolyn: I have no idea.
The Bard quickly headed back towards the sounds of the digging, but he was only partway down the western hall when he heard a crashing sound from up ahead.
The Bard hurried on, with a bad feeling in his stomach.
The diggers rounded a corner. They were Draugr.
The Bard groaned. "Why does this always happen to me?"
Once the Draugr were defeated, the Bard continued on and found that the crashing sound was indeed a wall of ice crashing to the ground.
: The Bard found a somewhat recently abandoned camp, and as he was wont to do in these situations, started looting it.
: This looks like just the thing I'll need to to get through those doors with the big Ravens in front of them. And what's this? A map, eh? Let's see... been there, been there... ah, Dounby, that looks interesting.
Item Gained: Raven Stone
World Area Unlocked: East Dounby
Meanwhile, the Explorer found a chest and leafed through its contents, which didn't impress him.
"Why are we even bothering with this?" he moaned, tossing some adderstones to the Bard.
"Hey! These crystals don't look like much, but they're real lifesavers," the Bard said.
"If ye were any good, ye wouldn't need fancy magic amulets to save yer life. I had no need of such trinkets in my day," the Explorer replied.
"Says the man who can't get out of the way of the trap he's disarming," the Bard laughed.
The Bard returned to Dolyn to inform him of his progress.
: Good news, I got into your camp and I've got the Raven stone.
Dolyn: Oh good. Did you find out what was doing the digging?
: Nothing friendly. I'm gonna go see if I can find anything useful behind that raven door.
Dolyn: OK, but please try to hurry.
The Bard entered the raven door. The Explorer read some Norse runes on the wall, and said, "Ah... this looks to be a Burial Chamber of some sort for a Viking noble."
The Bard rubbed his chin thoughtfully. "Hmmm... dead royalty usually means lots of treasure, if I'm not mistaken."
There were three passages leading out of the room, but the northern and eastern ones came quickly to more ice blockades, leaving only the western passage.
: The Western passage wasn't a dead end, but rather a passage of the dead.
: Very funny.
The passage west ended in a wall of stone, so the Bard recklessly rushed north. That proved to be a mistake.
The explorer jeered at the Bard as the wall-crusher retracted.
Explorer: I can't tell you how much I hope that hurt.
The Northern passage ended in another east-west passage. The Bart went east, noting with trepedation that the architecture seemed to be formed around the skeletal remains of a giant creature.
There was nothing at the eastern end, save a trio of frozen Draugr, and two ice walls blocking northern and southern exits from the room.
"This doesn't look promising," the Bard noted, "Half this place seems to have collapsed in on itself."
More angry Draugr greeted the Bad as he followed the only passage west.
Finally, he came to a room with an elaborate stone sculpture of a gigantic Kraken.
"It's just a statue.." the Bard told himself as he looted the chest located at the maw of the beast.
This time, he was right about that.
A side passage off the Kraken room lead to a throne room of sorts.
A dead Viking with a nasty scar on his belly was holding what appeared to be a key stone.
The Bard avoided going near the corpse, and headed behind the throne, keeping a watchful eye on the corpse. It didn't move.
Behind the throne was a door with more pillars beside it denoting it was locked. The Bard tried the door anyway.
: The Bard came to a locked door which bore many images of Viking royalty.
With no alternative, the Bard returned and inspected the dead Viking holding the key. It looked like it might fit in the door behind the throne.
Inspect the corpse
"Let's see, hmm... Dead Viking holding the stone I need. Hmm... You're sure you're not gonna come to life on me are you?" the Bard said, poking the corpse with his sword.
The dead Viking didn't react. It appeared to be just an ordinary corpse.
Dolyn Nice and Snarky
Inspect the Corpse