Part 36: Chapter 8 - 03
Sorry for the delay, but it was in some ways beneficial because I wrote some extra stuff today that wasn't planned. I just kept adding and adding and adding to it. In case you can't tell, this update is pretty much entirely fictional.
Chapter 8 - 03
The Bard decided to try out his new summon right away, to make sure it was real.
The Knocker materialized.
"Who needs a good kicking?" he asked.
Then, seeing the raised hands of the Fox Brothers, the Knocker saw some volunteers.
: 'Oops?' Two people are dead and all you can say is 'oops'?
: It's not really my fault, now is it?
: Is that a smirk? Are you smirking?
: Oh no, of course not. This is a terrible tragedy.
: Still, they're dead now, waste not, want not, let's see if they've got anything interesting on them...
The Bard searched the pockets of the Fox brothers and came up with an old map.
"Hmmm... Cairn of Ardagh," the Bard said, "That's near Houton. I've got a few days before what's-his-face gets back into town, I think I'll check it out and see if there are any treasures worth having.
The Bard left the Fox Brother's house, and carefully placed the map in his pack. He heard many footsteps approaching from two directions, so he opted from the third.
Heading down the only road apparently open to him, the Bard heard a cough from up ahead. He was being herded into an ambush. He looked desperately for a way out, and he found one. The old city tunnels.
He closed the metal door behind him as quietly as he could, then waited down below, weapon in hand. The druids would have to come at him no more then two at a time due to the closeness of the corridors.
The Bard heard the steps stop above the door. He readied his weapons.
Druid: Are you sure he went in here?
Druid 2: Yes, positive.
There was the sound of metal scraping against metal.
Druid2: What do you suppose will kill him first, starvation, or the creatures?
Druids: Definitely the creatures. I doubt he'll last a day down below.
The footsteps moved off. With a sinking feeling, the Bard tried the door. It was jammed. The Bard's sword barely made a dent on the thick metal. With little other choice, the Bard took a run at the door, but merely bruised his shoulder.
"Damn," the Bard swore, "there's got to be another way out."
The Bard headed down the hall and was immediately attacked by skeletal quadrupeds.
Once they were dead, the Bard spotted a Metal Mouth.
Metal Mouth Can't Rhyme
To spare your life I tell you now
A warning you must heed
From deep inside you must allow
All the courage you shall need
For whatever foes lie ahead in wait
Or what hideous creatures lurk
Your sword alone will tell your fate
For an anti-magic area lies ahead.
: Aha! That last part didn't even rhyme. Did it? No. Didn't, did it?
Metal Mouth: What do you want? I'm making this up as I go. You think this is easy? Why don't you try hanging around on a bloody wall for centuries!
: All right, don't go shooting off at the mouth.
Metal Mouth: Oh, how drole. How very drole.
: Once again the Bard felt his powers dampened by the shimmering lights. He proceeded cautiously through the dark, sinister tunnels, with only Bitey at his side..
The first room the Bard came to had two more tunnels, leading west and north. The Bard tried west first and encountered Zombies.
: Not that way.
So he went north instead.
Strength increased to 17
Rhythm increased to 17
Finally, the Bard found his way to an exit, stairs leading up to metal trap-doors..
: Finally. Won't those druids be in for a surprise?
The Bard shoved the doors. They didn't budge at all.
: Damn, this one's blocked too. The Druids must have known about that exit.
Bodyguard: Don't give up sir, I'm sure someone will come for us eventually. Meanwhile, while we're waiting, we can play a game of cards. Do you know pinochle, sir?
Bodyguard: That's alright, sir, it's easy, I can teach you! Er... um... I don't suppose you have a deck of cards on you?
: With little choice, the Bard set out to explore what would hopefully be his last resting place.
: Shut up. I'll find a way out, if only to spite you.
: Really? Look over there...
Metal Mouth dislikes the Bard
I sing a happy tune when valor leads the way
There is no cause for fear for strong virtues never fray
But woefully I croon, I cannot sing of mirth
It's lust and greed that's in your heart and will bury you in the earth.
The Bard set out exploring. Not far away, he found a chest.
Mana Cost: 100 -> 200
Health: 31 -> 72
Armor: (1-5) -> (3-7)
New Ability: Fear Curse
This is one case where an upgraded summon has some downsides. While the extra health and armor is welcome, the Fear Curse isn't so great. It'd only really be handy if the Bard is getting pounded by multiple foes, and if that's the case, then healing the Bard would be just as useful, if not more so.
The Bard continued his trek through the dungeon.
Partway down a side passage, the Bard felt the tingling stop, and he left the sparkling purple lights behind. He was clear of the anti-magic field. He summoned the Explorer - because he had a gut feeling, and then he summoned the Crone.
Crone: Why... what happened? I feel younger.
: Really? You don't look it.
The Crone cast a withering gaze at the Bard, who suddenly felt terrified, he had the irresistible urge to run. He ran for a few strides and suddenly the feeling wore off as soon as it had came over him.
: What happened?
Crone: I'm remembered a spell I didn't know I'd forgotten. So unless you want me to put The Fear into you some more, you'll kindly watch yer tongue... my dear.
The Bard hurriedly said, "Right, right..." as if nothing could bother him.
Meanwhile, the Explorer was busy poking at the wall.
Explorer: Look! I found something!
The Bard entered the secret passage and found a chest with some adderstones and treasure.
The main passage ended past a few skeletal quadrupeds.
But the prize at the end was worth it.
The Bard continued through the tunnels until there was only one more path left.
The room beyond was also free of the anti-magic field. The Bard summoned the explorer to search for a secret path out.
The Explorer found a secret passage but there was nothing in it but zombies and minor treasure.
With nothing else, the Bard started to trudge back, glumly weighing his options and coming up empty. Then he saw another chest.
With renewed confidence, the Bard returned to the entrance the Druids had sealed and summoned the Brute.
Brute: Need me?
: Uh yeah. I've got a bit of a conundrum, and I was wondering if I could trouble you to extricate me from it.
: *sigh* Smash that bloody door open.
The Brute picked up a huge stone from the ground and hurled it with all his might at the door. The shot was good and the door flew open loudly.
Brute: Got rocks?
The Bard and crew ran out into the fresh, albeit cold and damp air.
The Bard ran down a street he hadn't visited before. Curiosity got the better of him and he approached an ornate archway.
It turned out to be the headquarters for the Druids.
Asking the wrong folks for directions
Druid: You there! What do you want?
: Uh... never mind, sorry to bother you.
Druid: Wait a minute! You're him! You're the Bard! The Bard's at the gate! Call out the Brothers!
: I think I should be going...
The Bard ran, eventually reaching the eastern gate of Dounby.
The Druids were hot on his heels, but the Bard eventually lost them in the thick woods.
The Bard eventually stopped to catch his breath at the ruins of a farmhouse.
: Well, I'm glad to have left those Druids behind.
Druid: Oh, but you haven't.
The Bard turned. There were nine Druids surrounding him, and he was too tired to run.
Metal Mouth Can't Rhyme
Metal Mouth Dislikes the Bard
Asking the wrong folks for directions