Fellowship of Lightning #5

Chapter 5

Seeing the undead leave the room then hearing the sound of a sword being drawn Queless looked at Morin concerned and motioned for him to follow him down the stairs. Queless drew his sword, and began to stride down the stairs. Morin cast a detect traps in front of Queless just in case, but found none. 

“We may need to keep our new friend occupied” Queless whispered as he pulled the gems out of his pocket “Dost thou think ye are able, or shall I?” 

“I will call upon Moradin Soulforger’s might and crush the evil skeleton’s bones under the weight of my hammer and my soul.”

“Morin, most likely we will be invisible to this thing, in which case I’ll go directly to the pedestal and disarm the red gem. You will follow behind, if you see the skeleton coming after me, you attack it from behind and call out a warning.”

“Aye, sounds like a plan my friend.” 

Queless reached the bottom of the stairs and pulled out the bag of dead gems. These dead gems had been obtained from similar necromantic pedestals all over the city. A powerful forcefield protected the pedestal and red glowing gem from tampering. Luckily, through experimentation, Queless had found that he could push a “dead gem” through the forcefield and knock the glowing gem from it’s place upon the top of the pedestal. This deactivated the gem causing all the undead and the forcefield to vanish. The two heroes would then clear out all the necromantic items and move out.

Queless glanced into the room and only noticed one solitary zombie lumbering into the corner of the room. He walked as if confused into the wall time and time again. Queless looked ahead at the pedestal and began to rush into the room, directly for it. Something was wrong. Morin let out a yell and before anyone could move a huge bastard sword came flashing out of the darkness and crashing down into Queless! A huge skeleton three times the size of a man suddenly materialized directly in front of Queless, blocking his view of the pedestal and gem. Queless moaned in pain and looked at his shoulder. The blade had crashed down and tore right through his armor and lodged itself in his shoulder. Fresh blood poured out as the giant skeleton lifted his sword. Queless looked up into the empty eye sockets and noticed a gray crown with a black gem notched in the front. It looked like it was jammed in a hole too small for it. The other holes along the sides of the crown led Queless to believe it was once lined with beautiful rubies or emeralds. Now, it was the crown of the “death king” who once again prepared to send his blade crashing through Queless. The king wore chain mail armor which had deterioted from age and made the sound of swooshing metal as bits of chain tore off and tumbled to the floor and the skeleton whirled about in a skilled battle dance with Queless. Queless had his blade drawn and now circled the king, never to be caught off guard by him again.

In the distance the sound of starved zombies could be heard shuffling ever closer through the darkness, looking for anything living to feed upon. The air grew colder with each passing moment so that one could see their own breath.

Queless winced in pain from the skeleton’s blade. He tossed the bag with the gems by the pedestal. “Morin, I’ll keep him occupied while ye disarm the device!”

Queless tried to move quickly against his undead adversary, leading the lumbering giant away from the pedestal, hoping to give Morin enough time to complete the mission. Unfortunately the large undead skeletal king would not be tricked so easily. The giant skeleton began to back up towards the pedestal while keeping his blade in between himself and Queless. Queless leapt forward and brought his magical Drow blade flashing down on the skeleton king’s sword arm. The blade caught on the bone and scraped across his arm before the king pulled his arm back and away from Queless. A few small chunks of bone hit the stone floor, but this did not seem to phase the undead king. He once again raised his sword to attack.

Meanwhile, Morin rushed as quietly as he could behind the skeleton and grabbed up the bag of gems, rummaging through it to get a hold of one to use on the pedestal. He finally pulled one free and began to head towards the large stone table.

Queless prepared to parry the undead king’s attack, but suddenly the king spun unpredictably towards Morin and made a great sword thrust in his direction. Morin attempted to dodge the attack, but was too slow. The blade caught him in his side, and Morin hit the floor. The king ignored Queless and started to climb up onto the stone table in between Morin and the pedestal.

The zombies could be heard returning from above. The solitary zombie in the corner was now headed in Morin’s direction who was in the process of picking himself up off the stone floor.

“Moradin, thou help Morin and I seeth your power, now giveth an elf some love. Giveth me thine blessing, these cursed beings art better destroyed by our hands than left to exist and cause further suffering.” Queless called out.

Queless jumped through the air, attempting to grab onto the skeleton king’s back. Instead the king was able to crawl up onto the table and Queless judged the distance incorrectly. Instead of landing on the king’s back, he found himself leaping completely over the king and landing with one foot on the edge of the table and another on a stone chair. The sound of zombies shuffling down the stairs grew louder now. Queless turned to look at the skeleton who was now in a crouching position and crawling across the table towards Morin. Morin dove under the table and began to make his way forward on his hands and knees.

The king shuddered for a moment and then let out a strange hissing sound. White smoke was pouring from somewhere in the center of the walking bones before Queless! The cloud started to spread, slowly engulfing the entire chamber! The skeleton king let out a bone clacking chuckle and raised his sword, looking around for Morin who was now under the table.

With the skeleton king distracted, Queless lept into the air and with a masterful swing of his Drow blade, knocked the crown free of the skeleton king’s head!

As soon as the crown was free from the king’s skull the smoke enveloping the room all began to filter back inside the skeleton king. The king turned translucent and dropped his sword, completely caught off guard. He then faded into non-existence along with his weapon and armor. The cold gray crown crashed into the stone table with a loud clang, the black gemstone tumbled free and flew across the table and onto the floor far from both Queless and Morin.

The solitary zombie was now climbing upon the table, headed for Queless. The mob of rotting corpses reached the bottom of the stairs. The hungry mob began to shuffle forward, arms outstretched for the living flesh they were about to devour.

Morin yelled “Queless, stay thy blade! Don’t attack those cursed automatons! I will help thee!” Morin stepped in front of Queless briefly blocking the path of the zombie. Morin cast Invisibility to Undead on Queless again. “Make quick and grab that gem yonder, I shall try to disarm the device as we planned.”

Queless searched under the stone table and chairs and located the black gem that had come from the skeleton king’s crown. The gem did not appear gray and faded as the others and not as chipped or aged. This gem was as black as night, finely cut and freezing cold to the touch. He slipped it into his pocket.

Morin took one of the “dead gems” and pushed it through the glowing force field surrounding the pedestal. The zombies all turned toward Morin and seemed to shriek in unison! They charged directly at Morin with full force. Morin looked at the zombies and called out “Undeath is an abomination, Moradin Soulforger banishes thee.” He then knocked the glowing red gem from the pedestal.

A bright flash of light and the zombies were instantly gone. The red gem hit the table and faded to a pale gray. Morin quickly secured the new gem in the bag and the pedestal in his pack. “Are you ready to go Queless? We best get moving before time runs out!”

“Art thou injured Morin?” Queless asked as he paced around the room making sure there were no hidden places where someone could enter or exit without being seen. 

“I am fine Queless, thank you for asking.” Morin replied.

Queless stood beaming with pride at Morin. “Thou did execute well thine task. If not for thine abilities we would not have succeeded.”

Morin blushed after this statement and looked at the floor. “Tis Moradin Soulforger’s might which perservered through me.” Morin once again placed all praise upon his god and not himself.

Queless nodded and went to work searching for a secret passage. He looked under the rugs, behind tapestries and paintings, and even moved a book shelf. After searching almost everywhere, Queless suddenly recalled something in his mind’s eye. When moving the bookshelf, one stone had been slightly offset from the others. It also looked in better condition than the other stones. Queless rushed back over and with the help of Morin moved the bookshelf quickly away from the wall. He then pushed on the stone. It moved inwards and the grinding sound of stone against stone echoed through the chamber! The wall slid open just enough for a humanoid to squeeze through into the darkness beyond. Morin immediately pinched his nose. “Phew! It’s the sewers Queless. Not a place I want to revisit. Must we?”

 

“It may not be necessary to visit at this time Morin. Tis another clue along with this gem, which I have a bad feeling about. Our task was to contain the menace and we have done that. We shalt alert the council member to have that fixed immediately” 

Morin still had his detect traps spell in effect. He looked into the hole for any traps, holding his breath the whole time. “There are no signs of traps in here Queless.”
“Aye, How much time doth ye think is left Morin?”
“Enough for YOU to take a peek. I’ll wait here and guard my nose against any intrusive smells.”

Queless slipped through the secret passage into the sewers. The wretched smell of waste poured through the secret passage and Morin backed up to save himself from the stench. Suddenly the secret passage slammed shut and the discolored stone faded in with the rest of the stone visible upon the wall!

“Queless! Are you alright? The passage just slammed shut and the door won’t open!”

Queless was trapped on the other side, gazing down a thin brick passageway filled with mist and standing in a half foot of water. Water dripped down from above and the sound of metal against stone could be heard far away down the passage. Queless could just barely hear Morin through the wall.

“Queless, should I get help from the Council Member?”

Queless yelled to Morin “Get thee to the council member and tell him the deed is done. Also, tell him we will collect payment later. Keepth the items with thee and I shall try to find a way out! I believe I have company, I must move quickly!”

“Aye Queless, I will get outside and try to find you! Let Moradin Soulforger into your heart and he will guide you. Remember to use your Dwarv-er- Drow underground senses! Follow yer nose my friend!”

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About Jonathan G. Nelson

Jonathan G. Nelson is the editor-in-chief and owner of NERD TREK. He is also owner/publisher at AAW Games / AdventureAWeek.com, a tabletop gaming company based in Snoqualmie, WA. Connect with Jonathan via Facebook.