Lia Amakiir, Elven Wizard:
I found the strange hole outside of town. I could see the crushed remains of marble – stairs, perhaps? I wanted to investigate, but I’m not an idiot. I posted a notice for adventurers at the Hound’s Head tavern and awaited applications.
Druthar was the first to reply. I was not impressed with his arrogant manner, but I feared I’d need his sword. Also Lyle the thief – er, I mean rogue – and Tordek, because it’s always good practice to have a cleric along for the ride.
Their initial inspection of the hole led them to the same conclusions as me. Lyle dropped a rope down for us to explore. Tordek and Druthar went first. I would applaud them for their bravado, but found it difficult to be impressed after they both slipped and fell squarely in the mud. I slid down the rope and managed not only to hold onto my candle, but also to keep my robes spotless. Men and dwarves. Some day they’ll realize their inferiority.
The halfling fumbled down and began scouting ahead for traps. He was a good sneak. Perhaps too good. I assumed he would rouse any enemies, but as I followed him, a plant attacked me! A plant! We immediately fought back, slashing the roots that tried to curl in around us. They weren’t too difficult, but I’d never seen such angry plants.
We went cautiously on. Lyle detected another root creature ahead. Tordek and I quietly slipped past, but that idiot Druther clanged in and caught its attention. I was starting to regret letting him come.
Once the root thing was dead, Lyle continued his search. At the end of the room was a large door with intricate carvings. I recognized it as Elven. The underground room was some sort of temple to a god we’d long forgotten. No handle or lever or knob was obvious.
Lyle also found a door and panel hidden into the wall. Removing the panel revealed a puzzle. It read “I only gaze upon true beauty,” and below it was a triangle (see photo). Obviously a riddle, we each took our guesses. I felt certain it wasn’t the woman, but wasn’t sure if it was nature and the tree or the religious symbol – since this was some sort of temple after all.
Druther spouted some sort of nonsense about beautiful women and voted for the girl. Either Tordek or Lyle voted tree, and the other voted for the symbol. I don’t recall which, and it doesn’t really matter since I just asked Tordek to examine the stonework and figure out which button was worn around the edges.
Turns out it was the eye, which no one had guessed. The door led to a passage which snaked around a few corners until emerging into the room behind the large door. More of the root creatures lined the walls, but we’d established they had no eyes and could only track us by noise. Tordek and I snuck in quietly.
In the middle of the room a sword floated on a pedestal. Elven in design, it emitted a soft, serene murmur. I stepped quietly forward for a better look.
Then Druther proved his idiocy and burst into the room with a battle cry, alerting all the roots to our presence and sending them into a frenzy. The sword reacted, changing its tune to a threatening, eerie note.
I yelled at him to shut up and step away from the sword. He knelt and began praying to the sword. I inched closer in an attempt to appease it. It worked somewhat, but the roots were a bigger concern. The sword was too beautiful and obviously powerful to leave. I hesitated to take it though. Beautiful, yes. Safe, who could say? Before I could decide, Druther charged forward and grabbed the sword. He didn’t combust or even scream in agony, and the human obviously wanted to wield something sharp, so I let him have it for our retreat.
The roots began to pull away from the walls and approach. I headed instantly for the passage where Lyle still lurked. Tordek beckoned me on, but the human insisted on trying out his new sword. I was content to leave him behind, though I would miss the sword. Finally we all emerged in one piece and arrived at the rope. Tordek and Druther made several hilarious attempts to climb out. I made it up with only a few specks on dirt on my robes.
I argued with Druther about the sword – only elves should have elven swords. But then the ground started to collapse and black oozed out of the ground, rising up into the sky and briefly covering the moon so completely we were in darkness.
“You know what,” I said to Druther as I turned to the village, “you can keep the sword.”
Lia Amakiir, Elven Wizard: