My shady ally (also known as Cassandra) makes it to the top of the vertical shaft with me as I plug the gap with a handy boulder. Lucky that was lying around! Tiny spiders will totally be foiled by that!
I note a delightful geographic feature in that we are now standing at the shore of a massive underground lake (!!) I briefly speculate as to how many Dark Elves, who wouldn’t pay their regular protection money to the Black Widow, now have their corpses sitting at the bottom of the lake, with cement blocks chained to their ankles.
Cassandra then provide some flavour dialogue by claiming that this area is known as the ‘Reaper’s Plunge’.
Apparently volcanic gas has turned the water sulphuric. It is mentioned that ‘no doubt’ it would melt flesh from bone. Well, I assume that would make my speculation above doubly true, although substitute ‘skeletons’ for ‘corpses’.
There are steps leading to a walkway to the left of the lake, and a cavern to the right.
Cassandra heads left and, in either a threat or a promise, states that if I want to see Glaivas alive, I should follow her.
Well, she was (as it turned out) accurate about Foxglove’s status, and as long as I can walk behind her, I’m willing to gamble on her experience of this den of evil. Again, I am mindful of the fact I don’t have the ShinRen skill, although I assume that Nerve Striking will come in handy in one of the battles that are sure to come.
Mr Walters, author, must have heard me, because after some further travel, we come to a chamber that just screams ‘trap’. There’s an S-shaped passageway, a high ceiling and numerous skeletons on the floor. Further, a number of stalactites on the ceiling seem disturbingly ready to fall. At a suspiciously convenient time, Cassandra now indicates for me to precede her across the room, stating that she is ‘in no hurry to save anyone’.
Aside : I still remember school. Stalactites have a C for ceiling, stalagmites have a G for ground. You’re welcome.
I am saved from making a decision by my acknowledgement of possession of the Detecting Traps skill. This enables me to scoot across the chamber using the ‘safe’ path. Cassandra follows exactly in my footsteps, and doesn’t even thank me at the other side. She does give me a ‘baleful sideways glance’.
Aside : This is basically high school. The tough girl demands my help. doesn’t thank me, and glares at me to prevent any possibility of a complaint.
We continue until the passageway opens into a huge chamber with a ceiling that is beyond the reach of my light. Hopefully there are no further shaky stalactites hanging around up there.
I see the following:
- There are numerous archways, forming exits which lead into the darkness.
- One particular (human) skeleton catches my attention, as it is near to a glittering sword.
- Cassandra (who, remember, is swordless) moves to grab the weapon, but it sends off a spark which repels her.
- She complains about how it is obviously a blessed sword of good. I have to admit, its against the odds for something like this to just be lying around in this supposed place of evil.
- It is not clear to me whether the sword belongs to Dore, my Paladin buddy. And this is why I warned him about writing his name neatly on the handle, in case he left it in a nightclub cloakroom .
- I grab the sword and secure it on my back.
Just as I was thinking of checking my twitter feed for celebrity news, a ‘hulking fiend’ strolls out from the darkness. It is massive, white, hairless and has two leathery wings. Presumably he was just hanging out, drinking coffee and gossiping about Nashville’s recent renewal. As I don’t really try very hard to stop it, Cassandra gets seized, spikes are driven into her, she’s bitten, and then thrown against a wall.
Still preferable to a Billy Ray Cyrus concert.
As this charming fellow confronts me, I have to decide which martial arts technique is best suited to the situation.
And I will ponder this…..for a time.
Stats : Endurance : 16, Punch Modifier : +2, Kick Modifier: +1, Throw Modifier : 0, Fate Modifier : +1, Inner Force : 3