This is part of a larger series based on the published Wizard of the Coast Adventure “The Dungeon of the Mad Mage” Spoiler warning.

They exit into a dark silent cavern. Water slowly drips in the distance. The light from Goraks torch begins to spill out, filling the darkness, stretching out in every direction . Their footsteps echo off the cavern walls. Roakala takes the lead, her hand at the hilt as she scans through the darkness diligently. Behind her, Diljaris and Drugnar follow side by side. Both eyeing into the darkness, searching for unknown danger. Gorak follows behind the party, torch in hand. It’s flames licking at his face. There is an awkward silence that they carry between them as they make their first decent into the dungeon.

The cavern opens up and they enter a large room filled with long standing pillars. The pillars are scattered randomly throughout the large cavern, there seems to be little rhyme or reason to their placement. The light from the torch flickers over the pillars revealing distorted faces. On closer inspection, they appear to be horned demons of sorts. Diljaris moves her fingers over one of the pillars, feeling at its features. She turns to Drugnar who slowly steps towards her and asks “any ideas what these could be?”

Drugnar brushes his beard with his hand. He appears to be in deep thought. Roakala and Gorak don’t share this fascination of the pillars and move around carefully, searching for anything of value. Drugnar finally breaks the silence “they look like demons of sorts.” His voice is full of confidence.

” I could have told you that, but which one is it?”Diljaris says as she takes her notebook out and begins taking notes.

Drugnar shrugs “Who knows? I am only familiar with the Dwarven gods” Diljaris makes an imprint on a sheet of parchment that she stows away carefully in her bag. “Well let’s press on shall we?” she says, her eyes moving between the pillars.

Still within the large room, between the pillars they stand together. The light of the flame stretching in each direction revealing four exits. The one they came from due east and the rest stairways heading in the remaining cardinal directions. Roakala begins to search the room closely, her face almost kissing the floor as she stops and searches certain spots on the floor. She stops before the southern stairs, above it sprawled in dark red paint are the words “Certain death this way”. She continues her search.

“What is she doing?” Gorak whispers as the party watches the orc move around the room. They shrug before Roakala replies “I am looking for clues on where to go”

Gorak raises an eyebrow “Um, what did you find?”

“It’s hard to say, it all looks humanoid. No monsters” She finally stops and looks towards the group “But I vote we don’t go towards the warning.

“I can get behind that” Durgnar agrees as he pats his belly.

“Alright then orc, where does your investigation say we should go?” Gorak asks mokingly.

Roakala shrugs and shakes her head. “I was’t investigating for a way to go, I was looking for danger”

“Ok we aren’t doing this” Diljaris interupts “where should we go?”

Drugnar begins to dig through his pocket and pulls out a large silver coin. On it’s face the silhouette of a bearded dwarf. On it’s back, a hammer and anvil. “I have an idea” he says as he begins to show his coin to the party. “Why don’t we flip a coin. This has never steered me wrong before”

Gorak doesn’t flinch and seems accepting of the Dwarfs suggestion. The two remaining think for a moment before Diljaris finally says “Leaving the first trial to chance? There is something quite poetic about that. Flip away friend!”

“I haven’t read too much poetry, but I guess it’ll do” Roakala adds.

“It’s settled then. Heads we go north, heads we go west” and with that he flips the coin in the air. They watch as the coin floats up in the air, turning quickly to it’s own rhythm before crashing down on the floor with a soft bounce. The silhouette stares back at the party. “North it is!”

The party nods in agreement and they move north. Roakala leads the way, slinking expertly through the darkness. She listens for the sounds danger but hears none.  Suddenly, they hear the faint sounds of a distant incoherent echoes. They approach more carefully. Hands grip tightly around weapons as the breathing slows. These echoes lead to a small room. The room is empty except for a swords buried into an wooden armor statue of a faceless man. The statue has begun to rot but the sword looks freshly forged. Etched into its steel face are neatly written runes from some unknown language. Tat it’s hilt, boney rotting fingers cling onto it.  “Any ideas what’s up with this?” Roakala says, her hands moving towards the blade’s hilt. The echoes begin again but there doesn’t seem to be a source.

As Roakala’s dirty gloved hands wrap around the hilt of the blade. The skeletal hand drops to the floor and shatters into pieces. Before anyone has time to react, she grabs it tightly and pulls it from its resting place. Diljaris is startled by the sight and rushes carefully towards the orc. “Wait, it could be trapped!’ she says with her voice full of worry.

Roakala shrugs as she swings the blade around. “Feels fine to me”

“Well” Diljaris responds, a look of worry on her face “Give it here and allow me to examine it for a moment.”

Roakala thinks for a moment and reaches to hand over the blade before retreating it back “Can you do it without holding it?”

“It’ll only be for a moment, I will give it right back.” Diljaris says still worried.

“Ok but I’ll hold it” Roakala continues insistingly.

Diljaris rolls her eyes and gives in. “Fine, if you must” Her eyes start to glow a soft white. She hovers her hands over the blade as they begin to glow in the same shade. Her tail wags back and forth slowly as she whispers in droconic.  The runes on the blade glow as they respond to the ritual. This goes on for some time as the party watches in awe of what is occurring before them.

Finally, Diljarus goes silent. The light in her  eyes and hands fade. She looks at the party, clearly at a loss for words. She struggles to speak but finally is able to let out “This isn’t great but it’s not terrible”

“What is it?” Roakala asks, beginning to sound concerned.

“Well” Diljaris begins, struggling to find the right words “It looks like you have a cursed sword in your hands. For as long as you are cursed, you aren’t able to part with it”

“That’s not so bad. This is better than my old one, and she speaks Orcish”

“It speaks?” Diljaris asks looking concerned.

“Yes, Orkish”

“What does it say?”

“Oh she just wants to come along for the adventure. She will even shine a light for us. Good news for you ey human” Roakala adds, turning towards Gorak with a sly smirk.

“If you say so” Gorak answers eying the orc suspiciously “Does it tell you to do stuff”

Roakala shakes her head “Except for asking if she could come along, Janice isn’t really making any demands.

“An Orcish speaking sword named Janice? Not bad for a first adventure is it boyo?” Drugnar says as he nudges Gorak.

Gorak with his eyes still fixed on the dimly glowing sword shrugs “Does Janice need to prove herself too?”

“It’s only fair” Diljaris repplies, giggling.