The Mad Mage Chronicles: Chapter 9

The party finds themselves in endless darkness as they walk through a tunnel that snakes with little reason. The dim light from the cursed sword guides the party. The light looks almost sicky down. It washes over hastily made scaffolds. Careful cautious footsteps propel the party through the darkness. Their hands clench at their weapons. The air is stale down here. Musty from the lack of flow. It is hard to breath in places, almost suffocating.

It seems hopeless. An endless journey down unknown darkness. The party debates on returning and giving up but they never do. They round one last bend and are greeted with strange dim light. Footsteps quicken as the source reveals another room.

The tunnel empties into a large walled room. The walls have begun to crumble, leaving scattered piles of ancient discarded brick. At the center of the room there is a statue that is buried up to its shoulders. It’s face has degraded over time making it unrecognizable.

There are clear signs of heavy traffic in this room. There are deep wheel wells that seem to flow against the same path. There are dark dirty foot prints all about the room. There are small pieces of discarded trash and food scraps that have been left behind. Whatever moves through here, does so often.

“I wonder how long we’ll be alone” Gorak asks Roakala as he studies a fresh set of foot prints. He points at them “these look fresh”

Roakala nods in agreement as the rest of the party watches curiously. “We should keep moving then” Roakala responds, taking the lead once more. There are three ways out of this room. The one they came in and two on either side of the room. Rokala takes one hesitant step forward before turning to the group “Which way princess?”

Diljaris shakes her head as a small smile begins to form at the corners of her mouth. “I’m not a princess” she says as her tail twitches “You can choose this one”

Roakala studies both exits carefully. She looks at the trails and the signs for a few minutes before she turns to Drugnar and asks “You mind flipping your coin again?”

Drugnar is visibly shocked by the question. He chuckles as he reaches for the coin. “Well don’t you know how to keep things interesting?” The coin gleams in his hand as he thumbs it between his fingers.  Heads we go left, tails we go right” Everyone nods and he flips the coin. “Heads”

The party moves through more of the ancient dungeon. The next room they arrive at is a prison. Rusted chains hang from the wall. Two cages hang from the ceiling. One still holds it’s captive, rotted and wilted to almost nothing but rags and bits of bone and dust. Against the wall lies another creature. It looks like a man. His flesh has begun to rot away in the parts where the rats haven’t nibbled at. He wears the tethers of a fine robe that now clings loosely off his body. The rusting shackles that bind him to the wall he leans against have melded with the skin on his wrist. Above the figure, in deep dark red letters there is a message that reads “Talk to me please!”

The party moves past the skeleton with the intent to move forward.

“Wait” says Drugnar as he stops near the figure “Shouldn’t we see what he wants?”

“What who wants?” Diljaris twitches her head in confusion.

“Our long departed friend here. He might have some good information” Drugnar says pointing at the corpse.

“Interesting” Diljaris says as her tail begins to wag in excitement “Can you speak with the dead”

“I sure can” Drugnar replies

“OH!” Diljaris cannot hide the excitement in her voice. “How exciting. I’ve read about this spell but I’ve never actually seen it in person.” She digs through her bag for her journal and moves close to Drugnar. Opening it to a new page, she begins jotting down notes.

Roakala turns to Gorak with a concerned look on her face. “Is this a good idea”

Gorak has already began go get comfortable. Sitting down for a moment while still keeping a careful eye in each direction. He nods at the question “It’s a thing he likes to do. It’s his duty to help lost souls find their way to the afterlife or something. He just asks some questions and then they are on their way”

Roakala steps away from Drugnar. With her sword drawn, she stands against the wall eyeing the dwarf closely.

Drugnar closes his eyes. He mumbles something incoherent before he opens his eyes. From his pocket he produces a small plain bronze tin. There are small scratches and dents all along its face. He pops it open to reveal it to be filled with black powder. “My friend” he begins as he dips the his thumb into the powder. “With this earth I tie your soul to this plane one last time.” He draws a circle on the figures forehead. His face is sunken in and his eyes are gone. “Let the earth mother bring you to us so you can see this world once more.” He underlines his sunken eyelids with thick black lines of soot. He moves to his mouth as he draws a long smile, one that reaches ear to ear. “Let the earth mother give you breath so that you may speak”

His hand moves back to the corpse’s forehead and presses his thumb against the black circle. “Spirit! Heed my call. Come forth and take your form. Earth mother, grant me the power to pull this poor soul from this darkness and help me deliver him to the light”

At first, nothing happens. The room is deathly silent. Then, a light begins to glow. First from under Drugnar’s thumb, then from the other markings. There is a light creaking sound that comes from the figure as he begins to shift and jolt in his seat. A few awkward twitches and he moves upright suddenly. The markings glow white as the figure sits up right on his own. The chains rattle as he tries to stand up. He looks around, his glowing eyes never blinking.

“Good morning my friend” Drugnar greets the man.

The figure says nothing at first. Instead he begins to inspect himself. He shakes his shackled arms. He wiggles what is left of his toes. He studies the room and the strangers that occupy it. The silence goes on for a moment before his raspy dry voice lets out  “Well shit. I died.”

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