Heroes of Istal

Asylum of Terror - Part 3-7

With a chivalry that also might have been paranoid behavior, Snails opened the door to the next room in order to let Orsik walk in. The cleric didn’t enter however. The suspicious look on his face foretold a series of obvious traps in the chamber the rogue wasn’t happy with.
“What is wrong?” Snails asked, but he got no answer. Instead, the cleric simply made room to let the rogue have a look, an invitation the Halfling didn’t protest to, even though he was now dangerously close in Orsik’s reach. His professional instinct somehow informed him that this wasn’t the time for petty arguments. The room clearly contained something far worse than the backstabbing of a cleric.
His eyes told him something else, because what he saw were simply… tiles. Tiles in various colors and various sizes, but tiles nonetheless. A door on the far end of the room marked the location to which they should be heading.
“Tiles seems to be bad. Very bad. Asylum of Terror bad. Asylum of Terror is bad, and so are these tiles. Tiles are in the Asylum. Tiles are bad,” rattled Elvin. The rest of the group remained silent.
“Let me try this,” Lee offered. A pebble flew through the air and hit one of the red tiles, after which very little happened. It made a sound. A sound like anything here in the Asylum made: one without echo, too much focused to match with a natural sound, yet without becoming supernatural. It was somehow in between. And it felt strange.
A second stone flew through the air, a bigger one this time, and aiming for the blue tiles. It was a successful hit and the larger rock made a bigger sound. But no more than that. It was just a bigger sound.
“It is clear that this is not going to work. Colleagues, I suggest we find another way out. I am not planning to step on the tiles to find out what will happen.”
“Agreed,” Lee answered and immediately stepped back. With a last careful inspection he wiped the dust from his shiny purple cape, an unique example that ought to look “fancy”. Looking at his axe, he saw himself in its reflection and did the same with the dust that had arisen on his face.
“You guys coming?” Lee asked. Warryn shook his head.
“I am not letting myself getting defeated by a damn floor. I can just make a floating disk and let someone fly over it.”
“You can do that?”
“Of course I can; I am a wizard. I just cannot carry myself across it. But if someone can open the door and get any treasures that lie behind it, then we can carry on.”
“Ah,” Lee nodded, “Not me.”
“Not me, not me, not not not me!” Elvin agreed. Orsik instantly confirmed this message with his own:
“I can’t go. A possible quick and absolutely painful death isn’t fit for a healer. You guys need me.” Snails looked at the three with discontent.
“I see, and the rogue is expendable. Good to know. Well, at least I’ll have first pick when we find any valuables.” With an impatient gesture, he asked Warryn to begin with the procedures.

The best description of the device that was made, was that of a big floating and especially shiny disc, on which Snails set his foot on. Driven solely on the power of the Wizard’s will, the disc entered the room, carrying the small rogue through the door opening.
“Back in a bit,” Snails sighed. The nonchalance of his attitude quickly disappeared as the walls of the room surrounded the Halfling more and more. As soon as he was in the very middle, all he was focused on was the door, with his thieves’ tools carefully held in his hands. Inch per inch, the disc came nearer. Until the disc stopped and Snails could begin his work.
“Try the door handle!” Lee shouted immediately. Snails burrowed his face in his hand. As if he would ever forget that. With a scent of mockery, he replied:
“My little dwarven friend, I thank you.”
“Ain’t little, you puny Halfling!”
“Well, is brave bloated warrior more of your liking then?”
“Aye, don’t know, is a War Axe in your belly more of your liking?” Snails smiled at the increasing anger of his dwarven ally, but quickly refocused his full attention to the door before him. Then with one hand on the thieves’ tools and with the other on the handle, he kneeled down, reducing the impact of a possible trap explosion with half his length.
“Brace yourselves!” The rogue warned, after which he turned the handle and unleashed… nothing yet. But as he stood up, he did see two snakes in front of him. And they were big. As is if couldn’t get any worse, Snails looked at the walls next to him, and detected a couple of small holes inside it. Ironically, he didn’t have to wonder long why they were in it. In fact, as soon as the rogue screamed out loudly:
“Snake… Snake…. Snaaaaaaaaake!!!”, he stumbled back when he saw the poisonous gas released from the various holes. It just wasn’t his day.
“Get me back idiots! Get me back!” The group behind him hesitated, discussing the pro’s and cons of leaving Snails at the place he was currently at. Snails could just hear Lee say something about: “if we leave him there, we won’t get any of his equipment”, before he saw the entrance, between him and the corridor they were waiting, being closed by a massive stone wall. It really wasn’t his day.
“Guys?” he shouted again when the snakes closed in on the rogue. They hissed at him. And with every few inch they crawled towards Snails’ legs, the rogue stepped back, till he reached the very border of the disc. Already, he felt the influence of the toxic gas. It was just a small cough, but when he looked at his hand, he saw that it was covered with blood, instead of just spit. Those so called “team mates” better hurry up.

A sudden vibration of the disc indicated that the adventuring group made their decision… just in time. The snakes fell of the disc before they could reach the poor Halfling and the gas seemed to escape from the room as a loud noise foretold that the corridor was about to open once more. Snails looked back, saw that Lee had apparently used his heavy shoulders to lift the boulder, and quickly duck when the disc tried to make way through the small opening Lee had created. Snails was save. Lee on the other hand got bit by the snakes when they charged into him, but the wound didn’t seem to be fatal, and the dwarf quickly reacted by putting the stone back in its place. The heroes stood there for a moment, regaining their strength and having a short rest to process the experiences they were just faced with. Especially the rogue learned a vital lesson. There was no way he could guarantee his safety as long as he travelled with the other four adventurers. But even with this information, he didn’t worry. Not anymore. Of course, he would never forfeit his perception, nor let his guard go down, but a successful rogue didn’t do that in the first place. He wasn’t raised to fear death. His only intention was to enjoy the little pleasures of life… or the big ones, if they indeed found the treasure the cleric had foretold. His future was as instable as it can get, with allies who are as trustworthy as his enemies. Still, it would all work out in the end.

Asylum of Terror – Part 4-7



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