“He died?” Lee said when he got out of the fiery traps himself.
“Why… yes. I think my inflated bubble here is right. Our dearest colleague died,” Snails answered. Sighing, he then added: “I tried to heal him, but every attempt I made was futile!”
“Couldn’t you just give him a potion?”
“Let’s not point fingers here and say who could have done what.”
“Agreed,” Warryn mentioned, “Don’t forget that we do in fact have a ritual scroll to raise the dead.”
“Aye, and let’s not forget that we use that one on a useful component of the team.”
“My barbaric monster here is right,” Snails agreed. Pointing to the late cleric, he added: “What is the worth of a cleric that can’t even survive a few deadly death traps of certain death.”
“For a starter, I’ll keep you guys alive,” a voice muttered in the dark. The adventuring group looked around, in a short glance of fear. But then they calmed down when they saw the spectral light of Orsik’s ghost closing near on them. Snails even had the guts to sigh.
“You can’t even keep yourself alive,” Lee laughed.
“You die, awful way. Think you can lead, command, plan, organize, but you step into fire, burning, burning!” Elvin nodded.
“Yes, you don’t make a very good first impression with that argument,” Warryn replied. If Orsik had any eyebrows left, this would be the moment he would frown.
“First impression? Warryn, the only reason you four are standing here is because I brought you together.”
“That might be the case, but I think a lot of the dead in this dungeon are capable of that. Our question is: why should we resurrect you?”
“Warryn please, just execute the ritual.”
“You know how much that will cost me? The scroll itself is worth five hundred gold pieces.”
“Warryn! Do not waste my time any further and use the damn scroll!” The four remaining adventurers glanced at each other for a moment. Then they shrugged their shoulders, silently agreeing to the matter at hand. The ritual would be performed. An extended rest, necessary for the happening would be taken. Orsik would be resurrected.
The adventurers sat quitely as the wizard did everything that was nescessary for the ritual to perform well. Little resting was assured. Although everyone of them used the moment to tend to their wounds and catch a breath so they could act as formidable as before, no one really slept. They just closed their eyes for a moment. And a few didn’t even do that. The adventuring group knew it wasn’t wise to sleep in a place like this. They would be defenseless in such a state. And being defenseless in the Asylum was simply asking for problems. Even if the traps wouldn’t kill them and the countless wondering monsters would leave them alone, then they would still get troubled by any number of tormenting spirits. Not to say: by Orsik. Because, even though he might have once been one of their allies, as a ghost, he couldn’t be trusted. If the former cleric would possess one of them, then he would have absolute controll over any motoric function the possesed person has. Then he would trap someone in his own body, not a welcome foresight.
“It is done,” Warryn said after a couple of hours.
“Finally,” Lee replied. Elvin looked interested at the wizard as he spoke the right words and embedded the body of Orsik with the required magic. But he was soon disappointed, as nothing happened.
“Is there a problem Warryn?” Orsik asked. The wizard answered reluctantly:
“Did you make a mistake?”
“Then why am I not resurrected?”
“I don’t know.” Warryn glanced at the dead body and again, his frustration seemed to take the upper hand. He looked back at Orsik’s ghost, then his eyes turned to his other three companions, who instinctly took a step back. Elvin forced a smile on his face.
“No problem, no issue, no no. Mistakes happen, you know, miscalculations, misinformed, misinterpreted, it is probably just a slight problem, like a wrong dosage, not enough reagents, a scratch in the scroll, bad pronunciation, everything can happen, not your fault.”
“I did not say it is my fault,” Warryn replied. His hand closed. Elvin shivered at the sight of it, vibrated through his body, and then shattered back to a couple of dragonflies, who flew nervously, but moreover, rapidly aside.
“Stop it Warryn, your powers are required for a greater goal then slaughtering your allies just because you are pissed,” Orsik said, “Just take my body with you. We’ll try to resurrect it once we get outside.”
Five gateways were scattered across the room, each with different colors and each inscripted with some words written in different languages. No one could make anything useful out of it though. Just like the words written on the first door they crossed here in the Asylum, it seemed to be nothing more then plain gibberish, written so that foolish adventurers would spill there blood a second time… or something.
“Warryn, I think this is the time to prove your worth once more. A hand of fate would be quite useful to us now,” Orsik mentioned in his ghostly prison. The wizard nodded. After taking a short glance at his ritual book, he waved his hand a bit, spraying the necessary components in the air, which resolved into a mystical hand.
“Hand of Fate,” the wizard spoke formally afterwards, “Which of these passages is the safest?” The hand quickly turned and pointed to the white gateway, right of where the adventurers stood.
“Hand of Fate. Which of these passages is the second safest?” The hand turned around and pointed to the gateway in front of the white gateway. Although the third question wasn’t entirely nescessary, considering the fact that they already knew which way they wanted to go, Warryn asked a similar question, just because his magic allowed him to do that. The hand turned, and pointed to a gateway on the far end, which was hereby indicated as the third safest option.
“White gateway is good, better than the rest atleast, no certain death behind this gateway, not like the other four, although I don’t know what the rest will contain, but a gateway that is chosen to be the safest, shall not contain that certain death… I think,” Elvin rattled.
“Aye, or you’ll be teleported back to the entrance of the dungeon. Is safe, not good.”
“We know the safest portal and the second safest,” Orsik concluded, “Someone just has to take a peek inside of it and see which one is best.”
“Well, my sparkling partner, why don’t you try it?”
“Because I have no solid mass and thus can’t enter a portal. If someone willingly lend their body to me, I will see what I can discover.” Lee’s laughter expressed everyone’s thoughts. No one would simply lend his body to the cleric. They had to be either unconscious or dead before they would be willingly possesed by Orsik.
“I suggest we take the second safest,” The dwarf said after a couple of moments.
“I suggest we burn them all,” The wizard added. Orsik neglected that last remark.
“Why the second safest?” He asked. Lee shrugged with his shoulders.
“Always take the second safest, that is the first thing I have learned about dungeons. The safest is usually just a backdoor to get outside. The second safest actually leads to treassures.”
“Makes sense. What about my body?”
“What about it?”
“Lee, we don’t know what is going to be behind that gateway. It might be a narrow room, where we don’t want a body hanging around to fill up the room, or it could be filled with enemies, so you don’t want to get stuck with a body to carry around with…”
“… We’ll just leave your body here then, don’t worry about it…”
“You are not going to leave my body. Or atleast, not all of it. You need some of it to ressurect me.”
“Not all of it you say?”
“That is correct… wait, what are you doing?!”
“I am making a puppet,” Lee grinned as he chopped Orsik’s head of with a single swing of his waraxe. Holding the head at the jaw, he opened the mouth of the cleric’s body, and morbidly moved it around while saying:
“Hello, I am Orsik, and this puppet is my one chance to survival.” The sparkle of light furiously illuminated a bit more. Then the cleric calmly said:
“You are a horrible… horrible person.”
“Thank you,” Lee replied, “It is what I do.”
Finally choosing for the second safest portal, the adventurers walked through it, one by one. But once they crossed the portals, all signs of their existense simply disappeared. They couldn’t be heard. They couldn’t be seen. They didn’t even got back to say what was behind the portal. And as more of them got through, the remainder felt the scense of fear growing. It made Snails grew tense, Lee focused and Elvin jumpy. It was a moment where everyone could feel the shivers in their spines, as they knew they were about to risk their lifes by stepping into the unknown. And with their final steps, they were sucked into the portal and transported by a kind of magic none of them could really explain. Untill they reached the other side. A small room. With nothing more than two levers to fill it up with.
“I see a hole here in the wall, small, not that small though, a rat could walk through it, or a couple of my bugs, you know, the bugs I use when I shape shift, although I don’t know if butterflies are technically considered to be bugs.”
“Cant see anything of value in here,” Orsik said when he searched in said hole, “It is an hollow wall. Couple of inches wide. Can’t see a ventilation shaft in here.”
“So, we try the levers,” Lee concluded.
“Why levers? Levers sounds awful, we are in the asylum remember, big traps, big traps everywhere, levers trigger traps, traps are bad.”
“Know anything better?”
“We can burn it…” Warryn pointed out.
“WE ARE NOT GOING TO BURN IT!” Orsik shouted, “Warryn, Lee, activate both levers at the same time.” The dwarf and the wizard looked at eachother briefly, seemingly content with the idea, and thus did as ordered. With a click, the levers were turned. And with a click, a shaft opened inside the hollow wall, just big enough to let a single candle drop out of it. The ghost was glad. In one way or another, he knew it wasn’t an ordinary candal. Perhaps it was the color, or the way it dropped out of the shaft that gave him that idea. More likely, it was due to the place where they were now; the Asylum wouldn’t simply give them a free candle if it wasn’t necessary to have later on. Wherever they were going to use it: this candle would most certainly guide them through the rest of the dungeon. Then, Orsik could hear a third click and a second shaft opening. Floating outside of the wall, the light he emitted turned white by the sight of what the second shaft had just unleashed. He hoped the rest of the adventuring group would survive the snakes that have just landed on their heads.