Heroes of Istal

Asylum of Terror - Part 7-7

Although none of them liked the fact that they had to work with an insane wizard, an idle dwarf and a backstabbing rogue, their survival instincts withheld them from any further violence towards eachother. Lee settled with the fact that the wizard did offer a solution to the problem at hand, even though it included another explosion, with candles the wizard seem to have a sick fascination for.
“I had heard of them before, but when I see them now, I am simply in awe of the brilliant design. Candles that go boom. Could you imagine that?” Lee and Snails sighed, but their eyes met and without saying a word, they agreed to a certain promise. The wizard would not survive the Asylum.

But for now, they acted as one. The situation clearly described the necessity of all three of them to work together. No one knew how long this dungeon was going to take and from this moment forward, there was no turning back. There was only one way to go from here: the hole in the wall and from the point where they sat and relaxed, they could already see what was beyond it. They were. Or well, it was a room to be precise, crossed from one end to the other by a large mirror, where they could see themselves waiting.
“That is not just a mirror,” Lee spoke, speaking out loud what everyone thought. Snails nodded.
“My balloon shaped friend here speaks the truth. There is clearly something wrong with it.”
“I can break it,” Warryn said, “I can break everything.”
“You do break everything,” Orsik replied, “Please, give us a moment to think of a more sophisticated way to solve this.” And so, they sat down a bit more, staring at the mirror and thought.
“There is nothing in the room except for the mirror you know,” Warryn mentioned after a moment or two. The sparkle of light flickered.
“Just let us think oke? Maybe there is something we miss.” And so, they sat down a bit more, staring at the mirror and thought.
“I agree, I now see that there is air too. Air is nice. We can make fire with it. Shall I?” The sparkle of light flickered a bit more. Agitated, Orsik answered:
“Warryn, you know what happened the last time you used fire to “solve things”…”
“Yes, I made a hole in the wall and kept Lee and Snails alive with it…”
“Yeah, well, just do us the honor of keeping your mouth closed while we think of a better solution.” And so, they sat down a bit more, staring at the mirror and thought.
“I don’t think…”
“Oh, for the love of god, just shoot the blasted thing then!” Warryn stood up, murmled a little cheer, and grabbed his spell book to make an educated guess for which spell the biggest boom would give. He sighed as he saw that his favorite: Fireball was allready spent… although it was totally worth it, and continued crossing down powers that were “just not doing the trick”.
“I can shoot a magic missile at it?” Warryn finally said.
“Great, do it,” Orsik answered.
“No, no, the impact would probably just crack the glass. Then I have to shoot a secondaire missile, which is just lame. If I have calculated this correctly however, according to the wind,…”
“Warrick, we are inside of a dungeon, there is no wind.”
“… the difference between the current atmosphere, and that of the room next to us…”
“There is no difference between those.”
“and the substance of the material…”
“It is a mirror, what do you think?!”
“… then I think an explosion of reasonable size would shatter the mirror completely.”
“Which is?”
“I don’t know yet. Let me take a look at my spellbook again.”

Minutes passed. Minutes in which Orsik slowly but steadily started cursing his life more and more for the situation he was brought in. A rogue that killed him and a wizard that refuses to act because something isn’t explosive enough does that to a man. But at one point, Warryn seemed satisfied somehow, knowing he discovered the ultimate solution. Lifting one of the few candles remaining with his Mage’s Hand, he placed it next to the mirror, only to set it on fire afterwards with one of his spells. The explosion made him smile. The result however didn’t.
“The mirror is still there!” Warryn screamed. Instead of the mirror, he saw his formidable plan being shattered as the mirror remained. He felt shame due to the failiure. And deep within his soul, he knew he had done the very thing from which there is no returning. He did not destroy. What kind of wizard does that kind of thing?!
“Nope, you destroyed it allright,” Lee said as he stood next to him. He pointed to a spot at the far end, at which his reflection reacted by doing the very same thing. “You see that. There used to be a sparkle of light over there. You know, because of Orsik and the whole: being dead and now forever wandering as a ghost stuff. Therefore, the guys you see now must be the real thing.”
“Thank god,” Warryn replied. He actually sounded relieved at the forthcoming of three new contesters. Orsik sighed at the remark.
“Gentlemen, please…” the cleric urged, “There is a bigger problem at hand. If they are not your reflections, then what are they?” Unfortunately, no one could answer to that.

“Lee, go in and find out what these beings are,” Orsik ordered. Lee laughed.
“And how the hell are you going to force me? Float next to me? Glitter in a scary way?” Warryn quickly searched his spellbook for a spell that can force movement, but didn’t find anything suitable. Shrugging his shoulders, he only said:
“He has a point you know.” The cleric murmeled another curse dedicated to his unfortunate life. Then he asked:
“Okay then, Lee, would you please go in? With your endurance and fortitude, any trap would most surely fail against your unseen bravery and neverending strength.”
“That is better.”
“So, will you go?”
“No, of course not.” The sparkle of light flickered again.
“I’ll go,” Snails said at the sight of the two arguing, “There is nothing that can go wrong right?” Orsik, Warryn and Lee all knew better, but shrugged their shoulders nonetheless, confirming the rogue’s words. Better that he found out for himself that situations like these tend to be dangerous. Could be a wise lesson… if he survives, that is.

Of course, the rogue knew better than that. And he was undoubtedly aware of the fact that walking into three enemies that look exactly the same as the adventuring group, isn’t the smartest thing to do. He just didn’t believe the copies were enemies at all. More likely, it was all a part of the trap. If they would engage the dublicates, they would engage themselves. If they die, the adventurers would die as well. It was for that reason, Snails decided to just walk into the room, and watch his movement being copied by his own double in the exact same way. The rogue then waved. According to his beliefs, his copy would then do the same, proving him to be harmless, if they would just leave the duplicates alone. And indeed, Snails’s double immediately lifted its hand and moved it. However, the copy did that only as a sheer requirement for grabbing the crossbow on his back and use it to pierce poor Snail’s intestines. It hurted. And it wasn’t so much that the shocking realization of his wrong damaged his pride. Nope, it just hurted as hell. As the rogue dropped to his knees, Lee and Warryn didn’t hesitate, but entered the room in an attempt to protect their beloved colleague… and well… just have some fun by slaughtering the copies. But there was no telling if they would be there in time.

A single cluster of violence surrounded the rogue and it was unclear what was actually happening. Snails could only watch how the two separate teams continued fighting eachother in a series of dodges and parries, as both of them seem to act perfectly to the situation at hand. Lee attacked Lee, knew exactly how Lee would react to the attack and therefore manouvered away from Lee before Lee could actually land an succesfull blow on Lee. Snails gasped for air. He felt his power weakening and the pain clouding his mind. He stood up, barely, and his sight blurred down to a haze of images. Lees, more then one Lee, were moving around him. With one of them he had fought side by side, with the other he should fight face to face. And meanwhile the impact of Warryn’s spells were surrounding him, bringing Snails to utter confusion. The rogue dropped down on his knees again, almost losing consciousness, but his mind held on and so, he stood up. He walked away from the fight, mustered enough strength to grab his own crossbow and pointed it in a certain direction.
“I will not end this way,” Snails said, breathing loudly and loaded his crossbow while searching for his enemy. But as he looked across the room, he managed to take a glimpse of what seemed to be… a door. “A door?”
“I am truly surprised,” Orsik replied with a clear tone of sarcasm in it. Somehow, he managed to laugh at the irony of a door in clear sight for those who would have just searched the room before making any rash decision. Like breaking a mirror. With explosives. The laughter didn’t take long however.
“Come on!” Snails shouted, and quickly regretted the decision as he felt the pain bursting in his longs, “There is a door over here, let’s get the hell out!” Warryn was the first one to react, as he immediately opened the door and ran inside of it. Lee stepped back as well, but stayed in the room to held of any attacks that might come through his defense and reach the weakened rogue. But after taking a hit or two, he took a short glance at the rogue, who still haven’t moved yet, nor entered the door.
“What the hell you think you doing? Need my boot to kick you inside or what?” Snails looked back at Lee. His face had turned white. And Lee didn’t even have to ask for the reason of it.
“The ultimate challenge!” the gnomish voice of Warryn shouted, “Let my fire rain upon you! Let my curses cripple you! Let my will shatter you into oblivion. You, Beholder of the ancient depths, I challenge thee…” Then the sound stopped.
“Aye, close the door,” Lee spoke.
“He is still alive,” Snails replied as he saw the monster closing in after stunning the little gnome.
“Aye, close the door.”

Nobody felt remorse. Perhaps no one really thought about it cause of the battle at hand. Or perhaps it was due to the simple fact that they didn’t actually liked the wizard to begin with. But the primary reason for their absent sorrow was of course the twinkling light that originated from the door, and floated next to Orsik.
“Seeing the condition you are now in, I guess you didn’t win the battle?” the cleric asked. Warryn glittered.
“I did not fail,” he simply answered. Even though Lee seemed to be quite occupied at the moment, battling Snails’ counterpart rather than his own, as his axe quickly got the upper hand in melee combat against the crossbow of his enemy, he still managed to speak a few words:
“Aye, but you did not win either, now did you?” After a few attacks, he quickly forced the duplicate to the ground, a position wherein only Lee’s mercy could safe its life. Lee however does not know the meaning of the word mercy. The only thing he saw was an enemy ready to be finished off. After that, his interest in the duplicate was soon to be forgotten, leaving him with only one goal left: his own copy, as Warryn’s double had already disappeared as soon as the gnome was killed off by the devourer-like beast. Although the two adventurers were weakened, they were still with two of them, against only one enemy. The result of the battle was already clear.

Asylum of Terror – Final Part

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