Infinite Horizons

Escaping from The Shaft

Game Session 3 [recap]: The original adventuring party, having been separated by events beyond their control, is split up. Two companions are lost: Alaric the Dwarf was sentenced to the fighting pits in Akkad, and Fi’Real, the cleric of Apollo wandered in an inebriated stupor somewhere in Whitegold – out of touch from everyone, but untouched by the stain of criminal. The remaining four are still trapped underground, trying to find their way out of the Shaft where they had been sentenced in punishment for attacking mine guards. That the guards had been brutal to the mine workers and had taken innocent travelers as slaves (whom the adventurers were trying to rescue) did not matter to the authorities; the guards performed their atrocities with at least the tacit approval of the controlling House. After wandering the subterranean tunnels for hours, finding bits of forgotten treasures and taking wounds from various traps, the four wandered into a room where they were beset by a Minotaur. The battle was short and vicious, during which the heroes had to use all of their special abilities to defeat the creature.

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Now, the four trapped adventurers are just finishing a short rest, and taking stock of the newly-found items from the Minotaur’s treasure chest.
Game Session 4:
After a full formal ceremony [an hour long] of dance and singing – in Tsalagi, of course – to the gods, Honiahaka had been reassured that he would be granted the power to get out of the shaft so that he could continue his mission of warning a powerful someone in the civilized world about the dire prophecy he’d been given. This newly-granted power could also be used to get everyone else out of the shaft, too, and Honiahaka didn’t plan on leaving anyone behind.
Unless they wanted to be left behind, that is. But who wouldn’t be repulsed by this abhorrent subterranean abomination which made Honiahaka physically ill and ache with sympathetic pain when he thought about how much Our Mother must have suffered when these corridors were excavated? Who in their right minds would want to stay down here?
Oddly enough, everyone in the group but Honiahaka.
Even with stale rations, water that was beyond stale, the only choice of ‘how would you like your pony meat’ being raw or well-done (the application of Fire Bolt being a rather all-or-nothing affair) all in a darkness unending – save for the brief sun flares of the aforementioned Fire Bolt – in an ever more overwhelming closeness; even with all this arguing against staying underground, it was only Honiahaka who wanted to leave.
Eddlerock noticed the look on the face of his completely bewildered companion, and rightly read the depths of Honiahaka’s anxiety, for he began to speak gently with Honiahaka. Eddlerock reassured his young companion that there was nothing to worry about, for he’d spent most of his life underground and he was certain there was a way out of this place.
During the several minutes of Eddlerock’s cajoling, Honiahaka realized that he’d initially followed Eddlerock into the salt mines because he believed the gnome’s cause was just; his heart was in the right place even if his actions were rash. Honiahaka also realized that the gods had not forsaken him as he had been granted the ability to leave this place any time he wanted – precisely the ability for which he’d prayed – and therefore he must not have strayed from the wishes of his gods. And now Eddlerock was asking him to stay down here with the rest of the group.
As insane as it was to Honiahaka, it seemed the gods were hinting he was supposed to stay with the group. Honiahaka refocused his gaze upon Eddlerock just as the gnome was finishing his arguments. “And we can still leave at any time we wish,” commented the nomad.
“Yes,” agreed the gnome with a smile. “We can leave whenever we wish.”
“Then we have some exploring to do, and some questions were asked which I have been granted the power to answer,” Honiahaka said as he rose from his sitting position. “Ielenia, have you recorded the runes from the inside of the chest’s lid? I would like to study them later, perhaps find out what language it is.”
The paladin answered affirmatively, and Honiahaka cast his first spell. With the flecks of gold in his eyes glowing softly, he laid his hands on both sides of the runes and began reading them. “The runes translate: ‘Payment for services rendered in the Cause of the Lion.’”
Honiahaka waited for Ielenia to finish scribing the translation, then asked of all present, “Are there any more words which need to be translated that you can find?” When no one could find any more inscriptions, Honiahaka let the spell end amidst the curious voices of his companions.
What did that mean, ‘in the Cause of the Lion’? Everyone paused to consider the question, but only Ielenia could proffer even a vague explanation. She remembered that there is a House which rules one of the cities in the East which is referred to as the House of the Lion, or the House of Lions; perhaps the phrase referred to that House.
It was at least enough of an explanation for the moment. Perhaps during a lull later they would ponder the meaning in greater depth. For now, there were a few more questions to be answered here.
Honiahaka cast his second spell, and then turned to his companions with his eyes softly glowing again. “You were wondering if anything we have is magical. I can now tell you if it is, if you show it to me.”
The four companions rummaged through everything they had, allowing him to at least glimpse all of their possessions. There were only three items that Honiahaka could see which were magical: the longsword which Yaya had found and given to Eddlerock, the hole in the middle of the chamber from which the Minotaur had come, and the bottle that Honiahaka had retrieved from the chest.
Eddlerock couldn’t suppress a wide smile at the knowledge he carried a magical sword, Honiahaka wondered what power the elixir in the bottle would bestow, and they all began speculating about the functionality of the pit. How did it work? What kept the Minotaur alive in the pit when this place had been deserted for years, obviously? Was there a way out which could be accessed from the pit?
Ielenia held one end of a rope while lowering Eddlerock down into the pit so he could look around. Of them all, he was the most qualified to assess the mechanics of the pit. While Eddlerock conducted his examination, Honiahaka kept his Detect Magic spell active, in case there were any further magically-initiated surprises to be had. Neither of the two men could determine anything they didn’t already know, except that there was no means of exiting the pit save by climbing out of it.
When Eddlerock had been lifted out, the entire group wove together the bits of clues they had about the pit. It was partially mechanical, partially magical, and had been triggered when Honiahaka Knocked open the treasure chest. The magic part was, they guessed, a means of transporting the Minotaur here from somewhere else; they reached this conclusion because Honiahaka could tell them the spell was of the Conjuration type. But why would there need to be the mechanical part, which sunk the floor into a recessed pit? No one had an answer, and it didn’t seem as if anyone would.
So Honiahaka let his Detect Magic spell fade and turned his attention to the corpse of the Minotaur. He had heard of such beings before but knew nothing beyond the rumors that they were bull-headed humans of great size and foul temperament of even greater size. But were they natural? Were they born or were they created, stitched together, by someone – or something – else?
The only way to determine that was to perform a dissection. Honiahaka’s many years helping to process the carcasses of hunted animals allowed him to easily satiate his curiosity. The skeletal, musculature, and ligament structures all seemed naturally formed with no aberrations hinting of a splicing of components anywhere: truly a being of naturally massive size and strength. Which left Honiahaka to ponder how the Minotaur race came to exist, and where was their home?
No answers would come to him quickly he knew, so Honiahaka filed away all the questions concerning Minotaurs and began skinning the fur from the head, neck, back, and shoulders of the body.
It was Tsalagi tradition to claim the fur from animals, as the fur was useful to have. Practically, the fur could provide warmth when formed into a blanket; as a trophy, the fur would advertise the capabilities of the Tsalagi who carried it; spiritually, the fur might enhance someone with the animal’s abilities. Honiahaka was unsure for which purpose he was taking the fur, but he had decided to follow his instinct and collect it he would.
There were no salves to cure the hide and no drying rack upon which to stretch the hide, so Honiahaka was not sure if he’d be able to keep the hide from becoming worthless. But he was going to try.
As he pulled the last of the fur from the Minotaur, Honiahaka heard a shocked murmur from Ielenia and Eddlerock as they turned away from the corpse, clutching their stomachs and retching. To their credit they kept control of their stomachs, but it was close.
Honiahaka glanced at their reaction, then around to find the cause of their distress: Yaya had found the liver of the Minotaur, extracted it, and was happily munching away upon it. They shared a smile between them at their companions’ discomfort as Honiahaka rose and moved to a clear area to begin cleaning the hide with his Prestidigitation cantrip.
As he worked with the hide, both Ielenia and Yaya each claimed a horn from the Minotaur’s head. Ielenia said that the horns were supposed to be valuable as they tucked their prizes into their packs. When they were ready to continue, the adventurers discussed which tunnel they were going to explore next.
Of the four choices of travel available to the group, two had already been explored: the room from which they were going to leave, and the way from which they’d come – back to the Shaft. The two remaining choices yielded what looked to be a short 60’ section to the left, and directly opposite it, an indeterminately long corridor leading off to the right.
They decided to explore the short section first. They fell into a march order as they left the room and turned left: Yaya, Eddlerock, Honiahaka, and Ielenia brought up the rear. Yaya was out front, her task to find any traps they might encounter. She found one: a pressure plate which, when depressed, started a stony grinding noise up ahead.
Honiahaka and Ielenia saw the stone rolling towards them. Ielenia shouted, “Run!” to which Honiahaka added, “Back to the pit room!” Eddlerock was the last to dodge back into the pit room just before the large stone ball rolled past and down the last unexplored corridor. Many thumps and bumps were heard as the ball disappeared into the darkness, picking up speed as it rolled.
“That must be downhill,” Honiahaka offered. Eddlerock agreed.
Yaya seemed quite pleased. “Now our way down there should be cleared of any traps and anything else before we even get there!”
Before leaving the pit room a second time, Honiahaka claimed and stowed the Minotaur’s great axe amongst the rest of the accumulated equipment in and on his backpack as the four formed up again in their march order – this time led by Eddlerock with Yaya, Honiahaka, and Ielenia following.
The unexplored hallway extended on a downwards slope some two hundred feet before it angled off to the right. As they reached this turn, both Eddlerock and Yaya stopped the group. “There’s a slight breeze here,” Yaya announced, as they both tried to find the source of the breeze.
Ielenia quickly scanned the floor for some loose dust or dirt. Finding some, she threw a handful in the air, letting the breeze tell them the origin point by observing the moving dust. The dust cloud drifted fairly quickly to the right as it settled back to the floor. Tracking upwind, the source of the breeze was found to be coming from the left wall just beyond the corridor’s angling to the right.
Honiahaka supposed that the stone ball’s rapid progress must have damaged the wall when it careened around this bend, but he didn’t mention it. He was too occupied with moving to the origin point of the breeze and cleaning the wall of all the excess dirt and dust which caked it.
The accumulation of dust and dirt was scraped away to reveal some stone and stonework of very high quality. Even so, the stone had been damaged enough to allow the four to tear out an opening large enough for them to slip through. The job of tearing through the wall was a long and tiring one.
Once through the wall, the four came to an abrupt halt at a precipice.
The large room which opened before them extended beyond what they could see in the darkness ahead of them, above them, and below them. Looking right, the party saw that the room widened approximately fifty feet, and they could walk along a narrow ledge all the way to the corner. In the corner, on the wall along which they looked, they could make out a something mounted there facing outwards over the deep pit which yawned before them.
Looking to the left yielded the same sight: fifty feet out, along a narrow ledge, there was mounted another something in the corner, also facing outwards over the pit.
An inscribed block was uncovered at their feet, just before the ledge began. Honiahaka didn’t wait to be asked; he cast Comprehend Languages so that they could know what information had been left for them to discover. He found a riddle: “In order to go up you have to go down, in order to go down you must go up, up, up, and away”.
As the rest pondered the meaning of this riddle, Eddlerock moved along the ledge both left and right to find the somethings mounted at the ends of the ledge were sets of levers. The left levers were a pair which moved vertically. The right levers also consisted of a pair which moved vertically, but were also accompanied by a third lever – closest to the corner – which moved horizontally.
As Eddlerock returned to the group, they all noticed a large, square, apparently deep recession in the wall just above the passageway where the group had paused to look around. Eddlerock could not climb up to this relative square hole in the wall to explore it, so he lit a torch and threw it up into the depression. The torch did not come back down.
In the following debate among the fellow adventurers, it was Ielenia who first suggested the correct solution. Eddlerock and Yaya both tied for second, and Honiahaka finally reasoned through it to arrive at the same conclusion as everyone else.
Eddlerock enacted the solution by edging out to the left levers to push them both down, then edged back to the right levers to push two of them up, the third lever away from the others towards the corner. When this had been achieved, a loud mixture of sounds began coming from above the passageway where the adventurers huddled. Amid the grinding slide of stone, groaning creak of wood, and the clanking rattle of metal, a bridge began extending itself across the chasm into the darkness.
The bridge’s support system slid outward across the chasm with a steady inevitability. After each twenty feet of movement, another wooden pathway section would lower into place, dangling from the stone support by some of the largest chains any of them had ever seen. Five sections moved into place before the bridge sections ceased their forward movement and the sounds died away.
The group fell back into their marching order and started out over the bridge one at a time. A loud bell sound rang out each time an adventurer’s foot first trod upon the planks. They paused and looked cautiously around each time the bell tolled, but there seemed to be nothing happening because of – nor responding to – the noises.
Until they got halfway across the bridge.
Their pursuit announced its presence with a very loud laugh which did nothing to hide the death-rattle enfolded within it. The quad of adventurers glanced behind them to see many shadowy humanoid figures moving towards them, at which point they dashed with maximum effort and no caution to the other end of the bridge.
The end of the bridge was much more ornate than the beginning: every surface seemed to boast some scrollwork or filigree which surrounded an etched archway. The archway flanked a set of doors which bore matching carved decoration, and appeared to open inward as there were no hinges on this side of the portal.
Just standing near the doors made Honiahaka uneasy. The young nomad was certain the cause of his nervousness was not the intricate decoration of the portal before him, nor even the evidenced age – impressive as it was – of the structure; no, there was something deeper here, more implacable and enduring than mere mortals. But there was no time to reflect on the source of his trepidation.
While he stood contemplating the doors and archway before him, his more practical companions were failing to find a way through the unmoving doors. One pointed and exclaimed, “Look!” as they gestured above the door to the three lines of familiar-looking, but still unknown, script above the door.
The script looked like the same language etched into the stone which gave them the clues to extend the bridge. Honiahaka concentrated, and with great effort managed to gather enough energy to cast Comprehend Languages one last time. The others nervously eyed the bridge, preparing themselves to receive the oncoming shadowy figures.
Honiahaka read the script aloud for the others to hear. “ ‘You heard me before, yet you hear me again. But then I die until you call me again. What am I?’ ” Puzzled, the foursome looked to each other without a solution. Honiahaka read the second line, as the shadows moving towards them on the bridge revealed themselves to be at least three types of undead.
“ ‘After a fall, I will take over – all life will stall, or at least grow slower. What am I?’ ” Yaya and Eddlerock both called out ‘Night!’ as Honiahaka murmured the answer all Tsalagi knew: “Winter.”
The nomad recited the last line above the door as the undead shuffled ever closer. “ ‘What has a head but never weeps; has a bed but never sleeps; can run but never walks; has a –‘ “
“A river!” Yaya shouted, before Honiahaka could even finish the riddle. She’d obviously heard that one before, as she uttered a low thanks to someone or something named “Bag-ends,” Honiahaka thought she said.
“Alright,” Eddlerock said. “We’ve got the last two: night, and a river. What’s the answer to the first one?”
They all looked at each other blankly again, desperation beginning to fight its way into the minds of the four. The undead were merely forty feet away now, but closing inexorably to their victims.
As he closed his eyes to calm his mind, Honiahaka envisioned himself sitting on a hilltop, facing the sun. During the Tsalagi’s last camp, Honiahaka would go that place of tranquility to pray, having to go outside the canyons to do so. And then he smiled as the answer dawned upon him. “An echo,” he said simply.
“That’s it!” Eddlerock crowed, then shouted the answers to the three riddles, “An echo, winter, a river!”
Honiahaka noted with a quiet pride that his gnome brother had changed his mind about the answer to the second riddle.
As the answer to the third riddle was shouted out, the doors altered their appearance to a somewhat transparent condition, revealing a corridor – lit with a dim, red light – extending a long distance beyond the doors. Ielenia touched the door first, leading the way; her touch only evoked a voice which informed them, “The name must be spoken for entrance.”
Eddlerock snarled something in his native tongue, probably a curse of some sort Honiahaka guessed, as the gnome whirled into a combat stance, Ielenia at his side. The horde of undead was numerous enough that it was readily apparent to all this would be a fight – assuming they won – which would be won at a very dear price. Yaya moved up behind Eddlerock and Ielenia to support them in the coming battle.
Honiahaka, perplexed, was left to stare at the door. ‘What name?’ he thought. ‘What name does it want? I’m quite sure no Tsalagi had anything to do with this, so I don’t think it wants a Tsalagi name. So what names have I learned since leaving my people?’
He thought quickly of the people he’d met at Whitegold. Neither the caravan guards Captain or the innkeeper – intriguing as he may be – struck Honiahaka as being important enough to allow access through this door. But what if the door is made to open only when you speak the name of a person you wish to see?
The nomad lay his hands on the door and proclaimed the name of the person he most wanted to see, to complete his mission: “Paullus Pescennius Fabillus!” The door seemed to ripple under his touch, resounding with the might of the magicks upon it. The splash of power sped outwards, washing over all present, and rocked the undead back a few steps before they steadied themselves.
But the door remained closed.
‘So the door does not open when you announce the name of whom you wish to meet,’ thought Honiahaka, ‘but still the door reacted. It seems that Akkadian names do have power here.’ Sounds of battle being joined erupted behind him as he stood considering the doors. Honiahaka had only one more chance before he’d have to join the fight for their lives, and he took it.
“Auloricus Vespagian!” the nomad cried the name of the Akkadian ruler as he again lay his hands upon the door, pushing desperately to open a path to save them. The half-expected, half-hoped-for pulse of power rippled outwards to cause the undead pause once more, but this time the door swung open before him. Honiahaka blinked in surprise before he shouted to his friends, “Let’s go, the door’s open!”
The adventurers darted through the doorway as quickly as possible, and all hands helped to force the door closed once again before the undead could breach it. As the door closed, the four friends could see through the door back to the chasm bridge, the undead shuffling towards them as quickly as possible.
Once the door shut back into place the door’s transparency faded, returning its countenance back to a solid surface once more. Before it became solid again, the undead were seen to be dumped from the bridge into the chasm; if the bridge moved back to its storage place, it did so after the door returned to its usual opaqueness.
No one had sustained any real injuries from the undead they’d narrowly escaped, and everyone breathed a sigh of relief – whether they would admit it or not.
The hallway they were in was still dimly lit by a pervasive red light which seemed to come from everywhere but nowhere at the same time. The hallway extended away from the door seemingly beyond their ability to see, but it at least appeared safe.
Ielenia still did not trust that they were safe, however, and tried to find if there were any more pressure traps. She was almost immediately successful and was able to steer everyone around it with no mishap. She paused once more, some instinct urging her to action; Ielenia heeded her instinct and tried to detect divine power. She found there was so much power in this area, she was blinded – but not panicked by the event. She reported she felt joy to the point of euphoria, so this power was holy in nature. They had managed to find a place of relative safe respite should they need it.
Her companions led Ielenia down the long hallway, deeper into whatever structure they’d managed to enter. Approximately two hundred feet from the entrance the hallway intersects a fairly large, roughly cross-shaped room. It was formed much like a four-leaf clover, each leaf placed at a right angle to the two beside it, with all the leaves close enough together to form a large central area in the middle.
In the center of this room was a pedestal, upon which was not a statue but the hewn, desecrated, rough lump where a statue might have stood. Around this pedestal there was no evidence of any rubble, as if the floor had been swept clean around it. In the center of the left ‘wing’ of the room was a second pedestal, as was a third pedestal in the center of the right ‘wing’ of the room.
Upon the left pedestal stood a statue of an incredibly beautiful woman carved from a single piece of pure emerald. The statue’s beauty was so overwhelming that most of the party thought her to be terrifying. But not Honiahaka; the young nomad stood entranced. The sheer beauty of the form evoked powerful memories for him, yet that was not all of what held him in place. There was something else, something he couldn’t quite grasp…
They moved to examine the other statue, a red one, in the right wing – this one of a hunched over yet powerfully-built man wearing a blindfold, with a hammer in one hand – and Honiahaka moved to cover them as they did so. But he did so trailing behind the others with wistful glances over his shoulder.
Careful examination of the second statue revealed it to be a solid piece of garnet, and like the emerald statue, the artwork was exquisite. Honiahaka was struck by the evocation of strength in the man’s arms, sheer power emanating from the statue’s torso, reminding him of the blacksmith back in White Gold he had watched work his forge. And yet there was also vulnerability in the garnet form standing above him. The blindfold, perhaps, was meant to visually convey a sensitivity of the individual represented?
Whatever the case, Honiahaka was strongly reminded of being in the presence of both his warrior father and the clan’s shaman, when they instructed him concerning his future duties. Perhaps this could be a representation of the goal of every brother and sister: to achieve perfection in body and soul, so that we can finally return home.
As intriguing as that thought was, when it became clear there were no further dangers to be immediately faced, Honiahaka turned his attention back to the first statue. Nearing the statue for a second time, he let his equipment and armor slide gently to the floor; he would not need them before her. He stopped just two steps from the emerald form and began chanting in a soft voice, his gaze never leaving her face, as his fingers drew the feathers of the Eagle and the Swan from his braid in a smooth, practiced, motion.
The others moved to examine a third statue they found, against the juncture where the right ‘wing’ and far alcoves came together; Honiahaka did not notice, nor did he care, as he proceeded with the ritual. The third statue was a deep blue stone – Eddlerock proclaimed it sapphire – and represented a warrior in full plate armor with a cloak pinned to the shoulders. On the back of the cloak was depicted a giant lion’s head, and the warrior held a giant sword held pointed at the center pedestal. A pose of threat, perhaps?
If it were a threat, the threat must have already been carried out, for the center pedestal was the empty one.
As Honiahaka finished his short ritual he used his magic to rebraid the feathers into his hair, the gold in his eyes glowing softly. The others found a stairwell out of this chamber in the left ‘wing’, about center of the curved wall behind the emerald woman. The stairwell zig-zagged upwards from the room. They all paused to consider their next move.
Honiahaka and Ielenia both urged for a full rest; both had expended almost all of their special abilities and were exhausted. Fortunately, Yaya and Eddlerock agreed with them in that if they were to explore any further, it might be better to be fully rested when they did so.
The Tsalagi nomad had no idea where anyone slept except himself, as he practically collapsed where he stood at the foot of the emerald statue. He reluctantly awoke – his dreams far too familiar and inviting – hours later to find himself curled up inside his armor, the pelts a cocoon of comfort and warmth.

As the others woke and began gathering their equipment, Yaya began scouting around the room and stairwell in preparation for traveling up it. She almost tripped over something on the stairwell, and turned, perplexed. She had tripped over nothing, as far as she could see. She bent down to investigate with her hands the area where her feet had stumbled, and picked up… something. Definitely an object of some heft and size, yet just as visible as air itself, Yaya stepped carefully over to the missing statue and lay it carefully on the pedestal. A very loud bell tolled at the same moment the object – a book of some sort – appeared on the pedestal. The four companions cringed in pain at the sound as the room shook and trembled with the volume of the bell’s peals. Eddlerock did some quick thinking and grabbed the newly-found book from the pedestal to shove it down into Yaya’s backpack as the bell’s tones and the room’s shaking dissipated. They waited until they could hear each other again before they started back to the stairs to resume their exploration. As they fell into marching order, they froze to determine the source of the new sound they heard: from above came a slow grinding sound, which sounded very much like stone sliding on stone. A shaft of light stabbed down the stairwell from above, becoming larger as the sound continued. The adventurers warily began moving into a battle line, their senses focused intently on what awaited them on the stairs, when a booming voice Commanded, “Stop!” The gnome and paladin were frozen in place by the magic, Yaya was slowed but moved into position to support the two fighters. Honiahaka was affected not at all but did not stray from where he stood, more curious than afraid, as a large group of very big soldiers – all heavily armed and armored – made their way down the stairs to take up ready guard positions around the companions. The soldiers were trailed by a hunched, older man, who moved with a stately dignity to the bottom of the stairs. He eyed the intruders with a cursory – perhaps curious? – glance. The elder addressed the four adventurers, “You will come with us.” The quiet strength in his voice told the group he was not accustomed to having his commands rejected. The companions began shuffling from the room to the stairwell, having little other choice considering the hulks of the soldiers present, when the elder stopped the procession with a startled exclamation in Tsalagi. Honiahaka instantly whirled to the old man, blinking in surprise, yet not forgetting to raise his empty hand in greeting. The two spoke at length – it was in fact a practical monologue by Honiahaka – in Tsalagi while the others simply stood bewildered at the turn of events and not understanding a word of what was said. The elder man turned to the leader of his escort after Honiahaka had finally finished. Either the elder had underestimated the delicate hearing of half-Elves and Tieflings, or he was overcome by a deep emotion and was temporarily heedless of who heard him when he uttered the simple command, “Remove Agorax.” The countenance of the elder promised that those two words would result in great distress from those to whom they were directed, and Honiahaka knew in his soul they had just made a tentative alliance with a great power – and a sure enemy of another. For now however, the adventurers were led up the stairs by the elder, who introduced himself as M. Paullus Pescennius Fabillus and informed them that they were on house arrest until they could present their testimony of the events thrust upon them in a full formal court. The house arrest meant they could not leave the Royal level of the city until permitted to do so – but otherwise were free to roam where they will. The diversions offered by the Royal level alone would keep them occupied for quite some time. Honiahaka planned to do several things while waiting for the formal court, and the extensive library was going to be a prime focal point. His mother had touched on the subject of libraries: “As the gods give knowledge and wisdom to the shaman, so do libraries give to the wise of the Stone Men.” And it was the wise men he needed to consult. During the walk back to the Royal level, Fabillus listened eagerly to the details of how the four had come to be in the sealed temple. With their account of events, they were soon reunited with Fi’Real and Alaric, the latter bringing with him three more acquaintances met in the time since they were all together. Interestingly enough, these three new acquaintances were also on house arrest, in care of Fi’Real, until they could be tried for the crime of casting unlicensed magic within the borders of Akkad. This magic had apparently been cast in defense of Alaric, which told the six original adventurers volumes about the morals of their three new friends. Honiahaka and Ielenia confessed to Fabillus that they, too, had cast unlicensed magic within Akkadian borders; Ielenia was forgiven as she was a Paladin, receiving her power from her god. Honiahaka, said Fabillus, would have to stand inquiry.

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