Brigand Six: An Unflankable Story

Chapter 27: All Trialed Up

Geandur and Brük elect to stay in the grubby house to look after Tiq, while the rest of the heroes and their brown-cloaked companions descend into the stone depths below. They find themselves in a long corridor with a simple glyph carved every few feet into the walls on either side. Seraphina recognizes the the glyph as a magical symbol of concealment. The heroes are instantly in alert, especially when Othfir notices a different sigil on the wall up ahead. He tosses a stone past the sigil and suddenly a minotaur materializes before the party.

Arradon quickly fires an arrow at the beast, but it merely disappears when it reaches its target. The minotaur barely seems to acknowledge the heroes, but stands snorting and staring. Quinn walks up next to the creature and waves his hand through it, revealing it to be simply an illusion. The thief also quickly discovers that the floor behind the minotaur is also an illusion that covers a twenty foot pit. Othfir pokes his head through the illusion and sees that there are only roots at the bottom and the heroes begin to pass the fake minotaur and hop over the pit.

On the other side of the pit trap, is a room laden with six large tiles. There are also four antechambers in each of the room's four corners. There are concealment runes all across the walls. Othfir recognizes the tiles as pressure-plates, but when he and Arradon press on one with the elf's staff, the tile only gives a little. Just to be safe, the heroes cross one by one into the closest room on the right. Besides more concealment runes, there is a large boulder against the far wall. Set into the boulder are four incomplete sigils surrounding a circle. On the circle is carved a short rune that could potentially complete the glyphs around it. Othfir determines that the circle is some kind of wheel, but Seraphina explains that it will only be able to turn if powered by some kind of magic. Then the sigils should be able to activate with the touch of a hand.

Being careful not to linger on the pressure-plates, the heroes begin exploring the other antechambers. Arradon finds that he is unable to enter the far right room, blocked by an invisible forcefield. However, he notices a glyph on the wall nearby that matches one on the ceiling of the invisibly barred room. Instructed by the elf, Estriel presses her hand to the sigil. Immediately, water begins pouring from the twin glyph on the ceiling. The water is unable to pass through the invisible barrier and begins filling the room. Arradon also notices that odd symbols on the walls begin filling with water as well.

While Quinn discovers a deep empty well in the far left corner chamber, Morningstar decides to test out the shimmering magical field at the entrance of the closer left chamber. As the cleric walks through the magical haze, he is instantaneously transformed to the size of a mouse. Simultaneously, a cat-sized spider manifests out of shadows and begins spinning a web made of similar shadows. Tolgor follows Morningstar, having spotted a tiny sigil on the far wall. The room filling with water is suddenly lit with a flash of electricity.

Arradon crosses the room to investigate the well, but triggers the pressure-plates already occupied by Estriel and then Quinn. Each activated tile sprays a small cloud of toxic gas into the tiles' occupants. Arradon gets a couple lungfuls, but arrives next to the well. He lights a torch and drops it into the depths. He secures his grappling hook to the lip of the well and Quinn begins to climb down. Unfortunately, he loses his grip and tumbles down into the dark abyss. His instincts kick in and he skids to a stop, bracing his arms and legs against the wall. One hundred feet down is another invisible barrier that Quinn is able to stand on. In a similar twist, Arradon also slips while trying to climb down the rope and soon joins Quinn at the bottom of the well.

While Estriel goes to check on the well-dwellers, Seraphina fires a few magic missiles at the shadow spider in the other room. The spider takes the hits in stride, weaving its web back and forth across the room, closer and closer to the floor. Seraphina puts Kaggs in charge of watching the glyph-covered boulder, while she sprouts her glowing wings and hurtles towards the shrinking haze. She flies over the weaving spider and touches the small sigil on the well. As she does, Othfir feels a quick tingle followed by a lot of moisture as the room filled with water releases its watery contents. The invisible barrier has apparently shifted, as the water flows across the room and begins pouring into the well without flowing into the rest of the main chamber. Othfir also finds that he can enter the water chamber, but can no longer move into the pressure-plated chamber.

Arradon and Quinn slowly begin inching their way up the walls of the well, with the help of Arradon's ring of water-walking and the slowly rising water. Othfir braces himself against the bursts of electricity that activate every few moments. Seraphina, Morningstar, and Tolgor take on the shadowy spider. Seraphina is able to freeze and shatter a few of its legs and Morningstar shoots one off as well. Unfortunately, the brass dragonborn's position next to the spider proves to be a disaster from every angle; the spider gives him a couple nasty bites and he also gets hit with a stray arrow from Morningstar and a frosty ray from Seraphina. When the spider finally evaporates into shadow as a result of Morningstar's arrow, Tolgor looks like he's barely on his feet.

The water stops flowing once all the sigils in that room are filled with water. The water drains into the well, leaving Quinn and Arradon still quite a bit below a hole in the side of the wall. Quinn shimmies up into the small alcove where he discovers another sigil. He presses it and back in the room with the boulder, the boulder itself begins to move. The boulder turns around, revealing itself to be a stone golem.

Quinn and Arradon struggle with climbing up the well for a bit. Morningstar turns the water back on, but turns it back off when Othfir frowns on being shocked again. Seraphina flies towards the golem only to have it deal Kaggs a rib-cracking punch that launches him across the room. Tolgor limps through the shrinking haze, returning to size as Kaggs and Seraphina try to make a dent on the rune golem. Estriel helps Arradon and Quinn out from the well, but are barred from helping their compatriots due to the the invisible barrier in front of them and Othfir.

Kaggs darts around to the back of the golem. He alerts the heroes that the wheel has turned to complete one of the glyphs on its back. Before he can try and activate it, the golem slams its fist together igniting them. The stone behemoth spins around and knocks out cold with a burning fist. Tolgor hops up on the golem's back and slams his palm into the the completed sigil. In an instant, the dragonborn vanishes. The rune begins glowing and the wheel spins rapidly before it stops again, completing a different glyph. Seraphina, two comrades down, flies back into the shrinking haze. As a familiar shadow spider materializes, she hurtles towards the sigil to reverse the invisible barrier and hopefully defeat the rune-covered golem.

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