Gnarshm awoke on a comfortable bed in the inn with a splitting headache. His vision a bit blurry, eventually came into focus revealing a rough sketchy looking beady eyed kobold and a hulk of an ogre towering over him which had suprised Gnarshm’s already rattled nerves until he realized it was just his fellow adventurers Iscreem and Crumm.
Gnarshm managed to pull a few words from out of his sore throat. “What…what happened?” the tired gnoll asked.
“You died.” Crumm responded bluntly.
“Yeah, you went Ka-SPLAT! Blood and guts everywhere! It was a massacre!” Iscreem put shockingly.
“It certainly wasn’t pretty. We had to pool quite the sum of gold for the healers at the temple to bring you back. You and Twiggy both.” Ruby stated from the other side of the room.
Twiggy had awoken hours earlier and was seated on a soft velvety chair which Iscreem had annoyingly punctured quite a few holes into with his blade some months prior. Suffice to say the innkeeper was none too pleased and had decided to put the cost of repairing the chair onto the party’s tab.
The wooden door to the room swung open revealing the old green hatted gnome. “Ah, I see you are now both alive and awake. Soon we will be ready to again descend the perilous dungeon. There are many passages to traverse before we can reach the stairs to the third level.” Greenhat stated.
“Hey, look at this!” The elven rogue Elvira had snatched Gnarshm’s book of maps while the gnoll was unconscious, had been studying the route to the third level quite extensively and made an interesting discovery.
“I think I found a shortcut! There is an alternate set of stairs on each level, and if we take the northeastern set of stairs from level one, past the secret door on the second level, we can get to level 3 in no time! We could even get to level 4 this way as well. There are parts and sections of these maps that are incomplete, but from what I can piece together, this route makes for a much better route of travel than the way we went last time! Elvira exclaimed.
The party gathered around Gnarshm’s book of cartography to view the alternate route. When Gnarshm and Twiggy had fully recovered, the party began the descent.
Some hours later… the party arrives at the third level via the alternate route. Cold grey cobblestone walls line corridors to the west and south. Crumm leads the party along the westward passage, when he begins to slow his pace. “It’s dead quiet. Something feels wrong.” the ogre grumbles.
“Get moving you big brute, your holding up the line.” Iscreem pushed.
“Wait, I feel it too. There is some sinister magic afoot here.” Greenhat warned.
Suddenly a gust of wind blew through the passage swirling in extreme velocity around the party, kicking up dust in a whirlwind. The violent wind rocked the passage in a thunderous wave and then with a flash of light, it was gone. The noise subsided and the party regained their footing, only to find that they were no longer in the cobblestone corridor, but in a small damp and moldy passage that went from south to east to north and then back to the west. In the center of the southern passage was a large door made with emeralds, which the elven rogue immediately began to attempt to pry off some of the gemstones with the tip of her dagger. The door was locked, and similar in style and shape of the first two lairs of the Time Lords.
“This must be where the Time Lord is lurking, but the door is locked.” Elvira proceeded to insert the blue key, and then the yellow key, but neither of them fit.
“Everyone pan out and look around for a green key.” Iscreem ordered.
Sammy looked around worriedly. “Uh, has anyone else noticed that besides the door being locked and us not having the key, that there doesn’t seem to be any way out of this area either?”
“We’re stuck?!” Ruby exclaimed.
Gnarshm looked through his map but found no clues as to how they would exit.
Panick began to set in Crumm’s mind as he began pounding as hard as he could on the emerald door. “LET US OUT! LET US OUT!” the ogre yelled.
Iscreem joined the ogre in the noise. “No. LET US IN! LET US IN!” The kobold fighter pulled out an axe and began hacking at the door.
Elvira began racing around the looping passage desperately looking for a way out but finding none.
“Stop it! All of you! I need you all to be quiet right now!” Twiggy pulled a scroll containing ancient runes from her bag and began to read aloud and chant. A bright red fire en-flared and disintegrated the scroll turning it to a fine dust that quickly dropped to the floor. The elven mage quickly scooped up the dust and blew the particles into the air, which began to take the shape of an eerily floating bloodshot eye that scanned the passages from left to right. The party watched as the eye moved about scanning everyone and anything in its sight. As it moved towards Iscreem, the kobold took a swat at it but the eye was too quick to be hit. “No! Leave it alone Iscreem!”. Twiggy warned. The eye continued its search until it came to the southwestern wall where it just floated for a minute or two, staring intensely at the wall. Then suddenly it exploded, spraying a red murky gelatinous substance onto the wall.
“Eww. What is it? Is it supposed to explode like that?” Elvira poked at the sliming oozing substance as it slowly drizzled down the wall dropping into a muddy puddle on the dirt floor. The wall then crumbled before the group, revealing a way out.
The party twisted and turned through numerous passages until they reached an unlocked door. One by one they continued on to yet another set of corridors. Sammy muttered something about feeling dizzy.
“It’s just all this mold and grime that’s in these passages.” Ruby suggested.
“Shake it off. We’ve got to find that blasted key.” Iscreem said.
“Hey, what’s that up ahead?” Crumm asked.
“What? I don’t see anything.” Sammy replied.
Iscreem stared ahead. “Wait. I can see something moving around up there.” Iscreem crept further ahead to get a better view. “I see it. It’s some kind of greenish jelly goo. I don’t think it…..YEAAARGH!” Iscreem yelped as the green jelly leaped off the ground and onto the kobold’s plate mail sizzling the armor as the acid quickly began dissolving the metal.
The acid was burning Iscreem’s flesh by the time Greenhat was able to get the kobold’s armor off. The gnome discarded the spent armor on the ground below. Ruby cast her Icestorm spell on the green jelly to eliminate the acidic threat. The party continued on past an intersection with Iscreem moving at a bit slower pace due to the painful acid burns. They made another turn westward but hadn’t gone much further when Greenhat saw a familiar sight in front of him; the discarded acidic burned armor that the gnome had peeled off of Iscreem’s burning skin.
“The maze is playing tricks on us. I think it’s spinning us in circles.” Greenhat stated.
“My map doesn’t cover this part of the dungeon.” Gnarshm replied.
Twiggy pulled out another of her scrolls.
“Oh no you don’t!” Ruby interrupted. “You’ll make a mess of things. Let me do it. I’ll show you how it’s done.” Ruby grabbed the scroll from Twiggy’s hands, and began to read the arcane runes aloud. The scroll again burned up in red flames disintegrating into dust on the floor. Ruby scooped up the dust and blew it into the air, generating an even better developed crimson colored bloodshot eye that proceeded to scan the area similar to Twiggy’s eye. The eye panned from left to right stopping again slightly to give Iscreem a slightly evil eyed stare, but this time Iscreem wasn’t in the mood to attempt to swat it back. The eye moved on to the eastern wall and stared intently in the same way that Twiggy’s apparition had done previously, although after a few minutes the eye was still formed and did not explode.
“See? That is how you summon the wizard’s eye.” Ruby pushed open the secret door revealing another smaller corridor full of doors. As Ruby passed through the secret passage, she held her hand palm up, and the eye slowly retracted towards the mage.
“You must learn control like I have done. Only then will you have mastered the spell.” Ruby then attempted to spin the eye on her finger, but in her attempt to show off, the eye burst, splatting red gelatinous ooze in an epic explosion, mostly hitting Greenhat in the face with the slop. Twiggy and Ruby began laughing hysterically.
Greenhat began wiping off the red ooze in disgust. “Really, the both of you need to study your spells more carefully!” the gnome said as he stormed off.
Crumm and Sammy opened a door along the inner corridor and a bright light shone upon the party. An apparition appeared before the group and was somehow aware of their plight to locate the key to the emerald door and of their quest to battle the evil time lords.
The ghost was a kindred spirit and offered the party a gift. The apparition spoke. “Take this Ring of Worlds. It bestows the ability of teleportation and will aid you in your travels throughout these wretched winding dungeons. Use it wisely.” The ghost then disappeared.
Gnarshm proceeded to map the rest of the dungeon passages as the party traversed but was slightly puzzled when they again stumbled upon the same staircase that they had originally descended from. “This can’t be good. I’ve mapped this whole area and we still haven’t found the green key.
“Don’t tell me we have to use the main stairs. It will take forever. There must be another way.” Elvira said.
“Looks like we should not have taken this “shortcut” after all.” Sammy exclaimed.
“Perhaps we should use the magic ring?” Twiggy inquired as she slipped the ring onto one of her slender fingers. The wind began to roar and spin throughout the passage kicking up dust into the air and with another flash of light the party was teleported to yet another passage.
The group stumbled through an area of darkness reaching what appeared to be a dead end, but what the party found there was truly a magnificent sight.
The Time Lord’s emerald green key.