The old gnome raised his torch so the burning light shone upon the moldy stone wall, revealing a series of elvish runes that had been carved and chiseled from the dungeon wall some ages ago. “Can you see it now? What does it say?” the gnome inquired.
Elvira proceeded to interpret the timeworn runes. “These letters are an archaic elvish, but what I can read from it…it either says ‘Welcome to the Halls of Medicine’, or ‘You’ve entered the Maze of Mysteries’. Ermm…Yes. I think it’s the latter. Maze of Mysteries. I’m sure of it.”
“Great. Another Maze. Just what we need.” Sammy chimed in.
“Mazes shmazes. It’s nothing we haven’t seen before. I’m going in to take a look around.” Iscreem said as he wandered a bit ahead.
“Don’t go too far. I told Twiggy to meet us here by the entrance.” Ruby warned.
“I’m tired of all this waiting around. I wants to go exploring! Who’s with me?” Iscreem asked as he looked back at the party.
“I’ll go.” Elvira stepped forward eagerly.
The old green hatted gnome took his currently lit torch and used it to set another ablaze, then handed the new light to Ruby. “Here. You and Sammy stand guard by the entrance and wait for Twiggy and Crumm to return with Gnarshm. I will accompany Iscreem and Elvira further into the maze. We’ll try to locate the Time Lord’s lair.” Greenhat said.
Ruby and Sammy watched as the gnome, kobold, and elf headed off into the labyrinth beyond. The light of Greenhat’s torch grew more dim and faint as the trio continued on into the dark maze.
Iscreem had a natural enthusiasm for blindly racing through twisting passages, often without a care as to where he was going or even where he had been. This perturbed Greenhat to no end. “Slow down you blasted kobold! You’ll get us lost!” the gnome shouted.
Even Elvira moved quickly on foot. Greenhat began to regret opting to travel onward with the two younger adventurers, but then he noticed that both Iscreem and Elvira stopped in their tracks ahead of an entrance to the room ahead. When the old gnome reached the doorway he peered into the room to see why the other two had been so reluctant to continue onward.
The clashing of heavy weapons striking metal armor and the shouts of battle echoed throughout the room beyond. A group of three very large menacing ogres surrounded a seemingly elderly looking man with pale white hair, wearing a set of scale armor. The man held his ground wielding a short metal blade, but was outnumbered three to one, and the ogres took turns clobbering him with their large clubs. At each hit, the old man is knocked off his feet, stumbling to the ground at the glee of the ogre’s that surround him.
After each hit, the elderly man gets back up and attempts to swing back at his aggressors but the trio of ogres take turns swatting him back to the floor. The three brutes seem to enjoy pummeling at the man but are not content on just beating him. One of the ogres waves a wand in the air while chanting a spell. The ground beneath the man begins to erupt in fire, scorching the aged man’s feet. The ogres laugh maniacally.
Not liking the events he was seeing unfold before his eyes, Greenhat mutters some words to his companions. “This is evil. We must put an end to this atrocity.”
Frightened at the sheer size of the hulking ogres, Iscreem replied quickly. “Whoa, hold on there green fellow. This isn’t our fight. Besides, the old man is doing alright on his own. No need for us to get involved.”
An ogre took another swing and clubbed the elderly man, denting his armor and sending him careening across the room. The man’s face was now bloodied and his body limp, as the ogres moved in for the kill.
Iscreem heard the whizzing of a dagger shoot past his ear as it struck one of the ogre’s squarely in the back as it let out a horrifying scream and tumbled to the ground in an earthquaking rumble. The other two ogre brutes quickly turned to see what had taken down their partner in crime and set their eyes on Elvira, Iscreem and Greenhat. The ogres now have a new group of foes to flex their muscles on.
Iscreem turned to Elvira and gave her a horrifying glance. “What have you done?!” the kobold screamed.
“I had to do something. They were going to kill him!” the elf replied.
“Better him than us!” Iscreem said.
“Look out! They are on to us!” Greenhat shouted as he dodged a swing from an ogre’s club which smashed into the stone wall sending bits of stone debris scattering onto the cold floor.
The second ogre waved his wand sending a flash of fire forward searing Iscreem. The fire was scaldingly hot and burned the kobold’s flesh. Iscreem let out a yelp of pain.
Another dagger flew through the air striking one of the ogres in the heart and it too fell to the ground lifelessly.
The last ogre mage yelled furiously and charged at Elvira knocking her down rendering her unconscious. The ogre then turned back towards the kobold warrior who was still dealing with the burns of the ogre’s wand. As the ogre mage approached the wounded kobold, something distracted him. The chanting of the green hatted gnome. Greenhat read aloud the verses of an old scroll. Again and again the gnome chanted the verse until the scroll disintegrated into ash. A black vortex appeared from out of the ashes tearing a hole through the fabric of reality. The vortex swirled venomously as a horrifying and demonic presence enveloped the area and swallowed the ogre whole. Then just as quickly as it appeared, the vortex dissolved into the air and was gone.
Iscreem glanced at Greenhat, and then looked in amazement at the nothingness the vortex left in its wake. “Jeez. I’m glad you’re on my side.” the kobold said.
Elvira regained consciousness and got back on her feet. With the perilous ogres defeated the group greeted the elderly man they had saved from an imminent death.
“Thank you for saving me. It would have certainly been the end of me if you hadn’t stepped in. Your courage is to be commended.” the old man said.
Iscreem got the feeling the old man’s words were meant more for Elvira and Greenhat than himself. “Hey what’s an ancient creaky old guy like you doing down here in these dungeons anyway? Adventuring is a young person’s game. Good thing we were here to bail you out. You look older than our grandpa gnome here is!” Iscreem rudely mentioned.
Slightly insulted, the elderly man responded. “Hrrummph! Age is just a number, and my number is four hundred and fifty four. Probably allot longer than you’ll live if you keep at it the way you do. I’m an alchemist and I travel about these dungeons in search of ingredients for my potions. It’s the best place to find things like rodent livers, serpent fangs, and otyugh blood. See I’ve found a way to extend life beyond its normal years. Those ogres were trying to steal my age defying brew. Please accept this potion as an offering of my gratitude.” the ancient traveler thanks the party once more and gives an elixir of youth to Greenhat, and then departs.