Iscreem led Elvira and Greenhat on a winding tour, zig-zagging through the endless passages of the maze of mysteries, when he came to yet another intersection and stopped. He had sort of a puzzled look on his face as he looked to the left then right, backwards and right again.
“Are you sure you know where you are going?” Greenhat asked.
“Of course I do. We should go this way.” Iscreem pointed towards a passage to the left.
“We’ve been down there already. I think you just don’t know where you are going do you?” Elvira said.
A frustrated Iscreem snapped back. “I know we’ve been down that way before! I…um…I just wanted to make sure you two were paying attention. We need to go this way now.” the kobold pointed to the passage to the right.
While not quite sure whether Iscreem was being serious or not, Elvira and Greenhat decided to continue following the kobold while also keeping tabs on their which turns and passages they traveled.
The right passage led past a series of identical halls with walls and archways which dispersed in an alternate pattern, each by ten feet apart.
As the trio continued on, Greenhat’s torch suddenly blew out. The three stopped in the darkness as the old gnome lit another torch, but it too flickered and blew out just as soon as it was lit. He tried once more but to no avail. Something of magic and evil kept the passage a permanent blackened darkness. “It’s no use. I can’t light a torch here.” the gnome said.
Elvira took out a rope. “Here, both of you take hold of this rope so we don’t get separated as we make our way through the darkness. Iscreem and Greenhat each grabbed onto the rope with Greenhat making sure to tie the end of it onto his belt. The rope connected trio continued further using the walls of the passage as their guide. With their eyesight useless, they began to listen intently to their surroundings. They heard their three pairs of boots walking through the dark halls, occasionally stepping down with a crunch on an insect or two that had wandered into their path. There was a drip of water from the ceiling that sputtered onto their heads as they passed by. They began to hear the muffled sound of voices which began to grow louder as they continued through the darkness. They made their way towards the voices that they heard.
“I can hear people talking in common up ahead.” Elvira stated.
“What are they saying?” Greenhat asked.
“I’m not sure. The voices sound like they might be on the other side of the wall. HELLO? Is there anybody out there?” Elvira shouted. A muffled voice was heard in return from beyond the wall.
A loud click was heard as suddenly the wall moved sending a stream of light towards Elvira. A large hand appeared from the light and grabbed her pulling her through towards the light in a fast jolt. Iscreem and Greenhat, who were still connected at the middle and other end of the Elvira’s rope were also quickly pulled through.
Elvira, Iscreem and Greenhat fell forward in a tumbling heap onto the ground as they were quickly surrounded. As the trio picked themselves back up from the floor, Iscreem pulled his blade from his sheath and swung it, but the blade’s handle was caught in mid swing, blocking the attack by a much larger hand than his own.
“Hello friend.” A voice boomed as Iscreem felt the hand pull the kobold upwards and off the ground until Iscreem was eye level with the larger of the two. Iscreem recognized the familiar voice as the two’s eyes met.
“Crumm! It’s you!” Iscreem exclaimed as the ogre lowered the kobold back down to the ground.
Elvira and Greenhat looked about also recognizing Ruby, Sammy, Twiggy and an oddly snoring Gnarshm who was sleeping away on the ground behind Twiggy.
“Great to see you all again.” Greenhat exclaimed. “We have managed to locate the purple key, however we have not yet found the time lord’s lair. What happened to Gnarshm? Why is he sleeping? I thought I told you to wait until he was fully recovered before bringing him down here? the old gnome asked Twiggy.
“He was recovered and walking about at the inn, but he didn’t recognize Crumm and I, and wouldn’t come with us at all, so I had to use one of my sleeping potions to knock him out. Then Crumm carried him down and we met up with Ruby and Sammy at the entrance to the maze like we had originally discussed. We waited there for a while but when neither you nor Iscreem or Elvira returned we thought you might be in trouble so we went searching for you. Now here we all are.” Twiggy summarized.
“It wasn’t my fault that we got lost, honest. Iscreem led us on a wild goose chase through the maze.” Elvira wise cracked at the kobold.
The old gnome leaned forward to view the sleeping gnoll. “It sounds like his second resurrection didn’t go as hopeful as we thought. Let’s try to wake him.” Greenhat took out a vial of a vile smelling liquid and held it to Gnarshm’s nose. The gnoll quickly awoke screaming, then quickly began to calm while Greenhat pulled out his bag of medicines.
A somewhat dazed Gnarshm began to speak. “Oh my. What a nightmare! I had dreamed that an awful ogre and a foul elf tried to lure me into a dungeon and when I wouldn’t go along with them, the evil elf tried to murder me with a towel of toxic fuming liquid. It was horrendous. It was…it was…”
“Aaahhh!” Gnarshm screamed when he saw Crumm and Twiggy standing next to him. “There they are! Help! Help! They’re trying to kill me!” the gnoll panicked. Ruby, Sammy and Elvira had to restrain the gnoll as he thrashed about.
“Now now Gnarshm, none of us are trying to kill you. I can assure you of that. Please be patient while I fix you up some medicine to help you regain your memory. The old gnome proceeded to mix up some liquids into a new vial. “Iscreem, can you try to calm Gnarshm down while I fix up this medicine for him?” the gnome asked the kobold warrior.
Iscreem tried to calm Gnarshm as best as he could as Ruby and the others held the gnoll in restraint. “Gnarshm, don’t you remember us? Don’t you remember Haggrinna? and how she sent you on this quest to accompany us, using your maps of these dungeon passages? and how you were so eager to finally go adventuring?” Iscreem asked the confused gnoll.
“No….I remember…..I remember……….cheeses and wines…..and royal hunting expeditions and…..” Gnarshm started.
“GNARSHM! SNAP OUT OF IT!” Iscreem yelled. “What is wrong with you?! Pull yourself together! Your our official cartographer of these dungeons in our quest to defeat the evil time lords! Don’t you remember?!” Iscreem screamed as he began slapping Gnarshm across the face in an attempt to make him remember.
“Please it is not necessary to use violence. Crumm, will you extract the kobold please? Greenhat motioned to the ogre, who quickly grabbed Iscreem and pulled him away from the confused gnoll.
“Now Gnarshm, I want you to be still and drink this medication. It will not taste good but you must drink it if you are to recover your memory. Bottoms up!” The old gnome poured the vial of harsh liquid down the gnolls throat.
For a moment the party thought the gnoll might upchuck the nasty tasting liquid, but to everyone’s suprise he kept the brew down. Gnarshm’s dizzy mind began to clear as everyone leaned in to see what would happen with the gnoll. Greenhat began asking questions to the gnoll. “Gnarshm, do you remember your quest to defeat the time lords? Do you remember any of us? Do you remember your book of maps?” The gnome asked as he handed Gnarshm his book of cartography.
Gnarshm began to flip through the pages slowly. Iscreem krept back forward towards the gnoll and asked “Gnarshm do you remember me? Do you remember any of us? Anything?”
“I remember…….I remember………” Gnarshm pointed towards the kobold warrior. “I remember Ice Cream!”
“Well that’s close enough. He remembers me did you hear that? Iscreem said.
Gnarshm continued on while occasionally flipping through his book. Looking back up to the party he said…”And you all are…..Greenhat……Crumm….Twiggy…Ruby…Elvira……and…….Sammy!” The party rejoiced at Gnarshm recovering his memory.
Once Gnarshm was back on his feet, the party was ready to continue onwards. Ruby had found a small room with an old steel wheel that jet out and upwards in the room’s center. The party all gathered around the wheel when the door to the room loudly shut from behind Iscreem who had been the last to enter the room. “Why did you shut the door?” Greenhat asked.
“I didn’t. It just shut on its own.” The kobold replied. “What does the wheel do?”
“I guess there’s only one way to find out.” Ruby replied as she slowly began to turn the wheel in a clockwise direction until it could turn no more.
The party waited for a few moments but nothing happened. “Well I guess it didn’t do anything at all.” Ruby said. The party then left the room and to their surprise, they were no longer in the dark passages but rather at a nicely lit marbled stone adorned intersection where the party could go either north, south, east or west, and the room they had just exited was no longer there at all.
“Which way do we go?” Greenhat inquired.
Gnarshm pulled out his book of maps and pointed westward. “Let’s go down the westward passage.” The party followed Gnarshm down the marble stone path which twisted and turned until the party reached a door laden with amethyst jewels. “Well I think we have found the door to one of the time lord’s lairs.
Elvira inserted the purple key and pushed the door open.