Trinsic Tales:Ships Ahoy!/Chapter 04
Chapter Four: Temple Climber
<Capn_Ascii> "As we join our heroes, OMG TARRASQUE WTF!?!?"
Ashling begins casting Dimension Door to get everyone to the other side of the gorge.
Marilyn makes sure everyone is within range of the spell so no one is missed.
Vathgani sticks close for the spell
<Capn_Ascii> Black peeks over Ashling's shoulder, watching the spell being cast.
<Marilyn> "Energize when ready."
<Capn_Ascii> With the sound of a hundred thousand people saying "whop!" you vanish - and with the sound of a hundred thousand people saying "foop!" you reappear! Specifically, on the far side of the chasm.
<Capn_Ascii> You can no longer see the tarrasque from here, although now you can hear him snoring on his ledge somewhere below you.
Marilyn looks around, looking for the path onwards.
<Capn_Ascii> Yep, there it is. Sitting there, looking all smug and pathy. Jerk.
<Marilyn> "Resume formation and let's move out."
Vathgani gets back into formation and leads the way
<Capn_Ascii> *march, march, march*
<Capn_Ascii> You make your way through more jungle, which looks suspiciously similar to the earlier parts of the jungle you just came through. Lazy background artists.
<Capn_Ascii> Eventually, you find the path blocked by a mountain someone was rude enough to leave sitting in the middle of the path.
<Capn_Ascii> Oh, wait. That's the spire, the one the island is named for.
<Capn_Ascii> You look up...and up...and up. Wow, that's a tall mountain. And steep, too. Less a mountain, and more like a giant spike of rock sticking straight up out of the ground.
<Capn_Ascii> Tall...and steep...and jagged. Very, very jagged.
<Marilyn> "Ah, rock climbing. My faaaavorite hobby," Marilyn mutters.
Marilyn looks for a path that doesn't require such extreme measures. Or perhaps a door.
<Vathgani> "Yes, my favorite hobby too."
<Ashling> "I could take it or leave it. I'd rather be reading in a library though."
<Vathgani> "Climbing libraries almost as fun."
<Capn_Ascii> Hmm. Nope, it just looks like one big, fat lump of mountain from here. The path runs right up to the edge of the spire, and stops, as if expecting you to just walk right up the side of the mountain. There are a few random wooden crates and barrels at the end of the path.
Marilyn points at the crates and barrels. "Let's open them."
Marilyn walks up to the crates and examines them for locks, labels, or other identification devices.
<Vathgani> "They belong to someone?"
<Marilyn> "Well, we don't have to take anything from them. But they're worth investigating."
<Capn_Ascii> Marilyn: Hmm. The containers are all made of wood - wood which looks a bit too new to have been sitting out here unattended for too terribly long. They all have the words "C. Cola Industries" stamped on them - it looks like someone's corporate logo.
<Marilyn> "Hmmmm... I wonder..." Marilyn works on opening a crate using her crowbar.
<Capn_Ascii> Marilyn: You open the crate. It contains...
<Capn_Ascii> ...cola! About a dozen glass bottles full of the stuff, in fact.
<Capn_Ascii> The bottles have "Coral Cola" on them, in a fancy brand label style.
<Capn_Ascii> The soda itself is a vaguely reddish color, and all fizzley, as soda is wont to be.
<Marilyn> "The rest of this is likely to be similar... everyone take what you want from this," Marilyn comments, stepping back to allow the others access.
<Marilyn> "I'll open more if I have to, but please be reasonable."
<Vathgani> "Probably don't need cola."
<Marilyn> "Fair enough," Marilyn comments, grabbing a few bottles for Herself. "Looks like we're going to have to climb."
Ashling grabs a few as well.
Marilyn walks around the base of the spire, looking for another path up.
Marilyn begins to walk around the base of the spire, looking for another path up.*
Vathgani tags along
<Capn_Ascii> Marilyn, Ashling: By happenstance, at the exact same time, you happen to spot something on the far side of the spire. Someone has apparantly been climbing the mountain recently - there's a rope ladder dangling from a ledge high overhead. A few loose bits of rope and some scattered climbing tools (spikes, harnesses, etc.) are lying around the base of the ladder.
<Marilyn> "Hmmm. Opinions... should we use this, or keep looking?"
<Vathgani> "Looks useable."
<Marilyn> "Alright, we'll climb up in weight order. Increasing."
<Marilyn> "Ashling first. Then me. Vathgani last."
Ashling tries climbing the ladder
<Capn_Ascii> Ashling: You tug on the ladder...it seems sturdy enough. You begin to climb it. The far end is tied onto a ledge quite a ways up...be careful not to fall...
Marilyn waits until Ashling is "almost" out of detail sight, or she finishes, then she begins climbing herself.
<Capn_Ascii> Ashling: You haul yourself up onto the ledge where the ladder is tied to. You find...another ladder! This one leading to an even higher ledge. You're starting to sense a pattern here.
<Capn_Ascii> The ledge seems solid enough, so you disembark. Marilyn begins climbing up behind you.
Ashling starts climbing this ladder
<Capn_Ascii> Marilyn: You clamber up and reach the first ledge, only to see Ashling already halfway up the next ladder.
Marilyn follows Ashling, climbing when she finishes.
<Capn_Ascii> As the lot of you begin the long climb, you realize that whoever came before you has already done most of the work. There's a series of ladders and knotted ropes leading almost all of the way up the side of the spire.
<Capn_Ascii> This makes your job easier, fortunately. The only snag is Vathgani - the ropes creak in protest as he puts his weight on them and shift a bit, though they still hold. Should be fine, as long as he takes it slow and easy...
<Capn_Ascii> SOME TIME LATER...
<Capn_Ascii> After nearly an hour(!) of climbing, you finally find something of interest. Near the veeeeeeery top of the spire, thousands of feet above the jungle below, there's a large cave carved into the side of the mountain.
<Capn_Ascii> The ropes end here. Whoever came before you apparantly went inside.
<Marilyn> "Alright, let's return to standard formation, and enter the cave."
Vathgani leads the way into the cave
<Capn_Ascii> Vathgani: It's dark in here. You might be eaten by a...huh?
<Capn_Ascii> Hey, wait a minute. It's not dark at all! There's lit torches up and down the walls of the cave.
Marilyn proceeds in, along with the rest of the group
<Capn_Ascii> Presumably, someone has been here recently enough to light all of these torches. That, or the writers forgot that this place is supposed to be abandoned...
<Capn_Ascii> A short ways inside, the cave dead-ends in a large chamber. The primary feature here is a large stone disk embedded in the floor - it's covered in tribal carvings, and surrounded by a large stone ring, making it look not unlike an oversized plate.
<Marilyn> "Ashling," Marilyn commands. "Analyze and decipher."
Ashling tries to read it
<Capn_Ascii> You decode the markings. They read:
<Capn_Ascii> "TEMPLE ENTRANCE. PLEASE PAY TRIBUTE TO OUR ANCESTRAL SPIRITS AND WIPE FEET BEFORE ENTERING. <MORE>"
<Capn_Ascii> "THE KEYHOLE IS BEHIND A SECRET PANEL IN THE EAST WALL. PLEASE CLOSE THE PANEL WHEN YOU LEAVE, WE DON"T WANT THE TOURISTS COMING IN AND MAKING A MESS OF THE PLACE."
Ashling relays this
Marilyn carefully checks for said secret panel
<Capn_Ascii> Marilyn: Success! Following the carving's instructions, you find a secret panel in the rock wall and open it. There's a keyhole alright...and it even has a key inserted into it. How thoughtful!
Marilyn turns the key
<Capn_Ascii> The large disc in the floor begins to move...it pops up out of the floor about a foot or so, then stops.
<Marilyn> "Remain in formation and let's proceed into the creepy tunnel," Marilyn orders calmly, resisting the urge to snicker at her own reference.
Vathgani continues leading the way
Marilyn continues following in formation
<Capn_Ascii> You assume formation...and stand there, staring at the raised disk. What are you doing here, exactly?
Marilyn sighs, erasing the previous few lines
<Marilyn> "Analysis," Marilyn commands.
<Capn_Ascii> Ashling: It occurs to you that, if the disk popped up, perhaps it can be pushed back down?
Ashling walks over and tries pushing it back down
<Capn_Ascii> The disk moves back down, slightly. If you had more weight on it, you could probably finish pushing it down.
Marilyn, seeing what Ashling is attempting, moves to help.
Vathgani steps onto the disk. "Let Vathgani show how it's done."
<Capn_Ascii> The disk moves quite a bit when Vath steps on it, but it's still not enough. Looks like you need a lot more weight...
<Marilyn> "Lieutenant, a little help here, *if* you please," Marilyn commands sharply.
<Capn_Ascii> "Yes, ma'am."
<Capn_Ascii> Black steps up onto the disc as well. It doesn't *quite* go down all the way...Black hops up and down a little.
<Capn_Ascii> As the disc sinks all the way down, it begins to rumble loudly...and then starts to descend. It's an elevator!
Marilyn quickly gets onboard and gestures for Ashling to do the same.
Ashling gets on.
<Capn_Ascii> The rest of you hop onto the elevator as it begins to descend into the mountain...
<Capn_Ascii> The ride only takes about a minute - you judge you haven't descended very far.
Marilyn looks around
<Capn_Ascii> The disc emerges from a hole in the ceiling, lowering down into the floor of a large, circular chamber, roughly 100 feet across.
<Capn_Ascii> The walls and floor of the chamber are covered in more of the native runes and drawings, though these seem to be mostly decorative. The real point of interest is the large, circular stone door in the north wall - it bears more than a passing resembelance to a vault or safe.
<Capn_Ascii> There are more sign-like carvings next to the door, presumably more messages to read.
Ashling tries reading it
<Capn_Ascii> Ashling: The panel is divided into two parts. The first part says:
<Capn_Ascii> "SPIRE TEMPLE - INNER VAULT"
<Capn_Ascii> The second part is a bit more difficult to read. It definitely says something about the vault door being booby-trapped, and that to avoid it, one must turn the key a certain direction when putting it into the lock.
<Capn_Ascii> Unfortunately, the part that says *which *direction is too faded to read...
Marilyn gets the relay from Ashling and carefully examines the lock, trying to figure out if it's a standard two-directional, or if there are even more ways to do it.
<Capn_Ascii> The 'lock' is little more than a keyhole set into the stone. It looks simple enough - insert the key, and turn. In theory.
<Capn_Ascii> You can't really see much from out here. Maybe if you got down and really checked up in there...
Marilyn grimaces and does as suggested.
<Marilyn> "Torch, please," Marilyn commands, holding out her hand.
Vathgani pulls an Everburning Torch out of his pack and hands it over
Marilyn takes it and uses it as a light source for closer examination.
<Capn_Ascii> Marilyn: Using the torch, you get down closer and peek inside the lock, trying to...
<Marilyn> "Red Alert," Marilyn orders calmly.
<Marilyn> ...if by 'calmly' one means 'that fake calm that everyone knows really means about to scream with terror'
<Capn_Ascii> Before you can react, a pair of panels open up in the walls surrounding the vault - a set of razor-sharp blades lance out, aiming to slice you to ribbons!
<Capn_Ascii> Marilyn and Ashling react quickly, dodging out of the way! Vathgani, however...
<Capn_Ascii> ...gets *really* lucky. The tip of one blade bounces off a bone spur sticking out of his shoulder at just the right angle to deflect the blade up and away from his head.
<Vathgani> "Vathgani is not impressed."
<Capn_Ascii> Vath: Glancing at your shoulder, you notice a nasty-looking purple liquid residue on the spur. Something was coating those blades...
<Vathgani> "Hm, could be poisoned."
<Capn_Ascii> The blades, having sprung their proverbial load, begin to retract back into the wall. As they do, you notice something...
<Capn_Ascii> Behind the now-open blade panels, you can see a second set of blades - presumably to allow the trap multiple strikes if necessary. There's a human body impaled on one set - you have just enough time to see it before the first set of blades retract and the panels snap shut, disappearing back into the wall decorations.
<Capn_Ascii> There's an audible *click* and the sound of cranking gears, as the trap resets itself.
<Vathgani> "Hm, maybe trigger again and grab the body."
Ashling backs well away from the device
<Marilyn> "That is not worth the risk. Let's not trigger it on purpose. I apologize for my momentary... incompetence. Now, we will try this... correctly this time."
<Capn_Ascii> --END SESSION--