Trinsic Tales:The Tower/Chapter 03
Chapter Thirteen: Third Floor - Phase Spiders, Giant Hammocks, and Contrived Riddles
<Capn_Ascii> "As we join our heroes, we find them descending into the very bowels of Hell itself! ...if by 'hell' you mean 'tiny cramped box with cheesy muzak'.
<Lak> "This muzak sucks."
<Drem> "I've heard worse."
<Lak> "You've played Space Quest too?"
<Drem> "I'm afraid so."
<Capn_Ascii> *ding!* *swish* The elevator doors open, depositing you on...Four Floor. Er, I mean, Floor Four.
Lak looks around
Zephi steps out and looks around.
<Capn_Ascii> Foor Flour...er, this floor, is mostly wide-open space, although a peculiar feature is immediately obvious - the ceiling in this chamber is unusually low (no more than 8 feet high) and is covered from wall-to-wall by what looks like rope netting.
Lak examines the netting carefully
<Capn_Ascii> Lak: Nope, just rope. Aside from the obvious question of why anyone would install a climbing net on the ceiling, there's nothing particularly strange about the rope. I'd suggest gloves, though, unless you enjoy rope burn.
<Drem> "Hold up, I think I see something."
<Drem> "There's webbing on the netting!"
<Lak> "What kind of webbing?"
<Drem> "Spider-made webbing."
<Lak> "Hmmm. I wonder if the ceiling is false."
<Drem> "Or possibly a lot of silkworms."
<Lak> "Thoughts, people?"
<Lak> "You guys are a lot of help," Lak comments. He pulls out his ladder and sets it against the wall.
Lak starts climbing
<Zephi> "I try."
<Drem> "I could shoot lightning or something if any spiders show up..."
Zephi steps back into the elevator so stuff doesn't fall on her.
<Capn_Ascii> Lak: You clamber up the ladder to within reach of the ceiling netting.
Lak grabs ahold of the netting and attempts to get on top of it.
Lak slices away the webbing with his falchion first
<Capn_Ascii> You grab onto the rope and, with a few strategic cuts and some admirable gymnastic skills, slip up between the net and the ceiling. It's like having the world's widest hammock!
Lak looks around, searching for a glint of metal
<Drem> "You want another set of eyes up there? Well, not eyes, really, but close enough," Drem says, holding up his psicrystal.
<Lak> "Sure, if it won't drain too much. I seem to be blind."
<Drem> "Catch!" Drem tosses the psicrystal up to Lak
<Capn_Ascii> Lak: What with your arms caught behind the rope netting and all, you very nearly fumble the crystal. Fortunately, you manage to hold onto it. As you sigh and look up, you realize that from this angle, you can see a spot in the middle of the ceiling where the stone tiles aren't quite level. One tile in particular, about a foot wide, sticks out about a centimeter farther than it should.
Lak raises an eyebrow. "Hmm. Checking something..." Lak comments, crawling carefully toward the non-level stone
<Capn_Ascii> *crawl crawl* After quite a bit of effort, you make it to the OCD-offending stone.
Lak examines it carefully
<Drem> "Ooh, hold me closer! I want a look!" the psicrystal says to Lak
Lak nods and puts it up towards the stone as well
<Capn_Ascii> Psicrystal: It looks like a stone tile. You'd feel the urge to push it down into place, or perhaps pry it up, if you only had hands!
<Lak> "Hmmm. Maybe let's push it up..." Lak tries bringing it into line with the other stones.
<Capn_Ascii> Lak: You try pushing the stone down (up?)...you can feel it shifting a little, but it refuses to settle into line. It feels like there's something wedged below (above?) it.
<Lak> "Hmmm... maybe the other way..." Lak tries pulling it down and out
<Capn_Ascii> Lak: You work your little halfling fingers beneath the stone plate, and tug on it. After a bit of a struggle, it comes free of the hole, slipping out of your hands and falling to the floor below with a loud CRACK.
<Capn_Ascii> Lak: Now that the tile is gone, you can make out a small, round, white-ish object wedged in the hole where it used to be. <MORE>
Lak looks closer
<Drem> "I think there's something else up there."
<Capn_Ascii> The shape is indistinct...it looks like a small something (a key, perhaps?) wrapped up in silk-like webbing like a coccoon.
Lak uses his half-arrow to split the coccoon open
<Drem> "And by 'something', I mean it's probably whatever made those webs."
<Lak> "Well I'm almost done here. If I need to slice open and jump down, I will."
Zephi walks over to where Lak is and examines the fallen stone.
<Capn_Ascii> Lak: You try to saw through the webbing holding up the object, but it's tough stuff; it takes you a bit. You're only about halfway done when you hear an unmistakably malevolent sound; not unlike that of a Romulan warbird decloaking. Except it's not a warbird - it's a spider. A *big* one - as big as a wagon, hanging upside-down from the ceiling, and it's staring you right in the face with its myriad of eyes.
<Capn_Ascii> You have just enough time to register the creature's presence before it lunges at you - you pull back as far as you can manage while half-tangled in the ropes, and just barely avoid having it bite your nose off.
Lak puts away the arrow, pulls out his falchion, and makes a grab for the intact coccon
Zephi pulls out her sword and in one quick movement attempts to attack the spider.
<Capn_Ascii> Lak: You try to grab the coccoon, but whatever it is, it's webbed firmly into the hole - you'd have to either cut , burn, or dissolve it free. The spider nips at your hand, but you wisely (and quickly) withdraw it.
<Lak> "Dammit. Okay, this thing needs to die."
Lak aims for an attack!
<Capn_Ascii> Zephi: With nary a pause, you go all Zantetsuken the spider, drawing your sword and executing three quick slashes before anyone else can blink. Upon finishing, you turn your back on the spider and sheathe your sword dramatically as the spider falls from the ceiling into neat little wafer-thin slices on the floor.
<Lak> Lak blinks, then puts his falchion away.
Lak grabs his half-arrow out again and continues sawing
<Capn_Ascii> Lak: After a few more moments, you finally break open the coccoon. Inside is...a bronze key!
Lak grabs the bronze key and returns to the ladder
Lak then climbs down the ladder
Zephi walks back to the elevator
<Capn_Ascii> Lak: You free yourself from the rope netting, although you're still covered in spider silk. Blech.
Lak pulls out his blanket and starts cleaning the spider silk off of himself, returning the psicrystal to Drem and handing the key to Zephi.
Zephi pockets it and heads into the elevator.
Zephi hits the button for floor 20.
Drem tags along
Beriadanwen tags behind Zephi
<Capn_Ascii> You're subjected to the muzak again as you ride back up to the 20th floor. Dum dee dum...
<Capn_Ascii> The three of you soon reach the 20th floor, where everything is more or less how you left it.
Zephi goes over to the green elevator and uses the appropriate keys on the lock.
Lak follows Zephi
Drem keeps tagging along
<Capn_Ascii> Zephi: One by one, the keys slip into the locks, turning easily. As you turn the last key in its lock, a small panel suddenly pops open directly above it. Behind it is...another keyhole! This one is platinum-colored.
Zephi stares at it.
<Lak> "Oh you gotta be kidding me!"
<Zephi> "Okay then."
<Zephi> "Floor 29, anyone?"
<Lak> "You're on."
<Capn_Ascii> A deep, booming voice rings out from nowhere.
<Drem> "Uh oh, not again!" Drem covers his ears.
Lak looks around. "Who said that?"
Zephi turns towards the voice.
<Capn_Ascii> You all turn around to look...and to your amazement, the entire room around you seems to shift and fade into something entirely different. You find yourself standing in the middle of what look like ancient ruins - crumbled towers and broken stone buildings form an impassable ring around you about the same width as the tower (how convenient).
<Capn_Ascii> Sitting in the exact center of the room is a real live sphinx - he's seated in a relaxed position, looking idly at you.
<Capn_Ascii> "VENTURE NOT FOR THE FINAL KEY, FOR YOU HAVE ALREADY FOUND IT! FOR IT...IS *HERE*!" Wow, this guy is *loud*.
<Lak> "So this is one of those 'solve your riddle' things, then?"
Zephi rubs her ears.
<Capn_Ascii> "YOU COULD SAY THAT."
<Drem> "Could you tone it down a little?"
Zephi covers her ears. "So what's this riddle?"
<Capn_Ascii> "I HAVE A PUZZLE. SOLVE IT, AND YOU WILL HAVE YOUR KEY." The sphinx snaps its fingers.
<Capn_Ascii> A large stone block appears about 20 feet over the creature's head, suspended in mid-air, with a metal pulley hanging from it. A rope runs through said pulley, and down to a pair of smilar pulley blocks farther down and to either side.
<Capn_Ascii> Dangling from one end of the rope is a solid gold treasure box, studded with gemstones - the rope is wrapped around it, holding it up. Hanging from the other end of the rope is a prisoner - a woman, bound upside-down in the rope and completely unable to move.
<Capn_Ascii> "THIS UNFORTUNATE SOUL TRIED TO PASS THROUGH HERE EARLIER, AND FAILED. HER LIFE IS IN YOUR HANDS."
<Beriadanwen> "How in the world did I get up here?"
<Lak> "Oh, great, I love being responsible for people. What do we have to do?"
<Zephi> "So, it's between her life or a platinum key? That seems harsh."
<Lak> "Somehow I think it's actually both or neither, fortunately."
Zephi shrugs. "I get the feeling we'll get other chances for treasure."
<Capn_Ascii> "SAVE THEM." The sphinx snaps its fingers again, and a pair of acid pits open beneath them both. "BOTH ARE TIES TO THE SAME ROPE, IN PERFECT BALANCE. IF ONE FALLS, SO DOES THE OTHER."
<Capn_Ascii> "TREASURE?" The sphinx looks puzzled. "...OH. SORRY, MY BAD. THE KEY IS IN THE BOX."
<Drem> "I can make another ectoplasmic thing to fly up and get one of them, if you two can handle the other."
<Capn_Ascii> The sphinx sits and watches you, as if sizing you up.
Zephi pulls out her grasping hook, twirls it, and throws it, aiming at the rope above Beri.
<Capn_Ascii> The hook flies up, and catches! It grabs tight.
<Lak> "Ectoplasmic thing, Go, Drem! Get that box!" Lak yells, helping Zephi with the hook.
Zephi pulls lightly on the rope, pulling Beriadanwen down and towards her.
Drem focuses on the treasure chest, and then a winged green gorilla bursts into existence and grabs onto it
<Capn_Ascii> Drem: Magilla the magical Gorilla materializes out of the aether, and takes hold of the chest, supporting it.
<Lak> "Okay, as close as we can get her..."
Zephi pulls more.
<Zephi> "Go for it, Drem."
<Drem> The gorilla attempts to rip the chest free from the ropes!
Zephi pulls back on the rope she's holding.
<Capn_Ascii> Lak and Zephi: You pull on the rope, dragging Beri down and out to the side; at the same time, the gorilla pushes the chest upward, giving you more slack. By the time the chest hits the pulley on the other side, Beri is close enough to grab.
Lak does too
<Capn_Ascii> As the two of you drag Beri out to the side, the gorilla starts gnawing and pulling at the rope on the other end. Before long, the rope around the chest begins to come undone - and as it does, you can feel Beri's full weight starting to bear down on you.
<Lak> "Okay, get her onto hard floor."
Lak attempts to drag her to the floor
<Capn_Ascii> With a mighty snarl, Magilla snaps through the last of the rope - Beri sags into your arms, still wriggling in her own ropes.
Zephi falls backwards.
Lak does too, making sure he still has hold
Zephi pulls our a knife and cuts the rope the girl is bound with.
<Drem> The gorilla wraps its arms around the chest and carries it down to the non-acidic ground before evaporating away
<Capn_Ascii> It doesn't take long before the cleric is free of her bonds. Yay!
<Capn_Ascii> The chest sits there, looking all shiny and openable. Yay!
Drem walks over to the chest and opens it up
<Capn_Ascii> The sphinx sees these results, and smiles. "YOU HAVE SOLVED THE PUZZLE. CONGRATULATIONS."
<Zephi> "Thank you"
<Lak> "Interesting puzzle."
<Capn_Ascii> "BUT BE WARNED!" The sphinx's face takes on a darker tone. "THE CHALLENGES AHEAD WILL BE EVEN MORE...UM, CHALLENGING!" With that, the sphinx vanishes in a puff of smoke, along with the ruins, the acid pits, and everything else - once the smoke clears, you're back in the empty tower room, with nothing but a rescued cleric and Drem holding the chest's contents - a platinum key.
<Capn_Ascii> --END SESSION--
Zephi looks over at Drem "Aw, we could have sold that chest."