Trinsic Tales:The Tower/Chapter 10
Chapter Ten: Tenth Floor: No More ****king keys, finally!
<Capn_Ascii> As we join our heroes, we find them inflicting occular injury on a poor, unsuspecting wall-face. Why you gotta be like that, man?
<Lak> "Back off, Zephi. It's clearly alive."
Zephi backs up.
<Lak> "Uh... sorry about that, Face."
<Lak> "What's your name?"
<Capn_Ascii> "My name? It's...uh..."
<Capn_Ascii> The face looks blanks for several seconds.
<Lak> "You have no idea, do you?"
<Drem> "Can I name him?"
<Capn_Ascii> "I...I can't remember. I've been here so long..."
<Capn_Ascii> "It's been so *dark*...so quiet..."
<Lak> "Um... why are you here?"
<Capn_Ascii> "I...I don't know. I can't remember much. I've been here a long, long time...years? Decades?"
<Capn_Ascii> He scrunches his face, trying to remember. "I was being...punished? By...by a witch. Yes, I think I remember now."
<Zephi> "A witch?"
<Capn_Ascii> "Yes, her name is Hagriel. She's really mean."
<Lak> "I would be too, if my parents named me that."
<Capn_Ascii> "She named *herself* that. At least, I think."
<Lak> "Oh. Well. Uh, more to the point... if this is the top of the tower... WHERE IS OUR TREASURE? HELLO?"
<Lak> "Do you have any idea?"
<Drem> "I hope the treasure's not friendship or something."
<Lak> "That would suck."
<Lak> "Friends are risky in my line of work."
<Capn_Ascii> "Treasure? ...oh, right! The treasure. Well, here, let me tell you the whole story."
<Capn_Ascii> He takes a breath and relates his tale. "I used to be a human. A thief. I heard that this witch who lived in the darkest depths of The Mire, a swamp not far from here."
<Capn_Ascii> "I heard that she had lots of treasure and powerful artifacts, so I decided to break into her place to steal them. Except she caught me."
<Capn_Ascii> "It turns out that she uses this tower as her personal storehouse - her treasure is kept in a magic vault somewhere on the floor above us. She can fly right up here at will."
<Capn_Ascii> "She uses the tower to keep people away, and also as entertainment - she likes to scry on adventurers sometimes just to watch them fail and die horribly."
<Capn_Ascii> "When she caught me, she decided to punish me by making me the guardian of the top floor. I'm part of the tower now; I can't leave, unless her wand is used to break the curse."
<Capn_Ascii> "I haven't seen anyone at all since she left me here. I guess the tower really is as dangerous as she says."
<Drem> "Well I haven't died horribly, so it doesn't seem so bad to me."
<Lak> "Oh, wow. Well, I guess we'd better get you out of there. Somehow. That will get us our treasure."
<Lak> "So, essentially, this tower is just a big scam run by her, unless we can defeat her, right?"
<Capn_Ascii> "Yeah, sure. I can't open the vault unless she gives the word, but if you can break the curse, there's nothing between here and her stash of stuff."
<Capn_Ascii> "Well, not a *complete* scam." He looks behind you, at the side walls. "She keeps some lesser valuables in there."
Zephi looks over.
Lak looks around, pulling out a wand of Detect Secret Doors, as a backup for failing to find anything
<Capn_Ascii> "There's a secret compartment in the walls. Don't know how she opens it, though."
<Lak> "There's always brute force, should it come to that."
<Drem> "If you find it, I'll see if I can open it from the inside out."
Lak waves his wand "Revelio Puertas!"
<Capn_Ascii> Your Harry Potter(tm) brand wand lights up, as does the wall in front of you. There are two panels in the wall, side-by-side, not unlike a pair of closet doors. There's also a small, single brick between them that's light up.
Lak walks up to the lit brick and taps it
Lak checks it for traps before doing so, of course.
<Capn_Ascii> Lak: Good thinking! As you look the setup over, you notice a quartet of tiny, almost invisible nozzles in the same wall, arranged around the brick. There are very light scorch marks just inside the holes - the mark of a flamethrower trap.
Lak sets to work removing the foolish trap
<Capn_Ascii> Lak: It takes a few minutes, but before long you manage to defuse the trap via the usual method, as recommended in Garett's Guide to Glomming (i.e. by jamming chewing gum into the nozzles).
Lak tries pressing the brick
Lak checks the new opening that presumably occured
<Capn_Ascii> Thoroughly licked, the trick brick clicks. The two panels slide open, as the nozzles emit a few feeble puffs of smoke before shutting off.
<Capn_Ascii> Eh, there's nothing worth describing in there. You've seen one stack of 50,000g worth of gold bars, you've seen them all.
<Lak> "Damn. Lots of gold. Let's grab it all, and split it four ways. Looks like... 12500 each."
<Drem> "Check the gold for any traps first."
<Capn_Ascii> The gold isn't glowing. It seems safe.
<Lak> "It's fine. No glow."
<Lak> "Question is if there's anything underneath this"
Lak starts excavating the gold
<Capn_Ascii> Lak: You produce your Lewt Scewp(tm) brand treasure shovel and begin the arduous task of transferring the gold into everyone's packs. It takes a while (mostly because it weighs a ton), but eventually you've cleaned the closet out completely. All that remains are some cobwebs and a small piece of paper.
Lak examines the paper, after making sure it's not trapped.
<Capn_Ascii> Lak: The paper reads: "Hagriel: I.O.U. one closet full of gold bars. Love, Hagriel."
Lak blinks, shrugs, and pockets it.
<Lak> "Anything else of interest in here?"
<Capn_Ascii> "Not really. All the rest of it is upstairs."
<Lak> "Okay, well, I haven't the faintest clue how to find this witch..."
<Capn_Ascii> "If you want it, you're going to have to go find her and kill her. Or at least steal her wand."
<Drem> "I could do some divination again, but I wouldn't be surprised if she has wards against it."
<Capn_Ascii> "Well, I *told* you where she lives. There's a small town to the northeast of here, called Norristown."
<Lak> "You didn't say that before, but okay."
<Capn_Ascii> "If you go north from there, you'll eventually reach The Mire. She lives there."
<Lak> "The Mire sounds like a pretty big place though."
<Capn_Ascii> "It is, but there's a trick to getting through it. Here, tell you what."
<Capn_Ascii> "Once you get to Norristown, find the house at 138 Warring Way. That's my house. I left a copy of my map there that shows how to reach her place."
<Capn_Ascii> "You can keep anything you find in my place, as long as you use it to get that wand and get me out of here."
<Lak> "Sounds good."
<Lak> "Is your place trapped any?"
<Capn_Ascii> "Of course it's trapped. I'm a thief. I have to protect my interests from the other criminals. Bunch of thieving bastards."
<Lak> "Care to help me with said traps, then? What can I expect, etcetera?"
<Capn_Ascii> "I.....uh." He blinks. "...sorry, I can't really remember. All I remember is that there's a blade trap on the front door, but I don't even remember how to disarm it..."
<Drem> "If nothing else, I can trigger the traps remotely."
<Lak> "All at once?"
<Drem> "No, but I can do it from here."
<Lak> "Let's at least get within range, so they don't reset on us."
<Lak> "Anything else we should know, Mr. Face?"
<Capn_Ascii> "Just that she's a mean old hag who likes to torture people. If she catches you, you're likely to end up like me."
<Lak> "So don't lose. Got it. I never do. So that's covered."
<Lak> "Well, except that once. But let's not go there."
<Capn_Ascii> "Why not? Sounds like a neat story."
<Lak> "It's long, and I want the treasure behind you without wasting time."
<Drem> "I've got free time."
<Lak> "I think we should hit the road."
<Lak> "And on the way down, have a talk with Mr. General Store."
<Beri> "You can always tell him after we release him."
Lak walks back towards the elevator
<Capn_Ascii> --SEVERAL CAR CHANGES LATER...--
Lak walks out and looks for the general store/hospital/innkeeper/blacksmith guy
Zephi follows idly.
<Capn_Ascii> He's there, manning the general store booth this time. "Hi there, folks! What can I get for you today?"
Beri follows behind Lak
<Lak> "You can explain to us what kind of establishment you're running here. This scam-tower."
<Lak> "Most of this tower has nothing but keys... no treasure to speak of... we move up, but I think we've lost almost as much as we've gained on these adventures. Like with the carnival and stuff. This tower seems like a big scam to me. What's really going on?"
<Lak> "Oh, yeah, and tower employees aren't allowed above floor 10 but guy on floor 38 knew about your store."
<Capn_Ascii> "Well, uh..." He puts his fingers together uncertainly. "I'm not quite sure, myself. When I took the job I was told just to sell goods and services and keep the visitors from getting too badly hurt, and..." He stops, and blinks. "Floor 38? You made it that far, really?"
<Lak> "Yeah. So what do you know about that?"
<Capn_Ascii> "Sorry, but I'm not really an expert - I just work here. All I know is that the tower was here before we were, and several years ago the government set up shop here to regulate it and stop all the lawsuits."
<Lak> "Do you know anyone who does know more?"
<Capn_Ascii> "Well, we're operated by the Trinsic govermnent's tourism department, so...them, I guess?"
<Capn_Ascii> "Is something wrong?"
<Lak> "Yeah, there's a face who says some witch turned him into part of the tower. That was up on 99. I call that something wrong. 'cause I'm sure that's highly illegal. Not to mention evil."
<Drem> "And pretty mean, too."
<Capn_Ascii> "Witch? What witch?"
<Lak> "Uh... I believe he said... Hagriel."
<Lak> "Name ring a bell?"
<Capn_Ascii> "Not really. Are you saying that there's a witch hanging out on the upper levels?"
<Lak> "No. Apparently she lives elsewhere. But she'll come here on occasion or something. Look, man, just cut it to me straight. We need to know everything you can tell us. Maybe even if we could see your contract or something... any little bit will help us solve this mystery..."
<Capn_Ascii> "What mystery? Dude, I told you. The tower's been here for as long as anyone can remember. People kept coming here and climbing it and getting themselves killed, and then their families started suing the government for leaving the place wide-open to wandering adventurers."
<Capn_Ascii> "So they set us up here to make them sign a waiver and provide medical services and sell supplies. None of us has ever actually *climbed* the thing."
<Lak> "I still don't get how the guy on floor 38 knew about you, then."
<Capn_Ascii> "What guy?"
<Capn_Ascii> "What did he look like?"
<Lak> "There was a guy running some sort of carnival-like setup. Called himself Bob. He was the one who eventually handed over those two key-halves. He recommended we buy glue from you. We did."
<Zephi> "Bob the Barker."
<Lak> "Meh. I suppose it's not important. Just be aware of what's happening up there, you know."
Lak moves to leave.
Beri follows Lak
Zephi follows as well
Lak heads out
Lak walks back around to that dead guy
Lak contemplates an examination of where he fell from
<Capn_Ascii> Uh...up high?
Drem tags along
<Capn_Ascii> It's hard to tell, really. If the rope is any indication, he must have gotten pretty high up.
<Lak> "Drem... think you could have that crystal check out where this guy fell from?"
<Drem> "Yeah, I've have Wheatley fly up."
<Lak> "Worth a look before we head to Norristown."
Drem pulls out his crystal, which then hovers up alongside the rope
<Capn_Ascii> Wheatly beeps affirmatively, then starts hoving upward, up and out of sight into the perpetual cloudbanks that enshroud the tower.
<Capn_Ascii> Drem: As he climbs, you can see foot after foot of rope passing by his view.
<Capn_Ascii> After a good few minutes, he finally comes to the end of the rope. It appears to be tied to a grappling hook, which is snagged on the windowsill of an open window.
<Drem> "The rope leads to an open window."
<Drem> "Where'd this guy get a rope this long?"
<Lak> "Go in the window, see what's there?"
Drem has his psicrystal take a peek inside
<Capn_Ascii> Drem: The crystal hovers inside...
<Capn_Ascii> The inside of the room appears to be someone's bedroom. There's a large, queen-sized four-poster bed with some rather odd spiderweb-themed curtains around it, a vanity stand with a cracked mirror, an old wooden wardrobe, and a long wooden bench covered with flasks of chemicals, jars with various preserved organs in them, and various other disgusting stuff.
<Capn_Ascii> There's also a large black cauldron in the middle of the room, though it looks empty.
<Drem> "I think this is the witch's room."
<Lak> "Is she there, by any chance?"
<Drem> "I don't see anyone in there."
<Lak> "Worth going up and looting, or not?"
<Drem> "I don't see any loot. Just...organs in jars."
<Drem> "If you want me to look further, I should probably scry the place, rather than risk my psicrystal."
<Lak> "Do you think it's worth looking, or should we come back later? Doubt this body's going anywhere."
<Lak> "Zephi? Beri? Drem? Hello?"
<Beri> "Why don't we go ahead and deal with the witch first?"
Zephi nods, looking down "I don't want to end up looking like this guy does."
<Lak> "Yeah, okay."
<Lak> "Let's head to Norristown."
<Lak> "Uh... which way is that?"
<Drem> "Yeah, let's go. Wheatley can catch up with us."
<Capn_Ascii> Suddenly, there's a loud whistling sound. It gets louder by the second, until Wheatly falls out of the clouds and comes to a stop in front of Drem with the sound of screeching brakes.
<Capn_Ascii> After a quick argument amongst yourselves as to which way north is (as well as the directions to the nearest IHOP - dungeoneering is hungry work!), you begin the trek towards Norristown.
<Capn_Ascii> *trek trek trek*
<Capn_Ascii> You walk for most of the rest of the day, following an old path worn through the grass of the plains and hills. Along the way, you pass a few wagons being driven by generic peasant NPCs who don't warrant further descriptions. Eventually, as the sun begins to set, you can see lights and smoke on the horizon.
<Lak> "Norristown. Awesome. Let's find a place to crash and tackle new things in the morning, shall we?"