The Broken Crown

The Fight or Flight Reponse or: A Cowards Game

After resting for the night the Threads of Fate returned to the library in castle Borgir where a statue of Death itself stayed. After putting the rest of the coins into its open hand the statue of Death become mobile and revealed a hidden pathway from behind its previous position and return to its previous state of dead weight. The group pressed on to find a staircase, highlighted by golden flamed torches clearly imbued with magic, with locked doors with symbols on them on every floor. The group figured out that each symbol was a different class of magic, fire, water, conjuration, etc. With each failed attempt to understand how to open these doors the flames on the torches would turn red and an alarm would sound. Eventually the team, after what could be considered a moderate waste of time trying to open the doors, reaches the top of the staircase and finds the final door. After one of the Threads knocks on the door an eyeball appears onto the door. It seemed to be checking out the group. After a little bit the eye disappears and the door opens.

Inside the Threads of Fate find themselves not in a dingy, dust and cob webbed infested room, like the rest of the castle, but in an outdoor paradise with a gazebo at its center, the sun, or at least a sun that the wizard conjured, covering everything in a golden burst of vitality. And in that gazebos center rested what appeared to an inconspicuous old man who appeared to be dressed in traditional wizard robes and a wizard’s hat. “Ah yes there you are”, the old man greeted the group with a smile, “I was wondering when you adventurers were going to make it up to my tower.” The group approached with guards up noticing the table between them and the wizard, it was covered with fresh food and drink. “Please, please have a seat and some food, I’m sure after all that fighting and exploring within the castle grounds below as made you all fatigued and famished.” The group took to the chairs that were at the table and rested. Some of the members took some food while others abstained. “Ah yes, where are my manners, my name is Zaladar Elunreae” the old man said with a smile.

Then Zaladar explained to the group many things, his reason for coming to this castle (“I needed a place where no one could bother me so I could get some work done, the fact the castle was considered haunted made that a simple choice for me.”), his reason for massacring everyone in the castle (“I didn’t want to necessarily kill them but sometimes no one will take you seriously unless you show your dominance, plus it actually helped with my studies so that’s killing two dragons with one arrow as they say.), how he wasn’t bitten by a vampire but become one on his own (“I decided I wanted more out of life, by making it eternal.”) but the main question on the groups mind was where their friend Jamie Reid was and why he took her in the first place. “Ah yes of course, well, it’s hard to go over the details at this moment but let’s just say that my experiment requires someone with a great soul” Zaladar paused for a moment to look around the room, “I’m sure you adventurers’ know what I mean, it seems this very group is stitch together by people of great spiritual essence.” After intently looking at the group he continues. “Ah yes well anyway, so Jamie just so happens to be one of these kinds of special souls that was just perfect to test my theory. With her help I was able to get such great results!” Zaladar said with great enthusiasm. “But, I’m not going to lie to you, the effects have been not for the greater for the medic” Zaladar said with a tone of mild regret. “However I swear to you she is alive, that much I can guarantee.” The group, obviously concerned with the wellbeing of their friend, demand to know the exact condition of Jamie but the wizard insists on not revealing. “The truth is that if I tell you exactly what has happened to you friend I’m afraid you will all be mad and want to fight me and the truth is I really don’t want to make a mess of the place with all your blood, it would be such a bother to clean up after you five, do you know how much blood five people are filled with? Believe me it’s a lot.” The wizard said with such a sense of blasé’ and self-assurance that the group was mildly irritated but then stopped to ask themselves, is he serious after all? Kaltor decides to use spirit sight to see what Zaladar already knows, that his power, and thus is spirit, is incredibly great, as bright as the sun that’s above them. It becomes clear to him and the rest of the group that he’s not joking. Maybe they could win, maybe they couldn’t, they wouldn’t know for sure unless they actually went for it, but what about Jamie? “So here’s what I proposed to you, it’s clear that you five want Jamie back, and even though it was hard to find a person with that kind of soul, I’m willing to let her go, in exchange you leave the castle today for me to prepare my things and I’ll be gone. Then tomorrow you can come back to the castle and get her back, I have the key to her chambers right here. Also just to sweeten the deal, you can pick any room from the staircase and whatever items are in there are yours. Also you can have the deed to castle, it’s not like the original owner is coming around anytime soon. So, do we have a deal?” The group comes together to discuss their options but in the end feel that this just makes the most sense right now, why fight and possibly lose Jamie then not fight and get her? It was the rational decision but in the back of their minds everyone felt that it was also the cowards’ way out, knowing that this wizard is clearly up to something no good. The group accepts the wizards deal and the wizard has them sign off on it with magical parchment. With a smile Zaladar greets the group out “Well it was nice meeting you adventurers, if you ever see another one like Jamie please let me know I’d love to use them. Here’s a way to get into contact with me, hell if you need help even use it I don’t mind.” A paper crane appears in his hand and gives it to Gunther. “Just open it up and it will be consumed by flames and I’ll know.” The group takes their item, a wand of great power that can’t be identified just yet, and return to their resting place to wait until the next day to get to Jamie.

Next day comes and they find the portion of castle that was once Zaladar’s quarters completely gone. They find Jamie in an empty chamber cell chained up and upon seeing the group screams for mercy. It seems she has suffered severe mental trauma and the group can only do so much to help her. They bring her back to their wagon and get ready to finally head back to Valencourt(SP?). Before leaving the castle they obtain the deed in an empty vault say for a single skeleton. When Gunther reaches for the deed in the skeletons hand the skeleton begins to disintegrate to the floor but not before the skeleton makes one final testament from the great beyond, “Do not trust his lies.” It says, then turns to ash. To call that a warning would be putting it lightly.

While on their way back the group gets attacked by some random bandits. The fight goes as usual until Drak’Qar and his little goblin army show and murder the remaining bandits, so much as to cleave the head off one retreating with a throwing axe. The group is thankful and relvealed to see Drak’Qar and his group are doing well. Drak’Qar says that he’s now part of a security force that covers the outside perimeter of Valencourt, it’s been a good source of purpose of the group thus far. The group agrees it’s a great purpose for them and say if they help out when they can. Drak’Qar thanks them for their generosity. The group gets back on the road to return to Valencourt, where hopefully there can be a way to help Jamie return to the friend they once knew.

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Lateralus676 Heartcarver

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