“Hmm… let’s see here…If I…no…maybe…no…Ah ha… if I do this it should replicate the spell and transfer it to the pendent. Speaking of which, Alberron, what is this thing and how many do you have in that beard of yours?” rambled Brin.
“The items in a dwarf’s beard is for him to know, “ replied Alberron being uncharacteristically cryptic.
“Erm…well, anyways… Ashar, if you will let me help you up we can be on our way.”
“Thank you my dear.” said Ashar kindly.
Together they left the cell and entered the main chamber of the cell block. As they looked around they realized how maze like the Distorted Tunnels were. Trying to head back in the direction they had come from Alberron and Brin took the lead though they quickly got lost after passing the cell they had left Ocypete the wingless harpy in, upon arriving at a junction that seemed unfamiliar the four of them paused and scanned the tunnels, though each way looked the same. Taking a deep breath Alberron peered down each tunnel and took in everything he could see, feel, and smell and after assessing each he began to stride down the left most tunnel.
“You seem to know these tunnels well dwarf,” commented Illican speaking for the first time.
“I was born in the earth, like a proper dwarf. I am not familiar with these particular tunnels but I know the earth and its telling me to head this way.” replied Alberron slightly offended and picked up his pace.
Slowly the effects of the Distorted Tunnels appeared to wear off and there became a proper floor and ceiling to the tunnel system.
“Illican dear, you can trust this lively dwarf to know where the surface is, perhaps you should tell the tale of why you were imprisoned to pass the time.” said Ashar from the rear of the group.
“Though I know not why I should tell these folks I trust you Ashar,” Illican hesitantly responded, “Years ago, though how many I know not, I was a captain of a ship loyal to Choire. My crew was particularly talented in find good choke points and constructing strongholds during the Babao demon invasion. So when we were called upon by Choire personally to construct something for her we felt honored. She told us to construct a temple of sorts with 4 central pillars surrounding a deep circular pool which we filled with water from the sea. When a team of wizards arrived to prepare the temple for Choire I found out the reason for the temple, it was to be used as a focal point for Choire to be able to call up huge whirlpools throughout the realm to swallow up those that would oppose her. The finished interior was breathtaking, but unfortunately because my crew was used to building strongholds the exterior was strictly utilitarian. When Choire arrived she was displeased with the utilitarian exterior for though she is very calculating she is still a succubus. For this mistake she slew my crew and threw me into the Distorted Tunnels where I have plotted my revenge.”
“Revenge you say…” grinned Alberron, “I believe I can assist in that. When we get out of here, and we will, we should go to this temple of yours and destroy it.”
“That will be a good start.” agreed Illican.
“I also will be joining you but I think Brin is a bit preoccupied with what a fellow inmate of ours stated.” said Ashar casually.
“Unfortunately you are right Ashar, I’ve been thinking about what Klaus had said and now that I’ve got a clue on Cassus I feel I must follow it.”
“Join us in our raid and when you and Alberron here find your friends you be closer to finding him then you think.” Ashar responded.
“Hey, I think we’re here,” said Alberron abruptly and a smile slowly spread across his face, “and my nose has lead us to the best possible exit.”
In front of them was a hole in the wall of the tunnel that looked like it had formed when the large barrel of whiskey that currently wholly blocked the exit was shoved against the wall from the opposite side. Illican, stepping forward, shoved the whiskey barrel out of his way and he entered into what appeared to be a cellar. Looking around Alberron’s face brightens up as he recognizes it as the storage cellar for Rex’s “Drinking Emporium” and runs up the stairs to see if Rex was in and could possibly pour him a cold one. Finding the place empty Alberron calls everyone up and they gathered around one of the tables that littered the bar to discuss their plan of attack and much like Alberron it was short and to the point.
“You know where it is, right Illiman? I say we head over there and smash our way through until we break whatever is running the spell,” Stated Alberron as soon as everyone had sat down.
“It is Illican and yes I know where to look though I’m not sure we’d be able to just smash our way in. The way has been blocked with a series of traps that I have only heard rumors about because they were implemented after I was imprisoned.” calmly stated Illican.
“Perhaps we shouldn’t just barge in but we need to get there but since we don’t know what’s in store perhaps we should just go and see what can be done.” interjected Brin.
“Excellent we will smash our way in slowly! Now that’s out of the way let’s be on our way.” Ashar said excitedly looking younger then she had since they’d left the prison.
“Fine, fine I will pick up the crew we left and we can make our way to the temple of choire’s spinning water.” conceded Alberron.
“What is the place called anyway?” asked Brin.
“I believe Choire settled on The Vortex Pillars for naming the temple.” answered Illican.
With their “plan” in place the group set out to gather the rest of the crew (and Alberron sneaking a pint of mead into his bejeweled stien “Betty”) and set sail in the submersible that Brin had taken to driving. Heading for the Centipede Archipelago Brin noticed that the sub seemed to list to one side as if something was clinging to the hull but before she could say anything an enormous whirlpool came into view.
“This appears to be the first trap and if I remember correctly this is where the Vortex Pillars are situated so we need to sail straight into the heart of that whirlpool.” Illican gravely stated.
Everyone braced themselves for a bumpy ride when a black shadow darted past the port side portholes that looked suspiciously like a recently released vampire, however those in the sub had bigger things to worry about.