Alright. Time to do something poorly thought out. Sign me up, if I default, I default. I guess this will tell me if there's any point in sticking around, for now.
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Truman, with Oku, Room 10:Agrimony squeaks. "I...might have something...but I haven't had to use it for some time. Please, get off the bridge, just in case..."
When you are clear, she stands fifteen feet from the suspicious wall, and her eyes begin to glow so bright a blue it shines through her bird mask. "The Glyph Witch said each of us have a gift...and this is mine!" From her hands, she unleashes a trio of brilliant blue missiles of magic energy. They crash into the wall and cast up a cloud of smoke (Aaron and Sovereign will hear this from the other side). When the smoke clears, there is a large crack in the wall, large enough to see into the next room and perhaps pass items through, but not large enough to move a person through.
You see a frenzy of action, and Sovereign fleeing the scene. Two molerat-cat chimera-looking things are running around causing trouble. After leaving Sovereign in poor shape, they seem to turn their attention to the next room as Sovereign escapes.
@Mister Kent: 3d4+3 Agrimony'sTrick = (2+2+4)+3 = 11
Aaron, Room 5:"Shit, I was gonna study those monsters," Aaron curses under his breath. Oh well, better safe than sorry.
Dropping the fire, Aaron steps cautiously into Room 6, peering into the crack in the wall. "Hello?" he calls hesitantly, "Who's on the other side of this partition?" I really just want to get back to this puzzle, to be honest, but I can't just ignore this stupid crack, Aaron thinks impatiently.
Truman, with Oku, Room 10:Agrimony isn't certain. "Hmm, that way isn't known to us-oku. I think it might open...from the other side-oku..." You can see that the bridge ends up at a stone ledge but no discernable door.
Truman, with Oku, Room 10:
You move South across the rope bridge until you reach the large hall with a colorful mural (Room 7). When you approach the entrance, a hissing voice calls out:
"The first to cross these coils must dance,
The second, sing to safety reach,
The third must bleed or risk mischance,
The fourth one dies between my teeth!
But three have passed my coils today
Upon the fourth I'll slake my thirst
If any more come through this way
The fifth one I shall count as first
Those who fail this test are fools
The wise will always heed my rules!"
Truman, with Oku, Room 10:Agrimony throws up her hands while Yarrow shakes Tutsan. "It only started when he grabbed that chess piece!" Agrimony sighs. "We need to get a move on..."
"Sounds like some demon stuff," Yarrow guesses. "Uh, I don't know Infernal...or Abyssal, or what-have-you! The Glyph Witch back at the hideout, she does!"
Truman, with Oku, Room 10:The Oku chirp an affirmative, and proudly confirm their alliance with you. The drop Tutsan into a cross-legged sitting position, where he clutches the stone chess piece and begins whispering in an exotic tongue you don't understand.
Nadzikambia sheathes her machete as one of her henchwomen tosses their loot bag over her shoulder. "Crucem Capilli? HERE?" Nadzikambia asks. "The 'Burning Shadow' herself, eh? She's a famous assassin."
"And she's been hired to destroy this place?" The other chameleon women pause. Nadzikambia nods to her subordinates, and they slowly begin backing out of the room. "We'd better grab as much good stuff as we can before she does so!"
A fourth chameleon woman appears, having been cloaked in the corner of the room, and she begins to leave as well. Before going, the looters dump out the stone chess pieces from their back onto the playroom floor. "It's not a full set anyway," one of the lizardwomen grumbles.
"What is your name, mammal?" Nadzikambia asks. "Tell everyone who will listen that the Neonate Empire has claimed this Maze...er, for as long as it stands!"
Once you give her a name, she will join her cohorts and continue Southward.
OOC: For diverting an entire posse of Chameleon Women sans violence, Truman gains 400xp!
Truman, Room 10:Agrimony and Yarrow gently set Tutsan down and he begins to chirp something like words.
Nadzikambia, chameleon adventuress and Agent of N.E.W.B., grows impatient waiting for the poor catatonic Oku to hand over the stone bishop. "Well I didn't really care about it before, but now I won't leave without it, warm-bloods!" She motions for her girls to lower their weapons, and she sheathes her machete.
She looks at you pointedly. "Are you the keeper of these birds, mammal? What do you know of anyone looking to destroy this place? Ain't no one can destroy the Maze save the Medusa herself, if she so chooses."
Truman, with the Oku, Room 10:Agrimony chirps nervously. "Don't know the sound! But I'm sure it's not good-oku!" She and Yarrow try to help you heft Tutsan to the next room. Tutsan remains silent but sounds like he's trying to speak. His body is rigid as a statue, his hand tightly clutching the stone chess bishop like a man possessed.
You reach the Northeast door opening to a stark white room with a 6-inch wide black line running straight across to the North wall. As you reach the entryway, a cluster of sinuous figures appears from the Northwest door in the room you are fleeing.
A trio of lithe machete-wielding female reptilians emerge, their bulging chameleon eyes rolling around to survey the room. "You there! Halt!" the boldest (and shortest) chameleon woman shouts at you, pointing a delicate clawed finger. As she moves, her many bracelets jangle, the telltale sound you heard from the other room. "I, Nadzikambia of the Neonate Empire Wilderness Bureau, claim this Maze as a Lizardfolk Heritage Site! Its treasures belong to us, by ancient rights!" She flicks her curly tongue to show you she means business.
While she talks, the other two chameleon women (one with a rusted holy symbol at her neck) case the room, searching for valuables but finding only junky toy-things. Noting the relative uniqueness and craftsmanship of the oversized chess set, the lizard-girls begin throwing pieces into a large bag.
The lead lizard points at the chess piece in Tutsan's hand. "Come on, give us the goods, warm-blood!"
Truman, with the Oku, Room 10:
While looking around the room at the various simple toys, Tutsan picks up the nearest chess piece from the set, a bishop. As a solid stone implement about 1-foot long Tutsan seems to identify it as a handy short club. He chirps happily as he practices swinging it, but then falls silent. Neither Agrimony nor Yarrow can move him as he goes catatonic.
There is the sound of something approaching from the Northwest room, like a jingling of windchimes or chains.
Once across the bridge, the three Oku watch your gesture, quietly chatter among themselves, and then all try to shake your hand at once, completely oblivious to any handshake protocol. "A new partner in crime-oku! Akerstrom would be proud of us!" they cheer.
Agrimony considers your question. "What...year? Why, 1967? '68?--"
Yarrow chimes in. "The Oku are magical trickster birds! We have ALWAYS been here, I think! Well, for a hundred years at least-oku!" Agrimony changes her mind, and finds Yarrow's answer more probable. Tutsan chirps with approval.
"Yes, we've been here forever, running around, just out of the Medusa's reach," Agrimony goes on. "I think..." She shakes her masked head. "I don't know what to think. The Glyph Witch gives us jobs now, keeps us going, says she does our thinkin' for us..."
Yarrow and Tutsan cheerily head into the playroom and begin examining an oversized chess set with 1-foot tall pieces. Agrimony stands near you, still trying to puzzle out her existence.
"We'd better get to the Treasury...oku. Its Northeast, in the Almery..."
Truman, with the Oku, Room 8:You pass the masked men and quietly leave the snail-and-baby's room. The men offer you a piece of dried meat wrapped in parchment before you go. You see them go about re-lighting torches in the room, and head on to the Escher Room. They seem appreciative of the rope connecting them to (Room 2).
You enter a long cavernous room with three rope bridges stretching over a great darkness. The torches on the far wall illuminate your destination, and the lit torches in the room beyond show a large empty room full of crude toys.
While crossing over the rope bridge, the bird-masked thieves introduce themselves as the Oku, claiming themselves as legendary trickster birds. �None more trickier, and none more bird-ier!� their leader Agrimony boasts, eliciting triumphant chirps of �Oku-oku!� from her cohorts. The one who had used the Climb spell to scale the Escher Room is Tutsan, and the archer lookout is Yarrow.
They don�t recall how they got in the Maze, just that their old leader Akerstrom was taken by the Medusa to the Cells, and now these three before you are but one of several Oku factions trying to pull off jobs. "Akerstrom was on the job too...I think he was supposed to do something against the Medusa...can't remember now," Agrimony explains.
�Are you here for jobs?� Agrimony asks. �We have a new friend gives us all kinds of assignments! After we hit the Treasury, we can get you work too-oku!�
Truman, Room 174:The Oku gratefully pass you and rush out into the Escher Room. Seeing the dangling rope you left, the leader bird and the archer bird scamper up and attempt to swing over to the North room (Room 8 ). The middle bird chirps something and begins to climb the walls, avoiding the whole messy staircase jumble and directly crawling spiderlike up to the next room.
From the hallway in the peacock's room, a flickering golden apparition appears, the aurum specter, or so-called "goldensoul" the Oku feared. It begins to float towards you menacingly. It radiates pure malice to all living things.
Truman, Room 174:
The mechanical peacock chatters more in disgust. "Help! Those blasted Oku are back!" he calls to the glimmering lights down the hall.
The lead thief stands in front of you, jogging in place. "Let us through-oku!" she yells. "We got the KEY, man, don't you see? To the Medusa's Treasury! We'll split the take with you, but if we don't go right now, the aurum spectres will catch up and kill us all!"
Her two compatriots squawk excitedly. "Goldsouls on our six-oku!" the one with the quiver of arrows shrieks.
Truman, Room 174:
The mechanical peacock returns to the center of the room next to the food table. You can notice that amidst the rotten food sits a cheap-looking bottle of white wine. It wobbles as the peacock's fanned tail knocks into the table.
Someone down the hall shouts: "SQUAWKsquawkSQUACK! THEY'RE RIGHT ON OUR TAILS-OKU!"
Three masked figures run frantically into the room from the East. They are humanoid bodies wearing bird masks, and they squawk and chirp like birds as well. They are in such a rush they run right through the ghost boy, which startles him terribly.
The figure in front has a jaunty cap and shouts through her bird mask's open beak. "We got the stuff-oku! They're on our tails! Help us-oku!" Dangling from her right hand you see a large ornate key on a silver chain.
The ghost boy looks down the hall at what pursues them, screams silently, and vanishes. A pulsating golden glow looms closer from the East.
"Thieves!" the peacock shouts disdainfully and flaps his metal wings. "Pitiful excuses for birds!"
The bird-masked trio mean to run by you into (Room 4). "Come with us and we'll cut you in on the big score-oku!" the leader bird implores you.