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Chapter One recap, part 3

Posted in: Chapter One recap by Ariel on December 22, 2007

Into Jzadirune!
We entered the underground city of Jzadirune that same night. I don’t know if everyone was as worried about invisible guards as I was. What had Keegan called them? “Skulks”? The perfect word for them. We didn’t delve too deeply before we realized we needed rest and supplies — Jzadirune is a full city underground.

Once we’d rested and equipped, we headed down again. There were freshly made tunnels. Again, the Skulks were on our minds — I did not want to duck-walk through some tunnel only to be attacked by invisible creatures with wicked blades and I know I wasn’t alone in that thought.

There were huge circular doors with clever locks. We found a few keys. Too few. We all suffered in the underground city. Cinder was again savagely attacked by Skulks. Then she was paralyzed by a grell. Myntilly triggered a trap and fell 20 feet on to spikes. I was ambushed by Skulks and had to wrestle a Raggamuffin. Both my own silly fault, by the way. Sadi loosed many arrows in our defense and Ilea stalked ahead, as cat and human, alert for enemies.

I believe we were feeling too confident when we got to the theater room. We fanned out in the room. No sneak attacks, but no sign of children or Starbrow. Myntilly and Sadi noticed a trapdoor in the stage. Nature abhors a vacuum like we abhor a closed door! We opened the trapdoor. Myntilly was in front, Ilea behind, holding it open, Sadi was a few step back and to the side, Cinder was in the seating area with bow and arrow ready. I stood below the stage, near the stairs.

As soon as the lid lifted, several thick snake-like arms wriggled out. One grabbed Myntilly around the throat. Others slithered over her shoes, looking for a purchase. Ilea let the door drop, but that only made the tentacles around Myntilly’s throat close tighter. Cinder dropped her bow and sprang onto the stage with her dagger out. I felt useless with my mace. Myntilly, with Cinder’s help, managed to get free of the monster’s grip. Sadi suggested we light a stage curtain on fire and drop it into the trapdoor space — we would burn the tentacle creatures. It took coordination, but we did it!

We slept under the stage that night. We felt safe there. We were wrong. In the morning Cinder was half invisible.
Thus ends part 3.

Chapter One recap, part 2

Posted in: Chapter One recap by Ariel on December 21, 2007

It was late when we got to Keegan’s locksmith shop. We didn’t think we had time to wait. The kidnappers had a full day’s lead. Getting inside his shop was relatively easy. Finding answers was not.

Keegan planted himself behind his counter, in front of a curtain. He was brusque. He was not about to tell us anything. We needed to get behind that curtain. We needed a diversion.

In the guise of warming her hands at the fire, Myntilly thoughtfully set her own cloak on fire. Suddenly we all panicked. Myntilly artfully fanned the small flame as she appeared to be trying to squelch it, all the while muttering “Oh my goodness! Oh my goodness!” like a silly old woman. Sadi shouted for water and Keegan ran behind the curtain, Cinder at his heels. Ilea tried to contain her mirth.

Sadi realized that Keegan might be back too soon. She flung aside the curtain and found the stairs up to Keegan’s living quarters. Behind the curtain were several locked chests. Cinder worked quickly to unlock them. To give her more time, Sadi tripped Keegan and made him spill the water bucket. Cursing her clumsiness, he refilled it. Sadi attempted to push him down the stairs. Although it failed, the noise was tremendous and it gave Cinder the chance to hide among the chests.

By the time Keegan arrived in his waiting room, with half a bucket of water, we’d put out the fire. We hadn’t fooled him, not entirely, and I think he took pity on us. He said, with eyes raised to the ceiling, “Let’s go get a drink. We can’t talk here.”

I’m sure we all felt a moment of triumph — he’d forgotten about Cinder! And she would get a chance to snoop!

Keegan confided in us that he was being forced to make skeleton keys to all of his locks. Some bad people had stolen his familiar, a rat named Starbrow. They would hurt or kill Starbrow if Keegan disobeyed.
Later he confided further: his house was always guarded, alway occupied by invisible creatures. We knocked over benches in our haste to leave the pub.

Cinder had very good luck in her search. She found a map and a spellbook. She was just resetting the disarmed trap on Keegan’s bedside table when she heard Myntilly’s voice in her ear: “You are not alone.”

We arrived in time to help Cinder fight off two invisible creatures. She was hurt badly and we are lucky she didn’t die. Keegan showed us the secret entrance to the Gnomish city of Jzadirune. It was conveniently located under his stairs.
Thus ends part 2.

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