It was dark around the corner. Far too dark to see anything. I’d stretched my senses out, trying to discern anything in the blackness. Nothing. Just as I’d almost given up in my attempt to penetrate the black and quiet, I felt a possibility in my mind. I reached for it and two things happened. First, I could feel the energy of my life flashing out away from me in a sphere around me. Second, I could clearly perceive everything around me in the I’m not sure what to call it, light of my soul? The sense lasted only about fifteen seconds or so, then it snapped back. But I could feel that possibility there waiting again should I dare it.
Carefully, I considered what had happened and the consequences. I felt normal, if somewhat excited and startled. Who wouldn’t be? I could feel every part of my body normally, no pains, no fuzziness in my thoughts, no ill effects I could discern. I pushed against the possibility again, and experienced a sort of exhausted feeling like I was too tired to go on. But it wasn’t a feeling of the body, nor even the mind. But something else.
Then I thought of what I’d “seen” in those few seconds. A conference chamber. With polished wooden table twenty five feet long and 10 chairs around it. At the far end, a library and dust covered alter to Moradin. Three doors along the left wall, one fifteen feet in, another next to it, then a space and the third. All closed. And two strange statues. Sort of like anvils with long arms holding a huge hammer over top, and stumpy legs. One close enough to touch around the corner, the other taking the place of one of the chairs near the end of the conference table. The stonework was exquisite. Creating thin arms and the shaft of a war hammer out of stone is extraordinarily difficult as the stone tends to crack. Weird as they were, they would still be worth a fortune. But there was something odd about them. Why would a statue be placed at the table? I had a bad feeling about them as I slipped back to the others in the darkness and let them know what I’d seen. Strangely, they didn’t even ask how I’d seen anything.
Damakos took the Gils ever burning torch an advanced, tossing it down the hallway. Sure enough, my bad feeling was rewarded with confirmation. The stubby little statue came around the corner and Damakos charged. Gil Jh’Dek charged and leapt over the combatants to flank but was almost immediately bowl over by the second construct. The area around the end of the hall lit with a dim glow of red. It didn’t seem to cause any harm and gave a little light to shoot by. I followed Yamis through a side door which was entered a chamber that shared a wall and door with the conference room. It looked to be a monastic barracks with small cells. I gave it but a glance as the clanging of steel on stone required immediate attention.
The battle was short, but we were victorious. Gil Jh’Dek and Damakos looked a tad winded but nothing serious. We began to look around when Damakos paused. “There is a magical item beyond that door over there.” he stated.
I moved to check out the situation, Brokenglass following behind and secreting himself in a nook in the hallway beyond one of the three doors. Gil Jh’Dek and Yamis awaited next to the other door. We opened them together and beyond saw a forge works of highest quality. An ash-filled firepit in the center and two massive anvils with all manner of metal working tools near each. In the far corner a statue of Moradin looking down towards the center of the floor from his lofty height, and at his feet resting on a plain, but well made wooden stand, a rapier.
“That’s it” Damakos said leaning over my shoulder.
“Wait here” I whispered back as I stepped into the room with the utmost care.
All for naught, for the floor was trapped, or the threshold, or something. That which had lain quiescent was now active, and I was immediately wrappped in coils of light with a blinding flash which sprung forth from the fire pit and wrapped about my torso. A burning sense told me I was in a very bad spot. Without thought, I reached for that possibility I’d sensed earlier. Once again, I could “see” but without the use of my flash-blinded eyes. I made my way back into the hallway and closed the door.
“Ouch. Nasty trap, that.” I said to Damakos as I made my way down the hallway and recommended that Gil Jh’Dek close the door. He did, but Yamis opened it again to cast some magic at the trap. Then, light tendrils sprang up from the area around Gil Jh’Dek. Seeming to materialize in the air all around him. He gritted his teeth and growled in pain.
“Look there at your feet! I cried. You are standing on runes. They are part of the trap, step back!” I called to him, then looked back to where Damakos was standing. There too, I could see faint glimmerings of the trap springing to life. I charged down the hall and kicked him off the runes as I back flipped backwards away myself. The building twinkles winked out as I looked around quickly.
“Nobody Move!” I yelled as I examined the floor all around me. “Little master, you are trapped. If you move over these runes the trap will attack you and there are runes in every space of the alcove you are in.” Brokenglass gulped and looked uncomfortable.
“I can get him.” stated Damakos and vanished from where he was and appeared next to Brokenglass with a sizzle of lightning. “Hold tight” he said to him and vanished in a sizzle that appeared next to me.
Brokenglass looked at Damakos with gratitude, then peered into the room. “You know, I can get that. Nobody needs to go in there at all. I’ll just use magic to bring it over to me. Is safe where you stand?” he said looking at me.
“Yes” I said as I switched places and he concentrated. His pointed ears twitched and the rapier across the room began floating towards us. The trap fizzled and flashed, but there was nothing to be attacked. A magical force without a being, it could not be burned and blinded. Shortly the rapier was in Brokenglass’s hand.
Meanwhile, I had begun carefully examining every inch of the floor on the way down the hallway into the conference room. Runes of the finest nature surrounded the stones at the entrance of the room. No way to go around them, I began working on disarming them. Il and Toh, Rarm and Doch. I’d seen similar runes in books, but none this complex before. Holding my breath, I placed a probe at the end of a rune sentence. Nothing. Good. A safe point from which to start. But a rune string can’t be broken from the end. I lit a small black wax candle and dribbled the wax down the tip of the probe where it pooled and flowed into the adjoining rune. It was obscured. That gives the window. A quick hit with a chisel, and Doch becomes Tra even as the trap flashes into activity, but Tra doesn’t work in that sequence and the magic unraveled.
I exhaled. “Safe. Let me keep checking. I’ll get us out of here safely. Step only where I say it is safe.” Half an hour later, I’d mapped those areas of the room which were unsafe due to the runes. “This will make an excellent place to rest from now on I think. Should something come along, we will know where the trap is, and they will not. It will do much of our work for us.”
We then paused to tend my burns and examine the rapier. It was exquisite. The blade was covered with hair-thin runes so dense that they almost overlapped, forming a complex pattern that made the centerline of the blade look grey from an distance. The edge itself was very interesting, with teeth like a saw, but extremely fine. I made a few passes with it, and could feel it was the most balanced blade I’d ever used, but more than that, it almost seemed to guide me through the thrusts and turns. I touched my finger to the bare teeth and felt their more than razor sharpness. But as I tried to pull away without cutting myself, I found it impossible. Any way I attempted to move that finger, I felt would slice me. I took the lesson and endured the small gash even as I thought of the wounds this blade would leave on mine enemies.