Monday, May 23, 2011

The Wizard's Tower

Soon after the Emira of Yan sent a group of bold mercenaries to fetch back her magically-stolen necklace (the details of which are here), another strange event disturbed the tranquility of the city.

Overnight, in a vacant lot in the merchant district, a tower appeared. Higher than any other building in Yan, it was roofless, green, and in general disquieting and unnatural, though no visible threat issued from it. The Emira's city guard were reluctant to storm the place, and thus it was necessary for her to look for more mercenaries. She chose the bold orc Beast Morac, and the puissant wizard Huw ap Arddur.

These two made their way to the tower without delay. They interrogated a crowd that had gathered to gawp, but found little more than tavern rumour and gossip. It was said that people had gone in and never come out, and that animals were drawn to the place by a mysterious force. Yet in the manner of such talk, no one would say that they directly observed these phenomena, only that they had heard from someone else who heard it from another.

Thus they turned their attentions to the tower itself. Huw bravely cast Abelard's Insightful Eye - bravely, for this was not a spell he was entirely familiar with. The spell worked, however, a circuit of the place revealed no hidden doors, magical illusions, or other occult attributes. It did, however, become apparent that the place was not (as they at first thought) stone over which vines had grown thickly; rather, the entire structure was made of vines (or, at least, some substance which appeared identical to vines).

The tower, unusually, had a large, open doorway, through which the adventurers travelled. There Huw looked through a tiny door, which appeared to lead to a miniature version of the very room in which they stood - including a miniature Huw, looking through a similar door, perchance to an even smaller room - and so on to infinity? Opposite this doorway was another doorway - this time huge, and apparently leading to a huge copy of the room with gigantic Huw.

These mysteries, while diverting, were declared distractions from the main quest. Thus the party traveled upwards - a spiral staircase leading in that direction. After some time, they heard voices below. They shouted down, and after some mutual distrust found that a group of elves had come to the tower, seeking the same reward as our heroes. Huw pointed out that the two groups could either fight each other, to the potential ruin of both; split up, with each running the risk of being beaten to the punch by the other and gaining nothing; or work together. This argument was declared sound by the elves. Thus it was that five adventurers ascended the stairs. The newcomers were named Earwen and Finwion, two wizards - and Enelwe, a warrior. After some discreet study it was clear that Finwion was male and the other two female.

Arriving on a higher level of the tower, the group explored. They first found a strange creature: a four-armed man, with the head of an elephant. Beast in particular was astonished, since the legends of his people spoke of such a creature, named Yag-Kosha, imprisoned in a tower by an evil wizard named Yara. And this creature declared himself to be none other than Yag-Kosha, and his jailer to be Yara! The creature declared that Yag-Kosha had imprisoned him in order to use his heart as the power source for the tower (a strange concept on many levels). In accordance with orcish legend, the creature offered his heart which, when presented to Yara with a short incantation, would surely destroy the sorcerer. The heart turned out to be a huge jewel, which Yag-Kosha regurgitated, then swallowed again when the party offered to admit him to the company.

The party then found another prisoner. A blindfolded creature with the appearance of a huge snake, save for some fungal-like growths sprouting from his head. These growths turned out to look like tiny, naked humans.

"Tis a Reverse Medusa," declared Beast, after some discussion of the nature of the snake-creature.

"Of course I am," it replied.

It transpired that the creature, one Bluebird Eye, had been captured by Yara - although he believed Yara to be one of his species, whereas Yag-Kosha declared Yara a human.

At that moment the party were interrupted yet more glory-seekers. They hid from them (the cell of Bluebird Eye having several large piles of meat within), but revealed themselves in order to parlay with the newcomers (two grizzled, elderly men, one a human warrior and the other an elvish wizard). The newcomers were most suspicious of our heroes, and declined even to tell what they had found for one gold piece (though they hinted that a higher price would have loosened their tongues).

Bluebird Eye had no confidence in his ability to find his way home alone. Especially when, as the party's interrogation seemed to indicate, that home was a different planet entirely. Thus he too joined the group, with the avowed aim of forcing the sorcerer to return him (and Yag-Kosha) to their respective homes.

The band ascended another spiral stairway (it appeared that the tower, though wonderous in its existence and its contents, was yet somewhat lacking in architectural variety, in the sense that all rooms and staircases seemed basically identical). Yag-Kosha and Bluebird Eye engaged in learned conversation which, from what Huw could gather, was concerned with various methods of natural philosophy by which they could divine the relative locations of their respective homes. This discourse ended as the party came upon a door in the wall, leading to what appeared to be a storeroom. The barrels within were inscribed in an alien language. Huw again risked all manner of magical comeuppance, casting Abelard's Insightful Eye to read the script. Perchance this was a wise decision, since it read 'Lightweight Exploding Oil: Danger!'

The stairway ending, the group found a trapdoor above them. They forced it open, and found that this room had been lined with dirt, and planted with trees to create a pleasant grove. In this grove there slept a dozen creatures, who (after Huw yet again risked the arcane dangers of Abelard's Insightful Eye), turned out to be a species of living sugar cube.

The party woke one of the creatures, and it confirmed that they, too, had met Yara. Although their interaction with him seemed to have been more pleasant than that of Yag-Kosha or Bluebird Eye, one of the cubes, named Deer Running Downhill, conveyed the unpleasant information that Yara "looked like you, but he had extra stuff growing out the bottom of his body. He was, oh, 20 or 30 times your height I'd say."

At this point the chapter ends, with our heroes parlaying with Deer Running Downhill.


  1. Now you have me thinking of ideas for Reverse-everythings...!

  2. Thanks! By the way, you should check out my entry on incubi and succubi.


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