Goldrim suddenly remembered the two other pieces in the scrollcase we found in the room with the murderous statues. He'd stuffed them back into the scrollcase once the struggle with the queen's ghost was over, but had forgotten to show them to us.

One was a map of the lake. The dwarves had written notes, and Goldrim read them to me. I annotated my map with their notes for future reference. One suggested there was surely something hidden in the throne in the middle, which Prestley had already told us was not the case. Another asked if Hargrim were buried to the south "for his origins", or to the north "for his destiny". We were in a corner, and we could see at least three other entrances. Plus Prestley had said there were many hidden ones as well.

The second piece of paper was another map of the same room with other notes, which I also added to my map. One pointed to the north-west alcove and asked if Hargrim were there. A pile of rubble was marked. There were some X's and some checks and some question marks, all marking exits either seen or unseen.

This cavern was big -- roughly 60 x 30 feet, and 30 feet tall. It was full of water ranging from ankle-deep to 1 or 2 feet deep. The throne was on an outcropping of rock towards the northern end of the room, facing south. There were four "beaches" in the corners, and each one seemed to be either an exit or at least an alcove.

We asked the queen many questions about the lake. She confirmed that it didn't used to be a lake; the water is recent (by a dwarf's reckoning), within the last 1000 years. The room was the burial chamber for the kings. They were buried in the ground in this room. They don't mark the graves to hide them from grave robbers. When the kings are buried, they first sit on the throne "for a while".

We saw one door that Prestley said led to a new and unknown spiral stair going up. Also, the alcove labeled Hargrim? on the second map has stairs leading down (no door and it stretched stright ahead and down). There was a secret door hiding a tunnel in the corner behind the throne.

Prestley looked deep inside the throne. It appeared to be a solid throne. He looked under the water. Not too far from us, he saw a room below the floor and a secret door in the nearby wall that led down to it. I had him look specifically at all the points that were marked on the two maps. We all wandered around the room with him, so he could look well into each one and behind all the walls to a good distance. I managed to trip on a rock and fell into the water. I held the map I was looking at out of the water and saved it, but I was soaking wet. He also searched the lake for the bones of the queen, but there were none. Prestley found a lot of secret doors, leading to tombs we figured. The one behind the throne was actually a dead-end and a trap, although it looked rather tombish.

José already told us that the throne (an the entire area is magical. Now that we were down here, he also looked carefully for illusionary magics, but there was none. At least what we saw was true.

We walked up the spiral staircase first, mostly just to get it out of the way. Kyuskay led with Prestley behind him, and he vowed to stop at Prestley's slightest word. I think the solemnity of the tomb got to him. Goldrim followed them. Then the rest of us. No traps along the way.

At the top, about 20 feet up, it opened into a natural cavern. The ceiling had mostly collapsed onto the floor, covering what was in the room. Prestley said there were the remains of sarcophogi under the rubble. If we climbed over it and headed north, we would come out on one of the balconies. We could sort of see it over the rubble. Goldrim said it would take several days to go through the rubble, and there didn't seem to be any point. The queen didn't react to the bones in the rubble, of course. They had been properly buried at one time.

We returned to the lake and moved around the wall to the right to the large complex of tunnels. Double doors opened to a carved room about 8x10-12 feet. It was full of modern expedition equipment, bits of stone taken from lake room, and nothing of interest to us. Its exit was trapped and Prestley took care of it. We came to stairs going up to a landing. We followed the passage, which was interrupted by stairs and secret door along the way, to the last balcony overlooking the lake. At least I could finish off that portion of my map.

We returned to the bottom and took the next stairs up, which took us back up near Sundrim's throne room. Another hole in the map covered, and back down again.

We continued methodically to the right to the secret door with a tomb right behind it. There was a sarcophagus; Prestley looked inside and saw the bones and armor. No zoggin rocks. Tapestries hung on the walls, but too rotten to see clearly. Prestley described the writing to the queen, who told us Fenni is buried here (successor to Hargrim). He was on the list we have with names and numbers. He buried Hargrim and renamed this place Kadar Gravning for him. Fenni's tomb and sarcophagus are carefully sealed, so actually a good bit of his body is still in it. However, it is neither Hargrim's nor the queen's, so we continued around to the corner with many exits.

The first one was a secret door with stairs going down. It was neither very well hidden nor trapped. And the stench that rolled out nearly stopped us in our tracks. It was apparently no longer sealed. The passage was very damp, and very smelly. Luxuriant growths of mold festooned the walls and floor. Both red and yellow varieties blanketed the walls, the floor, and tomb. I recognized the stuff and warned everyone to be very careful around it. I passed out cloths I keep just for such things, and we covered our faces with them. We walked carefully, trying not to disturb anything. We went just far enough so Prestley could see everything we needed him to see. The tomb was that of another king, but the damp had gotten in. The body was so nasty even Prestley said yuck. This one was not on our list. Goldrim, the queen, and Prestley figure out it's some guy named Darbli. The queen said simply he was a remarkably unimportant king. He was just listed as a way to fill in the gap between kings.

The next target was a set of unhidden stairs leading down. At the bottom were double doors -- Prestley looked through them and saw the familiar temple.

Moving right along, discovered stairs leading down behind a wall. There was not a door there and had never been a door there. Kyuskay says it was obviously hiding the tomb of Hargrim. Goldrim said it would take half an hour to bash through it using some of the equipment we found. We decided to come back to it -- do the easier ones first. José said there wasn't magic there, which made it seem less likely to be Hargrim's. Surely his is very well protected.

We skipped the trapped tunnel to nowhere. Next was a secret door with stairs down. No traps again, and again we walked down into the smell of damp and rotting corpses. We also had to walk around puddles of water. To my surprise, there was no mold this time. We came to an octagonal room with bodies laid on stone biers. They were rotting, of course, out in the open. Pools of water spotted the floor, but still no mold. The eight bodies laid out here, although treated with less respect than I expected, were apparently royalty. Hargrim, the great hero, was almost certainly not amongst them. The smell got to Kyuskay, and he quietly threw up his guts in a corner puddle of water. Neither Goldrim nor the queen recognized the names of any of the eight on their plaques.

On to the next. Another secret door, a long tunnel, and more stairs down, ending in a wall. There should have been a door there. None but Prestley saw any signs of it. He pointed out runes cunningly carved in the rock and well-hidden. Goldrim read the runes: Hargrim. Prestley said there was no trap. Kyuskay believed this was too easy and was merely a decoy. I agreed with him. I didn't think the paranoid dwarves, worried about grave robbers, would engrave his name at the door to his tomb, no matter how well-hidden.

José said there was magic here, different than the other magic in this room. It could just be that this is the doorway to Hargrim's tomb, or it might be a magical trap, or both, or a decoy. We decided to let it be for the time being and finish searching the rest.

Next was the secret door, not well-hidden at all, that lead into the room underneath this room with the lake. Prestley disarmed the trap on it, and we followed the turning stairs down to a door. Before we went any further, Prestley directed us to not open the door. It was trapped. The trap opened the ceiling above, which would instantly flood us with water and drown us. Prestley looked into the room and told us what was within: a sarcophagus with the name Hargrim carved on it. An empty sarcophagus. This was definitely a decoy and a trap.

As we reached the lake again, Goldrim stopped short and got that stunned look on his face that meant he was having one of his visions. After a brief pause, he came back to himself, but he said nothing. We didn't press him: when and if he wanted to tell us, he would. Perhaps it was more personal this time.

This was the last to check out. We had two more complicated areas we had left for later, and it was now later. For lack of any other ideas, we gathered the equipment the expedition had left behind, and Goldrim started bashing through the thin wall that had no door. Prestley and José both looked again for anything unusual. Prestley saw nothing, but José said there was a magical trap of some sort. But he couldn't tell what it was.

Miara idly wondered what would happen if someone sat on the throne. I don't think she realized she said that out loud. Then she asked, deliberately this time, if perhaps following the ritual would disarm the trap. If it was a trap. This might be the trap that would bring the entire cavern down on us. I could see the dwarves doing that to protect Hargrim the great hero.

Just for something to do, I stood at each entrance and testted the glow of the crystal of air, but it glowed equally brightly no matter where I was. The last crystal we sought was certainly down here somewhere, but we were too close now to tell exactly where. Prestley said he couldn't see the answering glow of the crystal down any of the tunnels. It was almost certainly in the sarcophagus, so of course we wouldn't see it's glow.

Miara and Kyuskay had a private conversation that turned not-so-private. They both agreed that if it were simply a matter of one person risking himself, then that one person could take the chance with the trap. But this could be a trap that, triggered by one person, would destroy the entire party. I muttered that might not be a bad thing. Miara and Kyuskay agreed on the fact that one of them could risk it if the rest of the party would be safe, but they sharply disagreed on who would brave the trap: Miara or Kyuskay.

It was a very sharp argument considering it was entirely hypothetical. I hoped.

Ravenna, A Monk of the Biancan Order

Part the First:
Blood and Mud

Part the Second:
Murder and Mayhem

Part the Third:
Puzzles and Crystals

Part the Fourth:
Dwarves and Rocks

Part the Fifth:
Diplomacy and Daggers

Part the Sixth:
Crystal and Chaos

Part the Seventh:
Sheer Insanity

~ The End ~