The tap on Sam’s shoulder wasn’t needed, as she had already seen the bell hanging down from the ceiling. Hanging right above the passage in front of them. The group bunched up around Sam, who had halted in front of the bell. Five pairs of eyes were peering through the dark tunnel at the bell, which gave off a very faint glow.
“Apparently, traps aren’t exactly subtle in this challenge,” Julian stated in a mocking tone.
Desiree hesitated a second before commenting, “You really think that it could be a trap?”
“I don’t think it just grew there,” he retorted, this time with even more mocking.
Kathryn agreed with a nod of the head. “Julian’s right. It isn’t wise ‘ter even touch it; drawin’ unwanted attention in such a wee space, would nae be good."
However, Aelric had a different plan. While they’d been briefly discussing it, he’d got right up next to the bell with his hand poised on the rope below it, ready to ring. Then he did. The dull ‘bong’ from the bell sounds like a death toll. Everything around them starts to vibrate, and he gritted their teeth as his head too, started to shudder. Being so close to the bell, Aelric’s whole body was trembling and fell to the floor. He quivered and shook, writhing convulsively on the floor as the reverberations intensified. Feeling his energy drain and his glaive wielding hand feel weaker (-2 skill & -2 stamina), Aelric wanted to search desperately for a way to stop the bell.
Both Desiree and Julian threw their hands over their ears to protect them, while also opening their mouths to produce more noise. Fortunately for the group, Sam was quick and was able to wrap her arms around their heads to cover their mouths with each hand. So Desiree’s high-pitched scream and Julien’s whimpers were muffled. Despite the terrible ringing in everyone’s ears, Aelric had pushed himself off the ground to actually work with Kathryn to stop the noise. As Kathryn had taken off her boots and held them against the bell. Slowly the bell stopped vibrating and ringing in their ears gradually eased. They were able to calm down and look at each other through the gloom again, except Sam, who was listening for footsteps or something. There weren’t any.
Kathryn slid her boots back on her feet, snapping at Aelric as she did, “Nice goin’, idiot.”
Aelric snarled back, “Yeah, well, we’re not dead, are we? The bell has been stopped.”
“We could 'ave been.”
“Stop it, you two,” Sam interjected. “Let’s just continue before more trouble is caused.”
Sam pushed her way past the bell, taking the lead and continuing west. Then Kathryn after her, Desiree, Julien, and finally a disgruntled Aelric. The tunnel veered sharply to the right and continued north. They all heard a giant racket in the distance; sounds of growling and snarling and howling. Without communication, they all drew their weapons before continuing toward it. Ahead, they saw two HobGoblins squabbling over something ahead. Sam signalled to the others to go round, making it blatant to Aelric. They crept up behind the two squabbling HobGoblins. As everyone passed them safely, Aelric then leapt out of the shadows, pushing them into the wall as he ran by. Looking back to see them sprawled on the ground, he chuckled to himself as he ran ahead of the group. Taking a sharp right east, he arrived at a strange obstruction; a line of 12 wooden poles. They are fixed to the walls about half a metre apart.
Following the many footsteps down the tunnel ahead of her, Yoohan heard the faint ringing of a bell. Though the noise soon stopped. After five more minutes of walking, Yoohan stopped mid-step in front of a large bell hanging over the path. Standing there smiling at the bell for at least a minute, Yoohan decided it would not be best to ring it, especially since this had to be the one she’d heard a few minutes ago. Instead, she continued west, around the bell, to where the tunnel veered sharply to the right and continued north. Stopping again, she heard a mighty loud ruckus ahead, growling and snarling and howling. Yoohan drew her bow and arrow before starting up down the tunnel again. Ahead in the dim light, she saw two HobGoblins clambering up off the ground furiously, preparing for a combat dual. Deciding that she didn’t want to fight one, let alone two, Yoohan crept up behind the two HobGoblins, who had just locked arms, attempting to throw the other. When she was clear, she jogged along the tunnel until the sharp turn east where she met another group.
Seventh & Eighth Stick
As the pair turned around, away from something obstructing their path, feeling defeated, Scarlet said aloud while walking around them, “What, are you scared or something? Where’s your sense of adventure? Let’s go see what is up there.”
Emyrs let out a slightly-infuriated huff in quick-response to the new girl, “Suit yourself if you wish to get killed quickly.” Crystal only gave him a tight-lipped smile and then a soft punch in his bicep, as if to tell him to try to be a little more polite.
Scarlet tilted her head ever so slightly to the left to get a better look at the pair. She gave them a sweet smile but wasn’t going to be pressured into not taking a closer look as she edged closer. It was too dark to make out exactly what the obstruction was, but the wet footprints ahead of her seemed to carry on toward it. As she got closer, Scarlet saw it was a large, brown, boulder-like object. Reaching out her hand, she found it soft and spongy to the touch. Emyrs stepped closer too, over to her left. He also found it oddly soft to the touch.
Crystal stayed back, squinting her eyes to peer at it. “How about you both stop feeling it and just slice through it already?”
Scarlet gave a half nod and pulled out her sword, but Emyrs held up his hands, saying, “No, let’s not. You don’t know what’s in this object, it’d be better to just climb over it.” He felt around the sphere for a decent handhold to pull himself up.
“We don’t know what’s behind it either, so I’m going to slice through it.” The tip of Scarlet’s blade cut the surface of the object.
“Yeah, stand aside, Emyrs, destroying this thing is the best option,” Crystal told him dominantly, despite him being older and bigger than her. She drew her daggers and charged the ball. Unfortunately, Crystal was not very aware of the direction of her daggers as she ran. They left a shallow cut in the arms of the other two before both blades plunged into the ball (-1 Stamina each). Almost simultaneously, Emyrs growled her name like an annoyed parent, while screeching in pain. Scarlet sliced the object again with her sword, this time angrier and deeper, and Crystal pulled her daggers out. A thick brown cloud of spores burst out of the ball and enveloped them. Some of the spores stuck to their skin and started to itch terribly. Great lumps came up on all three faces and arms, and their skin felt like it was on fire. (-2 Stamina) The girls began frantically scratching their itchy bumps while Emyrs refrained from agitating it further. Leading the way, he stepped over the now deflated ball and headed east.
The tunnel made a sudden turn to the left and headed north for as far as Emyrs could see. The footprints they’d been following started to fade out as the ground became gradually drier. Soon they were beyond the dripping roof and pools on the floor, and then Emyrs started to breathe deeply as the air became hotter. The girls, too, slowed their pace. In a small recess of the left-hand wall, Crystal saw a section of bamboo standing on its end. She lifted it down to find it was filled with a clear liquid and gestured to the others to look too. Each of their throats was painfully dry and they were starting to feel dizzy from the heat in the tunnel.
Caveman's fighting ability:
As the primitive being’s spit connected with the ground, Yeonhwa turned his head and twisted his leg around as if he planned to bound back up the tunnel to escape. The ape-like man already had his club in motion, bringing it down on Yeonhwa. It was fortunate that he saw the primitive’s shadow and was able to throw himself out of the way. The unfortunate part was that he smacked into the wall at some force. His back jarred in pain. Sliding down the solid dirt wall, the creature’s club changed direction, but Yeonhwa had been able to pull out his sword to deflect the attack. Sending the club into the wall and leaving his bicep open to be sliced. The primitive grunted again, a little angrier. Leaving no chance for the primitive to retaliate, not even risking standing up, he then ran his blade across the side of the caveman’s thigh. He made a groan this time, at the gash on his thigh, which was one groan too many. As Yeonhwa used the time that the man cried in pain, to quickly thrust his sword higher. Into the top of his thigh. Only to pull it swiftly out, lift the hilt over his own head and stab the blade into the primitive’s upper stomach.
Pushing himself back into a sitting position, he rested just long enough to catch his breath. When he had, he stood and peered over the fresh corpse, examining it. The only thing of interest on the dead Caveman was a leather wristband with four small rats’ skulls hanging from it. He thought about whether to take it or not, as it wasn’t exactly fashionable, but then again it would show others what he was made of. So he slipped it off the primitive’s wrist and onto his own. The leather wristband had been made and cursed by a Hag. It leaves the wearer unable to remove it, and it slows down reactions and dulls their senses. (-4 Skill) Yeonhwa kicked the tunnel in anger and stomped off north. Though not far along, he stopped stomping, as he saw a backpack propped up against the tunnel wall. He wondered if it belonged to one of his rivals.
Turning west, they didn’t walk long before they faced what seemed to be a large bell in front of them. Walking right up in front of it. “That’s a bell, probably a trap, and you’re probably going to ring it anyway,” Derek stated, keeping his serious tone as he observed the bell.
Felix beamed, before flashing Derek his glistening silver pupils and replying cheekily, “You bet. How could I refuse such a great suggestion as that?!” Then before Derek called even think about rolling his eyes, Felix pulled on the rope hanging from the inside of the bell. Again, not that the pair knew this was the second time, the bell’s dull ‘bong’ sounded like a death toll and everything around them started to shake. Biting down hard on their teeth to try to stop their heads doing so too, which wasn’t successful as they were forced to drop to the floor. Trembling and convulsing as it got worse, as did the feeling of loss of strength and experience (-2 skill & -2 stamina). An involuntary noise escaped their lips, almost in unison. From Felix was a high-pitched scream, which he quickly tried to cover up by clearing his throat. Derek, on the other hand, let out a much gruffer scream-like yell. Their heads were rattled and there was now a need to stop the bell, though with the noise and vibrations it made it hard to stand, let alone think of a way to stop the ringing.
Despite the terrible ringing in Derek’s ears, he could hear footsteps running down the tunnel from where they’d just come. Their loud screams had attracted a tunnel guardian, a co-leader of its own kind. Standing over Derek was a HobGoblin; its face bore a sick smile as it pressed the point of its sword against his neck. Unable to defend himself, he couldn’t prevent the HobGoblin from running its sword through him. Felix hadn’t heard the footsteps, so it came as a surprise when he turned his head to see his friend brutally murdered. The mere seconds it took for the creature to pull his blade from Derek and hold it to Felix’s neck, was only enough time for Felix to grip one of his arrows. As the blade poked into his neck and he felt a trickle of blood, the last thought he had was regret. He regretted ringing that darn bell because if he hadn’t then Derek would still be alive.
Sorry Martha and Blue, the main results of each choice are all already planned out before actually chosen. Though I’m honestly the most disappointed about this 'cause they were my FAVOURITE conversations to write. I LOVED these two characters. You’re both welcome to help Brooke (fifth stick) with any decisions, and I really hope you’ll be keen for the next adventure after this one!
Walking down the tunnel, Kendra heard ringing sounds from somewhere ahead of her. The walls were vibrating and for a few seconds, before she could steady herself, her legs felt like jelly. Once her legs were steadier, her ear became attune to two screams, followed by heavy footsteps coming closer. Drawing two of her daggers, she stood on guard, ready for the upcoming approach. A HobGoblin ran past, too focused on where it was heading to bother with her. After the creature had passed, Kendra continued walking, rather slowly, keeping her daggers out in front of her. Only two minutes had passed when she heard the footsteps approaching again. It was the HobGoblin back again and this time it noticed Kendra and ran to attack her.
HobGoblin guardian's fighting ability:
As the HobGoblin ran toward her, it brought its sword down, which she parried with her daggers. The creature stepped back to adjust itself for another strike, except that Kendra struck it first. She plunged her dagger into his gut, causing the creature to double up. When it did, Kendra lifted her leg up and kicked it in its new wound. Falling backwards from the kick, Kendra thrust forward and stabbed one of her daggers into its chest. It was dead.
With a quick wipe of her daggers, she trudged forward again, to the bell. She didn’t seem surprised to see a large bell hanging down, blocking most of the path, and was especially unfazed by the two bodies laying on the ground in front of it, bleeding out. Taking a closer look at the bodies, she recognised them; two of her challenge competitors, the previous stick before hers. Both were tall, well-built men. That thought nagged at her mind, if two rather strong males could be killed here, then what hope did she have?! Attempting to push the thought aside, Kendra kneeled between the men and carefully closed their eyelids while saying a little prayer she knew. Just one to bring peace. Waiting a few minutes in what was dead-silence, she decided to search the bodies, thinking that they’d want someone to make good use of any possessions to try to win the challenge. She took the contents of the backpacks, which included potions, 4 Gold Pieces, and weapons.
Once shouldering her pack again, Kendra bowed to them then looked at the bell. It only appeared to be one of the first of many challenges this mountain would throw at her. With that logic, and the two other challengers laying there, she decided it was best to walk around it, as she wouldn’t want to draw attention to herself. Continuing cautiously west, the tunnel veered sharply to the right and continued north for as far as she could see.
Hearing a tremendous commotion in the distance, growling and snarling and howling, Kendra kept her daggers steadily out front and walked carefully down the tunnel toward it. Ahead in the dim light, she saw two HobGoblins fighting, punching and kicking each other furiously. There is a leather bag lying on the floor, and it seems to be this that they are fighting over. Not wanting to see the fighting continue, nor witness any more death in the tunnels, Kendra decided to break it up, quite loudly.
“Oi! You won’t solve your problems this way. Why don’t you try sharing the bag?”
HobGoblins' fighting ability:
The two HobGoblins stopped their fight immediately. They didn’t understand what she was saying and just snarled at her viciously. They drew their short swords and ran forward to attack her. Kendra dodged the second HobGoblin’s attack and then jumped out of the way of the first HobGoblins’s attack. Unfortunately, leaping into the second’s thrust, left a cut in her arm. Though not letting the pain faze her, she rolled behind the second and thrust her right into its back. With her left, she jabbed at the first. When it leapt forward to attack, she cut it and then pierced it with her right.
The two HobGoblins lay there unmoving. They looked to have nothing of any use to her on them, so she decided to open the little bag on the floor. Inside was a corked earthenware jug. Kendra uncorked it and sniffed. It smelled sharp and acrid.
Fifth and Sixth Stick
Do you wish to step between the poles or across the top of the poles?
Seventh and Eighth Stick
Do you wish to drink the liquid or continue north without drinking it?
Should he look inside the backpack or would he rather continue north?
Do you wish to drink some of the liquid or dip a piece of cloth in it?