Since the freed Elves no longer desired my assistance or company, I engaged my time other pursuits. As is usually the case, this lead me to a craggy ruin. As my boots were full of mud and my leggings were in a ruinous state, I felt there was no harm in traipsing through the murky water looking for an entrance. However, this proved rather difficult and put my life in jeopardy more than once.

Although I’m quite sure I contracted an infectious disease from the swamp water, it was the Caiman and Spiders that posed the real danger. They slithered out of the murky depths without being seen, causing much pain and consternation as they got the first strike. The spiders were slightly easier to contend with, but the sting of their venom was no less painful.

My first attempt at entry proved unsuccessful. Although I was quite sure I could leap from rock to window ledge, I overestimated my ability, missed the crucial foothold and took a nasty tumble down the rock embankment.

When I regained my breath and found my senses, I made a second attempt from the right hand side of the ruin. The crumbled rock pile was no less treacherous, but I was able to leap into the structure without needless injury.

Once inside, ravenous spiders came to greet me. Judging by their enormous size, there was plenty to feast upon, but, nevertheless, they eyed me as a tasty meal. I blurred their vision however, with several decisive blows. Once blinded, I made short work of their hairy and hideous bodies.

It was at this point that the rain started to come down and the footing inside the ruin became downright treacherous. So much so, that I fell through the great opening in the floor and came to rest in a heap before a locked gate. Reading the inscription, it revealed I was at the final resting place of the Talhoffer Twins, whoever they are. Defenders of the channel according to the slimy plaque.

“A tomb,” I said. “That means there is treasure about and some sort of outlandish mechanism that locks the door.”

Just to make sure that was indeed the case, I gave the door a sound jostling, but it didn’t budge.

“Very well, I shall have to find the key, lever or some other ridiculous means of entrance. How hard can it be?”

Searching the wall, I found nothing. I surveyed the area looking for a chest. None was to be found. I retraced my way back up the steps, and noted two large statues, the twins by the engravings on the plague. I gave them a sound frisking and turned up no key. I checked all the doors. No key or lever in sight.

In a rather embarrassing bit of frustration, I lashed out at the statue closest to me. Hurling an unsettling barrage of insults and vulgarities, not to mention a multitude of sword swings and kicks from my boots, I raised many objections as to why the key can’t simply be placed under a loose stone or rug.

As my tirade subsided, I noted the statue had moved and I heard a hollow click in the distance.

“Oh I say. Did thrashing the statue cause it to pivot and move on this pedestal and thereby unlock some sort of mechanism which in turn allows me to gain entrance to the vault?”

It was more of a rhetorical question as there was no one there to answer me. But the statue had moved, and I had heard a click. This gave me hope as I moved to the second statue and gave it a sound thrashing as well. It didn’t need the thrashing, but the act gave me great satisfaction and relived the terrible nature of the situation I was in.

Like his confederate, he moved to face out the window and I distinctly heard another click. With much excitement and anticipation, I bounded down the stairs and returned to the tomb entrance. This time, the door swung freely.

From past experience, I stood at the entrance waiting, expecting some sort of trap or for the floor to give way, or a multi-headed beast to come out and try to eat me.

The silence was unnerving. I tried to coax Sir Mud Pie to take the lead but he was in no mood to entertain the idea. That left me to go first, and so I did. My nerves were on edge as I waited for the flame spurt, the poison dart, or for one of the skeletons to rise up and declare vengeance.

But there was none of it. Instead, there was a treasure chest at the end of the tomb, just waiting for me to loot it’s contents. My expectations were low and I wasn’t disappointed. Like so many other chests before it, this contained come soggy reagents, a few gem fragments which I could use for ale money, a small purse of coins and a couple of rusty weapons.

“One of these days,” I said to my boney companions, “I’m going to find a tomb, or ruin, or temple, or dungeon crypt, loaded to the gills with quality gems, pristine swords, majestic armor, and so many sacks of gold coins that I’ll injure myself carting them all out. Once of these days. But for now, I’m taking your gold and trinkets and senselessly squandering them at the first public house I come to.”

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That last leap to the window didn’t end as I had envisioned. However, leaping from the rocks to the window from this angle should be simplicity itself.

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Oh my word, the rain and flotsum from those spiders has made the floors a death trap. But, what have we here? Some sort of secret entrance?

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No idea who these twins are and why anyone would care. But my adventurer senses lead me to believe there is loot afoot and that’s all that’s important.

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Just as I suspected! The old, beat the statue senseless trick has revealed it’s secret!

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If one of you makes a move and leaps out to grab me in some sort of fit of vengeance, just be warned, I have a sword, and I’m fully prepared to use it. Plus, I’ve been in some in unsavory water and you’re likely to contract something terrible and catch your death. Again…

More brilliant musings about my adventures in New Britannia

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