The Caverns of Kildun Aalda--Chapter Fifteen--Joban the Sneaky
“George, are you finding yourself comfortable?” Britt asked.
The thief once again was in his favorite divan. “As much as I love sleeping outdoors, this is the life.”
“Are you okay?” the dwarf asked, as George rubbed his shoulders. “Is you flesh still crawling from that creature?”
“No, dad, my arms are sore from all of that sawing I did earlier. For some reason, we had to free some monkeys from the zoo.”
“The others laughed.”
“Do you want a healing potion?” Johanna asked.
“Oh, no thank you. I would rather save them when I actually would need them. How are you feeling Johanna?” She did have a brush with death earlier that day.
She smiled at Bard, who blushed. “Thanks to Bard, I am much better.”
“George, we have covered the entire western part of the upper level” Britt said, “haven’t we?”
George looked at the map. “Yes. I have all the rooms marked on the map. However, the eastern half is larger. I still don’t know how we are to get to the lower level. I cannot find any stairs or passageways that will take us there.
“Do not give up hope,” Britt said. “I am sure there is a way. We just have to find it.”
Johanna sat next to him. “Are you up to reading from Joban’s journal?”
George sat right up. “With all that happened today, I forgot about all about it.” He looked over at Bard, who was standing next to Britt. He smiled evilly. “Move over next to me,” he whispered to Johanna. She slid closer to the thief. “Hey Bard!” he called to the fighter. “There is room for one more over here!”
Without saying a word, Bard came over and sat next to Johanna. “I am going to kill, George,” he thought to himself. However, he was grateful, especially when she took and held his hand.
Dage 11, 3045
Keeping a respectful distance from the castle, I circled the walls of the castle, looking for an entrance. An entire wall enclosed it. If I was more than a medium, I could have levitated over the walls. I could have passed through the walls with my potion of gaseous form. This allows me to turn into a gaseous form and pass through solid objects easily. However, I only had one portion and might need it when I was in the castle.
(“Smart thinking,” said Britt.)
Finally on the east wall, I found an entrance. It looked like a gatehouse. On the other side a narrow path wound its way along the body of the castle. If I got past the gatehouse, I could find a way into the castle.
I decided to rest and get some sleep before entering into the castle. I could have entered yesterday, when I arrived. However, the late afternoon’s light was failing and I was advised no to attempt to enter during the night. Still, I had to be on the lookout, since it was rumored that there were wild animals and monsters outside of the castle. I thought to myself that if I ever built a fortress such as the one Gallapus build, I would only contain the monsters within my walls. I do not care if people walked by my humble abode. However, if somebody intruded on my privacy, I would want to teach them something.
(“That is why we did not encounter anything before we entered the Caverns of Kilda Aalda,” Johanna said.
“True,” said Britt. However, on the missions we have been on before, we never met any encounters, until we entered.”
“That was the same way with the Catacombs,” said Bard. “Still I did not stay around until nightfall.”)
I awoke at dawn and removed my invisibility ring. Nothing had disturbed me during the night. After a quick breakfast, I started on my way.
I was standing towards the back of the castle walls. I decided to go through the gatehouse. The gate was opened, raised above my head. It was probably where carriages came and went since the entrance was high and wide enough.
Still, I wondered, why was this opened?
I put on my ring of visibility and stepped through. I heard a noise above my head and I looked up. Immediately I jumped backwards. Not a second too soon, for the gate came crashing to the ground. If I had hesitated for even a fraction of a second, I would have been crushed to death. My unworthy life would have been over. Still that is an idea I will keep if I ever build my own fortress.
(“I think that is how he got that idea for the cage trap in the tool room,” Balon said.)
I tried pulling on the gate but it would not budge. It was too heavy. I realized that even when I was invisible, the traps in the castle would still be set off. With the gate closed, I decided to look for another way in. If I needed to, I would use the gaseous form potion. I only I had a rope to scale these walls.
I walked back the direction I followed last night. I got to the part where the north and east walls intersected. There was another gatehouse. I could see the back of the castle. It did look like a tiger’s tail. Would I have better luck with this entry? If I had leapt forward before, I would have been on the castle grounds.
In this gatehouse, I could see two sets of wooden doors that were open. What was beyond that, I could not tell; it was too dark to tell. I looked above me and saw that there were now gates that would crash down on me.
Still I did not want to use the gaseous potion just yet. Plus my ring of invisibility’s power was getting weak, since I wore when I was sleeping last night. I would have to wait a while before I wore it again so it could regain its full powers. I decided to walk through this gate house without using any form of magic.
I got past the entrance to the gatehouse and beyond the first set of wooden doors. I stopped and look around. Then, all of a sudden, a rock fell to the ground ahead of me. I looked up towards the ceiling. Rocks were coming through a hole, raining down on me. I ran forward towards the second set of doors. On sharp rock had hit me on the arm while I was running.
I got past the doors and they slammed shut behind me. I tried to open them, but they were locked. I had no choice now but to go forward.
It was dark; I could not see my hand in front of my face. I filled my lantern with oil and lit it. I checked my arm where the rock had hit me. It was bleeding, but the cut was nothing more than a scratch. In a few minutes, the bleeding had stopped.
I looked around. It looked like I was in a dark tunnel. The lantern threw an eerie light off the walls. Then I realized that I was in the castle! I was in the tiger’s tail!
I started walking down the tunnel. Even though it seemed much longer, the light of the lantern was not throwing off enough light to see the entire tunnel and I was taking small cautious steps, the tunnel was only a little more than fifty feet long. Just ahead it opened up into a semi-circular chamber that was about twenty feet wide. One the opposite side of the chamber was another tunnel.
I decided to cross the chamber and continue on down the other tunnel. All of a sudden a giant ferret jumped in front of me and blocked my way. I would either have to fight this creature or go back down the tunnel. That would mean I would have to find another way to get in. No way was I going to do that. I would fight and win and continue on my quest to find some worth in my life. Then I could lose and find an end to my unworthy life.
While I can only carry a dagger, I am not allowed to have weapons that have a blade. However, there is one I can create by magic. I held out my hand and a small ball of glowing yellow light emerged from it. This light formed itself into an arrow. It hovered by my side. I did not have to physically touch this arrow. All I had to do was flick my hand and the arrow followed the motion of my movement. The ferret fell to its side, dead, with the arrow sticking from its body
I crossed the chamber and saw that the tunnel was actually a hallway. I followed it until I reached the do at the end. As I neared it, a familiar smell of manure and straw reached my nostrils. I walked through the doors and I was standing in the stables. Gallapus must have owned many horses, since the entire east and west walls were the cubicles that held the horses.
In both the southwest and northwest corners of the stables were two spiral staircases. They were each standing outside a door. There were also two doors on the north wall and three on the south. Which way was I to go?
. George stopped reading.
“What happened next?” Bard said.
“Yes,” said Britt. “Do not leave off here. Just when it gets interesting. Are you too tired to continue?”
“That is not it, said George. “This is the end of the journal. I am on the last page.”
“You mean to tell me that he never finished the journal?”
“Maybe he did not have time to write any more in the book,” Balon said. “Once he was in the castle, he probably did not have time to do anything except thinking about surviving.”
“What is that paper on the floor?” Eileena said.
George reached down and picked up what looked like a letter. “It must have fallen from the journal.
George opened it up and saw that it was written in the common language. It read:
“If you are reading this journal, you used a read spell on it and are obviously reading it in the common language. If you read it in the hobgoblin or ogre language, you mostly likely did not get past the first few sentences and were too embarrassed to read any further.
“Obviously you have intruded in my and Stephan’s abode. If you have survived my traps so far, congratulations. In my first entry, you will notice that I mentioned that I packed journals in my unworthy backpack. I have filled them with my adventures in that haunted castle and have them hidden throughout the caverns of Kilda Aalda.
“If you find the other journal, even though I never liked intruders, you are worthy adventurers and deserve it. The only thing I am going to say is to look for the journal in a dry place.”
“Joban, the Powerful.”
“Well,” George said, miffed. “That was a very sneaky thing for Joban to do. What did he think that people would just take his things without asking?”
“Joban, the Sneaky, that name does fit him,” said Britt.