Rufusreich

Noble Blood
Some talk about changing the world, but Dendritius follows THROUGH, baby. August 21st, 2 of 2.
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Rah Rah Sis Boom Bah
Entering the Forbidden Zone. Aug 21st, 1 of 2.
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Airport 1475
Paging Karen Black! (July 10th recaps, 2/2)
  • The whirring and cooing of the Logos Bird stopped abruptly, and the aircraft started to plummet toward earth. “There’s no time to lose!” cried Tegan, who opened the escape hatch. Ruggiero, beaming with pride, volunteered to cast feather fall. “Our hero!” cried Marielle saucily, as she flew out the hatch using her boots of flying. That’s when the first fireball hit, thanks to one of the small green devils on the ground. Copernicus was reduced to 6 hit points, and flew away in a panic. Paljaksu began to crow in triumph, when suddenly he pitched forward in midair, having suffered five attacks from a flying invisible attacker, nearly killing him. “Invisibility?” cried Juno Nim. “How unsporting. Those bastards!!”
  • [Battle description to come … Bottom line, Marielle and Paljaksu were killed in our fight with a bunch of demons, but we killed most of them and drove one off. They were very fast, and we obviously need to buff all the way!] Continuing stuff here…
  • Suddenly, a bright sunbeam burst through the castle window, overcoming the dusky color of the evening sky. Billy looked up from the scroll the Archbishop was holding to see the slightly translucent figure of a healthy man with blond curly hair and a beard. “Pelor?? The Shining One??” gasped Clement. “INDEED, MY SON!” cried the apparition. Pelor explained that he was here to heal the party and to support Clement in a mishap-free resurrection of Marielle. Soon, the radiant sorceress’ eyes fluttered open and the pink of health returned to her cheeks. “What happened?” she asked groggily. Ruggiero enfolded her in a passionate embrace.
  • The apparition of Pelor spread his hands and smiled benevolently at Les Cinq. “MY BELOVED CHILDREN,” He said, “LET ME GRANT YOU THE BOON OF TWO ADDITIONAL DIVINATIONS. We formed a huddle and thought up two questions to ask.

“How is the machine protected?”

THIS MACHINE OF POWER AND LAW
IS ENTWINED WITH SCALE AND CLAW
KILL THE BEAST, WE’LL LAUGH AND FEAST.

“What’s our best tactic for saving Hrotsvitha?”

YOUR CHESS OPPONENT’S WISE AND MEAN
HE’S WON THREE BATTLES. IT’S TOO LATE.
ALAS, TO SACRIFICE A QUEEN
IS ALL THAT’S LEFT TO ACHIEVE CHECKMATE

  • Clement scratched his head as the image of the deity faded. “I was never much good at chess,” he confessed. “I remember that Copernicus enjoyed beating my brother at that game. Any thoughts, Copernicus?” The little brown owl shrugged his feathered shoulders. Tegan rubbed her chin, lost in thought.
  • “Can we talk about this later?” whined Marielle. “I’m STARVING! Dying really takes it out of a girl.” Ruggiero stroked her elbow soothingly. “Absolutely, dearest. We must restore you to full strength in time for the harvest moon ritual. I feel that the DiOrb of Sudoryx will help us win this hellish game of chess that ‘The Master’ has initiated. Incidentally, Clement, I was captain of the chess team at wizard school and could show you a few moves. The Ruy Lopez opening is particularly devastating…” Juno Nim rolled his eyes as the six survivors headed in to the great hall for dinner. The delicious aromas wafting down the hall inspired a double handspring from Billy.
    FIN

    Next time: The harvest moon ritual, plans to save a goddess, and an opportunity to KILL Dendritius!
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Family is a Headache
Melvaunt events; Recap 1/2 for July 10th.
  • Billy, Juno, and Clement woke up early to sort through their massive amounts of swag and gold. Using the ring of Amah Zandatkahm, they sold the magic items to Andros and made their swanky new purchases, including a rod of the python for Tegan, some gloves of greater slingshottery for Billy, and other exciting goodies.
  • Tegan and Marielle were exhausted – they’d been up all night discussing Clement’s proposal. Girl talk was such fun. As Tegan’s eyes fluttered open, she saw a flash of fire at the foot of the bed. Mother’s style, she thought wearily. She pulled aside the slightly singed bedclothes to reveal a letter.
  • Tegan was furious and stormed down to the breakfast table. She announced to a goggle-eyed Clement that she’d changed her mind and they would be married TODAY. [Ed. Spite is a fantastic motivator.] Molly whistled to herself knowingly as she helped the noble lords clear the treasure off the table; Lady Tegan didn’t seem like the typical excited young bride, but the two were a cute couple nonetheless.
  • Soon Andros arrived with his ailing mother Lisette, who wore an eyepatch and one black glove. Over breakfast, she described the unrelenting, splitting headaches she’d been suffering, which healing magic couldn’t touch. Brother Clement stepped forward eagerly, allowing that his healing skills were second to none – but was interrupted by Lisette, who snapped at him, saying “You think you’re so good at it, Clement, but you’re NOT. Sometimes you’re bad.” The cleric was gobsmacked and gave Marielle a quizzical look. “Now, Billy,” cooed Lisette, removing her glove and eyepatch. “You cast cure light wounds marvellously, don’t you?” The seer explained that she believed that relief could be obtained if Clement and Billy cast healing spells simultaneously, each holding one of her hands. They agreed to her request, and said the incantation…
  • When suddenly, Lisette’s mouth opened and milky ectoplasmic smoke issued forth! The elderly woman sank to the ground and Andros leapt to her aid. The smoke resolved into the slightly translucent image of a beautiful young woman in armor which was adorned with the image of a scroll. She motioned to the adventurers beseechingly, and then lunged at Marielle, kissing her passionately on the lips. The sorceress passed out, and Ruggiero noticed that her lips had turned metallic silver at the contact!
  • This was too much for Tegan, who drew her ghost touch sword and wounded the apparition. But her fiancé had a slightly different approach, and cast ethereal jaunt. Upon arriving in the ethereal realm, he found that the “ghost” (?) was ready to talk and claimed to mean them no harm. She said that she had come to fulfill a mission, and that it would be easier to possess one of them in order to do it. An augury confirmed that this was a good idea. The priest dropped back into the material plane and relayed all this to the assembled company.
  • Soon, Billy felt a strange sensation, as if something was poking at his mind. He succumbed to this and allowed himself to be possessed by the spirit. Using Billy’s mellifluous baritone, she introduced herself as “Rana of Gryth.” “Rana?” asked Juno Nim. “Any relation to Sister Rana of the Oghman temple?” The spirit pursed her lips. “My mission is secret,” she said. “I can only give you my name and tell you what I have to do.”
  • Rana of Gryth explained that she had been sent here to anoint three of Les Cinq. “I take it that Billy isn’t one of the three,” said Tegan. “Nor are you, Lady Tegan. It is a kindness. You couldn’t bear it.” As Tegan pondered that, the spirit continued her speech. “I have anointed Marielle for speech. I must anoint Lord Juno for alliance.” She reached out and touched Juno Nim’s wrist, leaving metallic silver fingerprints where she touched. “And, I’m sorry, Brother Clement, but yours will hurt. I must anoint you for battle.” With that, she plunged her nails into Clement’s temple, drawing blood and leaving a silvery scar. “Thank you for allowing me this,” she said sadly. “These anointings are a fail-safe which I hope will never be necessary. I wish you every good hope.” Billy fell into a faint—and when he woke he was himself again.
  • Les Cinq found this event to be very odd, and they were eager to begin investigating. They packed all of their supplies and friends into the Logos Bird and set out for Melvaunt. Crusoe asked if he could be left there—he needed to get back to the Monastery of Jade Harmony. Paljaksu was excited that they were soon to leave for St. Ingrid; he yearned to know the fate of his fellow jötnaren.
  • To be continued.
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In Which There is Miscommunication Galore
Memorial Day weekend, 2 of 2. Sponsored by Exposition R Us.
  • When the party docked at Trevethian Island, they had mere minutes to breathe before Molly came running down in a tizzy. “Oh, sorr!” she cried, batting her eyelashes at Lord William (just call him Billy.) “Something terrible has happened!”
  • It seemed that the night before, several villagers had heard noise in the woods and had come to the manor house this morning to report the incident. When Molly and Mrs. Bridges looked out, they noted an unexplained plume of smoke coming from the woods. Was it an intruder’s campfire? Normally, a security breach would have fallen to El Cid, but he’d eaten a plate of questionable shrimp the night before, and was down with food poisoning; really, what appalling timing! So the island’s lay deacon, Daniel Wood, stepped up and agreed to investigate. Daniel went into the woods and had not been heard from in hours!
  • Les Cinq suited up and crept stealthily into the woods. Juno Nim scouted ahead and reported that there were two figures in a clearing up ahead, which turned out to be a massive muscle-bound barbarian and Daniel Wood, who was tied up like a Thanksgiving turkey. The barbarian was feeding Daniel some sort of revolting soup. “Eat up, little holy man,” the barbarian said. “You need to keep up your strength for when we talk to the noble adventurers. You are a JOLLY little holy man!” Marielle raised an eyebrow and made “cuckoo!” hand gestures. Clement turned brick red and glowered.
  • Tegan mumbled the magic words of her favorite spell, entangle, and soon the mysterious barbarian and Daniel were both smothered by plants grown wild. The barbarian smiled contentedly and said, “Don’t worry, little holy man. This is because Les Cinq are here. We’re going to talk to them!” The barbarian waited to be freed, happy as a clam. He introduced himself as Paljaksu, and Juno Nim noted that he had the same ridiculous quasi-Swedish accent as the folks in Glasjenfrei.
  • “Why did you kidnap my assistant, you brute!” snapped Clement. Paljaksu explained that his was a secret mission, and that he couldn’t afford to have the whole island knowing he was there because “loose lips sink ships.” Besides, he said, a prophecy had predicted that Les Cinq would come home today, not last night. Daniel was itching to get out of his bonds, filled with complaints about his treatment at the hands of this numbskull.
  • Paljaksu explained that he was a polymorphed jötnar and had come as an emissary from Duchess Orielle, whom Les Cinq had installed as ruler of Glasjenfrei, to the north. He presented a letter (see link) wherein Orielle begged for the party to come quickly and investigate a mushroom cloud that had occurred about ten miles from the castle. Paljaksu also reported that some of the jötnaren had been dragged into the conflagration as if by a magical force, their heels dragging piteously in the snow; others had fled the region using a magical rope that kept them grounded.
  • Tegan was very curious about Paljaksu’s mode of transportation to the island—he had a primitive sort of aircraft (a construct of some sort?) made of metal that behaved like a bird. “This is the Logos Bird,” said Paljaksu proudly. “It is powered by visual puns. You feed pictures on parchment into this slot and bird fly high above!”
  • Les Cinq, Ruggiero, Crusoe, and Paljaksu sought a bit of relaxation at their favorite pub on Trevethian. They traded theories about all the things that happened and pored over Orielle’s letter for clues. Tegan racked her brains, trying to remember any additional information from the afterlife about the polthanatrum. Marielle (with a kickin’ Knowledge: Arcana check) recalled that she’d seen the term mentioned in a wizard friend’s notes as a magical power source. As Paljaksu sat down with the ales, he interrupted to say that he knew the meaning of this term: polthanatrum meant “the death of a god.”
  • The party pondered how best to use the Bro’s last divination of the day. They finally decided to ask [Ed. I think? Can’t remember.] “Why did that water witch creature try to attack Ruggiero?” Pelor replied:

    WHEN FATE’S THREADS HAVE BOUND YOU FAST
    CAPTURED BY THE TAPESTRY
    YOU ATTRACT THE NOTICE OF
    ALL THE POW’RS OF DESTINY
    ACTIONS GOOD AND ACTIONS FELL
    LEAD TO WEAL? AH, WHO CAN TELL?
    DEATH CAN SAVE US, LOVE CAN KILL.
    “Total gibberish,” growled Juno Nim. “Pelor’s poetic abilities continue to deteriorate,” Billy observed.
  • After the excitement of the day, Clement asked Tegan to join him out on the courtyard, where it soon became clear that Angelina and Billy were hiding behind a tree, watching their chat. Angelina began casting some illusion magic to create a romantic scene: laser light show, flying cherubs, soft music, etc. Clement delivered a painfully bombastic and rhetorically confused speech proposing marriage, fell to one knee, and presented her with a gorgeous engagement ring. Tegan gently explained that marriage was not on her radar screen any time soon, but that she’d be open to discussing it later.
  • Clement took Tegan’s response about as well as could be expected. He added ruefully that perhaps he’d been premature in sending a fruit basket to Tegan’s mother, Branwen, inviting her into the family and calling her Mom. The cleric’s suspicions were confirmed when the fruit basket appeared on the ground nearby and burst into demonic flames. “Mother can be so dramatic, ” sighed Tegan.
  • As Tegan went to bed, she hoped she hadn’t bruised Clement’s feelings too badly by refusing. Marriage, family? Complications that reminded her of nasty court intrigue. Her mother would be jumping in to manipulate them at the drop of a hat. And if she should have a daughter, the future heir to the Ashmara matriarchy? Better to enjoy a carefree romance with Clement, as nature intended, fresh and sweet like a wild peach. Who would want to trade that for the burned fruit of marriage and respectability?

    Outside, on the courtyard, an apple exploded.

    Next time: Lisette comes to visit, and the party confronts Abbot Tomnein!
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In the Nick of Time
Memorial Day weekend, 1 of 2. Also, what's the secret to Polish comedy?
  • The party emerged from the subterranean temple spattered with blood and covered in rock dust. They had won, Krekulphyr had been defeated, and the village of Respite was safe again. But the victory had cost them Tegan Ashmara’s life. Even the acquisitive Marielle agreed that they must devote some of their massive earnings from this adventure to the best of the raise dead spells, true resurrection.
  • Instead of the deserted village green, they found that there was a frightened-looking but festive welcome party waiting for them, including a band and a grateful Clarissa on a stretcher. Juno asked how the rag-tag group had had the cojones to waltz into a monster-ridden city, and Clarissa replied that “the lawyer” had predicted the very minute that Les Cinq would emerge victorious from the temple. “What lawyer?” asked Clement.
  • An officious halfling wearing a monocle and spats stepped out of the crowd and introduced himself as Marcus Blunderbuss, Tomnein’s personal attorney. He presented a letter (see link) and a mass teleport scroll, and commanded the party to return to Melvaunt immediately.
  • As Marcus had told them, Les Quatre (and poor dead Tegan in the bag of holding) arrived in Andros’ shop, where they bought a few useful scrolls and other items before attending to the most important event of the day: Tegan’s resurrection. Andros expressed some slight concern that Brother Clement might suffer a scroll mishap when he tried to cast such a high-level spell. [Ed. The chances were slim; Clement’s wisdom score is pretty kick-ass.] Andros took the party to the basement, where he offered them a free use of a pair of magical ready-steady boots, a wondrous item which prevented scroll mishaps.
  • Soon, the pink of health had returned to Tegan’s cheek. She told the party that her spirit had spent time in two of the Outer Planes and had learned that the gods themselves were nervous over a mysterious event called a “polthanatrum,” which none of the unearthly beings would explain.
  • Andros interrupted her tale to announce that Molly Quinn had sent a message over from Trevethian Island asking that they return as soon as possible—there was trouble in their fief! Indeed, Tomnein had given Aubrey the message to bring the boat around in plenty of time to take them home.
  • “One more thing,” cried Andros as the party were leaving his shop. “My mother, Lisette, has been suffering from strange headaches for a week now which my healing potions cannot help. May we stop by the island and ask your help? Perhaps tomorrow morning, for breakfast?” Marielle patted the shopkeeper’s arm soothingly and assured him that he and his mother would be welcome. “Tres, tres welcome!!” leered Peri the Mace.
  • The weather was beautiful for sailing, and Les Cinq were enjoying the scenery and views from the deck of their coaster boat. Suddenly, Copernicus sent a telepathic message to Marielle that there was a boat approaching, about a quarter-mile hence, bearing five humanoids. The owl mentioned that they were headed straight for them, and that the rowers were giving it their all, going hell-for-leather. The party wisely took a moment to buff themselves.
  • Les Cinq relaxed when the boat came into visual range, and they recognized Ruggiero and Crusoe. It seemed they had come by boat (with three rowers rounding out the party) for a visit from the Monastery of Jade Harmony. As the hunky monk and addled druid waved, loud thuds were heard underwater and their boat began the pitch wildly. The party gasped as five giants covered in fish scales emerged from the water, and four eagle-like creatures made of green seawater dive-bombed the men on the other boat. A beautiful woman soon appeared, her torso emerging from the water several yards away. She called out, “HOW MANY TIMES MUST YOU BE WARNED? HEED OR DIE.” The woman appeared to be a magic user of some sort. Before the party could do much damage to these watery foes, the baddies had nearly killed Ruggiero (who wisely turned himself invisible as soon as possible), slaughtered the three rowers, and rendered Crusoe unconscious and near death.
  • Once Ruggiero was invisible, the giants began smashing the Jade Harmony boat to smithereens, destroying it within a round. Crusoe’s inert body was bobbing in the water, and who KNOWS where the invisible Ruggiero was. Marielle rained down fireballs and Clement brought the holy smite, although the watery female’s spell resistance nullified the Priest’s magic. Billy Bartholemieux turned Juno invisible and hasty, and the rogue began to skewer the magical female with arrows. Tegan used one of her magical necklaces to help Marielle burn the giants. Then the ranger flew out over the water and rescued Crusoe, healing him with the Necklace of Holy Aid. Billy used his bead of force to encapsulate one of the giants, then used his ring of fly to rescue Ruggiero, thereby bravely making himself the prime target of the fishy giants.
  • The beautiful water woman offered the party a deal: promise not to interfere with Ruggiero’s death, and they could survive. The party’s choice was easy: they refused!! The water witch had by then taken a lot of damage from Juno’s arrows, so she teleported away in a huff, leaving her minions to continue the battle. Eventually, the party killed most of the giants and watery fliers. Tegan and Clement theorized that the giants were being mind controlled (their eyes were rather glassy), so the cleric tried dispel magic to free them from the magical woman’s thrall. They learned (through a DM error) that their theory was correct.
  • Once Aubrey had brought them back to land, they asked Ruggiero and Crusoe why the water woman had wanted Ruggiero dead. The two seemed sincerely perplexed by her animosity, and announced that they’d simply come to ask the party’s help on a minor magical question. Ruggiero had found an interesting item in the monastery’s archives: the Diorb of Sudoryx.
  • This wondrous item was made of two spheres joined by gems. There was a hole on either side, and lore indicated that if a male half-elf and a female half-elf put their fingers in these holes in a grove of trees on the night of a harvest moon (tomorrow night—how fortunate!), the Diorb’s magic would reveal itself. The item’s magical aura was currently masked.
  • Tegan, Billy, and Ruggiero had water breathing cast on them, and they flew/swam down to the ocean floor, searching until they found the chest that had gone down with Ruggiero’s boat containing the magical item, thanks to Ruggiero’s locate object spell. Success!
  • Crusoe couldn’t stop marveling over their luck. “What righteous timing that you spotted our boat just at the exact time of the attack! Had you waited another minute, we’d have been dead. Praise the gods that you hurried back from Respite!”

    Next time: Everybody wants a piece of us. What else is new?
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Bead-Dazzled?
Gargoyles are mean. (Stone Dead, Part Two.)
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Tegan Dreamed a Dream ...
... aka Stoner Town, Part One.

Watch this space.

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Meet the New Boss
Same as the old boss? Nah. Angrier!! (Valentine's Day, 2 of 2)

Enchanting a coin with a “light” spell, the party cast some additional preparation spells (barkskin, more Improved Invisiblity, mirror image, more cold resistance, etc.) and proceeded forwards towards certain death. Since they were using a light spell, no one would be surprised by their approach, and Billy continued to sing the inspiring tune, “Baby, It’s Cold Outside”.

Arriving at a series of large chambers carved out of the ice and rock, the party knew the game was afoot. Tossing the coin ahead to the next intersection, Marielle let loose with her first fireball, engulfing the unseen opponents in the next chamber. From the smell of barbecueing monsters and screams of indignation ahead, she knew that she had hit paydirt.

In all, the party was facing the last Jotnar and five large-sized white dragons. The party’s spell-casters pulled Juno, and Tegan back until everyone could be hasted again; a Pray was cast, and Clement was buffed up bigtime with Divine Power AND Divine Favor.

[Clement to add battle details]

With two dragons and the Jotnar dead, and the other three dragons taking heavy damage, one of the dragons burrowed out of the cavern in search of Daddy (Hinterbite).

An erie silence echoed through the chamber after the fourth dragon was toppled. The party was worried that their buffing spells would wear off before they could located their Huge foe. They cast a divination asking Pelor what was the best way to engage Hinterbite before the spells wore off.

[Clement to insert result of Divination]

Interpreting Pelor’s message to mean the the party should stay put and wait for Hinterbite’s arrival, they set up so that only Billy was visible and the others were scattered around the chamber in positions that would make it impossible to Hinterbite to breathe on any two of them at once.

As Pelor had foretold, Hinterbite appeared in the chamber, burrowing his way in from a new angle. The younger dragon also arrived in an adjoining chamber, and so did a couple of canine-like foes. Billy taunted the huge dragon, attempting to cast Fear and Blindness spells at him using scrolls, but Hinterbite easily saved. Meanwhile, however, the rest of the party refreshed their haste spells.

[Clement to summarize rest of battle and aftermath]



  • Tegan lay limply on the massage table as the twin masseurs, Nargard and Fjomgard, performed their magic. In the distance, she could hear Billy and Marielle giggling as they rolled around in the massive pile of coins from Hinterbite’s hoard. That sounds fun, she thought … but nothing could assuage her unease. It was clear that Dendritius was up to something, and as usual, he had gone out of his way to involve Les Cinq in his dastardly plans. That slimeball! She couldn’t wait to cut him to ribbons with her swords. But as she lay in a meditative state, she had an almost prophetic sense that Les Cinq would be settling the mind flayer’s hash soon. She had a vision of Dendritius’ eyes glazing over in death and for the first time in hours, she smiled.

    FIN
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One Jotnar, Two Jotnar, Red Jotnar, Blue Jotnar
Lock and load. (Valentine's Day, 1 of 2)

With so much at stake, the Les Cinque used up a small fortune in scrolls and potions, and used up many spells in preparation for the conflict ahead. Clement’s use of the magic incense helped maximize the prepartions, and the party was grateful for Zethro’s assistance.

After the genie left, Angelina popped into castle to see what was happening. She reported back that the three Jotnaren were dozing or on guard in the ante-chamber of the tower. She also cast Aid spells on everyone. Protection from elements (cold) was cast on everyone.

The party, mostly invisible except for an enlarged Tegan and Clement, began to sneak up to the front door. BEEP, BEEP, BEEP!! Darn, a magical alarm went off. The jig was up, as the party’s attempt at stealth was foiled. Billy sang an inspiring song, then all the spellcasters frantically threw last-minute spells, as the party gathered near the front door. Clement summoned a trio of Celestial dire badgers to help the party, as many haste spells were cast.

As expected, two Jotnaren came charging through the doors but were confused to see only Clement and Tegan at first. Soon, they also saw the badgers. Billy and Marielle stuck to the plan, using only non-attack spells to preserve their invisibility. Juno, with Improved Invisibility, wreaked his usual havoc with his bow. The Jotnaren fought well, but as the first two began to falter, the third turned tail and ran inside the tower, disappearing through internal doors.

The party said goodbye to Angelina, after she healed a few wounds, and Billy held back a tear as the beautiful Avoral disappeared back to the celestial plane clutching his Valentine’s Day card. After a quick search of the room, the party proceeded into the tower, searching each level as they looked for the inevitable onslaught of the dragons.

[Clement to add more details of searching the tower.]

After killing some frost ants and resisting the temptation of a message left by Thaddeus, to convince them to abandon the mission, the party found the top floor of the tower. Things were increasingly frozen, and the party found it necessary to remove their boots and use Spider Climb spells in order to negoitate the slippery goings. There was a hole dug from the tower into the mountainside, leading into deep, dark caverns.

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