Three Keys

The Garden

Start the tale with the Prologue

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Adventure Log 5 : …and the Goddess

The L-shaped room was massive, and was probably a beautiful indoor garden in its prime. Now, however, it was overgrown and wild. Grasses, flowering plants, and giant mushrooms covered every inch of space so one couldn’t see how far back the room extended. A few trees were pressing against the ceiling above them, their roots pulling at the stone floor. Two large rectangular pools on the right glowed green, and the plants seemed to take that light and throw it over the rest of the space.

The party moved in through the door and stood, staring, at the abundance of life in the dead complex.

“The water must have some magical properties to keep these plants alive in the absence of sunlight and soil,” said Harrison. He fingered a thick leaf next to him as the others started to wander slowly about. The ground was thick with moss and fallen leaves, making them take careful note of where they placed their feet.

Janko moved off to the left toward the corner where he could just make out a basin mounted to the wall. Above it was a face very similar to the one that had shouted at them in the entry hall and disappeared, only this one was smaller, and a stream of green-tinged water fell from the open mouth into the basin beneath it. The liquid overflowed onto the ground in a steady splash, the grass and moss thick beneath it.

“Harrison,” he called, “can you tell me anything about this?” Harrison picked his way through the growth and stood beside Janko, each step sending up small mists of spore.

“Only that it radiates powerful magic, but I can’t tell for good or evil.”

“Well,” said Janko, “how about we save some for later. It might come in useful.” He pulled a flask from his backpack and filled it halfway, stoppered it and put it back in his pack.

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Yanew had moved through the growth towards one of the green pools, having a harder time of it due to his short stature. He clambered up and sat on the bench surrounding it, and peered down into the clear liquid. The pool was only a meter thick, and was clear enough that he could see the bottom easily. Roots snaked their way over the edge and touched the surface of the water, but none extended fully into the depth.

David was still standing next to the door with the now unnecessary torch, growing disconcerted at the increasing cloud of spore in the air. Yanew called their attention to the giant mushrooms that were growing on the other side of the pool, and seemed to be the source of the thickening air. David called the rest back, saying they should probably take their flask and leave before the air became unbreathable, and they all agreed. On their way back out into the hallway, David asked Yanew if he’d seen anything else over by the pool.

“Only the huge mushrooms, and I think there was another doorway in the far back, I couldn’t quite see,” he said.

“Noted,” said David. “If we come at the garden from the other side, we’ll know a quick way to the exit through here.

The hallway outside was a dead end, so they moved back to the intersection with the skeletal remains and went straight through, this hallway doing the same as the last, taking a right and moving back down the other side of the main hallway. They had a look down and saw only that the hallway continued for a far distance, so they moved back to the bodies and surprised three huge rats trying to gnaw on the ancient bones. They’d probably come to investigate the noise from the magical warning system. While their bite was probably rife with disease, they were quickly dispatched, only David suffering from a bite on his shin. Harrison took a quick look and declared that no poison had seeped in, and David’s wound was bandaged.

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The doors on their left opened into a narrow kitchen, rusty pots and bent utensils scattered over the floor. Cupboards had been thrown open and their contents strewn about, the fires unlit for a very long time. The door across the hall opened into a larger space, probably a dining hall judging from the tables and benches, all broken or rotting through. David was able to salvage a number of furniture legs to serve as torches; they only had one or two apiece and no one knew how long it would be before they found the exit and saw daylight again.

At the back was another doorway which opened into a small space with benches along the wall, a headless female statue dominating the center of the room. Yanew took it upon himself to search over the statue for any hidden secrets, to the others it only looked like an excuse to paw at the statue’s stone breasts. Janko swore he thought something was odd about one of the walls, but was unable to find anything out of the ordinary. They took advantage of the safety offered by a single entrance and sat their packs down and had a short rest.

Yanew lay on one of the benches and looked at the marble woman. “Who do you think she was?”

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“I’ve never seen her form before,” said Harrison. “A local deity perhaps? The head’s been removed, so someone was upset.”

“Perhaps it simply broke when someone was trying to move it or steal it,” said Janko. “That marble would probably fetch a few hundred gold in any decent sized market.”

David sat up and shifted his pack on his back. “In any case, this space is safer than any we’ve found so far, we should keep that in mind if we need someplace to rest and lick our wounds. Let’s keep moving.”

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