Three Keys

A Secret

Start the adventure with the Prologue

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Adventure Log 6 : …and a skeleton

They wound their way through the dank corridors, past the dead adventurers and the doors to the kitchens and dining halls, and deeper into the complex. David’s torch hissed and sputtered on front of them, while Janko continued to bring up the read, keeping a keen ear and eye behind them. Harrison continued to almost stroll, being as unconcerned with his surroundings as he would be in a garden. Yanew found Harrison’s lack of concern both comforting and disconcerting.

They found the rear entrance to the kitchens in a wide hallway, and as they started to move further in, Janko stopped.

“Wait,” he said, “there’s something here.” He pointed to a section of the wall on their right. “Can you hear that? Something doesn’t sound right. I think there’s a space on the backside of this wall.”

Yanew couldn’t hear anything odd, but ran his fingers over the stonework on the wall, his fingers gently brushing a hidden catch. It wasn’t very well hidden, but could have been easily bypassed if you weren’t looking for it. He then saw where the door was, blended into the stonework, and flicked the catch. There was a quiet click as the release mechanism disengaged and the door opened inward a few inches, a dark space beyond.

“I’m liking this place more and more,” said Yanew. “Lots of secrets means lots of goodies to find.”

David moved forward and pressed the door open, it’s hinges creaking quietly, and moved the torch forward into the room. The space was dominated by a table in the center, topped by a large black slab of stone, and shelves on each of the four walls were filled with books, vials, and dusty glasswork. They moved inside slowly, Janko sliding an old book into the doorway so it wouldn’t close.

It appeared to be a workshop of some kind. The floor was littered with tattered books and broken glass, the shelves contained a slew of vials and jars of various sizes, most of their contents dried and unrecognizable, all covered with a fine layer of cobwebs and dust. Apparently the rats had not found a way into this space, or were uninterested. On the left was another door.

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“Hey, check this out!” Yanew was heaving a large container out from under the heavy table and sliding it onto a chair. The sealed glass jar was filled with liquid, and inside the smoky fluid floated a black cat. After a quick search, that seemed to be the only interesting thing in the room, everything else either broken beyond repair or completely unidentifiable. What books didn’t crumble when opened were regarding local plants and animals and of no interest to anyone.

Yanew studied the only other door in the room, and after a few moments declared it unlocked and probably safe to open. David had the honors, and the door opened easily enough into a room of equal size, this one filled with larger equipment and far fewer shelves. Another table with a slabbed top was off to one side, and in the far corner a large cage hung from the ceiling, a skeleton locked inside. David looked back at Harrison.

“You stay out here and watch the door while we have a look,” he said, and moved inside. On one wall was a stretched leather skin with strange writing on it, a firepit in the center. Yanew took a flimsy chair and moved over to examine the skeleton while Janko stared at the symbols on the hide. He contemplated cutting the ties and taking it with him, but decided that it was too heavy to lug around.

Yanew let out a yelp and fell off the chair with a crash.

“Did you see that? I swear that damn thing moved,” he said, pointing at the skeleton. Janko helped Yanew up off the floor and peered into the case. It looked dead and dusty, nothing more, but as he turned away he thought he caught something out of the corner of his eye. He looked back, staring intently, but it seemed just as inanimate as it did before.

“Must be some trick,” he said. “Meant to scare people.”

Then Harrison came into the room.

The skeleton clambered up from the bottom of the cage, it’s jaw snapping open and closed with vicious clicks, and it’s arms reached through the bars of the cage towards Harrison. Janko and Yanew leapt back from the extended bones of the fingers, already well out of the way but talking no chances. Harrison stared at the creature as it clawed at the bars, trying to get to him. The bones scraped on the rusted metal.

“Fascinating,” he murmured, and walked over until he was just out of reach of the monster, and stood there looking intently at it from every angle. “Animated to attack the Holy, perhaps? This is no undead creature, I detect nothing evil in its intent.”

“There’s nothing in here we need,” said David. “Let’s leave this poor soul to his fate and move on.”

As they filtered out of the rooms and back into the hall, Harrison followed reluctantly, mumbling under his breath, “I told you it was not undead. It has no soul, poor or otherwise.” Behind him, the skeleton collapsed back to the bottom of its prison.

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