Chapter 24; 25 and 26

Chronicles of Mace

Mace feels his heart begin to pump even faster as the excitement of the situation builds.  He knows he must act quickly, but there are still things to be done.  Taking the initiative he shouts to the other Rangers, who must help if everything that Mace wants to be done be completed in time.  One Ranger nods as Mace orders him to help the injured Ranger back to the Horses, and then bring the horses to the Temple entrance.

 

Mace looks around the room, and then calls to another Ranger to grab some rope and tie it around the statue of the old man.  The final Ranger is to gather some heavy objects together and tie them around the dead Cremlan worshippers, after checking any useful items have been taken.  This Ranger begins pulling the Cremlan bodies towards the pool for disposal.  Mace hopes that this action will pollute the water in the pool.

 

Meanwhile Mace moves to the Spider, but soon sees that he has no chance of getting inside.  He looks all around but can’t see the way in.  The eye sockets seem the only part directly connected to this room.  Peering into the sockets Mace reckons that the entry to the Spider must be up through a trapdoor in the floor, but how to get to the trapdoor remains a total mystery.  The Spider looks to be too well made to break into either, and certainly not in the time they have, and with the equipment they have.

 

Not able to get into the Spider he can’t carry out of his clever plan with the splinters and Zulsundara.  His plan to lay a trap with poisoned food, and other objects from his backpack still seems possible, but he will have to choose another place to leave them.  Someone official may grab the items believing them to be some of the Cremlan follower’s items, and eat the poisoned food at some stage.

 

Mace is interrupted when he is looking around for a place to leave the objects and poisoned food, when the Ranger moving the Cremlan followers calls out, with some urgency.  Mace rushes over and sees a shocked Ranger standing next to the pool.  He turns to see Mace approaching and points at the surface of the water.  He shows Mace the surface of the pool, and passes his hand straight through the top of the water.  Mace looks in astonishment when he sees that the top of the pool is in fact an illusion.  The body the Ranger has just pushed into the pool has landed heavily at the bottom of what must be a shaft, or possibly entry point in to the temple.  Mace face gleams as one mystery seems to have been solved, then curses when he wishes he had found this illusionary pool a little earlier.

 

Mace looks around and sees the rope attached to the statue, but he is drawn to explore this new find further, but dare he spend any more time in what could be a death trap for anyone caught inside.  He feels a desperate urge to learn more of the Temple, but who knows what other traps or dark dangerous secrets are held within.  The Ranger asks if he wants the other body chucked into the illusionary pool or not. The wounded Ranger is safely outside and the Horses are waiting outside.  Whilst Mace makes up his mind, one of the Rangers collects the Cremlans followers few possessions and rushes them outside to the Horses.

 

The temptation is great, but can Mace afford to hang on a second longer……

 

Chapter 25

 

Mace utters, “Bugger it”, under his breath, if only he had realised that the pool was a little odd. He feels tempted to explore this possible entrance to the Temple.  The Rangers re-enter and shout to Mace, “Come on, Rangers are going to make a stand outside and do battle.”  Mace tells them that he will be out shortly.  The Rangers leave with one last comment, “Be it on your own head Mace, we can’t help you if you are in here, you’ll get trapped.”  Mace shouts to the last Ranger, “Wait, please take my Plate Armour, Light Bedroll, Blanket, and Cooking Pot, and attach to my Horse…thank you!”.  The Ranger grabs the items in his arms and scurries away.  Mace knows that he has little time before the enemy approach.

 

Looking down in to the pool, he walks around looking from different angles, then spots some steps cut in to the wall, with a rail running down the centre with which to hold onto. Swinging his body around, he lowers himself down and using the rung lowers him down the forty feet to the base of the pool.  He looks up and sees the illusion swirling about above him.  He can just about see the walls with the little light that enters the pool, so he takes one of his Candles, and using the Tinderbox lights it.  The flame flickers and illuminates the room he now stands in.  It is an odd shaped room with earthen walls, and a door leading off.

 

Moving around the room, using the Candle to highlight the corners and edges, Mace soon sees that there is little of interest here.  He walks to the door and listens, smells, looks for light, but all seems safe.  There is no lock, and so he turns the handle and gently pushes.  The door easily opens revealing a long passage.  He turns quickly when noises of metal on metal drifts on the air, and he guesses that a battle has started.  An odd scream and bark is also heard, but Mace turns his attention back to the passage.

 

Taking care where he treads, Mace moves along the passage, follows past an angle in the passage, and arrives at another door.  He stops suddenly when he spots a little light coming from under the door, and the sound of slight movement.  He strains his ears and hears human voices, although he cannot understand what they are saying as it is muffled.  He also sees the lock on a solid looking wooden door.  He thinks for a few seconds, when he hears a noise behind him.  He moves quickly to the angle in the passage and looks down the passage to the entry room.

 

His jaw drops as he sees two figures stand in the entry room, looking directly at him.  Not human figures though, but small humanoid figures.  He checks the grip on his newly acquired Cremlan Broadsword as the two little creatures start jabbering to each other in a very high pitched voice, and in a language Mace does not understand.

 

Mace studies the creatures for a few seconds.  Their actions are very fast; they stand 2 feet tall, and are of slender build.  They both carry small, but very pointed Daggers, which are almost like needles.  Their ears are pointed, and they have very bushy eyebrows.  Mace wonders what sort of creature they are, but one thing is for sure, they are probably going to see him as an enemy.

 

Mace is ready with his Broadsword in one hand, his Shield and Candle in the other, and time running out.  He seems trapped deep below the Cremlan Temple; he only hopes the Ranger do well against the advancing enemy.

 

Chapter 26

 

Mace feels the sweat of apprehension on his brow, as the two small figures continue to eye him up and down.  He thinks that maybe his luck has finally run out.  It is probably only a few seconds, but it seems like hours spent eyeing each other up.  Mace comes to a quick decision that he must show his true colours if he is to survive.  This decision doesn’t rest easily with him, and he would have preferred to have delayed it a little longer.

 

The creatures shuffle a little in the passage so that they are tightly standing next to each other.  They also seem very unsure of the situation and obviously can’t be sure whether Mace is an attacker or defender.  They seem keen to move towards Mace though, either to attack or get past him.

 

Mace holds up his Cremlan Sword so that they can see the style of the blade, and markings upon it.  They begin by seeing it as a threat and utter some very high pitched, only just audible noises to other which Mace has no understanding of.  They raise their needle like Swords in a defensive mode, trying to warn Mace off any aggressive action.  The Needles lower when they seem to recognise it as a Cremlan blade.

 

Mace then calls to them, “Friend, Lord Amaranti forever, Cremlans rule forever, peace no fight.  I am a friend, take me to Amaranti dol Balaam.”

 

The little creatures just look at Mace, moving their heads from side to side, trying to weigh this human up.  The needle Sword look very relaxed and Mace relaxes his tense grip on the Cremlan Sword.  Mace concentrates on not making any threatening gestures.

 

One of the little creatures then turns and seems to look up the hole, where they have all entered by, and the other Quickling suddenly moves towards Mace.  Mace steps back in surprise at the speed the creature moved at.  He readies himself to feel the pain of the needle blade hit his leg, for the creature has moved too quickly for him to react.  Mace breathes out a sigh of relief when the Quickling moves straight past him and begins banging on the door.  Mace isn’t sure what is happening but he seems to have been accepted.

 

He turns around and hears the door open, and two human faces peer out at him, and both say, “who the hell are you?”  Mace just pulls a funny grin as he sees two Heavy Crossbows pointing at point blank range at the bottom of his solar plexus, then nods towards the creature at his feet.  The two humans look down and see the Quickling.  Without any further to do they relax the Crossbows and tell the Quicklings and yourself to enter.  The first Quickling rushes in, and Mace has only moved one step before the second Quickling has raced up the tunnel and overtaken him.

 

The two humans, who Mace presumes to be guards slam the door shut, and place a large plank across it to secure it.  Mace sees it would have been nearly impossible to enter without arousing the guard’s attention.

 

Mace stands in the corner of the room as the Quicklings jump up on a table and begin jabbering away at a very high pitched frequency, excitedly trying to explain something to the guards, and continually pointing upwards.  The guards look confused, and one of them says to the other, “Jeed you had better go and get a Priest and quick too.  I guess these three have some important news to report.  Trust our luck to have two Quicklings and a dumb guy turn up on our duty.”  Mace just smiles, confused at what is going on but thankful he is still alive without a fight.

 

The other guard rushes off into the temple, leaving one guard and two Quicklings in the room with Mace.  The remaining guard goes and puts his ear to the door, whilst the two Quicklings just jabber away to each other.

 

Mace wonders what to do now, for he has infiltrated right i9not the Temple and seems to have been accepted by the Quicklings and the guards, who seem to think that mace os with the little creatures.  What will happen when the Priest turns up though, or will Maces infiltration be completed and the wrong assumptions made by the Cremlanites!!!!.....