A slave girl of maybe 10 years old approached me today. I believe her to have been born into slavery. What a horrible price for one’s life. She signed to me that the old human crone Aughra wished to meet in the slave dining hall. This human, Aughra, is by far the oldest human in these mines. I’m not exactly certain why or how she is still alive. Her wrinkles have wrinkles. Much like myself, I have noticed that she is given a wide berth, even by the Ork guards. She does manage to “cook” the finest slop this side of the mines…
When I arrived at the dinning hall, something seemed different. Even the guards noticed it as they cast their eyes about the slaves. A palpable sense of something was about to happen hung in the stale mine air. The tickling feeling that I get in my spine indicated to me that there most assuredly was a spirit nearby.
I slip between the others slave miners to the back of the hall where Aughra waited. Gathering around the stew pot I noticed a few other miners that I had seen before. Motioning for myself and four others to step closer, the Dwarf woman spoke Throalic out loud in a hissing, crackling voice.
“You five are my last hope.” Aughra then proceeded to whisper to us that the satchel next to her contained the first and original Book of Tomorrow. Informing us that she wouldn’t see the light of day ever again, she extracted a Blood Oath from some us. That we would return the Book to Throal within a year and a day.
As soon as the Oath was sealed in blood from each of us, she thrust the satchel towards our little group. I eagerly grab it before the others, tucking the satchel under my various wraps and clothes so that the guards wouldn’t see it. Just then I felt a strong itching feeling run up my spine again. A fowl smell reached my senses as a wind blew through the room. I raised my arms to shield my face from the flying debris. When the wind died just as quickly as it had started, I lowered my arms and noticed immediately that a number of the torches had gone out. The second thing I noticed was many of the other slaves had collapsed onto the floor, tables and chairs.
They didn’t appear to be breathing as well!
A gasp from one of the other Blood Oath members, a human, made me turn.
The two ork guards that had been standing at the opening of the room were now lurching towards us with weapons raised. Their dusky skin had turned a sickly blueish color that I would normally associate with someone who had recently suffocated and died. Eyes that were once full of disdain for life were now clouded over and milky white colored. Our group had no choice but to defend themselves. Grabbing chunks of wood, table legs and hot pokers, we attacked. This may be our only chance for escape after many, many months of slavery. I decided it was time for me to employ some of my own weaponry.
Carefully I pulled Astral energy to me and shaped it into a blast of energy. The others were already downing one of the guards, so I directed the blast at the second ork. As my blast ripped through his spiritual self, there by affecting his physical self, the ork fell and was finished off by the others before he could recover.
Turning back towards Aughra, one of the young humans was cradling her gently in his arms. I moved closer, mentioning that I had some knowledge in the ways of life. After inspecting her, it was obvious that she was on Death’s door. I shook my head at the human, indicating that she wasn’t going to make it. He looked down at her sadly. When all of a sudden she sat straight up and exclaimed, “Flee! Raggok take you! RUN!” She then fell back, dead.
It was then that we decided to take her ill omen advice. Back out into the mines we ran, where we encountered another group of these cadaverous ork guards. We quickly dispatched them. At which point a Dwarf in the group introduced himself as Fafnir and that he believed he knew a way out. Quickly leading us into a chamber not far away, he pointed at a crumbling wall and indicated to us that he believed there was a room buried beyond that would lead us to our escape. While the others began to use their picks to make an opening, myself and a T’skrang, who all to happily introduced himself as Ardor Zomay S’kram, barricaded the two entrances to the room. Just in case anymore cadaver orks came calling.
During our brief break, I realized that the human slave girl was still with us. Being only parchment thin, I was surprised she had survived. One of the other human males appeared to be looking after her. He introduced himself as Dremnin. In this room we were in there were two sickly looking goats as well as some supplies and a rather large pile of the tainted orichalcum that we had mined for months. I mentioned that we should gather as much of the orichalcum as we could carry, as it could still be worth a decent amount of silver. So we did.
Dremnin decided that it would be good to have some fresh meat with us, so he slaughtered one of the goats. The T’skrang used the goat skin to wrap the Book of Tomorrow just in case. Turns out that Fafnir was correct. Indeed, once the rubble was cleared away, there was a chamber beyond. We could immediately smell water from beyond once breached. Entering the small chamber, the first thing we noticed was crystal clear water about waste deep. The second, after wading out into the water a little, were runes on one of the opposite wall. With the little girl on his back, Dremnin called me over for a closer inspection.
I held my lantern up to the wall so I could read the carvings. It quickly came to my attention that these were runes of warding. Specifically, runes of warding for a Kaer. On the other side of these runes was an unknown Kaer. Maybe there were still residents within said Kaer. Thoughts and ideas were quickly swirling in my head about the possibilities of opening this Kaer to find out. Unfortunately, the door what not located in this chamber that we could find. I informed the others of my findings. Obviously none of them were fellow magicians, for this was a huge deal. While all magician adepts are not created equal, especially under Xandarlathalas, one aspect that is taught across most of them are the Rites of Protection and Passage. Handed down generation after generation in the Book of Tomorrow, these rites encompass the sealing and opening of a Kaer. As I was extolling the virtues of magician adepts and their abilities, specifically the uncanny skills used to open a Kaer, a sound came to our ears in our little chamber…