Sunday, August 23, 2009

"Definitely a history," The Grinning Prince spoke as he examined the walls. "This is, of course, very valuable. It may tell us more about Doomwatch itself and its origins."

He stepped back and rubbed his eyes. "That's assuming, of course, there's a connection between this place and Doomwatch itself." He looked at his three friends. "I think you're on the right track with that. Look here," he pointed to a lined off section. "This describes the tunneling that took the workers far from the arch... that's the one out front... straight into the heart of 'Daemwech'"

"That's Anayari," Arbiddance added. "Or it sounds like it."

"I think you're going to find that Doomwatch itself predates the Anayari occupation of this area. They may have just added to it here and there," the Prince mused.

The four moved south toward the fountain that had sent the first three on their icy adventure. They stopped at the archway and gazed at it for a few minutes. Before stepping back.

"We'll have to try that again someday," Hern muttered.

"Oh? And what if this time it lands us somewhere we can't get back from so easily," Qova replied. "We lucked out with that trip."

"Yes, I really want to try that Ak'Kori carpet of yours, Arbiddance," the Prince beamed wider than usual. "I've never seen one, let alone flown across the sky like a sultan on his way to the mountain."

They backtracked to the passageway that extended on the left. Looking down, they saw two doors, two passageways, and another arch.

The Prince slapped his own face and gazed at the others in light mockery. "Oh dear, another arch! I wonder if has any significance or if it's just holding up some dirt and stone."

The moved down the passage way and opened the first door. It led into an empty room. The first passageway led to another door and turned left, so they left that one for now. The second passageway was short and ended at a large door.

Arbiddance, looked at his hand-drawn map and mentally measured off the distance they had traveled so far. "If I'm right, and I usually am... that door should exit into the small chamber off from the main entrance chamber... the one with two doors. But there's not a third door there. So... either I'm wrong... which I refuse to acknowledge... or there's deception afoot."

Hern approached the door. It had a large brass handle on the left side and would open to the right when pulled. The fighter glanced at his companions to see if they were ready, and pulled open the door.

A recessed space of perhaps two feet was behind the door. Lined with brick, it held a large dial of three feet in diameter. The dial had three notches marked with a strange rune each, and an extended handle resembling the minute hand of a clock. The handle was raised a few inches from the face of the dial. The handle pointed toward the middle rune.

"Anyone have any clue as to what those symbols mean?" Arbiddance asked. No one spoke up. "Okay, so we move the handle to see what happens?" Again, no one said a word.

"Fine," he stepped up and gently touched the handle. He shifted it to the left and released it. A large groan and a slam echoed through the hallways, and the handle returned to the middle position.

"What in the hells was that?" Qova shouted.

"Something metal dropped," the Prince replied. "I think a door dropped somewhere. Qova and Hern went back the way they came; a few minutes later, they returned out of breath. "There's an iron door blocking the doorway into our lair."

Arbiddance raised his eyebrows and pushed the handled to the left again. Another groan, followed by a clanking met their ears. The two looked again, and the door was raised.

"I'll wager," the wizard said "that moving it to the right will do the same for the door leading here." He moved the handle to the right and was proven right.

After some time and play, he discovered that both doors could be secured at the same time.

"Now, why have both doors drop at once," Hern asked. "To keep something out, or keep something in?"

Qova made a suggestion. "I'll stand out by the arch, you drop both doors, and let's see what happens."

The rest agreed it was probably safe enough for her to go it alone, and she took her place in the entry chamber near the arch and waited for Arbiddance to work the mechanism.

After a few minutes, one door dropped, then the other. Qova looked around for any changes and almost didn't notice that the middle door was now slightly open.

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