Memoirs of Father Shiron
Part 6 - Going Down
The party made their way up the main street retracing
their route of the previous evening and in two shakes of a Parker pen were
outside the ruins. They spent time exploring the site which was not
really that large. The original building could not have been any
bigger than a small size church and judging by the ramshackle remains it
seemed to conform to recognised single story church type layouts.
With the march of time and weather most of the wooden beamed roof had long
since fallen in and added to the rubble strewn around the floor.
Broken branches and leaves blown in by foul weather from the surrounding
trees added to the ruined and forgotten effect. The majority of the
stone walls had also been reduced to a fraction of their former height
with the exception of the area behind the altar. Whether it had been
built stronger than the rest of the church or had just fared better by
chance, the walls still stood their full height and were covered by the
only small remaining section of roof.
The stone altar was weathered
and unremarkable but the lectern, sheltered further under the roofed
section had fared better and still had an open book upon it. Presto
tried to read the words on the brittle, faded parchment but they were
totally indiscernible and when he tried to turn the page over it just
disintegrated in this hand. A few more crumbling pages latter
revealed readable text written in the common tongue on more sturdy paper
and showed the volume to be just an ordinary book of worship.
As the party looked around,
Shiron stood in the middle of the area between the altar and the lectern
with an uneasy feeling building inside him. This was a holy place
and he was a cleric, trained in holy matters and sensitive to certain
feelings and auras that others were not, in some ways similar to a dog's
heightened sense of hearing and smell. As soon as he had entered
this part of the ruin he had noticed it; a strange air, an intangible
atmosphere. His left ear holding his holy symbol had given a twinge,
a tingle, indicating a presence of some sort. It made him feel cold and
slightly uncomfortable. It was a feeling he had never
experienced before but he knew instinctively that it meant something was
not right. Feanar noticed the strange look on Shiron's face and came
"What's up Shiron?
You look like something's bothering you." Shiron paid no
attention to Feanar and continued to stare into space.
"Shiron. What's wrong?" asked Feanar again, this time
grasping hold of Shiron's arm as he did so. Shiron started and looked at
Feanar in a distracted way as if he was totally unaware of his
"You were miles away
Shiron, what's on your mind?" continued Feanar.
"There's something not
right here," he answered in a hazy sort of way. "I
can feel the presence of something, something bad. It's only faint
but it's definitely here and seems to be centered around this area where
Presto looked up from examining
the book. "I farted just now," he said with a boyish
grin. "It might be that."
"For goodness sake Presto,
don't be so bloody immature," retorted Feanar. "If Shiron
is catching some bad vibes then we must be on to something."
Turning back to Shiron he said, "Do you think this place is
Overhearing the conversation,
Erendil came and joined them. "If it is we're in trouble as
ghosts are one of the more powerful undead creatures. However I
don't think the happenings described to us by Mr. Artois are the work of
ghosts. What do you think Shiron?"
"It's definitely not a
haunting. Some other evil power has been or is at work here, I can
feel it in my ear," he answered, rubbing his left ear lobe as he did
"Let's concentrate our
efforts in this area then," said Erendil adopting leader mode once
They all looked around, more
carefully this time, peeking, poking, prodding and probing everything.
"I've had enough of this,
we're getting nowhere. There's nothing here!" exclaimed Dick
shortly in a manner that suggested to everyone he was rapidly getting fed
up. Diligent, painstaking and patient searching was not his
favourite activity as Dick was a direct physical action kind of guy.
Muttering to himself in annoyance, he rummaged in his pack for an apple
and at the same time unsheathed his dagger so he could cut it up.
Concentrating on three things at once (muttering, an apple and a dagger)
was obviously too much for Dick in his current state and he
uncharacteristically fumbled his dagger which dropped to the
floor. It hit the floor sturdy hilt first and Dick was in mid curse
when Presto called for silence.
"Did you hear that?
The floor sounds hollow. Hit it again Dick." Hitting
things was much more to Dick's liking so he gladly bent down, picked up
the dagger and dealt the floor a good solid blow with the hilt.
There was a faint but definite deep resounding noise like the sound of a
church bell being rung far off in the distance. Dick moved his
attention to another bit of floor and banged hard again. This time
there was nothing but a dull knock on solid floor and the metallic ring of
the dagger. Presto got down on his hands and knees to peer closely
at the floor with his keen elven eyes.
"There's a fine crack here
guys." He traced the straight crack along until it turned at
right angles and continued on in another perfectly straight line until it
reached another perfect corner. He continued tracing it with his
finger until he was back at his starting point. It made a perfect 3
feet square. "I think we've got ourselves a secret trap
door," he said standing up.
"Excellent work you
two," Erendil said, clapping both Dick and Presto on the
back. "Now we just need to find how to get it open."
Noticing what appeared to be a
small dent in the trap door near one edge, Falamir bent down to inspect
it. It was just about the size of the end of his finger so he
naturally stuck his finger in it. There was a small 'click' and a
ring pull latch pivoted up next to it from a perfectly fitted recess in
the stone door. He looked up with a very pleased look on his face
and said, "Err, would this be it by any chance?"
"Well done lad",
praised Dick whose mood was rapidly improving with the prospect of making
some real progress. "Stand back you lot, give me some
room." He bent down and gave the ring pull a heave. The
stone slab, half a foot thick, hinged upwards with a low grinding
sound. A rush of cold, dank and slightly salty air rushed out at
them. Shiron shivered, but not from the cold. He looked down
into blackness. A steep flight of stone steps ran down into the
darkness and disappeared from view.
"It's coming from down
there," he stated solemnly.
"These have been used
recently," observed Feanar, noticing that the steps were almost
completely devoid of dust and dirt. "This trap door is
expertly crafted. If it wasn't for Dick I doubt we would have found
"Well you know my motto -
'If in doubt, hit it'," said Dick feeling quite pleased with
himself. "Are we going down then lads?" They all
looked at each other.
"I'll stay here and keep
guard," said Presto nervously, obviously not over keen to go down
into such a cold, dark hole.
"No, we must all stick
together," said Erendil. "As I said before, it causes
problems if we split the party. It also makes life hard for the DM,
and if he's having a hard time then we get a hard time too."
"The DM?" asked Falamir. "Who's he?"
"You'll find out soon
enough," answered Erendil cryptically.
"OK then, one in all
in. But I'm not going first, or last, and I want a torch," said
"Fine. Break out the
torches Dick." Dick dug in his pack and produced a handful of
oil impregnated cloth wrapped wooden torches along with a flint and steel.
"Blimey that's a bit old
fashioned innit?" exclaimed Falamir. "Why don't you use
battery ones? I've got the latest Ever Ready high powered one with a
fresh set of Duracells."
"We like to hold with
tradition and keep to the true theme of D&D," answered
Erendil. "But use your modern one if you like."
"Thanks, I will."
"So will I," added
Shiron who also produced a very impressive shiny new Ever Ready torch from
his pack. Dick distributed the 'classic' torches round and lit them
all. They burned brightly with a smoky blue orange flame and gave
off a slightly greasy smell along with a comforting amount of heat.
"Everyone got a
torch? Good. Down we go then gentlemen, after you Dick."
said Erendil. Dick turned to him.
"Oh I see. Not so
keen to take the lead now it looks like it might be getting
dangerous," he said with heavy scorn in his voice."
replied. "I was just being courteous."
"Also it makes good sense
to have a big strong fighter at the front of the party, just in
case. And you are the biggest, strongest, most experienced fighter
here after all Dick," he added with a smarmy smile.
Dick. "Don't think flattery will get you anywhere. Ok
then let's go." Erendil didn't protest at Dick stealing
his line as Dick began to descend the stairs, torch held out in front of
him in an attempt to dispel the darkness waiting for him out of reach of
the daylight filtering down through the trapdoor. "Come on then
you load of old women," he called as his head disappeared below floor
They followed him down one at a
time, Falamir picking up the rear and pulling the trapdoor shut as quietly
as he could behind him.
They descended for some twenty
feet until Dick reached flat ground. They all halted when they
reached the bottom of the stairs and waited for their eyes to become
accustomed to the dark. It was cold, it was quiet and it was
eerie. When they could see as well as they were ever going to they
set off down the only passage available; into darkness, into uncertainty
and into December 8th.......
Here endeth Part 6.
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