Samdar stood still as a stone, deep in thought.
Before him stood a bevy… nay a plethora of strange statues lit by an even stranger pool. Some of the statues he dared not look at lest they stir… thoughts… but the others he studied with careful determination.
Runelords they were supposedly. Blasted tall humans, putting up stupid statues is what they were. The statues didn’t even have the grace to be executed in High Hills style, Craggy Mountain or even the simplified lines New Granite Edgism that was the rage with younger dwarfs. Not that Samdar would ever admit to liking New Granite… High Hills was good enough for his Da… and it was good enough for him.
No, these statues were executed in painful detailed realism. Samdar glanced at the feminine form executed in stone to the left. Too realistic… he thought while blushing faintly.
While lost in thought he tuned out the conversation that went on behind him… “Did you try turning it off and back on again?”, “Can you hear me?”, and “I got no sound” passed over him like clouds over a mountain prairie. No doubt it was the finger wagglers trying to fiddle out some mystical device. No concern of his.
Finally he stirred himself, and glanced around at the party… the damned ranger was missing again. No doubt scouting the best location to sneakily shoot someone who rightfully deserved to be smited with holy wrath. No worry, like a bad copper piece he’d turn up.
“Which way?” Samdar finally grumbled and the halfling helpfully pointed down a corridor and began to explain why they chose it. The words washed over Samdar like wind on the peaks… unnoticed and ineffectual. He already turned and stomped off down the corridor.
Peaks… Samdar’s thoughts turned back to home and the camping trips in the lofty crags. Abruptly homesick his grip tightened on the haft of his axe as he stomped crankily forward. His reverie was interrupted by an imperious voice addressing him in High Dwarvish!
Such Clarity! Such Articulation! Such… oh bother. A talking rock face. For politeness sake he addressed it in the exalted high tongue, but it did not answer, further it switched to gabbling in strange foreign tongues as further members of the party approached. He eyed the face, finger wagglers meddling he thought sourly. Making stone talk in ways it shouldn’t.
Already forgetting the words of warning from the face he stomped moodily forward.
Here things become a bit cloudly. He remembered a bright flash of light, the smell like after lightening strikes a tall pine in the forest, and the inconsolable sobbing of the half-man as he held his magic sticks arrayed before him.
Samdar hefted his axe uncomfortably… it seemed… off.
The Half-man began to babble, and swish and flick his wands in front of him. Samdar stared at him a moment and for no reason he could explain muttered “Wingardium Leviosa” under his breath. He looked around uncomfortably… no one appeared to have heard him and he left the of the room quickly.
Back to the pool room.
More discussion was had, there was pointing down a long corridor and again he tromped forward…. into decadence. A room arrayed with all the plunder of the earth, ripped from the ground and gaudily arranged in such an ostentatious display it made his blood boil. To top it off, at the end sat the world’s ugliest door, dripping with such poorly composed over the top decoration that all rational thought fled his mind.
Samdar groped for how to cope with such a monumental display of poor taste. One thought crossed his mind.
What would Chompy do?
Chompy would bite it. Obviously. Samdar eyed the gold and gems… if Chompy didn’t bite it… how else would he show his displeasure?
Samdar unbuckled his pants…
Here things get a bit hazy again. There was loud clang, things smelled a bit like wee, and people were gabbling excitedly. Why was he on the floor again? No worry of his. Pick up, tromp down the newly discovered side passage… and find green gas.
Now any dwarf worth his salt knows that green gas comes in three flavors. Caustic, poisonous, as well as caustic and poisonous. There was some discussion about how to deal with the gas. Samdar’s thoughts turned back to the comforting mines of home, the occasional smell of firedamp, and the constant ringing of pick on stone.
The gabbling stopped, something must have been decided.
Back to the Pool Room.
Another debate broke out and while Samdar slowly tuned it out while he contemplated the pool and realized he was thinking of mountain streams of home… and his hand was unconsciously drifting to cup a cool drought from the pool when another passage was chosen. There was some strangeness with the corridor not behaving as a corridor should and he stomped forward and back he muttered under his breath “Wrinkle in time eh?” and cocked an eyebrow at the large blue not-a-Hellbeast-we-swear padding a long next to him. The dumb beast merely stared back, mute.
Finally things were sorted out and he stepped into… well… remember the three types of green gas? Samdar mentally added “Rotten” to the list, and after a few minutes of experimentation by the Pointy-eared sneak and the Brewmaster’s Chosen updated it to “Rotten and Caustic… probably poisonous.”
He sighed deeply. Back to the pool.
Another passage was chosen and Samdar began to blush deeply at the statue guarding it’s way. But he persevered… and pounded his way down the narrow passage…errr… forced himself to cleave into… the… umm…
Samdar was not sure where his thoughts had gone awandering when soon they reached “The Room.” He gazed around in bewildered awe and terror at the bas reliefs writhing on the walls. He boggled at the erotic sconces, the terrazzo tiles depicting acts both lewd and physically impossible with only one thought crossing his mind before Beldal shielded his eyes and allowed his brain to function again… “Whelp… now we know were the ranger got to…”
Harlot’s shrieking, lascivious invitations, and the thrum of the crossbow soon confirmed his worst fears. Strange demonic creatures danced teasingly just out of axe reach, showering them with threats and suggestive language.
Having enough, Samdar stepped forth a spoke a WORD. A primal sound from the dawn of creation, pure and resolute. The foul creatures shrieked in pain and fled before it’s wrath… but not before stooping and grabbing the ranger who disappeared with them with the quiet pop of displaced air.