The return to Grate was welcomed: the now familiar hustle and bustle of city living breaking the steady ebb of the road walked. The clutch of rescued children were transferred into the care of Tripos and audience sought with Halas for a full update.
The party detailed the peculiar circumstances of Half hill; the Traxium cave, portal to a distant land, the sinister hooded man and the plight of the town, which now would surely be destined for ruin. Grimes, ever the entrepreneur, sought ownership of the Traxium within the area and demanded a cut of any proceeds. The refusal was abrupt and final, but there was an obvious boldness to the boy’s claims which seemed to warm the demeanour of the present Lords.
The team returned to their rented accommodation to take in some much deserved rest and relaxation; to their surprise Grime’s home was a busy foray of piping, clockwork and steam powered contraptions, running through the building like solid metal vines from basement to roof- Ralph had been a busy inventor. After demonstrating a number of his gizmos and wonders to the group, he began to enlighten everyone to a further discovery he had made from a book of local legends and stories: He believed that, if the tales were true, a source of great power lay in the forests to the south which, if retrieved, could be of incredible use to his further creative endeavours. Ever the gallant heroes, Albin and his groupies set out to investigate the peculiar findings.
The road was gentle, allowing for a leisurely journey to the fabled site. Quickly they forged a way into a moss-caked place of worship, shrouded by the surrounding nature over the centuries. The room which presented them was one of obvious pious worship, Heralding the life’s journey of Draxal the redeemed. In this first chamber they found a mosaic which portrayed the trial of the poisoned cup, where he was spared by the fate of the Gods to change his ways and become a champion of the Pantheon. A peculiar challenge was discovered, where they had to decide which of the men in the stone imagery would be the one to die. With some strong thinking from the wisest members of the party, they managed to click what must have been the correct switch and mysteriously shift the wall in front of them, opening a passage down ancient steps to a darkness beyond. A torch was lit with haste, and the party ventured forth.
Treading intrepidly through the murky gloom, they stalked into a further stone chamber, with a hazy, painted image on the wall ahead. Albin used the cuff of his sleeve to displace the heavy dust veneer, allowing another iconic episode of Draxal’s life to show through: the now Holy Man had journeyed to a village where mean were on trial- liars, cut throats, and innocents. In life he had reasoned through the evidence with the help of the Pantheon and reached a verdict which meant those who had done wrong were justly punished, sparing the innocent. The same task befell our adventurer’s; words were shared, quarrels erupted, and Gods were used in curses until a group decision was at hand- with the gentle pressing of hidden notches in the wall, they chose the fate of the painted men.
With breaths held- they awaited their own fate, and with a great exhale a hidden passage in the wall behind them yawned open, revealing further steps into the earth. With a growing swagger, the team moved onward, eager to defeat the further trials which may be presented… they hadn’t experienced the half of it.
In front of them lay their final trail, one quickly heralded as the trial of frustration. The annals of history could not detail the circumstances behind the final task, but the devilry in the inception of it’s hellish creation could not be understated: what appeared as a straightforward manipulation of tiles to allow the movement of a lead casket from the top of a jumbled mish-mash of rectangular blocks and cubes from an apex to an opening below was in fact a creation of an insane man, blessed with all the insanity of an insane asylum. Tears were shed, alliances formed and broken, but after what seemed like an eternity the blocks fell into their divine place and allowed the removal of the casket; an opportunity to see what great power Ralph had requested.
They were surprised, but not disappointed- a huge orb of solid Gold rested with the container, which somehow gave the heavy metal an almost weightless feel. They escaped the trial chambers and returned to Grate to pass the precious artefact into the Dawrf’s keeping. He too, wrinkled his nose at what the ‘power source’ turned out to be, but rest assured he could make some great use of it. Our heroes once more settled back into their surroundings- all this adventuring was undeniably hard work, and thinking through trials ever more so!