Thursday, July 6, 2017

The Feathergale Spire - Stories from the campfire part 2

As they left Summit Hall on that morning Falken kept checking that every single one of his possessions was where it was supposed to be. Last time they had spent a night among unknown armed forces they ended up flying (or falling) down a deep canyon full of rocks.

“Hey kid, did you lose something?”

Falken turned to Damian and gave him a playful smile.

“No, but I believe you did.”

He showed Damian him one of his own daggers. It was actually the one the Sorcerer kept hidden most of the time. Damian gave a snort and a laugh while giving the boy an approving look.

“Well look at that. Last time someone took this dagger away from me, the one who did it had to sleep with me the night before and get me drunk as well… good job kid, keep those eyes sharp.”

Falken smiled and tossed the dagger over to Damian. He remembered that night well. He had lowered his guard just as much as the tiefling had… and would come to regret it as much as every one of them.

~ *** ~

The Feathergale Spire was a white tower that went up for what it seemed to be miles and miles up into the sky, as if signifying the desire of the cultists that inhabited it to reach the heavens and attain some sort of enlightenment from a higher power.

To Damian it was just very pretentious architecture.

The last time they had been here they came asking for information on the missing Mirabar caravan, and shared their stories with the cultists. They took them in, shared bread and salt with them, invited them to partake in a glorious Manticore hunt where they fought alongside them and brought down two of the beasts, and then they continued to celebrate their deeds for the rest of that night.

Then on the morning of the next day, they woke up, their hands tied, taken hostage by the very people they feasted with, and in Damian’s case, shared a bed with, the night before. Thulls, the captain of the “Sky Knights” as these cultists called themselves, informed them that they would be offered as a tribute to the Spirit of air. Helmdorn challenged Thulls to a sword fight to the death in exchange for their freedom and their equipment. Thulls simply laughed, and then had his henchmen throw them off the top of the Spire.

To Helmdorn they were pretentious pricks with no honor whatsoever.

A group of friendly Aaracockras had picked them up as they fell, bringing them to a safe place. That was when they realized their friend Draupnir had injured his neck when they caught him mid-air, and was now in a catatonic state. After much deliberation, the group of adventurers had to take the decision to… end his life themselves, and give him a proper burial instead of leaving him out there for the wild beasts to take him.

Shieldbuster now saw them as the ones who forced him to kill his friend. Pretentious murdering pricks who would taste death at the end of his blade.

A few nights later they had come back to the spire under the cover of night to recover their equipment and exact vengeance on these fools, or at least make sure they rued the day their paths crossed. As of now they had managed to climb up to the level where the cultists kept their flying mounts’ roost. The air cultists had a great deal of Flying creatures which they had domesticated in order to serve them as mounts, most of them being griffons, large magical  beasts with the head and wings of an eagle and the body of a lion, and giant  vultures way larger than those you would encounter out in the wild. They managed to get in and have Lauren befriend one of the giant vultures with her druidic arts. The easy part was over. From now on, stealth was going to be absolutely necessary. So Falken was sent ahead to scout the floor where the cultists’ armory was located. Lauren, Shieldbuster, Helmdorn and Damian stayed behind.

As time passed, the minutes turned into hours, and Falken was still out there.

“That’s it, we need to go help him! –Lauren said- What if he got captured?”

“Hush!! Lower you voice, I’m trying to think of something here…”

“Well Damian you can think all you want… I’m going after him”

The druid got up, left the Vulture’s roost and went down the stairs to go after the kid. Lauren had taken a liking to this kid, and had become very protective of him ever since they started to travel together, and she was not going to let him die at the hands of some pretentious murdering fools who thought they could command the forces of nature by killing innocents and offering them to some spirit in the sky, or some such nonsense. Nature was all about balance, and this construction... this temple was just another slight against nature that put everything out of balance. She would not stand for it... her very skin crawled every time she saw depictions of the sacrificial rituals on the halls of the Spire, and she shuddered as she thought about what they would do to the boy once... or if they found him.

“Those two are going to be the death of us…Shieldbuster, I’m going up to see what I can find, you stay here with Helmdorn and work on an escape plan”

Helmdorn and Shieldbuster looked back at Damian with a pair of puzzled looks and said exactly what they were thinking at the same time.

“Escape Plan?”

They were pretty high up and the chances of navigating through the spire were minimal, so coming up with an escape plan in these conditions was a daunting task to say the least.

“Look, just try to find out a way to get us out of here ok? I need to go down there and make sure they don’t wake the guards”

And with that, Damian left. Hoping that this visit to the Feathergale Spire would end up significantly less disastrous than their last.

On a floor right below the vulture’s roost, Falken had managed to slip past a couple of sleepy guards and into a room that seemed to be the cultist’s armory. Several suits of armor hung on some wooden busts, and an array of martial and simple weapons had been collected into a couple of barrels to the left and right of the room. If his eyes did not deceive him, and they usually didn’t, their equipment should be stashed away from the cultist’s regular equipment… now there was only one thing keeping him from his goal.

A simple lock, with a simple trap.

Back in Waterdeep he used to pick locks like this at least once a week. He wasn’t trespassing, he just removed obstacles from his way in order to survive. Survival usually meant “appropriating” food that he could not afford for himself. Merchants never really appreciated the way he spirited away their goods so the locks on their warehouses got more and more complex. Other street kids that did not have his skills were a lot less fortunate than him, so he always tried to help them out whenever he could, but if he needed it more than someone else, then it was his for the taking. The kid was talented like few, had a keen eye for detail, nimble hands and was quick on his feet. However, picking a lock without sounding off the alarm, moving in, taking the goods, then exiting and leaving the door with no trace of having picked the lock… THAT, was something you learned.

And His teacher taught him well

This one was a simple one though, a simple lock with a simple trap that would activate through a spring mechanism built into the lock. If you did not have they key and tried to open the lock, the trap would trigger and bad things would happen. This, of course, meant nothing for someone with Falken’s skills. He just needed to put in the pin and hook from his tool kit and twist a bit until the lock opened, all while keeping the spring mechanism from going off.

That is, if he HAD his tool kit with him. Right now his tool kit was somewhere behind this very door, and he was using two daggers to open the lock. A simple lock. With a simple trap.