Nightfall in Brelindia

20 - Raiding the Chamber

The four strike at the Chamber of Embers while the royalty's away.

In order to make sure the prisoners make it safely through the under-tunnels, Honora requests assistance from her fellow Valysans. Two, Calkin and Renneth, agree to come along and stand watch in the tunnels until the prisoners are freed, then take the prisoners to safety.

They retrace their steps from the exit Bralta found in Greatbridge to the tunnel under the river. From there they are able to follow Beragain’s directions until they find the subtle stone door in the wall. Honora forces it open, and they step into a well-appointed foyer hidden below the Broken City. Two masked guards attempt to repel them, but stand little chance and are overpowered.

The Chamber opens up into a larger lounge-like area, with a depressed central floor heaped with carpets and various divans and cushions for those on the rim to watch whatever performance takes place. Three pairs of statues mark the exits: a pair of dreaming sleepers, a pair of dancers carrying torches, and a pair enjoying food and drink. Tapestries depicting roses and flame hang on the walls, and conceal guard-post alcoves — and the guards within are more dangerous than the last.

The Chamber’s defenders pour into the room. They’re a varied group; some rabble, yes, but the masked halberdiers have partaken of combat drugs, and seem oblivious to fear or pain. From the archway marked by dreaming statues comes a particularly hulking brute, odd vapors trailing out from under his full-face helm, and a pair of entranced thurifuges whose censers give off soporific fumes. The lotus clouds make a dangerous obstacle, slowing the heroes while doing little to their already intoxicated enemies. Blood stains the carpet before the last of the Chamber’s guards are subdued.

The dreaming passage leads to a drug den and attached apothecary; the eater and drinker mark a feast hall with sixteen chairs about its table, marked with card-heraldry, and the attached kitchen and larder. The torch-bearing dancers flank a passage to a larger, uncarpeted room decorated with paintings of unclear figures dancing among the flames, some sort of altar (concealing trappings of an unidentified form of infernalism) and a large mirror.

Another passage from the ritual room leads to a series of cells and another guard post. The guards are easily dealt with, but only one prisoner is to be found: a young man, muscled like a worker but not yet bent and weathered, and drugged into incoherence. He bears a henna mark on one arm, a tasseled squiggle that seems very like the lion-tailed snake from the roll of arms. The group turns him over to the Valysans’ care, and then determines to occupy the Chamber until such time as more assistance can arrive to take away the various guards.

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Barastrondo

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