January 14, 2007

Nebrion's Quest

Chapter 18: How Does this Rug Work Anyway?

By Douglas E. Gogerty

"Bzzzz -- Wheee -- Wheee -- Bzzzz -- Kablaam!" the machine sputtered when the carpet fragment from the chest was placed in its tray and the machine was switched on. It was certainly working. After a few seconds, a nice rug fell out of the machine and onto the floor. We were in!

Unfortunately, we had no instructions as to its use. How does this rug manage to enter Nebrion's room? Do we climb onto the rug and have it fly us through his window? Perhaps we should sit upon it. Was it a flying rug like the ones from the ancient tales? Did it work on an entirely different principle?

Our men of letters were of no help in this regard. Thorvald and Glaf studied the object carefully, but could come up with no better solution than to place it on the ground and hop on board. I suggested we go back to the inn and talk to the man who told us about the rug, but they did not wish to harm any more townsfolk. Thus, they did not wish to leave the tower.

So what was their solution? Naturally, it was to use me as the first victim. They would have me step on the rug and determine what happens. I informed them if I go tumbling into Nebrion's room, all stealth and surprise is lost, but they reminded me of my dexterity. The others were too clumsy to be trusted on a flying rug.

Once they were all agreed that I should do this, I gingerly stepped onto the rug. I braced myself for something to occur, but nothing did. I was not in Nebrion's room I was still in the same room as the rest of the party.

I sat on the rug and concentrated on going to Nebrion's room. I made several attempts to persuade it to go somewhere. Nevertheless, the carpet was not moving. It looked as if we would have to ask the man how to work the rug after all.

I arose from my seated position and walked off the rug. The disorientation hit me immediately, and I nearly tumbled to the ground. I managed to stay on my feet, but for a few seconds I did not know where I was or what had happened.

In my daze, I looked around and noticed I was in a corner of some room. The room had several bookcases along the walls. There was no doubt about it; I was in Nebrion's room. Apparently, you just had to walk across the carpet and you were in.

Unfortunately, the teleportation mechanism to get me back was not obvious. Thus, I could not scout out the area and return the information to the rest. I was trapped in the room with Nebrion, who had not noticed me as of yet.

I stood in the shadow of the corner, attempting to decide what my next move should be. However, before I made any action -- one by one -- the rest of my party tumbled into the room.

Startled, Nebrion asked, "What are you doing here?"

Our Paladin with her lawful goodness made her reply; she drew her sword, gave a battle cry, and attacked. The rest of the party was startled briefly and did not immediately join in the fray.

"Please," Nebrion begged. "There must be some sort of mistake. I am not responsible for this..."

Jean would have none of it. She clearly detected his evilness when she entered. She would hear none of his excuses. Also by this time, the rest of us made our decision to join in the fray. Thus, we all began our attacks on Nebrion.

For someone who appeared to be older, he was remarkably agile. Gudrid and Jean's swords rarely hit their marks. The wizard was also adept at dodging my bolts. This fight was going to take some time.

After Nebrion decided that we were serious, he began his offense. With a "Phartano Verdigulum", he summoned some sort of ghoul. Our blows kept missing, and now we had a second foe.

"Concentrate on Nebrion!" shouted Glaf.

Nebrion had other spells at his disposal, and he was not averse to using them. A cloud of noxious gas was his next weapon. I was using my crossbow, so I managed to stay on the edge of the cloud. At the clouds fringes, I fired my crossbow. However, Jean was not immune to the clouds effects. Fortunately, Gudrid was unaffected. Thus, the battle could continue while Jean ran out of the cloud to be tended by our cleric Thorvald.

In the mean time, I was still attempting to hit the illusive Nebrion. One bolt missed its mark and lodged in the arm of Nebrion's ghoul. That spelt trouble for me. The ghoul took notice of me, and headed in my direction.

This ghoul was not your run of the mill zombie; he or she was quite agile. Luckily, it was not nearly as dexterous as I am. Thus, I avoided the attack and headed towards Thorvald and Jean.

After I ran past, with the ghoul on my heels, Jean took her orc-slayer and lopped its head off. In one blow, the summoned ghoul had disappeared in a puff of smoke.

As the cloud dissipated, Jean ran after Nebrion again. There were a flurry of blows, and it looked like we had Nebrion. However, he reached into his robe and pulled out a flask. As quick as he could, he drank some potion and it was as if he had just begun the battle. It was going to be a long fight.

Nebrion conjured up another ghoul and another cloud of some sort. This one did not affect Jean, but Gudrid could not stay in the cloud long. She ran to the cleric for his services.

It was at this point that Glaf took advantage of one of his major spells. Gudrid was not immune to the effects of the spell, but Jean was. Thus, he hoped that his spell would do some damage upon Nebrion.

Nebrion erupted in a large fireball. His ghoul fell dead, and Jean was still attempting to hit Nebrion with her sword. Nebrion survived the attack and continued to avoid our blows.

Our enemy was looking in rough shape. Our attacks would occasionally land, and the wounds would mount up. However, the crafty wizard had more potions and spells. He once again healed himself. This time, instead of summoning a ghoul, he summoned a dire tiger.

This tiger must have been a female because she got a whiff of me and was on my heels. "I'll keep this one busy," I shouted. "Concentrate on Nebrion."

I do not know what I was thinking when I said that. How was I going to keep that giant cat busy? Perhaps I could keep her busy by running around the perimeter because that was my only defense against the beast. Nebrion must have used a spell to make me do such a crazy thing.

Nebrion continued to fill the room with various clouds, but Jean and Gudrid continued to go after him. I would occasionally stop running from the tiger and shoot a bolt at him, but then I would start running again with the cat right behind me.

Glaf had spells, but he could not use the most powerful ones with our party in the line of fire. He was restricted to his lesser spells that did do damage to Nebrion.

Thorvald would shoot an arrow -- now and again -- at the evil wizard, but he spent most of his time with the wounds of the rest of the party. With that tiger on my tail, I was glad to have him tend to my scratches. However, he would eventually run out of his medical supplies.

Just when we thought we had him, Nebrion took another potion and we were back to square one. With his latest cloud effect gone, I dashed in to check his pockets. I wanted to steal any potions he may have possessed, but he had none.

He would not be able to make it much longer. Certainly, he must be running out of spells. He had used a great deal of magic attacking Gudrid and Jean. He chanted again and tentacles reached out of the floor with a stinging bite. Why did he save this spell? It was particularly nasty.

Jean and Gudrid hopped and jumped to get away from the spell's effect. This gave Glaf a brief instant to pile on his powerful spells. Fire and ice began flying at our opponent. Nebrion was caught between chasing the two fighters and going after our wizard. In his hesitation, more spells came his way.

Gudrid and Jean were in rough shape. They had taken a great deal of punishment from Nebrion's spells. They were also fatigued from the effort they had made to bring down the wizard.

Thorvald did his best to treat them, but he had exhausted his last potion. There was little else he could do to ease their pain. The tiger was inflicting some damage upon me as well. We could not put up this fight for much longer.

Sensing that our need was desperate, I stopped running from the tiger and shot my last bolt at Nebrion. I had missed with numerous bolts, but this one caught him right in the ear. He tumbled to the ground. The pouncing tiger disappeared in an odorless cloud. We had vanquished the evil wizard and we were victorious!

Posted by deg at January 14, 2007 7:38 PM

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