Signup
Welcome to... Canonfire! World of GreyhawK
Features
Postcards from the Flanaess
Adventures
in Greyhawk
Cities of
Oerth
Deadly
Denizens
Jason Zavoda Presents
The Gord Novels
Greyhawk Wiki
#greytalk
JOIN THE CHAT
ON DISCORD
    The Silver Wolf-Behind The Mask: Telling Friend From Foe
    Posted on Wed, November 02, 2022 by LordCeb
    CruelSummerLord writes "

    Tears formed in her eyes as she tried to whisper a prayer to Pelor. Her friends were all similarly affected, and even Airk had a look of sorrow as he considered what the dwarves suffered. She couldn’t imagine how they were going to search through all this brutality.




     Chapter Four

    Telling Friend From Foe


    “How many different clans does that make now?” Seline said, looking over Airk’s shoulder as he knelt down to examine yet another orcish body.

    “Five,” Airk said as he stood up. “This one belonged to the Night Spear. They were one of the cruelest orc clans in the Hateful Wars. If the Night Spear were involved, it’s amazing that the orc clans all managed to cooperate long enough to overcome the dwarves.”

    It had been an hour and a half since the companions’ fight with the ghasts and ghost. The companions continued exploring the castle, but all they found were wreckage and the corpses of humans, dwarves and orcs. The orcish bodies came from no less than five separate clans, bearing their clan symbols on everything from tattoos to medallions to shield emblems. That confirmed the tales about the orcs’ infighting after they’d overcome the dwarves. Orc clans were often hated rivals to one another. They might cooperate for a larger goal, but there was always the danger their mutual enmity might boil over. When it did, the result was often a bloodbath.

    The companions’ efforts paid off after another half hour when they found the castle treasury. Most of it was looted, but the deepest chamber held a large vault door crafted of pure mithril. It was heavily scarred and battered from the orcs’ attempts to break it down, but it stood as proof of the dwarves’ skilled craftsmanship.

    Amyalla groaned as she got a close look at the vault door. She saw that it had six combination locks, and her mind spun at how complex the door’s locking mechanism likely was.

    “Can you get past that?” Weimar asked, knowing Amyalla’s dislike of combination locks. Many Greyhawk thieves simply couldn’t get past them, and even Amyalla found them a frustrating challenge.

    “It’d take me a day and more…if I actually manage to do it,” she said, shaking her head. “This makes that lock on the Hall’s entrance door look like a piece of thread. It’s a pity we don’t have Lady Babylon’s bell,” she said.

    When Lady Babylon’s forces invaded Flinthold, the dragon used a magical bell that had the power to magically open locks, no matter how large or small, to forcibly open the city’s entrance doors. The bell was claimed by the Kutunachke as part of their share of Lady Babylon’s treasures, and it was long lost to the companions.

    “Could there be any clues to how to open the vault somewhere else in the castle?” Seline said, rubbing her chin. “In all the dwarven myths I’ve read about, they were careful not to let this kind of knowledge be lost.”

    Where could we even look? Ma’non’go asked. We’ve searched most of the castle.

    “Except the dungeons,” Airk said. “The orcs would have taken advantage of the cells and torture tools…”

    A pall fell over the companions as they realized what they would likely find in the castle dungeons.


    Luna felt sick to her stomach at the slaughterhouse the dungeons had become. The bodies of nearly two score dwarves, men, women and even children, were thrown into the dungeon cells or stacked like cordwood in its halls. Many of the dwarven bodies the companions found earlier were marked with injuries, but the tortures the dwarves here suffered went well beyond that. Some dwarves had large metal spikes hammered through their chests. Others had their skulls crushed in the doors of the jail cells. Others were hanged from the ceiling by chains, slowly strangled to death when their necks weren’t simply broken. Still others were vertically impaled on spears.

    Tears formed in her eyes as she tried to whisper a prayer to Pelor. Her friends were all similarly affected, and even Airk had a look of sorrow as he considered what the dwarves suffered. She couldn’t imagine how they were going to search through all this brutality.

    Maybe we should go back and try to open the vault, she thought despondently, and leave if we can’t. I know the others would be disappointed, but-

    Revafour’s cry of alarm jolted Luna out of her thoughts. He was pointing into one of the cells further down, a horrified look on his face. Luna and the rest of their friends ran to join him, when they saw what he was pointing at.

    The image of a dwarf, faded like a half-remembered dream, hung in the cell before the companions. Blood poured from the flayings and knife wounds all over his body, his beard was shredded where it wasn’t torn out, but his eyes shone with a defiant light and he carried himself with a proud dignity.

    “Is that-“ Weimar said, reaching for his axe, before Seline stopped him.

    “It’s not a ghost,” she said. “Don’t worry, it’s harmless…”

    Seline trailed off as the dwarf pried up a loose stone from the floor of his cell. Dipping his finger in the blood oozing from one of his wounds, he scrawled quickly on it before setting it back down. A large orc came into the image, his piglike face bearing a sadistic leer. The dwarf spat in his face, and the enraged orc plunged a dagger into his chest.

    The image suddenly vanished, leaving the cell as bleak and empty as before.

    What was that? Ma’non’go asked, disturbed by what he’d just seen.

    “It’s a phantom,” Seline said. “Rarely, when someone dies a very violent death, some of their mental energies linger. Those energies often contain the memories of the person who died, and shows their last few moments alive. The resulting images are called phantoms.”

    So, does that mean- Ma’non’go said, but Seline ignored him. Kneeling down in the cell, she traced around with her fingers until she found a loose stone. Borrowing one of Weimar’s daggers, she pried it out of the stone floor. Walking back towards her friends, Seline showed them the dwarven runes written in blood on it.

    “Can anyone read this? I don’t read dwarven,” she said. Revafour, Amyalla and Airk all raised their hands, and Seline handed it to Revafour to read. She picked up the lantern she’d set down to search the cell, holding it higher to give Revafour more light.

    “It says…’fourth board from the southwest part of our noble chamber’,” Revafour said. “What on Oerth does that…wait. Was this man the dwarven duke?” he said, gesturing back to where the phantom had manifested.

    “So there’s something hidden beneath the floorboards of his bedroom,” Amyalla said. “Would you be able to tell which part of the room is the southwestern one?” she asked Airk.

    “Of course I could,” he said with a half-smile. “Any gnome worth his gems would know that. Maybe that’s what we’re looking for?”

    “There’s only one way to find out,” Seline said, a smile of her own crossing her face.  

    Luna could tell how forced their smiles were in the middle of all this carnage. Her friends were likely just as eager to be out of this hellhole as they were to find whatever the duke might have hidden.

    "
     
    Related Links
    · More about Stories & Fiction
    · News by LordCeb


    Most read story about Stories & Fiction:

    The Silver Wolf-For Crown Or Country: Burning Man

    Article Rating
    Average Score: 5
    Votes: 1


    Please take a second and vote for this article:

    Excellent
    Very Good
    Good
    Regular
    Bad

    Options

     Printer Friendly Printer Friendly

    Associated Topics

    Stories & Fiction

    The comments are owned by the poster. We aren't responsible for their content.

    No Comments Allowed for Anonymous, please register

    Re: The Silver Wolf-Behind The Mask: Telling Friend From Foe (Score: 1)
    by Sabby09 on Mon, November 14, 2022
    (User Info | Send a Message)
    Fantastic! I think You put a lot of effort to create this article. I appreciate your work. https://www.contractorlethbridge.com




    Canonfire! is a production of the Thursday Group in assocation with GREYtalk and Canonfire! Enterprises

    Contact the Webmaster.  Long Live Spidasa!


    Greyhawk Gothic Font by Darlene Pekul is used under the Creative Commons License.

    PHP-Nuke Copyright © 2005 by Francisco Burzi. This is free software, and you may redistribute it under the GPL. PHP-Nuke comes with absolutely no warranty, for details, see the license.
    Page Generation: 0.33 Seconds