Karameikos and Beyond

The Minotaur's Maze

Pyrhus had found himself alone at Loyalar’s old hideout, now belonging to his allies and himself. With Jamlin, the halfling Took, and what seemed to be a revolving door of other companions off on missions for the church, the pyromancer had the solitude he had desired.

He spent a number of weeks researching new spells (and filling the ring he’d discovered with a few of his own; Pyrhus wouldn’t be caught unprepared). Many attempts to develop new spells failed long before he’d gotten to the testing stages, but he hit upon two, at the end. An uncomplicated Invisibility spell, for utility, and one other he was particularly proud of: a shroud of fire that would not harm himself or his possessions, but anything that came into contact with him would be scorched by the flames. That would give any hostile-minded goblins pause.

With his ring filled and his newest spells researched, Pyrhus was prepared to rejoin his erstwhile companions. He allowed himself one last night of rest before abandoning the quiet life he’d enjoyed recently. After a rejuvinating sleep, the mage stood and dressed, preparing his adventuring gear for the road. He was just about to depart his bedchamber when he discovered something at the foot of his bed that he had not seen before. Something completely new, that he had not placed there. In his room. Someone must have snuck in and left a trap…Loyalar!

Pyrhus approached the parcel cautiously. His first thought was to discard the thing, not even dare to open it. Something changed his resolve, though. It did not seem anything with malevolence to it. In fact, it seemed almost a friendly thing, something kind and innocent. With that impression in his mind, Pyrhus meticulously removed the wrapping and opened the container within, to discover a wand. A note describing it as a Wand of Wonder intrigued him; he had never heard of such a device, but he was eager to test it, along with his newest spells. The magic-user tucked the wand away into his pack and set out for his companions.

A long, uneventful journey brought him, at long last, to the caves where Pyrhus’s friends were encamped. There were Jamlin and Took, ever-present. Pyrhus had a certain fondness for the dwarf, as he had proven time and again to be a valuable and intelligent companion. Of the halfling, however, Pyrhus had his reservations…In addition to these two, a pair of relative strangers greeted the pyromancer’s eyes. A human cleric by the name of Theos, so heavily armoured he could scarcely move; and an elven magic-user named Shava. Pyrhus was uninterested as to hear what brought them to these caves with his more familiar allies. All he needed to know was that there was a healer and another spell-caster along to assist.

After a clipped greetings, the group briefed Pyrhus on their quest, and offered to allow him to choose the next cave to explore. He eyed the three they had determined to potentially house the temple, then selected one arbitrarily. Accepting his decision, the group proceeded in.

Their first foray into the cave ended poorly. While Pyrhus did have a perfect opportunity to test his fire-shroud (which performed magnificently and beyond expectation), the elf Shava was drained of her lifeblood by a swarm of stirges. Reluctantly, Pyrhus paid for a portion of her resurrection cost upon their hurried return to a nearby settlement. Then, perhaps not practically, but certainly mentally prepared for their next attempt at the cave, the group reentered.

They experienced few enough problems in terms of safety. A few fire-beetles, to Pyrhus’s great distaste, were found to reside in the caves, but he needn’t have worried as Jamlin proved himself time and again in Pyrhus’s eyes to be very worth keeping company, striking the beetles with such force as to obliterate their carapaces and destroy them to such an extent as to be unrecognizable as the vermin they were. Proceeding past the beetles, though, it became clear there was another concern in the caves.

It seemed to them all as though the cave system was shifting constantly. They frequently found themselves lost and turned about, retracing their steps and coming upon already-discovered caverns. By sheer luck and ingenious use of rope, the party came at last to a final chamber. Pyrhus’s attention, at first, was attracted to the fire in the center of the room. He thought it a beautiful thing, well-built and certainly well-tended. It was tall and roaring; a perfect flame, for its size. After he had finished appraising the fire, however, his eyes turned to the object of his companions’ concerns: a large minotaur, currently unaware of their presence. It was encased within a suit of formidable-looking plate mail, and it possessed a spear far too large for anything not of the minotaur’s size, or at least that was how it appeared to Pyrhus.

With a moment’s conference, it was decided how the companions would take advantage of their surprise. Took prepared a bolt, Shava a spell, then Jamlin and Theos stood at the front to guard their softer friends. Pyrhus elected to use his ‘gift’, and pointed the wand at the minotaur. He did not know what would happen when he spoke the command word, but he was hoping for an enormous fireball—one that would burn the minotaur to a crisp and cause his party-members to turn to him with astonishment and praise upon their lips. Pyrhus grinned in anticipation of his victory, then spoke the wand’s trigger loudly and with conviction, prepared to shield his eyes from the spell’s brightness. But no answering roar came, no flash of light. Instead, Pyrhus’s hair got wet. He looked up, ignoring the arrow and missile Took and Shava loosed, and hardly noticed the minotaur’s charge. He was too frustrated with the fact that it was raining.

He managed to turn his attention to the battle long enough to cast an untried-spell at the minotaur’s firepit, causing a small fire-creature to spawn from it and join the combat against the bull. He could then regard the rain once more in anger. He did not give a thought to his companions and the chamber beyond until after they had slain the minotaur, which to Pyrhus seemed slightly emaciated as compared to when he first saw it. Disregarding the unhealthy pallor of the beast, he proceeded into the room (and out from under the spontaneous-rainstorm).

They discovered a treasure-trove hidden away in an alcove, and plenty of gold and items to fund their adventure and reimburse them all for having had to resurrect the elven maid. With two of his spells having had successful field-tests, the minotaur slain, and scarcely an injury to be found (on himself), Pyrhus considered the entire adventure to have been a success. They left the caves quickly, finding their earlier predicament caused solely by a spell perpetuated by the minotaur, and prepared for another cave.

The group’s happiness at their achievement was obvious, and it seemed unassailable. Pyrhus even allowed himself a small smirk. This grew into a grin, however, when the halfling mentioned his burglar-fee to Jamlin, and the dwarf’s consequent exclamation.

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Vaeltava

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