on Dec 16, 2006
The party continues east. Several times throught the trip they see Garret scanning the horizon through a spyglass, looking at it through the wrong end. They have written Garret off as an idiot by this point, so they let it slide without comment. Eventually this gets on Eomer’s nerves and he tries to show Garret how to use a spyglass.
Garret explains that this is how the Mages Archives can be seen. Up close (within a hundred or so paces) it can be plainly seen, but at a distance it can only be spotted by looking through the wrong end of a spyglass.
Eomer gently relieves him of the Spyglass and begins using it himself.
They locate the Mages Archives. The building is a modest tower – more of a “lighthouse” style tower than the classic “wizard” spire. The tower is joined to a squat, round building made from the dusty grey stones of this region. The building is perched atop a small cliff that plunges down into the churning sea below. On the southern side of the building are a few stone steps that, if you were to decend them, would drop you down the cliff into the ocean.
The idea is that a hundred years ago this place was still in use. These stone steps led down to a wooden scaffold which held a set of stairs that would take you down to the small docks below. All of the wood has since rotted and fallen into the ocean, leaving only these confusing stone steps as a clue as to how people reached this place.
The maps and other descriptions I had of this place seem to have vanished. Alas.
The place is sealed tight, and they must break in. The front door is smooth and featureless. They conclude that it must be magical. There are no windows. Tall grass and a few slender vines have embraced the base of the building. The walls are sound. The place is old, but not crumbling.
They walk around the building, looking for clues as to how they might enter. Garret has no idea.
Finally Skeeve uses his magic to fly onto the flat roof of this lower section. A hatch is here, which appears to lead down into the building. The hatch is locked.
Eomer tosses him a rope. Skeeve ties one end to the iron handle of the hatch, and throws the rest back down so the others can climb up. Eomer and Thu’fir come up, and Eomer picks the lock.
All of this is a bit confusing. It seems like there is a lot of security here, all of which can be easily circumvented with a bit of rope. What’s the use of having a magical front door if someone can enter through a mundane, non-magical hatch in the roof?
Eomer slips in through the hatch. As expected, it is quite dark inside with no windows. The air is stagnant. This place was well-sealed, and perhaps very near airtight. From what little daylight makes it in through the hatch, he can see that he is at the top of a rickety wooden staircase leading down to floor level. This room is either a small library or a large study. Bookshelves line the outer wall. Taking a light, he goes down alone and explores the room. He’s careful to remain silent, and keep his eyes open for traps. This place was made by wizards, and there is no telling what sorts of surprises they left for intruders.
In the middle of the room is a statue with a couple of valuables (gear) placed upon it. He doesn’t even bother checking for traps – this is exactly the sort of thing a wizard would put there to lure a thief. He gives the statue a lot of room. He’s not here to rob the place.
There are a couple of tables here, but no chairs. Two doors lead to other areas. One leads to a kitchen, the other leads to a spiral staircase that ascends the tower. He decides to let everyone else in before exploring the rest of the building.
There is a small, narrow entryway on the north wall that leads to the other side of the smooth front door. He sneaks over, checks for traps, and then examines the door itself. It turns out the door is smooth on this side as well. Eomer can see no way of opening it. The only clue is that there is a fine red pull rope here, which leads up into a hole in the ceiling.
Seeing the room is clear of traps, he goes back to the roof and signals for everyone else to climb up. He makes sure to tell them to keep their hands off the statue.
The rest of the party enters exept for Garret, who lacks the upper body strength to climb the rope, and for Endo, who stays with him. Everyone else comes in and begins rummaging around carelessly in a way that makes the stealthy and cautious Eomer crazy.
Skeeve looks at the front door. He looks at the fancy red rope. Pondering this, he figures that if he pulls down on the rope it will open the door, and let Garret and Endo in.
Pat (Eomer): No you’re not.
Dan: No, I’m tired of this sneaking around. It’s obvious this rope opens the door.
Pat (Eomer): Don’t!
Dan: What’s the worst that can happen? I pull the rope.
Skeeve pulls the rope. The door does not move, but from the tower above they can hear the booming sound of a large bell ringing.
They brace themselves for a some sort of danger or trap, but after a few seconds the ringing dies down and the place is quiet again.
Enoch ascends the spiral stairs. At the top is another hatch (easily unlocked from the inside) which leads to a modest watch-room. There are tall, narrow windows looking out in every direction. There is a rotting desk here, and the frame of a rotting bed. This room was not sealed, and the furniture has obviously decayed in the years this place has stood empty.
Also here is a black, cast-iron bell about the size of a large bowl. It hangs from a rope, which Enoch guesses leads down to the front door. There is another rope nearby. After some experimenting they figure out that this second rope is the one that opens the front door. He uses it and lets Endo and Garret inside.
The thinking here is that the tower-guy would have also seen the visitors. If the visitors use some sort of magic to charm the door guard, but neglect to do so for the unseen fellow in the tower, then they will be thwarted, since they guy at the door doesn’t have the power to open it.
Back in the library, the rest of the party is still exploring. The books are still on the shelves, but otherwise the place is devoid of furniture. The kitchen has a stove and a table, but otherwise the place is empty. The kitchen also leads to what they assume is the sleeping room. That room is bare. This place was obviously stripped clean before it was abandoned, and it has has remained sealed and unspoiled since then.
It is getting dark. They prepare a modest meal sleep on the bare floor.
Shamus Young is an old-school OpenGL programmer, author, and composer. He runs this site and if anything is broken you should probably blame him.