Our story last left the party in some jungle cult death temple thing. If you missed it, you can catch up here!
“Just go!” Michael yelled at Erica over the portal, as the wind whipped her hair.
“Fine,” she relented, before stealing one last look at the sun as she shoved her way through.
It was a very curious portal. Not at all like the storybooks. Michael had impatiently tried shoving her through, but it was clear nobody was going through unless it was under their own volition. And they would have to be very determined. After forcing my way through the portal, I looked back and watched as, one-by-one, the party members pushed their way through. “Is that what it feels like to be birthed?” I heard Michael ask of nobody in particular. I chuckled as I looked back to the portal to see Mork bringing up the rear. As he was halfway through I felt a tremor and heard some stones crashing behind me. When I looked towards the noise I saw nothing. I started to move towards the source of the sound when I caught a look of pure horror on Erica’s face. I followed her gaze to find the portal had closed on Mork, cutting him in half.
So much for that hangover cure. “We have to move on,” I urged. Erica and Clarence each offered a silent prayer over Mork before we pressed on into the dark world.
Before long we came into a chamber with rough rock walls. I recognized the source of the sound as I noticed some large stones covered in runes strewn about.
“At last, you’re finally here,” I heard someone offer from the shadows. A hooded figure emerged from the shadows into the room and I noticed a confused look on his face. “Wait, who are you? You aren’t the ones from the temple.”
“Um, about that…” Michael began.
“Never mind,” the hooded figure said. “You aren’t them, but you also aren’t the ones that were trying to stop them in the swamp. I guess you’ll do. We’re desperate.”
“Trying to stop them? Desperate? We?” I asked, but he ignored my questions and explained to us that we were in Blackthorn’s domain and the portal we’d entered through had broken after our arrival.
“During our arrival”, Erica corrected. I once again lamented that I’d never learn the secret magical hangover cure. She probably had less selfish thoughts. Although I knew she also wanted to learn that cure.
“During your arrival,” he conceded. “Regardless, you’ll have to repair it if you want to go home. There should be a scroll around here somewhere…” he trailed off.
“Here it is,” Michael announced, as he found a scroll draped across a column.
We stacked the stones up – 25 in total – following the scroll, but nothing happened.
The hooded figure explained that the stones were supposed to be in 5 different stacks around one of the columns in the room.
“Where the hell were you twenty minutes ago?” I demanded. “Fine. But how do we know which 5 in which column?”
“Wait,” Michael said, as he noticed a hook on a pillar and hung the scroll from it. It draped down the pillar before spilling on to the floor.
“We’re waiting, smarty pants,” I said, as he stared inquisitively at the pillar.
“Hold on,” Michael snapped, as he started to wind the scroll around the pillar. I watched as the runes lined up in 5 equal stacks.
We worked together and made short work of stacking up the stones appropriately, matching the runes. The portal snapped back to life and reminded us that one of us had already fallen to this infernal place. I feared he wouldn’t be the last.
“Yes, that’s it!” the hooded figure hissed. “But you’ve wasted too much time. You’ll need to close the portal so the others can’t follow after you. If you defeat Blackthorn you can return here and I’ll see you back home.”
None of this was making any sense, but we undid our work and then he opened a door I hadn’t noticed in the stone wall and we moved on down the corridor.