For long years, you labored in the fields like all the peasants, sweating hot and dirty in the summer, only to shiver under threadbare hides when winter came. This year’s harvest ended like all the rest, and autumn’s work was hard on Old Man Roberts. When you visited his bedside at the end, he spoke in labored breaths of constellations that hadn’t been seen since he was a young lad. The last time the Empty Star had risen in the sky, it was more than fifty winters past, he said. Under the light of that strange star a portal had opened by the old stone mounds. He’d seen jewels in there and fine steel spears and enameled armor, but he’d run when the iron men had attacked. Now, old and dying, he wishes he’d taken the chance on a life of adventure. The Empty Star is once more rising, and a young man with courage could be more than just another peasant – if only he’d take the chance Old Man Robert hadn’t. Now its your turn, will you take that chance?
The gathered group stands before the monolithic rocks of the old stone mounds, under the dark light of a starry sky. The Empty Star is clear and bright above. Three of the large stone blocks lean haphazardly together to form an upright rectangular portal about the size of a man. They seem to be placed directly beneath the star's path. As the Empty Star ascends to its brightest point, its light catches in the portal, and a shimmering stone-lined corridor is visible through the stones, but only from one side of the opening.
"Change your mind?" Sohn asked, his voice barely above a quiet whisper.
Olivia shook her head stubbornly, but her mouth was so dry she hardly dared try to speak. She'd half expected Old Man Roberts tale to be nothing more than the delusions of a dying man, even though she had dared wish it were true. But here was the portal before them, just as he had described it.
The shimmer from the hallway beyond seemed to suggest riches beyond anything she might ever dream of and an excited smile crept over her face as she looked around at those gathered here.
"Me either," Sohn agreed, then said louder to the others gathered here: "I don't know about the rest of you lot, but we're going."
Orsik gathers with the others around the opening, banging his shield with his handaxe as one of the farmers exclaimed that he was going in.
"Aye! I am goin' with ya!" Looking towards the man and giving him a reassuring nod.
Orsik needed those jewels that Old Man Robert made sure to explain in fine detail, being a blacksmith for such a small farming community as such.
He grumbles behind Orsik as the other man bangs his shield. "Quiet down a little, would you? We have no idea if some abyssal creature lurks around this portal..." As he finishes his sentence he tightens his two handed grip on the simple leatherbound hilt of the gleaming longsword and glances up into the sky, scanning the heavens for the Empty Star .
"Do you think there might be?" Olivia whispered to Angrim, heeding his warning to stay quiet. "Creatures, I mean?"
The adventurers cautiously step through the starlit stone portal and into the hallway beyond. Solid flagstone are underfoot. The starlight fades as it reaches into this hallway, which dead-ends ahead at a stout iron-banded door. Jewels or crystals in an odd assortment of star shapes are inscribed on the door.
When walking through the portal, he heard Olivia's question to Angrim, then took it on himself to answer for him. "If there is, that just adds to the adventure! You shouldn't be too worried about what could happen when you know that the outcome is oh so sweet!" He laughs before looking down the hallway and reading himself, taking the front, ahead of the other 3.
"I'll even go first, just in case there is something. That way, I'll be the one who gets hit by any surprise attacks or traps." Winking to the three of them before continuing down the hallway, making sure to keep his steps quick and gentle.
Mila's self-crafted wooden bow was old and worn but served her well over the time she'd had it. She kept it ready, with a makeshift arrow notched as she stepped into the portal. Some of the adventurers would risk their lives to get off of that farm - even unprepared. At least some had taken efforts to get something prepared.
She crammed into the thin corridor. Already someone would dive in head first, ready to take on a valiant fight. For that, Mila was grateful. Until she was the saw the immediate dead end. An array of the most beautiful jewels dotted the dead end. Mila waited to see what Orsik would do, as he was so insistent on being the first. Though, in that time, she let her eyes dart around the gems, hoping she could see anything odd from the distance behind four others, or develop a pattern in them. This was most certainly not even close to the end of what the story was referencing... Sure it was a lot of jewels but - the danger?
There must've been something important.
As they reached the door, she eyed the jewels in the door. Those alone might be worth a small fortune and only made her more eager to see what lay beyond. "Does it just...open?" she asked cautiously from her position behind the dwarf, hoping that they did not need some kind of magical key to open it. Old Man Roberts hadn't mentioned anything about that.
Sohn almost hadn't noticed Mila come in behind them and startled when he glanced behind to find her there, immediately bringing up his staff into a defensive posture before realizing Mila wasn't, in fact, a creature or one of those 'iron men' that Old Man Roberts had mentioned. He sighed in relief, "Don't sneak up us like that," he scolded, but he wasn't really upset with her, only at himself for being so jumpy.
He was slightly surprised to see her here... the girl that rarely spoke to anyone, at least as far as he knew. Still, he was glad for the extra help, particularly when he saw the bow she carried. "Good thinking... about the bow, I mean."
Until he hears the others talking in the back, seeing that a new adventurer has indeed joined them. He smiles to him before talking to her. "Aye! Welcome!" gesturing to Mila before speaking to everyone in the corridor.
"I think this here door and gems is a lock and key!" He exclaims before looking back to the door. "I'm no good with puzzles... So someone who is really... oh what's the word... witty!" He raises his finger as he finally finds the word he was looking for. He knew metal, weapons, and armor, but if you ask him to figure something out, put the answer right in front of him, and even tell him the answer, he still wouldn't know what was going on. That's why he became a blacksmith!
Sohn rose his staff like he was actually going to put up a defense with it, but Mila pulled back her arrow anyway until he realized she wasn't a threat. She felt quite confident that he wouldn't have made the first strike even if she was an Iron Man, or whatever it was called. The story had been passed around a bit before she heard it, so she wasn't sure of all the facts yet.
Orsik announced his lack of know-how, and Mila felt like it was a dead end already, but didn't let that thought show on her face. After a pause, Mila rolled her eyes and slid the arrow back into her quiver, but still held her bow defensively. She slipped past the two farmers, and took a stance in front of Orsik, again examining the patterns.
Okay. Maybe constellations? Mila peered around the sides of the block to see if it looked like a door, or mechanism, and brushed her hand against the wall looking for keyholes. Mila and the farmers worked outside all summer, perhaps even Orsik, too, so they all would probably be quite familiar with the constellations. She then glanced around the walls to the left and right to see if there was anything blending in. Mila studied the gems for a minute longer, then pushed on one of the gems that she felt made the best sense to be first if they were in fact buttons of a sort. If nothing changed, she'd continue on her predetermined pattern, anyway, to see if there'd be a response afterward. Maybe it looked crazy to the others, but she was perceptive, and that's where her logic ended.
"See anything?" Olivia asks the other girl curiously.
Mila's guess that the jewels are aligned in the shape of a constellation seems sound and she recognizes the pattern correlates to the constellation around the Empty Star. They don't depress beneath her fingers as she touches each one.
((Make an Intelligence roll please with an extra +2 bonus since you got the constellation bit already!))
Her anger was uncalled for, so she shook her head at the woman's question, not wanting to get anyone's hopes up and took a deep breath.
rolled 1d20 and got a natural 11. After the modifier of +2, got 13
She backed up a few steps and resigned herself to speak, "Wait. When it opens it won't be open long, so you don't have much time left to change your mind." She let out a rough cough.
Mila offered a kind gesture to Orsik and the others to either go ahead of her or to walk out, now.
Ey stepped up closer to the group, and grinned at Mila's statement. "Well," ey raised eir voice, "I definitely want to see what other spectacular things might hide in here."
"I can't imagine changing my mind now," Olivia said to Mila, though her quiet tone betrayed the fact that she was, indeed, having second thoughts.
Sohn tries the door handle several times over the next couple minutes until suddenly the jewels all alight and the door swings open easily.
There's a room beyond, with another stout door on the northern wall. Four iron statues flank the door, two to a side. Each statue depicts a different fighting man in a round iron helmet and thick scaled armor holding a long spear in a throwing position. All the spear-tips are aimed at the door which has just been opened...
Entering the portal he dropped to his knees and gasped for air as sweat poured from his brow, apparently he sprinted from the village. "By the gods of melody and song, curse that hill!" Adorning his body was a studded leather chest plate, red and yellow tunic and britches, a morning star on his side, and a fiddle on his back. Finally catching his breath he stood up. "Sorry about the sudden arrival, I um, just heard the story od the Old Man. I couldn't pass up writeing a song of my own."
"Can you believe it's really real?" she asked Tal'merri as he was catching his breath. "It's... it's..." she could hardly find the words.
"...exciting." Sohn finished for her. "Let's go."
He steps through the door, intending to cross to the next door, but the moment his foot crosses the threshold, the first statue sends its spear hurtling toward him.
Edit: Sohn instinctively dodges to the side and the spear grazes his arm, drawing a red line of blood. He drops to the floor in surprise and to get out of the way of any further projectiles.
rolled 1d20 and got 13
Does it hit Sohn? 1-10 misses; 11-16 light injury; 17-19 bad injury; 20 dead
Tal was glad Sohn managed to get away with only a scratch but blood was blood, he needed some help. Pulling Sohn back he sat him down. "Good on you for being brave enough to go in first, but remember it's not only you in here. Imagen how devastated the lass would be if you were cut down before the true adventure begins." Tal'merri pulled out his fiddle and began playing a soft, sweet tune reminiscent of a bird song. With each strum of the bow, againced string his wound slowly closed and mended the torn flesh.
rolled 1d8 and got a natural 4. After the modifier of +3, got 7