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August 3, 2008

Cholsen's Manor
by Loreis

Lerris stood at the gates of Cholsen's Manor, out of breath after defeating three of her own shadows. Opening the rusty gate, she winced at the loud creak the came from the ancient iron frame. Lerris had heard stories about this mansion in the wilderness - an insane man, hobbling around within the rooms and hoarding a treasure of gold, a ghostly guard surrounded by fire, and a hungry imp trapped in a basket. She walked through the open gate, and was greeted by a small goat, grazing on the overgrown grass that grew up between the cobblestones on the path. Lerris patted the goat gently on the head, and continued to carefully explore. To her right was a beautiful orchard, trees laden with fruit and nuts. Realizing she was a bit hungry, Lerris stepped into the orchard, hoping to find a juicy peach or sweet, ripe pear on which to snack. She found a cockatoo. A very angry cockatoo, that blinded her and struck with such force that she fled, wounded and more than a bit confused. She narrowed her eyes, quaffing potions, and prepared to confront this bird again, when it suddenly appeared before her. Lerris harmed and cast tremor, finally crushing the cockatoo to death. She examined the corpse, and found to her delight one thousand gold pieces!

A young boy explained how to shake the trees, and Lerris was rewarded with apples, peaches, pears, an orange and even pecans. She sat down to eat, and looked around, enjoying the sights and sounds of this peaceful orchard. Replenished, Lerris stood, and ventured further into the trees. Before her stood a dying tree, surrounded by a white aura, and a Dendron, tall and forbidding. Wielding her trusty yew staves from Karlisna, Lerris made quick work of both trees, and discovered a tiny key, made from a small branch. Hmmm, she thought, this might come in handy later, and she tucked it into an herb pouch. Holding a blue sanctuary orb high in the air, Lerris was aglow with white light, and felt ready to explore this ancient home a bit more.

As she wandered the path, she came upon a jockey, wielding a polo mallet, and wearing silks and riding boots. She blinded him, and he fell quickly. Again, gold coins were her reward! She walked along the path, finding and killing more jockeys, a few weasels, and was preparing to rest when she noticed a librarian approaching. Lerris stood, and considered this woman. She was dressed conservatively, and was carrying a dusty tome and a ruler. I'll bet she has gold, Lerris thought to herself, and began to battle the librarian. Whom, it turned out, was a lot tougher than she looked. She finally fell, flesh melting from her body, but not without leaving a lasting impression on our brave adventurer. Retrieving the tome and gold from the body, Lerris was shocked to learn the book was worth fifty thousand gold!

"Must be a first edition", Lerris giggled, and gently placed it in the herb pouch she wore about her waist.

Approaching the front door of the manor, Lerris could not help but feel a tad nervous. What awaited her beyond the massive, wooden doors? Was there treasure? Or had some other plundered it all before her? She inhaled deeply, and pulled the heavy doors open. Standing before her was a meek butler, back bent from years of servitude, smiling genially. Lerris curtsied, and passed him without a word. The hall was long and ornately decorated; to her left, Lerris could see a trophy room, and to her right was a closed door. From behind the door, muttering could be heard, and what sounded like someone searching. Lerris opened the door quietly, and peered around the corner. A man, looking very flustered, was digging through coats and murmuring,

" I know it was here! That butler must have stolen my wallet!"

Casting tremor a few times took care of the complaining man, and to top off the experience, he had three thousand gold coins. Lerris searched the room; perhaps the treasure was here! A hidden door popped into view. Lerris opened the door and found herself in a narrow passageway that came to an abrupt end in front of a panel.

" There is more here, I know it," Lerris murmured and searched again. This time, she found a trapdoor, but could not open it. She cracked the panel, and wandering the halls, found a Game Room. A chess game was laid out, and as Lerris looked at the board, an opening move using the pawn was revealed to her. Lerris sat down, and considered her options. Somewhere, she wagered, there was a book or scroll or something that would give her the rest of the moves to win this game of skill. Clambering to her feet, she began to look around the ground floor for such an item. She found the kitchen, the dining room, a pantry, and was about to give up when she stumbled into the Library. Bingo, she thought. Lerris studied the books - haiku, hunting and chess! Picking up the book on chess, she was delighted to see several options for the game in the Game Room. She saw the group of moves that began with the same pawn, and ran back to the chess game. Moving the pieces is the order listed in the book, Lerris was astonished when a secret drawer opened and a golden bishop leapt into her hands. Identifying this lovely little golden man told her that it was neither key nor treasure. Now, how to open that trapdoor. Usually, Lerris had found that if she could not quite see a way to open a door, it meant she was missing a key item. She was a dark passageway...maybe if she had a light...but she had a light! How would...AHA! Lerris sprinted back into the hall, and crashed into a maid, carrying a bright ball of light. Explaining her situation, Lerris hoped to appeal to the maid, and perhaps she would give up the light. No such luck, and the ensuing battle did not end well for the housekeeper. Grabbing the light from the still warm corpse, Lerris ran back to the hidden passageway. She dropped the light, and immediately the trapdoor became visible. She opened the door, and ventured down into the depths below.

This adventure will continue! Stay tuned for part two of Lerris's adventures in Cholsen's Manor!


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