August 3, 2008
Cholsen's Manor Part 2
As Lerris gazed down into the darkness below, she felt a shiver run down her spine. What was waiting for her in that black room? Taking a deep breath, she climbed slowly down, down into the unknown. Lerris stepped into a small, dusty space, and found herself looking at a very old man. He was shuffling along the floor, pacing, and whispering to himself. Lerris gulped. Suddenly, the man turned and stared deeply into her eyes, and said,
"Why are you in my house, young lady?"
He did not seem angry, only inquisitive, and Lerris explained that she had come here seeking adventure and hoping to find the treasure she had heard so much about. Cholsen gave a maniacal giggle.
"You seek treasure? What have you brought...oh you have it!"
Cholsen pointed to the gleaming, golden bishop Lerris clutched in her hand, grinning. He tilted his head, and opened his fist. Lerris placed the bishop in Cholsen's cold hand, and he waved his arms. A chest appeared, seemingly materializing out of this air.
" You have the key...use it! And enjoy your treasure!"
Mumbling to himself, Cholsen waved at her, and climbed up out of the room. What key, Lerris thought to herself, and then she remembered-the wooden key from the tree in the orchard! Grasping the key firmly, she inserted it into the lock of the wooden chest, and turned it. To her great joy, a click resounded through the little room, and she carefully opened the chest. Peering inside, Lerris found a pile of gold coins! She took the gold, and realized that the wooden key had disappeared. Lerris searched the room, hoping against hope that there was more to be found, but to no avail. Darn it, she thought, that cannot be all. Lerris climbed back up into the light, and sat down, thinking. She had really only explored a small part of the manor; perhaps there was more in other rooms, and she knew there was an upper floor. Lerris stood and cast protective spells, making sure she was fully prepared for what mysteries lay before her.
She found herself standing before double doors. Placing her ear against them, she heard water running, and a woman complaining about the amount of dishes she had to wash. Lerris opened the doors, and walked into a kitchen occupied by a genie (a genie?), a cook, and a washer woman. Lerris quietly dispelled the sanctuary spell surrounding the genie, and made quick work of not only the genie, but the two servants as well. Lerris was overjoyed to find even more gold, and a few items she could sell in shoppes around Medievia for a tidy sum. This was turning out to be a pretty good day! Walking out of the kitchen, Lerris chose to explore the stairwell that led to the upper level of the manor. There was a closed door leading down, presumably into the basement. She opened it, and gazed down. Rats. Huge rats. Lerris could hear their little claws scratching along the floors, and shuddered. Gathering her courage, she raised her blue orb into the air, and was once again surrounded by a glowing light. Lerris dropped silently into the damp basement, and promptly slaughtered three of the little beasts. Checking her spells, Lerris noticed she was in a neutral player kill zone. Uh oh, she thought, She made certain she was alone in the manor, and continued to explore. The smell of mildew was everywhere, and invisible creatures lurked around every dark corner. Lerris cast faerie fog, and discovered scavengers, looking for treasure just as she was. Well, she thought, I may be a cleric, but that treasure belongs to me! The scavengers put up a good fight, and Lerris nearly fell to them, but she was triumphant in the end, gaining much needed experience, more gold, and a tiny metal key.
"Another key....I wonder what this opens!", she thought to herself. Lerris wandered back towards the entrance to the basement, and walked right into a ladder. A feeling came over her, almost a voice, and she knew instinctively that she needed this ladder. Grabbing it, she clambered back into the hallway. As she walked up the stairs to the second floor, Lerris noticed a beautiful stained glass window, shining a rainbow of colors on the worn rug. A glint of metal caught her eye, but the window was so high that she could not even attempt to get closer to investigate. The ladder! Leaning the ladder up against the wall, Lerris searched the window and discovered yet another key. What in the world, she said to herself. Grabbing Lord Quinstone's blackstone, she prepared to venture down the long hall south. There were several closed doors along the eastern wall, and Lerris opened them, looking for a clue or a hidden room, something. What she found was a closet full of moths and a dirty old man. Easily overcoming these, Lerris found herself at the end of the hall. There was a door east of her, and a door south. Weighing her options, Lerris chose the eastern door. Opening it carefully, she glanced into the room. It looked like an art gallery, with really horrible paintings on the walls. These seemed to have been painted by Cholsen himself, and they were labelled. Lerris winced at the use of color and perspective-they were really bad. She searched the room thoroughly and found a hidden entrance! Within this secret place was a tired muse, surrounded by sanctuary and sighing deeply. Lerris, with more than a twinge of guilt, slaughtered the artist, and took gold and equipment from the body. She made her way back into the hall, and opened the south door.
Lerris was now in the master bedroom. She could see a balcony, a master bath, and a huge bed, but no treasure. She thought back on her time in Cholsen's Manor, and smiled to herself.
"Silly girl, you have to search! The old man made nothing simple..."
The tiny key crumbled in her hand as a vault appeared out of the wall, and Lerris could see fiery light pouring from within. This did not bode well, as fire usually meant either a room filled with fire, or a monstrous thing surrounded by a fireshield. She had come this far, and she meant to finish it. Again, the orb was raised, again the spells were cast. Lerris closed her eyes, said a silent prayer, and entered the vault. It was as she suspected - a ghostly guard, dripping with fire, glared at her.
"Oh I think not!" it bellowed, and the battle began. Lerris's own spells bounced back against her, and just as she was ready to flee, the guard collapsed, gasping for air, gasping for life. One last tremor shattered the guard and crushed it, Lerris searched the corpse with shaking hands, and found a sword and one more key! Looking around, she found it. A large chest, buried in the rubble left by the fight. She unlocked the chest, and opening it, found two large golden vases. Leaning against the wall, trying to catch her breath, Lerris identified the first vase. It was quite valuable and she knew exactly who would buy it! Lerris fairly skipped out of the vault and was congratulating herself when she noticed she still had one key left. She sat down and eating a bit of goat cheese tart, ran back through the manor in her head, What had she missed? The ballroom had yielded equipment to be sold, and a fierce battle with a musical maestro, the trophy room and the library had been searched, revealing nothing. Suddenly she remembered a door, in the stairwell, a door that was still closed. Lerris jumped to her feet, and flew back along the hall, rounded the corner and shot down the stairs, There was the door! She tried to open it, and was not at all shocked to find it locked. Taking her last key, Lerris unlocked the small door and entered the room. She sensed a hidden presence before her, and casting faerie fog once more, saw a man named Kleptase standing before her. Lerris grinned wickedly-this would be fun. She pressed her finger to Kleptase's face, and he howled in pain. As she methodically cast spell after spell, Kleptase suddenly asked her to spare his life in exchange for a secret about Cholsen's Manor. Lerris shook her head, confident that she had conquered this old house, and with one last spell, she slay Kleptase. His corpse contained a few odds and ends and a lot of gold. A lot. Lerris leapt into the air, giddy with her good fortune.
Lerris found many amazing things out about Cholsen's Manor that day, including a hungry imp, stuck in a basket, who askes you to feed him with fruit from the orchard in exhange for a surprise, a boy named Petie who can "tie schoelaces" (his spelling, not hers), and, most importantly, a lonely old man, who, if you learn to play chess, will open up the wonders of his home to any adventurer brave enough to visit Cholsen's Manor.