July 28, 2000
Journal Entry, 8th day of the Month of Futility, Year 536
I am now a hired assassin. After I turned in the letter I found from Fortress Shadowclaw, I was told to wait while the Elven Council conferred. They left me sitting in the same room for three days. Finally, an elven lord appeared. They'd decided to send me off to the Labyrinth and kill the Goblin King, who was apparently collaborating with Shadowclaw. They are offering to pay me five times what I am normally paid for both his death and his treasures. What do they think I am? Some amoral mercenary? I will go, but for reasons of my own.
Journal Entry, 14th day of the Month of Futility, Year 536
The walls of the Labyrinth loom before me. Four days of rafting down the River Courrain have brought me here. I now stand on the bridge spanning the moat. My weapons are sharp, my armor is sturdy, and I've an extra week's worth of rations. It is time to enter the maze...
Thenlar quietly walks through the thick brush to the entryway. He glances up at the imposing stone edifice, then resolutely strides through. He smells the goblin guards before he sees them. Thenlar slips around them in the shadows, making less sound than the slight wind blowing through the stone walls. Then he stops. After waiting a moment, the rogue draws his flaming short sword. He steps behind one and buries the weapon in its back.
The unfortunate goblin squeaks and collapses. The other guard shouts in alarm and lunges forward. Thenlar ducks low and scythes his leg through the goblin's feet, knocking it flat on the ground. The goblin rolls aside, barely avoiding a vicious slash from Thenlar's longsword. Thenlar's backswing slices across the goblin's leg. Thenlar pauses a moment when he hears many light footsteps approaching at a run. The goblin sneers and waits for reinforcements to arrive. THUD! The goblin looks in amazement at the axe imbedded in its chest, then promptly dies.
A mixed group of goblins and humans marches through the halls of the Labyrinth. Their hands grip weapons tightly, eyes wary for intruders. As they pass a corridor, no one seems to notice the corpse of a kobold being dragged around a corner. Thenlar examines the combat boots worn by the now deceased kobold. He glances at his own worn ironbound boots. He shrugs and swaps footwear. A faint sound makes him freeze. Something large and heavy approaches at a steady, determined rate.
The large, muscular Minotaur strides down the path resolutely, its gaze sweeping from side to side. The eyes light upon the kobold's corpse and a bloodthirsty sneer crosses his lips. Some poor fool had killed its minion, and now the fool is going to die. Suddenly, the Minotaur frowns, as if somehow inconvenienced. The towering monster turns around and sees a half-elf wielding a bloody short sword, looking quite surprised. The Minotaur laughs heartily and swings its axe. Thenlar ducks the powerful swing, but the Minotaur's boot swings up and catches him in the face. The half-elf sprawls backward. The giant axe slams down, penetrating the black Minotaur chainmail guarding Thenlar's vitals. Thenlar screams in pain, then rolls to the side as the Minotaur chops into the stone with another mighty swing. Clutching his bloody chest and dizzy from the pain, Thenlar turns and flees down another passage, seeking to escape the pursuing monster...
The Minotaur hunts me still. Every time he paces by my hiding place, I duck deeper in the shadows, and hope he is not playing some cruel game on me. He knows I am about, but cannot find me. It is only a matter of time before he does, I suppose. I have managed to staunch the blood flow from my chest. The wound seems not to be severe, but it stings painfully. I wish there were a cleric accompanying me. I shall have to make do without, though...
Thenlar quietly slips along the shadows of the wall. He comes to a corner and glances around carefully, then ducks back around. A trio of goblins stands there. Thenlar takes out a gold piece and flings it hard over the goblins' heads. The coin clatters to the floor somewhere down the passage. The goblins start, draw weapons, and sprint towards the sound. Thenlar silently runs behind, then turns down another passage. Breathing heavily, he slowly continues down. This corridor ends in a T. He peers left, then right. To the left, he sees a pair of human mercenaries, to the right, a single goblin. Quickly weighing the odds, Thenlar darts to the right and stabs the goblin in the back, killing it outright. He yanks out his short sword and sprints further, hoping the corpse will not be noticed too early.
Thenlar trudges down yet another blank hallway. His pack is shredded and most its contents missing, his sword is covered with dried blood and gore, and his armor is nicked and cut in dozens of places. He glances in every direction, jumping at every noise and shadow. He turns another nondescript corner and stops short. A short, well-lit corridor stretches before him. Four signs announce the presence of shops. To the left are a weapon shoppe and an apothecary. To the right are an armor shoppe and a food court. Thenlar pokes his head in the weapon shoppe and shakes his head. He looks in the armory, and his eyes widen. Shimmering mithril armor hangs from the walls. A dwarf hammers away at a forming piece of mithril. Thenlar steps in and stares at the dazzling display of dwarven craftsmanship. The dwarf looks up and studies the half-elf for a brief moment.
"Looks like ye've seen some hard combat, boy," the dwarf states.
Thenlar smiles wearily and replies, "That I have, good dwarf." He nods at the pieces of gleaming armor. "I certainly need to replace some of my armor. How much will it empty my pouch to own some of these fine pieces?"
The dwarf frowns and asks, "Which ones are ye looking at?"
Thenlar points at a pair of mithril sleeves and mithril leggings.
The dwarf sets down his hammer and motions to Thenlar. "Well, try them on, boy. See how they fit."
The half-elven rogue quickly sheds his battered leather sleeves and leggings. He pulls the mithril armor off the pegs and slips them on. The dwarf tugs at his beard and walks around Thenlar. The dwarf nods, looking satisfied, and turns to Thenlar. "They seem to fit perfectly. Ye shan't be havin' too much more trouble with the scum infesting this place."
Thenlar nods agreement, then his face darkens. "Well, there is the matter of paying for your fine work, sir."
"Hmm..." murmurs the dwarf. "What did ye say you were here for?"
Looking confused, Thenlar replies, "To slay the Goblin King."
The dwarf brightens. "Well then, if you can do that, take it as gift from me, boy. Just gettin' his foul-smelling rear out of this place is enough payment for me."
Thenlar blinks in disbelief.
The dwarf shoves the astonished half-elf out. "Well, get a move on it, boy!"
The dwarf was a generous soul. Before I could say anything further, he ushered me out and slammed the door behind me. I visited the Food Court next. There I managed to buy some more provisions, as I had already lost most of what I had brought in with me. The Alchemist in the Apothecary sold me some healing potions, but at an exorbitant price. He took one look at me and yelled that he would only sell his potions to me for 120 gold apiece. I was shocked, but I had no other option. I bought four. One I used immediately. I was quickly rejuvenated as the magic liquid rushed through my body, healing wounds. The other three I slid through loops on my belt for easy access. I then left the small pocket of safety and continued. I avoided some strange flying creatures. I stand at what appears to be a dead end. To the north, my right, is a blank alcove. In front of me is a dark pit. I will search the alcove first, perhaps there is a secret...
Thenlar takes a single step in, and the floor drops away beneath him and darkness rushes up. He lands in a massive cloud of dust, and the trick trapdoor slams shut. The half-elf sits there for a moment, getting his bearings. He holds up his glowing pendant for better illumination, then wanders through the maze of darkness.
Thenlar peers up a hole in the ceiling. Daylight shines down. A rickety ladder leans against the wall, seeming ready to crumble. Grumbling, the rogue grabs the ladder and climbs it as fast as he can. He pokes his head through the hole and stands stock still in silent awe. The massive doors to the castle of goblins lie a short distance away. He pulls himself up and slips to the side, making no sound. He passes by the guardhouses and walks up towards the gates. He crosses over the foul-smelling moat quickly and passes through the strangely open gates. The rogue peers to each side and then smiles. A strong goblin lies next to the opening mechanism, asleep. Thenlar quietly tiptoes past.
This castle is strange. Lost, starving adventurers wander the halls, yet the goblins pay them no heed. I have passed at least four different kinds of goblins. I was not aware more than one kind of the filthy race existed. However, it is obvious the goblins are quite well off, or at least the king is. The hall leading to the throne room is beautiful. Thick red carpets rest on the floor. Majestic tapestries line the walls. Coats of arms rest against the polished stone, displaying the colors of great goblins that ruled this castle. Strangely enough, only a single guard blocked the doors to the throne room. I dispatched him with ease, a single thrust to the back slew the beast. One would believe they would protect their king better. The doors themselves are quite a sight to behold. They appear to be made of solid gold. Ornate carvings and etchings decorate the doors. The edges are inlaid with precious gems. Beyond the door rests my foe...
Thenlar grunts slightly and pushes the heavy doors aside. He looks within the throne room and shuts his eyes against the incredible brightness. The walls consist of gold, platinum, and silver, as well as a multitude of other unidentifiable metals. Gems stud the ceiling. The floor is constructed of a grayish marble. Pillars of white marble line the halls, and brilliantly carved statues rest between, almost seeming alive. The throne of the king rises high in the rear of the room. The goblin king rests on the throne, apparently sleeping. While he appears to be a normal human, pure evil radiates off him like a stench. Thenlar creeps up behind the throne and pauses a moment. He raises his short sword up and plunges it into the king's back. A bit of blood trickles out.
The king opens his eyelids and frowns. "Is that the best you can do, whelp?" Astonished, Thenlar merely gapes. The king sweeps his sword in a mighty arc, nearly decapitating the half-elf, who barely dodges away. The king stands up and swirls his black cloak about him. "Are you ready to die, intruder?" He lunges at Thenlar, who dodges the powerful swing and swings a return blow with his sword. The blade slashes the king, who merely makes a sour face and forces a powerful backswing that catches Thenlar off-guard and opens a gaping wound on his chest. Grimacing, Thenlar stumbles backward, out of reach. The king laughs heartily. "Weak fool. I shall enjoy this." Thenlar throws an axe, which skips off the king's arm, leaving a small red cut. The king unleashes an overhead chop, destroying a statue. Thenlar leaps aside and rolls away. He grabs one of the potions off his belt, quickly pulls the seal off and drinks it down. The king sneers and says, "You'll run out eventually." Slightly rejuvenated, Thenlar throws another axe, which the king dodges, and leaps forward, slicing a deep gash across the king's leg. The king curses and returns the attack. Thenlar ducks underneath the blow, leaps above the backswing, sidesteps a chop, and stabs the king in the stomach. The king lets loose a string of goblin expletives and makes a furious counterattack, swinging with crushing power, forcing Thenlar against a pillar.
The rogue ducks a swing, but the sword crashes into the marble pillar, sending out shards of marble. The pieces lacerate Thenlar's back and arms. He screams in pain and falls aside, barely avoiding another swing. The bleeding rogue limps behind another pillar and breaks the seal on both remaining potions and drinks them. Still not fully healed, he silently slips behind the throne. The king paces and shouts, "Come out here, you little scum. I've not had my dinner yet!" Thenlar closes his eyes and shuts out the king's commanding voice. He reaches within himself, just as he was taught by his guildmaster, and finds the inner strength and will to force his wounds to heal. His eyes snap open, and he peers around the throne. The king methodically searches behind each pillar and statue, getting closer. Thenlar drops into the shadows and steps behind the king. He stabs with his short sword, pulls it out and stabs again. As he rips out the bloody weapon, he twists it, shredding more flesh. The king screams and whips his sword around mightily.
Thenlar ducks beneath and slashes through the muscles on the king's sword arm. The sword clatters to the floor. The king staggers backward, throwing his other arm up. Thenlar throws an axe, slicing tendons on the king's leg, who collapses to his knees. Thenlar lunges forward and thrusts his sword with all his strength. The tip pierces the king's chest and punctures his heart. Blood trickles down the blade. The king looks up at the victorious half-elf in amazement, then sags to the floor and dies. Thenlar kneels slightly, panting. He strips a red colored ring from the king's finger and slips it on. Immediately, he can feel his own wounds and fatigue begin to fade. He then stands and stands by the throne. A large chest rests at the side, which Thenlar opens. He smiles wearily at the contents, and scoops out a large sum of gold coins. Then he turns and leaves...
It took me some time, but I finally escaped the maze. The king is dead, I have his magical ring, and I am quite richer for the adventure. But I will not be returning to the elves. I have dragged my raft to the other side, where a separate river winds away. I know not the name of the river, or its destination. I only know that it will take me someplace else. I will start a new journey in the morning, but for now I need only sleep.
Entry #3 coming soon!!