Perverse Osmosis Secret Door - Perverse Osmosis

Secret Door

Crawler Lyllywen led the party through the dark tunnel, her small, hooded lantern providing enough light to navigate the inky blackness. The party maintained their usual marching order: Dorengar and Rodericke were first, followed by Imlari and Jindar. The cleric and magic-user went next, then Crandorth the druid and the halfling thief. Bringing up the rear was Dorgan, his crossbow drawn, and his finely tuned assassin’s senses attuned, hoping to catch a footfall or jingle that would announce an ambush.

The party had unanimously decided to follow the princess, even the usual holdouts–Rodericke and Karyn–were easily swayed by Lyllywen’s story. It was not that the princess’s story was particularly compelling or well told, but the party had been searching for the basilisk for more than four weeks with few clues. Lyllywen’s story was the only lead the group had, and the party was willing to take a chance on an unknown element. What was the worst that could happen? The adventurers had already faced traps, mimics, owlbears, kobolds, trolls, ogres, and bugbears.

Lyllywen came to halt before a heavy iron door. She waited for the party to join her and she spoke, “Behind this door is the basilisk. Also behind this door is my sister. I have felt her presence for about the last three turns. We share a bond that only royal sisters share, and there are times when I feel like I can read her mind and she mine. I cannot tell you what else lies behind the door, but I do know that the both of our quests end here.”

With command in his voice, Rodericke answered, “Then this battle is soon to be fairly joined. Let us draw our blades, nock our bows, prepare our spells, and cast our prayers. St. Cuthbert, bestow your favors upon this deserving band. We seek only justice and bring only zeal for our cause. Protect us, even those among us who leads lives of banditry or who turned from your blinding but cleansing light.” When the paladin finished, he hoisted his magic shield on his left arm and tightened his right-handed grip on his longsword.

Dorengar moved to his position next to Rodericke; the feisty dwarf had The Gobliminator out, its magical blade glowing in the semi-darkness. The barbarian did a few deep knee bends; the ranger placed one of his magical arrows in his bow and tested the bowstring, plunking it with his finger. There was a brief pause as the adventurers gathered their thoughts, then the dwarf grabbed the wooden handle to the door and pulled. The door opened with a rusty squeak and the paladin exploded into the room. After running three steps, Rodericke dropped to the ground, surveying the situation.

He saw a giant, eight-legged reptile standing next to a large pile of coins. Next to the basilisk, in drooping chains draped and locked to a stone monument, was Penelope. From what he could see, the princess looked unharmed but the month of captivity had worn on her. The princess’s once-famous beauty had faded; her golden hair matted and dirty; her white skin covered with red welts. The princess looked up weakly at the paladin’s surprising entrance and then dropped her head.

Slizz’lith reacted more quickly, striding across the cave, eight legs of basilisk fury. She was not about to lose her prize captive: her plan to use Penelope as a bargaining chip was starting to pay dividends; only last week the basilisk received seven trunks of silks as an initial offer from the beholder three caves over and no fewer than four goblin tribes sent gifts and tribute routinely. She stopped about fifteen paces from Rodericke and breathed, the foul emanation encircling the paladin.

Rodericke saw the cloud coming and inhaled before it could reach him. He was soon surrounded by the rancid stench, but the plan worked and the paladin remained unaffected by the poisonous gas. Staying on his knees, the paladin scuttled forward, hoping to strike at the basilisk’s legs. He crawled within five paces of the monster when Slizz’lith saw him. As the basilisk moved to attack, two arrows struck her back, one bouncing off her naturally tough hide and the other sticking into her flesh. The basilisk turned in the direction of the arrow fire, and Rodericke made his attack.

The paladin drove the point of his magic sword into the webbing between Slizz’lith’s claws and pulled the blade towards his chest. He could see the flesh tear neatly as the weapon did its work. When the blade came through, the paladin shifted position slightly and attacked another leg and another claw. Rodericke knew he couldn’t kill the basilisk in one blow or even ten, but also he knew he could slow the basilisk down. Again the sword went in and the sword came out covered in black basilisk blood. The paladin began to turn away when a third foot of Slizz’lith stepped on him, catching his leg, pinning Rodericke to the floor.

Imlari used the basilisk’s attack on the paladin to his advantage, his barbarian stealth moving him towards Slizz’lith’s back. At twenty paces, he started running; at five paces he jumped, sword drawn, hoping to land on the basilisk’s back. But Imlari misjudged the quickness of Slizz’lith; the reptile shifted slightly to the left and Imlari bounced off her hide, unable to find a grip. The barbarian landed hard on the stone floor and remained still.

Treilor ran her hands through the complicated gestures that made uphold monster. She had been waiting to use this spell for exactly the right occasion, and this seemed it. She was almost finished and then she felt a doubling pain in her left flank; the basilisk’s goblin allies had appeared. Slizz’lith had trained the goblins well: they immediately began to fire their short bows at the spellcasters in the party. Treilor grabbed her side and moved out of the direct line of fire.

Like the barbarian, Liligar used the paladin’s attack as cover for his own move. Unlike Imlari, the thief’s goal was the large pile of coins next to the princess. Liligar moved in the shadows as he circled closer to the pile. The thief darted across the floor and ducked behind one of the columns that held the princess. He looked at the basilisk’s treasure trove and could see copper, silver, and gold pieces. But Liligar had a feeling that there was greater treasure hidden somewhere else. No monster that could control a cave system would keep all their treasure in the open. The thief began to scan the area, looking for any sign.

Lyllywen saw the thief move towards the center of the room and followed. She had no interest in the basilisk either; she wanted to free her sister. The monster was occupied with stomping on the paladin and fighting off the combined attacks of the dwarf and the ranger. Slizz’lith’s goblin allies continued to fire inaccurate arrows at the remaining party members, but the princess slipped into the shadows and advanced. The thief, too preoccupied with searching for treasure, soon found himself crouching next to Lyllywen.

Dorgan quickly moved to a small niche in the cave wall as soon as the goblins began to attack. From the niche, he slowly and methodically fired crossbow bolt after crossbow bolt into the humanoids, every shot resulting in a goblin corpse. He was on his second score of bolts when the assassin noticed that Dorengar and Jindar had fallen under the basilisk’s claws, stunned victims of the basilisk’s poison. He shifted his aim and began to fire into at Slizz’lith. The assassin was not vain enough to think that he could kill the basilisk from this distance, but he also knew that he was capable of killing the basilisk at this distance. Load, aim, breath, fire, load, aim, breath, fire: Drogan fired again and again, each bolt flying true.

The halfling and the princess continued their efforts to find the treasure and free Penelope. The thief focused his attention on the stone obelisk that held the chains; Lyllywen’s attention was on the floor around the obelisk, the princess looking closely for a hatch or depression that might indicate the key to freeing her sister. Liligar found himself eerily attentive as his fingers worked over the stone’s surface; he didn’t know how he knew, but he knew that the secret was close. His left ring finger felt a slight bump, just enough to notice, and the halfling felt a brief thrill go through him. A heartbeat before the thief depressed the button, the basilisk turned and looked directly at Liligar.

But the princess was even faster. During her investigation around the floor of the obelisk, Lyllywen broke open one of the chests of tribute that the monsters in the cave had sent the basilisk. As a mean-spirited joke, someone sent a reflecting glass. With alacrity, the princess realized the gift the Fates had given her. She grabbed the glass and waited. When she saw the basilisk turn to attack the halfling, she acted. With an agile leap, she moved in front of Liligar, holding out the mirror. Slizz’lith looked directly into the polished surface, a look of horror flashing in the basilisk’s eyes as she realized her terrible mistake.

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Now, movedeeper into the basilisk’s chamber to see what awaits you in the final chapter of your adventure.

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      Secret Door

Sing Along!

You might roll a one, you might roll a two
Crack in the wall, now what to do?
It might be good, it might be bad
Chestful of potions or an axe in the nads
What were doing defies belief
About to follow the halfling thief
Extinguish the torches and into the hall
Stumbling forward against the wall

The princess was there
Pillar chained
The gold was there
Unarranged
The basilisk was there
Standing fast
The party was there
Battle at last

Here in the Vale of the Basilisk
Deep in the lair of the Basilisk
Weve come to slay the Basilisk
Weve come to slay the Basilisk

The paladin attacked
Coming low
The assassin attacked
Firing bows
The barbarian attacked
Missed and fell
The goblins attacked
Ruined the spells

Here in the Vale of the Basilisk
Deep in the lair of the Basilisk
Weve come to slay the Basilisk
Its time to slay the Basilisk

The thief went hiding
In the pile
The cleric trying
for survival
The basilisk looking
In the glass
The princess freed
Freed at last

Here in the Vale of the Basilisk
Deep in the lair of the Basilisk
Weve come to slay the Basilisk
The party slayed the Basilisk!