This is part of the ongoing narrative of our D&D campaign, which is graciously being run by Proud Lion, a fantastic comic shop in Cheltenham. Their RPG Encounters nights are a lot of fun, and give me some entertaining material to work with.
[Before reading, please be aware that there may be spoilers ahead for the D&D campaign books. Equally, our stories are fluid, so things may not follow the books too directly]
“It’s real dark for me, guys…” the monk complained as the group continued down the corridor in which they found him. He seemed to travelling along with them, making occasional notes on his mapping pad, particularly noting the doors along this corridor.
Drenk passed Trystan a torch from his pack, and lit it as the party neared a junction in the corridor. A door stood to either side of them, and they could see another directly in front of them. Jester was drawn by the allure of the simple wooden door to the right, while Kalashnikov and Burian inspected the stonework of the door to the left.
In other respects a fairly standard stone-hewn door, there was a curious relief etched into the rock, depicting several dragon-like fish dancing around a pool, but while Kalashnikov soon lost interest in “pointless carvings”, Burian could tell that this stonework was significantly older than the rest of the castle. He pushed against the door, to find it locked, and spent some time trying to detect any magical residues, but could only see that the door had been immobile for quite some time.
Meanwhile, Jester had been inspecting the wooden door for traps, and finding none, he nonchalantly opened the door. A small room was revealed to the group, but Jester’s face fell when he saw nothing of value inside.
Enna, Drenk and the monk prepared themselves behind the final door, before Kalashnikov strolled straight past them and kicked the door open without a care in the world. A small yelp and shuffling sound echoed down the corridor, and the group, except Jester, followed him into a large, open chamber, well-lit and smell of a recent fire.
Jester was now sizing up the stone door, trying to discern where the locking mechanism held it fast, but couldn’t make out the seals.
Crude symbols and glyphs covered the walls, daubed in lurid green smears, and the ash smell emanated from a large fire-pit in the centre of the room, but the most interesting feature stood against the southern wall. A metal cage stood there, the gate having been pried open, and mounds of earth were piled around a wide hole in the floor. With his enhanced sight, Burian could see the tell-tale sign of slivers of magic around the cage.
Beside the cage lay a small bench, draped with green cloth and littered with small items, and a whimpering bundle of hides lay beside the bench, trying to be quiet. Drenk called out to the figure hidden in the bundle, in the goblin tongue.
“Come out, whoever you are! We won’t hurt you.” His booming voice resounded around the walls of the chamber.
Back in the corridor, and oblivious to the discovery his compatriots had made, Jester finally spied the lock of the stone door, and with a few shimmies and a trusty shove managed to open the door. A blast of surprisingly fresh air rushed out of the opening, and with a loud screech he pushed the door back into the side room.
No movement could be seen from the bundle of furs, even when the companions surrounded it, so as Enna was reaching down to inspect it, Kalashnikov put his boot squarely and quickly into the side of the rag pile. A loud yelp erupted from the pile as a kobold jumped out of it, and the party stepped back, unsure of this new creature.
Only a little taller than the dwarves, but much more skinny, this denizen of the castle was vaguely draconic in appearance, looking like the fusion of a lizard with a small human. It has long drooping whiskers from its snout, looked frankly pathetic and had evidently been lying there in misery for quite some time.
“What? What do you want with Meepo? Meepo is sorry he lost it, really really sorry!” the reptile called out in common, slurring the s’s, rubbing tiredness and possibly tears from its eyes.
Back in the corridor, Jester could now see inside the room he had revealed, and was once again disappointed by what he saw. In the far corner of the room was an ancient keg, with some pipes running into the floor from it. As he looked on, he could hear a faint noise coming from the keg, and could have sworn he saw it rattle.
“Don’t worry, don’t worry kind…sir?” Enna called out, trying to calm the kobold evidently called Meepo, “We’re not here to hurt you or blame you. Would you be able to tell us anything about this area? Why are you here, and why alone?”
In a stuttering and spluttering rush of words, Meepo quickly explained that “This room used to be a very, very important room for the kobold tribe who lives in this castle, as Yusgril knows, but a great damage was done to the tribe when the goblins attacked here, and Yusgril knows there was nothing Meepo could have done, absolutely nothing, when the goblins stole the kobolds’ special dragon friend, and Yusgril knows the Meepo knows they were friends because Meepo looked after him, the dragon wyrmling called Calcryx, as Meepo was Keeper of Dragons for the tribe, and it was a very, very important role until the poor dragon was taken, and Meepo really, really wants to get him back, but he can’t possibly get him back alone, but now that Meepo has met you all, maybe you could help Meepo get the baby dragon back? Yusgril knows all, if you ask him the right questions, so maybe Yusgril could help you if you knew the right questions to ask and you helped Meepo get baby Calcryx back from the filthy goblins, and Meepo could rejoin the tribe and save Calcryx and be best friends with Calcryx again and Yusgril knows that would be the best.”
Jester was now advancing upon the keg, listening intently and watching the barrel carefully. His keen eyesight could now make out the tiny movements, and was intrigued as to what this keg might contain. Unfortunately there was a plug stuffed stiffly into the spout, so it didn’t look like he could easily remove that. Maybe breaking open the lid would reveal the keg’s contents?
Taken aback by the blast of exposition and panic from Meepo, Enna was the first of the group to ask whether Meepo had seen the targets of their quest, while Burian and Kalashnikov simultaneously asked if he knew the whereabouts of the mystical apples. The answer to both questions was the same, cryptic and confused from Meepo.
“Meepo don’t know, but Yusgril can. You make nice with Yusgril, he will let you ask him questions, and Yusgril knows all, if you ask him the right question. Yusgril is great kobold, he leads our tribe.”
Trystan leant down to the rattled kobold, and put his arm around him, then offered Meepo a pull from an odd pipe he pulled from his habit.
Jester finally lowered his knife to the rim of the keg, and started to jimmy the thing open. Just as he broke the seal, he was starting to think he should have inspected this keg with the aid of the others and a spirit flowed through the new gap in the keg.
An icy imp formed in the air in front of Jester, and raised its frosty claw to swipe down at the rogue, simultaneously cutting and chilling the half-elf’s flesh.
“Guys! I think we might have an issue here!” his shrill voice rang out as his rapier sailed through the imp’s form.