Adventures on Tellene - Stirrot Isle

Nameless and Cholo Shenanigans
Part 1: The Disgraced Knight and his Squire

The morning is brisk but sunny and the Butcher’s sat quiet and peaceful on the dusty, winding road. It was the day of rest and so the streets were still quiet from previous night’s late dwellings; a few drunkards still stumbling home.

Choloswag stretched out in the open yard, twisting his muscular body, already strapped in leather armour and a glimmering sword hilt by this right side. A large figure, wearing ring mail, ducks under the door way behind him, clasping a vicious glaive as delicately as a walking stick.

The two nod and make their way up the path to the Church of Chance.

The church was its usual bustling crowds of degenerate old men with their wispy hairs, trailing table from table, looking at pay outs for each and clutching small round chips to their chest. Beautiful elven girls with plastered smiles seemed to dot and flow throughout, offering drinks and other services.

A pink haired man materialises by the two Half-Orc’s side almost instantaneously, having recognised the undefeated pit fighter and curious that Cholo had brought an equally formidable looking partner with him; gold coins gleamed from his pupils.

“Ah, Choloswag, here for another dabble with the pits, I see?”

The Half-Orc was curt and quick tempered, asking for Lucky Lug impatiently instead.

“Lucky Lug? I saw him enter, but you know him, always jumping from table to table, I can send a message to him? How else may I be of assistance?” The pink haired man urged.

“We need map-maker,” replied Cholo.

“Ahh, a Cartographer? Well we sure have those too,” said the pink haired man, “The Church of Chance is accommodating to all requests, for a price of course.”

The two half-orcs made a sideways glance, “What kind of price?”

The pink haired man’s smile grew, revealing pristine white teeth, “Follow me gentlemen.”

Walking with a light step and robes swinging madly behind him, the man leads the two Half-orcs down a dark, familiar passage. Torches light the way down the hall to a room with a steel door. The man turns on the two with both hands up, “Gentlemen! Here are the terms, a duo fight between Cholo… and…” he looks casually at the ring mailed half-orc, “I have no name,” the Half-Orc says.

“Oh…” the pink haired man, looked lost for words for a moment, “the Nameless one!” he concludes.

“Well, the fight is between you two and ‘The Disgraced Knight’ and his squire, Jewie. The terms of engagement – all weapons allowed and defeat is pronounced by unconsciousness for 10 seconds, or yielding. Those are the rules gentlemen, if you win, we shall provide you with what you seek, if you lose, well…”

The two half-orcs nod, and the pink haired man, clasps his hands together in excitement.

The ring was modest, a rough 50ft by 50ft square with steel chains all around the sides. Cholo and the Nameless one stood in one corner as a man in full plate and a young man in leather armour, clutching a spear, stood on the opposite side.

A deep booming voice announces the coming of the fight, the contestants and the rules. But Cholo and Nameless are too busy sizing up their meals to bother listening. A distant gong sounds and the four men begin to circle like wild beasts.

The young man called, Jewie is first to charge. Spear point reflecting the lights above. Nameless engages him, the two sparring at a distance, dodging and weaving out of each other’s blades.

The Disgraced Knight descends on Cholo, a mighty two handed sword swung down hard, scoring a brutal dent on Cholo’s shield, sending sparks of wood chips in all directions. But the man is slow, and for every swing the Knight commits, Cholo places two on the Knight’s side.

On the other side of the ring, Nameless has cornered the young fellow. Clutching desperately at his spear, Jewie makes continuous quick glances at his mentor, who seems to have tunnel visioned and left his squire to fend for himself. The Nameless one sees the spear heads before they even lance forward, gliding left and right, letting the spear hit chinks of ring mail instead. His glaive never leaving the centre point of the poor boy called Jewie.

As soon as the fight had started, it was over, Cholo sees an opening in the knight’s mistimed swing and twists through the two handed sword’s reach, landing a full arc swing on the Knight’s helm. It sends a raucous ringing through the arena as loud as the Gong to start the fight; the Knight keels over and lands on his back.

On the other side, the young squire’s knees give out and he drops his spear. He cowers under the silent dark shadow of Nameless. A wretched, sour stink followed by a greasy brown stain climbs down his pants like weeds as the boy’s bowels release last night’s gruel and trade coin wine. The stench is unbearable, and the boy begins to puke into his own lap, small bits of oaten porridge and light green flecks of meat. He begins to weep solemnly as robed men climb on stage to cut and wedge the helm off the Knight, revealing a ginger man with a pig nose, his front teeth broken. Bits of straggly beard clutch his face like a mother’s love. A loud, wet, trumpeting noise echos from within his armour as the same green sludge leaks through the rusted joints of his plate mail. The robed men cover their face and drag the unconscious body off, leaving green and brown skid marks from the center of the ring all the way to the side, where they drop the Knight into a barrel and roll him off, Jewie walking bow legged beside the barrel, drooling and crying.

The crowd erupts in applause, as the pink man returns to the stage to milk the thunderous calls of Cholo and the Nameless one.

Back stage, while Cholo and Nameless quip about the ease of the fight, another robed man with equally dashing coloured hair approach the two half-orcs, he looks sterner and in more of a hurry. In his hands, he holds two sacks and a small letter, pressed with a red and yellow wax seal.

“Congratulations, Cholo and …” he motions to the Nameless half-orc, “I have no name,” the half-orc replies.

“Oh, um, congratulations on the fight,” he hands the two jingling sacks.
“And this is for you,” he hands Cholo the letter, “it’s from The Don,” he says before bowing and hurrying off again.

Too Old For Gold
Produced by Thug Records

Yeah, yeah, yeah,
Nigga what?

Riches ain’t a thing, it’s a state of mind,
Like knowing not to use, a refractory rhyme,
I’m a criminal, nigga, my job’s to be mean,
Slicing left and right with my boy, Hellscream,

The stronger I get, the wiser I get,
Fear of the supernatural, is losing effect,
I’m the master of control, it’s the way that I roll,
Running on my friends has taken its toll,

I started out with nothing, a few coins of trade,
And made a fucking killing on my first castle raid,
But when coin don’t buy heals,
And you gotta make deals,
It comes to your senses, that true wealth is in steel,

Guess I’m too old for gold, yo,
I’m killin’ for fame and gain, bro,
They comin’ to see my show though,
All I hear is them yell, Cholo,

Fast forward three months, I’m still dishin’ out pain,
Rollin’ with this half-orc, who don’t got a name,
Sick with a glaive, enough for a shave,
When we ridin’ slick, we don’t gotta behave,

Rollin’ outta Stirrot with an empty pouch,
Swaggin’ back in, my niggas can vouch,
Gold and plat gleaming, smokin’ a blunt,
All these elven bitches, go wet in the cunt,

We take 10 cuts and brush it off,
But when 20s arrive, your dick gon’ go soft,
Where is your gold? When you dead in a ditch,
Without your edge, you just another bitch,

Guess I’m too old for gold, yo,
These dames keep asking for mo’, bro,
There’s only so much I can cum, though,
All I hear is them yell, Cholo,

Cholo x 3
Yeah x 3

Ballad of Swag

Ballad of the Swag

They say Thugin’ ain’t easy? It’s peasy as shit,
Spendin’ ma gold, while I’m winnin’ in pits,
My record’s untouchable, I’m drippin’ in style,
Namin’ yo’ bruises keeps you fighting denial,

Rollin’ in green, we step to the door,
The castle that’s claimed all sorts of warriors befo’,
Payin’ our toll in blood, sweat and tears,
A group of gay dwarves see fit to appear.

Clearin’ out scum, as close as a motto,
Last thing you’ll see is bronze on a Cholo,
You fuck wit’ one, you fuck wit’ all,
Wonder how y’all get round wit’ dem dicks so small.

Fuck you,

Watchin’ ya’ll choke, gets me an erection,
Gon’ fuck yo bitches with zero protection,
Bust in her while she on the rag,
Ya’ll best warn yo’ friends ‘bout the Choloswag.

We’re sore to the eyes, like a nail in the wall,
A dead thug brings us all to the call,
When will you learn you can’t fuck with dis colours,
Lucky Lug, and his green skinned brothers.

But Goblin shenanigans is half-orc child’s play,
Half this half that? Get the fuck out my way,
Witness my fitness in conducting my business,
Killing a thug is pretty ambitious.

So send more than fireballs if you want us all dead,
Sonny days lie ahead covered in red,
Hand me your boot, I stepped on a spider,
Ended up earless and burned on a pyre.

Fuck yeah,

Rollin ma d12 to do some damage,
After she clean up, she made me a sandwich,
Tellin’ me how you fuck like a fag,
That’s why she suckin’ on the Choloswag.

Yield with your eyes, just save your enunciation,
My fists are ruthless with its punctuation,
You don’t need an inquisitor, to know I’m OG,
Even magical creatures have to tip toe ‘round me.

I’m a murderer, I cut out the trash,
Your shiny plates gon’ make you die with a rash,
I’m a legend! how you still fuckin’ wit me, brah?
Takin’ big bites outta apes and Chimera.

This is your last warning, you burned down my home,
I took it coz Luggy shook it, give you a taste of my chrome,
The next time you cast, you better think fast,
I’ll be spreadin’ yo ass, before you even ask.

Bangin’ yo wife and daughter at the same time,
Getting my dick sucked and spittin’ my rhyme,
They all fightin’ to empty my bag,
Coz I’m the mo fuckin’ Choloswag,

Hold up, heyyyy,
Why all these niggas thinking we soft?
We don’t, playyyy,
You gon’ fuck around and get yo’ dick,
Cut off, flayyyyed,
Thug life every day.

Sunny days in Stirrot
Lucky Lug & the Half-Blood Prince

Partnered with Mar and Absalom the Thugs prepared to conduct furious vengeance. Their only lead was the mysterious spider tattoo on the back of the assailant they had killed previously and a description of the Half-Blood headquarters in West Port. Some initial scouting and planning was done, and extra hands were hired from the Burnished Blades. A house was found nearby and used as a forward post.

Stealth has never been a hallmark of the Thugs, but it seemed like the right tool for the job, however even the finest tool in the hand of a thug is rendered merely an instrument of bludgeoning. After stumbling through a window, investigating an upstairs corridor stealthily, where they found a false floor trap and an ominous door, as well as a few empty rooms they came upon two guards. The violent dispatching of these guards quickly alerted the whole den of vicious half-breed hirelings. Corridors served to render the numbers advantage of the Half-Bloods moot, while clever use of invisibility potions allowed Mar to flank several of them and clean out a room quickly.

In the chaos of this initial engagement however the party was separated, and with the darkness of night they stumbled around a little disoriented. Running upstairs Red Hand and Absalom feel through the previously spotted trap and came crashing down to a secret basement level. As they investigated this level the remaining thugs headed upstairs and engaged the some seemingly Half-Bloods of seemingly higher rank.

Absalom and Red Hand eventually managed to rejoin the main party. They now found themselves on the second floor speaking through large double doors with what they presumed was the Half-Blood leadership; a hob-goblin by the name of Sunny. Lug attempted to convince him that in fact they were sent to surmise why Sunny had failed the Spiders task. The ruse failed to strike, though the same could not be said for the Burnished Blade arrows that were soon heard whizzing through the tense West Port night. Later the remains of such an arrow would be found in the right eye of one of Sunny’s lieutenants who Absalom would slay with a satisfied smile.

The Half-Bloods were pursued through a maze of rooms, locking doors behind them. At one point Red Hand, hearing ominous incantations snapped alert to blast the torch at our heroes’ feet with a magical projectile. Confused faces dawned to comprehension as a gigantic fist-seeking flame of thunder roared towards the group but dissipated having lost its heated target; the now extinguished torch. The sheer number of times Red Hand has saved the skin of his brothers is beyond counting, though to hear him say it through gnarled up-turned lips; he despises the inbred lot of them.

The mage responsible for the attempted immolation was dispatched on the other side of the door by his own subsequent spell mishap, which turned him into a deceased monkey. Then the Thugs and their allies faced the final door. Bloodied, bruised and over-flowing with vengeful hatred they stepped inside and faced three assailants. Some negotiation followed, but it was a ruse by both sides, though known too late to the Thugs. No sooner had Lug realized that there was no hob-goblin among them and muttered ‘Where’s Sunny?’ than the damnable cunt made to stab Cholo from behind, having been rendered invisible by a potion. Immediately the room burst into unfettered combat, the table was kicked over, Cholo became insane with rage and all hell broke loose. Sunny continued to intermittently go invisible and throw powdered drugs in attempts at distraction. As combat progressed a very injured Red Hand appropriated this idea from the mob boss and snuck in to spread the powder on the floor, hoping to render Sunny’s invisibility pointless. It worked. As the others were dispatched Sunny attempted to sneak off. Cholo spotted the white prints slinking off and pounced, killed the little runt in brutal fashion.

The crew scoured the house for loot and were not left disappointed. Perhaps the most interesting discovery was a wand upon Sunny, the purpose of which still has not been determined. Additionally, the basement that Red Hand and Absalom had discovered (intentionally, according to Red Hand) contained an alchemical laboratory with experiments and concoctions in mid-brew. The loot was split, with the blades getting their share, the vengeful two and a half taking Sunny’s head in for the bounty and the Thugs desecrating his body for closure.

As to the most important questions: was Thugg adequately avenged? The answer is an emphatic yes. The funeral was held soon after. Thugg lives Thug life.

Keeping hydrated on the 4th floor
What happened after the chimera...

Most would call it a day after slaying a chimera. Predictably none in Lug’s crew are of any character to be fit described as most or average. However, when they returned to their loot, which waited outside the castle, watched by Murjeer, they found a crowd standing there around, posing some secrecy problems

They gathered their newly gained possessions with great difficulty. Oddly they seemed to be enfeebled in some way by the Courts of Justice men who were among the crowd, brandishing their ugly self-righteous visages as if entirely unaware that their lives were meaningless when compared to scum regularly found on Cholo’s boot-heel and that their mother’s never truly loved them even for a second. This collection of smugly faces (smugly being a word invented by Red Hand, as are ‘cunt’ and ‘elf’ he claims (originally intended to be synonyms)) was so adorned with their own lackluster personas that want of self-awareness palpably dripped from their elongated noses like childish snot, perhaps to be wiped away by their over-mothering false god at a later date. These are men who could get erections only at over-reaching bureaucratic busy work, if they could get erections or had penises at all, breathed through their mouths in attempts at forming relevance through their mental compendiums of single-syllable words, most of which they seemed unaware are simply synonyms for justice. Such obvious masturbatory tendencies towards red-tape seem as much inspired by their false sense of justice as by necessity, being that red tape is one of a few things inanimate and light enough that the weaklings might pleasure themselves with without self-injury or rejection. Their diminutive existences, so unworthy that I dare not even call them lives, were smeared like so much feces upon their own countenances. None more feckless a reject than the chief of their thinly veiled homoerotic church, called inquisitor likely because he is still inquiring into the reasons for his abandonment, bullying and dubiously identifiable genitalia. Cholo might have snapped off a weak under-sized leg bone if he gave even a fleeting thought to their presence. In a word, fuck’em. But I seem to have digressed.

The loot was gathered into a rented wagon and wheeled off towards the Thugs’ secret residence. Noticing the following crowd, which prevented imperative secrecy, Lug stayed behind and enthralled the audience to the man with tales of the beastly Chimera. After this he signed autographs and slinked off to rejoin his compatriots.

They left the hide for tanning the next day and returned post haste to the dungeon. This time they headed for the 5th floor to see if Lug’s spell of illumination: lantern might dissipate the pervasive shroud of darkness therein. It did not. The thugs were however assailed by powerful shadowy beings who sucked the strength from them with every attack and whom they could not retaliate against. A tactical retreat was in order.

They retreated to the 3rd floor, back to where they had found the Horn of Plenty, and the way down there. They found on the 4th floor a platform in the underground lake. On the platform stood a gong, a drum and a large stake. All around was dried blood. It looked like some sort of sacrificial altar.

They proceeded south. Lug was wounded by a pig-like orc who attacked recklessly without weapon, but released corrosive acid with each attack. Lugs clothes burned and he was naked in the dungeon due to acid… for the second time. Cholo lent him a robe.

As the heroes made to leave, with only minor treasure they decided to test the sacrificial altar and its instruments, to see what might be summoned thereby. First Red Hand swam around the platform, probing underwater, finding nothing. Then using planar servants to strike the instruments at a distance he succeeded, in some sense, for out of the water emerged a gigantic many-headed hydra. Everyone except Red Hand had found safe haven in the chamber above, on the 3rd floor. Red Hand dodged and weaved to avoid the beast until it returned to the water, having found no subdued sacrifice. Then for no apparent reason except flippant recklessness (Red Hand needs no other) he ran forward and struck the gong in a reverberating fuck you to the aquatic beast. The hydra once again crested from the waters, rearing up to attack. Red Hand ascended into the air in flight, mocking the beast all the way and made for the safety above. Whether the hydra possesses intelligence or language to comprehend the slurs thrown by Red Hand is uncertain, but doubtless Red Hand would not care either way.

Making good their narrow escape from the dangers of the 4th floor the Thugs headed towards the surface along familiar tread. Though no one would be surprised if they were to return, after all… there is a hydra to be slain.

Early Days of the Greenskinned Thugs
By Da'et Lorsus, historian interested in Stirrot Castle

Little is known of the Greenskinned Thugs’ early days, before the burst of fame that followed the slaying of Garzee. This account is by necessity incomplete and hodge-podge, but it offers a small look into how the Thugs came about.

It all began at the Salty Dog Inn in Dockside. If the reader here finds themselves already confused then it is likely because no inn by that name and in that part of town exists any longer. Indeed it was eventually put to the torch by the over-zealous courts of justice.

On that first fateful day however a group met inside the squat and lowly inn, having all come to Stirrot in search of adventure. The original group was Lug, Red Hand, Hellscream and Kanye East. Famously of course, all half-orcs, except for Lug. Red Hand had previous experience with the castle, Lug spoke with conviction but was regarded wearily, Kanye East was a thief of no small skill, and Hellscream was the muscle. They had a small map of the first level, and a path therein to the second, though levels below the first were dangerous, unexplored and to be spoken of in hushed tones.

There are rumors that on that very first day they recklessly delved to the third level without thought for life or limb. I have researched this thoroughly, and all sources indicate that it is true. On that very first delve they struck north for the stairs to the second level. They then went south towards the balcony with the obsidian hand, across from which is found an entrance to the third floor. At the mouth of the entrance they fought two enormous wolf headed creatures. One was slain as Lug held the other at a distance down the stair, gleaming spear point preventing his advance. When the first lay dead the second engaged, was wounded and fled. On this day they found the magical toga, which Red Hand still wears to this day. They also found three black gems that would go on to serve Lug well in odd situations, as well as an ebony dagger which he still carries.

This was the first delve of the unlikely adventuring crew. Around this time there are also tales Red Hand near-drowning in the ocean, a debacle that long left him dishonored. Lug entering the contest at the halls of wonder, only to be eliminated in the round of eight, besting roughly three hundred contestants. He legendarily cleared out the entire great hall when he challenged a participant to a spiked devil eating contest, the place stank for days.

The second delve is more hazily recollected. The Thugs found on the first floor a well, from which a tentacle slimy beast of some paralytic power attacked. Barely besting it they retrieved from the well a set of exquisite ringmail armor, which they fitted for Hellscream.

My research on the early days of the Thugs, for chronicling the history of the Castle and the adventuring groups that it attracted is an ongoing process. Find me if you have first-hand accounts to lend to the scholarly cause. Some men must fight with the pen, we often have great appreciation for those that fight with weapons (or fists in Cholo Swag’s case). I write about the Thugs both as historian and as wide-eyed admirer.

This is also around the time where Lug entered the first level alone, in search for some small trinket to advance position on the board and his own personal learning, only to emerge completely naked and without his spear. He clutched in hand a trophy of minor worth and met his goal. He bought clothes and searched for a spear maker. Here he learned of Yergen, artisan and fabled recluse. He bought his new spear instead from a West Port smith, Belaar, taking him on as official blacksmith to the Thugs. This friendship would prove most fertile to Belaar’s skill and business in the following months, some say to the envy of his sister who has previously always been thought the better of the two.

These are the tales of the very beginning. Lesser known than their eventual conquests of chimeras, ancient evils and more.

Castle Stirrot: Levels & Items
Theories being worked on by Lug late into the night.

The Castle has at least seven levels. Each level has a master, for example the master of the first level is Sandorin. Each level also seems to have an item placed upon a pedestal, perhaps even two such items. For example on the first level was found the Helm of the Gods. These pedestals inform anyone reading them of whom possesses the item and their location by coordinates. The levels after the 1st have symbols connected to them, which provide some hint at the content of the domain. What follows is a list of those symbols and some general information on the levels.

Level 2: The Axe & The Sword
Here there is factional fighting between groups of humans and humanoids. Bandits rule and there is an underground pit fighting arena. The Master of the level is unknown, but perhaps he is the Bandit King that has been spoken of. The items associated with level 2 have not been found.

Level 3: The Whirldwind & The Hammer
Here resides many varied monsters. A chimera, now slain, and a clerical order of animal headed beasts, also slain. There is perhaps a Medusa as well. On this level was found the Horn of Plenty. The significance of the symbols is not yet clear, though the hammer referenced may have been found. The Master of this level is likely the dwarf who worked the anvil and hammer, his name escapes Lug at time of writing

Level 4: The Waves
Here is found a vast underground lake, hence waves. An enormous hydra lives on this level, as well as some acidic pig-like orcs. The items relevant to the level remain undiscovered as far as is known. The Master here is as yet unknown, and the levels item pedestal undiscovered.

Level 5: The Sun
This level is enveloped in permanent darkness and guarded by shadowy lost souls that sap the strength from combatants. It is perhaps the least explored level. The Master of this level is Lord Bright. The symbol matches the Lord’s name, and with a hint of irony the dimness of the venue.

Level 6: The Mountains
The symbol seems to reference the presence of the mountain giants herein residing. The items relevant to the level and the name of the Master remain unknown to the Thugs.

Level 7: The Bell
The final level accessible by the lift, strange an dangerous. The level contains numerous bells that open gates, but few have ventured in, and of those who have fewer have returned. Items and Master relevant to this level are as yet unknown.

Chimerical Undertakings
Three heads are better than... three heads.

An aberration haunted the minds of the roughest customers of Stirrot. As a balladeer composes trashy melodramatic limericks over the false maiden that got away, or as a dying man thinks of the adventure he snubbed in favor of safe and modestly paid labor, so our green-skinned thugs we brought to much consternation by the knowledge that the ugly beast of a thing on the third floor was not yet dead. The word that had been used to describe it… chimera. Coupled with tales of it slaying cadres of mages, squads of delicious warriors, neophyte and battle-hardened alike. If you wish to slay a monster you need only send monsters to do the slaying.


The third floor. The vacation abode of the thugs, the blood-letting ground and the crucible for all manner of stories that seem to seep each day into the speech and folklore of the common folk of Stirrot. Represented by the Hammer & the Whirlwind, though the symbolism is lost on Lug and Cholo, but if Red Hand has gleamed some deeper meaning it is lost in his mutterings of fantastical nonsense and grave insults of everyone’s extended family.

The thugs eventually find themselves stacked up in front of a door on the north-west quadrant of the sandstone-lined third floor. They are joined by Murjeer, a henchmen and scholar, who seems unlikely to prove his worth, if he has any to begin with. They burst through the door and find the fine hallway with its red carpets and exquisite columns seemingly empty. Cholo peers upwards and spots the beast holding purchase to the edge of a column some twenty feet up. He reacts with uncharacteristic speed but legendary recklessness; going headlong at the beast and attempting to dive upwards and attack it in mid air before it can react. His swing is mistimed and he finds himself on the other side of the beast as it descends, pinning itself between Cholo and Lug. They engage as Red Hand prepares his barrage.

Cholo strikes, and hits, the beast strikes at Cholo, unable to connect. However Cholo, seeing its magical abilities in the form of breathing fire, is struck deeply by his fears of all wizardry and he retreats. Lug begins bearing the brunt of the attack, and failing to hold it at bay for long is soon being hit frequently with bites, scratches and stings from all three of its hideous heads. Red hand lets out a full barrage of projectiles, skewering gashes in the beast, which cannot retaliate as Lug stands in its way.

Cholo, having heard the screams of his friends, gathers himself and begins to return. Another blast from Lulu scourges the flesh and feathers of the beast, blood gushes upon the floor. Lug veers out of the door to take full cover, badly injured but having served as ample distraction. A final blast begins to issue from Garbonzo’s sorcerous palms and collide with the beast just as Cholo strikes it from behind at full sprint. The combined effect renders the beast dead and partially decapitated. A grand victory for the Thugs.

Beyond the chimera’s corridor they find a huge room in which a golden anvil, blacksmith’s hammer and 2-handed sword are found. They drag these and the chimera hide back to the dungeon entrance with some careful planning. Murjeer is made to watch the loot while Lug, Cholo and Red Hand, triumphant chimera-killers, return to investigate one more door. Beyond this door, and the traps within, they find another path down to the fourth floor as well as a pedestal with a horn on it. Touching this horn grants Red Hand a vision of the history of the 3rd floor, and an interaction between Sandorin and the dwarf who worked the golden anvil.

The horn is called the Horn of Plenty. The pedestal, as the one of the first floor, tells the location and name of the possessor of the relevant item. It is thus that Lug learns Red Hand’s true name.

This concludes the tale of how the chimera was slain, how Belaar acquired the anvil and hammer with which he currently works and how Red Hand came to possess a horn of great power which may also be integral to the secret of the castle.


The Descent
In which our heroes rob a giant...

Having previously found the lift on both the 2nd, 3rd and 4th levels and traveled between them, the Thugs set out to ride it this time to the subsequent levels; 5th, 6th and 7th.

Taking a slight detour the headed for the Elven door on level 1. After 24 hours of having Red Hand try to decipher the magics of the door the crew gave up and made for the lift. The lift’s mechanism depends upon the level in which you enter it, and on level 2 it took again the form of a stone dais with concentric circles and a stone lever that can be pointed to the desired level. The levels and corresponding symbols are as follows:

Level 2: A crossed axe and sword
Level 3: A hammer and a whirlwind
Level 4: A wave
Level 5: A sun
Level 6: A mountain
Level 7: A bell

It does not take much knowledge of the ways of Risk to guess that our idiotically intrepid thugs went straight for level 7. Here the walls were lined with hundreds upon hundreds of skills. The only path was through a series of gates made of redish silver metal, burning hot to the touch. Each gate had a bell, which when rung but hitting it with an object caused the gate to open. When the spectral servant in use touched the bell without an object between them it dissipated immediately. The Thugs traversed 5 of these gates with their spectral servant to find a party that seemed to have been withered as if aged a thousand years, while their food seemed fresh as if less than a week old. This did not bode well. They stripped the corpses of valuables, finding among arms and armor high level spell components: broken glass rods, a pane of glass, sea shells and strips of fur. They departed with the loot hoping to get it appraised outside. After solving a lift mechanism involving raising and lowering bells they were sent to their desired floor. However, the gear found was entirely worthless as it crumpled to dust under light pressure, having seemingly been affected by the same force that withered the adventurers. The score keepers did not believe that they had been to level 7, though that did not bother the green ones much.

Next the party headed for level 5, which was found, as had been rumored, to be complete and impenetrable darkness, with walls equally jet black. They did not explore this. The lift mechanism here was a butler, whom they interrogated at length about the castle. He seemed to be prevented from divulging any useful secrets and favored simply answering most questions with the phrase “I serve the castle.” He did however say that the Lord of the 5th level is Lord Bright, ironic given the nature of the level. He also detailed the reset mechanism of the lift:

Reset Times
Level 2: 0.5 hours
Level 3: 1 hour
Level 4: 1.5 hours
Level 5: 2 hours
Level 6: 2.5 hours
Level 7: 3 hours

Next the adventurers headed to level 6, the mountains. Here they found the corridors to be so low as to require crawling. They crawled north to find a cavernous entrance into the castle, which extended at least 50 feet outside the castle walls before splitting into 4 paths. They decided to stay within the castle and found a ladder into a peculiar room with 4 pillars and an oddly furry roped floor. While exploring the room they were immediately beset by a monstrous hound. Red Hand cried for them to flee, but Cholo and Lug despite suffering grievous wounds seemed gripped by the rush of battle. Eventually Red Hand was knocked back down the ladder and decided enough was enough, with a combined strike Cholo struck the dog critically just as Red Hand’s magical powers tore into it. The beast was felled. The room seemed to be as a normal room but of giant proportions. The crew made quick work scouring it for valuable and were able to procure 6 enormous gems, but could not unlock the giant’s cupboard. Their flight back through the diminutive tunnels was blocked by a humongous insect which, despite already being near death, our heroes slew.

They returned to the lift and made for the surface with their prize, valuable loot and solid proof of having been to level 6.

Cholo and Goliath
Cholo's third pit fight, this time against a Gorilla.

The beast reared its head and bristled at the lights and queer shadows beyond the thick iron gates. He curled its lips in distaste, moving closer into the shadows of his small enclosure as the screams and clamour intensified outside.

“Relax, have fun and just be yourself,” said Redhand, as he feebly rubbed the rippling creases in Cholo’s muscled back, “Be like the breeze, Cholo, like the breeze, or water, whichever one kills a gorilla, K?”

The mage was distracting. Cholo’s mind wandered to the white powder, maybe just a taste? Last time the taste turned to blood and bile in his mouth, had it not been for Lug, he’d probably be dead – just focus.

Beside him, men in robes tittered back and forth like mice, scribbling madly in their papyrus boards and calling to one another. Lug stood before him, looking through the gates at the crowd, a look of maddened anxiety or excitement smeared on his face, Cholo couldn’t tell.

A booming voice echoed in the ring outside and the crowd went mad. Through the bars, Cholo could see a small man, accompanied by two giant half-orcs sidling into the pit – a long staff at his side. He tapped the ground and a light bound from his staff to his feet and he began to float and ascend upwards.

Luggy twirled around, “Ok, game time,” said Lug, clasping both hands on Cholo’s wide shoulders. His fingers fiddling and he started muttering some incantation. The pupils in his eyes shot to the back of his head and his hair seemed to swim like seaweed around his face, Cholo felt stronger – if that was possible.

When Lug was done, he stood back. The next few moments he seemed lost for words, then, “I’ll be watching,” he winked.

The gates began to creek and grumble, hundreds of years of winding up and down, keeping monsters locked within the massive pit. A pit made for the enjoyment of the savage crowd above. On his side of the ring, Cholo looked in. The stench of blood and sweat swirled around him like gentle hands, beckoning him to enter.

Cholo stepped out and was met half way by the little man who had addressed the audience in a deep queer voice just a moment ago. He was a gnome, and now he spoke in a squeak.
“Good luck young man; may the Lord of Chance smile upon the odds today.” Again, Cholo felt strength and focus course through him.

The gates slammed shut, Cholo stood in a massive pit, walls around him high as a dam. He suddenly felt a gauge of nausea wash over him. His vision danced in shapes and blurs and a chill worked its way up his spine, then dropping like an anvil into the pit of his stomach.

The fighting ring was huge, 80 feet in diameter with 6 pillars standing like sentinel trees. In the middle the tallest column stood 60 feet into the air. Cholo could make out boxes placed on the top of each of these pillars.

A bell rung in the distance and the ground shook, Cholo only had time to see a flash of jet black fur dash past the 20 foot column at the other end. Adrenaline took him and he darted behind the first column, a thick 30 foot pole in the ground and began to climb.

Every step Cholo went up seemed to drain him, he felt sick, but it wasn’t of fear, something was wrong – Cholo had fought fiercer beasts before, but he had never felt this sickness.

Finally he reached the top where a box sat complacent. He ripped the lid off to reveal a small vial. Below, the Gorilla had reached the gate where Cholo had entered and began a wild rampage on the iron bars. Cholo saw an opening. Draining the vial he climbed back down the pillar, preparing to charge.

The Gorilla seemed to pay him no mind, Cholo aimed at the small of his back. Take out his spine he thought, slow him down. The charge was strong and fast, almost surgical, Cholo landed a bone shattering crunch from behind that would have killed a better man that even himself.

But Cholo was not fighting a man. The Gorilla turned on him. Up close, the Gorilla looked even larger. Froth exploded from its giant mouth, revealing sharp yellow teeth. Cholo realised his mistake too late, a sand-bag sized fist railed into Cholo’s stomach, sending him stumbling back, then another.

Cholo stepped back, looking for cover behind the pillar. The Gorilla pursued hungrily. Brunt force wasn’t going to work, he had to adjust and the sickness dulled his movements. He moved like an ant stuck in a thick porridge.

Circling around, Cholo made a scramble for another pillar, this time a 40 foot one, trying to make distance. For the time being, the Gorilla looked lost, searching for Cholo, trying to pick up the scent of blood and weakness that trailed heavily on him.

Cholo climbed, slow and desperate, the Gorilla caught sight and rumbled towards him. At the top, Cholo found another box. Ripping it open, he finally saw something useful.

A beautifully crafted broad sword stood hilt up in the box. Cholo didn’t have time to admire it as the Gorilla charged into the pillar, sending quaking shudders up to where he stood. He pulled the sword out and dropped it beside him, picking up the large wooden crate instead. The Gorilla was half way up now and Cholo aimed and waited.

As the Gorilla reached the final hand holds, Cholo hurled the wooden box down on its head. It did nothing. He bent to grab the sword, catching sight of how high he was. If he suffered another hit like he did at the bottom, he’d be flung to his death. Behind him, massive, callused hands pulled a great hairy beast onto the ledge.

Cholo sheathed the sword in his belt and began to climb down, but he was too slow and the Gorilla sank an anchored fist down on Cholo’s head. Cholo gripped the pillar for dear life as stars exploded from his vision. He edged a few feet down just away from the Gorilla’s reach.
The animal howled in frustration and stood on its legs, pounding its chest.

Cholo finally reached the bottom, his legs were jelly and he could hardly think anymore.
The tallest pillar towered over him. If 30 feet made him stronger, and 40 feet granted him a sword, at 60 feet, he was determined to find something that would really help. He bounded for the 60 foot column and began to climb once more.

He was almost half way up, slipping and sliding as his finger coordination began to dull like his senses, when he felt the column shake violently. He glanced down and saw the Gorilla’s fierce, violent eyes lock with his and the animal began to ascend, swinging effortlessly from hand-hold to hand-hold.

As abruptly as the sickness had taken over him, Cholo suddenly felt an intense energy beat through his blood stream. His eyes narrowed in focus and his body seemed to finally react to what he wanted. Muscle memory returned and Cholo began ascending faster.

Cholo’s hand touched the flat edge at the top, just as the Gorilla’s humongous palm slapped down on the opposite side. Both clambering to reach the top first. Finally they both stood face to face in the middle of the enormous fight ring atop the tallest pillar, surrounded by blood curdling shrieks for blood and murder. And the wooden box stood in between them.

The Gorilla flashed forward as Cholo ripped the sword from his belt. A giant black fist pummelled against Cholo’s shoulder, but Cholo reacted too quickly and the blow glanced off him, with a spin, the Half-Orc turned into the Gorilla’s centre, the sword swung upwards, gliding through flesh and hide, sending sparks of crimson into the air. The Gorilla flew backwards, never stumbling, simply falling, 60, 50, 40 feet, it’s eyes rolling in mad frenzy as the sword gash burst forth a spray of blood.

With an unceremonious thud, the Gorilla dropped 60 feet to the ground. He twitched twice, then died.

Cholo could only hear a faint buzzing noise as his head pounded viciously. His chest screeched in agony with every breath he took. Sheathing the sword, the barbarian opened the crate in front of him, revealing another vial. Taking the vial, in his mouth, he began to drink – a drink to the beast, a drink to an adversary.

He lurched forward, eyes wide in shock and confusion. The empty vial dropped to the ground and shattered. Cholo could feel his body heat up and burn, his insides vibrating wildly as he staggered toward the edge to climb down. But the climb seemed almost instantaneous as his feet touched the solid ground within mere seconds, the pillar that had been thick as an Iron Sentinel tree was now a mere pole that Cholo could easily wrap his arms around.

He looked around in surprise and realised that the ring had tightened too, the Gorilla lay by his feet, a rag doll in comparison. Cholo had grown to 20 feet tall.

It was too much, frenzy took his mind and the barbarian began to bezerk as an unquenchable anger filled his heart. He ripped the gorilla in half and threw the bloody rag into the audience.

“GIVE ME A REAL CHALLENGE” he screamed as his world began to darken and sleep muffled his mind.


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