Loose Ends – Chapter Fourty Two:

?th Day of the Claw of Winter: (February):

The Shining Underdark Castle – The Ancient One:

‘She’, The Ancient One, swims the depths as ‘She’ has done for many years now, waiting for the meagre scraps that ‘She’ is sent and of those most are not of a challenge for her greatness. But one day her time will come, an opportunity to escape her imprisonment.

Then ‘She’, The Ancient One, senses a disturbance in her realm and it does not originate from where ‘She’ expects. To the South the surface of the water is broken, some creature perhaps or the old Dwarven cistern just continues to decay. ‘She’, The Ancient One, continues her perpetual movement through the dark water that ‘She’ finds so comforting and familiar.

Her keen senses then feel more movement, there is was again but this time something has dared to slip into her realm and they come from the South. It must be very brave indeed or it does not know what it does. ‘She’ concentrates and uses the Dragons ability to hear to the South of her realm. ‘She’ moves slowly and silently towards the noise staying hidden below the waters dark surface. The creature stops and swims back to the surface and then climbs downward, over the lip and past the barriers that prevent her escape.

Curiosity makes her wonder if this is her chance to escape or are they just checking that the measures used to confine her are still in place. ‘She’ glides to the edge of her lair and listens out.

‘She’ hears many voices but they do not speak Under-common. Surface dwellers and ‘She’ can hear an Elven accent, or two, among the discussion below. The intruders begin their climb and ‘She’ ponders her next move.

They have sent forth their Scout first and the other now joins him and dare to enter my lair. Yet they are not the tit-bits that are thrown to me, even those would otherwise be a challenge to me. These interlopers have steel, Magic’s and the illusion of hope. I must be causes and determine the treat to me.

She: “First I will reduce my size to hide my true power and so allowing them to believe that stand a chance.

This will allow me to better hide and view their number.”

She: “Once by the barrier, I will fait an attack from the West and see how these trespassers react and what force they can wield.”

‘She’, The Ancient One, listens, not understanding their words, and only understands their screams and shouts of fear and apprehension and hearing the sound of their running feet East. ‘She’ breaks the surface of the water some 75’ feet from her pray, her 2 green eyes and the dome of her head the only thing visible to those that look.

A Dwarf Fighter, a Holy Warrior, a Sneak, an Elf of the Forest and an Elf Wizard.

She: “They defend the West, good my ruse is working. Wait the Wizard is casting something, the Holy Warrior is drawing something forth and the Forest Elf is……Aggggg.”

She: “Light…will show all and compromise my abilities it must be stopped. The confusion may yet aid me.”

‘She’, The Ancient One, lifts her head out of the water, and curses to herself, as ‘She’ spits out her reservoir of acidic bio-fluid onto the intruders but see that the Sneak has moved away along the wall. That one will need to be saved for desert ‘She’ thinks to herself, indeed a fine way to end a great meal indeed.

The Warriors are protected by Steel and Magic’s I must be more alert as they are not the usual pray that I hunt, yet the Wizard has been badly burnt.

‘She’, The Ancient One, slips back down under the water as ‘She’ hears the Sneak shouting something out to his fellow companions. They no longer fear the noise, they know and are now moving North in the dark. The Forest Elf has hidden the Light but we must be cautious and hinder their progress and then attack from cover.

‘She’, The Ancient One, casts a light ‘Fog’ at first to see how it is dealt with and to expend the severely injured, from my Acid, Wizards Magic and not allow him to ‘Heal’ if possible. Again ‘She’ nears the edge of the walkway, being able to see further than most creatures in the darkness, and uses her ability to create Fog.

She: “There, some capture within and others outside yet separated from the others.”

The Adventurers act as ‘She’ prepares to employ her tale slap on as many as ‘She’, The Ancient One, can in and around the ‘Fog’. ‘She’ is successful yet so are the strangers. The Forest Elf is keen indeed with his Arrows that sting of Magic. ‘She’ must avoid them as best ‘She’ can, yet as long as they are within reach ‘She’ will hunt. Then the She-Dwarf hits and ‘She’ is staggered by the sheer force of the compact Dwarf, the She-Dwarf wields only a Mace and yet ‘She’ has not felt a blow like that for decades. ‘She’ must keep her distance and use her abilities, Magic’s and her wits. ‘She’ has no choice but to move and not rick attacking as ‘She’ can see that they are all moving ‘Hastier’ than they were a while ago.

She: “A valiant effort Wizard and one to be avoided.”

Monster - Linnorm, Sea - The Ancient One
Monster – Linnorm, Sea

‘She’ prowls below the water stopping every now and then to listen out for the movements of the invaders to better decide her next course of action. A Spell ‘She’ casts next to make them think that they are assailed by a Poisonous Cloud, which would scatter the assailants like rats off a sinking ship, and then ‘She’ would hunt each one as they ran.

Wait  ‘She’ thinks to herself they are all moving off together and towards the Standing Tower, I will not be able to reach them if they enter.

I will now reveal my true size and again throw them into disarray and panic. Having recharged her reservoir of Acid, ‘She’ rises up and breaches the water in her full natural beautify full figure.

She: “The Holy Warrior appears possessed and is smashing at the door to the Standing Tower while the others stand protecting the walkways, but where is my desert?”

Now while they stand together I will spit my Acid and reduce their number. Maintaining a cautious distance, yet within the range of her cone of Acid Droplets, ‘She’ is about to spit when suddenly the Wizard conjures a large ‘Wall of Ice’ that has now impeded the use of her Acid Jet. ‘She’ is in no hurry and so sinks down below the water, swimming to the Western side of the chamber and hoping to catch them still attempting to escape into the Standing Tower.

She: “Maybe I have my Desert first?”

‘She’ circles the Standing Tower not being able to hear within the Tower ‘She’ has never entered. They will eventually emerge, they always do. Even those who have been sent to her for sport before, equipped and with some Magic, eventually came out and they did not last long. ‘She’ is starting to feel more confident and knows that they will eventually find the Fallen Tower if allowed to do so and her fun will end that they will have these housebreakers to themselves, all she will get is the scraps and drained meat.

There they are I can hear the smashed door being opened; they are attempting to escape having found no way out from below. I will try again with my Acid Spay as they move away from the Standing Tower as they will be exposed anywhere apart from the Standing Tower.

‘She’ surfaces again and can see that they expect her to come closer and attack as she did before. This meant they were all together as ‘She’ had hoped for. Yet on this day ‘She’ did misjudged the Wizard as he unleashed an extra powerful ‘Fireball’ at her. Once again ‘She’ feels more pain than when she was first caught all those many years ago, a pain and hatred that she still carries inside and revenge is her only cure.

She: “Aggg, I have taken too much pain and they have not escaped yet. I will dive and keep listening. One way or another they always fall back down.”

‘She’ circles downwards into the darkness as she listens out for the raiders above the water.

She: “They are looking for the way out and have intension of coming after me, very well indeed.”

Noise: “Splash…..”

She: “They have company and someone has said or done the wrong thing. Another distraction that may allow me to surprise the bandits once I ‘Heal’ a bit. Then I can have my Dinner and Desert.”

The Tugs continue to search her lair traveling east and then moving around the North walkway, South down the West walkway and to the edge of the great pool at the South.

She: “No way out that way unless you head back from whence you came from.” ‘She’ can then hear that the brigands headed back to the Fallen Tower and she cunningly ponders what to do next.

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