Lewis wiped his sword on a scrap of cloth. As the corpse of the goblin-turned-dirachnid (How the hell did I know what it was called?) began to dissolve into a putrid, bubbly mess, a glinting of metal caught his eye. Bending down, he retrieved a small silver key that Gramuk likely dropped as he expired (I doubt he'll be needing this anymore). Satisfied that Gramuk would not suddenly spring to life a second time, he turned his attention to the adjoining rooms.
The first room appeared to be Gramuk's personal chambers. A large area was set up with scrying and divination equipment; this was clearly where he spied upon his victims. In the far corner, a relatively short wall partitioned off his sleeping quarters (You'd think the leader of the goblins could afford a maid...). Not being a wizard or cleric, there was little of interest to Lewis in this portion of the citadel.
The second room was well secured by a heavily locked door. A well enchanted axe made opening that door a simple task. A small hallway opened into a large room; a large number of chests lined the walls, and a table in the center was stacked with gold (Ah, this is more like it...). Ignoring the gold, Lewis moved to the chests and began throwing the lids back. More gold, various armaments, and many gems comprised the goblins' ill-gotten gains.
(Better stick with the gems, they're more portable.) He grabbed as many of the most valuable-looking gems as possible and threw them into his pack. Satisfied with the haul, he headed toward the final door. The silver key he found fit the lock perfectly, saving him the trouble of having to hack his way through. The chamber on the other side was about the same size as the treasury, but with only a single chest. Inside the chest was a large adamantine greatsword of exceptional craftsmanship, and a diamond the size of a fist. The sword, while amazing in its own right, was a bit more than he was willing to carry. Instead, he emptied out his pouch of gold and stashed the diamond within (I could probably buy five of those swords with this little - er, huge - gem. Should be able to afford a nice little piece of property after this business is over with.).
In the center of the room the floor was inscribed with the runes for a portal (No point in dallying). Lewis stepped into the center of the inscription and invoked the portal. After a brief swirl of color, he found himself standing in a very small room with no apparent exit. As he began to feel around the walls, his hand passed through some of the bricks. He stepped through the wall into another, much larger room with a pedestal at its center. (This must be Bastion Spire.)
Approaching the pedestal, he paused to admire its design. A beautiful green marble imbued with gold flakes formed its base, with additional gold trim ringing its edges. Atop the pedestal, four golden prongs reached up to create the setting in which the Crux would normally be housed. It was truly a fixture worthy of the gem's own beauty. From a pouch on his belt he brought forth the Crux of Ages. As he reached out to place the Crux in its pedestal, the gem began to glow softly, as though in anticipation.
Lewis stopped short of placing the Crux in the setting. (Something... isn't right. This was all far too easy.) He pulled back from the pedestal and stowed the gem in his pouch. Moving to the end of the room where the exit was located, he activated a large lever. The heavy gate slowly opened with a large groan of protest. A short passage lead beyond into the main hall.
One end of the main hall was closed off by gates with no visible way to open them. The other end opened up into what looked like a meeting area, with several chairs and a decorative rug in the center. A large, thronelike chair took up residence at the far end of the rug. Upon the throne sat an elderly man who appeared to be mumbling to himself. As Lewis approached the man, he noted the glazed over, faraway look in robed figure's eyes. He looked completely oblivious to his surroundings. (And this must be the Chancellor.)
"We must prepare more troops. The Orakur must be stopped. They are coming. We cannot let them win this battle!" He droned on and on. Any attempt to speak to him was ignored. Finally, Lewis reached out and grabbed a shoulder and shook the Chancellor. Finally, he became briefly aware of another presence.
"Have you seen them?" He clutched at Lewis's cloak. "They're coming! We must prepare the troops!" It was a futile effort. The Crux of Ages began to once again glow in Lewis's hand. (That's odd, didn't I put that away? Oh well, might as well end this.) He drew his sword and ran the bumbling idiot through. The Chancellor's scream resounded throughout the halls, dropping to a gurgle has he began to drown in his own blood.
Guards began streaming into the hall, seemingly out of nowhere. They surrounded the two men in seconds, and shouted at Lewis to drop the sword and Crux. He merely regarded them with disdain. The Crux's soft white glow changed to an angry red. The sword also began to glow, and the Chancellor's blood began to boil off its surface.
"You'll need far more help than that," Lewis addressed the mass of armed guards with a wicked grin. Raising his sword, he charged.
Lewis suddenly sat up from his bed in the Owl's Roost, his heart racing. His whole body was drenched in sweat as he looked frantically around the dark room. (What the hell? Where am I?) It took several minutes for him to calm down enough to remember where he was.
(Ok, so I'm in the Tavern at Aridell. That was all some sort of dream. A past memory, perhaps? It was a bit too vivid... Could it have been some sort of premonition? Orakur, Gramuk, Chancellor, Crux... there was way too much information for it to just be a regular dream. Maybe I'll ask this Maddock fellow when I find him tomorrow.) He grabbed a pitcher of water and a cup from the nightstand and drank deep. Suddenly feeling drained, he settled back down into bed.
Sleep came fast. As he began to drift back into the world of dreams...
(What was I going to ask Maddock again? Oh well... couldn't have been too important.) He began to snore loudly.
The innkeeper moved away from the door to Lewis's room. (I really hope that wasn't poison.) An odd, masked gentleman had visited the tavern several weeks prior and warned him of Lewis's expected arrival. The man had informed Porter that Lewis was prone to odd nightmares and that the serum would help calm his nerves so he could sleep properly. Pouring the clear, tasteless liquid into the pitcher was the only way he could be sure to take it without objecting.
(Seems like an awful lot of work just to get someone to take their medicine. He certainly paid well enough, so I suppose I shouldn't complain. As long as the fellow wakes up in the morning, all's well. I wonder if that guy was really that ugly...) Porter headed off to his own bedroom.
"Apparently, getting your ass kicked is now part of this complete breakfast." - Roy Greenhilt