Chambers and Their Echoes, a Colostle Playthrough | Day 3 Continued Part 2 📝

Posted on Oct 2, 2021

Day 3 Continued Part 2

Exploration Ace [spades]


Hugo is gone for a while. A long while. I sit in the camp for as long as I can but the flickering light of the candelabra and the dull throb of my ankle aren’t the best company. I pull out the map and study it. The encounter with the gargoyle has me considering returning home but it’s then I remember that there is nothing athome. I took the map because it’s all that was left in the ruins. Crossing this stupid sea and following this heirloom map won’t bring anyone back or re-unite me with them, but trodding this path will make me feel closer to my my family. My village.

Staring at the map fails to give me any new insights. I take out the map Hugo gave me and it’s too much new information to take in. Forward motion is the only thing I think I can focus on right now. Where is Hugo? It’s been half a day. We need to be getting on. I’m not sure this island can even sustain us for much longer and I have enough provisions to cross the sea and get to town for one, but I’m not going to let Hugo starve. At this point he’s saved my life more than me getting him off this island would save his.

I make my way to our lean-to and lay down. I don’t think we’ll be leaving today and the events of the last two days have me more drained than I was planning on being this early in the journey. I close my eyes but it’s too humid to simply drift away. Eventually, I am able to force myself to sleep.

In the distance I hear something being dragged and some heavy huffing. “Hugo,” I call out. More huffing. I stand uneasy and limp out of the lean-to. Hugo is dragging something..

“Don’t worry yourself,” Hugo says as I move closer, “You’ll put weight on your bad leg if you help.”

“What is this?” I ask. I could see that it was some sort of chest but I wanted to hear how he left with a jeweled cane handle and came back with this. I notice the handle resting on a belt he fashioned out of string I gave him from my provisions.

He inhales, “Well, you won’t believe it but I went in search of a fine piece of wood to carve your cane out of.”

“You left this morning! What took so long?”

“Didn’t mean to worry you. It’s just when I was looking for the perfect piece of wood I went towards the middle of the isle, figuring the trees would be older, sturdier, have more options. You know?”

I wasn’t sure where this was going, “And?”

“I’m at this tree because I haven’t found anything good on the ground. I figured I’d just take something and dry it out. I mean we’ll be rowing and just baking under the candelabra. Probably can dry out right quick. You know?”

“Sure,” I say.

“And with us taking turns rowing…”

“I get it,” I cut him off, a day of waiting has left me impatient, “You’d have time to work on carving it.”

“Yes. So, I’m in front of this tree and I’m about to climb it. But something’s not right,” he pauses with an annoying dramatic flair, “There’s a bump in the ground.”

“Seems perfectly normal to me,” I say.

“Well, that’s where you and I view the world differently. Been around long enough to know trees. These here on the isles don’t root like mainland trees. Shouldn’t be weird bulges.”

“Okay.”

“So, I start digging.”

“You start digging? Based on what?”

He pauses and looks into my eyes,“The bulge – something’s not right.”

I’m not sure if it was how he said it or taking the effort to lock his gaze with mine but something about that statement unnerved me, “I think I have to take your word for it on this one.”

“You do, because I was right,” he gestures to the chest, “I found some pirate treasure.” He smiles.

“Pirate treasure?“I smirk.

“Yep. Just like yer handle. Has to be a pirate.”

“Why haven’t you opened it?”

“Locked. I figure you might be able to do something.”

“What am I going to do with a locked chest?”

He smiles, “Don’t play with me here. I’ve seen the runes in your journal. I watched you not only survive a gargoyle attack, but a fall from near the rafters. There’s a magic coursing through you. Maybe you’re not very good with it, but you have it”

Hugo’s not wrong. I’ve had an affinity for the same magic that powers the Rooks since I was a child. Never terribly controlled and only since adulthood have I been able to muster any control over it. I didn’t survive the fall with magic though. Or at least not a single spell came to mind as I watched what was surely my death rapidly approaching. “I’ve never worked a lock with magic,” I tell him.

His eyes widened as though I wasn’t understanding his intent, “Must you be gentle with it?”

I could see that he wasn’t going to relent on this one. “Move it where I can sit in front of it more comfortably.”

We get the chest in a position where I can kneel in front of it. There’s a keyhole, metal. The rest of it is made of a heavy wood. I can work with this. I touch two fingers to the keyhole and begin reciting one of the earliest incantations I learned. I raise my other hand to the sky palm out. I don’t need much I just need the ambient static from the air. Inhaling and exhaling I can feel the electricity dancing on my palm. I concentrate and let it gather. Finally, I pull it through my body, focus the energy, and loose the concentrated electricity through my fingertips and into the key hole. The wood cracks from the force of the enrgy but the lock becomes a molten mass and begins oozing down the chest.

I exhale and stand. My legs went numb from kneeling and the letting electricity flow through my body always leaves me drained even though it’s not shocking me or, maybe, I’m somehow inured to it. Either way it’s exhausting. “Have at it,” I say to Hugo.

I sit in the sand and Hugo opens the chest. He’s more confused than anything. I watch as he reaches in and pulls out the treasure. It looks like a simple pair of women’s boots.

“Must have been a lady pirate,” he says, “Are they your size?” Hugo hands me the boots. The leather-work is excellent but more than that at the ankles there is an insignia of some kind. Maybe it’s from the shoemaker, that would make sense. I study the insignia and realize that it’s a rune. A strange dialect of the runic language. Old. Maybe even ancient. The rune doesn’t look like anything to avoid. I put the boots on and pace back and forth in front of Hugo.

“Get you some winners?”

“I think so,” I reply.

“You know it’s starting to feel a little unfair that everything so far has been for you. Where’s Hugo’s due?”

“We’ll get you something fancy on the mainland. Or if you are in a hurry, you can have these things but you have to wait for the gargoyles to pick you off after I give them to you.”

He smiled, “Did you crack a joke, miss?”

“My luck is in. Be a shame to sour that with my typical poor mood.”

The boots felt better than what I was wearing and while my ankle still throbbed a bit it wasn’t as bad as earlier in the day. Almost like I could move at my normal pace in these boots. Was it their magic in the boots’ rune?


Author’s Note

*The cards have been all items lately. This last one is a treasure so I tried to write something to make it work. It’s feeling a little conspicuous at the moment but I thought there would be some more challenges for my character after getting plucked from the ground by a gargoyle. Hopefully there’s fear to come

The rules for an Ace of Spades are to find a treasure and increase the exploration or combat score by 1. I can’t increase combat any further so I picked something for locomotion. *

Character Sheet

Name - Jane Minitel
Class - The Helmed Exploration Score - [x][][ ][ ][ ]
Combat Score - [x][x][x][x][x]
Calling - Queen

“A map and a key the source of many of my family’s tall tales and stories. There’s so many stories that maybe there’s something to it…

Nature: 5 Brave, rule-bound, serious, humorless
Inventory:

  • Some lightweight provisions for the trip but nothing to write home about

  • Special Metal Sword w/ Onyx Pommel

Treasure: 1

  • Springheel Boots (+1 Exploration)
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This work is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial-NoDerivatives 4.0 International License.