Horn Gate Traversed
The gate chamber
The corridor was wide enough for all four of them to walk abreast: Yucta Axotylata, Ockasiola the Zebran, Blundar Oddly and Tech-na Chuk Chuk Wakae Hazar walked cautiously forward into darkness, softly illuminated by Yucta’s magic globe.
They came at length into a domed chamber whose roof glittered with crystalline deposits. In the centre of the chamber was some sort of gray monolith. Before they could observe more, there was a shimmering in the air and thirteen green translucent humanoids materialised and charged!
“Beings of Ib. They destroyed Sarnath!” muttered Tech-na as he readied his staff. Yucta, Blundar and Ockasiola swung their weapons at the things. The Beings of Ib fought and died silently, spurting green ichor from their wounds on to the ancient cavern’s floor. All was still once more.
Through the gate
The far side of the stone monolith had a dark trapezoidal opening about as wide as a man. Yucta’s light could not illuminate it. Tech-na translated some of the runes on the obelisk, and confirmed it was a gate to – somewhere.
“Why don’t you go into it then?” asked Yucta, half-jokingly.
Tech-na shrugged. “I’ve already been transported through time, space and stranger dimensions. Why not?” and with that he stepped through the dark gate and was gone.
Ockasiola turned to Blundar “Let us go and fight Chaos. For Storm Bu-”
His voice cut off abruptly as he disappeared into the portal.
Blundar figured no one would know him or his deeds in another world. He stepped through.
Yucta paused for a long moment before reluctantly following them.
Ruins of Olathoe
Yucta blinked in the sudden daylight, grey and leaden as it was. A cold wind blew across the marble ruins of a city. The dark grey sky hung low over distant dark mountains. The wind was freezing; he shivered. His companions were nearby, rubbing their eyes.
Krassius Vror heard voices, and he stalked to investigate a round plaza among the tumbled walls of the ruin. He had walked for days since the cursed minstrel had died, choking on poisoned mushrooms of the forest. This was the place though, where the Beast he hunted laired, or so the minstrel had hinted. Krassius saw a strange collection of folk. A Kleshite with elaborate headdress and a huge spiked mace; a weird-looking man with wild hair and tattered robes; a barbarian with black and white spiky hair; and a well-dressed (yet poorly for northern weather – all of them in fact) mercenary type. He greeted them. He didn’t understand a lot of their reply, but all agreed that night was coming on and it would be well to find shelter in one of the semi-intact towers ahead.
The inner sanctum
The ancient citadel was burned and collapsed, but the walls and a couple of towers still stood silhoutted against the dark sky. The walls had many gaps, and a huge pile of rubble allowed access to the former inner keep. Near the wall were two mutilated warriors’ corpses. Krassius Vror tethered his horse and cautiously scrambled over the rubble, followed closely by the intrepid gate travellers. He literally stumbled over two more headless corpses, about a week or two old. Below him was the former hall, now roofless. In the center was a squat, tentacular sculpture of some vile deity. And twelve skeleton warriors moved jerkily toward Krassius, weapons drawn. Blundar Oddly looked at his slim rapier, then plucked a battle axe from one of the corpses at his feet. Then he charged with the others into battle. The battle was swift and the skeletons were quickly destroyed, but Blundar’s lack of skill with the battle ax caused him to accidentally wound Ockasiola.
Having vanquished the skeletons, the adventurers saw movement in the ruined tower and ran to investigate. They soon found a fearful necromancer, who could only stammer that he was looking for something for his master when he suddenly fell dead, his skin rimed with frost. Tech-na knew powerful magic when he sensed it. They lit a fire in the tower and Krassius shared some of his food. They settled down to rest, taking watches. They heard strange high-pitched shrieks but were unmolested.
Lair of the Icewyrm
The next day, the group ventured into the cold dawn light to the dark ruin of the second tower. A great foul-smelling hole descended into the dark. Lowering themselves carefully they found themselves in a large black-marbled hall. They entered a corridor lined with old statues. With a hiss a great dragon head emerged from the darkened end of the passage — an Icewyrm!
Attack of the Icewyrm
The Icewyrm breathed a cloud of choking, freezing crystals, enveloping all. Yucta and his friends began to cough and choke. Blundar fired his arbalest with a mighty report. The wyrm roared. Yucta slammed it with his mace and Ockasiola slashed at it wildly, his vision blurring as liquid filled his lungs. The dragon opened its jaws wide and Yucta struck it dead with a mighty swing from his mace. The choking cloud dispersed and the victorious adventurers looked around at each other weakly.
The star chamber
The Icewyrm had partially emerged from a deep pit filled with the skulls and bones of the wyrm’s victims. After a long search Ockasiola found an ancient star-signed pendant and not much else. Beyond the pit the corridor continued to a cave-in, but it was possible to wriggle through and descend some steps into a large domed circular chamber whose roof glittered with a star map of semi-precious stones. Around the walls were statues of warriors of the old empire in full armour. In the centre of the room was a square stone chest, covered with runes. Tech-na translated the runes as best he could, and declared that the box contained the skull of a long-dead wizard, Anothep-Soth.