Parent Pages: Islands : Medusa Island

Cave of the Nine

Typically, a tour of the Cave of the Nine begins at the Lost Gardens.

After a brief history lesson, the tour guide will escort the group to the cave via a short hike along a well-traveled path through the forest.

Next, the guide will lead the group into the cave, pausing briefly to light a lantern. Once inside the Natural Cave, they'll pause to tell the history of the room.

After that, the guide will lead the way to the Work Room via a long, winding, artificial cave. Once there, the guide stops to describe the purpose of the room and the great battle that occurred when the Hazard Harbingers attacked The Nine.

Continuing further in, the guide will pause in the Waterfall Room, in order to explain what the Meduae used it for.

Finally, the guide and group will reach the Sleeping Quarters, where the guide will tell the tale of the Hazard Harbinger's final victory over The Nine.

With the tour complete, the guide will have a brief question and answer session and then lead the group back out while telling the story about how The Nine's mates were away on business when the Harbingers attacked, eventually leading to a long, drawn-out revenge scheme that they perpetrated against the League.

The History Lesson

The Hike

The brisk hike begins in late afternoon, but is pleasant, despite the heat of the day.

Your guide, a young woman in a utilitarian work outfit with many hooks and loops for climbing gear and other tools is carrying an as yet unlit lantern on the end of a hooked pole. She guides you along a well-traveled path that eventually ends at the entrance of a limestone cave.

The Cave Entrance

Your guide stops at the cave entrance and waits for a few stragglers from your group, an elderly couple. While she waits, she busies herself lighting the lantern.

With that out of the way, she smiles, “This, my friends, is the Cave of the Nine, where countless horrors took place. Today, we'll be following in the historic footsteps of the Hazard Harbingers, the founding group of the League of Adventurers.

“The Harbingers stopped in this very spot, preparing to enter the cave to complete the mission no one else had ever completed. There was some trepidation among them, but they'd already decided that this job must be done.”

Turning to move inward, she holds the lantern high and ushers everyone inside.

The Natural Cave

With everyone inside, she turns the lantern up a bit, so that everyone might see the many stalactites and stalagmites.

There are many spaces that look as if nature built jail cells through the formation of these natural columns alone. Inside a few of them sit statues with horrified looks on their faces.

One of them is slightly different, as though someone had intentionally poured liquid limestone over someone and then, once it solidified, they turned them to stone, just for the sheer cruelty of it.

Your guide moves close to the trapped figure and gestures, “This, my friends, is a real, petrified man. You can see that he's dressed similar to a modern adventurer, but his weapons and armor are somewhat out of date.

“He's scheduled to be returned to life sometime in the next few months, I believe. Our best estimate at the moment is that he's been in this state for over two hundred years. The main problem with this one, in particular, is that he's been trapped directly in the limestone. We'll have to remove him very carefully, or we'll end up damaging him before we can restore him.”

Those around you nod in appreciation of the difficulty as she continues, “For The Nine, this room served one purpose and one purpose alone: it's a warning. Just as primitive goblin tribes sometimes place the heads of their slain enemies on pikes around their villages, The Nine had a nasty habit of putting their most frightening-looking trespassers in this room, to warn off others.

“Occasionally, they'd capture would-be invaders alive and magically shape the cave around them, just as with this poor fellow, here. After that they'd usually turn them to stone anyway, but I've heard rumor that the Harbingers found a skeleton in a similar position as this one.”

She gestures for everyone to follow her as she enters a well-formed, artificial tunnel. As she walks, she points out the various ways in which the tunnel is completely seamless, without a single tool mark anywhere. This, she explains is the result of stone shaping magic.

The Work Room

Finally, after much winding, twisting and turning, you find yourselves in a large, domed chamber. Light is filtering in through the ceiling, which is composed of some kind of transparent crystal. The architecture appears Greek in origin and is just as seamless as the tunnel before.

The room has nine sides and nine work areas, complete with tool benches, stools, tables and foot-powered pottery wheels. On one or two of the benches are what look like partially-finished stone sculptures.

One of the stools has a statue of a beautiful woman perched on it, in the attitude of throwing a pot on the wheel. Your guide draws you all in around the statue and as you get closer, you can see that it's hair is composed of snakes! This must be one of the Medusae the Harbingers defeated! It's head is turned up, as if in surprise. Now that you're closer, you can see that it is dressed in very fine apparel and is wearing a locket. One of the hands is clasped around it, as though it were important.

Your guide explains, “This is the first Medusa the Harbingers encountered. She was here, relaxing and working with clay. They used a special spell they wrote for the occasion to reverse her gaze back at her. As you can see, she was quite surprised, as they'd entered the room by stealth.”

She gestures around the room, “This was The Nine's work area, where they created works of art, ranging from sculpture to paintings. This is also a magical laboratory, where they created an army of stone golems to terrorize the countryside.”

She moves on, making her way to another hall, while gesturing for you to follow.

Waterfall Room

As you exit the hallway into another large chamber, you hear a waterfall. You're walking on what looks like small, one-inch square tiles, but you can tell there's actually no seams, once more. It's been shaped to look like tile, but isn't. The walls and ceiling are decorated with bas-relief of Medusae bathing and relaxing in warm water.

Looking about, you see a spa-like room with a large, triangular pool that fills half the room. Steam is rising from the pool and the room is definitely humid. On the left, water is pouring at an angle out of a stone dragon's mouth into the pool, while at the other end a section of stone that looks like a cloud drips water in many places, making it appear like rain.

At the corner opposite of you, the pool's water is pouring out over a lip and down somewhere out of sight.

Your guide smiles, “This room is just what it appears to be. The Medusae used this room to bathe and relax. The dragon head pours water from a hot spring and the cloud drips cool water diverted from an underground river. Both are completely safe to drink. The pool spills down, back into the river in a natural cave.”

Once again, she gestures you to follow her down another hall.

Sleeping Quarters

You arrive in another domed room, again with a crystal sky-light. There are twelve sides in total, each with a doorway leading to a room. The center of the room is dominated by a large table that looks to have been used as a dining area. The table is currently set with fresh fruit and enough seats for a dozen or more people to sit down and enjoy a meal.

“Feel free to have a seat and something to eat.” your guide suggests, “We've got fruit, nuts and a few sandwiches for anyone who's hungry.”

As everyone begins to dig in, she wanders about the edge of the room, first approaching a small table set with multiple games. There are two petrified medusae at the table, as though they'd been playing a game of chess. Their heads are turned to look toward the entrance, their faces frozen in a look of surprise.

“For some reason, these two did not participate in the battle that took place here. Perhaps they thought their sisters could handle the Hazard Harbingers. I guess we'll never know.”

She walks a little further along the wall and points at a huge scorch mark, “One of The Nine met her doom right here, next to the wall, having been struck by a Fireball of some kind.”

Lying on the floor, near your guide's feet is a petrified Medusa. It's lying there as though stunned by the force of the impact.

She continues further along the wall, where she comes to a group of three with their hands in the air, as though gesturing to cast spells.

“These three kept the Harbingers pinned down for a while, by using various stone-shaping magic techniques. One of them shaped the stone of the floor into a warrior, on the spot. Another used a spell to sink the Harbinger's feet into the floor, while the last was blasting them with stones flung from the walls with her own spells.”

Again, she continues along the wall, coming close to the entrance, where the two Medusa statues are standing, holding weapons.

“These two were fighting directly with the two front-line fighters of the Harbingers, keeping them busy while their sisters were casting spells.”

At this point, one of the tourists asks, “Where's the last one? So far, I've only seen eight.”

Your guide smiles, “How perceptive of you, sir. If you look up, you should find her.”

Everyone looks up. High, near the edge of the sky-light, is a stone figure with a short bow. It's perched on the edge of a small balcony.

“This last of them was using the deadly venom of her hair on the arrows. After the battle was over, two of the Harbingers required quick medical treatment due to the poison.

“But, now that you've seen them all, I should tell the tale:

“The harbingers were as quiet as they could and they caught the main group, here, relaxing and playing games. One of them made a mistake and made too much noise. Almost instantly the monsters were on them, attacking with full vigor, while the Harbingers were doing everything in their power to avoid looking at them. Nonetheless, three of them were turned to stone: their thief, bard, and priest. The fighters resisted through sheer physical training alone and the wizard had his eyes closed as he prepared his spell, mumbling and waving his hands in the air.

“The fighters were caught off guard as their feet sunk into the floor and stones rained on them from all sides. They took a terrible beating from the two that moved in to engage them and both were struck by poisoned arrows. They held their ground, however, and bought the wizard enough time to unleash his coup de grace.

“Finally, his spell complete, mirrors magically appeared everywhere in the room! The Medusae, naturally weak to their own gaze, were turned to stone on short order.”
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