The Crypt of the VoiceThis past February (1012), I attended the day of tournaments hosted by the Knights of the Eternal Flame. Over the course of the day, there was a ghost present who was taking adventurers in groups of four to what is known as the Crypt of the Voice, where they would complete a series of trials. Each member of the group was to represent an element: water (Ma), air (To), fire (Ka), or earth (Ko). Each trial corresponded to one of those elements.
I had been considering going with this ghost, but first needed to find a group with whom to go and decide which element suited me most. I was still considering these things when Lady Hope of Paradise called me over, asking if I might join her group in the Ka position, since I was a fighter. I hesitated, unsure whether Fire was really the position that suited me most; having learned much of the Kal en Dral, I knew that of the primary four, Water was the one I associated with most. However, I felt confident that I could fulfil any role they asked of me, so I agreed to join them as the representative for Fire.
Our group consisted of Laurante D’Rhian as Water, the guide; Hope as Air, the learner; myself as Fire, the warrior; and Janus Kil’tra as Earth, the healer. When we first entered the crypt, all but Laurante were struck blind. This was the trial of Water: it was Laurante’s task to guide us unharmed through the chamber. He had been separated from us, and so could only verbally instruct us on where to go. There was a creature there with the capacity to harm us, though it did not actively seek to do so. I followed Laurante’s instructions to swing at it as it approached me, but my sword did not seem to affect it in any way. Having concluded that we would not be able to eliminate the threat, he instead sought to guide us past it one at a time. Beginning with Hope, he told her what direction to face, then told her to run. Blinded, she was hesitant to move with any speed; she made it, but it was a close call. Janus was next, and I went last. I could understand Hope’s hesitation: running blind, I did not trust myself to run straight, and I was certain that if I veered even slightly, I would encounter obstacles which would slow me down enough for the creature to catch me. Even more difficult was not knowing how long the room was; I did not know when to stop, and I was certain I would end up running headlong into the opposite wall. The task required a good deal of trust, both in Laurante’s instruction and my own ability to follow it. Though I did at one point veer slightly, he corrected me; I straightened my path, and he was there to catch me at the end so I did not collide with the wall. We had succeeded with the first trial.
It was a great relief to have my sight returned as we entered the next chamber. This was the trial of Air, the knowledge-seeker. were posted around the room, but in spite of my efforts to learn to read, I could not decipher them. As Janus and Laurante were equally unable, we determined that magic was preventing us from being able. Hope, as our representative for Air, was the only one who could understand them; however, we quickly discovered that she was unable to touch the floor. There were some blocks that might have held her off it, but decided that it would be faster for Janus to carry her from one riddle to the next. As she read the riddles to us and we discussed possible solutions, some ghosts threatened us; between my swords and Janus’s magic missiles, we were easily able to hold them at bay until we solved one of the riddles. The answer acted as a password; the door opened, and we were able to move on.
As we prepared to enter the third chamber, a spirit appeared. It appeared very frightened as it told us that the Trial of Fire had been broken. She could not tell us how or why, only that it was the result of the actions of the group preceding us. Unsure what to do with this knowledge, we warily entered the chamber, prepared to find a way to fix it.
At the middle of the room sat a figure robed in black. Janus cast the spell Identify Creature, which identified it as Ichigiri Ka. I recognized the name as Nihandi, the language of the Kathrani, but I could not remember what it meant--only that the last word, Ka, meant Fire. I have since looked it up: it translates to “one duty fire,” or more loosely, “duty bound warrior.” At the time, however, I could only deduce that it was related to the Kathrani, who work with the Kal en Dral--powerful spirits I knew to be Good. Though I hated my own lack of uncertainty, I shared this sparse kowledge with the group. As they were each far more experienced and knowledgeable than I, I let them draw what conclusions they might.
We asked the being who it was, and why it was there. It claimed that it was tasked as the guardian of the Fire trial, but it had failed. It went on to say that it was weak, too weak to fulfill its duty. This rang familiar to me: I have read of spirits called Rani, a spirit of the Kal en Dral, who can be strengthened by spirit energy offered by a person. This, too, I shared with the others. Hope quickly volunteered to do so. She knelt in front of the spirit and took its hands, only to be struck by Laurante with the flat of his blade. The being, mistaking her for dead, tried to cast a spell to raise her, saying that even in its weakened state it was compelled to do what it could to help. We assured him she was fine, and woke her, scolding her for her rashness. I pointed out that as the Fire representative, it was my responsibility to offer this energy. Before doing so, however, Janus cast the spell Guidance, asking whether the Kal en Dral would consider it good for us to offer energy to this being. The answer was affirmative. Hoping that this was what needed to be done to fix the trial, I offered my strength to the being.
I knelt in front of it, and it took my hands. I spoke, saying that I have learned much of the Kal en Dral, and intend to become Kathrani in order to aid their cause; to that end I offered the strength I used to fight with greatweapons in order to strengthen it. The being, clinging to my hands, asked a question. I cannot remember his exact wording, for which I still and frustrated with myself. The essense of the question, however, was this: “Will you pledge yourself to my cause?”
I hesitated. A warning flag went up in my mind. My word means very much to me, and I knew that if I gave it, I would keep it, and I hesitated to give it without knowing exactly what would be asked of me. Nevertheless, I believed this spirit to be trustworthy, and I fully intended already to do what was within my power to help the Kal en Dral. I said, “I will.”
It laughed, a cold, echoing sound. Its voice, up to that point quiet and _____, became cruel and self-satisfied as it rose and said, “Wonderful. Welcome to the service of Calladen.”
I slowly rose, stunned. The name meant nothing to me, but one thing was very clear: it belonged to no one that I would ever wish to serve. Janus’s divination had been skewed; the being was in no way Good. I had been tricked.
As we left the chamber of the broken trial, Laurante informed me that Calladen was a lich who sought to become a god, with the domains of trickery and deceit. Not knowing whether this turn of events put me at risk for being compelled against my will, they kept a close eye on me. Still, one trial remained to complete. Shaken as we were, we needed to continue. We proceeded to the fourth chamber, the Trial of Earth.
Inside, we saw an undead wandering about. Thinking quickly, Janus--whose trial was this--instructed me to engage the zombie in combat, but not try to kill it. While it was distracted by my swords, he ran up behind it and cast Combat Raise Dead on it. Healed, it disappeared, and we were free to continue on.
The final room held no trial. At its center was a skull, shrowded in black. Between us and it was a death knight, carrying a sword and shield. He spoke to us as we entered; I do not recall the specifics of the conversation, only that something about him struck me as untrustworthy. Meanwhile, a voice from the skull addressed us, stating that we had succeeded, and thus were granted a boon of knowledge. We could ask one question, to which we would receive an answer.
Following this was a good deal of discussion amongst us. I, for the most part, remained quiet; I was hesitant to speak up, after the mistake made in the Fire chamber. Hope was certain we should ask a question, as knowledge would help us; Laurante pointed out that knowledge can be dangerous, and he was not sure we should ask a question at all. None could agree on what question should be asked.
Meanwhile, the death knight urged us to hurry, so that he could leave with us. He suggested we ask his question. I was not the only one who found this suspicious, especially as we learned that he had been bound as the true guardian of the Fire chamber, and he had been released when the previous group of four had lost to him in a challenge of honorable combat. He looked forward to being free of the crypt. Janus divined whether it would be bad to allow this death knight out into the world, careful this time to ensure that his divination would not be skewed. The answer was a resounding no.
As the representative of Fire, and having already failed once on this journey through the crypt, I felt it was my responsibility to ensure that this death knight would not leave. Stepping away from him, I spoke to the others, sharing an idea: I would challenge him to honorable combat, under the condition that if I won, he would return to the Trial of Fire, and allow us to leave unhindered. The others hesitated. Laurante especially doubted the validity of this plan; he point-blank asked me whether I truly thought I could win. I did not know how to answer--on the one hand, I knew I had to win; on the other, I was not truly that confident. However, Janus pointed something out, which convinced Laurante very quickly that it was a good idea, and he agreed.
I issued my challenge. The death knight considered, then stated his terms: if he won, I would ask the question that he wanted asked. I agreed, and we fought. It was over quickly, and to my slight surprise and great relief, I won.
The others went back to arguing over what question to ask. As they did so, I was suddenly overcome by a compulsion to go to the skull and ask a question. I do not know where this compulsion came from; it might have been the death knight, or it might have been Calladen. Only barely aware of what I was doing, I walked over to the skull, knelt beside it, and asked, “How can Ophelia be destroyed?”
The Voice of the Crypt was unable to answer the question, but our boon was spent. As I received the answer, the others realized what I was doing; Laurante took my dagger from its sheath and knocked me unconscious with it. When I woke, he had it pointed at me in case I did anything more. I was, thankfully, back under my own control again. I shakily got up, took back my dagger, and shared what I had been forced to ask with them.
With nothing left to do, we turned to go. As we were about to leave, the death knight attempted to return to the Trial of Fire, having lost the challenge. However, he was unable to go through the door; there was some sort of ward against undead upon it. Unable to do any more, we left him there, exiting this final chamber and completing our journey through the Crypt.
Many others travelled through the crypt that day. I invite all who did to write of their adventures, in whatever amount of detail you consider reasonable, so that we may gain a better understanding of this crypt and the trials that lie within. Meanwhile, I am actively seeking ways to free myself of Calladen’s control and learn more about him, so that he can be stopped, for he is undeniably Evil. I hope I will not be alone in this effort.
Created by Monique (Angela Wood) at 05-14-12 09:04 PM
Last Modified by Monique (Angela Wood) at 05-14-12 09:04 PM