Ashwood Vale

The Crystal Ball


Amidst chanting; a crystal ball on a purple satin cloth fills with mist. Soon the chanting stops and the mist clears and an image forms…

… Six figures, five humans and a dwarf, stand in a roughly triangular cavern that is dimly lit by glowing fungus. The only visible entrance is located in the right hand corner. A deep chute that opens in the floor by one of the two walls which are covered by the glowing fungus. The third wall straight ahead is made of large stones mortared together centuries ago. Across the floor chains that once held children lie as empty and forgotten as the ruins of two mechanical spiders and the dead body they were guarding.

One of the six figures, a remarkably young dwarf with a pole axe strapped to his back, makes his way over to an excavated section of the stone wall and pries two of the stone blocks apart enough to allow entry into the room beyond. As the rest of the figures cautiously follow the dwarf the image in the crystal pursues the group into the next room.

The room used to be circular, however the has been marked by neglect and the passage of time. Stairs leading up around the outer wall lead only to collapsed stone. In the center of the room the ceiling has collapsed in to a pile of stone and dirt. Around the room empty crates and barrels seem haphazardly placed. A girl with purple hair and a bow in scale armor peers into the opened crates and barrels, as a priestess climbs the outer stair and a very large man holding two shields prods the rubble in the center of the room. A man in robes produces a ball of light and follows a lithely woman as she makes her way after the impetuous dwarf. Who having levered himself out of a create, has walked over to a chest the is sitting by a trap door.

Without hesitation the dwarf opens the strong box and peers inside. He pulls out a dagger which he gives to the women following him and divides half a dozen or so scrolls between the priestess and the man in robes. Next he divides four flasks between himself and the others, then stuffs a moderately sized pouch into his pack.

The trap door is quickly opened and the dwarf disappears the short stair into the darkness of the of the corridor. Quickly the girl with the bow lights a torch and the rest follow….

Slowly mist obscures the image and fills the crystal ball once more. When it dissipates nothing remains except the clear crystal and the purple satin cloth.



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