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Dungeons and Dragons: "The Quest for Lost Knowledge" 3/3


Pilgrim

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For character info/descriptions/stats, go here: http://www.sneezefetishforum.org/forums/index.php?showtopic=54422

Zio had never considered herself to be much different from your average elf. She had fair blond hair, close-cropped so that it revealed her averagely pointed ears. Her bright sky-blue eyes narrowed with the menace of a hawk when she was hunting with her bow, a common profession for elves. She had a lithe body that invariably moved with grace and poise. Her small nose was perhaps a little more rounded than most elves’, but in general she was rather innocuous. So when a red-headed young woman dressed in black and gold armor and flowing cape started sniffing her at the bar, she considered it rather unprovoked.

“What the–”

“HAKK’SCHHHH!” The rehead sneezed, uncovered, onto Zio’s green tunic. “Okay, id’s her for sure,” she muttered through her dripping nose.

“My apologies for my compatriot’s manners, she was literally raised by a devil. Greetings, friend!” A teenage girl of east-Asian islander descent with shoulder-length black hair dressed in purple robes and a huge witch hat sat in the stool next to her and slid her a drink. “We are traveling treasure-hunters, and you are the sole surviving heir of a vast fortune just waiting to be plunder–I mean, recovered!”

Before Zio could follow her instincts to bid this strange pair farewell while utilizing a significant number of expletives, a lanky black cat crept up onto the young witch-girl’s lap, and a ferocious itch likewise crept its way into the elven archer’s nose.

“Hetschhh! Hetcchnnsh! Hehhh-Eh-Etchsheeew! Would you–TCHH-SHEEEW please move your caahh-ahh-Atchhnnsh Enntscheeew! I…I’m allerg-eh-ehhh-Etzcheeew!”

“No way! I love a captive audience,” the strange girl replied with a cheshire grin. “My name is Kyube, and this is Edea. She has a literal nose for treasure, and that reaction right there…” she pointed to her partner, who had backed up across the bar and was blowing her nose into an unnaturally brown handkerchief, “…means that you have some serious secrets in your ancestry. Tell me, does this symbol mean anything to you?” She held up a piece of parchment with a charcoal-rubbing of a symbol shaped like a four-pronged tree branch inside a triangle. It was identical to the symbol on the medallion she was given by her grandmother when she was a small child.

“How…What…HAAATCHSSSSHHH!”

“I’ll tell you what…” the girl said, leaning so that her cat was even closer to Zio. “If you agree to listen to a business proposition from me and my partner, I’ll get Saturnus here away from you. Deal?”

Zio wiped her watering nose on her sleeve and nodded fervently. So, after sending her cat over to Edea, Kyube explained how her and her partner had joined the initiative started by the New Cartographer’s Guild to explore areas “enchanted, haunted, cursed, or otherwise magically afflicted or mysteriously uncharted” for handsome profit. While exploring the forest nearby, they had discovered a partially-buried temple that set Edea’s treasure-sensitive nostrils into a frenzy. The temple entrance was sealed with powerful old magic, but marked with a very unique symbol. After copying it down, they started checking all the nearby towns for a similar “scent,” and had finally found Zio. The elf was loath to believe that the strange woman actually had such an ability, but she didn’t see any other way the two strangers could’ve possibly connected her to the symbol when even she hadn’t any idea what it meant.

“Our best guess, based on our experience with these sorts of things, is that at some point your family was part of the old priest caste the wood-elves had, and might’ve been the last surviving line connected with the local temple here. They’ve probably been passing down that artifact as part of tradition for years without knowing its significance.”

“Well, even if that’s true…” the elf folded her arms and leaned back on her stool. “What makes you think I’d want to help you two strangers get inside? A cut of the loot? You know most old temples like that don’t actually have much in the way of treasure…”

“That’s not what we’re concerned about!” Edea stepped forward, holding a finger under her nose. “The Guild pays well enough, treasure or no treasure. But you aren’t going to help us for the money,” she leaned forward, “You’re going to help us because nobody spends their evening drinking at the bar in a tavern unless they’re missing something in their life. HIIIYAAATTSCCCHHHH! Whoops, got a little close there…” She backed away, ignoring the glare Zio shot her as the elf wiped spray off her face. “I dunno what your story is. Maybe you need some adventure, some challenge, in your life. Maybe you want to find some answers about your family.”

“And besides, if you don’t help us we’ll just keep letting Saturnus pester you.” Kyube pointed at the cat, who had snuck under Zio’s chair and was circling her legs. Zio’s nostrils flared wide and she immediately began sneezing again.

“Ettchhhnschh! Heeeh-Tschhhhh! Etchnnnsch! *snfff, snff* Okay, alright! Heetcchscchh!”

“Excellent! We’ll meet outside here tomorrow morning after sunrise then!” Kyube smiled brightly. “Pack for a full day’s trip, we don’t know how big the temple’s going to be!”

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This is a ton of fun already! I'm intrigued by this character who appears to be allergic to treasure. If nothing else, I totally want to get to know more about her.

Also this:

sq8UvIt.jpg

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I appreciate y'all's interest! Here's Part 2:

“Alright, here it is.” Edea proudly declared through thick snuffling as she indicated a large stone double-door built into the hillside. In the center of the door was a groove the exact size and shape of Zio’s medallion, bearing the same symbol.

“This is it? When you said “temple” I was imagining something a bit more…grand.”

“It’s probably much more elegant on the inside. Earth temples tend to keep all the goodies underground. Now come on, slam that medallion into the door and let’s get to the fun part!” Kyube hopped up and down with excitement, her cat struggling to keep its perch on her shoulder. As she hopped closer, Zio held up her hands.

“Hey, don’t forget our deal! You keep that cat away from me. I didn’t sign on with you two for the privilege of having to wipe my nose every ten seconds!”

“HETCHAAAASCHHH! Hehh, don’t be a baby! If anyone should be complaining about ahh-allegies, it’s m-me eee-ETCH-SCHHAAAAAH!”

The elf shrugged and inserted the medallion into the door, and with an enormous groan they slid open to reveal a long tunnel descending down into the earth comprised of marble archways above stone steps. Kyube produced a wand from within her robes and with a wave the tip began emitting a small torch-like flame.

“Ah, so you are an actual witch! I wasn’t sure, most spellcasters are a little shy about the fact and don’t dress quite so…ostentatiously.”

“Most spellcasters probably don’t have a hat that gives them enhanced reaction time and only one robe that matches it. C’mon, let’s get going!”

The trio started down the stairwell single-file, with Kyube leading the way, Zio a fair distance behind her, and Edea sniffling along her way in the back. As they walked, Zio noted the hieroglyphics inscribed on the pillars. Though she was unfamiliar with ancient elvish, the signs for “danger” are difficult to misinterpret in any language.

“So what exactly did you say this place was again? An Earth temple?”

“Well, yes.” Kyube called back to her. “But the ancient wood elves’ temples tended to be multi-faceted. As you might know, they worshipped a somewhat nebulous interpretation of the Earth Mother, whose primary value was pragmatism. Almost all of their temples had at least a few other functions…”

“And rumor has it, this area had one that was also a library of forgotten knowledge!” Edea exclaimed excitedly from behind a lacy red and white handkerchief held up to her nose.

Zio shifted uncomfortably as they proceeded down to where the stairs ended at a large atrium, where three paths branched off in different directions. The idea of rooting through her ancestor’s sacred closet was somewhat disturbing, and it distracted her to such a degree that she didn’t realize she was catching up to Kyube and her pet until a tingling itch crept up into her nose.

“Hehhhhhh-Ehhhhh-ETCHZCHHH!”

“HELLOOOOOO! I CAN HEAR YOU!” A gravelly voice boomed from somewhere further in the temple down the center path. The ground trembled as something began taking great lumbering steps towards them from the darkness.

“Oh crap. RUN!” Kyube shouted and dashed down the path to the right. The others followed after her, Zio wavering dangerously as she ran while continuing to sneeze.

“Hetchnnnshhh! Wha-Ahh-Haatshhhnch! What is it?”

“Probably some ancient guardian way above our power level. I was hoping this place would be abandoned, shoulda figured that if the magic on the doors was still working the magic on other security would be intact as well…”

“Look! We can hide in there!” Kyube directed them to a small crawlspace leading off the path. The three scrambled inside, discovering that that it lead to a passage traveling further into the temple, and Kyube extinguished her magic light. Shortly after all of them were inside the ground shook as the giant thing in the darkness approached. They froze, hoping it would pass by and not notice the opening. Unfortunately, they froze with Saturnnus less than a meter away from Zio’s face.

“Hnnnh…” The elf clapped her hands over her face and held her breath, knowing that the moment she let out even a single “ahhh” the sneeze would be inevitable. The itch in her nose was already starting to rise so high her eyes were watering. She knew the tiny little cat hairs and dander she’d inhaled were bouncing around crazily in her nostrils, tickling the walls of her nose hither and thither as they ricocheted around, demanding release.

“WHO GOES THERE? WHO GOES?” The thing bellowed as it stomped closer to their hiding place. Between the tingling tickle and the allergic tears Zio’s nose was starting to run over her hands, and she knew she couldn’t hold out any longer. Finally she moved bother her hands over her nose and tried to stifle a few sneezes, hoping they wouldn’t be loud enough to attract the attention of the thing pursuing them.

“Chnksg! Hnntchggsk! Hnngsht-Nnngtschh!”

“INTRUDER ALERT! INTRUDER ALERT!”

The crawlspace began shaking as though they were in the middle of an earthquake. The three treasure-hunters weren’t what the giant thing was doing, but they knew they didn’t want to find out. As quickly as they could they began scrambling blindly forward into the darkness as dirt and dust showered over them, Zio sneezing freely all the way.

“Haa-Aatchnnnshhheew! Aakchhnnsh Atchnnshhh Aaah-Tschhhh Eeeuchnnnsh Heetchnnnnch!”

As she crawled blindly after her compatriots, she heard Kyube call out from ahead of her “It’s widening up ahead! I’ll bring back the light…”

The group emerged, covered in dust and dirt. Zio’s face was particularly grimy as the debris had clung to the spray and tears streaking her face. As she reared for another sneeze Kyube clamped a hand over her nose and stifled it, motioning for them to stand still and listen. They heard the thing’s voice boom slightly more faint from the other end of the small tunnel.

“Search and Destroy! Intruders! Search and Destroy Intruders!”

Then, they heard its stomping footsteps slowly fade away. They stood quietly listening intently, hearts pounding…

“AATSHAAASCH!”

Kyube and Zio jumped in the air like they’d been shot at when Edea suddenly broke the silence. She sniffled, and wiped her nose with one finger, brushing off their glares.

“Hey, at least I’m not the one whose sneezes got some monster chasing after us!”

“Well, if Kyube would just keep Saturnus away…”

“Hey, hey, hey! This is no time to be blaming each other! A sneeze like that means that the treasure must be close by! Come on, let’s hurry!”

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"Most spellcasters probably don’t have a hat that gives them enhanced reaction time and only one robe that matches it. C’mon, let’s get going!”

I love that line.

Very nice follow-up. :)

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Kyube surveyed the passageway they’d come out in. It branched out in two different directions besides the crawlspace, one of which probably lead back to the entrance. “Lead the way, Edea!”

The redheaded treasure-seeker nodded and began sniffing the air as best she could through her congested nose, walking in one direction down the corridor, then the other. As the urge to sneeze spiked in her nose, she tried to hold it back for as long as she could in order to better confirm where the tickle was coming from.

“haaa-ahhh…AH-Haaaaahh…Hahhh…Haaaaahhh-Hah-HATSHAAACSHH Hahh-Hah-TCHSSHHHH HAATSHHHHAH! Th-this waa-way ATTCHAAACH!”

The followed Edea’s sneezes through several more intersecting corridors, Zio making sure to hang significantly far back this time. As they walked Edea’s sneezes became more and more wet as her eyes and nose began to stream down her face. Though she’d occasionally dab at them with her dirty brown handkerchief, it made little difference. The allergic tears and congestion saturated her sneezes, so that great amounts fluid spattered from her nose and mouth every time she sneezed, which became more and more often the closer they grew to their destination.

“AANGTCHHH AHHAAATSCHHHH Haah-ATSCHAAASCH Hhha-TCHNNNSSSH HATTAAASCHHH! Alm-Ahhh-All-Almo-Aaan-HA-ATCHH HATSCHHHH Hehhh-Hehh-Haah-HAAATSCHHAAA! Almost…HAAATSCHHH ATSCHHH ATSHHHHAAAH!”

Finally, they reached a long rectangular room lined with row upon row of stone tables that proceeded far back into the darkness, stacks of books and scrolls littered all over them. Many of the tables were not filled anywhere near to capacity, but it was an impressive sight nonetheless.

“This must be it! We found it!” Kyube cried triumphantly.

“I can’t believe it…this really is the temple of lost knowledge…” Zio murmured in surprise.

“HNNGTCHHAAAAAA!” Edea sneezed violently, sending spray flying everywhere. Then, with a humongous snort, her symptoms seemed to suddenly recede. The sneezing stopped, and after wiping her nose

The three dashed forward and grabbed armfulls of books to stack on a central table. Once they began looking through them and saw their titles, however, their enthusiasm quickly diminished.

An Extended History of the Snow Pea?”

Instructions on the Proper Method for Consuming Worms?”

How to Love Your Neighbor’s Rooster?”

After an awkward pause, it was Zio who finally spoke up.

“Perhaps this knowledge was ‘lost’ for a reason…”

“ARRGH! This isn’t a hiding place for ancient secrets! It’s a storage space for books too boring or stupid to keep in a real library!” Kyube screamed, throwing a book across the room into the darkness. To her surprise, the book came flying back, and the darkness responded.

“HELLO, I CAN HEAR YOU!”

The girls jumped in surprise as the thing that had been chasing them emerged from the shadows into range of Kyube’s light. It was an immense walking humanoid statue, easily twice the size of any of them, with an enormous round headless body and shoulders that slumped into giant pillar-like arms. Where its head should’ve been was instead a rounded lump with a glowing red gem embedded inside, apparently where its voice came from. As the adventurers stood frozen in shock, the giant extended a large three-fingered stone hand towards them.

“PATROL THE HALLS!”

Certain it was about to squash them, the three all dodged in different directions to hide underneath tables. Unfortunately, Zio happened to dodge beneath the same one Saturnus had raced for.

“Hnngsheeew! Haghshhhh Aaagschhhh! Ahhh-Ahhh-Atschhh Hhhgscchhh Ahh-Tchnnggsshhhh!” She sneezed as she tried to draw her bow, fumbling to load the arrow. Fortunately, the giant didn’t seem to have decided to pursue her. In fact, it wasn’t doing much of anything.

“STONE SERVANT!” The stone giant bellowed in its gravelly, monotone voice, arm still outstretched. When the three didn’t react, it shouted again. “HALT! FRIEND OR FOE?”

After a moment’s pause, it lowered its hand and turned towards the exit of the room. “STONE SERVANT SEARCH AND DESTROY! PATROL! PATROL! PATROL!”

After it had stomped off, the three emerged from their hiding places, Zio vigorously wiping her nose on the sleeves of her tunic. Edea scratched her head.

“What the heck was that all about?”

“It was definitely some kind of golem guardian, that’s for sure…” Kyube mused, running a hand through her hair thoughtfully. “I guess whoever made it didn’t ever figure out it didn’t exactly understand the commands it was being given? Though who’d put the time into constructing such a guardian for this place is beyond me…”

“Eh. Who cares. This adventure’s been enough of a waste as it is.” Edea kicked a pile of books that had been shaken onto the floor by the golem’s approach. “We get paid by the Guild just for finding the place, finding valuables is just a bonus. Let’s just go back to Eastford and get our money.”

“About that *snrrgg* how exactly *snrfff* are we going to–Tcssshhh!–to find our way back out of here?”

The three looked back the way they had came, having relied on Edea’s allergy to guide them before, in awkward silence.

“Aww nutbunnies!” Kyube pouted.

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Well, that was certainly a lot of fun! These characters have a lot of... Well... Character. They're each so fun and distinctive, especially Edea in this chapter. I don't know what are your future plans are, but I'd really love to know how she got her nose for treasure.

In summation everyone should take a cue from Kyube and use "nutbunnies" as an expletive.

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