We awoke with a pain in our heads and a chain on our ankles, Valeris and myself attached to a kobold and a half-Orc and a wall full of spikes, arranged such that one of us would be pulled against the wall by our shackle if the others were to run, as one would be want to do if one saw, just out of reach, the key that might unshackle one from such a situation, which indeed we did, and though I sent Byron to fetch the key and bring it to me–and after some persuasion he stopped his reading for long enough to try–when the key burned him and he skipped out of the material plane, I was nominated to fetch the key instead and the half-Orc, whose name I later learned to be Thar (the kobold went by Qui’kli), was nominated to take the undulating spikes from the wall, which I did and he did and the whole charade disappeared in a puff of faintly magical smoke. We wondered briefly what kind of situation we had found ourselves and how we had managed to do so–the last I recalled Valeris and I were on an errand for our Mistress– but no sooner had we wondered than an answer presented itself, when KD appeared on a balcony somewhere above us and explained how he had crawled here, and how Saya– who appeared from the shadows, looking even blanker in expression than she used to– had gone out to retrieve us, and bring us here as some sort of lesson for our misdeeds, which I will admit to quite readily, as self-delusion is unbecoming of anyone who wishes to learn anything of the world or one’s self.
Having explained his intentions, he then lit a torch, which he then used to light a fuse, which in turn lit a channel of fire, which erupted around the room, followed by a buzzing and scurrying the likes of which I will not attempt to reproduce here, lest I fail to do it justice or, in doing it justice, recall it too vividly and force myself to stop writing or you, dear reader, to stop reading, which again would be unbecoming. The sound, though, was but a precursor to the horde that made it: thousands of bugs began to stream out of tiny crevasses around the room, and the four of us ran for one of the doors, choosing the one second-closest to us, having been warned by KD not to use the closer one, which by the looks of it led outside, and might have led to freedom, but for whatever reason we trusted his advice as he tried to kill us with an onslaught of vermin, which crunched and burned and split quite readily as we made our way to the door, albeit with a few bites and bruises on our way, and when we arrived on the other side we closed the door and took a deep breath.
Bugs, though, find cracks in anything, and so we were soon running across an old, once-sturdy stone bridge, the horde following us along the way, and though we were careful not to overstress the structure, the bugs had no such forethought, and Valeris found himself trapped above the seemingly bottomless chasm, bugs streaming toward him and naught but air between he and us, until Thar and your humble narrator scaled a gap between cavern wall and a massive obelisk, reaching in this manner a height of some fifty-five feet, and then pushed with all our might until said obelisk fell, creating a bridge of quite a temporary nature, upon which Valeris might run and make the last few yards before the last remnants of the bridge fell to the darkness below. He failed and fell. Thar and I fell, but not anywhere near as far. We all looked down into the darkness, got our bearings, and proceeded.
You will, I plead, forgive me if it seems that the above was a lie given what came next, but I assure you that this all did happen: bugs, bridge, obelisk, falling, and all, and one slight arcane lock later we found ourselves, heads still aching, in a quaint little reception room, where a man was sitting in a comfortable chair attending to the wounds of one Valeris a’Lindesta, who not ten minutes before had fallen into the endless darkness along with a horde of bugs and the remnants of a stone bridge and giant obelisk. You will think, dear reader, that the above was some kind of story to bring glory to my friend, but if it were that it would serve much better had he made it, I assure you, and not fallen to his certain doom, only to arrive instead into the care of this man, who introduced himself as Seric and wished to know our business with the Stormcrow Company, whose name I had seen emblazoned on the obelisk before he had pushed it down into oblivion, and whose headquarters we were apparently in, and whose service Seric seemed to be in, and whose Alpha Squad seemed to be missing, and whose Alpha Squad Seric seemed to assume we might have murdered, and whose headquarters were strictly off-limits to outsiders, and who considered us outsiders, and whose servant Seric attacked us for all the above reasons but mostly because he did not believe that we all just wanted to go home.
Seric did not so much fall as evaporate, which is not a comforting sight at any time but is even less comforting in situations where spiked walls and bugs seem to appear from nowhere, and I began to wonder what the true nature of this prison might be, but my ponderances were interrupted when Seric reappeared and began once more to attack us, and as we realized the futility of killing him a second time we instead employed a chain, earlier found in the corner of the room, to bind him– a job that the chain seemed to relish, in the same way that a scabbard relishes holding the sword whose size and shape it was perfectly designed for– and, when he began to attempt to take his own life in order to escape the bonds, deposited the poor, misguided fellow into a glass box, also in the corner of the room, and when he smashed his head against the glass wall, he evaporated once again, and then reappeared, still inside the box and still quite bound, and we apologized to be so cruel after he was so nice as to return Valeris to us, but we left him there as we continued forth.