*while cleaning up the brush outside of the tavern, ShoeHorn stumbles upon something he had never seen in this land before. Out beyond the thicket of dead and twisted trees that was once a forest, there is an open clearing of land, with a large intricately carved stone building set in the middle of it, supported by large pillars, some 40 feet high, with a steep raised roof reminiscent of a church.*
*Two grand statues appear to support the entrance to the building, between them lay a giant open archway leading in to a large hall of some type. Upon further inspection, the inside appears to have a second raised floor, a gallery, lining the outer walls of the great hall, with grand staircases near the entrance leading up to each side, and beyond that, on the other end of the room a wide stage with a pulpit standing tall in the middle. Long wooden tables are arranged in the center of the great room, as if for some great feast, but the varying heights seem perplexing, some tables with benches hovering over 10 foot high, some barely footstools in comparison.*
*What manner of evil comes here, he wondered. And what do those letters DMY stand for, carved into the space above the entrance. And the letters 'EA' intricately weaved into the artwork on the pulpit. Perhaps he did not want to know. But curiosity got the better of ShoeHorn as he caught sight of something.. or someone.. running between the columns supporting the upper platforms. Who.. or what was that? He reaches for his swor.. no, only a stick. FOOL! Unarmed again... save for this branch. Boldly, or stupidly, he speaks with a loud thundering voice*
"Who goes there?"
*ShoeHorn is bent over talking to a small girl*
"Excuse me? Toto? No, i haven't seen your dog. What are you doing here in a place like this, little girl. Well, come with me, I'm sure we can give Auntie M a hollar and get you back to where you belong"
*ShoeHorn starts to escort the little girl out of the stone meeting hall, only to find a thick wooden blockade suddenly leaping to the floor in front of him with a loud BOOM. With the exit now barred, he looks around for a means to escape. The little girl by his side shivers and runs behind a nearby column.*
"Sorry, I don't know what's happening.. I just need to find a way out of..."
*A sound coming from behind ShoeHorn shuts his mouth. A rapid clicking noise of bone jabbing into stone, moving quickly across the floor catches his attention. ShoeHorn squints to try and make out what it is moving behind him, through the heavy shadows stretching across the floor. The windows from the gallery above don't let in enough light for him to make out what it is. But a moment later, he sees something shine briefly in the lit space between shadows.. dark purple and black fur.. on a rather large ebony skinned creature. There's not enough exposed to make out the rest of its figure, but enough to know its not human. It moves back into the shadows and hisses, then moves in quickly for an attack. ShoeHorn desperately searches for his dagger...*
*An instant later a scream reaches out from within the stone structure and travels across the land..*
=The shriek of terror that only a girl could make reaches the top of the tavern, where Sneakers finds himself plunging something down a chimney shaft. He knows that sound, that voice. Why, its dear ol' pops! He looks in the direction from where it's coming, standing on his tippy toes on the crest of the roof, and sees the stone structure a few thousand feet in the distance. That man's in trouble, AGAIN! arggg=
"Don't worry Dad, I'll save ya!"
=Sneakers quickly scoots down the side of the roof, then jumps over and catches a nearby tree branch, and slips swiftly down the tree to the ground. He finds his bow and arrows and sets off on foot through the woods, eyes scanning the forest for anything that moves. In minutes he has covered the length of distance between the tavern and the source of the cry and finds himself standing in the field where this large building has been constructed. The archway is open, but there's no noise coming from inside. What happened here?=
=Taking no precautions, Sneakers drags a boulder in with him and sets it down right inside the archway, then peers around the building. The shadows seem more prevalent than light, but no matter, a torch lit will reveal hidden clues the eyes fail to see alone. He strikes a flint and sets a torch alight and moves around the long straight building=
=Aside from the unusual look of things, there appears to be no life here. He walks under columns, then climbs the stairs and moves down the galleries on both sides of the building. As he come back towards the stairs he sees something leap out from behind a column downstairs and go running off outside. He sets off quickly to chase=
"Stop! Stop, so I may speak to you!"
=He gets outside and sees that its a small child as she disappears around the corner of the building=
"I won't hurt you!! Please, tell me what happened!"
=He puts on his fastest running shoes *cough*ahem*sneakers* and tears off after her. The child is quick, but she soon loses her way in the forest, and begins to panic. Sneakers finally catches up and grabs her. She screams and squirms trying to free herself=
"I won't hurt you!! Just tell me.. what happened in there. Did you see my father.. he's got thich long gray hair, a dark mustache, pointed ears, a blue bandana around his head..."
=she stops squirming and looks up at Sneakers=
~girl~ "He.. ohh, I dont know, it was so very scary.. I dont think he made it"
"Nooo dont say that. What happened, tell me, quick!"
~girl~ "A big.. a verry verry VERRY big and scary monster took him away. I think he got bit but I kept hidden. I hid GOOD for I don't want to be eaten too, no way mister"
"Where did he take him?!"
~girl~ "Under.. somewhere under there. All I know was I was standing very very still until it went away and I didnt DARE look mister, no sir. But I did hear a noise, a LOUD noise.. something slid open.. the sound of stone sliding on stone, and then I'm sure it shut quickly after. And then the door opened and you came"
"Okay. Well, listen. You run along to the tavern, just follow this path through the woods here and go inside. There are people in there, you'll be safe. I'm going to go get my Dad"
~girl~ "But mister.. dont get hurt!"
"Dont worry about me! Hey, whats your name, little girl"
-girl~ "Dorothy. Say mister, you wouldn't have seen my little puppy running around would you have?"
"Well, there was a mangy mutt running around inside the tavern. That and a naughty parrot. Go see for yourself. I'll catch up with ya later"
=Dorothy goes running in the directrion of the tavern. Sneakers sets off back into the DMY building, and looks for secret underground entrances=
=Picking up his torch again, Sneakers gets the odd feeling he's not alone anymore. He lifts the torch up and hears a loud hisss just as something in front of him jumps back into the shadows behind the pillars=
"Wicked vile thing! Show yourself! I'll have your head!"
=The clicking of its feet is loud and in rapid succession as it climbs behind the columns. Sneakers runs at an angle closer to the columns and sees the beast behind climbing up the walls. As his torch bears light upon its dark skin, it turns and leaps for him=
=Sneakers dodges and rolls to his side as the eight legged creature lands, then turns towards him. He clambers for his bow and loads an arrow as quick as he can while the spider runs over to him and prepares to attack. It lifts itself on its hind legs and as it lunges forward, an arrow plunges deep inside its abdomen. It shrieks and hisses and stumbles to its side, bleeding a black ooze onto the stone floor. It struggles and twists in pain for a while, but the rage inside it finally eclipses the pain, and it once again rights itself up on its feet.=
=Sneakers gets up and runs to get some distance, but before he knows it, the spider is upon him again. He takes his torch and thrusts it back at the creature now merely inches from his head, and feels it strike the beast, again followed by a shrieking cry=
=Turning around and backing up, while readying another arrow, Sneakers watches as the spider scrambles to get this flaming stick out of its eye, whilst its thick bristly fur begins to set alight by the rabid flames. He decides then to end it quick, and loads his bow up with 2 arrows, and releases them swiftly, striking the beast squarely in the head. A moment later, it is over, and the creature is collapsed lifeless and burning to ashes on the stone floor=
=Sneakers wanders back along the room, this time careful to notice anything unusual.. and finds a decorative curtain at the far side of the room moving slightly. There must be a breeze here. He looks further and pushes and pulls on things all over the area, looking for the secret with which to open the hidden door. He spots an off colored stone on the wall and presses hard against it. And then it happened. A loud thunk in the wall and then another in the floor, followed by the movement of a large square of stone before him on the floor as it drops down, then slides to the side, under another stone.. A steep staircase is revealed. Sneakers takes a deep breath, draws another arrow, then begins his careful descent... =