The Abandoned Prison

From the hole in the rooftop, Xax drifts down thirty feet to the floor in ectoplasmic form while Celia and Lochlan go down via a rope. Both Celia and Xax quickly discover that their primary means of communication, telepathy, is suddenly limited to touch within the compound. Xax creates a quick set of hand signals to help the alleviate communication barrier, then gives Lochlan his gloves of arrow snatching for defense.

In the center of the chamber below the stone housing for the long crystal is a raised platform like a stage, fifteen feet across. With the platform in the center of the intersection, four passageways lead outward. Celia points out seven runes inscribed vertically on a wall nearby; Xax suggests not touching them for now.

With Lochlan leading with a torch (and the only one who can’t see clearly in the dark), the group explores the north passage, finding bodies on cots around the corner, each looking as though their torsos withstood heavy damage. A symbol on their uniforms, two crossed swords and an eye, reminds Lochlan of a private prison system that fell out of favor (but is reluctant to say why he knew this.)

Elsewhere, Hanos awakens in a cell, ten foot square with a light symbol on ceiling, a stuck door and a symbol (protection against hunger and thirst) on the wall across. A huddled figure in dark red robes is also in the room, watching wordlessly as Hanos copies the symbol. The figure asks in a pleasant voice who he is, a question Hanos answers with all due pomp and circumstance (after finishing the copy, of course.)

When Hanos asks who she is in return, the figure pulls the hood back enough to reveal a human or half-elven female with flawless skin and ice blue eyes, then answers with the name “Azura.” Content that he has once again rescued another unfortunate soul who could not have escaped without his help, Hanos every cell door on Level One C-block. Intent of finding his missing captain, Hanos explores with Azura close by, discovering a wolf-like creature in another cell but trapping it in with a web spell.

On Level Three, Mal awakens in a cell (identical to the one Hanos awoke in) but realizes that he isn’t alone. A stranger’s voice tells Mal to sit still and that he will be protected if he does so. Mal prays to Sanguine for guidance but gets no specific answer. After three minutes of obedience, Mal feels fine. The stranger, a tattooed human-looking man, avoids identifying himself except to say that he has more work to do and “shimmers” away.

Finding his axe also in the cell with him, Mal breaks through he door with two swings and begins systematically checking all the door on his block to search for Zyn. A carving at an intersection tells Mal he is leaving Level Three C-block and heading towards B-block, but he also spies a dimly lit stage-like platform and a distinct lack of cell doors down another corridor. Intent on finding his captain, Mal opts to explore B-block instead.

After clearing the entry level as being a barracks for the guards, the group works out the relevance between the runes on the wall and stage-like platform: it’s some kind of teleport transport device similar to the beam that took their crew mates off the ship. Discovering that touching a rune swaps the contents of one level’s teleport pad for another, Xax sends Celia and Lochlan down to Level One before following himself in ectoplasmic form. Hanos (with Azura still with him) finds Xax quickly, but the tattooed man disappears with Celia in front of Lochlan. Ever suspicious of newcomers, Xax begins questioning Azura (who seems wary of the priest), causing her to confess to Hanos the nature of her people’s curse.

Back on Level Three, Mal discovers Zyn passed out in a cell on Block-A. Unable to rouse her, Mal busts down the rest of the door on the block. With his natural instincts telling him there is only one block left on the floor unless he discovers and other passageway, Mal finds deadfall barricade into D-block and starts hacking. Two bowmen attack Mal from the long corridor toward the platform, but Mal talks them down and offers them food and water. Identifying themselves as Hauser and Phalen, they claim to be original prisoners of the facility. Hauser offers to help Mal search the next floor, but not before a lustful glance at his unconscious and vulnerable captain garners a single stern warning from Mal.

Continuing their search (with Celia added to the list), the group on Level One finds an presumed undead prisoner with glowing eyes stuck in a cell. Xax attempts to turn it when communicating with it fails, an act that seems to bother Azura. She asks Hanos to help the poor creature that Xax seems to be torturing purely for his own amusement, but Hanos instead says that a necromancer such as herself would be better suited to the task. Inspired by her new mentor, Azura calms the creature before marveling aloud at the wisdom of “Master Hanos.” Xax isn’t liking what he’s seeing.

In C-block, the tattooed man makes another sudden appearance in the corridor. Lochlan throws two knives but misses both times and curses. Exerting his talents, Xax appears to charm the tattooed stranger. He confessed calmly to Xax that Celia is in the last cell before mentioning that he knows Xax is one of the last born. After Lochlan finds her and Xax ensures she’s okay, the tattooed man (calling himself “The Artist”) mentions he sees the future and is therefore helping them… and that he is from Rivershire. When Xax emerges from Celia’s cell, the tattooed man tells Xax it is his turn and disappears with him in spite of the charm. The rest, all together now with the nine human (and somewhat older) prisoners, search for Xax on Level Four.

As Mal had done before, Xax wakes with the tattooed man nearby, warning Xax as he had warned Mal. The two have a civil conversation (although the tattooed man’s answers are distant at best) and part amicably after Xax recovers. After returning to the group, Xax goes back up to the roof to contact Sophie on board Nia. As it turns out, there is a hanger on the opposite side of the asteroid and they had just landed there. Xax sends everyone to the hanger bay and meets them there.

Zyn awakens in the hanger bay while at the same time both Celia and Xax find their telepathy no longer limited to touch range. With plenty of questions still remaining about the prison and tattooed man, there’s also the question of what to do about nine prisoners who’ve spent the last forty years incarcerated for reasons unknown…

CONTINUE READING WITH “Nine Men Out”

Session XP: 2450 per player

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About Kevin A. Ranson

Content Creator, Horror Writer, Film Critic. Heeding a macabre calling listening to "Mother Ghost Nursery Rhymes" in kindergarten, Kevin started writing in grade school and filled countless notebooks with story ideas while touring the Mediterranean in the US Navy. He is the author of The Spooky Chronicles and the vampire thriller series The Matriarch, creator/critic for MovieCrypt.com and "ghost writer" for horror host Grim D. Reaper. WEBFACEBOOKTWITTER
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