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Many Alternate Doors, No Exits in Sight (MADNES) 39: The Prisoner

Updated: Aug 3, 2023

. . . until one spots a campfire, that is.
A surprisingly comfortable way to travel . . .

Throughout our lives we are given orders. And there are usually consequences for not obeying those orders. If your a kid its a spanking. If you're at a job you might be terminated. Suffice it to say that if you're in the military, the consequences could be a bit more . . . extreme.

Not that the thought of consequences has ever stopped the Delicious Cupcakes from doing whatever the hell enters into their heads at the moment, though. Case in point:

They had been given kill orders: find a deformed giant going by the name of Knuckledragger and off(v. kill, murder) him. It was in fact the first such mission Noblesword had sent them on. Not that such orders bothered Frank at all; search and destroy lay quite well within his wheel house.

The others however, were starting to have second thoughts. As they sat in at the gate they had so . . . expertly opened, they discussed the merits of maybe not killing someone when they had no idea what was going on. It was during this whispered flurry of conversation that they heard said target's voice wafting out of the room he'd stepped into.

A few moment's eavesdropping later only added fuel to the argument. It became clear quite quickly that Kunckledragger was working for someone else. Someone who he called Lord. Then came the unmistakable sound of a teleport spell being cast followed by grumbling.

Once 'Lord' had left, the grumbing voice of their quarry again drifted down the hall to them. But this time he was complaining about how the Master wanted one thing, the Lord wanted another, and he couldn't possibly do both. Thus suggesting that he was in fact a man with two masters. Well . . . a master and a lord anyways.

So it was decided that they would try to extract information, instead of going in all hackety slashy. Much to Frank's chagrin. Despite this, he did agree to scout ahead, being the only one who could.

He reached the entrance to the target room and snuck a quick glance inside. Knuckledragger was there, working at one massive slab of a table. Another equally proportioned table stood on the other side of the room, both filled with the parts for the massive constructs. Chains hung down from a ceiling of indeterminate height with roughly a foot's space between them, terminating ten feet above the ground.

Frank motioned for the others to join him. They did so, surprisingly stealthily for a change. Then Thor was up, solely by dint of being he who held the highest charisma by far. So, Thor stepped around the corner to try and open a rapport with their target.

Knuckledragger didn't buy it for a minute. Thor's charisma may have been high; his bluff was not. (Another time Loki would have been useful) Knuckledragger immediately sprinted for the far side of the room. Frank leaned around the corner and performed a called shot to his leg, slowing his movement speed to 5 feet.

Knuckledragger made one failing pounce to try and pull on one of the chains before falling to the ground. Thor quickly pounced on him. Then came the oh so humiliating tying up of the prisoner.

While the guys were securing the prisoner, Hazel took a look around the room, spying a chest disguised as part of the wall. She tried several ways of opening it, only to find her strength insufficient. Fortunately, she knew of a guy. A guy whose strength always seemed sufficient.

{DM's Note: Damn him!}

By this point Thor had drug the now bound Kunckledragger out of the room. Hazel called him back in and showed him the hidden chest. Thor (ever ready to display his might) grinned, cracked his knuckles, and easily opened the chest. Inside they found the beating heart of a creature bathed in a gold glow. They were unsure what type, but were able to ascertain that it was the beating heart of a holy creature.

So they took it. They had no more than removed the blood pump from the chest when some form of animated suit of armor fell from the ceiling and attacked. Steve and Thor fell into their usual 2 man formation. Hazel made a beeline for the door with the heart. Kunckledrager . . . inched forward enough to get a good view.

The construct attempted to intercept Hazel, only to find the dynamic duo of Thor and Steve blocking his path. The two kept it busy, taking a couple of nasty licks in the process. Their attacks proved ineffective, yet their corralling of the surprise enemy allowed Frank to lean around the corner from the hall where he was watching Knuckledragger and fire at it with impunity. After a couple rounds of combat it fell into empty pieces of armor.

Knuckledragger then commented that he clearly needed to work on that model. Despite being tied up and watching one of his creations smashed, he seemed quite amenable. He even agreed to come with them, not that they were going to give him a choice in the matter.

The group then tied him to a long stick and carried him back the way they'd come. As they went, Knuckledragger began to shrink. One limb at a time. First a hand, then a leg, then . . . well, you get the drift. By the time they reached their camp he was the size of a normal human. A human bound in now very loose fitting ropes.

Watched by a man with an itchy trigger finger. Suffice it to say he did not try to escape.

The group handed him off to Noblesword, who wasn't sure whether to reward their initiative or punish their disobedience. Before she could decide, they dropped another bombshell on her; this one in the shape of a large heart. She told them to take it to the Gnolls to see if they could figure out what it went to. At which point they were dismissed.

The Gnolls were quite interested, saying it was the heart of a Sphinx, which then led to the story of how the group (Sans Frank) had released the soul of a Sphinx a couple of weeks before. This news was met by surprising consternation from the Gnolls, who then asked that they find the rest of this creatures body. A truly sick scavenger hunt indeed . . .

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