Written by the EM Team
The key was clenched tightly in his hand as he made his way to the ruins that were left of his masters once great castle; the ramparts had been shattered and burned wreckage lay everywhere, but in his mind’s eye it was all still as it had been, and he found his way towards the area he sought. As he approached he could tell that despite the crazed and lunatic nature of the mobs that had destroyed, sacked, and burned his lords home to the ground, none were able to pierce the heavily ensorcelled and locked compartment that he found underneath a pile of blackened stone. After a few moments of effort, the jester managed to clear the debris from the locked door that once lay hidden beneath an ornate rug, now no doubt adorning some peasants floor. Heckles looked to the lock as he lined up the key, and the glowing runes around it shone brightly for a moment before going out as the similarly enchanted key broke down their own magic. With a rough turn, the deadbolt clacked and he pulled the door open, and he descended into the dark depths of the cellar. As his footsteps echoed along the stairs he withdrew a night sight potion and quaffed a bit of it to allow him to see what still lurked in his masters wine cellar.
His eyes adjusted, but it was just a bit too slowly as the minstrel tripped over an empty bottle. His fall was heralded by the stream of invectives that flew from his lips. His scathing curses did little but echo along the mostly emptied cellar that he’d steadily been doing his best to consume. He dusted himself off and approached the mostly emptied racks until he neared the final row of bottles, stopping to look over the few bottles remaining. There were only a half dozen or so bottles left in this spot, and he noticed that one had a peculiarity to it that drew his attention. He removed the sealed bottle, recognizing it instantly as one of his masters favorite vintages, as his enhanced vision caught a glimpse of something hidden behind it…a small hole that the bottle had concealed. A keyhole, to be precise. With a curiosity that required satiation, he dug the key back out of his pocket and thrust his arm into the crevice that the bottle had once occupied, and turned it as the creak of old and unused hinges strained as the wall rack slowly swung open before him. It took Heckles but a moment to realize what he’d uncovered, and as he walked in he drank the sights instead of the wine he’d initially set out for.
The room would have sparkled as only the finest gemstones do had there been any source of true light to catch the gleaming golden accents of the hidden vault that lay here. Along with various relics, tomes, and personal mementos of his lord, ensconced within were countless examples of fine jewelry, gold coins, and enchanted armor and weaponry. Most eye-catching to Heckles, however, was the golden strongbox centered upon a small table in the back of the room, a key laying in front of it. As he opened it, he found it filled only with deeds and drawings, papers with the runic language written on them and old experimental spells. Amidst it all were numerous currency markers for very large sums being held by the Britain Bank, and a set of intricate designs that looked to be architectural drawings. Despite his inexperience in the matter, he could recognize the cartographical symbols enough to realize where and what it was that detailed upon it…as well as the cost estimates hand written along it. He recounted the checks that he’d found, and an idea came to his head. Perhaps it had always been his lord’s intention that if he didn’t return, Heckles would find this room and these drawings, and act on them in his stead. And even if not, it would at least be a more fitting use of the area than continuing to let the wreckage sit atop it in ruins.
A roguish grin played its way across his lips as he did a few brief calculations in his head, thinking to himself. Well, it must also have been my lords intention that there’s enough left over to keep me from that fate worse than death…sobriety.