Wednesday, July 8, 2009

Holidays in D&D: Part Five

Your small group scurries down the staircase, and you exit Oak Island Keep - heading East over the bridge, and back into the town. Several guild-members line the street who help point you in the correct direction, towards the east and into the Temple District.

To your left as you cross to the other side of Sharkfin bridge you make out an old building which seems to be sagging in the middle, it's walls slowly rotting and its pilings sinking into the inexorable flow of the river below. A half ruined sign still hangs askew over the boarded-up door, but the picture has long since worn away.

Next to the ruined building is another interesting sight, a small quaint building that seems to be a shop of some kind. As you pass by, strange smells greet your noses, and you notice a number of crows lurking on the eaves and gutters.

A sign above the door depicts a Quasit breaking a wand over a horned skull, and an evil spirit of some sort rising up from the shattered end of the wand. A middle-aged woman stands in the doorway, leaning up against the frame. She gives you a polite nod as you pass, and the smirk on her face tells you that she knows you'll be back.

As you round the corner, a larger building comes into view on your right, it's sign flickering with faerie fire. The fa├žade of this structure is covered with dozens of posters, many in tatters or out of date, depicting strange freaks of nature, monsters, and bizarre relics with catch-phrases such as "See the Wondrous Eel-Man!" and "Behold Nature's Cruelest Trick: The Toad-Faced Dog!" and "Test Your Endurance in the Pit of Vile Ooze!"

The huge flickering sign above the main entrance proudly proclaims the place to be Anmeh's Hall of Oddities. The building however looks to be currently closed, though not out of business, so you imagine it is because of the festival, and continue on.

You weave further down the street, as the crowd gets slowly less dense. Small groups of people break off from the mob, heading down side streets towards their meeting place, as you can see the Temple District in the distance. As you walk further along the street, on your left you pass by a building called "The Lizard's Boat", you pass a forge with a sign bearing the picture of an anvil and the words "Guildhall of Smiths" hanging from a post at the street corner, and finally a large older building with a broad front porch.

You barely have time to inspect these structures however, as you round the corner and come face to face with the Cathedral of Pelor. This impressive cathedral towers over the neighboring buildings, and indeed it might be the tallest structure in the entire town. It certainly presents one of the most impressive landmarks you've seen so far.

The white stone walls of this Cathedral rise nearly 100 feet into the air, and the large dome of red and orange metal atop the square structure adds another fifty feet to its height. The radiant golden symbol of Pelor adorns the walls of the structure, glinting in the sun, proclaiming its allegiance proudly and unmistakably.

Yet despite its grandiose appearance, the building seems run down and even a bit dirty.

As you walk through the front entryway, your eyes adjust to the dimness of the cathedral itself. The cathedral is primarily one huge open space, consisting of a central pulpit surrounded by numerous pews. A middle aged man, human, comes to greet you.

He is dressed in the robes and fittings of a high priest, and holds his hands out in welcome, a broad smile crossing his face and crinkling the corners of his eyes. He says his introductions quickly, but kindly, not really leaving you much space to get a word in edge-wise. You think that he may have been prompted on how to greet you and what to say, and that he is carefully trying to not forget.

"Welcome! Welcome to the Cathedral of Pelor. My name is Father Balthazar, High Priest of this church. I imagine you are here with the Festival? Ah yes, well I am new to the city myself, so from one newcomer to another, I welcome you!"

Leading you inside, the priest continues his introduction. "We have arranged one of the side meeting chambers for you..." He motions through the door into a small room with a table and four chairs. "As you can see, I've left a basket of bread and cheese on the table for you, as I imagine you're hungry after your boat ride." He looks around for a second, making sure no one is around, as he confesses in a whisper, "I've also snuck a bottle of sacramental wine under the table for you."

He smiles, a warm comforting smile. "Anyways here you are, I was told a member of the Guild would be by to explain the rules and to pick you up when it was your turn to enter. The only hints they gave me to tell you were that you should get to know each other, and what skills you have to utilize. That way, you may have some strategy when you enter the maze. Well, if you need anything, let me know. May Pelor bless you."

He traces a quick holy symbol in the air before smiling once more, and turning to leave.

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