Constantine studied the mirror intently. Hiscubo stood behind him, standing under the floating glass-like square with an opening pointing downward. The glass cube continued to drop trapping Hiscubo before lifting a few moments later to release him.
"I don't understand the purpose of this," says Hiscubo. "I get the whole trapping thing but it releases me after about ten seconds. What good does that serve?"
Constantine was barely listening as he studied the borders of the mirror and then gazed through its surface at the catacomb beyond. Eelco was standing there waving at what looked like a stone wall from his perspective. Constantine slid the mirror along its track to shift the field of vision to the parallel catacombs where the rest of his companions were standing.
"You are missing it's command word I imagine," replies Constantine without taking his eyes from the mirror. "It definitely not glass. I believe its multiple walls of force conjured and altered to serve as a cage of sorts."
Hiscubo shrugs at Constantine's statement and moves alongside him.
"What did you learn from this mirror?" asks Hiscubo.
"Well," replies Constantine. "If you look when I slid it back and forth along the wall there is a a thirty foot section that it doesn't function. It only works on the first ten feet and last ten feet of the chamber. I believe that this mirror is akin to a Ring of X-Ray Vision but much more powerful in some regards and less potent in others; namely portability."
"So it can see through these two sections of walls because they are thinner than the middle thirty feet?" asks Hiscubo.
"Yes," replies Constantine. "I would say that the mirror can see through five feet of stone, give or take, but anything thicker blocks it. Unlike the ring, if I had to guess, this mirror only works on stone. You see these symbols along the exterior of the frame. They are various arcana symbology for earth or rock."
"A mirror trapped in a forgotten catacomb does us little good," says Hiscubo.
"I agree," replies Constantine. "But I'd like to investigate it further in case I can glean something from its construction. Maybe I could reduce it's size and negate some of the problems an item such as this has. Lend me a hand will you?"
Constantine and Hiscubo begin the painstaking process of gathering as many arcana notes on the Stoneglass Mirror as they can.
Eelco stood in another alcove and allowed the arcana energies to wash over him. A section of air appears to ripple and blur at his fingertips. He grasps the air with his force of will and hurls it down the hallway, at an open sarcophagus. It strikes the empty stone receptacle and pushes it to one side. He smiles as he looks at his handywork.
"I wish these effects were longer lived," says Eelco. "The advantage one could gain on the battlefield is immense."
"Be thankful the duration is fleeting," replies Kolivan. "If the Kobolds could gain this power and hold it indefinitely then they would be very dangerous indeed. The procreate quickly and mature just as fast."
"Well the effects are numerous," says Eelco. "The first ones we encountered gave the recipient access to a noixious cloud, a breath of fire, a quickening in speed and action and the power of stone. Those were followed by the ones we encountered here in the catacombs. The ability to become invisible, to grow a poisonous appendage, as well as the transmutation into a construct and the metamorphosis into a being made entirely of a mirror-like solidity. These last two effects, the ball of force I just threw and the ability to become enlarged are just fascinating."
"The downsides of repeated use is self evident," interrupts Idruma.
"She has a point," says Artair. "The kobolds here have been... changed by their exposure. I'd quit it before you grow another ear on your head."
"I doubt my exposure is enough to warrant a physical change yet," replies Eelco. "I believe the metabolism of the kobold has much to do with why they are affected so quickly. They mature faster and have a shorter lifespan than a human."
"Especially when a bunch of Humans go adventuring," replies Idruma with her clawed hands making air quotes around "Adventuring". "Since you are still alive, I must assume that Tazex has been slain?"
"Yes," replies Erhi. "Though I was able to stave off conflict with your kin. They are in the encampment unharmed."
"Good," says Idruma. "It is time for us to leave and put this place behind us. Though before I go Duzin wishes to offer you a trade."
"The Goblin?" asks Kolivan.
"Yes," replies Idruma. "I cannot take him where the tribe is going and the Wizard Warrens are dangerous to wander about without aide. He is willing to show you a way to the surface if you escort him safely to the Goblin Bazaar."
"What is that?" asks Kolivan.
"It's an undermarket," replies Erhi. "A place where things that can't be sold elsewhere can be sold here. The goblins trade with anyone that keeps the peace. It's sort of a free market to all races."
Kolivan stared at Idruma for a long moment.
"Do you trust Duzin?" asks Kolivan.
"He is a Goblin and I am a Kobold," replies Idruma. "So obviously not. I told him I would take his offer to you. You do with that what you wish. I will now take my leave of you and take what remains of my kin with me. We will be gone within the hour."
"Take your time," says Artair. "It seems all of our arcana practioners have unanswered questions about this place they are seeking to answer."
"Then take these," says Idruma as she produces a sheaf of rolled papers from the folds of her robes. "These were discovered when we came here. Tazex had me trying to decipher them but I had no success. They might mean more to your companions."
Idruma then leaves to gather her tribe and flee this accursed place.
The Next Day...
Hiscubo was standing at the edge of the chasm looking down. The rope in his companions hands conjured images of a worm being placed on a hook.
"Why am I the one you want to dangle over the water's edge?" asks Hiscubo.
Erhi continued to fashion a harness from the rope as Constantine stepped forward.
"Well several reasons," replies Constantine. "You are one of the lightest, you can see furthest in the dark and you possess a ring of feather falling which will prevent you from sinking in the water should something happen."
"The ring comes off," says Hiscubo. "And Erhi is pretty light too."
"Just go down there and see where the water is coming from," replies Constantine. "Also try to see what might have caused the chamber to collapse. We are all up here to make sure your safe. Eelco, Erhi and I will cover you from range and Artair and Kolivan will lower you down."
Hiscubo glanced at the chasm again and then nodded in resignation to Constantine. Erhi placed the harness over Hiscubo and then took her bow and aimed it over the edge. Hiscubo took a everburning torch from Artair and grasped the rope with his free hand. He then backed over the edge and began to walk down the wall. Artair and Kolivan slowly fed out the rope to allow his descent. Hiscubo descended about fifty feet, to just above the waterline.
"What do you see?" asks Constantine.
Hiscubo glanced around a bit.
"There is a slow moving river entering from the north and exiting the south," replies Hiscubo. "It doesn't look like the chamber collapsed. There is the ruins of bridge in the water. It looks like the river was here before the room was made."
"Anything else?" asks Constantine.
"Yes," replies Hiscubo. "There looks to be the skeletal remains in the water near the ruined bridge. It looks like whoever it was died when they fell on the rubble of the bridge. It seems to be the only victim."
"Is there anything of value?" asks Erhi.
"Nothing that I can see," replies Hiscubo.
"What about anything magical?" asks Eelco.
"I don't prepare that spell," says Hiscubo. "I leave that to you. Now pull me up there is nothing else down here and I don't want to wait for something to decide to come along and have a craving for shadow elf."
Artair and Kolivan hoist their companion back up top and help him to his feet.
"Well if we are finished here," says Kolivan. "Lets gather the spoils we are taking and head to the surface."
Kolivan turns to Duzin and points to the exit of the chamber. He speaks slowly, over-enunciating each word in Glantrian.
"You. Take. Us. To. The. Surface. Now," says Kolivan pantomiming the act of leading the group to the surface.
Duzin looks at Kolivan with a perplexed look on his face. Erhi shakes her head and steps alongside Kolivan.
"I've got this Kolivan," says Erhi as she begins to gesture to Duzin.
The meek goblin nods his head in understanding and beckons for the party to following him...