Chapter 26

It was sometime later when Oren brought up his plan. “Martell, I don’t think what I do is an enchantment. I just need to focus to get outside the door. Will you be ok while I go and find a light source so I can get you out of here?”
“Sure, not like there is anything else in here.”
“Okay, I will let you know when I am outside the door.” Oren’s attempt to move beyond the door worked perfectly. However, his staff stayed behind, he assumed that must have been blocked because of its enchantments.
“I will be back for you Martell.” Oren spoke as he fumbled around the room. He wasn’t even sure where in Erridda they had been locked in. It may be where they found Lady Nattan or a completely new place.
His hands ran along the wall ahead of him grasping in hopes of preventing a run in with the walls. He found a door, but passed on going inside. He was trying to make a map in his head as he made his way, so the fewer rooms the better.
This process went on for several hours with him slowly working out that they were in no place they had seen on the way down. He found a stairwell and went up to the next level. It was still dark, but shortly after the stairs found the remains of a door and its hinges hanging to the wall. Was this the door where Lady Nattan had busted through?
He worked his way around the perimeter of the room slowly. There was definitely rubble strewn across the floor. He felt around on the floor and after what seemed like an eternity found one of the torches that they had had with them. That was a step in the right direction; now he needed something to light it with. If only he had asked Tabia to leave them the flint and steel.
With that, he now proceeded to search the walls for a small cabinet like Tabia had retrieved her set from. There was none in the current room. He preceded up the stairs another level to the first level of the basement. He turned down the hall to where they had not previously been. It was here he found a cabinet on the wall. Inside were flint and steel along with some other materials, possibly what Oren would need for another torch, if they had not gone bad.
Oren lit the torch and waited a bit for his eyes to adjust to the change in light. As he adjusted to the light he could see the decoration in the room. The room was laid out like the other with two altars. This one had a one side with flames and various shades of red across it. From the remnants of the statue on this side, the clothing the figure wore a tabard with two flames rising above a castle. The other side of the room was decorated in lightning running down from the ceiling to an anvil on the wall. Under the anvil were fields of gray, maybe dust or ash. There was another statue destroyed on this side as well. The figure on this side had wielded a hammer similar to one used by a blacksmith. There was nothing else he could determine about the figures here.
Oren went over and checked the other materials that were in the cabinet. They all still seemed functional so he brought them with. It was time to go back and get Martell. He hastened his way back down to her.
When he got down to the door, he called out, “Martell, I am back. Are you alright in there?”
There was a pause before he saw her face at the door. “Yes, now get me out.”
Oren looked at the door. This was going to take some time; Oren did not feel the need to ponder where Nattan and her men had gotten the locks to reseal the door. “Martell, you know anything about picking locks?”
“No, situation has never come up for me to break out of a place. I have always been more concerned about my wellbeing in combat, not so much concerned about being locked up.”
“Have any lock picks or small pieces of metal I can tinker around the lock with?” Oren asked.
“No, can’t help you there either.” The humor in Martell’s voice was fading.
Looking around the room Oren saw a place to at least hang his torch. He put it in its fixture and started to look around the room. He put together another torch with the materials he had found upstairs and lit it. He then went to go check out the other room on this floor. Inside he found it with book lined walls. If he was not trying to rescue Martell, he could have been lost for hours in here. He quickly perused the titles. They covered history of the Drémore kingdom along with some prayer books to each of the gods. There was also candleholder on a table and a box of candles. There was nothing to light them with.
This may have been the library Katsutaka and his assistant had been referring to. He relayed his finding to Martell and expressed that they may need to peruse this collection before they departed. She agreed with his assessment. It was around this time Martell confessed she was getting hungry. Oren would have to go out and find some food for both of them.
Oren exited into the courtyard; the place was strewn with rubble from destroyed statues. There were still a few statues that remained standing, presumably the ones that did not animate themselves. The doors out of the stronghold were open again. Oren climbed up to the second floor to look out and get a feel of who was left around outside the gate. When he looked out the windows he saw that all of Lady Nattan’s men had taken off. He made a quick stop back at the armory to grab a sword in case anyone was still out there.
Oren left the stronghold in order to go get their horse and what supplies they had left. They still had some food in the packs. Also, they did have a couple tools, maybe something to open the doors with. He found their horse and belongings where they left them. After returning to the stronghold, horse in tow, He proceeded to look through what was left behind by the departed knights. He found a bit more food, along with a couple tents, three more torches, and Martell’s other two swords.
Once he had collected everything necessary, Oren closed the gates to the stronghold and started a small fire inside the walls. He wanted to have it going before night came. At this point he was not worried about Nattan’s return. As soon as he had the flames going there was a knock at the gate. Oren headed over to see who was knocking with a sword at the ready.
“Oren you in there?” a familiar voice asked.
“Yes, and you are?”
“It is me, Teman. I wanted to see if you were ok. There was a large group of men that headed down the road away from here. They did not all look in the best of shape. I was coming to see if I could benefit from your excursion here while Devlin took care at Abbysta.”
Oren cautiously opened the gate. He saw the same short, black haired man he had left at Abbysta. He had two dead rabbits slung over his shoulder. “Get in quick, I was about to barricade the gate for the night.”
Teman slipped in and Oren shut the door, slipping a cross in order to seal the gate. “Where is Martell? Is she busy with preparing dinner?”
“No, but I am glad you are here we need help getting her out of a room.”
“Oh? Did you trigger a trap?”
“It was our reward for roughing up the party that left here. Well, really, it is more complex than that. I will explain on the way to where she is.”
They arrived in the room outside where Martell was locked up. Teman took a look at the door and let out a whistle. “You, friends, got yourself a big dilemma if you had not run across me. Those locks are not going to bend to any enchantment. Sure, any one of those chains on their own and you could use one means or another to break. No, this is going to take mechanical know how.” Teman was running his hands down the chains, as if sensing from them the wards on them. He picked up one of the locks and examined it. “Quality locks too. Looks like height of the Drémores’ time. Still better than many made today. This will take some time.”
“You sound so encouraging,” Martell quipped.
“Well let’s get started. Oren if you can handle getting us all some food, that will help all of us. Feel free to use one of the critters I brought to bulk up whatever it is you make.” With that, Teman unfurled his collection of lock picks and started to probe the lock and figure out how to open it.
It was after preparing them all dinner and while Teman had a ways to go on freeing Martell that Oren sat in the small room. On a wooden stool he sat, with candle light coating the table, while he opened the books on the history of Drémore. It was nice of the person who shelved them to have left them in order. Oren would have preferred to read from the start, as history works best in context of what came before it, even if biased by the author. He did not have a luxury to do so at this time. He went to the last couple of tomes till he could find something on Iseb. His goal was to determine if Lady Nattan was crazy or actually telling the truth about the fall of the Drémore Kingdom and if someone had written of her incarceration.

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