Awake and angry, the Terax lumbered down the ancient avenue in pursuit of Groo, who wisely ducked into a nearby archway. Agra withdrew into the nearest side street and took an aiming stance. The Terax roared and gave slow chase. Coming up the side street was Lord Kendrick and his retinue. On his command they opened fire, splashing the side of the Terax with plasma bolts. Felix Tarse, who had been fleeing, turned and opened fire also.
Below street level, in the puzzle room, Alpha One heard the roar of the Terax. Alpha One shouldered its plasma rifle and headed up the secret stairs. Kitra followed it. When it reached the top it opened fire on the Terax from behind. With a huge roar it toppled, crashing into masonry. Agra ceremonially stuck his spear in its eye.
Return to the puzzle room
When the dust settled everyone descended to the puzzle room. The metal door was surrounded by eight movable metal tiles with domino-like patterns of dots and an ancient Sdara Vatra symbol. Magister Reeg translated the old Nazarian inscription beneath:
No two siblings shall abide
To sit together side by side
Up or down, left or right
Nor corners touching even slight
Once the siblings are aligned
Pay your homage to the divine
Alpha One quickly calclulated an optimal arrangement of non-intersecting consecutive numbers. Not quickly enough for Kitra however, who impatiently punched the symbol early. Soon, Felix Tarse smelled gas and everyone except Alpha One had to evacuate until the poison dispersed. But Alpha One’s combination worked and the door clicked open.
Accompanied by Kendrick’s house guards, they descended a steep metal ramp to a large vaulted underground ossuary, with the remains of ancient priests in niches around the wall. Stairs led up to metal vault doors with a five centimetre keyhole in the centre. Agra inspected the keyhole, but when he touched the doors a glowing diamond portal opened in the floor. A metal guardian armed with a halberd ascended from the floor.
“TAS RAYA PRADINNA! YA BRABDA DANYA ZARKAN TE AKKAT!”
Without further ado, it attacked Agra.
Kitra and Agra duelled with the metal monster, but their blades had little effect on its iron skin. Alpha One joined the fray with his katana but the enemy cyberdroid swatted it into a pillar with its halberd, then pivoted and slammed Agra on the other side, knocking him out cold. Kitra backed up while Tarse and the soldiers opened fire, but the shots glanced off the golden exoskeleton. When Tarse’s pistol ran out of power it was time to retreat.
The robot advanced up the corridor, intoning “AKASSAS YABANNA! TASAS-YURO VANAR VAHEEN GARU!” Lord Kendrick and his men in the puzzle chamber opened fire with their plasma pistols. The menacing cyberdroid exploded and ground to a halt.
The way is shut
Back in the ossuarry, they helped the woozy Agra and Alpha One to their feet. They could find no key to open the vault doors. Felix Tarse noticed a tracery of circuits across the door which he reckoned might be linked to the lock. He tried to manipulate the delicate patterns, but a second set of steel doors closed the vault tight.
“Ah well. the key is bound to be in the ruins somewhere!” suggested Magister Reeg. “We’ll just have to continue our archaeological cataloguing..”
No one else replied.