The Company of the Copper Card - The Company Reforged part 3


“How can we get into the fortress without being seen?” Maxerian said.

“No one can enter into the temple without being seen,” the giant said.

“How many of the dwarves that were taken are still alive?” Alexiah said.

“As they die, new ones are brought,” the giant said.

“What defenses, magical or otherwise, does the fortress have?” Groth said. “Are there any magical spells that protect the fortress and what are they?”

“Yes,” the giant said. “The fortress is protected by an unhollow spell.”

“Anything else?”

“Lydzin has left glyphs throughout the fortress. If you try to enter the building invisibly, you’ll be made visible.”

“Where are the prisoners being kept?” Ahnold said. “And is there a window?”

“The prisoners are kept in the Pit of Toil in the bowels of the fortress,” the giant said.

“Under? Upper?”

“The bowels!”

“Under. Who is girl with wings?”

“That is Findula. She is a lillend, a magical creature.”

“What is your name?”


“Oo. That’s good name.”

“Are there any weaknesses to the fortress?” Groth asked.

Exandolon shook his head.

“How many smiths are there being imprisoned?” Groth said.

“At least 20,” Exandolon said again.

“What’s the quickest way to the pit?” Turk said.

“Down the stairs from the first floor,” Exandolon said.

“What’s protecting the smiths?” Groth said.

“Nothing is,” Exandolon said. “They’re burning.”

“They’re on fire right now?”

“It is very hot in the Pit of Toil.”

“What’s guarding them?”

“The Pit Guardians.”

“What are the Pit Guardians?”

“Large metal beings with blades for hands.”

“Like the metal cats? Is that what you mean?”

“No. Not the metal cats. They are large creatures with blades for hands. Almost like a machine.”

“What are they called?”

“The Pit Guardians.”

“Even I knew that one,” Ahnold said.

“Other than the Pit Guardians, what other creatures or races are guarding the fortress?” Fred said.

“Demons,” Exandolon said. “Steel predators. Duergar. Dragonnes. Azers. Fire elementals. Bladelings. Great Guardians. A fallen archon.”

“How do you get from the front door down to the Pit?” Ahnold said. “How do you get there walking? Give me instructions.”

“Through the portcullis,” Exandolon said. “Through the double doors. Down a hallway to the right. Through another door. Take a left. Through another door. Go a little bit. Take a right. Through double doors. Down the stairs. Through double doors again. Be careful of the symbol. That goes to the Pit of Toil.”

“Who’s in the way of going on this route? Who all is in the way?”

“The chain demon. A mephit. Steel predators. The Pit Guardians. Azers. A bladeling. Dragonnes. Fire elementals.”

“How can the weapon be destroyed?” Groth said.

“I don’t know,” Exandolon said.

“What secret passages are within and without the fortress?” Maxerian said.

“There are many secret passages inside,” Exandolon said. “I am not aware of any from the outside.”

“What secret passages lead to the pit?”

“I don’t know.”

“Is there a way to deactivate the traps that are inside?”

“Yes. I believe they’re a magical spell.”

“The symbol you told us to be careful of: what is it?”

“I just know there’s a symbol to keep people who aren’t supposed be going into the Pit of Toil from going in there.”

“If you were a band of adventurers trying to break in, what would be your advice to do that?”

“Have an army.”

“Of course.”

“With powerful wizards.”

“How are the smiths forging the weapon?” Groth said. “They’re using the smithies by the pits? Is that correct?”

“In the Pit of Toil, there’s a great anvil,” Exandolon said. “The smiths are reforging the blade.”

“Is the great anvil magical?”


“Do they have all the shards?” Turk said.

“I believe they do,” Exandolon said.

“How long before they’re finished forging?’

“I don’t know. I’m not a smith.”

“How much have they completed of the sword?”

“I don’t know. I don’t go down into the Pit of Toil. I believe they will be done soon. That’s what I’ve been told.”

“How did Imperagon get the shards for the weapon?” Groth said.

“He’s collected them over time,” Exandolon said.

“Is he a good boss?” Ahnold said.

“He is good at what he does,” Exandolon said.

“What does he do?”

“Gains power and uses it. Has influence and uses it to get more power.”

“What do you get out of that?”

“Riches. Power.”

“Oh. Wouldn’t you rather have puppies?”




“Does Imperagon control the Pit Guardians or can they be controlled another way or are they free acting?” Groth said.

“They follow the orders of Imperagon,” Exandolon said.

“Is Imperagon a priest, a wizard, a warrior?” Maxerian said.

“He casts unholy spells,” Exandolon said.

“Is he evil?” Ahnold said.

“Yes,” Exandolon said.

“Is Lydzin an ogre mage?” Groth said.

“No,” Exandolon said. “Lydzin is a pit fiend.”

“Does he live at the fortress? Is he at the fortress now?”

“Lydzin stays in his quarters.”

“Where are his quarters at?”

“In the fortress.”

“What floor of the fortress?”

“On the upper floor.”

Ahnold pointed at Maxerian.

“How long?” he said. “How long?”

He gestured at Exandolon’s head.

“For a while,” Maxerian said. “It’ll be a bit.”

He looked at the giant.

“If you wanted to take over the tower, what would you do?” he said.

“I would be very, very powerful, with many magical items,” Exandolon said.

“Imperagon: what type of weaknesses does he have?”

“None. He is all powerful. He doesn’t have any weaknesses. That’s why I follow him. He’s promised more power and influence in the future.”

“Do you know of any way of destroying the weapon or getting rid of the pieces?” Groth said.

“I don’t,” Exandolon said.

“Are there certain times of day when activity in the fortress is less than normal?” Maxerian said.

“No,” Exandolon said. “The furnaces and the Pit of Toil and the anvil are constantly in use. As they die, they bring in new smiths.”

“Is the guard and threat activity the same all day long?”

“Yes. A lot of the denizens don’t have to sleep.”

“If we had to escape really fast, what would you suggest?”


“If Imperagon was killed, would everybody leave?” Groth said.

“Probably not,” Exandolon said. “Somebody else would probably rise up to take his place.”

“Where does Imperagon live?” Ahnold said.

“In the fortress,” Exandolon said.

“Where in the fortress? C’mon.”

“On the upper floor.”

“What is the name of the person second in command that would take over if anything happened to Imperagon?” Alexiah said.

“Lydzin,” Exandolon said.

“Do you think the earthquakes we cast on you, if we did enough of them, would it destroy the tower?” Groth said.

“Yeah, and probably everybody within,” Exandolon said. “But you’d have to have a lot of them.”

“Do you know if there’s any way – there are no spells keeping me from scrying within the fortress?”

“You’ll probably be found out.”


“Powerful magic.”

“But it wouldn’t stop it?”

“No, you looked once before.”

“Why are you so evil?” Ahnold said.

“I was born this way,” Exandolon said.

“How were you born? Who were your parents? What were they?”

“A cloud giant and a demon.”

“You never thought about going against the grain and being your own man instead of just listening to demons in your head? Hm? Being your own giant? Doing good things instead of evil?”

Exandolon looked over at Maxerian.

“Do I have to answer this idiot?” he said.

“Please,” Maxerian said. “That’d be great.”

“No,” Exandolon said. “I have never considered betraying my true nature.”

“Your true nature not very nice,” Ahnold said.

“Probably what he thinks of us too,” Maxerian said.

“We have not done any harm to him,” Ahnold said.

“Is there a way to get rid of the heat in the pit?” Groth said.

“Extinguish the fire,” Exandolon said. “But it will fight back.”

“Are you saying the pit will fight back?” Maxerian said.

“Fire,” Exandolon said.

“Fire will fight back,” Ahnold said.

“We … uh … those elemental shards,” Groth said. “We have 10 aquamarine that will do walls of ice. We get enough of those on the fire, might be able to knock that fire out.”

Groth asked about ink and parchment and Fred noted he had both.

“If by chance you could lead us to the tower, could you get us to your quarters without rousing some kind of dangerous suspicion?” Maxerian said.

“No good creatures can be in the fortress invisible,” Exandolon said.

“Could you vouch for us? Say we’re recruits or whatnot?”

“Absolutely not for most of you. The only reason I would be bringing you is for prisoners to serve in the pit of toil. The three dwarves might pass. Maybe the man. Maybe you. The gnome, he would be fodder. The ogre would be considered, maybe, to guard the front gate. But … they are not expecting me to bring back prisoners. My job is to get rid of annoyances.”


“Why haven’t they come for you yet?” Groth said.

“Because I’ll return. I likely chased you off.”

“How long before they suspect something’s wrong?” Turk said.

“They may not think anything is wrong,” Exandolon said. “But they may think that something untoward happened to me. They will be fine with or without me. Only I will benefit from the success of Imperagon’s plans. Without me, he could still succeed.”

“So they won’t send anyone out to look for you?”

“They may. I don’t know. If they’re as close as they say they are, they may double down and try to complete the blade.”

“Can you teleport into the tower?” Maxerian said.

“Could I?” Exandolon said. “I do not have the power to teleport.”

“Is it possible to teleport into the tower without alerting anyone?”

“I think you could teleport into the tower. Typically, new smiths appear within the tower.”

“I need you to think of something for me. I need you to picture in your mind the pit itself. I also need you to picture in your mind your room … and any other safe area in the tower that someone would want to teleport into.”

“It is very hot inside the fortress. No place is safe.”

“What if heat wasn’t an issue?” Groth said.

“I will still think of the Pit of Toil, but you said any other place that is considered safe,” Exandolon said.

Maxerian could see, through his mind, a large chamber with columns of fire filling an infernally hot chamber. Just inside an arched entrance was a great black anvil with an enormous curved sword atop it. The metallic floor beyond the arch appeared to be liquid. Waves of heat and clamorous clangs could be heard as dozens of slaves of all races labored there, shaping metal and tending fires. In an open blast furnace wherein was the anvil, there was a shimmering hellish glow. A thick, acrid haze hung throughout the room. Large, brass-winged metallic creatures lounged on a raised platform in the corner of the chamber.

Then he saw a room he knew was Exandolon’s. It was a large room with a huge bed up against one wall. An iron chain as thick as a man’s chest led from the wall to an empty open ring on the floor. The air in the room felt cool and damp and there were a few puddles on the ground.

“Can you also picture the quarters of Imperagon?” Maxerian said.

“I’ve never been in Imperagon’s quarters,” Exandolon said.

“Can you picture the door to his room from the outside?” Maxerian said.

He saw a large, metal door.

“And what do you remember about the area surrounding that?” Maxerian said. “Is it a corridor?”

He saw a great hall with curtains at one end, almost like a hallway.

“Is there anybody ever patrolling that corridor?” Maxerian said.

“Yes,” Exandolon said.

“What’s usually patrolling it?”



“And Lydzin. And a pair of steel predators.”

“And what’s guarding the doors to the pit?”

“Pit Guardians. Large metal creatures with blade for hands.”

“How does Imperagon control them?” Groth said.

“I just know that they follow his command,” Exandolon said. “They’ve been commanded to protect the pit of toil.”

“Can you picture Imperagon in your mind so I can get an idea of what he looks like?” Maxerian said. “What he’s wearing, his weaponry, possible rings, necklaces, headgear, belt.”

A vision appeared in Maxerian’s mind as the giant spoke.

“He is a duergar of great power with red scales forming on his cheek and running down his face,” Exandolon said. “His eyes burn with fire. He has fangs in his mouth. He has a very powerful warhammer. He wears especially magical plate armor with spikes on it. He has a powerful shield. He has many objects that can help him to resist some magicks. He also wears a circlet on his head. He has a very shiny ring that he wears.”

“All right,” Maxerian said. “Your leader’s decked out.”

“Is he pumped up?” Ahnold said.

“He is very pumped up,” Exandolon said. “He is Imperagon.”

“It’s a shame Falstaff isn’t here,” Maxerian said. “He could have teleported us in.”

“We have the helm,” Groth said. “That’s why Falstaff’s not here.”

They talked briefly about what they might do. Groth was for going in to rescue the smiths and then using earthquakes to bring down the fortress.

“You’ve got to take the sword or it just starts all over again!” Ahnold said.

Groth noted he could take 16 people with his plane shift spell.

“And sword,” Ahnold said. “We must take sword.”

Groth sighed.

“Yeah,” he said. “You’re right. It’s the only way to keep somebody else from stepping into power and finishing it.”

“Evil sword,” Ahnold said.

“If we had some good questions, I could also cast divination and ask my god some questions about how to destroy the sword, things like that,” Groth sad.

“So, slaves and sword,” Ahnold said. “Twenty slaves and sword. Can you do it?”

He looked at Groth.

“I can do 16,” Groth said.

“Twenty,” Ahnold said.

“I mean the thing is, we could teleport in with multiples of us,” Groth said. “I can take 16 of them.”

They discussed the things that were down in the Pit.

“It sounds like we’d all have to go there and …” Groth said. “Something to think about.”

Ahnold pointed at the shard floating around Groth’s head.

“How do I get one of those,” he said. “I like those.”

“Everyone …” Himo said. “Something’s coming out of the tower!”

“Uh-oh!” Ahnold said.

“You have any more detail?” Alexiah said.

“They look like steel cats …” Himo said.

“Oh,” Turk said.

“Great,” Ahnold said, taking his club in hand. “Are they coming this way?”

Himo saw them circling around the front gate.

“They’re … prowling,” he said. “I guess.”

“We learned that those things can’t really hear or see, as Turk tried to get their attention for a while, riding his rhino,” Groth said. “You almost have to get close to them and then they can sense you somehow. So, they might not be that big of a deal.”

“Will he help us?” Ahnold said.

He pointed at Exandolon.

“Doubtful,” Himo said.

“I will not help you,” Exandolon said.

Ahnold looked at Maxerian.

“Not if it goes against his nature,” Maxerian said.

“But he’ll do what you tell him,” Ahnold said.

Maxerian nodded.

“Good,” Ahnold said. He pointed at Fred. “You can fly. Can you make him fly?”

“I could,” Fred said.

“So, why don’t you make him fly, and you tell him to fly to … that cube over there,” Ahnold said.

He pointed to one of the millions of cubes in the sky over their heads.

“Well, I can’t do it right now,” Fred said. “I’d have to rest and get my spells.”

“Oh,” Ahnold said. “Okay.”

“I could tomorrow.”

“That was good idea though. Good idea. Can you tell him not to break ropes again?”

He looked at Maxerian.

“Yes,” the man replied.

“Well, do it,” Ahnold said. “Tell him not to break the ropes again.”

“Don’t break the ropes again,” Maxerian said.

“I won’t,” Exandolon.

Ahnold stood up.

“And tell him not to jump up,” he said. “Tell him to lay there.”

“I think he’ll be okay right now,” Maxerian said.

“Tell him not to move.”

“Don’t move. Any other questions?”

Ahnold crawled to the edge and peeked over. He saw the three steel predators around the front entrance of the fortress. They seemed to be weaving back and forth and possibly coming slowly their way. He gave Himo the tiniest of nudges, knocking him aside. Then he grabbed the man and pulled him back over.

“Does it look like it’s getting closer?” Ahnold said.

“Very slowly,” Himo said. “They’re expanding their … patrol, I guess you’d call it.”

“Hey! Giant!” Ahnold said. “Will these cats come looking for you?”

“They may,” Exandolon said.

“They looking for giant,” Ahnold said.

“Anybody got any great ideas,” Groth said. “I’m about tapped out here. I don’t even know what to ask this guy or what to do with him at this point.”

“I’m more curious now what these steel creatures are,” Himo said. “What do you all know about them?”

“They’re cats,” Ahnold said, looking over the edge at them.

Turk told him they had faced the steel predators before.

“They hurt, but …” was all he said.

“They pin you down,” Groth said. “They roar and the sonic blast can hurt you. They seem to be immune to all sorts of stuff to a degree. They’re really hard to take down. They’re really hardy.”

“So, they would be immune to what I can do,” Himo said.

“I would assume,” Groth said.

“Are your attacks magical?” Turk said.

“Yes,” Himo said.

“You at least have to have a magic weapon to hurt them.”


“Your fists are magical?” Ahnold said.

“Yes,” Himo said.

“Ooo. Let’s go gettum. My club is magical too.”

“I remember us learning the hard way not to run into battle against something we’re not a hundred percent sure on.”

“We could walk.”

“I remember … I think … all the dwarves dying?”

“Oh, with Oogerkeesh?” Groth said.

“They got better?” Ahnold said.

“Yeah,” Groth said. “Some strong magic.”

“Yes,” Himo said. “It may not be the smartest thing to run straight forward in battle.”

“Yeah, should we‒” Groth said.

“Walk,” Ahnold said.

“Should we pull back and regroup,” Groth said. “Fred, do you still have that shack? Wait. Turk, don’t you have something that would take us somewhere.”

“Yes, I have his rod of security,” Turk said.

“We could pull back and jump into that so we’re safer and we could regroup,” Groth said. “Then, if we give it a day, we could prepare spells.”

“He said the sword almost done,” Ahnold said. “If the sword gets done, they kill all the slaves. The slaves are dying even now.”

“If we go in there and get killed …” Groth said.

“They’re dying,” Ahnold said.

“… all the slaves die,” Himo said.

“But they’re dying now,” Ahnold said.

“We understand Ahnold, but it’s important that we go in as strong as we can to save as many as we can,” Alexiah said.

“Okay,” Ahnold said uncertainly.

“Do we pull back and regroup then?” Groth said.

“Yeah, let’s do that,” Turk said.

“We’re gonna have to,” Fred said.

“Okay,” Groth said.

They discussed how far to pull back. Turk confessed he was unsure how the rod worked. Fred guessed it might be the same as a sanctuary spell. Groth said he thought they should move back a little bit as they might have a magical way to find them. Turk agreed.

Ahnold watched the steel predators. They looked like they were sniffing at the ground and only going in a path that went the same way the giant and the hydra had gone.

“They smelling!” Ahnold said. “They smelling the giant and the hydra! They going to follow his scent. That’s how animals do! They do it that way! They’ll follow us wherever we go, unless we carry the giant. Up on our shoulders or maybe put our hands up as high as we can go with him! We must … he cannot touch the ground.”

Groth said he was going to cast air walk on the giant. Exandolon looked at Maxerian as he started chanting.

“Please accept the air walk spell,” Maxerian said.

“I will accept your spell,” Exandolon said.

They had him walk about 10 feet above the ground with them and they all traveled a half mile or so from the edge of the cube. There, they all touched and Turk activated the magical rod of security after Maxerian told the giant to accept the power of the rod of security. Ahnold looked back towards the edge of the cube as they did so. They all vanished into the pocket paradise.

Ahnold was quite confused at that.