KRACK! Heidal winced as pain lanced through his jaw, stabbing all the way down through his chest and even into his groin. The sharp sensation made him stomach clench and for a second he though he might vomit. He fumbled in his mouth with his fingers, feeling for the hard object he had just tried to eat. His fingers were bloody as he extracted it, a smooth white piece of material…a tooth. His tongue probed the rest of the tooth, shattered in his gums. The taste of blood was becoming sickening, another thing piling on top of the pain that pulsed through his body. It seemed to constrict the top of his head, pulsing with each beat of his heart.
A necklace is made one bead at a time, one link of chain at a time.
Korna slipped in and out of consciousness, her mouth felt raw and slippery, like something was missing. The herbs, her mind flittered back to the tea she drank, and the strange man with the perfect teeth. Her tongue slid across the bottom of her jaw, unobstructed, no pain. She whimpered as she realized that all of her teeth were gone. Slowly she opened her eyes and saw nothing but darkness… She panicked, her eyes gone too! But no, they were still there, it was just dark. She could hear someone in the next room, shuffling across the cold stone floors. ‘Halp meh,’ she slurred. The door opened and the man came in, smiling with his perfect teeth…
And with only 32 teeth, it does take so long to make a suitable necklace, let alone anything else.
A Dream Macabre
He had been a man once, a mortal like any other, content to live his days in silence and ignomy. How dour was the world, how drab the skies, even lust and hot flesh seemed thin and paltry. He desired something more…permanent. It was perhaps an odd stroke of fate that opened his eyes to a greater purity, the dentine beauty of the tooth. Perfect in it’s white luster, so well proportioned and shaped that they fit together so snugly and with such ease.
Dirty filty peasants, didn’t deserve such jewels. They deserved to slurp their pottage and slop though toothless maws like some sucking fish misplaced out of water. How he despized them, unknowing of the treasures they carried. How he envied them, him with only his teeth, only 32. He was nto even gifted enough to have more than the usual 32, but he longed to have more.
The collection started small, with old dry teeth plucked from the leering dead skull of a wolf. He grew into a capable hunter, taking game with snare, line and bow. His collection grew to include the flat teeth of deer, the large teeth of bears and even the thick and lusterless tusks of the wild boars of the forest. Yet these were not right. His most treasured were his own, collected as they came out during his adolescence. He hungered for more of the perfect rosebud teeth of humans.
It was not long before he took his first human victim, a homeless vagrant fresh from the Bindlestiff Roads and weary. The hunt was short, the arrow took the man down quickly but didn’t kill. Fear pulsed through him as he pounced on the vagrant, sucking air through a chest wound. It was raw ecstacy as he pulled the teeth from the man with a pair of blacksmith’s tongs. Yet he broke many of them and the man almost escaped. It was his first murder, and the sloppiest of those to come.
The Old Mine
The Mine had been dug ages ago, and the minerals within had also run out long ago. It was a forgotten and abandoned place. Not even the hooligans and criminals knew of it, only the Collector did. It is near the mouth of this portal into darkness that he tends his small herb garden. Here can be found herbs that cause sleep, reduce inhibition, and other stranger effects.
The Garden is small, less than 20 foot by 10 foot and divided into several rows. Tools to care for these small herbs are stowed not far away. There are enough herbs present to produce 20 doses of a sleep inducing tea, a paste that eliminates pain, a powder to staunch bleeding, a curative powder ala dollor powder and a mild hallucinogen that reduced inhibitions and renders the subject vulnerable to suggestions.
The Entrance is small and half choked with hanging vines and thick brush. There is a path through and many of the plants have the look of being tended. The entrance is obscured by their overlapping growth. From a distance it is just another swath of ivy and brush climbing the face of the stone.
The Collector worked for a long time to secure his comfort in the depths of the worked out mine. He kept his tools close inside, and tended the hanging vines to hide the entrance from a distance. There was a path through them, worn smooth by his many visits. He brought many things to the mine, items of creature comforts such as a small sopha and a dining room set, a small bed and other such accoutrements. It would not do for him to spend his liesure time wallowing in mine filth and darkness.
Edvan moaned as he was pulled along, his feet scraping against the floor. The vague brightness of the day faded into pitch darkness, he could smell the fragrance of honeysuckle. Yet a new scent pervaded him, a cloying whiff of old soil, pine resin and something worse, something much worse. He rolled his head and passed out, thankfully, into complete darkness.
The Long Shaft
The entrance to the mine runs straight into the mountain about a quarter of a mile before it branches and starts to slope downward into the earth. The walls are worn smooth and there are old pictograms left over a century ago by the old miners. The timbers used to support the roof smell of old resin, which the weight of the stone has slowly pressed out of them.
It was during this time that the Collector took up an interest in magic and sorcery. What things he could accomplish with spells rather than relying solely on wits and concoctions of herbs. He opened the old store rooms of the mine, and made the foreman’s office into his library and sanctum where he collected his books and scrolls. He was most interested in using magic to hide things, creating illusions and phantasms. He also warmed to the arts of animating the dead and practicality drew him to the elemental aspects of earth magics.
With a summoned imp as a guide, he delved into the black arts and the bodies of his first victims, all the way back to the vagrant soon rose to serve him toothlessly in death. They moaned as he compelled them to dig. Soon, with their tireless labor he created a new set of tunnels, away from the mine shafts. Illusions flickered to life, turning drab walls into plush brocaded wallpaper, a hole in a wall into a magnificent hearth and a well hole in the floor into a glimpse of damnation and hell.
Landri cowered against the back of her small cell. It was all raw earth, she could see and feel the finger grooves in the soil and stone. The smell was everywhere, she scurried across the floor of the room, perhaps to find a forgotten tool, something another victim had left behind. When he opened the door again, she would use it to bash him over the head, or stab him. She smiled, several teeth missing, at the thought of his blood, his pain.
Each of these cells, and there are a dozen in all are less than eight foot by eight foot and another six feet in height. Each was dug into the soil by the cold dead hands of the collector’s zombie servants. Each has a door fastened to it, a work of cold iron and primitive bolts. A thief could easily pick the locks, but few of the victims left in these holes have the skill, or tools to pick the locks and are left to their fates. Half of the cells are empty, 2 contain victims toothless and half dead, and the other four contain bodies in various stages of decay. Necromancy does require a certain amount of ripening.
A place of his personal rituals, this is a large and open space, with the ceiling more than 30 feet overhead. This is partly an illusion as the entire chamber is more than 500 feet underground. Chandaliers of brass and soft tallow fill the chamber with flickering light, though these are completely illusionary. There is a solitary chair in the center of the room, sitting on a raised dias. Next to it is a small table with a worn blue porcelain bowl. Once a rather nice chair, it is now tattered and worn, with stout bands of leather that loop through the arms and the legs, and another band to restrict the head.
Dannica had begged the man to let her go, she had pleaded with him, appealed to his oaths as a doctor and a healer. She had cried and cursed him. She even sank so low as to offer herself to him for her freedom, to do those lewd acts song of in the roughest and foulest of taverns and flophouses. He had laughed at her, insulted her offers and then jammed something cold and hard into her mouth. She would have screamed in outrage if she could. When the blade cut, she tried to scream and started to choke on her own blood.
The Devil’s Toolchest
Sitting on the table is a small metal box, surgically clean in a room of blood, offal and filth. Inside are the Collector’s collection tools.
The Jaw Expander - This gruesome tool fits into the mouth and as the screw is turned, it forces the jaws open. Originally a torture device used to break the jaw, it is now used to force a victim’s mouth open so the collector can recieve his jewels of the jaw.
The Extractor - Another gruesome tool, this fancy looking set of pliers has a cupped shape making them ideal for gripping the slick sides of individual teeth. A step up from the blacksmith’s tongs, the collector breaks fewer teeth with this tool
The Languecoupeur - This spawn of a pair of forceps and a cigar cutter was demonically inspired to sever the tongue. With a click, the tongue is removed near the base, and a quick application of staunching powder prevents the victim from quickly bleeding to death
Paulus work, his mouth burning with pain. He moved his mouth and was rewarded with more searing pain. Something had been placed in his mouth, his tongue traced it, a thick thing projecting from his gums were teeth had once been. The monster had already pulled those with sadistic glee. For a bit, Paulus had felt better since many of his teeth had broken and rotted in the jaw. He grimaced, something rubbed his face. He felt with his fingers…there was something sticking out of his mouth. He looked and say a faint reflection. Hiw cup of water. He scurried to it to see that thick tusks stuck out of his mouth, each was buried deep in his jaw, whipstitched with a lace of metal wire.
Those deemed the most unworthy, those with rotten teeth, and broken teeth, and sickness of the mouth and jaw were given the worst of the collector’s punishments. Once their befouled teeth were removed, he replaced them. In their place he anchored the teeth of wolves and warthogs, thick and unlovely things that didn’t fit in the human mouth. The unworthy were then left in their cells to suffer and to starve. They adapted to their pain, embraced it in the vain urge to survive. When they finally passed away, he raised them again with his magics. These Unworthy would be his guardians and soldiers should his place be found. He would not let anyone have his collection, not a single tooth would be returned.
The Unworthy are basic zombies that have been augmented with animal teeth. this gives them a ragged and nasty bite. This vicious dental armament combined with their eternal hunger makes them quite dangerous. They will attack anything living without provocation, and the Collector keeps them restrained lest his control of them falter. There are at any given time half a dozen of these quick zombies.
There are a number of doors and constricted passageways in the Lair of Broken Teeth. Many of these are booby-trapped though most are intended to incapacitate intruders rather than kill them. Most of the traps are powered by earth aspected magic.
Passage of Teeth - This trap is found in narrow hallways and one on each end of the cell chambers. It is a basic check to pick the lock, but unless the magical trap is disabled, a pair of stony jaws slam together on the unfortunate who set off the trap. The subject takes damage akin to being bitten by a dragon, most often fatal.
Jawbreaker - A rather simple trap, opening this trapped door releases a heavy mallet that strikes the victim in the upper chest or face. It is quite heavy and has rough projections on its surface. Most end up with shattered bones, missing teeth and the like.
Illusionary Pit - hidden by darkness and illusion, these pits can be found quite commonly in the mine shafts as traps for explorers. Each pit has at least one zombie wandering around in the base.
The Collector’s Treasury
located at the terminus of the new digging, this area exists in stark contrast to the darkness and filth of the rest of the Lair. Illusions have been cast and nice furniture abounds, making it seem as if a section of a palace were transposed into this hellish locale. It is here the the Collector is most often found, polishing and cleaning his coffers of teeth. Statues of aestetic beauty line the walls, each decorated with jewelry made of teeth. Earrings, necklaces, broad collars and even sewn into the bodices of dresses.
This creature is the final guardian of the Lair, a golem made of the bad and rotten teeth, the discarded bones and fragments of failed zombies. It is little more than a giant maw filled with hundreds of rotting teeth. With each bite it takes, the room is filled with the sound of teeth snapping and breaking, of small and brittle bones crunching. Once a zombie reaches the end of it’s use, the collector feeds it to the Keeper, one squirming piece at a time.
Combating the Keeper
Facing this monster should be a challenge, as it has no weak points to pierce or break. It attacks with several lunging bites that can remove limbs with ease. It has good defence due to it’s bony carapace and inside the mouth is its only real weakness as the bony remnants and teeth are less dense there.