As the mirrored door slammed shut on Davian Dawntracker, the dim light of his party's magical torch vanished completely, leaving him alone in pitch black.
"Shit!" said Davian. "SHIT! SHIT!" He shouted, gradually concluding that the creature he'd discovered had taken his shape. If his party fell for the trick, surely, they would wind up handing the duplicated staff to Cantankerous. A powerful wizard would never fall for such a cheap party trick, and might react badly. He had to escape, and quickly.
"First, a light!" he thought to himself, and began the magical gesture to bring about dancing lights. He repeated the process several times with no results. "I really should have paid attention to that training," he sighed, before suddenly losing his temper entirely and kicking the door. He felt a sharp pain as the mirror broke and sliced into his leg. "Goddamn you! let me out of here!" He screamed, beating on the door with his fist. "That thing isn't me!"
Beyond the door, the rest of the party eyed the creature with suspicion. Davian was acting very strangely. Although he often feared for his life, and not always glamorously, he usually communicated the nature of a perceived threat. The Davian before the party now pressed his back against the door and shouted "Danger! Danger lies beyond this door. We must lock it out!" Myrna moved to the door to help secure the lock, while Konraad began casting a healing spell. The false Davian had been wounded and bled profusely from a stab wound in his side. No one suspected the wound came from Davian's own sword.
"If it's that dangerous, we'll skip it," DarWynn decided. "The thing is locked out, and the other door looked WAY more relevant," she went on, making reference to the gothic door down the hall, beset on both sides by grotesque metal skulls. "Open that up for us, theifie!" she barked at the impersonator. The Doppleganger mused that he'd have chosen another form if he had known he'd be used as a trap finder. Still, he'd cast his die as a dungeoneering rogue, and would have to play the part. The skulls would know him as a denizen of this fortress, he hoped, and might kill off the inconvenient adventuring party while he fumbled at the lock. The group walked over to the skull door.
Davian had given up on lighting the mirror room. He'd also given up on breaking down the door, having nothing but splinters to show for his repeated attacks on it. A short sword is just not a breaching tool, and that's that. Davian had no magical talent whatsoever, but he had a lot of time on his hands, and that's all simple magic takes. He knelt and formed the mage hand gestures, grasping to feel the lock. He felt a strange sensation in his trousers, but proceeded, eager to be free of his mirror-closet prison. He gnarled his hand into a grip and twisted. The shot of pain buckled his knees as the magic hand twisted his testicles. "FUUUUUCK!" he groaned as he dropped a knee to the floor and collapsed. "That wasn't a doorknob," he muttered, realizing his spell had backfired.
"What brings you here?" rattled the left skull. "Surely you have a good reason," echoed the right. "Show us your reason for this intrusion!" both skulls spoke in unison.
DarWynn spoke up. "We've got to return this staff to Cantankerous."
"STAFF? Which Staff?" replied the skulls.
"It's the one hanging out of his pack," DarWynn continued, pointing at the Doppleganger's back.
"Of course he had a magic stick," thought the Doppleganger to himself. "They'll know it's not real, and attack." He drew the staff from his pack and laid it down in front of the door.
"Prepare to die!" the skulls responded immediately. The Doppleganger set back upon the lock, one hand miming fiddling with the lock itself, and the other fumbling through his pockets for a set of lock picks he would never find. The real Davian had lost them in a fall three dungeons ago, and the Doppleganger could only replicate his victims, never improve upon them. The skulls snapped away from the door frame, floating as high as a man's head in an eerie blue aura of light. They charged into the party, biting viciously at Myrna's plate mail and DarWynn's feline ears. Myrna and Lead Tiger drew their weapons.
As the skulls zoomed through the melee, spewing magical projectiles and chomping at any exposed flesh, the Doppleganger began to snicker. These rubes were getting gnawed to bits and soon he'd be free to sneak out up the ladder and out of this dank old dungeon.
"CLANG" came the report of Lead Tiger's three-sectioned-staff ringing off one of the skulls. "CLANG, CLANG," came two more, from Myrna's sword and DarWynn's claws. Tiny metal splinters clattered off the stone floor as the group chipped away at the floating monsters. After a particularly jarring blow to a skull, DarWynn paused and stared at the Doppleganger. "You aren't helping!" she shouted. "Get him to help us!" she directed the rest of the group as she dodged a bite from a floating skull. She batted again with her claw, smacking the skull against the stone wall. It spun back to face her, but pieces of metal were falling off the side, leaving only half the skull floating. The remaining half opened its mouth as if to speak, then fell to the ground lifelessly.
"Click!" The lock sprang open from Davian's mage hand, finally performing the action as he'd commanded. As he swung open the door, his eyes slowly adjusted to the light, and the sound of combat reached his ears. "They haven't gone far!" he told himself. He drew his bow and an arrow and ran toward the commotion, arriving just in time to watch Lead Tiger dent in the second metal skull with a powerful stab from the end of his staff. A quick scan of the group drew his eye to the Doppleganger. "That thing is NOT me!"
The Doppleganger spun around and responded, "That thing is not ME!" The party looked back and forth between the identical half-elves.
The real Davian Dawntracker had been locked up for a few minutes of silent reflection, and had already thought about this moment. "Fine, then, charlatan, what's my last name?"
No one had said Davian's last name, and the fake knew his secret was out. "Fuck you, that's my last name! I'm the real one!"
Konraad moved menacingly toward the Doppleganger, already suspicious of the monster's behavior.
"What was your first major mistake after we met?" asked DarWynn. "I spilled all my shit, sneaking up on nothing," answered the real Davian, referring to the loss of his lock and trap tools. She, too, turned to face the Doppleganger.
"Damn you all, I'm going free!" Screamed the Doppleganger, charging backwards through the hallway and through the party. DarWynn tripped him up, and Myrna, Lead Tiger, and Konraad set upon him as he tried to run. Davian aimed an arrow at the creature, but never needed to fire it. He relaxed his bowstring and looked down and away as his friends hacked away at a very authentic replica of himself, unsettled by the thought of his own demise. "You guys were a little TOO eager to kill that thing, I think," he joked, trying to regain his usual demeanor. He drew a bottle from his bag and drank at the disturbing encounter. "We should barricade up in that empty room," said Konraad. I think we've had enough for today.
As the party awakened, they found DarWynn falling-down drunk. "She didn't drink MY booze," said Davian, producing nearly full bottles, one his own, and the other scrounged from the Doppleganger. "Do we even carry any more booze?" asked Konraad. "She's in a bad way. We can't drag her along like this, and there's no way we can continue." "She's a bard! You can sing drunk," dismissed Davian. "I've seen plenty of 'em do it." "She's also one of the toughest in the group," argued Konraad. "We would hurt our chances in a fight."
Lead Tiger would later learn that DarWynn had traveled to another plane that night in a dream, and that her God, Kaden, had blessed her with intoxication. This translated into a major hangover, though, and cost the group a day's time in her recovery. They would remake their barricade and stay another night in the empty dungeon room.
DarWynn's hangover had finally subsided, and Davian had collected his composure over watching his friends kill him. He had even drawn a big picture of the shape of the keyhole to help the group commit it to memory. "We have to find this thing, next," he reminded DarWynn as she came around, lying in a pool of vomit, a souvenir from her extra-planar drinking binge. "Let's do it!" She agreed as she hopped up.
The party first inspected the mirror closet that originally trapped Davian, breaking all the mirrors in case there was a connection between them and the Doppleganger. Upon opening and entering the room's only other door, they came into another room featuring one more door and a long hallway. The sound of trickling water filled the room. When they opened the door, the next chamber dropped off into a subterranean lake. As they discussed the quality of the water among themselves, a light appeared atop what looked like a floating dock about 40 feet out into the lake. The light circled the dock a few times as a large lightning bug might, then grew larger as it flew towards them.
"Help!" shouted the fairy. "My master is ill! He lies upon the dock, in need of our assistance!" Konraad, having not really even trusted the Doppleganger, narrowed his eyes at the creature. "Who is your master?"
"Riggore!" said the fairy, proudly. "Riggore needs our help."
In the dim light, the party could make out the form of a man lying prone on the dock, and a small rowboat next to him, floating, but not moored. "Must be Riggore," said Davian. "I guess we have to help him- I got my Doppleganger's 30 gold that says he knows how to open the door." Davian tossed a grappling hook, tied to his rope, into the boat and dragged it back, mock gesturing as a gentleman for DarWynn. "You're getting in the boat."
DarWynn, still lightly dazed from her drunk, jumped right in the boat and started paddling with a plank. As she got off the boat onto the dock, Riggore stirred. "You okay?" Asked DarWynn, to no reply from Riggore. DarWynn had taken the fairy at his word, and prepared a healing spell for Riggore. She placed her hands on his hooded head and channeled the healing magic into his body.
"Uuuhhhhhr" uttered Riggore, in an inhuman, ethereal voice. "Feeling better?" Asked DarWynn innocently, only to recoil in horror as Riggore's head spun around, revealing an undead visage. Riggore died a long time before the party's arrival, and whatever was left was not interested in making friends. Riggore swatted away DarWynn's hand, taking a chunk of flesh off in the process. DarWynn shrieked in pain, and only then did the party ashore understand the danger.
"Get in the boat!" Shouted Davian, triggering a plan he thought he's made very clear. The idea had been to reel the boat back in if anything strange happened, and something strange was happening. "Is she in the boat?" He asked. "I can't tell," said Myrna. "I'm going in." Myrna waded into the waist-high black water. "That is not what we discussed!" plead Davian, as the other companions paraded past him into the sludge. "I can pull her back on the boat!"
As the party arrived at the dock and climbed aboard, DarWynn traded punches with the undead creature. Myrna still harbored some hope of executing the escape plan, and pulled DarWynn down into the boat, but dropped her and flipped her over the side with a big splash. Riggore sought a new target in Lead Tiger, and jumped off the dock. Davian, having heard the sound of footsteps in the boat, pulled the boat backwards with his rope, only to find it empty. "Damn it," he muttered. "I'm going in."
As Davian waded into the water, Riggore pounced toward Lead Tiger and narrowly missed him. "That thing is spry!" shouted Davian. With his new found confidence in basic magic, he tried to form "disrupt undead" with a gesture, and nothing happened. He tried several more times as Riggore pounded away at his companions, all of whom were surrounding Riggore against a wall. The skeletal figure aptly defended itself from a flurry of melee attacks, knocking DarWynn unconscious, then Lead Tiger.
With two companions down, retreat seemed the only realistic tactic until inspiration struck. Riggore's robe had torn open in combat, revealing a key hanging from his neck matching that of the skull door. With renewed vigor, Konraad, Myrna, and Davian flanked Riggore and hacked him down. Myrna dealt the killing blow, splintering the ancient rib cage to bits and silencing the hollow, undead voice forever.
The party had to retire to the empty room again to administer first aid to the injured. They woke up in a grim mood, each hoping the door didn't contain anything else like Riggore. A lust for adventure, though muted, urged each of them on as they opened the skull door, to reveal a series of turnstiles. The turnstiles, when worked in unison by four able-bodied men, would lower a hidden staircase from the ceiling. Although the party struggled at times to spin the turnstiles, they succeeded and ascended the stairs.