I don’t understand.
Last night I slept the sleep of the dead…almost literally. The only one in our party still on his feet was Kelsier.
And yet…some time, I had the strangest dream.
It was like I was awake, in the room on the second floor of the temple. My companions were around me, and the doors were blocked by benches. Then…
Then the two people showed up. One was bright, shining…so bright, like looking at the sun.
The other was a beautiful woman – older, like getting grey and stuff – but a beautiful older. And she had bread and a jug with her.
The bright, shining one came around, touching our heads. The lady set down her bread on one of the benches.
Ezekiel asked if there was some way he could serve. The shining one said, “Yes.”
Kelsier asked who they were. The shining one said, “This is her house.”
And then…well, when I woke up, I felt more rested than I have in a long time. All our wounds have been healed, too. And there was bread and a jug of water on one of the benches.
Talking with the others, sounds like they all have the same dream. Which kinda gives me goosebumps, but at the same time it’s encouraging.
We are in Merikka’s house, after all. These Evil cultists or whoever they are have been messing with her stuff, and defiling her temple with skeletons and monsters.
It is Good that we’re cleaning it out…but you know it’s encouraging when she has your back, as it were. Makes us feel more like invited guests, than like a band of vagrants looking for easy loot.
(Ezekiel is raving about his message from Ao…says he was told, “When you see the face of the snake, bar the gate.” Absurdly excited. I mean, if you’re a Cleric but you’re used to never hearing from your god, I can see that something out of the ordinary would be exciting…but really? “Face of the snake, and bar the gate”? What’s that supposed to mean?)
Well, with full stomachs (and our wounds fully restored somehow), we’re all fighting-fit and ready to clear the rest of the second floor.
Someone has been misusing Merikka’s house. No matter who it is, you shouldn’t misuse someone’s house…but especially not a goddess’.
Took the chance during breakfast to question the monk. Says his name is Raven, he’s been out of town for a year on family business, and has no idea why there are skeletons in the Temple of Merikka.
Whatever the other elements of the case, he was attacking the skeletons, not us.
What can I say? I’m naturally trusting. (Also as paranoid as Old Man Griff who thought the village chief was putting potions into the well water. Because, you never know – do you?)
Moving into the rest of the temple, now.
The next door we opened led us to a small anteroom, with a couple of chairs and bottles of wine.
Smelled funny. Familiar…and stinky.
(Scolded Kelsier for trying to pocket a wine bottle…then remembered I’m wearing the late priestess’s chain-mail. Probably shouldn’t get portentous about it.)
The only door onward led to a corridor – also stinky. Beyond that was a large room.
First thing we saw (Ezekiel was in front, since he used to be a man-at-arms for the Temple of Heironeous, followed by me) was a table. Man-sized, waist-high, and covered in…well, let’s pretend it was wine. Also had leather straps attached.
Ever get that crawling sensation up your spine? Like someone’s watching you behind your back? Well, that feeling hit me right about then.
My Ranger Master used to tell me, “Trust your instincts, kid.” And then he learned more about my instincts, and anyway…
“We used to store vegetables here,” Raven was saying. “Farm produce. What on earth is going –?”
That’s when the doors crashed open, and goblins poured out of the walls, weapons drawn. I hate goblin voices. I hate goblin smells.
I also hate the way goblins dodge my arrows, the filthy little –
Mikael was in the back, where it was supposed to be “safe.” Joke’s on us. Three goblins piled on him, and left him battered in a corner while Ezekiel tried to charge in to offer support.
Kelsier, of course, started making music on his bowstring. Raven and Ezekiel started beating on goblins.
And I? I stood there, looking pretty and letting the goblins “try” to hit me. Oh, I hit a goblin back. Once. At the very end.
Yeah. I hate goblins and their short, dodge-y selves.
Things looked bad. Mikael was down; Raven the Monk was down; Ezekiel and I were both hit. We still had several goblins to deal with – and then we heard stomping and ringing and – boom! Lancell the Paladin was at the other end of the hallway, falling on the goblins from behind.
He attacked from behind the goblins that attacked us from behind! Boom.
I counted nine of the little beasties. Once they were all dead, we could draw a deep breath and bandage our companions.
Apart from the rack, an iron maiden, and several brand-new, unused coffins, there was nothing in the alleged “storeroom”. Nothing except little secret doors for admitting goblins.
Very fishy. We’re close to the heart of it all…I can smell it.
(Or maybe I’m just smelling the stink of goblins.)
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