Dear Diary…the journey home

ALERT: May Contain Spoilers for the Adventure: “Against the Cult of the Reptile God”

First thing after breakfast, I accompanied Mikael back to the lower level. We know the water will start to creep in, now that the zombies aren’t running their pump, but it shouldn’t go fast enough to cause us problems.

And he wanted to try befriending that vicious-looking bipedal lizard thing.

So while the others hauled all the treasure up to our cart in the over-world, we made one last trip to the depths…

We stopped just out of range of the thing’s snapping teeth. It paced on its chain and barked at us – a sound I won’t soon forget.

Mikael waved his hands and started his chant…but unlike Nori, this creature was having nothing to do with it.

It shook its head and roared and stomped its clawed feet. Not friendly-looking at all. After a while, it was clear that if he tried to pet it, he was losing a hand.

Well, that was that.

We debated whether to leave it and let it drown (or starve), or cut it down with arrows. Arrows won.

It took me five solid hits.

That messy job done, we returned to the others to help with the treasure. They were just finishing up.

Raven asked where our new pet two-leg-dragon was, and said he thought we just wanted to get out of helping to load.

Well, what’s done’s done.

We topped the wagon with a few barrels of alcohol, and settled down to spend the night behind the dyke before venturing across the swamp.

Briefly discussed collapsing the tunnels somehow…but the water should take care of that for us eventually.

Explictika’s lair is finished.

****

19th of Wielsan, Waterday. Got across the swamp.

Had the weirdest encounter, though. As we were trudging along (Lancell and Raven pulling the cart) I realized something was racing to catch up with us. Three somethings.

In fact, the biggest, ugliest leeches you’ve ever seen.

Ezekiel and I fell on them, while Lancell charged and accidentally flung his sword a few feet into the swamp (apparently one doesn’t “charge” while thigh-deep in mud).

Raven nailed one right in the gut with a dagger, and Mikael cracked another one open with his staff.

Nori charged in to defend her “friend,” and Ezekiel accidentally bashed her with his mace. I was afraid for a moment that she was going to bite him, but apparently she thought better of it.

We retrieved our thrown weapons (ahem) and continued on.

Reached the forest edge by nightfall. About on par with our journey last time, when we had to let Master Ramne take his time.

The stars are beautiful through the branches of the trees. I hope our next evil cult isn’t so keen on muddy holes underground.

****

22nd day of Wielsan, Starday. Two more days traveling through the woods, and we have reached the edge. I can see the outskirts of Orlane over the fields.

I’m sure we’ll all be glad of a real good meal, and the knowledge that this thing is finally, truly finished.

Hopefully the townspeople – with Lancell as their new constable, of course – will be able to defend themselves against any other foul creatures who might want to prey on them.

[sketch of bird]

[sketch of Nori eating bird]


To start at the beginning, click here.

Dear Diary…foes and fortunes Part 2

ALERT: May Contain Spoilers for the Adventure: “Against the Cult of the Reptile God”

We arrived at the VIP quarters without incident, and while I mixed up something to eat from the late guards’ supplies, Mikael cast Detect Magic on the jewelry we’d acquired from the harpy.

He pronounced a gold necklace to be magical, so Ezekiel looked over it. He has done a lot of traveling and studying, after all.

As he looked it over, he started cackling and whooping.

“I think,” he said. “I think this is a ‘Necklace of Adaptation’ – meaning it’ll ‘adapt’ your breathing to any environment: vacuum, gas, water, whatever!”

So we gave it to Lancell to wear, at least for as long as we’re in the dungeon, since he’s our front line heavy hitter.

While the wounded rested, the rest of us raided the pantry and storeroom that had supplied the guards and attendants of E.D. We found some oil to help us immolate the snake eggs, plus some casks of beer that looked better quality. One of them had “Fire Amber” stamped on the side.

On our second excursion downstairs, we portaged the boat from Explictika’s lair to the second subterranean lake down there. Or, maybe I should say Lancell portaged the boat.

As he was lowering it into the water, Mikael stumbled and bumped against the wall, brushing away enough mud that a door was just visible.

Lancell forced it open, and we discovered a closet beyond that held nothing but…a little boat.

He didn’t, but you could tell Lancell really wanted to say some un-Paladin things.

The passage was wide enough for us to take both boats, so we paddled out. It led to a dead end and a tiny mud patch, where two chests stood on a platform.

Raven hopped out and checked them for traps, and told us he was pretty sure they were clean.

Well, I wasn’t so sure – I could have sworn I saw a funny-looking hair on one of them – so I checked them, too, but couldn’t find anything.

After that, everybody made me just go ahead and open the chests – with the keys we looted off the Evil Cleric.

What do you know – the first chest had a needle trap under the lid!! But it was disabled by the key, so it didn’t actually go off.

And the other chest was fine.

Note to self: Elwyn can’t find traps.

The chests contained a load of platinum, gold, and electrum – plus a bracelet and some gems. So we loaded it all up and paddled back to the main passage.

There were still one or two tunnels we hadn’t explored yet. The first of these was very narrow – I’m surprised Lancell and Ezekiel even shouldered their way in there.

It kind of spiraled its way to the center where – apparently – there was another chest on a platform. I couldn’t see it, since I was back a turn or two.

Raven took the keys forward to check it for traps, and open it if he could. I heard them saying that none of the keys would fit, and Raven offered to pick the lock.

I’m not sure exactly what happened next, but Lancell and Ezekiel suddenly shoved their way back toward us as mud and dirt flaked down from the ceiling.

Raven gave a yelp as he was partially buried, but he escaped the main support beam and dragged himself out of the debris.

“Well, that was a trap,” he said.

So we abandoned that chest and squeezed back out into the main passageway.

One other little chore to mop up: we had to burn the snake eggs. We poured our looted oil over every inch of the room, and then – as we all stood well back – Lancell lobbed a torch through the door.

Foom! I could feel the heat from where I stood! At least those little beasties won’t grow up to be vicious, Ezekiel-biting menaces.

The last room to investigate held something very strange indeed. All the way up and down that corridor, one could hear a creaking and trickling sound. When we looked inside the room, we saw a large wheel-contraption and buckets on ropes. The buckets swung down, plunged into a pool of water that covered much of the floor, and were carried up through a hole in the ceiling.

Operating the contraption? Five zombies. Apparently flood management is a cinch when you have zombie-slaves.

They ignored us completely…Even when Ezekiel dusted a couple of them with his magic stuffed sheep, the others kept working like little automatons.

He turned the rest into dust, and the wheel creaked into silence. The sound of running water, however, went on – louder in the sudden isolation.

We returned to the VIP quarters to spend the night. The water will start to reclaim this cavern, but not before we’re ready to leave (we think).

It’s been a long day, and Mikael wants to pray for Animal Friendship, to try befriending the little bipedal lizard-beast below.

I wonder what he would feed it if he caught it, but I guess we’ll worry about that if it comes to it.

Nori rejoined us a while ago, and is hanging on the wall by his chair while he pets her. Would she be jealous of another animal companion?

At least as long as we’re killing monsters, we have plenty of snacks for her. I wonder if she can be house-trained, as in taught to not eat people we like.


To start at the beginning, click here.

Dear Diary…foes and fortunes Part 1

ALERT: May Contain Spoilers for the Adventure: “Against the Cult of the Reptile God”

Far above where the sun shone, dawn broke. Lancell and Nori the spider were moving again, and seemed none the worse for spending the night paralyzed. Even Ezekiel had color in his face again, so we headed out in our usual battle formation.

Down the hall, about the turn where Ezekiel was attacked before, the lizardmen (trogs) suddenly melted out of the shadows and fell upon us.

We must have startled them as much as they surprised us – that, or they were consumed with hatred to hit us – because two of them cut down their companions in front of them before we could even engage.

Nori pounced and sank her fangs into one of the stinking creatures, while Mikael leaned against the wall of the passage, clearly trying not to hurl.

I launched my arrow while Raven darted forward and did one of his Monk-ish palm-punches, stunning the trog.

The luck didn’t stay on our side, though. Nori was felled to the ground with a stone ax, and I…sort of…grazed Mikael’s arm with an arrow.

Lancell was dropping trogs left and right, while Ezekiel soaked up punishment until he was leveled to the ground.

I tell you it was my bow, but somehow it slipped from my hand and came back to whack me in the eye. My next shot finally flew true, though, and nailed a trog through the throat… The enemy was defeated.

We bound up out our fallen companions (Raven had also gotten a bad hit on the head – maybe he should let his hair grow out for a cushion…) and Ezekiel quaffed a potion. He also read one of his healing scrolls over Nori, and she popped up, fighting fit again…but then she ran up to the ceiling and sulked there for a bit.

The large room where the trogs had hung out (I counted seven while Lancell was searching them) had a couple doorways along one wall.

Ezekiel investigated the first doorway, and gulped.

When he called over the druid and me, we both stared. The whole of the small sideroom was coated with eggs – eggs as long as both my hands held side-by-side. Through their translucent sides, we could see tiny troglings, curled up and waiting to hatch.

Ezekiel and Lancell talked it over briefly. Lancell said he had no problem destroying the eggs, and I see his point. The surrounding countryside couldn’t handle a thousand vicious, carnivorous lizardlings…that also have a racial hatred of humans.

So we spent a few tiresome hours smashing eggs.

Finally done, we poked our noses into the second side room – and almost screamed.

These eggs were much smaller – only the size of one hand – but there were at least twice as many. Some of them were close to hatching, and we could see the coils of the baby snakes inside.

We decided to search for an easier way to destroy them, and continued on.

For some inexplicable reason, Ezekiel started digging at the end of the large chamber – but good for us he did. He dug out several large leather sacks, and on examining them turned up a mass of platinum, gems, gold, and silver!

We loaded it up in the bag of holding and Raven’s pockets (since he’s not exactly combat fit right now) and continued on.

We chose a branch of the further passageway, and as we made our way down it we could hear a…”barking” noise.

Did not like the idea of a giant, poisonous dog dropping down on our heads…

Around a turn of the passage, we could see some kind of bipedal lizard, about the size of a large dog. He growled and barked and snapped his huge teeth and us, but he was chained to the north wall and couldn’t quite reach us.

Although Mikael obviously wanted to try making friends with it, we slipped past – hugging the south wall where it couldn’t reach us.

Beyond that was a boat on the shore of a lake – just as the prisoners we rescued had described to us. We got in the boat and paddled off, pretty sure what we would find.

Sure enough, when our lights fell on the opposite shore, it was Explictika Defilas’ official seat of power…complete with her rotting, headless corpse.

We landed and dug around under her. Apparently all we had left behind was the silver pieces, so we loaded that up and decided to return to the VIP quarters on the floor above to unburden ourselves. Treasure ain’t easy to lug around, after all.


To start at the beginning, click here.

Find the previous entry here.

Dear Diary…mopping up

ALERT: May Contain Spoilers for the Adventure: “Against the Cult of the Reptile God”

We ain’t very sneaky.

After leaving the elves’ house, we sauntered down to the Golden Grain Inn. Ezekiel bought himself some wine and talked to the innkeeper (Bertram) while Raven and I examined the fireplace (strangely fire-less) and the other two spread out through the common room.

The blacksmith’s son had told us about a secret signal the cultists used to identify each other – putting your palm to your forehead – so Ezekiel did that to the innkeeper.

Innkeeper excused himself, conferred with his cook, and went back behind the bar.

Ezekiel and Lancell hired a room for the night and went upstairs with the innkeeper while Raven and I pretended not to know them and tried talking to one of the men drinking at a table.

The man said that the GG wasn’t as good as the other inn (poor food and lousy prices) but he was kind of in the habit of coming here. He also seemed scared off once I started talking; Kelsier would have done a much better job.

Well, Ezie and Lancell came back downstairs, so Raven and I casually left. We grouped up out of sight around the weaver’s shop, and hashed out plans.

Ezekiel and Lancell had been busy. Once left alone in their room, they discovered a secret door that led into a passage that led into all the other guest rooms (no way to open the doors from those rooms – it was simply a route from their room to the others).

They also found a footlocker that fit the key we looted off of Derrick the Assassin. That had a load of platinum and gold, so I guess Derrick wasn’t doing too bad for himself. Wonder where he’s gotten to by now…

Anyway, we wondered whether Bertram the Innkeeper thinks Ezekiel is Derrick’s replacement, since he made the secret hand gesture, as so he put him in Derrick’s old room (that has secret access to all the other guests).

We decided to send in someone as bait, to see 1) if someone tries to kidnap them in the night, or 2) if Ezekiel is expected to kidnap them.

Lancell didn’t want it to be Raven, because putting a Monk of Merikka in there might complicate things – and I pointed out that I’d been seen hanging out with the monk.

So we picked Mikael, since he’s skinny and looks less threatening than some.

Ezekiel headed in to explain that his “goody-two-shoes” paladin friend preferred to stay at the Slumbering Serpent, and to have dinner.

The three rest of us sorted out our observation posts to keep an eye on all the visible exits, and towards sundown Mikael headed into the inn.

I told them both to scream if they need help. Mikael gave me a dirty look.

****

Well, that was disappointing.

Apparently everybody had a quiet night. When Mikael and Ezekiel joined us after breakfast, they said nothing exciting or disturbing had happened at all.

Well, except that when Ezekiel peeked through the secret door to check on Mikael, Mikael poked him with his staff.

Nobody was kidnapped, and from what we can tell, nobody tried to kidnap anybody.

Group decision is to head to the mayor’s and talk things over with him.

****

Mayor Zacharius has confirmed Dorian and Lluwelin’s story that they were his investigative agents.

He listened to the failure of our trap/experiment at the Golden Grain, and asked to have the head of Explictika Deflias to put on a pike in town. We theorized that seeing this evidence will encourage everyone that the cult is well and truly dead. Those who were afraid can be comforted…and perhaps those who are just acting as they were expected to act can be reassured that the ground-rules have changed, and they can return to “normal.” (Note that Ezekiel made the secret cult gesture to Bertram – not the other way around.)

Oh, yes – Mayor Zacharius was also very worried that the village’s militia is in sad shape at the moment. The constable has resigned, after his participation in the cult, and a lot of the townspeople are gone altogether.

He asked if we would stay on for a while and help defend Orlane from bandits. Lancell volunteered to do his part until the people were in better shape to defend themselves, and Ezekiel piped right up and suggested we write to our friends from Ertuli and see if they’d like to settle here, to bring the population up and such.

(I lived in Ertuli longer than he did. There’s a lot of ancestral land back there. I don’t know. I do feel bad that we didn’t get answers to our goblin/bugbear problems. And if they can’t go back because of the invaders, they’ll need some place to live. Orlane is nice and all, but it’s not the mountains of home. Anyway, Ezekiel’s going to write and let them know.)

When we took our leave of the mayor, we remembered that Kelsier was planning to leave for Hochoch this morning. So we sent Raven ahead (because he’s really fast) to have Kelsier wait a bit, while we headed to the jeweler in town to appraise our jewelry and gems.

[long list of numbers and figures]

We went back to the Slumbering Serpent, where we found Kelsier surrounded by a huge meal and a crowd of rapt listeners. Apparently he was telling how Ezekiel got killed…and making it sound really interesting.

He joined us upstairs after his meal, and we divvied up our treasure. We’ll convert a lot of the gold/coins into gems so they’re easier to carry…

[several pages of numbers and calculations]

Okay, so looks like we’ll all get 50 gold pieces, plus 1,160 gp worth of gems/jewelry. We’ll make a trip to Ramne’s hut to give Jill her share, and we made sure to pay the faithful Olwin for the use of his room(s).

Ezekiel dashed out some letters on behalf of all of us (that is, the three of us from Ertuli) and asked Kelsier to deliver them when he goes to Hochoch.

Oh, yes. We mentioned returning to Hochoch while talking with the mayor, and how it would take three weeks to get there…but he said it was three days. Apparently we got a little lost when we took three weeks to get here…but a trip of three days is much less formidable that we had feared.

(When he asked how that happened, I pointed at Lancell – because he was navigating at the time, and not me! How was I to know he was leading us wrong when I’d never been here before?)

****

While we were having supper, who should come in to the Slumbering Serpent than Bertram Bezuwell, from the Golden Grain. (People have been dropping in all evening to thank us for killing the evil snake lady – apparently the mayor stuck her head at the crossroads by his house.)

Bertram came over to us (looking a little sheepish, but then so did I) and asked Ezekiel, “So, did I pass?”

Apparently Ezekiel really freaked him out when he did that palm-to-the-forehead gesture, and he (Bertram) didn’t know what to do. But now he’s been reassured that everything’s back to normal (and that we’re not enemies)…and he asked us to take a look in his cellar, because there was something down there he wasn’t equipped to deal with.

Well, we’d been warned by others about his basement, so this sounded like exactly the kind of thing we should deal with.

Kelsier came with us and we followed the innkeeper back to the Golden Grain, into the kitchen, and down stairs into the cellar.

At the back of the cellar was a secret door that led to a room with rows of benches. He said they used it “for meetings” (again looking embarrassed).

At the end of that room was a sturdy barred door.

Lancell said we’d take it from here, and Bertram went back upstairs while we opened the door.

Beyond, narrow, twisty passages wound back into the darkness. Ezekiel led the way with Lancell and his shield of perpetual light while I lit my torch (I guess this is why you sleep in your gear, so that you’re never without something you might need).

Really cold down there. We came to a junction and picked one tunnel, trying to stay close in the five-foot-wide passage. Mikael’s so tall, he had to walk along with his shoulders hunched so he wouldn’t bang his head.

Around a corner, a huge snake dropped down onto Ezekiel. It was hard to see from way back in the line, but I think he warded it off with his shield.

Mikael cast Faery Fire on it, while Ezekiel and Lancell tried to hit it. Raven zipped past us in a flash of robes, and swung at it with his monk hand gestures.

It was pretty slippery for being so big. Even when Kelsier ducked forward and stabbed at it with his magic short sword (bonus against scaly things) he couldn’t hit it.

Finally, Mikael got in a bone-jarring whack with his staff, and I stabbed it with my sword…but by then it had bitten Ezekiel and started winding around him.

By the time we killed it, he was white-faced and blue around the lips. When we hacked the snake body off him, I had to give him one of the healing potions from his belt (glad he thought to label them after we identified them…it’d be really embarrassing to give your dying comrade a love potion by mistake).

With Ezekiel back on his feet, we continued on – except that Lancell took the light-giving shield and went in front. It was still unnaturally cold.

Entering another little room or side-passage, Lancell said, “Eek! Undead!”

Ezekiel whipped out his sheep toy holy symbol, and whatever was in there groaned unhappily and turned around.

This room was much more suited to marksmanship, so while the melee fighters were attacking the backs of the three ghouls, I tried shooting them (made my second shot – shadows are tricky things).

Mikael cast Faery Fire again, and Raven went to work with his dagger. Even with all that, it was way harder to kill three retreating and cowering ghouls than you might think.

I guess we can just be glad they weren’t attacking back.

With them dead (y’know, extra dead) the temperature started returning to normal. We explored the rest of the tunnels but didn’t find anything except a huge ivory statue of Her.

Lancell said it was made from at least three chunks of ivory, and weighed 800 pounds if it weighed an ounce. Especially given the cramped conditions, there was no way we were getting it out in one piece…and Raven’s always in favor of smashing statues of the snake lady.

So Ezekiel used his mace and broke it into more manageable chunks, and we packed those out. I suppose we’ll have to sell them and divide that money, too! (No more math! I refuse!)

Bertram seemed very relieved when we emerged, and expressed thanks that we had gotten rid of everything we could find down there (he said his memory was foggy, so he wasn’t sure exactly what-all was down there, and kept the door barred on principle).

We said he could set his mind at rest, and hopefully this would improve his professional reputation.

With that final mystery solved, we can get a good night’s rest at the SS. Tomorrow, we head back to Explictika’s lair – the Mud Pit – to clear out any remaining monsters and made sure there are no remaining prisoners to be rescued.

After all, we’ve already been gone almost a week, and we don’t want any poor townspeople starving or being eaten before we can get back.

Hopefully Olwin will let us leave our chest here again, because I’m not keen on lugging around all my treasure, even though it’s not all gold anymore. Especially if we have to lug Ezekiel’s body on the way back again, you know what I’m sayin’?


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To find the previous entry, click here.

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Dear Diary…detective work

The Cleric of Velnius took his leave and left to attend to his rainstorm or something, so we all made our own signs of respect and thanked him.

We took the chance to ask Cleric Abramo what had happened to him, and after dismissing the newbie monks, he explained.

Apparently it was Misha, his lovely female cleric assistant, who got him involved (y’know, the one whose chainmail I’m wearing…). She asked him to go talk to some of the people at the Golden Grain, and he went with her, wanting to impress her and be nice. Well, turns out his drink was drugged or something, and the last he remembered was being tied up.

They took him off to the mud pit, and Explictika did her foul magic on him. When he came back, he was forced – compelled by the magic! – to do terrible things that he didn’t want to do.

As he talked, he kept dropping his head, very embarrassed. I whispered to Ezekiel to tell him I’m glad we didn’t kill him, and Abramo returned the sentiment.

We asked him for leads in cleaning up the rest of the town. Sounds like the big trouble is at the Golden Grain Inn…though we’ll talk to the rest of the town just to be safe.

The GG, the blacksmith, the carpenter, and the constable were all part of the group – but the mayor told us the constable had resigned, and of course Master Ramne got the blacksmith back to his temperamental self.

As we discussed what to do from here, Kelsier said that this had been fun and all, but he really wasn’t keen on heading back to the waist-high mud (and I couldn’t really blame him). We technically brought him to help us find a gnome, but we haven’t found him yet – and so it’s perfectly reasonable for him to return to Hochoch with his magical dagger.

Somewhere in this part of the conversation, Ezekiel let slip that Kelsier’s a Thief! Apparently they’d had a conversation earlier that we didn’t hear! And here I just assumed all Halflings were good at locks and traps and stuff when all the time he’s been quietly dual-classing Fighter/Thief.

You can see why he’d play up the racial stereotypes, though.

Jill spoke up, twirling a lock of hair around her finger, and said she’d really been struck by what Ramne said…when the turtle bit her, as she was lying there in the mud, she heard him yell, “She was like an apprentice to me!” as he hurled the lightening bolt at the turtle.

Long and short of it, she wants to go ask if he would take her on and explain some of the stuff that she doesn’t understand yet.

So the five of us headed off to interview the townspeople, while our two companions made arrangements for their own futures.

Oh, yes! Before we left, Abramo fetched his armor (he’d been sitting there in his robes) and said that while he was under the spell, he never took the armor off, night or day, and always kept his mace by him – it was kind of a mania – and now, just the thought of it makes his skin crawl. If his armor can be useful in protecting “Brother Heironeous” as we fight whatever is infesting Homlet, he would be grateful.

And Ezekiel, of course, said he would be honored (and didn’t bother to explain he served Ao even though he’s wearing the colors of Heironeous) and thanked Abramo for the armor.

We made our gestures of respect and left, heading south to begin our investigations.

We stopped at the blacksmith’s first, where Ezekiel chatted with one of the sons, who was working out front in the shop.

While they talked, Raven and I got curious about the broken-down inn that stood opposite. It had obviously been boarded up for at least a year, but as I started checking it out, I found footprints – LIZARDMEN footprints – that couldn’t be more than a few days old.

I followed them around to a blank spot on the wall, but obviously there must be a secret door there, so I called Raven over to try his monk-y skills on it (and yes, that sounded better in my head).

Raven pretty much just pushed the wall, and the secret door slid aside. Ezekiel (who had caught up with us by now) took his magically shining shield and headed in first.

I lit a torch, and in the dual lights we could see the place was totally trashed. A big fight happened some time ago…but what happened to the bodies?

We found a cellar door and headed down. In the large room below were a number of crates, all containing fully disgusting foodstuffs.

Ezekiel opened one of the two doors at the end of the room, and cried out as something attacked him. Turns out it was lizardmen – but they were the exact black-grey of the room behind.

When I finally got close enough to use my sword, I got one good blow in that almost crippled one of them…but after that they warded me off with their little bucklers and I really need to practice more.

Ezekiel got scratched once, but after Mikael cast Faery Fire, Raven punched one of them with a special Monk maneuver that made it snort and blink and stand there.

After killing the three lizardlings, we could examine the room they were in. Seemed to be a tool closet, without much to distinguish it.

Mikael, however, found a crate behind the door that contained a sack. And when he opened the sack – whew, a pile of coins and gems! Those lizardmen weren’t so badly off…

The second room contained crates, every one of them packed with fuzzy, blue-green fruit.

Raven said they were just exotic peaches. I said he could try one first.

When he returned to the main room, Raven asked us to give him a boost to the second floor. The stairs were all broken down, but he is a Monk.

We gave him a boost, and Mikael handed my torch up to him. He investigated for a while, and returned with a backpack, and satchel, and a sack.

On handing these down and rejoining us, he said, “The whole place is covered in dust. It looks like the people were disturbed suddenly, because they left all their stuff behind.”

Indeed, there was a sack of copper pieces, a footlocker with gold (he left the locker itself) a satchel full of bottles, and a backpack packed with small clothes. When we went out into the light, I was pretty sure they weren’t children’s clothes, but I’m not exactly an expert.

Ezekiel checked out the bottles, and figured they were just traveling salesman bottles – y’know, rheumatism and stuff, maybe the odd rat poison.

A young man came out of the house opposite where we stood.

“You weren’t in the Foamy Mug, were you?” he asked. “It’s not safe in there?”

“Why isn’t it safe?”

“Well, the trogs don’t make it safe. And the stairs are broken and stuff.”

Well, maybe we could’ve done a better job pouncing on this, but we did get out of him that the inn was attacked about a year, year-and-a-half ago…the town discovered all the inhabitants killed, along with the lizardmen/trogs who had apparently killed them. The townspeople buried them, and never found out what it was all about.

The man thought he remembered a gnome, and said that “the blacksmith had his sword” or something like that.

He also warned us very strongly against the Golden Grain Inn. (Guess where we’re headed?)

The carpenter’s house and shop was next on the road. We didn’t have much of a conversation…when Ezekiel told him that we’d found his kids, and left them with the mayor for safe-keeping, he ran inside, shouting for his wife, and the two of them took off to see the mayor.

Natural parental feeling is a good sign.

Next stop was the tailor. He seemed almost petrified, and only talked to us through the window. He was able to identify the clothes in the pack as gnomish – in fact, from the Starkmounds Gnomes – and Ezekiel promised to return in the morning with a project for him.

Maybe he can help get the mud off our trousers…although if we’re just heading back to the Mud Pit, there’s not much point in doing that now.

Had a brief conversation with a chicken farmer. He seems “normal” as far as it goes.

When we approached the small, neat house near the mayor’s, Lancell suggested we talk to these guys, too.

So we went and knocked on the door.

When we explained that we had killed the evil snake-lady responsible for “changing” the townspeople, the man smiled and said he was glad to hear it, and frankly he was a friend of the mayor who had been invited here to investigate the goings-on, but they hadn’t gotten as far as they’d liked.

That’s about when I noticed his elf ears.

I was trying not to stare when he and his companion invited us in (Dorian and Lluwelin, respectively), and Ezekiel showed off Explictika’s head. (Really, if he wants to keep this up, we should pickle it so it doesn’t start smelling any worse.)

Dorian and Lluwelin say they were getting ready to leave in a couple days, since the town seemed to have returned to normal. The shopkeeper, like the tailor, has been terrified of the GG since the change-back…but the strangest thing is that the blacksmith and his sons were returned to “normal” several days before anyone else –!

Whereupon we explained that that was thanks to Ramne the hermit. Dorian was very excited to learn what spell Ramne used to dispell the charm, but Lluwelin shushed him.

According to them, the chief players at the Golden Grain were the innkeeper (Bertram Bezuwell), the cook, and a shifty character (obviously Derrick, who hasn’t been around since we thrashed him at the temple and sent him off).

Misha (the lady cleric at the temple) had served here about five years before the trouble all started. So maybe even she wasn’t “bad” to start with, and just got roped in. Like Abramo apparently got roped in.

Of course, some people are more “willing” to be roped in than others… We have to investigate the innkeeper and see what else might be afoot there.

The lizardmen/trogs returned to the dilapidated inn for some reason. Bertram and his cook might not have a self-important naga to deliver people to, but that doesn’t mean they’re upstanding citizens now.

Must investigate to make sure Orlane is good and truly safe now.

(Caught Raven watching them closely. They seem to be playing on the level, but we can always check their story with the mayor (Zacharius) if we want.)

Guess where we’re going next? Yes, the pit of Orlane infamy…


To start at the beginning, click here.

Find the previous entry here.

Dear Diary…the things Ezekiel takes in stride

Last night Lancell woke me up and said there was something outside the door. I gathered my bow and positioned myself, just in case, but thankfully it went away after a while.

In the morning, we gathered our gear – and Raven slung Ezekiel’s body over his back – and we headed out.

Something had eaten the bodies of the claw-claw-bite things…and something had also left a million little footprints in the mud by the door.

I don’t remember ever seeing prints like that before, but I’m so glad Lancell didn’t open the door last night.

We led our civilians to the staircase that led to freedom. I think everybody was glad to see honest-to-goodness sunlight filtered down the length of the stairs.

Kelsier took a rope and tied it at the top of the stairs to give us something to hold on to, but it didn’t reach the last ten feet of staircase.

Mikael lost his footing and wiped out…and when I tried to give him a hand, I went down, too – splat. At least we didn’t hurt ourselves, and eventually reached the swamp topside.

Ramne pointed out a route of heavy traffic leading over the dikes that kept back the water – and he pointed out that there was only one such route. We deduce that no other village was roped into the Explictika cult, yet, which I guess is good since it means we nipped it before it spread.

The swamp was slow going, what with the luggage and helping the civilians keep up (and the thigh-high water and mud). Kelsier, as always, was a trooper, and carried his new magical short sword above his head where it wouldn’t get messed up.

There is one crazy thing that happened (Jill probably wouldn’t call it crazy).

I saw this small hill moving towards us, and eventually realized it was a giant turtle instead. I pointed it out to everybody just in time for it to charge it and chomp Jill.

Man, turtles have some mean jaws on them! I mean, they don’t even have teeth – just little beaks – but it drew blood and tossed Jill down into the mud, flopping in unconsciousness.

Lancell leaped forward and hacked at it, while Raven dropped Ezekiel – slop – in the mud and tried a monk-ish punch. Mikael threw his Faery Fire, and as Kelsier launched his arrow (and I readied mine) I could see a gleaming, sparkly outline of the turtle and its weak points – like my mind was narrowing with a hunter’s instinct on my target.

I didn’t get to loose the shot, though, because Ramne waved his hands and babbled some funny words, and hurled a lightening bolt through our midst at the creature.

I think my hair stood up for a second, and the turtle croaked and growled and flailed and died.

“That was amazing!” screamed the little boy. (I’m still not sure Raven should have shown him Explictika’s severed head.)

I hopped through the mud and stopped Jill’s bleeding. Lancell Laid Hands on her, but she was still in a bad way. That must have been one vicious turtle.

When she finally opened her eyes, Ramne gave her the last swallow of his magic healing potion.

Mikael really wanted to skin the turtle (I admit, that shell was pretty impressively huge) but we decided we couldn’t afford the delay. Maybe we’ll get another chance sometime.

Reached the edge of the swamp by sundown. It’s so nice to be camping on dry ground, with the open breezes above us and the night sounds around us. I know I said the Dim Forest was creepy, but after nearly a week underground, it’s practically homey.

If nothing else dramatic happens, we’ll reach Orlane in a couple of days.

****

Actually three days, which is not bad given how weighed down we were.

As we entered the outskirts and the temple came into view, we could see a heavy rainstorm over the temple. Like, only over the temple. In fact, the path from the gates was a full-blown stream, running downhill to join the river.

“Well, well,” said Raven. “I sense Velnius.”

“Who?” asked those of us who didn’t know.

“Velnius – a god of storms and rain, and cousin to Merikka. His clerics have a way of butting in where they’re not wanted.”

Clerics do that sometimes.

Well, it seemed there had been some excitement while we were gone. We headed to the Slumbering Serpent to meet up with Olwin and the mayor before we decided our next move.

Our rescued prisoners were glad to be home – except for the kids, who were a little nervous about what their parents would be like (the parents hadn’t been quite themselves after meeting Her). We left them with Olwin to take care of (and to talk with their parents) and told the mayor of our success (and showed off the head of course. The little boy wanted to see it once more before he left).

The mayor told us a Cleric of Velnius had arrived two days before, and taken responsibility for the temple. Apparently it’d been raining there almost ever since.

We stashed most of our treasure in our room upstairs (which Olwin had faithfully saved for us) and prepared to go to the temple (because what else?).

Master Ramne cast a “floating disk” spell so we could carry Ezekiel in a little more dignity, then bid farewell. He’s going home. We thanked him, of course, and I said that if he changed his mind about some treasure to let us know.

The mayor hadn’t seen Abramo since we left, but who knew what he had been up to?

We reached the temple gates. They were swinging free on their hinges, while just over the threshold a heavy rain was still falling.

I wasn’t eager to charge into a Cleric battle, but what else was there to do? The answer to the mystery lay ahead.

We ducked through the rain, pushing Ezekiel along on his floating hearse, and through the open doors of the temple. Fortunately, it wasn’t raining inside – although everything did look dampish and freshly scrubbed.

We advanced into the sanctuary.

In front of the statue of Merikka sat an old man in robes that made me think of the sky – of storms and sunshine and clear days and wind. On his right sat Abramo on some kind of stool (not wearing armor, and not attacking us – so far so good). On his left sat a number of monks of Merikka.

Anyone will tell you I can blather with the best of them, but there was something about the powers involved here – and the interaction of deities – that made me feel a little nervous and awed.

I forget who broke the silence first, but the Cleric of Velnius (yes, Raven was right) welcomed us and congratulated us on our good work. He explained that he’d cleared out the torture chamber and the dead bodies (ahem – we had been a little careless with our dead bodies) and we showed him Explictika’s head (again, I don’t see the appeal of her – alive or dead).

It seems “Brother Abramo” is not totally himself…but he is on the way there, and working on penance. (So, sorry, Kelsier – we don’t get to kill him and take his stuff.)

Then the Cleric of Velnius waved his hands at Ezekiel…and Ezekiel twitched…and promptly rolled off the disk.

He came up shouting (because of course Ezekiel does): “That was my sword wound, you spawn of a scaly earthworm –”

And then he realized where he was and bowed to the Cleric and thanked him.

The Cleric told us a long story about some Temple of Elemental Evil…and as he talked, he held his hands toward Ezekiel and I could tell there was magic happening. He said it was destroyed by an alliance of kings and paladins (sounds like the kind of thing my dad would be into) but that there were still people interested in worshiping the forces of Chaotic Evil, and that they had maybe set up shop in a village called Homlet.

“Now you owe us,” said the Cleric to Ezekiel. “And I charge you, and those who are bound to you, to visit the village of Homlet and deal with this cult of Elemental Evil.”

“Thank you for all your help,” said Ezekiel with another bow. “I understand. My mentor was also under a geas.”

Trust Ezekiel to take an enchantment in stride! Right after coming back to life, no less.

Well, with the solemn stuff out of the way, we asked the Cleric’s help in identifying some of the magic items we looted.

He explained that Mikael’s new horn is a “Brass Horn of Valhalla” and will summon barbarians to fight for him (has to be blown by a spell-caster, so it works out that we gave it to Mikael).

Ezekiel started rooting through Kelsier’s bag and thoroughly examined all the potions. I’m not sure he really knows what all of them are, but he was happy to tell us what he thought they were. Because that’s Ezekiel all over.

Well. He’s back. Large as life. And as soon as we mop up the problems for the people of Orlane, he’s magic-bound to go do the same thing for the people of Homlet.

And, well, I’ll go with him, of course. He needs someone around to pull his fat out of the fire (Raven snickered really hard at that and started complaining about his shoulders). And that’s what this whole adventuring thing is about – helping people and stomping evil. What else would I do…take the Love Potion and go off to try my luck?

Ha ha. I’m not my brother Reginald. Ah, the troubles that Father and Alpheus had to pull Reginald out of.

I am not like that. I’m going to be more like Father and Alpheus. A hero.

(I’ll probably also die horribly and young, but there you go.)


To start at the beginning, click here.

Dear Diary…the sweet part of adventuring

Took a few deep breaths. Felt a little better.

Kelsier was busily rooting through the pile of treasure, so I pulled myself together and went to help him.

Kelsier, of course, had found the bag of holding, so he started shoveling platinum coins into it – since it made the most sense to carry out the most expensive stuff.

He found a pair of boots in my size and tossed them over. Mikael found some kind of brass horn, while Lancell brought over a whole pile of jewelry to carry in the bag.

After lots of discussion, we sorted out who should carry what. Jill stripped off Ezekiel’s armor so that Raven could carry his body more easily…meanwhile, I chopped off Explictika Defilas’ head and slipped it into a sack. Some of the guys want a souvenir to prove we did the job. I just hope that poison doesn’t leak through the bag.

We loaded up all the items into the bag of holding, and crammed our pockets with gold coins. Looks like we could come out of this adventure pretty well – those of us who are alive, of course.

We returned to the prisoners’ room and unlocked them. I had looted the keys off Ezekiel that he looted off the evil cleric, and it didn’t take me too many tries to unlock the cages.

The prisoners were very excited to hear we had killed the Big Bad. The little boy asked if she went squish.

We led them through the tunnels and back upstairs (they’re kinda starved and weak and slow, but that was okay since we were all loaded down with treasure and Ezekiel) until we got to the lake with the boat. (Thank goodness the lizardmen we killed hadn’t come back or something weird!)

We ferried across in two trips. When my group reached the shore (after Lancell’s group) they were just finishing off a zombie.

Once safely in the VIP quarters, we barred the door after us and bundled Ezekiel into one of the back bedrooms where we didn’t have to look at him and be depressed. Jill got out her magic books, and started studying Detect Magic, so we could find out if our newly looted items were special in any way.

Well, it was only mid-morning (it’s amazing what happens in a short amount of time!) so I started preparing lunch for our rescued prisoners.

Call it a couple hours later when the temperature suddenly dropped.

“Master Ramne, what’s this?” I asked.

He didn’t seem to know specifically, but we all figured it was nothing good. That’s when something started scratching at the door.

“What’s that? Is it cool?” yelled the little boy, charging forward.

I yelped and jumped between him and the door. Between me and the merchant we rescued, we got him to go into the back room to “defend the women” (the farmer’s wife and the little girl).

Those of us with actual fighting capacity lined up behind the door, while Jill took her books and a torch and retreated to a back bedroom, grumbling.

“Who goes out there?” shouted Lancell, because the scratching was still there.

Nothing in the corridor made a reply – unless you count scrabbling even harder on the door. In fact, a splinter flaked off the wood, and a clawed fingernail showed from beyond.

We convinced Lancell to throw the door open…to reveal three vaguely humanoid shapes with vicious claws and gaping mouths.

They pounced at Lancell while Kelsier and I launched arrows. Fortunately, the dripping teeth missed their mark, but he got badly mauled. Raven darted forward and stabbed with one of his daggers while Lancell beheaded one of the beasties.

Mikael waved his hands and cast his sparkly Faery Fire, and Ramne launched a magic missile past his friends into the corridor.

As Kelsier dropped the last creature with an arrow, I twirled my bow in my hands. Apparently I used up all my skill on the Evil Snake Lady, because now I was being nothing but moral support. (Thought about waving Ezekiel’s sheep toy at them, but I’m sure that wouldn’t work for me.)

With the beasties dead, the temperature slowly returned to normal. Raven kicked one sprawled limb away from the threshold and bolted the door firmly shut again.

Lancell “Laid Hands On” himself, and I gave him the last healing potion from the Temple of Merikka.

Later that afternoon, Jill reappeared and cast Detect Magic. So we pulled a table out and laid out our loot.

  • bracelet and ruby ring (not magical)
  • boots (yes, magical somehow – everyone agreed I should keep them)
  • six potions (magical…but doing what, we don’t know)
  • the brass horn – magical (gave it to Mikael since he ought to have some magical prize, and besides maybe he can use it)
  • two ivory tubes or cylinders – magical (Kelsier figured out they were like puzzle boxes, and cracked them open – discovered a scroll in each one. One scroll looks arcane-ish, so Jill can have it…in fact, she can have the other one, too, since it looks Cleric-ish but our Cleric is DEAD)
  • two other rings are magical. Master Ramne took a look at them, and said one was a Ring of Protection (so we gave it to Raven). The other…Well, he made a little grunt or chuckle of pleasure and said, “This is something I’ve been looking for a long time. It’s a Ring of Free Action, and as one gets older and the joints stop working…you see…If you would let this be my share of the treasure, I would count myself satisfied.”

Tomorrow morning we set out to return to Orlane, escorting our rescued prisoners and lugging the treasure that we can carry (and Ezekiel, of course. Not sure what we can do for him, but the least we owe him is to try).

It’ll be good to see the sunshine again.


To start at the beginning, click here.

Find the previous entry here.

Dear Diary…Ezekiel’s Sheep Toy

That stupid sheep toy of Ezekiel’s…

We spent three long days in the VIP quarters, letting our front-line fighters heal up. Mikael and I had plenty of time to cook things with the vegetables from the storeroom, and Raven kept trying to get us to drink some of his looted wine. (He shouldn’t have smirked like that while he was offering it.)

Well, finally we were all healed up, and started preparing our gear to go back out there.

Ezekiel had this little sheep toy made out of sheepskin – he said he got it from his mentor (y’know, the one who told him about Ao his deity). As he was tucking it in the top of his pack, he unrolled that scroll of Cure Light Wounds we found earlier, and the writing still wasn’t faded from it.

“Praise Ao,” he said. “I still have Cure Light Wounds spells!”

Yeah. That was Ezekiel.

We headed out again – across the lake in the boat, past the dead bodies of the lizardmen we killed, and into the twisty hallway beyond.

“Do you smell something?” asked Ezekiel. “Something like rotting human flesh?”

All Kelsier and I smelled was the lizard stench – which is pretty powerful.

As Lancell turned the corner up ahead, he cried, “I think I found your rotting flesh, Ezekiel!”

Ezekiel, of course, was beside him and exclaimed, “That’s a lot of zombies! Everybody back up to the door!”

Well, I was already at the door, since I hadn’t gotten into the hallway yet, so Kelsier and I readied our bows while the Magic Users backed up past us.

“What are you doing with that little sheep toy, Ezekiel?” asked Mikael, peeking around the corner.

Next thing I heard was Lancell exclaiming.

“Wow! All clear,” came Ezekiel’s voice.

Ezekiel. Performing Turn Undead. WHAT IS HAPPENING TO THE WORLD EZEKIEL ACTUALLY HAD A SPELL??

The rest of us crowded forward to where the passage opened into a room, where Ezie and Lancell were laughing and shaking their heads.

“I figured it out,” cried Ezekiel, waving the sheep thing over his head. “This Lamb is the holy symbol of Ao, and He granted us the power to Turn these Undead into dust!”

I looked around, but all I saw was a lot of dust piles. Raven made a holy gesture to Merikka, and Mikael looked impressed, too.

(Someone asked if they were the guards we had killed, and Lancell thought that, from the wound placement and the clothes, that they probably were.)

I…I still can’t get it. Ezekiel spent all those years praying for spells, and never got any, and now – boom, he turned fifteen zombies into dust just by showing them his sheep toy Holy Lamb Symbol.

    

We kept going. The only path onward was a staircase, leading further down. I grunted something to Kelsier about how many levels this “dungeon” had…it’d be just our luck for Explictika Defilas to bury herself under 100 levels of charmed minions.

This time, none of us slid down the stairs, and we reached the bottom safely. There, we found a huge mud puddle, but for once it had stepping stones across. We chose the path with the most dry land, and that led us to yet another underground lake (no boat) and a door, which we got open.

Behind the door…something that looked pretty undead. Parts of its face were falling off, and it shuffled toward Ezekiel and Lancell with a groan.

Lancell stabbed it with the magic short sword we looted off the guard-officers earlier this week, and the second time Ezekiel waved his sheep toy at it, it kind of whimpered and turned around, letting Lancell cut it down.

Coming off the corridor beyond, we found a row of cages, with four human prisoners.

Ezekiel (of course – Mr. Minister) introduced himself and started Raven and Kelsier working on the locks of the cages.

(I was all paranoid that they were mind-controlled, but the man explained when they were taken to the snake-lady and she said they would be her slaves, that he said “no” – and the little boy and girl who were there said the same thing. There was also a woman who didn’t say much.)

The man is from Hook Hill, while the two kids are from Orlane (surprise!) and their parents were charmed by Her (the carpenter – be cautious when we return).

We couldn’t get all the locks open, but that’s when I remembered the turnip sandwiches I had stashed in my pack – and Raven handed over some of his truly terrible wine. Your heart really goes out to those people when you see them staring at that food like it’s the best stuff they’ve ever seen.

Ezekiel gave the man his spare mace, and Raven gave the woman one of his daggers that he looted from the armory upstairs.

We all decided we weren’t in a position to escort them to a safer place, so after giving them food and torches, Ramne “locked” the door in that special wizard way. Now nothing can get at the prisoners, and if we lived we could go back for them.

Yeah…if we lived…

That corridor ended in another door. Lancell and Ezekiel opened it, and immediately took fighting stances.

Through the door, I could see someone in flashy robes with a decked-out hammer, and someone in rags rushing forward to engage us.

Kelsier and I nocked arrows, while Raven zipped around us and threw a dagger.

As the fight spread out, I was able to move into the room and saw the altar behind the cleric – yet another snake-lady statue sitting on it.

Raven tore down the room and ducked behind the priest and tried to punch him (you wouldn’t know it from looking at his robes, but that guy can really move!).

Well, Raven didn’t totally distract the cleric from the rest of us on the other side of the room, because he waved his hands and said some words and then I couldn’t see.

Apart from a few cries of surprise, it suddenly got really quiet – except for some grunts from Raven.

I blinked as the room lit up again – the door standing against the wall, behind Ramne, was shining brightly.

I got another arrow off and dinged the cleric. While Ezekiel and Lancell pounded on the assistant, Mikael ran forward and clonked the cleric a good one with his staff – all while Raven was darting back and forth, trying to keep away from the cleric and keep him off balance (and took a couple hard whacks for his trouble).

And then – it was over. Lancell stepped forward and finished off the cleric, and we stood breathing heavily and looking at each other.

Ezekiel whipped out his scroll and stood over the bleeding Raven, while we checked out the cleric’s gear.

His hammer was fancy, for sure, with the head fashioned like a snake head – but Lancell declared it less effective than what we had.

Ezekiel did find some keys on him, which we took.

Something about the altar didn’t look right to me (and not just in the Evil sense). I was going over that – and the back wall – trying to decide what I was feeling when Raven took the idol and hurled it against the altar – smash! (Can’t blame him, since this creature came and charmed his over-priests and defiled his goddess’s temple, but it is becoming a fetish.)

Smashing the statue on the altar must have shaken something loose, because a wooden panel slid down – and next thing you know, Kelsier ran forward and was helping me open a secret door.

Raven was completely healed by Ezie’s scroll (in fact, he looked a tad younger than he had before), so Lancell and Ezekiel strode forward to take point.

And through the secret door…just inside…oh, my…

It was Her. In the flesh. One hundred times bigger than the statues we’d seen, and that much uglier, too…coily snake body and a woman’s head.

She whipped around to look at us, gave a funny little smile, and stared at Lancell.

They charged. Ramne muttered something, then yelled, “Stay close to me if you can!”

Mikael waved his hands in a Druid spell, and then her outline glittered and shone, like my instincts were honing in on the shot.

She snarled and lashed out at Ezekiel…and…he dropped to the ground like a stone.

Jill fired her Magic Missile (it shot past me all fiery and white) and Lancell struck a blow that would have taken off a limb if the slimy freak had limbs.

With Raven’s loud prayers to Merikka in my ears, Kelsier and I took our shots – and landed arrows smack in that scaly hide.

And then Master Ramne said some strange words in a kind of echoey voice, and I flinched as a searing white bolt of lightening shot past my shoulder and hit Explictika Defilas in her uncanny, woman-ish face.

She shrieked, and twisted, and shriveled like an earthworm, and flopped on the ground with a long exhalation.

I think we all stood rooted for a split second.

Then I was kneeling over Ezekiel…and he wasn’t breathing…and I dug the Cure scroll out of his pack, but I couldn’t even pronounce the words, let alone cast them. I asked Ramne if he had a poison cure (and he didn’t) and Lancell (he has a “Cure Disease” because of course he does, but nothing for naga poison) and Mikael (who thinks he might in like three levels but not yet).

Kelsier was digging in the pile of treasure that Evil Defilas used as a sitting cushion, and came back with a leather bag.

“Look,” he said, and put his arm in all the way, and then took it out. “There’s a lot of gold here, too, and skulls…but we’re probably not interested in the skulls.”

Yeah. Great. Dandy. Gold and new boots and lots of other weird stuff. I did dig through the pile for a potion of some kind, but of course one bottle looks much like another.

And every time I came back to Ezekiel, he hadn’t moved. I don’t think his heart is beating.

Raven folded himself into that monk-ish pose, and started praying to Merikka: “I don’t know Ezekiel’s God Ao, but you know Him, Merikka – so would you please petition Him on behalf of His servant Ezekiel?”

Guess I’ll do the same with Ehlonna.

WHY? So I get You don’t care much about having clerics, since You put so little effort into them – and never gave Ezekiel spells – but then You turn around and honor Your symbol (if that’s what it is) and let a brand new, untrained cleric ABSOLUTELY DISINTEGRATE fifteen zombies, and then You just let Your cleric DIE?

I’m so confused.

Ezekiel was kind of bossy, and also straight-laced, and just had to be involved in everything, and had to make himself the one to talk to everybody (like citizens and stuff) and he somehow thought I couldn’t possibly handle myself (like being nineteen somehow makes me immature) and now after all this time telling me about a God that nobody else thinks exists (but maybe He does? how would I know) after all that he’s just…gone.

One slash from – You Know Who. And now You Know Who is dead and rotting, and we’ve chopped the head off her whole cult…but Ezekiel is just lying there and he didn’t even twitch when I waved his “holy symbol” in his face.

Stupid, stupid Ezekiel, who thinks he has to teach me how to properly check the enemies’ pockets, and properly make turnip stew, and like I can’t handle being in the front with Lancell because Kelsier is way stronger than I am and so what if he is? I’m not a kid, and Ezekiel doesn’t have to be in charge of everything –

EXCEPT NOW HE’S NOT IN CHARGE AND HOW DOES THAT MAKE SENSE?

And anyway, Gracious Ehlonna, please pass on – assuming Ao is the great God of the Gods who oversees everything – please just mention to Him that this really doesn’t make sense and I’m confused so thanks…if only there was a Resurrection or something…


To start at the beginning, click here.

Find the previous entry here.

Dear Diary…Party vs. Doors

The night passed…I won’t say peacefully, because there seemed to be a lot of traffic in the corridor outside, but it did pass. And we were able to nurse our wounds and rest up.

On venturing out, we explored the tunnels to the south and west. There we found some nice quarters with a fireplace and comfy chairs. A corridor back behind it led to bedrooms with…four beds.

As someone (maybe Lancell) pointed out, we killed three officers outside the guardrooms yesterday.

The last door was locked, and took a combined effort to break down. A desk stood in the corner, with a statuette of a snake with a woman’s face.

While Raven was trying to break the statue of the creature that had “defiled his goddess’ temple”, Kelsier found and unlocked a chest from underneath the bed.

There was a swirly, glowing symbol beside the lock, but Ezekiel opened the chest anyway and seemed to be fine.

Inside we found a robe, a mace, and a scroll.

Ramne took one look at the robe and growled. It’s black and crimson – apparently the colors of a spirit naga, which he said is bad.

If Master Ramne says it’s bad, I guess it’s bad.

Ezekiel took a look at the scroll, and gave a thank-you prayer to Ao.

“Look,” he called to us. “Ao gave me the Cure Light Wounds spell I asked for this morning!”

Well, what do you know about that? I’m all for being grateful to Good deities, I guess. Little did I know how much we’d need that scroll.

Well, Ezie also snagged the mace (as a spare) but we left the robe.

Exploring some more, we came to a door that wouldn’t open – but that’s not exactly a surprise down here. There’s so much moisture in…everywhere.

Lancell and Ezekiel sprinkled a little dirt on themselves while them were hauling on the door, and when they finally did get it open a great ton of mud crashed down on their heads!

As I ran forward from the back of the line, I saw Ezekiel stretched out, face covered with mud.

Lancell “Laid Hands” on him, which let him stand up, but he was pretty shaky and achy. We all decided Kelsier should be in the lead with Lancell, while Ezekiel helped me guard the rear.

(He’s got this crazy idea that I can’t protect myself. Like I didn’t leave home at fourteen to live with my Ranger Master. He and Archy would get along so well.)

Anyway, after all that, there wasn’t anything in the room except several kegs…presumably of beer. If we happen to get thirsty, I guess we’ll come back for it.

South of the VIP quarters, we found a boat on the shore of a little lake. Piling in, Ezekiel and Raven rowed us across. At the very edge of our torchlight, we could see the glinting eyes of crocodiles…but thankfully they ignored us and we crossed the opposite shore safely.

At the end of this new corridor was a door. The moment we opened the door, there was a cry, and something rushed us.

Two lizard-like humanoids fought us. Those slit eyes give me the shivers!

And the stench! Poor Kelsier staggered and bent over, and while the rest of us managed to keep it together, it wasn’t an easy fight.

Jill cast her Magic Missile (she won’t let me call it her magicky lightening bolt anymore) which is good ’cause we needed all the help we could get.

No sooner had we killed the first two than the door beyond flew open and in rushed more of the filthy beasties!

And Lancell got stabbed. You know it’s bad when the Paladin gets hurt.

Ezekiel whipped out his scroll and started reading aloud.

Ramne muttered and waved his hands, and the leading lizardman dropped to the floor, snoring loudly.

Didn’t phase his companions any – they just crowded up to the door, eager to hack at us.

Ezekiel read through the scroll twice (he says there was a second copy at the bottom) and Lancell’s wounds closed.

Kelsier was wheezing badly (and he’s not so good with a sword as his bow, I guess) so he dropped to his knees and killed the sleeping lizard-thing.

Raven flung daggers into the enemy (I didn’t see whether he hit anything) and Mikael and Jill went to it with their staves.

When the dust cleared, six total lizardlings lay stretched out, dead. All of us were standing, which is really an improvement if you think about it…but we were still beat up.

Mikael helped me loot the lizardy humanoids. They had money pouches which added up to a decent sum…but not worth coming here just for that.

Lancell and Ezekiel were both in a bad way, and enough of the rest of us had scratches that we all decided to go back to the VIP quarters and rest up. It’s only mid-morning, but we won’t make it very far in this condition.

This place is kind of weird, like “Empty hallway, empty hallway, empty – LOOK SOMETHING THAT CAN TOTALLY KILL YOU!”

It’s a little boring, sitting here behind our barred door, listening to our companions’ snores. (And Lancell has quite a snore for his age.) But we need to stick together. We need each other.

And besides I can daydream about how I’m going to skin that weasel. Y’know…that enormous, so-big weasel…


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Dear Diary…The Dank, Dark Dungeon of Death

By the time the sun reached the horizon, we had come to the end of the swamp path…and our presumed destination.

Sheltered by a circular dyke, a staircase led down into a hole in the ground. It didn’t look as much like a “cave” as I had expected, but you didn’t have to be a genius to assume we had arrived.

Settling down in the relatively drier area inside the dyke, we arranged watches and prepared to rest through the night.

Tomorrow, well-rested, uninjured, and with prepared spells, we will descend into the Dungeon!

****

What a busy morning!

Right after breakfast, we headed down the staircase – Lancell and Ezekiel first. Master Ramne cast a Light spell on the shield for our leading man, so it would shine out in front – and Raven and I would carry torches in the back.

The wooden steps were very muddy and wet…and Ezekiel lost his footing and took Lancell down to the bottom – bump, bump, bump!

We could hear Ezekiel yell, “Hey, guys!” as he descended into darkness.

Ramne, Mikael, and Jill rolled their eyes and started down – only to lose their footing and join our leaders on their backsides.

Raven and Kelsier (no surprise) kept their footing as they followed, and I stopped laughing long enough to also not make a fool of myself.

As we took our time down the creaking stairs, we could hear the clangs and shouts of combat. By the time the three of us in the back had reached the bottom (about sixty steps later), our companions had killed four guards armed with spears.

The guards had nothing on their persons. Jill commented that they never tried to run away, even when Lancell leveled one with a single stroke.

The room was dirt, about ten feet high, shored up with wooden beams that didn’t look too healthy. Given the option, I wouldn’t trust my head to this place, but what choice do we have? We have to get to the bottom of this.

Three corridors led off from the room. Ezekiel picked the western corridors and hustled us into marching order, bustling Lancell into the front with him.

(Probably he’s just excited to finally be in action, close to solving this thing, but he doesn’t have to act like everybody’s big brother. I mean, come on, we know how to do our jobs, Ezie.)

At the end of the passage stood a wooden door. It was hard to see from way in the back (and having the front of Lancell’s shield shining with light throws weird shadows) but I could hear the two leaders breaking it down.

The people in front shouted in surprise. Frogs!

Lancell, Ezekiel, and Mikael killed them, but they whacked Ezekiel with a tongue before they went down.

The group moved forward so Raven could examine the room with his torch, letting me get a look at the frogs. They were bigger than Kelsier, and lived in a pool that filled the room beyond.

Raven waded into the pool, and found it about waist-high. He reached a muddy ledge over to the left, and called, “There’s a door here, but it’s hard to tell if it goes anywhere.”

Kelsier (obviously) wasn’t excited about traveling through the pool, and neither was I. Who knows what’s in there? After all, where did the frogs come from? Who keeps a pool of giant frogs around?!

We returned to the entryway and took the east corridor.

Four wooden doors opened off this passage, and Lancell listened at the first one. He and Ezekiel whispered and gestured dramatically, and then Lancell eased the door opened and rushed into the room.

At the thumps and clangs of combat, Raven followed the leading duo into the room, while Kelsier and I kept our eyes on the rest of the passageway and the two magic users stood against the wall and talked about some brainy thing I didn’t understand.

“Intruders! Intruders!” yelled a woman’s voice from the room, while the thumps and cries continued.

Two of the doors farther down the passageway burst open, and men charged into the corridor, gripping short spears.

While I shoved my torch upright into the mud of the floor and readied my bow, Kelsier let loose an arrow and felled the first man with a single shot.

The corridor quickly crowded with people. There were eight men altogether, and they pressed forward while Kelsier and I riddled them with arrows.

Mikael backed away from the door where our companions were, and Raven emerged, bleeding.

While the two of them fell back and made mud balls, Lancell and Ezekiel charged out of the room and engaged the spearmen.

Maybe the frog spit did something to Ezekiel’s head. The whole thing would have been over quicker if he didn’t keep almost dropping his mace, or missing his opponent and smacking Lancell’s shield.

Of course, Lancell also missed a blow and cut Ezekiel pretty badly. Remind me to stay in the archery division.

Mikael and Raven lobbed their mud balls at the enemy. Raven nailed Lancell in the back of the head (maybe that’s why Lancell accidentally slashed Ezekiel?). Mikael wasn’t so unfortunate, but neither of them hurt the actual enemy, so they fell back to watch with the magic users.

Well, it takes a long time to describe, but the whole thing was over in a matter of moments. All eight spearmen lay sprawled before us in a muddy mess…not even when they saw their companions decapitated with a single stroke did they try to flee, or parlay.

Raven and Ezekiel were our only injured. While Lancell “laid hands” on Ezekiel, and Ramne supervised the first aid, Mikael and I searched our fallen enemies.

The first room had been occupied by four young women with spears…all dead. All twelve were all dressed very simply, and none of them had any personal effects or something to identify them to their relatives.

I’m not a nobleman warrior like Lancell, and I’m not a former man-at-arms like Ezekiel. The smell of human blood and brains does something to me. We have to stop this Evil Explictika Deflias character. Who knows how many deaths are at her door by now? How many villages has she plundered and bewitched?

I can’t wait to get out of this sticky death-trap, but we have to hole up for now. Raven and Ezekiel need to recover strength.

We barricaded ourselves in two of the barracks rooms. Ramne has the wounded and Lancell with him across the way. When Ezekiel mentioned barricading the door, Ramne looked a little smug, and I heard him mutter some strange words after he shut it.

I’m not a wizard, so I’ll lock our door the best I can.

We’ll have some lunch, and ponder out our next move. Taking out eighteen enemies without losing anyone to unconsciousness is pretty good (especially considering our record), but we’re kidding ourselves if we think it’ll all be this easy.

We will end this snake-lady witch if we die for it.

May Ehlonna protect me…protect us all.


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