Lydia and Yeti worked together to sell our magic items. She brought me a huge pile of gold and gems for everybody’s shares, then disappeared, saying something about a “question” for Master Bern.
She did admit to selling the wand of paralyzation and the stockpile of reagents we found in the Temple – she says the pile she gave me is the shares for the rest of us – but she wanted enough liquid cash for some reagents and parchments Master Bern has.
Anyway, she’s off, and so are Ezekiel (to the chapel) and Raven (to the tower…there’s a monk master there).
Mikael is teaching Corby and Cuddles some new tricks, but he won’t let us see until they really have them down.
Which works out, because Heiron asked me to show him how I do “that thing with my sword,” so he can “be even more help for you, Master” (which I’ve never been called before – it’s new and different) and Yeti and I are showing him drills until we find the right “thing” he’s thinking of. We’re also doing push-ups and laps and practicing forms because Father always said that built character (although it didn’t work on Reginald for some reason). If Heiron gets good enough, he could use my spare sword I’ve been storing at the inn, now that I have my magic one. We’ll see what the others think.
We all had dinner together again. Lydia came in with her eyes all smug and smiling, and said she now knows “Fireball.” Will have to be extra careful not to annoy her.
Ezekiel announced he wants to hit undead with his mace, since he thinks it’ll help his mace do something-something-or-other – he still can’t speak a whole sentence without catching his breath.
He also says that the “heavens won’t let” him be cured except by some paladin lady named Aliana Glimmersky. Mikael said something about star-crossed lovers, and Lydia and Raven started humming a song I didn’t think a monk would know.
Anyway, he says this is the same elf lady we met passing through Homlette earlier, which means Mikael knows her (or at least has seen her), so he should be able to cast Reflecting Pool to try to figure out where she is.
(They tried to explain how it all works, but…you know…)
Mikael will pray to Obed-Hai for that in the morning.
Well, it wasn’t nearly as exciting as I was hoping. We couldn’t even see anything – only Mikael could. Though Master Geru did allow us into the grove so we could watch Mikael use one of the pools of water there…
Mikael said the words, and waved his hands, and stared down into the water.
He said he saw a lady in plate-mail – with towers behind her – and trees, like she was in a garden. (He also said, “So says the pool” – maybe that’s part of the druid stuff?)
He waved his hands and started describing all the trees and plants – but we realized it’d be more meaningful to describe the actual buildings, so then he talked about the walls he could see in the background and the angle of the towers.
Lydia gasped and said it’s the terrace of the Temple of Heironius in Greyhawk…so I guess that’s where we’re going. (So says the pool.)
Master Osler says he’ll keep our trunk safe in his storeroom, which is nice of him. Wonillon says he has no pressing desire to see Greyhawk, and he’ll wait in Hommlet to see if there’s any action here.
The money-changer also heard that we’re making a trip, and asked us to deliver a strongbox to somebody in Greyhawk. That means we’re responsible, so I really hope the journey is quiet. Master Osler has found a caravan heading that way, so we should be able to travel with them.
Reached Verbobanc with no trouble. We left as many horses as we could, so a bunch of us are riding in the cart. It’s a bit awkward trying to not sit on Cuddles, though I guess his spine is strong enough to take it.
Even with the collar Mikael got for him, most people aren’t used to seeing a giant snake riding through town. We have to take a boat up the river, and although the boat master didn’t give us trouble, I think his crew will be nervous to have Cuddles aboard. We’ll have to discuss whether they’ll let him into the city…and what to do about that.
My birthday! Can’t believe I’m twenty now.
Raven baked me a cheese cake, and no one tossed me in the river. Sure is nice to be a grown up sometimes.
Crazy long day.
We talked about leaving Cuddles at one of the druid groves we passed coming up-river, but in the end decided to see how the sentries took it at the gate of Greyhawk.
The city is definitely very big. As we approached the gate, Lydia told us there would be beggars just inside, and that we had to pay them the right amount – too little, and they would tell the Thieves’ Guild to rob us…too much, and they’d think we were rich, and they’d tell the Thieves’ Guild to rob us.
She says she used to be part of the Beggar’s Guild, after her parents died, until the “Trash Master” burned her face and she left.
We just better not meet him, that’s all.
She wrapped her face up tight as we came to the gate, but most of the guards and people hanging around were busy with another party.
I guess they were adventurers or something? They were five ladies, and only one of them looked like she was really ready to face dangers. The others looked more like they were ready to…dance for money or something. Their weapons were all covered with embellishments and decorative spikes that would be a pain to clean guts from. Oh, and one of them kept saying, “I’m a barbarian!” to everyone, even if they weren’t listening.
I don’t know if they intended to draw everybody’s attention like that, but it worked out for us.
We still had to pay to get our weapons into the city, though. They wouldn’t let Raven have his spear at all, but said they would hold it for him here until we come back. So we decided to let Cuddles stay with the spear – I guess Mikael just fed him a goblin or wild boar or something, and he won’t need to eat any more for a while.
The guards handed out licenses for our long-swords, and for Yeti and Ezekiel’s blunt weapons, and they ordered us not to scry or fight in the city or there would be severe consequences.
I’ve never heard of this kind of thing before…although I guess it’s good that they’ve outlawed Evil temples. Still, I don’t like things that are unusual.
Lydia told us where to go and what to do — she helped us find the address we needed to drop off the strongbox, and then took us to another gate that led to the Temple of Heironius.
The guards seemed very suspicious, and asked us wouldn’t we like to visit the temple of Rau instead, but no, we needed the temple of Heironius.
So they looked at our licenses and let us through (without making us pay again thank goodness!) and we made it to the temple of Heironius.
Well, I’d been developing a bad feeling, since we’d been on the road for almost two weeks since Mikael first looked for the lady in the pool.
A couple soldiers with battle-axes (did they have to pay for those, eh?!) came down the steps to talk to us, so we dragged Ezekiel out of the back of the cart and he asked them about the princess Aliana Glimmersky.
And they said she wasn’t there, and they didn’t expect her to return.
So I did call it…but we couldn’t just give up after all that.
Ezekiel bowed and waved and told them to “be glorious” (they seemed to like that) and we asked Lydia where the princess was likely to be.
She suggested an inn, and we headed there…but when we came back out the gate, she told Raven to go up to a guy loitering and pay him five gold pieces to find out where our lady was.
He did, and the guy left, and we went on through another gate (Raven says he asked the guy to recommend a good inn or something, but the guy didn’t want to say).
The Green Dragon Inn is near the wall between the “Garden District” and the “River District.” Lydia said they wouldn’t rob us, and I guess that’s technically true, though I was getting really low on cash after supper. Raven says it was worth it.
Night was falling by the time a ragged man swung over the railing of the patio and came up to Raven. He said, “White Horse Inn,” and left after Raven paid him, too.
Well, we decided we’d better get there before she left again, so we headed out – even though traveling at night made me really nervous.
We hadn’t gone far before a squad in leather armor blocked the way and argued with Mikael about carrying a bird around. So he told Corby to fly off, and she left.
Then the leader guy started yelling at us about loitering (yes, he had a badge, but I wouldn’t think it was real if Lydia didn’t tell me it was) until somebody threw some silver coins at him, and Ezekiel told him we could stop loitering if he got out of the way, so they finally did so we could move along.
The White Horse seems decent enough, and we recognized some of the people from our caravan in the common room. (Raven said the food looked simple, though plentiful…but of course we had just eaten.)
I made Ezekiel ask the barmaid about the lady, and she pointed out a blonde elf lady in the corner – though she looked different than the little I remembered, and was wearing just plain steel armor.
She also looked like she didn’t want company at her table, so I let Ezekiel go over to her alone and the rest of us found a table somewhere else.
They talked for a little bit, and she seemed to be the right lady (thank goodness, after coming all the way here).
Then came the next wrinkle.
Ezekiel called Mikael over, and asked him if he had a healing spell he could use on Lady Glimmersky. She had a big bruise and a semi-circular cut on her cheek.
Between what I picked up from her, and the bits Ezekiel said to fill in the gaps, I gather that she was questioning a brigand (about the kidnapping of the Prince of Furiundy, I believe) and lost her temper…and killed the entire band.
Then “Heironius left her” or something, and her warhorse attacked her, and she had to kill the horse to save her own life (like Mikael and Corby having a fight to the death!).
She said she couldn’t heal her own face, let alone help Ezekiel…not when she wasn’t a paladin anymore.
Ezekiel said it wasn’t a “paladin” he needed (I mean, Yeti was a paladin, and that wasn’t good enough)…but that he understood a little about the power of the divine flowing through the servant, and so would she try to cure his disease anyway?
Well, she put her hand out, and Ezekiel coughed a bit, and then he could talk with his normal voice.
He called us all over and we got a round of drinks and he told us his story. I think he’d told us before – Mikael and me, at least – a while back…but I might have been too young back then to be a good listener.
Ezekiel the Cleric with Self-Image Issues
He says he was an acolyte – a man-at-arms – in the service of Heironius (he told us the name of the fort, but I’ve never been there) when a strange traveller appeared. The traveller was apparently from somewhere called Torrel (Lady Glimmersky seemed to know what this was – it’s like a different plane or world or something) and Ezekiel had the job of taking care of him.
It’s this traveller that told Ezekiel about the “God of gods,” Ao, the deity in charge of heaven, so to speak. Ezekiel decided to follow this god because, as he says, he was intrigued by the idea of a being who didn’t need worship, but just deserved it…who was “truly worthy” of honor and reverence.
He also says he was a “foolish child” at the time…
But he’s obviously worshiping Someone Good, with how powerful he is against undead. You can’t pretend there’s nothing to it – not anymore, anyway. Sure he doesn’t get spells, but it’s not like I ever get spells, and no one would expect me to, either. I don’t even ask for them.
Ezekiel says the last thing he wants is to convert someone else – or, as he put it, to make another child of Heironius betray their vows and abandon the Glorious Host – (though again, if this God really deserves worship like Ez says…don’t you think Heironius would be cool with it?) – but what he did tell the lady is, “Just because Heironius won’t take you back doesn’t mean you’re done; you’ve been given power by Someone, so maybe it’s time to seek a new direction.”
Lady Aliana said she would think about it – and that she needs a new sword – and then she left.
I’m just glad Ezekiel finally got the mold out of his lungs, after all that. He kind of laughed and said, well, of course the mold in his lungs wasn’t about the mold in his lungs – there was more going on.
So far, Obed-Hai has never turned down Mikael’s request for a spell. We would never expect it. I didn’t even think about someone like Yeti losing that “thing” that makes him a paladin.
It makes you think. Everything I have is a gift from Ehlonna…or someone else. Makes sense to pay attention to where you got those gifts…
Like when Father took away Gerkin’s horse because he was galloping around town and making a nuisance of himself and coming in after the house was already locked up.
Well, no one was kidnapped, murdered, or robbed during the night, so I call that a win.
The Lady Aliana told Ezekiel about a “temple of Ao” in a street near the inn, so he had to check that out before we left.
It looked like a small house, except there was a bas-relief on the front of some kind of face – like the face of Rau, except it had fish surrounding it like sun-beams.
The high priest greeted us (as far as I could tell, he was the only priest) and waved his hands and arms in a funny way and said some words that Ezekiel might have recognized, though none of us understood what they meant.
The priest told us that was a greeting from Abr’Torrel, and that since Ao is a god of Abr’Torrel, that’s what they do.
He took us into the next room (although he said Corby had to stay outside, so Mikael told her to fly around a bit) and there was another bas-relief there (Ezekiel and Raven bowed to it).
The priest said the man who taught him is now dead, but the chapel was founded by some cleric from Celene – also now dead – and it was conversations with this cleric that inspired the sacred writings of Ao.
Ezekiel really wanted to read these writings (he was trying to figure out why fish were such a big part of their iconography, when his holy symbol was a sheep) so Raven decided to visit a temple of Merikka that Lydia had told him about.
I went with him, since Merikka and Ehlonna are probably friends, if not related – and Heiron came with us (and it’s totally not creepy the way he’s imitating how I walk and hold my arms in relation to my sword and stuff. On the bright side, he looks very big and beefy, which means casual ruffians are more likely to feel we’re not worth the effort when he’s around).
The temple of Merikka is small, but very nice – they have a small display of last year’s harvest, as a token of faith that Merikka will give another harvest next year – and Raven donated a bunch of money (and cheese) to further their work. I think they take bread to starving families or something, so that will be a help. (He had a nice long conversation with the cleric on duty, so he felt confident this was a “normal” temple, worshiping as it should.)
The others caught up with us with the wagon. Lydia says the high priest of Ao is crazier than Ezekiel is…and here all this time I thought the high priest of Ao was Ezekiel.
Mikael looked like he was just recovering from a laugh, and said those “fishy” people didn’t seem to be following a god at all.
You might think Ezekiel would be disturbed by all this, but he seems to be taking it in stride. He says he got to the “fourth epistle” – where some yoo-hoo was “theorizing” about the nature of Ao, and came to the conclusion that “of course” the face with the fish around it was what Ao had to look like – before giving up.
The high priest wouldn’t let him copy any of the scrolls (said Ez had to be at least “level three” – while being shocked that Ez could turn undead. What do these “clerics” do even?) but maybe that’s just as well.
(Mikael says he’s glad he didn’t bow to the fish-face after all. Raven says, “Ao knows my heart,” and he was just being polite, as a visitor. Maybe there’s a difference between Evil and Just Loopy.)
We left by the nearest gate and followed the road around to pick up Raven’s spear and Cuddles. A little inquiry at the dock found us a boat heading down the river, so we can start our journey “home.”
For a whirlwind tour of the famous city Greyhawk, I’m satisfied that we got what we came for without being fleeced too badly. Whatever else is happening is, as Ez says, “above our pay-grade” (although Heiron is the only one guaranteed to get paid, so I’m not sure exactly what he means…).
Had to get off the boat because Luna is full and Mikael insists he needs mistletoe right now.
Can’t complain, though…the weather has been decent, and the druids in the nearby grove are more friendly than a lot of them. Also Cuddles was getting hungry, and I like having all my fingers and toes.
Drilling the upper-cut with Heiron.
Back in Homlette, safe and sound, the 23rd of Readying. Raven is in charge of getting rations together (since he’s the pickiest about food) and we’ll send Heiron with him to help carry.
Raven has also been talking privately with Lydia. I guess we’re all working on strategy…since as soon as we’re ready, we head to the second level of the Evil Temple.
Ezekiel reminded us he’s going to try hitting undead with his mace, and so to be prepared to stand back. I’m not entirely comfortable with this, since the only good undead is an undead reduced to piles of dust…but what are you going to do?
I have been given the skill of poking things with holes until they fall over. I can’t make wounds knit together or light my hands on fire or scare dead things with my face. So I do what I can do…and be thankful for what I’m given.
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