Dear Diary….good and evil are different

After dinner, I dragged all the dead bodies into an alcove in the second barracks, and covered them all with some sheets. They may be evil, and kidnapping innocents, and serving dark deities, but we can still treat their bodies with respect.

I’m sure they wouldn’t do the same for us, but that’s why we’re different than they are.

Anyway, I must have been really tired after that. When Ezekiel got me up for my watch, I was dead asleep. Thankfully, nothing exciting happened at that time – but when Yeti and Wonillon took over, they did encounter something.

Yeti was watching the door in the second barracks, where Ezekiel and I were sleeping (Lydia took the little private room off the eating area, since she’s a girl, and she had to “study”). Apparently he noticed something orange trying to ooze under the door, and woke Ezekiel up.

Ezekiel tried burning it with a torch – which made it mad or something (they say it started bubbling and smoking) and it squeezed itself into the room to attack them.

Ez and Yeti tell us it’s not very easy to hit a huge pile of living jelly. According to Mikael, it was an “Ocher Jelly,” which can dissolve flesh, wood, and plant matter. I saw Ezekiel’s hand before he got it healed, and the caustic burns were pretty impressive.

Yeti still has some ugly-looking marks on his face and hands. He didn’t explain how the jelly got on his face.

By the time I woke up, the two of them, Mikael, and Wonillon were all hacking at it – Eze and Mikael with torches they grabbed from the walls.

Raven was standing in the doorway to the next room, watching the combat. He looked amused, but I don’t know if he meant to.

I went hunting for some grease or beer to help douse it in flammables (Lydia had all the oil with her in her room), but by the time I returned it was all over, and the jelly was nothing but a steaming, stinking orange puddle on the floor.

Ezekiel put out his torch in it, to make sure it was dead, and since we didn’t need the beer anymore, Wonillon had a mug.

Still not sure how I slept through all that, but that’s what we keep watch for.

Frankly, having weird slime-creatures wandering around, sliding under your doors at night is no way to run a place, I think.

****

If my count is right, it’s now the first day of Coldeven. Everybody had to make the pun, even though Mikael and Raven both said druids and monks who say it have to be beaten up.

My brothers used to say that, too.

Plenty of left-over mutton for breakfast (although it’s cold), and we’re all feeling ready to head out again.

****

Out the south door of the second barracks (stepping over the pile of orange goo as much as possible), the corridor jogs at right angles a little bit, then leads into a huge, echoey hall.

It must have been a banqueting hall or something massive like that – although now, of course, it’s trashed: the buffets, tables, and benches are all broken, and the floor is piled with skeletons. There are plenty of cressets for torches and lamps, but now nothing is kept burning there. It even looks like someone has carried off bits and pieces of the furniture, for firewood, or makeshift building projects.

I don’t think it would have been much nicer in its hey-day, though. The walls are covered with more disgusting paintings and tapestries – pillaging, violence, and rapine – and worse, in between the pictures are trophies…torn battle standards, and mummified heads. Some of the heads looked human, although I tried not to look at them. (Maybe Ezekiel should show them the sheep, just to be safe?)

A number of passages branch off from this hall — one has a stairway going down, but we couldn’t go near it. It’s got more of those creepy runes, and not even Ezekiel wants to mess with them.

We’d made it about three-fourths of the way down the hall (probably took us a half-hour or so, since we had to pick our way through the skeletons), when we heard a voice laughing, far away. Hard to say if it was a voice, or a creature, or what…or where it came from.

Not long afterwards, Mikael and I noticed a party coming up behind us.

Ezekiel came around to be in the front-line when we met each other – and I wish I’d done the same (even though I was standing right there with Heiron, as the party’s archers).

The enemy had torches, and a few of the front-runners (in leather armor) charged us. Ezekiel killed one, Heiron shot down another, and Raven ran through a third with his spear…but they got Heiron pretty good before they went down.

Yeti threw his hammer at a guy with plate armor and a broadsword, who was running – clank, clank – to reach us.

Then another of the bandits in leather reached us, and stabbed Heiron. When he went down, I really saw red – but Mikael got to him first (after felling a guy with his staff) and bandaged him.

When I saw he wasn’t going to bleed out, I had time to line up some shots on the leader – both direct hits.

Oh, yes…sometime in the fight, someone in the back (I think he had chainmail) yelled out, “Take them out; I’ll guard the prisoner.”

That told us there was a prisoner, but we couldn’t really do anything about it right away.

Raven took off across the floor, and Mikael’s pets swarmed after him — I put together that a few enemies had fled, and once the situation nearby was under control, I went to cover the doorway they went through.

It looked like the passage probably headed toward the barracks (that we had already cleared) so I wasn’t too worried about reinforcements…but I definitely didn’t want to get flanked by the bandits. (I also knew I wasn’t nearly as fast as Raven, so chasing after them might not be the best idea, either.)

Before too long, Raven reappeared…saying he had “dealt with” the runners, and they didn’t have any cheese on them.

Ezekiel and Lydia were reassuring the woman prisoner – Lydia undid the chains on her wrists – and Mikael came to get some rope to tie up the leader in platemail.

He was the last man standing…and he didn’t look like he could stand for much longer. So while we frisked him and tied his hands, we also bandaged the worst of his wounds.

Yeti used his paladin blessing on Heiron – so he was back on his feet, and looking practically recovered (says his side is still tender, though).

I’m very glad about that, since I’m responsible, after all…and I don’t have any skills that would get him back on his feet in less than a week or two. Gotta remember to stand in front of him from now on…there’s a technique to rolling with a blow so it doesn’t touch your vital tissues (and even if you can’t deflect it with a shield or something, you can minimize damage by positioning your body right), but Heiron hasn’t had nearly enough practice yet.

(And, as Raven would love to point out, he can just shoot over my head…which is not all that funny.)

Wonillon cleaned his knife (he says he got two bandits) and searched them all for gold while the rest of us were busy. So, with that worry out of the way, we were free to find a nice, quiet, defensible place to talk to our new prisoner.

The woman prisoner, by the way, says, “They was gonna sacrifice me,” and doesn’t know anything about more prisoners anywhere else. She says they brought her in straight from outside, though I haven’t had a chance to ask her where she’s from yet.

Raven led us back up the passage where the other bandits fled, and at a crossroads we found Cuddles and Corby. Cuddles had a great big lump in his body, and was coiled around himself with his nose tucked under his tail.

There were two other bodies of enemy guards, and they were both missing their eyeballs.

So much for a decent burial for these guys.

Raven showed us a tiny room he had found – made all the more tiny because it was crammed with armoires, chests, chairs, a couch, and other odd-and-ends. Looks like it’s a storage room for random things.

And it was better than nothing, so we all piled in (except Cuddles, who didn’t seem interested in moving at all for the next few hours), sat our captured guard down, and started asking questions.

(Well, mostly Ezekiel, of course, since the rest of us really aren’t much good at that.)

Raven spent some time going through the wardrobes, while Mikael pampered Cuddles. Someone’s been collecting all kinds of clothing, it seems, and storing it here…farmer’s, sailor’s, merchant’s, blacksmith’s, anything you can think of. It’s kind of weird.

Interrogation of Guard Leader

Ez asks, “Where’s Bel-sornig?” (leader of the Water Temple)

Prisoner says, probably in the “Lesser Temple,” to the south of here.

Prisoner says he’s not part of the Water Temple, but of the “Greater Temple,” and tells us, “you don’t have any idea what waits below” (probably true).

Also very dismissive of Bel-Sornig.

Ez asks about the guys we killed – like the one who was wearing Lydia’s new cloak with the red skulls all over it.

Prisoner says that was “Fuldrun’s” cloak, and that Fuldrun was in charge of the guards on this level – that he also was a part of the “Greater Temple.”

Doesn’t seem too broken up by his death, though. Evil people are so weird.

Ez: guesses that Prisoner serves “Her.”

Prisoner: yes…and says that “He” (the “Old One”) wasn’t much help when the Temple fell.

Sounds legit…Evil people apparently aren’t good at helping each other out. Maybe they should try being Good.


Find the previous entry here.

Start at the beginning of the Water Temple here.

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