Dear Diary….because everything happens to us

It wasn’t over when the last salamander hit the floor.

While Wonillon ran back to help Raven tie up the evil priest (Raven smacked him around a bit to make him more pliable) and Ezekiel helped finish off the second werewolf, Lydia kind of sat down on the floor next to the fire-pit.

Mikael ran over to Ezekiel and said something in his ear, and then Ezekiel told me to grab any valuables from the bugbears as quick as possible because we had to get Lydia some help. After all, she’d been mauled pretty badly by the werewolf, and Mikael though a Druid of the Twelfth Circle or something like that could cure her if we got there super fast.

Lydia seemed really shaken up, and was crying a little, and looking at her silver dagger…but Mikael told her if we were quick we could maybe fix things.

I was still trying to decide if all my organs were in the right places, and wasn’t sure that we should spend time to search all the charred bodies if Lydia was really in danger of trying to eat us…but, well, Ezekiel was kind of insistent that we might need the money for a cure.

(Lydia suggested we might need the money for a Raise Dead, but we shushed her.)

(Mikael pointed out that he has lots of money, and helping his friend would surely be a worthy cause to spend it on – so we would have been fine either way. Anyway, I collected a bunch of money and jewelry from the humanoids we Lydia killed, and we confiscated the priest’s armor and weapons (two hammers, a scroll in a case, and a magic shield and chainmail).

Ezekiel went and got Heiron and the rescued prisoners (they were locked into one of the little rooms…I’m so proud).

We put Wonillon in charge of the priest-prisoner, and he asked him what his precautions against lycanthropy were. I think he and Ezekiel were a little rough, but sounds like the priest didn’t really think that possibility through. They did get him to tell them a bit more about the structure of the Temple – the bugbears in black were “delegates” from the “Greater Temple,” here to see if the Fire Temple was up to snuff, and worthy of more resources. Also more blather about how “those below are different” and only the wimpiest of the “Greater Temple” were working up on the elemental level.

The rescued prisoners – the four elves were all traveling to Greyhawk from Celene, but got jumped on the road and held by the Water Temple – that is, until this Fire Priest (Alrun) took over. The lady elf who spoke for them thought he wanted to sacrifice them to summon an efrete (Ezekiel seemed to know what that was).

Of the human prisoners, two were merchants from the Nulb area (Nulb may be grungy, but they seem to suffer the brunt of the kidnappings from the Temple).

The third one, according to Cleric Alrun, is a disobedient servant of the Fire Temple. I would believe it – Evil does tend to eat itself – but he won’t give an answer for himself.

The elves grabbed some weapons on our way out of the Temple, and took off once we got them outside the walls. We got the merchants to Nulb, where they could make it home safely, and then most of us crossed the bridge and waited…

Lydia and Mikael went to Mother Screng’s – since I remembered that she was a skilled type of person, and we thought she might perhaps know of a werewolf cure.

Lydia has the boots of speed, so can escape most problems as long as they don’t cut her off from the bridge, and Mikael can change into animals!! So they should be able to help each other out of trouble…

**

From the campsite north of Nulb…

When Lydia and Mikael showed up again, she was practically beaming. Apparently Mother Screng thought Keotum’s Ointment might heal lycanthropy – and it certainly healed the rest of Lydia’s claw wounds.

She says MS used some kind of Detect Evil or something, and is pretty confident that the ointment worked…and threw in a couple jars of it, just for good measure.

And sounds like she didn’t even charge them or anything!

I guess we’ll know for sure in a few days.

Blindfolded the priest and tied him to a tree.

****

I’m not used to Ezekiel being a real cleric. Between him and Mikael, we’re all fighting fit again (well, except for Cleric Alrun – although Mikael did give him a dose of healing so he wouldn’t tip over on the journey).

Turned him in to the tower by evening. I hope they keep a better eye on him now, and he doesn’t get assassinated, too! In fact, I hope they stick that assassin full of sharp things.

The third human we rescued headed down to the worker’s camp to try for a job…maybe a change of scene will put him on a better path.

****

Heiron is really getting the hang of all this. We gave him the magic shield from Cleric Alrun, and now even I’m having trouble hitting him. (I also gave him the magic broadsword we got somewhere a while back, so he’ll have a magic weapon just in case.)

As for Alrun’s magic chainmail, we decided to see if the shopkeeper still had the dwarvish chainmail we sold him a while back, and swap it out so Wonillon could get an upgrade. Ezekiel made him give us 1000 gold, as well, and he went for it…which really makes me suspicious. I don’t trust that guy.

Ezekiel says he recognized Alrun’s gear, too – so he warned Master Ostler and our other friends to keep an eye on him. He hopes that the shopkeeper will lead them to more cultists…

Also, not sure they’d want me writing about this, but I overheard Raven asking Ez about Ao – the “God of gods.” Raven was asking if Ao was “of gods” the way Merikka is “of agriculture”…like it’s His domain, or area of responsibility.

It – makes sense. Ranger apprentices have to listen to their master. Paladins have Grand-Masters and stuff. Grand-Masters and Lords all listen to their deity. Even dukes and kings have to listen to the gods.

I…guess if Ezekiel is right, then gods have a boss, too. Makes sense. Someone has to keep order among them all.

But – does He have a boss? Is there Somebody way, way up there who only answers to Himself?

Sounds a little too theoretical for me.

**

We leave tomorrow morning again.

Ez went to talk to a new High Cleric at the tower (this one serves Rao) and says they’ve gotten a little more information from the captive priest.

The “Greater Temple” is TWO LEVELS below the one with all the elementals, and will probably have giants and etins and demons and stuff. I’m excited to try my hand at some of those.

He also said “Someone” important was “possibly interested” in buying our filter of love…but Ezekiel laughed and got all possessive and said there “must be a reason” it didn’t break along with all the other potions he had.

I think it’s a great chance to give it to someone who might get some use out of it, but possession is 9/10s of the law. (Though I guess if he’s not actually going to use it he doesn’t need to carry it into the dungeon…sort of like these harpy feathers I still have!?)

****

When we reached the Fire Temple, the sulphur-brazier in the cleric’s bedroom was no longer burning (Ezekiel seemed relieved). The torches in the “sanctuary” were all burnt out…although the two copper cauldrons were still glowing, and the fire pits still had coals glowing.

Ezekiel checked out the cauldrons, and they seem to have glowing incense oil of some kind…he had Mikael’s Protection from Fire spell on, so he couldn’t tell if it was dangerous or not.

He dumped an entire water skin of holy water into the fire pit in front of the altar. That put out the coals, but there wasn’t any smoke! Lydia said it was magic fire, and I figured it wasn’t much of a fire if it can’t behave like it ought to.

The really interesting part happened when Ezekiel checked the altar for secret compartments. He didn’t find any, so he decided to whack one of the gold skulls on it…and that’s when the altar shot out fire while the skull bellowed:

“Who dares defile the sacred element of fire?”

We figured out the central skull was magical – probably a magic mouth spell of some kind. Every time he touched the altar, it bellowed at him:

“Who dares defile the sacred element of fire?”

Since he was Protected from Fire, he could just keep hitting it. I suppose it’s supposed to summon the guards if anyone tries to steal the gold, but since we killed all the guards already, no one showed up.

Wonillon and Mikael decided they just had to have those gold skulls, so Wonillon took his ring of fire resistance and pried them off – six in all.

We decided that every other temple had a treasure stash somewhere…so we dug in the ashes of the fire pit.

We found an iron box that Raven said was trapped, and after he opened it he showed us the scythe blade that was designed to chop off the hand of anyone who didn’t open it properly.

Treasure list:

Two potions (Raven thinks they’re for polymorphing)

Magic ring

The armor and weapons of those important-looking guys we killed, including two magic swords–

When Ezekiel looked at the swords, the first one looked like the commander’s sword that lit on fire — but we don’t care about that I guess. (Ez says it’s dedicated to the goddess of volcanoes and bickering or something.)

The second sword is named Tresarion and he says he’s really good at killing Evil fire things and he can do all kinds of cool things if I will carry him around like detect magic and detect evil and detect shifting walls or something but he also understands that we don’t want to waste his talents on small fry, like bugbears and such.

He even speaks in Lawful Good! which I just realized might mean he’s an assassin sword, but I don’t think he’d want me asking him…

I think Mikael is a bit jealous that he’s not made of bronze…Tresarion, that is…though would he be as good at killing fire things if he was bronze?

Raven tried opening the double doors to the magic corridor, but they slammed themselves shut. So we’re leaving them alone for now and heading to the Air Temple as soon as they can shove all these gold skulls in the bag of holding. (They don’t shout at us anymore. We broke it.)

****

Bad news! Raven disappeared!

In the Air Temple… We didn’t see anything unusual…Corby checked out the shaft above the pit, and saw nothing.

Raven went down on a rope into the pit (behind the altar) to look for treasure, and just vanished. No struggle. No tension on the rope. So I guess he’s not just invisible again, because he would have said something.

Gonna look for the cells the elves told us about. If we tried to get teleported after him, there’s no guarantee we’d get sent to the same place. So we have to trust him to take care of himself, and hope we run into him.

**

Found the back of the magic mirror.

Back in the room where Ez and Mikaela and Raven saw the shiny figures, Lydia’s weasel smelled werewolves. So we got our magic weapons out, and he helped us find the secret door that led behind the mirror.

Whole bedroom back there — for hairy slobs who sleep in heaps on the floor. Heaps and heaps of silver weapons, silver holy symbols, arrows, daggers, you name it. Even a scroll of protection from lycanthropy and bottle of wolfsbane.

Lydia said probably from all the parties they’ve fooled with their act…I said that seems a lot, that or good is way dumber than I thought.

Figured put what mirror does — Ezekiel stood behind it while some of us were still in the other room, and he looked wreathed in flame with horns and fangs and everything! Gotta keep an eye on him…

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