Dear Diary….somebody up there likes us

Alert: May contain spoilers for the adventure: “The Temple of Elemental Evil”

Well…it’s been a busy day for the map.

We found the room where some bugbears have been staying until recently – but just as we prepared to search it, Ezekiel got that glassy look on his face again and just stood there with a funny smile.

When he snapped out of it, he told us we had to go back to the Air Temple and trace a protection from evil circle around the pit, then dump holy water into it.

You don’t argue with Ezekiel when he’s in these moods, so we hiked all the way back, and Lydia drew the circle with a silver piece. Then we dumped Mikael’s water skin (which happened to be consecrated) into the pit.

I had a silver arrow nocked, just in case – I figured silver might be good for hurting evil things, but in retrospect I probably shouldn’t have.

As soon as Ez dumped the water, thick smoke or steam rolled up in a column from the pit, swirling like the whirlwind that was so dangerous before.

Almost as once, Raven appeared – along with two of those four-armed vulture demons like we’d fought before.

The wind was still messing with the air currents in the room, so Heiron shot most of his arrows into the pit, or into the shaft up above, or into the steps in front of him.

The “vrocks” clawed at Ezekiel and Raven until Mikael killed one, and then Raven was able to roll free and use his magic rope to snare the other one.

The second vrock was so full of arrows I’m surprised it was still standing, but once it was roped we held off to give Ezekiel a chance to bash it with his mace…which he did after…four or five tries. Maybe the air currents were messing with him, too.

The “cleric types” (Mikael and Ezekiel) healed the people who were hurt, and Raven explained what happened to him.

He says he was taken to a “Node of Air” – a windy spire of rock that we think is somewhere between the planes of existence? He met a warrior there in blue armor, who says he was part of a party, but got captured and sacrificed in the pit. He says there are many monsters there – even dragons – and Lydia theorizes that these elemental creatures called grus are being summoned to live in the nodes or something. We assume there are nodes for each of the elements.

Anyway, we aren’t ready to go there quite yet. Raven gave the warrior a bunch of rations and healing potions, but at this point that’s the most we can do to rescue those trapped there.

According to Raven, a monk who “knew his name” and “didn’t have any insignia” that he recognized showed up and gave him a little dark stone…and told him to throw it “when the sky changes.”

Raven thinks the stone is what brought the demons (for Ezekiel to kill – getting that hit did seem to cheer him up)…I wonder if us dumping the holy water is what affected the “sky” in the other place.

Ezekiel does say that he got scolded for being so “careless” with his monk – which I guess teaches us not to be so obsessive about finding all the treasure…

Anyway…good to know someone has our back.

We searched the vrocks – or rather, I asked Tressarian if there was anything interesting, and he said one of them had something magical in his belt-bag. It turned out to be a bronze scimitar – with scabbard – which Mikael has named Kevin (and he says it talks to him, but it must be talking druid because none of the rest of us can hear it).

Other than Raven, that’s all we got from that encounter…and of the silver arrows I shot, all but one had snapped or warped on impact. So, so much for that sissy equipment. I guess it’s better than nothing if you need to fight something resistant to everything else (like a werewolf) but it’s still disappointing.

I have a few magic arrows, of course, but the older I get the less patience I have for digging arrows out of the corpses of my enemies.

Well, with Raven safely back, we continued exploring the northern passages of the complex.

Back in the ogre/bugbear quarters, Tressarian told me that the far wall of the latrine closet could shift. (He’s super useful for spotting things like that, and magical things, but I did suggest to him that he didn’t have to shout, “Who dares?!” every time I draw him…that sometimes, we’re trying to be sneaky. At first I was kind of worried that he might be an Evil sword in disguise, but I think weapons are not really good at being sneaky, and so he pretty much wears his opinions on his sleeve, as it were.)

Ezekiel braved the latrine and opened the secret door, to find a huge garbage heap full of all kinds of nasty stuff beyond. Raven waded forward to examine a bronze-bound coffer (since he says he’s immune to disease!), and stirred up a truly horrifying tentacled thing.

It had a beak, and one eye-stalk, and lashed at Raven and Ezekiel — and to show just how nightmarish it was, it took a fireball from Lydia and was still alive! It shrieked and shriveled up a little bit, but it kept coming with those hard-ridged tentacles of mortifying death.

Heiron nailed it, and once Raven had it tangled in his magic rope, I was able to get the final arrow into it.

Lydia called it an “otyugh”… I just know it will haunt my dreams.

Raven brought the coffer out – and then brought out a gold platter and a platinum bracelet with opals…and a bunch of coins, too.

I’m…really…really glad we rinsed that stuff off before putting it in the bag (there’s a drinking fountain for the bugbears in the next room).

The coffer had a scroll in it…Lydia says there are seven spells she can potentially use, once she has the time to really study it.

Raven confirmed what the map had suggested – that the garbage room continued on and connected with the hallway on the other side. So the rest of us chose discretion, and took the long way around to join him.

[sketch of hallways, quarters, and storerooms, with points of interest]

Found a huge storeroom full of black cloth and garments, meal, fruit, and other cooking supplies. Could feed an army with this stuff – which means we should be set for some time!

It didn’t come free, though. As Raven was exploring, something tried to jump down on him. Fortunately, he was carrying his magic rope in his hand, and wrapped it up before it could even reach the ground.

One ugly beast…grey fur, black tail and face, with red paws and mean fangs. Tressarian said it wasn’t “Evil”-evil, and it wasn’t enough of an animal that Raven could get it to talk…but we decided it wasn’t friendly, so we killed it.

Later, we found a little pile of skulls, and Lydia said these creatures like to collect the skulls of their victims, which I call macabre…even hunters usually mount their deer heads with the skin still on.

We also found a lumber room – so we’ll have plenty of firewood (looks like where the Temple kept their renovation supplies) – and what I’m calling a “trophy room”: a padlocked storeroom with loads of “adventurer” gear, from backpacks and iron spikes, to map-cases and stamped vials of holy water, from lanterns and suits of armor, to rope and mirrors.

There was a silver mirror that I took, since there had also been silver mirrors in the werewolf stash, and if other parties carry them around, maybe they’ll come in handy for something someday. I also took some spikes so I can wedge the door like Wonillon does, and restocked my rope (since we’ve cut off a fair bit for prisoners and such).

What seemed to strike Ezekiel the most was the shields — they seemed to be hanging on display, and included the insignia of a Knight of the Shield, and a Knight of the Heart, and something Ez thinks is from the Great Kingdom (and Lydia seems to agree, although neither of them know specifically).

Tressarian says none of the gear is magical, but we can still take the shields back to be laid to rest with respect…or maybe sent to their orders?

Besides two suits of halfling and dwarf armor, there were probably eight suits of human-sized armor, various makes.

The thought of so many parties like us, who somehow met their end and found themselves killed or sacrificed or something even worse…it makes me feel strange and shaky inside. I mean, we’re learning and growing stronger every day – but we’re not exactly the brightest 

What were those others like, that they failed where we are still alive?

Maybe it’s not about us and them at all. Maybe it’s the God of gods actually taking an interest in mortals for once, and Ehlonna and Obed-Hai and Merikka (wow, we’re heavy on the outdoorsy, aren’t we?) getting special dispensations/recommendations to help us out?

Raven is cooking something special, since it’s Heiron’s birthday (and the first of Growfest). We’re in the guard quarters again, that we cleared out first…although the bodies piled in the alcove are pretty far gone.

It only feels like noon, but so much has been going on, and we’ve used so many of our spells, that we figure we may as well take it easy.

(Part of me wonders if enough of the salamanders are still there to skin them…?)


Find the previous entry here.

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