Dear Diary….complications + the daily grind

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

Everyone got to Homlette safe! We went straight to the tower (as usual) where His Highness could get a new horse.

Master Bern seemed a little grumpy, but Sir Rufus greeted His Highness warmly and sent a servant hustling to get him a fresh horse.

The rest of us were more surprised to see Aliana Glimmersky! She said she “received information” that she needed to be in Homlette… Ezekiel got a knowing look and completely ignored Raven humming a song at him.

Aliana and His Highness left as soon as possible – but first he gave us a medallion and a ring for our efforts. Ezekiel made some kind of speech of well-wishing, but I wasn’t really listening. When the two of them took off down the road, we got an idea of what His Highness could really do on a horse, when he wasn’t letting us try to keep up. (I think Ralashaz is glad to stay with Lydia.)

Sir Rufus made some kind of comment that things were about to get very interesting. I’m very happy for Furiundy and Veluna…and Ezekiel says “Mr. Ewwy” might have something new to think about up north, now…but all the same, we have plenty to focus on down here. Best mind our own station.

Fighting those etins raised some questions in my mind that I want to ask…and also I want to show off that Lurker skin to someone who will actually appreciate the science of it. Must see if Lord Otis has a few free days.

****

Turns out the blacksmith shop had a rush custom order that couldn’t be delayed, so they told me to go run laps or something.

Long story short, I ran into Raven (he was supposed to be running laps, too). We ended up in the north of town, by the chapel of St. Cuthbert, and wouldn’t you know it the rest of the group were at the chapel, too. (Just as well…Raven was making me look like an asthmatic.)

When we walked in the door, we were struck to see –

[written in Lawful Good]

– Master Bern tied up in the side-sanctuary (the consecrated ground) with Canon Turjon and High Priest Eryon Yra standing around looking concerned. Lydia stood in front of everybody holding a crystal ball (the one we got from the evil wizard, I figured out later). Her special magic mirror stood against one wall.

As soon as I showed up, Ezekiel grabbed me and said, “Bring Tressarian! We need to talk to him!”

So I see how I rate.

Once Tres was out, Ez asked him to detect Evil.

Tressarian hummed, and said that nothing was Evil…except THAT THING in the box, and – Lydia.

So – the story I get from the others is, they were all called up here by Canon Turjon and the Priest, because Master Bern came in here during the night and tried to “relieve” the Canon of THAT BOX…but the Canon was actually alert while keeping watch, and so Master Bern ended tied up.

They detected Magic and Evil on him – but of course they had never thought to scan him before, so had no baseline to compare with. So they sent for our group, because we have actually been messing around in the Temple, and might have an idea how this could happen.

So they kicked around the idea that the wizard (Fulroy?) was desperate to recover a certain something to restore his cred with his bosses, and figured the Master was his best bet.

Lydia had Heiron bring her magic mirror, and somehow it told her that the crystal ball was the conduit for whatever happened to Master Bern. So Heiron went and fetched the crystal ball (which didn’t show up as Evil when we were searching the wizard’s hide-out) while Mikael cast Dispel Magic to lift whatever effect was on the Master.

His story is that he thought THAT THING would be safer at the tower, and he wanted to take it there, but Canon Turjon stopped him. He says he had no impression of an Evil influence.

When they asked him what he looked for in the crystal ball (since he did borrow it while we were out of town), he said he looked at the courts of Veluna and the Overking (Rawksus).

So Ezekiel cast Protection from Evil on Lydia, and asked her to retrace the Master’s search history. She said she’d never been to those places personally, but she probably knew enough about them by reputation. Everybody in Mitrik was celebrating the return of the prince (I think he was giving a speech when she peeked in), and the Overking’s Court was fuzzy, but there.

Same as with Master Bern, Lydia didn’t feel any different…but Tressarian doesn’t lie, and he doesn’t play games. So Lydia (rolling her eyes) unloaded her scrolls and potions and waited while Ezekiel read a Dispel Magic over her. (We also finally untied Master Bern.)

So…the long and the short is, we figure the crystal ball is cursed. It doesn’t show up to Tressarian, and Protection from Evil doesn’t guard against it…so our best bet is to not use it until we figure it out better. Not like scrying is a big part of our lives, anyway.

****

[written in Common]

Ezekiel went and got some special oil from High Priest Yra. He says it was Priest Yra’s ordination gift, so he feels very honored that he passed it on to him. He also tried to explain how it works. It’s nice to see him excited, so I let him talk.

Saw Raven fingering the teeny-tiny sack of grain he wears, and he and Ezekiel were talking over one of those sheepskins Ez bought a while back. Wonder what that‘s all about…but until it becomes my business, y’know, I’ve been with these types long enough, I won’t worry about them.

Gotta buy more arrows for tomorrow morning.

****

We need a better system. Or more bags of holding, maybe.

We reached the third basement by means of the stairs in the Air Sanctuary – so we didn’t have to go through the Evil purple room.

From the etin’s room, we headed to explore the north-east door. That hall led us to a room whose floor was covered with alternating red and black tiles. The support pillars were all black, too, and the walls were painted with ghouls, vampires, cultists, and demons – all having disgusting feasts together.

The floor was coated with dust, and a few tables stood around holding crusty, dirty dishes.

Ezekiel tip-toed forward, and splashed holy water in his face before opening the far door.

I couldn’t see anything beyond – except maybe some shadows…only, they weren’t cast by anything, they were just floating there in the air, darkening the space.

He waved his sheep symbol at them – then shoved it into his belt with a grunt so he could swing his mace.

Raven came up to cast faery fire from his ring, and Ez cracked a couple shadows so that they melted like ethereal smoke.

I sent an arrow through one of them – as an experiment – and as I expected, it didn’t even seem to notice. So I focused on guarding the hall and room at our backs with Ezekiel blocked the doorway, and Heiron brought his flame-tongue sword up to help him.

Well, they finally mopped up the enemy…and Ez showed us a little black rod (I think it was ebony) that was covered with symbols for “Mr. Eww.” He said it was for “protection from turning,” and cracked it on the ground.

The “shadows” had clawed him a couple times, which made him feel kinda winded and shaky, so he had a seat at one of the tables and told Tressarian (not me, mind you) to search the room for magic, Evil, and shifting stones.

We found a couple matched sets of gold dishes, but nothing particularly useful. So, once Ez was done with his break, we moved forward, and searched the next room we found.

This room was all covered in black…black velvet hangings on the walls, black cushions on the couches, dull black stone on the floors and walls, black cabinet – everything. It all looked in good condition, so I guess the bugbears weren’t allowed to live here…

Raven found a scroll and a potion in the cabinet (along with plenty of other, useless things) and a box full of black pearl necklaces. But other than that, the room was pretty boring.

The next section of hall was more striking, though. Thirteen skeletons stood along each side, holding pole-arms or missile weapons of some kind. I guess it was some kind of trophy room, since they were posed so nicely – and crossed swords hung on the wall beside some specific shields.

Ezekiel prodded one of the skeletons, just to see if it reacted, but it clattered into pieces like an ordinary dead thing. Tres did find one magic thing – a shield hanging on the wall, painted with the family crest of someone from Veluna. We should be able to return it to them, for closure.

A crowd of “shadows” came up a branch passage, trying to flank them – but they weren’t protected like the last batch, and one look at Ezekiel’s sheep symbol made them all shriek and evaporate like mist.

Ez told us to make a thorough search of the walls, so Tres and I did – and found a secret door. Inside, we found what I guess is an alchemist’s storeroom…shelves and shelves of empty bottles, flasks, and the like – with mounds on the floor of colored candles, chalk, charcoal, and who knows what else. Raven pinched some chalk, but otherwise we don’t really have a need for that stuff. Oh, except for the fuel oil…we use that a fair amount. To burn things.

Ezekiel figured the storeroom-passage connected up with the branch-passage from the skeleton room, so he had us go one way while he headed the other way.

Our passage (south of the skeleton room) led us to a room full of red – rotting red cushions of various hues, a lacquered desk of orange-red, a red cinnabar serving set, and: two huge candelabras of rose gold. We had quite a time squeezing them into the bag of holding. Raven and Heiron said they each weighed as much as I do, but how would they know?

We couldn’t find any secret passages – even Tressarian couldn’t – and Ezekiel couldn’t find a connection on the other side (though according to the map his hallway and our red room share a wall). So maybe they meant to add a door at some point, but never got around to it.

We still had a corridor we hadn’t explored from before — it led to yet another alchemy workshop (this one with fewer body parts scattered around). Glyphs and elemental symbols covered the walls and floors, while beakers, flasks, and such crowded the workbenches.

Wonillon and Lydia helped us search for whatever might be valuable. We found a bunch of platinum, electrum, and gold – not in coins, but powdered or in chunks. We also found a big, heavy pottery flask full of mercury – which Lydia says she can use for some spells. There’s a lot more that might be useful down there, but we didn’t have any more room to carry it out. It’s irritating to spend most of our time hiking back and forth to town, but I’m not sure what the alternative is.

While the others were loading up, I heard something big and heavy coming down the hall. A grating voice said, “Break your bones!”

Heiron got an arrow into the first giant right off (I believe they were hill giants) and then Mikael lit them up with faery fire — I saw three of them, glowing at the edge of my consciousness.

Ezekiel blocked the hall so the giants couldn’t get at us – Raven even snarled a couple of them in his magic rope. With so many advantages, Heiron and I felt like we were shooting fish in a barrel. Guess that’s what teamwork is all about.

We made a detour to pick up the silver cross, lamp, and statue of Fultus from the “shrine” we found last time (at this point, we figured there’s no point trying to pretend nobody found that place). Then even Sgt. Bearington was topped off – no more room anywhere!

The plus side of this is we get to check on our horses every day or so. And also the spring air is refreshing.


Find the previous entry here.

One thought on “Dear Diary….complications + the daily grind

  1. Pingback: Dear Diary….Ezekiel has no fear (or filters) - Kimia Wood

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