Dear Diary….guess who kicked a demi-god’s butt?

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

While we had some down-time, we took a closer look at the items we’d picked up. Tressarian could tell us what was magical, but nothing more specific than that…so Mikael cast Detect Magic and took a look at the necklace, cloak, and box full of gems.

He and Ezekiel decided the globe on the necklace (that looks like a moon) has something to do with freezing (Ez thinks it’s an ice spell in physical form, or something like that); Raven pointed out it’s about the size of a sling bullet, so maybe it’s meant to be thrown to cast the spell.

As for the box, Mikael says there are invisible runes of some kind on the front of it…but he can’t read them for obvious reasons. We can’t even get rid of the invisibility with Dispel Magic for fear that would erase the runes, too. So we have to sit on that for a bit.

The cloak that the medusa statue wore seems to have something to do with poison…protecting from it, causing it, etc., we’re not sure.

Ezekiel couldn’t make much out of the ring (it has an eye image on it) so Raven said he would try it out. He gave Ez his ring of shooting stars in the meantime, and went out to the hall. When he put it on, he says he could see through the walls and into the cupboards all around him! He’s been wearing it ever since, and won’t let anyone else try it…Tres and I are keeping an eye on him.

He also borrowed some holy water from Ezekiel to fill his “dagger of venom.” We’ll see if that accomplishes anything.

****

14th Flocktime

Another day of grabbing anything that’s not nailed down, looks like.

We started the day by heading back to the mushroom room, then down the hall at the far end of the room that (according to the map) should lead us to stairs down.

On the way, we came across the lameuh’s body. Looks like Mikael’s insects stuck to their job, and finished her off! She wasn’t wearing much of anything! except a gold necklace with five rubies…and, on her legs, Tressarian noticed she had a pair of magic bracers hiding under her fur.

Raven checked them out, and explained they would be best suited for someone without any other armor – apparently they help you move your arms and block attacks…like he’s always telling us is the reason monks are the superior class. But he’s not allowed to carry any more magic items (his code or something) so Lydia got them – and besides, I think she could use them more. She looks kinda cool in them.

When we reached the stair, it was plain it was often used…there were footprints everywhere, and even rubbish and scraps of food lying about (bugbears and such are so messy).

Raven (still wearing his new ring) found a parchment thrown in the corner, but I don’t know that it’ll be important…it’s got a weird drawing of a skull with a crown and four needles coming off its head.

[sketch]

We did meet a couple trolls at the foot of the stairs, but after Raven roped them, they went down like punks. We took two small keys they were carrying, and then Heiron burned the bodies.

The decor on the walls of the first room were mosaics…demons and goopy creatures frolicking among the torn bodies of their tortured victims. I’m getting sick of this art.

More stairs went down…then came a landing, with two big rooms opening off it. We turned east first.

This room reeked of troll. Their filthy bedding piles filled one corner, along with four small chests. Two of those we could unlock with the keys we just got – the rest Raven unlocked.

(He’d been having trouble with his ring. He said the walls were too thick here to see through, but when he looked into the chests, he saw all kinds of cheese…and then, when we opened them, there was no cheese to be found. Sounds like it’s messing with him.)

Among some money and black gems, the most interesting thing in the chests was a small black carving of a fly – about life-size, for one of the larger breeds of fly. Someone (probably Lydia) remembered that when the merchant-double-agents fled, they left behind a statue of a scarab. Since Ezekiel was carrying that around, we let him have the fly, too…although I’m nervous what they might add up to. The fly at least is magic, after all.

A huge tapestry covered the wall opposite the door – a huge, fat face shooting rays from its eyes at a group of humans and winged human-like beings. Ezekiel checked behind it, and found a door – which led us to a fancy bedroom. Definitely not for bugbears. The coals in the fireplace were still hot, but no one was home. The mantle was covered with nick-nacks like shrunken heads.

Two tapestries flanked the fireplace, and behind one of them, Ezekiel found a walk-in closet full of cleric robes, jewelry, slippers, and a full-length mirror (just an ordinary mirror – we didn’t take it).

Behind the other tapestry, he found a solid stone wall – and scraped his nose a little trying to walk into it.

A passage down from the common room led us to a kitchen, where we spotted a Black Pudding helping itself to a pot of leftovers. We’ve learned not to let those things get too close, and Lydia set it on fire – several times – until it finally fizzled and dropped in a sticky mass to the floor.

Side-rooms ringed the dining area, filled with bugbear bedding…but again, nobody was home. We didn’t find anything interesting in any of them, except in one place – that smelled like ogre. That guy had a little black scarab statue, just like the one Ezekiel has…only the letters scratched underneath it are slighting different. I hope this isn’t some word-scrambler puzzle, because I’m not good at those.

Tressarian did find a secret door in the ogre’s bedroom. Behind it, a hallway led to the back of the cleric’s mirror (it opens with a lever) and on the other end was a door that Lydia told us was wizard-locked…meaning Raven and Wonillon couldn’t just open it. (Raven told us there was lots of cheese on the other side, but we’ll have to wait until Lydia has a Knock spell or something to see if he’s right.)

**

West room much like east. When you step through the door from the landing, a huge painting confronts you – a tall, horned humanoid in wizard robes shooting blue bolts at his enemies (obviously good guys because of their colors). (I don’t like this violent fixation of the cultists…)

The corner had more bedding and more chests, just like the other side…these ones didn’t have any carved insects, but they did have a handful of violet garnets.

Following the passage that mirrored the one to the kitchen, we found a dining room…ten chairs, bigger than man-sized, around a huge table. A bed stood along one wall – bigger than an ogre.

Once again, nobody was home. Ezekiel started asking himself where everybody was.

A couple side-rooms held boxes of ogre clothing. Ezekiel had me bring Tressarian around, detecting for things, but I don’t think we’ll find much interesting here.

**

… Hmmmm. I have to stop writing dumb things. One day, I’m going to die for real, and I don’t want to be embarrassed.

Sorting through what happened next — there remained a door to the north, and a hall to the west.

Behind the door is some kind of council room – two fireplaces, plush chairs (various sizes) around a table, and maps…so many maps.

Ezekiel almost started giggling, and ran around the room, examining them all. A few were of the surrounding countryside, and nearby towns, but the rest were of the Temple levels. Ez grabbed down the map of where we were, and compared it to the one we’d been drawing. The “official” map didn’t have all the secret doors and passages, but it told us what’s at the bottom of the main stairs out there.

A big, huge room, with a dais, and eight branching rooms spidering around it. Two rooms for each element.

Half the rooms have runes on them, but Ezekiel doesn’t know what they mean. He says that’s where the enemy will be waiting for us…that after all the damage we’ve done to their underlings, they’ll have assembled where they have the advantage of terrain…and wait. Ready.

Not a comforting thought.

But next…I have to tell what happened next.

We headed down the hall to the last room…the very last room. A fancy bedroom, all plush rugs, and colorful wall-hangings (geometric – with all the symbols of the temples). A big bed with silver gargoyle heads stands against one wall, loaded with expensive furs.

According to the others, it was also loaded with two attractive ladies…but I didn’t know anything about them until they started screaming to high heaven. That was just annoying, but then one of them tried to bite Lydia…which is not done. So I shot her, and Ezekiel waved his rusty nail that he’s been carrying around at the second one, and she shut up and stood there, frozen.

Ezekiel had me bring Tressarian in, to see what was magic and what wasn’t, and we noticed an ebony statue of a horned skull on the mantlepiece.

Ez said he would smash it…but Raven and I thought it would have been kinda bad if he smashed that Evil box we found on the floor above, so while we were suggesting he give it a second thought, he went ahead and picked it up.

I…have to write in Lawful Good now.

[written in Lawful Good]

He showed up. Himself. Just…stepped out of nowhere and stood in front of Ezekiel and the rest of us, horns, red skin, and all.

I was wondering how fast I could run backwards, when Ezekiel said something like, “How awkward,” and splashed holy water over his face.

He – the guy – Mr. Eewy – started grinning…and then all his vulnerable areas started glowing with Faery Fire. I don’t know how Mikael pulled it off, but he did…and I guess it made all the difference.

Raven swung his magic rope and snarled Ewy’s arms. He could still move his fingers, though, and when he pointed at Raven, Raven died.

I snatched up the rope and swung Tressarian – but he bounced right off that awful hide. Lydia tried a stinking cloud…Mikael called down his insects. Mr. Eewy shrugged them both off.

I saw Ezekiel raise his mace, the ram’s head glistening with oil, and then — I noticed Him pointing his finger at me.

…I was crumpled on the floor, but still gripping Tressarian, when I opened my eyes. Mr. Eewy was gone, but a big man in platinum armor stood in that spot, a soft hat pulled over his helmet.

“Nice fight, little ones,” he said, and winked at us, and was gone before Ezekiel could say “thank you.”

While Raven and I found our feet, Ezekiel went over and smashed the skull statue.

The others cleaned out the high cleric’s valuables while I tied up the concubine (she still stood frozen in place, and considering what went on, I think she’s just as happy that way). We found five silk robes in the wardrobe – the colors of the four Lesser Temples, and the one Greater Temple – all with the symbol of the horned skull on the back. We talked about ripping the embroidery off to make the robes usable, but I think most of us agreed with me that we’d rather burn them. In the end, we left them. Got enough on our minds.

We did find some things worth taking in the desk. Ezekiel found a scroll he can use, and some papers on recruitment and numbers of their forces. There was also a little book full of names, sorted by the letters A, E, F, and W. According to the dates, each letter provided a name in order…and we noticed that none of the names were people we had met – although some of them used to be clerics in the lesser temples.

Ez and Lydia think it’s a list of sacrifices.

The books on the bookshelf were mostly strategy, self-help, that kind of thing. Lydia took the one called Laws of the Temple…but there was one that Tressarian flagged as magic and Evil — no way are we touching that in the near future! Not after the taste we just got.

Lydia and Heiron couldn’t stop talking about how Ezekiel bashed that ugly customer twice in a row. What with the magic rope pinning him, and Mikael’s faery fire, and the magic oil he got from High Priest Yra, Ezekiel came through when it counted. Among all of us, Ez is the one who really counted, since his mace is basically crafted to hit evil things like “the Old Man.”

Ezekiel smashed the unholy symbol by the door, and let us leave…though we left the woman behind. Not like we have anywhere to put her anyway, and Ez said maybe we want this story getting out.

(If the high priest left that symbol behind, though, maybe he’s not planning to use it…since according to Ezekiel’s assumption, he’s with all the remaining troops in the big room below.)

What a story. Ez and Raven say, after what we just went through, how bad could a couple dozen trolls, twenty or so giants, a pile of bugbears, and a slew of magic-wielding clerics be?

Heiron still looks a little star-struck. I did notice he’s been wearing a pendant of St. Cuthbert lately (I think he got it from one of the trophy rooms above). Maybe it’ll be the edge we need?

Was about to update my will, and then decided there’s no point. No one will find my body, let alone my will. It’s just a few thousand pieces worth of gold and gems and such. Let it go to whoever.

…I notice we were all (except for Wonillon) conscientious about our prayers tonight. I guess dying does that to you. What’s waiting for us tomorrow? Who will be left alive – us, or the armies of chaotic evil?

Tressarian says I need to stop thinking about it, because he is the best of the best, and once I’m done using my bow, he can mop up whatever I didn’t handle. Been talking to Ezekiel?


Find the previous entry here.

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