Publish Your Book on Amazon (For People Who Hate Computers)

So you want to publish a book on Amazon…but have no idea how?

Don’t worry! It’s super easy!

TL;DR:Publish Your Book on Amazon (For People Who Hate Computers) — Kimia Wood

1) Go to this link: https://kdp.amazon.com/

2) Sign in with your Amazon password.

3) Follow the prompts and read the instructions!

4) Check out Amazon’s “how to” posts for more information, or if you get stuck.

Do you want more detailed instructions? Well, for those who hate the internet, and just want someone to spell everything out ahead of time, read on!

Whether you want to publish your grandpa’s memoir…your husband’s hobby novel…a family history…a fan-fiction — if your only goal is getting it on Amazon so your second cousins in Alaska can order their own copies – this is the place for you!

(Info on plotting / writing / editing / revising / re-plotting / polishing / revising / editing / marketing / selling a book or novel is beyond the scope of this post.) Continue reading

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…and you like lovable characters, gripping action, siblings who would die for each other, mysteries, emotional adventures, and asking “what if?”…then you will enjoy any of Kimia’s books!

You can also start out specifically with Medieval AdventureMurder Mystery/RomancePost-Apocalyptic Adventure — or Sci-Fi Intrigue Suspense!

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…and like old-school role-playing – then check out the recaps of our actual AD&D campaign…from the perspective of Elwyn, the chronically paranoid Ranger!

And if you like having the idiosyncrasies of video games applied to life principles…well, this is the place for you!

If you’re a Christian…You Are Here — Welcome from Kimia Wood

…and you like seeing the story of your beautiful Savior connected with everyday life…well, there’s a lot here for you to love. You’ll have your thinking challenged…you’ll be inspired…you might find something you disagree with. But I trust you will find Jesus in the middle.

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Dear Diary….another bad night

We’re going to be ragged in the morning.

We hadn’t even settled in yet when I heard (and smelled) some kind of ogre coming down the passage. (There was another sound, too…like a grinding, buzzing whine or growl. Very unpleasant.)

Well, I moved around the giant throne thing so I could get off a shot as soon as it came into the room.

My shot hit a good shot – despite the fire being behind me – and by the time Mikael lit it up with faery fire, Corby had clawed a big, ugly scratch down its face.

Raven hurled two daggers into it, and Ezekiel raced forward to finished it off with his mace – sending off what seemed like sparks as he bashed it to the ground.

Well, Ezekiel and Raven took over the first watch, so the rest of us settled down to try and sleep.

It wasn’t too long, though, before Raven was shaking us awake.

A party with torches was just approaching the main entrance, muttering together: “See, there’s a fire there.” “Is there supposed to be a fire there?” “Maybe that’s where the priests are?”

I nocked an arrow and hid in the shelter of the throne, while Raven slid along the shadows by the wall to try and hear more of what they said.

When the group (seven armed men) came into the center of the room, a light shot out from the throne, and Ezekiel’s voice bellowed, “Who comes?”

The leader stammered something about they were looking for an “Earth Temple.”

Ezekiel asked them who sent them, and the leader said some person calling himself “Wag” told them there was loot to be found, and caravans to rob, and food and shelter from the wet, if they came and talked to the “head priest” or cleric of the Earth Temple.

Well, Ezekiel got his pompous act on and told them there would only be Death for them here (which considering the ogres and stirges and undead, sounds about right)…that Judgement had come to this place once before, and was coming again, and they’d best clear out (which kinda explains who we are to anyone with enough deductive skills).

Well, the men must have been enough dazzled by the lit shield and the booming voice that they kinda looked at each other and crept out again. (Here’s to hoping they don’t just turn bandits once they get outside…though I guess if they do they’ll get what’s coming to them.)

Ezekiel came down from the chair, and I said I couldn’t believe they fell for it – and Lydia said she didn’t think they were the smartest around.

I certainly can’t imagine voluntarily marching into a place as twisted and nauseating as the Temple – unless I was here to purge it and kill Evil, which I am. Those guys must be strangely desperate if they came down here for loot and a bandit hideout.

I’d think they meant the Drow Cleric, except that he wasn’t really “earth” related. At least it’s clear they’re some of the “mortal tools” the Lady Bad is trying to gather to herself. Poor dupes.

Well, Raven put out the fire, and Ezekiel covered all the shields, so we wouldn’t broadcast our presence quite so much. (It’s chilly down here, but not as cold as it might be. The earth protects us from the winter weather outside.)

They tell me some snarly voices passed in the corridor (probably some humanoids) but left us alone…but I didn’t hear anything more until Raven woke up Mikael and me.

He said it was almost time for our shift, but first there were footsteps at the door and the jingle of armor.

We heard voices, too, and I gather that whoever it was sent a man in to “check the door”…and he hugged the wall to avoid the “bloodsuckers,” so they were familiar with this place.

They had also left their lights behind, so all we knew was the clanking and rustling of a man making his way along the west wall.

I wasn’t confident of my ability to shoot anything in this darkness, so I held onto my sword – since it glows when I draw it, and I have more chance of knowing what’s right next to me. (Also since I’m running down on arrows. I’ve been recovering them, but they do tend to snap sometimes or get lodged in guts so that you really can’t pull them out.)

Well, the walking stopped, and next thing I knew, there was a sound of cloth and feet as someone lunged.

The nearby opponent yelped, and there was a burst of light and stark shadows – I guess as Ezekiel uncovered his shield and faced the enemies at the door.

A crossbow bolt hit the wall as a bunch of men shouted in surprise.

Raven aimed a kick at our poor scout by the secret door, while Mikael swung at him with his staff.

Seeing that was covered, I rounded the big chair to back up Ezekiel. I must have been dazzled by the light of his shield, because I dropped my sword.

I heard Yeti give a war shout behind us, and Corby dove out of the shadows to peck at the leader’s eyes (you could tell he was the leader because he had nicer gear).

Raven and Mikael must have finished off their opponent, because they came running around the throne to join us. Someone shot a crossbow bolt at Raven, but he deflected it away from his face – almost getting his hand torn off in the process, though.

Yeti charged in from behind us to help Ezekiel against the leader, so I decided they had that covered and turned to the subordinates.

They…must not have had much training. Decent equipment, but almost no experience. I almost felt bad for them as I hammered through their defenses and took them out.

Raven and Corby took down their opponents, and as the last man dropped his weapons and charged for the exit, Ezekiel leveled him to the ground.

I’ll behead orcs and ogres all day long…but I wasn’t built to slaughter other humans. I hope this ends soon.

They all had chain armor, with tabards with a brown and black triangle. The leader also had a bronze medallion with a raised triangle around his neck.

We took their money (mostly silver and electrum, with some platinum and gold), and returned to our “camp.”

Lydia asked (yawning) what they wanted with a “Fire Temple” – apparently she overheard them say something during the fight.

Sounds like there’s a whole system of temples underneath The Temple…and this is only our first night here.

They’d just better not all barge in here, is all I can say. I’m all in favor of a quiet watch, and then a quiet watch for Yeti and Lydia, and a decent morning where we’ve all had some sleep.

Ezekiel covered his shield again, but I had an arrow ready while I watched the main door. It would only take a second or two to drop the bow and draw my sword if the case required it.

It had better not, though, because I’m extra grumpy when I’m tired.


Find the previous entry here.

Find the start of the Temple adventure here.

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“The Sunday Philosophy Club” by Alexander McCall Smith

"The Sunday Philosophy Club" by Alexander McCall Smith The back cover copy introduces us to Isabel Dalhousie: middle-aged spinster who’s “too inquisitive”…and when she witnesses a young man fall to his death from the balcony of the concert hall, she wonders if there’s more to it?!

Then we open the book, and…turns out she’s actually a fourteen-year-old with ADHD…and has the detective method of a spring-addled squirrel.

Harsh? Let me elaborate on The Sunday Philosophy Club…which, incidentally, features no over-arching philosophy, no club whatsoever, and about as much detective content as those gummy vitamins contain sugar. Continue reading

Dear Diary….mosquitoes worse than undead

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

[rough sketch of corridors and rooms]

Finally a chance to get down my notes in some kind of understandable fashion.

Let’s see. Ezekiel, Yeti, and I went into the room with the harpies – but probably should have put something in our ears, since we all were…stunned? when they started singing.

Fortunately, the ghouls that came in to attack us didn’t want to get too close to Yeti (he says it’s the careful cultivation of a virtuous life), so Ezekiel had time to shake himself awake and dust them.

When we’d dealt with the harpies, Ezekiel checked out the little room where the ghouls came from – but besides the old clothes and filth they’d been “nesting” in, all he found was a chain-mail shirt about the size of an elf (they pointed out it was too small for anyone except me, and I said it wasn’t that funny).

As we were examining the borders of the room, the grate rattled and raised itself back up automatically…so that’s handy.

Raven checked out the part of the floor that must be the trigger for the mechanism, and he thinks the grate isn’t activated until someone steps off it into the room, so we could all join up in the harpy room as long as we were careful.

Corby flew up to one of the pillars where the harpies used to perch, but she didn’t find anything “shiny” in the dirty nest up there.

There was a door at the north end of the room, and as soon as Ezekiel opened it I spotted a ghoul and launched my ready arrow at it. The ghoul spotted him, too, and slashed at him with its claws.

Yeti and Mikael also got hits in before Ezekiel could wrestle his holy symbol out of its pocket to turn them (he thinks there were four total). (Never hurts to be prepared to act.)

A chest against one wall had a bunch of old clothing, plus hefty load of copper, silver, gold, and platinum coins.

Yeti opened another door in the wall where we’d come in, and we found an anteroom with the remains of upholstered furniture and pewter tableware. It would have been a comfortable place before it was trashed and filled up with undead…although the frescoes on the walls are obscene and deserve to be smashed. Maybe if we find time heavy on our hands.

Yet another door led out across the room, and Yeti insisted on opening this one, too (he says he’s sturdier than Ezekiel is, and Ez shouldn’t have gotten scratched by that ghoul).

Beyond, we spotted two pale, shriveled figures – when Ezekiel did his thing toward them, they didn’t crumble into dust immediately, but shrieked and cowered.

I tried to shoot an arrow, but smacked myself in the face instead. I’m just glad I didn’t break anything.

Raven showed off and bounced one of his daggers off the wall before it skimmed past one of the undead. Then when he threw a second dagger into it, Yeti followed up – driving it in with his hammer.

I nailed the other one through the throat (which is apparently lethal even for undead like these).

The remaining undead scampered away and scrabbled at a wall sconce, opening a secret door to escape through…but Raven ran after him (he’s very fast, after all) and even though he started gagging at the undead’s smell or something, he distracted it enough for me to nail it with an arrow.

Ezekiel calls these creatures “ghasts.” I just wonder what the world needs with so many different kinds of undead!

Well, the secret door led out into the harpy room…so we’ll be glad these creatures didn’t decide to join the skirmish outside. The ghast room must have once been a bedroom, as it has a collapsed bed among the other broken furniture. The walls here, too, are covered with horrible, ugly pictures…Yeti says they’re in an “earth theme,” and I guess I can see what he means if I think about it (which I don’t want to).

Ezekiel dug in the wall at the head of the bed and found a loose block with a huge gold cup filled with gold coins and three onyx gems. The cup is covered with disgusting engravings, and I tried not to look at it while we put it in the bag of holding.

Well, with that done, we used the harpy bodies to weigh down the pressure plate by the door to help us all get safely out the gate…and then we spent a smelly, tiresome half hour plucking the harpies.

Harpies really are ugly creatures…never trust something that looks too-human and not-human-enough at the same time.

It was late afternoon when we came in here, so it must be pushing evening by now. We decided to leave the horses in the care of Yeti’s amazing warhorse, and look for a defensible room here to hole up in (but not any of the undead rooms because none of us could possibly sleep with that stench).

We continued along the passage to the north [see sketch] until we came to another right turn – which Ezekiel took. That led to a hexagonal room, with a ceiling so high we could barely reach it with our lights.

Ezekiel and Raven checked for any sign of a grate across the doorway, then advanced with the others while I waited with my bow in the doorway.

Well, we should know by now that something is always waiting to drop on our heads. This time, it was mosquitoes-from-hell also known as stirges. We fought some in the marsh on the way to Explictika Defilas’ lair…but that was only three of them. They are much more irritating in large numbers.

I had an arrow ready, so I knocked one out of the air right away…but it felt like a drop in the bucket when at least four of them latched onto Lydia and a few others got their icky tube-line mandibles in our other companions.

Lydia smashed an egg down on the floor, and a green cloud billowed out from her, spreading as far as the doorway where I was.

I coughed a little, backed up, and worked to line up my shots while the others fled the cloud…except for Raven, who was on his hands and knees gagging, and Lydia, who was weighted down with a collection of the huge bloodsucking beasts.

The stirges started glittering and flashing as Mikael cast faery fire, and as I sniped a couple off Lydia, one of the stirges who wasn’t overwhelmed by the gas made a swipe at my head (and missed).

Lydia came coughing out of the cloud to join me in the doorway. She pulled a flask out of her pack and threw it, splashing a pool of what looked like oil.

Ezekiel charged across our field of vision, grabbing Raven and dragging him out of the cloud.

I caught a glimpse of Corby chasing after a stirge.

And then…Lydia lit a torch and tossed it, the oil ignited, and the remaining stirges popped and sizzled in death.

(Except for the one buzzing at my ear, and I grabbed my sword out to slice it in half.)

Well, with the excitement over, Mikael could take his time healing the wounded (Lydia and Raven were the worst off) while Yeti “laid hands” on Corby.

Well, the room has six sides, and the only furniture seems to be a big throne of brown marble veined with black. Both arms are broken off, and it looks in bad shape.

Yeti went around the room “detecting Evil” (useful thing to be able to do) and while Lydia was still by the wall resting, she found a ring with comets or something etched on the outside.

Ezekiel thinks it’s something to do with the “Far-Wanderer,” and the magic users who revered him. Once he said that, Lydia remembered hearing about a ring that lets you cast certain spells like Light, Lightening, and Faery Fire.

(I pointed out it wouldn’t let me cast those, and we all agreed she should probably hold on to it.)

While Corby was chowing down on a nest of baby stirges (she brought me one, which Raven says is a thoughtful thing to do), Mikael cast Detect Magic to help us find anything else in the room…but pretty much the ring was the only magical thing we noticed (though we found some copper pocket change).

When I made a fire behind the throne (plenty of debris on the floor to keep it going) we spotted what seems to be a secret door…so Ezekiel said we have to keep an eye on that, as well as the main door.

We’re keeping watch in shifts, and I get the third watch with Mikael (was really afraid I’d be assigned Lydia for a minute there).

She said she was sorry for casting the stink cloud on us all, and we all said you gotta do what you gotta do, and it all worked out (and she got hurt the worst, anyway) but I’m not quite comfortable with the way she keeps setting things on fire.

Ezekiel says dying made me paranoid, and I said what else is death good for – but really not ready for that discussion.

I wonder what else lurks in this labyrinthian place.


Find the previous entry here.

To start at the beginning of our adventure in the Temple, go here.

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Dear Diary…not my day

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

We arrived back in Homlette in time for Needfest. Mikael is very excited to get to collect mistletoe (apparently collecting it this time of year helps it be more potent – Druid thing).

The inn was pretty crowded, but Master Osler had no trouble getting rooms for us. It’s nice to be liked.

Noticed a tall fellow in travel clothes with a bow and long sword; also several merchant caravans have stopped here for the duration of the festival.

Ezekiel says it’s a good chance to “live a little” – whatever a Cleric means by that.

****

So. This is going to be hard to write.

We were in the common room at the Welcome Wench. I remember that.

The tall guy beckoned me over him, and since Ezekiel is always saying “If you don’t ask you won’t know,” I went over to talk to him.

He said he had a “message” from my “friend down the road” but he couldn’t give it to me there, so we went outside – and yes, I told Ezekiel where I was going, and he said something like “you don’t need me to hold your hand.”

I remember the one full moon, and the cold.

The man said our “adventures had attracted some powerful enemies.” I remember that part.

And then…then I remember I was on a stretcher, and it was hard to breathe, and a Cleric of Pholtus was shining a light in my eyes and saying words that didn’t make much sense.

Well, finally my breathing seemed to get easier, and then Ezekiel and Raven showed up and Ezie was thanking the High Cleric with all the pomp and bowing he could muster. And the High Cleric said it was a pleasure to serve a Ranger of Ehlonna, but especially since Ezekiel had offered them such a valuable scroll.

Anyway, they tell me Ezekiel found me dead in the back yard, and hauled everybody over to Verbobanc to find a Cleric with enough standing and learning to raise me.

I can still feel a mark, if I push just under my rib. I’ve never felt such a mixture of rage, humiliation, and amusement.

Whatever else, there’s no way “eighteen inches of steel” would have gotten me out of this (unless I suppose I was wearing it from my eyes to my knees…though probably not even then).

Something tells me I should not be alive again…but I will focus on being grateful that Ehlonna is not done with me yet. And that Ezekiel cared enough to shell out to bring me back…

Although I will never forgive myself for ignoring my One Single Personal Rule: NEVER TRUST ANYONE.

Ezekiel thinks “someone” connected me with the death of the Drow Cleric, but the closest I ever came to “talking” to anyone was admitting to the merchant that we rescued some prisoners from some “bad guys” (never trust a man who price-gouges like that).

Raven says that, before they left town, he had a talk with Master Osler, who said the tall man showed up while we were in Celene and called himself “Strider” (don’t they always?).

I just think that if they wanted to take out the deadly power-house responsible for the Drow’s capture/death, it should have been Ezekiel! (Maybe not fair – he’s already been dead once.)

And, true, Ezekiel points out that no one else can nail orcs or chop up rats the way I can, and I suppose that’s likely true.

Still furious (the man had the audacity to speak in Lawful Good to me!), and still determined to never talk to anyone ever again about anything unless I’m covering them with my bow.

Raven is out doing some shopping while we’re in the “big city,” and we’ll return in the morning.

Because Ezekiel is right about one thing…if they wanted to scare us away with this, well, they guessed wrong.

It at least tells us we’re barking up the right tree.

****

Got back to Homlette with no problems.

Ezekiel told me to “keep a low profile.” I told him I’m the shortest in the party and just what does he want me to do?

Master Osler says the so-called “Ranger” hasn’t been seen since that night.

If we head to the campsite tomorrow, we can go from there to the site of the Temple and arrive early enough in the day to get some exploring done (sure is nice to have mounts of our own!). We’re also bringing the cart because, after all, we might find something we want to haul away (like rescued prisoners or something).

Oh – when Yeti came back from training with his Paladin higher-ups, he brought this huge, muscular war horse that seems to understand whatever he tells it. He says it’s like Lydia and Grumpsh (the toad) or Mikael and Corby…they are “best friends” in a professional sense.

Must be nice to have an animal companion.

****

Notes on the Temple of Elemental Evil

-sent Corby to scout from the air; saw a couple ravens hanging out by the tower (NW corner) but the tower top is completely sealed up, though ruined; no getting in and out through the roof, looks like

-Corby spotted a gate in the western wall, so we could get the horses into the inner court; so glad the poison oak has finally died

-leaving horses in the charge of Yeti’s war horse…apparently he’s smart enough to protect them/lead them in a retreat if necessary; very useful

-ruined out-building in the north-west area of the courtyard; burned, tumble-down, surrounded by twisted usk trees

-staircase on the W side, but the lower steps collapsed; dark hole at base

-huge rat nest! However, Raven talked with them and bribed them with rations to tell him that “lots of people” have been coming through here “all the time.” Not super helpful, but definite confirmation is good. Also we’re on the right track so far.

Ezekiel charging head-first for the Temple because of course he is…

[rough sketch]

So ugly!

Three doors – west, south, east. West and east are locked, and barred from the inside.

South…is unnatural. The huge door seems covered with runes that light up, but I can’t really look at them. It’s too horrifying.

Ezekiel and Raven say the chinks are filled in with soft iron…and that suggests to me that someone really, really doesn’t want anyone/anything opening this door (specifically anything evil).

R picked the lock on the east door, then L knocked on it and the bolt undid itself (or something like that).

Inside is quite nauseating. Floor is reddish brown slate, and the walls are covered with ugly images of horrible tortures and murders and other Evil things. There are narrow stained glass windows high up in the walls, but the light only makes the whole place look sickly and diseased.

Unbarred the W door (in case we need a hasty retreat toward our horses) and continued up the nave.

-floor is actually divided into several huge squares, each with different colored tiles

-about a third down, two side passages branch off, and there’s a line where the tiles change color

-center has pillars of some kind – white marble veined with red. There’s a seven by five altar.

-west branch of “sanctuary” (if you can use such a word for this place) – sandstone; hard to see in failing light

-east: green pillars and floor; Ezekiel went here first

-circular dais in the middle, almost two feet tall

-altar on dais, Ez says there’s a depression with blackened liquid, seashells, and a broken bronze knife

(Clues for the “key pieces”??)

-side room opens from SE corner of this wing…vestry with broken trident, moss green robe (filthy of course) and other broken items; also red floor and stairs down

Ez decides we’ll go down, even though it’s getting toward evening.

Try to keep arrow nocked.

[sketched map]

Two right turns. Corridors here are lit with torches, so obviously someone’s been here.

Approached a room and could smell the refuse; maybe that’s what tipped Ez off. That and the high ceiling, and the bones on the floor.

He was sure something was on the ceiling in this room (we have had bad luck with things dropping on us) and Yeti pointed out a harpy in the corner.

At my suggestion, Raven and Lydia plugged their ears with cloth while I tried to hit the harpy (I guess I wanted to be able to hear Ezekiel’s instructions).

I winged it, then we spotted a second one…so Ez had us move in together to get an angle on it while the other three stayed by the door.

As soon as we moved away from the door – clang – a grate dropped down (that’s getting old) and the harpies began to sing.

(I remembered that they had terrible voices – except maybe terrible in a beautiful way – or maybe just because it’s so strange you just have to listen –

Anyway, what I do remember next is a ring of ghouls – standing around us in a perfect ring around Yeti – and crumbling into pieces.

Ezekiel tucked away his holy symbol again (keeps it in a pouch on his belt, now that he’s in full plate armor). Yeti pulled out his crossbow, and I managed to take out the two harpies (though Ez had already wounded one of them).

Note to self: Paladins are so very useful.

Lydia says harpy feathers can be very valuable. (Also tried to dig at me for “falling in love” with the harpies’ song, but got no time for that nonsense.)

[hurried sketch of harpy room, with secret door where ghouls emerged]


Find the previous entry here.

Read the start of the Homlette adventure here.

Subscribe to the mailing list for book updates!

SHADOW Now Up for Preorder!

Yes, Transmutation of Shadow – my action-packed story of government intrigue, sci-fi mental abilities, and the assassin-turned-fugitive trying to uncover the truth – is now finalized!

You can order the paperback right away – or preorder the ebook from your favorite retailer! (Amazon doesn’t have preorders available for paperbacks.)

It launches on MY BIRTHDAY April 27, 2020 (I’m turning 27, so it’s my “golden birthday”).

More good news: if you do preorder, you can message me with your order code and/or which retailer you used, and I’ll send you a collection of deleted scenes and alternate endings! (I’m thinking of them like “alternate time-line” versions of how the story went!)

SmashwordsAmazon KindleKoboBarns & NobleOverdrive

A super-soldier assassin. Wrongful deaths. An agency cover-up that endangers a child.

Eric is the best. (Okay, maybe not the best, but one of the best.) He can walk invisibly through a crowd, scale buildings, become anyone. He kills his country’s enemies with precision and without hesitation.

But there’s another side to that coin – accuracy. And some of his computer-fed, handler-approved, briefing-verified victims weren’t on The List.

(Well, obviously they were on someone’s List…just not the right list.)

When Eric finds his own Agency targeting him, he determines to uncover the truth for himself…no matter where it leads. No matter what the cost.

Even if it makes him the bad guy.

As exciting as The Matrix, as adorable as One-Punch Man, Transmutation of Shadow is the pulse-pounding, heart-touching adventure you’ve been waiting for!

Smashwords — Amazon KindleKoboBarnes & Noble

Dear Diary…Dedicated to Nori

Alert: May contain spoilers for the adventure “The Village of Homlette”

We reconvened after a week. When I got back into town, I found the others at the Welcome Wench. Apparently Mikael also spent a week “in nature,” sequestered in the Grove with Druid Master Geru – and they don’t talk about the “druidy” stuff they do.

Sounds like Ezekiel and Lydia hit the books all week – or rather, Ezekiel focused on his one book, while Lydia went to ask Master Bern questions at the tower.

She’s learned Continual Light – as well as some other cool things – so that’ll be helpful! Ezekiel has asked her to put light on our two shields.

Lydia asked me “How were the elves?” and Mikael mentioned that he actually learned Elvish, but hasn’t really had the chance to try it out yet.

I’m not sure it’s something I can articulate yet. I was really struck how they described everything – the forests, the creatures, the trees – as a gift from Ehlonna. It makes sense…and fosters a sense of gratitude.

Raven says the Lady Master Monk was heading to Orlane once she left here, so he was able to send a donation with her to the Temple of Merikka. He also says he knows how to fall twenty feet without getting hurt (he says it’s in the roll at the bottom) and made us all go outside to watch.

A young man came up to us while we were hanging out (apparently he’s the son of the village elder) and asked us if we would kindly come to a meeting at the elder’s house that evening.

That got Raven and Ezekiel talking about the situation. It was nice to bury ourselves in other concerns for a while, but now we have to remember why we’re here.

What were those weapons being stored for? There were far too many for the number of “bandits” we fought in the dungeon, but who else could be involved?

After Orlane, it’s even possible that some people in the town are “bad.” But it’s hard to tell…everyone knows that we took men-at-arms to the Moat-house, and brought back a huge load of weapons. After all, the shop-keeper questioned me about it.

(Speaking of him, Ezekiel and Lydia – and maybe Raven – also spent time getting all our treasure appraised and converted, so when the rest of us got back, they had our shares all divided. So I can rest easy that the presents I gave the elves and Elmo was money I was actually entitled to give away. Fair’s fair – he let me try out some of his gear part of the week, which was super cool.)

(Huh…”gifts” again…)

Anyway, we’ll head to the elder’s house after an early supper, and see what he has to say. I sure hope he approves of what we’ve been up to around here.

****

Well, we had a very interesting meeting at the elder’s house.

Sounds like the entire village council was there — Druid Geru, Brother Celmert, another Cleric of Cuthbert (who we figured out pretty quickly is Canon Turjon), Sir Rufus, Master Bern, Constable Fred Renton, Master Osler Gundigoot – innkeeper of the Welcome Wench – Mitch the Miller, and of course the village elder himself.

They told us they’ve done a lot of thinking after we caught that Drow Cleric in the Moat-house. They say they’re worried that things are stirring again – and even though none of them were personally on the scene when the Temple of Elemental Evil was broken and sealed, they don’t like the idea that someone might be trying to open it up…or even worse, has already done so.

They gave us some background on this whole thing, which was quite useful: apparently when the heroes and armies of Veluna, Verbobanc, and Furiundy came to smash the armies of monsters and humanoids who were swarming from the temple, they imprisoned the demoness responsible within the temple.

They also left a cryptic poem behind – I guess to give anyone who came afterward a hint for how to finish the job, if possible.

The elder is going to transcribe the poem and send us our own copy for reference, but here’s the gist:

Evil Demon Goddess (of Fungus) built the Temple and made a “Key” with her Evil Boyfriend. The Key is some sort of bridge (maybe?) but is made for destroying the Good.

When the Temple fell, the Demoness was left behind, and they broke their own Key (I think?).

The good guys hid the four pieces of the Key (and then there was something about sea – earth – fire – sky), to keep any bad guys from reassembling it and freeing the Demoness and her Bad Boyfriend.

So, there might be a way to reassemble the Key and use it to reach the Demoness and/or her Boyfriend and defeat them for realsies, but more likely they’d be unleashed which is why any mortal human followers they have would be wanting to hunt down the pieces of the Key (why the humans would want to follow a Demon-Deity, the poem didn’t say).

Ezekiel says I’ve got some parts wrong, but that’s close enough for now. He also says the Bad Boyfriend is probably someone so incredibly powerful and horrifying that we shouldn’t even be saying his name…you know, the one who’s super old, and has bound himself to the Prime Material Plane.

This all sounds very terrible – especially when Canon Turjon or someone speculated whether this demon-duo has an alliance with the Spider Goddess of the Drow.

However, the council told us all they’re really looking for us to do at this point is investigate the Temple (and pretty please tell them no one’s been messing around and trying to re-open it and free the Demoness).

There might even be more clues at the Temple about where to find the four pieces of the Key (although I agree with Mikael, that the only reason that makes sense for hunting the Key is so we can break one of the pieces and keep the Demon-Duo from ever using it again. Ezekiel asked “couldn’t they just make another one” and we pointed out that it took both of them to make the first one, and now the Demoness is locked up, and the Evil Boyfriend is Somewhere Else Not There).

Constable Renton said that “Elmo says we’ve been getting quite powerful,” so they’d all be grateful if we’d do this thing for them.

I think Ezekiel and I especially got a little bashful at that, since it’s always nice to hear that someone kinda big and scary thinks you might turn out all right.

Ezekiel kinda asked whether Elmo would want to come with us – but we all agreed that we’d made quite a splash by trucking all those weapons into town, and it might be smart for Elmo to not be too tight with us for a while.

One of them (I don’t remember who) said that if we thought we might need back-up, the blacksmith in Nulb might come with us for proper compensation.

(Fortunately the blacksmith is one of the people in Nulb who doesn’t hate us.)

Master Osler said that, ten years ago when this all went down, he’d reached as far as the outer walls of the Temple with the armies, but never set foot inside. However, he described the earthquakes and downpours and random fires that hit back in the “bad old days,” and I really hope we don’t have to face anything that dramatic.

Even Mikael looked upset when he heard about that. Upsetting nature, overturning balances, putting things in their wrong spots…that kind of thing. Chaotic Evil just ruins it for everybody else.

I can tell Ezekiel is pumped to put any up-starts back in their place. Sort of like that Spider-Goddess…if she must exist, she might have the decency to stay in the Under-Dark, where she belongs.

****

Good first day. Got up in time for Raven and Lydia to go buy us some more rations (since I think they’re the best bargainers among us) and Raven came back with some saddlebags for the horses, which is very smart of him.

We weren’t sure we were going to keep the two horses from the Moat-house, but so far it’s working out and I think it’s a really good idea. Ezekiel can ride one, which makes him go at a more reasonable pace, and Lydia is riding the other one, because she’s a girl (I guess).

We reached the campsite Elmo showed us so long ago. No sign of bugbears so far. Our hope is to go straight through Nulb and head for the Temple without running into trouble.

We did discuss whether or not to talk to the blacksmith at this time, but Ezekiel thinks we’ll just do some quiet reconnaissance to see if it’d be worth his time. After all, the HOPE – the pretty-please-just-tell-me hope – is that nothing is wrong and everything is fine and ship-shape and still locked up and abandoned.

I can taste it in the air…there’ll be frost tomorrow. Better than snow, which is about what we could hope for at this time of year.

I think Nori is teasing the horses (still no names agreed upon), but Raven is “meditating” so I can’t ask him for sure.

****

I can hardly believe all that’s happened.

When we started out this morning, mists rose from the Gnarly Forest, just visible beyond Nulb.

We made it through the town without clashing with anyone (still smells as bad as ever) and took the road that heads south-south-west out of town.

It was immediately evident that this road is much less used – there are some old wagon ruts, but what with the weeds and tracks in the mud, I’m pretty sure nothing but foot traffic has been down there recently. I couldn’t make a guess as to what that traffic is at this point.

We reached the Temple grounds by late morning…and right away we knew why everyone treats this place with such horror. Why just its mere presence would leech evil and chaos into the surrounding landscape.

The Temple is surrounded by a wall about twenty feet high and maybe thirty feet thick. It’s broken down in places and filled with holes from siege engines…but it’s still a massive structure that seems to loom over the surroundings.

Even the trees are skeletal and shriveled. You’d assume they’re all dead, except that they still haven’t fallen over in the wind and rain.

The shrubs are twisted, blacked…overgrown mounds of dark weeds and grey stone cover the ground. The very grass is disgusting. Here and there, we spotted skulls and bones of humans and humanoids, bleached by the elements. I’m just glad the horses didn’t bolt right there.

And yet, with all that decay and unhealthiness, huge black ravens wheeled far above us. I wondered at the time what they could be hunting in this wasteland.

Ezekiel pointed out the remains of a tower at the other end of the wall, and we started toward it…but the wall was longer than we had first assumed, and we must have gone a mile to travel from one corner to the other.

Right away, we spotted two black birds that looked like crows or ravens, perched on top of the tower and staring down at us. Ezekiel thought there was something unnaturally about them, like they were an illusion, or like they were something else pretending to be ravens.

Mikael took a look at them, and said that, yes, they certainly appeared to be ravens.

They weren’t the only weird thing about this place. I at least had started to catch dark things moving in the corners of my vision – except that, when I tried to look at them, there was nothing there.

When I mentioned it, the others seemed to know what I was talking about…but no one seemed really confident about what was going on.

Raven climbed up the wall, and pointed out that some of the breaks would let us climb through pretty easily – only we’d have to leave the horses on the outside.

I wasn’t very comfortable about that, but we decided to leave Nori on guard, since she was so good at that. Wow. She sure was pretty good at that…

So we picketed the horses (although if I was a horse I wouldn’t want to eat that vegetation) and climbed through the wall after Raven.

As soon as we did so the two ravens on top of the tower started cawing loudly – which of course I’ve learned is probably a warning signal. But I didn’t know who or what they were warning, so it didn’t do me much good knowing that.

The courtyard beyond the wall is absolutely trashed and overgrown. Every weed has thorns, or burrs, or stinks like dog, or looks (and feels) like poison oak.

And that’s not even mentioning the Temple itself. At least, I assume that huge building was the Temple…it looked –

[rough sketch, scratched out]

I can’t even begin to describe. It’s like it has a shape that doesn’t belong on our plane of existence. I’m dreading when we actually have to go that far.

But we had our hands full where we were.

We started by examining the tower on the north-east corner of the wall, since Ezekiel thought it would be a good vantage point – and also didn’t want to leave an unexplored space at our back where something could sneak up on us.

The ravens on top were still carrying on, so I pulled my shield around and got ready. Arrow slits framed the doorway, and I didn’t trust the blackness beyond.

Ezekiel and Mikael tried peaking in the arrow slits, with the help of Ezekiel’s newly-lit shield, but they couldn’t see anything useful.

The door itself was at the top of a stoop of shallow steps, and chained heavily on the outside. Raven examined the chains, and said he doesn’t think (in his professional opinion) that they had been handled for a long time.

That was good enough for me – since we’re not here to break into everything and kill everything, after all, but just to find evidence of anybody else trying to break in. We’ll see if Ezekiel is satisfied with that.

Anyway, next Raven tried climbing the tower, but before he reached the top those two obnoxious birds pounced on him, and he had to slide back down again (and, all right, his monk-ish roll at the bottom was pretty cool).

The raven-birds came after us, and Mikael smashed one so hard with his staff that it bounced against the wall of the tower.

I brought my bow up and winged it, while Ezekiel called out, “These might not be real birds – but if they are, Animal Friendship would work on them!”

And that was perfect, because we’d just been talking about how Mikael could tame another animal friend if he wanted to, and how it might be smart for him to find a bigger creature than Nori as the monsters we were fighting kept getting bigger.

Poor Nori…

Well, Mikael called out to the second bird, and it came and perched on an outcropping of wall near him and listened to him with its head cocked.

The other bird tried to dive-bomb his head, but I took it out with another arrow, and then we all stood and watched him convince the bird to be his friend.

I guess we were all kinda amazed to see it happen. I’m not sure exactly what he was saying to it, but finally it started rubbing its head against his shoulder and cooing.

Makes me kinda jealous, actually.

Well, I pulled my arrows out of its brother, and Raven went to climb the tower again to try to get a good view of our surroundings.

If we had only known…

He had barely climbed onto the top when he leaped dramatically off again…followed by a black swarm of wings exploding into the air.

Raven kicked himself off the side of the tower and rolled into the middle of us as a cloud of raven-birds dropped down toward us, claws extended.

It really was a dramatic moment. Lydia agrees with me.

While I launched some more arrows into the birds, Lydia threw an egg into the air and said, “Boom!” Green smoke – or maybe more like a green cloud – filled the air…but fortunately, it didn’t drift down to where we were.

I shot a bird through the throat and ducked to avoid the birds raining out of the sky.

One of the birds who apparently didn’t breathe in the stink went for Mikael’s new pet, and I was worried for a little bit that if she went flying around to counter-attack, I couldn’t tell that she wasn’t an enemy bird.

Ezekiel, of course, figured out that if he attacked the birds gagging and fluttering on the ground, he could avoid that problem, and he went stomping back and forth with his mace.

Raven stabbed a bird through with his spear…but don’t think they’re delicate little things. Lydia got a pretty vicious gash from one of them – and after all, their wingspans are like six feet across! They may be real animals, but they’re certainly not like the ravens you might find in your back garden. They’re twisted somehow.

They’re huge, and vicious, and determined.

I kept dropping them with arrows, but not nearly fast enough. Mikael lost a big chunk of skin to one, and they seemed to think Ezekiel looked especially juicy (or threatening) and wouldn’t leave him alone.

Then, my bow slipped from my hands, so I drew my sword to save time. Maybe Raven had a similar idea, because I saw him punching at the birds with his bare hands.

I caught a glimpse of Ezekiel, dropped to the ground, but before I could worry I also saw Mikael reaching out toward him, chanting his Heal Light Wounds spell.

The stunned birds were just pulling themselves together and launching into the air again when Lydia pulled out a SECOND egg and threw it up after them.

One of the birds started coughing and dropped to the ground right in front of me…it looked to me like its back was broken by that.

Just as well for me, because when I tried to swing my sword, I felt it hit something…maybe a bone, maybe a rock. I didn’t really have time to check…the balance was off, so I shoved it into the scabbard and snatched my bow up.

I heard scrabbling on the stone wall, and caught a glimpse through the cloud of angry birds of Nori, pouncing to the attack. She must have heard us fighting, and come to defend her Best Friend.

What if she hadn’t? What indeed? Well, we can never really know how these things “would have” gone. That’s what Alpheus used to say…that you can’t waste too much living in the “would haves.”

An arrow bounced off the wall of the tower and tried to hit me in the face (but didn’t). Just about then, I ran out of arrows, and while I was dumping out my backpack for my spare bundle, I saw Ezekiel quaffing a potion and Lydia swinging at a bird with her silver dagger. (She totally pierced it through the rib cage and sent it spinning into the weeds, twitching. So glad she’s on our side, if you know what I mean.)

I started snatching arrows from the ground, and caught a glimpse of Mikael smashing a bird to the ground with his staff.

Lydia said some words, and a horse appeared out of nowhere, and she sent it running. There were only one or two birds left at this point, and they started chasing after the horse.

You’d think it’d be easy to track after something just going in circles, but obviously it wasn’t since Raven and I both missed, and Mikael and Lydia had to work together to put the last enemies down.

Finally, all the bad birds were dead. Lydia’s horse trotted over to her, and disappeared.

Ezekiel staggered forward, bleeding from several places, and told us to clear out…looking mad enough to eat his own mace.

Raven says he tried to unlock the chains outside the tower, as a refuge from the attacking birds, but he couldn’t get it undone. He says he’s glad, though, since he heard something laughing from inside while we were fighting.

I hustled to get my party members back over the wall…although Mikael took a little longer than the others.

I found him kneeling by Nori. He said he’d used Cure Light Wounds on her, and she still wasn’t moving. His new raven friend (says her name is Corbi) was also pretty badly hurt, but he’s got her wrapped up in bandages to keep the bleeding down and the breaks contained, and so far she’s still breathing.

We couldn’t say the same for Nori…especially since she’s, y’know, a spider, and they don’t breathe the same way. It felt wrong to just leave her there, after all she’d done for us, but we didn’t want to spend too much time there, and frankly I had my hands full helping Ezekiel across the broken wall.

I would have said Ezekiel was the worst hurt, since he actually lost consciousness once, but I’m not sure. Raven did his best to walk normally, but he did sway a little.

I asked Lydia if Mikael could ride with her, and of course she said yes, so I was able to get them through Nulb all right without having to stop for anyone.

I was kinda scared we were going to have trouble, since as we came up on the town square we saw flames rising. The smithy was on fire, and a huge crowd was gathered around it, but we managed to skirt the crowd and move on, minding our own business. (After all, it wasn’t our business…and we were in no condition to give help, even if it was needed. I can only imagine how badly a fire could spread in a ramshackle place like Nulb.) I hope everything works out all right…

When we finally reached the campsite, Ezekiel explained one of the reasons he looked like he was trying to eat his own teeth. Apparently the potion he drank was supposed to be for “Animal Control” (which for obvious reasons would have been Super Helpful), but apparently it was for FISH only (I’m not sure how he knows this, and he doesn’t look in the mood to tell me).

I feel much better now that I’ve got them all back to our campsite here. Frankly, none of the guys look fit to swing a weapon for any length of time, and Lydia has blood on her head-scarf, though she’s trying to not make a big deal about it.

I have a scratch or two here and there, but this poison oak is what’s going to drive me out of my mind.

It’s only afternoon, but we’ll have to stop and rest. In fact, we’ll probably have to go back to Homlette…to buy me more arrows, if for no other reason. I’m so glad I had a reserve supply, but I’ve never had to crack into them before.

I’ll be really mad if my short sword was damaged. It’s the magic short sword we got for fighting the dwarves, and has been super useful.

Well, maybe I can figure out some base defenses – like a barrier of sharp sticks – so I can keep watch and we can not get killed by bugbears in the night.

Ezekiel is poking the fire and growling about how he couldn’t even hit birds that are literally flopping on the ground.

But, you know what, if Ezekiel has taught me anything, it’s that you can’t blame your deity just because things didn’t go the way you wanted them to.

Nori was a great spider. She was a wonderful gift to us. She died engaged in battle for the defense of her master.

And if Corbi’s brothers and sisters are anything to go by, she will be a great gift to our party, as well. She does look kinda cute and pathetic bundled up beside Mikael.

All the humans are still alive, and that is also a gift. I do not intend to squander it.


Find the previous entry here.

To read the start of the Homlette adventure, go here.

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Dear Diary…complications, and complicated things

Alert: May contain spoilers for the adventure “The Village of Homlette”

Let’s just say it’s been a crazy couple days.

Let’s see. We were in the dungeon, and the evil Drow cleric was disarmed, dis-armored, bound, gagged, and blind-folded (can you tell he made us nervous?).

We searched the dead bandits and their living quarters…we recovered a decent amount of money, and I found that one of the lieutenants had been using a long bow. (Y’know, a long bow that wasn’t BROKEN – so that’s mine now.)

We catalogued the weapons, and discovered the armory that had been moved from upstairs was here…so that’s a big relief. I’d hate to have to track down another secret base.

There was also plenty of brandy, weak wine, salted meat, and other dry foods…so I had plenty to make dinner with.

Elmo and Lydia helped themselves to a couple of the couches in the cleric’s room (where there were also dishes of treats and other things).

Ezekiel took off his magic chain-mail of Merikka – that he’s been wearing since we cleaned up that mess in Orlane – and offered it to me – since he figures he’ll be better protected wearing this black plate armor. I hope he covers up the spider somehow, unless we make it clear it’s Nori now.

Well, I saw no reason not to upgrade to Ezekiel’s chainmail. Also, my poor old shield doesn’t have Continual Light on it anymore, so there’s no reason for me to prefer it over the magical shield.

Ezekiel gave Mikael the cleric’s staff that hit Elmo so hard, and when Mikael cast Detect Magic he confirmed that it is indeed magical (so are the plate armor and the phylactery, but not the cleric’s mace or the black opal he was wearing).

Ezekiel and Lydia examined the phylactery, and they think it’s something to do with paralysis – Ezekiel thinks it’s a very rare artifact called a Phylactery of Action that protects from paralysis…and I figured, “just so long as it doesn’t cause paralysis.”

Ezekiel also asked Spugnoir about the little spat with Lydia, but all he would say is that there was fighting, and he was scared, and then Lydia burned him, and as he was running away Raven grabbed him and slammed him.

Well, we’ll see…

I barricaded the door at the south end of the corridor with a table and barrel, and so while there were some sounds in the night, nothing bothered us.

When Raven woke us all up at the end of his watch, we got up and considered how we would get all this junk out of there.

Oh, yes! The “bandits” had two light horses in a stable off their main room, so we could use them to carry at least some of the stuff.

Mikael cast his Heal Light Wounds spells, which got some of us feeling more like ourselves, and then (after much discussion) Mikael, Raven, and I went out the door to examine the grate and see if we could raise it, since we certainly couldn’t get the horses up the ladder, and we weren’t sure how else we would get out.

Well…

No sooner had we stepped into the outer passage, than I was sure I smelled the outdoors…mud and plants and that indescribable quality that speaks of outdoor spaces.

So we turned to the east – down the corridor we hadn’t been before – and within 400 feet it had sloped up enough to emerge among boulders and weeds. I could see the sky through the tree-branches above our heads.

Raven climbed a tree and said he could just see the Moat-house building off to the west, which meant we should be able to find the road pretty easily. In fact, this was probably the entrance the cult actually used, which would explain why the main floor of the Moat-house still looked so uninhabited.

We briefly discussed pretending that we had worked long and hard at the grate first, but I figured that would make us sound more stupid than we actually were.

Anyway, with that worry out of the way, we returned to our companions and started preparing to load as many of the weapons on the horses as we could. It was still early enough in the morning, we figured we could make it as far as the tower, and then return with a cart and maybe some men-at-arms to clear out the rest of the armory before nightfall.

Well, I was right in the middle of figuring that out when Elmo was shaking me awake.

According the Lydia and Mikael, Ezekiel had just un-gagged the Drow to give him a drink of water. Spugnoir cast a spell, and suddenly everyone else fell asleep – except the Drow cleric, who also said something in a strange language.

Mikael ordered Nori to “catch” Spugnoir, so she wrapped him up in spiderweb while Lydia woke up Ezekiel and Elmo (who were the other people in the cleric’s room at the time).

Ezekiel checked the Drow cleric, and found him not breathing, with no heartbeat.

“Oh, very funny,” said Ezekiel. “There’s a Cleric spell called Feign Death.” And he dragged him out so we could load him onto one of the horses.

So we finally set out – Raven carrying Spugnoir, after Ezekiel had taken away the scroll we got from the crayfish’s lair (that just sounds odd). Apparently Spugnoir had been carrying the scroll, but Ezekiel says Lydia can have it now.

I still can’t figure out Spugnoir. If he was afraid of being attacked in the dungeon, why put his party to sleep? If he wanted to help the Drow cleric escape, why do it there – when the cleric was wounded and bound, and might not escape being put to sleep – and they would still have to get out to the road to escape?

Eh, it’s not my problem anymore. Lydia and Mikael (and Nori of course) didn’t fall for it, and they’re out of our hands now.

We reached the fort in pretty good time, only three hours, and we waited at the future site of the gatehouse while one of the men there sent for Sir Rufus.

We’d put one of the decorative rugs over the cleric, so no suspicious characters could just casually see he was there, and Ezekiel gave Rufus a peek from under the rug.

I can’t tell if Sir Rufus was surprised to see a Drow Cleric of Lolth show up on his doorstep or not.

But he did let us bring our comatose cleric and our load of weapons up to the tower, where he called out Bern (apparently he’s a “Most Worshipful Mage”) and asked him to cast dispel magic.

Well, Master Bern did, while some of the men there helped unload the weapons which we were turning over to them (not like we could use that many, after all).

When Master Bern was done with his spell, the Drow still didn’t seem to have a pulse, but Ezekiel suggested they lock him up securely just in case.

We also turned Spugnoir over to them. There was a lot of discussion about that – putting us to sleep is pretty rude, even if you could call his fight with Lydia a “terrible misunderstanding” – and we decided that we definitely didn’t want him talking about what was going on at the Moat-house. So Sir Rufus agreed to lock him up for a while, after confiscating his spell-book.

Ezekiel also asked for a cart to go retrieve the rest of the weapons before anyone else got there, and Sir Rufus 1) not only gave us a cart, but 2) four mounted men-at-arms to assist us, and 3) horses for all of us.

I guess that’s what happens when you have actual resources!!

With so much help, it didn’t take long at all to get the rest of the armory safely into the hands of Rufus, and then Elmo went home – after agreeing to return with us to the dungeon tomorrow. Ezekiel and Mikael have some kind of scheme to get past the grate, and we don’t want to put off getting through there too long, just in case there are more prisoners to be rescued or anything pressing like that.

Our return to the Welcome Wench was a little dramatic.

As we approached, we noticed a huge scythe leaning by the door. Raven examined it, and found the blade covered with agricultural scenes from different seasons – he said the depictions of harvest were especially well done.

And right there, he announced that whoever this guy was, he liked him.

Well, we went inside, and looked for a table. The early-afternoon crowd seemed especially heavy to me, but two people especially stood out.

One was a woman in the robes of Merikka with bobbed black hair.

She was sitting with a dwarf in plate armor – and it was kind of hard to miss him, because he started yelling at Lydia to take off her veil. Apparently he’d heard about a party like us – with a funny-looking cleric and the “ugliest girl you ever saw” (he said it, I didn’t, because of course he’s never seen Lydia’s fire-finger up close, if you know what I mean).

Ezekiel went over to talk to him (because of course), and the dwarf said he’s “Doug Rocksinmysox,” and he was hunting for Ezekiel Sentinel because some gnome in Veluna thought he’d be interested in this strange book they found.

Apparently Mr. Rocksinmysox (Raven couldn’t keep a straight face) was mining in the CrystalMysts, and unearthed this book in the middle of a silver vein. It’s a big leather book with clasps and strange writing…Mikael and Lydia both said they don’t even recognize the script.

Rocksinmysox said he’d throw in an arcane scroll in a case – Lydia got very excited, and says it’s Comprehend Languages – for 4,500 gold.

Well, of course I was thinking 1) this dwarf we’ve never heard of is 2) trying to sell us a book he “dug out of a silver vein” for the sum of 3) three times what I spent at my first Ranger school.

But Ezekiel was already rubbing his hands together and bouncing up and down, so I guess I’ll let him spend his share of the treasure as he sees fit. After all, we’ve recovered quite a lot…we’ll have to appraise the jewelry we got from the “bandits,” a silver serving set and a box of unguent we took from the cleric’s room, etc. but I’m not worried about that.

Mr. Osler is still giving us room on the house. I guess Fernok of Ferd was really annoying to him.

Oh, Raven says the lady monk just earned the title “Master” in Greyhawk, and she’ll be staying in town long enough he’s hoping to get in some training with her.

****

In the morning, Ezekiel and Mikael headed to the river to find some clay. I took the opportunity to go buy some more torches, since without our shining shields I wanted to make sure we had plenty of light.

The shopkeep was pretty talkative…he said he’d heard of our triumphant return with an armory-worth of weapons. I told him we found some “bad guys” that we killed…

He didn’t seem to have strong opinions about right and wrong, and I agreed that it’s not very practical to ask about the alignment of everybody who comes through your shop…but still, everyone has to have standards of some kind.

I wonder where the battle lines are drawn in Homlette…

Using our two new horses, we made pretty good time back to the Moat-house. I had hung a decorative rug by the entrance of the sloping passage, so it was a synch to find.

We had to leave the horses shortly afterwards, which slowed us down quite a lot. Ezekiel is super slow in his new armor – and even after Raven loaned him the Boots of Speed, he and I were still the slowest people in the party.

Well, we made it to the grate without encountering anything (although I thought I heard moaning off in the distance…undead?), and Mikael plastered his clay along the stone to the side of the grate and cast a spell.

Gotta say, it looked pretty cool. The stone actually…warped? shifted? changed shape?…anyway, it moved away from the grate just far enough that we could all squeeze past – even Ezekiel in his plate armor.

We followed this narrow corridor up to a secret door, and when Raven opened it, we found the tiny room with the twisting staircase – and the second secret door that opened into the ogre’s room (I hope some giant snake or something eats it soon, ’cause it’s really starting to reek).

I wasn’t sure why anyone would gate off this passage…Ezekiel had a theory, but I’m not sure I understand it.

Anyway, at least we’ve determined there’s nobody here waiting to be rescued.

We also made a sweep through the crypt again, and Elmo says there’s been nothing “with a body” in there since we were last there. Even Ezekiel agrees that ghosts are not our business, so we returned to town – taking a few of the nicer-looking rugs and furniture and other fancies from the Drow cleric’s room.

We got back to town just after sunset, so we’ll have to wait until tomorrow to get our gems appraised and figure out who gets what treasure.

On the whole, though, it’s good to have something actually completed and accomplished.

****

As soon as he had his share of the cash, Ezekiel couldn’t wait to rush down to the bar and buy his new book.

He brought it – and the scroll – back up to our rooms, where Lydia said the scroll had five copies of the same spell on it…and she wanted to “try” to copy it into her spell-book before reading it for Ezekiel. (I wasn’t sure why she had to “try” to copy it, but maybe when the letters spin and flash in strange ways, even Magic Users have trouble.)

So the book is called “The Music of the Holy Ones,” and it talks about “Eru” – the “One” – the “Father of All” – who created the Holy Ones by thinking about them and taught them to sing together.

And they sang, and they sang changing music…and the Father of All listened to them.

Seems like there was a problem of some kind – some of the Holy Ones kept changing up the music, and confusing the others so that they stopped singing…in fact, there were three “storms” of music where the one called Mighty started up a totally different kind of music, and then the Father of All raised his hand, and the music changed in a way they didn’t expect.

There was something about an Immortal Fire, too…I didn’t catch all of it, and when Ezekiel tried to explain it to me I couldn’t really make out his notes. But he says he thinks it’s like what Mr. Prettypebbles (of Veluna) read to us out of the Book of All Gods…where all the gods were bowing down to something too bright to see.

Ezie and Lydia are going to go over it at least once more this week, and he’s going to try to take more complete notes. Lydia said that, even with the Comprehend Languages spell, she had trouble communicating what the book said into Common Speech.

Ezekiel is just so…passionate. He’s over at a table now, with a mug of ale and his “letters” that he’s always writing, but never mailing. Maybe I don’t quite get it, but there’s something about the fire in his eyes…

It makes me think of Mother, talking about Ehlonna. And it makes me wish I had been paying attention better when I was that age.

Elmo says he wants to take me into the forest to “show me some things.” He didn’t specify if “things” means footprints, or fighting moves.

I might as well, though. Ezekiel, obviously, is wrapped up in his studies, and Raven was last seen heading for the back yard with the lady monk.

Mikael mentioned he’d like to go ask Druid Master Geru some questions, and Lydia asked if she could go with him on her way to the tower. Says she’s got some questions for Master Bern.

Elmo says he knows where to find some elves, too…and he says they aren’t nearly so intimidating in person as they are in theory. Especially once he tells them that I serve Ehlenestra, too…Ehlonna as we would call her.

It might be nice to leave this cult business behind for a few days, and focus on some other things. I definitely need to do some bow drills again.


Find the previous entry here.

Find the start of the Homlette adventure here.

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Dear Diary…we do amazing stuff (no thanks to my bow)

Alert: May contain spoilers for the adventure “The Village of Homlette”

We dropped off the mule-cart at the elder’s house on our way into town.

Ezekiel examined the vials he recovered from the ghoul tunnels – seven of them were sealed with the symbol of St. Cuthbert, and seemed to contain something clear, like holy water. The eighth one bore the symbol of Fultus, and the liquid inside seemed more glittery with shades of dark. Ezekiel thought it might be “Invisibility to Undead.”

Oh, and he thinks the scroll might be “Protection from Undead.” Ghouls pick ironic items to hoard.

We decided to return the vials of St. Cuthbert to the church, and Ezekiel dragged me along because he thought the cleric might heal me. Continue reading