Living fire roared with an elemental incense when Bennu appeared in the middle of the banquet hall where we broke our fast. Otto in an odd fellow’s rest would have begrudged me the pyre of her divine countenance — if only from celestial lips and heavenly brea…lungs countenanced her advice. She bennuficently saved us front-row seats at our closest companions hearing-trial-sentence. Judge not — we were told — lest we be judged by the St. Bernard. I enjoyed the opportunity to stretch Otto’s furry legs on our way to the temple. Despite the dire circumstances I must admit my guilty giddy pleasure. I couldn’t help myself from clapping with joy! I hadn’t had the opportunity to attend such a festivity in a coon’s age. It was impossible to repel and repeal the elan from my flan and the verve from my swerve as I jauntily gallivanted to our friends’ dooms.
Once on the temple grounds I maintained my modicum of dignity and decorum for I, a disciple of Bennu, am expected to act my age and not my shoe size…which, as an aside, is rather large for an entire Gnomish race of bell-curved standard-deviations. CrIsis was ushered into the temple post-haste and introduced to the newest possessor of the CrIsis Decoder Ring. Vandur the Dwarven Paladin, looked Overkill right in the eye and spat. The two diminutive chaps clearly had more in common than one of my own wide-berthed stature.
We heard Bennu speak and it sounded like fire-talking. I will attempt, here, to reproduce the sounds she made of one-hand clapping. (unintelligible garbled letters written in Dragonese — gibberish)
‘Overkill, Karma and Ferrel step forward for Judgement.’ Wow! Sounds rather ominous. Overkill shared with the group their desire to seek out an alchemist. At the apothecary / alchemy shop the alchemist demanded that they all buy something. This guy showed up and insanity ensued. It turns out the three of them made a pact with an agent of Set—with a member of the Pantheon of Darkness. Bennu mildly suggested that in the future Overkill should take his own life before selling his soul to the devil, betraying the Pantheon of Light, and / or making such a heinous mistake. She told him that should he be faced with the same decision once again — he should choose death. Wow! She was serious!
Karma was stripped of her powers and sent home. She was forced to relinquish Humara.
Ferrel was burned alive — to death. Sad…but, AWESOME!
Overkill was given the magic Lyre Cherlindria and tasked with returning it to its maker, Dante Phillips, in the Ophid’s Grasslands. I might enjoy such a diversion. I think I’ll tag along for that one.
The group then retired to Matilda for a secret / private conversation. We are more informally introduced to “Vandur” a male, 3ft tall Dwarf and Roggan of the Trog-Noggin Rock rockin’ Earth Warlock Tribe. Matilda seems to have doubled in height…miraculously! I couldn’t keep my eyes from staring suspicious daggers at the dog but he was couched in a fur of secrecy from the moment we ascended the gangway. It’s just like the flea-bitten mutt to take it upon himself and make Titanic-Accommodations to Matilda. Poor lass! Regardless, Vandur was surprisingly vague about the origins of his CrIsis Ring; I am right to be wary of the untested, newest members. He hails from the Northern Hinterlands and used to run a half-way house for runaway Dwarves. At the mention of Teddy Ruskin, Vandur’s Great Griffon mount, Roggan ran off to retrieve his own trusty, valiant steed.
I continued to grill Vandur but, to my dismay, distraction reared its ugly Troglodyte head when Roggan appeared standing astride the 6ft tall shoulders of an Obaru — holding the antlers like reins! But wait! Suddenly he lost his balance! Roggan sailed off the Elk’s shoulders and caromed off the mast to careen into the boards as they “did shrink” and thud against the floor and finally come to a halt. Roggan got run-over by a reindeer! Prancing on Matilda Majestic Eve! You may say there’s no such thing as Warlocks…but as for me and Roggan we believe!
Tonight en route to an Eye of Vengeance soiree when we were set upon by ambushers. Our assailants disappeared before we could react but not before they froze an innocent bystander with an enchanted arrow. Gavin, ever the jumpy worry-wart announced our imminent danger — and was right on the money as usual. It’s like he’s psychic or something! Here’s a brief excerpt from my memory of the battle and the subsequent treatment of the innocent man:
Roggan Looks really excited, as arrows rain from above.
Tyvernos breathes deeply and begins to move his hands and reach out to the elemental air.
Roggan claps excitedly, fixated on Tyvernos.
Tyvernos grasps intangible wisps of potential psychic energy and chants the spell
Roggan Does a stomping chant, and cobblestones from the street travel up my legs to make an armor of stone…. I started walking slower, but not so slow he was left behind.
Tyvernos breaths a rush of air from his mouth and releases the spell. A massive buffet of wind cushions the 120ft area around both the party and the crowd in an attempt to protect the innocents from further volleys of arrows.
Roggan giggles excitedly, and throws pebbles at it, and watches them bounce.
Tyvernos pulls Roggan aside and explains to the Troglodyte that our efforts are best suited to finding food in the kitchen and that there isn’t anything we can do for the poor, frozen fool.
Roggan says ‘Roggan ask Bluto if Bluto want some.’
Roggan whispers to his closed backpack.
Roggan tells Tyvernos matter-of-factly “Bluto not hungry right now.”
Later, I accompanied Overkill to the Pyramid compound / complex to commune with our gods and to donate a little of my coin to the ensuring that Otto is dealt with for his crimes. It still amazes me how he was able to escape scrutiny when Karma and Ferrel were ferreted out for their treachery. Cava, Roggan, and Gavin decided to join us in communion and each went to his respective god’s temple.
After finishing my prayer of Ottoman Accusations I urged Roggan — leading by example — to donate some of his prized geodesic possessions to the goddess, Bennu. Roggan ran across the causeway to the temple and dumped some particularly wet-looking sand on the donation plate. The strange fellow then jumped up and down, singing a song in the primal, elemental language, and the sand formed into a little Mound of Mud.
Finally, we feasted on the finest faire, upon the finest China — fete and sup and feast at the banquet at the Sun’s Rest. The Eye of Vengeance is a group of Ra-worshippers so you can bet they know how to hold their liquor. Tiny got drunk but he came after Overkill for “Dwarven Ale” which is “the shit.” It turns out he was just the waitress.
Terramore began strumming and composing an ode to Gavin — songs of praise and laudatory accolades. He and Quixis were interrupted by the call to alms and quixly ran off to retrieve more beer from Matilda.
A troglodyte began convulsing.
Roggan the wretched wretch retched convulsively through paroxysm and ejected a spew of spuming vomit all over the vomitorium. I whispered to him in Elemental, between wracking spasmodic shivers, “Did you try the beer?” I felt it necessary to remind my teetotaler friend in Elemental that I can resurrect a liver or two after nights of carousing and revelry if the need arises.
Finally, Terramore and Quixis returned with more drink for the Trog. Roggan laid down on his side and moaned, “Kill Roggan. Please?” to which I sagely replied, “Poor Roggan, if only it were within my alignment to do so.” Clearly, Otto has drunk the poor warlock under the table. At that moment the strange creature jumped up and said, “ROGGAN WANT TO DANCE!” Roggan grabbed me bodily, around the waist, and put me around his shoulders like a wee Gnomish shawl. I should like to thank him, one of these days, for trying me on for size.
Later that evening I heard commotion from Overkill’s room — nothing out of the ordinary what with his cabin’s proximity to the mount cages and livestock pens; I paid it no mind and promptly returned to slumber where I composed the following poem:
Twas the night before Majestic when all through the ship,
Not a creature was stirring, not even Chip.
The package arrived all tied up with string,
When Roggan offered Bluto open the thing
Tyvernos was nestled all snug in his bed,
While visions of Cava dead danced in his head.
And Roggan in his ’kerchief and I in my sack,
Had just settled our brains for a hang-over nap.
When in Overkill’s room there arose such a clatter,
I was sprung from my bed to see what was the matter.
The moon on the breast of Ramadan below,
Gave the lustre of Cava to objects below.
Ramadan didn’t climb down the chimney but he definitely crawled up Overkill’s ass. Cava had big enough balls for an entire women’s soccer team that night. I imbued him with an Armor of the Dwarf King Ithan and the ability to FLY LIKE A FUCKING EAGLE — admittedly, it’s my most sought-after ability. I made four lightning arrows but couldn’t find my scissors so I rummaged around my backpack until I found my other TOOL…
We wish you well.
You told us how you weren’t afraid to die.
Well then, so long.
Or feel too down.
Not all martyrs see divinity.
But at least you tried.
Flying above the crowd,
He had a voice that was strong and loud.
We’ll miss him.
Ranting and pointing his finger
At everything but his heart.
We’ll miss him.
The package-sender’s intended victim was too afraid to open it. I felt a sharp kick to my shin as the package exploded and Cava was in desperate need of healing. We rushed him to the temple where Father William told us that a Parcel of Mystery is a gift directly from Anubis. The box explosions do significant damage and then afflict the opener with contact poisons that can only be removed by the usage of holy water.
Bishop Rose laid hands on Cava — she had tears in her eyes as she removes her hands and shook her head gravely. It appeared to be beyond her strength to cure. U-Selekma might not even have the power to remove this curse. She recommended we reach out to Malkin Falimede and see if he has any information regarding the magic. Her brother, Ramadan, delivered the package — we informed Bishop Rose of the connection — but she didn’t recognize the implication. She was totally distraught and needed sleep badly.
Too much adventure for one night! I returned to Quixis with Terramore in tow and left the rest of the group at the Pyramid. Tuckered out and too pooped to pop. The sun had already risen. The Knights of Dawn party is tonight but the situation may be a little weird as they are an order of Paladins and we are without our former Paladin, Karma. Sir Quixis, however asks us to attend and we do. I suggest that our new Dwarven Paladin, Vandur attend in our stead and that such a duty should suffice as his initiation into our fraternity; I recommended as much lest he be hazed and teased and tortured mercilessly by the dilettante dog Otto.
Morning of the 17th of Majestic — we received a pigeon from King Minischmee. We sent a pigeon to Malkin Falimede and informed him of his great-great-great grandon’s death and the package of mystery now afflicting Cava. Finally we were asked to speak to Bishop Rose one last time before we leave on an ADVENTURE — and we do so dutifully. She informs us that her efforts to research the ailment and divine a cure have been in vain. She told us that she had failed us and that she was impotent to save Cava from the curse. She was under the impression that only Anubis can remove the curse. Bummer! I stepped forward and prevails upon her to help CrIsis in traveling to Timiro. She procured us Tyrone Heneman and his slim-lined Nicole for river-boat passage.
Malkin Falimede finally returned our pigeon while we were on the river boat. He informed us of multiple curses — the Curse of Dog Phobia, Curse of Psionic Phobia, and Curse of God Phobia (stronghold of Shandala), Curse of Water Phobia, Curse of Changeling Phobia, and the Curse of Giant Phobia.
We finally get into a fight on the river boat — a traveling troupe of merry men…in tights! We are assailed by actors and forced to stay our hands from ridding Palladium of their insolence.
The next attack upon us was a coordinated effort by orcs and high-orcs! Some if by land and some if by sea! Roggan was very quick to subdue the shore-bound bodies of Orcish meat in liquified rock and river-slickened sand. The brutish buccaneers were mired in quicksilver Quicksand! He then opened up a crevasse in the earth to bring forth a River of Lava! His elemental might and magical prowess are a thing of marvel. Terramore, however, marveled at his plight from beneath the miasmic waves. I attempted to levitate him but failed miserably and the orcs were soon dispatched. Between Gavin, Cava, Overkill, and Roggan’s timely spell-casting I daresay there was hardly a need for me or my eagle wings…or my lightning arrows. Next time perhaps I’ll try a different approach. Otto!
Until next we speak…
Written by Tyvernos on the 19th of Majestic, in the 69th Year of the Wolfen Empire.
Picture from Sue Deutscher.