Why Hello, There! My Name Is… Well, You Can Call Me Bluto.
I am a long-time friend and travel companion of Roggan. Though you may not see him as intelligent, he is very astute. I have found it a pleasure to see and help him grow. He normally takes so much pleasure in writing his ‘stories’ but today he is feeling a bit under the weather. And who is to blame him? He’s nearly slipped into Anubis’ grasp twice in as many days.
Shortly after besting the Arch-Fiend, CrIsis and the Legionnaires ran out of the tower. They were met by a veritable crowd upon exiting the stone death-trap. Among those waiting to receive the adventurers were a dozen of the Knights of Dawn. And, much to everyone’s surprise, Morgan was there waiting to talk to Gavin, anxiety plastered on her beautiful face. The traitorous letch was there among them, apparently having abandoned our plight in the tower to fight on the fields. Someone needs to help him with his claustrophobia!No sooner had rushed narrations and explanations commenced between the harrowed CrIsis with Jidian and those that fought outside, than a figure dressed from head to toe in gleaming steel came charging from the forest. His tabard was the purest of white, almost glowing itself, with the crook-and-flail of Osiris emblazoned for all to see. All those gathered noticed him immediately, despite the conversing, as he yelled, impressively loud, “VILLAIN, THOU HAST BEEN FORSAKEN BY GOD. I HAVE BEEN SENT TO SMITE THEE!”
Now, I don’t know how many times you have had a Holy Crusader of Osiris charge you, but it is not something to be shirked at. As emissaries of the gods ourselves, you’d think we would have held ourselves better, but we were rooted in place, dumfounded.
(Oh, I hope you don’t mind me adding myself into the group when I speak of CrIsis, but hey, without me you’d be lost to Roggan’s innate ability to NOT discern Runes, Wards, Circles, and Enchantments.)
Though we just destroyed an Arch-Fiend of hell, we stood rooted. The crusader made a beeline toward the Titan, with a nasty flail in hand. Vandur reached for his sword, but he had not the reflexes to react soon enough. The flail swung true, and shards of bone and flesh erupted from his body. The bloody flail sliced clean through the Titan’s body, and the two halves tumbled lifeless to the ground. As the enormous hand released the sword in its sheath, the CrIsis ring slid from a finger the size of a sausage and slid onto Navelo’s outstretched digit. It adjusted to fit his hand in mid-air.
The soaked flail then was sunk into the giant’s skull with a wet thunk and crack. Mid-swing the awesome figure proclaimed, ‘KNOW ME AS NAVELO, TITAN SLAYER!!’
Of course, Roggan in his innocence asked, ‘If ROGGAN punch someone, Roggan get ring?’ and punched Terramore in the arm. He looked at the bard’s hands, and realized he didn’t have a ring.
Through CrIsis’ questioning, the following monologue came forth from the apparent new member.
‘I was sent by Bennu. I am a servant of Osiris, a Holy crusader sent to assist you. I was granted a vision, but being with a god is quite overwhelming, I forgot nearly all of it. I saw a war between light and dark, Phoenixi and Ramen fighting the spawn of Anubis; death was everywhere, and I saw Horus dealt a deathblow by Set. I was told that CrIsis has strayed. I was sent to set you back on the path to restore Osiris. I saw a Pyramid rising out of Epiphany. I am not sure whose it is, but it might be a good idea to investigate it. Also, we must pray more!! Come, brothers. We must pray immediately!’
Of course, Roggan can’t pass up an opportunity to talk to Apis. What he said was mainly in feeling than words, but this is what it roughly translates into: ‘Cow-Lady! Roggan want to thank you for sending Bennu to help Roggan. Roggan love Cow-Lady. Roggan making Chima, Cow-Lady should come drink with Roggan!! Remember when Cow-Lady and Roggan drink Tea and dance with rock friends? Anyway, Roggan go now. Roggan love Cow-Lady! Bye Bye!’
Hobe Wahn… err just Hobe… saw a break in the conversation, after everyone had finished a prayer, and took the opportunity to present CrIsis with a staff made completely of stone, with an amber crystal at the top. He said that the staff would be best suited to the Troglodyte, given his affinity for the earth element. Roggan took the staff, barely hiding his excitement, and ran off to consult with it. Poor Roggan. He thinks that since I converse with him, and he can talk to his ‘Mud Brothers,’ the other stones, wood, and metals are just not old enough to talk. He sees them as babies, not having learned how to reply in elemental. This doesn’t stop him from barraging new rock friends with questions. This staff was no different, of course. He threw out the usual, ‘HI! Roggan my name, what your name? What you do? You happy? Blue kid hurt you? Roggan name staff Stewie the Straight Stone Staff. Roggan take Stewie with Roggan!!! Made of stone, and have runes on it, Stewie look pretty.’ Etc.
Meanwhile, there were heartfelt goodbyes being had between Morgan and Gavin. I understand it’s customary for their kind to not couple indefinitely, but it is still odd to see a mother with her child to leave the father, given that most fleshy beings couple indefinitely when a progeny is present. After they finished, Morgan turned to the rest of CrIsis, to announce her departure. Cava took her aside to talk to her privately. Before she left, Roggan handed her a small leather sack full of his special Pink Sand he procured in Haven to be used while over the water in his spells. Plus, he thinks it was pretty.
She left with the Knights of Dawn to see her father, having heard he nearly passed in a recent adventure.
CrIsis, alone on the corpse-strewn battlefield at the foot of the tower turned to watch the tower. To their utter surprise, what was once caved in by the Troglodyte was completely back to normal. Roggan shivered in apprehension. He did not want to go back in that building. There was too much…. Wrong… with the place. Roggan looked at his new staff, and asked that it be examined by the group, but the group ignored his requests, fixated on bowmen that had appeared at the top of the tower. Gavin, Tyvernos, and Cava flew to the top, and blew the majority of the orcs and goblins away. The rest fled. Roggan, his feelings hurt when no one wanted to see his new staff, refused to talk about it with anyone when they asked about it.
CrIsis decided to make their sweep of the tower from the top down. The first room they entered met them with a mage and a dozen zombies. Our fearless leader did not join us, seemingly compelled to flee. Roars of rage and frustration laced with hysterical fear, uncharacteristic of Cava, haunted our backs.
The scene, had it not been gruesome, would have been comical. Zombies’ feet rooted to the ground magically, their bodies from the knees up blown off them – literally – by the air warlock. The mage was pinned to the wall, and we terminated his employ to the Old Ones. Roggan gave the two melee members Armor of Stone by the end, though he will have to make that more readily available in the future, as in the next major fight, it was sorely missed by the Crusader.
Statues attacked the adventurers in the following rooms, and Roggan felt the frustration of coming across beings of stone that did not reply to him when spoken to. CrIsis had a particularly hard time with the stone lizards, but as usual the crusaders triumphed.
The next floor rewarded our adventurers first with several vials of magical substances, things like Dragon’s Blood, and Dragonsbone Dust. From that anteroom, the adventurers should have stopped to make a plan of attack, as there is rarely a mage’s laboratory full of insane magical substances without a mage of equal or greater value of insanity. When I said the Armor of Stone was sorely missed, I did not exaggerate. If not for the quick feet of our adventurers, the tactical advance in reverse, and a quick slab of stone thrown on top of the mage, they would have fallen. Through the grace of the gods, the stairway was not through the mage, but in another room.
The next floor, CrIsis was confronted with the biggest surprise – a statue of Apis! And of course, as in regular Roggan fashion, he bowed down for yet another prayer. It went something like this, ‘Oh, Cow-Lady! Having Cow-lady here make Roggan happy! Roggan feel like Roggan can do anything. Please, forgive Roggan for being afraid of mean Wizards. Roggan also sorry CrIsis call Apis Cow-Lady! Roggan dedicate Roggan Life to Cow-Lady. Roggan Thank Cow-Lady for Vials in Cow-Lady Mouth. Roggan need to go now. Love Cow-Lady, Bye Bye!’
The rest of the floor was covered in gold and jewels, the likes of which Roggan had never seen, all together like that. We did not decide how to divide it, yet. That will be for a later time.
The ground floor met us with deserted halls and rooms. Our ranger used the privvy, to find that it could lead us to the Ministry of Magic…. or at least to the lair of a tentacled, many-eyed beast. Roggan met death in that room, not for the first time. He rushed forward for a face-to-face, threw a miss, and the beast bore down on him.
thwak. thwAK… THWAK!
And all went black.
Roggan woke up in a Ma’ip field, the land of the Gods of Light. Birds sang hymns of praise, gentle breezes played across the tall grass, blue skies undominated by harsh sun or clouds. Roggan stayed in his cradle of grass, taking in the unplanned respite.
“Arise, little one.” came a voice over the plains. “You shall not be defeated this day. Come to me.”
Roggan sat up, and looked aroud. There, standing under a great oak, was The Goddess. ‘Oh, hi, Pretty Lady! Pretty Lady want to talk to Roggan?’ Roggan got up and ran to Isis. The look on her face stopped him dead before he could wrap his trog hands around her. ‘Pretty Lady mad at Roggan?’
‘I am sad, Roggan. It does not make me happy to see creatures die in my service. I have stayed my hand so that you all might learn, but it is like teaching a mule to dance. You have become like rams, heedlessly running where you cannot see, and not taking account of what might become of you. This is the result. The holy crusader we sent you is one to be learned from. He knew when to leave battle, and when to charge.’
‘Roggan not know what to do. But Roggan try! Roggan strong, try to protect CrIsis, but Roggan need to be protected too. Roggan try harder. Roggan not run in like rahnns like Pretty Lady say. Roggan be smart. Show Pretty Lady.’
‘This makes me happy, Roggan. I must say, though, that of all my many names, Pretty Lady isn’t one. You have done the impossible this day.’ Isis’ expression softened into an easy smile.
The Field faded. The rest of CrIsis pulled Roggan from the room, and finished him from the other side of the doorway. They revived Roggan, and got out of the cistern chappel, having done their business.
The lower levels were full of floor traps and more treasure. There was more than enough to make any one of them a king. They left the tower laden with jewels, gold, precious stones, and magic items. The tower was vanquished, though not without problem.
Ta ta for now, I return to the background. It was good to be heard and not just seen.