I came to myself soaked to the bone by sea-spray. At least I assumed it was sea-spray, as I could feel the familiar grinding crunch of sand beneath my boots. I heard a deep rumble, like rocks being ground together in an old mill. I looked up and saw a giant ice dragon towering above me. I saw a little figure on its head, though I couldn’t make it out clearly. The dragon’s deep voice rumbled across the beach, “ENOUGH.” Alric started immediately to negotiate and try to smooth talk him. Smooth talking a dragon, man that guy is gutsy. The dragon demanded gold, of course. What a cliché. Seeing as the group was recently detained in my prison, they didn’t have much gold on hand. As such, we asked what else the dragon might want that we could barter with. The dragon commented on how tasty I looked, and that he was hungry. I looked around at my newfound friends, and they nearly put me on a silver platter to save their purses. Trading a comrade for coin! We did eventually get the truth out of the dragon, however. It gave us a quest, to retrieve a blue diamond from the manor in the center of the island, and we had to return within 48 hours. We accepted, and I breathed a sigh of relief. The dragon flew off with a torrent of displaced air.
Then, a curious little hermit came out of the forest, grabbed some water in an old pot, and went scurrying back to the forest.
With a look shared between us, we set off toward the center of the Island. Not 3 steps into the vegetation, and we hear a roar “SQUIRREL! SMASH!” coming from a distance and getting closer quickly. We make a quick decision to run in the opposite direction as this thing, whom or whatever it may be, whether smashing ‘squirrels’ or commanding the squirrels to smash us. We realize that it is gaining on us, and we do an about face mid-sprint to confront it. Not everyone has the training I do, so a few of the others ended up ends up. I rushed to help Gavin, and a huge creature crashes through the trees into the small clear space we were in. It was huge, with three googley eyes looking everywhere and nowhere. I helped Gavin up… well more correctly I threw him up on top of the beast. It was impaled by the paladin, and was attacked by several of the others. I rushed toward it and thrust my Pike through the center eye stalk. Foul smelling mucus oozed out and down the pike, dripping onto the grass before it reached my hand. The beast roared in pain and confusion, leapt back and ripped my pike from its stalk. In even more pain, it shrieked “Squirrel, RUN!” Taking in my surroundings I notice that not all of my companions were able to escape his stonifying stare, and the centaur stood like a statue, mid-leap. Instead of giving chase, I rushed to her side. Calling on my goddess, Isis, I touched the petrified flanks with my blessed pike, and returned Karma to flesh.
By this time we were all tired and injured; some more than others. We walked to a hill overlooking the jungle, a perfectly defensible location, so that the injured could heal.
Three others and I decided to go on a scouting expedition to the Manor to better plan our incursion. On the way, I heard a seductive whisper in my ear. “We could rule the world.” Visions of Lemaria passed through my eyes, only with men ruling. Flashbacks of the battle with the demon sword coming to the surface, but instead of tightness in my stomach, my usual reaction to terrible battles, I felt a rush of power, hatred and glee. My eyes were pulled to a leather package in Cava’s pack. Raw need pulsed through my arms, and my hands started tingling. I lunged for it; the group burst into action, everyone doing something. All I could see was need for the package. In the scuffle, I knocked Cava unconscious, and ran off into the woods; fingers shaking as they fumbled with the package. Then out of nowhere, Thoth appeared in front of me. He filled me with a warmth and power enough to throw off the Demon. He held his hand out and I put the package, with a sword handle poking out, into it. He whisked me to the hilltop with the injured, which were looking refreshed and raring to go. I told them of my glorious encounter, and bolstered by that, we all head off to finish the dragon’s quest.
We started off sneaking, and even though we were hidden, an elf, Fala, attempted to turn us from our quest. I see this as yet another attempt for the powers of evil from stopping us in the path of righteousness. Bolstered by the recent appearance of Thoth, I broke out in a run. The centaur grabbed me before I could make it out of the line of trees. We then indulged the asinine desire of the group to talk to her, even though she was totally off-putting. She disappeared, obviously, and we started to head off toward the manor anyway. The warlock, Tyvernos, really needs a lesson in group management.
We got to the manor wall, and noticed creatures looking at us from across the clearing. Right from where Fala disappeared. I focus on them and realize they are Shedim, avian demons. The group was faced with a decision to fight, enter through the window, or find the door. We were just sitting there, wasting time, so I tried to get us all on the same page. Having been Captain of the Guard since I was so young, I have a need for discipline and order, and want to get things done as succinctly as possible. I tried to get the group to finally decide when the leader, Tyvernos, took some initiative and slid through the wall. Finally.
So the Dwarf was the first through the window, and Alric cleared the glass so that the rest of us, even our Centaur friend could make it in securely. We barred the windows with the table we saw through the window, and were thrown into complete darkness. Luckily I have the Pike of Retribution. I thank Isis every day for that gift. The yellow glow it has shed a little amount of light on my surroundings, about as much as would a candle.
We went through the door and walked out into a hallway, also dark. We checked left, and saw the front door down a bend in the hall. We went to open the door directly in front of the dining room, and found a deserted room, in shambles with strange footprints in the dust. One of our crew discovered a secret door that appeared to have strange symbols on it. Tyvernos, who had disappeared, checked it out and determined that they are just sentry wards, for silent alarm. We risked it and broke through to Fala’s bedroom. Apparently she’d been living here in the mansion. Karma took out the Finger of Osiris, and tried to use it to find the Ribs. It was giving some very strange directions, so Tyvernos decided to take it and fly to where it pointed. He disappeared without another word. In the meantime, we searched the remnants of the nearly-forgotten bedchamber, and noticed a warded drawer in the desk. Karma and I prepare to open it when I hear Overkill’s swords hit the floor.
Years of military training set my hair on end. I ran through the door, and who is there? None other than the creepy ‘Elf’ (if she really is one) holding Overkill, at arrow point. I could feel the tension in the room. We chased her off, and returned to her desk. Just as we had cleared the room, and were preparing to open the drawer, we heard a blood-curdling scream come from one of the rooms adjacent. We all rushed out to the hallway, ran to the end, and opened the door on the same side as the room we just exited.
We entered another decrepit, empty room with a broken chair, a ragged curtain, and a… portly elf. The fact any being would sit in the dark baffles me and sets me on edge. The light is where we come from, so the Light is where I will be; so the fact he’s sitting alone in a room is odd, no matter his excuses.
A being burst through the door just as the elf told us there’s an evil mage in the basement! Speak of the devil, and he will come. So I set to proving it truly was Tyvernos in his ‘bennubriousness.’ I offend him, but no one noticed, since Tyv noticed the finger pointing to the elf, and he blurted the name Osiris. The creepy elf threw off his cloak and showed his true self; a Necromancer. Clothed in pieces of Dragons and Gods, he was truly a foe worthy of my steel.
As the battle began, I noticed Alric fiddling with a scroll of some sort. I knelt in place and offered a prayer to Isis to guide my hand, as we were about to enter into mortal combat. As I stood back up, a silvery heart materialized over Alric’s head. The skeletons disintegrated almost immediately, so only a god’s heart could that be. Bolstered by the presence of Godly retribution, I dodged between friend and foe, and headed for Chandar, the necromancer. I struck over my little buddy’s head, and threw a saving parry past him, burying my pike in the ground in front of him. I whispered with serious effort “Fly, you fool” though I don’t think he heard it. He did get out of the way, though… Just in time for the Centaur to block my path back to my Pike. She landed a hearty blow. I asked her to move so that I could get my pike back, and I was back in action, attacking the only enemy I could really make out in the room. Chandar riposted my final blow, and struck me in a chink in my armor. Near death, I hastened outside the door into the hall, letting the physically fit land the killing blows.
I heard a whoop of joy, and Alric ducked out the door. He made a series of complicated hand signals, which I can only assume Tyvernos understood, as he started running toward us from the hole he had crawled into. (Later I found out He had been crippling Chandar from a distance, though I still believe it was just his weak heart.) We all went back into the room, to rest and recover, and I noticed Cava near-death, (which I later found out he had in fact passed, and was revived by Alric) wearing the Ribs of Osiris. Overkill was nursing some grievous wounds as well, and Gavin was being coddled by his nursemaid – err… his wife? Looking at this group of heroes, for the third time today on the cusp of destruction, I offered a death-bed prayer to my Goddess, Isis, and a plea as well to Thoth. I asked that my friends be protected, healed, and be victorious in their endeavor. I asked that, if need be, she takes me to her bosom as payment. We shall see what she does, and if we can truly escape this manor with our lives, much less the useless dragon’s diamond.
“Carry on my wayward son; There’ll be peace when you are done; Lay your weary head to rest; Don’t you cry no more”
Written on the 11th of Thoth by the servant of Isis, Raf Innisfahl.
Picture by Eva Urbaníkova.