Saturday, 4 August 2012

Day 23 – Giants and dragons and air elementals…o my!

Day 23 – Giants and dragons and air elementals…o my!

Seriously you’d think we’d get an uneventful night’s sleep in the middle of bloody Hommlet wouldn’t you! But still I’m rudely awakened by a giant hand trying to throttle me. A giant undead detached hand covered in bizarre runes similar to the ones on Fillian. So I hacked at the thing with my axe and disgusting pus squirted out all over me making me empty the contents of my stomach. The thing used the opportunity to wrap itself around my throat and try to squeeze the life out of me. It might have succeeded had it not been for the joint efforts of my comrades cutting it to pieces.

Suddenly the thing released me and each finger split off and changed into another, if somewhat smaller, hand. All of us were awake at this point, except Sameson who could sleep through a volcanic eruption, and had to battle it out with the bizarre hands.  Together we dispatched them all and the hand reverted back to being just one over-grown severed hand, but this time dormant with a dirty thumb sticking up.  Fillian conveniently changed back about now (though I think the sneaky elf had really changed back half way through the fight and took bloody amusement in watching us battle it out with his severed hand!). And Fillian thought the hand might be the very one he lost to the trap in the fire temple long ago, albeit altered by powerful necromantic magic.

Now Burne returned to check on us about then and the two of them made some sort of bloody magical pact because they went off and when Fillian returned he had the bloody hand attached to him with the thumb sticking up. I must say it looks utterly ridiculous! Now we told Rufus and Burne everything we knew about the temple and decided to head on back there in search of the gems that would complete The Orb of Golden Death. We took a few days to stock up on supplies and then once more ventured to the secret entrance under the abandoned cottage that leads to the Temple.

Fillian said he wanted to investigate the magic mirror in the chamber which was once occupied by the evil mage Falrinth.  Here we found Wonillion, the gnome, looking like he hadn’t eaten for days. And this was because he bloody hadn’t. The mirror had been activated by Wonillon and was in fact a portal to the elemental nodes which the gnome was concentrating on keeping open. Taki, the warrior, had gone through it, looking for Mai, and this love sick gnome had been waiting for Taki to return ever since.

Trying not to throw up from the trite sentimentality of the situation we asked the gnome to let us go through the mirror to the fire node. Wonillion agreed and we went all stepped through the device, but the bloody gnome didn’t control it properly and we ended up dumped on a mountain, being blasted by freezing winds, in the air node. I will throttle that little bastard next time I see him.

I quickly cast some protection from the elements on my comrades and we decided to make the best of a bad situation and search for the air gem whilst here. We had no bloody idea where to begin but opted to head down the mountain and explore from down there. We sent Joe ahead to scout and prayed that our earlier dream about our encounter with a cloud giant didn’t come true. But we were bloody disappointed because we rounded a bend to see Joe suspended upside down by one of the huge monsters.

Thankfully the giant took it upon itself to throw Joe at us rather than crush the life out him there and then. Quickly we prepared our defences against the cloud giant, not wishing to repeat what happened in our vision. Sameson has finally learnt a new trick because he conjured up a whirlwind like air elemental and sent it spinning off to the attack the giant to buy us time. Naturally, we pushed Ugly to the front waving that silly Frostreaver sword he keeps talking to, and buffed him up something rotten with the power of Joramy and Obad-Hai. Joe started blasting it with that new lightning wand toy of his and old elf-one hand had a go at doing something arcane to it, but his spells kept falling. By the hammer the giant was tough. Once it had swotted away the air elemental it was all we could do to keep Ugg alive against it.
I called on the wrath of Joramy and dropped a Wall of Fire on the bastard and watched him burn. Men are bloody annoying enough when they are normal sized! Ugg got some prime hits on it but the giant had another ability in its arsenal: it flew up into the air and out of the fire like it had a bloody wings. Unfortunately for it Ugg could do the same, and Frostreaver levitated him right up after it. From the ground we watched the bizarre airborn battle transpire. Ugg’s brains must be in another part of his anatomy though because we couldn’t bloody heal him from down here and if he’d lost he’d have plummeted and become an orc-sized stain on the mountainside. He didn’t lose though and it was the giant that smashed back down, shaking the mountain to its very foundations.

And so we bagged our first giant! They’ll be no bloody stopping my companions’ egos now! It’ll be bloody dragons next, then flaming demons then Joramy knows what… you mark my words. So after some typical backslapping and what not we pressed on through the winds down to the bottom of the mountain. In the distance we could make out what looked like some caves in rock formations across the icy tundra that must mark out the sides of the Air Node. I’m a little uncomfortable with knowing that I’m basically inside a bloody box, but we pressed on to the caverns hoping to find the gem there.
We’d gotten about halfway when we saw a human sized figure approaching us, seemingly unaffected by the cold winds. It wasn’t until he was close that we recognized the distorted figure that was once Lord Chess. Now however he was something different. Perhaps in punishment because of his failure to stop our righteous cleansing of the fire temple, Lord Chess had been killed and transformed until some kind of mega frost zombie creature intent now on sucking the warmth from our bodies. He had that symbol of Iuz slapped on him too, just to block any attempts to turn him. The bloody fool of an elf was about to lob a fireball at him before I convinced him of the folly of throwing fire at a creature which feeds off warmth! Instead, having the luxury of space down here on the tundra floor, we surrounded Chess and began gleefully hacking away at him. However, just being close to him was enough to feel the warmth being sucked out of us and so we had to make short work of him! Finally we shattered this monstrosity and so ended Lord Chess of the fire temple! That’ll teach him to worship bloody elemental fire eyes instead of the mighty Joramy; a true goddess of fire!

We trekked onward to take cover from the blistering winds within the closest cave at the base of the rocky sides of Node. But the bloody winds roared through the caves themselves and so offered us no shelter. This particular cave was empty as well. It must have been where Lord Chess had been lairing. So we left and started to climb a path up the side of the rock face to another cave. Only we hadn’t got more than ten paces when a bloody whirlwind formed in front of us and a huge air elemental manifested; this time it wasn’t under the control of Sameson. The thing spoke, and I’m not really sure how because I couldn’t make out a bloody mouth on it, with a voice like rustling leaves.’ What do you want here?’ it asked us.

So we tried to tell it all manner of lies about wanting to free all the poor unfortunate creatures trapped here, but it wasn’t really buying it so we tried asking it about the gem. It didn’t know anything, or at least it pretended not to, and told us that the dragons or the giants must have it. See what did I bloody tell you! Dragons and giants!!! I swear I saw Sameson and Ugg’s little eyes light up at the mere mention of them. The air elemental wanted us to go and fight the giants for it and so, not wanting to waste our strength on the elemental, we agreed. The thing asked us to step into it and we all did and were whisked off to the other side of the node where all the giants lived. When the elemental left we took note of where the cave where the giants lived was and promptly walked off in the opposite direction. Well I ain’t bloody stupid! One giant we can handle but a whole blasted family of the bastards I think not.

So we looked around a few more cave complexes but found nothing of interest. Then just as we were climbing up to another cave on the upper level another air elemental appeared. This one was even bloody bigger than the last one and it roared at us to prostrate ourselves before it. We did because yet again we didn’t want to fight the tornado like being. It started hurling all sorts of abusive sexist taunts at me in an effort to piss me off, and it might have actually been offensive had it in fact had a sex in the first place, but I fail to see how a sexless tornado could actually really be misogynistic. After a while it got bored and told us it would leave us alone if we went and killed the dragons for it at yet another side of the node. We agreed and it whisked us up and set us outside the cave where the dragons lived. Once more we waited till it left and went in the opposite direction.

We found another cave and had a poke around inside. In a side cavern we ran into two little shrieking imp things that Fillian recongnised as air mephitis. They started harping on about going to tell the giants and dragons we were here, so we squashed both of them before they had a chance despite their attempts to protect themselves with Blur spells. Stupid little buggers. Down another cavernous passageway we found an odd glowing triangle symbol craved into the floor. It didn’t take a bloody wizard to realise that standing on would activate something. Now, as a joke I dared Sameson to stand on it. How was I to know the acorn worshipping dolt would actually go and bloody do it.

Bam, he vanished. Now we all had no choice but to do the same and end up Joramy knows where. So I stepped forward and the world seemed to move and almost made me hurl up all over my chainmail skirts. I saw Sameson ahead and so stepped forward again to find myself in a bizarre chamber full of glowing runes carved into the floor. Four to be precise. One for each of the elemental nodes! We were in some kind of bloody teleportation chamber. I managed to stop Sameson from being a bloody fool and stepping on another rune and when the others arrived we decided to explore this area.

We saw a passage leading out and sent Joe off to investigate. He returned in one piece and told us that ahead was a huge chamber covered in moss and fungus. Great, I thought. We’re in Vutogmy’s bloody bedroom! So we marched right on in there and saw a gigantic throne right in the middle of the chamber. Then the idea popped into my head that the throne is actually a device activated with the Orb of Golden Death and could be used to raise us back up to the top level of the temple. Also another idea of something nasty that the skull can actually do popped into my head but I ignored that. Something so insidious as to only be used at a time of dire need!

Now I told the men to all get on the throne but, what do you bloody know, Sameson had wondered off again. I swear that man has a death wish. He’d gone off to investigate an anti-chamber. We found him in the smaller room gleefully using his powers to command fungus like plants to attack other. Simple things please simple minds! Just when he’d made them all pop each other some more plant creatures popped up out the floor and let out a cacophonous shrieking noise, alerting everything in the area of our presence. This seemed like a good cue to leave so we all piled on the throne and I got the old skully of dire evil death out and made us ascend all the way up to the upper temple.

Now we were getting tired and needed to rest and rethink our strategies so we returned to where the gnome and his magic mirror were. It was only because he looked so pitiful, still whimpering over more muscles than brains Taki, that I managed to restrain myself from throttling him for dumping us in the wrong node. So we gave him summit to eat and settled down for a good night’s rest. Pfft, we should be so bloody lucky!!!

Day 22 – The shrew battles madness

Day 22 – The shrew battles madness

The end is the beginning is the end

And I woke as myself. But for how long if that Cutherbite keeps waving that skull around as if it were not the bloody key to everything! So we made a plan to free Fillian. We prayed to our deities to give us powers to dig into rock. Now we think we knew where exactly Fillian’s statue stands from the corridor on the other side and intended to drill into the rock and swipe it right off the fountain before the Juggernaut could stomp us into the pretty tiles of the water temple. But we didn’t bloody take into account the sheet of copper behind the fountain and our plan was thwarted.

So instead we hatched an even more insane plan involving a magic item Joe had pilfered off the gnome. It was a figurine that could transform into a fly the size of a bloody horse. Now we decided to let Joe use this to fly over the temple and lasso Fillian’s statue with his magical rope. Just to put the icing on bloody rock cake we made him, and the fly, invisible and then magically silenced them. The rest of us just stood by the doors to the temple and could only bloody watch as the thief tried to pull off the madness. Although we couldn’t see a bloody thing, because he was invisible, and the first sign we had that it might have been working is when Fillian’s statue seemed to pick itself up and start to have a wobbly fly, all by itself, across the water temple.

He was almost at the door when we heard a vile screeching and four gargoyles swooped down from the temple’s rafters after the invisible Joe and his fly mount.  We all ducked aside as Fillian’s statue flew past us and we turned to combat his gargoyle pursuers. Sameson remembered the undead gargoyles from before and raised his holy symbol of Obad-Hai to turn them all to dust before they could trouble us. On the other side of the temple we heard the Juggernaut rumble to life and it pelted us with a barrage of magic missiles. Quickly we slammed the double doors closed, I quaffed a Speed potion and us three remaining clerics of varied faiths hitched up our chainmail skirts and ran off after Joe like we had Zugotmy herself snapping at our heels.

Joe was much faster than us though and we lost him in no time. So we ran around the temple like crazy things trying to find the exit. And in our haste we almost ran right into a bubbling black pudding, which was slithering around the second floor looking for tasty morsels like ourselves to consume. We went to leg it back the way we came only to see the other end of the corridor blocked by a humongous troll decked in the armour of the greater temple flanked by two other human temple drones.
We didn’t have time to mess around, what with the black pudding on our rear, and so I dropped a Wall of Fire right on the bastards. The two drones were consumed by my goddess’ flames but the bloody troll seemed to have some sort of protection from fire because it barely scratched its sweaty hide. The troll muttered some words of magic, to further protect itself from acid, and advanced on Sameson and I. The thing fought with surprising skill for a troll and had both of us on the defensive instantly. I could do little but heal myself before its rampageous onslaught. Behind us I could hear the screams of Cedric being eating alive by the horrid black pudding, and to make matters bloody worse that yellow bellow Sameson put on his gargoyle cloak and flew off and left me to fight the troll.

Now I ain’t a coward but I also ain’t bloody stupid so I tried to parley with the troll. The thing said I could leave alive if we surrounded The Orb to it. So I told the monster where he could bloody find the damn thing and moved out the way to let it take it. Sameson had managed to dispose of the pudding but not before it had done enough damage to Cedric to knock him unconscious. The troll took The Orb from Cedric, and at that point I knew I had to do something even if it got me bloody killed. So as the troll passed me by I put my foot out and tripped it and as it scrambled to stay standing The Orb was in its outstretched hand in front of me for just a moment and I reached out, grabbed it then…

…I was somewhere else. A dark place that looked like the interior of the Earth Temple but surrounded by swirling lights and mist. Within the mist I’m sure I could see Ugg and then Joe and then Sameson and even Cedric shouting at me something about beating the evil of out me. I’m sure I could even see my old Aunt Garin waving her finger at me and warning me about indecent men. But then another voice pierced the air. A venomous shrill calling my name. ‘Vida’, Viller said. ‘You can’t hide from me.’
So we must be in my mind, I realised. And The Orb had provided a battleground for Viller and me. I knew that I must win; else the bitch would find a permanent foothold in the material realm. As that warped monster of a woman moved closer, ranting obscenities, I called upon Joramy to bless me with every bloody power and protection imaginable. Then I caught sight of Viller coming around the centre pyramid of the earth temple, and the horrifying thing was that she looked just like me…although nowhere near as pretty and with bad hair. The bitch wasted no time in going for the jugular and hurled her worst spell.

A nightmarish apparition appeared before me. All muscles and charming smiles I saw before me an image of perfect masculinity looking down at me most patronisingly from its horse, threatening to scoop me off to carry me away to a castle to be his perfect little princess. Luckily I realised that this horrifying image was no more than an illusion created from a Phantasmal Killer spell and shrugged off the misogynistic image before it could destroy my very being.

I threw a Silence spell in answer. But it’d take way more than that to shut this harpy up and her madness protected her from my spell. She began to bombard me with a deadly assault of mental attacks. First she tried to knock me out with sleep magic (clearly she had forgotten my Amulet of Wakefullness) then she sought to wrack my body with crippling pain. It was only through the protection of my goddess and sheer force of will that I shrugged off these attacks. I knew that just one lapse of concentration would be the end of me.

Viller finally grew frustrated in her futile attempts to break me and she conjured a ring of slashing blades to surround her and moved to close the gap between us. I tried to dispel this new threat but only succeeded in knocking off one of her weaker protection spells before the crazy witch charged me. Good, I thought. About time the bitch felt the wrath of my warhammer. My goddess is one of war unlike her god of madness. Her first attack with her war axe barely missed my head as she swung it about in her insane fervour.  I tried to bathe her in my goddess’ flames but I failed to cast it and avoid the axe at the same time. Her ring of blades cut into me and I knew I must dispose of her quickly else I would be ripped to shreds.

She dropped the axe in favour of calling on her dark lord to cause me grievous wounds with her touch. I felt the unholy power sap my strength and used Joramy’s powers  to replenish myself. I repaid her with a blow from my warhammer and got great pleasure in seeing the scank have to resort to the defensive and heal herself. And so the battle went for a while, with us trading blows and her deadly ring of blades sapping away at my health and healing reserves.

Suddenly my full rage at what this foul excuse for a woman had done to me filled my very being. How dare she steal my body from me! Every woman’s body should be her own! Then she had the temerity to threaten my friends. ‘I will kill them all when I return victorious’, she spat. I was a woman on the edge and so I raised my warhammer high and smited her with the full rage of a volcano. My aim was true and I knocked the cacophonous whore sprawling to the floor barely conscious.  ‘It’s over,’ I told her.

I underestimated the depths of her insanity. ‘I will drag us both to the abyss!’ she screamed and before I could stop her she cast her last spell and exploded in an energy vortex of acid. My body exploded in pain as the acid burnt my flesh. Everything went black and suddenly…

…there I was standing back in reality with the orb in my hand, covered in troll blood instead of corrosive acid. I had won! The wicked bitch was dead. Cast back into the abyss forever more. And she was not the only one. Before me lay the remains of the troll which, seemingly, The Orb had imploded. Now although I was jubilant in my victory I had not forgotten my friends and sought them out. Sameson had managed to heal Cedric and the two stood nearby looking at me quizzically. Cedric insisted that he use The Orb to see if there was evil in me and of course now he found none! No more bloody evil! Thank Joramy!

I took The Orb back and put it away safe between my tits. Cedric looked like he might argue but thought better of it. I’m linked now to the bloody thing and will use it to bring down both the fungus queen and Iuz and then destroy the bloomin thing and be done with this place, with any luck all before the next eclipse. So the three of use quickly exited the temple avoiding any other creatures on route. We found Joe waiting with a stoned Fillian outside the temple and took turns in carrying Fillian’s statued self-back to Hommlet.

In Hommlet we encountered that bloody slacker Ugg and he helped us convince Burne to use a scroll to change Fillian back to his true form. Now we used the barracks as the place to do this. It was only here that we got a good look at Fillian and noted he seemed to be covered in strange magical runes beyond that which the gnome was able to graffiti. Odd as that seemed we still continued with his transmufic..whatever the bloody mage word is for turning him back to flesh. But of course the whole bloody thing went wrong and it took an entire night for the spell to take effect. So Burne left us waiting with Fillian tapping our feet for the rest of the night but I didn’t care so much. Tonight I can go to sleep knowing that tomorrow I shall definitely be me!

Day 21 – Tentacles and screams

Day 21 – Tentacles and screams

And so HE waits,
A darkness  so unfathomable, 
that darkness itself dies.

So I woke up with bloody Ugg kicking me for my turn to take watch. I’m sure that she kept watch before but it’s becoming harder to keep track of my own bloody mind these days so maybe I’m wrong. Nothing happened so I went back to sleep, but must have only had about six hours shut eye when I was  awoken by a ruckus near my person. It seemed Sameson and Cedric (not sure if I like this nut job of a cleric yet) had taken a crystal ball off Ugg but woke him up in the process. Now they were scraping over it like it was the last beer at Bogswatch. During the fight Sameson hurled the thing at me and it hit me right in the tit and then went rolling off down a corridor. Enraged by this indecency I took up my warhammer and decided to put an end to this typically male tomfoolery.

I got to it first and called upon the wrath of my goddess to destroy this symbol of masculinity and went to bring down my warhammer on the damn thing. Unfortunately I missed and brought my hammer down on my bloody foot instead and I went down like a sack of spuds. Ugg raced to retrieve the ball but Cedric and Sameson were on him fists swinging and knocked him flat out before he could! Now it turns out Ugg had found this cursed crystal ball whilst we were stoned (in the statue sense) and so it had exerted some sort of dark control over him. We all agreed that it must be destroyed and shattered the thing before he came around.

So now I asked my comrades why the bloody hell we weren’t going after poor Fillian trapped in the water temple. But they insisted on continuing to explore this area instead. Pfft they bloody listen to her but not me! More the fool them. So we carried on exploring and came across some sort of grisly trophy room! The walls and tables in here were covered with the symbols of just about every good or neutral deity known to the living. To my utter bloody disgust there was even a Joramy symbol here. So outraged were we at this ostentatious show of power by the temple of elemental evil that we failed to notice a monstrous creature which dropped down from the ceiling and started attacking us. A huge aberration known as a roper that was basically a bloomin big eye, mouth and a mass of tentacles. 

The thing wrapped one of the tentacles around me before I could do so much as bloody raise my warhammer. I shook off the paralyzing poison it secreted but it still pulled me towards its gaping maw, along with the rest of my comrades. When it drew me close enough and hurled Joramy’s holy flames at it, but barely hurt the thing and it took a big bite out of me. It was all I could do not to be pulled whole into its fanged mouth. Luckily Ugg got handy with that new sword of his and hacked the thing up pretty good. When I had presence of mind enough I asked Joramy to give me strength and bashed it pretty hard myself.  Soon the thing fell but not without taking some bloody nasty bites out of a few of us. Hacking the roper up revealed some gems and other goodies from the wretched thing’s victims.

Wiping Roper intestines off our rewards we marched on along another corridor till we came across what could only be described as a kind of gory laboratory covered in bizarre paraphernalia. Books detailed grisly procedures lay on tables and underneath one table was some kind of bloody unfinished monster. The horrifying creation seemed to be made up of undesirable parts of other creatures, for Joramy knows what purpose. We uncharacteristically left well alone and retreated from the nightmarish room to…somewhere even bloody worse.

We found a large stone tomb with a mummified corpse lying openly on display. As we burst into the tomb an apparition manifested in front of us. It looked like a bloody elf woman floating about playing creepy music from her ethereal flute. We felt some vile undead magic wash over us, but I ain’t easily dominated by such things and shook it off. Whilst the men stood there gawking as their life essence was drained from them, I hurled my goddess’s divine wrath down on the elf spirit…but it barely scratched the, clearly, ancient spectre. To my surprise Sameson also managed to break free from its spell and raised his symbol of Obad Hai in an effort to turn it.  But she was too strong and shrugged it off, obviously resilient to such things within her burial place.

I realized only fire could cleanse such an unholy taint upon the world and I filled the chamber with a wall of fire. At this point the others broke free and attacked the elf spirit so she was trapped within the flames. Although they too were burnt from the flames the spectre suffered more and my comrades, despite their many flaws, understand the need for self-sacrifice to reach their goals. The elf ghost perished within the flames of the shrew and I cast down the wall of fire, leaving us to pillage what was not destroyed by the flames.

From the tomb we continued our exploration and proceeded down a corridor into a nearby chamber.  Inside waited a troll feeding a bizarre bell-like plant monster that, after it noticed us, launched itself in our direction. Of course nothing bloody surprises me about this place anymore and I drew my mighty warhammer and entered the room ready to smash this unexpected foe to pieces. Then my usually trustworthy warhammer changed into a snake in my bloody hands. What sneaky elf magic is this, I thought and threw the snake to the floor and set about chopping its bloody head off with my axe.

 To my left I heard Cedric screaming something about spiders and sure enough a swarm of the things began pouring over me. Biting and trying to climb into every bloody orifice. I don’t remember a lot during that time but suddenly the horrid things vanished and that plant thing was bearing down on me. That bloody plant had pumped out some kind of hallucinogenic powder so it could attack us in our confusion. So shaking off the effects I saw Ugg and Joe fighting the troll and joined Cedric in getting rid of the phallic shaped plant before it could spray us again (how disgusting).

To my utter dismay things got worse when Cedric reached into his pouch and pulled out an orb shaped like a skull to help him in battle. From the moment I first laid eyes on the thing I knew it to be the solution to my current dilemma. Where the bloody hell had the Cuthbertite got that. Although right now it turned out to make things bloody worse because it started her shouting in my head and then SHE was in control again for a while. The troll and plant immediately turned their attention to Cedric. The key, I realized. I knew it was the key. And so did she because she immediately started scheming to get it.

It’s the most frustrating thing having someone else drive your body. Especially when she’s a bloody insane man worshipping psychopath plotting the downfall of not just your companions…but the whole of bloody existence.  Anyway Cedric used the skull key to put some kind of hex on the plant and we killed it about the same time Ugg squashed the troll.

Now the bitch realized she might have made a mistake in surfacing because Ugg’s sword started glowing when it detected her evil presence. Rather rashly she tried to do her usual trick of hiding her aura with a spell but Cedric heard her cast it and correctly identified what she was doing. He confronted her and I wondered how this would play out. Would my companions have the balls to attack me…her…whatever. Would they finally learn the truth!
It seemed they might when Cedric used his powers to put her in a zone of truth. But they bloody bottled it and asked the wrong questions which the bitch skilfully sidestepped. They asked her why she cast the spell and she simply told them the truth that she wanted to hide her alignment from the clerics in the temple. These bloody men have their brains in the wrong places because they shrugged it off and went on our way. Insanity has a way with words!

Nearby we found some orcs, gnolls and other evil creatures chained up and imprisoned. Clearly they had done summit to piss off the temple. So my companions for all their talk about being high and mighty on the morality scale slaughtered the defenceless creatures. Apparently their evil is genetic and must be cleansed from the earth. She agreed with the action and found amusement in pretending not to. Amongst the prisoners we also found a human farmer that Ugg agreed to lead back to Hommlet and so he separated from us for the time being.

So what next? Joe, Cedric and Sameson finally remembered poor Fillian stuck in the water temple and decided to rest before trying to free him. I knew I must win our nightly battle tonight else who knows what evil Viller might perpetrate to get our hands on the key. So we went to King Scorpp’s old bedchamber and as she lay down to sleep our battle began…

Vida - La Vida

… who knows how much blasted time I spent incarcerated as a statue. I was aware of nothing, except the rage of my deity pulsating within my head at allowing myself to be imprisoned so. Finally, his hand guided those who would free me to my side. None other than the trickster gnome, Wonillion, and its comrades Taki (the lover of the favoured one), a cleric of Saint Cuthbert by the name of Cedric and Ugg himself. Wonillion is a mage and used scrolls of stone to flesh to reverse the transmutation. Later it was revealed that it was this very same gnome who conjured the basilisk, which in fact was nothing more than a very convincing illusion. It did this under the service of an evil mage named Falrinth (the very same who gave the half-orc in Nulb the cursed sword) and now sought redemption in freeing us from the results of its handiwork. Redemption however seems to only go so far with gnomes because in our incarcerated state the treacherous creature had covered us all in brightly coloured paints for its amusement.
Should I meet this trickster again I shall find a way to get even with it. However, for now it worked its magic to change us all back to our true forms. The transformation was a dangerous one which required the strongest of constitutions to survive. Joe would not have lived through it were it not for my intervention; calling upon my deity to keep this most useful thief alive. Amusingly, another side effect of the gnome’s magic was that its familiar, a ferret, turned to stone and shattered upon the chamber floor leaving the gnome to release a cacophonous wail to rival that of any banshee.  Then the warrior with the misplaced affections announced his intentions to leave in his search for Mai and blessedly took the distraught creature with him.
This left us with the Cuthbertite who simply shrugged and joined our ranks. There is something else about this cleric. Something more than his obvious religious fervour that I can’t yet put my finger on, but I intend to get to the bottom of when the opportunity presents itself. A look around revealed we were in some kind of storage chamber away from the basilisk illusion. It also revealed that Fillian (the elf mage) was no longer with us. Cedric told us that Falrinth had put our statues in different elemental temples guarding by powerful monsters. They had been unable to get Fillian back because he was guarded by the Juggernaut within the water temple.
Together we agreed upon the folly of throwing our lives away against the juggernaut for an elf and headed down deeper into the temple in search of the high priest of the greater temple. Iuz’s days as the master of this domain are numbered. On route we opted to investigate a stairway as yet unexplored near what was the lair of ‘King’ Scorpp. Down it was a large chamber in which laired a two-headed giant, an ettin. Sameson clumsily slipped down the staircase on route to engage the beast and knocked himself unconscious, so it was left to Ugg and our new pious friend, Cedric, to engage the beast whilst Joe peppered it with arrows. I attempted to shatter the mind of the giant but the two heads proved impossible for me to dominate. Regardless we made short work of the monster with Ugg striking the killing blow.
We found little treasure within this room and Joe picked the lock on one of the huge double doors that exited it. The door lead to a long corridor and after much exploration of all manner of chambers (including a banquet chamber adorned with gaudy pictures of battles worn by the temple of elemental evil) we finally came to a room adorned completely in black. In typical fashion my comrades recklessly entered as if it were their own bedchambers and were set upon by shadows hiding unseen within it. These undead creatures would have been dealt with most succinctly by three clerics had it not been for one such creature that gripped a rod within its shadowy claw.  A rod adorned with the symbols of Iuz that protected them from our turning abilities.
We were left with no choice but to attack with our weapons and I concentrated my attacks, along with Cedric, on the one which held the rod. Together we bested the creature that attempted, unsuccessfully, to drain the strength from our bodies with its touch. As it dissipated the rod fell to the floor and I crushed this symbol of a lesser god under my booted feet. Sameson lifted his holy symbol and the rest of the shadows were cast away by his god’s wrath leaving us free to continue to explore the area. Joe spotted a secret door and through which was a huge burial chamber with skeletons cast all about the place. Aware of the threat of undead I cast a death … but after finding that nothing was undead within the area I stayed by the door and let my comrades explore the chamber.
Whilst they continued to make as much racket as humanly possible I sensed another group of shadows approaching from back down the corridor. These unfortunate souls had no such protection as the rod from before and so I managed to silently dispatch them before my comrades even knew they were there. I seized control of half of them and made them destroy the other half and repeated the process till none were left. It amused me to make these dark puppets dance their silent battle whilst my companions stomped around unawares.
In my absence Joe had discovered another secret door in the burial chamber. However, at this time we decided to find somewhere to rest and recover our strength for whatever lay ahead. After all we had been awake for days. I took the first watch and when nothing occurred went to the battle of sleep.

A new dawn in the darkness

A new dawn in the darkness

So I spent a few days learning some new spells including one that can make us all invisible and another where I can make two things switch places! Then we stocked up on everything from healing potions to scrolls to toilet paper (must be careful not to get those two confused), and set off to finally save Ugg's friends. Ugg told us about a nearby secret passageway in a well next to a seemingly abandoned hut.

I scouted ahead and made sure nothing truly horrifying was lying in ambush at the hut. Disappointingly nothing was, and so we all entered Ugg's passage. The problem was the passage was so tight that we were forced to go in one at a time. I went first, because I love exploring tight passages like this one; I'm not very big so it was easy for me to squeeze inside. We all decided that Ugg should go last because he's the biggest and can protect us from behind! It was very dark inside but a little way in the passageway opened into a wider area, that was far more comfortable for us. We didn't hear anything waiting for us ahead and so we plunged right into the darkness. I decided, perhaps a little late, to take precautions and so summoned my Mage Armour whilst the rest of our group had their weapons ready in their hands. I felt very safe with them all behind me!

After a short time we discovered a secret door on the side of the passage that Ugg said he'd never noticed before. He's not very observant and I wondered how many people had used Ugg's passage before and not noticed this. We decided to investigate this and walked down another passage which opened up into a really odd, yet admittedly interesting looking, room. All sorts of weapons hung all over the place like punching daggers, wavy-bladed knives, falchions, a double-tracked crossbow and even a mace with the head of a wolf on it! Also, one wall was just covered in bottles! Ugg got the last look at the place and as he came round the corner he shouted a warning, 'This is mother's room.'

But it was too late and materialising out of the darkness came the most foulest of the foul evil mage to ever walk this plane of existence (well I'm sure he is at least in the top ten). Yes, it was Falrinth. He hurled a bolt of lightning at us sending us all tumbling like coconuts at a Malatata (a special party held on the Island of Coco Loco just off the wild lands in the north. My uncle told me all about! My uncle has been to a lot of places that aren't on any map. He's a true explorer!).

We pulled ourselves to our feet and I decided to make myself invisible till I was sure what traps Falrinth has prepared for us this time. I heard some commotion from behind and saw that a creature had dropped off the ceiling and was assaulting Ugg. It was the malicious little imp thing Falrinth calls his familiar! At the same time Cedric the crazy called on his god, who apparently is something like a celestial militia man, and silenced Falrinth with spell before the crafty mage could get off another lightning bolt. Then Eric bravely barged into the room and smited Falrinth a mighty blow upon his brow! They may be crazy, and sometimes boring, but they are damn efficient with the smiting!

Finally it seemed time to bury this troublemaker of the worst kind when something truly horrible happened. Ugg's mum struck at Eric from the shadows. We had no way of stopping her! From my invisible viewpoint I saw her sword come right up through his back, ribcage and out through his jaw. Intestines flew everywhere! It was all very gory and messy! I shall never be able to eat again. In rage at this decapitation of my friend I threw a Scorching Ray at her, but missed! I can just never hit anyone with that spell. From the corner of my eye I saw Ugg punch Falrinth's imp into a bloody pulp. Good! At least Falrinth has paid a little for what he's done. The bastard used the opportunity of Eric's death to escape and, like a rabid monkey, clambered to safety up a ladder in the back of the chamber. Before we could stop her Ugg's mum disappeared.
Unnerved we waited in case she struck again, but soon it became clear she had no doubt escaped the same way Falrinth had. Geez, what do we have to do to kill that pair! We tried to pursue them but they sneaky gits had covered the ladder in poison! Taki only just managed to shake off its affects. We realized that they would be long gone by now and so instead did what we could for our deceased friend. Poor Eric. I mean he was as pompous as paladins come but no one deserves that! After Cedric did clericy stuff over Eric we investigated one of the two doors that was at the back of the chamber.

It opened into what must have been Falrinth's room. There was all kind of magical equipment here and it was clear that this was the room where Falrinth went about most of his shenanigans. It had a thaumaturgic triangle and shelves full of bottled animals and everything (well it didn't have a mummified crocodile but they're especially difficult to get hold of these days!). Anyway, I wanted to get my hands on his spell books and so went straight to a cabinet he had by his bed (I like to keep my spell book by the bed so I can go to sleep with my brain all buzzing with magical symbols). Turns out Falrinth isn't the same though because he just had a book about plants there. How boring! I would have thought he'd at least read something interesting about how to properly sacrifice vestal virgins or something.

Also, on the wall in this room was a map of this level of the temple. But of course Falrinth had trapped it and when Cedric went to take the map it blew up in his face! There was also another parchment with runes on it and guess what! It blew up as well. Nasty nasty mage. An odd looking branched candle-holder stood on a writing desk so I went to look at this. It must be worth a mint!!! My companions looked at me blankly for an appraisal and I told them it can only be worth a few silvers at best before putting it securely in my backpack! Well I do need something to help get me over the day's traumas!

Now I refused to believe Falrinth had time to cart off his spell books so I had everyone look for a secret door. Of course there was one that led to an even more interesting chamber. It seemed to my some manner of magicaly workspace full of apparatus. There was a gigantic workbench, a fireplace with a furnace, bookcases galore, an open cabinet (that seemed to have a crystal ball and a pointy hat) inside and a pair of bookstands holding two humongous tomes. At the back of the room was also a table just littered with magical paraphernalia and a mighty cabinet stood beside it.

I almost exploded with joy! So many toys! I went to the bookcase first and, much to my jubilation, found Falrinth's spellbooks and scrolls. I put every last one in my backpack. Hah! That'll teach him. We shall see who is the high and mighty mage next time we meet. Then I went to one of the tomes on the book stands. The thing almost seemed to call me to it. I flipped in open and much to my horror felt an agonizing pain like my brain was being sucked out my eyes into the abyss by demonic entities with straws! I slammed it closed but can't seem to shake the feeling I lost something important.

I turned to my companions who were displaying the same level of caution as me. Cedric was having a whale of a time smashing up a fold-able shrine to the spider goddess Lloth he found on the altar, whilst Ugg (who just loves shiny things) was pocketing the crystal ball and Taki was gleefully skipping around lining his pockets with gems. A thought accorded to me that maybe we were being just a little bit greedy and should stop in case we triggered some of the other traps in this room. This was disconcerting. I never usually have such thoughts. It lasted for about 5 seconds and then I noticed in the nearby cabinet some potions, a bronze wand and a figurine of a frog eating a fly! I quickly put these in my backpack and turned to see Cedric taking the second book off the bookcase for safe keeping.

Some sort of rucus happened then because Cedric seemed to take umbrage with Ugg taking the crystal ball and not telling anyone. Well I say if the orc wants a shiny ball then let him have one! He scolded him a little and started saying something wasn't right but he soon dropped the sbject and we went to investigate a box upon the table that no one had dared touch yet. It seemed to radiate an almost palpable evil power. We all stood back whilst I flipped it open with a cantrip. Inside was a a horrible looking orb shaped to resemble a humanoid skull with a gem in it.

This dramatic moment seemed a perfect opportunity for a prank and so I made the thing seem to talk and ask Cedric to wear it on his head like a hat! Disappointingly he didn’t do this, but he did take the orb, examined it and quickly put it away. It was a thing of great evil apparently! I wonder how much it'd sell for. Anyway, we finished looting the room and again I told my gullible friends that a rather ornate cup on the table was worth no more than your average bar tankard and then we moved on.

Back in Ugg's mother room we opened the second door exiting the chamber. These looked like some sort of magical storeroom and was full of spell components and about seven wands. I liberated these from their cases and now I have enough to open my own shop! 'Won's Wands'. Now that has a nice ring to it! There was also a big chest here that we couldn't get open. Ugg and Taki worked together to break it apart and then noxious gas poured out and made us all feel very sick. Whatever was inside was consumed by the gas. Damnit, I really need to invest in a Knock spell!

It was about then when I looked upon the corpse of Eric lying on Ugg's mums floor that I remembered our reason for coming here in the first place. 'Let's go rescue Ugg's friends', I suggested. On the way out Ugg was overjoyed to discover a sword Falrinth had taken from him under his mother's bed. So we went back to the narrow passage and squeezed back in one at a time to take the other route up to the temple. Ugg led us back to where the statues of his friend's were. All of them except the poor elf that's guarded by the juggernaut.

Now I pulled out the Stone to Flesh scrolls and set about turning them all back. The only problem was the scrolls were difficult. I could barely read them properly and I think I made a few mistakes! First I tried to turn Joe (the thief) back but it didn't work. So instead I tried the tree lover Sameson and to my intense relief it did! On a roll I changed the mad dwarf Vida back too, but was she grateful. No sirie! For a second I thought it hadn't even worked because she still had the same sour expression on her face, and then I realized she always looks like that! So now I only had one scroll of Stone to Flesh. I tried to cast this on Joe and although it looked like it worked he started to go really pale! Vida cast something on him and he seemed to shake off the ill effect from the transformation! So there we all stood. At least some things were put right today. But what next? Perhaps I should let these guys take it from here and set up Won's Wands in Hommlet now that I'm allowed back there. I mean they don't need me to help them rescue Fillian, destroy the temple and save Mae. Do they?

Day 26 – The Giant King

Day 26 – The Giant King

The dark's his bone.
Call him any name, he'll come to it.
A wind of such violence

Ha! Today we shall get something done. I led my companions back through the secret tunnel under the well by Hommlet. We surfaced by the temple and once again entered and journeyed back to the lower levels near where I slew the Lamir. We went down to the levels below via a staircase we had yet to traverse.  Down a dark corridor we entered a triangular room covered in images of the mighty elemental eye looking down upon my companions and I, like the inferior insects that we are. A large brass gong sat in the corner of this room. Suddenly a door burst open and we were set upon by five ogres. Sameson, Ugg and Joe moved forward to meet them in combat, whilst I called upon my powers to weaken the beasts.

The elf blasted them with his magic and I pulled the sanity from the minds of one of the ogres; sending him fleeing into the corner to babble incoherently to himself. With the odds turned against them Ugg and the others cut down the foul grunts and we entered the room true. Finding nothing of worth amongst the corpses we tried one of the doors only to unleash some bugbears into the room. One of them made for the gong and before we had a chance to stop it the goblinoid had struck it and sent a warning to others in the area. Before we knew what was happening the room was crawling with bugbears and gnolls. Ugg seemed to be taken off guard because he couldn't seem to hit anything.  Sameson on the other hand seemed to have the favour of his god because he smote many of things down with his mace and  conjured a spiritual weapon.

Amongst the creatures was an odd Gnoll that leapt around the room with the grace of an assassin. He greeted Fillian with the words, 'Nice to finally meet you'. It seems the temple is aware of us now and has hired assassins to counter our skills. Fillian tried to blast the gnoll with his magic, but his spells dissipated into nothing. Leaving the elf to fight his own battles I noticed Ugg about to be overrun by two giant bugbears. I had no choice but to call upon the darkest of my powers and I forced one of the creatures to look upon its worst nightmare! The bugbear turned as grey as the gallows and died instantly. Ugg managed to defeat the others with Sameson help. I turned from the battle to see Joe battling with the assassin gnoll upon the staircase. The thing was too swift for me to focus my powers against it and just as it seemed Joe was besting it in combat the thing disappeared.

The subtle approach now completely abandoned we explored this room and the ones the ogres and bugbears had come from. We found little of value and so turned to the last remaining door. We could hear scratching and barking come from within and of course our nature-loving friend Sameson could not resist barking back at whatever was behind the door. It didn't seem to pacify the beast though because as soon as we opened the door it leapt right for his throat. It was a giant wolflike creature called a Warg and it pinned Sameson to the ground; it was all he could do to hold its jaws back from his  windpipe.

But far worse was the owner of the beast that lived in the hexagonal room. A massive hill giant that awoke and demanded to know what was irritating his pet 'fluffy' so. Whilst Ugg and Joe tried to assist Sameson I tried to reason with the giant to see if I could prevent us from being crushed like in our dream the previous day. His name was Scorpp and he seemed to be under some crazy disillusion of being a king! I tried to pretend that we were here to serve him, but he wasn't having any of it. Fillian cast his magic at him, but only succeeded in covering the giant in glitter! Fool elf!

Backing out of the room we killed the warg and extricated Sameson from its corpse. Of course this angered Scorpp more and he burst into the room wielding a gigantic club. The giant pinned Sameson to the floor and threatened to crush him unless we all surrendered. We had no choice and so turned over our weapons. Fortunately, we talked him out of eating us all and offered to find him a new pet in exchange for our lives. He said he knew where one could be found and allowed us to go there down another unexplored tunnel on this level. Not being a complete fool though, he took a valuable magic item from each of us and allowed us only one weapon to capture the beast.

So we went down to near the ill-fated room with statues and found a room with a large pit in the middle. This was where there desired pet of Scorpp was said to dwell. We were forced to travel round the pit by small ledges to the other side and then clamber down a rocky staircase into it. Ugg and I climbed down whilst the others covered us from the top with ranged weapons. Cowards! Of course these men had no plan on how to capture the monster alive. It is most lucky for them that it is me who has control today or they would surely have perished, despite their cowardice. For the creature was an umber hulk; a large muscular beetle-like creature with a gaze that can drive even the sturdiest of minds insane.

It turned its gaze on those standing on the ledge and Ugg. Before I knew it Ugg was attacking me and Fillian was shooting me with his bow in their delusion state. How ironic that it is me that had to bring order to the insanity around me. I stepped forward and cast the spell which put the Umber Hulk into a deep slumber. My companions finally managed to shake off their confusion quickly enough to bind the monster and we picked it up and hauled it back to Scarpp. The giant was delighted with his new obscure, if less fluffy, pet. He agreed to let us go if we would complete one more mission for him. He told us that beyond a secret door nearby were some trolls that had been irritating him. If we could kill them and bring them back to feed the new 'fluffy' then he would be forever grateful to us.

So once again we left Scorpp and found the door he told us about. Joe scouted ahead and told us of a troll waited ahead in a room with four doors leading off from it. We knew this battle would be tough due to the fact that trolls can regenerate any wounds except those inflicted by fire or acid.  I gave my wand of burning hands to the elf both because it would be of use to him against trolls, well that and because it's guaranteed to enrage her. We took the first troll by surprise and hacked the thing to pieces quickly before it could regenerate, however three more the things burst from the adjacent rooms.

To my utter disgust Sameson called forth a Protection from Evil circle and I was forced to back out of the fight. I think I managed to hide this from the gullible tree-lover by working it into my battle strategy and fighting the troll that attacked Joe on the other side of the room to Sameson. I called forth the strongest necromantic spells I could against the thing in the hopes I could kill it before it regenerated.  However, the powerful thing responded by rending me with both its claws. I would surely have died if not for the intervention of Ugg who beheaded the thing before it could finish me. It seems I owe a debt of some sort to the half-orc. With the aid of the wand of burning hands we disposed of the last of the creatures and dragged their burnt corpses back to 'fluffy' to consume.

It seemed Scarpp hadn't finished with us yet though because he did not grant us the freedom we desired. Instead he demanded we get more food for Fluffy in the form of some 'dogs' that lived down another nearby passageway.  He did allow us to rest to recover our wounds however. I really hope it is I who surfaces tomorrow because I doubt she will accomplish as much.

Day 25 – Dreams of air

Day 25 – Dreams of air

Round and round we go. Who you will be, nobody knows.

Today I woke up thinking it's about bloody time to put an end to the fire temple! However, Sameson got it into his tree loving brain that we needed to consecrate at least one of the evil elemental shrines,so we opted to bless the air temple shrine since we were near it anyway.

Sameson cast the blessing and another bloody air elemental appeared and began to spin into a tempest. However this time Ugg squished the wispy creature before it could cause us that much harm. The problems came when we decided to bless the tubes next to the shrine by filling them with holy water. No sooner had we began but the tubes started pumping noxious gas into the room. That we might have been able to deal with but not the bloody demonic apparition which appeared in the midst of it. The thing looked like some sort of huge disjointed bird with feral red eyes. Remembering my studies into other planes I recognized the demon as a Vrock and something well beyond our abilities to defeat.

Before I suffocated in the smoke I retreated to a raised staircase with Ugg. The creature teleported itself over to us and battle was joined. I called on mighty Joramy to give me and Ugg Strength but even our combined might was not enough to do more than scratch the fiend. Fillian blasted the demon for afar and the creature decided he would be easier pray and this cowardly teleported over to the elf.

Seeing that Fillian looked likely to kick the bucket I begged Joramyy to send this beast back to whence it came! And it bloody worked! Well, the demon retreated up through the hole in the ceiling at least. The others tried to reach the staircase but it seemed Joe had passed out from the fumes. The last thing I remember is hearing Fillian call for assistance before whoooosssh we were bloody somewhere else.

By blessing the shrine we had triggered another trap that sent us to the top of a bloody freezing cold mountain the gods know where. All I could ascertain is that it weren't on bloody Oerth. Quickly I called on my powers to protect me from the freezing winds that buffeted me, but unfortunately my companions had no such power. To stop them from meeting their deaths up there we decided to head on down the mountain in the hopes of finding a way back to the Temple. We bound ourselves together with some eerie magical rope that Joe found in the Temple which obeys his commands. Seriously sometimes I can't keep up with all this bloody magic mumbo jumbo that keeps happening!

So we were almost at the bottom of the mountain when we run into one of the most beautiful blonde haired woman I've ever bloody seen. Although, we weren't about to trust some random bint that hangs out on freezing mountains on other planes of existence and so we approached her with ample caution. She introduced herself as Darley the huntress and servant of Ehlonna; who it seems is a goddess of nature that doesn't get on too well with the Obad-Hai lot. She offered to send us back to Oerth in exchange for one of our magical items each.

Of course we told her to get bloody stuffed! Firstly why should we trust her and secondly for all we bloody knew the exit could be just round the blasted   mountain. So taking our chances we marched on past to the bottom of the mountain. There waiting for us was a whooping great giant wielding a morning star four times the bloody size of me. He demanded we surrender and become slaves, which of course we refused.

Ugg bravely charged it but was no match for a fully grown giant. It soon squished him into the ground and it was left to me to call upon Joramy's flames to attack the giant. It shrugged of the attack and the next thing I knew I was nothing but a bloody stain in the snow. It all happened so bloody fast! Then what do you know but there I am with the others standing talking to that Darley witch further up the mountain. Grinning the smug bint told us that she had showed us a vision of what was to come if we did not accept her help! Well I be damned if I'll end up a stain in the snow due to some bloody giant from another plane and so I turned over the wand of paralyse I acquired earlier. Even these thick headed males saw the logic in that and also turned over some of their items.

Darley placed these items on the snow in front of us and got us to hold hands like a bunch of bloody tree huggers and then think of home. We thought of Hommlet and then once more we were whooshed there! It happened quick enough to make even one with my constitution sick. Thinking overselves bloody lucky for our escape we decided to find a tavern to rest the night. Before that though I opted to take advantage of Rufus and Burne's library to see what I could find out about this Mitrik name I heard before. I discovered that Mitrik is a house and region and that the very knight who fought Zutogmy was from Mitrik and in the ninth legion! Ahhh so that bloody explains the 9 in the clue 'on 3, in 6 dwells 9'.  Rufus added to my knowledge that a scion from Mitrik  disappeared in the area not so long ago. Ahhh then perhaps the  on 3 part of the clue means that this scion is being kept on the lower third floor of the temple and in the sixth room; whatever that means exactly. I think I'm getting good at this bloody clue solving stuff. I hope that's not her influence. Anyway, I shall go to bed tonight with a new purpose in the temple. Tomorrow I shall find Mitrik's whelp!