Entry 41 (continues...)
I am out of that house!
But I must make one more visit. I made my oaths when I became a cleric. These are my guides and beacons that I follow. One is to make sure the dead stay at rest - in eternal peace. The mention of the coffin open in the cellar of Broderick's mansion is most disturbing for me. I must make sure.
After we leave the carnival, Brute, Trevor and I arrive at the house and meet Kevin cooking. The food fills the air with wonderful smells. I deny myself the food, for I cannot take advantage of his hospitality anymore. I wait with patience, smothered in the aroma, for Kull, Ohm Uri, and Boomtuck to finish eating and to join us in the cellar.
This is my first time in the cellar. Others were here a few times, while at least one other made a daily chore. But now, we are here on business, all of us. We pass a wet floor with many broken glass pieces, the shattered remains of Trevor's acquired wines. I weave my song, and Trevor conjures, together our light illuminates the way and defines the shadows to damp and musty corners. An iron gate bars the way, but is unlocked. Brute swings it open and it makes a loud rusted metal sound. The way leads into a hallway, with two suits of armor of old design, one on each side. This does not phase Brute as he walks right past. Trevor follows me with the "detect undead sword" and it is not glowing. The passage opens to a five sided room. Five coffins are in the middle of the room. At the far side, flooded with water, I hear a dripping or bubbling sound as the source. A moldy smell hangs in the air. I shrug off any feeling of discomfort, knowing that the undead, if present, will bring worse. The sword in Trevor's hand still does not glow. About now, I begin to think that maybe the lore master was wrong about the sword. I still must look into the coffin. The stone coffin has the words of Miranda inscribed at one end. I hold my breath as I peek in. It is empty.
Satisfied there are no undead here, I suggest leaving. However, we discover in the far wall a secret door. To go farther, I must get wet. The water is only knee deep, but it smells of sewer grime. Trevor almost falls in a hole in the floor, because the hole is concealed in the water. I pull up my new dress as I enter the water, so it does not get wet, and the attention is diverted to the rats swimming away. Besides the smell and the floating brown things, the water is cold and wet. I might have to get new sandals. The secret door swings wide and in the room behind, we find a statue of stone, made in the likeness of Miranda, the witch. A pentagram, drawn on the floor and centered on the statue, has burnt candles at each point. This is bad. I think back to the days when I scribed books, if any contained information that could help us and what we should do to destroy this. I request that no one goes in the pentagram.
Too late. Someone triggers it. A vibration occurs in the room, next the candles light, and the runes on the walls turn red. Foul witchcraft is at work. Then I feel a force stretching out towards me, to grab me from my body. I cloud my mind to deflect this attack. After its attack pauses, I review the scene and both Brute and Boomtuck bleed their precious blood from their eyes. The very same force hits them, and part of their lives is drawn towards the statue. And then the statue began to move. Kull threw a large object, and we ducked and jumped out of the way. Again, I feel the force stretching out for me, and again I cloud my mind. Once I can focus on the room again, I see Ohm Uri lying on the floor, and his eyes are bleeding too, like the others. My oath leads me no choice, I quickly get to him and without thinking of myself, stop the bleeding and drag him clear of the room. I am careful not to let his head drop in the water with his eyes injured. I prop him on my lap. I am not sure if he is alive. I call upon the Light to heal and revive him. He starts to move, and I want to do more, but I am mentally exhausted. I am happy that he recovers. As he opens his eyes he must see my face in a tearful smile. Ohm Uri is very thankful - or rather is overjoyed that I am holding him next to my body to keep his head above water. Then he jumps back into the ruckus. Only at this point, do I realize that my clothes are soaking the sewer and rat infested water.
Brute sends his new axe chopping at the stone and it seems to injure it. Trevor and Booktuck conjure, but their magic has no effect. Brute remembers Trevor stumbling near a deep hole in the floor concealed by the water. Then with a combined assault, Brute, Ohm Uri and Kull are able to push the moving statue down into the hole. Trevor gets trapped under the statue. In its last struggle to keep from sinking, Trevor is able to break free, and pops out on the surface. The depths it sank to and whether it is able to get free from its watery prison is not known. Trevor uses a spell to clean and dry himself. (Did he offer to clean anyone else's clothes?) Many of the party are injured, but I am exhausted. I can heal again when I recover. If not for the quick wits of Brute, Kull and Ohm Uri, the rest of us would have had a difficult time.
Tired, wet and worn out, Brute and I go to the inn. I asked if others have rooms, but he replies that he only paid for a room for me. I do not know how I can repay him for his generosity. I pass through the entrance and quickly get to my room. I wash the sewer smells from my clothes and purify it the best I can, nothing that a few moments with elbow grease cannot fix. Once I am washed and properly dressed, I ask Brute to share a nice warm meal. I look for the others in the party, but do not see them. It is strange now, I return to my room, alone, to relax and wait...
Sitting round our camp, the fire and my own light add an ambiance that is different from the city inn or houses. And I can enjoy it now, for the others are on watch. When I traveled by myself, I could never watch or just study the lights and smells and sounds. The birds flying, the crickets chirping, the smell of the morning dew, all of this, we do not have in the city. It is like an entirely different world here. One I am beginning to enjoy. Four days have passed since I wrote here last. I want to write before we head north, for it will be difficult to write while we are in hostile goblin lands.
Trevor, a city dweller displaced in the wilderness here, tosses and turns in his sleep. I see a magic man, a future master, of one that I can be a witness in the making. To see the faults and the triumphs, this is much better than being captivated by a master. I see a man that has held a promise to me, until I released him of it. I see him now, a man that has finally admitted to himself that somehow, he cares for me, but for what reason? We have not spoken about this since the carnival. We got too busy. I am doing double duty with my responsibilities and my practice. Remembering what the paladins said, this could be a difficult trip for us. Some may not return, as Ohm Uri had a rather close encounter already, and Trevor nearly drowns. I would prefer to have things out in the open, and no questions un-answered. I must confront Trevor. How much does he care for me? And I must answer this too, why am I attracted to Trevor?
Let me retell the events that occurred over the past four days, and add my thoughts, too. Since the last entry, it is the morning after the day at the carnival - my first night away from the inn. I remember...
... It is morning now. I fell asleep at some point, waiting. I had hoped for a knock on the door, and we could have shared a toast to his success, but no one ever came. But did he even know where I stayed? I see Brute out side, waiting.
There is a new revelation, of what Trevor said. To show that I appreciate his kind words, I should plan on getting him something.
Brute and I eat a morning snack, and then head outside towards the temples. Trevor quickly joins us, still getting dressed, as he must have slept in. So he did stay and the same in.
We head to the Law and Order Temple to check on the woman who we found in the cell. However, we see a slow moving cart with two paladins, severely wounded. They were brought back from the goblin battles. They tell us that ten of them went, and only the two of them returned. This lays heavily on me. Might I be struck down, like my sorcerer friend years ago, or like any of the other paladins? Returning from my thoughtful state, I move to check on their wounds. But at only a glance, I see they are already bandaged and are in good care with the healers of this temple. In short, we do not see the woman, and we get no more information than we already know. But we do gather information about where we are going.
Nothing left but to leave the city and head north. We head back to get the others. I tell Brute that I want to get a bottle of wine - I want to brighten someone's mood. That's what friends do. Brute pays for it again.
We collect the other party members for they stayed the night at the mansion - maybe they aren't affected by the witchcraft like I am. I see that Ohm Uri is hurt. I again call upon, and the Light answers two times to heal his wounds. I feel different, like a surge of something more, but I couldn't grasp it. I never realized this before.
Seeing the mansion, and the memories I have from that place: Trevor first seeing me not as who I was in disguise, but for who I have become and his promise to me, the book that I have, the woman discovered, the portal room in the attic, and finally the fight for our lives with a stone statue. I look upon the house with finality; I will not go inside this place again.
We head towards the gate, and we have one more incident before we escape the city. Trevor's Veronica spies him, but before she makes a scene or says a word, Brute intercepts. He picks her up like a sack of flour, throws her over his shoulder and her screams draw laughter from onlookers. If this is any other man treating a woman like this, I would have interfered. But I hold back - this is Brute - I trust him. He sets her down out of ear shot, I can see them talking, then they leave. Brute returns in about a half hour, alone. He has that look in his eyes that states a problem solved. I don't ask what he said. I can only summarize that Veronica listened and accepted Brute's kind but firm words, over and over again, until it sank in.
We leave the city. I say a short traveling prayer as we head out of the gates. The day is not eventful. And rather boring. I try to contain my excitement, for all I could think about was my surprise planned for this evening.
Finally, the first evening on the road, I surprise Trevor with the bottle of wine to share. We toast many things. But still, we don't talk about it. After Trevor drinks a few more glasses of wine, I could sense he was loosing a bit of control and the wine casts his stories of his triumphs with illusions of grandeur. Definitely Trevor also realizes this, and is a little bit upset. Does he think I am testing him? I hope he does not take this the wrong way. I begin to see the Trevor I saw before, and the one I like the best. When he swore to keep my secret, it was the one thing he did right for me. For four nights, when resting from traveling, we practice our magic. During that time, I feel again the energy, circling around, just out of my mental reach. I also try to capture my heal on a scroll. I have seen this done before. However, it does take time and concentration.
On the fourth day, and possibly the last peaceful day before we head north into hostile goblin lands, Brute is focused. He seeks Death - death to a mighty goblin. The two injured paladins we saw spoke of their encounter with this king among goblins.
However, I seek Life - the lives of any survivors. I may only find Death, too. Another of my token oaths is to heal and not harm humans, and half humans, and the "civilized" races of elves, dwarves, and halflings. But with sorcery, this power can harm, even if I take precautions. I have worked on a new song to create a force disk, and I think I can use it like a shield. But it is not tested. After these four days, I conclude there are two new distinct essences. First, is an energy flood that happens and I might be able enhance my songs somehow. I felt it the last time I healed, but was unable to manifest it. And the second, I feel a constant circling of raw energy, like I can reach out and touch it. It is not of a Divine origin, but of something else not tested, and terrible.