Age of Worms - Deree's Diary

Hall of Harsh Reflections Pt 2

The face of evil changes some more

Freeday 21st Flocktime 595

The first part of the day was spent shopping (my group’s favourite pastime it would seem). I do have to admit I did place my shortsword in to be upgraded so that it would give off a freezing chill with each blow struck (ready in a weeks time) and, with a loan of some money from Grim, my new religious guru, I managed to get my kukri magicafied.

Speaking of Grim, during lunch he presented me with a silver tankard on a chain – the holy symbol for our god – saying that he had blessed it but that I had to break it in. And so we drank a toast (or four) with our meal before the rest of the group dragged us off to the counsel chambers.

We spent little time at the counsel. We told them of our discovery and presented our evidence (or rather they came to have a look at our evidence) and they seemed genuinely concerned, but I wasn’t sure whether it was genuine or because we’d foiled their plan.

Whilst back at the temple of Heironeous we made two discoveries. Firstly that Curly had a worm crawling about inside him (apparently it won’t do him any harm as he’s immune – a boon from his god) and secondly that we had a lead on the Mind Flayer.

The priests of Heironeous had found a fungus on the bottom of the Drows’ feet that was found in only a few specific places. They said that it only grew in places where metal was forged. So then all we had to do was to find somewhere in the Free City that forged metal that had a sewer access. This turned out not to be as tough as I had first thought. One of the counsel members said that one of the biggest and best metallurgists in the city fitted the bill exactly. It was a place called the Cold Forge.

With renewed hope in my heart, we set off to the artisans’ quarter. We found the shop and the access with relative ease and gingerly stepped into the sewer that smelt worse than Grim’s breath (I maybe under his religious guidance but that doesn’t me he suddenly smells of roses – maybe what roses grow in but definitely not the plants themselves).

About fifty yards in Salty let out a girly scream as she is wont to do. At first I thought she’d seen another snake or maybe a rat but the reality was a bit more gruesome. She’d tripped over a dead body which, closer inspection revealed, had a hole in its now hollow head. Salty said that she’d heard tales that Mind Flayers would kill their victims by sucking their brains out (so Curly’s got nothing to worry about).

We moved on, buoyed by the fact that we must be on the right track, a fact that was confirmed when we found a large patch of the fungus (known as Beggars Gold) next to a hole in the sewer wall. Weapons drawn we passed through it and after a few yards found ourselves in a cavern that was filled with all kinds of fungus. As we reached the centre suddenly some of these fungi started to shriek (I still don’t know how – probably another wizard creation). In a panic Salty trod on some other fungus which burst and sprayed the area in a cloud of yellow spores.

Trying not to breathe we left the cloud. As I was about to query our next move I spotted Salty looking decidedly gaunt. I nudged Grim who checked her out. Apparently this yellow fungus was poisonous and had gotten into her system. A spell or two later and Salty was fine.

With instructions to tread more carefully we headed back. Without the cloud of yellow obscuring our view we spotted what was making the shrieking noise: mushrooms. We chopped these down but soon regretted it; they had been drowning out Salty who’d been singing whilst she skewered.

After making her promise to remain quiet, we continued on. Grim called a halt a few feet from a narrow tunnel. He said he could see something black and shiny on the floor in front. Taking no chances we decided to back up and throw an alchemists fire onto whatever it was. I’m quite glad we did ‘cause whatever it was went up in an explosion worse than when Muffin attempts to cast a spell.

After a few minutes the fire died down and Grim determined that it was safe to proceed. Cautiously we headed into the tunnel and our caution was well warranted. Without warning the entire place went dimmer and I felt a slight burning on my left leg. Looking up we spotted four Drow above us just as one threw what looked (and felt) like alchemists fire at us.

Seemingly there was no way for us to get up the ten foot to get into hand to hand with them, that was until I remembered the magic rope that Curly was carrying. Shouting for him to throw it up I ran to where he was and started to climb the already extending cord. Unfortunately the rope didn’t work as quickly as me and I was unable to gain sufficient height to tumble past the dark elves. That was until Grim cast a spell that created a short sharp bang that left our latest foes stunned.

It was then easy for me to get onto the ledge and draw my weapons. Sneeze and Salty followed and it wasn’t long before we had them on the back foot. Sneeze, with a cry more associated with Salty, thrust his palm into one of their chests causing him to fall off the cliff and to the mercy, or distinct lack there of, of the waiting Grim and Curly (that’s a point. Where’s all the compassion gone from Curly? Maybe it’s only trolls he feels empathy for. I’ll have to keep an eye on him from now on. I don’t think he ever stood in front of the mirror either. I’ll have to swap some watches around so that either me or Grim are on with him. I wouldn’t want another doppelganger taking my place again).

The Drow felled we continued along the tunnel which soon opened up into a cavern that had a pool coving most of its right side. This had been created by what would normally be described as a waterfall but I’ll label a crap-fall since it was cascading from a broken sewer pipe.

As we entered we saw something stir. A big something! A big snake like something! A big snake like something but with a human head and hair that reminded me of that time I was unfortunate to catch sight of Curly coming out of the steam room.

“Who daressss to dissssturb my sssslumber?” it hissed. Not to sound rude but personally if I had problems pronouncing my S’s, I’d try my best to avoid using words with them in. It just made it sound comical. A fact that was exasperated by it then demanding a thousand gp of us for letting us past.

Still chuckling I charged the beast along with Sneeze and Salty although half way there Salty started acting quite strange. She started trying to interpose herself between Sneeze and the beast (called a Naga according to Muffin) saying that it was all a misunderstanding. A second later I caught its gaze and I have to admit I started to feel the same way. I mean anyone who’s funny enough to try and demand money off six well armed and armoured people can’t be all bad. I jumped onto Sneeze’s back to try and pull him away from the beast but he managed to shrug me off before trying to hook his weapon around my legs. Sadly for him I’m not some lowly doppelganger whom he can whip up without a thought and I nimbly dodged away.

I was however feeling a bit peeved that he’d even try that so I decided not to be so nice. Drawing my weapons I moved into attack. Then, as Curly approached, I regained some clarity. It didn’t matter how funny that creature was, it wasn’t worth taking out one of my entourage for. In fact I had the sneaking suspicion that the creature had been using some kind of mind control against me. Mad at it now I started to move to attack it. As I did I spotted Grim charging forward but not at the creature. He looked as if he was heading straight for Curly. Axe raised high and war cry screaming I really thought he was going to cleave Curly’s perm in two but as he neared his intended target he stopped, looked confused for a moment before renewing his cry and charging the naga.

“Stay near me!” Curly cried as we all attacked the beast. Bless him! Poor bloke must have been terrified to have let his emotions get the best of him in the middle of combat and admit he doesn’t like it when he’s left alone.

I was just about to call him a big girls blouse when a huge ball of fire exploded around us. I managed to dive into the water (which I unfortunately remembered too late wasn’t water at all) and avoided the scorching that was inflicted on the others. However this seemed only to fuel the rage we had against it and with almost simultaneous slashes we slew the creature.

Salty was still a bit confused as to why she’d been friendly towards the creature so Muffin explained that it had mind controlling powers. Then she was confused as to how its mind powers had been overcome. It was then that something happened that I never, not in my wildest, wildest most bizarre dreams, though would ever happen; Curly started to explain something to us. So shocked was I that I didn’t catch all of it but apparently he had been granted a power by his patron saint (some guy called Raziel) that helped protect him and those around him from being mentally controlled.

Muffin recovered from his disbelief quickest and cast his detect magic items spell. It turned out that something at the bottom of the pool of sewage was magical. Without a moments hesitation Salty jumped in and swam down to retrieve whatever it was (I think she just wanted to cover herself in the waste like I’d done bless her love struck heart). She came back up with some money and jewels along with a jug. A magic jug! Muffin poked the jug with his wand (not that one, the one that tells us what magic items are!) and told us that it produced smoke. Lots of smoke! In fact it could produce as much smoke as you wanted for as long as you wanted. Bloody wizards!!!

The rest of the cavern was empty apart from the large pillars of rock dotted about so we headed out of the only tunnel leading from the cavern. This led into another larger cavern that had slope that split it into two levels. Sadly we didn’t have time to gawp due to the fact that as soon as we entered we spotted five drow in two defensive lines on the slope behind which stood a female drow in a very curvaceous breast-plate.

Muffin hesitated the least and sent a ball of lightning flying from his fingers which enveloped all of the drow. Sneeze and Curly charged in just as the drow female cast a spell and Salty charged out. We swatted away the first line of defence with ease but nothing, not even the time I’ve spent with Grim, prepared my for the stinking cloud of noxious gas that spewed forth from the drow females mouth.

I moved to the lower part of the cavern and tried to hold in my lunch. As I failed in this task I spotted Salty charging back into the fray only she wasn’t charging at the drow; she was charging at Grim. Just before she struck him, Grim cast a spell and suddenly my stomach settled. With the taste of vomit in my mouth fuelling my every action I swiftly climbed the small cliff to the top half of the cavern and snuck behind the female who was now being attacked by Curly and Sneeze.

I carefully approached her and accurately struck a blow into her lungs. Now normally this would cause horrendous pain to a living creature but this woman stood there and took it as if I’d missed all of her vital organs. It was the same feeling I get when I try to strike undead. This only further angered me and with a flash of blades and hurling of fists the three of us vanquished (I’ve lost count) the evil she-bitch.

Whilst Muffin determined if anything was magical or not I took a good look at Salty. That’s two fights in a row she’s tried to help our enemies plus when we were fighting the impostor Legless she struck out at me without provocation. I’m going to have to keep a close eye on her ‘cause to me it’s starting to seem more and more likely that she’s not one of us anymore (if she ever was). Maybe dying has changed her. Maybe she wasn’t raised from the dead but was simply replaced by the so called priests of Heironeous. I mean if Curly’s suddenly become less compassionate than Muffin then maybe they’re preaching something new to him. Maybe they aren’t priests of Heironeous at all. Maybe they’re doppelgangers as well. Or maybe it’s that worm slowly taking control of him. I’m definitely going to have to switch some watches around and I’m definitely going to have to learn some more about these worms. From now on I’ll be going on with Salty and I’ll get Grim to go on with Curly. I’ll just have to trust Sneeze and Muffin to keep an eye on each another.

With that occupying me I left it to the others to search the room. They found that the breast-plate and the morning star the female had were magical and that she was a priestess of the drow god Lolth, the Spider Queen. They also found a small jade statue of a spider and a key.

The only other things in the room were a cage filled with cattle, an iron door and a further tunnel leading off into darkness.

With some people heavily injured and it being late in the day we decided to rest in one of Muffin’s magical rooms which he still insists on creating at the top of a rope (not a problem for me but some of the stuff that come out of Grim’s mouth when he’s trying to climb it… well they’re enough to make a tavern wench blush).

I definitely think there’s something wrong with Salty. She didn’t try and come on to me once during our watch.

Starday 22nd Flocktime 595

With an uneventful night behind us we climbed (or in Curly’s case fell) back to the real world and headed for the iron door. Staring through the keyhole I spotted four rotting corpses just standing there motionless. As one of their heads fell from its axis I saw that it had a large hole in it and the contents removed.

Placing the key in the lock Curly thrust the door open. Immediately (and by immediately I mean quite they started immediately but it took them a while to complete) the zombies shuffled towards us. It was then that Grim stepped forward and raised his tankard towards the undead:

“May Hanseath grant ye peace as ye take this last drink with ye to the afterlife!”

With this he sprayed the creatures with the ale from his holy symbol and as each one was soaked it collapsed under the power of our god (I’ve got to ask him how he can do that). With a knowing wink in my direction, the rotund one entered the room.

Once in the room we spotted huddled in the corner five more figures but these ones were quiet alive. There was a male elf who I was half surprised Muffin didn’t try and get straight into bed like he’s done with pretty much every other elf we’ve met, two human men and two human females. Each one was very grateful (the women especially so to me. I stayed less aloof than I would normally to see if there was any reaction from Salty (still not sure about her) and her mood did darken somewhat and her skin did get the merest of green tinges to its complexion so maybe she’s the real Salty after all) and each told a similar story; they were walking through the city when they were either kidnapped or knocked unconscious. Either way they ended up here being guarded by the zombies that had had their brains sucked out until I came to rescue them with my band of creatures who may as well have had their brains sucked out.

After a brief debate it was decided that we needed to get these folks out of here sooner rather than later so we led them back up to the city and took them to the counsel chambers so that they could be checked out.

We were back within the hour and nothing seemed to have changed so we headed on through the other tunnel leading off the drow cavern. As we turned a bend we spotted something glowing on the floor. On closer inspection it turned out to be a symbol etched in purple. At first we thought it was a magical trap of some sort but Muffin assured us it was simply an illusion. Against my better judgement we believed him and cautiously stepped over the glowing pictogram only for a shower of acid to rain down on us from above. I managed to avoid the splash but Grim, Curly and Muffin weren’t so fortunate. As annoying as it was for something like this to have happened it at least proved one thing; Muffin is definitely Muffin (although some of his later actions have made me change my mind again); Even a doppelganger wouldn’t be able to copy his messed up attempts to kill the party.

Tired of having Thick and Wide blundering over traps at the front of the party, I decided it was time to lead from the front and so with slightly more caution and attention being paid to possible death causing traps, we made our way forward.

With my expert leadership and guidance, we managed to avoid any more traps and the tunnel ended in a small cavern, the most striking feature of which was a set of white marble doors flanked by pillars of the same material. As we entered two things happened: firstly we got a better look at the pillars and saw that they had the spiralling tentacle symbol carved into them and secondly, three creatures slithered from their camouflaged positions and headed to attack us. They seemed to propel themselves using six small tentacles on their underbellies whilst two more, larger tentacles that had what can only be described as huge serrated claws snapping at the end. More fascinating than that however was the one large bulbous eye with a star shaped pupil which started to move in a hypnotic pattern as they approached.

“Octopins!” Salty screamed “Don’t look in their eyes!”

There were two things wrong with this:
  1. I’ve never heard of an octopin so the name meant nothing to me
  2. What’s the first thing you do when someone tells you not to do something? So completely against my own will I looked straight into the lead octopin’s bulbous hypnotic eye and suddenly I felt like my limbs go really heavy. I looked around and most of the others seemed to be moving in double speed. I tried to move as quickly as I could but it was still as if the others had been affected by one of Muffin’s haste spells (Muffin would tell me afterwards that it wasn’t they who was moving fast but me who was moving slow).

Whilst I struggled to move into a combat position, Muffin let loose one of his lightning ball spells which damaged the creatures not a jot. Not shocked in the least that one of his spells had been useless, the rest of us proceeded to plough into the creatures. At one point I thought I saw Grim move instantaneously from one side of a creature to the other but I’m guessing it was just part of the slowing affect the eye had one me playing tricks.

With a flying kick, Sneeze slew the last of these creatures. After about a minute suddenly everything became normal again; I could move again with my usual grace and speed.

As we were checking out the door Muffin said that he could cast a spell so that he could see what was in the room beyond. The others, worried that the Mind Flayer might be there, thought it would be a good idea so dubiously I let him. The room Muffin described seemed fairly ordinary; benches with manacles on, a stairway leading down on it’s far side, oh, and a gigantic marble brain with pulsating purple veins at its centre. Muffin also said that the door had been barred from the inside.

Grim, once again showing the awesome power of Hanseath, moulded a hole right through the doors which allowed him to enough room to get his hands through and lift off the obstruction.

We entered the room and it was exactly as Muffin had described. We started to head over towards the brain when suddenly Grim had a dizzy spell. Now this being the first time Grim has experienced this kind of thing without the aid of lots and lots of alcohol and this being our first encounter with a throbbing marble brain was too much of a coincidence for us. Quickly we rushed to the stairs and out of this eerie place.

The foot of the stairs opened out into what looked like a library that had books lining the entire left hand wall. A corridor led off on the far side and there was a door just before it on the right. More interesting than all of that however was the large vat of greenish liquid that sat in the far left hand corner. As we entered the room another octopin climbed out only this one was over twice the size of the others.

Unperturbed by its size myself, Salty and Sneeze charged in as Muffin cast a spell that created a mini storm of hail and sleet that pounded the creature. The creature seemed to take this pretty well but did take particular exception to Salty when she stabbed at it. The octopin grabbed her in both claws and tried to rip her apart. I think it would have succeeded had not myself and Sneeze hit it. It was at this point that I locked eyes with it and everything became heavy once again. This was only for the briefest of moments however as Muffin cast a spell that sped everyone back up to normal again. Grim, worried that one more hit from this creature would mean the end for Salty, moved up to her and cast a spell (he’d later tell me that it was spell that would stop anyone under its affect being killed through blood loss). As this happened the creature turned its attention to Sneeze and did the same to him as he did to Salty.

With the battle going against us it was decided, unanimously, that the best thing to do would be retreat and regroup. Muffin cast a spell which created a block of ice around the creatures, I want to say feet but am forced to say lower tentacles, that stopped it from following us (for a short time at least) and the three melee combatants started to fall back.

As we neared the safety of the stairs and the awaiting room up a rope that Muffin had once again created, the creature lashed out with its long tentacles and once again grabbed Salty. This time its claws ripped Salty open before flinging her to the ground. At first I thought that she was dead but then I spotted her heart still beating (and by spotted her heart I mean her rib cage had been torn open and I could see the actual heart still trying to pump her blood (which was now sprayed over the entire room) around her disfigured body.

Curly grabbed what should have been a corpse and ascended the rope as did we all. In this room I saw probably the most unbelievable thing I’ve ever witnessed. First Curly laid his hands on her and offered a short prayer to Heironeous whilst Grim prayed to Hanseath. Slowly all the bones and sinew that had been ripped asunder started to knit back together. The gashes became minor cuts and then were eventually unscarred skin. As the final prayer ended Salty opened her eyes and even I have to admit I nearly hugged her (two things stopped me; she might be a doppelganger and if she’s not, I don’t want to encourage her in her fascination with me).

Meanwhile the creature had come to the stairs where the rope had been and seemed to be looking up at us. After a few minutes it went back into the room.

Grim, feeling exceedingly peeved, poked his head out of the invisible room and cast a spell that created a ghostly looking hammer that he proceeded to instruct to batter the creature whilst the rest of us tried to decide what to do. Some people (mainly the spell casters and Salty) wanted to head back to the city whilst I wanted to finish the beast off. Unsurprisingly the others eventually changed to their enigmatic leader’s point of view.

The only choice now was how to do it. Firstly I suggested that Muffin make me invisible and I sneak around the back of it and the others could come down and we could attack on two fronts but the others were obviously too afraid that they may lose me and so they persuaded me not to follow this. After much discussion it was decided that someone should go down there and lure it past us so that the rest could jump down and attack it from behind. The only decision to make then was who. There were a surprising amount of volunteers but it was decided that we should use the most expendable (it wasn’t quite put in those words but everyone knew what the score was): Muffin.

He took it really well and only sobbed for a minute or two before stealing himself and climbing down the rope.

As he landed on the steps, the creature turned and started towards him. Then Muffin showed me something that either proves I’ve been wrong about him all along or proves that he is a doppelganger. Muffin stood his ground. With a look of pure anger and concentration he blasted the monstrosity with the ice block spell once more, freezing it in its tracks. As the creature flailed at its ice shackle Muffin pounded it with tiny dot after tiny dot of magical power (although he can now produce four of them at once which impressed and concerned me). The creature, unable to defend itself from these dots and unable to free itself from its prison writhed in agony as each dot blasted into it but somehow it remained alive. Muffin then seemed to gather up all his remaining energy and, letting out a scream, hurled one last volley into the creature which then matched his cry before slumping to the ground, as did an exhausted Muffin.

With a slight more respect for him than I previously had, I climbed down to see if he (either Muffin or doppelganger Muffin, still haven’t made my mind up and this last display of power and resolve has only served to increase my doubt) was ok. Other than being knackered he said that he was.

Worried that the creature might regenerate we set about chopping it into tiny, tiny pieces. As we did this Muffin took a look at the bookshelves. Most of the books were pretty mundane but there were some that gave blow by blow instructions on how to create these octopins. We decided that such creatures were too powerful and evil to be allowed to exist and the knowledge contained in these books should be destroyed.

The fire we set is probably still burning even now as we sit in the Green Dragon having lunch.

Sunday 23rd Flocktime 595

I now don’t actually care whether Muffin is a doppelganger or not, all I care about is the fact that the new Muffin is far better than the old one, but more on that later.

Yesterday afternoon was spent by everyone performing their favourite pastime. For Muffin, Salty, Curly and Sneeze that meant shopping, for me and Grim that meant drinking (hence why I didn’t, or more precisely couldn’t, write about it last night).

Woke up this morning and I think I must have still been drunk as when it was suggested that we go back into the octopin lair it didn’t sound all that bad an idea and before I realised exactly what was going on, there we were in the burned out library heading through the door on its right hand side.

Fortunately this just seemed to be the bathroom as all it had in it was a large round pool that seemed to glow slightly blue beyond which was a balcony which overlooked a high chamber. Below and to the right of the balcony sat another pool but this one glowed green. Towering above this was a black pillar that had symbols glowing in green running up its entire length. To the right of that was a door and opposite that was a tunnel that disappeared into the darkness.

Whilst I was marvelling at the décor in the other room, Muffin exclaimed that he’d found something out about the bath in this one. He said it was a scrying pool. He said when he’d first looked in it, it was focussed on the cavern that had the shrieking mushrooms in. He also said that he could focus it anywhere he’d actually been, even Diamond Lake. Sadly he couldn’t use it for anything useful like scrying ahead to places we haven’t been yet and the only other useful thing I could think of would be to scry into Tira’s bedroom (but then again, there’s no way he’s ever been in there – wonder if I can use it? Definitely worth a try).

The fascination of the pool soon wore off and we left this room and headed along the tunnel which opened up into one of the most bizarre sights I’d ever seen since Grim pointed out what he considered a lovely piece of dwarven totty; or as he put it “That there is one fine, stocky lass! Got nice broad shoulders that one! I’d love to tangle beards with her!” Just the thought sends shivers down my spine. Agggghhhhhhh! Now I’ve got a visual! Get out of my brain! Get out!

Where was I? Oh yeah, the room. It seemed like a museum for the twisted and deranged so naturally Muffin was extremely interested. Cases filled with heads of all kinds, strange books (even one that was chained up) and weapons lined the walls with the exception of a door. The centre piece of this macabre display was a large statue of a kind of bird-man hybrid that Muffin said was a Vrock.

Muffin cast a spell to see what was magical and it turned out that some of the weapons, a book and a figurine of a griffin were all magical although Curly said that he sensed that the dagger had an evil taint to it. Other things of note were the head of a black dragon with glowing green eyes, a statue of a pseudo-dragon (which Grim reckoned must be an actual pseudo-dragon that had been petrified as there weren’t any tool marks on it to speak of) and (more interestingly) a doll that had the likeness of Curly with about twenty pins sticking out of it. Sadly nothing happened to Curly when we poked it (could have had a lot of fun with that).

Feeling a distinct unease about this whole room I was about to suggest we leave everything for now and move on when Muffin decided to pick up one of the books. Suddenly the large, what was previously, statue of the vrock sprung to life and released some spores along with an ear piercing screech both of which burst over us. Sadly for it, the spores and screeching only served to irritate us all and in a matter of seconds it was lying dead in a pool of its own blood.

Sadly Muffin hadn’t paid any heed to this incident and decided to pick up one of the books (again) and started to read it. As he turned the first page he almost fell over (he said it was because he was overcome with dizziness but personally I think he’d had a sniff of Grims clothes). He said that he’d felt as if his mind was being sucked out of his head by the book (must be a very small book).

With everyone now more amenable to my suggestion that we leave all this for now and come back to it when we had a more informed person with us, we headed through the door. The corridor this opened onto was a quite impressive fresco that depicted the mind-flayers conquering the world and enslaving all the creatures to their will. I’m not sure about the others but all this did was strengthen my resolve to slay this creature and any of its kind.

Steel now both in hands and minds, we marched on and came to the large cavern with the black pillar that we’d seen from the balcony only now from the shadows directly underneath the balcony floated the object of my vengeance.

“INSERT SPEECH HERE” he mocked as two more of the smaller octopins emerged from the pool below him and advanced on us.

As the mind-flayer raised his hands and gestured towards his pets they suddenly sped up their progress towards us. This only served to quicken their deaths as we tore into them. Muffin sent a ball of flame erupting through the cavern which encompassed our three foes but the mind-flayer seemed to simply laugh off the spell as if he’d been nowhere near it.

Grim began chanting to Hanseath and suddenly I felt a surge of energy which I put to great effect slicing into the two octopins. All the while however the mind-flayer floated there above us, laughing off the effects of every spell that Muffin cast at him. With his pets almost dead the mind-flayer decided to sacrifice them in order to strike out at all of us. He pulled out a small globe and threw it at the centre of our group. On impact the globe burst into a ball of flame which I managed to avoid.

With the appetiser out of the way, I was ready for the main course but unfortunately so was the mind-flayer. As I readied my sling he sent a blast of energy (like he’d done on our first meeting) that encompassed us all. Things after that are a bit of a blur but I’ll try my best to tell you what happened. I heard a clatter of steel on stone and realised that I’d dropped my weapons. Then I thought I could see Sneeze, Curly and Muffin moving around but then I think Sneeze and Curly stopped and Muffin ran past me down the corridor. Then I was covered in a thick mass of spiders webs and moments later I thought I saw the mind-flayer trying to suck on Sneeze who was trying to fend him off.

I’m not sure how long I was in that stunned state for but all of a sudden my mind was clear once more. I tried to break free of the web but it had too firm a grip on me. That was until it totally disappeared. A quick glance around revealed that everyone was still alive (although I couldn’t see Muffin) and that the mind-flayer was still floating half way up the room. Also above him lay a mass of the thick webs that had encompassed me previously.

I swiftly picked up my sling and bullets and tried to space myself as far way from people as I could so as to limit who the creature could get in his stunning blast should he try it again. As I pelted it with bullets, Curly and Salty drew their bows and Sneeze simply punched thin air (later he’d tell us that Grim had told him to attack as if the mind-flayer was standing next to him but personally I think that he was still suffering the effects of the mind-flayers blast).

With the three of us pelting the creature with missiles the mind-flayer let out scream after agonising scream of pain until I struck it with a final blow right in its tentacled mush at which point it cried no more and fell into the pool.

As this happened the webs covering the room disappeared and Muffin looked down on us from the balcony (not a deserter after all) a smile on his face that didn’t quite reach his eyes.

We went over to the body to fish it out of the pool and noticed that there were lots and lots of what looked like tadpoles swimming about. We all glanced briefly at each other before in a wave of fury and relief we stamped on what we could only assume would be octopin spawn.

With the spray of the last splash still in the air, Muffin used one of the few remaining spells he had left (he said he had spent the rest trying to stall the mind-flayer as the rest of us had succumbed to his stunning blast so technically I suppose we all owe our lives to Muffin – although I guess I’ll just take this one away from the countless times I’ve saved his hide) to determine if anything was magical. Amongst the items was a cloak that provided resistance to spells and the like which the group gave to me (obviously scared that I’ll die on them).

Next to the black pillar was a door which led into a very plush bedroom come office. In here we found some money and gems but more interestingly a book written in undercommon. Grim cast a spell that would allow him to read it and he said that it was a ledger of transactions that this mind-flayer had had with prominent citizens. One entry specifically caught our attention. A man called Loris Raknian, who just happens to be the director of the Free City Arena, had had several transactions including one for something called the Apostolistic Scrolls coupled with the assassination of me and my group.

We gathered up the evidence (along with the items from the museum of the macabre) and headed back to the temple of Heironious to gather our thoughts and determine our next move.



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