Wyrms and Worms

Red blasts light out from his flaming sword, and it makes the shadows made. A bunch of shadows, four shadowy dogs, and even a shadowing dragon all come out of the dark to attack us. Well, mostly Red. The dragon is really mad, and it kills all the dogs to try and get Red. But it got the Big Guy instead. We killed it, though, the awful thing.

Nevi and Mary Mouse start cutting it up and Sam starts to pray, or meditate, or something. She mutters to herself, and I swear she’s talking to her Daddy. When she gets back up again, she confirms that. Says her Daddy can fix the Big Guy, for a price. We have to dedicate the Mummy Lord’s death to her Daddy and give him some of its treasure. Her Daddy is some sort of worm that will destroy everything, which seems bad, but Red says that’s a long time from now. I don’t understand if we have to kill the Mummy first, or after he fixes him, but everybody agrees we will. Sam starts praying again, and snakes show up all over the Big Guy’s body and it’s all weird, but eventually, he gets up again. He seems alright, so we move on. Maybe we should have asked for Orange back, too.

There are lots more doors and traps and hallways. One room has a treasure in the middle that makes Red try to kill Nevi, but Sam fixes him before I have to knock him out. Eventually, we run out of places to go and it takes a little bit to find the hidden door.

This room smells awful and is full of corpses. We slip in, and try to find a door, but seven of the corpses stand up and attack us. They spit worms at us! Zombie worms! They are so gross, we spend as much time smashing the worms as we do the zombies, but we get rid of both. Of course we then run into a Pink Toad that turns into a deathly dog when we shoot it, so we have to put that down, too. More rooms and locked doors. Will we ever get out of here?

Sludge Skating

Standing on the rocky bank of the slude river, Nat keeps insisting that our destination is down below the sludge. But there’s no way we can go swimming in it, and there are no paths around it. Dalish even burns the toe of his boot to make sure. Exhausted from the trip down here and the fight with the oozes above, we decide to take a short rest and heal up a bit.

Afterwards, Dalish wants to try flying out to scout the river. So, I tie a rope around him in case of disaster, and he heads out. Eventually, we have to add another rope to let him go a bit further. When he gets back, he reports some silver snakes on the wall, and other iconography worked int the stone. There’s a bit of a bulge in the water that followed him, but doesn’t attack, and went away when he got back to shore.

Then the random attacking begins. Remy shoots the river, nothing. Someone tries a tiny spark, but it doesn’t light the sludge. A flamebolt simply burns a tiny bit. Gerhard tosses out a Ray of Frost, and a section freezes solid. Success! This seems like the way forward. But that doesn’t stop the rest of them. They toss out more and more elements, while I fume in frustration. Clearly Frost Works!

As this winds down we discuss Gerhard using Wall of Force in case of emergency, but otherwise, we’ve got a pretty solid plan. The three folk with Ray of Frost will make a bit enough path for us all to walk down the river together. It’ll melt behind us, but if we move fast enough, it should be fine. It’s slow going, but it does work. When we reach the snakes, the studious ones try and study them for a moment, but they’re just shiny snakes telling us we’re going the right way.

The sludge river narrows as the stone around us becomes more and more worked. More of the pattern survives here, showing the mountain above us and six god figures blowing ice over it and a snake deep within guarding a black blob. Well, that seems pretty straight forward, if dramatic.

Eventually, we get to a huge cavern of worked stone with a temple in the middle. This place is filled with stalagtites and stalagmites, but in the center is a worked temple area where the sludge is erupting from. There is a massive silver serpent statue overlooking a recently destroyed fountain. The fountain is the source. It seems our friends may have been the ones to cause this damage and the river of sludge.

Dalish and Remy discuss digging a hole beside the fountain, but we don’t know how deep or how to dig through solid stone. I point out the Snake, and Dalish and Nat take a look. Someone has cut bits off it, and recently, too. It used to have large jeweled eyes and fangs. What about Dimension Door? We’re not sure where we’re going. What about freezing the flow? Well, okay, but then what? Nat sends her arcane eye down the sludge, and about 40 feet down is a small cavern that leads to a large cavern where the other group is encased.

Dalish wants to go down with Klyce to investigate, but Klyce doesn’t want to be touching the sludge, so he asks me to levitate him. It take way more tries that it out to, but I manage it. I Hate This Place! The cavern shakes and rumbles and the sludge starts geysering out of the hole. Nat says she can see a huge monster down there and our friends are actually encased in its body, lets her eye drop and manages to cast control water to split the stream enough for the rest of us to climb down a revealed ladder.

Dalish puts up a fog cloud and makes the rest of us pretty useless for a bit, but when it drops, it’s clear that the monster has been putting our friends in the way of our attacks. It also has managed to grab a few of us, as well. It’s a rough fight, and I hardly manage to do much of anything, but eventually we put it down. I’m not sure how, I was unconscious at the time. We do, however, have to bring quite a few of the other group back from the grave in the process.

Once everyone is up and mobile again, we get out of there and head back to the hotel.

Demons Come Home to Roost

We set up a private sanctum in my room, blocking the doors and windows with furniture. Taking watches and resting, to heal and recover. The time passes quietly. I leave a note for Gerald to go the school and stay there, it isn’t safe here anymore. When Marybeth wakes up, she remembers she was supposed to contact her handler, but had just been too exhausted. Nat offers to go with her, to tag along in her dreams. Marybeth tries to resist, but we insist. Nat makes some tea, and they both go back to sleep.

Nat wakes up vomitting. We really need to get her better herbs. She couldn’t follow Marybeth, but she did learn a lot about the monsters we’ve been fighting. Back before the breaking, the fae world and ours were nearly on top of each other, but now they orbit a void. Souls travel this void from one world to the other. At the breaking, some fae were trapped here in our world. They called out for help, for centuries they called to their people. Eventually, they were answered, by the demons in the void. These demons are siphoning the souls for power as they travel between worlds through the void. They come from somewhere further out, but the void gave them a new home, and they have been growing in power ever since.

Marybeth wakes up then. She says that Grandfather is taking advantage of loopholes in the contract. He has put it back in arbitration, to get himself in charge again. He is threatening to summon a greater evil upon the world if they don’t do what he wants. She confirmed that the curse is on her entire bloodline, and he was brought back with all her power, and his own contacts. He has convinced a chaotic subfaction to follow him. They are trying to bring her back to their home to remove the contract from her. If he gets it back, he can wreak more havoc on the world. She had been offering them the souls of those we killed, while her Grandfather had been killing innocents. We have to stop him from summoning this greater evil, and get her back to their home to defend herself. We insist on going with her, but she is afraid of us understanding the whole of it. So, we have Nat fill her in on what she’s already told us.

We’re all in. How do we find Grandfather? He must need mana. Where would he get it? The school? A refinery? A storage facility? He might masquerade as Marybeth in any of those places. Could Nat scry on him, just to see? Orrin cannot sense the other Marybeth. What about the bog witch? Then the conversation devolves into an argument about how he got into the Library. It doesn’t matter! He did it!

Nat tries to scry, but gets nothing. Dalish receives a summons from Rictus. Ugh! Where else might Grandfather be? What about that blood cult? There might be power there for him? Might as well check, it’s in this area of town. So, we head over there first.

It is still closed. Nat picks the lock to get us inside. It has been cleaned and repaired, but not very well. No one has been here in a very long time. There is nothing to find, so we head on to the school. I give Dalish back his phylactery since Rictus will want to see it. We make a plan of how to explain our presence to the groundskeeper to get me on campus, which I prompty forget when faced with him and the servires. I tell him we’re investigating a threat to the school and the city at large. I promise to behave, like I did the last time, and he gives me another day pass in.

Remy asks if Marybeth has been around since last time, but he says no. Remy asks about the fountain, but it isn’t running, the mana is kept more securly now. Marybeth asks him to banish her temporarily once we leave today, and he agrees. Dalish heads to meet Rictus and the rest of us head to look around the school. Everything seems pretty normal and quiet. Eventually, we head up to see Raltus. He tells us that things are just ask quiet as it seems. James is his only regular visitor. Remy consults with him on medical practices. Nat leaves Aleria a note, and when Dalish rejoins us, we head out.

Dalish tells us that the sacks have been destroyed, hundreds of them. And we’ve been tasked with finding and killing the black knight. This runs into a conversation of the morality of such an order. Are we actually going to kill him? Klyce, who previously had been all about following orders, but against killing, is back on his no death kick. Marybeth agrees. Dalish points out we’re still military, and these are direct orders. Remy wants to talk to him, understand what he is doing. Maybe we can capture him instead.

As we approach Marybeth’s old house, she turns into her accountant and begins to give us a tour as through we are going to buy the place. We head around the back and Nat once again lets us inside. The house is gutted and empty. Marybeth leads us to her Grandfather’s office and we begin a search in earnest, spreading out from there. Nat finds a compartment in the fireplace mantel, containing a series of papers in a strange language. Marybeth has a quick arguement and snatches them away, reading feverishly. The original contract, it seems. Remy finds a small iron box in another room with a strange symbol on it. We decide to take it back to my place to try and disarm it and head out.

The front gate is hanging open. Oh… no… I stop everyone and peak around the grounds. No one. We carefully head up to the house. The front door is wide open. Quietly, carefully, we creep inside. There are sounds from the dining hall. I gather everyone around the door. Ready? They all nod and I throw the door open.

There are two pig and four toad demons sitting at my dining table, feasting. Feasting on my servants! They’re talking to me, but I hear only thunder. I call forth the storm, screaming at them to get out of my house as I send lightning into the one who is speaking. Three of them leave immediately. The other, Thanks Me For My Hospitality!!! And before I can send another lightning bolt at him, he takes the remaining toads and leaves as well.

People are talking to me. I still hear thunder and wind. I let the spell drop. Yes. Yes, they all have family. Oh gods! Oh Dawnmother! Nononono. This isn’t happening. Why? We have to gather them up. I stride in and start gathering the parts, trying to match bodies. Gerhardt! Dalish! Help me! We have to tell their families. We have to give them proper burials. How? Where? What funeral parlor would their families use? How do I find them? I have to pay for it, I have to take care of their families. Klyce is talking at me again. We can’t give them back like this. We have to cremate them. Nat? Nat please help? We wrap the pieces and take them outside. The garden, they all loved the garden. I used to play here with them. Nat lines them up, and says the words and prayers. I try to pray to the Dawnmother, I don’t know what I say. Guide their fate or something ridiculous. Their fate is sealed. We start the fires. Nat asks about the neighbors, but I don’t care.

Then Klyce is yelling. Something is wrong at his house. He turns into an eagle and flies away with someone on his back. I max out my fly spell to get everyone still standing around and we fly after him. We arrive shortly after him. His living room is covered in gore and demon parts. Philip is sitting dazed with a knife in his hand and blood all over him. Klyce yells down for someone to come up to his sister Patty. I stop Dalish and go up myself. I just can’t clean up anymore blood today. Klyce asks me to send to Elizabeth to tell her to come home. I do and she’s busy but alive.

When they ask me to bring her down, everything is clean again. Klyce is explaining that there was an attack and Philip defended the family, but they are no longer safe here. Our enemies are attacking our loved ones. The shop will have to close for a few days while we sort everything out. Klyce asks if they can all come back to my place. Of course, but that doesn’t seem safe either, right now. We’ll all be there, we’ll keep them safe. He asks everyone else about their families. Marybeth says we have to go get her mom. No one else has family they care about in town. Klyce’s mom resists, but he eventually convinces her. As we head out, I send to Elizabeth again, telling her she’s in danger and to meet us at my address. We head to where Marybeth’s mom is staying to round her up, and I wonder if anyone has called the fire squad on the black smoke from my garden.

What Have We Done?

We go around and around a few more times. What are we going to do with this ritual? Create an item? Return the power to the family? Give it to someone else? Mummy Dalish? Disapate it? Can we even do any of that? Can we do anything besides give it back to Great Grandpa Bones?

There’s a quick sidebar when we realize Dalish has been communicating with Rictus fairly regularly. Remy asks he not inform Rictus that he’s alive, since when Rictus tried to clone him, he shot himself in the head to stop him. I ask him not to tell Rictus about all the fae and god-stuff we’ve been into. Fortunately, he finds leaving things out of his report easier now, as he gives up more and more of his humanity. Ugh! Well, at least he promised not to tell.

We get back on track and Klyce gets everyone to quiet down. He asks Nat what she wants to do. She thinks the best plan right now is to bring Great Grandpa back, then have a good talking to him about what he’s done, and how he can make up for it to the people of the town. It’s her family, so we agree and set about performing the ritual.

It works. Screaming spirits stream back into the skull and his eyes light up once more. The cave feels empty once more, as Nat and the skull head into a catch up conversation. He still thinks it’s three years ago. She catches him up on clearing the mines then, and then what has been happening lately. She tells him she knows he sacrificed his own sister to the Green Witch, and that she came back and murdered townsfolk for revenge. He claims it was all to save the family because no one else could take care of the mines, no one was powerful enough.

He asks that we don’t tell Nat’s parents or siblings. The burden is heavy, and he doesn’t want them to bear it. We tell him that Stephen already knows, and then have another whole conversation about what happened with Stephen and his undeath. We all agree to keep it between us, and head back to the castle to get drunk and forget everything else for the night.

The next morning is the Harvest Festival. No one is in a very festive mood. It’s starting to hit me, as I get up for my morning prayers to the Dawnmother, that she’s probably very upset with me for what I did. I just, it doesn’t seem fair, they’ve had him locked up for centuries. I hated being locked up for a year and a half. I couldn’t just leave the door closed. We promised.

Before I get too far down the rabbit hole, the others wake up and join me down by the Green Witch. What are we going to do about the body? Well, we can’t take her out, but perhaps, the cremation could be part of the ceremony tonight? Nat agrees to talk to the family about that, and I stay by her side for the day, stuck in my cloud of self-doubt.

About midday, Marybeth brings me some pie and a cup of wine. Nat and Remy come with her. Nat says the family has agreed to making it a funeral rite for Beatrice. I remember that Remy went to check on Dalish and ask where he is. Remy tells me that Dalish stayed behind to work on his ritual, and poisoned himself on purpose as part of it. This has apparently left him temporarily paralyzed (we hope), but it was one of the better outcomes? Oh dear.

Then folks start going off about the gods and the primes and how we’re touched. I don’t really follow the conversation, until Marybeth starts shouting at Remy about the phrase “your gods.” Exasperated, I ask if he could please, for the sake of peace, just use the phrase “the gods.” He grudgingly agrees, but who knows how long he’ll remember it. I then turn the conversation back to wine and pie. Unfortunately, I make a random comment to Remy about his nobility and it turns into a lecture on his family history in the royalist nation.

Eventually, people wander off and leave me in peace until the evening ceremony. I had a quick trip up to the castle to change my green dress to a red one for the burning, but I leave on the green mask. Nat has dressed in proper funeral attire for her part, as well.

Nearly the entire town gathers for the burning of the Green Witch. Nat gives a wonderful speech about the troubled times, and the losses they have suffered. She explains a bit about the vengeful spirit, in vague terms, and our defeat of it. She then turns to speak of the strength of the community. She encourages them to remember the lives of the fallen. To celebrate them. This town has survived so much, and will continue to endure. It is time to celebrate the town, their friends, and the people they have lost. She then performs the funeral rites and lights the pyre.

As if on cue, the clouds part and stars shine down upon the bright burning blaze. There is even a moonbow across the square. The Green Witch is pleased as we all watch the fire burn. Then, the biggest celebration this town has seen in quite a long time begins. And continues well into the early hours of the morning.

The next day, Nat fires up a telepathic bond with the whole group so we can talk to Dalish. He tells us that Rictus sent him a message that we’re to return to New Gnosis for a new assignment within three weeks. Oh man! UGH! Dalish also tells us he doesn’t kow how long he’s going to be paralyzed for.

Well, we have three weeks to find the door and get back home then. We start pondering strategies. Scry? Marybeth’s Library? Remy Sends to Hank, who says he’s really bad and we shouldn’t release him. Remy thinks they’ll stand against us in what we hope to do. Well, what else is new? Klyce brings up logical thinking as an option. Where would they have put the door? In the temple below us? Or in Stephen’s old place where the Eye was found?

Wait, we have a quick spell. I ask Nat to scry before we go running off in all directions. She tries, but gets nothing. Okay fine, but it was worth trying. Next easiest is below the mines. So, we head down there. Klyce gives us all waterbreathing because we flooded it last time we were here. Nothing has changed, unfortunately, and Stephen’s is too far away to check. We say hi to Great Grandpa on the way out, and remind Nat to tell her parents we fixed things with him.

After that, Marybeth takes Nat and Remy to the Library in her necklace while I stand guard. Against what, I don’t know, but I always do that when she goes inside. When they pop back out, I ask what they learned. That the knowledge is forbidden, and there are tentacle monsters guarding it. Oh, okay, great. Well, makes sense the gods wouldn’t want us to know how to undo what they did. Remy wants to go back in and fight an army of tentacle monsters and demand answers, but we tell him he’d be on his own.

The rest of the guys are ready to give up and just let the door find us. Trouble usually does, and we don’t have a timeline on our promise. Can’t we just take it easy for a little while. I’m afraid of what the gods will do if we give them time, though, and we still have easy options. Or at least, Nat does. I ask her to do her Contact Other Planes thing, so she does. While she’s in her trance, the group goes into another argument about gods and power, and I tune out, mostly, watching Nat.

When she wakes up, she has some news, none super helpful, but it’s more than we knew before. The Door is deep and on Earth. But the nation or city is is beneath is unclear. If we are successful in opening it, we will create a “singularity” in reality which will crush into a single truth and then explode back out into many paths. I’m not sure what that means, but that’s what Nat said. At least it won’t end everything and send us all to Oblivion. That’s a good thing, right? Well, none of that points us anywhere, maybe something popped up on Rictus’ radar, and that’s why we’re recalled. We’ll have to wait and see, I guess.

Spoilers: We’re Gods Now

The ritual has begun, but Natty is frozen. The look on her face is stubborn anger and she is muttering to herself. The inky black from attacks!

Remy shoots, but is immediately paralyzed as the monster goes after Marybeth. Klyce wades in to put himself between them, and Gerhardt rushes forward to try to help keep him standing. It isn’t enough. I call lightning down, but it isn’t enough. The monster strike Klyce down. Then Remy as he ran it to help. Then Gerhardt, as Marybeth runs away to shoot from a distance. I’ve been staying by Natty, who is still mumbling angrily to herself. The creatures strides up and puts me down.

Into Darkness.

And Silence.

Then green.

I start awake, surrounded by grass and trees. We’re in a forest clearing. Teeming with life and gentle sunlight coming through the boughs above. We all sit up, we’re all there. Except for Remy, and Nat. They must be back there? But no, I saw Remy fall. Klyce says he was right.

We fall into a discussion of each of the six gods having a claim on each of us. Except there’s seven of us and only six gods. Unless the evil eye god has claimed him. But the rest, we each have one. Not based on our own chosing, but theirs somehow.

The Green Witch has clearly chosen me, by the evidence of my rising in the mines. Klyce has the red aura of the Wandering Vengeance. Marybeth, by her library pendant, must be the Eternal Mind. Nat’s been worshiping the Stilled Tempest, but does worship matter? I’ve been worshipping the Dawnmother. Maybe Gerhardt, with his healing, is the Dawnmother, and that leaves Dalish with the Stoneman. We’re not sure about these last few.

Klyce interrupts the conversation for a sound in the quiet wood. A flute being played some distance off. Gerhardt starts patching us up as we head off to investigate the sound. The forest is beautiful, untouched wilderness. There is no pulse, no heartbeat here, just beautiful life.

Ahead, there is music and splashing. We see a small goat of a man playing a flute for frollicking nymphs in a spring-fed brook. Klyce calls out to him, and he screams in terror and falls over. The nymphs dive out of sight. I step forward to try and calm him, but he scrambles up and runs. So, I levitate him and try again.

We just need to find people, I tell him. Where are there beings who all live together. He calls me Queen, and says there is a place fifteen minutes past noonwards. I have no idea what that’s supposed to mean, so I ask if he will lead us there. He seems even more terrified, but grovels more about me being a Qeen, and if it’s what I really want.

As I begin to let him down, keeping my spell, just in case he runs again, a burned humanoid creatures climbs out of a tree. This upsets him greatly, but we quickly figure out that it’s Nat, who had to leave her body behind, in her Great-Great-Aunt’s care. I go to introduce her to our new friend and realize I have yet to ask his name. He says it is Baraduk Tine. When we ask about the beings that live where he is taking us, he mentions pixies, dryads, and eladrin. None of which make sense, really, to us. Thought, it seems, Nat’s take the body of a dryad.

We approach a settlement of odd humanoids with pointy ears and flowing hair. They move so gracefully, as well. Then, they begin to see us, and the younger folk stare uncertainly, while the elders take flight, just like Baraduk. I call out to them, but it doesn’t help. Frustrated, I call out for them to Stop!

And they do. They all freeze in place and simply stop moving. I call out to one of the younger folk close by, who had just been staring at us the whole time. I ask where we are, but this seems a confusing question. They ask who we are and how we got here, but we have no idea. I ask if their people have magic, if anyone here has powerful magic that can maybe help us. So, they take us to see Alock.

Alock is an older eladrin who is inside a mushroom house. He looks askance at our young friend, and when we ask for help, invites us in. I pause to tell the people they can move again, and they do, as we head inside and introduce ourselves. He’s not terrily happy about Nat’s situation, but she didn’t know she was killing a dryad, she just needed somewhere to go.

We ask him about everyone being afraid of us and running away. He said it’s because we’re gods, and we destroyed their world and sealed away their Clever Prince. Eons ago, their world was larger, ruled by The Clever Prince. He was tempestuous and they were wild things. But then, the six banded together and bound him into the space between for all eternity. He was the son of Balor, and was to marry the Green Witch at the wedding where Balor was killed. This is all very confusing, but asking questions doesn’t get us any closer to answers.

He tells us that The Clever Prince has a temple near here, that may have answers for us. Or danger. Or nothing. But it seems to be our best bet. He wants us to leave his village, and even offered to take us to the temple. He is afraid we’re there to destroy them all again. He takes us Duskward and Springward, whatever that means. Warning us that intention is the key to this place, and we must control our thoughts.

Moments pass as we walk, but not time. It is a strange sensation, as I watch the flower, grass, and trees. Alock again warns us to be careful what we will to be in this place. I can feel something here. Something not quite remembered from my dream when I was dead in the mines. I hate that feeling! It itches on the back of my brain, but I can’t catch it. Then there is crashing in the bushes, someone was thinking to hard about our most recent death.

The dark shadow man appears ahead of us. Everyone panics and begins throwing spells, bullets, and knives. I drop to the ground, and curl up into a ball. Nonononono! Then there is darkness again.

I wake up, to them telling me it wasn’t real. They just had to remember that it wasn’t real. Alock suggests we rest. Dalish magics up our dome and sanctums and we sleep. I dream of an eight-armed, flying temple! This place is so strange.