Ghosts and Ghoulies

First there were ghosts and huge bat things who brought darkness with them, all screaming and shrieking. Then we went inside and there was even Louder screaming. Master said it was just coming from the wall. The walls are screaming? No time to think about that though, a bunch of really disgusting creatures are answering the scream. The little metal man turns them to dust though, good man.

Off to the right, always right, Master tells me. But what if the designer knows that, maybe we should go left this time? Right we go. The dark one says there’s traps, so Master makes them not traps anymore. And we find a door with a bunch of slightly more put-together gross creatures. These have weapons and armor, but the metal man takes care of a bunch of them, too. We make quick work of the ones that don’t fall apart. They take the thing’s big mace, and find a bit mirror and cloak in a closet. Seems like the mirror’s real bad, but we bring it along anyway.

Up a tower that doesn’t have stairs all the way up. Some of the folk just want to leave, but the others convince them to stay. And some tiny flaming skulls bomb us about halfway up. They’re real bad, but they break pretty easy. Don’t know how I survived that, but Master takes care of me. Up top there’s a very sad looking ghost lady, but they all kill her before she screams at us. They seem real scared of her. Maybe she looks familiar to one of them and they know what they did to make her sad. Master’s cousin finds a pretty bottle and opens it and a big angry airy lady comes out. She wants to leave this place. Me too, lady, me too. There’s a weird argument before they give her the bottle and let her go. She just flies out the arrow slit or something, and we head back down.

The other side of this floor has a room full of mummies. Do not like! They’re rotting and gross and almost kill the big human. He does not look good when it’s all done. They take a cloak made of rats and insects from the big one’s body. It might be magic, but it’s real disgusting. They don’t even put it in the bag with the rest of their stuff.

There’s another tower, and more people think it’s time to leave, but metal man and dark man once again convince them to stay. I guess it’s magic and not what they actually feel. I don’t need magic to want to leave, though. This one has ghosts that come out of the walls to try and possess folk, but nobody wants to talk to them. Up top, a big chest attacks Master, so they break it good. A skull and onyx dog are all they find inside. It’s a little girl apparently, and her pet Cerby. The holy ones do a whole big funeral ritual for her, to set her spirit to rest, and Master’s cousin promises to take good care of her dog. Then everyone rests and they figure out what all the things they stole were. They get even more nervous about the mirror, though some want to open it up and let the demons out. So glad they don’t.

They find a set of stairs going down next, but when they go in the first room, I get pushed back home. I hope they’re alright.

~Juxua

Long Flight to Nowhere

Come, Asa. Go, Asa. We’re going to fly over some horrible mountains, Asa.

The young master was running all over the city for an entire week, while I watched from the sky. Several people followed him, but none got close. Even when he ran around by himself. Leaving me in the sky. I can protect him better from there anyway. He’s not really a mounted fighter, though not unskilled at staying astride.

Thank goodness, because after summoning me and then ignoring me for a week, he and all his friends decide to fly over a mountain range. Such a strange place, swirling winds, not a small number of creatures looking to feast on the unwary. And landing, on sharp, jagged rocks. I’m glad I didn’t have to stay with them at night. There was not a single comfortable place to roost.

Then, when we finally reach the destination, after flying through a disgusting miasma, he dismisses me, again! Too dangerous, he says. Young master, I am not merely a taxi! If you wanted that, you should have gotten a horse.

~Asa no Hikari

Asa’s lucky he didn’t have to come in here. Disgusting creatures crawling all over the place. And the screaming…

~Juxua

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?

Death and Necromancy

Mary Mouse and the Big Guy get rid of the skeletons, but then Red nearly kills himself on a ballista bolt trap on the next door. But he gets back up and we run down a bunch more hallways until he stops us. Says there are holes in the walls, and he doesn’t like them. After a while, he sticks a ladder is some of the holes, but then decides we can’t get the Big Guy and Buick across the trap, so we turn back.

Around a bunch of other hallways until we find another big room. This one has a bunch of ugly masks on the walls, and ten skeletons that we have to smash. There are shelves of destroyed books here, so I search the shelves for any that haven’t died yet. Mary Mouse finds a lever to open one of the bookshelves to reveal a big iron-banded door. It takes a couple tries, but the Big Guy and Orange lift it up to get us all through.

We move on down more hallways to a portcullis. The dark room beyond smells like an outhouse full of death. Nevi and Mary Mouse send light in, and we can see piles of bones, dirt, armor, and weapons. Orange and the Big Guy lift this door up, too and we head inside to investigate.

Big dead eye monsters rise up out of the muck. Two of them look like zombies and the other one is made of bones. These are the most awful things I have ever seen. Mary Mouse seems to like the skeletal one, though. It kills Buick and Orange, though, so we destroy it in a rage that would have made him proud. I might have run if I could, but the doors were all closed. I don’t like it here.

Red is furious, and puts Orange in his bag to fix later because the Big Guy can’t fix him right now. We ask if Red wants to leave now, but he insists we go on without Orange. We do divide up some of Orange’s stuff. Catbard lets Gargoyle Lady take control of her, so we give her Orange’s weapons.

We run up and down a lot of hallways then, backtracking and going everywhere but back to that trapped hall. One last dead end, and Red is frustrated. Mary Mouse takes a look, though, and finds a false wall. Red gets it open and we creep in. There is a random armored woman in here, she says she’s from Chult and has been waiting her for a very long time. Her party came in here, but got separated. I don’t trust her. She says her name is Samantha Satessa from near Gold Dwarf Chasm. That sounds fake, I’ll have to ask Catbard later, when she comes back.

There’s no way out of this room, though, so we go all the way back to the beginning. Two pink toads have climbed up the tree. We try to get passed, but Nevi trips and a Redcap and some sort of demon pop out. Red is furious, but we manage to get rid of them. He insists we just shoot them if any more appear, instead of trying to get past them. We all agree and head onward.

We head down some more twisting hallways to a room with strange symbols. We avoid the symbols to get out another door, and down some more hallways. The next door is kind of cold, but we head in. The room is full of cold and spikes and weird swirling decorations.

Murder, Slavery, and Seaturtles

Dalish returned to camp. But not our Dalish, our Dalish was still a mummy. This Dalish was alive. And ‘Rictus was prepared,’ is his only explanation. What are we going to do? Living Dalish has to stay, Rictus sent him here. Mummy Dalish could maybe go back with Stephen to learn his necromantic magics? We have to talk to Durance.

The Lt is a bit distressed, but decides to let Mummy Dalish stay, if we continue to take responsability for him. Normally, he’d have just killed him, but we’re a strange group anyway. Mummy Dalish, however, isn’t a citizen, nor a soldier anymore. Just don’t eat people, and we’ll be alright.

We load up camp and march south to meet up with everyone else at New Calay. Along the way, Living Dalish tells us he has a new plan. That Rictus felt his self-harm was bad, and gave him a bunch of books to read to get better. He’s decided that now he plans to kill other people so he can make himself powerful and immortal, and undead. What the heck, Dalish??? Killing people for power??? Don’t we have enough genocide on our hands? He won’t be reasoned with, so we discuss our questions about New Calay.

Once we arrive, we get an understanding of the situation. We have twenty thousand troops surrounding the city, stopping any traffic in or out. They, however, still have naval control of the port, and our ships are out there fighting for it. The walls have some sorching and crumbling, but nothing serious. Everyone on land is currently holding until the naval battle is over.

Durance sends for someone who can un-stone Remy and Stephen. While waiting, we see a few old classmates, but Marybeth can’t find her brother. It takes a few days to find someone, but eventually, Triplehorn shows up in our camp. He’s impressed with our travel, the change in us, and the mystery that is Stephen. We ask him to fix Remy first, and he does, returning him to flesh.

True to form, Remy wakes up swearing, and then starts drinking. Then we talk about Stephen. Nat says he doesn’t like the sun, so we take him into a tent, but that might not be enough, so we ask Triplehorn to come back after dark, if he could. We talk with him a bit about what we’ve been up to, and our suspicions about the worm-tree in the city. He laments that we are too young to have all this on our shoulders. We agree, but we have little choice.

The others spend the day working out what spells they might need to memorize or scribe for city infiltration, but at I have no part in this, I head off to talk to the other mages. They hold regular gatherings to eat and chat. When I ask what’s been going on, they speak of unease among the diviners. Visions of woe in New Caley, firey explosions, a melting city, decaying into dust. I ask if they’ve been up to anything, but they say not until the bay is taken. Nothing? Not even infiltration? They’ve sent some teams in, but they’ve either not come back, or came back before really getting into the city. The diviners can’t pierce into the city, even when linked. Those that tried teleporting in were the ones that never came back. The team that went into the bay was repulsed instantly.

I return to the group and report all of this. We have to have a better plan. Triplehorn also returns, and turns Stephen back to flesh. We explain to him why he’s suddenly outside New Calay and take him to Durance to figure things out and finalize his negotiations.

They hammer out the deal, information for citizenship, and other such things. We help out with all the information we gathered in his house. Then it comes down to the mages who were sent to kill him, that he killed in return, and did necromatic experiments on. Durance wants their bodies returned to their families. Stephen says they are his intellectual property now. Things go downhill pretty quickly, which Remy going off about slavery of the undead being evil and morally corrupt, despiter half of mage society being based on it. I actually get pissed off and shout him down about it not being his choice what other people do, and several of our friends’ livelihoods are based on the same exact thing. Remy says we should destroy them and send their bodies home for burial, but Stephen is very much against this. Dalish offers a compromise, suggesting we give these free-willed, if controlled, undead, like himself, the choice. Stephen agrees to give them this choice, serve or be destroyed so they can be buried at home. Durance agrees to this, and they finish up negotiations. Natty walks Stephen out, giving him the glyph to send him home.

We head back to camp to discuss our infiltration plan. We have to get into the city to see what is going on. The new walls could be enchanted with alarm spels. We’re a small group, and with non-detection, maybe polymorph. Or maybe as diplomatic envoys?

The next morning, we’re called to meet with the Command Staff: The Colonel, the Lt, and a General Waverly. We explain the worm problem to him, and that we think there might be a tree inside. We have dealt with one before, so we ought to go in and see. He put the mage corps’ magic at our disposal, and we ask about previous attempts. The ones that got the closest were the mages who went to the docks, but their soldiers didn’t have protective spells, so they were spotted. Now, with The Machine, limiting spells won’t be a problem. We again, point out that our smaller group might just be able to slip in unnoticed.

We discuss the bulk of us being polymorphed, using Nat’s telepathic bond spell, and having her just be made small to hide with us. Sea turtles seems to be the consensus. General Waverly calls for a mage named Crow. When he arrives and is informed of our needs, he looks Nat up and down. He can do it, but it won’t be pleasant, and it will be permanent until he can undo it himself. He clamps metal bands onto Nat’s wrists and ankles, then uses a torch to melt them closed It takes half an hour of Nat cursing in pain, but when Crow is done, Nat is only two feet tall.

Dalish also has a strange bag that Rictus gave him, that we want to test the limits of. Nat casts her telepathic bond on us, then climbs inside the bag. The bond doesn’t work in there, but sending still does. The air, however, is a bit stale, so we can’t leave her in there a long time. We’ll just have to make her invisible when we all swim in as sea turtles, with non-detection on us all. Mummy Dalish will stay with the mages who polymorph us, so he can tell them when to drop the spell.

We take the day and night to rest and prepare new spells for the attempt in the morning. We head over to an area near the bay, but still outside the city, on a very nice beach. Nat telepathic bonds us, the mages cast non-detection on us, then polymorph all but Nat into sea turtles. One then casts invisibility on Nat, and we head for the water.

The swim in is rather pleasant and calm, nothing bothers us, no explosions from fighting ships. We head into the bay and towards a beach. Nat, invisible still, looks around, and finds us a clear space to land. We ping MD, and he has the mages drop polymorph. We’re just a family out for an early morning stroll on the beach now. Marybeth and Remy change their faces a bit to look more like they’re old enough to be our parents and we head in. There’s a great big square building in the center, with a tower and a magical spotlight swinging around the city. That is probably where we need to go.