Yet Another Boring Testament of Karion Hope
After emerging from the bowels of the Wizard’s Keep, Cole, Hammah and I regaled our so-called companions with our tale of the day’s events. These were recorded in my last testament. Since Hammah isn’t inclined to record written words, and Cole is unaware of how to use them, I was elected to record this, our most current foray into the lower reaches.
Incidentally, it occurred to me to ask why would a Wizard, or a group thereof, spend so much time building rooms under their keep? There aren’t any windows, the ventilation is horrible, and it’s always cold. I don’t mean to say refrain from making the odd root cellar or two, but building a structure that is many more times the size of anything on the surface seems counterintuitive. It’s more expensive to build underground and much less pleasant to be there. I suppose subterranean is the best way to keep a secret, and the God’s know these Wizards had secrets.
We spent the morning discussing who would delve that day. Theartist stated that he was feeling a touch of the vapors. It is my belief that close call to mortality during his last descent has caused his testicles to recoil further into his abdomen than before, which is making it difficult for him to ambulate. A yellow tail does tend to get in the way of your feet.
Wynnyn didn’t want to join us because he was complaining of a gross amount of burning whenever he urinated, a malady no doubt gifted to him from one of his many carnal conquests. Should his groin find it in itself to be a bit more discerning perhaps he wouldn’t feel as if he was excreting boiling water from his privates. I must admit a small bit of pleasure when we all hear Wyninn’s groans of pain as he empties his bladder.
So, as before, Hammah, Cole and myself mounted the steps to the depths below and started our day. By now we are a well-oiled machine, dealing with problems without breaking much a sweat. This day would end a little differently, with our mettle and our morals being tested. Soon after entering the dungeon we met Cora, a pleasant Halfling. She was dressed in dark leathers and wore the accouterments of an individual who makes their living in the darker places of society, much like Wyninn.
Our first obstacle was a hall with large stone in the way. Cora was able to wiggle herself through and told us that we had to come to other side to help. After some work, we make our way through the stone and Cora introduced us to Numeria, a water pixie who said that she couldn’t get home because the water filled passages ahead were occupied by a large lobster. Cole and I enjoyed some drawn butter jokes, we drank some potions to help us breath underwater, and we moved into the passage. Much to my surprise there was a large, and rather ornery lobster waiting for us. Pity we didn’t really have any drawn butter because the creature fell quickly, Hammah and Cole making expert work of the beast.
Next we encountered an entrance to the lower levels of a tower, an entrance guarded by two of the strangely blue orckind. Cora made her skills known as she dispatched an orc before the fight even started. She was able to sneak up behind the creature and drive a crossbow bolt though its neck, both murdering and silencing it in one action. It occurred to me that we acquired another companion like Wyninn, only this one was both more effective and more importantly, present. Unlike Wyninn, I believe I could grow to trust Cora.
The tower proved to more difficult than the guards who were posted outside. Inside we found an enormous blue orc, more a giant, who was floating and flinging spells at us. Cole and Hammah pressed their advantage quickly against the monstrosity, who retreated up the tower. This would avail the giant nothing as my brave friends leaned into it and slew it.
What was interesting about the chambers was less the creature found in it and more the reliefs on the walls. They depicted orcs being aided by storm giants, storm giants of the same hue as the Orcs we’ve been dealing with. Interbreeding would explain the orcs strange monochromasia and overly large size. This conundrum would require more investigation.
Another level up we found a throne room of sorts occupied by a giant’s skeleton. On the alter we found an iron crown. Before the words of warning concerning handing the crown could escape my demonic lips Hammah picked it up. Not surprisingly the skeleton rose from the alter and leaned into us. Hammah suffered several mighty blows but kept up the fight, yelling at one point, “I take it in the face like a porn star!”
I’m not quite sure what means, but he was proud of it, and I’m proud to call the man my companion if not my friend. I am incapable of friendship for no other reason than to keep those near me safe. My Sire whispers to me. I want to fight him, but his voice is strong and his power is terrifically addicting, especially when I use it to help my companions. Each small use bites at my soul.
The walls once again held mosaics, this time ofbirds of prey. More mysteries.
Next we were in a room filled with what we presumed to be the women and children of the troglydites. My assertion was to leave no enemy behind us and destroy the creatures, despite the murmurings of my sire who said he had plans for the wretched beings. Hammah would not hear of the destruction of innocents, as he called them. His will to do good can sometimes blind him to realities. The children will grow to be warriors, and the woman will breed more children, and so on. I succumbed to Hammah’s wishes and the monsters were left unmolested, free to grow and kill us another day.
We then found a room with an alter filled with statues of dragons. There was a group of acolytes praying about the alter with a priest engaged in the recitation of some demonic ritual on a raise platform on the other side of the room. Cora was able to sneak around room and deliver another fatal bolt to the priest while the rest of the rooms occupants were dispatched by either my Sire’s necromantic ministrations or Cole or Hammah’s steel.
A note about Cora, she’s an assassin, and a very good one.
The next room would test our morals. We found a red dragon, the evilest of creatures, locked in a cage. It entered into a discourse with us where it promised us riches and power and glory should we set it free. I knew these were hollow promises, and I knew the advent of the creature’s freedom would spell doom for countless many. However, it was trapped. I felt it should be given the chance of free choice, something I would never be afforded. My Sire wanted the thing trapped as it would only grow into something that could challenge His power.
To my surprise Cora agreed with me. The creature should be set free to set its own course. Hammah, not surprisingly, disagreed powerfully. He stated that it was a creature of evil and should be destroyed or left to rot. In many ways he was correct, but even evil creatures should be given a chance to make choices.
With a stalemate the decision was left in the hands of Cole, who was conflicted. Part of him agreed, it was a creature of evil and should be left to die. It’s absence from the world could only be seen as a benefit. However, the goodness in him could not stand to see a creature, any creature, suffer so. The goodness won out and the dragon was released.
It immediately attacked us and nearly killed us all. If it weren’t for Cora, wonderful Cora, the creature would have made a meal of us. She was able to sneak on the creature and kill it with a crossbow bolt. She is a useful and reliable companion, and by far the best assassin I’ve ever met, ever.
We survived, lived to fight again. Our relationships are a bit strained as I’ve noticed Hammah watching me more closely, but he need not fear. We have a difference of world views, but our alliance is stable.