Three days it’s been. Three days mired in these underground corridors and chambers that seem to go on and on and on. My cousin Schill remains a corpse and I fear the others have given him up… I suppose after three days the chances of bringing him back are diminishing. But I refuse to give up all together.
I hate to admit we have a new companion. Brynn. He’s little more than a kid and I suppose he came from Ritten, although I don’t recall hearing for certain. Diegos sent him after us, apparently. The kid is rash, headstrong, as so many kids are; but he seems to know his way around locks and did prevent us from falling into a nasty pit trap during our stumblings around this awful place.
But he cannot replace my cousin, and I find it hard to be courteous all the time.
We have made some progress on our mission to rid the citadel of the sorceress Erivar, but it has proven far more complicated than I anticipated. So many dead ends and false starts… There is a room we cannot enter without the required password. Two more doors that only “bearers” can pass through. And one door that was for “priests only”.
Temple of Pentarch
At least Alix could go through the “priests only” door, which turned out to lead to some sort of Temple of Pentarch, god of the rain. Alix returned bearing flasks of healing water and the information that we must seek the Eye of Arik.
That’s right, another Eye. What is it with fire-red gemstone eyes?
Who in the name of Emrys is/was Arik?
Ammonite managed to fool the door and followed Alix into the Temple of Pentarch and through into an oracle room. They returned eventually with more information. We have to remove the Eye of Arik to restore harmony to this land. (Which fits with the reports the sorceress brought the stone with her.)
And to do this we have to find three magic objects: a silver chime, a silver whistle and a silver dragon.
Oh, is that all.
The fungal caverns
So far we have found the whistle. There are a couple of “fungal caverns” deep in the bowels of this dungeon. In one of them a swarm of life-sucking stirges guarded their nest. It pains me a little to recount what happened next.
We knew there was a good chance one of the required objects was located at the end of the cavern because Calwyn could detect magic. But getting past those stirges was tricky and we almost lost both Ammonite and Calwyn in the first attempt.
On our second attempt, the following day, we prevailed using Alix’s flaming spheres and Calwyn’s sleep spell. Among a few other bits and pieces worth collecting, lay the silver whistle.
I am sad, though, that we killed the stirges. It is we who interfered with their breeding. They only attacked us when we got too close.
In the other cavern, we defeated more of those slime-acid creatures that killed Schill. (There I feel no remorse.) Beyond them lay a skeleton wearing a stone torc, which we soon learned identified the wearer as a “bearer”.
Twenty zombies banqueting
We searched for more bearer torcs. One of the rooms we had skirted until then contained a score of strangely subdued zombies at a banquet. (Truly!) Within, we found a couple of things of interest.
First, one of the zombies was wearing a bearer torc, which Brynn managed to steal without rousing it from its stupor. (I’m sure Schill would have managed just as well.)
Second, at the far end of the room is a throne, which is clearly missing three objects closely resembling the three objects we are currently searching for…
Swapping the two bearer torcs between them, Calwyn, Brynn, Ammonite and Alix checked out the room lying behind one of the bearer doors… It seemed to be some sort of priest’s room, with a selection of (magic) robes and vestments and a holy fountain.
It also held a chest containing three more bearer torcs, so now we have enough for each of us.
Where to now?
We still have a long way to go on our quest. Somehow we need to find the password to enter a chamber that contains what look like clay statues. There is a huge chance one of the objects we seek is within. Why else put a password on the entrance?
The other path we can take is through the other bearer door. Before we found more torcs, Calwyn ducked in and reported a corridor leading to a large colonnaded chamber and a grand archway beyond. Definitely something we need to explore further.
Argh. More days underground.
Throughout it all, my beautiful dog Ash has been very patient. He is brave and strong and a great comfort to me, especially through the long dark nights. (Urgh, it’s always dark down here.)
These dark dungeons are not the place for a ranger and her dog. We are out of our element and (to be honest) not much use to anyone. At least not so far. We lurk at the rear and keep guard against surprise attack.
But we yearn for sunlight and trees.