Month B – Day 20 – continued
What with all this fire and what have you, I expect the fire to have burned itself out where it started, so I ask Silas to look for that, but he doesn’t see any locations like that. Niramour then looks around for the same thing, and spots one immediately. Not to disparage the flying fairy in any way, of course, but you’d think that seeing something from an elevated position would be easier. Psh. In any event, we run through the horrible burning flames to what we hope is a safer location, only to see the weird villagers combining themselves into some sort of horrific demon figure.
Intensely curious as to the result of this amalgamation, Silas and I stare at it in wonder, but the rest of the group is terrified and panicking, grab the bag containing the fountain money from my hands, and throw it at the forming abomination.
This plan never works. Returning things you stole does NOT make the crime go away. You’re invariably better off keeping the loot and dealing with the fallout from it, because then you at least HAVE the loot as resources. People, spells, enchantments, governments… Forgive and forget is simply not a thing that happens.
However, it worked. I’m a little put off by that.
Before either of us could get a good grasp of how this creature moved, returning the melted coins melted the thing, and the village sprung back up around us, pristine and untouched. Given the warnings on the outside of the gate (do not come in, blah blah blah, death of the multiverse, etc), I am now of the belief that the people who made this place are either chaos worshippers or insane. What possible reason could they have to have a pre-end trap cancel/reset mechanism set up? Maybe they have rubber tipped scissors lying around to tempt us to run with?
Anyways, we walk out of the village and to the next gate.
Month B, Day 21
At the end of walking today, we reach the second gate. This one has two holes in it; cylinders approximately twice the size of the average human arm, at approximately that height with little metallic spikes in them. Before I could suggest using a summoned minion for this, a bunch of people (including that bastard Reggie) voluntarily put their arms in the holes, which then proceeded to (predictably) drain their blood, but also poison them. The stupid door kept asking for more, so I told it that there was a lot more on this side, but that it would have to open the door to get to it, so, lo and behold, the door opened. Stupid door. We walked through to see a creepy spider bound to it. Huh.
We were almost immediately enveloped in a weird misty fog thing, where I saw some things that weren’t possible, that I knew weren’t possible, but that I acted as if I believed anyways, completely lacking control of my body. That was not fun. Particularly when the things I very definitely didn’t believe started trying to dissolve me from the inside. Moving on.
Month B, Day 24
Spent a couple of days walking now, can’t see much, haven’t come across the third gate yet. Also haven’t killed Reggie yet, but we still don’t know how or where to use the dagger, so he’s safe so far. Bastard.
This afternoon we came to a ridiculous display of signs in every language imaginable (and several that weren’t). Oddly, though I’m usually pretty good at figuring out at least what they’re intending to represent, for some of these signs I couldn’t even get that. Anyways, they all said useless stuff like “Turn back”, “Doom ahead”, etc. Again, the people who made this thing are kind of dumb if they make the process one-way and keep telling you to go back. Maybe if they had some kind of a glowing EXIT sign?
There was a cobblestone path through the sign forest, so we walked along it.
We then came to a ginormous forest of impaled corpses. Much less pleasant than the signs. Oddly, Reth didn’t immediately try to start talking to any of them. Maybe his IQ broke double-digits? The cobblestone path continued through it, but it’s pretty clearly a trap. They obviously don’t want you going this way, so they’re not going to make the safe path this obvious.
IT WASN’T A TRAP. HOW WAS IT NOT A TRAP? The more I’m in here, the more it seems like they actually do want us to open whatever it is. Maybe it’s like a test of courage?
There was some faded sign at the final gate, along with two boxes with maybe-zombies in them. We ended up carving some letters onto the sign with the weird dagger because they were the only letters we could carve, but clearly Common was not the first language of whatever wrote this:
I (T) D (R A) W S
N (E A) R
O N L Y T H E E L D
M A (Y) (P A) S S
Maybe adding punctuation to the dweomer would have made it higher level? How about adding a subject for the pronoun? Well, it seems like Reggie knew what it meant, because he (with alligator tears) begged us all to go on without him, then shouted something about “For the line of Eld” and walked into the door, which then opened. Given that it says that only the Eld may pass, I’m pretty sure the son of a bitch just abandoned us here and we’re about to enter a trap. I might have to Clone him just to get my anger out. I don’t think a single body can take what I need to do to that guy. Besides where was his big monologue?
Niramour wants us to feel bad for Reggie. Well, looking at it from another way, it’s theoretically possible that we all share the line of Eld, and Reggie somehow knew that the door required a sacrifice, and that he stopped actually wanting power for himself (the whole point of this little quest), and found his sense of responsibility, and trusted us to do the right thing with the power we found, and…
Who am I kidding? That bastard screwed us hard.
Anyways, we went through the door (it was that or camp with the corpses; Reth wasn’t asked for his vote) and into… more mist. Lovely.
Month B, Day 25
We walked for a bunch, and came out in a forest. Quiet though. No animals or bugs?
I sent a raven up to check things out, apparently there are only three things of any significance in the area: A mountain dead ahead, a village just beyond, and a “black smear” in the distance, which everyone seems to believe is a castle for some reason.
I had a good idea for a new spell, given everything that’s been going on, so I cast it tonight so we could all get some good sleep. Creepy though; I felt like I was being watched.
Month B, Day 26
We walked up to, then started up the mountain today. Everyone felt watched tonight. I have a feeling I’m going to dislike this place just as much as the others. At least there’s a slight variety in food now, though we still haven’t seen any animals… I wonder how the plants are pollenated?
*Month B, Day 27
Made it to the top of the mountain, staying just this side of the ridgeline. Didn’t see anything else of any importance, just the “blur” and the village. Guess we’re heading to the village next. We can’t see any cleared area for crops, nor grazelands, but there’s smoke from the chimneys. Maybe a village of undead?