Once again our assault has been beaten back! My spells are spent and we’ve lost another comrade. This being our situation, we decided to withdraw and re-think our strategy. We climbed back out of the well and while Lucas took Airnan’s body to the local temple for burial, the rest of us returned to the inn for some retrospection. I took the opportunity to finish my examination of one of the untitled grimoires in my possession. That is two down with 8 remaining. I’ll need to enlist Varel once again. Perhaps now that we are a little older and wiser we will not have the same difficulties as before. At any rate, that will have to wait. There are other matters to dwell upon at the present.
After mulling the situation over for awhile, it occurred to me that I’ve overlooked something. Based upon a crude map of the lair created from the memories of our assaults and Varel/Airnan’s scouting trip, we determined that the temple was directly beneath a private residence! I’d originally (half jokingly) suggested that we tear up some of the streets and tunnel in from above so as to take them by surprise. This set me to thinking about any other possible connections to the surface. After asking some of the local guards, we were told that the house was occupied by Mekina Velarn a young, attractive and single elven lass. Nothing about her stood out, but the familiar wheels of suspicion began to turn within my mind. An attractive, single woman living directly on top of a temple to the Goddess of scorned love? It just seems … too coincidental?
Lucas and Varel have volunteered to go and speak with Melina. Although I’d prefer to go as well, they seemed to think that she would be more receptive speaking to elves, or at least a half elf. As she was not home during their first visit, Lucas left a note on her door requesting that she meet him at the temple. Unsure as to how she would respond, we waited and observed from a nearby alley. After a few hours she returned. When it appeared that she would make no effort to respond to Lucas’s request, he and Varel returned. I’d given them some advice regarding her questioning, namely, to be as blasphemous and insulting as possible toward Senina. If Melina did have any connection to the faith of Senina, she should exhibit some reaction to her patron being spoken of in such a manner.
Lucas and Varel returned with nothing. They reported that nothing seemed unusual about Melina. Although from my questions regarding her behavior I get the feeling that they are holding something back. That being done though, it seems that we have no choice but to return down the well. This time though, we are not going alone. I will be maxing out the number of creatures that I can summon, and we’ve decided to recruit some local help.
We visited a local tavern and took a look around for some other mercs whom we could recruit to stand guard at the well head and prevent anything from flanking us. I must admit that I was rather surprised at our options, Jtrielle is something of a backwater, but we found 3 prospects. First was Gimmershine, an insect-like creature who described himself as a “treasure hunter”. Next was Steve Grubbin, a human ranger. Last and certainly not least, was Chelsea Darogun, a stunningly beautiful paladin of Ayla. It is said that the faithful of Ayla are some of the most attractive beings in the world, and if Chelsea is the rule rather than the exception, those tales are true. When she heard of the situation, she immediately requested to join us. Happy to have her help, we accepted and then hired Steve to stand sentry at the well. He demanded a bonus for every kill he made. We agreed, provided he could show us a corpse as proof, poor bastard.
We descended once again, still not as quietly as I’d have preferred and began moving. Steve held back on guard, with Lucas, Resnov and Chelsea taking point. We didn’t even make it into the 1st chamber before they attacked. Once again we were in darkness. Luckily, Reznov had gained some experience fighting in the dark and with the others and my elementals working together, the 1st wave fell quickly. That’s when things began to go badly.
Things were working out too well. I will admit that it was my mistake that set everything in motion, but in attempting to learn from lessons of the past, I had forgotten another, more important one. That being, some paladins are highly closed minded fanatics! Forgetting that not all paladins are as understanding as Callard or the elven paladins we fought the demon with, I had hoped to eliminate any confusion by alerting Chelsea that she had no need to fear any demons that came forth as I would be summoning them to use against our enemies. With her next question, “You summon demons?”, I knew I’d made a big mistake.
I tried to offer an explanation. I told of how I was simply using evil to destroy a greater evil. But she was not in any mood to listen. She replied, “I don’t work with demon summoners.” As I was unlucky enough to be standing directly before her, this put me in prime position to take a sword thrust to my shoulder. Luckily the wound wasn’t severe. Even more fortunate, I still had 2 of my elementals right next to her. As she still carried some wounds from the prior fight, between the earth elementals attacks and a volley of spells from myself, she quickly went down. Now I am faced with a moral dilemma! I may not be good, but I am certainly not evil. Whatever evil acts I may have committed are (mostly) outweighed by the good things that we’ve done. Therefore, I have no wish to murder an unconscious paladin. That being said, as much as I don’t wish to kill her, I am more fond of existing than I am of being a good guy. However, she did attack me first. If she didn’t want to work with someone who summoned demons, she could have just left. So, if it comes down to only one of us being able to walk away from this fight, it WILL be me.
Despite my reservations, Lucas healed Chelsea back to consciousness. As she withdrew, he convinced her to meet with him later so he could offer an explanation. She reluctantly agreed and headed for the well. I do hope that the bard will be around for that conversation. Meanwhile, while we were distracted, the remaining inhabitants of the temple had come forth and several globes of darkness later, we were again in combat.
We began fighting our way to the temple room. The spite fairy had summoned several demonic wolves to join the battle. For the first time though, the close quarters of the place worked in our favor as not all of them were able to enter the zone of combat. I summoned almost every creature that I was able and along with the others, after a brutal fight, we prevailed. Where the small versions disappeared in a flash of light upon death, the large spite fairy had a more … intense reaction, exploding into a ball of flame when slain.
After the darkness faded, we searched the area but didn’t find too much. We made sure to destroy the profane altar and render it unusable as a place of worship. We then returned to the surface, but not before I took Steve aside and slipped him some gold to have him keep an eye on the paladin and alert me to any actions that she may try to take against me. Upon hearing of our success, we were quickly paid our reward. I think we are due some rest. Although, I must remember to go and check about Melina. I’m still convinced that there is a connection between her and the spite fairy, if in fact she wasn’t the spite fairy after all.
Heroes of Ethova
Campaign Journal of Burned Seth
This is the journal of Burned Seth, Wizard; Shattered Shield Company