Jack Entry 8
21 Eleint (Continued)
I called out to the strange rocky creature to hold a while, and with Chipper’s help convinced the construct? elemental? to band with us, rather than striking off on its own. It told us we were in a massive temple compound and it had been tasked with protecting it from intruders. We seemed to qualify as those that should be protected rather than destroyed, which I count a fortunate thing. The remainder of the temple’s guardians had already been destroyed by the demon hordes, and Rocky said that they were trying to complete a ritual in another part of the structure.
When we’d caught our breath, we moved to the back of the misty chamber, and through a wide corridor into another massive cavern where the mist receded significantly. Broken and toppled pillars lay strewn about the room, and a bloodseep demon berated a handful of lesser demons who were busily destroying the stonework. They’d noticed our arrival and melee we dashed across the room behind the cover of the drow’s darkness to get into position to waylay the destructive creatures.
It wasn’t an easy fight, but we’d learned quite a bit about the demons’ capabilities, and knew to kill the bloodseep first. While Perrin, Tegalad, and Ixtab’s spirit companion tangled with the dretches and maw demons, Chipper and I focused on the the leader. Though it desired to strike out at my companions, I was able to keep its attention focused on me with Ilmater’s divine challenge. It did not desire to feel the sting of The Broken God’s anger. Once it had fallen, I tried to maneuver to help the others finish off the remaining demons. Unfortunately, I misjudged a jump and plunged momentarily into one of the steaming pools in the chamber. I pulled myself sputtering from the deepened puddle and together with the geonid, ended the demonic threat.
Again the crystalline brute sought to press forward, but again it was swayed to remain. When we were ready, we went forward together and found ourselves in what appeared to be a massive cemetery. Demons worked mischief in this cavern as well, having already dug up the graves marked by statues in the four corners of the room. The elemental wretches were hard at work tearing up the sod on a fifth such grave, in the center of the room near to where we’d entered. These too were put to the sword in short order, though the toll in blood grew ever higher.
We inspected the symbols carved into the statues and discovered them to be writing in the Common tongue. I’ve recorded the names on each of the statues and what was engraved below each name, ending with the central grave marker:
- Lucius Trevintus – “I Gave Her the Parts to Allow Sight of the Nine Layers”
- Grenda Slorana – “I Gave Her the Parts to Allow Knowledge of the Forgotten Ones”
- Crast Orthos – “I Gave Her the Parts to Allow Her to Hear Their Tales”
- Graagi Bardur – “I Gave Her the Parts to Allow Her to Speak of Their Misdeeds”
- T.M. – “I Have Been Bound to Keep Her Safe and Will Never Rest Here”
Without hesitation, Perrin suggested the T.M. to stand for Thadius Markins, and the rest of us could find little fault with the deduction. Perhaps the maddened merchant had more of a role in the strange goings on than we first suspected. The geonid actually gave us further insight, informing us that Markins had come from here but had since forgotten his duty – a curse, perhaps? – and was doomed to wander the Dalelands, but never leave until his task – whatever that might be – was completed. Perrin asked if we needed Markins to stop the ritual that the invaders were working on, and the crystal servitor said that we did not. That was enough for us. We took the items from the mostly unearthed and empty grave of “T.M.” – a hammer and chisel engraved with the same initials and an enchanted hammer – and proceeded forward.
Passing through the large corridor, we came to a great hall lined with statues. Perrin and Ixtab noticed something different about a pair of the statues toward the far end of the chamber. We made our way carefully around one side of the hall until – as we half expected – the statues came to life and attempted to murder us. The beastly gargoyles fought hard, but they were no match for the likes of us with our blood up. After the first fell, the second attempted to harden its flesh, freezing in place. Alas, it was no match for the shaman’s furious companion, and the stony creature shattered in place. Afterward, we noticed the holy symbol of Gond the Craftsman above the tunnel exit at the far end of the hall. We puzzled over this and discussed the fact that our endurance was not limitless; if not for the threat of the demons or their masters finishing the ritual, we might have taken a longer rest. It proved good that we did not.
The next chamber was far smaller than the others we’d seen so far, and contained a small fountain flowing with fresh water. Standing between us and the font, however, were a trio of demons who had to be slain first. In the confines of the chamber, the creatures were a greater threat, and it was all I could do to keep their claws and fangs directed at me. The team proved up to the task, and after the last demon fell dead at our feet, Ixtab immediately crossed the floor to the fountain. We warned him off of it, but he insisted that he was thirsty and would not be swayed. Instead of suffering from more poisoned water, the dwarf experienced quite another phenomenon. He reported his body and mind fully refreshed, as though he’d just woken up from a good night’s sleep.
We did not hesitate in following the good dwarf’s example, and just as he’d described, I found my weariness fled and sensed the return of all of Ilmater’s blessings to me. We grinned at one another and prepared to continue forward. The demons plaguing this misty temple would fall by our hands on this day after all!
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