Letters To My Father 4
The past day or so has driven home exactly how much I miss our quiet little home in the forest, spending my days hunting down cowardly druids, gathering herbs, other edibles, and how much I miss you. I am very hopeful that you are still well within the walls of whatever city you are in. I enjoy imagining the misadventures you might be having. I know it is all very serious; I can see the look on your face even now but it brings comfort.
I can see you in my mind’s eye…
‘The Adventures of: Clearwater Ink-well
International Man of the Mysterious and Mystical
The inconspicuous man made his way through town. He knew all too well where he was headed on this dark night; but it did not matter, what did matter was the book. It was always about books and would always be about the books. The well-dressed man thought as he made his way toward the shadier side of town. As he pressed on he began to feel that perhaps it being called shadier was not just a nickname, but an actual description of that side of town. He decided this was truth when he came to a point in the long walk where he could see the darkness that awaited him. The tips of his fancy shoes flirted with the tangible line of shadow just in front of him; though he had to press on. ‘Sharkie’ was waiting and there was just one rule about guys like ‘Sharkie’…
…You do not keep them waiting.
As the scholar pricked up his collar against a make-believe chill he noted that even the people on this side of town looked darker; like the shadow infected them. The illusory snarls he saw on their faces as he passed them made him feel like prey. Was he brighter than the rest? Could that be possible? Looking down in a moments weakness to check his illumination he almost missed it. The meeting spot: “One Eyed Jack’s”
Of course I know you would never and I can hear you telling me to stop my silly daydreaming, but it brings a smile to my face anyhow.
I hear you reading this and asking me “Girl what are you doing?”
Well… remember when I wrote to you of “spiders” and the undead? It hasn’t changed, except for now we are in the cave.
As part of this “clearing out” agreement we have to go into this cave and play at being maids. This has forced me to come to the conclusion that I do not like caves. What I mean… just to clarify is that I do not like caves; at all. The closeness, the dead stuff, the spiders, the dead stuff, the closeness, and just the general yuck of it all. Needless to say we have had to take a break while down here; for our sanity’s sake… and because well, some of us took quite a beating.
See we had followed the same cave paths down from earlier but as we headed into unfamiliar territory we were accosted from behind. We would soon after be flanked from the side as well. It was a messy fight with some of our new ‘friends’ trapped between the dead and a colossal cloud of pinchy biting spiders!
The passage way was just too narrow for us all to fight there so I fell back and hoped that the others would also. It would make no sense to hold our ground where we could barely swing our swords, throw a punch, or cast a spell without one of us getting hurt on top of what the big nasties and the swarm of biters were doing. The idea also might have worked better if properly announced… yeah… I am probably to blame; after all I did not speak up loud enough.
After the altercation we took that break I spoke of. This forced us to take refuge in a small (and I do not like to call it this but…) dead end. There was some argument about backpedaling to an earlier cleared out hole in the wall, but we had come so far going back was just not conducive to getting this done.
I can certainly understand the apprehension; I mean the ceiling in this “room” was covered in webbing and the skeletal remains of those who may have tried before us. It was a trifle bit disheartening to see them up there like some kind of macabre mobile. I cannot speak for anyone else, but I felt small there under the blanket of their failure.
Melancholy feelings aside, when we disturbed the morbid constellation a few mementos of their journey fell with them. There was a bent sword; seen by some as a bad omen. Battered and broken leather armor; I spent the evening fixing it for Mila (the crazy one), and an old holy symbol of Pelor.
Now, I know your views on religion and I am not a religious person, but one of these guys was and something just feels wrong about leaving them down here. The thought of their families not getting closure makes me sad. I think I am going to recruit Baits into helping me take these guys back to Lady Grace. I feel that even if she cannot notify families, perhaps she can bless their remains and send them on in heroic fashion.
But…If that is what became of them… do we have hope?
Anyhow, it was with help from Missy Human, that we made a great blind and hid there from whatever else might trundle down our tunnel. Surprisingly it was a good blind! It did in fact end up saving our lives from a VERY enormously huge spider who was gathering the pieces of the dead we left in the tunnels! What could it possibly want or need with those??
I tried to get Missy Human to see what I was seeing, but I forgot one very important detail… Missy Human is well… human. She could not see a dang thing. …oh well. She could hear the thing though and looked suitably scared.
Oh, we are setting out Father I must depart…
…Apologies for the interruption, but when it is time to head out that is it we move our feet; you do not want to get left behind. It was especially important while we were in that particular place to stay close; but we are back in town now and much more comfortable.
The first thing most of us did when we got back was hit the bathhouse and wash off what awful we could. Zombie goop, spider slobber, blood and spider webbing all went down the drain along with just the overall filth of being underground… I sincerely hate being underground and tunnels.
I do not want you to worry too much Father I am fine. There is nothing so wrong with me that a good evenings rest will not fix. Virgil on the other hand took quite a beating; it was horrible! I actually thought he might not make it.
If you remember I wrote earlier about a large spider that was gathering up the zombie parts? Well that would not be the last we saw of that mammoth spider or the pint-sized man who controlled it.
As we went along the dank earthy tunnels we came upon a room just filled with pillars. Strangely these pillars did not reach the ceiling of the cave, this seemed odd to us at the time and made little sense. However we would soon come to realize that there was a rather terrifying reason for this peculiarity and one we would not like.
There we were all grouped up by the doorway looking around trying to figure out our next step; then out of nowhere it was forcibly made for us! That gargantuan spider was on us in this tiny hallway! He was all bunched up and defensive! Although this defensiveness did not stop him from making a few of my friendly mercenaries run off cowardly. This is how everyone but Baits, Billy the Gnome, and I were outside at first; later Billy the Gnome would enter the room of his own choice. Why he would do such a thing… I do not know.
It was Baits and I who stood with great diligence and strength against the immense spider in the hall lest it get our fleeing family. But I would be the first to realize it was all a trick! A touch of magic to try and manipulate us where the wee little dark one wanted us to go!
Holding my ground Father I struck the epic beast! I know that you are not one for physical violence and probably would have noticed the farce right off, but I still think there might be a touch of pride behind your disapproving glare. Having the courage enough to approach such a beast and strike it certainly does take nerve… but not as much as my next stroke of brilliance!
It became clear Father that we were not going to get anywhere facing this monstrosity head on. That is when I asked Baits to throw me over the spider! I wish you could have seen it; I wish anyone but Baits had seen it! I flew (for about six seconds) over the beast and landed gracefully on the backside of it! For just a single moment in time Father… I was perfection. J<3
It was only after this feat of daring-do that I turned and realized that the colossal drooling beast was not real! It just was not there! I had hoped to land some serious strikes against its unguarded backside, but there was nothing when I turned my attention back around to it. For just the briefest of moments I was confused, but then I remembered you saying that some mages “…like to act no better than small simple children with impractical jokes and waste their talent on ridiculousness! What that gets them? Pfft… nothing but looking like fools.” Agreed!
Unfortunately this ploy worked on a majority of our band of merry men and the miniscule witchdoctor was able to herd them into the room with all the odd pillars. While Baits and I were busy keeping what we thought was a great threat from getting our unprotected brethren there were bars that shot up through the floor and trapped them all on the inside of the room; which Billy the Gnome had decided to enter on his own.
Suddenly it was all too clear why the pillars did not reach the ceiling in that room; the colossal spider monstrosity! The evil short stack sent in the spider to deal with us! Baits and I could not get in Father! It was torture knowing that we were standing outside unable to help and possibly going to watch people die… I could not stand the thought of having to stand there and watch Virgil die. Helplessness is the worst feeling in the world. It makes your mouth dry and your eyes wet. It makes the typically rational… panic.
The only thing we could manage to do from outside was pass Virgil and the Priest the holy water Lady Grace was nice enough to bestow us with. It was helpful and powerful against a gigantic undead spider. Baits and I hoped it would be enough to at least keep the beast at bay until we could get inside and help… we only got there at the tail end of the battle. There was some arguing about a lever; whether or not to trust what it would do since the immoral micro-mage said to pull it.
Baits and I ran down the hallway trying to find a way around. We passed a room full of gross dead pieces and some drag marks, but where there should have been a door there was none. I searched Father! I could not find a way to move what was obviously a stone door! There was just no way to move it. Finally Billy the Gnome pulled the lever and in doing so opened the door! While there was not much left to be done Baits and I sprang into action and helped where we could.
Due to our Priests quick thinking we used a grappling hook to snare the great beast and in a combined effort brought the beast down to our level. That is when the tide of battle turned. We took the upper hand and we were able to fell the epic monster. Then like you taught me we scavenged the body for usable parts to hopefully sell in town.
We took only a few moments to rest before we pressed onward; after all there was still the matter of the nasty little bugger who set the titanic monster on us. Even though he is not a spider or a rat… in the literal sense he (we are certain) is behind most if not all of this.
We fought more spiders large and small, a few more zombies, and Baits searched through the parts room before burning it all. In the end no malicious minuscule magician, we found where he was squatting and all his things but not the little creep.
Father I think there is something seriously amiss with this. In his things, almost purposefully, we found four elven platinum coins in a lock box. This leads me to think that perhaps these were some kind of plant? It is like someone wanted to implicate the elven nations in this debauchery that is occurring here in the north. Perhaps this is a ploy to make money off of war… or maybe to try and expand human borders into elven lands? Any way that you look at this it does not bode well; I felt strongly about this when we first found the coins.
Oh, Father the battle and this job overall was awful and scary. It was certainly not what Virgil and I signed on for when we came here. Sure we faced bandits and wild animals on our trek here, but it was honestly nothing like what we had to face in the tunnels. The atrocities that this little miscreant committed are simply just that. Killing families and raising not only the adults… but using the children as zombies to fight would be heroes. What kind of person does that? Can you still call someone who does that a person? I would call him a monster.
Now more than ever I find myself in deep thought. If these kinds of battles and these kinds of ‘monster people’ are what make all those heroes in the stories… then they certainly have the right to be called heroes. Personally I am not certain I have that in me. I am shaken to my core. I cried Father, in my bathwater. I felt like I could not warm up. I shook like the earth was angry. Yet in all my inner turmoil I kept it there, just like I always do, and more so like I do I will figure this out.
…Excuse me I must take just a moment.
…Apologies for the interruption Father, Mortimer needed me.
I want to thank you for your care package. Receiving this assures me that you are supportive. Let the recording angel note that you certainly were onto something when you said that I needed to become more ‘worldly’ and that with it comes wisdom. Of course you are right, you usually are.
I want to apologize for my weakness earlier. There is no excuse for quitting and there are no excuses for letting emotions get the better of us. I will strive to do better.
A spritz of good news though, once we got back and our ragtag group reassembled we were told by Lady Grace that the Magistrate is back. Now the going theory was that the undead got him; since his home was crawling with them. *Certainly before Virgil and I got here. It was something that the others found out while dealing with the ‘rat problem.’ They went into his home and found undead there and I guess dispensed with them. Then some dwarfish priest came and cleaned up all the mess. To Virgil that was odd and he keeps referring to the man as ‘the maid.’ I suppose it does seem a little weird, but I also suppose that someone has to clean up the undead in the town and that someone should be capable.
However now he is back. We left to meet with him and give him the run-down of all we found. While Lady Grace took care of the spider payment which was around 120 g. split between us all, we went to speak to the big guy about some of the other issues.
To make it short he was interested in hiring us on. Tomorrow we are supposed to go and get badges and get some ‘real’ authority behind our words. However I have to say that this employ seems strange and oddly like busy work. I feel as if the Magistrate wants us out of the town for some reason. I also do not think it was expected of us to be successful. I do not really understand what is happening… I just know that anyone who pays over 200 g. up front for a “goblin problem to the south of here somewhere…” is up to something. We are supposed to return with proof or be in violation of some kind of and as of yet, unwritten contract. This carries with it some threats and potential bodily harm. It all seems rather odd to me… I would very much like to hear your opinion on the matter. I will of course be careful.
Remember I spoke to you of the elven coins? We gave them to the Magistrate; he exchanged them for us for more gold. They also told him where they were found. Just before we left I did speak up on our behalf. I suggested to the Magistrate that before he does anything hasty or violent that he be absolutely sure the awful little devil was being paid off to wreak such havoc and not just setting the elves up for war. In any case you should do what you can to let the proper authorities know what is brewing here in the north. I worry about you.
Our evening was spent out on the town in the first little inn we came across. Most of our comrades spent much coin… in my humble opinion too much coin was tossed around. I understand giving back to the town and such… but there is such a thing as too much. I worry this will not bode well in time to come.
You know I never used to worry this much back home. Home… I knew. I was confident in it. I was able. Here… it is very different. I find myself looking over my shoulder and realizing that the curiosity about people I came here with has been replaced with suspicion and unease.
I think that I would like to send Mortimer your way. I am seriously thinking that I should hire someone to escort him to you. Perhaps you can find a suitable solution for his undead spider legs and take care of him as well as you did me. I worry for him. I do not know what they had planned for him, but each time I head out for this work… I am scared that he will not be here when I return. Then he can be warped and used for nefarious purposes and it would break my heart if we ended up having to fight him.
Mrith itov vur tiichi ekess wux Opsola. ~ Nerium Oleander