There seemed to be some silent conversation between the two of them, or maybe he'd put some kind of magical charm on her, because they turned as one and walked towards the doorway, and started to fade from sight. I panicked and ran to Ayeena, thinking if I cold grab hold of her maybe I could save her from whatever fate awaited, but as I threw myself to tackle her, I passed straight through her, sprawling uncomfortably on the floor behind her. When I looked up behind me, she was gone.
Sparing me from a nervous breakdown, Vincent informed me that the creature was called an Oni, and that the pair of them were fighting some sort of duel. He called me over to stand by the altar, where watching over it, I could still see them in the doorway of the temple battling it out. A quick calculation of the range involved and once again, I figured out that I was helpless, only able to watch as they fought.
The battle was spectacular and lengthy, panic and fear rising within me as I formulated plan after plan for how to get Ayeena back, discarding each as I found the flaw in it. Eventually, amazingly, astoundingly, she found a chink in its guard, and knocked it to the ground. It yielded and the pair of them returned to the temple, where Ayeena was presented with its sword as a token of her victory. Ayeena looked thoroughly pleased with herself, I spent the rest of the day wondering if it'd be possible to tie a rope to her, so we won't lose her again. I don't think I could go on without Ayeena.
With nothing else of interest in the temple of Mystra, and Argent's prayers taking some time, we split into three groups to search the rest of the city. Ayeena and Brogash went to clean out the temple of Ilmater, which had some sort of plague brewing in it. Marigold and Terato went sightseeing, and Vincent and I made a quick stop at the temple of Tymora and the temple of Kelemvor. The former so I could say a few prayers, and the latter because it looked like the only other building that hadn't been looted bare already. On the inside, two huge bone golems stood guard, and as I approached the centre of the temple, he spoke to me directly.
Kelemvor didn't have a lot to say to us, other than again telling me that I was some maiden destined to do some great thing with fire and ice, in the rift to the south. Why me? any of the others would be a far better choice to have a destiny! How am I supposed to fulfill anything when I'm terrified half the time and helpless the rest of it? He also told us that he doubted our worth and wouldn't trust us with anything further unless we showed ourselves to be truly in favour of his course. Since he likes people who destroy undead, we made a note to bring trophies of any undead we found to him, given time.
While we were busy there, Terato and Marigold had managed to find a few recently inhabited buildings. We gathered together to check them out. Both of the buildings contained a circle of runic symbols that behaved quite oddly. We eventually determined that they were a part of some kind of transport network, although mostly looking at them gave me a headache. We'll now be able to come back here from any other circles we find (this should be part of quite a large transport network) so long as we keep a record of the "name" of this one. I wrote it down to make sure it didn't get lost.
There's a second of these circles in the town hall of this town as well, it's got nearly the same name, the last symbol is upside down for it. Other than that we didn't find anything of note (although Marigold's avoiding me, I must remember to find out what she's looted this time.) - and we left the city at sundown to make camp before heading south to the city by the rift.
Vincent made some comment today that if I was so concerned about my "great destiny" I could just hand Tyrael over to someone else and they could filfil it instead. When I told him it wasn't that simple, he told me that he could produce just as much fire as I could, so if I handed him the sword the burden would be off my back. Sighing, I handed him the sword, and he took it by the hilt, went cross-eyed, and handed it back to me very quickly.
Looks like it won't be that easy after all. "Cast me aside" indeed!
We bumped into a gnoll runner today, we saw him a mile off, so everyone hid in the bushes to make an ambush. Thinking fast, I decided on a better ambush plan, so hopped back onto the road to lie sprawled in the middle of it, apparently dead. Vincent decided to play along, so joined me, with his spear poised over me as if he'd only just killed me in combat. I thought this was a much better ambush position than our previous one, the Gnoll would approach Vincent to question him, leaving us in a position where the two of us who are restricted to melee weapons flanking him while everyone else could ambush him with ranged weapons.
Sadly, I'll have to remember to use this one on someone else, the gnoll was running pretty fast and didn't even notice me until he tripped on me and collided smack with Vincent. Scrambling to my feet, I subdued him and tied him up before he could recover. When I asked what he was doing, he spilled everything, telling us that he was running between two of the cities carrying a message. The message read (loosely, I've tidied up the common, so it makes sense) as follows:
Sir We have no reports of adventurers in this area, it's probably just the Thieves' Guild mucking around. Suggest you ignore it.
"Rats! They're onto us!" I thought. I'd hoped communication between the towns in Yare was worse than that. Well, at least they're dismissing us as a fabrication for now. I knocked the Gnoll out, and drew a big smiley face on the report, then replaced it. Then Marigold robbed him of everything he posessed apart from the message and his clothes. Job done!
Today saw our arrival at the westmost ruined town next to the rift. This naturally piqued our interest, as there is no gnoll village next to it. The reason soon became apparent as Terry's scouting mission returned to the party at high speed being chased by seven skeletons, with a random assortment of weaponry and limbs.
I had thought the fight was going pretty well, our positioning and teamwork is still improving, and we had a good rhythm going, when suddenly one of the skeletons exploded in a shower of fragmented bones and pain. Worse, it was still standing, although all of its friends looked worse for wear. It didn't take a genius to realise that another one of those explosions would set the whole lot off, and none of us would survive that. Realising there was no way out, I interposed myself between the skeletons and Vincent, who looked like he was on his last legs. I closed my eyes and imagined everything on fire again - Vincent yanked himself to his feet (by way of my hair, no less) and thrust the symbol of Malar into the air, throwing our assailants back in a group. I opened my eyes just in time to see that they were all aflame, and the combined magics of the two of us had destabilised another of them far enough for it explode.
With the fight over, and Tyreal upset that he still hadn't gotten to defeat any of my enemies today either the rest of the party decided that it'd be fun to check out this town too! While I agree that it's likely the town hall will have another of these teleportation circles, saving us the trip back, I think they're completely crazy. The place is going to be crawling with undead...