Chapter 3: 1 2 3 4 Back to Index

Year 120: Still Flamerule 6

Having a god speaking directly to you inside your head is a frightening experience, so I panicked for a moment until I realised the others could hear him too. Amaunator was pleased with us for cleansing his temple and glad to see me putting his armour to good use - phew! I'm relieved I did the right thing. I promised him we'd do our best to fix up the rest of the temple as best we could. Standing in the holy light cleaned the gunk right off me, but some of the others were a bit cagey about trying it. I feel bad that I'm now all clean and they're still covered in slime. I'll have to make it up to them later.

We were told that there was still plenty to do, so we headed downwards further to the crypt below the main temple. At the bottom there were three burial chambers guarded by magical traps. We managed to circumvent the expensive ones, but Marigold accidentally set off the simplest of them, which promptly dropped a giant stone block onto her. Vincent and Terato then jammed the trap with a few more blocks, and it overheated and exploded before I could turn it off.

The first crypt had been badly corrupted by the priests of Jubilex and the bodies inside were quickly turning to slime. The corrupting influence was plainly coming from the obvious glowing statue of Jubliex at the back of the room, so I instructed the others to back off and formed an image of it burning in a fire in my mind. I'm getting used to casting the spell these days, and the statue obediently exploded. Then all hell broke loose.

The destruction of the statue had angered the creatures complete enough to move, and they came at me from all sides, clawing and biting. I worked my way through the melee back towards the others, feeling remarkably calm for all that I was exposed. Maybe all the other fights I've been in over the last few weeks have started to desensitise me to this kind of thing. One thing that feels a bit weird, no matter what we try to do, there always seems to be a fight waiting for us. Travelling the world with the others, it seems we do little but fight monsters. It's never like that in the story. Maybe it was my mind that was wondering, or just bad luck, because as I got back to the group one of the big ones threw something at me. I saw a flicker of movement out of the corner of my eyes, and then everything went black.

I woke up face down in a pool of slime (again... sigh...) with Vincent standing over me battling the last of the things. Graetful to be alive although barely conscious, I returned the favour by slicing both its legs off, and then as suddenly as it had started, the fight was over. I think that was the point where I'd pushed myself too hard. My arms and legs felt like they were made out of water, my vision blurry and my head spinning. I could barely stand, so I just sat there shakily trying to get my breath back while the others turned the place over to see if the priests had left anything useful behind. Marigold then brought a small pouch over to where I was sitting and asked me to check it out.

At first I thought it was a small leather pouch and Marigold was offering me a drink, but then I felt that it was magical, and my interest was piqued. I tipped it out, only to find that there was a more water than its volume, and then I remembered the time daddy told me about bags of holding. "They can hold an extrodinary volume of matter," he had said "but they never weigh more or take up more space than the empty bag." - Since that was true (daddy would never lie.) - there might have been something else in there, so I poked my head in and had a look around. A long way down I could make out the shape of something else in there, so I dived in and retrieved it. I wasn't at all looking for an excuse to wash, honest!

The second item was a clay bottle, that seems to hold an infinate amount of water. Someone had carelessly put it in the bag with the top unstoppered, and it had been leaking into the bag for heavens know how long. I decided to dry the bag out, so I used the water to clean up the crypt with Ayeena. There was a lot in there, the bag has been stretched by it. I don't think it'll hold that volume of anything else though. Now we have a decent way of carrying things, I suppose I should take the time to acquire some more serious expedition gear for the group. I should make a list.

While I was busy with the bag, Terato managed to work out a much better way of dealing with the other two crypts. He took a small volume of holy water from the temple upstairs and doused the statues with it. This caused them to explode in a torrent of holy light that cleansed the rooms completely, although most of us only narrowly avoided being caught in it ourselves.

The crypts cleaned out we made our way back up, to encounter an obstacle in our path. The corridor at the bottom of the staircase was now also filled with radiant light, and while Ayeena and I could happily stand in it, Vincent looked a bit concerned about it. Then suddenly, without warning he swung his scythe and smashed one of the mirrors reflecting light into the corridor. He could have just covered it over you know. I... I was furious. How could he deliberately vandalise this place after watching me give my word to a god that we'd sanctify it? How could he? I mean is he trying to get us all killed, or does he just not care? I wanted to scream.

At the top of the staircase I instructed Ayeena to take the golden dish that Vincent had looted to put "to a better use" and replace the broken mirror, at least that way it'd feel like Vincent was paying for the damage. I'd have done it myself, but I lacked the energy to go on for much longer that day, and there was at least one more enemy above us. Besides, if I stayed in the same room as him then perhaps he'd realise how angry I was. I'm not talking to him until he apologises. It's cold shoulder time.

Finally, we headed up to the top of the phoenix, The cleric leading the way, and me at the back.That wasn't an accident either. At the top, there was a viewing room, made entirely out of rose-coloured glass, so they saw us coming, and we didn't have the element of surprise on our side. The cultist performing the ritual at the top of the tower was guarded by two gigantic earth elementals, that were terrifying to look at, but didn't offer him much in the way of actual protection. When it was clear to me that the fight was won, I shouted for the cultist to surrender. He spat at me so I kicked him in the underdarks, and Marigold brained him as he doubled over with the pain. At least that made me feel a little better. The elementals followed shortly, although one of them ripped a funny hole in the air trying to escape. Argent says we'll have to resanctify the temple in the morning, when it's gone away. The temple is at least safe for now though.