A SEMBLANCE , ZOMBIES AND MINDIM, OH MY!
(Sigh) Why me! Why did they send me?!? I’m the youngest member of the Crimson Order. Fully trained – yes. Educated – yes. Dedicated to my order – absolutely.
But, I certainly didn’t expect a mission like this so soon.
I’m pretty sure that I was sent on this mission as partial punishment for not being like the other High Elves of the Order. I didn’t fit into the mold. Would it kill them to crack a smile or make a joke once in a while! They’re always so serious! Come on! Life is short (well, maybe not that short in comparison to other races). That doesn’t matter. You still have to live every day to its fullest, make an attempt to enjoy every day, try to experience new and fun things every day. The others, they don’t feel that way. Or, at least, they don’t act that way.
Sure, I have responsibilities as part of the Order. I proudly and gladly accept them. But, that doesn’t mean that those duties have to consume every aspect of what and who I am. The others, they seem perfectly content being serious all of the time, being quiet ALL OF THE TIME, eating the same boring stuff every day, and meditating and meditating and meditation …. how much meditation do you need! A couple of hours tops! I know that there are many things to ponder and, yes, there are many evils to be wary of and prevent. But, that’s life. There’s good and there’s evil. The hope and the effort are to maintain balance.
When we learned that the cleric of Bitterwater’s church went missing, the older members of the Order were immediately suspicious. He was old for a human. Could have very well died in transit to Ironhelm. But, given that he was the current chosen guardian, there was good reason to investigate.
Despite the Order’s motivation for sending me, I do love traveling. Love seeing new places. Meeting new people, especially humans. They have personality! Sometimes I wonder if I was human in another life. I certainly have a personality that meshes well with them. But, the pointy ears and my red eyes – they’re a dead giveaway that I’m not one of them. Oh well.
Arrived in Bitterwater yesterday. Seemed like a quiet town. Nothing looked suspicious on the surface. But, I told myself to keep my pointy ears alert. Sent here for a reason, after all!
Went into a tavern in town. Many enthusiastic conversations happening at the same time. One table was talking about poisoned well water. (I WAS thirsty until I heard that) Villagers suddenly falling ill. What? Something missing from the monastery? (RED FLAG!!!)
No?!? Better not be The Book! It’s bad enough that the cleric is missing. But The Book. That would be really bad. Really really bad!
No one knows about The Book (the true nature of the book) except the Crimson Order and the chosen ones to protect it. When The Book was created, it was purposely crafted to not stand out. To just look like a holy scripture of some sort. For over 600 years, the book had been under protection at various locales. A century in one location. A century in another. The Book moved to wherever the new guardian resided. My Order believed that it was not safe for The Book to stay in one place for too long.
For the last 20 years, it had resided in Tafeld Monastery, Sealed away in a vault in its basement. And, from what I was told, there are many other “holy relics” in that vault as decoys so that The Book wouldn’t stand out in the room.
Next thing I knew, all hell broke loose. A Giant with moving stuff in its stomach. A crazy halfing named Rigel stuck his stubby arm into the Giant’s mouth to induce vomiting. (Who does that!) The real kicker was the zombie-like hands AND the full sized zombie creature that popped out of the Giant’s mouth. (Yuck, lost my appetite)
I can’t help thinking, The Book. The Book could be responsible.
At one point, the zombie creatures became out of hand (hey, there’s a joke there somewhere but not the appropriate time). A gnome named Popper tried to assist. A tiny gnome! Anyone taller to assist? A young orc named Rama. Yikes.
Zombie-like creatures. Poisoned water. They must be connected. Don’t let it be The Book. Please, not The Book.
It’s morning now. Still thirsty. I’m REALLY hungry. What! No breakfast! What kind of Inn is this! (sigh)
I step outside and see Rama defending Riktri (the Chitrik trader that was in the tavern last night) from a bunch of children throwing stones at him. (where are the parents!)
Rama looks sad. She really wants to find her friend, Jethram. It was Jethram who first notified others of someone hovering over the now poisoned well.
At this point, I’m also curious of Jethram’s whereabouts. Perhaps he could lead me to the person who stole (and most likely utilized) The Book.
Rama and I decide to head to the General Store. A young Wood Elf named Rael joins us. (great, am I supposed to be the mature one in this group!)
Now in front of the General Store. Something feels wrong. I don’t need to use one of my spells to sense that! The door is cracked open. Don’t see any light inside. We enter cautiously.
First thing that we notice is a woman slumped in a chair. Looks dead, given her pale skin and all of the blood on the floor beneath her. She appears to have human bite wounds all over her exposed skin. (Lost my appetite again.)
Then we notice something awkwardly shuffling towards the back of the store. Very jerky, unnatural movements. It was Mindim, the General Store owner. Mindim is covered with oozy sores and has a blank stare on her face. A Semblance! Could this day get worse?
Rama and Rael attempt to approach her. But I stop them. I cast a spell to see if I can detect evil.
Yep. Evil. I also sense evil emanating from the small room in the northeast corner of the store.
Mindim’s actions seem mindless yet methodical. Restocking shelves. Putting items on her tray. Her voice has no emotion. She asks us if we want anything. We try to act normally and respond, “no, thank you,” as calmly as we can. Mindim’s attention is then drawn to the northwest corner of the room.
We see an opportunity at that point to investigate the evil small room.
We enter a room, where we find a large, dark pit ~ 20 feet deep, which ends in a room with limits we can’t see. In the pit are corpses of various decomposition and some scattered bones. Could these be the 13 corpses looted from the cemetery last night?
We lock the door to the small window-less room and with nowhere else to go, we decide to use my silk rope to climb down into the pit (Will the rope be able hold Rama! She’s a big girl!)
Rael climbs down the rope first.
In the pit, we notice 4 crystal-filled brazers, one of which is glowing red with smoke emanated from it. The pit looks like it was recently dug. The walls and floor smell of fresh dirt (and rotting flesh, obviously). There are runes sketched in a circle where the corpses lay.
No sign of Jethram.
Then we hear a dry shuffling sound. What is that sound? Rubbing wood? No…….
The day is definitely getting worse!
A corpse starts to get up.
Rama, from above the pit, throws acid at the now standing skeleton. Then both Rama and I proceed to climb into the pit to aid Rael. We notice another skeleton moving.
Over the course of the next several minutes, one skeleton after another pop up. We attack to the best of our abilities. We’re not going to be able to fend them all off.
I decide to try a different tactic. Perhaps these glowing crystals have something to do with the skeletons animating. I throw the glowing crystals on the ground and smash them with the butt end of my sword. We don’t immediately notice any changes. However, the skeletons do seem to animate at a slower rate.
Time to get the hell out of this pit, kids!
Once we climb out of the pit and back to the small room, we pull my rope up behind us. Suddenly, we hear the door knob jiggle a bit. The three of us look at each other. We’re pretty sure it’s Mindim. She says, “You can’t stay there forever.” Rama replies, “I’m not feeling very well.” We give it a second and then hear footsteps walking away.
We open the door cautiously. As we exit the small room, we notice that Mindim is placing a crate at the door (great, our only exit route is now blocked!). She turns towards us, starts to approach us, and says, “I’m hungry.”
Still peckish after feeding on the woman in the chair, huh? (I didn’t actually verbalize that. Just in my head. Didn’t want to frighten the kids.)
We attack the hungry Mindim and our combined efforts manage to bring her down. As we exit, I notice a charm on the floor of the store. Rama said that the charm belonged to Jethram. He had been here! But, where is he now? We explore the second floor of the store. We find nothing of interest and decide to leave. But before exiting, we notice a skeleton trying to crawl out of the pit. Yikes! The door to that room opens inward and locks from the inside. How to keep the door closed? We use my rope to tie off the handle. Done.
Next, we decide that we must warn the villagers. In the tavern, the Innkeeper’s wife, Anekina, seems to have rallied villagers to action. They descend on the shop and clear it of undead.
I’ve had to deal with giants, corpses and a Semblance. The mayor is useless, the deputy is “simple,” the well is poisoned, a boy has been kidnapped, a homestead to the north has been burned to the ground, their graveyard has been dug up.
This village is terrible.
I must find The Book.