I was expecting Phenex to rouse me for my shift any minute. I take the midnight guard shift; neither side of the night offers a sound rest. That would be no different if my sleep were to span these hours uninterrupted. Instead of her gentle caress, I awoke to the snarl of a hobgoblin and blades clashing before me as one of the dungeon’s patrol troops descending upon us. More than a little frazzled, I stood, readied my weapon, and prepared for a beating.
They had us choked inside the chamber where we had sought to conceal ourselves for the night. A few leapt in to begin skirmishing while others held back to fire at us. Then their mage locked eyes with me. I’ve no idea with what might he assaulted me, but I felt utterly violated. But the next instant when it broke, my stomach lurched violently: Phalanx had jumped in to take the onslaught.
I’d sooner be torn apart by a thousand aggressors than throw another of my dear companions in the way to save myself again. Please, noble protector, let my body be torn to shreds before stabbing through my heart once more. Sword, arrow, and spell unleashed upon our Phalanx while he resolutely accepted each and every one to shield us.
I don’t remember what happened, but it didn’t go well. At some point in there, the mage blasted us all. I fell. Of course I saw Trestin again.
Trestin, do you still know me, still remember yourself? Your words haunt me. Your silver eyes lacked the luster that always reminded of your shining brilliance. Your glassy eyes reflected back at me my desperate face frozen in time. Your grey eyes offered no hint of warmth. Your blank eyes simply gazed onwards, into the looming void, past me. But this time you spoke. “Stand. I have something to tell you, but you’re not yet ready.” And then only silence, reverberating with that disapproving, empty stare. Why, why not, why can’t I know? You and I both stood for that, adamantly, that the truth might not be hidden from any who seek it. Am I that despicable that I’ve lost the right to our fundamental values?
It felt as though steel wool raked forcefully across my flesh.
Bjorn once more, however clumsily, managed to save my life. I deserve nothing more than this crude, battering care. Shortly after, I came to and the fight was almost over. That is, both our enemies and ourselves were near death. Phenex, Bjorn, and Phalanx all fell. Sydienne and I were left to keep our companions alive and keep ourselves from dying. I raised Phalanx, as Bjorn and Phenex got nearer to death. I ordered Syd to revive Phenex, while I returned the favor to Bjorn. I still stand in his debt, him having saved me twice now. At last, the patrol fell, and I collapsed immediately, missing my watch shift. My debt only seems to grow more extensive.
The next morning, we explored the passages Gruck had lead us past. We happened upon a chamber with a number of statues: a golem in the center whose extensive reach we simply had to evade and two dragon statues with blasting traps in the main chamber, and four cherubs with buckets crowding the exit. I was commanded not to investigate as I pleased. My companions refused to look within this exit chamber, believing there to be a proximity trap which would be activated by stepping in the wrong spot. I had to leap past Bjorn to attempt any form of investigation while he and Phalanx stood smashing the statues on the end. When no traps triggered, Phenex and Sydienne hesitantly followed me into the chamber.
The door wouldn’t open, even when I gave it my all. There had to be some trigger going along with the statues. Water runes were carved inside the cherubs’ buckets, but no one seemed to appreciate my idea that we pour water into them. I decided to reach into one of them and see if I’d find any indication of how to open the door. It turned out the proximity trigger was just where my hand landed.
A force field of sorts locked Bjorn and Phalanx outside, trapping Sydienne, Phenex, and myself in with the statues as the chamber filled with water. Thankfully, none of them seemed to notice that it had in fact been me to activate the trap after all – or at least, they didn’t lather me with blame. Smashing the statues seemed to be the only thing left we could do, though it still appalls me that the door was meant to be opened by such barbaric means. As I destroyed the last one, the water drained and the door opened.
We walked through to find a horde of undead. A ghoul and a homunculus made it a noteworthy army, but all were destroyed soon enough. It did last long enough for me to regret my actions. Phenex was viciously assaulted by the ghoul and near collapsing, and I chose to let loose my wrath rather than performing my duties. She remained in pain and fell almost immediately after. I revived her, but she suffered needlessly.
Phenex was right: I keep putting my companions in needless danger. Maybe they’re better without me. I’m sorry.
I stand here claiming once more to be repentant for the sins I commit again and again.
I hope my party haven’t noticed a change in my prayers. I no longer feel the presence of Pelor. I appeal only to Ioun as of late, and I dread the day when she no longer responds.
I don’t want my entire world to thrust me out…