Today I write under the influence – of victory! I can hardly believe it’s been an entire week… This feeling I have is that of divine ecstasy! Ah, but let me recall the details for you, dear reader.
Upon the morn after my last words, we entered the second to last chamber. It was probably the largest we had encountered thus far. On the far end was a black-clad priest, face tattooed in blood and chanting, atop a sharp-edged dais. A thick stream of blood poured from the ceiling into a deep pit in the center, in which also dangled thick chains. Immediately the dwarf and I sensed the presence of several vampires, two berserker bitches, and a dark one. I dropped to my paws and snarled. Springing forward, we positioned ourselves for attack, Phenex making her way around to a door on the side. Her action later proved to be stupid, but that will be explained in a few moments. Soon after establishing our set-up, the priest engaged Bjorn in an exciting (though short) duel, in which he basically long-distance phased through Bjorn in a failed attempt to attack, Bjorn provoked an attack to teleport to the priest, then the priest Matrix-dodged the dwarf’s attack. Meanwhile, Aryawwn and I got battered by the berserker bitches and the dark one stuck a dagger in Phenex’s shield. Noticing that the dwarf was basically dying, I called out to Phalanx for help after taking out one of the vampire minions. He successfully healed Bjorn, divinely challenged the priest in a moment of egotism, and made a move to attack… which failed. Phenex realized that we needed her assistance and backhanded the shield at another vampire minion; she managed to lodge it through the wretch’s eye before absconding. In the same breath, Bjorn epically smacked the priest with his hammer and Aryawwn made herself vulnerable to the berserker bitches before I could stop her. I half-enchilada’d one and fully-enchilada’d the other, minorly healing Aryawwn with my flames, as Phalanx made his way over. He not only healed both Aryawwn and Bjorn, but epically bloodied the priest with a prayer to Bahamut. Phenex finally rejoined us, shouting “Get away from her you bitch!” as she struck the berserkess hovering over Aryawwn… The quest-cest is real… While we dished out and took more attacks, I and everyone else noticed the priest’s chanting grow louder and more sinister. I attempted to take out one of the bitches with fire, but she became enraged and fell Phenex. The priest healed her afterwards anyways…In revenge, Phalanx roared ferociously and smote the priest once and for all. He bitch slapped Phalanx just before death, so Phalanx very smugly puked acid at his minions. As usual, Aryawwn was actually effective from the ground – and healed everyone! The dark one finally decided to close the distance between us. Phenex was the one to strike him first, but this move allowed the bitches to bloody Aryawwn. I turned my attention to the dark one as it shanked Bjorn after he attacked it with fire. Swinging my scythe over my head, I delivered a lightning strike; swinging Boop over his head, Bjorn delivered the final blow. We faced the berserker bitches and finished one off as the dark one disintegrated, blinding the others in its ash. Phenex was left hanging by Bjorn… but joined us in our fight with the last bitch. Aryawwn made the mistake of standing and took some damage. Finally the bloodbath finished with Phenex’s slaying of the last bitch. We decided then that it was a good idea to jump into another bloodbath…
Our leap of faith was done so in vain. Rather than sticking the landing like the badass bosses we all believed we were, we slipped down the chains and crumpled in a sort of misshapen circle. It was hilarious, really, but the timing sucked. Here of all places? Anyways, while Bjorn, Phenex, Phalanx, and I all groaned in discomfort and disappointment, Aryawwn’s banner floated down majestically to the center of our ensemble and Aryawwn herself practically pole-danced down the chains. Whatever. Too late to convince Aryawwn to make an attempt at intimidation, we gathered ourselves together, standing back-to-back for a full examination of what we were up against. Besides some skeletal minions and a wight scattered about, at the far end was what looked like a sacrificial altar with a well in the center; at the opposite end, a priest with a ram’s head helm wielding a skull-topped staff; and directly in front of me, a gaping black hole in the wall with tendrils whispering and reaching out of it – it was terrifying. The priest oh so kindly introduced himself for us, but whereas he called himself Kalarel, the voices told me he’s actually a loser whose real name was Karl. What, he needed a cooler name? Hah, oh Karl. Ending his prologue, he turned to face us. Of course, Phenex couldn’t resist flicking him off. Karl became angered and threw a shadowball at Bjorn, which he successfully deflected, but at the same time I noticed Phenex’s sudden attraction to the portal. Aryawwn shouted “Stop her!” and I swung out with my scythe, careful only to drag her back and do no harm. She thanked me with much gratitude as I watched her rage eyes fade. The three of us recovered, and while I shot out a bolt of lightning, the other two rushed up to Karl’s altar and attacked him face-to-face. He took the attacks like some macho egotistical douchebag would and bitch slapped Bjorn before teleporting in front of me. Karl, what a bitch. Phenex took that opportunity to examine the open book on his altar (not the sacrificial one in the back) and actually managed to begin reversing the incantation that created the portal. – Oh, by the way, that portal was supposed to summon the demon god Orcus. Yeah – While Aryawwn blissfully turned a deaf ear to the portal’s whisperings, Bjorn was seduced by the voice of Vairis, Phalanx heard his wife’s cries, and Karl decided it was my turn to get bitch slapped. That bastard and I locked in a little tussle before Aryawwn pretty much skipped over to heal me. Karl took a moment to complain about his pathetic minions before teleporting away again. “Yeah, that’s right Karl!” I called after him, but was cut off by something more immediately infuriating. That voice… His voice! Oh, how it angered me! Rage surging throughout my body, I hefted my scythe and sprinted at the portal… Oh wait, the portal. Well, shit. I turned toward the back of the room in frustration. Phalanx had just smashed the wight, allowing us to finish off the skeletal minions who he had been healing. Karl redirected our attention towards him, but we couldn’t seem to put a scratch on him. He cackled tauntingly and engaged in this really stupid monologue about how weak we and our gods were. Figures. Ad hominem, what a Karl thing to do. I dropped my scythe down a little and rolled my eyes. Right when I thought he’d never end, Phenex sauntered up, rage eyes full on, and loudly proclaimed “I HAVE NO GODS!”, stabbing him in the chest as he turned in surprise. Taking my fox form, I joined my companions in their attempt to put him and the last two minions down. Phalanx and Bjorn got distracted by the portal’s whisperings, but I was able to tear one up and take a bite out of Karl in one impressive move. Coming back to reality after taking an arrow to the knee, Bjorn decided to use a different tactic: seducing Karl with his lacy silken Brunhilda’s Secret panties. The group and I were horrified, but hey, it was a pretty good distraction. As they flirted a little more, I readied my scythe for a lightning strike. Bjorn looked my way, and I nodded when I was ready. He responded with his own curt nod and swiftly jumped back before I swung my weapon down, electrocuting that pathetic excuse for a villain. Karl turned and glared at me ferociously. I smirked and raised an eyebrow. That’s when he made a small gasp and fell to his knees, then his face. Bjorn stood behind him, holding a bloody knife and bearing a mixed expression of guilt and smug satisfaction.
And then shit went down. On our way back to the altar with Karl’s incantation book, a tentacle caught and fell Phenex. Bjorn and I tried to drag her away, but I had another moment of weakness, and both Aryawwn and Phalanx were busy trying to undo the incantation… which Phenex hadn’t finished undoing before because she was too pissed at Karl to not deal with him. Eventually the portal took out Bjorn and Phalanx too; we were pretty much screwed. Aryawwn and I did the best we could to counter the spell, but we were also busy trying to save our comrades. So of course it was no surprise when the book turned to ash. Well it was a surprise, but gee, go figure. At that time I had been going in and out of fox form in distress, and I really had no idea what to do. “Get to the amulet!” Aryawwn finally concluded before being pulled to unconsciousness herself. I stared at my teammates briefly – Phalanx ironically tied to the altar, Aryawwn and Phenex collapsed inches from each other, and Bjorn pitifully sprawled out… I was their last chance… Settling myself, I sprinted over to Karl’s dead body and loomed over it. Around his neck hung a large amulet, tugging his head slightly towards the portal. Somehow, I heard the voices of my companions all urging and encouraging me. They needed me, and I needed to be their hero. I phased out of fox form and attempted to stuff Karl’s body into the bag of holding, recalling that no living creature should ever be put into it. Somewhat stupidly, I thought that would do the trick, but I was interrupted anyways by an interesting situation… When I tried to shove Karl’s body into the bag, I ended up touching the amulet. A strange sensation came over me and I dropped the bag, clutching the amulet as Karl disintegrated. Jumbled images of doom and destruction flashed before my eyes for what felt like both an eternity and only a few seconds, till finally appeared the face of Orcus. “I SEE YOU” his voice bellowed. I had nothing to fear. Lowering my head and baring my teeth, I let out a vicious snarl as electricity surged through my body. My grip on the amulet strengthened, crackling energy filled the air, and a white light emanated from my palm, filling the room. I heard Orcus scream, then the amulet shattered, scattering throughout the room. I felt my hair settle back down to my shoulders, and as the light in the room faded, I turned to see my teammates rising and butterflies fluttering where there was once blood. We all stared around at each other in astonishment – then erupted in celebration! I watched the others, grinning but still too shocked to move, as they all embraced each other, still covered in blood, laughing and crying. “Hey, where’s Syd?!” someone called out, and they all turned in my direction. My smile grew as everyone rushed in for a tackle-hug, even a few kisses. They lifted me on their shoulders and cheered. I was paraded around the room to the beat of their victory chant until we all calmed down a little. We laughed and began looking for loot; besides lots of gold, Aryawwn nabbed Karl’s dagger, Bjorn his helm, and I an elven cloak. It was too good to be true –
The time had come to return to Winterhaven. Before heading too far beyond the Keep’s premises, our little party collapsed the entrance, making sure no one could ever wander back in, and nothing could make its way out. We encountered a small ensemble of the Royal Guard, who, upon our blood sodden approach, made a saber arch for us to walk though. “You don’t even have to ask”…”it pretty much sucked!” I heard Phalanx and Bjorn proclaim. All of the townsfolk stared at us in wonder as we marched our way through town. Phalanx decided to make a pit stop at the local Smithy to order a Bastard Sword, and Phenex to retrieve some white paint, while the rest of us returned to the Inn. I was introduced to the local Lord, who was surprised to see us, as the newest party member – I giggled awkwardly. After cleaning ourselves up, we descended into the Tavern and were greeted with cheering. The others stood kind of awkwardly – it was a long applause – but Phenex and I milked the attention. I’ve never been so appreciated in my life… Eventually the noise dwindled back down to the murmur of a typical bar setting, and Aryawwn and Bjorn decided it was time to establish a less-racist relationship. I attempted to make merry myself, but was interrupted by a Halfling bard who, to a small tune, informed me of a letter of great importance addressed to a “Lady Terragon” at the pigeon house. I rushed out to receive it and was very pleased by its contents; it had been sent by a much loved childhood friend…Making my way back to the Inn to rest – I felt my cold coming back – I ran into Phenex, who had a lute at hand. She begged me to assist her in its sound quality with my lightning powers and I willingly obliged. We practiced every night for about a week to get it right. Finally, upon the morn of our last day in Winterhaven, we rose early to set up. Densely, I realized she was about to serenade Aryawwn. Ahh, the yuri gods strike again. It was quite moving actually. We left that day with Aryawwn’s hand in Phenex’s and I with a new letter next to my heart.
Green glades & golden grains,