December 10, 2006

Nebrion's Quest

Chapter 13: Water, Water Elementals Everywhere...

By Douglas E. Gogerty

I held out small hope that the healing waters would remove our reptilian forms, so I suggested that we first look for the fountain. Further, if we did run into any ruffians after we found the fountain, we could return readily to partake of the healing water. In my astonishment, the group agreed with me.

The only issue is that we did not know where the fountain could be located. We dare not ask the talkative Nather, so naturally when I suggested a direction, we went the opposite way.

We were standing in a main room in the temple. It was a very large room on the south side. A wall emanating from the north end divided a third of this room. Most of the rooms were secured behind wooden doors. In the northwest corner of this main room was an open passageway. We headed this direction. There was no need to follow the splashing sounds I heard to the southwest.

They asked me to go and scout it out. I refused. If they were going to continue to disregard my input, I was not going to stick my neck out for them. If my only value was the ability to sneak into places, then I was done. I have a full compliment of skills that were not being used to their full potential, and I was tired of having my input ignored.

They apologized and explained that they wanted to explore all of the open areas before they started opening doors. I asked, "What happened to the whole 'find the fountain first' strategy?"

They made up some story about believing the fountain to be out in the open. To me, that made no sense. If the temple guardians had a valuable resource, they would put it behind a lockable door and perhaps guard it if circumstance allowed. You do not set your valuables out so that anyone could take them. Apparently, they have not paid any attention to what I have been doing on this quest.

I still refused to scout the corridor, so Jean rushed headlong down the hall. Her battle cry and the clash of sword on armor indicated that we should come to her aid. The remaining group rushed down the hall to find Jean surrounded by several cursed beings.

Instantly, we jumped into action to aid her. I let loose bolt after bolt from my crossbow. I fired as fast as I could because there were dozens of cursed joining the fight.

Glaf unleashed several magic spells and Gudrid jumped to Jean's side with her sword. As best he could, Thorvald fought the monsters and gave aid to the battling females. We had a tough fight on our hands.

The cursed warriors seemed to come out of the woodwork. When one would fall, it seemed like two had taken its place. Jean's sword would inflict a wound on one and she wound up striking another moments later.

Gudrid swung her sword at a frantic pace. She hacked and slashed at the beast as she worked her way to Jean's side. She used her shield to push the beasts aside and they would fall back to be hit with a sword or with one of my bolts.

These beasts often inflict fear upon their combatants, but we stayed strong. Thorvald ran off into a corner a few times when fear overcame him, but we did our best to keep the cursed away from him. Eventually he would gather up his courage and rejoin the fray.

I ran from position to position reloading my crossbow and firing. I would let loose arrows from different directions around the melee. I would take out a cursed warrior here and a cursed mage there. They never got close enough to frighten me.

The smell was atrocious. The rotting flesh of the cursed combatants was strong, but when they were mortally injured, they would release a malodorous gas from their wound. This gas stung the eyes and it was being released in great quantities around the room.

The melee seemed to end as quickly as it had started. Around the room, the corpses were releasing their gasses and vanishing. The room reeked of sulfur. Thorvald had used all of his healing power to keep Gudrid and Jean fighting. In addition, he had a few injuries he sustained by being so close to the combat. Further, Jean was poisoned in the battle and Gudrid was badly injured. On the other hand, I did not have a scratch on me.

It was at this point that they listened to my advice. They followed me as I followed the sound of the water. The sound seemed to be coming from behind two doors. I let Glaf choose the door.

I opened the door to find a tiled room with a large L-shaped pool in the center. It was decorated with urns and plants. It had a finely marbled floor and frescos on the walls. Gudrid rushed in to drink the water.

I shouted, "No, this is not...", but I was too late.

The water elementals sprang from the pools to attack. They were not pleased with Gudrid disturbing their bath. I rushed in and pulled Gudrid out. I pushed the entire party out of the door and closed it behind me. I took the full brunt of the attack and saved the party from certain annihilation.

I did not know if the door would hold back the irate elementals, so I opened the next door and ushered everyone inside. This room had a bubbling fountain in the center. Like the other room, it had a marble tiled floor, but it was otherwise unadorned. I instructed everyone to drink of the waters from the fountain and quickly.

I felt a tingle throughout my body and could hear the hum as the waters did their magic. While we were all still reptilian - to my dismay - the party looked as if it were fully restored. Even Jean's poison was removed from her system. It was none too soon, as the water elementals stormed into the room.

The elementals give the temple's fountain its healing property. However, they do not like to be disturbed by humans or other creatures. Thus, they send their minions to fight when they are disturbed. These water elementals are impossible to harm without magic of some sort.

Jean's orc-slayer sword had no effect upon them. She had a short sword of shocking which she used because it had some effect upon the elementals. Glaf had used many of his spells in the last bout so he had little magic left. Gudrid's sword had some magical properties, but these creatures were tough. It looked like we would be in for another tough battle. Luckily, the fountain was right there, thus if we were badly injured we could drink and be healed.

We fought the elementals for quite a long time, but we managed to stay alive and defeat them. I do not know about the rest of the group, but I had more than my fill of water. I needed to find a large chamber pot or some other large vessel. The healing waters had run their course and wanted to continue their cycle.

I was not the only one in this situation, and I reasoned that the goal of this mini-quest would not be far. Using my keen senses, I found the location of the privies. To be honest, I found the sign for them. They had separate ones for males and females, and we each entered our prospective rooms. That is to say, the women would not let me join them.

Once that emergency was resolved, we decided to leave further exploration of the temple until the next day. We had fought two difficult groups and we were all exhausted. We thought of asking Nather where we could sleep, but we decided it was best just to claim a spot and rest.

I took first watch because I was certain that I would need to alleviate myself of some excess water in a few hours anyway. We found some benches along the center wall of the main room, and camped out.

It was an uneventful night despite the many trips to the four-holer by the group members. That healing water runs right through you sometimes.

When everyone had as much rest as they needed, we broke our fast with some of our remaining provisions. We finally consumed the last of the salted pork. It was an excellent pig, but it was now all gone.

After breakfast, we went looking for the orcs. They actually took my advice on directions, and I led the party right to them. After all, orcs are easy to smell, and with a little intuition, you can determine where they are staying.

The orcs were gathered in a large room in the center of the temple. It had no windows and it had only one door. It was a dark and musty room exactly to the liking of the orcs. They looked to be waiting for some sort of signal to make their attack, and they were quite restless.

They were not restless for long, as we rushed into the room and made quick work of their hoard. Jean's orc-slayer sword sang as each orc fell. The orcs anxious for battle jumped at the chance, but were the first to fall at the hands of our party. With the single door, they could not escape and even Glaf killed a couple orcs.

With the orcish threat removed, we continued to explore the castle. We encountered a few cursed warriors and a couple of bandit groups, but none in any great numbers. We cleaned out a spider's nest or two and we killed the rats in the kitchen.

For our trouble, we -- er -- I cleaned the kitchen out of a few badly needed provisions. With the last of the salt pork gone, we needed to restock our stores, and we did the temple a great favor. There was no need to speak to Nather about it.

We were going to spend one more night in the Temple before going out into the town. The temple was now safe, and we could use a good rest if we were ever going to finish this quest. In the morning, we would further explore the city of Monkalakaboomistan.

Posted by deg at December 10, 2006 5:47 PM

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