Cornelius Journal 3
Hate working for Smenk, bastard had me over a barrel and made sure to remind me of it. Paraded me in front of my fri… ahem, my allies… like I was some prized pig he had won. Lib and Mom looked plain surprised, Xan looked dismayed and the buxom girl, can’t say I recollect her, looked confused. Sam they called her? Huh, well, Sam could give the girls at the Midnight Salute a run for their money should she ever take up that practice, the girl had looks, and strength from the look of her build, must be who they decided to replace me with. Replace, easy to replace a broken drunk. Didn’t like them seeing me beholden to Smenk, made me uneasy, made them uneasy, none of us liked the man. Then I heard what they were talking about. My being indebted was just a touch, they were putting themselves into his care as well. This made me uneasy too, but better to keep close to him to keep tabs, I’m sure Xan’s slippery brain already reasoned that out.
Ol’ Smenk wanted us to root out some cultists, I waited for the hitch in the plan, something where he would gain, turns out they aren’t profitable to him any longer and he wants us to clear em out. I don’t think it’s that simple, but he made an offer we couldn’t turn down… Keep anything we carry out. Well, by the Nine Hells, I can’t pass that up. However the ins and outs were up to us so Xan set to brainstorming our way in to the mines that would lead to our reward or our deaths. Lib and Xan did the talking, dwarves didn’t stand a chance against money, ale and Liberty’s silver tongue, girl with a face like that and a way with words could walk away with all of Diamond Lake, too bad for her she’s mostly honest and ain’t into men it would seem.
We got our passes into the mine and didn’t have to go far before we found some signs protesting our entrance, what a joke of secrecy. Further in was a wall, timber and rubble piled up to cover the elevator. Amateurs. I was about to offer my expertise in clearing the way when Sam stepped up with Mom’s crowbar and just as pretty as you please pried the wall open. I like this girl, she’s got brass and keeps Mom on his toes. We got to the elevator and everyone looked at it like they had never been in a mine before. I looked at blank faces that seemed to say “what now” and then pointed to the levers and wheel. That’s how ladies and gentlemen. Then I remembered that really, I’m the only one who had a career in the mines. Good for them.
Found our way to the opening of the temples and Xan wanted Hextor, Xan likes to have his way but then again he is the organizer. Couple of guards looked at us confused, Lib used that sweet talk of hers to let them think I was here to work. Idiots fell for it like so many do when talkin’ to her. They started to go check and I guess Xan got a little froggy and leapt into action stabbing one with his blade. Well, that just did it and we were off. Didn’t take much to put them in the ground and I felt the need to calm my nerves, so I lit up a cigar.
Lots of guards later, and I mean lots, and I feel I gotta’ respect Mom a little more. Seems he traded in some of that holy word of Kord for the screams of a blood-thirsty warrior. Amusing as it is it may get him into trouble and Sam poking at him for it was icing on the cake. Glad I brought liquor and tobacco with me this time, seems much easier on the nerves to traipse through corpses and beat folk to death when I’ve got a little fire in my belly. These Hextor worshippers didn’t stand a chance, milk drinkers I’d say, horned heads and scary to look at but put a fist through their teeth and they drop like lilly-flies. We carried onward tearing our way through cultists, Sam and Mom showing a bloodlust I hadn’t seen, well, ever.
Our carnage halted momentarily for two head priests or something, they thought themselves to be a frightening duo. Turns out some undead and two cocky priests fall to steel and fire just as easily as their weaker followers. I can’t help thinking about our first excursion and the dangers we faced, thought we wouldn’t survive. Liberty is showing her mastery of fire more and more, Mom’s ability to fight in a rage has become an immense boon, Xan has lead us through a handful of traps now, not like when we started by setting off everything and Sam is a fighting force unto her own. I’m gaining confidence in our abilities.
We trampled more cultists and found our way to their central worship chamber or something. A statue in the center, crusted with jewels sat and cultists with axes, damn bloody axes cut deep, and their leader by his robes or some such. It didn’t take long before I was into the fray again, lobbing bombs and punching the daylight out of these bastards. Silence caught me off guard but luckily I didn’t need to speak but it was funny to see Mom, roaring silently as he ran for the leader and felled him. I kept him alive, the others seemed curious to question him, I don’t care, planted my boot on his neck and auctioned his life. Xan made smart about the ghost, smarmy one you are Xan. No one cared when I crushed his windpipe underfoot.
Now we rest down here, gives me the creeps but hey, gotta take a moment to collect my stuff and get ready to raid Vecna’s place. There are more things to stomp there and I’m sure this group is ready to be the boot. Have to admit, feels good to feel alive again, didn’t know that alcohol wasn’t the only thing that could take your mind off of the past.