Journal, Day Two – Busy Day
Back at home this night, all I want to do is pass out. But if I don’t record the events of this whirlwind day now, I am afraid I’ll forget important specifics. So here we go…
All of us awoke in the mine office feeling somewhat rested. Drake talked in his sleep most of the night, something about the cave-in in the mine years ago. Also about Constance Grace. I knew he was sweet on her, but some of the things he said last night implied more. If anyone else heard him, no one mentioned it. We stowed the previous days finds in the office and headed back to the Whispering Cairn.
Day 2 in the cairn turned out to be as profitable as the first. We found another way down from one of the alcoves in the main room. It was a lift that carried us down one at a time. It took us to a small room that turned out to be trapped by some kind of gas. Also I swear I saw something in the next hall, but upon closer inspection it was gone. We moved forward to an interaction, and I saw a strange brown substance filling one path. I approached carefully, but apparently holding Drake’s lantern was a bad idea, because the brown stuff reacted to the heat by growing suddenly and consuming me. I was only conscious for a moment, and all I remember was pure cold. Moments later I was roused by the others… they had pulled me back. That was just the first time today I would be knocked out…
We took a different path after Mom scouted a bit. He found a bedroom of sorts and also the corpse of another treasure hunter that had been crushed by a giant stone block trap. We found the catch, lifted the block, and found some magical items on the body. We also found some wands on the wall.
One of the wands was able to create some kind of invisible helper of some kind, and Liberty had a genius idea. We used this helper to slowly pick up all of the brown mold and drop it down the toilet in a nearby room. I was very impressed at the creativity. Work smarter, not harder I always say.
Past the mold we found a workshop, I think. It had some tools and a large marble egg sitting on a most curious pedestal. I had never seen metal like it and knew it had to be worth a lot. I decided to inspect the egg to see if it was valuable as well, and it ‘animated’ as soon as I touched it. A rock creature was suddenly standing in front of me, and we had to fight it. We won, but once again I was knocked out with its heavy punches. Now I know what it must feel like to get hit by Drake…. I’ll make sure to avoid that.
After that, the lower area was completely explored. Drake was nice enough to carry the heavy metal pedestal to the front of the Cairn, and the only place we had left to explore was the trapped area up top.
Mom had an idea about what the builders intended with the main room, and we put a plan into action. We hung all of the lanterns we had found in the proper locations in the main room, and then lit every lantern. It created a dazzling effect with many beams of light reflecting off of every wall. We then made our way back to the top area, where I managed this time to disarm the pressure plate that set off the trap the first time. It turns out that Mom was right. Lighting all the lantern had made the wall at then of the upper hall disappear. We passed through and we came upon a fascinating chamber.
The floor was a dozen feet below us and a small walkway went from our entrance to a door on the opposite wall. The floor was completely covered in orange-size metal balls, and on the side walls there were multiple holes about the same size. That made me nervous. I checked the walkway carefully and saw another pressure plate. The others sat back patiently while I figured out a way to disarm it. However, there were more plates every few feet so I had to slowly make my way down the walkway. At one point I lost my balance and had to put my hand on a plate to keep from falling, and as I expected several metal balls shot out of the holes in the wall. One of them hit me in the head and I almost fell over again. My vision was blurry, but I swear I looked back and saw the others laughing. At the time I was annoyed by that, but now that I think about it it was probably a funny spectacle.
Oh! By the way, the whole time we were in the room there was this voice talking to us. It was commenting on my skill at disarming the traps… and my lack thereof when I set the trap off. I was more annoyed by this point than worried. The voice just didn’t seem malevolent. It turns out I was right about that…. sort of.
I started examining the door looking for a way to open it, when a ghost passed through the wall and stood on air next to me. It was of a small boy whose neck had been very badly broken… I mean very. His head was more upside down that right side up. He was the one speaking to us. I began to try and talk to him, but he had other ideas. He suddenly jumped towards me and I was… umm… possessed, I guess. I could still see and hear what was going on, but no longer did I have any control of myself. This ghost walked ‘me’ towards the others and began a discussion with them. To be honest, I only half paid attention… I was a little enthralled with the ‘strangeness’ of what was happening to me. I don’t think I would call it a good thing, necessarily. But it was definitely a new experience.
Anyhow… Apparently the ghost could open the door, but he had a price. His body was at the bottom of the room under the far door. He wanted us to gather up the body and take it to his family’s farm to bury it properly. He was one of the ‘Lands’. I knew the name and knew the farm. Most of them died from the plague that hit a while back, and the rest had died since then. Now the farm was abandoned. Once the group agreed to do this, the ghost released me no worse for wear, which I must say I appreciated. Next we had to get the kid’s bones.
Liberty volunteered to be lifted down with a rope because she was the lightest. She got down to the ‘surface’ of metal balls and started digging for the bones. Suddenly we saw and heard movement under the balls and Drake hauled Liberty back up and fast. A very large snake-like creature with four tentacles coming out of its face and a giant beak in the center lifted itself out of the balls to feed on us. Apparently I hadn’t been close to death enough times today, so I had the bright idea to somersault off the walkway and behind the creature to try and end it quick. The plan worked… except it didn’t die. Then it turned on me and I was once again knocked senseless. The others fared better and revived me. (In case you were counting that was the third time today I was knocked out… not to mention the whole possession thing). Once that thing was dead, getting the bones was easy. Mom threw them into a bag as respectfully as he could and we headed out to the Land residence.
After a short trek overland, we arrived at the abandoned homestead. We moved right to the small family cemetery near the front of the house and were surprised to find the graves already dug up. The bodies seem to have been taken. Who the hells would take a decomposing body? Some of the others fear that a necromancer is around Diamond Lake. Could be, but I had my eye on the goal and wasn’t too concerned about it. I was thinking more about getting past that door in the cairn.
My thoughts were interrupted, however, as we realized we were not alone. Apparently, a strange creature had taken up residence in the old Land house. It was a bear, mostly, with the head of a bird. We thought it best to put it down, because it was apparently a maneater. We found pieces of one of the grave robbers strewn around. It fought like one would expect a wild animal to fight, but could not handle all of us together. Upon killing it, we discovered it was protecting a baby. Drake took an immediate interest in the tiny thing. That man has a seriously overdeveloped complex to protect the weak.
Back outside the house I started getting along with burying the kid’s bones so we could get back to the cairn. However, the rest of the group had other ideas. Apparently it was our ‘duty’ to find the stolen bodies and put them back to rest. They said that we owed this ghost to do that, even though all he asked was to be buried here at his home. Mom muttered something about a promise he made, and Drake backed him up because it was the ‘right’ thing to do. As if that mattered. Anyhow, I was obviously outvoted so I decided to humor them. We found a tattoo on the dead robber that I recognized. It was a brand from a miner owner some time back that has since been ousted. However, we knew a certain half-orc in town that wore the same mark and kept a group of mercs that work for Smenk. Once I sensed a way to annoy that pig, Smenk, I was suddenly more willing to change course and head after these robbers.
By this time it was early evening. And it wasn’t over yet. Before we slept I came up with a plan to get the information we needed. We found the group we suspected of doing the grave robbing getting drunk at the Feral Dog. For the first time in two days, I was in my element again. I spent the evening at Kullen’s table talking them up. Lib and Mom sat nearby in case things got nasty, but it didn’t end up being necessary. By the end of the night I had found my mark, and followed him out of the tavern. He was frustrated at the work they were doing, and not thrilled about the pay. It only took 20 gold to get everything out of him that I needed. The bodies were taken to the observatory outside of town, one of Smenk’s holdings. I let the others know and we agreed to meet the next morning. By that time Liberty was very drunk and needed help getting home. I was proud of myself for not taking advantage of her… she definitely is beautiful. However she is smart, she is a business partner, and I don’t mix business with pleasure. Ok there were a couple of times…. but honestly it was probably just that after such a long day I was exhausted.
That’s about it. Except for one thing that bears putting into this journal. Up til last week, the flawless con we pulled on Kullen would have been something to keep me happy for days. The rush of getting one over on people has always kept me in my line of work. But considering what I did today before the Feral Dog, I am stuck with the feeling that the whole con was… well… a bit boring. It was old… not a challenge any more.