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Entry 1: Tomb of the "Ultimate Evil"
Fortune finally found its way to me! I was completely penniless until this most recent turn of events. Now I can at least make it to Pulse without having to sell my donkey, Ralph. He may be the most stubborn beast I have ever met, but his quirks have grown on me over the past week. I should go back a bit and tell the story from where it started.
I had just spent my last copper coins buying some trail rations and feed for the donkey: enough to last one more week. According to the locals, Pulse would be less than a week's journey, but I find it takes a lot longer to make my way along well traveled roads and still maintain a low profile.
All of the sudden the sky went completely black! I think the storm clouds were covering the whole sky before the rain even hit the ground. There was lightning and hail and rain falling everywhere in a few seconds. I quickly tried to put you into my cart so that I could hasten my speed to find shelter. While I was loading you, I noticed a burly figure of a woman in the distance. She and I ran together in search of shelter. My initial impressions were that she wasn't very intelligent, which proved to be true. She did have a presence though that I'm not sure how to describe.
As we ran down the road, praying for an inn, we heard the faint sound of music coming from slightly off the path. I was unsure if the woman with me, Shawna I would learn later, would completely understand that music means that there must be some sort of inn or camp nearby. I told her to follow me, and we ran to the music. We arrived at the entrance of a small cave where an elf songstress played one of the more beautiful melodies I have ever heard. It was beautiful, yet sad. Perhaps I just don't understand elven music, because Ari, the woman playing the song, seemed to have no sadness in her eyes or heart. Not like me, Fenrick. Maybe I was just seeing the song differently. I hid my face when I came into the cave. Long enough to compose myself at least. I don't think the others saw.
By others I mean the group of people that ended up being stuck in this cave. There was Shawna, and me that came in together, an eccentric merchant named Rufus Rucksack, the elf, Ari, a wizard named Ethan, and Rufus' sleeping dwarf bodyguard Oscar.
I tried to act differently than myself around them. It wasn't just because I didn't trust them. I mean I still don't trust them that well, even after everything, but that wasn't why. I think I was afraid that they wouldn't like who I am. But here is the part you might not get, Fenrick. I acted somewhat unlikeable because I didn't want them to like me. I just didn't want them to not like me for who I actually am. Does that make sense? I expect it doesn't. Well after writing this I might try to act more like myself around them now. Maybe. It will be hard; my reasons do make sense to me.
I made a lot of jokes at other poeple's expense and I often just barreled ahead of them as if I wasn't afraid and actually had some confidence. And I know what you are going to say, but I am not as big a risk-taker as you might think. I think you might agree with me once I tell you about exactly what I was walking into.
Back to the story... We waited a while in the cave entrance for the storm to let up. It actually got worse. I was able to figure out that it was a planar overlap. Apparently the elemental planes were overlapping Morrowflux causing this massive elemental storm.
Shawna rifled through some rotting linens in the corner of the cave. Did I mention she was strange as well as a little dumb? She seems to have a good heart though. Well, strange as her behavior was, she did manage to find something interesting. It was a skeleton of a man holding his journal. The journal detailed an expedition into this cave, which had its entrance collapse so he couldn't escape. According to the journal, the cave led to a tomb, where his partner, Lee, went insane while they were exploring it. There was some sort of magic door that he closed to stop Lee from escaping the tomb. Apparently the tomb contained some sort of "Ultimate Evil". Okay... Well, it might have been true. I'm not sure.
At some point we decided to go check out if the door and tomb actually existed. Ari, Shawna, Ethan, Oscar and I went exploring the cave. Rufus gave us a magic charm that would bring us straight back to his cart if we said some silly command word. After traveling a little bit down the cave corridor, we came to a 20ft. deep fissure that split the tunnel. Ethan had some rope, and we set up a rope to get down. Shawna then climbed up the other side so that she could use another of Ethan's ropes to pull us up. When she got up on the other side and was setting up the rope, we heard a scuttling sound coming from our left along the fissure. Ethan made some sort of illusionary wall that was so realistic, Oscar actually though it was real; even after he had moved his weapon through it. All of the sudden we could see what was making the sound: a swarm of skeletal rats. I tried bending my will upon them, but they managed to resist. Ethan managed to make the wall semi-transparent so that Oscar could run through it to fight. I think he got bitten a few times, but I was finally able to make them bow down to me. We were then able to destroy them.
On the other side of the ravine was the door. It looked to be well made, and Oscar confirmed it ("It looks to be a well-made Dwarven Door"). I had my first non-forced, real laugh in ages when Ethan replied to Oscar that it couldn't be very well made if it was broken down. The door had all sorts of warnings about the "Ultimate Evil", which according to Ethan and Ari, is the name of a creature.
We decided to see if the tomb held any clues to closing the door. If there actually was some "Ultimate Evil", then maybe we could close the door before it escaped.
Directly inside the tomb was a room that permeated an aura of resistance. It was the same kind of feeling I get around clerics of what Morrowflux inaccurately describes as "Good" gods. They even try to resist the truth using their language by calling it "positive energy". As if the energy I channel is "negative". Guiding those who are souless is hardly a "negative" thing. Why you, Fenrick, would have been lost forever had I not guided you. I know when you come back to me you will understand the perfection of one mind guiding a the raw forces of the world. We need to respect the balance between the chaos of nature and the order of construction. Undead are the perfect middle between these forces. They were once of nature, but not a construction.
I think it was this moment that I came closest to showing myself, even for but a second. I hesitated walking through the room and was even afraid to open the door. I think the others were jarred by my sudden caution, but I quickly shook it off and continued.
We then went down a spiral staircase that was boarded up and into a great hall. Behind one of the pillars, an aberration attacked Ari. It almost killed her, but thankfully I was able to use my magic to frighten it, catching it off guard for a powerful lightning surge delivered by Ethan. I think I made an awkward comment about the creature, as you know what I think about such things. I think I will continue onward, because even thinking about its existence bothers me and it does not deserve any more ink.
At the end of the hallway was a door. On the other side of the door was a surprise (to put it lightly). There was a devil of terrible prowess. Thankfully my terrible experiences with my father's wizards had taught me enough for dealing with these vile creatures. I spoke in its native tongue addressing it as politely as possible. The group was caught off guard by this and did not back me up with my attempts for diplomacy. I was hoping to trade information of the outside world (since its bindings had clearly only been released recently) in exchange for no hostility from the creature. The others managed to talk our way out of getting eaten and we continued onward.
We went through a small library into a room with a a sacrificial pit and two creepy statues that looked like me pointing downward into the pit with a look of scorn. Almost immediately we were attacked by a giant centipede! In a few seconds, the creature had severely wounded both Shawna and Oscar. Ari managed to get some good hits in with her bow and it fell. We desperately tried to revive Shawna and when she looked like she was no longer in danger of bleeding to death, we tried to heal Oscar. I'm pretty sure he almost died there. We were just lucky I think.
I tried seeing if I could bring Shawna with my using Rufus' charm, but I just appeared back at the cave entrance by myself. Rufus sent an animal messenger to the others and they managed to all make it back.
We rested for about 8 hours, the storm raging the entire time. We debated going back into the tomb for further exploration and decided that the devil would probably still leave us alone, since he could have easily devoured us the first time.
I took you with me this time to help protect us. Oscar was too wounded to join us this time and I had got to know the group during our resting time and I didn't want them to get hurt again like with the centipede.
We made it to the sacrificial pit again and found some doors that led to a tunnel downwards. We went down the tunnel and it came to an underground lake. A boat was waiting on the shore. I'm not sure why we went in it, but we decided it was the right thing to do. We rowed for what must have been at least an hour before we hit the shore of a small island.
Sitting in the middle of the island on a small wooden throne was a pale, gaunt figure with completely black eyes. As we walked on the island, it grinned at us.
It tried to take control of you, but I stopped it. It got angry after that and up rose four zombies. The battle was fierce. We managed to kill it almost losing you and Shawna. I realized that I can never risk you like that again. I'm going to stay right beside you from now on and protect you.
Unfortunately, there was one more thing. The thing put a ring on Ari's finger. She couldn't take it off. That is, until we left the tomb. When she exited the cave, it seemed like all of the mountains howled with anger or pain. It was so loud I think the whole world heard it. Whatever we did, I think we did it wrong. We made a big mistake.
The devil was waiting outside the cave and congratulated us on being a big part of history. Whatever that means. I wish you could talk to me. I wish you were here to just tell me that everything is going to be okay.
I'm going to try to find some diamonds to resurrect you with by joining these people I just met. Rufus has offered to fund an expedition in return for 5% of the profits. And the trek through the tomb managed to get me 625 gold coins. I will do whatever it takes, Fenrick. Someday, I know you will read this and tell me that everything will be okay. Someday...