We came to the small town of “Raccoon Hill” and our group immediately went about trying to figure out what was wrong. I’ll tell you what was wrong, this place was super gloomy and definitely had that overlly heavy air of “no love”. We came to find that the temple of the forest had been burned down by ‘bandits’…right…I’m thinking ravenous beasts that are trying to get even with theses people for thinking that they are still alive. Not to steal thoughts from anywhere of course! The people here were really…off. There was a general feel of not right coming from all the people. Wandering into the temple that was left standing, I hung back to look around the place taking in the differences in the people. Keeping a careful eye on the young Serenity and the cleric, I left them be until a guard started to act aggressively to the girls. “now hold on, they don’t need to be escorted out by you.” Or some such was my response as I protectively stepped forward, going toe to toe with the guard…though it was hard to not smile as I stood probably a head taller than the man.
We left the temple of very much not mystra, and went to the inn to come up with a plan. There was talk about a meeting at midnight and Serenity and Merinae REALLY wanted to go to. Don’t ask me why, I personally wanted nothing to do with the creepy temple, nor the people that ran it. I did agree to help in the plan and we went to work on getting it moving. After the two girls lured a couple drunken hobo’s up into the room and a short time later they were stripped, tied up, and tossed beneath the bed. They left and I did my part of sitting in a back corner and going over history and different views of subjects with a mirror image of Serenity. It was just like talking to Yumekichi! She seemed agreeable, seemed to be listening, but probably wasn’t and of course didn’t talk back.
There was a lot that happened in a short amount of time. Merinae came back and spoke quickly, leading to the two of us getting our armor on and getting ready for battle, and just as we were heading into the temple, we ran into our other team members and an explosion from within the temple was heard. I tensed, ready for battle, but wasn’t about to start slashing my way through people unless we found them to be enemies. Long story short, Serenity was apprehended and then a plan to get her out before they killed her was put together. We of course disagreed on a few of them, but in the end we used Merinea as a decoy to lure the guards away and to have Serenity simply walk out. While they were doing that, I was to go get our things from the inn and meet back up with the group. Let’s just say, that my normal AWESOME personality, and I don’t mean that sarcastically, was thrown down into the mud and tested like a foot soldier in the midst of their first battle.
Everything went from being a little tense to being, “why the hell are we having to go through this” in mere moments. We were making our escape when there was a scream from the cleric, and the next thing I know is that Belial is drawing attention and fire from towns guards. Ducking down holding onto some of the others possessions still when I was just trying to think of happy things, like alcohol, flowers and festivals with friendly people when everything went dark. Damn…arrow thunked into the wood wheel next to me, double damn! “I fucken hate you right now BEL!!!” I yelled out as I curled down a bit more and Merinae continued to scream nearby. We made our escape from that unfriendly situation with help from Carnifex, and the simple plan of escape was “run as fast as you can from the evil town of angry people”, I can do that!
After camping in the woods over night, we made our way back into the town under an invisibility spell ala Serenity, and Carnifex went in as if he were the avatar of the dark lady. It took us awhile to figure our way into the temple, but we managed it…and even though Demi shouldn’t have been able to see us, the little pixie girl surprised us all by flying up to us and chatting. We ended up having to battle our way through the area, and for the most part I did my best to follow the rule of not killing the city guard. We went exploring through different rooms and at one point we found the dressing room. Oh, Bel and I shared a very LONG look at that one, but my gentelmanly side overpowered the more lusty side as I finally shook my head and continued forth. After all, lust might be part of love but it isn’t the true path to it! Shortly after that a cleric of the dark lady cast a spell on us that made us visible once more, so let the battles begin!
At one point I had to brace a set of double doors against them entering it while we fought shadow assassins and found our next path. The shadow men were not of a nice kind and one had actually stabbed the young Serenity, causing me to dispatch my own and turn to help her. She did something weird, and healed herself. I won’t fight something if it leads to her being able to heal herself though. Even if I have no idea what she did, but it seemed to be more of that blue fire type of magic. Speaking of fire magic, there were a few blasts of this purple flame that incinerated those that it touched, I couldn’t pinpoint where it was coming from, so it must be some trick that our little pixie gal could do. Hmm, I seem to be falling behind in those skills, better pick up the slack if I want to be a warrior for love! Carnifex set the door on fire and that was my cue to hoist Serenity over my shoulder and run! Clearing the small table in the middle we slammed the door shut behind us, and between the two of us, we held the door.
Once it was secure we made our way down a set of stone stairs and turned another corner to find, more stairs! Serenity hadn’t made a fuss about being manhandled yet, so I continued to carry her until the situation deemed it unsafe. Stepping down to a cluttered floor, that moment was made
clear to me by the appearance of a creature made of said junk. Just as I slid her down to her feet and spun my sword into hand, the creature was dispatched along with the shadow people. Hmm…maybe instead of readying for battle I should have discovered a way to make s’mores out of the books on the floor? Once the enemy was neutralized the others began to look in different rooms. Picking around at the crap on the floor I found nothing of interest and after a brief internal discussion with myself which mostly was “if I were the big bad dude where would I be?” and then staring at the large double doors that screamed, “THIS IS WHERE I WOULD BE!!!” A light shrug of the shoulders I went over to inspect the doors. Finding nothing amiss, I decided to open the doors via my personal style of whipping out my huge blade and crushing it. Effective and probably not that intelligent of an idea as immediately afterwords, a gong like sound started to go off. Hmm, Bel must be rubbing off on me…damn. Looking down the short hall that screamed, “I’m tarped like a mofo!! You just try to get out of here with out getting hurt by one biznatchie!”, I decided to run down, and when I came to a spot I thought would hold a trap, I tumbled smoothly over it and came to a stop at the other doors and looked behind me. Nothing, nada, no trap went off. Hell yeah, I’m that good! Like a diving hawk after it’s prey, I conquered that hall. Looking at the doors that were once again locked, I simply shook my head and slammed my sword into it as well, as Bel would probably say, “Fuck doors”.
Blinking in the sight of men on the other side of the door, bows pointed in my direction, I had just enough time to bring both hands up, cross them and flip both of them the bird before they let loose their arrows. Both of which I would like to say, I dodged splendidly! While I was having a battle to the death with those jerks and some creepy snakes, my allies came to the rescue, I wasn’t really expecting that. Though I did hear a startled cry and a crashing noise, turned around to see Bel get thrown down into a statue by a giant hammer. I KNEW that hall was full of trap! Bel made it into the room, looking a bit worse for wear, and shot his arrow from behind me at a semi there snake, the stupid arrow ricochet off BOTH walls, and cut my cheek open. Now it could have been worse, but I’m more than just slightly irritated by this! To make matters worse, a moment later the big bad evil lady slams my other cheek with her mace, and that does LESS damage than Bels ill mannered arrow. Carnifex came in shortly after and asked what happened, to get back at the ranger I let the taller man know that Bel had been busy shooting me while I dealt with the riff raff. Carnifex made short work of the lady and tied her up, leaving us to clear out any of the rooms that might still have people in it. Getting to my door, I opened it and sighed at my luck. Of course I would pick the torture room as the one to go into. Searching the room through, I found a few mangled bodies that were creepily enough, missing their heads, and then letters and journals that told me the identities of those bodies. They were merchants from Sundabar, and I bet we were going to be going in that direction one way or another, so I tucked those into my bag and I made a note to give news of their parting from this world. If they had families, they deserved to know that they were no longer able to return home.
Leaving the room, I found Carnifex had gone missing. The group got back together and Bel and I both went to study the creepy black with purple wall. I was just about to touch the wall when Serenity yelled not to. I turned to look back at her just as Yumekichi tapped the wall with a tiny furred fist. Nothing seemed to happen, so I didn’t know why she had cause for concern. Bel said that the wall was fake and after giving him a measuring look for a moment I decided to believe him. Just like that, the wall disappeared! Spooky, how that magic works. Strolling by a creepy pedestal, we continued our way down the path until we found Carnifex dealing with a man. A large dead crocodile shaped creature, missing it’s head, floated serenly in the water near a boat. We learned the nefarious plan of the temple and it had to do with the creepy woods nearby. The boatman was willing to give us a ride for a price after we released the men that we could, though we ended up not able to take him up on the offer since we had a few other things to do before heading to the dark woods. Grabbing a map that showed the way on land, I pocketed it, as we went back the way we came to explain what happened to the villages. The woodcutter men were still alive and came to the rescue along with Elia. Helping rebuild the town, temple and helping them bury the dead, we once again started on a journey. Hopefully this one will have more happy dealings, and love in it than this last one!
We ended up parting ways with Belial after we were done with the town. I must say that he was certainly not the easiest man to look at, smell or sometimes talk to, but he had been a comrade. It was both a good feeling, and a sad one to see the antlered cranky drunkard go on his own way. He said he had sent word to a friend to help us, I hope this friend is just as decent of a ranger, and a bit better of a shot if he uses a bow. It would be nice to be able to go back to having a relaxing journey of helping others to find love again, though with this group I think my lazy days of festivals and happy go lucky drinking might be gone.