Cleric Journal: Day One Hundred and Seventy Eight




Obviously Cassandra had mentioned to Rufus that she had been accosted by giants when she ran home with her tail between her legs. Or, you know, Rufus, being as short as he is, really hated tall people. Either way, the instant we cleared the initial ruined room and into the first of the great intact halls, Rufus turned to us, mumbled something that made no logical sense, and shot Alfred in the face with a stream of ethereal magic. Alfred had just enough time to reach out and grab one of the supporting struts of Rufus’s trundle tower before he was solidified into stone.

Rufus turned Alfred to stone. Yes, total ambush. Here we were, on our best behavior and he pulls something like this. Wizards could very well be the lowest form of life.

Whether it was intentional or not, by grabbing the wizard’s magical contraption as he was being turned to stone, Alfred prevented the thing from moving any further. It jerked to a halt, tossing Rufus backward where he caught himself on the back rail. The impact against the rail was the one thing that kept me from suffering the same fate. Rufus couldn’t get the words out quick enough.

I ran.

I did not pay any attention to where I was going as long as it wasn’t directly into an open pit, or obvious animal nest. By the time I had ducked into the first hallway, Rufus had his wind back and was cursing me with some very colorful language. I don’t know where he went to school, but they did an excellent job on rounding out his vocabulary.

By the second turn, I could no longer hear the double-crossing, inhospitable, coward of a wizard. I took one more random turn and pressed myself against the wall, attempting to catch my breath and listen for pursuit. I couldn’t hear anything over the sound of my own breathing so I figured I was safe for the moment.

After everything we’d been through together, I was shocked and appalled by Alfred being turned to stone. No one deserved that. Well, maybe a few people, like Brother Durham. I could totally see him being turned to stone and then placed in the central courtyard for the pigeons and ravens to visit.

The hallways here were lined with torches, telling me I was in a more inhabited portion of the ruins. Meant that whatever dwelt here needed light to see. Perhaps these were the halls Rufus himself strolled down. They were too small for the dragon, that’s for sure. What other servants did Cassandra maintain here? Goblins, likely. Kobolds for sure. Undead perhaps?

I waited until my breathing was calm and nothing had appeared before I pushed off from the wall and poked my head back around the corner. For a moment I thought there was a heat haze between me and the nearest torch. Everything was distorted and wobbly? I think that’s the clearest way to describe what I saw. There was a doorway just past the wall-mounted torch, and it looked as if it were under water.

Then I noticed a skull floating in mid air with a femur nearby. Just floating there as if suspended in… A whip-like appendage smashed into me, knocking me back around the corner of the hall.   There was something translucent in the hallway, allowing me to see through it, with some level of distortion. It wanted to kill me.

Don’t get me wrong. I do not believe it was driven by any higher intelligence. When I collected my thoughts later, I determined that it served a more symbiotic relationship with the ruins. It cleared the floors of any organic debris, leaving behind polished stone, bones and metal object. Everything else was dissolved in the monster’s acidic innards. It was roughly cube shaped, moved like a slug, and could exude whip like appendages to strike and preferably capture things to consume.

I was lucky in that the preponderance of the first strike splashed against the stone wall, only striking me with the very edge of the face-melting, acidic suckers.

Three drops of the ichor splashed against my face and I screamed and flailed while running in the opposite direction. Lucky for me there wasn’t another one down this all. If they worked in teams they could really make out. I held my hand to my face, feeling the goo burning my hand as well as my face, and burst through a doorway into a small chamber no more than seven strides square. I managed to slam the door shut behind me and called a light into existence on the front of my shield. It actually took me three tries to get the light to cast because of the pain. Once I saw the room only contained a broken table, two shattered chairs, and a door on the opposite wall, I fell back, using the door frame to hold me up and tried to heal myself.

Yikes, that was painful, let me tell you. The first healing did not actually counter act the acidic goo on my flesh, so the healing was immediately undone by further melting. Next I tried a couple of alternatives, such as remove evil (fail), remove poison (fail), remove disease (fail, and I was really counting on that one), and finally summon food and water. The water didn’t do anything, but I slapped a large chunk of generic bread on my face, and it absorbed the goo before melting on its own. It took three swipes with clean bread to get the good off my face and hands, then I could heal myself properly. It was quite exhausting.

I was just hoping that the oozing stomach acid beast couldn’t slide under doors when the back door burst open and something slathering launched at me, all fur and teeth. Next time remind me that no matter how civilized you are, it does not mean those you go to visit are of a like mind.

I may have strained my eyes rolling them at the absurdity of the situation before I swung my shield around to take the brunt of the first attack. It was a rat, and a man. A great rat/man, with daggers in each hand, a snout full of teeth, and pure hatred in its golden eyes.

Swell, lycanthrope of the vermin variety: Wererat? Weremouse? Wereferret? Weregerbil? And the drooling? Why must there be so much drool?

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