Yanika sat cross legged on her bed, working arcane threads into the fancy cloak she had purchased. She had gathered all the ingredients and the formula for crafting the cloak of protection herself, but she had had to purchase the cloak to be used, as tailoring was one of the professions she hadn’t mastered. Or rather, hadn’t mastered yet, was the thought that went through Helix’ mind. To him Yanika was a bit of a prodigy, having quickly acquired a vast set of skills and trades, far beyond what artificer students of her level usually did. And while she was working, she had been continuing telling her story to him and Zaela.
“After we had explored the temple a bit, and then took a rest following the encounter with the skeletons and the vampiric mist, we went after Brand, heading deeper into the temple’s interior. The hallway we followed had a lot of doors, and most led to rooms long abandoned, but Spade, scouting ahead, heard talking behind one of the doors, too faint to be understood. Having thought we had found Brand, Spade and me unlocked the door and Kayne kicked it in, storming inside. To our surprise the room did not contain Brand, but rather some skeletal accountant talking to himself. He wasn’t pleased we interrupted his work and cast the room into darkness, but that didn’t stop us from destroying him fairly easily.”
Helix raised his eyebrows at the mention of the skeleton being an accountant and inquired as to why Yanika would have thought so. He poured her another cup of wine as she explained that they had rummaged through the papers that had been left behind, and that it had been some sort of accounting with souls as currency.
“The next door we opened was a sleeping hall with skeletons laying in the beds and we wisely decided to not interfere with them. So we went on to the next room and this proved to be very interesting. Again we heard voices behind the door and we did the same procedure as last time. Spade and me unlocked it, Kayne kicked it in. Inside was a large pit filled with skeletons, and a platform at the other side, with an altar in the middle of the platform. On the altar was a creepy looking book. We decided to leave it for now but you know me, I fully intended to take that book with us after our business was concluded.
Zaela and Helix gave each other a knowing look. One of the reasons Yanika progressed so fast and why they loved her so much, was her boundless curiosity. If you put a big red button somewhere with a clear DO NOT PUSH sign on it, you could bet your ass that she would push it to see what would happen. She might investigate it first, if you were lucky.
“The last door was unlocked and when we opened it, we were greeted by a purplish light, coming from a crack in the floor. A fog rose out of the crack and we realised that this must be a tear in reality, a doorway to another plane, and the cause of the Black Maze’s poison. Brand was sitting next to the tear, looking in horrible shape, his body wracked with disease and deformity. When he noticed us he again treated us as friends, being happy that we came and wanting us to come in and talk. Kayne didn’t give him the chance though and immediately attacked. After the first round of blows being struck, Brand shed his skin and revealed himself to be a Death Slaad. He threw a fireball at our group, severely damaging a lot of us, before escaping into the rift, heavily wounded himself, crying out that this wasn’t over! The rift sealed itself after he went through and we figured that this must have led to Limbo, a plane of chaos and the home of the Slaad.”
She set down the cloak and her needle and picked up the cup of wine to take a sip. She had been focussed on her crafting the entire week and in the meanwhile catching her two best friends up on all that had been happening. She realised she had been neglecting the two of them a bit while spending so much time on Emine, and this project gave her ample time to spend on her friends. She of course still went out several evenings with Emine and she had other plans once her cloak was finished, but for now she was home and telling her story. Having been here for days now had made her realise how much she missed just hanging out with the three of them.
“So with that done, we could go back to the surface, but not before I fetched the creepy looking book from the other room. Some investigating together with Ace taught us that this was the Book of Chaos Incarnate, a book of pure evil that corrupts all who read it. And as we didn’t have the magic to deal with this, and couldn’t destroy it outright, I had decided to drop it into the room full of lava. At least there it would be safe until we could deal with it. After another short rest Aitlas decided to trigger the magical auras in that room, and from the lava a golem rose up, blocking his path to the statue of Goibhniu. He checked Aitlas and didn’t deem him worthy to cross. At this point we had only one more room to check out, which we had ignored up to now. The room was filled with books and one very old man, the Record Keeper of the temple, who also turned out to be a ghost, even though he himself didn’t seem to realise this. When we questioned him about the temple and what had happened in the first human settlement, this seemed to trigger him into realising that he must be dead. He could tell us that they had been misled by a priest into performing a ritual, making them think that the ritual was meant for Arysia, while in reality it was for Dolos, a name that didn’t ring a bell. He had tricked them into sacrificing themselves, and that sacrifice had opened several portals, including the one to Limbo, which was now closed again. His last act was to lead us to an old statue and a tablet with a message.” She rummaged in the pockets of her pack and pulled out her notebook where she had transcribed the message, and handed it to the two of them so they could read for themselves. As they read over the prophecy, for it must be a prophecy, Yanika thought back on the rest of the adventure down there. After having been given this information they had taken the remaining gang member and blink dog up to the city. The displacer beasts had run off, which might cause more problems down the line, and they had taken the prisoner to the doctor first to have the slaad tadpole removed, before handing him over to the guards. They had talked about what to do with the blink dog, seeing as it is an intelligent creature and as such a voluntary member of the gang, and decided that it then was just as guilty. At which point Kayne had let it run free. What respect he had gained in Yanika’s eyes after the persuading of the displacer beasts, he had lost again with this action. Aiding a criminal like this, just because it looked like an animal, made him complicit in any and all future wrongdoings of the blink dog, and she had told him so in no uncertain terms. After that the group had parted ways and since then she had been hard at work on her cloak.