My fellow diminutive compatriot, Garil, relinquished this tome to my responsibility upon entering the Temple of Pelor (He has been in possession of it for quite a spell, and I think his head must grow weary from using it for such an extended unit of time).
Our bard, Mezla Mezla, has also given to me a powerful item of wonder, The Deck of Many Things. I recall hearing of this studying back in Walarth’s. I fear I must not use it, but I feel like I must. I am curious about the probability rates of the cards contained within. But, I digress from the situation at hand.
As we enter the temple, we find a lone acolyte within and he greats us stiffly. As we wait for the Deacon, I am able to look about the cathedral and pay more attention to the little details. I am not a student of architecture, but it is quite a sight to behold and truly shows the might of Pelor. Humorous, the difference between this and the “temples” of Garl – more like hole in the ground. While losing myself in my thoughts, I notice footsteps approaching and glance their way. It is our indisposed friend, Safeir, and another acolyte. I would say he looks marginally better – I wonder what they have been doing to him in the interim.
We learn that the acolyte’s name is Johan, and that he is tasked with ridding Safeir of his malady, and that he has, as of yet, been unsuccessful. There are 17 days until the next full moon – which sounds a ways away but I think the time will past quite quickly. I hope he is successful. We must have arrived quite early, as we continue to wait for the Deacon. I spend my time tracing arcane figures in my head.
Eventually the Deacon approaches, and looks quite earnest when he says he is nervous about performing this test before us. And I thought he was the professional! But this rite has never been performed before, for all of these untold ages – seriously has anyone tried to establish a timeline on this? I will make a note to revisit this at a later date.
The Deacon then leads us towards the feet of the great statue of Pelor at the end of the nave, and he quietly mutters a word and moves his hand, and a stairway appears between the feet of the statue. As we descend the stairs I notice the air increasingly become warm and humid. Quite warm, in fact. Since it is approaching the winter solstice, I have not felt this temperature in many months. The stairs exit to a large open, circular chamber, that goes up as far as we can see. Within the chamber are 8 seats, and a podium with a large volume resting atop of it.
He asked us to disrobe. Buy me a drink first, Deacon! But, I follow his orders, as do the others. Johan opens a chest, and withdraws several items and rests them on the podium. They are:
- A cloth
- A pouch
- A white pipe
The Deacon himself looks confused – oh how I wish there was an expert in the room. He asks Leo’nel, of all people, for advice. Apparently he does know something (surprising since he skipped any education), and he identifies the substance within the pouch as Sphynx Feather, a powerful psychotropic drug of some kind. Sounds a bit more powerful than the leaf I used to partake in back in Underhill, as a child. Leo’nel says it offers intense mental clarity and guidance.
I swear it is getting hotter in here, and I’ve already taken off my clothes. What to do at this point? Beginning the ceremony, the Deacon loads this (very ornate) pipe, and holds the mouthpiece out to me. I take a lungful, hold it briefly, and exhale. It is quite a thick and acrid smoke, and burns a good deal, but I was able to smoke it without coughing like a novice. I immediately feel a sense of euphoria and relaxation. The deacon continues down the circle of chairs, allowing us each to take a drag of the pipe. As the deacon approaches Safeir, Johan questions if it is wise to allow Safeir to smoke considering his.. condition. The Deacon backhands Johan swiftly and powerfully – I wonder if this holy man has a past much different than we think.
As this is happening, I feel the drug take a stronger hold. I no longer feel relaxed. Maybe it is the gravity of the situation, but I feel quite anxious and I feel my heart rate begins to spike. The walls begin to flow like water – that is definitely an anomaly. The drug must be interfering with a portion of my brain responsible for vision. Suddenly – everything turns black, and my body is gone.
Where am I?
Am I alive?
What is I?
After spending and unknown amount of time in this state, my sense of self returns and I remember my name – Glim Ronrick “Felix” Hispos Winchworth. I still do not have a body, but I do have my brain. I could get used to this!
“Hello?” I call out into the dark.
A voice answered me. I will skip these details as they are quite personal, as is anything that a man says with his god. In the end, he told me to listen to my heart – and follow my fate. He also tells me that I am, worthy, stalwart, and a mark begins to burn into my chest. After some time, I wake.
We are all still in our chairs, and it appears to be daylight, which means some time has passed. Garil is quietly weeping. If his experience was anything like mine, he must have a very strenuous relationship with his god. Thankfully, Old Garl is like a friend to his grandchildren.
We realize that this mark has been emblazoned on all of us. The Deacon tells us that we must always cover this mark, and to tell no one. It is the mark of the Stalwart Knights, we are told. So the prophecy is real, and secrecy is paramount. Hm, perhaps I shouldn’t have written all of that. When I have time I will look into a method to store this journal outside of the Prime Material.
When I set out on my sabbatical, this is NOT what I had in mind.
Distracted by my thoughts, I am brought back by a loud exclamation from Mezla Mezla: “I’m a fuckin’ poet!” Quite.
We discuss among ourselves the next course of action. If we are fated to destroy Nhilos, where do we go? We decide to first stop by the Temple of Boccob, since it is so close, and see if there are any reports of nefarious outsiders. Then we will stop by The Square and look for any odd jobs around that might indicate to have something more than it seems.
We enter Boccob’s temple, and I step in front and approach a nearby acolyte, practicing his somatic movements. It looks like he was trying the motions for Resistance, and so I try to offer to help. They definitely don’t teach them here like they do at Walarth’s, poor lad. I ask if he can help with finding someone to aid us, and apparently with the Feud it is nigh impossible. We could hire someone to scry for us, but we don’t really know where to look or what to look for, so that will not help.
Some of the party wishes to buy some articles, and so we swing by the merchant quarter. Since my vision, I have decided to fight in the Feud, and so I also acquire a set of leathers to fight in.
We then head to The Square, and look for some jobs. There are a number, but one sticks out – hunting some evil or something inasmuch. We head to the Crimson Pipe to inquire. Thrash finds the interested party, and begins to speak with them about the job. I order a mug of ale – what a day! Thrash returns, and informs us that he has agreed for us to hunt and kill a vampire queen. What in the gods’ name was he thinking?! He even took a payment up front, so there is no reneging now. Although we may be able to use our lycanthrope’s might to fight her. I am definitely on Team Safeir.
Lastly, we want to make some bets on the Feud. “Why not” I think – I have nothing to lose since I have a good chance of becoming a thrall of this vampire. After asking around we discover there is a pair of halfling brothers that take bets. After finding their place of business, Freight Gate Inc., I enter to inquire.
Apparently betting is actually illegal, and so the extort a favor from us. They have a shipment in quarantine, and we must retrieve a few barrels of liquor from it. I will not bore you with the details, for this is a trivial matter at this point. We best the guard (eventually, but Mezla will tell you we did it immediately), and after some difficulty return with the barrels (Mezla would say it was easy, but let me tell you I almost drowned!)
I place bets on both Garil and Mezla Mezla to win the first round. Garil is a sound bet, and Mezla Mezla has great odds. No, I did not decide to bet on myself.
After this, we return to our respective inns and retire for the evening. And that is where I am now, in my room recording the previous days. What a strange turn of events this has all been. I will spend some time pouring over my spells, and my current research, and then turn in.