The Eldest Journal

From the Memoirs of Morken Mindus

Into the Mourngate

I hate the rain.

The first night.

It’s a miserable night. We went through into the final room of Mindus Tower. There were a horde of undead waiting for us, and a man wearing a theater mask commanding them. The room itself was pretty big, but it was dominated by two sarcophagi on raised platforms at the far end.

The others burst into action, beating the first wave of skeletons and zombies pretty badly. I managed to capitalize on this, once they were broken and bleeding. I don’t know if they had minds of their own, or if the man’s control had weakened once they got hurt and I managed to shake his will enough that they dropped out of his power, but we were able to move forward, beating fresh ones while the wounded dropped into pits or piles of bone.

Once we drew the man out, I waited for Yoshi to give me an opening and then unleashed on him. After the first exchange he had to fall back, but turned into some sort of wraith instead of a man. He ran through us, literally, and started raising back the undead we had already beat. The others cleared a path for us and re-opened the door. He still almost got away, but I managed to whip Yoshi out to the end of our chain, and Yoshi dropped him with one last blow.

Guy had a golden mask, like the porcelain ones we had seen before. It didn’t break when we took him down, which should’ve clued us in. We also snagged a red orb, some promising-looking robes, and a dagger that had seemed magical when he used it. We left to finish plundering searching the tombs, and when we came back in the room his body was gone. Guess reports of his death had been exaggerated.

Sarcophagi were locked with what we graverobbers adventurers describe as “standard issue puzzle locks.” Quickly foiled by our superior intellect. Mindus’ sarcophagous, assuming that’s whose it was, was empty. Elegance’s was not. In addition to the late lady’s remains were some items we needed for a slightly more intricate “second tier treasure storage scheme,” which upon our solution drained the necrotic cauldron in the other room, granting us access to a fine tiara and a jewelled necklace.

I had the bright idea that now that we’d completed our assigned task, and hence would shortly become dispensible to the honorable Fr. Faringray, we should act first to maintain the upper hand in any negotiations that were to take place. I sent the ranger we had met to lure Faringray back to the tower, and when he came in Yoshi and I got the drop on him. So there we are, him wrapped in our chain, my knife to his throat, I’m all set to lay it on thick and scare some information out of him, when I choke. I had just stared down a band of walking dead, but I flinched now, and Salazar saw it. He knew he was in control of the entire situation.

He calls my bluff and tongue-lashes me into submission. He then proceeds to outline the ways I’ve been a screw-up and a coward for the past thirteen years. I had passed the guild’s test; they wanted to be sure I was a thief, and not a killer. In my defense, I was just a kid and that was an asshole thing to do. I was convinced they would off me next, and I left town as quick as I could.

Benevolent as ever, he agrees to pretend we didn’t just have him at knife point. He set up rooms for us here at the Rusty Pelican to wait out this goddamn rainstorm, and we’d talk payment in the morning. I think Yoshi’s done drinking off Salazar’s tab, so we’re going to bed down now. I’m sure this’ll seem funny in the light of day.

The second night.

When I opened my eyes this morning, I didn’t see a beautiful sunbeam shining through the window. I didn’t hear the sounds of birds chirping. I didn’t smell the wet foliage after an evening rain. No, I was back in the bar. It was nighttime. We had just walked in the door. The hostess was telling us about their fresh meat and the specials. The twins were still playing Crazy 8’s in the corner, the same dwarf was getting loaded. It was last night again. This isn’t a metaphor. I’m not describing a nightmare now. We were stuck in the same hour of time.

It’s alright though. Yoshi and I tried to hit on this girl who had seen a rat, and we found something suspicious she was hiding under her bed. I’m sure she’s some cultist or something and it’s a magical gewgag that’ll get us out. We’ll wait until she goes downstairs tomorrow night after seeing the rat, then sneak in and grab it. Almost midnight now. We’re staying up just in case it’s sleeping that does the trick. Just a few more minutes now…

The third night.

We looted the sack under her bed. It’s a giant crystal hourglass, on a gold stand. The sand inside also appears to be flecks of gold. She came back while we were messing with it, and overpowered Yoshi, so we knocked her out. We’ll have Grimfield figure out how it works tonight, and tomorrow we’ll get it without her knowing. ... Grimfield says it’s not magical, not at all. Fu-

The seventh night.

ha ha ha ha ha. “I’m threatening you with violence!” Classic.

The eleventh night.

So much blood. Does it matter? Are they even real people, or just our imagination? No matter how often we kill them, they come back the next day.

The fifteenth night.

Hahaha. Bottle fights.

The eighteenth night.

Yoshi and I are going to make a break for it tomorrow. Soon as we wake up we’re running out to the stables, jumping on our horses, and riding for Vineyard. See if this curse can catch us there!

The twentieth night.

We didn’t make it to Vineyard. Synn met a cleric of Avandra yesterday. Why hadn’t we ever gone in that room before? He was so quiet and unobtrusive, I guess we assumed it was empty. I introduced myself, he seemed on the level. Guarded his door with a glyph of warding or something. We’ve made an outline of every event that happens without our interference. A few minor maladies occur. Mouse scares a girl. Waitress cuts her finger. Drunken dwarf makes a ruckus. We’re going to fix them all, in case some sort of divine being is watching for us to make things right.

The twenty-first night.

That didn’t work. Evilyn thinks we should just steal the golden hourglass, the dwarf’s blue smoke powder, and some of the potion of timelessness the bartender uses to keep his meat fresh, then run out of the place. It’s as good a plan as any we’ve had.

The twenty-second night.

It worked. Now I’m stuck in the rain.

Don’t know exactly what caused the time-warp, but whatever we did this time solved the problem. We were all feeling a little amped up. I had the idea of going to see the statue everyone’s talking about, the one of the “maiden.” It was still raining like mad, but it felt so good to exist after midnight that we didn’t care.

So we go to the statue. Big, larger than life, right where a lighthouse used to be when I was growing up. It’s still lit up, holding a light in its outstretched palm, so I could see her face plain as day despite the storm. It’s my mother. The people painted the story up a bit. They say she’s a widow now, not a prostitute. But I’m the son she came out every night to light a candle for. I always figured she had died in the goblin attacks ten years back, the poor never fare as well in those invasions as the rich do. But no, no she died waiting for me to come home, and they say the gods themselves were so inspired by her dedication they turned her into this statue.

Of course, it gets better. There’s a visible ring around the statue’s base, of bare earth. Anything that steps into it dissappears and never comes back. So, we threw the middle of the chain in. Nothing happened. Yoshi decides he’s going to make the jump. Poof. No more Yoshi. Except I’m still attached to the chain, which goes to the edge of the circle and dissappears, but I can’t pull it back. We dropped in one of our sending stones. Yoshi’s still there, on the other side. All he sees is darkness.

Salazar says he’s going to try and talk to the hermit wizard on our behalf. The others went back to their rooms in the inn, they’re all going to leave tomorrow morning. Leaving me here, in the rain. Evilyn brought me a tent, but the storm’s too bad to set it up, so I just sort of wrapped it around me. Can’t sleep, so I’ve been thinking.

Now, dear reader, is where I address you directly. In theater this is called breaking the fourth wall. I don’t know who you are precisely. Hopefully you’re one of my traveling companions, or Salazar, or the little tiefling boy. Get this to Salazar before he leaves, he’s rich.

It has become apparent to me that everything I do, I screw up. I tried to do the right thing when I was a boy, take a stand and save a life, and ended up abandoning the guild that had raised me, and leaving my mother to worry after me until she died. I tried to be free and see the world, and ended up chained to a fugitive noble in a foreign country. I tried to be selfish, steal some art, and buy my way out of this chain. I ended up helping to free enslaved artists and defeat a goblin army. Of course, when I tried to recover a magical artifact from the goblin death cult, I ended up delivering it to a group intent on world domination. I’m chained, cursed to never see the sun, and can’t move more than five feet away from a statue of my dead mother.

My point is this: If I get free from this, I’ll probably be in a worse situation inside of a week. Rescuing me is not a good use of our resources. It takes two months to get to the hermit, and two months back. Yoshi’ll probably be dead by then unless we can figure out how to get food water to him properly, without drowning him, so I’m the only one who stands to benefit from all of your efforts.

The Sapphire Covenant has the Eldest Journal. They’re going to destroy the world. Focus on that. I’m going into the Mourngate with Yoshi. If someone comes to weigh his soul, maybe I’ll be able to put my finger on the scale and help him out. If not, at least he won’t die alone.

Evilyn- I buried the loot. Use it to help your family. Don’t worry, I’m keeping the stuff from the Greenmarket. Our half of the sending stone is there though, keep in touch.

At least now I’ll be out of the rain.

I hate the rain.

Comments

Fantastic Andy! You know what? I think you should write a book. Yeah, a book. Forget this lawyer stuff :)

From the Memoirs of Morken Mindus
Jellydonut3

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