Feeling bright and chipper after a night spent outside, with the wind blowing through me, literally through me, another day dawned. Today is the day I will finally be free!
After breaking their fast, a mixture of scrambled eggs and pork sausages, The Firm started rooting around in the temple. Ronut, probably using his many years of experience as a stone expert, found a hidden staircase below one of the altars in the temple, and as usual, with no regard to my feelings I got sent down the stairs.
It’s not so bad really, I get some alone time, and except for the ridiculous zig-zag patterns I’m required to walk each time we get to a new room, I’m left mostly to my own devices. It was Leo who came up with the bright idea that if they made me walk out front, I would trigger any traps or ambushes and leave The Firm clear and safe. Even I had to admit that it was a good idea, sad that I was the one that had to walk out front, but still a good idea.
Slowly descending the stairs, I came upon a dark room filled with strange white cocoons. They were exactly the same as any fly containing spider made cocoon, with one important difference, they were enormous! After some serious deliberation, The Firm had Ronut use his axe to check the contents of one of the cocoons, and as it turned out, one of the newest members of The Firm had some friends tied up in said cocoons.
His name was Lungrin, or something like that, and he was a bit of a weirdo, singing to a rusty sword at night and even using the damn thing as a child might use a teddy come bed time. The idiots who left the party the previous day to go “scouting”, were also tied up in the cocoons. I felt a sense of excitement. Something bad is going to happen to the Bastard. Today is the day.
Moving through the room I noticed nothing special, except for the dank smell and the pools of stagnant water along the edges of the room. I finally took up position close to a door leading out of the room. At this precise moment, I heard a soft clacking sound and as I spun around to identify the source, a giant, and I mean huge spider came rushing out of one of the dark corners of the room. A brief but fierce skirmish later, my master unfortunately surviving yet again, the spider was dispatched and The Firm congratulated themselves on a job well done. The Firm freed the captives, the live ones anyway, and sent them up the stairs to guard the temple and recuperate after what must have been a long and relaxing rest, snugly nestled in soft silk, contouring to their bodies.
Commanded by my master to go through the door, I ended up in a narrow and dismally lit stone tunnel. The walls and ceiling dripped reeking stagnant water and the floor was covered in a dank slimy looking mold. I grit my teeth and started walking along the tunnel, finally reaching a set of stairs descending into the earth. Just as I reached the midway point on the stairs, I was set upon by a horde of what can only be described as seriously irate centipedes.
The Firm quickly backed up and started fighting the little critters with all they had. I must say the experience, right up to the point where Gindalf tried to set me on fire, was quite relaxing. The centipedes moved through me and with hundreds of little feet gently cleansed the rain and dust, which had accumulated due to criminal negligence on my master’s side, from my tired old bones. At one point in the fight, I had to laugh. The little critters were climbing all over Clyde, slowly digesting the bits of him they could reach.
The mighty heroes vanquishing the horde of centipedes took stock and realized that the only permanent damage was the loss of all of the pieces of clothing that I had acquired. My master once again sent down the stairs and along another passage, this one of a better build and much drier than the previous one. Passing a door to my right, I kept going and soon felt the kiss of a large and rusty blade, sliding with whispering death through one of my fore arms. “Brilliant” I thought as with a resigned sigh, I bent to pick up my pot with my remaining limb.
Stuffing my arm into the pot I turned around and went back to give a full report. “Aaaaaaaaoooorgh” I warned The Firm, but true to form, my master dismissed me with a wave of his hand. “No calcium of my bone” I thought.
The next part of the journey is a bit hazy. I attribute it to the fact that thanks to Lungrin the sword singer, my body was ripped asunder and gently chewed on by an enraged luggage. Yup, exactly what I meant enraged luggage. Who would have thought? But I get ahead of myself.
After spending what felt like an age looking at a non-descript stone door, The Firm finally got their collective balls together and opened it. Nothing happened. “It’s a Selune damned door!” I wanted to shout at them, but following past experience, I knew I was spitting into a storm of futility. Nobody ever listened to the guy who walked in front and did all the important scouting work. I mean, what does he know, he’s just a skeleton after all.
A large room greeted us and as I was aimlessly walking in circles on the dusty floor, my master bade me stand by one of the doors leading from the room. I took up position, amusing myself with the thought of some hapless soul ripping the door open and seeing me, it would surprise just about anybody. Pushing past me, Gindalf opened the door and as the door swung wide I was surprised, not by the guy, later established to be bandit seven, standing in front of me, but that the good people who lived in this room did not open the door when we first knocked.
Bandit seven then proceeded to try and stab me. I raised my pot and with a “thunk” squashed his skull back into his bony body. “That will teach you to mess with Frank the barkeep!” I shouted. It came out sounding similar to a cat that just got swallowed by a bird, but the intent was there, and with a shock I realised I could swear at my master and he wouldn’t know what I was saying. This day just kept getting better!
After a brief but intense fight, shortened by my master using his fell magic to good effect, The Firm stood victorious. A score or more of dead bodies, most of them probably good people that were caught in the vengeful backlash of the egomaniac I was serving. We spread out to investigate the surrounding rooms and my master bade me help the weird sword singer, Lungrin. That was fine by me. He was kind of nice, never having said a bad word to me. We proceeded to a small room with a strange wooden chest in it.
Now even I could see it was a bad idea, but the thought that whatever happened would also happen to my master, made it a slightly less moronic idea. I slowly extended my remaining arm to open the chest and just as my fingers touched the wood, it exploded into action. The next thing I knew I was lying around in about a hundred pieces. My skull stuck to the front of the chest, my new and improved wooden body attacked the Firm.
This was it! This was the break I needed to get even with my master. After chewing through and attaching to Lungrin and Clyde, I realised that my master was not around. I tried to storm out into the larger room where I had last seen him, but my new body would not follow my commands! All the fight left me then, a despondency so deep it threatened to drown my soul, sunk over me, and i lapsed into a contemplative silence. The chest, later identified by little Erin as a Mimic, being defeated left me just hanging around, waiting for either oblivion or rescue. Upon the sight of my master coming around the corner, being helped by Gindalf, my heart lifted in joy. Was it my imagination or did he look slightly flatter?
Something bad had happened to him. It hadn’t killed him but it was a start. He walked over to the various parts of me and after some time had me collected into one pile of bones.
He spent the next few hours, and I don’t know if you can appreciate the horror of this without seeing it, boiling some arm stew, and as I was slowly putting myself back together, he threw a couple of pristine new skeletal arms my way.
“Put those on so we don’t have the same problem of you not doing your part like you did in this last fight. And don’t even try and tell me it’s because you had a missing arm” he said to me. Like I could just add a couple of arms to my extremely well proportioned body. But, giving it my best shot, and through the use of some twine and binding wire, I placed the arms on either side of my body. “Great” I thought. Now I have some transplanted from a random other person arms. “Great plan you evil Bastard” I said to my master. I decided to carry a sword and club in addition to the pot I held. Gindalf the magic midget gave me a wondrous sword. One of the most beautiful pieces of metal my eyes had ever beheld. I bowed my head to the little one, and promised a boon, even if my life had to be forfeit to repay the gift that he gave me. One day he would need my help, and on that day Frank the barkeep will deliver such ferocity upon his enemies, they will slink away in fear and go and hide behind their wives skirts. Gindalf had earned my everlasting gratitude, which in my case was eternal.
That was it for that day. It seems even The Firm can have enough of carnage and mayhem. They retreated up the stairs to the temple entrance and set up camp, but I’m too depressed to say where I had to stay the whole night, it was horrible…