Strange Aeons

The Account of Dragoslav Lazarus Randici: When plans go awry

Arodus 27. Early afternoon.

We spoke to the Sleepless Agency about combat training. Both Theron and I needed to train for the challenges to come. The fight with the barbarians proved that.

Most of us went off on our own for the rest of the day. I prayed at the chapel, to Desna mainly, but also to Pharasma. I wish doing so brought comfort, but alas.

After returning my key to Deena at the inn, I decided to eat dinner there. I felt bad for the events that happened and for the lack of income for us not staying there. Also, the food wasn't bad. Yusei was there as well. He went to clean the rooms.

Toward the end of the meal, Theron and Argo showed up concerned that we would be out after dark. It wasn't dark yet, of course, but I understand the concern. The worst case of sticking together would be foiling an assassin that wasn't coming. The awkwardness from the other patrons had worn thin on me so I finished eating and Theron and I headed back to Sleepless.

We slept.

Arodus 28. Morning.

Breakfast was served. Hassock had already arrived, clearly shaken. He said Wynzo was back though I found that hard to believe. He was reduced to two organs in an urn and we already knew of multiple creatures that could take on our likenesses if they wanted to. But he brought Meg back and Sleepless was all too happy to welcome their comrade, if horrified by the missing fingers and ear.

Hassock's House. Morning.

Wynzo was there. An imposter would probably not go through the trouble of bringing Meg back, but we grilled him anyway, producing multiple questions only he should know. We settled on accepting the impossible. With all the horrors and evils surrounding us, it's nice to know there are forces of good to assist us as well. The sheer terror of what we've seen may even outweigh the miracles of our returned friends, particularly if they come back with a price.

Wynzo looked different. Like he was struck with consumption or some other ailment. His face was sunken, skin a bit more pale. Maybe his experience aged him. We brought him back to Sleepless so we could all have some comfort from food and company.

The discussion quickly turned to fighting the creatures of the cave. I wasn't quite sure how to feel about it, but with the roads all but impassable due to these monsters, it seemed like it might be necessary. Plus, vengeance is a strong desire to ignore.

Church House. Morning.

Theron suggested we talk to Meg before seeking the cave. She was in rough shape. She told us there were three hags, each different from the other. This complicated things. One monster would be a challenge. Three might lead to death for us all. The strength of our foes makes it all the more important to defeat them, but—I'm not sure we can. We decide to let them be. For now.

Argo then asked Winter to have a word alone. He's never been the best in conversation so we all accepted his unusual request. We should have been wary. He was asking if she could stop him from turning into a ghoul. Apparently, whatever evil force rested in the asylum got to him and was slowly turning him undead. On top of that, he'd been feasting on the flesh of our enemies. Any time he took samples for his alchemy, he was really gathering food.

I felt deja vu, from when I found I could trust nobody. Argo was one of the least trustworthy at the time. Maybe I was right to doubt my companions. Could this happen to others? I hope not and I hope even more if never happens to me. We spoke for a time and none of us could come with a way to fix Argo. Not yet anyway.

The rest of the day was mostly uneventful. We discussed our next steps. With the cave being ruled out, that led back to our previous target: the fort. We knew it contained numerous undead and an ooze monster. Judging back their control of the parapets and the layout of the fort, I suspected they had control of a good portion of it, if not all of it.

Yusei was convinced the Constable was not in on it. He hoped she was a normal person caught in an unfortunate circumstance. He suggested she could be fighting against the monsters within, doing her best to help the town and not letting any innocents within. The rest of us disagreed. We couldn't imagine a circumstance where she wasn't in it. We didn't even know for sure it was the constable. Not with kelpies and doppelgangers and who-knows-what lurking around this town. Still, we relented to the idea of speaking to her before making any rash decisions. She suggested we come back to see if she needed supplies after three days and tomorrow marked that day.

Arodus 29. Morning.

After a brief chat with Winter, we decided to go to the fort. I felt nervous. I prepared spells I thought would be helpful, but my magic feels all too limited with the dangers we face.

The fort appeared the same as always. The undead weren't out, at least not that we could see from the ground. We approached the door, still discussing exactly how things should go. Yusei knocked and spoke to the Constable. Things went south quickly.

She not only kept the door closed, but didn't even open the hatch to see us. She said they didn't need supplies and told us to go away. Yusei then made a gesture at Wynzo suggested it was his turn. Wynzo just shrugged. We all anticipated Yusei was going to speak to the Constable about the undead and the ooze and he suggested the night before. Instead, we stood awkwardly and I had to try to talk to her.

There was no response. Not with words. Arrows began coming out of the port holes and I immediately regretted coming to the door in the first place. We tried bashing down the door and burning it but it's the heavily reinforced door of a fort and unlikely we could do any real damage while being fired upon. We also heard ballistae being put into positions above.

With things going sideways, we took a turn for the side of the fort that is least dangerous, all the while being fired upon by crossbow and ballista bolts. I turned into a bird and dropped a rope down for the others to climb up. It shouldn't have been too hard, but it was raining. I didn't know for sure if everyone would be able to make the climb. I also found myself flanked by a skeleton warrior and an ooze. It was not an ideal situation.

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