Entry – 11
I’m going to have nightmares about last night for a long time…
This journal probably saved all of our lives. I had just finished my last entry, and had yet to fall asleep, when I heard the vines that covered the window starting to move. I glanced over, and saw a slender white hand slipping in the window as the vines withdrew from it. I nudged Marcus awake immediately, and he began rousing the others. We all began training weapons on the window, but by that time, the hand had gone. We told Tala, our new elf friend, to go check out the window, but just then, a small bird fluttered in and landed on the floor near Marcus, making him jump. He almost put an arrow into the thing and looking back in hindsight, I wish he had. The bird hopped over to the door and opened it. No cube; just pecked it and the vines slid back. Then four of those black-cloaked, Half-Dead creeps stalked into our room.
It was all happening too fast. I grabbed my pack, uttered a quick shout of “Window!” to everyone and jumped out. As soon as I hit the ground, I started hearing fighting. Within seconds, Raine and Banshee came leaping out the window. They both started running, and in the next second Marcus, and another Banshee cam leaping out. Tala came tumbling after them and I informed Marcus that Banshee had already come and gone. Just then, we saw the black-cloaks at the window and holding “Banshee” at arrow point, we ran after Raine and the other Banshee. This is getting almost as confusing to write as it was to figure out while I was there…
We made our way to the graveyard before stopping. We had two identical Banshees, each claiming to be the real one. We tried several tests, including taking the speech collar from both Banshees and having each speak Abyssal in order to determine if one necklace was fake. This test didn’t work. To make things worse the black-cloaks had caught up with us. We all began to run again when Marcus called for me to speak in Elven. I shouted back that he was paranoid, in elven. He understood me and pointed at the Banshee in front of me shouting “That one!” I acted instinctively, and sunk both of my blades into the Banshee in front of me, twisting as I yanked the blades out and tearing great gashes on the way. Raine had summoned up a fog, and we all ran into it. As soon as we were out of sight, we spun on our heels and set a quick trap.
The black-cloaks came tearing after us, and I quickly eviscerated the first before he had a chance. Raine summoned vines to entangle the rest, and Marcus began to shower them with arrows. Banshee then shot missiles at Marcus and had an animal attack me. We had picked the wrong Banshee… Marcus turned and engaged the shape-changer while Tala, Raine and myself continued to attack the black-cloaks. We cut down two more, and started hearing guards coming behind us. The shape-changer fled when it heard this, several arrows sticking out of it.
The guards arrived and helped us finish off the last black-cloaked Half-Dead. We explained what had happened, and agreed to go with them to the guardhouse in order to get some facts straight. It appeared that Marcus had been building up some credit with them that made our story very believable. On our way back, we saw Banshee standing with some guards. She was alive, but didn’t have a scratch on her. I almost couldn’t speak I was so relieved. I don’t know what I would have done if I had been responsible for killing one of my companions in cold blood… Though we still aren’t sure how she is alive. For now, we are all just happy she’s fine.
After talking with the guards, we discovered that only a druid could manipulate those vines… And the druids were responsible for purifying the water.
It was time for us to go visit the druids.
We arrived at their grove with a full accompaniment of guards (probably the first and last time that many guards would be present and not trying to arrest me,) and roused the druids. We began to interrogate them, and found that only brother Maynard was responsible for purifying the water. He also took regular nightly walks into the city, one of which had been tonight, and that he had been gone for a long time recently learning a new druid skill. He was our most likely suspect, so I set him up to see if he was a liar. I asked his former master what had transpired during his last lesson, before he had left to learn the bear’s form. His master told me a very memorable story of him finding an injured raven, and nursing it back to health. Brother Maynard told me a crap story about loving the All-mother and being inspired by bears.
Congratulations! We have our creep.
He apparently figured the jig was up, and in the blink of an eye, a small bird had replaced brother Maynard. I took a swing and missed, and Marcus shot and missed as well. Then, out of nowhere, a large falcon snatched the bird out of the air and brought it back to the old druid I had talked to before.
A wizard was summoned while we kept the Doppelganger under our blades, and after being enchanted to remain in its true form, it was taken away by the guards to be interrogated. The night was over for us.
Over the next day, we found out that the creature had been Geased so it couldn’t give any truly useful information before it died. They did find out, however, that it had found out Marcus’s interest in the water problem and had been stalking us. When it feared we were getting too close, it got some reinforcements, and planned to wipe us out in the night. Now the elven city is safe again, at least to our knowledge. We can pick up our scrolls tomorrow and hopefully start our journey to the crater. I can only pray we never encounter anything that can wear a friends face again… I don’t know if I’ll have the courage to strike.
- Justin D’moore