From the Diary of the Cleric: Silver Mount Session 20

Entries are sporadic, but this is the first log of a ToEE adventure that somehow turned into an Expedition to the Silver Mount.  You can find it here.


Rogues Gallery

  • The Rogue – Giselle der Gauner (character #2, pervious character was Mirka the Rogue)
  • The Monk – Augusta “Tof” Bamberger and her henchmen Elmo the Ranger and pet pug General Puggins.
  • The Druid – Lilie the Elf and her henchmen Wolfram and animal companion Fuyuko the white wolf.
  • The Knight – Lintelfaden Toshcobble, squire of Rufus the Bold.
  • The Fighter – Fencil (Character #2, previous character was a cleric) and his henchmen Zof the Jarhead Wizard.
  • The Ranger – Bustov Daman and his animal companion The Mou-Mou Bird (bloodthirsty sparrow).
  • The Wizard – Boris the Jaws-Dodger.
  • The Cleric – Lorenz Brandt (character #2), the scribe.

Session 20 Recap

Halfway to the manufactorum, the party pushed on to level 4. Lorenz was starting to think that constantly heading through a space station to ‘get weapons’ was not the best idea but the team begged to differ. Only Gisella knew exactly what she wanted from the manufactorum, the others were coming for weapons, Bustov especially, without really knowing what they wanted. Even so, he enjoyed their company and it beat staying alone in a small room.

  “What is that?” Lilie gagged, holding her breath.

  Two corpses of adventurers lay dead in the middle of the hallway, overcome by rot and infestation akin to that of the veggiepygmies. Unsightly and putrid, this was what would become of those who wandered through here unprepared.

  “Well they’re weak,” Bustov laughed. He began to flex and display his superior might to dead people. “Nothing like me at all!”

  Augusta searched her adventurers kit for torches. “I think I can burn them before it spreads.”

  Lorenz, confidently brandishing the thermal blade, strutted towards the corpses and prepared to ignite them. “UNITY already has their souls logged in her infinite library, it’s best to cleanse the-”

  A burst of toxic gas blinded him as two tiny veggiepygmies crawled out of the corpses, screeching as they did so. Tripping over themselves and the mold, they scampered away, screeching as they did so. Without missing a beat, Augusta crushed one as Bustov shot down the other, turning them into stains of mold.

  The cleric continued to cough until Bustov was able to cleanse him of the toxic fumes that attacked from the inside, cursing the infestation to UNITY’s precious station the whole time. He was promptly silent as an entire mouthful of berries were shoved into his mouth along with a tart.

  “Healing or something,” Bustov nonchalantly explained, conjuring more berries. “How many can you fit in your mouth?”

  The overdose of berries actually held healing properties and Lorenz recovered, albeit uncomfortably, and they pushed open the door to the next room; level 4. It was akin to the hallways on level 2; abundant with greenery like a garden, flowers sprouting from the grass or the trees, and vines snaking throughout the room and walls. But the grass here was cut and the bushes were trimmed, it was well maintained unlike the other floor. A synthetic voice and song was playing as they entered that echoed throughout the room. The most noticeable fact was the birds lying dead everywhere.

  “They’re not robotic,” Gisella analysed. “They’re organic birds…”

  A metal stomping snapped their attention and they turned to see a massive robot slowly approaching them. If they had to guess it could be the gardener of the room. Its long arms reached nearly down to its feet, one had a buzzsaw in place of a hand. It stopped just short of the party and scanned, methodically going through each and every party member.

  It completed a scan of Bustov, a human. “Intruder alert. Identify.” He moved on and began to scan the halflings and elf. “Intruder alert. Anonymous lifeform detected. Capture and detain.” It finally scanned the autumn colour veggiepygmy that Bustov kept with him. “Weeds detected. Initiate defoliant protocol.”

  “Identify?” Lorenz asked, revealing his holy symbol of UNITY. “What other identification do you-”

  “Denied,” the robot interrupted.

  “D-Denied?!”

  Bustov stretched a little before revealing his platinum palm disc. “It seems you need someone with platinum identification!”

  “Name,” the robot ordered.

  “Name…?” Bustov echoed, searching his mind for a random name. Then, looking proud, he replied with such baseless confidence, it was almost convincing. “Samuel!”

  “‘Samuel’ not in the database. Capturing and detaining. Summon law enforcement agencies.”

  “Samuel?” Fensal repeated. “That’s the name you used? Why not El-ron, the name of the young master?”

  Bustov shook his head and completely ignored the robot. “Your name is Pencil, Samuel is a great name next to yours!”

  He was knocked down as the robot threw a large metal block at his chest. It opened up, moved above and below Bustov, and created bars of force to lock him into place. It trapped the veggiepygmy he kept and a hose snaked down to fire at point blank range, turning the pygmy to mush as she was flooded by the poisonous liquid.

  Floating knives controlled by Gisella’s telekinesis struck at the robots weak points with perfect accuracy. The joints, eyes, hinges at its neck or legs; if it wasn’t hidden behind thick plates of steel she could target and pierce it. Before anyone could engage it, a bolt of lightning streaked from Lilie’s fingertips, shocking the robot and forcing it back as the electricity coursed throughout its body. Elmo and Wolfram fought in tandem as Augusta…

  “Oww…” she murmured, shaking her wrist after punching it. “That hurt me more…”

  Fensal’s shot bounced right off the steel plates. “Other than magic, physical attacks aren’t making a dent.”

  But steel armour meant nothing as Lorenz’s thermal blade sliced through with ease, melting even nigh unbreakable skymetal. “Do not worry! It is nothing UNITY’s divine weapon cannot handle!”

  “Hmm…” Gisella rested on the robot’s shoulder and tapped on its back, trying to find any circuitry she could cut with her knives. “I don’t think I can shut it off…”

  The robot’s long arms allowed it to reach her with ease, slamming her against its back and grappling her. It prepared to slam her into the ground and at the other party members. It pulled back and was ready to strike.

  “Can I shoot a lightning bolt?” Lilie asked Gisella.

  “Ow,” she muttered, trying to pry herself out with her mind powers. “You’ll hit me…”

  “I think you’ll be fine! Lorenz can heal you, right?”

  She let loose another bolt and it pierced straight through, a deafening peal of thunder ringing throughout the room. Short circuited, its internal components were fried and it dropped to the floor, exploding upon impact. Bustov and Lilie rushed over to heal Gisella before her wounds could get any worse, patting down her spiked hair from the shock.

  Bustov sweeped the remains of his beloved veggiepygmy, creatively naming her autumn, and poured them into a small bag. “I think if we go back, we can reincarnate her. It might work for plants, she has a soul.”

  Lorenz tapped the skymetal cage and sat on it, activating the heat blade. “I’m gonna carve you out, move your head so I don’t melt it.”

  As he was slicing through the cage, careful not to disintegrate his friend’s head, another heavy machine could be heard in the distance. It was moving fast and heading straight for them; the law enforcement agencies. The bronze robot crushed the bushes in its path, plowing straight through and damaging the wildlife with every weighted step. A whole in its hand opened and a baton slid out, dangerously sparking with electricity. Its one eye scanned the room, and matched the party with information in its database. It froze when it saw Lorenz breaking Bustov out of the cage.

  “I can, uh, close the cage?” Lorenz stuttered. “It’s not that big of a hole, just halfway down the… That’s really big.”

  The bronze robot began to sprint for him and the whole room vibrated with every step, a deafening echo as metal crashed against metal. It barely missed Lorenz as he hid behind the cage but it dented the skymetal with its heavy blow. The damage to the cage was too great and the force bars deactivated, vanishing and freeing Bustov.

  “I’m free!” Bustov exclaimed. “I think I can take over this thing’s body with my new power and we can shut it down! I just need to-!” He tapped the side of the robot and nothing happened. But he did grab the robot’s attention. “Uh, take over? How do I use this ability again?”

  A single blow to the head concussed him and the shock of the baton forced him to his knees, coursing through his body. Before it could continue to detain him, Wolfram blocked the blow and tried to force it back. But its weight was immense and he could hardly push it with all his strength even with Elmo’s help.

  “Should I, should I not…” Augusta murmured. “I really don’t want to but… here goes!” She punched the robot and felt the shock of the impact course throughout her body. It didn’t even realize that she was there. “Oww! I need a weapon when fighting these things!”

  Boris and Fensal barraged the enemy with missiles of whirling starlight or bullets, one clearly more effective than the other, and were able to deal real damage to it. But something moved across the robot’s body, sliding up its arm and head and repairing the damage with ease. All they did was garner its attention.

  Lorenz flooded Bustov with healing, easing the pain of the shock and concussion. “Get up, I need you to stop that thing!” His eyes seemed to glow thinking about robots. “I can get materials out of it! Springs and bolts and wires to make my own bot! So stop it before Lilie blows it up just like with RO-Z!”

  “Alright!” Bustov conceded, not sure where the robot obsession suddenly came from. “I’ll give it another go!”

  The results were outstanding. Just as before, Bustov lost control of his own body, trading it for domination of the robot. It took time for him to get familiar with the new shell, the feeling of being made of metal was indescribable. He flexed his fingers, scanned the party, and dropped the baton; he was in full control.

  “Nice!” Lorenz cheered. “Now don’t start blowing things up! I’m talking about you two, Boris and Lilie!”

  Lintelfaden hopped out of her space marine suit and began to analyse the robot with Lorenz, searching for a way to shut it down. Bustov tried to guide them, guessing what could be the power source, but it was difficult to understand technological weapons let alone human-sized robots. But, working together, they found an extremely confusing box within the robot, multiple wires and bright lights interweaving with each other.

  “Just click one,” Lorenz suggested, proving his superior intellect.

  “Do you want to break it?” Lintelfaden asked. “No, this needs a delicate touch… I’ve dealt with fine linen before, thinner strings, threading them through a needle-”

  “Flick the off switch.”

  “Oh, true.”

  The lights simultaneously switched off one by one and the robot fell limp to the floor. Bustov returned back to his body in the nick of time to avoid being ‘turned off’, knowing full well that if the body he takes over dies, he could die as well. But it was a job well done, the robot was shut down and in nearly pristine condition.

  Bustov interrupted Lorenz as he rushed over to pick it apart. “We have a slight problem. All of us here, everyone in this team, are targeted by these robots. And this model was known as a Mark I; we could fight one much, much deadlier.”

  Lorenz ignored the incoming danger. “More parts the better. Now we just have to haul this thing out of the space station to that world you guys come from. Hmm, I really need a place to store these parts.”

  Augusta clapped her hands, brightening with an idea. “We can bring the robot to the storehouse and then go meet Shen! He had new wares last time I went there and one of them was a bag of holding. Could help us in the long run!”

  The next hour was spent hauling the MK I all the way back up to level 1. It took 4 of them as well as Gisella’s full telekinesis to lift it off the ground, all the while Lorenz led the way, giddy with the thought of being able to dismantle an entire robot. Luckily they didn’t run across any more MK I or things could have gotten rough, they hardly put a dent in the one they were carrying, meeting another worried them.

  Lorenz had only seen level 2, never going up or down, content in his little room which Bustov and Fensal had found him in. Although everyone was completely fine meeting up with a gnome with ridiculous hair as if he had just been struck by a lightning bolt. Stroking his goatee, he completely ignored the party, used to their coming and going from his lab. It was filled with containers and vials filled with things only he knew, concoctions and vats with strange liquid, brains in jars neatly lines up on top of stacks of books; he seemed to navigate the cluster with ease, using magic to summon what he wanted.

  “Kwalish!” Bustov called.

  “Always a loud mouth,” Kwalish sighed. “Do not shout in the lab.”

  He was presented with the foliage remains of the veggiepygmy Autumn. “You’re a powerful wizard, surely you can reincarnate her back to life.”

  Kwalish stared in disbelief at the remains. “You want me to reincarnate a bag of carpet sweepings?”

  “Carpet sweepings? What? Well, yes, but this is my friend!”

  “Was your friend!” He turned back to his stack of books and began flipping through them. “Go ask a cleric or something, wasting geniusness on this!”

  “We do have a cleric but he kinda sucks.”

  “Hey!” Lorenz snapped, not expecting to be caught in the crossfire.

  Kwalish pointed towards the brains in jars. “And remember to come back here and get me android bodies for these two or I’ll eject them!”

  “Who are they again?” Lorenz asked. He was slightly confused why they needed UNITY’s precious android bodies for brains. “They need bodies?”

  A lightbulb went over Fensal’s head. “Don’t mind them, they’re just nobodies.”

  The way back down to earth was beyond them yet surprisingly simple to use. They would enter an empty room and, at the flick of a switch, they would be absorbed into light itself and beamed straight back down to the ground. There they would rematerialise back into living beings as if nothing ever happened; no momentum, no rush, it didn’t even feel like they moved yet here they were.

  Yet another unbelievable, sleek and blue convention awaited them that was known as the ‘Bubble Car’. It was a car that ran across a predetermined path, moving at blinding speeds to take them over cities and mountains within hours. For how impossibly fast it was going, the scenery flashing before their eyes before they could take it in, they couldn’t feel the supersonic speed within the safety of the bubble.

  “So you guys don’t live near the space station?” Lorenz askes, struggling to absorb the first sites of the world. “Or… near the tractor beam that takes you up and down?”

  “No, we live in Hommlet,” Gisella explained. “Weeks away from the space station, or where the beam is, but only a few hours with the bubble car.”

  Lilie and Bustov argued over the music playing in the car, constantly changing it to suit their vastly different tastes.

  “Your music is horrible!” she complained, changing it once more.

  Bustov switched it back. “Driver picks the music!”

  “This thing drives itself!”

  It really did take a few hours. The bubble car began to slow as it neared the remains of a crashed spaceship, gently and slowly coming to a complete stop at a landing pad. They were locked in the car until it landed and unlocked the doors automatically. The doors opened up and the party was allowed to step out; a swift and safe flight, surreal and breathtaking.

  Hommlet was nothing special, a very normal village, but it was still stunning to Lorenz. His first village he had to contain his wonder from bursting at the seams, trying to understand why anyone would choose to live in wood and brick houses instead of solid, steel stations. The blacksmith hammering away instead of machines and welding tools confused him the most, his work was slow and seemed arduous, why not let a robot handle such grueling work? Quickly moving along, the white building in the distance served as a landmark and the church and Bustov wasted no time asking the cleric for a reincarnation.

  “I need a reincarnation!” Bustov exclaimed, barging straight into the church.

  “You’re back again?” the priest sighed. “This service isn’t cheap.”

  “I know, I know.” He pulled out the bag of the defoliated veggiepygmy. “I have funds, it’s alright.”

  The priest shook his head. “This is worth over 900 pieces of gold for charity purpo-”

  Another heavy sack was shoved into his hands. “Right here, thanks.”

  While the priest performed the ritual, it was decided that they would give Shen another visit to check his new wares. A seller of magic items, it seemed the man could easily obtain high-level weapons or armour from anywhere around the world. From cultures they had never dreamed of to even technological items, he had it all. The only warning he had at the front of his shop was that everything he had was… lightly used.

  “Where’s this Shen guy?” Lorenz asked.

  Augusta pointed away from the city. “At a place called Nulb, he set up shop there. We’re just waiting for Bustov then we’ll head off.”

  Lorenz giddily glanced over his shoulder. “Can we take the bubble car?”

  Fensal shook his head. “It has a determined path, we can’t take it out.”

  “I want you all to meet Autumn!” Bustov presented.

  Beside him stood an elf woman of breathtaking beauty, gold-red hair flowing down to her hips, matching the new short dress that was bought for her. She nervously followed Bustov, hiding behind his shoulder, but she was much taller than him; he was hardly up to her ear. Clearly confused, she would glance at the party and meet their stares, then quickly hide behind Bustov again.

  “T- That was the… veggiepygmy?” Boris stuttered.

  “Reincarnation is so random,” Augusta chuckled.

  “Apparently she’s known as an Eladrin?” Bustov tried to remember. “A better elf than Lilie.” He pulled out a backup bow and a quiver for arrows. “And now that she’s here, Autumn is coming with us!”

  “Huh?” Lorenz sputtered. “She probably still thinks and acts like a veggiepygmy!”

  Bustov turned to see Autumn staring at the sun, confused why she was still hungry even after ‘photosynthesizing’. “She’ll be fine! I’m a great teacher for my daughter here!”

  Just like that, Bustov had adopted Autumn into the party. He gave her a bow and arrow and taught her what he knew as they headed off to Nulb. The vast, verdant plains allowed her to shoot wildly, which she did, arrows flying everywhere and aim was out the window. Augusta caught a stray arrow that was ‘aimed’ for her head; either she didn’t have the skill to fight or Bustov wasn’t a great teacher. Even so, they didn’t give up once all the way to Nulb, Shen’s Emporium to be exact.

  They entered the shack and caught Shen painting eyes on rocks, hundreds of them, all identical to the last. He stroked his long goatee, cocked his head to one side, and continued to paint.

  “Welcome! Come in!” he greeted without turning around. “I will be with you in just a moment!”

  He placed the rock on the counter that sold magic items and put a price tag on it labeling it the ‘Rock of Detection 2.0’. He did the finishing touches to the rock, pulled up another six and pulled them into a neat pile, then put up a limited time 1 for 7 deal for only 500 gold.

  “What can I help you with today, my reliable customers?” he asked, rubbing his hands together. “Why, we have only the finest of lightly used magic items here at Shen’s Emporium!” He turned to Augusta, tapping her on the shoulder. “Hello my pupil, working hard I see? How are the pinions you bought?”

  Augusta, remembering the steel pinions fashioned like swords, shook her head. “I’ll… wait a bit before I use your cursed magic items. I don’t know where you got-”

  Shen heavily exaggerated his gasp, placing his hands over his mouth. “How… dare you! Cursed?! Only the finest of lightly. Used. Magic items in pristine condition are sold here!”

  The reward far outweighed the risk of a terrible curse, and a few offers were much too good to pass up. A belt with the face of a smiling oni, a hyper-advanced bodysuit that served as an exoskeleton, scimitars fashioned like a devils forked tongue, a sparkling crystalline rapier; his wares were endless and all discounted because of loyalty perks.

  “Don’t you have a bag of holding?” Lorenz asked. “A bag that… holds things? Apparently?”

  Shen pulled the bag off the wall and ran his hand across the fine linen. “Only the ffffinest! Cheap, 500 gold, for such artistry and convenience!”

  “The bag costs as much as 7 rocks,” Fensal muttered in disbelief.

  “I hear you, ranger, and of course! These are rocks of detection 2.0, nothing like the one you have, and for seven of them nonetheless.” He took the gold from Lorenz and handed off the bag. “Pleasure doing business with you.”

  Fensal crossed his arms and shook his head. “How can you upgrade such a legendary magic item like the rock of detection?”

  Shen bowed his head, feeling dismayed. “You’re right, I cannot upgrade them, even if they do have eyes.” He picked up all seven rocks and hurled them out the window. “Alright, does anyone else want something?”

  Within moments, the party eagerly grabbed up multiple lightly used magic items, coughing up the coin for power. Shen was so impressed at the party’s loyalty to his emporium that he brought out multiple black handkerchiefs from the back rooms. Unfolding them one by one, they turned out to be massive sacks, nothing but darkness within, yet begging for them to reach inside.

  “I shall open a new service as part of your loyalty perks,” he explained. “10 gold for a grab! Stick your hand in and pull out something amazing! Come on, give Pot Luck a try!”

  He made a killing off the party. Unfortunately, Lorenz had spent all of his personal funds on his share of an entire robot and then the bag of holding. One person stuck their hand in and pulled out a bottle of darkness, beady eyed ghosts whirling within. 10 more gold? Another tried their luck and pulled out a small ship in a bottle. Another a small steel cube, and then a yellow crystal followed by a golden toy gauntlet that wasn’t even magical. Shen was flipping through a spare notebook in his hand complete with pictures, reading what every item the party pulled out was.

  Lintelfaden pulled out an entire spear, embroidered with crystals for flash. “What is this…?”

  “I don’t know!” Shen laughed, flipping through his notebook. “Erm, ah! A chaos spear! Well done, you got a chaos spear!”

  “But what does it do?”

  “There isn’t a DM Guide for this stuff, figure it out!”

  “What’s a… DM Guide?”

  Shen ignored the question as Lilie was next up for the Pot Luck. She handed him her 10 gold and prepared for a wild grab. To her surprise, he pulled away from her and closed the bag.

  “10 gold…?” Shen muttered. “That’s not enough.”

  She scratched her head, hesitant to give him more money. “Isn’t that the price?”

  “Ahaha, no sweetie, it’s 12 gold!”

  “Wasn’t it-?”

  “Nope, 12 gold, always has been, where did 10 come from?”

  She coughed up the extra two pieces and reached inside, pulling out another jar of swirling wraiths. ‘Jar of Nightmares’ Shen called it. Lilie was hesitant to keep it considering Bustov already had one and, knowing him, he would definitely open it. Giving him the chance of opening two was dangerous.

  “Um… Maybe I can get money from this…” she murmured, thinking about her options.

  “I’ll buy it for 2 gold!” Shen offered with a sly smile across his face.

  She caved in and gave it back to him; giving it to an unknowing innocent could have worse consequences than Bustov intentionally breaking it. At least they could handle what may come out.

  Shen took the jar, threw it back into the Pot Luck bag, and offered it to someone else. “12 gold! Any takers?” He reached for another handkerchief and unrolled it. “Or perhaps 15 for premium choices!”

  The premium bag had more useless, but amusing magic items. A shrinking cube, a candle that they couldn’t light, a mirror that would show the… back of the person’s head? And of course, an entire other chaos spear from the new choices. The amount of profit Shen was making was unbelievable but he wasn’t about to stop them.

  “But wait, there’s more!” he interrupted. “For 20 gold you can reach into the premium-premium bag! Try your luck!”

  Augusta shook her head, only forking over 15 gold. “Just the premium bag, please.”

  She reached inside and pulled out a wax candle, gooey and sticking to her hands, already lit. She blew out the light to stop it from melting, unsure why it was burning within the Pot Luck bag.

  Shen licked his finger and turned the page to his notebook. “A troll candle!”

  “Does it do anything special?” she asked.

  “Troll candle!”

  They had to cut their losses before they went completely broke on Shen’s oddities, including doubles of some items. Not that they weren’t thankful, he had some useful magic items and even some items they pulled out of the Pot Luck could be useful. They made some speculation as they headed to the market to sell a few of their items, the ship in the bottle could be useful, the chaos spears could come in handy and the-

  “Nightmare bottle!” Bustov laughed. “Who wants me to open this?”

  “Don’t you dare!” Lilie reprimanded.

  He pulled out a set of dice. “I got these out of the Pot Luck bag. Now we can make decisions easily! If it’s even I’ll open it, Odd and I’ll wait a day.”

  Before it finished rolling, Fensal picked it up and threw it back to Bustov. “Not now, alright? Don’t open it.”

  Lorenz whispered in Bustov’s ear. “Open it when we fight a real tough enemy, just throw it at them.”

  While everyone else was laughing or arguing about their new oddities or magic items, Gisella was already in town, looking for information about any changes to the elemental cults. Being in a space station looking for weapons had its downsides, they were trading possible power for precious time. Luckily, it was discovered that the Elemental Cults slowed themselves down with infighting, a power struggle between the four elements. But that isn’t to say things weren’t changing, cultists were walking around in Nulb and, as long as they listened to the laws, there wasn’t a reason to attack them on the spot.

  One of the townsfolk pointed towards a tower in the distance, a ball of flame hovering at its zenith. “The fire cultists have taken over that tower over there, showed up and now that tower burns throughout the night.”

  That night, Gisella explained the situation about the fire cultists and the tower. They wanted to take it back and felt they had to so they could stop the elemental cults while also having enough time to find the Manufactorum. The plan was simple, very simple, so simple there was absolutely no depth to it and nobody questioned it until early in the morning as they prepared to infiltrate the tower.

  “So what’s next?” Lorenz asked, still trying to wrap his head around the threat of the elemental cults. “We attack the tower?”

  Fensal nodded his head. “We need to take it away from them.”

  “Alright.” Lorenz readied the thermal heat blade. “So what’s the plan?”

  “We’re going to storm it,” Bustov explained.

  The explanation was perfect. They were going to storm an entire tower of elemental cultists and elementals of fire, the strongest cult out of the four. Guns blazing, straight in, tearing everything out of the way-

  “That’s it?” Lorenz turned off the heat blade. “We’re just going to run in?”

  “We’ll be fine,” Lilie assured. “Right, Augusta?”

  But the monk seemed preoccupied with something else. “Huh? Oh, uh, yeah, yeah, I think there is… something in my bag…?”

  Lorenz brought the whole operation to a standstill. “Hold on! We can’t just run into there with no plan! There are so many enemies and elementals!”

  “We need the tower though,” Bustov pointed out. “It’s useful.”

  The cleric cocked his head to one side, thinking it might be a technological relic. “What does it do?”

  Lintelfaden shrugged. “Oh, nothing really, we just don’t want them to have it.”

  “Uh, guys?!” Augusta cried.

  A tiny troll made of wax fell out of her bag, an unlit candle wick on its head. It acted like a normal troll, roaring almost cutely at the party and running around them. But it was getting bigger and aggressive rapidly.

  “I- Isn’t that the troll candle?” Fensal stuttered.

  “Fire, fire, we need a fire!” Lilie panicked.

  But Augusta found a bright side to the situation. “Wait!” She picked it up before it got any bigger and cut off its hand with the pinions. “Let me take this and we can use it for the gene-splicer! Isn’t troll regeneration really powerful?”

  It was very powerful. The hand that she had severed began to grow bigger and the body of a troll formed out from its wrist. Before she knew it, two wax trolls now the size of small children were roaring. And they grew louder with size, and could pull the attention of the cultists.

  “Light their candle!” Lilie snapped. “I don’t have a fire spell!”

  It was just then they realized they didn’t wake Boris up this early in the morning. He was fast asleep at the inn.

  Lorenz stepped past her and severed the arms off one of the wax trolls with ease, the thermal heat blade cutting through like a hot knife through butter. It recoiled from the flame and roared, wax dripping over its ‘cauterized’ wound. But these were made of wax, they didn’t have wounds to close, and they continued to grow bigger and regenerated his arm back. Surprisingly, the severed arm didn’t heal and Augusta was quick to grab it, keeping it safe for gene-splicing.

  “Fire, I’ve got this!” Lintelfaden assured and pulled out the chaos spear.

  She figured out its special property last night while she trained, it would randomly change powers. Sometimes the tip of the lance burned, other times it melted like acid or was cold like ice. She was hoping for a flame without pulling too much attention to them from the cultists.

  A deafening peal of thunder echoed throughout the plains, azure lightning sparking from the tip of the lance before exploding out. It shot up to the heavens, blooming erratically in all directions, the crystals embedded in the spear changed colour to a deep sapphire.

  “Er… that wasn’t the plan…” Lintelfaden chuckled.

  The idea of stealth was gone as an alarm sounded in the tower. The gate opened and fire elementals charged out along with cultists riding massive salamanders. They charged towards the origin of the lightning, ready to identify this threat and, if necessary, eliminate it immediately.

  Lilie was ready to escape, realizing the wax trolls were the least of their problems. “They’ve got mounts, they have mounts! Horse! I need a horse to outrun them!”

  “You are the horse!” Fensal reminded her.

  “Oh! Right!”

  She transformed into a black warhorse and allowed Wolfram and Augusta onto her back. Without a second to lose she sprinted away from danger and for Nulb, hoping the rest of the party would follow her lead. The rest followed on foot, escaping from the wax trolls and hoping they would divert attention long enough. As they pulled away, Bustov glanced behind his shoulder to see the cultists stop their advance at the wax trolls while the fire elementals sweeped the surrounding area. They weren’t coming any closer and he breathed a sigh of relief-

  “It’s getting bigger again?!” Augusta complained, fumbling with the wax troll arm Lorenz had cut off. The severed end began to bubble and the wax formed yet another sentient troll.

  “Leave it!” Gisella ordered. She used her telekinesis to fling it far away, ending the chaos once and for all. “It isn’t worth the gene-splicing!”

  They laid low in Nulb but they need not have worried, the cultists didn’t charge into the town, fully occupied with the multiplying wax trolls. Although, if anyone could put a stop to it, the fire cult could. An actual plan was formed, one that involved Boris, and didn’t involve any troll candles or the tower.

  “Well that was a disaster!” Lintelfaden laughed, relieved they got out of the situation. “No one was hurt and Lilie was the first to escape as usual!”

  “Hey, I was being tactical!” Lilie explained. “We weren’t going to fight those things and the trolls!”

The thought of trolls made Augusta a little sad. “But it would’ve been cool to regenerate whenever you want. But it is one of Shen’s wares so I should’ve expected it.”

 


Banner art BarbecuedIguana.