It’s Dungeons and Dragons time! Here’s the latest installment of the epic journey of our heroines, Danaeryzard and Alaria! (If you’re new here, you can read the earlier chapters of the saga using this tag search. Read them in chronological order!)
The tragic mood hung heavy in the air as Danaeryzard and Alaria stepped into the moonlight and out of the cave. Silence surrounded them and they walked down the path to the Inn. When they entered, the innkeeper greeted them happily – obviously unaware of the tragic events that had just occurred. They didn’t feel it was their place to inform this woman about Cledus and Bengie, so they tried to act normal.
As Dany was sorting through her backpack in the main hall, she found the stein that Charlotte had asked them to look for in the caves. The stein that set off a wild Vegepygmy attack earlier that night, before they encountered Sullin. Thinking about the caves immediately sent Dany into a fiery rage. How can she act normal after what just happened? What if Charlotte had something to do with this?? It was a bit irrational, but this type of grief was not an emotion that Danaeryzard had any experience with in her past. She could feel heat rising from within and black smoke began to flow out of her nostrils. Before she knew was she was doing, Dany headed over to the innkeeper demanding to speak with Charlotte’s mother.
Rose, the innkeeper, said that she was Charlotte’s mother, and seemed a bit frightened by the approach. Danaeryzard presented the stein to her, and asked what her child was doing in the caves. All of the rage that Dany felt about what happened in the caves seemed to be deflecting onto this poor innkeeper. Alaria stayed to the side, feeling a bit awkward.
“We encountered several Vegepygmy enemies and sustained many injuries in the caves as a result of this stein! I demand some compensation for returning this family heirloom back safely to your reckless child,” Dany said hotly, finishing with a snort of small flames.
Frightened and not wanting to start any trouble, Rose asked them to wait a moment and rushed through a side door. Dany started to feel anxious about how she was behaving and tried to cool down. After a few minutes Rose came out with a generous food platter with roasted chickens, vegetables and beer. She also gave Dany a sack of 15 gold pieces. Dany thanked her for her troubles and tried to apologize, but Rose ran off saying it was time for her to get to bed.
As they ate, Dany and Alaria bickered over if they should split the purse. “I was in that battle just as much as you were!” Alaria reminded her, thinking of how she really wanted to buy some more potions before their next big fight.
“You always pocket the money that you find when you ransack dead enemies – which I help to kill. Besides, I’m the one who discovered that cursed stein, and I’m the one who just made a scene and terrified this poor woman… I guess I earned this one!” Danaeryzard laughed a bit at herself as she finished off her beer.
After the meal they retreated to their room. Before finally retiring for a long rest, they discussed what their next move should be. As strangers in this town, there were few people that the duo could trust. They knew that Crest and Smalls had to be on their side, having witnessed the murder of Bengie and Cledus at the hand of Sullin. There was also She’i, the friendly boat maker on the beach who had a special connection with Alaria. Perhaps they’d head for the Fishing Guild in the morning.
Unfortunately they woke up a bit after sunrise and had a slow start to their morning. Neither one of them had slept very well, plagued with nightmares from the day before. The inn was seemingly empty when they left, so the partners were also in search of breakfast.
Walking down the path, they continued to notice that the town was very quiet. At this point, word must have gotten out about the murders. They realized that all of the fishing boats had gone out for the morning, and without Bengie the Fishing Guild would be empty. They agreed to skip the guild and head to She’i’s house up the beach instead.
She’i was easy to find. She was sitting on her front porch, looking pensively out at Lake Constant with a cup of coffee in her hands. They walked up to her and could tell just by looking that she already heard the bad news about Bengie and Cledus. After assuring them that there was no ill will, She’i invited the travelers inside for some breakfast, which they happily accepted.
Alaria decided to show She’i the building schematic that they had found on Sullin after the battle. “Do you recognize this language, written on the bottom? We’ve never seen the likes of this before,” Alaria asked her, trying to stay focused on the matters at hand, instead of She’i’s beautiful eyes. Looking carefully at the drawing, She’i flipped it upside down. Then flipped it over again.
“Just as I thought…” She’i said. “No idea.”
They chuckled and thanked her for trying. She’i cooked up some eggs and a local specialty, a seafood jambalaya, which they all ate together. The duo expressed concern about where to go next.
“Well the Fishing Guild won’t do you much good right now, they won’t be back until the afternoon,” She’i explained. “Haven’t you visited the Library yet? It’s right next to the Inn!”
They were surprised to learn that the largest stone building in town, which they had mistakenly assumed to be a church for humans and mostly ignored, was actually the Water’s Edge Library. She’i wished them luck and set them off in the right direction so she could get started on her day’s work.
Dany and Alaria were quite impressed with the Library. The stone building was massive and seemed to tower over the town. The large wooden doors were heavy when Dany reached to push them open, and when they walked in they were momentarily amazed by the handsome vaulted ceiling and endless rows filled with books. The aisles were lit by candelabras and shed dim orange light throughout the large main hall, at the other side of which was a large desk and a librarian.
As soon as she looked at the librarian, Alaria suddenly had a terrible feeling inside. She got goosebumps up and down her arms and felt her heart skip a beat. Dany noticed the sudden change in her partner and looked over.
“Why is the library so big in a fishing town?” Alaria whispered to Dany. “I’m going to check for magic with my wand.” She discreetly pulled her Wand of Magic Detection out of her bag and did a quick wave around the room. All of the books seemed normal to her… however, the librarian on the other side of the hall seemed to have a magical aura. “We should remain cautious in this place.”
Alaria decided she would not show this person the building schematic, and would instead draw out some of the characters that she could remember written on it. They would ask the librarian if she knew anything about exotic languages, instead of giving away too much information to the wrong person. They were very weary of people with false identities after what had happened to Cledus.
“Good morning, I am Cricket the Librarian,” she greeted them kindly as they approached. “Is there anything I can help you with today?”
The duo explained that they were looking for an expert on exotic languages and texts, and that they were trying to identify a particular language. Cricket seemed very eager to help and said she was a bit of an expert, since she was the Librarian. Alaria drew out some of the characters to show the woman what they were looking for, and Cricket said it looked like an ancient text from the Restoration Room.
“We have a lot of ancient tomes in this Library, and we work very hard at curating and restoring these pieces, so we devote the lower levels of the Library to ancient writings. Would you like to come with me downstairs to see?” Cricket said, growing excited. She grabbed a torch and lead the way to a stone doorway, which had stairs descending below.
While they walked down a spiral staircase to the lower level, Cricket asked where they discovered these ancient letters. Alaria made up a story about her grandfather showing them to her when she was young. They walked through a room that was filled with large old scrolls on display, as well as tablets and tomes.
Dany was a little confused that they didn’t stop walking when they were in that room. Instead, Cricket led the way deeper into the back of the ancient text display room, toward another stone doorway and set of stairs. “I noticed that you two were wearing crystal necklaces from the shop next door. Did you know that the crystals of the lake were discovered by our town’s great founder?”
She began to recount the history of Lake Constant as they continued on, telling the two travelers that the town and the lake itself was discovered and established by the town’s founder, named Lovely Constant. Cricket seemed to revere the town founder, and spoke of her like she was a queen.
“Lovely Constant was a proud protector of our beautiful town!” Cricket was almost exclaiming with prideful emotion. Alaria and Dany both began to feel very uneasy as they continued down the second flight of steps. Their crystal necklaces began to glow faintly when they reached the bottom of the stairs.
The second lower level was a huge space with stone walls separating out small chambers in the center. The lighting was considerably dimmer compared to the higher levels of the Library, but they could still see enough thanks to the torch and some other candle-lit fixtures around the perimeter walls.
“This is the Restoration Center,” said Cricket, turning to face them. Her face looked zany and gleeful in a disturbing way. “We keep it darker here… it’s better for the ancient… texts. There are lots of ancient things down here. Many artifacts from the time of Lovely Constant, the fierce defender of this town! Lovely Constant would have been very DEFENSIVE ABOUT STRANGERS SHOWING UP AND GETTING PEOPLE KILLED!!” Crickets eyes suddenly widened maniacally and her mouth began to open and twist in such an unnatural way that Dany and Alaria felt it was somewhat disturbing. They didn’t have long to feel horrified about it, because in a flash Cricket dropped the torch and ran off in a great speed towards one of the stone chambers in the center of this basement level.
They could hear her scream from within the chamber. It started as a young woman’s scream, as the voice of Cricket, but the tones began to change into a more evil, deeper, older screaming voice that echoed through the room with a howl.
Before Dany and Alaria had a moment to think about what was going on, they were ambushed by a grotesque figure. She was not really a young woman at all, Cricket had transformed into an evil old Hag! Her hunched figure, wiry hair and pointy fingernails indicated she was as ancient as the old scrolls they had just seen – but she was clearly full of magic and speed.
Her gaping mouth was open and she screamed out at them.
“This is my town! YOU HAVE HURT IT!”
And so ends the latest installment of our DnD adventures! Thanks for reading! I hope you like this ongoing storyline lol! If you play Dungeons and Dragons too, let’s hear about your character in the comments! 🙂