What gentle dream?

Cedric: Entry 13

The next room we entered was full of strange-smelling water and what appeared to be slides of some sort. I was not particularly excited to deal with water, but as it turned out it was only necessary for me to go down three slides in total, and none of them led to any unfortunate pools of water. In fact I spent the majority of my time in the laundry pit in the clock room with Anna and Taz, until Shale helped us climb out. The longer he accompanies us the less I find him genuinely aggravating and more simply unnerving and strange; some of his comments would be considered outright perverse, were anyone else to speak them. I still do not trust him, of course.

In the laundry pit I found a finely made, grey silken cloak. I know Taz is good at appraising such things, so I asked her to do so. She said it was finely made and that she could easily find a buyer for it for me, but I’d rather like to keep it. I do have reason to embellish my appearance slightly now, after all. Taz seemed disappointed by this and offered to trade me a courtier’s outfit for it, but such clothes are tailored to her and would not fit me. Failing that, she asked to borrow it on occasions. I see no reason why not, and told her as such. I later learned that one of the reasons she likes it is that her lucky color is grey. Strange, I have never heard of such a superstition. Ah, well. To each their own in such things.

After Shale helped us out of the pit, we reunited with the others. By this time they had explored all but one of the tubes, which they gave me the dubious honor of going down. Honestly, I know they mean no harm but some times I wonder if they don’t make a game of poking fun at me. Regardless, I landed in the glass room. The impact of me landing created an impressive crater… When I returned I learned that the only way forward involves a room that contains a dragon. Gareth, of course, had no interest in going anywhere near it, even after explorations by Pneu and then Shale yielded information that confirmed we would not be able to progress any other way. A potion from Shale (that Taz thankfully examined to make sure was not poison) gave him courage when alcohol from Pneu failed to do so. He agreed to travel down with us, and I removed and padded my armor to keep from waking the beast. This proved unnecessary, as it was awake by the time we all gathered in the room. Unsurprising, given the number of us.

It was quite a strange beast for a supposed dragon, as well. Deth and Gareth nearly immediately began to laugh uproariously at it, and soon Taz did as well. None would share with me what was so entertaining, no matter how much I asked. It was most irritating, especially as I knew it was not a dragon but could not determine what it truly was. Eventually they did tell me, however, and it was found to be an extremely large cat with thick paper wings on its back. It was rather endearing, even if I usually favor hounds over cats. Gareth attacked it and I scolded him for such, especially as Anna was more than capable of taming it. Her ability to communicate with animals is extremely useful.

I also scolded Deth for his long-standing habit of attacking animals without provocation. He rebutted with an atrocious insult to Shel, for which I nearly struck him. Gareth was quick to hold me back (he is a balm to my temper as always), but I would have still not left the remark go unpunished were it not for the fact that Deth is in a woman’s body for now. It would be dishonorable to strike someone while in a body they are yet unused to. However, I will not let such remarks continue unchecked. Once we have found the madstone I will have a number of things to say to him on this matter…

We found ourselves in a series of hallways filled with a number of odd traps. Pneumonia was indispensable in helping us navigate them, although a number of my companions fell prey to the more harmless ones. One that was decidedly not harmless began to fill the hallways with water, but with some urging Pnu hurried up and we were able to safely make it to the next room.

Unfortunately, this one was filled with water. Fortunately the others didn’t see fit to strip down and become distracted to the point of bathing, as I nearly expected them to. I did take off my armor, however, as I’d already learned once what happens when I am in water while wearing it. Unfortunately it did not take long before Anna was attacked by a large octopus. However, before we could begin to fight the creature in earnest a plug of some sort was pulled by someone and we were all sucked down into a new room. I instinctively latched onto Gareth when we were dragged underwater, although it was not necessary: we landed in a room filled with portraits just as before, although this one had only one door. It was soon after decided to kill and eat the octopus; it was a good meal.

We decided to rest for a short while after eating, as we had been making our way through the dungeon for quite some time, and Lady Jaela was still nowhere in sight. It was merely a nap but I awoke feeling refreshed and able to make use of some of my ability to heal once more. Furthermore, while I slept I had what was not a dream, I think, but a vision. I saw fields of fire, hot and purifying. With sword in hand I walked through them without burning, and watched the dawn break without shielding my eyes. When I awoke I prayed to Dol Arrah, and found She had gifted me with divine magic; I could feel it coursing through my veins. There are truly no words to describe the joy I feel at knowing She considers me worthy of such gifts. Perhaps it may even be that what I saw while I slept relates to the divine bond some paladins are blessed with.

I wished to discuss such things with Lady Jaela when we were reunited with her a scant few minutes later, but it seems the tower has made her unable to speak or understand us, in any language. This may prove problematic later, but for the moment I am merely glad to know she is alive and unharmed. The creature that kidnapped her was surprisingly cordial; we took tea with it. Perhaps all it wished for was companionship… I will take this as a reminder that I must take care to remember my oaths and Dol Arrah’s teachings even when I am panicked or angered. Even strange or apparently hostile creatures may have good, or at least harmless, intentions at heart.

In short order reached a very elaborate room, set out as if for a banquet but without the food. There were portraits of us on the walls again, along with one of an elderly elf; perhaps that is Larri? Then, without any warning whatsoever, every object in the room began to attack us. I drew my sword and, remembering the vision I had while I slept, prayed for fire. The blade burst into flame, and I know now that this sword is how Dol Arrah has seen to bless me. I am fortunate indeed, to receive such favor from my goddess. In honor of Her and Her gift, I have named the sword “Dawnslayer”. I know it will serve me well, so long as I serve Dol Arrah.

The next room contained odd versions of ourselves. They were the ages and sexes we were before we entered the tower, but their occupations were all wrong. Anna was the paladin while the version of myself was a rogue of some sort, similar Pneu. Her double was a barbarian, while Gareth’s double was an alchemist. Taz’s double was a cleric, and changed faces in order to taunt her. It was curious; I’ve never seen her react quite like that to something. Lady Jaela’s double was a gunslinger, while Deth’s copy was a commoner. Needless to say I prefer the original in all cases, and I do wonder how it is Larri appears to know so much about us.

The combat was made somewhat difficult by the room slowly spinning at a constant rate, but we worked together well; we are becoming quite an efficient team. Despite this, I took no pleasure in the battle. Most of all I did not enjoy taking up arms against beings that have the same faces as my friends. Whatever enjoyment I might normally take from making such creatures bleed was entirely destroyed by their appearances. I fear I may have nightmares… When we finished killing off the creatures, we found Shale had killed his own double; he was kind enough to hold up its still-wrapped head for us to see. I would not say the sight was fearful, but it was so disgusting and unnatural I felt the need to sign myself with Dol Arrah’s blessing.

I hope to leave this place soon. It has long since grown far more than merely tiresome.

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Memoirs of a Vento Mortis: Ressio II

I have tried to keep an open mind. Sarrarra has assigned the glorious task of babysitting my little sisters. Nuahwah is easy enough to deal with, at least until Sahloo provokes her. Sahloo has always had this way of getting under your skin, getting in your head. I find that a kick to the jaw is an effective means of quieting her wind. I wouldn’t normally bother to fill out a report, but I’ve noticed the girls acting peculiar. They have this game they play where one pretends to be the other, as if to test everyone. It is incredibly seamless, their impersonations of each other have virtually unnoticeable differences. For example, yesterday I was watching Nuahwah polish her shurikens, or at least I think it was her, then Sahloo came into the room and asked for them back in the same passive voice of Nuahwah. I found myself taken in by the event. They immediately noticed me watching them and proceed to stare right back. This time however instead of the soft gentle eyes of Nuahwah, I was looking into the piercing gazes of Sahloo. They continued to watch me for the rest of the day, following me around, as if they were waiting for me to guess which one was which. I could tell they sensed my uncertainty. So I did what any proper sister would; I threatened to beat Sahloo. As expected Nuahwah would never sell out her sister, but Sahloo turned her gaze passive and soft knowing I would notice the subtle changes in her expression. I gave her a few good bruises and ensured they wouldn’t try it on me ever again. Needless to say if they try it again Sarrarra, Sahloo has a rather permanent mark on her. You’ll find it easy enough.

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Pneumonia: What a fool believes.

I’m still in the desultory castle. I have found it rather enlightening though; watching the others run about in confusion. I think it is fun, at least mostly fun. Some have been enjoying it more than others, but I can’t wait to see who cracks first. I must make note of the fact, that everyone seems to have completely lost the will to live. They’ve always been a bit dull-witted, but their complete lack of caution belies true insanity. If I didn’t suspect that this was the local institution, I’d probably request the Elves take them in for their own safety. Jumping down random tubes, into water that smells poisoned; it really goes beyond a sense of adventure. It was down right suicidal. There was a fun maze though. It was very cleverly designed, but not nearly as challenging as Houloua labrynthe. There was even a puppy, he was cute, but sadly he fell into a hole so nobody else got to meet him. I hope commander Furrtenwoof is alright. After leading his pack bravely against the guardians of chaos, he made it deep inside the castle of haphazards; only to be foiled by a pit. Genuine tragedy, sir Furrtenwoof, may you bravely find your way to the big biscuit in the clouds. Later on I had a romantic rendezvous with myself it didn’t get very far though, because Deth shot me in the back. I had so many questions for her too. I’ve never had sex as a man before. I suppose there will be time for that later. These stones we’re searching for must be valuable if someone went through all this work to hide them. I doubt the wizard that runs this place will be all that helpful, he is probably a difficult man, because there seems to be a great many of them.

There isn’t a reason you should have to worry sister. Let me help you. Give me a chance to prove what you already know. I understand now, that you can’t be like me, so let me be like me for you.

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Taz: Imposters Always Create Inconveniences for Oneself and Others

Our exploration of the castle continued to be an adventure. The next room we entered was empty, save for a series of water slides. Before we had time to consider which path was best, Anna simply jumped in one at random. I followed after him. He jumped after me when the golem knocked me off the fire-path. Fair’s fair. Debt paid.

When we reached the bottom, he was naked. More work of the castle, I assumed, although with Anna you can never tell. Cedric soon followed. He retained his clothing, alas. We’d landed in what appeared to be an enormous laundry chute; clothing was piled all around us. Unfortunately, no sooner had Cedric landed than the ceiling closed up. We were trapped.

Cedric took a look around and discovered a cloak. I quickly identified it as a cloak of elvenkind. Very handy for sneaking around. I couldn’t persuade him to part with it. :( The fool doesn’t even know its worth; he just thinks it looks pretty. At least I talked him into letting me borrow it on occasion. (I can think of several potentially imminent occasions where the ability to remain unnoticed will be invaluable.) One usefulness point to Cedric after all.

After a few tries, I managed to climb up the wall and reach the ceiling. No way to re-open it that I could see. Used 1 bomb in the process of attempting to escape. It didn’t work as I’d hoped. But the chute opened up anyway, thanks to Shale. Apparently, he can summon rope at will. The man grows more useful by the hour. As long as our goals coincide, he is a most useful companion. However, I am certain that that time is soon to come to an end. For the time being, one usefulness point to Shale. As a side note, I am now ten years older. Current age: 34.

After making our way back to the water slide room, we met back up with the others. Garreth has a donkey tail now. Apparently they’d been exploring some of the other routes in our absence; Deth said that there was a lot of treasure in a room with a sleeping dragon. The girl must think I’m an idiot. I was polite to her face—wouldn’t wish to damage those newly fragile feelings—but there’s only one thing I think about those who attempt to steal from dragons, and none of them are complimentary. However, it is interesting to know that she thinks I am motivated solely by avarice. I am certain I shall find a way to use this to my advantage later.

The others scouted some of the other water slides, all of which were dead ends as far as reaching the next level went. It seemed that the slide leading to the dragon was our only option if we wished to continue forward. I felt that that was a prudent time to borrow Cedric’s stealth cloak after all. I traded him my other cloak for the moment. Garreth was, as expected, not too keen on the idea of going into a room with a dragon. In fact, he flat out refused. As continuing on without him would deprive us of our heavy hitter, eye candy, and all-purpose meat shield, we endeavored to convince him to stay with us.

Pneu said that he would go down and scout out the room first to see if he could find any exits. He requested the cloak of elvenkind for her mission, which I lent to him. Cedric was confused as to why the cloak would be useful, but I told him that it was lucky. I made sure to infuse the word with as much ignorant and unfounded superstition as I possibly could. Note: my lucky color is now gray. One entertainment point to Deth for convincing Cedric that everyone has their own lucky color for such purposes.

Pneu returned, having not found any exits in the room. I reclaimed the cloak from him. Shale went in next. When he returned, he said that there was a trapdoor that Pneu missed—it must have been very well hidden—and that the dragon barred our path.

Garreth did not react well to this. In addition to refusing to go himself, he tried to talk Deth out of going as well. He obviously is trying to keep Deth out of danger. How sweet of him~ Really, those two grow more obvious by the minute. Their attempts to hide their feelings only make it more amusing. It seems I may have to find a different bedwarming friend in the near future.

As soon as Deth moved away from the slide leading to the dragon, Anna jumped down. I had only time to hope that he didn’t wake it up. Sneakiness is not that boy’s strong suit. Garreth was still refusing to go down. Pneu attempted to help the situation by giving him “liquid courage,” which was clearly some form of alcohol. One usefulness point to Pneu. When this effort failed, Shale gave Garreth a potion which he also called “liquid courage.” I couldn’t identify the substance, but Garreth drank it anyway. (I was at least 75.263% sure that it wasn’t poison, at least.) He didn’t seem to take any harm from it, anyway, and he was suddenly willing to go along with us. “Liquid courage” indeed.

We descended into the room. There was indeed a dragon in the corner, guarding a large pile of treasure. Deth whispered to Garreth, and they both immediately burst out laughing. I found it incredibly provoking. They obviously knew something about the situation that the rest of us didn’t, but Deth refused to tell us, and Garreth followed her lead, as he always does. Deth was most annoyingly condescending about the whole thing.

Anna went up to the dragon and started TALKING to it, which I could have told her was an extremely ill-advised idea. The dragon, however, didn’t seem to recognize what she was saying. A dragon that didn’t understand speech….there was clearly something wrong here. But what, exactly?

The answer was clear, and so was the reason for Deth and Garreth’s amusement. The creature was not a dragon at all. But what was it? I studied it carefully. Its movements were off, oddly sinuous and cat-like.

But of course! It wasn’t a dragon. It was a giant cat with cardboard wings taped to its back. Once that was clear, I decided to take a look at the treasure pile after all. Alas, upon closer inspection, it only consisted of cat toys. Ah well. The cat took a swipe at me, which I did not appreciate. Several attacks were attempted, but Anna distracted the creature before any further violence. One usefulness point to Anna. I got to pet the cat. :) It really was quite a majestic creature. It would have been a shame to kill it. One entertainment point to Deth for an impressive taunt in Cedric’s direction.

We all headed through the trapdoor and found ourselves, appropriately enough, in a room full of traps. One usefulness point to Pneu for leading the way and locating them for us. The traps did a variety of things—one made a loud noise and showered confetti everywhere; one shot arrows; one caused a shower of honey. Deth was not quick enough to avoid it, which I found highly amusing. She and Anna both got showered at various points. As Pneu attempted to scout out a path (one additional usefulness point to Pneu; his help expedited the process enormously), one of the traps caused the room to begin flooding. Some were inclined to panic—mainly Cedric—but it wasn’t filling up very fast. Note: Observed after Shale was covered in honey. He has three tongues. Used them to lick it off himself. He also seems to enjoy sweets, or perhaps just honey. Further research needed.

We found a trapdoor out before the water got too high, luckily. The next room mainly consisted of a bubble bath, with a narrow ledge in the entryway. I took off my clothes—no sense getting them wet—and headed in. We obviously had to pass through this in order to reach the next room.

We hadn’t made it very far when a GIANT OCTOPUS emerged from the water and grabbed Anna. Highly concerning. Before I could shoot it, Pneu located the exit—a giant plug. He pulled it, and the water started to drain. All of us, including the octopus, were swept down.

We found ourselves in a room much like the first formal room with the portraits. There was an addition to them: the octopus, which was now flailing desperately on the floor. Out of curiosity, I took its picture down. It turned into sushi. Larry, if indeed all portions of this tower remain in his control, seems to have a sense of humor. We decided that dinner was an excellent idea. Garreth put the creature out of its misery and Pneu cooked it for us. It was most delicious. One usefulness point to Pneu. We took advantage of the break to rest a bit.

When we had all woken up from our naps, we set off again. The next room was none other than the glassed-off portion of the meadow that we’d seen before. Jaela was still there, having tea with the monster. Unfortunately, her speech and writing had both turned to gibberish. There was little we could do to communicate other than pantomime and drawings. I attempted to illustrate our recent adventures for her, but I don’t think she understood. One entertainment point to Anna for his amusing mimery.

I sat down to have a cup of tea while we decided our next steps. The monster poured it for me, which was certainly nice of him. If he is the same creature that captured Jaela, it’s obvious that he had good intentions when doing it. Probably. The possibility of trickery cannot be ruled out. One entertainment point to Pneu for an excellent dance. I gave the monster the crackers from Pneu as a parting gift, and then we were off again, with Jaela in tow.

We reached a room with a nicely set dinner table. No sooner had we set foot in it than every object in the room came flying straight for us. Unfriendly scenery indeed. Cedric appears to have gotten a very impressive sword. One usefulness point to Cedric. Note: Names are the same in Jaela’s gibberish language; she said Cedric’s. The same cannot be said for other proper nouns, such as places. We would have to smash everything into tiny bits, it seemed. One entertainment point to Jaela for adorable knifery. Used 1 bomb I got to make things explode. It was lovely. The room was suddenly on fire, due to one of Anna’s makeshift grenades. It was decided that it would be most expedient to continue on and let the fire take care of the rest of the furniture. One entertainment point for Deth for a glittery ballet over the table.

The next room appeared to be rotating. At the end of it stood imposters. Of us, our original ages and genders. It was highly vexing. They were either capricious in nature—more likely—or were terrible doubles, as they were all in the wrong professions. Garreth was the alchemist rather than I in this group, and I was a cleric. The idea. I’m the cleric, not Taesaria. That woman is unfit for any such office. No squabbles.

I confronted my double, who immediately started to change. My face— and my face— (and my face) THIS WAS UNACCEPTABLE. The others—my real companions—all seemed very confused. Some seemed suspicious. After all this time, compromised. Not by sloppiness on my part—impossible—but by treachery. How does this Larry know all this about us? The portraits, the doubles…it has ceased to be amusing. This life—my life—depends on this secret.

Advantage: This tower is full of chaos. Story: Upon demanding that the imposter stop wearing my face, the chaos caused the double to change. It is a workable argument. Plausible. The very nature of this place is capricious. What’s a bit more?

Can convince with ease: Cedric, Anna, Garreth.
More problematic: Deth, Pneu (although Pneu does not seem inclined to share secrets, whether his or others’. Still. The power is in the knowing.)
Unknown quantity: Jaela. She is naive in the ways of the world, but she does have a certain wisdom about her, no doubt imparted by her role in the church.

One usefulness point to Anna for ingenious rusting. One entertainment point to Pneu for seducing his double. Used: 1 bomb. GET OUT. Used: 1 bomb. GET OUT. DIE BEFORE YOU REVEAL ANYTHING ELSE. I blew her into tiny bits, finally. Good. Left her to bleed out on the floor. The punishment for a traitor is death, a trip to the river to feed the fish, let them nibble on your bones, no evidence. One usefulness point to Jaela for making what I assume is her first kill.

This situation is precarious. Deth seems uncommonly smug. Garreth has perhaps come across more pieces than is wise.

So disappear. Disappear and take another face.

I have never been FORCED to leave a place before, not because of revelation. This is workable. I can talk my way out of this. I’m sure of it.

You’re a fool, and you’re going to get me killed.

What’s the problem? If someone gets too close, just kill them. They’ve outlived their usefulness at that point.

You can’t just kill people.

Watch me.

(You should trust someone, but are these the people you should trust?)

Trust someone, you say? Who? What sort of person will never betray you, never go back on their word? I’ve never met such a paragon. He or she would be quite a sight indeed.

Survival is the only law. Debts are the only rules. You are what you make of yourself, and what life makes of you.

Someone has a great deal of philosophy for a gutter urchin.

Someone has a great deal of cheek for a fiction.

SHUT UP. DOES NO ONE RESPECT TURNS ANYMORE? THIS IS MY TURN. MINE. ME. MINE ALONE.

In summary.
Still Day 27: On shaky ground.

Money obtained: None.
Loot obtained: None.

Ranking of companions:
Pneu: Usefulness- 4 points. Entertainment value- 2 points.
Jaela: Usefulness- 1 point. Entertainment value- 1 point.
Anna: Usefulness- 2 points. Entertainment value- 1 point.
Shale: Usefulness- 1 point.
Cedric: Usefulness- 2 points.
Deth: Entertainment value- 3 points.

Ranking totals to date:
Pneu: Usefulness- 18 points. Entertainment value- 19 points.
Garreth: Usefulness- 22 points. Entertainment value- 11 points.
Anna: Usefulness- 17 points. Entertainment value- 15 points.
Jaela: Usefulness- 7 points. Entertainment value- 4 points.
Cedric: Usefulness- 16 points. Entertainment value- 6 points.
Deth: Usefulness- 15 points. Entertainment value- 14 points.

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Gareth: Rewind

I coulda kissed the deck of the ship once we finally started movin again. If I never see that stupid island ever again it will be too damn soon. There wasn’t much to do on the ship and I had to fight the impulse to just fuckin jump overboard. Or scream. Or take my blade to one of the people around me. Not the best choice. Fast way to get booted. Killed maybe. Dodged that sentence once, don’t think I could do it again. Not with people like these. That’s the thing about people who care. They care a lot. Enough to fuck themselves over (much like I’m doin. Funny. I’ve lost it.) Same can be said for people who only look after themselves. You fuck with them and, if they can, they fuck you up. S’how it goes. Anyone who says otherwise is fuckin stupid.

We got boarded by pirates. I was more than happy to bathe the Captain’s deck in their blood. Enough to the point where I had that nice sword in my hands and was ready to take them on, but Taz was flippin out. Seriously flippin out. Like a ghost just came out of nowhere and gave her a nice big deathchill hug. Never seen her panic before it was weird. Ced was confused about what she was doin but I convinced him to let her talk. Whatever it is that goes on in that chick’s head, I wanna know. She hides a lot and expects us all to give and give to her. I don’t play that game, not well, so I watched. It doesn’t make any damn sense, but she got them off the hook.

Which was a damn shame. The pretty one with the big mouth looked like he might have actually been a bit of a challenge. Thought about bein a pirate once myself. Figured I couldn’t stay on a ship that long. Taz booked it on outta there. I gave her some time to herself before I went in to talk. She was…off. Was a lot less light-hearted and playful than she usually was. She appreciated what I did for her, bringin her wine and food and keepin her company, but I could tell that she wasn’t all there. Like there was some sort of block between who she was bein then and who she normally was. I bet it was the pirates. She talked like she knew one of em, their captain or whatever the fuck. I swear she looked a little sad. I could be imaginin things but… Whatever. The pirates are gone and give Taz a couple more hours and it’ll seem like none of that ever happened. S’the thing I like about Taz but it drives me nuts too.

We got to whatever the place was called with all the asshole elves and said goodbye to the Captain. I’ll miss his ugly mug. Gave him a smooch as thanks for the adventure. Coulda done without the dragons but that wasn’t his fault. He seemed a little confused but whatever. To be honest? I really just wanted to stay on the ship with him. Go around and fight more of those battles that he promised as payment for passage, see more of this world, but I couldn’t. Don’t think he woulda let me anyway. Captain seemed like a solitary man. Can’t take that away from a guy no matter how bad you wanna run around like a six year old on your damn birthday.

Didn’t give a flying fuck about this place, not one bit. There were people everywhere. I could barely stand. Was a little difficult to focus. Breathin, brushin against each other, skin on fuckin skin a guy came by me. So close I could smell the work on him. Thought I might go fuckin nuts. They’re everywhere and they don’t even know. Don’t even know how their lives are tiny things, desperately tryin to burn into something bigger, somethin they wanna leave behind or be proud of when they die. It’s nothin. They’re nothin. They mean nothin. I want to show them. Walk them to death’s goddamn door and show them that it’s what we all are.

Absolutely.
Fuckin.
Nothin.

Hear them cry and plead and-

Had to get back. Couldn’t pick one, not out here. Gotta wait till the sun goes down. Went back, had dinner, barely listened, barely saw. Nu was there but she wasn’t. Everyone was there but they weren’t. Just noise. It’s all just noise. Easy enough to end. Ced wanted to leave that night. I almost screamed. Deth and Taz convinced him otherwise. I left. Had to leave. Had to feel alive again. Like I wasn’t some shell of me bein slowly filled up by these people, filled up by what they wanted me to become, filled up by things that would only hurt me in the end.

I found him, sittin there at the bar. Alone. I asked him about his day, like I gave a fuck. He looked tired but reassured by companionship. These people are stupid. Bought him drinks. Lots of drinks. Loosened him up real nice. Talked about this woman he wanted to marry, how many kids he wanted to have, how he loved his job but it made him want to quit sometimes. Let him sit there and get it all out. Pink cheeked and wet lipped he was, fresh. Young. Alive. I asked him to leave with me. Looked like he might refuse. He might have had I not slid just a little closer. Promises of freedom, of endless possibilities. He was curious, I could tell. Never been with a man before and he was willin to be with me.

Too bad for him. Took him out, walked him around till he was good and lost and startin to get a little confused. Found the back alley I wanted to use. Led him back there, sayin I couldn’t wait. Needed him then. He followed. It wasn’t until I had him practically naked and up against the wall that he shifted like somethin was wrong. Reassured him with my mouth for a little bit, best let him lose his mind before he tries runnin and screamin in the other direction. Gagged him like it was a part of his game even though it was a part of mine.

[[A/N: I’m not going to go into detail about the kill here for propriety’s sake but if you guys want to read it let me know and I’ll send it to you.]]

The next day we tried to get through the gate. That didn’t happen. Didn’t expect it to work either. Was thinkin about how difficult it would be to bust through when I saw her. Sound went first, replaced by that loud rushing that always fills my head. I could feel my heart pounding in my fingers as I clutched my sword. It was good at killin people. Killin humans. I was more than happy to end that bitch for what she did to Ced but he stepped in the way. Fuckin defended this bitch like she was a saint or some shit. Like she didn’t coax him into the sack just to tie him up and bleed him dry. I almost decked him. I really almost did. Mighta knocked some sense into him, mighta started a brawl. Who knows. Put the sword away, told him I wouldn’t. There were too many people watchin and we were standin in front of the guards.

Not that it stopped Deth from shootin her. She screamed and went down. I thought Ced was gonna rip Deth’s eyes out and make him eat em or somethin the way he looked at him before he went to heal the bitch. Deth looked disappointed that it didn’t kill her immediately. I was too. Ced woulda been sad but he woulda got over it eventually. Now this bitch gets to stick around. Stupid fucker thought I would let him be alone with her. Which is some bullshit. Not after what she did the first time. I don’t give a shit how many times she says she has turned over a new leaf or whatever I’d sooner eat my own blade then trust that bitch.

They still talked. Taz went with em. I followed behind with everyone else but didn’t let em outta my sights. Fuck that. We went to a tavern after that, ate some, made merry, waited until the sun went down to go see Shel’s employer. Super fuckin shady but what the fuck ever. We went. He was borin as shit and secretive as hell. Anna liked him though. I swear that girl musta been dropped on her head as a child.

He got us over the wall. Promised to find her sister. Why do we keep doin this? Why does it matter? These people got themselves into these stupid situations why not just let them fuck up or fix it? They wont learn otherwise but whatever. Here now on the side we’re not supposed to be on. We got attacked by a big glowy white thing that looked nasty as fuck. Nu made me hide before anyone else really noticed it. Cept maybe Taz but she noticed everything.

Somethin tried sneakin up on me. Couldn’t see it but I’d be damned if I let it bite me. It landed a couple of hits but I smooshed the fucker. Nu did the same with her own before I just charged the big weird glowy thing and killed it. Deth and Ced were blinded by it which sucks for them but some guy who came with guards said it wouldn’t be permanent. Let us into their city for doin them a service of killin the thing outside.

The next day pretty much everyone went to the library. I sat outside. Fuckin hate libraries. They’re quiet and borin and full of shit I don’t care about. Found a skull shaped rock for Deth. Thought he might like it. Speakin of he came out singed. Said some guy lit him on fire. What the everloving fuck. The guy from the forest told us the elders would see us. Had to go in the library to get Ced. Started shoutin. People gave me dirty looks. It felt great.

We had to pass a test before we could see the people. I went first. Touched a book that nearly killed me. I felt like almost all of my life was pulled right from my body. Lookin back I guess that means we passed because if we didn’t we woulda exploded in front of the guy. We went in and found him all glowin and warm and not as pompously assholeish as I thought he would be. He was actually kinda cool. I got to touch him. It was…weird. But awesome. I felt like just bein near him made me more… alive. Everyone else started sayin they were hurtin so we left.

Went to a tower of some old dead-notdead guy to get the stone and a book or somethin from him. This place was fuckin weird. The guards were weird. The tower was weird. I spoke in bubbles. Colored bubbles. Then everyone got turned into animals n shit. And the doors don’t go where you want em to. Instead they take you where they want to go. Like clock rooms and glass rooms and rooms with giant axe puppets. I wanted to keep it. I didn’t really know what was goin on. Didn’t even pretend to try. I just wandered around and found stuff and beat up glass people and got turned into a damn 15 year old again. I swear to the skies above if this is permanent I am going to take the biggest chunk out of the asshole that runs this place.

Found a room with treasure at the end and golems swingin down a path laced with fire. It was pretty cool cept everyone kept gettin pushed off of the edge. I got to the treasure, snagged it, then booked it the fuck outta there with cutie little Deth. Who got turned into a woman. And then into a girl. It was pretty great. We each took 1000 gold out of the 5000 since it was just the two of us. We’d split the rest later. They don’t need to know there was that much in there. Found a statue of her in there too. Pocketed that so fast. Found Nu again (Man Nu is pretty great. Not different at all, just a man)

Went with her to the room with the windy axe golem and almost got killed because Nu wanted the axe. She ended up killin it though and we convinced her to jump through the fire where everyone else went because Deth was talkin to Ced with his mind and it turned out everyone was okay and that it was just the way to get to the next part of this wonky tower. This place is both awesome and headache inducing. I kinda want to leave.

Went down the fire pit, up a ladder, and into a room. Pictures of us hung on the walls. Even Shale. Oh right Shale. He was with us too. My bro. No one likes him but he’s a pretty chill dude. Has a great sense of humor. A little shady, but who isn’t? Tried takin his picture off of the wall. Everything went black for a second and I thought I might puke. I don’t know what that was. Was is really him? What he really looked like? I don’t know. I couldn’t. It hurt just thinkin about it. Ced healed me and then there was story time and I was tryin to nap on Deth’s lap and he was playin with my hair.

Maybe this place isn’t so bad.

Could do without the crazy doorways and freaky Shale pictures though.

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deth'Ruki: No more napping

A ship in the sky.
Taken over, demands made.
(I’d like to see them try)

A finger in the air, fire to follow.
Logic and reason out of a chaotic mouth.
(It’s almost as if she knows them)

Goodbyes said, a new city greeted.
Postpone the search, for blood, for safety.
(He needs to kill, and so will I)

Sleep is becoming difficult.
Ever watchful eyes still follow.
(She knows when I’m lying)

Trying the front door, knocking won’t work.
An unexpected guest arrives.
(The bitch should die)

An outrage, a scuffle.
He defends her, how frustrating.
(I swear Cedric Montague if she steps on hair out of line)

(Her blood will pool on the floor)
(And I shall paint her a portrait)
I’m sure it will be beautiful.

Help received from the enemy.
Troubling, it will only encourage him more.
(This won’t save her)

Over the wall we went.
White light so bright it brought on black.
(I can still hear you)

A battle well fought.
To the victor go the
(Trust)

Granted access, limitless knowledge.
All that I seek guarded by blue flame.
(Expect to be screaming in your sleep little man)

A small comfort found on the stairs.
A new stone, small, important.
(…)

Gathered before the book.
All brought down to kneel.
(Very precise, I want one)

Wisdom imparted, plans made.
A tickling feeling, filling a full glass.
(It felt nice)

Off it’s axis, as it was not meant to be.
Tilted, odd.
(PNEUMONIA I WILL BLEED YOU DRY)

Changed, not the same.
A scent overwhelming.
(what the hell is this, oh gods no)

The rest a blur, stranger than the normal dream.
Clockwork howls, glasswork feasts.
(I want out of here)

Glitter follows grace.
Strings make him more, or is it the other way?
(Charming, but no)

Urges resisted, for the better.
Just a touch.
(No. No. Not allowed.)
(This is nonsensical)

(Cedric is wrong)

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Cedric: Entry 12

As it turns out, the room we immediately ended up in was a bathroom of sorts. Given the nature of the tower’s guardians and creator, this ought to have come of no surprise. Anna and Pneu immediately set to cleaning themselves up, but fortunately no one else was so distracted. I believe the appearance of Shale had a good deal to do with that. He insisted that he accompany us through the tower, offering us a sizeable ruby in return. Given that by his own admission he would follow us regardless of our consent, we reluctantly agreed. While he is undoubtedly grating, I believe given his previous behavior he will the leave the madstone in our care. This is especially likely when one considers the fact that carrying it will eventually drive the holder insane. He seems to be accompanying us more for his own entertainment than anything, which is again in line with his past behavior. I imagine, however, that it is only a matter of time until he attempts to take all the pieces of the diadem for himself.

Shortly after Shale arrived, Deth shot something and Lady Jaela disappeared. According to Shale it was an “Ethereal Filcher”, a monster with a fondness for “small shiny objects, and small shiny girls that carry them”. His attempt at humor was certainly not appreciated. I immediately urged the others to hurry up and begin searching through the building for Lady Jaela; it would be not only irresponsible but against my very oaths as a paladin sworn to her to do otherwise.

I ought to take a moment to mention how much I loathe this tower. I am nearly convinced this is a pre-emptive punishment for some sin I have yet to commit, as I can think of nothing I’ve done or left undone to date that would warrant such trials. Nothing makes the slightest bit of sense; my companions and I are nigh-constantly assaulted by the oddest assortment of physical changes; and I was stabbed viciously in the side by a glass fork of all things, wielded by a glass man. My companions, especially Taz, do not make it any better. If anything they seem to revel in the chaos, which I would hardly mind if it did not slow us down as it does and come at a detriment to my dignity.

Of course, I should not speak poorly of them; at one point I feared them dead. There was one sort of “room” that consisted of a long, narrow hallway with illusionary flames on either side of it. As Taz and I walked down it, a sort of golem came down and knocked her from the side into what appeared to be an endless pit. Anna jumped in after her—Dol Arrah bless her for her loyalty, but it nearly made my heart leap from my chest—and when I tried to lower Gareth down after them he instead was lowered onto my shoulders. I was terrified for both their sakes, but Gareth and Deth calmed me down. They reminded me that Taz and Anna are both very capable of taking care of themselves, and if there is anything to be said of this place it is that nothing is as it seems.

After making another sweep through the rooms with my remaining companions Gareth and I attempted to reach the end of the hallway, but I was swept off by a golem myself. I landed gently in a field of wildflowers, where a large, glass wall stretch between myself and who appeared to be Lady Jaela, only older. She was taking tea with a four-armed creature, presumably the one that stole her away. I’m glad to see she is unharmed, although she could not see or hear me through the glass. There was a ladder leading to the sky that I was rather keen on ascending, but Deth spoke to me in my mind and asked that I wait. It took some time for me to adjust to speaking mentally with Deth, but once I understood it, it wasn’t especially different from speaking normally. He and Gareth helped Pneu kill off a giant puppet we had found in one of the rooms earlier, and nearly died in the process if the wounds they arrived with were any indication. I healed them, and we proceeded on our way.

We found ourselves in a lovely study, with plush leather couches and chairs and a pleasant fire. On the wall were portraits of ourselves that altered themselves in ridiculous ways when removed. The only real item of note about them is that when Gareth removed Shale’s portrait, it caused him physical pain. I can only imagine what he must have seen. On an additional and equally curious note, Shale is by his own admission at least one thousand years old.

Anna and Taz were both in the study, which was an incredible relief. I hugged them both, and told them I was glad they were unharmed. We decided to rest for a short while, sitting on couches and talking. I believe Pneu started telling a story of sorts regarding Deth’s portrait, but I was too distracted by the mental conversation Deth and I were carrying on to pay much attention. It seems he’s been having “compulsions” since his change into a young woman, and they get worse around Gareth. It was all I could do to keep from smiling, and had to hold up the book I was paging through a number of times afterwards to hide my subsequent grins.

Deth was… surprisingly sweet about the entire ordeal. Even if he was very confused, I firmly believe from what he described that he is in love. I never grow tired of watching people discover such things. I imagine Lillith and Rosalind will be going through similar experiences back home, if they have not already… I am sorry to miss it, but I am also certain that Iseult, Abigail or Arthur will help them through it in my stead. Regardless, I think Deth will also come to understand things in time. He claimed love was beneath beings like him, but I doubt the truth of that statement. At the very least he is physically attracted to Gareth, and relies on him as a source of emotional strength. He will not sleep beside anyone else but him; it’s most endearing. He finished the conversation in something of a huff, but I have little doubt that he will come around in time.

In the meantime, I believe it would be best if we continued on. Although it is tempting to rest, as I have used the entirety of my gift of healing for the day and have but a single healing potion left to my name, it is necessary to find Lady Jaela as soon as possible. While Dol Arrah has not yet seen fit in Her infinite wisdom to allow me access to divine spells, I believe that between the healing potions the others carry and the hopeful nearness of Lady Jaela, we will not be putting ourselves at undue risk. I will simply need to take stock of the others’ healing potions before we move forward.

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Pneumonia: The deaths' of salesmen

Dearest sister.
Yes?
Have you given any thought to our earlier discussions?
Thoughts? I suppose.
My time here is not unlimited; my patience has long been exceeded.
What do you need me to do?
These stones. I don’t know what they are, but I suspect they’ll draw in the faceless man.
So?
We seem to be a bit heavy on companions.
What do you mean?
Remember your teachings; unnecessary people create unnecessary risk.
I don’t understand the correlation.
We just need the stones.
But, aren’t they dangerous?
We just need one of them for that. Even if they go mad it shouldn’t matter to us so long as it draws out our prey.
What would you propose?
I have a few ideas.

If you don’t have the stomach for it, just let me take care of them.

Search your feelings sister, my wind is true. Who has been there with you all this time? It wasn’t them. They are using you, just as you should be using them.
I’m not sure.
I don’t need your certainty, I just need your body. I’ll take care of everything, like I always have.

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Taz: People in Glass Rooms Shouldn't Attack the Inhabitants

And so we found ourselves in an unfamiliar land.

Well, it was a bathroom, really, but I always wanted to start off an entry like that. Anna and Pneumonia proceeded to begin washing off. Before we could do any exploring, who should show up but our old friend Shale? (And by ‘old friend,’ I mean ‘that bastard.’) At least the door gave him donkey ears. His entertainment value has increased accordingly.

He asked us to escort him to the top of the tower, offering us a GIANT RUBY in exchange. (Gee, that sounds familiar.) This was obviously suspicious behavior. If I had to guess, I’d say that his plan is to wait until we find the madstone and the book here, and then double-cross us. That’d be my plan. It’s so much easier to get other people to do the finding for you. (Not always as much fun, though.) But I suppose it is better to have him where we can keep an eye on him.

Our conversation was rudely interrupted by a gunshot. Deth had spotted something—promptly shot it—and then it vanished. With Jaela in tow. Predictably, Cedric did not handle this well. In response to his demands to know what happened, Shale said that it was a monster who had grabbed Jaela. Apparently, it also has a tendency to grab small shiny items. I made sure everything in my bag was properly secured.

We proceeded on in search of Jaela, Cedric fretting the whole while. Honestly, the girl’s eleven years old; she can take care of herself. At least, she SHOULD be able to take care of herself. We went through a crooked hallway, a room full of VERY LOUD CLOCKS, and chose one of several doors. We ended up back where we started. There seems to be an interesting spatial loop that occurs at certain points in the castle; we emerged through a door that had previously seemed to be simply painted on. Upon examination after it had closed, it was paint again. A door that DOESN’T open from both sides. Fascinating. Also, Garreth turned into a teenager, which was pretty funny. Although I do hope he turns back soon; I like him better as he was.

The next room was positively fascinating. Everything was made of glass. A glass table was surrounded by glass chairs sitting on the glass floor and surrounded by glass walls. There was a glass dinner on the table which glass people were eating. It was quite the phenomenon. I wanted to chat with them, but it didn’t seem like they could talk. And then they jumped to their feet, drawing their weapons. Cedric got attacked by a man with a monocle who was wielding a fork. He didn’t take kindly to that. I think losing Jaela made him cranky.

Some of the glass people continued eating their meal as though nothing was happening. After attempting a shot, I concluded that it would be best to stand back and evaluate the situation for the time being. I decided to join the meal. I couldn’t eat any of the food, of course, but it never hurts to be polite. One which I identified as Mr. Top Hat made an excellent dining companion. He even poured me some glass wine.

I’d made the right choice; Cedric wasn’t doing too well. Somehow, he was being outclassed by Sir Fork. Note: Cedric’s weakness seems to be cutlery. I found it all quite amusing until Sir Fork shattered, sending his fork into my shoulder. I’d thought that at least I might get to keep the specimen, but Cedric took it away and broke it. :( He can be so cruel sometimes. At least I managed to collect some of the food. I have come away with curios, if nothing else.

The next room was full of creepy puppets. There was one with an ax that came to life when we walked in the room, but luckily it didn’t attack us. It just followed us until we left. Damn thing gave me the shivers. Anna got classy clothes and a fake orange beard from one of the tower’s effects. I think it just likes to remind us of its nature every so often. That’s what I would do if I were a chaos tower.

Another room had a table full of cupcakes. I tested them for poison, which was not detected. To be on the safe side, I waited until Anna had eaten one before trying them. I needn’t have worried. They were chaos cupcakes! They gave Anna a tail, and Shale’s turban turned pink. Garreth turned blue, and Deth started leaking glitter everywhere she went. Mine gave me a large nose, which was most unappealing in appearance, so I tried another. That one gave me fangs. Much better.

That gave me an experiment to try, so I promptly did. On Cedric. He wasn’t too pleased with the bite, but I hope that this has given me more insight into the nature of our vampire acquaintances. Fair compensation was provided, anyway, so he can’t complain. Deth also turned a little older…she’s in her late twenties now.

At last we came to a hallway of flame. There was a shiny box at the end of the corridor of fire. It looked a lot like a trap. But it also looked quite valuable and possibly important—since we hadn’t found the way upstairs yet, I thought it might be some sort of hint or transportation device. I proceeded with caution. Unfortunately, some sort of golem swept me off the edge of the corridor and into a vast abyss.

I landed gently in a sunlit meadow, which is not at all what I was expecting. There was a picnic laid out, and another area was sectioned off by a pane of glass. Behind it, a monster was having tea with a young woman with a silver streak in her hair. It looked like Jaela, only in her twenties. Judging by the castle thus far, I assumed it probably WAS Jaela. At least she was safe-ish. And having tea. I would have liked to have some tea. I banged on the glass and shouted at her a bit, but neither she nor the monster paid any attention. It would seem they couldn’t see or hear me.

I took advantage of the opportunity to fix my nose. Much better. Then Anna landed behind me. I’d thought he’d been knocked off, too, but it seems that he jumped after me in order to help. How unexpected. One usefulness point to Anna for loyalty. I made us some flower crowns while we decided our next move.

There was only meadow as far as the eye could see, and no other way out of this place besides a ladder that appeared to lead straight into the sky. As there was another ladder leading down into the glass-sectioned area, I thought that perhaps they connected in some way. Anna and I started climbing up the ladder.

An interminably long time later, we made it to what I can only assume is the second floor of the tower. (If we haven’t bypassed any.) We emerged into an unfamiliar classy room, filled with fancy furniture and portraits of all of us. Mine had a monocle. I took it off the wall with the intent to requisition it—it would be such a nice thing to have a portrait of oneself—but as soon as I did, it took a turn for the ridiculous. Rather than the fashionable attire I had been wearing, I was naked, and wearing lots of makeup and a sombrero. When I put the picture back, it reverted. I decided to leave it where it was.

The others finally arrived in the same room, having found their way there. (Although it was an accident, I do take some satisfaction in being the first.) They had all undergone some changes. Pneu was now in his thirties. Deth now appeared to be about fourteen, and Cedric had joined Garreth in teenage-hood. They played around with the portraits; they all also turned ridiculous when removed from the wall, except for Deth’s (which turned into her crab-form) and Shale’s, (which Garreth took off and then immediately put back, looking extremely ill). I thought it best not to inquire. Deth’s portrait was to be named Clowny the Crab, it was decided by all. One entertainment point to Deth. Also one entertainment point to Pneu for making up a very amusing story about the portrait. He obviously intended it to be a metaphor. I don’t think Deth appreciated the effort. But then, she is in that difficult stage of her life.

In summary.
Continuation of Day 27: Most diverting. Success.

Money obtained: None. :(
Loot obtained: 1 glass apple, 1 glass chicken wing, and 1 glass glass.

Ranking of companions:
Anna: Usefulness- 1 point.
Deth: Entertainment value- 1 point.
Pneu: Entertainment value- 1 point.
Addendum: 2 entertainment points to Larry in absentia.

Ranking totals to date:
Garreth: Usefulness- 22 points. Entertainment value- 11 points.
Anna: Usefulness- 15 points. Entertainment value- 14 points.
Pneu: Usefulness- 14 points. Entertainment value- 17 points.
Deth: Usefulness- 15 points. Entertainment value- 11 points.
Cedric: Usefulness- 14 points. Entertainment value- 6 points.
Jaela: Usefulness- 6 points. Entertainment value- 3 points.

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Pneumonia: A Beautiful Way

Something strange has happened. I have a penis. I’ll get back to that in a moment, in the mean time… let me tell you about the land of the shiny dead elves. It all started in the library with a flaming blue elf. He wasn’t a very friendly elf, he even burned Deth. Speaking of Deth I should probably fix his hair at some point. That’s okay though he doesn’t seem to be missing it that much and he looks pretty with short hair. I’ll just wait a little longer. Back to the elf. He said he would only help if we got him a book. Then some other stuff happened and everyone touched a magic book that hurt them so they could go talk to a fancy dead elf. I decided not to touch the book and instead went shopping, then dancing. The nice men at the tavern even gave me money for my dance. Gareth gave me a present, but he didn’t ask for anything in return. Such a bold man making such a request, I never would have expected it from him. No matter, I’ll consider his proposal after we help Sally. The next day we went to a magical castle guarded by two husky gentlemen, whose stature did little to convey their personality. I think we could have had many a good times had we met under different circumstances, but fate was against us this time and we were destined to conflict. The castle has so far proved rather uneventful. There has been a handful of peculiar instances somehow everything seems to be in flux around here. I can’t wait to meet whoever made this place. I bet he is a silly man, a silly man with a mustache.

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