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.