Crazy King

An Inferno in the Darkness

Sounds echoed into Lajicuvatew’s cage from the outside world. He had been dreaming until the loud sounds woke him, bringing him back to his nightmare. It was amazing to him that so much sound could carry through the division between him and pain. His cage seemed so solid and real; it shielded him from pain and torment. He loved his cage. As long as he was in his cage, he wasn’t out there; he wasn’t out in that beyond of knives and hurt. Nonetheless, the sounds found their way in. They were persistent, the sounds, rarely fully stopping. Even when no poor soul was on that table, sounds persisted. Sometimes Imian screamed mad taunts. Sometimes Werevolt rattled his bars in fury. Sometimes Duncan clutched his legs and screamed in agony, even when they weren’t doing anything to him. Cora was almost always silent, sometimes even when they cut her. And Laji never heard Brian. Not ever. As a whole, though, they all made sound. They all brought him back to this place of horror. Sometimes Laji hated them for that.

He had been dreaming of Timbertope again. He wasn’t sure where the dreams ended and his bond to Timber began. He was sure at least some of the time he was seeing and feeling the world through Timber’s eyes, living a life of freedom in the wilds. Other times, Laji was reunited with Timber and free of the terrors of his surroundings. But he felt fairly sure that those were always dreams, tantalizing glimpses into a dead reality. He couldn’t say for certain though. It was too difficult to think that clearly. He was too hungry and tired and pained to really know anything for certain. Except that out there, somewhere, was a gopher who was alive and searching for him; the noblest gopher that ever would live.

Outside, Werevolt was screaming. His thick accent and deep voice blended to make a terrifying holler as a Zern cut him. Laji wasn’t sure who was working on Werevolt. He refused to look or listen closely enough to find out. He heard the voice of the Zern coaxing Werevolt to accept “the dragon within,” whatever that meant. He tried to return to his dreams, tried to let Timber take him away again. Before long, he was slipping away, back into oblivion. Timber was running through a field, making his way over the fallen leaves of autumn. The seasons were changing. Time was passing. The pain was a nightmare. Timbertope was reality.

Laji had felt Timber growing closer for a long time. The specifics were lost to him but the gopher was gradually closing the distance between Laji and himself. He felt strange as he awoke, like something imperceptible had changed in the world around him. He felt angry about his situation, angry for the first time in what seemed a lifetime. He was angry at the Zern, angry at being trapped, angry at not being able to rejoin his noble gopher. That anger was like a fire inside him, a fire just waiting to be let free. The sensation was intensely odd, as though some half remembered spell was making itself available to him. He pondered this for a moment, letting the feeling wash over him. He had almost forgotten what the arcane meant to him in his void of pain and fear. He had been bound by shackles around his wrists for so long he’d almost forgotten hope. He decided that this new power, this mighty flame within, could not be stopped by his bindings. He decided to be free. To find Timber himself or die trying!

He held up his shackled hands and focused all his anger, all his fear, all his pain. Fire exploded in front him, wearing at the bars, blackening the stone floor. It faded after a moment but the bars held strong. Fear coursed through Laji as he began to wonder if the Zern would be returning soon. He let another blast of fire go. The others had taken notice, were watching with eyes that glowed in the firelight. Again and again Laji released his newfound fire upon the bars until at last they crumbled and yielded before him. He was free. Free of his cage. Free to choose where to walk and what to do. He was so afraid he almost could not move. Immediately he began blasting away at Werevolt’s cage. The big lug would know what to do with this newfound freedom.

Laji worked swiftly, the new fire never seeming to exhaust. Soon, all of them were free. Laji was almost insane with fear and anger. The Zern could return at any moment. They were all hurt, all near death. They had to get free. He had to get to Timber! Together they would find Brian, ever absent Brian, and leave this place. They had to. Laji would die before being caged again.

They had found Brian. They had found poor, poor Brian. Laji couldn’t believe that there was so much evil in the world, enough evil in the world that someone would harm Brian; enough evil to torture Brian into near madness. Laji found, as they moved Brian into a great room full of torture devices, that he was no longer afraid. He was angry. He was furious and vengeful, desperate to extinguish the life of every creature within the big dungeon. Every Zern, every accomplice, every willing slave had to die. Imian and he had decided over the flesh bound books. They had made an oath, a pact. Every creature in this place would pay for what had happened to Brian. For what had happened to all of them. Laji heard echoes in the hall, clutched at his newly found spellbook. Their escape was no longer a secret and he had no magic. He was practically useless.

A mad plan was quickly hatched as Duncan, Imian and Werevolt moved the massive iron maiden within the room against the door. Werevolt braced himself, prepared himself for the long battle of strength ahead. He needed to last nine hours. It was impossible, a fools hope. But it was all they had; all there was to cling to. So Laji settled into a corner, missing Timbertope, silently willing his strength to Werevolt. The big brute had always been strong but now he appeared entirely composed of muscle. If anyone could do the impossible, it was him. Laji tried to rest.

Time passed and the Zern’s minions desperately tried to force their way through. For hours Laji faded in and out of consciousness. He sometimes was watching Werevolt sweat and struggle, other times he was with Timbertope in the wilds. Laji felt his brain gradually preparing itself to hold arcane secrets again. It had been a long time but the old mental exercises were easily remembered. All the while, as Laji slowly prepared himself, Werevolt held the iron maiden in place. He groaned and gasped but resisted every attempt to push open the door. Soon, Laji was ready to begin pouring over his spellbook.

“Just a little longer!” Laji hollered as the others worked to aid Werevolt. The big man was clearly exhausted, close to collapse. He held though, refusing to yield. Laji desperately began reading, recalling the secrets held within his precious tome. The final hour crawled by as Laji prepared. And then he was ready. Then they were all ready. The time for their stand had come, the time to prove they would never be captives again. Werevolt let the iron maiden free…and Laji hurled fire into the foes beyond.

Laji had never known he could wield such power. The flames exploded with a fury and the smell of burnt flesh and hair followed the black smoke that leaked into the room. Many creatures died but many others pushed forward. As one, Laji and the party cheered in readiness for battle. Laji prepared to hurl another fireball and muttered “This ones for you Timbertope!” as he hurled the bead of flame. He didn’t know how they would survive this but he would do everything he could to see his gopher again.

The stone steps gave way to blinding light as Lajicuvatew emerged from hell. The light reflected off of the white snow; the light of the sun, the light of the outside world. For uncounted weeks and months Laji had been bound beneath the earth and now, at long last, he was free. All other feelings and thoughts gave way to relief and an inkling of closeness. Timbertope was close and getting closer. Laji pushed past everyone and was almost buried in the great drifts of snow. A quiet scraping indicated the arrival of the gopher nearby and a moment later his head popped through the snow. The face was different, thinner and somewhat weary. Nonetheless it was Timber’s face. For what seemed an eternity, Laji had dreamt his reunion with his familiar. At long last, it was reality.
Folly and Fear

I don’t know if I will ever be able to write this down. It’s running through my head and I can’t stop it. Until I write it down I guess I just have to let it rush through my mind. It is funny that even when the world turns upside down I find myself still worrying about the fact I am a broke gnome. It may not matter after tonight though. He’s here, or at least some of his minions are. You know, like the minion that I tried to kill earlier and instead blew up a large segment of Karsis’ wall? There is that realization that I am broke again! Maybe this will be the opportunity I need to redeem myself in the eyes of Karsis. Timbertope seems to think so but then Timbertope is always a lot of more confident that I am not going to be eaten than I am. That’s why he’s a great gopher to have around.

The Foe blew up the Sapphire Staves Guildhall. He appeared to me in a dream. All of these suspicions for so long made real in a night. I feel a bit like I am going to wet myself. Or catch fire. That wouldn’t be so bad, it might actually be useful. The Foe may very well be in Karsis! We have to do something and fast. If we don’t move, if we don’t stop this, I don’t think anyone can. I feel like there are these eyes on us, on me. We were picked. I know we were picked by the Foe but maybe we were picked by some god or another as well? I don’t know anymore. Maybe that is just the delirium of fear.

Werevolt is here. We don’t know what to say to each other. We both dreamed the same thing. We know it before we even say a word. The big lug might actually look excited. Well fuck him; I’m not going to look afraid when he looks like he just got a shiny new axe to play with. Not that he would be able to afford a new axe since we are all pretty much broke. Screw you mind, revolving in circles! We need a plan, a good plan. Not like some of our other plans. What spells do I have readied? Are these really what I am going to have against the bloody Foe? Shit, this all happened too fast. First the Zern and now this! Life has been a shit shoot for too long now.

A plan. A plan. Messages! We need to get others ready, ready for what might happen. Who knows if this is isolated to the island? What if this is the attack the Foe has been readying for? Shit! The Academy links us to the gods-be-damned island! We need to get someone over there to defend it. Maybe the clerics of Heironeous? No! They need to keep watch on their own damn segment of that Staff. If they lose that then we are seriously doomed. What if the Foe can read my mind? FUCK YOU FOE! I’ll defy you until the end! I can’t believe I defied the Foe. Why did I do that?

Deep breath. Have to be ready for everything to come. I am strong. I am not Laji, the scared gnome. I am Lajicuvatew the Western Wizard of the West, Conqueror of the Forgetful Forest, Dominator of the Exploding Ants, Explorer of the Foul Labyrinth, Purifier of the Cursed Crypt and Annihilator of the Hated Zern. I fear nothing and I am looking to add a new title to my name. Fighter of the Foe? No that sounds like I might have lost. Too bad I already took Annihilator. No matter, I can decide upon it once I’ve won. I have to be strong. We can survive this and I damn well plan to. We can win this thing.

Feels like home again

Let the siege begin.

I don’t know if I’m going to survive to see another sunrise, Hell i don’t even know if I’ll live to see midnight. But, One thing i know for certain is I wont be alone.

My stalwart companions will be with me through this darkest of nights. Laji, Gerble, Imian, Cora, and even Brian. Not a single one of these souls has left mine untouched, And i will be dead and cold in the ground before I let The Foe get his greasy palms on one of them.

If i am to die here this day, whoever finds this letter on my corpse, run to Aria. Do not look back for any reason. Present this letter to the leader of any of the provinces and the full might of my country shall be brought into motion. If the city of Karsis shall fall today. The foe Will not see the end of the year. that is my final promise.

Ungar Werevolt – Heir to the province of Werevolt.

Dear Uncle Bajjer

SO! I’m actually BOTHERING to write something down for once, which is a huge stretch for me, but I figure if I can find a wizard that is good at sending messages (no offense to Laji, but he just blows shit up better that a badger can woop ass) then I need to get at least this, if not a more in depth explanation of my adventure to my Uncle. We have survived a zomblie apocalypse and now need to take out the head honcho. Signior “The Foe”. I’m with Laji and the gang one hundred percent on this but how are we supposed to deal with a crazy and powerful being that can control undead and demonic hordes and SOMEHOW steal his scepter back?! LIKE, WHAT THE HELL MAN! Uncle, if you have received this then I hope you are ok and I assure you that at the time of preparing this I am fine as well. I am a tad shaken by the sheer loss that occured defending this town but we must make “The Foe” pay for this.I do not plan on dying (again) and I swear that I WILL find you! Also, How’s life? What’s new? I’m sure you have put down a couple undead hordes, or dragon kings…. or whatever else you casually walk through nowadays.

Love you lots!

The Darkening Inferno

The battle lasted only a few minutes.

The stories I read before leaving Nay Trayspassing had always described brave battles in terms of mighty heroes smiting down their foes and protecting the innocent. They never mentioned the screaming. The terrifying sound of hundreds of people dying to uncaring evil. They never mentioned the unified marching of droves of undead as they struck at the home of thousands of hardworking people. They never talked about the lives lost, impossible to protect in the chaos of battle. They never mentioned how friends, foes, and people you’ve never even met die alike, no matter how hard you try. So I’m writing this so people know. So that they know that adventuring is not always about glory or victory. Sometimes it is about hard facts, terrible sacrifice, and prices paid in blood.

I’m tired. I don’t think I’ve ever been this tired. Not while I was being tortured, not after Brian died. Never. I feel the weight of all those people, all those innocent people, weighing on me as I trudge through the corpses. I’m searching for familiar faces but I’m not sure why. It doesn’t make any difference. It’s all senseless. All this for some stupid weaklings quest for power. I’m beginning to understand, understand what the Magi Council tried to teach me. Disregarding life isn’t strength. Killing isn’t power. It’s pointless. These people didn’t need to die. Jimpy didn’t need to die. Cora didn’t need to die.

I wish I felt sorrow or pain. I wish I felt anything other than fatigue and rage. I don’t though. I feel the fire burning inside of me, desperate to be free. It keeps me warm, helps me to keep moving. The fire seeks vengeance with me. Everything else is distant, like a dream from another life. Everything but Timbertope, that is. I feel his sorrow and pain at the back of my mind. It makes me even more furious at the world. I know that someday I may feel as he does but not until this is finished. Until then he keeps watch of that part of me, the luxury I can’t afford as we go into this final stretch. I wonder if either of us will live to see this monstrous task done.

I will commit every bit of strength I have to killing the Foe. I will burn him. Burn him into ash and cast those ashes to the wind. I will see him pay in pain for the lives that he has ended, for the pain he has caused this city. I don’t care if I make it through anymore. This task is all that matters and I will see it done. Once I would have feared for my own life or the life of my friends. I don’t anymore. We don’t matter. Killing him is what matters. That is a death that will make a difference. A death that will matter to the entire world. A death that needs to happen. A death that will happen.

The battle lasted only a few minutes. I will make him answer for the battle for eternity.

Entry.... well, who cares what number, Entry!

So, my friends are certainly smart. Werevolt surprisingly pulled an idea out of his ass, can you call that his ass anymore? I’ll have to check with my family when I get home. How the hell am I going to convince him to come home with me. Maybe a feast would work? Royal style. My aunt has put on enough royal style dinners I’m sure she could do something. Anyways! There was this slight… issue…. where both Brian and Werevolt had a loved one threatened. We were only supposed to have time to save one or the other. Werevolt has designed a way to get both of them, with a little help from out friends in Karsus and most of the magical finesse of our group of merry men. I let them figure it out because I feel more like an addition to the party than a part of it. I’m here to help them so that they might help me. Also, Laji is amazing and amusing. He has to meet my family, they could take him to the firing range. I’m sure they’d be impressed. While they worked out that plan, which is remarkable and much different than I put forward as our plan of attack, I polished up our horse. Had a couple vials of some magical oils so I figured, magical oils to polish a magical horse. Only fitting right? Not like we were using them anyways. So currently, were speeding along to our first destination, going to save that person, then do some magical teleportation and if all goes well save the other person as well. then back to finding The Foe. DUN DUN DUN! Ever find it amusing how well that translates into writing?

A Weary Conviction

I like to pride myself on being a smart gnome. Well, no, that’s the king of understatements. I like to pride myself on being a genius gnome. To that end, I’m always impressed when someone is able to conjure up an idea that had not occurred to me. Generally I just feel angry and envious but this time around was different. Werevolt. The big lummox has a head on his shoulders after all, at least when he’s pressed. He may have dropped me down a pit like a moron but now in the eleventh hour he comes through and concocts a plan to save Brian’s father and his own slave lovers life, the Foe’s supposed ultimatum be damned. Perhaps that dragon blood is starting to do some good and getting the juices flowing upstairs as well as through those rippling muscles of his.

It will take all of my teleportation magic and it depends on that unreliable spell not backfiring but if we can pull it all off we should be able to save two lives instead of just one. I know that should be the big selling point on this whole endeavour. Perusing Pelor’s holy book, having Brian back, I’m beginning to more fully understand the utility of the whole righteous thing. It’s especially true when you are going against the biggest of all bastards, the Foe. Despite that, the big perk in my mind to pulling off this plan is not saving lives but giving a big towering middle finger to the bastard who thinks he can control us. I always knew magic was the solution to our problems and I’m vindicated. We can disrupt the Foe’s plans and keep Brian and Werevolt happy. It sounds like a win-win to me.

I’m beginning to feel tired. I feel like each day that passes is a few decades off my life. The New Year is just around the corner and we still have to pull of this crazy teleportation plan, rush into Helm’s Grave, and hope that it is the end point. Then we have to hope we can beat whatever the hell the Foe actually is and come out of this alive and sane. I want to have faith in Pelor that he will deliver us through all this. Having that kind of faith in Boccob is pretty pointless since he doesn’t give a damn either way, but Pelor has shown he’s a different sort. He brought Brian back as a saint which, as divine decisions goes, is about as sound as any idea I’ve heard before or since. I’m afraid to place my faith in that way though. I need all my energy driving toward my magic, toward my reasoning. I need every resource at the ready to pour into this coming confrontation.

There have been plenty of times in the past months that I’ve worried if I would live. The Zern, the crypt, even way back in the forest. Yet I’ve never felt this heavy dread before. I didn’t understand it at first but Timbertope saw to the heart of the matter. This death means something more than my own. It means the endangerment of Karsis. The endangerment of the world. It means Ypes will die. It means Jimpy will be forced to flee or go down in a blaze of glory (again). It means that everything that myself and the Big Guy have worked for were ultimately for nothing. I’m not used to feeling that kind of responsibility on my shoulders. Not in this way. The thought wearies me but all I can do is stand strong and see this to the end.

I’ll kill the Foe or I will die trying. It is odd to accept that conviction.

For all we have ventured, what have we gained?

I have of late been worried that we have already lost. The Cruel Edict’s information seems to confirm my suspicion that the Foe has been attempting to shape us, with some success I fear. I have long known that my time in the zerns’ lair made me colder, harder, but recent events have given me a glimpse of the extent of the damage. When the Goliath refused to give up his weapon, I was quite committed to seeing him die. He was a danger to our well-being, and so his life was forfeit in my eyes. But Brian called for another way, and such a way was found. Again I failed to see an alternative when we were presented with the foe’s ultimatum. Have I really lost my ability to value the lives of others? The Foe seems to want to twist us, to corrupt us. That is why Brian was made to suffer as he did, and I fear that without him we may let things slide, and that we may not regain our lost perspective.

…We. I keep saying we when I really mean to say “I”. How can I have allowed myself to fail like this? I must do better, somehow.
Quieting the voices. Quelling the night

I Haven’t written in a while, its hard to focus on a page when you cant even get a moments silence in your own head.

Ever since the Xern I havent had a moments peace. I fear that i have looked into the abyss for far too long, and that instead of looking back it has taken up residence in my mind.

I no longer even know which voice is mine, but i know that some of them are not me. It was not my idea that saved my beloved but one from one of the voices. I don’t know where they come from, but they seem to contain a great amount of knowledge. much of it things i could have known, should have known.

The voices only grow louder when theres killing to be done. the only thing that seems to quiet them enough to allow me to focus is singing the tune of a lullaby that my mother sang to me. even with the song to focus on its getting harder and harder to drown them out. one day i fear i will not be able to any longer.

but these are thoughts for another day. Fate may have a different path for me. for while i wait in the damp airless crypt of a city the greatest foe I have ever faced waits for our small ragged band. we know nothing of him, and he knows nearly everything about us.

Our options are as limited as our resourses and our time is even more limited then that. I doont know many thing about what my immediate future holds, but what i do know is that between the foe and I, only one of us will be walking away from this fight alive. In my days, i have heard bards say that the pen is mightier than the sword. None of them have ever seen me swing one before. and the foe will be getting a first hand taste of that.

I have prepared myself for the even that I will have to sacrifice myself to ensure the groups survival. My will is in the possesion of Laji. Kara is safe back in Karsis and the city is preparing itself for the event that we fail. I have made my peace with myself and my deeds. I am ready for what the morrow may bring.


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