Spike's Journal

Being the ramblings of Revan "Spike" Alleyspawn, about his misadventures in what he believes to be the World's Largest Dungeon.

Coldeven 11: Salvation

Lo-Kag made it out! He was apparently wounded enough that he had to hole up for a few days, since he didn't have Asilky with him to restore his health, but after that, he travelled back to where Sper was, and got her to come drive off the hornets!

She has the power (it appears) to turn into a whirlwind, which allowed her to do it. Unfortunately, now that she's saved us twice, I feel like we really owe her. I have to keep reminding myself of Spike's Exchange Axiom, and that I'm not necessarily in any hurry to pay her back.

My curiousity about what happened with Lo-Kag has been more than satisfied, since he tore out a page of his book to leave us a note in the room he holed up in...
Sure.... lets open the door... how bad can they be?... its probably just bees.... If we don't open it I'll always wonder what's behind it... Note to self: NEVER LISTEN TO K OR THE OTHERS EVER AGAIN. If I ever see them alive again I'm going to strangle them.

The swelling is going down somewhat but it is starting to itch. The poltice is helping although it stinks. Thank goodness Aunt Gathnik stuck them in my pack. I've had some time to reflect overnight. Courage be damned, Eaora has it right. I'm staying out of the way from now on. The things down here are too nasty. I like a good game as well as the next guy, but I prefer to win. When playing with my life, I like even more of an edge. From now on, when it starts looking bad, it is time to go.

It sounds like at least some of my friends were still alive. Judging by the sounds they made another attempt at the bees. I still hear the humming, so I don't think they won, but I did hear a door slam so I think that's good news. Anyway yesterday we decided to open a door with a loud humming noise behind it and got attacked by bees. I've never seen anything like them, thousands of them and with stingers that went right through even MY hide. They were crawling all over you so that you couldn't breathe or or even think. I think I stabbed at them but my magic spear did nothing. Anyway I barely got out alive but my idiot friends went out the wrong door. I'm going to rest here another day, then go for help if they don't show up. I just hope the priest was right when he said the shadows can't go through the doors. I've spiked them shut for now. I think I messed up my thumb hammering in the spike though. I seem to be very clumsy with all of the stings.

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I think I need some heavier armor. I think I'll see if I can fit up a new set from the armor laying around in the smithy I'm holed up in.

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Note to self, don't put heavy armor over bee stings: ouch! Since I've still got time to kill, I might as well try something else futile.

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Success! I've been working for years on some of the spells that old Blighter taught me. He told me they would work because we both had what he called "the blood" and that my evil eye proved it. None of them ever did much. Mostly I'd been trying the laughtodeath spell, but that never worked. I guess I'm just not funny. Anyway given my recent experiences, I've decided to work on the runfast spell and I finally got it right. I'll try out a couple of the others to see if I can make them work too.

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I'm not going to wait any longer. I should probably leave a note.

Lo-Kag seems glad to have found us, but grumpy. I didn't mention it before, because it seemed unimportant next to the fact of our inevitable death, but the portable hole we found closed up, and we failed to get some of the stuff that was in it out. I rescued much of the important stuff, including the bag of miscellaneous booty. Lo-Kag doesn't seem impressed though, he keeps going on and on about some sort of horrid icepepper sauce he had stored in there. Like I could conceivably pick something that makes food effectively inedible over a bag of gold and gems.

Since our rescue, We've done a little additional exploring, with two interesting results. Firstly, we've found a second Ward Staff. So, we're halfway done with the job we told the wardens of this asylum we'd work on. I guess that's good, since it means I have to worry less about owing them favors.

Secondly, we found a magic door that wouldn't work for anyone. After everyone gave it a shot, I decided to try and "convince" it to work. I guess talking with Eaora was good for something, possibly clarifying my thoughts on the matter, because I was able to make it do its thing.

It took me to a cloak room where many robes and much clothing was stored. Yes, a magic portal to a wardrobe, I've never heard of anything like it. With something like that, you'd think you could protect something more important than a few scraps of mildewed clothing. I grabbed some of the nicer looking clothing in the hopes that it would be good for something, and made the door take me back. I didn't tell the others, but I had a bad moment where I was worried that I wouldn't be able to make the portal work in the opposite direction.

Now that we're free of our prison-within-a-prison and able to move about, I'll rest a little easier tonight, and leave off worrying about the bigger prison until tomorrow.

Coldeven 9: Death

It is times like this, when everything has gone to the hells, that I occassionaly have to think about dying. It turns out that Asilky has the power to create food. Of course, since the power comes from his god, the food is tasteless grey mush. This plays into the whole "are the gods perverse" question which I've ruminated on before.

One wonders if there's some sort of cosmic accounting system. "Yes, I can give out endless food to my worshippers, but only if it looks like wet sand, smells like old leaves, and tastes like spoonfulls of mashed turnips."

Since we can't even enjoy the food, for the most part, our options our few. There is no productive work to be done. We cannot bathe, there is no privacy, and there's nothing to read except spell books and what I write in my journal. I've tried sparring with the other males of the party, but K outmatches me too easily, and Asilky is a sore loser. (I don't think dwarves like being tripped, but that's a major portion of my fighting style.) And while B.B. is deadly in her own way, it's not a kind of deadly that translates into sparring.

So, I've spent a lot of time talking. Mostly about three things.

The first thing is escape. We've come a long way to be stopped here. Everyone has a hare-brained notion on how to get out of our predicament, but not one of them has passed muster with the group, mostly because each new idea is twice as crazed as the last.

The second thing is magic. I've always had a gift for understanding magical things. Don't get me wrong, I'm no wizard, but I seem to have a unique "feel" for magical things, and I can sometimes make them work, even though I really don't know the "right way" to do it. Recently, I've taken on the job of testing wands we find. I feel like I've almost got the knack, but I've had two embarrasing disasters.

The first one I was holding backwards. When it discharged there was a deafening sound, and several fragile items on my person, like potion bottles and such, were shattered. Eaora explained (once I could hear) that it was what the wand was for, but that I'd been holding it the wrong way. Even I had to admit it was funny.

The second one went off when I wasn't expecting it, and a little red sphere flew out, struck the ground at my feet, and exploded into a full-fledged ball of fire. Once Asilky had cleared up the damage, I could see why some of the others thought it was so funny, especially after the "holding backwards" thing. But, my pride was stung.

So, I've been talking with Eaora, trying to figure out more about how such magical things work, and she's had some interesting things to say, but I'm not sure how much help its going to be. You see, when I make a magic item do its thing, I don't think I'm working through normal channels. I'm not trying to guess the special word, gesture, or phrase that's supposed to make it work. I'm trying to make it work in spite of the fact that I don't know those things.

The thing is, which I'm not sure Eaora gets, is that a magical device "wants" to work. It has a purpose, and that purpose is to do something, and that's all it was built for, and it's ready to do it. The special word, gesture, or phrase isn't like an extra push to make it do something it doesn't want to do, rather, it's a key in a lock that lets it release the magic that the lock has been holding in check.

Put another way, I do "push" my will into the wand or item, but I don't fake the key, nor do I understand or mess with the lock. Instead, I put more pressure on the bottled up energy to do what it's supposed to do, and I keep pressuring it until it just plain bursts the lock and does it.

Eaora, of course, says I just don't understand.

Anyway, the third thing we've been talking about is death. About how long it's going to be until we can't stand each other. About how long we can eat tasteless mush, rehash the same old discussions, and read the same books, before death starts to look more attractive. About how long it will be until one of us cracks and opens that damn door, consigning the lot of us to death at the hands of the bugs.

Damn, I don't want to write about this anymore. I'm going to go play some cards.