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 8: Hornet's Nest

We're all doomed.

As I sit here, trapped, writing what are probably my final words, I wonder what exactly to say. Should I write the circumstances which lead to our demise, so that the next person to find my journal, trapped by the same circumstances, should better appreciate the bitter irony? Should I strive to share some last bit of wisdom, in the hope that this book is somehow found before the world ends.

Scanning through my journal, I see that I have yet to write much about Lo-Kag. Since he is now dead, writing about him seems as good a way to mark his passing as any.

I've mentioned before that LoKag is one of two goliaths travelling with us. I'm not a short man, but he towered over me as I might tower over a young boy, standing perhaps as much as half again my height. Similarly, I am not a weak man, yet he overpowered me as I might a tavern girl. He resembled a man, yet was clearly not human, having hairless grey skin with dark brownish patterns. Furthermore, he was covered thickly in large coin shaped bumps, some of which appeared to have small gems embedded in them. (Alas, I cannot inspect his body to find out for sure.)

LoKag had a green right eye that was normal enough, but a frigteningly red and dragonlike left eye, which was, I would guess, why he sometimes referred to himself as Lo-Kag Evil Eye. He carried a massive hammer with a 5' handle, and a prodigious spear bearing a bundle of possessions wrapped in a tarp.

I got along well with him. He was friendly but competitive, but always practical. For example, he would occasionally pick
up, move or carry others when he thought needed, occasionally to their annoyance. I think he was aware of how frightening he must have been to humans, for when in towns, I saw him wear an elaborate eye patch over his "evil" eye. But while adventuring, he cared little for appearances. For example, he recently started wearing two magically burning candles stuck to a leather band he wore around his head. It looked ridiculous, but I didn't want to say anything. It's too bad he died like that, as I'd liken it to dying while wearing women's undergarments.

Looking through what meager possessions of his remain to us, I find a scrap of his journal, though why this page was torn loose, I cannot say. I'll attach it here, for presumably the hornets will tear the rest of his journal to shreds to make nests or for some other such obscure insectoid purpose.

Lately I've been feeling down on myself. I'm starting to worry if I am really a coward after all. Where I grew up everyone was expected to step up when there was something dangerous going on, and I stepped up with the rest. Now whenever we're out looking for trouble, I'm in the back making sure nothing sneaks up and bites Eaora's behind. Lately it seems like I run as much as I fight. We have gotten into several fights against the shadow dogs recently where all I did was run. Then the one time I don't run, we get chewed up so bad that if Sper doesn't show up, we all die. Now I'm really starting to worry. We ran into a trap that fills the room with fire. Eaora has gotten so paranoid that she won't even be in the same room as B.B when she is looking for traps. As a result, when the fire goes boom, only Eaora and I are spared. I used to think she was a total coward. Now I'm trying to figure out whether she's just smarter that we are or whether I'm a coward after all, because I think she may be onto something.

* * *
More stinking shadows. I really wish we could find something else to fight. Shadows are easy enough to hit but they always seem to fade just before you hit them and your weapon just passes right through. The way K keeps charging forward and getting surrounded, he's going to get sucked dry one of these days. Fortunately Asilky seems to be able to scare them off if things get too nasty. Gotta go B.B. just signaled the all clear.

* * *
What a let down. We enter a heavily warded room that MUST contain something nasty. I push through to the front to try this magic spear of doom against the powerful thing lurking inside and ... nothing.

It's interesting reading his perspective on recent events, because in some ways it mirrors mine. I've been trying to keep with BB, but as the traps get more and more lethal, it seems only common sense to stay back. Not that it matters now.

The traps, the shadows, the need to somehow alter the horrible circumstances that surround us have caused us to grow increasingly careless. Lo-Kag writes of the heavily warded room we found that proved to contain nothing. The mere fact that we opened it demonstrates the degree to which we've been taking foolish risks. The fact that it proved nothing only served to cement our course, and that has lead to our ruin.

You see, we found a door, and from the far side of the door we heard a buzzing, like insects. It's hard for a grown man to be too frightened of insects, and I said as much, pointing out (what was I thinking!?) that if we had been willing to open the warded door, which might easily have contain some kind of demon, why would we avoid opening a door just because of a few bugs.

As soon as we opened the door, they were upon us. Hundreds, if not thousands of them, hornets, yet unlike any hornet I have ever seen. They attacked with a purpose, climbing under armor, swarming over every inch of exposed flesh and stinging again and again. Those that were enveloped by the swarm could do nothing but flee, and always the insects pursued. Those, like myself, that were fortunate enough to be standing outside the swarm were still stung, but found that there was little we could do to help. With each swing of my chain, a few insects died, but not enough to make any real difference.

Eoara tried to use fire against them, casting the impressive fireball spell that she has recently mastered, but it did not affect the creatures in the slightest. When K. went to his knees, and looked like he was about to pass out, we grabbed him and dragged him through the nearest door, slamming it before the hornets could follow.

Lo-Kag didn't make it. We left him there, amidst the wasps. But our situation is not much better. We are in a room, apparently once a temple to Pelor. It has but the one entrance, and from beyond it, we can still hear the buzzing, travelling up and down the hall. They are clearly not hornets of this earth, like the other demonic inhabitants of this place, they will not tire, hunger, or die of old age.

I am not much for praying. Yet I will pray to Olidammara now, for I see nothing but outrageous luck that could possibly save us from the doom we have stumbled into.

Coldeven 6: Haven (Day 4)

This is a prison, and there is no easy way out.

I'm tempted to make that the last entry, as it seems unlikely that anyone other than other prisoners of this horrible place will ever read it. But there isn't enough to fill the empty hours while we recover from our trials, and this helps me put my thoughts in order.

Sper has lead us to her allies, and they are impressive, if frightening. They say they are of the Eladrin, which seems to mean something to Asilky, but to me they appear to be animals combined with men. But despite how weird they are, they seem to have a lot of power, and claim to have been here for thousands of years.

Apparently this whole place is a prison, built by the gods, to contain things too evil to walk among mortals. The Eladrin and a variety of other beings that Asilky calls "Celestials" acted as jailers, working in concert with another group ominously named "the Inevitables".

Apparently a recent series of earthquakes has caused trouble, releasing certain things from their prisons, destroying barriers that are supposed to prevent movement of the prisoners, and weakening the "wards" which are supposed to contain all this evil.

Now, I'm a simple guy, I stick to Spike's Cardinal Rule, and I expect others to do the same. Good and Evil, as I've said, are mostly just labels applied to what I see as either excessively short-term or excessively long-term thinking. I've met people who are called "Evil", and I got along with them just fine. But apparently, this isn't like that at all. Apparently, this is the kind of evil that gets under your skin and makes you into something horrible. Not stealing other people's stuff and killing anyone who gets in your way horrible, but "Let's eat babies" horrible.

A lot of people think I'm not a very good person, but I really don't want to lose that much perspective.

Anyway, the Celestial named Keylara, who is apparently the leader, can't help us much, but has proved amenable to striking a deal. She'll give us aid and comfort if we can find some things that they've lost called "Ward Staves". The evil creatures running around have accounted for killing lots of the Celestial's numbers, and those that are left are very busy, and no longer know the wearabouts of the staves.

In addition, if they're not found, evil forces could apparently destroy them, resulting in the release of some nasty stuff which will add to our woes. I'm not sure that'd be enough for me to want to take this on, but the promise of allies and payment makes the difference for me.

I guess, cautiously, that things are looking up.