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 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.