Eternal Winter

Oh, he’s a SOCIAL Danthu!

Hello again, faithful fans who may or may not ever read this—and the way things are going, that’s not certain. One more Swarm Demon and we are all fly meat. But I get ahead of myself. In the hope that this journal will someday be read to much acclaim and reward for yours truly, I continue to inscribe these words with my own dirty sweat. I’m saying, it’s hot.

Into the town we ventured, dripping with Hell Knight blood, to find what seems to be Fight Club for the evil. Devils and demons live here, and it seems like the demons have the home court advantage. We learned that this is not Hell but merely an especially hot and dusty bit of the Astral Sea, where devils and demons come for a bit of holiday. The town is at the base of a huge spire which is ruled from the top by a devil named Maurus. We learned that he is the one holding the Rift Blade, which is our ticket out of here.

And how did we learn all this, when nearly everyone we met spoke Abyssal and looked like they wanted to use us as a cushion on which to recline? From a Danthu, of course. Oh, you say, Danthu are twisted, strange, wicked, and smelly. Well, not this Danthu! Though he may be a bit smelly; it’s hard to tell. His name is Marris (an unfortunate near-homophone with the devil Maurus we are trying to reach) and he is a Social Danthu. He talks! He walks! He has a charmingly wry grin! And he does not want to eat us! I nearly said huzzah… get me out of here soon as the heat is getting to me.

Marris tells us that the Danthu are in fact the souls of dead gnomes, who are sucked into this place by some mystical power perhaps engendered by Herdecus. In a manner suitable for Dante, the kind of gnome they were dictates what kind of Danthu they become. From this I can deduce that most gnomes are assholes. But not our guy Marris; he’s pretty helpful and friendly. Among other things, he told us that the drink of choice here is called Angel’s Blood, which hopefully is just a badass sounding name for something not actually drained from angels. At least I will choose to believe this.

It turns out we need to go up this spire by one of two ways: go to a portal which is heavily guarded and guaranteed to kick us around a bit, or go up the Corpse Tower. He told us to stay to the right while in the tower. Helpful tip. We decided to take the tower.

The way was guarded by a Tiefling and a couple Hell Knights. As we were getting into position, Steeple decided to once again use his legendary diplomatic skills (see previous journal entries for how well that went) and within 12 seconds the shit had hit the fan. The only good thing about the fight was a completely badass move Markus did by fey stepping into a midair spot next to the Tiefling when she was on the roof, and before he fell, attacking her with a bait-and-switch, hitting her critically, and making her change places with him—then for her to fall to the street below! The rest of the fight went well, though it’s all hazy in my mind. {We stopped the session partway through the fight, and at the next session Dylan confessed he never expected us to fight this one, just talk our way through, so he was not well prepared to continue the combat.}

Soon Grimm joined us from Pokeball land, with his nightmare steed in obedient tow. Recently obedient. The horse, upon waking up in the Pokeball, decided this had gone way too far in an anime direction and decided to kick some undead ass to get his freedom back. In the ball they fought furiously, but Grimm prevailed, narrowly.

Soon we found a room with a foreboding portal on the wall. I could tell it did not go to the material plane, and that its runes require you to hold a certain object to go through it. Also something in the runes binds souls to the portal and allows the operator to summon something through it. No idea where the portal goes but behind it was a huge mural of what looks like a planet covered with eyeballs and tentacles. I am guessing they don’t appreciate bards there, so it’s not high on my list of holiday spots. Marris later told us that must have been The Opener of Way, which he thinks is a very foolish being to mess with. He guesses that Maurus, the devil on top, is tapping into its power, and it’s a bad idea.

We stumbled into a room which nearly became our graveyard. It had a few easy Legion Devils and one incredibly hard Swarm Devil. He was made of a billion acidic bugs. Because he had no controller, it took half damage from everything. And it hit hard. At the end Grimm told his horse to stop painting its hooves (black, of course) outside the room and come in here and help kick some ass. All of us went down except for a couple—I am not sure who, though I think it were Talithe and Grimm—and they nearly expired as well. It was very, very close.

Rattled and depleted, we went back to town to the Back Alley Inn, a nice enough sounding place set in some catacombs. Except in the middle of the night we were rolled by a gang of demons. I tried to intimidate them and instead ended up scaring myself far more {rolling a 1} so I cowered with my trousers full of shit. Grimm, however, pulled through with a brilliant bluff that convinced them that what we most feared losing were the rooms. I managed to support this with my own bluff, gasping, “No, god no! Not the rooms!” The gang, not the smartest bunch, demanded that we move out so they can use the rooms. So we got out intact and having lost about 2 gold pieces total for the lost room reservations. And I managed to steal one of those little bottles of shampoo, so that lessens the loss even more.

Back to the Corpse Tower we came, this time guarded by two comely female Tieflings. Well, who knows how comely they were. I’ve had horny girlfriends before but not like this, hey hey! I tried my considerable charms with them but I don’t think I was on their wavelength, with is probably infrared. At first they asked, are you the ones who came here and killed that Tiefling and Hell Knight? I said ho ho, no no, not us, that must have been the OTHER group of humans who came to this place sometime in the last century! They believed me (what can I say, I am a good liar) but surprisingly that meant they would NOT let us into the tower. What the what? They said that Asmodeus admired the pluck of those other humans and would allow them into the tower. So I confessed to my little fib, and they let us through. I think I hurt my chances of getting a date with them, however. I offered to meet them for a bit of Angel’s Blood later but they just laughed at me. Unless that’s how Tieflings come on to a guy, I think I was shot down.

We explored some caverns, decorated with lava and rocks mined from the walls, a lovely place. We were not going upward. And by now I had forgotten about the “stay right” advice so we were just wandering around. We fought a Slime Devil and his minions and boy, that was unpleasant. He had this way of covering each of us at times and making us attack each other while pummelling us with questions. If we did not answer them truthfully, it hurt a lot. Since I am a smartass, I got hurt a lot. Fortunately he got stuck on Steeple for a while, who was so clueless about what we were doing here and what we were looking for, since he was in the Pokeball when we learned all this, the Slime Devil did not get much out of him, ha ha.

We puzzled over a room with a sundial and runes. Making the shadow fall on the runes lit them up. Then we were stumped.

We sent Grimm to sneak ahead as we got a bad feeling about what was ahead, and it was a good thing. He spied on a room with another one of those portals plus a lot of chanting devils. Out the portal, I think, popped another Swarm Demon. Let’s not go there, we decided.

We found a ginormous cavern with a river of lava. On a tall perch in its middle was a flying devil of some sort, who let us past, probably because we looked too weak and pathetic to bother swooping upon. So we continued through a hall of devil statues—perhaps a kind of Most Evil Hall of Fame, including one of good old Asmodeus, which looked like it had been vandalised.

Then we came across a big throne room with a red carpet. On the throne was a huge armoured guy we later learned was named Arc. He had been expecting us. He had a fittingly huge hammer, and a not so fittingly huge sense of whimsy. He seemed batshit crazy, in fact, and the only thing that saved us for a time was that for some reason he could not strike us first. He tried to provoke us into attacking him but we would not. We later learned he is a device inventor, and his hammer probably was built to do something fun if we attacked. The flying devil from the cavern came in, asked what was going on. We tried to talk our way out of it, saying we were coming to pay honor to Maurus. That seemed to be the wrong answer. We said we were let in by agents of Asmodeus. That also did not seem to work, though I cannot really remember why, sorry! In any case all this was overshadowed by some kind of poofy thing he did with his hammer that knocked us all unconscious.

We woke up in jail cells. Even the horse! And hey, Marris was there too! Grimm used his phasing to get out of the cell, kill a guard for a key, and then came back to let us out—though he seemed to think disturbingly hard about whether to do so. I don’t know what Grimm’s deal is but I have a feeling we are not that important to his overall quest. I feel used, like… like a jumper that he’s only wearing as long as it’s chilly but the moment it gets warm, bam, into the closet we’ll go and he’ll be strolling around in his thongs saying tra la la, I don’t need that jumper any more. My analogy needs work but hopefully my meaning is clear.

Marris said that Arc is an odd one, who ran away from the service of Orcus. He is a rage devil, though he seems to have diverted his rage into overall nuttiness. All I know is I’m not eager to see him again. We need to escape and get up the tower, and this time stay to the fucking right!


HAHA, mixed them up again!

Oh, he’s a SOCIAL Danthu!

What?!? I swear YOU keep switching them around! :p

Oh, he’s a SOCIAL Danthu!

O wait, it looks like I have switched them around in the above. OK, once and for all, and on the record, tell me which is really which??

Oh, he’s a SOCIAL Danthu!

Marrus = Lovable social danthu
Maurus = Only marginally less lovable devilish overlord on top of the demonic tower.
Now available in adorable bobble-heads!

Oh, he’s a SOCIAL Danthu!

Whew, finally got it all right, I think, and corrected the journals… No more homophones! :p

Oh, he’s a SOCIAL Danthu!

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