Eternal Winter

Oni ass kicking

Hello again to my rapt reading public. I see my faithful journal updated itself and I don’t have to write an extra entry. Good gods, I forgot it could do that. I’d let it do all my journaling work and use the time I save for precious drinking and wooing, except for two things. 1) As a bard, my adoring public expects me to write my own material in my own inimitable style; and 2) My journal writes like a prissy-assed nancy boy. If I ever write the word “Huzzah” with my own hand, please, please let it be gnawed off by a warg. It does occur to me, however, that if I simply leave the journal open on my bedstand and let it transcribe my heroic adventures conducted nearby, I could earn quite a bit of gold selling the result to the underground erotic story market. Hm, something to consider. I do like an audience…

Anyway, to write more thrilling tales of the Blue Balls! Oh, a side note to my many fans. Calling ourselves the Blue Balls has been fun and all, but I feel we might be outgrowing it. After all, we are now the saviours of entire swaths of countryside, not the plucky assemblage of rat-killers we used to be. As I recall I came up with our merry name as a way to piss off the Red Hand crew and stand out as contestants in the Cross City Race. When we actually found a blue ball that allowed us to travel through Cados, it seemed like Corellon himself cast his fey blessing on our moniker. It has served us well, but as we attain new heights of fame, it may be time for a new name. At least, that’s what a recent girlfriend told me, and she should know, as she seems to have some kind of job in an arcane craft called “Public relations”. I’m more interested in pubic relations myself, ho ho! (You see, that is the kind of high-quality humour you only can get from a trained bard, not a magically auto-updating journal.)

Let me continue with the tale of battling the Oni. (My prissy little journal misidentified the species, something that of course a man of the world such as myself would never do.) As we ran to Steeple’s rescue, the big ugly thing turned to stinky smoke and vanished. Rosy, however, saw the same smoke slipping back into the hut. So we went back underground, through the vacated slave room, and into a series of corridors. Who makes all this, anyway? Was the hut built on top of it, or was it dug out while the hut was there?

We found a perfectly innocent looking room with a desirable chest sitting pretty at the other side. Cunning adventurers as we are, we realised this may be a trap, so Rosy warmed up her eyeballs to take a look. Her eye-warming was interrupted by a crackling noise from Steeple, who had stomped into the room on his own. His charm grows every hour. I think he needs a “stop” button installed. Well, the crackling was deadly electricity coursing through him, immobilizing him on the electrified floor. Someone, I forget who, grabbed him to try to pull him back, and this created a two-person conga line of immobilized, frying adventurers. I had the brilliant idea of using my heal to slide him back out, but the way was blocked, so I figured the next best thing would be to push him away, since surely nobody would go to the expense of electrifying anything beyond the first row of floor tiles! This theory was disproven by evidence: the next floor tile was also wired up, and Steeple started to get smoke pouring out of his ears. The way got cleared, I hit him with a Blunder, and he was magically forced to tap-dance and stumble his way out of harm. It actually looked like a stage act that could make some serious coin. Come see the sparking, dancing, sliding metal man! Oh, the fun we have.

We used Mage Hand and a rope to pull the chest over, and found some great stuff: a staff of elemental ass-kicking for Aria—are you seeing this, girly? Come out of the Pokeball and join us!—and a circlet of mental onslaught. It’s perfect for me. But… it’s a circlet. It completely messes with my hair. And it’s… well… look, the heart-shaped hole in my healing armor is just stylish. The tight mariachi pants emphasize my natural gifts for the ladies to see. The accordion is clearly the instrument of love. But I think the circlet makes me look kind of gay.

We took a quick peek into a huge throne room with nobody in it—but which yielded a long carpet which Wreth fashioned into a long cape. Not really sure why. As a result he needs about a 40’ square to turn around or else he will trip on himself.

Then we stumbled into the real fun: a final room containing our friendly Oni mage, now not smoky and a lot more ready for battle, and her little pet: a Macetail Behemoth. Garnish with handfuls of hobgoblins and you’ve got yourself a holy shit salad! However, we handled the challenge handily, laying down much smack. The Oni and the few surviving hobs surrendered.

The Oni told us more about Princess Parsy. As it turns out, there are two such princesses, so let me pull these two beautiful women away from each other—something that I am usually disinclined to do, ho ho! More on them later, but they are Sarah Parsy and Carissa Parsy. The Oni said they went north to fight the Baloth, of which we learn more shortly, wait for it. The Baloth was killed and the forest there is strangely changed, said the Oni, and told us where to go to see it. We made the Oni promise to leave Cados and do no harm, and that we’d come thump her good if she was lying, which she seemed to be.

Victorious, we headed back to Moon City. Things were a bit tense there. We heard that there was an abomination ravaging Lietherack. Ohhh right. The abomination. That was made in the ritual. The ritual we failed to stop in time as we rescued Parsy. Whoops, I guess we forgot about that one. Put that on the to-do list.

That aside, we got the mayor Damien to agree to outfit our manor with anti-thief protections, free of charge, nice of him. It has Paragon brand locks. He told us there was a battle mage coming to help us get into Tarkin. I think the idea is to first go to the gnomish enclaves (more on that later) and meet him at Tarkin Hall. Him and what army? Well, he actually does have an army. We’re leading an army now? Excuse me while I fit myself with a much larger codpiece.

Our little Rosy is all grown up now, a flowering and beautiful woman—not that I pay attention to such attributes in my team-mates. It just causes trouble. She told us that she has fallen in love with a nice Elven boy in Lietherack. Awww. So she is retiring. We gave her a share of the gold as a farewell present and threw a massive party. It was great, and did you know, some of the catering staff are very sexy? We got rid of the leftover food in creative ways.

After word spread that we had a spot open in our party, we met Grimm [played by Aby as a replacement for Rosy]. He’s another revenant chap. How nice. On the plus side, this must cut down on our food costs considerably. Grimm seems to be a bit of a wild card. He wants to destroy everything made by The Maker, which seems to be everything. But it does not include us, because we were not made by The Maker. I don’t understand religion very well and I was relaxing with my bong at the time, so I had a hard time following the logic. Don’t blame me for not paying attention during church lessons! Sister Clarisse was totally coming on to me!

Back to the forest we went to find the trail of the Parsy women. We found there, in a warm and green glade, an extraordinary sight: a wounded woman with blue hair lying on a log, comatose. This was Sarah Parsy. Next to her was a tall woman in a silk dress with long blond hair. This was Carissa Parsy. As we started to chat, up popped the Planar Assassin, who Carissa called “Larth”—her brother! I need to make a family tree. As it turns out, Sarah is not quite dead. [She is constantly making death saving throws, and always succeeding.] Talithe and I tried to heal her, and discovered it was impossible. This attempt amused Carissa, because I reckon she thought of that at least once over the last few hundred years. Carissa is herself quite powerful, and was the heir to the Parsy throne. She was stuck in this glade, having been turned into a dryad (or perhaps she had to do it to herself to survive?) when Kore betrayed them all. Turns out Kore is another brother, this one gone very bad. Kore wanted the Parsy sword (and perhaps the throne) so he rose in the ranks of the military, and learned necromancy. After Sarah defeated the Baloth, he raised the defeated Baloth as an undead skeleton, and attacked Sarah with it. Sarah defeated it again but at the price we see here. What an asshole! Carissa gave us her own blood (wound she deftly healed with a leafy trick) if we vowed to kill Kore. Sure, why not, he sounds like he deserves it. He also led a zombie invasion, so that’s a reliable sign of badness. She said we still could not get into Tarkin Hall until we recharge the Parsy Sword with a special kind of residuum found in the Gnomish Enclaves. We needed to get that, and come back to the glade. Sigh. And I thought adventuring would be simpler than tending bar down in the swamp. It’s not. But on the plus side, I’ve met at least 20 different species of women!

Larth Parsy told us a bit more about himself as well, though he remained annoyingly cryptic. He was a silver necklace of a wolf, which is pretty badass. He’s a member of the Astral Wolves assassin guild, and spends a lot of time in the Astral Plane. He is a werewolf or some kind of shapeshifter, which must be a nice trick at parties, and handy to have around in case I ever write the work “Huzzah” in anything but an ironic context. He wants to close the Eye of Cados under orders from King Parsy. Apparently it’s a back-burner issue for him.

Well, wrapping this up as we ride off toward the Gnomish Enclaves. Hm, I am getting a bit chilly and my fingers are numb. The others say they don’t feel especially cold. I wonder if I caught something from one of those caterers at the party… may have been something I ate… ah well, I am sure it’s nothing serious. Well, hello Mr. Crow! Caw caw to you too! And with that merry note, I sign off.

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MatthewFord

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