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November 20, 2008

Needs sleep badly

Salma's Journal

The others asked me if I could get help from my people - as we were running across town! I doubted we had the time to make a detour like that.

Sure enough, we barely made it to the Cathedral before the organ began to play. Zandu sent his bat to look for trouble; the bat reported “ow!” at the same time the music fell into a jumble, then went silent!

Into the Cathedral we went. Row upon row of pews marched ahead of us to the high altar. Above it stood the pipe organ, filling the back wall. The keys alone are so massive that people leap from one to another to play it.

Unfortunately, the players were strewn across the keys or fallen to the floor in bloody heaps. We saw only one survivor left, and black ghostly figures all around. I quickly ran down the aisle, calling upon Irori to turn the undead!

Although the creatures standing on the keys (fifteen feet above the floor) ignored me, the undead surrounding the girl backed off and I saw her heal a little. Wisely, she stayed down while the fighting raged around her.

A familiar cold mist began to fill the Cathedral, but we were getting the hang of fighting the things. I was able to destroy a few by turning them again, Zandu and his dog fought them directly, Tythe shot them with arrows and Astrid chased several back up the steps to the keyboard.

While Astrid finished off the last of the undead, I explained things as best I could to the surviving player, especially the importance of finishing the morning organ music. She agreed to direct us.

A more amateur performance was never played in the Cathedral that morning, but it did the trick, I hope! At least, there was no sign of an invading army when the town guard banged through the doors to find out what was going on...

Of course, our next goal was to get to the Pyramid of the Dog before the next signal went out. All we’ve done this far is react after the fact. Leaving the organ player to explain, we trekked across the city yet again, tired as we were. At least we were able to buy breakfast from early morning vendors as we went.

Zandu has claws, by the way.

The Pyramid of the Dog was down the coast, an hour’s walk away from Absalom’s walls. It was guarded, fittingly enough, by a large dog on a chain in front of the main entrance. When Astrid’s ‘sleep song’ didn’t work, Zandu proposed killing it, with me arguing that was cruelty! Luckily, a second song worked, and we sent the bat to circle the building to discover a less-used or secret entrance.

No luck! There were guards at arrow slits around the tower, and their arrows and shouts of “Intruders!” quickly had us scurrying behind a pile of rocks for cover. Astrid sang another song, for us this time, while Tythe and I pulled our bows and returned fire.

I wanted to pretend to leave, let them settle down, and try again. Instead, we kept watching the windows for signs of movement to fire off arrows at. I argued again about walking away, Astrid sang a song that we were leaving, but everyone stayed put.

After a while, I started walking back to town. Astrid came with me. And, as soon as we got out of earshot the other two ran up under fire to pick the lock on the side door beneath an arrow slit.

I’m going to have to admit my teachers were right about non-Vudrani after all, at this rate.

When we looked back, Tythe had the door open and she and Zandu were disappearing inside. What could we do, but go back? At least we discovered that they were waiting on a report from the bat before climbing a ladder, the only exit to the room!

The bat reported no one alive on the second floor, so up we went. Our arrows had found the mark in this room, at least - but then we heard the sound of steps entering the room below. No one had stayed downstairs to guard our backs.. whoops.

The dog had woken and been loosed from his chain, followed by several guards. There was no way into the central tower from the roomswe were in, so we had to fight our way back out. I blessed the party, then went to the window to attempt shooting at the guards outside the door.

Astrid made it down the ladder and was soon at work with her sword. Tythe had her bow out at the window with me. We shot at two guards running around the corner; they turned tail and went for reinforcements. Zandu accidentally hit Astrid with acid as she fought off the guard dog.

As the guard dog went down, the reinforcements arrived. Tythe leapt out the window in a surprise attack! Astrid charged into the fray from the exit below, leaving enough room for me to make it down the ladder if I chose. By the time I reached the ground, the battle had left - everyone gone back around the corner, fighting over the main entryway.

There I saw a new face! Or, strangely, faces; a man who seemed to change appearance as I looked at him. Someone shouted that he was Nessiam, our target. Two guards were left, though, and Nessiam was fighting too.

He hit Zandu’s dog hard enough to make the dog back off, and staggered Tythe, who had to step back and quickly down a potion! Astrid and Zandu finished off the guards and attacked him with sword and claws. Still, he was able to get back inside the tower, slamming the door in our faces.

Zandu quickly gave a healing potion to Astrid: we must get inside that tower!

Posted by Kate at 23:31 | Salma’s Journal