Serpent's Skull

The Adventures of Maximillian Wolfe 05
The Adventures of Maximillian Wolfe 05

Personal Journal
April the 9th 2015
After that last battle we returned to the “shedding” room and bedded down for the night I took the first watch and Kev took the second watch. I awoke to a sound coming from the entrance and it seems that our gnome has returned. Once everyone was awake we continued on and eventually found our way to a mound that was making noise which turned out to be a large swarm of giant wasps and after a debate the others decided to try to hide behind an illusion and while they prepared for this I cast a silent prayer to Calistria to allow us passage and in return I promised to do my best to leave the swarm unharmed. About halfway through the room one of the wasps bumped into the gnome and the others tensed but the wasp then turned to me and….winked, hah she had heard and answered my prayer so I chuckled to myself while Kev got one of the doors open.

This room looks like a courtyard and there was a set of stairs above us and then we were attacked by some kind of earth creature but they didn’t last any longer than the others did so we continued to explore and found very little so we decided to climb the stairs and see what was up there. The first room we entered was fairly dark but had a number of small holes carved into the ceiling which turned out to be an ancient star map of some kind, there was another set of stairs from this room that lead to a landing further up and had a locked room on our left and a large room at the end of the hallway that held pillars floor to ceiling with holes in them every couple of feet and several poles that looked as though they might fit. But we left this room to find out a way into the first room and when we found a way Kev seemed to sense something there but I couldn’t see a damn thing.

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The Adventures of Maximillian Wolfe 04
The Adventures of Maximillian Wolfe 04

Personal Journal
April the 2nd 2015
We left the bed behind and made our way down to ground level and spied in the distance 3 rather circular towers that, in their heyday, must have been very impressive. As we moved towards the tower remains I noticed that the gnome was gone and after looking about like an idiot remembered that he is a rogue and if he didn’t want to be found he wouldn’t be found. Kev was ahead of me and noticed another dire ape next to some kind of boulder and realizing it was a trap decided to attack it. The ape was joined by two others but we managed to gut the bastards.
Kev then heard more apes grunting and said they were speaking Polyglot and were talking about going to the “shedding pit”. The next room we entered was mostly taken over by tar pits although the apes managed to build bridges using fallen trees. Two more apes saw us and attacked but we killed them quite easily. Just then we heard the sounds of screaming, female screaming and Kev charged towards the sound whilst Asura floated by so I started after them and when I got around the corner it appeared that the apes had captured Kalypso and were slowly cutting the skin off of her and into the fire that was slowly burning her in the process. I immediately got the attention of the ape slicing her and called it names till it grew angry and attacked me whilst Kev dealt with the other ape and Asura went to rescue Kalypso.
Kalypso is alive and is resting on a pile of hay with myself and Asura whilst Kev takes the first watch. Kev awakened me when she saw some movement so I stayed awake watching the trees and the walls while Kev watched the corridor but neither of us saw anything the rest of the night. In the morning after Asura had awakened we decided to check out the other side of this complex other wing and found that the apes were waiting for us and one of them seemed to be the boss as he was in full armor and was ordering the others around so Kev and I decided to try to get the apes flanked but unfortunately that didn’t work as the apes could make prodigious leaps over the tar pits in this room and while Asura floated above the tar pit trying to attack the leader from there I had a…..thing try to bite me from behind. When all is said and done we managed to kill the centi-snake thing, all the apes and the boss. Heh Asura even managed to lure one ape into the tar and watched as it slowly sank into said tar.

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The Adventures of Maximillian Wolfe 03
The Adventures of Maximillian Wolfe 02

Personal Journal
March the 26th 2015
After safely leaving the “brothel” behind we continued our journey to Taizan and after a few days we started to enter a jungle and after another couple of days we stopped at an area where the others are certain that this is a possible entrance to Taizan. This place has stood for a very, very long time we’re talking millennia and after choosing a search pattern we began to search when we came upon some kind of ape but I have never seen their like before and as I pulled out Francesca I noticed the gnome had disappeared so Kev, and I started towards the two apes and the damn thing tried to pull my arm out of its socket but I managed to wound it rather effectively and Kev finished it off and just when I was starting to withdraw from a rather large pit I felt something grab my leg and as I looked down I noticed that is was some kind of decapod that had my leg in a strangle hold and damn if that didn’t hurt but Kev managed to kill it and the next thing I know the gnome had disappeared down said hole with Asura following right after a sigh I followed suit.
This must have been some kind of pool or aqueduct and it has some kind of tunnel leading south. I took the lead as we headed down the tunnel I started to hear a sound a buzzing or a hiss of some kind and once the gnome heard it he began climbing over me to get to the source of the sound. “*sigh* gnome” I said as he ran ahead and turned right at a fork in the road…er aqueduct and started to climb up towards the sound as the rest of us waited down here. He came back a couple of minutes later and reported that he had seen a large pit of snakes and he was excitedly told us what varieties there were and started muttering something about milking them.
The left path led to some kind of incline that turned out to lead to the surface but before we got too far a large water elemental appeared blocking out way and began to move towards us spraying water against the walls and floor. “Ah” I said to myself “the aqueduct cleaner” but noticed that its spray was so powerful that it might tear right through me. The others must have had the same thought for they began to move towards the wall in hopes that it wouldn’t see them so I grabbed the gnome and moved to the side of the corridor and Kev tried to cast some kind of illusion spell but it didn’t work so I charged in and attacked it as did Kev and Asura and after a minute or so we managed to defeat it and ran for the exit. The only thing we found was more jungle so we decided to head back in and take the right hand path, camp for the night and get a fresh start in the morning so I took the first half of the night watch. In the morning we managed to get across the snake pit and discovered that there was a room and a bed ahead that some kind of furry creature had been sleeping in.

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The Adventures of Maximillian Wolfe 02
The Adventures of Maximillian Wolfe 02

Personal Journal
March the 12th 2015
Another week of travel and we crest another hill and at the bottom I spy a hut of some kind a ways down the road with people playing or bathing in the river, it takes me a minute to realize that they were naked women and that put me on my guard. I informed my fellows of this fact and they all clamored to see. No sooner had we arrived when my compatriots took off across the river without even waking the gnome sleeping in the back of the caravan. I was immediately suspicious and decide to be very careful. I was halfway across the stream when I noticed that one of the naked women was following me and trying to get my attention which only made my paranoia worse. In my 124 years on this planet no woman ever looked at me with anything resembling interest so I made every effort to avoid her touch in case my suspicions were correct.
I am completely baffled, am I the only one who doesn’t trust a brothel in the middle of nowhere and the others were quite eager to go inside so when that happened I made my way back across the river to stand guard when she approached me again this time with a glass ale or something I took it and set it down on the seat of the wagon and then much to my relief she left and when she had crossed back I dumped the ale in the river. A couple of hours later and some woman flanked by two men with axes crossed the river and approached me “will you not join your fellows” she said “No” I replied and when she made a move to touch me I put my hand on Francesca and told her to back off. She nodded and warned me that if attacked her or anyone in the house that they would kill me I merely nodded and after they retreated to the hut I pulled out Francesca and placed her point first into the ground and waiting for the killing to start.
The next day Kev and the gnome brought back news that the others were saying that we should stay and how this was seriously out of character for them, I nodded to myself and realized my suspicions were true at least one of the “women” was as succubus. Once we decided on a course of action the gnome pointed out that he could put our fellows to sleep so we wouldn’t have to attack them and Kev pointed out that right up until we did attack we should act as though there was nothing out of the ordinary. Well the gnome managed to knock out Kalypso but the Succubi managed to get control of the gnome and shortly thereafter we managed to get Asura back but then they managed to wound me so badly I lost conscious. I awoke to find that the others managed to get rid of the head Succubi and the others fled.

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The Adventures of Maximillian Wolfe 01

Personal Journal
March the 5th 2015
I have traveled for a few weeks with “Peggy” and his so called crew and I have noticed a few inconsistences in their behavior that worry me a trifle. On the one hand they are extremely competent at driving this caravan and Peggy runs a tight ship but on the other hand you give them a little alcohol and they lose all control of themselves dancing (poorly), singing (off key), fighting (sloppily) and generally acting like children. Whenever we stop for our midday meal they have the tendency to swim or roll around in the mud and today was no difference except that I noticed another wagon cresting the hill behind us, I informed Peggy of this and he ordered me to be ready for a fight so I pulled out Francesca and readied myself for the coming battle. The wagon comes down the hill with two people on it and it seems that Peggy knows them, they exchange a few words and then they were attacking each other and as I wade into the melee I point my sword and the magic user and say “throw down your weapons if you want to live”. They chose not to but after they took a bit of damage the gnome yelled at the mage to run and they manage to escape and while Peggy and his crew took possession of the wagon and laughed aloud upon seeing the barrel of ale while I and some of his heavy hitters searched the area where the gnome was last seen but gave up after a few minutes.
About an hour later I and another 4 fighters from Peggy’s group went to find the ones who got away and were attacked by some kind of shadow tendrils and then by the rest of the group. I managed to get the tendrils off of me by sheer physical strength and stood ready to fight these people when the mage noticed my amulet of Calistria and mentioned it to one of the others who then asked what I was doing with these people I told them how they helped me save a large group of slaves when she laughed saying that they were slavers themselves. I felt like quite the fool for placing my trust Peggy so I turned to the fighter behind me and asked if this was true when he didn’t answer I pointed Francesca at him and demanded that he answer me and from the look in his eyes I knew he was guilty so I hit him with my sword but the tendrils killed him before I could so I turned my attention to the others and within a few minutes we had slain them all. I turned to the others, cast Francesca at their feet and apologized for my actions fully expecting them to kill me and I would have deserved it and gone to the void cursing my stupidity for trusting Peggy. But much to my surprise not only did they not kill me, they welcomed me into their group and told me of their plans but I argued that Peggy at least needed to die for what he had done and I left the fate of the others in their hands.
So I returned to Peggy with a token that they were dead and stood behind Peggy as they talked about how quickly the others had fallen asleep I struck Peggy trying to split him from crown to crotch but my anger messed up my aim so I had to fight both Peggy and his bodyguards for a few seconds until the others showed up to finish the job. They took position of the wagons and made camp for the night as I drug the rest of the sleeping pirated to the small stream that was nearby and put their heads in it until the bubbles stopped. In the morning I would sharpen some stakes and place their heads on them as a warning to any slavers that might see it.

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Requiem of a Slayer

The soft breeze blew into the cramped room and helped to bleed some of the muggy heat from it and cooled the two people who milled about putting various legers and documents into boxes for moving and later sorting. One a younger human man was near a large oak desk eyeing it like one would a imposing foe they had just stumbled over in battlefield. “I don’t know Havi,” he said shaking his head “I doubt we could move this thing even of Kev and Jared were here to help it is monstrous.” He waved his hand at the desk and allowed his shoulders to slump in defeat “I mean why did father even have something this huge?”

The girl Havi smiled tossing her sweat soaked blond hair back over her slender shoulders and struck a ridged stance with balled fists on her hips and forced her voice into rough growl “In business as in life one must always strive to impress upon those they would barter with that their size does not matter it is the weight of their words. Wield a large axe if you chose to fight or use a large desk if you chose to talk.” He laughed and slapped the heavy desk as her brother laughed as well at the imitation of their late father. “You know how he was Felix, if you’re going to do something do it larger than life that was his motto.”

“You mean the motto of that Snorri character he created for his copper dreadful books.” He puffed out his chest and walked around swinging a makeshift weapon while bellowing out nonsense words sending them both in fits of laughter again. After they calmed they turned back to the desk with sighs, “we need to get at it I guess lets pull the drawers first see if that helps.” The two set to the task on the fifth one they found something hidden cubby that held a large heft of parchment which they pulled out. “What do you have their Havi?” her brother asked as the girl lead on the desk and shifted through them, the tight cramped script on the pages was her father’s but it was very old and appeared to be a song or poem of some sort the last few pages though were newer and done in the more shaky writing she was familiar with. “It’s strange I don’t know what it is but this last part looks like a part of his journal, here let me read it really fast. “ she shuffled the papers around before reading “I fear that time has finally caught up to me, I am feeling my years more and more these days, and more and more I find my thoughts turning back to the memories of my old friend The Slayer. It has been nearly sixty three winters since his death in that humid jungle and been almost twenty since I last thought of his imposing self. I still recall his death to this day, how he had battled on a field of war that many of us will never know against a foe greater than any will ever face. I never thought he would die, he seemed indestructible all the times I had thought he died only to rise up once more but this time he didn’t, he simply burned away into ashes leaving to me wonder what I would do. It was oddly enough Elani and Vaungh who helped me know my duty, gathering up his ashes and the broken burned remains of his mighty axe and we headed for the coast. We would return Snorri’s remains to his mountain home in the Land of Linnorn Kings, a journey that would take us the better part of two years to complete. But it gave me time to compose the epic I swore and oath to complete. Upon finding his mountain home we were taken before the King to explain our presence, it was there that I first recited in total the tale of Snorri Gunderlack, a telling that took me three days to complete. In the end the massive gathering of dwarfs was silent and the king stood and nodded his head towards me and announced for all to hear that I was to be named Dwarf Friend for my part in the saga. The ash remains of Snorri were taken and mixed with scared metals and forged into a bust of that great dwarf and placed into the Temple of Kohl’s among so many others. With my oath completed I felt empty and lost and knew not what to do with my life so I returned home to Durma where I found my father had passed away and my brother had taken over the family business and unknown to me had taken my journals I had sent home and cleaned them up and published them as chapbooks. A very popular series it turned out for it had earned me a very nice sum of money, and before I knew it I was helping him out with the business and years had passed me by. I built my own merchant company, found and married my lovely wife Julianna, raised my four sons and two daughters and through it all people would always approach me on the streets and ask about my stories and where I came up with such colorful characters and outlandish tales and why did I stop? To them the Slayer and my other friends were only story book characters and not real people; I always just smiled and walked away. As the years rolled on I found myself going to my private study more often and standing there staring down at the shattered remains of Karagdul, held on its best of velvet in the case I had crafted for it. Whenever I faced a tough choice or just needed to think I would go there and stare it and I could feel the Slayer there next to me, his strength and uncrushable will giving me the strength I needed. Oh my wife had plenty of clerics, wizards and sorceress come and cast their spells up it to tell me that not magic remained in it, but they were charlatans and fool’s all!

I know what I know and that is good enough for me and if they wanted to take my money than they should have done it finding my old friends. I often wonder where they are now and I smile whenever I hear the rumors of a Floating Castle controlled by some pompous wizard. Ah but it was a good life, though I must admit I didn’t miss the bowel loosening terror that accomplished the first half of it as much as I feared I would. But I know how the Slayer felt I think, I never did truly learn what shame caused him to take the crest but I know it dealt with love and family and having my own I would do no different I think than whatever he did. When I think of my youngest daughter out adventuring on the road I have but one prayer I offer up each night, a prayer I offer to the god Kohls. Let my daughter find a Slayer who needs a friend, a Slayer who needs someone to walk beside them, a Slayer who needs someone to mourn their passing. “

She finished and looked up at her brother across the desk and handed him the sheets “The rest of it…the rest is the Slayers epic. You don’t think….I mean could it…do think this I true?”

Felix took the papers and looked them over “The date on this journal would put it just a week before his passing. But no way, he couldn’t be the hero from his stories; I mean this is our father we are talking about here. “ but he didn’t sound so sure of him as he put the papers down and stared at her and a look of shock came over his face as he raced from the room with her pursuit, they dashed down stairs to the lower part of the house where he started to go through some recent deliveries. “Felix what are you doing?” she asked as he seemed to finally find what he was look for. It appeared to be a book wrapped up in some rough leathers and bound up, he quickly undid explaining his actions. “The last part of that journal Havi, that last part. This was delivered four days ago it was from Fareida, it was sent from Riddleport I think.” He got the book uncovered and threw it open looking at something and as he looked up he was pale and handed the book over to her. She looked at the title on the first page in the hand writing of her youngest sister. “I am not sure how I got into this mess but it seems that after last night’s heroics I made an oath to Herr Delendan to follow him and record his doom in some epic story.”

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My Travels with the Slayer Volume 9 – The Deep Jungles

Our travels saw us nearing the city of Kalibuto the only other one on the landmass from what we were told. Nearing the place we could see it from the top of a small rise and where it was not the largest city we had ever been to it was impressive. A bizarre network of docks wound their way over the river connecting one side to the other and it was clear that the two sides separated by wealth and status. We made our way closer when we spotted a tree hung with the burned bodies of the dead, nearly fourthly bodies hung from its blackened limbs. The warning from Azura game a bit late as several of the bodies animated and dropped to the ground rushing at us wielding their broken bones a weapons, as they ran their blackened flesh flaked off in great chunks of ash. They slammed into our wall or martial power known as the Slayer and Kev and both dwarfs laid about them with and abandon. I watches as Snorris axe leapt out like a striking viper cleaving rib cages and smashing arms and legs but the dead would not cease their attack and they gave as good as they took. Elani yelled at us to destroy the tree but it appeared that was easier said than done as more bodies dropped to the ground and rushed to attack. The Slayer collapsed under their unending weight but he had done enough damaged that the rest of us could finish off what remained. With the tree shattered by Azura’s thunder Kev helped me throw bodies off the Slayer. She reached him first and laid a hand gently on his chest, after a moment she looked up and declared he was not breathing. My heart skipped several beats, was this it? Was he dead? Was it possible?

Elani stepped forward and uttered a quick prayer and touched her scythe to his chest and with a snort the Slayer shot to his feet looking around for more foes. I let go a breath I didn’t realize I was holding as Elani explained that the Slayer had not died simply been knocked out which he seemed to accept, gingerly he crawled upon the wagon and we made for the city. Upon arriving we found the gates wide open and we pasted into what could only be described as a paupers city. Thousands of people mobbed around us begging for coins or food, their flesh clung to their bones so starkly that I feared we faced an army of the living dead once more. When Vaughn leaped from the wagon and began to fish out golden coins which he handed to these poverty stricken people I feared he would be ripped apart but the crowed kept a respectable distance and not a one touched him. Seeing this the Slayers mouth dropped open in sheer shock “Does that fool know he is giving away gold!” he uttered and I assured him that he quiet likely did and it was a tenet of his faith. As we pushed on through the crowd I noticed him looking around and upon seeing a small child he waved her towards the wagon and dug out a silver coin which he offered her if she could take us to a place to rest and to find a healer. This was nothing new to me behavior wise for in almost every large city we ventured into where we found urchins seeking coins the slayer would pick on and hire them. It seemed to be what he would call a weakness or flaw but to me was something more profound, almost as if he was tried to use them to feel a small void in his heart one where maybe a child of his own once was.

But I pushed such thoughts away and turned them to the city as a whole and the dwarf we were sent to find, it wasn’t hard finding him and for once it was the Slayer who took umbrage with him and not the other way around. I wasn’t sure why either but when the man took us to his house where we could rest and be safe the slayer refused to take beer with him or use his offered beds or rooms but he insisted the small child get one as well as much as she could eat. That night as we sat by the fire together while the others slept up stairs we stared into the small fire while he smoked his pipe. “It isn’t you manling I despise so much as it is the race of man.” He said catching me off guard and pulling me from the edges of sleep. He waved one meaty hand as of gesturing to something only he could see “Someday all that will be left are your people and this world will be their’s to inherit and what a fine mess they will make of it. Always running blindly ahead swinging your arms hoping to get somewhere, that is how man moves through this world but at least the long ears and my people are still here to guide you.” He let out a barking laugh for some reason “Not saying that you don’t all deserve this world because gods know my people and the long ears wouldn’t make a better job of caring for it. Nope, we had our chance we did and see where that got us? They huddle in their forest realm never coming out nor letting others in battling ever day to contain a monster they helped create. And how many of our sky citadels are left do you think?” he asked to which I had no answer though I expect none was wanted. “We drove to the surface and in the process we made our own worst enemies, enemies which to this day still beget us like a thorn. But what irks me most manling is how you can treat each other like you do. Look out there beyond these walls, you see the starving the sick and the dying or those held in chains by others of their own race and for what reason? Man is no better than Orcs if you ask me, but a least those green skinned bastards at least understand the children are the future of your race so they need some caring for.” He took a long draw on his pipe and blew out a few smoke rings.

“Don’t get me wrong, every of often someone comes along who shows what your race can be if they could just pull themselves over that last step. Men and women who will strive to greatness and will drag those near them along kicking and screaming if need be. The Wizard, the Witch, that Cleric and even you Manling,” he paused a moment “well maybe not the Witch, something just aint right about that one you know. BAH! Either way you are the best your race can be but sadly so many never see it.” With that he lapsed into a great silence puffing away on his pipe and I glowing with the warmth of the greatest compliment he offered me before I drifted to sleep.

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My Travels with the Slayer Volume 7 – The Deep Jungles

Passing on from the Caravan we found the next several days to be quiet and peaceful ones, it was on the third day that we were approached by some of the locals. A small group of women and men they carried with them brightly colored clothes, beads and fruits which they tried to hawk to us. Unable to speak their language we relied upon Kalypso to speak for us and she informed us they wanted to invite us to their village. As we turned the wagon to follow them I heard the slayer grumble out “They want something from us.” But I paid him no heed at that time. When reached the small village we found it very simple mud huts with thatched roofs and open doors and windows, the entire tribe it appeared turned out to welcome us all save for the shaman who stared at us and then departed to her hut where she remained. We were shown to a hut of our own and the ladies in our group were given some of the dyed cloth as gifts to wear for a feast in our honor that night.

When the night did fall and we joined the village in the center a raging bonfire was going lighting up the night and massive amounts of food was laid out. Not allowed to serve ourselves plates of food were brought to us and as he always does Snorri rolled a keg from the wagon and tapped it holding a mug out to the man who seemed to do the most talking. Without a thought he took the mug and drained it dry and smiled back at the Slayer who nodded then proceeded to pass the keg around the circle. As the night wandered on and the ale flowed more freely one of the villagers told a story of their people. Not one to be outdone Snorri leaped to his feet and told one of his own, a story of how one of the hold fasts of his people fell. Despite the fact no one spoke his language and his horrendous story telling skills the villagers seemed to pay him rapt attention. At the tales in one of the warriors challenged him to a skill of arms, they took turns throwing the long spears the warriors used. Snorri laughed at one point and snatched up a large uncut fruit and stuck it on his head nestled into his crest. He then encouraged the challenger to spear it from his head, I was sure this was going to end badly for someone. The man’s skill however was beyond the amazing and he took the fruit just a few inches above the Slayers head. With a roaring laugh the snatched another and threw it at the warrior who promptly popped it onto his own head. Without warning the Slayer snatched up one of his fangs and threw it slicing the fruit cleanly down the middle and not even moving a hair on the man’s head. With roars of approval the two clasped arms and ate their prizes.

A few hours later the Shaman appeared and bade us to enter her hut, which we did thought I had to help steady the Slayer as he stumbled that way. In her hut she took a seat and looked at each of us in turn and then started her tale which Kalypso translated for us. It appeared that some horrendous plains creatures were hunting the village; they were drawn by the smell of blood and drive mad by the color of red. Ashamed she asked us for help in stopping the creatures, she should have lead off with that request and she would have had the slayer at “Horrible man eating beast.” When we agreed she took us outside where we noticed the others were quickly vanishing into huts. One man the warrior Snorri had challenged came forward with a bucket of blood and set it down and explained that if we smeared a bit on ourselves it would surely draw our quarry to us. Without warning the Slayer upended the whole bucket over his head covering himself in the rich goat’s blood; then moved to the village center and began to make enough noise to raise the dead. Needless to say the creatures didn’t take long to oblige him and a pair of them rushed out of the darkness. They appeared like the small monkeys we had seen hanging from the trees save four times the size of a man and with body’s rippling with obscene amounts of muscle and with long colorful snouts filled with dagger length teeth. With rage burning in their eyes they rushed the Slayer who also charged to meet them. I lost sight of him as the two creatures closed and could only tell he lived because of the smack of Karagdul hitting flesh and the roars of pain the creature emitted.

Another pair of the beast thought to outflank us and charged from the other side leaving us to deal with them, but despite their size and rage they fell quickly to our blades. When the last one crashed to the ground the slayer stumbled out and was so covered in blood I knew not what was his, his foe or the goat! The villagers were I think frightened by us the next morning and were more than happy to send us on our way, the Slayer was in better humors than I had seen him in some days. When I asked he smiled that smile I always fear and said “This place has showed me it can grant me a great doom Mangling, now I just need to find it.”

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My Travels with the Slayer Volume 8 – The Deep Jungles

This land appears bent on seeing us all die! It has thrown danger after danger at us and despite all odds we have overcome each and everyone but still how much can one man take? It was only a day after we departed the village that we happened upon a palanquin carried on the shoulders of several male slaves while a woman walked ahead of it bound by a thing golden chain. I knew without a glance that Kev and or Vaughn would start trouble here so when it was the Slayer I was surprised. Whoever was in the strange device shouted out warning us to mind our place and stay away and in general was quite rude to us. With his normal bull headiness the slayer tried to push his wagon forward when a massive storm sprung up likely from the unknown person. With a shout of rage the slayer leaped from his wagon and charged forward only to slam face first into a set of iron gates, the wagon, the road the whole damn jungle was gone replaced by rolling hills of sand and a massive castle before that reminded me of the palaces of the Pharaohs I read about in story books, the kind that a genie would live in. If only I had known how prophetic that thought was about to be I would have turned and walked away at that very moment.

With nowhere go and the Slayer enraged that his beer was seemingly taken from him we entered the palace. It was massive and filled with all kinds of treasures, vases, works of art and finely crafted furniture and tapestries. But the place was empty and only our footsteps kept us company as we wandered the place, in a fit of annoyance Snorri ended up smashing several priceless vases and furniture. As we wandered we found ourselves outside in a massive courtyard under the stars, the place was filled with cages containing creatures of all types and kinds, some I knew from books others I have never heard of. As walked among then one of the creatures some giant elk spoke to us the common tongue and told us of the master of the keep and how it and all the others were brought here by magic. It was then that gates to several cages open and varieties of monsters were set free and attacked us. The Slayer was overjoyed and rushed a pair of massive lion like creatures while a quartet of cockatrices circled around while other monsters attacked the group. Things were going our way for once, in the middle of the battle both Azura and Elani were turned into stone statues, Vaughn was badly wounded but Slayer and Kev remained untouched. When our witch said the only way to free our friends was wit the blood of the birds Snorri rushed them. One of the creatures tried use its unholy power to turn him into stone and when it failed it cocked its head unsure why. Well with one meaty hand the slayer snatched the thing up by its neck and laid out about him with his makeshift club cutting the red down. With that thread dealt with he rushed onto help Kev put down the other monsters. At the end he was laughing and smiling like a school boy at his first harvest dance but when no more creatures moved to fight us he said “well no time for the main course!”

We pushed on again and found the master of the keep who we had learned was holding a Genie prisoner, he demanded she give him the power to kill us and she did that. She transformed him into a massive Phoenix and the Slayer was off charging not the beast but the Genie herself! It was the woman we saw earlier, she was chained up with that impossibly thing chain. When Snorri reached it he brought his weapon down and there was a flash of power and he was suddenly across the room smoke rising from his hairy body. It took the wisdom of our Wizard to figure out we had to say her name to free her and took little time to do just that! Freed she struck down her former master and thanked us and with a wave put us back on road. I asked the slayer why he had charged to help her and not fight the man come bird. “No glory in striking down a fool who uses others power for his own ends. Bah! He got what he deserved, besides manling I have a feeling that something great is waiting for us.”

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My Travel with the Slayer - The Deep Jungles Entry 16

As we traveled deeper into the mines we encountered more salt wights but they fell easily to our blades as they only attached in small groups. As we neared the point where they miners had broken through to another mine we found a large smooth dome of rock, it looks as if someone had polished it smooth. As we neared it we could make out a crack in the side and a strange blue mist was coiling around it, this surely must have been what caused the miners to vanish as Kev announced the object was radiating and evil aura. With those words the Slayer knew what must be done and hefted his axe and moved towards it at which a large number of the wights poured out of the shadows and the dome itself to attack us. A pair of the creatures seemed to be leading the others and moved with more grace and intelligence. The slayer moved to block the largest horde of undead and he became surrounded by them, he laid about him like a farmer threshing wheat and limbs and parts of bodies began to fly but when he tried to attack the leader the creatures body folded over as if it had no spine. With lighting speed the creature lashed back and opened a gash in the slayers hide that didn’t bleed for it had drained the water from his body. With a roar and redoubled effort he caved in the skull of the final Wight assailing him and launched all he had at the creature. It was only a matter of seconds and the slayer lunged in stomping his food down on the creatures leg pinning it in place and putting his axe through its rotting head, with each death we noticed that the broken orb glowed a unearthly blue. With a roar snorri flung himself at it and brought his axe down in a smashing strike that shattered it as it if were made of glass. With a grunt he snagged a chunk of the broken and stone and shoved it into his pack, as we moved on we found other domes mostly sealed in rock still but it was very clear that no living person should enter these mines again.

On exiting we found the strange druid we had met on the other side and discovered it was her parents who owned the place, they must have perished when she was very young and she was raised by the wilds. We explained what we had encountered an warned her away from ever entering and with that took our leave. It was another couple of days when we spotted a wagon circle ahead of us and approached it. It was a merchant caravan who had setup for the night and they welcomed us in with a warning that if we sought trouble their bully boys would deal with us and I wanted to snort as I sized them up. The group as a whole may have posed a slight threat to the slayer but overall I was not worried. As we moved around the camp checking out wares and resupplying we learned they were going to hold a cock fight and betting was allowed. I knew the Slayer would bet and would do so poorly for all he heard was that he could double his money and that was the end of it. Many people mark dwarfs as being greedy and hoarding gold like a dragon and I have found that they are not too far off the mark save that what drives them is a stronger need them simple greed. For dwarfs the need to hold and possess gold is as strong a need as breathing is to most people. In their language there are over fifty two different words for gold. Snorri once told me that a favorite pastime of longbeards in his clan was to gather and try to name all of them while drinking, truly creative dwarfs could win by making up new words for gold as well and as such the number was ever climbing. Sadly in the end the rooster the slayer bet on failed to win and he was so angry I thought he would leap the fence and have it for dinner.

As we turned to walk away a couple of the guards started to laugh and mock him which is never a good idea if you wish to see the next sunrise. One of the men, a rather large fellow missing a few teeth and wielding a large mug called out insults. After a moment the slayer turned to glare at him, his fists bunched up and veins throbbing in his neck, but before he could act another guard rushed forward and grabbed the man. “Norik are ye a fool! Ye dare to mock a dwarf slayer!” with those words the man’s friends took small steps back as they looked closely at snorri. They could feel the killing rage rolling off him in waves and knew they wanted no part of this, with some shoving and cursing the group broke up and vanished leaving the slayer standing there alone. With a spin he whirled around and headed for his own wagon and as he passed one of theirs he lunched a punch that sounded as if a mace had struck the wood. The wagon rocked visibly and a dent marred the side, I threw a glance back at Norik and noted his face had gone very pale.

However not everyone appeared to want to keep eating solid food for the remainder of their lives as a group of thugs approached us all carrying stout clubs. The Leader thrust the tip into the Slayer chest to halt him and sneered down at him and demanded he pay up his gambling debt. I knew the man had lost his mind then and there but before I could speak Kalypso appeared beside us and tried to enlighten the thug as to the nuances of dwarven culture. The man would not see reason and when he slammed his club into the Slayers head with no effect I knew it was going to end badly for him. Despite the eight very large men with him the fight lasted only a few moments thanks to some help from the others and the men were left bleeding and groaning in pain. Angered beyond words Snorri stomped his way over to Rickets who paid these men and smashed the chair out from under him and snatched up the coin box hidden there. But it was Azura who called out before I could speak “Are we now honorless bandits Snorri?” he had to say it twice before the slayer slammed the box down and cursed the crippled man before heading our way. He paused as he passed and glanced at our esteemed wizard “When a manling speaks wisdom to a dwari they have to speak it twice.” With that he kept going. That was as much of a thank you as I have ever heard from him before. It appears that the others are learning how to travel with a Slayer.

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