Battling the Deep

20 Jan 2019 06:00
by: Steven for Tablets of Cold Death

I write this from within the depths of some sort of aquatic fortress that is hopefully located somewhere on our original plane….dimension….world….I do not know which word may be appropriate, you see. At some point in our pursuit of these “tablets,” we passed through a pair of portals, and so I have lost my bearings. This new journey I find myself on is proving to be more interesting and eventful than any I have undertaken before it….

The first portal led to….some isolated island suspended in a vast expanse of water. We were not alone, however. Stranded here were a man and a bird-man….woman? A humanoid bird incapable of proper speech. Upon questioning, they confirmed that the old man we’d been pursuing had passed through here — quite some time ago. Wherever this island was located, time flows differently. We thanked them, directed them to our entrypoint, and supplied them with rations to aid them once through the desert trek that lay ahead. Unfortunately, they were unable to lend any alms to our Protector, Helm, but they shall be blessed in their travels all the same. In return, we received another tablet, though its writing seems to be encoded in some forgotten language. Fearing that we may be losing too much time in our world, we rushed through a lone doorway on the opposite end of the island, where the old man had supposedly fled to. Here, we were seemingly teleported once more, this time into a temple of sorts.

Upon entry to the temple, we found ourselves in contact with some sort of intelligent fish species. As they appeared to pose little threat, we spared them and pushed onward. Finding ourselves at a crossroads decorated with mysterious statues, we chose a path at random and continued our exploration. This path led to what appeared to be a makeshift chapel. It was a room of worship certainly, and the priest was quick to call his congregation to action.

As we had ascertained earlier, the fishmen were weak creatures, though their numbers were vast. Just when it seemed we had them finished, they summoned a dozen more reinforcements. A couple of their ranks did display respectable skill, even demonstrating a connection to the arcane, which worries me presently. Worse still, we discovered a blasphemous charm upon one of the corpses. These mongrels had combined the symbols of various gods into some horrid symbol of their own. Determined to destroy the hunk of metal, I chose to hold onto it, knowing that Helm would protect me from it’s awful aura.

Having dealt with their bothersome horde, we decided to tend our wounds before pressing onward, as the path forward was mysterious and wet. After retreating into the chapel, we were only granted a few minutes to breathe easy before we were interrupted by a loud noise at the entrance. While the others left to investigate, a grotesque monstrosity appeared before me. It was quick to reveal itself as the false deity the creatures of the fortress worshipped, and thus guaranteed its annihilation at our hands in the name of Helm. As nothing he spoke of translated to “I repent for my hubris,” the whole specifics of his little speech are unimportant. Of course, it merely projected an image of its form, as it knew of the fury of Helm that boils within me, waiting for a chance to smite aberrations such as this one, until the — I digress.

As I’m told, the loud noise was caused by a pair of ogres sealing us into the chapel with stones. As we prepared the means to cleave through the wall using magical means, Skalen managed to discover a secret exit behind altar. Through some peculiar trickery, my comrades were one by one plucked from the room. Only I was allowed to pass, seemingly due to the heinous symbol I carried with me. The false god once again revealed itself, offering peace in exchange for my loyalty. Surely a greater joke has never been told.

The projection wisely fled upon my rejection, leaving me alone on an unknown path. Now, I know not the words “weak” or “cowardly,” though I do know the word “stupid.” Therefore, I retreated back into the chapel, where I hid the monster’s symbol before returning to the secret path and being ported to my comrades. Strangely, the ogres I had been warned of before were nowhere to be found, and I instead found everyone struggling against landlocked sharks. As odd as the scene was, I’ve quickly learned not to question things around this group of deviants.

And so we find ourselves huddled around the forge, unsure of what to do next. The path ahead is split in two and both branches are flooded. We’ll need time to collect our thoughts and plan for the trials ahead….


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