Disclaimer: These chronicles are session write ups of our Dungeon of the Mad Mage group. They’re told from the journal entries and viewpoint of the character Katagri Rockwall, a Tabaxi Grave Doman Cleric. She’s excitable. Stutters. Curious to a fault. And she has no idea what she’s doing. (Pretty much like me.) Dungeon of the Mad Mage spoilers may be ahead. Thank you for reading.
Several pages in the tome, near the middle, are stuck together. The edges curl and several words have blurred. In several places the ink has pool and bled together from apparent water damage.
Why is rage a form of grief? Or is grief just another form of rage? Am I supposed to feel this way?
At funerals, I’ve witnessed people shut down and staring, void of any recognition. I’ve seen people unable to stop crying. I’ve heard cries of anguish and deafening silence from those who’ve lost their loved ones.
But I am filled with anger. With rage. Bitterness.
I do not think these were the virtues you wanted me to embody.
Or perhaps this is the secret to what is killing my family and will eventually kill me as well. Is this what is hidden in that book we’re not meant to read?
I will ponder on that for another day, but for now, that Genasi’s mission is not complete and I refuse to let his village sink into the sands. To be completely written out of existence. I will be coming to reclaim his spirit and return it to his form, one way or another. I know very well that it could be I that is in his place right now and I will dedicate some time to learning and understanding diplomatic negotiations for the future, but for now…
Hold his spirit. Keep it safe. And return it to this world so that we may help his save them all.
Trembling hands closed the book she had been writing in. The tears hadn’t stopped, even now as the events replayed over in her mind.
Yek the Tall was once a goblin they had said. But there he was, standing as a human. Strapped to the wall was a sniveling clean shaven dwarf. One of the ones that had murdered Halath. Halath was cursed to his rage and revenge on those that had taken his life unjustly. His current undeath pained Katagri. He was once like her in spirit and faith and so she was compelled to help him.
But as so many things in life, getting to the end of a quest or journey took many side roads. To get to the dwarf on the wall, they needed to help this Yek fellow. They’d already made plenty of enemies of the Xanathar guild, what was a few more? To get to where they were going in the first place, Skullport, it was inevitable they’d have to cross through more Xanathar territory. Several birds, one giant stone so they say.
So they went east, towards the outpost with the rumored half spider-half elf in command.
There were traps along the way that they had all thought they had been clever enough to avoid, but Katagri was not as smart as she thought she was. Calfier could easily pass them by flying over them. Baryte could use the thunder to step to the other side. Daisuke was nimble enough to jump them. Katagri and Jewel passed most of them with little enough harm, but they were waiting for them on the other side.
The creature Shunn Shurreth. Was he a drow? Or some being cursed to appear part spider? It was hard to tell at times. He had greeted them as guests, but with bugbears and thugs surrounding him. He warned them to leave and not return. The reputation of their group had reached his ears. There would be no going forward. There would be no chance of them abandoning their post. They could leave. Or there could be death.
How does one negotiate with that? They needed them to abandon the outpost. They wanted their group to leave.
She supposed that Calfier did the only thing he could think of to show the strength of their numbers as she didn’t have the words to plead their case in a sound manner. Or any of them for that matter. The Aarakocra called forth his badgers, eight of them, to stand with their numbers and asked them not to kill them all this time.
That was when the fighting began. For his part, Shunn tried to hold back. They all did truthfully. They all waited for one side to make the initial act of aggression. When it came, there was no holding back.
Daisuke let loose his arrows. The badgers charged, creating a line against the group and Shunn’s men. Jewel raged while swinging her glaive. Blasts of energy flew from Baryte’s hands and Katagri had tried to stay back to keep a protective eye on everyone.
But it didn’t last long. Shunn was easily dispatched before the reinforcements arrived. Their numbers were overwhelming but the blood had already been spilled. There was no ending this peacefully. Katagri wasn’t even sure if anyone knew what peace was at this point.
So the fighting continued. Thug after thug. Bugbear after bugbear. Katagri made the mistake of rushing forward to summon her guardian spirits to aid them. Spectral books floated around them as a protective barrier, but even they were not powerful enough to withstand the onslaught.
Between breaths, she caught sight of a glowing rat darting between her at Jewel. It must have had some type of healing within it as it brought the two tabaxis back from the brink several times to resume the battle.
Katagri wasn’t the only one to notice though. She caught sight of a bugbear dragging Jewel’s unconscious form away from the glowing rodent before she had lost consciousness again.
When she woke again, Baryte wasn’t himself. Jewel was furious, but this was a different rage than she had witnessed before. While she looked murderous, Katagri noticed her rage was torn. She seemed furious with herself as much as she was with those that had dared to do any of them harm. This was new to her. She had never seen her friend so conflicted.
It didn’t take long for her to realize that Baryte wasn’t himself anymore. Usually soft spoken to the group, he was challenging them, daring them to cut him down as he fled. They had seen this once before in Daisuke. They had run into instances before where the Xanathar’s guild used creatures that took over bodies and minds. Their friend has they had known him was dead. One of these creatures had taken his body, just as they had done to Daisuke.
They had no choice but to kill Baryte and the repulsive brain like entity that came out of his corpse that had been controlling him. There was no stopping the bloodshed now. Daisuke’s healing rodent had faded but between them, they had dispatched the remaining bugbears and thugs. Only a reincarnation or true resurrection would save Baryte now but they knew they had to try.
Once the last body had fallen and been looted, Jewel grabbed Baryte’s corpse and headed back towards the bazaar with him. Calfier had rearmed the traps they had passed and they had collapsed at the end of the hallway. Daisuke called the spirit of the rodent back to heal them, but they were spent. They’d have to try to make their way back topside with their fallen friend and find help as soon as they were able.
Katagri couldn’t help thinking that in the end, they may find themselves going to war with the Xanathar guild. A bridge they would have to cross once they came to it. If their exploits were known before, they could be no ignoring them now.