Gin’s Journal, Day 42, Page 110
We continued exploring Vod’s Spire and continued to encounter more of the strange undead. Of course, we easily dispatched them as we went. Yet, the more we encountered the malformed undead, the more I felt uncomfortable. They were unnatural in every sense of the word. Odd to think of them as unnatural, as the undead are already unnatural by definition. But these undead we encountered were odd…different, and I could not explain why.
The nuggets of lore I found throughout our exploration compelled me to stop and investigate. Such knowledge and history at our fingertips, ready to be reaped, exposed, and shared amongst all peoples. But my companions did not care. They were only interested in getting out and as such, forced my hand to rush through the corridors and chambers. I realized they were forgetting why we were here – to find truth; to find the answers to the question few people asked anymore. Why?
In our travels, we came upon a large hallway with massive pillars that reached up into the dark above. While the others explored a different passageway, I, with my lit Staff of the Umbra, crept down the large hallway, alone.
The pillars had pictographs etched on the stonework with descriptions of elves riding great flying beasts and such, similar to those I saw in the room with the dilapidated fountain. But one image caught my attention – a single elf maiden, riding a wyvern with her long hair flowing like a cloak around her, wielding a wicked-looking staff of power and wearing an odd-looking circlet upon her head. There were no linguistic symbols to aid in interpreting her identity, nor did I really have the time to stay and figure out her mystery. She looked noble and powerful. She looked beautiful. She looked important.
I heard something further down the dark corridor and I crept onwards, alone, to investigate. I came upon a large stone bridge and beyond that, a stone building like a fortress. And for a brief moment, I saw movement within the darkness that surrounded the fortress – and what I saw reminded me of the beasts etched on the pillars.
I quickly hurried back to the others and found that they discovered a tightly locked, or more likely, sealed, door. With some effort, and caution, we broke through to discover old sleeping quarters that had not been disturbed for a very long time. But what made the room even more interesting was the presence of an elven ghost before us. We couldn’t determine its intentions towards us, but fortunately it made no hostile gestures.
The elven ghost saw us and passed through the door on the other side of the room. With caution, we followed and entered into another corridor with several dilapidated crates and sacks. There were more ghosts. Unlike all of the other undead we faced here, these ghosts did not have the same malformations of Vod Sickness on their incorporeal forms. But they did seem similar, in race, to the elves of Domtoch Kreeg.
With my clan’s gift (or curse), I communicated with one of the ghosts.
“Are you a servant of Qor’Targen?” I asked.
The ghost responded with a snarl.
“Right,” I said to my companions,” I think these fellows were part of the attempted coup against Qor’targen, if I’m putting the puzzle together correctly.”
“But who are they, exactly, and why are they here?” Theren asked.
“I suppose they were cursed upon their death,” I said.
One of the ghosts pointed down the corridor.
“I think he’s trying to tell us to go that way,” I said.
I walked down the hallways and discovered an elaborate double door. My companions stayed behind me.
“Here we go,” I said, slowly opening the door. Behind the door was a chapel of sorts. There were decrepit pews and statues, with a ramshackle altar at the far end. There were more ghosts among the pews, but what caught my immediate attention was the single wispy form of an elven woman floating in front of the altar. She was surrounded by a dark light that suggested agony and despair. Her ethereal hair drifted and half-covered her twisted face, even though there was no breeze. Her once-splendid robes were tattered and ragged, flowing around her visage as if they were alive and protecting their mistress. She was horrifying and yet beautiful to behold. I did not step into the chapel.
“A banshee!” Theren whispered in terror. He quickly covered his ears.
“This could be bad,” Balor whispered under his breath. “Real bad.” He tightly gripped his battleaxe.
Tamar looked at the ghosts around us and readied herself for battle. But the ghosts ignored us, as if indifferent to us. For a moment, Tamar appeared to be in deep thought and concentration, but then she ever so slightly relaxed her tense posture. My half-orc companion told us that she sensed the ghosts were neither evil, nor good in nature. At least, it seemed, they were not interested in attacking us.
“Who are you?” the banshee said to me. Her voice exuded sweetness overlaid with the near-sensation of a needle piercing my eardrums. Not only did she seem grotesquely exquisite to my eyes, but also to my ears.
“We are guests,” I said, taking the lead, “visitors from a faraway land. We come in peace and mean no harm.”
“What land?” she asked.
“If I am assuming correctly, you would probably know our land to be Urdelthia, but that is not what we call it anymore.”
“Urdelthia? Why are you here?”
“To find lost answers to forgotten questions,” I replied.
“And what questions are those?”
“’What happened to our world?’ and ‘Who did this to us and our families?’ They must be avenged.”
The banshee was silent.
“If you could forgive my indulgence,” I said, “who are you and why are you here?”
“I am Myra’Tinall and we are cursed. When the Heaven Rock came, so too did the tentacled-ones. They brought with them strange goods from extraordinary worlds, wondrous treasures of untold legends, and a promise of lucrative trade and wealth. They brought us power and glory, and our king fell for their temptations. I and my followers saw through deception of the tentacled-ones and tried to convince our king of their true intentions, but he was blinded by ambition and refused to heed us. We tried to convince his son, Qor’Targen, but he too was caught in the temptations and would not listen. We knew we had to fight against the tentacled-ones, but Qor’Targen found out about our plans. And so we failed. We failed our kingdom, our peoples, and our king. And as a result, we are cursed.”
I was disturbed at the mention of the tentacled-ones.
Suddenly, Mya’Tinall changed the subject. “Is that an elf?” she asked, gazing in my general direction.
I was confused at first. I, being half-elven, wasn’t sure if she was referring to me or Theren.
“Let him step forward,” she said, holding her gaze.
I turned to Theren and gestured for him to pull his hands away from his ears. “She wants to talk to you, I think.”
“Me?” the ranger asked, “Why me?”
“Maybe she wants to whisper lovely sweet-nothings in your ear,” I smirked.
“Shut up,” he whispered as he courageously stepped into the chapel and stood before the banshee.
The banshee hovered above Theren and gazed into his eyes. Her robes spread out and wrapped around his body.