The Shady Character Society

Day 5, Part I

Sixth Months of Digging, and a battle here and there.

Day ??

Hello? If you are reading this, then I pray you have found it lying in some dirtied corner of a tavern, left behind on accident by a old man who’s had too much to drink. If you are not so lucky, however, you might have found yourself within a dark, unknowable pyramid. If you are very, very, unlucky, then you probably ventured into this terrible tomb without knowledge of what you might find, or even knowledge that clutching a small blackened triangle would cause such an unfortunate turn in your fate. I know the feeling you are probably experiencing right now, my friend, for I felt that same sensation upon my entrance into this hellish abyss.

However, I hope that, regardless of my fate, this chronicle of a previous journey might help you make your decisions more carefully than I and my assorted companions have ourselves made. I know not how quickly this place changes, nor do I even know how quickly time passes here. However, I hope the knowledge you gain by reading my remembrances somehow equips you for your coming trials.

I will not concern you with the beginning of our tale, for, if you have been following in our footsteps, hurried notes left by an old confidant of my own, a holy man named Pius, should have been as obvious to you as they were upon my own entrance. Suffice to say, he died a terrible death that I dare not repeat, owing to his confidences that a sly word and a clever tongue could guide him past all obstacles. I myself know that, though this philosophy is a noble one, one must be wary to fight evil where it lies, with the largest and strongest weapons available to you. I would recommend to you, my unknown friend, that you find yourself a strong blade. I, with my own fists, fought a Hill giant to his knees in order to earn my own trusted blade, The Tower, and I trained years to carry a weapon only meant for giant-kind. Though it may be too late for yourself to train in such a way, I would urge you to find the body of a headless giant, lying near an endless colluseum of parodied death, and take from him whatever weapons you find yourself able to carry. It may be your only hope.

Regardless, those notes left by Pius should be more than enough to keep yourself current on my own predicament. Following my own entrance into the Pyramid, I and two others fought to the death a mysterious female Sorceress who, my companion Kor told me, resembled old paintings of a man who he suspects was entombed in this Pyramid, a man by the name of Karavakos (If you’ll excuse my spelling, I know not how to spell the name, as I was not brought up with a keen mind for historical rulers). Why this sorceress was female and yet resembled the man imprisoned here is one of the continuing mysteries of this dungeon that I fear I will never answer. However, we defeated her, and soon rested in her room to heal our injuries. As we slept, however, a man, though somehow not of any race I had previously met, ran into our improvised quarters, with three other men in pursuit. I needed no explanation to know which side I fought for, as the situation was obvious. I charged in ahead and dispatched on of the pursuers with no more hesitation than The Fool charging off the cliff, as my colleagues dispatched the others. With knowledge that I should listen to the messages presented to me by the Six of Pentacles from the last time I consulted my oracle, I immediately took from the wicked men some garments and helped the pursued man to hide his indecency. Though I needed no more reason to trust him than the fact that he had been pursued my wicked men with swords, my companions were not so trusting as me, and they questioned the man to make sure the story he gave hinted not at a forked tongue. However, upon questioning the man, his explanations were found to be reliable, and we welcomed him with open arms into our band, handing him a bag of infinite arrows that we had just taken from the sorceress’s holdings. Though it was of no use to any of us (I personally find it shameful to shoot a man from such a distance that he cannot even see in your eyes the sadness he has engendered in his nemesis that comes from sending another to the depths of Hades), the arrows were invaluable to our new friend, who later proved his excellence with a long bow.

Our new friend was named Fenrir, the Uncouth, and like The Moon with whom he shares his namesake, he was lost in shadows without sign of the light. He had been held prisoner for a timeless eternity my the same group of mercenaries we had come face to face with many times, and I swore that such callous disregard for the liberty of another would not go unavenged. We continued unto the breach once more, stronger now that we had another to trust in.

As we traveled we eventually came to a door. Now, as I have always been taught, the only way to deal with an unknown that you are certain is evil is to simply burn it, and wipe away anything that might have threatened to waylay you. However, I resisted this urge, knowing in my heart of hearts that there could be others like our friend Fenrir in need of our help. While companions bickered about the proper way to knock a door down with only their strength, I marched up to the gateway and forcefully knocked, once, twice, thrice. My intuitions were proved correct when the voice of a young maiden responded to my knocking from the opposing side of the gate, begging us for our help.

Oh! But how naive I was! For it had proven itself to be a trap, and my original instincts to burn the room down in a cleansing fire had been correct! When we entered, we saw the maiden, praying at an altar to a dragon god. Little did we know that this altar had been sealing her unnatural powers, and, blinded by my own trusting nature, I listened to her every word and tried to dismantle the wardings around her. Not even the hideous demons she summoned behind our back, that she claimed were her jailers, gave me pause to consider her story. And so, though we should have known better, we started to take down those protections some more intelligent soul had constructed around her. Kor, with his knowledge of how to unlock locks of both physical and metaphysical construction, was able to deconstruct one ward upon the door, while my own brute strength caused the other one to become corrupted beyond all use. Fearing that entering the door would still stir her ersatz jailers, Fenrir took aim at magical candles that seemed to bind her, which unfortunately proved ineffective. Lost for any other options, our cleric tried to use his own powers to put the candles out. And therein did we seal our fate.

I do not know what she was. She was unnaturally beautiful, as mysterious as The Priestess and as comforting as The Empress. However, the lust that she projected upon us bound me in those same chains that hold the slaves of The Devil, and like those two, who find themselves bound but not wanting to effect their own escape, I found myself in her thrall. She appeared to me the most beautiful of angels, and though I knew in what was left in the rational part of my brain that she was far from this, I found my body, acting out of lust for her flesh, protecting her from all attacks that my cooler headed allies tried to fell her evil with. Finally, doing whatever I could to give myself excuse to leave her, I found a way to convince myself that constructing a wooden idol in her likeness, rather than staying by her side to protect her from all strikes, would in the end be the best way to assure her protection. Yes, I know how ludicrous this course of action sounds, but it was all I could do to convince myself of even something so mad that I was able to let my allies smite her, and reawaken to my senses. Once I had awoke, I found that I had been even more cunning than I had planned, for as it turned out my attempts to carve the decoy had been made not with my sword, but with my bare hands! In my daze, I had tricked myself into an even more labourious waste of my time, giving my allies the chance to do the work that they needed to do.

Rational once again, I pulled myself away from the carving, though I felt strangely proud of the enigmatic expression my fists had carved onto the bust of the harpy that I had been so obsessed with. However, for whatever reason, our tribulations in that room were no over. Though it seems mad and craven now, I had been shaken by my encounter with this woman, and dared not dash into another trap in this cursed place. And, though the wards were dismantled and the crisis over, I still did not dare trust the gateway that had led us into this trap in the first place. So, against the urgings of my more practical comrade, Kor, that I was absolutely mad, I convinced our other two members to help me in constructing a tunnel out of this room and into the next. I knew it had to be no more than five feet of solid stone, and though we had no digging implements (or even knowledge of how to construct a tunnel), the qualities of this place made sure we did not age, nor want for food or sleep. As a result, I felt confident in our course of action.

I often wondered what terrible fate had befell Kor, who, fed up with our insanity, had walked through that cursed gateway while we began our preparation to tunnel out another way. Though what felt like months and months while we made our slow progress, I imagined all sorts of horrors had ambushed him on the other side of the wall, leaving him a bedraggled corpse. In our times of rest, the three of us compared all sorts of stories we imagined about the mad adventures Kor must have been having outside that accursed doorway that none of us dared venture through. Once, I even got so close to the doorway so as to look down the hall. He was nowhere to be seen down those ten feet I could see, and I dared not get any closer to the door that had increasingly, and irrationally, become my nemesis.

Finally, after what seemed like forever, we struck the end of the wall, and saw into the next chamber. The first sight we saw was none other than our leader, Kor, sitting in front of our improvised passageway. As it turned out, he had not fought the hideous harpies of Halazar, nor had he conned the Lost Sphinx of Nephite out of it’s store of gold. He had not even found a lost artifact of the ancient Priests of Mooselor, and used it to divine the secrets of the multiverse, as I had personally guessed. Instead, he was sitting, reading a book. As he had apparently been doing for the entirety of our endless drilling. I would be lying to you if I were to say that I didn’t feel this was slightly anticlimactic, especially after the tales we had ourselves imagined of his exploits. However, sometimes the cards work in mysterious ways, and I can only hope his encyclopedic knowledge of that tome will come in handy in our future.

There is more to tell, dear reader, and for you, it will be just a turn of the page. But for me, I must pause, so I can do justice to the other, amazing feats that we experienced after this chapter. At the moment, Fenrir has just handed me a Werewolf steak, and I dare not get blood on this chronicle should it unduly frighten you. So, once I have finished its consumption, I will continue. That is my promise to you, my unknown, future ally.

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