Entry 171, Day 99, Lunch
We decided to check down one last hallway, and were immediately greeted by a trap which dropped two Hungry Flesh oozes on our heads. The battle was fierce, but with perseverance and quite a bit of fire we burned them out. The stench and the infectious nature of the beasts convinced my fellows that it was time to fall back and regroup.
Night passed uneventfully, and with the morning Susie and me were able to remove the cancerous infections of our fellows. Armed with the knowledge that an invisible stalker might be prowling these depths, I prepared a spell of dismissal along with my usual loadout, but more on that later.
Returning to the hall of charred liquid flesh, we were set upon by robots. These constructs were not particularly bright, and demanded that we give them Casandalee, the dead woman with a machine-spirit mind who we were looking. I stalled them for a time, attempting to get information as to whom they served while rummaging through my pack to “get her, you know, out of this bag.” Confused and illogical statements and demands were most of their side of the conversation, but they did drop one hint that they were hunting her for Unity. Servants of the Black are all-around dangerous, so I threw a coin at them claiming it was Casandalee (they seemed rather dumb) and combat began.
The leader of the pack was a chromed-out oddity with enhanced reactions and abilities, but the rest were fairly easy to dispatch. Bruce was forced to rely on my “primitive” crossbow, his mighty laser rifle not being equipped for punching through shiny steel. Ironically, I believe this marks the moment where my companions have used that crossbow more than I have. I cannot complain, Zex said it was for my protection, a purpose it is certainly serving.
After dispatching the constructs, we found a room full of technological junk which Susie believes has value, and we were introduced to Bob. Presumably his real name is some barely-pronounceable whisperings in Auran, but I will call him Bob because I neglected to get his real name. Sorry Bob. His last orders were to “wait here,” and 50 years of being bored left him eager to cut a deal with anyone who could help him break free of the spell trapping him here and send him home. Perhaps with a Dismissal spell.
He told us all that he knew, Xoud came here 50 years ago with a magically-bound Bob as his bodyguard. I am told he used a very surprisingly-small number of silverdisks to reanimate the mechanica and “turn on the lights” here. Then he slipped past any dangers, robots, or traps with a gaseous form spell and Bob in tow. Minutes later he found a female android’s body (presumably Casandalee), ordered Bob to “wait here” and teleported away.
After exhausting useful conversational options, I used my magic to send him away. I hope it was enough to get him home, but he was willing to accept the risks of “cheap berth” travel. It’s only a 20% chance of going somewhere besides home…
In any event, the only place left unexplored was a door marked with the symbol for poisons and hazards. As much as I would prefer to take those warning at face value and leave, we promised to try and discover the source of the Bad Water, and in so doing remove the Technic League’s interest in this area.
When we opened the door a cloud of mutagenic gas washed out over us and began to fill the compound. Most of us managed to avoid getting a lungful of the stuff, but Flynn was not so lucky. The room had been filled with the same substance that was slowly tainting the southern springs, and now it would be tainting a LOT more. For a moment I had a sinking fear that we had just doomed this entire village. Some conferring and planning renewed my hope, however, as we did the math and determined we could neutralize the poisonous gas if we could cast enough Neutralize poison spells. Better still, with the help of the high priest of Erastil and the trash speakers we will be able to do it in a mere two days.
Entry 172, Day 101, Morning
The past 2 days have been uneventful. The priest and I would dose up with poison-protection spells and dive into the miasma, neutralize some of the sources of poison, climb back out of the hole, remove any dormant poison in our own systems, and seal off the entrance again. Then we would rest and meditate, preparing for next day’s run. Flynn has not shown further malady from his unlucky dosing, but I fear only time will tell for certain. The poison is now neutralized, and in time the waters will run clear, which has pleased the Deadeye council greatly, and they are happy to overlook how we almost poisoned their town.
We now prepare to march northwest, to the Choking Tower. Natural lifespans suggest Xoud should be dead of old age, but you never know with mages. I am meditating on the best plans for dealing with a wizard who obsessed with air, smoke, and the properties of gases. Bob told us what he could of the man, but mercenaries rarely spend time getting to know their employer.
Entry 173, day 103, Morning
Stopped by the first line of defense. Xoud’s giant compensationGreat Tower is made of Glossite, and the only feasible entry is the enormous front door, which has had it’s unlocking mechanism ripped out, presumably by the giants who seem to be living in the area. Without the missing pieces, we have no hope of opening the door, the windows are too narrow for me to slip through, and chopping through the door, even with adamantine, would take days of effort and constantly repairing the tools used with magic. On the subject of the tower, it is an impressive sight. Some arcane or technological furnace is designed to spew smoke, I suspect merely for ridiculous decoration.
We are preparing to track the giants, though “tracking” is hardly a feat when a herd of giants is involved.
Entry 174, Day 103, noon
You might think that disguising myself as a Hill Giant would be foolish. After all, I am still elf-sized and cannot speak Giantish, but my reply is this: they are hill giants, and these logical arguments are far too smart for a hill giant.
We spoke to a pair of hill giants who seemed to be guarding their encampment. They said they had the piece of the door in question, and a weapon of construct bane, but that they would only give it to us after we killed a scary robot for them. I tried to argue that giving us this weapon would help us kill the robot, but again, hill giants and logic don’t mix very well. Reasoning that the robot was a hazard, we chose to take the job, and perhaps gain the temporary allegiance of the giants against Xoud. The giants themselves refused to come, having already lost several of their number to the rogue construct.
The robot was tough, and its sound weapon induced a powerful sense of vertigo and sickness on several of us during the battle. Mr. Langstrom once again used by crossbow, and sadly one of the bolts was lost somewhere in the guts of the machine, unable to be retrieved and repaired, but such is life. The fascinating thing about the machine was its accuracy. I have meddled with a few constructs in my time, but they are always clumsy, flailing things in combat, making up for lack of skill with size and raw power. This machine stitched us up with unerring shots of sonic energy and hit with the skill of a trained soldier.
After we beat it into submission the two Hill Giants revealed themselves. I hailed them in a friendly manner and they charged us. I pondered, for a moment, the stupidity of attacking a group that had just killed the thing that killed several of your own (in fact, possibly their entire clan) but then I remembered; Hill giants and logic.
We dispatched them quickly and found they were carrying the piece of the door, a pile of Noqual alloy, and a map and a plan of some interest. Noqual is a form of starmetal that hates magic. Were I to wear armor made of it I would suffer the same chance of spell failure that arcane casters face, yet it is light as mithral and hard as adamantine. Useful for a warrior who does not practice magic. The plan was, “kill robot, gets weapons from robot, test weapons on butterfly.” The “butterfly” on the map may refer to an enclave of fey. Before these were the “choking woods” I believe they were called the Fae Woods. At the very least, it is something to investigate for possible allies or information.
First, however, we should check the Giant’s camp. If they are ALL dead, then we should loot and if some are alive, we should confirm how many for interested parties.