Iron Gods - Mike Korupp

Journal of Shadow Mal part 30

Entry 204, Day 193, noon

Scrapwall remains much as we left it, though some vestiges of civilization have crept in. The Steel Hawks and Redtooth’s Raiders maintain a shaky peace and a relatively protected barter zone has been kludged together. I spoke with Sevroth of the Steel Hawks and Redtooth of the Raiders and they pointed us in the direction of our quarry.

I also conjured up a stone wall near the Swap Shop which they think will improve security.

We are pausing for lunch, while the local cultists are weak and are unlikely to pose a threat, they are probably going to be quite a hassle to track down. Many places to hide in a junk sea.

Entry 205, Day 193, evening

I feel a bit foolish.

The cultists were weak, but they didn’t run, because their masters used the same trick I used with Abbot Costello. We burst into their den and one of them unleashed the power of a Gate scroll. He was lucky the backlash did not kill him, but his lack of experience with such magics still led to a side-effect. Along with the Hamatula and Faceless Devil that suddenly joined the party a Dracotaur and a flaming goblin…thing fell into the world and crashed through the ceiling. They immediately began (continued?) fighting each other while we engaged the devils.

Melee was confused and chaotic, the devils were killed, the cultists were killed (and partially eaten, in the case of the ones felled by the goblin) and then, strangely, the goblin joined us. He acted as though I was familiar, and chose to finish off the faceless devil with his flaming teeth.

Cautiously, I approached him and tried to find out what was about. He gave a long, dtailed, and completely meaningless explanation of his adventures (goblin communication is terrible) before saying, “I dunno, I’m YOUR problem now!” and then opening every container in the room looking for food.

After getting him drunk on what remained of my White Lightning (to keep him for destroying the paperwork we found) I cast Legend Lore on his unconscious body. I have transcribed what I saw to the best of my ability as follows.

_It begins with a vision.

The mists part, and I see a young goblin, sleeping in a glass tank in some mad wizard’s workshop. The evil wizard is occluded, I cannot see his identity, but it matters little. The goblins entire tribe was abducted from some magically-blighted land. They are being turned into weapons by the wizard, and reiterating their hatred for magic.

The vision moves forward in time, but is quickly covered with a sign saying, “scene redacted for your sanity,” in flowing, cursive draconic. Truly my god is kind.

Chompers successfully chews through the bars, he is free for the first time in his life. He stumbles around the workshop, nothing smells tasty. Chompers sees a bird outside the window and leaps out to chase it. I hear the sound of a fall, a thud, a groan, and then the scampering of goblin feet.

Again with the sign, again I am grateful.

Time moves on, a band of hearty adventurers bursts into the wizard’s workshop, Chompers covered in chains and manacles that weigh twice what he does. The evil wizard throws open the cages and all of Chomper’s unfinished (yet still dangerous) brethren charge the heroes. Chompers is dropped in the ensuing chaos, struggling to get at the evil wizard’s half-finished dinner.

At the climax of the battle, the dark priest (heroes’ side) of Nerull calls forth a magical vortex which begins sucking the goblin-beasts out of this world and into the negative material plane, along with the evil wizard’s laboratory. Chompers sinks his teeth into a wall but is eventually torn free. Time seems to slow down.

The priest is struggling to maintain his spell, the wizard is throwing a spell of destruction at the priest, Chompers is about to strike the event horizon of the vortex, the barbarian is trying to find his bitten-off hand, Chompers is crying because the chicken wing he was trying to eat just disintegrated, and the shadowdancer is swinging his sickle from behind to remove the evil wizard’s head.

Suddenly I am outside the tower, watching it explode. I sense there are a few survivors.

Now I am in the desert, the Abbess of The Dawnflower raises her hands to greet the morning sun. She smiles, today is full of hope and promise, here in Katapesh. There is a sound from far away, as of a screaming goblin…

Chompers crashes into the sand, headfirst, somehow surviving. His chains and manacles are shattered, broken things. She sees this wretched creature before her…

She takes him in, tries to teach him. He learns some sense of civilization, but in katapesh there is always someone who needs their face eaten off. A rapid flurry of scenes of attempted teaching, wandering the countryside of Katapesh, helping people, terrifying people, getting attacked by people, eating people, and several scenes redacted for my sanity.

The Abbess is now exhausted, frustrated, and being chased by Pactmaster mercenaries seeking revenge on Chompers. She prays to her goddess for guidance and deliverance. The runic circle of summoning magic appears at Chompers’ feet…

I cannot see them clearly, I would be struck blind. I see instead charicatures, images implying their identities. I am seeing the gods.

Sarenrae says, “Alright, somebody ELSE gets to take this ball of teeth and trouble for a while.”

“Not it!” says Cayden Cailean, followed quickly by Desna, Iomedae, and Torag from their poker game.

“You must be joking,” says Abadar without looking up from his book, while Asmodeus tugs at his collar and says, “While my great and unfathomable plans will certainly use the beast, er, now is not the right time. Yes, just not the right time.” He mutters “just as planned” under his breath, but no one is fooled.

Eyes turn to Venkelvore, who is stuffing his face with cheetos. He looks up to say, “Screw you guys, I don’t even know why he’s worshipping me, hell no. I renounce all claim to him.”

Norgorber tries to hide behind a curtain, but Sarenrae drags him out. “You, you still owe me for that bullshit in Tijuana. You take him.” He looks around, terrified, and his eyes land on Apsu, who acts like he wasn’t paying attention.

“Hey, Apsu, um, I promise I’ll help you with that thing, come on bro, help me out here.”

Apsu sighs, thinks for a moment, and rolls his eyes. “All right,” he says, “I think I have a place I can stick him that won’t break too much.”

Appollyos the Devastator, the strongest dracotaur bloodrager to ever ply the mercenary city of Arcadia was playing a dangerous game. If he won, he would have the greatest sorceror alive as his slave and plaything. If he lost, they would cut off his arms. He tried to cheat, but was caught. Instead of losing, they cast him out into the maestrom of the planar boundaries. He tumbled through the storm of non-being, until he saw a small green thing flying at him while screaming, ‘hungreeeeee!!!!!!’

I see the battle, I see the death, I see the goblin look at me and speak. His grinning words echo with a strange gravity:

“I’m YOUR problem now.”

I open my eyes, I am lying on the trash-pile of a floor with a pounding headache. The spell is cast, the information is perturbing. The words haunts me.

Well, such is life._

He’s dangerous, he’s psychotic, he’s just a short confused stumble from acts of horrific and monstrous evil…He’s like the rest of my band of hearty heroes, I suppose, which is probably why he’s here. His name is Chompers, and he’s apparently my problem now.

Mr. Mistofelees finished off the last of the cultists in town with magic missiles, I believe we shall check in on the monastery across the river. I would like to investigate that ghost, and I think Casandalee is curious to see a ghost up close and personal. It should be educational for us both.

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shilkund

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