Canyon Fodder


A Monk's Perspective

Leaving my Sensei and my home of 15 years was harder that I expected – though I will never admit that to anyone. The fact that Sensei did not even try to talk me out of leaving still has me raging inside. All he said was that I should not waste my learning and to apply it for good. Bah. Despite my resistance, his words were going through my head when I saw the three adventurers by the massive gate surrounded by a crowd and a seemingly more massive god. Things always get complicated when the gods get involved. I would have preferred to see what the local fair had to offer in the way of cold beer, but I was compelled to offer my help.

The three were an odd lot. Somehow fate had cast them together – a story I would love to learn someday. Their ‘leader’ is a cleric. The browbeating he was receiving from the goddess towering before him almost made me feel sorry for him. Next was the elf, a ranger. Little did I know them how much I would be relying on his skills with a bow in the next 12 hours. Last was the halfling rogue – a hide in the shadows and stab them in the back type, I was sure. They accepted me into their party with surprising ease. Perhaps they were relieved to have a replacement for the Tiefling who has apparently skipped out on them. Considering where we were going it was probably the wisest move of the day!

Where were we going? The Abyss. For what? A ‘splinter’. This splinter has been stolen while the party was down in the canyon playing with children or something. I am still not sure of the story there. It holds the door closed to keep the bad things out. Why a stout iron bar would not do the trick I’ll probably never know. But, I was told to find service, and serve I will.

Things were quiet for a while until I spotted something fly above us in the canyon. I poked the elf and pointed up. Before I knew it a green fog was billowing around us obscuring our sight and blinding us to whatever foulness was about to descend. My esteem for the elf grew when he charged out of the fog with his bow at the ready. As expected the little thief ran the other way. I quickly emerged on the heels of the elf and saw that it was a group (flock?) of aarakocra. My bo and right elbow took care of the first fiend threatening the ranger and I turned to face another. I skip the details but in the end there were three dead bird-things with the feathers of arrow sticking out from the plumage lying before us. It was a group effort. Even the halfling played an important role.

The beasts were wearing clothing with a strange symbol on them. We took a scrap with the symbol on it for future reference. It will certainly be important later.

The canyon got narrower, darker, and much steeper as we worked our way down. We met an impasse when we reached a near sheer cliff with a 250 foot drop. A team effort came up with a plan to climb and rappel down when we executed flawlessly until the cleric, Bartholomew, put his foot in a Stirge nest. Before we knew it these things were buzzing around us try, and somewhat succeeding, to drain us of every drop of blood we possessed. We swatted them away one by one until the cleric cast some sort of nastiness that wiped out the annoying beasts. Remind me not to give him a reason to use that on me.

I was getting tired and hungry and we had taken a bit of a beating by this point so we rested and discussed our options. Going back was going to be tough now with the cliff behind us so forward it was. Besides, I do not think the goddess holding the door closed would be pleased if we returned empty handed.

It only got darker and frankly, creepier. When we reached a branch canyon – more like a crevice – with odd foot prints around it we decided to follow it. We soon came to an opening and something moved in front of us. The thief threw a glowing pebble into the space and before we knew is an ugly monstrosity which grew into something bigger and uglier dropped down in front of us. I’ll spare the details of the blood and gore but we dispatched the thing with little problem.

Turning a corner we saw light up ahead. The thief volunteer to scout ahead and off he went. Within a few minutes we here him talking to someone or thing. We creep up and there he is talking to these giant ant things like he is a diplomat or something. Why, I’ll never know, but we step out and join him. The herd us towards a columned, domed building and we decide to go along. In the building we found that their intentions certainly not friendly. There were bodies lying in a pile on one side with arms hanging from the column on the other. What the…?

Not wanting to stick around we slip out a door in the back and come across a treasure room of sorts. After 15 years of living off the land, some extra gold to line my pocket would be great! The halfling, Teddy, then picks up bow and all hell breaks loose. A suit of armor stands up on its own and approaches us with a sword crackling with lighting. Nastiness. My blows seems to have little effect. I even managed to break by bo on the thing. Bartholomew however had no such problem and bashed the thing to pieces with his hammer. The damn thing must have been magical. He’d live to regret that though when he spent the next hour bashing out the dents so he could wear the armor himself. I have to admit it made him look even more the warrior.

After a short rest we smelled smoke. It seems the ants were trying to smoke us out. The irony. Down a hallway we came to a window to a room full of decaying plants. As it was our only way out Teddy and I jumped in to run to the door not the other side. Ugh! Some sort of nasty mushroom like things was in there. Some agile movements later though we skip past them, through the door, and right into the ants. Cr*p.

There were too many to count. Soon there are arrows flying past my head from the ranger, Henri, piercing the ants’ carapace but there are just too many. The thief starts reading from a school he found in the measure room and I am blinded by a brilliant flash. When I regain my eyesight all I can see is burning bugs. Well done, rogue! There are some more ants but they do not seem to want to engage.

Let me wrap up this entry. It turns out the ants actually didn’t want to hurt us. It was a big misunderstanding. They are a bunch of archaeologists – go figure. They made a bit of a interpretational boo boo when they saw a human statue without arms and figured that was how all bipedal bi-armed created should be and felt they were doing their guests favors by tearing their arms off. I guess you do not have to be very smart to graduate from ant archeology school. We came to an understanding with the ants and they gave us shelter for the ‘night’.

I actually have no idea what time it is down here. Onward to the Abyss.



Stephen_Scholz sludin

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