I have decided to start taking this journey down into words, so that I may remember the details. Things are much more complicated than I once thought, and if I am to write a book (or, indeed, if we perish and others must pick up our cause) it will be important to have this down in writing.
I also must collect my thoughts for analysis. We are essentially leaderless after the odd departure of our Ranger, and although I am perhaps the obvious choice due to my past military experience, my judgment cannot at the moment be trusted. I hope that through retroactive analysis I can trust myself, but until then I will mostly observe and advise.
I start this diary with us in a cave separated into two shores by a deep pool of water. A dead end, but a very defensible position as well. An ideal location that we used to pause for a day to rest and recover (a process aided by the light of Heronius, his name be praised). We needed this time, for the day before we had faced a might acid dragon. In that battle, both sides were very wounded. We survived, but left a potentially vengeful dragon behind…
Some reconnaissance by our shorter companions the other day revealed that an Etin is helping to guard the dragon’s treasure! A curiosity to be sure, however my first thought was to ignore it and continue our quest to discover what is happening in these caverns with the cult. However, our Gnome of all people convinced me to investigate. This was wise I realize… we don’t know what is happening with the cult, and until we have better direction its best to investigate any unusual happenings. It has been far too long since I have been in charge of any sort of military campaign. To be corrected by a Gnome! I have grown unused to pressured decisions in the field. A necessary and voluntary exodus from such activities yes, but now it is proving highly inconvenient.
By Heironeous‘s grace I used a “chain of eyes” to spy on the Etin. He provided the dragon with a pig carcass, but otherwise we obtained no other information. While we debated our next move, a beetle with the ability to rust our equipment invaded our camp. We drove it off, but not without attracting the Etin’s attention. As it charged it, Watt expertly shot it squarly in the eye with a sleep arrow.
We tied up the Etin while it slept. Here my… darker instincts took hold again. I suggested hamstringing the etin, taking out its eyes, even removing its arms. All while it was helpless! This is no way for a just knight of Heironeous to behave! My monstrous old self is rearing its ugly head, now that I’m being re-exposed to combat. I must fight this, and until I do I must be held in check by my friends.
Luckily they ignored my suggestions, and Jeb parlayed with the Etin (he speaks Giant, apparently), and somehow managed to convince him to leave the dungeons. Something about the Etin setting up a pig farm with some orcs. Didn’t get the details, just the gist. Either way, a highly non-violent way to end the situation. Despite his Gnomish dementia, Jeb repeatedly proves incredibly resourceful and useful to our cause.
We then decided to raid the Dragon’s layer. We took great pains to approach with appropriate tactics, but found the layer empty. We set off an obvious trap on the dragon’s loot, which summoned a hell-ape of some kind. I took quite a mauling, but we managed to kill it. We proceeded to raid the nest, and took many treasures with us.
Returning our base cavern, Jeb identified several of our items, not the least of which is an incense burner which “protects from harm in temples of the dark god”. Ominous…
The dragon then poked his head in, destroyed our rope bridge, then left. Interestingly, he looks very wounded. It seems he’s fighting something or someone else in these caverns… in any case, our base is no longer safe, and we must relocate (or at least kill the dragon).